The DJIA and the Labor Force Participation Rate tell us how both Wall Street and Main Street are Doing
Rich people don’t need jobs. They can make money with money. Investing in the stock market. When you see the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) increasing you know rich people are getting richer. Whereas the middle class, the working people, aren’t getting rich. But they may be building a retirement nest egg. Which is good. So they benefit, too, from a rising DJIA. But that’s for later. What they need now is a job. Unlike rich people. The middle class typically lives from paycheck to paycheck. So more important to them is a growing job market. Not so much a growing stock market. For the middle class needs a day job to be able to invest in the stock market. Whereas rich people don’t. For a rich person’s money works enough for the both of them.
So the Dow Jones Industrial Average shows how well rich people are doing. And how well the working class’ retirement nest eggs are growing for their retirement. But it doesn’t really show how well the middle class is living. For they need a job to pay their bills. To put food on their tables. And to raise their families. So the DJIA doesn’t necessarily show how well the middle class is doing. But there is an economic indicator that does. The labor force participation rate. Which shows the percentage of people who could be working that are working. So if the labor force participation rate (LFPR) is increasing it means more people looking for a job can find a job. Allowing more people to be able to pay their bills, put food on their tables and raise their families.
These two economic indicators (the DJIA and the LFPR) can give us an idea of how both Wall Street and Main Street are doing. Ideally you’d want to see both increasing. A rising DJIA shows businesses are growing. Allowing Wall Street to profit from rising stock prices. While those growing businesses create jobs for Main Street. If we look at these economic indicators over time we can even see which ‘street’ an administration’s policies favor. Interestingly, it’s not the one you would think based on the political rhetoric.
Wall Street grew 75% Richer under Clinton than it did under Reagan while Main Street grew 65% Poorer
Those going through our public schools and universities are taught that capitalism is unfair. Corporations are evil. And government is good. The Democrats favor a growing welfare state. Funded by a highly progressive tax code. That taxes rich people at higher tax rates. While Republicans favor a limited government. A minimum of government spending and regulation. And lower tax rates. Therefore the Republicans are for rich people and evil corporations. While the Democrats are for the working man. Our schools and universities teach our kids this. The mainstream media reinforces this view. As does Hollywood, television and the music industry. But one thing doesn’t. The historical record (see Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate and Recessions 1950-Present and Dow Jones Industrial Average Index: Historical Data).
The Democrats hated Ronald Reagan. Because he believed in classical economics. Which is what made this country great. Before Keynesian economics came along in the early 20th Century. And ushered in the era of Big Government. Reagan reversed a lot of the damage the Keynesians caused. He tamed inflation. Cut taxes. Reduced regulation. And made a business-friendly environment. Where the government intervened little into the private sector economy. And during his 8 years in office we see that BOTH Wall Street (the Dow Jones Industrial Average) and Main Street (the labor force participation rate) did well. Contrary to everything the left says. The DJIA increased about 129%. And the LFPR increased about 3.4%. Indicating a huge increase of jobs for the working class. Showing that it wasn’t only the rich doing well under Reaganomics. The policies of his successor, though, changed that. As Wall Street did better under Bill Clinton than Main Street.
Despite the Democrats being for the working man and Bill Clinton’s numerous statements about going back to work to help the middle class (especially during his impeachment) Wall Street clearly did better than Main Street under Bill Clinton. During his 8 years in office the LFPR increased 1.2%. While the DJIA increased 226%. Which means Wall Street grew 75% richer under Clinton than it did under Reagan. While Main Street grew 65% poorer under Clinton than it did under Reagan. Which means the gap between the rich and the middle class grew greater under Clinton than it did under Reagan. Clearly showing that Reagan’s policies favored the Middle Class more than Clinton’s policies did. And that Clinton’s policies favored Wall Street more than Regan’s did. Which is the complete opposite of the Democrat narrative. But it gets worse.
The Historical Record shows the Rich do Better under Democrats and the Middle Class does Better under Republicans
The great economy of the Nineties the Democrats love to talk about was nothing more than a bubble. A bubble of irrational exuberance. As investors borrowed boatloads of cheap money thanks to artificially low interest rates. And poured it into dot-com companies that had nothing to sell. After these dot-coms spent that start-up capital they had no revenue to replace it. And went belly-up in droves. Giving George W. Bush a nasty recession at the beginning of his presidency. Compounded by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The LFPR fell throughout Bush’s first term as all those dot-com jobs went away in the dot-com crash. Made worse by the 9/11 attacks. As all the malinvestments of the Clinton presidency were wrung out of the economy things started to get better. The LFPR leveled off and the DJIA began to rise. But then the specter of Bill Clinton cast another pall over the Bush presidency. Clinton’s Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending forced lenders to lower their lending standards to qualify more of the unqualified. Which they did under fear of the full force and fury of the federal government. Using the subprime mortgage to put the unqualified into homes they couldn’t afford. This policy also pressured Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy these toxic subprime mortgages from these lenders. Freeing them up to make more toxic loans. This house of cards came crashing down at the end of the Bush presidency. Which is why the DJIA fell 19.4%. And the LFPR fell 2.1%. Even though the economy tanked thanks to those artificially low interest rates that brought on the subprime mortgage crisis and Great Recession both Wall Street and Main Street took this rocky ride together. They fell together in his first term. Rose then fell together in his second term. Something that didn’t happen in the Obama presidency.
During the Obama presidency Wall Street has done better over time. Just as Main Street has done worse over time. This despite hearing nothing about how President Obama cares for the middle class. When it is clear he doesn’t. As his policies have clearly benefited rich people. Wall Street. While Main Street suffers the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression. So far during his presidency the LFPR has fallen 3.7%. While the DJIA has risen by 86%. Creating one of the largest gaps between the rich and the middle class. This despite President Obama being the champion of the middle class. Which he isn’t. In fact, one should always be suspect about anyone claiming to be the champion of the middle class. As the middle class always suffers more than the rich when these people come to power. Just look at Venezuela under Hugo Chaves. Where the rich got richer. And the middle class today can’t find any toilet paper to buy. This is what the historical record tells us. The rich do better under Democrats. And the middle class does better under Republicans. Despite what our schools and universities teach our kids. Or what they say in movies and television.
Tags: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, bubble, Bush, Clinton, corporations, Democrats, DJIA, dot.com, Dow Jones Industrial Average, economic indicator, Great Recession, interest rates, jobs, Keynesian, labor force participation rate, LFPR, Main Street, middle class, Reagan, Republicans, rich people, Ronald Reagan, stock market, subprime mortgage, tax rates, Wall Street, working class, working man, working people
Week in Review
People either loved Margaret Thatcher. Or they hated her. And it all came down to their political ideology. If you were pro-capitalism you loved her. If you preferred socialism you hated her. And the biggest socialist to hate her (and her friend Ronald Reagan) was the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics (USSR). Not only did the success of her economic policies make the failure of the Soviet economic policies stark by comparison she was outspoken about her hatred of communism. Even allowed her good friend, Ronald Reagan, base American nuclear cruise missiles on British soil.
Capitalism’s victory over Soviet socialism was so apparent that Mikhail Gorbachev opened dialogue with the Great Margaret Thatcher. Ultimately bringing about the Soviet’s defeat in the Cold War. Because socialism as an economic system doesn’t work. Which is why Britain soared to new heights under the capitalist policies of Margaret Thatcher. While the Soviet Union collapsed under their socialist policies. And she entered office when Britain was at its worst (see To blame Margaret Thatcher for today’s problems is to misunderstand history by Allister Heath posted 4/9/2013 on The Telegraph).
[Margaret Thatcher] inherited a basket case of an economy, crippled by obsolete state-owned firms, a legacy of decades of poor policies. Management was insular and demoralised, the workforce used as pawns by militant union leaders who would call strikes at every opportunity, customers treated like dirt and production techniques stuck in the past.
Productivity was appalling, overmanning the norm and the quality of UK-made goods notoriously poor. Britain was sclerotic, anti-entrepreneurial and anti-innovation, often specialising in industries with no long-term future.
Yet it is a little-known fact that manufacturing output actually went up during her time in office, despite the necessary liquidation of so many unviable plants.
This was basically the problem they were having in the Soviet Union. Everything was state-owned. Production techniques were stuck in the past. No one clamored to get their hands on good Soviet products. Because there were no good Soviet products. And they had far too many workers in their plants building stuff no one wanted. While store shelves sat empty and people went without the basic necessities. Britain was far along the path to outright socialism. While Soviet Union was nearing the end of that path. Margaret Thatcher turned the country around before they could end up where the Soviet Union was. And the sun began to shine once more on the British Empire. Albeit a smaller one.
Output had grown another 4.9pc by the start of 1997, when the Tories were booted out. Given the bitterness of the 1980s’ recession, caused by the desperate need to wring out extreme levels of inflation from the system by using high interest rates, it shows just how effective her supply-side reforms turned out to be…
…She was right to slash income tax, to repeal capital controls and to shake up the City of London with Big Bang. Most of her reforms to retail banking, including allowing banks and building societies to compete with one another, were spot-on.
There were some bad changes, however, though not the ones usually cited: still-high inflation made the ultra-safe saving banks unviable, especially after the EU forced the UK to introduce retail deposit insurance in 1979; there was a counter-productive move away from individual responsibility in retail financial services; and the UK signed up to the Basel Accords in 1990, a flawed international system to regulate banks that triggered all sorts of dangerous unintended behaviour and ensured financial institutions retained far too little reserves. In all cases, however, these were changes that didn’t really follow her basic philosophy…
Thatcherism was about choice, individual responsibility and independence from the state, not the politicised, artificially pump-primed markets we ended up with by the mid-2000s. She hated bail-outs, government subsidies and nationalisations; and would have looked on in horror at the gradual socialisation of losses and privatisation of profit in the financial services industry in the 15 years running up to the crisis.
Starting with the rescue of the LTCM fund in 1998 in New York, regulators decided that no large financial institution could ever fail. Alan Greenspan saw himself as an economist-king, manipulating interest rates to bolster financial markets and ensure perpetual growth, and triggering a giant bubble that burst twice. This was corporatism, not genuine capitalism.
Under the new order, including Gordon Brown’s late, unlamented Financial Services Authority, banks were disciplined neither by the free market – the authorities were there as a backstop, so there was no chance of going bust – nor by regulators, who allowed risk to build up unchecked. Greed was no longer balanced out by fear; moral hazard had replaced prudence. Thatcher, the grocer’s daughter and keen student of F.A Hayek, would have despaired.
A genuinely Thatcherite government in the 2000s is unlikely to have tolerated the explosion in the money supply – and house price madness – that Brown allowed, not least because Lord Lawson made a similar mistake in the late 1980s when he was Chancellor, triggering an earlier, disastrous house price bubble and bust. The parallels between the two episodes are striking but bizarrely uncommented upon.
So it is silly to blame Thatcher for today’s problems. If only one of her disciples had been in power in the 2000s, we wouldn’t be in anything like the mess we are in today.
Supply-side reforms? Those were the same kind of reforms that her good friend, Ronald Reagan, favored. And by using them he undid the Keynesian damage of his predecessors (LBJ, Nixon, Ford and Carter). Pulling the United States off the path towards socialism. Long before they got where Britain was before Thatcher. But like in Britain it didn’t take long to return to the failed policies of the past. The Keynesians returned in full force. Playing with interest rates. Keeping them artificially low to interfere with market forces. Causing great irrational exuberance. Those famous words uttered by Alan Greenspan. An irrational exuberance his Federal Reserve policies enabled. Allowing people to borrow cheap money to invest with abandon. With no fear of the economic fallout. Pure Keynesian economics. This wasn’t capitalism. For capitalism would have raised those interest rates before they created such great bubbles. And capitalism would have disciplined those free markets. By checking greed with fear and having serious consequences for irrational exuberance. Not government bailouts.
If Thatcher and Reagan were in office in the past decade things would be a lot better now. And the simple proof of that is that when we moved away from their policies we created the mess we have today.
Tags: Alan Greenspan, Britain, bubble, capitalism, capitalist, Communism, inflation, interest rates, irrational exuberance, Keynesian, Margaret Thatcher, Reagan, recession, Ronald Reagan, socialism, socialist, Soviet, Soviet Union, supply-side reforms, Thatcher, Thatcherism, Thatcherite, USSR
LBJ was able to pass JFK’s Tax Cuts resulting in a Long Period of Economic Growth
The official unemployment rate is stuck around 8%. But if you count all the people who can’t find a full-time job the actual unemployment rate is closer to 14%. With every jobs report we hear the positive spin from the government about another down tic in the official unemployment rate. And the hundreds of thousands of new jobs created. But after three years or so of hearing these reports people start questioning the numbers. And the rosy spin. Because despite all the good news they tell us people are disappearing from the civilian labor force. Which is the only reason why the official unemployment rate is falling. Because they’re not counting a lot of unemployed people. So looking at the civilian labor force may be a better indicator of the health of the economy. Or better yet, the civilian labor force participation rate (CLFPR). Which is basically the percent of those who can work that are working. So let’s do that. Starting with the Fifties.
After World War II veterans went to college on the G.I. Bill. These new college graduates with degrees in science, engineering and business management entered the workforce in the Fifties. Helping the United States to develop new technologies. New industries. And a lot of new jobs. American wells were busy pumping domestic oil. Keeping gasoline cheap. Having escaped the damage of war the American economy exported to those countries that didn’t. And consumer spending took off. Thanks to the new advertising industry telling Americans about all the great things to buy. They bought houses and cars with borrowed money. And used the new credit card to spend even more money they didn’t have. Changing the American economy into a consumer-based economy. Making the Fifties one of the most prosperous times in U.S. history. Despite the Korean War. And the Cold War. Which was getting underway in a big way. There was a burst of inflation to help pay for the Korean War. When it ended they contracted the money supply to get rid of that inflation sending the economy into recession. But once the recession ended the economy took off with all that consumerism. Shown by the sharp rise in the CLFPR. To correspond with the very good economic times of the Fifties. Another monetary contraction happened in 1957 to tamp out some price inflation. With a corresponding fall in the CLFPR.
The Sixties started with another recession. After it ended, though, the CLFPR continued to fall. The recession was officially over but the economy was not doing well. The CLFPR fell for almost three years following the recession. Things were different from the Fifties. For one, a lot of those war-torn economies were up and running again. Providing some competition. Especially a little island nation by the name of Japan. Which one day would build all the televisions sold in America. It was because of this fall in economic activity that JFK started talking about tax cuts in 1963. Congress blocked his attempt to cut tax rates. But after his assassination LBJ was able to pass the Revenue Act of 1964. This lowered the top marginal tax rate from 91% to 70%. And lowered the corporate income tax from 52% to 48%. Among other favorable business measures. Resulting in a long period of economic growth. And a long upward trend in the CLFPR.
The Tax Cuts and Deregulation of the Eighties created one of the Longest Periods of Economic Growth
But following the Revenue Act of 1964 came the Great Society. The Vietnam War. And the Apollo moon program. All paid for with a huge surge in federal spending. Deficits began to grow. As the government struggled to pay for everything. And were unwilling to cut anything.
The economy fell into a mild recession in 1970. The CLFPR remained relatively flat. To meet their spending needs they started printing money. Devaluing the dollar. Still part of Bretton Woods the dollar was still pegged to gold at $35/ounce. That is, the U.S. agreed to exchange gold for dollars at $35/ounce. But as they devalued the dollar our trading partners no longer wanted to hold dollars. Because they were losing their purchasing power. They wanted the gold instead. So they began exchanging their dollars for gold. Causing a great outflow of gold from the U.S. Causing a problem for President Nixon. He didn’t want the U.S. to lose all of their gold reserves. But he didn’t want to cut any spending. Which meant he didn’t want to stop printing money. In fact, he wanted to print more money. And the easy way out of his dilemma was by doing the most irresponsible thing. He slammed the gold window shut in 1971. And refused to exchange gold for dollars anymore. And when he did there was no restriction to the amount of money they could print. And they printed it. A lot. Creating double-digit inflation before the Seventies were over. The inflation caused prices to rise. Which Nixon tried to prevent with wage and price controls. Causing a shortage of available rental property as people converted them into condos to get away from the rent control. Gasoline stations ran out of gas as people filled their tanks with below-market priced gas. And meat disappeared from grocery stores. Wage controls kept wages from keeping pace with inflation. So even though people had jobs they lost more and more purchasing power. Or simply found there was nothing to purchase. Throwing the economy into recession in 1973. After the recession the CLFPR grew throughout the remainder of the Seventies. But it wasn’t good growth. It was growth sustained with double-digit inflation. A bubble of artificial economic activity. That would have to crash. As all inflationary periods must crash.
In the Eighties Paul Volcker, Federal Reserve Chairman, raised interest rates to double digits to wring out the double-digit inflation from the economy. To restore people’s purchasing power. And return the nation to real economic growth. The tax cuts and deregulation of the Eighties created one of the longest sustained periods of economic growth in U.S. history. With one of the longest upward trends in the CLFPR ever. Indicating a growing economy. With more and more people who could work finding work. Proving that Reaganomics worked. And worked very well.
If JFK or Ronald Reagan were President Today we wouldn’t be seeing a Freefall of the CLFPR
But it wouldn’t last. Thanks to the government’s interference into the banking industry. They had set a maximum limit on interest rates S&Ls (and banks) could offer. When inflation took off people pulled their money from their savings accounts. Putting it in higher earning instruments. So they didn’t lose their savings to inflation. This bad banking policy begat more bad banking policy. They deregulated the S&Ls and banks. So they could do other things to make up for their lost savings business. And that other thing was primarily real estate. They borrowed short-term money to make long-term loans. Helping to create a housing bubble. And when they began to wring that inflation out of the economy interest rates rose. When those short-term loans came due they had to refinance them at higher interest rates. While the interest they were earning on those long-term loans remained the same. So their interest expense soon exceeded their interest income. Creating the savings and loan crisis. And a severe recession that ended the economic expansion of the Eighties. With a corresponding fall in the CLFPR.
Once the recession ended the CLFPR resumed a general upward growth. But not as good as it was in the Eighties. Also, it would turn out that much of the growth in the Nineties was artificial. Bill Clinton’s Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending forced lenders to lower their lending requirements. And to qualify the unqualified. Which created a surge in subprime lending. And the beginning of a housing bubble. The Internet entered the economy in the Nineties. Just as the personal computer entered the economy in the Eighties. Making Bill Gates a very rich man. Investors were anxious to find the next Bill Gates. Taking advantage of those low interest rates creating that housing bubble. And poured money into dot-com start-ups. Companies that had no revenues. Or products to sell. Creating a dot-com bubble. And a surge in computer programming jobs. Also, as the century came to a close there was the Y2K scare. Creating another surge in computer programming jobs. To rewrite computer code. Changing 2-digit date codes (i.e., ’78) to 4-digit codes (i.e., 1978).
The Y2K scare proved to be greatly overblown. Which put a lot of computer programmers out of a job in January of 2000. And they wouldn’t find a dot-com job for the dot-com bubble burst in the same year they lost their Y2K job. Throwing the economy into recession in 2001. And then making everything worse came the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Prolonging the recession. As can be seen by the long decline in the CLFPR. Which leveled out after the Bush tax cuts. But then that housing bubble peaked in 2006. And burst in 2007 into the subprime mortgage crisis. Thanks to all those toxic mortgages Bill Clinton’s Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending forced lenders to make. And because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bought these toxic mortgages and had Wall Street package them into collateralized debt obligations this crisis spread worldwide. Selling what they told unsuspecting investors were high yield, low risk investments. Because they were backed by the safest of all loans. Mortgages. What they failed to tell these investors was that these mortgages were not safe 30-year conventional mortgages. But highly risky subprime mortgages. In particular adjustable rate mortgages. Where the monthly payment would increase with an increase in interest rates. And that is what happened. And when it happened the unqualified could not afford the new monthly payment. And defaulted. Kicking off the Great Recession. And because President Obama was more interested in national health care than ending the Great Recession he didn’t cut taxes. Or cut regulations. Instead, he increased taxes and regulations. Making the current recovery one of the worst in U.S. history. As can be seen in the greatest decline in the CLFPR since the Great Depression. If you look at a continuous graph from 1950 to the present you can see just how bad the Obama economic policies are.
The JFK and Reagan tax cuts caused the greatest economic expansions. And the greatest rise in the CLFPR. Also, after most recessions there was a return to a growing CLFPR. Interestingly, the two times that didn’t happen are tied to Bill Clinton. Who created two of the greatest bubbles. The dot-com bubble in the Nineties. And the subprime mortgage bubble that was built in the Nineties and the 2000s. The growth was so artificial in building these bubbles that the CLFPR did not recover following the bursting of these bubbles. It might have following the dot-com bubble if the subprime mortgage crisis didn’t follow so soon after. The current recovery is so bad that it has taken the CLFPR back to levels we haven’t seen since the Seventies. Making the current recovery far worse than the official unemployment rate suggests. And far worse than the government is telling us. So why are they not telling us the truth about the economy? Because the government wants to raise taxes. And if the economy is improving there is no need for recession-ending tax cuts. So they say the economy is improving. As they hate tax cuts that much. Unlike Ronald Reagan. Or JFK. And if either of them were president today we wouldn’t be seeing a freefall of the CLFPR.
Tags: Bill Clinton, civilian labor force, civilian labor force participation rate, CLFPR, consumer spending, deregulation, dot com bubble, dot.com, double digit inflation, Eighties, Fifties, gold, Great Recession, housing bubble, inflation, interest rates, JFK, jobs, jobs report, LBJ, Nineties, Nixon, Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending, purchasing power, Reagan, recession, Revenue Act of 1964, Ronald Reagan, savings, Seventies, sixties, subprime, subprime lending, subprime mortgage crisis, subprime mortgages, tax cuts, unemployment rate, Y2K
Week in Review
Keynesian economics puts the government into the economy. This is why politicians love Keynesian economics. It sanctions government spending. And government investments to help stimulate economic activity. No matter how bad the investment is. For Keynesians have argued that paying people to dig a ditch and to fill it back in with the dirt they just removed will have a positive effect on the economy. Because these ditch-diggers will spend their earnings in the private sector economy. Thus stimulating economic activity. So pulling money out of the economy to pay people to dig worthless ditches has only a positive effect on the economy.
But it doesn’t. For they don’t see the money in the private sector that people can no longer spend because it was taxed away from them to pay people to dig worthless ditches. So at best it’s a wash. But it is never ‘at best’. Because before people spend their ditch-digging earnings it passes through many hands and many government departments. All of which take a little off the top to cover their overhead costs. So government spending is always less than what the private sector would have spent. But Keynesians conveniently ignore this fact. Because they like the validation they receive from the government. And they know they will continue to receive that as long as they tell the government what they want to hear. The government should spend more money (see WBI: More on the Chicken-and-Egg Deficit-and-Jobs Issue by Michael Tomasky posted 3/22/2013 on The Daily Beast).
Our first WBI [Wonky But Important] is built around a March 8 CBO report brought to my attention this morning by Congressman Chris van Hollen–my very own Mongtomery County Md. representative, I am happy to say–finding that half of this year’s expected budget deficit of around $800 billion–half!–can be laid at the door of the struggling economy.
In other words: When the economy is revved up, it reduces the deficit, because there are more tax revenues from all those employed people and businesses working to capacity (and, concomitantly, fewer government expenditures–there’s no need for stimulus spending or lots of unemployment benefits during a humming economy)…
CBO expects that the budgetary effects of automatic stabilizers will remain large because of the continued weakness in the economy, which is caused in part by the fiscal tightening that is occurring in calendar year 2013 under current law. That tightening includes the reduction in federal spending resulting from the sequestration that went into effect on March 1; the expiration of the payroll tax cut that was in place in 2011 and 2012; and the increase in tax rates on income above certain thresholds starting in 2013.
Can’t get much clearer than that. Austerity. Increases. The. Deficit. Asuterity. Increases. The. Deficit.
This relates to and supports the post I wrote Tuesday about that poll showing a horrifying percentage of Americans thinking balanced budgets lead to jobs. No. It’s the other way around. Now you have the CBO saying it, not just me. The Democrats, as van Hollen made clear at this breakfast I attended at Third Way, are banking on people to grasp this. I hope so.
It is amazing how Keynesians can filter through facts and figures and come to conclusions that always support their position. Everything is always better when the government spends more money. And nothing bad happens when government spends more money. In fact only bad things happen when governments spend less money. And they still believe this despite the European sovereign debt crisis. Caused by governments spending too much money.
No Keynesian ever supported this position that prosperous economic times caused by government spending money during the Eighties would reduce the deficit. That defense spending was nothing but bad. Giving the government dangerous levels of debt. But that was then. Now that the Democrats are spending far greater sums than Ronald Reagan did and are running greater deficits than Reagan ever did deficits are now nothing to worry about. Funny how that changed.
If today’s deficit spending is good than Reagan’s deficit spending was good. If Reagan’s deficit spending was bad than today’s deficit spending is bad. You can’t have it both ways.
If we can grow ourselves out of these deficits with expanding economic activity the question is how do we increase economic activity? We need to let businesses do what they do without hindering them. And how do we hinder business? By increasing the cost of business. And lowering the rate of return on investment. Higher regulatory costs increase the cost of business. Higher taxes lower rates of return on investment capital. They pass these higher costs on to consumers via higher prices. Which consumes more of their disposable income. Reducing the amount of stuff they can buy. Thus lowering business revenues. All of which reduces economic activity. It doesn’t increase it.
The reason why we are in the worse economic recovery since that following the Great Depression is the president’s economic policies. More government spending won’t change that. It’s not austerity that is increasing the deficit. It’s the foolhardy policies of Keynesians who believe that government spending generates real economic activity. It doesn’t. It didn’t pull us out of the Great Depression. It didn’t pull us out of the stagflation of the Seventies. And it didn’t pull us out of the Great Recession. But reversing anti-business policies did pull us out of the Great Depression. It pulled us out of the stagflation of the Seventies. And it would pull us out of the Great Recession. If we would only try them.
Tags: anti-business policies, austerity, cost of business, deficit, deficit spending, economic activity, economic recovery, government spending, Great Depression, Great Recession, Keynesian, Keynesian economics, Reagan, regulatory costs, return on investment, Ronald Reagan, stagflation, taxes
Gross Domestic Product is basically Consumer Spending and Government Spending
In the 1980 presidential campaign Ronald Reagan said, “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And a recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.” A powerful statement. And one that proved to be pretty much true. But don’t look for these definitions in an economics textbook. For though they connect well to us the actual definitions are a little more complex. And a bit abstract.
There is a natural ebb and flow to the economy. We call it the business cycle. There are good economic times with unemployment falling. And there are bad economic times with unemployment rising. The economy expands. And the economy contracts. The contraction side of the business cycle is a recession. And it runs from the peak of the expansion to the trough of the contraction. A depression is basically a recession that is really, really bad.
But even these definitions are vague. Because getting an accurate measurement on economic growth isn’t that easy. There’s gross domestic product (GDP). Which is the sum total of final goods and services. Basically consumer spending and government spending. Which is why the government’s economists (Keynesians) and those in the Democrat Party always say cutting government spending will hurt the economy. By reducing GDP. But GDP is not the best measurement of economic activity.
Even though Retail Sales may be Doing Well everyone up the Production Chain may not be Expanding Production
One problem with GDP is that the government is constantly revising the numbers. So GDP doesn’t really provide real-time feedback on economic activity. The organization that defines the start and end points of recessions is the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). And they often do so AFTER the end of a recession. One metric they use is GDP growth. If it’s negative for two consecutive quarters they call it a recession. But if there is a significant decline in economic activity that lasts a few months or more they may call that a recession, too. Even if there aren’t two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. If GDP falls by 10% they’ll call that a depression.
There’s another problem with using GDP data. It’s incomplete. It only looks at consumer spending. It doesn’t count any of the upper stages of
production. The wholesale stage. The manufacturing stage. And the raw commodities stage. Where the actual bulk of economic activity takes place. In these upper stages. Which Keynesian economists ignore. For they only look at aggregate consumer spending. Which they try to manipulate with interest rates. And increasing the money supply. To encourage more consumer spending. But there is a problem with Keynesian economics. It doesn’t work.
When economic activity slows Keynesian economic policies say the government should increase spending to pick up the slack. So they expand the money supply. Lower interest rates. And spend money. Putting more money into the hands of consumers. So they can go out and spend that money. Thus stimulating economic activity. But expanding the money supply creates inflation. Which raises prices. So consumers may be spending that stimulus money but those businesses in the higher stages of production know what’s coming. Higher prices. Which means people will soon be buying less. And they know once these people spend their stimulus money it will be gone. As will all that stimulated activity. So even though retail sales may be doing well everyone up the production chain may not be expanding production. Instead, wholesalers will draw down their inventories. And not replace them. So they will buy less from manufacturers. Who will buy fewer raw commodities.
The continually falling Labor Force Participation Rate suggests the 2007-2009 Recession hasn’t Ended
So retail sales could be doing well during an economic contraction. For awhile. But everything above retail sales will already be hunkering down for the coming recession. Cutting production. And laying off people. Making unemployment another metric to measure a recession by. If the unemployment rate rose by, say, 1.5 points during a given period of time the economy may be in a recession. But there is a problem with using the unemployment rate. The official unemployment rate (the U-3 number) doesn’t count everyone who can’t find a full-time job.
U-3 only counts those people who are looking for work. They don’t count those who take a lower-paying part-time job because they can’t find a full-time job. And they don’t count people who give up looking for work because there just isn’t anything out there. Getting by on their savings. Their spouse’s income. Even cashing in their 401(k). People doing this are an indication of a horrible economy. And probably a pretty bad recession. But they don’t count them. Making the U-3 unemployment rate understate the true unemployment. A better metric is the labor force participation rate. The percentage of those who are able to work who are actually working. A falling unemployment rate is good. But if that happens at the same time the labor force participation rate is falling the economy is still probably in recession. Despite the falling unemployment rate.
The NBER sifts through a lot of data to decide whether the economy is in recession or not. Do politics enter their decision-making process? Perhaps. For they said the 2007-2009 recession ended in 2009. The U-3 unemployment rate had fallen. And GDP growth returned to positive territory. But the labor force participation rate continued to fall. Meaning people were disappearing from the labor force. Indicating that the 2007-2009 recession hasn’t really ended. In fact, one could even say that we have been in a depression. For not only did a lot of our neighbors lose their jobs. A lot of us lost our jobs, too. And because the president who presided over the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression didn’t lose his job in 2012, there has been no recovery. So given our current economic picture the best metric to use appears to be what Ronald Reagan told us in 1980. Which means things aren’t going to get better any time soon.
Tags: business cycle, consumer spending, contraction, depression, economic activity, expansion, GDP, GDP growth, government spending, gross domestic product, inflation, interest rates, Keynesian, Keynesian economics, labor force, labor force participation rate, money supply, Reagan, recession, recovery, Retail sales, Ronald Reagan, stages of production, stimulus, unemployment
The Mainstream Media sacrifice their Journalistic Integrity to help the Obama Administration Advance their Agenda
The president has warned that the $85 billion in spending cuts of the sequester will gut government programs leaving Americans at great peril. This despite baseline budgeting automatically increases spending every year. From 1974 (after Nixon decoupled the dollar from gold and the government adopted baseline budgeting) through 2008 (before the spending orgy of the Obama administration) federal spending increased approximately 7.5% each year. Crunching the numbers for the spending increase from 2012 to 2013 we get $284.7 billion. Applying the cuts of the sequester reduces this increase in spending to $199.7 billion. We will spend more in 2013 than we did in 2012. Even AFTER the sequester cuts. So all the peril the president is warning us about is not real. He’s lying for political gain.
Yet the mainstream media is discussing this issue as if there are real cuts in spending. That we will reduce spending in the numerous government programs the president warns about if we let the sequester happen. Less food inspection. Less airport security. Fewer police officers. Fewer firefighters. Fewer teachers. Fewer flu vaccinations. And less childcare. In their reports they discuss these as a matter of fact. When they are just not true. And it’s no secret. Anyone can do what we did and look at federal outlays and see the automatic spending increases each year. And see that we will still spend more in 2013 after the sequester cuts than we did in 2012. You’d think a journalist would study the facts. The historical record. And then question the president and his administration. Ask them why they are lying. But they don’t. Why?
Because they are partisan. Committed to the leftist agenda the president is trying to pass. So they either help spread the lie. Being complicit in the lie. Or they spread the lie because they are victims of the lie. They are so committed to the leftist agenda that they don’t question anything coming from the liberal left. Because they want to believe. They sacrifice their journalistic integrity to help the administration advance their agenda. More a propaganda arm of the administration than a free press. The kind of journalism they practice in Venezuela. Cuba. China. North Korea. And the kind of journalism they practiced in East Germany. The Soviet Union. And Nazi Germany. Where there was no free press. Only state propaganda. Propaganda in a totalitarian regime is one thing. They already oppress their people and their news is more for the benefit of outsiders. Where they lie about record harvests. And record gains in industrial production. Things their people have long stopped believing as they suffer through the misery of the reality. But it’s different in a free country. For it lends legitimacy for illegitimate actions of government. And allows them to overstep the restraints of their constitutional authority.
The Mainstream Media helped Downplay the Resurgent al Qaeda in Benghazi to help President Obama win Reelection
In 2010 the greatest cause of accidental deaths for children age 5-15 was motor vehicle accidents. In 2010 there were 806 deaths. Representing 49.1% of all deaths. The number two cause was drowning with 251 deaths. Or 15.3% of the total. Next came fire/burn at 135 deaths. Then death by suffocation at 79 deaths. Then death by other land transportation at 68 deaths. Then poisoning at 54 deaths. Then came firearms at 37 deaths. Yet many in the mainstream media actively support the Obama administration in their push for gun control. Especially a ban on assault weapons. Even if (as they say so often) it saves only one child. But guns aren’t the leading cause of death for children. In fact, as horrific as scenes like the Newtown shooting are they are very rare occurrences. Far more children die in automobile accidents each year. No doubt because we are driving smaller cars to save the planet (lighter cars means greater gas mileage and less pollution). But the journalists don’t report this fact. Because they endorse the leftist agenda of saving the planet. And more gun control. Even if saving the planet means the death of more children from driving in smaller and less safe cars. While more gun control probably won’t save a single child.
The Obama administration’s foreign policy record has been a poor one. The greatest threat to peace and stability in the Mideast and North Africa is Iran. Yet the Obama administration did not support the Green Revolution protesting the 2009 Iranian election results that most felt were unfair. There are few bigger enemies of the United States. The Iranian supported insurgency killed or wounded a lot of U.S. military in Iraq. Our strongest allies in the region (Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia) all feared growing Iranian influence in the region. But given an opportunity to support an uprising that could overthrow a great enemy to peace and stability the Obama administration did nothing. But when the Arab Spring swept through Egypt the president abandoned one of America’s most stalwart allies and the anchor to stability in the region. Hosni Mubarak. Now the Iranian influence in Egypt is stronger than ever. When the Arab Spring spread to Libya the Obama administration supported that movement, too. Despite Colonel Muammar Gaddafi having denounced terrorism and supported the Americans in the war against al Qaeda. When the Arab Spring spread to Syria the president did not support that protest. Despite Syria being Iran’s strongest ally in the region. A sponsor of terrorism. And a nation with a chemical arsenal likely manufactured by Iraq (those weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein had used on his people but had disappeared when the Americans arrived on the scene, likely having skedaddled across the border into Syria). As bad as the ruling regime was in Syria we did nothing to help Syrians overthrow their oppressor.
Now civil war engulfs Syria. Elements of al Qaeda have joined the opposition. Making sure Iran wins however things turn out there. And the Iranian influence is stronger than ever in Libya. When al Qaeda killed the American diplomat in Benghazi the Obama administration made up a story about a YouTube video causing spontaneous protests that led to the ambassador’s death along with three other Americans. To downplay a resurgent al Qaeda during the 2012 election campaign. As they had refused to beef up security in Benghazi as the ambassador requested. Because it would look bad in the 2012 election. Yet the mainstream media did not question these very poor decisions the Obama administration made for political reasons. Instead accepting their position that there was nothing newsworthy in Benghazi. Which they wholeheartedly reported. Refusing to even ask questions. Such as why did they refuse the ambassador’s request for more security? Who edited the talking points for Ambassador Rice used for the Sunday morning shows? Or why is al Qaeda now stronger in the Middle East, North Africa and West Africa after 4 years of the Obama administration that they were during 8 years of the Bush administration? No. They showed no journalistic curiosity. Or integrity. Simply accepting the administration’s statements as fact. While the Middle East and Africa become more dangerous places.
The Mainstream Media is no longer a Free Press for the People but a Propaganda Arm of the Obama Administration
Obamacare is the most sweeping change to the American economy since LBJ’s Great Society. Which was the most sweeping change since FDR’s New Deal. The American Left has always wanted a national health care system. Just like what they have in the United Kingdom. The Left likes to point to their National Health Service (NHS) as the right way to do health care. As does the mainstream media. Yet if you read the British papers their NHS is not all the American Left says it is. Britain’s aging population has caused health care spending to explode. The UK is in the midst of massive budget cuts to bring down health care spending. While the NHS has long tried to deal with chronic problems of long wait times. Rationing. A shortage of doctors and nurses. Even ambulances. Their emergency rooms are overflowing with people with non-emergencies as the NHS closed their neighborhood clinics to reduce costs. And the quality of care has been falling in their hospitals. The problems in the NHS are no secret. All you have to do is pick up a British paper and read about them. For they are ongoing. Yet the mainstream media never reported these problems during the Obamacare debate. Or what passed for a debate. No. They never asked how Obamacare was going to avoid all the problems they were having in the NHS. Which they should have. As the US has an aging population, too. Worse, they have about five times the population the UK has. Guaranteeing any problems they have will be five times worse in the US. Serious questions a good journalist should have asked. But no. They didn’t. Because they support the liberal agenda more than they believe in journalistic integrity. So they only report what helps the administration. While avoiding anything that is critical of them. Or their agenda.
When it comes to economics the mainstream media are all supporters of Keynesian economics. Despite their record of failure. When Nixon decoupled the dollar from gold in 1971 it allowed the government to go all in with Keynesian economics. And they did. Printing so much money that it led to excessive inflation, high unemployment and economic stagnation. Ronald Reagan reversed those Keynesian policies. His administration stopped printing money. And got the government out of the private sector economy. Cutting regulations. As well as tax rates. And economic activity exploded. There was so much economic activity that tax revenue nearly doubled. Even at those lower tax rates. But the mainstream media doesn’t report this. Instead, they revise history. Always supporting Keynesian economic policies as they allow government to expand. So they can implement their leftist agenda. Which is anti-business. Pushing higher regulations. And higher taxes. And whenever anyone talks about Reaganomics they say those cuts in tax rates only increased the deficit. When the historical record clearly shows tax receipts increased. Which they could easily look up (see Table 2.1—RECEIPTS BY SOURCE: 1934–2017). But they don’t. Or chose not to. Preferring to support the liberal agenda. Instead of having journalistic integrity.
The mainstream media today is no longer a free press for the people. They are an extension of the Democrat Party. At least the liberal wing of the Democrat Party. More of a propaganda arm of the Obama administration. That is more interested in changing the country than keeping our politicians honest. Or reporting the facts. They are fiercely partisan. Or they are just not very smart. Either woefully ignorant of the material they report on. Or so in the bag for the Obama administration that they will report falsehoods as truth. The kind of thing that isn’t a big deal in a totalitarian regime. But a pretty big deal in a free country with a government that continues to try to exceed its constitutional authority. For a free press is the vanguard of a free country. Keeping the politicians honest so they can’t exceed their constitutional authority. And if the journalists aren’t going to do their job by the time we find out what our politicians are doing it will be too late. As we now have Obamacare as law. Which passed on partisan lines. With enough moderates and independents voting for Obamacare as few in America knew of all the problems the British were having with their national health care. Today it’s Obamacare. Tomorrow it may be gun control. Or a war in the Middle East thanks to a resurgent al Qaeda. And a growing Iranian influence. Thanks to such a poor job in foreign policy that if the mainstream media had reported it honestly President Obama may not have won reelection. And four Americans may not have died in Benghazi.
Tags: $85 billion, aging population, Al Qaeda, Arab Spring, baseline budgeting, Benghazi, Democrat Party, Egypt, federal outlays, federal spending, foreign policy, free country, free press, gun control, Iran, Iranian, Iranian influence, journalist, journalistic integrity, Keynesian, Keynesian economics, leftist agenda, liberal, liberal Left, Libya, mainstream media, Mideast, National health care, National Health Service, NHS, North Africa, Obama administration, Obamacare, partisan, politicians, President Obama, propaganda, propaganda arm, Reagan, save the planet, sequester, sequester cuts, tax rates, totalitarian regime
Prior to 1900 the Role of the Federal Government was primarily to Provide for the Common Defense
In 1800 the new federal government didn’t do a lot. It spent only about $11 million (in nominal dollars). With 55% going to defense. About 31% went to pay interest on the war debt. About 2% went to the postal service. And about 12% went to other stuff. Defense spending and interest on the war debt added up to about 86% of all federal outlays (see Government Spending Details).
In 1860, just before the Civil War, spending increased to $78 million (in nominal dollars). Defense spending fell to 37%. Interest spending fell to 4%. And postal service spending rose to 19%. While spending on other stuff rose to 40%. Just over 60 years from the founding the federal government had changed. It was less limited than the Founding Fathers designed it to be.
In 1900 spending increased to $628.6 million (in nominal dollars). With defense spending coming in at 53%. The postal service at 17%. Interest went up to 6.4%. And other spending fell to 24%. Again, defense spending consumed over half of all federal spending. For the role of the federal government was still primarily providing for the common defense. Running the postal service. Treating with other nations. And trading with them. As well as collecting duties and tariffs at our ports which paid for the federal government. There was a lot of graft and patronage. And long lines for government jobs. Primarily because government was still somewhat limited. With a limited number of government jobs to reward campaign contributors. But that was about to change.
The Progressives expanded the Role of the Federal Government in our Lives and made it more Motherly
The American Civil War killed about 625,000 men. With an 1860 population of 31,443,321 those deaths amounted to about 2% of the prewar population. To put that into perspective if 2% of the U.S. population died in a war today that would be approximately 6.2 million people. And to put that into perspective the total population of the state of Missouri is about 6 million people. So the American Civil War claimed a very large percentage of the population. Leaving a lot of children to grow up without a father. Which had a profound impact on the size of the federal government.
Prior to this generation American men were some of the manliest men in the world. Tough and rugged. Who could live off of the land. Completely self-sufficient. These are the men that made America. Men who fought and won our independence. Who explored and settled the frontier. Farmers who worked all day in the field. Men who dug canals by hand. And built our railroads. Men who endured hardships and never complained. Then came the Civil War generation. Sons who lost their fathers. And wives who lost their husbands, brothers, fathers and uncles. Who lost all the men in their lives in that horrible war. These women hated that war. And manly displays of aggression. For it was manly displays of aggression that led to fighting. And war. Having lost so much already they didn’t want to lose the only men they had left. Their sons. So they protected and nurtured them. Taught them to shun violence. To be kinder and softer. To be not so tough or rugged. To be less manly. And when these men grew up they went into politics and started the progressive movement.
The federal government was no longer just to provide for the common defense. To run the postal service. To treat with other nations. To trade with other nations. Run our custom houses. No. Now the federal government grew to be kinder, softer and more motherly. The progressives expanded the role of the federal government in our lives. Woodrow Wilson wanted to turn the country into a quasi monarchy. With a very strong executive branch that could rule against the wishes of Congress. The Federal Reserve (America’s central bank) came into existence during Wilson’s presidency. Which was going to end recessions forever. Then came the Great Depression. A crisis so good that FDR did not let it go to waste. FDR expanded the size of the federal government. Putting it on a path of permanent growth. And it’s been growing ever since.
They decreased Defense Spending and increased Borrowings to increase Non-Defense Spending
The federal government grew beyond its Constitutional limits. And the intent of the Founding Fathers. Just as Thomas Jefferson feared. It consolidated power just as all monarchies did. And that was Jefferson’s fear. Consolidation. Seeing the states absorbed by a leviathan federal government. Becoming the very thing the American colonists fought for independence from. So that’s where the federal government changed. In the early 20th Century. Before that it spent money mostly for defense and a postal service. Now it spends money for every social program under the sun. There is great debate now in Washington about reducing the deficit. With the Democrats blaming the deficit problems on too much defense spending. And too little taxation on the rich. But if you look at the history of federal spending since 1940 the numbers say otherwise (see Table 3.1—OUTLAYS BY SUPERFUNCTION AND FUNCTION: 1940–2017 and A History of Debt In The United States).
As defense spending (including Veterans Benefits and Services) rose during World War II non-defense spending (Education, Training, Employment, Social Services, Health, Income Security, Social Security, Energy, Natural Resources, Environment, Commerce, Housing Credit, Transportation, Community and Regional Development, International Affairs, General Science, Space, Technology, Agriculture, Administration of Justice and General Government) fell as a percentage of total federal outlays. And the federal debt rose (federal debt is in constant 2012 dollars). After the war defense spending fell to 50% while the percentage of non-defense spending rose. And the federal debt dropped slightly and remained relatively constant for about 30 years.
This tug of war between defense spending and non-defense spending is also called the guns vs. butter debate. Where those in favor of spending money on guns at the federal level are more constructionists. They want to follow the Constitution as the Founding Fathers wrote it. While those who favor spending money on butter at the federal level want to want to buy more votes by giving away free stuff.
Defense spending ramped back up for the Korean War and the Cold War during the Fifties. After the armistice ended hostilities in Korea defense spending began a long decline back to about 50% of all federal outlays. Where it flattened out and rose slightly for the Vietnam War. After America exited the Vietnam War defense spending entered a long decline where it dropped below 30% of all federal outlays. Reagan’s defense spending raised defense spending back up to 30%. After Reagan won the Cold War Clinton enjoyed the peace dividend and cut defense spending down to just below 20%. After 9/11 Bush increased defense spending just above 20% of all federal outlays where it remains today.
During this time non-defense spending was basically the mirror of defense spending. Showing that they decreased defense spending over time to increase non-defense spending. But there wasn’t enough defense spending to cut so borrowing took off during the Reagan administration. It leveled off during the Clinton administration as he enjoyed the peace dividend after the defeat of the Soviet Union in the Cold War. Non-defense spending soared over 70% of all federal outlays during the Bush administration. Requiring additional borrowings. Then President Obama increased non-defense spending so great it resulted in record deficits. Taking the federal debt to record highs.
So is defense spending the cause of our deficits? No. Defense spending as a percentage of all federal outlays is near a historical low. While non-defense spending has soared to a record high. As did our federal debt. Clearly showing that the driving force behind our deficits and debt is non-defense spending. Not defense spending. Nor is it because we’re not taxing people enough. We’re just spending too much. In about 50 years non-defense spending rose from around 22% of all federal outlays to 74%. An increase of 223%. While defense spending fell from 76% to 22%. A decline of 245%. While the federal debt rose 619%. And interest on the debt soared 24,904%. The cost of favoring butter in the guns vs. butter debate. The federal government has been gutting the main responsibility of the federal government, defense, to pay for something that didn’t enter the federal government until the 20th Century. All that non-defense spending. Which doesn’t even include the postal service today.
Tags: American Civil War, Civil War, Clinton, Cold War, debt, defense, defense spending, deficit, FDR, federal debt, federal government, federal outlays, Founding Fathers, interest, Jefferson, Korean War, manly men, motherly, non-defense spending, Postal Service, Progressive, Reagan, Vietnam War, Wilson
President Obama added more to the Federal Debt in 4 Years than Reagan and Bush did in 8 Years
The Left hated Republican Ronald Reagan. Because his policies worked. He cut federal income tax rates. And those cuts in tax rates increased tax revenue coming into the federal treasury by 75.8% during his 8 years in office (see Table 1.1—Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-): 1789–2017). Even though the Left likes spending money and loves having more money flowing into the treasury they can’t stand that this growth in tax revenue came from a cut in tax rates. So they focus on his deficits.
They say, yes, he generated great economic activity, but at what cost? He added $1.69 trillion to the federal debt (see A History of Debt In The United States) in his 8 years ($2.51 trillion in 2012 dollars). The Left say he was irresponsible, reckless and was mortgaging our children’s future. While President Obama has added $5.39 trillion to the federal debt. In only FOUR years. That’s just over twice what Reagan added in only half the time. On top of that tax revenue fell 2.19% from where they were in 2008. Yet President Obama is not irresponsible, reckless or mortgaging our children’s future. Instead the Left blames the Republicans because they won’t increase tax rates.
Republican George W. Bush added $3.15 trillion to the federal debt over his 8 years. President Obama’s 4 years in office outdid that by 1.7 times. And Bush beefed up homeland security after 9/11. Fought the War in Afghanistan. And the Iraq War. Bush cut taxes, too. Not as much as Reagan. Probably explaining why he didn’t increase tax revenues as much as Reagan. After his 8 years in office he increased tax revenues by 24.6%. While President Obama decreased tax revenue by 2.19% after his first 4 years in office. Yet George W. Bush was irresponsible, reckless and mortgaging our children’s future. While President Obama is not.
President Obama vowed to Shut Down Gitmo and try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a U.S. Court
The Left really hated George W. Bush. They didn’t just want to impeach him. They wanted to arrest him for war crimes for his invasion of Iraq. Among other things. They called him every dirty name in the book. Even accused him of trying to give himself dictatorial powers. Which is what the Patriot Act did according to the Left. There are few things that angered the Left more. They hated the powers it gave the president in the War on Terror. Even allowing warrantless wiretaps on Americans.
If an American citizen was talking to someone with known terrorist connections the Bush administration didn’t need to go to a judge. They could just listen into private phone calls like in any other dictatorship. The Patriot Act was everything that was wrong with George W. Bush. And his assault on personal liberties. But when President Obama renewed the Patriot Act the Left did not call President Obama every dirty name in the book. Or accuse him of trying to amass dictatorial powers. After he renewed the Patriot Act all criticism of the Patriot Act just went away. Just as the daily body count in the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan went away from the network news broadcasts once President Obama moved into the White House.
As the War on Terror progressed the U.S. started taking terrorists into captivity. People who wore no uniform. Who fought for no state signatory to the Geneva Convention. Who followed no rules. And killed indiscriminately. Men. Women. Even children. The U.S. incarcerated these most dangerous outlaws on the island of Cuba. At Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Gitmo. Including the mastermind of 9/11. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The Left called this a travesty of justice. They wanted to shut down Gitmo. Transfer these men to U.S. prisons in the United States. And give them proper trials. They even wanted to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City. Not far from Ground Zero. For these prisoners in Gitmo deserved the full protection of the American criminal justice system. Not military tribunals. President Obama vowed to shut down Gitmo if elected. And give these outlaws the full protection of the U.S. legal system.
President Obama acted as Judge, Jury and Executioner when Targeting and Killing Americans Abroad
But that’s not the only thing the war criminal George W. Bush did. He also tortured people. He water boarded three terrorists. And held people in foreign countries where they did who knows what to these terrorists. To gather intelligence. To help the U.S. interdict terrorist strikes against America. And to ultimately lead us to Osama bin Laden. But to the Left these things were just beyond the pale. Crimes against humanity. They wanted to do to Bush what Bush was doing to these terrorists. They even applauded when foreign states issued arrest warrants for George W. Bush should he travel to their countries. President Obama was going to reverse the damage Bush did to the reputation of the U.S. And make America the law-abiding nation it once was.
It’s now 2013 and Gitmo is still open. And those terrorists are still there. Also, they’re being tried in military tribunals. Not the American criminal justice system. Yet the Left doesn’t call President Obama a war criminal. Terrorist incarcerations are down, too. Thanks to his policy of drone strikes. And his kill list. Instead of capturing terrorists he just kills them. Without a trial. Along with any innocent civilians who had the misfortune to be near these terrorists during these drone strikes. Who are identified as terrorists after the fact. So his drone strikes don’t kill any innocent civilians. Not taking prisoners solves the problems of what to do with terrorists in American custody. But dead terrorists can’t give us intelligence that can interdict future terror strikes. While dead terrorists and dead innocent civilians incite anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world. That has led to al Qaeda recruitment. And attacks on U.S. embassies.
But President Obama is doing something that George W. Bush never did. While the Left attacked the Bush administration for their legal defense of enhanced interrogation techniques (what the Left calls torture) the Obama administration had a legal defense of their own. But it wasn’t to justify water boarding three terrorists to gain useful intelligence. It was for killing Americans in foreign countries who MAY present a threat to the U.S. Which he has done. Three times. Without due process. Where the president acted as judge, jury and executioner. Like someone with dictatorial powers. Yet the Left doesn’t call President Obama a war criminal. Despite doing a lot of the same things George W. Bush did. And worse. Like targeting and killing Americans abroad.
Tags: 9/11, Afghanistan, Bush, dictatorial powers, drone strikes, federal debt, George W. Bush, Gitmo, Iraq, irresponsible, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, kill list, killing Americans, mortgaging our children's future., Patriot Act, President Obama, Reagan, reckless, Republican, Ronald Reagan, tax rates, tax revenue, terrorist, torture, war crimes, war criminal, War on Terror, water board
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.
Tags: Bush, Bush tax cuts, class warfare, deductions, deficit, deficit reduction, evil rich, evil rich people, fair share, fair share of taxes, federal income tax, fiscal cliff, hate the rich, income tax, IRS, middle class, Mitt Romney, paying their fair share, poor, poor and the middle class, President Obama, raise taxes, Reagan, Republicans, rich, rich people, spending, spending cuts, tax bill, tax code, tax credits, tax cuts, tax evasion, tax loopholes, tax revenue, taxable income
The Founding Fathers were Gentlemen of the Enlightenment with Sound Philosophical Beliefs
Politicians have to win elections. They have to persuade and convince people to vote for them. Once upon a time that meant vigorous debate where candidates explained why their way was the better way. Going right back to the Founding. Where Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson bitterly contested each other’s vision for the country. And the debate often got dirty. Such as when Hamilton’s political enemies exposed his extramarital affair with the con-woman Mrs. Reynolds who seduced Hamilton with the purpose of blackmailing him. Who wanted to use this information to say he was involved in a bigger scheme with Mr. Reynolds in defrauding the federal government.
Treasury Secretary Hamilton met three gentlemen of the political opposition in private. Admitting to his affair. And proved beyond a shadow of doubt that all money paid to the blackmailers came from Hamilton’s private funds. Not a penny came from the Treasury Department. According to 18th century gentlemanly behavior the matter was closed. The affair was a personal matter. It would be imprudent to make it a public issue. But upon Hamilton’s retirement a bitter political enemy leaked this information to a scandalmonger. James Callender. Who wrote a book exposing this private matter. The History of the United States for the Year 1796. Jefferson had helped to finance Callender. And reveled in Hamilton’s scandal. But when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. And Jefferson did. For Callender published articles confirming rumors that Jefferson had fathered children with his slave Sally Hemings.
Politics then were just as dirty as they are today. And often crossed the line. But underneath all the scandals and mudslinging there were philosophical principles. They did these things for principle. For they feared the opposition and what their policies would do the fledgling nation. There was political patronage and political corruption. But above that was a battle of competing political ideology. Waged by men well read in history. Familiar with John Locke. And Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu. Icons of the Enlightenment. Whose philosophies can be found in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. These Founding Fathers were rich propertied men. Established in their careers. Who had little left to prove. These gentlemen of the Enlightenment did what they did not for money or political favor. So they could live a more comfortable life. They did these things out of principle. Based on sound philosophical beliefs.
The Democrats try to Scare the Bejesus out of People to Get and Keep the Republicans out of Office
It’s not like that anymore. Instead of rich successful people entering politics for selfless reasons people of no accomplishments enter politics to become rich and powerful. Who have no principles. Who will buy and sell anyone to remain in power. Of course they don’t campaign by saying this. Instead, their campaigns are based on hopes and fears. And the telling a lot of lies. With little principle. Or sound philosophical beliefs.
In 2008 President Obama campaigned on hope and change. To get away from the partisan politics of the past. Democrats continue to peddle hope. Health care for everyone. College degrees for everyone. High-paying green jobs and energy independence. A return of manufacturing jobs. Spending our way out of recession with Keynesian stimulus spending. A bigger social safety net. Talking to our enemies instead of going to war with them. And making them like us by resolving all of our differences with diplomacy. That we can have whatever we want. If only we got the Republicans out of office.
While at the same time the Democrats try to scare the bejesus out of people if we don’t get and keep the Republicans out of office. For the Republicans want to take away birth control and abortion from women. And keep them from being independent and having careers. The poor will remain poor. The rich will get richer. And the hungry will die. Slavery will be reinstituted. The Republicans will tax the middle class more so they can give tax breaks to rich corporations. They will burden the nation with massive deficits with their tax cuts for the rich. Global warming will continue unchecked. Our drinking water will be polluted. And our atmosphere will become poisonous to breathe. All because Republicans put profit before people.
The Left tells a lot of Lies to Win Elections because all they have are Failed Keynesian Economic Policies
Republicans, on the other hand, peddle the hope that we can return to the prosperity of Ronald Reagan. By cutting tax rates. For throughout U.S. history whenever the government cut tax rates prosperity followed. As well as flooded the treasury with tax dollars. For contrary to the fear peddling of the Democrats cuts in tax rates have historically increased tax revenue. And can again. As Ronald Reagan campaigned in 1984, it can be Morning in America again. We can be prouder, stronger and better.
While at the same time Republicans like to scare people with national security issues. The Clinton administration handled terrorist attacks against America in the courts. Which emboldened America’s enemies into an escalation of attacks resulting in 9/11. The one in 2001. Not the attack in 2012 on the U.S consulate in Benghazi. While the Democrats believe our enemies hate us because George W. Bush made them hate us with his cowboy swaggering ways. And that was the only reason. Even though Bush had little time to swagger before the attacks on 9/11. Those in 2001. Not the ones in 2012. The Republicans say our enemies hate us for who we are. As we are too Christian. And allow our women to have careers and use birth control and abortion. Something our enemies won’t allow their women to have.
President Obama did not end partisan politics. He lied about that. For his administration has been perhaps the most partisan in U.S. history. With no interest whatsoever in compromise. He and the Democrats continue to lie about the Reagan tax cuts. And the Bush tax cuts. Blaming tax cuts for all our woes. And our deficits. Despite those tax cuts increasing tax revenue. They lied about a war on women. Having one of their cronies in the mainstream media create it by asking Mitt Romney if he wanted to take away women’s birth control. And they continuously spread the lie that the rich aren’t paying their fair share in taxes. When the top 10% of income earners pay about 70% of all federal income taxes.
So the Left tells a lot of lies to win elections. Because that’s all they have. They do not have a Morning in America they can talk about. Just failed Keynesian economic policies. Like the 4 years of Jimmy Carter. The 4 years of President Obama. And what may have been the 4 years of Bill Clinton had it not been for the Republicans taking control of Congress 2 years into his presidency. Of course the Republicans can tell a lie, too. The big one being their claim of being conservative like Ronald Reagan. As they too often fall for the lies coming from the Left. And appear more interested in living a comfortable life than sound philosophical beliefs.
Tags: 9/11, abortion, Alexander Hamilton, birth control, Bush, Callender, debate, deficits, Democrats, elections, Enlightenment, fear, Founding Fathers, Hamilton, hope, Jefferson, Keynesian, lies, Morning in America, partisan, philosophical beliefs, philosophical principles, politicians, politics, principles, Reagan, Republicans, Reynolds, Ronald Reagan, scandals, tax cuts, Thomas Jefferson, war on women, women
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