In this question, which is kind of politcally charged in the US, I ask the theoretical and experimental question "Do higher taxes lower economic growth?": Does a tax increase on high incomes slow down economic growth? .

Here is an excerpt of the deleted answer:

It is true in an ideal free efficient market, and it is only true to the extent the market being taxed is efficient. But since an efficient market has no rich people, all incomes are equal in an efficient market, this statement is really never true.


What I said above is not said by any economist, at least not anymore, but it is supported by the U.S. data. This shows growth increasing with higher marginal tax rates on the upper brackets, consistently for at least as long as we have reliable data, and supposing the rates are not so high that people begin to engage in tricks and tactics to shift their money around to untaxable form.


This was common wisdom in the heyday of Keynsianism, from 1932-1978. Anyway, Sklivvz deleted it, I don't like that. It's a fine answer, just downvote it or supply another answer if you don't like it. Also, it is wrong to delete answers because you don't like their politics, and if someone gave a better answer with better data, I could actually change my mind.


Actually, Oddthinking and Sklivvz explained the reasons for deletion quite well in the comments, don’t you think?

Your first sentence makes a bold claim, with no reference. Please add one. Your second sentence makes a bolder claim with no reference. […]
Thanks for explicitly declining to add references. It means I can request a mod deleted this immediately.


we don't care what economic theory predicts. It's not a hard science. What happens in practice? Deleting as not an answer and because its a theoretical answer to a practical question.

We have a very clear policy on Skeptics regarding references and theoretical answers.

I don’t see how you conclude that the deletion was politically motivated.

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    I gave the prediction of efficient market theory, which I never read in a reference, I just worked out for myself. I added the Keynsian reasoning which justified Roosevelt/Eisnehower era confiscatory taxation, and I know this stuff from working with the models themselves, not from reading. You can disagree with the model, you can disagree with the conclusion, but to delete it is unconsciounable. I don't use authority to back up statements, I use thinking. – Ron Maimon Oct 13 '12 at 14:38
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    @Ron: This would be a great time to give apologies for falsely accusing people of ulterior political motivation despite them giving clear references to their actual reasoning: violated FAQ policies? – Oddthinking Oct 13 '12 at 17:52
  • @Oddthinking: I will not apologize--- the deletion is because of politics, and the FAQ is the tool of political oppression here. I gave a references in the answer to primary data on wage equality. The data on tax-rates and growth positive correlation is now in the accepted answer. I would point out that the politics are not necessarily of the Republican/Democrat sort--- they can be of the mainstream-economist/Keynsian-Marxist-tinged-economist sort, which is what I tend to believe happened here. People don't know how interesting and counterintuitive the predictions of free-market theory are. – Ron Maimon Oct 13 '12 at 20:21
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    @Ron, you do realise that you haven’t left any door open for communication, do you? With your refusal to assume good faith on our part you’ve effectively ended the discussion. There’s nothing we can say to change your mind, and your ridiculous allegation of an agenda-driven policy (which predates the current discussion by years and has a well laid-out rationale) means that you didn’t understand why you’re supposed to follow the rules here – we don’t want you to follow the letter (but you fail even that), we would like you to understand why they make sense. Obviously, that’s failed. – Konrad Rudolph Oct 14 '12 at 8:50
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    The great thing about this false accusation of political bias, is I have no idea which side I am meant to be partisan too. Am I being accused of being a hard-line classical economist or a hard-line Keynsian/Marxist one? It strikes me as pretty rude to falsely accuse someone of being any sort of economist! – Oddthinking Oct 14 '12 at 11:30
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    @Oddthinking: Every time a person has an even slightly original idea, this idea is not supported in the literature, or if it is, it is not in exactly the form you state it. The ideas that you can find cites for are always pre-shaped by political forces, and have evolved to the point of stagnation. So saying "back up statements" is just saying "we exclude original thinking". That's your prerogative, but it's a form of conservatism, and a form of oppression. The idea I am presenting--- confiscatory taxation--- is opposed by both left and right, and by all academic economists today. – Ron Maimon Oct 14 '12 at 16:30
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    I think we had a breakthrough! When you say my actions are "politically motivated"/"conservative", you don't mean fiscally/socially conservative or a classical/Keynsian hardliner. You mean that I am conservative about accepting as true speculative conjectures about important issues before they have been rigorously examined by experts, compared to the evidence, and withstood the criticism. You mean I am a skeptic! I plead proudly guilty of such a charge, and I am willing to dob in my co-conspirators! – Oddthinking Oct 15 '12 at 2:22
  • @Oddthinking: What you describe isn't skepticism. I am just as much of a skeptic as you. Taking this position, you are not sufficiently skeptical of authoritative nitwit experts, who say stupid things, like "higher taxes suppress growth" for essentially political reasons. I am not asking you to accept what I am saying as true, just to think about it as a reasoned out position, and criticize on its merits, not on whether it matches authority opinion. Yes, by "politically motivated" I do mean what you say above, it is no less political, and it is no less dangerous to a functioning website. – Ron Maimon Oct 15 '12 at 2:42
  • You are free to downvote the answer, I don't mind that, although I think it is correct. If you found data that contradicted this position in the published literature, that's great, I haven't, but I didn't look too hard. If you find a theoretical analysis that somebody made that shows that this is wrong, you can say so. Economics literature does not have apolitical peer review methods, and the amount and quality of criticism an idea would get on stackexchange, if it is allowed to stay up and be read, is greater than the criticism it would get if it ever got into the economics literature. – Ron Maimon Oct 15 '12 at 2:48

We require citations for all important claims in our answers, answers that do not fulfill this requirement are deleted. Usually we give you some time before deleting so that you can add the citations, but as you explicitly wrote in your comment that you won't add any answers, there is no need to wait before deletion.

  • As I said, I don't use references, I use my brain. It is possible to reference every claim I made, but usually using sources that make broader claims that I would not agree with. Economics is not an exact science, but free efficient market theory is, because it is a mathematically precise model. One can argue that it does not apply, but the standard Republican arguments are all made within the context of free efficient market theory, and are only correct to the extent that high incomes are competitive. – Ron Maimon Oct 13 '12 at 14:39
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    If you don't use references, Skeptics is the wrong site for you, period. – Mad Scientist Oct 13 '12 at 15:09
  • No it isn't. It just has to be pushed away from it's ridiculous policies. – Ron Maimon Oct 13 '12 at 15:20
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    @Ron: You have selected the one policy that makes Skeptics.SE different to the rest of the Internet; the one policy that binds us together as a community and raises our signal:noise ratio, and targeted that as what needs to change? May I suggest Wordpress.com, instead? – Oddthinking Oct 13 '12 at 17:55
  • @Oddthinking: No, I will not go anywhere, I will instead continue to suggest you implement your policy apolitically. It is copied from Wikipedia, it makes your site less useful. My policy is to ignore policies until I am banned, that's my test of whether I should be a member of your community. – Ron Maimon Oct 13 '12 at 20:05
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    'My policy is to ignore policies until I am banned, that's my test of whether I should be a member of your community.' Is that a request? – Sklivvz Oct 13 '12 at 20:13
  • @Sklivvz: If you would like to precipitate it, I would be happier to find out sooner rather than later. I don't participate in forums that ban people like me. – Ron Maimon Oct 13 '12 at 20:23
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    I don't want to precipitate anything. I just want to let you know that we will sin-bin anyone disregarding our policies repeatedly - even you. I would rather have you participating in a manner respectful of the community, than not at all, but that's ultimately up to you. – Sklivvz Oct 13 '12 at 20:34
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    @Sklivvz: I guarantee you my behavior will never change, so better if you do it now. I don't like your kind of people, or your kind of forum, and I don't want to give you any more power than you already have, so get it over with already and ban me. – Ron Maimon Oct 13 '12 at 23:05

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