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It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders..
If a sportswriter told you that tennis players should wear helmets and face masks because football players get concussions, what would you think about that writer?
That thought occurred to me when I read an article in a site called “FiveThirtyEight.”
Here are some excerpts:
JUN. 9, 2017 AT 5:57 AM
The Kansas Experiment Is Bad News For Trump’s Tax Cuts
By Ben Casselman, Maggie Koerth-Baker, Anna Maria Barry-Jester and Michelle Cheng
Before commenting on the article, I should tell you:
“Ben Casselman is a senior editor and the chief economics writer for FiveThirtyEight.
“Maggie Koerth-Baker is a senior science writer for FiveThirtyEight.
“Anna Maria Barry-Jester reports on public health, food and culture for FiveThirtyEight.
“Michelle Cheng is FiveThirtyEight’s data reporting intern.”
That’s a great deal of firepower for this one article, and still, they managed to get it wrong.
The Kansas state legislature on Tuesday voted to override Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto and roll back $1.2 billion of tax cuts over two years. The vote marked a bipartisan repudiation of what Brownback had described as an “experiment” in a particular brand of anti-tax fiscal conservatism.
The failure of that experiment has implications beyond Kansas because Brownback’s approach was meant to be a model for conservatives elsewhere, including in Washington.
(It was drafted with the help of prominent conservative thinkers, including former Ronald Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer and Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore.)
Brownback aimed to push personal income taxes to zero and exempted certain kinds of businesses, known as “pass-through” entities, from taxes entirely.
President Trump’s tax plan doesn’t go as far, but it follows the same basic roadmap of sharply lower taxes on both individuals and businesses.
See anything wrong here?
The U.S. federal government is Monetarily Sovereign. It has the unlimited ability to create its own sovereign currency, the dollar. It never unintentionally can run short of dollars.
The federal government neither needs nor uses tax dollars for spending. Even if all federal tax collections were $0, the federal government could continue spending, forever.
A bit of analogy by means of biblical paraphrasing:
In the beginning, sovereign Men created the Laws of America. Now America was formless and empty.
So the Men said, “Let there be money, and there was money. The Men saw that this was good, so the Men created as much money as they wished, and named the money “dollars,” and the Men gave the dollars whatever value they wished.
And the Men commanded the Dollars: “Go forth and multiply.”
In the years that followed, the Men changed the Laws many times. Dollars were commanded to multiply and the value of the Dollars was commanded to change. Many times.
Today, sovereign Men continue to create new Laws, and the new Laws continue to determine the number of Dollars and the value of Dollars. And whenever more dollars are needed, Men say, “Let the laws change and let there be more dollars.” And there are more dollars.
As you can see, the men in the federal government were, and are, absolutely sovereign over the dollar.
By contrast, the State of Kansas, like all other states in the U.S., as well as all other counties and cities, is monetarily non-sovereign with regard to the U.S. dollar. Kansas does not have the unlimited ability to create dollars. It can (and has) run short of dollars.
Kansas does need and use tax dollars for spending.
Financially, no two entities can be more different than the federal government and Kansas.
A recent study concluded that the business tax cuts at the heart of Brownback’s plan had little if any impact on the state’s economy. Meanwhile, the state’s fiscal condition fell off a cliff: Tax revenue plunged, creating huge budget shortfalls and leading ratings agencies to downgrade the state’s credit rating.
The budget shortfalls should come as no surprise to you who recognize the name, Arthur Laffer, promoter of what became known as the “Laffer curve.” As an advisor to President Ronald Reagan, Laffer predicted that lowering tax rates would increase tax revenue.
It didn’t happen for Reagan, and it didn’t happen for Brownback. The difference was that Reagan’s federal government could continue creating dollars. Brownback’s state government could not.
Some conservatives have argued that Brownback’s experiment isn’t a fair test of their economic theories because Kansas didn’t pair its big tax cuts with equivalent reductions in government spending.
No, the experiment isn’t a “fair test” (in addition to the fundamental fault with the Laffer curve) because the Kansas government is not representative of the federal government.
Members of the public might not like paying taxes, but they do like the services those taxes pay for.
When it looked like Kansas’s budget gap would lead to big cuts to education and highway spending, voters responded by throwing conservative legislators out of office and replacing them with the Democrats and moderate Republicans who this week overrode Brownback’s veto.
Had exactly the same experiment done with federal taxation, there would have been no need for “big cuts to education and highway spending,” or to any other federal programs.
Though state taxes fund state spending, federal taxes do not fund federal spending.
Whether Republicans in the U.S. Congress learn the economic lessons of the Kansas experiment remains to be seen. But you can be sure that they’ll be studying the political lessons closely.
You can be sure that after all the studying, Congress will learn the wrong lessons.
Being ignorant of, or more likely, reluctant to acknowledge, Monetary Sovereignty, Congress will “learn” that tax cuts must be balanced with spending cuts — exactly the opposite of the facts.
Ignorance of Monetary Sovereignty has far-reaching, often disastrous outcomes:
When he announced that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, Trump said he had based his decision on data that showed how much the accords, which are designed to slow the pace of climate change, would hurt the U.S. economy.
“The cost to the economy [by 2040] would be close to $3 trillion in lost [gross domestic product] and 6.5 million industrial jobs, while households would have $7,000 less income and, in many cases, much worse than that,” Trump said.
Those numbers come from a single report prepared in March by National Economic Research Associates, an independent consulting firm.
But the report comes with a key caveat: It’s not a cost-benefit analysis. The estimates Trump cited don’t take into account any financial gains, jobs created or costs avoided as a result of implementing energy regulations related to the Paris Agreement.
It’s a gross, not a net.
Thus, not understanding that the federal government has the unlimited ability to create dollars (and thereby stimulate the economy, while paying for carbon reduction, threatens the future of the world.
That similar wrong belief also has greatly damaged the health of Americans:
The totally unfounded belief that federal spending and federal taxes somehow should “balance,” leads to austerity — a process that always, always, always leads to recession.
FiveThirtyEight, is a good site, an excellent site, really. But like the vast majority of sites that include comments about economics, their ignorance about Monetary Sovereignty negates much of what they say about economics.
In a speech earlier this week, Trump once again described a grim scene where “premiums are skyrocketing, insurers are fleeing, and the American people are paying much more for much worse coverage.”
While there is little doubt that premiums will go up again this year in many states, or that insurers are leaving the markets, there is also growing evidence that the Trump administration is largely to blame this time around.
In Ohio, for example, Anthem announced it would stop selling plans on the ACA marketplace, potentially leaving people in more than a dozen counties without a way to buy subsidized insurance.
The insurance giant cited market volatility and uncertainty, not a failure to turn a profit, as its reason for leaving.
All, and I mean all, of the conflict about the Affordable Care Act, centers on money — the ability to cover all Americans at the lowest cost possible.
But, because the federal government can afford anything, cost should be the least of our worries. Our attention should be focused on the quality of Care, not on Affordability.
America should institute a comprehensive, federally funded “Medicare for All” plan (Step #2 of the Ten Steps to Prosperity [below]).
Education and Jobs:
Trump’s proposed $59 billion budget slashes the Education Department’s overall spending by $9.2 billion.
The department faces widespread reductions to meet that spending goal. One area of bipartisan opposition was the budget’s proposed cuts to career and technical training programs.
Slashing funding for technical education is a bit of an odd choice for Trump, who campaigned on a promise to create jobs for blue-collar workers — exactly the people these programs are meant to help.
Trump’s education budget proposes a $166 million, cut to state grants for vocational education programs in high schools, technical schools and community colleges.
It also includes a $95 million cut to state grants for adult education programs that teach literacy and provide training in other basic skills people need to find jobs.
Related programs from other departments also face cuts; the Labor Department budget, for example, would cut job training programs by 36 percent.
Everywhere you look — taxation, climate change, health care, jobs — you see ignorance about Monetary Sovereignty diminishing America.
The people of the upper 1% income, wealth, and power foster this ignorance in order to widen the Gap between the rich and the rest.
The rich bribe the politicians via campaign contributions and promises of lucrative employment later; they bribe the media via ownership and advertising money; they bribe the economists via “think tank” employment and contributions to universities.
Tennis players need nothing like the protections of football players, and monetarily non-sovereign Kansas is nothing like the Monetarily Sovereign U.S. government
Until America learns that, we will drift down, down, down to 2nd class status.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich can afford better health care than can the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE A MONTHLY ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA (similar to Social Security for All) (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB (Economic Bonus)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE FEDERAL TAXES ON BUSINESS
Businesses are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the federal government (the later having no use for those dollars). Any tax on businesses reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all business taxes reduce your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and business taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.