We’re having a party tonight. There everything will be alright. Come on, come on everyone, come on. The Heptones song party time gives some good advice to Democrats who have been stung by recent events including the loss of New York’s 9th Congressional District.
I am an extremely non-partisan person. I believe that good ideas are good, and stupid ones stupid no matter if they are made by a Democrat or a Republican, a Liberal or a Conservative. Lately, this blog has kind of trashed on the Democrats, mainly because they are the party controlling the White House and the national agenda. Promising free lunches and assuming that a minor change in the depreciation allowance for corporate jets will somehow jump start the economy is simply bad policy. So to, however, are policies that create new open ended entitlement programs, or that change the education system from one where creativity is king to one where only reading and math test scores matter. Bad policy is simply bad policy.
So in the sake of fairness, I wanted to point out some of the things that the Democrats and the Administration have proposed in some form or another that could help the economy and really should be considered in this session of Congress.
First, since for some reason people are willing to lend to the government at negative interest rates, this is an excellent time to be investing in the nation’s core infrastructure. The Democratic Party suggests that we should be “putting Americans to work rebuilding roads, bridges, rails, and ports.” This idea is embodied in the President’s recent proposals to spend Federal resources to modernize public schools; make immediate investments in the transportation infrastructure, and invest in wireless internet across the country. All of these proposals – if properly carried out – can lead to future job growth and big improvements in the economy.
The Democrat’s platform calls for an end to tax loopholes, particularly those that let corporations hide profits overseas. It is hard to argue that the current Federal tax code makes any sense, or that flattening and broadening the tax base would not help encourage investment across the board. Just as it makes little economic sense to support tax breaks for ill-defined proposals to support “green jobs and a clean-energy economy,” it is hard to justify many of the provisions embodied in the current code benefitting one industry over another. Removing these sorts of provisions from both the individual and corporate tax codes would benefit the economy in the long-term, and proposals should not be discounted simply because they are not revenue neutral.
The Democrat’s platform states that the party stands for the values of hard work and responsibility, and that the country is most successful when “we invest in our people—middle-class families and small business owners…” Again, this is hard to disagree with, and many of the President’s proposals could if properly implemented could help small businesses and working people. Requirements that individuals on long-term unemployment insurance be required to do something other than sit at home and watch Jerry Springer would help to encourage people to take responsibility for themselves. When people can make more on the dole than they can from work there is little incentive to take a job – one thing that is keeping the unemployment rate from falling.
The bottom line is that ideas and efforts from all sides of the political spectrum can help the economy to grow faster. Of course, the devil is in the details and how these ideas are actually implemented matters a lot. But to dismiss either the Republicans or the Democrats simply because of their party label is hardly a way to get the country back on the right track.