Dan Crawford | May 13, 2010 7:37 am
http://socsecnews.blogspot.com/ Here’s a link describing a recent Rand Corporation study showing that men are working longer. Why? Well, I suspect they can’t afford to retire. And, because they can’t retire, younger people can’t take their places in the labor market. Double whammy. So much for the free market: “Trust us with your retirement savings!” Turned out to be a bad idea for a lot of people. NO
Nancy, I’m not sdure where this comment comes from: ““Trust us with your retirement savings!” ” Retirement with adequate funds is not a “right”! When will we get to a point that we, individuals, take responsibility?
Markets go both directions, and soem are always cought when they have planned poorly and retire or consider retiring, when the market is not cooperating.
Then on the other hand some folks are just unlucky and get seriously ill and are economically unable to live at their previous level. There are, however, programs that will keep them housed, fed and help in paying for their healthcare costs.
CoRev–The comment comes from reality. I didn’t say that “retirement with adequate funds” is a right. I said that people who relied on the stock market to provide those “adequate funds” have been seriously disappointed in many cases. Remember Enron? Or, Milken? Or, the SandL scandal? All examples of frauds perpetrated on savers and investors in the past 20 years or so. And, now we have GS, AIG and so on. I’d say that poor planning didn’t have a lot to do with it if you didn’t have inside information when Enron went down.
If you want to believe that everyone who is disabled or otherwise unable to work is saved by some program or other, feel free. Fact is that the allowance rate for SS Disability benefits is only about 30 to 40% over all. And, as we know from recent studies, some 46K people a year die from lack of adequate medical care. And, many homeless people got there through illness and disability. This is not a picture of the comfortable, secure middle class we imagine to be the norm in our country. Clearly, my experience and yours are different.
Even you would have to admit that Wall Street has been pretty slimey and out of control lately. And the financial services industry has a massive marketing machine based on the “trust us” theme.
Free markets only work (IMHO) if the market is honest.
we might need to think about what is a “right.”
i believe that rights are what we give each other. in return for having our own important “needs” recognized by others, we agree to recognize those same needs in them.
We began this country by enumerating some of those rights, and have tended to maintain them.. except of course for non persons like criminals and slaves and women, but it was a start in the right direction.
During the depression it was recognized that we could grant each other certain rights for economic security. Again, observed imperfectly and definitely subject to limits. I think that in America we hit upon a nearly perfect formulation with Social Security… the worker paying for his own security in a clearly defined insurance plan.
Presently we have the leaders of this country in broad daylight, with the full support of the press, undertaking to abrogate that right under a completely spurious claim that “we can’t afford it.” Of course we can. It has no effect on anybody’s finances except to transfer a small percent of their present wages to their future self. But the Big Money prefers a situation in which the workers cannot rely on themselves but have to rely on “the markets” or “the employers,” as mendicants or the lucky winners at the gaming table.
I think you understand this.
And I suspect that Nancy’s point is only that the roulette wheel retirement plan has not turned out to be as reliable as was touted only ten years ago, or four. What makes your comment dangerous is that by saying “we have no right to retirement with adequate funds” you … not intentionally i think… play into the rhetoric of the folks who would “solve” the deficit by destroying the right of the people to form a safe way to save adequate funds for their own retirement away from the gaming tables and the charity of strangers.
let me comment further:
you say “ When will we get to a point that we, individuals, take responsibility? “
then you answer yourself, without realizing it I think, “Markets go both directions, and soem are always cought when they have planned poorly and retire or consider retiring, when the market is not cooperating.”
how does one take responsibiity when markets go both directions? what planning protects them when the market is not cooperating?
or, why is it that when the banks get caught when an unsustainable gambling scheme comes crashing down that all of a sudden ten percent of the people suddenly get “too lazy” to work. and all the people who invested according to the advice of their financial planners suddenly turn out to have planned poorly?
The problem with retiring when the market is not cooperating is that time is not on your side when you want to retire. there is a famous lie regularly told by the market touts: it goes something like… every forty year period the market shows a profit. this is brain damaged. it might well be true that the money i invested in 1960 is worth more in 2000, and what i invested in 1961 is worth more in 2001… but this will not help me if the money i invested in 1980 thru 2010 will not be worth more until 2020 thru 2050 if i am sixty five today.
i think you are not far from understanding this, but you have to be careful of being fooled by rhetoric like “when will we get to the point where individuals take responsibility…”
the fact is that individuals are trying to take responsibility, but in an interdependent, industrialized, financialized, world economy, individuals need to be a little more sophisiticated than planning to make it on kentucky intuition and texas true grit.
they need an honest insurance plan. which means they need an honest government. which they do not have. seek, we agree about that. problem is, with the government in the hands of the dishonest financial geniuses, about the only way for individuals left to take responsibility involves torches and pitchforks.
People who have been investing and saving in a resonable fashion for retirement, and are now in their retirement age were the ones who were least negatively effected by the last bubble. If you are close to retirement right now, your portfoliio would have be heavy in bonds and saving trusts. There would have been minimal exposer to non blue chip stocks. If you had been saving and investing for retirement for a long time, then you would still be up above any average.
The people who retired before September 2008, made out like bandits, and reaped rewards that this civilzation would have never dreamed of.
To blame the lack of retirement on the free market, when non free market principles were the cause of the last bubble (i.e Real Estate for people who couldn’t afford it, based on the political agenda of Social engineering) is shady at best. It hints of a political statement selling the fools paradise of Socializing retirement.
From the link, the notion is, that Social Security is the reason that people can not retire right now, because the check isn’t big enough, or the benefits aren’t big enough. Does the discussion refer to any standard of living changes…Nope!
I don’t feel sorry for people who planned on Social Security putting them over the edge in the retirement years.
Save_the_rustbelt, Even you would have to admit that Wall Street has been pretty slimey and out of control lately How so? What’s been presented to us for example is that if an investment bank sets up a foward contract with a Client that locks in the clients current selling price for some time in the future, if the investment bank takes the counter party position the demagogues in the Senate claim the investment bank is betting against their client and somehow that’s slimey. The politicans, especially the democrat politicians seem to have problems with the concept of freedom and free exchange. What I described above is a perfectly legitimate above board transaction. Since the transaction is legitimate it makes the the Senators with their demogogery the sleezy ones.
this is all based on your favorite fantasy. try to find out what life is like in the real world.
your moral compass has come loose. oddly, it is people like you who make the best “marks” for a confidence game.
the fact is “we need to take responsibility for ourselves as individuals” is true, and we need to keep telling our children this.
but when this “truth” is used as a slogan to confuse the people and prevent them from working with each other to protect themselves from the Big Predators, it becomes a lie.
yes, folks, you need to work hard, and save, and keep your wits about you. and buy insurance.
unfortunately you also need to make sure you are not electing crooks and liars.
Coberly, Uh-huh! Just because you base your decisions on emotion doesn’t make you morally superior. Your free to fell sorry for everybody, just quit trying to make the rest of us paticipate in your Nanny State.
“Yes, folks, you need to work hard, and save, and keep your wits about you. and buy insurance. Unfortunately you also need to make sure you are not electing crooks and liars.”
Our side agrees with statement, and always have. Your side claims, “The system has allowed corrupt individuals to manuver, therfore the system is corrupt.”
This is where the battle lines are drawn.
Your side has exposed itself as a political agenda driven by Social Justice, which is merely code, for “Fairness is King, so hand over your lifestyle and your freedom, we know what’s best for you, because my European Commie friends think Americans are Ugly and Big Meanies”
Nobody is claiming that it is not important to have a government regulate a financial system so that it operates in good faith and honesty. The difference is that the regulation be focused on corruption, and corrupt indviduals whether they be people or Corporations, and stay away from hampering the system in an attempt to recieve desired results.
Since this is an open thread, I’m going to editorialize about the comments to RDan’s recent post and Cactus’s 2007 series on economic consequences of presidencies.
The negative comments are rather amusing, in a dismal sort of way. Back in ’07, a commenter would carp about some detail of Cactus’ methodology, Cactus would repost addressing that objection, then another objection would be raised. Lesson there is that a denialist will always find some way to deny, and there is always another direction from which disruptive nonsense can be hurled.
Back then, and now again you have the ongoing objection that there is no underlying theory to support the observations. I think Cactus pointed out that empirical observation precedes the development of a theory. However, this is only true for scientists and progressives. Regressives (I can’t even use the word “conservative” anymore – it sounds too positive to have any current validity) search for data that supports their theories, and if they can’t find any, they make shit up. Here is an example.
But the commenter’s objection is specious, since the underlying theory – fully supported by the available data – has been stated over and over again. Here is my version. Policy matters. Traditional Repug policy has been to decrease taxes, most significantly on the wealthy. Cactus points out that Dems are more diligent at collecting taxes. I’ll add that Repugs are more strongly in favor of deregulation, though Dems have contributed (?) there as well. The net result is a transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. There can be no dispute that this has happened. Further, this discrepancy has expanded at every level of wealth. The top .1% have more than ever. The bottom 10% have suffered the worse. The middle class is being driven down.
Meanwhile, GDP growth (Yr over Yr) has been on a bumpy, but relentless, downward slide since the beginning of the Reagan administration. In my narrative, this is not a coincidence. Tax rates, especially on the rich, have gone down steadily, except for a slight up-blip during the Clinton Administration. During Bush II, the richest 400 tax payers were further enriched by over $1.5 Billion each. That’s right – BILLION. Each.
The poor and middle class have a much higher propensity to spend. And the foundation of capitalism that almost never gets talked about is that it is totally dependent on these people spending. A lower class that is ground into abject povery and a middle class ground into the lower class lead to economic stagnation, irrespective of the prevailing political style or economic philosophy.
This is a big part of why GDP growth is stagnating. Meanwhile, the M1 Money multiplier has collapsed from over 3 in the late 80’s to about 0.7, with no bottom in sight. Think about that – a decrease by a factor of about 4.5! M1 expansion and massive deficits at the same time have been ineffective at stimulating the economy, because money doesn’t move. It doesn’t move because the rich have it squirreled away.
This is a rational narrative that is in total agreement with observable data. There is no such valid narrative in support of the Repug regressive position that lowering taxes is stimulative.Another objection is that GDP growth is not a good measure. This prompts two thoughts. First: OK – go find one that’s better. Come back and we’ll talk. Second: many other measures have been addressed: National Debt, deficit vs surplus, real tax collections, value of the dollar, health care costs, employment, unemployment, people below the poverty level – either as absolute number or % of the population. […]
JB, I am not going to reply on the bulk of your comment, as it is mostly your opinion and as you have said to me, you are entitled to your opinion,. BUT, this comment makes no sense to me: “ The income tax is progressive, but nowhere near progressive enough.“
To make it more progressive means???? Removing more from the rolls? Making the remainder pay even more? What do we do after we exceed 50% of the wage earners no longer paying income tax?
CoRev: “Retirement with adequate funds is not a “right”! When will we get to a point that we, individuals, take responsibility?”
That’s only your opinion and one that may nopt be shared by many working Americans. It was certainly an expectation not very many years ago. Work for the man and retire on a decent pension. More recently America has lost its moral compass, but in other western capitalist countries most people seem to think otherwise. Here is a very interfesting and recent description of how most of northern Europe’s economies work with the good of the common man in mind.Europe’s Answer to Wall Street by Steven Hill
The tax codes are not at all proggressive. The bracketing strategy used may look progressive, but that is mostly superficial. An enormous amount of income is taxed at favored (that means lower) rates with no reasonable rationale. Inheritance, capital gains, and dividend income receive favored treatment in the tax codes and those forms of income go primarily to the very wealthy.
“the great stagnation will continue because Democrats no longer pursue progressive policies. I fear it will lead us all to a very bad end. “This has been a problem for Dems since Slick Willie got a clue in his first term that “a bunch of bond traders” could veto his most cherished initiatives…
To imagine that in 2010 I might wish for a Democratic candidate for President as moderate as Dwight D. Eisenhower (the last GOP president I respected btw).
Yes there is opinion in my rant. But there is also an extensive listing of facts. My opinion is derived from thinking hard about those facts, and is totally consistent with them.
If there is a contrary narrative that is also consistent with those facts, I would dearly love to see it. But I’m not going to hold my breath.
To make the tax code more progressive means increasing the number of brackets, and increasing the top rate. I’m not proposing going back to the 90% rate of the 50’s, but to be fiscally responsible, we should be probing for the top of the Laffer curve. It might be 50% or 70%. Certainly, a 1% raise now would increase revenues, so we are on the low side of the peak.
My solution would also include taxing capital gains (except for single occupant dwellings selling below some price to be determined – maybe $500K) and dividends at the the recipient’s top marginal rate, and if it kicks him up a bracket, so be it. What sense does it make to give favorable treatment to unearned income? Also, inheritance tax policy is far too favorable to the rich, and needs an overhaul. Further, the domestic earnings of multinational corps and U.S. cos. with bogus HQ’s in the Cayman Islands, like KBR, need to be effectively captured in tax policy. Our corp tax rate is relatively high, but receipts are quite low. You do the math.
The claim of 50% not paying tax is a total red herring, and since I already addressed it, disingenuous. Remember, those people in the lower part of the spectrum who pay little or no income tax pay the payroll tax on every penny they earn. No exemptions, no deductions. Don’t take my word for it. Check out what Bruce Bartlett has to say.
The reason I spewed this rant is that the posters here put up thoughtful, information-laden essays, and draw conclusion based on the data they include. Then commenters come in and, like you just attempted to do to me, derail the conversation with objections that are silly, poorly thought-out, or irrelevant. Certainly, you know what progressive taxation means, and don’t need me to define it for you. You didn’t say anything of substance or attack any of my points on their merits.
The technique, of course, is to then raise a new objection. This is not advancing the dialog. Hell, it isn’t even rational discourse. It is either obfuscation or simply changing the subject .
I’m looking forward to your reply – especially the contrary narrative. For now, I have have a rehearsal and gotta run.
Cheers!JzB who is excited to be playing PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION
Jack, a one word response. Greece!
JB said: “The claim of 50% not paying tax is a total red herring, and since I already addressed it, disingenuous.” While making claims of disenguous commentary I will repeat the my comment: “BUT, this comment makes no sense to me: “ The income tax is progressive, but nowhere near progressive enough.” “
So instead of answering my question, JB rants again changing the subject from “income tax” to “tax code”. Changing my statement of 50% not paying income taxes to “The claim of 50% not paying tax…” All of this after starting his rant with this: “My opinion is derived from thinking hard about those facts, and is totally consistent with them.” Consistent you are not! Nor are you thinking too clearly.
All you really said re: making income tax more progessive was to raise it on the top income earners. Pshaw!!!
look at yourself. you base your decisions on emotion too. we all do. i don’t feel sorry for everybody. i do think we need a certain about of “safety net” to run an economy that works.
you need to check into the causes of the last bubble. try reading a little more widely, and consider not rejecting out of hand everything that doesn’t agree with what you want to believe.
please try to understand, and remember, i do not have a side. i certainly don’t believe in what you mean by “social justice.” but i don’t believe in letting criminals get away with stealing from people either.
you see, i do not believe in robbing the rich to give to the poor. but i don’t believe in letting the rich rob the poor, either.
and i am a more consistent defender of freedom than you are.
i agree with everything you say… except that the payroll tax is a tax. the payroll tax is just a way for workers to save a bit of their own money outside the financial markets so they can guarantee themselves the ability to retire at 62 if all else fails. this point is critical or i wouldn’t keep making it.
try not to get hung up on that “fair” crap. your economics is good enough to make the case without appealing to the concept of ‘fairness.”
I think we’re differing on semantics. The payroll tax is called a tax by almost everyone who talks about it. It’s collected by the government, and used in real time for who knows what.
The intent on what to do with the money at some time in the future doesn’t change the basic nature of the financial transaction. But we can differ. You have a different point of view that ratinal, and I respect it.
I don’t recall bringing issues of fairness into the discussion, though they certianly are relevant. My point is that economic policies that redistribute wealth form the poor to the rich are ultimatley harmful to the country and undermine the capitalist economy.
I’m all for capitalism. But, like an unruly 2 yr old, it needs a lot of regulation.
I am really not interested in getting into a pissing contest with you.
I answered your question in considerable detail.
For your convenience, I’ll repeat it.
To make the tax code more progressive means increasing the number of brackets, and increasing the top rate. I’m not proposing going back to the 90% rate of the 50’s, but to be fiscally responsible, we should be probing for the top of the Laffer curve. It might be 50% or 70%. Certainly, a 1% raise now would increase revenues, so we are on the low side of the peak. My solution would also include taxing capital gains (except for single occupant dwellings selling below some price to be determined – maybe $500K) and dividends at the the recipient’s top marginal rate, and if it kicks him up a bracket, so be it. What sense does it make to give favorable treatment to unearned income? Also, inheritance tax policy is far too favorable to the rich, and needs an overhaul. Further, the domestic earnings of multinational corps and U.S. cos. with bogus HQ’s in the Cayman Islands, like KBR, need to be effectively captured in tax policy. Our corp tax rate is relatively high, but receipts are quite low. You do the math.
“All you really said re: making income tax more progressive was to raise it on the top income earners. ”
Uh – yeah. That’s pretty close, though the details of how the progression is structured from low to high earners matter, rather a lot.
I’ll also repeat that you are not advancing the dialog, not saying anything of substance, and not arguing against any of my points on their merits.
If you don’t like my commentary, feel free to ignore it.
OTOH, if you wish to challenge my line of reasoning, then please pay attention to what you are disagreeing with, and bring relevant facts, the ability to reason, and some skill in methods of discourse. Otherwise you won’t have to ask why I am ignoring you.
congratulations on being in Pictures. I envy you.I should not have been so harsh about “fairness.” we all believe in it. it’s just that when a liberal says “fair” the right thinks “he wants to take my money and give it to lazy people and that’s not fair.” so i avoid appealing to their sense of fairness.
as for the semantics of ‘tax’. look at what the payroll tax IS, does. it is a tax in the sense that it is an involuntary payment to the government. it is not a tax in the sense that you retain a direct claim on your money. perhaps it would be better if the governmetn gave you a certificate describing the exact nature of the claim. it could be done. it might take a constitutional amendment, too bad we are too stupid and weak to do that much for ourselves.
but i keep making the point that SS is NOT a tax because it is critical that people understand it is not welfare. the rich dont’ pay for it. the “government” doesn’t pay for it. YOU pay for it. to the extent there is any “transfer payment’ it is fully accounted for as insurance.
the point about “semantics” is to avoid becoming word-bound. words point at reality. they are NOT reality itself. the “payroll tax” is very different from other kinds of taxes. the difference is crucial.
JB said: “OTOH, if you wish to challenge my line of reasoning, then please pay attention to what you are disagreeing with, and bring relevant facts, the ability to reason, and some skill in methods of discourse. Otherwise you won’t have to ask why I am ignoring you. ”
And that’s after a discusssion over just how consistent his reasoning and commentary subject has been. If you are this inconsistent in your dialog then you are most propbably inconsistent in your thinking. So, in challenging your line of reasoning, it is necessary to clarify your commentary, but that is futile since you seem to be inconsistent on subject.
You are making no sense. This pot shot is nothing more than a naked assertion.
I’m inconsistent because . . . because you say I am.
At this point I have to question your reading comprehension, along with your ability to think, your debating skills, and your motivation.
If you want any further response from me you’re going to have to earn it.
oh.. as to the “who knows what”
well, the what is that it pays social security benefits with it, and buys bonds with some of it to create a reserve for future needs.
if you call it a tax, and say it has been “stolen” you play into the rhetoric of the Petersons.
if you went into a night club operated by the government (use your imagination, lad) and you checked your hat and coat, would that be a tax? have they been stolen?
Thanks. If tonight’s performance is at the level of last night’s rehearsal, it is going to be a kick-ass concert.
I see your point about fairness, and Jimi’s comment above illustrates it vividly.
But, again, I didn’t use that word, and don’t believe I addressed fairness at all, even obliquely.
Re: the payroll tax – and help me if I’m wrong here, but when it’s collected I don’t think it gets specifically allocated for future SS and medicare payments, or even plugged into any kind of long-term investment. Don’t those fungible dollars go right into the general fund? In fact, I doubt that there’s any actuarial relationship between funding and disbursement. I can’t think of it as insurance since the economics of the situation don’t resemble those of an insurance contract. Yes, my SS checks look a lot like an annuity from my perspective, but I think that is where the similarity begins and ends.
Sorry if it looks like I’m beating this to death. But the point that the rich don’t pay it is crucial. When you total all the taxes: income, sales, property, inheritance, and, yes – payroll, you have the picture of a tax structure that is not particularly progressive.
And since the rich don’t pay into SS (at least not in a meaningful way) it would be pretty hard for anyone to legitimately slap a welfare label on it.
It also gets used to buy bombs and bail out wall St. Bankers.
I absolutely do not buy into the taxation = theft canard. Taxation is constitutional, valid, and necessary.
Anyone who thinks otherwise is not worth talking to.
I don’t get the coat check analogy. It’s a convenience that is offered, and I might have to leave a tip. My coat was stolen once. Well swapped, actually. Somebody walked of with my nice London Fog, and left me an old shabby one. Probably an honest mistake.
Anyway, we’re getting farther and farther down a side track. Why not agree to disagree on this and move on.
You may have the last word it you wish.
yes you did not say a word about fairness. was the echoes of my mind. i think you implied fairness, but how can i argue “implied.” you and i agree, i think, that it’s not a fruitful line of argument to persuade those infected by the the right.
as to the finance of Social Security, I think you are wrong. the money goes directly to the Social Security Trust Fund which disburses it to benefit payments and buys bonds with the “surplus.” Note that it “buys bonds.” those are legal instruments that mean “the money is ours, and you have to pay it back.” It does not just dump the money into the general fund.
When you talk about regressive taxes I think you are making a critical error. If I go to the grocery store and pay the same price for a bottle of milk as the rich guy, that is not a “regressive” price because the rich guy pays a smaller percent of his income for the milk. Similarly when I buy an insurance policy, I pay a price calculated to cover my “expected” return. same with the insurance policy called Social Security. the rich guy pays the same as me, because his expected return is the same. (it really is). at the end of the day when one of us turns out to be richer than the other one… or at least paid in more in “taxes” (premiums) the rich guy will get a lower return than the poor guy (this is the insurance effect)… that is a lower RATE of return. in fact he will get a higher absolute return. the system is so elegant it makes me cry that it is being destroyed by liars and fools.
calling SS a tax is a mistake. calling it a regressive tax is to look at a penny and say it IS “heads” because it never occurs to you to look at the other side. these really are serious thinking errors and the enemies of social security, not to say enemies of you, exploit them to fool the people.
if you call the premiums a “tax” and then complain that they are regressive, you are implicitly calling for a system of welfare… calling for exactly what the enemies of social security already say it is. you would be making their lies “truth” and then they would have a legitimate case that it is “too expensive.” as long as social security is people paying their own retirement insurance, it’s cost is completely irrelevant to “the government” or “the budget.” the question then is strictly… do i, the buyer of this insurance, get value for my money. and the answer is yes.
JB, Uh Huh! You have problems staying on subject (income tax not progressive). When challenged you change the subject from income tax to “tax code”. When shown that the subject under discussion was changed by you, you then make claims that the reader (me) is having comprehension problems?
OK, JB (JelloBoy) you have been outed.
G’Day to Ya!
CoRev,Of course you chose to respoind in a tnagential direction. Greece’s problem is more akin to the US problem wherein the wealthier don’t think that they have any responsibility to pay a fair share of taxes, if any. I’m refering to the successful economies of plalces like Germany and the Scandinavian countries. Co-deteremination is a reasopnable alternative to welfare capitalism. Responsible capitalism works better in the long run, but doesn’t provide the excessive share of the rewards to those who live on unearned income.
Call it what the legislation calls it, FICA, a Contribution to an Insurance plan administered by the Federal govrenment as a result of an Act of Congress. Most important is that it is a dedicated funding stream. That portion of the collections that are not immediately required to cover the benefits to participants is borrowed by the Treaury to cover it’s other budget item costs. Note the concept of borrowed by the Treasury. That means backed by the full faith etc. No less an opbligation to the Trust Fund than an obligation of the Treasury to those T-Bills that may be a part of one’s personal retirement fund. No less!!!
“The people who retired before September 2008, made out like bandits, and reaped rewards that this civilzation would have never dreamed of”
Yes they did because they were being aided and abetted by BANDITS!
well the checked coat was supposed to get you to think about the difference between having something taken away from you, and having something held for you until you need it back.
the “stolen” was not in reference to “taxes is theft” but to the meme that “social security trust fund has been stolen” which is the way the highly paid non partisan expert idiots refer to the fact that the money represented by the trust fund has been lent. and they intend to steal. which will be made easier for them if the good guys can’t figure out exactly what Social Security is, and keep thinking they can defend it as welfare to grannies.
you haven’t heard the last from me.
i wish we could say we were preaching to the choir. But the choir knows the music but doesn’t understand the words.
Jack, no matter how hard you dissemble the problem is obvious, Too much social engineering (redistribution) and too few to distribute from.
Why do most who chase the European model ignore the term unsustainable? The mistakes are obvious.
OK. I got the SS funding structure wrong. Thanks for correcting me.
BTW, I wasn’t complaining that the SS tax (indulge me for a moment) is regressive I was simply stating that it was regressive. But – OK – not a tax.
Irrespective of that, we have an income tax structure that is progressive, but much less so than it used to be, and less than it ought to be. I believe this is to the detriment of the finances of the country and the basic function of capitalism. Irrespective of issues of fairness, I’m interested in the economy working better, and I think a more progressive tax structure would help.
I connect the development of less progressive tax structure to declining GDP and the collapse of the M1 money multiplier. Total US debt as a % of GDP is also at a record high (360%), at least for data going back to 1970. The previous peak of 300% was in 1933. National debt is high, and part of the reason is that total tax collections are too low. Personal debt is high because many people are overextended. Part of this is due to foolishness, part to chicaney, and part due to a segment of the population who were behaving responsibly, but had the economy collapse under them.
Alas, we live in interesting times.
Ooops. That should be –
Total US debt as a % of GDP is also at a record high (360%), at least for data going back to 1870.