Thursday, February 10, 2011

SHORTER ARTHUR LAFFER: Watch me write a 983-word article about Reaganomics -- for a major newspaper with editors, yet! -- without once using the word "deficit."

UPDATE. Shorter is shorter, but not always better, and Doghouse Riley does the hard work of identifying some of the specific streaks of bullshit in Laffer's self-serving item. One of his digressions struck me hard:
Y'know, somebody, sometime--I nominate Mitch Daniels--needs to explain to me why simple is always better than complex, except when they decide it isn't. You don't go to a mechanic who can only work on flathead Fords. You don't go to a doctor who stopped studying surgery when anesthesia was introduced. If this were just proposed as an ethical argument that would be one thing, and bad enough at that. But it's not; it's supposed to be a declaration of apodictic certainty even though the facts say otherwise.
This hardstruck me because earlier I'd been listening (though I'd promised myself not to) to Paul Ryan at CPAC talking about how the Obama Administration/liberals/socialists/Hitler were in love with experts -- "government wizards," "bureaucrats," etc. -- and the idea that "there must be someone or some few people who have all the information." He contrasted this with the allegedly more homespun conservative concept that "each person is the world's top expert in his or her unique skills, the people as a whole understand society as a whole, no matter how complicated it gets," etc.

Bullshit. Our economy was self-evidently fucked by purported free-marketeers like Ryan who'd been telling us for years that government should get out of the way and let the people drive us to prosperity. But the "people" they were talking about weren't Joe and Jenny Six-Pack -- there were Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs. And contrary to Obama's piquant analogy, they didn't exactly drive us into a ditch -- they pushed us out of the car and over a cliff, and then drove on down the road to sinecures and prosperity.

The financiers who screwed us over were "experts," too -- and very good ones, as they successfully achieved their goal of directing a larger share of the nation's wealth into their own hands. The only experts Ryan and his buddies oppose are those who might attempt to direct some of that money back to the rest of us.

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