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Monday, January 25, 2010

With Friends Like These...


Harold Ford thinks we should cut taxes and cut the deficit and that the federal government should shrink in size and create jobs.

And that's how stupid you have to be to write an op-ed for our elite papers.

Ford says voters are sending Democrats a clear message:

With one out of five Americans unemployed or underemployed, President Obama and the Democratic Party need to shift attention away from health care...

Yet what is the second of his four recommendations in the op-ed?:

Second, we should pass a more focused health reform bill...

The whole thing's a mess. For example, he mixes up short-run and long-run problems, and he doesn't realize the different conditions that existed when Clinton was in office as compared to now and what that implies for deficit reduction policy.

Take his call for a "bold effort to create jobs." Besides his recommendation to shift attention away from health care reform by trying to pass a health care reform bill, his other three recommended policies are payroll and supply side tax cuts on business, immigration reform (to make citizenship easier, that's fine, but it won't help with jobs), and deficit reduction (which won't help with jobs either, and will likely reduce the level of social insurance worsening conditions for the working class and the poor).

So the proposal is, for the most part, for six months of payroll tax cuts granted to a limited number of firms (those less than five years old), and the same old tired set of supply side tax cuts that we always hear, most of which only work in the long-run if they work at all.

To the extent that there would be any job creation effects from these tax cut policies, and some types of tax cuts could help a bit, they are likely to be more than offset by the deficit reduction and his other policy recommendations that work in the opposite direction. Does he really think voters will reward Democrats for making unemployment worse through deficit reduction? With friends like these, who needs Republicans?

    Posted by on Monday, January 25, 2010 at 12:38 AM in Budget Deficit, Economics, Taxes, Unemployment | Permalink  Comments (36)


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