Sunday, July 13, 2008

What if Politicians Pandered to Economists?

They would:

1. Support free trade

2. Oppose farm subsidies

3. Leave oil companies and speculators alone

4. Invite more skilled immigrants

5. Liberalize drug policy

And a few more I don't agree with, from Greg Mankiw in today's NY Times

16 Comments:

At 7/13/2008 3:00 AM, Blogger juandos said...

I'm thinking Professor Mankiw is a sharp individual but on this part here I have stark disagreement with him: TAX THE USE OF ENERGY...

Well now if one wants to kill an expanding economy, wants to make sure that jobs are LESS plentiful that taxing of energy use ranks right up there with taxing the rich...

Energy (regardless of what form its in) is the life blood of an industrial economy...

RAISE FUNDS FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH seems somewhat silly because what does it that mean exactly?

Karl Marx was supposedly an economist and Paul Krugman is alledgedly an economist also...

Would any sane person want some of their earnings to go to people like these?

Does anyone want to take the advice of the these two clowns if one wants to IMPROVE the free market economy?

Then again if Uncle Sam can waste extorted tax dollars on school lunch programs why not waste a few more on something called, "economic research"?

 
At 7/13/2008 5:16 AM, Anonymous Ian Random said...

I too am appalled at the tax energy use proposition. I actually wish that they'd punish cities that didn't build out their infrastructure for cars, by diverting funds away from them for bigger freeways that avoid the city in particular. The cities got big by being a hub, if they don't want to be a hub let the hick town on the outskirts get the growth.

I want drugs to always remain illegal except hemp, but put a lot of the money into selling inert substances as drugs like oregano for pot. If someone notices they get arrested or agree to sell drug substitutes too, otherwise the cops keep the money. The fear of getting arrested to keep criminals from complaining when they get ripped off by the cops or another criminal that they think could be a cop. The market is ruined with too many knock-offs.

 
At 7/13/2008 5:20 AM, Anonymous bob wright said...

With the amount of state and federal tax dollars going to state colleges, I contend we already "raise funds for economic research".

 
At 7/13/2008 7:33 AM, Anonymous eCurrency Arbitrage said...

The above said point are really good but it focus on individual. But economy research as to be carried out.

 
At 7/13/2008 8:45 AM, Blogger Sophist said...

Juandos declaration:

"Then again if Uncle Sam can waste extorted tax dollars on school lunch programs..."

My family was not rich. Thanks for those lunch programs I wouldn't be able to finish school.

You don't look like a rich man to me either Juandos. Also, you don't seem to me like someone who attended a private school. Instead of been grateful an agency subsidized your meal cost, you complain.

They say it is the one who benefited most that will come back and try to hurt you.

Anyway, I may be wrong but I think you wouldn't survive even for a year in the economic system you vigilantly support. I may be wrong...but again I may be not...

FYI, there has been a significant change of trend of mainstreet libertarianism in the last 2 to 3 years. I talked to one who is the head of his political party in a European country. Modern Libertarians concede to the collection and spending of taxes for good causes, like school lunch programs.

For you, the next Einstein shoudl starve to death before he finished college. Or maybe the future doctor who can save the life of a friend.

Time to join the trend Juandos or feel the loneliness.

 
At 7/13/2008 8:57 AM, Anonymous diz said...

The Pigou Club is Mankiw's pet cause, so I'm not surprised to see it on his list despite the fact it probably enjoys less consensus support than the others.

I personally could support higher energy taxes under certain circumstances.

The first step is a convincing and unbiased analysis of what the tax ought to be.

The second is an offsetting reduction in income taxes. (This would actually help address one of my greater concerns, which is the continued skewing of our national tax burden onto a very few people.)

I notice Mankiw does not tackle this or even income taxes at all. I suppose he is right there is not a consensus there.

 
At 7/13/2008 9:13 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> I want drugs to always remain illegal except hemp, but put a lot of the money into selling inert substances as drugs like oregano for pot.

The only drug that should be illegal is PCP, because it can massively affect behavior long after the "high" is gone. Everything else has less addictive power than Nicotine and Alcohol, and as such, those drugs should be taxed and sold the same as everything else, with the taxes and such earmarked specifically for drug education ("This is your brain on drugs") and abuse counselling(addictive personalities are not going to be deterred from getting addicted, and it would be good to really understand this behavior, its recognition, and find mechanisms for solving its problems)

 
At 7/13/2008 9:15 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> My family was not rich. Thanks for those lunch programs I wouldn't be able to finish school.

I assume you meant "... without those programs..." (unless you're saying your mother was employed in the school cafeteria? LOL).

Further, it's quite obvious that you would have been able to finish school, you just would have gone hungry while there.

So you've managed two conceptual errors in one paragraph, genius. That's impressive even for you.

 
At 7/13/2008 9:20 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> For you, the next Einstein shoudl starve to death before he finished college.

No, he should do what Einstein actually did, which was do work utterly outside the field of physics to pay the bills while he did his work.

...But that doesn't pander to the whole "we need more taxes" mentality, does it?

It's amazing how people managed to accomplish ANYTHING before 1900 or so, when the modern tax-hungry goverment solutions were first invented.

Somehow, humanity managed to create the modern industrial state, without much taxation at all.

Yet people still claim that "without government involvement, nothing would get done". It did.

So: What ridiculous contortion of sophistry can you express for claiming it's actually required? I'm sure you have one.

 
At 7/13/2008 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's amazing how people managed to accomplish ANYTHING before 1900 or so, when the modern tax-hungry goverment solutions were first invented.

Oil is the resource of accomplishment. How will you ride the slide? Economists know squat about geophysical resource scarcity.

 
At 7/13/2008 12:54 PM, Blogger juandos said...

sophist says: "My family was not rich. Thanks for those lunch programs I wouldn't be able to finish school"...

Well I'm thinking the rest of the extorted tax dollars that went to your education were also wasted if your conspiracy theories are anything to go by...

Personally I don't care if you would've finished school or not, it doesn't give Uncle Sam the excuse to steal from the productive just to feel good about pandering to people who don't take personal responsibility for their actions...

Where, oh where does it say in the Constitution that taxpayers were responsible for feeding you since your parents by your own words weren't...

Well sophist is this a product of your time in the government run madrassas?

"You don't look like a rich man to me either Juandos. Also, you don't seem to me like someone who attended a private school. Instead of been grateful an agency subsidized your meal cost, you complain"...

Let's see, if this was baseball you'd have a pretty good batting average but it isn't...

I did go to private school all the way through college and post grad...

My parents and I worked for that...

I've yet to use any subsidized, socialist nanny state program due to something called, "personal pride"...

"Anyway, I may be wrong but I think you wouldn't survive even for a year in the economic system you vigilantly support. I may be wrong...but again I may be not..."...

Would you care to put your money where your mouth is sophist?

I'm sorry but what do I care about, "libertarianism" domestic or European? What's the point and why the digression?

Now we get to the liberal nut of it, the attempt to rationalize the theft from the productive so liberals can feel good about themselves: "For you, the next Einstein shoudl starve to death before he finished college. Or maybe the future doctor who can save the life of a friend"...

Again maybe you should read the Constitution and find out where it says its the federal government's job to handle your woes and those of your fellow travelers...

"Time to join the trend Juandos or feel the loneliness"...

The trend to the socialist nanny state, thanks but no thanks...

 
At 7/13/2008 2:50 PM, Blogger happyjuggler0 said...

I'm reasonably sure that if Mankiw could take back his notion of energy taxes, and replace it with taxes on unwanted emissions, that he would do so in a heart beat. That was sloppy on his part.

I'm also reasonably sure that his notion of added subsidies for economists was sarcastic and aimed at showing what naked hypocritical pandering looked like. Clearly not everyone got the message, pointing out once again that sarcasm doesn't translate well in print.

 
At 7/13/2008 4:14 PM, Anonymous QT said...

Mankiw supports a pigovian tax (gas tax) because he contends it is less a distortionary method than cap & trade for reducing gasoline consumption and therefore, CO2 emissions.

Negative impacts on growth are associated with all public policy proposals currently being considered to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 
At 7/13/2008 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sophist,

Check the chip on your shoulder at the door. What do you offer other than snide remarks and invective directed at others. Grow up or get a distemper shot (or both).

Kindly direct your attention to the subject of this post: the article by Greg Mankiw.

Demonstrate your intelligence so painfully absent in your previous post.

 
At 7/13/2008 9:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raising the retirement age is a tough one for me to handle, but then I'm older (not old!) and my retirement age has already been raised once. That would be a tough adjustment for those of us who are close to retirement age.

The taxing of energy would be adding salt to an already open sore. Others have pointed out that cheap energy is vital for an industrial economy.

It may make more sense than raising CAFE standards, but right now to the consumer, the CAFE standards don't matter. Your pocketbook and wallet are calling the shots - if that weren't the case GM, Chrysler, Ford and Toyota wouldn't be closing/consolidating truck plants.

I'm seeing people's driving habits change, including truckers. I myself have changed my driving such that I used to get 35 MPG, now I consistently get 42 MPG. That's a savings of 110 gallons a year.

Now, if you're going to raise fuel taxes, please do it steadily and gradually over many years and don't change it every year. People and business can accomodate those changes if they are gradual, long term and they can plan properly for it. If I knew gas would be going up to $8 a gallon (including taxes) over the next five years, I could adjust to that.

Heating fuel increases are more troublesome because there is less one can do to quickly adjust to the increases. My LP prices are going to have a larger impact than gasoline prices, although gas gets all the headlines.

Perhaps Dr. Mark didn't list these because they are less ubiquitous across economists???

 
At 7/14/2008 11:35 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Hey anon @ 10:29 AM you might want to consider the possiblity that Peak Oil might be more mythical than real...

Hmmm, I see that Professor Mankiw with regards to taxation tends to fold like a cheap envelope but in doing so his logic really can't be faulted...

I'm wondering if Professor Mankiw like John Stossel believes in the inevitability of more and bigger government?

If history is a guide then we'll have problems regardless of how much we are taxed...

Still I'm surprised that Professor Mankiw doesn't seem to address the problem of when are the gasoline taxes are hurting the economy...

Higher gasoline a boon for governments, not refiners

 

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