The Corner

Growing Wealth, Not Entitlements

Yesterday, I read this piece, published in Politico last Friday, which I thought was worth sharing with you. The authors, Anne Kim and Jon Cowan of the progressive policy shop Third Way, make an argument rarely heard from their side of the aisle. They write that more entitlements (and, I guess, more government) is not what we need today. All the safety nets are in place already, so “Let’s declare victory and move on.”

Moving on, they argue, means that Democrats must embrace a pro-growth agenda.

Rather, they should focus on a new signature cause: policies that build national and individual wealth.  For Democrats, who may be more familiar with how to cut up the pie than increase its size, this marks a significant shift.

On their list we find corporate tax reform, immigration reform, and free trade. Kim and Cowan acknowledge the gigantic amount of debt the country faces and warn that if Democrats don’t make the shift, they risk seeing everything they stand for damaged. 

Given these staggering projections, raising taxes and cutting spending are unavoidable. But the severity of these measures can be mitigated only if we generate the kind of supercharged economic growth we had in the 1950s and mid-’60s.

Otherwise, the cuts in entitlement benefits and increases in taxes could be draconian. They are sure to lead to highly polarizing fights — across generations, regions, incomes and race — over shrinking slices of the pie.

While my starting point about entitlements and the way they are implemented is very different than Kim and Cowan’s, much of their piece made sense to me. Obviously, I wonder how they feel about the president’s tax policy and other issues, but, in any case, this article shows that there is a place for debate and that solutions to the current situation are possible. Plus, it’s good to know that congressional Democrats are getting some pressure of this type.

The whole thing here.


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