Ross Mackenzie

Further quotations on the economy....

Amity Shlaes, senior fellow in economic history at the Council on Foreign Relations, in her new book, "The Forgotten Man: a New History of the Great Depression": "From 1929 to 1940, from Hoover to Roosevelt, government intervention helped to make the Depression Great....It was a period of a power struggle between two sectors of the economy, both containing a mix of evil and virtue. The public sector and the private sector competed relentlessly for advantage. At the beginning, in the 1920s, the private sector ruled. By the end, when World War II began, it was the public sector that was dominant. The contrast was a brutal one, fought across the land."

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Harvard economist Robert Barro, interviewed in the Atlantic, on the fundamental mistake (minimal tax cuts) in the Obama stimulus package - noting that significant tax cutting has an enviable history: "It worked to expand the GDP, for example, in '63 and '64 with the Kennedy/Johnson cuts. And then (with) Reagan twice in '81 and '83 and then in '86. And then the Bush 2003 tax cutting program. Those all worked in the sense of promoting economic growth in a short time-frame."

Gary Becker, winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences: "The more you have dependence on the government, the stronger the interest group of people who want to maintain it. That's one reason why it is so hard to get any major reform in reducing government spending in Scandinavia, and it is increasingly so in the United States. The government is spending - at the federal, state, and local levels - a third of Gross Domestic Product, and that share will go up now. The higher it is, the more people who are directly or indirectly dependent on the government. The basic theory of interest-group politics says that they will have more influence and their influence will be to try to maintain this, and it will be hard to go back."

Forbes editor-in-chief Steve Forbes, discussing the annual report to the Treasury by the IRS' Taxpayer Advocate Service: "Americans spend 7.6 billion hours a year complying with tax-filing requirements, the equivalent of 3.8 million full-time jobs. The Tax Code gets ever more complicated, expanding by about 1,000 words a day - with 500 changes last year alone."

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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