Fool me once

cabin_springI was raised in the country, born in the woods, you can’t sell me that bill or goods. — Folk Song

How many times can we be fooled?  Evidence suggests many times.  Sometimes we want to be fooled — a lady told me once she would vote for Richard Nixon because he said he would lower her taxes, even though she didn’t for a minute believe he would.

Here are some more examples:

Cut Spending — Those who would cut government spending, Tom Reed is one, believe that when the government taxes and spends less, private business will spend more to make up the difference. Business will spend more only when demand for goods and services requires it. Thus this belief is unreasonable.

The Laffer Curve suggests that there is an optimum average tax rate that maximizes revenue. Even though taxes in the United States are low compared with other developed countries, proponents seized on this idea to argue that cutting taxes (especially for the rich) would increase revenue. It didn’t work — tax rates were cut, but revenue failed to increase. Oh, well.

Small Government — Advocates of small government believe that government can do little if any good, so the less it does the better.  I don’t know of any persuasive argument that small government would protect the environment, provide for public health and safety, or promote justice for all.

Supply Side Economics — Advocates of supply side economics believe that efficient free markets are the key to economic prosperity, that regulations and taxes restrict business growth.  Seizing on this idea, politicians cut taxes, rescinded regulations, and promoted international trade agreements.  This hasn’t proven effective, but the idea has legs — right-leaning politicians, including Tom Reed, still thunder against taxes and regulations.

Trickle Down — Trickle down assumes that when the rich prosper the poor will benefit as well.  Low taxes for the rich in the United States have increased economic inequality while poverty has increased

Other mistaken ideas include “Americans aren’t going hungry,” “climate change hoax,” “default can’t happen” (and wouldn’t be bad if it did), “just say no,” “guns make us safe,” “national debt must be repaid by our children,” and “unemployed will find work if benefits are cut.” It isn’t hard to think of more.

© William Hungerford – February 2014


About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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11 Responses to Fool me once

  1. BOB McGILL says:

    Gee, seems to me that most of that stuff ” HAS ” worked in the past, or aren’t you old enough to remember REAGAN and CLINTON ? Some of that stuff is just your own gibberish !!!!!! 🙂


  2. whungerford says:

    Which ones do you think worked Bob?


  3. solodm says:

    I don’t believe cutting spending is a bad idea. What I find repugnant are the GOP theories on what to cut. While never batting an eye at cutting social safety nets, Republicans never to my knowledge, consider cutting any program, or fixing any tax code, that might endanger the rich sharing one copper penny. As George W. Bush once said in reference to economics, “”You bet I cut the taxes at the top. That encourages entrepreneurship. What we Republicans should stand for is growth in the economy. We ought to make the pie higher.”
    Somebody fooled him more than once.


  4. Barbara Griffin says:

    I’m anxiously waiting for Bob’s answer.


  5. BOB McGILL says:

    Cuting Spending, Smaller Government, Supply Side Economics, Trickle Down ———
    By the way, I overheard two clerks at the store down the road talking. They were comparing SNAP benefits among different counties and they said they would be better off if they quit their jobs and made less money. Keep in mind this is BEFORE any cuts have taken place !!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂


  6. whungerford says:

    Clerks at the store down the road aren’t a reliable source of information, Bob. You might better get your barber’s opinion.


  7. BOB McGILL says:

    My answer is that some cuts bury us in more debt, and some cuts stimulate the economy and there is an eventual return. You sometimes have to spend money to make money and then some of the spending is a dead-end give away !!!!!!!!!!


  8. BOB McGILL says:

    why because he’s a democrat ?


  9. BOB McGILL says:

    You really are a bigot. If two women on SNAP said this and really felt that way, which they did, they aren’t reliable ?


  10. BOB McGILL says:

    The only way Reed can lose the election is if the anti-incumbent sentiment is so great that a dead chicked could run and win. Which is what they will get if a democrat is elected.


  11. whungerford says:

    Bob, the question should be were the two clerks right? Evidently they didn’t believe their own story as they were still at work that day. You shouldn’t believe it either.


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