Links & comment: Who raised these people?

  • Mish points to an important new legal principle that has been identified: If you claim to act in the public interest, you can break the law. However – and I’m sorry to be the one to break this to all involved – there is nothing new about that principle.
  • Been seeing a lot of Laffer curve discussion pop up again recently, so it’s a good time for me to trot out my Laffer curve catechism: (1) It’s not that important ‘where we are on the curve’ because the purpose of taxation is not to maximize tax revenue in the first place. For example, even if we’re to the left of the max that doesn’t mean it’s a swell thing to raise tax rates. (2) The importance of the Laffer curve observation isn’t that there’s a maximal-revenue tax rate per se, it’s that taxes are negatively-convex i.e. tax rate increases have diminishing returns. This is an important observation no matter where we ‘are’ on the Laffer curve.
  • It’s interesting that back in the halcyon Best Days Of America when little Pauly Krugman could ride his bicycle around his segregated Long Island neighborhood secure in the knowledge that the highest marginal tax rate was a comforting 91%, very few people actually paid that rate and in fact if you ask me the effective tax rate for the “1%” wasn’t even materially different from what it is now.
  • Arnold Kling on the Keynesian fixation. Just RTWT.
  • Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t have an opinion one way or the other regarding how much Wal-Mart pays its employees. This is a matter between Wal-Mart and its employees, and I am neither. So, it’s literally none of my business. The same holds – I would think – for Matthew Yglesias or Megan McArdle or etc. Why is everyone discussing this? i.e. how much some strangers pay other strangers to perform services? Aren’t they embarrassed? Didn’t their parents, when raising them, teach them it’s just plain impolite to discuss the finances and financial arrangements of others? that One Doesn’t Discuss this sort of thing? Because that’s what they’re all doing. I’m kinda embarrassed just thinking about it.
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12 Responses to Links & comment: Who raised these people?

  1. Pingback: House of Eratosthenes

  2. roystgnr says:

    If anything, “none of my business” is an understatement. Walmart employees are willing to do more of that work than I would for that pay, and Walmart is willing to pay them more than I would for that work. Criticizing either side for being more generous than me but insufficiently more so would make me kind of an ass, no? Yet presumably most critics don’t feel the same way – anyone who actually *was* more generous than their target(s) would be filling out job applications or making job offers that would make any criticism moot.

    • Seconded.

  3. Pastorius says:

    I have an opinion on the people who have made it their business to care how much Wal-Mart pays their employees.

    Here’s my opinion:

    Those people are actively attempting to destroy a powerful corporation for 2 basic reasons,

    1) the company is fabulously successful, and therefore, sticks out as a tremendous example of how well Capitalism works,


    2) because Wal-Mart is known to give much more money to Republicans than it gives to Democrats:’s-Political-Contributions-Shows

    • I think, more specifically, that it’s about unionization. And the left wants them to be unionized because unions give captive votes and funds to the left. That’s it. If there’s more to it, I’m not seeing it.

  4. Pastorius says:

    Think about it, you never hear anyone complaining about the “Obscene Profits” of Apple.

    • Matt says:

      Not yet, I think the great Apple backlash is coming though.

      • A Lady says:

        From where?

        • Matt says:

          Combo of obscene profits, saturation, and Apple being much worse of a corporate bully than Microsoft ever was. Maybe just my hopes and dreams, but I think we’ve reached Peak Apple.

          • A Lady says:

            They’re still Cool and Hip, so I am not sure about that stuff mattering. People still shop at Whole Foods, after all, even though the CEO was agin’ Obamacare.

            I guess I feel about Apple ever being criticized for behaving the same as less-cool companies the way Sonic Charmer felt about Obama’s likelihood of losing re-election,

  5. Callowman says:

    Re ‘where we are on the curve’, of course it’s not important to maximize tax revenues from your position as the taxee, but it is important from the standpoint of the state. The Laffer curve argument is the parable of the goose that laid the golden egg, rebooted for government use: an appeal to sensible greed.

    Now that you’ve made your silly point, get back to work, serf.

  6. Pingback: Being calm on the minimum wage « Rhymes With Cars & Girls

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