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How Bad is the Situation? It’s “Scenarious.”

26 Feb

I’ve noticed two random mistakes in online advertising recently. The first is for Cass Sunstein’s new book (the corrected version is on the right):

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The other one is for The New Republic–the reflected image is a different issue:
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I’m available to proofread if anyone’s hiring…

Annals of Bad Economic Contrarianism

30 Oct

The Economist sidesteps the supply-side debate:

THE RECENT jihad against supply-side fiscal thinking is, as far as I can tell, largely an attempt to distract people from the rather impressive distortionary effects of tax increases. Whether or not tax cuts “pay for themselves” in the short run, it remains that tax increases don’t raise as much revenue as one might hope, and, yes, may be completely self-defeating in the middle to long run. The main point of supply-side thinking is already part of conventional professional wisdom, so it really is quixotic to rail against it.

Beginning your argument with “whether or not tax cuts pay for themselves in the short run” ignores the costs of lost revenues altogether and does nothing more than avoid the debate.  Increasing deficits can lead to rising interest rates and lower capital investment (which is bad for economic growth).  Even assuming a given tax increases is a disincentive for economic growth, it still stacks up better than a revenue draining tax cut that also discourages economic growth.  At least such a tax increase (inefficient as it might be) would be revenue neutral at worst.  Additionally, calling attacks on the Laffer curve “quixotic” misses the entire reason for publicizing the power supply-siders have on the Republican party: to combat the conventional wisdom.

Asking how a tax-cut will affect government revenue isn’t an attempt to distract–its a negative argument .  One can believe the Laffer curve is more economic prestidigitation than tax policy without buying into an uncritical positive argument about the efficiency of tax increases.

Who’s Afraid of Zombie Stalin?

4 Sep

The “Wait, what?” sentence I read today:

Well, I’m not talking about the War to Make the World Safe for Democracy (World War I), the War to End Fascism (World War II) or even the Cold War, which ultimately brought down the Evil Empire, at least temporarily. (emphasis mine)

What the hell? Raise your hand if you think the Soviet Union is going to make a comeback. That’s what I thought. C’mon, this has to qualify as fundamental foreign policy unseriousness. Diana West needs to concern herself less with “The Death of the Grown Up” and more with the permissive nature of opinion journalism. Apparently, anyone with a B.A. in English can publish their personal sociological musings and political ramblings. Wait, on second thought–score!

Aggravate Your Inner Economist

23 Aug

This sentence made my inner Tyler Cowen‘s head hurt:

Poetry doesn’t need promotion. People need time. A revolutionary way to promote poetry might be to criminalize capitalism’s theft of people’s time.

I have no idea what this means. This is from a post about promoting poetry on the consistently nonsensical Harriet, a poetry blog of the Poetry Foundation. What sort of social system isn’t going to exact an opportunity cost? So you have to have to work to make money, time that could be spent writing sonnets and making sly allusions to Rimbaud. Yeah, it’s rough. On the other hand, in the socialist utopia you have to write verse about the noble workers, and the vanguard, and wear severe looking coats that go past your knees. Tough call.