Tuesday, February 26, 2013
My main complaint with Obama is that he promised to move us beyond these stale debates, but he’s, instead, become a participant in them....My dream Obama would take advantage of the fact that only the president can fundamentally shift the terms. ... My dream Obama would abandon the big government versus small government argument. ... My dream Obama would nurture investment in three ways.
First, he would take spending that currently goes to the affluent elderly and redirect it to the young and the struggling. ...
Second, Obama could nurture investment by starting a debate on the sort of consumption tax plan Michael Graetz describes in his book 100 Million Unnecessary Returns: Enact a value-added tax, use money from that tax to finance an income tax exemption of $100,000, cut the corporate tax rate to 15%, replace the earned-income tax credit with payroll tax relief and debit cards. This is a heavy lift politically, but it achieves Obama’s fairness goals while boosting growth.
Third, Obama could talk obsessively about family structure and social repair. ...
My dream Obama wouldn’t be just one gladiator in the zero-sum budget wars. He’d transform the sequester fight by changing the categories that undergird it. He’d possess the primary ingredient of political greatness: imagination. The great presidents, like Teddy Roosevelt, see situations differently. They ask different questions. History pivots around their terms.