Illinois and Money

The government of Illinois—a Democratic Party-controlled government at the time—reduced the cost of its public pension programs by passing a law reducing future cost growth, specifically, by reducing the size of future increases in pension payouts, without eliminating those increases.

Illinois’ Constitution has this to say on the matter of public pensions:

Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.

Isn’t that the Point?

From the subtitle of a Wall Street Journal article at the time I wrote this post:

Russian Foreign Minister Says Sanctions Are Aimed at Hurting Economy

It’d be a poor set of sanctions, even for the Obama administration, if they weren’t having the intended effect.

And he had this:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday accused the West of “seeking regime change” in his country by imposing sanctions against Moscow.

Why the PRC Cannot Succeed Economically

…and why it’s feeling the need to go out from the Center of Heaven and seize the East and South China Seas, to expand into the Siberian oil and mineral fields (this time peacefully, but no less to the detriment of Russia), why it steals intellectual property.

One interview with an environmental engineering student at Tsinghua University stuck with me. His parents grew wealthy by building companies that made shoes and water pumps. But he had no desire to follow in their footsteps—and they didn’t want him to either. Better that he work for the state, they told him: the work was more secure, and perhaps he could wind up in a government position that could help the family business.

A Tax Implication of Obama’s Immigration

Via The Daily Caller comes this ugly thought. Illegal aliens, under President Barack Obama’s immigration diktat, will get work permits and be eligible for social security payments in their dotage. They’ll also be required to pay taxes, including their Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. Never mind that their employers’ cost of labor just went up because they’ll no longer be able to avoid paying their own payroll taxes on those workers (to be clear, they should have been paying all along, but since they were breaking the law hiring these folks, they could hardly be expected to give themselves up by paying up).

Economics and the AP

The backdrop is this: last spring, Japan enacted a tax hike in an effort to start covering its public debt and bring that under control for the benefit of the Japanese economy and the Japanese citizen. The country promptly fell into recession as even more money was taken out of the citizens’ hands, removed from the private sector of the economy. As a result of this, Prime Minister “Shinzo Abe called a snap election for December and put off a sales tax hike planned for next year until 2017.”

Here’s the AP’s lack of understanding of basic economics, as demonstrated on the other side of the link above.

Obamacare, Take Two

…aspirin, and call your doctor in the morning. If you can find one.

Actually, this Take Two is an Obamacare second year look. I went to healthcare.gov to see what was what, after I’d done a couple of comparisons last year.

The good news is that the Web site works much more smoothly now. The bad news is that the Web site works much more smoothly now.

Taxes—Who Pays Them?

This graphic from the CBO, via AEIdeas, says it all, even if it is from 2011 (does anyone think things have changed materially in the last three years?).

WhoPays

 

Taxing Europe

Speaking at a gathering of the Group of 20 major economies in Brisbane, the former prime minister of Luxembourg defended his position, saying a lack of cooperation between European Union member states created a system where “very low taxation of companies” was legal. “Things of that kind could happen because of the divergency between national tax legislation,” he said.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that like he thought low taxes were a bad thing. Leaving more money in the hands of the folks who earned it, instead of transferring it to Government Know Betters is a bad thing.

Another Installment of the Obama Recovery

The number of part-time workers who’d rather work full time remains heavily depressed. Here are some numbers, via Nick Timiraos in The Wall Street Journal.

  • 3 million full-time workers hired just this year, but the number of full-time workers is still around 2 million shy of the level before the recession began in 2007
  • number of workers who are part time for economic reasons is 4.5% of the civilian workforce, down from a high of 5.9% in 2010 but well above the 2.7% average in the decade preceding the recession

Yeah, we’re doing wonderfully well. Sure.

Democratic Party Principle

A couple days ago, one of Obamacare’s primary architects, Jonathan Gruber, said this about the need for the tactics used in order to get the thing passed.

This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in—you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed…. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass…. Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.