Energy and Low Taxes reduce Unemployment Rates

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 20th, 2014

Week in Review

The Democrats have little good economic news during the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression.  To create more economic activity they argue to raise the minimum wage.  And to provide a pathway to citizenship for those illegally in the country.  But will these help the employment picture?  Well, we don’t have them now and employment is doing very well in parts of the country (see Tight Job Market in U.S. Cities Prompts Higher Pay by Steve Matthews posted 4/16/2014 on Bloomberg).

To hire 10 to 15 project coordinators this year, Sabre Commercial Inc. has boosted pay 10 percent and added a 401(k) retirement plan.

“It is an employee’s market,” said John Cyrier, co-founder and president of the 48-employee Austin, Texas-based builder. “We are definitely seeing a labor shortage in Austin and central Texas. I see it only getting worse.”

Companies across the U.S. from Texas to Virginia and Nebraska are struggling to fill positions with metropolitan jobless rates below the 5.2 percent to 5.6 percent level the Federal Reserve regards as full employment nationally. Competition for workers is prompting businesses to raise wages, increase hours for current employees, add benefits and recruit from other regions…

In New Orleans, where unemployment is 4.2 percent, “we are getting killed on overtime,” said Ti Martin, co-owner of Commander’s Palace, SoBou and Café Adelaide, which employ a total of more than 350 people. “We are doubling up and working extra hours,” and managers are filing in as cooks. The restaurants have a dozen or more openings, mainly for experienced chefs and servers, she said…

In Omaha, with a 4.5 percent unemployment rate, the Greater Omaha Chamber is coordinating a program that will increase the number of internships to more than 300 this year from 135 in 2012 at employers including Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co., Union Pacific Corp. (UNP) and ConAgra Foods Inc. (CAG) Exposing young people to the city has been an “excellent recruitment tool,” said Sarah A. Johnson, director of talent and workforce initiatives for the chamber…

The labor shortage is expected to worsen in some regions. In Houston and the surrounding area, construction for the oil, gas and petrochemical industries on the Gulf Coast will require about 36,000 more workers in 2016 than in 2013, according to Industrial Info Resources Inc., a Houston-area based research company.

Even with hot labor markets in some cities, twenty-nine metro areas still have unemployment rates of at least the October 2009 post-recession peak of 10 percent, including Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Fresno, California.

Virginia is doing well in the Washington area thanks to lobbyists and those getting fat on the largess of government.  Nebraska is doing well because of some big national companies there.  Which attract people there even though their taxes are a little on the high side.  But the balance of good economic activity is in low-tax states.  Such as Texas.  Which has no state income tax.  And the energy business is keeping the Gulf States doing well.  Thanks to the energy boom in North Dakota.  Which has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate.

So it is clear what is driving the economy.  Energy.  And low taxes.  Put these together and you have low unemployment.  Which is why Atlantic City and Fresno still have unemployment rates of at least 10%.  Because these are in Democrat states.  Which have high tax rates (California and New Jersey are the two of the highest taxed states in the nation).  And prefer green energy over oil and gas.

A higher minimum wage won’t reduce unemployment.  For California and New Jersey have some of the highest minimum wages in the nation.  So a higher minimum wage is not helping their economies.  But energy and low taxes will.  As proven by the healthy economies in areas with them.  And bad economies in areas without them.

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio paid a lower effective tax rate than Mitt Romney and Warren Buffett

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 16th, 2014

Week in Review

The problem with Republicans is that they are so greedy that they put money before people.  That’s why they oppose taxes.  Because they don’t want to give up any of their money.  At least, this is what Democrats say about Republicans.  Along with the ‘tax cuts for the rich’ mantra.  In fact, they castigated Mitt Romney for only paying an effective tax rate of 14% in 2011.  Even Warren Buffet decried the unfairness of the tax code where rich guys like him pay an effective tax rate of 17.4% while the poorer classes working beneath him paid on average 35%.  Even his secretary paid a higher tax rate.  And that just wasn’t fair.  Of course Buffet’s 17.4% in actual dollar amounts dwarfed the tax dollars of everyone working for him combined.  But that’s not the point.  No, the point is that Republicans are all a bunch of greedy, vicious, heartless bastards.

New York’s new mayor is a Democrat.  And he isn’t a greedy, vicious, heartless bastard.  In fact, he promised to raise taxes on those rich fat cats who pay as little as a 14% effective tax rate.  Something he would never do himself.  Because he’s not a greedy, vicious, heartless bastard.  He’s a Democrat (see New York Mayor Bill De Blasio Pays A Lower Tax Rate Than Mitt Romney by Hunter Walker posted 4/16/2014 on Business Insider).

Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio became a prominent proponent of progressive tax policy when he made raising taxes on city residents who make over $500,000 a year a cornerstone of his platform during his underdog campaign last year.

That’s why it raised eyebrows and drew some initial national coverage when The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that de Blasio had paid an “effective tax rate” of 8.3%.

That would put de Blasio’s tax rate substantially lower than the approximately 14% tax rate multimillionaire former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was attacked by Democrats for paying in 2011.

Well, somehow it works out that a Republican paying a 14% effective tax rate is a greedy, vicious, heartless bastard but a Democrat paying 8.3% is not.  Go figure.

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A Large Majority of People polled want Tax Reform to make Tax Code Simpler and Fairer

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 14th, 2014

Week in Review

People fear the IRS.  (Oh, by the way, happy tax day.)  The IRS targeting of conservative groups to silence the opposition has been chilling to say the least.  But the tax code is so convoluted that it takes an army of accountants and tax lawyers to comply.  Easy for the big corporations.  But a nightmare for small business.  For complying is costly.  And tax audits are about as enjoyable as a colonoscopy the hard way.  Without anesthetic.  Creating a great disincentive for people to become small business owners.  Which hurts us all.  For small businesses are the number one job creator in the country.

So a simpler and friendlier tax code would go a long way to create economic growth.  And an IRS less like the Gestapo or KGB would make a lot of small business owners sleep easier at night.  And encourage more people to take the plunge and start a small business.  A majority of people polled in a NAM poll agree.  And believe the time for serious tax reform is now (see New NAM Poll Says Voters Want Candidates Who Support a Simpler Tax Code posted 4/14/2014 on National Association of Manufacturers).

•Over 76 percent of voters will be more likely to favor a candidate who supports comprehensive tax reform.

•Nearly 73 percent of respondents support comprehensive reform to make the tax code simpler and fairer, even if their personal tax burden remains the same.

•An overwhelming majority, 85 percent, believe it is important that Congress and the President put aside partisanship to enact comprehensive tax reform.

We know why the Democrats don’t want to reform the tax code.  For having that power did wonders to silence the opposition during the 2012 presidential campaign.  Allowing President Obama to win reelection with 4 dead Americans in Benghazi.  And having the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression.  So when their only campaign strategy is to attack and intimidate the opposition because their policies have failed it comes in handy to have a political force at your disposal to put the fear of God into your opponents.  Especially when you can place that political force above the law.  Which it apparently is based on no one being punished for said targeting of conservative groups.

But the people may be tiring of the same failed Democrat policies.  It’s been over 5 years and the economy is still horrible.  Some 10 million people have left the labor force since President Obama took office.  If you add these people to those the BLS counts as unemployed the unemployment rate (at the end of February) would be 13.7%.  Not 6.7% as officially reported.  So there is a lot of dissatisfaction out there.  At least among those who want a job.  And those who do and are paying ever more taxes with nothing to show for it.  So they may vote for the candidate promising tax reform this fall.  Even if it means voting Republican.  As the oppressive IRS is now forever tied to the Democrat Party thanks to their targeting of conservative groups.

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New York’s High Tax Rates makes it Difficult for People to Willingly Work in New York

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 29th, 2014

Week in Review

If you ever wondered why the communists built the Berlin Wall this is why (see Man Takes Selfies for Proof to the IRS by Brian Koerber posted 3/18/2014 on 3/18/2014 on Mashable).

Anne Jarvis’ father, Andrew, is an architect that splits his time between his firm’s branches in New York City and Philadelphia. The commute became so overwhelming that he began to rent an apartment in NYC to improve his quality of life.

Upon further inspection of tax laws, Andrew learned that in order to avoid being taxed by New York, he would only be allowed to live in the city 182 days or less out of the year. In preparation for disputes against his living situation, he began taking selfies, as a way to prove to the taxman that he spends more time in Philadelphia, than he does in New York.

When a taxing authority taxes too much the natural inclination of free people is to move.  And that’s what was happening in East Berlin.  The best and brightest that drove the economy were walking across the street into the West.  Leaving behind only the less-educated and the less-skilled.  So to stop this brain-drain the communists built the Berlin Wall.  To keep the best and brightest from going to where life was better.

Those on the left will read this story and call this architect greedy.  For he enjoys the privilege of working and living in New York City part of the year.  And should pay for that privilege.  In particular so they can have more free stuff paid for by the best and brightest.  But if New York starts taxing his income that doesn’t mean Pennsylvania will stop taxing his income.  No.  They both will tax his income.  As if he’s two different people.  That is, he will pay the taxes of two people.  Is that fair?  Would even those on the left call that fair?  Of course if you suggest they should pay two cellular bills (theirs and somebody else’s) they would say, “Wait a minute.  That is NOT fair.”  But the architect?  They’d probably say something like, “He’s rich.  He can afford to pay the income taxes of two people.  And should.”

Being rich is a relative term.  It basically means anyone making more than you these days.  So even people who win the lotto don’t consider themselves rich when it comes to paying income taxes.  They’ll say that having to give almost half of their winnings to the taxman is unfair.  But having two states tax this architect is fair.  Because he can afford it.  For he earns that every year.  While they only won one lotto.

The way New York City is going they will have to build a wall around Manhattan if they expect to keep the best and brightest from fleeing their oppressive tax rates.  Or they’ll have to get the federal government to tax all states oppressively high so people have no better place to go.  Which explains why big-government liberals are all for expanding the power of the federal government.  For their oppressive liberal policies won’t work if the people can move to another state to escape them.

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Venice votes to Secede from Italy over High Taxes

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 23rd, 2014

Week in Review

I remember learning long ago that there were two Italys.  A prosperous north.  And an impoverished welfare state in the south.  Apparently that was and still is true (see Venice votes to split from Italy as 89% of the city’s residents opt to form a new independent state by Hannah Roberts posted 3/21/2014 the Mail Online).

Venetians have voted overwhelmingly for their own sovereign state in a ‘referendum’ on independence from Italy…

The floating city has only been part of Italy for 150 years. The 1000 year–old democratic Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, was quashed by Napoleon and was subsumed into Italy in 1866.

Wealthy Venetians, under mounting financial pressure in the economic crisis, have rallied in their thousands, after growing tired of supporting Italy’s poor and crime ridden Mezzogiorno south, through high taxation…

Campaigners say that the Rome government receives around 71 billion euros  each year in tax from Venice – some 21 billion euros less than it gets back in investment and services.

The five-day poll came in the same week that Crimean residents chose in a landslide vote to leave Ukraine and become part of Russia.

Crimea is no Venice.  Venice was one of the great Italian city-states that rose after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.  They were an economic powerhouse.  Trade made Venice the richest city in Europe.  Their navies dominated the Mediterranean.  And they helped usher in the Renaissance.  Venice was an independent republic for 850 years longer than they were part of Italy.  So Venice has some esteemed history.  And they know a thing or two about economic activity.  Such as income redistribution does not work.

If you keep taxing the economic producers more and more eventually they’re going to do something about it.  Such as moving their economy underground.  Out of reach of the greedy hands of the taxman.  Or they may just vote to secede.  That vote may not be constitutional.  But apparently that doesn’t matter these days.  At least it didn’t matter in Crimea.  But one thing for sure.  Based on the flow of money between Venice and Rome it is fair to say that Rome needs Venice more than Venice needs Rome.

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Colorado’s Marijuana Tax Revenue likely to fall over time like New York’s Cigarette Tax Revenue

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 22nd, 2014

Week in Review

States with huge budget deficits are watching Colorado and their marijuana sales tax.  As they consider following Colorado.  The proponents of marijuana decriminalization point to Colorado and say, “See?  Make it legal and tax it.  And everybody wins.  People can smoke until they get lung cancer.  And the state can rack up tax revenue to pay for, of course, schools.  It’s always schools, you see, because if you oppose tax revenue for schools you hate children.  And taxing sin is good, too.  Because we shouldn’t be doing those nasty things anyway.  So sin taxes work.  Just look at how well those cigarette taxes are working (see As taxes on cigarettes go up, so does smuggling, study finds posted 3/22/2014 on FoxNews Politics).

More than half of the cigarettes for sale in New York are smuggled into the state illegally – the highest percentage in the country, according to a recent report from the Tax Foundation.

According to the non-partisan research group, increased excise taxes on cigarettes to discourage smoking have, in fact, created lucrative incentives for black market trafficking between states…

According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, even though authorities have taken steps to reduce cigarette smuggling, nearly $5 billion in revenue in 2010 was lost because of smuggling.

Well, as it turns out, sin taxes don’t work as well as they thought they would.  They increase crime.  Because smuggling cigarettes is less risky than smuggling class one narcotics.  For cigarettes aren’t illegal.  So criminals can turn from something more risky, like smuggling class one narcotics, to something less risky.  Smuggling legal cigarettes.  Tax revenue from Colorado’s marijuana tax will probably decline over time.  As a black market comes to Colorado to sell tax-free marijuana.  Just like a black market sells lower-taxed cigarettes in higher taxed cities.

So you have additional crime on the one hand.  A black market drug-dealer network much like what exists today.  But one that can operate in less fear as the penalty for getting caught is a lot less than what it used to be.  Making it easier for our kids to smoke marijuana.  Either by buying it from a better supplied illegal drug dealer.  Or stealing some from their parent’s stash.  Or someone else’s stash.  For there will be a lot of stashes to steal from.

So the crime element is bad.  But as the black market takes off tax revenue will fall from legal sales.  Just like it has for cigarettes.  Leaving an over-spending state still short of tax revenue.  But now with a marijuana black market that they must police.  And a state full of potheads that will likely NOT help the state produce the best and brightest for the high-tech jobs in their economy.  The higher-paying kind of jobs that pay more income taxes.  Because once you have your weed and some cool tunes what do you need a high-stressed job for?  Which will probably make the experiment in Colorado not go as they thought it would.  Something other states should consider before following Colorado down this road.

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Turning People into Potheads is Good for Colorado’s Treasury

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 15th, 2014

Week in Review

First it was alcohol and tobacco.  Getting people hooked on these items to solve all of a state’s funding woes.  Then it was the lottery.  States needed to get their people hooked on gambling to solve all of their school funding needs.  Then it was casino gambling.  Because the lottery alone was taking enough money from the people to solve all of a state’s funding woes.  And now it’s marijuana (see Colorado made $3.5 million in taxes and fees on first month of marijuana sales by Nick Allen posted 3/11/2014 on The Telegraph).

Colorado, the first US state to legalise cannabis for recreational use, made just over $2 million in tax revenue from selling the drug in January, according to its first officially released figures.

The amount was not far behind the $2.7 million the state recouped in excise taxes on alcohol in the same period and is expected to exceed that in subsequent months.

More than $14 million worth of the dug was sold over counters to recreational users in the 30 days after cannabis shops opened on Jan 1…

In Colorado the first $40 million in tax revenue will go towards school construction and Mr Hickenlooper wants additional revenue to be used for projects including anti-drug advertising aimed at children, campaigns against driving under the influence of cannabis, and public health projects.

Another $2 million taken away from the taxpayers.  To add to the $2.7 million from alcohol sales.  On top of what they got from tobacco sales.  And what they got from the lottery.  Each step down this road was supposed to be a cure-all.  But it never was.  For once they got a new tax it wasn’t long before they said they needed yet another new tax.  Because the previous tax just wasn’t adequate to cover their spending.  Which just begs the question.  What are they doing with all of that money?

So we have people dying from lung cancer.  We have people dying from liver disease.  We have people becoming impoverished because they’ve gambled all of their money away.  Now Colorado is going to turn a part of their population into potheads.  Who will suffer the same ailments as tobacco smokers do.  As well as suffering some lost cognitive ability.  And some will end up wards of the state.  Filling hospitals and nursing homes.  Suffering from costly diseases. And yet the state cheers this new money.  And dreams of future revenue as more people pick up this unhealthy and dangerous habit.  Giddy at the thought of every new person lighting a marijuana cigarette for the first time.

The worst thing about the state using these people to fund their out of control spending is the regressive nature of these taxes.  Alcohol, tobacco, the lottery, casino gambling and marijuana hurt the poor the most.  Those who have the least money to spare now have to give more of it to the taxing authority.  The very people these progressive-thinking people are supposed to help.  Who instead use them for their selfish needs.  And don’t care a whit about the lives they destroy.

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Keynesian Economists are Narcissists who don’t know the First Thing about Economics

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 2nd, 2014

Week in Review

There was a sketch on the Benny Hill Show that reminds me of Keynesian economists.  Benny was singing a song and they were showing the unrequited love around him.  They showed one woman who loved a man.  But that man loved another woman.  Who loved Benny.  And who did Benny love?  The camera remained on Benny.  Because that’s who he loved.

Keynesian economists are a lot like that.  They like to sound erudite.  They like to write things with impressive economic jargon in it.  The layman can’t understand a thing they say or write.  But that’s okay.  As they are writing to impress their peers.  People who are as narcissistic as they are.  And they tell each other how brilliant they are with all of their demand-side pontificating.  Pinching each other’s cheeks and saying, “Who’s a good economist?  You are.  You’re a good economist.  Yes you are.”  Even though they are always wrong.  Reminding me of another television show.  Hogan’s Heroes.  Where Colonel Hogan and Colonel Klink were disarming a bomb in the compound.  They’re down to two wires.  One disarms the bomb.  The other detonates it.  Colonel Hogan asks Colonel Klink which wire to cut.  He picks one.  And just as he’s about to cut it Colonel Hogan changes his mind and cuts the other wire.  Disarming the bomb.  Colonel Klink asks him if he knew which wire to cut why did he ask him.  And he replied that he wasn’t sure but he knew for sure that Colonel Klink would pick the wrong wire.

This is just like a Keynesian economist.  Ask them what to do to help the economy and you can be sure they’ll pick the wrong thing to do.  Because they love their demand-side economics with all their charts and graphs and equations.  For it feeds into their superiority complex.  As they can baffle people with their bull s***.  Well, the truth is that the economic data doesn’t support demand-side economics.  For all of the stimulus spending Keynesians have encouraged governments to do have never pulled an economy out of a recession.  It has only extended a recession.  And made it more painful.  For if you want to help the economy you have to work on the supply side.  Make it easier for people to be creative and bring things to market.  Things people will buy.  Even if they had no idea that they existed before seeing them in the market (see How Taco Bell’s Lead Innovator Created The Most Successful Menu Item Of All Time by Ashley Lutz posted 2/26/2014 on Business Insider).

The Doritos Locos Taco is one of the most successful fast food innovations of all time.

Taco Bell released the product in 2012 and sold more than a billion units in the first year. The fast food company had to hire an estimated 15,000 workers to keep up with demand…

The team went through more than 40 recipes, and Gomez told Business Insider he sometimes felt like the idea would never come to fruition.

“Execution was so difficult,” he said.

Gomez was eventually able to perfect the shell by using the same corn masa found in Doritos. He also discovered a process that would evenly distribute the seasoning on the shells. And the company found a way to contain the cheese dust in the production process.

Even after Gomez created the ultimate shell, he still had to design production facilities that would make millions of them.

But for Gomez, the years of effort was worth it.

“When we shared the idea with our consumers, they loved it,” Gomez said. “I was blown away with how immediately popular Doritos Locos Tacos became.”

The taco is the most popular menu item in the fast food chain’s 50-year history.

This wasn’t demand-driven.  As Keynesians believe everything is.  Get more money into the hands of consumers and they will demand things.  Thus increasing economic activity.  But not a single consumer was demanding the Doritos Locos Taco.  As there was no such thing to demand.  And giving them more money wasn’t going to bring it to market.  Only creative people with an idea and an indefatigable passion brought this to market.  Spending a lot of years and lots of money to bring to market something people weren’t demanding.  And might not even like.  But they did.  And it was a big success.  This is how you create economic activity.  On the supply side.  Cut tax rates and costly regulations.  Like Obamacare.  So other people are encouraged to be creative and use their indefatigable passion to bring other things to market.  Creating a whole lot more economic activity than just giving people a stimulus check and telling them to go out and create economic activity.  Because once that Keynesian stimulus is spent it cannot create any more economic activity.  Unlike all of the economic activity it takes to sell a billion or more Doritos Locos Tacos a year.

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Obamacare will require more Tax Revenue just as it Shrinks the Tax Base

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 9th, 2014

Week in Review

President Obama’s economic policies have given us the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression.  With some of the greatest economic carnage coming from the Affordable Care Act.  Obamacare.  The great hiring dissuader.  Because of the high cost of compliance for employers.  And now people will even be choosing to leave the labor force.  For it will be less costly for them not to work and collect subsidies for their costly Obamacare (see Obamacare will push 2 million workers out of labor market: CBO by Stephen Dinan posted 2/4/2014 on The Washington Times).

Obamacare will push the equivalent of about 2 million workers out of the labor market by 2017 as employees decide either to work fewer hours or drop out of the job market altogether, according to estimates released Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office.

The analysis set off a furious debate in Washington. The White House argued that the reduction is positive because it means Americans will forgo jobs or extra work to stay home with their children or strike out on their own as entrepreneurs…

“This is one of the perverse incentives in this terrible law. It actually encourages able-bodied people to not work,” said Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican. “We should be doing all that we can to increase labor force participation. The health care law actually pushes it in the opposite direction.”

Taking the budget as a whole, the CBO said Congress has made substantial headway on cutting spending and raising taxes, which will reduce the deficit to $514 billion this year and $478 billion in 2015.

But it will rise by 2016 and steadily grow to more than $1 trillion in 2022.

If these people choose not to work and become entrepreneurs who will they hire if others like them choose to leave the labor force?

People choosing not to work is a very bad thing for a big-spending government.  Because government taxes workers to pay for all of that spending.  And if people are leaving the workforce leaving fewer workers in the workforce to pay the taxes government needs that can mean only one thing.  Higher taxes on those with jobs.  To help offset the loss in tax revenue as people leave the labor force to spend time with their kids.  Or become entrepreneurs.

Of course anyone becoming an entrepreneur in this economic climate is a glutton for punishment.  For President Obama has created a very anti-business environment.  Higher taxes, more costly regulatory policies and lest we forget, the Affordable Care Act.  To quote Jed Clampett in the Beverly Hillbillies when he asked cousin Pearle if he should move to Beverly Hills after discovering oil on his property.

COUSIN PEARL BODINE

Jed, how can you even ask? Look around you. You live eight miles from your nearest neighbor. You’re overrun with skunks, possums, coyotes, and bobcats. You use kerosene lamps for light. You cook on a wood stove, summer and winter. You’re drinkin’ homemade moonshine, and washin’ with homemade lye soap. And your bathroom is fifty feet from the house. And you ask should you move!?

JED CLAMPETT

Yeah, I reckon you’re right. Man’d be a dang fool to leave all this.

This is how a lot of people feel today about the Obama economy.  “Man’d be a dang fool to” try and be an entrepreneur in this economy.  Especially with the Obamacare Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.  So those 2 million people plus leaving the economy is not a good thing.  It is a very bad thing.  Which will require some large tax increases.  Or massive cuts in government benefits.  Because federal tax revenue will fall if people leave the tax base.  It’s just that simple.

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Governments turn People into Addicts to generate Tax Revenue

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 4th, 2014

Week in Review

During the days of the British Empire Great Britain had a problem.  They loved Chinese tea.  But the British had nothing the Chinese wanted in trade.  Except for one thing.  Silver.  Hard money.  Which was a problem for Britain.  They were running out of hard money.  So they came up with an ingenious way to solve that problem.  By getting as many Chinese hooked on opium as possible.  So they could trade Indian grown opium for Chinese tea.  It worked out great for the British.  But the Chinese didn’t like it.  And fought two opium wars with the British.  Which did not end well for them.

North Korea has a hard money problem, too.  And they, too, turned to drugs.  Crystal meth.  Which North Korea manufactured in state-run labs.  Destined for China.  Where they tried to get as many people addicted to crystal meth as possible.  So they can sell it in exchange for Chinese currency.  Which they could use to buy Chinese food.  To help ward off famine in North Korea.  This worked pretty well for North Korea.  But only gave China another addiction problem.

In the United States the government found other ways to raise revenue.  The first two big sources of addiction-revenue were cigarette and alcohol taxes.  But it soon proved not enough.  They then got people addicted to playing the lottery.  When that revenue proved to be insufficient they then got people addicted to casino gambling.  But government spending had grown so great that this revenue was still not enough.  So the government is looking at other things to get people addicted to (see Why Legalizing Marijuana Is a Smart Fiscal Move by Bruce Bartlett, The Fiscal Times, posted 1/3/2014 on Yahoo! News).

Perhaps the dominant factor driving marijuana legalization is the desperate search for new revenue by cash-strapped state governments. The opportunity to tax marijuana is potentially a significant source of new revenue, as well as a way of cutting spending on prisons and law enforcement. The California Secretary of State’s office, for example, estimates savings in the hundreds of millions of dollars from both factors. The following summary is from a proposed state ballot initiative in California (No. 1617)…

It is not surprising that revenue considerations should be critical in the marijuana legalization movement. That was previously the reason why cigarettes were not banned until the 1920s despite a strong nationwide movement to do so. In the wake of Prohibition, governments simply needed cigarette tax revenue too badly. And when Prohibition ended, the need for new revenue after the Great Depression decimated government budgets was a driving force.

Indeed, according to author Daniel Okrent, expectations of the revenue from taxing legal liquor were so great in 1932 that some people thought it might permit the repeal of income taxes. It’s worth remembering that in 1900, taxes on alcohol and cigarettes constituted half of all federal revenues. Indeed, the only reason Prohibition was possible in the first place was that the income tax established in 1913, which was greatly expanded by World War I, would replace the revenue lost from the liquor tax after Prohibition.

There have been no great cuts to revenue like that following Prohibition.  Government spending has just grown so great that it far exceeds the nation’s ability to pay for it with current taxes and borrowing.  So they are looking to make people addicted to marijuana to help pay for their large public sectors.  As well as their vote-buying welfare state.  And when this proves insufficient they can turn to other sources of revenue.  Such as decriminalizing and taxing heroin.  Cocaine.  Crack.  Crystal meth.  Opium.  Even prostitution.  People are already doing these things.  So they can’t be any worse than marijuana.  As long as only responsible adults indulge in these activities.  Just as only responsible adults will smoke marijuana in Colorado.  For think of the tax revenue heroin, cocaine, crack, crystal meth and opium could generate.  For those drugs are really addictive.  And just think how much old rich men would enjoy 18 year old prostitutes.  Prostitution would be a booming business to tax.  These young women could generate great tax revenue for the government by just doing what consenting adults want to do.

We could do these things to find new sources of revenue.  Or we could NOT make people addicts.  Or NOT sell women into prostitution.  Instead we could cut the size of the public sector and the welfare state.  So we can cut spending.  Which would eliminate the need to produce new tax revenue in the first place.  Allowing people to keep their hard-earned money instead of handing it over to the government.  To pay for generous pensions and retiree health care for others.

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