The Bob Dylan Plan for Economic Growth

I bought the Witmark Demos a week or so ago, because I could always use another 50 Bob Dylan songs, and listening to them on shuffle play has managed to earworm me with one song in particular, “I Shall Be Free”, which it occurs to me has great current relevance:

Well, my telephone rang it would not stop

It’s President Kennedy callin’ me up

He said, “My friend, Bob, what do we need to make the country grow?”

I said, “My friend, John, Brigitte Bardot

Anita Ekberg

Sophia Loren”

You might think Dylan’s plan for prosperity through importing attractive foreign women is a little fanciful, but it’s at least as plausible as the “more tax cuts” “plan” of the Tea Party crowd, and a good deal more fun. We had more entertaining radicals back in the 1960′s.

Even better, the last forty-odd years of economic research have shown that it’s possible to double the growth rate of the Kennedy years, by importing good-looking foreign men as well as women. Why, with this plan, we could put a man on the Moon in five years, or one man and one woman on two different moons inside of a decade.

Of course, the song does need to be updated with some celebrities who are more, shall we say, au courant. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments.

(I had vague thoughts of posting something more serious this morning, but the ScienceBlogs server meltdown derailed that, and now I just have time for a shower between leaf-raking and the Giants game. So you get frivolous political pop culture.)

(On a marginally more serious note, it’s really interesting how the official lyrics provided by Dylan’s publishers are not at all what he sings on the actual record (either the Witmark Demo version or the Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan album version). This is a recurring problem with his lyrics, made worse by the fact that his voice is sufficiently bad that you often can’t quite tell what he really said, only that it’s not what’s on the lyrics sheet.)

Comments

  1. #1 Mike Haubrich
    November 7, 2010

    Quite frankly, I am not sure that by mentioning Bridget Bardot, Sophia Loren and Anita Ekberg he was referring to economic growth.

    And, so by looking to name some more current foreign celebrities, I would be nervous to imply that some are sexier than others.

  2. #2 James Barnhart
    November 8, 2010

    He’s talking about erections.

  3. #3 Taxman/Mr. Wilson/Mr. Heath
    November 8, 2010

    Hmmm. I’ve always thought that those who favor higher taxes should just send more of their own money to the taxman. What’s the problem? They’ll gladly take it. Why drag everyone else into your pet schemes? Declare the pennies on your eyes dudes!

  4. #4 Singing Bear
    November 8, 2010

    ‘…his voice is sufficiently bad…’

    Are we talking about the same Bob Dylan?

    All the same, I like your thesis.

  5. #5 JW
    November 8, 2010

    Chad, I don’t think Mr. Dylan would be impressed with your work. The ‘tax cut crowd’ is actually far older than the Tea Party – in fact, one of its chief leaders of the past was none other than John F Kennedy. Also, please understand that there are no political leaders out there currently advocating cutting the income tax rate from where it now.

    “Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government.”

    – John F. Kennedy, Jan. 17, 1963, annual budget message to the Congress, fiscal year 1964

  6. #6 GaryP
    November 9, 2010

    Actually, what Kennedy did was CUT taxes

    A quote from April 20, 1961: “A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits.” Also, it turned out HIGHER government revenue.

    You think you are clever but like most liberals, you know nothing but the propaganda fed to you by the MSM!

    Never in human history has a nation be led by such a bunch of immature, arrogant idiots so certain that everything they think they know (all of it incorrect) is right.

  7. #7 CCPhysicist
    November 14, 2010

    Yo, Gary P and JW, you do know that President Obama cut taxes by more than a quarter trillion dollars as part of the stimulus bill, right?

    It always amazes me when middle class people complain about a tax cut that mostly went to the middle class (the stimulus bill) and then come out in favor of extending a tax cut solely for millionaires. I never knew there were so many people with incomes over a quarter million a year or an estate worth more than three million dollars. The economy must be booming!

  8. #8 slowtrain
    August 15, 2011

    It is, ironically, the same JFK whom Dylan mentions that cut taxes, sparking healthy growth. Later, we would refer to such supply side strategies as Reaganomics. How inconvenient that JFK doesn’t fit cherished liberal economic beliefs. The Kennedy tax cuts focused first on business in 1962, two years before the 1964 rate reductions. Depreciation reform and an investment tax credit were the two key ingredients that lowered the cost of production and got the economy moving.

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