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Economists for Bush?

Mises Daily: Monday, August 28, 2000 by


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:


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.


    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