How not to debate a conservative.

If you plan to debate a conservative, understand first that in today’s conservative world, the important people are rich, and the rest of us are a drag on the economy.

Lew Uhler

So when today’s conservatives present their “alternative facts,” be prepared for an onslaught of deliberately wrong, ignorantly wrong, passionately wrong, and humorously wrong gibberish, masquerading as facts.

The success in the conservative world of QAnon, Tucker Carlson, and many conspiracy theories is a testament to the strange thought processes rampant.

And with that introduction, I present Lewis K. Uhler, of the Heartland Institute.

In case you’ve not heard of the Heartland Institute, let me give you a couple of quotes:

“Uhler has been at the forefront of the national movements for a Tax Limitation/Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution””Most scientists do not believe human greenhouse gas emissionsare a proven threat to the environment or to human well-being, despite a barrage of propaganda insisting otherwise coming from the environmental movement and echoed by its sycophants in the mainstream media.”

“The claim of “scientific consensus” on the causes and consequences of climate change is without merit. There is no survey or study showing “consensus” on any of the most important scientific issues in the climate change debate.”

By “most”, we assume Uhler is referring to approximately 1% of the world’s climatologists, who think, as Trump does, that global warming is a Chinese hoax.

Balanced federal budgets always lead to recessions

“Every dollar spent by Washington is a dollar earned somewhere else. It matters not that the dollar was earned in Idaho, it is still a dollar extracted from taxpayers who are already shouldering a $28 trillion national debt.”

(Here, the Heartland writer demonstrates its ignorance about the differences between federal funding vs. state/local/personal funding. Federal spending is not extracted from federal taxpayers.)

Now that you understand the Heartland, right-wing mentality, Check out the following article, ostensibly written by Uhler, that is guaranteed to get a hearty laugh from anyone who actually understands economics.

Begin with the hilarious headline:

We need a Reagan tax revolt to counter today’s big-government spending
Lewis K. Uhler

Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) and Sen. Bill Roth (R-Del.) – significantly cut the top income tax rates from 70 percent to 50 percent, reduced and indexed for inflation business and capital gains, and ushered in more than two decades of unprecedented economic prosperity.

How do the Reagan tax cuts for the rich (aka “tax revolt”) reduce federal spending? They don’t, of course. But Uhler uses the right-wing’s alternative facts, which are based on how he wants the world to have been, not how the world really was.

It’s the typical, GOP, right-wing “trickle-down” theory: Give money to the rich and claim it will trickle down to the rest. Sadly, the “trickle” seems to stop at the top, and the Gap between the rich and poor widens — just as the rich want.

And yes, there was “economic prosperity,” but only if you eliminate Reagan’s first and last years — the 15-month recession that came at the beginning of Reagan’s two terms, and the 9-month recession that came at the end.

Reagan served from January 20, 1981, until January 20, 1989 (vertical gray bars.)

By widening the Gap between the rich and the rest, Reagan effectively made the rich richer and the poor poorer.

(“Rich” is a comparative. The wider the Gap, the richer are the rich).

And that “big-government spending,” Uhler hates: It was for benefits (Medicare, Social Security, poverty aids) to the middle and the lower-income groups. Being a GOP right-winger, Uhler despises giving these groups anything.

These achievements were founded initially in the crucible of the California Tax Revolt which then-Gov. Reagan led. He understood the power of (state) tax cuts and the resultant unleashing of American capital and innovation. In the early ’70s,

Reagan asked me to lead a group to devise a California government spending and tax reform measure, which eventually became Proposition 1 on the 1973 state ballot.

Here, Uhler reveals his intentional or unintentional ignorance of Monetary Sovereignty and the differences between federal government and local government finances.

While there is a direct connection between monetarily non-sovereign finances and taxes — taxes fund state/local spending — there is no connection at all between federal finances and taxing. Federal taxes do not fund federal spending.

Even if all federal taxes were eliminated, the federal government could continue spending, forever, even at double or triple the current level. In fact, all federal tax dollars are destroyed the instant they are received by the U.S. Treasury.

Uhler’s references to “tax revolts” are completely irrelevant to federal finances.

That citizen initiative was our first attempt at reining in government’s penchant for out-of-control spending and tax increases, and although this initiative fell short of passage, it touched a political undercurrent that sparked a much larger (state) taxpayer movement, ultimately leading to the passage of Proposition 13 to limit (state) property taxes and Proposition 4, the Gann Limit, which indexed (state) government growth to population and inflation.

Uhler demonstrates the single biggest problem in economics: The failure to understand the financial differences between the finances of the Monetarily Sovereign federal government vs. the finances of monetarily non-sovereign entities like state/local governments, businesses, and individuals.

If you don’t know the difference between butter and a butterfly, your articles about cooking are apt to be quite wrong-headed, just as Uhler’s article is.

And here, Uhler succinctly displays that ignorance:

More importantly, these achievements had the profound impact of proving the truth of supply-side economics and the power that a national tax revolt can provide to a nation.

Reagan instinctively understood, first as governor of California and then as president, the nature of government spending and its potentially ill effects on people.

Because there is no connection between federal taxes and federal spending, Uhler is half right and half wrong.

A national tax revolt to would reduce federal taxes on the middle- and lower-wealth groups would benefit America. But, of course, that is not what Uhler wants. Being a right-winger, he wants tax cuts on the wealthy.

Rather than doing what is best for the nation — for example, eliminating FICA, America’s most regressive tax– Uhler wants to cut top-level taxes.

And his complaints about government spending and “big government” are directly aimed at benefits for the middle- and lower-wealth groups.

In short, Uhler is trying to convince you that making the richer richer and the poorer poorer will benefit you and all of America.

That is exactly what “trickle-down economics” aka “big government” aka “out-of-control spending” aka “supply-side economics” all mean.

Each time you read any of those terms, realize this: The author is talking about a system that enriches the rich, impoverishes the rest, and so widens the Gap.

I am often reminded of his quote on the dangerous essence of government spending: “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.”

In the right-wing Uhler-world, the federal government is bad (except when it gives tax breaks to the rich).

Big-government advocates, Reagan also once remarked, must be forced to curb their profligate ways.

Why must the federal government be forced to curb spending? No reason is given and none can be given, especially since by formula all federal spending increases Gross Domestic Product.

GDP = Federal Spending + Nonfederal Spending + Net Exports

That was the precept under which we lived as we launched the tax revolt – and we should be reminded of now, as we ponder a modern-day correction to the reckless economic course that Joe Biden’s administration has set for America.

It’s no surprise that big-government tax-and-spenders once again have led our nation into high inflation and economic malaise with outrageous spending. Yet, Reagan’s work charted a course to follow that would steer clear of the rocky shoals into which the left is determined to lead us.

Contrary to popular myth, federal spending never causes inflation. Inflation, and its big brother, hyperinflation always are caused by shortages, most often a scarcity of food and energy.

In short, inflation is not caused by “too much money chasing too few goods and services” as the saying goes. Inflation always is caused by too few goods and services. Period.

How is inflation cured? Not by federal deficit cuts, which actually lead to recessions. Inflations are cured by federal deficit spending to obtain and distribute to scarce goods.

On Aug. 13, we celebrated the undeniable economic prosperity evidenced by Reagan’s signing of the Economic Recovery Tax Act. This anniversary ironically came in the same month that Senate Democrats were moving us in the opposite economic direction with a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and $3.5 trillion budget.

What Uhler “forgets” to mention is that Reagan’s “Economic Recovery Tax Act marked the beginning of the 15-month recession, started in the 3rd Quarter of 1981 and didn’t end until the 4th Quarter of 1981, when increased federal deficit spending cured finally cure the recession.

Gray area is the 15-month recession that began with Reagan’s Economic Recovery Act.

One of the most important legacies of the Reagan tax reform effort were follow-up state pro-growth policies, which are alive and well in many places.

Again, Uhler demonstrates that he does not understand the differences between federal financing and state financing. The two are opposite in that states use tax dollars for spending and can run short of dollars, while the federal government does not use tax dollars for anything, and never can run short of dollars.

In essence, Uhler is using butterflies, when the recipe calls for butter.

“Simple fairness dictates that government must not raise taxes on families struggling to pay their bills,” Reagan said on many occasions. “You can’t be for big government, big taxes and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy.”

These are words that Democrats would be wise to pay attention to. The supply-side movement he championed 40-some years ago is still right for our nation today – and some would argue, even more urgent.

The differences are that:

  1. Big federal government costs taxpayers nothing.
  2. Big federal taxes on the not-rich are bad for the economy, but big taxes on the upper .1% would help narrow the Gap between the rich and the rest.
  3. And big federal bureaucracy is needed for a big economy. Further, federal payments to all those government workers help stimulate the economy, while costing taxpayers nothing.

In short, Uhler is a mouthpiece for the very rich, and virtually everything he says is a lie directed to that purpose. Otherwise, he may be a nice guy.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell
Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell



The most important problems in economics involve:

  1. Monetary Sovereignty describes money creation and destruction.
  2. Gap Psychology describes the common desire to distance oneself from those “below” in any socio-economic ranking, and to come nearer those “above.” The socio-economic distance is referred to as “The Gap.”

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 Monetary Sovereignty and The Ten Steps To Prosperity can grow the economy and narrow the Gaps:

Ten Steps To Prosperity:

  1. Eliminate FICA
  2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D, plus long-term care — for everyone
  3. Social Security for all
  4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
  5. Salary for attending school
  6. Eliminate federal taxes on business
  7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 
  8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.
  9. Federal ownership of all banks
  10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9% 

The Ten Steps will grow the economy and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.


2 thoughts on “How not to debate a conservative.

    1. All inflations are caused by shortages, not federal deficits. The current inflation is a combination of shortages in oil and workers. The government could cure it, but is torn between ecological needs and inflationary concerns.


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