Ten Nobel Prize winning Economists attack Bush's tax cutting budget

Almost 400 economists, including 10 Nobel Prize winners have signed a statement attacking Bush’s budget. It was intended to be a budget to stimulate the economy, but drew criticism for mainly benefiting the well off.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2735269.stm

What do you think? Is this a clear sign that the Bush budget is really just there for the rich and big corporations?

A liberal think tank (The Economic Policy Institute) opposes Bush!? :eek: Halt the presses!

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that they whole heartedly endorse the plan of Senator Daschle. Why, yes! They do!

In other news, the Heritage Foundation opposes Daschle and supports Bush, while the Cato Institute says both of them are full of crap.

Lib, calling the Economic Policy Institute a “liberal think tank” negates in no way the gravitus of the economists who contribute to the Institute’s policy papers. You’ve railed against “ad hominem” attacks on Cato papers; do you really think dismissing the EPI report as “liberal” propoganda is appropriate?

I wasn’t railing against it. What did I say to disparage it? Is “liberal” disparaging? I’m merely saying that there’s no surprise or news here, unless it is also news that Heritage opposes Daschle and Cato opposes both.

Oh, look! 110 Economists Back Bush Tax Cut. Including three Nobel prize winners.

I guess both sides can play that game.

Well, I just thought it’d be nice to talk about the merits of the report without considering the supposed ideologies of the authors. It may not surprise you that EPI opposes Bush’s plan, but that says absolutely nothing about the report itself, which makes your “stop the presses” witticism absolutely meaningless except as an ad hominem. Why else make the comment? Isn’t it you who (quite admirably, btw) stands up against comments like “well, another anti-liberal rant from december; stop the presses…”, on the grounds that they fail to address the grounds of the opinion, but merely dismiss the holder of that opinion?

xenophon41,

Lib is right. If the OP had argued the substance of economic policy and been dismissed outright you would have a point. As it is, the OP merely pointed to the fact that these economists oppose Bush - the point being that we know Bush is wrong by the very fact that these Nobel Prize guys oppose him. As such, Libertarian’s comment is perfectly appropriate (especially in conjunction with Sam’s).

400 > 101

10 > 3

Looks like the liberals win this time! This is how all economic policies should be discussed… no analysis, just a roll call of economists… :rolleyes:

Every think tank has a slew of Nobel prize winners.

Define “slew”.

:wink:

Izzy and Lib, I do understand the point that these types of institutes and foundations have specific political orientations, and that it is not startling when they issue reports which conclude that their particular slant is more correct. I also understand that the OP asks “what do you think?” about the fact of the report, rather than what do we think of the report itself.

I’m just suggesting we might want to go against standard form and discuss the merits of these reports without the usual sophisticated ennui regarding “partisanship”.

Anybody disagree with the five criteria for economic stimulus suggested by EPI? Here, I’ll list them:[list=1][]A stimulus package should generate jobs and growth.[]A stimulus package should be fiscally responsible.[]A stimulus plan should take effect quickly.[]A stimulus plan should be fair. stimulus package should target unmet needs.[/list=1]After we’ve rejected or accepted any of these criteria, based on actual argument, then we can reasonably discuss whether EPI’s conclusions regarding the Bush and Daschle plans are compelling.

Except I thought the tax cut package isn’t a stimulus package anymore…it’s a “framework for long term economic growth.”

I like the first 3 point. However, note that fiscally responsibility has traditionally not meant balancing the budget. Some level of deficit has been considered OK. Too much deficit (whatever that is) would be fiscally irresponsible.

Number 4 is true but almost meaningless. We all have different definitions of “fair.” For many of us, a “fair” tax cut is one that reduces my taxes.

I don’t know what #5 means, so I would reject it.

It’s important to note that Bush’s proposal is not just a stimulus package. For better or for worse, it’s a permanent change in the tax structure. Both aspects should be considered.

Unfortunately the EPI site doesn’t allow me to directly link to the memo which set those criteria. There are explications for them, however, which adress december’s questions:

#2 (fiscal responsibility): “The purpose of any good stimulus package is only to get the economy rolling again so that the private sector can play its role in restoring economic growth. For this one-time, short-run objective, permanent, ongoing measures are inappropriate…”

#4 (fairness): “…one criterion for favoring one stimulus plan over an equally effective one should be that the favored plan avoids exacerbating income inequality and, wherever possible, acts to lessen current inequalities…”

#5 (unmet needs): “Another goal of any good stimulus plan should be to meet, where possible, unmet social needs…”
I tend to agree with #2 as a good criterion, but while I agree with #4 in principle, I don’t think it’s an absolute necessity for economic stimulus. And #5, though certainly an attractive “best case” ideal, has no bearing on the efficacy of an economic stimulus plan. Sure, it’d be groovy, but it’s an added task.

IOW, I support the first three criteria.

(Feels funny to agree -so far- with december in an econ thread…)

(And yes, I know that last remark was entirely gratuitous. It’s a perk I’m taking for addressing the substance of the debate. :smiley: )

Maybe somewhat off topic, but one thing that strikes me is the alarming situation re: state and local budget problems. Liberal or convservative, you have to agree that they are in crisis. If the federal budget is fine, but all the states are broke, isn’t that analagous to “The family is fine, but all the family members are sick.”?

Isn’t this a rewrite of the tax code, NOT a stimulus package?

Yes. However, at the time of its release it was touted as a “stimulus”, a claim the administration is no longer stressing (as Neurotik pointed out).

  1. A stimulus package should generate jobs and growth.
  2. A stimulus package should be fiscally responsible.
  3. A stimulus plan should take effect quickly.
  4. A stimulus plan should be fair.
  5. stimulus package should target unmet needs.
    I don`t disagree with the points. They are too vague to disagree with.

You need to define parameters within each point to debate them. Whats acceptable, whats not acceptable, what would appease both sides, and whats practical. These all need to be considered before any meaningful debate can take place. Words like quickly, fair, unequal and "unmet needs" are too ambigious and thats why this type of argument divides among party lines.
Each side has what it believes are the correct parameters for each of the five points.
So to say that we can have a nonpartisan debate is not practical.

I realise this is the liberal viewpoint, so we should be able to also introduce a conservative view. Or we could start all over and create debate with the five points isolated from either party.
I think that`s what xenophon41 is attempting to accomplish.

States and localities are “sick” because they irresponsibly increased spending during the boom period of the mid-1990’s, when their tax receipts were unusually high. All they have to do to get well is to reduce they spending back to the previous level. Their problem more political than economic.

That proposed solution of yours is an economic one. The cuts they must make in spending will tend to further depress their economies. Add increases in sales and property taxes to that, and your “political” problem looks a lot like an economic one to me.