Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scott Brown’s Great Tax-Cut Message

I know there have been a million blog posts about the Scott Brown race for the Senate. But I want to add a couple of points to the discussion.

When I interviewed Scott two weeks ago on CNBC, before any polls were out, what struck me about him was his breathtakingly clear message: low marginal tax rates, as per President John F. Kennedy, who was the first post-WWII supply-side president. There also was the pledge to vote against Obamacare, but it was so interesting to me that Scott touted the JFK tax cuts — a) because it was a Democratic tax-cut message and b) because the Ted Kennedy Democrats in Massachusetts and nationwide not only abandoned the JFK supply-side-growth message, they actively opposed it.

So here is Scott Brown appealing to tea-party Democrats, independents, and Republicans, principally by touting the last across-the-board Democratic tax-cut plan.

There are many other successful Scott Brown messages in play, including the terrorist message and the Obamacare message. But this tax-cut message — i.e., reducing marginal tax rates across-the-board for all taxpayers — really interests me as a great message.

Democrats aren’t the only ones who have lost this message. To a large extent, so has the GOP. And today, just as during the Reagan years, and reaching all the way back to JFK, the bipartisan allure of this supply-side message has virtually been lost in the discussion of the Massachusetts election.

Pundits are missing it, and so are the Republican congressional leaders. If Republicans want Democrats and independents to come back to their side, they should think about the fairest pro-growth message of them all: lower tax rates for everybody. Get out of the box of rich people and class warfare. For Democrats, that box has been a loser. But for timid Republicans always on the defensive, that box is a loser, too.

Reagan knew this, and that is why he touted JFK’s across-the-board tax cuts.