Showing posts with label Government spending. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Government spending. Show all posts

Sunday, May 08, 2016

No Mass Exodus

I live in a state that has high taxes and government spending. In 2013, our Democratic governor raised taxes on the wealthy and increased spending even more. Despite predictions that this sort of policy would result in a poor economy, Minnesota is doing quite well. Our unemployment rate is 3.7% which basically means if you aren't working, you don't want to have a job. We have a state surplus of over $1 billion dollars. Our GDP is $255 billion dollars.

Today, our state discovered that Republican predictions of a mass exodus of higher taxes on the wealthy have not come to pass.

Critics predicted that the ultra-affluent would flee after Gov. Mark Dayton secured 2013 passage of a new income tax tier of 9.85 percent on individuals who make more than $156,000 a year. But the latest data show that the number of people who filed tax returns with over $1 million in income grew by 15.3 percent in the year after the tax passed, while the new top tier of taxpayers grew by 6 percent.

Grew, you say? Hmm...maybe people like having a better place to send their kids to school and nice roads to drive on.

Let's compare my state to Wisconsin, where Scott Walker has enacted the exact opposite policies of Governor Dayton. The Wisconsin unemployment rate is 4.4%. They have a budget shortfall of $1.8 billion dollars which has forced cuts to the University of Wisconsin system to comply with the balanced budget law. Their GDP is $230 billion dollars. Wisconsin ranks among the top states people are leaving.

I wonder why...:)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Socially Liberal But Fiscally Conservative

I've always hated it when people say, "Well, I'm socially liberal but fiscally conservative."

Really? How exactly are you fiscally conservative? Invariably the answer is that they think the government spends too much money. When pressed for details on where they would implement spending cuts and what that would mean to people and the economy, they get flustered.

This happens because they don't really know what the fuck they are talking about. They heard a bunch of people say the line and this is their (lazy) way of trying to sound relevant in a political conversation. There's no real problem on the first part. Most people are socially liberal these days. Check out this recent poll on abortion. Other than the 89 people running for the GOP nomination, who wants to be socially conservative?

But the fiscally conservative part is giant crock of shit. No one really is fiscally conservative...even conservatives!! They may talk a good game about cutting the budget but even your most hard core base member won't cut defense, medicare, or social security...AKA where most of our money is being spent. What they will cut is taxes to make it seem like the government will just have to make do with less money. The result of this is an increase in deficit and debt which is sort of like putting out fire with gasoline.

Here's a great piece Greta Chrstina about how crap this line is and how people that say it, really don't understand it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

How To Govern An Economy

Minnesota got another shout out for having a great economy despite the "destruction" that raising taxes, increasing the minimum wage, and increasing government spending brings with it.

Between 2011 and 2015, Gov. Dayton added 172,000 new jobs to Minnesota's economy -- that's 165,800 more jobs in Dayton's first term than Pawlenty added in both of his terms combined. Even though Minnesota's top income tax rate is the 4th-highest in the country, it has the 5th-lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.6 percent. According to 2012-2013 U.S. census figures, Minnesotans had a median income that was $10,000 larger than the U.S. average, and their median income is still $8,000 more than the U.S. average today.

Take note that the predictions from Republicans were completely wrong.

I wonder if they'll get the message in Wisconsin...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Republicans Raising Taxes

It appears that Republicans are finally getting the message: middle class economics works.

At least eight Republican governors have ventured into this once forbidden territory: There are proposals for raising the sales tax in Michigan, a tax on e-cigarettes in Utah, and gas taxes in South Carolina and South Dakota, to name a few. In Arizona, the new Republican governor has put off, in the face of a $1 billion budget shortfall, a campaign promise to eliminate the unpopular income tax there.

But why?

Still, the shift is striking, and it comes in the wake of problems that Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a Republican, suffered after pushing though sharp cuts in business and income taxes. Governor Brownback, who found himself in an unexpectedly tough race for re-election in part because of a budget deficit fueled by the tax cuts, recently called for raising cigarette and liquor taxes and slowing planned reductions in the income tax rate to help reduce the shortfall. 

By most accounts, the proposals emerging from state Republican lawmakers seem like acts of pragmatism rather than shifts in philosophy for the Republican Party. 

Pragmatism indeed.

Speaking of pragmatism, it looks like Scott Walker could sure use some. If only he had embrace the now proven to be enormously successful economic policies of Mark Dayton here in Minnesota. Perhaps Wisconsin would have then been named the best state in the country.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How Free Markets And Government Spending Can Stabilize A Country

When someone mentions Rwanda, the first words that come to mind are violence and instability, not free markets and prosperity. This recent article in the Times shows just how far Rwanda has come and you can thank the power of capitalism for their recent success. One of my add-ons to the "teach a man to fish" saying is "teach a village to fish and they create a free market economy" and that is clearly what has happened in Rwanda.

Rwanda offers an alternative model, analysts say, a country where the economy has grown an average of nearly 8 percent over the last four years because of increased agricultural productivity, tourism and government spending on infrastructure and housing. Despite having a population of just around 12 million, the consulting firm A.T. Kearney last week named Rwanda the most attractive African market for retailers in its first ever African Retail Development Index. 

As the article notes, there are still challenges ahead for Rwanda but the simple fact that it has made it to this point illustrates that with the right balance of free market principles and government involvement stability can be achieved anywhere.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Paying Down Debt

Hey, look what super liberal California Governor Jerry Brown is doing.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday proposed a $106.8 billion general-fund budget that seeks to pay off a big chunk of the state's long-term debt while making modest investments in public schools, health care and the troubled bullet train. While the state's finances have improved significantly since the days of embarrassing, multibillion-dollar deficits, Brown said at a morning news conference that he believes the newfound fiscal stability could be short-lived and that restrained spending of scarce state resources is crucial.

What the-?!!?? A fiscally responsible liberal. you say? Where is Spock with a beard?:)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Simple Math

Check out this piece on how Utah is set to end homelessness. The answer?

Government spending.

Utah has reduced its rate of chronic homelessness by 78 percent over the past eight years, moving 2000 people off the street and putting the state on track to eradicate homelessness altogether by 2015. How’d they do it? The state is giving away apartments, no strings attached. In 2005, Utah calculated the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for an average homeless person was $16,670, while the cost of providing an apartment and social worker would be $11,000. Each participant works with a caseworker to become self-sufficient, but if they fail, they still get to keep their apartment.

Huh. Whouda thunk it? Simple math...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Government Investment Pays Off

Cracking open my Sunday newspaper yesterday, the front page brought me this story about the benefits of government investment. The city government basically paid people to live in Osakis and guess what happened? The town is thriving. Government investment works and our economy would be in much better shape if we took the model of these small town in Minnesota and employed it on a larger scale.

Oh, wait. We can't. Hitler and Stalin...I forgot!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Lowest of the Low

Our federal government spends money on all sorts of things that are beneficial. Here is one of them.

Shutdown Denies Death and Burial Benefits to Families of 4 Dead Soldiers

The fault for this lies directly with the Republicans and their current adolescent temper tantrum about spending....spending, I might add, they already approved! This example is one of many and very illustrative about how the lack of federal spending has a very real affect on people's lives. This would be why I continually try to remind people that the federal government does all sorts of good things that people fail to note through their continued complaints about it.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

A Collection of Voices In My Head

I've heard so many "voices in my head" of late. What are they saying these days?

“The numbers — at some point it’s got to catch up or else we’re all going to die,” said Chris Chocola, head of the anti-tax Club for Growth.

Cue the boiling pit of sewage!

Obama you stupid sand nigger get off my tv. Your just making the families hurt and miss their kids more and I want to watch football 

The above is one tweet of many. Make sure you read all of the comments from the non-Republican, non-racists.

And what happens when you hug the president and you are a registered Republican?

But the attention wasn't all positive. Van Duzer, a registered Republican, had voted for Obama in the last election and said he did again in November. That brought out the worst in anti-Obama zealots, who called in bomb threats, sent him hate mail with death threats, and brought out a level of vitriol Van Duzer said he had never witnessed. Some tried to organize a boycott of his restaurant and bombarded Yelp!, the restaurant review website, with thousands of one-star reviews from first-time visitors to the site.

It must be the left wing media's fault! Where's Katie Couric?!??

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Seeing the End?

I've been trying to figure out exactly WTF the House Republicans have been thinking these last few days and I got nothing. I like John Boehner and, in many ways, actually feel sorry for him. He has to deal with around 75 adolescent males every day (enough to make any parent or teacher cry!) in his caucus so cutting him some slack seems like the right thing to do.

But this latest game with the aid for Hurricane Sandy victims shows just how fucked up the Right is these days. They are run by a group of people who see any sort of government spending (except defense) as the equivalent of raping children. I guess the general welfare clause also does not apply to people whose homes were lost to natural disaster. Why should we have to pay for their loss? They just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, stop spooning off the government, and get to work, by gum!

Boehner finally gave in after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie unleashed holy hell and a vote in the House will now be scheduled on Friday. Honestly, though, this is a larger issue that we are going to see play out in the coming months and it really only has one conclusion: more Democratic victories and a likely retaking of the House in 2014.

In what has to be the finest example of "Doing it again, only harder," GOP leaders have already indicated that they are going to play chicken with the debt ceiling again. It worked so well last time so why not try it again? With all the good economic news (more on that tomorrow), it makes perfect sense to try to ruin any chances of improvement. After all, they have been rooting for America to fail since the president took office in their never ending quest to not be proven wrong and win the argument. Who gives a shit if the economy continues to sputter?

The Right has also indicated that, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, that: a) more people being armed is the answer (see: 1984, George Orwell) and b) we can't really do anything anyway because we are free and freedom means impotence. So, a far right stance on guns will be taken with no possibility for even a reasonable discussion or alternative solutions, We are talking about a choice between our freedom or burning in hell under a totalitarian regime. The stakes have never been higher, folks!!

Even with immigration, the Right remains steadfast. They don't have time for the details. It's "Fuck you, get out!" They don't seem to mind that, if they continue down this path, possibly in 2016 (2020 is more likely), Texas will turn blue and the Republican Party as we know it will have gone the way of the Whigs.

I think the head of the conservative organization Club For Growth, Chris Chocola, summed up the thinking on the Right (and the "voices in my head") when he said, of the debt, "The numbers-at some point it's got to catch up or else we are all going to die." Look out, folks! We have to stop government before they inflict any more evil on the world!!! AHHHH!!!!

I guess the Right didn't learn anything from the election last November and their possible end is becoming more and more clearer every day. Politically, that's great for me but my concern is how many Americans they are going to drag down with them in their teenage male stomp down the hallway.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Are you KIDDING me??!!???!!????!!???

Some party officials were surprised by both the size of the debt and the ongoing spending.

Any Minnesotan who continues to support the GOP in my home state has just reached 11 on the hypocrisy dial and infinity on the moron scale.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Last Resort

A key point that needs to be made in as president attempts to get his jobs bill passed is that federal government spending is spending of the last resort. This idea will bounce off most of the right these days. Sane people (such as myself) can't hope to pry the base's irrational fear from their cold, dead minds.

But it needs to be said anyway and I'm happy that former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said it in a recent piece in my local paper. In fact, he said a great deal of things which made complete sense. Of course, this means that nearly everyone on the right will hate it immediately.

Let's take a look at a few of Reich's comments.

Tax cuts, we know, don't have a huge multiplier effect because people in times of economic stress tend to use tax cuts to pay off debt or to save, rather than to spend.

Hence the reason why tax cuts really don't work most of the time.

The main motivation for businesses to hire is customers. Consumer spending is 70 percent of the economy. If consumers are holding back because they are under water with their mortgages and they are worried about losing their jobs, they don't have the cash to spend.If you've got the private sector, businesses and consumers, unwilling to spend, where do you look? Government is the spender of last resort. ... If government can't do it, we are not going to have a recovery.

Exactly. So, it's not the panic mongering myth of "uncertainty." Businesses simply don't have customers and most of these potential customers have less and less money to spend. This is why I state continually that less people having more money is a very bad thing for the overall health of our economy. Sooner or later, the greed at the top will be their own undoing and ours as well.

We are losing ground [to other countries] on education. We're losing ground on labor unions. And we have a politics that has been quite regressive, favoring privatization and deregulation. ...The only way out of this is not only a sufficiently high stimulus, but also addressing inequality through stronger education, stronger labor unions and tax reform.

I agree with everything here except the high stimulus. I think he underestimates the effect that short term debt to GDP will have in relation to our standing in the world.

But here's the best part

This isn't a zero-sum game. A lot of wealthy people are beginning to understand that they would do better with a smaller percentage of a rapidly growing economy than with a big chunk of an economy that's dead in the water.

Yep. And his mention of the zero sum game idea made me grin from ear to ear.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Deep In The Heart of Texas

We've heard quite a bit lately from the latest GOP primary presidential candidate, Governor of Texas Rick Perry, about how he is a "job creator." He points to his state of Texas as being an example of what he can do for the entire country. He champions himself as being a less spending, less government and less tax sort of fellow and, by gum, that's just what he is going to do with the federal government if the American people give him a chance.

The problem with all of this's not really true.

Take a look at this graphic.

Take note of the bright blue state of Texas. That indicates that Texas is spending at an amount greater than 3% above FY08 levels. How very interesting. Compare them to the other states that are spending less, many of which are not doing as well as Texas. Of course, this all comes with some good news for states in general.

So, Governor Perry doesn't really spend less as he say he does and likely recognizes the benefits of government spending. But what about his other claims?

Factcheck recently released an excellent piece that outlines a series of additional facts as to why Texas is doing so well. It's true that Texas has added a great deal of jobs recently but they have also been doing so since 1970. In other words, that's normal for them. It's really a no brainer when you think about it given that they do have some of that there black gold down those parts.

Throw in jobs being added in the natural gas sector as well as all of those government jobs I have mentioned previously and it makes sense that Texas is the nation's leader in job creation. Yet, this creation of jobs hasn't kept pace with the influx of people an unemployment has risen to 8.4 percent in the last two years. This happened while the national rate was dropping. And Texas, along with Mississippi, has the largest percentage of hourly workers at or below the minimum wage. The lone star state also has the highest percentage of people without health care (26%).

In addition, Texas didn't experience the housing bust as other states did because of...wait for it...government restrictions on loans! What's that you say? The government interfering in the free market to improve a market outcome? Yes. Yes they did. And it benefited the citizens of Texas and their economy.

Finally, while Texans don't pay a personal income tax, they still pay above the national average in sales tax with local municipalities able to add on to that amount. Property taxes (collected at the local level) are among the highest in the nation.

So, Governor Perry's claims make no sense whatsoever when you consider these facts. He talks a good talk game about less spending, less government, and less taxes because he knows that plays well to the true believers. But the reality shows that he is doing what is necessary to govern.