Lion of the Blogosphere

Libertarians are wrong about taxation

Libertarians believe that if Lazy Farmer works in his fields for 6 hours a day, and Industrious Farmer works in his fields 12 hours a day, and Industrious Farmer consequently grows twice as many crops, that it’s not fair to assign a higher tax rate to Industrious Farmer because that would punish him for his hard work in creating value.

If we still had an 18th century agrarian economy, I too would be a libertarian economist! But that’s not how our modern economy works. People aren’t rich because they put in more hours tilling the fields. They are rich because they own monopolies. They are rich because they have the right degrees, the right contacts, the right personality, to get into the high-paying career tracks. Wealth has become divorced from actual value creation. The people doing the real value-creating work, like the engineers (many of whom are from foreign countries because value-creation is work that Americans don’t want to do), are paid salaries on the high-end of middle-class but they are not wealthy.

Another libertarian talking point I see a lot is that high taxes suppress value creation because people will choose not to work. But all empirical evidence from the real economy shows this argument is bogus. The people most likely to be sitting home playing videogames are those who would have had the lowest tax rates had they been working in the labor force. Those putting in the most hours, like BIGLAW partners and investment bankers, have extremely high hourly incomes (and thus the highest tax rates). And the argument assumes that these rich people create value in the first place. There’s a case to be made that our nation would be better off if BIGLAW partners and investment bankers worked fewer hours instead of more hours.

As we move more into a post-scarcity economy, we see jobs being a luxury for the rich rather than the means to create value. Remember my blog post about Toby Milstein? She is an heiress who never needs to work a day in her life, and she lives in the Dakota, but she still has a regular job in “business development” for a tech startup, because not having a job is for the lower classes.

Libertarians say that taxation is “theft.” But as I’ve shown, REALLY rich people voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 3 to 1 margin. Even though it was well known that there would be higher taxes under Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. People don’t vote for theft.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 19, 2017 at 9:35 am

72 Responses

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  1. The rich will get their chance to pay their fare share. Once the Clinton Foundation is exposed and prosecuted as the total fraud that it is (and there are undoubtedly others that followed the template laid out by the Clinton grifters) all those many, many billions in contributions will suddenly have tax liabilities. I’m sure the rich will line up to pay what they rightfully owe.

    Andrew E.

    July 19, 2017 at 10:12 am

  2. So is libertarianism essentially a philosophy that is only applicable to pre knowledge based societies of the early 20th century and prior?

    ASF

    July 19, 2017 at 10:28 am

    • No, libertarianism is not applicable to any point in history. It describes a reality that never has existed in the history of mankind. It is a post-war, 20th century propaganda effort to delude the masses into believing money is scarce, so that a supranational body can regulate the value of money without the peasants understanding the politics behind that valuation.

      See how the vast majority of people believe exchange rates are about supply and demand.

      Helmut Schmidt

      July 19, 2017 at 11:17 am

  3. What’s behind your obsession with the super-wealthy Lion? It’s a bit unbecoming. I don’t see Libertarians talking much about, or advocating for, the super-wealthy over at Reason. They seem more concerned about regulation and bureaucracy, and what they see as it’s stifling effect on entrepreneurial business. That and legal weed.

    steve@steve.com

    July 19, 2017 at 10:51 am

  4. The reality is the entire purpose of taxes is to get people to work and be part of the ruling sovereignty’s economy. The historical record is clear – when large scale polities collapse and the tax man stops coming, societies devolve into small communities with barter and limited trade.

    Prior to the 20th century, taxes were entirely about political power.

    Since modern banking, taxes have been more about correcting the inflation that necessarily comes from large-scale capital creation by banks. It is not a coincidence that the income tax was legalized the same year the Federal Reserve was created.

    In all cases, libertarians just don’t understand money. They refuse to believe it is political. For them, the origin doesn’t really matter. It’s turtles all the way down.

    This is a real problem with the current political order. Once you realize that money is effectively a unit of account of political power – it becomes very much disconcerting that the vast majority is held by so few. America really is an oligarchy in this sense.

    But, at the same time, were a revolutionary government to prevail, it’s a trivial task to declare their money null and void, and there is nothing they will be able to do about it. The problem is most revolutionaries have libertarian leanings, and would NEVER want to declare money worthless.

    Helmut Schmidt

    July 19, 2017 at 10:53 am

    • As long as economic actors are not storing their surplus wealth in the sovereign currency or in liabilities denominated in the sovereign currency (and instead in real assets) then the power of the printing press is properly limited and the financial economy remains tethered to the real economy. And the sovereign is budget constrained at the risk of rapidly rising interest rates for extended deficit financing.

      Andrew E.

      July 19, 2017 at 11:24 am

      • And the sovereign is budget constrained at the risk of rapidly rising interest rates for extended deficit financing.

        the sovereign is not so constrained. the central bank can monetize the debt. it can do so without inflation.

        Beverly Hills Ninja

        July 20, 2017 at 1:25 am

      • The only limit to political power, of which monetary sovereignty is but one, is the ability of the sovereignty to influence the decisions and behaviors of the subjects under its authority. This even includes major resource constraints, as one could argue that imperialism and conquest is a time honored way of dealing with such issues.

        If you believe sovereign governments borrow money that only they have the legal right to create, you don’t understand international flows of funds, balance of payments, or exchange rates. Interest rates are set by the ruling sovereignty to structure and influence these factors. It should be noted that the great libertarian trope, inflation, is related to this. Inflation very rarely has any impact on the citizenry, but it does lead to an unfair trade advantage.

        It is very clear when one examines the first United Nations conference that it was widely believed that the primary cause of World War II was Germany and Japan competitively devaluing their currency in order to gain more market share for their export goods, which they then could trade for natural resources.

        The United Nations was first and foremost created to maintain world peace by controlling the international monetary system to prevent such conflict from arising again. And the primary mechanism would be, to parrot libertarians, to control the printing press.

        Helmut

        July 20, 2017 at 7:44 am

      • What I’m saying is simple. If global economic actors are not saving in dollars or dollar-denominated liabilities then inflation will show up (in equities, in real estate, in consumer goods, commodities, anything priced in dollars). If inflation isn’t showing up then that’s because lots of people are saving in dollars. Monetizing the debt solves nothing if global actors don’t hoover up the resulting dollars and store them away instead of spending them into the economy.

        Andrew E.

        July 20, 2017 at 10:30 am

      • What you are saying is simply not true. It is true that because the US enjoys an “exorbitant privilege” due to the fact $75 trillion of foreign exchanges are settled in US dollars every year, that this allows the US to export inflation. But this has nothing to do with your theory.

        Your theory, which is fundamental neoliberalism, is that inflation is caused by citizens spending money and it is stopped by them not spending money, either because they are saving or because they are unemployed. The origin of your theory remains the Libertarian concept of the scarcity of money. If there is too much money, then it will be used to bid up prices. But this is ridiculously simplistic. Putting aside the fact this is a stupid idea and you have no evidence to support this theory, it also employs the circular Libertarian logic that inflation is bad.

        Once again, inflation is never a domestic problem except in cases of war, military occupation, or other political pressures that reduce the ruling sovereignty’s influence and power. There has never been a country in history that collapsed because they just printed too much money. On the contrary, by almost all accounts, the most robust periods of economic growth in history coincided with massive monetary expansions of both bank credit and sovereign spending.

        Inflation is in fact necessary in a modern economy. While it is fashionable to rip on bankers, it makes a lot of sense to have decentralized capital creation – the delegation of the power to create money to banks. The government is still involved via regulation, and of course the civil court system to enforce debts. But the decisions to create capital are, in theory, more localized.

        But the problem with bank credit is that every dollar banks create come with a future interest obligation, which over the life of the loan averages another dollar. So, the bank credit creation system ALWAYS has a built in, exponentially increasing demand for sovereign currency.

        The ruling sovereignty must ALWAYS “run the printing press” to create interest-free money at a rate that exceeds that of bank credit creation. If that doesn’t happen, the only way for debtors, in aggregate, to get more sovereign currency units to meet debt obligations is to take on more debt. Due to the exponential nature of interest, in a short time, the bankers will have a claim to all of the money.

        What you are failing to account for is the quantity of currency units that go to service debts.

        Libertarians always make this mistake, because they don’t understand banking. They believe that banks lend deposits, when the reality is that loans create deposits. The issue of interest and debt repayment never matters to them, because they believe Grandma is getting her now paltry interest on her savings.

        Helmut Schmidt

        July 20, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      • I’m not a libertarian. I didn’t say inflation is always and everywhere bad. I understand how banking works. Commercial banks are profit constrained (which regulates their dollar creation) but central banks are not.

        It is true that because the US enjoys an “exorbitant privilege” due to the fact $75 trillion of foreign exchanges are settled in US dollars every year, that this allows the US to export inflation.

        Yeah, so you’re agreeing with me. The dollar as reserve currency changes the way our financing is able to work versus other central banks that don’t print the reserve currency.

        The rest of your comment has nothing to do with anything I mentioned.

        Andrew E.

        July 20, 2017 at 3:06 pm

  5. It’s a fact that a job isn’t worth doing if I have to pay 50% or even 30% in taxes and overhead. Check this out. I hassle a whole Sunday to come home with $600-$1,000. In my present financial situation I’m not gonna do it for half this money. There are many people like me that I know. This is very simple.

    Now check this out. I go to a grocery in the morning and pick up 1 avocado, 1 can of tuna, 2 grapefruit and 1 yogurt. My bill is $10 and change. Are you getting my drift?

    I fixed my landlord’s AC last night for free, but my rent is $500. Imagine having to compete with all these section 8 and Wallstreet crooks? Well, this is my way of competing. People have to help each other on the grass root level. And snitches should get stitches. We are just little creatures trying to make it, nobody can do it on their own. Stop the clone show already and face the reality.

    So at the present moment all this discussion is nothing but meaningless blah-blah-blah that us completely detached from reality. It will remain so until the country takes control of the immigration. After that nothing is likely to change either, but until then talking about taxes and healthcare is a waste of time. I’m gonna run in the park, swing my kettlebell and enjoy life while I can. Lion, you should do the same. It’s a complete clown show out there.

    Yakov

    July 19, 2017 at 10:59 am

    • It will remain so until the country takes control of the immigration. After that nothing is likely to change either, but until then talking about taxes and healthcare is a waste of time.

      This is true. I’m actually irritated they keep trying to mess with it. They obviously don’t have the votes. 52 senators is not a majority when several of them are moderate and several are trucons, Never going to get anything done on healthcare and taxes. Rather than messing with that crap they should focus on things we need that could get done. Get some really positive things done that everyone supports and they might even pick up a few senate seats. Which would give them a real majority to get things done. It’s a long shot but better shot than what they’re doing now.

      destructure

      July 19, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      • Trump has infinite energy as we’ve seen from the campaign, so he is probably using healthcare and taxes (which I don’t think he feels very strongly about) as a blitzkrieg diversion while he sneaks his immigration bills in like a college boy fucking some dumb slut without a condom.

        These traitorous cuck senators are about to get raw dogged.

        Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lap Dog

        July 19, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      • I think that Trump just doesn’t know what he’s doing.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        July 19, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      • It’s sad, truly sad, but it looks like he doesn’t.

        Yakov

        July 19, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      • I think that Trump just doesn’t know what he’s doing.

        Agreed. Oh, and Trump will not seek a second term.

        E. Rekshun

        July 20, 2017 at 11:55 am

    • nobody can do it on their own

      libertarians believe they were born in a log cabin that they built themselves. as chomsky has noted, libertarianism is no more than sociopathy masquerading as “philosophy”.

      Beverly Hills Ninja

      July 20, 2017 at 1:30 am

  6. A lot of Republican voters are HENRY (High Earning, Not Rich Yet). They want to accumulate capital and become upper class but they see taxation of their income as a hindrance to wealth accumulation.

    GOP should start taxing trust funds, endowments, real estate, and inheritances. In return they should lower income tax on their upper middle class, but not rich yet base.

    Jimi

    July 19, 2017 at 11:17 am

    • Agreed. You would think that with his monopoly obsession, lion would see this. The wealthy have a monopoly on capital and high income taxes are a moat protecting that monopoly.

      First of all, the wealthy don’t really depend on ‘income’, if they have any at all.

      Second, even if higher taxes does not dissuade anyone from working it still harms low wealth people more. Increasing income taxes just reduces the absolute number of the dollars the wealthy add to their existing wealth; assuming the taxes impact all wealthy people to the same degree their relative status to each other and the lower classes remains unchanged. art and yacht prices will go down, but the list of wealthy people will stay static, even more so than before. In my view, the best way to get churn in the upper class is to have low income tax rates and high estate and/or other wealth taxes.

      Income taxes shield the wealthy from the threat of new entrants.

      theoak

      July 19, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      • Ridiculous libertarian talking points that make no sense. And why are rich libertarian Koch brothers so anti-tax if taxes are actually HELPING them stay rich?

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        July 19, 2017 at 6:28 pm

      • The rich are in favor of higher income taxes, like you say. Maybe the Kochs are a little more principled on this particular issue than most of their cohort.

        bobbybobbob

        July 19, 2017 at 6:52 pm

      • Libertarian talking points? How is a wealth tax libertarian?

        The Koch brothers probably have cash offshore that they want to bring back in. Whatever Trump does with the income rates now can be reversed rather quickly, once the repatriated funds are here they are here for good.

        theoak

        July 19, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      • Lion,

        “And why are rich libertarian Koch brothers so anti-tax if taxes are actually HELPING them stay rich?”

        The Kochs are engineers by training and they see themselves as value creators. They are not finance/law people.

        map

        July 19, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      • i think the point is taxes should be lower on high earners higher on passive income. the way it is today the reverse is true. as buffett said, “there’s been a class war and my class has won.”

        Beverly Hills Ninja

        July 20, 2017 at 1:35 am

      • The Koch fortune is based on the fortune made by their grandfather Harry Koch through real estate speculation. Real estate is part of the FIRE sector (finance, insurance, real estate) and not a part of value creation.

        https://www.alternet.org/story/153027/meet_the_koch_brothers'_wealthy_right-wing_grandfather:_how_his_pro-corporate_agenda_is_echoed_by_the_kochs'_assault_on_our_democracy

        Tom

        July 20, 2017 at 1:59 am

  7. Lion isn’t wrong to be obsessed with the super wealthy. They run society. Always have, always will. Speaking of the Civil War, eighteen hundred planters owning 100+ slaves plunged the country into war.

    Thomas Fleming on libertarians:

    “Libertarians, hearing such a description, run gagging to the sink. There are no nations, no communities, no families. Only self-seeking individuals exist, and the “common good” is a term invented by fascist oppressors. This is the only answer they have for any social question, from drugs to pornography to fast food. This shopworn and counterintuitive platitude from the Enlightenment is so self-evidently stupid as to require no refutation, though David Hume supplied one in his great essay on “The Original Contract.” Nonetheless, people such as Ayn Rand and the nerds and geeks who cling to her in the naive belief that her rotten novels will turn them into supermen could never understand the fact that human beings are social animals. This is a part of human nature which no libertarian theory can eradicate, and my advice to them is to find another planet where they can all live in solitary caves, where they can snort coke and watch porn videos to their hearts content. Their ideas are irrelevant, not just to present circumstances, but to the human condition. “

    gothamette

    July 19, 2017 at 11:25 am

    • “Speaking of the Civil War, eighteen hundred planters owning 100+ slaves plunged the country into war.”

      Mmmmm, no. Wealthy rail-road lawyer Abraham Lincoln plunged the country into war (you know, he invaded) to benefit the Northern economic interests that he served, as Lincoln was little more than the bankers’ butt boy, giving us a nationalized money supply and vastly increased tariffs (the main cause of the war).

      peterike

      July 19, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      • Tired old Lost Cause tripe. It only works on anonymous internet comment boards. If you were to say this in an open forum, you’d be shredded.

        I don’t have the time. Maybe Rifleman can school you.

        gothamette

        July 19, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      • No one (except a handful of despised radicals) cared about slavery until the cotton producing states seceded. Cotton was the oil of it’s day and the textile manufacturers depended on it. There was no way they were going to rock that boat and risk losing their cotton producing colonies. But once those colonies declared independence they were going to do everything they could to keep from losing them. Abolition was really just a tactic to undermine the economy of the confederacy. Afterwards, it was a great way to claim moral superiority and justify their war and their prejudice. It’s hypocrisy turned into history.

        destructure

        July 19, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      • That’s ridiculous. You can draw a straight path from the Missouri Compromise and Bleeding Kansas to the civil war. Read Lincoln’s inaugural and the confederate constitution. This isn’t hazy: the civil war was absolutely about the future of slavery. The rest of the country was resolutely saying “No” to expanding slavery farther west, and the confederates knew that meant full abolition in a matter of some years. I wish people would stop lying about it.

        bobbybobbob

        July 19, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      • Every educated American is aware of the conflict between Hamilton and Jefferson. Jefferson, a planter from Virginia, wanted to free America from the British empire. But he wanted to continue the un-industrialized agrarian economy America had under British rule. Hamilton, on the other hand, was a New York banker who wanted to push the country towards aggressive industrialization with high tariffs on imported goods.

        It should be obvious that high tariffs on imported goods benefits manufacturers at the expense of farmers. It forced them to buy their manufactured goods from New England at higher prices. And, in a double whammy, the feds even taxed cotton exports which forced farmers to sell their cotton to New England at lower rates, The farmers were getting hit coming and going. It was a wealth transfer from poor southern farmers to rich new england industrialists. And the farmers knew it. That’s why farmers, the overwhelming majority of whom never owned a slave, supported secession.

        http://civilwarcause.com/relationship.html

        When America was a British colony, America supplied raw materials for English manufacturing and was a captive market for England’s manufactured goods. Similarly, when the South was a colony of New England, the South supplied raw materials for New England manufacturing and was a captive market for New England’s manufactured goods. I don’t see the difference.

        destructure

        July 19, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      • @destructure,
        The fact that I mentioned slave holders doesn’t mean I think the Union responded because they wanted to get rid of slavery. Did I say that? I said that megalomaniac (yes, cotton was the oil of its day) slaveholders mad with power, thinking that Britain & France would support it, seceded to form a slaveholding empire from Cuba to Mexico.

        What you’re saying about most Northerners not caring about slavery is correct. I read the diary of uber-Whig George Templeton Strong. Interesting & recommended. He couldn’t have cared less about slavery, he said so, and he was a racist to boot, but he was staunchly pro-Union.

        Don’t you realize that you’re arguing against secession? If the North couldn’t care less about it, except for a few Abolitionists, and the legally elected President had no power to stop it, then why did they secede?

        The states’ rights argument is BS. The 1850 fugitive slave laws were an abrogation of states’ rights, and I am reading now about how Jeff Davis, as Pierce’s Sec. of War, tried to load Kansas full of pro-slavery forces, after 95% of white men in Kansas voted against slavery. It’s complicated. But that’s what happened.

        gothamette

        July 19, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      • Destructure, the South should have seen the writing on the wall with respect to both slavery and their agrarian economy. The South had the natural resources to industrialize and become a modern economic powerhouse. They should have embraced the future, restructured their economy and could have avoided war.

        Andrew E.

        July 19, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      • “Don’t you realize that you’re arguing against secession? If the North couldn’t care less about it, except for a few Abolitionists, and the legally elected President had no power to stop it, then why did they secede?”

        I answered that in the comment directly preceding yours. So you must have written that comment before Leon approved it.

        destructure

        July 19, 2017 at 10:35 pm

      • the truth is:
        1. secession was caused by the slavery issue.
        2. the decision for war had nothing to do with it.
        these are two different things. capiche? lincoln said so himself.

        Beverly Hills Ninja

        July 20, 2017 at 1:39 am

      • “The Confederate Constitution was very clear about slavery”

        I’ve heard people use that argument to claim the war was just about slavery. I disagree. The mistake is in assuming everyone who supports a position or action does so for the same reasons. But that’s not the way politics works now and it’s not the way politics worked then. Positions usually have different factions that support them for different reasons.

        Plantation owners were the corporations and billionaires of their time. They dominated politics just like Soros and the Koch brothers do today. Of course they supported slavery and put it in the constitution. But they were still a tiny if very powerful minority. That doesn’t explain why poor farmers who never owned a slave (and were actually harmed by slavery) would support independence. Tariffs that were driving them to ruin does. Rich people might rebel for greed and power. But poor people rebel when they’re desperate.

        destructure

        July 20, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      • Andrew — Don’t you think that if it was viable that someone would have done it? If not a southerner then a northern industrialist. People don’t realize how recently a lot of the non-coastal states were settled. They were still largely frontier and didn’t have enough people yet. It takes a certain population density for an area to support infrastructure and manufacturing. But they were industrializing when the war started. If anything, the war put an end to it.

        destructure

        July 20, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      • It takes a certain population density for an area to support infrastructure and manufacturing. But they were industrializing when the war started. If anything, the war put an end to it.

        They were pushing to expand slavery and they were opposing the tariff. They should have given up on expanding slavery and embraced the tariff for their own benefit to help industrialize. No need for war in that case.

        Andrew E.

        July 21, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    • @bobbybobbob,

      The Confederate Constitution was very clear about slavery, and its extension to “territories,” making it quite plain that they intended to conquer as much as they could. It’s rather ironic in retrospect, but that’s what they wanted.

      http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_csa.asp

      The only reason why the slave trade was prohibited was because Virginia made a lot of money breeding slaves. Otherwise they would have started it up again. Many fire-eaters were in favor of re-starting the slave trade. These are the models of today’s alt-right. Geniuses.

      The whole thing was insane. Any President would have moved to crush the insurrection. No President would have allowed 11 states to secede, to control the Mississippi, to prohibit access to the Gulf of Mexico. It was a crazy fantasy of deluded slave-owners.

      gothamette

      July 19, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      • Not so OT, the creators of Game of Thrones are going to make a new series about a third American Civil War, called Confederate.

        gothamette

        July 19, 2017 at 7:55 pm

      • You mean it is the deluded fantasy of cheap laborites.

        map

        July 19, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      • Good point. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

        gothamette

        July 20, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      • Isn’t the issue about whether or not states have a right to secede, not what the president thinks or how much power he has or can be brought to bear upon the states?

        If the states did have the right, then whatever any president would or wouldn’t do would be irrelevant.

        Tom

        July 20, 2017 at 2:10 am

      • “Isn’t the issue about whether or not states have a right to secede,”

        I think that questioned was answered at Appomattox, on 4/9/65.

        The constitution is vague about the whole business, perpetual union notwithstanding. That said I’ve learned a lot about what an unwieldy mess the constitution was, from reading Lost Cause literature.

        gothamette

        July 20, 2017 at 3:29 pm

  8. ‘Libertarians say that taxation is “theft.” But as I’ve shown, REALLY rich people voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 3 to 1 margin. Even though it was well known that there would be higher taxes under Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. People don’t vote for theft.’

    Don’t make me laugh now. These are experts on avoiding taxes. Who cares about some stupid tax rate? The lobbyist take care of loopholes. Lion, man, this is a waste if time, beleive me. Go on a cruse, smell the sea and enjoy.

    Yakov

    July 19, 2017 at 11:55 am

    • “Libertarians say that taxation is “theft.”

      “Theft” is the illegal taking of another person’s property or services without that person’s *permission* or consent

      But as I’ve shown, REALLY rich people voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 3 to 1 margin.

      But some how Lion assume that a subset of people “voting” in favor of of theft somehow implies a policy is binding on the whole group. I kind of doubt that people in this class are bothering voting, but of those who did (or, rather expressed an opinion on a survey) are in no way authorized to give *permission* for those who voted against it- hence it is Theft.

      There are all sorts of reasons why a person might support (or say they support) HRC without believing it will result in their taxes being raised. The Democrats not being in control of Congress is a pretty good impediment.

      If Lion’s thesis was true and they actually wanted to pay more taxes then they would be doing so. The IRS will accept voluntary payments. And yet we dont see the wealthy rushing off to make these payment- consequently Lion is wrong.

      Even Lizzy Warren didnt make a voluntary payment. Thats because she is more interested in stealing other peoples money than spending her own.

      Lion o' the Turambar

      July 19, 2017 at 5:05 pm

  9. The fact is that, all things being equal, nations with lower taxes have higher growth.

    Tax burden is not nearly as important as rule of law, regulatory efficiency and open markets, but it does have an impact.

    The problem with the Republicans is not that they want to cut taxes and it isn’t even that they want to cut taxes for the rich, it’s that they are determined to cut taxes for the rich at the expense of everything else. Since Obamacare repeal is dead, the Republicans should instead seek to repeal the Obamacare taxes and grant a tax credit of 50% of the plan value of everybody who pays for their health insurance on the open market. If such a tax credit needs to be “paid for” then we could do so by closing some loopholes for high earners. But good luck getting the idiot Republicans to ever agree to that.

    Otis the Sweaty

    July 19, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    • The problem with lower taxes lead to growth argument is it’s always lower taxes + no spending cuts. So all the growth winds up being fake debt fueled growth.

      Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lap Dog

      July 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      • there’s nothing fake about it. the debt never needs to be repaid if it’s denominated in the sovereign’s own currency. the problem the EU has is all the sovereigns have their own debt but non have their own currency. third world countries have trouble selling their bonds if denominated in their own currencies.

        Beverly Hills Ninja

        July 20, 2017 at 1:49 am

  10. All income taxes “punish” work, thus creating the wrong set of incentives. Instead we should have a progressive consumption tax. Rich people compete by consuming things, but there’s only so much prime real-estate. Who cares if bullshit Basquiat paintings sell for $90 million rather than $110m? A consumption tax “punishes” people for taking things out of the earth rather than creating value. It would also affect the princes and heirs who do not even pretend to work for their money.

    Vince

    July 19, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    • Agreed

      Andrew E.

      July 19, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    • Yes. How about a 100% tax on luxury yachts? Does anyone see any negatives to this. How many people are actually employed in the high end Yacht making industry, like 10,000 at most. Theres a breakeven point for taxes where you can have people buy as many as they would but also efficiently take out your tax revenue. So maybe a 50% tax and someone buys 2 yachts, getting you the same nominal dollars in taxes, but the Yacht industry also got more consumption.

      At the very least the Yacht industry doesn’t contribute to innovation like the small private aircraft industry so there is no negative externality to lower economic activity.

      Regardless, all this talk of taxes is moot. Inflationary monetary policy (lower interest rates) is what has created the large wealth divide in the US.

      People that were rich in the 1980s basically saw their capital holdings deca-uple (and decouple) in value versus the real economy. Some of this happened partly due to lower input costs partly due to outsourcing (S&P 500 earnings genuinely went up because production got cheaper). Some of it happened because of stock buy backs due to low interest rates (and only 11% or so of Americans own equities).

      So basically the rich got richer on paper and in real terms everyone else got destroyed because of the devalued dollar.

      Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lap Dog

      July 19, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      • The rich’s vassal professions also benefited due to increased shell games with financial instruments, mergers and acquisitions, various complicated legal transactions require tons of law firm billable hours, and of course “consultants”. Most of the self actualizing careers that exist today would not exist if interest rates were to be normalized. So yet again Billy Bob in Appalachia pays with unemployment and drinking himself into an early grave so that some cunt from Harvard can pursue a self actualizing career in private equity.

        Paul Ryan's Sickly Old Lap Dog

        July 19, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    • there used to be luxury taxes. were those done away with? of course production must equal consumption. the difference is what fraction is “consumed” in capital goods.

      Beverly Hills Ninja

      July 20, 2017 at 1:51 am

  11. I dunno man. Literally yesterday, here in Canada, the Libs came out with a plan to tax doctors more. Meanwhile, I’m tired today because I worked at our small rural ED last night. Fuck this, I’m not beating myself up like this anymore if they’re going to start vacuuming up 51 percent of what I “make”.

    S.J., Esquire

    July 19, 2017 at 12:41 pm

  12. Lion: can you do a review of the 1993 film Tombstone? It relates to your point about white heroes and black cast members. Hard to believe Tombstone could have been made today.

    Otis the Sweaty

    July 19, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    • I would actually also like Lion to review this extremely classic movie!

      S.J., Esquire

      July 19, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    • good movie

      GondwanaMan

      July 21, 2017 at 6:58 pm

  13. “Libertarians believe that if Lazy Farmer works in his fields for 6 hours a day, and Industrious Farmer works in his fields 12 hours a day, and Industrious Farmer consequently grows twice as many crops, that it’s not fair to assign a higher tax rate to Industrious Farmer because that would punish him for his hard work in creating value.”

    This wasn’t really the case in the eighteenth century either, as Adam Smith pointed out repeatedly.

    Ed

    July 19, 2017 at 1:10 pm

  14. Part of the problem is that we do not have a free market in money anywhere in the world. If the purchasing power of a person’s earnings stayed constant, we would all be better off despite the costs of taxes and regulations.

    Gold and Economic Freedom
    by Alan Greenspan
    [written in 1966]

    http://www.321gold.com/fed/greenspan/1966.html

    Someone

    July 19, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    • I do agree that America does not anything resembling a free market. Everyone is a rent seeker looking for the government to give them an edge to make them a profit. Try manufacturing a car without all the BS safety and pollution regulations. You would not be allowed to sell it even if the public loved it.

      Someone

      July 19, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    • There has never been a free market for money in the history of mankind, because money is by definition a projection of sovereign power. It cannot be “free” anymore than laws and civil courts are “free”. It is a fundamental structure of what we know of as civilization, and has been since the foundation of the very first city states.

      The globalist ruling class holds to this nonsense because it hides the reality of political economy from the masses and allows said ruling class to regulate the value of money and exchange rates OUTSIDE of the national sovereign powers.

      The free market you are talking about isn’t free at all. It is a total lie that is intended to produce a global sovereignty.

      Helmut

      July 20, 2017 at 7:50 am

  15. Society should always promote good behavior and virtue: Marriage, children, religion, a belief in truth (vs relativism), the future (vs hedonism), heterosexuality, complementariasm for male / female relations (vs equalism), beautiful and sophisticated art and music, etc.

    Today, society has inverted or subverted all that is good and promotes it with all that is evil. Our art is the worst in history, our music is approaching the worst in history (especially true in classical music). We promote every form of deviance and every form of hedonism. Etc.

    Taxes are a tiny part of this, but they are still part of this.

    gs

    July 19, 2017 at 1:37 pm

  16. Libertarians believe that if Lazy Farmer works in his fields for 6 hours a day, and Industrious Farmer works in his fields 12 hours a day, and Industrious Farmer consequently grows twice as many crops, that it’s not fair to assign a higher tax rate to Industrious Farmer because that would punish him for his hard work in creating value.

    LOTB is wrong. Libertarians believe government is coercive, and coercion is inherently wrong, so government should be made as weak as possible. Therefore, keep taxes ultra low ON EVERYONE so the state is kept in check. I’m not a libertarian, and I know that.

    dsgntd_plyr

    July 19, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    • it seems that libertarianism is a moral philosophy masquerading as an economic theory. it’s not practical. it’s silly. it’s only conceivable implementation would be a place like the old wild west.

      Beverly Hills Ninja

      July 19, 2017 at 4:23 pm

  17. i think there is an assumption that before tax wages are unaffected by tax rates and thus that lower taxes would mean higher after tax incomes. wages are sticky so this would be true initially, but perhaps only initially. if it were true as libertarians argue that government creates nothing but trouble then the effect of high taxes should just be wage/compensation and price inflation. after tax spending power shouldn’t change.

    in this case redistribution shouldn’t bother the rich. what should bother them is the fraction of people employed by government and the fraction employed in tax avoidance. taxes are too complicated at the corporate level at least.

    Beverly Hills Ninja

    July 19, 2017 at 4:20 pm

  18. I haven’t seen any evidence that tax rate differences cause people to work more or less (Other than maybe at unrealistic extremes approaching 100%). I mean sheesh, we can compare this between states. Are people in Wyoming all world beaters who spend 80 hours a week getting rich in value creating endeavors since none of it is subject to state income tax while people in NYC say meh, what’s the point of working, the state gets 8% and the city gets another 3% on top of what the feds are already collecting.

    Jokah Macpherson

    July 19, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    • Just the opposite, you are most likely to find the people working the longest hours live in Manhattan.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      July 19, 2017 at 6:12 pm

  19. Income taxes affect my desire to work. I’m in the 25% marginal tax bracket. Not considering the affect of deductions to income, every extra dollar I earn in 2017 over $37,951 is federally taxed at 25%. Every dollar I earn is taxed at 7.65% for FICA. That’s 32.65% of every dollar I earn goes to pay federal income taxes. I pay 0% state income tax.

    Three years ago, I reduced my work week by eight hours by taking every Friday off w/o pay and retain all fringe benefits. I enjoy 8 hours of leisure, but only lose 5.39 hours of pay (that being, 8 X (1 – 0.3265)).

    E. Rekshun

    July 20, 2017 at 12:13 pm


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