Sanity from David Leonhardt

This is, without a doubt, one of the most sane things I have read in a long, long time. I hope Congress gets the New York Times. Or at least has an institutional digital subscription.

Money quote:

“….The place where economic knowledge gets murkier is how to best deal with many of our biggest problems.

We cannot know, for example, what would happen if the government raised taxes to cut the deficit. A moderate increase seems unlikely to do much damage to economic growth, given that the increases by George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton did not prevent the 1990s boom — and that George W. Bush’s tax cuts were followed by mediocre growth. All things equal, though, tax increases do not lift growth.

Likewise, we do not know precisely how to regulate Wall Street so that it will remain the global financial capital without also being a drain on our national resources. We do not know whether the most promising attack on climate change involves a carbon tax or more money for clean energy research. We don’t know how much medical costs would fall if people had to pay more out of pocket, as conservatives advocate, or how much costs would fall if Medicare tried to crack down on dubious care, as the Obama administration prefers.

The real problem with so many of these issues is that the political system is not even trying to find solutions.

This, by the way, is the reason I am passionate about policy and politics. Solutions are hard to find. They require an open mind, research and rational discussion. In comparison, politics is easy.


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