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Ignorance Is Bliss II

I wish I had a PhD in economics. Then maybe I could offer an informed opinion on tax rates on the very rich and their effect on the economy. But I don’t, so I can’t.

I spent a lot of time trying to understand what both the Tax Foundation and the Congressional Research Office studies I cited last week were saying, even going so far as to Google a term used in the foundation report — the “service price” of capital.

Ready? “The user cost of capital is the unit cost for the use of a capital asset for one period — that is, the price for employing or obtaining one unit of capital services. The user cost of capital is also referred to as the ‘rental price’ of a capital good, or the ‘capital service price.’ ” Thank you so much, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

So where does that leave us? If we don’t have the knowledge to make an informed assessment on our own, we have to depend on people who do. 2Cents made an excellent point in his comment on Friday’s post: We should always know whether the messenger has a motivation to twist the message.

The author of the Congressional Research Office report contributed to the Obama campaign. The Tax Foundation was founded in 1937 by heads of General Motors, Standard Oil and Johns-Manville and gets funding from ExxonMobil, the Koch Family Foundations, the Earhart Foundation and Citizens for a Sound Economy.

The Foundation describes itself as non-partisan but that doesn’t strike me as a nonpartisan list of supporters. Where does that leave those of us who are pragmatists and want answers to problems from people we can trust? Out in the cold.