Are we too quick to believe what’s incredible?

snake oil

 

We Americans have a liking for snake oil. No matter how unreasonable or bizarre an idea, we are often willing to embrace it for a time. Here are some examples:

    • Domino Theory justified Viet Nam war
    • JFK’s missile gap
    • Trickle down
    • Lower taxes increase revenue
    • Star Wars Spending
    • Small Government is best
    • Balance Federal budget in good times and bad
    • Myth of the Welfare Queen
    • Iraq was responsible for the attack on the WTC.
    • Quick and easy war for oil in Iraq
    • Taxes are now higher than ever
    • Cutting benefits reduces unemployment
    • Rescinding environmental regulations creates jobs
    • When government gets out of the way and stops imposing leftist ideology, things will get better.

Some of the above are plausible but unproved, some are silly, some are simply false. Nevertheless, we have swallowed such stuff in the past and are likely to do so again.

When something seems wrong, it probably is wrong. So when we are told that lower tax rates will result in increased revenue, that cutting benefits to the unemployed will help them find jobs, or that rescinding environmental regulations creates jobs, we ought to be skeptical.

Tom Reed says he seeks common sense in government, but then he feeds us the GOP party line–nonsense like much of the above. There is no common sense or any sense in that.

© William Hungerford – April 2014

 

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About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com 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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5 Responses to Are we too quick to believe what’s incredible?

  1. Barbara Griffin says:

    I believe it was Hitler’s philosophy that “If you tell a big enough lie often enough…”.

    • BOB McGILL says:

      And one thing policymakers and journalists — and voters — should be sure of is that cutting tax rates can be a pretty effective way to boost economic growth. And raising tax rates hurts economic growth. I could point to numerous studies and historical examples. But here’s just one, a study from Christina Romer, President Obama’s former top economist: ”Tax increases appear to have a very large, sustained, and highly significant negative impact on output … [and] tax cuts have very large and persistent positive output effects.”
      Now some folks, mostly found on the left, would like to believe this economic reality isn’t so. They would like to believe that America can pay for the coming deluge of entitlement spending by raising taxes on the rich with no impact on economic growth.

      Example: this opinion piece from liberal New York Times columnist David Leonhardt, which suggests tax cuts don’t lead to higher economic growth. Basically, his whole argument is one of simple causality. There have been times when high taxes rates and high economic growth have peacefully coexisted. In fact, growth has been higher in the U.S. when taxes have been higher. Leonhardt seems to think this conclusion from a Congressional Research Service is an argument ender:
      http://www.aei-ideas.org/…/sorry-new-york-times-tax-cuts-sure-do-lead-to- economic-growth/‎CachedSimilar
      Sep 17, 2012 … And one thing policymakers and journalists — and voters — should be sure of is
      that cutting tax rates can be a pretty effective way to boost …
      There are a lot of opposing views on this, but for the short term, say 5 years, tax cuts do work.

      • BOB McGILL says:

        Tax Relief for Middle-Class Families
        President Obama has cut taxes for middle class families every year he has been in office, and federal taxes for middle class families are currently at nearly their lowest levels in decades

        http://www.whitehouse.gov/economy/…/tax-relief-for-160-million-workers‎CachedSimilar
        President Obama has cut taxes for middle class families every year he has been
        … small businesses are engines of economic growth, and that their investments

        • whungerford says:

          If it is true that taxes for middle class families are at nearly their lowest level in decades, then Tom Reed’s claim that taxes are at an all time high can’t be right. Or perhaps Tom deceptively meant that tax revenue is at an all time high, but that would be a good thing.

      • whungerford says:

        Incredible, if true.

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