Odd Assertions from the Economist

Two editors from the Economist have an Op-Ed in the WSJ today.  It starts with the strangest assertion

Few political parties have been better at reinventing themselves than the Republicans. 

That is the very first sentence.  No justification for it.  Just a bald assertion.  I suppose the authors would argue that when the Democrats  from being segregationists to affirmative action zealots that they continued to be the party of racial spoils.  Every major party is involved in shifting alliances.  I wish that the GOP was successful in reinventing themselves but I don’t see it.

Then they wander off into a list of traditional GOP/conservative topics about promoting growth.  I’d use Coolidge rather than Gladstone but almost every conservative pundit is nodding his head.  Making the economy market driven with clear tax and regulatory expectations is so obvious.  Of course, the problem is doing it.  We need a Coolidge or Gladstone to take away to the benefits that bureaucracies and businesses enjoy.  How is Silent Cal going to do with today’s electorate?

Then they reverse themselves twice in one paragraph:

Fifth, put yourself on the side of business creation. Visit Silicon Valley, and you’ll find that Republicans are regarded as being out of touch, not least because of their approach to immigration. Gladstone was the ally of the new economic forces that were reshaping Britain, but he encouraged them by creating a level playing field. He was one of the architects of the great legal reforms that allowed anybody to form a limited-liability company. American conservatives should fight to make it easier to take companies public too, partly because that spreads popular capitalism.

Let’s give into the biggest item on crony capitalism’s list: unlimited immigration.  Perhaps they felt they needed to put a hook like that in for the WSJ to accept it.  Then they go to little cronyism.  Let’s make it easy to go public.  How?  Why on earth should market oriented folks fight for that?  Are conservatives going to revise the laws of all 50 states?  What is the evidence that raising capital is a problem?  We have Kickstarter.  Renaissance Capital concluded that 2013 was the best year for IPOs since 2000.  There are lots of areas when regulation needs to be hewn back but capital formation seems the least useful area to work on.

A number of things suggested by the Economist duo makes sense but they will still upset the applecart.  Eliminating tax benefits for large groups of people will have the attack ad folks in full voice.  I would love to eliminate the income exemption for fringe benefits but it is going to be a hard sell.  The who is more important that the what.



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