Ivan Pavlov would be proud. President Obama suggests that a foolish tax cut for the perfectly comfortable be allowed to expire, and the Wall Street Journal's polemicist board starts yapping with Dickensian gloom about the friendless, tattered plutocracy's inevitable nightmare:
If the Bush tax rates expire as scheduled on December 31, rates on the top two income brackets will jump to 39.6% from 35%, and 36% from 33%. Add the scheduled return of income phaseouts for exemptions and deductions, and the rates go up another two-percentage points—to at least 41% and 35%.
Yes, those depressed brackets will jump--they'll leap, soar, hurl themselves by an extravagant 4.6 percentage points; a brutal, confiscatory oppression uninflicted on Noble Mankind since Mao's land reform. But add the "scheduled return" of those assorted phaseouts, which of course won't return, and the highest marginal rate would remain at 39.6 percent, which no Range-Roving Hampton V.I.P. has ever paid, and never will pay, which means the only thing that will have jumped was the WSJ to Ivan Obama's bell.
Yet the WSJ's tax demagoguery is but an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato compared to its catered ignorance of macroeconomics. I quote:
Businesses are sitting on their wallets as they wait out the tax, regulatory and election uncertainty. Mr. Obama's tax gambit will only increase that uncertainty and further retard investment and job creation.
You know what? "Ignorance" is the wrong word. No one in business journalism could be that clueless about why businesses decide to hire--which, ever since some pebble-polishing Australopithecus afarensis engaged another Australopithecus afarensis to help him meet expanding polished-pebble demand, has never varied.
So it isn't ignorance; just aggressive deceit, yap yap.