danmillerinpanama:

But, but, but without higher taxes, how can the Mama Sam spread the wealth around and get enough votes for incompetents incumbents?

Originally posted on :

The Wall Street Journal

By ARTHUR LAFFER AND STEPHEN MOORE

Comments by Jim Campbell

Revisionist historians would have us believe that the tax policy of Art Laffer,  implemented by President Ronald Reagan adversely affected the U.S. Economy when  the opposite is the case.  Who you going to believe, the socialists professors or me? 

In the link above Professor Paul Krugman tells us, that “Reaganomics” was a failure. The Reagan economy was a one-hit wonder. Yes, there was a boom in the mid-1980s, as the economy recovered from a severe recession. But while the rich got much richer, there was little sustained economic improvement for most Americans.  Yea Mr. “I’ve never lived a day in the private sector,” sing to your choir nobody else can hear your pitch.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, I’m J.C. and I approve this message.

For 16 years before Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the…

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About danmillerinpanama

I was graduated from Yale University in 1963 with a B.A. in economics and from the University of Virginia School of law, where I was the notes editor of the Virginia Law Review in 1966. Following four years of active duty with the Army JAG Corps, with two tours in Korea, I entered private practice in Washington, D.C. specializing in communications law. I retired in 1996 to sail with my wife, Jeanie, on our sailboat Namaste to and in the Caribbean. In 2002, we settled in the Republic of Panama and live in a very rural area up in the mountains. I have contributed to Pajamas Media and Pajamas Tatler. In addition to my own blog, Dan Miller in Panama, I an an editor of Warsclerotic and contribute to China Daily Mail when I have something to write about North Korea.
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10 Responses to

  1. Dan, this is in response to your May 1 reply.

    First of all, I was wondering, how do you know if someone commented on an old post?
    This (my reply) is coming days after your response. I don’t know if you’ll see it.
    I’m having a hard time handling my information overload. I’m reading two books, several magazine articles, my left-wing email newsletters plus my daily dose of conservative talk radio and Fox News. Now I’ve added your blog to my reading list. I can’t keep up with you, Dan! Slow down! (just kidding)

    You covered some juicy topics that I wanted to comment on (I did leave a few comments on some and I liked your cartoon with the hippies picking up all the free government stuff on their way to protesting the establishment ) but I’ve got my own blog to write. Add to this the fact that I read slowly, write slowly, have difficulty getting started and don’t have much stamina. Wow! Great combination, huh? On the plus side, once I can get a handle on a topic I think I’m pretty good at analyzing it. Also I think I’m pretty good at thinking unconventionally.
    I can see by your academic and professional background that, unlike me, you can handle sustained rigorous thinking and writing.

    Anyway, I’m aware of the points you made about the media reporting on the Martin shooting. (I follow the conservative media too)
    This is my assessment on “liberal media bias”:
    The general Media is a mixed bag with representation all across the spectrum, so when conservatives try to portray “the media” as a place where they’re not allowed to get there voice heard, it’s not only false but pretty damn obnoxious. How many times a day do we hear that complaint on that “liberal media?” (which conservative was it who admitted they were “working the refs?)

    If you want to be more specific and talk about the largest mainstream news organizations (minus Fox News), their reporters and news writers, you have a better argument as far as reporting on certain issues. But even on these outlets the conservative voice is over represented. Every once in a while I’ll see a study where they will show this. I remember one study some years ago where they did a Lexis-Nexis search of the mainstream news that looked for all statements, quotes, and references by all think tanks and showed that right-wing tanks had 48% of these, left-wing tanks had 11% and the rest were divided between center-right, center and center left.

    It’s been shown that these reporters vote overwhelmingly Dem and most lean left on many issues. But they are overwhelmingly center-left, much closer to the center than those conservatives who are constantly charging bias.
    As far as the actual reporting goes, I only see a consistent bias in two areas.
    One is race issues. The other is negative reporting on far right conservatives. They seem to go out of their way to report negative news on them. But they treat moderate conservatives pretty well.
    On other issues the reporting seems to be pretty “fair and balanced” to me.

    Here’s the other important fact that conservatives don’t see or admit to: The media almost ignores the far left. But when they don’t, they are at least as hard on far lefties

    This is a long comment, hope you don’t mind.
    Two final things. My views on “right wing social engineering” as a solution to the problems in the Black community; it’s a long story – to make it short; it’s a much better version of Newt’s “pay school kids to be janitors” idea. I’ll try to elaborate in a future blog post.

    Speaking of blog posts, this conversation started with Laffer’s article and taxes. If you have the time, my latest blog post is about taxes. It’s not too long and kind of snappy:
    http://liberalbabyboomer.blogspot.com/2012/05/great-deceivers-art-of-double-talk.html

    Oh, by the way, when I checked out that site you linked to I noticed Andrew Breitbart’s name.
    I have an interesting story about an encounter I had with a close friend and associate of his named Brandon Darby. I’ll tell you about it later.

    • Good morning, Joe.

      WordPress sends me an e-mail when comments are posted, so I see them. Sometimes it takes me a while to respond because when our common (during the rainy season, generally late March – late October) afternoon thunderstorms/electrical outages aren’t screwing up my day I am generally occupied with writing — I try for four or five articles per week. Many of the articles require a bit of research and when I start writing the article it sort of grows like Topsy. Then, when just about finished, I do a lot of clean up editing — removing redundant stuff, swapping big words for small words, changing words to convey my meaning better, etc. Finally, I just hit the Publish button and then sink into a sort of postpartum depression which can only be relieved by starting another.

      As to “the media,” I agree that it can be a mixed bag; sometimes the bag has only one flavor but sometimes it has several. Here’s an article at The Daily Beast/Newsweek that I found reasonably fair.

      Living up in the mountains of a remote, rural area of Panama I don’t have access to U.S. television programming beyond what’s available via the internet, and with a relatively slow connection (0.5 mb), the best I can get, that comes v e r y s l o w l y. What little I watch suggests over-coverage of stuff likely to be enjoyed by the left and under-coverage of the rest. Whom one considers to be left is, of course, quite subjective. You mention Fox news. I visit the Fox News web site but hardly ever watch the video commentaries which seem to be essentially editorial in nature. The actual news reporting seems pretty much on a par with the Yahoo News website which I also visit about the same number of times per day that I visit Fox.They seem just about fungible to me.

      Gotta go; an article is calling.

      • Joe Barton says:

        Hey Dan,

        My computer was on the fritz the past few days. To put it in technical terms, it went haywire.
        I’m a complete dolt when it comes to computers so I had to ask my wife to try to fix it (that always makes me feel very manly.) She’s managed to get it back in working order for the most part.

        I was wondering what and how you got your political news information and now I’ve been informed.

        I can see how well researched your articles are. They are worthy of any newspaper or magazine.
        I saturate myself in political news from all perspectives and when I see an angle that no one else is talking about I’ll be inspired to write a blog post. Unfortunately, sometimes, by the time I get my thoughts organized the topic is no longer timely and I’ll just let it pass. I’ll have to sacrifice some of my daily routines in order to get more writing done.

        Back when Newt was riding high, I was preparing a post in order to tear him a new one. He’s so obnoxious, such an easy target and so much fun to ridicule. However, right before I was ready to post I came across some information that totally changed my opinion of him. In all good conscience, knowing this new information, I couldn’t write that post. Drat! So I decided to write a different one about what I learned. But by the time I got that one ready he plummeted back down in the polls and became irrelevant again. Double drat!

        I had another good one about Chris Christie and his “America is becoming a country of couch potatoes” comment. But again I took too long. However, that issue is still relevant and I can incorporate it into a new one I’m preparing.

        So, you live up in the mountains of a remote, rural area of Panama. That sounds really tranquil and peaceful.
        And at elevation the temperatures must not be too hot. One of my daughters has been living in Bogota, which is also in the mountains and she tells me that it doesn’t get too hot and cools off nicely at night, good to sleep in.
        I live in a noisy congested bee-hive in Queens, NY. The population density has quintupled over the last twenty years. I dream about living in a quiet serene place where I can look out my window and not have to stare at concrete.

        I read the first page of the article you linked about Obama and the lack of Wall Street prosecutions. Yeah, Obama the socialist. Hugo Chavez he’s not.

        Hey that bastard Obama has been stalking my other daughter Bridget all over the world for years now!
        Two summers ago he followed her to Accra, the Capital of Ghana.
        Last month he followed her to Cartagena.
        Yesterday, his Secret Service agents invaded the Manhattan museum she works at (the Rubin Museum) because he decided to do a fundraising event there. Yeah, a likely story.
        And today he’s doing the commencement speech at Barnard College.
        This time he missed, because her graduation is tomorrow at Teachers College!
        Can I get a restraining order on this guy?

  2. joe barton says:

    Dan, I’m glad you wrote back, I did notice that you’ve done a lot of writing lately. You’re very prolific.
    I wish I had the mental discipline and stamina to write like that. I have a lot of ideas that I haven’t managed to get down in print.
    I’ve been looking for smart conservatives to joust with for a long time. I know plenty, like most of my in-laws. They are very conservative, avid Fox News/talk radio fans. Thanksgiving Day dinners are always a gas. But they are not able to give me the level of “dialogue” I’m looking for.
    As for liberals, they are a total waste of time. They stifle me. I learn much more from conservatives. I’ve developed much more of my (liberal) thinking by listening to conservatives. They are much better (in general) than liberals at getting to the heart of an issue. I can usually recognize when they are right and change my own view. But that doesn’t mean that I change my values. More often than not they help me see the bigger picture and improve my own argument. That’s why I always like to engage with conservatives.

    I never duck an argument and will always either refute it or concede, or at least give it some thought.
    If I run into a conservative who cleans my clock, that’s OK. I’m human, my ego will be bruised but I’ll get over it. My ultimate goal is to learn the truth not satisfy my ego.

    When I saw that you made a distinction between liberals and “libruls” it made me suspect that you have an open mind too. You might like some of my ideas.

    Any way, I read your reply and the link to your previous post. I’m going to give it some thought and get back to you tomorrow.
    Oh, by the way, I mentioned your blog on my Facebook page. Also, I think you might have made me a “Hitchhiker’s Guide” fan. I’ve always heard about it but never read it. It looks brilliant.

    • Dan, “Joe Barton” is an alias of mine which I use as my pen name. As I like to tell my Jewish friends, “it’s an Anglicized version of my Italian surname. I use it when I want to ‘pass.’

      A very excellent post, Dan. You covered the topic of race and how it’s been handled by Obama, Sharpton, the media and the left in general (including the black left leaders.) I have quibbles with what you had to say about Obama and the media; Sharpton is a more complicated issue.
      As for the left in general, you are 100% correct and I couldn’t agree with you more.

      I think you’re being unfair to Obama, though you’re more evenhanded than most conservatives who charged him with saying that all police officers are stupid, rather than the two or three officers involved “acted stupidly.”
      He mildly mishandled the “Gatesgate” affair in the beginning, a very forgivable offense which he more than made up for with the “beer summit.” I think that was brilliant and he didn’t get nearly the credit that he deserved. I was very disappointed with what Van Jones had to say about that. Every time Jones gives me some hope that he might become the kind of leader the left needs, he does something like that.

      The right is reading way too much into Obama’s comments on Trayvon Martin. They were much more benign than you say. He was speaking to and empathizing with the Black community who has a justifiable sensitivity to instances like this because of the very long and terrible history of abuse by society towards them.

      As for the Media, the problem isn’t nearly so much “liberal bias” as it is the “free market” model of news reporting. Because that model is based on ratings and the profit motive, the media is always in a rush to report news as quickly as possible and to lead with the most sensational aspects of that news. (That’s why the best news reporting in this country is done by the non-profit PBS and NPR.) But in the end, the mainstream commercial news usually does a decent job. Eventually, as more information became available, they started to report “the other side of the story.”

      I’m from Queens, NY, and have lived here for most of my life, so I am very familiar with Rev Al who has been a media presence in NYC for decades.
      When he first came on the scene I didn’t like him or trust him (I feel that way about most Reverends)
      He’s made some bad moves, for sure, but I’ve seen him mature over the years and he’s impressed me many times with some very admirable actions that have earned my respect and admiration.

      The left (black and white) has played a heroic role in the history of this country as far as getting it to live up to the second sentence in its founding document, “We hold these truths…” You know the rest.
      But ever since the great and noble victories of the civil rights era, the left has mishandled race relations horribly. They squandered a golden opportunity to really improve race relations and the lives of Black people but instead chose to engage in the kind of behavior you accurately describe in your post.

      You said:

      “One wonders whether the racist motivations for accusing a Black man of rape depicted in To Kill a Mockingbird caused anyone in President Obama’s audience to ponder whether there had been racist motivations for the pillorying of Mr. Zimmerman.”

      I’ve been trying to make exactly this point with my liberal friends. I’ve said that the liberal (opinion) media has been engaging in and encouraging a type of lynch mob mentality, the very kind of thing they should be 100% against and warning their audience not to do. (I think I might have gotten through to some of them this time)

      You said also:

      “To have spoken about the extraordinarily common Black – on – Black violence would have been a no – no. Few want to hear that”

      Exactly right. The problems of racism in this country pale in comparison to that and the problem of very young un-wed mothers.
      It sickens me how the left refuses to acknowledge that obvious fact. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Bill Cosby were pilloried for having the courage to say that.

      The left is wedded to the line that “it’s all the fault of racist society” and that saying otherwise would be “blaming the victim.” Oh, N-word please! We’re never going to solve these problems if we don’t change that message. I need to reference that creature from “Hitchhikers Guide” right now.

      Anyway, I have an idea on a possible solution to this problem:
      Right-wing social engineering!
      I’ll tell you about it later

      • Joe, thanks again for your comments.

        You say,

        As for the Media, the problem isn’t nearly so much “liberal bias” as it is the “free market” model of news reporting. Because that model is based on ratings and the profit motive, the media is always in a rush to report news as quickly as possible and to lead with the most sensational aspects of that news.

        That’s clearly true as far as it goes. However, sensationally selective reporting and editing also play their roles. The NBC editing of Mr. Zimmerman’s 911 call, whether intentionally or not, portrayed him as a racist for volunteering that Mr. Martin “looks Black.”

        NBC’s “Today” show first aired the edited version of Zimmerman’s call on March 27. The recording viewers heard was trimmed to suggest that Zimmerman volunteered to police, with no prompting, that Martin was black: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”

        But the portion of the tape that was deleted had the 911 dispatcher asking Zimmerman if the person who had raised his suspicion was “black, white or Hispanic,” to which Zimmerman responded, “He looks black.”

        While probably one of the most blatant examples, it is not unique. Fortunately, there are increasing numbers of blogs and non-MSM information sources. Unfortunately, they are not where most get the “news” upon the basis of which they form their opinions This site, for example, has provided the results of more extensive research into the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Mr. Martin than have the more popular media.

        As to the Reverend Mr. Sharpton, you say

        When he first came on the scene I didn’t like him or trust him (I feel that way about most Reverends)
        He’s made some bad moves, for sure, but I’ve seen him mature over the years and he’s impressed me many times with some very admirable actions that have earned my respect and admiration.

        He has doubtless done some good things. His recent activities in Florida are not among them and I seem to recall similar activities in connection with the earlier Duke lacrosse incident. His efforts, when the opportunity presented itself, to enhance his stature at the expense of justice and to foment racial hatred were largely at the expense of those for whom for he claims to seek betterment. Whatever that sort of thing may do to promote the Reverend Mr. Sharpton, it does far more to promote racial hatred and violence while discouraging all of from looking at why there is so much Black-on-Black violence (as well as Black-on-White and others violence) and at the general failure of Blacks to advance economically and educationally — matters about which the Reverend Mr. Sharpton speaks rarely if at all.

        This comment is terribly long. I do look forward to learning your views on “Right-wing social engineering.”

  3. Joe, you say, First of all, it’s hard to take anyone seriously who calls Obama a Marxist. I agree that calling President Obama or anyone in modern times a “Marxist” is now a form of cussing and therefore meaningless. I have seen many references to those with whom a comment author disagrees as “stupid,” “insane” and worse. It would be more useful to refer to President Obama as a “statist,” “racist,” “Wm Ayers disciple,” etc.

    You continue,

    It seems to me that when individual states eliminate taxes they are just shifting capital from one state to another, not necessarily creating more economic activity (other than the act of moving itself)

    That assumes that, aside from corporate taxes, the states to which business entities move are the same as those they leave. To the extent that the former have lower income taxes or none, it seems likely that employers moving there may have to pay their employees less to be competitive since those employees will have to pay less in taxes and businesses can therefore hire more employees to produce more.

    You continue,

    Plus, this policy goes hand-in-hand with the goal of eliminating the “welfare state” by shifting that burden to the states with the biggest social problems. This of course will cause the whole system to collapse, which I understand will make conservatives and libertarians very happy but won’t solve the social problems and, I’m pretty sure, make them much worse.

    Why do those states have “the biggest social problems?” Might the availability of excessive long term welfare payments to some extent induce recipients, able to work productively, not to do so? Further, to the extent that employers in low or no income tax states can hire more workers than those in the high income tax states they left, might the states to which they moved have lesser welfare burdens with which to deal?

    You continue, I thought Laffer and the conservatives were all for a flat tax, which is all that the Buffet Rule is. I don’t think so. As I understand a flat tax, those in all brackets would pay the same rates. That is not what the proposed Federal “Buffett rule” would do. It would maintain high, and in some cases increase already high, taxes on those already paying at high rates, while maintaining low or zero rates on more than half of those taxed and/or those who pay no taxes but should. I prefer the Jimmy Buffett rule to the Warren Buffett rule.

    • joe barton says:

      Hey Dan, I’m glad you agree with me about the use of the M-word.
      But when they call Obama a racist it makes me want to use the N-word, as in (N-word), please! (Think of the 1999 album title by Ol’ Dirty Bastard)
      This is the guy (Obama) who has disavowed affirmative action (one of the fairest and most just, but badly argued for, programs in American history), saying it is unfair to white people. He’s to the right of Colin Powell on
      this.
      Isn’t everyone a statist to some degree (except for anarchists?) Obama is a moderate Republican in the mold of Bill Clinton. (Actually he’s to the right of Clinton, Clinton never caved on Affirmative Action) Obama is way to the right of the Nixon/Ford era Republicans. On some issues he’s far-right by any standard.
      He pays lip service in defense of the few remaining liberal programs and ideas (that the majority of Americans support) and for this he get’s called a Marxist. This is how far the radical-right has taken this country.
      As for Bill Ayers, read my blog post where I discuss this at: http://liberalbabyboomer.blogspot.com/2012/01/who-hell-is-saul-alinsky.html

      You say,

      That assumes that, aside from corporate taxes, the states to which business entities move are the same as those they leave. To the extent that the former have lower income taxes or none, it seems likely that employers moving there may have to pay their employees less to be competitive since those employees will have to pay less in taxes and businesses can therefore hire more employees to produce more.

      Well, yeah, that’s the theory but, as we’ve seen with “trickle down” economics, theory and practice don’t always coincide. But even if it worked out this way where the workers break even (less pay but less taxes) they still lose out on government services that will be cut. And by the way, I thought these people don’t pay taxes anyway? Oh, you must be talking about the Social Security and Medicare taxes that they will no longer be paying because the Republicons can’t wait to get their ant-government hands on those programs in order to destroy them.
      But that wouldn’t save them any money because they would still have to pay for their retirement income and health insurance, anyway. In the case of retirement health insurance it will actually cost them a lot more.

      As far as more workers being hired to produce more…
      what I know about economics can fit in a thimble, but the one thing I remember from the one class I took is the law of supply and demand. I can’t understand how supply-siders can only look at the supply side of the equation. Yeah, I’ve heard it, “supply creates its own demand.” But that’s only if people are able and willing to spend. It seems obvious to me that the problem we have now is on the demand side. Corporations and the wealthy are sitting on tons of cash but they’re not investing because of lack of demand. This is what Keynesian stimulus tries to address.
      The importance of tax rates is way overblown by the right. Companies will hire and produce if the demand is there, no matter what the tax rates are, as has been demonstrated many times in the past.

      Anyway, the scenario you describe above sounds great for the top income brackets; lower wages, less taxes and bigger profits. It kinda sucks for everybody else, though.

      • Joe,

        Sorry for being so tardy in responding. I’ve been writing a lot.

        As to racism, I posted this article on April 18th. It starts with President Obama’s conspicuous push on YouTube for Black voters. Imagine what the reaction would be were a President McCain to post a similar video asking White voters to reelect him. President Obama also tried to use the Trayvon Martin killing for his own political purposes although now, since the facts seem to be clearer and it no longer seems that the killing was race base, he has been fairly silent. The recent attendance of General Holder and other senior Obama Administration officials at the annual convention of the National Action Network to celebrate the Reverend Mr. Sharpton — the principal spokesman for “Justice for Trayvon” — is also disconcerting.

        I’ll try to respond to your other points soon.

  4. Joe Barton says:

    Dan, I wasn’t too impressed with Laffer’s article. First of all, it’s hard to take anyone seriously who calls Obama a Marxist. Then he grossly overstates the case that the no-income tax states prove that tax rates are the be all and end all of economic performance, while he understates, at the very end, the fact that “Taxes aren’t all that matters, to be sure, and low-tax states don’t always outperform high-tax ones.” (he could have written a much longer article about that)
    It seems to me that when individual states eliminate taxes they are just shifting capital from one state to another, not necessarily creating more economic activity (other than the act of moving itself). Plus, this policy goes hand-in-hand with the goal of eliminating the “welfare state” by shifting that burden to the states with the biggest social problems. This of course will cause the whole system to collapse, which I understand will make conservatives and libertarians very happy but won’t solve the social problems and, I’m pretty sure, make them much worse.
    As it is, I find it extremely obnoxious when conservatives use phrases like “soak-the-rich” but to use that phrase when describing “the Buffett Rule” is way beyond “extremely obnoxious”. I couldn’t find an adjective for that in the thesaurus but I wonder if the Germans have one.
    Why should a small businessperson with a taxable income of $150,000 be paying twice the rate of a hedge fund manager who’s income is 10 or 100 or 1,000 times that?
    I thought Laffer and the conservatives were all for a flat tax, which is all that the Buffet Rule is.
    Now that they feel they are close to achieving that, they think they can safely reveal their true intentions: a regressive tax system where the wealthiest of the wealthy (especially those who do the least “work”) pay next to nothing in taxes!

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