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5151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Gay & Straight on: December 11, 2012, 07:18:01 PM
CNN repeating Justice Scalia's logic that he is entitled to consider gay marriage immoral.  Of course the intent and the implication is that he is prejudiced for this opinion or belief.

Yet CNN repeatedly goes after bigamists who are that way for their religious beliefs.

Why do they selectively choose to market that gay is completely ok and just another lifestyle but bigamy is somehow some sort of crime against humanity.

I hold that legislators are entitled to decide whether either is immoral and if they so choose legal.

The logic is sound to me.

CCP is right on this.  Recognizing life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is morality.  Opposing murder and theft is morality.  Sex in a bedroom involves privacy.  Enter any question over age or consent and privacy ends and forensics begin.  Morality legislated into law supersedes privacy in those cases; any individual right of the rapist or murderer to pursue happiness is gone.  Marriage recognition in law is public, not private.  We draw lines in law regarding morality all the time, age of consent, bigamy, polygamy, and bestiality are great examples.  You can sleep with multiple partners.  You can't be married (public recognition) to them all.  We legislate morality all the time, just argue about where to draw lines.  Recognizing a sexual relationship between two men is moral we are told but a committed threesome wanting holy matrimony is what, unnatural?  In the case of sex with animals it is just too difficult to establish consent.

The logical end result is for government to recognize no relationships, no genders, no marriages, no families, just people with addresses and incomes for the Census takers, tax collectors and community organizers.
5152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 11, 2012, 06:23:36 PM
An additional variable in the case of DOMA is the "full faith" clause of the C. whereby States must give respect to the acts of other states e.g. driver licenses and , , , marriage?  Thus arguably this becomes a matter for federal action?

That was exactly the justification used in passing it.  But if that is not strong enough to uphold it, what other federal actions should be struck down with it?  Will we be moving in the direction of recognizing states' rights, or just selective recognition depending on the issue.
5153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 11, 2012, 04:11:18 PM
One conservative case for gay marriage is that if you accept that some of the population is homosexual, why not encourage every attempt at committed monogamy as we do with heteros?

My beef expressed previously has to do with parenting, and the removal of meanings of  terms like mother and father, and of a man and a woman becoming husband and wife.  Everyone including single people should be able to designate legal things like who should make crucial decisions for them when they become unable.

DOMA is a pretty good example often offered of 'conservatives' arguing against states' rights.  On the other side of the coin is that after we admit most states' rights have disappeared and have been superseded with federal powers over almost everything (grow wheat on your own property?), why should conservatives have to play the political game under a different set of rules?

If the Supreme Court rules unambiguously in favor of states' rights on gay marriage, what liberal causes with unconstitutional federal powers will then be put at risk?
5154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China on: December 11, 2012, 01:03:49 PM
"China’s economy will likely surpass the United States as the world’s largest by 2030 ", if we don't ______________________________.  Fill in the blanks over on 'the way forward' threads.

We keep pursuing anti-growth while China is all about keeping economic growth going.  Not to be one-dimensional, but so-called communist China lowered it's corporate income tax presciently in Jan 2008 while the U.S. didn't know it was falling into a spiraling financial and then employment and fiscal crisis.  There tax rate was already below ours.  Japan lowered theirs this year, delayed a year by tsunami.  The US is worst in the world (for this one measure), knows better, and does nothing about it.
5155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: December 11, 2012, 12:55:19 PM
"Because Krugman is an incoherent idiot and Wesbury, agree or disagree, is not."

Krugman is an award winner.  Someday I will read his more serious academic works.  As a columnist he is nut from my point of view.  Deserves posting only to counter his view or be aware of what the others are reading.

Wesbury's context on the board I think is perfect.  He posts good data, better than you find almost anywhere else.  PP found defects in his housing sources.  Mostly the objection is that he puts positive spin on some pretty dismal numbers, and here he gets called out for that.

Trade deficit is a misnomer and sometimes a contrary indicator.  Both imports and exports are good in a free economy and they don't have to be identical.  There are many other factors.

"...mystery to me why the market is as strong as it is..."   - Likewise for me.  But who knows about tomorrow or year end or 2013 unless there is some foundation of economic growth laid that we can't see.

Wesbury calls it the workhorse economy.  I used to just say there are people pulling the wagon and people riding in it.  Enough forces are still in place to keep trudging forward this far, but everyday we have more people riding and fewer people pulling.  What could possibly go wrong?

5156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 10, 2012, 12:40:40 PM
I think the argument over the Laffer curve is about where we are on the curve and what the elasticity is at that point.  Hopefully no one including Reagan's first chief economic adviser believes people produce full speed as tax rates approach 100% or that taxes have no effect on production.

Take one example, the federal capital gains rate max is pretty low at 15% - for 21 more days.  If that were the only tax on capital gains (ignoring that state tax, federal corp tax, state corp tax and the inflation tax) lowering the rate might not increase revenues - from that tax.  Some Republican candidates wanted capital gains tax rates droped to zero.  That may bring in revenue from other taxes by spurring other activities like hiring and plant expansions, but 0% doesn't bring in more revenue - from that tax.  My problem isn't the 15% tax or that 20% total would be too high, but that states tax capital gains as ordinary income.  As the combined tax rate goes up, the number of people choosing to incur the tax goes down.  What the revenues will do depends on the shape of the curve and where you are on it.  Does that make sense?

An aside for a story attempting analogy:  My old boss in the export business (a less famous former Prof of mine) used to explain to our manufacturers the following regarding product price strategy.  He drew his own 'Laffer curve' and said that there is a perfect or optimum price for the product that maximizes revenues and profits and we can't know precisely what that perfect or optimum price is.  If we set the price too high, we incur (and waste) all of the same marketing and sales costs but lose sales and miss out on these revenues.  If we set the price too low, we have left money on the table, people were willing to pay more, but we bought market share and gained customers with our error.  The strategy is to set the price as close as possible to the unknown optimum price without going above it.  Same I think applies to taxation, though we have made it enormously and unnecessarily complex. We have all these costs of governing that we need to cover whether people produce or not.  Some workers with fixed pay and fixed hours have no elasticity in production - no choice to work more, less, faster or smarter in response to whatever government or their employer throws at them.  The rich most certainly do have options, as demonstrated in the UK story.  That doesn't mean we should tax the rich lower or the same as paycheck to paycheck working people, but it means we need to be more aware of the likely responses to our policies as we design them.  In general, the lower the marginal tax rate, the less incentive one has to change behavior to avoid the tax.

Dems like Obama think (or say) a 36% federal tax rate (plus 9-10% state in some cases) is no hindrance to productive activity and that bumping that up to 44.6% (+12.3 Calif) plus embedded tax, corporate taxes, etc is still no hindrance.  Simple arithmetic will calculate the increase or decrease in revenue.  They are wrong. (An admittedly close minded statement!)  Bush's 1.6 or 3.9 trillion dollar tax cuts claim is a lie or amazingly naive untruth.  Federal revenues grew by 44% in 4 years when they were fully implemented.  Who knew?  (Not the readers of the NYT front page or lead editorials. Not the viewers of CBS network news.)  It was a percentage rate cut, but not a tax cut at all.  It was a tax increase on the rich if we are measuring taxes in dollars.

The honest question or argument is how much will people in the aggregate, not one author, change their productive behavior, not whether the will make adjustments.  If people don't change behavior to different circumstances, what is the point of studying economics?

The amount of change people make seems to always surpass expectations.  That means the expectations were wrong, not the change.  The change documented in the U.K. is phenomenal, even the part that was from frontloading.

"This discussion began on the media forum with a post about how 6000 millionaires had left the UK."

You mean 10,000 'left' and 6,000 stayed.  The data tells a story that is true. 10,000 left that income bracket comparing one year to the previous.  Some of the coverage of the data had statements that were false, saying or implying people physically left the U.K.  

The so-called forestalling of the income implies the data exaggerates the phenomenon, but it is still part of the evidence that the rich have an amazing ability to make adjustments to their income producing behavior in response to different marginal tax rates.  Timing of a taxable event is only one of the adjustments they make.  As Crafty noted, we don't know that all those elective tax events, sale of an asset would have just happened later anyway, no matter the tax rate.  It doesn't all come back because that wasn't the only thing going on.  The UK became a worse place to make a productive investment.  Regarding forestall, the velocity of these transactions, moving consumption, investment, hiring, construction and revenues forward (velocity of money) is crucial to revenues and economic well being.  High tax rates slow things down.  So do excessive regulations.  So does uncertainty.  When you slow things down, your income, tax revenues (and hiring) are all lower in any given period than they would otherwise be.  

To doctors they say do no harm.  Taxes do harm; tax something and you get less of it.  One point of tax policy is to do as little harm as possible to raise the needed revenues.  Our current strategy is the opposite.  Do maximum harm and raise no new revenues.

The forestalling phenomenon supports my argument about the financial crash of 2008.  People make investment and hiring decisions decisions today based on what they see coming tomorrow.  The economy, especially employment, peaked around the Nov 2006 to Jan 2007 timeframe when Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Hillary-Biden-Keith Ellison and company were elected and sworn in to take the majority in congress.  George Bush had two years left in office (divided government) and so did the tax rate cuts.  By the fall of 2008, triggered by failed government intervention in housing, investors could see it was time to sell and capture any remaining gains and put money on the sidelines in the face of higher tax rates, a slowing economy and rapidly increasing excesses in regulations.  The higher tax rates kept getting delayed but were always in plain view as tomorrow's tax rate on today's investment. The onslaught of new regulations with even more on the way (Obamacare!) were taxes in themselves.

Back to the U.K., one question would be - what revenue projections did their CBO (PBO?) make to foster the passing of these failed tax rate increases.  Why do these 'experts' keep getting it wrong?  How does it help in the US to keep information from the voters just because thoughtful analysis will be required to fully understand the implications.  For whatever it means, the number of returns in the top bracket dropped 60% in one year precisely at the time of a significant tax rate hike.  Revenues didn't rise less than expected year to year on the top bracket - they fell!  Can we use that strategy again, forestall income every year by raising the rates for the next year, again and again?  What could possibly go wrong with that?  See the Laffer curve for the answer.  Revenues approach zero as tax rates percentages approach 100.

Bigdog, my famous Prof name dropping from the big public university starts and ends with Heller, and it was Schlesinger who brought him up.  I like to call one Supreme Court Justice Crafty's old Prof, (yours too perhaps).  As a hockey player I'll take the assist for setting you up for the ex-President story.  If it was ex President Hayes, Garfield or Benjamin Harrison who made the beard comment I will be all the more impressed.  smiley

"I too could paste graphs and tables and arguments. These would include many from peer reviewed economics journals that would take your posts to task. We both know, however, that no matter the evidence that I post, minds are not changed."

Of course close mindedness is a problem, but all people here still want to have a better informed minds!  Please post as time permits. I did not intend to overwhelm with so many charts telling roughly the same story.  Just take the first one for example, re-posted below.  What do you have, peer reviewed, that refutes this, that the rich pay more - in dollars or share of dollars of revenues to the Treasury, not percent of a diminished GDP - when the top marginal tax rate is lower?  Looking forward to it.

5157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces on: December 09, 2012, 03:57:00 PM
"As for gays a large part of it is financial benefits"

Good point by CCP.  I always think it is about acceptance or respect, but notice that the recognition has to in law exactly in the name of marriage, as identified in all contract law, employee benefits etc.
5158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants - Dowd on: December 09, 2012, 03:50:56 PM
Yes that we quite a smug, gloating piece, witty and entertaining for her market - rich liberals with their lattes enjoying their Sunday NY Times.  Celebrating the troubles of their opposition could be taken all in good fun, but it is rooted in the fact that they hate the limited government crowd more than the hate terrorists, even in NYC.

"history will no doubt record that withering Republicans were finally wiped from the earth in 2016 when the relentless (and rested) Conquistadora Hillary marched in, General Bill on a horse behind her, and finished them off"

Good grief.  This was a divided election.  Romney won a close one on the issues, lost on turnout, likability, popularity, dependency.  Dems beat all expectations in the Senate but nowhere close to just a few years ago when they passed Obamacare at 60.  They lost the House big time even with the historic turnout operation.  That doesn't bode well for them in 2014.

They don't know how to lead, compromise, govern or how to fix any of our problems.

Last time they won this big was 1976, when the Republican Party was FAR weaker.  They got so smug that Ted Kennedy almost beat a sitting incumbent to turn us even further left.  That election turned late and ended in a Reagan landslide.  Dems only swept once since then, when Clinton got 43% of the vote the cycle before Newt and the Republicans took congress.

Smug in the context of all these cycles and shifts and in the face of these economic problems shows a scary level of ignorance.  There aren't 3 people in America who love Hillary as much as Maureen Dowd does.  I have more fear of Michelle Obama running next.  She has all the depth and experience of her husband. (
5159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy - First Known Supply Side Economist Ibn Khaldun, 1377 on: December 09, 2012, 12:06:15 PM
translation from the original Arabic:

"In the early stages of the state, taxes are light in their incidence, but fetch in a large revenue...As time passes and kings succeed each other, they lose their tribal habits in favor of more civilized ones. Their needs and exigencies grow...owing to the luxury in which they have been brought up. Hence they impose fresh taxes on their subjects...[and] sharply raise the rate of old taxes to increase their yield...But the effects on business of this rise in taxation make themselves felt. For business men are soon discouraged by the comparison of their profits with the burden of their taxes...Consequently production falls off, and with it the yield of taxation."

Excerpt from 'Muqaddimah', by Tunisian Historian Ibn Khaldun, 1377
(Posted previously on 'Economics':
5160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: "Who's The Fairest of Them All?" on: December 09, 2012, 11:38:41 AM
Thomas Sowell, Hoover Institute/Stanford Prof and author of dozens of great books including "Basic Economics" wrote a column a couple of weeks ago called 'An Overdue Book', referring to WSJ's Stephen Moore's new book "Who's The Fairest of Them All?: The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America"

Sowell writes: "If everyone in America had read Stephen Moore's new book, "Who's The Fairest of Them All?", Barack Obama would have lost the election in a landslide."
The title "Who's The Fairest of Them All?" is an obvious response to liberals' claim that their policies are aimed at creating "fairness" by, among other things, making sure that "the rich" pay their "fair share" of taxes. If you want a brief but thorough education on that, just read chapter 4, which by itself is well worth the price of the book.

A couple of graphs on pages 104 and 108 are enough to annihilate the argument about "tax cuts for the rich." These graphs show that, under both Republican President Calvin Coolidge and Democratic President John F. Kennedy, high-income people paid more tax revenues into the federal treasury after tax rates went down than they did before.

There is nothing mysterious about this. At high tax rates, vast sums of money disappear into tax shelters at home or is shipped overseas. At lower tax rates, that money comes out of hiding and goes into the American economy, creating jobs, rising output and rising incomes. Under these conditions, higher tax revenues can be collected by the government, even though tax rates are lower. Indeed, high income people not only end up paying more taxes, but a higher share of all taxes, under these conditions.

This is not just a theory. It is what hard evidence shows happened under both Democratic and Republican administrations, from the days of Calvin Coolidge to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. That hard evidence is presented in clear and unmistakable terms...
The rich pay more when rates are lower.  What today's Dems don't like is that in times of rapid growth the rich are also making more, and growing in numbers. 

Charts from another article, link below:

chart link:
5161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: December 08, 2012, 02:27:15 PM
It would be nice if we could extend all rights, all privileges, recognize all relationships, guarantee respect for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for all without destroying the meaning of bedrock terms like husband and wife, mother and father.

FAFSA (federal financial aid) has already gone to the Parent One, Parent Two designations.   Are the old gender based terms m*ther and f*ther banned by law or removed by bureaucrats for terms terms stripped of half their meaning and all of their uniqueness.  Which one are YOU?  How will you know or how will you decide? 

Family units are fluid.  Maybe we need the federal government to quit recognizing these relationships at all as they lose their meanings.  How would that promote the general Welfare our nation?
5162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Forbes: Why America Is Going To Miss The Bush Tax Cuts on: December 08, 2012, 01:59:20 PM
Peter Ferrara at Forbes following the discussion on the forum and filling in more details:

Why America Is Going To Miss The Bush Tax Cuts

President Obama seems to have a strategy to terminate all of the Bush tax cuts, not just those for “the rich,” as he has been saying since 2008.  He is offering the Republicans exactly zero concessions in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations.  No spending cuts, no entitlement reform, no compromise on the rates.  It is entirely my way or the highway, and if the Republicans refuse to do everything exactly as he demands, he will let the Bush tax cuts expire entirely, for the middle class and working people as well as the upper incomes, and blame the Republicans for refusing to go along with him, and for the economic results.

It is a cynical game worthy of an undeveloped, third world country, not the United States of America.  But this is just one more reason, with many more to come, for the American people to regret the mistake they made on Election Day.

Because so many major media institutions, like the New York Times and the Washington Post, have been so duplicitous and dishonest in discussing the Bush tax cuts, most Americans don’t know much about them, even though they have been living with them for 10 years or more now.  Indeed, most of what they think they know is not true.  But the American people will understand them better, when they see what life is like without them.

President Bush and his Congressional Republican majorities at the time cut taxes for everyone in the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.  Indeed, they cut more for lower and middle income taxpayers than they did for “the rich,” as Obama calls the nation’s job creators, investors, and successful small businesses.  The top tax rate was cut by only 13%, while the lowest rate was cut by one-third, 33%.

According to official IRS data, the top 1% of income earners paid $84 billion more in federal income taxes in 2007 than in 2000 before the Bush tax cuts were passed, 23% more.  The share of total federal income taxes paid by the top 1% rose from 37% in 2000, before the Bush tax cuts, to 40% in 2007, after the tax cuts.

In contrast, the bottom half of income earners paid $6 billion less in federal income taxes in 2007 than in 2000, a decline of 16%.  The share of federal income taxes paid by the bottom 50% declined from 3.9% in 2000 to 2.9% in 2007.

The Bush tax cuts also included a doubling of the child tax credit from $500 per child to $1,000 per child.  Because of that, and the 33% cut in the bottom tax rate, nearly 8 million more people dropped off the federal income tax rolls entirely, paying zero federal income taxes.  Indeed, under the Bush tax cuts, the bottom 40% of all income earners not only paid no federal income taxes, as a group on net.  By 2009, they were being paid cash by the IRS equal to 10% of all federal income taxes.

These Bush tax cuts did not explode the deficit, as Obama and his echo chamber have alleged.  By 2007, the deficit was down to $160 billion, less than 15% of Obama’s deficits today.  Total federal revenues soared from $793.7 billion in 2003, when the last of the Bush tax cuts were enacted, to $1.16 trillion in 2007, a 47% increase.  Capital gains revenues had doubled by 2005, despite the 25% capital gains rate cut adopted in 2003.  Federal revenues rose to 18.5% of GDP by 2007, above the long term, postwar, historical average over the prior 60 years.  CBO was projecting surpluses to return indefinitely in 2012 through the end of its projection period in 2018.

Bush did increase federal spending as a percent of GDP by one-seventh, erasing the federal spending cuts enacted by the Republican Congressional majorities in the 1990s.  But even with that, deficits during the Bush years averaged just 2% of GDP, one-third less than the average over the prior 50 years.  President Obama’s deficits have averaged 5 times as much, at 9.1% of GDP.

The proof is in the pudding over the Bush tax cuts.  They were followed by a record 52 straight months of job creation, producing 8 million new jobs, with the unemployment rate falling to 4.4%.  Business investment spending, which had declined for 9 straight quarters, reversed and increased 6.7% per quarter, producing all those new jobs.

Because of that increased investment, labor productivity soared by 2.5% annually from 2003 to 2007, higher than the averages of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.  As a result, real after tax income per capita increased by more than 11%.

Manufacturing output soared to its highest level in 20 years.  The stock market revived, creating almost $7 trillion in new shareholder wealth.  From 2003 to 2007, the S&P 500 almost doubled.   After the Bush tax cuts started in 2001, quickly ending the 2001 recession, the economy continued to grow for another 73 months.  From 2000 to 2007, real GDP grew by more than 17%, meaning an additional $2.1 trillion for the American people.

This was mostly the opposite of what President Obama has produced, with his neo-Marxist Obamanomics, particularly unemployment more than twice as high, declining middle class incomes, soaring poverty, weak job growth, stagnant stock market values, collapsing business investment, and negligible growth in GDP.

Of course, the Bush tax cut boom was ended by the 2008 financial crisis.  But as discussed in many previous columns, that was caused by the excessive overregulation of President Clinton’s home ownership promotion policies, creating the subprime mortgage market and the housing bubble, and by President Bush’s cheap dollar monetary policies.  Obama’s foolish argument that the Bush tax cuts caused the 2008-2009 recession is so dishonest that abusive propaganda alone should disqualify him from office.

Obama’s gleeful termination of the Bush tax cuts will produce just the opposite results of those tax cuts.  The combination of all the tax rate increases, along with Obama’s abusive overregulation, and the Fed’s continued mischief, will throw the economy back into recession next year.  Unemployment will soar back into double digits, breaking the post depression record of 10.8%.  The deficit will soar to over $2 trillion, setting new all time world records.  The national debt as a percent of GDP will gallop past Greece.

Middle class incomes will plummet further.  Poverty will soar to new all time records.

We can’t afford the Bush tax cuts, as Obama says?  We can’t afford to terminate them.  Over the past 45 years, every time the capital gains tax rate has been increased, capital gains revenues have declined rather than increased.  Obama’s nearly 60% increase in that rate will have the same effect.  After the Bush cut in taxes on dividends, dividends paid soared, and so did taxes paid on those dividends.  Obama’s near tripling of that tax will have the opposite effect as well.  Indeed, if the economy declines back into renewed recession, total federal revenues will decline rather than increase.

Obama’s ploy of blaming all of this on the Republicans will not work this time.  The public knows the Bush tax cuts were adopted into law by the Republicans, with complete Republican control of Congress and the White House at the time.  It will be too obvious that it took President Obama and his new neo-Marxist Democrat Party to let them expire.

Enjoy the new Obama recession.  You and your neighbors voted for it.
5163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 08, 2012, 12:48:59 PM
Thanks Bigdog for challenging people here.  Good points made.  That said, I found the US News/Robert Schlesinger piece more muddled and cherry picked than the cherry picking he tries to refute.  Yes all these Presidents at different times speak out of different sides of their mouths.  As Schlesinger knows, they also speak through different speechwriters and audiences, as well as to different circumstances.

Schlesinger writes, perhaps in jest: "But if ever advocating a tax cut makes someone a supply-sider, then JFK joins the ranks of other conservative economists like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama (the tax cuts in the stimulus package, for example, were arguably the largest in history)".

The first part is a farce, he shows no awareness of a distinction between demand side and supply side thinking or policies.  The difference may be subtle, but supply side policies aim at getting people to produce more and demand side policies aim at getting people to consume more.  Obama's tax cut was explicitly demand side and he has been anti-production on so many other policies.  JFK was eloquent on the supply side.  All policies admittedly have an effect on both supply and demand.

Maybe JFK said privately to my old Prof Walter Heller that spending was what JFK wanted and the supply side tax cuts were Heller's, but publicly the supply side view is his, including spending restraint.  What he would do in today's circumstance is unknown, but what he said here is not:

"It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low - and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now.''

Today we don't have marginal rates of 91% that apply to incomes over $30 million, but we have combined rates coming that are over 50, 60, 70% and apply to a wide range of people.  The tax burden on the economy is higher today IMO.

It is good that JK Rowling is appreciative of what she received when in need and willing to give back in such large amounts.  That does not mean the policy was helpful to the budget or economy of Britain.  They repealed half the increase so someone must believe it they went too far.

Bigdog wrote: "I would have zero issue with flat taxes with clearly spelled out rules."

The beer summit, conducted long distance, has resulted in extraordinary agreement!   smiley
5164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 08, 2012, 01:30:02 AM
One other very important point:

If a lower rate like a 28% tax rate yields the same amount of revenue as a 90% tax rate, which one resulted in a larger national income?

Think about it - and do the math.

National income times the tax rate equals revenues to the Treasury, if income were really taxed at that rate.

Let's simplify and say a 90% tax rate brought in a trillion in revenues.   The national income would only be 1.11 trillion at that level of taxation.

Now assume we lowered the rate to 28% and still were able bring in a trillion in revenues.   That could come true only if income grew by three and half times.  In this extreme example, take home income grows by 25-fold.  Yet that is what the experts say is true.  In many cases the lower rate brings in more revenue, but worst case we keep getting roughly the same revenue result no matter whether the tax rates is at 70%, 90% or 28%.  If so, lock in the lower rate, and keep the change!

When candidate Obama admitted that dramatically higher capital gains rate won't bring in more revenues, he was admitting that the amount of capital gain income earned in the country would fall precipitously because of his spiteful tax rate hike.

Is this idiocy or is it treason?
5165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 08, 2012, 12:59:37 AM
This is roughly what I was going to write to add to Crafty's story but it was already posted by GM in the Peter Schiff piece:

"For instance, a doctor who earned $50,000 through his medical practice could reduce his taxable income to zero with $50,000 in paper losses or depreciation from property he owned through a real-estate investment partnership."

That's right.  Rich people knew how to take 'losses' that weren't cash losses and then keep all of what they made.  What a sick, unproductive game it was.  If the economy was good then, think how much better it could have been with an undistorted playing field.

The smartest guy from my class was a Yale trained lawyer who ended up working in employee benefit law for a utility company.  No offense to him and his choice to be able to go home at a good hour and be with his kids growing up but what a loss to America that so many of the best and the brightest are out working in tax code and regulation compliance instead of inventing, innovating, creating, producing curing diseases and all of that.  Why is there a law about employee benefits? Shouldn't it be legal to hire with them or without them? Why is it in the tax code?  Why are there 18 pages in federal regulations just defining a full time employee?  Why is it any of their business if you are full time or not? They should only have a right to tax a dollar of income at the going rate and otherwise let you be.  That is not how it is.

The cost of the tax isn't the tax.  It is the compliance time and cost too.  It is the loss of productive activities from this whole industry set up to comply and to get around it.  Worst of all it is the loss of the productive activities that never occur because of the excessive taxes or the excessive regulations.  Because these costs are impossible to measure does not mean they don't exist, aren't huge and threatening to our economic survival and well-being.  Besides the time the rich spend darting and weaving, 36% of our workforce doesn't even work.  How heavy a load is that for the remaining workers to carry?  Could there be a less efficient system?  Yes.  We are working on that right now.
5166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941 on: December 08, 2012, 12:31:28 AM
"Intelligence is the amount of time it takes to forget a lesson."
Let us remember this day and those who fought and died for us on it.

I wanted to put something today in the Grateful thread, but hear-hear to Crafty and the forum, we have a thread for this.

I am grateful for all who rose up and fought back.  I mean all of them, but I am thinking of my Grandpa who served at Pearl Harbor, my Dad who served in Europe and Germany in particular, and my uncle who went from Normandy to command a ship at Iwo Jima.  God Bless these wonderful people who saw evil coming, saw the threat to America before it hit the 48 states and gave up their young lives of freedom to go do what was right - and to win.

You don't attack the United States of America, plan attacks, aid, abet, harbor terrorist training camps, none of it.  May this date live in infamy and may we remember some of the good things about America and freedom that we were fighting to keep.
5167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: December 07, 2012, 12:15:48 PM
And, if I am informed correctly, the US backed England, France, and Israel off from retaking the Suez Canal in 1956 by threatening to dump British war bonds , , ,.

Good point if true.  The difference in my opinion is the level of dependency.  Their sputtering economic engine is dependent upon continued exports to the US - at these levels.  A huge move in the currency would be disruptive to exports, to their economy and perhaps to the regime.  A disruption or cost increase in imports from China to the US would hurt consumers but could lead to production, manufacturing and jobs increases at home.  A jump in interest rates here would have a mixed effect as well, cause some pain but force some corrections and increase our savings rate.
5168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process on: December 07, 2012, 11:50:25 AM
The roll over and play dead strategy helps us how?  Then people will like us?  We consent to putting the country down the tubes and blame the Democrats?  We did that and it didn't work.

It's easy for Rand Paul to say let it pass if he can't stop it in the Senate.  But each House Republican ran on a promise to vote against this sort of thing, and won.  

It is the Obama Presidency that has the standoff.  House Republicans have a duty to pass what they believe are responsible solutions.  If there was a party to negotiate with, they should negotiate, not cave.  

The idea that a Republican House should pass exactly what a Democrat House would have passed is repulsive to me - and not the will of the voters.

If tax rates go up for everyone with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, then they weren't what they were called - tax cuts for the wealthy.  A return to Clinton era tax rates is a big hike - across the board.  Unfortunately, we are no longer competing in a Clinton era world, with Clinton era spending or Clinton era regulations.

If people don't like Clinton tax rates applying to themselves they can sign on with tax reform retroactive any day that they want.  House Republicans can be out front with multiple proposals.

If the Executive Branch can control outcomes in the House on revenue and appropriation bills, will the House of Representatives then choose the next Supreme Court appointee?

What part of constitutionally divided government powers am I missing?

"CBO estimates, however, assume no economic change from higher taxes, which is unrealistic."

Really?  Not unrealistic from any widely reported story that I have seen...
5169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Implications of China's Holdings of U.S. Securities on: December 07, 2012, 10:09:21 AM

Great post!  I agree with this point: "The likelihood that China would suddenly reduce its holdings of U.S. securities is questionable because doing so could have a significant negative impact on the Chinese economy."

I believe anything they could do to harm the US economy would harm them far worse, economically and politically.  Still the artificial nature of the imbalance is unhealthy.  We can't control their policies but on our side should make US businesses and US manufacturing more competitive would slow the outflow of dollars invested back.  Balancing our budget and end federal borrowing.  And end the dual mission of the Fed and allow interest rates to reach normal levels at a balance between savings and borrowing.  Right now savers earn zero and people are learning not to save.
5170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: December 07, 2012, 09:44:53 AM
"If there are fewer millionaires in the UK because of economic downturn rather than relocation, the story changes a little. "

Yes, higher tax rates, lower revenues and national recession all correlate.  Who knew?  I still don't see that as valid reason for the cover up.  Someone might take the facts wrong?

Clinton's and Eisenhower's economies competed in a different world, I think you know.  The point to this discussion would be, how much revenue did the high tax rates raise?  Revenues surged when we removed the 90% rate.  Revenues surged when we removed the 70% rate and when we removed the 28% capital gains rate.  Britain's economyu surged when they removed the highest tax rates.  Hiding income and avoiding taxable income becomes less profitable.  JFK had it wrong?  Robert Mundell had it wrong: "The level of U.S. taxes has become a drag on economic growth in the United States. "The national economy is being choked by taxes — asphyxiated."

One thing you may be forgetting or omitting is bracket creep.  With inflation, the rates that applied to no one were applying to more and more people without any real increase in income.  Not to mention the impending challenge of foreign competition.  Can we take that back to the 50s?

Laffer Curve postulates that no tax revenue will be raised at the extreme tax rates of 0% and 100% and that there must be at least one rate where tax revenue would be a non-zero maximum.  Other than current CBO scoring, who disagrees with that, in principle?  Reagan's first chief economic adviser thinks that tax rates going from 90% to 100% would increase revenues? 

The point here on Media Issues remains, why hide such a big story?  Because there is more to the story?  Then put more in the story.  It would put the supply side deniers on the defensive?  Then include their interviews in the coverage.  The story is more than 2 weeks old and this remarkable occurrence BD posted of massive levels of 'forestalled' income as a reaction to impending, punitive tax rates occurred more than a year ago!  The majority of people of whom the tax applied changed their economic behavior in response to the policy change we are now demanding.  Where was the media?  With heads in sand, hoping no one else would report it either.  Mediocrity, bias and agenda, not professionalism, is my humble opinion.
5171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: December 06, 2012, 11:01:17 PM
Bigdog, I think that piece makes good points; that's how the story could have read if they weren't afraid to open that door.  Reports that said the people left the country were irresponsible, not professional journalism, unless they had looked them up and tracked them down.  They didn't; the data gives numbers, not names or addresses.

They point out "forestalling" of income, to move it forward like Obama supporter Costco did with dividends ahead of Obama's dividend tax tripling.  What excessive capital gains taxes later will do is backstalling.  Never sell.  Never capture the gain.  Never pay the tax.  How then do resources move freely to their most productive use?  They don't.  It's economic malpractice, if you ask me, unreported malfeasance.  Ask Charlie Gibson, the revenue goes down.

The reality is that a huge proportion of the rich showed amazing flexibility and mobility of income on a scale that blows the doors off of all static models and all working economic theories at the CBO, OMB, DNC, NYT, LAT, CBS, WP and the White House Council of Economic Advisers who already said it would throw us into recession.  People change behavior quickly to different schemes of taxation and the rich have the most flexibility.  More efficient, sadly, is Obama's 2% tax hike (FICA) coming to workers who live paycheck to paycheck.  

JK Rowling may not have left England, but others have made moves in that situation.  Swedish star Bjorn Borg moved to Monaco to escape Sweden's wealth tax and Stephan Edberg, as he approached the number one ranking in the world, moved from Sweden to London of all places - in a U.K. led by Margaret Thatcher.
5172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Good thing this can't happen here on: December 06, 2012, 08:31:15 PM
Greece jobless rate up to 26 percent
Greece jobless rate up to 26 percent as recession continues

"Good thing this can't happen here"

Depends on what one means by the term "jobless".  Maybe it already did.

U.S. workforce "non-participation" rate, 2012:  36%
5173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Syria, the necessary war on: December 06, 2012, 08:10:23 PM
Interesting points.

"The Soviet Union supplied Syria with much of its stocks. Moscow today has good knowledge of their location."

This seems contradictory, the Soviet Union ended 21 years ago.  The Russians are still moving them, inside Syria?  Chemical weapons tend to have a degradation quality / shelf life.

It is Leon Panetta and Hillary Clinton claiming to have good knowledge.  Reminds me of another WMD chase. Will they go to congress and to the UN like Iraq, or handle it like Libya, Pakistan, Yemen?

Are American security interests at stake?  If so, is this any time to cut defense funding??
5174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: December 06, 2012, 06:51:41 PM
Apologies for the outnumbering, but I would like to revise and extend as well...

Bigdog put a number of arguments back against my original point.  The first is perfectly valid - there are many stories that don't get covered.  Second, the UK tax increase point is not as clear as Doug says it is, the richest person in the UK did not leave for example.  Third would be defects in the coverage of others, such as Fox News.

The Foreign Policy piece is interesting, though they are one more outlet that missed the UK-no-new-revenues-from-taxing-the-rich story, even while they write about missed stories.  Tax policy isn't foreign policy directly, but the foundation of a successful foreign policy is economic health and strength at home IMO.  Our deficit, our recession/stagnation, our growing culture of dependency and non-productiveness, and our policies at home that result in an anti-business climate yielding a record low rate of new business startups undermine our foreign policy capabilities and influence.

They put forward 10 interesting stories, all of the type that make reading the forum worthwhile; you don't learn these things most other places: 1) Trade between India and Pakistan, 2) Brazil Immigration, 3) Inuit prosperity, 4) Guinea worm disease eradicated, 5) 3D copyrights, 6) Call Centers moving from India to Philippines,  7) Hong Kong - China tensions, 8.)Cyoress-Moscow ties, 9) Oil in Central Africa, 10) Abu Musa islands dispute.

There is no reason to trivialize any of these.  The analogy though to me would be if a newspaper like the NY Times, LA Times, or Washington Post were writing and placing stories on the front page day after day about Guinea worm disease, and it was crucial to the survival of our country, but they had neglected to tell us it was cured.  The publications are covering the tax increase on the rich story incessantly, but they are not telling us crucial details such as that when it was tried in the UK just one year ago it brought in NO NEW REVENUE.

The J.K. Rowling argument, micro vs. macro, to me is like refuting global warming by pointing out one cold day in Minneapolis.  J.K. Rowling may have a host of personal reasons to stay or she may have moved her investments out of the U.K. for all we know.  The story says that 6000 people still reported income over a million GBP, not that everyone left or has the ability to leave.  This is not a story a wealth tax, where she leads Great Britain; it is a story about an income tax rate that yielded no new revenue.  I don't think she released a major title during that year.  My income from selling or renting MN properties does not leave the state if I leave; maybe her copyrights are parked in the UK, or maybe the bulk of her income has already left.  No facts advanced but a nice shiny object! I know nothing about the inner workings of U.K. tax laws.  Her business is rather unique.  She employs very few people relative to her income, compared to other gazillionaires.  I also would doubt that the majority of her books are printed in the U.K.

More important is that 10,000 million-pound incomes disappeared.  That doesn't mean the people left; it means those income levels are gone.  In a growing economy (and the only way to grow revenues is to grow the economy), that number should have gone up at least a few thousand, not to have the majority of them disappear.  It is a HUGE story.

We can argue the merits further on tax issues, but the falsehood is static scoring.  President Obama keeps quoting numbers that don't include the FACT that people change their behavior based on changing policies, incentives and disincentives.  The Media Issue I introduced is that the media that we consider mainstream will not cover it.

The last time (only time?) I saw an mainstream co-conspirator question liberal-Democratic failed economic theories was one Charlie Gibson asked of candidate Barack Obama back in April of 2008:

GIBSON: You have...said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, "I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton," which was 28 percent. It's now 15 percent. That's almost a doubling, if you went to 28 percent.

But actually, Bill Clinton, in 1997, signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 percent.

OBAMA: Right.

GIBSON: And George Bush has taken it down to 15 percent.

OBAMA: Right.

GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased; the government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down.

So why raise it at all...?
Or try this, has the front page news section of a major publication mentioned ever reported that revenues to the Treasury doubled in the 1980s, from $517 Billion to $1032 Billion while the top rate went from 70% to 28%, or that revenues surged 44% in 4 years from $1.78 Trillion in 2003 to $2.57 Trillion in 2007 under the Bush tax rate cuts now in question.  Tax rate cuts did not cause the deficits, did they ever put forward facts to correct the quotes of people claiming they did.  If not, why not?  They just didn't get to it - like Brazilian immigration or Guinea worm disease?  I don't buy it.  They were on the topic and omitted the key points.  The reason I put forward is mediocrity, bias, agenda and fact hiding.

I don't watch Fox News except one Sunday show they put on broadcast television.  Many here find Hannity to be a blowhard.  Shows like that admit they are opinion more than news.  No doubt Fox misses a lot of stories; maybe their misses show their bias.  I heard they cut back Rove and Morris for being idiots and zealots on election night.  A good sign.  Fox radio news to me is written with similar liberal bias as the other networks.  They miss most stories and repeat the same take on the same lead stories hour after hour.

I believe Foreign Policy has this wrong, (while we are at it):

The U.S. measures oil reserves differently than every other country.  The SEC regulates the use of the term.  We have much, much more oil than the data from this chart shows.  

Kate Middleton...  Just goes to show how stories are mostly market driven to whatever draws people in.  The analogy I think would be if you covered her every move day after day after day after day, then learned public knowledge she was pregnant and DIDN'T cover it.

On tax policy they hide the facts, poll on what people learned from distorted coverage, and make the poll result the story. 57% say they want ta hikes on the rich?  Did they preface the poll question with the fact that tax rate hikes don't bring in more revenue as just shown in a nearly identical example in one of the most similar economies to the U.S. in the world?  No.  Not with a story, not in the question. 

If so-called mainstream media had balance their market size would potentially double (to include conservatives) but the agenda would fail.  The number one cable news network by far competitor Fox might never have gotten off the ground if political balance was already achieved.  The WSJ is by far number one in the nation with a third more subscribers than the NY Times and more than 4 times the circulation of the Washington Post.  Coincidentally their editorial views are the opposite of most of the rest and fill a conspicuous void in the market.
5175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: U.S. "planning to take action" if Syria crosses chemical weapons "red line" on: December 06, 2012, 12:29:08 PM
Good point on the nuclear facility, (speaking of under-reported stories).  Likewise for the Osraik facility in Iraq.

On Chemical weapons:  Same people (roughly) who said it was a lie to have said there were chemical weapons in Iraq in 2002, that were (reportedly) trucked to Syria while we were debating the invasion, and not found in Iraq in 2003-2006 are now having to confront the danger they pose in Syria.  

Had we bypassed the UN and attacked Saddam sooner instead of  with 8 months notice to clean up and clear out, perhaps we wouldn't have falsely called Bush, Cheney, Powell, Condoleeza Rice liars then, saved thousands of Americans lives with a quicker war then, and the Syrian people might not be facing WMD attacks from their own government today.

Or is the Obama administration lying now about WMD - in order to, as Barack Obama said in 2002, "distract us from...a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income, to distract us from ...scandals and [economic indicators] worst...since the Great Depression"?

At least we know he has given it some thought.
5176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california: New taxes coming, add them all up - if you can on: December 05, 2012, 08:42:49 PM
The top federal rate with all the surcharges will be 44.6%.

Under prop 30, the top Calif rate will be 12.3%.,_Sales_and_Income_Tax_Increase_%282012%29

Add those two:  56.9%

Whoops, that income may have already been double taxed at the corporate level, 35% federal and 8.84% Calif, roughly the highest in the world.

If you buy anything, add up to 10% for 2013 sales tax, state and local.

If you invest any of it, don't forget the new investment dividend surtaxes - on what was already taxed twice at the corporate level:  44.8+12.3% +35+8.8%

Previous post in the Calif thread: POTH says California shows signs of resurgence.

Good luck with that.  What could possibly go wrong?

In one year, Britain lost 2/3rds of its millionaires with smaller tax increases.  Even with a moat.

California has freeways going out, not an English Channel.

"Latest U-Haul Index Shows Californians Leaving for Texas"

Who knew?  Pretty soon you won't need a truck to haul what is left.
5177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Constitutional Law: Obamacare, a tax that will not be uniformly applied on: December 05, 2012, 07:27:30 PM
From lawyers who worked on the previous, unsuccessful challenge.  (WSJ excerpt)

The Opening for a Fresh ObamaCare Challenge
By defining the mandate as a tax, one that will not be uniformly applied, the Supreme Court ran afoul of the Constitution.


ObamaCare is being implemented, having been upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court in June in a series of cases now known as National Federation of Independent Business v. HHS. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that the court took a law that was flawed but potentially workable and transformed it into one that is almost certainly unworkable. More important, the justices also may have created new and fatal constitutional problems.

ObamaCare, or the Affordable Care Act, was conceived as a complex statutory scheme designed to provide Americans with near-universal health-care coverage and to effectively federalize the nation's health-care system. The law's core provision was an individual health-insurance purchase mandate, adopted by Congress as a "regulation" of interstate commerce. The provision required most Americans to buy federally determined minimum health-care insurance, or to pay a penalty more or less equivalent to the cost of that coverage.

Equally important were provisions requiring creation of state-run health-care insurance exchanges (where middle-income earners could obtain the prescribed coverage) and an expanded Medicaid program (also administered by the states) to cover people with incomes up to 133% (later upped to 138%) of the federal poverty level. An income of up to $31,809 for a family of four would qualify for Medicaid. States that failed to join in the Medicaid expansion were threatened with the loss of all federal Medicaid dollars, nearly a quarter of all state expenditures.

In the ObamaCare ruling, the Supreme Court correctly held that Congress could not impose the individual mandate as a constitutional regulation of interstate commerce and that Congress could not constitutionally use its spending power to coerce the states to expand Medicaid. Rather than strike down the law, however, the court construed the insurance-purchase mandate and its penalty as a "tax" on the failure to have health insurance. The justices also interpreted the Medicaid-expansion requirements as optional—permitting states to opt out of these provisions while staying within the traditional Medicaid program. Given that interpretation, the court's majority upheld the statute as constitutional.

The court's determination to preserve ObamaCare through "interpretation" has exacerbated the law's original flaws to the point that it has become palpably unworkable. By transforming the penalties for failing to comply with the law's requirements into a "tax," the court has given the public a green light to ignore ObamaCare's requirements when it is economically beneficial. Law-abiding individuals, who might otherwise have complied with the law's expensive purchase mandate to avoid being subjected to financial penalties, can simply now choose to pay a tax and not sign up for coverage. There is certainly no stigma attached to simply paying a tax, and noncompliance with the law's other requirements—such as those imposed on employers—is arguably made more attractive on the same basis. This effect fundamentally undercuts Congress's original purpose, which was to expand health-care coverage to the greatest number of people, not to improve federal revenues.

Similarly, having reviewed the likely costs and benefits, states are now taking advantage of the court-granted flexibility. Seven states, including Texas, Mississippi and Georgia, have so far opted out of the Medicaid-expansion provisions, and eight (with more certain to come) are refusing to create the insurance exchanges, leaving this to a federal bureaucracy unequipped to handle these new administrative burdens. As a result, a growing number of low-income Americans will be unable to obtain the free or cost-effective insurance that Congress originally meant them to have, although they remain subject to the mandate-tax.

Policy problems aside, by transforming the mandate into a tax to avoid one set of constitutional problems (Congress having exceeded its constitutionally enumerated powers), the court has created another problem. If the mandate is an indirect tax, as the Supreme Court held, then the Constitution's "Uniformity Clause" (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1) requires the tax to "be uniform throughout the United States." The Framers adopted this provision so that a group of dominant states could not shift the federal tax burden to the others. It was yet another constitutional device that was simultaneously designed to protect federalism and safeguard individual liberty.

The Supreme Court has rarely considered the Uniformity Clause's reach, but it cannot be ignored. The court also refused to impose meaningful limits on Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce for decades after the 1930s, until justices began to re-establish the constitutional balance in the 1990s with decisions leading up to the ObamaCare ruling this summer. And although the court has upheld as "uniform" taxes that affect states differently in practice, precedent makes clear that a permissible tax must "operate with the same force and effect in every place where the subject of it is found," as held in the Head Money Cases (1884). The ObamaCare tax arguably does not meet this standard.

ObamaCare provides that low-income taxpayers, who are nevertheless above the federal poverty line, can discharge their mandate-tax obligation by enrolling in the new, expanded Medicaid program, which serves as the functional equivalent of a tax credit. But that program will not now exist in every state because, as a matter of federal law, states can opt out. The actual tax burden will not be geographically uniform as the court's precedents require.

Thus, having transformed the individual mandate into a tax, the court may face renewed challenges to ObamaCare on uniformity grounds. The justices will then confront a tough choice. Having earlier reinterpreted the mandate as a tax, they would be hard-pressed to approve the geographic disparity created when states opt out of the Medicaid expansion. But that possibility is inherent in a scheme that imposes a nominally uniform tax liability accompanied by the practical equivalent of a fully off-setting tax credit available only to those living in certain states. To uphold such a taxing scheme would eliminate any meaningful uniformity requirement—a result that the Constitution does not permit.

ObamaCare was always a poorly conceived and constitutionally deficient statute. The Supreme Court's ruling upholding the law has simply made it worse. In the future, that decision is likely to be seen as a prime reason that the federal courts should judge and never legislate... more at the link.
5178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in Constitutional Law - Obamacare and the origination clause on: December 05, 2012, 07:19:24 PM
For the previous post in the thread, temporary takings, that is good news.  There was a similar ruling for partial takings, I recall.  Still not overturned is Kelo, the power to take private property to transfer to other private ownership. 
A good piece with an unfortunate conclusion, a shell bill successfully gets around the origination requirement??

WSJ     December 4, 2012  By JAMES TARANTO
Too Good to Be True - An ObamaCare challenge that's almost certain to fail.

From we learn of a new legal challenge to ObamaCare--"a challenge that only could have been made after the Supreme Court's ruling" in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, which upheld most of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

    The right-leaning Pacific Legal Foundation amended its challenge to the ACA after the Supreme Court upheld the insurance mandate under Congress' taxing powers.

    The group's challenge turns on the Origination Clause in the U.S. Constitution, which requires that bills for raising revenue start in the House of Representatives.

    Problem is, the group argues, Obamacare started in the Senate. . . .

    Of course, it's not entirely clear whether Pacific Legal will ultimately prevail on this reasoning.

We'd say it's almost entirely clear that it will not.

The Origination Clause provides that "all Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." In order to prevail, the plaintiff in this case would have to establish both that ObamaCare was a "Bill for raising Revenues" and that it originated in the Senate.

Not every law imposing a tax is a "Bill for Raising Revenues." In the court's most recent Origination Clause case, U.S. v. Munoz-Flores (1990), the court unanimously upheld the 1984 Victims of Crime Act, which imposed "a monetary 'special assessment' on any person convicted of a federal misdemeanor." A six-justice majority held that even though the act raised revenue, it was not a bill for raising revenue:

    The special assessment provision was passed as part of a particular program to provide money for that program--the Crime Victims Fund. Although any excess was to go to the Treasury, there is no evidence that Congress contemplated the possibility of a substantial excess, nor did such an excess in fact materialize. Any revenue for the general Treasury that 3013 creates is thus "incidenta[l]" to that provision's primary purpose."

Pacific Legal contrasts the Munoz-Flores assessment with the ObamaCare mandate tax on the ground that the latter "is more akin to an income tax, whose revenues go to the general treasury and are used for general Government operations."

That is a plausible distinction. But it is also plausible to argue that the revenues from the ObamaCare mandate tax are "incidental" to its primary purpose, which is to encourage people to buy insurance. That Congress did not even write the mandate as a tax would seem to strengthen, not weaken, the argument that its revenues are incidental.

We'd be delighted to see Pacific Legal's lawsuit succeed. But if one assumes that Chief Justice John Roberts adopted the "saving construction" for political reasons, it strikes us as highly unlikely that he would now strike down ObamaCare on Origination Clause grounds when he could sustain it without nearly the level of intellectual gymnastics he employed in the NFIB case.

It's also inaccurate to say that the court's opinion upholding ObamaCare opened the door to an Origination Clause challenge. For the law contains many other taxes--including a Medicare levy on investment income and excise taxes on such things as medical devices and tanning salons--which Congress knowingly enacted as taxes for the purpose of raising revenue. And Congress did, however unrealistically, foresee a surplus. It's still far from clear that ObamaCare was a "Bill for raising Revenue," since its main purpose was to remake the health insurance market. But these other taxes, not the mandate, provide the strongest argument that it was.

Even if we assume ObamaCare was a "Bill for raising Revenue," there's one further problem. Although it's true that the version of the law that was finally enacted passed the Senate before the House, it was, as Pacific Legal notes in its pleading, styled a "House Resolution." Here's what happened (citations omitted):

    In September, 2009, the House unanimously passed H.R. 3590, entitled the "Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009." The bill would have "amend[ed] the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify first-time homebuyers credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and certain other Federal employees"; H.R. 3590 had nothing to do with health insurance reform. In November of that year, the Senate "amended" the House bill by gutting its contents, replacing those contents with health-insurance reforms (including the purchase requirement and associated payment), and renaming the bill the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." The Senate's purported amendment resulted in the Affordable Care Act that became law.

This procedural dodge is known as a "shell bill" and is designed precisely to evade Origination Clause challenges. Pacific Legal notes in a press release that "the Supreme Court has never ruled on whether such a gut and switch ploy is constitutional." But the law at issue in Munoz-Flores was enacted in the same way, and one justice argued in a concurring opinion that that was sufficient to pass constitutional muster under the Origination Clause:

    The enrolled bill's indication of its House of origin establishes that fact as officially and authoritatively as it establishes the fact that its recited text was adopted by both Houses. . . . We should no more gainsay Congress' official assertion of the origin of a bill than we would gainsay its official assertion that the bill was passed by the requisite quorum, or any more than Congress or the President would gainsay the official assertion of this Court that a judgment was duly considered and approved by our majority vote. Mutual regard between the coordinate branches, and the interest of certainty, both demand that official representations regarding such matters of internal process be accepted at face value.

That justice was Antonin Scalia, one of the four dissenters in NFIB v. Sebelius. There is every reason to think the Origination Clause will not save us from ObamaCare.
5179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Bush Tax Rate Cut Issue in One Chart on: December 05, 2012, 04:48:38 PM
Reason Magazine calls this The Bush Tax Cut Issue in One Chart

Federal outlays and receipts in the last two years of the Clinton Administration, all eight years of George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s first term:

The tax cuts took effect in 2003.  The congress sworn to end them was sworn in Jan. 2007.  During that time, revenues exploded and deficits plummeted.

Spending marches upward no matter who is in office or how much money we take in.  Both revenues and spending are much worse in recession.  So to solve the budget shortfall, we choose to trigger another recession.

5180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IRS issues new rules, new taxes (Obamacare) in addition to the other tax hikes on: December 05, 2012, 04:28:46 PM
The Internal Revenue Service has released new rules for investment income taxes on capital gains and dividends earned by high-income individuals that passed Congress as part of the 2010 healthcare reform law.

The 3.8 percent surtax on investment income, meant to help pay for healthcare, goes into effect in 2013. It is the first surtax to be applied to capital gains and dividend income.

The tax affects only individuals with more than $200,000 in modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), and married couples filing jointly with more than $250,000 of MAGI.

The tax applies to a broad range of investment securities ranging from stocks and bonds to commodity securities and specialized derivatives.

The 159 pages of rules spell out when the tax applies to trusts and annuities, as well as to individual securities traders.

Released late on Friday, the new regulations include a 0.9 percent healthcare tax on wages for high-income individuals.

Both sets of rules will be published on Wednesday in the Federal Register.

The proposed rules are effective starting January 1. Before making the rules final, the IRS will take public comments and hold hearings in April.

Together, the two taxes are estimated to raise $317.7 billion over 10 years, according to a Joint Committee on Taxation analysis released in June.

To illustrate when the tax applies, the IRS offered an example of a taxpayer filing as a single individual who makes $180,000 in wage income plus $90,000 from investment income. The individual's modified adjusted gross income is $270,000.

The 3.8 percent tax applies to the $70,000, and the individual would pay $2,660 in surtaxes, the IRS said.

The IRS plans to release a new form for taxpayers to fill out for this tax when filing 2013 returns.

The new rules leave some questions unanswered, tax experts said. It was unclear how rental income will be treated under the new rules, said Michael Grace, managing director at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP law firm in Washington.

"The proposed regulations surely will increase tax compliance burdens for individuals," said Grace, a former IRS official. "There's clearly some drafting left to be done."
5181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 05, 2012, 04:19:45 PM
"AT the moment my thinking is that the Reps should give BO the rates on the rich on which he campaigned and won , , ,  and the static assumption 8-9 days of government that they will pay for.  Then have it out over the rest of it."

That makes some PR and conciliatory tone sense, is tempting, and is probably what Speaker Boehner is thinking, but... 

That 10% increase isn't the only increase coming.  You will be signing on with taking down the economy. 

Giving on that point does NOT make you more likely to win on the other points. 

By the same logic (on which he campaigned and won), each House Republican campaigned on the opposite - and won. If the President's win was on issues, specifically raising any tax rates, and not on personality, negative mudslinging etc., then where were his coat tails?

Congress is a competing, co-equal branch on these divided issues, not a cooperative branch. They are a check and a balance against all that he wants.  If the President was right, then fine, lesson learned, but each Republican House member knows better.  Rate hikes kill off growth and jobs.  Each needs to vote what they believe is the best interest of the country.  Each will face a worse electoral challenge if they don't.

The constitution gives appropriations and revenue raising authority first to the congress, if I understand it correctly.  The constitution, by my reading, defines the size and scope of government as the least of what the House, Senate, Executive and Judiciary can accept.  The President is in a stronger position only to the extent that he may be the only one with a spine. 

Tip O'Neill's members gave votes to Reagan tax cuts because either the individual representative or the constituents sided with Reagan, not out of deference to the national election.  Many of those districts I think were southern or rural and were becoming Democrat in name only.   Gingrich, just mentioned, shut down the government twice instead of playing nice and violating their principles.  They were reelected. 
5182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Mediocrity, Bias, Agenda and Fact Hiding: Where is THIS story? on: December 05, 2012, 12:30:46 PM
One of the two biggest showstoppers today threatening to shut down USA government and private competitivenes, and force us into immediate recession is the wisdom and experience of raising taxes on the rich.  GOP House members are pledged not to do it.  The President says no deal without it.  The media withholds the facts and then polls the public on the assignment of blame.

The U.K. lost 60% of its millionaires in one year with a tax rate increase on the rich that yielded NO NEW REVENUES while we argue the same question here, right now.

France is also losing wealth, millionaires and revenues with even more punitive policies.

I already posted on 'Tax Issues', now I ask here on 'Media Issues', where is this story?

Someone please link footage of broadcast network news leading story or link to front page coverage on the Washington Post, NY Times, LA Times, etc. etc.  Even in the Wall Street Journal news sections, not opinion.  It isn't an opinion.  It's a stubborn fact, and an extremely timely and relevant story.

I whine in general, often, about the need to go to biased, right wing sources to get basic, pertinent, public policy information.  But my willingness to dig for data doesn't solve anything politically or economically if only a few right wingers get the information.  This story is one specific example. 
5183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government spending, deficit, and budget process - The budget Baseline Con on: December 05, 2012, 11:42:31 AM
Where have we heard this before? (

WSJ excerpt below, subscription info at the link
The Budget Baseline Con  December 4, 2012
How Washington fools the public about spending 'cuts.'

  ...President Obama and John Boehner are playing by the dysfunctional Beltway rules. The rules work if you like bigger government, but Republicans need a new strategy, which starts by exposing the rigged game of "baseline budgeting."

Both the White House and House Republicans are pretending that their goal is "reducing the deficit," which they suggest means making real spending choices. They are talking about a "$4 trillion plan," or something, regardless of how that number is reached.

Here's the reality: Those numbers have no real meaning because they are conjured in the wilderness of mirrors that is the federal budget process. Since 1974, Capitol Hill's "baseline" has automatically increased spending every year according to Congressional Budget Office projections, which means before anyone has submitted a budget or cast a single vote. Tax and spending changes are then measured off that inflated baseline, not in absolute terms.

The most absurd current example is Mr. Obama's claim that his "$4 trillion" plan reduces the deficit by about $800 billion over 10 years by ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But those "savings," as he calls them, are measured against a White House budget office spending baseline that is fictional. Those wars are already being unwound and everyone knows the money will never be spent. But they are called "savings" to gull the public and make the deficit reduction add up to a large-sounding $4 trillion.

The baseline scam also exists in many states, and no less a Democrat than New York Governor Andrew Cuomo denounced it in 2011 as a "sham" and "deceptive." He wrote in the New York Post that state spending was "dictated by hundreds of rates and formulas that are marbleized throughout New York State laws that govern different programs—formulas that have been built into the law over decades, without regard to fiscal realities, performance or accountability." Then he proceeded to continue baseline budgeting.

In Washington, Democrats designed this system to make it easier to defend annual spending increases and to portray any reduction in the baseline as a spending "cut." Chris Wallace called Timothy Geithner on this "gimmick" on "Fox News Sunday" this week, only to have the Treasury Secretary insist it's real.

Republicans used to object to this game, but in recent years they seem to have given up. In an October 2010 speech at the American Enterprise Institute, House Speaker Boehner proposed that "we ought to start at square one" and rewrite the 1974 budget act. But he then dropped the idea, and in the current debate the GOP is putting itself at a major disadvantage by negotiating off the phony baseline. In a press release Tuesday, his own office advertised the need for "spending cuts" that aren't even cuts.

If Republicans really want to slow the growth in spending, they need to stop playing by Beltway rules and start explaining to America why Mr. Obama keeps saying he's cutting spending even as spending and deficits keep going up and up and up.
5184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politics - Generational Idiocy on: December 05, 2012, 11:18:04 AM
A letter to the editor published after the election in Barrons:

    A Warm Thank You

    To the Editor:

    This 50-something, white, conservative Republican wishes to thank America’s youth for sacrificing their financial futures and standard of living so that boomers, such as my wife and I, can look forward to a long and comfy retirement, which we could easily have afforded on our own. Now we have the youth as our guarantors and providers of a little something extra.

    As reported by the national exit poll conducted by Edison Research, Americans aged 18 to 29 voted 60% to 36% for Barack Obama. Prior to Obama’s re-election, I believed that it was morally wrong for my generation to pass a crushing national debt on to the next one.

    The debt will top $20 trillion before Obama moves out of the White House, and it will include spiraling retirement-related costs that the administration has shown zero interest in bringing under control, largely driven by baby boomers piling into the Social Security and Medicare systems.

    With the president’s electoral crushing of Mitt Romney, my overriding sense of morality and guilt have vanished. Thank you, kids!

    Edwin D. Schindler

    Woodbury, N.Y.
5185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Benghazi, Susan Rice's Talking Points - Where did they come from? on: December 05, 2012, 11:14:54 AM
Tuesday, September 18, just a week after the attack and two days after Rice’s appearance, on the "Late Show With David Letterman."

LETTERMAN: Now, I don’t understand, um, the ambassador to Libya killed in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Is this an act of war? Are we at war now? What happens here?

OBAMA: Here's what happened. ... You had a video that was released by somebody who lives here, sort of a shadowy character who -- who made an extremely offensive video directed at -- at Mohammed and Islam --

LETTERMAN: Making fun of the Prophet Mohammed.

OBAMA: Making fun of the Prophet Mohammed. And so, this caused great offense in much of the Muslim world. But what also happened, extremists and terrorists used this as an excuse to attack a variety of our embassies, including the one, the consulate in Libya.

(Quotes from RCP:

That makes two people, high up, who knew better, intentionally misleading the American people, for purely political purposes, not fit to be American Secretary of State - or any other high office.

Don't tell me what she said falsely on 5 talk shows didn't come directly from the White House.
5186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: December 05, 2012, 11:04:37 AM
Morris: "We have got to defeat [ratification of] all these [UN] treaties."

The secessionist movement should have begun with disbanding or leaving the UN as we know it.  The UN with one 'nation' one vote, that includes all dictatorships and Kleptocracies, should be for talk, and not US hosted or sponsored.  An organization of like minded democracies with some sense of proportion should be formed for negotiating treaties.
5187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, Friedman on: December 05, 2012, 10:57:24 AM
From the piece, "One settler leader told me the biggest problem in the West Bank today is “traffic jams.” "

Tom Friedman can't resist putting things back on Israel, 'a rising group of far-right settler-activists'... 'plans to build a huge block of settlements in the heart of the West Bank' etc.  Why not put it back on the enemies of Israel that the result of decades of pursuing destruction and refusing to negotiate peace in good faith is Jewish-Israeli traffic jams in the contested West Bank.

Israel is doing quite well while their enemies seem to have trouble recognizing failure.

Yes, Friedman's sense of history here and his construction of the three models is quite good.
5188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff): Bob Costas anti-gun rant on: December 04, 2012, 04:00:15 PM
Here's the video of what he said on the NFL halftime show:

"If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today."

Costas' former broadcast partner disagrees.

5189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party related matters on: December 04, 2012, 02:35:29 PM
Another point within the fiscal cliff options that the Republican House faces I will stick here.  To the extent that elected Republicans vote for Obama Democrat policies in order to be more liked in Washington and in media, we will see more and more bitter challenges come within the Republican party.   From that we will see more not-ready-for-prime-time candidates winning endorsement (Todd Aiken etc) screwing up their own race and others with it.

To the extent that elected Republicans merge their proven skills of getting elected with all that is good about tea party principles, from my point of view we have a strong chance to win the next off-year election in the House and perhaps many, many more.
5190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 04, 2012, 01:31:04 PM
... congressional Republicans should bear the brunt of the blame, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll...

If Republicans hold to their principals, they risk losing the House in 2014.  If they don't, they lose the House now.
5191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Media Issues: Surprising (lol)Media Bias discovered in the Fiscal Cliff Coverage on: December 04, 2012, 01:25:46 PM
The forum has more diversity of political thought than the top three television broadcast news networks combined.  (Excerpt)

ABC World News with Diane Sawyer continues to tout the Obama Administration’s spin that tax hikes on the wealthy are the only solution to the looming “fiscal cliff” catastrophe. According to an analysis from the Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute, in the three weeks following President Obama’s re-election, World News devoted more than 10 minutes 18 seconds to talk of tax hikes and just 35 seconds to spending cuts (a 17-1 margin).

NBC Nightly News discussed taxes more than twice as often as spending (4 minutes 23 seconds to 1 minute 47 seconds.), while CBS Evening News gave tax hikes only three more minutes of coverage (14 minutes 5 seconds to 10 minutes 12 seconds). However, more than a third of CBS’s spending cut coverage total comes from one story detailing the horrific downside of spending cuts.

ABC was by far the worst offender, refusing to even entertain spending cuts as a viable solution to the Obama Administration’s crushing budget deficits.
5192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gvmt spending, deficit, budget: Obama Should Return To Clinton-Era Spending on: December 04, 2012, 01:05:41 PM
More famous people/publications caught reading the forum:

IBD Editorials
Obama Should Return To Clinton-Era Spending Levels

Fiscal Policy: Talk of Clinton-era tax rates ignores the fact that the former president, working with a GOP Congress, cut spending as a share of GDP and produced four balanced budgets by focusing on growth, not spending.

Even as he pushes $150 billion in new "stimulus" spending, President Obama argues that to avoid the fiscal cliff we must return to Clinton-era tax rates for wealthy households, with a top marginal rate of 39.6% vs. the Bush-era 35%. Clinton's was an age of balanced budgets and economic growth.

But it was also an era of budgetary restraint in which both parties, not just the GOP, still produced budgets.

It was one, too, in which a Republican Congress led by House Speaker Newt Gingrich produced welfare reform, killed the precursor to cap and trade — Bill Clinton's BTU tax — and stopped ObamaCare's predecessor, HillaryCare, dead in its tracks.

As the Cato Institute's Steve H. Hanke points out, when President Clinton took office in 1993, government expenditures were 22.1% of GDP. When he departed in 2000, the federal government's share of the economy had been squeezed to a low of 18.2%, a decline of 3.9 percentage points. No other modern president has even come close (see table).

Under Clinton, federal spending averaged 19.8% of GDP. In contrast, spending under Obama over the past four years has averaged 24.4% of GDP.

Revenues from Clinton-era tax rates were actually used to pay down the national debt and produce four successive budget surpluses. Obama's tax increases will simply fund new spending.

The spending restraint of the Clinton/Gingrich era was so successful and disciplined that it led President Clinton in his January 1996 State of the Union address to proclaim that "the era of big government is over." In contrast, President Obama has argued that "the danger of too much government is matched by the perils of too little."

Not only has he increased total welfare spending by $193 billion since taking office, he has also ballooned the number of food stamp recipients to more than 47 million and actively worked to dismantle the 1996 welfare reform act by neutering its work requirement through executive order.

Obama's first stimulus bill included funding to help states pay for additional welfare recipients and eliminated many of the incentives that encouraged states to reduce their welfare rolls. More recently, the Obama administration announced plans to waive many of welfare reform's work requirements.

Now ObamaCare threatens to increase health care costs while increasing Medicaid's burden on the states.

Of course, President Clinton benefited from President Ronald Reagan's tax cuts, which unleashed the dot-com boom and a period of unparalleled technological creativity and development.

During this boom, the economy grew by one-third and tax receipts doubled as we added the equivalent of the West German economy to our own.

Clearly tax cuts combined with spending cuts work, as does encouraging and rewarding entrepreneurship and not punishing and demonizing success. When government sucks all the economic oxygen out of the room, it becomes hard for real job creators to breathe.

Obama has been very selective in his admiration of the Clinton era. Adopt the spending levels and restraint,Mr. President, not the tax rates.
5193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues - content sharing on: December 04, 2012, 12:56:21 PM
Content sharing, in excerpts, with major media on the forum is mutual - for the record.  We normally give credit.  They rarely do.

DougMacG, DBMA public forum
December 03, 2012, posted 10:11:17 AM »
"At an interagency teleconference in late April [1994], Susan Rice, a rising star on the NSC who worked under Richard Clarke, stunned a few of the officials present when she asked, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?”

December 3, 2012, posted 7:23 p.m.
"At an interagency teleconference in late April [1994]," Ms. Rice "stunned a few officials present when she asked, 'If we use the word "genocide" and are seen as doing nothing, what will the effect be on the November [congressional] election?'
5194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 04, 2012, 01:06:21 AM
This matter of massive defense cuts as part of the cliff is far too important to be forgotten in frustrated petulance...

The thing with the defense cuts is that Obama is President for the next 4 years.  Defense cuts weaken our country but we just did that anyway. 

A conservative view of defense is that we could be mean, scary, well-armed and still spend a lot less - through deterrence and more selective use of our forces.  I am more interventionist but the country right now is not.  Call it Iraq war fatigue. 

The Clinton mistake was to gut intelligence.  Gutting intelligence is stupid - no pun intended.

The other part of willingness to go over the fiscal cliff (back to tax policy themes) is that higher taxes is what people get for choosing to go down Obama Avenue.  Big government costs big money.  Not just for the guy behind the tree.  Big cradle to grave, life of Julia, government will cost you and your family big money and here is your new bill.

If Obama refuses to budge on the budget deal, R's can refuse to budge on debt ceiling appeasement.  Vote present - vote no.  They say default but I say it means an instantly balanced budget.  Bigger spending cuts than a libertarian-conservative's wildest dream.  And it will all be Obama's fault.

There go the Obama second term initiatives (and first term programs like Obamacare) right down the drain - QE3,4,5 and everything else.  He keeps Air Force One, the golf membership, Supreme Court appointments, and that's about it.

"The Reps have utterly failed to have a sound bite answer to the sound bite question, What the hell is wrong to going back to the Clinton era tax rates?"

Maybe so for them, but you and I have answered that. a) We aren't competing in a 1990's global economy anymore. b) There are many many many other new taxes. c) There are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of new regulations that cripple production enacted since the 1990s that go beyond explicit taxation.  d) Doesn't it follow that we also could go back to Clinton Gingrich SPENDING LEVELS?!  The point of the fiscal cliff is the deficit and the deficit is ALL about spending.  Maybe Clinton (or Eisenhower) had spending levels right.

e) Posted earlier, Did ANYONE notice that the UK lost 60% of its millionaires in one year by bumping up the tax rate.  Static scoring is the biggest economic lie of our collective lifetimes.

Revenues to the US Treasury doubled in the 1980s when the top rate fell from 70% to 28% and the number of millionaires in the UK dropped by 60% in one year with falling revenues when the tax rate on millionaires went up 10%. 

Do retailers bring in more people and more revenue than ever before on Black Friday by raising prices or by having sales?  Ask them.

This should not be that hard to communicate.
5195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: December 03, 2012, 05:39:46 PM
Mitch Daniels is the latest to point to the 47% remark as the problem.  I thought there would be a constant drip of these clandestine gaffe releases and there wasn't. Romney should have reacted strongly to correct that to what it was and let it be more than that.

This was the biggest turning point of the 2012 campaign, totally unmentioned by all the professional analysts: NFIB v Sebelius, the Roberts decision on Obamacare.

Strike that down and Romney could point out the difference between a Massachusetts plan and a federal takeover of healthcare - one was constitutional, one wasn't.  One man who hinted that America could just strike it down in the election removed the entire argument, that his signature achievement was unconstitutional, from the Presidential campaign.

(Side note: I will read this holiday season what I was too angry to read last summer, the decision in its entirety, and hope to discuss it in detail over on the constitutional thread if anyone else is interested.)

5196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: December 03, 2012, 05:31:18 PM
"Give Buraq everything he asks for. Vote present."

They can vote no on bad ideas.  They can go with stupidity about 2% up for income over a million and let those chips fall.  The GOP House IMO cannot cross the line very far to support what they do not support.  There is not much downside IMO for them using hard negotiations now at the fiscal cliff and during the debt ceiling crisis coming in only a month or two.  If spending cuts are not going to happen, then tax rates going up for everyone as a consequence.  Who is the party of bigger spending, bigger government, healthcare takeover and a bigger share of everyone's  income going to pay for the high cost of bigger and bigger government?  Not the GOP.  Especially not the Republican House if they passed a number of better options that died in the Dem Senate or on the President's desk. 
5197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Susan Rice, continued on: December 03, 2012, 10:11:17 AM
"At an interagency teleconference in late April [1994], Susan Rice, a rising star on the NSC who worked under Richard Clarke, stunned a few of the officials present when she asked, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?”

 - 'Bystanders to Genocide', by Samantha Power, Sept 2001, Atlantic Magazine
5198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy - Simpson Bowles on: December 03, 2012, 10:05:04 AM
One excerpt on taxes:

    RECOMMENDATION 2.1: ENACT FUNDAMENTAL TAX REFORM BY 2012 TO LOWER RATES, REDUCE DEFICITS, AND SIMPLIFY THE CODE. Eliminate all income tax expenditures [deductions and other tax preferences], dedicate a portion of the additional revenue to deficit reduction, and use the remaining revenue to lower rates and add back necessary expenditures and credits.

    A “zero plan” could reduce income tax rates to as low as 8%, 14%, and 23%. Even after adding back a number of larger tax expenditures, rates would still remain significantly lower than under current law.

Link again:

Another clause:

2.2.2  Eliminate all tax expenditures for businesses. Corporate tax reform should eliminate special subsidies for different industries. By eliminating business tax expenditures – currently more than 75 – the corporate tax rate can be significantly reduced while contributing to deficit reduction. A lower overall tax rate will improve American business competitiveness. Abolishing special subsidies will also create an even playing field for all businesses instead of artificially picking winners and losers.
5199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs, spending, deficit, budget: Simpson-Bowles on: December 03, 2012, 09:59:09 AM
For the record, Alan Simpson was a moderate Republican as a Senator, Erskine Bowles was Clinton's Chief of Staff; the commission was appointed by (first term) Pres. Barack Obama and the results were totally ignored.

One simple excerpt on spending:

RECOMMENDATION 1.1: CAP DISCRETIONARY SPENDING THROUGH 2020. Hold spending in 2012 equal to or lower than spending in 2011, and return spending to pre-crisis 2008 levels in real terms in 2013. Limit future spending growth to half the projected inflation rate through 2020.

This is not rocket science, people.  Put SOME limit on spending.
5200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy in the UK: Income tax rates rose and revenues fell on: December 03, 2012, 09:47:18 AM
What does Warren Buffet (and Barack Obama) say to THIS?

New data on tax hikes - from Britain: The tax went from 40% to 50% on millionaires in one year.  The total number of millionaire tax filers plunged 60% to 6,000 in 2010-2011, from 16,000 in 2009-2010.

(Next year we can post similar data for California.)

Mr. Buffet, incentives and disincentives matter!

Does this business genius ever advertise that his flagship Geico brings in more customers and more revenues because of higher prices ... in 15 minutes or less we'll raise your cost of car insurance?

Britain's Missing Millionaires
Income tax rates rise but revenues fall.

A funny thing often happens on the way to soaking the rich: They don't stick around for the bath. Take Britain, where Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs service reports that the number of taxpayers declaring £1 million a year in income fell by more than 60% in fiscal 2010-2011 from the year before.

That was the year that millionaires became liable for the 50% income-tax rate that Gordon Brown's government introduced in its final days in 2010, up from the previous 40% rate. Lo, the total number of millionaire tax filers plunged to 6,000 in 2010-2011, from 16,000 in 2009-2010.

The new tax was meant to raise about £2.5 billion more revenue. So much for that. In 2009-2010 British millionaires contributed about £13.4 billion to the public coffers, or just under 9% of the total tax liability of all taxpayers that year. At the 50% rate, the shrunken pool yielded £6.5 billion, or about 4.4%.

The British press is abuzz with the notion that 10,000 millionaires left the country in the interim, and no doubt some did make for their chalets in Gstaad. Others may have brought forward more income in 2009-2010, knowing the higher rate was on its way. No doubt, too, the overall lousy economy took its toll.

Prime Minister David Cameron decided earlier this year to lower the 50% rate to 45%, meaning we may see at least some of the millionaires return to the U.K. But the figures are another reminder that incentives matter.

Politicians would love to lay the whole burden of their policies on a tiny minority of the rich, but you can't finance the welfare state on the shoulders of the 1%. That's something for the U.S. to remember as President Obama pretends he can fill a $1 trillion budget hole with tax hikes on "millionaires and billionaires."
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