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201  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.
202  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.
203  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
204  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.
205  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.
206  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.
207  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. 
208  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.
209  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.
210  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'.
211  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."
212  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?
213  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.
214  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.
215  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.
216  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...
217  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!
218  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.
219  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...
220  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.
221  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.
222  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!)
223  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?
224  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.
225  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.
226  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?  
227  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.
228  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.
229  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!)
230  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.
231  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.
232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues, STEM degrees on: October 12, 2017, 03:38:49 PM

The difference is staggering and all the numbers are surprisingly low.  In a country of 325 million we only have 500,000/yr. college degrees in all STEM subjects?  It makes me proud of my daughter but not of my country on that point.  That points to a larger problem than (legal) immigration.
233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Puerto Rico on: October 12, 2017, 03:31:50 PM
I would add that per capita income in P.R. is one third of that in the rest of the US.  They would be our poorest state by far, meaning that a lot of our one size fits all laws like minimum wage don't fit them very well.

Whether they split or join, we should be bringing ideas to Puerto Rico that will raise up their prosperity - just as we should here.
234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: October 12, 2017, 12:25:52 PM
From Cog Diss Republicans thread:
CCP:  Doug
...But I don't understand what you mean here:

"And why is the Trump side opposed to bring the best and the brightest in, especially when they hold the screening controls?"

Are you saying Trump is restricting the best and brightest?  I don't see that. Look at our academic institutions.  They are *loaded* with foreign born.   And now the children of foreign born.

Did you see the Asian American lawsuit against Harvard?  They are claiming they are being discriminated against because they are Asian .  If true half the staff of Harvard should be Chinese.    So Trump may not be the ones restricting them. 

What great scientist can you name that has not been able to work in the US? 

Thanks ccp, good points.  I can answer you more generally.  With illegal immigration and Democrat-led immigration we had some problems (understatement).  Again, see Ann Coulter's Adios America, well researched data.  The problems had to do with abandonment of what got us originally to the point of American greatness. 

1.  E Pluribus Unum: out of many, one.  Not to pick on any one Hispanic but as a group we have a lot of people  not becoming 'one' with the already here Americans.  The illegal flood wrongfully puts a cloud over the legal ones.  They aren't all going back so we need settlement of this issue, a stop to the flood and a pause or tightening of the legal inflow from where too many have come too fast to assimilate.

In this town, ditto that for Somalians who have other problems.  They aren't assimilating and a certain percentage of them are hostile to everything we stand for like peace and prosperity. 

If the problem today were Scandinavians, Scots or conservative political board writers, then pause or stop that too.

2.  Overstayed visas.  Non enforcement of our laws brought us 9/11.  The wall and southern border is only one aspect of the law breaking.

3.  National security and sovereignty: We can't have war gangs deciding who comes in.

4.  The phenomenon of "free shit".  Muslims don't go to Sweden for the weather or sunshine; they go for the world's most generous government benefits.  Same partly goes for us.  Liberals compare current inflow with previous ones, but people in the past did not come for that reason.  They came to pursue the American Dream in the Shiny City on the Hill.  Immigrants suffered, sacrificed, perservered and bettered themselves and the country.  Contrast that with now.

5.  Lastly or firstly, WE should decide who comes in, not be victims of it.

Regardless of where Trump is on this, in general, we will need laborers.  The US, like Europe, have demographic challenges.  But as mentioned, we have 100 million adults already here and not working at a point we are defining as full employment.  In fact, the size of our workforce is a fluid number that depends on incentives and disincentives to work - and has plenty of room to move.  So maybe the need for laborer is later.  Right now we need to entice some labor out of existing population.  But if we aren't willing to do that, we need laborers now.

I know that when we read the MIT class list or faculty list we don't see the most common names we have here:  Johnson, Anderson, Nelson, Olson, Peterson, Smith, Larson, Miller.  But I don't know by seeing their names how many are foreign students, how many are citizens, how many are allowed to stay and how many are forced to leave upon graduating - as G M referenced. 

What I know or believe is more general, that whether we are or not right now, it is in our best interest to retain and recruit the best and the brightest, the most ambitious and especially to attract and retain entrepreneurs, the dearth of the last ten years.  MHO. 

cf: Einstein was a nice catch for the US, won WWII.
Also András Gróf: 
How many people are employed by the industry Intel (first microchip) pioneered and who is the next one to do that?
40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by either immigrants or the children of immigrants

Others are certain to not do anything like that and some predictably pose a net loss loss to our country.  The point is that: we choose who gets in, based on our best interests.
235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China will 'compel' Saudi Arabia to trade oil in yuan on: October 12, 2017, 11:36:42 AM
Or else?!  They will buy their oil from the US?  Venezuela (Venezuelan Bolívar)?  Japan, lol.
Maybe Russia, which of these countries needs a flood of Yuan for their consumer purchases?  Angola?

If they partner up with Iran, how 'bout we do the same with Taiwan?

Does anyone remember when over-reliance on unreliable oil sources was a finance and national security nightmare - for the importer?
China surpassed the United States as the world’s largest net importer of petroleum in 2013. Within the next few decades, it is expected to buy roughly 70 percent of its oil from foreign sources, much of which will come from countries known for instability. Sudan alone provides 7 percent of China’s oil imports, and over one-third of Chinese oil imports come from Sub-Saharan Africa. Some of China’s largest oil suppliers are Angola, Sudan, Nigeria, and Equatorial Guinea, which are all known for political instability.

“Iran could also be a big supplier to Beijing in the months and years to come, as well as a partner that Tehran could call on to supply important loans, technology, and resources to develop Iran’s oil and natural resource sectors,” Kazianis concluded.

China is already heavily investing in Iranian oil, according to The New York Times and has been Iran’s largest trading partner for six years in a row. The two largest suppliers of Chinese oil, Russia and Saudi Arabia, are politically stable but are involved in Middle Eastern conflicts. China prefers to avoid being drawn into such confrontations, especially given recent tensions with its own Muslim minorities.


Let's see what Scott G says.  It seems to me that:  a) none of these countries were using the US$ by choice.  They used it because it was in their best interest to do so.  If so, then switching makes them worse off.  b) Currency is a medium of exchange, doesn't change underlying fundamentals.
236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Environmental Question, How can gasoline emissions cause drought? on: October 12, 2017, 11:11:12 AM
Combustion formula of gasoline:

Natural Gas:

We worried about peak oil.  We worry about CO2.  Why aren't we worried about Oxygen depletion and H2O production, both happening at a faster rate than CO2 emission.

H2O is a far more effective greenhouse gas than CO2.  When the CO2 scare winds down and the Napa fires burn down, I predict we will worry next about too much water vapor in the atmosphere.

Trivia question:  What is mother nature's most efficient way of combating global warming, the very fastest method known of removing the largest quantities of the 'worst' greenhouse gas  from the atmosphere? 
Answer:  Hurricane

237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science, global warming: evaporation of the Great Lakes, Got water? on: October 12, 2017, 10:41:45 AM
Hat tip Powerline, John Hinderaker

Congressional Record June 25, 2013

What we are seeing in global warming is the evaporation of our Great Lakes. It is a scary thing to think about what this will ultimately do to us.  Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL

Climate change is lowering Great Lakes water levels.
National Resources Defense Council, August 7, 2013

Climate Change Drive(s) Low Water Levels on the Great Lakes
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Water Currents, National geographic, November 20, 2012

Scientists at the Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concluded that climate change is playing a role in determining Great Lakes water levels.  - National Public Radio News

And now this:

Lake Superior is near record high and threatening shoreline
Star Tribune  OCTOBER 11, 2017

Lakes Michigan and Huron... the water is higher than normal there, too.

“Rainwater doesn’t have anywhere to go,” he added. “Everything’s saturated.”

Weather is cyclical.  Who knew?

I know there is drought and fires in Calif.  Droughts are local/regional, and cyclical; we are swimming in water here.

For translation, one inch of Lake Superior water equals 551 BILLION gallons of water.  That number increases as the shorelines overflow.

238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Professional Journalists! Iowahawk on: October 12, 2017, 08:09:44 AM
Journalism is about covering important stories.
With a pillow, until they stop moving.

   - David Burge, Iowahawk via PJ Instapundit Glenn Reynolds

How NBC ‘Killed’ Ronan Farrow’s Weinstein Exposé
239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Nudge Economics? Don't Nudge Me There! James Taranto, WSJ on: October 11, 2017, 01:54:27 PM
From Crafty's post on the cyber war thread:
Cass Sunstein, (Marc:  shocked shocked shocked) who co-wrote a book titled “Nudge” with Thaler, which helped to popularize his ideas on behavioral economics, ...

Nudge economics is to blame for Obamacare's tax on the poor, the mandate penalty:

Speaking of the memory hole and posted previously, a few years ago I sent a column idea on that book and topic to (friend of the forum?) James Taranto, then online editor of the WSJ opinion page.  He hit it out of the park and put yours truly in the credits.  )

Don't Nudge Me There
If government may dictate soda size, why not sexual behavior?
March 25, 2013
If you want to get published on the op-ed page of a major newspaper, a good way to go about it is to make a reasonable, or at least reasonable-sounding, case for an unpopular and outlandish position. It's important that the issue be trivial, so that readers will get riled up but no one will really feel offended or threatened.

Philosopher Sarah Conly, author of a new book called "Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism," has discovered the formula. In a New York Times op-ed titled "Three Cheers for the Nanny State," she defends Mayor Michael Bloomberg's almost universally ridiculed (and judicially enjoined) ban on large sodas and other sugary beverages.

Conly's argument doesn't seem unreasonable, though it is incoherent in places. In a parenthetical aside, for example, she mocks opponents for objecting over such a trivial matter: "Large cups of soda as symbols of human dignity? Really?" (Note to the editors: That "Really?" is lazy writing. Why not let a rhetorical question stand on its own? See what we mean?) But of course she wants us to take her defense of this silly policy as a serious philosophical argument.

Then there's this priceless passage: "Do we care so much about our health that we want to be forced to go to aerobics every day and give up all meat, sugar and salt? No. But in this case, it's some extra soda. Banning a law on the grounds that it might lead to worse laws would mean we could have no laws whatsoever."

Oddly, Conly bases her reductio ad absurdum on false empirical premises. The benefits and risks of exercise, and of particular forms of exercise, vary from individual to individual. And giving up all meat and salt, unlike sugar, is likely to harm your health.

The best part is that conclusion. Essentially she's saying that if you accept one slippery-slope argument, you have to accept all slippery-slope arguments. Therefore, slippery-slope arguments are unsound.

But wait, that's a slippery-slope argument! You've heard of the liar's paradox? Its simplest form is the statement "This statement is false." Conly's greatest contribution to philosophy may be the slippery-slope argument against slippery-slope arguments. Call it the slipper's paradox.

We're less impressed with Conly's argument in favor of the soda ban and measures like it. She rebuts John Stuart Mill, the 19th-century liberal philosopher who established the "harm principle"--the idea that coercion is generally justified only to prevent individuals from harming others. Mill also allowed that there were unusual cases in which government would be justified in restricting an individual's behavior for his own good--"when we are acting out of ignorance and doing something we'll pretty definitely regret." Since it's common knowledge that large quantities of refined sugar are bad for you, that wouldn't justify the soda ban.

Conly thinks Mill didn't go far enough in justifying coercion. Science has shown "that we often don't think very clearly when it comes to choosing the best means to attain our ends," she writes. "We make errors. . . . We are all prone to identifiable and predictable miscalculations." Thus we should surrender a measure of autonomy and yield to rules promulgated by experts, who presumably know what's good for us: "Giving up a little liberty is something we agree to when we agree to live in a democratic society that is governed by laws."

Again she brings up the slippery slope: "What people fear is that this is just the beginning: today it's soda, tomorrow it's the guy standing behind you making you eat your broccoli, floss your teeth, and watch 'PBS NewsHour' every day."

Crazy, right? Maybe not. Conly's op-ed never mentions smoking, but in a sympathetic review in the New York Review of Books, Cass Sunstein reports that in "Against Autonomy" she argues "that because the health risks of smoking are so serious, the government should ban it." (Sunstein, a legal scholar and former Obama administration official, is coauthor of the 2008 book "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness," which makes an argument similar to Conly's.)

What's interesting about the smoking-ban proposal is that while it is culturally radical, it is not philosophically radical. Is there any doubt that if cigarettes were a new invention, lawmakers would quickly ban them? Libertarians would object, on the same ground that they argue for the legalization of other drugs. But their point of view would command little public support, at least unless and until illicit cigarette smoking became as widespread as illicit marijuana use is today.

That is to say that a moderate form of Conly's philosophy has long prevailed, even in as freedom-loving a country as America. While we may bridle at being told we can't do something we are used to doing or didn't realize we weren't supposed to do, generally we don't do so as a matter of principle. (Libertarians, you're off the hook on that observation.) Generally speaking, Americans accept a wide variety of regulations on their personal behavior that are designed to be in their own good.

So what does Conly have to say that is original? Well, her book is called "Against Autonomy" and subtitled "Justifying Coercive Paternalism." That makes it sound as if she is advocating aggressive and thoroughgoing government intrusion into individual decision-making. Her positions on the soda ban and tobacco prohibition seem to bolster that. But those take her only slightly beyond the views that today prevail among the left-liberal elite.

Similarly, according to Sunstein, she endorses Bloomberg's ban on trans fats as well as "regulations designed to reduce portion sizes"--presumably of solid food as well as dissolved sugar. But in areas in which her philosophy would seem to conflict with prevailing left-liberal views, she's less adventurous than Bloomberg:

She is far more ambivalent about Mayor Bloomberg's effort to convince the US Department of Agriculture to authorize a ban on the use of food stamps to buy soda. She is not convinced that the health benefits would be significant, and she emphasizes that people really do enjoy drinking soda.
You'd think the logic of "coercive paternalism"--of government-imposed restrictions designed to promote individual welfare--would apply more strongly when individuals are dependent on government for financial support of their welfare. To put it another way, someone who is financially autonomous has a stronger argument that he ought to be personally autonomous. We're not sure what Conly thinks of that argument--the $95 cover price (0% off at Amazon) has nudged us away from acquiring her book--but we suspect she adheres less strongly to "coercive paternalism" than to the orthodoxies of contemporary left-liberalism.

An even better example is this observation from Sunstein's review: "Because hers is a paternalism of means rather than ends, she would not authorize government to stamp out sin (as, for example, by forbidding certain forms of sexual behavior)."

What a staggering cop-out. The past 50 years or so have seen a massive deregulation of personal behavior in the sexual sphere, a revolution of law, technology, custom and economics, all in the name of personal autonomy. Never mind "sin"--this has had bad consequences for public health (AIDS and other new sexually transmitted diseases), for children (far more of whom are born out of wedlock and reared without fathers), and even for the future of the welfare state (since declining fertility makes old-age entitlements unsustainable).

It may be that the sexual revolution is irreversible and the concomitant problems are intractable. If Conly lacks the imagination to come up with policy solutions, so do we. But if she dismisses this enormous question as a matter of "sin" and focuses instead on trivia like soda-size regulations, why should we take her philosophy seriously?

 James Taranto
240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: October 11, 2017, 01:12:23 PM
Very funny! 

Times change rapidly.  This was just 9 years ago, the two Republicans at the top of the ticket opposed gay marriage, the two top Democrats including the left-most member of the Senate promised they also oppose gay marriage, same as the Republicans.  The NPR moderator says "wonderful" to we all oppose gay marriage, "let's move on".  Gays hear that and vote Democrat because they know Republicans are telling the truth and Democrats are just saying that to get elected. 

In a sense, nothing has changed.
241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: October 11, 2017, 12:05:01 PM
Doug really good analysis.

I am curious to see what the income brackets are going to look like.

I don't know why people in the bottom rung wind up paying 12 % rather then 10% .  Or why other likely will see no cuts.  Or if the state income tax deduction  is dropped how anyone in the middle will wind up with anything more then where they started

I also don't know why 47 % pay nothing.  Yet I am sure the MSM is happy to poll them on questions like :

should OTHERS pay more?

or why do have a right to participate in polls about taxes when you pay nothing.  I digress...   but if I see one more poll taken by popsugar or newsweek ....

also gotta love Dems when they  say this tax "cut" will balloon the deficit.  Suddenly the deficit is a major concern for them.

"I don't know why people in the bottom rung wind up paying 12 % rather then 10%"

Doubling the standard deduction takes care of this mathematically if not politically. 

"I also don't know why 47 % pay nothing."

That will take a real leader to call out the country on this. People like Trump and Romney are too personally vulnerable on the 'issue' of the 'rich' to take it on.  Like Bush, Dole Bush, McCain and Romney, Trump cannot articulate why marginal rates need to be lower.  Even Reagan could not articulate why everyone who is capable needs to have skin in the game.

Rush L used to say they had identified a group of Americans who are not paying their fair share... it's the poor!
That does not sell either, nor Romney conflating the 47% who do not pay in with the 47% who will never vote for him.  Different but overlapping groups.

This current lousy package has some good points that are still not fully developed.  If the top rate on S-corp pass through income is 25%, in a sense that becomes the new top rate.  Many loophole protectors will be thrown in to prevent that kind of 'abuse', high earners taking the 25% rate. 

There is no political will for it but a constitutional amendment should be passed that prevents spending above 20% of GDP without supermajority, emergency approval to exceed it and limit all federal marginal tax rates to 25%.  If you want more spending on yourself, then vote yourself more taxes, not impose them on others.  If you want more dollars to the Treasury, grow the economy, not penalize the participants.

A 25% rate still means a 35% rate in places like CA, NY, MN, NJ?  Tax rates higher than that enlarge the importance of income and tax avoidance.

Also missing in the plan is indexing capital gains to inflation.  Labor is nothing without capital and locking assets in place defines the opposite of a healthy, dynamic economy.

To think we can achieve optimum growth without reforming our monstrous tax code is to deny math, science and history.
242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans, Both sides openly splitting the party on: October 11, 2017, 11:14:15 AM
WSJ editorial page calls the wall builders "restrictionists":
"Immigration Bait and Switch
Trump bows to the restrictionists and may scupper a deal.
White House demands include 70 immigration “priorities” that amount to everything that the restrictionist right has ever sought. They include appropriating funds to complete a wall along the southern border and slashing legal immigration by half.

I am a big fan of the WSJ opinion page - since the late 70s. (That doesn't mean I agree with them on everything.) In the age of Trump and to his supporters, they are the enemy, called "establishment" and worse.  Ask Bannon, Buchanan and Sparta about that.  A critical distinction in immigration is the difference between legal and illegal.

Ann Coulter in 'Adios America' went after legal and illegal immigration and Trump launched his campaign based on her findings.  But that has nothing to do with software engineers and needed entrepreneurs, etc.  Trump, you are President now, draw a distinction.

Why is the wsj editorial board opposing a "wall" (didn't we have an election on that?) and why is the Trump side opposing the good side of legal immigration? 

Back to the article:  "The real labor problem is a shortage, as the jobless rate has hit 4.2% nationwide. America’s tight visa caps are sending high-tech jobs to Canada and agricultural production to Mexico."

Why are they using  a failed measure of the left, jobless rate 4.2%, when 100 million adults don't work?  And why is the Trump side opposed to bring the best and the brightest in, especially when they hold the screening controls?

And why the name calling?  "Restrictionists".  Answer in kind?  The vitriol on the other side is worse.  Ask Sparta
what they think of Rubio.

WSJ continued:  "Many Republicans also oppose the wall as a needless waste of money that won’t stop criminals and drug traffickers. The costs would vastly outweigh any benefits, especially since border apprehensions have been falling during the Trump Administration and are down 24% from last year. The number of unaccompanied children who are apprehended has dropped by more than half since last October.

If Mr. Trump feels he needs a symbolic wall victory, he’d be smarter to settle for a virtual wall with drones, aerostat blimps and towers with infrared sensors to fill gaps in fencing where the border patrol has difficulty accessing. Newer technology has facial recognition features that can capture biometric data. A virtual wall could be installed within months, not years, and it can be continually improved.

The fall in border crossing is not reason to change the policy and this is not an either/or decision.  (Again), we had an election on this and elections (should have) consequences.  We need some kind of a wall and we need all of these technologies.  The days of organized crime and Mexican gangs 'controlling' need to be over, and if you want Trump voters to move past single issue politics, build the damn wall.

Name calling and parotting the left does not pass for persuasion.

Immigration and free trade are big splitting points on the right.  How does this get resolved?  Divide and lose?  Why not find reasonable solutions and pass them.
243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump Administration, VDH with a balanced recap of the DT Presidency so far on: October 11, 2017, 10:33:22 AM
The message vs. messenger.
Victor Davis Hanson, always worth a read.

VDH: "...did any recent past Republican nominee—forget Trump’s motivations or questions about his relative sincerity—even run on the premise that working Americans were ignored and losers in the redirects of globalization, open borders, and outsourcing and offshoring? Or that consequently they deserved empathy and a second-chance at the American dream? Was there a chance that Trump saw not just a political opening but an injustice perpetrated against political outcasts deserving of concern in a way that other more politically qualified and supposedly empathetic candidates of 2016 did not?"
[Doug] I supported Rubio and others supported Cruz.  There is  a very good chance neither would have broken the 'blue wall'  as Trump did, or run the table on the swing states to win.  The obstacles to restoring this country right now are a few easily identifiable individuals in the Senate.  Trump, with all his warts, is not the problem (at this point).

244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Biden/Obama 2008: We do not support gay marriage, "no difference" with the right on: October 11, 2017, 10:12:40 AM
I was looking for something else and found this tidbit:

[Gwen] IFILL: Let's try to avoid nuance, Senator. Do you support gay marriage?

BIDEN: No. Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that [gay marriage]. That is basically the decision to be able to be able to be left to faiths and people who practice their faiths the determination what you call it.

The bottom line though is, and I'm glad to hear the governor, I take her at her word, obviously, that she think there should be no civil rights distinction, none whatsoever, between a committed gay couple and a committed heterosexual couple. If that's the case, we really don't have a difference.

IFILL: Is that what you [Sarah Palin] said?

PALIN: Your question to him was whether he supported gay marriage and my answer is the same as his and it is that I do not.

IFILL: Wonderful. You agree. On that note, let's move to foreign policy.
In the calendar of so-called human rights, that's not very long ago!

Can anyone remember when gay marriage finally passed.  That's right, it didn't.  It was decided by one Justice (Anthony Kennedy) in a 5-4 divided Supreme Court.  Biden, chair of the senate judiciary committee, opposed Bork for his "originalism".  Leftists take a long and deceptive path to advance their agenda.

Oddly 'Republican' Donald Trump is the first President to run and win the Presidency while supporting gay marriage.
245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Humor on: October 11, 2017, 09:34:08 AM
Don't call them "illegal firearms".  Call them "undocumented weapons" and give them sanctuary.

Excellent!  )
246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: GPF: North Korea-- where China can beat US on: October 10, 2017, 11:42:47 AM
A few points in response:

1.  'US would lose in NK'.  We don't know that.  This isn't 1950 and how is Vietnam analogous if we didn't invade the North.  We don't have to 'win' and rule them; we have to disarm them of missiles and nukes.

2.  Trump is not Carter etc.  He WILL recognize Taiwan. (He already has.)  I will come down sort of like "Mr. Gorbochev, Tear Down This Wall.  His advisers will all say no, too dangerous, too provocative and then he will do it.

3.  China's ego-like victory over the US by prolonging the NK crisis is trivial compared to Japan arming and going nuclear.

Japan updates satellite technology for domestic 'GPS', which also gives them the best view ever of NK (and China).

Given all that, I see NK as more a crisis for China.  When will they see that?
247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics, Janet Yellen: This economy still sucks. on: October 09, 2017, 12:50:14 PM
“My colleagues and I may have misjudged the strength of the labor market,”
    - Janet Yellen  Sept 26, 2017

So let's oppose all reforms that would energize growth and help labor...
248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, 10 years of Plowhorse and we are still worse off! on: October 09, 2017, 12:45:04 PM
What say Wesbury to this?

80% of U.S. reported less income in 2016 survey than in 2007.

Net-worth midpoint is $42,400 below pre-crisis level.

(What is your net worth AFTER you subtract your share of the federal debt, and how has THAT changed?)

Newly released income and wealth data from the Federal Reserve Board’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances show that America’s richest families enjoyed gains in income and net worth over the last decade. Not part of the top 10 percent? Then your income probably fell.
Readers of this thread know:  For ten years we chased the policies of equality over growth.  While we destroyed growth and inequality widened.

Lessons learned:  NOTHING.
249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People, gun rights, What sells more guns? on: October 09, 2017, 12:36:13 PM
I wrote my complaints from the media thread to Fox News Sunday and added this, something everyone here already knows:

If fewer guns is your safety point, look at what escalated gun sales in America more than anything else, the perception that guns will be taken away or not available to buy later.

Obama is the best gun salesman in America

Gun Sales Have Dropped Since Trump's Election

Once again and as always, liberalism involves first level thinking.  Nothing would contain gun sales like running our government like the Founders intended, securing the country and enforcing all of our constitutional rights.  Nothing scares people into arming, building fortresses and stocking ammunition like threatening to take our rights away, without a constitutional amendment and without due process.
250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media, Chris Wallace Fox News Sunday smears NRA on: October 09, 2017, 12:12:05 PM
I wish to revise and retract anything positive I have said about Chris Wallace.  His interview the with NRA executive director yesterday was AWFUL.  He blamed him, accused him, spewed liberal talking points, interrupted, didn't let him answer.  Not fair, no balance.

2 or 3 of their panelists were worthless too.  Juan Williams every week for balance?  Not exactly compelling TV or analysis.

One thing in media, why they don't split their time something like 50-50, allow a guest to give his/her side of it and also challenge them where they are wrong or where there is another side to it.

This is noteworthy in media because it seems that Fox News is ripe for replacement on the right.  They want to be fair and balanced and end up on the far left part of the time.  That leaves an opening a mile wide for a conservative alternative to emerge.

NRA already agreed with 'bump stock' regulation.  What else would have helped here?

Disclaimer, I don't watch cable news so must admit an occasional once a week peek is not a full examination.  Their radio news however often speaks with the same liberal talking points of the hated MSM.
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