Archives For Politics

I received the following information in an email this morning.

I haven’t written much lately. I especially haven’t written much about politics lately. I am not very excited about this election. That said, I would prefer neither Hillary or Bernie be our next president (that’s not an endorsement for Trump).


Back the email I mentioned. Here is what Oxford Economics has to say about Donald Trump’s tax plan:

If implemented fully, Mr. Trump’s tax proposal would reduce government revenues by just over $4 trillion over the next five years, writes Gregory Daco, Head of US Macroeconomics at Oxford Economics in a research note released today. Assuming 25% of the revenue loss would be offset by reductions in government outlays (and the remainder would be deficit financed) his plan would send the US economy into a recession by the end of 2017.

The report makes these additional points:

• Under Mr. Trump’s budget proposal, the unified budget deficit would widen to nearly 7% of GDP by the end of 2018, compared with 2.8% in our baseline, while the federal debt to GDP ratio would surge from 77% of GDP today to 95% by 2020. This would likely cause severe stress in bond markets.

• Higher interest rates would lead to substantial crowding out of private investment, consumer spending and housing activity.

• On the individual tax front, reducing marginal tax rates, collapsing income tax brackets, repealing the AMT, increasing deductions and taxing carried interest income as ordinary business income would likely stimulate spending and overall activity. However, the skewed distributional nature of the tax cuts – favouring higher income individuals – and higher interest rates would severely limit the boost to spending.

• On the corporate side, the prospect of lower tax rates would initially stimulate a desire for investment, but higher borrowing costs would rapidly deter business investment.

• Factoring in severe government spending cuts, the US economy would contract 2% in 2018 compared with a 2.4% expansion in the baseline. It would count 3 million fewer jobs by the end of Mr. Trump’s first term.

• Under a more realistic scenario where Mr. Trump’s plan is made deficit-neutral to pass Congress, the economy would avoid a recession, but still grow slower than in our baseline and count 1.1 million fewer jobs by the end of Mr. Trump’s first term.

I have no idea how accurate these numbers are and I haven’t read the full report. I would hope that government would be financed through tax revenues rather than deficit spending. That would mean cuts in spending, which I think are necessary. The government is bloated. It needs to be pared back and the focus should be on only what’s important. It’ll never happen, though. Politicians love spending money on their favorite projects in order to buy votes. Politicians think their job is to stay in office.

I searched Oxford Economics’ website but didn’t find any information on Hillary Clinton’s tax plan. Hopefully one will be forthcoming.

I read the following story in the Nov. 2 issue of Forbes. It was in a piece by Amity Shlaes:

BACK IN THE 1980s a man who sat on the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission told a story about a Christmas ham he’d received from a local cemetery, Forest Lawn.

“My first Christmas as commissioner–when I received the ham–I tried to return it at once, though for the record, I did not, since no one at Forest Lawn seemed authorized to accept hams.” A year later another ham from Forest Lawn arrived, and this time the commissioner gave the ham to a worthy charity.

The third year the officer gave the ham to some worthy friends, who were hosting a party. The fourth year the commissioner held his own worthy party and served the ham. The commissioner recalled what happened next: “In the fifth year, about the tenth of December, I began wondering, where is my ham?”

This is why the public is so distrusting of politicians.

I like this:

I discovered Arthur Brooks back when he came out with his book, “Who Really Cares?” His latest book, The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America*,
will be out next week. It looks like an interesting read.

Mr. Brooks was interviewed in this week’s WSJ. I liked what he had to say. Here are a couple of quotes for those of you who are not WSJ subscribers:

When he was a child, Mr. Brooks notes, one of four people lived on less than a dollar a day. Today, though we still have far to go, the advance of trade and a globalized economy has shrunk that figure to one of 20.

The liberation of hundreds of millions from desperate poverty ranks among the greatest success stories in history. But it’s a story that remains largely untold and mostly unheralded. In his new book, “The Conservative Heart,” Mr. Brooks puts it this way: “Capitalism has saved a couple of billion people and we have treated this miracle like a state secret.”

AEI aims to change that. “We should be shouting it from the rooftops,” he says. “If Beethoven were alive today, he would dedicate the ‘Ode to Joy’ to this miracle. In the very first verse of that poem—which inspired Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony—we hear, ‘Beggars become Princes’ brothers’! If this is so, it is because of free enterprise.”

Few today would deny the market’s success in literally producing the goods. For some, however, this is a paradox. It’s a paradox because, in this way of thinking, socialism has the higher ideals but fails in practice, while capitalism succeeds in practice even though it is based on greed.

Mr. Brooks believes these critics are limited by materialistic assumptions about wealth and its production. Capitalism, he insists, succeeds not because it is based on greed, but because the freedom to trade and do business with others is in harmony with our God-given nature. So he has no patience for those who fear the moral argument.

I wish we could get back to a country that emphasizes education and concentrates on teaching people HOW to succeed instead of constantly telling them that they can’t succeed without the government’s (the taxpayers) help. The pessimism is rampant, thanks to social media. Flip through a Flipboard magazine on the topic of Capitalism or Income and you’ll see what I mean.

*Affiliate link

A Black Box in Your Car? Some See a Source of Tax Revenue

Charging drivers by the mile.

Anyone who lives outside of New York City or any other big metropolitan area, will not like this idea.

I loathe any idea that adds a new way to tax people. Why? Because the old taxes rarely get done away with. There is a gasoline tax already. There are also lots of toll roads that charge by distance driven. WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER WAY FOR GOVERNMENTS TO GET MORE TAXES.

The above article mentions that this is necessary because the roads are in need of repairs. Wasn’t TARP supposed to be for roads? We have zero accountability in how the government spends the money it receives.

From today’s WSJ (How Government is Making Solar Billionaires):

Welcome to SolarCity, SCTY -0.59% the latest booming green company that has never recorded a profit. The startup’s stock price has soared by 600% since its IPO last December—it closed on Monday at $57 a share—and spiked after the company announced a couple of weeks ago that it expects business to grow by 70% to 90% next year. Yet the company, based in San Mateo, Calif., and specializing in deploying rooftop panels, ended the first six months this year $61 million in the red.

Ordinarily, that sort of number might disconcert investors. But SolarCity’s business model is powered by government subsidies, which also fueled the 500% stock run-up and turn to profit this year of the electric-car maker Tesla. Steering both companies is Elon Musk.

In addition to being the chairman of SolarCity and CEO of Tesla, Mr. Musk is the largest shareholder in both companies. The increase in their stock prices has raised his net worth by more than $5 billion over the past year.

Isn’t that lovely?

Yes, I am aware that the government also helps other industries. The point is the government really should get out of all business creation and promotion. The government should not be deciding who is or is not successful. If your idea cannot succeed in the market place on its own, then you need a different idea. Mr. Musk has the U.S. taxpayers to thank for his wealth.

Discuss among yourselves while I go paint the master bedroom…

PS – If you can’t read the link, email me (JLP – at – and I’ll get you a copy.

From today’s WSJ:

The Obama administration plans to block the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they are built with novel and expensive technology to capture greenhouse-gas emissions, according to people familiar with a draft proposal.


The person and others briefed on the rule said such stringent limits would ban new coal plants, which generally release about twice as much carbon dioxide as the proposed limits. Even the newest, most advanced coal-fired power plants in the world would fall far short of that revised standard, they said.

Someone stands to make a lot of money installing all this new technology. That’s what this is really about. It’s not about the environment.

The American people should be allowed to vote on things like this. There should be a rigorous objective study done that will show how much these proposed changes will add to our monthly electric bills. Then, we should vote on the bill. Better yet, it should be a STATE ISSUE!

Have a great day, everyone.