Category Archives: Ronald Reagan

Dan Mitchell article Biden Wants America to be #1…in a Bad Way

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Biden Wants America to be #1…in a Bad Way

Based on research from the Congressional Budget Office, I’ve shared estimates of the potential economic damage from the fiscal plan Joe Biden unveiled last year.

But now he has a new budget. So what if we simply focus on the tax portion of that plan and ignore all the new spending?

The Tax Foundation has crunched the numbers from Biden’s tax agenda and has published some very sobering numbers about this latest version of the President’s class-warfare proposals.

What caught my attention was this chart showing the United States (light-blue bars) already is out of whack with major competitors and trading partners (green bars) – and Joe Biden wants to make a bad situation much worse (red bars).

And when I write “out of whack,” that’s not an idle statement.

it turns out that the United States would have the highest income tax rates in the world.

Higher than Greece. Higher than France. Higher than Italy. Here are some of the grim details.

…the tax increases in the Build Back Better Act (BBBA)…would raise revenues by $4 trillion on a gross basis over the next decade. The Biden tax increases in the budget and BBBA would come at the cost of economic growth, harming investment incentives and productive capacity…The budget proposes several new tax increases on high-income individuals and businesses, which combined with the BBBA would give the U.S. the highest top tax rates on individual and corporate income in the developed world… Taxing capital gains at ordinary income tax rates would bring the combined top marginal rate in the U.S. to 48.9 percent, up from 29.2 percent under current law and well-above the OECD average of 18.9 percent. …Raising the corporate income tax rate to 28 percent would once again bring the U.S. near the top of the OECD at a combined rate of 32.3 percent, versus 25.8 percent under current law and an OECD average (excluding the U.S.) of 22.8 percent.

The good news, relatively speaking, is that the United States would not have the highest aggregate tax burden (taxes as a share of economic output).

And the U.S. would not have the highest tax burden on consumption (no value-added tax in America, fortunately).

But with all of Biden’s new spending (along with the built-in expansions of government that already have been legislated), it may just be a matter of time before the U.S. copies those features of Europe’s stagnant welfare states.

The net result is lower living standards for the American people. The only open question is how far we drop.

The Failure of Bidenomics, Part II

Yesterday’s column explained that Biden’s proposals to expand the welfare state were bad news, in part because government subsidies often lead to inefficiency and higher prices.

That’s not a smart strategy when inflation already is at 40-year highs.

President Biden did address the topic of rising prices during his speech, but his approach was so incoherent that even Larry Summers (Treasury Secretary for Bill Clinton and head of the National Economic Council for Barack Obama) felt compelled to share some critical tweets.

This is remarkable. I’ve spent the past three decades fighting against some of Summers’ bad ideas on fiscal policy (he was a big supporter of the OECD’s anti-tax competition project, for instance).

But now we’re sort of on the same side (at least on a few issues) because Biden has embraced a reckless Bernie Sanders-type agenda of budget profligacy, class-warfare taxes, regulatory excess, and crass protectionism that is too extreme for sane people on the left.

Along with a head-in-the-sand view of monetary policy.

In a column for Canada’s Fraser Institute, Robert O’Quinn and I addressed Biden’s strange comments on inflation.

Here’s some of what we wrote on that topic.

After a disastrous first year pursuing an agenda that became increasingly unpopular, President Biden had an opportunity to reset his administration in a centrist direction as part of his first State of the Union Address. But he didn’t.On every domestic issue, he catered to the Democratic Party’s hardcore left-wing activists… Inflation, as Nobel laureate Milton Friedman observed, is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. …In his speech, Biden ignored the true cause of inflation. Instead, he offered a grab bag of statist ideas such as aggressive antitrust enforcement, price controls on prescription drugs, and tax credits for energy conservation and green energy—policies that, whatever their merits, have little or nothing to do with inflation.

Our basic message is that Biden ignored the real cause of inflation (bad monetary policy by the Federal Reserve) and instead came up with ideas (either bad or irrelevant) to addresses the symptom(s) of inflation.

We also noted that Biden’s nominees to the Federal Reserve are underwhelming.

Moreover, he has been pushing three controversial nominees to the Federal Reserve Board—Sarah Bloom Raskin, Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson—who lack monetary expertise and are generally regarded as inflation doves. Raskin’s primary “qualification” is her support for using the Fed’s regulatory powers to divert credit away from oil and natural gas production. Cook and Jefferson have primarily written about poverty and race, which are outside of the Fed’s legislative mandate.

What we need is a president – like Ronald Reagan – who understands that the inflation genie needs to be put back in the bottle and thus pushes the Federal Reserve in the right direction.

Instead, we have a president who thinks it’s a place where left-leaning activists should get patronage appointments.

P.S. If you have the time and interest, here’s an 40-minute videoexplaining the Federal Reserve’s track record of bad monetary policy.

P.P.S. If you’re constrained for time, I recommend this five-minute video on alternatives to the Federal Reserve and this six-minute video on how people can protect themselves from bad monetary policy.

The Best President in Recent History

Since I view Ronald Reagan as an honorary libertarian, I was very happy back in 2013 to see that he won a landslide victory over Barack Obama in a hypothetical poll.

This meant that voters either were old enough to personally experience the benefits of Reaganomics, or they managed to learn some history (in spite of a biased education establishment).

Well, now I have another reason to be happy. According to a new poll shared by Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner, nearly 70 percent of respondents have a favorable impression of Reagan, easily the best result for all recent presidents.

Reagan also is disliked by the smallest percentage of respondents, a fact that almost surely irks some of my Reagan-hating friends.

And definitely irks Paul Krugman.

My two cents for today is that the current fight between Trumpism and establishment Republicanism is merely stylistic. If you crunch the numbers, you’ll see that both camps are big spenders.

I much prefer Reaganism.

Let’s wrap up with this cartoon strip that captures my sentiments.

P.S. Here’s an amusing story from Reagan about socialism (h/t: Don Boudreaux).

Not quite as good as this video, and it’s not even good enough to get added to this collection of Reagan videos, but it is a good description of why socialism is a failure.

P.S. There was one other president in the 20th century who deserves praise and applause.

Tax Cartels Mean Ever-Higher Tax Rates

When President Biden proposed a “global minimum tax” for businesses, I immediately warned that would lead to ever-increasing tax rates.

Ross Kaminsky of KHOW and I discussed how this is already happening.

I hate being right, but it’s always safe to predict that politicians and bureaucrats will embrace policies that give more power to government.

Especially when they are very anxious to stifle tax competition.

For decades, people in government have been upset that the tax cuts implemented by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatchertriggered a four-decade trend of lower tax rates and pro-growth tax reform.

That’s the reason Biden and his Treasury Secretary proposed a 15 percent minimum tax rate for businesses.

And it’s the reason they now want the rate to be even higher.

Though even I’m surprised that they’re already pushing for that outcome when the original pact hasn’t even been approved or implemented.

Here are some passages from a report by Reuters.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will press G20 counterparts this week for a global minimum corporate tax rate above the 15% floor agreed by 130 countries last week…the global minimum tax rate…is tied to the outcome of legislation to raise the U.S. minimum tax rate, a Treasury official said.The Biden administration has proposed doubling the U.S. minimum tax on corporations overseas intangible income to 21% along with a new companion “enforcement” tax that would deny deductions to companies for tax payments to countries that fail to adopt the new global minimum rate. The officials said several countries were pushing for a rate above 15%, along with the United States.

Other kleptocratic governments naturally want the same thing.

A G7 proposal for a global minimum tax rate of 15% is too low and a rate of at least 21% is needed, Argentina’s finance minister said on Monday, leading a push by some developing countries… “The 15% rate is way too low,” Argentine Finance Minister Martin Guzman told an online panel hosted by the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation. …”The minimum rate being proposed would not do much to countries in Africa…,” Mathew Gbonjubola, Nigeria’s tax policy director, told the same conference.

Needless to say, I’m not surprised that Argentina is on the wrong side.

And supporters of class warfare also are agitating for a higher minimum rate. Here are some excerpts from a column in the New York Times by Gabriel Zucman and Gus Wezerek.

In the decades after World War II, close to 50 percent of American companies’ earnings went to state and federal taxes. …it was a golden period. …President Biden should be applauded for trying to end the race to the bottom on corporate tax rates. But even if Congress approves the 15 percent global minimum corporate tax, it won’t be enough. …the Biden administration to give working families a real leg up, it should push Congress to enact a 25 percent minimum tax, which would bring in about $200 billion in additional revenue each year. …With a 25 percent minimum corporate tax, the Biden administration would begin to reverse decades of growing inequality. And it would encourage other countries to do the same, replacing a race to the bottom with a sprint to the top.

I can’t resist making two observations about this ideological screed.

  1. Even the IMF and OECD agree that the so-called race to the bottom has not led to a decline in corporate tax revenues, even when measured as a share of economic output.
  2. Since companies legally avoid rather than illegally evade taxes, the headline of the column is utterly dishonest – but it’s what we’ve learned to expect from the New York Times.

The only good thing about the Zucman-Wezerek column is that it includes this chart showing how corporate tax rates have dramatically declined since 1980.

P.S. For those interested, the horizontal line at the bottom is for Bermuda, though other jurisdictions (such as Monaco and the Cayman Islands) also deserve credit for having no corporate income taxes.

P.P.S. If you want to know why high corporate tax rates are misguided, click here. And if you want to know why Biden’s plan to raise the U.S. corporate tax rate is misguided, click here. Or here. Or here.

P.P.P.S. And if you want more information about why Biden’s global tax cartel is bad, click here, here, and here.

I enjoyed this article below because it demonstrates that the Laffer Curve has been working for almost 100 years now when it is put to the test in the USA. I actually got to hear Arthur Laffer speak in person in 1981 and he told us in advance what was going to happen the 1980’s and it all came about as he said it would when Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts took place. I wish we would lower taxes now instead of looking for more revenue through raised taxes. We have to grow the economy:

What Mitt Romney Said Last Night About Tax Cuts And The Deficit Was Absolutely Right. And What Obama Said Was Absolutely Wrong.

Mitt Romney repeatedly said last night that he would not allow tax cuts to add to the deficit.  He repeatedly said it because over and over again Obama blathered the liberal talking point that cutting taxes necessarily increased deficits.

Romney’s exact words: “I want to underline that — no tax cut that adds to the deficit.”

Meanwhile, Obama has promised to cut the deficit in half during his first four years – but instead gave America the highest deficits in the history of the entire human race.

I’ve written about this before.  Let’s replay what has happened every single time we’ve ever cut the income tax rate.

The fact of the matter is that we can go back to Calvin Coolidge who said very nearly THE EXACT SAME THING to his treasury secretary: he too would not allow any tax cuts that added to the debt.  Andrew Mellon – quite possibly the most brilliant economic mind of his day – did a great deal of research and determined what he believed was the best tax rate.  And the Coolidge administration DID cut income taxes and MASSIVELY increased revenues.  Coolidge and Mellon cut the income tax rate 67.12 percent (from 73 to 24 percent); and revenues not only did not go down, but they went UP by at least 42.86 percent (from $700 billion to over $1 billion).

That’s something called a documented fact.  But that wasn’t all that happened: another incredible thing was that the taxes and percentage of taxes paid actually went UP for the rich.  Because as they were allowed to keep more of the profits that they earned by investing in successful business, they significantly increased their investments and therefore paid more in taxes than they otherwise would have had they continued sheltering their money to protect themselves from the higher tax rates.  Liberals ignore reality, but it is simply true.  It is a fact.  It happened.

Then FDR came along and raised the tax rates again and the opposite happened: we collected less and less revenue while the burden of taxation fell increasingly on the poor and middle class again.  Which is exactly what Obama wants to do.

People don’t realize that John F. Kennedy, one of the greatest Democrat presidents, was a TAX CUTTER who believed the conservative economic philosophy that cutting tax rates would in fact increase tax revenues.  He too cut taxes, and he too increased tax revenues.

So we get to Ronald Reagan, who famously cut taxes.  And again, we find that Reagan cut that godawful liberal tax rate during an incredibly godawful liberal-caused economic recession, and he increased tax revenue by 20.71 percent (with revenues increasing from $956 billion to $1.154 trillion).  And again, the taxes were paid primarily by the rich:

“The share of the income tax burden borne by the top 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. Meanwhile, the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers dropped from 7.5 percent in 1981 to 5.7 percent in 1988.”

So we get to George Bush and the Bush tax cuts that liberals and in particular Obama have just demonized up one side and demagogued down the other.  And I can simply quote the New York Times AT the time:

Sharp Rise in Tax Revenue to Pare U.S. Deficit By EDMUND L. ANDREWS Published: July 13, 2005

WASHINGTON, July 12 – For the first time since President Bush took office, an unexpected leap in tax revenue is about to shrink the federal budget deficit this year, by nearly $100 billion.

A Jump in Corporate Payments On Wednesday, White House officials plan to announce that the deficit for the 2005 fiscal year, which ends in September, will be far smaller than the $427 billion they estimated in February.

Mr. Bush plans to hail the improvement at a cabinet meeting and to cite it as validation of his argument that tax cuts would stimulate the economy and ultimately help pay for themselves.

Based on revenue and spending data through June, the budget deficit for the first nine months of the fiscal year was $251 billion, $76 billion lower than the $327 billion gap recorded at the corresponding point a year earlier.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated last week that the deficit for the full fiscal year, which reached $412 billion in 2004, could be “significantly less than $350 billion, perhaps below $325 billion.”

The big surprise has been in tax revenue, which is running nearly 15 percent higher than in 2004. Corporate tax revenue has soared about 40 percent, after languishing for four years, and individual tax revenue is up as well
.

And of course the New York Times, as reliable liberals, use the adjective whenever something good happens under conservative policies and whenever something bad happens under liberal policies: ”unexpected.”   But it WASN’T ”unexpected.”  It was EXACTLY what Republicans had said would happen and in fact it was exactly what HAD IN FACT HAPPENED every single time we’ve EVER cut income tax rates.

The truth is that conservative tax policy has a perfect track record: every single time it has ever been tried, we have INCREASED tax revenues while not only exploding economic activity and creating more jobs, but encouraging the wealthy to pay more in taxes as well.  And liberals simply dishonestly refuse to acknowledge documented history.

Meanwhile, liberals also have a perfect record … of FAILUREThey keep raising taxes and keep not understanding why they don’t get the revenues they predicted.

The following is a section from my article, “Tax Cuts INCREASE Revenues; They Have ALWAYS Increased Revenues“, where I document every single thing I said above:

The Falsehood That Tax Cuts Increase The Deficit

Now let’s take a look at the utterly fallacious view that tax cuts in general create higher deficits.

Let’s take a trip back in time, starting with the 1920s.  From Burton Folsom’s book, New Deal or Raw Deal?:

In 1921, President Harding asked the sixty-five-year-old [Andrew] Mellon to be secretary of the treasury; the national debt [resulting from WWI] had surpassed $20 billion and unemployment had reached 11.7 percent, one of the highest rates in U.S. history.  Harding invited Mellon to tinker with tax rates to encourage investment without incurring more debt. Mellon studied the problem carefully; his solution was what is today called “supply side economics,” the idea of cutting taxes to stimulate investment.  High income tax rates, Mellon argued, “inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw this capital from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities. . . . The result is that the sources of taxation are drying up, wealth is failing to carry its share of the tax burden; and capital is being diverted into channels which yield neither revenue to the Government nor profit to the people” (page 128).

Mellon wrote, “It seems difficult for some to understand that high rates of taxation do not necessarily mean large revenue to the Government, and that more revenue may often be obtained by lower taxes.”  And he compared the government setting tax rates on incomes to a businessman setting prices on products: “If a price is fixed too high, sales drop off and with them profits.”

And what happened?

“As secretary of the treasury, Mellon promoted, and Harding and Coolidge backed, a plan that eventually cut taxes on large incomes from 73 to 24 percent and on smaller incomes from 4 to 1/2 of 1 percent.  These tax cuts helped produce an outpouring of economic development – from air conditioning to refrigerators to zippers, Scotch tape to radios and talking movies.  Investors took more risks when they were allowed to keep more of their gains.  President Coolidge, during his six years in office, averaged only 3.3 percent unemployment and 1 percent inflation – the lowest misery index of any president in the twentieth century.

Furthermore, Mellon was also vindicated in his astonishing predictions that cutting taxes across the board would generate more revenue.  In the early 1920s, when the highest tax rate was 73 percent, the total income tax revenue to the U.S. government was a little over $700 million.  In 1928 and 1929, when the top tax rate was slashed to 25 and 24 percent, the total revenue topped the $1 billion mark.  Also remarkable, as Table 3 indicates, is that the burden of paying these taxes fell increasingly upon the wealthy” (page 129-130).

Now, that is incredible upon its face, but it becomes even more incredible when contrasted with FDR’s antibusiness and confiscatory tax policies, which both dramatically shrunk in terms of actual income tax revenues (from $1.096 billion in 1929 to $527 million in 1935), and dramatically shifted the tax burden to the backs of the poor by imposing huge new excise taxes (from $540 million in 1929 to $1.364 billion in 1935).  See Table 1 on page 125 of New Deal or Raw Deal for that information.

FDR both collected far less taxes from the rich, while imposing a far more onerous tax burden upon the poor.

It is simply a matter of empirical fact that tax cuts create increased revenue, and that those [Democrats] who have refused to pay attention to that fact have ended up reducing government revenues even as they increased the burdens on the poorest whom they falsely claim to help.

Let’s move on to John F. Kennedy, one of the most popular Democrat presidents ever.  Few realize that he was also a supply-side tax cutter.

Kennedy said:

“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now … Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.”

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, president’s news conference


“Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 17, 1963, annual budget message to the Congress, fiscal year 1964

“In today’s economy, fiscal prudence and responsibility call for tax reduction even if it temporarily enlarges the federal deficit – why reducing taxes is the best way open to us to increase revenues.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: “The Economic Report Of The President”


“It is no contradiction – the most important single thing we can do to stimulate investment in today’s economy is to raise consumption by major reduction of individual income tax rates.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: “The Economic Report Of The President”


“Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.


“A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues.”

– John F. Kennedy, Sept. 18, 1963, radio and television address to the nation on tax-reduction bill

Which is to say that modern Democrats are essentially calling one of their greatest presidents a liar when they demonize tax cuts as a means of increasing government revenues.

So let’s move on to Ronald Reagan.  Reagan had two major tax cutting policies implemented: the Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA) of 1981, which was retroactive to 1981, and the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Did Reagan’s tax cuts decrease federal revenues?  Hardly:

We find that 8 of the following 10 years there was a surplus of revenue from 1980, prior to the Reagan tax cuts.  And, following the Tax Reform Act of 1986, there was a MASSIVE INCREASEof revenue.

So Reagan’s tax cuts increased revenue.  But who paid the increased tax revenue?  The poor?  Opponents of the Reagan tax cuts argued that his policy was a giveaway to the rich (ever heard that one before?) because their tax payments would fall.  But that was exactly wrong.  In reality:

“The share of the income tax burden borne by the top 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. Meanwhile, the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers dropped from 7.5 percent in 1981 to 5.7 percent in 1988.”

So Ronald Reagan a) collected more total revenue, b) collected more revenue from the rich, while c) reducing revenue collected by the bottom half of taxpayers, and d) generated an economic powerhouse that lasted – with only minor hiccups – for nearly three decades.  Pretty good achievement considering that his predecessor was forced to describe his own economy as a “malaise,” suffering due to a “crisis of confidence.” Pretty good considering that President Jimmy Carter responded to a reporter’s question as to what he would do about the problem of inflation by answering, “It would be misleading for me to tell any of you that there is a solution to it.”

Reagan whipped inflation.  Just as he whipped that malaise and that crisis of confidence.

________

The Laffer Curve, Part III: Dynamic Scoring

How Ronald Reagan Rescued Bill Clinton’s Presidency

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How Ronald Reagan Rescued Bill Clinton’s Presidency

Then-President-elect Bill Clinton, right, laughs as former President Ronald Reagan presents him with a jar of red, white, and blue jelly beans that Reagan said kept him from going to cigarettes in Los Angeles Nov. 27, 1992. (Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Longtime Democrat William Galston, deputy assistant to Bill Clinton for domestic policy, wrote a recent column for The Wall Street Journal on the performance of the economy during Bill Clinton’s eight years in office. According to Galston, virtually everything Clinton did was a hit.

Annual real growth in gross domestic product? It averaged a “robust 3.8%.” Inflation? A “restrained … 2.6%.” Payrolls increased nearly 236,000 a month, “the fastest on record for a two-term presidency.” Unemployment “fell from 7.3% in January 1993 to 3.8% in April 2000 before rising slightly to 4.2%” at the end of his second term. Adjusted for inflation, “real median household income rose by 13.9%.”

“What about the poor?” Galston asks, and then exults: “The poverty rate declined during the Clinton administration by nearly one-quarter, from 15.1% to 11.3%, near its historic low. And it declined even faster among minorities.”

It is hard to argue with Galston’s statistics. When Hillary Clinton ran for the presidency in 2016, she vowed to put her husband in charge of the economy because Democrats and most Americans knew it was flourishing when he was in the White House. This columnist acknowledged the point in The Washington Times. But voters, I cautioned, “need to be constantly reminded” that the prosperity materialized because Bill Clinton capitulated to Republicans who had politically pressured him into accepting policies that drove Ronald Reagan’s successful presidency.

Clinton’s first two years in office, Galston fails to tell his readers, ended in an electoral disaster for the Democrats. Determined to go on a high-tax, big-spend binge after winning the Oval Office in 1992, Clinton narrowly won a major income tax increase in the Democratic-controlled Congress. But congressional Republicans blocked his other important initiatives, including a big-spending “stimulus” program, a major energy tax, and Hillary Clinton’s national health care plan.

When 1994 rolled around and with Newt Gingrich leading the Republican off-year election charge from the House with his Reaganized “Contract With America” proposal, the GOP swept both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years.

The consequence: Bill Clinton executed a policy somersault worthy of the Flying Wallendas. He quickly abandoned many of his first-term proposals, including his wife’s health care plan, informing us that “the era of big government is over.” He now favored balanced budgets and apologized for having “raised [taxes] too much.” With the Republicans calling the shots, he enacted significant tax breaks for business and the middle class, including a 30% cut in the capital gains tax for individuals.

He also signed into law welfare reform legislation, which included popular work requirements that Reagan had placed in his own welfare reform law when he was governor of California. Clinton even used Reagan’s rhetoric to sell the bill he signed.

The measure proved stunningly successful, reducing caseloads by 50% and cutting child poverty in half. Robert Rector, The Heritage Foundation’s welfare expert, wrote much of the 1996 bill that Clinton eventually approved. Overall, the nation, as Galston notes, was clearly enjoying itself.

But let me put up numbers included in the 2016 column, just as glowing as Galston’s, but somewhat different in emphasis.

The unemployment rate had dropped to 4% by the end of Clinton’s presidency, the lowest level in more than 30 years. Joblessness for blacks and Hispanics had been sliced in half, down to 7% and 5%, respectively. The stock market more than doubled between 1998 and 2000. And a miracle occurred. We began paying off the national debt in colossal chunks—in no small part due to the nearly $1 trillion that was cut from the military because Reagan had won the Cold War.

Democrats don’t want to admit it, but the truth is Reagan’s conservative policies dominated the two decades that began with his victory over President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

Reagan’s first two terms produced substantially lower tax rates for individuals and corporations, domestic (nondefense) spending restraint and deregulation, which resulted in the end of those gas lines that had so plagued Carter’s presidency.

Reagan’s first executive order eliminated the price controls Carter clamped on oil and natural gas, which proved a disaster since, as Gingrich noted, “It limited us to buying gasoline every other day depending on the last number of our license plates. From scarcity of gasoline to abundance in six months—this was one of Reagan’s first evident accomplishments.” And the accomplishments kept coming.

Reagan’s first two terms produced lower tax rates for individuals and corporations, domestic (non-military) spending restraint and deregulation, a jobs growth explosion, and a major boom period that went 92 months without a recession (November 1982 to July 1990). At the time, this proved to be the longest peacetime period of sustained economic growth in U.S. history.

The late, great economics writer Warren Brookes noted that under the Gipper, the percentage of low-income families was declining. These folks were moving upward on the wage scale and securing major tax relief through higher deductibles and a tripling of the earned income tax credit. Six million of the poorest working Americans, Brookes pointed out, were dropped from the income tax rolls entirely, prompting the praise of even anti-Republican liberals. Black families made the most impressive gains.

And Reagan achieved something even more remarkable, which also had a profound economic and monetary impact. He brought down the Soviet Empire without dragging this country into war.

He gained this astonishing victory through rejuvenating our economy, rebuilding our military, and engaging in cunning diplomacy. He squeezed Russia economically, placed deadly missiles into Europe that threatened Moscow itself, and armed the Afghans with Stinger missiles—forcing the Russians out of the country they had so brutally invaded.

When Reagan refused to surrender his Strategic Defense Initiative in 1986 at Reykjavik, Iceland, Mikhail Gorbachev, eager to end hostilities with the U.S., decided to end the Cold War, realizing his country, even if it wanted to, could no longer compete with America either militarily or economically. (Gorbachev knew Reagan’s reliance on supply-side economics and his major military strategy, both so harshly mocked by the Democrats, were working all too well in putting his country on the defensive.)

Democrats love to take credit for the good things that happened in the last two decades of the 20th century. But since his election in 1980, Reagan furnished this country with the conservative policies that dramatically reversed Clinton’s disastrous first two years of liberal governance. He also made Clinton’s presidency far more comfortable with his canny strategy that compelled Gorbachev to surrender the Evil Empire.

Reagan, in short, was key to Clinton’s success, an indisputable fact the Clintonites can’t yet bring themselves to acknowledge.

Originally published by Newsmax

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The Best President in Recent History

Since I view Ronald Reagan as an honorary libertarian, I was very happy back in 2013 to see that he won a landslide victory over Barack Obama in a hypothetical poll.

This meant that voters either were old enough to personally experience the benefits of Reaganomics, or they managed to learn some history (in spite of a biased education establishment).

Well, now I have another reason to be happy. According to a new poll shared by Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner, nearly 70 percent of respondents have a favorable impression of Reagan, easily the best result for all recent presidents.

Reagan also is disliked by the smallest percentage of respondents, a fact that almost surely irks some of my Reagan-hating friends.

And definitely irks Paul Krugman.

My two cents for today is that the current fight between Trumpism and establishment Republicanism is merely stylistic. If you crunch the numbers, you’ll see that both camps are big spenders.

I much prefer Reaganism.

Let’s wrap up with this cartoon strip that captures my sentiments.

P.S. Here’s an amusing story from Reagan about socialism (h/t: Don Boudreaux).

Not quite as good as this video, and it’s not even good enough to get added to this collection of Reagan videos, but it is a good description of why socialism is a failure.

P.S. There was one other president in the 20th century who deserves praise and applause.

Tax Cartels Mean Ever-Higher Tax Rates

When President Biden proposed a “global minimum tax” for businesses, I immediately warned that would lead to ever-increasing tax rates.

Ross Kaminsky of KHOW and I discussed how this is already happening.

I hate being right, but it’s always safe to predict that politicians and bureaucrats will embrace policies that give more power to government.

Especially when they are very anxious to stifle tax competition.

For decades, people in government have been upset that the tax cuts implemented by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatchertriggered a four-decade trend of lower tax rates and pro-growth tax reform.

That’s the reason Biden and his Treasury Secretary proposed a 15 percent minimum tax rate for businesses.

And it’s the reason they now want the rate to be even higher.

Though even I’m surprised that they’re already pushing for that outcome when the original pact hasn’t even been approved or implemented.

Here are some passages from a report by Reuters.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will press G20 counterparts this week for a global minimum corporate tax rate above the 15% floor agreed by 130 countries last week…the global minimum tax rate…is tied to the outcome of legislation to raise the U.S. minimum tax rate, a Treasury official said.The Biden administration has proposed doubling the U.S. minimum tax on corporations overseas intangible income to 21% along with a new companion “enforcement” tax that would deny deductions to companies for tax payments to countries that fail to adopt the new global minimum rate. The officials said several countries were pushing for a rate above 15%, along with the United States.

Other kleptocratic governments naturally want the same thing.

A G7 proposal for a global minimum tax rate of 15% is too low and a rate of at least 21% is needed, Argentina’s finance minister said on Monday, leading a push by some developing countries… “The 15% rate is way too low,” Argentine Finance Minister Martin Guzman told an online panel hosted by the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation. …”The minimum rate being proposed would not do much to countries in Africa…,” Mathew Gbonjubola, Nigeria’s tax policy director, told the same conference.

Needless to say, I’m not surprised that Argentina is on the wrong side.

And supporters of class warfare also are agitating for a higher minimum rate. Here are some excerpts from a column in the New York Times by Gabriel Zucman and Gus Wezerek.

In the decades after World War II, close to 50 percent of American companies’ earnings went to state and federal taxes. …it was a golden period. …President Biden should be applauded for trying to end the race to the bottom on corporate tax rates. But even if Congress approves the 15 percent global minimum corporate tax, it won’t be enough. …the Biden administration to give working families a real leg up, it should push Congress to enact a 25 percent minimum tax, which would bring in about $200 billion in additional revenue each year. …With a 25 percent minimum corporate tax, the Biden administration would begin to reverse decades of growing inequality. And it would encourage other countries to do the same, replacing a race to the bottom with a sprint to the top.

I can’t resist making two observations about this ideological screed.

  1. Even the IMF and OECD agree that the so-called race to the bottom has not led to a decline in corporate tax revenues, even when measured as a share of economic output.
  2. Since companies legally avoid rather than illegally evade taxes, the headline of the column is utterly dishonest – but it’s what we’ve learned to expect from the New York Times.

The only good thing about the Zucman-Wezerek column is that it includes this chart showing how corporate tax rates have dramatically declined since 1980.

P.S. For those interested, the horizontal line at the bottom is for Bermuda, though other jurisdictions (such as Monaco and the Cayman Islands) also deserve credit for having no corporate income taxes.

P.P.S. If you want to know why high corporate tax rates are misguided, click here. And if you want to know why Biden’s plan to raise the U.S. corporate tax rate is misguided, click here. Or here. Or here.

P.P.P.S. And if you want more information about why Biden’s global tax cartel is bad, click here, here, and here.

I enjoyed this article below because it demonstrates that the Laffer Curve has been working for almost 100 years now when it is put to the test in the USA. I actually got to hear Arthur Laffer speak in person in 1981 and he told us in advance what was going to happen the 1980’s and it all came about as he said it would when Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts took place. I wish we would lower taxes now instead of looking for more revenue through raised taxes. We have to grow the economy:

What Mitt Romney Said Last Night About Tax Cuts And The Deficit Was Absolutely Right. And What Obama Said Was Absolutely Wrong.

Mitt Romney repeatedly said last night that he would not allow tax cuts to add to the deficit.  He repeatedly said it because over and over again Obama blathered the liberal talking point that cutting taxes necessarily increased deficits.

Romney’s exact words: “I want to underline that — no tax cut that adds to the deficit.”

Meanwhile, Obama has promised to cut the deficit in half during his first four years – but instead gave America the highest deficits in the history of the entire human race.

I’ve written about this before.  Let’s replay what has happened every single time we’ve ever cut the income tax rate.

The fact of the matter is that we can go back to Calvin Coolidge who said very nearly THE EXACT SAME THING to his treasury secretary: he too would not allow any tax cuts that added to the debt.  Andrew Mellon – quite possibly the most brilliant economic mind of his day – did a great deal of research and determined what he believed was the best tax rate.  And the Coolidge administration DID cut income taxes and MASSIVELY increased revenues.  Coolidge and Mellon cut the income tax rate 67.12 percent (from 73 to 24 percent); and revenues not only did not go down, but they went UP by at least 42.86 percent (from $700 billion to over $1 billion).

That’s something called a documented fact.  But that wasn’t all that happened: another incredible thing was that the taxes and percentage of taxes paid actually went UP for the rich.  Because as they were allowed to keep more of the profits that they earned by investing in successful business, they significantly increased their investments and therefore paid more in taxes than they otherwise would have had they continued sheltering their money to protect themselves from the higher tax rates.  Liberals ignore reality, but it is simply true.  It is a fact.  It happened.

Then FDR came along and raised the tax rates again and the opposite happened: we collected less and less revenue while the burden of taxation fell increasingly on the poor and middle class again.  Which is exactly what Obama wants to do.

People don’t realize that John F. Kennedy, one of the greatest Democrat presidents, was a TAX CUTTER who believed the conservative economic philosophy that cutting tax rates would in fact increase tax revenues.  He too cut taxes, and he too increased tax revenues.

So we get to Ronald Reagan, who famously cut taxes.  And again, we find that Reagan cut that godawful liberal tax rate during an incredibly godawful liberal-caused economic recession, and he increased tax revenue by 20.71 percent (with revenues increasing from $956 billion to $1.154 trillion).  And again, the taxes were paid primarily by the rich:

“The share of the income tax burden borne by the top 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. Meanwhile, the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers dropped from 7.5 percent in 1981 to 5.7 percent in 1988.”

So we get to George Bush and the Bush tax cuts that liberals and in particular Obama have just demonized up one side and demagogued down the other.  And I can simply quote the New York Times AT the time:

Sharp Rise in Tax Revenue to Pare U.S. Deficit By EDMUND L. ANDREWS Published: July 13, 2005

WASHINGTON, July 12 – For the first time since President Bush took office, an unexpected leap in tax revenue is about to shrink the federal budget deficit this year, by nearly $100 billion.

A Jump in Corporate Payments On Wednesday, White House officials plan to announce that the deficit for the 2005 fiscal year, which ends in September, will be far smaller than the $427 billion they estimated in February.

Mr. Bush plans to hail the improvement at a cabinet meeting and to cite it as validation of his argument that tax cuts would stimulate the economy and ultimately help pay for themselves.

Based on revenue and spending data through June, the budget deficit for the first nine months of the fiscal year was $251 billion, $76 billion lower than the $327 billion gap recorded at the corresponding point a year earlier.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated last week that the deficit for the full fiscal year, which reached $412 billion in 2004, could be “significantly less than $350 billion, perhaps below $325 billion.”

The big surprise has been in tax revenue, which is running nearly 15 percent higher than in 2004. Corporate tax revenue has soared about 40 percent, after languishing for four years, and individual tax revenue is up as well
.

And of course the New York Times, as reliable liberals, use the adjective whenever something good happens under conservative policies and whenever something bad happens under liberal policies: ”unexpected.”   But it WASN’T ”unexpected.”  It was EXACTLY what Republicans had said would happen and in fact it was exactly what HAD IN FACT HAPPENED every single time we’ve EVER cut income tax rates.

The truth is that conservative tax policy has a perfect track record: every single time it has ever been tried, we have INCREASED tax revenues while not only exploding economic activity and creating more jobs, but encouraging the wealthy to pay more in taxes as well.  And liberals simply dishonestly refuse to acknowledge documented history.

Meanwhile, liberals also have a perfect record … of FAILUREThey keep raising taxes and keep not understanding why they don’t get the revenues they predicted.

The following is a section from my article, “Tax Cuts INCREASE Revenues; They Have ALWAYS Increased Revenues“, where I document every single thing I said above:

The Falsehood That Tax Cuts Increase The Deficit

Now let’s take a look at the utterly fallacious view that tax cuts in general create higher deficits.

Let’s take a trip back in time, starting with the 1920s.  From Burton Folsom’s book, New Deal or Raw Deal?:

In 1921, President Harding asked the sixty-five-year-old [Andrew] Mellon to be secretary of the treasury; the national debt [resulting from WWI] had surpassed $20 billion and unemployment had reached 11.7 percent, one of the highest rates in U.S. history.  Harding invited Mellon to tinker with tax rates to encourage investment without incurring more debt. Mellon studied the problem carefully; his solution was what is today called “supply side economics,” the idea of cutting taxes to stimulate investment.  High income tax rates, Mellon argued, “inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw this capital from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities. . . . The result is that the sources of taxation are drying up, wealth is failing to carry its share of the tax burden; and capital is being diverted into channels which yield neither revenue to the Government nor profit to the people” (page 128).

Mellon wrote, “It seems difficult for some to understand that high rates of taxation do not necessarily mean large revenue to the Government, and that more revenue may often be obtained by lower taxes.”  And he compared the government setting tax rates on incomes to a businessman setting prices on products: “If a price is fixed too high, sales drop off and with them profits.”

And what happened?

“As secretary of the treasury, Mellon promoted, and Harding and Coolidge backed, a plan that eventually cut taxes on large incomes from 73 to 24 percent and on smaller incomes from 4 to 1/2 of 1 percent.  These tax cuts helped produce an outpouring of economic development – from air conditioning to refrigerators to zippers, Scotch tape to radios and talking movies.  Investors took more risks when they were allowed to keep more of their gains.  President Coolidge, during his six years in office, averaged only 3.3 percent unemployment and 1 percent inflation – the lowest misery index of any president in the twentieth century.

Furthermore, Mellon was also vindicated in his astonishing predictions that cutting taxes across the board would generate more revenue.  In the early 1920s, when the highest tax rate was 73 percent, the total income tax revenue to the U.S. government was a little over $700 million.  In 1928 and 1929, when the top tax rate was slashed to 25 and 24 percent, the total revenue topped the $1 billion mark.  Also remarkable, as Table 3 indicates, is that the burden of paying these taxes fell increasingly upon the wealthy” (page 129-130).

Now, that is incredible upon its face, but it becomes even more incredible when contrasted with FDR’s antibusiness and confiscatory tax policies, which both dramatically shrunk in terms of actual income tax revenues (from $1.096 billion in 1929 to $527 million in 1935), and dramatically shifted the tax burden to the backs of the poor by imposing huge new excise taxes (from $540 million in 1929 to $1.364 billion in 1935).  See Table 1 on page 125 of New Deal or Raw Deal for that information.

FDR both collected far less taxes from the rich, while imposing a far more onerous tax burden upon the poor.

It is simply a matter of empirical fact that tax cuts create increased revenue, and that those [Democrats] who have refused to pay attention to that fact have ended up reducing government revenues even as they increased the burdens on the poorest whom they falsely claim to help.

Let’s move on to John F. Kennedy, one of the most popular Democrat presidents ever.  Few realize that he was also a supply-side tax cutter.

Kennedy said:

“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now … Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.”

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, president’s news conference


“Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 17, 1963, annual budget message to the Congress, fiscal year 1964

“In today’s economy, fiscal prudence and responsibility call for tax reduction even if it temporarily enlarges the federal deficit – why reducing taxes is the best way open to us to increase revenues.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: “The Economic Report Of The President”


“It is no contradiction – the most important single thing we can do to stimulate investment in today’s economy is to raise consumption by major reduction of individual income tax rates.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: “The Economic Report Of The President”


“Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.


“A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues.”

– John F. Kennedy, Sept. 18, 1963, radio and television address to the nation on tax-reduction bill

Which is to say that modern Democrats are essentially calling one of their greatest presidents a liar when they demonize tax cuts as a means of increasing government revenues.

So let’s move on to Ronald Reagan.  Reagan had two major tax cutting policies implemented: the Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA) of 1981, which was retroactive to 1981, and the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Did Reagan’s tax cuts decrease federal revenues?  Hardly:

We find that 8 of the following 10 years there was a surplus of revenue from 1980, prior to the Reagan tax cuts.  And, following the Tax Reform Act of 1986, there was a MASSIVE INCREASEof revenue.

So Reagan’s tax cuts increased revenue.  But who paid the increased tax revenue?  The poor?  Opponents of the Reagan tax cuts argued that his policy was a giveaway to the rich (ever heard that one before?) because their tax payments would fall.  But that was exactly wrong.  In reality:

“The share of the income tax burden borne by the top 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. Meanwhile, the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers dropped from 7.5 percent in 1981 to 5.7 percent in 1988.”

So Ronald Reagan a) collected more total revenue, b) collected more revenue from the rich, while c) reducing revenue collected by the bottom half of taxpayers, and d) generated an economic powerhouse that lasted – with only minor hiccups – for nearly three decades.  Pretty good achievement considering that his predecessor was forced to describe his own economy as a “malaise,” suffering due to a “crisis of confidence.” Pretty good considering that President Jimmy Carter responded to a reporter’s question as to what he would do about the problem of inflation by answering, “It would be misleading for me to tell any of you that there is a solution to it.”

Reagan whipped inflation.  Just as he whipped that malaise and that crisis of confidence.

________

The Laffer Curve, Part III: Dynamic Scoring

Dan Mitchell: Good tax policy should strive to solve the three major problems that plague today’s income tax: 1. Punitive tax rates on productive behavior 2. Double taxation of saving and investment 3. Corrupt, complex, and inefficient loopholes.

Lower Taxes on Capital = More Prosperity

Good tax policy should strive to solve the three major problems that plague today’s income tax.

  1. Punitive tax rates on productive behavior.
  2. Double taxation of saving and investment
  3. Corrupt, complex, and inefficient loopholes.

Today, let’s focus on the second item. If the goal is to minimize the economic damage of taxation, both labor and capital should be taxed at the lowest-possible rate.

But, as illustrated by the chart, the internal revenue code imposes widespread “double taxation” on income that is saved and invested.

Actually, it’s more than double taxation. Between the capital gains tax, corporate income tax, double tax on dividends, and death tax, there are multiple layers of tax on income from saving and investment.

So even if statutory tax rates are low, effective tax rates can be very high when you consider how the IRS gets several bites at the apple.

This is why good tax reform plans eliminate the tax bias against capital.

But we don’t want the perfect to be the enemy of the good. Simply lowering tax rates on capital also would be a step in the right direction.

And such an approach would produce meaningful economic benefits, as explained in a new Federal Reserve study by Saroj Bhattarai, Jae Won Lee, Woong Yong Park, and Choongryul Yang.

…capital tax cuts, as expected, have expansionary long-run aggregate effects on the economy. For instance, with a permanent reduction of the capital tax rate from 35% to 21%, output in the new steady state, compared to the initial steady state, is greater by 4.24%… A reduction in the capital tax rate leads to a decrease in the rental rate of capital, raising demand for capital by firms. This stimulates investment and capital accumulation. A larger amount of capital stock, in turn, makes workers more productive, raising wages and hours. Finally, given the increase in the factors of production, output expands.

This is all good news.

But our left-leaning friends might not be happybecause some people get richer faster than other people get richer.

This aggregate expansion however, is coupled with worsening…inequality in our model. For instance, skilled wages increase by 4.66% while unskilled wages increases by only 0.56%, driven by capital-skill complementarity.

For what it is worth, I agree with Margaret Thatcherabout adopting policies that help all groups enjoy higher living standards.

Here’s a chart for wonky readers. It shows how quickly the economy grows depending on how lower capital taxes are offset.

And here’s some of the explanatory text.

The main takeaway if that you get the most growth when you also lower the burden of redistribution spending.

The three financing schemes under consideration…produce different effects on aggregate output because each scheme influences workers’ labor supply decisions differently. …lump-sum transfer cuts…boosts unskilled hours and in turn, contributes to greater aggregate output… In comparison, a rise in the labor or consumption tax rate decreases the effective wage rate (as is well-understood) and additionally, weakens the wealth effect for the unskilled household. These two mechanisms work together to generate a smaller aggregate expansion under the distortionary tax adjustments. …we show that the capital tax cut has different welfare implications for each type of household depending on time horizon and policy adjustments. …The tax reform benefits the skilled households the most when transfers adjust, whereas the unskilled households prefer distortionary financing to avoid a significant reduction in transfer incomes.

The secondary takeaway from this research is that it would be bad for the economy (and bad for both rich people and poor people) if Joe Biden’s class-warfare tax policy was enacted.

But if you read this, this, this, and this, you already knew that.

I enjoyed this article below because it demonstrates that the Laffer Curve has been working for almost 100 years now when it is put to the test in the USA. I actually got to hear Arthur Laffer speak in person in 1981 and he told us in advance what was going to happen the 1980’s and it all came about as he said it would when Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts took place. I wish we would lower taxes now instead of looking for more revenue through raised taxes. We have to grow the economy:

What Mitt Romney Said Last Night About Tax Cuts And The Deficit Was Absolutely Right. And What Obama Said Was Absolutely Wrong.

Mitt Romney repeatedly said last night that he would not allow tax cuts to add to the deficit.  He repeatedly said it because over and over again Obama blathered the liberal talking point that cutting taxes necessarily increased deficits.

Romney’s exact words: “I want to underline that — no tax cut that adds to the deficit.”

Meanwhile, Obama has promised to cut the deficit in half during his first four years – but instead gave America the highest deficits in the history of the entire human race.

I’ve written about this before.  Let’s replay what has happened every single time we’ve ever cut the income tax rate.

The fact of the matter is that we can go back to Calvin Coolidge who said very nearly THE EXACT SAME THING to his treasury secretary: he too would not allow any tax cuts that added to the debt.  Andrew Mellon – quite possibly the most brilliant economic mind of his day – did a great deal of research and determined what he believed was the best tax rate.  And the Coolidge administration DID cut income taxes and MASSIVELY increased revenues.  Coolidge and Mellon cut the income tax rate 67.12 percent (from 73 to 24 percent); and revenues not only did not go down, but they went UP by at least 42.86 percent (from $700 billion to over $1 billion).

That’s something called a documented fact.  But that wasn’t all that happened: another incredible thing was that the taxes and percentage of taxes paid actually went UP for the rich.  Because as they were allowed to keep more of the profits that they earned by investing in successful business, they significantly increased their investments and therefore paid more in taxes than they otherwise would have had they continued sheltering their money to protect themselves from the higher tax rates.  Liberals ignore reality, but it is simply true.  It is a fact.  It happened.

Then FDR came along and raised the tax rates again and the opposite happened: we collected less and less revenue while the burden of taxation fell increasingly on the poor and middle class again.  Which is exactly what Obama wants to do.

People don’t realize that John F. Kennedy, one of the greatest Democrat presidents, was a TAX CUTTER who believed the conservative economic philosophy that cutting tax rates would in fact increase tax revenues.  He too cut taxes, and he too increased tax revenues.

So we get to Ronald Reagan, who famously cut taxes.  And again, we find that Reagan cut that godawful liberal tax rate during an incredibly godawful liberal-caused economic recession, and he increased tax revenue by 20.71 percent (with revenues increasing from $956 billion to $1.154 trillion).  And again, the taxes were paid primarily by the rich:

“The share of the income tax burden borne by the top 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. Meanwhile, the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers dropped from 7.5 percent in 1981 to 5.7 percent in 1988.”

So we get to George Bush and the Bush tax cuts that liberals and in particular Obama have just demonized up one side and demagogued down the other.  And I can simply quote the New York Times AT the time:

Sharp Rise in Tax Revenue to Pare U.S. Deficit By EDMUND L. ANDREWS Published: July 13, 2005

WASHINGTON, July 12 – For the first time since President Bush took office, an unexpected leap in tax revenue is about to shrink the federal budget deficit this year, by nearly $100 billion.

A Jump in Corporate Payments On Wednesday, White House officials plan to announce that the deficit for the 2005 fiscal year, which ends in September, will be far smaller than the $427 billion they estimated in February.

Mr. Bush plans to hail the improvement at a cabinet meeting and to cite it as validation of his argument that tax cuts would stimulate the economy and ultimately help pay for themselves.

Based on revenue and spending data through June, the budget deficit for the first nine months of the fiscal year was $251 billion, $76 billion lower than the $327 billion gap recorded at the corresponding point a year earlier.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated last week that the deficit for the full fiscal year, which reached $412 billion in 2004, could be “significantly less than $350 billion, perhaps below $325 billion.”

The big surprise has been in tax revenue, which is running nearly 15 percent higher than in 2004. Corporate tax revenue has soared about 40 percent, after languishing for four years, and individual tax revenue is up as well
.

And of course the New York Times, as reliable liberals, use the adjective whenever something good happens under conservative policies and whenever something bad happens under liberal policies: ”unexpected.”   But it WASN’T ”unexpected.”  It was EXACTLY what Republicans had said would happen and in fact it was exactly what HAD IN FACT HAPPENED every single time we’ve EVER cut income tax rates.

The truth is that conservative tax policy has a perfect track record: every single time it has ever been tried, we have INCREASED tax revenues while not only exploding economic activity and creating more jobs, but encouraging the wealthy to pay more in taxes as well.  And liberals simply dishonestly refuse to acknowledge documented history.

Meanwhile, liberals also have a perfect record … of FAILUREThey keep raising taxes and keep not understanding why they don’t get the revenues they predicted.

The following is a section from my article, “Tax Cuts INCREASE Revenues; They Have ALWAYS Increased Revenues“, where I document every single thing I said above:

The Falsehood That Tax Cuts Increase The Deficit

Now let’s take a look at the utterly fallacious view that tax cuts in general create higher deficits.

Let’s take a trip back in time, starting with the 1920s.  From Burton Folsom’s book, New Deal or Raw Deal?:

In 1921, President Harding asked the sixty-five-year-old [Andrew] Mellon to be secretary of the treasury; the national debt [resulting from WWI] had surpassed $20 billion and unemployment had reached 11.7 percent, one of the highest rates in U.S. history.  Harding invited Mellon to tinker with tax rates to encourage investment without incurring more debt. Mellon studied the problem carefully; his solution was what is today called “supply side economics,” the idea of cutting taxes to stimulate investment.  High income tax rates, Mellon argued, “inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw this capital from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities. . . . The result is that the sources of taxation are drying up, wealth is failing to carry its share of the tax burden; and capital is being diverted into channels which yield neither revenue to the Government nor profit to the people” (page 128).

Mellon wrote, “It seems difficult for some to understand that high rates of taxation do not necessarily mean large revenue to the Government, and that more revenue may often be obtained by lower taxes.”  And he compared the government setting tax rates on incomes to a businessman setting prices on products: “If a price is fixed too high, sales drop off and with them profits.”

And what happened?

“As secretary of the treasury, Mellon promoted, and Harding and Coolidge backed, a plan that eventually cut taxes on large incomes from 73 to 24 percent and on smaller incomes from 4 to 1/2 of 1 percent.  These tax cuts helped produce an outpouring of economic development – from air conditioning to refrigerators to zippers, Scotch tape to radios and talking movies.  Investors took more risks when they were allowed to keep more of their gains.  President Coolidge, during his six years in office, averaged only 3.3 percent unemployment and 1 percent inflation – the lowest misery index of any president in the twentieth century.

Furthermore, Mellon was also vindicated in his astonishing predictions that cutting taxes across the board would generate more revenue.  In the early 1920s, when the highest tax rate was 73 percent, the total income tax revenue to the U.S. government was a little over $700 million.  In 1928 and 1929, when the top tax rate was slashed to 25 and 24 percent, the total revenue topped the $1 billion mark.  Also remarkable, as Table 3 indicates, is that the burden of paying these taxes fell increasingly upon the wealthy” (page 129-130).

Now, that is incredible upon its face, but it becomes even more incredible when contrasted with FDR’s antibusiness and confiscatory tax policies, which both dramatically shrunk in terms of actual income tax revenues (from $1.096 billion in 1929 to $527 million in 1935), and dramatically shifted the tax burden to the backs of the poor by imposing huge new excise taxes (from $540 million in 1929 to $1.364 billion in 1935).  See Table 1 on page 125 of New Deal or Raw Deal for that information.

FDR both collected far less taxes from the rich, while imposing a far more onerous tax burden upon the poor.

It is simply a matter of empirical fact that tax cuts create increased revenue, and that those [Democrats] who have refused to pay attention to that fact have ended up reducing government revenues even as they increased the burdens on the poorest whom they falsely claim to help.

Let’s move on to John F. Kennedy, one of the most popular Democrat presidents ever.  Few realize that he was also a supply-side tax cutter.

Kennedy said:

“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now … Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.”

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, president’s news conference


“Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 17, 1963, annual budget message to the Congress, fiscal year 1964

“In today’s economy, fiscal prudence and responsibility call for tax reduction even if it temporarily enlarges the federal deficit – why reducing taxes is the best way open to us to increase revenues.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: “The Economic Report Of The President”


“It is no contradiction – the most important single thing we can do to stimulate investment in today’s economy is to raise consumption by major reduction of individual income tax rates.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: “The Economic Report Of The President”


“Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.


“A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues.”

– John F. Kennedy, Sept. 18, 1963, radio and television address to the nation on tax-reduction bill

Which is to say that modern Democrats are essentially calling one of their greatest presidents a liar when they demonize tax cuts as a means of increasing government revenues.

So let’s move on to Ronald Reagan.  Reagan had two major tax cutting policies implemented: the Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA) of 1981, which was retroactive to 1981, and the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Did Reagan’s tax cuts decrease federal revenues?  Hardly:

We find that 8 of the following 10 years there was a surplus of revenue from 1980, prior to the Reagan tax cuts.  And, following the Tax Reform Act of 1986, there was a MASSIVE INCREASEof revenue.

So Reagan’s tax cuts increased revenue.  But who paid the increased tax revenue?  The poor?  Opponents of the Reagan tax cuts argued that his policy was a giveaway to the rich (ever heard that one before?) because their tax payments would fall.  But that was exactly wrong.  In reality:

“The share of the income tax burden borne by the top 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. Meanwhile, the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers dropped from 7.5 percent in 1981 to 5.7 percent in 1988.”

So Ronald Reagan a) collected more total revenue, b) collected more revenue from the rich, while c) reducing revenue collected by the bottom half of taxpayers, and d) generated an economic powerhouse that lasted – with only minor hiccups – for nearly three decades.  Pretty good achievement considering that his predecessor was forced to describe his own economy as a “malaise,” suffering due to a “crisis of confidence.” Pretty good considering that President Jimmy Carter responded to a reporter’s question as to what he would do about the problem of inflation by answering, “It would be misleading for me to tell any of you that there is a solution to it.”

Reagan whipped inflation.  Just as he whipped that malaise and that crisis of confidence.

________

The Laffer Curve, Part III: Dynamic Scoring

Dan Mitchell: “…intervention by politicians and bureaucrats almost always leads to bad outcomes!”

______________________________________

Depressing Polling Data

Here are some of America’s main economic problems.

And that’s just a partial list. I’m not asserting that markets produce perfect results. Indeed, markets are a never-ending process of creative destruction.

But what I am stating is that intervention by politicians and bureaucrats almost always leads to bad outcomes.

So you can imagine my angst and disappointment at this recent polling data from Echelon Insights. A plurality thinks the government should “do more.”

I’m tempted to speculate whether 47 percent of Americans are morons.

But let’s take the high road and simply dig into the numbers. Whenever I see polling data, I always check whether the question is properly worded.

Is there any bias? Does the question make sense?

Sadly, I think the above question is relatively straightforward. If the poll has asked a stand-alone question about whether the government should do more, that might have been ambiguous.

After all, the government theoretically could “do more” by reforming entitlements, shutting down useless federal departments, and replacing the corrupt internal revenue code with a flat tax.

But when the poll also gives people the option of answering that the government is doing “too many things,” then it is quite clear that “do more” means bigger government.

In other words, 47 percent of people are…well, let’s just say confused.

Hopefully last year’s Gallup poll is more accurate.

P.S. I can’t resist sharing one other result from the Echelon Insight poll.

Here’s an example of a poll question generating good results (people want more energy production and a smaller burden of government spending), but for illogical reasons.

The problem with this question is that rising prices are caused by bad monetary policy and the only cure is to change monetary policy.

Yet respondents were not given that option.

They may not have given the right answer if the question was worded better, but they never got the chance (I also made this point when looking at different polling data two months ago).

P.P.S. I obviously like this polling data on a spending cap.

P.P.P.S. And I was shocked by this poll about the world’s most pro-capitalist nation.

P.P.P.P.S. For sentimental reasons, I very much approve of this poll.

Musk invokes Milton Friedman in condemnation of Biden spending bill ‘trickery’

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Tesla founder Elon Musk blasted the “trickery” of President Joe Biden’s spending bill, channeling preeminent free-market economist Milton Friedman.

Musk, the world’s wealthiest person, posted an analysis of the Democratic spending legislation that found that by 2050, the national debt would increase by nearly 25%and gross domestic product would fall by nearly 3% should the plan be implemented with certain temporary provisions made permanent.

“There is a lot of accounting trickery in this bill that isn’t being disclosed to the public,” Musk told his 66 million Twitter followers on Wednesday.

“Nothing is more permanent than a ‘temporary’ government program,” the billionaire added, which is an almost exact word-for-word quote from Friedman, who is known for being a major proponent of free-market capitalism and one of the leaders of the Chicago school of economics.

MUSK SLAMS FEDERAL SUBSIDIES FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES

The Democratic bill, which many in the party claim is fully paid for, is chock-full of spending provisions that have early sunsets and drive down the headline price of the agenda, a tactic that Republicans and certain outside groups have characterized as gimmickry. Should the legislation pass, Democrats would likely seek to make those early sunsets permanent, thus increasing the bill’s actual cost by a large margin.

“In an alternative, illustrative scenario in which all temporary provisions in [the package] are made permanent, spending would instead total $4.6 trillion over the 10-year budget window,” the report reads. “In this scenario, by 2050 federal debt increase by 24.4 percent and GDP would fall by 2.9 percent relative to current law.”

This week, Musk also addressed the Democratic spending legislation during an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Musk said he thinks it might be better if the legislation doesn’t end up getting passed and cited the ballooning federal deficit.

During the interview, Musk said he is not an “extreme libertarian” but does think that the United States should minimize the role of the government. Musk also bucked the notion of federal subsidies, even for the electric vehicles that his company is known for.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

“It does not make sense to take the job of capital allocation away from people who have demonstrated great skill at capital allocation and give it to an entity that has demonstrated very poor skill in capital allocation, which is the government,” Musk said, invoking libertarian ideals.

“The government is simply the biggest corporation, with a monopoly on violence, and where you have no recourse,” he said, referencing renowned sociologist Max Weber.

Milton Friedman On Charlie Rose (Part One)

The late Milton Friedman discusses economics and otherwise with Charlie Rose.

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Milton Friedman: Life and ideas – Part 01

Milton Friedman: Life and ideas

A brief biography of Milton Friedman

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Stossel – “Free to Choose” (Milton Friedman) 1/6

6-10-10. pt.1 of 6. Stossel discusses Milton Friedman’s 1980 book, “Free to Choose”, which was smuggled in and read widely in Eastern Europe during the Cold War by many countries under Soviet rule. Read and admired the world over by the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, this book served as the inspiration for many of the Soviet sattellite countries’ economies once they achieved freedom after the fall of the Soviet Union.

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Milton Friedman on Medical Care [1/6]

Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan  were two of my heroes and I know that you can learn a great deal from their lives and their economic philosophies.  I suggest checking out these episodes of Milton Friedman’s film series FREE TO CHOOSE: “The Failure of Socialism” and “What is wrong with our schools?”  and “Created Equal”  and  From Cradle to Grave, and – Power of the Market.

What’s the Half-Life of a “Temporary” Tax Increase?

July 1, 2013 by Dan Mitchell

Milton Friedman famously noted that, “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program”and Ronald Reagan sagely observed that “a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.”

Two great Americans

They’re both right, but they should have included the other half of the fiscal equation. Repealing a tax, even a “temporary tax,” is just as difficult as getting rid of wasteful spending.

Simply stated, once politicians get access to a source of additional revenue, it’s feeding time at the zoo and good luck getting them to give the money back. Here’s a sobering example from Philadelphia.

Skeptics say there’s no such thing as a “temporary” tax. Like the two-year property tax increase City Council passed in 2010 that, lo and behold, is still with us. Or another dreaded levy: the wage tax. It was passed in 1939 as a short-term fix for the city’s finances, but succeeding generations have nonetheless been forced to accept its bite in their paychecks. The latest tax under consideration for immortality is the 1 percent sales-tax increase the state allowed Philadelphia to impose in 2009 as a bridge through the recession.The increase – which raised the tax on most goods and services in Philadelphia from 7 percent to 8 percent – is slated to expire next June. City and state leaders are now talking about making the increase permanent, with the extra money being put toward one or both of the city’s greatest needs: the struggling School District and the vastly underfunded public employee pension fund.

The bulk of that excerpt is a straightforward recitation of how temporary tax hikes become permanent tax hikes, but I have to object to the final sentence. The “city’s greatest needs” are replacing the failed government education monopoly with school choice and reducing the excessive pensions for over-compensated government bureaucrats – such as the city’s former “managing director” (whatever that is), Camille Cates Barnett.

I also can’t resist commenting on the craven behavior of the city’s Chamber of Commerce. I though the national Chamber of Commerce was bad when it endorsed TARP and the faux stimulus, but the local Chamber may be even worse.

Joe Grace, director of public policy at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, said, “We have not seen any evidence that extending the 1 percent is going to have any negative impact on the local businesses.” The chamber is also backing a $2-a-pack cigarette tax dedicated to the schools. “Our belief is the School District needs resources,” Grace said. “We’re working, along with many others, to close the school-funding gap, really by any means necessary.”

So Mr. Grace thinks more funding for a failed education bureaucracy should be achieved by “any means necessary.” Well, I think a 100 percent tax rate on Mr. Grace should be at the top of the list.

Heck, if France can tax at 100 percent, then so can the City of Philadelphia, and Mr. Grace is a deserving recipient of such a levy.

But there are some opponents of the tax, though they’re not exactly libertarian heroes.

…members of the nearly all-Democratic Philadelphia delegation have raised concerns about using the 1 percent to help fund the schools because it lets the state off the hook for its share of education funding. Danilo Burgos, president of the Dominican Grocers Association, argued that giving sales-tax revenue to the schools was “a Band-Aid.” The state, which has control of the city’s schools, should be responsible for devising “a real solution for our schools.”

In other words, they want more money to waste, but they want to take it from people in the rest of the state.

Sort of reminds me of what the great Frederic Bastiat wrote more than 150 years ago, “The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.”

But if enough people act as if that fiction is reality, then you get too many people riding in the wagon and not enough people pulling the wagon. That’s a good description of what’s happening in places such as Philadelphia and Greece.

Related posts:Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose” film transcripts and videos here on http://www.thedailyhatch.org

I have many posts on my blog that include both the transcript and videos of Milton Friedman’s film series “Free to Choose” and here are the episodes that I have posted.

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Here are the posts and you can find the links in order below this.

The Power of the Market from 1990

The Failure of Socialism from 1990

The Anatomy of a Crisis from 1980

What is wrong with our schools?  from 1980

Created Equal from 1980

From Cradle to Grave from 1980

The Power of the Market 1980

Debate on Inflation from 1980

Milton Friedman is the short one!!!

Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980), episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 1

“The Power of the Market” episode of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 5)

Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 5-5 How can we have personal freedom without economic freedom? That is why I don’t understand why socialists who value individual freedoms want to take away our economic freedoms.  I wanted to share this info below with you from Milton Friedman who has influenced me greatly over the […]

“The Power of the Market” episode of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 4)

Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 4-5 How can we have personal freedom without economic freedom? That is why I don’t understand why socialists who value individual freedoms want to take away our economic freedoms.  I wanted to share this info below with you from Milton Friedman who has influenced me greatly over the […]

“The Power of the Market” episode of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 3)

Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 3-5 How can we have personal freedom without economic freedom? That is why I don’t understand why socialists who value individual freedoms want to take away our economic freedoms.  I wanted to share this info below with you from Milton Friedman who has influenced me greatly over the […]

“The Power of the Market” episode of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 2)

Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 2-5 How can we have personal freedom without economic freedom? That is why I don’t understand why socialists who value individual freedoms want to take away our economic freedoms.  I wanted to share this info below with you from Milton Friedman who has influenced me greatly over the […]

“The Power of the Market” episode of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 1-5 How can we have personal freedom without economic freedom? That is why I don’t understand why socialists who value individual freedoms want to take away our economic freedoms.  I wanted to share this info below with you from Milton Friedman who has influenced me greatly over the […]

Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980), episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 1

“Friedman Friday” EPISODE “The Failure of Socialism” of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 5)

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. Abstract: Ronald Reagan introduces this program, and traces a line from Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of […]

“Friedman Friday” EPISODE “The Failure of Socialism” of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 4)

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. Abstract: Ronald Reagan introduces this program, and traces a line from Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of […]

“Friedman Friday” EPISODE “The Failure of Socialism” of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 3)

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. Abstract: Ronald Reagan introduces this program, and traces a line from Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of […]

“Friedman Friday” EPISODE “The Failure of Socialism” of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 2)

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. Abstract: Ronald Reagan introduces this program, and traces a line from Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of […]

“Friedman Friday,” EPISODE “The Failure of Socialism” of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. We must not head down the path of socialism like Greece has done. Abstract: Ronald Reagan […]

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 7of 7)

TEMIN: We don’t think the big capital arose before the government did? VON HOFFMAN: Listen, what are we doing here? I mean __ defending big government is like defending death and taxes. When was the last time you met anybody that was in favor of big government? FRIEDMAN: Today, today I met Bob Lekachman, I […]

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 6of 7)

worked pretty well for a whole generation. Now anything that works well for a whole generation isn’t entirely bad. From the fact __ from that fact, and the undeniable fact that things are working poorly now, are we to conclude that the Keynesian sort of mixed regulation was wrong __ FRIEDMAN: Yes. LEKACHMAN: __ or […]

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 5 of 7)

MCKENZIE: Ah, well, that’s not on our agenda actually. (Laughter) VOICE OFF SCREEN: Why not? MCKENZIE: I boldly repeat the question, though, the expectation having been __ having been raised in the public mind, can you reverse this process where government is expected to produce the happy result? LEKACHMAN: Oh, no way. And it would […]

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 4 of 7)

The massive growth of central government that started after the depression has continued ever since. If anything, it has even speeded up in recent years. Each year there are more buildings in Washington occupied by more bureaucrats administering more laws. The Great Depression persuaded the public that private enterprise was a fundamentally unstable system. That […]

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 3 of 7)

Worse still, America’s depression was to become worldwide because of what lies behind these doors. This is the vault of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Inside is the largest horde of gold in the world. Because the world was on a gold standard in 1929, these vaults, where the U.S. gold was stored, […]

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“Friedman Friday” (Part 16) (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 2 of 7)

  George Eccles: Well, then we called all our employees together. And we told them to be at the bank at their place at 8:00 a.m. and just act as if nothing was happening, just have a smile on their face, if they could, and me too. And we have four savings windows and we […]

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 1of 7)

Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980), episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 1 FREE TO CHOOSE: Anatomy of Crisis Friedman Delancy Street in New York’s lower east side, hardly one of the city’s best known sites, yet what happened in this street nearly 50 years ago continues to effect all of us today. […]

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Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 6 of transcript and video)

Here is the video clip and transcript of the film series FREE TO CHOOSE episode “What is wrong with our schools?” Part 6 of 6.   Volume 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools Transcript: FRIEDMAN: But I personally think it’s a good thing. But I don’t see that any reason whatsoever why I shouldn’t have been required […]

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Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 5 of transcript and video)

Here is the video clip and transcript of the film series FREE TO CHOOSE episode “What is wrong with our schools?” Part 5 of 6.   Volume 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools Transcript: Are your voucher schools  going to accept these tough children? COONS: You bet they are. (Several talking at once.) COONS: May I answer […]

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Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 4 of transcript and video)

Here is the video clip and transcript of the film series FREE TO CHOOSE episode “What is wrong with our schools?” Part 4 of 6.   Volume 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools Transcript: It seems to me that if one is truly interested in liberty, which I think is the ultimate value that Milton Friedman talks […]

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Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 3 of transcript and video)

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 3 of transcript and video) Here is the video clip and transcript of the film series FREE TO CHOOSE episode “What is wrong with our schools?” Part 3 of 6.   Volume 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools Transcript: If it […]

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 2 of transcript and video)

Here is the video clip and transcript of the film series FREE TO CHOOSE episode “What is wrong with our schools?” Part 2 of 6.   Volume 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools Transcript: Groups of concerned parents and teachers decided to do something about it. They used private funds to take over empty stores and they […]

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Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 1 of transcript and video)

Here is the video clip and transcript of the film series FREE TO CHOOSE episode “What is wrong with our schools?” Part 1 of 6.   Volume 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools Transcript: Friedman: These youngsters are beginning another day at one of America’s public schools, Hyde Park High School in Boston. What happens when […]

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Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 7 of transcript and video)

Liberals like President Obama want to shoot for an equality of outcome. That system does not work. In fact, our free society allows for the closest gap between the wealthy and the poor. Unlike other countries where free enterprise and other freedoms are not present.  This is a seven part series. Created Equal [7/7]. Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose […]

Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 6 of transcript and video)

Liberals like President Obama want to shoot for an equality of outcome. That system does not work. In fact, our free society allows for the closest gap between the wealthy and the poor. Unlike other countries where free enterprise and other freedoms are not present.  This is a seven part series. Created Equal [6/7]. Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose […]

“Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 5 of transcript and video)

Liberals like President Obama want to shoot for an equality of outcome. That system does not work. In fact, our free society allows for the closest gap between the wealthy and the poor. Unlike other countries where free enterprise and other freedoms are not present.  This is a seven part series. Created Equal [5/7]. Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose […]

Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 4 of transcript and video)

Liberals like President Obama want to shoot for an equality of outcome. That system does not work. In fact, our free society allows for the closest gap between the wealthy and the poor. Unlike other countries where free enterprise and other freedoms are not present.  This is a seven part series. Created Equal [4/7]. Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose […]

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 3 of transcript and video)

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 3 of transcript and video) Liberals like President Obama want to shoot for an equality of outcome. That system does not work. In fact, our free society allows for the closest gap between the wealthy and the poor. Unlike other countries where free enterprise and other […]

Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 2 of transcript and video)

Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 2 of transcript and video) Liberals like President Obama want to shoot for an equality of outcome. That system does not work. In fact, our free society allows for the closest gap between the wealthy and the poor. Unlike other countries where free enterprise and other freedoms are […]

Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 1 of transcript and video)

 Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan Liberals like President Obama (and John Brummett) want to shoot for an equality of outcome. That system does not work. In fact, our free society allows for the closest gap between the wealthy and the poor. Unlike other countries where free enterprise and other freedoms are not present.  This is a seven part series. […]

Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 2-5

Milton Friedman Friday:(“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 7 of 7)

I am currently going through his film series “Free to Choose” which is one the most powerful film series I have ever seen. TEMIN: We don’t think the big capital arose before the government did? VON HOFFMAN: Listen, what are we doing here? I mean __ defending big government is like defending death and taxes. […]

Milton Friedman Friday:(“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 6 of 7)

I am currently going through his film series “Free to Choose” which is one the most powerful film series I have ever seen worked pretty well for a whole generation. Now anything that works well for a whole generation isn’t entirely bad. From the fact __ from that fact, and the undeniable fact that things […]

Milton Friedman Friday:(“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 5 of 7)

 I am currently going through his film series “Free to Choose” which is one the most powerful film series I have ever seen. PART 5 of 7 MCKENZIE: Ah, well, that’s not on our agenda actually. (Laughter) VOICE OFF SCREEN: Why not? MCKENZIE: I boldly repeat the question, though, the expectation having been __ having […]

Milton Friedman Friday: (“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 4 of 7)

 I am currently going through his film series “Free to Choose” which is one the most powerful film series I have ever seen. PART 4 of 7 The massive growth of central government that started after the depression has continued ever since. If anything, it has even speeded up in recent years. Each year there […]

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Milton Friedman Friday: (“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 3 of 7)

 I am currently going through his film series “Free to Choose” which is one the most powerful film series I have ever seen. PART 3 OF 7 Worse still, America’s depression was to become worldwide because of what lies behind these doors. This is the vault of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Inside […]

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Milton Friedman Friday:(“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 2 of 7)

 I am currently going through his film series “Free to Choose” which is one the most powerful film series I have ever seen. For the past 7 years Maureen Ramsey has had to buy food and clothes for her family out of a government handout. For the whole of that time, her husband, Steve, hasn’t […]

Friedman Friday:(“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 1 of 7)

Friedman Friday:(“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 1 of 7) Volume 4 – From Cradle to Grave Abstract: Since the Depression years of the 1930s, there has been almost continuous expansion of governmental efforts to provide for people’s welfare. First, there was a tremendous expansion of public works. The Social Security Act […]

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 7 of 7)

  Michael Harrington:  If you don’t have the expertise, the knowledge technology today, you’re out of the debate. And I think that we have to democratize information and government as well as the economy and society. FRIEDMAN: I am sorry to say Michael Harrington’s solution is not a solution to it. He wants minority rule, I […]

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 6 of 7)

PETERSON: Well, let me ask you how you would cope with this problem, Dr. Friedman. The people decided that they wanted cool air, and there was tremendous need, and so we built a huge industry, the air conditioning industry, hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous earnings opportunities and nearly all of us now have air […]

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 5 of 7)

Part 5 Milton Friedman: I do not believe it’s proper to put the situation in terms of industrialist versus government. On the contrary, one of the reasons why I am in favor of less government is because when you have more government industrialists take it over, and the two together form a coalition against the ordinary […]

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 4 of 7)

The fundamental principal of the free society is voluntary cooperation. The economic market, buying and selling, is one example. But it’s only one example. Voluntary cooperation is far broader than that. To take an example that at first sight seems about as far away as you can get __ the language we speak; the words […]

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 3 of 7)

  _________________________   Pt3  Nowadays there’s a considerable amount of traffic at this border. People cross a little more freely than they use to. Many people from Hong Kong trade in China and the market has helped bring the two countries closer together, but the barriers between them are still very real. On this side […]

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 2 of 7)

  Aside from its harbor, the only other important resource of Hong Kong is people __ over 4_ million of them. Like America a century ago, Hong Kong in the past few decades has been a haven for people who sought the freedom to make the most of their own abilities. Many of them are […]

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 1 – Power of the Market. part 1of 7)

“FREE TO CHOOSE” 1: The Power of the Market (Milton Friedman) Free to Choose ^ | 1980 | Milton Friedman Posted on Monday, July 17, 2006 4:20:46 PM by Choose Ye This Day FREE TO CHOOSE: The Power of the Market Friedman: Once all of this was a swamp, covered with forest. The Canarce Indians […]

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Milton Friedman The Power of the Market 1-5

Debate on Milton Friedman’s cure for inflation

If you would like to see the first three episodes on inflation in Milton Friedman’s film series “Free to Choose” then go to a previous post I did. Ep. 9 – How to Cure Inflation [4/7]. Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980) Uploaded by investbligurucom on Jun 16, 2010 While many people have a fairly […]

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“Friedman Friday” Milton Friedman believed in liberty (Interview by Charlie Rose of Milton Friedman part 1)

Charlie Rose interview of Milton Friedman My favorite economist: Milton Friedman : A Great Champion of Liberty  by V. Sundaram   Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who advocated an unfettered free market and had the ear of three US Presidents – Nixon, Ford and Reagan – died last Thursday (16 November, 2006 ) in San Francisco […]

What were the main proposals of Milton Friedman?

Stearns Speaks on House Floor in Support of Balanced Budget Amendment Uploaded by RepCliffStearns on Nov 18, 2011 Speaking on House floor in support of Balanced Budget Resolution, 11/18/2011 ___________ Below are some of the main proposals of Milton Friedman. I highly respected his work. David J. Theroux said this about Milton Friedman’s view concerning […]

“Friedman Friday,” EPISODE “The Failure of Socialism” of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. We must not head down the path of socialism like Greece has done. Abstract: Ronald Reagan […]

Defending Milton Friedman

What a great defense of Milton Friedman!!!!   Defaming Milton Friedman by Johan Norberg This article appeared in Reason Online on September 26, 2008  PRINT PAGE  CITE THIS      Sans Serif      Serif Share with your friends: ShareThis In the future, if you tell a student or a journalist that you favor free markets and limited government, there is […]

Milton and Rose Friedman “Two Lucky People”

Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994 Interview 2 of 2 Uploaded by PenguinProseMedia on Oct 26, 2011 2nd half of 1994 interview. ________________ I have a lot of respect for the Friedmans.Two Lucky People by Milton and Rose Friedman reviewed by David Frum — October 1998. However, I liked this review below better. It […]

Video clip:Milton Friedman discusses his view of numerous political figures and policy issues in (Part 2)

Milton Friedman on Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” 1994 Interview 1 of 2 Uploaded by PenguinProseMedia on Oct 25, 2011 Says Federal Reserve should be abolished, criticizes Keynes. One of Friedman’s best interviews, discussion spans Friedman’s career and his view of numerous political figures and public policy issues. ___________________ Here is a review of “Two Lucky People.” […]

Milton Friedman believed in liberty (Interview by Charlie Rose of Milton Friedman part 1)

Charlie Rose interview of Milton Friedman My favorite economist: Milton Friedman : A Great Champion of Liberty  by V. Sundaram   Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who advocated an unfettered free market and had the ear of three US Presidents – Nixon, Ford and Reagan – died last Thursday (16 November, 2006 ) in San Francisco […]

“The Failure of Socialism” episode of Free to Choose in 1990 by Milton Friedman (Part 1)

Milton Friedman: Free To Choose – The Failure Of Socialism With Ronald Reagan (Full) Published on Mar 19, 2012 by NoNationalityNeeded Milton Friedman’s writings affected me greatly when I first discovered them and I wanted to share with you. We must not head down the path of socialism like Greece has done. Abstract: Ronald Reagan […]

Volume 1: Power of the Market Volume 2: The Tyranny of Control
Volume 3: Anatomy of a Crisis 
Volume 4: From Cradle to Grave
Volume 5: Created Equal
Volume 6: What’s Wrong With Our Schools?
Volume 7: Who Protects the Consumer?
Volume 8: Who Protects the Worker?
Volume 9: How to Cure Inflation
Volume 10: How to Stay Free

Updated 1990 Series:
Volume 1: The Power of the Market
Volume 2: The Tyranny of Control
Volume 3: Freedom & Prosperity
Volume 4: The Failure of Socialism
Volume 5: Created Equal

 

“Friedman Friday” Milton Friedman – Power of Choice (Biography) Part 3

Milton Friedman – Power of Choice (Biography) Part 3 Published on May 21, 2012 by BasicEconomics Tribute to Milton Friedman English Pages, 8. 9. 2008 Dear colleagues, dear friends, (1) It is a great honor for me to be asked to say a few words to this distinguished and very knowledgeable audience about one of our greatest […]

“Friedman Friday” Milton Friedman – Power of Choice (Biography) Part 2

Milton Friedman – Power of Choice (Biography) Part 2 Published on May 21, 2012 by BasicEconomics My Tribute to Milton Friedman: The Little Giant of Free Market Economics By: admin- 11/17/2006 09:49 AM RESIZE: AAA  Milton Friedman, the intellectual architect of the free-market reforms of the post-World War II era, was a dear friend. I […]

“Friedman Friday” Milton Friedman – Power of Choice – Biography (Part 1)

Milton Friedman – Power of Choice – Biography (Part 1) Published on May 20, 2012 by BasicEconomics   David R. Henderson The Pursuit of Happiness ~ Milton Friedman: A Personal Tribute May 2007 • Volume: 57 • Issue: 4 David Henderson (davidrhenderson1950@gmail.com) is a research fellow with the Hoover Institution and an economics professor at […]

Milton Friedman’s Chicago Boys started the Chilean Miracle and it is still helping ordinary people today!!!

Milton Friedman and Chile – The Power of Choice Uploaded on May 13, 2011 In this excerpt from Free To Choose Network’s “The Power of Choice (2006)”, we set the record straight on Milton Friedman’s dealings with Chile — including training the Chicago Boys and his meeting with Augusto Pinochet. Was the tremendous prosperity unleashed […]

Margaret Thatcher admired Milton Friedman

RARE Friedman Footage – On Keys to Reagan and Thatcher’s Success Margaret Thatcher and Milton Friedman were two of my heroes. Thatcher praises Friedman, her freedom fighter By George Jones, Political Editor 12:01AM GMT 17 Nov 2006 A tireless champion of the free market Let’s not get misty eyed over the Friedman legacy Milton Friedman, […]

Milton Friedman and Chile an update

Milton Friedman was a great economist and a fine speaker. ___________________ I have written before about Milton Friedman’s influence on the economy of Chile. Now I saw this fine article below fromhttp://www.heritage.org  and below that article I have included an article from the Wall Street Journal that talks about Milton Friedman’s influence on Chile. I […]

“Friedman Friday” Milton Friedman explains negative income tax to William F. Buckley in 1968

December 06, 2011 03:54 PM Milton Friedman Explains The Negative Income Tax – 1968 0 comments By Gordonskene enlarge Milton Friedman and friends.DOWNLOADS: 36 PLAYS: 35 Embed   The age-old question of Taxes. In the early 1960′s Economist Milton Friedman adopted an idea hatched in England in the 1950′s regarding a Negative Income Tax, to […]

Milton Friedman admired Margaret Thatcher

RARE Friedman Footage – On Keys to Reagan and Thatcher’s Success Margaret Thatcher and Milton Friedman were two of my heroes. Milton Friedman on How Francois Mitterrand (and Failed Lefty Economics) Helped Re-elect Margaret Thatcher Matt Welch|Apr. 10, 2013 9:37 am Yesterday I wrote a column about how Margaret Thatcher liberated Western Europe from the […]

Milton Friedman had a solution to today’s welfare mentality!!!

  I have written about the tremendous increase in the food stamp program the last 9 years before and that means that both President Obama and Bush were guilty of not trying to slow down it’s growth. Furthermore, Republicans have been some of the biggest supporters of the food stamp program. Milton Friedman had a […]

“Friedman Friday” Milton Friedman on “Firing Line” in 1968

Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan And William F. Buckley Jr. Peter Robinson, 12.12.08, 12:01 AM EST In a time of crisis, don’t forget what they had to say. As the federal deficit surpasses $1 trillion, Congress debates a bailout for the Detroit automakers and President-elect Barack Obama draws up plans for a vast new stimulus package, […]

Dan Mitchell: Since athletes respond to incentives (just like entrepreneurs, inventors, and scientists), we should not be surprised that Prof. Hembre found that teams in lower-tax states now enjoy more success!

If You Want Your Team to Win, Support Lower Taxes

Back in 2018, I shared some academic research on the relationship between state tax rates and the performance of professional football teams.

The main takeaway is that teams based in high-tax states did not win as many games, on average, as teams based in low-tax states.

So if you want your favorite team to win, support better tax policy.

Though there are no guarantees. A team from high-tax California just won the Super Bowl, so it goes without saying that taxes are not the only factor that determines team success.

But it presumably means that teams in states like California and New York have to overcome a built-in disadvantage.

Let’s take a look at some new research on this issue. Professor Erik Hembre of the University of Illinois at Chicago authored a study that’s been published by International Tax and Public Finance.

Here’s the question he wanted to answer.

Do higher state income taxes harm firms? …This paper examines the state income tax burden in a unique market, professional sports, where teams—the capital in question—are highly immobile and players—the labor—are highly mobileto test whether higher state income tax hinders team performance. Anecdotal evidence suggests higher state income taxes disadvantage professional sports teams. Across the four major US sports leagues, of the forty-nine franchises with long championship droughts, only four are from states that do not have an income tax, while twenty are from the highest taxed states.

Here’s his methodology, which takes advantage of the fact that free agency gave players new-found ability to play where they could keep more of their earnings.

To test the link between state income taxes and team performance, this paper analyzes team performance in the four major US professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Baseball (MLB). To address concerns that the association between team performance and income tax rates may be coincidental, I examine how the tax rate effect changed with the adoption of free agency. Achieving free agency has been a milestone for players’ associations, paramount both for increasing player mobility across teams and for forcing teams to compete for player services without restrictions.

Since athletes respond to incentives (just like entrepreneurs, inventors, and scientists), we should not be surprised that Prof. Hembre found that teams in lower-tax states now enjoy more success.

I compare the link between tax rates and team winning percentage before and after the introduction of free agency in each league using within-team variation in top state marginal income tax rates. Prior to free agency, there was a small positive association between income tax rates and winning. After the introduction of free agency, changes in state income tax rates significantly influence team performance. Each percentage point increase in the top marginal income tax rate is associated with a 0.70 percentage point decrease in win percentage. The tax rate effect on team performance is robust to a variety of specifications, such as controlling for sales and property taxes or alternative tax rate measures. Changing the outcome measure to be championships or finals appearances also yields similar results. The estimated effect size is non-trivial. The main analysis effect size of − 0.70 means that a one standard deviation increase in tax rate will result in 2.05 fewer wins over an 82 game season. …Figure 3 presents the annual point estimates (훽2) and 95% confidence intervals of the income tax rate effects between 1980 and 2017. …in all 9 years prior to any league having free agency, there was a positive income tax effect estimate. This relationship changed shortly after the introduction of free agency and since 1990 the annual income tax effect has remained negative.

Here’s the aforementioned Figure 3 for my wonky readers.

As a fan of better tax policy, I like Prof. Hembre’s findings.

As a fan of the New York Yankees, I don’t like his findings

P.S. Here’s one final tidbit that will appeal to fans of the Raiders.

Considering an extreme case, the recent relocation of the Oakland Raiders from a high income tax state (California) to a no income tax state (Nevada) projects a winning percentage increase of 8.6 percentage points or about 1 game per NFL season

P.P.S. I’ll close by reiterating my caveat about taxes being just one piece of the puzzle. After all, I speculated that taxes may have played a role in LeBron James going from Cleveland to Miami many years ago. But he has since migrated to high-tax California. Though many pro athletes have moved away from the not-so-Golden States, so the general points is still accurate.

P.P.P.S. I feel sorry for Cam Newton, who paid a marginal tax rate of nearly 200 percent on his bonus for playing in the 2016 Super Bowl.

P.P.P.P.S. Taxes also impact choices on how often to box and where to box.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Needless to say, these principles also apply in other nations.

The Laffer Curve, Part I: Understanding the Theory

Uploaded by 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

___________

After reading Milton Friedman’s book “Free to Choose” in 1980, I had the opportunity in 1981 to hear Arthur Laffer speak about what great economic expansion we were about to have in the USA because of Reagan’s 25% across the board tax cuts on income taxes and sure enough he was right. In fact, our economy expanded so much that the world took notice. Basically from 1980 to 2007 we dropped our top income tax rate from 73% to 39% which is a decrease of 34% and the world saw what we did and followed along. The drop of the industrialized countries during this same time was 26% (from 68% to 42% on average).

Take a look below at this chart:

Table 42.2
Top Individual Income Tax Rates in the OECD (percent)
Change
Country 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2007 1980–2007
Australia 62 60 49 47 47 47 45 17
Austria 62 62 50 50 50 50 50 12
Belgium 76 76 58 61 60 53 53 24
Britain 83 60 40 40 40 40 40 43
Canada 64 57 49 49 48 44 44 20
Czech Rep. n.a. n.a. n.a. 43 32 32 32 11
Denmark 66 73 68 64 59 59 59 7
Finland 68 67 60 57 54 53 52 16
France 60 65 60 62 61 56 49 11
Germany 65 65 53 57 56 44 47 18
Greece 60 63 50 45 43 40 40 20
Hungary n.a. n.a. 50 44 40 38 36 14
Iceland 63 56 40 47 45 39 36 27
Ireland 60 65 58 48 42 42 41 19
Italy 72 81 66 67 51 44 44 28
Japan 75 70 65 65 50 50 50 25
Korea 89 65 64 48 44 39 39 50
Luxembourg 57 57 56 50 47 39 39 18
Mexico 55 55 40 35 40 30 28 27
Netherlands 72 72 60 60 52 52 52 20
New Zealand 62 66 33 33 39 39 39 23
Norway 75 64 51 42 48 40 40 35
Poland n.a. n.a. n.a. 45 40 40 40 5
Portugal 84 69 40 40 40 40 42 42
Slovakia n.a. n.a. n.a. 42 42 19 19 23
Spain 66 66 56 56 48 40 39 27
Sweden 87 80 65 50 55 56 56 32
Switzerland 38 40 38 37 36 34 34 4
Turkey 75 63 50 55 45 40 40 35
United States 73 55 38 43 43 39 39 34
Average 68 64 52 49 47 43 42 26
SOURCE: James Gwartney and Robert Lawson, Economic Freedom of the World (Vancouver: Fraser Institute,
2007), as updated to 2007 by the authors. Data includes the national and average subnational tax rates.
NOTE: n.a. not applicable.

___________

I know that Max Brantley and many of his friends over the Arkansas Times like to say that the Reagan tax cuts increased the deficit but that clearly is not true.

Peter Sperry noted:

President Ronald Reagan’s record includes sweeping economic reforms and deep across-the-board tax cuts, market deregulation, and sound monetary policies to contain inflation. His policies resulted in the largest peacetime economic boom in American history and nearly 35 million more jobs. As the Joint Economic Committee reported in April 2000:2

In 1981, newly elected President Ronald Reagan refocused fiscal policy on the long run. He proposed, and Congress passed, sharp cuts in marginal tax rates. The cuts increased incentives to work and stimulated growth. These were funda-mental policy changes that provided the foundation for the Great Expansion that began in December 1982.

HOW DID THE REAGAN TAX CUTS AFFECT THE U.S. TREASURY?

Many critics of reducing taxes claim that the Reagan tax cuts drained the U.S. Treasury. The reality is that federal revenues increased significantly between 1980 and 1990:

  • Total federal revenues doubled from just over $517 billion in 1980 to more than $1 trillion in 1990. In constant inflation-adjusted dollars, this was a 28 percent increase in revenue.3
  • As a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP), federal revenues declined only slightly from 18.9 percent in 1980 to 18 percent in 1990.4
  • Revenues from individual income taxes climbed from just over $244 billion in 1980 to nearly $467 billion in 1990.5 In inflation-adjusted dollars, this amounts to a 25 percent increase.
  • The Laffer Curve, Part II: Reviewing the EvidenceThis 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.The Laffer Curve, Part III: Dynamic Scoring

Dan Mitchell: Biden’s Nonsensical Class-Warfare Tweet

Biden’s Nonsensical Class-Warfare Tweet

Trump had some economically illiterate tweets about trade during his presidency, including the infamous one about being “Tariff Man.”

I think Joe Biden must be feeling envious that Trump got so much attention, so he has issued a tweetshowing that he also suffers from economic illiteracy.

Or maybe Biden’s problem is dishonesty because his tweet is based on a make-believe number about the the average tax rate paid by billionaires.

For what it’s worth, this isn’t the first time that Biden has issued a tweet based on fake numbers.

In the previous instance, he deliberately confused the distinction between the financial concept of book income and and cash-flow concept of taxable income.

What accounts for his most recent error?

Reporting for the Wall Street Journal, Richard Rubin and Rachel Louise Ensign explain how the Biden Administration concocted this number.

What do the wealthy pay in federal taxes? On paper, the top marginal income-tax rate is 37% on ordinary income and 23.8% on capital gains. Government estimates put high-income filers’ average rates in the mid-20s. A new Biden administration analysis, however, pegs the average tax rate for the 400 wealthiest households at 8.2% from 2010 to 2018. …It’s far below traditional estimates from government number crunchers… Recent estimates of a broader group of rich people from the Congressional Budget Office, Treasury Department and the Joint Committee on Taxation fall between 23% and 26%.

So how does the Biden Administration get a number that is radically different than other sources?

By artificially inflating the income of rich people by asserting that changes in wealth should count as income.

White House…economists Greg Leiserson and Danny Yagan..include increases in unrealized capital gains. That is the change in the value of assets, including stocks, that haven’t been sold. …Conventional analyses and the current income-tax law don’t include unrealized gains.

At the risk of making a wonky point, “conventional analysis” and “income-tax law” don’t include unrealized capital gains as income because, well, changes in net worth are not income.

And the fact that some folks on the left want to tax people on unrealized capital gains doesn’t change that reality.

To understand why that would be wretched policy, let’s cite examples that apply to those of us who, sadly, are not billionaires.

  • Imagine filing your taxes next year and having to pay more money to the IRS simply because Zillow estimated that your house rose in value.
  • Imagine that you’re filling out your 1040 form next year and you have to pay more money to the IRS  simply because your IRA or 401(k) rose in value.

Both of these examples sound absurd because they would be absurd. And if a policy is absurd and unfair for regular people, it’s also absurd and unfair for rich people.

Since I’m a fiscal wonk, I’ll close by making the point that the Biden Administration wants to take a bad tax(capital gains tax) and make it worse (by taxing paper gains in addition to actual gains).

The net result is that we would have a backdoor wealth tax – a approach that is so anti-growth that even most European governments have repealed those levies.

But since Joe Biden is motivated by class warfare (see here, here, here, and here), he apparently doesn’t care about the economic consequences.

P.S. Biden once claimed that it is “patriotic” to pay higher taxes, but he then played Benedict Arnoldwith his own tax return.

I enjoyed this article below because it demonstrates that the Laffer Curve has been working for almost 100 years now when it is put to the test in the USA. I actually got to hear Arthur Laffer speak in person in 1981 and he told us in advance what was going to happen the 1980’s and it all came about as he said it would when Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts took place. I wish we would lower taxes now instead of looking for more revenue through raised taxes. We have to grow the economy:

What Mitt Romney Said Last Night About Tax Cuts And The Deficit Was Absolutely Right. And What Obama Said Was Absolutely Wrong.

Mitt Romney repeatedly said last night that he would not allow tax cuts to add to the deficit.  He repeatedly said it because over and over again Obama blathered the liberal talking point that cutting taxes necessarily increased deficits.

Romney’s exact words: “I want to underline that — no tax cut that adds to the deficit.”

Meanwhile, Obama has promised to cut the deficit in half during his first four years – but instead gave America the highest deficits in the history of the entire human race.

I’ve written about this before.  Let’s replay what has happened every single time we’ve ever cut the income tax rate.

The fact of the matter is that we can go back to Calvin Coolidge who said very nearly THE EXACT SAME THING to his treasury secretary: he too would not allow any tax cuts that added to the debt.  Andrew Mellon – quite possibly the most brilliant economic mind of his day – did a great deal of research and determined what he believed was the best tax rate.  And the Coolidge administration DID cut income taxes and MASSIVELY increased revenues.  Coolidge and Mellon cut the income tax rate 67.12 percent (from 73 to 24 percent); and revenues not only did not go down, but they went UP by at least 42.86 percent (from $700 billion to over $1 billion).

That’s something called a documented fact.  But that wasn’t all that happened: another incredible thing was that the taxes and percentage of taxes paid actually went UP for the rich.  Because as they were allowed to keep more of the profits that they earned by investing in successful business, they significantly increased their investments and therefore paid more in taxes than they otherwise would have had they continued sheltering their money to protect themselves from the higher tax rates.  Liberals ignore reality, but it is simply true.  It is a fact.  It happened.

Then FDR came along and raised the tax rates again and the opposite happened: we collected less and less revenue while the burden of taxation fell increasingly on the poor and middle class again.  Which is exactly what Obama wants to do.

People don’t realize that John F. Kennedy, one of the greatest Democrat presidents, was a TAX CUTTER who believed the conservative economic philosophy that cutting tax rates would in fact increase tax revenues.  He too cut taxes, and he too increased tax revenues.

So we get to Ronald Reagan, who famously cut taxes.  And again, we find that Reagan cut that godawful liberal tax rate during an incredibly godawful liberal-caused economic recession, and he increased tax revenue by 20.71 percent (with revenues increasing from $956 billion to $1.154 trillion).  And again, the taxes were paid primarily by the rich:

“The share of the income tax burden borne by the top 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. Meanwhile, the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers dropped from 7.5 percent in 1981 to 5.7 percent in 1988.”

So we get to George Bush and the Bush tax cuts that liberals and in particular Obama have just demonized up one side and demagogued down the other.  And I can simply quote the New York Times AT the time:

Sharp Rise in Tax Revenue to Pare U.S. Deficit By EDMUND L. ANDREWS Published: July 13, 2005

WASHINGTON, July 12 – For the first time since President Bush took office, an unexpected leap in tax revenue is about to shrink the federal budget deficit this year, by nearly $100 billion.

A Jump in Corporate Payments On Wednesday, White House officials plan to announce that the deficit for the 2005 fiscal year, which ends in September, will be far smaller than the $427 billion they estimated in February.

Mr. Bush plans to hail the improvement at a cabinet meeting and to cite it as validation of his argument that tax cuts would stimulate the economy and ultimately help pay for themselves.

Based on revenue and spending data through June, the budget deficit for the first nine months of the fiscal year was $251 billion, $76 billion lower than the $327 billion gap recorded at the corresponding point a year earlier.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated last week that the deficit for the full fiscal year, which reached $412 billion in 2004, could be “significantly less than $350 billion, perhaps below $325 billion.”

The big surprise has been in tax revenue, which is running nearly 15 percent higher than in 2004. Corporate tax revenue has soared about 40 percent, after languishing for four years, and individual tax revenue is up as well
.

And of course the New York Times, as reliable liberals, use the adjective whenever something good happens under conservative policies and whenever something bad happens under liberal policies: ”unexpected.”   But it WASN’T ”unexpected.”  It was EXACTLY what Republicans had said would happen and in fact it was exactly what HAD IN FACT HAPPENED every single time we’ve EVER cut income tax rates.

The truth is that conservative tax policy has a perfect track record: every single time it has ever been tried, we have INCREASED tax revenues while not only exploding economic activity and creating more jobs, but encouraging the wealthy to pay more in taxes as well.  And liberals simply dishonestly refuse to acknowledge documented history.

Meanwhile, liberals also have a perfect record … of FAILUREThey keep raising taxes and keep not understanding why they don’t get the revenues they predicted.

The following is a section from my article, “Tax Cuts INCREASE Revenues; They Have ALWAYS Increased Revenues“, where I document every single thing I said above:

The Falsehood That Tax Cuts Increase The Deficit

Now let’s take a look at the utterly fallacious view that tax cuts in general create higher deficits.

Let’s take a trip back in time, starting with the 1920s.  From Burton Folsom’s book, New Deal or Raw Deal?:

In 1921, President Harding asked the sixty-five-year-old [Andrew] Mellon to be secretary of the treasury; the national debt [resulting from WWI] had surpassed $20 billion and unemployment had reached 11.7 percent, one of the highest rates in U.S. history.  Harding invited Mellon to tinker with tax rates to encourage investment without incurring more debt. Mellon studied the problem carefully; his solution was what is today called “supply side economics,” the idea of cutting taxes to stimulate investment.  High income tax rates, Mellon argued, “inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw this capital from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities. . . . The result is that the sources of taxation are drying up, wealth is failing to carry its share of the tax burden; and capital is being diverted into channels which yield neither revenue to the Government nor profit to the people” (page 128).

Mellon wrote, “It seems difficult for some to understand that high rates of taxation do not necessarily mean large revenue to the Government, and that more revenue may often be obtained by lower taxes.”  And he compared the government setting tax rates on incomes to a businessman setting prices on products: “If a price is fixed too high, sales drop off and with them profits.”

And what happened?

“As secretary of the treasury, Mellon promoted, and Harding and Coolidge backed, a plan that eventually cut taxes on large incomes from 73 to 24 percent and on smaller incomes from 4 to 1/2 of 1 percent.  These tax cuts helped produce an outpouring of economic development – from air conditioning to refrigerators to zippers, Scotch tape to radios and talking movies.  Investors took more risks when they were allowed to keep more of their gains.  President Coolidge, during his six years in office, averaged only 3.3 percent unemployment and 1 percent inflation – the lowest misery index of any president in the twentieth century.

Furthermore, Mellon was also vindicated in his astonishing predictions that cutting taxes across the board would generate more revenue.  In the early 1920s, when the highest tax rate was 73 percent, the total income tax revenue to the U.S. government was a little over $700 million.  In 1928 and 1929, when the top tax rate was slashed to 25 and 24 percent, the total revenue topped the $1 billion mark.  Also remarkable, as Table 3 indicates, is that the burden of paying these taxes fell increasingly upon the wealthy” (page 129-130).

Now, that is incredible upon its face, but it becomes even more incredible when contrasted with FDR’s antibusiness and confiscatory tax policies, which both dramatically shrunk in terms of actual income tax revenues (from $1.096 billion in 1929 to $527 million in 1935), and dramatically shifted the tax burden to the backs of the poor by imposing huge new excise taxes (from $540 million in 1929 to $1.364 billion in 1935).  See Table 1 on page 125 of New Deal or Raw Deal for that information.

FDR both collected far less taxes from the rich, while imposing a far more onerous tax burden upon the poor.

It is simply a matter of empirical fact that tax cuts create increased revenue, and that those [Democrats] who have refused to pay attention to that fact have ended up reducing government revenues even as they increased the burdens on the poorest whom they falsely claim to help.

Let’s move on to John F. Kennedy, one of the most popular Democrat presidents ever.  Few realize that he was also a supply-side tax cutter.

Kennedy said:

“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now … Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.”

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, president’s news conference


“Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 17, 1963, annual budget message to the Congress, fiscal year 1964

“In today’s economy, fiscal prudence and responsibility call for tax reduction even if it temporarily enlarges the federal deficit – why reducing taxes is the best way open to us to increase revenues.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: “The Economic Report Of The President”


“It is no contradiction – the most important single thing we can do to stimulate investment in today’s economy is to raise consumption by major reduction of individual income tax rates.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: “The Economic Report Of The President”


“Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.


“A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues.”

– John F. Kennedy, Sept. 18, 1963, radio and television address to the nation on tax-reduction bill

Which is to say that modern Democrats are essentially calling one of their greatest presidents a liar when they demonize tax cuts as a means of increasing government revenues.

So let’s move on to Ronald Reagan.  Reagan had two major tax cutting policies implemented: the Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA) of 1981, which was retroactive to 1981, and the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Did Reagan’s tax cuts decrease federal revenues?  Hardly:

We find that 8 of the following 10 years there was a surplus of revenue from 1980, prior to the Reagan tax cuts.  And, following the Tax Reform Act of 1986, there was a MASSIVE INCREASEof revenue.

So Reagan’s tax cuts increased revenue.  But who paid the increased tax revenue?  The poor?  Opponents of the Reagan tax cuts argued that his policy was a giveaway to the rich (ever heard that one before?) because their tax payments would fall.  But that was exactly wrong.  In reality:

“The share of the income tax burden borne by the top 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. Meanwhile, the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers dropped from 7.5 percent in 1981 to 5.7 percent in 1988.”

So Ronald Reagan a) collected more total revenue, b) collected more revenue from the rich, while c) reducing revenue collected by the bottom half of taxpayers, and d) generated an economic powerhouse that lasted – with only minor hiccups – for nearly three decades.  Pretty good achievement considering that his predecessor was forced to describe his own economy as a “malaise,” suffering due to a “crisis of confidence.” Pretty good considering that President Jimmy Carter responded to a reporter’s question as to what he would do about the problem of inflation by answering, “It would be misleading for me to tell any of you that there is a solution to it.”

Reagan whipped inflation.  Just as he whipped that malaise and that crisis of confidence.

________

The Laffer Curve, Part III: Dynamic Scoring

Dan Mitchell: Reagan was the runaway champion, but it’s worth noting that the burden of domestic spending also declined during the Clinton years.

In Defense of Bill Clinton

More than 10 years ago, I narrated this videoshowing how the United States benefited from spending restraint under both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Since today’s topic is Clinton’s policies, pay attention starting about 4:00.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, I hope you will at least pay attention to this chart, which appeared near the end (about 6:00).

It shows what happened to domestic spending (entitlements plus discretionary) as a share of economic outputduring the Reagan years, the Clinton years, and the 2001-2010 period under Bush and Obama.

Reagan was the runaway champion, but it’s worth noting that the burden of domestic spending also declined during the Clinton years.

But it wasn’t just that Bill Clinton was good on spending. Good things happened in the 1990s in other areas as well, especially trade.

In a column for the Wall Street Journal, Bill Galston defends Clinton’s “neoliberal” record.

… critics often mark the Clinton administration as the moment when establishment Democrats capitulated to the ideology of the unfettered market. Poor and working-class Americans paid the price, they charge… The historical record tells a different story. …During eight years of the Clinton administration, annual real growth in gross domestic product averaged a robust 3.8% while inflation was restrained, averaging 2.6%.Payrolls increased by 22.9 million… Unemployment fell from 7.3% in January 1993 to…4.2% at the end of President Clinton’s second term. Adjusted for inflation, real median household income rose by 13.9%. …During the administration, federal spending as a share of GDP fell from 21.2% to 17.5%… What about the poor? The poverty rate declined during the Clinton administration by nearly one quarter, from 15.1% to 11.3%, near its historic low. And it declined even faster among minorities—by 8.1 percentage points for Hispanics and 10.9 points for blacks. …In sum, during the heyday of neoliberalism, Americans weren’t forced to choose between high growth and low inflation or between aggregate growth and fairness for the poor, working class and minorities.

Why did we get these good results?

Because overall economic freedom increased during the Clinton years. And when the burden of government is reduced,that creates more opportunity for upward advancement for everyone in society.

By the way, I’m not arguing in today’s column that Bill Clinton deserves all the credit. There’s little doubt that the Republican landslide in 1994 played a big role in many of the subsequent pro-market reforms (such as welfare reform, the 1997 tax cut, etc).

But I will say that Bill Clinton at least was amenable to pro-market compromises, which is not what we saw during the Obama years (and I doubt we will see a shift to the center from Biden if Republicans win Congress this November).

P.S. Republicans were able to impose some fiscal discipline on Obama after the Tea Party landslide of 2010

P.P.S. For those who want more details, click here for a detailed examination of the fiscal policy performance of various modern presidents.

Below is a discussion from Milton Friedman on Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

February 10, 1999 | Recorded on February 10, 1999

PRESIDENTIAL REPORT CARD: Milton Friedman on the State of the Union

with guest Milton Friedman
Former Hoover fellow and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.

Milton Friedman, Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution and Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences grades the achievements of the Clinton administration and evaluates the programs the President proposed in his 1999 State of the Union address.

Milton Friedman vs Bill Clinton (1999)

Published on May 28, 2012 by

ROBINSON Just the last eight years, or would you give high marks to Volcker as well, Greenspan’s predecessor?

FRIEDMAN That’s an interesting case, because you have to give the credit there really to Reagan. There’s no other President who would have stood by while the Fed followed the policy it did. If you remember— you don’t remember that period but if you go back…

ROBINSON I do actually, I had just started at the White House in those days…

FRIEDMAN …if you go back to that period, stopping the inflation that was raging which reached double-digit levels at the end of the ’70s and early ’80s required stepping on the brakes hard and produced a recession. And if you remember, Reagan’s popular ranking went way down in…

ROBINSON Down into the thirties.

FRIEDMAN …thirties, right. No other President would have stood by and said to the Fed, keep doing what you’re doing, you’re doing the right thing. But Reagan did do that. And that’s what enabled Volcker to do what Volcker did.

ROBINSON Back to the present to find out what Milton Friedman thinks of President Clinton’s legislative goals for the rest of his term.

THE SUNSHINE PLOYS

ROBINSON Let me ask you to apply your thinking to the principle points of Bill Clinton’s program for the remaining couple of years in office. The President’s program is intended— we’ll take old folks first— to, I quote now, “Address the challenge of a senior boom by using the budget surplus to help save Social Security.”

FRIEDMAN Well, the proposal, if you look at it in detail, is a complete fake.

ROBINSON A complete fake?

FRIEDMAN Absolutely.

ROBINSON He wants to take sixty percent— a little more than sixty percent of budget surplus over the next fifteen years…

FRIEDMAN Where does that come from? He’s counting that twice. That comes from the proceeds of the payroll taxes that are now in, which, in principle, though not in practice, are supposed to be used for Social Security, but which have indeed been financing every regular event. If he doesn’t do a thing about the surplus, that would still end up in bonds in the hands of the Social Security so-called Trust Fund.

ROBINSON You say he’s guilty of a little bit of a flim-flam game with the books.

FRIEDMAN Absolutely.

ROBINSON Within forty-eight hours of that State of the Union Address in which he made this proposal, Alan Greenspan, whom you have just praised, endorsed the proposal— in general terms, not specific terms, but he endorsed the proposal— and the Republicans in Congress said yep, that’s a good idea, sign us up for that too. How is it that he’s able to get everybody to go for what you call a flim-flam game?

FRIEDMAN Look, do you need to ask that question now after six years of Clinton? How he’s been able to get one flim-flam game after another. How he’s been able to bamboozle the people into thinking that he deserves higher ratings because he lies. Clinton is a superb politician who has a most extraordinary capacity to exude sincerity. He’s an incredible phenomenon. I think he’s a genius. But go back to the Social Security program. The first thing to be said is that all this nonsense about saving something for Social Security is pure fiction. It’s wrong to think that what people are paying into Social Security, what people are paying in the form of wage taxes, is what they’re paying for their own security. [

ROBINSON That’s nonsense.] There is no relationship whatsoever. We have a system under which you have a set of taxes for Social Security— named for Social Security, but it doesn’t matter, they’re payroll taxes, terrible taxes, regressive taxes. Nobody… you could not get a legislature to vote such a tax on its own. Can you imagine proposing a tax that would impose — let’s say sixteen percent tax— on all wages from the first dollar up to the maximum and nothing beyond that. Can you imagine voting that? Similarly, the other side of the picture is that we have made a series of commitments to people like me— I receive Social Security payments…

ROBINSON Oh so, it’s my payroll tax that goes to…

FRIEDMAN Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s not only your payroll tax, it’s your income tax, it’s whatever taxes you pay. I get them. And if you think you’re going to get ’em, you’re kidding yourself.

ROBINSON It is a fundamental deceit hoisted upon the American people and sustained for lo these six decades.

FRIEDMAN Absolutely. If you read the Social Security brochures, they say this is a system under which you are putting aside money now for your retirement.

ROBINSON And that’s nonsense.

FRIEDMAN That is utterly fake. But let’s suppose it were true…

ROBINSON All-right.

FRIEDMAN …for a moment. Why is it that it’s appropriate for government to come and tell me what fraction of my income I should save for my old age? If that’s okay, why can’t it come in and tell me exactly what fraction of my income I have to spend for food, what fraction for housing, what fraction for clothing. Let me show you the absurdity of this.

ROBINSON All-right.

FRIEDMAN Consider a young man of thirty-five who has AIDS for whom the expected length of life is ten years at the most maybe. Maybe there’ll be a cure. But his expected length of life is not very long. Is it really intelligent for him to put aside fifteen percent of his income for retirement at age sixty-five?

ROBINSON It’s outrageous.

FRIEDMAN It’s outrageous.

ROBINSON Outrageous.

FRIEDMAN Exactly. The only word you can give to it. And in my opinion, the whole Social Security system is an outrage.

ROBINSON If Social Security is ‘an outrage,’ what would Milton Friedman do about it? A Bonding Experience

ROBINSON How would you get rid of it?

FRIEDMAN Very simply. Here I am, I’m entire to a certain number of payments in the future. Have the government give me a bond equal to the current present value of— expected value of what I’m entitled to. You have already accumulated some rights. And so have the government give you a bond which will be due when you’re sixty-five which will be the present value of what you’ve already accumulated under the law. And then close the whole thing up.

ROBINSON And just close the books.

FRIEDMAN Everybody gets what he’s entitled to— what he’s been promised. The unfunded debt under Social Security is funded, it’s made open and above-board. There’s not a penny of transition cost, and everybody is… In my world, the payroll tax would be abolished, would be eliminated. It’s the worst tax we have on the books. And everybody would be free to do what he wanted about his own retirement.

ROBINSON Okay.

FRIEDMAN And on the whole he would do very well. Now undoubtedly, people who argue against that say, well what are you going to do about these people who are so careless and so unprudent that they don’t accumulate anything for retirement. That’s a general problem. What do you do about people who are poor, whether for their own fault or not for their own fault? You and I and society in general is not willing to see ’em starve to death.

ROBINSON Correct.

FRIEDMAN Well, I have always been in favor of having a program under which (a negative income tax) under which you will have some income minimum you will provide for people whether they are indigent because they’re wastrels or whether they’re indigent because they’re in bad health…

ROBINSON Even if it’s their own fault, they don’t starve.

FRIEDMAN The problem is, it’s always seemed to me absurd that you make a hundred percent of the people do something in order to make sure that one or two percent of the people don’t behave badly.

ROBINSON Milton, that negative income tax proposal actually started to go someplace, if I remember my history correctly, that actually started to go someplace during the Nixon years, didn’t it? Didn’t Cap Weinberger…

FRIEDMAN Yes, it did… No, Moynihan, Pat Moynihan…

ROBINSON Moynihan. And what happened to it? Why did it die?

FRIEDMAN Because the public pressure was converted into a program that I testified against. It’s what happens in Washington all the time.

ROBINSON Right, right, okay.

ROBINSON Next question. What would Milton Friedman do with the mounting budget surplus?

SAVING PRIVATE EARNING

ROBINSON We’ve got seventy-nine, eighty billion dollars more coming in this year than the government…

FRIEDMAN I am in favor of reducing taxes under any circumstances, for any excuse, with any reason whatsoever because that’s the only way you’re ever going to get effective control over government spending. Sooner or later [

ROBINSON Choke off the supply.] if you don’t reduce taxes to get rid of that surplus, it’s going to be spent. The rule from not only the last few years, hundreds of years, is that governments will spend whatever the tax system will raise plus as much more as they can get away with.

ROBINSON The Republicans are calling for a ten percent…

FRIEDMAN It’s not enough.

ROBINSON …cut. Not enough. What is… Now Dan Quayle, who’s running for President— this is the most extreme- extreme may be the wrong word but this is the most dramatic proposal I’m aware of that’s on the table anywhere at the moment— he’s called for a thirty percent cut. Is that enough?

FRIEDMAN I don’t know. I would cut it as much as you can get away with.

ROBINSON So you’d run the numbers and give back virtually all the surplus.

FRIEDMAN What do you mean give back? Not take.

ROBINSON Excuse me. It’s not take. You’d lower taxes…

FRIEDMAN You know, this idea of giving back, which is a word you use, assumes…

ROBINSON I take back my words, but go ahead and ram them down my throat.

FRIEDMAN …it assumes that every individual is a property of the government and that all of the income that you earn is really the government’s, and it decides how much you can keep and how much it gets. I’ve always said, it treats people as if they were running around with an IBM card on their back which says ‘do not mutilate, punch, or disturb.’

ROBINSON Right. You’ve got more money coming in at the moment than is going out.

FRIEDMAN You ought to reduce taxes by enough to generate…

ROBINSON You don’t want to pay down the debt.

FRIEDMAN Oh no. No, I want to generate a deficit because I want pressure on to get the government to spend less.

ROBINSON You like a federal deficit.

FRIEDMAN No, I don’t like a federal deficit, but I like lower government spending.

ROBINSON All-right. President Clinton has another proposal for using that surplus, and he calls them USA accounts. He’s proposing to use about eleven percent of the surplus over the next fifteen years or so to establish, I quote now from his speech, “universal savings accounts, USA accounts, to give all Americans the means to save,” again quotation here, “with extra help for the least able to save.” Details to follow. You like that idea?

FRIEDMAN No, I think it’s a terrible idea. You know, the idea is saying, I’m going to take your money, but then I’ll give it back to you if you do with it what I tell you to do. Is that a way you have a free society of free, self-reliant individuals who are responsible for themselves? It’s a terrible…

ROBINSON Do you even agree with the premise that the savings rate is too low in this country?

FRIEDMAN I don’t agree with that premise. What is the right savings rate?

ROBINSON Well, gee, you’re the Nobel Prize winner, I thought you’d be able to clue me in.

FRIEDMAN The right savings rate… In a world in which you did not have distortions, in which you did not have government stepping in and distorting the rate at which people save or not, the right saving rate is whatever all the people of the community simply want to save. How much you want to save, how much I want to save. Why shouldn’t people be free to save what they want?

ROBINSON Let’s move to a more theoretical question. Why do we end up with so many stupid government programs when we’re supposed to be so smart in our own private affairs?

THINK LOCALLY, ACT GLOBALLY

ROBINSON How is it, you credit great intelligence, shrewdness, on the part of individuals when they’re spending their own money and managing their own property in the marketplace, how can we all be so dumb when we give up being players in the marketplace and become citizens participating in the political process? We get hoodwinked by Clinton, we go for this crazy sham of Social Security, how can we be so dumb?

FRIEDMAN Because it’s always so attractive to be able to do good at somebody else’s expense. That the real problem of our government. Government is a way by which every individual believes he can live at the expense of everybody else. That’s— I’m just repeating what Bastiat said two centuries ago, more than two centuries ago. You know, the thing that people don’t really understand is that free societies of the kind we’ve been lucky enough to experience for the last hundred-hundred and fifty years are a very rare exception in human history. Most people, most of history, and at any one time, most people at any one time, have lived in tyranny and misery. And it’s only for a brief period, and why? It is precisely because once you get some government program in— may have been a very good idea, it’s always proposed for good reasons— once it gets in, it becomes a special privilege of a small group which has an enormously strong interest to maintain it, and you do not have any comparable group that has the interest to get rid of it. And therefore, the hardest thing in the world is to get rid of any government program, however badly it works. In fact, try to name any government programs that have been eliminated.

ROBINSON The draft. Well, that’s not a…

FRIEDMAN Yes, the draft is an example, it’s one of the rare examples of a program that has been eliminated. One of the others was Postal Savings. It used to be that the postal system had a savings system which became very popular as a result of the Great Depression. But it disappeared. Why? Because by accident when they set it up, they limited the interest they could pay on postal savings to two percent, and when the market rate got higher than that, all the money was taken out of postal savings and postal savings came to an end. But aside from that, can you name programs that have been eliminated because they failed? And so how will we set a limit on government, and keep it coming back, and the only thing I can see on the horizon that offers a real chance are term-limits.

ROBINSON Term limits?

FRIEDMAN Right now, being a politician is a lifetime career. Being a Congressman is a lifetime career.

ROBINSON Do we have any evidence in the states where term-limits apply that it has worked as you would like to see it work? Term-limits have been in effect here in California for about a decade now… They may have been enacted a decade ago, so they’ve been in effect for perhaps six years…

FRIEDMAN It’s a little early. We don’t really have any very good… However, it so happened, I had occasion to have a conversation the other day with a former Governor of Virginia: Allen, George Allen.

ROBINSON Who, everybody says he’s going to be running for the Senate. Against Chuck Robb.

FRIEDMAN Yes, that’s what he intends to do.

ROBINSON He intends to do. All-right.

FRIEDMAN However, he had, Virginia has a one-term four-year term for the Governor. And he said, you know, he said, if we had had a two-year term, if we had had the situation in most states, that you can run for a second term, I would have spent the third and fourth year of my term working for re-election. I would never have been able to get done what I got done. It was the first real hands-on testimonial I’ve seen to a term-limit. It’s not a good idea for being a legislator to be a lifetime profession. The founders of our country had the idea of legislation as a part-time activity. It is in many states today. But at the federal government level, it’s a full-time profession. And that is very unhealthy because the legislature— it’s not a criticism of the individual— but any human being in that position, he’s going to sit in committee meetings, and day after day he’s going to hear arguments, good arguments, worthy arguments for new programs. He’s going to get very few arguments for getting rid of programs. And the evidence is clear: the longer people are in Congress, the more willing they are to vote government spending.

ROBINSON The polls all show the American people are very concerned about our public schools. What does Milton Friedman think of President Clinton’s proposals to improve those public schools? Hire Learning

ROBINSON President Clinton on public schools. According to the White House fact sheet, he wants to, I quote, “raise standards and increase accountability in public schools (I’ve got to take a deep breath to get through this) through proposals to end social promotion, bring high-quality teachers into the classroom, intervene in failing schools, provide school report cards to parents, strengthen our commitment to smaller class-sizes, and boost our efforts for school modernization.” What grade do you give that proposal?

FRIEDMAN F.

ROBINSON F.

FRIEDMAN What does it mean? It means more government control of schools. What do we really need in schools? We need competition. What we have is a monopoly, and like every monopoly, it’s producing a low-quality product at a very high cost. The way to improve that is to have competition, to make it possible for parents to have a choice of the schools their children attend. All high-income people have that choice now. They can choose their residence for a place with good schools, or they can send their children to private schools, pay twice for schooling: once in taxes and once in tuition. But the lower income classes can’t.

ROBINSON They’re stuck. Milton, didn’t public schools used to work?

FRIEDMAN Yes. When I graduated from high-school in 1928, there were 150,000 school districts in this country. Today, there are 15,000 and the population is twice as great. In the early day, you had local control of schools, and there was effective competition between a large number of local areas. But school districts got consolidated. They got run not by local people but by the professional educators. And most important of all, in the 1960s you began to have the emergence of teachers’ unions taking control of the schools. And since 1960, since the teachers’ unions started emerging, you have had on the whole a rather steady decline in the quality of schooling. If you want to improve automobiles, do you have government step in and tell people what brakes to put on, and so on, or do you rely on the fact that General Motors is going to try to beat Ford, is going to try to beat Toyota? Competition is the most effective way to improve quality, whether in computers, in automobiles, in suits, or in schooling.

ROBINSON Let me ask you to close, if I may, with a prediction. It’s 2009, ten years from today. Is the government of the United States bigger, or smaller?

FRIEDMAN Smaller.

ROBINSON Your ideas are winning?

FRIEDMAN No. The Internet is going to make it harder and harder to collect taxes.

ROBINSON How come?

FRIEDMAN Because you’ll be able to evade taxes, you’ll be able to do your deals in the Cayman Islands.

ROBINSON So the Internet…

FRIEDMAN At the moment I see the Internet as the most likely source of the smaller government.

ROBINSON But in your mind it really will have an effect. That’s not speculative…

FRIEDMAN No, no, no. I believe it will and I believe it’s having it now.

ROBINSON I see. Okay. Milton Friedman— Bill Clinton I hope you’re taking notes, we’ll send a tape of this to the White House— Milton Friedman, thank you very much.

FRIEDMAN That’s all-right. I assure you they won’t look at it. Thank you.

ROBINSON Doctor Friedman believes the government should be smaller and that it will become so. Maybe some future President will preside over such a small government that he can shrink up the State of the Union Address enough to get rid of the Teleprompter and deliver the speech from memory. I’m Peter Robinson. Thanks for joining us.

French president, others mourn Brent Renaud, Arkansas filmmaker killed in Ukraine 

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French president, others mourn Brent Renaud, Arkansas filmmaker killed in Ukraine

by Bill Bowden | Today at 7:20 p.m.

Brent Renaud attends the 74th annual Peabody Awards at Cipriani Wall Street in New York in this May 31, 2015, file photo. Renaud, a Little Rock filmmaker and journalist, was killed in a suburb of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Sunday, March 13, 2022, while gathering material for a report about refugees. Ukrainian authorities said he died when Russian forces shelled the vehicle he was traveling in. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Condolences poured in Sunday for Brent Renaud, an Arkansas filmmaker shot and killed by Russian troops in Ukraine.

“Today, a US journalist was killed in Ukraine,” French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter. “Before him, others have been targeted, murdered, injured or kidnapped. Our thoughts are with all those journalists driven by courage and an ideal: the freedom to inform. This freedom is fundamental to our democracies.”

A joint statement was issued from Edward Felsenthal, editor-in-chief and CEO of Time magazine, and Ian Orefice, president and chief operating officer of Time and Time Studios: “We are devastated by the loss of Brent Renaud. As an award-winning filmmaker and journalist, Brent tackled the toughest stories around the world often alongside his brother Craig Renaud. In recent weeks, Brent was in the region working on a TIME Studios project focused on the global refugee crisis. Our hearts are with all of Brent’s loved ones. It is essential that journalists are able to safely cover this ongoing invasion and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.”

Arkansans also expressed condolences.

“Arkansans are saddened today at the death of Brent Renaud in Ukraine,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. “I join them in expressing deepest condolences to the Renaud family. And I reiterate to Vladimir Putin and his military leaders that the intentional targeting of innocent civilians, including reporters, is a war crime.”

“Arkansas PBS deeply mourns the loss of our friend and colleague, Brent Renaud,” said Courtney Pledger, CEO of Arkansas PBS. “Brent was driven to tell the most intimate of human stories from across our country and the globe, often in partnership with his brother Craig. The Renaud Brothers dedicated themselves to the growth of film culture in their home state of Arkansas, and we are so much richer as a result. We will never forget Brent, his talent, his intelligence, his bravery and his unfailing integrity.”

“Brent Renaud will be remembered not only as a talented filmmaker but as an Arkansan who continuously gave back to our state to create a new generation of artists,” said Matthew J. Shepherd, speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives. “His life’s work stands as a testament of a free and open society, which is in stark contrast to the totalitarian forces whose unprovoked invasion he was documenting when his life was taken.”

5:56 p.m.: Russian troops gun down Arkansas filmmaker Brent Renaud in Ukraine, wound two others

Arkansas filmmaker Brent Renaud was shot and killed by Russian troops in Ukraine on Sunday. Two other journalists were injured in the shooting, the police chief for the Kyiv region wrote on Facebook.

“Of course, the profession of a journalist is a risk, but US citizen Brent Renaud paid his life for trying to highlight the aggressor’s ingenuity, cruelty and ruthlessness,” Andriy Nebytov wrote.

A Ukrainian news agency reported Sunday that Renaud, 50, of Little Rock, was shot and killed by Russian troops outside Kyiv.

“I’m devastated by the loss of my close friend and long time producer, Brent Renaud,” Christof Putzel, a documentary filmmaker and television correspondent, posted on Twitter. “The world and our profession has lost one of our greatest legends. Hug your family, your colleagues, and watch the news. People are dying to bring it to you.”

Putzel expanded on that in an interview with CNN: “I woke up this morning to the news that Brent — longtime best friend, incredible colleage, the best war journalist I think ever existed — finding out about his passing. Brent had this ability to go anywhere, get any story, listen and communicate what was happening to people who wouldn’t otherwise see it. It is a devastating loss to journalism today. … When the crisis in Ukraine happened, Brent was on an airplne the very next day.”

5:02 p.m.: Friends remember life, work of Arkansas filmmaker gunned down by Russian troops

An Arkansas filmmaker who was shot and killed by Russian troops on Sunday outside Kyiv had gone there to shed light on the atrocities being committed, a correspondent for PBS NewsHour said on Twitter.

“Brent Renaud was killed while filming civilians escaping a Russian military onslaught on their small town near Kiev,” Jane Ferguson tweeted on Sunday. “The Russian military has not spared civilians or journalists throughout this war, something Renaud himself came here to make the world all the more aware of.”

In a tweet earlier Sunday, Ferguson said she had seen Renaud’s body under a blanket.

“Just left roadside spot near Irpin where body of American journalist Brent Renaud lay under a blanket,” she wrote. “Ukrainian medics could do nothing to help him by that stage. Outraged Ukrainian police officer: ‘Tell America, tell the world, what they did to a journalist.'”

Brent Anthony Renaud, 50, was born in Memphis and grew up in Little Rock, where he graduated from Hall High School.

His father, Louis, was a salesman, and his mother, Georgann Freasier, was a social worker, according to The New York Times.

Brent Renaud and his brother, Craig, were a Peabody Award-winning documentary film team that drew attention to human suffering, often working with major news organizations like The New York Times, according to that newspaper.

Craig Renaud told The New York Times that his brother was in Ukraine working for MSNBC and for the television and film division of Time magazine. He was working on one segment of “Tipping Point,” a multipart series about refugees around the world.

“Migration under desperate circumstances was a recurring subject for Brent, who with Craig also made documentaries about Haitians deported from the United States and children fleeing poverty and danger in Central America,” according to The New York Times.

The Renaud brothers won their Peabody Award for “Last Chance High,” which tells the story of Chicago’s Moses Montefiore Academy, whose students suffer from emotional disorders and have been expelled from other public schools in the city.

Brent Renaud earned a master of arts degree from Columbia University and was a 2019 Nieman Journalism Fellow at Harvard University.

3 p.m.: U.S. journalist, founder of Little Rock Film Festival, killed by attack near Kyiv

Arkansas filmmaker Brent Renaud was shot and killed Sunday when Russian forces fired on the car in which he was traveling outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Kyiv Region police reported.

Juan Arredondo, a filmmaker who was shot in the same car, gave a brief interview at Okhmatdyt, the largest children’s hospital in Kyiv, just before being wheeled in to the operating room for surgery.

“We crossed one, the first bridge in Irpin,” Arredondo said in the hospital’s post on Instagram. “We were going to film other refugees leaving. And we got into a car. Somebody offered to take us to the other bridge. And we crossed a checkpoint, and they start shooting at us. So the driver turned around, and they kept shooting. Two of us. My friend, Brent Renaud, and he’s been shot and left behind.”

Arredondo said he didn’t know what had happened to Renaud.

“I saw his being shot in the neck. And we got split,” Arredondo said.

Journalists have been forbidden from entering Irpin since Renaud’s death, according to The Kyiv Independent.

A New York Times spokesperson said Renaud, 50, was a “talented filmmaker who had contributed to The New York Times over the years.” It said he was not working for the publication at the time of his death. Renaud was wearing a New York Times badge, according to reports.

Renaud and his brother Craig founded the Little Rock Film Festival, which concluded in 2015 after a nine-year run.

Kyiv Region police said: “Of course, the profession of journalism carries risks. Nonetheless, U.S. citizen Brent Renaud paid with his life trying to highlight the deceit, cruelty and ruthlessness of the aggressor.”

Asked about the reports, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CBS News that the U.S. government would be consulting with the Ukrainians to determine how this happened and would then “execute appropriate consequences.”

“This is part and parcel of what has been a brazen aggression on the part of the Russians, where they have targeted civilians, they have targeted hospitals, they have targeted places of worship, and they have targeted journalists,” Sullivan said.

XXXX

President Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton attending the Dinner Honoring the Nation’s Governors. 2/22/87.

ronald reagan debates walter mondale in 1984 Presidential race second clip

Lee Edwards of the Heritage Foundation wrote an excellent article on Ronald Reagan and the events that transpired during the Reagan administration,  and I wanted to share it with you. Here is the fifth portion:

Though Reagan promised deep cuts in domestic spending, that did not turn out to be the case. Indeed, overall welfare spending increased during the Reagan presidency — primarily because Reagan could not overcome, even with vetoes and the bully pulpit of the White House, the spending impulses of Congress, which, after all, signed the checks. Throughout his two terms, he was confronted by Democrats still enthralled by the New Deal as well as Republicans (particularly in the Senate) still mesmerized by its political appeal.

When the administration proposed to abolish the Department of Education in 1981, Howard Baker, the first Republican Senate majority leader since 1954, actively opposed abolition.[x] Baker wanted to remain majority leader and was worried that getting rid of the department would alienate too many voters.

Reagan was not discouraged. He understood he had to proceed prudently with cuts, one billion dollars at a time — he could not just pull the plug on the federal government. Over the past fifty years, millions of people had grown dependent upon it.

Many people remember Reagan saying in his inaugural address that “government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.” But the new president also said:

It is not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work — work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.[xi]

Here was no radical libertarian with a copy of Atlas Shrugged in his back pocket but a traditional conservative guided by the prudential arguments of The Federalist. Reagan was a modern federalist, echoing James Madison’s call for a balance between the authority of the national and state governments. He also shared Madison’s concern about “the abridgement of the freedom of the people” by the “gradual and silent encroachment of those in power.” As he later said in his 1990 autobiography, “We had strayed a great distance from our founding fathers’ vision of America.”[xii]

He was determined to recapture that lost vision. As he stated in his inaugural, he would begin by seeking to “curb the size and influence of the federal establishment.” Revealing his pragmatism, his immediate target was the welfare excesses of Lyndon B. Johnson, not the long-established social programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt. As he wrote in his diary in January 1982, “The press is trying to paint me as trying to undo the New Deal. I’m trying to undo the Great Society.”[xiii]

It was a slow uneven process, always made more difficult by a Democratic House of Representatives. He was obliged to allow federal spending for welfare — work programs, education and training, social services, medicine, food and housing — to rise sharply; expenditures almost doubled from $106.1 billion (in real or nominal dollars) in 1980 to $173 billion in 1988.[xiv] Nor did Reagan’s own cabinet secretaries protest when the increases benefited their agency or department.

Conservative critics like the Heritage Foundation’s Stuart Butler did not try to hide their disappointment and frustration. Six years into the Reagan presidency, Butler wrote that “the basic structure of the Great Society is still firmly intact …. virtually no program has been eliminated.”[xv]

But Reagan reduced federal outlays in some welfare areas — such as regional development, commerce and housing credit — from $63 billion in 1980 to just over $49 billion in 1987, a decrease of about 22 percent. And the size of the federal civilian work force declined by about five percent, much of it traceable to conservatives like Gerald Carmen at GSA, Raymond Donovan at Labor and the OPM’s Donald Devine, described by the Washington Post as “Reagan’s terrible swift sword of the civil service.”[xvi] The agencies that led the personnel downsizing were Education, down twenty-four percent; Housing and Urban Development, down twenty-two percent; Office of Personnel Management, down nineteen percent; and Government Services Administration and Labor, both down fifteen percent.

Dan Mitchell “Biden has embraced a reckless Bernie Sanders-type agenda of budget profligacy, class-warfare taxes, regulatory excess, and crass protectionism that is too extreme for sane people on the left”

[

The Failure of Bidenomics, Part II

Yesterday’s column explained that Biden’s proposals to expand the welfare state were bad news, in part because government subsidies often lead to inefficiency and higher prices.

That’s not a smart strategy when inflation already is at 40-year highs.

President Biden did address the topic of rising prices during his speech, but his approach was so incoherent that even Larry Summers (Treasury Secretary for Bill Clinton and head of the National Economic Council for Barack Obama) felt compelled to share some critical tweets.

This is remarkable. I’ve spent the past three decades fighting against some of Summers’ bad ideas on fiscal policy (he was a big supporter of the OECD’s anti-tax competition project, for instance).

But now we’re sort of on the same side (at least on a few issues) because Biden has embraced a reckless Bernie Sanders-type agenda of budget profligacy, class-warfare taxes, regulatory excess, and crass protectionism that is too extreme for sane people on the left.

Along with a head-in-the-sand view of monetary policy.

In a column for Canada’s Fraser Institute, Robert O’Quinn and I addressed Biden’s strange comments on inflation.

Here’s some of what we wrote on that topic.

After a disastrous first year pursuing an agenda that became increasingly unpopular, President Biden had an opportunity to reset his administration in a centrist direction as part of his first State of the Union Address. But he didn’t.On every domestic issue, he catered to the Democratic Party’s hardcore left-wing activists… Inflation, as Nobel laureate Milton Friedman observed, is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. …In his speech, Biden ignored the true cause of inflation. Instead, he offered a grab bag of statist ideas such as aggressive antitrust enforcement, price controls on prescription drugs, and tax credits for energy conservation and green energy—policies that, whatever their merits, have little or nothing to do with inflation.

Our basic message is that Biden ignored the real cause of inflation (bad monetary policy by the Federal Reserve) and instead came up with ideas (either bad or irrelevant) to addresses the symptom(s) of inflation.

We also noted that Biden’s nominees to the Federal Reserve are underwhelming.

Moreover, he has been pushing three controversial nominees to the Federal Reserve Board—Sarah Bloom Raskin, Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson—who lack monetary expertise and are generally regarded as inflation doves. Raskin’s primary “qualification” is her support for using the Fed’s regulatory powers to divert credit away from oil and natural gas production. Cook and Jefferson have primarily written about poverty and race, which are outside of the Fed’s legislative mandate.

What we need is a president – like Ronald Reagan – who understands that the inflation genie needs to be put back in the bottle and thus pushes the Federal Reserve in the right direction.

Instead, we have a president who thinks it’s a place where left-leaning activists should get patronage appointments.

P.S. If you have the time and interest, here’s an 40-minute videoexplaining the Federal Reserve’s track record of bad monetary policy.

P.P.S. If you’re constrained for time, I recommend this five-minute video on alternatives to the Federal Reserve and this six-minute video on how people can protect themselves from bad monetary policy.

The Best President in Recent History

Since I view Ronald Reagan as an honorary libertarian, I was very happy back in 2013 to see that he won a landslide victory over Barack Obama in a hypothetical poll.

This meant that voters either were old enough to personally experience the benefits of Reaganomics, or they managed to learn some history (in spite of a biased education establishment).

Well, now I have another reason to be happy. According to a new poll shared by Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner, nearly 70 percent of respondents have a favorable impression of Reagan, easily the best result for all recent presidents.

Reagan also is disliked by the smallest percentage of respondents, a fact that almost surely irks some of my Reagan-hating friends.

And definitely irks Paul Krugman.

My two cents for today is that the current fight between Trumpism and establishment Republicanism is merely stylistic. If you crunch the numbers, you’ll see that both camps are big spenders.

I much prefer Reaganism.

Let’s wrap up with this cartoon strip that captures my sentiments.

P.S. Here’s an amusing story from Reagan about socialism (h/t: Don Boudreaux).

Not quite as good as this video, and it’s not even good enough to get added to this collection of Reagan videos, but it is a good description of why socialism is a failure.

P.S. There was one other president in the 20th century who deserves praise and applause.

Tax Cartels Mean Ever-Higher Tax Rates

When President Biden proposed a “global minimum tax” for businesses, I immediately warned that would lead to ever-increasing tax rates.

Ross Kaminsky of KHOW and I discussed how this is already happening.

I hate being right, but it’s always safe to predict that politicians and bureaucrats will embrace policies that give more power to government.

Especially when they are very anxious to stifle tax competition.

For decades, people in government have been upset that the tax cuts implemented by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatchertriggered a four-decade trend of lower tax rates and pro-growth tax reform.

That’s the reason Biden and his Treasury Secretary proposed a 15 percent minimum tax rate for businesses.

And it’s the reason they now want the rate to be even higher.

Though even I’m surprised that they’re already pushing for that outcome when the original pact hasn’t even been approved or implemented.

Here are some passages from a report by Reuters.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will press G20 counterparts this week for a global minimum corporate tax rate above the 15% floor agreed by 130 countries last week…the global minimum tax rate…is tied to the outcome of legislation to raise the U.S. minimum tax rate, a Treasury official said.The Biden administration has proposed doubling the U.S. minimum tax on corporations overseas intangible income to 21% along with a new companion “enforcement” tax that would deny deductions to companies for tax payments to countries that fail to adopt the new global minimum rate. The officials said several countries were pushing for a rate above 15%, along with the United States.

Other kleptocratic governments naturally want the same thing.

A G7 proposal for a global minimum tax rate of 15% is too low and a rate of at least 21% is needed, Argentina’s finance minister said on Monday, leading a push by some developing countries… “The 15% rate is way too low,” Argentine Finance Minister Martin Guzman told an online panel hosted by the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation. …”The minimum rate being proposed would not do much to countries in Africa…,” Mathew Gbonjubola, Nigeria’s tax policy director, told the same conference.

Needless to say, I’m not surprised that Argentina is on the wrong side.

And supporters of class warfare also are agitating for a higher minimum rate. Here are some excerpts from a column in the New York Times by Gabriel Zucman and Gus Wezerek.

In the decades after World War II, close to 50 percent of American companies’ earnings went to state and federal taxes. …it was a golden period. …President Biden should be applauded for trying to end the race to the bottom on corporate tax rates. But even if Congress approves the 15 percent global minimum corporate tax, it won’t be enough. …the Biden administration to give working families a real leg up, it should push Congress to enact a 25 percent minimum tax, which would bring in about $200 billion in additional revenue each year. …With a 25 percent minimum corporate tax, the Biden administration would begin to reverse decades of growing inequality. And it would encourage other countries to do the same, replacing a race to the bottom with a sprint to the top.

I can’t resist making two observations about this ideological screed.

  1. Even the IMF and OECD agree that the so-called race to the bottom has not led to a decline in corporate tax revenues, even when measured as a share of economic output.
  2. Since companies legally avoid rather than illegally evade taxes, the headline of the column is utterly dishonest – but it’s what we’ve learned to expect from the New York Times.

The only good thing about the Zucman-Wezerek column is that it includes this chart showing how corporate tax rates have dramatically declined since 1980.

P.S. For those interested, the horizontal line at the bottom is for Bermuda, though other jurisdictions (such as Monaco and the Cayman Islands) also deserve credit for having no corporate income taxes.

P.P.S. If you want to know why high corporate tax rates are misguided, click here. And if you want to know why Biden’s plan to raise the U.S. corporate tax rate is misguided, click here. Or here. Or here.

P.P.P.S. And if you want more information about why Biden’s global tax cartel is bad, click here, here, and here.

I enjoyed this article below because it demonstrates that the Laffer Curve has been working for almost 100 years now when it is put to the test in the USA. I actually got to hear Arthur Laffer speak in person in 1981 and he told us in advance what was going to happen the 1980’s and it all came about as he said it would when Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts took place. I wish we would lower taxes now instead of looking for more revenue through raised taxes. We have to grow the economy:

What Mitt Romney Said Last Night About Tax Cuts And The Deficit Was Absolutely Right. And What Obama Said Was Absolutely Wrong.

Mitt Romney repeatedly said last night that he would not allow tax cuts to add to the deficit.  He repeatedly said it because over and over again Obama blathered the liberal talking point that cutting taxes necessarily increased deficits.

Romney’s exact words: “I want to underline that — no tax cut that adds to the deficit.”

Meanwhile, Obama has promised to cut the deficit in half during his first four years – but instead gave America the highest deficits in the history of the entire human race.

I’ve written about this before.  Let’s replay what has happened every single time we’ve ever cut the income tax rate.

The fact of the matter is that we can go back to Calvin Coolidge who said very nearly THE EXACT SAME THING to his treasury secretary: he too would not allow any tax cuts that added to the debt.  Andrew Mellon – quite possibly the most brilliant economic mind of his day – did a great deal of research and determined what he believed was the best tax rate.  And the Coolidge administration DID cut income taxes and MASSIVELY increased revenues.  Coolidge and Mellon cut the income tax rate 67.12 percent (from 73 to 24 percent); and revenues not only did not go down, but they went UP by at least 42.86 percent (from $700 billion to over $1 billion).

That’s something called a documented fact.  But that wasn’t all that happened: another incredible thing was that the taxes and percentage of taxes paid actually went UP for the rich.  Because as they were allowed to keep more of the profits that they earned by investing in successful business, they significantly increased their investments and therefore paid more in taxes than they otherwise would have had they continued sheltering their money to protect themselves from the higher tax rates.  Liberals ignore reality, but it is simply true.  It is a fact.  It happened.

Then FDR came along and raised the tax rates again and the opposite happened: we collected less and less revenue while the burden of taxation fell increasingly on the poor and middle class again.  Which is exactly what Obama wants to do.

People don’t realize that John F. Kennedy, one of the greatest Democrat presidents, was a TAX CUTTER who believed the conservative economic philosophy that cutting tax rates would in fact increase tax revenues.  He too cut taxes, and he too increased tax revenues.

So we get to Ronald Reagan, who famously cut taxes.  And again, we find that Reagan cut that godawful liberal tax rate during an incredibly godawful liberal-caused economic recession, and he increased tax revenue by 20.71 percent (with revenues increasing from $956 billion to $1.154 trillion).  And again, the taxes were paid primarily by the rich:

“The share of the income tax burden borne by the top 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. Meanwhile, the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers dropped from 7.5 percent in 1981 to 5.7 percent in 1988.”

So we get to George Bush and the Bush tax cuts that liberals and in particular Obama have just demonized up one side and demagogued down the other.  And I can simply quote the New York Times AT the time:

Sharp Rise in Tax Revenue to Pare U.S. Deficit By EDMUND L. ANDREWS Published: July 13, 2005

WASHINGTON, July 12 – For the first time since President Bush took office, an unexpected leap in tax revenue is about to shrink the federal budget deficit this year, by nearly $100 billion.

A Jump in Corporate Payments On Wednesday, White House officials plan to announce that the deficit for the 2005 fiscal year, which ends in September, will be far smaller than the $427 billion they estimated in February.

Mr. Bush plans to hail the improvement at a cabinet meeting and to cite it as validation of his argument that tax cuts would stimulate the economy and ultimately help pay for themselves.

Based on revenue and spending data through June, the budget deficit for the first nine months of the fiscal year was $251 billion, $76 billion lower than the $327 billion gap recorded at the corresponding point a year earlier.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated last week that the deficit for the full fiscal year, which reached $412 billion in 2004, could be “significantly less than $350 billion, perhaps below $325 billion.”

The big surprise has been in tax revenue, which is running nearly 15 percent higher than in 2004. Corporate tax revenue has soared about 40 percent, after languishing for four years, and individual tax revenue is up as well
.

And of course the New York Times, as reliable liberals, use the adjective whenever something good happens under conservative policies and whenever something bad happens under liberal policies: ”unexpected.”   But it WASN’T ”unexpected.”  It was EXACTLY what Republicans had said would happen and in fact it was exactly what HAD IN FACT HAPPENED every single time we’ve EVER cut income tax rates.

The truth is that conservative tax policy has a perfect track record: every single time it has ever been tried, we have INCREASED tax revenues while not only exploding economic activity and creating more jobs, but encouraging the wealthy to pay more in taxes as well.  And liberals simply dishonestly refuse to acknowledge documented history.

Meanwhile, liberals also have a perfect record … of FAILUREThey keep raising taxes and keep not understanding why they don’t get the revenues they predicted.

The following is a section from my article, “Tax Cuts INCREASE Revenues; They Have ALWAYS Increased Revenues“, where I document every single thing I said above:

The Falsehood That Tax Cuts Increase The Deficit

Now let’s take a look at the utterly fallacious view that tax cuts in general create higher deficits.

Let’s take a trip back in time, starting with the 1920s.  From Burton Folsom’s book, New Deal or Raw Deal?:

In 1921, President Harding asked the sixty-five-year-old [Andrew] Mellon to be secretary of the treasury; the national debt [resulting from WWI] had surpassed $20 billion and unemployment had reached 11.7 percent, one of the highest rates in U.S. history.  Harding invited Mellon to tinker with tax rates to encourage investment without incurring more debt. Mellon studied the problem carefully; his solution was what is today called “supply side economics,” the idea of cutting taxes to stimulate investment.  High income tax rates, Mellon argued, “inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw this capital from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities. . . . The result is that the sources of taxation are drying up, wealth is failing to carry its share of the tax burden; and capital is being diverted into channels which yield neither revenue to the Government nor profit to the people” (page 128).

Mellon wrote, “It seems difficult for some to understand that high rates of taxation do not necessarily mean large revenue to the Government, and that more revenue may often be obtained by lower taxes.”  And he compared the government setting tax rates on incomes to a businessman setting prices on products: “If a price is fixed too high, sales drop off and with them profits.”

And what happened?

“As secretary of the treasury, Mellon promoted, and Harding and Coolidge backed, a plan that eventually cut taxes on large incomes from 73 to 24 percent and on smaller incomes from 4 to 1/2 of 1 percent.  These tax cuts helped produce an outpouring of economic development – from air conditioning to refrigerators to zippers, Scotch tape to radios and talking movies.  Investors took more risks when they were allowed to keep more of their gains.  President Coolidge, during his six years in office, averaged only 3.3 percent unemployment and 1 percent inflation – the lowest misery index of any president in the twentieth century.

Furthermore, Mellon was also vindicated in his astonishing predictions that cutting taxes across the board would generate more revenue.  In the early 1920s, when the highest tax rate was 73 percent, the total income tax revenue to the U.S. government was a little over $700 million.  In 1928 and 1929, when the top tax rate was slashed to 25 and 24 percent, the total revenue topped the $1 billion mark.  Also remarkable, as Table 3 indicates, is that the burden of paying these taxes fell increasingly upon the wealthy” (page 129-130).

Now, that is incredible upon its face, but it becomes even more incredible when contrasted with FDR’s antibusiness and confiscatory tax policies, which both dramatically shrunk in terms of actual income tax revenues (from $1.096 billion in 1929 to $527 million in 1935), and dramatically shifted the tax burden to the backs of the poor by imposing huge new excise taxes (from $540 million in 1929 to $1.364 billion in 1935).  See Table 1 on page 125 of New Deal or Raw Deal for that information.

FDR both collected far less taxes from the rich, while imposing a far more onerous tax burden upon the poor.

It is simply a matter of empirical fact that tax cuts create increased revenue, and that those [Democrats] who have refused to pay attention to that fact have ended up reducing government revenues even as they increased the burdens on the poorest whom they falsely claim to help.

Let’s move on to John F. Kennedy, one of the most popular Democrat presidents ever.  Few realize that he was also a supply-side tax cutter.

Kennedy said:

“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now … Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.”

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, president’s news conference


“Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 17, 1963, annual budget message to the Congress, fiscal year 1964

“In today’s economy, fiscal prudence and responsibility call for tax reduction even if it temporarily enlarges the federal deficit – why reducing taxes is the best way open to us to increase revenues.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: “The Economic Report Of The President”


“It is no contradiction – the most important single thing we can do to stimulate investment in today’s economy is to raise consumption by major reduction of individual income tax rates.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: “The Economic Report Of The President”


“Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.


“A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues.”

– John F. Kennedy, Sept. 18, 1963, radio and television address to the nation on tax-reduction bill

Which is to say that modern Democrats are essentially calling one of their greatest presidents a liar when they demonize tax cuts as a means of increasing government revenues.

So let’s move on to Ronald Reagan.  Reagan had two major tax cutting policies implemented: the Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA) of 1981, which was retroactive to 1981, and the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Did Reagan’s tax cuts decrease federal revenues?  Hardly:

We find that 8 of the following 10 years there was a surplus of revenue from 1980, prior to the Reagan tax cuts.  And, following the Tax Reform Act of 1986, there was a MASSIVE INCREASEof revenue.

So Reagan’s tax cuts increased revenue.  But who paid the increased tax revenue?  The poor?  Opponents of the Reagan tax cuts argued that his policy was a giveaway to the rich (ever heard that one before?) because their tax payments would fall.  But that was exactly wrong.  In reality:

“The share of the income tax burden borne by the top 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. Meanwhile, the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers dropped from 7.5 percent in 1981 to 5.7 percent in 1988.”

So Ronald Reagan a) collected more total revenue, b) collected more revenue from the rich, while c) reducing revenue collected by the bottom half of taxpayers, and d) generated an economic powerhouse that lasted – with only minor hiccups – for nearly three decades.  Pretty good achievement considering that his predecessor was forced to describe his own economy as a “malaise,” suffering due to a “crisis of confidence.” Pretty good considering that President Jimmy Carter responded to a reporter’s question as to what he would do about the problem of inflation by answering, “It would be misleading for me to tell any of you that there is a solution to it.”

Reagan whipped inflation.  Just as he whipped that malaise and that crisis of confidence.

________

The Laffer Curve, Part III: Dynamic Scoring

Return of ‘the Evil Empire’? 

“Evil Empire” Speech by President Reagan – Address to the National Assoc…

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Displaying photos of Cuban missile sites, then-President Ronald Reagan called Russia “the evil empire” at a March 23, 1983, press conference. (Photo: Penelope Breese/Liaison/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Regardless of what any American feels about what steps we should take in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive incursion into Ukraine, for sure most are appalled by what he has done.

As Putin moves to regain Russian control over nations that once were part of the Soviet sphere, we ought to think about the circumstances under which the Soviet Union collapsed to consider how it all might be reversed.

In March 1983, President Ronald Reagan spoke to the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida, and delivered what would famously become known as the speech in which he called the Soviet Union the “evil empire.”

Discussing America’s efforts to confront the Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal, he said: “I urge you to beware the temptation of pride … declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire … and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.”

Reagan spoke more than powerful words of truth that day. He spoke almost as a prophet.

He noted further: “While America’s military strength is important, let me add here that I’ve always maintained that the struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.”

Some eight years later, the Soviet Union, which for years during the Cold War was thought to be the superpower rival to the United States, collapsed.

There was no war. There was just resolve and Reagan’s unwavering commitment to the principles he articulated that day in 1983. And eight years after that speech, in 1991, Ukraine, now under siege by Putin, was freed from subjugation under the Soviet regime and declared its freedom, independence, and sovereignty.

As Putin tries to reverse history, it is incumbent upon us to not forget that Reagan declared the global struggle as first and foremost a spiritual struggle, a struggle of good against evil.

As Americans watch events unfold in Ukraine, we must refocus on what is going on in our own country. If we lose a sense of the importance and relevance of Reagan’s words as they apply at home, we surely will not know how to relate to events as they transpire in the rest of the world.

And there is plenty of reason to believe we are losing that perspective at home. We see a direct correlation within our own borders, in our own country, of the decline in faith in the eternal principles that keep us free, and with this decline, Americans are gradually but decisively choosing to abandon their freedom.

In a survey published at the end of last year, Gallup reported that 69% of Americans self-identified as Christians in 2021, compared with 90% who self-identified as Christians in 1971. Twenty-one percent said they have “no religion” in 2021, compared to 4% in 1971. In 1965, 70% of Americans said religion is “very important” to them. By 2021, this was down to 49%.

Coincident with the decline of the importance that Americans give to religion, Americans have turned their lives increasingly over to government control. In 1950, government at federal, state, and local levels took almost 23% of the American economy. In 2020, this reached almost 45%.

Turning back again to Reagan’s words, “But we must never forget that no government schemes are going to perfect man.” Our struggle, said Reagan, is about good and evil.

It’s no accident that as America retreats in this struggle, as Americans increasingly believe that government can perfect man, and as we relinquish our freedom, despots like Putin will step forward and try to move the world back to a darker time.

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Tax Cartels Mean Ever-Higher Tax Rates

When President Biden proposed a “global minimum tax” for businesses, I immediately warned that would lead to ever-increasing tax rates.

Ross Kaminsky of KHOW and I discussed how this is already happening.

I hate being right, but it’s always safe to predict that politicians and bureaucrats will embrace policies that give more power to government.

Especially when they are very anxious to stifle tax competition.

For decades, people in government have been upset that the tax cuts implemented by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatchertriggered a four-decade trend of lower tax rates and pro-growth tax reform.

That’s the reason Biden and his Treasury Secretary proposed a 15 percent minimum tax rate for businesses.

And it’s the reason they now want the rate to be even higher.

Though even I’m surprised that they’re already pushing for that outcome when the original pact hasn’t even been approved or implemented.

Here are some passages from a report by Reuters.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will press G20 counterparts this week for a global minimum corporate tax rate above the 15% floor agreed by 130 countries last week…the global minimum tax rate…is tied to the outcome of legislation to raise the U.S. minimum tax rate, a Treasury official said.The Biden administration has proposed doubling the U.S. minimum tax on corporations overseas intangible income to 21% along with a new companion “enforcement” tax that would deny deductions to companies for tax payments to countries that fail to adopt the new global minimum rate. The officials said several countries were pushing for a rate above 15%, along with the United States.

Other kleptocratic governments naturally want the same thing.

A G7 proposal for a global minimum tax rate of 15% is too low and a rate of at least 21% is needed, Argentina’s finance minister said on Monday, leading a push by some developing countries… “The 15% rate is way too low,” Argentine Finance Minister Martin Guzman told an online panel hosted by the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation. …”The minimum rate being proposed would not do much to countries in Africa…,” Mathew Gbonjubola, Nigeria’s tax policy director, told the same conference.

Needless to say, I’m not surprised that Argentina is on the wrong side.

And supporters of class warfare also are agitating for a higher minimum rate. Here are some excerpts from a column in the New York Times by Gabriel Zucman and Gus Wezerek.

In the decades after World War II, close to 50 percent of American companies’ earnings went to state and federal taxes. …it was a golden period. …President Biden should be applauded for trying to end the race to the bottom on corporate tax rates. But even if Congress approves the 15 percent global minimum corporate tax, it won’t be enough. …the Biden administration to give working families a real leg up, it should push Congress to enact a 25 percent minimum tax, which would bring in about $200 billion in additional revenue each year. …With a 25 percent minimum corporate tax, the Biden administration would begin to reverse decades of growing inequality. And it would encourage other countries to do the same, replacing a race to the bottom with a sprint to the top.

I can’t resist making two observations about this ideological screed.

  1. Even the IMF and OECD agree that the so-called race to the bottom has not led to a decline in corporate tax revenues, even when measured as a share of economic output.
  2. Since companies legally avoid rather than illegally evade taxes, the headline of the column is utterly dishonest – but it’s what we’ve learned to expect from the New York Times.

The only good thing about the Zucman-Wezerek column is that it includes this chart showing how corporate tax rates have dramatically declined since 1980.

P.S. For those interested, the horizontal line at the bottom is for Bermuda, though other jurisdictions (such as Monaco and the Cayman Islands) also deserve credit for having no corporate income taxes.

P.P.S. If you want to know why high corporate tax rates are misguided, click here. And if you want to know why Biden’s plan to raise the U.S. corporate tax rate is misguided, click here. Or here. Or here.

P.P.P.S. And if you want more information about why Biden’s global tax cartel is bad, click here, here, and here.

I enjoyed this article below because it demonstrates that the Laffer Curve has been working for almost 100 years now when it is put to the test in the USA. I actually got to hear Arthur Laffer speak in person in 1981 and he told us in advance what was going to happen the 1980’s and it all came about as he said it would when Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts took place. I wish we would lower taxes now instead of looking for more revenue through raised taxes. We have to grow the economy:

What Mitt Romney Said Last Night About Tax Cuts And The Deficit Was Absolutely Right. And What Obama Said Was Absolutely Wrong.

Mitt Romney repeatedly said last night that he would not allow tax cuts to add to the deficit.  He repeatedly said it because over and over again Obama blathered the liberal talking point that cutting taxes necessarily increased deficits.

Romney’s exact words: “I want to underline that — no tax cut that adds to the deficit.”

Meanwhile, Obama has promised to cut the deficit in half during his first four years – but instead gave America the highest deficits in the history of the entire human race.

I’ve written about this before.  Let’s replay what has happened every single time we’ve ever cut the income tax rate.

The fact of the matter is that we can go back to Calvin Coolidge who said very nearly THE EXACT SAME THING to his treasury secretary: he too would not allow any tax cuts that added to the debt.  Andrew Mellon – quite possibly the most brilliant economic mind of his day – did a great deal of research and determined what he believed was the best tax rate.  And the Coolidge administration DID cut income taxes and MASSIVELY increased revenues.  Coolidge and Mellon cut the income tax rate 67.12 percent (from 73 to 24 percent); and revenues not only did not go down, but they went UP by at least 42.86 percent (from $700 billion to over $1 billion).

That’s something called a documented fact.  But that wasn’t all that happened: another incredible thing was that the taxes and percentage of taxes paid actually went UP for the rich.  Because as they were allowed to keep more of the profits that they earned by investing in successful business, they significantly increased their investments and therefore paid more in taxes than they otherwise would have had they continued sheltering their money to protect themselves from the higher tax rates.  Liberals ignore reality, but it is simply true.  It is a fact.  It happened.

Then FDR came along and raised the tax rates again and the opposite happened: we collected less and less revenue while the burden of taxation fell increasingly on the poor and middle class again.  Which is exactly what Obama wants to do.

People don’t realize that John F. Kennedy, one of the greatest Democrat presidents, was a TAX CUTTER who believed the conservative economic philosophy that cutting tax rates would in fact increase tax revenues.  He too cut taxes, and he too increased tax revenues.

So we get to Ronald Reagan, who famously cut taxes.  And again, we find that Reagan cut that godawful liberal tax rate during an incredibly godawful liberal-caused economic recession, and he increased tax revenue by 20.71 percent (with revenues increasing from $956 billion to $1.154 trillion).  And again, the taxes were paid primarily by the rich:

“The share of the income tax burden borne by the top 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. Meanwhile, the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers dropped from 7.5 percent in 1981 to 5.7 percent in 1988.”

So we get to George Bush and the Bush tax cuts that liberals and in particular Obama have just demonized up one side and demagogued down the other.  And I can simply quote the New York Times AT the time:

Sharp Rise in Tax Revenue to Pare U.S. Deficit By EDMUND L. ANDREWS Published: July 13, 2005

WASHINGTON, July 12 – For the first time since President Bush took office, an unexpected leap in tax revenue is about to shrink the federal budget deficit this year, by nearly $100 billion.

A Jump in Corporate Payments On Wednesday, White House officials plan to announce that the deficit for the 2005 fiscal year, which ends in September, will be far smaller than the $427 billion they estimated in February.

Mr. Bush plans to hail the improvement at a cabinet meeting and to cite it as validation of his argument that tax cuts would stimulate the economy and ultimately help pay for themselves.

Based on revenue and spending data through June, the budget deficit for the first nine months of the fiscal year was $251 billion, $76 billion lower than the $327 billion gap recorded at the corresponding point a year earlier.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated last week that the deficit for the full fiscal year, which reached $412 billion in 2004, could be “significantly less than $350 billion, perhaps below $325 billion.”

The big surprise has been in tax revenue, which is running nearly 15 percent higher than in 2004. Corporate tax revenue has soared about 40 percent, after languishing for four years, and individual tax revenue is up as well
.

And of course the New York Times, as reliable liberals, use the adjective whenever something good happens under conservative policies and whenever something bad happens under liberal policies: ”unexpected.”   But it WASN’T ”unexpected.”  It was EXACTLY what Republicans had said would happen and in fact it was exactly what HAD IN FACT HAPPENED every single time we’ve EVER cut income tax rates.

The truth is that conservative tax policy has a perfect track record: every single time it has ever been tried, we have INCREASED tax revenues while not only exploding economic activity and creating more jobs, but encouraging the wealthy to pay more in taxes as well.  And liberals simply dishonestly refuse to acknowledge documented history.

Meanwhile, liberals also have a perfect record … of FAILUREThey keep raising taxes and keep not understanding why they don’t get the revenues they predicted.

The following is a section from my article, “Tax Cuts INCREASE Revenues; They Have ALWAYS Increased Revenues“, where I document every single thing I said above:

The Falsehood That Tax Cuts Increase The Deficit

Now let’s take a look at the utterly fallacious view that tax cuts in general create higher deficits.

Let’s take a trip back in time, starting with the 1920s.  From Burton Folsom’s book, New Deal or Raw Deal?:

In 1921, President Harding asked the sixty-five-year-old [Andrew] Mellon to be secretary of the treasury; the national debt [resulting from WWI] had surpassed $20 billion and unemployment had reached 11.7 percent, one of the highest rates in U.S. history.  Harding invited Mellon to tinker with tax rates to encourage investment without incurring more debt. Mellon studied the problem carefully; his solution was what is today called “supply side economics,” the idea of cutting taxes to stimulate investment.  High income tax rates, Mellon argued, “inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw this capital from productive business and invest it in tax-exempt securities. . . . The result is that the sources of taxation are drying up, wealth is failing to carry its share of the tax burden; and capital is being diverted into channels which yield neither revenue to the Government nor profit to the people” (page 128).

Mellon wrote, “It seems difficult for some to understand that high rates of taxation do not necessarily mean large revenue to the Government, and that more revenue may often be obtained by lower taxes.”  And he compared the government setting tax rates on incomes to a businessman setting prices on products: “If a price is fixed too high, sales drop off and with them profits.”

And what happened?

“As secretary of the treasury, Mellon promoted, and Harding and Coolidge backed, a plan that eventually cut taxes on large incomes from 73 to 24 percent and on smaller incomes from 4 to 1/2 of 1 percent.  These tax cuts helped produce an outpouring of economic development – from air conditioning to refrigerators to zippers, Scotch tape to radios and talking movies.  Investors took more risks when they were allowed to keep more of their gains.  President Coolidge, during his six years in office, averaged only 3.3 percent unemployment and 1 percent inflation – the lowest misery index of any president in the twentieth century.

Furthermore, Mellon was also vindicated in his astonishing predictions that cutting taxes across the board would generate more revenue.  In the early 1920s, when the highest tax rate was 73 percent, the total income tax revenue to the U.S. government was a little over $700 million.  In 1928 and 1929, when the top tax rate was slashed to 25 and 24 percent, the total revenue topped the $1 billion mark.  Also remarkable, as Table 3 indicates, is that the burden of paying these taxes fell increasingly upon the wealthy” (page 129-130).

Now, that is incredible upon its face, but it becomes even more incredible when contrasted with FDR’s antibusiness and confiscatory tax policies, which both dramatically shrunk in terms of actual income tax revenues (from $1.096 billion in 1929 to $527 million in 1935), and dramatically shifted the tax burden to the backs of the poor by imposing huge new excise taxes (from $540 million in 1929 to $1.364 billion in 1935).  See Table 1 on page 125 of New Deal or Raw Deal for that information.

FDR both collected far less taxes from the rich, while imposing a far more onerous tax burden upon the poor.

It is simply a matter of empirical fact that tax cuts create increased revenue, and that those [Democrats] who have refused to pay attention to that fact have ended up reducing government revenues even as they increased the burdens on the poorest whom they falsely claim to help.

Let’s move on to John F. Kennedy, one of the most popular Democrat presidents ever.  Few realize that he was also a supply-side tax cutter.

Kennedy said:

“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now … Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.”

– John F. Kennedy, Nov. 20, 1962, president’s news conference


“Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased – not a reduced – flow of revenues to the federal government.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 17, 1963, annual budget message to the Congress, fiscal year 1964

“In today’s economy, fiscal prudence and responsibility call for tax reduction even if it temporarily enlarges the federal deficit – why reducing taxes is the best way open to us to increase revenues.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: “The Economic Report Of The President”


“It is no contradiction – the most important single thing we can do to stimulate investment in today’s economy is to raise consumption by major reduction of individual income tax rates.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 21, 1963, annual message to the Congress: “The Economic Report Of The President”


“Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate.”

– John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963, message to Congress on tax reduction and reform, House Doc. 43, 88th Congress, 1st Session.


“A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business, and as the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues.”

– John F. Kennedy, Sept. 18, 1963, radio and television address to the nation on tax-reduction bill

Which is to say that modern Democrats are essentially calling one of their greatest presidents a liar when they demonize tax cuts as a means of increasing government revenues.

So let’s move on to Ronald Reagan.  Reagan had two major tax cutting policies implemented: the Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA) of 1981, which was retroactive to 1981, and the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Did Reagan’s tax cuts decrease federal revenues?  Hardly:

We find that 8 of the following 10 years there was a surplus of revenue from 1980, prior to the Reagan tax cuts.  And, following the Tax Reform Act of 1986, there was a MASSIVE INCREASEof revenue.

So Reagan’s tax cuts increased revenue.  But who paid the increased tax revenue?  The poor?  Opponents of the Reagan tax cuts argued that his policy was a giveaway to the rich (ever heard that one before?) because their tax payments would fall.  But that was exactly wrong.  In reality:

“The share of the income tax burden borne by the top 10 percent of taxpayers increased from 48.0 percent in 1981 to 57.2 percent in 1988. Meanwhile, the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers dropped from 7.5 percent in 1981 to 5.7 percent in 1988.”

So Ronald Reagan a) collected more total revenue, b) collected more revenue from the rich, while c) reducing revenue collected by the bottom half of taxpayers, and d) generated an economic powerhouse that lasted – with only minor hiccups – for nearly three decades.  Pretty good achievement considering that his predecessor was forced to describe his own economy as a “malaise,” suffering due to a “crisis of confidence.” Pretty good considering that President Jimmy Carter responded to a reporter’s question as to what he would do about the problem of inflation by answering, “It would be misleading for me to tell any of you that there is a solution to it.”

Reagan whipped inflation.  Just as he whipped that malaise and that crisis of confidence.

________

The Laffer Curve, Part III: Dynamic Scoring