Thursday, August 25, 2011

Reaganomics Author Sees The Light: Bruce Bartlett's Call For Higher Taxes On The Wealthy

That's not just anybody. Bruce Bartlett called for tax increases on the wealthy. Bruce Bartlett! Bruce Ron-Paul-Staffer Bartlett. Bruce Supply-Side-Author Bartlett. The man wrote one of the first books advocating Reaganomics. Advisor to President Reagan. Senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Treasury official under President Bush I. Worked at the Cato Institute. We're talking about a major figure in tax reduction efforts in the 80s and 90s, responsible for convincing many to support lower taxes.

But here we are now with the lowest taxes in 60 years. We've got lax demand. The supply-side approach clearly failed for the past decade that we've had tax cuts. As Mr. Bartlett put it in answer to the question "Are Taxes in the U.S. High or Low?", "The truth of the matter is that federal taxes in the United States are very low. There is no reason to believe that reducing them further will do anything to raise growth or reduce unemployment." With tax rates already low and the economy not doing as well as it was under higher rates, there's no reason to think it'll do any better with even lower tax rates.

But now he's gone even further and, like Warren Buffett, Mr. Bartlett called for tax increases on the wealthy. That's major. That's fresh facing of reality from one of those who sold us the lower taxes idea in the first place. Even Bruce Bartlett -- an architect of Reaganomics -- has apparently seen the light. Given enough such calls for rationality, maybe we can get past the "starve the beast" insanity and start doing what needs to be done. All those folks who bought Grover Norquist's bill of goods can take Mr. Bartlett's realization as a wake-up call. It's not too late to get a grip on our situation, fix up our ridiculously low tax rates, rebuild our infrastructure, and get the American economy back in gear.

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