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Jeb Bush is giving a big lunchtime speech at the Detroit Economic Club today. CNN reports that he’ll be pitching “reform conservatism,” a subject I’ve written a lot about. We’ll see what his version is. Now as it happens, The Wall Street Journal this morning has a piece from reporter Bob Davis on reform conservatism, focusing particularly on tax policy (though there is far more to it than that): “’Reformicons’ Put New Twist on Tax Debate — Young Conservatives Push GOP Presidential Candidates to Back Targeted Breaks, Not Just Broad-Based Tax-Rate Cuts.” Here is a quote from my AEI colleage Michael Strain: “For the past 10 years, our biggest issue was whether the top tax rate was 35% or 39.5%. I don’t care anymore.”
In short, conservative reformers place less emphasis on cutting the top marginal income tax rate as a top policy priority. Coincidentally, my new The Week column concerns that very subject. At least on the personal income tax side, my preference is for tax relief for parents – a human capital gains tax cut for the worker creators. But it’s a long stretch of the legs — a Kessel Run-length distance, in fact – between saying that (a) right now cut the top marginal personal income tax rate is not of maximum policy importance and (b) tax rates simply don’t matter. More from the WSJ piece:More