Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Politics on the margin—very encouraging

Ronald Pestritto has an interesting article in today's WSJ entitled "Glenn Beck, Progressives, and Me." In it he gives the nod to Beck's view that liberals today—especially Obama—are continuing the progressive tradition which began with Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt. He also agrees with Beck that "The progressive movement did indeed repudiate the principles of individual liberty and limited government that were the basis of the American republic." There is a lot at stake in the November elections, and the surprising victories of Tea Party candidates in yesterday's primaries is therefore quite encouraging. The people are increasingly concerned—and rightly so—that the federal government has become way too powerful and needs to be checked.

Also in today's WSJ you will find a great article by Alberto Alesina, "Tax Cuts vs. 'Stimulus': The Verdict Is In." He reviews the findings of his research that show that a reduction in government spending and a reduction in tax rates are far more likely to stimulate an economy than increased spending. In fact, "cutting spending in order to reduce deficits may be the key to promoting economic recovery," because reduced spending sends the message that tax burdens are likely to decline in the future, and this creates positive incentive effects to expand individual initiative and new investment.

I've been saying something similar since early last year. Obama's stimulus spending was very unlikely to stimulate the economy. Indeed, I thought the stimulus was most likely going to slow down the recovery, because government spends money less efficiently than the private sector, and because increased spending creates expectations of rising tax burdens and that discourages investment and work.

The best thing we can do for the future is to recall what is left of the stimulus, recall the healthcare bill, extend the Bush tax cuts, and vote in a new Congress. These are ideas that appear to have legs, and that's very encouraging.

9 comments:

Bill said...

I've been a Republican and fiscal conservative my entire life, but I do find some of the Tea Party candidates disturbing. I don't think O'Donnell is impressive at all and I'm afraid we've lost a chance to take the Senate in her victory last night. We've got to start electing people who believe the Government should stay out of business as well as personal matters.

Scott Grannis said...

Bill: I share your concerns, especially regarding social issues. But O'Donnell might still unseat her opponent in November if she is the only candidate who promises to cut back on the size of government. There's a lot of support for that platform these days.

Benjamin said...

I have been a fiscal conservative my whole life. That's why I stopped supporting Republicans about halfway into the Reagan Administration.

Since then it has been nothing but wars and deficits from the R-Party.

It is interesting that the Republican brand has been so wrecked by the Bush disaster that now, like "liberal" no one anymore is a "Republican."

They are "Tea Partiers."

It remains to be seen if Tea Partiers can balance the federal budget, or even come close. They are flummoxed by the reality that many are from rural areas, that benefit from strong net inflows of federal money, such as Alaska. Rural highways, power systems, water systems, postal service, telephone service, airports, and crops are all subsidized by urban taxpayers, usually through the heavy hand of the federal government. It is the Red State Socialist Empire.

This reality is why federal spending rises in Republican eras, such as 2000-2006, even as deficits widen.

Frankly, I wish I had a third-party option, as Obama seems to be fizzling as well.

Public Library said...

Bill,

O'Donnell frightens just about everyone. She is jobless, was fired for misappropriating property for personal use, and believes nobody should masturbate.

This campaign is really her last ditch effort at survival.

I am thankful this is the kind of rhetoric the Tea Party is dishing out. Nothing like a bunch of radicals to bring the left and right back to the center where we belong.

Benjamin said...

The Tea Party wants to destroy my sex life?

Public Library said...

Benj,

You should see her after school special about the subject when she was younger. What a doozy.

She reminds me of Joe 6-pack. After qualifying him, we all found out he owed back taxes and wasn't what the media cracked him up to be.

Not really surprising though.

Benjamin said...

PL-
On some levels, the incompetence of our major parties is funny. On other levels, jeez, this is serious stuff, and we are bumbling badly.

Frozen in the North said...

Yeah the people are so worried about government spending and the deficit that they want to keep their tax cuts.

Sorry the Tea Party is sad joke, where every complex problem is resolvable with simple and "obvious" solutions.

The Tea Party celebrates ignorance, stupidity and bigotry. There is nothing good here for the republic

Public Library said...

Frozen, I have to agree about the Tea Party. Under the cloak of small government, we get an even more self serving view of the world.