If All Rich People Were Larry David, I'd Feel Better About Cutting Their Taxes

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Larry David, the professional curmudgeon who launched Seinfeld and stars in Curb Your Enthusiasm, has an op-ed in the New York Times today about his uncurbed enthusiasm for the tax cut deal.

What will Larry do with the money he saved from the Obama tax cut deal? He'll upgrade his Cabo flight to First Class! He'll buy an extra room at the luxury hotel! He'll splurge on a flatscreen TV! He'll switch his diet to expensive blueberries and granola, exclusively!

Larry David is a liberal, and he's trying to make an ironic case against extending the Bush tax cuts (see all this silly stuff I'm wasting money on, etc). But if you take his article seriously, it's actually a great case for extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich.

See, most economists think it's silly for the government to give up $65 billion next year on lower taxes for the most wealthy, because they think that money won't be spent. But what if every rich person acted like Larry David, and immediately spent the money he expected to save next year on luxury vacations (preferably in-country), expensive home entertainment equipment, and Whole Foods? Well, liberal economists would be much more enthusiastic about keeping money in their hands because the money would immediately juice aggregate demand, lifting jobs and income for everybody.

And I mean immediately. Heck, Larry doesn't plan on waiting even a week to spend all the money he expects to save next year. Three hundred thousand Larry Davids upgrading to flatscreens, First Class and blueberries next month would be the best stimulus ever.

In the real world, the folks most like Larry David are cash-needy, income-poor families that have no choice but to spend nearly every last dollar they make. If only for the next few months, the rich were more like fictional Larry David and less like themselves.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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