Is Rudy Giuliani A Fiscal Conservative ?
I’ve been pretty hard on Rudy Giuliani lately, but he appeared on Larry Kudlow’s CNBC program and had some interesting things to say:
KUDLOW: When you were a US attorney, you were very, very tough. You had a successful record. You were tough on the mobsters. You were tough on the drug pushers and the narcotics people. You were also tough on the white collar criminals. Let me ask you some of the hot button issues in the business community on this. First, CEO Perry and back dating stock options.
Mr. GIULIANI: CEO Perry to me is a question of private governance. That’s what you have corporations for. That’s what you have stock holders for, directors for. That gets corrected that way. That isn’t–unless there’s some fraud involved. It’s not for the government to start evaluating how much money should be paid in a private business. Back dating stock options is a different thing. I mean, if someone committed fraud, they should go to jail. If they are pretending that the stock options were given on a certain date and they were actually given on another date, that’s kind of straight out and out fraud and that’s something the government has to be involved in. If there’s an accounting dispute about the period of time you can select and it’s a legitimate accounting dispute, then you probably handle that civilly.
KUDLOW: How would a President Giuliani reform the tax code?
Mr. GIULIANI: I think it needs a massive simplification. If we were doing income tax for the first time. In other words, if we were starting off new back at the beginning of the last century, then probably we should go with a–we probably should’ve gone with a flat tax, maybe two levels of tax, but really simple. Our economy has kind of grown up now on depreciation and deductions and industries have grown up around that and so I don’t know exactly how much you can simplify it, but you sure have to make a stab at it. And I think Reagan got it right. I felt that what Reagan did was, I kind of think of it as like cleaning out the forest. You got–the tax code was this big, he got it down to a simple code, reduced the top rates. Kind of leveled out the rates a little so there weren’t as many. The tax code needs a simplification in addition to lowering your sum taxes. Another tax that has to be dealt with is the death tax. That’s a double tax. People get it twice and it has a major impact on lots of people who aren’t really wealthy. You know, people who have their money in land or they have they money in real estate or they have they have their money in the family business or the family farm and they’ve got to sell the darn thing or they get in a big dispute with the IRS about what it’s worth on paper.
There’s more, to the point where Stephen Moore from Cato declared himself “very impressed” with what Giuliani had to say on Kudlow’s show. At the very least, it’s interesting, and encouraging that the front runner for the Republican nomination is at least talking like a fiscal conservative.
Another interesting Giuliani-related development came out today:
The Rudy Giuliani Presidential Exploratory Committee today announced that Steve Forbes, President and Chief Executive Officer of Forbes and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine, has endorsed Rudy Giuliani for President of the United States. Mr. Forbes will serve as a National Campaign Co-Chair and Senior Policy Advisor.
“I am honored to support Rudy Giuliani for President,” Steve Forbes said. “As Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani showed how exercising fiscal discipline, including tax cuts, lowers deficits, spurs economic growth, and increases revenue. It is time the rest of the country benefit from a true fiscal conservative leader who gets real results.”
I’ve always been a Steve Forbes fan and his affiliation with the Giuliani campaign may at least be a sign that fiscal conservatism is making a comeback in the GOP.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, I have been pretty hard on Giuliani here in the past. I still have serious, significant doubts about him as President. I consider him far too authoritariam and I suspect that when it comes down the a balance between individual rights and expanding the power of the state, especially in the law enforcement area, he will side with the state every time. He may be talking a good game on economics, but when it comes to the entire package, he still doesn’t measure up to what America needs in the White House right now.
H/T: Hit & Run