Diary

Straight from the JFK Playbook

I can not find a more elegant way to describe the need for Senator John McCain’s Pro-Growth Tax Policy than those uttered by John F. Kennedy during a speech to the Economic Club of New York on Dec. 14, 1962:

“There are a number of ways by which the Federal Government can meet its responsibilities to aid economic growth. We can and must improve American education and technical training. We can and must expand civilian research and technology. One of the great bottlenecks for this country’s economic growth in this decade will be the shortage of doctorates in mathematics, engineering, and physics; a serious shortage with a great demand and an under-supply of highly trained manpower. We can and must step up the development of our natural resources.

But the most direct and significant kind of Federal action aiding economic growth is to make possible an increase in private consumption and investment demand–to cut the fetters which hold back private spending. In the past, this could be done in part by the increased use of credit and monetary tools, but our balance of payments situation today places limits on our use of those tools for expansion. It could also be done by increasing Federal expenditures more rapidly than necessary, but such a course would soon demoralize both the Government and our economy. If Government is to retain the confidence of the people, it must not spend more than can be justified on grounds of national need or spent with maximum efficiency. I shall say more on this in a moment.

The final and best means of strengthening demand among consumers and business is to reduce the burden on private income and the deterrents to private initiative which are imposed by our present tax system; and this administration pledged itself last summer to an across-the-board, top-to-bottom cut in personal and corporate income taxes to be enacted and become effective in 1963.

I am not talking about a “quickie” or a temporary tax cut, which would be more appropriate if a recession were imminent. Nor am I talking about giving the economy a mere shot in the arm, to ease some temporary complaint. I am talking about the accumulated evidence of the last 5 years that our present tax system, developed as it was, in good part, during World War II to restrain growth, exerts too heavy a drag on growth in peace time; that it siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power ; that it reduces the financial incentives for personal effort, investment, and risk-taking. “

The economic challenges and appropriate responses to these challenges have not changed in the last 46 years, though the philosophies and associated rhetoric from the Democratic Party obviously have changed. I truly believe that Senator Barack Obama desires the best for the United States and that he believes that his economic policies will result in an economic resurgence. But there is either a naiveté on my part for believing there is no intended malice on the part of Senator Obama, or there is a naiveté on the part of Senator Obama with respect to economic fundamentals. I sincerely hope that history will not allow me to prove that the answer is the latter, as that is one “I told you so” that will be extremely costly to all of America.