Monday, August 09, 2010

ah would some power the gifter give us...

Great headline in Sunday's NY Times: "A Gift the Wealthy Don’t Need"

and people, you just know the "gift" in question is a chunk of their own money.

Then today PK takes up the same cudgel: "But isn’t keeping taxes for the affluent low also a form of stimulus? Not so you’d notice. When we save a schoolteacher’s job, that unambiguously aids employment; when we give millionaires more money instead, there’s a good chance that most of that money will just sit idle."

Let's break this BS down piece by piece, ok?

"When we save a schoolteacher's job that unambiguously aids employment".

It may well aid employment, but it's hard to be certain without knowing what the alternative use of the money might have been. It's also not the case that "we saved a job" means the policy was a correct policy. "At what cost" still remains relevant.

"when we give millionaires more money instead".

This is the real stunner. First, families earning $250,000 or more is not exactly the same thing as "millionaires".

Second, we "give" them?


I am pretty sure it's their money to begin with and "we" are talking about how much to take. There's no gift giving involved.

Here's another PK gem:

"In effect, a large part of our political class is showing its priorities: given the choice between asking the richest 2 percent or so of Americans to go back to paying the tax rates they paid during the Clinton-era boom, or allowing the nation’s foundations to crumble — literally in the case of roads, figuratively in the case of education — they’re choosing the latter."

People, the "gift to millionaires" we are debating is just not that much money compared to the kind of budget hole we face. PK elsewhere says the lost revenue would be "$700 billion over a decade", i.e. $70 billion a year.

That's not going to re pave America folks. It's kind of small potatoes (is that right or did I just go all Dan Quayle on the English language). We are going to need a lot more than that from the millionaires to achieve PK's vision.

Finally, I don't see how anyone can say with a straight face that the problem with our educational system is too little money is being spent!



Tom said...

Angus, you left out the "money will just sit idle" gem. PK knows that Rich people (like him?) neither spend nor invest their money. They put it in great vaults and swim in it or else they pile it up and burn it. It's SO wasteful; then the Fed has to create new money from nothing to compensate.

Anonymous said...

Since almost half of the households in the US pay no fed income tax, wouldn't his argument apply to them as well? Their money can also sit idle or save jobs - so why allow them to have any disposable income? If everyone has a tax increase won't we all be better off?

pkd said...

Krugman probably earns well over $100,000, not to mention whatever his net worth is. The median personal income for Americans is around $25,000, not to mention world incomes, which are much lower. Krugman's being given far too much money.

David said...

It's not clear why Krugman is allowed to hold two jobs, especially given he is a high-income individual and probably buries the money from his second job in a hole. There are plenty of people capable of making partisan, incoherent arguments that could use the money.

terrapin said...

You don't understand. Krugman doesn't dig his own money burying holes - that wouldn't stimulate AD at all. The gov't pays people to dig his holes; he just wants/needs more of them.

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