The Congressman Misunderstands

What he misunderstands, though is a very expensive thing to misunderstand: basic economics.  Congressman Joe Crowley (D, NY), Vice Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and member of the House Ways and Means Committee said in an interview with PJMedia‘s Nicholas Ballasy that he’s willing to “experiment” with a VAT in the US, “what effect that will have.”  And

Spending Our Tax Dollars

The table below is constructed from the table and data provided by Laura Saunders in her piece in Friday’s Wall Street Journal.  It shows how $100 in our tax monies paid to the Federal government were spent on a range of government purposes.

Item 2016
Social Security $23.61
Medicare $15.26
National defense $15.24
Medicaid $9.55
Interest $6.25
Other spending $4.94
Veterans $4.58
Civilian federal retirement $2.57
Transportation $2.39
Refundable credits* $2.21
Education $2.08
Food stamps $1.89

Social Security Trust Fund Investing in the Stock Market

The Wall Street Journal held one of its aperiodic debates last Sunday, this time on whether the Social Security Trust Fund should be allowed to invest in stocks.  One debater argued that such investing would reduce the need for dependence on benefit cuts or tax increases; the other claimed that government should stay out of the market.

It’s certainly true that investing in the stock market could produce better returns than the Trust Fund’s current requirement to invest wholly in (unmarketable) Federal debt instruments.

Democrats and Tax Reform

They’re plainly not interested in real tax reform, and so they’ll move to block all attempts to achieve reform that would benefit all Americans and so our economy.  This is illustrated by Senator Ben Cardin’s (D, MD) position on the matter.

Tax reform’s got to be responsible and it’s got to be progressive[.]

Pick one; these are mutually exclusive goals.  Punishing particular Democrat-disfavored groups of Americans for their success is the height of irresponsibility in a taxing venue.

“Our Federal Dollars”

It doesn’t get any clearer than this.  Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has illustrated the addictive nature of Federal funds transfers to the States and lower government jurisdictions with that phrase.

In defending his city’s lawsuit against the Federal government over DoJ’s decision to withhold Federal monies from cities that violate Federal law by protecting illegal aliens from enforcement of immigration law, Murray said this:

The federal government cannot compel our police department to enforce federal immigration law and cannot use our federal dollars to coerce Seattle into turning our backs on our immigrant and refugee communities.

Tax Rates and Tax Credits

One illustration of the value of the relationship between the two is provided in Laura Kusisto’s piece, Tax Overhaul Threatens Affordable-Housing Deals, in a piece in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal.

The possibility of a tax-code overhaul is casting a shadow over the $10 billion affordable-housing industry, which receives tax credits so valuable they often determine whether or not projects get off the ground.

Members of Congress and President Donald Trump have proposed reducing the corporate tax rate to 15% to 20% from the current 35%, dimming the allure of a credit investors such as big banks and insurance companies receive to offset income taxes.

The Trump Tax Leak

Host Rachel Maddow said the two-page summary of Trump’s federal return for that year was first obtained by journalist David Cay Johnston, who gave MSNBC a first look at the documents.

It is unclear who leaked them. Johnston, with the website DCReport.org, said only that he found the documents “in the mail.”

If you believe that the leaked return just sort of showed up like that, maybe you’ll believe that I have some beachfront property north of Santa Fe to sell you.

Tax Credits in the Obamacare Replacement Proposal

In the main, I’m opposed to these on a couple of grounds.  One is that it’s just more welfare; we need to find a way to move folks off welfare and into the labor force and jobs rather than keeping them trapped in the welfare cage—like we did when we originally reformed the food stamps program by requiring recipients to get a job or lose the stamps.  That reform not only reduced overall unemployment, it put recipients back into jobs (and off that welfare program).  These weren’t make-work jobs, either; net prosperity for those recipient families increased.  (Then the Obama administration withdrew the work requirement, and we got record numbers of folks back on food stamps).

Hysteria or Hypocrisy?

You pick ’em.  The latest example of irrationality (which is a superset of both hysteria and hypocrisy) comes via V the K at GayPatriot.

Recall that the Progressive-Democratic Party that runs Philadelphia passed a massive sugar tax to be levied against soft drinks sold in the city.  Recall, too, the high school economics teaching that if you raise the price of something, demand for that something falls off.  Finally, recall that applying a tax to that something is the same as raising its price.

The [soda] tax is huge, amounting to a 45% to 100% increase in the final consumer cost of typically affected beverage products.

Foolish

Bill Gates, the co-founder of  Microsoft and world’s richest man, said in an interview Friday that robots  that steal human jobs should pay their fair share of taxes.

He said, and he was serious,

Right now, the human worker who does, say, $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed and you get income tax, Social Security tax, all those things.  If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think that we’d tax the robot at a similar level.