February 16, 2008


Elections Are Not that Complicated (JEFFREY KLUGER, 2/15/08, TIME)

Ockham was known in his time as William of Ockham, the prolific English philosopher most famous for one big hit: the eponymous Ockham's razor. A champion of simplicity, Ockham made it his mission to argue that things should never be made more complicated than they have to be. If there are a lot of ways to explain a phenomenon, slice your answer as finely as you can.

For six and a half centuries, Ockham's razor has demonstrated its power across all disciplines. We figured out that infinitesimal viruses existed long before we could see them, simply by filtering the bigger bacteria out of infectious fluid and finding that it still made lab rats sick. Economics relies on Ockham too. The very best way to increase tax revenue is — sorry to say — to increase taxes. And criminal lawyers absolutely love Ockham: Motive, opportunity and your fingerprints on a weapon don't always mean you did it, but they do often enough that, odds are, you're going away for a reason.

Apply the Razor to a conservative white male vs an extremely liberal black and the answer it renders is too obvious for pundits to accept.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 16, 2008 10:02 AM

If this is true, then Hillary should be HARDER to beat than Obama, but the polls don't show that.

Are you saying that McCain v. Obama would be MORE of a landslide? (it actually DOES sound reasonable)

Further, what if economy is tanking at the time?

Posted by: Bruno at February 16, 2008 12:16 PM
The very best way to increase tax revenue is — sorry to say — to increase taxes.
I wouldn't have thought the well-documented relationship of tax rate increases to tax revenue declines (e.g., the Clinton luxury boat tax) was that complicated, either, but it certainly seems to have eluded Mr. Kluger. Posted by: porkopolitan at February 16, 2008 1:17 PM

Tax increases do increase revenue - up to a point (a 2% tax generates more than a 1% tax). Then the taxed take measures to hide money from taxation, to the point that it costs more to find the hidden money than the 'found' money generates in revenue.

That is, has anyone seen much discussion of tax shelters since the rates were lowered during the Reagan years?

Posted by: Mikey at February 16, 2008 3:21 PM
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