Rent Control reduces the Amount of Affordable Housing

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 15th, 2014

Week in Review

Living in New York City is expensive.  High taxes.  And high property values.  But people want to live in the city.  And will pay very high rents to do so.  Which landlords can charge because there are people willing to pay them.  It’s the basic law of supply and demand.  It’s the same reason why beachfront property is so expensive.  There’s so little of it and so many people want to live there.  So the property goes to the highest bidder.  Which is why some of the richest movie and television stars own the best of these properties.  Because they are willing to pay the highest price.

Of course that’s all right for the rich.  But what about the poor and middle class?  Who can’t afford to live like rich movie and television stars?  Well, there has long been a cry for affordable housing for the less affluent.  And price controls.  To keep rents affordable for those of more modest means.  There have been various forms of rent control in New York City.  To make housing more available to the less affluent.  Which actually reduced the number of apartments available to them.  How, you may ask.  Well, when it comes to rent there are two parties.  A buyer and a seller.  We know why buyers are buying.  They want a place to live.  But why do sellers want to rent out apartments?  To make a profit.  And because rent control made it more difficult to make a profit landlords went elsewhere to make a profit.  Thus reducing the number of rental units available.

New York City still has rent-controlled apartments.  And people desperately want to live in them because rent everywhere else (at market prices) is so expensive.  So there are often battles between rent-control tenants and landlords who want to rent at market prices.  Like this (see Brooklyn landlords illegally harassed, targeted rent-stabilized tenants: suit by Erik Badia, Ginger Adams Otis posted 4/15/2014 on the Daily News).

The landlords targeted longstanding black tenants who lived in rent-stabilized apartments, the suit contends.

The plaintiffs pay anywhere from $600 to $1,400 a month for 52 three-bedroom units in the three buildings, according to the lawsuit…

The group claims the landlords, who bought the buildings in 2009, have neglected to do repairs in black-occupied units…

Approximately 15 new tenants have moved in since then, paying market rents as a high as $2,500, the plaintiffs claim…

Pilgrim, who pays a stabilized $950 rent for his apartment, said he has talked to new tenants who had told him they are paying more than double that rate…

“How can you go from paying $687 a month to $2,500 a month? They’re also taking advantage of these young kids,” Bell said.

The tenant sees the landlord as being greedy.  While the landlord sees that apartment being rented 72.5% below what it could be renting for.  If the roles were reversed the tenant would probably do the same thing.  Because people want to make money.  And people want to be rich.  That’s why they buy lotto tickets.  And try to make it in movies and television.  To be rich and famous.  They don’t buy properties to see how little money they can make with them.  They buy them to see how much money they can make with them.  Movie stars would never put their mansions up for sale at 72.5% below what other rich people would pay for them.  Just as a middle class homeowner would never sell her home for 72.5% below what someone would pay for it.

The law of supply and demand bring buyers and sellers together at a price they both agree on.  Making both parties happy.  When laws interfere with market prices (such as rent control) both parties are seldom happy.  Buyers tend to be happier.  But because sellers are so unhappy they stop selling.  Thus reducing the number of apartments available to rent.  Which is why rent control doesn’t work.  It actually reduces the amount of affordable housing.  So that only a very lucky few can enjoy life in a rent-control apartment.


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Billionaires increasing Income Inequality is bad but Women Billionaires are Not

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 26th, 2014

Week in Review

According to the left rich people in corporations are bad.  They’re evil incarnate.  That’s why they hated 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney so much.  He was a rich guy in the corporate world.  Who screw the people to enrich themselves.  Making rich people richer.  And poor people poorer.  Which is the new theme President Obama is using these days.  Income inequality.  Which just isn’t right.  Rich people having so much more than poor people.  Especially those billionaires in corporations.  They’re the worst.  Money-grubbing parasites.  These billionaires threaten human progress (see 85 people have as much money as half the world by Li Anne Wong, CNBC, posted 1/20/2014 on MSN Money).

The combined wealth of the world’s richest 85 people is now equivalent to that owned by half of the world’s population — or 3.5 billion of the poorest people — according to a new report from Oxfam.

In a report titled “Working for the Few” released Monday, the global aid and development organization detailed the extent of global economic inequality created by the rapidly increasing wealth of the richest, warning of the major risks it poses to “human progress.”

According to the report, 210 people have become billionaires in the past year, joining a select group of 1,426 individuals with a combined net worth of $5.4 trillion.

It added that the wealth of the richest one percent of people in the world now amounts to $110 trillion, or 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.

Imagine that.  There are 1,426 of these money-grubbing parasites.  Who can only make the world a worse place.  According to the left.  For any one person having that much money is just wrong.  Unless, that is, she’s a woman (see Facebook’s Sandberg is now a billionaire by Chris Isidore posted 1/22/2014 on CNN Money).

A record high close for Facebook shares has made Sheryl Sandberg one of the youngest female billionaires ever, according to a ranking from Bloomberg.

Sandberg, who is the company’s chief operating officer, owns 12.3 million shares. That makes her stake worth about $720 million.

In addition, she owns 4.7 million options, which would net her $220.6 million at her exercise price.

She has also received stock awards which have not yet vested, the estimated value of which takes her over the $1 billion mark.

Female billionaires are still relatively rare. Bloomberg’s list of the 200 richest people worldwide shows only 17 who are women.

Forbes reported last year that there were 138 female billionaires worldwide, but that’s out of a total 1,426 billionaires worldwide.

And only 24 of the women billionaires on the Forbes list earned their wealth themselves; most inherited a significant portion of their fortune.

Not a bad word in this article about this billionaire.  For when a woman becomes a billionaire it is reason to celebrate.  For shattering yet another glass ceiling.  Not to lament that there is another good for nothing money-grubbing billionaire in the world today.  Who will only make that income inequality worse.  Funny how that works.


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The Redistribution of Wealth in Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 30th, 2013

Economics 101

“Wait a tic.  Blimey, this redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought.”

Monty Python is a British comedy troupe.  Starting off with a television show in 1969.  And ending their run together with a movie in 1983.  With some other stuff along the way.  They became about the biggest stars ever in comedy.  They redefined comedy.  And have influenced some of the biggest names that followed them.  Part of the reason why Monty Python is so funny is that they are so serious when being silly.  And they are very well educated.   With some members having degrees from Oxford and Cambridge.   Which helps make their humor different.  Such as their take on Robin Hood with a character they called Dennis Moore.

Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Galloping through the sward
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
And his horse Concorde
He steals from the rich
And gives to the poor
Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore, Mr. Moore

This is the opening verse of a song in the sketch Dennis Moore.  The character steals from the rich who have more than they need.  And gives it to the poor who don’t have enough.  A classic example of redistribution of wealth.  Something the American left is all about.  Being Dennis Moore.  Or Robin Hood.  But in the sketch Dennis Moore takes it to the extreme.  Stealing so much from those who were originally rich that they have nothing left but their underclothes.  While those who were originally poor have everything the rich had.  And the formerly poor (now rich) get ever more demanding of Mr. Moore for better stuff.  As he rides off to please these formerly poor (now rich) we hear the following verse.

Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Riding through the land
Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
Without a merry band
He steals from the poor
And gives to the rich
Stupid bitch

Dennis Moore halts his horse.  And asks the chorus to repeat themselves.  To make sure he heard what he thought he heard.  They do.  Mr. Moore then says, “Wait a tic.  Blimey, this redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought.”  As he discovers some of the inherent flaws in the redistribution of wealth concept.  Excessive redistribution can take large sums of money away from some.  Which doesn’t help them.  It only punishes them.  And if you’re okay with punishing the rich to help the poor note what happens to the poor when they get the rich’s money.  They become exactly like them.

Buying Votes to Win Elections works as long as you Tax the Few to Spend on the Many

This sketch is funny.  Because it’s true.  You’ve heard the expression “beggars can’t be choosey?”  Well, when it comes to the redistribution of wealth, they can.  And are.  Choosey.  They can become very demanding.  And the more they get the more they want.  And the more like the people they hate and envy—the wealthy—they get.  Mr. Moore learned that.  Where the poor he was trying to help with a hand-up didn’t use it for a hand-up.  They just used the rich’s wealth to enjoy the good life without working and earning it over time.

People may look down on those born into money but that’s only because they weren’t.  This is why poor people buy lottery tickets.  To get rich quick.  Because they don’t want to wait to have money.  They’d like to have it when they’re young.  And not wait until they’re old.  After working 20 years or so.  Which is why selling the idea of wealth redistribution is so easy.  And helps politicians win elections.  Because there are more poor people than rich people.

President Obama said those who could afford it should pay a little more.  Taxes.  To balance the playing field.  To offer a ‘hand-up’ to the poor.  This is the message of the Democrats.  Tax and spend.  Tax the rich.  And give it to the poor.  And the young.  Such as free birth control, tuition assistance, Obamacare subsidies, etc.  Things they tax the rich for.  To get the poor to vote Democrat.  It’s a working formula.  Buying votes.  As long as you tax the few to spend on the many.  Because you need the many to win elections.

Obamacare won’t Work because the Welfare flows in the Wrong Direction

The welfare state taxes the few/rich/old to spend on the many/poor/young.  Which is why it worked.  You angered a smaller group of people than you pleased.  And if you can keep doing that you can keep winning elections.  As long as you keep playing Dennis Moore.  Without being a stupid bitch.  Which the Democrats did well.  Until Obamacare.  The Affordable Care Act.

Obamacare will fail because unlike other welfare programs Obamacare is unique.  For it does not tax the few/rich/old.  It actually taxes the many/poor/young.  To pay for the health care of those who have more money than they do.  The old and sick.  Leaving the young and healthy with less money to start their families.  As they help the old and sick who already had their families.  And something just isn’t right with this picture.  The old and sick are fine with it.  While the young and healthy are calling someone ‘stupid bitch’.  Figuratively, of course.

Young people don’t have a problem with tax and spend.  As long as they are the recipients of those welfare transfers.  So they vote Democrat.  And they also vote Democrat because they are the opposite of their parents.  Who never tell them they can’t do this or that.  But, instead, tell them they should do whatever they feel like doing.  Which they like.  A lot.  But the Affordable Care Act is a whole different animal.  Where Democrats are being like parents.  Telling the young Democrat voters that they can’t do everything they want to do.  Because they’re forcing them to buy something they don’t want.  Which isn’t their parents’ welfare program.  From the few/rich/old to the many/poor/young.  But more of a welfare program for their parents.  Making it more difficult for the young Democrat voters to embrace Obamacare.  Which is why they aren’t.  And why the math won’t work for Obamacare.  Because the welfare flows in the wrong direction.


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Hugo Chávez’ Socialism made Venezuela a more Violent and Dangerous Place

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 28th, 2013

Week in Review

The Democrats have a mission.  To reduce the income disparity between rich and poor.  To reduce the rate of violent crime.  For the only reason people ever hurt one another is because they are wanting for the basic necessities in life.  And they sometimes take them forcibly from those who have them.  But if there is no income disparity there is no rich and poor.  So no one would ever hurt anyone.

Which is why Democrats work so hard to reduce the income disparity between rich and poor.  Their tool?  Income redistribution.  From those according to ability.  To those according to need.  Like Karl Marx wanted to do.  But socialism never really caught on in the United States.  As most Americans see the abject failure it has been.  But this hasn’t stopped other nations from experimenting with it.  In 1999 Hugo Chávez became president of Venezuela.  And he proceeded to make Venezuela socialist.  Here are some highlights of his work pulled from Wikipedia:

Following Chavismo, his own political ideology of Bolivarianism and Socialism of the 21st Century, he focused on implementing socialist reforms in the country as a part of a social project known as the Bolivarian Revolution. He implemented the 1999 Venezuelan Constitution, participatory democratic councils, the nationalization of several key industries, and increased government funding of health care and education and made significant reductions in poverty with oil revenues.[1][2] The Bolivarian Missions have entailed the construction of thousands of free medical clinics for the poor,[3] the institution of educational campaigns that have reportedly made more than one million adult Venezuelans literate,[4] and the enactment of food[5] and housing subsidies…[6]

Closely aligning himself with the communist governments of Fidel and then Raúl Castro in Cuba and the socialist governments of Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, his presidency was seen as a part of the socialist “pink tide” sweeping Latin America. Along with these governments, Chávez described his policies as anti-imperialist, being a prominent adversary of the United States’s foreign policy as well as a vocal critic of US-supported neoliberalism and laissez-faire capitalism.[8] He supported Latin American and Caribbean cooperation and was instrumental in setting up the pan-regional Union of South American Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, the Bank of the South, and the regional television network TeleSur. Chávez was a highly controversial and divisive figure both at home and abroad. On occasion he used undiplomatic language towards other world leaders, having compared US president George W. Bush to a donkey[9] and the devil.[10]

Hugo Chávez created a socialist paradise in Venezuela.  One that would have pleased the father of socialism.  Karl Marx.  Chávez destroyed the income disparity between rich and poor.  Making the people happy.  Where they linked their arms together and sang Kumbaya.  Like the hippies in America did as they lived in their socialist/communist communes.  So you think the people would be living together in a brotherhood of man.  Like John Lennon sang about in his song Imagine.  No possessions.  No greed or hunger.  Just everyone living as one.  So how is that socialist paradise?  Well, the people aren’t living as one in a brotherhood of man (see Venezuela’s Homicide Rate Rises, NGO’s Report Says by the AP posted on ABC News).

A non-governmental group that tracks violent crime in Venezuela says the country’s homicide rate has risen again in 2013 and has quadrupled over the past 15 years.

The Venezuelan Violence Observatory estimates that 24,763 killings occurred this year, pushing up the homicide rate to 79 per 100,000 inhabitants. It was 73 per 100,000 people in 2012. In 1998, the rate was 19.

The more Chávez made Venezuela socialist the more violent crime there was.  That’s not what’s supposed to happen according to the Democrats.  It’s supposed to create a brotherhood of man.  Like John Lennon sang about.  Not make more people kill each other.  Apparently not only was Karl Marx wrong.  But the Democrats are wrong, too.  Imagine that.


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FT187: “It’s odd how we can never afford a tax cut but we can always afford new spending.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 13th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

The Democrats’ idea of Bipartisanship is Republican Capitulation

It’s that time of the year again.  Summer is winding down.  The weather is starting to cool.  The harvest is coming in.  The stores are already stocking their shelves with Halloween decorations.  Yes, it’s the end of the government’s fiscal year.  The time the government will run out of money unless Congress passes a new budget.  Or what passes for budgets these days.  Continuing resolutions.

This that magical time of year when Republicans and Democrats come together to negotiate the government’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.  The give and take process where they sit down and work with each other.  Civilly.  Saying things like, “Yes, that is too costly.  We need to spend less there.”  And, “You’re right, that is important to the people and we should spend more there.”  And the occasional, “I agree.  That program is no longer needed and we can remove it from the budget entirely.”

I am, of course, lying.  These are things that are rarely, if ever, said to each other.  For when it comes to these budget battles it is always the same.  The Republicans try to be responsible and cut spending.  The Democrats then call them greedy corporate toady Nazis.  The Republicans will then suffer a general emasculation and give the Democrats their spending hikes.  And perhaps a tax hike or two.  While asking them to please like them and invite them to the cool parties.  And the Democrats will then commend the Republicans’ bipartisanship.  What others would call capitulation.  Happy that things are once again right in the world.  With the Republicans once again the Democrats’ bitch.

Entitlement Spending creates a Permanent Underclass that keeps the Privileged Class in Power

John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, known more simply as Lord Acton, said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Great men are almost always bad men.”  And boy was he on to something there.  For something happens when some good conservatives go to Washington.  They enter a world like no other.  Nothing they could ever have dreamed of.  A world that once belonged only to the nobility and the aristocracy.  Those things Americans fought for their independence from.  And here they are.  After winning an election to rein in the kind of government spending that makes this living possible.  And they say, “What, end all of this?  Are you mad?”

So many cross over to the dark side.  Sell their souls.  Forsake their constituents.   Do great dishonor to our Founding Fathers.  All because they like the money and the power.  Especially the power.  Some resist.  Those from the Tea Party seem more immune than most when it comes to the corrupting influences of Washington.  But these people who stand on principle?  Those who serve their constituents honorably?  The left will fling every invective upon them.  A figuratively flinging of excrement.  To try to beat them down and break them.  To get them, too, to forsake their constituents.  And to join them as they drop trou and defecate on the Constitution.  Figuratively, too, of course.  At least I hope so.

So this is what makes the budget process so adversarial.  You have those who are trying to do the right thing for the people.  And those on the other side who want to corrupt these people.  To get them to quit fighting against them and to join them.  So they can maintain their privileged class.  This is what all that entitlement spending is all about.  It’s nothing but alms.  To keep the people content enough so they don’t rise up.  But not too content that they don’t fear that those greedy corporate toady Nazis may take away their meager alms.  And once they get someone to think like that they have a voter for life.

There comes a Point when Raises in Tax Rates actually Reduce Tax Revenue

The key, then, is keeping people poor.  For the whole privileged class thing those in Washington have doesn’t work unless they have poor people who need them.  Which is why they spend so much time reminding the poor how much they need them.  The Democrats in Congress.  Who are always there fighting for them.  Keeping their alms flowing.  But also keeping them poor.  Which a welfare state does well.  Because if you have enough to subsist lethargy will do the rest and destroy the spirit.  Getting the poor to accept their place as a permanent underclass.  That needs a permanent privileged class taking care of them.

There is only one problem.  This destroys lives.  People in this permanent underclass may have gone on and done great things.  They may have been doctors.  They may have been engineers.  They may have been entrepreneurs.  But they will never be those things because the left sacrificed them to maintain their privileged class.  Forever consigning them to the underclass.  So the privileged class has someone to take care of.  No matter how costly it gets to maintain this entitlement culture.  No matter how great the deficits get.  Or how great the national debt grows.

So there is another problem. As you convert taxpayers into tax-consumers you have to keep raising taxes on those remaining in the tax base.  But as you raise tax rates you put the brakes on economic expansion.  And with reduced economic activity there is reduced tax revenue.  There comes a point when raises in tax rates actually reduce tax revenue.  And we’ve passed that point.  Which is why we have record deficits.  A record national debt.  And the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression.  Because we are spending, taxing and regulating too much.  Which is why uncorrupted conservatives want to cut taxes, defund Obamacare, roll back other costly regulations and reduce spending.  Things the left bitterly opposes.  For doing so means we don’t need them as much as they need us to need them.

So as the budget battle commences you will hear the usual refrain from the left.  We can’t afford tax cuts.  As they equate tax cuts with government spending.  But we can always afford new government spending.  So the left will call for bipartisanship.  That is, capitulation.  And eventually make the Republicans their bitch.  Again.  And increase the national debt.  Again.  Putting the nation on the path to bankruptcy.  What the left considers a small price to pay to maintain their privileged class.  As long as that bankruptcy comes after they’re dead and buried.  After they enjoyed their time in the privileged class.  Which is why the left is also less likely to believe in God and life after death.  For it is easier to be bad when there is nothing to fear after a bad life.


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The Democrats make the Poor travel for Hours by Bus to do their Grocery Shopping

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 18th, 2013

Week in Review

The Democrats champion unions.  And the poor.  Which creates a bit of a problem for Democrats.  As unions actually help to keep the poor poor.  Union employees raise selling prices higher than non-union employees.  Which is why cars built in the union North are more expensive than cars built in the non-union South.  And why the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, can sell at such low prices.  Because their stores use non-union labor.  Which the Democrats hate.  And work actively to prevent them from moving into new neighborhoods.  Which may explain problems like this (see How access to fresh food divides Americans by Iris Mansour posted 8/15/2013 on CNNMoney).

Twenty-nine million Americans live in urban and rural food deserts, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). By this definition, Americans in low-income rural areas have to travel at least 10 miles to get to their nearest supermarket. While city dwellers from low-income neighborhoods have to travel a mile or more.

In America, where the car is king, a 15-minute, one-mile drive doesn’t seem unreasonable. But if you live in a dense city like Washington D.C., that may mean having to take two hour-long bus rides in each direction to get to a supermarket, with shopping bags in tow…

But why the supermarket shortfall..?

Brian Lang, Director of the National Campaign for Healthy Food Access at The Food Trust says supermarkets stay away because urban settings force them to rethink the shape and size of their stores. Walgreens (WAG) can’t transplant its standard rectangular layouts from the sprawling suburbs into tightly packed neighborhoods. TRF’s Hinkle-Brown highlights another issue. A supermarket’s employees tend to live very nearby. “If they’re operating in low-income areas, they’re less work-ready. It takes six months longer to train them, and insurance costs are higher in urban areas,” he says.

Jeffrey Brown has experienced these problems firsthand. He operates six ShopRite supermarkets in former food deserts and five in suburban areas. He explains that suburban grocery stores, like his own, can expect to make a 1% net profit after tax, while his urban stores initially showed a 4% loss, resulting in a 5% gap between urban and suburban profits…

Hinkle-Brown explains that in 2004 he couldn’t get a meeting with a national grocery store. But today Target (TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT) are opening smaller urban stores. “They realized that the big business frontier of revolutionary growth was behind them,” says Hinkle-Brown.

Walmart has a made a commitment to open 275 to 300 stores in food desert areas by 2016.

Most of these food deserts are in impoverished parts of big cities.  That are Democrat.  Like Detroit.  San Francisco.  Seattle.  Boston.  New York City.  And Washington D.C.  Where the local Democrat governments have done everything within their power to keep Wal-Mart out (see Washington D.C. and Detroit say ‘No’ to Wal-Mart because they don’t need Jobs or Shelves full of Low-Priced Goods posted 7/20/2013 on Pithocrates).  Because they care more for their dues-paying union supporters than the poor.  Apparently.

Wal-Mart can make life better for so many.  And they want to.  But because they’re non-union the Democrats are keeping them away from the people that would benefit most from them.  It’s not the Republicans doing this to the poor.  It’s the Democrats doing this to the poor.  And they’re supposed to be the protector of the poor?  Let’s hope the poor remember this the next time they vote.  Of course, for that, the Democrats will drive them to the polls.  Because that’s what they really care about.  Their vote.  Not how many hours they have to travel by bus to do their grocery shopping.


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The Poor and Middle Class see their Incomes Still Falling in the Obama Recovery

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 3rd, 2013

Week in Review

If you listen to the president, his press secretary, the mainstream media and just about anyone on the political left the economy is doing super.  Sure, we can make improvements.  But over all everything is just swell.  If you’re rich, that is. People with money are doing very well in the Obama recovery.  Those who aren’t as rich aren’t.  No.  All they see is high unemployment, rising prices and falling incomes (see Americans see biggest monthly income drop in 20 years by Annalyn Kurtz posted 3/1/2013 on CNNMoney).

Personal income decreased by $505.5 billion in January, or 3.6%, compared to December (on a seasonally adjusted and annualized basis). That’s the most dramatic decline since January 1993, according to the Commerce Department.

It’s something of a combination of one-time events, though.

Monthly income was unusually high in December because companies paid out early dividends to avoid upcoming tax hikes.

Further proof that people change their behavior when the government increases taxes.  The surge in December that made January look so bad was due to one-time distributions of profits to avoid higher taxes.  So December wasn’t that good, either.  Just an aberration as people tried to avoid the higher taxes coming their way.

The payroll tax cut’s expiration also played a role in January’s drop, because most workers have to pay 2 percentage points more in taxes this year…

Meanwhile, economists are closely watching consumer spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of the U.S. economy…

Economists think that rising gas prices in February could cut into consumer spending temporarily. Gas prices rose 10% in February, according to AAA, but are expected to fall in coming weeks…

The Social Security tax break helped consumers at the 2012 election.  Allowing them more disposable income in the year before the election.  And helping them feel things weren’t that bad.  Of course this Social Security tax holiday drew down the Social Security surplus to a dangerous low.  Something they will have to make up for with even higher taxes than the 2% temporary cut used to help the president’s reelection.

Regulatory costs, environmental policies that have shut down oil drilling on public lands and inflation (the incessant quantitative easing of the Fed putting more and more dollars into circulation) are keeping gas prices high.  For you can hide inflation in some consumer goods by reducing package sizes but you can’t do that with gasoline.  Because you sell gas by the gallon.  So the full cost of the Fed’s inflationary policies hit gas prices hard.  And, of course, high gas prices increases prices for everything else that uses fuel.  A large factor in the rise in our grocery bills.  Taking a bigger bite out of family budgets.  Leaving little for other consumer spending.

All of that said, consumers are benefiting from a housing recovery and rising stock prices…

They’re not able to save much, though. On average, people saved about 2.4% of their disposable income in January, down from 6.4% in December. That marks the smallest saving rate since November 2007.

Rich people are benefitting from the housing ‘recovery’ and stock prices.  Those who have a lot of money left over after meeting the living expenses.  Who can save a lot of money.  And invest it into housing.  Or stocks.  In fact, that’s why the stock market does well on news of the Fed continuing their quantitative easing.  For the rich are taking advantage of that cheap money to borrow it.  So they can invest it.  Trading on the interest.  Borrowing at low interest rates.  And investing in something that earns a higher rate of return.  People struggling to make their paycheck buy everything it once did as prices rise everywhere aren’t enjoying any benefits from that cheap money.  As they have no money left over to even save up a down payment on a house.  So they can take advantage of those low housing prices.  No.  The poor and middle class are not reaping anything in the current economic ‘recovery’.  Only the rich are.

Under President Obama the rich are getting richer.  And the poor are getting poorer.  Because of his economic policies.  Especially the Keynesian policies.  Keynesians look at personal savings as leaks out of the economy.  For if people aren’t spending money they are wasting money.  Which is the point of low interest rates.  To get people to borrow money to buy things.  Thus stimulating economic activity.  And generating more consumer spending.  But all that quantitative easing has raised prices so much that consumers are left with less and less money to spend.  The poor and middle class aren’t borrowing money to buy new houses.  They’re just trying to get by on what little they have.  Hoping for good economic times to return when their personal incomes rise once again.

Keynesian economics don’t work.  Just as Keynesian stimulus does not stimulate.  If it did we wouldn’t still have fewer jobs in the U.S. economy than when President Obama took office.  And he spent about $8000 billion on a stimulus bill.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Some critics said it failed as an $8000 billion stimulus wasn’t big enough.  Even though the Obama administration declared the summer of 2010 the Recovery Summer.  Proof that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 restored economic prosperity.  Even though it didn’t.  For things still haven’t returned to where they were under George W. Bush.  Despite 4 years of Keynesian policies.  That haven’t raised personal incomes.  The true measure of any economic recovery.  And when personal incomes are the lowest they’ve been in 20 years, there hasn’t been any economic recovery.  Despite $800 billion in stimulus.  And 4 years of President Obama’s Keynesian economic policies.


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Class Warfare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 3rd, 2013

Politics 101

Over 99.5% of all Rich People ARE paying Federal Income Taxes

President Obama won reelection by denigrating Mitt Romney.  He didn’t win by running on a successful record.  He did not win by running on a plan to pull the economy out of one of the worst recoveries in history.  No.  He won it by getting people to hate Mitt Romney.  And by getting people to hate Republicans.  Who they painted as evil rich people who want nothing more than tax cuts for the rich.  And to take away birth control and abortion so only rich people can have access to them.  As well as taking welfare benefits from the poor.  It’s called class warfare.  And it can be very effective.  For it won President Obama a second term despite a horrible first term by almost any metric you measure it.  At least based on the majority of the electorate that just believed the rich aren’t paying their fair share.  So let’s just see who is paying what (see Table 3.  Number of Individual Income Tax Returns, Income, Exemptions and Deductions, Tax, and Average Tax, by Size of Adjusted Gross Income, Tax Years 2001-2010).

The above chart shows who are NOT paying any federal income tax.  Approximately 40% of all taxpayers.  Are these the evil rich people like Mitt Romney?  And those rich Republicans?  No.  Contrary to the Left, it’s not the rich.  They’re paying their taxes.  It’s the poor and the middle class not paying their fair share.  Those earning $5,000 and less pay virtually no federal income taxes.  Over 80% of those earning from $5,000 to $13,000 pay no federal income taxes.  You have to get up to those earning $25,000 or more before more than half of that income group pays any federal income taxes.

We don’t see who actually pays the majority of federal income taxes until we get into the middle class.  Where those who DON’T pay any federal income taxes rapidly drop away.  Those at the low end of the middle class taking advantage of the tax code to maximize their tax credits and deductions (mortgage interest, energy tax credit, medical and dental Expenses, child and dependent care credit, etc.) to reduce their tax bill.  While those at the higher end of the middle class are likely small business owners suffering a business loss.  Or a personal or business bankruptcy.  Approximately 0.8% of those earning $100,000 – $200,000 pay no federal income taxes.  While less than half of one percent of those earning $200,000 or more pay no federal income taxes.  Perhaps this tiny sliver of income earners are not paying their fair share.  But one thing for certain is that over 99.5% of all rich people ARE paying federal income taxes.

Those earning $1,000,000 and more account for less than 1% of Tax Exemptions and Deductions

So are the rich taking advantage of the tax code to reduce their taxable income and federal tax bill?  We hear a lot about tax loopholes.  Those perfectly legal tax credits and deductions written into law by the United States Congress.  That both those on the Left and those on the Right take advantage of.  Yet those on the Left have convinced enough of the electorate that these legal credits and deductions are tax evasion.  And that only the rich on the Right are using these to evade paying their fair share.  So who is taking the biggest advantage of the tax code to reduce their tax bill?  In 2010 this totaled about $3 trillion.  Is this why those earning $100,000 or more paid no income tax?  For those few not paying any federal income tax?  Not exactly.  (The dollar amounts in the following charts are in thousands of dollars.)

In 2010 taxpayers claimed in total about $3 trillion in exemptions and deductions.  The deficit in 2010 was about $1.3 trillion dollars.  So perhaps this is the reason why we had a deficit in 2010.  This is what the Left would have us believe.  It’s those tax loopholes that the evil rich take advantage of to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.  The only problem with this is that it’s not the rich taking advantage of these tax loopholes.  It’s the poor and middle class.

Those earning $1,000 and less account for less than 1% of these exemptions and deductions.  Those earning $1,000,000 and more also account for less than 1% of these exemptions and deductions.  It’s those earning from $1,000 to $1,000,000 that are taking advantage of these tax loopholes.  Especially those earning from $50,000 to $200,000.  The only income groups claiming 10% or more of the nearly $3 trillion in exemptions and deductions claimed.  So not only are the evil rich paying federal income taxes whatever they claim as exemptions and deductions doesn’t even come close to what the poor and middle class are claiming.

Prosperous Economic Times brought about by Tax Cuts INCREASED Tax Revenues

These numbers don’t exactly support the claim that the rich aren’t paying their fair share.  They’re paying federal income taxes.  And what tax loopholes they exploit hardly makes a dent in the amount of tax revenue the IRS collects.  Which can only mean one of two things.  Either the poor and middle class need to pay more federal income taxes.  Or the federal government is just spending too much.  Well, as we just witnessed in the fiscal cliff debate, President Obama and the Left want to raise taxes.  Blaming the record Obama deficits on the Reagan and Bush tax cuts.  Their deal includes higher income tax rates on households earning $450,000 or more.  But NO spending cuts.  Which will be a problem.

In 2010 the total adjusted gross income totaled just over $8 trillion.  Most of which came from 4 income groups.  About a trillion each from those earning from $50,000 to $75,000, from $75,000 to $100,000 and from $200,000 to $500,000.  Those earning from $100,000 to $200,000 earned in total almost $2 trillion.  Which means the new higher tax rates aren’t going to bring in much new tax revenue.  Because they aren’t taxing the people with the money.  The middle class.  And with some additional spending instead of spending cuts the deficit will only grow larger.  So this whole fiscal cliff debate was nothing but theatre.  For it wasn’t about deficit reduction.  It was about politics.

The Left wants to destroy the Republican Party.  And to do that they need to turn prosperous economic times brought about by the tax cuts of the JFK, Reagan and Bush administrations into the source of all our problems.  Yes the economy boomed, goes the argument, but at what cost?  Massive deficits.  Deficits not brought about by tax cuts.  But by spending.  For those prosperous economic times brought about by tax cuts INCREASED tax revenues.  The deficits resulted from spending increases greater than the revenue increases.  But with a successful campaign of class warfare they have revised history.  Those deficits are now the result of the rich not paying their fair share.   Which helped them increase tax rates on the rich today.  Because the Left got everyone to hate the rich.  And the Republican Party.  Even though the rich are the only ones paying their fair share.  In fact, they’re paying more than their fair share.  But the majority of the electorate doesn’t know this.  Because of that successful campaign of class warfare.


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FT149: “Poor people don’t hate rich people; they envy them and buy lotto tickets to become one of them.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 21st, 2012

Fundamental Truth

People don’t hate the Lifestyles of the Rich they just hate the Rich because they’re Living it Instead of Them

Overweight and less beautiful women hate beautiful women with toned, firm bodies.  Overweight and less handsome men hate more handsome and muscular men who get all the beautiful women with toned, firm bodies.  They may hate those who are more physically attractive than they are.  Until they start dieting and going to the gym to become one of them.  Once they are one of the beautiful people they no longer hate the people they once did.  In fact, they now enjoy being part of their world.  A world where their physical appearance gets them the attention they didn’t know when they were less attractive.  But for some dieting and working out is hard work.  Especially if they have to work harder than others who can eat and drink anything they want without putting on a pound.  So if they falter from their new healthy lifestyle and put that weight back on those old feelings of hatred will return.

People fear cancer.  They hate cancer.  And may adopt a healthier life style to avoid cancer.  By eating healthier.  And exercising.  They may quit smoking and cut buck on drinking.  And they may add certain foods to their diet they understand will help prevent cancer.  Even if some of these foods aren’t delicious.  After adopting a healthier lifestyle they don’t change their position on cancer.  They still hate it.  But staying on a healthy diet and making time to exercise is hard.  Because the delicious, less healthy foods are hard to give up.  And going to the movies is a lot more enjoyable than going to the gym.  Once their healthier lifestyle lapses their position on cancer does not change.  They still hate it.  As they always hated it.

There is a difference between hate and envy.  You may hate people you envy.  Because they are, or have, everything you want.  And you covet what they have.  But what you hate is that they are living the good life instead of you.  They don’t hate the good life.  Whereas you don’t envy what you truly hate.  No one has ever complained that someone else got cancer instead of them.  No one has ever complained about the unfairness of cancer that way.  Usually the complaint is more along the lines of ‘why me and not someone else’.  For the hate of cancer is a pure hate.  It is not relative.  It is absolute.  Whereas someone’s hate of the rich is relative.  It will disappear the moment a person comes into money.

People in the Public Sector exploit the Taxpayers to pay for their very Generous Pay and Benefit Packages

Kids may go on to college and take courses in the social sciences.  Where they learn about the unfairness of capitalism.  The evil of corporations.  How businesses exploit their employees.  How they put profits before people.  By the time they leave college the word ‘profit’ is a four-letter word to them.  And they believe we should shun anyone pursuing profits like those exploitive business owners.  Raising taxes on them is a good thing.  For by doing so we can help redistribute the wealth from those hoarding it to those who don’t have enough.  To produce a fair and egalitarian society.

They also learned how socialism is better.  That the Soviet Union only failed because of the Americans undermining a superior economic system.  They believe so strongly that they vote Democrat to try and do something about making America a fairer place to live.  They go on to get jobs in the public sector to do their part in making America fairer.  By redistributing wealth.  To help those who have little.  And they exploit the taxpayers.  Forcing them to pay for their very generous pay and benefit packages.  While those same taxpayers never live a life as fair or as equal as the public sector workers they support.

These public sector workers envy the life of the rich.  They don’t hate that life.  They just hate the people who are smarter and more talented than they are who were able to achieve that life.  It’s not fair that these people had talent.  And worked hard for success.  So it’s only fair to take their money away from them to make society fair.  And so they can enjoy a lifestyle that neither their talent nor their ability could ever provide.

Poor People voted overwhelmingly for President Obama to Punish the Rich for Winning Life’s Lottery

President Obama won reelection with a campaign of class war.  Getting the people to believe that the rich weren’t paying their fair share in federal income taxes.  Despite the top 10% of income earners paying 70% of all federal income taxes.  Early on Occupy Wall Street agitated the people against the 1%.  Which grew into a bitter character assassination of Mitt Romney.  Because he was rich.  People hated him for that.  Not for having money per se.  For the people wanted everything he had.  They just hated him because he had the talent to earn what they couldn’t.  For they lacked the talent to achieve the success of Mitt Romney.

President Obama enjoyed the support of rich Hollywood stars and musicians.  And the president enjoyed hobnobbing with them.  Even the suffering masses enjoyed seeing the president hobnob with their idols.  Even though they had wealth just like Mitt Romney.  But for some reason their inequality was okay.  And these superstars, incidentally, all went into their chosen field to become rich.  To live in mansions.  And to have more money than they could ever spend.  While the people castigated Mitt Romney for having money the people looked on in awe and reverence at the lifestyle of the rich and famous they so admired.  And all the rich and famous had to do to get this pass on having obscene wealth is to attack other people with wealth.  And publically support Democrats.  You do that and they will leave you alone.  No matter how much money you shelter in the Cayman Islands.

No one hates rich people.  They just envy their lifestyles.  And covet what they have.  They hate the fact that they weren’t born with the passion, drive, ability or talent to become rich.  And hate these people for being able to do what they cannot.  Become rich.  Though it doesn’t stop them from trying.  Especially poor people.  Who voted overwhelmingly for President Obama.  To punish the rich for winning life’s lottery.  While they themselves spend every last dollar they can buying lotto tickets.  For they may have voted for President Obama to punish the rich.   But that’s only because they envy the rich.  And want to become one of them.  Should they win the lotto their position on hating the rich will quickly change.  Perhaps going so far as to start voting Republican.  To save as much of their winnings from the taxman as possible.


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Upward Mobility

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 6th, 2012

Politics 101

When Old Enough not to Violate Child-Labor Laws we worked After School at the Local Hardware Store or Supermarket

Once upon a time one of our first jobs was delivering newspapers.  We used to call these people paperboys.  Then girls said they wanted to earn money, too.  We called them papergirls.  Boys and girls would fill up a bag full of newspapers slung on their bike and start peddling through the neighborhood.  Raising a little spending money while they still were in school.  They didn’t make much.  They couldn’t keep doing this as a career and raise a family.  But they made a lot of money for a 14-year old kid.

When these kids grew old enough to get a job without violating child-labor laws they went to work after school at the local hardware store or bagged groceries at the supermarket.  Or worked at McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins, Big Boy, etc.  During the summer they flocked to vacation areas and worked in the tourist economy.  Anxious to earn money to put gas into their cars.  Or go to the mall.  Again, they weren’t making big bucks.  Nothing that they could raise a family on.  But they earned more than delivering papers.  And were able to buy the things that were important to them.

Once we graduated high school some got jobs at factories.  Some went into the skilled trades.  While some went on to college.  Working as waitresses to pay their way.  Pressing clothes at a dry cleaner.  Working as a short order cook.  Or working their summers in construction.  As well as working some odd jobs on campus between classes.  Saving every penny to pay for their books.  Room and board.  Even their tuition.  While still finding time to study.  These kids worked very hard between their studies and their jobs.  Using their earnings to pay their bills.  While leaving them less spending money to have fun with than those paperboys and papergirls had.  Who weren’t paying for books, room & board and tuition.

The American Dream is Being Free to Work Hard and Sacrifice to make a Better Life

These jobs we worked during our high school and college years were entry level jobs for the unskilled.  Which is why they didn’t pay much.  To reflect that skill level.  But they gave us job experience.  And a little spending money.  Which was fine during those years because our spending needs were modest.  Besides, these jobs weren’t our careers.  They were just stopping points on our career paths.  Where we learned some important job skills (be on time, work hard, how to work with other people, that the customer is always right, etc.) that helped us in our next jobs.  And we moved from job to job.  Gaining skills.  And income.  Until we could afford to raise a family.

Many started college after working for awhile.  Or returned to college.  Taking a couple of classes at night after work.  To gain additional skills to advance in the company.  Or to gain the skills to make a career change.  So they could earn more money.  To afford more things in life.  Like a better home.  In a better neighborhood with better schools for their children.  Living the American Dream.  Having whatever they want simply by working extra hard to have it.  Which they could if they chose to put in the effort to increase their value in the market place.  Which has always been the way to achieve our goals.  Working hard and sacrificing to make a better life.  Which is what brings others to our shores.  To be free to live the American Dream.

Immigrants coming to this country often took menial jobs.  Such as sweeping the floor in a factory.  Saving every penny.  Improving their language skills.  If they needed to increase their language skills.  Working hard.  And when they acquired some skills they moved up.  Earning enough to bring their wives over from the old country.  Who also started working a menial job upon their arrival.  To help earn enough money to buy a house to raise a family in.  The husband’s hard work took him further up in the company.  Or he set off on his own.  Going into business for himself.  Working even longer hours to provide for his family.  Living out the American Dream.  Working hard so their children can have a better life.

In the US People can go from being Poor to Middle Class to the 1% back to Middle Class and even back to Poor

Sara Blakely tried to be a lawyer but couldn’t pass the LSAT law exam.  She spent some time as a ride greeter at Disney World.  After that she tried selling fax machines door-to-door.  Seeing a lot of doors slammed in her face.  Not exactly the life she dreamed of.  And if that wasn’t bad enough there was something else that bothered her.  The way she looked in white pants from behind.  And set out to do something about it.  Starting with $5,000 Sara Blakely created Spanx.  A company selling slimming bodywear that she invented.  And about a decade later Spanx is now worth $1 billion.  Pleasing some 6 million women.  Who helped her give some $20 million to charity.

Currently in America there is a war on the rich and successful.  Those on the Left are attacking those with money.  Those who have worked hard and have earned wealth.  Claiming that they got their wealth unfairly.  And aren’t paying their fair share in taxes.  That contemptible 1%.  Those people they rile up the masses to hate.  As if this 1% is a monolithic permanent upper class.  As if every millionaire today has always been a millionaire.  As if none of them ever failed the LSAT law exam.  Worked as a greeter at Disney World.  Or sold fax machines door-to-door.

But the 1% is not a permanent monolithic upper class.  As people like Sara Blakely prove.  And the others like her who have worked hard.  Starting with little more than an idea.  And a few years of savings.  We call it upward mobility.  Those in the 1% were likely at different income levels throughout their lives.  Starting out poor.  Working their way up to middle class.  And the lucky few like Sara Blakely breaking into the 1%.  Who earned every dime she has.  And just as people can work hard to rise up to the 1% they can just as easily fall from the 1%.  For there are no monolithic classes in the United States.  Anyone can succeed here.  And anyone can fail.  So here people can go from being poor to middle class to the 1% back to middle class and even back to poor.  Because in America you can live the American Dream.  Where you’re free to do anything you want to try.  You can work hard to succeed.  And you can fail trying.  But the key is this.  Here you can try.  Which is a lot more than people in many parts of the world can ever hope to do.


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