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Thomas Sowell on the what the real cause of our infrastructure problem is.
Posted by Craig on 05:23:00 AM in Economics
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"This administration is not the first one in which a reduction in tax rates has been followed by an increase in tax revenues. The same thing happened during the Reagan administration, the Kennedy administration and the Coolidge administration."
Sowell is a smart guy and if you read his material, he clearly knows his data. So when he uses nominal figures rather than real figures or share of GDP (or the budget) figures, you know something is up. What's up? Well, based on reading some of his articles, it seems to me he knows very well the effect of tax cuts when tax rates are on the left side of the Laffer curve - only twice in history, real tax revenues were less than they had been five years earlier. Once was in 1984, and then again for three years in a row of the GW administration. (data from those commies at the white house omb: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2008/sheets/hist01z3.xls)
To me, this makes Sowell seem very dishonest, and I'm reluctant to read any farther into his article.
August 29, 2007 at 08:44 AM
Isn't this the pot calling the kettle black? Is it okay for cactus to selectively choose stats that appear to prove his point but not for Sowell? At least cactus now appears to admit that the Laffer Curve is real and has meaning. And of course, the dot.com bubble and 9/11 had nothing at all to do with revenues, did they? Doesn't all this contortion ever cause you any pain, cactus?
August 29, 2007 at 04:18 PM
I've never claimed the Laffer curve doesn't exist. (Heck, at Angry Bear, one of the first posts I put up was to try to show where the top of the curve happens to be, and I've had a few other attempts since. Kind of odd for a guy you imply denied the existence of the Laffer Curve, wouldn't you say?) But since you're calling me a hypocrite, feel free to point out where I did what you claim. Please. (After all, I had the decency to try to point to some evidence when I made an accusation. Can't you do the same?)
"And of course, the dot.com bubble and 9/11 had nothing at all to do with revenues, did they?"
You can use that excuse for the early part of GW's term if you'd like, but are you really advancing that as an explanation for what happened in 1984? (You did birng up painful contortions!) Bear in mind... I'm not talking about a drop in real revenue... I'm talking about a drop in real revenue that is so big that real revenues are less than they had been five years earlier. That's one heck of a hoop to jump through.
August 29, 2007 at 05:07 PM
Safety assessment of infrastructure needs to be clearly separated from construction and maintenance of that infrastructure. Otherwise, vast amounts of money will be thrown at the problem and much of it wasted on stuff that has nothing to do with safety, while actual safety problems are allowed to persist.
david foster |
August 29, 2007 at 06:33 PM
Not a difficult hoop to jump thru with selective selection of data. Always use the distraction first, though, right? You dragged in the Laffer curve, I didn't. IF its use is necessary to your 'argument' I find it odd, given other posts in which it would have seemed to have been equally useful but you didn't bring it up. I couldn't care less whether you believe in it or not, it just points up how you do what you accuse Sowell of doing, and then have the nerve to call him dishonest.
Why not address my point? In what way is *your* selective choosing of data and subsequent interpretation different from Sowell's? If he is being 'dishonest' then so are you. Pot. Kettle.
August 30, 2007 at 01:12 PM
So the fact that I don't use the Laffer curve as a tool to argue in cases where you would makes me a hypocrite? But even so... feel free to provide an example and demonstrate how it qualifies as an example of hypocrisy.
And how am I being selective in using data? I'm pointing out that when an expert looks at nominal figures, something is wrong. Sowell is an expert, and he chose not to adjust for anything - not inflation, not the size of GDP, not anything relevant (or even anything irrelevant). He simply went with revenues. Now, if that's the way you usually work with economic time series data and don't see the problem, there's not much to discuss.
FWIW, I can point to number of other articles he wrote where he does something similar. (A few listed here: http://angrybear.blogspot.com/2007/01/in-my-opinion-thomas-sowell-is-hack.html)
Now, if you can point to anything I've written where I do the same thing Sowell did, which is your contention, please do. Granted, I'm not a big shot like Sowell, but any search engine can find you anything I've written that's on-line and even a few items that first appeared off-line.
August 30, 2007 at 03:55 PM
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