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Former economist Paul Krugman has actually managed to get these words past an editor at the New York Times:
There is, however, one big difference between corporate persons and the likes of you and me: On current trends, we’re heading toward a world in which only the human people pay taxes.
Now I think we can be quite sure that even Paul Krugman, with his gargantuan capacity for forgetting everything he once knew, is well aware that we already live in a world where only human people pay taxes. That’s an instance of the general principle that the legal incidence of a tax does not determine its economic incidence. The corporate income tax is levied by law on corporations, but its economic effects are felt entirely by humans.
Krugman’s minor sin is that he lies about the content of economics — for example, misleading readers about the incidence of taxes or the desirability of one tax rate over another. His major sin is that he (in effect) lies about the nature of economics, leading readers to believe that it’s all about politically convenient slogans (like “redress the balance”) as opposed to, you know, logical thought. In other words, he’d rather be a demagogue than an economist. But I say the world has too many demagogues and not enough economists, and I do wish Krugman would do something to redress the balance.
MP: The reference in the headline comes from Don Luskin, who wrote in 2008 that:
Prior to 2008 the Nobel Prize had never been awarded posthumously. So great minds such as John Maynard Keynes and Fischer Black never received the coveted award. But all that has changed. This year, the prize for economics is going to Paul Krugman, an economist who died a decade ago.
To clarify, the person named Paul Krugman, the living and breathing man who will accept the Nobel in Stockholm this December , is merely a public intellectual — a person operating in the same domain as, say, Oprah Winfrey.
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