Steven Moore and I go back a long time. He’s a staunch (knee-jerk is another term) conservative Republican, more of the Tea Party variety than of the Rockefeller Republican type. I agree with some of what Steve says and thinks on fiscal matters, but disagree, often quite strongly, with the rest. I certainly don’t sign onto either supply-side or demand-side black magic and Steve is heavily into supply-side black magic in which tax cuts, no matter the kind, pay for themselves. The demand-side black magic is that more spending pays for itself, no matter what kind.
Even though Steve and I basically don’t agree, I like Steve. I’m the kind of guy who can get along with people with whom I differ. There are plenty of knee-jerk democrats with whom I differ strongly on economics. They are still my friends.
But Steve went way overboard in the Washington Times on August 29th, even though we spoke on the phone the evening before and I made my views crystal clear.
Here’s what Steve wrote, a good part of which is not true.
I have known Professor Kotlikoff for years. He is a life long Democrat and tells me he is not even a Trump supporter. But he says Mr. Trump’s plan is far superior to Mrs. Clinton‘s. “Moving from our 35 percent corporate tax rate to Trump’s proposed 15 percent rate would,” he concludes, “produce a huge increase in capital, much of it coming from abroad.” Who benefits the most from the Trump tax cut? Mr. Kotlikoff concludes: “This kind of reform has the potential to raise the income of the typical worker by as much as $4,000 per year within the next four years.”
First, I’m not a life long Democrat. I’ve never registered as a Democrat (well maybe once to vote in some primary), I’ve never contributed to the Democratic party, and I have voted for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents over the years. I also worked as a Senior Economist in President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors. That’s not something lifelong Democrats typically do.
So Steve, here’s truth #1. I’m a lifelong independent.
Here’s truth #2, Steve, which you knew, but conveniently failed to mention. I’m actively running (see www.kotlikoff2016.com) against Trump and Clinton as an independent, write-in candidate.
Indeed, I’m the only real write-in candidate in the country since my campaign is fulfilling the rigorous write-in registration requirements in states all across the country. If you aren’t registered, your write-in votes won’t be counted. And no one else appears to be registering on a nation-wide basis. That’s why I believe I’m the only real write-in candidate. I also believe I’m the only person who can defeat both Clinton and Trump in November, which is why my campaign is getting increasing attention from traditional and social media.
Here’s truth #2. Not only am I not a Trump supporter, I believe Trump is totally unqualified to be President. I also believe Clinton is unqualified, but for very different reasons. In Trump’s case, we’re talking about a con artist, a demagogue, a racist, a misogynist, and a sexist who hasn’t the slightest handle on economic or international policymaking.
Here’s truth #3. I have co-constructed, as part of The Fiscal Analysis Center (a fiscal think tank, which I established) a large-scale computer simulation model to study the impact of fiscal reforms. Steve, you asked me, through a mutual friend, to run Trump’s corporate tax reform, not his entire tax reform, through the model. Steve, I guess you were familar with the model thanks to my 2014 Op Ed in the New York Times calling for the elimination of the corporate income tax because it appears to hurt workers more than the rich and can do great things for the economy.
I am happy to run anyone’s, including Trump’s tax policies through my models. So when I was asked to examine the corporate tax-cut component of his plan, I immediately agreed. Were I asked to run Trump’s entire tax policy through my models, I’d do so as well. Same with Hillary’s tax plan.
This is what academics do when we’re asked questions. We provide honest answers, no matter who is asking the questions.
And, indeed, the model shows that cutting the corporate tax rate to 15 percent and simultaneously eliminating all the corporate-tax loop holes, as Trump proposes, can produce the major economic gains that Steve references. This is why my own tax reform plan includes not simply a corporate income tax-rate reduction, but the complete elimination of the corporate income tax.
Here’s truth #4. I did not tell Steve that Trump’s plan is better than Clinton’s. I told Steve that the only thing I really liked in Trump’s plan was the reduction in the corporate income tax rate and the elimination of that tax’s loopholes.
Frankly, I can’t tell which overall tax plan — Trump’s or Clinton’s is worse as suggested in my recent Forbes tax debate in which I compared their tax plans with my own.
So Steve, here’s truth #5. Yes, Trump’s 15 percent corporate tax cut coupled with eliminating all corporate loopholes can do great things for our economy. But I think the rest of Trump’s overall tax plan is miles away from what’s needed.
All this said, Steve, we remain friends, but I expect you to quote me accurately in the future.