Have Republicans forgotten Reagan?
My pal Charlie Gasparino questions whether the GOP is making a huge mistake by focusing so intently on cutting deficits and spending:
The GOP — where Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan once saw a limitless future based on a free-market plan for growth — has become the party of green eyeshades, government shutdowns and dour predictions about our future, while the American people continue to suffer. … In recent weeks, the left-leaning and bailed-out Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs offered what the mainstream media considered a credible take on how GOP efforts to block the president’s spending initiatives will slow our feeble economic recovery and modest reductions in unemployment. … Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have become GOP icons for their courage in taking on public-sector unions — but the broader appeal of their message of cutting budgets before cutting taxes is still questionable.
On the face of it, at least, Charlie may have the politics right. Here are two recent polls (via PollingReport.com) that look at national priorities. Both put jobs ahead of deficits.
Of course, what Republicans are trying to do is make the case that cutting spending is good for growth because a) it will prevent a debt crisis like Ireland and Greece have experienced, and b) it will shift resources from low-productivity government to the higher-productivity private sector. And I think there is some evidence that the argument is starting to take hold, such as this recent Bloomberg poll:
That being said, I would like to see a clear and comprehensive plan to reform taxes and reduce regulation. Still waiting, though.