Taxes and the Campaign

by Ramesh Ponnuru

There are always some conservatives who tell struggling primary candidates that what they really need to succeed is a bold tax-cutting plan. But during this campaign season primary voters haven’t been rewarding bold tax-cutting plans. In Bloomberg View, I review the candidates’ performances and offer some reasons the old supply-side magic may no longer be working:

The deficit may have finally gotten so large, and our long-term fiscal outlook so bleak, that even Republican voters are less enthusiastic about massive tax cuts that come without matching spending reductions (as in the Santorum, Gingrich, Perry and Pawlenty plans). And the proportion of voters who pay the income tax has fallen a lot since the start of the tax revolt in the late 1970s, so tax plans centered on cutting income-tax rates have less appeal.