Curtis Dahlgren
Journalists, economics, and the politics of economics and journalism
By Curtis Dahlgren
September 22, 2012

"Build a better mousetrap and 16,000 IRS agents will beat a path to your door in the middle of the night, saying 'You didn't build that. But hand over your money'!" — Ralph Waldo Emerson (paraphrased)

"By the way," I say. "As an economics major, what would you say is the economy's number one problem?" And he says:

"That's easy. UNCERTAINTY." — "The Ghost of the Gipper Goes Into a Bar"

( )

FOUR YEARS AGO, SENATOR OBOMA PROMISED US CHANGE. But I haven't seen much change in him at all, have you? In order to change, a person has to know his biggest blind spot. Technically, we all have a physical blind spot in our field of vision: the point at which the optic nerve is located in the back of the eye ball. All of us have other blind spots as well.

Some of us just can't get math. Some of us can't read faces to tell what people are thinking. Some people have absolutely no concept of historical context (due partly to public schooling's blind spots). And then there is economic blindness, and the blindness of journalists to their own biases.

I'm getting ready to review Dinesh D'Souza's latest book, and here's a little excerpt on an interview of Oboma by Charlie Gibson of ABC (an exaample of good journalism):

Gibson: George Bush has taken [the capital gains tax] down to 15 percent. And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased . . . So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million peop0le in this country own stock and could be affected?

Obama: Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.

Gibson: But history shows that when you drop the capital gains tax, the revenues go up.

Obama: Well, that might happen, or it might not.

D'Souza says, "It's worth pausing to ponder what Obama is saying. Basically, he is saying that it doesn't matter whether higher tax rates on the rich generate additional revenues for government or not. This is not about government revenue. Rather, Obama's own basic notion of fairness . . . "


P.S. Some people on the right, who basically understand economics, have another kind of blind spot. They can't "see" why everyone doesn't GET IT (economics). And when they do polling, and focus groups, if it seems too difficult to TEACH the principles of economics, they just fall back on "saying what they think people want to hear" rather than taking up the challenge to TEACH.

PPS: President Reagan wasn't just a comforter and a "communicator," he was also a "great teacher." Maybe you should go back and read the column I mentioned above:

PPS: Politicians and journalists alike fail — when talking about 15 percent cap-gains tax rates — FAIL TO MENTION THAT THAT MONEY WAS ALREADY TAXED ONCE OR TWICE (in many cases the IRS is double- and triple-dipping on a citizen's private property — his income)!!

* By the way, I saw the movie "2016, Obama's America," and I highly recommend both the movie and the book.

© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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