Steve Forbes and ‘In Money We Trust’

Originally published on The American Thinker, January 10th, 2019

With legislators back in Washington for the 116th Congress, sparring over economic policy is heating up between Republicans and Democrats over tax rates, spending programs, and immigration. But while the fighting has focused on the Democrats’ desire for a 70% marginal tax rate or a “Green New Deal”, one area of economics remains sadly excluded from debate — monetary policy. Steve Forbes’ new PBS documentary “In Money We Trust” presents a solid case that it’s time for us to talk about the dollar again.

In Money We Trust” is based on Steve Forbes’ and Elizabeth Ames’ book Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy — and What We Can Do About It. This book is regarded by many supply-siders as the single best primer on sound money ever written, and much like the book, the PBS documentary provides an easily digestible introduction to monetary policy and the gold standard, even for those unfamiliar with the topics. “In Money We Trust” breaks down what money is, what makes it work, and most importantly, how to make sure it remains effective.

Money, as Steve Forbes explains, is first a measure of value. Much as a clock measures time, “money measures the value of products, services, and investment devices.” Author John Tamny notes that “it allows people with wildly disparate wants to produce and then trade with people.” Ultimately, the ability to trust a currency is integral to its success — whether the transaction is as small as a lemonade stand purchase or an international trade deal.

Maintaining trust in a currency has historically depended on how it is backed. The documentary explains that when a currency is backed by an unstable resource, buyers and sellers can’t be certain that the value of the money they have today will be worth the same tomorrow. Conversely, if money has a stable backing, like gold, parties will always know what their dollar is worth, which reduces uncertainty in investments.  Without stability, money is worthless. Forbes outlines it here:

“Changing the value of money destroys trust between buyer and seller, lender and borrower, because it changes the values that were agreed upon. One party got an underserved gain, and the other got an undeserved loss.”

“…when you change the value of money, you’re stealing property without due process of law.”

The documentary is strengthened by a cast that amounts to the New England Patriots of monetary policy. Presenters include historian Brian Domitrovic, columnist Nathan Lewis, the godfather of supply-side economist Arthur Laffer, Trump advisor Judy Shelton, columnist Amity Shlaes, and Jim Grant of “Grant’s Interest Rate Observer.”

As the new Congress commences its economic infighting, the arguments presented in this documentary deserve further review from lawmakers — is our unstable dollar a deterrent to economic growth? There may not currently be an appetite on Capitol Hill to discuss the dollar, but let’s hope “In Money We Trust” can be the springboard to start the conversation.

The Electric Vehicle Tax Credit Is Dead — And Should Stay That Way

Originally published on the National Pulse, January 3rd, 2019

At the conclusion of 2018 — perhaps resulting from the ongoing government shutdown — Congress managed to do the unthinkable: they actually allowed a bad government program to expire. Of course, in Washington bad ideas never die (they just hibernate), so in preparation for when Congress reconvenes, here is why the electric vehicle tax credit is a zombie that should stay dead.

The now-expired electric vehicle tax credit awarded “a $7,500 tax credit for [electric vehicle] purchasers, along with zero emission vehicle (or ZEV) credits for manufacturers.” On the consumer level, the benefits of this spending program were almost exclusively awarded to the rich. The Pacific Research Institute found that “more than half of the electric car buyers claiming the credit make more than $200,000 per year and nearly 80 percent make more than $100,000. Just 1 percent make $50,000 or less.”

On the manufacturer level, the electric vehicle tax credit made Elon Musk and Tesla Motors “one of the most prodigious harvesters of government favors and handouts… And Tesla isn’t shy about their dependence on your tax dollars to stay afloat, in its 2014 annual report Tesla stated ‘our growth depends in part on the availability and amounts of government subsidies and economic incentives.’”

Even the liberal Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has slammed Tesla for bilking taxpayer handouts, stating, “For far too long, we gave money to Tesla, we gave money to a ton of people and we got no return on our investment.”

The expiration of the electric vehicle tax credit amounts to a major fulfillment of President Trump’s promise during inauguration that “the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.” After all, why should the middle class have to subsidize wealthy Tesla buyers in California?

But even though the electric vehicle tax credit amounts to corporate welfare at its worst and a spending program for the rich, the safe assumption is that many will mount a full court press to reinstate this program when Congress returns to business-as-usual. Proponents will likely attempt to attach a revival of the electric vehicle tax credit to a bill extending other tax credits, so the Trump administration should be encouraged to hold firm on its previous commitment to ensuring that this spending program expires.

Taxpayers shouldn’t have to subsidize welfare kings like Elon Musk. Let’s turn the lights out on this tax credit.

Author’s note: Pat Hall also contributed to this article.

Fake News Alert: No, Trump’s Tax Cuts Aren’t Blowing Up the Debt

Originally published on the National Pulse, April, 24th, 2018

Recently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report stating the national debt will increase by an additional $1.9 trillion over the next 10 years due to Trump’s tax cuts. Unfortunately, while the growing national debt has led to hand-wringing from Republicans and Democrats, a logic-defying narrative has emerged on what is to blame. Therefore, it needs to be made clear: No, the Trump tax cuts are not blowing up the debt.

It should first be stated that the CBO’s numbers ought to be taken with a grain of salt, because the CBO is almost always wrong — quite often, spectacularly so. For my money, the economic growth projections in the CBO report skew pessimistic for what is achievable, but for argument’s sake, we will use the CBO’s numbers to find the real culprit behind our growing national debt.

The CBO claims the debt will increase by $1.9 trillion over 10 years (this is their “cost” of the tax cuts). Put another way, this amounts to a deficit increase of $200 billion per year. $200 billion is certainly a big number, but much less so in the context of our current $4 trillion annual budget.

But that’s not all — the CBO also projects our spending will grow exponentially, each year, for the next ten years. By 2028, the CBO projects our federal budget will exceed $7 trillion dollars. Again, for argument’s sake, let’s pretend that the Trump tax cuts will lead to a $200 billion annual deficit increase. That figure barely puts a dent in the $7 trillion budget for the year 2028. And again, greater economic growth could diminish that deficit significantly further.

And how about this: Between 2019 and 2028, the CBO anticipates that federal spending will exceed $56.5 trillion dollars. Still think that $200 billion per year from “tax cuts” is nuking our budget?

To claim that the Trump tax cuts are responsible for blowing up the national debt is simply absurd. If anything, the CBO’s report illustrates that the tax cuts, as positive as they are, amount to a mere drop in the bucket in terms of total federal spending.

So what is blowing up our national debt? Freedom Partners’ Nathan Nascimento summed it up perfectly:

The root cause of our nation’s growing deficit problem is the reckless spending in Washington, not the much-needed relief for American taxpayers. In continuing to vote for massive increases to government spending, like last month’s $1.3 trillion omnibus, and in failing to moderate the immense growth of our entitlement programs, lawmakers from both parties are responsible for these out-of-control deficits.

There you have it. The government’s spending addiction (and, I would add, the historically below-average economic growth post-2000) is to blame for our growing national debt. Don’t buy the erroneous claims that Trump’s tax cuts are responsible.

Author’s note: Pat Hall also contributed to this article.

Committee to Unleash Prosperity Blog Features American Thinker Column

Earlier this week, The Committee to Unleash Prosperity’s Supply Side Blog featured my American Thinker Column regarding Rep. Alex Mooney’s latest bill. I am incredibly grateful for this mention. CUP’s dedication to free market economics and constitutionally-backed monetary policy are a refreshing change of pace in Washington, and I look forward to witnessing their continued successes!

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Spirit of Kemp returns in Rep. Mooney’s gold standard act

Originally published on The American Thinker and The Supply Side Blog, March 29th, 2018

Yesterday, Congressman Alexander Mooney (R-W.Va.) introduced a bill to once again make the U.S. dollar convertible to a fixed weight of gold.  The legislation, H.R. 5404, was written in the spirit of Jack Kemp’s Gold Standard Act, and, as Rep. Mooney noted, it marks the first attempt since 1984 to restore a gold backing to the U.S. dollar.  While the passage of this legislation is a long shot in our current political climate (which, unfortunately, overlooks the importance of monetary policy in facilitating economic growth), this is a big deal.  Rep. Mooney’s gold standard act could reignite a much needed conversation about the importance of having a stable dollar to create soaring economic growth.

Currently, the Atlanta Fed estimates that the U.S. economy will expand at a sluggish 1.8% growth rate in the first quarter of 2018.  Conversely, the real rate of economic growth averaged nearly 4% a year when America was on the gold standard.  As Peter Ferrara noted on, since the United States got off the gold standard, real annual growth has slowed by roughly 25%.  Is it possible that the absence of real monetary integrity is to blame for this trend?  Writing for, Nathan Lewis reminds us that “the U.S. embraced the principle of stable money, and a currency based on gold, for 182 years, 1789-1971, and in the process became not only the most successful country of that time, but the most successful country of all time.  Since 1971, it has become a country that needs to be made great again.  Kemp showed us how.”  As Jack Kemp well understood, the magic formula for economic prosperity is both low taxes and stable money.  It worked for America for 182 years, and it will work for us again should we enact it.

Since economic growth has slowed since Nixon took us off the gold standard, it is prudent to examine whether our monetary policies bear at least partial responsibility for our relative stagnation.  Has the past decade of easy money really facilitated the best possible outcome for U.S. economic growth?  As Rep. Mooney wrote, the current “federal reserve note” has resulted in the U.S. seesawing “between too much and too little money in the economy.  The Fed has the impossible task of guessing the market’s demand in real time.  Its performance worsened in the 2000s because the Fed began to grade itself by how its money creation boosted the financial markets.  Today many people are so disillusioned with the dollar’s prospects that they have embraced cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.”  Rep. Mooney hit the nail right on the head.

Rep. Mooney’s gold standard act will provide policymakers and intellectual thought leaders with the opportunity to engage in a discussion on what monetary policy is the most prosperous path forward for America.  Cheers to you, Rep. Mooney, for fostering this much needed conversation.  With the introduction of this bill, the spirit of Jack Kemp and the original supply-side movement is once again illuminating the halls of Congress.

NEC Director Kudlow Praises American Thinker Column

On Tuesday afternoon, Larry Kudlow took to Twitter to thank me for supporting his appointment to the National Economic Council. I am extremely grateful for his acknowledgement. Larry’s graciousness and brilliant economic mind will serve the Trump administration–and the American people–exceptionally well. I look forward to witnessing what the future holds! Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 2.58.01 PM.png

Coming Soon: More Tax Cuts for American Workers?

Originally published on The National Pulse, March 22nd, 2018

Recently, there has been increased discussion that Congress is gearing up for a “Tax Cut, Phase II.” This is a terrific development — a second round of tax cuts will reveal in bright colors which members of Congress are for and against more money in workers’ wallets.

There are mountains of evidence to suggest that Americans have increasingly embraced the first round of President Trump’s tax cuts. In response to Trump’s legislation, over 440 companies (and counting) have offered their employees bonuses, pay raises, and increased benefits. On top of that, even CNN was forced to admit that the February jobs report was a blockbuster when they noted the 313,000 jobs added “was much stronger than economists expected and the biggest gain since July 2016.” February was also the first month that payroll withholdings were updated to reflect the new tax law.

As workers have witnessed the growth in their paychecks, they’ve become increasingly aware of the deceitful narrative sold to them during the initial tax debate. Approval ratings for Trump’s tax plan have grown to 51 percent, up from 37 percent when the law was first passed. Imagine that — only 37 percent of Americans initially supported legislation that would give them more money. The Democrat fear campaign ran strong.

Now that Americans have learned the tax cut boogeyman does not exist, Congress has tailwinds to continue putting more money in families’ wallets. As it currently stands, nearly all of Trump’s individual tax cuts are set to expire in 2025. The reason for this is that Senate Democrats filibustered Trump’s jobs bill, and the GOP was forced to craft a bill that adhered to arcane procedural rules to get around it.

A “Tax Cut, Phase II” should first and foremost make these individual tax cuts permanent (or as permanent as a tax cut can be). This will eliminate uncertainty and give American households a greater appreciation for the savings the overwhelming majority currently receive. Thankfully, House leadership has made it clear that it plans to make this point the focus of their renewed push. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady (R-Texas) stated, “Permanence is a high priority for us” on individual tax cuts. Excellent.

Democrats in the House have already voted once against tax cut benefits for workers (not one Democrat voted yes). Are they prepared to do so again? If so, House Republicans find themselves in a unique position to draw a favorable contrast with Democrats — one side supports bigger paychecks, the other side does not.

With speculation that a phase II rollout could be coming as soon as April 15th, keep your eyes peeled for more tax cuts to benefit American households. And as with the last go-around, disregard the shameless scare tactics from those who deny this legislation will have a positive impact on the economy and your wallet.