James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

Union attack on Boeing turns into unfunny joke

Jun 18, 2011 01:25 UTC

Obamaland’s assault on Boeing went from economic tragedy to political farce during a House Oversight Committee field hearing in South Carolina on Friday. Lafe Solomon, acting counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, dropped this gem:

These are difficult economic times, and I truly regret the anxiety this case has caused them and their families. The issuance of the complaint was not intended to harm the workers of South Carolina but rather to protect the rights of workers.

Who cares about intent? If the NLRB gets its way, 1,000 workers at the already completed plant will lose their jobs. Ironically, the NLRB can’t point to anyone who has lost their job as a result of Boeing building a second assembly line for its 787 Dreamliner in South Carolina rather than in the state of Washington. That reality produced this bizarre sequence (via Bloomberg) at the hearing:

“Can you name me a single, solitary worker in Washington state” who lost jobs or benefits? asked Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. “Where is the retaliation?”

Solomon repeatedly responded that he couldn’t “at this time” provide evidence of such an effect. “We believe evidence will show Boeing was motivated by retaliation,” he said.

Verdict first, evidence later. But when you are waging ideological war to accomplish via regulation what you cannot via legislation … well, whatever gets you through the night, right?

To recall: Boeing opened its $750 million facility in union-resistant  South Carolina on June 10, employing some 1,000 workers. It’s a second location for the production of the company’s 787 Dreamliner. Boeing might have built the production line back in Washington, but the local union wouldn’t agree to a lengthy no-strike contract. And the company hasn’t forgotten that a 2008 strike helped put the 787 program over budget and behind schedule.

After the new plant was built, the NLRB said the move was retaliatory and the line should be moved to Washington. That smacks of overreach. The pertinent law would seem to bar punitive actions by company bosses against union activists. That’s not the situation here. Boeing decided to open a new plant in a state where it was given financial incentives, labor is cheaper and work stoppages are less likely. Again, there’s no evidence any worker in Seattle lost a job. A previous 787 assembly line remains there, and the company claims to have added some 2,000 workers to that facility.

That suggests the move was a rational business decision that didn’t shortchange anyone already working at Boeing. So it’s hard to see how the union’s objection can really hold water. But the legal fight will probably be lengthy and may end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. And if Boeing were to lose, remedying the situation could get expensive.

But there are much broader implications. The NLRB’s fight comes amid a political debate about unions and the threat from anti-union or so-called “right to work” states. If it turns out a union can block a business decision even when there’s no harm to its members, that could easily deter needed manufacturing investment in America, whether by homegrown or foreign-owned companies.

Team Obama thinks little of the idea that “uncertainty” created by its tax, spending and regulatory policies has created an anemic recovery. But if an American business cannot even rely on the law to protect its fundamental economic right to open a plant in its state of choice, then it really cannot be certain of much.

 

COMMENT

Boeing breaks the law, Dixie complains about being caught. Punish both the South and Boeing, and pursue/capture them if they go offshore.

Posted by ProudYankee | Report as abusive

Huntsman rides hard into the 2012 race

Jun 17, 2011 16:04 UTC

When Jon Huntsman, America’s man in Beijing until recently, joins the U.S. presidential race next week, he won’t be coming alone. His entry will add a China spin to the economic issues under debate by the current Republican field. That alone should make his candidacy one worth watching.

No doubt some of Huntsman’s soon-to-be rivals will attempt to make hay that his previous employer was the fellow whose Oval Office they’re hoping to occupy. But the former Utah governor would be wise to use his recent ambassadorial posting to turn the conversation to the Middle Kingdom. America’s primary economic and military rival merited only a single passing mention during the New Hampshire GOP presidential debate earlier this week. That shouldn’t happen again.

Huntsman’s overseas gigs — he was briefly ambassador to Singapore in the early 1990s — give him a unique perspective on the economic challenges and opportunities that Asia’s rise presents to America. Despite current angst about China’s growing economic might, Huntsman knows firsthand the simplicity of that view. China is a desperately poor nation — its per capita GDP is lower than Jamaica’s — that still needs to show it can innovate as well as imitate. It is not a nation of Asian supermen ready to dominate the 21st century.

Moreover, in China’s need to rebalance its economy toward more consumption, Huntsman has seen the flip side of America’s need to reorient toward more saving and less debt. (And how entrenched political interests make such rebalancing efforts difficult.) He’s already hinted at supporting cuts to defense spending and eliminating economically inefficient tax breaks — while also lowering tax rates. And Huntsman’s call for America to increase its energy efficiency echoes China’s efforts to do the same.

Huntsman is also, of course,  sure to talk about his impressive record as the Beehive state’s governor. He was overwhelmingly reelected in 2008, with the nonpartisan Pew Center calling Utah one of the three best-managed in the nation. True, for now, most Americans know as much about Huntsman as they do China — not much. They would be wise to study up on both.

 

COMMENT

Gary Johnson created far more jobs than Huntsman did(11.5% vs 5% job growth). He also left Governorship as a more popular man. Still, he never got this kind of gratuitous write up. Are you owned by CNN? How do you feel about Ron Paul?

Posted by WillieHze | Report as abusive

5% or bust: more on America’s growth potential

Jun 17, 2011 15:30 UTC

So typical. The WaPo’s Ezra Klein quotes a bunch of people saying that there is no way, no how the economy can grow at 5 percent for a decade,  the “aspirational” economic goal of Tim Pawlenty.

Hey, I can quote people, too! Like economist John Taylor of Stanford:

First, look at employment growth. Given the dismal jobs situation, that’s the highest priority. Currently the percentage of the working-age population (age 16 and over) that is actually working is very low at 58.4 percent. In the year 2000 it reached 64.7 percent, so that is at least a feasible number. Raising the employment-to-population ratio to 64.7 means an employment increase of 10.8 percent (64.7-58.4/58.4 = .108) or about 1 percent per year over 10 years, even without any growth of the population. Adding in about 1 percent for population growth (from Census projections), gives employment growth of 2 percent per year.

Now consider productivity growth. Since the productivity resurgence began around 1996, productivity growth in the United States has averaged 2.7 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So numbers in that range are not pie in the sky. As Harvard economist Dale Jorgenson and his colleagues have shown, the IT revolution is part of the explanation for the productivity growth, and, if not stifled, is likely to continue, as is pretty clear to me as I sit a few hundred yards from Facebook and other high-tech firms.

Now if we add the 2.7 percent productivity growth to the 2 percent employment growth, we get 4.7 percent economic growth, which is within reaching distance of—or simply rounds up to—the 5 percent target set by Governor Pawlenty. Thus, five percent growth is a good goal to aspire to, whereas 3 or 4 percent would be too little and 6 or 7 percent too much

Is Taylor correct? Well, Don Marron of the Tax Policy Center (and formerly of the Bush WH) puts it this way:

Taylor’s scenario thus assumes that everything breaks right for the U.S. economy for a full decade, with remarkable job growth and remarkable productivity growth in the economy as a whole. Not impossible but, unfortunately, not likely either.

Marron thinks Taylor’s population and productivity numbers are fine. But he does have three problems:

1) Taylor uses a very optimistic assumption about how much employment growth can exceed population growth. Today, about 58% of the working age population has a job. That woefully low level ought to rise as the Great Recession recedes. Taylor assumes that we can boost that ratio back to its 2000 level of almost 65%. But 2000 was the tail end of a technology boom that lifted America’s employment-to-population ratio to record heights. Since then, the working population has aged, so the employment-to-population ratio will be persistently lower even in good times. CEA thus forecasts that labor force changes will trim about 0.3% annually from potential growth in coming years. Getting the employment-to-population ratio back up to 65% thus won’t happen unless we have an even bigger boom than the late 1990s delivered.

2) Taylor assumes that workers will keep working the same number of hours that they do today. That sounds innocuous except for one thing: average hours have been declining. CEA estimates that trimmed 0.3% per year from potential economic growth from 1958 to 2007 and will trim another 0.1% per year from 2010 through 2021.

3) Taylor assumes that the rest of the economy will enjoy the same productivity growth as the nonfarm business sector. In reality, the other parts of the economy – most notably government – are lagging behind. CEA estimates that slower productivity growth outside the nonfarm business sector trimmed 0.2% from potential economic growth from 1958 to 2007 and sees an even bigger bite, 0.4% annually, in the coming decade.

I still like the 5 percent target, even though I think 3.5 -4.0 percent is more realistic.  And Pawlenty’s basic path for getting there — tax policy that rewards saving, reducing regulation and cutting the share of our economy gobbled up by government — is sound as far as it goes.  I would also like to see more on immigration and education policy, as well approaching  basic research and infrastructure spending in a market-friendly way.

 

 

 

COMMENT

Education can add billions to our economy as it would stop giving company excuses for off-shoring jobs. The current trend is to actually bring the jobs back, but education would at least allow Americans to off-shore themselves to find work if they have to (I work for a japanese company in China until jobs come back to the US.). Infrastructure is a must as the US is decaying in this area. The Obama-haters need to realize this simple fact. But it should be done efficiently, but not the chinese style of efficiency which means fast and corrupt. The biggest thing that will keep our economy growing is to reduce imports and increase exports. The US needs to change its export laws to allow more high tech exports, because most of those restrictions are just laughable. Of course we have to keep restrictions on certain military equipment, but come one. Also, we need to reduce the oil imports, which account for the largest chunk of US imports. Alternative fuels, energy efficient technology, and domestic oil production is the key. One last thing; buy american. I live in China and still have the opportunity to buy American goods at local import stores. Those who complain about the US economy but still buy imports are missing the big picture.

Posted by hellomyman | Report as abusive

Obama’s fantasy growth forecast

Jun 17, 2011 14:38 UTC

Another downgrade for the US economy:

(Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth on Friday and warned Washington and debt-ridden European countries that they are “playing with fire” unless they take immediate steps to reduce their budget deficits.

The IMF, in its regular assessment of global economic prospects, said that bigger threats to growth had emerged since its previous report in April, citing the euro zone debt crisis and signs of overheating in emerging market economies.

The global lender forecast that U.S. gross domestic product would grow an anemic 2.5 percent this year and 2.7 percent in 2012. In its forecast just two months ago, it had expected 2.8 percent and 2.9 percent growth, respectively.

Let’s recall the White House forecast from February:

Looking ahead, the Administration projects moderate GDP growth of 3.1 percent in 2011, with growth then rising to an average rate of 4.1 percent during the next four years.

Speaks for itself, I think

 

 

 

COMMENT

Blaming Bush and the Republicans, or indeed, blaming any single political persuasion for the current situation is an oversimplification. (NobleKin, bobw111 never said he was a Republican, so your accusation lacks merit. Many of your other points were on the mark though.)

Both parties have spent like drunken sailors in recent history. And indeed, it is wrong to spend money without having the means to pay for it. When a family runs into that situation, a responsible family will lower their spending to match their income. An irresponsible family will put their spending on the credit cards.

One might claim that the U.S. can “increase its income” by simply raising taxes, but that’s, to put it bluntly, a fairy-tale. The “income” of a country doesn’t come from taxes; rather, it comes from the productivity of its citizens relative to the citizens of other countries. The U.S. has been hit hard by the results of globalization; many jobs that used to provide productivity and income for U.S. citizens are now providing it instead for the citizens of China, India, Brazil, and others. THAT is what has caused the “decrease in income” for the U.S. — raising taxes is just shuffling the decreased overall income between parts of the U.S.; it is not truly an income increase.

Posted by Randy549 | Report as abusive

The hypocritical White House attack on McKinsey

Jun 16, 2011 19:52 UTC

Consulting firm McKinsey put out a report on Obamacare that the White House doesn’t like very much. Here is the relevant bit (bold is mine):

US health care reform sets in motion the largest change in employer-provided health benefits in the post–World War II era. While the pace and timing are difficult to predict, McKinsey research points to a radical restructuring of employer-sponsored health benefits following the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Many of the law’s relevant provisions take effect in 2014. Our research suggests that when employers become more aware of the new economic and social incentives embedded in the law and of the option to restructure benefits beyond dropping or keeping them, many will make dramatic changes. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that only about 7 percent of employees currently covered by employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) will have to switch to subsidized-exchange policies in 2014. However, our early-2011 survey of more than 1,300 employers across industries, geographies, and employer sizes, as well as other proprietary research, found that reform will provoke a much greater response.

· Overall, 30 percent of employers will definitely or probably stop offering ESI in the years after 2014.

· Among employers with a high awareness of reform, this proportion increases to more than 50 percent, and upward of 60 percent will pursue some alternative to traditional ESI.

· At least 30 percent of employers would gain economically from dropping coverage even if they completely compensated employees for the change through other benefit offerings or higher salaries.

· Contrary to what many employers assume, more than 85 percent of employees would remain at their jobs even if their employer stopped offering ESI, although about 60 percent would expect increased compensation.

McKinsey, shorter: Anyone who tells you that if you like your current health plan you can keep it under Obamacare is trying to sell you a false bill of goods. Now the White House points to other studies that arrive at a different conclusion, that employers won’t change their plans much if at all.  So the White House is banging on McKinsey to release its methodology:

McKinsey says they obtained their data after they “educated respondents” about reform and that their survey used proprietary research. We don’t know what respondents were told or whether they had the chance to check with their colleagues or crunch the numbers for their business before responding.

The firm has so far declined to reveal any more info to the administration of congressional Democrats. Now what I find interesting is that the WH and its minions in the blogosphere have apparently forgotten that Team Obama likes to keep things secret as well. Remember the infamous Romer-Bernstein prediction that claimed the Obama stimulus plan would keep unemployment from reaching 8 percent? We still don’t know exactly how they arrived at that number.

Then there’s the recent budget speech by President Obama in which he presented a plan that would supposedly cut projected deficits by $4 trillion over 12 years. As I wrote in April:

When he made his big budget speech last week, it wasn’t at all clear from where his numbers were coming — nor in what direction they were heading. A “fact sheet” on his “Framework for Shared Prosperity and Shared Fiscal Responsibility” gave a few more specifics, but little or no context to make real sense of them. Even for seasoned budget experts, it was a puzzlement.

So maybe the White House should lay off McKinsey until it submits Obama’s big budget “plan” to the Congressional Budget Office for scoring, which is what Rep. Paul Ryan did with his Path to Prosperity. And if the White House really wants more info from McKinsey, maybe they should call Diana Farrell. She is the former head of the McKinsey Global Institute who until last November was a deputy director on Obama’s National Economic Council.

COMMENT

This is not hypocritical in the least, instead of producing a nonpolitical study McKinsey has apparently slanted their study to arrive at a politically desirable conclusion. If this turns out to be true, they are dishonest and their study is worthless. The citizens of the U.S. have a right to know if Republican politicians are trying to sway public opinion with faulty information.

Posted by Dalton | Report as abusive

2011 ‘Recovery Summer’ looking like a disappointing rerun of 2010

Jun 16, 2011 16:13 UTC

Those “bumps in the road” are starting to come fast and furious. The mix of disappointing U.S. economic reports and fear of a Greek default must be weighing heavily right now on the minds of the Obama 2012 re-election team. We are now looking at another quarter of around 2% GDP growth, which will do little to lower unemployment.  A few selections from my email in-box:

–  Michael Dard, MKM Partners: “With Greece appearing to be on a fast track to default, and Ireland and Portugal likely not far behind, the stench of a “credit event” is once again in the air.”

– Nicholas Tenev, Barclays Capital: The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index sank to -7.7 in June from 3.9 in May, well below our (8.0) and consensus (7.0) forecasts and the first negative reading since September.  … While respondents continue to report small increases in shipments and employment, the overall weakness of this report corroborates the Empire State manufacturing survey’s discouraging tone, signaling that the manufacturing slowdown worsened in June.:

– RDQ Economics: “The Philadelphia Fed’s general business conditions index was much weaker than forecasts …  It is now three months since the Japanese quake and tsunami and it is hard to attribute a further weakening in manufacturing in June to this event. However, this then begs the question as to why manufacturing appears to be slowing further (and possibly contracting in June). For now, we are letting the data speak for themselves and it looks like the manufacturing sector continued to lose steam in June.”

– Daniel Silver, JPMorgan: “The most recent jobless claims report showed a bit of improvement in the data, but the data still signal weakness in the labor market relative to what was reported throughout most of February, March, and April. Initial claims for the week ending June 11 declined 16,000 to 414,000 from an upward revised figure for the prior week. This decline was a small step in the right direction for the labor market, but claims have now remained above 400,000 for ten straight weeks. “

COMMENT

Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the issues. It was truly informative. Your website is very helpful. Many thanks for sharing!

Pawlenty’s 5 percent solution

Jun 8, 2011 01:26 UTC

Tim Pawlenty should be praised for decisively rejecting the declinism that has infected much of the Washington and New York elite. His speech Tuesday at the University of Chicago was a robust reminder of all that once was good in America and could be again.

We settled the west and went to the moon. We liberated billions of good people from communism, fascism, and jihadism. We’ve lit the lamp of freedom for the entire world to see. The strength of our country is our people, not our government. Americans believe our country is exceptional. And they deserve a President who does too. We can fix our economy. Our people are ready to get back to work. We just need to give them to tools to get there. And get the government out of the way.

In his call for a national goal of 5 percent GDP growth for a decade (and, presumably, between 3 and 4 percent thereafter), Pawlenty seems to be echoing JFK rather than Ronald Reagan. But both presidents recognized that deep tax cuts were critical to unleashing the private sector and reinvigorating a flaccid economy.

Is 5 percent GDP growth a realistic goal? It’s certainly a great aspirational one, but many mainstream economists would say it’s not doable. Here’s the challenge: The U.S economy hasn’t grown so fast for so long since the late 1800s. More recently, the economy expanded at a pace just shy of 6 percent from 1962-1966. And as Pawlenty mentioned in his speech, “Between 1983 and 1987, the Reagan recovery grew at 4.9%. Between 1996 and 1999 – under President Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress– the economy grew at more than 4.7%.”

Overall, U.S. GDP growth has averaged 3.3 percent over the past 50 years, with roughly half coming from a growing labor force (1.6 percent) and half coming from higher productivity (1.7 percent). But with America aging, annual labor force growth is expected to slow dramatically to just 0.5 percent. The McKinsey Global Institute thinks a higher retirement age and smarter immigration policy could boost that rate to 1 percent or so. But even then, productivity growth would have to increase to 2.3 percent long term just to maintain that historic growth rate.

The good news is that McKinsey thinks that’s possible, too. One move it recommends is enhancing the U.S regulatory environment. Another is reducing marginal tax rates. Both actions are in line with the Pawlenty agenda. Pawlenty’s proposal to eliminate capital gains taxes would create a de facto consumption tax, which many economist think good for growth. He would also lower the top individual tax rate to 25 percent and the top corporate rate to 15 percent. And like McKinsey, Pawlenty thinks the federal government and healthcare sectors can made be much more efficient and productive. He also wants to sunset federal regulations.

The better news is that GDP growth of, say, 3.5 percent would take a huge chunk out of America’s long-term debt problem since the government’s long-range forecast assumes growth of just 2 percent. So Pawlenty is squarely on the right track. Higher growth is key to avoiding a debt crisis, not to mention improving the American standard of living. With the right policies, America can grow a lot faster than what the pessimists in the Congressional Budget Office and center-left think tanks believe.

But is 5 percent possible, or even 4 percent? That really depends on the pace of innovation. Advances in genetics, robotics, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology could bring about another Industrial Revolution. Innovation expert and computer scientist Irving Wladawsky-Berger think the simultaneous advance of information technology and globalization and entrepreneurial capitalism worldwide is ushering in a “golden age of innovation.” And the faster the world grows, the faster American will grow. And vice versa.

And government’s role is all about creating a fertile environment for growth and innovation through smart tax, regulation and (limited) spending policies. Pawlenty’s “Better Deal” would do that.

 

COMMENT

Mr. P: This ‘declinism’ you mention has infected Chrystia Freeland, among others, on the Reuters website. See her article about the ‘abandoned’ middle class. This whole overarching negativity echoes the 1970s and brings to mind Jimmy Carter’s speech about the American ‘malaise’. Times were perilous back then too – not that most readers of this site under 45 would know that, or care – but America tossed out Mr. Carter and the Democrats, embraced Ronald Reagan and did what needed to be done. Is Tim Pawlenty another another RR? The sentiments and ideas are right, but can he sell them?

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Boosting the U.S. economy isn’t all that hard

Jun 7, 2011 19:51 UTC

John Tamny of Forbes speaks Truth to Power:

An economy is not a living, breathing blob, rather it’s a collection of individuals acting in their individual self interest. In that case, to stimulate ours or any economy, it’s really quite simple. Remove the roadblocks to economic activity which are taxes, regulation, barriers to trade, and cheap, unstable money.

Right now Washington is violating all four basics, thus making our limp economic outlook a present and future inevitability. Government spending is rising and it’s a tax like any other for every dollar consumed by government one less dollar meant to fund real productivity. Tax rates, though not historically high in the 20th century sense, are uncertain, and with them uncertain, the economy’s vital few must produce with the future possibility that the fruits of their efforts will be penalized at much higher rates. Beyond that, regulations are increasing at a horrifying pace, trade agreements that would foster the work specialization necessary for economic advancement are on hold, and the dollar, as mentioned, continues to decline.

The answer to all of this is a very simple one. An economy is once again just a collection of individuals, and when the barriers to production are removed, the individuals that drive our advancement will start producing again. Of course until the aforementioned roadblocks to growth are reduced, productive activity will decline, and what we call an economy will continue to crawl.

Lovely.

Pawlenty’s big economic speech

Jun 7, 2011 16:23 UTC

Just watched Tim Pawlenty outline his approach to reinvigorating the American economy during a speech at the University of Chicago. A few initial thoughts:

1) I would love for some candidate to endorse a flat consumption tax, but Pawlenty’s plan is pretty strong:

· Cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15% to spur investment and American competitiveness in the global economy

· End the era of crony capitalism by eliminating corporate tax loopholes, subsidies and giveaways to level the playing field

· Providing the option for small and medium sized businesses to pay the corporate rate

· Replace the individual tax system with two brackets creating a flatter and fairer tax structure

o Individuals making $50,000 or higher will be taxed at 25%

o Individuals making $50,000 or lower will be taxed at 10%

o Married couples making $50,000 or lower will have an effective 0% tax rate

· Eliminate capital gains tax and dividend tax to encourage investment and saving

· Eliminate estate tax and interest income tax

Good stuff all around, boosting both investment and possibly family formation. Also recognizes how the current code encourages an unholy alliance between Big Business and Big Government.  But I would like some more specifics on what tax breaks and loopholes he wants to eliminate.

2) Pawlenty posits a goals of growing the economy by 5% a year for the next decade, generating an additional $4 trillion in tax revenue. Now keep in mind, I don’t think the American economy ever managed that in the 20th century. Indeed, the only examples Pawlenty gave were over a shorter period of time:

Between 1983 and 1987 — the Reagan recovery grew at 4.9%. Between 1996 and 1999 —- under President Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress. The economy grew at more than 4.7%. In each case millions of new jobs were created — incomes rose — and unemployment fell to historic lows. The same can happen again.

The economy also grew awfully fast in the mid-1960s after the JFK tax cuts.  I am glad he set a high goal, but in terms of getting the debt under control, I would prefer a more conservative forecast. But I am glad T-Paw rejects the declinist attitude that sees the U.S. only growing between 2-2.5%. We can certainly do better than that.

3) On cutting spending, more good ideas, especially the bits on reforming the federal government. But I can’t take spending caps too seriously without a specific plan on making them work. During the Q&A afterward, his answer on Medicare — about changing payment incentives for healthcare providers — shows his approach is still a work in progress. It seems unlikely he will be adopting the Ryan plan, but we’ll see.

· Pass a Constitutional amendment that requires a balanced federal budget and caps federal spending as a percentage of our economy around the historic average of 18% of GDP

· Propose that Congress grant the President temporary and emergency authority to freeze spending at current levels, and impound up to 5% of Federal spending until the budget is balanced if Congress fails to cut spending

· Apply the “Google Test” to government agencies. If you can find a good or service on the Internet, then the federal government probably doesn’t need to be doing it.

· Employ Lean Six Sigma throughout all federal agencies saving up to 20%

4) I should also note that Pawlenty said he wants to eliminate the Fed’s dual mandate and have the central bank focus only controlling inflation.

 

 

COMMENT

Mr. Pethokoukis, Sir.What exactly in Mr. Pawlenty’s plan do you find so wonderful, other than the tax cuts?
The only actual “facts” that T-Paw uses is the fact that growth was very high during the latter part of the Reagan and Clinton administrations, AFTER taxes had been RAISED!
Growth during the Bush II years was extremely anaemic, and such growth as there was was financed by a massive increase in deficit spending and increased private debt as well. There was actually a net LOSS of jobs in the private sector during those tax cut years, so I fail to see how lowering the tax rates provides any evidence at all for private sector growth.
This “plan” is, of course, total economic nonsense, and although it might sound delightful to those whose economic theories start and end with Ayn Rand, it is both a non-starter politically as well as totally indefensible when rigorous economic analysis is applied to it.
The saddest aspect of this though is when respected news organizations like yours allow for opinion pieces like this to be written that have absolutely no relationship with reality as we know it.

Posted by jimmywitz | Report as abusive

Club for Growth slaps Romney economic record

Jun 7, 2011 15:25 UTC

Very tough Club for Growth analysis of Mitt Romney’s economic policy record as governors of Massachusetts. Here is the group’s conclusion:

Because of his long tenure in public life, especially his presidential run in 2008, Mitt Romney is considered a well-vetted candidate by now. Perhaps to his consternation, he has developed an unshakeable reputation as a flip-flopper. He has changed his position on several economic issues, including taxes, education, political free speech, and climate change. And yet the one issue that he doesn’t flip on – RomneyCare – is the one that is causing him the most problems with conservative voters. Nevertheless, he labels himself as a pro-growth fiscal conservative, and we have no doubt that Romney would move the country in a pro-growth direction. He would promote the unwinding of Obama’s bad economic policies, but we also think that Romney is somewhat of a technocrat. After a career in business, quickly finding a “solution” seems to be his goal, even if it means more government intrusion as a means to an end. To this day, Romney supports big government solutions to health care and opposes pro-growth tax code reform – positions that are simply opposite to those supported by true economic conservatives. How much Romney’s philosophy of governance will affect his policy goals if elected, we leave for the voters to decide.

Look, Romney was never going to be the favorite of the Club for Growth. But I didn’t know about this:

In 2003, the Governor refused to endorse the Bush tax cuts, earning the praise of Massachusetts liberal congressman Barney Frank, and was even open to a federal gas tax hike. His strident opposition to the flat tax is most curious and difficult to explain since Romney wasn’t a political candidate at the time. In 1996, he ran a series of newspaper ads in Boston, New Hampshire, and Iowa denouncing the 17% flat tax proposed by then presidential candidate Steve Forbes as a “tax cut for fat cats.” In 2007, Romney continued to oppose the flat tax with harsh language, calling the tax “unfair.”

But the polls today have some great new for Romney (via the WaPo): “Among all Americans, Obama and Romney are knotted at 47 percent each, and among registered voters, the former governor is numerically ahead, 49 percent to 46 percent.”

 

 

 

 

COMMENT

All I know is this—-Clinton raised taxes, and we had the best Economy in decades, surplus instead of deficit, JOBS, JOBS, JOBS !

As for Romney—How do you look at his taking his State down to #47 in the Nation in Job Creation, and the fact that he raised FEES on everything in the State as to a good Economic Record???? You don’t ! Romney sucked at Economics, and he will do so with the National one.

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