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Showing posts with label Taxes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taxes. 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...:)


Friday, June 05, 2015

Walker Raising Taxes?

Scott Walker recently announced a $500 million dollar stadium deal for the Milwaukee Bucks, half of which will be funded by taxpayers. Somewhat perplexing, no? After all, isn't this the same Scott Walker who is "battle tested" and fighting for lower taxes? I guess $250 million dollars of corporate hand outs are OK:)

I guess funding basketball is OK but not education.

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...

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Red State Whining

I've put this map up before but I've had a few requests via email to put it up again. The states in red represent who gets the most government handouts and the states in blue represent who gets the least. Ironic that the states that bitch the most about the federal government get the most money. Regardless of their whining, as a resident of the state of Minnesota, I'm happy that more of my share of tax dollars help people out in these states. Why?

Because I'm a grown up:)



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

Sunday, June 29, 2014

NPR Plays The Cult of Both Sides

Last Friday, the president spoke in my hometown and NPR in Minnesota aired a post speech analysis. At about the 12 minute mark, Keith Downy, chair of the Minnesota Republican party joins the conversation and, thus, any criticism of NPR being liberal goes directly out of the fucking window. For the next few minutes, Downy spins the usual yarn about how the free market can just sort itself out. If we had only left the government out of it in 2008, all would be well with our economy today.

What fucking planet are these people living on?

Worse, he's being terribly dishonest because he would have done the exact same thing the president did. I'd like Mr. Downy or any other free market fundamentalist to point to real world evidence of their theory. Show me a recession that was that bad and then show me how doing nothing worked out.

Of course the real treat of the segment was Andy from Sioux Falls, a small business owner fed up with federal taxes, who comes in at around 14 minutes into the segment. After hearing his remarks, I have to question whether or not this man was an actual small business owner or whether he was a Tea Party troll calling in to wax Ayn Rand. No business owner (large, medium, or small) turns down making more money because they are worried about paying federal taxes. What a ludicrous bunch of nonsense! After Downy's ad hom on the woman the president met with to discuss local economic concerns, I was left to wonder how NPR let themselves get into such a position.

When will the "liberal" media stop playing the cult of both sides? Sometimes there is only one side to a story. Supply side economics doesn't work. Even the guys that came up with it (David Stockman, Bruce Bartlett) have admitted they were wrong. You can't simply ignore aggregate demand and pretend it doesn't exist. The problem with our economy today is that there are not enough people buying things so businesses don't hire people. There isn't enough population at the top to support our economy.

The middle class is the engine that drives our economy and when they have more money, our economy will improve.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Rule of Law Matters?

Senator Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas, speaking on Jeb Bush's recent remarks on immigration, said the following.

We’re a nation of immigrants, we need to celebrate that, but at the same time, rule of law matters.

Oh, really? Does that include the 16th amendment to the Constitution? Or are we going to stomp our feet and complain like a grump eight year old about force and fruits of labor?

Perhaps they should ignore reality (something they do so well) keep pretending that President Obama won't enforce immigration laws in a thinly veiled attempt to mask their own prejudice.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tax Breaks=15 jobs

Here's a great example of the gift of jobs that tax breaks bring.

15 jobs. Wow. That'll sure make a dent in Detroit's problems!





Friday, January 03, 2014


Monday, October 28, 2013


Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Big Lie Again

The last two weeks of shutdown have seen several mentions of the Big Lie that government spending does not increase economic activity nor is it a jobs program. It would be fine if those in the Tea Party said, instead, "I don't like the fact that government spending increases economic activity and is a jobs program" because that would be more accurate.

I've explained previously exactly how government spending increases economic activity and can create wealth, offering the example of the Grand Coulee Dam. The same hysterical complaints were heard then and were proven completely wrong. Even today, the government spends money in many sectors of our economy and is a partner in increasing economic activity and creating jobs. The defense industry stands as a shining example of how this works. So do the energy industry and the National Institute of Health. The list on return to government investment is quite impressive, actually, and it's very clear that they naysayers are having trouble with their emotions about government. One would think that they Right understands return on investment but I guess they don't.

The next few weeks will show what kind of an economic hit we are going to take as a result of the shutdown. I've talked about this before as well and, honestly, Americans are clearly understanding what life looks like when you aren't rational about the federal government. If the Right wants something to worry about, I think it should be this.

What exactly is sedition?

According to the US Code (18 U.S.C. § 2384 ), seditious conspiracy is a crime under United States law. The law states in part that, “If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to… prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States… they shall each be fined or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

That's exactly what Ted Cruz and his merry band of moonbats have done in the last few weeks. In fact, they attempted to hinder many laws, not just the Affordable Care Act. No doubt, if people like Darrell Issa were faced with these facts, a committee would have been formed yesterday. I think that the Right should be thankful that the president and the Democrats are much nicer and forgiving people. 

So, moonbats, I wouldn't rock the boat if I were you.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What Happens When You Raise Taxes?

This.

The Congressional Budget Office said the unanticipated $203 billion cut to the current-year shortfall -- a 24 percent drop from just three months ago -- comes from higher-than-expected individual and corporate tax payments and $95 billion in expected dividend payments from mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.   

The $845 billion in red ink in February would have put the deficit at 5.4 percent of economic output. The new projection would put the deficit at 4 percent of gross domestic production. The deficit was 7 percent of the budget in 2012 and 10.1 percent in 2009.

I'm confused. I thought that raising taxes and bailing out Fannie and Freddie would make things worse.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Too Controversial?

Nick Hanauer has come up again in some various conversation I have had and I remembered that I wanted to put his TED talk (repressed for a while because it was deemed "too controversial") up here for all to see. Since when is income inequality controversial?

It's also nice to see the complete destruction, soundly and succinctly backed up with evidence, of the Right's vision of how the economy works. I guess the rich aren't job creators after all.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Friday, January 11, 2013


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happily Going Over The Cliff

It's been amusing in a sort of horrifying way to watch Congress try to come up with some sort of plan to avert the tax rate rise and spending cuts that are going to occur on January 1, 2013. I don't think I've ever seen a Republican leader admit that he was powerless as Speaker Boehner did last week. "It's now up to the president and Harry Reid," he said. Unbelievable.

But that's what happens when you have a caucus that is comprised of juveniles who are eternally stomping down the hallway and slamming their doors at what they perceive to be their dad. They're perfectly happy to crash the car in order to sate their adolescent power fantasies. They'd rather cut of their nose despite their faces.

And that's just what is going to happen. If no deal is reached by Tuesday (and it looks doubtful), January 2nd is going to be a barn burner at the New York Stock Exchange. At that point, the GOP will be fucked. If they deal now, they are going to get something for those upper income folks. If they wait, however, the only bill they are going to see is one that makes the tax cuts permanent for those making under 250K and they will have no choice but to sign it as the market drops 500-1000 points.

They're also going to get bloody ears (and possibly more) in terms of the spending cuts and will likely have to give in on those as well. Much of their constituency is old people who love Medicare and Social Security. Any sort of cuts will be viewed with much animosity. This doesn't even take into account the defense cuts which, in my view, if they happen, will basically mean the end of the Tea Party. Democrats learned a long time ago that you don't fuck with defense contractors.

So, this begs the question, do the Republicans want to be the Whigs of the 21st century? Given their intransigent stance on immigration (along with the rest of all of this), I think they do. Bottom line: they need to change. If they don't, Texas will turn blue in 2016 or 2020 and that will be it for them.

Saturday, December 01, 2012


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Let Warren Unburden Them

Warren Buffett's recent opinion piece seen in many papers and online over the last few days is a fine example of how completely ridiculous the Right is in regards to federal government tax policy. He begins with an anecdote.

Suppose that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. "This is a good one," he says enthusiastically. "I'm in it, and I think you should be, too." Would your reply possibly be this? "Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you're saying we're going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 percent." Only in Grover Norquist's imagination does such a response exist. 

Only in all their imaginations does such a response exist. I can say with near certainty that anyone on the Right that says they do this or has known people to act in this fashion is lying. As Mr. Buffett has said many times previously, people invest to make money. Government tax policy doesn't enter into it.

And facts are facts...

Between 1951 and 1954, when the capital gains rate was 25 percent and marginal rates on dividends reached 91 percent in extreme cases, I sold securities and did pretty well. In the years from 1956 to 1969, the top marginal rate fell modestly, but was still a lofty 70 percent -- and the tax rate on capital gains inched up to 27.5 percent. I was managing funds for investors then. 

Never did anyone mention taxes as a reason to forgo an investment opportunity I offered. Under those burdensome rates, moreover, both employment and the gross domestic product (a measure of the nation's economic output) increased at a rapid clip. The middle class and the rich alike gained ground. 

They both gained ground because there was less inequality. The money that was used from the higher tax revenues paid for investments in infrastructure and education (the GI Bill, for example). This, in turn, led to a higher skilled labor force and an economy that was robust and innovative. This is not the case today.

The group's average income in 2009 was $202 million -- which works out to a "wage" of $97,000 per hour, based on a 40-hour workweek. (I'm assuming they're paid during lunch hours.) Yet more than a quarter of these ultrawealthy paid less than 15 percent of their take in combined federal income and payroll taxes. Half of this crew paid less than 20 percent. And -- brace yourself -- a few actually paid nothing. 

This is how money has been transferred upwards as Stiglitz mentions in "The Price of Inequality."

So what does Warren think should be done about this?

We need Congress, right now, to enact a minimum tax on high incomes. I would suggest 30 percent of taxable income between $1 million and $10 million, and 35 percent on amounts above that. A plain and simple rule like that will block the efforts of lobbyists, lawyers and contribution-hungry legislators to keep the ultrarich paying rates well below those incurred by people with income just a tiny fraction of ours. Only a minimum tax on very high incomes will prevent the stated tax rate from being eviscerated by these warriors for the wealthy. 

And what will the result be?

Our government's goal should be to bring in revenues of 18.5 percent of GDP and spend about 21 percent of GDP -- levels that have been attained over extended periods in the past and can clearly be reached again. As the math makes clear, this won't stem our budget deficits; in fact, it will continue them. But assuming even conservative projections about inflation and economic growth, this ratio of revenue to spending will keep America's debt stable in relation to the country's economic output. 

I agree and, as Warren notes, this will involve major concessions by the Right and the Left. All sides in this debate have signaled a willingness to bend so I do have some hope.

And what about that figment of the Right's imagination who is overly obsessed with "uncertainty?"

In the meantime, maybe you'll run into someone with a terrific investment idea, who won't go forward with it because of the tax he would owe when it succeeds. Send him my way. Let me unburden him. 

 Maybe I should send ol' DJ from TSM to Mr. Buffett...hee hee...:)

Monday, November 26, 2012

I Guess The Answer Is Yes

The other say I asked if we were seeing the beginning of the end of Grover Norquist. I think it's safe to say now that the answer is yes.

Elections have consequences and the main one that we seem to be seeing so far is a return to sanity. While there has not been any sort of deal yet on avoiding the so called "fiscal cliff," the signals from many Republican leaders say that they are willing to be flexible. That's a good thing.

Right up until the election, I was pretty pessimistic at the thought of there possibly being a day when we no longer had to manage the fantasies of the Right. Now, there is indeed a glimmer of light. Sure, there will still be people like Bill Whittle running around and making money off of his merry band of followers but they won't have any effect on elections.

And that is a very, very good thing!