Administration dealing in insults instead of logic
Is Tim Geithner the most politically partisan treasury secretary in history? Certainly sounds like it these days. As the government’s chief financial officer, he’s spending a lot of time firing campaign barbs at various Republicans and their policies.Geithner has blasted Mitt Romney by name on several occasions. He frequently attacks Representative Paul Ryan and the GOP budget. And he recently fired a broadside at top-Romney economist Glenn Hubbard, who is presently dean of the Colombia Business School.Responding to a Hubbard op-ed in the Wall Street Journal -- which calculated that the president’s spending plans would require an 11 percent tax increase on people earning less than $200,000 a year -- Geithner said, “That’s a completely made-up, remarkably hackish observation for an economist.”Hubbard a hack?Besides running a highly respected Ivy League business school, he was the chairman of President George W. Bush’s council of economic advisors. He also earned his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard.But Hubbard is advising Romney, and before that he counseled Bush, so the very political Mr. Geithner blasted him as a hack.By the way, all Hubbard did was calculate that even after all of Obama’s proposed tax hikes on millionaires, investors, and upper-end business people, revenues would rise by about $150 billion a year. But Obama’s budget schedules spending to rise by $500 billion a year. So Hubbard concluded that an across-the-board tax hike of 11 percent for everybody -- including below-$200,000 earners -- would be required.You can disagree with Hubbard’s point, but the arithmetic gap between spending and revenues per year is unmistakable. It’s not a hackish statement. It’s merely an informed opinion.
... Name-calling and direct insults won’t do it....Kudlows last point is that Geithner and the administration are going to need Republican votes on major issues this year and they will not win them by mistaking insults for arguments. It is a mistake for Obama to put his Secretary of the Treasury in this position.