american health care, americans for tax reform, atr.org, current-events, Debacle, Debacle: Obama's War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future, government, Grover, Grover Norquist, John Lott, Norquist, politics
Ok John, you accused me of not reading your book. Oh, I read it John. Here is a more far more complete review than it deserves.
I’ll lead with a graph of my own I did some time back.
John, as an academic, you must be well aware of the serious shortcomings of your book, if you read the finished product. It has fundamental and technical problems. It’s most glaring problem is that even if one accepts the arguments of the first 5 chapters, the concluding chapter does not follow. The conclusion is just Grover’s well-worn product in which he argues by declaration that “It is so! Because I said so!” It’s the same rubbish he brags about thinking up when he was 13 years old. That man is a fool and extremely dangerous to the country.
But the preceding 5 chapters are not acceptable in any sense. They are propaganda, not scholarship. It is slanted, cherry-picked, decent as propaganda, but not as anything serious.
The final chapter 6 is grotesque buffoonery.
Your post above suggests that if I had read it, I would have to be convinced. Not even close John. But since you asked for a more thorough review of this piece of trash, here you go.
Starts with an appeal to emotion – classic propaganda technique. Incident described has no bearing on content of the book. Calculated to appeal to those offended by a black man turning his back on a white man. I doubt you and the ghost writers who helped you with it are unaware of this.
Health care – nothing to do with jobs thesis or the stimulus, and it’s wrong.
Continues with mention of Summers’ comment about cost effectiveness of the American health-care system. Your book’s response cites a David Gregory “Meet the Press” transcript of April 19, 2009? Excuse me? What does David Gregory have to do with analyzing the cost effectiveness of health care? That, John, is called a garbage citation. If people don’t look, they presume there is some study behind it. Not even close.
And what is this business of an economist who is supposed to have a strength in statistics doing with a line-item response to what is an obviously correct point?
The amount of material from highly reputable sources, even in the insurance world, is so overwhelming it is impossible that you don’t know about it. The USA can and should contain health care costs. (Kaiser: http://www.kaiseredu.org/Issue-Modules/US-Health-Care-Costs/Background-Brief.aspx; Harvard: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hphr/winter-2010/winter10assessment.html; NEJM: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsb0911104; Etc.) When compared to other nations, our medical costs are outrageous, our coverage is lousy. Our nation’s costs are 1/3 higher than Switzerland’s. (http://www.economist.com/node/13899647 ) So John, in academic terms, you lied. You lied by omission.
Comparison with Canada
And then, John, you go on to use Canada for comparison? Canada is a high-tax, nationalized health care system nation. Excuse me John? You repeat this throughout the book! You disprove your own thesis.
Junk introduction – I give it an F
Overall, the introduction is calculated to rile and deceive. And as an introduction, it has nothing to do with the supposed thesis of the book. John, if a grad student submitted a thesis with an introduction that had nothing to do with his premise, you should bounce him out of your office. I sure would. (That ignores the deception you try to perpetrate.) And yet you represent this as a serious book?
Obama’s picks for treasury
I agree that Obama picked the wrong people. I already said something aligned to that in my original review. I am not a fan of Obama’s turning the White House into an arm of the banking system that protects criminals. So there we agree. But Paulson was worse, and they should all be in prison by now if you ask me.
But – you fail to so much as mention the criminality in the banking industry? How John?
No mention of how outrageous it is that only after months of Occupy protests did the Obama Administration put together a facile lie in the form of the FCU? Ten FBI agents after 3 years in office when Bill Black had 1,000? Who is Obama conning here? You apparently.
Yes, it’s true that FCU probably happened after final edits on your book.
But – Bill Black has been talking for a lot longer than that. There has been more than enough material to pick up on. Even TV comedians on the left like Jon Stewart have called out Obama for being in the pocket of bankers. And you don’t? The republicans are in the same pocket.
You fail to discuss properly which administration gutted the SEC and did everything possible to help out the spiking of mortgages. If republicans actually cared about that, why didn’t Bush at least jawbone about it? The answer is simple. Bush was for it.
You try to blame it all on Clinton, who wasn’t in office for the banking debacle. (Yes, Clinton took apart Glass-Steagall, but you don’t have a problem with that, because it’s de-regulation. I sure do.) You do mention Bush in passing, but when you do, it’s without the emotional loading that you use otherwise. And you leave everyone with the impression that Fannie and Freddie, ACORN and others were the reason that the mortgage market tanked.
Pretending liberals drove Fannie and Freddie to force banks into the crash
John, there was a bipartisan hog trough in the mortgage industry. And you don’t discuss the high-rollers.
You see, John, while you don’t come right out and say it, you leave unsophisticated readers with the impression that it was the poor, and particularly poor people of color, (ACORN) who brought down the mortgage industry. That’s baloney.
You don’t discuss the high-rollers, many of them attorneys and cabals of attorneys, kiting home prices by rapid reselling of properties with jumbo loans. Sorry, John, but jumbo loans did not go to the poor. Fannie and Freddy’s maximums were pushed way over $1 million to cover jumbo loans. That sure wasn’t done to serve the poor!
You fail to mention RMBS and CMBS instruments and their role. Curious, don’t you think, that you go on about Fannie and Freddy, but don’t talk about how banks were doing exactly the same thing in commercial real estate? (http://www.rkmc.com/Caught-in-the-Credit-Crunch-An-Investigation-into-Commercial-Mortgage-Backed-Securities.htm )
That banks were pushing equally hard to give equally bad loans in commercial real estate certainly casts doubt on your argument that it was ACORN and liberals who made it happen. Simply put, it wasn’t. There was a ton of money to be made in a Ponzi economy, and the fat-cats worked out a way to make it happen.
Don’t suggest to me, John, that you didn’t know about RMBS and CMBS. I won’t believe you. Or if you convince me, I’ll decide you are an incompetent.
This chapter is a thinly disguised appeal to racism, as if it were minorities and the poor that caused the drop in home prices when they couldn’t pay.
You lied in this chapter John. You lied by omissions, and lied by partial truths. You punched it home with your appeal to emotional racism keywords. (Perhaps helped by your ghost-writers. But fella, you put your name on this junk.)
Yes, it’s a long recession. We are hugely over-leveraged. And my comment in my original review stands John. You compare this recession to the recessions of the 1970’s and 1980’s. You invoke the name of Reagan. That’s wrong here.
John, we were structurally rather different in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The reasons for the recession were different. We had oil-shocks. We had the S&L crisis. ( Bush I dealt with that crisis properly, by putting the criminals in prison. Note that prison for criminal bankers is not your plan. Not even on your radar John. You want to deregulate more.) Many discussed in the Bush years that the piper would have to be paid in the economy. The question was only when. But the Ponzi-economy kept going. Nobody wanted to stop the party.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s we weren’t suffering from the syndromes today that we have not seen since the 1920’s. These kinds of financial system shenanigans were stopped by Glass-Steagall. There was in the 1970’s and 1980’s:
- A stable regulatory foundation in those years. Glass Steagall.
- The world wasn’t globalized. In the early 1990’s Reich gave a talk where he pointed out that in a globalized world, a rising tide no longer lifts all boats. Instead, a raising tide replicates the world’s poverty and wealth pyramid in every nation, as barriers come down.
- In 1975 we had a $12.4 billion export surplus. We haven’t had one since. In 1987, we had a $153 billion import excess. In 1997, we had a $110 billion import excess. ( http://economics.about.com/od/foreigntrade/a/trade_deficit_h.htm )
- Today, we run trade deficits on that scale in a big month. January of 2012, our trade deficit was $52 billion. (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/balance-of-trade ) Annual trade deficits are above $0.5 trillion.
- We are facing a demographic tectonic shift. Since you allude to this later, it is not credible to suggest that you don’t understand it John. That shift affects productivity. That shift affects financial markets. And we aren’t even really in it yet John. You know that.
So, with 15 years of financial system deregulation that put us in a similar over-leverage situation to 1929, with outrageous criminal irresponsibility and malfeasance in the financial world being protected by this administration, and another 15 years of declining productivity ahead of us due to demographics, with globalization removing the limits on availability of capital that used to keep the USA uniquely rich – how can you possibly suggest that those 1970’s and 1980’s recessions are the proper comparison?
John, if you allow me to claim an apple is like a walrus, I can prove vegetables are carnivorous and good swimmers. But that doesn’t make the claim true.
John, there is no question that the unemployment figures are cooked. I would accept a current unemployment rate of 20%+ as reality. You mention that unemployment is flawed a number of times in your book, though you don’t go into any detail. But you don’t talk about unemployment by education level, which shows something significant.
You also don’t talk about how flawed those figures have been for a long time. Yes, the unemployment numbers are ridiculous fictions. But you don’t really get into it much. Why, when it has obvious application to your thesis? Why no discussion of unemployment by education level? College degreed folks have quite low unemployment.
I agree the stimulus funds were allocated unequally and I’m not surprised. This administration is a Chicago pol’s administration. I agree that the money was not spent in the best way. I did make reference to that that in my original review.
But, if you are going to write a serious book and show how allocations of spending go during this administration, you have an obligation to show how allocations of federal spending (outside of medicare, SS, etc) were made through multiple administrations. Essentially, what you showed is that political dominance results in some degree of improved federal dollar allocation to the party in power. Yes, that’s probably true, although the real correlate may be income level of the state. But the extreme political slant of your book certainly does not suggest that you want any solution except to tilt it back the other way. So why should I care? That’s not a solution.
You also do not show total federal dollar allocations, you concentrate on the stimulus. Later you do some of those kinds of per capita graphs. (http://www.datamasher.org/mash-ups/federal-spending-state-total-divided-total-tax-revenue-capita-1 ) I don’t have the time to break it down by party and senate district.
Keynes, misinterpreted, as usual
I made clear in my review that I was not a fan of digging holes in order to fill them, as many misinterpret Keynes to mean. And I did discuss that quote attributed to Keynes. That discussion was dismissed by a responder to my post as “weird rant”. (I acknowledge you did not do so John.)
That “weird rant” comment makes me think of Hans Rosling’s wry remark about the results of a test he gave to a panel of med school professors. A committee of chimpanzees would have done better. He said, “I knew then, that I had a job. They needed me.” (Or something close to that.) Have you seen his site? I recommend it. http://www.gapminder.org/
ROI rules – this should be obvious but you don’t advocate that way
John, you don’t advocate for anything positive. Yet, it should be obvious that that ROI should be the paramount consideration for a stimulus. And what was the highest ROI after the interstate highway system? The space program, specifically the moon shot had that distinction.
Yes, Obama grew up in the shadow of Abernathy and other black leaders who latched onto Apollo as a symbol of how America didn’t care. It was an easy thing to do. On its face, sending a bunch of white guys to walk on the moon while black kids in Harlem fought off rats was unconscionable.
Reality is that space program seeded a huge amount of economic activity. And that kind of thing really does trickle down! It created demand for high skills, education, and the banking money multiplier really worked, because all sorts of new utility value was created.
The problem with the stimulus that you don’t mention is that new utility value was rarely created. It went to duplicate things that were already there. And since it went based on political connections and ability to negotiate bureaucracy, the roads that really needed resurfacing, etc, rarely got it.
Then, John, you drop in a contentious declaration.
P 44 – “Spending almost a trillion dollars on various stimulus projects means moving a lot of resources from private sector, eliminating the jobs many people currently have.”
That is not even close to correct and you don’t come anywhere near supporting it.
What matters is what utility value will get created for the money. In theory, a government can create money out of thin air hand over fist – and it will keep its value – if you are creating real utility value that is new. (Please note that this is the problem with the Ponzi economy of the real estate bubble. Price goes up, but when a home’s price gets kited up and no new utility value is created, something gets lost in the system – the value.)
You see, John, money creation happens all the time. It’s what banking does. Click Here for a primer on that. (For other readers.)
My proposal for best economic use of stimulus – Another, bigger space program
If we had put half a trillion per year into colonizing Mars and putting up solar photovoltaic satellites, we would have given a huge shot in the arm to the economy. To do accomplish that, we would need to develop new things. It would be big and exciting and have huge spinoffs. It would make us rich.
This is like, “Give a man a fish, and he eats for today. Teach him to fish, he eats for a lifetime.” Give money for digging a hole and filling it, and he eats for today. Create jobs making entirely new things, and we all eat for a lifetime. We may not be too far apart here, except on the role of governmental spending.
May I point out that McCain lost because of “The Idiot” that he picked as a running mate? That cost him my vote. Only a lunatic could vote for a fool who would put such a thoroughly empty-headed moron one heartbeat away from the presidency. I don’t care if it was “his team” that did that. He was in charge.
Your argument culminating on page 47 that Obama was the reason for fear (McCain was in obvious denial – that’s better?) is an obvious correlative fallacy. John, I cannot believe that you don’t know what a correlative fallacy is. By showing that graph, you prove nothing. It could be called plausibly suggestive, that’s it. (Correlative fallacy example: Population centers show a correlation between number of clergy and the number of prostitutes. Ergo, clergy cause prostitution. No, they don’t.)
Why didn’t you show graphs of the great depression, which has closer correlation? (Also hit on this in last chapter.)
Page 59 – Back to touching on Keynes again. Yes, that’s oversimplified. (Already addressed in my first review and again in this follow-up.)
I think that solar energy focus is targeting the highest cost power, which is economically problematic. I have made this point before in other situations. When we buy a solar panel from China, what we have done in energy terms is to buy the value of the energy that it took to make that panel. Until it is paid back by the panel generating electricity, we haven’t created a net gain. Today, that energy debt is at least 5 years of power output. In realistic scenarios, it will often be 7 to 10 depending on installation. So what this is really doing is outsourcing the generation of high-impact (coal) power to China.
China, meanwhile, is doing its best to set itself up as the lowest cost power producer. That means that when all else is equal, China wins. Since China is working hard on education and they have learned the lesson about market share, that means that China wins. I have argued that for a while. Solar is not nearly as green as it is made out to be. And it only exists due to special exceptions to environmental laws for its heavy metals.
Bluntly, as someone who has been an entrepreneur making the rounds of venture capitalists and was good friends with a VC who sat on the board of directors, this is rubbish. And as a guy who has made his mark with statistics, John, I have to ask you why you would push on this one item? Don’t tell me you don’t understand the concept of a portfolio. The portfolio is doing fine. This is a propaganda cheap shot. It’s not even as intelligent as Abernathy’s tirades against Apollo.
The reasons why companies in a portfolio get funded are rarely clean – anywhere. With front door odds at VCs around 10,000 to 1 against getting funded, most things have some side-door component.
Here’s a rule of VC’s. If you have no strike-outs in your portfolio, then you aren’t trying hard enough to get the big home runs. Nobody bats 1000. Why Solyndra had problems had to do with structure of our relations with China.
On page 63 you sideswipe unions.
And yet, John, Japan has the most pro-union laws on the planet. We gave them those laws, courtesy of the USA occupation years. After some unrest, the strength of those laws had the paradoxical effect of creating the company union. With 100% confidence and the power to wreck the company at will, unions had no incentive to cooperate across companies or sectors. And after some hard lessons, they were the initiators of the programs that turned Japan’s industry into high-quality powerhouses.
Don’t kid yourself John. The code of Bushido from before the war, that allowed upper classes to murder insolent lower classes in Japan for insolence, were not conducive to touch-feely management. This is a power relationship worth studying. I know you didn’t say Japan’s management is culturally touchy-feely by nature, but this is part of a common delusion.
On page 66, you drop in a statement that what makes the pie bigger is low marginal tax rates.
First – This flat out false. The pie grows because the money supply grows, to the extent the money supply grows together with real utility value.
The money supply can grow because government creates it by declaration, and the money supply can grow because of loans by banks. The banking multiplier is fundamental, and grew the economy before governments formally understood their role.
You can argue that the private sector in some ways does better than government at matching real utility value with money creation. (For primer on banking money creation click. ) but you cannot say that low taxation “makes the pie bigger”. That’s false.
Second – It’s a propaganda tactic. Give some things that sound reasonable, then into that batter, you fold in fundamentalist propaganda, expecting your reader to swallow it.
An implicit false premise: leaving money in the hands of the wealthy creates jobs.
Here’s the crux of your contention relative to taxes. By leaving money with the wealthy, jobs are created. But that is not so. Lower tax rates for the wealthy actually encourage dis-investment and cause money destruction.
Why do lower tax rates encourage money destruction?
Because it lowers the cost of removing money from productive use inside corporations that create value. So it encourages the rape of corporations by profiteers. This results in destruction of industry and transfer of the wealth into private hands. Mansions and yachts are not great value creation. The recent example of Tiger Woods’ ex-wife tearing down a multimillion dollar home to build another one is an excellent example. It’s just like the stimulus you decry.
The rich build monuments to themselves, just like dictators and kings. A few do philanthropy. But most don’t give a damn.
Yes, this president is a lousy economist. I submit that the previous one was no better.
But John, I wouldn’t say Obama or Bush II is worse at economics than you are. You are no less partisan. And we have seen how you distort things and the methodical nature of the propaganda in this book.
Yes, I think this president has acted as a servant of criminal bankers. But you don’t go after him for that (as we have discussed.)
Your use of Canada again is hilarious. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Canadian_and_American_economies )
You see, John, when you compare the USA unfavorably to Canada or Europe you are saying that nations with high-bias against high-earners in the tax system are better!
I certainly do agree. They are. This is shown by USA history also. We were very stable, very robust, when our top marginal tax rates were north of 90%. We grew, in real ways, increasing value along with money supply. We were stable when our top tax rates were 70%. Now? Now we are below Turkey on GDP as percentage of total taxation. And you want to us to pursue Uzbekistan’s tax to GDP ratio?
When I first saw your plumping for Canada I couldn’t believe it. I can only conclude one of two things: A. You are a fool. B. You are willfully deceiving your readers, and think they are so stupid that they won’t notice. For the record, I don’t tend to think you are a fool, John.
Page 92 – Your plumping the EU is also rather astonishing. Have you looked at German taxes? I doubt you are unaware. They don’t support your fundamentalist anti-tax creed. (See above.) Aside from that, the EU has its issues, and if you had actually been following them, you would have known that well before your turned in your book.
You present a bunch of graphs from page 100 to 103. But I don’t know what they really are. I don’t know the methodology, and you don’t elaborate. But more than that, you don’t attempt to even give the illusion of examining evidence against your fundamentalist thesis about taxes or anything else. If you had, you would have shown a graph of tax to GDP versus total employment rate. (I like employment rate because it’s more honest.)
Page 106 – Yes, both sides tend to cherry pick and filter their data. And so do you in this book.
Page 108 – We spend so much on health care (health care again – off topic for your thesis) for so little?
I noted that table 4.2 shows the USA as ranking 9 out of 50. But in the text you say that 93% of nations are above us. What?
Your biggest whopper of a propaganda drop-in
Page 109 – “Think how much more freedom the average family of 4 would have, if they got to spend that $70K.” Oh, boy, John. That’s a whopper.
John – that implies that the average family of 4 would somehow get $70,000 for free, from the government. Right, John. You know that’s garbage. What are you, a socialist?
The median income for a family of 4 varies by state but the median for the nation is about $67,000. (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/statistics/4person.html )
Now, John. Exactly how is a tax cut on a family making $67,000 going to net them $70,000? You do essentially say that they will somehow manage that.
Doing the math on that, if that’s an average, then it’s got to be going mostly to the most wealthy among us. This is a lie.
Pg 110 – You say that Obama raised the debt to $11 trillion.
( http://www.usgovernmentdebt.us/ ) Click on the debt tab.
Now, John, what was the debt when Obama took office? And what was it when Bush II took office? There are different ways to slice it, but by omission you imply Obama created it all. ( http://www.skymachines.com/US-National-Debt-Per-Capita-Percent-of-GDP-and-by-Presidental-Term.htm )
I agree that our level of debt is bad. But it’s only sky-high because of tax-cuts. Clinton delivered a declining national debt.
Your anti-tax fundamentalists are the reason the debt is there.
Laughably bizarre mental process.
Page 111 – You state the 2012 budget of Clinton would have by now given us a $70 billion surplus. Yes – That’s true. And it was the republicans who took that and said, “Time to par-tay lets give it away to the rich!” Your people are the reason why we are in such terrible shape!
You mix that up on the same page with a swipe at Social Security and Medicare. It is here that you display your knowledge of demography which somehow escaped you when you laid out your false comparisons to the 1970’s and 1980’s recessions. But, you also don’t give any real discussion of the real numbers for SS and Medicare.
There is an overall pattern here.
Health care again
Page 123 – Health care we hit already. What do physicians say about health care? What are the comparisons internationally?
The USA is the highest cost for the worst overall care in the developed world. We are the only civilized nation without a national health system. (I can hear the refrain now, “But we have Middle Eastern wealthy coming here!” Yes. But less and less, and their numbers don’t compare as well as they should to numbers going to Switzerland, Germany, etc.)
You cite one item about diabetes and amputation, which is, by the way, quite accurate. Who are you plumping for here, the surgical profiteers of America? Go to a hospice in Florida and see the guy who got both knees replaced and a pacemaker – the day before he died, when he was incapable of speech. (Yes, I saw that. Yes, it’s an industry. I mention this anecdote because it is part of a pattern that is well known.)
You claim that markets can work. They can, to a point. But so can cartels work, and so can markets be manipulated. And they are.
Wild propaganda drop-in
Page 126. You make wild claims about over-regulation. And yet other nations in Europe have comparable levels, and so does Brazil. And they are doing darn well. The question is not whether there are regulations, but what they are.
Do the regulations help society and the economy? Or do the hinder it? That is as complicated as any question of law.
The implicit claim that all regulation is bad is shown to be a lie by the simple fact that the financial industry responded to deregulation by crashing. The SEC is still gutted. The SEC has zero prosecutions for the financial meltdown, and this administration has pushed for garbage “settlements”.
News flash John. When the cops are gone, guess what? The criminals run wild. They have taken over the White House as a near puppet from the way it looks to me.
Reality is that regulations need to be looked at. But some need drastic shoring up.
You guys and your fundamentalist ideas are why the SEC was gutted. And that’s the major reason why the 2008 crash happened.
Page 131 – AIG takeover. Yeah, it was a bailout for the hedge funds and banks. But it was also necessary due to the way that AIG had become key to the financial system. Suggesting that we shouldn’t have done it, well, if we hadn’t, there would have been a lot of bank failures and hedge fund failures. This was necessary due to de-regulation of the financial industry.
You state something that is false, that no hedge fund was ever bailed out. LTCM was, even when Warren Buffet said he would buy it. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-Term_Capital_Management ) Yes, some might call LTCM a breakup and shutdown, but Warren offered to buy the assets and who got in the way? Perhaps you meant that no hedge fund was directly bailed out by the Obama administration?
But you ignore who the beneficiary’s were of the bailout of AIG. Who was holding the paper? A lot was held by hedge funds. Now, you are not a fan of the AIG bailout, and I respect that. The point I make is a technical one. But in my experience, with material like this, I doubt that is the only problem.
I don’t think it would have been responsible to let American banks crash and burn. We are, you see, in a global system. Those assets of our banks would have been bought by other nations.
Think about having America’s banks bought up from outside. Who has the money to do that? That’s right. China.
I don’t think you thought this one through.
Obama admin push for write-downs on loans
Page 135 – You decry the efforts to get write-downs on loans. (Ignoring that those write-downs weren’t near enough to really matter in most cases.) Sadly, I have zero sympathy for banks that pushed rotten loans through in order to line the pockets of their executives.
I will also note that you grossly overstate the case. From the consumer side, Obama has been, spineless and useless, pushing his “settlement”. He has, however, protected the fat cats with everything he can muster. That really makes your contention of how evil and threatening he is into a joke.
And I will note also that institutional behavior is not rational. Banks are bureaucracies with little leeway on procedure by any officer. With mostly downside and no upside for the decision makers, nobody is going to stick their neck out at a bank. They are just going to follow procedure, regardless of how dumb it is.
The tears you seem to shed over Standard and Poors taking it in the shorts for colluding with the banks and mortgage brokers to mis-rate loans? Sorry. That’s ridiculous John. Their product was trash and they knew it.
Your concern for the poor Koch brothers who paid no taxes is hilarious. Oh, the poor, poor men! Out of the closet as a billionaire tax-dodger. No, John, I don’t care if there was a leak. Major figures operating on the nation’s stage need to be outed, particularly for their hypocrisy and manipulation.
I will, however, note that when the shoe is on the other foot with the Obama administration (viz. Julian Assange) that this administration goes after them with a meat-axe. Very hypocritical. The press has finally started to call him on it, just a little.
This chapter simply does not follow from the material presented. If you think it does, there is something seriously wrong with your ability to think.
Republican 12 Point program (I’m ashamed to be associated with the word “Republican” now. And I voted for Reagan!)
1. Never raise taxes.
- I think this is derived from Ayn Rand’s economic pornography. Ayn Rand has as much relationship to economics as pornography has to raising children properly.
- It’s part of the “drown government in a bathtub” idea. I’ve seen government drowning in a bathtub. Russia in the 1990’s. It’s not pretty.
2. Keep focus on spending not the deficit.
- What a devious way to sneak anything you want past the voters. If you can cut spending, but still keep the deficit high, what does that do? Where does it go?
- Grover’s “drowning government in a bathtub” – again.
3. Fed tax code change – Flat tax. End the estate tax.
- Flat tax? The only tax system more regressive than a flat tax would charge MORE tax the less you made!
- Estate taxation. How clever, calling it “death tax”. You didn’t even come up with that.
- Guys, the inheriting children of the wealthy are deservedly legendary for their wasteful spending. And please note that even as we speak, the truly wealthy are already free of estate taxes.
- What we need is restoration of estate taxes on the truly rich. Those are the fairest taxes of all. The dead don’t need them. The kids can do some work for themselves instead of expect to become royalty.
- America is about rewarding hard work and talent, right? So what on earth are these two doing arguing for the right of children to be lazy and live off the hard work and talent of others? Excuse me? How could anyone swallow this?
4. Cut corporate income tax.
- This is silly. It’s just more of the same anti-tax fundamentalism.
- Look at other nations. Their total tax burden is what matters. And yes, we can be competitive. EU is competitive in many areas because of subsidies, generally larger than ours. Shall we socialize our industry more to compete by subsidizing them more? (viz. Boeing vs. Airbus.)
- Other nations do the same thing with tax earnings. They require that companies and individuals pay the difference between what they paid in the other jurisdiction and theirs. (Is this a Grover thing? He might actually be unaware of how things normally work.)
- Please note that the Irish miracle has long-since crashed. That used to be cited by the anti-taxers as proof that the lower taxes went the better things got. No. Those ideas are garbage.
- Guys, even the Laffer curve has a sweetspot of maximum benefit to taxes. And that’s an academic’s ivory tower wet dream. The Laffer curve was presented by Reagan’s treasury secretary, Stockman.
5. No VAT
- VAT is a tax system used to introduce fair taxation into societies not used to paying them, or that dislike taxation too much.
- That we are talking about VAT at all should be a signal that the USA is in trouble.
6. Add Warren Buffet line
- Juvenile. I suspect Grover put this line in, thinking it was sharp commentary.
7. Never repeat debacle of 1982 or 1990
- “Taxes bad” “Grover’s ideas good”.
- Republican good. Democrat bad.
- The “Debacle” was 2008. That is what this anti-government garbage created.
8. Reduce government spending
- You mean DON’T be like Canada, France or Germany, the nations this book praised? Don’t emulate those successful nations?
- You mean emulate Zimbabwe, Congo, and dive below Uzbekistan in our aspirations?
- Dear god. What matters is what we spend it on. Does it create value? Is it improving efficiency? Is it improving cost effectiveness? These two are against everything.
9. Reduce regulations
- Again, you mean don’t act like Canada, Germany and France which the book holds up as shining examples?
- You mean act like Uzbekistan, the Russian Federation, Zimbabwe, Congo or Liberia? Those are low regulation paradises compared to the USA.
- Guys, you want a place without much government, then go! It ain’t fun. I’ve been there. These two obviously haven’t.
10. Remember states, towns, cities and counties
- No comment.
11. Balanced budget amendment. Because we need constitutional protection against government domineering in America.
- We were on that track and paying down the national debt in 2000! Then the republicans DESTROYED the balanced budget and GAVE AWAY THE MONEY.
- This is just another way these anti-tax nuts want to use to wreck government. They actually think that the way we operated in 1812 could work today.
- But, I’m not really against a strong balanced budget. It would force the USA to raise taxes.
12. Wear bifocals.
- This one is just weird. I suspect a propagandist ghost-writer could have come up with this one, the idea being to close by saying that the glasses the target reader was probably wearing is a great thing.
- The gist is: “Fight team fight!” as far as I can tell.
- Yes. Fight. Fight against the moronic rubbish proposed in this book. Do that.