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Rather than demagogue “millionaires and billionaires,” Obama should, like Democrats in 1980s, think “outside the box” on tax reform

Perhaps the main reason I tout every victory for “gun rights” as offering a victory gay Americans is that I believe those who seek to improve the lot of such citizens need to think outside the box of identity politics.  That is, we don’t need gay-speicfic legislation advancing our “equality,” but benefit by laws promoting the freedom of all Americans.

Now, to be sure, laws which make it easier for law-abiding Americans to own firearms benefit gay Americans for the same reasons such laws benefit all Americans.  The real issue–and the conversation we should be having–is whether we can improve the social situation for gay people through means other than identity politics.

What applies for gay people applies for others as well.  Lately (with yesterday’s speech as yet another example), the president has taken to class warfare in making the case for raising additional revenue to fund the federal government.  As Republicans have resisted such attempts, his rhetoric serves only to advance his political cause.  He has yet to offer a plan which could pass the current Congress, indeed which could even get through the Democratic Senate.

Despite his failures, he has yet to offer an alternative plan to raise revenue; his fellow partisans in the Senate recently nixed Republican plans to raise revenue through tax reform rather than rate increases.  He has failed, as Jonah Goldberg wrote about his failure in other policy matters, “for political and ideological reasons, as well as a more basic failure of imagination.

If the president had a little imagination, he could “think outside the box” and learn from a fellow Democrat, former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley who, in 1986, seeing some similar inequities in the tax code that the president has demagogued in recent days, championed a tax reform plan that earned bipartisan support.  Instead of demagoguing tax rates, the president, like the New Jersey Democrat, could sign on to real revenue-enhacning reforms.

He could even turn to a Senate Democrat, Oregon’s Ron Wyden who just five years ago, “commemorating the 20th anniversary of TRA’86,” joined Bradley in “calling for a bi-partisan coalition to repeat the 1986 feat.”  Wyden could team up with Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey who, in the “supercommittee” debt negotiations, proposed the reforms that Democrats rejected.

All that is required is a little imagination.  And a willingness to think outside the box.

The empirical test of Obama’s economic policies

Yesterday, the president told us that conservative economic policies have never worked. Someone should ask him the same questions about the Keynesian theories that drive his big-spending policies. He — and many of his supporters — really do believe that we need economic stimuli in order to jump-start the economy.

Only problem is that such solutions rarely (if ever) lead to sustained economic growth. The New Deal delayed economic recovery in the 1930s. Japan suffered a “Lost Decade” in the 1990s when its government adopted policies similar to those Democrats would follow in 2009.

Instead of trusting to theories which sound good on paper, we need to turn to policies which have succeeded in practice.  In his book on the housing crisis, Thomas Sowell makes the case for a pragmatism that has eluded the incumbent president:

In housing markets, there have been an abundance of theories and of fervently believed doctrines, but not nearly such an abundance of willingness to subject these theories to the test of evidence.   Politicians would be gambling their entire careers on a roll of the dice, if they were to publicly subject the policies and programs that they have been advocating for years to empirical test of their consequences.

The economy grew after the economic policies similar to those Obama derided yesterday took effect in 1983.  And despite Obama’s success in enacting his policies in 2009, the recovery which followed the Bush-Pelosi-Reid downturn (the one that he “inherited”) has been the most anemic in generations.

Would be nice if the president acknowledged that empirical test of his policies rather than stick to the rhetorical appeal which served him so well in 2008.

The perfect gift for President Obama

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:45 pm - December 7, 2011.
Filed under: Great Americans,Great Men,Ronald Reagan

It’s always good to study the record of a successful predecessor, particularly one whose economic policies worked pretty much as advertised.

In reading about this great Republican, the Democrat might realize that the policies he claimed never worked actually worked quite well.

For five days only, this handsome set is 50% off.  And the Reagan Library offers free ground shipping on orders over $100.

Distracting us from Obama’s dismal economic record

Commenting to my post about a lesbian mother dispatching her son to tell a presidential candidate that she (his mother) “doesn’t need fixing,” Naamloos offers:

With the economic situation as it is, I’m not sure why Michele Bachmann’s views on homosexuality are relevant.

I don’t agree with them, but I do generally agree with her fiscal/economic views (at least what I know of them).

Good point.  And that is perhaps the reason first Yahoo! and then AOL promoted the story:

Seems they want to keep the focus on the various Republican candidates’ quirks (or celebrities’ self-promoting critiques) to prevent Americans from realizing how much more closely conservative candidates are aligned with mainstream American opinion than is the incumbent administration.

Despite her positions on social positions, Mrs. Bachmann does have a far better idea of what ails the American economy than does Barack Obama.  He may say that conservative economy theories have “never worked“, but, well, that remark ignores the economic record of the last two decades of the Twentieth Century.

And Obama’s one to talk; his $800-billion “stimulus” failed to work as promised.  Meanwhile, the last president to try the “trickle down economics” that Obama excoriated did, despite inheriting a weak economy from his predecessor, leave office during an era of unprecedented prosperity.

Well, maybe Keynesian economic theory “proves” that conservative economic policies don’t work.  The real world has produced slightly different results.

So to keep us distracted from the real world record of Obama’s economic policies, our friends in the MSM need to cook up new stories each day about Republican presidential candidates, lest the American people start to realize how, on the key issues of the day, they have far more in common with those supposedly outlandish Republicans than they do with the incumbent.