When you start Playing with the Meaning of Words it’s usually because you’re Trying to Lie
When President Clinton committed perjury when denying having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky he tried to play with the meaning of words. Saying it depended on what the meaning of ‘is’ is. Clinton was a lawyer. Like most politicians. Who like to parse their words. To twist their meanings. So they can say one thing. While they mean the complete opposite. Clinton said he did not have sex with Lewinsky even though he had. But the words he used could be parsed to both say he did and did not have sex with that woman. Monica Lewinsky. Lewinsky’s blue dress with Clinton’s semen on it, though, proved he was lying despite his nimble linguistic gymnastics. And the House of Representatives impeached Clinton. But the Senate didn’t have the votes to remove him from office for his perjury. Nor did he resign as Richard Nixon did after he was caught in his perjury.
In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four the oppressive socialist state did the same thing. Play with the meaning of words. To make lying easier. The Ministry of Love was like the Gestapo in Nazi Germany or the Stasi in East Germany. Institutions that tortured and instilled fear into the people. Which was for the people’s own good. For the state loved the people. At least that’s what the state said while they were torturing and abusing the people. The Ministry of Plenty was responsible for the empty store shelves and the constant hunger gnawing in the people’s bellies. The Ministry of Peace waged perpetual war. And the Ministry of Truth was the state’s propaganda arm in charge of state censorship. Advancing the state’s lies. Like Joseph Goebbels did in Nazi Germany.
Words mean things. And when you start playing with the meaning of words it’s usually because you’re trying to lie. Trying to advance an unpopular agenda by disguising that agenda in a cloak of disarming words. You can trust anything coming from the Ministry of Truth as the word ‘truth’ is in its name. And you have nothing to fear from the secret police as the branch of government they work under is all about love. And when the state tells you over and over again that it is a moneyed upper-class that is the cause of everything that is wrong in your life you start believing it. Whether that moneyed upper-class are rich capitalists and bankers. Or Jews in 1930s Germany.
The Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush Tax Rate Cuts brought in Record Tax Revenues into the Treasury
Liberal democrats like to tax and spend. They believe in big government. They like it big like it is in Europe. Where they have socialism-light. Social democracy, they call it. A big, expansive welfare state funded by high tax rates. When taxes can’t pay for all their spending they borrow money. When they can’t borrow any more they start printing money. As a result of this excessive state spending most of Europe is mired in a sovereign debt crisis. Many nations are so broke that they have no choice but to cut back their spending. Which is sending people into the streets rioting.
This is where the U.S. is heading. Most people who understand economic fundamentals know this. And vote against going further down this European road. But there are a lot of people who don’t understand economic fundamentals. They listen to their Ministry of Truth. The Democrats, the public schools, college professors, mainstream media and the entertainment establishment. Who all lean left. And who all say the only problem we have is a moneyed upper-class who aren’t paying their fair share. Though the top 10% of income earners pay about 70% of all federal income taxes. Something the state doesn’t mention when they say they aren’t paying their fair share. So the people don’t know that they pay 70% of all federal income taxes. And they are more willing to believe their Ministry of Truth.
The public schools, college professors, mainstream media and the entertainment establishment do their part, too. By revising history. They note the deficits of Ronald Reagan in the Eighties. And blame those deficits on the Reagan tax rate cuts. But what they don’t tell the people is that after those cuts in tax rates the amount of tax revenue (money coming to Washington from taxpayers) nearly doubled. President Obama and his Ministry of Truth blame all of our economic woes on George W. Bush’s tax rate cuts. But what they don’t tell the people is that the treasury collected a record high in tax revenue under George W. Bush. Proving that cuts in the tax rates did not cause any fiscal harm. It was the greater increases in spending that caused all of the harm.
Democrats want to Raise Taxes on Everyone because they are Tax and Spend Liberal Democrats
Under baseline budgeting increases in spending amounts are automatic. Every year they go up. And they never go down. So when the politicians decry proposed draconian spending cuts there are no real cuts in spending per se. What they are proposing to cut is the rate at which to increase spending. Say, instead of an automatic 7% spending increase they will only increase spending 5%. Spending will increase 5%. But those in government call it a 2% spending cut. Which is why despite all of the spending cuts ever enacted (and there hasn’t been a lot of them) the federal debt has never gotten any smaller.
So an increase in spending can be a spending cut. But the Orwellian doublespeak doesn’t stop there. Those on the Left call tax cuts increases in government spending. (Interestingly, the only kind of spending the government can never afford.) Here’s why. Excessive spending causes deficits. And if they cut tax rates they believe less money will flow into the treasury. Thus increasing the size of the deficit. Ergo, spending and tax cuts are the same because both increase the deficit. Of course that’s a fallacy. As proven by Reagan and Bush. Who actually increased tax revenues by cutting tax rates. How? Lower tax rates encourages more economic activity. More people are working and paying taxes. Resulting in a higher tax revenue overall.
Currently President Obama and his Ministry of Truth are saying that the Republicans are fighting against a middle class tax cut to give the richest 2% a tax cut. Which isn’t exactly true. There are no tax cuts on the table. The George W. Bush tax cuts are expiring. If they expire everyone’s taxes will go up. The president wants to extend these tax cuts. But only for the middle class. Unfortunately, there are many small business owners whose business earnings flow to their personal tax returns. Which puts them into the richest 2%. But most of that money never comes out of their business. They may be taxed as rich people. But they live middle class lives. Because they reinvest their earnings into their business. To buy new equipment. To expand their business. And to hire new people. This is why Republicans don’t want to raise taxes on these small business owners. For it’s these small business owners who provide the majority of jobs in the economy. And increasing their taxes will only hurt the economic recovery.
The Republicans offered to increase tax revenues by revising the tax code to eliminate certain deductions. Providing the amount of revenue the president was asking for. But the president refused. For he wants those increases in the tax rates. To complete the revision of history by ‘righting the wrongs’ of the Reagan and the Bush administrations. To further the lie about the Reagan and Bush tax cuts. But there’s another reason. The amount of revenue he’s asking for now (whether it’s from eliminating deductions or increasing tax rates) won’t make a dent in the deficit. Or the debt. The only way they will be able to do that is by increasing taxes on the middle class. Which will be a lot easier to do after they raised taxes on the rich. Which is what they want to do. Raise taxes on everyone. Because they are tax and spend liberal Democrats. But as most people don’t vote for people that want to raise their taxes, they lie. And play with the meaning of words. As liars do. And the politician that plays with the meaning of words most is the politician that is lying the most.
Tags: baseline budgeting, Bush, Clinton, debt, deficit, Democrats, economic fundamentals, George W. Bush, income taxes, Lewinsky, liars, lies, lying, meaning of words, middle class, Ministry of Truth, moneyed upper-class, Monica Lewinsky, Orwell, playing with the meaning of words, plays with the meaning of words, politician, President Clinton, Reagan, Republicans, Ronald Reagan, small business owners, spending, spending cuts, Tax and spend, tax rate, tax rate cuts, tax rates, tax revenue, taxes, upper class
It was Morning in America again because Ronald Reagan reduced the Misery Index by 42.7%
Ronald Reagan was a supply-sider when it came to economics. Of the Austrian school variety. In fact, one of his campaign promises was to bring back the gold standard. A very Austrian thing. The Austrian school predates the Keynesian school. When the focus was on the stages of production. Not on consumer spending. These policies served the nation well. They (and the gold standard) exploded American ingenuity and economic activity in the 19th century. Making the U.S. the number one economy in the world. Surpassing the nation that held the top spot for a century or more. Perhaps the last great empire. Great Britain.
Following the stagflation and misery (misery index = inflation rate + unemployment rate) of the Seventies Reagan promised to cut taxes and governmental regulations. To make it easier for businesses to create economic activity. Easier to create jobs. And he did. Among other things. Such as rebuilding the military that the Carter administration severely weakened during the Seventies (it was so bad that the Soviet Union put together a first-strike nuclear option. Because they thought they could win a nuclear war with Jimmy Carter as president). During the 1980 campaign Reagan asked the people if they were better off after 4 years of Jimmy Carter. The answer was no. Four years later, though, they were. Here’s why. (Note: We used so many sources that we didn’t source them here to save space. The inflation rate and unemployment rates are for August of the respective years. The dollar amounts are annual totals with some estimates added to take them to the end of 2012. The debt and GDP are not adjusted for inflation as they are only 4 years apart. Gas prices and median income are adjusted for inflation. There may be some error in these numbers. But overall we believe the information they provide fairly states the economic results of the presidents’ policies. (This note applies to both tables.))
Reagan entered office with some horrendous numbers. The Carter administration was printing so much money that inflation was at 12.9% in 1980. Added to the unemployment rate that brought the misery index to 20.6%. A huge number. To be fair Carter tapped Paul Volcker to be Fed Chairman and he began the policy of reigning in inflation. But Carter did this far too late. The only way to cure high inflation is with a nasty recession. Which Volcker gave Ronald Reagan. But it worked. By 1984 inflation fell 8.8 points or 66.7%. Even with this nasty recession the unemployment rate fell 0.2 points or 2.6%. Which shaved 8.8 points off of the miserable index. Or reducing it by 42.7%. This is why it was morning in America again. The Left to this day say “yeah, but at what cost?” and point to the record deficits of the Reagan administration. Saying this is the price of tax cuts. But they’re wrong. Yes, the debt went up. But it wasn’t because of the tax cuts. Because those tax cuts stimulated economic activity. GDP rose 12.6% by 1984. And tax receipts even increased with those lower tax rates. Because of the higher GDP. By 1984 Reagan’s policies increased tax revenue by 28.9%. And on a personal level the median income even increased 0.4%. And this following a very bad recession a few years earlier. Finally, gas prices fell 22.2%. And the way Americans feel about rising gas prices this was truly morning in America again.
To Top off the General Malaise of the Obama Economy Gas Prices Soared while Median Income Fell
Barack Obama is a Keynesian through and through. A believer in pure demand-side economics. To that end his administration focused everything on increasing consumer spending. Tax and spend policies. Income redistribution. Deficit spending. Anything to make America ‘more fair.’ Raising taxes on the rich so the poor can spend more money. With the Keynesian multiplier they believe this is the path to economic prosperity. Just doing everything within their power to put more spending money into the hands of poorer people. Increasing government regulation, fees and fines as well as taxes to bring more money in Washington so they can redistribute it. Or spend it directly on things like roads and bridges. Or solar power companies. Even paying people to dig a hole and fill it back in. Because these people will take their wages and spend them. Creating economic activity.
So President Obama put Keynesian economics to work. Beginning with a $787 billion stimulus bill. Investments into green energy and the jobs of the future. Like a Department of Energy loan of $528 million to the now bankrupt Solyndra. Which was only one of many loans. The bailout of the UAW pension fund (aka the auto bailout). The government poured $528 million into GM. And President Obama touted the Chevy Volt, boasting that GM would sell a million each year bringing his green goals to fruition (GM is struggling to sell 10,000 Volts a year). A lot of malinvestment as the Austrians would say. But a Keynesian sees any government expenditure as a good investment. Because if all the people who receive this government money spends at least 80% of it (while saving only 20%) the Keynesian multiplier will be five. Meaning that the net gain in GDP will be five times whatever the government spends. So how has that worked for the president? Well, here are his numbers:
The government spent so much money that the federal debt increased by $5.4 trillion. Trillion with a ‘T’. That’s over a trillion dollar deficit each of the president’s 4 years in office. And his last year isn’t even a whole year. Unprecedented until President Obama. And what did all of that federal spending get us after about 4 years? An unemployment rate 2.1 points higher. Or 33.9% higher than when he took office. Inflation fell but it did nothing to spur GDP growth which grew at an anemic 3.1%. Which is less than a percentage point a year. Which is why the Great Recession lingers still. Meanwhile the Chinese are having a bad year with a GDP growth of 7.8%. So all of that spending didn’t help at all. In fact, it made things worse. The economic activity is so bad that even tax receipts fell 2.2% after four years of President Obama. Which has many in his party saying that we need to raise tax rates. Contrary to what Ronald Reagan did. And to top off the general malaise of the Obama economy gas prices soared 107.6% under his presidency. While the median income fell 7.3%. One has to look hard to find any positive news from the Obama economy. And there is one. Inflation did fall. But even that really isn’t good. As it may be an indicator of a looming deflationary spiral. Giving America a lost decade. Like Japan’s Lost Decade.
The Flaw in Keynesian Thinking is that it Ignores the Layers of Economic Activity above the Consumer Level
So there you have an Austrian and a Keynesian. Both entered office during bad economic times. Although things were much worse when President Reagan took office than when President Obama took office. The misery index was 20.6% in 1980. It was only 11.6% in 2008. About half as bad for President Obama than it was for President Reagan. It came down 16.4% under Obama. But it came down 42.7% under Reagan. Which is why it isn’t morning in America under President Obama. Reagan increased tax receipts by 28.9 % by the end of his first term. They fell 2.2% under Obama. Adjusted for inflation Reagan averaged annual deficits of $348 billion. That’s billion with a ‘B’. Obama averaged $1.324 trillion. That’s trillion with a ‘T’. Or 280% higher than Ronald Reagan. Gas prices fell 22.2% under Reagan. They rose 107.6% under Obama. Median income barely rose 0.4% under Reagan. But it fell 7.3% under Obama. In short there is nothing in the Obama economic record that is better than the Reagan economic record.
And why is this? Because Obama’s policies are Keynesian. While Reagan’s policies were Austrian. Reagan focused on the stages of production to improve economic activity. Cutting taxes. Reducing regulatory compliance costs. Creating a business-friendly environment. A system that rewarded success. Whereas Obama focused on consumer spending. Tax, borrow and print (i.e., quantitative easing). So the government could spend. Putting more money into the pockets of consumers. Which stimulated only the last stage in the stages of production. So while some consumers had more money it was still a business-unfriendly environment. Where tax, regulatory and environmental policies (as well as the uncertainty of Obamacare) hindered business growth everywhere upstream from retail sales. From raw material extraction to industrial processing to construction to manufactured goods. Where these Obama’s policies punish success. For the bigger you get the more you pay in taxes and regulatory compliance costs.
The greatest flaw with Keynesian economics is that it looks at aggregate supply and demand. With a focus on consumer spending. And ignores the layers of economic activity that happens before the consumer level. The Austrian school understands this. As did the British when she became one of the greatest empires of all times. As did America during the 19th century. No nation became an economic superpower using Keynesian economics. Japan grew to be a great economic power during the Fifties and Sixties. Then went Keynesian in the Eighties and suffered their Lost Decade in the Nineties. Some Keynesians like to point to China as an example of the success of Keynesian economics. But they still have a fairly restrictive police state. And their economic policies are hauntingly similar to Japan’s. Some have even posited that it is very possible that China could suffer the same fate as Japan. And suffer a deflationary spiral. Resulting in a lost decade for China. Which is very plausible considering the Chinese practice state-capitalism where the state partners closely with businesses. Which is what the Japanese did in the Eighties. And it hasn’t been great for them since. As it hasn’t been great in America economically since the current administration.
Tags: Austrian school, Barack Obama, better off after 4 years, Carter, Chevy Volt, China, consumer spending, debt, deficits, deflationary spiral, economic activity, gas prices, GDP, GM, Great Recession, inflation, Japan, Jimmy Carter, Keynesian, Keynesian economics, Keynesian multiplier, lost decade, malaise, median income, misery index, Morning in America, multiplier, Obama, Reagan, recession, Ronald Reagan, Solyndra, stages of production, stagflation, Tax and spend, tax cuts, tax rates, tax receipts, tax revenue, unemployment, Volcker
The Democrats like to Tax and Spend but their own Job-Killing Policies make this Hard to Do
The key of the Democrat Party platform is ignorance. If it wasn’t for ignorance they couldn’t win elections today. For their policies have been failures. We’ve debunked Keynesian economics stimulus spending in the Seventies. Their spending did not stimulate economic activity. They only added high inflation onto high unemployment. Creating the stagflation of the Seventies and the high misery index (inflation rate added to the unemployment rate).
And their high marginal tax rates did not produce more tax revenue. Because high tax rates have never encouraged economic activity. Even those on the Left admit raising taxes during a recession is not a good thing. And high tax rates don’t generate any new tax revenue when they cause overall economic activity to decline. For we need both a tax rate and economic activity to generate tax revenue. And having one without the other just isn’t going to do the job.
The Democrats like to tax and spend. But their own policies make this hard to do. Because their policies kill jobs. And because they kill jobs they reduce tax revenue. Fewer jobs and fewer people paying taxes (the unemployed don’t pay taxes) create a problem for tax and spend Democrats. So they turn to increasing tax rates on the fewer remaining people who pay taxes. Which is a difficult thing to do when you have to win elections. Unless you lie.
The Top 10% of Income Earners Consistently Pay about 70% of all Federal Income Taxes
To win elections when your policies hurt the economy you need to transform the country. You need to get a large percentage of the people dependent on government benefits. While at the same time you need to change the tax code so these same people don’t pay any income taxes. You do this and you make a very loyal constituency. Who will always vote to raise other people’s taxes to increase their own benefits. Of course, raising tax rates is not always easy. So they have to add one more thing to the mix. Class warfare.
Class warfare demonizes anyone who opposes these tax and spend policies. By perpetuating a lie. That the ‘rich’ don’t pay their fair share of taxes. But when you look at the actual numbers, you find it is those who are NOT ‘rich’ that don’t pay their fair share (source: National Taxpayers Union).
The top 10% of income earners consistently pay about 70% of all federal income taxes. While the bottom 50% pay less than 5% of all federal income taxes. Falling as low as 2.25% of the tax total in 2009. In 2009 those in the top 10% included everyone who earned $112,124 or more. Which is interesting as we consider the rich to be like those movie stars earning on average of $30 million a year. Not small business owners whose business earnings fall directly to their personal income tax returns. Not everyone in this 10% are small business owners. For it also includes those super rich movie stars. But most small business owners fall in the top 10%. And they as a group hire more people than any other business. This is why higher taxes kill jobs.
Public Education is in the Shape it is because it is Easier to Lie to the Ignorant
Assume a small business owner earns $200,000 in his or her business. Putting them in the top 10%. Based on the 2012 federal tax rates for a married couple filing jointly the federal income tax due is about $42,060. Assuming state and city income taxes equal this federal tax amount leaves $115,881 after taxes for the small business owner to support his or her family. And to invest in their business. If this couple lives on $80,000 (which is only 0.267% of the income of the super rich movie star) this leaves only about $35,881 to invest into the business. Which won’t even cover the cost of one new full-time employee’s wages, benefits and taxes. Increasing taxes on this ‘rich’ 10% will leave even less money for small business owners to hire new employees. Which is why increasing taxes on this 10% kills jobs.
This is, of course, why small business owners typically vote Republican. Because the tax and spend policies of the Democrats hurt them very much. Preventing them from hiring new employees. And expanding their businesses. Which is why the Democrats try to get as many people as possible collecting government benefits while paying no federal income taxes. Because their policies have lost them the small business owners’ vote. As well as those who work hard and don’t collect government benefits. For if you work hard and pay taxes you’re not likely to vote to increase your own taxes. However if you don’t pay taxes you probably will have no problem voting to raise taxes on those who do.
So this is why Democrats resort to class warfare. And lie. It’s all they have. Which explains why public education is in the shape it is. Because it is easier to lie to the ignorant. Which is why public education emphasizes the evils of capitalism and the horrors of global warming. Because teaching our students history and economics makes the lie harder to tell. So they don’t. Instead they teach them to become good Democrat voters. Who believe the lie of class warfare. That the top 10% of income earners who consistently pay about 70% of all federal income taxes don’t pay their fair share.
Tags: class warfare, Democrat, Democrat Party, dependent on government benefits, economic activity, elections, federal income taxes, government benefits, income taxes, inflation, jobs, Keynesian, kill jobs, lie of class warfare, marginal tax rate, public education, small business, small business owners, stimulus spending, Tax and spend, tax and spend policies, tax rate, tax revenue, top 10% of income earners, unemployment
The Left opposes Cheap Mexican Labor in Mexico but they like having it in the U.S.
One of the more interesting things about the political left is their inconsistency about their opposition to free trade. They opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) because they said all the good manufacturing jobs would go south of the border. They said Mexicans work too cheap. And that was unfair to the American worker. For the American’s generous wage and benefit packages could never compete with the Mexicans who are willing to work for so much less. With NAFTA rich American capitalists would just screw their American employees and move their operations to Mexico. Where they would exploit the poor hapless Mexican workers. Forcing them to work at a fraction of the American wage and benefit package.
Of course that’s not the way the poor hapless Mexican workers see it. They loved those manufacturing jobs. Because those jobs had some of the most generous wage and benefit packages available in Mexico. They flooded those factories. And the lucky few to get those jobs did quality work. The things they made in these Mexican plants were as good as anything in the U.S. And they cost less. Allowing the American consumer to buy more. Which raised the standard of living for everyone. The American consumer. And the Mexican consumer. The only ones who lost were the few working in those U.S. plants that closed. Who became bitter. And demanded the government impose tariffs on those low-cost imports. To save American jobs. While lowering the standard of living for the American consumer. And the Mexican consumer.
So the Left opposes this cheap Mexican labor. In Mexico. They don’t seem to mind it so much, on the other hand, when it’s in the U.S. The Left opposes building a wall on the border. They oppose asking for proof of citizenship from anyone who looks Mexican in a region with a high concentration of illegal aliens. They oppose requiring a photo I.D. to vote. They oppose deportations of illegal aliens who’ve been living and working in the U.S. While they are in favor of blanket amnesty for those here illegally. And providing them a fast-track to U.S. citizenship. Which is rather odd considering the way the Left feels about that cheap Mexican labor. So why are they opposed to imports manufactured by low-cost labor while they are in favor of bringing that low-cost labor into the United States. For either way it will displace a higher-paid U.S. worker from a job.
The Lost Tax Revenue from Abortion and Birth Control comes to about $155 Billion per Year
Yes, that is a good question, isn’t it? Some, I’m sure, will say once those illegals become legals they’ll join unions. Which would make them no longer cheap labor. Perhaps. But with the decline in U.S manufacturing there aren’t a lot of union jobs anymore. It is more likely that they will go to where there are good manufacturing jobs. In the nonunion South. So it is likely they would add further pressure on those high union wages and benefits. So why, then, would the Left want to grant citizenship to those here illegally while at the same time opposing cheap Mexican labor? Two reasons. Abortions. And birth control.
As it is in most things in life it’s about the money. The Left likes to tax and spend. Well, not so much like but love. It’s what they live for. They want to spend money to provide pensions. Health care in retirement. And now health care before retirement. They want to spend money to end poverty. They want to spend money to give everyone a college education. They want to spend money to subsidize green energy. They want to spend money for school lunches, childcare, art, public television/radio, birth control, abortions, etc. If it’s something they can spend money on they want to spend money on it. Of course to spend all of this money you need what? That’s right. Money. And two of the Left’s defining issues have actually reduced the available money to spend. Birth control and abortion.
According to Public Agenda the number of abortions increased during the Seventies until they totaled approximately 1,300,000 by the end of the decade. They stayed at or above this level for a little over a decade and then started falling in the late Nineties. Let’s take one year of these numbers and crunch some numbers. If 1.3 million abortions didn’t happen and the women carried these babies to term and they earned the median income of $46,000 (and paid $7,530 in federal income taxes) today that would have come to an additional $8.4 billion in tax revenue per year.
According to the Guttmacher Institute there were 62 million U.S. women in their childbearing years (15-44) in 2010. Approximately 62% of these women were currently using birth control. Bringing the number of women using birth control in 2010 to 38,440,000. If birth control was unavailable let’s assume 50% of these women would have stopped having sex. And let’s assume the women who continued to have sex became pregnant and carried their pregnancy to term. Bringing in 19,220,000 new babies into the world. Based on the median salary of $46,000 they would have contributed another $145 billion in tax revenue. Added to the lost tax revenue from abortion that comes to a grand total of $155 billion in lost tax revenue per year. Over a decade that comes to $1.5 trillion.
Granting Amnesty to Millions of Illegal Aliens can make up for Lost Tax Revenue due to Birth Control and Abortion
During the Obamacare debates the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected the cost of Obamacare over a 10-year period at $940 billion. They have since revised that up to $1.76 trillion. The opponents of Obamacare say it is too costly. With a national debt of already $15.7 trillion we simply can’t afford to pay for Obamacare. The proponents of Obamacare have been using questionable accounting practices to get that number down. Such as collecting new taxes before paying any benefits in some of those years in that 10-year projection. But the interesting thing to note here is that these discussions would be moot had it not been for birth control and abortion. Which has cost the nation in tax revenue what Obamacare will cost.
These numbers are only crude calculations. A more detailed mathematical analysis would have produced a far greater number in lost tax revenue. Because the population would have also been expanding. So the numbers used as constants in the 10-year projections above would have been growing larger in each year of that 10-year projection. And producing larger amounts of tax revenue in each of those 10 years. This is why Social Security worked so well for the first few decades. There was a growing population. And there was always far more new workers entering the workforce than leaving it. What changed that was birth control and abortion. And people choosing to have smaller families. Not a bad thing in itself. But this decision to have smaller families has doomed Social Security and Medicaid. For they created those programs based on larger population growth rates. That simply no longer exist. And the only way to fix that is by having a lot more babies quickly. Or for the baby boomers to die off quicker. Which critics of Obamacare say Obamacare will help do via death panels.
Or you could try something else. You can jumpstart the population growth rate by granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. To make up for lost tax revenue due to birth control and abortion. And what makes the illegals from Mexico so attractive to the Left is that many of them are devout Catholics. Thanks to the Catholic Spanish Empire who brought their language, culture and religion to the New World. And Catholics frown upon the use of abortion and birth control. But this can be a risky bet for those on the Left. Yes, they could really boost the population growth rate. And they may get these new citizens’ votes in the early years out of gratitude. But eventually the Left’s attacks on religion may eventually make these people vote Republican. So they may get a large increase in tax revenue to spend. Just as they lose power in Washington.
Tags: abortion, American consumer, American worker, amnesty, babies, birth control, Catholic, cheap labor, cheap Mexican labor, federal income taxes, Health Care, illegal aliens, illegals, jobs, Left, lost tax revenue, low-cost labor, manufacturing jobs, Mexican consumer, Mexican workers, Mexicans, Mexico, NAFTA, Obamacare, population, population growth rate, pregnancy, pregnant, smaller families, Social Security, Tax and spend, tax revenue, union, wage and benefit packages, women
Week in Review
The US is not the only country suffering through a ‘jobless’ recovery. Which is just another way of saying continued recession. Or double-dip recession. The UK is having the same problems we’re having. And using inept government policies to try and fix them. Just like in the US (see A recession made in Downing Street – but not caused by cuts by ALLISTER HEATH posted 4/26/2012 on City A.M.).
The first problem has been the composition of the austerity package. Much of the tightening has been via tax hikes rather than spending cuts – capital gains, national insurance, stamp duty, value added tax, and now pasties and the rest. That was the wrong choice: lower taxes are good for growth, higher taxes are bad. The trick is to deliver austerity by cutting spending, not by hiking taxes.
The next issue is that the government’s supply-side agenda has failed miserably. By now, developers should have been set free to build new airports and even cities; the labour market should have been liberalised; job-reducing red tape eliminated; the top rate of tax abolished; mad EU rules abolished, and so on and so forth. Britain needed a revolution; it was granted a few over-hyped reforms…
…excessive inflation has slashed real incomes and real wealth; this, rather than cuts, is what has depressed spending the most…
Last but not least, banking rules. It was right to ensure banks held more capital and that credit became priced rationally – but the reforms have spiralled out of control…
What is most depressing is that the double-dip (if that is indeed what it is) will wrongly discredit austerity, even though the state remains incredibly profligate…
President Obama has broken deficit and debt records. While he chastises the Right for irresponsibly spending beyond their means. Demanding that they raise taxes to pay for this irresponsible spending. That somehow higher taxes will fix all of America’s ills. Or, at the least, address the social injustice of prosperity. And happiness.
Both the UK and the US are steadfastly following the failed policies of John Maynard Keynes. Demand-side Keynesian economics. Tax and spend. Because they’ve ‘worked so well’ in the past. Of course they haven’t. They never have. And they never will. What works are supply-side economics. Those policies embraced by Margaret Thatcher. And Ronald Reagan. Who enjoyed real economic recoveries. The kind that created jobs.
Politics never change. Politicians dumb down public education so the people never learn the lessons of history. That all of their policies are tried and failed. So they make the same arguments every election cycle. And the young believe in the goodness of these policies. The fairness of these policies. Never knowing the lives they have destroyed through the years. Which is why politicians work so hard to get the youth vote. Before they learn the truth. And become conservative.
Tags: austerity, double-dip recession, inflation, irresponsible spending, jobless recoveries, Keynesian, Keynesian economics, Keynesian policies, recession, spending, supply-side, Supply-side economics, Tax and spend, taxes, UK, US
Week in Review
President Obama attacks rugged individualism. Entrepreneurialism. And the American spirit. What he calls ‘you’re on your own economics’. Lying about what hasn’t worked in the past. For he is either lying or he is incredibly uninformed when it comes to American economic history (see Obama: “You’re On Your Own” Economics Doesn’t Work posted 3/30/2012 on Real Clear Politics).
“It’s been tried in our history and it hasn’t worked,” Obama said. “It didn’t work when we tried it in the decade before the Great Depression. It didn’t work when we tried it in the last decade. We just tried this. What they’re peddling has been tried — it did not work!”
When the government left people alone in the Twenties that decade roared. The ‘leave the people alone’ policies of the Harding (and then the Coolidge) administration gave us the Roaring Twenties. A remarkable decade of technological growth. Both in the cities and on the farms. We mechanized. We electrified. We talked to people all over the country on the new telephones. We went mobile in our new automobiles. We listened to the radio in our homes. We used electric appliances in our homes. We went to theaters to watch the new motion pictures. People flew in airplanes. The Roaring Twenties were a seminal time. It marked the beginning of the modern world we know today. And it was full of real, solid economic growth. Until the progressive Herbert Hoover took over. And after he got rid of ‘you’re on your own economics’ everything went to hell.
The Great Depression was a wholly made government disaster. Massive interventions into the private sector economy. Price supports. A horrendous tariff bill (the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act). And the resulting trade war. And then in the midst of all of this the Federal Reserve System destroyed the banking system. By NOT being the lender of last resort. Causing a cascade of bank failures.
The Seventies was Keynesian Economics at its pinnacle. It was everything President Obama believes in and wants today. Massive government spending. Paid for by massive taxes, borrowing and printing. The polar opposite of ‘you’re on your own economics’. Which were an abject failure. Even Keynesian Economists have to qualify the Seventies to explain away the stagflation (high unemployment AND high inflation) their policies gave us. Ronald Reagan fixed the Keynesian train wreck with exactly ‘you’re on your own economics’. It was so successful that Keynesians call it the decade of greed. A moniker no one can place on the Seventies.
So why is the president saying things that aren’t true? Because they want those failed Keynesian polices back. They want to tax and spend like there’s no tomorrow. For they like the power. The control. And the ability to buy votes. Which is the only way they can win elections. Because no one will willingly vote for their failed policies of the past.
Tags: economic, economic history, economic Past, government spending, Great Depression, Keynesian economics, Keynesians, not telling the truth, Obama, President Obama, Roaring Twenties, Seventies, Tax and spend, Twenties, you're on your own economics
Monetarists believe in Laissez-Faire Capitalism and Fiat Money
Keynesian economics supports hands-on government management of the economy. Using fiscal and monetary policy to move the aggregate demand curve at will to end business cycles. The boom bust cycles between inflation and recession. Leaving only the inflationary boom times. Using tax and spend fiscal policies. Or simply printing money for government expenditures. For in Keynesian economics consumption is key. The more of it the better. And when people stop buying things the government should step in and pick up the consumption slack.
The Austrian school is a more hands-off approach. The markets should be free. Laissez-faire capitalism. And the business cycle should remain. For it is a necessary part of the economy. Part of the automatic pricing mechanism that adjusts supply to meet demand. When people demand more prices go up. Encouraging businesses to expand production to sell at these higher prices (inflationary expansion). Then when supply exceeds demand businesses have excessive inventory that they can’t sell anymore at those higher prices. So they cut their prices to sell off this excessive supply (deflationary recession). Also, that hands-off approach means no playing with monetary policy. Austrians prefer a gold standard to prevent central bank mischief that results in inflation.
The Chicago school of economics takes a little from each of these schools. Like the Austrians they believe that government should take a hands-off approach in the economy. Markets should be free with minimum government intervention. But unlike Austrians, they hate gold. And blame the gold standard for causing the Great Depression. Instead, they believe in the flexibility of fiat money. As do the Keynesians. But with a strict monetary policy to minimize inflation (which is why proponents of this school were also called monetarists). Unlike the Keynesians. For monetarists believe only a government’s monetary policy can cause runaway inflation.
(This is a gross simplification of these three schools. A more detailed and comprehensive study would be a bit overwhelming as well as extremely boring. But you get the gist. At least, for the point of this discussion.)
We used Gold and Silver for Money because it was Durable, Portable, Divisible, Fungible, Scarce, Etc.
At the heart of the difference between these schools is money. So a refresher course on money is in order. Money stores wealth temporarily. When we create something of value (a good or a service) we can use that value to trade for something we want. We used to barter with other creative people who made value of their own. But as the economy got more complex it took more and more time to find people to trade with. You had to find someone who had what you wanted who also wanted what you had. If you baked bread and wanted shoes you had to find a shoemaker who wanted bread. Not impossible. But it took a lot of time to find these people to trade with.
Then someone had a brilliant idea. They figured they could trade their good or service NOT for something THEY wanted but something OTHER people would want. Such as tobacco. Whiskey. Or grain. These things were valuable. Other people would want them. So they could easily trade their good or service for one of these things. And then later trade it for what they wanted. And money was born. For various reasons (durable, portable, divisible, fungible, scarce, etc.) we chose gold and silver as our money of choice. Due to the inconvenience and danger of carrying these precious metals around, though, we stored our precious metals in a vault and used ‘receipts’ of that deposit as currency. And the gold standard was born.
To understand the gold standard think of a balance scale. The kind where you put weights on one side to balance the load on the other. When the scale balances the weight of the load equals the sum of the weights needed to make the scale balance. Now imagine a scale like this where the VALUE of all goods and services (created by talented people) are on one side. And all the precious metal in the gold standard are on the other. These must be in balance. And the sum of our currency must equal the amount of precious metal. (Because they are ‘receipts’ for all that gold and silver we have locked up someplace.) This prevents the government from creating inflation. If you want to issue more money you have to put more precious metal onto the scale. You just can’t print money. For when you do and you don’t increase the amount of precious metal on the scale you depreciate the currency. Because more of it equals the same amount of precious metal. For more currency to equal the same amount of precious metal then each unit of currency has to be worth less. And when each unit is worth less it takes more of them to buy the same things they bought before. Thus raising prices. If a government prints more currency without adding more precious metals on the scale they increase the value of that precious metal when MEASURED in that currency. It becomes worth more. In other words, you can trade that precious metal for more of that depreciated currency than before they depreciated it. You do this too much and eventually people will prefer the precious metal over the currency. They’ll lose faith in the currency. And when that happens the economy collapses. As people move back towards a barter system.
Milton Friedman wanted the Responsibility of the Gold Standard without Gold’s Constraint on increasing the Money Supply
A healthy economy needs a stable currency. One that people don’t lose faith in. Imagine trying to shop without money. Instead, taking things to trade for the groceries you need. Not very efficient. So we need a stable currency. And the gold standard gives us that. However, the thing that makes gold or silver a stable currency, its scarcity, creates a liability. Let’s go back to that balance scale. To the side that contains the value of all goods and services. Let’s say it increases. But the precious metal on the other side doesn’t. Which means the value of that precious metal increases. The currency must equal the value of that precious metal. So the value of the currency increases. And prices fall. It takes less of it to buy the same things it bought before. Not a bad thing for consumers. But it plays havoc with those who borrowed money before this appreciation. Because they now have to repay money that is worth more than when what is was worth when they borrowed it. Which hurt farmers during the 1920s. Who borrowed a lot of money to mechanize their farms. Which helped to greatly increase farm yields. And increased food supplies while demand remained unchanged. Which, of course, lowered farm prices. The supply increased on the scale. But the amount of gold didn’t. Thus increasing the value of the gold. And the currency. Making prices fall. Kicking off the deflationary spiral of the Great Depression. Or so say the monetarists.
Now the monetarists wanted to get rid of the gold supply. The Keynesians did, too. But they wanted to do it so they could print and spend money. Which they did during the Seventies. Creating both a high unemployment rate and a high inflation rate. Something that wasn’t supposed to happen in Keynesian economics. For their solution to fix unemployment was to use inflation to stimulate aggregate demand in the economy. Thus reducing unemployment. But when they did this during the Seventies it didn’t work. The Keynesians were befuddled. But not the monetarists. Who understood that the expansion of the money supply (printing money to spend) was responsible for that inflation. People understood this, too. And had rational expectations of how that Keynesian policy was going to end. Higher prices. So they raised prices before the stimulus could impact unemployment. To stay ahead of the coming inflation. So the Keynesian stimulus did nothing to reduce unemployment. It just caused runaway inflation. And raised consumer prices. Which, in turn, decreased economic activity. And further increased unemployment.
Perhaps the most well known economist in the Chicago school was Milton Friedman. Who wanted the responsibility of the gold standard. But without gold’s constraint on increasing the money supply to meet demand. The key to monetarism. To increase the money supply to match the growth in the economy. To keep that scale balanced. But without gold. Instead, putting the money supply directly on the scale. Printing fiat money as needed. Great power. But with great power comes great responsibility. And if you abuse that power (as in printing money irresponsibly) the consequences of that abuse will be swift. Thanks to the rational expectations of the people. Another tenet of the Chicago school.
Tags: aggregate demand, Austrian school, Austrians, barter system, business cycle, capitalism, Chicago school, Chicago school of economics, consumption, currency, deflationary, demand, divisible, durable, economy, fiat money, fiscal, fiscal policy, fungible, gold, gold and silver, gold standard, goods and services, Great Depression, higher prices, inflation, inflationary, Keynesian, Keynesian economics, laissez faire capitalism, laissez-faire, markets, Milton Friedman, monetarists, monetary, monetary policy, money, money supply, portable, precious metals, prices, pricing mechanism, print money, printing money, rational expectations, recession, runaway inflation, scarce, Seventies, silver, stable currency, supply, Tax and spend, trade, unemployment, value
Week in Review
No one likes paying taxes. For workers want to keep their hard earned money. So it’s always been puzzling how the tax and spend politicians keep getting elected. And keep raising our taxes. Or is it (see HALF of Americans don’t pay income tax despite crippling government debt posted 2/22/2012 the Daily Mail)?
In 2009, just 50.5 per cent of Americans paid any income tax to the federal government – the lowest proportion in at least half a century…
In 1984, the middle of the Reagan era, 85 per cent of Americans paid federal income tax, meaning just 34.8million people did not…
The conjunction of fewer taxpayers with higher welfare payments has led to intense pressure on the public purse, with the national deficit running at $1.3trillion per year.
The Heritage Foundation argues that the reduction in the number of taxpayers will create an electorate dominated by non-taxpayers, who will always support higher taxes and spending because their own money is not at stake.
About half of all Americans pay no federal income tax. No wonder they vote for the tax and spend politicians. Because it’s not their hard-earned money that they are taxing spending. It’s other people’s hard-earned money.
We keep hearing everyone say that the rich need to pay their fair share. It would appear they are. In fact, it appears that they are paying more than their fair share. They have to be. Because if half of all Americans aren’t paying any taxes the rich must be paying more than their fair share. For they’re paying for those who aren’t paying their fair share. Half of all Americans.
The thing that made Britain great was Parliament. Representative government. Having the people who paid the taxes have a say in how those taxes were spent. It kept the Crown from spending those taxes irresponsibly. Which greatly influenced the Founding Fathers. Who made it difficult for the new federal government to spend irresponsibly. Back at the Founding you had to have skin in the game to vote. In other words, if you weren’t a taxpayer you didn’t vote. Since then things changed. Now people who don’t pay taxes can vote to spend other people’s money. And when someone else is buying people rarely say ‘no’ to more government benefits. No matter the consequences. And those who pay no taxes have no problem increasing tax rates on those who do.
This road we’re on can only lead to one place. The end of the country as we know it. Much like the Greeks are experiencing right now. Which in inevitable when people have a say in spending other people’s money.
Tags: federal income tax, half of Americans don't pay income tax, income tax, spending other people's money, Tax and spend, taxes, taxpayer
The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia (1787) was about Money and Unity at the National Level
Once upon a time in America federal taxes were small. As was federal spending. The Constitution called for little. The only big ticket items being an army and a navy. To protect the new nation. But Americans didn’t like paying taxes then any more than they do now. There wasn’t even a federal income tax until the 16th Amendment (1913). So even maintaining an army and a navy was difficult. Which led to a lot of problems. For a nation that couldn’t protect herself got pushed around in the rough and tumble world. And the U.S. took its share of swirlies and wedgies in her infancy. Figuratively, of course.
Just as kings needed money to maintain their kingdoms, the Americans needed money to maintain their new nation. Which was the point of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia (1787). It was about the money. And unity. Which the new nation (that just gained its independence from Britain) had little of. So we got a new constitution. And a new nation. And the federal taxing and spending began. Which was small at first. Too small for Alexander Hamilton. But far too much for Thomas Jefferson. In fact, Jefferson thought any federal spending above zero was too much. And when he was president he slashed government spending. To the point that it hurt the safety of the United States. But he also bought the Louisiana Territory. And used the Navy and the Marine Corps to protect American interests abroad. These two items alone required enormous amounts of federal spending. And borrowing. Another thing Jefferson was dead set against. And we’re talking sums of money that not even Alexander Hamilton had proposed. Yet here was Jefferson, the limited-government president, spending and borrowing unlimited funds. Being more Hamilton than Hamilton himself.
Of course, things change. Even for Jefferson. The Louisiana Purchase was a deal that no president should have passed up. Thankfully, Jefferson took that opportunity to more than double the size of the United States. Without a war. Unlike Napoleon who was conquering Europe. But he was burning through money. And he needed money more than he needed the Louisiana Territory. Hence the Louisiana Purchase. Which turned out to be quite the bargain in the long run for the U.S. And the antimilitary Jefferson flexed America’s might by teaching the Barbary pirates a lesson. By deploying the U.S. Navy and Marines to the Shores of Tripoli. The first U.S. victory on foreign soil. Giving the U.S. respect. And a cessation of those swirlies and wedgies.
Keynesian Stimulus Spending may lessen the Severity of Economic Recessions
These things cost money. And the lion’s share of the federal budget was defense spending. Per the Constitution. For that was one of the main things the several states could not do well. Maintain an army and a navy. Because they needed unity. One army. And one navy. To protect one nation. So the states and their people could pursue happiness without foreign aggressors molesting them. So this is how federal spending began. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at fiscal policy today.
Fiscal policy is the collection of policies that government uses to tax and spend. But it’s more than just defense spending these days. Federal spending had grown to include things from business subsidies to Social Security to Medicare to food stamps to welfare to income redistribution to farm subsidies. And everything else you can possibly imagine under the sun. None of which was included in the Constitution. Because neither Jefferson nor Hamilton would have agreed to these expenditures. But it doesn’t end with this spending.
Fiscal policy also ‘manages’ the economy. Or tries to. By trying to maintain ‘full employment’. Which means they adjust tax and spend policies so that anyone who wants a full time job can have one. Based on Keynesian economics. And the business cycle. The business cycle is the cyclic economic transitions between economic expansions and contractions. The inflationary and recessionary boom-bust cycles. No one likes recessions. Because people lose their jobs. And have to get by on less money. So Keynesian economists say to lessen the severity of recessions the government can take action to stimulate economic activity. They can cut taxes. Because when people pay less in taxes they have more disposable income to spend on economic activity. Which they say will keep people from losing their jobs. And create new jobs. Or the government can spend money. Picking up the slack from consumers who aren’t spending money. Thus saving and/or creating jobs. Which stimulus depends on the political party in office. In general, Republicans favor tax cuts. And Democrats favor spending.
All Keynesian Stimulus Spending is Deficit Spending
But it’s not as simple as that. Because during recessions tax revenues fall. When people earn less they pay less in taxes. Far less. Especially if an interruption in their income puts them into a lower tax bracket. And if you run through all of your unemployment benefits, it will. So there’s more to economic stimulus than meets the eye. For to stimulate a government must borrow money. Or print money. Because all stimulus spending is deficit spending.
Keynesians say this deficit spending is not a problem. Because once the stimulus turns the economy around there will be plenty of new tax revenues to pay back the money they borrowed. But that rarely happens with a tax and spend government. Because they like to spend. As is evident by the ever increasing federal debt. And when they get more tax revenue they spend that tax revenue. On anything and everything you can possibly imagine under the sun. Often times cutting defense spending to help pay for all that other spending. Despite defense spending being one of the few things enumerated in the Constitution.
Tags: Alexander Hamilton, America, army, business cycle, Constitution, Constitutional Convention, defense spending, deficit spending, economic activity, Economics, federal, federal spending, federal taxes, fiscal policy, government spending, Hamilton, Jefferson, jobs, Keynesian, Keynesian economics, Louisiana Purchase, Louisiana Territory, Marines, money, nation, navy, Philadelphia, recessions, spending, stimulus, stimulus spending, tax, Tax and spend, tax revenues, taxes, taxing and spending, Thomas Jefferson, United States, unity
Politicians use Class Warfare to Blame Others for their Economic Destruction
Class warfare is on the rise. Which is typical during a presidential election season. Especially when a president’s policies haven’t exactly improved the economy. When your policies give Jimmy Carter’s misery index a run for its money you have to find something else to run on beside your record. So you blame the rich. Which tends to go over well for those who aren’t rich. Because while they’re cutting back to stretch what little they have to last in the face of record unemployment, the rich aren’t. It doesn’t help the un-rich. But somehow having someone to hate brings them some comfort.
So they listen to the class warfare. And like what they hear. The rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes. Rich people paying millions in tax dollars isn’t enough. They should pay more. But they try not to. Because they’re selfish. Evil. They hate poor people. Hungry people. Children. And they really hate poor, hungry children. For it is the rich who always oppose paying more taxes to help these people. The poor never do. They are always in favor of taxing the rich more to help other people. To help themselves. Because the poor aren’t selfish. Or greedy. Like the rich. The rich have more than enough. Everyone knows this. So they should pay more in taxes. After all, fair is fair.
At least, this is the thinking of class warfare. It’s sort of like magic. Magicians use misdirection to take your eyes away from what they’re really doing. A little sleight of hand. Doing something with one hand while they have you looking at the other. You’re amazed. And feel entertained for being fooled. You like it. And asked to be fooled again. Politicians have picked up on this human desire. And use it to their advantage. To get us looking at something completely different. And not the economic destruction they’re causing. And then, like magic, we blame the rich for all the ills in our lives.
Poor People know one thing for Sure, it is Better to be Rich
So the rich are greedy, evil and selfish. The scum of the earth. We have nothing good to say about them. Because money is the root of all evil. And anyone who has money must be evil. A classic American novel set during the Great Depression, The Grapes of Wrath, epitomized this when the mother wanted to treat her men to some sugar in their coffee but couldn’t afford it. She asked for just a little free sugar. The clerk said she couldn’t. Because she wasn’t the owner. And would get in trouble if she did. But she gave her a little sugar anyway. And slipped some of her own money into the till to pay for it. A rich person wouldn’t do this. Only a poor person would help another poor person. Because the poor are good. And the rich aren’t.
This is why class warfare works. But there is a fatal flaw in it. The poor people may say they hate the rich and want them punished, but it’s the poor people who are predominantly buying lotto tickets. Why? To become rich.
Rich people don’t buy lotto tickets. Poor people do. In hopes of a Cinderella rags to riches story. Because poor people know one thing for sure. It is better to be rich. And they will spend their meager wages on lotto tickets for that gazillion in one chance of becoming rich.
More Government Benefits paid for by the Rich is the Ultimate Goal of Tax and Spend Class Warfare
Of course, a person’s definition of ‘rich’ differs from another. And for the most part it’s relative. To their own wealth. Anyone who has more than them is rich. And because someone always has more than they have they are not rich. Simple. So class warfare works. Despite its fatal flaw.
But class warfare isn’t about fairness. It’s just misdirection. A little political sleight of hand. To help a politician escape blame for the economic damage they’ve caused. By tapping into a base human trait. Greed. That insatiable desire to get-rich-quick. By spending their meager wages for that gazillion in one chance.
Or for more government benefits paid for by the rich. The ultimate goal of tax and spend class warfare. Something the poor are all for. Because fair is fair. Until, that is, they do win the lotto. And these people see what it’s like to have more than others have. As people crawl out of the woodwork to ask for some of their new found wealth. Because they have more than enough. And should share. Because fair is fair.
Tags: blame the rich, class warfare, economic destruction, economy, evil, fair is fair, fair share of taxes, greedy, hate the rich, lotto tickets, misdirection, more than enough, poor, poor people, poor person, rich, rich people, selfish, sleight of hand, Tax and spend, taxes, taxing the rich, the poor, the rich
« Previous Entries