Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Business Insider reports on a new study from the U.S.' Congressional Research Service showing that in addition to exacerbating inequality, top-heavy tax cuts rank somewhere between useless and downright harmful when it comes to overall economic growth:
According to a new study by the Congressional Research Service (non-partisan), there's no evidence that tax cuts spur growth.

In fact, although correlation is not causation, when you compare economic growth in periods with declining tax rates versus periods with high tax rates, there seems to be evidence that tax cuts might hurt growth. But we'll leave that possibility for another day.
... The following charts show the correlation between tax rates and economic growth over the periods above. The slope of the solid line in each chart is the key.

The lefthand chart shows that there is no correlation between GDP growth and the top marginal tax rates. The righthand chart shows that there might be a very modest tendency toward faster economic growth with higher capital gains rates.
- Plenty of commentators are continuing to point out the Cons' lies, hypocrisy and broken promises when it comes to cap-and-trade - with Bruce Cheadle, Paul Wells, Stephen Maher and Colin Horgan all blasting the Cons while worrying that their blatant disregard for reality might succeed as a matter of political strategy. But of course, it's worth recognizing that the latter message may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy: if pundits want to encourage more reality-based politics, it helps not to declare new heights of dishonesty as victories.

- Meanwhile, David Pugliese reports on the Cons' latest effort to hide facts about their government from Canadian citizens, as the Department of National Defence is being instructed to look for excuses to keep accurate information out of the public eye.

- Finally, Thomas Walkom salutes Rob Ford for daring to embody the form of self-absorbed exceptionalism which the Harper Cons try to keep hidden:
Modern conservatives believe the rules don’t apply to them. Various loopholes in the U.S. system ensure that Romney pays little or no income tax. But that’s all right. He’s Mitt Romney.

Yet if poor people or seniors use the same rules to pay no income tax, they’re just grifters.

Until he was caught, Romney had the grace to try and keep his real views on the rich and poor private. Ford doesn’t bother with such niceties.
Not that I would get rid of Ford. He may be useless as mayor. But he does have a role — one similar to that of a medieval king’s royal fool.

Ford reminds us of the absurdity of the powerful in general and the political right in particular. He is a piece of walking self-satire. Long may he reign.

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