July 23, 2008
TPC sponsored a fascinating debate today between John McCain’s top policy adviser, Doug Holtz-Eakin, and Barack Obama’s senior economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee. More than anything, I was struck by how much time each spent criticizing the other guy’s fiscal plan rather than promoting their own.
July 22, 2008
In response to my blog the other day about economists endorsing John McCain’s proposal to create an alternative individual income tax, Winghunter asked a perfectly reasonable question: What would such a scheme do for the economy?
July 17, 2008
It wasn’t exactly So You Think You Can Dance, but watching Congress and President Bush boogie their way through the final song of the recent Medicare prom was still a hoot. In the end, Hill Democrats stomped Bush and, despite his veto, easily passed a Medicare bill that delayed, yet again, mandated cuts in physician payments. The Dems did so while insisting they were for both true competition and fiscal responsibility. Bush, trying to claim those same virtues for himself, had unsuccessfully tried to block the bill, insisting it would hurt beneficiaries by curbing their access to managed care plans.
July 15, 2008
I turned in my PhD dissertation just in time. I can’t believe I’m going to be a doctor of public finance. My paper: An Alternative Tax System in the McCain Administration. It is a detailed description and macroeconomic analysis of John McCain’s plan to give taxpayers a choice of paying under the current system or through a much simpler and more efficient option.
July 11, 2008
John Endean raised an intriguing idea the other day in response to my blog on whether business executives would be willing to give up targeted tax breaks in return for a lower corporate rate, as John McCain has suggested.
July 10, 2008
My blog on “How the Budget Baseline Favors Spending” stimulated numerous thoughtful comments. Some implied that my proposal would reward those who wish to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and ignore the fact that dubious accounting was used to get them passed in the first place. Those arguing this point did not pay sufficient attention to my last paragraph which implied that baseline reform would have to await the disposition of the Bush cuts. Further, I alluded to the possibility that whatever portions of the Bush policy are extended, the extension will again be temporary, thus making it difficult to finally settle the point.
July 8, 2008
Unlike many bloggers, I am not going to bash John McCain’s renewed interest in balancing the budget. It is nice to see his on-and-off love affair with fiscal responsibility heating up again. There is just one problem with his vow to balance the budget by 2013. He can’t do it. Or, to be more precise, he can’t do it while extending the Bush tax cuts, cutting other taxes of his own, and maintaining a costly military presence in Iraq.
July 3, 2008
The Wall Street Journal editorial page ran one of its favorite tables the other day, purporting to show how uncompetitive the U.S. corporate tax regime is with the rest of the developed world. The chart shows that, at nearly 40%, combined state and federal statutory rates here are far higher than the average of the countries in the OECD.
July 2, 2008
The Congressional Budget Office’s expenditure and revenue baseline is supposed to illustrate the budget implications of extending current policy. Few may care how the baseline is actually constructed, but since all policy changes are measured “from the baseline,” the arcane definitions that describe current policy can have a profound effect on Congressional decisions.
July 1, 2008
Lots of buzz lately about sovereign wealth funds—those huge investment pools run by foreign governments that are becoming an increasingly important source of capital for U.S. companies. The Wall Street Journal’s Michael Phillips reports that foreign investors bought nearly $1 trillion in U.S. securities in 2007. And a small but growing share was acquired by sovereign wealth funds operated by dozens of countries, including China and the oil-soaked nations of the Middle East.