The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Wednesday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On President Obama’s planned major economic address after his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard:

Remember Obama had said he had a plan. Well, originally he had a plan — it was called the budget in February. It was laughed out of the Senate because it was a spending spree in the middle of the debt crisis.

So he did a redo with the speech April 13 which was announced and touted as a plan. Well, when the plan was put to the director of the CBO, in Congress, he was asked what that Obama plan no. 2 would do with the budget and the deficit. He answered there was no way of telling. He said: “We don’t estimate speeches,” meaning a speech is nothing. It’s hot air. It’s not real.

So the question: Is this another speech in the tradition of the April 13 speech — or a plan? If is it a plan, put it on paper and show us the numbers.

That’s been the problem with the president. He has had all the leaks. He says I’m prepared to take hard choices. I am willing to discuss entitlements. Discuss and prepare means nothing. Show us the numbers.

On what Obama will announce in September:

He thinks he is boxed in because the discussions of the last six months have been about debt. He is a Keynesian and he believes what he needs to do now in a stalled economy is stimulus, but he would get laughed out of town if he asked for a stimulus.

So … he will propose: spend now, cut later. That’s going to be in the speech, I guarantee it. It will be: You’ve got to have stimulus now, perhaps tax cuts, surely spending on the roads and bridges and all of that stuff. That you hear about endlessly. …

That [tax reform] would be the preferable option [for Obama to pursue]. Instead of spend now and cut later, which as everyone knows — spending happens and the cutting never does, which will make the debt worse.

There really is a holy grail here: Tax reform as we saw in 1986. It appeals to left and right. It’s fair and economically efficient. You strip out deductions and you lower rates for everybody. It would end this endless debate on the Bush tax rates, which is completely obsolete. If you strip out deductions, we are talking about a whole new level of rates with no relation to any of the old rates. It would be a cut in [tax] rates, and it would be an increase in revenues as a result of the stripping out of deductions.

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