Catch Him Now, He's Falling
11. The vast right-wing conspiracy
10. Fox News
9. The Oil Companies
8. Elizabeth Hasselbeck
7. Vince McMahon
5. Illegal Immigrants
4. Big Tobacco
3. Barry Bonds
1. George W. Bush
11. The Republican Party just isn’t as billionaire-friendly as it once was
10. Didn’t actually mean to leave the Republican Party – thought he was leaving the Yankee’s bandwagon
9. Republican Presidential primary voters are intimidated by extremely handsome candidates
8. He saw how well leaving the Republican Party worked for Judi Dutcher
7. 9 out of 10 journalists can’t be wrong
6. None of the cool billionaires like Warren Buffett, Peter Lewis, and George Soros are Republicans
5. Realized that he was too smart to be in the party of drooling morons
4. The Republicans are in the pocket of Big Trans Fat
3. Karl Rove and Dick Cheney neglected to warn him that they were going to bring down the Twin Towers
2. Laurie David said she would never go out with him if he remained a Republican
1. Why not? Everyone else is leaving the Republican Party
Okay, I trust that the smelling salts have now kicked in. The opinion piece purported to show that decreasing taxes did not increase economic growth, as measured by the increase in real GDP. Laughably, it looked at GDP data per decade, and then guessed at the tax policy of each decade. Couldn’t the Star Tribune opinion page find someone to write a commentary who knew how to google for more specific statistics?
Well, we here at NIGP did manage to dig up some more specific data. It is summarized in the following chart (I could only find effective tax rate data for 1979-2004):
If the Strib had looked at this data, they would have found that there is indeed a positive correlation between the effective federal tax rate and the growth in GDP, albeit the correlation is a relatively small 0.13. Yes, a naïve look at the data does suggest that as the tax rate goes up, the growth of GDP tends to be higher than when the tax rate goes down. If the Star Tribune had gone this far, their argument would have seemed more persuasive, but let’s take a closer look.
The year of the lowest growth over the 15 year period from 1979-2004 was 1982 (-1.9%), the first full year of the Reagan tax cut. Wow, maybe the moonbats are correct and the tax cuts did have an adverse effect on growth. Alas, no. When we look at the next year, we see that economic growth increased 4.5% and the year after, GDP was up a whopping 7.2%, the strongest economic growth of the period – and all while the tax rate remained low!
Now let’s look at the year 2000, the last year of the Clinton administration and the year with the highest effective federal tax rate of the period, 23.0. That year had a respectable GDP increase of 3.7%, but the next year growth was down to an anemic 0.8%.
Tax cuts do not instantaneously stimulate the economy; they need time to work. If we look at the correlation between the tax rate and the growth of GDP for the NEXT year, we find a stronger, negative correlation of -0.27. Thus when the tax rate goes down, the growth of GDP tends to be lower that year (probably due to the effects of previous poor tax policy), but considerably higher the next year.
Sorry Strib, you can maybe get by with higher taxes for a few years if you have an artificial internet bubble or something, but in the long run, lowering taxes stimulates economic growth. (Learned Foot and his commenters go into some of the other problems with the Star Tribune's analysis.)
It has been reported that this blog was very close to landing the services of reassigned Star Tribune columnist James Lileks. Those reports were accurate; we very, very nearly had a done deal. Here is the transcript of Lileks’ job interview with the Nihilist in Golf Pants:
NIGP: Thanks for coming in James, may I call you James?
LILEKS: Yes, by all means, Mr. Nihilist in Golf Pants.
NIGP: You can just call me the Nihilist. So, I understand that you have been working at the Star Tribune for the past decade and would now like to explore opportunities in the new media?
LILEKS: Yes, Nihilist, that is correct.
NIGP: What made you interested in applying here at Nihilist in Golf Pants?
LILEKS: Well, your top 11 lists are legendary, but then there are also the live blogs, the fake interviews, the gambling tips, and the college hockey coverage. Plus, there’s the fact that you won City Pages Right Wing Blog of the Year, back when that award meant something. I’m sick of working somewhere that never wins awards. But most of all, I would love the opportunity to work with JB.
NIGP: Fair enough. You are known for your sense of design. Would you make any changes to the design of this blog?
LILEKS: Perish the thought! I wouldn’t change a thing! The minimalist title bar: NIHILIST IN GOLF PANTS. That says it all. The classic right column with the City Pages award logo, the vanity quotes and the blog roll. It is as familiar and comforting as a can of Campbell’s Soup. And then there is the 1940s noir evoking background. Could the background be anymore black? The answer is no, the background could not be anymore black.
NIGP: Astute, very astute. But I must admit that I am bothered by your history with the Star Tribune. How do I know you’re not an agent provocateur sent here to undermine this blog?
LILEKS: I would like to point out that while I took pride in working for the Star Tribune as a whole, I rarely found myself in agreement with the stands take by the editorial voice of …
NIGP: [shouting] DID YOU VOTE FOR PATTY WETTERLING? DON’T THINK, ANSWER QUICK! ANSWER QUICK!
LILEKS: [tstartled] Why, why, no. I don’t even live in that district.
NIGP: [eying him suspiciously] Okay, I’ll take your word for it – for now. Tell me your thoughts on Paris Hilton.
LILEKS: Well, there is no arguing with the location, with the Eiffel tower practically in your backyard. But I must say that I prefer the architecture of the Hotel De Ville with it’s view of Ile de la Cite …
NIGP: No, no, I mean the celebrity Paris Hilton.
LILEKS: Who would name their kid after a hotel? I don’t know anything about this person.
NIGP: Hmmmmm … Well, I guess Sisyphus can get you up to speed. You can attend his lecture on her case next week at the Humphrey Institute.
That reminds me, would you object to language in your contract barring you from contributing your best material to the Kool-Aid Report?
LILEKS: I refuse to read moronic letters to the editor, and I don’t do poop, so no objection.
NIGP: Excellent. A few more quick questions: Everton or Arsenal?
LILEKS: Arsenal, of course.
NIGP: Notre Dame or Marquette?
LILEKS: The Golden Domers, not the Golden Rainbow Warriors, or whatever they are calling themselves nowadays.
NIGP: [nodding] Very good, very good. There is the matter of salary. It says here that you are looking for $94,000 per year. Is that correct?
LILEKS: Yes, indeed. I have a family to raise.
NIGP: That is a little more than I’d like to pay, but what the hell, it’s only money! Welcome aboard James!
LILEKS: It is indeed an honor, Nihilist. I can’t wait to get going on my first five or six posts for tomorrow!
NIGP: Whoa, whoa, whoa, there James. Did you say you intended to post five or six time per day?
LILEKS: Of course, some days maybe even more.
NIGP: We have a strict rule here – one post a day, if that. Posting more just dilutes the brand. I’m afraid that’s a deal breaker for us.
LILEKS: I couldn’t possibly write that little. Damn, I guess I’ll have to take the job at that lame Star Tribune website.
11. No one to videotape sleazy sexual encounters
10. “All my neighbors are, like, poor”
9. It’s impossible to make a shiv out of a mattress spring without breaking a nail
8. Inmates required to wear underwear
7. “The rats are bigger than my dog”
6. “None of the guards are datable”
5. “The chef is not as good as my personal chef, Anatole”
4. “Orange is, like so not my color”
3. “Big Bertha hates me for like no reason”
2. Appletinis taste terrible when the gin is made in a toilet
1. “That semi-cute guy I made out with turned out to be a chick”