Introduction - Comments
Juan Cole Looks at the Habermasian Public Sphere

More Intellectual Garbage Pickup...

Ah. Time to pick up some of the garbage strewn about by the National Review--this time from Nick Schulz:

Nick Schulz on Tax Cuts & Jonathan Chait on NRO Financial: Even economist Brad DeLong — whose tirades about conservatives are even more cartoonish than Chait’s — says [Bill] Niskanen’s findings are statistically insignificant. Perhaps this, and not mental illness, is the explanation for why conservatives have been too silent for Chait’s taste regarding Niskanen’s claims...

What I actually said:

Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: Bill Niskanen and Starve the Beast: Niskanen's point--that since 1981 tax cuts go with spending increases, not spending restraint--is a fact. It is not a statistically significant fact, however--it may well be just our bad luck, where piece one of bad luck is named "Reagan" and piece two is named "Bush." In my view, it's not that tax cuts provoke spending increases, it's that politicians--overwhelmingly Republican politicians these days--who seek to unbalance the budget unbalance it on both sides: tax cuts for the rich and Medicare spending that enriches PhRMA...

Schulz claims that I am providing a reason for ignoring Niskanen's point--that over the past quarter century tax cuts are associated with upward, not downward pressure on federal spending. I am not. What I wrote is not a dismissal of Niskanen's point. It is not a criticism of it. It is an interpretation of it.

But apparently I wasn't clear enough. Bill Niskanen is a serious thinker trying his best to think through important issues and make arguments about what would make America a better place. His writings should be taken very seriously. Nick Schulz--the most charitable interpretation of what he does is that he has hungry children. His writings should not: he can't even parse a paragraph correctly.

Bill Niskanen is a genuine libertarian conservative. Nick Schulz is a scumsucking corporate lobbyists' pawn.

Why do they lie like this? For the same reason that male canids licks their organs of generation: because they can. Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? That remains a great mystery.