Manhattan Institute article misses a key point..

A very good Manhattan Institute article titled Hillary & Bernie’s tax fantasies points out some very big problems with the left’s tax-and-spend approach to business. From the article:

Soak-the-rich proposals ignore history and wouldn’t raise nearly enough money to fund big spending plans.

If they stole every penny from anyone making over $100K a year, the collectivist government Hillary & Bernie promise wouldn’t be able to operate for more than a year anyway. Who would they steal money from after they robbed the productive? And the sad thing is that Hillary at least knows this. Bernie is a fucking loser and doesn’t care. It is about revenge for the fact that he couldn’t hold a real job or bag a real women. That is why, in practice, I firmly believe that the left wouldn’t do this (maybe Bernie would). So why this charade then?

Here is a question to ask Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders: What is the best tax rate to impose on high-income earners to ensure there is enough government revenue to pay for your trillion-dollar promises to voters?

Perhaps they think it is 83%, a rate that economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saezhypothesized in 2014 in a widely circulated paper. Or maybe it is 90%, which Sen. Sanders told CNBC last May was not out of the question. “Our job is not to think small,” Mr. Sanders elaborated in the Huffington Post a month later. “It is to think big.”

Progressives have often reminded us that the U.S. had such rates in the past. From 1936 to 1980, the highest federal income-tax rate was never below 70%, and the top rate exceeded 90% from 1951 to 1963. Under Ronald Reagan, the top federal rate declined to 28% by 1988 and has never reached 40% since.

The discussion of these rates can easily create the impression that the federal government collected far more money from “the rich” before the Reagan administration. And it can also leave another impression: There would be no downside to raising rates to 1950s levels, given that decade’s prosperity.

Neither impression would be correct. The effective tax rates actually paid by the highest income earners during the 1950s and early ’60s were far lower than the highest marginal rates. Few taxpayers reached the top brackets, the code was rife with loopholes, and capital gains were taxed at much lower rates.

And when you read between the lines, that last paragraph, it becomes obvious why the left still thinks this absolutely idiotic idea has merit. Insane tax rates provide the political left with the greatest opportunity for graft. In the name of “social engineering” they would flood that system with loopholes to favor their preferred constituencies: lobbyists, mega crops, the ultra rich, and the people that vote for a living. If we went back to the tax rates of the 50s, it would come with a trough feeding frenzy by the lawmakers pushing this crap on the people, as one special interest after another lines up to buy their own bennies.

The only people really screwed would be the middle class. The left can’t operate their totalitarian command driven economy nanny state unless they get rid of the middle class, anyway. History shows us that you always end up with a 2 class system: the aristocracy in charge, and the serfs bearing the brunt of the horrible policies they are made to live under.

Nostalgia aside for a world that never existed, few people paid the top tax rates of the 1950s and early 1960s…

Meh, the political left doesn’t pine for any of that. They spout it to hide their real intention: to rob taxpayers fucking blind by making everyone line up to buy favors from them. In short, they think this move will enhance their ability to pick the winners and the losers even more while in the process lining their pockets. gangsters the lot of them.

The Fields Incident Gets Weirder

Let’s review how we got here:

On March 8, Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields claimed she was asking Trump a question when campaign manager Corey Lewandowski yanked her away from Trump, grabbing her hard enough to leave bruises on her arm. The Trumpers and her own employer turned on her, saying she made it up.

Video and audio then surfaced, confirming that Lewandowski grabbed her. At least one reporter supported her account. They were called liars and told they were exaggerating. “Why don’t you file an assault complaint!” the Trumpers said. So Fields filed an assault complaint. And yesterday, Lewandowski was charged with one count of simple battery.

The response from the Trump camp has been nothing short of astonishing. They’ve been coming up with all sorts of explanations for what happened other than that Lewandowski manhandled her. Trump speculated that she might have gotten those bruises anywhere. They claimed that Lewandowski thought she was a danger to Trump. They brought up a video still showing something in her hand and claimed it could have been a pen-shaped bomb (Fields apparently being a secret Islamist or something). By now, they might be claiming she accidentally fell down a flight of stairs.

Of all the political stories of 2016 so far, this has be the most bizarre. This should have been a minor incident. A reporter claims she was grabbed, the campaign says they’re sorry without admitting anything, story done. And yet, here we are, with battery charges and accusations of assassination attempts.

Normally, I wouldn’t write about this sort of thing. But it has provided an astonishing insight into Trump. Bear with me for a moment.

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Yeah sure, that was a great idea…

For those that still doubt the deal between the Obama administration and Iran was anything but disatrous for the world and beneficial to one of the planet’s most dangerous regimes, just pay attention to what Khameini had to say about it:

Iran’s top leader on Wednesday said missiles were key to the Islamic Republic’s future, offering support to the hardline Revolutionary Guards that have drawn criticism from the West for testing ballistic missiles.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei supported last year’s nuclear deal with world powers but has since called for Iran to avoid further rapprochement with the United States and its allies, and maintain its economic and military strength.

“Those who say the future is in negotiations, not in missiles, are either ignorant or traitors,” Khamenei, who has the final say on all matters of state, was quoted as saying by his website.

“If the Islamic Republic seeks negotiations but has no defensive power, it would have to back down against threats from any weak country.”

His comments may have been directed at former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the de facto leader of a more moderate political alliance, who last week tweeted “the future is in dialogue, not missiles”.

Some context. Iran is by some accounts the world’s most prolific terror enabler, and its leadership is hell bent on killing Jews and destroying Israel and The Great Satan (that is the US for some of you people that believe the bullshit about the bad guy being the US) to push their messianic end of world agenda. To do so they have decided, like North Korea, that the only thing that will give them protection and power to pursue their agenda is the ability to not just threaten nuclear destruction in the case of the Norks, but to be able to carry this out. Only a fool doubt’s Iran’s promise to rain death on its enemies.

Too many people chose to disregard and instead try to appease Hitler when he was very clear about what his end goal was, and while one can make the argument that not every tinpot dictatorship is on the way to a similar roadmap, Iran’s leader has been adamant and active in working towards their agenda. Just remember that every Arab state was fine living with a nuclear armed Israel and never bothered with their own need for a nuclear deterrent or offensive capability. Most, like the bulk of the European nations and Korea and Japan, accepted assurances from the US and whatever Atlantic or Pacific alliance existed that they would be protected and treated as part of whatever deterrent capability was available. Along comes Iran (which is not Arab) and gets its bomb going, only to be appeased by the Obama administration which has also gone to great extremes to piss on every US ally’s leg and tell them it was just warm rain, and now we have every single one of these Arab states suddenly telling the the world they are going to get their own bomb.

The great legacy of the Obama administration, other than to make GWB look like a genius president and a top foreign policy administration, will be the destabilization and nuclearization of the Middle East, very likely to be followed by a nuclear global conflict. But hey, like with everything the collectivist idiots believe in and do, what we will be told we should focus on to determine if they were successful and did good, is that they meant well. With people ruled by feelings and emotions and so focused on social justice, whatever that nonsense is presented to mean to the rest of us, results don’t matter. After all, they firmly believe that they can change not just the laws of nature and economics, but that what counts is that they meant well.

As I predicted Obama made the impossible possible and managed to make what amounted to at most a mediocre president across the board look like a fucking genius and statesman. Be honest. Don’t you miss the cowboy by now? I know most of the world does, even if they won’t admit it out of spite. We deserve the disaster headed our way after the left destroyed the very system that brought the west prosperity and peace in the name of their new government backed collectivist religion.


The Minimum Wage Insanity

Well, here we go:

A deal to raise California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 was reached Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators, making the nation’s largest state the first to lift base earnings to that level and propelling a campaign to lift the pay floor nationally.

The increase will boost the wages of about 6.5 million California residents, or 43% of the state’s workforce, who earn less than $15, according to worker group Fight for $15. The proposal had been headed to a statewide referendum. It’s now expected to be approved by the state assembly.

This $15 thing is part of Sanders campaign and may be passed into law in New York as well. We’re told that this will increase the earnings of low-wage workers and … somehow … not increase unemployment.

Megan McArdle has a really good must read about why the people proclaiming that minimum wage hikes won’t increase unemployment — a tenet of economics that was proclaimed to be gospel as recently as ten years ago — should worry:

The people confidently proclaiming their ability to see the future are often what I like to call “one-study wonders”: people who have gotten their hands on a single study that confirms what they already believe (or would very much like to) and then proceed to wave it around while ignoring the rest of the vast, conflicting, suggestive but hardly definitive economic literature on the subject.

One-study wonders are always dangerous. A single study, no matter how well done, is never proof of anything. It’s too easy for something to accidentally go wrong.

Because being unemployed, especially for a long time, is about the worst thing that can happen to someone in a modern democracy, short of death or dismemberment. People adjust even to terrible life events such as divorce or widowhood; five years after the loss, research shows that happiness levels recover to about where they were before. But five years in, the unemployed are nearly as miserable as they were on the day they got the sack — and this research was done in Germany, which had a quite generous unemployment compensation program.

Moreover, the people affected are most likely to be low-skilled workers, who are most in need of jobs, not just for the money, but also for the skills that employment provides. The job market is like a ladder, and the lowest rungs are where people gain the critical skills and experience to climb that ladder. If you keep someone off those bottom rungs, studies show that their future employment and salary prospects can be permanently harmed.

The case that minimum wage hikes do not cause unemployment is mostly based on one study — the Card and Kreuger study. In this study, they looked at what happened when New Jersey raised its minimum wage and Pennsylvania didn’t. New Jersey saw a slight increase in employment. Supporters of the minimum wage have proclaimed this to be “the perfect experiment” (ignoring perfect experiments that don’t support their theory). But it’s not. No matter how well done the study was:

  • It’s one study.
  • It measured a relatively small increase in minimum wage.
  • It’s one study.
  • It didn’t look at long-term effects, such as whether people didn’t open new stores as a result of higher wages.
  • It’s one study.
  • It was done in 1992, when regulations were way less burdensome, the economy was in a strong recovery phase and Obamacare did not exist.
  • It’s one study.

The Fight for Fifteen people also cite this letter from “600 economists” supporting a minimum wage. There are only four problems with this seemingly bulletproof letter. One, some of the people on that letter are not economists. Two, most of them work in academia or other fields where they can just ask the government for more money; they’re not running businesses. Three, that letter advocates increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, not $15. I suspect that many of them would argue that while small wage increases do not affect unemployment, large ones do. Four, their conclusions are theoretical. This is real life.1

Let’s take a step back. As McArdle notes, long-term unemployment can have a damaging lifelong effect on earnings, way more than low entry-level wages do. So the Democrats have decided that they are willing to gamble the long-term futures of millions of people on a theory that the Law of Supply and Demand is magically suspended because … well because they want it to be. And even that theory is stretched. It’s mostly based on one paper for a small minimum wage increase in one specific circumstance. And they are extrapolating that to a massive increase.

In the space of one hundred and seventy six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over a mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oölitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-pole. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo [Illinois] and New Orleans will have joined their streets together and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact. – Mark Twain

This isn’t trivial. This is people’s lives. I’m glad the liberals have a a study that makes them feel good about this. I’m sure that will be comfort to people who can’t find even the most basic entry-level jobs or people who lose their jobs to automation. Maybe they can print copies of the study and burn it to keep themselves warm. Back in reality, let’s check in with those crazy right wing hacks at … Brookings:

In a city like Washington D.C. where unemployment among those with a high school education or less is at a worrisome 15%, jobless rates will almost certainly rise. Many employers will be very reluctant to pay high wages to workers whose skills – including the ability to speak English, in the case of many immigrants – are so modest. A likely result would be not only increases in unemployment but also drops in formal labor force activity (where workers work or search for legal jobs) and perhaps some growth in undocumented work among immigrants.

It’s actually worse in California because they are raising the minimum wage in the entire state. Cities that are in economic turmoil with high unemployment? $15 an hour. Suburbs where the unemployment rate is low? $15 an hour. Minority neighborhoods were unemployment rates for young men can be as high as 50%? $15 an hour.

This isn’t some kind of fancy-schmancy rocket science here. This is math. You simply can not increase wages by 50-100% and not expect there to be an effect. The AEI has now looked at Seattle’s labor market after their big minimum wage hike. Now, granted, it’s only nine months and there are reasons to be skeptical. But the preliminary result is devastating. A full point increase in the unemployment rate.

And let’s suppose, for the moment, that this doesn’t increase unemployment. The money has to come from somewhere. People running business aren’t sitting on giant stacks of money that we can just force them to pay to their employees. So what are they going to do? Increase prices. And what kinds of businesses pay minimum wage? Is it fancy-pants restaurants in Beverly Hills? Is it software companies in Silicon Valley? No. It’s McDonalds. It’s Walmart. It’s Burger King. What do these businesses have in common? They are frequently the choice of the poor and middle class. So we’re going to give them higher wages with one hand and take it away with higher prices on the other. So why bother? Stick a pin in that question.

One frequent justification for raising the minimum wage is that low-wage workers are often eligible for food stamps and Medicaid. However, the eligibility for those programs was expanded specifically to benefit low-wage workers. You can’t expand a social program and then claim that the expansion of the social program proves you need to raise wages. On balance, having workers make less wages but get government benefits is better than having them make marginally higher wages. Because it means less unemployment. It is effectively a government subsidy of the lowest rungs on the economic ladder. Yes, I wish the government just stayed out of the whole thing. But we don’t live in that country.

Now, what is the real motivation here? Why are liberals so hell bent on raising the minimum wage? Why are unions members, who generally don’t make anywhere close to the minimum wage, so supportive of such massive increase? Well, mainly because it will increase union wages, which are frequently indexed to minimum wage.

When you see it from that angle, you see what’s really going on here. Labor unions are limited in their ability to demand more wages by the give-and-take of negotiation and by the constraints of what the market will pay for their products. What this is really about is forcing unionizing businesses to pay much higher wages through the back door (and remember, the Democrats are big supporters of card check, which would make it easier to coerce employees into unions).

So when you really break this down, it comes to this: the Democrats are screwing over the poor, screwing over the working class, screwing over the consumer and screwing over businesses so that their primary source of support — labor unions — can enjoy the benefits. And they are basing this on fuzzy-minded idealism, one-study-wonders and a media that can’t be bothered to question the narrative.

And in five years, California — already enjoying one of the highest unemployment rates and inequality indices in the nation — will be wondering where it all went wrong. They’ll probably blame Republicans. I’m sure there’s one or two left in the legislature they can pin it on.

1. Another point: the Democrats are proclaiming that if the minimum wage were equal to what it was in 1968, it would be $10.66 an hour. They pick that year because it was a peak in minimum wage, a peak way higher than any year before or after. It was right after a huge increase that was enacted to deal with inflation that our government was deliberately creating. These are the same liberals who mock global warming skeptics for saying there has been no warming since 1998 — a huge isolated peak in global temperatures cause by a powerful El Nino. Again: it’s not cherry-picking data that liberals object to; it’s someone else cherry-picking data.

The Secrecy State

The WaPo has a very good rundown of the Clinton e-mail scandal. I don’t think anything will come of this legally. It is a long-established principle that there is one rule for us plebs and one rule for the elites. But it’s a good breakdown of how she potentially compromised national security in order to keep her communications secretive.

Hard to blame her thought. After all, her boss has turned out to be one of the least transparent administrations ever