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The Jehoshua Novels


Reality Check, Number Beyond Counting, on Taxes and the Economy

Erika Johnsen of Hot Air moans (emphasis mine):

Last week, Sen. Rand Paul elucidated a possible fiscal-cliff route to which an increasing number of Republicans seem to be edging: Obama based much of his campaign on hiking taxes on families making more than 250k/years’, and America went ahead and reelected him. So, go ahead and let the Democrats raise taxes, and then it will be clear which party will be to blame for whatever economic backlash comes afterward.
[…]
The obvious questions still being, will low-information voters necessarily blame Democrats for the negative economic effects of tax increases? With the president’s rather amazing capacity for spinning/campaigning, it looks like Republicans may be damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don’t unless they seriously step it up on their hitherto lackluster PR-game. …

Reality point number one: There will be no “economic backlash” as a result of raising taxes. There is no correlation between tax cuts and economic growth.

Reality point number two: A majority of Americans — 60% in this Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll — support tax hikes on high income earners — specifically, couples making over $250,000 a year. And in a recent Quinnipiac University poll, “65% of registered voters support higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 per year.”

This fantasy the right has about the magic power of tax cuts to create jobs, despite all evidence to the contrary, is astounding. It’s a mass delusion.

3 comments to Reality Check, Number Beyond Counting, on Taxes and the Economy

  • May I point out that, while I generally support a tax increase, the fact that a majority of people want to do something does not in and of itself mean that it’s a good idea. A good many posts are written where the only argument made for raising taxes on the rich is that it’s popular, which is not really a sufficient argument. The speed limit was raised from 55 to 65 because it was popular, and there is every evidence that it wastes gas, increases pollution and global warming, and costs many lives. But a vast majority of people wanted it raised, so we did it. I think we need better reasons than mere popularity.

  • Kathy Kattenburg

    “I think we need better reasons than mere popularity.”

    And we have better reasons than mere popularity. Lots of them. However, there’s no point in pretending that raising taxes on the wealthy is unpopular when it isn’t. My post is about the myths about taxes that right-wingers hold and that they cling to in defiance of actual real historical experience. It’s about having the debate and making the policy based on what is true and factual, and it’s neither true nor factual to say that making the top two percent of income earners pay more taxes will wreck the economy and/or lead to a popular backlash. It’s not about arguing that tax policy should be based on what’s popular.

  • nihil obstet

    Government doing what is popular is called democracy, and I’m for it. To function effectively, democracy needs a civic infrastructure that is always in danger in the best of countries and that has been badly shredded in the U.S. over the past forty years. So let’s work for the necessary infrastructure. Let’s not sneer at “popularity”; that’s the weapon of the elites to con us into believing in elite rule.

    High popularity is a strong argument for a policy. If you disagree with the policy, you have the burden of persuading a majority of the people that they should adopt your views.

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