Every time we get into a political thread, we have people arguing about whether or not the Bush tax cuts and such are going to revivify our under-the-weather economy. And comments about tax-and-spend Democrats vs. the strong economy under Clinton. And, of course, everybody’s operating under different premises and doesn’t agree with the other guys’ premises, with a net result of dual monologues. So I offer you the following set of comments on how to spark the economy. Add your own or debunk mine if you feel they’re wrong.
Tax cuts or government spending are not going to help out the economy. Tax cuts are invested or spent by the people who get them, but not usually in ways that serve to produce the amount of economic stimulus that is lost by the programs cut to make the tax cut (or by the negative impact of the deficit spending that results if programs are not cut). On the other hand, government seems incapable of spending money wisely in economic terms – significant amounts are diverted to managing the program spending the money, and the specific things that government can spend money on are rarely things that give a significant boost to the economy.
One quick way to produce a stimulus without sacrificing anything is to redefine all regulations in terms of the desired outcome. Instead of rules specifying the detailed care and feeding of each industrial chemical, the general rule would be that only trace amounts of a toxic chemical may be released into the outside environment (the rule being a bit broader than this to take into account degrees of toxicity and the environmental capacity to absorb – CO2 is clearly much less of a problem than plutonium perfluorarsenate!) An act of eminent domain must show a clear nexus to a necessary government action to be valid, and a fast-track hearing process put in place to confirm or reject this. And so on.
Abolish all “economic development” programs that consist of government-paid lobbyists to business to solicit their building and operating in a given community. Instead, the community designates one or two specific industries that it seeks to have locate there, and moneys expended to do that locating are tax exempt. States and defined regions identify industries needing strengthening, and income from venture capital invested in companies in those industries is tax exempt.
The use of “shell” corporations to shift losses and titles to avoid equitable actions by the businesses engaged in them shall be declared illegal. Any such “corporation” becomes an invalid entity, and liability for its actions falls on its owners and executives.
There are three quick reforms for debate, and my opinions on why two standard tactics don’t work. Have at it!