Friday, October 26, 2012
Sunday, October 14, 2012
May Tony Bennett have many, many more years
Now I have to pull out my Billy Joel "Live at Shea" DVD just to hear their duet of "New York State of Mind."
How about a Big Bird segment on not stealing from other people?
For adults, Big Bird could go on to say that the problem stems from a social situation, typically called "government," in which some people are compelled to pay for the goods and services enjoyed by others. That it doesn't matter how the government is created or who runs it, or that "most" of "the people" support what it does, it's still stealing from people who wanted nothing to do with funding or spending.
And putting another thing in Sesame Street terms, in the end, while Mr. Snuffleupagus was finally revealed to be real, there is simply no inexhaustible supply of rich taxpayers that liberals keep talking about as the solution to trillion-dollar deficits. Supporting all the Mr. Hoopers, who'll gladly vote for a government that ensures their shops stay open, mean less money to go to the businesses where Gordons and Lindas work.
Here is the entire problem in a Yahoo comments exchange. The Obama supporter's reply is no better depiction of the collectivist mindset, while M's way is that of freedom and truth. If you think something's so good, then you give your own money -- or is it really not that good, that you must force others to give their own money?
Thursday, October 04, 2012
The perpetual lie that the federal deficits come from cutting taxes
It's true that George W. Bush and the 110th Congress were responsible for this country's very first $1 trillion deficit. Obama and subsequent Congresses didn't start it, but they haven't had to keep the pedal to the floor. The 2009 deficit included Obama's $787 stimulus, but what is the excuse now? Blaming it on falling tax revenues would be an outright lie, since we can see they were up slightly in 2010.
This article from the Christian Science Monitor is a good look at the liberal mythology that the post-Clinton tax cuts gave us the deficits today. The first part is clear: the CBO extrapolated from the tech bubble of the 1990s, figuring tax receipts would continue to come in faster than Congress was spending.
Now what about those tax cuts?
Then there were the tax cuts. President George W. Bush instigated most of these, but President Obama also pushed through Congress a payroll tax cut intended to pump money into a moribund economy. Tax cuts accounted for a further $2.8 trillion of the $11.7 trillion discrepancy. (Yes, the big kahuna here is Mr. Bush’s 2001 reduction in income-tax rates, which alone accounts for about $1.2 trillion in revenue foregone over the decade.)But that's only $120 billion a year. In other words, the tax cuts were only one-quarter of the typical GWB-era deficit. Clearly, restoring higher tax rates -- on everyone, not just "the rich" -- won't cure the deficit. In fact, it's been calculated that revoking the "Bush tax cuts" would bring in only $70 billion annually from the top 2% of federal income taxpayers. This clearly shows that the tax cuts benefited $50 billion annually on the "non-rich," and this plain fact demolishes the argument that only "the rich" benefited from the tax cuts. In fact, it shows clearly that "the rich" benefited less from tax cuts for the kind of taxes they pay.
Note that as an anarcho-capitalist, I completely oppose all taxation. I'm merely pointing out what happened with the tax cuts and what would happen if they were revoked, and most importantly, that so many Americans swallow the lies that "the rich" don't pay enough in taxes, and if only "the rich" paid more.
Walter Williams: "Because of the earned income tax credit, most of America's poor pay little or nothing. What the Tax Policy Center calls working class pay 3 percent of all federal taxes, middle class 11 percent, upper middle class 19 percent and wealthy 67 percent."
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
MTA construction taking longer than it should -- is anyone surprised?
The escalator from Grand Central North to Madison Avenue routinely breaks down, as does one of the escalators at the White Plains Metro-North station. I've seen five workers when the latter happened: two talking to each other, one standing around, one showing his cell phone to an MTA policeman, and the fifth actually making repairs.
By comparison, last week I saw only one repairman was needed to work on an escalator at the White Plains Galleria Mall. It was no small repair, either. This burly, 50-ish guy was pulling entire plates out by himself.
The difference is clear to any thinking person. As Milton Friedman said, when you spend other's people money, you don't care how much you spend, and when you spend money on other people, you don't care what you spend it on. Every morning for a few years, I'd shake my head after noticing the "work" on the bridge at the Chappaqua Metro-North station. I didn't have to wonder how a private business could stay afloat with four workers perenially just standing around while only one did actual work. Why shouldn't that private company take its time, when it was paid by the state government and federal government (hurrah to all you federal taxpayers living outside NY, you got to help!). The total cost was $17 million for one damn bridge.
Every progress report on the Second Avenue subway line seems to push back the completion date. Originally Phase 1 would be completed in 2014. Then it became 2015...2016. And that's just Phase 1: the total project is now expected to take until mid-2019, with at least $1 billion in overruns. It's good odds I'll have a nice head of gray hair before it's done.
Apply Bastiat's test: "See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime." Could your neighbors decide to tunnel underneath your home, spreading dust and dirt that harm your health, blocking your sidewalk, and generally ruining your quality of life for several years, and making you help pay for it?
Now here's food for thought: applying Bastiat's test, there is nothing that government does that neighbors could do themselves without committing a crime. Your neighbors can't come to your home or workplace every two weeks to demand their "cut" of your paycheck, else you have to pay even more and/or be kidnapped and housed in a concrete room against your will. From that first usurped power, that of taking people's money without their consent, all other governmental powers proceed.
"No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate)."