Stephen Moore–Who is the Fairest of Them All?: The Truth About Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America—Videos

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The Truth about Tax “Fairness”

Fairest of Them All: Finding Real Economic Justice –

An Evening with Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Annual Dinner of the Kansas Policy Institute October 18, 2012. Moore is an economic writer and policy analyst who founded and served as president of the Club for Growth from 1999 to 2004. He is currently a member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, regularly writes for that paper’s opinion page and frequently appears on national broadcast media including CNBC and Fox News.

An Overdue Book

By Thomas Sowell

“…If everyone in America had read Stephen Moore’s new book, “Who’s The Fairest of Them All?”, Barack Obama would have lost the election in a landslide.

        The point here is not to say, “Where was Stephen Moore when we needed him?”  A more apt question might be, “Where was the whole economics profession when we needed them?” Where were the media?  For that matter, where were the Republicans?

        Since “Who’s The Fairest of Them All?” was published in October, there was little chance that it would affect this year’s election.  But this little gem of a book exposes, in plain language and with easily understood facts, the whole house of cards of assumptions, fallacies and falsehoods which constitute the liberal vision of the economy.

        Yet that vision triumphed on election day, thanks to misinformation that was artfully presented and seldom challenged. The title “Who’s The Fairest of Them All?” is an obvious response to liberals’ claim that their policies are aimed at creating “fairness” by, among other things, making sure that “the rich” pay their “fair share” of taxes.  If you want a brief but thorough education on that, just read chapter 4, which by itself is well worth the price of the book.

        A couple of graphs on pages 104 and 108 are enough to annihilate the argument about “tax cuts for the rich.”  These graphs show that, under both Republican President Calvin Coolidge and Democratic President John F. Kennedy, high-income people paid more tax revenues into the federal treasury after tax rates went down than they did before.

        There is nothing mysterious about this. At high tax rates, vast sums of money disappear into tax shelters at home or is shipped overseas. At lower tax rates, that money comes out of hiding and goes into the American economy, creating jobs, rising output and rising incomes.  Under these conditions, higher tax revenues can be collected by the government, even though tax rates are lower. Indeed, high income people not only end up paying more taxes, but a higher share of all taxes, under these conditions.

        This is not just a theory.  It is what hard evidence shows happened under both Democratic and Republican administrations, from the days of Calvin Coolidge to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.  That hard evidence is presented in clear and unmistakable terms in “Who’s The Fairest of Us All?”

        Another surprising fact brought out in this book is that the Democrats and Republicans both took positions during the Kennedy administration that were the direct opposite of the positions they take today.  As Stephen Moore points out, “the Republicans almost universally opposed and the Democrats almost universally favored” the cuts in tax rates that President Kennedy proposed.

        Such Republican Senate stalwarts as Barry Goldwater and Bob Dole voted against reducing the top tax rate from 91% to 70%.  Democratic Congressman Wilbur Mills led the charge for lower tax rates.

        Unlike the Republicans today, John F. Kennedy had an answer when critics tried to portray his tax cut proposal as just a “tax cut for the rich.”  President Kennedy argued that it was a tax cut for the economy, that changed incentives meant a faster growing economy and that “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

        If Republicans today cannot seem to come up with their own answer when critics cry out “tax cuts for the rich,” maybe they can just go back and read John F. Kennedy’s answer.

        A truly optimistic person might even hope that media pundits would go back and check out the facts before arguing as if the only way to reduce the deficit is to raise tax rates on “the rich.”

        If they are afraid that they would be stigmatized as conservatives if they favored cuts in tax rates, they might take heart from the fact that not only John F. Kennedy, but even John Maynard Keynes as well, argued that cutting tax rates could increase tax revenues and thereby help reduce the deficit.

        Because so few people bother to check the facts, Barack Obama can get away with statements about how “tax cuts for the rich” have “cost” the government money that now needs to be recouped.  Such statements not only promote class warfare, to Obama’s benefit on election day, they also distract attention from his own runaway spending behind unprecedented trillion dollar deficits. …”

WSJ Economist Moore: No Grounds for Obama’s Tax on Wealthy

By Jim Meyers and John Bachman

“…Moore is a senior economics writer and editorial board member for The Wall Street Journal. He is the founder and former president of the Club for Growth and a best-selling author. He also wrote the cover story for Newsmax magazine’s October issue.

Moore’s new book is “Who’s The Fairest of Them All: The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes and Wealth in America.”

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Moore was asked if Obama and the Democrats are advocating higher taxes on the wealthy to improve the economy or to win over middle-class voters.

“I don’t think anybody thinks that raising tax rates will improve the economy. At least I certainly hope no one does because the history is so unequivocal that that’s not the case,” Moore says.

“In fact, what you want is lower tax rates, not higher tax rates, especially when we’re living in a global economy where United States companies are competing against companies in India and China and Germany and France and all over the world.

“So there’s no case on economic grounds for raising tax rates. President Obama is selling that idea on the grounds of fairness and that’s really the reason I wrote this book, to sort of define what does it really mean to be a fair society.

“What I show in this research is that the fairest  system of them all is the free enterprise system. The free enterprise system is what creates growth, creates jobs and higher living standards for almost all Americans. So it’s hard to improve on that system. President Obama believes that the way to create a fairer system is to redistribute income from the rich to the poor. That’s never worked very well.”

Americans are an “aspirational society” and don’t believe that rich people are evil, Moore adds.

“Most of us aspire to be rich and that’s really the American Dream — to try to work hard, start a business, do the right thing so you can get rich. And America’s still the best country in the world to do that, despite all the obstacles that government tries to create.

“I think President Obama is driven much more by an ideology that says, ‘Redistribute wealth instead of creating.’ It’s almost like the wealth is just automatically there and all we have to do is just cut up that pie differently. What I show in the book is that when you try to do that, what happens is the pie shrinks and everybody is worse off.”

Vice President Joe Biden recently said the middle class has been “buried” during the last few years. But Moore argues that the demise of the middle class is a myth.

He comments: “First of all, let me say that the demise of the middle class over the last three years is very real. We have seen a very steep decline in middle income earnings over the last three and a half years. Since President Obama came into office, there’s been a $4,500 decline in income. That’s huge. That’s one month’s income.

“What I was talking about in the book is, over the last several decades, in the ‘80s, ‘90s and even the first of the 2000s, the middle class did very well. President Obama says, ‘Oh, the recent decades have been a time of decline in the middle class.’ That’s not
true. The real decline of the middle class was George Bush’s last year in office and Barack Obama’s first three and a half years in office.” Moore points out that the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans pay most of the taxes — 75 percent of income taxes and 45 percent of all taxes. Yet some argue that the richest Americans are still doing really well when compared to the other 90 percent and can afford to chip in a little more in taxes.

“Look, we do need more tax revenues if we want to balance this budget. There’s absolutely no  question about it,” Moore says.

“Tax revenues as a percent of our GDP are lower than they’ve been in 40 years. My response to this argument about why not just soak the rich is that that’s never really worked very well. History proves if you want to get more revenues out of rich people, cut their tax rates, don’t raise them. That’s a lesson that John F. Kennedy taught us, Ronald Reagan taught us, even George W. Bush taught us.

“I don’t think there’s any evidence  that raising tax rates way up is going to get more money out of the rich because the rich will find shelters, they will find tax carve-outs and loopholes and deductions to hide their money.”

Another argument from the left is that we should raise tax rates to where they were under President Clinton. President Obama has pointed out that those rates did not slow down economic growth during Clinton’s tenure. Moore takes issue with that point of view.

“A couple of things,” he says. “One is that President Obama doesn’t want to just raise the rates to the Clinton era, he wants them to be a lot higher. People forget that also in the Obamacare healthcare law, there’s a 3.8 percent investment surtax so rates would actually go up about four percentage points higher than they were in the Clinton administration.

“But the other thing to point out is the Clinton years were prosperous, in part because under a Republican Congress and Bill Clinton, who was a conservative in terms of his fiscal policies, government spending fell as a share of GDP from 22 percent to 18 percent. So that’s like a tax cut when you cut government spending by four percentage points of GDP.

“Barack Obama’s done just the opposite. He’s raised gross spending by almost four percentage points of GDP. We’ve been averaging about 24 percent, which is the highest it’s been any time since World War II when we were fighting the Nazis and the Japanese.

“So the point I would make is that Barack Obama’s kind of the anti-Clinton. Obama’s not a fiscal conservative. He’s driven up the debt by over $1 trillion a year. Just last week, the numbers came out that we had a $1.1 trillion deficit in 2012. That’s four straight years with trillion-dollar deficits. That isn’t fiscal conservatism. That doesn’t help anybody.”

The Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire next year at the same time that automatic cuts in government spending are scheduled to take effect, possibly leading to what some have called a “fiscal cliff.” That makes this year’s election crucial, Moore asserts.

“The most important fiscal cliff is this tax increase, and the reason this is such an important election is if Barack Obama wins, he will have a mandate from voters to raise tax rates,” he tells Newsmax.

“I agree with the Congressional Budget Office and a lot of other economists that that’s something that could cause a double dip recession. And if you think the economy’s bad now, wait until
those tax rates go up in 2013.

“One of the arguments for Mitt Romney is he’s actually going to cut the rates, not raise them. I do think we need spending cuts. There’s a lot of people who say that we can’t afford to do these spending cuts next year. Yes, we can afford to do that.

“In fact, we have to do that. We have to start really taking a blade to government spending because that’s so inefficient and every dollar the government spends is a dollar less the private sector has to spend on its own expansions.”

Mitt Romney is vowing to cut taxes by 20 percent across the board and pay for those cuts by eliminating loopholes. Romney also says he believes in a progressive tax structure.

“I like his tax plan,” Moore says. “I don’t agree with everything in it but [I agree with] the basic concept, which Ronald Reagan did with Dan Rostenkowski and Bob Packwood and Ted Kennedy and Democrats back in the

“It’s amazing how the Democrats have moved to the left. Back then, what we did is we cut tax rates significantly, very significantly, and we closed off loopholes to make a much more efficient tax system and it worked really well. That’s what Mitt Romney, for the most part, is trying to do — get rid of the pollution and the special interest carve-outs in the tax system, lower the rates for everybody.

“It’s been proven time again, that’s a very productive way to get the economy moving again. The numbers can add up. Ronald Reagan proved the numbers can add up. When we did the 1986 tax act, that lowered the rate all the way down to 28 percent. We actually got more revenues into the treasury, not less.”

Asked to give Romney’s plan a letter grade, Moore responds: “I’ll give him a B-plus. The tax plan is strong and it will move us right in the right direction.

“Now I’d like to see a flat tax. I’m a Steve Forbes guy. One rate for everybody with no deductions, no loopholes and you get rid of the double tax on saving and investment. That would be the optimal tax system but Mitt Romney’s plan moves us in that direction.

“Interestingly, under Mitt Romney, the top tax rate would be about 28 percent. Under Barack Obama, the top tax rate goes up to 42 percent. That’s a big difference.”

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Stephen Moore, Senior Economics writer for the Wall Street Journal speaks at an Ashbrook Center Major Issues Lecture on April 4, 2012. Moore addresses the topic : Can Capitalism Make a Comeback?

Stephen Moore – America at a Crossroads

Dr. Mathew Manweller of Central Washington University and Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal join members of the Freedom Foundation to discuss the direction the United States going into the 2012 election.

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