Lawrence Kudlow

[Guest post by Matthew Zeitlin] Lawrence Kudlow, as pure a supply sider as there is, makes noises that sound like what a decent number of Republican congressmen describe as “alarmism”: Senator McConnell is determined to produce something from this grand-design package. He’s a smart guy. He may be saving the GOP from itself. McConnell believes that debt default must be completely taken off the table.

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In many ways, the health care debate is a repeat over Bill Clinton's 1993 budget. The administration hailed it as a worthwhile step in restoring progressivity to the tax code and reducing the budget deficit. The opposition featured the same basic combination of apoplexy on the right and cynicism in the center. Start with the right-wingers. Lawrence Kudlow wrote a couple weeks ago: More spending. More tax hikes on investors, businesses, and individuals. New government boards to control prices, ration care, and redistribute income.

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Bruce Bartlett reports that David Malpass is "exploring" a Senate run in New York, presumably as a Republican. Malpass is an unusual character, a die-hard supply-sider and an economic forecaster. Like most economic forecasters, Malpass is wrong a great deal of the time, though particular brand of his wrongness tends to correspond to the Republican Party agenda in general and the status of upper-bracket tax levels in particular. Malpass writes regularly for outlets like the Wall Street Journal op-ed page and National Review Online.

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Rehabilitating Bush

Former George W. Bush economic advisor Keith Hennessey is tired of the Obama administration dragging its predecessor's name through the mud. So rather than simply imply or assert that President Obama's fiscal record is worse than George W. Bush's, like most conservatives do, Hennessey actually tries to make the argument that Obama's policies are more profligate than Bush's. I remember Bush's fiscal policies, and the political environment that surrounded them, pretty well.

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The Pathetic Party

Barely a week into George W. Bush's presidency, his tax cut seems almost inevitable. The Democrats appear set to repeat their sordid performance of 20 years ago--when, instead of resisting Ronald Reagan's tax cut, they larded it with special-interest subsidies of their own. The size of the tax cut acceptable to Democrats edges up almost daily, from $500 billion to (as we go to press) $850 billion. Republicans, meanwhile, have begun predicting that the eventual tax cut might end up even larger than Bush's bloated proposal.

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In the course of offering up his daily paean to the Bush economy, Lawrence Kudlow casually mentions that we're enjoying a "25 year long boom." He attributes it to Reagan, and, naturally, goes on to plead for tax cuts. But, of course, this 25 year boom also included the Clinton years. So why would returning to the tax policies of the Clinton years kill the boom? --Jonathan Chait

Lawrence Kudlow's efforts to explain the stock market as a response to political events never fail to amuse. Kudlow's basic theory is that the stock market rises when Republicans cut taxes, win elections, and so on, and that it tanks when Democrats win, raise taxes, etc. As even a layperson understands, this theory is obviously insane. Take today's example, in which Kudlow asserts that the stock market is being rattled by the Democrats plan to enact union card check legislation. The explanation is obviously crazy.

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The Home Front

Prior to September 11 the White House and Congress were gearing up for an intensely partisan battle over the federal budget. The available surplus was suddenly gone, and with popular--and needed--spending on education and defense in jeopardy, each party blamed the other. According to the White House and some congressional Republicans, the fault was Democrats' unseemly attachment to the Social Security lockbox, an accounting fiction that masked the fact that we were still running massive surpluses within Social Security, surpluses that could be tapped to pay for defense and other spending. The

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Honest John

I am prepared to vote for my first Republican, John Kasich," read a letter to The New York Times Magazine in May. "I have the impression that he favors no-nonsense politics, equity for the common man, and fiscal restraint, a rare combination in this politically combative era." The letter-writer, Michael Pivarnik of Indiana, Pennsylvania, received this impression from reading a Times Magazine profile of Kasich written by R.W. Apple Jr.

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