On his Countdown program Thursday, Keith Olbermann demonstrated once again that because of his boiling hatred for anyone whose ideology differs from his own, he is entirely incapable of engaging in linear thought or reasoned debate. In this particular episode, Olbermann designated former Reagan economic advisor Arthur Laffer as the dayâ€™s â€œWorst Person in the World,â€ disparaging Laffer as â€œthe pusher of the discredited notion that tax cuts for the rich stimulated the economy, and the creator of the farcical Laffer Curve.â€ The Laffer Curve isÂ a concept which contends that at a given point of increased taxation, business activity will diminish because of the reduced economic incentives that accompany higher taxes, thereby causing the government to receive less tax revenue rather than more. Olbermann is particularly annoyed with Laffer these days, because of the latterâ€™s opposition to the Obama/Democrat plan for government-run health care.
Sneering that Lafferâ€™s name befits his purportedly clownish economic theories, Olbermann contemptuously marveled at â€œjust how stupidâ€ Laffer and â€œother critics of health care reform â€¦ are about this topic.â€ He then quoted Laffer saying:
â€œIf you like the Post Office and the Department of Motor Vehicles and you think theyâ€™re run well, just wait until you see Medicare, Medicaid, and Healthcare done by the government.â€
Olbermann then looked directly at the camera and mocked Laffer by addressing these comments to him directly:
â€œMedicare and Medicaid are already done by the government. Theyâ€™re government programs. This also just in, Dr. Laffer: Lindburgh has landed safely in Paris.â€
As usual, Olbermann succeeded in providing his viewers with everything they needed to know — except the actual context and the actual meaning of the quotes and the events which he was discussing. You see, Olbermann was so busy trying to be impressively clever, that he neglected to show his viewers the statement Laffer had made in his very next breath: â€œI mean the single provider, I think, is a real problem â€¦â€
Lafferâ€™s point, in other words, was that under Obamaâ€™s plan all of healthcare, including Medicare and Medicaid, would now be under a single government umbrella. But poor, pathetic Keith Olbermann couldnâ€™t help himself. His hateful intolerance getting the best of him yet again, he pretended to believe that Laffer was unaware of something as elemental as the fact that Medicare and Medicaid are government programs. The subtext of Olbermannâ€™s message: Anyone who opposes government-run healthcare is a veritable imbecile, on par with someone who doesnâ€™t realize that the Atlantic Ocean has been crossed by manned aircraft.
Such a depiction of oneâ€™s ideological adversaries is standard fare for the Left. Al Gore, for instance, has characterized those who dispute the notion that â€œglobal warmingâ€ is caused by human industry, as the intellectual equivalents of people â€œwho still believe that the Moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona and â€¦ who believe the world is flat.â€
On a substantive level, it bears mention that Olbermannâ€™s casual dismissal of â€œthe discredited notion that tax cuts for the rich stimulated the economy,â€ has been well rebutted by Thomas Sowell, who writes:
The angry left has no time to spend even considering the argument that what they call â€œtax cuts for the richâ€ are in fact tax cuts for the economy.
Nor is the idea new that tax cuts can sometimes spur economic growth, resulting in more jobs for workers and higher earnings for business, leading to more tax revenue for the government.
A highly regarded economist once observed that â€œtaxation may be so high as to defeat its object,â€ so that sometimes â€œa reduction of taxation will run a better chance, than an increase, of balancing the Budget.â€
Who said that? Milton Friedman? Arthur Laffer? No. It was said in 1933 by John Maynard Keynes, a liberal icon.
Lower tax rates have led to higher tax revenues many times, both before and since Keynesâ€™s statement â€” the Kennedy tax cuts in the 1960s, the Reagan tax cuts in the 1980s, and the recent Bush tax cuts that …Â led to record high tax revenues …
Budget deficits have often resulted from runaway spending but seldom from reduced tax rates.
It is also remarkable to hear Olbermann speak as if Medicare and Medicaid are living testaments to the glories of government healthcare. At this moment in time, the unfunded liabilities of Medicare Parts A, B, and D amount to $85 trillion; bothÂ Medicare and MedicaidÂ waste at least one out of every three dollars they spend.