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Kudlow’s Money Politics

Larry Kudlow’s daily web log of matters political and financial.

Too Much Debt, Not Enough Growth



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Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan gave a powerful speech Wednesday that repeatedly brought conventioneers at the Republican National Convention in Tampa to their feet. I am going to give him high marks for his delivery.

Ryan, in typical fashion, seriously and analytically ripped apart the Obama economy and what has been called Obamanomics. He ripped it to pieces, and it needed to be done. Most especially, he ripped apart Obamacare. Ryan also did his level best to defend Republicans against the usual attacks on Medicare reform, or what has been called “Mediscare.”   However, I was disappointed that his economic-growth solutions were somewhat muddled and unclear. At one point in the speech, rather than speak about Mitt Romney’s own tax-rate proposals, Ryan used the term “tax fairness,” a term frequently used by President Obama and other liberal Democrats. This was surprising to me.

Ryan cited Jack Kemp and the Reagan tax reform (and I am, of course, part of that gang). But the reality is, Ryan never mentioned tax cuts during his speech. Not the 20 percent across-the-board supply-side reduction in marginal tax rates, nor the 25 percent corporate tax rate, down from 35 percent. These pro-growth measures have been proposed by Mitt Romney, but it is a mystery to me why Ryan did not mention them.     He dwelled on debt to an extreme point. I don’t think discussing debt connects with people who are unemployed or marginally employed. I think they want a good-paying job, and debt is almost an academic abstraction. When Republicans run on debt and deficits, they almost always lose. When Republicans run on growth, limited government, lower spending, lower tax rates, and deregulation — they win. Ryan’s speech was confusing on the growth issue, and that was disappointing. I don’t want to be confused, and the American people shouldn’t be confused.

It will be left to Mitt Romney on Thursday night to clarify his growth policies. I want growth, growth, growth. Wednesday night, I didn’t get growth, growth, growth; I heard debt, debt, debt.



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