Friday, November 04, 2016

Friday American follies

I'm pretty busy, but a few things to observe:

*  The Christian Science Monitor notes that not only Kansas has been playing with Laffer-ite tax cutting experiments, but so have Wisconsin and North Carolina:
But with a deadlocked Congress barely able to pass a budget, let alone rewrite the tax code, Republican-led states such as Wisconsin, Kansas, and North Carolina have taken the lead – all sharply reducing taxes on individuals and businesses in pursuit of growth and jobs.
The results have ranged from poor to middling, suggesting that the most oft-cited success story – Texas – is more the result of the state’s energy economy than its fiscal policy.
As I have repeatedly noted, the Kansas experiment has had terrible outcomes,  but even in Wisconsin the policy has been at the cost of the education sector.   Seems a long term losing proposition to me...

The Guardian ran an article about concerns in America that cannabis legalisation is leading to corporate "Big Marijuana" that will push use just as recklessly as Big Tobacco.   My position - yes, it's hard to see how the American system of light regulation of this product will not lead to an unwanted increase in use by younger people, with long term detrimental consequences for educational outcomes and the economy.  Americans have this way of swinging from one extreme to another - the overly punitive drug laws were bad in their own way, too, for people simply using and not trading.  But legalisation with limited input into what's sold is an unnecessary extreme in the other direction. 

*  Just how depressed should one be at the state of America when Trump can even stand a chance of being elected?   One is tempted to despair at the gullibility of humans, but I guess the modern atheist would say it has always been thus.   Given the long history of bad ideas that people have proved capable of believing, I'm not sure that you can argue that they are dumber than they used to be, despite how obvious a conclusion that sometimes appears.   I still think the current blame ultimately has to come down to the awful, propaganda enabling effect of Right wing media and the information bubble it creates; and to a large extent, you have to blame Rupert Murdoch for his morally bankrupt willingnessly to make money this way.   People may not be fools, but their gullibility at the hands of information manipulators can certainly make them act very foolishly indeed.


No comments: