It took a bit of searching around, but that is an excellent resource. I find it hard to test the claim (and this is probably why people argue it so much), because for receipts they have absolute $, and they have % of GDP, but my guess is that adjusting for inflation might also need to be looked at. That said, my gut reaction is that as far as income taxes go, a correlation with receipts might be difficult to make. This is an interesting chart of US income taxes, 1913-2010. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_United_States...)
Still, I don't wholly buy the initial premise. Just as important as tax receipts, IMO you need to look at the deficit/surplus. If the government is deficit spending, then tax revenue will increase too. For example, if the government buys 3 aircraft carriers by selling Treasury bonds to China, then those companies that built the carriers will report higher earnings and pay more taxes that year. (That could cover the gap due to the drop in their rate.) So for example, during the GWB years, although rates dropped, government spending increased, and contractors were paying taxes on profit made by loans from China (and others). It muddies the waters for sure. You could hide loss revenue due to tax cuts by deficit spending.
IMHO not all taxes, (or tax cuts) are created equal. Of course we want the government to provide some services (especially those that we want run at cost or at a loss), and we want them to step aside when profit motivation and market demand produces a satisfactory result. Taxes spent when the market does not provide the best solution seem to me to be good ones, and taxes that are spent to provide what the market could seem to me to be ones that should be cut.
Of course, we are in a deficit situation, so this is so much more complicated.
Endlessly interesting topic, btw. The link is great.
Reagan's management of the economy was really pretty deft. He inherited the biggest recession the U.S. has seen between the Great and Today's. They called it the Reagan recession, but to be fair he had almost nothing to do with it (recession doesn't rhyme with Volcker...). Reagan increased government spending, cut taxes, and reduced bank regulation. It was shockingly Keynesian, but was probably just the ticket to jump starting an economy that had suffered through stagflation and an incredibly tight episode of monetary policy. Government spending got consumers moving and eventually business investment.
It's funny how today's republicans revere Reagan, the Keynesian who supported gun control legislation. Reagan was a conservative for his time, but probably wouldn't pass the chalk today. Same with FDR the beacon of Keynesian liberalism. Government spending was flat, until the war broke out, but every thinks he as this amazing big spending progressive (he was progressive, but only spent more as a percentage of revenue, not more in absolute dollar terms until the U.S. geared up for war).
I was around 20% in the Reagan administration. During a recession businesses go below capacity captial (K, not $) lies idle. There is no incentive to increase investment until the K slack is taken back up for most industries. So if say 10% of industries (young industries usually) are still interested in investing you get about 2% of the economy involved in actively growing. The rest of the contributors to I are actually doing less than they were before to increase I, so you actually see a net drop in I in absolute terms and as a % of GDP. So I wasn't the catalyst for growth in the 80%, it only contributed later on after consumers and government led the way.
I too had a Reagan of my mind. I had to write a big paper on the early 80's recession (not huge, but some 27 pages in the end). I tried to fit the data to what my preconception of Reagan were, but I couldn't. Sure Reagan was hard on unions, pushed a lot of bank regulation, and cut taxes, but the man spent a TON OF $$$$$.
There has been no sustained period of exceptional economic growth (over 5% for more than 5 years) since the 20's that has happened when government didn't increase expenditures significantly (run deficits).
Yes government can be inefficient, this should really be looked at as an opportunity rather than an hindrance. I don't think that it is probably as inefficient as you might think, but if it was it should be easy to realize huge gains in efficiency by reforming it. If you could perform the same tasks for less and just plowed the money into more government services or infrastructure development it would translate into immediate increases in GDP. If you just sent the money go JOB CREATORS who are already operating in a business environment that is under capacity they would pocket the money and say thank you very much.
The guy did not, as you noted, veto enough of the runaway spending by mostly Democratic Congresses (who really spend the money - not the President).
Discretionary spending 1980-276 bil 1989-488 bil Mandatory spending 1980-262 bil 1989- 486 bil
Taxation became regressive, payroll taxes burden as a share of GDP went up, Cooperate taxes went down, payroll taxes went down for all, but with greater decreases for big earners. This is often cited as a reason the economy did well during the Reagan years, but if you are looking for similar historical comparisons of times when the economy grew for averages of more then 5% a year for more than 5 years the factor that is found in every example since WWI is higher government spending.
This might be the single example where regressive taxes increased growth for an extended period of time, but I suspect government spending was the thing that did it. I think Reagan was all for this spending, and give him a large share of the credit for the recovery in the 80's. You might not, and what that would mean to me is that it wasn't Reagan, but congress that caused significant growth in the 80's.
Did the Heritage Foundation recommend "individual health care mandates" Back in 1994 when Hillary Clinton was trying to reform healthcare? Thank you for your email to The Heritage Foundation.
Answer: In 1994, Heritage wished to present a plausible, conservative alternative to Clinton's healthcare recommendations. At the time, we did recommend those individual mandates as that alternative. However, our experts at Heritage reconsidered that policy and found that it was not the best solution we could find. Thus, Heritage changed its approach and looked for solutions that placed more emphasis on individual responsibility. Additionally, Heritage has been working with state governments and trying to craft policies from a state level.
Thanks again for your question to Heritage. Sincerely, Andrew Vitaliti Membership Intern
So, here was my answer:
Here is the answer from the Heritage Foundation. So, your "journalist" from the Washington Post did tell the truth; the problem is that it was a half truth. As usual, supposed "journalists" tell enough of the truth to support their particular "world view". In this case, Heritage obviously reversed itself on the individual mandate position, but your buddy forgot to include this tidy little detail. I still have the paperwork (which I forwarded to Chrysler's Washington Liaison office in 1994, and in none of the major six alternative plans is there an individual mandate mentioned.
So, until you can pinpoint the source of your figures, I cannot take them seriously; although you are welcome to post the source.
1. Return to more of our roots: constitutional principals and societal "moral and ethical" moorings. After 1963, things like birth rates for single parents, capital crime rates, drop-out rates, STD disease rates skyrocketed (see the Statistical Abstract of the United States). 2. Simplify the tax code like a flat tax (to be honest - I need to research the "fair tax" more. But to add a VAT tax on top of an income tax is economically stiffling; every country that left the income tax and also added a VAT tax added to the cost of everything and still had additional taxes. This stops the "favoritism" in the tax code by politicians and will encourage more tax payers and not tax "dodgers". 3. Reign in runaway government spending by revising entitlement programs and getting rid of "baseline budgeting" which has many entitlements on auto-pilot regardless of economic realities. 4. Examine our total military committment worldwide: do we need to be in all the places we are in? We need to be in some (like South Korea), but where can we cut back. It is also a poignant historical fact that we were not in Afghanistan or Iraq when we were attacked and more people died that died in Pearl Harbor. But, we are not the world's "police force". 5. Fire the people in government who disregard what their constituents want in favor of being re-elected. Find genuine statespeople, not politicians. To say, "This is the way politics is" is a cop-out for "I am ignorant of the facts" and " I'm uninvolved in the process". 6. Combine or disolve some government agencies. The Department of Education, for instance (with its 82 duplicate programs for evaluating teacher effectiveness) could be folded into another agency and their focus narrowed from dictating what is taught in our local schools and be more active in being a clearing house for ideas that really work in diverse areas of the country. They should be less ruled by the public teachers' unions (which is really ruled by a few and not the "shoes on the street folks", and more active in promoting things like getting rid of tenure (promotes mediocrity and lack of creativity and keeps bad teachers), helping to get creative teachers paid for coming up with creative and innovative teaching solutions that engage students and don't "bore the dickens" out of them, and promote merit oriented pay plans. You could achieve this by attrition and not having to fire people.
7. Reduce capital gains taxes. The people who benefit from these (in better economic times for sure), are seniors and people like us with 401Ks, etc. that have our investments in mutual funds, etc. It is mostly "middle America" that benefits. By the way, when Clinton raised capital gains taxes, the government lost 600+ billion in revenues over the subsequent five years.
8. I am not in favor of the "estate or death" tax. Why should someone who gets up off the couch, starts a small business, works their butts off for 15 or 20 years and finally builds a good small business (that hires people), have to pay the federal or state governements up to half of their net worth (even though we have an exemption) and not pass it along to their chidren (who may work in the business). This is nothing but Marxist in its roots (see the number two pillar of the Communist Manifesto), and discourages productivity, personal investment and entrepreneurship. Why should someone who is not as motivated to invest their own time "leech" off of the efforts of the producer - this is fundamentally wrong and even Jefferson (along with most of the founders) was emphatically opposed to this and the "progessive concept" of wealth re-distibution.
9. Work to teach fiscal responsiblity in our high schools and colleges (nobody ever taught me or anyone I know how to handle income, debt, and manage finances on a personal level). and get something like the Dave Ramsey approach to debt and financial responsibility.
10. Encourage the concepts of personal responsibility, hard work, and good diligence and not the "entitlement" mentality and "someone owes me because I got born" mentality. In reality, nobody "owes" you anything - period". You are responsible for you (when you are grown up of course). Let's get more common sense in all levels of life and government.
For instance, let's look at our opinion on the capital gains tax. Personally, I think that in time, a low capital gains tax results in aggregation of capital to those who can afford to invest it. That is, once salary isn't your main source of income, you graduate into a special low income tax bracket. IMO, this rewards wealth more than it does work or investment. If you couple that with no estate tax, you get wealthy children that are born into a low tax bracket, and they and their grandchildren will remain so with only modest effort.
But, to be honest. I'm not really interested that much in that argument. Because, truth be said, in some ways we are both wrong. That is, there are probably two scenarios in which a healthy society could thrive: one where the capital gains rate was reasonable in my mind, and one where there was no capital gains (the scenario that you feel is reasonable). HOWEVER, both those scenarios probably require implementation of other parts of our ideologies to be viable overall. Or, in short: A liberal law in a conservative system is perverted, and a conservative law in a liberal system is perverted.
This is where I find the US. We are in an ideological struggle that neither side will win. And, what is worse, each of our respective victories will not provide what we intend, because they are not implemented as part of a rational system. Our individual victories each reflect different systems that will never come to pass. It's that classic: "But you're not doing it right!"
Perhaps I am arguing for a centralist position, but I think it's more than that. There are many many ways that you and I can make our country a better place to be. However, it will never look like the way that either of us would choose. I think we need not to be half conservative and half liberal, but something else. Something that would probably be very difficult to label.
Deep down, you and I will likely always wish that the country was doing something closer to our personal worldview. However if we want the country to do well, we need to understand that that will never come to pass. IMHO we need to build a workable system that is enlightened by our worldviews, but not reflective of them. I strongly believe if any country represents the worldview of one person (or one group of persons in agreement) then the country will fail. Even if that worldview happens to be my own.
As an example, although I disagree with much of his political ideology, I voted for the Republican Rick Snyder for Governor of MI. He is a conservative, but I believe he is more than that. I didn't get that his Democrat opponent Bernero was more than a liberal. Perhaps he is, but I didn't hear it.
BTW, I do agree with a couple of your points. :)
Power is power. Whether it be government, corporate, or criminal, power can suppress. The state is subservient to me by design. No other power is. Of course, the state isn't wholly subservient to me, and it is very far from perfect, but it is in actually designed to serve me. Yes, if I am a potential customer, corporate power might bend to me, but only so far as that it can turn a profit from me. Corporate power bends to the state, and criminal power bends to violence and the state. We can have a healthy and subservient state. We must if we are to make sure that our rights aren't suppressed by other powers. IMO, "the nature of man" is the primary litmus test when designing government. That's why I am skeptical of libertarianism as much as communism, IMHO both are very fragile when exposed to the nature of man.
I agree about avoiding laws that destroy personal incentive. Keep people moving forward, and build a sense of purpose and growth.
A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government....Thomas Jefferson
Let's take one more example of the "Buffet Rule" since the current "politic speak" is, "Why should Warren Buffet pay less of a tax rate than his secretary? This is not FAIR!" Well look at FACT Check's research here:
Or this one about the teacher who makes $50,000.00 a year:
Part of this "half baked" idiom is that Warren Buffet pays himself less of a "salary" than his secretary, so on ordinary "payroll" income; he would pay a lower percentage. Do you think that he really pays fewer taxes than his secretary? Here's a Forbes article on the subject:
As to those that "inherit" their wealth over those who actually invent stuff and work for it like a, now deceased, Steve Jobs, here are a couple of links if you care to read. Money magazine had an article a few years ago as well and estimated that only 10% of the top 1% of the wealthiest persons actually "inherited" it.
If you expand it to just billionaires:
As to who pays what and what is FAIR? Here's the real story:
The bottom line, this "the rich don't pay their fair share" is a bunch of bunk foisted on the American people by political "charlatans" who exploit those who won't do the research, into believing "half truths" and "twisted stories" and "slanted presentations of the whole story" to gain political favor and get "voted in" so that they can reward their "political buddies" who helped them gain power. The only way you and I can help "clean up Washington" is to make informed decisions about who we sent to represent us (no matter what party you have a tag to!), and send people who are willing to tackle the tough problems "head on" with no "cock-n-bull" stories and let the American people know the facts - period. As long as we vote these disingenuous individuals in, we will get what we vote for. Let's FIRE the ones that don't do a good job - they work for US - not the other way around!
I can see the benefit of a low capital gains targeting seniors or other middle income Americans. We could reinstate a marginal rate for capital gains similar to most of the rest of last century. Are you aware of what the marginal rates were?
A very basic example of a fairer capital gains code, would be for earnings over 1M, it is taxed as normal income.
Look, I do brain tumor research. I went to school for 20+ years to do it. I work to develop cures and treatments for a very deadly disease. If you are very savvy, you might get me to buy in on a philosophical level how someone like Warren Buffett or Mitt Romney does something commensurable to pay at a level of 1000x or 200x mine. But, you will never get me to agree that they should be taxed at half the rate. That's not a worldview I will buy.
Tax rates shouldn't decrease as earnings do. Being wealthy is a pretty good reward, no need for a regressive tax rate.
I'm curious Hootsbox, what are some of the areas of politics that you think Left and Right agree on? What can we get done as a country? Where is there common ground?
Now ask yourself this, how often do you focus your energy on these things?
On a very high level, at this point in the discussion, I would say both the Right (or Center Right) and the Left (or Center Left) would agree that:
1. Corruption is bad no matter where, when, who, and what realm it is in. 2. The concept that people take financial and political advantage of people and that is wrong is a point of agreement - that applies across the board I would think. 3. That politicians have taken the place of "statespeople" and honest representatives and made our current government structure one that is not enviable IMHO. That would be a point of agreeement.
So say if the flat tax was 28%, Warren would pay 28%, even on income made from investments?
Unlike the current system, a flat tax is simple, fair, and good for growth. Instead of the 893 forms required by the current system, a flat tax would use only two postcard-sized forms: one for labor income and the other for business and capital income. Unlike the current system, which discriminates based on the source, use, and level of income, a flat tax treats all taxpayers equally, fulfilling the "equal justice under law" principle etched above the main entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court building. And unlike the current system, which punishes people for contributing to the nation's wealth, a flat tax would lower marginal tax rates and eliminate the tax bias against saving and investment, thus ensuring better economic performance in a competitive global economy. laborBased on a search of Internal Revenue Service "Forms and Publications" Web site, at www.irs.gov/formspubs/index.html (April 19, 2005).
On the other side you have Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan proving that it's possible as long as there's enough room for growth.
Of the 117 with lower tax receipts there are four that I'd consider successful examples of laissez-faire.
Much of the disagreement over "tax cuts" is "who gets them." You can't even really say "everyone gets equally" because everyone isn't taxed equally. So - do you cut taxes on the poor? That doesn't impact the economy as much as cutting taxes on the rich, simply from a volumetric standpoint. What if you raise taxes on the rich? Well, historically we've done well with that. Historically, however, elections haven't been bought and paid for by the rich so it's a non-starter. How about businesses? The Left will argue that they're the ones that are paying for the elections and there are so many loopholes they don't really pay taxes at all. The Right, on the other hand, will point out that the real tax rate paid by corporations in the United States is higher than most developed nations and the loop holes simply take it from "ludicrous" to "oppressive." Besides which the tax code provides a great deal of portability to corporations, allowing them to off-shore at the drop of a hat.
So when you say "tax cuts" you necessarily have to get into a deep, dirty discussion of "WHOSE tax cuts" and here we are.
Their conclusion is that lowering taxes will increase revenue, the money that would have gone to the government stimulates growth in the private sector, but not to the extent that it makes up from the revenue lost from the tax cut. Some of the tax revenue lost will come back to the government in taxes on new growth, but not enough to make up for the cut. This is what they call a robust finding. By How much will total revenue increase? Fuck it, people argue about that endlessly, anybody willing to give you a straight up number is probably bullshitting you or themselves, it's probably different in every situation, while they might be able to nail it down for past occurrences, predicting how the whole thing will shake out next time, or tomorrow is probably impossible.
Maybe we should also look at slowing the rate of government expansion and spending as well. Does this mean we can spend like drunken sailors, with little restraint and the baseline budgeting process (which is insane) and it will be OK? We can get on the spending carousel with long debates about how to control government spending, but overall, the federal government is inept at spending wisely and with fiscal responsibility. For instance, the CBO forecasted Medicare expenses to grow by 9 billiion by 1990 (in real 1965 dollars). However, it grew by 67 billion (only a slight miscalculation of 7 times). They have mis-forecast almost everyting in th last 55 years. I just don't quite trust the feds (and many states too) in handling, as good stewards, the public largess.
Look, don't get yourself too worked up about deficits and the national debt. Remember when Bush was president? Nobody cared about deficits. In fact, Cheney famously said that "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." It only became an issue when a Democratic president was elected, eager to pursue a Democratic agenda. The day Obama was elected the debt became an urgent national crisis and we suddenly had no money to spend.
The day Obama leaves office and is replaced by a Republican, from that day forward you'll never hear another word about deficits or the debt. The Republicans will continue to do the only thing they're good at: running up the national debt. $20 trillion, $40 trillion, $80 trillion... it will keep going higher and higher and nobody except an occasional economist crank will mention it again. The debt "crisis" is a tool to prevent Democrats from advancing their agenda, nothing more. At least we hope so, because we know the Republicans won't care about it once they're in power again.
Of course, once they control government again, that priority will be moot, and they can once again focus on running up huge deficits giving tax breaks to the super-wealthy.
Democrats tax and spend, Republicans borrow and spend. Democrats take your money and give it to poor people, Republicans take your children's money and give it to rich people.
Those are pretty much your choices, although Republicans, increasingly emboldened by what they can get away with, are starting to talk about taxing poor people ("the 50% who don't pay taxes") to accelerate the great transfer of wealth to the wealthy. So the Republicans appear to want your money as well as your children's money.
Oh well, apparently it all makes perfect sense to the American people.
I do have to say that GWB's bailout of the auto industry was very smart, and Obama's handling of the GM bankruptcy was also. Those companies are profiting, hiring, and paying the government back. It's not hard to find a job if you are an engineer in MI. I have an uncle that owns a supplier. His primary customer was GM. He would have had to lay off everyone if it weren't for the auto bailout. Of course, you can criticize GM for getting into that position, but at least there were significant structural and contractual (labor made real concessions) changes made as a part of the auto bailout, -unlike the banking bailout.