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thinkahol on 2011-08-20AS Election Day approaches, serious discussion about economic policies is hamstrung by the devotion of both parties to reducing taxes. The big reason, of course, is that President Bush emphasizes tax cuts, including elimination of the estate tax, to the exclusion of almost everything else. The Democrats, in turn, hesitate to propose an economic plan that does not include long-term reductions for middle-income workers, and most refuse to talk about rescinding the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
But the degree of misleading information emanating from both Washington and the media about how taxes affect the economy is disturbing. As I listen to the radio, watch TV news and read a variety of newspapers, it seems that quite a few Americans, including economics writers and media hosts, think that low-tax countries unquestionably grow faster than high-tax economies. Right and left, they seem to attribute more rapid growth in America to lower taxes.
What may surprise them is that there is no evidence for that. ''You can make a theoretical case that high taxes impede economic growth, but it is just not supported by the evidence in the U.S. or across countries,'' said William Easterly, a former World Bank economist soon to join the faculty of New York University.