Tuesday, November 23, 2010

FLG's Head Almost Exploded

Marketplace:
Congress is off for Thanksgiving vacation, but when it returns, the big question will be what to do about the Bush tax cuts. They're set to expire at the end of December.

Many economists say they unfairly benefit wealthy Americans. Millionaires and billionaires save hundreds of thousands of dollars and more on their annual tax bills.

Emphasis FLG's.

As y'all know, the word "fair" drives FLG nuts. If many economists (and FLG wonders how many is many? and is it a majority of economists?) think something is fair or unfair, then they aren't doing it in their role as economists. Economics strives to be positive, not normative. Now, whether a discipline can be purely positive is an open question, and as a matter of fact FLG seriously doubts. But economists are only acting as economist insofar as they say that the Bush tax cuts do or do not benefit people either absolutely or relatively. Making normative claims about the fairness or unfairness is outside of the realm of economics.

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