22 Oct 2011

Clash of the Titans

Economics, Humor 4 Comments

I was bracing myself for a rebuttal from Bob Wenzel when I had some harsh words for his take on the consumption tax not affecting consumers at all (save in their role as producers), but not a peep. Then I realized it was because he was engaged in a multi-front war.

Wenzel was on the Peter Schiff show. As you may imagine, when two loci of such self-confidence are drawn close to each other, they repel with great force, much as two North ends of giant electromagnets.

Here’s Wenzel’s take on what happened:

Although it sounds like I stopped talking, Peter interrupted me three times during the first part of the interview. He just talked over me. The first time it happened I thought it was rude, but, hey, I have had worse things happen. I waited for him to finish and then continued with a point. He interrupted me again, this time I thought I was not letting him get away with it. I said, “Peter…Peter…Peter…Peter.” Trying to indicate that I did not give up the floor when he interrupted me. I was amazed that Peter didn’t respond, since I thought it would show how rude Peter was being. Especially, when I called out Peter’s name four times and gave him opportunity to stop between each time I called out his name. Now, I realize why he was unconcerned.

The third time he interrupted me, I simply continued talking. This went on for a full 15 to 20 seconds. I remember thinking to myself, “I can’t believe Peter is letting this crosstalk go on.” Again, now I understand why he was unconcerned.

Ah, but Mr. Schiff was like Scott Farkus who pushed little Ralphie too far by smacking him in the face with the snowball. Something snapped inside Wenzel, who then wrote on his blog:

Finally, one additional note. As I said on the show, since I am not running for office, I really don’t do much thinking about a middle game of what I would do about taxes, if I were President. Since Peter raised the question, I have thought more about it.

Peter’s father is in prison for tax evasion. One of the first things I would do as President is pardon Peter’s father and others in the same situation and then I would bring down taxes so low that tax evasion would not make sense for anyone to attempt, for either pecuniary reasons or on principle. I think it’s a better plan than Herman Cain’s.

Whoa! I think I’m going to drop this issue of debating tax structures. These guys aren’t to be trifled with. I’d be better off trying to edge in on the Russian mob’s crap games.

4 Responses to “Clash of the Titans”

  1. Joseph Fetz says:

    Yeah, bringing up Pete’s dad made me a little uncomfortable.

  2. Daniel says:

    I love Peter Schiff but he is wrong on this issue. At first when a consumption tax is imposed, there are a fixed amount of goods in the market, sellers cannot just increase prices since there is no change in consumer preferences or demand. Firms will bear the burden of this tax, and firms at the margin will go out of business. Fewer firms means less demand for labour and land. Eventually since there are fewer firms, the supply curve shifts left, and firms can charge higher prices. However this isn’t because firms could just increase prices, it’s because of a decreased supply. Labour and land bear the incidence of the consumption tax and consumers eventually get higher prices.

    This is all Rothbard’s analysis in Power and Markets. Wensel never really did a good job explaining this to Schiff – but Schiff interrupted the hell out of him.

  3. Chris says:

    Michael Rozeff has weighed in as well: http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/97219.html

  4. Scott says:

    You know, I actually ran the numbers. Schiff spoke for 10m27s and Wenzel spoke for 6m45s. Now that includes a 2m30s monologue at the very end where he was basically wrapping things up so without that they were pretty much even. Not bad considering it was a debate and not a lecture. Most of Schiff’s time was actually spent as a moderator either framing the discussion, asking Bob questions, or trying to speak slowly or repeating himself so that Bob could understand what he was asking and stop going off on tangents (e.g. that Bob wanted to lower taxes, isn’t running for Pres, etc).

    summary http://bit.ly/opIhfj
    data http://bit.ly/prNoh4