“The U.S. political culture has become not just dysfunctional but deeply corrupt.”

25 Aug 2010

“How can this kind of giveaway be justified at a time when politicians claim to care about budget deficits?” asks Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, writing in The New York Times about the possibility that U.S. tax cuts for the rich from the Bush era may get extended.

The possibility that this tax cut may get renewed—instead of expiring at the end of 2010, as it will if Congress takes no action—is deeply depressing. “That’s a demonstration, if anyone ever needed one,” Krugman writes, “that the U.S. political culture has become not just dysfunctional but deeply corrupt.”

Extending these tax cuts would cost $680 billion dollars over the next 10 years, according to the Tax Policy Center, at a time when Congress has been fighting over the allocation of $26 billion in aid for state and local governments.

Probably some other Nobel Prize-winning economist has come up with an ingenious explanation of how such tax cuts would actually be a good idea—so maybe we shouldn’t listen to Krugman because of his Nobel.

But I think it’s just common sense that when inequality is growing, and the economy is failing, that you don’t need to give more money to the rich. I’m glad Krugman is pointing this out.


books I've read on failure & grace

The World Without Us
The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
The Tipping Point
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time
The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization
Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850
Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

Mason's favorite books »