Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kemp's Keys

I believe that free-market capitalism -- on the supply-side and along with King Dollar -- is the best path to prosperity. That’s the model my late dear friend Jack Kemp successfully espoused to President Reagan more than 30 years ago. It’s the incentive model of economic growth. It conquered the inflation of the Carter years, and launched a 20-year prosperity that saw the creation of 45 million new jobs and a twelve-fold stock market increase. It’s the model that expanded the investor class to 100 million strong through the Clinton 1990s.

I spoke this week at the launch of the Jack Kemp Foundation in Washington, and I emphasized this model along with the universal, timeless economic principles on which it is based. Today this model seems all but forgotten in the nation’s capital, but I firmly believe it is just what we need to reignite American economic growth and exceptionalism.

Here are the model’s critical components:

First, a sound dollar -- King Dollar.

Second, low and flat tax rates to incentivize positive economic behavior by making it pay more, after-tax, to work, invest, and take risks.

Third, free trade.

Fourth, limited government.

Fifth, market-driven solutions to ameliorate poverty and provide everyone with new opportunities to climb the ladder of success.

Jack Kemp believed in growing the economic pie, not redistributing it. And he believed in growing it large. He would have hated today’s notion of a “new normal” -- of 2 percent growth and high unemployment.

He also disagreed with raising top marginal tax rates, and he certainly would have opposed the extravagant spending-and-borrowing schemes that we’re saddled with today. We’ve clearly gone off the supply-side path -- off the winning path that Jack helped build.

Growth, empowerment, opportunity, and incentives -- those were Jack’s key words. Now, more than ever, these principles must be revived. They are essential to America’s greatness. To her boundless optimism. To her prosperity and success.