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Tool time at The World's Greatest Newspaper (not!)

Izvestia's Web 2.0 interactive "check the website" eye candy on "the deficit"MR SUBLIMINAL Lightning flash! Thunder! Scary music! is earning plenty of well-deserved derision, since, like most online interactive games, it's a time sink. Unlike most interactive games, it's also a dandy little propaganda tool, and certainly Judy Miller David Leonhardt, stenographer, is playing a critical role in the rollout of the WMD Catfood Commission story. Barry Rithholz created a ginormous PDF from the thing, and comments:

Of course, the discussion as to why we should be fixing the deficit in a mediocre recovery is not broached . . .

Felix Salmon gives the game a little more respect, and notes -- this will surprise you -- that the game skews neo-liberal. What's not on "the table":

The bank tax is also a good idea, but again it doesn’t go far enough, since it hits only the largest banks: why not add the option of a Tobin tax, too, which would raise revenue from financial transactions no matter who was engaging in them.

I’d also love to see the option of a wealth tax, which could raise a lot of money from those most able to afford it.

Finally, although I’m a fan of a consumption tax, I don’t like the NYT’s sole option on that front — a 5% national sales tax which applies to everybody equally. I’d much rather see something much more progressive: look at each taxpayer’s annual income, subtract their annual savings, and the difference is their annual consumption. Allow everybody say $50,000 of consumption per year tax-free, and then start taxing consumption over that point, with the tax rate rising as consumption grows. If you spend over $250,000 a year, your marginal consumption could be taxed quite highly.

In general, the NYT options on both the spending-cut and the tax-hike side tend to hit the poor and the middle classes more drastically than the rich; what’s missing here is the option to implement something much more progressive, in both senses of the word. It’s a missed opportunity, and a shame.

No, it's not a "missed opportunity." It's the plan. And it's not "a shame." Our elites have no shame.

NOTE However, Miller Leonhardt's tool has provided employment for plenty of "creative class" symbol manipulators! So there's that.

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Submitted by Hugh on

Leonhardt's tool has provided employment for plenty of "creative class" symbol manipulators!

Leonhardt is a tool. He's Krugman but with fewer credentials.