Sept 20, 21 Hypocrisy of Tax the Rich

The $3.5 Trillion bill before Congress if full of well intentioned ideas (most not affordable or ensure if able, work), and a few weird ones. All the talk about “Tax the Rich” on AOC’s butt is silly, considering the dress is unaffordable by 99.9% of all women. How about a dress from Kohl’s instead.

Anyway, one of the demands is the elimination of the state and local taxes deduction proposed by those high state tax states. According to the Tax Policy Center, 57% of the benefits will go to the top 1% of earners. The average benefit to them is $35,000, the average to the rest of the beneficiaries is $37. (per editorial in WSJ 9/21/21).

I live in Alabama. As I resent those who say “I do not want to get a vaccine, it is my liberty.” It is your right, however, you impose your stupidity on me since my medical costs go up. Same thing with not wearing a helmet while motorcycling.

I do not want to subsidize high state taxes. Keep the SALT deduction limitation in place.

I love to see politicians squirm, on both sides, when they don’t want to compromise, or love their neighbor.


Sept 18, 21 “Free College”

Free College.

What an idea!  First off if something is of no charge it has been proven beyond any doubt that people do not value it. There is no question many jobs today require education beyond secondary school. The question is how to fund.

Thankfully one of the best things about our system today is that education is not government provided, people can choose from multiple private and public offerings to meet their goals. Our current secondary, government education has failed the most needy of children as documented by the results based on testing.  OK,OK let’s not teach to a test but lets’ be sure the kids with a high school diploma can perform to the expectations of an employer. Those results have been sliding for decades. If Congress does put a funding plan in place for further education, it WILL begin to governmentalize those who provide it, thus repeating a failing system that we see today in secondary education.

The alternative is to first take loans away from the Feds, put back in the private sector with controls, but give funds for deserving kids who may not qualify for a loan. Second, forgiving student debt provides an out and takes away responsibility from the person committing to a loan. Typical of the progressive attitude, create a problem then bail out those it affects. Student loan debt under Obama skyrocketed, graduations did not go up, now Biden wants to bail out those folks. College cost followed along, more money chasing slow increases in capacity. OF course the overwhelmingly progressive faculty are in support. Insane.

AEI has a a great article on the issue.

Why can’t we look at the data before enacting a policy. This is like India, throw money away to get votes.


Sept 18, 21 Conservatism

Firing Line, with Margaret Hoover

I watched the original Firing Line hosted by Wm F Buckley, Jr. religously, subscribed to the National Review, and generally consider my self to be a conservative, leaning toward libertarian.

As Reagan said,” I didn’t leave the democrat party, it left me.” I feel the same today about the republican party. This week Margaret interviewed George Will. I recommend looking it up, a reasoned approach to civility in our disagreements, separation of powers, balanced budget, taking care of those in need and why our country has outperformed others, in most KPI’s.

Worth the 30 minutes. The show is on PBS. That in itself is interesting, Buckley always objected to taxpayer supported TV but acquiesced as he couldn’t get on TV through a commercial station.



Sept 17, 21 Tax the Rich? A Troll, Can we just get real about our financial predicament, Please!?

The Magic Slogan That Justifies Everything

Dear Weekend Jolter,

We should probably talk some more about the dress.

You know the one, of Chick-fil-A color scheme and in-your-face situational unawareness. This newsletter is referring, of course, to AOC’s outfit. (Apologies if you’re all dressed-out by now.)

To walk things back a skosh, AOC likely knows full well what she’s doing and is situationally quite aware. She must get the hypocrisy of flaunting the words “Tax the Rich” on her dress at this week’s $35,000-per-head Met Gala. It’s a troll. She went all in, for the sake of the message.

But that message does help crystallize the thinking behind the ungodly sums in Democrats’ spending bills, which is why we should talk about it.

“Tax the Rich” is hardly a new idea. Before 1981, it was the policy of the U.S. government. The thinking goes that if only we can do that again, at that level or higher, any amount of spending can be covered. So let it rip.

If the investments Washington contemplates were on the level of, say, a small war, perhaps that would be true. But they are decidedly not. The Tax Foundation, a couple years ago, looked at one AOC proposal to tax incomes over $10 million at 70 percent Over ten years, this wouldn’t close a single year’s deficit — even at pre-pandemic levels — and probably wouldn’t cover a single year’s interest payment on the debt, let alone a $3.5 trillion budget bill. Nevertheless, this past week, House Democrats released an extensive tax plan that generally adheres to that same slogan — complete with higher individual, capital-gains, and corporate tax rates. It’s estimated to raise over $2 trillion. It’s still not enough.

NR’s editorial succinctly addresses this shortfall:

House Democrats have put forward a worst-of-both-worlds tax proposal: punishing enough to do real damage to the U.S. economy and individual households, but not nearly enough to pay for the trillions upon trillions of dollars of new spending Joe Biden and his congressional allies have put into play.

What we’ve got here is a failure to elucidate. Politicians have convinced themselves, or maybe just their base (Kevin Williamson, for one, sees little evidence of sincerity here), that taxing the rich, while taking pains to spare the middle class, will pay for their promises. But it would in fact take middle-class tax hikes — fairly large ones — to pay for their agenda. They would need to go full Europe, as Rich Lowry explains:

This is where the Democrats are willing to talk the talk about a cradle-to-grave welfare state, but not walk the walk. There can be no European-style welfare state, at least not sustainably so, without European-style taxes.

The dirty secret about the Scandinavian countries that the Left constantly holds up as a model is that they aren’t afraid to tax the middle class. These alleged models of social justice tax more than we do and tax much more broadly, realizing that taxing the rich and corporations isn’t enough to fund extensive and generous social programs.

Jay Nordlinger puts it thusly: “If you want more revenue for the government — and we can debate that — you’re going to have to look to the multitudes: to the Great Middle. But no one wants to say that.” Brian Riedl does some math and comes to an alarming conclusion: “Using up all the ‘tax the rich’ options for the president’s new proposals would leave the wealthy unable to close the underlying — and unsustainable — $112 trillion in baseline deficits over the next 30 years, or finance progressive fantasies such as Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.”

NR’s editorial also notes that the proposal’s tax hikes on businesses would be felt by employees and customers alike, many of whom reside in that hallowed middle class.

Could the rich pay more? Sure, they could, and this writer would wholeheartedly support this as part of a comprehensive plan to balance the budget. [pauses to laugh hysterically, then regain composure] Anyway, David Harsanyi helps illuminate why this tactic yields diminishing returns, owing to the fact that the wealthy are covering a good deal of federal outlays already. And David gets at the nut of the problem, which incidentally is the premise of this newsletter:

The reality is that no politician is going to advocate raising middle-class income taxes, despite the ever-increasing cost of government. There is only the rich to tax. Consequently, it’s become easier to pass massive expansions of the state. Everyone expects someone else to foot the bill — either future generations or their wealthier neighbors.

Tax the Working Man doesn’t have the same visceral appeal. But Tax the Rich? That’s a slogan that keeps hope alive, and the money flowing. It suggests there’s a dollar match for every dollar of need out there. And conveniently for the sloganeers, the subtext once that imperative accompanies a massive spending proposal is that any opposition reflects a craven and mulish refusal to hit the plutocrats in their George Costanza wallets. So say it loud.

Green New Deal? Tax the Rich. Medicare for All? Tax the Rich. Canada’s got problems? You’d better believe, Tax the Rich.

It’s the slogan that justifies anything and everything. It is, without question, way better than Drill, Baby, Drill. No wonder AOC donned it. She’ll probably be invited back.

Sept 16, 21Gerrymandering

An editorial in the Journal caught my interest.

“Is Racial Gerrymandering Going Out of Style”

Many folks are now saying that “protected” congressional districts really are not in our country’s best interest, I agree. Plenty of folks have been elected with votes from a race different from theirs.

MLK Jr. famously said,  “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Hopefully these folks will prevail and districts will look somewhat normal and candidates will have to appeal to a broad spectrum of people and interests. Having a congress where 85% of the districts are safe is not in our country’s best interest.


Sept 15, 21 Energy

In today’s WSJ were articles about the price of energy in Europe. In the last 20 years the price of energy has quintupled, that is gone up times 5, as an example, from $1 to $5 per unit of energy.

Why is that? Climate change as it is now called, Global Warming before the numbers didn’t support the warming part as predicted caused reactions that reduced the supply of traditional power and beefed up production of much higher cost power. Nuclear plants shut down after the Japanese tidal wave-in Germany and other places, tidal wave risk? No, “Green” parties and groups screaming an yelling about fossil fuels, a young woman who sailed across the Atlantic to make a vacuous speech at the UN, etc. Meanwhile the US has reduced carbon emissions in line with Europe without the same hysteria. China is now the largest emitter and no matter what they say or do could care less about the trend. India is number two. Both are increasing every year.

Science. We are supposed to believe the scientists, yet hypocrisy rules as usual. We haven’t figured out yet how to store energy from bird killing windmills, or lizard killing solar in the desert economically, maybe we will in the future, that would be nice. Hydro power is available but permitting more dams is out of the question, too much environmental damage and ruining wild and scenic rivers. Yet nuclear is still off limits. OK, let’s not build one near a tsunami zone, but France seems OK with generating 80% of its’ electricity with nuclear. Thus following the science isn’t really a basic go to, only when it is convenient.

As usual we see no negotiation from either side. Only pointing fingers and calling of names. Do we as a country all agree that our energy prices should double or triple from where they are now? They are up twice in the same period that Europe’s have gone up five times. That kind of increase puts a great burden on those who don’t have excess cash to spend on energy. Do we want to depend on Russia, or the Arab countries for fossil fuels versus being independent just to say we eliminated our own fossil fuel production?

We should continue policies that reduce our gross emissions over time, and as a percent of GDP. We should invest in research to increase the capacity of batteries for the home, transportation and grid support; fusion reactors; fuel cell technology; grid updating and efficiency; etc. But we must also ensure we do not impose another undue cost on our economy to meet the desires of the perfect world folks. Evolution, not revolution.  Europe’s economy has grown 30-50% slower than ours over time.

Economic growth is the key tactic to reduce poverty, provide assistance to others in need, ensure our citizens see hope in the future.

Sept 14 21, “Can’t we just get along/”

September 14, 2021

“A republic, if you can keep it.” Ben Franklin on the day the Constitution passed.

Secretary of State Blinken testified yesterday to a House committee, a Senate committee today. I expect nothing of importance to be gained, one side will call him all kinds of names and excoriate him for his role in the pullout; the other will ignore gross malfeasance. It looks like Benghazi rising from the ashes. What a waste of time as nothing will change.

Our government is like two bull elephants butting heads over the right to mate with a female in rut. Both win at various times, but they still fight. Instead, they ought to cooperate with each other and both mate with the willing female.

Both sides have good ideas. One of the proposals in the $3.5 Trillion bill in the house is support for child care. This is a good idea. Women are now 47% of the workforce, up dramatically 70 years ago, thus child care is important. The new bill talks about subsidizing these expenses, phasing out any support for a family making 150% of the state median income ($51,734 in 2019 for Alabama). So, if your family made $77,601 or more, no subsidy. If you make $38,805 or less, you pay nothing. As usual, this is theoretically a good idea.

But, is there a work requirement? I can’t find one. If someone doesn’t want to work should the taxpayer subsidize child care for their children? This subsidy should not provide support for those who are able, but refuse to work. We have seen what happens when government benefits provide enough income for a person to not work, as of today there are 10,000,000 jobs available, some folks are not willing to work, yet.

Secondly, if a person stays home to care for their child, is that person eligible to be paid for child care? If another family member takes care of a relative’s child but is not an authorized “Child Care Facility”, will they get paid? Our systems today have become so bureaucratized and licensing requirements so burdensome no wonder it costs so much for formal child care. Is there any mention of these issues, of course not!

The proposal was not generated in a bi-partisan fashion since the intent is to raam it through via budget reconciliation. Both sides use this method to avoid negotiating and compromising, a terrible habit.

Back to my first point: One of the consequences of the “No Religion” movement is that people have forgotten that loving your neighbor is a requirement for peace on earth. It is OK to hate those who disagree with you about whatever, and this is endemic on both sides of the aisle. Our current president is just as dismissive of those who disagree with him and the previous one. Maybe not quite as nasty, but the results is the same. Both talked about “Unity” on inauguration day and then proceeded to trash the opposition, or their own party if someone disagreed. AOC, Maxine Waters, Pelosi, Schumer, etc. do this every day. So do the leaders of the other side. I support the problem solver caucus via No Labels.

Rodney King of LA riots fame said, “Why can’t we all just get along.” Yeah, why not!