Thursday, September 04, 2008

In Search Of New Agitprop

So a friend of mine emailed me an article from the NYT and asked for my "rebuttal". Here it is:

Is History Siding With Obama’s Economic Plan?

CLEARLY, there are major differences between the economic policies of Senators Barack Obama and John McCain. Mr. McCain wants more tax cuts for the rich; Mr. Obama wants tax cuts for the poor and middle class. The two men also disagree on health care, energy and many other topics.


The poor and middle class don't even pay income taxes. Something like the top 50% of income earners pay around 95% of all Federal income taxes. Right here, in the first paragraph, this Princeton economist is asking readers to swallow a sophistical premise.

Meaningful tax cuts can only be offered to those WHO PAY TAXES.

Of course, symbolic rhetorical tax cuts can be offered by class-baiters to the entire gamut of gullible Morons.

Poor people do pay disproportionate taxes on things like State lotteries and gasoline. Of course those are voluntary tax contributions. The lottery funds are mostly jobs programs for Obama's cronies in Big Education. And gasoline taxes, heck, statists like Greg Mankiw and the New York Times crowd actually want to RAISE them.

Do I really have to read the rest of this free verse agitprop?

This garbage carries on, focusing mostly on two items:

1) Economic performance during Democratic administrations versus that during Republican administrations.

2) Trends in "Inequality" during both types of administrations.

The first is childishly argued and then, to top it off, Professor Alan Binder completely self-rebuts with this:

Such a large historical gap in economic performance between the two parties is rather surprising, because presidents have limited leverage over the nation’s economy. Most economists will tell you that Federal Reserve policy and oil prices, to name just two influences, are far more powerful than fiscal policy.

Now as for the second point, "Inequality", well, I have covered that a few times already on Marginalizing Morons. Here's something I wrote three years ago:

The Gini coefficient measures wealth inequality in a given society. In this country, it has been rising steadily for 30 years – implying a widening gap between the richest and poorest. Propagandists love to pounce on this stat to show how “unfair” capitalism is, yet countries with narrower gaps (lower Gini coefficients) suffer higher unemployment, lower growth, and lower standards of living.

This vaunted Princeton professor concludes with his *surprise* ending:

The two Great Partisan Divides combine to suggest that, if history is a guide, an Obama victory in November would lead to faster economic growth with less inequality, while a McCain victory would lead to slower economic growth with more inequality. Which part of the Obama menu don’t you like?

You know, in the old days agitprop sold well during periods of economic hardship.

But today, the New York Times is blowing up; its revenue is simply evaporating.

I guess one could say that the market for propaganda is stagflating - just like everything else these days.

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