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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

I certainly hope that Ken Miller's prophecy of a return to an economy where labor and capital are valued equally comes to pass. Commerce is supposed to benefit everyone--a thesis that was very much a part of discussions and writings during this country's founding, and that we have lost sight of as a result of our obsession with wealth.

For too long (probably since the mid-'70s) we have measured "progress" in the economy using numbers which tell nothing about the conditions for middle-class and lower-income people. Increases in GDP and productivity are hailed as evidence that everything's coming up roses, while unemployment (a number that definitely does not measure real joblessness) is glossed over as a less meaningful fact of life in the capatalist system. Perhaps we could employ some of the math whiz kids, who concocted derivatives no one can figure out, to come up with a single number that expresses how everyone in the economy is doing.As for tax cuts, I think we are well past the point of diminishing returns, where tax cuts result in an increase in revenues. Also, if tax cuts are given to businesses, who create jobs, the people taking those jobs wind up paying for the business tax cuts with taxes on their wages.

Paul Hanna

Bakersfield, CA

Feb 12 2009 - 12:06pm

Web Letter

Wow! I thought Ken Miller was on to something. First, he pointed out that ill-conceived government policy had directed too much or our economy into housing and finance, creating a glut in the former and a toxic cesspool out of the latter. But in the next breath, he proclaims that lifetime politicians whose primary concern is getting re-elected and who know little or nothing about business or economics (and who got us into this mess in the first place) are the best persons to solve the problems.

Isn't the obvious answer that we should lower taxes, reduce red tape and do whatever else is necessary to stimulate American businesses, thereby creating jobs, instead of chasing them overseas?

And isn't it time to recognize that
1. Social engineering tends to create economic distortions like the housing and finance bubbles, and
2. Letting self-interested government amateurs (many of whom are bought and paid for by lobbyists) heavily influence our marketplace (i.e., central planning) is both unwise and downright dangerous.

B. Mitty

Independence, MO

Feb 11 2009 - 11:23am