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“Basically Impossible”: Chris Christie Promised To Tell It Like It Is. Here’s What That Would Actually Sound Like

In his presidential campaign announcement Tuesday, the reliably brash and blunt Chris Christie vowed that “telling like it is” would be both his campaign motto and his promise to voters.

Even for Christie, whose entire political persona is based on no-nonsense candor, consistently “telling it like it is” is basically impossible. Can you imagine if the New Jersey governor — or any of the other Republican candidates — really told it like it is about the most important issues and challenges facing America? What would that even sound like? Well, maybe something like this:

“…and that’s why I am announcing my candidacy for president of the United States! [Applause.] Thank you! Thank you! Now during my campaign, I’m going to tell it like it is. I’m going to let ‘er rip! [Applause.] Hard truths need to be spoken, and I will speak them.

‘What are these truths?’ you ask. For starters, we Republicans are way too focused on President Obama. Trust me, I’ll have a lot to say during this campaign about the president’s mistakes. Heaven knows, there’s been a lot of them. [Extended applause.] But he’s gone in a year and half. [Extended applause.]

Here’s the thing: The U.S. economy didn’t run into trouble the day Barack Obama took the oath of office. Even before the Great Recession, there were signs something wasn’t quite right. The economy grew by 4 percent annually and created 20 million new jobs during both the Reagan and Clinton booms. But in the [candidate makes air quotes] “Bush boom” of the 2000s, we couldn’t even hit 3 percent growth. And we created only about seven million jobs. Income growth was also a lot slower. I could go on and on. Productivity growth has been terrible during Obama’s Not-So-Great Recovery, but the slowdown started in 2006, when we had a Republican president. We’ve had problems with jobless recoveries and middle-income job lag since the early 1990s. Heck, the new business startup rate in this country has been falling for 30 years!

You can’t blame ObamaCare or Dodd Frank for all that. [Confused murmurs from audience.] The truth is technological automation and global competition are presenting new challenges to American workers. To meet those challenges and to turn them into opportunities means embracing new approaches, not recycling old ones. Certainly tax reform is part of the answer. I mean, we’re Republicans after all. Tax cuts are what we do. But you have to be savvy about cutting taxes when you’re already $18 trillion in the red. You need to pick your spots and get the most bang for your buck, like tax cuts and credits that boost working-class incomes — a rising tide is not lifting all boats right now — and spur business investment.

You want to do deep, across-the-board tax cuts like President Reagan did? Fine. God bless you. But keep in mind that for every percentage point you cut from those tax rates, you lose about $70 billion a year in revenue. And don’t expect to make up anywhere near that in economic growth. Even the Reagan tax cuts lost money, and the tax code was in far worse shape back then. [Unintelligible shouts from audience.] Heck, 40 percent of Americans don’t even pay income taxes.

Oh, and while we’re thinking about tax reform, keep in mind the federal tax burden will almost certainly need to rise in the future because we’ll have a lot more old folks. [Booing.] And we’ll have to pay for their pensions and healthcare. Smart entitlement and healthcare reform can reduce that tax increase — in that way it’s like a future tax cut — but it’s highly unlikely to eliminate it. Democrats need to accept that projected future benefits will need reduction, and Republicans need to accept a higher tax burden. [Extended booing.] Republicans should also be in favor of spending less money on rich people through tax breaks for homes and health insurance. [Several fist-shaking audience members stomp out.]

There’s just too much short-term thinking in this country. I mean, I’m no scientist, but we are doing something new to our planet and it hardly seems crazy to take out some insurance against a worst-case outcome. [Boos continue, get louder.] Let’s invest more in basic clean-energy research and remove regulatory barriers to more nuclear power. Maybe also eliminate the corporate income tax and replace it with a carbon tax. I note that even my friends on the Wall Street Journal editorial page said the other day that might be a good idea. And let’s not let Corporate America off the hook here. Too much short-termism there, as well, not just in Washington. Too much cash being returned to investors rather than going to fund new investment and innovation.

Now turning to foreign policy… Wait, where did everybody go?”

 

By: James Pethokoulis, The Week, July 2, 2015

July 5, 2015 - Posted by | Chris Christie, Economic Growth, Economy | , , , , , , , , ,

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