Thursday, March 25, 2004

Guaranteed Source of Posts

I've lucked out. If I ever can't think of something to post about I can now just go here to Noam Chomsky's new blog, take any post of his and pick apart the inaccuracies and inconsistencies (Hat tip: Drezner). For those who don't know, Chomsky is a linguist and MIT professor, legendary for anti-Americanism and hard-core leftism. Everything he says sounds good and true until you start checking up on it and find he's lying.

So even though I have plenty to post about (I'm working on my power measurements gathering data) I'm going to go ahead and fisk Chomsky's first real post, titled Bush's Economics (link currently not working).

First paragraph:
Whether Bush believes, or even understands, the economic policies of his administration I have no idea, and it really doesn't matter much. What's important are the policies, not whether Bush understands what his handlers instruct him to say.

Ok, so he pulls out the tired old line about Bush being a moron with his advisers pulling the strings. False. While it seems that Bush disdains the minutae of policy he exerts clear control over the basic direction. Strike one.

Second paragraph:
The current policies are an extreme version of what has been going on since the late Carter years. According to Congressional Budget office economists, real income of the bottom 90% of taxpayers fell by 7% from the mid-1970s through the Clinton boomlet (largely a bubble), while the income of the top .01% rose 600%. And mobility sharply declined as well. Bush's policies are much more extreme, but one should have no illusions about what preceded. Robert Pollin's recent Contours of Descent is one of several excellent and quite readable studies carrying the matter through the Clinton years.

I appreciate how Chomsky helpfully tells us exactly what policies he disagrees with (Sarcasm Alert). Even worse, he fails to provide links to the sources of his data. That's a key strength of blogging; your readers can check up on you and make sure you're telling the truth. Of course, Chomsky would rather you accept everything he says as Gospel truth. To refute his points, in a 30-second search of Drezner's site, I found this post from about a year ago, which makes some key points. First, real wages increased for everyone over the period Chomsky highlight. Second, income mobility did NOT sharply decline. Third, "Americans don't begrudge the rich getting richer." Strike two.

Third paragraph:
Whether the economy can survive with such radical inequality, not to speak of the huge and growing double deficit, no one knows. But it's surely a success for the planners and the very narrow interests of wealth and power they represent. And planning is not for the longer term, part of the lunacy of semi-market systems.

As mentioned above, there is no danger of political collapse due to income inequality. There is no enslaved proletariat to rise up in anger over income equality a la Marx. And what the heck is a "double deficit"? As for the lack of long-term planning in a market economy, it is at least partially made up for by the responsiveness of markets. Planned economies, like the Soviet Union, have been shown to be complete disasters. So whose policies have been proven to be a failure? Strike three and Chomsky quits while he's behind.

These things write themselves, it really makes my job easy. I now have a good back-up plan. Thanks Chomsky.

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