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…
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.
Misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management surround the sequester, the term for the $85 billion in ugly and largely irrational federal spending cuts set by law to begin Friday.
Andrew’s Note: Today we present a pair of dueling quotes on the Sequester. If it takes ‘irrational federal spending cuts’ then that’s better than no federal spending cuts. That said, keep in mind that there are going to be a number of folks hurt by our pending sequester including many friends of mine. We need to get back to the old days of having an actual budget…but it needs to be reasonable and we need to live within in.
Andrew’s Note: Today’s Quote is taken straight from the Social Security Trustees Report Summary. Here’s what Secretary Geithner, Secretary Sebelius and the other trustees think about the future of Social Security. Although I didn’t pull the whole report it’s still a little long…here’s how it starts (emphasis is mine).
Social Security’s expenditures exceeded non-interest income in 2010 and 2011, the first such occurrences since 1983, and the Trustees estimate that these expenditures will remain greater than non-interest income throughout the 75-year projection period. The deficit of non-interest income relative to expenditures was about $49 billion in 2010 and $45 billion in 2011, and the Trustees project that it will average about $66 billion between 2012 and 2018 before rising steeply as the economy slows after the recovery is complete and the number of beneficiaries continues to grow at a substantially faster rate than the number of covered workers. Redemption of trust fund assets from the General Fund of the Treasury will provide the resources needed to offset the annual cash-flow deficits. Since these redemptions will be less than interest earnings through 2020, nominal trust fund balances will continue to grow. The trust fund ratio, which indicates the number of years of program cost that could be financed solely with current trust fund reserves, peaked in 2008, declined through 2011, and is expected to decline further in future years. After 2020, Treasury will redeem trust fund assets in amounts that exceed interest earnings until exhaustion of trust fund reserves in 2033, three years earlier than projected last year. Thereafter, tax income would be sufficient to pay only about three-quarters of scheduled benefits through 2086. Continue reading
After spending entirely too much time this week (not to mention a year of keeping every receipt and logging every business, charity and military mile driven) and getting ready to spend WAY too much money filing my State and Federal Taxes I thought I’d do something I’ve never done before and appropriate today’s article from another website….it’s OK they want to get the word out…what follows is a brief introduction to a tax program that just makes so much sense the only reason we haven’t done it is because special interests wield so much power in our seats of government. Ladies and gentlemen there is a better way to tax…The Fair Tax…
While I’m partial the Flat Tax proposal as well I think it’s a harder sell because so many voters have been sold on the idea that the more successful you are the more of your labor (as a percentage of your income) should be taken from you (isn’t there a word for forcibly taking someone’s labor?)…don’t get me wrong…the only thing rich about me is my imagination, my friendships and the love of my family…but I aspire to be wealthier and don’t believe that the harder someone works the more they should be indentured to government. The Fair Tax takes that argument away because it taxes consumption (it also treats investment and dividend income the same as earned income)…and the more you make the more you are able to consume…but you could just as easily consume little and save…which is good for society as well.
The pilgrims were illegal aliens!
U.S. Government Employees Chanting During Cultural Sensitivity Training via JW Releases Confidential USDA Videos Revealing “Cultural Sensitivity Training” Program | Judicial Watch
Andrew’s Note: A lot of folks walked across a land bridge, emigrated from Europe or were brought here through the barbarism of the slave trade before we were a Nation of laws with border controls… since when do we have to be ‘culturally sensitive to criminal activity! Maybe we’re all just anchor babies…
Just a few years ago, when George W. Bush was president, the Congressional Record shows that Senator Obama said this: “I rise, today, to talk about America’s debt problem. The fact that we are here to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure and our government’s reckless fiscal policies.”..
Sen. Obama went on: “Over the past five years, our federal debt has increased from $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion — and yes, I said trillion with a ‘T’!”
Andrew’s Note: The U.S. debt is currently over $16.4 Trillion.
The existing tax code makes compliance difficult, requiring taxpayers to devote excessive time to preparing and filing their returns… and it undermines trust in the system by creating an impression that many taxpayers are not compliant, thereby reducing the incentives that honest taxpayers feel to comply.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the last-minute fiscal cliff deal reached by congressional leaders and President Barack Obama cuts only $15 billion in spending while increasing tax revenues by $620 billion—a 41:1 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts.
Matthew Boyle via Fiscal Cliff Deal: $1 in Spending Cuts for Every $41 in Tax Increases.
If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, and give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; And the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes; have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow sufferers; And this is the tendency of all human governments .
A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second, that second for a third, and so on till the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering… And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.
Now that Barack Obama has won re-election, the parallels … to him and FDR seem stronger than ever. In terms of government spending, George W. Bush’s second term can now be viewed as Herbert Hoover redux, and Obama’s additional ramping up of the Bush spending explosion eerily mimics FDR’s post-Hoover strategy. Perhaps the most breathtaking parallel between FDR’s and Obama’s Big Government agendas is this: In his first five years in office, FDR spent more than the previous 31 presidents combined; in eight years as president, Obama will have doubled the national debt accumulated by all 43 of his predecessors (unless, of course, Uncle Sam’s farcical finances blow up before then).
Economist, Dr. Mark Hendrickson via Obama: The Second FDR Rather Than the Second Carter | Forbes
A ‘Judas Goat’ is a goat trained to associate with other herd animals, primarily sheep or cattle and lead them to slaughter. By following the Judas Goat the unsuspecting livestock calmly walk right up to their own demise. When it comes to taxation, make sure that you don’t follow the Judas Goat!
I’m consistently amazed at the stupid things that celebrities say and the questionable causes they support. Just look at how many celebrities have been hoodwinked by the extremist group PETA into endorsing their agenda and even posing naked to support it. I understand the need to ‘make a difference’ in the world but do your homework folks! The worst of these celebrity ’causes’ is the recent rash of celebrity ‘tax the rich’ and last year’s ‘support Occupy Wall Street’ celebrity endorsements.
These tax-increase celebrities remind me of that Judas Goat…with their expectation that we will be so star-struck that we calmly follow them into taxmeggeddon. Even seemingly rational businessmen like Warren Buffet have chosen to play the Goat. My only guess is that if you’ve accumulated all the wealth you’ll ever need than it’s worth it to deflect the animosity of the class envy by saying “no, really, I should be taxed more” or maybe the motivation is just guilt.
The problem with the Judas Goat is that his or her approach doesn’t lead to the Goat’s slaughter…just the rest of us. If you really believe you should pay more taxes it’s easy to do…just look how hard most U.S. citizens work to keep their tax burdens manageable. Continue reading
And you can’t have a prosperous economy when the government is way overspending, raising tax rates, printing too much money, over regulating and restricting free trade. It just can’t be done.
Dr. Arthur Laffer
In short, it is a paradoxical truth that … the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country’s own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.
President John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962
The truth of the matter of is that stimulus money not only doesn’t stimulate; it actually reduces output.
Dr. Arthur Laffer
Today we provide two updates on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) AKA Obamacare to Prepography’s previous article Top 10 Inactions That Will Be Taxed Next which is presented below the updates in it’s entirety:
1. Yesterday the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) increased its estimate, by 50%, the number of U.S. citizens who will be forced to pay the ‘tax’ for failing to purchase health insurance. The estimate increased from 4 million to 6 million.
2. If you’re still confused about your requirements under the ACA (which is anything but affordable), the Kaiser Family Foundation has published a good guide. Their flowchart allows you to identify your requirements under the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare Individual Mandate. Remember that unless you comply you will be subject to taxation and the full force of the U.S. Government and it’s Internal Revenue Service are behind your forced compliance.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m pro health insurance, but each little loss of liberty…even forcing someone to buy something they should buy anyway…erodes our freedom and makes is harder for us to become self reliant. Now that we can be taxed for actions we fail to take, read about to discover the Top 10 Inactions That Will Be Taxed Next: Continue reading