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Chad Selweski's lesson in the uselessness of centrism

by: Eric B.

Mon May 19, 2014 at 13:00:00 PM EDT


Our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan tells Chad Selweski that he doesn't think he cut taxes for businesses (apparently ignoring that he signed legislation repealing the Michigan Business Tax and not replacing it, apparently, and also the eliminating taxes entirely for businesses organized just so), and Selweski reflects that a central tenet of Republican thinking the last 30 years is based on horseshit thinking and weird fantasy.

So, traditional economic thought was nearly turned on its head over the past two decades, even as many partisans spout the same tired orthodoxies that came out of the Reagan years. Beyond Capitol Hill, those clinging to the idea that no tax can ever be too low are some of the nation’s Republican governors, including Gov. Rick Snyder.

A new report released last week found that Snyder’s $1.7 billion business tax cuts that were sold as a key to reviving economic prosperity have not delivered. Instead, they have followed a long line of Michigan tax cuts that led to reductions in basic services like education and police protection.

He mentions Ronald Reagan's supply-side beliefs, but Reagan didn't just cut taxes. He also raised them, which only further muddles the picture. But, Selweski's conclusion that the idea that cutting taxes leads to greater all-around prosperity is nonsense is very sound. Most of us have known that for years. One wonders why more wasn't heard of our collective American experience in the stain-removing wonders of tax cuts back when they first settled up the budget in 2011 by cutting taxes on the wealthy and raising them on the working poor and old people.

Now, the uselessness of centrism ... Selweski is a follower of High Broderism, leastways according to things written on his blog. It's that business about losing its "sensible center," which is another way of saying that it is best if adults come to the table and negotiate a compromise in good faith.

What we have here is the realization that what one side wants is a very bad idea. Cutting taxes, especially taxes for the very wealthy, has led to terrible outcomes. It's made it harder to maintain good schools, drivable roads and effective public safety. In fact, he lays out a fact-based case for this being the truth. By ideological preference, however, he says it's better to compromise than not pursue shitty, failed policies. Best to negotiate in the center, even if the center is half built on failure. That's even more important than making things work properly.

Let's just take this to its logical extension: A journalist who states a preference for centrist deal making above all else is advocating a position that is not based on an argument based on facts. It's a philosophical argument. Call me a simple, country opinion writer who doesn't understand the mysterious workings of your so-called Big City, but I'm not sure how you jibe that with certain professional attitudes that facts should come first.

Eric B. :: Chad Selweski's lesson in the uselessness of centrism
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