American Elephants

Oh Fiscal Cliff, Fiscal Cliff, Fiscal Cliff! by The Elephant's Child
December 30, 2012, 8:42 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Law, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Twenty-Six Years Ago: President Ronald Reagan passed significant tax reforms that lowered the individual income tax rate, limited deductions, and brought equality to tax rates at all levels. Previously, there had been 15 different marginal rates that reached as high as 50 percent for those in the top brackets. By the time Reagan left office, the number of tax brackets had been reduced to two: 15 percent and 28 percent.

In 1993: President William J. Clinton raised the top two income rates to 36 percent and 39.6 percent while also raising the corporate tax rate, increasing the taxable portion of Social Security benefits and increasing the amount of income taxable for Medicare. This has become known as the “Clinton tax rates.”

In 2001: President George W. Bush reduced the tax rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent, lowered the capital gains rate and the dividend income rates and expanded credits and deductions such as the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Smoke, mirrors and time and energy is being spent advancing the myth that raising taxes is the best way to avoid falling off the “fiscal-cliff.”

If you raise taxes as President Obama wants, you would generate maybe $1 trillion over a period of ten years. President Obama’s spending has resulted in trillion-dollar deficits in each of the previous four years. At this rate in ten years we would be looking at $10 trillion in new debt. Under no proposed scenario does raising taxes limit or eliminate the deficit and return us to a balanced budget. The problem is government spending.

The Democrat-run Senate under Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has refused to produce a budget since April 27, 2009. Refused. They are required by law to produce a budget each year.

There is nothing in any proposal that will satisfy President Obama’s obsessive desire to spend. He’s still talking about “roads and bridges”— the same roads and bridges that he’s been promising to fix since 2008, that turned out not to be “shovel ready.” He wants a new batch of offshore wind farms all along the East Coast. He wants more solar arrays, wind farms, Solyndras, in the name of green energy though even the IPCC has determined that global warming is not anthropogenic, not caused by CO2 or greenhouse gasses, but caused by the action of the sun and cloud formation. The globe has been cooling for 16 years, not warming. And to top it all off, Obama wants another stimulus. The previous stimulus was wasted— all $825 billion of it, and another one would be similarly wasted.

The money is not going to come from raising the rates on the rich. They don’t have enough money, and there aren’t enough of them. So it boils down to this. Either he cuts way back on spending, or he raises taxes big time on the middle class. There are solutions, but no real interest.

Or ask yourself this: Why would a president who has any sense of the American people, the American economy as it is, the 24 million people who are out of work,  feel that this is the right time to end the pay freeze on federal employees who are already vastly overpaid compared to their counterparts in the private sector, and do vastly less work? And why would he choose this moment in time to give Vice President Joe Biden a $6,370 raise?  Members of Congress only got $900 bucks a year raise.

Tremper les riches est inconstitutionnelle by The Elephant's Child
December 30, 2012, 5:38 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Europe, Humor, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Francois Hollande

This year France elected a new socialist president, Francois Hollande, who immediately announced his intention to undo whatever Sarkozy and Merkel dreamed up. He also announced an intention to raise taxes on millionaires, as he seeks to cut France’s public deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product next year from a projected 4.5 percent deficit this year. Mon Dieu!  But this sounds somehow somewhat familiar.

Ooops! President Francois Hollande’s 75% tax rate on the rich, France’s top court just ruled is unconstitutional.  The tax was a focal point of discontent among entrepreneurs and wealth creators, many of whom have moved to Britain or other more friendly climes. Noted French actor Gerard Depardieu moved across the border to Belgium.

Politically, this has an impact because it was a symbol for French public opinion, and was considered abroad as the emblem of French tax excess, of “French tax hell,” said Dominique Barbet, senior economist at BNP Paribas SA in Paris. “In deficit terms, it’s truly negligible.

The decision could be positive for France’s bond market because it show there is a limit to the government’s ability to raise taxes on the wealthy and may decrease the flight risk of more rich French citizens.

Hollande’s 2013 budget relies on 20 billion euros in additional taxes: 10 billion euros from companies and 10 billion euros from individuals. There were also new taxes on capital gains, an increased tax on wealth, higher inheritance taxes and an exit tax for entrepreneurs who sell their companies. There is also a new 45% tax bracket for incomes exceeding 150,000 euros per year.

The Laffer Curve applies in France as well as here. The taxes would not bring in the amount expected. But the whole thing does sound familiar.

Birth of a Tool: Damascus Steel Knife Making (By John Neeman Tools) by The Elephant's Child

I love these videos that show how things are made, because there are so many things and I am so ignorant about how it is done. Skilled craftsmen are a joy to watch.

(h/t: Vanderleun)

American Exceptionalism is Defined By Our Income Mobility. by The Elephant's Child

Will Obama’s wrongheaded policies destroy American Income Mobility? You cannot take enough money from the rich to make the poor not poor. There simply aren’t enough people in the top 1%, and they don’t have to sit around and pay those increased taxes. They can rearrange their finances. They can pack up and move. Sounds like it would work, you demonize the rich, claim that they are not paying their fair share. But don’t stop to ask what their fair share is, for the top 1% of taxpayers already pay almost as much in federal taxes as the entire bottom 95%, and half of that group paid no taxes at all in 2010.

Have you noticed that the Democrats keep talking about “tax cuts for the rich” when there are no tax cuts for anyone even under discussion. If the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire (the fiscal cliff) then everybody’s taxes go up. Republicans would like to see tax cuts for everyone, for that would help the economy to grow and more jobs to be created, but that is not on the table, because Barack Obama will not cut back on his spending. He doesn’t think he has to, and he wants to do a lot more spending.

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