The editor’s opinion from Marketplace, Northeast Wisconsin’s business magazine. (Obligatory disclaimer: Most hyperlinks go to outside sites, and we’re not responsible for their content. And like fresh watermelon, peaches, pineapple, grapefruit, tomatoes and sweet corn, hyperlinks can go bad after a while.)

July 30, 2008

Analysis of the Day

What if I told you that a prominent global political figure in recent months has proposed: abrogating key features of his government's contracts with energy companies; unilaterally renegotiating his country's international economic treaties; dramatically raising marginal tax rates on the "rich" to levels not seen in his country in three decades (which would make them among the highest in the world); and changing his country's social insurance system into explicit welfare by severing the link between taxes and benefits?
For one thing, "I" would be Stanford University Economics Prof. Michael J. Boskin writing in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal about Barack Obama's startling economic ignorance. For one thing, Obama's plans to increase taxes would result in, according to Boskin, a drop in after-tax return per dollar of earnings by 32.9 percent, and a drop in after-tax return per dollar of dividends by 30.6 percent.

As Boskin puts it: "History teaches us that high taxes and protectionism are not conducive to a thriving economy, the extreme case being the higher taxes and tariffs that deepened the Great Depression. While such a policy mix would be a real change, as philosophers remind us, change is not always progress."

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