Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Stupid Dem Talking Points

In these two cases, Democrats have taken what are genuinely debatable policy positions and have insisted on patently false and ridiculous talking points in order to make their cases.  Not that I'm in the business of giving the other side debating tips, but they'd actually be better off if they dropped these:

(1) - "Raising taxes to the Clinton-era level won't harm growth"  --  Well of course it will.  Look, there's a reasonable debate to be had about taxation and the national debt, but it's rather silly to think that raising taxes -- in whatever form that might take -- won't impact economic behavior.  This is ECON-101, folks.  You can make the case that it will work out in the end, or that it's justified in some sense, but you can't make the case that it won't impact growth.  So just stop that.

(2) - "Extending unemployment insurance is a great stimulus because the money gets spent quickly" -- This one really takes the cake.  Nancy Pelosi was lambasted when she said this a few weeks ago, and rightly so.  And yet, I keep hearing that logic come up again and again on TV.  Let me re-phrase the point -- they are saying that paying people not to work is good for the economy.  Now, as a moral matter of throwing people a welfare lifeline when they don't have a lot of good options, extending unemployment is an honestly debatable point.  But it ain't stimulus, it's welfare.  And furthermore, this whole exercise is a demonstration of why Keynesian economics is insufficient, and shows the religious zeal with which a lot of Democrats cling to a broken theory.  They would rather accept an obviously ridiculous conclusion drawn from a theory than admit that the theory is wrong.


AdamG said...

so unemployment benefits are not being put back into the economy? then where is the money going.... to save to buy themselves a porsche?

JoeCollins said...

Adam, I'm rejecting the entire idea that spending qua spending is "stimulative".

Is the UC-recipient going to put that capital to more constructive economic use than those from whom it was taken? There's every reason to believe that he won't.

The fact that a UC recipient will spend the money (and quickly) is irrelevant.

As I mentioned in my post, there is a moral dimension of throwing folks a lifeline. But it's not a scalable economic policy. Stimulus or UC money becomes less effective with marginal increases. More is not necessarily better, particularly not for very large values of "more".