Monthly Archives: May 2021

When “Catching Up” Means Lower Income By Dan Mitchell

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When “Catching Up” Means Lower Income

My approach during the Trump years was very simple.

Other people, however, muted their views on policy because of their partisan or personal feelings about Trump.

I was very disappointed, for instance, that some Republicans abandoned (or at least downplayed) their support for free trade to accommodate Trump’s illiteracy on that issue.

But those people look like pillars of stability and principle compared to the folks who decided to completely switch their views.

Max Boot, for instance, is a former adviser on foreign policy to Republicans such as John McCain and Marco Rubio, who has decided that being anti-Trump means he should now act like a cheerleader for high taxes and big government.

Here’s some of what he wrote in a column for today’s Washington Post.

Republicans accuse President Biden of pursuing a radical agenda that will turn the United States into a failed socialist state. …It’s true that Biden is proposing a considerable amount of new spending… But those investments won’t turn us into North Korea,Cuba, Venezuela or the Soviet Union — all countries with government ownership of industry. …with proposals such as federally subsidized child care, elder care, family leave and pre-K education — financed with modest tax increases on corporations and wealthy individuals — Biden is merely moving us a bit closer to the kinds of government services that other wealthy, industrialized democracies already take for granted. …That’s far from radical. It’s simply sensible.

Part of the above excerpt makes sense. Biden is not proposing socialism, at least if we use the technical definition.

And he’s also correct that Biden isn’t trying to turn us into North KoreaCubaVenezuela, or the Soviet Union.

But he does think it’s good that Biden wants to copy Europe’s high-tax welfare states.

…by most indexes we are an embarrassing international laggard. …the United States spends nearly twice as much on health care as a percentage of gross domestic product than do other wealthy countries… The United States is also alone among OECD nations in not having universal paid family leave. …Our level of income inequality is now closer to that of developing countries in Africa and Latin American than to our European allies. …it’s possible to combine a vibrant free market with generous social welfare spending. In fact, that’s the right formula for a more satisfied and stable society. In the OECD quality-of-life rankings — which include everything from housing to work-life balance — the United States ranks an unimpressive 10th.

Mr. Boot seem to think that it’s bad news that the United States ranks 10th out of 37 nations in the OECD’s so-called Better Life Index.

I wonder if he understands, however, that this index has serious methodological flaws – such as countries getting better scores if they have bigger subsidies that encourage unemployment? Or countries getting better scores if they have high tax rates that discourage labor supply?

But the real problem is that Boot seems oblivious to most important data, which shows that Americans enjoy far more prosperity than Europeans.

And he could have learned that with a few more clicks on the OECD’s website. He could have found the data on average individual consumption and discovered the huge gap between U.S. prosperity and European mediocrity.

The obvious takeaway is that big government causes deadweight loss and hinders growth (as honest folks on the left have always acknowledged).

P.S. I can’t resist nit-picking four other points in Boot’s column.

  1. As show by this Chuck Asay cartoon, you don’t magically make government spending productive simply be calling it an “investment.”
  2. Like beauty, the interpretation of “modest” may be in the eye of the beholder, but it certainly seems like “massive” is a better description of Biden’s proposed tax hikes.
  3. It’s worth noting that Europe became a relatively prosperous part of the world before governments adopted punitive income taxes and created big welfare states.
  4. America’s excessive spending on health is caused by third-party payer, which is caused by excessive government intervention.

P.P.S. I’ve wondered whether the OECD (subsidized by American taxpayers!) deliberately used dodgy measures when compiling the Better Life Index in part because of a desire to make the U.S. look bad compared to the European welfare states that dominate the organization’s membership? That certainly seems to have been the case when the OECD put together a staggeringly dishonest measure of poverty that made the U.S. seem like it had more destitution than poor countries such as Greece, Portugal, and Turkey.

School Choice on the March!

I wrote one week ago about a big victory for education in West Virginia. The Mountain State arguably now has the most extensive system of school choice in the country.

This will be great for parents and children.

There’s a lot of research showing better educational outcomes when families have options other than low-performingmonopoly-based government schools.

Now we have some additional good news.

Kentucky legislators have just overridden the governor’s veto, meaning that students in the state will now have expanded educational opportunities. Eric Boehm of Reason has some of the details.

The new law, originally House Bill 563, allows students in Kentucky public schools to switch school districts, and it creates a new tax-advantaged education savings program for families to use for private school tuition, to pay for tutoring, or to cover other educational expenses. The most controversial part of the proposal was the creation of a $25 million scholarship fund—to be filled by donations from private businesses, for which they would receive state tax credits—that students in Kentucky’s largest counties can tap to help pay for private school tuition. …With the passage of the first school choice bill in state history, Kentucky is now the 28th state with some form of school choice.

Speaking of other states, the Wall Street Journal editorializedabout the beginning of a very good trend.

The pandemic has been a revelation for many Americans about union control of public schools… That awakening is helping to spur some welcome reform progress as several state legislatures are moving to expand school choice. One breakthrough is in West Virginia, where the Legislature passed a bill creating the state’s first education savings account (ESA) program. …Meanwhile in Georgia, the House passed a bill last week that would expand eligibility for the state’s voucher program for special-education students. The Senate, which had already passed the legislation, voted to approve House amendments on Monday and the bill is headed to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk. In South Dakota this month, Republican Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill that expands eligibility for the state’s tax-credit scholarship program to students already enrolled in private schools. …in Kentucky, where Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed a bill last week that would establish a new tax-credit scholarship program. But the state legislature voted late Monday to override the veto… Nearly 50 school-choice bills have been introduced this year in 30 states. It’s a testament to how school shutdowns have made the advantage of education choice more evident, and its need more urgent.

By the way, school choice has existed for a long time in Vermont. Yes, the state that regularly reelects Crazy Bernie has dozens of small towns that give vouchers to students. Laura Williams explains in an article for the Foundation for Economic Education.

Vermont’s “tuition towns”…distribute government education funds to parents, who choose the educational experience that is best suited to their family’s needs. If the school doesn’t perform up to parents’ expectations, they can take their children, and the tuition dollars they control, elsewhere. …Ninety-three Vermont towns (36 percent of its 255 municipalities) have no government-run school at all. …the funds local governments expect to spend per pupil are instead given directly to the parents of school-age children. This method gives lower- and middle-income parents the same superpower wealthy families have always had: school choice. …parents have the ability to put their kids in school anywhere, to buy the educational experience best suited to each child. …A variety of schools has arisen to compete for these tuition dollars. …Eligibility for tuition vouchers actually increased home values in towns that closed their public schools. Outsiders were eager to move to these areas… Having watched these models develop nearby, two more Vermont towns voted in 2013 to close their government-run schools and become “tuition towns” instead.

Rhode Island is another unexpected example. That deep-blue state recently expanded charter schools in Providence.

That’s not as good a genuine school choice, but it gives parents some ability to escape traditional government schools. The Wall Street Journal opined last year on this development.

…this particular hell may have frozen over, as last week the state’s education council voted to expand and open more charter schools to rescue students in the district. About 13% of Providence’s 30,000 students attend 28 charter schools, some in other districts. But demand far exceeds supply. Only 18% of the 5,000 or so charter school applicants were offered a seat this school year,according to the state education department. …The state education council last week gave preliminary approval for more than 5,700 new charter seats in Providence and other districts. Three of four new charters that applied got a green-light to open, pending final approval in the spring, and three existing charters (two of which serve Providence) are expanding. …The teachers union isn’t happy. In a letter to Gov. Gina Raimondo, three union leaders including American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten complained… This is the usual rhetorical union trick. Charters are public schools, albeit without the barnacles and costs of union control.

Let’s now add to our collection of evidence about the benefits of school choice.

In an article for National Review, James Piereson and Noami Schaefer Riley discuss the track record of the Children’s Scholarship Fund.

Children’s Scholarship Fund enables low-income children to attend private schools — and thrive. …parents who receive financial aid from the organization…send their children to inner-city private (mostly Catholic) schools. …When it came to how satisfied they were with their children’s education, almost 90 percent graded their school a 4 or 5 out of 5. …Since its inception in 1998, the fund has helped more than 180,000 children attend private schools.CSF’s high-school graduation and college matriculation rates far surpass those of the urban public schools that surround them. In Philadelphia, for instance, 96 percent of CSF eighth-graders graduated from high school on schedule — compared with Philadelphia’s public-school graduation rate of only 62 percent. A study of CSF in Baltimore found that 84 percent of scholarship recipients were enrolled in college five to ten years after completing eighth grade, compared with fewer than half of students from local public schools. Nor are these high-priced private schools. The average tuition at these schools is about $5,300 per year, and the average scholarship award is $2,200.

Why do even low-cost private schools out-perform expensive government schools?

Because they have to deliver a good product. Either that, or parents will take their money elsewhere.

It’s a simple question of incentives, as illustrated by this meme about why private schools have been much better than government schools during the pandemic.

While the obvious argument for school choice is that it delivers better educational outcomes (and at lower cost), it’s worth noting that there are all sorts of secondary benefits.

As explained by W. Bradford Wilcox in an article for the American Enterprise Institute, private schools produce better families.

The public debate surrounding the efficacy of private versus public schools tends to revolve around their relative success in boosting test scores, graduation rates, and college admissions. …But there is more to life than excelling at school and work. For instance, there is the opportunity to be formed into a woman or man of good character, a good citizen, or a good partner and parent. …Until now, however, we have known little about how different types of schools are linked to students’ family life as adults. …In this report, we examine how enrollment in American Catholic, Protestant, secular private, and public schools is associated with different family outcomes later in life. …Adults who attended Protestant schools are more than twice as likely to be in an intact marriage as those who attended public schools. They are also about 50% less likely than public-school attendees to have a child out of wedlock. …Compared with public-school attendees, ever-married adults who attended a secular private school are about 60% less likely to have ever divorced. Catholic-school attendees are about 30% less likely to have had a child out of wedlock than those who attended public schools.

And Corey CeAngelis notes in this tweet that school choice reduces segregation.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1305710942475489280&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fdanieljmitchell.wordpress.com%2F2021%2F03%2F31%2Fschool-choice-on-the-march%2F&siteScreenName=wordpressdotcom&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=550px

And the Wall Street Journal editorialized last December about school choice improving mental health.

Teachers unions have pushed to shut down schools during the pandemic no matter the clear harm to children, just as they oppose charters and vouchers. Now comes a timely study suggesting school choice improves student mental health. Several studies have found that school choice reduces arrests and that private-school students experience less bullying. One reason is that charter and private schools enforce stricter discipline than traditional public schools. …The new study in the journal “School Effectiveness and School Improvement” is the first to…analyze the correlation between adolescent suicide rates and the enactment of private-school voucher and charter programs over the last several decades. They find that states that enacted charter school laws witnessed a 10% decrease in suicide rates among 15- to 19-year-olds. Private-school voucher laws were also associated with fewer suicides, though the change was not statistically significant. The effect would likely be larger if more students received vouchers. …The researchers also looked for any correlation between students who attended private school as teenagers and their mental health as adults. …individuals who attended private schools were two percentage-points less likely to report a mental health condition when they were roughly 30 years old.

Let’s conclude with some excerpts from a strong editorial from National Review. The magazine points out that teacher unions wield power in blue parts of the nation and schools are run for their benefit rather than for the best interests of children.

…the interests of children and their families take a distant second place to the desires of the public-sector unions that dominate Democratic politics around the country and run the show practically unopposed in California. …unionized teachers…have turned up their nosesat the children they are supposed to be serving and looked instead to their own two-point agenda: (1) not going to work; (2) getting paid. Randi Weingarten exercises more real practical political power than any senator or cabinet secretary, and her power is exercised exclusively in the interest of public-sector workers and the Democratic Party, which they effectively control. Perhaps it is time for Americans to take back some of that power.

And what’s the way to take back power?

It’s possible to reform labor laws so teachers don’t have out-sized influence. That sort of happened in Wisconsin under Governor Scott Walker.

But that’s difficult to achieve and difficult to maintain.

The best long-run answer is to have school choice so parents are in charge rather than union bosses.

MILTON FRIEDMAN ON VOUCHERS

Michelle: You are the grandfather of school vouchers. Do you feel victorious?

Mr. Friedman: Far from victorious, but very optimistic and hopeful. We are at the beginning of the task because as of the moment vouchers are available to only a very small amount of children. Our goal is to have a system in which every family in the U.S. will be able to choose for itself the school to which its children go. We are far from that ultimate result. If we had that, a system of free choice, we would also have a system of competition, innovation, which would change the character of education. You know our educational system is one of the most backwards things in our society in the way we teach people they did 200 years ago. There is a person in the front of the room. There are children sitting down at the bottom, and they are being talked to. Can you name any other industry in the U.S. which is as technologically backward? I can name one and only one: the legislature for the same reason. Both are monopolies. The elementary and secondary school system is the single most socialist industry in the U.S. leaving aside the military, but aside from the military it’s a major socialist industry; it is centralized and the control comes from the center and the difficulty of having a monopoly in which people cannot choose has been exacerbated by the fact that it has been largely taken over by teachers’ unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers and the unions. Understandably, I do not blame them, but they are interested in the welfare of their members, not the welfare of the children, and the result is they have introduced a degree of rigidity, which makes it impossible to reform the public school system from within. Reform has to come through competition from the outside and the only way you can get competition is by making it possible for parents to have the ability to choose.

Michelle: Give to me a model, an example of how it would work.

Mr. Friedman: Very simple, take the extreme the government says we are willing to finance schooling for every child. The government compels children. If you look at the role of government in education there are three different levels. There is a level of compulsory. The government says every child must go to school until such and such and age. That is the equivalent of saying if you are going to drive a car you must have a license. The second stage is funding. Not only do we require you to have an education, but the government is willing to pay for that schooling. That would be equivalent to saying the government is willing to pay for your car that you drive. The third level is running the educational industry. That would be the equivalent of the government manufacturing the automobile or, to put it in a different image, consider food stamps today. Food stamps are funds provided by the government. But if that were to be runned (sic) like the schools, they would say everybody has to use these food stamps at a government grocery and each person with food stamps is assigned to a particular government grocer. So the only way you can get your food stamps is by going to that grocer. Do you think those groceries would be very good? We know what the situation is in schooling. People say why now and not 50-75 years ago? Well, when I went to high school that was a long time ago. In the 1920s there were 150,000 school districts in the U.S and the population was half what it is now. Today, there are fewer than 15,000 school districts. So it used to be that you really did have competition cause you had small school districts and parents had a good deal of control over those school districts, but increasingly we have shifted to very large school districts, to centralized control, to a system in which the governmental officials, in which the educational professionals control it. And like every socialist industry, it produces a product that is very expensive and of very low quality. Of course it is not uniform. There are some very good schools do not misunderstand me, but there are also some very bad ones.

Michelle: I interviewed some folks who are against school vouchers and they say that if you really want to help out a school what you should do is provide high-quality early childhood education, small classes, small schools, summer school available to children who want it. Put money to those items, which they claim would work.

Mr. Friedman: They don’t, we have been doing that. The amount of money spent per child adjusted for inflation has something like doubled or tripled over the last 20 years. Twenty years ago we had this report A Nation at Risk that pointed out all of the difficulties I just referred to and which pointed out this was a first generation that was going to be less schooled than its parents. We are now in the next generation and will be even less well schooled. We have had every possible effort you could have from reform from within. It is not just in schools; it is in any area. Reform has to come from outside. It has to come from competition. Let me illustrate that from within the school system. The United States from all accounts ranks number one in higher education. People from all over the world regard the United States’ colleges and universities the best and most varied. On the other hand in every other international comparison we rank near the bottom in elementary and secondary education. Why the difference? One word: choice. The elementary and secondary education, the school picks the child; it picks its customer. In higher education, the customer picks its school, you have choice that makes all the difference in the world. It means competition forces product. Look over the rest of the economy. Is there any area in the U.S. in which progress has not required progress from the outside? Look at the telephone industry when it was broken down into the little bells and opened up the competition. It started a period of rapid innovation and development. The key word is competition and the question is how can you get competition. Only by having the customer choosing.

Michelle: There is concern that money is going to religious schools. That the majority of the students in voucher programs that exist use them to attend schools with religious affiliation?

Mr. Friedman: Why? Because the vouchers are so small in some cases. It is true that of the private schools in the U.S. the great bulk of them are religious. That is for one simple reason. Here is someone selling something for nothing. Somebody down the street is giving away chocolate and you want to get into the business of selling chocolate. That is kind of tough isn’t it? Here at schools, children can attend them. They are not free. They are paying for it in the form of taxes, but there is no specific charge for going to that school. Somebody else is going to offer it. The churches, the religious organizations have had a real advantage in that they were the only ones around who were in a position to subsidize the education and keep the fees down low. If you open it wide, the most recent case was Ohio, Cleveland case. The voucher that they had had a max value of $2,500. Now it is not easy to provide a decent education at $2,500 and make money at it. Make it pay. At the same time the state of Ohio was spending something like over $7,000 per child on schooling. If that voucher had been $7,000 instead of $2,500 I have no doubt that there would have been a whole raft of new private, non-profit, both profit and non-profit schools. That is what has happened in Milwaukee. Milwaukee has a voucher system and today the fraction of the voucher users in Milwaukee going to religious schools is less than the fraction going to religious schools was before this system started because there have been new schools developed and some of them have been religious but many of them are not. In any event, the Supreme Court has settled that issue. They have said that if it is the choice of the parent, if there are alternatives available, there are government schools, charter schools, private non-denominational schools, private denominational schools, so long as the choice is in the hands of the parent that is not a violation of the First Amendment.

Michelle: You have a friend and an ally in the White House when it comes to vouchers.

Mr. Friedman: I should say. Mr. Bush has always been in favor. He is in favor of free choice. Remember vouchers are a means not an end. The purpose of vouchers is to enable parents to have free choice, and the purpose of having free choice is to provide competition and allow the educational industry to get out of the 17th century and get into the 21st century and have more innovation and more evolvement. There is no reason why you cannot have the same kind of change in the provision of education as you have had in industries like the computer industry, the television industry and other things.

Michelle: Is it refreshing to have a president that, Bill Clinton was firmly against vouchers.

Mr. Friedman: No, it is a case of circumstances. When he was governor of Arkansas, he was not against vouchers. He was in favor, but when he became president he came out against vouchers. I should say he did not oppose vouchers as governor and he did as president and that was for political reasons. People don’t recognize how powerful politically the teachers’ unions are. Something like a quarter of all the delegates at the Democratic National Convention are from the teachers’ union. They are probably the most powerful pressure group in the U.S., very large funds, very large number of people and very active politically.

Michelle: We talk in the office about how President Bush has some very Friedmanesqe ideas.

Mr. Friedman: They are not Freidmanesqe. They are just good ideas. I hope that is true anyway. I think very highly of President Bush, and I think in these areas, don’t misunderstand me, that is not a blanket statement. There are some things he has done that I disagree with, but taken as a whole he has been moving in the right direction of trying to move toward a smaller more limited government, trying to provide more freedom and more initiative in all areas. His philosophy on Medicare is the same as his philosophy in schools.

Michelle: Is that refreshing?

Mr. Friedman: It is an interesting thing, if you look at the facts, the one area, the area in which the low-income people of this country, the blacks and the minority, are most disadvantaged is with respect with the kinds of schools they can send their children to. The people who live in Harlem or the slums or the corresponding areas in LA or San Francisco, they can go to the same stores, shop in the same stores everybody else can, they can buy the same automobiles, they can go to supermarket, but they have very limited choice of schools. Everybody agrees that the schools in those areas are the worst. They are poor. Yet, here you have a Democrat who allege their interest is to help the poor and the low-income people. Here you have to take a different point. Every poll has shown that the strongest supporters of vouchers are the low-income blacks, and yet hardly a single black leader has been willing to come out for vouchers. There were some exceptions, Paul Williams in Milwaukee who was responsible for that, and a few others.

Michelle: Why do you think that is?

Mr. Friedman: For obvious reasons, political. It has been to the self interest to the leaders. The school system, as long as it’s governmental it’s a source of power and jobs to hand around and funds to dispose of. If it is privatized that disappears. And the other aspect of it is the power of the teachers’ unions. Right now those of us that are in the upper-income classes have freedom of choice for our children in various ways. We can decide where to live and we can choose places to live that have good schools or we can afford to pay twice for schooling once by taxes and once by paying tuition at a private school. It seems to me utterly unfair that those opportunities should not be open to everybody at all levels of income. If you had a system, the kind I would like to see, the government would say we require every child to get a certain number of years of schooling and in order to make that possible we are going to provide for every parent a voucher equal to a certain number of dollars, which they can use only for schooling, can’t use it for anything else. They can add to it, but they cannot subtract from it. Those will be, those can be used in government schools. Let the government run the school, but force them to be in competition so that all government schools charge tuition, but can be paid for by that voucher. But that same voucher can also be used in private schools of all kinds and then you would have an open; the teachers’ union complained and they insist they are doing a good job. If they are doing a good job then why are they so afraid of some competition?

Copyright: MSNBC, Inc. 2003

Milton Friedman

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A Practical Reason to Oppose Wealth Taxation

As an economist, I strongly oppose the wealth tax (as well as other forms of double taxation) because it’s foolish to impose additional layers of tax that penalize saving and investment.

Especially since there’s such a strong relationship between investment and worker compensation.

The politicians may tell us they’re going to “soak the rich,” but the rest of us wind up getting wet.

That being said, there are also administrative reasons why wealth taxation is a fool’s game. One of them, which I mentioned as part of a recent tax debate, is the immense headache of trying to measure wealth every single year.

Yes, that’s not difficult if someone has assets such as stock in General Motors or Amazon. Bureaucrats from the IRS can simply go to a financial website and check the value for any given day.

But the value of many assets is very subjective (patents, royalties, art, heirlooms, etc), and that will create a never-ending source of conflict between taxpayers and the IRS if that awful levy is ever imposed.

Let’s look at a recent dispute involving another form of destructive double taxation. The New York Times has an interesting story about a costly dispute involving the death tax to be imposed on Michael Jackson’s family.

Michael Jackson died in 2009… But there was another matter that has taken more than seven years to litigate: Jackson’s tax bill with the Internal Revenue Service, in which the government and the estate held vastly different views about what Jackson’s name and likeness were worth when he died.The I.R.S. thought they were worth $161 million. …Judge Mark V. Holmes of United States Tax Court ruled that Jackson’s name and likeness were worth $4.2 million, rejecting many of the I.R.S.’s arguments. The decision will significantly lower the estate’s tax burden… In a statement, John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Jackson estate, called the decision “a huge, unambiguous victory for Michael Jackson’s children.”

I’m glad the kids won this battle.

Michael Jackson paid tax when he first earned his money. Those earnings shouldn’t be taxed again simply because he died.

But the point I want to focus on today is that a wealth tax would require these kinds of fights every single year.

Given all the lawyers and accountants this will require, that goes well beyond adding insult to injury. Lots of time and money will need to be spent in order to (hopefully) protect households from a confiscatory tax that should never exist.

P.S. The potential administrative nightmare of wealth taxation, along with Biden’s proposal to tax unrealized capital gains at death, help to explain why the White House is proposing to turbo-charge the IRS’s budget with an additional $80 billion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Visuals that Explain Why Higher Corporate Income Tax Rates Are Bad for America

I have a four-part series (here, here, here, and here) about the conceptual downsides of Joe Biden’s class-warfare approach to tax policy.

Now it’s time to focus on the component parts of his agenda. Today’s column will review his plan for a big increase in the corporate tax rate. But since I’ve written about corporate tax rates over and over and over again, we’re going to approach this issue is a new way.

I’m going to share five visuals that (hopefully) make a compelling case why higher tax rates on companies would be a big mistake.

Visual #1

One thing every student should learn from an introductory economics class is that corporations don’t actually pay tax. Instead, businesses collect taxes that are actually borne by workers, consumers, and investors.

There’s lots of debate in the profession, of course, about which group bears what share of the tax. But there’s universal agreement that higher taxes lead to less investment, which leads to less productivity, which leads to lower pay.

Here’s a depiction of the relationship of corporate taxes and worker pay.

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Visual #2

The previous image explains the theory. Now it’s time for some evidence.

Here’s a look at how much faster wages have grown in countries with low corporate tax rates compared to nations with high corporate tax rates.

Biden, for reasons beyond my comprehension, wants America on the red line.

And his staff economists apparently don’t understand (or don’t care about) the link between investment and wages.

Visual #3

Here’s some more evidence.

And it comes from an unexpected source, the pro-tax Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD).

Even economists at that Paris-based bureaucracy have produced studies confirming that lower tax rates lead to higher disposable income for people.

Needless to say, if lower tax rates lead to more disposable income, then higher tax rates will lead to less disposable income.

We should have learned during the Obama years that ordinary people pay the price when politicians practice class warfare.

Visual #4

It’s very bad news that Biden wants a big increase in the corporate tax rate, but let’s not forget that the IRS double-taxes corporate income (i.e., that same income is subject to a second layer of tax when shareholders receive dividends).

The combined effect, as shown in this visual, is that the United States will have the dubious honor of having the highest effective corporate tax rate in the entire developed world.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think that’s a recipe for jobs and investment in America.

Visual #5

The economic damage of higher corporate tax rates means that there is less taxable income (i.e., we need to remember the Laffer Curve).

Will the damage be so extensive, causing taxable income to fall so much, that the IRS collects less revenue with a higher tax rate?

We’ll learn the answer to that question over time, but we have some very strong evidence from the IMF that lower corporate tax rates don’t lead to less revenue. As you can see from this chart, revenues held steady as tax rates plummeted over the past few decades.

In other words, lower rates led to enough additional economic activity that governments have collected just as much money with lower tax rates. But now Biden wants to run this experiment in reverse.

It’s possible the government will collect more revenue, of course, but only at a very high cost to workers, consumers, and shareholders.

By the way, there’s OECD data showing the exact same thing.

Those pictures probably tell you everything you need to know about this issue.

But let’s add some more analysis. The Wall Street Journal opined today on Biden’s class-warfare agenda. Here are some of the key passages from the editorial.

The bill for President Biden’s agenda is coming due, starting with Wednesday’s proposal for the largest corporate tax increase in decades. …Mr. Biden’s corporate increase amounts to the restoration of the Obama-era corporate tax burden, only much more so. …Mr. Biden wants to raise the corporate rate back up to 28%, but that’s the least of his proposals. He also wants to add penalties that would make inversions punitive, and he’d impose a global minimum corporate tax of 21%. This would shoot the tax burden on U.S. companies back toward the top of the developed world list. …The larger Biden goal is to end global tax competition… “The United States can lead the world to end the race to the bottom on corporate tax rates,” says the White House fact sheet. Mr. Biden says he wants “other countries to adopt strong minimum taxes on corporations” so nations like Ireland can no longer compete for capital with lower tax rates. This has long been the dream of the French and Germans, working through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. …All of this is in addition to the looming Biden tax increases on dividends, capital gains and other investment income. …Mr. Biden’s corporate tax increases will hit the middle class hard—in the value of their 401(k)s, the size of their pay packets, and what they pay for goods and services.

Amen.

Let’s conclude with some gallows humor.

This meme shows how some of our leftist friends will celebrate if the tax increase is imposed.

P.S. Here’s a depressing final observation. Decades of experience have led me to conclude that many folks on the left support class-warfare tax policy because they are primarily motivated by a spiteful desire to punish success rather than provide upward mobility for the poor.

Free-market economics meets free-market policies at The Heritage Foundation’s Tenth Anniversary dinner in 1983. Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman and his wife Rose with President Ronald Reagan and Heritage President Ed Feulner.

Free-market economics meets free-market policies at The Heritage Foundation’s Tenth Anniversary dinner in 1983. Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman and his wife Rose with President Ronald Reagan and Heritage President Ed Feulner.

Since the passing of Milton Friedman who was my favorite economist, I have been reading the works of Daniel Mitchell and he quotes Milton Friedman a lot, and you can reach Dan’s website here.

Mitchell in February 2011.
Wikipedia noted concerning Dan:

 

Mitchell’s career as an economist began in the United States Senate, working for Oregon Senator Bob Packwood and the Senate Finance Committee. He also served on the transition team of President-Elect Bush and Vice President-Elect Quayle in 1988. In 1990, he began work at the Heritage Foundation. At Heritage, Mitchell worked on tax policy issues and began advocating for income tax reform.[1]

In 2007, Mitchell left the Heritage Foundation, and joined the Cato Institute as a Senior Fellow. Mitchell continues to work in tax policy, and deals with issues such as the flat tax and international tax competition.[2]

In addition to his Cato Institute responsibilities, Mitchell co-founded the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, an organization formed to protect international tax competition.[1]

 

 

January 27, 2021

President Biden, c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

The federal government debt is growing so much that it is endangering us because if things keep going like they are now we will not have any money left for the national defense because we are so far in debt as a nation. We have been spending so much on our welfare state through food stamps and other programs that I am worrying that many of our citizens are becoming more dependent on government and in many cases they are losing their incentive to work hard because of the welfare trap the government has put in place. Other nations in Europe have gone down this road and we see what mess this has gotten them in. People really are losing their faith in big government and they want more liberty back. It seems to me we have to get back to the founding  principles that made our country great.  We also need to realize that a big government will encourage waste and corruption. The recent scandals in our government have proved my point. In fact, the jokes you made at Ohio State about possibly auditing them are not so funny now that reality shows how the IRS was acting more like a monster out of control. Also raising taxes on the job creators is a very bad idea too. The Laffer Curve clearly demonstrates that when the tax rates are raised many individuals will move their investments to places where they will not get taxed as much.

What did we learn from the Laffer Curve in the 1980’s? Lowering top tax rate from 70% to 28% from 1980 to 1988 and those earning over $200,000 paid 99 billion in taxes instead of 19 billion!!!!

One of my frustrating missions in life is to educate policy makers on the Laffer Curve.

This means teaching folks on the left that tax policy affects incentives to earn and report taxable income. As such, I try to explain, this means it is wrong to assume a simplistic linear relationship between tax rates and tax revenue. If you double tax rates, for instance, you won’t double tax revenue.

But it also means teaching folks on the right that it is wildly wrong to claim that “all tax cuts pay for themselves” or that “tax increases always mean less revenue.” Those results occur in rare circumstances, but the real lesson of the Laffer Curve is that some types of tax policy changes will result in changes to taxable income, and those shifts in taxable income will partially offset the impact of changes in tax rates.

However, even though both sides may need some education, it seems that the folks on the left are harder to teach – probably because the Laffer Curve is more of a threat to their core beliefs.

If you explain to a conservative politician that a goofy tax cut (such as a new loophole to help housing) won’t boost the economy and that the static revenue estimate from the bureaucrats at the Joint Committee on Taxation is probably right, they usually understand.

But liberal politicians get very agitated if you tell them that higher marginal tax rates on investors, entrepreneurs, and small business owners probably won’t generate much tax revenue because of incentives (and ability) to reduce taxable income.

To be fair, though, some folks on the left are open to real-world evidence. And this IRS data from the 1980s is particularly effective at helping them understand the high cost of class-warfare taxation.

There’s lots of data here, but pay close attention to the columns on the right and see how much income tax was collected from the rich in 1980, when the top tax rate was 70 percent, and how much was collected from the rich in 1988, when the top tax rate was 28 percent.

The key takeaway is that the IRS collected fives times as much income tax from the rich when the tax rate was far lower. This isn’t just an example of the Laffer Curve. It’s the Laffer Curve on steroids and it’s one of those rare examples of a tax cut paying for itself.

Folks on the right, however, should be careful about over-interpreting this data. There were lots of factors that presumably helped generate these results, including inflation, population growth, and some of Reagan’s other policies. So we don’t know whether the lower tax rates on the rich caused revenues to double, triple, or quadruple. Ask five economists and you’ll get nine answers.

But we do know that the rich paid much more when the tax rate was much lower.

This is an important lesson because Obama wants to run this experiment in reverse. He hasn’t proposed to push the top tax rate up to 70 percent, thank goodness, but the combined effect of his class-warfare policies would mean a substantial increase in marginal tax rates.

We don’t know the revenue-maximizing point of the Laffer Curve, but Obama seems determined to push tax rates so high that the government collects less revenue. Not that we should be surprised. During the 2008 campaign, he actually said he would like higher tax rates even if the government collected less revenue.

That’s class warfare on steroids, and it definitely belong on the list of the worst things Obama has ever said.

But I don’t care about the revenue-maximizing point of the Laffer Curve. Policy makers should set tax rates so we’re at the growth-maximizing level instead.

To broaden the understanding of the Laffer Curve, share these three videos with your friends and colleagues.

This first video explains the theory of the Laffer Curve.

The Laffer Curve, Part I: Understanding the Theory

Uploaded on Jan 28, 2008

The Laffer Curve charts a relationship between tax rates and tax revenue. While the theory behind the Laffer Curve is widely accepted, the concept has become very controversial because politicians on both sides of the debate exaggerate. This video shows the middle ground between those who claim “all tax cuts pay for themselves” and those who claim tax policy has no impact on economic performance. This video, focusing on the theory of the Laffer Curve, is Part I of a three-part series. Part II reviews evidence of Laffer-Curve responses. Part III discusses how the revenue-estimating process in Washington can be improved. For more information please visit the Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s web site: http://www.freedomandprosperity.org

  • Category

    News & Politics

    _____________________________________

    This second video reviews some of the real-world evidence.

    The Laffer Curve, Part II: Reviewing the Evidence

    Uploaded on Feb 24, 2008

    This video reviews real-world evidence showing that changes in marginal tax rates can have a significant impact on taxable income, thus leading to substantial amounts of revenue feedback. In a few cases, tax-rate reductions even “pay for themselves,” though the key lesson is the more modest point that pro-growth changes in tax policy will have a positive impact on economic performance and that good tax cuts therefore do not “cost” the government much in terms of foregone tax revenue.

    This video is second installment of a three-part series. Part I reviews theoretical relationship between tax rates, taxable income, and tax revenue. Part III discusses how the revenue-estimating process in Washington can be improved. For more information please visit the Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s web site: http://www.freedomandprosperity.org.

    ___________________

    And this video exposes the biased an inaccurate “static scoring” of the Joint Committee on Taxation.

    The Laffer Curve, Part III: Dynamic Scoring

    Uploaded on May 28, 2008

    A video by CF&P Foundation that builds on the discussion of theory in Part I and evidence in Part II, this concluding video in the series on the Laffer Curve explains how the Joint Committee on Taxation’s revenue-estimating process is based on the absurd theory that changes in tax policy – even dramatic reforms such as a flat tax – do not effect economic growth. In other words, the current system assumes the Laffer Curve does not exist. Because of congressional budget rules, this leads to a bias for tax increases and against tax cuts. The video explains that “static scoring” should be replaced with “dynamic scoring” so that lawmakers will have more accurate information when making decisions about tax policy. For more information please visit the Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s web site: http://www.freedomandprosperity.org.

    ________________

    And once we educate everybody about the Laffer Curve, we can then concentrate on teaching them about the equivalent relationship on the spending side of the fiscal ledger, the Rahn Curve.

_____________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733,

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Lessons about Trump and Trade by Dan Mitchell

Lessons about Trump and Trade

Like President Reagan, I believe in free trade rather than protectionism.

So you won’t be surprised that I agree with the message in this video

To elaborate, one of the big lessons of the Trump era is that he undermined his good policies – such as tax reform – by imposing higher taxes on global trade.

Sadly, he didn’t realize that a “trade deficit” is largely an irrelevant statistic. Indeed, it’s merely the flip side of having a capital surplus.

To state the obvious, it’s not a bad thing when foreigners decide they want to invest in the United States economy. Heck, it’s a good thing, a sign of economic strength.

Professor Douglas Irwin of Dartmouth made the same point, and many additional points, in a column for the Wall Street Journallate last year.

After four years, what have we learned? Many things, but especially that old economic truths still have value: Tariffs don’t reduce the trade deficit. …Economists have long pointed out that the trade deficit is driven by macroeconomic factors, particularly international capital flows. …The merchandise trade deficit was $864 billion in 2019, more than $100 billion higher than in 2016. …Tariffs are paid by consumers, destroy jobs and hurt the economy. Mr. Trump insisted that China would pay for the 15% to 25% duties that he imposed on $300 billion of its exports. In fact, the tariffs were passed on to American consumers, who paid more… Take steel. Higher prices might have saved some jobs in the steel industry, but..steel protection is a job-destroying policy. Economists at the Federal Reserve found that the steel and aluminum tariffs reduced overall employment in manufacturing by 75,000 workers.

But destroying jobs was just one negative effect of protectionism.

We also got more corruption, as the Wall Street Journal opined.

…it’s time to point out one unsightly effect of the Trump tariffs: expanding the D.C. swamp. …As Mr. Trump’s tariffs began to bite, Congress sent hundreds of letters to the USTR, supporting specific tariff exclusions. …Rep. Steny Hoyer signed a letter, “on behalf of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus,” asking for an exclusion on smoke alarms. North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis sought one for Honda’s lawn mower flywheels. For Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, it was BedJet’s “ultra-thin adjustable bed ‘device.’” For Congressman Doug Collins, Home Depot’s light fixtures. For Sen. Patty Murray, empty coffee K-cup pods. Some of these exclusions were granted, and many weren’t. It’s difficult to know if lobbying by Congress made a difference… One substantial downside is more political interference in the economy. Pretty swampy.

We saw something very similar when President Obama was granting waivers for Obamacare. That was just one of the ways insiders got rich lobbying politicians for special treatment under government-run healthcare.

Let’s wrap this up.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal in March, Senator Pat Toomey and former Senator Phil Gramm conclude Trump’s protectionism was a failure.

In his first two years as president, Mr. Trump lifted regulatory burdens and pushed through a major tax cut, which triggered a broad-based rise in income and employment. He then turned to his protectionist agenda, which reduced economic growth and failed to deliver Michigan, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin in the 2020 election. Protectionism failed both as economic policy and political strategy. …As Mr. Trump found when he imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, the resulting increase in jobs in those industries was small. …Jobs gained in the steel and aluminum industries after the tariffs were dwarfed by jobs lost in industries that use steel and aluminum in their manufacturing process, not to mention the jobs lost due to foreign trade retaliation. …Innovation, technological development and the capacity of a market economy to adapt to change provide our only sure path to job creation and prosperity. This is a lesson all politicians, but especially Republicans, need to learn from the economic and political failure of protectionism in the Trump era.

Amen.

Protectionism didn’t work. It didn’t create jobs, and it didn’t even buy votes.

Which is why I hope this meme is the lesson that people remember from the Trump years (also the message we should have learned from the Hoover years).

The bottom line is that “Tariff Man” hurt himself and hurt the economy.

P.S. Sadly, Biden has not reversed many of Trump’s protectionist policies. But that’s not a surprise given his support for statism.

P.P.S. Though I hold out some hope that Biden will utilize the World Trade Organization as a tool to expand trade, thus reversing one of Trump’s mistakes.

Big-Government Republicans Enable Big-Government Democrats

I get asked why I frequently criticize Republicans.

My response is easy. I care about results rather than rhetoric. And while GOP politicians often pay lip service to the principles of limited government,they usually increase spending even faster than Democrats.

Indeed, Republicans are even worse than Democrats when measuring the growth of domestic spending!

This is bad news because it means the burden of government expands when Republicans are in charge.

And, as Gary Abernathy points out in a column for the Washington Post, Republicans then don’t have the moral authority to complain when Democrats engage in spending binges.

President Biden is proposing another $3 trillion in spending… There are objections, but none that can be taken seriously. …Republicans had lost their standing as the party of fiscal responsibility when most of them succumbed to the political virus of covid fever and rubber-stamped around $4 trillion in “covid relief,”… With Trump out and Biden in, Republicans suddenly pretended that their 2020 spending spree happened in some alternate universe.But the GOP’s united opposition to Biden’s $1.9 trillion package won’t wash off the stench of the hypocrisy. …I noted a year ago that we had crossed the Rubicon, that our longtime flirtation with socialism had become a permanent relationship. Congratulations, Bernie Sanders. The GOP won’t become irrelevant because of its association with Trump, as some predict. It will diminish because it is bizarrely opposing now that which it helped make palatable just last year. Fiscal responsibility is dead, and Republicans helped bury it. Put the shovels away, there’s no digging it up now.

For what it’s worth, I hope genuine fiscal responsibility isn’t dead.

Maybe it’s been hibernating ever since Reagan left office (like Pepperidge Farm, I’m old enough to remember those wonderful years).

Subsequent Republican presidents liked to copy Reagan’s rhetoric, but they definitely didn’t copy his policies.

  • Spending restraint was hibernating during the presidency of George H.W. Bush.
  • Spending restraint also was hibernating during the presidency of George W. Bush.
  • And spending restraint was hibernating during the presidency of Donald Trump.

I’m not the only one to notice GOP hypocrisy.

Here are some excerpts from a 2019 column in the Washington Post by Fareed Zakaria.

In what Republicans used to call the core of their agenda — limited government — Trump has been profoundly unconservative. …Trump has now added more than $88 billion in taxes in the form of tariffs, according to the right-leaning Tax Foundation. (Despite what the president says, tariffs are taxes on foreign goods paid by U.S. consumers.) This has had the effect of reducing gross domestic product and denting the wages of Americans.…For decades, conservatives including Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan preached to the world the virtues of free trade. But perhaps even more, they believed in the idea that governments should not pick winners and losers in the economy… Yet the Trump administration…behaved like a Central Planning Agency, granting exemptions on tariffs to favored companies and industries, while refusing them to others. …In true Soviet style, lobbyists, lawyers and corporate executives now line up to petition government officials for these treasured waivers, which are granted in an opaque process… On the core issue that used to define the GOP — economics — the party’s agenda today is state planning and crony capitalism.

Zakaria is right about Republicans going along with most of Trump’s bad policies (as illustrated by this cartoon strip).*

The bottom line is that Republicans would be much more effective arguing against Biden’s spending orgy had they also argued for spending restraint when Trump was in the White House.

P.S. It will be interesting to see what happens in the near future. Will the GOP be a small-government Reagan party or a big-government Trump party?

Or maybe it will go back to being a Nixon-type party, which would mean bigger government but without mean tweets. And there are plenty of options.

If they make the wrong choice (anything other than Reaganism), Margaret Thatcher has already warned us about the consequences.

*To be fair, Republicans also went along with Trump’s good policies. It’s just unfortunate that spending restraint wasn’t one of them.

—-

March 31, 2021

President Biden  c/o The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Please explain to me if you ever do plan to balance the budget while you are President? I have written these things below about you and I really do think that you don’t want to cut spending in order to balance the budget. It seems you ever are daring the Congress to stop you from spending more.

President Barack Obama speaks about the debt limit in the East Room of the White House in Washington. | AP Photo

“The credit of the United States ‘is not a bargaining chip,’ Obama said on 1-14-13. However, President Obama keeps getting our country’s credit rating downgraded as he raises the debt ceiling higher and higher!!!!

Washington Could Learn a Lot from a Drug Addict

Just spend more, don’t know how to cut!!! Really!!! That is not living in the real world is it?

Making more dependent on government is not the way to go!!

Why is our government in over 16 trillion dollars in debt? There are many reasons for this but the biggest reason is people say “Let’s spend someone else’s money to solve our problems.” Liberals like Max Brantley have talked this way for years. Brantley will say that conservatives are being harsh when they don’t want the government out encouraging people to be dependent on the government. The Obama adminstration has even promoted a plan for young people to follow like Julia the Moocher.  

David Ramsey demonstrates in his Arkansas Times Blog post of 1-14-13 that very point:

Arkansas Politics / Health Care Arkansas’s share of Medicaid expansion and the national debt

Posted by on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Baby carrot Arkansas Medicaid expansion image

Imagine standing a baby carrot up next to the 25-story Stephens building in Little Rock. That gives you a picture of the impact on the national debt that federal spending in Arkansas on Medicaid expansion would have, while here at home expansion would give coverage to more than 200,000 of our neediest citizens, create jobs, and save money for the state.

Here’s the thing: while more than a billion dollars a year in federal spending would represent a big-time stimulus for Arkansas, it’s not even a drop in the bucket when it comes to the national debt.

Currently, the national debt is around $16.4 trillion. In fiscal year 2015, the federal government would spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.2 billion to fund Medicaid expansion in Arkansas if we say yes. That’s about 1/13,700th of the debt.

It’s hard to get a handle on numbers that big, so to put that in perspective, let’s get back to the baby carrot. Imagine that the height of the Stephens building (365 feet) is the $16 trillion national debt. That $1.2 billion would be the length of a ladybug. Of course, we’re not just talking about one year if we expand. Between now and 2021, the federal government projects to contribute around $10 billion. The federal debt is projected to be around $25 trillion by then, so we’re talking about 1/2,500th of the debt. Compared to the Stephens building? That’s a baby carrot.

______________

Here is how it will all end if everyone feels they should be allowed to have their “baby carrot.”

How sad it is that liberals just don’t get this reality.

Here is what the Founding Fathers had to say about welfare. David Weinberger noted:

While living in Europe in the 1760s, Franklin observed: “in different countries … the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee (15 October 1747 – 5 January 1813) was a Scottish lawyer, writer, and professor. Tytler was also a historian, and he noted, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Milligan

April 6, 1816

[Jefferson affirms that the main purpose of society is to enable human beings to keep the fruits of their labor. — TGW]

To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, “the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.” If the overgrown wealth of an individual be deemed dangerous to the State, the best corrective is the law of equal inheritance to all in equal degree; and the better, as this enforces a law of nature, while extra taxation violates it.

[From Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Albert E. Bergh (Washington: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), 14:466.]

_______

Jefferson pointed out that to take from the rich and give to the poor through government is just wrong. Franklin knew the poor would have a better path upward without government welfare coming their way. Milton Friedman’s negative income tax is the best method for doing that and by taking away all welfare programs and letting them go to the churches for charity.

_____________

_________

Thank you so much for your time. I know how valuable it is. I also appreciate the fine family that you have and your commitment as a father and a husband.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733

Williams with Sowell – Minimum Wage

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell – Reducing Black Unemployment

By WALTER WILLIAMS

—-

Ronald Reagan with Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 2-5

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WOODY WEDNESDAY The 10 best Woody Allen Films

_I like this list a lot since it has both CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS on it.


Woody Allen

The 10 best Woody Allen films

We asked readers to vote for their favourite of the director’s films. Here are the results, with contributors making the case for the Woody Allen film that means the most to them

Guardian readers

Fri 4 Oct 2013 07.42 EDT

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Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Sleeper.
 Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Sleeper. Photograph: BFI

10. Sleeper

“Allen was a compulsive gag writer; in Sleeper he paid homage to Keaton and co with slapstick and visual gags galore. A giant banana skin, a growing cake mix, a steamroller squashing the President’s nose. It’s full of fantastic ideas that have lived long in the memory (orgasmatron, robot servant and dog…) It’s not much of a satire, but there’s laughs a plenty.” Alfie Hisself

9. Midnight in Paris

“A wonderfully imaginative plot, plenty of smart “inside” humor, actors who were successfully pushed far beyond their comfort zones, brilliant cinematography. Hugely entertaining.” Frank AbsherPlay VideoPlayCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:00Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%FullscreenMuteFacebookTwitterPinterest

8. Stardust Memories

“This much panned work is a tour de force. Hated by critics at the time of its release, it’s nevertheless Woody Allen at the height of his powers – faux-Euro filmmaking at its best. Stardust Memories, like Celebrity from many years later, presents Woody Allen’s view of the public’s odd adoration of the famous. Oh, and that long shot of Charlotte Rampling near the end…genius.” Tim

7. Love and Death

“One of the ‘early, funny ones’, it features the magnificent Diane Keaton in her greatest comedic performance, and shows how much fun Woody could have with Bergman and Dostoevsky before he began to feed on their sombre bits. Its first five minutes include some of the funniest material he ever wrote – and it’s endlessly quotable.” Wieland Schwanebeck

6. Take the Money and Run

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“I first saw it at Nui Dat (South Vietnam) in 1970. The army projectionist played the reels out of order, but it didn’t seem to matter – there’s nothing like a war to turn the absurd into the everyday. I was an instant fan and bought a bootleg cassette of Allen’s standup while on leave in Vung Tau. I have a DVD I burnt from a VHS I transferred from Betamax recorded off-air in the 80s. I still watch it and and laugh – I quote lines of dialogue as if it were Pete & Dud.” Jim Stewart

5. Broadway Danny Rose

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“A masterpiece – Allen and Mia Farrow never better together. The scene in the restaurant where Woody vacillates between losing his change from a 20 as he has to flee the pursuing mobsters or being caught has stayed in my memory for years.” Raymond Williams

“I love the title character, his limitless belief in his clients, his goodness, his charity… What makes the film for me is the look on Danny’s face when Nick tells him that he has found a new agent: Woody is never the greatest actor in his films, but this, for me, is his best acting moment.” Kevin Finn

4. Hannah and Her Sisters

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“Manhattan aside, it’s Hannah and Her Sisters that most vividly captures a romantic New York to me. It’s a New York that no longer exists, one that still has a bohemian, undeveloped, Top Shop-free SoHo, the musty glory of Pageant Books and Tower Records, and movie theatres where you could actually find a Marx Brothers film. Allen’s trio of complicated sisters are his most vividly and lovingly written female characters: fallible, but not judged harshly for it – the casting was impeccable. And Allen has written, next to Alvy Singer, his best role for himself as well. Everything about this film feels painterly, wistful and wise, splashed in autumnal hues and capturing, in two hours, the last gasp of romantic, contemporary, artistically vibrant New York. It’s also the last film that dodges the bitterness of his later work.” Kara Manning

3. Crimes and Misdemeanours

“Woody jettisons the signature adolescent habits of most of his earlier stuff and gives us an honest indictment of the kind of privilege that commits murder with one hand and receives high honors with the other. A tense and morally sound film with genuine gravitas. Allen’s script could be applied to Kissinger, Nixon, Obama and hundreds of others in power who are shielded by their respectability from facing up to their crimes. A quiet masterpiece. Makes most of his other works seem lightweight by comparison.” Keith Harrison

woody allen annie hall
 Diane Keaton and Woody Allen on the set of the Annie Hall.

2. Annie Hall

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“Annie Hall hits a perfect balance between the anarchic early films and the more introspective works of the eighties, with serious themes but also loads of humour. Christopher Walken’s ‘driving visions’, the ‘what he’s/she’s really thinking’ subtitles, Allen asking passers-by about their sex lives. The chemistry between the two leads has never been bettered and neither has Allen’s performance as a lead actor, except perhaps in Manhattan. But Annie Hall trumps Manhattan because Diane Keaton – the best female Allen interpreter in her greatest role – is equal to Allen in terms of screen time and dialogue. She’s the most completely realised of his female characters, from her ties-and-checks wardrobes to her off-beat remarks. In the rom-com genre, neither the character nor the film has ever been bettered.” Neil Cockburn

1. Manhattan

“Of his many, many films, Manhattan stands out as a work that manages to be both a love letter to one of the great cities and a strikingly personal self-portrait. It’s possible to be viewed as both a lightly humorous tragedy and a darkly tragic farce and comes the closest, out of all of Allen’s films, to capturing the outspoken artist’s true opinion of himself.” Christopher Shepler

“Funny, smart and romantic, Manhattan has got pretty much everything I look for in a Woody Allen film, or any other kind of film for that matter. The black and white cinematography is heart-swellingly beautiful throughout, while Rhapsody In Blue and fireworks combine to create one of the great, iconic openings in movie history. Naturally, Allen viewed the film as a failure, making it feel all the more perfect.” Mahinder Kingra

“The final scene. Two characters contemplate the end of their relationship against the musical backdrop of a solo violin. The orchestra swells and overwhelms the violin as we simultaneously see the city effortlessly absorb the characters and their relationship. Love in the metropolis has never been so beautifully expressed.” Nigel Challenge

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopelessmeaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of his own secular view. I salute him for doing that. That is why I have returned to his work over and over and presented my own Christian worldview as an alternative.

My interest in Woody Allen is so great that I have a “Woody Wednesday” on my blog www.thedailyhatch.org every week. Also I have done over 30 posts on the historical characters mentioned in his film “Midnight in Paris.” (Salvador DaliErnest Hemingway,T.S.Elliot,  Cole Porter,Paul Gauguin,  Luis Bunuel, and Pablo Picasso were just a few of the characters.)

During the last 30 days here are the posts that have got the most hits on my blog on this subject of the “Meaning of Life”:

Francis Bacon: Humanist artist who believed life “is meaningless” (Part 1)

The movie “Les Miserables” and Francis Schaeffer
Danny Woodhead has found satisfaction in his Christian faith, Brady still looking for satisfaction despite 3 Super Bowl rings (Part 2)
2008 article on Woody Allen on the meaning of lifeNihilism can be seen in Woody Allen’s latest film “Midnight in Paris”

Dave Hope and Kerry Livgren of Kansas: Their story of deliverance from drugs jh16c

According to Woody Allen Life is meaningless (Woody Wednesday)

“Is God Enough?” Fellowship Bible sermon outline by Mark Henry July 8, 2012Here are some posts on the movie “Midnight in Paris”:

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 15, Luis Bunuel)
The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 9, Georges Braque)
The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 5 Juan Belmonte)
The characters referenced in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 23,Adriana, fictional mistress of Picasso)
The characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 11, Rodin)The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 29, Pablo Picasso)The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 13, Amedeo Modigliani)The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 14, Henri Matisse)Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 35, Recap of historical figures, Notre Dame Cathedral and Cult of Reason)The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 3 Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald)The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 10 Salvador Dali)The characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 12, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel)Related posts:I love the movie “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen and I have done over 30 posts on the historical characters mentioned in the film. Take a look below:All my posts on Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 40)July 19, 2011 – 8:51 am“Midnight in Paris” one of Woody Allen’s biggest movie hits in recent yearsJuly 18, 2011 – 6:00 amWoody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” explores “golden age fallacy” (Part 39) July 17, 2011 – 5:59 am(Part 38,Alcoholism and great writers and artists) July 16, 2011 – 5:47 amWoody Allen’s search for God in the movie “Midnight in Paris”(Part 37) July 15, 2011 – 5:44 am(Part 36, Alice B. Toklas, Woody Allen on the meaning of life) July 14, 2011 – 5:16 am  (Part 35, Recap of historical figures, Notre Dame Cathedral and Cult of Reason)July 13, 2011 – 5:42 am(Part 34, Simone de Beauvoir) July 12, 2011 – 6:03 am(Part 33,Cezanne) July 11, 2011 – 6:15 am(Part 32, Jean-Paul Sartre)July 10, 2011 – 5:53 am(Part 31, Jean Cocteau) July 9, 2011 – 6:15 am(Part 30, Albert Camus) July 8, 2011 – 5:48 am (Part 29, Pablo Picasso) July 7, 2011 – 4:33 am(Part 28,Van Gogh) July 6, 2011 – 4:03 am(Part 27, Man Ray) July 5, 2011 – 4:49 am(Part 26,James Joyce) July 4, 2011 – 5:55 am(Part 25, T.S.Elliot) July 3, 2011 – 4:46 am(Part 24, Djuna Barnes) July 2, 2011 – 7:28 am(Part 23,Adriana, fictional mistress of Picasso) July 1, 2011 – 12:28 am(Part 22, Silvia Beach and the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore) June 30, 2011 – 12:58 am(Part 21,Versailles and the French Revolution) June 29, 2011 – 5:34 am(Part 20, King Louis XVI of France) June 28, 2011 – 5:44 am(Part 19,Marie Antoinette) June 27, 2011 – 12:16 am(Part 18, Claude Monet) June 26, 2011 – 5:41 am(Part 17, J. M. W. Turner) June 25, 2011 – 5:44 am(Part 16, Josephine Baker) June 24, 2011 – 5:18 am(Part 15, Luis Bunuel) June 23, 2011 – 5:37 am(Part 14, Henri Matisse) June 22, 2011 – 5:54 am(Part 13, Amedeo Modigliani) June 21, 2011 – 5:29 am(Part 12, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel) June 20, 2011 – 5:58 am(Part 11, Rodin)  June 19, 2011 – 9:50 am(Part 10 Salvador Dali) June 18, 2011 – 2:57 pm(Part 9, Georges Braque) June 18, 2011 – 2:55 pm(Part 8, Henri Toulouse Lautrec) June 18, 2011 – 2:45 pm(Part 7 Paul Gauguin) June 18, 2011 – 11:20 am(Part 6 Gertrude Stein) June 16, 2011 – 11:01 am(Part 5 Juan Belmonte) June 16, 2011 – 10:59 am(Part 4 Ernest Heminingway) June 16, 2011 – 9:08 am(Part 3 Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald) June 16, 2011 – 3:46 am(Part 2 Cole Porter) June 15, 2011 – 7:40 am(Part 1 William Faulkner) June 13, 2011 – 3:19 pm

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I love Woody Allen’s latest movie “Midnight in Paris”
June 12, 2011 – 11:52 pm

“Woody Wednesday” A 2010 review of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall

February 27, 2013 – 7:34 am

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” In 2009 interview Woody Allen talks about the lack of meaning of life and the allure of younger women

February 20, 2013 – 1:58 am

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

Woody Allen video interview in France talk about making movies in Paris vs NY and other subjects like God, etc

February 20, 2013 – 12:49 am

Woody Allen video interview in France Related posts: “Woody Wednesdays” Woody Allen on God and Death June 6, 2012 – 6:00 am Good website on Woody Allen How can I believe in God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter? If Jesus Christ came back today and […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Woody Allen on the Emptiness of Life by Toby Simmons

February 13, 2013 – 7:48 am

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

Woody Allen interviews Billy Graham (Woody Wednesday)

February 6, 2013 – 1:49 am

A surprisingly civil discussion between evangelical Billy Graham and agnostic comedian Woody Allen. Skip to 2:00 in the video to hear Graham discuss premarital sex, to 4:30 to hear him respond to Allen’s question about the worst sin and to 7:55 for the comparison between accepting Christ and taking LSD. ___________________ The Christian Post > […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Allen Wednesdays” can be seen on the www.thedailyhatch.org

February 4, 2013 – 4:54 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 If you like Woody Allen films as much as I do then join me every Wednesday for another look the man and his movies. Below are some of the posts from the past: “Woody Wednesday” How Allen’s film “Crimes and Misdemeanors makes the point that hell is necessary […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Great Documentary on Woody Allen

January 30, 2013 – 7:35 am

I really enjoyed this documentary on Woody Allen from PBS. Woody Allen: A Documentary, Part 1 Published on Mar 26, 2012 by NewVideoDigital Beginning with Allen’s childhood and his first professional gigs as a teen – furnishing jokes for comics and publicists – WOODY ALLEN: A DOCUMENTARY chronicles the trajectory and longevity of Allen’s career: […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 6)

January 23, 2013 – 12:36 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 3 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 3 of 3: ‘Is Woody Allen A Romantic Or A Realist?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, Crimes and Misdemeanors, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca______________ One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Uncategorized | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 5)

January 16, 2013 – 12:35 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 2 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 2 of 3: ‘What Does The Movie Tell Us About Ourselves?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _________________- One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed it earlier but […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

In 2009 interview Woody Allen talks about the lack of meaning of life and the allure of younger women

January 14, 2013 – 6:52 am

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Allen Wednesdays” can be seen on the www.thedailyhatch.org

January 13, 2013 – 4:55 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 If you like Woody Allen films as much as I do then join me every Wednesday for another look the man and his movies. Below are some of the posts from the past: “Woody Wednesday” How Allen’s film “Crimes and Misdemeanors makes the point that hell is necessary […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

Woody Allen on the Emptiness of Life by Toby Simmons

January 10, 2013 – 2:48 pm

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 4)

January 9, 2013 – 12:32 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 1 of 3: ‘What Does Judah Believe?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _____________ One of my favorite films is this gem by Woody Allen “Crimes and Misdemeanors”: Film Review By […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Uncategorized | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 3)

January 2, 2013 – 12:30 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 3 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 3 of 3: ‘Is Woody Allen A Romantic Or A Realist?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, Crimes and Misdemeanors, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca______________ One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 2)

December 26, 2012 – 12:27 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 2 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 2 of 3: ‘What Does The Movie Tell Us About Ourselves?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _________________- One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed it earlier but […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 1)

December 19, 2012 – 7:05 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 1 of 3: ‘What Does Judah Believe?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _____________ Today I am starting a discusssion of the movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” by Woody Allen. This 1989 […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

_

Biden’s Infrastructure Boondoggle Will Undermine Growth By Dan Mitchell


Biden’s Infrastructure Boondoggle Will Undermine Growth

President Biden has proposed a massive $2 trillion-plus infrastructure plan. Here are the two things everyone should understand.

  1. It will hurt growth because it will be financed with very harmful tax increases, most notably a big increase in the corporate tax rate that will undermine competitiveness.
  2. It will hurt growth because the new spending will divert resources from the productive sector of the economy, leading to inefficient allocation of labor and capital.

Actually, there’s another thing everyone should understand. As illustrated by this summary from the Washington Post, it’s not really an infrastructure plan. It’s a spend-money-on-anything-and-everything plan, presumably to reward various interest groups.

Though I guess we have to give the Biden Administration points for consistency. The President’s COVID relief plan from earlier this year had very little to do with the pandemic, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see that the infrastructure plan has very little to do with infrastructure.

The Wall Street Journal editorialized about this bait-and-switch scam.

Most Americans think of infrastructure as roads, highways, bridges and other traditional public works. That’s why it polls well… Yet this accounts for a mere $115 billion of Mr. Biden’s proposal. There’s another $25 billion for airports and $17 billion for ports and waterways that also fill a public purpose. The rest of the $620 billion earmarked for “transportation” are subsidies for green energyand payouts to unions for the jobs his climate regulation will kill. …The magnitude of spending is something to behold. There’s $85 billion for mass transit plus $80 billion for Amtrak, which is on top of the $70 billion that Congress appropriated for mass transit in three Covid spending bills. The money is essentially a bailout for unions… Then there’s $174 billion for electric vehicles, including money to build 500,000 charging stations and for consumer “incentives” on top of the current $7,500 federal tax credit to buy an EV. …Mr. Biden is also redefining infrastructure as social-justice policy and income redistribution. …His plan also includes $213 billion for affordable housing, $100 billion for retrofitting public schools, $25 billion for child-care facilities and $400 billion for increasing home-health care.

Michael Boskin, a professor at Stanford, is not optimistic that Biden’s plan will generate good results.

Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan would be many times larger than previous such bills, only about one-third of it would meet even a broad definition of “infrastructure.” …What could possibly go wrong? A lot. …federal spending would crowd out private and local government spending, with a substantial risk of boondoggles piling up along the way.…The Biden plan is rife with opportunities for earmarked pork-barrel projects (bridges to nowhere) and crony capitalist corporate welfare (next-generation Solyndras). Consider California High-Speed Rail, an infrastructure train wreck that will soon be begging for a bailout from the Biden administration. It originally used a grant from President Barack Obama’s 2009 “stimulus” package to pay, six years later, for a tiny initial rail line. Yet, because the project’s projected total San Francisco to Los Angeles cost has tripled to $100 billion.

And even if the plan was nothing but real infrastructure, that wouldn’t be a cause for optimism.

Kenneth Rogoff, a professor at Harvard, wrote late last year that governments have a terrible track record with cost overruns.

…perhaps the biggest obstacle to improving infrastructure in advanced economies is that any new project typically requires navigating difficult right-of-way issues, environmental concerns, and objections from apprehensive citizens… The “Big Dig” highway project in my hometown of Boston, Massachusetts was famously one of the most expensive infrastructure projects in US history. The scheme was originally projected to cost $2.6 billion, but the final tab swelled to more than $15 billion… The construction of New York City’s Second Avenue Subway was a similar experience, albeit on a slightly smaller scale. In Germany, the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport recently opened nine years behind schedule and at three times the initial estimated cost.

Amen. I wrote a column about the infamous Second Avenue Subway, and I’ve also repeatedly opined about how government projects always wind up costing much more than initial projections.

Let’s wrap up by looking at an economic analysis of Biden’s plan by the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Wharton Budget Model.

The overall macroeconomic effects of enacting the AJP, including both its spending and tax provisions, are shown in Table 4. …After the AJP’s new spending ends in 2029, however, its tax increases persist—as a result, federal debt ends up 6.4 percent lower by 2050, relative to the current law baseline.Despite the decline in government debt, the investment-disincentivizing effects of the AJP’s business tax provisions decrease the capital stock by 3 percent in 2031 and 2050. The decline in capital makes workers less productive despite the increase in productivity due to more infrastructure, dragging hourly wages down by 0.7 percent in 2031 and 0.8 percent in 2050. Overall, GDP is 0.9 percent lower in 2031 and 0.8 percent lower in 2050.

Here’s Table 4, which I’ve augmented by circling the two most important statistics.

The immediate lesson from all of this is that Biden’s plan is a boondoggle waiting to happen (just as would have been the case with Trump).

The longer-term lesson is that we should get the federal government out of the business of infrastructure.


The Political Consequences of Tax Migration

When I ask my left-leaning friends what they think about the flight of investors, entrepreneurs, and business owners from high-tax states, I tend to get three responses.

  1. It isn’t actually happening (these are my friends who apparently don’t know how to read).
  2. It’s happening, but it doesn’t matter (data from the IRS suggests it actually is significant).
  3. It’s happening, but high-tax states will be better off without these selfish and greedy people.

The folks making the third point actually have a decent argument, at least in terms of short-run political outcomes. Democrats rarely have to worry about retaining control of states like CaliforniaNew YorkIllinois, and New Jersey now that many Republican-leaning voters have moved away.

But sometimes short-run benefits are exceeded by long-run costs, and the recent data on congressional redistricting from the Census Bureau is a good example.

As you can see, there’s a continuing shift of political power – as measured by seats in Congress – from blue states to red states.

Patrick Gleason of Americans for Tax Reform explains what this means in a column for Forbes.

Over the past decade Americans have been voting with their feet in favor of states with lower overall tax burdens… As a result, high tax states…are set to lose congressional clout for the next decade, to the benefit of low tax states… the seven states that will lose congressional seats due to stagnant population growth have higher top income tax rates and greater overall tax burdens, on average, than do the six states gaining seats. In fact, the average top personal income tax rate for states losing seats in congress is 6.5%, which is 46% greater than the 4.45% average top income tax rate for states gaining seats.

Some people may want to dismiss Mr. Gleason’s column since he works for a group that supports smaller government.

But you can find the same analysis in this column in the Washington Post by Aaron Blake.

…what does the new breakdown mean from a partisan perspective? All told, five seats will migrate from blue states to red ones — owing to population shifts from the Rust Belt, the Northeast and California to the South and other portions of the West. Five of the seven seats being added also go to states under complete GOP control of redistricting, with three of seven being taken away coming from states in which Democrats have some measure of control over the maps. …That should help Republicans… The Cook Political Report estimates the shifts are worth about 3.5 seats… As for the electoral college in future presidential elections, …Michigan and Pennsylvania…are states Democrats probably need to win in the near future, meaning it’s probably a bigger loss for them. …If we reran the 2020 electoral college with the new electoral votes by state, Biden’s margin would shrink from 306-232 to 303-235. That seems negligible. But if you overlay the 2000 presidential results — three reapportionments ago — on the current electoral vote totals, George W. Bush’s narrow win with 271 electoral votes becomes a much more decisive win with 290. That gives you a sense where things have trended.

Let’s now return to the hypothesis that tax-motivated migration is playing a role.

Here’s an instructive tweet from Andrew Wilford of the National Taxpayers Union.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfX0%3D&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1386785330020356103&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fdanieljmitchell.wordpress.com%2F2021%2F04%2F27%2Fthe-political-consequences-of-tax-migration%2F&sessionId=fbae0e0c1efd7628dbdc1ee1673d407a81777661&siteScreenName=wordpressdotcom&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ff2e7cf%3A1618526400629&width=550px

I’ll wrap up today’s column by augmenting the data in Mr. Wilford’s tweet.

Because not only are there, on average, lower tax burdens in the states gaining congressional seats, but every one of them has some very desirable feature of its tax code.

To be sure, not all of the state-to-state migration is due to tax policy. There are all sorts of other policies that determine whether a state is an attractive place for people looking to relocate.

And there are other factors (family, climate, etc) that have nothing to do with public policy.

All things considered, however, being a low-tax state means more jobs, growth, and people, at least when compared with being a high-tax state.

P.S. If you’re interested in seeing how states rank in various indices, click herehere, and here.

The Suddenly Real Threat of a Higher Corporate Income Tax Rate

After November’s election, I figured we would have gridlock. Biden would propose some statist ideas, but they would be blocked by Republicans in the Senate.

All things considered, not a bad outcome.

But Democrats won the run-off elections yesterday for both Georgia Senate seats, which means they now have total control of Washington.

And that means, as I recently warned, a much bigger threat that Biden’s proposed tax increases may get enacted.

That won’t be good news for America’s economy or American competitiveness.

Today, let’s focus on the biggest tax increase that the President Elect is proposing.

In an article for National Review, Joseph Sullivan writes about the adverse impact of Biden’s increase in the corporate tax rate.

Biden’s corporate-tax proposal is remarkable. …If the U.S. adopted Biden’s proposed federal tax rate, its overall corporate-tax rate would not be “in line” with the rest of the G7. Assuming U.S. state and local corporate taxes stayed the same, Biden’s proposal would result in nearly the highest overall corporate-tax rate in the G7, according to data from the OECD. The U.S. would be tied with France. …The average overall corporate rate among the G7 has fallen to 25 percent… With the G7 average trending in one direction, Biden would move the U.S. in the opposite direction.

In other words, while the Biden team claims that a higher corporate tax won’t be too damaging because it will be similar to the rate in other major nations, the U.S. actually will be tied with France once you include the impact of state corporate tax burdens.

Here’s the chart included with the article.

And don’t forget that there are many other economies where the corporate tax rate is well below the G7 average.

The bottom line is that the United States currently ranks only #19out of 35 nations in the Tax Foundation’s competitiveness ranking for OECD nations.

The good news is that being #19 is much better than being #31, which is where the U.S. was in 2016.

The bad news is that Biden wants to undo much of the 2017 reform, as well as impose other tax increases. And that means a much lower competitiveness score in the future.

Which ultimately means lower wages for American workers.

P.S. Although the proposed increase in the corporate rate is theoretically the biggest revenue raiser in Biden’s tax plan, I will safely predict that it won’t raise nearly as much revenue as projected by static revenue estimates. I wasn’t able to educate Obama on this issue, and I’m even less hopeful of getting through to Biden.

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Three Economics Risks for 2021 and Beyond

In an interview with Fox Business last week, I touched on three policies (easy money from the Fed, Biden’s class-warfare tax agenda, and the ever-increasing burden of federal spending) that create risks for the economy in 2021.

I didn’t have a chance to elaborate in the interview, but it’s worth noting that Biden will inherit two of the aforementioned problems.

Trump has been profligate with our money, and he was that way even before the coronavirus became an excuse to open the budgetary spigot. Moreover, he was just like Obama in pressuring the Federal Reserve for Keynesian-style monetary policy.

Unfortunately, there’s no reason to think Biden will try to reverse those mistakes.

Indeed, he wants expand the burden of federal spending. And, regarding monetary policy, appointing Janet Yellen as Secretary of Treasury certainly suggests he is comfortable with the current approach.

And to make matters worse, he definitely wants a more punitive tax system. We will shortly learn whether Democratstake control of the Senate, which presumably would give Biden more leeway to enact his class-warfare tax agenda.

As I said in the interview, that would create economic headwinds.

P.S. I mentioned in the interview that we have “three Americas” with regards to coronavirus. I’m not sure I was completely clear, so here’s what I was trying to get across.

  1. Tourism-reliant states – They are going to be in bad shape until coronavirus is in the rear-view mirror and people feel comfortable with traveling and socializing.
  2. Lock-down states – They have higher unemployment rates because more businesses are shut down.
  3. Laissez-faire states – These are the states that generally allow businesses to remain open and have lower unemployment rates.

For what it’s worth, I think it’s best to let businesses stay open and to allow them and their customers to assess safety risks. It will be interesting to see whether any link is discovered between state policy and coronavirus rates.

P.P.S. At the risk of over-simplification, bad fiscal policy erodes the economy’s long-run growth rate. Bad monetary policy, by contrast, is what causes economic volatility and downturns.


Another Leftist Has an Epiphany on Guns

I’m (unfortunately) not a rich person, but that doesn’t stop me from opposing punitive taxes on successful entrepreneurs, investors, and small business owners.

Likewise, I’m not a gun aficionado, but that doesn’t stop me from opposing efforts to restrict the rights of law-abiding people to own and bear arms.

In part, my views on guns are driven by cost-benefit analysis. Simply stated, the evidence is fairly clear that there is less crime when bad people have to worry that potential victims have the ability to defend themselves.

But I also very much agree with the constitutional argument for gun ownership, as well as the “societal disarray” argument.

Interestingly, it seems that more folks on the left are coming to their senses on the issue of gun control, generally for practical reasons rather than philosophical reasons.

  • In 2012, I shared some important observations from Jeffrey Goldberg, a left-leaning writer for The Atlantic. In his column, he basically admitted his side was wrong about gun control.
  • Then, in 2013, I wrote about a column by Justin Cronin in the New York Times. He self-identified as a liberal, but explained how real-world events have led him to become a supporter of private gun ownership.
  • In 2015, I shared a column by Jamelle Bouie in Slate, who addressed the left’s fixation on trying to ban so-called assault weapons and explains that such policies are meaningless.
  • More recently, in 2017, Leah Libresco wrote in the Washington Post that advocates of gun control are driven by emotion rather empirical research and evidence.
  • Last but not least, Alex Kingsbury in 2019 acknowledged the futility of gun control in a column for the New York Times.

Today, we’re going to add to the collection.

Charles Blow of the New York Times recently wrote about how he has become more understanding of why fellow blacks want to own guns.

Growing up in rural northern Louisiana, everyone I knew, at least every household, seemed to have guns. …Gun ownership was the norm in those parts, including in the Black community. It was not associated with danger but with safety. …Indeed, one could argue that the right to bear arms in this country has never been so brazenly and openly abridged as it has against Black people. Many state codes prohibited Black gun ownership before the Civil War and allowed for the disarmament of Black people after. …When I moved north, first to Detroit and then to New York, I moved into a mental space of more stringent gun control. …city dwellers simply didn’t have the same need for weapons as the people in the rural community where I was raised… I, like many, were convinced that fewer guns in the Black community would make it safer. But, for many Black people, that sentiment has turned. …gun sales to Black people are surging. …I, as much as anyone, would like to live in a society in which all citizens felt safe without the need of personal firearms. America could have created such a society. However, it chose not to. …many Black people feel the need to defend themselves from their own country.

To be sure, Mr. Blow can’t be considered a full convert to the 2nd Amendment. That being said, I think it’s nonetheless remarkable that even a committed, hard-core leftist has (partially) seen the light.

Though I can’t resist quibbling with one point in his column.He wrote, “America could have created” a society where gun control would be desirable because no guns would be needed, but “it chose not to.”

I would replace “it chose not to” with “our government is not sufficiently competent.”

Heck, I would probably add “or trustworthy” as well. Given the unsavory history of gun control, Mr. Blow should be among the first to appreciate that argument.

P.S. In 2018, I shared the story of Ryan Moore, another leftist who changed his mind on gun control. But since he also evolved away from being a leftist, I don’t include him

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Reusable: biden obama gun control speechPresident Barack Obama announces the creation of an interagency task force for guns as as Vice President Joseph Biden listens on.Getty Images

Is Gun Control Dead?

In recent months, governments released prisoners and announced that some laws wouldn’t be enforced because of the coronavirus. Now, with protests against police misbehavior, we’re seeing governments fail to maintain law and order.

As suggested by this excellent Reason video, these developments bolster the case against gun control.

But does this mean politicians will be more supportive of the 2nd Amendment?

The answer (at least for anyone with an IQ above room temperature)should be yes.

From an economic perspective, one major goal is to change the cost-benefit analysis for criminals. If bad guys have to worry that good guys may be armed, that significantly increases the potential cost of illegal behavior.

A well-functioning system of law enforcement can help, of course, but that’s not a description of how things work in some communities – even in normal times, much less when there’s civil unrest.

But all this evidence and analysis doesn’t seem to matter for Joe Biden. A look at his campaign website shows support for a wide range of gun-control laws from the soon-to-be Democratic nominee.

…gun violence is a public health epidemic. …In 1994, Biden – along with Senator Dianne Feinstein – secured the passage of 10-year bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. As president, Joe Biden will defeat the NRA again. …As president, Biden will: …Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. …Regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act. …Biden supports legislation restricting the number of firearms an individual may purchase per month to one. …End the online sale of firearms and ammunitions. …Give states incentives to set up gun licensing programs.

What’s especially discouraging is that Biden apparently hasn’t learned anything about so-called assault weapons since 1994.

In a 2019 column for Reason, Jacob Sullum dissected Biden’s incoherent views on the topic.

Joe Biden…is still proud of the ban on “assault weapons”… Biden argues that it made mass shootings less common…, citing a study reported in The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery last January. But that is not what the researchers, led by New York University epidemiologist Charles DiMaggio, actually found.…The study…looked not at the number of mass shootings, as Biden claims, but the number of mass-shooting deaths as a share of all firearm homicides. The difference in total fatalities during the period when the ban was in effect amounted to 15 fewer deaths over a decade, or 1.5 a year on average, including mass shootings that did not involve weapons covered by the ban. …The causal mechanism imagined by Biden is even harder to figure out. He describes “assault weapons” as “military-style firearms designed to fire rapidly.” But they do not fire any faster than any other semi-automatic. …Under the 1994 ban, removing “military-style” features such as folding stocks, flash suppressors, or bayonet mounts transformed forbidden “assault weapons” into legal firearms, even though the compliant models fired the same ammunition at the same rate with the same muzzle velocity as the ones targeted by the law.

I wonder if Biden understands the policy he’s advocating.

Does he think that “assault weapons” are actual machine guns, capable of firing multiple rounds with one pull on the trigger (a remarkably common misconception among gun-control advocates)?

Or, if he understands that a so-called assault weapon is just like any other gun (firing one round each time the trigger is pulled), then why would he think anything would be achieved by banning some guns and leaving others (that work the same way) legal?

Perhaps most relevant, does he even care what the evidence shows?

The bottom line is that people are “voting with their dollars” for gun ownership for the simple reason that they know it’s unwise to trust government (either to protect them from crime or to respect their rights).

But that doesn’t mean their constitutional freedoms will be secure if Biden wins the 2020 election.

P.S. The good news is that there will be widespread civil disobedience if politicians push for new gun bans.

P.P.S. Another silver lining is that we’ll get more and more clever humor mocking gun control.

The Case Against Biden’s Class-Warfare Tax Policy, Part II

In Part I of this series, I expressed some optimism that Joe Biden would not aggressively push his class-warfare tax plan, particularly since Republicans almost certainly will wind up controlling the Senate.

But the main goal of that column was to explain that the internal revenue code already is heavily weighted against investors, entrepreneurs, business owners and other upper-income taxpayers.

And to underscore that point, I shared two charts from Brian Riedl’s chartbook to show that the “rich” are now paying a much larger share of the tax burden – notwithstanding the Reagan tax cuts, Bush tax cuts, and Trump tax cuts – than they were 40 years ago.

Not only that, but the United States has a tax system that is more “progressive” than all other developed nations (all of whom also impose heavy tax burdens on upper-income taxpayers, but differ from the United States in that they also pillage lower-income and middle-class residents).

In other words, Biden’s class-warfare tax plan is bad policy.

Today’s column, by contrast, will point out that his tax increases are impractical. Simply stated, they won’t collect much revenue because people change their behavior when incentives to earn and report income are altered.

This is especially true when looking at upper-income taxpayers who – compared to the rest of us – have much greater ability to change the timing, level, and composition of their income.

This helps to explain why rich people paid five times as much tax to the IRS during the 1980s when Reagan slashed the top tax rate from 70 percent to 28 percent.

When writing about this topic, I normally use the Laffer Curve to help people understand why simplistic assumptions about tax policy are wrong (that you can double tax revenue by doubling tax rates, for instance). And I point out that even folks way on the left, such as Paul Krugman, agree with this common-sense view (though it’s also worth noting that some people on the right discredit the concept by making silly assertions that “all tax cuts pay for themselves”).

But instead of showing the curve again, I want to go back to Brian Riedl’s chartbook and review his data on of revenue changes during the eight years of the Obama Administration.

It shows that Obama technically cut taxes by $822 billion (as further explained in the postscript, most of that occurred when some of the Bush tax cuts were made permanent by the “fiscal cliff” deal in 2012) and raised taxes by $1.32 trillion (most of that occurred as a result of the Obamacare legislation).

If we do the math, that means Obama imposed a cumulative net tax increase of about $510 billion during his eight years in office

But, if you look at the red bar on the chart, you’ll see that the government didn’t wind up with more money because of what the number crunchers refer to as “economic and technical reestimates.”

Indeed, those reestimates resulted in more than $3.1 trillion of lost revenue during the Obama years.

don’t want the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington to have more tax revenue, but I obviously don’t like it when tax revenues shrink simply because the economy is stagnant and people have less taxable income.

Yet that’s precisely what we got during the Obama years.

To be sure, it would be inaccurate to assert that revenues declined solely because of Obama’s tax increase. There were many other bad policies that also contributed to taxable income falling short of projections.

Heck, maybe there was simply some bad luck as well.

But even if we add lots of caveats, the inescapable conclusion is that it’s not a good idea to adopt policies – such as class-warfare tax rates – that discourage people from earning and reporting taxable income.

The bottom line is that we should hope Biden’s proposed tax increases die a quick death.

P.S. The “fiscal cliff” was the term used to describe the scheduled expiration of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts. According to the way budget data is measured in Washington, extending some of those provisions counted as a tax cut even though the practical impact was to protect people from a tax increase.

P.P.S. Even though Biden absurdly asserted that paying higher taxes is “patriotic,” it’s worth pointing out that he engaged in very aggressive tax avoidance to protect his family’s money.

President Joe Biden Will Be Bad, but a President Kamala Harris Would Be Worse

Joe Biden has a very misguided economic agenda. I’m especially disturbed by his class-warfare tax agenda, which will be bad news for American workers and American competitiveness.

The good news, as I wrote earlier this year, is that he probably isn’t serious about some of his worst ideas.

Biden is a statist, but not overly ideological. His support for bigger government is largely a strategy of catering to the various interest groups that dominate the Democratic Party. The good news is that he’s an incrementalist and won’t aggressively push for a horrifying FDR-style agenda if he gets to the White House.

But what if Joe Biden’s health deteriorates and Kamala Harris – sooner or later – winds up in charge?

That’s rather troubling since her agenda was far to the left of Biden’s when they were competing for the Democratic nomination.

And it doesn’t appear that being Biden’s choice for Vice President has led her to moderate her views. Consider this campaign ad, where she openly asserted that “equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place.”

The notion that we should strive for equality of outcomes rather than equality of opportunity is horrifying.

For all intents and purposes,Harris has embraced a harsh version of redistributionism where everyone above average is punished and everyone below average is rewarded.

This goes way beyond a safety net and it’s definitely a recipe for economic misery since people on both sides of the equationhave less incentive to be productive.

I’m not the only one to be taken aback by Harris’ dogmatic leftism.

Robby Soave, writing for Reason, is very critical of her radical outlook.

Harris gives voice to a leftist-progressive narrative about the importance of equity—equal outcomes—rather than mere equality before the law. …Harris contrasted equal treatment—all people getting the same thing—with equitable treatment,which means “we all end up at the same place.” …This may seem like a trivial difference, but when it comes to public policy, the difference matters. A government shouldbe obligated to treat all citizens equally, giving them the same access to civil rights and liberties like voting, marriage, religious freedom, and gun ownership. …A mandate to foster equity, though, would give the government power to violate these rights in order to achieve identical social results for all people. 

And, in a column for National Review, Brad Polumbo expresses similar reservations about her views.

Whether she embraces the label “socialist” or not, Harris’s stated agenda and Senate record both reveal her to be positioned a long way to the left on matters of economic policy. From health care to the environment to housing, Harris thinks the answer to almost every problem we face is simply more government and more taxpayer money — raising taxes and further indebting future generations in the process.…Harris…supports an astounding $40 trillion in new spending over the next decade. In a sign of just how far left the Democratic Party has shifted on economics, Harris backs more than 20 times as much spending as Hillary Clinton proposed in 2016. …And this is not just a matter of spending. During her failed presidential campaign, Harris supported a federal-government takeover of health care… The senator jumped on the “Green New Deal” bandwagon as well. She co-sponsored the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate that called for a “new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era.” …she supports enacting price controls on housing across the country. …The left-wing group Progressive Punch analyzed Harris’s voting record and found that she is the fourth-most liberal senator, more liberal even than Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren. Similarly, the nonpartisan organization GovTrack.us deemed Harris the furthest-left member of the Senate for the 2019 legislative year. (Spoiler alert: If your voting record is to the left of Bernie Sanders, you might be a socialist.)

To be fair, Harris is simply a politician, so we have no idea what she really believes. Her hard-left agenda might simply be her way of appealing to Democratic voters, much as Republicans who run for president suddenly decide they support big tax cuts and sweeping tax reform.

But whether she’s sincere or insincere, it’s troubling that she actually says it’s the role of government to make sure we all “end up at the same place.”

Let’s close with a video clip from Milton Friedman. At the risk of understatement, he has a different perspective than Ms. Harris.

Since we highlighted Harris’ key quote, let’s also highlight the key quote from Friedman.

Amen.

P.S. It appears Republicans will hold the Senate, which presumably (hopefully?) means that any radical proposals would be dead on arrival, regardless of whether they’re proposed by Biden or Harris.

P.P.S. Harris may win the prize for the most economically illiterate proposal of the 2020 campaign.

——

Will Biden’s Class-Warfare Tax Plan Lead to an Exodus of Job Creators?

After Barack Obama took office (and especially after he was reelected), there was a big uptick in the number of rich people who chose to emigrate from the United States. 

There are many reasons wealthy people choose to move from one nation to another, but Obama’s embrace of class-warfare tax policy (including FATCA) was seen as a big factor.

Joe Biden’s tax agenda is significantly more punitive than Obama’s, so we may see something similar happen if he wins the 2020 election.

Given the economic importance of innovatorsentrepreneurs, and inventors, this would be not be good news for the American economy.

The New York Times reported late last year that the United States could be shooting itself in the foot by discouraging wealthy residents.

…a different group of Americans say they are considering leaving — people of both parties who would be hit by the wealth tax… Wealthy Americans often leave high-tax states like New York and California for lower-tax ones like Florida and Texas. But renouncing citizenship is a far more permanent, costly and complicated proposition. …“America’s the most attractive destination for capital, entrepreneurs and people wanting to get a great education,” said Reaz H. Jafri, a partner and head of the immigration practice at Withers, an international law firm. “But in today’s world, when you have other economic centers of excellence — like Singapore, Switzerland and London — people don’t view the U.S. as the only place to be.” …now, the price may be right to leave. While the cost of expatriating varies depending on a person’s assets, the wealthiest are betting that if a Democrat wins…, leaving now means a lower exit tax. …The wealthy who are considering renouncing their citizenship fear a wealth tax less than the possibility that the tax on capital gains could be raised to the ordinary income tax rate, effectively doubling what a wealthy person would pay… When Eduardo Saverin, a founder of Facebook…renounced his United States citizenship shortly before the social network went public, …several estimates said that renouncing his citizenship…saved him $700 million in taxes.

The migratory habits of rich people make a difference in the global economy.

Here are some excerpts from a 2017 Bloomberg story.

Australia is luring increasing numbers of global millionaires, helping make it one of the fastest growing wealthy nations in the world… Over the past decade, total wealth held in Australia has risen by 85 percent compared to 30 percent in the U.S. and 28 percent in the U.K… As a result, the average Australian is now significantly wealthier than the average American or Briton. …Given its relatively small population, Australia also makes an appearance on a list of average wealth per person. This one is, however, dominated by small tax havens.

Here’s one of the charts from the story.

As you can see, Australia is doing very well, though the small tax havens like Monaco are world leaders.

I’m mystified, however, that the Cayman Islands isn’t listed.

But I’m digressing.

Let’s get back to our main topic. It’s worth noting that even Greece is seeking to attract rich foreigners.

The new tax law is aimed at attracting fresh revenues into the country’s state coffers – mainly from foreigners as well as Greeks who are taxed abroad – by relocating their tax domicile to Greece, as it tries to woo “high-net-worth individuals” to the Greek tax register.The non-dom model provides for revenues obtained abroad to be taxed at a flat amount… Having these foreigners stay in Greece for at least 183 days a year, as the law requires, will also entail expenditure on accommodation and everyday costs that will be added to the Greek economy. …most eligible foreigners will be able to considerably lighten their tax burden if they relocate to Greece…nevertheless, the amount of 500,000 euros’ worth of investment in Greece required of foreigners and the annual flat tax of 100,000 euros demanded (plus 20,000 euros per family member) may keep many of them away.

The system is too restrictive, but it will make the beleaguered nation an attractive destination for some rich people. After all, they don’t even have to pay a flat tax, just a flat fee.

Italy has enjoyed some success with a similar regime to entice millionaires.

Last but not least, an article published last year has some fascinating details on the where rich people move and why they move.

The world’s wealthiest people are also the most mobile. High net worth individuals (HNWIs) – persons with wealth over US$1 million – may decide to pick up and move for a number of reasons. In some cases they are attracted by jurisdictions with more favorable tax laws… Unlike the middle class, wealthy citizens have the means to pick up and leave when things start to sideways in their home country. An uptick in HNWI migration from a country can often be a signal of negative economic or societal factors influencing a country. …Time-honored locations – such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands – continue to attract the world’s wealthy, but no country is experiencing HNWI inflows quite like Australia. …The country has a robust economy, and is perceived as being a safe place to raise a family. Even better, Australia has no inheritance tax

Here’s a map from the article.

The good news is that the United States is attracting more millionaires than it’s losing (perhaps because of the EB-5 program).

The bad news is that this ratio could flip after the election. Indeed, it may already be happening even though recent data on expatriation paints a rosy picture.

The bottom line is that the United States should be competing to attract millionaires, not repel them. Assuming, of course, politicians care about jobs and prosperity for the rest of the population.

P.S. American politicians, copying laws normally imposed by the world’s most loathsome regimes, have imposed an “exit tax” so they can grab extra cash from rich people who choose to become citizens elsewhere.

P.P.S. I’ve argued that Australia is a good place to emigrate even for those of us who aren’t rich.

—-


Question of the Week: Which Department of the Federal Government Should Be the First to Be Abolished?

I was asked last week which entitlement program is most deserving of reform.

While acknowledging that Social Security and Medicare also are in desperate need of modernization, I wrote that Medicaid reformshould be the first priority.

But I’d be happy if we made progress on any type of entitlement reform, so I don’t think there are right or wrong answers to this kind of question.

We have the same type of question this week. A reader sent an email to ask “Which federal department should be abolished first?”

I guess this is what is meant when people talk about a target-rich environment. We have an abundance of candidates:

But if I have to choose, I think the Department of Housing and Urban Development should be first on the chopping block.

Raze the building and put a layer of salt over the earth to make sure it can never spring back to life

I’ve already argued that there should be no federal government involvement in the housing sector and made the same argument on TV. And I’ve also shared some horror stories about HUD waste and incompetence.

Heck, I even made HUD the background image for my video on the bloated and overpaid bureaucracy in Washington.

It’s also worth noting that there’s nothing about housing in Article I, Section VIII, of the Constitution. For those of us who have old-fashioned values about playing by the rules, that means much of what takes place in Washington – including housing handouts – is unconstitutional.

Simply stated, there is no legitimate argument for HUD. And I think there would be the least political resistance.

As with the answer to the question about entitlements, this is a judgment call. I’d be happy to be proven wrong if it meant that politicians were aggressively going after another department. Anything that reduces the burden of government spending is a step in the right direction


Milton Friedman on Spending

October 3, 2020 by Dan Mitchell

I identified four heroes from the “Battle of Ideas” video I shared in late August – Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher. Here’s one of those heroes, Milton Friedman, explaining what’s needed to control big government.

Why Milton Friedman Saw School Choice as a First Step, Not a Final One

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Kerry McDonald
Kerry McDonald

EducationMilton FriedmanSchool ChoiceSchooling

Libertarians and others are often torn about school choice. They may wish to see the government schooling monopoly weakened, but they may resist supporting choice mechanisms, like vouchers and education savings accounts, because they don’t go far enough. Indeed, most current choice programs continue to rely on taxpayer funding of education and don’t address the underlying compulsory nature of elementary and secondary schooling.

Skeptics may also have legitimate fears that taxpayer-funded education choice programs will lead to over-regulation of previously independent and parochial schooling options, making all schooling mirror compulsory mass schooling, with no substantive variation.

Milton Friedman had these same concerns. The Nobel prize-winning economist is widely considered to be the one to popularize the idea of vouchers and school choice beginning with his 1955 paper, “The Role of Government in Education.” His vision continues to be realized through the important work of EdChoice, formerly the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, that Friedman and his economist wife, Rose, founded in 1996.

July 31 is Milton Friedman’s birthday. He died in 2006 at the age of 94, but his ideas continue to have an impact, particularly in education policy.

Friedman saw vouchers and other choice programs as half-measures. He recognized the larger problems of taxpayer funding and compulsion, but saw vouchers as an important starting point in allowing parents to regain control of their children’s education. In their popular book, Free To Choose, first published in 1980, the Friedmans wrote:

We regard the voucher plan as a partial solution because it affects neither the financing of schooling nor the compulsory attendance laws. We favor going much farther. (p.161)

They continued:

The compulsory attendance laws are the justification for government control over the standards of private schools. But it is far from clear that there is any justification for the compulsory attendance laws themselves. (p. 162)

The Friedmans admitted that their “own views on this have changed over time,” as they realized that “compulsory attendance at schools is not necessary to achieve that minimum standard of literacy and knowledge,” and that “schooling was well-nigh universal in the United States before either compulsory attendance or government financing of schooling existed. Like most laws, compulsory attendance laws have costs as well as benefits. We no longer believe the benefits justify the costs.” (pp. 162-3)

Still, they felt that vouchers would be the essential starting point toward chipping away at monopoly mass schooling by putting parents back in charge. School choice, in other words, would be a necessary but not sufficient policy approach toward addressing the underlying issue of government control of education.

In their book, the Friedmans presented the potential outcomes of their proposed voucher plan, which would give parents access to some or all of the average per-pupil expenditures of a child enrolled in public school. They believed that vouchers would help create a more competitive education market, encouraging education entrepreneurship. They felt that parents would be more empowered with greater control over their children’s education and have a stronger desire to contribute some of their own money toward education. They asserted that in many places “the public school has fostered residential stratification, by tying the kind and cost of schooling to residential location” and suggested that voucher programs would lead to increased integration and heterogeneity. (pp. 166-7)

To the critics who said, and still say, that school choice programs would destroy the public schools, the Friedmans replied that these critics fail to

explain why, if the public school system is doing such a splendid job, it needs to fear competition from nongovernmental, competitive schools or, if it isn’t, why anyone should object to its “destruction.” (p. 170)

What I appreciate most about the Friedmans discussion of vouchers and the promise of school choice is their unrelenting support of parents. They believed that parents, not government bureaucrats and intellectuals, know what is best for their children’s education and well-being and are fully capable of choosing wisely for their children—when they have the opportunity to do so.

They wrote:

Parents generally have both greater interest in their children’s schooling and more intimate knowledge of their capacities and needs than anyone else. Social reformers, and educational reformers in particular, often self-righteously take for granted that parents, especially those who are poor and have little education themselves, have little interest in their children’s education and no competence to choose for them. That is a gratuitous insult. Such parents have frequently had limited opportunity to choose. However, U.S. history has demonstrated that, given the opportunity, they have often been willing to sacrifice a great deal, and have done so wisely, for their children’s welfare. (p. 160).

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Today, school voucher programs exist in 15 states plus the District of Columbia. These programs have consistently shown that when parents are given the choice to opt-out of an assigned district school, many will take advantage of the opportunity. In Washington, D.C., low-income parents who win a voucher lottery send their children to private schools.

The most recent three-year federal evaluationof voucher program participants found that while student academic achievement was comparable to achievement for non-voucher students remaining in public schools, there were statistically significant improvements in other important areas. For instance, voucher participants had lower rates of chronic absenteeism than the control groups, as well as higher student satisfaction scores. There were also tremendous cost-savings.

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program has served over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools.

According to Corey DeAngelis, Director of School Choice at the Reason Foundation and a prolific researcher on the topic, the recent analysis of the D.C. voucher program “reveals that private schools produce the same academic outcomes for only a third of the cost of the public schools. In other words, school choice is a great investment.”

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was created in 1990 and is the nation’s oldest voucher program. It currently serves over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools. Like the D.C. voucher program, data on test scores of Milwaukee voucher students show similar results to public school students, but non-academic results are promising.

Recent research found voucher recipients had lower crime rates and lower incidences of unplanned pregnancies in young adulthood. On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

According to Howard Fuller, an education professor at Marquette University, founder of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and one of the developers of the Milwaukee voucher program, the key is parent empowerment—particularly for low-income minority families.

In an interview with NPR, Fuller said: “What I’m saying to you is that there are thousands of black children whose lives are much better today because of the Milwaukee parental choice program,” he says. 
“They were able to access better schools than they would have without a voucher.”

Putting parents back in charge of their child’s education through school choice measures was Milton Friedman’s goal. It was not his ultimate goal, as it would not fully address the funding and compulsion components of government schooling; but it was, and remains, an important first step. As the Friedmans wrote in Free To Choose:

The strong American tradition of voluntary action has provided many excellent examples that demonstrate what can be done when parents have greater choice. (p. 159).

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Kerry McDonald

Milton Friedman

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Daniel Mitchell OF CENTER FOR FREEDOM AND PROSPERITY article “Consolation Humor: When Leftists Finally Understand Economics and Morality”


Consolation Humor: When Leftists Finally Understand Economics and Morality

I have three types of humor I periodically share.

  1. Libertarian Humor
  2. Gun Control Humor
  3. Socialism/Communism Humor

Today, we’re going to venture into “consolation humor.” At least that’s the best term I can think of for the following two memes, both of which show what happens when leftists suddenly grasp reality.

In our first example, a woman learns that envy actually is a negative personality trait.

Maybe she’ll also learn at some point that spending other people’s money isn’t compassion (another person needs to learn that lesson as well).

In our second example, a young woman is bereft after learning that there isn’t a magic money tree to finance never-ending goodies from government.

Maybe she should watch this video as part of her therapy?

P.S. This great cartoon from Chuck Asay shows what happens when people don’t learn about scarcity.

Gun Control Humor

Time to add to the collection of humor about gun control.

We’ll start with this observation from Ron Swanson (who periodically makes cameo appearances since he was TV’s most famous libertarian) about the relationship between gun laws and crime rates.

Next is a cartoon strip with an amusing twist.

For what it’s worth, I buy t-shirts that already have the right message.

Here’s a hotel employee giving a much-needed wake-up call.

Our next item features a sensible observation from Elizabeth Warren, followed by an equally sensible observation from Dan Gannon.

Next, we have an example of the “slippery slope” in action.

By the way, the above image is real. The United Kingdom has some of the world’s silliest anti-gun policies, which were the gateway drug for absurd anti-knife laws (and even – I’m not joking – anti-teaspoon laws).

I’ve saved the best for last, as usual.

Here’s “Fauxcahontas” getting a clever response from Meme Cat.

Just in case you don’t get the joke, Senator Elizabeth Warren falsely claimed Indian ancestry, even using her fake-minority status to get preferential treatment.

P.S. I also recommend this mockery of Sen. Warren’s approach to class warfare.

—-

Reusable: biden obama gun control speechPresident Barack Obama announces the creation of an interagency task force for guns as as Vice President Joseph Biden listens on.Getty Images

Is Gun Control Dead?

In recent months, governments released prisoners and announced that some laws wouldn’t be enforced because of the coronavirus. Now, with protests against police misbehavior, we’re seeing governments fail to maintain law and order.

As suggested by this excellent Reason video, these developments bolster the case against gun control.

But does this mean politicians will be more supportive of the 2nd Amendment?

The answer (at least for anyone with an IQ above room temperature)should be yes.

From an economic perspective, one major goal is to change the cost-benefit analysis for criminals. If bad guys have to worry that good guys may be armed, that significantly increases the potential cost of illegal behavior.

A well-functioning system of law enforcement can help, of course, but that’s not a description of how things work in some communities – even in normal times, much less when there’s civil unrest.

But all this evidence and analysis doesn’t seem to matter for Joe Biden. A look at his campaign website shows support for a wide range of gun-control laws from the soon-to-be Democratic nominee.

…gun violence is a public health epidemic. …In 1994, Biden – along with Senator Dianne Feinstein – secured the passage of 10-year bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. As president, Joe Biden will defeat the NRA again. …As president, Biden will: …Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. …Regulate possession of existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act. …Biden supports legislation restricting the number of firearms an individual may purchase per month to one. …End the online sale of firearms and ammunitions. …Give states incentives to set up gun licensing programs.

What’s especially discouraging is that Biden apparently hasn’t learned anything about so-called assault weapons since 1994.

In a 2019 column for Reason, Jacob Sullum dissected Biden’s incoherent views on the topic.

Joe Biden…is still proud of the ban on “assault weapons”… Biden argues that it made mass shootings less common…, citing a study reported in The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery last January. But that is not what the researchers, led by New York University epidemiologist Charles DiMaggio, actually found.…The study…looked not at the number of mass shootings, as Biden claims, but the number of mass-shooting deaths as a share of all firearm homicides. The difference in total fatalities during the period when the ban was in effect amounted to 15 fewer deaths over a decade, or 1.5 a year on average, including mass shootings that did not involve weapons covered by the ban. …The causal mechanism imagined by Biden is even harder to figure out. He describes “assault weapons” as “military-style firearms designed to fire rapidly.” But they do not fire any faster than any other semi-automatic. …Under the 1994 ban, removing “military-style” features such as folding stocks, flash suppressors, or bayonet mounts transformed forbidden “assault weapons” into legal firearms, even though the compliant models fired the same ammunition at the same rate with the same muzzle velocity as the ones targeted by the law.

I wonder if Biden understands the policy he’s advocating.

Does he think that “assault weapons” are actual machine guns, capable of firing multiple rounds with one pull on the trigger (a remarkably common misconception among gun-control advocates)?

Or, if he understands that a so-called assault weapon is just like any other gun (firing one round each time the trigger is pulled), then why would he think anything would be achieved by banning some guns and leaving others (that work the same way) legal?

Perhaps most relevant, does he even care what the evidence shows?

The bottom line is that people are “voting with their dollars” for gun ownership for the simple reason that they know it’s unwise to trust government (either to protect them from crime or to respect their rights).

But that doesn’t mean their constitutional freedoms will be secure if Biden wins the 2020 election.

P.S. The good news is that there will be widespread civil disobedience if politicians push for new gun bans.

P.P.S. Another silver lining is that we’ll get more and more clever humor mocking gun control.

The Case Against Biden’s Class-Warfare Tax Policy, Part II

In Part I of this series, I expressed some optimism that Joe Biden would not aggressively push his class-warfare tax plan, particularly since Republicans almost certainly will wind up controlling the Senate.

But the main goal of that column was to explain that the internal revenue code already is heavily weighted against investors, entrepreneurs, business owners and other upper-income taxpayers.

And to underscore that point, I shared two charts from Brian Riedl’s chartbook to show that the “rich” are now paying a much larger share of the tax burden – notwithstanding the Reagan tax cuts, Bush tax cuts, and Trump tax cuts – than they were 40 years ago.

Not only that, but the United States has a tax system that is more “progressive” than all other developed nations (all of whom also impose heavy tax burdens on upper-income taxpayers, but differ from the United States in that they also pillage lower-income and middle-class residents).

In other words, Biden’s class-warfare tax plan is bad policy.

Today’s column, by contrast, will point out that his tax increases are impractical. Simply stated, they won’t collect much revenue because people change their behavior when incentives to earn and report income are altered.

This is especially true when looking at upper-income taxpayers who – compared to the rest of us – have much greater ability to change the timing, level, and composition of their income.

This helps to explain why rich people paid five times as much tax to the IRS during the 1980s when Reagan slashed the top tax rate from 70 percent to 28 percent.

When writing about this topic, I normally use the Laffer Curve to help people understand why simplistic assumptions about tax policy are wrong (that you can double tax revenue by doubling tax rates, for instance). And I point out that even folks way on the left, such as Paul Krugman, agree with this common-sense view (though it’s also worth noting that some people on the right discredit the concept by making silly assertions that “all tax cuts pay for themselves”).

But instead of showing the curve again, I want to go back to Brian Riedl’s chartbook and review his data on of revenue changes during the eight years of the Obama Administration.

It shows that Obama technically cut taxes by $822 billion (as further explained in the postscript, most of that occurred when some of the Bush tax cuts were made permanent by the “fiscal cliff” deal in 2012) and raised taxes by $1.32 trillion (most of that occurred as a result of the Obamacare legislation).

If we do the math, that means Obama imposed a cumulative net tax increase of about $510 billion during his eight years in office

But, if you look at the red bar on the chart, you’ll see that the government didn’t wind up with more money because of what the number crunchers refer to as “economic and technical reestimates.”

Indeed, those reestimates resulted in more than $3.1 trillion of lost revenue during the Obama years.

don’t want the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington to have more tax revenue, but I obviously don’t like it when tax revenues shrink simply because the economy is stagnant and people have less taxable income.

Yet that’s precisely what we got during the Obama years.

To be sure, it would be inaccurate to assert that revenues declined solely because of Obama’s tax increase. There were many other bad policies that also contributed to taxable income falling short of projections.

Heck, maybe there was simply some bad luck as well.

But even if we add lots of caveats, the inescapable conclusion is that it’s not a good idea to adopt policies – such as class-warfare tax rates – that discourage people from earning and reporting taxable income.

The bottom line is that we should hope Biden’s proposed tax increases die a quick death.

P.S. The “fiscal cliff” was the term used to describe the scheduled expiration of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts. According to the way budget data is measured in Washington, extending some of those provisions counted as a tax cut even though the practical impact was to protect people from a tax increase.

P.P.S. Even though Biden absurdly asserted that paying higher taxes is “patriotic,” it’s worth pointing out that he engaged in very aggressive tax avoidance to protect his family’s money.

President Joe Biden Will Be Bad, but a President Kamala Harris Would Be Worse

Joe Biden has a very misguided economic agenda. I’m especially disturbed by his class-warfare tax agenda, which will be bad news for American workers and American competitiveness.

The good news, as I wrote earlier this year, is that he probably isn’t serious about some of his worst ideas.

Biden is a statist, but not overly ideological. His support for bigger government is largely a strategy of catering to the various interest groups that dominate the Democratic Party. The good news is that he’s an incrementalist and won’t aggressively push for a horrifying FDR-style agenda if he gets to the White House.

But what if Joe Biden’s health deteriorates and Kamala Harris – sooner or later – winds up in charge?

That’s rather troubling since her agenda was far to the left of Biden’s when they were competing for the Democratic nomination.

And it doesn’t appear that being Biden’s choice for Vice President has led her to moderate her views. Consider this campaign ad, where she openly asserted that “equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place.”

The notion that we should strive for equality of outcomes rather than equality of opportunity is horrifying.

For all intents and purposes,Harris has embraced a harsh version of redistributionism where everyone above average is punished and everyone below average is rewarded.

This goes way beyond a safety net and it’s definitely a recipe for economic misery since people on both sides of the equationhave less incentive to be productive.

I’m not the only one to be taken aback by Harris’ dogmatic leftism.

Robby Soave, writing for Reason, is very critical of her radical outlook.

Harris gives voice to a leftist-progressive narrative about the importance of equity—equal outcomes—rather than mere equality before the law. …Harris contrasted equal treatment—all people getting the same thing—with equitable treatment,which means “we all end up at the same place.” …This may seem like a trivial difference, but when it comes to public policy, the difference matters. A government shouldbe obligated to treat all citizens equally, giving them the same access to civil rights and liberties like voting, marriage, religious freedom, and gun ownership. …A mandate to foster equity, though, would give the government power to violate these rights in order to achieve identical social results for all people. 

And, in a column for National Review, Brad Polumbo expresses similar reservations about her views.

Whether she embraces the label “socialist” or not, Harris’s stated agenda and Senate record both reveal her to be positioned a long way to the left on matters of economic policy. From health care to the environment to housing, Harris thinks the answer to almost every problem we face is simply more government and more taxpayer money — raising taxes and further indebting future generations in the process.…Harris…supports an astounding $40 trillion in new spending over the next decade. In a sign of just how far left the Democratic Party has shifted on economics, Harris backs more than 20 times as much spending as Hillary Clinton proposed in 2016. …And this is not just a matter of spending. During her failed presidential campaign, Harris supported a federal-government takeover of health care… The senator jumped on the “Green New Deal” bandwagon as well. She co-sponsored the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate that called for a “new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era.” …she supports enacting price controls on housing across the country. …The left-wing group Progressive Punch analyzed Harris’s voting record and found that she is the fourth-most liberal senator, more liberal even than Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren. Similarly, the nonpartisan organization GovTrack.us deemed Harris the furthest-left member of the Senate for the 2019 legislative year. (Spoiler alert: If your voting record is to the left of Bernie Sanders, you might be a socialist.)

To be fair, Harris is simply a politician, so we have no idea what she really believes. Her hard-left agenda might simply be her way of appealing to Democratic voters, much as Republicans who run for president suddenly decide they support big tax cuts and sweeping tax reform.

But whether she’s sincere or insincere, it’s troubling that she actually says it’s the role of government to make sure we all “end up at the same place.”

Let’s close with a video clip from Milton Friedman. At the risk of understatement, he has a different perspective than Ms. Harris.

Since we highlighted Harris’ key quote, let’s also highlight the key quote from Friedman.

Amen.

P.S. It appears Republicans will hold the Senate, which presumably (hopefully?) means that any radical proposals would be dead on arrival, regardless of whether they’re proposed by Biden or Harris.

P.P.S. Harris may win the prize for the most economically illiterate proposal of the 2020 campaign.

——

Will Biden’s Class-Warfare Tax Plan Lead to an Exodus of Job Creators?

After Barack Obama took office (and especially after he was reelected), there was a big uptick in the number of rich people who chose to emigrate from the United States. 

There are many reasons wealthy people choose to move from one nation to another, but Obama’s embrace of class-warfare tax policy (including FATCA) was seen as a big factor.

Joe Biden’s tax agenda is significantly more punitive than Obama’s, so we may see something similar happen if he wins the 2020 election.

Given the economic importance of innovatorsentrepreneurs, and inventors, this would be not be good news for the American economy.

The New York Times reported late last year that the United States could be shooting itself in the foot by discouraging wealthy residents.

…a different group of Americans say they are considering leaving — people of both parties who would be hit by the wealth tax… Wealthy Americans often leave high-tax states like New York and California for lower-tax ones like Florida and Texas. But renouncing citizenship is a far more permanent, costly and complicated proposition. …“America’s the most attractive destination for capital, entrepreneurs and people wanting to get a great education,” said Reaz H. Jafri, a partner and head of the immigration practice at Withers, an international law firm. “But in today’s world, when you have other economic centers of excellence — like Singapore, Switzerland and London — people don’t view the U.S. as the only place to be.” …now, the price may be right to leave. While the cost of expatriating varies depending on a person’s assets, the wealthiest are betting that if a Democrat wins…, leaving now means a lower exit tax. …The wealthy who are considering renouncing their citizenship fear a wealth tax less than the possibility that the tax on capital gains could be raised to the ordinary income tax rate, effectively doubling what a wealthy person would pay… When Eduardo Saverin, a founder of Facebook…renounced his United States citizenship shortly before the social network went public, …several estimates said that renouncing his citizenship…saved him $700 million in taxes.

The migratory habits of rich people make a difference in the global economy.

Here are some excerpts from a 2017 Bloomberg story.

Australia is luring increasing numbers of global millionaires, helping make it one of the fastest growing wealthy nations in the world… Over the past decade, total wealth held in Australia has risen by 85 percent compared to 30 percent in the U.S. and 28 percent in the U.K… As a result, the average Australian is now significantly wealthier than the average American or Briton. …Given its relatively small population, Australia also makes an appearance on a list of average wealth per person. This one is, however, dominated by small tax havens.

Here’s one of the charts from the story.

As you can see, Australia is doing very well, though the small tax havens like Monaco are world leaders.

I’m mystified, however, that the Cayman Islands isn’t listed.

But I’m digressing.

Let’s get back to our main topic. It’s worth noting that even Greece is seeking to attract rich foreigners.

The new tax law is aimed at attracting fresh revenues into the country’s state coffers – mainly from foreigners as well as Greeks who are taxed abroad – by relocating their tax domicile to Greece, as it tries to woo “high-net-worth individuals” to the Greek tax register.The non-dom model provides for revenues obtained abroad to be taxed at a flat amount… Having these foreigners stay in Greece for at least 183 days a year, as the law requires, will also entail expenditure on accommodation and everyday costs that will be added to the Greek economy. …most eligible foreigners will be able to considerably lighten their tax burden if they relocate to Greece…nevertheless, the amount of 500,000 euros’ worth of investment in Greece required of foreigners and the annual flat tax of 100,000 euros demanded (plus 20,000 euros per family member) may keep many of them away.

The system is too restrictive, but it will make the beleaguered nation an attractive destination for some rich people. After all, they don’t even have to pay a flat tax, just a flat fee.

Italy has enjoyed some success with a similar regime to entice millionaires.

Last but not least, an article published last year has some fascinating details on the where rich people move and why they move.

The world’s wealthiest people are also the most mobile. High net worth individuals (HNWIs) – persons with wealth over US$1 million – may decide to pick up and move for a number of reasons. In some cases they are attracted by jurisdictions with more favorable tax laws… Unlike the middle class, wealthy citizens have the means to pick up and leave when things start to sideways in their home country. An uptick in HNWI migration from a country can often be a signal of negative economic or societal factors influencing a country. …Time-honored locations – such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands – continue to attract the world’s wealthy, but no country is experiencing HNWI inflows quite like Australia. …The country has a robust economy, and is perceived as being a safe place to raise a family. Even better, Australia has no inheritance tax

Here’s a map from the article.

The good news is that the United States is attracting more millionaires than it’s losing (perhaps because of the EB-5 program).

The bad news is that this ratio could flip after the election. Indeed, it may already be happening even though recent data on expatriation paints a rosy picture.

The bottom line is that the United States should be competing to attract millionaires, not repel them. Assuming, of course, politicians care about jobs and prosperity for the rest of the population.

P.S. American politicians, copying laws normally imposed by the world’s most loathsome regimes, have imposed an “exit tax” so they can grab extra cash from rich people who choose to become citizens elsewhere.

P.P.S. I’ve argued that Australia is a good place to emigrate even for those of us who aren’t rich.

—-


Question of the Week: Which Department of the Federal Government Should Be the First to Be Abolished?

I was asked last week which entitlement program is most deserving of reform.

While acknowledging that Social Security and Medicare also are in desperate need of modernization, I wrote that Medicaid reformshould be the first priority.

But I’d be happy if we made progress on any type of entitlement reform, so I don’t think there are right or wrong answers to this kind of question.

We have the same type of question this week. A reader sent an email to ask “Which federal department should be abolished first?”

I guess this is what is meant when people talk about a target-rich environment. We have an abundance of candidates:

But if I have to choose, I think the Department of Housing and Urban Development should be first on the chopping block.

Raze the building and put a layer of salt over the earth to make sure it can never spring back to life

I’ve already argued that there should be no federal government involvement in the housing sector and made the same argument on TV. And I’ve also shared some horror stories about HUD waste and incompetence.

Heck, I even made HUD the background image for my video on the bloated and overpaid bureaucracy in Washington.

It’s also worth noting that there’s nothing about housing in Article I, Section VIII, of the Constitution. For those of us who have old-fashioned values about playing by the rules, that means much of what takes place in Washington – including housing handouts – is unconstitutional.

Simply stated, there is no legitimate argument for HUD. And I think there would be the least political resistance.

As with the answer to the question about entitlements, this is a judgment call. I’d be happy to be proven wrong if it meant that politicians were aggressively going after another department. Anything that reduces the burden of government spending is a step in the right direction


Milton Friedman on Spending

October 3, 2020 by Dan Mitchell

I identified four heroes from the “Battle of Ideas” video I shared in late August – Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher. Here’s one of those heroes, Milton Friedman, explaining what’s needed to control big government.

Why Milton Friedman Saw School Choice as a First Step, Not a Final One

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Kerry McDonald
Kerry McDonald

EducationMilton FriedmanSchool ChoiceSchooling

Libertarians and others are often torn about school choice. They may wish to see the government schooling monopoly weakened, but they may resist supporting choice mechanisms, like vouchers and education savings accounts, because they don’t go far enough. Indeed, most current choice programs continue to rely on taxpayer funding of education and don’t address the underlying compulsory nature of elementary and secondary schooling.

Skeptics may also have legitimate fears that taxpayer-funded education choice programs will lead to over-regulation of previously independent and parochial schooling options, making all schooling mirror compulsory mass schooling, with no substantive variation.

Milton Friedman had these same concerns. The Nobel prize-winning economist is widely considered to be the one to popularize the idea of vouchers and school choice beginning with his 1955 paper, “The Role of Government in Education.” His vision continues to be realized through the important work of EdChoice, formerly the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, that Friedman and his economist wife, Rose, founded in 1996.

July 31 is Milton Friedman’s birthday. He died in 2006 at the age of 94, but his ideas continue to have an impact, particularly in education policy.

Friedman saw vouchers and other choice programs as half-measures. He recognized the larger problems of taxpayer funding and compulsion, but saw vouchers as an important starting point in allowing parents to regain control of their children’s education. In their popular book, Free To Choose, first published in 1980, the Friedmans wrote:

We regard the voucher plan as a partial solution because it affects neither the financing of schooling nor the compulsory attendance laws. We favor going much farther. (p.161)

They continued:

The compulsory attendance laws are the justification for government control over the standards of private schools. But it is far from clear that there is any justification for the compulsory attendance laws themselves. (p. 162)

The Friedmans admitted that their “own views on this have changed over time,” as they realized that “compulsory attendance at schools is not necessary to achieve that minimum standard of literacy and knowledge,” and that “schooling was well-nigh universal in the United States before either compulsory attendance or government financing of schooling existed. Like most laws, compulsory attendance laws have costs as well as benefits. We no longer believe the benefits justify the costs.” (pp. 162-3)

Still, they felt that vouchers would be the essential starting point toward chipping away at monopoly mass schooling by putting parents back in charge. School choice, in other words, would be a necessary but not sufficient policy approach toward addressing the underlying issue of government control of education.

In their book, the Friedmans presented the potential outcomes of their proposed voucher plan, which would give parents access to some or all of the average per-pupil expenditures of a child enrolled in public school. They believed that vouchers would help create a more competitive education market, encouraging education entrepreneurship. They felt that parents would be more empowered with greater control over their children’s education and have a stronger desire to contribute some of their own money toward education. They asserted that in many places “the public school has fostered residential stratification, by tying the kind and cost of schooling to residential location” and suggested that voucher programs would lead to increased integration and heterogeneity. (pp. 166-7)

To the critics who said, and still say, that school choice programs would destroy the public schools, the Friedmans replied that these critics fail to

explain why, if the public school system is doing such a splendid job, it needs to fear competition from nongovernmental, competitive schools or, if it isn’t, why anyone should object to its “destruction.” (p. 170)

What I appreciate most about the Friedmans discussion of vouchers and the promise of school choice is their unrelenting support of parents. They believed that parents, not government bureaucrats and intellectuals, know what is best for their children’s education and well-being and are fully capable of choosing wisely for their children—when they have the opportunity to do so.

They wrote:

Parents generally have both greater interest in their children’s schooling and more intimate knowledge of their capacities and needs than anyone else. Social reformers, and educational reformers in particular, often self-righteously take for granted that parents, especially those who are poor and have little education themselves, have little interest in their children’s education and no competence to choose for them. That is a gratuitous insult. Such parents have frequently had limited opportunity to choose. However, U.S. history has demonstrated that, given the opportunity, they have often been willing to sacrifice a great deal, and have done so wisely, for their children’s welfare. (p. 160).

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Today, school voucher programs exist in 15 states plus the District of Columbia. These programs have consistently shown that when parents are given the choice to opt-out of an assigned district school, many will take advantage of the opportunity. In Washington, D.C., low-income parents who win a voucher lottery send their children to private schools.

The most recent three-year federal evaluationof voucher program participants found that while student academic achievement was comparable to achievement for non-voucher students remaining in public schools, there were statistically significant improvements in other important areas. For instance, voucher participants had lower rates of chronic absenteeism than the control groups, as well as higher student satisfaction scores. There were also tremendous cost-savings.

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program has served over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools.

According to Corey DeAngelis, Director of School Choice at the Reason Foundation and a prolific researcher on the topic, the recent analysis of the D.C. voucher program “reveals that private schools produce the same academic outcomes for only a third of the cost of the public schools. In other words, school choice is a great investment.”

In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was created in 1990 and is the nation’s oldest voucher program. It currently serves over 28,000 low-income students attending 129 participating private schools. Like the D.C. voucher program, data on test scores of Milwaukee voucher students show similar results to public school students, but non-academic results are promising.

Recent research found voucher recipients had lower crime rates and lower incidences of unplanned pregnancies in young adulthood. On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

According to Howard Fuller, an education professor at Marquette University, founder of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and one of the developers of the Milwaukee voucher program, the key is parent empowerment—particularly for low-income minority families.

In an interview with NPR, Fuller said: “What I’m saying to you is that there are thousands of black children whose lives are much better today because of the Milwaukee parental choice program,” he says. 
“They were able to access better schools than they would have without a voucher.”

Putting parents back in charge of their child’s education through school choice measures was Milton Friedman’s goal. It was not his ultimate goal, as it would not fully address the funding and compulsion components of government schooling; but it was, and remains, an important first step. As the Friedmans wrote in Free To Choose:

The strong American tradition of voluntary action has provided many excellent examples that demonstrate what can be done when parents have greater choice. (p. 159).

On his birthday, let’s celebrate Milton Friedman’s vision of enabling parents, not government, to be in control of a child’s education.

Kerry McDonald

Milton Friedman

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MUSIC MONDAY Lennon later allowed Yoko Ono to give the lyric sheet of the song THE WORD to John Cage as a birthday present. It was reproduced in Cage’s book Notations, a collection of scores from modern music!

—-

John Cage had an influence on both McCartney and Lennon. Take a look at these articles below which shows that!

Lennon later allowed Yoko Ono to give the lyric sheet of the song THE WORD to John Cage as a birthday present. It was reproduced in Cage’s book Notations, a collection of scores from modern music!

The Word

Published: Sunday 16 March 2008 | Last updated: Tuesday 12 January 2021

Written by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 10 November 1965
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 3 December 1965 (UK), 6 December 1965 (US)

Available on:
Rubber Soul
Love

Contents

Personnel

John Lennon: vocals, rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney: vocals, bass, piano
George Harrison: vocals, lead guitar
Ringo Starr: drums, maracas
George Martin: harmonium

Released in 1965 on Rubber Soul, ‘The Word’ found The Beatles singing for the first time about love as a notional concept. It was a turning point in their writing, marking a transition between early songs such as ‘She Loves You’, and the psychedelic era’s belief that ‘All You Need Is Love’. It sort of dawned on me that love was the answer, when I was younger, on the Rubber Soul album. My first expression of it was a song called ‘The Word’. The word is ‘love’, in the good and the bad books that I have read, whatever, wherever, the word is ‘love’. It seems like the underlying theme to the universe.

The lyrics of ‘The Word’ displayed an almost religious fervour, with John Lennon and Paul McCartney acting as evangelists for their new revelation about love.In the beginning I misunderstood
But now I’ve got it, the word is good…

Now that I know what I feel must be right
I’m here to show everybody the light

‘The Word’ demonstrated The Beatles’ increasing awareness of their power as spokesmen and figureheads. This was developed especially by Lennon, in 1966’s ‘Rain’ (‘Can you hear me?’; ‘I can show you’) and his later political songs.

The song was a collaboration between Lennon and McCartney, and began as an attempt to write a song based around a single note.We smoked a bit of pot, then we wrote out a multicoloured lyric sheet, the first time we’d ever done that. We normally didn’t smoke when we were working. It got in the way of songwriting because it would just cloud your mind up – ‘Oh, shit, what are we doing?’ It’s better to be straight. But we did this multicoloured thing.Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

Lennon later allowed Yoko Ono to give the lyric sheet to John Cage as a birthday present. It was reproduced in Cage’s book Notations, a collection of scores from modern music.

Elements from ‘The Word’ were combined with ‘Drive My Car’ and ‘What You’re Doing’, for a sequence on the 2006 album Love.‘The Word’ was written together, but it’s mainly mine. You read the words, it’s all about – gettin’ smart. It’s the marijuana period. It’s love, it’s the love-and-peace thing. The word is ‘love’, right?John Lennon
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

In the studio

‘The Word’ was recorded in a session beginning at 9pm on 10 November 1965, finishing at 4am the following morning.

It took just three takes to perfect the rhythm track. Onto this were overdubbed harmony vocals, piano by Paul McCartney, a harmonium part performed by George Martin, and maracas played by Ringo Starr.


The following article mentions the influence John Cage had on two Beatles’ songs:

John Cage’s reach extended well beyond experimental music 

He influenced the Beatles’ Paul McCartney and John Lennon and artists in several other genres.September 02, 2012|By Scott Timberg, Special to the Los Angeles Times

Brian Eno, left, and John Cage in London, circa 1982.

Brian Eno, left, and John Cage in London, circa 1982. (Michael Putland, Getty…)

John Cage’s ideas have long inspired artists inside and outside the experimental music subculture. Besides new-music figures considered disciples or associates — Christian Wolff, Earle Brown, Morton Feldman and David Tudor, for example — he had an effect on the most famous rock band of all time: Paul McCartney became interested in Cage in 1966, and the chaotic orchestration of the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” is thought to have derived from Cage’s ideas, as had several of John Lennon’s songs during the band’s last years, including “Revolution 9,” with its debt to Cage’s notions of randomness.

Francis Schaeffer went on to write:

Sir Archibald Russel (1905-) was the British designer for the Concorde airliner. In a NEWSWEEK: European Edition interview (February 16, 1976) he was asked : “Many people find that the Concorde is a work of art in its design. Did you consider its aesthetic appearance when you were designing it?” His answer was, “When one designs an airplane, he must stay as close as possible to the laws of nature. You are really playing with the laws of nature and trying not to offend them. It so happens that our ideas of beauty are those of nature. That’s why I doubt that the Russian supersonic airplane is a crib of ours. The Russians have the same basic phenomena imposed on them by nature as we do.”

Cage’s music and the world-view for which it is the vehicle do not fit the universe that is. Someone might here bring in Einstein, Werner Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty and quantum, but we have considered them on page 162, and so will not repeat the discussion here. The universe is not what Cage in his music and Pollock in his painting say it is. And we must add that Cage’s music does not fit what people are, either. It has had to become increasingly spectacular to keep interest; for example, a nude cellist has played Cage’s music under water.

Francis Schaeffer in the film Age of Fragmentation notes: 

What a contrast to Bach who had much diversity but always resolution. Bach as a Christian believed there was resolution for the individual and for history. 

As the music that came out of the Biblical teaching of the reformation was influenced by that worldview so the worldview of modern man shapes modern music. Is this art really art? Is it not rather a bare philosophic, intellectual statement, separated from the fullness of who people are and the fullness of what the universe is? The more it tends to be only an intellectual statement, rather than a work of art, the more it becomes anti-art. 

Come Together – John Lennon (Live In New York City)

George Harrison – Here comes the sun Subtitulada en Español

LET IT BE

_-

The Beatles – Yellow Submarine

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 133 Louise Antony is UMass, Phil Dept, “Atheists if they commit themselves to justice, peace and the relief of suffering can only be doing so out of love for the good. Atheist have the opportunity to practice perfect piety”

June 6, 2017 – 1:35 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 166 George Harrison’s song ART OF DYING (Featured artist is Joel Sheesley )

June 1, 2017 – 12:13 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 165 George Harrison’s view that many roads lead to Heaven (Featured artist is Tim Lowly)

May 25, 2017 – 12:47 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 164 THE BEATLES Edgar Allan Poe (Featured artist is Christopher Wool)

May 18, 2017 – 12:43 am

PART 163 BEATLES Breaking down the song LONG AND WINDING ROAD (Featured artist is Charles Lutyens )

May 11, 2017 – 1:18 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 162 A look at the BEATLES Breaking down the song ALL WE NEED IS LOVE Part C (Featured artist is Grace Slick)

May 4, 2017 – 1:40 am

PART 161 A look at the BEATLES Breaking down the song ALL WE NEED IS LOVE Part B (Featured artist is Francis Hoyland )

April 27, 2017 – 1:52 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 160 A look at the BEATLES Breaking down the song ALL WE NEED IS LOVE Part A (Featured artist is Shirazeh Houshiary)

April 20, 2017 – 1:00 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 159 BEATLES, Soccer player Albert Stubbins made it on SGT. PEP’S because he was sport hero (Artist featured is Richard Land)

April 13, 2017 – 12:29 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 158 THE BEATLES (breaking down the song WHY DON’T WE DO IT IN THE ROAD?) Photographer Bob Gomel featured today!

April 6, 2017 – 12:25 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 118 THE BEATLES (Why was Tony Curtis on cover of SGT PEP?) (Feature on artist Jeffrey Gibson )

June 30, 2016 – 5:35 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 117 THE BEATLES, Breaking down the song WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU Part B (Featured artist is Emma Amos )

June 23, 2016 – 1:31 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 116 THE BEATLES, Breaking down the song WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU Part A (Featured artist is Faith Ringgold)

June 16, 2016 – 1:34 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 115 A look at the BEATLES as featured in 7th episode of Francis Schaeffer film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? “Take these broken wings and learn to fly” (Featured artist is Sam Gilliam )

June 9, 2016 – 7:09 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 114 BEATLES (Breaking down the psychedelic song BECAUSE, The composition of the song) (Featured artist is John Baldessari )

June 2, 2016 – 12:34 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 113 BEATLES (Breaking down the psychedelic song BECAUSE, what is the meaning of the song?) (Featured artist is Julian Stanczak )

May 26, 2016 – 12:34 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 112 A look at the BEATLES as featured in 7th episode of Francis Schaeffer film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? What irrational trips did the Beatles try in order to find meaning in life? (Featured artist is David Bates )

May 19, 2016 – 8:12 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 111 A look at the BEATLES as featured in 7th episode of Francis Schaeffer film “How should we then live?” MAKING NATURE THE MEASURE OF GOODNESS (Featured artist is Dorothea Rockburne )

May 11, 2016 – 11:06 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 110 A look at the BEATLES as featured in 7th episode of Francis Schaeffer film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Part H The History of Fragmentation in Art and Music leading up to the Beatles! (Artist featured today is Robert Wagner)

May 6, 2016 – 7:55 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 109 A look at the BEATLES as featured in 7th episode of Francis Schaeffer film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Part G “She (We gave her most of our lives) is leaving (Sacrificed most of our lives) home (We gave her everything money could buy) She’s leaving home after living alone” (Artist featured today is Maggi Hambling )

April 28, 2016 – 12:28 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 108 A look at the BEATLES as featured in 7th episode of Francis Schaeffer film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Part F The Chance worldview of A DAY IN THE LIFE and the solution it suggests (Artist featured today is Patrick Caulfield )

April 21, 2016 – 7:00 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 107 A look at the BEATLES as featured in 7th episode of Francis Schaeffer film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Was popularity of OCCULTISM in UK the reason Aleister Crowley appeared on SGT PEP cover? Schaeffer notes, “People put the Occult in the area of non-reason in the hope of some kind of meaning even if it is a horrendous kind of meaning” Part E (Artist featured today is Gerald Laing )

April 14, 2016 – 1:52 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 106 A look at the BEATLES as featured in 7th episode of Francis Schaeffer film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Part D “Imagine there’s no heaven” (Artist featured today is Allen Jones)

April 7, 2016 – 4:23 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 105 A look at the BEATLES as featured in 7th episode of Francis Schaeffer film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Part C “Materialism, the philosophic base for Marxist-Leninism, gives no basis for the dignity or rights of man!” (Artist featured today is Peter Findley )

March 31, 2016 – 5:18 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 104 A look at the BEATLES as featured in 7th episode of Francis Schaeffer film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Part B “The church with its liberal theology has left a vacuum.” The Fab Four were victims of religious liberalism and as a result were constantly searching for values!! (Artist featured today is Richard Hamilton)

March 23, 2016 – 2:14 pmFRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 103 A look at the BEATLES as featured in 7th episode of Francis Schaeffer film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Part A “Humanist man gave up his optimism for pessimism” (Artist featured today is Peter Max)March 17, 2016 – 12:06 am

“Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings…” Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984). We take a look today at how the Beatles were featured in Schaeffer’s film. How Should We then Live Episode 7 small   On You Tube […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Tagged peter max | Edit|Comments (0)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 102 BEATLES, Sonny Liston is another sad story featured on SGT PEPPERS COVER (Artist featured Takako Saito )

March 10, 2016 – 1:17 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 101 BEATLES,(MANY CHRISTIANS ATTACKED THE BEATLES WHILE FRANCIS SCHAEFFER STUDIED THEIR MUSIC! Part B) Artist featured today is Cartoonist Gahan Wilson

March 3, 2016 – 12:21 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 100 (MANY CHRISTIANS ATTACKED THE BEATLES WHILE FRANCIS SCHAEFFER STUDIED THEIR MUSIC! Part A) Featured Artist is Klaus Voormann

February 25, 2016 – 5:29 am

 FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 99 THE BEATLES (Breaking down the song “Penny Lane”Part B) Featured artist is Clive Barker

February 18, 2016 – 5:15 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 98 THE BEATLES (Breaking down the song “Penny Lane”Part A) Featured artist is Marty Balin

February 11, 2016 – 5:02 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 97 THE BEATLES (The Beatles and Paramhansa Yogananda ) (Feature on artist Ronnie Wood)

February 4, 2016 – 5:22 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 96 THE BEATLES (Breaking down the song “Eleanor Rigby” Part B and the issue of LONELINESS) Featured artist is Robert Morris

January 28, 2016 – 5:31 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 95 THE BEATLES (Breaking down the song “Eleanor Rigby” Part A and the issue of DEATH ) Featured artist is Joe Tilson

January 21, 2016 – 5:42 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 94 THE BEATLES (The Beatles and the Gurus on SGT. PEP. ) (Feature on PHOTOGRAPHER BILL WYMAN )

January 14, 2016 – 5:16 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 93 THE BEATLES (Breaking down “REVOLUTION 9” Part B) Astrid Kirchherr is featured Photographer

January 7, 2016 – 5:06 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 92 THE BEATLES (Breaking down “REVOLUTION 9” Part A) Featured photographer is John Loengard

December 31, 2015 – 5:35 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 91 (WHY WAS H.G.WELLS ON THE COVER OF SGT. PEPPERS? Part B) Featured Artist is Claes Oldenburg

December 24, 2015 – 5:36 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 90 (WHY WAS H.G.WELLS ON THE COVER OF SGT. PEPPERS? Part A) Featured Artist is Ellsworth Kelly

December 17, 2015 – 5:11 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 89 THE BEATLES, Breaking down the song “BLACKBIRD” Part B (Featured Photographer is Jürgen Vollmer)

December 10, 2015 – 1:52 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 88 THE BEATLES, Breaking down the song “BLACKBIRD” Part A (Featured Photographer is Richard Avedon)

December 3, 2015 – 5:24 am

 FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART THE BEATLES Part 87 George Bernard Shaw Part B “Why was Shaw on the cover of SGT. PEPPER’S?” Featured Photographer is Henry Grossman

November 26, 2015 – 5:44 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE, THE BEATLES Part 86 George Bernard Shaw Part A “Why was Shaw on the cover of SGT. PEPPER’S?” Featured Photographer is Robert Whitaker

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 85 (Breaking down the song “When I’m Sixty-Four” Part B) Featured Photographer and Journalist is Bill Harry

November 12, 2015 – 5:03 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 84 (Breaking down the song “When I’m Sixty-Four”Part A) Featured Photographer is Annie Leibovitz

November 5, 2015 – 4:57 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 83 THE BEATLES (Why was Karlheinz Stockhausen on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s? ) (Feature on artist Nam June Paik )

October 29, 2015 – 5:27 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 82 THE BEATLES, Breaking down the song DEAR PRUDENCE (Photographer featured is Bill Eppridge)

October 22, 2015 – 5:34 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 81 THE BEATLES Why was Dylan Thomas put on the cover of SGT PEPPERS? (Featured artist is sculptor David Wynne)

October 15, 2015 – 5:48 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 80 THE BEATLES (breaking down the song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” ) (Featured artist is Saul Steinberg)

October 8, 2015 – 5:54 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 79 THE BEATLES (Why was William Burroughs on Sgt. Pepper’s cover? ) (Feature on artist Brion Gysin)

October 1, 2015 – 5:48 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 78 THE BEATLES (Breaking down the song TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS) Featured musical artist is Stuart Gerber

September 24, 2015 – 5:42 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 77 THE BEATLES (Who got the Beatles talking about Vietnam War? ) (Feature on artist Nicholas Monro )

September 17, 2015 – 5:33 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 76 THE BEATLES (breaking down the song STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER) (Artist featured is Jamie Wyeth)

September 10, 2015 – 5:38 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 75 THE BEATLES (Part Z WHY DID LENNON CHOOSE HITLER FOR THE COVER OF STG. PEPPER’S? ) (Feature on artist Peter Kien )

September 3, 2015 – 5:23 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 74 THE BEATLES (Part Y, The link between the Beatles’ song HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN and PEANUTS creator Charles Schulz) (Featured artist is Andrew Wyeth)

August 27, 2015 – 5:23 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 73 THE BEATLES (Part X, Why did Albert Einstein get chosen to be on the cover of SGT. PEPPER’S? ) (Feature on artist John Lennon)

August 20, 2015 – 4:38 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 72 THE BEATLES (Part V Breaking down the song ” The Walrus” ) (Featured artist is Brenda Bury)

August 13, 2015 – 5:43 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 71 THE BEATLES (Part U, WHY SO MANY ALCOHOLICS ON COVER OF SGT. PEPPER’S?) (Feature on Photographer Linda McCartney )

August 6, 2015 – 5:40 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 70 THE BEATLES (Part T, Lennon’s friend and drug guru Timothy Leary spent time at Swiss retreat L’Abri in 1971 with Francis Schaeffer) (Feature on artist Paul McCartney)

July 30, 2015 – 5:23 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 69 THE BEATLES (Part S, WHY WAS SIMON RODILLA CHOSEN TO BE ON COVER OF SGT. PEPPER’S? ) (Feature on artist John Outterbridge )

July 23, 2015 at 4:24 am

9474 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 68 THE BEATLES (PART R WHY WAS JOHNNY WEISSMULLER CHOSEN TO BE ON COVER OF SGT. PEPPER’S?) Artist featured today is Eduardo Paolozzi

July 16, 2015 – 4:55 am9193 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 67 THE BEATLES (Part Q, RICHES AND LUXURIES NEVER SATISFIED THE BEATLES! ) (Feature on artist Derek Boshier )

July 9, 2015 – 4:23 am6048 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 66 THE BEATLES (Part P, The Beatles’ best song ever is A DAY IN THE LIFE which in on Sgt Pepper’s!) (Feature on artist and clothes designer Manuel Cuevas )

July 2, 2015 – 1:07 am8693 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 65 THE BEATLES (Part O, The 1960’s SEXUAL REVOLUTION was on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s!) (Featured artist is Pauline Boty)

June 25, 2015 – 7:04 am11897 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 64 THE BEATLES (Part P The Meaning of Stg. Pepper’s song SHE’S LEAVING HOME according to Schaeffer!!!!) (Featured artist Stuart Sutcliffe)

June 18, 2015 – 4:53 am8326 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 63 THE BEATLES (Part O , BECAUSE THE BEATLES LOVED HUMOR IT IS FITTING THAT 6 COMEDIANS MADE IT ON THE COVER OF “SGT. PEPPER’S”!) (Feature on artist H.C. Westermann )

June 10, 2015 – 2:33 pm9810 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 62 THE BEATLES (Part N The last 4 people alive from cover of Stg. Pepper’s and the reason Bob Dylan was put on the cover!) (Feature on artist Larry Bell)

June 4, 2015 – 5:31 am 9929 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 61 THE BEATLES (Part M, Why was Karl Marx on the cover of Stg. Pepper’s?) (Feature on artist George Petty)

May 28, 2015 – 4:56 am9778 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 60 THE BEATLES (Part L, Why was Aleister Crowley on the cover of Stg. Pepper’s?) (Feature on artist Jann Haworth )

May 21, 2015 – 3:33 am9087 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 59 THE BEATLES (Part K, Advocating drugs was reason Aldous Huxley was on cover of Stg. Pepper’s) (Feature on artist Aubrey Beardsley)

May 13, 2015 – 12:49 pm 11068 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 58 THE BEATLES (Part J, Why was Carl Gustav Jung on the cover of Stg. Pepper’s?) (Feature on artist Richard Merkin)

May 7, 2015 – 4:45 am 9640 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 57 THE BEATLES (Part I, Schaeffer loved the Beatles’ music and most of all SERGEANT PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND ) (Feature on artist Heinz Edelmann )

April 30, 2015 – 4:17 am 11509 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 56 THE BEATLES (Part H, Stg. Pepper’s and Relativism) (Feature on artist Alberto Vargas )

April 23, 2015 – 9:23 am5251 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 55 THE BEATLES (Part G, The Beatles and Rebellion) (Feature on artist Wallace Berman )

April 16, 2015 – 12:30 am8725 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 54 THE BEATLES (Part F, Sgt Pepper’s & the LEAP into NONREASON and Eastern Religion) (Feature on artist Richard Lindner )

April 9, 2015 – 12:28 am10,110 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 53 THE BEATLES (Part E, Stg. Pepper’s and John Lennon’s search in 1967 for truth was through drugs, money, laughter, etc & similar to King Solomon’s, LOTS OF PICTURES OF JOHN AND CYNTHIA) (Feature on artist Yoko Ono)

April 2, 2015 – 7:05 am8315 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 52 THE BEATLES (Part D, There is evidence that the Beatles may have been exposed to Francis Schaeffer!!!) (Feature on artist Anna Margaret Rose Freeman )

March 22, 2015 – 12:30 am 11587 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 51 THE BEATLES (Part C, List of those on cover of Stg.Pepper’s ) (Feature on artist Raqib Shaw )

March 19, 2015 – 12:21 am8732 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 50 THE BEATLES (Part B, The Psychedelic Music of the Beatles) (Feature on artist Peter Blake )

March 12, 2015 – 12:16 am9993 words

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 49 THE BEATLES (Part A, The Meaning of Stg. Pepper’s Cover) (Feature on artist Mika Tajima)

March 5, 2015 – 4:47 am6821 words

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This story about Sir Roger Moore meeting a fan is incredible!

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My son sent this story tonight below about Roger Moore that I enjoyed!

I was a big Roger Moore fan over the years and  I  loved each James Bond movie he was in. Sean Connery was an outstanding  Bond too.

The best Roger Moore story you will not hear about

Jordan Ruimy

Mark Haynes posted on Facebook an incredibly moving and exemplary chance meeting he had with Moore at an airport, when he was just seven years of age.”

As a seven-year-old in about 1983, in the days before First Class Lounges at airports, I was with my grandad in Nice Airport and saw Roger Moore sitting at the departure gate, reading a paper. I told my granddad I’d just seen James Bond and asked if we could go over so I could get his autograph. My grandad had no idea who James Bond or Roger Moore were, so we walked over and he popped me in front of Roger Moore, with the words “my grandson says you’re famous. Can you sign this?””As charming as you’d expect, Roger asks my name and duly signs the back of my plane ticket, a fulsome note full of best wishes. I’m ecstatic, but as we head back to our seats, I glance down at the signature. It’s hard to decipher it but it definitely doesn’t say ‘James Bond’.

My grandad looks at it, half figures out it says ‘Roger Moore’ – I have absolutely no idea who that is, and my hearts sinks. I tell my grandad he’s signed it wrong, that he’s put someone else’s name – so my grandad heads back to Roger Moore, holding the ticket which he’s only just signed.””I remember staying by our seats and my grandad saying “he says you’ve signed the wrong name. He says your name is James Bond.” Roger Moore’s face crinkled up with realisation and he beckoned me over. When I was by his knee, he leant over, looked from side to side, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said to me, “I have to sign my name as ‘Roger Moore’ because otherwise…Blofeld might find out I was here.” He asked me not to tell anyone that I’d just seen James Bond, and he thanked me for keeping his secret. I went back to our seats, my nerves absolutely jangling with delight. My grandad asked me if he’d signed ‘James Bond.’ No, I said. I’d got it wrong. I was working with James Bond now.””And then he did something so brilliant. After the filming, he walked past me in the corridor, heading out to his car – but as he got level, he paused, looked both ways, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said, “Of course I remember our meeting in Nice.

But I didn’t say anything in there, because those cameramen – any one of them could be working for Blofeld.”Many, many years later, I was working as a scriptwriter on a recording that involved UNICEF, and Roger Moore was doing a piece to camera as an ambassador. He was completely lovely and while the cameramen were setting up, I told him in passing the story of when I met him in Nice Airport. He was happy to hear it, and he had a chuckle and said “Well, I don’t remember but I’m glad you got to meet James Bond.” So that was lovely.””I was as delighted at 30 as I had been at 7. What a man. What a tremendous man.”

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BREAKING: Roger Moore Dies, Legendary James Bond Star Dead at 89

Sir Roger Moore Tribute

A View To A Kill – Eiffel Tower

Octopussy (1983) – Intro (1/2)

Octopussy (1983) – Intro (2/2)

The Spy Who Loved Me – Skiing Opening Scene

Crocodile Farm Escape (Live And Let Die)

LIVE AND LET DIE (1973) Crocodile Jump Attempts (Behind the Scenes)

Published on Sep 19, 2014

Ross Kananga secured the feet of three crocodiles to the shallow pond’s bottom, leaving their jaws and tails free. After removing the other reptiles from the pond, Kananga attempted the dangerous cross. He slipped into the water on the first four tries, but fortunately fell out of the crocodiles snapping jaws. On the fifth attempt, he executed the stunt flawlessly.

Live and Let Die (1973) – Intro

Blofeld’s Death: James Bond 007 – For Your Eyes Only 1981 – Helicopter Dropoff – 1080p HD

This story about Sir Roger Moore meeting a fan is incredible

This story about Sir Roger Moore meeting a fan is incredible
Sir Roger Moore died earlier today (Picture: WENN)

Sir Roger Moore has died after a battle with cancer – and his passing marks the departure of a bonafide screen legend.

But while his heroic on screen credentials are unquestionable, it seems that he was every bit a brilliant man off screen too.

Cannes Film Festival 2017: Eva Longoria plays the joker backstage at the festival

Scriptwriter Marc Haynes gave proof of this by sharing his experience of meeting Sir Roger Moore on two separate occasions.

The first came during the 1980s, when Marc was a young boy and spotted Sir Roger Moore at Nice Airport – before pleading with his granddad to ask the Bond star for an autograph.

The second meeting, of which we won’t divulge too much, comes decades later – and it is an exchange that shows Sir Roger to be a man of unquestionable class.

Here’s his incredible story.

This story about Sir Roger Moore meeting a fan is incredible

This story about Sir Roger Moore meeting a fan is incredible

What a man. What a legend.

MORE: Sir Roger Moore wanted to be remembered with a ‘procession through Stockwell’

MORE: Sir Roger Moore joked about ‘freezing cold’ James Bond sex scenes in final public appearance

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 370 (The Cure) I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.” Featured artist is Louise Despont

It doesn’t matter if we all die 
Ambition in the back of a black car 
In a high building there is so much to do 
Going home time 
A story on the radio 
Something small falls out of your mouth 
And we laugh 
A prayer for something better 
A prayer 
For something better Please love me 
Meet my mother 
But the fear takes hold 
Creeping up the stairs in the dark Waiting for the death blow 
Waiting for the death blow 
Waiting for the death blow 
Stroking your hair as the patriots are shot 
Fighting for freedom on the television 
Sharing the world with slaughtered pigs 
Have we got everything? 
She struggles to get awayThe pain 
And the creeping feeling 
A little black haired girl 
Waiting for Saturday 
The death of her father pushing her 
Pushing her white face into the mirror 
Aching inside me 
And turn me round 
Just like the old days 
Just like the old days 
Just like the old days 
Just like the old days Caressing an old man 
And painting a lifeless face 
Just a piece of new meat in a clean room 
The soldiers close in under a yellow moon 
All shadows and deliverance 
Under a black flag 
A hundred years of blood 
Crimson 
The ribbon tightens round my throat 
I open my mouth 
And my head bursts open 
A sound like a tiger thrashing in the water 
Thrashing in the water 
Over and over 
We die one after the other 
Over and over 
We die one after the other 
One after the other 
One after the other 
One after the other 
One after the other It feels like a hundred years 
A hundred years 
A hundred years 
A hundred years 
A hundred years 
One hundred yearsSource: LyricFindSongwriters: Laurence Andrew Tolhurst / Robert James Smith / Simon Gallup

The Cure

The Cure are an English rock band formed in Crawley in 1976. The group has experienced continuous line-up changes over its lifespan, with vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Robert Smith being the only constant member. The band’s debut album was Three Imaginary Boys (1979) and this, along with several early singles, placed the band in the post-punk and new wave movements that had sprung up in the wake of the punk rockrevolution in the United Kingdom. During the early 1980s the band’s increasingly dark and tormented music, as well as Smith’s stage look, was a staple of the emerging style of music known as gothic rock.

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Ten musicians fueled by existentialism

JESSE LIVINGSTON | MAY 22, 2013 | 7:30AM

Music is filled with surprises. For every good-looking rebel working diligently to bring sexy back, there’s a bookish nerd sitting in a dim corner furiously scribbling esoteric poetry in a lyrics journal. Referencing literature is a surefire way to show the world that you’re a sensitive soul with important thoughts. Existentialism is clearly the most badass school of thought because it pits the individual (wearing black) against the absurdity of the uncaring cosmos (also wearing black). Keep reading for a look at ten existential musicians.

See also: – The Yawpers’ deep thoughts come through on Capon Crusade – The ten most noteworthy music publicity stunts – Review: They Might Be Giants at the Gothic Theatre, 11/5/09

10. The Classic Crime Nihilism and existentialism are certainly not the same, and the Classic Crime’s “The Happy Nihilist” illustrates the difference impeccably with its description of a lost soul who “used to read everything,” “used to need nothing” and now “can’t sleep ’cause I’m not happy.” Nihilism isn’t doing it for him; he needs something more. Existentialist thinkers would argue that it’s perfectly possible to be happy in a meaningless world, as long as you assign your own meaning to things (good news for the narrator of the song, and all of us). Speaking of nihilism, have you ever thought about just how brilliant the line “No, Donny. These men are nihilists. There’s nothing to be afraid of.” really is? Nothing to be afraid of. I see what you did there.

9. Cake Cake’s deliciously cryptic “Sheep Go to Heaven” is packed with obscure references. The chorus “Sheep go to Heaven, goats go to Hell” is an allusion to the Bible (often cited as the definitive record of who goes where). The line “And the gravedigger puts on the forceps” is a bit more perplexing. It’s taken directly from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, widely considered a staple of existentialist theater: “Down in the hole, lingeringly, the grave digger puts on the forceps. We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries. But habit is a great deadener.”


8. Janina Gavankar
 Speaking of Waiting for Godot, Janina Gavankar references the play in her 2012 single of the same name. Who is Janina Gavankar, you ask? She’s the actress who plays the mighty Shiva on The League and shapeshifting Luna Garza on True Blood. The video for her song shows two versions of her waiting together in a featureless white expanse. The song asks, “Friends may come, and friends may go/But if I wait for love, am I waiting for Godot?” The imagery is so over-the-top, it’s hard to tell if she’s serious. And isn’t that what existentialism is all about?

7. They Might Be Giants The godfathers of geek rock are no strangers to literary allusions. Perhaps the most existential of their songs is Apollo 18‘s “I Palindrome I.” It contains one of the best lines of all time: “Someday mother will die and I’ll get the money/Mom leans down and says ‘My sentiments exactly/You son of a bitch.” It’s a clear reference to the opening lines of Camus’ The Stranger: “Mother died today, or maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure.” We’re all snakes eating our own tails, but TMBG show us every day that the bleak wilderness of existence can be both fun and educational.

6. Tom “T-Bone” Stankus T-Bone’s “Existential Blues” — often mis-attributed to They Might Be Giants — was a big hit on the Dr. Dementoshow. A former public schoolteacher turned full-time entertainer, Stankus penned this rambling riff on philosophy and The Wizard of Oz while in the grip of a monumental opium/helium bender… at least that’s how it sounds. He was probably stone sober and just really weird. “Is it Plato’s heebie-jeebies or just existential blues?” he asks penetratingly. It’s both, T-Bone. It’s both.

5. As I Lay Dying This San Diego Christian metalcore band took their name from William Faulkner’s existential novel of Southern life gone horribly wrong. Considering that Faulkner won the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work, it’s somewhat distressing that As I Lay Dying’s lyrics sound like they came straight out of an online Goth poetry generator: “Emptiness running through me/Taking all that I am/Leaving me this blinding mask/Grasping for the wind/Everything I’ve done/Everything I’ve gained/It all means nothing.” On the other hand, frontman Tim Lambesis was recently arrested in an alleged murder-for-hire plot, and that’s something the characters in Faulkner’s novel could really get behind.

4. Tuxedomoon This experimental post-punk band from San Francisco prided themselves on their unique sound that Seattle Weeklydescribed as radiating “a discomfort that hints of existential hives.” The 1970s were chock-full of existential hives. Everyone knows that. The band’s song “Stranger” makes another reference to Camus’ landmark novel with the lines “Mother died today/Or maybe yesterday.” It also ends with the lines “I’m strange/I’m the stranger.” That’s the subtlety of poetic discourse that your high school English teacher used to tell you about.

3. The Yawpers Denver’s own Yawpers are deep into some existentialist reading. In a recent interview, the Yawpers told us about their album Capon Crusade and its not-infrequent references to Sartre and Camus. “They’re depressing as fuck,” said frontman Nate Cook, cutting to the heart of the philosophy. He then added, “Sartre and Camus are really poignant in pointing out just how flawed existence is in general, and sometimes that can be comforting when you’re trying to write some shitty song about getting fucked up because a girl left you.” That’s actually pretty astute. When misfortune befalls you, is it more or less reassuring to imagine that you deserve it? The great gift of the existentialist thinkers may be showing us that sometimes a lack of intrinsic meaning in the universe isn’t such a bad thing.

2. The Cure Robert Smith and company have made a career out of existential dread and despair — so much so that the early effort “Killing an Arab” now seems a little on-the-nose in its description of the pivotal scene from The Stranger. In fact, the song’s matter-of-fact lyrics have caused the band a good deal of grief over the years, as certain parties have tried to co-opt them as some kind of anti-Arab anthem. Re-releases have sported a sticker explaining that the song “decries the existence of all prejudice and consequent violence,” and Smith has taken to changing the lyrics in live performances to “killing another.” One shy English boy against a world of dull-witted savagery: what could be more existential than that?

1. The Eagles Don Henley’s vision of 1970s California as a fiendish hotel filled with earthly temptations takes its tone and setup from Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit. “Hell is other people,” says Sartre. Henley adds, “This could be Heaven, or this could be Hell,” implying that maybe they’re one and the same. “Hotel California” is one of those classic songs that deserves every bit of its fame. Listening to it, you feel a palpable desire to be somewhere warm and tropical where the livin’ is easy. You also feel a chill of recognition that you’d soon become bored, listless and depressed playing games with the wealthy and beautiful. “And still those voices are calling from far away.” Thanks, Henley. What an insightful, elegant bummer, man.

Robert Smith at the Southbank Centre: ‘I couldn’t understand how we could be so successful and still be honest.’

Show captionThe Cure

The Cure’s Robert Smith: ‘I was very optimistic when I was young – now I’m the opposite’

The singer and songwriter has been curating the Meltdown festival, and is planning to record the first Cure album in 10 years. But will it be fuelled by magic mushroom tea?Dorian LynskeyThu 7 Jun 2018 08.00 EDT

The first thing Robert Smith does is apologise for the makeup. He hasn’t worn it since his last concert with the Cure, in December 2016, but he has a photoshoot today at the Royal Festival Hall and thinks his features are too indistinct without it. To be honest, I would be disappointed if he wasn’t wearing it, along with his regulation baggy black clothes and silver jewellery. Since 1983, the sooty eyeliner, blood-smear lipstick and cobwebbed forest of hair have made him a human logo, transmuted, through the work of people such as Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman, into visual shorthand for the morbidly romantic. He looks like the Cure sound.

Even without the warpaint, Smith finds it hard to blend in. In 1989, at the height of his fame, he moved to the quiet south-coast village where he still lives with his wife, Mary, and gamely attended a meeting in the village hall. “It was pretty chaotic,” he sighs. “I was asked to leave, for no reason other than I wasn’t welcome. I thought, ‘I’ve made a terrible mistake.’” He clasps his hands over his face, just like he does in photographs.

For someone who once sang “It doesn’t matter if we all die”, Smith has an endearing relish for the bathetic comedy of life. Like the time, during the first Gulf war, when he held a press conference to explain that the Cure’s 1979 debut single Killing an Arab was a reference to L’Etranger and not, as some US radio DJs thought, an Islamophobic anthem. “It was totally surreal, explaining Camus to a sea of utterly bemused faces.” Or the time that he interviewed David Bowie for Xfm and arrived so drunk that he proceeded to talk over his hero for two hours. “I think my opening gambit was, ‘We can both agree you’ve never done anything good since 1982,’” he says, wincing.

For all his easy, blokeish charm, Smith means as much to millions of people as Bowie meant to him. This year, the Cure are marking the 40th anniversary of their first concert under that name (they started in 1976 as Malice) with a flurry of activity. Smith has been rummaging through boxes for a documentary directed by regular collaborator Tim Pope. “I knew a few people wanted to – what’s a nice way of saying exploit? – celebrate the 40th anniversary with projects,” he says. “I said no, but I knew that they would probably go ahead anyway unless I made it very obvious that we were doing something.” The Cure may even make their first album since 2008, but we will get to that.

The Cure in 1987.
The Cure in 1987.Photograph: Dave Hogan/Getty Images

First up, Smith is curating the Meltdown festivalat London’s Southbank Centre: a walloping 90 artists over 10 days. Smith will close the event under the name Cureation 25 – which promises a lineup of previous bandmates and more – shortly before the Cure headline a sold-out Hyde Park. “Meltdown’s going to be doom and gloom and Hyde Park’s going to be hands in the air,” he says. He sent a handwritten letter to each name on his wishlist and almost all of them said yes. It’s striking that everyone on the lineup, from the Manic Street Preachers to Mogwai, Nine Inch Nails to the Twilight Sad, has been influenced by the Cure in one way or another. Does Smith only like bands who like the Cure?

“I think you’d be hard-pressed to find many artists who don’t like the Cure,” he says. “I think people admire us, even if they don’t particularly get the music. It sounds very conceited, but it’s not about me, it’s about the band. We’ve stayed true to ourselves. If you’re in a band, you realise how hard that is. I think people admire our tenacity.”

The Cure’s position is certainly enviable: loved with cult-like fervour yet mainstream enough to be covered by Adele (Lovesong) and featured in Ant-Man (Plainsong). There’s even a Reese Witherspoon romcom named after their 1987 hit Just Like Heaven, not that Smith has seen it. They are the only band, Smith notes, who are routinely perceived as both suicidal and whimsical. And they have maintained their integrity. Currently without a record label, manager or publicist, they tour (often) or record (not so much) only when Smith feels like it. It’s not true that he’s the only Cure member who matters (if bassist Simon Gallup left, then “it wouldn’t be called the Cure”), but he has always been in the driving seat. When was the last time he did something he didn’t want to do? He points at my Dictaphone and laughs. “Sitting here.”

The Cure tore through the 80s the way the Beatles rushed through the 60s, or Bowie the 70s: wildly prolific, constantly changing. “It is weird looking back,” Smith says. “Everything was done at an incredibly fast pace. Life was whizzing by.” For a 19-year-old neophyte from the suburban West Sussex no-man’s land of Crawley, Smith seemed uncannily self-assured. “Where did that grotesque confidence come from?” he says drily. “Probably punk. Most of the punk bands were fucking awful. I thought we were all right and we were getting better. A lot of it was bluff and bluster at that age.”

Within a couple of years, the punk boy wonders had evolved into avatars of doom: 1981’s Faith sounded like inching through a chilly fog. “I thought, ‘How much bleaker can we get? Either we make very, very tiny noises at the end of a concrete bunker and I whisper over them, or we do something different.’” Hence 1982’s Pornography, a churning inferno of rage, nausea and despair. “There was a lot of tension in our personal lives,” he says. “The music’s always reflected, to a very large degree, how I am mentally.” Our drummer used to make a huge pot of magic mushroom tea at the start of every day and it just went on from there

The strain of playing emotionally crushing songs every night, in various states of narcotic disrepair, broke the band. Smith joined Siouxsie and the Banshees and planned to use the Cure as a vehicle for “sort of stupid” pop songs such as The Lovecats – until the stupid songs became hits. “I suddenly thought, ‘Well, actually, this is more attractive than slogging my way round the world with the Banshees!’ So I was never quite comfortable with my reasons.” Then again, he says, a cynical careerist would not have followed up with the queasy psychedelic splurge of The Top. Drummer Andy Anderson, he says, “used to make a huge pot of magic mushroom tea at the start of every day and it just went on from there”.

Only with 1985’s The Head on the Door did Smith decide to get “professional”, rearranging the studio for each song and pinning guidelines to the wall. “For the first time we were creating sounds as well as songs,” he says. The instructions for the desolate Sinking, for example, were: “We must cry by 6pm tonight.” The Cure became so big internationally that promoters began calling them the Pink Floyd of the 80s. Smith considered 1989’s exquisitely morose Disintegration his masterpiece; the record label thought it was commercial suicide – it sold 3m copies.

Whether in or out of the charts, the Cure occupied a bubble of their own, regularly anointing a symbolic nemesis. “It was generally Duran Duran,” Smith says, “which is really sad because they loved us and they used to come to our shows. But they represented everything we hated: the whole glamorous 80s, consumer bullshit; this horrorshow that we were up against.” Smith also had a long-running feud with Morrissey (“I never really understood it”), in which he has proven to be on the right side of history.

Robert Smith playing live in Santiago, Chile, in 2013.
Robert Smith playing live in Santiago, Chile, in 2013.Photograph: Zuma/Rex

The hothouse of success drove Smith to escape from the capital. “I survived; a lot of people that I left in London didn’t.” By the time of 1992’s Wish, with its jaunty hit Friday I’m in Love, the novelty of being huge had evaporated. “I was coping in a slightly disturbed way with what was going on,” he says. “I felt it was at odds with what I’d started out doing. I couldn’t understand how we could be so successful and still be honest. With hindsight we were, but I couldn’t see it.” So when the Cure were elbowed aside by Britpop, he was relieved. “I felt more comfortable being slightly outside of what was going on, because that’s how I’d felt from the very start. Had we kept pushing it, I don’t think I’d have survived it – not in one piece, anyway.”

These days, the Cure are predominately a live act, renowned for their epic, multi-encore shows. In Mexico City, as a 53rd-birthday treat, Smith tried to break Bruce Springsteen’s record of 4hr 6min, but miscalculated and fell three minutes short. “I was a bit crushed,” he says, “because we could have honestly kept going for another half an hour.” Friends, bandmates and critics have all suggested he leave the audience wanting more, but he keeps going because he enjoys it so much, and because he thinks he owes it to the fans. “I still think of that person who’s there thinking, ‘I wish they wouldn’t stop. I wish they wouldn’t stop.’” Hyde Park, he warns (or promises), will be a relatively brisk two hours.In Between Days: Robert Smith and the Cure – in pictures

It has been a decade since the last Cure album, 4:13 Dream. “I’ve hardly written any words since then,” Smith says glumly. “I think there’s only so many times you can sing certain emotions. I have tried to write songs about something other than how I felt but they’re dry, they’re intellectual, and that’s not me.” He wistfully quotes a line from the Cure’s The Last Day of Summer: “It used to be to so easy.” Would he be disappointed if he never made another album? “I would now, yeah. Because I’ve committed myself to going into the studio and creating songs for the band, which I haven’t done for 10 years. Meltdown has inspired me to do something new because I’m listening to new bands. I’m enthused by their enthusiasm. So if it doesn’t work, I’ll be pretty upset, because it will mean that the songs aren’t good enough.”

He has been revisiting old unused lyrics to see if he can repurpose any, but “some of them don’t make any sense to me any more. It would be weird if I felt the same as I did when I was in my 20s. I’d be mental!”

How has his outlook changed? “It’s slightly more cynical and slightly less optimistic, which is strange. I was very optimistic when I was young, even though I wrote very dismal songs, but now I’m kind of the opposite. I have a very dismal outlook on life.” I hate how things have ended up in the last 20 years – there’s a tone to this country that’s changed for the worse

Smith worries that, at 59, he has become a reactionary who scorns social media, smartphones and the like. “I’m at war with a lot of the modern world,” he says. “I really hate how things have ended up in the last 20 years. I don’t know how it’s happened. There’s a certain tone to this country that’s really changed for the worse.” He’s building a rant, but a melancholy one. “It’s weird how the 70s is often referred to as a period of great unrest and the three-day week, blah, blah. It’s bollocks. The period from the second world war to the 70s, we were on a great trajectory for equality and so forth. It’s only since the end of the 70s, Maggie and Ronnie, that things have inexorably gone wrong. It’s insane, people’s lust for technology and new things.” He sighs. “I’m just turning into a grumpy old man.”

Smith is feeling his age in other ways. He notes that Tom Petty’s last UK show before his death last year was also a 40th-anniversary concert in Hyde Park. “Last time we sold out places in America that we’d never sold out, even in the 80s,” he says. “A darker part of me thinks they like watching us because they think I’m going to fall over and they’re not going to get to see us again.” He shakes off the joke. “I’m just being silly. It will stop, of course it will. I do wake up on a day like today and think, ‘Am I really talking about this band, still?’ I’m honestly astonished at how much love there is for the band. If you’d told me when we started, I would have been quite shocked.” One more encore, then. Maybe two.

Meltdown festival runs from 15-24 June. The Cure play Hyde Park, London, on 7 July.

—-

Francis Schaeffer taught young people at L Abri in Switzerland in the 1950’s till the 1980’s (pictured below)

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Francis Schaeffer noted:

I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.”

Francis Schaeffer pictured below in 1971 at L Abri

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer at L’Abri Conference, Urbana, 1981

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—-

 “They are the natural outcome of a change from a Christian World View to a Humanistic one…
The result is a relativistic value system. A lack of a final meaning to life — that’s first. Why does human life have any value at all, if that is all that reality is? Not only are you going to die individually, but the whole human race is going to die, someday. It may not take the falling of the atom bombs, but someday the world will grow too hot, too cold. That’s what we are told on this other final reality, and someday all you people not only will be individually dead, but the whole conscious life on this world will be dead, and nobody will see the birds fly. And there’s no meaning to life.

As you know, I don’t speak academically, shut off in some scholastic cubicle, as it were. I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.” And I must say, that on the basis of what they are being taught in school, that the final reality is only this material thing, they are not wrong. They’re right! On this other basis there is no meaning to life and not only is there no meaning to life, but there is no value system that is fixed, and we find that the law is based then only on a relativistic basis and that law becomes purely arbitrary.

—-

Here is a good review of the episode 016 HSWTL The Age of Non-Reason of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?, December 23, 2007:

Together with the advent of the “drug Age” was the increased interest in the West in  the religious experience of Hinduism and Buddhism. Schaeffer tells us that: “This grasping for a nonrational meaning to life and values is the central reason that these Eastern religions are so popular in the West today.”  Drugs and Eastern religions came like a flood into the Western world.  They became the way that people chose to find meaning and values in life.  By themselves or together, drugs and Eastern religion became the way that people searched inside themselves for ultimate truth.

Along with drugs and Eastern religions there has been a remarkable increase “of the occult appearing as an upper-story hope.”  As modern man searches for answers it “many moderns would rather have demons than be left with the idea that everything in the universe is only one big machine.”  For many people having the “occult in the upper story of nonreason in the hope of having meaning” is better than leaving the upper story of nonreason empty. For them horror or the macabre are more acceptable than the idea that they are just a machine.

Francis Schaeffer has correctly argued:

The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. 

Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible. Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

So the story goes on. We have stopped at only a few incidents in the sweep back to the year 1000 B.C. What we hope has emerged from this is a sense of the historical reliability of the Bible’s text. When the Bible refers to historical incidents, it is speaking about the same sort of “history” that historians examine elsewhere in other cultures and periods. This borne out by the fact that some of the incidents, some of the individuals, and some of the places have been confirmed by archaeological discoveries in the past hundred years has swept away the possibility of a naive skepticism about the Bible’s history. And what is particularly striking is that the tide has built up concerning the time before the year 1000 B.C. Our knowledge about the years 2500 B.C. to 1000 B.C. has vastly increased through discoveries sometimes of whole libraries and even of hitherto unknown people and languages.

There was a time, for example, when the Hittite people, referred to in the early parts of the Bible, were treated as fictitious by critical scholars. Then came the discoveries after 1906 at Boghaz Koi (Boghaz-koy) which not only gave us the certainty of their existence but stacks of details from their own archives!

Featured artist is Louise Despont

Related posts

Open Letter #102 to Ricky Gervais on comparison of the Tony of AFTER LIFE to the Solomon of ECCLESIASTES, Tony “We are chimps with brains the size of planets.” ARE WE ANIMALS OR EVEN JUST MACHINES CAUGHT IN A MEANINGLESS SITUATION?

—-

Tony’s Psychiatrist played by Paul Kaye seen below.

The sandy beach walk
Tony

In episode 2 of the second season of AFTER LIFE is the following discussion: 
Tony: I drink in times of trouble. I can’t help it the world is filled with trouble. It is a horrible place. Everyone is screwed up in someway. Everyone has worries like money or health or famine, war. We are chimps with brains the size of planets. No wonder we get drunk and try to kill each other. It is mental.

Matt: Always good to talk.

Tony: I was just explaining my new plan is to drink myself to death till I eventually implode in on my own evolution. 
Kath: Do you believe in all that? 
Tony: What? The proven fact that there is evolution? Yeah

Tony and his wife Lisa who died 6 months ago of cancer

It was interesting to me that Ricky had Tony say, “We are chimps with brains the size of planets.“ 

Charles Darwin resting against pillar covered with vines.

__
(Darwin wrote: But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind…?)

Ricky Gervais in his interview with Russell Brand asserted, “We are machines. We are machines trying to understand ourselves and that is hard. Will there one day be a computer suffering from anxiety? I reckon so. We are chimps with brains the size of the planet….I don’t understand consciousness…”


Notice howWoody Allen’s character Mickey in HANNAH AND HER SISTERS also concluded that we are only animals or machines caught in a meaningless trap and he asserts, “Can you understand how meaningless

everything is? Everything! I’m

talking about nnnn–our lives, the

show…the whole world, it’s

meaningless.”

LOOK CLOSELY AT THE WORDS IN THIS SCENE BELOW!

Hannah and Her Sisters - Publicity still of Woody Allen & Julie Kavner

My FAVORITE clip from HANNAH AND HER SISTERS


MICKEY
(sighing and gesturing)
If there’s nothing wrong with me
(pacing back to the
desk and Gail)
then why does he want me to come
back for tests?!
GAIL
(gesturing)
Well, he has to rule out certain
things.
(sighing)
MICKEY
Like what?! What?
GAIL
(shrugging)
I don’t know. Cancer, I–
MICKEY
(interrupting)
Don’t say that! I don’t want to
hear that word!
(gesturing)
Don’t mention that while I’m in the
building.
48.

                  GAIL
          (gesturing)
      But you don't have any symptoms!
                  MICKEY
          (gesturing)
      You--I got the classic symptoms of a
      brain tumor!

Mickey sighs.
GAIL
Two months ago, you thought you had
a malignant melanoma.
MICKEY
(gesturing)
Naturally, I, I–Do you know I–The
sudden appearance of a black spot on
my back!
GAIL
It was on your shirt!
MICKEY
(sighing)
I–How was I to know?!
(pointing to his back)
Everyone was pointing back here.
He sighs again as Gail, frustrated, gestures impatiently to
the papers on the desk.
GAIL
Come on, we’ve got to make some
booking decisions.
Mickey begins pacing around the room again. He wrings his
hands and blows on them.
MICKEY
I can’t. I can’t think of it.
This morning, I was so happy, you
know. Now I, I don’t know what went
wrong.
(sighing)
GAIL
Eh, you were miserable this morning!
We got bad reviews, terrible ratings,
the sponsors are furious…
49.

                  MICKEY
          (pacing back to the
           desk, still wringing
           his hands)
      No, I was happy, but I just didn't
      realize I was happy.

LATER IN HANNAH AND HER SOSTERS


MICKEY (V.O.)
It’s over. I’m face-to-face with
eternity.

DR. BROOKS
(offscreen)
…grown quite large without being
detected…
(trailing off
indistinctly as Mickey
continues his
anguished ramblings)
MICKEY (V.O.)
Not later, but now. I’m so frightened
I can’t move, speak, or breathe.
As Mickey finishes his speech, the “real” Dr. Brooks is seen
walking into the office. The previous scene had been a
figment of Mickey’s imagination, a nightmare fantasy only.
Holding Mickey’s X-rays, the “real” Dr. Brooks walks past
the same row of books to the light panel.
DR. BROOKS
Well, you’re just fine. There’s
absolutely nothing here at all.
And your tests are all fine.
(switching on the
light on the panel
and propping up the
X-rays)
I must admit, I was concerned, given
your symptoms.
(turning to look at
the offscreen Mickey)
What caused this hearing loss in one
ear, I guess we’ll never really know
for sure. But whatever it was, it’s
certainly not anything serious at
all.
(nodding)
I’m very relieved.
107.
CUT TO:

EXT. MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL – DAY
Once again, Mickey is seen leaving the building, but this
time he bounds down the steps, jumping for joy. He runs
swirling down the street, clapping his hands, happy with
relief. Upbeat, uptempo jazz plays in the background.
Several cars pass as Mickey joyfully runs. Suddenly he stops,
his hand to his mouth, reflecting.
CUT TO:
INT. MICKEY’S OFFICE – DAY
Gail sits in a chair in front of a bookshelf. A sofa, a
coffee table holding periodicals, and an endtable with a
lamp complete the tableau. Gail’s hands are clasped on her
lap.
GAIL
What do you mean you’re quitting?
Why? The news is good! You don’t
have canc–the thing.
Mickey, standing behind his desk, his back to the camera,
his coat still on, looks out at the Manhattan skyline.
MICKEY
Do you realize what a thread we’re
all hanging by?

GAIL
(offscreen)
Mickey, you’re off the hook. You
should be celebrating.
MICKEY
(walking around to
the front of his
desk, gesturing)
Can you understand how meaningless
everything is? Everything! I’m
talking about nnnn–our lives, the
show…the whole world, it’s
meaningless.
GAIL
(gesturing)
Yeah…but you’re not dying!
MICKEY
No, I’m not dying now,
but, but
(MORE)
108.

                  MICKEY (CONT'D)
          (gesturing)
      you know, when I ran out of the
      hospital, I, I was so thrilled because
      they told me I was going to be all
      right.  And I'm running down the
      street, and suddenly I stop, 'cause
      it hit me, all right, so, you know,
      I'm not going to go today.
      I'm okay.  I'm not going to go
      tomorrow.
          (pointing)
      But eventually, I'm going to be in
      that position.

Gail gets up from her chair. She walks past Mickey to a
nearby cabinet. She opens a drawer, rummaging around for
something. The camera follows her, leaving Mickey briefly.
GAIL
You’re just realizing this now?
MICKEY
(offscreen)
Well, I don’t realize it now, I know
it all the time, but, but I managed
to stick it in the back of my mind…
As Mickey continues to talk offscreen, Gail closes the cabinet
drawer and walks to a file cabinet behind Mickey’s desk.
MICKEY
…because it-it’s a very horrible
thing to… think about!
Gail opens the file cabinet and takes out a pack of gum.
She slams it closed, distracted.
GAIL
(muttering)
Yeah. What?
MICKEY
(turning to Gail)
Can I tell you something? Can I
tell you a secret?
GAIL
(nodding impatiently
as she walks around
the desk)
Yes, please.
109.

                  MICKEY
          (pointing)
      A week ago, I bought a rifle.
                  GAIL
          (sitting on the arm
           of a chair near Mickey)
      No.
                  MICKEY
          (overlapping, nodding
           and gesturing)
      I went into a store, I bought a rifle.
      I was gonna... You know, if they
      told me that I had a tumor, I was
      going to kill myself.  The only thing
      that mighta stopped me, might've, is
      my parents would be devastated.  I
      would, I woulda had to shoot them,
      also, first.  And then, I have an
      aunt and uncle, I would have... You
      know, it would have been a bloodbath.
                  GAIL
          (shrugging, unwrapping
           a stick of gum)
      Tch, well, you know, eventually it,
      it is going to happen to all of us.
                  MICKEY
      Yes, but doesn't that ruin everything
      for you?  That makes everything...

Gail sighs. She pops a piece of gum into her mouth as Mickey
continues to speak.
MICKEY
(continuing)
…you know it, it just takes the
pleasure out of everything.
(gesturing, pointing)
I mean, you’re gonna die, I’m gonna
die, the audience is gonna die, the
network’s gonna– The sponsor.
Everything!
GAIL
(chewing)
I know, I know, and your hamster.
MICKEY
(nodding emphatically)
Yes!
110.

                  GAIL
          (chewing and pointing
           to Mickey)
      Listen, kid, I think you snapped
      your cap.

Mickey sighs.
GAIL
(continuing, chewing
loudly)
Maybe you need a few weeks in Bermuda,
or something. Or go to a whorehouse!
No?
MICKEY
(shaking his head,
his hand to his chest)
I can’t stay on this show. I gotta
get some answers.
Otherwise
(pausing and holding
his head)
I’m telling you, I’m going to do
something drastic

1984 SOUNDWORD LABRI CONFERENCE VIDEO – Q&A With Francis & Edith Schaeffer

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopelessmeaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknessesof his own secular view. I salute him for doing that. That is why I have returned to his work over and over and presented my own Christian worldview as an alternative. Take a moment and read again a good article on Woody Allen below. There are some links below to some other posts about him.

Francis Schaeffer two months before he died made the following comments in Knoxville, TN in 1984 and he comments on Woody Allen:

I would emphasize and it grows on me always with intensified strength the older I live that there is only ONE REASON to be a Christian and that is because it is TRUTH. There is no other reason to be a Christian.

The reason to become a Christian is not because it gives you butterflies in your stomach on Sunday morning. The reason for being a Christian is because it is true.

We at L’Abri talk about it being TRUE TRUTH and we are talking about it not just being religiously true but true in all reality. In other words, if you don’t have the Bible and you don’t act upon it, it isn’t that you just don’t know how to escape hell and go to heaven, you do that too happily, but it also is true that without the Bible we won’t know who God is and we would know who people are.

That is what is wrong with our generation and that is why it accepted abortion and the infanticide and youth euthanasia came in quickly with such a flood because this generation doesn’t understand who people are.

I don’t know if you saw the TIME editorial a short time ago called THINKING ANIMAL THOUGHTS. It did so much better than most of our evangelical magazines did on dealing with this because what they said was (it was from a non-christian point of view) if you take away the biblical view of who God is and man being made in his image then there is no basis for a distinction between human life and other forms of life. You only have distinctions and that is life and non-life, and he carried it out quite properly to its extension. What right does the human race to perform experimentation’s on animals if the human race is good and the human race is only the same qualification of life? This author really understood the game much better than most Christians seem to understand it.

What I’m saying is without the Bible it isn’t just that you don’t know how to go to heaven, but without the Bible you don’t know who people are and you don’t know what this world is. When you watch the birds fly across the sky  if you really don’t have the Bible to tell you who created this world and what the world is even the birds flying across the sky is very different. We have many people that come to L’Abri that have thought this out to the very end properly and that is there is no meaning to life, no meaning to life, no meaning to human life. They are not wrong. They are right.

The younger generation who grab the needle and shoot it up because they can’t find any meaning to life, they are not wrong. They are right. if you take the Bible away it is not just that people are lost for eternity, but they are lost now. They have no meaning to life…. If I was talking to a gentleman I was sitting next  to on an airplane about Christ I wouldn’t necessarily start off quoting Bible verses. I would go back rather to their dilemma if they hold the modern worldview of the final reality only being energy, etc., I would start with that. I would begin as I stress in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE about their own [humanist] prophets who really show where their view goes. For instance, Jacques Monod, Nobel Prize winner from France, in his book NECESSITY AND CHANCE said there is no way to tell the OUGHT from the IS. In other words, you live in a TOTALLY SILENT  universe. 


The men like Monod and Sartre or whoever the man might know that is his [humanist] prophet and they point out quite properly and conclusively what life is like, not just that there is no meaningfulness in life but everyone according to modern man is just living out some kind of game plan. It may be knocking 1/10th of a second off a downhill ski run or making one more million dollars. But all you are doing is making a game plan within the mix of a meaningless situation. WOODY ALLEN exploits this very strongly in his films. He really lives it. I feel for that man, and he has expressed it so thoroughly in ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN and so on.

Seen below is the third episode of AFTERLIFE (season 1) when Matt takes Tony to a comedy club with front row seats to cheer him up but it turns into disaster!!!

——

—-

Part 1 “Why have integrity in Godless Darwinian Universe where Might makes Right?”

Part 2 “My April 14, 2016 Letter to Ricky mentioned Book of Ecclesiastes and the Meaninglessness of Life”

Part 3 Letter about Brandon Burlsworth concerning suffering and pain and evil in the world.  “Why didn’t Jesus save her [from cancer]?” (Tony’s 10 year old nephew George in episode 2)

Part 4 Letter on Solomon on Death Tony in episode one, “It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves.”

Part 5 Letter on subject of Learning in Ecclesiastes “I don’t read books of fiction but mainly science and philosophy”

Part 6 Letter on Luxuries in Ecclesiastes Part 6, The Music of AFTERLIFE (Part A)

Part 7 Letter on Labor in Ecclesiastes My Letter to Ricky on Easter in 2017 concerning Book of Ecclesiastes and the legacy of a person’s life work

Part 8 Letter on Liquor in Ecclesiastes Tony’s late wife Lisa told him, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run!”

Part 9 Letter on Laughter in Ecclesiastes , I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2

Part 10 Final letter to Ricky on Ladies in Ecclesiastes “I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

Part 11 Letter about Daniel Stanhope and optimistic humanism  “If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer)

Part 12 Letter on how pursuit of God is only way to get Satisfaction Dan Jarrell “[In Ecclesiastes] if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION”

Part 13 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon realizing he will die just as a dog will die “For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!” Ecclesiastes

Part 14 Letter to Stephen Hawking on 3 conclusions of humanism and Bertrand Russell destruction of optimistic humanism. “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms—no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Part 15 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Leonardo da Vinci and Solomon and Meaningless of life “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes 2:17

Part 16 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon’s longing for death but still fear of death and 5 conclusions of humanism on life UNDER THE SUN. Francis Schaeffer “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death. Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16)”


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February 6, 2013 – 1:49 am

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“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 6)

January 23, 2013 – 12:36 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 3 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 3 of 3: ‘Is Woody Allen A Romantic Or A Realist?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, Crimes and Misdemeanors, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca______________ One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Uncategorized | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 5)

January 16, 2013 – 12:35 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 2 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 2 of 3: ‘What Does The Movie Tell Us About Ourselves?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _________________- One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed it earlier but […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

In 2009 interview Woody Allen talks about the lack of meaning of life and the allure of younger women

January 14, 2013 – 6:52 am

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Allen Wednesdays” can be seen on the www.thedailyhatch.org

January 13, 2013 – 4:55 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 If you like Woody Allen films as much as I do then join me every Wednesday for another look the man and his movies. Below are some of the posts from the past: “Woody Wednesday” How Allen’s film “Crimes and Misdemeanors makes the point that hell is necessary […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

Woody Allen on the Emptiness of Life by Toby Simmons

January 10, 2013 – 2:48 pm

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 4)

January 9, 2013 – 12:32 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 1 of 3: ‘What Does Judah Believe?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _____________ One of my favorite films is this gem by Woody Allen “Crimes and Misdemeanors”: Film Review By […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Uncategorized | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 3)

January 2, 2013 – 12:30 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 3 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 3 of 3: ‘Is Woody Allen A Romantic Or A Realist?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, Crimes and Misdemeanors, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca______________ One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 2)

December 26, 2012 – 12:27 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 2 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 2 of 3: ‘What Does The Movie Tell Us About Ourselves?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _________________- One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed it earlier but […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 1)

December 19, 2012 – 7:05 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 1 of 3: ‘What Does Judah Believe?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _____________ Today I am starting a discusssion of the movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” by Woody Allen. This 1989 […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

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