The View From 1776

Sailing Full Speed Toward Icebergs

Democrat/Socialists, intent upon thrashing the business community in the name of socialistic equality of income and wealth, are racing full speed ahead in the foggy dark, confident that they know this time how to avoid collision with economic icebergs.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/29 at 04:38 PM
  1. The Norquist argument - that we have heard endlessly to the point of nausea - is that we must not allow the temporary tax breaks for the rich to expire on January 1 or will face doom because the "job creators" will cease creating jobs. This argument seems to ignore the obvious fact that these tax cuts did not appear to induce the job creators to create jobs during the Bush Administration, so why should we expect them to suddenly start creating jobs now!

    Letting the tax breaks for the rich expire in no way requires letting the tax breaks for the vast masses of less-than-rich expire, so that the feared Roosevelt-style tax hikes on the masses need not occur.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/30  at  11:54 AM
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    Posted by researchpaperwriter.net  on  12/06  at  05:05 AM
  5. They are confident and they know this time how to avoid collision with economic icebergs.
    Posted by sky dancers  on  12/07  at  01:56 AM
  6. J. Jay,

    Once again you have failed to supply any backing or proof of your assertions. I am forced, therefore, to conclude what you are referencing is the recent media hype regarding two recent studies disputing the long established marginal-tax-rate v job-creation correlation (i.e.,”... cuts did not appear to induce the job creators to create jobs during the Bush Administration”). Both of those reports (one by CRS/Hungerford and one by a pair of Nobel recipients are inconclusive at best and intentionally biased at worst. Moreover, the former takes much of its substance from the latter, reducing our number of ‘scholarly proofs’ to one. The CRS report (and its supposedly non-partisan author) was found to be partisan (Democrat), disputable and controversial; and forced to redact his report. See my notes on this below.

    I found these reports by searching on “tax-cut studies” and looking for media reportage of those on the assumption you did not really research this, and take anything the liberal media vomits as gospel. There were earlier reports, but as they have not seen much light, do not believe you were aware of them and did not figure them in your calculus. For every study or report supporting the semi-Keynesian view, there is another (or more) proving its opposite, and far more that take a neutral view. Moreover, the empirical evidence thus far seems to support tax-cuts for the rich do, indeed, result in a slightly lower jobless rates over extensive periods (either that or a bunch of Presidents (and foreign governments mimicking ours) have just been extraordinarily lucky to have their policies validated by chance).

    The Bush U3 rate declined from shortly after his cuts to mid-2006, remained flat around 4.5% through late-2007, and only began to rise as the recession got moving in 2008 (U6 pattern parallels U3). A similar and more spectacular decline in U3/U6 can be seen in the Reagan/Bush and late Clinton data following marginal tax-cuts by those administrations and/or Congressional fiat. The Bush-II correlation isn’t spectacular (did not cut joblessness in half), but did have a measurably positive effect. JFK also believed in tax cuts and began seeing some job improvement, but his policy was curtailed by an unfortunate bullet. His successor, despite the profligate spending, continued to cut taxes (of course, Republicans mainly pushed this) and unemployment continued to fall until it bottomed (3.5%) in 1969. Ford and Carter reversed both these trends for a time, and we were still coming down from their highs until 2008. Now were high again on both scores. From the end of WWII to now, the trend has generally been one of both declining taxation and declining joblessness. The Depression was the exact opposite, and both unemployment and taxes reached sustained highs. This makes your assertion (de-linking marginal tax-rates from job-creation) almost certainly groundless. This is not to say the argument is entirely baseless, only that you have yet to make any case for it.

    Also notable is the reaction typical of markets and business investment to the prospect of further tax cuts and/or a more relaxed regulatory environment. Almost without exception, this has been a positive reaction even before the more favorable policies go into effect, and can only be categorized an ‘emotional response’ or ‘collective sigh of relief’. Regardless individual businessmen and investors vote Democrat or Republican, they invariably respond as though fiscally-conservative. So, even if the country as a whole, media, academia, or the parties in power is unconvinced of the correlation, at least (subconsciously) business and markets are convinced of it. I understand why so many believe in the Keynesian fallacy – it justifies the envy-driven [Marxist] compulsion for stealing capital without risk to personal comfort.

    One further point should be made is the Bush-II cuts were not just to upper bracket rates, but across all brackets, and even resulted in rebates to many who never paid a farthing in federal tax. This likely made them less effective (dilute) than they might have been applied only to the upper bracket, but was politically necessary to get passage due to the intense resistance of all liberals to the idea, and to the greed of some demanding a return of something they’d never paid to start with. That made the Bush-II cuts as much a wealth-transfer as any Obama gimmick. If you are going to argue, therefore, marginal tax-cuts don’t create jobs, you are going to have to grind that axe on some other stone. I would argue they do under certain circumstances more than others, but always a little; and I base this on results more than theories that have yet to be proved accurate.


    Source notes:

    http://freebeacon.com/schumer-cites-impartial-tax-report-authored-by-obama-donor/ - accuses Hungerford of liberal bias in writing his report. The report itself is skimpy on data, and is more an opinion piece or summary than a true study. The specific data used is unverifiable. If this is all we have to go on, it is insufficient to draw independent conclusions without digging through reams of date embedded within his referenced data source, and would require we make guesses as to which data from those sources he used and how he may have ‘cherry-picked’. For example, his Figures 1&2 cite an analysis Hungerford made of BLS data, but what data set and analysis we cannot tell. The report is likely written this way to avoid scrutiny. A full and honest report would include tables of the precise data used; not just vague references made to them. If this is not the actual study, where is the original report from which its graphs, tables and conclusions are extracted? Hungerford’s reliance on in-house data sources has been criticized elsewhere, including his failure to make comparison to foreign data correlating tax-rates with economic indicators, and smacks of self-validation (circular).

    http://i.cfr.org/content/publications/attachments/corporate tax reform.pdf – Hungerford’s latest report is at the center of a Congressional protest and public controversy


    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/business/questions-raised-on-withdrawal-of-congressional-research-services-report-on-tax-rates.html?_r=0 – and was withdrawn

    http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1773&context=key_workplace – Hungerford study at center of controversy

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/news/business/0915taxesandeconomy.pdf – here’s another Hungerford study having similar format and conclusions, despite they were written two years apart.


    http://taxfoundation.org/blog/crs-nothing-affects-economic-growth - critiques previous linked item

    https://opencrs.com/search/?q=tax+cuts - other study by Hungerford & showing the same conclusions despite they are years apart

    http://www.aei.org/files/2008/04/03/20080404_GravelleandHungerford.pdf - Gravelle is another CRS tax analyst who demonstrates some bias. She and Hungerford have collaborated on a number of reports pretending to be ‘non-partisan’

    http://freebeacon.com/tag/thomas-l-hungerford/ - says Hungerford gave heavily to the Obama campaign. $3400 is rather a lot for a CRS tax policy wonk to be giving to a Presidential campaign (plus another $2450 to other Democrats), suggesting his is more than the usual liberal preference for anything with a ‘D’ after it.

    http://www.aei.org/files/2012/11/19/-should-the-top-marginal-income-tax-rate-be-73-percent_085518416524.pdf – thoughtful criticism of Diamond and Saez by American Enterprise Institute. Unfortunately, AEI’s ‘conservative’ wonks are just as guilty of pursuing the ‘optimal taxation’ paradigm over the ‘personal-freedom & limited-governance’ paradigm. Missing entirely from their assessment is any discussion of how redistribution weakens both society and citizen adherence to government. We see the corruption this encourages (as well as the pilfering from our own pockets), and conclude our government is untrustworthy. Many have become disillusioned to the point they don’t even bother voting (a sad statement on our once intense political involvement). It is none of government’s business whether we optimize for the ‘societal benefit’ or not (which is nothing but than an excuse for grabbing more power). Also, governmental waste and corruption is so great that much of the supposed ‘benefit’ never reaches its intended recipients; straining even AEI’s counter-estimates, and converting theirs into an excuse the left can abuse to great effect (i.e., it still advances statism, just not as vigorously). Wealth-redistribution does not benefit society; it only corrupts us and our system of government at every conceivable level; even to those who spurn participation. Yes, it may provide some respite to those in temporary distress, but it does so at the cost of creating an expectation of perpetual entitlements that are unsustainable, plus a widespread willingness to participate in thefts large and small. Private charity has always been the safer and more efficient means of addressing personal and community misfortunes, and that is how AEI should be responding to Diamond and Saez.

    http://metricmash.com/unemployment.aspx?code=LNS14000000&recession=true&period=P64&political=true – interesting customizable chart of unemployment v political party

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/09/unemployment-and-marginal-tax-rates/
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/08  at  07:28 AM
  7. Bob,

    Thanks for your attention to detail and effort to provide references supporting your points.

    As you well know, it is possible to support most any position with a careful selection of favorable statistics.

    There are many plots graphing the growth in GDP versus the top marginal tax rate between 1950 and 2010. This arrangement of data clearly indicates that the highest growth in GDP took place when the marginal rates were high, and that lower growth took place when top marginal rates were low. (See Michael Linden, The Center for American Progress).

    These broad brush graphs obviously do not account for the thousands of other variables that could affect the data, but the data do suggest that the argument that high marginal rates kill economic growth is not supportable.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/09  at  11:30 PM
  8. Bob,

    I noticed in one of your other posts that you have accused me of personal attacks against you. While I cheerfully admit to sarcasm, irony, and snide comments about ideas posited on this site, I have never said a unkind word about you, or any other private individual. I find that ad homonym attacks are most often resorted to by folks when they cannot muster an adequate rational argument. I find that schoolyard level of discourse to be unsatisfying.

    Here are two challenges for you:

    1) You pride yourself of citing backup for your ideas (and chide me for failing to do so). I challenge you to go back into the archives of this site and find a single case in the last ten years where I have attacked you (or any other private figure) personally.

    2) If you cannot turn up an instance where I have made a personal attack, I ask you to please apologize for claiming that I have.

    Merry Christmas!
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/10  at  09:33 AM
  9. J. Jay,

    I set you a challenge to review some of the incivility of which you were guilty in the hopes it might persuade you to drop the phony ‘What incivility?’ pose. You say you “… admit to … snide comments about ideas posited on this site, [but] never said a[n] unkind word about you, or any other private individual”, but that is easily shown to be untrue, especially in your early encounters with us. I did not ask nor suggest you publish your findings as might humiliate you, only that you review them privately and rethink your posture. Rather than meet that challenge squarely and manfully, you chose to hand it right back in an unrelated post so that none would be the wiser what you are up to. Cute, very cute!

    At the very least, you should have provided a link to my challenge as puts this in fairer context. As you did not see fit to do so, I will supply one here (see http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/comments/2994 ) so others can follow the full discussion of blog-etiquette. In that thread, you mockingly suggested I was being unwarrantedly ‘uncivil’ toward you, and in this one you pretend you (and not we) are the ones who prefer reason to ad hominem attacks. Reason has never been your strong suit (you are confusing baseless opinion with that), and have rarely passed over an opportunity to invoke stereotyped prejudices against us in lieu of reason (aka, ad hominem; see http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ad hominem ). I responded by pointing out you have a history of incivility greater than that which you complain of in others, that you are treated only as you treat others, and for most of our encounters you gave far more than you got of it. I considered not responding to your challenge, as to do so can only appear churlish. But then, you put me in the spotlight of ‘uncharitable’ anyway, and not responding can only leave me the one in bad odor. Therefore and since you challenge me to investigate your incivility publicly, I will grant your wish (Confucius say: Be careful what you wish for …”

    Examples of J. Jay’s incivility

    http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/comments/1763 - Jan 2009 - Jay accuses our host of lying (unprovoked), respondents (not me) show J. Jay is in the wrong, yet Jay persists in calling Thomas a liar over a minor temporal point; Tom C chides him for his absurdity and for slandering his host; Jim Baxter pointed out ‘J. Jay’ is a pseudonym (for John Jay, patriot and a Founder having nothing in common with our J. Jay), suggesting our accuser is, himself, a liar of many months hiding behind a false identity.

    http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/comments/weather_paganism – 01/2008. In this post, J. Jay attacks the substance of a doubly linked article (via Maggie’s Farm) on global-warming. Unprovoked, he mocks both article and any who agree with its conclusions (including [especially] Tom’s conservative regulars). He labels us “flat-Earthers” and implies we’d “burn scientist at the stake” if we could. Admittedly, AGW skeptics call AGW believers ‘flat-Earthers’ and similar insults also, though rarely to their face as J. Jay does from behind a mask of anonymity or without some mea culpa when caught doing it unfairly. In this he smears with a broad brush while pretending to a politeness he doesn’t mean (i.e., I made no direct ad hominem attacks, ergo my un-attributable yet still vicious attacks don’t matter to polite discourse). While this may not be ‘person specific’ incivility (see Jay’s criteria above), it is nonetheless quite personal, can only be regarded personal, and was intended that way. J. Jay often avoids direct confrontation knowing a) he’s out-numbered and outgunned, and b) prefers deniability to go with his anonymity.

    The points he makes in this particular retort are misstatements of what was going on behind the scenes, and therefore misleading. For example, Jay argued “Fitting the model to the data is not ‘cheating’, as suggested by the post”. My recollection of the linked article (no longer available) was it made no such assertion; and, in fact, the problem with Dr. Mann and his Hockey Stick graph has always been that he diddled data to make it fit his choice of model, inappropriately fit different sets of data to the same model, and that his method of falsely ‘aligning’ the data was the reason it displays as a ‘hockey-stick’ (different data results in the same characteristic shape regardless the substitution), not because there was any significant planetary warming or sudden increase in the rate of warming as his graph suggests. Thus, the whole crux of Jay’s argument was false and misleading. While misrepresenting reality may be no crime, doing so for the purpose of mocking others as ignorant compounds the insult. Jay did nothing to research his allegation (basically he shot from the liberal ‘talking-points’ hip), and, therefore, repeatedly attacks others and/or their arguments on the basis of his own deeply-flawed and highly-inflated opinions of how matters stand. In the foregoing attack, he even assumed his the greater adherence to ‘scientific principle’; despite he is not a scientist and is manifestly ignorant of the science and scientific methods he repeatedly presumes to speak for.

    Often, he finds himself up against real scientist (and engineers); at which point he invariably ignores our ‘greater knowledge’, and switches his tactics to [rather insultingly] claiming it is ‘we’ (skeptics) who fail to follow clear evidence to its inescapable conclusions. When that doesn’t force us to back down, he typically argues (as here) that there is no final proof in science, that all science is only as good as the next discovery. Somehow, this reasoning does not penetrate his personal fog as it should by persuading him belief in any science is, therefore, a form of insanity (which is both logically and observably weak). The next time the subject (global warming) arises, he will rehash the same arguments so often debunked; ignoring all the evidence we’ve piled up as undermines everything he stands for. This makes him [scientifically] irrational and logically inconsistent. But, that is topic for another post.

    http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/comments/ayers_and_dohrn_are_liars - 12/2008 – another insult-by-association (i.e., conservatives are brutes who’d resort to violence if only we could get away with it). This ignores most violent behavior is exhibited almost exclusively by self-declared ‘liberals’; and liberals quite often do get away with it. But, let’s not let that get in the way of a good smear. Note, none of us bothered responding to J. Jay in this particular instance because: a) he was new to the site, b) there was little in his riposte worth reacting to (other than its sick assertion), and c) we still resisted the urge to ‘spank’ this upstart (as he, by that point, richly deserved).

    http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/comments/bill_ayers_unrepentant_terrorist_and_hypocrite – In this post, J. Jay accuses our host (who has ever been a gentleman toward him) of libel. Responders to Jay pretty much demolished his argument, yet (oddly) no one sank to his level by throwing the libel charge right at back at him. Can it be his victims are more civil than Jay pretends? It doesn’t get much more ‘uncivil’ than this, J. Jay.

    http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/comments/change_we_cant_believe_in – accuses Bush of “TORTURE”, “LIES”, “HABEUS CORPUS” abuses, “SPYING ON AMERICANS”, firing federal employees without cause, and of acting as though “ABOVE THE LAW”. If true, Jay’s accusations would not be indecent, but if untrue are both indecent and libelous. I realize that, to Jay, Bush is a conservative figurehead more than he is a ‘person’, and, therefore, ‘fair-game’ for ad hominem attacks (and technically one of us). But, this attack on Bush meets J. Jay’s own criteria of ‘personal attacks’ regardless.

    In fact, none of the above was ever proved true other than in the fevered brains of media leftists (and their radical following) intent from day one on crippling a guy who proved to be a fairly decent President. I also had my reservations regarding the Patriot Acts (which Jay’s rant invokes), though not because of Bush, per se. He proved time after time that he was scrupulous in his application of the acts, and every insinuation the media threw at him proved a distortion and smoke-screen for their extreme partisanship. Street liberals, of course, ate it up and regurgitated the slander as though a matter of record. Several times Bush stopped federal agents from abusing powers granted them by those acts, and made the misdeeds public before those seeking excuses for impeachment could have exploited as ‘cover-ups’. There was only one instance of a Bush minion abusing power to ‘spy on an American citizen’, and even that is disputed as the guy had (potentially) subversive associations. We’ll never know for sure because the investigation was halted for insufficient cause, and it was Bush who stopped it. My reservations had to do with those who might follow him into the office, and who might prove to be far less scrupulous (or inattentive) in their application. Sooner or later, someone will abuse these powers precisely as Jay assumes Bush did.

    As to firing U.S. Attorneys, Bush is hardly the first or last President to do so, and that is hardly a crime or malfeasance. It was claimed it was political because he fired so many at the same time. Yet, many were shown to be incompetent or excessively political (misused their office to ‘disadvantage’ the other party). If it is fair to tar Bush as having been politically-motivated in those firings, logically the guys he fired for ‘game-rigging’ were the greater offenders, were first to offend, and were in need of purging to ‘re-level the playing field’. We can only guess Bush was politically-motivated (more likely it was motivated by considerations of propriety as reflected in his firings of supporters in similar circumstance). What Bush was falsely accused of (firing all 93 U.S. attorneys), Clinton actually did upon assuming office in 1993; and that was clearly and purely political (see http://www.mrc.org/node/34099 ), and got away with it (with hardly a peep from the press or left). Ergo J. Jay’s (ALL CAPS) smear was unproved and unfairly judged; and lacking proof is tantamount to ‘libel’. Obama also replaced a significant number of U.S. Attorneys upon assuming office, but there too the press kept it under wraps lest the obvious comparison be made to Bush (see http://www.politico.com/blogs/joshgerstein/0509/Obama_to_replace_US_Attorneys.html ).

    This may not be an instance of J. Jay attacking fellow posters to this site (or our host), yet it is typical of his modus operandi: attack first, attack hard, and let the chips fall where they may even if they are ‘fake chips’.

    ***

    I could go on producing examples of J. Jay’s past incivility toward others, but I think I have made the point and satisfied his requirements regarding the challenge (demure unnecessary roughness). J. Jay challenged me to show instances of him attacking me or any other private individual, knowing full well I never claimed he’d attacked us individually. Ad hominem attacks do not need to be individual to meet the criteria for them, and are inherently ‘personal’ with respect to those they target (us); so he misled on that score (or, as is more likely, never bothered looking it up; which is merely unfair). He has, in fact, accused others of libel more than once, and that is a personal attack of a tall odor. So, even though that is not what I accused him of (because infrequent), he is guilty of it as the evidence shows. He challenged me to research the archives going back ten years knowing full well available archives only go back to 2004 and that he does not appear in them much before November of 2008 (at least not under that alias). Thus he rigged the terms of the challenge to make it more daunting and less ‘provable’. What he did not count on was that I would accept his challenge and make good on it. I could have gone further to show a chain of insults leading from J. Jay’s initial and persistent ones to our delayed reaction to them, as proves him the instigator and recurring provocateur in [most of the] ensuing hostilities, and that it was us (not him) who sought to calm things down. I could also have produced reams of lesser insults emanating from him, but he admits those and I purposely focused on those which unambiguously both meet his criterion and were grossly unjust. I have complimented him on his recent reform, and am sincere in hoping it genuine. I have also commented (not for the first time) J. Jay is capable of reasoned and civil debate when he puts his mind to it; and trust he will not react to my response and ‘defense of honor’ as causes for renewed hostilities.

    Finally, I wish to thank J. Jay for his Christmas salute, despite neither of us is a Christian (I am Jewish [as he should know by now], and he is atheistic). Still, I must assume he meant it in the usual charitable sense, and accept his in that spirit. So, right back at you J. Jay, and here's a 'Happy Chanukah' to seal the deal.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/13  at  06:39 AM
  10. Bob,

    Thanks for the effort, but I think you have made my point, although not meaning to. You have produced no quotes from me attacking you personally. Although you do persist in (false or unsubstantiated) personal attacks against me! For example, you say,

    "he [me] is not a scientist and is manifestly ignorant of the science and scientific methods he repeatedly presumes to speak for."

    which is a clear example of an unwarranted and unsubstantiated personal attack.

    In contrast, all of the items you cite from me are comments about ideas, rather than comments about a specific writer on this site.

    Now, of course, you may infer that when I offer up the opinion that an idea is "stupid," that such stupidity reflects poorly on the person positing the idea, but that is a far cry from saying, "Your mother wears combat boots," or "You personally are a moron."

    As I mentioned, criticizing and attacking public figures (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld or even Obama)for their misdeeds or bad policy is, in my mind, fair game and quite different from attacking private individuals (whom you do not know). If you take umbrage at these criticisms of public figures and claim that I am in effect attacking you personally by association ("We conservatives"), I believe that few would agree with you.

    But despite your darker side, I do enjoy your thoughful efforts (I remember some great comments you made about the Merritt Parkway bridge designers) and with you the best for the season!
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/13  at  11:09 AM
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