Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Labor’s fighting back

Seems Colorado wants to change to a “right to work” state. They have been trying for at least a decade. Funny phrasing. I always thought I had a right to work. You know… pursuit of happyness, freedom and all. What does it mean for me if I have no right to work? Would I need to have permission to say, clean my toilet? Or feed myself? Or help you shovel the snow from your steps? So, I guess some in labor have finally woken up to the mind game of such laws which manifests as lower wages.

Labor now has a couple of measures of their own:
Initiative 62: Just cause for employee discharge.
The definitions of just cause:

a. Incompetence;
b. Substandard performance of assigned job duties;
c. Neglect of assigned job duties;
d. Repeated violations of the employer’s written policies and procedures relating to jobperformance;
e. Gross insubordination that affects job performance;
f. Willful misconduct that affects job performance; or
g. Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude.
h. filling of bankruptcy by the employer or;
i. simultaneous discharge or suspension of ten percent or more of the employer’s work force in Colorado

I know, start firing away about the need to not tie the bosses hands so tight, free markets in labor…etc, etc, etc. Personally, I see this as a step toward moving labor from an identity of “commodity”. Besides, the labor department has been against labor for about 8 years now.

Ah, but this one is the one that I find interesting especially as we have discussed the need for holding the top of the companies responsible, initiative #74:

(1) A business entity is guilty of an offense if:
(a) The conduct constituting the offense consists of an omission to discharge a specific duty of affirmative performance imposed on the business entity by law; or
(b) The conduct constituting the offense is engaged in, authorized, solicited, requested, commanded, or knowingly tolerated by the governing body or individual authorized to manage the affairs of the business entity or by a executive official acting within the scope of his or her employment or in behalf of the business entity.
(1.5) AN EXECUTIVE OFFICIAL IS GUILTY OF AN OFFENSE IF THE CONDUCT CONSTITUTING THE OFFENSE CONSISTS OF AN OMISSION TO DISCHARGE A SPECIFIC DUTY OF AFFIRMATIVE PERFORMANCE IMPOSED ON THE BUSINESS ENTITY BY LAW AND THE EXECUTIVE OFFICIAL KNEW OR REASONABLY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN OF THE SPECIFIC DUTY TO BE PERFORMED.

They do provide a defense for those charged. They just have to have reported the offense prior to being charged. They have to blow the whistle first! Just imagine what it would take to keep an entire board and the officers mum now that the individual won’t be protected unless they blow that whistle. How much would you gamble that just one (it only takes one) would not tell?

There is an even tougher version of this initiative # 57:
This one goes a step further and allows a Colorado citizen to file suit against the company or it’s executive officials. Any awards after expenses goes to the government agency THAT IMPOSED BY LAW THE SPECIFIC DUTY TO BE PERFORMED BY THE BUSINESS ENTITY. It’s a means to prevent frivolous actions.

So, if this passes they will have required by law that every executive official has a duty to be the whistle blower and they will have enabled every citizen to be the cop.

Nothing like competition in the market place…is there? Think some in Colorado are learning from the right’s play book on how to get voters to the polls?

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Ain’t been no progressiveness since 1980

In this post, Bruno commented and posted this link to reference this statement:

In 2005, the top 1 percent of tax returns paid 39.4 percent of all federal individual income taxes and earned 21.2 percent of adjusted gross income, both of which are significantly higher than 2004 when the top 1 percent earned 19 percent of AGI and paid 36.9 percent of federal individual income taxes.

I assume that the purpose of reporting the data in this way is to invoke a natural sense of fairness to people. That being that one’s share of B should reflect their share of A. That B became “significantly higher” suggests some unfairness. Oh for the humanity of it.

The report could have reported that the top 1%’s tax burden in dollars was 20% higher, however their share of income was 21.8% higher. Now is this fair? Is this fair of the report to have noted the rise of both income and taxes paid in a manor that makes the top1% look as if they are getting unfair treatment and not show that the bottom 99% ‘s income only went up 6.2% but their dollars paid in income taxes went up 7.9%?

How fair is this? All of it? 1980 to 2005 all? Adjusted incomes all?

Well, it turns out this report had a link to an exel file of their data. Perfect! As a dutiful AB’er I took it as my charge to see what that data was really showing. Turns out since 1980, the messing with the tax rates has had some strange effects. Fairness is missing in all of it, even the vaunted Clinton era.

Look at this chart. Notice how the income for the bottom 99% is continuously falling away from the total income. Of course, you can’t miss the top 1% line. Up, up and away (in my beautiful, my beautiful balloon…)

The next chart is of total taxes paid. Notice the similarity. The rising share of total income that becomes income taxes is certainly a function of one’s rising share of total income.

But, the income going up faster than the rise in taxes paid or the taxes paid rising faster than the income is a function of the rates.

This chart may not be to impressive unless you look real close. Look between 1991 and 2000 at the bottom 99%. Do you see that it is rising? This is a period that we are suppose to be considering a symbol of progressive taxation and yet income taxes paid as a percentage of income is rising for the bottom 99% while it is descending for the top 1%. The actual percentages for the 99%’ers start in 1992 at 10.9 and peaks in 2000 at 12.1%. Where as the top 1% go from 25.05% 1992 to 28.87% 1996 to 27.45 2000.
Update, forgot these 2 paragraphs:
Is this what we are to consider progressive taxation? No it is not. The covers blown. We have not had a progressive tax adjustment since we started playing with the code with Reagan. And it hurt more knowing that it was decidedly unprogressive during a term when the president ran as a progressive. It hurts even more because Clinton’s term is being pointed to as a time to emulate. A rise of share of income to the top 1% of 6 points in 8 years and now we see that the bottom got buffaloed in the income tax department too.

The highest total of income collected as income taxes in this series of data was 1981 at 15.76%. Being that Reagan hadn’t started blowing the budget, this could reasonably be considered the amount of money we have to pay to keep the budget in good shape. (That is assuming all other taxes stay the same as 1981. They didn’t.) But NOOOOOOOOOOO. We see us paying less each year until 1990. Only 23.25% was paid to take care of our house that year. The top 1% paid 25.1% of the house needs out of 14% of the income. The rest of us paid 74.9% of the house needs out of 86% of the income.
By 2000 we are paying 15.26% of our total income for the needs of the house. The top 1% is paying 37.4% of the need out of 20.8% of the income. The rest of us are paying 62.6 % of the needs out of 79.2% of the income. Ok, I guess there was some progressiveness here.
But! In 1992 the income per capita for the top 1% was $152,743 and $11,055 for the rest. By 2000 it’s $343,357 and $15,999 respectively. Now I ask you, is this progressive? A 124.8% increase for the 1%’ers and only a 44.7% increase for the rest of us. Remember, this is during the Clinton years!
Since that time, the house has really been starving for attention. In 2005, the year the top is or is not getting screwed (I think the numbers show they are not) we collectively only paid 12.45% of our income to the house needs. We have never paid so little. Well, except for 2003 when we paid 11.9%. Which just happens to be somewhere between the 1999 and 2000 percentage for the share of income paid by the bottom 99%. Yes folks, currently we are trying to fund the house on the same percentage of income that only the bottom 99% use to pay. Or, put another way, we are funding a 304.2% (BEA table 3.1 1981 to 2005) increase in house needs on only a 234.3% increase in payments to the house while the total source has increased 319.2%. That’s 260.2% (awfully close to the house needs rise) for the bottom 99 and 970.3% for the poor souls burdened with 39% of the house needs.
Let me be blunt: This all sucks. Just plain sick and tired of having my head played sucks.

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How are we going to fix a money from money economy?

Just sounding the broken record: Money from money. I have posted about the share of our money coming from licensing agreements. I’ve posted Bogle’s opinion that we have $560 billion/yr loss because we focus to much on the finance end of making money. I’ve shown that there has not been enough money in the hands of 99% of the population to stay above personal outlays since 1996. Another commenter presented a similar argument looking at it from the perspective of the middle man model. Just taking my cut!

Yet, money policy whether savings, rate changes or government stimulus is still being debated in a consumer driven economy that has been based on consumption via borrowing. Sign them up at $50/mon until they have nothing left and then give them a loan on the house.

Walmart, Target, Sears? Are they something more than a middleman?

Lets consider that 16% of GDP is health care. Sixty percent of that is via private insurers. The ultimate middle man. They are exempt from the anti trust laws. They control the money coming into them. They control the money they are paying out. They have set up all sorts of sub companies to “farm” out review and even sold contracts to do such for others. All the while taking a piece of the action. It’s an all in the family model. Time to rewatch the God Father?

Nothing is being added or created that can be sold to another non-US trading partner because all the trading partners have done away with their middle man in health care. Yet, it is the fastest growing sector of our economy.

Well maybe not. I just found an article at Wikipedia. They have a name for money from money:
Financialization.

There is a nice chart. (A few actually). Especially this one.

Total financial turnover went from $17,804 billion in 1980 to $508,456 billion in 2000. We’ve seen GDP go from 37.8% of turnover to 1.9% of turnover. That’s how big the money from money train is. Our GDP is only 1.9% of the money from money machine.

What am I not understanding concerning how to fix this via rates, savings and government stimulus as it concerns 99% of the population?

How we going to fix it?

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Job openings for the progressive minded

I was cruising around The Center for American Progress. They have a nice report looking at credit card use rise and a rise in writing off the bad ones. Any way, I like to click on the Job Opportunities at these sites just to see. Sometimes I think it might be fun to work with a big organization that is very much in the thick of the political fight for the soul of this country.

Well, they need an economist. That’s not me. But hey, maybe there is one hanging around the AB looking for something different. Though they don’t say if they want a bear of a bull.

Here is the job description.

We are looking for somebody who is widely experienced in a range of fields, and who has in depth expertise in at least one the following fields: macroeconomics, innovation and growth, labor economics, economic mobility, and/or public finance. This person would conduct their own research,…

Here is their economic policy team.

Here is their help wanted page if anyone else is curious.

Just thought I’d pass it along. You know, in the spirit of change.

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Free trade, Republican’s no like (along with others)

From a poll by the WSJ/NBC reported in October, 2007 comes:

While 60% of respondents said they want the next president and Congress to continue cutting taxes, 32% said it’s time for some tax increases on the wealthiest Americans to reduce the budget deficit and pay for health care.

Can you imagine? They have started to figure out that their pocketbooks matter.

In a December 1999 Wall Street Journal-NBC poll, 37% of Republicans said trade deals had helped the U.S. and 31% said they had hurt, while 26% said they made no difference.
The new poll asked a broader but similar question. It posed two statements to voters. The first was, “Foreign trade has been good for the U.S. economy, because demand for U.S. products abroad has resulted in economic growth and jobs for Americans here at home and provided more choices for consumers.”
The second was, “Foreign trade has been bad for the U.S. economy, because imports from abroad have reduced demand for American-made goods, cost jobs here at home, and produced potentially unsafe products.”
Asked which statement came closer to their own view, 59% of Republicans named the second statement, while 32% pointed to the first.

I don’t think these questions are the best framed. They seem kind of load in that it states “foreign trade” instead of Free Trade, or NAFTA. But, the qualifications I’m sure are what the people responded to.

From Fortune Magazine, January, 2008:
This is a poll of the general public.

With much of the country worried about the state of the economy, many (67%) Americans say they now closely follow news about US trade policy with foreign countries. Americans see the current trade policy as a reason for the economic woes the US is currently facing.
Almost 7 in 10 (68%) Americans believe international trade benefits other countries more than it benefits the United States.
International trade is seen as having a largely negative impact on American workers (78% negative) and the Untied States as a whole (63%).
Eight in ten Americans (79%) feel the US Government has not done enough to help workers who have lost their jobs to increased foreign competition. A majority of Americans would support the following proposed policies aimed at helping workers who have lost their jobs to foreign competition and outsourcing:

Policies with the greatest amount of support include: providing special training programs (90% support), providing tax incentives for companies to relocate to areas where workers have lost their jobs because of foreign imports (84%), allowing imports only from countries that ban child labor (82% support), and allowing imports from countries that meet certain clean air and water standards (78% support).
About two-thirds (64%) of Americans are willing to pay more to keep down foreign competition.

There is a disconnect in the above responses. 90% want training, but in another question about boosting the economy, 41% opposed extending unemployment benefits. Though 67% support public works projects. This shows me that the public has not made the connections between our current trade environment and the economy. But, how about that 64% would pay more to keep down foreign competition. Can you get a more patriotic response? I don’t think the Republican’s had this kind of patriotism in mind.

When it comes to China:
Where a product is manufactured does not impact Americans’ purchasing decisions except when that product is made in China.
Nearly three-in-five (57%) Americans are less likely to buy a product if it is made in China.
When products are manufactured in other areas, such as Eastern Europe (57%), Western Europe (55%), Canada (53%), India (52%), Africa (51%), Mexico (48%), Japan (47%), and South Korea (46%) nearly a majority say it doesn’t matter.

I can ‘t imagine that people are specifically boycotting Chinese made goods. Walmart et al would be in trouble. I think this is more of a gut response.

Over all, the public is waking up and seems more sophisticated in their understanding than I believe the Beltway crowd is willing to accept. But, I believe some work needs to be done so that they connect the dots of the US economy as a function of trade policy. I would like to see a de-emphasis of the fear and a disconnecting of foreign trade equals free trade policy. I really don’t believe anyone is against trading, they just have a major problem with the current rules and the referees.

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Tic Tac Toe, Supreme Court style

Bribes, payola, favor of the physical kind? Forget-about it. Just put the right person in the appropriate agency, preferably a person from the line of business the agency is to regulate. But, for extra insurance over the long haul, with a little luck of timing you get to fix the legal issue almost permanently: supreme court justices.

Justices Make it Tougher to Sue Makers of Medical Devices

The case has significant implications for the $75 billion-a-year health care technology industry, whose products range from heart valves to toothbrushes. In a recent three-month span, federal regulators responded to over 100 safety problems regarding medical devices.

At issue before the Supreme Court was whether the estate of Charles Riegel could sue a company under state law over a device previously cleared for sale by federal regulators. State lawsuits are barred to the extent they would impose requirements that are different from federal requirements, said the ruling by Justice Antonin Scalia.

In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that Congress never intended “a radical curtailment of state common-law lawsuits seeking compensation for injuries caused by defectively designed or labeled medical devices.”

But Scalia, in response, said, “It is not our job to speculate upon congressional motives.”

The Bush administration sided with industry, saying unfavorable state jury verdicts would compel companies to alter product designs or labels that had already gotten FDA approval.

Hey, the government said it was good, what the f#$k is your problem?

Well, besides lending its self to a commentary of fascism , or that all the court is saying is that congress needs to do a more complete job, or that this represents another major blow for our constitution in that the government is failing to respond to the people, this is the manifestation of gamesmanship having fully ascended to our final stop gap measure. I forget who, but a commenter stated that law suits are the free market response to a lack of government regulation (I think I have it corret). If true, then the free market is truly dead and it has been killed by the most effective means of all; legal tic tac toe. We have been observing it in congress for years, with it most refined and skillfully played currently.

Here’s how you play it. I ask you a question literally: X. You respond literally: X. I say no, I was asking figuratively: O. Everyone knows that you can not win it. But, and it’s a big BUT, the purpose of this version of tic tac toe is not to win. It is to perpetually play the game. Just keep on blocking. It can be played with me asking a question: O, feeling you out. You respond: X. I think Ok and ask it again as you have responded: X. You respond: O.

Think I’m wrong? Then think about the hearings for the supreme court justices. Think about the AG performance concerning torture. Think about the definition of “is”.

This form of tic tac toe servers a very specific purpose. It forever releases the player from being responsible. You can never fully come to terms with a person who’s entire approach to life is to perpetually play tic tac toe because there is no way to win the game of tic tac toe. You can only move beyond them. Stop playing the game. For a society with a form of governance like ours, it means voting. Voting not to approve those who do not answer the question as a responsible person. Holding in contempt, etc. For me it was a divorce.

updated to finish the last paragraph.

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Outsourced within the USA

What do you think of a job that use to pay $13/hr, three years latter paying that same person now $11/hour? What do you think of that same job having other people being paid $9.56/hr.

It is a union hospital job cleaning rooms after the patient goes home. Cleaning as in washing walls, floor, beds, etc. It includes doing “trash and linen”; collecting the bags of linen and throwing them into a cage that gets piled high, throwing trash into a dumpster but, not on a regular bases. They have a young man for that. Just one man for the heavy work during the week. He’s on vacation. They have another male, but only on weekends (works 2 jobs, 49 yrs old). He’s had enough. He’s leaving.

They are not allowed to strike as they are considered essential to the operations. The company can not keep help, especially male help.

We hear about people having downsized their incomes when they have to make a change of job, but this is a downsizing within the same employment. How did this happen? The hospital outsourced the maintenance and then the company was sold…not to an outside the nation company.

My brother-in-law use to earn $80,000/yr. They cut his job. He ended up working for a company that filled a contract that a second company had for a third company who outsourced the department to the second company. He was paid $45,000/yr, was part of a team of 5 who replaced 15 people who were all making what he use to make.

Maybe it’s time we start understanding that “outsourcing” is not just a process of moving a job out of the country. It is also a shell game within the country.

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Opus : Finale’ A Discussion On Taxation

“Taxation is in fact the most difficult function of government – and that against which their citizens are most apt to be refractory” Thomas Jefferson

First, I apologize for taking so long to get back to this. But….I needed to work on some leads/songs (it’s not really work), get a new singer up to speed (hope this one stays around, it would be a first), deal with temporarily replacing my office manager (medical leave) and of course Valentines (the other business). Oh yeah, get some tax stuff done: W2’s, fed and state reports, blah, blah, blah.

Well Jeff Beck is playing Going Down, next is Situation on a compilation CD I made so…
I left off with Mr. Avi-Yonah stating:

A society is a community with a shared culture and shared interests that transcend the interests of its individual members and extend back to its historical roots and forward into its future. Thus, it is necessary to look for affirmative reasons for taxing the rich that are rooted in a broader social and historical understanding of the vital function of taxation in maintaining such a community over time.

He list 3 common “excuses” shall we say, for answering the “why”.

A: That is where the money is. A presentation is made of the inequality numbers which I have taken every opportunity to put in front of the AB reader and then states:

While these facts demonstrate the potential for large redistributive gains by increasing taxes at the very top of the income distribution, they also illustrate the importance of the rich to the economy and thus the potential cost of taxing them. Thus, any argument for taxing the rich must depend on more than mere income or wealth distribution numbers.

I could take issue with the first sentence, but I agree, we have to depend on something more than “that’s where the money is”. Although, considering our nations debt and who has benefited from such, it makes a very strong number 2 at least if not a co-number one for the present.

B. “I Took All of It from Them”

Another argument for taxing the rich can be summarized in department store mogul Edward Filene’s explanation of why he approved of the income tax: “Why shouldn’t the American people take half my money from me? I took all of it from them.”

Getting beyond the simplicity of Edward Filene’s argument, Mr. Avi-Yonah presents this as a case of partnership between the individual’s contribution and the government’s contribution thus, taxation is the government receiving it’s share. Government also can do with it’s share as it want including giving it to others. The problems he sees with this are:

First, since it is as focused on individual taxpayers as optimal tax theory, individual taxpayers can object that the partnership does not apply to them. Second, even if one accepts the partnership model, it is still unclear that it justifies progressive taxation of the rich rather than mere proportionate taxation.

I don’t think he captures the error of the argument correctly here. Being that we are the government, we are all in a partnership. That one would argue the partnership does not apply is purely selfish want verses civic understanding and rightly should not be a serious consideration of argument. But as he notes, that still does not get us past the issue of progression over proportion.

C: “Money is the measuring rod of power.”
Mr. Avi-Yonah note it is a quote of Howard Hughes. He develops the argument that the rich go beyond acquiring money for consumption needs and wants and thus pursue wealth for it’s own sake.

Wealth confers power beyond its consumption value.74 This power is economic, social, and political. The economic power of the rich derives primarily from their ability to use their wealth to invest in enterprises that employ thousands of people and can dominate large sectors of the economy. The social element derives from the knowledge other people have of the potential ability of the rich to use their wealth to acquire goods and to contribute to charities, which leads them to court such acquisitions and contributions even without such consumption taking place. Finally, the political power of the rich stems not just from their actual donations or their ability to finance runs for political office, but, more importantly, from politicians knowing that they have the excess funds to donate.

The problem as he views it is:

As the eminent public finance economist Richard Musgrave has stated, a consumption tax is deficient because it “ assumes that consumption, current or future, is the only benefit that income provides. This overlooks the benefits derived from the accumulation and holding of wealth, whether in terms of security, power, or social standing.”

If this analysis is true, what does it imply for taxing the rich? From an optimal tax perspective, arguing that the rich derive added utility from their wealth that is not available to people for whom (because of their lesser means) money only has consumption value is an argument against taxing the rich. That is because any redistribution in the optimal tax model derives from its assumption of the declining marginal utility of money, and the “ riches mean power” model militates against this assumption.

A fine Catch 22.

I have stated that we have to ask: When is enough, enough? I ask this from a reference of consumption. Beyond that, the utility of further acquisition is no longer a need of material wants. It is a need of intangible wants. Considering my post on the World Bank’s finding that true wealth is from intangibles, a reason for progressive taxation has to address the intangible such as power.

Thus the reason for progressive taxation via some history as presented by Mr. Avi-Yonah:

The American Revolution likewise was founded on the conception that while people have natural, Lockean liberal rights to their property, undue concentrations of private power and wealth should be discouraged.81 This view found its expression in the republican creed of civic humanism, which emphasized public virtue as a balance to private rights. A virtuous republic, the Framers believed, was to be free from concentrations of economic power that characterized England in the eighteenth century.82 Therefore, from the beginning of the Republic, federal and state legislators used taxation to restrict privilege and to “ affirm communal responsibilities, deepen citizenship, and demonstrate the fiscal virtues of a republican citizenry.”

The idea of progressive taxation is part and parcel to achieving the ideals set out in our constitution in that our constitution is a formulation for assuring a disbursement of power. Though I wonder if in this “virtuous republic” we are finding the mantra of the Republican’s intrusion into one’s personal life, be it as usual a bastardized use by them.

There is a political lesson presented in the history of how we got our income tax that I was not aware of:

There was another agenda at play as well in the early years of the federal income tax: the desire to use progressive taxation as a way to “ stave off more radical calls for industrial democracy.” 97 This explains why even some high-income Republican groups supported the Sixteenth Amendment.98 Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury in the 1920s and one of the wealthiest Americans, “ believed that keeping tax schedules graduated (albeit flatter) would mitigate radical demands for restructuring the capitalist system.” 9

Interesting. It was a time when those with the economic power were actually feeling threatened of a greater loss. This is a very important aspect of the debate that I don’t believe the citizenry appreciates. Perhaps if the citizenry knew that in the past they were able to instill the fear of greater loss, today the message of change would take on a more definitive tone than just “hope”.

Mr. Avi-Yonah summarized the need to be concerned with the inequality of income/wealth:

There are three arguments why extreme concentrations of wealth are undemocratic.
The first two are obvious: In the American system of government, great wealth can buy political favors (often at minuscule expenditures) and finance runs for office (at somewhat greater but still quite limited costs).114 The third is more subtle—that vast inequality of wealth is socially destructive because it degrades relationships among people (cultural, social, and political) and eventually undermines the sense of community on which a democratic polity must rest.115 This argument is particularly true in a country like the United States, which is not bound together by ties of ethnicity, culture, or language.116

…that extreme concentrations of power resulting from extreme concentrations of wealth in the hands of private individuals who are unaccountable to the majority is an unhealthy phenomenon in a democracy. Such private individuals exercise degrees of power and influence that run counter to the ability of the government of the people to govern the country in accordance with the people’s wishes, as expressed in democratic elections.

As to where the responsibility belongs for presenting this argument:

As Slemrod writes,

The approach of mainstream modern public finance economics to these issues has been to accept, for the sake of argument, the right of government to redistribute income through the tax system (and other means); to sidestep the ethical arguments about assessing the value of a more equal distribution of economic outcomes; and toinstead investigate the implications of various value judgments for the design of the tax system.126

Such an attitude to distributive issues may be fine for public finance economists, although it did not characterize the economics profession before the 1950s and still does not characterize some of it today.127 But it does not excuse the abdication of equity in favor of efficiency by most legal tax academics, especially in some of the elite law schools…It is time for legal tax academics to redress the balance.

As a professional, I can understand the argument to separate the two issues via 2 professions. The concept of a profession is that it is specialized. As a thinking person and a citizen, the public discussion should not allow the issue of efficiency to dominate one profession’s focus while the issue of equity dominates another profession. We have to assure both equity and efficiency are discussed and decided upon in order to stay true to the preamble of the Constitution and minimize Thomas Jefferson’s observation of the citizens response.

Part 1 is here.

Update:
In response to Dmerek question regarding what Thomas Jefferson thought:

“I approved from the first moment of… the power of taxation [in the new Constitution]. I thought at first that [it] might have been limited. A little reflection soon convinced me it ought not to be.” –Thomas Jefferson to Francis Hopkinson, 1789. ME 7:300

Being that President Jefferson believed in the will of the people and the people passed the 16th amendment, the issue becomes a question of how much for what expenditures and not whether we can tax.
There is much more on what President Jefferson had to say.

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Super Tuesday Voter Turnout

Hearing that democratic turnout has been stronger in the past primaries prior to Super Tuesday, I used C & L’s chart data to total up the voter count. I exclude the states that did not have duel party primaries. The turnout was 14,865,735 democratic to 8,929,123 republican. The republican turnout was 60% of the democratic turnout.

I then went to this map to see the “red states” from 2004 and calculated the voter turnout. Super Tuesday had 11 red states voting. Of those, 8 had more democratic voters than republican voters for Super Tuesday. For those 8 states (AR, CO, GA, MO, ND, OK, TN, UT) it was 3,407,658 democratic voters, 2,963,340 republican voters. The republican turnout was 87% of the democratic.

For the 3 remaining states of the 11 “red” (AK, AL, AZ) it was 1,001,540 republican voter turnout to 902,755 democratic voter turnout. The democratic turnout was 90% of the republican.

Interesting no? Cha, cha, cha changes…

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Voter Info and AARP FYI

I came across this site: Voice of the Middle Class. They have organized the candidates by issue and voting record. They have created comparison tables by issue listing the solutions on the side and candidates across the top with a check mark if they support. They have tables by candidate for each issue. You can also see their voting record based on bills related to each issue. Seems like a nice place to start in understanding the differences. There are links to each candidates’ web page.

There is this article I thought would also be of interest: AARP position on Universal Health Care.
It is a collection of info via articles with links on AARP and their influence on the debate. It notes various other front organization they have teamed up with to keep the discussion moving toward private insurance. AARP and the Business Roundtable have joined with SEIU [Service Employees International Union] to form something called Divided We Fail. Divided We Fail is a corporate liberal answer to single payer.

We’re talking some big money here by AARP. Even AARP, which earned $379 million in royalties in 2005, mostly from health insurance sales, appears to favor universal public and private health care coverage…. AARP also said it would use $500 million of insurance sales revenue over the next decade to help people navigate the health care system, with a new counseling service.

One of their links is to an article in the Nation on the drive to privatize medicare.

However, after 2003 the government began shoveling huge sums of money into the Medicare Advantage plans to entice seniors to leave the traditional program-in effect subsidizing privatization… This year the government will pay insurers on average 12 percent more than it costs to provide the same benefits to people who stay in the traditional program, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), an independent group that advises Congress. HMOs will get 10 percent more, but private fee-for-service plans will get a whopping 19 percent more, a subsidy that lets them offer rock-bottom premiums and lots of extras-at least for now.

All I can say in such a climate where hiding one’s true intentions can be done so easily is THANK GOD FOR NET NEUTRALITY!

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