A few problems with one-sided letter

To the Editor:

In his column, Martin Dyckman disparages supply-side economics but contradicts himself two paragraphs later stating that teachers are leaving North Carolina, supposedly for higher salaries. 

Jude Wanniski, a leading proponent of supply-side economics, observed that whatever our individual politics, we’re all supply-siders in the micro-economic sense. As individuals we respond to incentives. If teachers are leaving for higher salaries, it is merely the manifestation of the micro-economic application of the supply-side macro-economic theory. It is also the essence of the Laffer Curve he maligns; perhaps without realizing it is nothing more than Rolle’s Theorem from first year calculus. Math is hard.

He writes, “The Kansas economy is trailing its neighbors, the budget is in deficit, its debt has been downgraded, [*] and citizens are horrified at the damage to the public schools.” Substitute “Obama” for “Kansas,”  “damn near everything” for “the public schools” and it would be more accurate.

He worries about outside sources of financing for the Senate race, but he doesn’t appear to be disturbed about the lopsided outside funding and outside agitators of the so-called Moral Monday movement. What about outside organizations trying to overturn the Voter Information Verification Act among other issues? What is the real basis for his objection? Is it the sources or the political affiliations when he determines outside money is bad for North Carolina? Has he stated any concern for the taxpayer money wasted dealing with these and other frivolous and dubious activities?

Is he equally concerned that an outside group — Democracy Alliance — intends to spend $374 million during the midterm election cycle to boost liberal candidates? If he is, we haven’t heard. Where is the moral equivalence?

He describes ALEC as “the public face of the right-wing conspiracy.” Then he condemns: “more than a third of North Carolina’s state legislators are ALEC members.” In Iowa, 73 of 150 legislators are Democrats. In South Dakota, 24 of 105 are Democrats. Each one of them is a member of ALEC. There are many other Democrat members nationwide. Are they also part of the vaunted right-wing conspiracy?

He writes, “ALEC is to public policy as Typhoid Mary was to public health.” Another hyperbolic statement. The myth of Typhoid Mary was that she infected and killed thousands, even hundreds of thousands. The truth is that only four, at most, died from contact with her.

Describing Arthur Laffer as “discredited” is ludicrous; using Paul Krugman as the source of this opprobrium is farcical. Krugman has never run a company or created a job. The only job he had outside academia was as an adviser to Enron in 1999, the same year he wrote a fawning piece on them in Fortune magazine. Enron collapsed in 2001. That December, Krugman wrote a column blaming Enron’s consultants without mentioning his role.

Daniel Okrent, while ombudsman for the New York Times, wrote that “Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers.” In 2004, Okrent persuaded the Times op-ed page to adopt a corrections policy for op-ed columnists. Later, when Krugman flouted that policy, Okrent’s successor, Byron Calame adopted a new, more stringent policy.

In 2010, Krugman conceded defeat to commenters on his blog — who were handily refuting him — by essentially silencing them.

Incidentally, if tax cuts never stimulate revenue, someone better notify the North Carolina film office. It claims the 25 percent tax credit has injected $1.09 billion into the state economy and that $3.33 is returned for every dollar of credit.

Mr. Dyckman wasn’t ranting about “carnage in North Carolina” when those tax cuts were passed. I guess when Democrats legislate tax cuts the only carnage that takes place is in the movies. 

Let the Hunger Games begin.

Timothy A. Van Eck


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