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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Snipe Hunting

Another defection from the conservative collective. Larry Hunter does not believe the president's policies have enough supply-side-i-ness:

Warning from an economic defector, by Donald Lambro, Commentary, Washington Times: There were disturbing signs of further erosion in the conservative Republican base this week when tax-cut crusader Larry Hunter attacked what he called President Bush's below par economic recovery. Breaking with his supply-side allies, the veteran free market economic strategist charged in a paper being circulated among conservatives that Mr. Bush's ''economic recovery ain't all it's cracked up to be'' and that it is in danger of slipping into a slower growth path.

Mr. Hunter said the party's conservative leaders can no longer ''ignore the spending cancer growing at the core of the Bush domestic-policy legacy which will lead to tax increases unless it is staunched soon.'' Conservatives simply no longer can afford to give our support to a political party whose only campaign slogan is 'Vote Republican; we aren't as bad as the Democrats,' ' he said in a letter to his longtime allies in the war on taxes who were shocked at the intensity of his attack on Mr. Bush. ...

Mr. Hunter's criticisms are especially stinging because he was a supporter of the Bush tax rate cuts as far as they went, though he sought deeper reductions to fuel stronger economic growth. ...[H]e has been one of the leading supply-side advocates in the tax cut battles of the last several decades. But in his paper ... Mr. Hunter writes that ''by historic standards, the current recovery really hasn't been up to snuff...''...

Too much of the Bush tax cuts ''consisted of tax credits and rebates that increased the deficit but did not reduce the marginal tax rate on work, saving and investment. Thus, they did little to boost economic growth,'' he said. ''Consequently, the early stages of the economic recovery were sub par when measured against previous recoveries,'' he wrote ...

Mr. Hunter went far beyond his economic critique to sound a clarion call for conservatives to withhold their support for Republicans to force sweeping reforms. ''I believe it's time we rejected the GOP establishment's extortion and fear tactics and laid down a marker of our own to establish the price of our support in the upcoming election. This country isn't their private plantation,'' he said. ...

[W]ith the stock market in a dangerous tailspin and the polls giving the president failing scores on the economy, his attacks could find a receptive audience among cranky conservatives unhappy with the direction of this presidency and their party's performance in Congress...

Since this is about how faithful the policies have been to core supply-side beliefs, I'm not taking sides on this one. If the choice is between (a) the economic policies of Bush, or (b) those promoted by Hunter, I choose (c) none of the above as the best answer, though I do like his "it's time we rejected the GOP establishment's ... fear tactics" and "This country isn't their private plantation" statements.

    Posted by on Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 02:27 AM in Economics, Politics, Taxes | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (28)

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