Obama Has “The Right Sort of Left-Wing Ideas”

Among bloggers and writers there are two different views of the left. Some ignorant bloggers and writers fail to realize how labels have changed over the years and continue to identify the left with socialism and past leftist economic ideas. In actuality, left-right divisions are now along issues such as support for liberty and opposition to the Iraq war. With the Republicans becoming the party of corporate welfare and redistribution of wealth (to the top one tenth of one percent), the small-l libertarian left more often than the increasingly authoritarian right is the side which is more likely to support free market ideas.

While Obama is clearly the more libertarian candidate with regards to civil liberties and opposition to the war, his economic views are a little less clear. Many of us are encouraged by many of his statements which indicate free market leanings, the influence of the University of Chicago on his economic views, and some of the policy differences between him and Clinton, such as opposition to health insurance mandates. I’ve often quoted libertarians and libertarian-leaning conservatives who find reason to back Obama (such as here and here).

Megan McArdle is another libertarian who has often written favorably about Obama. Yesterday she commented on his economic plan, realizing that there are different types of people on the left with respect to economic beliefs:

…as far as lefties go, he has the right sort of left-wing ideas; he wants to model America on Denmark, not Germany or Italy.

Today he’s announced new details of his economic plan. They include an infrastructure plan which will undoubtedly do approximately nothing to increase the rate of economic growth (though it probably won’t much harm it, either). But they also include a cause near and dear to my heart: simplifying and lowering the corporate income tax. Obviously, I’d be happier if he’d pledge to eliminate it entirely; I think what taxes we need should be raised through a simple, progressive income tax with few deductions, or Pigovian taxes. Nonetheless, it’s a step in the right direction. And a rather brave step. American politicians find it politically nearly impossible to cut the thing, even though it’s a stupid, wasteful tax. In the “Only Nixon can go to China” sense, probably only a politician like Obama can do something about it.

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