Tax Cuts: Are the GOP a One Trick Pony?

I love tax cuts.  Tax cuts poll well and unify Republicans.  Lower taxes are better for economic growth and let you keep more of your own money.  On this one issue the GOP gets a gold star… or a sugar cube.  Unfortunately, I feel our party has been running on an economic plank and not an economic platform in recent years.  More specifically, the GOP does not talk enough about the costs of regulation.

Oh there are a few isolated incidents.  Most Republicans have opposed “Cap and Trade” regulations and supported lifting the ban on offshore drilling.  “Cap and Trade” BTW is a regulation and not a tax.  People call it a “tax” to make a point.  It has the same impact on businesses as a tax, except there is no revenue for the government.  The increase in cost and decrease in production are the same.  The loss in jobs is the same.  Regulations can often be worse than taxes and this is an example of that.  On offshore drilling, most Republicans support lifting the ban now.  When in power, the GOP nothing on this issue and George H.W. Bush actually signed an executive order creating said ban.  When out of power, the GOP fights the Democrat politicians.  When in power, the GOP has failed at rolling back the crippling and one sided regulations designed to hurt American enterprise.


On the local side, I wish our restrictive zoning laws got more attention.  They won’t.  The same areas Republicans need to win are the bedroom communities that pass such laws.  “Not in my backyard” and all that.  These laws not only prevent economic activity, but prevent new construction in housing.  Lower supply in housing causes higher prices.  Many of us end up paying higher rent or mortgage payments while others simply move away.  Massachusetts has one of the highest costs of living in the nation and we are preparing to lose another congressional seat.

Balanced Budget.  Tort reform.  Republicans support them.  The American people support them.  Republicans in power didn’t do them.  Give me more.  We need an economic platform, not an economic plank.

About Mike "DD4RP" Rossettie

  • I’m not sure if it does.   I’m guessing that the glut of luxury condo building in Boston was a result of relaxed zoning.  Everyone and their uncle tried to cash in by building luxury condos and apartments.  Did any of that help the housing supply?

    Do the American people really support tort reform?

  • I agree with your analysis and I would extend it to the case of the Mass GOP as well as the national party.  I have blogged many times on this board that the party needs to lay out a detailed governing agenda for Massachusetts.  Tax cuts and Deval Patrick/incompetence or Diane Wilkerson/corruption are not enough.  

    On taxes, we are partially a victim of our own success.  16 years of Republican governors did reduce the tax burden in Massachusetts.  Taxes are not as bad as they were in 1990.  Unfortunately, that makes taxation a less pressing issue for the typical voter.  On corruption, I think most voters abhor the actions of a Diane Wilkerson or Jim Marzilli but don’t extrapolate from the sins of these individuals to a motivation to replace the legislator that has been representing them for umpteen years.    

    The party needs a positive governing agenda and it needs to spend time and resources to educate the public.  I see some details emerging from the Baker and Mihos campaigns which I find encouraging.  Voter education every four years in the context of campaigns is not enough.    

    What are the issues that the GOP could run on?

    – Addressing the cost of living as you point out is one.  Romney really took this issue seriously however he didn’t make that much headway.  There were lots of great ideas  that came out of his administration.

    – Transparency and accountability in government is another.  It is shocking that a state with so many IT firms and consultancies lags the nation in the implementation of IT and performance measurement systems in state government.

    – Bringing our educational systems up to world class standards is a third.  Massachusetts Republicans and inner city Democrats pioneered the charter school movement and testing standards.  These movements changed education in the United States but since Deval Patrick took office, reform has ground to a halt.  I would strongly consider checking out the film Two Million Minutes which compares high school education in the US, India and China. Even though Mass may have the highest test scores in the United States, I seriously question whether education here is on part with the elite schools of China and India.