Pete Spiliakos is a columnist for First Things.

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Very, Very Quick thoughts

From First Thoughts

 More on Thursday, 1. Romney beat down Perry every time they clashed. But Romney’s evident dislike of, and contempt for, Perry was unattractive (I think.) Romney came out on top despite fierce criticism - though he got some dings. He isn’t my guy. My guys aren’t running, but . . . . Continue Reading »

Sell High

From First Thoughts

 So Stephen Moore is suggesting that Cain should (will?) drop the 9% sales tax in his plan and replace it with a 9% payroll tax. So we are having a discussion about enormous changes to our tax system during an era of slow growth and enormous budgets. The discussion seems to have a acquired an . . . . Continue Reading »

Enjoy It While It Lasts

From First Thoughts

The Cain boom is in its final weeks.  National Review has found the frame for attacking the 9-9-9 plan.  It is a 9% VAT + a 9% sales tax + a 9% income tax.  Now I don’t think that National Review editorials move a decisive number of votes, but the argument that Cain is going to . . . . Continue Reading »

Cain He Balance the Budget In One Year?

From First Thoughts

So Cain has said he would balance the budget in his first year as President.  He has also promised not to cut Medicare or Social Security in the first year.  He also suggested that he would prefer to keep more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan than President Obama would prefer.  So . . . . Continue Reading »

Just Asking

From First Thoughts

Unlike the current tax code, the 9-9-9 plan doesn’t allow businesses to deduct employee wages from their tax liabilities.  Doesn’t this amount to a hidden 9% payroll tax (though without some of the payroll taxes’ distorting effects?)  If I’m wrong I’ll . . . . Continue Reading »

Random Thoughts

From First Thoughts

1. It looks like the 9-9-9 plan is getting some real scrutiny.   Cain is going to have trouble sustaining the argument that “Sure the math makes it look like my plan is a tax increase for the working poor and much of the middle class, but my advisors assure me that you should not believe . . . . Continue Reading »

More Debate Thoughts

From First Thoughts

1.  Avik Roy nails it on why Romney is getting away with murder on Romneycare.  There is a lot there, but one take away is that Romney is a very smart guy who works very hard on his evasions.  His opponents are lazy and short sighted when it comes to health care policy.  They . . . . Continue Reading »

Quick Debate Thoughts

From First Thoughts

1.  I thought Romney killed it.  He actually took some heat in this debate, but fended off the questions great.  God love him for giving a shout out to Milton Friedman. 2.  Perry was awful.  His perseverating on energy production made him sound like he only knew about . . . . Continue Reading »

Why We Are In So Much Trouble

From First Thoughts

Reihan Salam describes Christieism as being a politics that “connects the burden of a bloated and inefficient government with the everyday struggles of working Americans. “  Fair enough, but we are going to need more than this Christieism.  As Salam mentions in his essay these . . . . Continue Reading »

Notes On Perry

From First Thoughts

Didya miss me?  Don’t answer, 1.  I think Perry is undervalued at this point.  The salience of Texas’ job creation should come back over the next several months.  Perry could hardly become more incompetent at attacking Romney.  If he has the chops, he’ll . . . . Continue Reading »