(Note: The title is a nod to this prior post in which the author joined the chorus of those advocating a “gasoline tax” to punish those wasteful drivers; sorry, but I’m not real big on social engineering at someone else’s expense, and I’m certainly not big on that when it comes to my own – make cheaper, more fuel-efficient cars and give employers greater tax incentives to support telecommuting first, to say nothing of increased mass transit funding, OK?).
The New York Times today published a list of questions that financial industry experts would like to ask Treasury Secretary Designate Timothy Geithner today (Geithner’s confirmation hearing was today, as noted here).
And one of the Times’ questioners was a certain N. Gregory Mankiw, who posed the following…
1. The income tax code favors those with employer-provided health insurance over those who buy their own health insurance or pay medical bills out of pocket. It also favors homeowners over renters, through the mortgage interest deduction. Is this tax treatment efficient or fair? Might you favor a more level playing field?
Yes and No, people – we’re done with this, OK?
Don’t screw around with my mortgage interest deduction! Also…
2. President Obama supports the estate tax. Why should a person who leaves his money to his children pay more in taxes than another person with the same lifetime income who spends all his money on himself?
Ah yes, a common Mankiw theme returns once more, namely, that of taxation versus his “willingness to work,” or, at least, engage in some other honorable venture such as investing wisely (he also harped on that in this post, where he believes his hypothetical earning of a dollar will yield his kids $4.81 under John McCain, had he won in November, but only $1.95 under Barack Obama; I am hardly an econ expert, but as I read through the comments to Mankiw’s post, I’m starting to wonder if he is either).
And of course, Mankiw is one of the gaggle of pundits who sat on his hands doing nothing while all econ indicators in this country pointed towards disaster, as noted here (actually, on second thought, that’s not correct; they did do something…and that was to ridicule other industry professionals such as Paul Krugman who turned out to be right all along!).