Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Note To Matt Miller: Don't Concede A Point Just To Look Reasonable

Matt Miller has a pretty good article about how today's Republicans have become uber class warriors for the wealthy, particularly for the wealthy that got their wealth the old fashioned way -- they were born into it or they married into it. Miller calls today's current crop of Republicans "Drawbridge Republicans". In the article, Miller writes:


In case you were wondering, Ronald Reagan wasn’t a Drawbridge because he entered office when marginal rates, at 70 percent, were truly damaging to the economy. 
It's not clear why Miller wrote this. Perhaps, he believes it. More likely, he is conceding some ground here to look more reasonable and, therefore, more credible. Here is the problem: People like Miller shouldn't just concede a point to look more credible. Unfortunately, too many in the pundit class, particularly left leaning and centrist pundits, are willing to concede ground to the right in order to look reasonable. That is a mistake.

As noted by Robert Waldman, there is little evidence to support the idea that 70% marginal tax rates were all that damaging. Waldman writes:
I don't have to remind readers of this blog that 70% marginal rates sure don't seem to have been a barrier to work and investment in the 60s nor were 90% marginal rates obviously a barrier to work and investment in the 40s and 50s. 
Waldman goes on to explain more about the effect of the Reagan Tax Cuts. I recommend readers of this blog to read Waldman's entire post. Here is the link.

Here is the point. I don't mind conceding ground to the political right, if the empirical evidence actually supports the their claims.  But, I don't think that we on the left or, even centrist, should just concede points in order to look credible or reasonable. Unfortunately, too many pundits do just that. In my my mind, being reasonable and credible means having logical arguments backed by empirical evidence.

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