Sunday, September 23, 2012

How is This Not Painful?

Or maybe more correctly, how does Robert Franks end up an economics professor at Cornell?

Franks' argument in NYT is that the Nations Choices Need Not Be Painful.  He then goes on to claim that all the woes which have befallen the country can be solved with more-of-the-same.  


  • More stimulus.  Repair more roads a bridges and more people go to work.  OK.  But more people only go to work until the project is complete.  Unless there is a follow-on project and there is no indication such projects exist.  Stimulus has not worked over the last 4 years, what evidence is there that another trillion dollars will?  In the meantime, another trillion dollars in debt for future generations. That's pain.  For the 53%
  • Shifting taxes toward activities the government sees as "bad".  

Consider highway congestion. Because drivers can generally enter a congested highway without charge, they often do so — thus adding to the crowding. But many drivers would willingly pay a fee for using that road if it resulted in fewer delays. A modest congestion fee, administered with E-ZPass-style technology, would raise needed revenue and provide an incentive to use crowded roads only when the benefits outweigh the social costs.  He goes on the say that even though such a tax would harm low-income families, the tax can be increased and extended to allow redistribution of wealth.  Sounds like more pain to me.  At least for the 53%.

  • Force people to quit spending so much of their own money.  "There's too much consooooomin' goin' on 'round here".  it's your money.  You earned it.  you should spend as you please without penalty.  Once again, Franks argues for pain for the 53%.
  • Last, the Coup de Grace: The Carbon Tax.  That's pain for the 100%.  Of course, guys like Franks will make sure it is only pain for the 53%.
For Franks to claim the solution to our economic woes has little pain associated with it shows just how out of touch he is with reality.

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