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Tax Cuts, Argumentum ad Populam, and Argumentum ad Consequentiam - A Recovering Physicist's Apology

About Tax Cuts, Argumentum ad Populam, and Argumentum ad Consequentiam

Previous Entry Tax Cuts, Argumentum ad Populam, and Argumentum ad Consequentiam Jan. 30th, 2009 @ 08:40 pm Next Entry
My problem with "unity" is that just because the majority of people like something does not make it right. In logic that is called the argumentum ad populam fallacy (argument from the popular). Just because lots of non-experts believe/like something doesn't make it true. Also, there are shades of the Argumentum ad Consequentiam Fallacy (appeal to consequences of a belief) in a lot of political thinking these days. This fallacy boils down to if there exists a desirable result the premise is assumed to be true simply because the result is desirable. Let's consider these fallacies in regards to... hmmm... tax cuts.

(As a caveat, as a Prof of mine was fond of saying, "Economics is at best 10% Calculus, and 90% Entrail Reading." Economics is not a "science" by any reasonable definition, but even that being said, that 10% calculus can actually prove things occasionally. One of those things that is likely provable and thus agreed upon by most economists (recent Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman and the majority of the guests on the Diane Rehm show likely loudest among them) is that tax cuts do not work to stimulate the economy or, at most, are not as effective as other means.)

According to many economists, Obama allocated an inappropriately large amount of the stimulus package to tax cuts (upwards of 40%). This was recorded quite publicly to "appease Republicans". And I say to that, ARGUMENTUM AD POPULAM! I don't give a crap whether the stimulus package passes by 1 vote or is passed unanimously (accompanied by gum drop rain and puppy dog kisses), the point of the stimulus package is to stimulate the failing economy -- it is NOT to bring Congress together. We don't need "unity" we need an "economy", if the best damn economy possible can only be accomplished with a one vote majority, so be it. The Dems control both houses of Congress - force the best bill through (which is to say "best" as defined not by politics but as the highest probability of success). Yes, it would be nice if everyone got on board and wanted to fix the economy in a way that has the highest chance of success, but fixing MUST take priority to unity.

I know a lot of Obama Apologists read my blog and will be quick to say, "that's not how Obama works" EXACTLY AND THAT'S THE PROBLEM! Obama would rather water down (according to experts) a bill to get Republicans on board than pass a better bill to better fix the economy. He would rather Washington play nice together than fix problems as effectively as possible. That is (in many ways) just as psychotic and condemnable as how the voting on the bill went down...

This is likely also shades of an Argumentum ad Consequentiam Fallacy. That fallacy is, essentially, an appeal to emotion. This fallacy arises when one states that something is true or false based solely on the belief that the conclusion is desirable; or, to put it another way, if we believe something is true, good things will happen because of that belief. Obama Apologists are arguing along this line when they say that it is true that Obama is doing the right thing here becasue unity is favorable and he is trying to unify.

And now we come to the hilarious and wonderful Act V Finale of the Post-Partisan play... how many of the Republicans that Obama weakened the stimulus bill for (ie screwed over the populous for, bent over backwards to accommodate people that did not have the best interests of the nation in mind) voted FOR that very same bill...



None of them.





These guys must have had their gallbladders removed becasue they have unmitigated gall (read that out loud if you don't get the joke).

Welcome to the post-partisan world! Where these little gems of logical fallacy will rule the day:

Argumentum ad Consequentiam
If P, then Q.
Q is a desirable outcome.
Therefore, P.


Argumentum ad Populam
P is believed by a lot of people.
Therefore, P.



Down with Data, up with Unity!
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From:makoelf
Date:January 31st, 2009 06:06 am (UTC)
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Obama would rather water down (according to experts) a bill to get Republicans on board than pass a better bill to better fix the economy. He would rather Washington play nice together than fix problems as effectively as possible. That is (in many ways) just as psychotic and condemnable as how the voting on the bill went down...

that's one way of looking at it, i suppose. i see it more as a baby step to getting exactly what he wants. but, i could be way off.
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From:biggrumpy
Date:January 31st, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC)
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$100 - $400 billion is one heck of a baby step!

Edited at 2009-01-31 09:51 pm (UTC)
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From:makoelf
Date:February 1st, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)
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fair enough. but it's better than just saying "my way or no no way at all."
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From:pollopeligroso
Date:January 31st, 2009 08:18 am (UTC)
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Was gall the word you were looking for? I looked up gull. I forgot about it's second meaning, and it means easily deceived, which appears to be the exact opposite of what I think you meant. Unless you were referring to someone else, it was a tad ambiguous.
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From:biggrumpy
Date:January 31st, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, wrong word. I've fixed it.
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From:pollopeligroso
Date:February 1st, 2009 05:36 am (UTC)
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Well after thinking about it for a bit, we are actually the gulls here taken in by sweet rethoric, so it kinda worked, I was just wondering if that's how you meant or not.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 2nd, 2009 01:34 am (UTC)
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Hopefully, Obama will try to coerce the Repubs into voting for the compromise bill and then when they won't just blow them off and get what he wants anyway.
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