A Real Economic Plan

John Kerry has a piece in today’s Wall Street Journal outlining the core of his economic proposals. If you want to see a list of some meaningful economic policy changes, read the article (free registration required).

No, not every single item that Kerry proposes is perfect, and not all of them will necessarily make much difference. But some of them would have significant positive effects on the economy, and would mark a dramatic change from the Bush administration’s economic policy, which has consisted of doing nothing other than cutting taxes to high-income individuals. And which, as I’ve discussed in some recent posts, has clearly not done much to help the economy.

Here’s a condensed version of some of Kerry’s more interesting proposals:

  • Change the tax code provisions that reduce corporate taxes when they produce overseas.
  • Use that $12 bn in extra revenue to reduce the corporate tax rate for all but the largest corporations by 5%.
  • Provide a tax credit to firms available when they hire new workers.
  • Make the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent for earnings below $200,000.
  • Restore 2000 tax rates for earnings above $200,000.
  • Add new tax breaks for college savings, child care expenses, and health care expenses.
  • Allow the government to share the burden of catastrophic health care costs with insurers.
  • Allow the importation of pharmaceuticals from other countries.
  • Speed the development of generic alternatives to name-brand drugs.
  • Restore fiscal discipline; impose hard caps on spending, pay-as-you-go rules for tax cuts, and cut the deficit in half in four years.

Just about all of these proposals make solid economic sense. They would create jobs, reduce the rising cost of health care, and simply make life a little easier for the vast majority of Americans. Just what one would wish for in a president’s economic policy-making.