Leave it to mini-Marxists George W. Bush, Henry Paulson, and Ben Bernanke to saddle American taxpayers with $8.35 trillion in bailout commitments, yet not spend one thin dime on incentives to revive the U.S. economy. In fact, the faintest echo of an incentive these days is not a Reaganite act of commission, but a Reagan-lite act of omission. Barack Obama — rated in January as the Senate’s most liberal member — seems to have side-stepped his statist ways long enough to scuttle his speedy end to Bush’s first-term tax cuts on upper incomes. Obama reportedly will let them expire naturally in 2011 rather than euthanize them in 2009. The Tax Foundation estimates this will leave $100 billion in private hands, where it will do some good.
It is outrageous that a nominally Republican administration, even in its dying days, would fight a financial crisis with every socialist gun blazing and not fire even one bullet in the name of supply-side tax reduction, regulatory relief, litigation reform, or anything else that would stimulate private-sector risk taking. How sad (and oddly encouraging) that only Obama — not the self-styled heirs of Ronald Reagan — has bothered to consider tax-hike repeal as one cure for the current unpleasantness.
To marvel at the bailout’s sheer scope, look for a while at the nearby chart from the November 30 New York Post
. Chicago economist James Bianco compared
major federal expenditures throughout U.S. history and adjusted them for inflation to today’s dollars. Bianco low-balls the bailout’s total price tag at $1.5 trillion (vs. the $8,349,120,000,000 in commitments and $3,147,120,000,000 in actual outlays that the Washington Post reported
November 25). But even by that measure, the bailout already stands at thrice the cost of the New Deal alone! (For a detailed bailout breakdown, click here
Now that the Bush Administration has devolved into a sad, spent shell, Obama would be wise to embrace and promote these and similar incentives for Americans to work, save, invest, and produce:
Turbocharge innovation by letting anyone granted a new patent enjoy the revenues it generates for, say, five years tax-free. Watch inventors from Google to garages across America trip over themselves to create new products while Uncle Sam leaves them unmolested for half a decade.
Offer “Emerald Cards” to the planet’s 6.7 million non–North American millionaires. Without closing the Golden Door to those less fortunate, these high-end Green Cards would go instantly to any successful, law-abiding immigrant who could deposit $1 million in a U.S. bank, open a business, and hire at least five employees. One million such millionaires would pump $1 trillion into America’s economy and create 5 million jobs.