04 May 2012

Forbes: United States Is a Plutocracy and Academic Economists Are the Vichy


Interesting piece, but what was most interesting was that it is from Forbes, 'the Capitalist Tool' business magazine, and not Rolling Stone or Mother Jones.

As Bloomberg television, and Mayor Bloomberg's city administration I might add, go full bore plutocrat, Forbes is standing for genuine reform, or at least permitting it to be discussed? As Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory might ask when chili and margaritas are served on pizza night, 'where are we, what is happening?'

The author, Lee Sheppard, is "a contributing editor of Tax Notes, a Washington-based weekly tax journal. Trained as a lawyer, she is a legal commentator on tax questions, and is well known for her trenchant observations. She covers all areas of tax law, including international taxation, corporate taxation, partnership taxation, bankruptcy tax questions, pensions and tax accounting questions."

Economics certainly is, as Jamie Galbraith said, a 'disgraced profession' that is largely in denial, but it has good company in politicians, accountants, big media spokesmodels, business CEOs, bankers, and regulators.

Economists' Malign Influence on Taxes
By Lee Sheppard
May 3, 2012

If Occupy Wall Street supporters are looking for new places to protest, they might think about picketing the economics departments of the most prestigious American universities.

Not only would they find a more convivial place to camp than an ugly concrete slab in lower Manhattan, but protesting at universities would serve two purposes.

First, those who are unemployed and burdened with non-dischargeable student debt — which now exceeds U.S. consumer debt —could make a point about the inutility and expense of American higher education.

Second, and more important, protesters could confront another group of elites who are responsible for the financial meltdown and have yet to apologize: the nation’s academic economists.

Free market economic “literature” as economists call it — and their papers frequently are works of fiction — gave succor and intellectual respectability to the decades of deregulation and tax cuts that have bankrupted the country. Congress is compromised, to be sure, but lobbyists and members need economic studies as cover for what they are doing.

The United States is a plutocracy, with an income and wealth distribution that rivals South America’s worst cases, but economists refuse to acknowledge that these outcomes are attributable to ill-advised public policies on taxation, regulation, trade, and education spending over the last several decades.

Economists bleat about “globalization” as though it were inevitable rather than a set of deliberate policy choices. Markets are political creations, so results produced by them are not inviolable or free from question. And they don’t always produce equilibrium...

Read the rest at Forbes.