Medicare Expansion Backlash

Republicans think they are so clever, having rammed through a massive expansion of the welfare state by giving drug benefits to the elderly. They co-opted the AARP — long considered to be in the pocket of the Democrats — and left the Democrats with no real domestic issue to run on. Hence, Republicans believe they […]

On Republicans and Democrats

Readers sometimes ask why I occasionally write columns advising Democrats on how they could gain some political advantage by adopting certain policies. After all, as a Republican, don’t I want my party to win? Why am I helping the enemy? The answer is that I’m a Republican only because, historically, it has more closely represented […]

Why Voters Like Gridlock

On Jan. 23, 1996, Bill Clinton told the nation, “The era of big government is over.” If so, it sure didn’t last very long. Today, the era of big government is back with a vengeance, ushered in by a massive new prescription drug entitlement, a pork-laden energy bill of grotesque proportions and a trade war […]

Republicans vs. The Free Market: Tariffs and Trade Restrictions on Imports

On Nov. 18, the Bush administration announced a decision to impose new trade restrictions on imports of some Chinese textiles. Although rationalized as a means of saving American manufacturing jobs, no trade expert thinks it will have more than a trivial effect in this regard. Its principal impact will be to further enrich a few […]

Mercantilism and Protectionism: Don’t Worry About Trade Deficits

Earlier this month, the House Ways and Means Committee held hearings on legislation to impose tariffs on Chinese imports. While such action is unlikely, it shows that the political pressure to do something about growing imports from China is increasing. However, emotion rather than economics is driving the agenda. The only reason anyone cares about […]

Deficit Politics

The recent announcements that the economy grew an astonishing 7.2 percent in the 3rd quarter while adding 126,000 jobs in October are necessitating a change in strategy by Democrats. Up until now, their mantra has been that Republicans gave us the worst economy since the Great Depression, or whatever their hyperbole of the day is. […]

The Flat Tax Makes a Comeback

The flat tax is making a comeback. After being banished to the political wilderness after Steve Forbes made it the central issue of his losing campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996, interest is perking up again. One of the Democrats running for president could do himself (or herself) a lot of good by […]

George W. Hoover?

The Great Depression remains the central economic event in American history. Even today, politicians invoke its memory. For example, Democrats routinely accuse George W. Bush of having economic policies like those of Herbert Hoover, on whose watch the depression began. Given its horrendous effects, accusing anyone of threatening a replay is about as nasty a […]

Will President Bush Let Congress Increase Taxes?

In a recent column, I predicted that President Bush will likely be forced into a budget deal involving higher taxes sometime after next year’s election because of rising interest rates. Some of my friends thought I was endorsing such an action. I was not. But my experience in Washington over the last 25 years left […]

Research on Labor Supply Supports Supply-Side View of Tax Policy

In a recent column, I discussed some of the support for supply-side economics at the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and in academia. Today, I would like to extend my discussion to some emerging research on labor supply that further supports the supply-side view of tax policy. For decades, most economists took the view that […]

The Estate Tax Non-Repeal

Of all the tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration, none has been more controversial than repeal of the estate tax. Even though it represents only a very small part of the total revenue loss from the 2001 and 2003 tax bills — and isn’t really repealed, anyway, since it comes back in 2011 after […]

Time Do Something About the Budget Deficit?

Despite improving economic and budgetary news, there is rising pressure to do something about the budget deficit. I expect this pressure to grow rapidly over the next year. By early 2005, I believe such pressure will be irresistible. It’s not too soon to start thinking about where this could lead. The main reason why I […]