What Would Goolsbee Do?
It’s tougher to change minds across the aisle, and like many others, Goolsbee was bothered by the deep entrenchment of Beltway politics, especially when he believed the data pointed to a clear solution. He is sure, for example, that the tax record has never demonstrated a Laffer curve, which in theory proves that lower tax rates increase revenue for the government—the graph is often associated with supply-side economics. Unlike his equally argumentative colleagues in Hyde Park, politicians prefer to fight on the strength of received wisdom rather than reevaluate the data. “You know, that’s a frustrating aspect of Washington … that it’s more like, put on the battle armor and the two sides go fight,” Goolsbee says. “It doesn’t seem to sway the debate that you say, ‘Hold on, that’s not true!’”
Something to read for the weekend: There’s a terrific profile of economist Austan Goolsbee in the new issue of The University of Chicago Magazine. Read it, if only to enjoy seeing his name in print (Gooolsbeeee!)