It would seem that John Tammy’s disingenious attack on a tax proposal endorsed by John Podesta prompted this reply from John Podesta, which NRO had the courtesy to post. Since NRO also had the good sense to provide links and all, one might wonder if they were actually adopting a sense of decency and honesty. But then read on as this just gave Tammy an excuse to fire back with gems like:
In defending the plan’s income-tax proposal, Podesta correctly points out that “wealthier Americans” have “benefited the most from the Bush tax policies.” But he misses the fact that since “wealthier Americans” pay most of the taxes, any marginal rate cut is always going to disproportionately benefit them. Podesta cites Gregory Mankiw’s “widely read textbook,” which theorizes about tax cuts and asserts that there “is no credible evidence that tax revenues rise in the face of lower rates.” To steal a word from Podesta, citing the theories postulated in Mankiw’s book is a “tired” tactic used by the Left whenever the actual historical impact of income-tax rate cuts prove not to their liking. As Ronald Reagan once said, “facts are stubborn things.”
Facts can also be checked even if Mr. Tammy forgot to mention them. As Dr. Mankiw realized – but I guess Mr. Tammy does not – real income tax revenues per capita fell during Reagan’s term in office. Odd that Tammy hints that there is credible evidence but provides us with nothing as far as data. Better still – did Mr. Tammy bother to actually read Dr. Mankiw’s textbook? If he had, he would have seen references to the facts. Yes, facts are indeed stubborn things – even if the NRO chooses to ignore them.
Errata: Time to provide some data and one correction. Real income tax revenues rose by only 17% during the decade from the end of 1980 to the end of 1990. The civilian labor force grew by 17.5%. So real tax revenues per worker holding or looking for a job fell. Of course, the premise of Mr. Tammy’s free lunch supply-sider rherotic is that long-term fiscal stimulus increases growth even though Mankiw argues it lowers growth – and here the empirical record per the Reagan-Bush41 years is clear: growth averaged a mere 3.0% per year v. the 3.5% average between 1947 and 1980 and the 3.7% for 1993 to 2000. Oh those silly facts.