About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

President Washington & The First National Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation

click on image to enlarge
On October 3, 1789 President Washington issued the first national presidential Thanksgiving proclamation (see below) to "the People of the United States" – not simply to "We the people" – calling for a day of public thanksgiving on Thursday the 26th day of November, 1789.  That was the first national celebration of our current Thanksgiving holiday.
President Washington's proclamation was especially noteworthy to me because of its reference to the Constitution that is the basis of our safety & happiness today.
President Washington shows his wisdom when he acknowledges that what we are experiencing in America is a "degree of temporal prosperity" in a world where slavery & poverty had been the norm for all of human history until the United States, the first moral society in history, gave mankind its first steps toward abolishing serfdom & slavery & a pathway to freedom & a rational way of life.
Thanksgiving Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.         
[New York, 3 October, 1789]


Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."


Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.


and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.


Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.


Go: Washington


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Ruinous Democrat Tax Proposals Versus Supply Side Economics

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Above is a pictorial of the famous Laffer Curve drawn on a cocktail napkin by Arthur Laffer in 1974 to explain to Jude Wanniski, Dick Cheney, & Don Rumsfeld that there is a sweet spot on the tax rates axis that will yield the maximum tax revenue for the government.  This sweet spot is paradoxically @ a lower rate than what many politicians instinctively think it should be.  Lower marginal income tax rates, especially @ the highest level as shown on the Laffer Curve, are part of the economic principles known as supply side economics.
Now I have always had a problem with the Laffer Curve because its proponents, including Art Laffer, emphasize the part about "the maximum tax revenue for the government" – the curve shows the government how to get the most money possible from an income tax system but by so doing provides politicians an open invitation to spend even more money than they normally would – give them more money & they will spend it.  Many of us remember that in the 1980s the branch of supple side economics known as Reagonomics lowered the income tax rates & the tax revenues increased only to find that spending increased also & large deficits continued & interest on the national debt grew.  See data below, in millions of dollars, taken from OMB Historical Table 1.1 entitled Summary of Receipts, Outlays, & Surpluses or Deficits (-): 1789 to 2024.
click on table to enlarge                           
The most successful president who practiced supply side economics was Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s.  The income tax, ratified by the 16th Amendment in 1913, was supposed to be a flat tax with a single rate of 4% but it quickly changed to a graduated tax of 1% to 7% with the income brackets determined by the ability to pay.  By 1921 Congress had raised the top marginal rate from 7% to 73%.   President Coolidge was the only president to follow all of the supply-side economic principles:  1) the reduction of the size of government and its claims on earned income, 2) a lower marginal tax rate for the highest income earners, & 3) sound-money policies – the gold standard.  Silent Cal reduced the top 73% income tax rate to 25% by 1925, reduced the national debt, & balanced the budget – a budget that actually was smaller when he left office than when he took office.  Federal spending was 3% of GDP in 1928 – it is 21.3% today.
Now none of the current Democrat presidential candidates are proposing anything like the supply side economic principles listed above that bring prosperity, dignity, strength, & liberty to the American people.  In fact the Dems' proposals bring weakness & government dependence through higher & more taxes & increased federal government spending on one welfare program after another.  The Dems' plans are no more than redistribution of wealth schemes designed to buy votes from the recipients of the welfare programs.
For starters virtually all the Democrat candidates for president would not only repeal the Trump tax cuts of 2017 but would actually reverse them by increasing the top federal marginal income tax rates for individuals to 70% to 90% & corporations to 25% with the mistaken notion that this would start to finance their myriad new Democrat welfare programs.
Elizabeth Warren, the current front runner, would impose an annual 2% wealth tax on households with a net worth above $50 million & Warren's plan originally proposed taxing households with a net worth above $1 billion @ 3% of their wealth annually. 
But after pressure from her fellow Democrat presidential candidates to reveal how her Medicare for All universal single payer healthcare plan would be financed by the federal government Warren released the details that included an increase in her wealth tax, which is a minor part of Warren's overall healthcare financing plans.   
First, employers, other than the smallest businesses, would pay a new "employer Medicare contribution" to the federal government that will start just below what employers pay now in employee healthcare premiums – currently $8.8 trillion over ten years.  These contributions would increase to a national average over time. 
Second, Warren would raise the federal corporate tax rate back to 35% from 21% under Trump & require U.S. companies to pay the 35% rate on their worldwide profits – specifically, & most pointedly including money earned outside the U.S. that is subject to foreign taxation – instead of the minimum tax rates instituted in Trump's 2017 tax cut bill. 
Third, Warren would lengthen depreciation schedules that also reverses an investment incentive tenet from the 2017 tax cut law.
Fourth, Warren's wealth tax has been revised to tax the households of billionaires @ 6% annually on their net worth - twice the original 3% proposed rate. 
And fifth, Warren would employ Oregon Senator Ron Wyden's mark to market tax plan on capital gains that would require people in the top 1% wealth category to pay capital gains taxes on their asset increases each year whether they sell them or not.  Wyden's plan exempts primary residencies & 401(k) plans & would apply to the top 0.3% of taxpayers.  Wyden would increase the capital gains tax rate to ordinary income tax rates.  Democrat presidential candidate Julian Castro endorses Wyden's plan for the top 0.1% of taxpayers.
Prior to Warren's wealth tax rate revision, but not to be outdone, Bernie called for an annual tax on the wealth of couples with a net worth of $32 million ($16 million for individuals) starting @ 1% & increasing to 8% per year for couples with a net worth of $10 billion - thereby proposing a bigger drag on the economy in this regard than Warren.  Bernie also calls for imposing an exit tax of up to 60% on the assets of wealthy people who renounce their U.S. citizenship.  There is no freedom in Bernie's proposals – only tyranny.
Warren has also proposed giving every current & future Social Security recipient an additional $2,400 a year permanent benefit increase to help lift senior citizens out of poverty – that would be financed by additional taxes of 14.8% on high-earners income, capital gains, & dividends.  Warren's plan provides no additional benefits to the high-income earners footing the bill so it is a pure redistribution of wealth to a welfare scheme.
Naturally Biden likes to preach continuation of BO's policies & his tax plan calls for repealing the "stepped up basis" for capital gains in the death tax laws.  Biden would have heirs pay capital gains taxes on realized or unrealized increases based on the original purchase price of an inherited asset @ double the current capital gains rate for taxpayers with incomes of $1 million or more.  And Biden masquerades as a moderate?
All of the above taxes are needed to finance the gargantuan spending programs that Democrats have in mind that dwarf the current level of federal government spending that totaled $4.45 trillion in FY 2019 that ended September 30.  For instance, previous posts have detailed the cost of AOC's Green New Deal @ $93 trillion over the next ten years.  Warren calculated that the federal government will spend just under $52 trillion over the next ten years on her Medicare for All plan – to be funded by the wealthy & corporations.
Specifically, virtually all of the remaining 16 Democrat presidential contenders want, or can easily be led to support, people of substance paying for Medicare for All, a guaranteed federal jobs program, free public college or trade school, reparations for slavery, & a Green New Deal that includes switching electricity & transportation to 100% renewables by 2030, including the trading in of fossil fuel powered vehicles for new electrical vehicles, a regional high speed rail system, school & transit buses being replaced with electric buses, & truckers replacing diesel powered tractor trailers.  Democrat presidential contenders would ban fracking, ban drilling offshore & on federal lands, ban imports & exports of fossil fuels, & cancel oil pipelines already being built.  Federal tax money would be used to help small businesses & families weatherize & retrofit buildings to be energy compliant.
Now all of the above projects will overwhelm the money of corporations & millionaires & billionaires in the top 1% as detailed below.
Long time readers will remember the excellent video posted on January 3, 2012 (see reference post below) entitled Eat The Rich of Bill Whittle going through every day of the year marking a calendar, starting @ 12:01 AM on January 1, to show just how far money goes, @ a time of much less federal spending than being considered today, from the following sources: confiscated profits from the Fortune 500 companies, the combined salaries of professional athletes in the four major sports plus the total winnings on the PGA tour & NASCAR, every penny of people's annual earnings above $250,000, the money funding the Iraq & Afghanistan wars, proceeds from selling everyone's homes in Beverly Hills after evicting them, money confiscated from Bill Gates, Warren Buffet & the other 398 billionaires in the Forbes 400 plus another 100 for good measure, money from the elimination of all foreign aid, & to round out the year to midnight on December 31 add in $40 contributed by every man, woman, & child in the country – except illegal aliens (my opinion).
The above video is very enlightening & instructional in that you will never again fall for the false claim that the top 1% can pay for everything politicians propose to people who think they deserve everything.  One year wipes out the millionaires & billionaires & gives corporations no reason to exist – one & done.
Wealth taxes & high income taxes on the wealthy are the worst taxes of all.  When you tax the rich normal people get hurt the most when they lose their jobs.  The rich invest their money after covering living expenses while the average person pays bills if they have a job @ all.  High income tax rates & wealth taxes take money from the most productive Americans & give it to the least productive through the 126 welfare programs identified by the Cato Institute.
Supply side economics as practiced by Coolidge, JFK, & Reagan show that tremendous economic growth & prosperity result when low top marginal income tax rates unleash human ingenuity, innovation, enterprise, & genius that encourage productive investment by corporations & the wealthy.
BTW - our glorious Constitution protects us from wealth taxes that are direct taxes that have to be apportioned among the states on the basis of population per the decennial census specified in the Constitution (Article I, Sections 1 & 9) & that are in violation of the Takings Claus of the Fifth Amendment.  Of course these principles have no effect if we don't have a Constitution & a country left if Warren, Sanders, Biden or any of the others come to power.
Reference Post:  One & Done