Wall Street Journal: Rick Santorum is a supply-sider for the working man

Just to refresh everyone, a proponent of supply-side economics is someone who believes that economic growth is driven more by innovation and entrepreneurship, and less by consumer spending and government stimulus spending. Supply-siders are all about creating wealth – by letting creative people have the money invent something valuable that consumers will want to buy – like an iPhone or a Kindle. Demand-siders are all about redistributing wealth – by having the government take from one group of people to give it to another group of people – like a Solyndra loan or a Chevy Volt subsidy.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal article about Rick Santorum, and where he fits on the scale.

Excerpt on his economic plan for businesses:

‘I’m someone who believes that making things creates wealth,” says Rick Santorum. It is primary day in New Hampshire, and the former Pennsylvania senator and current presidential candidate is describing his plan to slash corporate tax rates. To encourage companies to make things, he would completely eliminate the federal income tax on manufacturers. For all other businesses, the rate would be cut in half, to 17.5% from 35%.

[…]I ask if his corporate tax plan opens him up to criticism that he and President Obama are both favoring particular sectors of the economy, with Mr. Santorum picking manufacturing while Mr. Obama anoints green energy. “Oh, green energy is not a sector, I mean, come on. It’s like a half-dozen companies,” says Mr. Santorum.

Does this mean the Obama policy would be more legitimate if the president were favoring a larger group of Solyndras?

“He’s talking about handing out tax-free grants and loans,” says Mr. Santorum, who adds that his own plan “is a conservative approach. It’s supply-side. It’s cutting rates. Why are we cutting the corporate rate to 17.5% and making it simple? . . . Because we think it’s what’s necessary to grow the economy. . . . So if what’s necessary to grow the economy in one sector of the economy is different from another, then why should we have the same tax rate?” He argues that manufacturing has been hit particularly hard by the costs of regulation and litigation.

That’s pro-growth – we’re all going to have multiple job offers if he executes this plan – back to 4% unemployment like under Bush.

But what about his economic plan for taxpayers?

Mr. Santorum also believes that making babies creates wealth. It’s very difficult to grow an economy with a shrinking population, he says, pointing to the “demographic winter in Europe” as a cause of that region’s troubles. To help avoid that fate in the U.S., he wants to triple the per-child tax credit and also cut individual tax rates.

[…]On the personal tax side, rewarding child-rearing is consistent with the pro-life views of Mr. Santorum, who has seven children. But the case he makes seems to echo the analysis of some Wall Street economists, who view population growth as a critical advantage the United States will enjoy over China and the euro zone.

Mr. Santorum argues that the cost of Europe’s massive welfare states made it too expensive for young people to have families. He notes that with plummeting birth rates, many European countries have resorted to “baby bonuses” to try to reverse the tide, but the demographic picture remains bleak, while the costs of entitlement programs have exploded.

“Who are benefits promised to, overwhelmingly? Well, they’re promised to older people. And if you have a society like Europe that is upside down where there are a lot more older people than younger people, you have economic calamity,” he says. Asked if giving generous per-child credits will result in an even larger number of households exempt from the income tax and therefore amenable to more spending, he says his plan will drive growth and that, in turn, will bring more people on to the tax rolls. Elimination of deductions might also keep some people paying income taxes. He aims to balance overall taxes and spending at 18% of GDP. Spending has soared to 24% in the Obama era.

In a still-crowded field of non-Romneys trying to compete for the Republican nomination, Mr. Santorum could emerge in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary as the man who can bring together the old Reagan coalition. A champion of cultural conservatives with a blue-collar background, he is also making the case for deep cuts in federal spending. His credibility on this last issue derives from the political price he paid for being an early promoter of entitlement reform.

And what about his plan for entitlement reform?

To prevent an economic calamity on this side of the Atlantic, he also proposes to cut $5 trillion from federal spending in five years. He calls the plan advanced by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan “a good starting point,” but he notes that few of the spending cuts happen in the first decade of the plan. Also, Mr. Santorum says that he wants to reform Social Security, not just Medicare and Medicaid. “I like the Ryan plan on the Medicare side. I don’t like waiting 10 years. I don’t like waiting 10 years on anything. I’ve also talked about Social Security.”

Has he ever, going back at least to the 1990s. Says Mr. Santorum, “Some guy just walked up to me at the [New Hampshire campaign] headquarters with a picture of me standing at the presidential podium in Kansas City, Missouri, in April 1998 when I went with Bill Clinton to talk about Social Security reform. I was the Republican lead on the issue,” he recounts, a dangerous proposition for someone representing Pennsylvania, a state with one of the oldest populations in the country. “And I won re-election after that, I might add.”

But after winning that 2000 election—his second Senate victory and his fourth straight win in Democratic territory—Mr. Santorum aggressively backed President George W. Bush’s call for allowing younger workers to own personal accounts.

It’s much easier to contemplate marriage when you 1) have multiple job offers and 2) you are keeping more of what you earn and 3) children are less of a burden on your income and 4) the government is not going to bankrupt those children with out of control entitlements. Marriage-minded men who want to start families will love this plan. It is a signal to men to start working, start marrying and start having children. Men think about these things, you know – losing our jobs, whether our children will be better off than we were, and so on. Santorum gets it – he has a pro-marriage, pro-family economic plan.

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2 thoughts on “Wall Street Journal: Rick Santorum is a supply-sider for the working man”

  1. If Santorum is all about private innovation and not government stimulus, why does he consistently vote to increase and expand the national debt? He’s voted to increase our national debt no less than 5 times.

    He’s no fiscal conservative, that’s for sure. Just another RINO.

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