Let’s talk about income “inequality.”

Income “inequality” has been a favored issue on The Rugged Individualist. You can find several of my prior posts in the footnote 1.

Ask any leftist and they will tell you that the USA needs to be more like Europe. They seem to forget that we fought the Revolutionary War to untether ourselves from Europe. When you ask them whether Europe or the USA has more “income inequality” their answer will be a resounding “USA.” Too bad they are wrong AGAIN.

[Source: How Income Equality Helped Trump. Working Americans sense that taxes and transfers now leave them little better off than those who work less. By Phil Gramm and Robert B. Ekelund Jr.]

Further you can bet that during this election cycle every leftist candidate will again spew this political drivel. However, they will have a tough row to hoe because the Cato Institute’s John F. Early, a former assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just published the most comprehensive accounting to date of how taxes and government payments affect income distribution in the U.S. (approximately $1 trillion of annual government spending, not currently counted in the U.S. Census Bureau’s income-distribution tables, markedly effects “equality of income” in the USA).

The Cato study found that among the bottom 60% of income earners, income differences are materially less and poverty rates are a fraction of those previously quoted by the lame-stream media. In order to get a grasp of reality it was necessary for the researchers to:

  • include Medicaid, food stamps, the earned-income tax credit, and 85 other federal payments and services,
  • include state and local income supplements,
  • subtract federal, state and local taxes from individuals’ measured income (the census data does not account for these).

Once this is done one instead finds “an astonishing degree of equality among the bottom 60% of American earners,” generated by the explosion of social-welfare spending under the Obama administration. Among hard working Americans in these groups, they can see with their own eyes that their hard work leaves them little better off than the growing number of recipients of government transfers. They perceive injustice in this and appropriately so. But the injustice is exactly the opposite of what is touted by leftists.

[Directly from the Gramm/Ekelund article] The bottom quintile earned 2.2% of all earned income in 2013, but after adjusting for taxes and transfer payments, its share of spendable income rose to 12.9%—six times its proportion of earnings. The second quintile’s share more than doubled, rising from 7% of earned income to 13.9% of spendable income. For the third quintile, middle-income Americans, the increase was much smaller, from 12.6% to 15.4%.

Not surprisingly, high earners lost a considerable share of their earnings after taxes and transfers are taken into account. The fourth quintile’s share fell from 20.5% to 18.6%, while the top quintile dropped from 57.7% of earnings to 39.3% of consumable income. In other words, the top quintile’s share of earnings was 26 times that of the bottom quintile, but after taxes and transfer payments its share of spendable income was only three times as much.

See if this kind of “equality” computes. If one looks at the bottom three quintiles:

  • the bottom quintile (0-20% of earned income) earned only 2.2% of all earned income
  • lower-middle-income workers (20-40% of earned income) earned more than three times the share of income but also worked two and one half times more (comparing each quintiles number of full-time workers)
  • however, they had virtually the same share of spendable income (12.9% versus 13.9%)

Let’s do the same computation for the true “middle class” (workers in the 40-60% of earned income):

  • these workers earned almost six times the share of income as the bottom quintile and worked almost four times as much (again, comparing each quintiles number of full-time workers)
  • but they enjoyed only about 20% more spendable income (12.9% compared to 15.4%)

That is TRUE income inequality if you ask me. But it is actually much worse than that. The lower-middle-income quintile (20-40% of earned income) had almost four times as many working-age families whose members worked two or more jobs compared to the bottom quintile! The middle-income quintile (40-60% of earned income) had seven times as many families with members working two or more jobs compared to the bottom quintile!

My friend and frequent contributor of excellent data for my posts (HP) gleaned a few more remarkable conclusions from the Cato study:

  • As measured by the CBO, government intervention with transfer payments and taxes has cut the difference between the top and bottom quintiles by a factor of five.
  • Government redistribution eliminated 88.5 percent of the ratio between the highest and lowest income quintiles.
  • A household at any point in the income distribution for the United States will have higher income than a household at the corresponding point in other OECD countries – i.e. we have less income inequality than all of the major EU countries!
  • Missing transfer payments have caused poverty to be overstated fourfold.
  • Two-thirds of children reared in the lowest quintile escape to a higher one as adults, and two-thirds of children reared in the highest quintile drop to a lower one.

Only about 2 percent of the population – not 13.5 percent – live in poverty and it is important, as well, to understand what “poverty” means in the USA (footnote 2). Before leftists say the word “poverty” they need to speak to some of the citizens of the Central African Republic.

And thanks again to HP for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

Footnote 1:

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2017/12/04/income-inequality-the-1-percent-some-facts-and-myths/

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/hey-progressives-look-to-yourselves-re-income-inequality/

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/why-is-income-inequality-bad/

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/facts-for-the-income-inequality-debate-part-i/

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/income-inequality-part-ii/

Footnote 2: (these figures are from 2005)

 

 

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You can learn a lot from graphs.

Today it appears I have chosen a number of “Gee whiz”… and “Hmm!”… graphs. Here’s the first one. I doubt I will see the day, but one can certainly understand from where the interest in asteroid mining arises. Check those dollar figures – not millions, not billions, not trillions, not quadrillions, but QUINTILLIONS!!!! Davida alone is worth enough to hand every man, woman and child on Earth $3.4 million.

Think about when it was that the anti-gun lobby really geared up to limit guns in our society. To call their efforts a dismal failure would be kind!

I favor secure borders and The Wall. But this graph improves one’s perspective. Admittedly, “apprehensions” do not equal “illegal” border crossings. But, of course, they never did.

I think President Trump is correct about our border being too porous for drug smugglers. I couldn’t find accurate data on “seizures” versus drugs that got through to dealers, but probably a relatively small percentage is “seized.” (It is also true that most drugs come through our border in private vehicles through legal Ports of Entry carrying numerous but smaller kilogram amounts. The Wall won’t solve this particular problem.)

The graph below pretty much tells you that WE WILL GO BROKE. One doesn’t need a diploma from MIT to see the writing on this wall.

The actual dollar figures in the graph below are pretty spectacular but the percent of general fund expenditures is mind-boggling! Oakland spends 41% of its general fund on policing. But despite spending all of that money I can tell you, as a Bay Area resident, NEVER WALK IN EAST OAKLAND AT NIGHT! And, by the by, test your knowledge. How many of those cities are Democrat strongholds? How many have the strictest gun laws?

 

Roy Filly

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Finally, a plan to reorganize our federal government.

Let me begin with two brief statements. This will be my 2506th post. If all of that verbiage had any point at all it was that BIG GOVERNMENT IS BAD GOVERNMENT – IT’S AXIOMATIC! It is worse than “bad government;” it is moronic government. One example alone is sufficient to make my point. The FDA regulates cheese pizza but the USDA regulates pepperoni pizza (see footnote for three other hilarious examples).

One of the things that has dropped into background noise because the lame-stream media can’t report anything that isn’t an “outrage” is that in early 2017 President Trump issued an executive order to improve the structure of the federal government. And, guess what?The people at the Office of Management and Budget have been working assiduously to do what the President asked them to do. They have issued their 132-page report that seeks to combine the Education and Labor departments among 32 additional proposals.

[Source: Here’s How Trump Wants to Streamline Government, by Fred Lucas]

Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, lauded the report’s recommendations during a recent Cabinet meeting. The President and Mulvaney will be talking about the report over the ensuing weeks. Here is the reference for the report. It is far too comprehensive even to summarize here.

Let us all hope that something less idiotic will emerge from the effort. But what I can say with absolute certainty is that the lame-stream media will be “outraged” by every single sentence in those 132 pages – even the opening statement (When America’s Founders wrote the Constitution, they laid out a clear vision for the United States Government: to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty). Well… they probably will not be “outraged” by the word “welfare.”

Roy Filly

Footnote: Example 1: The USDA regulates chickens. However, when the chicken lays an egg it is regulated by the FDA. But, when you break the egg and put it in an omlette, the regulatory power returns to the USDA. Example 2: An open-face roast beef sandwich is regulated by the Department of Agriculture, but if you stick a layer of bread on top of it, it switches to FDA. Example 3: When a salmon is in the ocean, it is regulated by the Department of Commerce. When it swims into a fresh water river it is regulated by the Department of the Interior. However, on the way over a fish ladder in the very same river, it is regulated by the Corp of Engineers.

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Politics in cartoon form.

I do not know if you are as sick of all the press coverage about separating children from illegal immigrant parents at the border as I am, but the only comfort I can offer is some humor via cartoons.

However, the best one I heard was not a cartoon. “Officer, it is true that I was shoplifting. But it’s okay. I have my daughter with me.”

The Democreeps keep trying to tell the President not to enforce the law of the land. There must be another way tp solve this problem.

No matter how bloated their image of themselves, the lame-stream media is not Congress or the Executive Branch.

Not so funny, but have you heard a lot about this on CNN or MSNBC? I wonder if Kathryn Steinle’s Father would have been okay with the shooting death of his daughter if Jose Ines Garcia Zarate (he had already been deported five times) had crossed the border for the sixth time with a few children in tow?

And last, but not least…

Have a nice day!

Roy Filly

 

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The new FBI lexicon.

Us news junkies have been enthralled by the FBI Inspector General’s recent report on the Clinton email scandal. Director Comey, AG Loretta Lynch, Special Agent Andrew McCabe, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, and Special Agent Peter Strzok didn’t fare well. But one of the more interesting aspects of the revelations is the word modifications that were applied to various statements and publications during the investigation.

[Source: Scandals Sanitized With Linguistic Trickery, by Victor Davis Hanson]

The FBI hierarchy apparently are very good wordsmiths. They managed to hide serious crimes with clever turns of phrase. Let’s take a look.

The original phrase in the investigation into Hillary’s illegal email server said that she was “grossly negligent” (Footnote 1). When a prosecutor indicts an individual for violation of laws governing “the wrongful transmission of confidential government documents,” they use the phrase “grossly negligent.” In order to exonerate Hillary it was clear that the use of that phrase simply wouldn’t do. Therefore, Director Comey found it prudent to weaken the phrase “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.” That particular change essentially ensures that Hillary will not be charged with a crime. This enabled Comey to state that “no prosecutor would indict” Hillary (Footnote 2).

The investigation also concluded that foreign actors “likely” read her unsecured emails (the actual phrase was “reasonably likely”). Comey employed the new FBI translation function in his lexicon to substitute the more banal and vapid word, “possible.”

Further it was discovered that President Obama had improperly communicated with then Secretary Clinton over her illegal server when she was abroad. The FBI hid (at least tried to hide) Obama’s misconduct. What to do? What to do? Ah, yes. Let’s change “President Obama” to “another senior government official.”

General Lynch joined in the fun. She ordered Director Comey to make another word change. Clearly the notion that Hillary was under “investigation” sound too criminal. She told Comey to refer to the investigation as the more innocuous-sounding “matter.”

[Directly from the Davis Hanson article] “One of the oddest mysteries of the IG report is the FBI’s delay in addressing the fact that disgraced former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner had a number of Clinton’s private emails on his unsecured laptop. They were all forwarded to him by his wife, Huma Abedin, an aide to Clinton. Their Washington-insider marriage had been widely publicized. Yet Comey, the nation’s premier public investigator, claimed he had no idea that Weiner and Abedin were married.”

Okay! Let’s think that through. Director Comey has been talking to any newsman that will listen that he had a “higher loyalty.” He knew better than FBI directives, etc. Yet he now wants us to believe that it was less sinister that Abedin had forwarded numerous emails from Clinton, some of them classified, to a mere acquaintance. I’d say that blunder essentially proves the man’s mendacity! And talk about backpedaling: when the idiocy of his original excuse was staring everyone in the face he had the temerity to make the following idiotic statement, “I don’t know that I knew that [Weiner] was married to Huma Abedin at the time.” I can’t even translate that illogic for you.

If one looks at these “linguistic transgressions” can one draw any other conclusion but that they were designed to exonerate Hillary and Obama?

And let us not forget the verbal gymnastics like:

  • “Spy” equals “informant.”
  • “Wiretapping” is the more sanitized “surveillance.”
  • “Illegal” sounds less good than “improper.”

And these are just the word changes. Granting immunity for acts for which others have been imprisoned, destroying evidence… these are very scary. God save the United States of America. We are in serious trouble.

Roy Filly

Footnote 1: The original memo stated: “There is evidence to support a conclusion that Secretary Clinton, and others, used the email server in a manner that was grossly negligent with respect to the handling of classified information.”

Footnote 2: On July 5, 2016. Comey goes on television and lays out case against Hillary, claiming there was “no intent” therefore “no prosecution was warranted.” He’s a cop, not a lawyer.

 

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Exactly how crazy are leftists?

I can remember when leftists just wanted everyone to be altruistic. They wanted to distribute our money according to their ideas of “worthy causes.” Now, however, it is hard to understand what they want.

Victimhood has been a cornerstone of leftist politics for many decades much to the detriment of our solidarity as a nation. But the current effort to make all “white people” the epitome of evil has finally gone off the rails. Just take a gander at some of these notions.

[Source: Diversity and Inclusion Harm, by Walter E. Williams]

One cannot have a five minute conversation with a leftist before the words “diversity” and “inclusiveness” are tossed at you. “Diversity” includes every race except one. “Inclusiveness” includes every religion except one. And let us not forget that only one gender is included in “inclusiveness.” Basically, the translation is everyone but straight, white males are welcome to speak out. As a straight, white male I am beginning to feel like I need a “safe space.”

My race, gender and religion automatically “labels” me as “the bad guy.” How pervasive is my “anti-inclusiveness?” Let’s see how far leftists have gone.

There was a time when mathematics and the laws of physics applied not only to humans but to the entire universe. Apparently, that is no longer the case.

[Directly from the Williams article] A math education professor at the University of Illinois wrote that “mathematics itself operates as Whiteness.” She says that the ability to solve algebra and geometry problems perpetuates “unearned privilege” among whites. A professor at Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education published an article in a peer-reviewed journal positing that academic rigor is a “dirty deed” that upholds “white male heterosexual privilege,” adding that “scientific knowledge itself is gendered, raced, and colonizing.”

If you are a white, heterosexual male be vary careful if you utter that you are capable of solving for “x” in the equation 7x -y = 14 (footnote 1)! You are just giving voice to your “unearned privilege.” And God forbid that you might be so bold as to iterate that you understand that “an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion” (Newton’s First Law) because clearly then “this knowledge is gendered, raced, and colonizing.”

Be careful out there if you are a white, heterosexual male!

The danger of these notions is well expressed in the Prager University video in footnote 2.

Roy Filly

Footnote 1: x = 2 + y/7. OMG. I have an “unearned privilege” and I am “colonizing” – whatever that means!

Footnote 2: And thanks to HKG for sending this to me.

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Trump and trade.

Let’s start with a few admissions and disclaimers:

  • Am I a trade expert? No.
  • Am I an economist? No.
  • Do I believe in free trade? Yes.
  • Do I believe in fair trade? Yes.
  • Do I believe that either free trade or fair trade exist currently? No.
  • Is a “trade deficit” necessarily bad for America? No.
  • Is a “trade war” necessarily bad for America? Perhaps, but it won’t last long and we would win. (It’s good to start such a war with a half trillion trade deficit. No one else is even close!)

Now allow me to get to the point. President Trump made a statement that got relatively little press coverage, particularly if you compare it to the “trade war” coverage. And what was that statement, ask you? President Trump offered to negotiate a zero tariff trade deal with any nation willing to do so, answer I.

Following the G7 meeting President Trump stated that he pushed Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada to consider removing every single tariff or trade barrier on American goods, and in return he would do the same for products from their countries.

I have admitted a lack of expertise in trade, but I have great antennae for brilliant solutions. That statement by the President was brilliant!

Would such an agreement guarantee free trade? Absolutely. Would such an agreement guarantee fair trade? Absolutely. So, if our President wants a “trade war,” why would he offer up such a simple solution? Answer: He wouldn’t, ergo he is not advocating a trade war. Furthermore, one does not need to be an economist or a trade expert to understand the implications of such a trade agreement.

[Source: Trump’s Zero-Tariff Proposal: Throwaway Line Or Serious Offer? By Daniel J. Mitchell]

If our European allies (you know, the “good guys” on CNN while Trump is the “bad guy”)  also want free and fair trade why wouldn’t they accept such an offer? The answer to that is also simple. They have to give up much more than the USA because the USA has lower tariffs and non-tariff barriers than any of them!

The United States is in the lowest category for barriers to trade and trade tariffs. Our trade taxes average only 3.48 percent.

My guru, Dan Mitchell, is definitely not a fan of Trump’s trade policies and seriously doubts that the US will follow through on the zero-tariff-offer. However, another economist described an excellent path forward.

The Trump trade team should find one country willing to do a zero tariff agreement. Then find a second country and a third. The momentum will build gradually but inexorably. Perhaps our President has indeed found a path to “FREE and FAIR trade.”

Roy Filly

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Happy Father’s Day to all, but especially to the Father of our Nation.

I hope all the fathers reading this post have a very enjoyable day. But I thought I would spend a few paragraphs on the Father of our Nation, George Washington.

Here are some thoughts to put American presidents in perspective. The 2016 presidential contest — primaries and all — cost $2.4 billion. President Washington spent exactly zero dollars to be elected. And as far as the endless drivel we hear from candidates in our modern era, Washington himself did absolutely no public campaigning, and even cast doubt on whether he would take the job if elected.

In the last election we saw endless arguments about how votes should be cast in the electoral college. Forget those, the Democrats just sued President Trump and Russia over an election that was adjudicated 16 months ago. Washington received all 132 electoral votes (second election), winning each of the fifteen states. Washington is the only president to have been unanimously elected by the Electoral College.

On April 30, 1789, George Washington gave his first speech as president of the United States. This speech is now known as the first presidential inaugural address. He spoke to a joint session of Congress that had gathered in Federal Hall. Washington kept his first speech very simple. He spoke about ideas for amendments to the Constitution. He finished by asking for a “divine blessing” on the American people and their elected representatives. By making a speech, Washington did more than was necessary. The Constitution required only an oath of office. Washington established a tradition of making a speech that every elected president in American history has followed.

That first inaugural address started out as behemoth of over seventy pages. It had been prepared by Washington’s aide David Humphreys and included extensive recommendations to Congress on such topics as internal improvements, military affairs, international treaties, and the expansion of national borders. James Madison, who later called the rambling first draft a “strange production,” prepared the drastically more concise version. It pays to have a good speech writer!

Washington signed a few laws that had an impact on our Nation. Those laws were the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. By declining a third term as president he also established the precedent that presidents served only two terms (at least until Franklin Delano Roosevelt) came along.

Here are a few facts about our Founding Father:

  • He didn’t have a middle name
  • He was not born on February 22, 1732. Washington was actually born on February 11, but when the colonies switched to the Gregorian calendar from the Julian calendar, his birthday was moved 11 days.
  • He didn’t wear a wig. His hair was all real.
  • No one will ever rank higher than him in the US military.
  • He was handsomely paid as President – Washington’s presidential salary was 2 percent of the total U.S. budget. Today that would be $76 billion.
  • He never chopped down a cherry tree.
  • He was a master surveyor.
  • As a general, he lost more battles than he won.
  • In the Braddock disaster of 1755, Washington’s troops were caught in the crossfire between British and Native Americans. Two horses were shot from under Washington, and his coat was pierced by four musket balls, none of which hit his actual body. Tell me there is no such thing as Divine Intervention!
  • He did not escape being widely criticized in the press in the later years of his presidency. “Fake news!”

Roy Filly

 

 

 

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You can learn a lot from graphs.

Millennials should study this graph (44% prefer socialism and 7% prefer communism). The latest massive experiment in socialism is an abysmal failure.

It is hard to believe that the second largest economy in the world has 224 million citizens who have no access to a bank account. And Brazil is also a surprise.

These statistics already are a year old. The graph would be “redder” today.

FYI. Please note that, with the exception of Alaska, all of the states with the highest credit card debt are “blue states.” Correlation with taxation?

China is not on the list, of course. Although China’s GDP is second in the world, its GDP per capita based on purchasing-power-parity is a paltry $14,401. The US is more than 4 times larger.

My friends, this is both extremely sad and difficult to understand. The richest nation in the history of nations; the nation into which millions try to sneak; a nation of great freedom… we need to understand the origin of this horrible, growing disaster.

Roy Filly

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Politics in cartoon form.

Perhaps the first two are more “meme” than “cartoon,” but I LMAO.

Siri always gives good advice!

Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map. It may be a bit more difficult than they imagine.

The odds are that the Democreeps will win seats in the midterm election. Will they win enough to assume the House majority? Not with their platform!

While we’re on the subject of the Democreep platform… please take the bait!

Pundits are professional word “parsers.” Is he a “spy” or “informant” or “private citizen”… Tell me what you would call it if I hired a person from a foreign country to surreptitiously walk into your business, make contact with three of your employees, gather information, and report the information back to me?

Thank you President Trump.

 

Roy Filly

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