24th November 2012
William Jacobson fisks Nicholas Kristof of the NYT (granted, not a high bar).
I just visited relatives on Long Island for Thanksgiving, and the stumps of downed trees were everywhere. There was a failure — most likely of prophylactic tree trimming, lack of emergency planning by LIPA, and failure to coordinate outside help – but none of that has anything to do with federal spending on the national grid.
Moreover, a back-up generator is like insurance, there when you need it, not a substitute for the grid. Why would someone like Kristof consider it a bad thing for individuals to self-insure against the next Sandy?
But most of all, where is the link between marginal tax rates and (a) the percentage of total taxes actually paid by top income earners, which has risen in the last 50 years, and (b) the electric grid. Assuming the false arguendo that higher marginal rates would have resulted in more tax revenue, where is the evidence it would have been spent on the national electric grid, rather than pork projects and giveaways for political constituencies?
The column goes on with a long list of similar non-sequiturs involving police services and gated communities, schools systems and private schools, and so on.
Completely ignored is that government spending is going through the roof, including on police and schools, yet we have little to show for it. The answer for Kristof, more of the same.