Beale/ NYT room for debate…Extending the tax cuts for the wealthy
by Linda Beale
crossposted with Ataxingmatter
Extending the tax cuts for the wealthy–the discussion continues
The New York Times asked me for my views of Robert Samuelson’s recent argument in the Washington Post that extending the tax cuts for the wealthy made sense because they would otherwise cut back their spending, tax cuts for them will create jobs (770,000, he claims) and not extending the tax cuts would raise taxes on “small” businesses and thus “discourage hiring and expansion.”
The discussion appears in theNew York Times “Room for Debate” forum on the trickle down argument, at Hey Big Spenders: The Trickle-Down Argument, Sept. 27, 2010.
Here at ataxingmatter I’ll add some introductory context, which is somewhat harsher on Samuelson and his claim to question “the ritual of sound-bite economics” than the short form posted at the New York Times.
Robert Samuelson claims to sound a voice of reason, but he is merely part of an increasing cacophony of ideological extremism.
He starts with a distorted sound-bite—that “the left sees salvation only in ever-larger government … [that] threatens long-term economic growth through higher taxes, regulations or budget deficits.” I’d say rather that the left questions the right’s theories behind expanding government intrusions on individual rights and bloating government warmongering rather than relying on the likely more successful and certainly less costly art of diplomacy. On the other hand, the right pushes for deregulation no matter the record of negligence and active harm caused by reliance on so-called industry self-regulation or the harm that ensues from inadequate prudential behavior, which we so amply witnessed in the financial meltdown and broader economic crisis of the Great Recession. Similarly, the right is schizophrenic on budget deficits—favoring them to provide tax cuts for mega-corporations and wealthy Americans who can amply manage without them, but bemoaning even uncertain future deficits from programs benefitting ordinary Americans, such as Social Security.
Samuelson then attacks Obama as “subvert[ing] confidence” because he “fights Wall Street bankers, oil companies, multinational firms, health insurers and others.” These titans of commerce began the fight when they retained all productivity growth for their owners and managers at the expense of ordinary Americans. Health insurers benefited by denying coverage, or delaying payment. Multinationals drained the federal fisc through transfer pricing games, tax credit manipulation and other tax shelters. Oil companies polluted waters and fisheries to save a few bucks on safer deep sea drilling and companies continue in their efforts to stymy legislative action to regulate questionable fracturing procedures to extract natural gas from shale. Wall Street bankers profited immensely from speculation in a casino financial system with interconnected and layered risks at the expense of the non-financial heart of the economy.
Then Samuelson spouts the worn arguments from Reaganomics for letting the rich avoid a fair share of the tax burden, even while they garner an ever increasing share of the nation’s wealth. (Continue to the New York piece, Better Ways to Use $700 Billion.)
The pretense of reason is just one more tool in the policy salesman’s kit. For those who like their politics emotional and stupid, we have Beck, Hannaty and their ilk. Others like to think they are being hard headed and rational, and are allowed to think so by having Samuelson and Will and Brooks adopt a reasoned pose. A big tent requires something for every taste.
If you check what Samuelson actually says, he is serving up emotion under the guise of thought. That sound-bite Linda identifies is pure provocation. He’s condemning allowing a budget-busting tax cut on the basis of “the left” supporting deficits. Utter contempt for his readers intellect, while pretending to be the “thinking man’s” critic of the left.
And there’s the trick. It’s always the left that’s the problem for Samuelson. Tax cuts good, regulation bad, even when tax cuts have busted the budget and lax enforcement of regulation brought on financial dreck. Samuelson is just an intellectual thug for hire who dresses up before going out.
It is all contrivance and this Samuelson is not the Samuelson, which confuses some of us.
Read a couple of recent Washington Post articles about the war machines’ travales. By American Enterprise Inst and Center for New American Security.
It would sound like the old stuff (implied US not spending enough on tools of war when the issue is ineptitude and corruption) is making it impossible to break through China’s coastal defenses. As if China were an enemy?
No mention that China spends about $60B on their whole PLA (covers Navy and Air Force too) while the US spends nearly a trillion a year and the fact the stuff is old is the ineptitude and waste in the military industrial complex which does not deliver.
Good thing the articles in the Post are by novelists selling the US on war profiteers for militarist poverty, and have no concept of threats.
Think tanks are contrivers.
So, what good any media?
is correct. i tend to forget that other people may not have caught on to robert samuelson, but it is a shame that real people have to waste their time “refuting” him. what puzzles me is do “the rich” believe this stuff, or is it all just a way of winning elections by convincing the poor and stupid that the rich are on the side of reason?
Good point. The Samuelson died about a year ago, I believe.
I think it’s like the X-Files. It’s because you wanna believe.
More like the Matrix, you need blue pills to stay connected, don’t seek truth.
you might or might not have a point. it’s hard to tell at such a superficial level. but generally republicans RUN on De-regulation, so it’s fair if the anti-Republicans use that as part of the political theater.
Stick to playing guitar….
…with yer teeth.