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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"It Violated Their Editorial Line on Taxation"

Wow. I didn't think it would be this blatant:

I take it all back, by Megan McArdle: A conservative publication, which I will not name, just spiked a book review because I said that the Laffer Curve didn't apply at American levels of taxation, even while otherwise expressing my vast displeasure with the (liberal) economic notions of the book I was reviewing. This isn't me looking for an alternative explanation for the spiking of a bad review: the literary editor accepted it, edited it, and then three hours later told me it couldn't be published because it violated their editorial line on taxation.

I suppose I ought to have known, but I didn't. Go ahead liberals, pile on: you told me so. The Laffer Curve and the supply siders pushing it seem to be the teacher's unions of the right.

[From earlier today, Paul Krugman pokes holes in the Laffer curve.] Update: Ezra Klein asks:

"A Conservative Publication" by By Ezra Klein: Shouldn't McMegan name the outlet that spiked her book review because she refused to toe the line on the Laffer Curve? Wouldn't it be useful knowledge for her readers?

I wondered the same thing. Why protect them?

Update: Brad DeLong adds:

...McMegan concludes:

The Laffer Curve and the supply siders pushing it seem to be the teacher's unions of the right.

Funny how I have never heard of a liberal publication spiking a piece because it was insufficiently friendly to teachers' unions or trial lawyers or AARP. Don't I remember seeing a lot of things in liberal publications about how school systems are overbureaucratized, in large part because of the unions?

It is true that I have seen a lot of right-wing hyenas but haven't seen many liberals attack teachers for being overpaid and underworked. Liberals are more likely to take a line like this:

Pay Teachers More Money: Without improving the average quality of our teachers, there is little hope of improving the system... teacher quality has declined over time... ironically... [because of] reduced discrimination against women. Fifty years ago, talented, educated women had few options other than teaching, and the schools were filled with highly qualified and able teachers. Today, college-educated women have moved into other occupations....

This is no surprise. Teachers are not paid very well, and many talented potential teachers have other options.... Why are teachers so important? Since most education in this country takes place in classrooms where there are many children, disruption by one child imposes penalties on other children in the class. The evidence suggests that child behavior is very sensitive to teacher quality....

[S]chools are failing badly for some subgroups... education has been demonstrated conclusively to be very important both for a country's economic growth and for raising the wages of individual citizens. Each year of schooling is associated with about a 10 percent increase in subsequent annual earnings....

[T]he reality is that the public school system will be with us for years to come, and it is important to make that system stronger.... To improve our schools in the 21st century, it is first necessary to attract more high-quality teachers...

That's the liberal line--that teachers need more money. But that line is not just a liberal line. It is a reality-based line. The quote is from Eddie Lazear, Hoover Institution Senior Fellow and Chair of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. (Eddie is also strongly, strongly in favor of vouchers, educational competition, and parental voting-with-the-feet--things that liberals tend to be more skeptical of.)

Also see Ezra Klein and Mathew Yglesias. One more point on this. The supply-siders are enforcing a big lie - that tax cuts pay for themselves - a lie that helped them to push through huge tax cuts. Show me where liberal publications are enforcing  message discipline based upon a lie about unions. As the above makes clear, they aren't enforcing message discipline at all, let alone to support a falsehood.

    Posted by on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 07:20 PM in Budget Deficit, Economics, Taxes | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (35)


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