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Conservative Stimulus

February 5, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

The House’s economic stimulus bill has relatively bipartisan support. It’s list of co-sponsors contains a fair mix of members from both parties and it passed the House by an overwhelming vote of 385-35. But both Democrats and Republicans have their own, more partisan proposals for stimulating the economy.

I have written a lot about the Senate Finance Committee’s economic stimulus bill that is currently being filibustered by Republicans in the Senate. It was approved by the Finance Committee with only 3 (of 10) Republicans voting in favor and it’s unclear whether Democrats will be able to find the six more (among the remaining 39) that it will be needed for it to pass in the full Senate.

Republicans have their own economic stimulus bill too. Their bill, the Economic Growth Act, was introduced to the House a few days before the leading, bipartisan bill, and it has a long list of co-sponsors, all Republicans. It’s also got the backing of big conservative think tanks like Heritage Foundation and the American Conservative Union. It has virtually no chance of being considered, but, for comparison’s sake, here are its four proposals for stimulating the economy:

  • Expands Section 179 of the tax code to allow businesses to fully deduct the cost of all assets (work vehicles, machinery, plants, etc..) they purchase in any given year. Current law requires businesses to spread the costs of infrastructure investments above $125,000 across several tax years.
  • Cuts the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.
  • Indexes the cost basis used for calculating capital gains tax rates for inflation.
  • Cuts the top capital gains tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent
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