Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Economy, Energy, Freedom, Politics, Taxes | Tags: Economist John B. Taylor, Free Markets / Free People, the American Economy
High unemployment. Business in the doldrums, the recovery that Obama keeps promising remains elusive, in spite of his claims. Many small businesses that are the usual engine of growth are struggling. The elephant remarked yesterday that the only business that seems to be visibly expanding is the gun range.
The business organizations, the Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Association and others readily say that uncertainty is holding them back. To open and run a business is a risk. There are all sorts of uncertainties that affect your bottom line. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. The actions of this administration have been to increase uncertainty across the board. Will taxes go up? Are energy costs going to rise and by how much? What new regulations are going to be issued? Have I broken any regulation that I don’t even know about that will have an armed swat team breaking in my front door? What crazy new environmental regulation is the EPA going to come out with tomorrow? John Taylor explains.
Filed under: Capitalism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Freedom, History, Taxes | Tags: Consumer "Demand", Free Markets / Free People, The Party of Handouts
Democrats will not consider reform of entitlements. They have achieved what success they have found by being the party of handouts. Everywhere, it is entitlements of one sort or another that are destroying economies. California cities are going bankrupt right and left, largely because of entitlements — overly generous pensions promised, and overly generous pay packages that they can no longer afford. The state of Michigan is about to dump Detroit’s city government and install a manager with the power to try to rescue the city.
At the federal level, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all destined to go broke sooner, rather than later, but Democrats will not consider reform. All three programs are rife with fraud and waste. Vastly increased life-expectancy has played hob with the original assumptions behind these programs, and on the other end is a birth-dearth which leaves more older people to be supported by ever smaller numbers of working people. Throw the retiring baby boom into the mix, and all three programs are in deep, deep trouble.
Democrats have long-expected to be reelected by claiming that Republicans want to take away your Social Security, deprive you of care in your old age (“Throw granny off the cliff”), and to take away all the benefits that Democrats have promised. If they cannot depend on scare tactics, what do they have to offer?
With increased life-expectancy, people should be able to accept a gradual increase in the retirement age. Working one more year before retirement shouldn’t be that big a problem. Many people don’t want to quit working anyway. Those who are not required to retire at 65 often choose to work for many more years.
One must assume that Democrats are just naturally bad at math, or math avoiders, or unfamiliar with cost-benefit analysis, or their thought processes naturally turn only to emotional content. What is the matter with these people? Do they just assume that these programs are destined to always survive? Or like Scarlett O’Hara— they’ll think about that tomorrow?
In the years since the end of World War II, from 1945–2008, the number of jobs grew in 86% of the months, or 640 out of 744. The Reagan recovery produced job growth in 81 out of 82 months — twenty million new jobs in the first seven years alone, increasing the federal work force by 20%. That grew into eight million new jobs after 2003 — with capital gains and dividend tax rate cuts. History.
Some states and cities are learning that they can no longer afford the generous promises they have made. The federal government is approaching that tipping-point.
President Obama believes that consumer “demand” drives economic growth and prosperity. If he just puts money into people’s pockets, consumers will quickly spend the money and the economy will recover. That was the flawed notion behind the cut in payroll taxes. Didn’t work. Observing hard times and uncertainty about jobs, people saved the extra money in their paychecks, and cut back on spending as well.
The benefits provided by government largess are never enough for a comfortable life. Food stamps (without cheating) don’t provide gourmet meals. Social Security alone is not enough to retire on. Welfare doesn’t move you up in the world. The more government largess is distributed, the fewer people there are to support that largess. It is inevitably a downward spiral for everyone. When the government provides a bad example of crony-capitalism or dishonesty, soon more people follow the example set.
Government doesn’t have any money of its own. It only acquires funds by taxing the people. The more government grows, the more revenue it needs; the more revenue they get by taxing the people, the more the economy declines and the fewer working people there are to pay taxes. Why is that so damned hard to understand?
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Education, Freedom | Tags: Capitalism, Free Markets / Free People, How Does an Economy Work?
Economist Walter Williams has a special genius for explaining complicated things in simple terms. He is a renowned Professor of Economics at George Mason University, and in this interview he takes on the free market. Good video to share with your high school and college students.
Filed under: Capitalism, Conservatism, Economy, Education, Election 2012, Freedom, Heartwarming, Politics | Tags: A Hand Up--Not a Hand Out!, Dependency Destroys, Free Markets / Free People
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: Free Markets / Free People, Individual Liberty, Risk & Reward
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Politics, Progressivism, Taxes | Tags: Free Markets / Free People, Freedom is Essential, Regulatory Excess
Istria Cafe is a small business in Chicago, one of the most over-regulated cities in America. PJTV’s Alexis Garcia interviews the Pribaz brothers, the owners of Istria Cafe, to show you how regulations are destroying businesses and jobs. Would you believe that it is almost impossible to run a business in Chicago without violating rules and regulations, and paying extraordinary fines? From utilities, to health care Alexis Garcia tells you why some businesses might not survive in the down economy.
Businesses, small and large keep telling us, their representatives in Congress and the administration that excessive regulation is a problem. The administration not only doesn’t get it, they deny it absolutely. This is one of those spots where a lack of business experience tells. Someone who has never held a real private sector job cannot understand why “profit” is not something evil that only the greedy pursue.
And they cannot understand the extent to which regulation interferes. For example, Congress may decide that it would be a good thing if the signs in fast food restaurants contain calorie and nutrition information. This has happened. Such a regulation should begin with a study to see if the presence of such information has any effect on customer behavior, results in different choices, or does anything to control obesity. If all those factors are negative, then the regulation is a dumb idea.
Aside from that, the nature of the restaurant makes a difference. Pizza places and Chinese take out places have literally hundreds of ingredients and choices. Often impossible to convey on a sign. Can be done extensively on a menu. The ‘fast’ in fast food comes from people able to quickly scan a large sign and indicate their preference. Such regulation may accomplish nothing except kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
Governments that believe they are smarter than the people and can make things better with more regulation cause more problems than most lack of regulations could. We do, of course, need basic safety regulations, but it’s easy for regulation to form such a network of good intentions that the regulated business must give up.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Freedom, Health Care | Tags: A National Religion?, Britain's National Health Service, Free Markets / Free People
When we look to the future of ObamaCare, we necessarily look to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). It has been in place since the end of World War II, and is the world’s oldest government-run system. It is free at the point of service, paid for in taxes, and some say the closest thing in Britain to a religion. Scotland, Wales and Ireland each have their own system, administered by their governments. There is a private health system alongside NHS, and people can buy insurance for that.
Well, what more could you want? Free at the point of service, paid for in taxes, and apparently popular. One suspects that this is as far as Democrats’ investigations went. If you have an emergency — a heart attack, say — you get immediate attention. If you need to see a specialist, get some tests, the wait may be as long as 18 weeks. The NHS has approximately 1.5 million employees, most of them administrators. I should add here that I have never been to England, so I depend on what I read.
Scandals have been a constant. Hospitals that were parking patients in ambulances outside so they didn’t appear for treatment at once, so the hospital could meet guidelines for prompt service. Illnesses caused by the hospitals, like MERSA and other strep infections have been common at one time or another. Complaints about dirty hospitals, poor or absent care, pop up with regularity. It sounds as if you are healthy and your needs are not life-threatening, free treatment is a great drawing point. If you really need help — good luck.
The latest scandal is one of elderly patients condemned to early death because hospital personnel issued Do Not resuscitate (DNR) orders without consultation with the patient or with their relatives.
The medical guidelines require DNR orders to be issued only after senior staff have discussed the matter with the patient’s family. A form, signed by two doctors, is then placed in the patient’s notes to record the official decision.
The findings emerged in spot checks of 100 hospitals undertaken by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), an official watchdog, earlier this year.
A charity for the elderly said the disclosures were evidence of “euthanasia by the backdoor,” with potentially-lethal notices being placed on the files of patients simply because they were old and frail.
Although at least five hospitals were found by the CQC to be in breach of medical guidance regarding consultation with families, the watchdog declared four of the five to be “compliant” with its standards on dignity for patients, which cover broader aspects of care.
There you go, compliant with “dignity,” but don’t bother to tell the patient or his family that you’re going to bump him off. Call it euthanasia by default.
Here’s the story of one elderly patient, father of two physicians, and their efforts to navigate the NHS.
The problem with socialized medicine is that the goal quickly becomes holding down costs, rather than patient care. Ezekiel Emanuel, adviser on health care to Obama, was famously an admirer of NHS. The best care, he thought should go to the young who have many life years ahead of them: and not to old folks who used up too much expensive care before kicking the bucket.
That has been a frequent attitude among Democrats — They resist any effort to reform Medicare (they prefer to be portrayed as the saviors of Medicare in contrast to nasty Republicans who want to save the system) while they cut the reimbursement rates to physicians and suppliers from Medicare — currently –$500 billion. This only means that fewer physicians will see and treat Medicare patients, as they have done with Medicaid. They congratulate themselves on seeing that way more people are now insured, but ignore the fact that the newly insured cannot find doctors to treat them. It is so dishonest!
ObamaCare is a mess, a system guaranteed to fall apart if not repealed. The much vaunted Long-Term Care plan (CLASS) that was going to offer all Medicare patients insured long-term care has just been dumped before it ever goes into effect, as the administration has finally realized that there is simply no way they can make it work.
The population of England is around 51 million, and NHS is slowly falling apart. ObamaCare proposes to cover 33o million Americans without any understanding of what is not working in England and why. ObamaCare was largely based on Massachusetts plan, and the population of Massachusetts is only 6.5 million, and it is not working. Taxpayers in the rest of the country are supporting Medicaid in Massachusetts, and they have still had to put on price controls. Lots of their doctors have departed for Texas.
The incentives are all wrong. The goal for providers becomes how to get the most out of the insurance, not how to do the best for the patient.
If you want to see how socialized medicine plays out, watch the British system. How it works if you break an arm or hav e tonsilitis is not what’s important. It’s how the system treats the frail, the elderly and the needy. Seems to me that’s who you have a health care system for, not the young and healthy who can probably get along fine without it.
Filed under: Politics | Tags: Cut the Spending., Free Markets / Free People, It's Not Working.
Yesterday was designed to produce bad dreams and sheer fear as the Dow dropped over 500 points through the floor. Our own nation’s refusal to get real about cutting back on spending has roiled the markets, and with Europe’s debt turmoil added in, it created a real panic.
Today, the announcement that U.S. job growth accelerated more than expected in July as private sector employers stepped up hiring, eased fears that the economy is slipping into a double-dip recession.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 117,000, according to the Labor Department, above market expectations for an 85,000 gain.
The unemployment rate dipped to 9.1 percent from 9.2 percent in June—mostly as a result of discouraged workers who quit looking for jobs. Oh. Nevermind.
The market rallied by about 1 percent, but at least it was in the right direction.
Standard&Poors downgraded the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+, just like they said the would. This is a first. Obama says their calculations are wrong.
President Obama announced that he wanted to extend the elimination of the payroll tax. And he wants an Infrastructure Bank, and lots more spending on infrastructure. His views are fixed, set in concrete, and he does not change his mind.
Jobs, he believes, are created by government spending. If it didn’t work with all the “investment spending” that added more than $4 trillion to the national debt, it’s simply because he didn’t invest enough.
I don’t know how we get through to him that his convictions are wrong and his ideas don’t work. He simply doesn’t want to listen.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Health Care, Politics | Tags: Economist Dan Mitchell, Free Markets / Free People, Paul Ryan's 'Path to Prosperity'
Dan Mitchell is an economist at the Cato Institute, and does an excellent job of explaining economics for the rest of us. Democrats are going all out to attack the Ryan Plan, the “Pathway to Prosperity,” which is a workable way out of the fiscal mess we find ourselves in. Democrats, of course, are in full attack-mode trying to convince voters that Republicans are trying to starve Granny. They have been making the same old claim since Medicare first was passed in the Johnson administration.
The biggest thing about Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” was the vast increase in federal spending on social services. Before the “War on Poverty” most social service agencies were privately organized and funded. Between 1965 and 1970 federal spending on social services soared from $800 million to $2.2 billion in 1970, and then increased to $13 billion in the next ten years. Instead of helping those in poverty, it increased poverty, and vastly increased what became a constellation of housing groups, subsidized day-care centers, employment-training programs, health clinics and much, much more all designed to tap into War on Poverty money.
In less than five years, the federal budget for Medicaid went from $1.2 billion up to $6 billion. The only federal program that has come in under budget is the Medicare Drug program, which had a built-in incentive for seniors to hold costs down. The Democrat plan for ObamaCare eliminates that incentive.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, History | Tags: Bill Whittle Explains, Free Markets / Free People, Why Small Government?
(h/t: Pajamas Media)
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Liberalism, Politics, Taxes | Tags: "Tax Cuts for the Wealthy.", Capital Willl Go Where it is Well Treated, Free Markets / Free People
Democrats firmly believe that if they increase tax rates on the wealthy, they will get lots more money coming in to the Treasury. This will allow them to painlessly pay down the debt they accumulated by enacting all sorts of programs that were supposed to help the poor. This was important because good people care for the poor and disdain the rich. Liberals don’t associate with the poor, of course, but they care.
The Bush tax cuts are especially reviled, partly because they were Bush’s, but even more because Liberals have spent the last seven to nine years raging about the “tax cuts for the rich”, which is something they like to do because it shows how compassionate they are about the poor. This creates a major conundrum for them.
They know that you are not supposed to raise taxes during a recession, but if they agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts they would look like fools because of all that howling about “tax cuts for the rich.” So they think they can get by if they extend the tax cuts, at least temporarily, on everybody else, and raise taxes on the wealthy. Dan Henninger noted in the Wall Street Journal that:
Mr. Obama said that the middle class had been “playing by the rules.” while those “at the commanding heights” had not, benefiting from “huge tax cuts for the wealthy and well-connected.” “It’s a legacy of irresponsibility” he said, “and it is our duty to change it.” He proposed “prudent investments” in health, education, infrastructure and clean energy. ObamaCare became one such “prudent investments.”
Lower tax rates for high earners are obviously beneficial for those earners, but that is only a tiny part of the story. To stimulate work, saving and investment, you have no choice but to favor the taxpayers who have extra money, and respond most to taxes and are likely to invest. That means high income earners.
Capital will go where it is well treated. If it is taxed heavily here, it flees elsewhere and can easily be invested overseas. Policy-makers must accept some inequality in exchange for efficiency. The wealthy have many options, and the best of accountants. John Kerry, the wealthiest member of Congress, made an unwanted bit of news earlier this year when he moored his $7 million yacht in Rhode Island to save $500,000 that he would have to pay if he moored the boat in Massachusetts.
Liberals know that jobs are created by “small business” but are unclear about just what small business is. The small businesses who create jobs are the growing firms who employ upwards of 10 people and are expanding as they get more successful. Some 48% of the income of sole proprietorships, partnerships and S-Chapter corporations is reported on individual tax returns with income over $250,000 — the very people Obama wants to tax more.
Economist Alan Reynolds explains how it gets so confusing. He occasionally writes articles for major publications, for which he receives $300 -$500. He reports this on his tax return as business income. He has just become a “small business,” on the IRS rolls. Yet, when we talk about small business as the engine of job creation — we are not talking about Alan Reynolds. That suggests how very useless the statistics on small business are.
Obama’s goal is redistribution of wealth. The free market wants an emphasis on productivity, not redistribution. Yet most of the administration’s policies have gone to pay off liberal constituencies — the unions, teachers and the environmental lobby. This surely explains a good part of the anemic recovery. The president neither understands free markets, nor has any faith in capitalism. It shows.