TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Tax History Project: Ideas in Context

ThorndikeThp_logo_1 The Tax History Project, a public service initiative of Tax Analysts, has posted seven papers on its web site.  We will blog one of these papers each day this week.

Ideas in Context, by Joseph J. Thorndike (Director of Tax History Project and Contributing Editor, Tax Analysts):

When it comes to politics, do ideas really matter? Not according to Jonathan Chait, a senior editor for The New Republic. In a July article for the magazine, Chait takes issue with the current Democratic obsession with "new ideas" and says pouring money into think tanks is a waste of time, offering false hope to a dispirited liberal establishment. Worse yet, it distracts Democrats from the hard work of winning elections. In good contrarian fashion, Chait makes a provocative case, insisting that ideas lack the transformative power that Democrats crave. Of course, Chait's argument is its own sort of new idea: When liberals disagree on everything except the need for new ideas, what could be fresher than the case for moribund thinking?

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