A journalist for The Atlantic named Elizabeth Stoker and her colleague Matt Bruenig are trying to create a monster even more destructive than Stoker’s namesake Bram created..but this one is known as the Universal Basic Income.
In the United States, we are generally told that poverty is a deeply complicated problem whose solution requires dozens of reforms on issues as diverse as public schooling, job training, and marriage.
But it’s not true. High rates of poverty can, as a policy matter, be solved with trivial ease. How? By simply giving the poor money.
The economically undereducated due go on to point out how simple the process would be and all the great benefits like:
Ludicrous, irresponsible spending is why we’re in trouble. As columnist Ron Hart points out, [President] Bill Clinton’s balanced budget spent $1.7 trillion. “Adjusted for inflation,” he writes, “our federal government would (have) a $200 billion surplus. But instead of increasing government spending in line with normal inflation, under [President] Bush and [President] Obama we are spending $3.8 trillion today. Democrats, who believe we have a ‘revenue’ problem instead of a ‘spending’ problem, must also think they have a bartender problem, not a drinking problem.”
The media obsess about tax rates, but spending is more important. As Milton Friedman taught us, spending is a far more accurate gauge of the government burden. If government spends a dollar, that dollar is taxed away from someone. If it’s borrowed, it’s removed from productive use, setting the stage for higher taxes later. If the government prints more dollars to fund spending, our purchasing power falls. Transferring purchasing power from the people to the government via inflation is a form of taxation.
If Republicans and Democrats reach a deal, the tax increases will be real — but spending “cuts” probably illusions. If they actually happen, they will only be reductions in already planned increases.
I think we ought to abolish the IRS and instead move to a simple flat tax where the average American can fill out taxes on postcard… Put down how much you earn, put down a deduction for charitable contributions, home mortgage and how much you owe. It ought to be a simple one-page postcard, and take the agents, the bureaucracy out of Washington and limit the power of government.
Andrew’s Note: Unfortunately instead of having less need for the IRS we’ve added a whole new line of business to their portfolio. Beginning in 2014 the IRS will be monitoring your health insurance to make sure you’re in compliance with the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare…I guess it makes a kind of sense…the current level of taxation does make me sick!
According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in their Annual Snapshot of The Federal Regulatory State, The Ten Thousand Commandments, the annual cost of compliance for that we must pay to stay within the ‘ten thousand commandments’ is over $1.8 Trillion! Explained another way, for every dollar in revenue that the U.S. government took in during fiscal year 2012, consumers and businesses paid another 73 cents in compliance costs. Those of us who own businesses see the costs of compliance directly (tax preparation, ACA, HIPPA, EPA regulations, etc.) and costs are necessarily passed through to the consumers. Those consumers also see direct compliance costs through items like the cost of tax preparation.
When I have to spend so much time, money and energy making sure I’m in compliance with laws and regulations…why does our Federal Government get a pass whenever they feel that a law or regulation is an annoyance. Living with the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare was an annoyance for Congressional employees so the government recently passed a new law exempting Congress and it’s staffers from the laws that the rest of us have to live with. In that case, at least Congress changed the law…but there are a number of other recent cases where our own government just ignores the laws it finds annoying. One such law that seems to be annoying our executive branch is the spending cap passed by Congress: Continue reading
Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases:
President Ronald Reagan
Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Andrew’s Note: When Justice Holmes wrote that Federal taxes were less about 4% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in 2012 Federal Taxes now consume about 16% of GDP and we spend a great deal more than that.
What I’m not saying is that all government spending is bad. It’s not – far, far from it, but there is no free lunch, as a former colleague of mine used to say. There is no public tooth fairy. Father Christmas does not work on the Treasury staff this year. You can never bail someone out of trouble without putting someone else into trouble.
Dr. Arthur B. Laffer
Individually, Americans do not deserve to be subservient to such a fear-mongering, intimidating and powerful agency as the Internal Revenue Service; but collectively, we do…
In order to squeeze out of us half of what we produce [taxes and regulatory burden], a government tax collection agency must be ruthless and able to put the fear of God into its citizens. The IRS has mastered that task. Congress has given it powers that would be deemed criminal if used by others…
The bottom line is that members of Congress need such a ruthless tax collection agency as the IRS because of the charge we Americans have given them. We want what the IRS does — namely, to take the earnings of one American so Congress can create a benefit for some other American. Don’t get angry with IRS agents. They are just following orders.
Taxes are necessary to fund the constitutionally mandated functions of the federal government. If Congress spent according to its authority under Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution, taxes wouldn’t be any more than 5 percent of the gross domestic product, as it was between 1787 and 1920, as opposed to today’s 20 percent.
Isn’t it appropriate that the month of the tax begins with April Fool’s Day and ends with cries of “Mayday!”
Andrew’s Note: Think about it for a minute or follow the link… I know you expected a comment on communism or socialism today…not a tax quote…just so that I don’t disappoint…here’s a little graphic to get your capitalist blood pressure up!
Let’s play make believe for a moment so that we can understand the Internet Tax Madness that is going on in the Senate right now… with the aptly misnamed Marketplace Fairness Act, S. 743.
Pretend you own a successful specialty store in Vail, Colorado selling the world’s best widgets (or maybe prepper supplies). Everything’s going along swimmingly until there’s a convention of State and local politicians and bureaucrats from all over the country in town. Several of the conference attendees, let’s call them Larry, Moe & Curly decide to skip out of their taxpayer funded educational opportunity and stop by your store. While they’re browsing your store they notice a couple of their neighbors, let’s call them Joe and Shemp from back home buying your wonderful widgets with their hard earned money.
When you ring up Joe and Shemp’s sale you follow all local laws including collecting applicable local taxes. When Larry, Moe & Curly notice Joe & Shemp’s purchases they turn green with envy. You notice them whip out a couple of slide rules and start calculating something. What they are calculating is all the ‘lost’ tax revenue that they could have made if Joe, Shemp and everyone else would have purchased their widgets back home…so that Larry, Moe & Curly’s various levels of state and local government could have taken their ‘fair share.’
The regulatory, administrative state, which progressives champion, is generally a servant of the strong, for two reasons. It responds to financially powerful and politically sophisticated factions. And it encourages rent-seekers to exploit opportunities for concentrated benefits and dispersed costs (e.g., agriculture subsidies confer sums on large agribusinesses by imposing small costs on 316 million Americans).
Such government inevitably means executive government and the derogation of the legislative branch, both of which produce exploding government debt. By explaining these perverse effects of progressivism, the Hudson Institute’s Christopher DeMuth explains contemporary government’s cascading and reinforcing failures.
Executive growth fuels borrowing growth because of the relationship between what DeMuth, in a recent address at George Mason University, called “regulatory insouciance and freewheeling finance.” Government power is increasingly concentrated in Washington, Washington power is increasingly concentrated in the executive branch, and executive-branch power is increasingly concentrated in agencies that are unconstrained by legislative control. Debt and regulation are, DeMuth discerns, “political kin”: Both are legitimate government functions, but both are now perverted to evade democratic accountability, which is a nuisance, and transparent taxation, which is politically dangerous.
Today’s government uses regulation to achieve policy goals by imposing on the private sector burdens less obvious than taxation would be, burdens that become visible only indirectly, in higher prices. Often the goals government pursues by surreptitious indirection are goals that could not win legislative majorities — e.g., the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gases following Congress’s refusal to approve such policies. And deficit spending — borrowing — is, DeMuth says, “a complementary means of taxation evasion”: It enables the political class to provide today’s voters with significantly more government benefits than current taxes can finance, leaving the difference to be paid by voters too young to vote or not yet born.
…High affluence and new technologies have, DeMuth believes, “led to unhealthy political practices.” Time was, the three basic resources required for effective political action — discretionary time, the ability to acquire and communicate information and persuasion skills — were scarce and possessed only by elites. But in our wealthy and educated society, interest groups can pressure government without being filtered by congressional hierarchies…
Five days later than last year…
Tax Freedom Day® is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year. Tax Freedom Day provides Americans with an easy way to gauge the overall tax take-a task that can otherwise be daunting due to the multiplicity of taxes at various levels of government and “hidden” taxes and fees that are often buried in the cost of living. Tax Freedom Day computed by dividing total tax collections by the nation’s income, as reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Every dollar that is officially called income by the government is counted, and every payment that is officially considered a tax is counted. The resulting percentage is then converted into days of a 365-day calendar year.
Tax Freedom Day 2013 is April 18th. In 2013, Americans will pay $2.76 trillion in federal taxes and $1.45 trillion in state taxes, for a total tax bill of $4.22 trillion, or 29.4 percent of income. April 18 is 29.4 percent into the year. To read the full report, click here.
Today’s a good day to reflect on what a fair level of taxation is. If someone taking 100% of the fruits of your labor is slavery and taking 0% is absolute economic freedom then what’s the balance that results in the least loss of freedom yet maintains our necessary spending? I say necessary because as Dr. Thomas Sowell says in today’s quote “The real goal should be reduced government spending, rather than balanced budgets achieved by ever rising tax rates to cover ever rising spending.” There’s no doubt that we’ve collectively elected generations of politicians from both parties who have been hell bent on taking our hard earned income in order to line their pockets, favor their friends and build their pet projects.
I’m just back from a few weeks of travel and will share some of the thoughts I’ve been toying with over the next week or so and some of the preparedness projects that the weather will finally let me tackle.
When you print money [qualitative easing], the money does not flow evenly into the economic system. It stays essentially in the financial service industry and among people that have access to these funds, mostly well-to-do people. It does not go to the worker. I just mentioned that it doesn’t flow evenly into the system.
Now from time to time it will lift the NASDAQ like between 1997 and March 2000. Then it lifted home prices in the U.S. until 2007. Then it lifted the commodity prices in 2008 until July 2008 when the global economy was already in recession. More recently it has lifted selected emerging economies, stock markets in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, up four times from 2009 lows and now the U.S.
So we are creating bubbles and bubbles and bubbles. This bubble will come to an end. My concern is that we are going to have a systemic crisis where it is going to be very difficult to hide. Even in gold, it will be difficult to hide.
There should be something like a bit tax… I mean, a bit tax could be a cent per gigabit and they would make, probably, billions of dollars a year….[and a] very tiny tax on email.
Berkeley City Councilman Gordon Wozniak via Should the government tax your email? One California official thinks so | Fox News
Andrew’s Note: Maybe while we’re at it we can put an extra tax on video games to subsidize the sagging boardgame industry…or maybe a tax on horseless carriages to resurrect the troubled wagon wheel industry. Let’s elect folks who look at ways to cut taxes and make government more efficient…not methods to subsidize inefficiency…even in Berkeley, CA! I think that you and I can make better decisions about how to spend the money we earn than a politician or bureaucrat. Tax e-mail…what will they think of next?
We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve gotta have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded [as the U.S. military].
Then Candidate Barack Obama in 2008
Andrew’s Note: Today we present a commentary and warning by Roger Reality that was inspired by a recent Fox News article on entitlement reform and the sideshow we call the ‘Sequester.’ Here’s Arbeit Macht Frei and the Permanent Sequester…
The Socialist Agenda is succeeding where Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and the Communists of the USSR, China, and elsewhere failed…that is in destroying the United States!! Loathsome self-interest by politicians and those they pander to has pushed us off the edge and there are diminishing hopes for a “miracle” to prevent the catastrophic financial implosion that is now just a few years away. The Socialists WILL NOT turn on those who put them into power and will keep them there… namely the sizable proportion of the population that survives off labors of others in the form of government handouts. Moderate “reforms” cannot prevent this, just as getting less drunk doesn’t cure an alcoholic!
Wake up your family! Wake up your friends! Wake up your neighbors! There will be nothing left to receive from the governments (federal, state and local) if we don’t reverse this course. There will be nothing left for either our parasitic fellow citizens nor our hardworking friends and neighbors that rely on true government provided essential services like national defense, a functioning judicial system, a transportation system, civil authority and police protection…not to mention that Social Security you’ve been contributing to your entire working life.
[President] Obama, who believes government spends money more constructively than do those who earn it, warns that the sequester’s budgetary nicks, amounting to one-half of 1 percent of gross domestic product, will derail the economy. A similar jeremiad was heard in 1943 when economist Paul Samuelson, whose Keynesian assumptions have trickled down to Obama, said postwar cuts in government would mean “the greatest period of unemployment and industrial dislocation which any economy has ever faced.”
Federal spending did indeed shrink an enormous 40 percent in one year. And the economy boomed.
Because crises are government’s excuse for growing, liberalism’s motto is: Never let a crisis go unfabricated. But its promiscuous production of crises has made them boring.
Remember when, in the 1980s, thousands died from cancers caused by insufficient regulation of the chemical Alar sprayed on apples? No, you don’t because this alarming prediction fizzled. Alar was not, after all, a risk.
Remember when “a major cooling of the climate” was “widely considered inevitable” (New York Times, May 21, 1975) with “extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation” (Science magazine, Dec. 10, 1976) which must “stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery” (International Wildlife, July 1975)? Remember reports that “the world’s climatologists are agreed” that we must “prepare for the next ice age” (Science Digest, February 1973)? Armadillos were leaving Nebraska, heading south, and heat-loving snails were scampering southward from European forests (Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 27, 1974). Newsweek (April 28, 1975) said meteorologists were “almost unanimous” that cooling would “reduce agricultural productivity.”
Today, while Obama prepares a governmental power grab to combat global warming, sensible Americans, tuckered out with apocalypse fatigue, are yawning through the catastrophe du jour, the sequester. They say: Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the hamsters of sequestration.