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101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Crats : Medicare for all on: November 09, 2017, 09:55:26 AM
Has nice ring to it to all those who will not have to pay for it much:

Why don't they call it V.A. for all?  Venezuela for all...

Equal requires coercion; it is not the natural state of things.

And if the wait is too long, we go to Canada, Mexico, Haiti?
102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Paul Krugman Says Markets Will ‘Never’ Recover From Trump Election, 1 year ago on: November 08, 2017, 10:30:10 PM
Paul Krugman Says Markets Will ‘Never’ Recover From Trump; Dow Hits Record High

103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - What issue swung it? on: November 08, 2017, 12:39:59 PM
Republicans broke a major promise and now own Obamacare.  All the uncertainty that surrounds people's healthcare is ours now.  One party holds the Presidency, Senate and House and doesn't even have a proposal on the table for a solution.

We all said this would happen and now we're surprised.

Can't prove our ideas work better when we never pass them.  Like CRAp, we keep proving their ideas don't work by leaving them in place and taking the blame for their failure.

104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - Minneapolis on: November 08, 2017, 11:53:39 AM
FWIW - In a confusing field of all leftists, more than 80% of Minneapolis ranked choice voters voted their first choice for someone other than incumbent Betsy Hodges.  Failing to cancel her fundraiser in Beverly Hills to be at work after the Somalian Minneapolis cop shot the innocent, unarmed, white Australian woman in a bathrobe probably didn't help.
105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: November 08, 2017, 11:28:52 AM
"as for Virginia I have no idea."

I don't want to write off a great big swing state, but the swamp resides there, Republican and Democrat.  The red areas of Virginia are very red.  Separate that off and ask what is the largest industry?

From conservative review:
"the inevitable result of a Republican party that has spent a year accomplishing nothing."

Gillespie could not get excitement from either side of the R divide (and needed both).  With the way things are going since Nov 2016 and the whole campaign coming into that other than stop Hillary, why would anyone get excited about being Republican?

From national review:
"exit polls indicated that 95 percent of self-identified Republicans voted for Gillespie, compared to 88 percent for Trump."

Measuring the view of those who showed up misses the point.  The off-year turnout surge was not from "self identified Republicans".

106  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul (and dad Ron Paul) on: November 08, 2017, 09:59:27 AM
"He is almost certainly for gun control."

Maybe he should be for self control.
107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Both parties circling the drain? That favors Democrats! see VA, NJ on: November 08, 2017, 09:54:26 AM

Both parties circling the drain favors Democrats, see yesterday's elections where Democrats kicked ass on Republicans in Virginia and New Jersey.

Both parties may be dysfunctional, fighting within their party, unfocused, unhealthy, behaving badly, etc.  but there is a difference.  Dems have the media, all of academia and all the other institutions on their side with tiny exceptions like Hillsdale College and the NRA.  First level thinking favors Dems on all issues.  With all that, Dems still lost the House, Senate, White House, Governorships and state legislatures by acting and governing stupidly.

Without all that advantage, the R's think they can circle the drain instead of uniting, messaging and governing.  They are wrong. 

The Republican brand starts at a HUGE disadvantage.  They can't just show up and win.  Trump knows that; he ran against both parties.  But he can't govern by tearing down both parties.  State and federal issues are different but the only chance R's had in Virginia would have been to have a successful message to sell.

Chris Christie had a 14% approval rate, which really means zero.  14% are the ones who won't reveal their frustration to the pollster.  Why?  He was a rising star.  He made mistakes but people (sometimes) overcome mistakes.  He ran for President too.  What message did he bring forward?  Establishmentarianism?  The only mark he made was the prosecutorial teardown of Marco Rubio.  Divide and go personal.  Good for him, but it wasn't.  His numbers went down as fast as Rubio's and he dropped out immediately after.  The takedown set him up for the VP slot?  Not so much.  They took the guy with the much better approval rating instead.  What are the tax rates as CC leaves NJ?  Where were his coattails in the legislature during his terms?  What was his message?  What minds did he change?  Leadership involves followers...  Follow what, another man's ego?

Contrast that with Scott Walker in Wisconsin.  More messaging, more governing, less ego.  Until a year ago, Wisconsin was part of the blue wall.  Did Trump change Wisconsin?  No, Cruz beat Trump there.
 Walker changed Wisconsin.  When did you hear Walker attack his own side?

As President, Trump is doing some things right and then steps in it.  That isn't good enough!  As President, the stupid stuff is amplified, hurts the agenda, hurts the party, not just the person.  The Corker fight should have been in private, for example.  Flake?  Good riddance, oops, we still need his vote.  The fight against NK isn't just against their dictator.  It is a fight against the American and eastern and western opinion that we should do nothing.

Trump is better than having a Dem President.  Gorsuch, repealed executive orders, tough on Iran, etc.  Unless what?  Unless it leads to another Dem President - before any change is enacted.  Then all is lost! 

Ditto for the Republican congress.  More infighting than action.  Better than having a Democrat majority congress?  Not if what we are doing right now brings us to that. 

Bannon bringing war against all establishment office holders and same with Levin, Hannity, others selling hatred against fellow republicans.  Tear down that brand and who wins the war?  Democrats.

Boehner, McConnell, Corker... these are underperforming leaders.  Quietly and diplomatically take them out of leadership or out of office when you have someone better to take their place - who can win.

Democrats hate Republicans more than they hate terrorists, so they lose the war with terrorists.  Republicans who put their energy into hating other Republicans lose their wars too.

Gillespie was an uninspiring candidate who tried to bridge too wide of a divide, without a message.

I hope someone answers this wake up call.

108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul extended absence on: November 08, 2017, 08:12:59 AM
"Looks like the left has found a way to shift the balance of power in congress without winning elections."

Which side was Rand Paul on?

[Rand Paul] has lung contusions, or bruises, caused by the broken ribs, ...
   - How is that not felony assault?  Hate crime.

Pain doctor inflicts pain.  He is a high-income, income-inequality warrior.  Open borders guy living in a gated community.  With central air conditioning powered by coal.  And let me guess, against using force to resolve conflicts.  Wouldn't authorize water boarding a convicted terrorist to save his own family.  But HATES his neighbor for peacefully favoring individual liberty.  Do leftists ever see their own hypocrisy. 
109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: November 07, 2017, 10:44:56 AM
"but then who am I?" (ccp)

Besides that I still owe you on a prediction bet, you correctly called from the beginning the political issue, illegal immigration, that the whole last election turned on.  I, on the other hand, am a contrary indicator.  The more sure I am about anything political, the more likely we are to turn in an opposite direction.
On taxes, I am waiting and waiting for some ammunition on which to sell this proposal.   For example that 87% of middle earners will pay in less under the plan or something like that.  Not finding it.

Sen Lankford (R-OK) will vote against it if "it raises the debt too much".  Static or dynamic, Senator?  Concerned with what went wrong in Kansas.  This is not Kansas. 

From his website:  "It is time to simplify and flatten the code."
   - Good.  Do it. 
"Our nation should promote economic growth so more people can move out of poverty and into work."
 - Good Senator, do it.
"we should eliminate the wasteful spending in government."
  - Find 50 more Senators and do it!

What are they waiting for, and why do they think it is Donald Trump with no experience and little aptitude in this area should lead?  In the last campaign we had nearly every Senator thinking they should be President.  How about they act like a leader first.

Marco Rubio writes in the NYT that the child tax credit increase isn't enough.  Great, but exactly the kind of provision Scott Grannis points out that does nothing with incentives to grow the economy.  If Rubio and Lee get what they want, Lankford will be out because it all comes with a price of opening the static deficit and making the economy static.

The WSJ editorialists don't like (neither do I) the bubble tax rate of 45.6% that applies to tax-filing couples who make between $1.2 million and $1.6 million.  And the bill keeps the 3.8% ObamaCare surcharge making a top marginal rate of 49.4%, federal alone, plus 9-10% state and local and 60% goes to taxes at the top.  "They can afford it" is right out of the Bernie playbook.  Yet you drop that and lose people like Lankford, Collins, Murkowski.

Let's see. We can't cut spending.  We can't count the dynamic effect of growth in a growth-based policy.  We can't add a fictitious 1.5T to the debt over 10 years when they just added 10T in 10 years.  We can't call it a tax cut when it raises some and lowers others.  We can't simplify when everyone screams when they lose their deduction even if they end up paying less.  If you're Jeff Flake or Bob Corker, you can't support anything that Trump might get credit for.  We can't seem to get a single damn Democratic vote even if Trump won their state by 40 points.  We can't get blue state Republicans because of the state and local fix.  We can't lower individual rates or eliminate the inflation tax on capital gains.  But we all know the status quo is the worst possible tax code holding back what should be the greatest country on earth causing our greatest companies to flee and preventing our future greatest companies from getting started.

We've had a full year to build a consensus or at least get the very best plan on the table that can pass and move us in the right direction.  Were they busy accomplishing something else, healthcare, entitlement reform, a wall??

Screw this up now and we will have (President) Bernie Sanders' tax plan and the economic 'growth' of Venezuela.
110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: What's the point of all the switching everything around? on: November 06, 2017, 12:12:53 PM
They may as well as just cut the corporate rate to 20 % and ditch the rest of it if you ask me.
The rest is switching things all around with in the end minimal tax cuts for some and tax increases for others.

Cut the corporate tax rate by more than a third and do nothing for the middle class?  
ccp, I will keep you as my doctor but fire you as my political strategist!   )

111  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2020 Presidential election, Biden is running "for sure" on: November 06, 2017, 09:53:06 AM

Nothing in 2020 is for sure in 2017.  For one thing that makes him 78 at inauguration and 82 at reelection.
Still, if true, this changes everything. )   It is his turn!

Curious and thinking of the Jeb Bush implosion, when did Joe Biden last run and win a highly contentious campaign?
In 1972, an energetic young Joe Biden beat a far more qualified Republican J. Caleb Boggs by 50% to 49% to win his Senate seat.  That is 48 years prior to the 2020 election.  There is no reason to think he can't do it again!

Age is a risk factor for Alzheimer's. And at 69, Ronald Reagan was the oldest man to be elected president.

Biden would be 9 years older than Reagan, but really he has no 'before' yardstick from which to measure mental deterioration.

Trump is no youngster either and his health in the 2020 campaign to the Jan 2025 end of second term is unknown too.
112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Scott Grannis comments on our comments on: November 06, 2017, 09:29:26 AM
Scott is right on this in the big picture.

"What’s missing in many of the "dogbrothers" comments is a focus on how the tax plan changes incentives; that’s all that really matters."

I skipped over this important point in my comments, writing just that " it will grow the economy".  The incentives are why it will grow the economy.  All kinds of further reforms are possible if we restore growth and change the stuck on stupid, static economy narrative.

Out in the real world, I am hearing concern (rage) about every individual deduction lost, e.g. alimony, student loan deductions, even if the difference is made up for in new deductions.  Republicans need to get out ahead of this with better messaging or get swept up in the criticism - from all sides.  Rubio writes today in the NYT that the child tax credit increase is too small.

The main alternative to passing this partial reform right now is the status quo, a 75,000 page and growing tax code loaded with flaws, disincentives and unequal treatment of different income from different taxpayers, guaranteeing zero growth at best.  Further, the result of Republicans failing to govern when given the chance is the pendulum swing in the opposite direction with more Democrats elected, more pages to the tax code, higher rates, economic downturn and ever-greater social spending needed to make up for the productive economy losses. 

And China will sail by us economically and militarily if stagnation is our policy choice.
113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: November 05, 2017, 12:16:44 PM
I concur with ending the state and local tax deduction.

It is the right thing to do.  My advice was to keep (mostly keep) the property tax deduction and they did.  Paying for you local schools is as legitimate a deduction as most charities.

When we ended the deductibility of credit card debt, it was phased out, giving people an opportunity to change their ways in the face of the new law.

The other practical problem with elimination is that they need the vote of blue state Republicans.  There are plenty of people, perhaps 40-49% of the population in these states, who are subject to high tax rates that they did not vote for.  GM has good advice on relocation but I could move to the moon and my income on the disposal of my MN holdings will still be unfairly taxed in MN.  I don't have move to not sell it and to not maximize my income.  People have family and homes and other considerations.

This bill reaches an acceptable compromise on this nearly unresolvable issue.
114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: November 05, 2017, 12:05:20 PM
ccp:  "However that will be the end of further tax reform and the other half will never get done."

Doug:  "... until we change the narrative."

Let's say this passes before year end and goes into effect Jan 1 of a Congressional election year.  In addition to that, Trump and the Republicans have already done a large number of small things to unleash growth.

One of two (or more) things is going to happen.  If I and some other supply siders are right, GDP growth along with federal revenues is going to surge.  Obama has set the bar so low that average growth, 3.0 - 3.1% now comes with bragging rights.  Growth in 2018 Q1 and Q2 will be front and center in the analysis of how well Republicans have done coming into the final stretch and Q3 will be the news coming into the election (along with war, terrorism, healthcare, etc.).

This is not Reagan's tax rate cut but he didn't get it all done in the first round either.  His first round tax rate cuts were fully in place on 1/1/83.  Growth rates reported for the first 3 quarters were: 6.31%, 7.58%, 9.66%.  

Remember we just came out of 8 years where they couldn't buy anything above 2% growth even with 4.5 trillion in stimulative quantitative expansion.  Now Trump and the Republicans come in at 4 or 5% growth?  And do it without funny money monetary game-playing of running up the deficit!  The opportunity will exist to change the narrative.

A doubling of the growth rate of the largest economy in the world is a Big F***ing Deal.  Of course the left will head right back to redistributionism arguments, but the table is set to win this argument (again).

Lowering the corporate rate from 35% to 20% should bring in 20/35ths of the revenue.  That is static thinking.  That is first level thinking.  And that is what the conservative review author thinks as his article is laced with static thinking.  But that is not what is going to happen.  Revenues will increase in a growing economy.  Mark my words!  

Assuming this passes and the results look good, the country will still be at a fork in the road.   If we have learned nothing or cannot win this argument, ccp's warning will come true, we will never have another chance to lower the rates.

Liberals will argue income inequality again and use false data and false logic again to do so.  If conservatives are silent or message-challenged as usual, we will lose even though we won.    But the table will be set to do it differently this time.

We tried their way.  We tried a decade of it.  We tried expanding government.  We tried doubling the debt.  We tried getting the 1% to pay for everything.  We tried expanding healthcare and every other federal program down to 'cash for clunkers' and 'shovel-ready' projects that were really just 'kickbacks to kronies'.  We tried redistributionism on steroids, and what happened?  

Everyone they said would benefit did worse.  Inequality widened.  Black teenage unemployment was the worst.  Tens of millions of people went on food stamps, while the main nutritional problem emerging became obesity.  We had an SSI disability 'beneficiary' epidemic that the Surgeon General ignored.  Everyone knew it was just a measure of the new economy where half the country looks for free shit and half the political spectrum looks for more people to give freebies for votes to.

And now, if this passes and succeeds, we will keep a record of their predictions of the doom and gloom of it.  What is Paul Krugman and the rest saying?  It will blow a hole in the deficit, only the top 1% will benefit, etc.  But we will have data and we will see who benefits.  The rising tide will lift all boats (didn't that use to be a Democratic expression?).

When the workforce participation rate improves, that is not the 1% jumping back in to take minimum wage jobs.  When people opt off of food stamps and out of disability contracts that limit their income and demand for these programs eases, that is no the top 1% getting back in the game.  When the black, teenage unemployment rate drops and the inner city murder rate plunges, that is not a giveaway to the rich.

If this passes, if this succeeds, the benefits will reach far and wide in an interconnected economy.  The critics will be proven wrong.  Leftist economic will be shown to be loser-economics.  There will be an opportunity that America can have a teachable moment.  Whether or not anyone will emerge who can articulate that, build on that and go back and cut the rest of the rates that need to be cut, we will see.
115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: November 04, 2017, 11:25:09 PM
CCP, this tax plan gets it half right.  On the other half, it fails to lower individual rates for you and it fails to lower capital gains rates for me.

But it will grow the economy and that is good.

The question of the moment is, are we better off to pass this plan or not pass it.

The reason we are better off to pass it, is that it will grow the economy and help to win the next election, therefore making it possible to come back and do the other half.

Politics doesn't allow us to just tax less because we aren't willing to spend less. And politics doesn't allow us to redistribute less until we change the narrative.
116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Tax (Rates) Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 on: November 03, 2017, 05:37:16 PM

Read the tables at the link.

Individual Income Taxes

Tax Brackets
Consolidates the current seven brackets into four, with a bottom rate of 12 percent (aided by a higher standard deduction) while retaining the current top marginal rate of 39.6 percent. An income capture provision (“bubble rate”) will phase out the 12 percent bracket for filers with income in excess of $1,000,000 ($1,200,000 for joint filers).

Head of Household
12.0% > $0
12.0% > $0
12.0% > $0
25.0% > $45,000
25.0% > $90,000
25.0% > $67,500
35.0% > $200,000
35.0% > $260,000
35.0% > $230,000
39.6% > $500,000
39.6% > $1,000,000
39.6% > $500,000
Indexing Provisions
Indexes tax bracket and other provisions to the Chained CPI measure of inflation.

Standard Deduction
Increases the standard deduction to $12,000 for single filers, $18,000 for heads of household, and $24,000 for joint filers (currently $6,350 for single filers, $9,350 for heads of households, and $12,700 for married filers). Eliminates the additional standard deduction and the personal exemption.

Itemized Deductions
Retains the mortgage interest and charitable deductions, as well as the property tax deduction (capped at $10,000), but repeals the remainder of the state and local tax deduction and other itemized deductions.
Other Deductions and Exclusions
Caps the mortgage interest deduction at $500,000 of principal for new home purchases. Eliminates the moving deduction, educator expense deduction, and exclusions for employer-dependent care programs, among others. Makes changes to the exclusion of capital gains on home sales.

Family Tax Credits
Replaces the personal exemption for dependents with an expansion of the child tax credit from $1,000 to $1,600, while increasing the phaseout threshold (from $115,000 to $230,000 for married filers). The first $1,000 would be refundable, increasing with inflation up to the $1,600 base amount. Also creates a new $300 nonrefundable personal credit and a $300 nonchild dependent nonrefundable credit, subject to phaseout. The $300 credit expires after 5 years.

Alternative Minimum Tax
Eliminates the individual alternative minimum tax.
Business Taxes

Corporate Tax Rate
Lowers the corporate income tax rate from 35 to 20 percent.
Pass-Through Rate
Creates a new 25 percent maximum tax rate on pass-through business income, subject to anti-abuse rules.

Pass-Through Anti-Abuse Rules
Begins with assumption that 70 percent of income derived from a business is compensation subject to ordinary rates and 30 percent is business income subject to the maximum 25 percent rate for active owners. Businesses can “prove out” of the 70/30 split based on demonstrated return on business capital at the short-term applicable federal rate (AFR) plus 7 percent. Certain specified service industries, like health, law, financial services, professional services, and the performing arts are excluded from the 70/30 split and can only claim the benefit of the lower pass-through rate to the extent that they can “prove out” their business income.

Capital Investment
Allows full expensing of short-lived capital investment (currently subject to “bonus” depreciation), such as equipment and machinery, for five years. Increases Section 179 expensing from $500,000 to $5 million and increases the phaseout threshold from $2 million to $20 million.
Tax Treatment of Interest
Limits the deductibility of net interest expense on future loans to 30 percent of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), with a five-year carryforward, for all businesses with gross receipts of $25 million or more.
Net Operating Loss Provisions
Allows Net Operating Losses (NOLs) to be carried forward indefinitely and increased by a factor reflecting inflation and the real return to capital, while restricting the deduction of NOLs to 90 percent of current year taxable income and eliminating NOL carrybacks, except for one-year carrybacks for certain disaster losses.

Business Credits and Deductions
Eliminates the Section 199 manufacturing deduction and the New Market Tax Credit, along with like-kind exchanges for personal property (retained for real property), and deductions for entertainment. Eliminates credits for orphan drugs, private activity bonds, energy, rehabilitation, and contributions for capital, among others.

Alternative Minimum Tax
Eliminates the corporate alternative minimum tax.

International Income
Moves to a territorial tax system, in which foreign-source dividends and profits of U.S. companies are not subject to U.S. tax upon repatriation. However, 50 percent of excess returns (those greater than a routine return, defined as AFR plus 7 percent) earned by controlled foreign corporations (CFCs) are included in U.S. shareholders’ gross income. In addition, payments made from US corporations to a related foreign corporation are subject to a 20 percent excise tax unless the US corporation claims the transaction as effectively connected income (ECI). ECI is added to the taxable income of the US corporation, but the related foreign corporation’s expenses can be deducted from this income.

Deemed Repatriation
Enacts deemed repatriation of currently deferred foreign profits, at a rate of 12 percent for cash and cash-equivalent profits and 5 percent for reinvested foreign earnings.

Estate Tax
Increases the estate tax exemption to $10 million, which is indexed for inflation, and repeals the estate tax after six years.
117  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America, Pam Geller on: November 03, 2017, 05:24:09 PM
To the idea we should build truck barriers to bike paths to stop terrorists:

Geller:  Why don't we lay down and assume the fetal position if we aren't going to stop them...
118  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues, temperatures are fluctuating! on: November 03, 2017, 04:29:19 PM
CO2 levels are up.   OMG!

Temps are down:

Oceans are cooling lately:

Are climate models flawed?

Big report out from advocates about warming and humans are to blame.

But heat waves are no more frequent today than in 1900.

Sea level is rising no more rapidly than it did in 1940.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently stated that it has been unable to detect any human impact on hurricanes.

Year end data will show 2017 cooler than 2016 as El Niño has passed.  

Note that journalists report in Fahrenheit; the change sounds bigger.  (No mention of adjusted data.)  Do you know any scientists who work in Fahrenheit?  

To the nearest molecule, how many parts per thousand is atmospheric CO2 right now?  (zero)  Ask Crafty's nephew that one - and your own triple digit relatives.

At 50 parts per thousand, CO2 is toxic.  But there is no projection of hitting even one part per thousand by the end of the century and no person of room temperature IQ thinks we will still be dependent on fossil fuels a hundred years from now.

OTOH, imagine if life-essential CO2 levels were 'spiraling' down instead?  It would bring extinction to all forms of life and humans would be blamed.
119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / North Korea's Criminal Sovereignty on: November 03, 2017, 03:53:35 PM
This article lays out the claim that the regime of NK is a criminal enterprise.  I agree but would take it further, what makes them a sovereign state, which to me implies some level of legitimacy?

North Korea's Criminal Sovereinty

The U.S. Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute aptly described North Korea's peculiar situation as "criminal sovereignty" unique in the world's "national security arena." The Kim regime "uses state sovereignty to protect itself from external interference in its domestic affairs while dedicating a portion of its government to carrying out illicit international activities in defiance of international law and the domestic laws of numerous other nations."

North Korea deals and ships heroin throughout Asia. It supplies drug-abusing factory workers in neighboring China with methamphetamines. Bureau 39 operates cigarette and exotic animal smuggling schemes and smuggles weapons worldwide. In February 2017, media reported that North Korea had shipped encrypted communications systems and man-portable anti-aircraft missiles to unnamed countries in Asia and Africa.

North Korea's Foreign Ministry doubles as a Bureau 39 smuggling front. North Korea's North African embassies allegedly smuggle illicit rhino horn and elephant ivory, natural products much-prized in Asia. Their diplomats also smuggle Congolese gold.
120  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed: Trump picks Jay Powell to be Fed Chair on: November 03, 2017, 12:07:46 PM
I predicted Trump would pick Taylor and I was wrong.  Trump picked the less qualified alternative although he is already a member of the Fed Board of Governors.  The result of this pick will probably be okay, no worse than Yellen.  Powell was one who argued with Yellen to ease off of quantitative easing.  The Trump camp thinks Powell will be slower to raise interest rates, giving his economy continued, nominal and  artificial boost, like Yellen did for Obama, and not be too obsessed or pure with what is right and responsible for the dollar and interest rates.  Powell will be easier for the administration to influence, they think.

Drawbacks to this:
a) artificially low interest rates are killing off savings and have other bad effects.  
b) Instead of having the leading mind on monetary policy at the top, the new chair of this most crucial organization will mostly rely the advice of outsiders and underlings, aka the swamp.
121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Many Californians will choose illegal over a 45% tax on: November 02, 2017, 04:43:23 PM
Yes, this is the LA times writing about supply side economics.
122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Privacy, Big Brother (State and Corporate: Google is reading your Docs too! on: November 01, 2017, 02:43:59 PM
Besides reading your emails, knowing all your searches and tracking your location and listening in your home, Google is reading your Docs too.

Google admits its new smart speaker was eavesdropping on users

A (waived?) right of Privacy
123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Russian conspiracy, Comey, Sharyl Attkisson, FBI, DNC Servers on: November 01, 2017, 01:46:49 PM
Sharyl Attkisson ✔@SharylAttkisson - tweet
If Democratic National Committee DNC had turned its server(s) over for FBI exam after alleged Russia hacking of emails, I wonder what would have been found. Why didn't FBI didn't just take servers if national security were at stake? Permission not needed for matters so important.
124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy - Star Parker on: November 01, 2017, 01:40:09 PM
"The tax code should be an exercise in civic responsibility in which all participate to pay for the legitimate functions of government."

Words not lately uttered in Washington.
125  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: November 01, 2017, 01:30:47 PM
"UN Security Council, permanent member, why?  Because of their moral authority??"

Because of their nukes and their willingness to act (Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, etc etc etc)

Right.  But they should be the topic of the Security Council meetings, not a voting member IMHO, if this was a serious organization designed to prevent and react to things like what happened in Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, etc.

I understand why they are there but there is a downside to it.  We elevate Putin's standing with the Russian people and with the world.  What was the consequence for those invasions and annexations?
Another good Stratfor point I meant to highlight:

"... its activities have little to do with picking an election's winners and losers, and everything to do with sowing discord throughout the West."

Facebook Admits That Russia Ads Are Actually Against Donald Trump
That doesn't fit any narrative, except it makes more sense that they supported Hillary than Trump.
126  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Jihad on the Bike Path, truck control on: November 01, 2017, 12:27:03 PM
Next up after gun control, a law against trucks ramming people on a bike path - or do we already have a law on that?

Steyn has it right of course, stop importing Jihad.  Homegrown Jihad will give us enough problems!  And Trump had it right from the beginning, Muslims in particular and immigrants from dangerous areas require strict scrutiny, and that the wall is a symbol of the idea that we take entry into this country seriously. 
127  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Stratfor: US-Russia on: November 01, 2017, 11:37:55 AM
I like this analysis.  We look at strengths of Russia and forget to look at them from their points of weakness. 

Interesting point from the article about their disinformation tactics:  "The Kremlin's information operations are highly nuanced and, by disseminating data that is partially true, they are often far more effective than those that rely on falsified news."    - Right out of the DNC / Rules for Radicals playbook.

Unmentioned are low oil prices, maybe implied in stagnant economy.  Note that Trump is opening large new areas for drilling.  Second is that if we aggressively produce and export LNG that squeezes them further.  Maybe they will have to grow a real economy.

Another idea is to quit telling them how special and important they are.  G8?  They aren't G10.
US, China, Japan, Germany, UK, France, India, Italy, Brazil, Canada and South Korea all have bigger economies.

UN Security Council, permanent member, why?  Because of their moral authority??

Walter Russell Mead had an article this week about 5 countries that use informal and voluntary cooperation, US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Why not expand on that idea and keep out countries that work to sabotage out interests at every turn?

P.S. They didn't affect our election any more than a whole lot of other subversive forces.
128  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: john boner again on: October 31, 2017, 11:06:46 AM
It's not surprising that he has has a bone to pick.  I don't know why it has to be so painful to switch leaders.  We don't have to hate Boehner or McConnell in order to think someone else could lead us better now under new circumstances.  Same for the dinosaurs in Dem leadership.  They all think it is an appointment for life.  Like a Packer quarterback, it's a job you get and keep while you are performing and winning, until you can't win or take a big hit and can't get back up.  Then the game goes on with a new quarterback.

There are business books about building organizations that live and prosper past the original thinkers who built them.  Republicans and Trumpists could all learn something.
It is a rare case when the founder or visionary of successful company dies or retires and the organization continues to achieve greatness.  The R party should be advancing principles, not people.
129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: October 31, 2017, 10:55:39 AM
new "crime" of the century :
seeking "dirt" on Clinton.
"opposition research" :
seeking "dirt" on Trump (or any Republican for that matter)

And they are so good at blurring issues.  There is nothing wrong with paying for information.  The information economy is the world we live in.

It is another matter to pay people to create and spread false information about someone. Is there a law against that, civil penalties? The Dossier, the golden showers, it was because the Obamas (black people?) slept in that bed was too bizarre to be believed be believed by anyone in the first place.  His failings are much more simple than that, boobs, pussy, money, power, ego, not necessarily in that order.  In a way it kind of vindicates him that the best opposition researchers in the world needed to make stuff up to sell a report.  DID THE PEOPLE PAYING FOR THE DOSSIER KNOW IT WAS FALSE? (Or are they dumber than a box of rocks and want to be hired to analyze intelligence...)  HRC is, still, sadly, the leader of her party and it was the DNC itself caught red-handed.  No political ramifications?  No shame??  Just 'hey, that's what we do'.
130  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rules based int'l monetary system; Larry Kudlow agrees with me (and others here) on: October 28, 2017, 09:46:16 AM

He compares Taylor and rules based monetary policy to Volcker.  This is not about high versus low rates; it is about getting it right.

"President Trump Needs a Stable Dollar Along With Tax Cuts to Maximize Growth"
" Taylor is working on a study that argues for a return to a rules-based international currency system. Several years ago, former Fed Chair Paul Volcker, who used gold and commodities as leading inflation indicators while appointed, argued for a rules-based monetary policy at home and new international currency cooperation abroad."
131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: October 28, 2017, 09:23:33 AM
We can have some goals maybe:
reduce the debt
keep taxes low
protect our sovereignty
stay #1
more freedom from the central planners

That is exactly how we answer the China threat.  Trump feels like he says this everyday in every sentence but still fails to get across the clarity, URGENCY and context of what make America great again means - and truly win the argument against anti-freedom and sovereignty leftists.

If we accept leftist stagnation, moral relativism, disarmament, etc. as the new normal, China grows right past us, not just economically, but militarily.

What's at stake?  The South China Sea should be renamed by the President of name calling the Singapore to Taiwan Sea.  Has any leftist thought through WHY China wants to dominate and control the world's greatest shipping lane?

Speaking of liberals thinking Trump is a dork, does anyone remember a recent President talk about a 'pivot to Asia' and then hand China our lunch in a way no enemy spy could have dreamed possible.

ccp bullet points: 1) reduce the debt:  Through growth and gasp, real spending cuts.  We don't need foreigners to buy our debt.  That is an economic policy choice, and a bad one at that.
2) keep taxes low:  Corporate taxes in Calif, MN etc are almost three times higher than 'preferred' enterprises in 'communist' China.  How about we compete on a near-level playing field if we want to compete at all?  It's not rocket science, and if it was, we still need to figure it out.  Trump has made this point but no one has articulated the sense of urgency, that our survival of being America, the greatest country in the world, and not just another Venezuela-like ash heap of history depends on it.
3) protect our sovereignty: It's not an empty slogan.  Someone articulate this better, especially to young people, WHY THIS MATTERS!  Whether 'Law of the Sea', Paris accords or PTT, we can do it better without being governed by someone else.  We fought a war of independence over this...
4) stay #1:  Yes, and articulate - How?  and Why?  What would living in a world dominated by China, Russia and rogue regimes look like?  A nuclear North Korea with long range missiles targeted at the US is just the most recent illustration of it.  Honduras  and Sweden aren't going to disarm NK; only the US can do it.  Or can we?
5) more freedom from the central planners:  Exactly!  Here is an example of how that plays out, the electric cars (or whatever) of the future.  Our decentralized business innovation intelligence will run past China's system of government favored funding and enterprises - only if we choose decentralization and economic freedom over the system of centrally planned spoils that plague our competitors.

In the 1980s we thought Japan Inc., they called it, with a better central focus, would run all over our decentralized Silicon Valley in the emerging computer industry, and they didn't.

Recently posted, the number of STEM grads in US per year versus China.  They beat us in numbers by what, 100 to 1?  And we will win an economic competition by running our economy like they run theirs?  Not a chance.  Not Venezuela, Haiti, Congo, nor Belgium are sending carriers to the military crisis in Asia and China isn't considering a policy change on NK based on their (non) threats.  Build economic strength and military strength of deterrence in a free country or look and see who fills that void.  It won't be friendly fire or freedom...

There is an urgency to this!  In 8 years of stagnation here, the Chinese economy  caught up with us and has 4 times the population.  One more period of status quo, which seems to be what Democrats and establishment Republicans favor, and we are number two at best and falling.  Has anyone thought through ALL the geopolitical consequences of that?
132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: October 28, 2017, 08:35:03 AM
Regarding the Bush 43 Russian-US era, FWIW my take on it is this:

President Clinton split the difference on possible responses in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Empire, arguably coming up with the worse outcomes of each-- he didn't put the Russians away while they were weak, but instead did enough to piss them off (e.g. Yugoslavia) and persuade them to take  advantage of his failure to put them away.

When Bush 43 came in they Russians were already hard at work rebuilding their military and re-imposing on their near abroad.  With bandwidth consumed by the Iraq War, and Bush's polls at catastrophic levels, the Russians knew we would do jacksh*t when they invaded the Ossetia region of Georgia-- thus laying the groundwork for Crimea and east Ukraine.

Discussion on US-China thread  reminded me that I wanted to add to this excellent description of what happened and didn't happen when the Soviet Union folded.  I wrote a counterpoint that ran alongside the Mple red star-tribune's endorsement of Bill Clinton, Nov 1992, and they omitted from my argument against the left turn to Clinton what was the most important point to me.  The continuation of growth economics (which unfortunately was not a choice on the ballot in 1992 anyway) was a most crucial component of a successful foreign policy.  Economic growth in a free economy is our answer to Nikita Krushchev's false promise of theirs, 'we will bury you'.  We needed to grow past these dangerous crony government tycoons in order to move them toward setting up a free market economy of their own to keep pace.  Instead we elected an agenda of other priorities, larger government, higher taxes, social democracy, etc. slow growth at best.  That agenda shifted later in the 90s and fast growth returned, but the new Russia was already off and running in a screwed up, central government fashion.

The same lessons apply today vis a vis China.
133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Paddock and the Vegas Mass Kill on: October 27, 2017, 10:43:18 AM
"Is The NFL Ready For A Stadium Attack On A Las Vegas Scale?"
What is to stop armed drones from flying overhead and delivering 'lead gifts' to the fans?

I would say stay away from big crowds and famous places in general.  These events can be watched from a living room or a sports bar.  Maybe the empty stadiums lower the threat level.

As the JFK files get released it reminds us that shooting a rifle from a perch above a target is not particularly original.  And deliberately crashing a plane into a building was not original to Tom Clancy readers. 

I recall the security levels of the first Olympics after 9/11/01, 2002 in Salt Lake City.  I skied the Olympic downhill run (for fun) 3 weeks before the event wondering if I would bump into the terrorists planting bombs along the course.  Security was tight and nothing came out of that.  They took security quite seriously at the first Super Bowl after 9/11 too.  Our security is pretty good when we are able to imagine the threat and identify the target.  Not so good when we don't, like a gay nightclub in Orlando or a country music concert in Vegas.

Nobody's going to have an unsurveilled perch above US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis at this year's Super Bowl.  Besides, the guns and ammo would all freeze...  Meanwhile, terrorists are plotting other mass murders by other means on other targets not quite as obvious.
134  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Administration - Agenda, The Turning Point is Tax Reform on: October 26, 2017, 09:19:16 PM
This is the fork in the road, tax reform.  (I have written plenty about it on the tax thread.)

The preliminary bill is now passed, setting the table for Senate passage with 50 votes, and I am optimistic.

Their is a chance that Republicans will get it; this is their defining moment.  And there is a chance they won't.

This is not a great bill, but it may be a clever bill - clever enough to get passed and to set off rapid economic growth.  If we can get 4% sustained growth, well that changes everything.  Also the appointment of John Taylor to head a rules-based Fed.  [Did I jump the gun announcing that?]

[Economic growth coming out of] tax reform will be the determinant in the 2018 elections, the future of the country and of our lives.  Pass it, we win.  Fail to pass it and it joins the swamp dump of failed reform efforts (Obamacare repeal?) and this country turns leftward into a downward, crashing spiral.

No pressure.
135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Book, Clayton Christensen, Innovation, competing against luck on: October 26, 2017, 09:10:50 PM
Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice

Interview with the author at the link.

I ordered this book...
136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy, Index Long Term Capital Gains to Inflation on: October 26, 2017, 08:33:22 PM
Letter sent today to my congressman on the House Ways and Means Committee:

Index Long Term Capital Gains to Inflation.

It's simple.  It costs nothing.  It's fair.  It helps the little guy, people saving and investing for the long term.  

It frees up assets to move to their most valuable and productive use. Isn't that the definition of free market capitalism?

It gives tax reform another favorable talking point.

It's easy; the CPI 'Cola' is already published by the government.  Have it apply only to assets held 5 years, 7, 10 or whatever...  It doesn't have to muddle up the code.

When people sell a long term holding, the government gets a share.  When they don't sell, hold until stepped up value at death because of punitive tax consequences, government gets nothing.  

Here's a personal example even though this is not about me.  I bought a house for 35,000 in 1981.  Adjust for the value of the dollar and my basis is really 96,000.  Zillow says it is worth  135,000.  With an inflation adjusted basis, I sell and the government receives a reasonable percentage of a reasonable gain, and a new buyer gets a house. 
 Win, win, win.   Under the current system, the tax rate on the real gain is WAY over 100%.  No rational person would sell and the government gets zero on the capital gain not realized.

If the people who serve us on the House Ways and Means Committee don't address this now, who will and when??

Take a good bill and make it a great!
137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China vs US long range plans on: October 26, 2017, 08:06:53 PM
I think it's good we don't have a 5 year plan:

Our plan should be to have no centrally planned economy whatsoever.

Our plan should be to remove the shackles and allow unplanned innovation from unexpected sources to disrupt the markets for all the entrenched players that pay to have all the central plans written in their favor.  Not do what Zuckerberg and Musk want; do what will set loose thousands of the next Zuckerbergs and Musks.  MHO.
138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Art of the Deal author on: October 26, 2017, 07:57:36 PM
reflecting on Trump.  Short attention span?  ADD?

from the author of Doug's favorite book:

ccp,  You remembered how much I hated that book.  )   Maybe it's good that this worthless p.o.s. was ghost-written.

Trump calls it a 'business book', best selling business book of all time...   Good grief.

Somehow you suspected that lyrics books aren't always written by the celeb that takes credit...
139  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 19, 2017, 02:11:33 PM
quote author=G M

I think some law that redistributes the money equally, so that every player gets exactly the same pay is required! EQUALITY!

Yes and some people vote like that makes sense, need it pointed out that not all work has the same value, or even near the same value. 

Since equality runs against the natural state of things, it requires coercion.  Oppression and tyranny are features, not bugs, of a socialist system. 

The nice thing about discovering an economic ladder in a free society is that you can climb up it, not to LeBron's spot, but to your own potential.
140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The bee sting that drove Putin to seek revenge on: October 19, 2017, 11:50:04 AM
quote author=Crafty_Dog
I can't say that this is something I would have opposed at the time , , ,
[Sticking it to Putin in 2012]

I agree.  It begs the question of how to deal with these complex relationships (China, Russia, Saudi, etc.).  Not kowtow to them but not poke them in the eye at every opportunity. 

The instincts of Trump (his call with Taiwan for example) may be just as good (or bad) as the judgment of the experts and careerists.  Let them know they will get some cooperation and some aggravation out of us, carrot and stick.  Make them want to influence us positively, from their point of view.

Condi Rice was quite the Russian expert.  What did she accomplish?  I don't know, mixed results, mostly bad.
141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Trade Issues: Reagan, 1988, Freedom to Trade on: October 19, 2017, 11:32:09 AM

The video above of President Reagan’s radio address towards the end of his second term on November 26, 1988, was just released today by the Reagan Library. Although Reagan’s comments on trade were made almost 30 years ago, they are still fresh and relevant today, maybe even more so in the new era of rising protectionism. And Trump, “the first authentic protectionist to win the White House since the 1920s,” should pay especially close attention to Reagan’s remarks, which expose many of Trump’s faulty ideas on trade. For example:

Part of the difficulty in accepting the good news about trade is in our words. We too often talk about trade while using the vocabulary of war. In war, for one side to win, the other must lose. But commerce is not warfare. Trade is an economic alliance that benefits both countries. There are no losers, only winners; and trade helps strengthen the free world. Yet today protectionism is being used by some politicians as a cheap form of nationalism.
… Our peaceful trading partners are not our enemies. They are our allies. We should beware of the demagogues who are ready to declare a trade war against our friends, weakening our economy, our national security and the entire free world. All while cynically waving the American flag. The expansion of the international economy is not a foreign invasion. It is an American triumph.

(President Trump, listen up!)
142  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics - unequal pay hypocrisy on: October 19, 2017, 10:56:38 AM
Does LeBron James’s concern about ‘equality’ extend to the 98.9% very unequal ‘gender pay gap’ for the WNBA vs. NBA?
143  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Thomas Sowell: Higher tax rates do not mean higher tax revenues on: October 19, 2017, 10:40:11 AM
This (below) is thomas Sowell writing in 2012, quoting Andrew Mellon from 1924.  Some things never change.  George Gilder explained his move away from economics:  I thought we won that argument.  With the liberal left, an argument is never won.  They keep pounding the same old failed ideas nearly a century later.  Tediously, we need to keep answering them.

If you are a liberal, you want your country to collect dollars, not percentages of something, to pay for programs.  The right tax strategy for you is to maximize the dollars, not the percentage of something, coming in.  Countries maximize government revenues by having a healthy and dynamic sector, not by killing it. 

If you are a leftist, cf. Obama, you want high rates on the rich for other purposes, to win elections or sabotage capitalism, enact social change.  Rules for radicals.  That is another matter.  Let's get the facts straight and call out these activists like Krugman on their falsehoods, deceptions and/or radical intentions.  Growing the American economy should be a bipartisan endeavor.

Ordinary, well meaning Dems in your family, friends and neighborhood are mostly not leftists trying to take down the country, but they are being led, educated and influenced by people who are.  Spread the word; they aren't going to read any of this in the NYT or hear it on NPR.

A Book for Republicans   5/23/2012
By Thomas Sowell | Democrats have been having a field day with the cry of "tax cuts for the rich" — for which Republicans seem to have no reply. This is especially surprising, because Democrats made the same arguments back in the 1920s, and the Republicans then not only had a reply, but one that eventually carried the day, when the top tax rate was brought down from 73 percent to 24 percent.
What was the difference then?

The biggest difference is that Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon took the trouble to articulate the case for lower tax rates, in articles that appeared in popular publications, using plain language that ordinary people could understand. Seldom do Republican leaders today even attempt to do any such thing.

In 1924, the ideas from these articles were collected in a book which Mellon titled "Taxation: The People's Business." That book has recently been reprinted by the University of Minnesota Law Library. Today's Republicans would do well to get a copy of Mellon's book, which shows how demagoguery about "tax cuts for the rich" can be exposed for the nonsense that it is.

People in the media could also benefit by seeing how the "tax cuts for the rich" demagoguery collapses like a house of cards when you subject it to logic and evidence.
Those who argue that "the rich" should pay a higher tax rate, and that the revenue this would bring in could be used to reduce the deficit, assume that higher tax rates equal higher tax revenues. But they do not.

Secretary Mellon pointed out that previously the government "received substantially the same revenue from high incomes with a 13 percent surtax as it received with a 65 percent surtax." Higher tax rates do not mean higher tax revenues.

High tax rates on high incomes, Mellon said, lead many of those who earn such incomes to withdraw their money "from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities" or otherwise find ways to avoid receiving income in taxable forms.

That is even easier to do today than in Andrew Mellon's time. The very same liberals who complain that Mitt Romney — among thousands of others — puts his money in the Cayman Islands nevertheless act as if raising the tax rates automatically raises tax revenues. It can instead drive money out of the country and drive jobs out of the country with it.

The United States has long been a place where foreigners from around the world have sent their money to be invested, more than offsetting the money that Americans invested abroad. But, in recent years, the net flow of investment is out of America to places overseas that don't tax as much.

Mellon cited statistics that showed the opposite of what the high-tax advocates claimed. Although incomes in general were rising from 1916 to 1921, the taxable income of people earning $300,000 and up dropped by about four-fifths.

That didn't mean that "the rich" were becoming poor. It meant that they had arranged to receive their incomes in forms that were not taxable. Mellon asked where the money of these high income earners went. He answered: "There is no doubt of the fact that much of it went into tax-exempt securities." In today's global economy, much of it can also easily be sent overseas — much more easily than workers can go overseas to get the jobs this money creates in other countries.

After Mellon finally succeeded in getting Congress to lower the top tax rate from 73 percent to 24 percent, the government actually received more tax revenues at the lower rate than it had at the higher rate. Moreover, it received a higher proportion of all income taxes from the top income earners than before.

Something similar happened in later years, after tax rates were cut under Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and G.W. Bush. The record is clear. Barack Obama admitted during the 2008 election campaign that he understood that raising tax rates does not necessarily mean raising tax revenues.

Why then is he pushing so hard for higher tax rates on "the rich" this election year (2012)? Because class warfare politics can increase votes for his reelection, even if it raises no more tax revenues for the government.
Same is true today.  The rhetoric war of 'taxes on the rich vs the middle class' is waged to lock in Democratic votes, not to increase dollars to the Treasury, the median wage, or the take home pay of a worker or voter.

They lowered the top rate (in the 20s) by 2/3rds and revenues surged.  The rich actually paid a higher proportion of the total taxes at the lower rate.  Isn't that what liberals want??

Counter-intuitive?  Yes.  So what.  All of liberalism is first level thinking.  We must challenge people to look and think past that - or we lose.
144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Andrew Mellon: Taxes which are inherently excessive are not paid on: October 19, 2017, 09:44:17 AM
Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, 1924:
The history of taxation shows that taxes which are inherently excessive are not paid. The high rates inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw his capital from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities or to find other lawful methods of avoiding the realization of taxable income. The result is that the sources of taxation are drying up; wealth is failing to carry its share of the tax burden; and capital is being diverted into channels which yield neither revenue to the Government nor profit to the people.

Valuable resource, read his book on taxation free at:

He was right.

Tax rates were slashed dramatically during the 1920s, dropping from over 70 percent to less than 25 percent. What happened? Personal income tax revenues increased substantially during the 1920s, despite the reduction in rates. Revenues rose from $719 million in 1921 to $1164 million in 1928, an increase of more than 61 percent.
145  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Asia, Buddhist wisdom on islam on: October 19, 2017, 09:23:18 AM
quote author=G M, (Myanmar thread)
The west should take this to heart.

"You can be full of kindness and love but you cannot sleep next to a mad dog.
If we are weak, our land will become Muslim."    - Ashin Wirathu, Myanmar

Myanmar will not become the next Bangaladesh (?)

(Bangaladesh green, Myanmar orange)

I am a little late (centuries) to this; others here are on it.  For all of the turmoil we dwell on in 1) the Middle East, 2) pouring into Europe, this was already happening and escalating in south and southeast Asia.  Note the last two posts, Myanmar and Philippines.  

Two times as many Muslims live in South Asia as the Middle East/North Africa.
Roughly equal number Muslims in southeast Asia as Middle East

Largest Muslim population countries in the world:
1. Indonesia
2. Pakistan
3. India
4. Bangaladesh

Are these struggles local or global?  Where are they 'radicalized; where are they peaceful?  Where are they peaceful but turning radical?

Is anyone tracking it with any 'strategery'?  Deep in the Pentagon but telling no one?  Even here we thread it into regions and countries.  I hate to ask - is there something the US should be doing to help?  With the fall of ISIS in Raqqa, Syria and Iraq, are other areas more vulnerable to radical inflow.  Oddly, is this a struggle where Russia and China are on our side?  
146  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy, Krugman Projecting, Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies,lies,lies... on: October 18, 2017, 04:03:50 PM
A friend dragged me into reading and commenting on Paul Krugman's latest NYT column.

Krugman the Nobel laureate opens his column by calling all conservatives liars and backs it up with Trump mis-speaks and his own distortions, see below.  You would think his standard for accuracy and honesty would be at precision level in a column about his opponents titled, 'Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies'.  His civility isn't above Trump's either.  

(Krugman, quoting Trump I presume) Lie #1: America is the most highly-taxed country in the world

If Trump said that, he's wrong, unless the context was our corporate tax rates that are highest in the developed world where we are 60% higher than the OECD average.  More than 80% higher in MN!)   The US was second highest to Japan before they began cutting theirs:

Our corporate tax rates are higher than so-called Communist China where they have rates of 25% and 15% for  government preferred enterprises.  

By coincidence, China's falling GDP growth rate is still many times greater than the US economy in recent years.
Let's not confuse correlation with causation, but over-taxation on employers isn't helping our workers.

Lie #2: The estate tax is destroying farmers and truckers

Besides morally offensive (at least to some), taking people's after-tax savings when they die is one of many forces working against the formation of capital.  The defense that it only applies to very few others, not you, fails any reasonable test of equal protection under the law.  Our government isn't stopping all capital formation, but at as we win the war against capital, labor and middle income people suffer more than the rich.  See Republic of the Congo, and Venezuela.

Lie #4: Cutting profits taxes really benefits workers

Maybe the reverse is easier to understand.  Take away too large a share of the return on capital and labor suffers.  Every time.  Capital employs labor.  In a free country you can be on either side of that, or both.

Lie #5: Repatriating overseas profits will create jobs

Again, look at the reverse.  Companies, dollars and innovation leaving the US hurts jobs here. Who disputes that? Money and jobs going overseas is only one sign of a disincentive system run amok.  Companies that never started and jobs that were never created are hard to measure.

"Medtronic joined a parade of prominent U.S. companies that have set up operations overseas to lower their tax bills."

Lie #7: It’s a big tax cut for the middle class

Earners at the top pay the vast majority of the federal income taxes, before and after any tax reform.  Therefore we should never reform taxes?  There is no reform of a disincentive system that doesn't benefit those who are most invested.  Saying the rich will keep more of what they earn doesn't mean they will pay less in taxes in a dynamic economy.  (See Clinton's results below.)  

People who pay little or no federal income tax are hurt more than the rich when over-taxation hinders growth.  The rich can hold  assets instead of capturing gains - or keep the old yacht.  They can pay high taxes out of income and cash flow.  But all of us pay the price of opportunities not created when growth stops.  Lack of economic growth is what caps wages.  When no one competes for your labor, your wage does not go up.  Real wages and median wages were not helped in recent years by class warfare talk or implementing the policies of anti-growth.  When we're done fighting each other ("middle class interests vs. the top 1%"), maybe we can get on with what Democrats a generation ago used to call, "a rising tide lifts all boats".

Lie #9: Cutting taxes will jump-start rapid growth

Krugman: "For Bill Clinton raised taxes, amid cries from the right that he would destroy the economy. Instead he presided over a boom that surpassed Reagan in every dimension. For what it’s worth, I don’t think this boom was Clinton’s doing. But it certainly refuted the proposition that cutting taxes is both necessary and sufficient for prosperity."

Bill Clinton's Presidency is a good period to compare tax policies since he both raised tax rates early and lowered them later.  When Clinton raised rates in 1983, we continued a slow recovery already underway with below average growth.  When Clinton lost Congress, he changed course.  Unmentioned by Krugman, Bill Clinton "ended welfare as we know it" and cut the highest capital gains tax rate to 20% in 1997.  What were the results (and where are Democrats on that now)?

Real wages under Bill Clinton grew at 0.8 percent growth rate after the tax rate hikes and grew at 6.5 percent rate after the capital gains tax rate cuts.  Wages grew 8 times faster after tax rate cuts.  While calling others liars, Krugman is happy to draw a circle around the entire period and attribute Clinton's best success to his least effective policy.  That's not liberal; that's dishonest.

Lie #10: Tax cuts will pay for themselves

What is the history on that?

The tax rate cuts of the 1920s were followed by a 61% increase revenues over 7 years.
The Kennedy tax rate cuts brought a 62% increase in revenues over 7 years.
The Reagan tax rate cuts yielded a 54% increase over 6 years.

After Bill Clinton cut the capital gains tax rate, capital gains revenues surged from $54 billion in 1996 to $99 billion in 1999.  

Revenues surged 60% in 4 years under Bush tax rate cuts.  One news story:
Who knew?  (Paul Krugman doesn't read the NYTimes or OMB data?)

Job growth ended exactly as Bush's opponents won congress promising to reverse the rate reductions.  (Correlation is not causation, but that's when it happened.)

The crash occurred when the effects of our misguided policies caught up with us.  The federal government with a 90% market share in the mortgage market pressured lenders to lend on criteria other than creditworthiness and when daylight peeked through the house of cards fell.  

It is very Trump-like of Krugman to call a multi-year, double digit surge in revenues a "lackluster recovery", imply tax rate reductions caused the crash and higher tax rates fuel growth.  

Don't take investment advice from this guy either.
147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: October 16, 2017, 01:09:12 PM
From Iran thread, as it applies to NK: 
[Years ago Stratfor wrote of the Iranians being a very serious military problem , , , and that was then.]
Similarly the Norks.
What is the morality of waiting for North Korea to inflict a strike that could potentially kill 90% of Americans?
   Good point!   What are the lessons of other threats?  Act sooner, before the threat becomes too large.

Choices for us:

1)  The easy answer: kick the can down the road.  Worked for Madelyn Halfbright, Clinton, Bush and Obama.  This is NOT the right answer but it is one down side of our system of government.  In 4 years or 8 years and counting down, it will be someone else's problem.  Russia, China, NK, Iran, Hitler, etc. don't think that way.  Funny that none of those are term limited democracies.

2) The right answer from a national security point of view is to take out the threat.

3)  The moral answer is to take out the threat, take down the regime and free the people.

4)  In the context of politics, diplomacy and international law, we should time the takedown to be an immediate response to NK crossing a red line, such as firing a missile toward or over Japan.  Control the news cycle.  NK fired, the US and allies responded - 'disproportionately'.  That is better (diplomatically than having our action called a first strike.

Note how worthless the 'UN Security Council' is with security threats Russia and China holding permanent seats with a veto while many of our best allies do not.

The choice is simple, do nothing which includes all the hot air about diplomacy, sanctions etc that have failed and failed and failed and make us less safe and our allies and west coast in danger, or take decisive action and face the consequences.

Is North Korea (or Iran) an imminent threat?  Note how Un backed off of his direct threat on Guam.  He was handing Trump his justification.

From the dictionary on imminent:  impending, close (at hand), near, (fast) approaching, coming, forthcoming, on the way, in the offing, in the pipeline, on the horizon, in the air, just around the corner, coming down the pike, expected, anticipated, brewing, looming, threatening...

Imminent does not mean instant like minutes or seconds.  During the Iraq debate, the threat was described as "a grave and gathering danger", a better descriptor but that still means imminent.  The threat is on the way.  The NK threat ship has sailed.  Nothing short of military strikes on military locations, as best as we can identifythem, can stop it.  Allowing the threat to grow larger and stronger is nothing short of irresponsible.  MHO.
148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Robert Samuelson: Build the Wall on: October 16, 2017, 10:20:30 AM
He is somewhat of a mainstream journalist (moderate Dem, oxymoron?) and he is telling Dems to take the deal with Trump.

It allows DACA children to stay.
"the beneficiaries were brought illegally to the United States as children by their parents, it's hard to make a case that they should be punished. As a practical matter, most have grown up as Americans.   They have few roots in their country of birth."

Samuelson justifies his support for a wall on three grounds:
reduce -- though not eliminate -- illegal immigration  (not a goal for the left!)

the wall would symbolize a major shift in U.S. immigration policy -- a tougher attitude  (Who knew?)

Finally, the wall is required as a political act of good faith to immigration opponents. They believe the wall would be effective, and the only way to prove -- or disprove -- these claims would be to try it.  (We had an election on that.  He says, honor it!)
149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy - Manchin's vote on: October 13, 2017, 01:55:57 PM
It would be a breakthrough to get all republicans and a few democrats make this bipartisan.  Win Manchin and Heitkamp and NOT lose Collins , Murkowski, etc. 

If not and they don't care about reforming this country, let there be consequences.
150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Tax rates and tax revenues on: October 12, 2017, 07:22:14 PM
Scott Grannis:  The media is full of stories claiming that lower tax rates will cause a huge and damaging increase in the federal deficit and will fail to stimulate the economy. Here are some charts which show that those claims are not backed by historical experience. On the contrary: worrying about tax cuts is not necessarily sensible at all.

The point I have tried to make on these pages is that even if there was no increase in revenues from a tax rate cut, it is phenomenally healthy for the economy to be able to take in the same amount at lower rates.  When you do that, you have done less harm in terms of forcing people to make economic decisions that move them away from earning and reporting income.  

If the rate drops 25% and the revenue stays the same, then pre-tax income has gone up by a theoretical 25% and take home by even more!  And beyond that, revenues do go up - historically.  Look at the Reagan years, the W Bush cuts, the Clinton capital gains rate cuts, the Kennedy cuts and the Coolidge for examples.  

How do critics answer that?  By conflating time periods, distracting with inequality data and by measuring tax % of GDP instead of dollars top the Treasury.

I'm happy to keep bringing this forward:

The tax rate cuts of the 1920s were followed by a 61% increase revenues over 7 years.
The Kennedy tax rate cuts brought a 62% increase in revenues over 7 years.
The Reagan tax rate cuts yielded a 54% increase over 6 years (100% over 10 years).
Under Bill Clinton, Real wages grew 8 times faster after tax rate cuts later in his Presidency than earlier after he raised taxes on the wealthy.
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