January 08, 2004

Wes Clark's Tax Plan Is a Good One

Wes Clark's tax plan is a good one for the country. And Michael Froomkin gives Howard Dean some good advice: Dean should steal Clark's tax plan, and do it today:

Discourse.net: Some Utterly Tactical Tax Policy Advice for Dr. Dean: ...Second, steal Gen. Clark's plan -- the pundits seem to like it -- with maybe some minor tweaks here and there. Third -- and this is the radical part --admit you stole Clark's plan. In fact, don't just admit, brag about it. After all, it's traditional for a nominee to pick up parts of rivals' programs for the general election. Why wait? Say that this just demonstrates what a great guy Clark is, and that it also demonstrates that you approach public policy like a doctor or scientist. When someone comes up with a better treatment for a sick patient (Bush's economy) you don't hold on to the old method just because you are used to it. You read the medical journals, you keep up with developments, you rely on peer review, you use the latest and greatest techniques. Let the Republicans (or the Democrats!) scream "flip-flop". Tell them you are proud of it. Unlike traditional politicians you listen. You don't have ego in your plan, you want what is best for America, and your experts have convinced you that this was better than version 1.0. Say that Presidents who are prisoners of an ideology are bad Presidents. Good ones listen and learn. To the charge that this means voters can't know what you stand for, you say it shows you stand for what is best for America, whoever thought it up. Then find something (minor!) Bush did you like and say, you even agree with Bush on some things. Wanna make something of it?

Fourth, junk your plan to announce the new tax policy in a few weeks and do it right now, before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Why now? Because there is some danger of not meeting expectations, or of having Clark exceed them, and in either case stealing his plan after the fact will look weak rather than bold. Posted by DeLong at January 8, 2004 11:44 AM | TrackBack


I am not a Democrat as I've become fond of saying recently but I might vote for Dean. If he gets this one right he may get my vote. Its a good plan and it was so obvious that this needed to be done that I'd swear I heard it before. This plan addresses many of my issues as a citizen and as a blog stalking windbag.

Posted by: Michael Carroll on January 8, 2004 01:04 PM


If he ran on a strategy like that, stealing the best ideas from anyone that he could find, and admitting he was stealing them, because it was the best thing to do, for the country, and he won using that strategy...my faith in humanity, this country, and its people would be radically transformed. Thus, it's about as likely as being hit by a killer asteroid, before the election.

Posted by: Jeff on January 8, 2004 09:22 PM


"I tell him the only way he can win is to believe in his heart he cannot win. "

That's H. Dean campaign manager advising Mr. Dean.

Howard Dean ought to fire that campaign manager! And do it now!

By the way, Howard Dean looks extremely fatigued in some photos. Is it that he just looks that way or he really does get fatigued that much?

Posted by: bulent on January 8, 2004 11:34 PM


No, no. Howard Dean should put forth his spending program, how it would differ from the Bush spending program. On tax issues he should refrain from committing himself. What you spend on is important, how you finance it is secondary at this conjecture. If H Dean also likes Wes Clark plan, he should say so. That won't hurt. But he should maintain a strategy of emphasizing spending program he proposes as differently from that of Bush and leave flexibility on tax issues and how to finance his proposed spending program in general.

Remember: Budget deficits for a long time is a forgone conclusion - I mean this administration made sure so, just to "kill the beast".

In fact, Bush policies now and during a possible second term should be examined vigorously and extensively throughout the nation and then conclusion should be arrived(*) at that Mr. Bush should somehow be prevented from having a second term, by impeachment on Iraq if necessary.

Give them some of their own medicine as they gave the Dems in run up to and about 2000 elections.

(*) You see how objective and scientific I am! ;)

Posted by: bulent on January 8, 2004 11:52 PM


I cannot believe that you like Clark's plan. It's "Families First", where he apparently defines families as adults with minor children. What the hell about everyone else? Do we really need to encourage more human reproduction?

If he wanted to help people evenly, and not just parents of minor children, he'd propose changes to help all dependents, not just those under the age of 18. I really don't like having my taxes hiked just because I know how to use contraception properly....

Posted by: Rachel on January 9, 2004 06:49 AM


"Do we really need to encourage more human reproduction?"

Yes, Rachel, you do, as America.

And you need to make family again the building block of soceity, with a new definiton of role and status of women, more towards an equal partner with men.

This doesn't mean I support Mr.Clark's tax plan, however -- I don't even know what it is exactly.

Posted by: bulent on January 9, 2004 07:54 AM


I am pretty sympathetic to long term overpopulation issues but the solution is not for developed countries to stop reproducting themselves. Its for developed countries to mdoerately reproduce themselves and thereby maintain economic vitality that can be partly devoted to assisting developing countries down the same path.

There is a lot of good stuff on Fistful of Euros on the Crisis in European Fertility. Yes immigration can help (added by a sharp decline in Eurpoean rascism, frankly) - but the social repression/disruption that attends immigration only growth is already being played out it Italy and it isn't pretty.

Posted by: Michael Carroll on January 9, 2004 11:05 AM


OK. Let's ask the women:

What kind of an economic, social and political structure would you like to see in place, especially as it concerns status of women in family and in greater society, and including facilities and socilaized assistance for child rearing, before you agreed to marry for life and have two bambinis?

Women's responses could provide the key to building a long term Democratic program that would win elections for the next three decades.

Posted by: Bulent Sayin on January 9, 2004 12:11 PM


Hey folks, last time I checked, the population in the US is growing. And what is the point where it will be enough? Is there an "enough"? Aren't we bright enough to build a society and an economy for a stable population? Or do you prefer the natural forces of war, starvation, and disease to keep things in balance?

"bulent", I am a member of a family. It just doesn't have any minor children in it. I do not think that should make me a second-class citizen.

Posted by: Rachel on January 9, 2004 12:19 PM


"I do not think that should make me a second-class citizen."

Huh? Hurf! I now see what you're saying. All I can say is we got our signals mixed up.

I am not proposing to make it easier for families at the expense of singles -- or families w/o minor kidos.

Posted by: bulent on January 9, 2004 01:08 PM


First I must say I am getting a bit dizzy of all the highly interesting stuff you put forward to read and contemplate about here. (and it takes you just an hour every day??). Thank you.

On the other hand I am really surprised (and a little disappointed too) that you don't go into actually comparing and judging the tax-plans of Dean and Clark. I am even more surprised on the very little number of reactions on this specific topic: a few of them are actually from Europe (I hope Bulent won't mind if I include Turkey within Europe..)

You are not refraining from politics in some way I hope?

I try to be a politician "ready, willing and able" to listen seriously and carefully to "serious conscientious economists".
I sometimes not only fear that there are far to little of this kind of politicians but there are also to little economists ready willing and able to seriously discuss economical issues relevant to politics in another way than blindly supporting a political party or candidate or the opposite: stick to criticizing

Posted by: FransGroenendijk on January 9, 2004 01:26 PM


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