August 15, 2004

Let's give him four more years, so he can REALLY fuck with the economy

In a rather meandering article, the NYT considers some of Bush's potential "bold new proposals" for the tax code, should he win a second term. While I can't speak to whether they're new or not, I can say that they make supply-side economics look downright sane.

Take this little gem for example:

One thought is to change the system so that it focuses less on taxing what people earn and more on taxing what they spend. Even without a sales tax, this could be accomplished by letting people deduct money they put in savings and investments from their income, so they would owe taxes only on what was left - in other words, essentially on what they spent.

First, it should be obvious how ridiculously regressive such a system would be: wealthier people have discretionary income to save or invest, and can funnel purchases through their employer (company car, company beach house), while working-class folks are struggling to pay the bills in their low-benefits job. Second, this tax reform would stimulate not job creation (I vaguely recall hearing Kerry talk about tax incentives for companies that create more and better jobs in the US), which is what the economy desperately needs, but setting one's money aside. There is an indirect way it could stimulate job creation, but this is even more tenuous than a straightforward supply-side tax cut, and much less straightforward than the direct incentives I mentioned in the last sentence.

So, on top of this shitty, regressive tax 'reform', you add things like health and retirement savings accounts, thereby screwing up the economy even more, and I start to wonder if Dick Cheney isn't an evil genius, whose diabolical plot is to completely destroy the US economy. Or maybe the class in business school where you learn that people have to be able to buy your products is optional.

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