Partly in response to criticisms by Joe Romm, here and here, I’ve revised my recent posts on the fall-out from Climategate. I was sloppy with quotation marks, and I have tried to clarify what I said at certain points. The revised posts are here and here.
My latest column is again on President Obama, US politics and taxes.
Last week I argued that sooner or later Barack Obama will have to break his election promise and raise taxes on the US middle class. It would be better not to renege just yet, I said: a double-dip US recession remains a distinct possibility and fiscal policy needs to stay loose for the time being. However, before much longer, restoring fiscal control is going to require higher taxes – and not just for the rich.
My Monday column on taxes met, shall we say, with a certain amount of scepticism. I argued that Obama needs to break his promise on taxes, and raise them once the recovery is solid for middle-class Americans as well as for the rich. Many people have written comments or sent me emails that say, not always in polite terms, “What about spending?”
Fair point. Preoccupied with the debate over extending the Bush tax cuts, and confined to 900 words, I neglected to mention spending cuts. That was wrong. People who don’t read everything I write — there must be some — will be unaware that I see spending cuts as necessary too. I think both will be needed to get the long-term deficit back under control. Entitlement reform is indispensable.
Joe Romm tells me to “retract [my] libellous misinformation and apologise to Michael Mann”. He is complaining about my suggestion that the various inquiries supposedly vindicating the Climategate emailers have further diminished the credibility of climate science, rather than restoring it.
I think the only issue of substance in his complaint is the charge that I failed to notice that there were two Penn State investigations of Mann, not one, and that both had cleared the accused. Of course I was aware of the form of the inquiry, though I concede that the post was not as clear about the two phases as it should have been.
My latest column is on President Obama, US politics and taxes
Between now and the November elections, the biggest political fight in the US is likely to be about taxes. Unless Congress acts, big tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 during George Bush’s presidency will expire at the end of the year. With the recovery faltering, Republicans and Democrats understand that reversing all of the cuts so soon is a bad idea, but this is where their agreement stops.