Friday, July 1, 2011

Catch of the Day

Andrew Sullivan gives a "Malkin Award" to Rush Limbaugh for this gem: "There is a revenue stream called tax cuts."

This goes back to what I was saying yesterday: if Republicans really believe what they say, then of course they can perfectly reconcile in their own minds a policy of insisting on tax cuts and deficit reductions. They can insist on numbers that just don't add up to people who are enslaved to the tyranny of, well, math.

Note by the way that the idea that certain tax cuts, in certain circumstances, can in fact be good for long-term fiscal health. Indeed, many Democrats are currently arguing that running large(r) deficits now, either through tax cuts or additional spending, is good for long-term fiscal health. Both of those positions may or may not be true, but they're very reasonable. The key point however, is that the parties are simply not anywhere close to equivalent on this: Republicans increasingly believe, or at least claim, that all tax increases of any kind and in any context are always so bad for the economy that they will result in less revenue; all tax cuts, of any kind and in any context, will cause the economy to boom. Those types of claims are simply economic nonsense. And, in my view, it's always a good idea to call people out on peddling nonsense, no matter how many people believe it.

So: nice catch!


  1. Republicans don't believe that tax cuts help the economy, they believe that tax cuts help them amass more money, which is true.

    Limbaugh, on the other hand, is addicted to getting idiots, er, I'm sorry his listeners, to believe anything he says. The more outlandish the better. It is just a drug to him.

  2. This is yet another example of the broader problem of the Laffer Curve: like so many sociological phenomena, it applies sometimes and not others, with ideologues inevitably arguing it is either universally valid or flawed.

    I mean, when Reagan dropped the top marginal rate from 90% to 80%, the principle of the Laffer Curve played out because the government's direct revenues dropped by 11% (10/90) while the taxpayer's take-home went up by 100% (20/10). The taxpayer's windfall more than offset the government's direct loss in the case of Reagan's cut. Here at the current ~30% top marginal rate, the same clearly doesn't apply.

    As an aside, the Laffer Curve is one of a million reasons I reject pure partisanship; sometimes its best for things to be this way, other times that, and I think parties rely way too much on purity such that they end up sounding stupid, on ideological principle, about half the time.


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