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June 29, 2010


-A new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll finds 24% of Americans still believe Obama wasn't born in US

The actual poll results show that 13% think Obama was born in "Kenya", "Indonesia" or "someplace else outside the US." Brendan's 24% figure includes 11% for "not sure which country." I interpret this latter category as amounting to "Don't know."

Does Brendan interpret this category as meaning that Obama wasn't born in the US? Does he intentionally count "Don't know" respondants among those who still believe Obama wasn't born in US? Did he accept somebody else's interpretation of these poll results without checking?

Apologies - I read the results, but not carefully enough to notice that the Political Wire summary is wrong. The error is corrected above.

I don't agree with Brendan's interpretation of Forbes' comment. IMHO he pretty clearly implied that US economic growth would be greater if the top marginal income tax rate were cut, even if total taxes remained the same.

Forbes pointed out that Brazil has high taxes, that is, a high tax-to-GDP ratio. He attributed Brazil's high rate of economic growth not to lower overall taxes, but to a lower top marginal tax rate.

I agree that Forbes made excellent points about the difference between marginal rates in the U.S. and Brazil. I wish he'd gone a little further and discussed whether Brazilian states impose a separate income tax, as many U.S. states do. My suspicion is that the combined federal/state marginal income tax rates would show an even greater differential between the U.S. and Brazil.

Personally I'm entirely in favor of soaking the rich, which I define as anyone making more than me. I won't be happy until every assistant professor in America has to take a second job at the Kwik-E-Mart.

I'm struck by Brendan's continuing focus on wrong beliefs about Obama's place of birth and Death Panels, to the exclusion of many others. Because these particular false beliefs are more popular among conservatives, liberals have implicitly created a narrative that these are key. Anyone who holds these beliefs is contemptible -- not worthy of consideration. To see examples of what I mean, read the Comments in Polical Wire, from the link in Brendan's comment above.

OTOH wrong beliefs commonly held by liberals are seldom mentioned, and they aren't held to be evidence of general unworthiness. E.g., we now know that it was wrong to believe that we'd all be able to keep our existing insurance under Obamacare, but nobody is vilifying all those who held that belief.

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