Stephen Moore on the Case for Tax Reform In 1986, Congress passed an overhaul of the tax system against great odds because by "going radical," writes Stephen Moore in The Wall Street Journal. When he asks people whether we could do it again today, they say no, the atmosphere in Washington is too poisonous. "But don't be so sure. What everyone inside and outside the Beltway wants to know, given the recent economic funk, is: Where will the growth come from?" He says it can't be from another stimulus, nor can Republicans get tax cuts without closing loopholes. But there are signs of agreement in Washington. Former fed chairman Paul Volcker decried the corporate tax rate which encourages businesses to go overseas, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said "Everybody who looks at the current system says we can do better than this." "For the first time since 1986 we have Democrats--even liberals like Dick Durbin of Illinois--endorsing lower tax rates and finally acknowledging that soaking the rich with confiscatory taxes is an economic loser," he writes. Democrats should realize that reforming the tax code is the only way to stimulate growth before the election and Republicans shouldn't insist on maintaining "special-interest favors" at the expense of overall lower rates.
Emile Nakhleh on Saudi Arabia and the West Increasing demand among Arabs for freedom make the West's unquestioning support for Saudi Arabia "untenable," argues Emile Nakhleh in the Financial Times. "Saudi Arabia itself also still relies on the West to help it mute critics of its dismal human rights record, growing anti-Shia policies and export of intolerant religious doctrines." Nakhleh writes. "The reward for tolerating such behaviour is obvious: Saudi oil and natural gas, in large quantities and at reasonable prices." The Saudis purport to promote stability but in fact seek out anti-Shia policies in the larger region. With the rise of Shia power, the United States may be dragged into more Sunni-Shia conflicts caused by the Saudis. The ruling powers there face challenges in the future with growing calls for freedom and an increasingly western-educated young ruling class that will cause inner-tensions. "President Barack Obama should state publicly that the ruling monarchy must move towards genuine political, legislative and judicial reforms," Nakhleh writes. Saudis would take a public rebuke seriously and it would influence them as they decide whether to move toward reform or take a Syrian approach.