The Evilization of Policy Differences

Here’s a comment I wrote in response to “Don’t Extend The Ill-Conceived, Evil Payroll Tax Cut“, by one Louis Woodhill, in Forbes:

First, avoid the evilization of policy differences. To casually call your political opponents evil is thuggish, ad homonym, and immature. Plus it corrupts our language. If you consider someone with a relatively mild political disagreement to be evil, then what do you call people like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao? Super-duper evil?

Second, you say the payroll tax cut doesn’t affect economic growth because “it is not a tax cut on the margin for the people who make the decisions that determine economic growth.” Actually that’s incorrect. It is a marginal tax cut – the kind that positively affects economic growth, increasing the returns on the last dollar earned. I’m a small business person and ran the numbers on this payroll tax cut. Sometimes I turn down projects because the after-tax reward is too modest. The payroll tax cut actually increases the after-tax reward, making me more likely to accept that project after all. Cumulatively, that increases goods and services in the economy, boosting economic growth. (Note: to be sure, cutting other types of taxes, like the income tax, would have a larger positive impact on productive behavior and economic growth. So cutting that would be preferable. If they won’t cut the income tax, though, a payroll tax cut is still better than cutting nothing at all.)

Third, Social Security is already a government transfer program, not an “insurance” program. Unless the payroll tax can be converted into a contribution to a personal savings account, reducing or ending the payroll tax drives home the point that Social Security is a welfare program through-and-through.

So check your numbers again. And quit calling folks evil, unless it’s Osama bin Laden or Jeffrey Dahmer or someone like that.