Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell is absolutely right to warn against Obama’s gigantic stimulus-spending package. McConnell says it “will be the largest spending bill in the history of our country at a time when our national debt is already the largest in history.” As a result, he says the bill “will require tough scrutiny and oversight.”
According to McConnell, scrutiny should include this simple test: “Will the yet unwritten, reportedly trillion-dollar spending bill really create jobs and grow the economy -- or will it simply create more government spending, more bureaucrats, and deeper deficits?”
The Republican leader is drawing a clear line in the sand. Okay, good. But the GOP has got to do more. It must start talking about tax cuts to grow the economy. And it must get back to the supply-side by talking about lower marginal tax rates on individuals, businesses, and investors.
We don’t need bailout nation. Nor do we need the government picking winners and losers in a massive, Keynesian, new-New Deal spending extravaganza. And it’s not Obama’s middle-class tax cut that’s going to get us out of this economic jam. At best his vision is incomplete. But at worst his aversion to successful earners and investors is a real obstacle to full economic recovery.
Social historian and early supply-side activist Irving Kristol taught us three decades ago that the top earners are the economic activists. They’re the ones with the highest propensity to consume and invest. They’re the ones who buy the yachts, which are built by blue-collar workers. And they’re the ones who run the small businesses and provide the capital for the new entrepreneurial start-ups that are the lifeblood of the economy. It is they who energize free-market capitalism.
If we had an economy without rich people we wouldn’t have much of an economy. That’s why lower tax rates to reward the economic activists -- the most prominent capitalists -- are so essential.
In fact, the GOP has a great opportunity to challenge Obama’s Keynesian pump-priming by insisting there be a major tax-cut component in any new fiscal package. Republicans shouldn’t merely push for somewhat less government spending. They have to make a bold case that tax rates matter for economic growth and job creation. They must insist that any recovery package includes this key element. Shift the debate. Say clearly that a reenergized economy cannot occur without lower marginal tax rates.