Showing posts from September, 2012

Redistribution is not Compassion, Taxes are not Charity

Robin Hood Misunderstood

The legend of Robin Hood is sometimes cited as an example, mistakenly summarized as "Take from the rich and give to the poor!" That is not what Robin Hood did, though.

Robin Hood fought the corrupt sheriffs of Nottingham and Derby. What made these men corrupt? They collected unreasonably high taxes from the residents of the two shires. Prince John of the stories also raised taxes, not only on the poor but also on the wealthy nobility. Those who were loyal to the prince, however, received "favors" (lower tax rates) and were more likely to have the crown prince buy goods from them. (Crony capitalism, anyone?)

The way the system worked at the time, the sheriff was the tax collector and law enforcement in a region. He paid to retain the post, using tax money and fines to fund the annual payment to the royal court and to pay off local nobility for their support.

Robin Hood fought unfair taxes and tax breaks given to the fortunate few. You…

Robert J. Samuelson: Romney’s chance to challenge the welfare state - The Washington Post

Robert J. Samuelson: Romney’s chance to challenge the welfare state - The Washington Post

I wish the Republicans had nominated someone with at least some rhetorical skills, and ideally someone with a genuine sense of the American Dream from hard-earned experience. Mitt Romney? He might be the worst thing to happen to the GOP's public image since George W. Bush.

When Romney described 47 percent of Americans, he was ruining a discussion we must have a nation:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Study: Tax Cuts for the Rich Don’t Spur Growth - U.S. Business News - CNBC

Study: Tax Cuts for the Rich Don’t Spur Growth - U.S. Business News - CNBC

I have written several times about tax rates, especially the historical levels of taxation and how those rates of yesteryear are often misunderstood or misrepresented.

See: While the "90 percent" tax rate was the top marginal rate for a few years, it was also during a time when everything and anything seemed to be deductible. The effective rate for top-income earners has been relatively consistent. This means that rates, overall, have had little economic effect. When rates are increased, so are those magical loopholes (deductions) and when rates are lowered, Congress has had a tendency to close loopholes.

I've long argued that a simple tax code, with minimal loopholes/deductions is the best approach. It might leave some accountants and tax attorneys look…

Krugman Confuses iPhones with Broken Windows

Paul Krugman is at it again, either intentionally misleading readers or demonstrating an odd lack of familiarity with an economic theory. I'm assuming he is misrepresenting the theory he discusses and is misleading readers.
Broken Windows and the iPhone 5 11, 2012

There's been some buzz about a report suggesting that the iPhone 5 could, all by itself, give a significant boost to the US economy.The key point is that the optimism about the iPhone's effects has nothing (or at any rate not much) to do with the presumed quality of the phone, and the ways in which it might make us happier or more productive. Instead, the immediate gains would come from the way the new phone would get people to junk their old phones and replace them. In other words, if you believe that the iPhone really might give the economy a big boost, you have — whether you realize it or not — bought into a version of the &qu…