For the second day in a row, CNBC “Squawk Box” fill-in anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera championed the notion that an economy unfettered from taxation is the best policy.
Caruso-Cabrera and co-anchor Joe Kernan interviewed Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the chief economic policy adviser for Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, on the August 15 broadcast. The day before, the two interviewed Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama’s senior economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee.
Goolsbee had invoked the name of former Republican President Ronald Reagan in defending Obama’s tax plan. He said Obama’s proposed tax rates would be a lower percentage of gross domestic product than under Reagan.
“You know what I just love, Doug?” Caruso-Cabrera asked. “Everybody and their mother, whenever they want to endorse their tax plan – they want to cite the almighty Ronald Reagan, right? I mean, everybody wants to dump all over the Republicans, but when they want to tout their economic and their tax plan, who do they go back to? The guy who cut taxes and cut taxes.”
Holtz-Eakin blamed Obama’s tax-cutting strategy on political expediency and not a revelation learned by examining Reagan’s legacy.
“Well, I mean we learned a great lesson and in the larger scope of economic events – we won,” Holtz-Eakin said. “We don’t think anyone who’s trained in economics wants to go back to marginal tax rates of 70- to- 80 percent. That was the original Obama plan and you can that see he’s dialing it back because if you go to that agenda, it’s bad for the economy and it’s unpopular.”
As for the validity of Obama’s economic plan and its ability to promote economic prosperity, Holtz-Eakin had his doubts.
“Look at what we got right now,” Holtz-Eakin said. “We’ve got an economy that’s very weak, that has all sorts of problems – from housing to high energy prices to credit difficulties – and this plan, even taken at face value – raises taxes.
Overall, Holtz-Eakin said the tax plan combined with other Obama proposals was a recipe that was bad for jobs.
“And you add that to their expensive health insurance mandates, you add it to their indifference about higher energy prices, you add it to their trade indifference, you add it to the kind of things they want to do in the labor market,” Holtz-Eakin added. “You know, this is a collection of economic policies that is bad for jobs. And, you know, you can talk all you want about tax credits for this and that, but if you don’t have a job – that’s cold comfort and that’s what we’re looking at in this plan.”