One-eyed wisdom Dep’t

My Bloggingheads with Will Wilkinson is now up.

My Bloggingheads with Will Wilkinson is now up. We talk about the Olympics, global warming, probation, and torture. Overall, I’d say we had somewhat advanced Steve Teles’s proposal for a liberal-libertarian detente. Plus, I got to tell my favorite pseudo-Norse myth.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

6 thoughts on “One-eyed wisdom Dep’t”

  1. I listened to the podcast (I think Bloggingheads makes pretty good radio, but I will never believe that anybody actually watches it). It was interesting, but I was very annoyed that, near the beginning, you permitted Mr. Wilkinson to (almost certainly knowingly) propagate a persistent and usually profoundly mendacious lie: that American corporations are heavily taxed.

    This notion, which last achieved some prominence when John McCain trotted it out during the Presidential Debates, is a myth; it's what Molly Ivins used to refer to a "barefaced non-fact". It is perhaps true that on paper American corporations face a nominal tax rate that would cause many of their competitors to blanch, but it's also true that through deductions, exemptions, shelters, and doubtless dark satanic rituals if they thought it would help, the effective tax rate, the one they actually pay, is one of the lowest in the industrialized world.

    Now, it's a dumb system, and it's one that causes a lot of inefficiency as money is spent on tax lawyers and their schemes rather than handled simply and taxed normally. And, of course, it's unjust in that those corporations that are hampered in their ability to access the best tax dodges by their smaller size or their relatively higher ethical standards (I can dream, right?) face an unfair burden compared to their larger and more ethically nimble competitors. But to characterize our situation as involving high taxes on corporations, and to suggest that the solution is lower tax rates balanced by higher taxes elsewhere in the economy, is a journey into pure fantasy and pro-corporate propaganda that should disqualify anyone who utters it from polite discourse – and as the person engaging with Mr. Wilkinson in such polite discourse, you really ought to have called him on it.

  2. Good discussion on your probation ideas, Mark. As you acknowledge, the "net-widening" objection to the focused deterrence strategy is a legitimate one. I believe this was a problem identified in the whole ISP literature and the evaluations done by RAND (Petersilia et. al.). This is a problem of politics though. As you say Mark, it's easy to change meth addicts but hard to change politicians.

  3. Could you trim the beard a bit? You're starting to look like God, and I don't like that guy.

  4. Um, seconding on the beard. A nicely-trimmed beard looks good on many men; an unkempt beard looks good on very few men. IMHO, it changes the look from 'academcic' or 'elder' to 'I'm not up on personal hygiene'.

  5. "an unkempt beard looks good on very few men"

    I say, why even keep a beard in the first place! So huss, no fuss, no spending time in "trimming it". 😀

  6. P.S. If you DO insist on keeping a beard, then you should comb and trim it regularly just as you do with your hair! 😉


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