Exchequer

Bobs-for-Jobs Schilling: Another Republican for Keynesian Stimulus

I like the Young Guns, and I love a tax cut, but what’s missing from the agenda? Let us ask a grown man called Bobby.

Bobby Schilling, Republican candidate for Congress in the Illinois 17th District, discussed his positions on tax policy. Schilling signed a pledge with Americans for Tax Reform promising not to raise taxes on anyone in a recession. Schilling said he believes JFK, a Democrat, had it right when it comes to tax cuts.

“President Kennedy embraced tax cuts during a tough economy in the early 1960s because they work,” Schilling said. “The truth is that tax cuts stimulate the economy while high taxes discourage further growth. Putting money in people’s pockets will allow them to buy more goods and services. As businesses see more revenue, they’ll be more likely to expand and create new jobs. If we increase taxes in the manner my opponent wants to, we won’t see any new jobs and many businesses will actually be forced to cut back the amount of workers they employ. Some businesses may even give up on our business climate entirely and move their operations abroad. If we want to create jobs and stop outsourcing, we have to start by creating a positive business climate.” Schilling said we can’t afford tax increases while our economy experiences double digit unemployment.

“We have to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for every income bracket, and we need to repeal the 22 new taxes from the healthcare bill,” Schilling said. “Our economy can only recover if we keep taxes low, stop the out of control deficit spending in Washington, and work to foster a positive business environment so small business can expand and hire more workers. Anything else will make a bad economic situation much worse.”

Bobby Schilling, a native of Rock Island, graduated from Alleman High School and attended Black Hawk College. Schilling, a local business owner, is the Republican candidate for the 17th Congressional District in Illinois. Bobby is running on a platform of bringing jobs and real representation back to the 17th District. Earlier this year, Schilling conducted a 34-city “Bob’s for Jobs” tour, where he met with voters and employers all across the 17th District. Schilling was recently named an official ‘Young Gun’ by the National Republican Congressional Committee in their Young Guns program of top tiered races. 

The Republicans’ recent argument, which goes, roughly, “JFK Was One of Us When It Comes to Taxes, Yee-Haw!” is mostly right — and that is a bad thing. Tax cuts as economic stimulus for the most part amounts to short-term, naïve Keynesian claptrap — especially when the proposal is for temporary or one-time tax cuts. Bobs-for-Jobs says ‘putting money in people’s pockets will allow them to buy more goods and services,” and he even calls it stimulus. Well, Bobs-for-Jobs, your running mate is Brett-for-Debt. What’s the difference between a tax-cut stimulus and a spending stimulus? Some efficiency, sure, less rent-seeking and pork-barreling, no doubt. But if we cut taxes without cutting spending, we are not cutting taxes. We are deferring taxes. Taxes are not the problem; spending is the problem. Taxes are a symptom.

So, what we want is permanent, long-term, significant reductions in tax rates, along with a more sane and simple tax system, right? Which requires us to — sing along with me, Bobs-for-Jobs Schilling of Rock Island — cut spending. A lot. New Exchequer rule: Any Republican who sends me a press release talking up tax cuts without a word about spending cuts gets to be jackass of the day. (Democrats obviously are ineligible; you can’t be jackass of the day when you’re a registered jackass for life.)

Oh, and there’s a junk-bond bubble blowing up because we’re using ultra-low interest rates to combat the recession that was caused by the housing bubble enabled by ultra-low interest rates, which were used to combat the dot-com recession that was enabled in part by . . . .

Bobs-for-Jobs and the junk-bond bubble are not unrelated subjects: Both are the product of magical thinking, the quest for a get-out-of-jail card for economic troubles. Both are going to cost us in the end.

Here’s the problem: Real growth and real productivity cannot be magicked into existence or politicked into existence. Real growth and real productivity come from real investment, which comes from real savings. You want to discourage savings? You want a real good way to discourage savings? Try ultra-low interest rates and tax cuts that are specifically designed to encourage consumption rather than savings, brought to you by Bobby Schilling & Co. There is no substitute for consuming less than you produce, either at the individual level, the household level, or the national level. JFK never really understood that, very probably because he had servants to lift his fingers. Those days are gone. The sooner we start living in the real world, the better.

Now, Bobs-for-Jobs, it would be thrilling if you decided to go by a grown-up name: Mr. Schilling for Deficit-Killing. You’ve told us about your tax cuts. Let’s hear about the spending cuts. Because, I’ve been reading your web site, and I do not see one serious proposal for cutting a dime of federal spending, and do see lots of special pleading on behalf of favored constituents. How about we start with your precious farm subsidies?

– Kevin D. Williamson is deputy managing editor of National Review.

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