Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Obama's Economic Advisors Flip Flop

Austan Goolsbee and Jason Furman wrote an oped piece in the WSJ.

It is interesting that they as advisers to Obama are back tracking on at least two issues that they previously favored.

Greg Mankiw points this out.

That is, Senator Obama appears to embrace the principle that dividends should be taxed at a much lower rate than ordinary income. (Recall that this income has already been taxed at the corporate level.) This principle was a fundamental premise behind the 2003 tax bill, signed by President Bush and opposed at the time by a vast majority of Democrats in Congress. If we can now achieve bipartisan consensus to limit the tax burden on corporate capital, that would be a significant step in the right direction.

On an unrelated issue, however, the Furman-Goolsbee piece seems to take a surprising step away from bipartisanship. They take a swipe at Senator McCain's proposal to replace the tax exclusion for employer-provided health insurance with a more flexible health insurance credit. When President Bush suggested a similar idea last year, Furman and coauthors called it "a step in the right direction," and many other commentators agreed. It is too bad that Team Obama is now dissing the proposal.

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