May 05, 2009

Re: “Supply Side” RIP

If an inherently political figure like Jack Kemp is to be judged by his most lasting contribution the legacy of Mr. Kemp will be… well… I’m not sure. While Richard’s sentiments regarding the overall career of Mr. Kemp are very close to my own, I would differ a bit from Richard in my assessment of Supply-Side Economics as a whole. Where Richard sees the Supply-Side Revolution as a flawed, but somewhat successful attack on the complexities of the American tax code, I take a much dimmer view. From where I stand, any “conservative” cause that seeks to increase revenue to the Federal government is, by design, heretical to the core. Having said that, the “voodoo economics” crowd seemed to have their heart in the right place. As with the revenue-neutralist Fair Taxer’s of today, the Laffer Curve loyalists were primarily raging against the oppressive nature of the income tax system as a whole. And while a narrow focus on tax-rates is no substitute for repealing the 16th amendment, a movement that gave us Jude Wanniski and Paul Craig Roberts cannot have been all bad. Still, if there is any value in Supply-Side Economics, and any lesson to be learned from the life of Jack Kemp, it is that co-option of dissident attitudes and radical sentiments is something that must be guarded against at all times.


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