Extending the Bush Tax Cuts: A Mostly Resounding Yes

The Economist invites a group of economists whether the Bush tax cuts should be extended.  For those of you who follow Washington politics, this has been a meat-and-potatoes contentious issue for some time, so I was interested to see what the big thinkers of the profession are saying.

To a man, the answer is some form of yes.

  • Tom Gallagher of the International Strategy & Investment Group says, “Yes, but only for a short period.”
  • Michael Bordo of Rutgers University says, “Yes, their benefits outweigh their costs.”
  • A personal favorite of mine, Alberto Alesina of Harvard, recommends that we “maintain the cuts and reduce spending to trim deficits.”
  • Columbia’s Guillermo Calvo exclaims, “Yes!, as the rich will drive recovery.”
  • Only Oregon’s Mark Thoma offers a partial dissent, saying “only some, and the saved revenue should be recycled.”

A more complete accounting of the replies here.  The responses are quick reads, and are filled with economic logic that you have probably heard somewhere before.

Or at least let’s hope so.

UPDATE: Former Obama OMB director Peter Orszag weighs in in today’s New York Times.  More Thoma than Calvo.