Larry Elder discusses two paths to Bullet Trains with Professor of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University — Lee Ohanian. Dr. Ohanian catches us up with the latest regarding Trump’s economy as well. I haven’t done audio of the sage for a while (job change), but it is good to catch up with this run. Here is the professors article on the trains:
Dennis Prager interviews California Senator John Moorlach (37th District) about California Assembly Bill 2943, HOWEVER, the conversation started out with budgets and economics. Sen. Moorlach is a CPA after all. This is the section I clipped for use with friends and family that state California is money rich when you speak about our states debt.
Other related audio is here:
- The Author of “Plunder” Interviewed (Dennis Prager)
- A Quick 101 Tour on Taxes & Liabilities (Larry Elder)
Here are half of Senator John Moorlach’s six points in his article entitled, “Budget Primer: 6 Key Measures Of California’s Fiscal Health” (January, 2017):
A John and Ken reality check (posted January 2017):
- 500-Billion Unsecured California Pensions and growing; 3.2 Trillion Nationally (My Post)
- California’s Half-Trillion-Dollar Pension Fund Mess: Blame Jerry Brown (Article)
- The Pension Fund That Ate California (Article, click pic below) <<< MUST READ
Below are two positions taken by a left leaning columnist and a right leaning columnist that essentially say the same thing. SOMETHING, mind you, Dennis tapped into some time ago in his article entitled, “AMERICA’S SECOND CIVIL WAR.” Here are the other two articles mentioned in these audios:
- Tim Arango of the New York Times: “In Clash Between California and Trump, It’s One America Versus Another“
- Michael Walsh* at American Greatness: “Democrats Fire on Fort Sumter“
Before beginning I just wish to say that California is working against the clear Constitutional mandates that the Federal government controls and protects its borders… and the Trump administration is working against the Constitution in its trying to fight against California’s legalization of marijuana. NOTE! If you are for the state of California choosing to legalize pot, but against the state defining marriage as between one-man and one-woman… you are a confused individual who makes choices on emotion and not Constitutional foresight/understanding. When Walsh and Prager discuss “arresting California lawmakers,” in my minds eye the legal standing ta do this is Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution — which reads:
- “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government…“
I have been warning about this for years in regard to The Golden State… California is setting itself and our country up for a world of hurt.
NEW YORK TIMES:
* Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic of Time Magazine. His works include the novels, “As Time Goes By,” “And All the Saints” (winner, 2004 American Book Award for fiction) and the “Devlin” series of thrillers; as well as the recent nonfiction bestseller, “The Devil’s Pleasure Palace.” A sequel, “The Fiery Angel,” is scheduled to appear in 2018.
John and Ken speak to Marc Joffe of the CALIFORNIA POLICY CENTER in regard to these recent articles on the subject of California’s fiscal emergency:
One aspect Marc Joffe mentioned would be a way to overcome this “debt” is to increase California’s population… however, we see through some recent stories…
…this is not a viable option… nor will it be as long as Democrats are in charge:
In other words, Californians are doomed if remaining on this course.
ZERO HEDGE has some info on this as well:
Via Not A Lot of People Know That… Hillary’s “drought” is-all bark-and-no-bit:
Hillary Clinton called out climate change “deniers” at a clean energy conference in Las Vegas Thursday evening, but revealed little new about what her own energy policy platform might look like if she decides to run for president.
Clinton began her remarks at the National Clean Energy Summit by laying out the problems climate change is already causing today, including extreme weather and droughts. “[These are] the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face,” she said. “No matter what deniers say.”…
But, in the height of fear mongering a bill was passed that will assist in the destruction of dams in California… making water preservation for droughts much harder. Giving California tax-payer funds to eco-nuts. Dumb.
What Bruce got wrong in the above [excellent] article is that the will of the people has not been overturned… and as a gay man who loves our Constitution, he should fight for the will of the people and allow this change to come legally… as he has in the past.
…But that means Prop 8 is still the law in California. Section 3.5 of the California Constitution specifically commands:
An administrative agency … has no power:
(a) To declare a statute unenforceable, or refuse to enforce a statute, on the basis of it being unconstitutional unless an appellate court has made a determination that such statute is unconstitutional;
(b) To declare a statute unconstitutional;
(c) To declare a statute unenforceable, or to refuse to enforce a statute on the basis that federal law or federal regulations prohibit the enforcement of such statute unless an appellate court has made a determination that the enforcement of such statute is prohibited by federal law or federal regulations.
As of today, there is no appellate opinion (meaning an opinion issued by a court of appeals) against Prop 8. The Supreme Court refused to issue one, and threw out the only other one (the Ninth Circuit’s). There is only a trial court opinion. So every agency in California is legally bound to regard Prop 8 as binding law….
Liberals, apparently, are happy with 9th Circuit acting unConstitutionally? You see, a healthy court — and the 9th Circuit is NOT healthy — should not have gotten involved, at least according to SCOTUS. But judicial activism is the 9th Circuits game, and the Supe’s (SCOTUS) rightly stayed out of it.
The decision is really the best possible outcome we could of hoped for in regards to Proposition eight. Why? Because Prop 8 is still law and it will properly ascend back up the chain of legal ladder rungs when an attorney general refuses to marry same-sex couples according to state law.
The DOMA strengthened state-power in deciding what marriage is — as the constitution says. So the states that have defined marriage as between man-and-woman have less to fear. Mind you, the DOMA ruling will hit some snags, I explain;
But there are major inconsistencies that will need to head back to court to be smoothed out. For instance, if a couple is married in New York, and then moves to a state that doesn’t recognize SSM… Federal benefits do or do not apply? The state is not required to provide be benefits, and DOMA does not change this. A point mentioned in passing by doc Eastman is will the Feds have to confer benefits to all persons in a polygamous marriage if a state plays this? [Also, religious freedom will be front and center… more on this below]
So it is a win on the SCOTUS level… a
loss [strike that earlier statement] win to voters rights on the lower level. Because, as the Breitbart article showed above, as well as the audio of Constitutional professor/Dean, John Eastman, explained — state powers were increased. Which brings us back to prop 8 and what the court[s] said/did:
(AP) ….The high court itself said nothing about the validity of gay marriage bans in California and roughly three dozen other states.
The outcome was not along ideological lines.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia.
“We have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the 9th Circuit,” Roberts said, referring to the federal appeals court that also struck down Proposition 8….
As I pointed out, Prop 8 does not go by-by. There are nuances that will not be felt for a few days… but I will quickly explain what I understand:
In the California’s constitution, the government *HAS TO* uphold a proposition (again, by law) until the prop is said to be unconstitutional by an upper court. The Supe’s said they had no jurisdiction, and neither did the 9th circuit. The 9th vacated their position, and the ruling falls back down to the local judges ruling.
Which means — I believe — that the judges ruling is only effective for the two couples suing, or that particular district?
So what will happen?
Jerry Brown has ordered — unlawfully mind you, because prop 8 is still legal (Camilla Harris also misunderstands California’s Constitution) — all 58 districts to start performing SSM. All it will take is one conservative county/attorney general to say no… and the case will again rise up to the echelons of SCOTUS (which has been making some good choices as of late). Except this time it will be in the Courts Jurisdiction because you will have a defense and a prosecution on its rise, which the original case did not.
In-other-words, as Dr. Eastman points out, seeing if Jerry brown and the Attorney General, Camilla Harris, follow state law is really more important than the Same-Sex Marriage debate!
Another aspect of this is the affect DOMA will have on religion, freedom of choice, and the like. Already, even in the Supreme Court, there are ad-hominem attacks and rhetoric that is itself bigoted and intolerant.
(National Journal) …In a ripping dissent, Scalia says that Justice Anthony Kennedy and his colleagues in the majority have resorted to calling opponents of gay marriage “enemies of the human race.” Despite this being the first time in human history, gender and marriage (as being between man and woman) being challenged… we are[!?] enemies of the human race? Sick!
But to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions. To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to “disparage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homo- sexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence— indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.
(See “Deck O Race-Cards“)
The new regulations will surely thrust more cases into SCOTUS and we will finally tilt one-way or the other — by this I mean will the American people understand the clear enumerated protection of religious practice, belief in the 1st Amendment? or a hitherto unknown “right-to-marry” for same-sex couples hiding between the lines in the Constitution. The two cannot co-exist in the end.
…In the Washington Post, Timothy Broglio, archbishop for the Military Services, USA, wrote:
I remain confident that people of this great country, no matter the consequences, will continue to promote and defend the good and the truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman as husband and wife for life. Marriage remains what it has always been, regardless of what any government might say.
I likewise remain confident that the First Amendment constitutional guarantee of the “free exercise of religion” will forever ensure that no restrictions or limitations on the teaching of the Catholic faith will be placed on any Catholic priest or deacon in the armed forces. Furthermore, the Constitution guarantees that no endorsed minister will ever be compelled to perform a religious ceremony contrary to the dictates of his/her faith nor will today’s decision have any effect on the role and teaching ability of a priest or deacon in the pulpit, the classroom, the barracks or in the office.
This archdiocese remains resolved in the belief that no Catholic priest will ever be compelled to condone – even silently – same-sex “marriages.”
Michelle Bauman, assistant editor for Catholic News Agency and EWTN News, wrote Wednesday that while the Supreme Court did not claim “to have discovered a fundamental ‘right’ to marry,” or a point-blank “redefinition of marriage” that would be imposed on the entire country, overturning DOMA “will affect more than 1,000 regulations and legal provisions, and could have a sweeping impact on both the legal and cultural understanding of what marriage is.”
“In addition,” wrote Bauman, “since the federal government must acknowledge all state-recognized marriages, there will be increased pressure on the states to redefine marriage.”…
One of the failings in our current generation is the understanding behind the ethos of the founding documents of our nation. What the writers of these pieces of foundational guidelines said themselves, here is one example:
“…we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
John Adams, first (1789–1797) Vice President of the United States, and the second (1797–1801) President of the United States. Letter to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, 11 October 1798, in Revolutionary Services and Civil Life of General William Hull (New York, 1848), pp 265-6.
And we know what the Founder’s meant by the word “religion” from the debates about the First Amendment. We also know what a proper definition of a Republic means, which is what we live in… not a Democracy:
So, to conclude, while there is a lot to be optimistic about, one shouldn’t give up the fight for the ideological mind. Ours is a cause worthy of the best thinking on the matter. And a side note… debating issues. I was recently challenged with polygamy and the Bible. Christians contort for no reason over the topic. A topic meant to take your eye off the ball:
Mountain Man said
The issue of polygamy is tangentially related because the same-sex marriage debate is nothing more than an open declaration of war on the traditional and historical institution of marriage.
I agree…. however, people miss the larger issue in talking to non-believers, as well as showing believers how to make an impact on culture.
Please allow me to explain.
The Judeo-Christian understanding (as well as some of the big thinkers via Greece, like Plato and Aeschines) teaches/taught that marriage should be between one-man and one woman — or in the least between male and female. But polygamy proves the point that relationships — even in their accepted form by pagan or fallen society — have always been “male/female.” no major world religious founder, great moral thinker, or political theorist of old ever advocated this union.
So, when I debate a non-Christian on the matter, I use the idea of polygamy to make the point that this current movement is radical in its core, or, extreme. While the other side paints us as extreme for defending the idea of even male-female conventions in relationships, you can show that they are the first to reject the thinking of wise men and all culture before this generation, and that [in fact] they are the ones acting extreme. Even to the point of trying to rid society of gender differences [male/female].
But as I see it, in the marriage debate, polygamy is evidence from history that the norm a) accepted gender differences, and b) relationships have always been male-female. It is an arrow in my quiver, not someone saying the Bible approves polygamy. While the Bible does not divinely inspire polygamy and slavery, etc, it shows as a history text AND as a Divinely inspired text that relationships are male/female. I do not need to explain verse-by-verse the issue…
…the other side is making my point.
Forbes Online has this previously released story about the rising health premiums for Californians:
“[F]or the typical 25 year old male non-smoking Californian,” Roy added, “Obamacare will drive premiums up by between 100 and 123 percent.” For a 40 year old male non-smoker” Obamacare will increase individual-market premiums by an average of 116 percent.” Roy summarized, “For both 25-year-olds and 40-year-olds, then, Californians under Obamacare who buy insurance for themselves will see their insurance premiums double.” That is a conservative understatement of his actual results.
Barack Obama campaigned for President not on the intellectually honest position that “Obamacare will cost more, but it would be worth it,” but instead on the intellectually dishonest position that it would reduce the cost of health insurance, while covering everyone. Peter Suderman correctly reported on MSNBC on June 4 that during Obama’s first campaign, the candidate’s position was that under his health reform plan, “If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under the plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums. That will be less.” Suderman added, “On the campaign trail in 2008, Obama continued to sell the [reform] as a way to lower health premiums, promising at least 15 times to reduce health premiums for families by $2,500 on average.”
I have used the term “Calculated Deception” to refer to Obama’s strategy of rhetorical deception, taking advantage of what Obama shrewdly perceives that the average person will not understand, and what the “mainstream” Democrat Party controlled media will not tell him. That pledge to reduce the cost of health insurance by $2,500 per family was calculated deception that is being exposed as such right now.
But such Calculated Deception amplified in the Democrat controlled media echo chamber just renders our democracy confused and dysfunctional.
Again, Forbes on the rise of premiums in Ohio:
The rates that Ohio reported are proposed rates; the Department of Insurance still has to formally approve them. “A total of 14 companies proposed rates for 214 plans to the Department. Projected costs from the companies for providing coverage for the required [by Obamacare] essential health benefits ranged from $282.51 to $577.40 for individual health insurance plans.”
It’s called “rate shock,” but it’s not shocking to people who understand the economics of health insurance. In August 2011, Milliman, one of the nation’s leading actuarial firms, predicted that Obamacare would increase individual-market premiums in Ohio by 55 to 85 percent. This past March, the Society of Actuaries projected that the law would increase premiums in that market by 81 percent. Like good players on “The Price is Right,” they both came in just under the Dept. of Insurance’s figure.
The Laffer Curve being applied to Obama-Care:
HotAir nails it!
Since it’s not a web ad featuring a super cool, hipster-celebrity making suggestive analogies about President Obama’s oh-so-dreamy and glamorous political qualities, I doubt it will get nearly the same traffic as Team Obama’s recent Lena Dunham ad — which is most unfortunate, because rather than a cotton-candy, war-on-women appeal to the youths, we actually see the real-world effect that Obama’s policies have had on hardworking, middle-class Americans.
President Obama’s policies have been brutal to the business world, and small businesses in particular. An onslaught of red-tape regulations, ObamaCare, the threat of higher taxes, generally poor economic growth — none of these have been kind to entrepreneurs or owners trying to grow their outfits. Despite the Obama administration’s several showy moves to come to the aid of small business, their vital signs just haven’t picked up, via Bloomberg Businessweek:
The measure estimates employment at independent companies with fewer than 20 employees that use Intuit’s online payroll product. Companies with fewer than 20 workers make up nearly 90 percent private employers in the U.S. …
Companies with fewer than 20 employees have actually shed jobs during the economic recovery; the Intuit Small Business Employment Index was 0.9 percent lower in October 2012 than in July 2009. Moreover, since May, the index has moved in the opposite direction from BLS estimates of overall employment, with Intuit reporting a loss of 10,000 small business jobs in each of the last two months alone. …
Compensation and hours are similarly weak. Adjusting for inflation and seasonality, monthly compensation for all employees (including the owners) at businesses with fewer than 20 employees is 10.2 percent lower than when the president took office.
California is in a worse boat that Virginia, for instance, we [California] have ranked dead last 8-years in a row as far as a business friendly environment goes:
It was alarming the first three or four times California was ranked last among 50 states for business environment. Now, Chief Executive magazine’s annual ranking, based on a survey of 650 chief executives on taxation, regulation, workforce quality and living environment, again places California dead last, 50th of 50 – for the eighth year in a row.
Eight years in a row ceases to be alarming. It now is a defining status.
Gov. Jerry Brown insists those who say California is unfriendly to business are wrong. But Mr. Brown, of course, is not the chief executive officer of a private business. He is the top executive of a deficit-burdened, intrusive, bloated government bureaucracy that has perfected squandering other peoples’ money while botching delivery of services such as education and lavishing public employees with unaffordable pay and benefits.
California public school teachers are the nation’s highest-paid, while their students’ performance ranks among the worst. The state’s various unfunded pension and retirement health care benefits promise to bankrupt the already overextended government.
As chief executive opinions go, Mr. Brown’s are considerably less credible than CEO magazines’ private-sector leaders.
“California’s enduring place of perpetual decline continues in this year’s ranking,” the magazine said. “Once the most attractive business environment, the Golden State appears to slip deeper into the ninth circle of business hell.”
The CEOs aren’t alone in their harsh critique. The state got an “F” grade in January from Thumbtack.com and the Kauffman Foundation in a survey of 6,000 small businesses across the nation, and the Tax Foundation ranked California 48th worst on business taxes.
There is little prospect of improvement. Despite finding itself in a hole, state government keeps digging. This week the state Senate Judiciary Committee killed a California Chamber of Commerce-sponsored job-creator bill to protect employers from inappropriate litigation.
Mr. Brown’s Air Resources Board is ratcheting up costly new regulations and preparing an ill-advised cap-and-trade carbon-emissions auction to coerce private energy providers to do things the government’s way. The governor and other Big Government champions also are advancing proposals for the November ballot to extract upwards of another $20 billion per year in taxes.
As CEO magazine’s poll shows, the state’s failings are obvious to business people. But Mr. Brown and California’s other governmental leaders just don’t get it.
Since I have been vacationing and catching up with work since getting back, I will deal only with one point from each article by John Van Huizum. (Click to increase size):
The left has placed on American the most regulations decreasing our freedom. It is simple, as government gets large, it regulates more. So as California gets more liberal, it will regulate many more aspects of our lives. For instance, I do not think john is tracking with the purpose (ultimately) for smart meters. Here in our state (John and mine) the “green economy” is tacking root, and the smart meters in the eye’s of the cultural left that accept the “fact” of anthropogenic global warming want to reduce energy usage. One way is to control temperatures at thermostats, one blogger discusses this proposal:
There was also a proposal in California to require utilities to use smart meters to control the thermostat in people’s homes, which would facilitate controlling air conditioning and heating loads, especially when there was a need to shave load during periods of peak usage. Thus far, this bad idea hasn’t been adopted. If the utility can control the thermostat in people’s homes, it’s conceivable government could mandate the high and low temperatures in people’s homes.
The left love to manifacture crisis’ and then exploit them for all the legislative power they can ring out of it:sexual harassment; nuclear power; anorexia; second-hand smoke; heterosexual AIDS; swine flu; silicone breast implants; homelessness in America; hunger in America; peanuts; man-made global warming, etc. etc. One author points out that many of the myths from the left are not only legislatively disastrous, but the death of millions of black are on the hands of the left:
Ecological myths have equal staying power. Despite evidence to the contrary, stories of global warming, deadly dioxin, dying forests, demonic DDT, rejuvenation by recycling, and the evils of electric fields continue to gain adherents. Green mythology holds that white technology is destroying the planet. Only with the elimination of Western evils like the internal combustion engine and chemicals can we recover the health and happiness that flow from living as one with nature.
Because the Left banned DDT, millions have died:
Dennis Prager as well talks about how the left intrudes on our freedom:
So far from the power company intruding into our lives because of greed, they are merely adopting the Left’s view of global warming and government intrusion into which light-bulbs we can use, or at what temperature we should set our air-conditioner (and if too cool, we have to pay more to buy carbon offsets).
John seems to misunderstand what Social Security is suppose to be. Putting your money away and getting it back. Today it is putting your money in, the large government using it in ways it shouldn’t, and then relying on future generations to support you with their money. John’s last sentence is his tell, and the cultural Lefts Achilles heel. I have already pointed this gulf in our conflict of visions out, but I will post it again:
Progressivism is an ideology based on the idea that historical and social progress are inevitable. The idea of progress assumes movement toward some ideal or end that usually includes the perfectibility of human, nature and human society. Progressives conceive of this end in various ways: history may culminate in an era of absolute freedom, social and economic equality, or some form of utopia.
Here is more on this idea in quotes from Thomas Sowell:
My own affections have been deeply wounded by some of the martyrs to this cause [the French Revolution], but rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated.
Thomas Jefferson, Letter of January 3, 1793, The Portable Thomas Jefferson, ed. Merrill D. Peterson (New York: Penguin Books, 1975), p. 465; from, Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (New York, NY: basic Books, 2007), 29.
According to Adam Smith, it is when the businessman “intends only his own gain” that he contributes— via the process of competition— to promote the social good “more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.” Smith added: “I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.”
Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles (New York, NY: basic Books, 2007), 57.
Christianity is closely tied to the success of capitalism, as it is the only possible ethic behind such an enterprise. How can such a thing be said? The famed economist/sociologist/historian of our day, Thomas Sowell, speaks to this in his book A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles. He whittles down the many economic views into just two categories, the constrained view and the unconstrained view.
The constrained vision is a tragic vision of the human condition. The unconstrained vision is a moral vision of human intentions, which are viewed as ultimately decisive. The unconstrained vision promotes pursuit of the highest ideals and the best solutions. By contrast, the constrained vision sees the best as the enemy of the good— a vain attempt to reach the unattainable being seen as not only futile but often counterproductive, while the same efforts could have produced a more viable and beneficial trade-off. Adam Smith applied this reasoning not only to economics but also to morality and politics: The prudent reformer, according to Smith, will respect “the confirmed habits and prejudices of the people,” and when he cannot establish what is right, “he will not disdain to ameliorate the wrong.” His goal is not to create the ideal but to “establish the best that the people can bear.”
Dr. Sowell goes on to point out that while not “all social thinkers fit this schematic dichotomy…. the conflict of visions is no less real because everyone has not chosen sides or irrevocably committed themselves.” Continuing he points out:
Despite necessary caveats, it remains an important and remarkable phenomenon that how human nature is conceived at the outset is highly correlated with the whole conception of knowledge, morality, power, time, rationality, war, freedom, and law which defines a social vision…. The dichotomy between constrained and unconstrained visions is based on whether or not inherent limitations of man are among the key elements included in the vision.
The contribution of the nature of man by the Judeo-Christian ethic is key in this respect. One can almost say, then, that the Christian worldview demands a particular position to be taken in the socio-economic realm.* You can almost liken the constrained view of man in economics and conservatism as the Calvinist position. Pulitzer prize winning political commentator, Walter Lippmann (1889-1974), makes the above point well:
At the core of every moral code there is a picture of human nature, a map of the universe, and a version of history. To human nature (of the sort conceived), in a universe (of the kind imagined), after a history (so understood), the rules of the code apply.
A free market, then, is typically viewed through the lenses of the Christian worldview with its concrete view of the reality of man balanced with love for your neighbor;
John is just wrong on this!
…the super rich ALSO can contribute to the economy, but the greater number of the others contribute a lot more.
Sometimes you just bang your head on the desk because of the ignorance some people have. The Wall Street Journal clears up the confusion, especially since the media latched onto Mitt Romney paying only 15% in taxes:
Mitt Romney’s disclosure this week that his effective federal tax rate is “probably closer to the 15% rate than anything” has created the predictable political uproar. The White House and its media allies figure they’ve now got their stereotype of the Monopoly man, albeit without his cane and top hat, who they can crush in their planned class-warfare campaign.
We’re not sure if facts will matter in this cacophony, but someone should at least try to introduce a little reality into the debate, especially since Mr. Romney seems so unprepared to make the case.
Start with the fact that, like Warren Buffett, Mr. Romney said he makes most of his money from investments, not wages or salary. Thus his income is really taxed twice: once at the corporate tax rate of 35%, then again at a 15% tax rate when it is passed through to him as dividends or via capital gains from the sale of stock.
All income from businesses is eventually passed through to the owners, so to ignore business taxes creates a statistical illusion that makes it appear that the rich pay less than they really do. By this logic, if the corporate tax rate were raised to, say, 60% from today’s 35% and the dividend and capital gains tax were cut to zero, it would appear that business owners were getting away with paying no federal tax at all.
This all-too-conveniently confuses the incidence of a tax with the burden of a tax. The marginal tax rate on every additional dollar of capital gains and dividend income from corporate profits can reach as high as 44.75% at the federal level (assuming a company pays the 35% top corporate rate), not 15%.
The Congressional Budget Office recently examined the distribution of federal taxes on various income groups. The report was ballyhooed by liberals as proof of rising income inequality, but that argument is for another day. What everyone has ignored is what CBO found about the relative taxes paid by different groups. And, lo, the rich pay more, which is probably why the press didn’t report it.
The nearby table from the CBO report shows that in 2007 the average income tax rate paid by the 1% was 18.8%, compared to 4.2% for Americans in a broadly defined middle class from the 21st to 80th income percentiles. The poorest 20% on average paid a net negative income-tax rate of 5.6% because of the checks they receive for tax credits that are “refundable.” These are essentially transfer payments redistributing income from the rich and middle class to the poor.
As for all federal taxes, CBO found that in 2007 the top 1% paid an average rate of a little under 30%, compared to 15.1% for middle-income earners. In calculating this overall tax burden, CBO takes account of payroll taxes, which moves the rate of the lowest 20% of earners into positive territory at 4.7%. CBO also apportions to individuals who are shareholders the tax that corporations pay on corporate profits.
Let us apply some economic reasoning to why California’s tax revenue has dropped 22% as of late:
State Controller John Chaing continues to uphold the California Great Seal Motto of “Eureka”, i.e., ‘I have found it’. But what Chaing is finding as Controller is that California’s economy as measured by tax revenues is still tanking. Compared to last year, State tax collections for February shriveled by $1.2 billion or 22%. The deterioration is more than double the shocking $535 million reported decline for last month. The cumulative fiscal year decline is $6.1 billion or down 11% versus this period in 2011.
While California Governor Brown promises strong economic growth is just around the corner, Chaing proves that the best way for Sacramento politicians to hurt the economy and thereby generate lower tax revenue, is to have the highest tax rates in the nation.
California politicians seem delusional in their continued delusion that high taxes have not savaged the State’s economy. Each month’s disappointment is written off as due to some one-time event.
The State Controller’s office did acknowledge that higher than normal tax refunds for February might have reduced the collection of some personal income taxes. Given that 2012 has an extra day in February for leap year, there might have been one day more of tax refunds sent out. But the Controller’s report shows personal income tax collections fell by $325 million, or 16% versus last year. Furthermore, leap year would have added another day for retail sales and use tax collection, but those revenues also fell during February-by an even larger $813 million, 25% decline from 2011.
The more likely reason tax collections continue falling is that businesses and successful people are leaving California for the better tax rates available in more pro-business states.
Derisively referred to as “Taxifornia” by the independent Pacific Research Institute, California wins the booby prize for the highest personal income taxes in the nation and higher sales tax rates than all but four other states. Though Californians benefit from Proposition 13 restrictions on how much their property tax can increase in one year, the state still has the worst state tax burden in the U.S.
Spectrum Locations Consultants recorded 254 California companies moved some or all of their work and jobs out of state in 2011, 26% more than in 2010 and five times as many as in 2009. According SLC President, Joe Vranich: the “top ten reasons companies are leaving California: 1) Poor rankings in surveys 2) More adversarial toward business 3) Uncontrollable public spending 4) Unfriendly business climate 5) Provable savings elsewhere 6) Most expensive business locations 7) Unfriendly legal environment for business 8) Worst regulatory burden 9) Severe tax treatment 10) Unprecedented energy costs.
(You can enlarge the article by clicking it.) This is a local, small town magazine, and John Van Huizum writes a regular piece that I will critique here-and-there. Here is my first installment:
 Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2004), 361.
 Michael Medved, The 10 biggest Lies About America (New York, NY: Crown Forum, 2008), 132; see also, “What Did He Get for That Money?”
 Milton Freidman on the Phil Donahue Show – “Greed” (VIDEO)
 John Van Huizum, Agua Dulce/Acton Country Journal, Vol. XXII, Issue 21 (May 26, 2012), 19.
 a) Person A has position X; b) Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X); c) Person B attacks position Y; d) Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.
 Dennis Prager, Still the Best Hope (New York, NY: Broadside Books, 2012), 35-36.