Well, If Feldstein Says So

Posted on


So it turns out that Will Wilkinson and Megan McArdle both seem really impressed that Martin Feldstein has some research showing tax cuts are teh awesome.

So now, what, I can go Google and take us back to the time when The Economist did an “informal poll” of economists and found that “More than seven out of ten respondents say the Bush administration’s tax cuts were either a bad or a very bad idea, and a similar proportion disapproves of Mr Bush’s plans to make his tax cuts permanent.” What’s the probative value of an informal poll like that? I have no idea, but The Economist is a pretty rightwing outfit on economics and even employed Megan in the past and Will currently, so it’s not clear what motive they might have to shade the results in a lefty tilt. And of course yesterday I had Jason Furman’s table. And we’re all familiar with Brad DeLong’s blog. And Atrios’ for that matter. According to Bryan Caplan (PDF) “economists tend to be moderate Democrats.”

I guess I’m honest enough to concede that none of that proves my more anti-tax friends and colleagues wrong, but the point is that their tendency to try to make it out to be that only economic illiterates disagree with them is ridiculous. They’re free to take up an unpopular minority viewpoint, but that’s what it is. There are plenty of cranks and a vast sea of corporate lobbyists who back the general thrust of the modern Republican Party’s approach to taxes; the reputable economic researchers who agree with them, though real, are also relatively few in number.