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View Diary: Killing Sacred Liberal Cows, or What Economists Think About the Economy (105 comments)

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  •  Somewhat agree (1+ / 0-)
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    I agree that the way income was mentioned in the diary/NPR article was not true to reality. Indeed, while there are some disincentives associated with higher marginal tax rates, the effects are much murkier as you well explained.

    However, I disagree with your second point about the uselessness of the NPR article or the diary. So bringing up these points is a complete waste of time if it's not thoroughly academic and rigorous in its economic analysis? What do you want to see more, diaries here laughing at conservatives and articles by NPR writing about the horse race aspect of politics or stuff like this? Also, your conspiracy theory of how this article is just another way of pushing a conservative agenda is not convincing. I wouldn't say the NPR piece is groundbreaking journalism (I would treat is as a light article on policy) but it is way better use of our time than most of the stuff out there. By the way, Dean Baker is not a conservative tool and is definitely not pushing a conservative agenda.

    Again, in general (not talking about you specifically), just because your views don't exactly correspond with the views you're reading doesn't mean the article/diary deserves to get attacked as worthless or propaganda etc. I personally share the skepticism about the validity of a consumption tax (especially if it's intended to replace the income tax) but I still appreciate the points the article raises. It's better we're talking about this than reading a 1000th diary on how "we must keep SS and Medicare exactly the way they are and let's tax rich people and corporations and conservatives are stupid". Yeah, I agree with the general gist of that but to read it over and over again without any nuance or openness to other ideas or perspectives (for example, we DO need to find cost savings in Medicare so the best strategy is definitely not putting it off the table which will marginalize us but to come up with ideas that preserve the benefits but bend the cost curve) is just tiring.

    •  Fair enough. (0+ / 0-)

      I agree it may have been a little unfair to have criticized the diarist so heavily. Conservative framing of the discourse about taxation has become so ubiquitous that it seems to have hijacked public understanding of economic theory at a fundamental level in ways that I find both infuriating and frightening. Consequently, my reaction to the very silly framing from the contributors to the story and the complicit spread of unchallenged, faulty economic "theory" by NPR, in conjunction with the title of the diary, elicited a bit of a knee-jerk dispatching of baby, bathwater, messenger, etc. (pick your anecdote).

      To your point about actual policy...while I understand and sympathize with your sentiments that there is a heavy emphasis on the politics and electioneering and messaging on the site, there are some substantive policy diaries that I've seen. I agree, we could use more, but Kos offers more than other information outlets, particularly MSM sources.

      Finally, on Medicare, progressives have long offered alternatives that will bend the cost curve of health services (as I'm sure you know, the real underlying driver of Medicare cost growth): a single payer system or Medicare for all. Unfortunately, the notion has been regularly and summarily dismissed or kept out of the mainstream discussion (except to be mockingly trotted out by the occasional Republican or shit-eating beltway pundit as an example of "Democratic extremism" or "scary Democratic Party socialisms"). PBS ran a great, detailed, nuanced, and fairly objective look at the world's best health care systems on Frontline, called "Sick Around the World," that I think reflects news and journalism done right. If it could get more than three viewers or if the standards of analysis and depth applied to that could be picked up by mainstream media outlets, then maybe we could have more technical policy discussions as part of general discourse.

      To get to that point, though, we need to have responsible academics not serving as mouthpieces for bad policies and misrepresenting their own discipline's theories. And we need journalistic enterprises to not recruit 5, screened economists who are nominally ideologically diverse to give people the impression that there is general academic and professional consensus that those bad policy are empirically validated or theoretically sound.

      Blogs: Twitter: realsteveholt

      by steveholt on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:06:52 PM PST

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