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51  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Brandon Smith Responds... on: September 05, 2016, 09:06:49 AM
My view on this is closer to Obj's than to Grannis' view.  I don't follow the reasoning of Grannis, Wesbury, others, that quantitative (monetary/money) expansion didn't increase the money supply because that money is mostly sitting in reserve accounts or however they reason that.

The market has been up 7 years while monetary policy has been absurdly on the expansionist side.  The Fed's best economists have considered the economy too weak and fragile this whole time to even begin to raise rates from zero to normal with the exception of one, 1/4 point rise. With rates down, stocks mostly soared.

I understand the age-old logic fallacy that correlation doesn't equal causation but what else explains the rise of all large stocks, fracking, economic strength?

Holding interest rates down has kept interest rate based investments uncompetitive with capital in equities.  All money (and more money?) chasing the same stocks IMHO.

Holding interest rates artificially down allows prime borrowers to finance operating capital for nothing.  Who does that help more than the Dow 30, Nasdaq 100 or S&P 500?  Startups don't have the same easy money.

The other factor typically missed is over-regulation.  When you buy a Dow or S&P stock, you are buying global market share in an industry.  Nothing keeps new competitors, innovation and creative destruction out like over-regulation.  No one has more lobbyists or better lobbyists than the biggest companies in the land.  Over-regulation in an industry, banks, oil, pharma, makes it so only the biggest, most entrenched companies with the deepest pockets can do it.

There has been a disconnect between the US Economy and the 'US' stock market for the entire Obama terms.  Economic dynamism lost is good news if you own major market share in major industry and all these companies do. 

Where I differ with Obj is this:  " it does not surprise me that a "mainstream economist" would be completely oblivious to this information. They live in another world separate from reality."

I consider Scott Grannis to be an expert, a respected friend of the forum and to know more about all of this than me.  The Dallas Fed chair Richard Fisher is a hero but having one smart person agree with us doesn't make us right.  Greenspan is partly an idiot;  having him agree with us in part also doesn't make us right either.  Time will sort out who is right. 
52  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela, "Conned in Caracas", WSJ 2004, "The fraud was centralized." on: September 05, 2016, 08:51:41 AM
I'm sure we had this posted at the time but amazing how difficult it was for me through the should be unbiased google to find anything to back up my memory of the election fraud in Hugo Chavez' recall election.

"This is no small matter", they wrote then.  Look at what it means for the Venezuelan people now.  None of this had to happen.  Your socialist friend has his conspiracy theory backwards. 

Conned in Caracas

WSJ lead editorial, Sept. 9, 2004

Both the Bush Administration and former President Jimmy Carter were quick to bless the results of last month's Venezuelan recall vote, but it now looks like they were had. A statistical analysis by a pair of economists suggests that the random-sample "audit" results that the Americans trusted weren't random at all.

This is no small matter. The imprimatur of Mr. Carter and his Carter Center election observers is being used by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to claim a mandate. The anti-American strongman has been steering his country toward dictatorship and is stirring up trouble throughout Latin America. If the recall election wasn't fair, why would Americans want to endorse it?

The new study was released this week by economists Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard and Roberto Rigobon of MIT. They zeroed in on a key problem with the August 18 vote audit that was run by the government's electoral council (CNE): In choosing which polling stations would be audited, the CNE refused to use the random number generator recommended by the Carter Center. Instead, the CNE insisted on its own program, run on its own computer. Mr. Carter's team acquiesced, and Messrs. Hausmann and Rigobon conclude that, in controlling this software, the government had the means to cheat.

"This result opens the possibility that the fraud was committed only in a subset of the 4,580 automated centers, say 3,000, and that the audit was successful because it directed the search to the 1,580 unaltered centers. That is why it was so important not to use the Carter Center number generator. If this was the case, Carter could never have figured it out."

Mr. Hausmann told us that he and Mr. Rigoban also "found very clear trails of fraud in the statistical record" and a probability of less than 1% that the anomalies observed could be pure chance. To put it another way, they think the chance is 99% that there was electoral fraud.

The authors also suggest that the fraud was centralized. Voting machines were supposed to print tallies before communicating by Internet with the CNE center. But the CNE changed that rule, arranging to have totals sent to the center first and only later printing tally sheets. This increases the potential for fraud because the Smartmatic voting machines suddenly had two-way communication capacity that they weren't supposed to have. The economists say this means the CNE center could have sent messages back to polling stations to alter the totals.

None of this would matter if the auditing process had been open to scrutiny by the Carter observers. But as the economists point out: "After an arduous negotiation, the Electoral Council allowed the- -OAS [Organization of American States] and the Carter Center to observe all aspects of the election process except for the central computer hub, a place where they also prohibited the presence of any witnesses from the opposition. At the time, this appeared to be an insignificant detail. Now it looks much more meaningful."

Yes, it does. It would seem that Colin Powell and the Carter Center have some explaining to do. The last thing either would want is for Latins to think that the U.S. is now apologizing for governments that steal elections. Back when he was President, Mr. Carter once famously noted that the Afghanistan invasion had finally caused him to see the truth about Leonid Brezhnev. A similar revelation would seem to be in order toward Mr. Chavez.
53  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: A socialist internet friend proffers this - to excuse socialist failure on: September 05, 2016, 12:35:34 AM

About the author:
"Israel’s continued annexation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian territory precludes any diplomatic process;"

It's quite a stretch to tie Venezuela's problems to anything other than the policies of Chavez and Maduro.  This is a case study in leftist economics.  In terms of policies, Venezueal is a leftist's dream come true.  Now the economic results speak for themselves.

Compare Chile's policies and results with Venezuela.  (Below)  Venezuela was the world's 10th freest economy in 1975 and dropped to world's least free economy in 2013 (on a list that excludes North Korea for lack of data).  Now people can't buy food.

From the article:
"The US relaunched a multi-pronged offensive to undermine and overthrow the newly elected Nicolas Maduro regime."

Absurd on its face that Obama was trying to overthrow the socialists in Venezuela.  Going back in time, it was Bush who trusted Colin Powell who trusted "observer" Jimmy Carter to 'certify' the fraudulent, failed recall of Hugo Chavez in 2004.

WSJ Sept 9, 2004, "Conned in Caracas"


5 Ways Capitalist Chile is Much Better Than Socialist Venezuela

The story of Chile’s success starts in the mid-1970s, when Chile’s military government abandoned socialism and started to implement economic reforms. In 2013, Chile was the world’s 10th freest economy. Venezuela, in the meantime, declined from being the world’s 10th freest economy in 1975 to being the world’s least free economy in 2013 (Human Progress does not have data for the notoriously unfree North Korea).

1. As economic freedom increased, so did income per capita (adjusted for inflation and purchasing power parity), which rose from being 31 percent of that in Venezuela to being 138 percent of that in Venezuela. Between 1975 and 2015, the Chilean economy grew by 287 percent. Venezuela’s shrunk by 12 percent.

2. As its economy expanded, so did Chile’s ability to provide good health care for its people. In 1975, Chile’s infant mortality rate was 33 percent higher than Venezuela’s. In 2015, almost twice as many infants died in Venezuela as those who died in Chile.

3. With declining infant mortality and improving standard of living came a steady increase in life expectancy. In 1975, Venezuelans lived longer than Chileans. In 2014, a typical Chilean lived over 7 years longer than the average citizen of the Bolivarian Republic.

4. Moreover, more Chileans of both sexes survive to old age than they do in Venezuela. As they enter their retirement, the people of Chile enjoy a private social security system that was put into place by Cato’s distinguished senior fellow Jose Pinera. The system generates an average return of 10 percent per year (rather than the paltry 2 percent generated by the state-run social security system in the United States).

5. Last, but not least, as the people of Chile grew richer, they started demanding more say in the running of their country. Starting in the late 1980s, the military gradually and peacefully handed power over to democratically-elected representatives. In Venezuela, the opposite has happened. As failure of socialism became more apparent, the government had to resort to ever more repressive measures in order to keep itself in power—just as Friedrich Hayek predicted.
54  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary Clinton’s favorability among women has suddenly reversed itself on: September 01, 2016, 07:50:02 AM
Hillary Clinton’s favorability among women has suddenly reversed itself.  Last month, women had a largely favorable view of the Democratic presidential candidate, with 54 percent viewing her positively and 43 percent viewing her negatively. But those numbers have flipped in the last few weeks, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.  Women now dislike Clinton, with 52 percent holding a negative view and 45 percent holding a positive view.

"To be fair, men like her even less."  - Glenn Reynolds  (

This election is SO winnable for Trump with the frontrunner stuck at about 41% in the polls, no accomplishments, no skills, no charisma, and no positive plan for the country.
55  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / re.VDH: Lies 2016, Wm Safire: congenital liar 1996. She had good reasons to lie. on: August 31, 2016, 11:10:43 AM

Great article.  All the Hillary supporters I know seem to know there is something wrong with her but the depth and breadth of it is astounding.

Her words are a contrary indicator of truth.  It all brings back memories.  Bill Safire, NY Times nailed it when she was 'First Lady' in Bill Clinton's first term:

Blizzard of Lies
Published: January 8, 1996

Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady -- a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation -- is a congenital liar.

Drip by drip, like Whitewater torture, the case is being made that she is compelled to mislead, and to ensnare her subordinates and friends in a web of deceit.

1. Remember the story she told about studying The Wall Street Journal to explain her 10,000 percent profit in 1979 commodity trading? We now know that was a lie told to turn aside accusations that as the Governor's wife she profited corruptly, her account being run by a lawyer for state poultry interests through a disreputable broker.

She lied for good reason: To admit otherwise would be to confess taking, and paying taxes on, what some think amounted to a $100,000 bribe.

2. The abuse of Presidential power known as Travelgate elicited another series of lies. She induced a White House lawyer to assert flatly to investigators that Mrs. Clinton did not order the firing of White House travel aides, who were then harassed by the F.B.I. and Justice Department to justify patronage replacement by Mrs. Clinton's cronies.

Now we know, from a memo long concealed from investigators, that there would be "hell to pay" if the furious First Lady's desires were scorned. The career of the lawyer who transmitted Hillary's lie to authorities is now in jeopardy. Again, she lied with good reason: to avoid being identified as a vindictive political power player who used the F.B.I. to ruin the lives of people standing in the way of juicy patronage.

3. In the aftermath of the apparent suicide of her former partner and closest confidant, White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster, she ordered the overturn of an agreement to allow the Justice Department to examine the files in the dead man's office. Her closest friends and aides, under oath, have been blatantly disremembering this likely obstruction of justice, and may have to pay for supporting Hillary's lie with jail terms.

Again, the lying was not irrational. Investigators believe that damning records from the Rose Law Firm, wrongfully kept in Vincent Foster's White House office, were spirited out in the dead of night and hidden from the law for two years -- in Hillary's closet, in Web Hubbell's basement before his felony conviction, in the President's secretary's personal files -- before some were forced out last week.

Why the White House concealment? For good reason: The records show Hillary Clinton was lying when she denied actively representing a criminal enterprise known as the Madison S.& L., and indicate she may have conspired with Web Hubbell's father-in-law to make a sham land deal that cost taxpayers $3 million.

Why the belated release of some of the incriminating evidence? Not because it mysteriously turned up in offices previously searched. Certainly not because Hillary Clinton and her new hang-tough White House counsel want to respond fully to lawful subpoenas.

One reason for the Friday-night dribble of evidence from the White House is the discovery by the F.B.I. of copies of some of those records elsewhere. When Clinton witnesses are asked about specific items in "lost" records -- which investigators have -- the White House "finds" its copy and releases it. By concealing the Madison billing records two days beyond the statute of limitations, Hillary evaded a civil suit by bamboozled bank regulators.

Another reason for recent revelations is the imminent turning of former aides and partners of Hillary against her; they were willing to cover her lying when it advanced their careers, but are inclined to listen to their own lawyers when faced with perjury indictments.

Therefore, ask not "Why didn't she just come clean at the beginning?" She had good reasons to lie; she is in the longtime habit of lying; and she has never been called to account for lying herself or in suborning lying in her aides and friends.

No wonder the President is fearful of holding a prime-time press conference. Having been separately deposed by the independent counsel at least twice, the President and First Lady would be well advised to retain separate defense counsel.
56  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 31, 2016, 09:29:10 AM
A miss on the article's point not to have noted this variable and to have discussed its implications , , ,

Good point on a big omission of the time.  If I may defend him, the peace dividend was held constant in that period while tax policy was greatly changed at a specific point.  It set up a good opportunity to contrast the effects of a policy, and he draws definitive conclusions not seen in mainstream reporting:

Wage rate growth was 8 times higher after capital gains rate cuts.  These are two things we are missing today!
57  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 31, 2016, 09:02:04 AM
When did the Soviet Empire collapse?  Wouldn't the "peace dividend" be an important variable here as well?

That's right, the Soviet empire collapse was complete by about 1991, the year before Bill Clinton was elected.  The peace dividend was the talk of the time and one reason people chose a small state governor over a war president. 

The end of the arms race was one factor that made a balanced budget possible.

With government funding stalled, creative talent and technology from the military moved to the private sector, internet protocol, for example, also the silicon valley engineers. 

But the military spending void alone would not have spurred that economic surge without the capital gains rate cuts energizing the venture capital industry, IMHO.

Our complacency and neglect of the military and foreign intelligence in that time led to the success of the next wave of attacks against us, embassies, USS Cole, 9/11, more wars and more military spending.
58  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: August 29, 2016, 05:18:50 PM
I think of people like that [Soros in this case] as Orthodox Leftist.  That is the religion.  Anything else like Jewish heritage or beliefs is secondary.  Same goes for Catholic leftists and others.  Catholics vote for pro-choice candidates at the same rate as the rest of the population.
59  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Economics, Economic Growth under former Pres. Bill Clinton on: August 29, 2016, 04:51:06 PM
Wages grew 8 times faster with capital gains tax rate cut.  Wage and labor productivity growth requires increasing capital investment, not punishing it.  Who knew?

"Real wages grew at 6.5 percent rate after the Bill Clinton-Newt Gingrich capital gains tax rate cuts compared with 0.8 percent growth rate after the Bill Clinton tax rate hikes of 1993."

The Heritage Foundation
March 4, 2008
Tax Cuts, Not the Clinton Tax Hike, Produced the 1990s Boom
By J.D. Foster, Ph.D.
Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy
Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies

When pressed about the harmful effects on the economy, proponents of higher taxes often fall back on what can be called the "Clinton defense." President Bill Clinton pushed a major tax increase through Congress in 1993, and, so the story goes, the economy boomed. How, then, can tax increases be so bad for the economy? The inference is even stronger: that higher taxes actually strengthened the economy.

The Clinton defense is superficially plausible, but it fails under closer scrutiny. Economic growth was solid but hardly spectacular in the years immediately following the 1993 tax increase. The real economic boom occurred in the latter half of the decade, after the 1997 tax cut. Low taxes are still a key to a strong economy.

The Clinton Tax Defense

A growing body of literature and experience indicates that higher taxes are associated with a smaller economy.[1] It is generally axiomatic that the more one taxes something, the less there is of the item taxed.

There is surely no reluctance among proponents to argue that higher taxes on tobacco materially reduce tobacco consumption or that higher taxes on energy would appreciably reduce energy consumption. Yet, somehow, the argument persists that raisingtaxes on labor does not diminish the supply of labor or that raising taxes on capital does not appreciably reduce the amount of capital in the economy. In both cases, tax hikes weaken the economy and reduce the amount of income earned by American families.

The Clinton defense of higher taxes rests largely on a cursory review of the economic history of the 1990s. Whatever the theoretical debates, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding: President Clinton raisedtaxes, yet the economy grew, and grew smartly in the latter half of the 1990s. Economists have occasionally been accused of seeing something work in practice and then proving that it cannot work in theory. However, this is not the case here.

History suggests that the economy performed reasonably well in the years immediately following the tax hike, but history is not causality, and history sometimes needs a more careful examination to tell its story faithfully. Following the tax hike, the economy performed reasonably well, but not as well as one would expect given the conditions at the time. The real economic boom came later in the decade, just when the economy should have slowed as it made the transition from a period of recovery to normal expansion. Further, this acceleration coincided to a remarkable degree with the 1997 tax cut.

Contrasting the period immediately after the tax hike and the period immediately after the tax cut, the evidence strongly suggests that the tax hike likely slowed the economy as traditional theory suggests, and that it was the tax cut that gave the economy renewed vigor--and gave history the real 1990s boom. In other words, the Clinton defense of higher taxes does not hold up.

The Clinton Tax Hike

In 1993, President Clinton ushered through Congress a large package of tax increases, which included the following:[2]

An increase in the individual income tax rate to 36 percent and a 10 percent surcharge for the highest earners, thereby effectively creating a top rate of 39.6 percent.
Repeal of the income cap on Medicare taxes. This provision made the 2.9 percent Medicare payroll tax apply to all wage income. Like the Social Security payroll tax base today, the Medicare tax base was capped at a certain level of wage income prior to 1993.
A 4.3 cent per gallon increase in transportation fuel taxes.
An increase in the taxable portion of Social Security benefits.
A permanent extension of the phase-out of personal exemptions and the phase-down of the deduction for itemized expenses.
Raising the corporate income tax rate to 35 percent.
According to the original Treasury Department estimates, the Clinton tax hike was to raise federal revenues by 0.36 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in its first year and by 0.83 percent of GDP in its fourth year, when all provisions were in effect and timing differences associated with near-term taxpayer behaviors had sorted themselves out. In 1997, the fourth-year effect would be roughly equivalent to an increase in the federal tax burden of about $114 billion.


The economic environment at the time of the tax hike is important in assessing its consequences. In January 1993, the economy was entering its eighth quarter of expansion after the 1990-1991 recession. The recession had been relatively mild by historical standards, with a net drop in output of 1.3 percent. Yet even at the start of 1993, the economy was operating below capacity. Capacity utilization in the nation's factories, mines, and utilities was running at about 81 percent, whereas it had been around 84 percent through much of 1988 and 1989. The unemployment rate in January 1993 was 7.3 percent but had averaged 5.3 percent as recently as 1989. At the time of the tax hikes, the economy was recovering but still far from healthy.

Tax policy aside, much in the context of the 1990s was conducive to prosperity. The end of the Cold War brought a new sense of hope and greater certainty to the global economy. The price of energy was astoundingly low, with oil prices dropping to about $11 per barrel and averaging under $20 per barrel compared to prices above $90 per barrel today. The Federal Reserve had finally succeeded in establishing a significant degree of price stability, with inflation averaging less than 2 percent during the Clinton Administration. And, of course, a tremendous set of new productivity-enhancing technologies involving information technologies and the World Wide Web burst on the scene.

Absent a major negative shock, one should have expected a period of unusually strong growth from 1993 onward as the economy more fully employed its available capital and labor resources. In the four years following the Clinton tax hike (from 1993 through 1996):

The economy grew at an average annual rate of 3.2 percent in inflation-adjusted terms;
Employment rose by 11.6 million jobs;[3]
Average real hourly wages rose a total of five cents per hour;[4] and
Total market capitalization of the S&P 500 rose 78 percent in inflation-adjusted terms.
These statistics indicate a solid, but not spectacular, performance in the overall economy. Job growth was strong, as one would expect coming out of recession. Real wage growth remained almost non-existent, and the stock market performed well. But the real question is this: Altogether, did the economy perform better, or worse, because of the tax hike? The data from the period do not provide a clear answer.

The year 1997 was a watershed for both tax policy and the economy. By 1997, the economy had entered into a sustained expansion. The unemployment rate was 5.3 percent, a level thought at the time to be roughly consistent with full employment. Similarly, capacity utilization rates hovered around 82.5 percent; again, roughly consistent with full employment of the nation's industrial capacity. With a mature expansion and the economy running at what was believed to be about full capacity, growth would normally be expected to ease back as the economy makes the transition from recovery to normal growth. It was not a moment when one would expect growth to accelerate.

The 1997 Tax Cut: The Economy Unleashed

In 1997, the Republican-led Congress passed a tax-relief and deficit-reduction bill that was resisted but ultimately signed by President Clinton. The 1997 bill:

Lowered the top capital gains tax rate from 28 percent to 20 percent;
Created a new $500 child tax credit;
Established the new Hope and Lifetime Learning tax credits to reduce the after-tax costs of higher education;
Extended the air transportation excise taxes;
Phased in an increase in the estate tax exemption from $600,000 to $1 million;
Established Roth IRAs and increased the income limits for deductible IRAs;
Established education IRAs;
Conformed AMT depreciation lives to regular tax lives; and
Phased in a 15 cent-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax.
According to Treasury's original estimates, the 1997 tax cut was relatively modest, amounting to just 0.11 percent of GDP in its first year and 0.22 percent of GDP by its fourth year. In 1997, the fourth-year effect would be roughly equivalent to a reduction in the overall tax burden of about $30 billion.

Despite its modest size, tax cut advocates had high expectations for the tax cut's effects on the economy because the reduction in the capital gains tax rate was expected to unleash a torrent of entrepreneurial and venture capital activity. They were not disappointed.

In 1995, the first year for which these data are available, just over $8 billion in venture capital was invested.[5] Venture capital is especially critical to a vibrant economy because high-risk/high-return investment permits promising new businesses to blossom, rapidly spreading new technologies and new ideas into the marketplace and across the economy. Such investments, when successful, generate returns to investors that are subject primarily to the tax on capital gains. By 1998, the first full year in which the lower capital gains rates were in effect, venture capital activity reached almost $28 billion, more than a three-fold increase over 1995 levels, and by 1999, it had doubled yet again.

The explosion in venture capital activity cannot be credited entirely to the cut in capital gains tax rates, as the cut fortuitously coincided with technological developments that gave rise to the Internet-based "New Economy." However, the rapid development and application of these new technologies could not have occurred at such a rapid clip absent the enormous investment flows made possible largely by the reduction in the capital gains tax rate. This experience demonstrated yet again the truth of the axiom: The less you tax of something--in this case, venture capital investment--the more you get of it.

Comparing the Periods

The Clinton years present two consecutive periods as experiments of the effects of tax policy. The first period, from 1993 to 1996, began with a significant tax increase as the economy was accelerating out of recession. The second period, from 1997 to 2000, began with a modest tax cut as the economy should have settled into a normal growth period. The economy was decidedly stronger following the tax cut than it was following the tax increase.

The economy averaged 4.2 percent real growth per year from 1997 to 2000--a full percentage point higher than during the expansion following the 1993 tax hike (illustrated in the graph above). Employment increased by another 11.5 million jobs, which is roughly comparable to the job growth in the preceding four-year period. Real wages, however, grew at 6.5 percent, which is much stronger than the 0.8 percent growth of the preceding period (illustrated in the graph below). Finally, total market capitalization of the S&P 500 rose an astounding 95 percent. The period from 1997 to 2000 forms the memory of the booming 1990s, and it followed the passage of tax relief that was originally opposed by President Clinton.

In summary, coming out of a recession into a period when the economy should grow relatively rapidly, President Clinton signed a major tax increase. The average growth rate over his first term was a solid 3.2 percent. In 1997, at a time when the expansion was well along and economic growth should have slowed, Congress passed a modest net tax cut. The economy grew by a full percentage point-per-year faster over his second term than over Clinton's first term.

The evidence is fairly clear: The tax cuts, especially the reduction in the capital gains tax rate, made a major contribution to a strong economy. Given this observation, it seems likely, though admittedly less certain, that the tax increases in 1993, while not derailing the economy as many had forecast at the time, did indeed slow the recovery compared to what the economy could have achieved.


Proponents of tax increases often reference the Clinton 1993 tax increase and the subsequent period of economic growth as evidence that deficit reduction through tax hikes is a pro-growth policy. What these proponents ignore, however, is that the tax increases occurred at a time when the economy was recovering from recession and strong growth was to be expected. They also ignore that the real acceleration in the economy began in 1997, when economic growth should have cooled. This acceleration in growth coincided with a powerful pro-growth tax cut.

The evidence is persuasive that the tax increase probably slowed the economy compared to the growth it would have achieved and that the subsequent tax cuts of 1997, not the tax increases, were the source of the acceleration in real growth in the latter half of the decade. As taxes are now above their historical average as a share of the economy, and are rising, Congress should look to enact additional tax relief to keep the economy strong.

J.D. Foster, Ph.D., is Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy for the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
60  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Paul Krugman, Rapid growth normal out of steep decline,1983-1984 (not 2009-2016) on: August 29, 2016, 03:10:15 PM
Pure, hypocritical nonsense, published for the ages.

The secret of the long climb after 1982 was the economic plunge that preceded it. By the end of 1982 the U.S. economy was deeply depressed, with the worst unemployment rate since the Great Depression. So there was plenty of room to grow before the economy returned to anything like full employment.

The depressed economy in 1982 also explains ''Morning in America,'' the economic boom of 1983 and 1984. You see, rapid growth is normal when an economy is bouncing back from a deep slump.

   - Nobel winning economist Paul Krugman

The recovery was robust because the policy change was bold and pro-growth.

This is exactly what DIDN'T happen under Obama.  Why not?  TARP, QE, cash for clunkers, Solyndra and 'don't do stupid shit' is not a bold, pro-growth economic policy. More like a walk to a grave.
61  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nothing on Trump's illegal immigration flip flop at on: August 25, 2016, 04:08:42 PM
Waiting for Pat's outrage.
I doubt anyone here has posted that Trump is evil incarnate. If they did, I missed it. Trump may well win. Prepare yourself for when he fcuks us over to make his "deals".

Right.  Trump takes the Rubio electability position after thoroughly trashing it.  I also said then he wasn't going to deport anyone, just send the known criminals first and never get to the rest.  First he had to scare everyone and drive up his own negatives.

Say one thing in the primaries and another in the general election.  A different sort of politician...(?)
62  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption, Skullduggery, and Treason on: August 24, 2016, 03:21:57 PM
"What I am reading is that paying/donating for face time is legal."

It is illegal for foreign entities to give money to our campaigns.  Making the donations one or two steps removed is a violation of at the least of the spirit of the law.  Donations to the Foundation benefit the Clintons and the campaign.  It is a revolving door of co-mingled funds including some employees who worked for both the State Dept and the Foundation at the time.

"However, I think this misses an important point.  The right to petition one's elected representatives, and to support their efforts, is all well and good (and is limited to Americans, yes?)  but the Secretary of State is a qualitatively different matter."

Good point, and what is the right of Persian Gulf Sheiks and Putin/Russia to petition our Secretary of State through her personal and power enrichment for quid pro quo US Government favors?  What does $100 Billion buy in government favors these days?

To point out the obvious, the dispensing of that money empowers them also, in a perpetual motion way with 11% skimmed off before the other shenanigans even get started.
63  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: August 23, 2016, 10:06:01 PM
Ccp,   All of the above and then some. The poll average probably just tells us where we are right now.  Obama is a known leftist; people lean left.  Left seems normal and common sense when not challenged.

My hope was that the primaries would be 12 months of 17 Republicans taking apart the Obama record and explaining a better alternative.   That didn't happen there, doesn't happen in the media, in the schools, colleges or anywhere else.
64  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Canada’s only Arctic deep-water port is now closed on: August 23, 2016, 12:25:51 PM
Canada’s only Arctic deep-water port is now closed,

This should go under Pathological Science, Arctic shipping lanes are not yet open in the polar bear capital of the world.
65  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran, Investing the money to kill Americans on: August 23, 2016, 12:08:35 PM
66  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Hillbillary Clintons: The problem with chronic lying, VDH on: August 23, 2016, 10:40:11 AM
From the VDH Trump article just posted over there.


"The problem with chronic lying is that finally the liar reaches a combustible state, one in which she cannot lie any more without contradicting a particular prior lie and yet cannot tell the truth without contradicting all prior lies. To keep them straight, one needs an amoral photographic memory. Hillary Clinton has the requisite shamelessness, but (unlike Bill) not the animal cunning to pull off such serial prevarication."
67  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 9 Lives of Donald Trump, Victor Davis Hanson on: August 23, 2016, 10:37:28 AM
VDH is always a good read.  This is a particularly good piece on the state of the race today and where it might go from here.

"Trump’s political obituary over the last 14 months has been rewritten about every three weeks. ..."

Hanson sees a scenario where this can still turn in Trump's favor.
68  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: August 23, 2016, 10:21:50 AM
Here's what I think is wrong for the Republicans:

President Obama Job Approval
Approve 51.5
Disapprove 44.6
Net Approval  +6.9

Real Clear Politics poll averages.  That approval should be at minus double digits.  Either we aren't messaging or he is doing things right and we've got it wrong. 

But people also know the country is headed in the wrong direction:

Direction of Country
Right Direction 28.0
Wrong Track 64.3
Wrong Track +36.3

Maybe Obama's approval is personal and won't hand off to his successor.  But right now it is Obama and not Bill who is the best campaigner.  Reagan helped pull GHW Bush over the line.  We haven't herd the last from Michelle O in this campaign either.

Who are the Republican power horses that can step in to support Trump-Pence to match the power of this incumbent President?  There are none in the first place and secondly the best among them are lukewarm at best on the candidate.

69  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: August 23, 2016, 10:10:28 AM
Regarding the previous post in the thread, Paul Ryan won his primary over a Trump challenger by 70 points, 85-15.

ccp:  "How bad do the Congressional and Senate races look?  I mean at least if Repubs can at least keep those.  Unless something changes the damage Trump has done to himself is going to result in a electoral landslide.  So say the Presidency is gone and the Sup Ct. ...."

I'm not following it closely but it seems the R's hold the House under all known scenarios and the Senate has been completely up for grabs from the beginning.

Dems need +5 in the Senate (for 51) if Trump wins and +4 (for 50-50) if Hillary wins.  Either way it is a divided Senate and the rules regarding what votes need 60 to pass will determine policy and confirmations

R's are Vulnerable in WI (Ron Johnson), IL (Kirk), IN (Coates retiring), Ohio (Portman), NH (Ayotte), North Carolina (Burr), Florida (Rubio)?  Rubio winning might be the key.  Possible pickup in Nevada, that would change everything.  Portman running very independent from Trump in Ohio. 

The big turn is Evan Bayh running in Indiana, a very possible Dem pickup.  If that seat is lost, R's need to nearly run the table on the other contested races.

Huffington Post has it as Dem victory:

Possible flaws in their math are, 1) a Trump comeback, these polls were possibly taken at a low point,  2) the Hillary enthusiasm gap doesn't go away even if she wins a lesser of two evils race, Presidential year assumptions on turnout may be false,  3) Republican money that doesn't like Trump is largely going into these Senate races, 4) if people see a Hillary landslide they may prefer a divided ticket for a check on Clinton's abuse of power.
70  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sandy "Fingers" Berger in 2007 on: August 23, 2016, 09:34:29 AM
"... let’s never forget that Bill Clinton employed Sandy Berger, the former national security adviser, who used his unique access to the National Archives to stuff highly classified documents down his pants, including the Millennium Alert After Action Report (MAAAR), believed to include President Bill Clinton’s handwritten notes calling off a military strike that could have taken out Osama bin Laden years before the September 11 attacks."

This is what I have heard also, though I think we may underestimate how damaging the notes were considered the risk they took to remove and destroy them.  No doubt hiding corruption or something worse, not just policy errors and missed opportunities.

What we know about the corruption of the Clintons can only be the tip of the iceberg.  There is a whole new scandal in those notes and documents that we may never know.
71  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Canada Deporting Americans ) on: August 23, 2016, 09:19:59 AM
1500 undocumented Americans floated into Canada, were discovered and put on buses back their country of origin.

Is there anything we can learn here?

If only we could slow the flow of Canadian hockey players coming here...
72  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Huma Abedin worked at Muslim Journal for ten years. on: August 23, 2016, 09:06:40 AM

Their defense, she was only a figurehead.  Okay, but a figurehead for whaqt cause, WHY?  Why didn't lend her name to some food for starving children around the world cause instead of the advancement of terrorism around the world?  And what was the value of her name and credibility before her fame and fortune acquired by serving with Hillary?

Another question, what are her good qualities that make her valuable to Hillary worthy of weathering all this adverse exposure?

[Amazing similarity to the Valerie Jarrett and Obama story.  Somebody in that White House has a huge, pro-Iran bias and is calling all the shots on policy in that area.  WHY?  What's in it for him and his Presidency to be risking it all by trusting the good qualities of terror sponsoring, American killing, Islamic extremists.]
73  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Saudi prince has to pay to play on: August 23, 2016, 08:50:17 AM

Pay to play at the Clinton State Dept has found its smoking guns.  (Does anyone care?  Is anyone surprised?)

It also proves for the many thousandth time they haven't released all the emails, as required by law and promised.

Is there a consequence?
74  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: NRO: Trump moving towards more coherent immigration policy? on: August 23, 2016, 08:39:03 AM

He is taking a more electable path, a Rubio path...  That doesn't make previous statements go away. 
75  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Race, ethnic origin, attributes, Why does Michelle Obama wear "relaxed hair'. on: August 21, 2016, 06:43:30 PM
Apologies in advance for trivial subject matter.   I am curious, not being critical.

People say Michelle Obama looked GREAT for her speech at the DNC.  She was sweet (mostly), vibrant, persuasive, hit all the right notes for her side and endorsed the nominee.  She's over 50 and has been taking care of herself.  Good for her.  Now to the point...

Her hairstyle was designed to be noticed with the side-front falling into her eye.  Not something I like but either trendy, ahead of the trend or poll tested.   By some cost and effort, she has altered or straightened her hair, proud of skin color and heritage but not other racial, ethnic attributes?  This is something she has done that throughout his Presidency according to reports.  Why?

When a black conservative does anything considered 'white', like being conservative, they are slammed.  I'm not surprised by the double standard, just pointing it out as time permits.

Am I wrong on this?

She is the authentic one of the Obamas as far as being an American black, descendant of slaves.  Also, she is the most popular leftist in the country at the moment.  This makes no sense given the persistent abuses of taxpayer funds for personal pleasure, also taking the fun out of school lunch.  Speaks her mind but never gets challenged [on policy and results].

I oppose her on policy, not hairstyle.

Michelle Robinson at Princeton:

76  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Humor, Bad lip reading, Democratic National Convention edition on: August 19, 2016, 11:13:34 PM
Maybe it makes more sense this way:
77  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: August 19, 2016, 10:41:12 PM
"In another story, the foundation was hacked."

Catching up with a link:  "Possibly hacked"

Both sides get hacked, we assume, but the left has more to hide.  There is nothing exciting or diabolical about being pro-freedom or pro-equal treatment under the law, or waiting for the Obama administration to approve your 501c3.  If you favor freedom, you have no motive to work in government - except in the army fighting for freedom and a few other positive aspects.  Being pro-powerful government is another thing.  Ask Putin or Chavez's daughter.  Or the Clintons.

The leak is different than the hack.  ccp, your curiosity about motive for the leaks is interesting.  NSA targets hacking back the NSA for embarrassment or to get them to back off?  What do the hackers/leakers want from Hillary?  Revenge for not following through on a quid pro quo?  Something to do with all the deaths around the Clinton machine?  Will we ever know?
78  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: August 19, 2016, 12:10:34 PM
"addendum: wikipedia states it was founded in 1997 though I thought it later.  Perhaps after the world's greatest grifter finished his tenure as Prez is when it came to the forefront.  In any case it was totally obvious what it was early on."

Sounds like it was set up at the start of his second term, planning his transition from President to UN Secretary General.  Maybe Barack will get that job.

In another story, the foundation was hacked.  Maybe there will be a series of smoldering guns exposing the foundation's quid pro quo and how their efforts were organized in terms of both donors, recipients and clients of the State Dept.
79  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Hillbillary Clintons: "I thought you ought to know..." on: August 19, 2016, 11:58:48 AM

To defend a brutal rapist MIGHT be part of the job as a young attorney, a necessary evil that makes our justice system work.  To laugh about getting a really awful guy off on a technicality is something else, reveals her own ambition, a political gaffe (extreme understatement) worse than Dukakis' technocratic answer about the hypothetical rape of his wife and daughter.

People need to see the video above, know what she was laughing and bragging about, 12 year old violently raped, put in a coma for 5 days, was never able to have children because of it.   She wanted it, fantasized about an older man.  The charged man's semen was found in the victim's blood, suppressed.  Got off with time served, 2 months for destroying a young girl's life.  Champion of women and women's rights.   Ha ha.

Along with Whitewater, the pardons, Benghazi, speeches, selling the Lincoln bedroom, and working 'The Foundation', this is her life's work.
80  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / HillBillary's Top 17 Scandals (as of Sept 2015) on: August 19, 2016, 11:52:52 AM

HillBillary's Top 17 Scandals (as of Sept 2015)

One might ask, are they cleaner now, more honest, done with corruption, ready to follow the rules, out for the best interests of the country?

Needless to say, it's all gotten worse since Sept 2015, the corruption is bigger, we have more information on Benhazi and the emails, and the old scandals just get morel relevant as they show the pattern we see today and reveal character, or lack of it.
81  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This is reassuring, Merkel denies link between refugees and terrorism on: August 19, 2016, 11:48:16 AM
German news agency dpa quotes Merkel as saying that "Islamist terrorism by IS isn't a phenomenon that came to us with the refugees, it's one that we had before too."

Right, but Ms. Merkel, you made it worse, you made it worse by a million ('finding a needle in a stack of needles'), and you made it unsolvable, irreversible. 

Might as well deny it...
82  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Charity Watch clains Clinton Foundation is legit? on: August 19, 2016, 12:23:25 AM
To the Top, this deserves an answer...

OK gents, how legit are these counter claims?

I would like to delve deep but will start with only a few points here:

1.  The Clinton Foundation was not mentioned once at the Democratic National convention even though it has become the life's work of the stars of the convention.  Why?  a. Lots of problems,  b. It polls badly, people know it's a scam.  (Our job is to prove that.)

2.  "89% of the funding went to charity.  That leaves 11%, hundreds of millions, to Clintons and friends, just taking their figures.  

3.  Of the 89%, where did THAT money go?  Is charitable percentage of the recipient charities 100% as inferred by the factcheck link?  No.  They buy speeches, give to politicians, etc.

4.  Out of the 100%, what amounts came from people expecting or getting something in return?  All?

5.  Of the recipients of the money, did any happen to purchase part of the $150 million of Clinton speeches or funnel money to Dem or leftist causes etc.?  

6.  Of the donations, who had business pending with the State Department?  See Russian Uranium deal.

7.  The short answer is that all of it was crooked.  As one pundit put it, does anyone really believe these donor don't know of the United Way?
83  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Time to dump the 'Unemployment Rate' on: August 18, 2016, 02:32:40 PM
The measure most heavily used to gauge the health of the economy in terms of jobs and joblessness has become useless in an era where the workforce participation rate has been plunging.  

Hold the workforce participation rate constant and the unemployment rate tells a different story:

It is time to devise a better measure.
84  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillbillary Clinton, shrewd move on: August 17, 2016, 07:37:10 PM
Staying out of public view for 96 hours... Wednesday through Sunday.
85  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / On Vetting, extreme vetting, and the 1917 Immigration Act on: August 17, 2016, 07:28:07 PM
We already vet.  We don't treat them all equally.  We discriminate.  Why not gear the process to this time of security crisis?

The 1917 Immigration Act, which listed the many traits that would make potential immigrants inadmissible, including:

All idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, epileptics, insane persons; persons who have had one or more attacks of insanity at any time previously; persons of constitutional psychopathic inferiority; persons with chronic alcoholism; paupers; professional beggars; vagrants; persons afflicted with tuberculosis in any form or with a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease; persons not comprehended within any of the foregoing excluded classes who are found to be and are certified by the examining surgeon as being mentally or physically defective, such physical defect being of a nature which may affect the ability of such alien to earn a living; persons who have been convicted of or admit having committed a felony or other crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; polygamists, or persons who practice polygamy or believe in or advocate the practice of polygamy; anarchists, or persons who believe in or advocate the overthrow by force or violence of the Government of the United States, or of all forms of law, or who disbelieve in or are opposed to organized government, or who advocate the assassination of public officials, or who advocate or teach the unlawful destruction of property; persons who are members of or affiliated with any organization entertaining and teaching disbelief in or opposition to organized government, or who advocate or teach the duty, necessity, or propriety of the unlawful assaulting or killing of any officer or officers..of the Government of the United States or of any other organized government.

86  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans on: August 17, 2016, 06:55:41 PM
I know Jonah Goldberg hates Trump, but on the whole I like him , , , unless he is voting for Hillary.

Yes, Jonah Goldberg is one of the good ones.  Too bad that our nominee and our thought leaders still aren't on the same page.  I don't see why endorsements have to be immediate; they can come along the way to the election.  Conservatives can leave Trump reason to court their votes.  Again, too bad to be in that situation while current momentum is crucial and hurting.

Also agree, this comes to a binary choice.  Support Hillary, and everything short of supporting Trump is that, then you will take that mistake to your conservative punditry grave.

During the primaries I found myself not interested in pro-Trump sites and now I find myself not very interested in National Review, George Will, Bill Krystal, Mitt Romney, the Bushes, Greg Mankiw and others unable to take a stand.

David Brooks supported Barack Obama in 2008 because of the crease in his pants(?).  Colin Powell did so for every reason except race (in other words only because of race).  In both cases the choce tod more about themselves than it did about the choices.  We too a far left turn; they supported it.  As I said to my RINO congressman who doubled federal spending since 2001, good luck with your new friends.
87  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Is Free Trade Causing Job Loss? - Walter E. Williams on: August 17, 2016, 10:19:42 AM
Is Free Trade Causing Job Loss?
Walter E. Williams Posted: Aug 17, 2016

It is true that the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States has been in steep decline for almost a half-century, but manufacturing employment disguises the true story of American manufacturing. U.S. manufacturing output has increased by almost 40 percent. Annual value added by U.S. factories has reached a record $2.4 trillion.
Political anger about lost manufacturing jobs should be aimed at technology, not trade.
In 1790, farmers were 90 percent of the U.S. labor force. By 1900, about 41 percent of our labor force was employed in agriculture. Today, less than 3 percent of Americans are employed in agriculture.
There's one thing to keep in mind. Losing a job due to outsourcing or losing it to technological innovation produces the same result for an individual: He's out of a job. The best thing that we can do is to have a robust economy such that he can find another job.
88  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics, Scandinavian Envy, Fantasy on: August 17, 2016, 09:51:30 AM
Denmark Isn't Magic
New research suggests that the American dream isn’t alive in Scandinavia

Despite liberal arguments that Denmark is so much better than the U.S. at social mobility, its poor kids are no more likely to go to college.

Danish-Americans have a measured living standard about 55 percent higher than the Danes in Denmark. Swedish-Americans have a living standard 53 percent higher than the Swedes, and Finnish-Americans have a living standard 59 percent higher than those back in Finland.

this Danish Dream is a “Scandinavian Fantasy,” according to a new paper by Rasmus Landersø at the Rockwool Foundation Research Unit in Copenhagen and James J. Heckman at the University of Chicago. Low-income Danish kids are not much more likely to earn a middle-class wage than their American counterparts. What’s more, the children of non-college graduates in Denmark are about as unlikely to attend college as their American counterparts.
89  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillary's Economic Plan is a plan for Recession on: August 17, 2016, 09:34:51 AM
A number of people like Kudlow and Trump are picking up on this.  The current economy teeters on zero growth, near recession.  The Fed who I say has the most complete economic data available has long believed that interests rates above near zero will kick this fragile economy into recession.  We took the dyamism of our private sector and taxed it to its limit, not just with taxes but worse yet with regulations and mandates.  The best and brightest by anyone's standard believe it can't handle a shock right now, yet a shock is on the ballot and leading in the polls:  Hillary's economic plan.

As I have been saying (ad nauseum), there are growth policies and there are anti-growth policies that pursue other goals like fighting "inequality".  Sadly those other policies not only kill growth but fail against their own agenda except to keep it as a political issue.

Barack Obama promised to raise taxes, crack down on Wall Street and the like and he did it.  Why not celebrate success, 0.0 growth, instead of always say do it more until you kill off the private sector entirely?

Let me get this right. In order to spur growth, Hillary intends to raise taxes on individuals, businesses, capital gains, stock trading, and firms that move overseas (which they do because the U.S. has the most uncompetitive tax system in the corporate world). In addition, Hillary’s door is open for a carbon tax, higher payroll taxes, and a 25 percent gun tax. 

Liberal pundits (willing accomplices) such as Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday say that Hillary is only proposing to raise taxes on the rich.  But she is raising taxes on the economy.  Are the rich detached from the economy?  Is losing your job because of a tax, not a tax on you?  Really?  Is the economy not interconnected, labor and capital, buyers and sellers, employers and employees, or are these people economically illiterate?

90  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential, 5 ways Hillary can still lose, NY Post on: August 17, 2016, 09:16:07 AM
Political analyst: Five Ways Hillary Can Still Lose

Hillary Clinton “shouldn’t start preparing her inaugural address just yet,” says Niall Stanage at The Hill. He cites five potential pitfalls:
1) A debate disaster, especially since “Clinton cannot win the expectations game”;
2) more e-mail embarrassments, because “trustworthiness is Clinton’s biggest weak spot in polls”;
3) low turnout, in which “liberals … stay home while Trump benefits from an unexpected surge among his white, working-class base”;
4) more Clinton Foundation revelations, given that she’s managed “to skate past questions about her behavior in office; and
5) a terrorist attack, as “Trump has polled respectably” on which candidate can best combat terrorism.
91  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump's selective trade war on: August 17, 2016, 09:02:21 AM
One more anti-Trump piece, hopefuly to help him get straight on issues where he has been screwed up.  This is from last March during the primaries, catching up on what good economists think.

Pat or anybody, do you have a rebuttal to any of this?  Better than Hillary but hard to get excited when part of what he's selling is snake oil.

Alan Reynolds: Donald Trump's Selective Trade War

The VW plant in Puebla is the largest and most modern in Mexico. Many of the cars manufactured entirely in Mexico are exported to the USA. But Donald Trump wants to single out Ford for a 35% tariff on vehicles it imports from Mexico if the company goes ahead with plans to update and expand factories south of the border. (Newscom)

Donald Trump repeatedly promised voters in Michigan and elsewhere that if elected president, he would impose a 35% tariff on Fords imported from Mexico if the company goes ahead with plans to update and expand Mexican factories.

Trump threatened to impose the same tariff on Carrier air conditioners from Mexico, advised boycotting Oreo cookies because Nabisco has a Mexican subsidiary and even boasted, "We're going to get Apple to build their damn computers in this country instead of other countries."

He can’t do that.  No U.S. president has any right to tell private companies where they can produce or invest.  More obviously, no U.S. President has the legal authority to impose targeted tariffs or taxes on specific firms -- simply to punish business decisions he doesn’t approve of.

When threatening a targeted 35% tariff on Carrier, Trump explained, “I am going to get consensus from Congress, and we’re going to tax you (meaning Carrier, but actually its customers) when those air conditioners come.”

But a president needs more than a consensus to unilaterally repudiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and many related laws (including treaties with Canada) or to withdraw from the World Trade Organization.

Even if such treaties were somehow abrogated by executive fiat, the president would still have no authority to impose a tariff on imports from one specific country (Mexico) by one specific company (Ford or Carrier).

Trump presumes that the president has autocratic authority to impose taxes on imports to punish specific private enterprises and thereby help their competitors. Yet such selective, punitive tariffs would clearly violate the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause and would probably also be constitutionally prohibited as a bill of attainder (Article I, Section 9).

Trump’s proposal to misuse presidential power to punish disfavored U.S. companies is particularly glaring in the case of Ford.  His threat of trade sanctions against Ford raises three serious questions:

Why does Trump claim that the U.S. auto industry is rapidly declining?
U.S. production of cars and trucks more than doubled since 2009 -- rising from 5.7 million vehicles to 12 million by 2015. The U.S. exported over 2.1 million cars in 2014 and is now the world's third largest auto exporter, after Germany and Japan. (Mexico ranks seventh.)

U.S. vehicle exports to Mexico rose from 101,080 in 2009 to 151,902 in 2014. There were 919,600 U.S. jobs in manufacturing vehicles and parts last December, but only 19% of those jobs were in Michigan (which has lost jobs to many other states, such as Ohio and Kentucky).

Why does Trump single out Ford for criticism and punishment?
General Motors plans to invest $5 billion in Mexico -- twice as much as Ford -- yet Trump is silent about GM.  Nearly all of the 13 companies producing vehicles and parts in the United States produce some vehicles and/or parts in Mexico.

The traditional “Big Three” automakers have engaged in joint production in Canada and Mexico for decades (Ford has been in Mexico since 1925), so nearly all their cars contain parts from all three countries. Yet Trump never threatened to slap 35% tariffs on cars made in Canada like the Ford Edge and Flex, Lincoln MKX and MKT, and Chevy Camaro, Equinox and Impala.

Why does Trump focus trade warfare plans on Mexico, never Europe?
Trump says, “I don’t mind trade wars when we’re losing $58 billion a year,” referring to the trade deficit. But the U.S. ran a much larger deficit of $130 billion with the euro area in 2015 -- including $74 billion with Germany alone.

The euro and Japanese yen have been weak -- much weaker than even the Chinese yuan -- yet Trump has not been nearly so enthusiastic about launching a reciprocal trade war with Europe or Japan as he has with Mexico. Why not?

One reason may be that Mexican industry -- though not growing as fast as U.S. industry -- is not stagnant or declining.  From early 2010 to late 2015, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, industrial production rose 9.6% in Mexico -- not bad, though not as strong as the 13% gain in the U.S.  In the same period, however, industrial production fell 2.7% in Japan and was up only 2.6% in Europe.

Donald Trump’s proposal to apply tariffs in a discriminatory fashion to specific firms in specific countries is unprecedented. Until now, tariffs have been applied to entire classes of products, such as light trucks or tomatoes, not to specific products made by U.S.-chartered corporations in a particular country.

Trump calls his vindictive plan a “tax,” pretending that it would hurt nobody but Ford and Mexico. But it would really be a 35% sales tax paid by U.S. consumers. The main effect of any tariff is to (1) raise the cost of production for U.S. companies using imported parts or materials, making U.S. industry less competitive, and (2) raise the cost of living for American consumers, making us all poorer.

The idea that forcing Americans to pay more for less could “save jobs” is economic nonsense. Tariffs are all pain and no gain. And selective tariffs against specific companies would be imperious and blatantly unconstitutional.

 Reynolds is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute.

92  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, etc. on: August 17, 2016, 08:40:28 AM
Why would anyone think electronic voting is a good idea.  For God's sake if the NSA can be hacked into there is no hope of security with voting.

Seems obvious to me but needs to be pointed out at every opportunity.

Liberals/Dems want to bring as many new people here as possible and they want to register as many new people as possible.  Legal or illegal, they can't even use the words.  Why do we want it to be easier to vote?  Most who vote already have no clue - on both sides.

And which side is racist?  The side who wants voters to show easily obtainable ID when they vote or the side that thinks some races and groups can't do that?

For some reason they require ID at DNC events (and built a wall around the house in Chappaqua).  Explain that.

Voting doesn't need to be a month either; it is a shared experience on a day we call election day.  You used to need a reason to vote absentee.   The neighbors would like to see your smiling face, not a vote from a hack room in Moscow.

How about we prosecute those who subvert our election process - for treason.
93  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump v. Trump on: August 17, 2016, 08:25:13 AM
Lacking a strong opposition party here, I will post for them.  Some of these are explained by vast changes in time, long before he ran for anything for example.  Some are clipped.  For some the facts have changed, but by and large this is quite damaging to anyone who takes a close look at it.  She presumably has a billion or two to blanket the airwaves with it.  The negative ads will go both ways.

5+ minutes of Donald at least appearing to contradict himself.
94  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russian Leaders Putin's net worth may be $100-200 billion? on: August 16, 2016, 04:49:48 PM
Vladimir Putin may be the richest man in the world.  Not easily verified or verifiable.
95  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Alan Reynolds: Economics, sub prime, bailouts encourage more folly on: August 16, 2016, 04:45:03 PM
"When politicians use bailouts to protect borrowers or lenders from their folly, they just encourage more folly."

  - Alan Reynolds on the sub prime mtg market one year before it crashed.  Like nearly all economists, he missed predicting the crash, but was grasping the cause.

96  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2016 Presidential: Hillbillary Clinton: 'Obama's failure led to the rise of ISIS on: August 16, 2016, 04:39:29 PM
A gaffe for a Democrat is when they get caught telling the truth.  Copying this post into the Pres. thread:

"the failure to build up Syrian rebels battling President Bashar Assad "left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled."   - Hillary Clinton  The Atlantic, Aug 10, 2014  Link below

"It is striking, however, that you have more than 170,000 people dead in Syria. You have the vacuum that has been created by the relentless assault by Assad on his own population, an assault that has bred these extremist groups, the most well-known of which, ISIS — or ISIL — is now literally expanding its territory inside Syria and inside Iraq," Clinton said.

Iran Deal:
"it’s important to send a signal to everybody who is there that there cannot be a deal unless there is a clear set of restrictions on Iran," adding, "little or no enrichment has always been my position."

Clinton said Obama's political message on foreign policy might be different from his worldview, noting, "Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don’t do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle."

Her own organizing tactic? "Peace, progress and prosperity."
97  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Middle East FUBAR, Hillary Clinton: 'Obama's failure led to the rise of ISIS on: August 16, 2016, 04:17:37 PM
From HillBillary thread, by request.

"the failure to build up Syrian rebels battling President Bashar Assad "left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled."   - Hillary Clinton  The Atlantic, Aug 10, 2014  Link below

"It is striking, however, that you have more than 170,000 people dead in Syria. You have the vacuum that has been created by the relentless assault by Assad on his own population, an assault that has bred these extremist groups, the most well-known of which, ISIS — or ISIL — is now literally expanding its territory inside Syria and inside Iraq," Clinton said.

Iran Deal:
"it’s important to send a signal to everybody who is there that there cannot be a deal unless there is a clear set of restrictions on Iran," adding, "little or no enrichment has always been my position."

Clinton said Obama's political message on foreign policy might be different from his worldview, noting, "Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don’t do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle."

Her own organizing tactic? "Peace, progress and prosperity."
98  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump Economic Plan, Fiscally Sound, Alan Reynolds on: August 16, 2016, 10:03:24 AM
I would quibble with details in the plan but the choice between this plan in the form it will come through congress and Hillary's Plan for Recession should clinch the election, (all other things equal).  )

Alan Reynolds is one of the best economists out there, works for Cato, is on the editorial board at IBD.  This one is in The Hill.

August 10, 2016, 01:06 pm
Donald Trump pushes fiscally sound economic plan
By Alan Reynolds, contributor

Anemic economic growth is the number one issue with the voters.  And, as Donald Trump noted in a major policy address in Detroit, “Taxes are one of the biggest differences in this race.” Both candidates favor massive infrastructure spending and grumble about inexpensive imports, but they differ dramatically on taxes.

Hillary Clinton proposes to raise the top tax rate on small businesses to 47.4 percent, to shrink the estate tax exemption by $2 millon, and to impose the highest capital gains taxes in decades.

Imagine you were an economic czar trying to boost incentives for business investment and labor force participation. Would you raise tax rates or lower them? It’s not a trick question, or a hard one. Presidents Kennedy and Reagan answered that question by cutting marginal tax rates on income by 30 percent in 1964-65 and 23 percent in 1983-84. President Clinton cut the capital gains tax by 29 percent in 1997.

Similarly, Donald Trump would “work with” House Republicans’ tax reform plan “using the same brackets they have proposed: 12, 25 and 33 percent.” Capital gains would be taxed at half those rates. Trump would cut the corporate rate more deeply, to 15 percent rather than 20 percent, which could have more bang for very few more bucks.

Unfortunately, partisan critics keep trying to dismiss all such tax reform proposals as “reckless” or “insane” since they promise smaller increases in future revenue than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) “projects.” Even the status quo flunks that test, however, because – as the graph shows – the CBO baseline projects that revenues from the individual income tax will keep rising faster than the economy forever.

“CBO projects individual income taxes will generate a growing share of revenues over the next decade,” the agency explains, “and by 2025, they will reach 9.5 percent of GDP, well above the historical average.”  After that, individual income taxes keep rising without limit – to 9.7 percent in 2028, 10 percent in 2033, 10.4 percent in 2040 and close to 14 percent by 2090.

These fanciful projections of endless, automatic tax increases, says the CBO, “are mainly because of real bracket creep—the pushing of a growing share of income into higher tax brackets as a result of growth in real (inflation-adjusted) income.”

Since nothing like that ever happened in the past, why believe it will happen in the future?

Individual income taxes averaged 7.7 percent of GDP from 1946 to 2014, and topped 9 percent only five times (1944, 1981 and 1998-2000). The individual income tax brought in just 7.7 percent of GDP from 1951 to 1963 when the top tax rate was 91 percent, and 8.1 percent of GDP from 1988 to 1990 when the top tax rate was 28 percent.

Unlike recent experience, however, the CBO imagines real wages will supposedly rise so rapidly that more and more ordinary people will find themselves shoved up into the top Clinton-Obama tax brackets of 35 percent and 39.6 percent.

The projected future revenues are also “static” which means they assume perpetual tax increases don’t harm economic growth, even though the CBO acknowledges, “Higher marginal tax rates discourage working and saving, which reduces output.”

Every CBO budget estimate warns their “baseline projections are not a forecast of future outcomes.” Yet every attempt to estimate the “cost” of tax reform ignores that warning and misuses these fantastic phantom CBO projections as the standard by which tax reforms are judged. 

The Tax Foundation estimates the House Republican tax plan “would reduce federal revenue by $2.4 trillion over the first decades on a static basis.” Due to the larger economy and tax base, however, “the plan would reduce revenue by $191 billion over the first decade.” But note well that such estimates (both static and dynamic) show reduced revenues only in comparison with the rising CBO baseline, not with taxes we actually pay.

Revenues from the individual income tax averaged 8.2 percent of GDP from 2013 to 2015, following Obama’s 2013 tax increase. That 8.2 percent figure is well above any long-term average, partly because of recessions. If receipts remain at that above-average level of 8.2 percent of GDP (which assumes no recessions), then revenues over the next ten years will turn out to be $2.62 trillion smaller than the CBO projected this March.

Keeping individual tax revenues at that relatively high 2013-2015 level (8.2 percent of GDP) would bring in slightly less revenue that over the next ten years than the House Republican plan – even in static terms. And recall that static estimates require pretending (as nobody has) that such dramatic reduction in marginal tax rates on investment, entrepreneurship and education would have zero effect on economic growth.

In short, the House Republican plan is alleged to “lose money” only because it would block “real bracket creep” by repealing the highest tax rates.

Even aside from its vitally invigorating impact on depressed incentives to work and invest, the House Republican tax reform would at most merely thwart a farfetched CBO projection of perpetual tax increases. Relative to recent and historical experience, it would not “cut taxes” at all.

Alan Reynolds is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute.
99  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hillbillary Clinton: 'Obama's failure led to the rise of ISIS' on: August 16, 2016, 09:51:15 AM
"the failure to build up Syrian rebels battling President Bashar Assad "left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled."   - Hillary Clinton  The Atlantic, Aug 10, 2014  Link below

"It is striking, however, that you have more than 170,000 people dead in Syria. You have the vacuum that has been created by the relentless assault by Assad on his own population, an assault that has bred these extremist groups, the most well-known of which, ISIS — or ISIL — is now literally expanding its territory inside Syria and inside Iraq," Clinton said.

Iran Deal:
"it’s important to send a signal to everybody who is there that there cannot be a deal unless there is a clear set of restrictions on Iran," adding, "little or no enrichment has always been my position."

Clinton said Obama's political message on foreign policy might be different from his worldview, noting, "Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don’t do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle."

Her own organizing tactic? "Peace, progress and prosperity."
100  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons, Living History, censored book in CHina on: August 16, 2016, 09:44:03 AM
One of m allegations against Hillary Clinton, and it's true, is that she sold her book Living History in CHina with the chapter removed that covered criticism of Chinese government's lack of women's rights.  In nearly press account of this, she is portrayed as the victim.  How could she know they would censor criticism of the government?  They censor all criticisms of the government.  They were rushed to beat the black market versions etc.  SHe gets her money.  THey get a book that iincludes all the praise that makes them look good, nothing critical, makes politburo look like the greatest woma in the world endorses ther benevolent rule.  When discovered, she is 'outraged', publishes the missing chapter on her website - where it also will be censored off every internet connection in China.

Incompetent boob or compulsive liar trying to make every available buck at any price?  You make the call.

Willing accomplices:
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