The new Village talking point in favor of cutting taxes for the wealthy and services for the middle-class is that giving more to our Galtian overlords is simply the fair, moral thing to do. Matt Yglesias puts it well:
[W]e used to have a debate in which the left said redistributive taxation might be a good idea and then the right replied that it might sound good, but actually the consequences would be bad. Lower taxes on the rich would lead to more growth and faster increase in incomes.
Now that idea seems to be so unsupportable that the talking point is switched. It’s not that higher taxes on our Galtian Overlords would backfire and make us worse off. It’s just that it would be immoral of us to ask them to pay more taxes even if doing so would, in fact, improve overall human welfare.
This is a good issue for conservatives to strut their stuff. The winger starting position is that cutting taxes for the rich is good, because trickle down works, it creates jobs. The Bobo/Sully/Morning Joe “moderate” position is that, even if cutting taxes for the rich doesn’t create jobs, then it’s the *fair* thing to do, make everybody share the pain! There’s a fall-back position beyond that too — even if raising taxes on the wealthy is necessary economically, the way the Democrats propose to do it won’t work. Also too, class warfare.
None of these arguments will ever involve relevant numbers. You may see an occasional reference to the number of dollar bills you’d have to stack to get the moon relative to the federal deficit, or a colorful financial graph titled “reality check”, but that’s about it. The real reasons we have to take from the middle-class and give to our Galtian overlords have more to do with fairness, morality, maybe even philosophy. Numbers are for the little people.