What is ‘modest’?

Bob Murphy makes a good point while responding to Elizabeth Warren’s discussion of a $22 minimum wage:

We’re not talking about a “modest” change that Krugman et al. hide behind when we free-marketeers go nuts on this stuff. (Even here, I’m still waiting for someone to show me why going from $7.25 to $9/hour–which is a 24 percent increase–is “modest.” If the government cut the deficit by 24 percent in a year, I doubt Krugman would dismiss it as “modest.”)

…or cut government spending by 24%, lowered tax rates by 24% or increased tax rates on the poor by 24%.


2 thoughts on “What is ‘modest’?

  1. If I had my druthers, no one would be permitted to write a column or blog post, or do news commentary, that used words like “austerity,” “spending cuts*,” “wealthy,” “rich,” “high income,” “poor,” and “poverty” without including a parenthetical or footnote that described the range or definition of the term. Used as freely as these vague terms are, each reader/listener thinks that the target term includes anyone but himself, and the speaker/writer gets away with pleasing everyone with no commitment whatsoever to a principle.
    * this one drives me nuts. To refer to decreasing the rate of increase as a “cut” is absurd, obscene and immoral, IMHO.

    • Thanks for the comment. I agree. Also, “fair share”. I’d like them to define that so we’ll know it when we get there so they can’t always say it needs to be more fair.


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