[FoRK] so is it for real now?

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Tue Oct 14 01:17:32 PDT 2008


On Oct 13, 2008, at 11:33 PM, Stephen Williams wrote:
> Clearly the deficit is unmaintainable.  It's not really like you can  
> point to whoever the next president is and say: "See, they raised  
> taxes as soon as they could!"  It is essentially unavoidable now it  
> seems.  The question is where and how.  Or drastically cut spending,  
> which seems even more unpopular overall..


Drastically cutting spending would be the smart move, as would be  
radically restructuring taxation even if it was revenue neutral.  My  
objections are not so much whining about what must be done, but the  
fact that we are going about what must be done in a manner that  
closely approximates the stupidest and least efficient way in many  
cases. At some point, the extremity of the stupid outweighs whatever  
benefit is supposed to be gained by the policy imposition. Stupid is  
not good just because you can use it to brute force a desired outcome  
at some outrageous price.

If we need to raise the taxes, we should be mitigating the economic  
impact by restructuring our already grossly inefficient tax system --  
we could pull the needed boost almost entirely from the inefficiencies  
in the current system. The US tax structure sucks compared to the  
European tax structures in many cases where efficiency is concerned,  
though that is partially a Constitutional matter.  Unfortunately,  
instead of smart proposals I am seeing what are among the stupidest  
possible tax policies put forward.  Anyone who thinks it is preferable  
to massively raise capital gains taxes other than as a last resort  
compared to all other taxes does not understand economics well enough  
to run a lemonade stand never mind a country. From a pure economics  
standpoint, it would be far better to raise income taxes to a  
pathological level than to raise capital gains taxes, but the fact  
that this is not even on the plate strongly suggest political  
cowardice at best and ignorance at worst.  Leadership we can count on.

I understand stupid, but I do not understand otherwise intelligent  
people hopping on a boat to Guyana with all manner of fervor.  At  
least I have empirically confirmed that my Kool-Aid immunity gene has  
low specificity.

Cheers,

J. Andrew Rogers


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