He took on New Jersey’s Clifford Case and forever changed the way Reagan conservatives talked about the economy.
But it was Bell’s role in the emergence of “supply-side economics” that cemented his stature in American politics. I rate him among the top four figures in that emergence, along with Jude Wanniski, editorial writer and commentator for The Wall Street Journal; his boss, Robert Bartley, who ran the Journal’s editorial page; Congressman Jack Kemp of New York, at that time famous mostly as a former NFL quarterback for the Buffalo Bills but later highly influential politically; and Bell.
Wanniski, a kinetic figure who operated in a constant state of intensity as if the fate of the world hinged on his latest insight, crafted the argument that America’s growing problem of “stagflation”—economic stagnation mixed with inflation—stemmed from insufficient attention to the supply side of the economy. He sold the idea to Bartley, who turned his editorial page into a kind of journalistic billboard on behalf of this outlier concept. Kemp, reading Wanniski’s Journal editorials (and a particularly influential piece of commentary by him in The National Observer), sought out Wanniski and Bartley with offers to press the cause in Congress. Then Jeff Bell became the first person to test the resonance of the concept on the hustings.
Catherine Rampell probably had a great time writing her fact-free column this week. She will probably be as surprised by this CBS News report on tax reform as CBS News was. Ms. Rampell is now in the unenviable position, along with all of her fellow Democrats, of rooting against the American people and the economy that those people represent. Good luck with that, Ms. Rampell.
Skousen adds, “Gross Output and GDP are complementary aspects of the economy, but GO does a better job of measuring total economic activity and the business cycle, and demonstrates that business spending is more significant than consumer spending,” he says. “By using GO data, we see that consumer spending is actually only about a third of economic activity, not two-thirds that is often reported by the media. As the chart above demonstrates, business spending is in fact almost twice the size of consumer spending in the US economy.”
Yardley and Ewing naturally accept the conventional view that “austerity,” whereby politicians have less to spend, is the cause of European weakness. Of course, what they miss — and in their defense most economists miss it too — is the simple truth that governments tautologically have no resources. The latter isn’t some kind of ideological assertion, or some evidence-free libertarian slogan, it’s just fact.
And with the above fact in mind, we have to ask what drives prosperity. It’s not just success, and if it were, Silicon Valley would be very impoverished. What drives prosperity is constant, market-disciplined experimentation with new ideas.
It’s 2,000 carmakers sprouting up in the early part of the 20th century in the U.S. Just about every one of them failed, but rather than implode based on all the bankruptcies, the economy soared. Fast forward to the end of the 20th century, most Internet companies similarly went belly up, but no sane individual would suggest that the U.S. economy was set back by all the bad ideas that eventually vanished.
When businesses are forming, the economy experiences a surge of information about what works and what doesn’t such that we all benefit. Success doesn’t power prosperity, but information does.
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In short, the only European “austerity” is that which empowers politicians to allocate the always limited resources created in the private economy. The latter is a barrier to the very experimentation that is necessary for an economy to evolve in prosperous fashion.
Astorino’s tax reform would lift the state’s flagging economy.
The executive for Westchester County, north of New York City, is calling for a simpler system that cuts the top state tax rate on personal income to 6% from 8.882%. Eight different tax brackets would be reduced to two, with the 6% rate applying to income above $200,000 for individuals and $300,000 for married couples. A 4% rate would apply to income below those levels.
The Republican would also repeal a utility tax, and by 2020 he’d phase out New York’s dreaded estate tax, which runs up to 16% and has sent tens of thousands of New York residents to retire in better tax climates. Mr. Astorino also wants to cut the state corporate tax rate to 5.9% from 6.5% by 2019. A simplified corporate system would eliminate favors for politically popular industries like the film tax credit that subsidizes the millionaires who produce “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show.”