Down with Bailouts; Up with Incentives
Real economic stimulus requires financial incentives to work, save, and invest.


Deroy Murdock

Immigrants who earn college and advanced degrees must depart soon after graduation, export their hard-earned talents, and begin competing against us. Nonsense! Those who display good behavior should be free to stay here and devote their energies to America’s advancement.

Use the free market, not the still-smoldering Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to recapitalize banks and foster home ownership. Let Americans save up to $10,000 tax-free each year for eventual home purchases. In the name of housing equity, renters also should be allowed to save for security deposits and initial years’ rent. While politicians scorn us, the estimated 32 percent of Americans who rent are people too — as the IRS warmly reminds us every April 15.

Make depreciation tables optional. Businesses should be free to write off capital purchases as quickly as they — not the feds — deem economical.

America frightens foreign capital by taxing it at the industrial world’s second highest corporate tax rate. At 40 percent (35 federal, plus 5 percent average state and local tax), only Japan’s 40.7 percent combined rate is higher. To become competitive and attract investment, this tax should be no higher than the European Union’s 23.2 percent average.

“How about a five-year emergency suspension of all capital-gains taxes?” suggests Club for Growth president Pat Toomey.  The former GOP congressman from Pennsylvania added: “I know it’s too much to hope for, but consider: NO one has any capital gains! What could the fed’s cap-gains haul possibly be this year — maybe $1.50? There is nothing to lose and much to gain if it would stimulate investment and maybe even help the market establish a bottom.”

Is Obama’s potential support for these ideas just free-market fantasy? Perhaps. But extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures. Besides, Obama should remember that, before Ronald Reagan and the pre-socialist George W. Bush reduced taxes, John F. Kennedy chopped the top marginal income tax rate from 91 to 70 percent. JFK — to whom some like to compare Barack Obama — did this with a challenge the president-elect should resurrect: “Let’s get America moving again.”

– Deroy Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution. © 2008 Scripps Howard News Service