Politics & Policy

Bush’s Disappointment

The Bush tax plan is like a lot of things in life. You have to ask the question: Compared to what? Compared to the agenda of Al Gore or Bill Bradley, I’m for the Bush plan. But ultimately it lacks vision.

We don’t need to have four separate tax brackets. He should have brought the top rate down further; his father raised it to 31%, but Bush Jr. couldn’t quite get it back to 31%, bringing it down only to 33%. He didn’t deal with savings. He ignored 401(k)s and IRAs, and didn’t lower the capital gains tax or index it to inflation. He really ignored the new investor class. It’s a powerful political group, and it’s most regrettable that he didn’t go after it. In the year 2000, wealth is more important than income. But there’s no investor-class, new-economy, future vision here. It’s a missed opportunity.

That said, I’ve never met a marginal-rate cut that I didn’t like. Supply-siders like myself have to get used to the fact that Gov. Bush is innately cautious; he’ll come part of the way to our view, but not all the way. I think it gives Forbes an opening in the debate tomorrow night, because, frankly, the Forbes plan is superior to the Bush plan. As for John McCain, the only tax proposal I’ve seen from him is broadening the 15 tax bracket. So he’s barely on the map.


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