The Agenda

Territorial Taxes and the Right’s Squandered Opportunity

I think it is fair to say that among tax reformers, the case for moving the U.S. corporate income tax to the territorial system used by most advanced market democracies is widely embraced. As David Saleh Rauf reports, the Obama administration’s decision to not only reject moving to a territorial system but to create a new minimum tax on all foreign earnings has been met with considerable resistance from leading technology firms and other business enterprises that conduct much of their business overseas. While I doubt that pressing for a territorial tax system will be a big vote-winner for conservatives, this is the kind of issue that, in theory, could encourage a shift of “policy demanders” in a rising sector to look on the right-of-center coalition more favorably, not unlike the decision of a large number of GOP legislators to oppose SOPA.

At the same time, however, many of the most vocal and active conservative policy demanders have been applying increasingly rigorous litmus tests to who does and does not count as a sufficiently devoted conservative, as David Brooks notes in his most recent column. This is to be expected, as policy demanding minorities are at their most influential during the primary process, when most voters, including most of the voters who lean towards one coalition or another, are not intensely engaged. So the drift of this year’s Republican primary shouldn’t be too surprising. The fact that the leading candidates all favor increasing skilled immigration is completely ignored. The fact that they once disagreed on various social policy objectives is a subject of intense interest.

Policy demanders have multiple identities and multiple affiliations. My sense is that the developments Brooks describes are making it very hard for conservatives to profit politically from the “shaking of the kaleidoscope” caused by the globalization of consumption (i.e., the emergence of an increasingly prosperous, import-hungry middle class in the “big emerging markets”) — an opportunity for the most competitive U.S.-based multinationals, in manufacturing but also in knowledge-intensive services — and Internet-enabled disruption, which threatens the interests of many policy demanding constituencies traditionally aligned with the political left.

Jeb Bush has been arguing along somewhat similar lines.

Reihan Salam is president of the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Most Popular

Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
From left: Harvard University's Noah Feldman, Stanford University's Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina's Michael Gerhardt, and George Washington University's Jonathan Turley testify before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, December 4, 2019.

The Impeachment Eye Test

To put it mildly, the 1960s were not notorious for juridical modesty. They might compare favorably, though, to Wednesday’s episode of “The Lawyer Left Does Impeachment” at the House Judiciary Committee. Oh, I have no doubt that the three progressive constitutional scholars spotlighted by Democrats yearn in ... Read More
From left: Harvard University's Noah Feldman, Stanford University's Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina's Michael Gerhardt, and George Washington University's Jonathan Turley testify before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, December 4, 2019.

The Impeachment Eye Test

To put it mildly, the 1960s were not notorious for juridical modesty. They might compare favorably, though, to Wednesday’s episode of “The Lawyer Left Does Impeachment” at the House Judiciary Committee. Oh, I have no doubt that the three progressive constitutional scholars spotlighted by Democrats yearn in ... Read More
Culture

The Absurd Crusade against the Salvation Army

We all know some individuals who are so obviously good and kind that we are certain if anyone were to dislike them, that's all we would need to know about the person. We would immediately assume he or she is a bad person. To hate the manifestly good is a sure sign of being bad. Such is the case regarding the ... Read More
Culture

The Absurd Crusade against the Salvation Army

We all know some individuals who are so obviously good and kind that we are certain if anyone were to dislike them, that's all we would need to know about the person. We would immediately assume he or she is a bad person. To hate the manifestly good is a sure sign of being bad. Such is the case regarding the ... Read More
White House

Nancy Pelosi’s Case

Further to the post below, a couple of thoughts on Nancy Pelosi’s statement yesterday. She said this near the beginning: During the constitutional convention, James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, warned that a president might betray his trust to foreign powers which might prove fatal to the ... Read More
White House

Nancy Pelosi’s Case

Further to the post below, a couple of thoughts on Nancy Pelosi’s statement yesterday. She said this near the beginning: During the constitutional convention, James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, warned that a president might betray his trust to foreign powers which might prove fatal to the ... Read More