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Race in '08: A First Glance


Which party better understands taxes, the economy and what it takes to launch a new company?

The Iowa Caucuses will be held January 3, kicking off the presidential nomination process, followed by the New Hampshire primary on January 8. The Democrats and Republicans are almost certain to have their presidential nominees on February 5 – "Super Tuesday" – when 23 states, including California and New York, hold primaries or caucuses.

The election season raises basic questions for investors: Which party better understands taxes, the economy and what it takes to launch a new company?

Have the Democrats had an idea since the New Deal? Sometimes, you wonder. This raises a basic point: was President Roosevelt the economic savior of popular history? If not, why do Democrats embrace the New Deal's legacy? Do Rep. Charlie Rangel's proposed tax hikes mean the end of a pro-growth agenda? What does President Clinton's failed BTU tax tell us about his grasp of Economics 101? Can the Democrats rightfully claim credit for the 1990s boom?

Ah, the Republicans. Their big spending ways cost them their majorities in the House and Senate in 2006. Have they forgotten that the point of tax cuts is to spur economic growth – not to raise additional tax revenue for pet spending programs such as the "bridge to nowhere" in southeast Alaska? Tax cuts work as advertised. President Reagan rediscovered the wonders of lower marginal rates and President Bush didn't forget the lesson. But the Democrats seem to have kicked President Kennedy's tax cuts down the memory hole. Will the Republicans claim President Kennedy's mantle as a tax-cutter in the current election cycle?

We don't discuss individual candidates because Minyans can make their own decisions. Instead, personal finance reporter Scott Reeves provides a bit of context to help investors make sense of the campaign flapdoodle.

Here's the story lineup:

How Democrats Failed to Learn from FDR's New Deal
FDR's New Deal did nothing to restart the nation's economic engine; that took rearmament for World War II.

Rangel's Toxic Tax Hike
The heavy hand of government giveth and taketh away – simultaneously.

Politicians Routinely Claim Credit for Wall Street's Successes
The real credit for growth of the nation's economy goes to those who built it with talent, energy, and a willingness to take risks.
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