Valid arguments versus bad arguments

Here is a concept that I’ve tried to teach:  the difference between a valid argument with which you disagree and a bad argument.

Let me see if I can clarify this. Even though I tend to lean to the left in economics, I still believe that a valid argument can be made for Supply-Side economics. My disagreement with Supply-Side is that, since its advocates tend to be very pro-free market, they tend to reject regulations that would make it effective when used. What good does it do to cut tax rates for job creators if they either sit on the money or create the jobs in other countries? Nevertheless, rejecting Supply-Side theory as a possibility is wrong; at its core, the theory is valid.

A bad argument example is the current insistence by so many that the key to economic recovery is to use Supply-Side theory now.  We are currently living in conditions that are the antithesis of when the theory should be used; Supply-Side tax cuts make sense when we simultaneously have high unemployment and high inflation. We may hear about rising gas prices and conclude that inflation is high, but that is incorrect, largely because of the huge hit this country took in real estate prices. Anyone arguing for tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations is making a bad argument.

It’s subtle, but it’s important to distinguish these. It helps explain why some disagreements become so heated, because people fail to acknowledge that someone else’s argument is valid.

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2 thoughts on “Valid arguments versus bad arguments

  1. Willie Krash says:

    Agreed. Inflation used to be tied to the value of a country’s fiat money. Still is but now with more speculation in commodities inflation could take a whole new meaning. It begs the question when the whole world is printing fiat money how will that affect the worker? The income disparity is a troubling component. Yes your gas example is the classic “this does not follow that.”
    To the question of disagreements becoming heated it seems often it is a product of ignorance. That is to say when one is in control of the facts there is no need to become emotional.
    Re what good does it do to cut tax rates to job creators if they are to just sit on the money is a perfect example. When the jobs don’t come we move the goal post to explain why (regulation), perhaps it’s time to ask why? Are capitol markets part of the problem? Why build a factory when “spinning the wheel” produces profit at a lower tax rate?

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