As Democrats and Republicans fight over Joe Biden's economic agenda, Paul Krugman suggests it boils down to two things: Tax the rich and help children:
Republicans will, of course, denounce whatever Democrats come out with. But there are three things you should know about both taxing the rich and helping children: They’re very good ideas from an economic point of view. They’re extremely popular. And they’re very much in the American tradition.
About the economics: Although the modern Republican Party is utterly committed to the proposition that low taxes on corporations and the rich are the key to economic success, there is no evidence that this is true. If anything, the historical correlation runs the other way. The U.S. economy grew faster during periods when taxes at the top were relatively high than it did when they were low.
On the other hand, there is overwhelming evidence that helping children, in addition to being the right thing to do, has big economic payoffs. Children who benefited from safety-net programs like food stamps became healthier, more productive adults. Children who were enrolled in pre-K education were more likely to graduate from high school and go to college than those who weren’t. As I’ve argued in the past, the economic case for investing in children is even stronger than the case for investing in physical infrastructure.
Like the battle over vaccines, the present debate is about superstition and evidence:
When it comes to public opinion, what’s striking is how little impact more than 40 years of anti-tax, anti-government propaganda has had on voters’ views. Polls consistently show large majorities, including many Republicans, supporting higher taxes on corporations and the rich. Large majorities also support subsidizing child care and aiding families with children.
Yet government policy veers toward superstition. Which raises a simple question: Who controls the government?