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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fact: Republican Economic Policies Suck

If you give the rich tax cuts, they'll create jobs. That's what we keep hearing. But, like all political and media debates these days, no one is required to bring any facts, no one has to demonstrate why this is so or how it supposedly happens. It's a discussion of theology, not economics, and it's only true because Republicans believe it so strongly. St. Reagan said unto the multitude that it was so and lo, it was manifest. The dogma must not be questioned.

If facts are unwelcome, then a recent report will be taboo. It turns out that people who are well-to-do are wealth collectors and don't spend money they don't have to. Not much of a surprise there. I suppose that's one reason why they're rich.

Bloomberg News:

Tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush were followed by increases in the saving rate among the rich, according to data from Moody's Analytics Inc. When taxes were raised under Bill Clinton, the saving rate fell.

The findings may weaken arguments by Republicans and some Democrats in Congress who say allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to lapse will prompt them to reduce their spending, harming the economy. President Barack Obama wants to extend the cuts for individuals earning less than $200,000 and couples earning less than $250,000 while ending them for those who earn more.

Those findings would weaken the arguments made by the tax cut defenders -- if the media were at all interested in facts. But, as I wrote yesterday, they aren't. The question in the media over this economic debate is "Who will win?" not "Who's right?" Part of the reason that this is a theological debate is because the media is just as disinterested in the facts as the tax cut fans are.

And part of the problem is that the theologies of both sides agree that conservative economic policies are good for the wealthy. While the right claims that what's good for the wealthy is good for everyone, the left maintains that what's good for the wealthy is only good for the wealthy. But that's only half the story. The rest is that conservative economic policies aren't good for anyone -- wealth collectors included.


The same findings, with more detail.

(Source for both charts)

Click those to view them full-sized. As you can see, Republican policies do benefit the top income earners most and the bottom income earners least, while Democratic economic performance is the reverse -- though not as drastically. That part of the media narrative is true. But what's missing in the debate is that in no percentile do conservative economic policies outperform liberal ones. Compared side by side, conservative policies aren't good for anyone.

So the facts are in. Republican policies are an economic bust. Case closed. Can we enter this into evidence as "Exhibit Slam-Dunk?"

Of course not. This is an American political and media debate. The facts aren't welcome here.


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