Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Obama is the Pro-Growth Candidate

There is much that is wrong with this column by Sebastian Mallaby, but the overall message is right on: Obama's proposals for investments in the future and smart reforms are pro-growth. Key excerpts:

The real pro-growth candidate in this campaign looks to be Barack Obama.

... [T]he real litmus tests on growth lie ... in policies toward education, basic science, skilled immigration, infrastructure and the grotesque tort system. Tax reform, not cuts, would help: The complexity of the tax code wastes millions of hours, and the crazy deductibility of mortgage interest encourages real estate bubbles. Regulatory reform, not deregulation, could help, too. ... But the old Republican playbook of tax cuts, deregulation and lower barriers to trade misses the real challenges....

Obama wants to double federal spending on basic scientific research. He wants to make broadband access universal. He has proposed an infrastructure bank to pump $60 billion into broken-down highways, ports and so on. If (and it's a big if) Congress could be prevented from turning this last proposal into a pork-fest, the growth payof could be substantial....

The one certainty about education is that holding schools accountable is only part of the solution. This is where Obama has the lead. He wants a big push on early-childhood education, which researchers believe can have an excellent payoff in terms of later achievement; he wants to address key gaps in teacher quality with higher pay; he wants a new tax credit to make college more affordable. A hundred years ago, the United States set the stage for the American century by investing more public money in education than other advanced economies. It needs to up its game again if it wants to retain its preeminence.

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