Lafferites and Teachers Again

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"Lafferites and Teachers Again"

I have to say I feel like Megan’s being willfully obtuse here. What happened is that Megan wrote a negative review of a book by a liberal for a conservative publication, in which Megan criticized liberals for overstating the influence of Laffer Curve thinking in the conservative movement. The conservative publication spiked her review on the grounds that the only acceptable manner in which to respond to liberal critics of Lafferites is to defend the Lafferites on the merits. Thus was refuted Megan’s view that liberals are overstating the Lafferites’ influence.

But to recover, Megan drew an equivalence between the influence of Lafferites on the right with that of teacher’s unions on the left. I pointed out in response that liberals who deviate from the union line don’t, in fact, have our writing spiked by the editors of liberal publications. Similarly, you have dissenters from the union line working at liberal think tanks. You even have groups like Democrats for Education Reform and Education Sector that exist for the sole-purpose of propounding a non-union progressive line on education policy.

So now Megan’s just changing the goalposts and arguing that teacher’s unions are an important constituency in Democratic Party politics. And, of course, they are since if they weren’t influential then you really wouldn’t ever see anyone criticizing them since what would be the point. But that’s not what we were arguing about! We were arguing about whether or not they exercise the same level of control over the progressive movement as what Megan saw in action when her review got spiked. And they just don’t. Megan should either find another analogy or else give me a call when the day comes that there are organized anti-Laffer organizations on the right and when Republican committee chairs start authoring legislation that includes tax increases. Until then, the analogy is preposterous, though connected to Megan’s equally preposterous view that I remember from a few months back that the insidious unions were the only reason any liberals anywhere oppose privatizing the school system.

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