Maybe you should listen to Rush Limbaugh after all
Mr. Limbaugh has a concrete proposal that, though it has about as much chance of being enacted as I do of being invited to tea with Barack Obama, is nonetheless worth pondering.
Fifty-three percent of American voters voted for Barack Obama; 46% voted for John McCain, and 1% voted for wackos. Give that 1% to President Obama. Let's say the vote was 54% to 46%. As a way to bring the country together and at the same time determine the most effective way to deal with recessions, under the Obama-Limbaugh Stimulus Plan of 2009: 54% of the $900 billion -- $486 billion -- will be spent on infrastructure and pork as defined by Mr. Obama and the Democrats; 46% -- $414 billion -- will be directed toward tax cuts, as determined by me.
Then we compare. We see which stimulus actually works. This is bipartisanship! It would satisfy the American people's wishes, as polls currently note; and it would also serve as a measurable test as to which approach best stimulates job growth.
I say, cut the U.S. corporate tax rate -- at 35%, among the highest of all industrialized nations -- in half. Suspend the capital gains tax for a year to incentivize new investment, after which it would be reimposed at 10%. Then get out of the way! Once Wall Street starts ticking up 500 points a day, the rest of the private sector will follow. There's no reason to tell the American people their future is bleak. There's no reason, as the administration is doing, to depress their hopes. There's no reason to insist that recovery can't happen quickly, because it can.
In this new era of responsibility, let's use both Keynesians and supply-siders to responsibly determine which theory best stimulates our economy -- and if elements of both work, so much the better. The American people are made up of Republicans, Democrats, independents and moderates, but our economy doesn't know the difference. This is about jobs now.
As I say, I don't expect to see Nancy Pelosi undergoing a Paul-on-the-road-to-Damascus metanoia when she reads this ("Gosh, you know that Limbaugh chap may be on to something. Harry, let's give it a try!"), but we common folk can dream, can't we? Just imagine checking out the news tomorrow and discovering that the government--what used to be called, without irony, your government--had decided to try something really bold for a change: instead of taking more of your money, they were actually going to let you keep a bit more. Shock. Awe. And, as Mr. Limbaugh predicts, uptick. What then? Imagine: a stimulus package that was not simply a means of funneling money to the great Santa wish-list that resides in Democratic Party headquarters but that actually stimulated: i.e., helped create jobs and foster growth, not bigger government and dependency.
Mr. Obama got this one exactly wrong: "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done." It seems to me that if you want to get the right things done, you would do very well indeed to listen to Rush Limbaugh. Sure, he's funny. He's caustic. He is not afraid to call a wacko a wacko (are you out there Al Gore?). But he understands something fundamental about the way economies in the real world work that the panjandrums administering our country's fate would do well to absorb.