Bill Murchison

As Milton Friedman was wont to say, in propounding an important rule of thumb, if you want more of something (e.g., work, investment), you reward it (e.g., cut taxes); if you want less of it, you penalize it. You raise the cost. You make harder, more creative, more imaginative work less pleasant by grabbing more of the reward that comes from success at it. As you do so, you unnecessarily depress revenues. The more you grab, the less you get.

That's to speak broadly, of course. Life can't be reduced to an equation. It remains a safe bet all the same that incentives outrank penalties when it comes to policies that bear on job creation and economic expansion.

Extension of all, not just some, of the tax rates isn't the Platonic solution for our current economic woes. It better fits the present case than does presidential desire to grind the faces of the rich, mostly to please Democratic constituents who get a kick out of such spectacles -- and often reward those who stage them.

See how this tax rate game stirs both sides to activity? Liberals troll for votes. Proponents of economic freedom seek job growth, opportunity and the creation of things that never before existed. On which basis was America made? Guess.


Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
 
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