Wikipedia on Trickle Down Economics

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An example of Wikipedia's embarrassingly bad bias, poor writing, and misleading summary is the Wikipedia entry on Trickle Down Economics. It looks like it was written by a left wing polemic rather than anyone interested in economics or facts (or teaching). The Talk Section has a few interesting PoV's.

While there's some good backstory on the origins of the term, the basics of their argument is that since the term was made by a humorist, and isn't an economic theory, then the idea that tax cuts can sometimes help is also disproven. And the user walks away dumber than when they started.

The truth is that while Tricke Down is a pejorative term for Reagonomics or supply side economics, both of the latter are considered viable economic theories, and while contested have evidence to support their validity. So while there is no record of any economist or politician advocating trickle-down economics (in terms of "if you cut taxes for the rich, they will spend more and that wealth will trickle down"). There is supply-side economics and many other policies from whence that term came -- and it can be used to show that when tax rates are too high, then cutting them is stimulative.

So the term is false and often an overstated rhetorical device (usually by haters of free markets to attack real economists who think differently than they do). But that doesn't change the inherent truth that we know that when taxes are too high, cutting them is stimulative. We also know that this applies to the rich as well as the poor -- more so, since the poor don't pay some forms of taxes. The economic debate is what is "too high", and whether it is more helpful than alternatives. But you wouldn't get any of that from Wikipedia main page on the topic -- you might glean more from the talk section, if you read it, and already knew the topic before reading it (to understand what they're arguing about).


Wikipedia is both hit and miss, with a lot more hits than misses. I reference it a lot, because most articles are pretty good, or at least good enough. Most of their lies and bias are lies and bias of omission. (What they say isn't usually wrong, but what they don't say might completely change the context). So they are a pretty good reference. But don't let that lull you into an "Appeal to Authority" or "Appeal to Celebrity" fallacy. Science is skepticism. Wikipedia is hegemony. Wikipedia has millions of articles, across hundreds of thousands of topics -- and each topic is a community (clique) of editors, and herd-think rules most of them. Some areas a fine. But if one clique is bad, that whole area can be bad; they won't allow counter-factual that disagree with their agenda. And there are bad (biased) areas of wikipedia. Especially in History, Science, Politics, and anything that's controversial. And everything can be political and controversial to folks that focus on any topic. more...

Fake Facts

There's "facts" that people believe, but aren't. Worse are things that the Fact Checkers on the left have verified for people as true, that aren't true, or are completely biased or misleading. Most are sincerely mislead. The question is when confronted with facts do they argue to death using an appeal to authority fallacy ("but CNN says it's true"), or are they open-minded free thinkers that look at the new information and weigh it against the prior evidence? It's not wether they agree with me or not that changes who they are. (They might have valid reasons for still not agreeing). But it's their approach to new information that makes the difference between a conscious (self-aware) human, or a herd following collectivist. more...


📚 References

Written: 2018.10.21