Monday, September 03, 2007

How a cult hijacked American politics.

Flight of the Wingnuts

by Jonathan Chait

At that moment, there were a few points that Cheney might have made in response. First, he could have noted that the Laffer Curve was not, strictly speaking, correct. Yes, a zero tax rate would obviously produce zero revenue, but the assumption that a 100-percent tax rate would also produce zero revenue was, just as obviously, false. Surely Cheney was familiar with communist states such as the Soviet Union, with its 100 percent tax rate. The Soviet revenue scheme may not have represented the cutting edge in economic efficiency, but it nonetheless managed to collect enough revenue to maintain an enormous military, enslave Eastern Europe, fund ambitious projects such as Sputnik, and so on. Second, Cheney could have pointed out that, even if the Laffer Curve was correct in theory, there was no evidence that the U.S. income tax was on the downward slope of the curve--that is, that rates were then high enough that tax cuts would produce higher revenue.

The significance of the evening was not the conversion of Cheney but the creation of a powerful symbol that could spread the word of supply-side economics. If you try to discuss economic theory with most politicians, their eyes will glaze over. But the Curve explained it all. There in that sloping parabola was the magical promise of that elusive politician's nirvana, a cost-free path to prosperity: lower taxes, higher revenues. It was beautiful, irresistible.
Read entire article here.