Not far from the takedown of RomneyCare, Michael Boskin has a fine Wall Street Journal piece on the dangers of Obama’s economic platform: “What if I told you that a prominent global political figure in recent months has proposed: abrogating key features of his government’s contracts with energy companies; unilaterally renegotiating his country’s international economic treaties; dramatically raising marginal tax rates on the ‘rich’ to levels not seen in his country in three decades (which would make them among the highest in the world); and changing his country’s social insurance system into explicit welfare by severing the link between taxes and benefits?”
I’d only quibble with a couple of things: I don’t really mind people seeing our “country’s social insurance system” as “explicit welfare”; and let’s be careful about predicting recessions. The fact that so many conservatives, myself included, overstated the economic pitfalls of the Clinton tax increase and predicted a recession that did not actually occur helped rehabilitate the Democratic approach to fiscal policy, which had been discredited in the transition from Carter to Reagan. True, Obama will be inheriting a weaker economy and wants to raise taxes higher than Clinton. It’s also true that the Clinton tax increase would have done more damage if it hadn’t been minimized by Republicans and conservative Democrats in Congress, by stripping the BTU tax and other provisions. But Obama may not get everything he wants either. Ramesh Ponnuru has more.