Thursday, June 23, 2005

No Knave, No Fool

Some commentators have taken issue with my denominating those who follow Republican economic nostrums as being either knaves or fools. I have detailed at some length on this blog the outright lies of the right wing commentators with respect to the tax system (e.g., that the estate tax threatens closely-held family businesses and farms, that the U.S. tax system is beginning to burden the wealthy, etc.) and their willful omission of critical facts (e.g., that if you abolish the estate tax and replace the revenue loss by repealing the basis step-up rules, you shift the tax burden from the very wealthy to the less wealthy).

I believe that when individuals supporting a proposition regularly and repeatedly lie about the facts of their proposals and regularly and repeatedly fail to set forth relevant facts, they can justifiably be classified as knaves. I also believe that when the lies and omissions appear with sufficient regularity and are as egregious and transparent (or easily discoverable) as they are, individuals who buy the crap that these individuals are selling can justifiably be called fools.

Nouriel Roubini regularly demonstrates that he is neither a knave or a fool. In one posting (Deja Vu Voodoo Economics...or Supply Side Voodoo Black Magic...), he demolishes the theoretical underpining of the right's economic policy. He did a similarly masterful job on Bush's proposal to gut Social Security (Social Security Privatization as the Mother of All Con-Man Smoke-and-Mirrors Shell-Games). These postings are, by blog standards, fairly long. Yet, they're very readable. He proves that, without any question, there are knaves and fools out there.

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