Category Archives: Taxation

A Stream of Consciousness

Has anybody noticed that all the lefty talk about Buffet’s secretary’s tax rate actually sounds like they are arguing for a flat tax?  Am I the only one amused by this?

Speaking of buffets, I’m so not cooking tonight.  One of the boys is sick enough to disrupt homeschooling.  The solution: a midday School House Rock! video marathon for all, to be followed later by copious amounts of wonton soup.

A lot of these School House Rock songs are unfamiliar.  Lovely lady liberty, with her book of recipes?  Doesn’t ring a bell, but I sure do feel transported back to the 1970’s . . .

Say that reminds me.  Plenty of folks think that Obama has a good shot at winning reelection.  Here’s my question.  Won’t Obama just pull a Jimmy Carter and get voted out, no matter who gets the GOP nod?  It seems unlikely that our economic outlook will improve much in the next year, and well, don’t we always blame the sitting president and throw him out when that happens?

This leads me to a new idea, and it’s not a good one.  Who is to say that a GOP win in 2012 is a good thing?  What if . . . a Republican becomes President #45.  He and the GOP majority in DC do a little here and there to curtail the federal behemoth, but not enough.  The economy is too hampered by debt, inflation, general over-regulation and an unrepealed health care law, and it won’t bounce back soon enough.

I’m not predicting an apocalyptic economic collapse.  Just stagnation, which is problematic in a culture as impatient as ours.  Then, in 2016, America could vote out both the Republican President and the Congressional GOP majority.

And we’ll end up with . . . Something Worse Than Obama.

I dunno.  I think that attempting to predict the future is not good for my mental health.

Moving on to things that are good for my mental health, you probably already know this, but I’m still going to announce the good news because it feels good to do so . . . Fleecy is back!

Yay!

Fleecy, Dude.  You are a sight for sore eyes.  Warn us before you go dark next time, pretty please?

I’ve got a new addition in my blogroll, ifn you are interested in homeschooling stuff:  Redefining Stay At Home Mom.  She’s pretty much a crafty ball of fire.

Speaking of the blogroll, I sure wonder how Jim Gourdie is doing.  He hasn’t posted any updates lately.

Okay.  I think that my stream of consciousness is all tapped out now.  Later gators.

Bits and Bobs

Okay, well.  We’re in Kansas now, and I’ve realized something.  Geography will dictate my Halloween costume this year.  Too bad Sussie won’t fit in a basket.

Things are moving fast.  As in a total blur.  We arrived last night and toured the available housing today.  We chose place number four, an on-base condo unit.  With new address in hand, we rang the storage company.

With typical “you-don’t-pay-us-the-military-does” brusqueness, the storage employee gave us a choice:  receive our belongings in two weeks, or tomorrow.

Tomorrow it is.  Gulp.

Meanwhile, the Time Warner Cable fellow can’t hook us up until Saturday.  So here’s some bits and bobs while I enjoy the hotel WiFi for one night.

First, Instawife’s post How to profit from “death panels” is well worth reading and bookmarking.  As you know, Dems stick like superglue to The Narrative:  “death panels” are a fictional product of right-wing fear-mongering.  Yet, Dr. Helen runs smack into this frightening monster whilst fulfilling her continuing education requirements.  Sure, the article she encountered deals with psychiatric issues–not life-or-death per se–but the implication is clear to anyone who values life and liberty:  when healthcare is rationed, there might not be enough medication for Granny.

Next, in case you are not a comment-scroller like me, I am reposting all of Eric’s comment to Dr. Helen’s post.  I have heard the “healthcare is already rationed by insurance companies” argument aplenty, and this response is spot-on:

Telling Dr. Helen that there is already rationing is to commit the equivocation fallacy.

Rationing is generally understood as a finite amount of something which is then split up amongst the population desiring it. So, if you have 10 meals and 20 people, you have to ration the meals.

Currently, in the United States, there is healthcare for everyone. No rationing required.

Just as there is water for everyone.

It doesn’t mean everyone gets health care, nor does it mean everyone gets water. Someone stuck out in the desert may not have access to water unless they can afford to have it brought to them. This in no way means the water is rationed.

Don’t let supporters of Obamacare pretend like healthcare is rationed and it will be rationed under Obamacare just like it is rationed now.

It’s not. It’s a lie. There is plenty of healthcare in the United States, just as their is plenty of water.

Under Obamacare, there will not be plenty of healthcare for everyone for various reasons. Healthcare will become scarce. Just as water would become scarce if we did the same thing to water that we’re doing to healthcare.

Just as gasoline became scarce when Jimmy Carter was president and gasoline had to be rationed. It wasn’t that suddenly oil vanished from the face of the earth. It was government intervention that caused it to be rationed.

In the same way, your healthcare will go away.

Water, gasoline, healthcare, these things are not rationed under our current free market system. And it takes a fallacy to argue that it does.

Moving on to item number three:  you gotta watch these Croatian dudes, Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic.  Innocent Bystanders posted the duet’s version of “Smooth Criminal” a few weeks ago.  That’s right, Michael Jackson’s song.

I enjoyed it, but didn’t share it.  Now the Innocent Bystanders have posted a newer video, Welcome to the Jungle.  That’s right, Guns and Roses.  It’s a must share:

BONUS JUST FOR DAD:  I know you won’t fancy the vid above, so here they are playing Shostakovich:

Fourth and finally:  Veronique De Rugy speaks more truth to power, this time about the Alternative Minimum Tax.  But that’s not what I want to share.  I want to share another nugget of gold from a comment sectionLevel Head, there’s another poet lurking in the blogosphere.  I hope you enjoy his verse as much as I did:

Tax the Rich! Tax the Rich!
The fat sheep flee the herder!
Call your Senator! —sire or bitch—
They’re getting away with murder!

Letter the Editor! show your spleen!
Let’s stop this vile unfairness!
Boost their percentage to heights unseen,
(Be damned to fiscal awareness!)

Tax the Rich! Tax the Rich!
Demand a committee hearing!
With your percentage a chronic itch,
The fat sheep need more shearing!

For 92 years it is safe and sound,
Well known to Pol and staffer;
That “revenue lost” is patronage found
(Be damned to Arthur Laffer)

Tax the Rich! in your envy lies
The key to this populist racket.
While productivity brings; “surprise!
You’ve moved to a higher bracket!”

Be a careful chump in demanding who
And where a levy exacts,
Soon little old you will be subject to
The Alternative Minimum Tax.

Ya’ll have a good week.  I can’t respond to comments for a few days, but your thoughtful contributions are appreciated.  Hopefully, the spammers won’t hit too hard before the cable guy gets me my fix.

More Loose Ends Need Tying

Various and sundry items have stayed in my mind this week, and they seem related.  I’m going to try tying them together.

First item up is over a week old.  Remember that federal worker at Obama’s town hall?

“I am seven months pregnant in a high-risk pregnancy, my first pregnancy.  My husband and I are in the middle of building a house. We’re not sure if we’re gonna be completely approved. I’m not exactly in a position to waltz right in and do great on interviews, based on my timing with the birth.  And so, I’m stressed, I’m worried.  I’m scared about what my future holds. I definitely need a job. And, I just wonder what would you do, if you were me?”

Of course, expressing anything other than sympathy is Bad Form.  Serious life challenges are confronting this woman.  Saying anything critical about any pregnant lady is highly inadvisable, truth be told.

Let the Bad Form ensue.

She asked what the President would do?  Seriously? 

WWOD

Whether her question was genuine or purely theater doesn’t matter.  Either way, folks are expecting our reaction to be sympathetic. 

They are not expecting us to wince at the very idea of a grown woman asking the President for advice on navigating life’s hurdles. 

Therein lies the truly disturbing question:  how many putatively competent adults did not wince at the inappropriateness of this exchange?

Second up is my favorite shiny ‘Bot’s conversation with a young college student.  She responded to one of his posts for a class assignment.  Her response is even-tempered and sincere.  I commend her for having interest in political issues.  Still, the unwitting espousal of collectivist training is jarring:

 “. . . I will probably be old one day too and I hope that when that day comes the programs I am entitled to are there to help me after I have paid into them my entire life.”

You probably picked up on that key phrase, “I am entitled.”  How many otherwise capable young adults feel entitled to government care once they reach a certain age?

Third up comes a video over at By Design.  It’s a great find; go watch the whole thing.  In the meantime, here is the basic point:  leftist-trained college folks will sign anything “anti-Beck” or “anti-Rush,” and they will not question the wisdom of it.

The responses in that video are disturbingly reflexive.  No critical thinking, just automatic approval of something that comports with what they’ve been taught.

How many of those petition signers would support a law banning “right-wing” speech?

Okay.  What ties these three things together?  They are all examples of the entitlement mentality that now pervades American culture:

I should be entitled to my federal job because life is stressful enough.

I am entitled to government care when I reach retirement age.

I am entitled to get rid of political opinions that I do not like.

Anybody who thinks that “the gimmies” is a condition confined to the welfare class is profoundly mistaken.  We’ve all got the gimmies now.  We don’t even know what liberty is anymore, because we reject the fact that insecurity is part and parcel of it.

We can’t have both liberty and complete security.  Every demand for security will necessarily detract from our freedoms to some degree.  Sure, most of us are comfortable losing some freedom in the form of taxation, in order to provide the public with a basic level of security against privation.

But we’ve moved so far beyond that baseline.  We’ve moved into a territory where we can look to our rulers whenever life gets difficult and ask them: what do I do?

What a vicious cycle.  The more we look to government to solve all our problems, the more we drain our ability to solve them ourselves.  The guy that started Home Depot would not have done so if he had been faced with today’s regulatory landscape.  Home Depot employs 300,000 people today.

This is the hidden but very real price of all our extra regulations and additional job security.  How many future Home Depots have been snuffed out before they even began?

For how long can a nation continue to hamper its own growth, before it collapses on itself?

We were once a nation of people willing to risk failure, even without a safety net.  I agree with Jim Gourdie:  this aspect of the American Spirit has diminished greatly.

How do we rekindle this spirit?

One person at a time, one conversation at a time, and one election at a time.

There’s a saying about this.  Something about how you should eat a whale.

I just hope we have time to finish the meal.

Nerd Heaven

Well, this nerd’s heaven anyway.  So brilliant.

“the economy’s not a class you can master in college
to think otherwise is the pretense of knowledge.”

Word.

Brings me back to undergrad.  I earned my business degree with an emphasis in economics.  By the time I reached senior level courses, none of it made any sense.  My professors would rattle off premises and formulas and act as though it all made perfect sense, but it sounded more like the chanting of magic spells.

I memorized what I had to, regurgitated it and promptly forgot everything but the accent with which the Cambodian professor said, “International zeh-Bahnk,” by which she meant the IMF.

Funny to look back on it now.  I chose economics because of my freshman level macro-economics class, which was taught by a nice young non-Keynesian who I would never see again.  The introduction of that simple supply and demand chart made a profound impression.  The idea that price served a function, that it was not arbitrarily set–revelation!  That macro-econ class thrilled me somehow (yes that’s why I’m a nerd), and I didn’t find that kind of thrill again until I read The Road to Serfdom almost twenty years later, on Instapundit’s recommendation.

The realization that I have this econ degree and yet had never even heard of Hayek–well that was a revelation too, just not a good one.  Still angers me to think about what a complete waste of time all those classes were.  Oh well, at least I didn’t major in Women’s Studies.

Rush Limbaugh introduced me to politics at roughly the same time as my econ 101 class.  1990? (I’m really bad with dates, just ask hubs about the date inscribed in his wedding band).  I worked at a sporting goods store, and the fellow in charge of inventory would listen to Rush in the warehouse.  Next thing I know, I’m lingering in the back to listen when I should be helping the customers out front.

At the time I didn’t even realize economics and politics were related.  I also didn’t realize the philosophical influence of my favorite Heinlein books.

It just takes awhile for a thick girl like me to put the pieces together, that’s all.

Sometimes I wonder, though, what it’s like to have been a “liberal” in the past and then convert to conservatism.  Perhaps my lack of conversion is the reason it’s hard for me to accept the fact that so many people embrace the irrationality, lunacy, and evil of Collectivist Thought.

Whew, enough rambling.  I’ve strayed far from the reason of my post, to share the latest Keynes v. Hayek rap:

The EconStories website is here, via Instapundit of course.

For any of you who actually missed the first one:

And if you are a nerd like me, maybe that’s not enough.  Hear from the creators of this unlikely rap duo here:

Trollspotting

This is probably not worth posting, but one never knows.  It could be the beginning of a new hobby.

Spotted:  an elusive, statistic-quoting troll named “Tom.”

Here, here, and here.  (P.S. At the Lonely Conservative, there were two Toms so don’t confuse them!)

Here is the basic message:

The bottom 80% of our population has taken a big hit since the 70s to the benefit of the top 1% of earners. Facts don’t lie:

Distribution of income in the United States, 1982-2006

Top 1 percent /Next 19 percent /Bottom 80 percent
1982 12.8%/ 39.1%/ 48.1%
1988 16.6%/ 38.9%/ 44.5%
1991 15.7%/ 40.7%/ 43.7%
1994 14.4%/ 40.8%/ 44.9%
1997 16.6%/ 39.6%/ 43.8%
2000 20.0%/ 38.7%/ 41.4%
2003 17.0%/ 40.8%/ 42.2%
2006 21.3%/ 40.1%/ 38.6%

Tom’s comments were specifically tailored for relevance to each particular post, and I only found three, so it’s not a total hatchet job.  Still, it is . . . annoying.  Why do folks cut and paste the same thing in multiple places?  Do any of them really get paid to do this, as I’ve heard?

In two of the comments, Tom provided a reference for the stats:  “Wolff, E. N. (2010). Recent trends in household wealth in the United States: Rising debt and the middle-class squeeze – an update to 2007. Working Paper No. 589. Annandale-on-Hudson, NY: The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College.”

A recent HuffPo piece cites the same source for the same statistics, while arguing that tax cuts for the rich don’t work because those evil rich people sleep on big bags of money no matter what we do, or something like that.

The only reason I mention the HuffPo piece is to point out the comment that pretty much sinks the whole “tax the rich more!” argument with one shot:

“Your logic is flawed. The Laffer curve is basic calculus that follows the law of diminishin­g returns. There is an optimum level of taxation that will maximize revenues at some tax rate. As rates go lower, actual revenue goes up.

Taxes influence behavior. Higher taxes force people to re examine opportunit­y costs of work/leisu­re.

You also talk about ‘fairness.’  That is casting a value judgement on the tax code. You are imposing your values-aga­inst the values of other individual­s. Things like ‘fairness’ are the domain of political scientists and not economists­. Positive vs normative economics.

There is a litany of research and mathematic­al foundation proving Laffer was correct. There is also Hauser’s Law, which states no matter what tax rates are, people end up paying about 19%. Once they get above that level. they begin to use the undergroun­d economy, and hide income.”

The name of this commenter is pointsnfigures.  I wonder if this person is a contributor over at that totally clickworthy Points and Figures?

The commenters over at the blogprof also deal with the troll’s argument nicely.

G’night all.

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