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Bryan Caplan tells the story of opera tenor Joseph Schmidt (1904-1942) – a man elevated by market forces only to be murdered by political ones.

Does economic science demonstrate that the top marginal income-tax rate in the United States today should be 73%?  (HT Greg Mankiw)

Sheldon Richman – now at his new home at the outstanding Future of Freedom Foundation – discusses competition.

Thomas Sowell discusses the perversity of ‘diversity in his review of Richard Sander’s and Stuart Taylor’s Mismatch.  (HT Walter Williams)

And here’s a related, very thoughtful essay by Stephen Asma.  (HT Peter Minowitz)

Marty Mazzora yet again uses his unique talents to celebrate the liberating force that we call “trade.

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page xx of Walter J. Blum’s and Harry Kalven, Jr.’s 1963 “Introduction” to the ten-year-anniversary re-issue of their 1953 classic and insightful book, The Uneasy Case for Progressive Taxation (footnote omitted):

At the time of an emergency which brings about a tax increase, it appears that a sudden new burden can be more easily borne by the rich, thus suggesting that the tax system is made more progressive in the upper-income ranges.  When tax reduction is in the air, it appears that the less rich are more deserving of the reduction, thus suggesting that the system should not return to the tax pattern which prevailed before the increase brought on by the emergency.  It is almost as though tax reduction is viewed, not as the erasing of a prior tax burden, but as an independent distribution of a “bonus” by the government.  Neutrality in tax reduction … would in a simple fashion often require that higher-bracket taxpayers benefit from the tax cut substantially more than those in lower brackets.  But this symmetry is not likely to persuade the popular mind.

Indeed so.  Yet many “Progressives” today – perhaps most prominently Paul Krugman – abandon the reality, if not the pretense, of scientific objectivity by fueling this popular passion, as identified by Blum and Kalven, to live ever-more-egregiously off of resources confiscated from “the rich.”

(By the way, the late, great John Chamberlain reviewed Blum’s and Kalven’s book in the Spring 1954 issue of the University of Chicago Law Review.)

introductory sentence declares

Maybe only a really, really rich guy can credibly make the case for why the wealthy should be asked to pay more in taxes.

Do you see the insidious lie? Do you see the one word intentionally used incorrectly as outright propaganda? Do you see the fraud?

Unfortunately, I believe very few see the lie. The lie has been so successfully ingrained in our psyche we believe it to be real. We accept every word in Dionne's sentence without question.

Joseph Goebbels' was absolutely correct. He said, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

Do you see the one word lie in Dionne's blithe deceit?

It is his use of the word "asked."

Dionne uses the word "asked" when he actually means "forced." Dionne does not want to ask the rich to pay may taxes. He wants the rich to be forced to pay more taxes.

Do not let this Newspeak go unchallenged. Whenever someone uses the verb "ask" in the context of taxes, correct them. To be asked means one can decline. That is not an option with taxes.

This distinction is not mere semantics. It is truth. Without truth, there is no justice. Without truth, there is no reality. Without truth, we are living a lie.

Destroy the lie. Insist on the truth.




BlueCarp

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Blithe deceit

E.J. Dionne, columnist for the Washington Post, provides us with today’s example of Newspeak. He applauds billionaire Warren Buffett’s call for higher taxes on the rich. Dionne’s introductory sentence declares

Maybe only a really, really rich guy can credibly make the case for why the wealthy should be asked to pay more in taxes.

Do you see the insidious lie? Do you see the one word intentionally used incorrectly as outright propaganda? Do you see the fraud?

Unfortunately, I believe very few see the lie. The lie has been so successfully ingrained in our psyche we believe it to be real. We accept every word in Dionne’s sentence without question.

Joseph Goebbels’ was absolutely correct. He said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

Do you see the one word lie in Dionne’s blithe deceit?

It is his use of the word “asked.”

Dionne uses the word “asked” when he actually means “forced.” Dionne does not want to ask the rich to pay may taxes. He wants the rich to be forced to pay more taxes.

Do not let this Newspeak go unchallenged. Whenever someone uses the verb “ask” in the context of taxes, correct them. To be asked means one can decline. That is not an option with taxes.

This distinction is not mere semantics. It is truth. Without truth, there is no justice. Without truth, there is no reality. Without truth, we are living a lie.

Destroy the lie. Insist on the truth.

Kristof’s “Raise my taxes!” is shameless demagoguery and Newspeak.

In his April 14, 2011 New York Times column, Nicholas Kristof proudly proclaims, exclamation point and all, “raise my taxes!”

He, and others, use this tactic to show how magnanimous and selfless they are. Of course, it is complete and utter nonsense. It is pure demagoguery and absolutely dishonest. It is the height of disingenuousness.
If Mr. Kristof wants to pay more taxes, no government action is required. The Treasury Department accepts donations. Kristof knows this.
What he really means is that he wants the government to raise YOUR taxes.
Of course, this is yet another example of the language of statists, Newspeak: Say something that you do not mean to achieve a hidden purpose. War is peace, night is day. Your money is my money.

Ergo, in her world, allowing people to keep what they have earned is the same thing as a government gift.

Oh, the arrogance of the “progressive” statist.

Senator Claire McCaskill, (D-MO), in discussing her opposition to extending tax cuts, says the GOP is just “going to pout if we don’t give more money to millionaires.” (See the New York Times article “Tax-Cut Debate turns to Millionaires.“)

This is the perfect example of how “progressive” statists have the world backwards. She has confused letting people KEEP their own money with the government GIVING them money. Her basic belief, therefore, is that the government owns all productivity, and only allows people to keep it out of the government’s benevolence.
Ergo, in her world, allowing people to keep what they have earned is the same thing as a government gift.
(I know, I know: to the “progressive” statist, rich people haven’t “earned” anything. They have exploited the labor of others or they have simply stolen wealth from the proletariat. Therefore, the benevolent hand of government is necessary to correct the injustice. That is a different discussion for a different day. I merely suggest that F.A. Hayek addresses that contention and soundly shows its error in his book “The Road to Serfdom.”)

Refuse to Come Full Circle?

By David L. Kelly
23 November 2010

As our economy collapsed and news reporters began to compare the current financial duress to the Great Depression, I thought of all the people living today who had lived through those worst of times. I thought of the irony: these same people are now faced with the same uncertainty that they had to struggle with when they were just beginning their lives. It is as if they have come full circle in life’s journey. Although many things have changed, some remain the same: our government is still selling us the same old bag of rotten goods full of promises of a better future at our expense.

President Roosevelt’s New Deal caused quite a stir and raised a multitude of legal issues that questioned the constitutionality of FDR’s programs. One program we all know quite well was the Social Security Act passed in 1935. This act built the framework for various pensions as well as welfare. FDR insisted that the program be funded by payroll taxes and not the general fund. He said, “We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program.”FDR

The original payroll tax was one percent of a workers gross income. Roosevelt pledged the tax would never exceed three percent. Today, Social Security withholding is at 6.2 percent and 12.4 percent for self-employed workers—one sixth of a worker’s lifetime earnings when Medicare is factored in. If you’re not lucky enough to reach retirement age to collect your promised benefits, your estate is not entitled to a dime. I know this quite well, as my father passed away at the young age of 52, paying into Social Security his entire working life. Not one penny or even a sympathy card came our way.

I went to my local Social Security Administration office and spent a few moments seeking answers as to why my father’s estate was to be left high and dry with our government stealing his forced contributions. I was told, “I’m sorry for your loss, but the law is clear. See these people in this office, waiting to be helped? That’s where your father’s money is going. I’m sorry, I can’t help you.”

My dad was a wise man. He told me never to trust your government and always to question authority. He hit that nail on the head.

It wasn’t until 1943 before the payroll tax was paid through withholding taxes. Before then, you paid the payroll tax when you filed your income tax return. The withholding tax on wages is a practice that many of us accept as business as usual, and as our part in being good Americans. Our government officials want us to believe that they’re good stewards of our monies and that they know what’s best for us and our nation.

I say hogwash!

I respectfully ask that you all contact your congressional representatives and ask them to pass new legislation that abolishes the withholding tax laws on our earnings. It is time for us to be responsible citizens in our contract with our government. We need truly to see how much our government takes from us and what we get in return. It may be painful when you write that check in April to the IRS for that tax year’s payroll contributions, but it will open your eyes to how much money the feds suck out of us like a parasite. With your eyes open, I guarantee you will be watching your elected officials and letting them know it is our money they’re spending. Our relationship with our government should be one of mutual agreement, not one of false promises and hope for a better tomorrow built on the backs of us and our future descendents.

If we could only learn from the past and hold our government accountable, then we will have made progress to a better future and not come merely full circle where we began.

Financial Insanity…

Below is one disturbing graph…it shows total federal debt per household, including “off-budget” liabilities, little items such as medicare and social security…

us-household-share-of-debt(link here for the full USA Today article)

As the USA Today article notes, the monstrous number for Social Security, Medicare and pensions, are a projection of the “gap” between what’s currently collected for the programs and what’s needed to fund future liabilities.  The “official” US debt is $11,374,265,930,605.76 as of June 3, 2009, or about $38,000 per person.

…and, are our civil servants in Washington working feverishly to bring sanity to the situation?   To the contrary, the numbers indicate Congress and the Obama administration are apparently of the “spend like a drunken sailor” school of economics.  The federal government projects it will spend another $3.9 trillion this fiscal year, and will be borrowing $2.5 trillion, to make ends meet (from the US Treasury Monthly Treasury Statement for April 2009)

Our debt is approaching 100% of GDP (the total US estimated GDP for 2008 was about $14 trillion) and our leadership’s intentions are to continue to increase social spending, develop a new layer of government intervention and cost with “cap and trade” nonsense, and fund Wall Street/Big Bank losses.  For them, the “solutions” include:

– “soak the rich” for more taxes (even though the top 10% already pay over 70% of income tax collections, bottom 50% represented less than 3% of tax collections, per taxfoundation.org)

– Value-added taxes.  Yes the VAT is being explored, which will add to the cost of virtually everything, as reported by the Washington Post.

How have we gotten here?  Let’s consider what we’ve done — 76% of our representatives and 84% of our senators are lawyers and politicians/public service employees, (plus one “community activist” President).  On average, we leave them in place for over a decade!  (11 years for representatives, 12.9 years for senators, from Profile of 111th Congress.)

“Out of touch” is perhaps too kind a term — our representation needs a dramatic overhaul, and we need to wake up to the fact that pretty speech makers appparently don’t know “poop” about fiscal sanity!

…off the topic, if you have 4 minutes you’ll enjoy this video created by an Alabama teen for his Mom’s Tea Party. It sends a powerful message, about the real power of the “silent majority.”

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