Been looking for more info and opinions on Snow. Kudlow, the perpetual optimist, likes Snow and does not like Friedman
. In fact regarding Snow he writes
"Very good!" Jack Kemp told me. The supply-side father said that as a member of the Kemp Commission on tax reform in the mid 1990s, Snow bought into the economic-incentive model, understood the link between risk and reward, and fully supported the flat-tax recommendations of rate reduction, simplification, and reform that were proposed by the commission.
Unfortunately, another article finds Kemp a bit less enthusiastic
Many supply-side Republicans said they welcomed the choice of Snow, saying he is an effective political player who knows how to promote Bush's agenda even if he is less than passionate about tax cuts.
"I don't want to say that John Snow is a follower of Jack Kemp's precise philosophy," Jack Kemp, a former cabinet secretary and an ardent advocate of tax cuts, said on Monday. "I am saying that he is an outstanding choice, and he wants to do what Bush wants to do."
Kudlow also mentions Snow worked on some flat tax proposals at the Heritage Foundation. And worked on the deregulation of the airline industry. Of course, the flip side of this is that Snow has advocated using the "surplus" to build a new national rail infrastructure. I am not particularly concerned with him advocating such a plan as Treasury Secretary, but it smells of Big Business Socialism instead of a commitment to freedom and free-markets.
CATO's economist, Chris Edwards, likes Snow
, in a short press release.
"I expect Mr. Snow will particularly understand the importance of an investment-friendly tax code given that firms such as CSX form the backbone of a productive economy with large investments in capital equipment.
"Snow will be an excellent spokesperson for the administration's upcoming stimulus bill that is expected to include a depreciation tax cut component that will spur growth in a wide range of industries that need to continually purchase new machinery and equipment to stay competitive.
"Cato's economists look forward to working with the administration's new economic leaders to craft both short-term and long-term tax reform policies."
Stephen Moore, founding member of the Club For Growth, had en editorial in the FT explaining
Mr Bush and Karl Rove, his chief political strategist, are keenly aware that the only thing that stands in the way of this enormously popular president being re-elected in a landslide in 2004 is the economy slipping into a double dip recession. Mr Bush's father was thrown out of office 10 years ago despite foreign policy successes because he seemed to be inattentive to the ailments of the economy. And the truth is that Mr Bush Senior was guilty as charged.
The trouble for Bush has been that the not all tax-cuts are equal. Taxes on economic activity, like capital gains, have a more direct impact on economic activity, and the "tax-rebates" that Bush implemented last year are nothing more than welfare payments, and we know how effective welfare is.
Many economists have been advocating capital gains tax reduction or elimination (even Greenspan has said so in almost every Congressional testimony) for years, but Bush seems to be deaf. Moore continues to push that point home.
First, Congress should reduce the capital gains tax from 20 per cent to 10 per cent on all new investment. Any share purchase made after January 1, 2003 should be taxed at a new lower rate in order to incentivise new business creation and lift stock values.
Second, Congress should chop the payroll tax on all workers from 15.3 per cent to 13.3 per cent. The payroll tax cut should remain in place until economic growth is resumed to 4 per cent and the unemployment rate falls back to the level of full employment. This would allow all workers to keep more of their pay cheques and lower the cost of labour so businesses would start hiring again. Third, implementation of the Bush tax cut from last year should be accelerated. Seventy per cent of the Bush tax cut has not yet taken effect. There is no point in delaying income tax cuts until 2005 and later years. The economy needs an adrenalin shot now.
I could not find any nice things about Friedman. Kudlow writes
In a half dozen phone calls I couldn't find a positive word for Friedman. Naturally, no one wanted to be quoted. But from deep-background interviews I can report comments like "nasty," "arrogant," "ineffective," "not a detail guy," and "unpopular." One former Goldman partner told me he still can't understand why Friedman abruptly left the lucrative partnership in the mid 1990s. "He just walked out the door one day," he said. A money manager who knows Friedman said he jumped ship because Goldman's earnings were imploding. This individual, a conservative, said, "Look, I may not have agreed with him, but [Clinton's Treasury chief] Bob Rubin was a smart guy. Friedman was not."
Friedman is closely associated with the Concord Coalition which is known as a club for Big Business (read that status-quo).
Of course, Bush is not King and cannot will his policies. Hopefully, the increasing number of Representatives in the House that understand these issues better than Bush can push things in the right direction. The situation in the Senate is not as encouraging, with the exodus of Phil Gramm(R) and the marginaling of John Breaux(D) it is not going to be easy.