Sweden. Is it the socialist heaven Democrats believe?

Democrat “socialists” tell us that they don’t want Venezuelan socialism, but the kinder, gentler Swedish socialism. So let’s look at Sweden.

As of August 2018, the population of Sweden was estimated to be 10.2 million people making it the 90th most populous country in the world. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the Los Angeles Metropolitan region’s population was estimated to be over 17.8 million residents. So Sweden is less populated than the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, and by a lot.

The United States has an area of 3,531,905 square miles (the Los Angeles metropolitan area with nearly twice the population of Sweden has a total area of 4,850 square miles). Sweden has an area of 173,860 square miles. So Los Angeles alone has a far greater population in 3% of the area.

In terms of “diversity” of their population, Swedes are primarily Scandinavians of Germanic origin. The remaining 12% of the population is comprised of foreign-born or first-generation immigrants, including Finns in the north, Yugoslavs, Danes, Norwegians, Greeks, and Turks (i.e., they are nearly all Europeans). The United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world. Today, more than 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country, accounting for about one-fifth of the world’s migrants in 2016. The population of immigrants is also very diverse, with just about every country in the world represented among U.S. immigrants.

Swedish is the official language and is spoken by the vast majority of the 10 million inhabitants of the country. Five national minority languages are also recognized by Swedish law. By contrast, at least 350 languages are spoken in the United States.

In the United States, the average household net adjusted disposable income per capita is $44,049 a year. In Sweden, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is $30,553 a year. Admittedly, getting accurate comparisons is difficult, so please look at the graph in the footnote. This graph states it is “equivalised.” Still, the US is 8 rungs up the ladder from Sweden. (And, do not fail to note that our “evil capitalism” income surpasses “kinder and gentler socialism” by 44%.)

So comparing the US with Sweden makes the old “apples/oranges” saying ridiculous.

[Source: Sweden’s Success Came From Rejecting, Not Embracing, Socialism, by Daniel J. McLaughlin]

The USA and Sweden are clearly not comparable nations. There is no reason to presume that policies governing a small, homogeneous population will be applicable to a large, diverse population. But even granting that aspect to my argument, is the gospel according to Chuck, Nancy, and Alexandria accurate about “Swedish democratic socialism?”

Let’s take a look (Mr. McLaughlin data comes from a documentary by Johann Norberg which summarizes the history of Swedish socialism):

  • Before Sweden became socialist, it had a small government and relatively low taxes.
  • In 1970 it was the fourth richest country in the world.
  • Socialism then gained a strong foothold, and more of the economy was socialized.
  • By 1994 it had fallen to the 14th richest country.
  • There had been no net new private-sector jobs created.

In a mere 20 years the economy was in turmoil. Hugo Chavez took over Venezuela in 1999. Hmm! Twenty years ago!

What to do? What to do? Here’s what the Swedes did:

  • The tide turned, the socialist idea was rejected, and reforms were enacted.
  • They partially privatized the pension system.
  • They enacted school vouchers.
  • They systematically lowered taxes.

Admittedly, Sweden still has a large welfare state (presumably the Democrat notion of “kinder and gentler socialism”). To support this large welfare state, the tax-to-GDP ratio in Sweden is 44.0%Current U.S. government spending is $4.407 trillion (that’s the federal budget for the fiscal year 2019). It’s 21 percent of the gross domestic product.

So the questions are:

  • Should we more than double the size of our federal government to provide the Democrat socialist wish list?
  • Do you believe that the government providing health care will be better than today’s system (already rife with government interference)? (If you answered “yes” you should read about the largest government run health care program – the Veterans Administration Hospitals – and how their patients fared.) The two states (Colorado and Vermont) that tried to do it dropped it.
  • Do you believe that state funding of colleges will improve education? While the student cost will go down, do you believe overall education costs will go down? Are you willing to pay for your neighbor’s child to go to Harvard?

I personally believe that Big Government is bad government – it’s axiomatic. But I’ll make a deal with all of my Democrat Socialist friends. You can have your wish list (annual cost of $5 trillion) if you will also pass the flat tax (i.e., everyone will pay proportionately for the wish list) and not falsely proclaim that the money is available by taxing only “the rich.” Any takers?

Roy Filly

Footnote:

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Homelessness. The real problem.

Somewhere in the range of 25-40% of homeless individuals are mentally ill. The significant majority of these have a serious mental illness.

In the 1960s and 70s the US undertook a massive “deinstitutionalization” of the mentally ill (at least, that was the term employed). Soon thereafter we saw the rise in homeless people on the streets.

Such mentally ill homeless individuals contribute to violence and drug abuse. (There are also strong indications that the dramatic rise in violent crime during the 1980s and 1990s was, in large part, an effect of deinstitutionalization and the massive influx of individuals with untreated mental illness back into their communities if not on the streets.) Street drugs are a form of “self-medication.” Indeed, “self medication” is one of the leading theories of drug abuse. Importantly, this process not only contributed to our homeless crisis, it also harmed virtually all mentally ill individuals.

There were a variety of reasons for the “deinstitutionalization” of the mentally ill and I am not suggesting that all were wrong-minded.

[Source: How Mass Deinstitutionalization Harmed the Mentally Ill, by Amy Swearer]

The catalysts for the mass removal of the seriously mentally ill from inpatient facilities were multiple. As a medical student in the 1960s I and my fellow students were required to go to our large state psychiatric hospital during our psychiatry rotations. To say that the conditions I observed were abysmal would not be an understatement. To look for treatment options under more humane conditions seemed obvious.

[Directly from the Swearer article] Second, a general trend in the medical profession toward promotion of community-based treatment centers coincided with development of promising psychiatric medications that led many professionals to reconsider the possibility of successfully managing mental illness outside institutional settings.

Third, the establishment of Medicaid in 1965 de facto encouraged states to eliminate public psychiatric beds by prohibiting states from using federal money to pay for adult inpatient psychiatric care and promising additional money for each patient moved to outpatient care…

Finally, beginning in the 1970s, the Supreme Court issued a series of opinions that made it harder for states to civilly commit even the most clearly mentally ill individuals, and also made it easier for those individuals to refuse treatment even when civilly committed.

Beside the obvious problems we can now see in hindsight (or by walking the streets of San Francisco or New York), another insidious problem arose. The number of available public psychiatric beds in the U.S. fell by 95 percent. In other words, a reversal of the negative effects of “deinstitutionalization” is all but impossible.

Thus, these policies not only contributed mightily to our homeless crisis they also hurt mentally ill persons seeking inpatient treatment. Policy experts, in the majority, tell us that each state should provide a minimum of 40 to 60 psychiatric beds per 100,000 people to meet community needs. But in 2016 the average state provided fewer than 12 beds per 100,000 people.

As the large state-supported psychiatric hospitals closed one after the other the mental health spending by each state also decreased. Between 2009 and 2012 (well after the events described above) states further reduced their mental health budgets by $4.35 billion.

The mass-scale “deinstitutionalization” started with good intentions. But the so-called community-based alternatives simply did not exist and the states never created the necessary alternatives. The results are what we see (and smell) in our community. The responsibility to deal with this aftermath has, unfortunately, fallen to law enforcement officers rather than mental health experts.

Please read Ms. Swearer’s article in its entirety. It is far more detailed than this brief recounting.

Roy Filly

 

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Do voter ID laws suppress minority voting?

Whenever anyone suggests a voter ID law, the leftists cry foul! Requiring a valid identification card in order to cast a ballot equals racism and “voter suppression” in their view.

It doesn’t matter that voter ID laws have been held to be Constitutional by the Supreme Court (what do they know). It doesn’t matter that American citizens overwhelming support such laws (what do they know). It doesn’t even matter that low income racial minorities support such laws (in this particular instance, they can’t say “what do they know” because it would mean they are racists).

Indeed, Georgia became one of the first states in the nation to demand a photo ID at the ballot box. Leftists called the law “a Jim Crow-era tactic.” So what happened? Turnout among black and Hispanic voters increased from 2006 to 2010, dramatically outpacing population growth for those groups over the same periodTherefore, if voter ID laws are meant to suppress minority voters they are a miserable failure.

[Source: ‘Suppression,’ Debunked: Study Concludes Voter ID Laws Do Not Depress Voter Turnout, by Guy Benson]

But, say you, one example is hardly proof. Indeed, answer I, more evidence is required.

The National Bureau of Economic Research has concluded a study that shows quite the opposite of the leftist views on voter ID laws:

  • Ten states (from Georgia to Wisconsin) require voters to show ID in order to vote.
  • The voter ID requirements are strict
  • Seven of the ten states require a photo ID.
  • An additional 25 states “request” that voters display ID, but may still permit them to vote on a provision ballot if they cannot.

So, this constitutes a relatively large sample regarding the effects of any potential “voter suppression” caused by voter ID laws. (Drum roll, please) and the results were:

  • Regardless of sex, race, Hispanic identity, or party affiliation strict voter ID laws do not suppress voter turnout.

The paper concludes that “Strict (voter) ID laws have no significant negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any subgroup defined by age, gender, race, or party affiliation.” And most importantly they conclude that strict ID laws do not decrease the participation of ethnic minorities relative to whites.” The results were the same regardless of whether the election was a midterm or presidential election.

Importantly, voter ID laws alone are insufficient to prevent fraudulent and unlawful voting.  However, they are an excellent starting point that appears to have none of the negative effects proclaimed by leftists. Other areas of concern for fraudulent voting have been improper voter registration processes, failure to keep voter rolls up-to-date, chain of custody in absentee and mail-in votes – and, most recently, so-called “ballot harvesting.

And thanks to HP for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

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Deficits.

In my last missive, I wrote that it is possible to balance the budget with even modest spending restraint. Of course, I am not so naive to believe that our federal government will exercise such restraint. Which ultimately brings us to a discussion of deficits, since we will undoubtedly be seeing them for some time to come.

[Source: The Trillion-Dollar Myth, by Stephen Moore]

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is forecasting trillion-dollar budget deficits for years to come. But is their fiscal forecast likely to be true? While I would personally prefer a balanced budget, at the very least, I’d like to see accurate predictions of what the deficits are likely to be.

The CBO does not look at taxes the way businesses, workers and financial markets react to changes in tax rates. The CBO forecasts that the result of the Trump tax cuts will lead to trillion-dollar deficits annually for the next decade. But here lies the rub – the deficit forecast without the tax cuts would effectively be the same.

I know that each side of the aisle has claimed that the deficits were the other guy’s fault. Obama blamed Bush and now I am going to blame Obama. [Directly from the Moore article] Trump didn’t create $1 trillion deficits; he inherited them from the grand maestro of debt spending, Barack Obama. President Obama invented and then perfected the concept of 13-digit borrowing. His deficits in his first term reached $1.5 trillion — an Olympic record of fiscal recklessness.

You may criticize me for adopting Moore’s claim, but what you cannot criticize is the fact that Democrats who supported the Obama policies that led to our debt rising from about $11 trillion to almost $20 trillion are now in a swoon over… you guessed it… deficit spending? I am criticizing Democrats for that hypocrisy, but the inexcusable omnibus spending bill was a bipartisan raid of the federal cookie jar.

It is also true that approximately $1 trillion of the deficit over the next 10 years is due to Trump’s tax cut. However, that trillion dollars of lost revenue is lost from $40 trillion of expected revenue. That is hardly a major revenue drain. (Leftist groups have inflated the sum claiming that the tax cut will add $3-5 trillion to the debt.)

Here are some things to question in the CBO estimates:

  • CBO claims that the economy will only grow at 1.9 percent annually for the next decade.
  • At the start of the Trump presidency they predicted 1.8 percent growth.
  • However, GDP growth averaged 1.95 percent annually under Obama and his policies were almost universally anti-growth.

Whether you like President Trump or hate him, it is unambiguous that he is focused on attaining 3% GDP growth. His method uses lower tax rates, decreasing regulation, promoting energy and mineral development, reforming welfare and renegotiating trade policy. Thus far in 2018 (first year of his tax cuts) he achieved 3.3% growth in quarters 1 through 3 (Q4 has not been published) compared to 2% GDP growth in the last 3 quarters of the Obama presidency.

As stated above, economic forecasts are not predicting 3% GDP growth. But, let’s assume Trump is successful and achieves 3% growth. Here is what would happen to the CBO estimates based on 3 percent growth rather than 1.9% growth. One way to look at it is the debt-to-GDP ratio. Rather than rising to a nasty ratio of 150 percent in 20 years, that ratio actually falls to about 50 percent.

To get some idea about these numbers from an historic perspective, the United States had a debt-to-GDP ratio of 104.17 percent in 2015 and 105.4 percent in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Public Debt. The U.S. experienced its highest debt-to-GDP ratio in 1946 at 121.7 percent at the end of World War II, and its lowest in 1974 at 31.7 percent.

The CBO’s models begin with the firm conviction that President Trump’s policies won’t work. So why would we be surprised with a conclusion that says Trump’s policies won’t work.

To reiterate, I DO NOT LIKE DEFICITS, but as I have not been made King of the USA we are stuck with deficits. It would be nice to have more accurate forecasts than we have been getting. And it would be nice if Washington promoted pro-growth policies that could markedly change the future of US debt.

Roy Filly

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Is it possible to balance our federal budget?

With trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see is it possible to balance the federal budget? Well, say you, we must cut spending dramatically. I like that idea but let’s face it… never gonna happen. We could raise taxes. We could, but that always has resulted in even greater spending and larger deficits (e.g., Barack Hussein Obama).

Is there any conceivable way to balance our budget without reducing the size of government or levying higher taxes? The answer is that there is an answer. But before we get to the answer we need to decide on one fact. Despite my pleas to make government smaller, we have a large government. We need to decide how BIG a BIG GOVERNMENT we want.

[Source: New Data Confirm That Spending Restraint Is The Ideal Way Of Balancing The Budget, by Daniel J. Mitchell]

I remember when Bill Clinton said in his 1996 State of the Union address that “the era of big government is over.” We may rightly assume that the government was “big” when he said that. So was the size of government when Clinton’s tenure was over “big enough?” Certainly, we hear Democrats extolling the greatness of government under Bill Clinton and wishing for a return under his wife.

So let’s freeze the size of the government at the size where Slick Willy told it it was already TOO BIG (graph below). At that time Clinton left office our BIG GOVERNMENT (actually “too big government”) cost us around $2 trillion per annum. The CBO estimates federal revenue to be $3.422 trillion for Fiscal Year 2019 (with the Trump tax cuts). We would already have a huge budget surplus (instead of a trillion dollar deficit).

 

Well, say you, we can’t go back to 2000. There’s inflation and population growth to consider. Right you are. So let’s toss that in. The graph below shows that had we continued BIG GOVERNMENT (as defined by Slick Willy) through the Bush and Obama presidencies, but tossing in inflation and population growth and growing the size of the federal government proportionally, we would have had a surplus 6 years ago without increasing taxes or “decreasing” the size of government (and a trillion dollar surplus NEXT YEAR).

 

No, no, no! We can’t use BIG GOVERNMENT as defined by Bill Clinton, argue you. We had 9/11. We have wars. Okay. Then let’s make the assumption that Obama’s government was “big enough.” Obama spent around $3.5 trillion annually. That’s 75% bigger government than when Clinton said “the era of big government” was over. So that’s pretty big.

No. Wait! Let’s just start today with the massive size of our government (planning $4.5 trillion in expenditures). And let’s grow the government at 1%, 2%, or 2,5% – because we still have inflation (population growth is at an 80-year low).

Looking at the graph above and applying modest spending restraint we can have a budget surplus in 10 years WITHOUT RAISING TAXES. If we stay on “autopilot spending” our national debt will be upwards of $31 trillion.

Amazing, isn’t it! First, however, we have to decide how BIG our government needs to be. Personally, our current $4.5 trillion-sized government seems pretty BIG. But don’t hold your breath that we’ll see “spending restraint.” (The Democrats are proposing an addition $5 trillion per year in spending, and their just getting started.)

(And as a final aside, don’t you love it when the government spends $1 billion for something this year and proposes spending $2 billion next year but instead spends $1.5 billion – $500 million MORE – but assures us that it actually was a “$500 million budget CUT!”)

Roy Filly

 

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The Polar Vortex and the Global Warming Alarmists.

I find it astounding that the global warming alarmists can bend any event into a call to arms. The recent Polar Vortex that caused severe cold though a vast segment of our nation was blamed on man-caused COemissions.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas. There is no argument about that. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (most prevalent is water vapor) act like a blanket, absorbing infrared radiation and preventing it from escaping into outer space. The net effect is the gradual heating of Earth’s atmosphere and surface, a process known as global warming. Yet we are told that this effect also causes freezing temperatures.

The relevant issue, from my perspective, is that devising a climate change “theory” is much easier than presenting data to show that it is false. The latter requires lots of data gathered over long periods of time. Well, in this particular case we happen to have lots of data gathered over a long period of time.

[Source: If the Polar Vortex is due to Global Warming, Why are U.S. Cold Waves Decreasing? By Roy W. Spencer, PhD]

Polar Vortices are not new. A Polar Vortex is a cyclonic flow around a cold air mass that generally covers only the Arctic, Canada, and Northern Asia during winter months. Occasionally it creeps southward and affects our northern states.

The southern creep into our nation has been recorded from time to time as long as we have been keeping weather records. The record is long, extending back into the 1800s, and significantly predates a time before anyone could claim that man-caused CO2 emissions influenced our climate.

However, this natural process used to be called “bad weather.” Suddenly, it acquired a new appellation – “climate change.” The one thing upon which we can always count is that some alarmist or another will concoct a reason why a severe weather event represents a permanent change in our climate that is caused by increased CO2 emissions.

[Directly from Dr. Spencer’s article] Enter the theory that decreasing wintertime sea ice cover in the Arctic (down about 15% over the last 40 years) has tended to displace the polar vortex in the general direction of southern Canuckistan and Yankeeland.

In other words, as the theory goes, global warming sometimes causes colder winters. This is what makes global warming theory so marvelously adaptable — it can explain anything.

Below is a graph of U.S. winter cold waves since the late 1800s. Results are grouped by region (a cold wave is deemed to last between 2 and 5 days). The plot does not support the claim that decreasing Arctic sea ice in recent decades is causing more frequent cold air masses to descend into the northern United States (data through the winter of 2017-18).

Indeed, the trend is markedly downward in the most recent 40 years (since 1979) which is the earliest we have reliable measurements of Arctic sea ice from satellite microwave radiometers. (Dr. Spencer is an expert on satellite microwave radiometer readings.)

It is hard to buy the notion that polar vortices are more common because polar ice has diminished in recent decades. Sorry global warming alarmists.

And thanks to HP for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

 

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Judges blocking the Trump agenda.

We keep seeing headlines that one or another judge has blocked various actions of the Trump administration. However, haven’t judges been doing this throughout our history. Is there any evidence that the Trump administration has been treated less fairly than other recent (or older) administrations? You bet there is!

[Source: Federal District Judges Have Blocked Trump Actions 30 Times, a Record Rate, by Fred Lucas]

It turns out that the Justice Department keeps records on how often federal judges block an administration effort. Importantly, a Federal District Judge only presides over a portion of a single state – so not exactly a Supreme Court Justice. Nonetheless, federal district judges have blocked President Donald Trump’s actions 30 times through nationwide injunctions—far more than any other administration in history.

The Trump administration’s Justice Department wants to put an end to federal district judges making rules for the entire nation. Rather the injunction would only apply to their particular district. The Democrats cry “FOUL!” (except when it is pointed out the Obama administration made a similar argument). (Footnote.)

“The core problem, in other words, is not so much the geographic scope of the injunction, but its reach far beyond the confines of the case or controversy before the court,” Beth Williams, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy. “Injunctive relief should be no broader than necessary to provide complete relief to the party,” Williams said. Many of the lawsuits were filed in district courts that put the cases on track to be heard in the liberal U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, because, Williams added, such rulings “invites unvarnished judge-shopping.”

Well, say you, changing this goes against the history of our great nation. Au contraire, mon ami, say I. Until 1963, no court had issued national injunctions. Indeed, such rulings didn’t become remotely routine until the 1980s. (Our nation was already more than 200 years old).

Let’s look at the Trump administration compared to other recent Presidents. Average annual number of nationwide injunctions:

  • Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush = 1.5.
  • Barack Obama = 2.5
  • Trump’s 30 injunctions match the total for the first 42 of the 45 presidents so far in American history.

Unfortunately, a nationwide injunction allows a single judge to stop or change a policy throughout our entire nation. A single litigant ANYWHERE that sues and wins ONE TIME can affect 316 million Americans. Conversely, our government must WIN EVERYWHERE.

Does that sound right to you?

Roy Filly

Footnote:

  1. The Obama Justice Department had argued: “A trial court abuses its discretion by fashioning an injunction, which is overly broad.”
  2. House Republicans last year proposed legislation called the Injunctive Authority Clarification Act, which would put limits on nationwide injunctions.
  3. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a concurring opinion that “universal injunctions are legally and historically dubious.”
  4. Justice Neil Gorsuch  discussed a “troubling rise of [the] nationwide injunction, cosmic injunction … not limited to relief for the parties at issue or even a class action.”
  5. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the 2016 redistricting decision Cooper v. Harris that when federal district courts impose national injunctions, it “invites the losers to seek to obtain in court what they could not achieve in the political arena.”
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The leftists want a “wealth tax.”

The Christian says “What is mine, is yours” while the socialist says “What is yours, is mine!”

Winston Churchill

Leftists (now essentially “socialists”) have never met a tax they didn’t like. This has been true for decades, thus they find it necessary these days to tax things that have already been taxed once or twice.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • The capital gains tax. (The corporation has already been taxed and, as well, the tax payer is also taxed on inflation – the cruelest tax – of the asset.)
  • The estate tax. (At least triple taxation)
  • Income tax on Social Security distributions (Is it a “payroll tax?” Then why is it taxed as income when distributed, as well?)

However, yet another double tax will be the 3% “wealth tax” (this would be atop a new tax rate of 70% on income over $10 million) should the leftists find a way to pass these taxes through Congress. I read an interesting article on what this would mean when, for example, it is applied to the nation’s wealthiest man – Jeff Bezos.

If we listens to Mayor de Blasio (NYC) we learn that “There is plenty of money out there. It is just in the wrong hands.” Of course, it goes without saying that his and other leftists’ “hands” are the “right hands.”

[Source: 70 Percent Income Tax, 3 Percent Wealth Tax, by Hank Adler]

Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have suggested a 3% wealth tax on billionaires to fund new “give-away” programs (free college, federal jobs guarantee, “Medicare-for-all,” etc).

[Directly from the Adler article – I am not a tax accountant and cannot independently vouch for Mr. Adler’s accuracy] Mr. Bezos is believed to be worth about $150 billion with about $131.8 billion being the trading value of his Amazon stock. Focusing exclusively on his $131.8 billion of Amazon stock, he would need about $3.95 billion to pay his first year’s wealth tax… For this example, I am going to make Mr. Bezos a California taxpayer… to obtain $3.95 billion after his state (13%) and federal taxes (70%), he would need… $23.23 billion. The $23.23 billion… would result in state and federal income taxes of about $19.28 billion leaving him with $3.95 billion to pay his wealth tax… (To obtain) $23.23 billion… would require a sale of almost 20% of his shares in Amazon. With an annual wealth tax, he would be required to annually sell 20% of his Amazon shares until he was no longer a billionaire… in essence, the combined Warren/Cortez plan would annually take away almost 20% of Mr. Bezos’s assets in taxes as he sold stock to pay the wealth tax. In just a few short years, the combination of the 70% income tax and the 3% wealth tax would confiscate most of his wealth.

If Mr. Bezos had to divest himself that aggressively in order to pay his wealth tax it would likely have a profound effect on the price of Amazon shares. Pension funds, jobs and salaries at Amazon, etc. would be significantly impacted.

Then, we need to do the same computation for Gates, Zuckerberg, Ellison, Buffet, the Koch brothers, the Waltons, Bloomberg and on and on… And when their wealth is gone how do we pay for the next year’s installment of the Democrat Socialist wish list? To implement the Democrat Socialist wish list, Uncle Sam would end up spending nearly $5 trillion on new programs every year. That doesn’t include current spending of $4.4 trillion. [Over the next decade – green-energy initiative ($7–$10 trillion)single-payer health care ($32 trillion), a federal jobs guarantee ($6.8 trillion), student-loan forgiveness ($1.4 trillion), free public college ($800 billion), infrastructure ($1 trillion), family leave ($270 billion), and Social Security expansion ($188 billion).]

Venezuela here we come!

Roy Filly

 

 

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Anyone with a brain knows that border walls work!

It isn’t as though the Democrats are unaware that border walls work. Their opposition is solely based on their desire to see our President fail at any cost (unless, of course, the cost is to them).

[Source: Walls Work, by Deroy Murdock]

If we listen to Nancy Pelosi, President Trump’s would “force American taxpayers to waste billions of dollars on an expensive and ineffective wall.” Chuck Schumer decries Trump’s folly as an “ineffective, unnecessary border wall.”

But here’s the thing: WALLS WORK. The data is indisputable. I have already shared the effectiveness of the Israeli wall. Guess what happened before the precipitous decline?

 

As well, other nations have used border walls to great effect:

  • Bulgaria erected a barrier on its Turkish perimeter in 2013. That year’s 11,000 illegal crossings dropped to 4,000 in 2014 — down 63.6 percent.
  • Just as British Gibraltar dangles from Spain’s underside, Spanish Ceuta and Melilla surf atop Morocco. Multiple fences and barriers there sliced 2014’s 2,100 arrests at the Spanish-territorial/Moroccan frontier to 2015’s 100 — down 95.2 percent.

Okay, say you. Perhaps they work in Israel, but we have border walls (barriers). Do they work? Indeed, they do answer I [Directly form the Murdock article]:

  • “Part of our area is covered with some fencing on our east side. That accounts for about 6 percent of our traffic,” Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz told journalists during President Trump’s January 10 visit to Rio Grande Valley, Texas. “Where we have no fencing, over 90 percent of our traffic occurs in those areas.
  • A day earlier, Ortiz added, 450 people were apprehended in the unfenced sector, including 133 from such non-Latin nations as India, Pakistan, and Romania.
  • Some 560,000 illegals were caught astride San Diego and Tijuana in Fiscal Year 1992, when a border wall was installed there. By FY 2017, the Border Patrol says it snared 26,086 — down 95.3 percent.
  • A barrier between the Tucson, Ariz., sector and Nogales, Mexico, was erected in 2000. That year’s 616,346 arrests plunged to 38,657 in FY 2017 — down 93.7 percent.
  • A fence installed at the border between Yuma, Arizona, and Los Algondones, Mexico brought apprehensions from 138,438 in FY 2005 to 12,847 in FY 2017 —down 90.7 percent. (“Crime has significantly decreased in the Yuma area,” then–acting homeland security secretary Elaine Duke wrote in USA Today in August 2017, “and smugglers now look for other less difficult areas of the border to cross — often areas without fencing.”)

There are numerous examples of leading Democrats shifting their attitude toward border barriers since 2005. Why did they change their minds? I doubt it was the above statistics.

Interestingly, a Reuter/Ipsos poll found that one only needed to preface any question with “Trump supports a policy” to immediately turn Democrats against it. The most amazing example was that in ordinary polls 68 percent of Democrats support universal health care and the government should pay for it. However, when told that Trump believes this only 47 percent supported government guaranteed health care — a 21-point drop. 

Walls work. Everyone knows it. But the Trump Derangement Syndrome prevents congressional democrats from considering even minuscule funding for the project. How sad is that!

And thanks to HKG for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

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Taxation for behavior modification. Stupid in the extreme.

Leftists want you to behave the way they see fit. They want you to subscribe to their vision of “goodness.” And they are fully prepared to use government force to achieve their aims. Nothing is a better example of this than so-called “sin taxes.” Their latest foray has been to eliminate sugary beverages.

[Source: Philadelphia’s Soda Tax Backfired (For Everyone Other Than Politicians), by Daniel J. Mitchell]

Several leading academic centers have recently taken a look at the success of “soda taxes.” Importantly, these were strongly leftist universities (Stanford, Northwestern, and the University of Minnesota). Thus, if there was any bias it was toward showing how effective this mechanism is. The results were a right hook to the jaw of do-gooder leftists.

The research focused on Philadelphia’s new and quite hefty soda tax.

[Directly form the abstract of the research paper] We analyze the impact of a tax on sweetened beverages, often referred to as a “soda tax,” using a unique data-set of prices, quantities sold and nutritional information across several thousand taxed and untaxed beverages for a large set of stores in Philadelphia and its surrounding area. We find that the tax is passed through at a rate of 75-115%, leading to a 30-40% price increase. Demand in the taxed area decreases dramatically by 42% in response to the tax. There is no significant substitution to untaxed beverages (water and natural juices), but cross-shopping at stores outside of Philadelphia completely offsets the reduction in sales within the taxed area. As a consequence, we find no significant reduction in calorie and sugar intake.

An evaluation of the results:

  • The tax was ineffective at reducing consumption.
  • In terms of revenue generation, the tax was only partly effective due to consumers shopping in stores outside of Philadelphia.
  • Low income households are less likely to engage in cross-shopping. They can’t as easily “shop elsewhere” and thus must continue to purchase the taxed products at the higher price (i.e., the tax hurts the poorest members of the community).
  • The tax did not shift consumption towards healthier products.

Ergo, the effort to use taxation as a cudgel to force Americans to “do what I say” was a dismal failure. Will leftists ever learn?

Roy Filly

 

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