Monday, February 18, 2013

Updating Reaganomics: Ponnuru on a New Republican Approach

Ramesh Ponnuru is a really smart guy, and on economic/policy matters, he's got an even-keeled, common sense approach.  He should be listened to.

He's got an NYT op-ed out that urges Republicans to think anew about our current challenges, rather than just resorting to re-doing what Reagan did thirty years ago under dramatically different circumstances.

Ponnuru has always argued for family friendly policies and against focusing on the federal income tax rather than on payroll taxes.  For instance, he's often gotten my dander up in his view that Republicans who talk about those who pay no income tax are missing the point--that payroll taxes take a huge bite out of voters we want to win over.

It is hard for me to walk away from the view that everyone should pay SOMETHING in income taxes.  If Ponnuru would agree that everyone ought to pay SOMETHING (maybe a 1% bracket?) in income taxes while focusing primarily on the tax that makes the most difference in voters lives (the payroll tax), I might join him

But he is right about the general charge--it is intellectually lazy to say "if it was good enough for Reagan, it is good enough for me."  We need updated thinking.


NavyAustin said...

Born in 1966, coming of age politically during Carter America, I saw Reagan as the antithesis of everything ailing the country - the weakness in the face of the Iranian hostage takers, the helplessness against crime in the cities, the futility of the courts that favored the rights of the accused far more than the victims, and the general sense of malaise. Reagan was a bolt of lightning.

But for several election cycles now, we have had many claim to be the second incarnation of Reagan. This has failed because

a) they aren't.
b) they claim as Reaganesque aspects of their policy that are very un-Reagan (he was not a hardcore social conservative bible-thumping whack job)
c) as you point out, things are different. Saying "do the Reagan thing" sounds nostalgic, and disconnected to today's realities.

Also, food for thought:
I am 46. I am the youngest of the generation who grew up seeing the Reagan effect on America. Say Reagan to me and my heart stirs, and I remember the swelling of pride and confidence our country felt. My 21 year old son has no such memory, of course. But neither do the folks who are 40-42 today. They may recall Iran contra, or a certain nostalgia about the kindly older man. But the wall had been torn down, the gas lines gone, the economy humming for all of their political lives.

Reagan has no automatic meaning for them - nor will it ever. Need new ideas, not nostalgia.

"The Hammer" said...

Answer me this, have you ever looked at the FairTax?!

"The Hammer" said...

You enact the FairTax, put a "pre-bate" check in everybody's mailbox every month with no "pain at the pump" (so to speak) because all the hidden taxes applied all along the production and distribution stream are gone, you do that and the Democratic Party and liberalism all over this planet will become obsolete in six months.

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