Showing posts from April, 2013

Internet Sales Taxes - Dumb Idea that Will Happen

The blunt truth: Collecting any and all "applicable" sales taxes online is not going to help retailers. It is not going to make things "fair" in some way. In the end, it's just another layer of complexity that might create jobs for tax specialists, but not many other people.
Congress Is Considering a Bill to Make Internet Firms Collect Sales Tax. Here's Why They Shouldn't Pass Megan McArdle Apr 24, 2013 11:00 AM EDT
It's too burdensome on businesses we want to expand.

Businesses in states without a sales tax will have to install a collection system that they currently don't need—and to pay taxes for services that they don't receive from faraway states. Yes, their goods travel on the roads, but the shippers are already paying tolls and gas taxes to cover the wear and tear. If we think those tolls and taxes are too low, the right response is to raise them, not impose a completely different (and much higher) tax. My colleague argues that th…

Austerity study error found by student

When a scholar makes a mistake, he or she should admit it and do whatever must be done to revise the research involved. Often, mistakes teach a great deal. Also, nothing bothers me more than when a scholar won't explore challenges to his or her assumptions. Be honest, and search for the best approximation of "truth" possible.

What if "austerity" doesn't withstand scholarship?

For some progressives, liberals, socialists, et al, any evidence against austere budgets would be welcomed. That's why the following story has been trumpeted in left-leaning media. And they still miss some of the points. (But, that is partisanship.)

The problem is, "austerity" is defined many ways. The paper at the center of this debate suggests reducing public deficits and long-term debt by quickly cutting spending and raising taxes — a combination many reject, including me, because there are no such "quick and easy" solutions to long-term fiscal imbalances…

Poll: Most say redistribute wealth -

This is both depressing and, sadly, understandable.
Poll: Most say redistribute wealth - Kevin Robillard -
Nearly 6 in 10 Americans say wealth is distributed unfairly in the United States, and a majority want the federal government to play Robin Hood to fix the problem, according to a poll released Thursday.  Only 33 percent of Americans think the current distribution of wealth in this country is fair, according to the Gallup Poll, while 59 percent say it is not. Fifty-two percent said the United States should redistribute wealth through heavy taxes on the rich, while 45 percent disagreed.
What is "fair" income distribution? How can the government make things "fair" when most of the elected leaders (and many of the bureaucrats) are in the upper-class?

States with high taxes on the highest income earners, such as New York and California, have cities with some of the greatest wealth gaps. If the most "progressive" places cannot make things "…

Tax bills for rich families approach 30-year high

This would be "old news" if President Obama's new budget didn't include yet more tax increases on the highest income earners. I include my usual caveat: we tax income, not wealth — so the president and others talking about "the rich" or "wealthy" households are intentionally misleading audiences. The wealthy have their money. The taxes were paid (or not) already and the wealth has been safely invested.

Income is what we tax. Period. And those taxes are at near-record highs, in terms of effective rates paid to local, state, and federal coffers by the top 20 percent of income earners. Caveat two: the effective rate paid is not the "marginal rate" applied to the last dollar someone earns. Again, the president and others mislead by citing higher marginal rates in the past — though the effective rates were much lower!

See also:

Gov report: Actually, evil City traders DIDN'T cause the banking crash • The Register

I've long argued that the Great Banking Crash of 2007 was and is simple to explain: bad loans were made to people unable to repay the loans. In the United States, pressure from the federal government to create a "homeownership culture" backfired. Nonsense like the "Community Reinvestment Act" and other pressure to make questionable loans… resulted in defaults. Shocking, right?
Well, the same problem struck in the United Kingdom. Bad loans were made. The crises was not about all the fancy financial instruments the U.S. Congress and the U.K. Parliament hope to regulate.
Gov report: Actually, evil City traders DIDN'T cause the banking crash • The Register The full report is only for masochists and journalists - to the extent that those are different groups, anyway. Below is, in full, what you really need to know about what happened:
This was a traditional bank failure pure and simple. It was a case of a bank pursuing traditional banking activities and pursuing…

Speech to Conservative Party Conference | Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Speech to Conservative Party Conference | Margaret Thatcher Foundation

Prosperity will not come by inventing more and more lavish public expenditure programmes. You do not grow richer by ordering another cheque-book from the Bank. No nation ever grew more prosperous by taxing its citizens beyond their capacity to pay. We have a duty to make sure that every penny piece we raise in taxation is spent wisely and well. For it is our party which is dedicated to good housekeeping—indeed, I would not mind betting that if Mr. Gladstone were alive today he would apply to join the Conservative Party.Protecting the taxpayer's purse, protecting the public services—these are our two great tasks, and their demands have to be reconciled. How very pleasant it would be, how very popular it would be, to say "spend more on this, expand more on that." We all have our favourite causes—I know I do. But someone has to add up the figures. Every business has to do it, every housewife has to do it,…

Why conservatives hate college

I have written on the issue of liberals (progressives, not classical liberals) in education repeatedly. This is an interesting article, on Salon. Not perfectly balanced, but more balanced than most such articles.

Why conservatives hate college

Jobs Are Going, Going, Gone… to Robots

I've written a few times on this topic. The cold reality is that today's technology economy is different when compared to the Industrial Revolution. Unlike the Industrial Revolution, which eventually created new jobs, products, and wealth, I'm concerned that the tech revolution is going to result in fewer jobs. Oh, it will still create new products and wealth… but not nearly enough jobs to offset what will be lost.

You might wonder if I'm being alarmist. But, the new jobs of the Industrial Revolution did not require specialized knowledge or abilities. You only needed a body that worked to take a factory job. A high school diploma was sufficient, and even that wasn't always essential. Today, the new jobs require skills only a few people have or can obtain.

As the following article demonstrates, we simply do not need as many people in this economy. In science fiction and utopian literature, the machines would free us to sit around and be creative. But, such creati…