Magazine article The American Conservative

Pro-Growth Conservatism

Magazine article The American Conservative

Pro-Growth Conservatism

Article excerpt

"Springtime for Keynes" (May/June) argued properly that economics shouldn't be the root of a conservative political philosophy. I agree, but good economic policy will complement that philosophy. And economic prescriptions can't do the job unless they are rational.

The rational way to encourage economic growth and increase the wealth of all in society (even if the achievers get more than their less capable or less lucky or more leisure-oriented brothers) comes from providing policies to incentivize people to work to create wealth and economic growth.

Fiscal policy is crucial and it must be understood. George W. Bush said he wanted to "put money in people's pockets" and when he did that it was as futile as Obama's stimulus spending. Demand stimulus is Keynesian and it is baloney.

Good fiscal policy changes relative prices. That means it makes work, risk, and investment more attractive. It rewards pro-growth activities. That means marginal tax rates must be cut and that translates into more real rewards--real income to those who work, save, and invest.

Spending is not irrelevant. When government spends more to extend unemployment benefits or lowers the age of Social Security eligibility, it makes it foolish for many to work. Undercutting the welfare reform rules requiring the able-bodied to work changes the relative prices of working versus taking welfare.

A conservative would also note that a government's cultural policies can also damage the economy. …

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