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mercatus scholars on sotu

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Dec 11, 2009
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Mercatus Scholars on State of the Union

On Manufacturing

The president was right to recognize that American manufacturing is again surging and that employment is growing in sectors that once expanded only abroad. But he was wrong to give the impression that growth in manufacturing employment will become the Lone Ranger for rescuing millions of American unemployed workers. There is just too little labor used in manufacturing to accomplish that feat, and employment per unit produced is falling, not rising. - Bruce Yandle, Mercatus Center Senior Scholar

It's telling that the president used the word 'blueprint' when laying out an economic plan built on manufacturing, because it reflects a bipartisan belief that the government ought to be acting as an architect for the economy. But there is no reason to believe that the government will be able to pick winners and losers more effectively than the private sector. In fact, there is reason to believe that a handful of bureaucrats and politicians are much more likely to get it wrong, compared with all of the information and ideas that our economy produces. - David Primo, Mercatus Center Senior Scholar

On Economic Fairness:

The president's theme on economic fairness has a fatal flaw: It contains the underlying idea that profits are bad and that if people have too much profit, then the government needs to take it and redistribute it so they can 'level the playing field.'

Steve Jobs was worth more than $8 billion when he died because we freely gave that money to him in exchange for the products he produced, not because it was taken from someone else and handed over to him. - Antony Davies, Mercatus Center Senior Scholar

On Housing

The NCIS-type investigation unit for mortgages is on top of the FBI, state bureaus, the Fed and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency examiners, the FDIC and SEC enforcements divisions, Treasury and others. This is such regulatory overkill that it boggles the imagination. I am surprised that lenders lend at all given the leviathan oversight from the government. - Anthony Sanders, Mercatus Center Senior Scholar

On Corporate Taxes

The president is absolutely correct when he says that there are too many ways for corporations to game the tax system; he is absolutely incorrect when he proposes yet more deductions and tax code complexity to solve the problem. A better idea: how about simplifying the tax code so that corporations can make hiring and investment decisions that are driven by economics instead of tax policy? - David Primo, Mercatus Center Senior Scholar

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