Bad Policies = Good Politics?

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are proposing policies—abrogating NAFTA unilaterally, precipitous withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, tax increases in the face of recession threats—that are not merely bad but obviously bad. Reasonable people can disagree about many things in politics. In my view, however, they cannot reasonably maintain that abandonment of free trade agreements with close allies is economically or diplomatically beneficial; that defeat is preferable to victory; or that tax increases boost the economy. Obama’s advisors are saying to the Canadian government, for example, that this is campaign talk not to be taken seriously. Sadly, as Richard Rahn reminds us, candidates and countries have frequently chosen paths that fly in the face of all available empirical evidence.

Is this really good politics? I hope that, when people wake up to the effects of repealing the Bush tax cuts, for example, they won’t be persuaded that it’s such a good idea.

Taxes under Clinton 1999 / Taxes under Bush 2008

Single making 30K – tax $8,400 Single making 30K – tax $4,500

Single making 50K – tax $14,000 Single making 50K – tax $12,500

Single making 75K – tax $23,250 Single making 75K – tax $18,750

Married making 60K – tax $16,800 Married making 60K- tax $9,000

Married making 75K – tax $21,000 Married making 75K – tax $18,750

Married making 125K – tax $38,750 Married making 125K – tax $31,250

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