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Economists for Bush?

August 28, 2000

A crucial part of a national political campaign involves enlisting economists to endorse the candidates' plan. Every four years, statements are circulated by the campaigns and economists are urged to sign up.

Mises Institute adjunct scholar Mark Thornton, though certainly not a supporter of Gore, would not, as a matter of principle, sign the Bush statement.

First, the letter introducing the statement, the statement itself, and then Professor Thornton's response:


Memo

Re: Economists' Statement on George W. Bush's Economic Plan

Dear Colleague,

We are writing to ask whether you would be willing to sign on to an economists' statement (included at the end of this email) describing and endorsing George W. Bush's economic proposals in this presidential campaign.

Some of the economists who have already signed on include Gary Becker,
James
Buchanan, Milton Friedman, Anne Krueger, Robert Lucas, Robert Mundell,
Myron
Scholes, Anna Schwartz, George Shultz, Vernon Smith, and Finis Welch. It
would be great if you could do it as well.

If you are willing, please reply to this email with the message "I will
sign
the statement. My affiliation is _____." (Your affiliation is for
identification purposes only.)

The economists' statement, along with the list of endorsers, will be
posted
on the web site www.Economists4Bush.org. The Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign
may
use the statement and the names in its advertising.

Economists4Bush is a forum where economists who support Governor Bush's
economic plan can exchange ideas and discuss how to promote his
candidacy.

Thanks very much.

James Carter
Co-Chair, Economists4Bush

John Cogan
Hoover Institution

Ted Covey
Co-Chair, Economists4Bush

Lawrence Lindsey
American Enterprise Institute

James C. Miller III
Citizens for a Sound Economy

John B. Taylor
Stanford University

Robert Tollison
University of Mississippi

****Economists' Statement on George W. Bush's Economic Plan****

We enthusiastically endorse the economic plan put forth by George W.
Bush.
It
is based on conservative revenue projections and sensible spending
baselines
and will create more economic growth and greater opportunities for all
Americans.

His economic plan would:

  • Strengthen Social Security by creating voluntary personal retirement
    accounts. Such accounts are an essential part of any credible plan to
    save
    social security. They help all Americans build wealth that can be passed
    on
    to their children.

  • Cut income tax rates and leave more money in the hands of the people who
    earn
    it. Income tax rates are now especially high on people with low incomes.
    The
    lower a taxpayer's income, the greater is the tax cut as a percentage of
    income.
  • Make scholarships available to families whose children are trapped in
    schools
    that do not meet minimum state standards. Such scholarships will hold
    schools
    accountable, give children better opportunities, and enable every child, regardless of background, to receive the education needed for high
    quality
    jobs in the new economy of the 21st century.
  • Hold down the growth of government spending, through biennial budgeting,
    a
    constitutional line-item veto, and a bipartisan commission to cut
    pork-barrel
    spending. These budget reforms will help redirect spending toward our
    highest
    priorities-including a strong national defense, while continuing to pay
    off
    the national debt.
  • Promote free trade around the world by restoring the president's
    fast-track
    negotiating authority and then using it to reduce trade
    barriers--including
    the complete elimination of agricultural export subsidies and tariffs
    worldwide.

    Combined with Governor Bush's support for tort reform, for regulatory
    reform,
    and for a monetary policy of low inflation and maximum sustainable
    economic
    growth, these proposals represent a comprehensive, pro-growth, reform
    agenda.


    MEMO

    to: Economists4Bush:
    from: Mark Thornton

    I cannot endorse this economic
    plan.

    Social security is an irrational policy from the economic point of view
    and
    should be done away with as quickly as humanly possible. Economists
    certainly should not be advocating "strengthening" social security.

    I like the idea of eliminating taxes, especially the income tax. However,
    I
    believe that you are wrong about the relative burden of taxes. It is the
    middle and upper classes that pay the tax burden. The lower classes pay
    less
    in income taxes by most absolute and relative measures.

    I like the idea of private education over government schools, but I think
    you should rethink the idea of government scholarships. Its a disaster in
    practice.

    Your ideas to hold down the growth of government will not work and we
    already spend enough on national defense unless you have in mind getting
    America involved in even more international conflicts like Yugoslavia,
    Iraq,
    Somalia, etc.

    Free trade is a unilateral policy and if you really believed in it, then
    that is how you should proceed--unilaterally.

    If you don't vigorously support these policies for the right reasons (even
    these watered-down policies) they will not help you win.

    Dr. Mark Thornton
    Columbus State University
    Mthornton@prodigy.net


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