Meanwhile, From The Laboratories Of Democracy…

News flash:  States that govern according to conservative precepts – especially cutting taxes to spur growth – are doing better than “progressive” states.  Much, much better.  And yep, even government revenues benefit.

In the meantime, “closing the deficit” with taxes rather than growth is dragging “progressive” states down. And that’s presuming the tax hikes actually close the deficit, which is a dodgy proposition, given how tax hikes crush economic growth.

Question:  Which example do you suppose the MN DFL is emulating as they cackle madly over their word-processors today, cranking out bills by the pound?

30 thoughts on “Meanwhile, From The Laboratories Of Democracy…

  1. States have to make hard choices. They can’t spend 25% more than they take in, forever. Neither can the federal government.
    How popular do you think Obama would be if he could not shower his political allies ( and the rest of us) with a trillion dollars each year of borrowed money?

  2. Tax increases are not just about increasing revenue the leftists main goal is fairness. So even if increasing taxes results in less revenue the main goal is believed to have been met.

  3. The Left won’t believe us. They will stick their hand in the tax fire in spite of our warnings. It’s not about fairness anymore, it’s about vengeance and envy. The people have spoken – if a man has more than his neighbor he’s not successful – he’s evil and morally deficient.

  4. Before we start talking about Warren Buffett’s tax rate, let’s talk about the $366,000,000 his Berkshire Hathaway owes in back taxes to the IRS, according to their latest lawsuit, out of a total bill of about $1 billion according to Americans for Limited Government.

    Typical liberal: don’t do as I do, do as I say. Berkshire Hathaway is worth about $370 billion according to the latest estimates — so come on, Warren. Pay your ‘fair share’.

    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/03/26/netjets-case-warren-buffett-and-taxes/

  5. “The people have spoken”

    Yes, they spoke in November when they elected the guy who openly campaigned on higher taxes for the rich.

    So . . . that’s what the majority voted for . . .

  6. Yes, they spoke in November when they elected the guy who openly campaigned on higher taxes for the rich

    But not, repeat not, repeat not, for the middle class.

    We told them they were being duped. We were right.

    Some of them are starting to figure it out. But BHO’s praetorian guard in the media, and the useful idiots who still think the media are anything but that, are doing their darnedest to forestall that reckoning.

  7. Praeotorian Guard? Useful idiots? A low-voltage voter wouldn’t have a clue what you’re talking about – unless, of course, you’re defining the battlefield of a video game.

  8. I think that we need to define ‘rich’. It used to mean something, that person who was rich did not have to work for a living.
    Under Obama, being ‘rich’ means that you got a good job.

  9. “Should someone making 40K a year pay a higher percentage of her income in taxes than Mitt “off shore” Romney or Warren Buffet?”

    Good question, Sanity! Let’s ask Debbie “Downer” Wasserman Schultz about the investments that she has in offshore accounts or Nancy Peelosi, Dianne Whinestein, Dirty Harry Reid and racist Maxine Waters, just to name a few, about how much their family has pocketed from their positions and the insider knowledge that they had from laws that they sponsored and/or supported.

    You also need a math lesson. Even at a lower percentage of income taxed, the rich are paying more and certainly they are paying their “fair share,” so please spare us your left wing commie drivel!

  10. So, (in)Sanity, do you define yourself as rich? My minimum wage earning teenager? Or is the Social Security tax increase just going up on “the rich”? And now that the Supreme Court has ruled that Obamacare is just a “tax”, is the 30% rise in your healthcare premium (soon to be 100%) another tax on “the rich”?

    What’s “rich” is that anybody believes that the Democrats will stop at just taxing “the rich” since they never seem to be able to decide who’s rich other than anybody not working for a government union.

  11. “Sanity” has just discovered that every time a civil war has broken out in America, a Republican was president.
    Every. Single. Civil. War.
    How can anybody vote for those guys?

  12. Sanity-”Should someone making 40k a year pay a higher share of her income in taxes than Romney….” Not this tired old thing again. As you should know, a guy like Romney, who probably makes most of his income from investments, pays the lower capital gains tax rate on the money his investments make. The point Liberals consistently miss is that Romney, or whoever, had to first make that money as normal income. That means it was taxed at the highest rate at the time, either 35 or 39 percent. Then it was invested and is now taxed at the legal lower rate. In other words, Mr. Low information voter, it’s taxed at lower rate now, but remember- this is the second time around at it being taxed. So to say “so and so pays a higher rate than some rich guy” is totally disingenuous.

  13. jimf-
    I swear, it’s like trying to teach a dog to do calculus.
    Someone making $40k/yr probably pays almost all their taxes in SS and medicare. These are social insurance programs. The $40k worker will get it back.
    The millionaire pays most of his taxes — whatever the percentage of total earnings — in capital gains and income tax. He or she gets nothing more for that than the $40k worker, though the amount of money the millionaire pays is orders of magnitude higher.
    Sheesh. talk about low information voters. People who are obsessed with the “overall tax rate” people pay who know nothing about how taxes are collected or what they pay for . . .

  14. I watched Jared Diamond’s TV series on Guns, Germs and Steel and based on that opted to skip the book. It’s a nice idea, but clearly not the whole story. I’m reading Francis Fukayama’s “The Origins of Political Order” which gives a much more nuanced look into why various societies developed differently, including why the Industrial Revolution came to western Europe first, in particular England. There’s a lot about how accidents of history and geography led to a different balance of power between the monarch, the aristocracy, and the gentry in various places. He gives a lot of credit to the political success of Christian church, which by being so powerful diminished the power of European monarchs. The desire of the church to acquire land led to our current ideas of private property and women’s property rights (If widows could inherit, then they could leave the church property in their wills), rather than clan-based property ownership. Private property rights and a relatively less corrupt state encouraged the gentry to invest in trade and technology rather than investing in acquiring hereditary positions in the state (which yielded tax rents). It’s a political explanation of why China, India, Arabs, Turks, and various Europeans ended up the way they did, and a much more convincing one than Diamond’s. I learned a lot about how government evolved outside of Europe.

    The American model stresses individual rights and the satisfaction of individual needs and wants. It is selfish in that sense, in that it de-emphasizes the traditional pressure to care for older and younger generations. What people fail to see, however, is that in America there are countervailing forces.

  15. Diamond has come under some interesting criticism from the academic left. You see, geographic determinism and economic determinism can’t both be true . . .

  16. Yes, I found Fukayama to be much more convincing.

    In regards to your 6:15 comment

    There are your Ayn Randians, who would have us not tax wealthy ‘job creators’ at all, and your Paul Krugmans, who in his blog declared that tax rates should be set to the rate which extracted the maximum revenue for the state. Both stances are immoral and untenable. In between, there are your Warren Buffets who think rich people should simply pay the top rate on all of their income. I think most Americans support Buffett’s view, and I’m pretty sure Romney would have supported it, if a reduction and flattening in corporate taxes also accompanied it.

    Tax deductions for mortgage interest and charities are huge distortions which we would be much better off without (Canada has the same home ownership rate with no mortgage deduction). The politics on this one are tricky, but if sufficient stress is made on how much more they benefit the upper middle class (the 10%) at the expense of the 90%, perhaps a gradual reduction of the maximum deduction per year would be politically feasible. Non-profits and charities is an easily exploited loophole which badly needs to be closed, no matter how many priests may complain. Harvard needs to be taxed like any other rich corporation.

    Fundamentally, inequality cannot be solved by taxation. The man making $2 million a year will not be dragged back to the middle class by raising his taxes from 15 to 35%, and the man making $20 thousand will not join the middle class by reducing his taxes, as he pays very little now. To temper inequality the unjustified earnings of the finance industry must be reduced by prevent financiers from profiting from systemically destabilizing one-sided bets. The man making $20,000 can improve his lot by acquiring marketable skills. Inequality within the rich world is unlikely to lessen until inequality between the rich and poor worlds lessens further, which will take a generation or more.

  17. Ayn Randians, who would have us not tax wealthy ‘job creators’ at all, Both stances are immoral and untenable

    …and, in the case of Rand, fictional. She didn’t distinguish between taxes for the wealthy and the rest of society.

  18. Both Marx and Rand believed that man’s value was only social.
    Both Marx and Rand believed that the only meaningful social activity of man was economic.
    Both Marx and Rand believed that man must create a new morality, using only reason his guide.
    Am I the only one who puts Marx and Rand in the same box?

  19. Rand’s dull prose and non-existent characters were a necessary counterweight to the overwhelming bias towards left-wing ideals that existed in her day. Remember, it’s only since the total failure and collapse of the CCCP that a general consensus has existed in favor of something vaguely approaching free-market economies. Rand’s writings are crude, simplistic, and devoid of practicality – just like Das Kapital.

    Shortened to a ten page essay, and taken in the context of political and economic thought in the 1950s and 1960s, she makes good points. But it’s bad writing. It’s also instructive only in a negative way. Just as Das Kapital is a critique of capitalism, rather than a road-map for communism, Rand’s books are a cutting critique of socialism, but offer us little in terms of a practical guide for the libertarian utopia which is her ideal. Both Rand and Marx seemed to feel that the existing system would collapse under its own weight, and that after the fall, rather than chaos, their utopia would emerge like a Phoenix from the ashes. A well-rounded politician should struggle through Atlas Shrugged (and Das Kapital), but I do not trust any who cite her work as an inspiration for political reform. Anyone who finds her characters heroic, rather than cartoonishly one dimensional, doesn’t have a lot of depth to their understanding of humanity.

    Worshiping Rand is not unlike worshiping Marx. That’s the path Lenin started on, and that path led to Stalin, which I think was not what Marx had in mind.

  20. Am I the only one who puts Marx and Rand in the same box?

    Nope. I’ve thought so myself for years, although I don’t say it all that loudly around either my libertarian or Rush (the band) fan friends.

  21. Terry,
    Of course Rand and Marx are polar opposites in their political outlook. The point is that despite their opposite views their writings share the same strengths and weaknesses. They both present cogent critiques of a dominant political view (capitalism for Marx, socialism for Rand), but not a practical guide to a better future. Both are weak in their understanding of human nature, Marx for believing that men were capable of organizing themselves collectively and altruistically for the greater good rather than self-interest, and Rand for believing that the single minded pursuit of self-interest can yield a functioning society, or that humans are at all predisposed to function as utilitarian calculators rather than social beings.

    Both present biting critical analysis, but fail to create a workable alternative system.

  22. Interesting replies, Emery and Mitch.
    Both Rand and Marx seemed to feel that the existing system would collapse under its own weight, and that after the fall, rather than chaos, their utopia would emerge like a Phoenix from the ashes.
    Both Marx and Rand lived in revolutionary times — literally.
    We, on the other hand, live in a culture that has seen a much slower rate of change. The reforms of the 1950′s and 1960′s that were supposed to be a temporary bridge that would carry us to a more just and enlightened society — affirmative action, for example — are as locked into place as any Medieval sinecure. The Age of Aquarius is no closer now than it was forty years ago.
    I had a friend pass away last week. He was born in 1968. The amount of social change he experienced between his birth in 1968 and his death in 2013 was far less than a person would have seen between 1925 and 1968, 1872 and 1925, or 1829 and 1872.
    Why the need for a revolution in morals when there is no non-moral revolution occurring?

  23. I refer to Rand, only because there appear to be conservatives that believe everything they ever sort-of-read by Rand and Hayek is true and that we’re already well down the Road to Serfdom.

    Re: Tax policy:
    All this talk of regressive taxation gets back to a very American problem. The American benefit model is to rely heavily on graduated income taxes, which are referred to as “progressive”, and to offer the majority government benefits universally, i.e. irrespective of need. The European model uses far more flat taxes, such as the VAT or a flat tax on earnings, but offers benefits to those that most need it (universal healthcare being the partial exception). This is why Europe sees it’s system as being more fair despite taxes that American liberals label ‘regressive’. Economically, the European system is much more efficient. ‘Progressive’ taxes discourage work and encourage evasion., and serves apolitical purpose.

    That political purpose is key. American liberals since FDR have been trying to sell the message that government services, which we should all want because they are equally for all, can be expanded while only taxing the rich. This doesn’t work of course, and the middle class ends up paying money to the government in hopes of seeing some of it come back in the form of services that the middle class could have bought for itself, had it not been taxed. To a large degree, the success of American right in keeping tax rates low has been because of the dissatisfaction of the American middle class with the inefficient system of progressive taxes and universal benefits, which repeatedly make American liberals seem economically incompetent. Only in those countries where there are flat taxes and progressive benefits has the scope of government services been able to expand to the level desired by American liberals.

  24. Emery, perhaps if progressive benefits were tied directly to the revenue from flat taxes there might be a functioning economic model. The problem is, the modern State borrows heavily to pay those benefits, setting up an unsustainable spiral.

    Rand was interesting reading to me, but mainly because it was so different and ardent in its opposition to the socialist worldview permeating everything else. Ultimately, however, I reject the individualistic nihilism of “reason” because it rejects altruism. I believe that that the God the Socialists and Randians both reject does command me to look out for my fellow man – and joyfully so at that. I also believe, however, that “loving my brother” goes both ways: out of love I will help those less fortunate, and out of love I would not dream of forcibly taking for my own uses what belongs to another. Of course, that kind of radical thinking usually results in one being nailed to a tree.

  25. I refer to Rand, only because there appear to be conservatives that believe everything they ever sort-of-read by Rand and Hayek is true and that we’re already well down the Road to Serfdom.
    I don’t know any conservatives who believe that everything Rand wrote is true. In fact there is a long-standing feud between libertarians and conservatives regarding Rand, namely, conservatives reject objectivism.
    As for Hayek, weren’t you complaining not too long ago that elites of both parties were trying to run the country for their own benefit, and damn the common man? Isn’t that what Hayek wrote about?

  26. Some time ago I read a book on modern astronomy which had said that both Neptune and Pluto were predicted long before they had ever been seen because of peculiarities in the orbits of the other outer planets. It made me think that planets weren’t so very different from people. Seeing what happened around them was enough to tell you where they were and what they were.

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