Tag Archives: daniel j mitchell

Got to cut spending

Spending has always been the problem.

The Problem Is Spending, not Deficits

Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

Reckless spending increases under both Bush and Obama have resulted in unprecedented deficits. Congress will soon be forced to increase the nation’s debt limit by an astounding $1.8 trillion. Government borrowing has become such a big issue that some politicians are proposing a deficit reduction commission, which may mean they are like alcoholics trying for a self-imposed intervention.

But all this fretting about deficits and debt is misplaced. Government borrowing is a bad thing, of course, but this video explains that the real problem is excessive government spending.

Fixating on the deficit allows politicians to pull a bait and switch, since they can raise taxes, claim they are solving the problem, when all they are doing is replacing debt-financed spending with tax-financed spending. At best, that’s merely taking a different route to the wrong destination. The more likely result is that the tax increases will weaken the economy, further exacerbating America’s fiscal position.

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Protectionism does not work

Do you think protectionism would help, in the long run, if we don’t implement pro-growth reforms?

Sometimes I wonder what are the motives of those who oppose free trade.

Eight Questions for Protectionists

Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

When asked to pick my most frustrating issue, I could list things from my policy field such as class warfare or income redistribution.

But based on all the speeches and media interviews I do, which periodically venture into other areas, I suspect protectionism vs. free trade is the biggest challenge.

So I want to ask the protectionists (though anybody is free to provide feedback) how they would answer these simple questions.

1. Do you think politicians and bureaucrats should be able to tell you what you’re allowed to buy?

As Walter Williams has explained, this is a simple matter of freedom and liberty. If you want to give the political elite the authority to tell you whether you can buy foreign-produced goods, you have opened the door to endless mischief.

2. If trade barriers between nations are good, then shouldn’t we have trade barriers between states? Or cities?

This is a very straightforward challenge. If protectionism is good, then it shouldn’t be limited to national borders.

3. Why is it bad that foreigners use the dollars they obtain to invest in the American economy instead of buying products?

Little green pieces of paper have little value to foreign companies. They only accept those dollars in exchange for products because they intend to use them, either to buy American products or to invest in the U.S. economy. Indeed, a “capital surplus” is the flip side of a “trade deficit.” This generally is a positive sign for the American economy (though I freely admit this argument is weakened if foreigners use dollars to “invest” in federal government debt).

4. Do you think protectionism would be necessary if America did pro-growth reforms such as a lower corporate tax rate, less wasteful spending, and reduced red tape?

There are thousands of hard-working Americans that have lost jobs because of foreign competition. At some level, this is natural in a dynamic economy, much as candle makers lost jobs when the light bulb was invented. But oftentimes American producers can’t meet the challenge of foreign competition because of bad policy from Washington. When I think of ordinary Americans that have lost jobs, I direct my anger at the politicians in DC, not a foreign company or foreign workers.

5. Do you think protectionism would help, in the long run, if we don’t implement pro-growth reforms?

If we travel down the path of protectionism, politicians will use that as an excuse not to implement pro-growth reforms. This condemns America to a toxic combination of two bad policies – big government and trade distortions. This will destroy far more jobs and opportunity that foreign competition.

6. Do you recognize that, by creating the ability to offer special favors to selected industries, protectionism creates enormous opportunities for corruption?

Most protectionism in America is the result of organized interest groups and powerful unions trying to prop up inefficient practices. And they only achieve their goals by getting in bed with the Washington crowd in a process that is good for the corrupt nexus of interest groups-lobbyists-politicians-bureaucrats.

7. If you don’t like taxes, why would you like taxes on imports?

A tariff is nothing but a tax that politicians impose on selected products. This presumably makes protectionism inconsistent with the principles of low taxes and limited government.

8. Can you point to nations that have prospered with protectionism, particularly when compared to similar nations with free trade?

Some people will be tempted to say that the United States was a successful economy in the 1800s when tariffs financed a significant share of the federal government. That’s largely true, but the nation’s rising prosperity surely was due to the fact that we had no income tax, a tiny federal government, and very little regulation. And I can’t resist pointing out that the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff didn’t exactly lead to good results.

We also had internal free trade, as explained in this excellent short video on the benefits of free trade, narrated by Don Boudreaux of George Mason University and produced by theInstitute for Humane Studies.

Uploaded by  on Aug 31, 2011

According to Prof. Don Boudreaux, free trade is nothing more than a system of trade that treats foreign goods and services no differently than domestic goods and services. Protectionism, on the other hand, is a system of trade that discriminates against foreign goods and services in an attempt to favor domestic goods and services. In theory, free trade outperforms protectionism by bringing lower cost goods and services to consumers. In practice, the benefits of free trade can be seen in countries like America and Hong Kong. Both countries have a relatively high degree of free trade, and, as a consequence, have experienced an explosion of wealth.

________

Free Trade v. Protectionism

My closing argument is that people who generally favor economic freedom should ask themselves whether it’s legitimate or logical to make an exception in the case of foreign trade.

Consumer spending is caused by growth of economy

Will liberals ever learn?

The Consumer Spending Fallacy behind Keynesian Economics

Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

I’m understandably fond of my video exposing the flaws of Keynesian stimulus theory, but I think my former intern has an excellent contribution to the debate with this new 5-minute mini-documentary.

Keynesian Economics Is Wrong: Economic Growth Causes Consumer Spending, Not the Other Way

Uploaded by on Nov 29, 2010

Politicians and journalists who fixate on consumer spending are putting the cart before the horse. Consumer spending generally is a consequence of growth, not the cause of growth. This Center for Freedom and Prosperity video helps explain how to achieve more prosperity by looking at the differences between gross domestic product and gross domestic income. http://www.freedomandprosperity.org

________________

The main insight of the mini-documentary is that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) only measures how national output is allocated between consumption, investment, and government. That’s useful information in many ways, but if we want more output, we should focus on Gross Domestic Income (GDI), which measures how national income is earned.

Focusing on GDI hopefully would lead lawmakers to consider ways of boosting employee compensation, corporate profits, small business income, and other components of national income. Focusing on GDP, by contrast, is misguided since any effort to boost consumption generally leads to less investment. This is why Keynesian policies only redistribute national income, but don’t boost overall output.

Consumer spending is caused by growth of economy

You may recognize Hiwa. She narrated a very popular video earlier this year on the nightmare of income-tax complexity.

Do you think protectionism would help, in the long run, if we don’t implement pro-growth reforms?

Do you think protectionism would help, in the long run, if we don’t implement pro-growth reforms?

Sometimes I wonder what are the motives of those who oppose free trade.

Eight Questions for Protectionists

Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

When asked to pick my most frustrating issue, I could list things from my policy field such as class warfare or income redistribution.

But based on all the speeches and media interviews I do, which periodically venture into other areas, I suspect protectionism vs. free trade is the biggest challenge.

So I want to ask the protectionists (though anybody is free to provide feedback) how they would answer these simple questions.

1. Do you think politicians and bureaucrats should be able to tell you what you’re allowed to buy?

As Walter Williams has explained, this is a simple matter of freedom and liberty. If you want to give the political elite the authority to tell you whether you can buy foreign-produced goods, you have opened the door to endless mischief.

2. If trade barriers between nations are good, then shouldn’t we have trade barriers between states? Or cities?

This is a very straightforward challenge. If protectionism is good, then it shouldn’t be limited to national borders.

3. Why is it bad that foreigners use the dollars they obtain to invest in the American economy instead of buying products?

Little green pieces of paper have little value to foreign companies. They only accept those dollars in exchange for products because they intend to use them, either to buy American products or to invest in the U.S. economy. Indeed, a “capital surplus” is the flip side of a “trade deficit.” This generally is a positive sign for the American economy (though I freely admit this argument is weakened if foreigners use dollars to “invest” in federal government debt).

4. Do you think protectionism would be necessary if America did pro-growth reforms such as a lower corporate tax rate, less wasteful spending, and reduced red tape?

There are thousands of hard-working Americans that have lost jobs because of foreign competition. At some level, this is natural in a dynamic economy, much as candle makers lost jobs when the light bulb was invented. But oftentimes American producers can’t meet the challenge of foreign competition because of bad policy from Washington. When I think of ordinary Americans that have lost jobs, I direct my anger at the politicians in DC, not a foreign company or foreign workers.

5. Do you think protectionism would help, in the long run, if we don’t implement pro-growth reforms?

If we travel down the path of protectionism, politicians will use that as an excuse not to implement pro-growth reforms. This condemns America to a toxic combination of two bad policies – big government and trade distortions. This will destroy far more jobs and opportunity that foreign competition.

6. Do you recognize that, by creating the ability to offer special favors to selected industries, protectionism creates enormous opportunities for corruption?

Most protectionism in America is the result of organized interest groups and powerful unions trying to prop up inefficient practices. And they only achieve their goals by getting in bed with the Washington crowd in a process that is good for the corrupt nexus of interest groups-lobbyists-politicians-bureaucrats.

7. If you don’t like taxes, why would you like taxes on imports?

A tariff is nothing but a tax that politicians impose on selected products. This presumably makes protectionism inconsistent with the principles of low taxes and limited government.

8. Can you point to nations that have prospered with protectionism, particularly when compared to similar nations with free trade?

Some people will be tempted to say that the United States was a successful economy in the 1800s when tariffs financed a significant share of the federal government. That’s largely true, but the nation’s rising prosperity surely was due to the fact that we had no income tax, a tiny federal government, and very little regulation. And I can’t resist pointing out that the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff didn’t exactly lead to good results.

We also had internal free trade, as explained in this excellent short video on the benefits of free trade, narrated by Don Boudreaux of George Mason University and produced by theInstitute for Humane Studies.

Uploaded by  on Aug 31, 2011

According to Prof. Don Boudreaux, free trade is nothing more than a system of trade that treats foreign goods and services no differently than domestic goods and services. Protectionism, on the other hand, is a system of trade that discriminates against foreign goods and services in an attempt to favor domestic goods and services. In theory, free trade outperforms protectionism by bringing lower cost goods and services to consumers. In practice, the benefits of free trade can be seen in countries like America and Hong Kong. Both countries have a relatively high degree of free trade, and, as a consequence, have experienced an explosion of wealth.

________

Free Trade v. Protectionism

My closing argument is that people who generally favor economic freedom should ask themselves whether it’s legitimate or logical to make an exception in the case of foreign trade.

Is the USA heading down the same path as Greece?

Too many riding in the wagon and not enough pulling the wagon. Is the USA heading down the same path as Greece?

U.S. Should Learn from Europe’s Welfare State Mistakes

by Daniel J. Mitchell 

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.

Added to cato.org on November 8, 2011

This article appeared in US News and World Report on November 7, 2011.

Our long-run outlook is grim, but at least we still have time to reform the entitlement programs and save America from Greek-style fiscal collapse.

The conventional wisdom among economists is that a nation gets in deep trouble when government debt reaches 90 percent of GDP. That’s generally true, but it would be much more accurate to say that a nation gets in deep trouble when debt approaches 90 percent of GDP and the fiscal outlook shows even more red ink.

But this distinction doesn’t really matter much for the United States and Europe. Thanks to a combination of entitlement programs and aging populations, both face a bleak fiscal future. A 2010 study from the Bank for International Settlement shows that government debt in most industrialized nations will soar above 200 percent of GDP (in some cases, much higher) within the next few decades.

At some point, investors are going to realize that the United States is on an unsustainable path.

The only major difference is that European nations are farther down the path to fiscal collapse. The welfare state was adopted earlier in Europe and government spending among euro nations now consumes a staggering 49 percent of economic output. This heavy fiscal burden, especially when combined with onerous tax systems, helps explain why growth is anemic.

But the United States is only a couple of decades behind. According to long-run forecasts from the Congressional Budget Office, the burden of federal spending will reach European levels as the baby boom generation retires.

At some point, investors are going to realize that the United States is on an unsustainable path. Whether that’s 10 years from now or 20 years from now is anybody’s guess.

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.

 

More by Daniel J. Mitchell

What we do know, however, is that Greece, Portugal, and Ireland already have stuck their snouts in the bailout trough, and it’s probably just a matter of time before Italy, Spain, and Belgium are in the same category. Heck, they’re already receiving indirect bailouts from the European Central Bank, which is buying up their dodgy debt in hopes of postponing the day of reckoning.

The one silver lining to this dark cloud is that the United States still can turn things around. Greece, Italy, and other welfare states have probably passed the point of no return, but it’s still possible for American lawmakers to fix the entitlement crisis by turning Medicaid over to the states , modernizing Medicare into a premium-support system, and transitioning to a system of personal retirement accounts for younger workers.

If those reforms don’t take place, the consequences won’t be pleasant. To be blunt, there won’t be an IMF to bail out the United States.

The Cato Institute: The state of the economy under Obama

The Cato Institute: The state of the economy under Obama

It is truly said how far to the left our country has gone.

Happy Fiscal New Year (with an Unhappy Obama Hangover)

Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

Today, October 1, is the first day of the 2012 fiscal year.

And if you’re wondering why America’s economy seems to have a hangover (this cartoon is a perfect illustration), it’s because politicians had a huge party with our money in FY2011.

We don’t have final numbers for the fiscal year that just ended, but let’s look at the CBO Monthly Budget Report, the CBO Economic and Budget Update, and the OMB Historical Tables, and see whether there’s anything worth celebrating.

o The federal government spent about $3.6 trillion in FY2011, more money than any government has ever spent in a 12-month period in the history of the world.

o The FY2011 budget is nearly double the burden of federal spending just 10 years earlier, when federal outlays consumed “only” $1.86 trillion.

o The federal budget in FY2011 consumed about 24 percent of national output, up sharply compared to a spending burden in FY2001 of “just” 18.2 percent of GDP.

o Defense spending is too high, and has increased by about $400 billion since 2001, but the vast majority of the additional spending is for domestic spending programs.

o Federal tax revenue in FY2011 will be about $2.25 trillion, an increase of 7-8 percent over FY2010 levels.

o Economic stagnation has affected tax revenues, which are lower than the $2.6 trillion level from FY2007.

o Federal receipts amount to about 15.3 percent of GDP, below the long-run average of 18 percent of GDP.

o The Congressional Budget Office does predict that revenues will rise above the 18-percent average – without any tax increases – by the end of the decade.

o Record levels of government spending, combined with low revenues caused by a weak economy, will result in a $1.3 trillion deficit.

o This is the third consecutive deficit of more than $1 trillion.

o The publicly-held national debt (the amount borrowed from the private sector) is now more than $10 trillion.

With budget numbers like these, no wonder America has a fiscal hangover.

And let’s be blunt about assigning blame. Yes, Obama has been a reckless big spender, but he is merely continuing the irresponsible statist policies of his predecessor.

Fortunately, there is a solution. All we need to do is restrain the growth of federal spending, as explained in this video.

___________________

But we also know that it is difficult to convince politicians to do what’s right for the nation. And if they don’t change the course of fiscal policy, and we leave the federal government on autopilot, then America is doomed to become another Greece.

The combination of poorly designed entitlement programs (mostly Medicare and Medicaid) and an aging population will lead to America’s fiscal collapse.

Cato Institute grades Perry’s flat tax

I really like to read Dan Mitchell’s opinions.

Grading Perry’s Flat Tax: Some Missing Homework, but a Solid B+

Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

Governor Rick Perry of Texas has announced a plan, which he outlines in the Wall Street Journal, to replace the corrupt and inefficient internal revenue code with a flat tax. Let’s review his proposal, using the principles of good tax policy as a benchmark.

1. Does the plan have a low, flat rate to minimize penalties on productive behavior?

Governor Perry is proposing an optional 20 percent tax rate. Combined with a very generous allowance (it appears that a family of four would not pay tax on the first $50,000 of income), this means the income tax will be only a modest burden for households. Most important, at least from an economic perspective, the 20-percent marginal tax rate will be much more conducive to entrepreneurship and hard work, giving people more incentive to create jobs and wealth.

2. Does the plan eliminate double taxation so there is no longer a tax bias against saving and investment?

The Perry flat tax gets rid of the death tax, the capital gains tax, and the double tax on dividends. This would significantly reduce the discriminatory and punitive treatment of income that is saved and invested (see this chart to understand why this is a serious problem in the current tax code). Since all economic theories – even socialism and Marxism – agree that capital formation is key for long-run growth and higher living standards, addressing the tax bias against saving and investment is one of the best features of Perry’s plan.

3. Does the plan get rid of deductions, preferences, exemptions, preferences, deductions, loopholes, credits, shelters, and other provisions that distort economic behavior?

A pure flat tax does not include any preferences or penalties. The goal is to leave people alone so they make decisions based on what makes economic sense rather than what reduces their tax liability. Unfortunately, this is one area where the Perry flat tax falls a bit short. His plan gets rid of lots of special favors in the tax code, but it would retain deductions (for those earning less than $500,000 yearly) for charitable contributions, home mortgage interest, and state and local taxes.

As a long-time advocate of a pure flat tax, I’m not happy that Perry has deviated from the ideal approach. But the perfect should not be the enemy of the very good. If implemented, his plan would dramatically boost economic performance and improve competitiveness.

That being said, there are some questions that need to be answered before giving a final grade to the plan. Based on Perry’s Wall Street Journal column and material from the campaign, here are some unknowns.

1. Is the double tax on interest eliminated?

A flat tax should get rid of all forms of double taxation. For all intents and purposes, a pure flat tax includes an unlimited and unrestricted IRA. You pay tax when you first earn your income, but the IRS shouldn’t get another bite of the apple simply because you save and invest your after-tax income. It’s not clear, though, whether the Perry plan eliminates the double tax on interest. Also, the Perry plan eliminates the double taxation of “qualified dividends,” but it’s not clear what that means.

2. Is the special tax preference for fringe benefits eliminated?

One of the best features of the flat tax is that it gets rid of the business deduction for fringe benefits such as health insurance. This special tax break has helped create a very inefficient healthcare system and a third-party payer crisis. It is unclear, though, whether this pernicious tax distortion is eliminated with the Perry flat tax.

3. How will the optional flat tax operate?

The Perry plan copies the Hong Kong system in that it allows people to choose whether to participate in the flat tax. This is attractive since it ensures that nobody can be disadvantaged, but how will it work? Can people switch back and forth every year? Is the optional system also available to all the small businesses that use the 1040 individual tax system to file their returns?

4. Will businesses be allowed to “expense” investment expenditures?

The current tax code penalizes new business investment by forcing companies to pretend that a substantial share of current-year investment outlays take place in the future. The government imposes this perverse policy in order to get more short-run revenue since companies are forced to artificially overstate current-year profits. A pure flat tax allows a business to “expense” the cost of business investments (just as they “expense” workers wages) for the simple reason that taxable income should be defined as total revenue minus total costs.

Depending on the answers to these questions, the grade for Perry’s flat tax could be as high as A- or as low as B. Regardless, it will be a radical improvement compared to the current tax system, which gets a D- (and that’s a very kind grade).

Here’s a brief video for those who want more information about the flat tax.

———-

The Flat Tax: How it Works and Why it is Good for America

Uploaded by on Mar 29, 2010

This Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation video shows how the flat tax would benefit families and businesses, and also explains how this simple and fair system would boost economic growth and eliminate the special-interest corruption of the internal revenue code. www.freedomandprosperity.org

________________________

Last but not least, I’ve already receive several requests to comment on how Perry’s flat tax compares to Cain’s 9-9-9 plan.

At a conceptual level, the plans are quite similar. They both replace the discriminatory rate structure of the current system with a low rate. They both get rid of double taxation. And they both dramatically reduce corrupt loopholes and distortions when compared to the current tax code.

All things considered, though, I prefer the flat tax. The 9-9-9 plan combines a 9 percent flat tax with a 9 percent VAT and a 9 percent national sales tax, and I don’t trust that politicians will keep the rates at 9 percent.

The worst thing that can happen with a flat tax is that we degenerate back to the current system. The worst thing that happens with the 9-9-9 plan, as I explain in this video, is that politicians pull a bait-and-switch and America becomes Greece or France.

Barney Frank and Chris Dodd mentioned in October 11, 2011 Republican debate with video clip

Dodd and Frank are the real villians of the mortgage mess and I knew that 3 years ago after reading this article below. Who did the Democrats get to clean up this mess? You guessed it. What a joke.

Who Are the Villains of the Mortgage Mess?

by Daniel J. Mitchell 

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow specializing in tax issues and author of The Flat Tax: Freedom, Fairness, Jobs, and Growth.

Added to cato.org on October 14, 2008

This article appeared in the Los Angeles Times on October 14, 2008.

In this current mess, one problem is identifying the heroes and villains in Congress. Many analysts conveniently dodge this question and instead make the rather novel claim that the turmoil in financial markets somehow is the result of deregulation. Yet the financial services industry is probably the most heavily regulated sector of the American economy, saddled with hundreds of laws, thousands of regulations and a plethora of government agencies. If red tape were the answer, this problem never would have happened.

Many lawmakers want more rules and regulation governing disclosure, ostensibly to protect consumers. But the existing policies already have created a jumble of legalese that even highly sophisticated borrowers have trouble grasping, so it is far from apparent how this would help. A far better approach would be sweeping deregulation, replacing all the current clutter with a simple, easy-to-understand disclosure form, such as the one proposed by Alex Pollock of the American Enterprise Institute (PDF).

Back to identifying the heroes and villains. To assign blame, it is first necessary to understand what caused the problem. At the risk of oversimplification, let’s touch on three main causes of the financial turmoil and identify the culprits in the political world:

Daniel J. Mitchell is a senior fellow specializing in tax issues and author of The Flat Tax: Freedom, Fairness, Jobs, and Growth.

 

More by Daniel J. Mitchell

Problem No. 1– easy-money policy from the Federal Reserve: In an ideal world, the Federal Reserve provides the liquidity needed to enable commerce but avoids excess liquidity to avoid either rising prices (which happens when excess money bids up consumer prices) or bubbles (which happens when excess money bids up asset prices). The Fed clearly failed in this regard, as evidenced by unsustainably low interest rates earlier this decade.

Culprits: Almost every single politician deserves a share of the blame. The political class likes easy money. In the early stages, inflation feels good. Voters feel like they have more money in their pockets and borrowers (who always outnumber lenders) like the artificially low interest rates. And that is why very few voices were raised against the Federal Reserve’s policy.

Problem No. 2 — corrupt subsidies from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: These government-sponsored enterprises were created explicitly to distort the flow of capital and encourage over-investment in residential real estate. Responding in part to campaign contributions (a clear conflict of interest), politicians dramatically expanded the power of Fannie and Freddie in recent years, thus creating widespread systemic risk because of the implicit (now explicit) government guarantee.

Culprits: Many politicians from both parties were recipients of campaign contributions from the Fannie and Freddie slush funds, though Democrats had their hands much deeper in the cookie jar. The Bush administration has a very dismal economic record, but the White House does deserve some credit for having tried to rein in Fannie and Freddie earlier this decade. Opponents, led by Democrats Barney Frank in the House and Chris Dodd in the Senate, blocked reforms that would have saved huge amounts of money for taxpayers.

Problem No. 3 — the Community Reinvestment Act: Politicians imposed numerous regulatory burdens on financial institutions, but “affordable lending” requirements such as those imposed as a result of the Community Reinvestment Act were among the most perverse. In effect, banks were extorted into making loans to people who were not credit worthy. This added to the bubble and expanded systemic risk. It’s also worth noting that poor people were victimized by this government policy, because many of them were lured into houses they could not afford.

Culprits: President Carter presumably deserves some of the blame because many of these policies were first imposed during his dismal reign, primarily with support from Democrats. But the so-called affordable-lending requirements were expanded during the Clinton and the current Bush administrations, so the GOP is not without blame.

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Barney Frank and Chris Dodd mentioned in October 11, 2011 Republican debate with video clip

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Cain’s 9-9-9 plan center stage at Republican debate of October 11, 2011 (with video clip)

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Cato Institute:Spending is our problem Part 4

Cato Institute:Spending is our problem Part 4

Should we spend more federal money to help the poor?

Uploaded by on Oct 3, 2011

The so-called War on Poverty has failed. Making government bigger and creating more federal redistribution programs has been bad news for taxpayers. But the welfare state also has been a disaster for the less fortunate, creating a flypaper effect that makes it difficult for people to lead independent and self-reliant lives. This Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation video shows how the poverty rate was falling after World War II — but then stagnated once the federal government got involved. www.freedomandprosperity.org

People think that we need to raise more revenue but I say we need to cut spending. Take a look at a portion of this article from the Cato Institute:

The Damaging Rise in Federal Spending and Debt

by Chris Edwards

Joint Economic Committee
United States Congress

Joint Economic CommitteeUnited States Congress

Added to cato.org on September 20, 2011

This testimony was delivered on September 20, 2011.

Baseline Projections Are Optimistic

In support of building a large “fiscal buffer,” policymakers should recognize that both short-term and long-term CBO projections are optimistic in various ways. Perhaps the future will include some positive budget surprises, but the big risk factors seem to be on the negative side.

In CBO’s baseline, federal deficits fall substantially over the coming decade, partly due to changes under the recent Budget Control Act. However, spending will be higher than projected if:

  • Policymakers lift caps in the Budget Control Act.
  • Policymakers launch new spending programs or respond to unforeseen crises or wars.
  • Higher interest rates push up interest costs, which is a risk that gets magnified as federal debt grows larger.
  • A major recession causes large cost increases in programs sensitive to economic cycles, such as unemployment insurance.
  • Policymakers respond to another recession with costly new “stimulus” plans. The persistence of Keynesian policy ideas in Washington is an important risk to the outlook for federal debt.

There are likely to be negative shocks in coming years that we don’t foresee. Consider that in its January 2008 budget outlook, CBO projected that U.S. economic growth would slow in 2008 but then rebound fairly strongly in subsequent years.15 CBO discussed the risk of a recession, but didn’t foresee the calamity that was already starting. The upshot is that policymakers should take a conservative approach and build a “fiscal buffer” with large spending cuts now before another recession causes the deficit to soar again.

CBO’s long-range projections — such as the “alternative fiscal scenario” (AFS) shown in Figure 1 — are also optimistic. In its basic projections, CBO does not factor in the negative effects of rising spending, debt, or taxes on GDP after 2021, but it does do that in a separate analysis.16 If spending actually followed the course shown in Figure 1, CBO estimates that GDP in 2035 would be up to 10 percent less than shown in the AFS, and GNP would be up to 18 percent less. In turn, spending-to-GDP and debt-to-GDP ratios would be worse than usually shown in long-range budget charts.

Under the AFS, rising deficit spending could reduce American incomes. The CBO finds that real GNP per capita could stop growing in the late 2020s, and then start falling after that. In a historic reversal, future generations of Americans would become successively poorer.

The way to ensure our continued prosperity is to cut federal spending and reduce debt. In a 2010 analysis, the CBO compared the high-spending AFS with Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap” plan.17 The Ryan plan would restrain federal spending to roughly current levels for the next few decades, and then start reducing it. By the late 2020s, GNP per capita under the Ryan plan would begin rising above the flat and then falling levels under the AFS. By the late 2050s, GNP per capita would be 70 percent higher under the Ryan plan than under the AFS.18

15 Congressional Budget Office, “The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2008 to 2018,” January 2008, Chapter 2.
16 See Chapter 2 in Congressional Budget Office, “Long-Term Budget Outlook,” June 2011.
17 Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf letter to Paul Ryan, January 27, 2010, http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/108xx/doc10851/01-27-Ryan-Roadmap-Letter.pdf.
18 Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf letter to Paul Ryan, January 27, 2010, p. 16.

Are rich people as bad as “Dirty Dan?”

Are rich people as bad as “Dirty Dan?”

The Little Rascals – “Fly My Kite” (1931) Part 1-2

Uploaded by on Apr 6, 2011

The gang loves Grandma, but her slimy son-in-law loves her money.When Dirty Dan tries to take away her retirement fortune, it’s the kids (and Pete the Pup) to the resue! Soon, the chase is on and Dan is caught faster than you can say “Granny get your gun”!

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I enjoyed seeing that “Dirty Dan” got what was coming to him at the end of the episode below. If you listen to President Obama, and other liberals like John Brummett and Max Brantley then would get the impression that the mean rich folks don’t need to be so selfish and hand over the money to run the government for the rest of us.

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The Little Rascals – “Fly My Kite” (1931) Part 2-2