Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

I like reading what Bruce Bartlett has to say about economics and politics. He worked for the Reagan Administration in the budgeting process, so he has that republican (small ‘r’) thing going, and I always feel proud of myself for figuring out what he said, partly. This piece in the ‘Economix’ blog of the NY Times is a comment on a House Republican effort to bend the rules and the statistics so that, no matter what, the numbers will support the notion that tax cuts pay for themselves. It’s here. There is some discussion of the Laffer curve. He had an article earlier this week which discussed a time and environment during the Reagan administration when, due to high inflation, tax cuts actually did increase revenues. Those conditions do not apply now.

Over the last three years, we have seen Republicans politicize every aspect of policy making – filibustering virtually every administration bill and appointment in the Senate, risking default on the national debt by refusing to raise the debt limit, and routinely threatening government shutdowns unless the White House accedes to their demands.

It is reasonable to assume that the Republicans’ effort to alter the budget process is just another aspect of their goal to politicize policy and institutionalize their philosophy.

As my mother would say: “Wishing does not make it so.”

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