Tax Analysts Blog

What Passes for a Big Idea in Washington

Posted on Aug 15, 2011

Some wild White House advisers are just itching to trot out a bold new economic plan, according to the New York Times. The milquetoast crowd -- led by David Plouffe and William Daley -- support small bore initiatives, like free trade agreements and patent reform. By contrast, those wild radicals in the Democratic wing of the Democratic party want decisive action. As the Times reports:

    others, including Gene Sperling, Mr. Obama’s chief economic adviser, say public anger over the debt ceiling debate has weakened Republicans and created an opening for bigger ideas like tax incentives for businesses that hire more workers...
This counts as a bold idea? Then sign me up for one of them fancy White House jobs, 'cause I got a million of 'em! Let me see, where did I put my old Clinton Administration budget proposals? Or the Carter ones? Or the Kennedy and Nixon ones? They're a gold mine for anyone after fancy tax tricks that sound good on the stump but don't actually do much for the economy (or cost much political capital).

Let's see now, we've got the investment tax credit, the Job Development Credit, the New Jobs Tax Credit, the Targeted Jobs Tax Credit, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Not to mention a whole bunch of repatriation proposals ostensibly linked to job creation. One of these should fit the bill. Again.

Seriously, call me when someone at the White House suggests a really bold idea. Like short-term stimulus spending, coupled with long-term debt reduction. A combination that everyone knows we need but no one is willing to defend.

Maybe the only thing lamer than tax incentives for job creation is the suggestion that such ideas are too radical to actually pass Congress. Seriously? Republicans won't agree to a business-friendly tax giveaway if it's dressed up to sound like a jobs program? Probably right. And as I said, lame lame lame.

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