Harvard economist and blogging newbie Jeffrey Frankel makes an excellent point about Republican political rhetoric of the past quarter century. Most Republican presidential candidates say on the campaign trail that
(a) they favor smaller government
(b) cutting tax rates increases revenue.
Put these two together and the only possible conclusion, Frankel writes, is that:
Republican presidents should raise tax rates in order to reduce tax revenue … and thereby reduce government spending … I challenge some candidate to run on that platform!
I should point out that, in the same post, Frankel (channeling Louis Uchitelle) does sort of misrepresent Arthur Laffer’s position, writing that Laffer is “still arguing the improbable ‘supply side’ proposition that cutting income tax rates generally raises total tax revenue.” In fact, while Laffer often seems to hint that in his writings and TV appearances, when you ask him about it point blank he backs off. From my Q&A with Laffer back in December:
I’ve never said all tax cuts pay for themselves. I never even said Reagan’s tax cuts would pay for themselves.