Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rupert Murdoch will be an improvement

I don't read the Wall Street Journal editorial page. I've been convinced for a long time that they are uninterested in any evidence that might contradict their extreme ideology. A recent example shows that they are willing to distort truth. This has been adequately covered in many other blogs, among them:

http://blog.sciam.com/index.php?title=are_journalists_innumerate_because_the_e&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2007/07/a_laughable_laffer_curve_from.php


http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2007/07/caccianli-i-cie.html


http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/07/the_stuff_of_legend.php

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2007/07/yet-again-tax-c.html

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2007/07/mark_thoma_takes_what_feels.cfm

It is pretty bad when Rupert Murdoch will be an improvement in credibility. Instead of bogus graphs we can look forward to drawings of nearly naked women.

7 Comments:

Blogger Ezzie said...

That's ridiculous. The WSJ's isn't great, but it's clear that the highest percentages fall into that middle range. Norway isn't a lone outlier. There are no countries with a 35+% rate that get 4.0%+.

Nevertheless, the whole graph is stupid. That's not what the Laffer curve is for at all. The Laffer curve is about whether people will find it worth it to work the more money being taken from them. Obviously, Laffer is correct in theory; but in terms of corporations, it doesn't make much of a difference. By corporations, the question is if taking corporate money has a negative or positive effect on the economy - the more you take, the slower the economy grows, while the less you take, the faster it can grow. The problem is either extreme: If you take too much, obviously it really hurts the economy. If you take too little, it won't get reinvested, but rich people will be sitting on the money and it helps nobody.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

If you read some of the links, you will find agreement on your last point: Eventually you do get less revenue when you increase taxes to a sufficiently high level because incentive disappears. This can be tested empirically, and it appears that there is almost no country in the world that has reached that level. The peak of the Laffer curve is far beyond the range of the data in the graph.

There is actually some evidence that shifting overall tax burden from businesses to individuals has positive economic effects; some of the fastest growing economies in Europe such as in Ireland have done this. But that may be politically impossible in the US.

The WSJ is trying to win its argument with doctored statistics. They should be ashamed of themselves. But they might soon be out of jobs, so maybe I shouldn't kick them while they are down.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

The best thing about the Journal is that the wall between the news and editorial divisions is high. I can't tell you how many times I read an editorial only to have its premises blown out of the water by a news article published the same day.

I don't think Murdoch will keep this wall intact, and thus I hope the sale won't go through.

4:31 AM  
Anonymous Kylopod said...

Isn't he what turned The Sun into a tabloid, which recently published a new variation on the old urban legend about a rat sold as a chihuahua, a story that a USA Today columnist actually accepted at face value on his blog?

Whatever problems WSJ may have, I seriously doubt Murdoch will be an improvement.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Well, no - they're probably right that that's about where the curve's peak should be. Look at not only this country over the last few years (or decades), but Israel. It seems pretty obvious that it's either 35%~ or lower.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, why exactly would you be looking for objectivity in an editorial page?

Second, if youre looking for an objective editorial page, what paper do you read? Surely you would agree that the wsj is no more ideological than the NYT or Wapo. In fact, nyt is probably more hysterical and ideological than the wsj, although it is pretty close.

If you fail to see the heavy partisanship in those pages, its unlikely that an objective analysis is what youre really looking for. People usually dont have a problem with a partisan viewpoint if it happens to agree with their own.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

I don't expect objectivity. It is perfectly appropriate to take any facts and spin them to their argument.

But when they distort facts, I will call them on it. This time, they got caught red handed. This is like the postmodernist relativism that says that facts are entirely the creation of the individual's perspective. It is also similar to the junk science that used to come out of the Soviet bloc that they used to justify their collectivist policies.

8:27 AM  

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