The Corner

Trust but Verify

Over at The New Republic, Jesse Singal points out that a table I posted at the Corner back in December is based on inaccurate data. This table, which I got from the website Zero Hedge,  illustrates how government subsidies and tax credits could create a disincentive to work. While the general principle that work barely pays for some people is sound, Singal is right that the math overstates the case. For instance, a mistake in the data is that total federal tax using the standard deduction, personal exemption, and child credit is $1,960 in income tax plus $4,950 in payroll tax, or $6,550, not $13,034 like shown in the table. 

Because it came from Zero Hedge, a source I generally find useful,  I didn’t give it the scrutiny it might have deserved. Obviously, this is no excuse for the lack of due diligence in reposting the table. Lesson learned.

However, there is positive aspect to this incident. It shows two things about how the Internet has affected discourse, both for the better: It has allowed more voices and information to circulate and allowed corrections to be made more easily and powerfully. On a personal level, it calls to mind something Ronald Reagan, whose centennial is being celebrated this week, was famous for saying in a different context: Trust, but verify.

Veronique de Rugy — Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More