Tag Archives: Taxes

New study: Bernie Sanders’ budget would raise taxes $13.6 trillion over a decade

Democrats took control of government spending in 2007
Democrats took control of government spending in 2007

It’s very strange to me that young people seem to like Bernie Sanders’ rhetoric so much. Have they really considered what his budget would require?

Here’s an article from the Washington Free Beacon that talks about a non-partisan study from the Tax Foundation think tank.

Excerpt:

(I., Vt.) proposed tax plan would raise taxes by $13.6 trillion over the next decade and reduce the economy’s size by 9.5 percent, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation.

While on the campaign trail, the senator has proposed $18 trillion in spending over the next decade. His plan includes $15 trillion for a government-run single-payer health care plan and trillions more for Social Security, roads and bridges, higher education, paid family and medical leave, and private pension funds, to name just a few.

Sanders’ proposed tax plan will increase marginal tax rates and the cost of capital, a move that will significantly reduce GDP, lower wages, and eliminate jobs.

According to the Tax Foundation, Sanders aims most of his tax provisions at high-income households, creating four new income tax brackets with rates of 37 percent, 43 percent, 48 percent, and 52 percent. Additionally, Sanders would tax capital gains and dividends for households with income over $250,000 and create a 2.2 percent income-based health care premium.

However, as Sanders has admitted, his plan also includes tax increases on the middle class. “We will raise taxes. Yes, we will,” Sanders said at the CNN town hall last weekend.

“A majority of the revenue raised by Sanders plan would come from a new 6.2 percent employer-side payroll tax, a new 2.2 percent broad-based income tax and the elimination of tax expenditures relating to healthcare,” the analysis explains.

According to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office, even without Sanders’ tax plan the nation’s economy is projected to expand at a rate much lower than in recent decades. Sanders’ plan would lower the growth rate further, as its proposed marginal tax rate increases on labor and capital would reduce GDP by 9.5 percent in the long term.

“At the center of my campaign is how we’re going to raise wages,” Sanders said at the first Democratic debate. “Yes, of course, raise the minimum wage, but we have to do so much more, including finding ways so that companies share profits with the workers who helped to make them. And then we have to figure out how we’re going to make the tax system a fairer one.”

“And in my view what we need to do is create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure; raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour; pay equity for women workers; and our disastrous trade policies, which have cost us millions of jobs; and make every public college and university in this country tuition-free,” he said.

After accounting for reductions in economic growth, Sanders’ plan would lead to 12.84 percent lower after-tax incomes for all taxpayers, 6 million fewer full-time jobs, and an 18.6 percent smaller capital stock.

Let’s take a look at a few of these from the perspective of a non-clown.

Minimum wage

You know, you don’t have to be an economics genius to understand that this man is a fool – the equivalent of a clown trying to take control of a nuclear power plant. Just look at his position on minimum wage. Every economist understands that raising the minimum wage causes businesses to lay off workers. Why? Because they have to pay for the higher minimum wage somehow. Either they lay off workers and scale back their business, or they charge consumers more. When you charge consumers more, they buy less of what you’re selling. So, usually it means laying off workers.

This Daily Signal article explains what happened when liberal cities raised their minimum wage rates.

Payroll tax

Raising the rate o the employer payroll tax means that employers will basically have to pay more for the same labor. They X labor out of their employees now, and paying Y wages. After Sanders, they will be getting X labor still, but paying a higher Y in wages. What will they do? They will simply let go of their least productive employees and scale back their business, maybe expanding abroad and sending jobs to a country where they are taxed less.

This article from the Fraser Institute explains what happens when companies have to pay more to employ workers.

Tariffs

Bernie Sanders thinks that consumers should pay more for consumer goods. That’s what happens when you slap tariffs on goods manufactured in other countries. Consumers and businesses end up paying more for the same product, leaving less money for other things that you need for your family.

Here’s a post that explains why free trade is best for consumers.

Single payer health care

Single payer health care is supported by economic illiterates in the Democrat and Republican parties – both Sanders and Trump support it. What single payer does is allow government workers to take a cut of every transaction between you and your doctor, effectively imposing a tax on medical treatment without adding any value. It would be as if every transaction between you and Amazon.com were to be funneled through the government to see if you were allowed to buy what you wanted, and for how much. Obviously, we would have to hire government workers to make decisions about your Amazon purchases, to make you wait in line behind others who wanted the same items, and to process payments to Amazon.

Just read this Boston Globe article about the costs of Vermont’s (failed) proposal to have single-payer health care.

Public Works

Henry Hazlitt’s book “Economics in One Lesson” explains the problem with taxing the private sector to build public works.

Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson, chapter 4, entitled “Public Works Mean Taxes”.

Excerpt:

Therefore, for every public job created by the bridge project a private job has been destroyed somewhere else. We can see the men employed on the bridge. We can watch them at work. The employment argument of the government spenders becomes vivid, and probably for most people convincing. But there are other things that we do not see, because, alas, they have never been permitted to come into existence. They are the jobs destroyed by the $10 million taken from the taxpayers. All that has happened, at best, is that there has been a diversion of jobs because of the project. More bridge builders; fewer automobile workers, television technicians, clothing workers, farmers.

And consider Chapter 5 as well, entitled “Taxes Discourage Production”.

In our modern world there is never the same percentage of income tax levied on everybody. The great burden of income taxes is imposed on a minor percentage of the nation’s income; and these income taxes have to be supplemented by taxes of other kinds. These taxes inevitably affect the actions and incentives of those from whom they are taken. When a corporation loses a hundred cents of every dollar it loses, and is permitted to keep only fifty-two cents of every dollar it gains, and when it cannot adequately offset its years of losses against its years of gains, its policies are affected. It does not expand its operations, or it expands only those attended with a minimum of risk. People who recognize this situation are deterred from starting new enterprises. Thus old employers do not give more employment, or not as much more as they might have; and others decide not to become employers at all. Improved machinery and better-equipped factories come into existence much more slowly than they otherwise would. The result in the long run is that consumers are prevented from getting better and cheaper products to the extent that they otherwise would, and that real wages are held down, compared with what they might have been.

There is a similar effect when personal incomes are taxed 50, 60 or 70 percent. People begin to ask themselves why they should work six, eight or nine months of the entire year for the government, and only six, four or three months for themselves and their families. If they lose the whole dollar when they lose, but can keep only a fraction of it when they win, they decide that it is foolish to take risks with their capital. In addition, the capital available for risk-taking itself shrinks enormously. It is being taxed away before it can be accumulated. In brief, capital to provide new private jobs is first prevented from coming into existence, and the part that does come into existence is then discouraged from starting new enterprises. The government spenders create the very problem of unemployment that they profess to solve.

Why anyone would consider a man who has never held a private sector job for any length of time is beyond me. That article explains that Sanders has only ever collected unemployment or worked in government jobs. My cashier at Chick-Fil-A understands more about economics than this fool.

Neil Cavuto explains basic economics to college student who wants free tuition

She has $280,000 in student loan debt for "Chinese medicine"
She has $280,000 in student loan debt for “Chinese medicine”

The video, which goes about 10 minutes. This is a must watch.

The description of the video explains the contents:

Keely Mullen, an organizer for the Million Student March movement, joined Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto on the air Thursday to discuss the movement’s demands for free public college, student debt cancelation and a $15-an-hour minimum wage for student workers. In the awkward 9-minute interview, Cavuto repeatedly cited facts and figures that seemed to fluster the student.

When asked who would pick up the tab for the demands she listed, Mullen said, “The 1 percent of people who are hoarding the wealth and causing a catastrophe students are facing.”

“If the 1 percent just had their taxes raised a few years ago back to almost 40 percent then to pay for the healthcare law, they had them raised another few percentage points, then they had their deductions limited to raise another couple points — depending on the state or locality — they’re pushing over about 50 percent in taxes,” Cavuto told Mullen. “How much more do you think they should pay?”

Cavuto’s question, asked within the first two minutes of the interview, became the centerpiece of the entire discussion, as Mullen was unable to provide a clear answer.Mullen did say the rate should be raised to “enough until we have a system where not one in two families are threatened with poverty.” And when asked if she and her friends and family would pay more in taxes for her demands, she said “we already are.” However, according to Forbes, 45 percent of households pay no federal income taxes.

Cavuto asked Mullen where the money would come from should “these 1 percent hoarders” leave the country, and Mullen insisted there would always be wealthy people in the U.S. However, later in the interview, Cavuto told his guest that countries around the world, using Greece as an example, have run out of money because the top earners are fleeing.

When Cavuto asked her if she think the 1 percent could actually fund all her demands, Mullen said, “Absolutely.” However, Cavuot claimed taxing the 1 percent at 100 percent wouldn’t even fund Medicare for three years — let alone all of her demands for free services.

“They’ve done studies on this, Keeley, I don’t want to get boring here, but even if you were to take the 1 percent and take all of their money — tax it 100 percent — do you know that couldn’t keep Medicare, just Medicare, in this country going for three years?” Cavuto asked. “Did you know that?”

“Yeah, I don’t believe that,” Mullen said in response. “Yeah, I’m sorry, that just sounds completely ludicrous to me.”

Toward the end of the interview, Cavuto told Mullen taxing the 1 percent on 100 percent of their income would only yield “about one trillion” toward any entitlement program.

I took a look and found out that her father owns a million-dollar home. Also, she is studying two non-STEM subjects – political science and sociology. Both of these have some value, but they are also not the STEM areas that are in demand by employers.

By the way, Cavuto is not joking about how much money you can get by taking everything the 1% make.

The radically leftist New York Times explains how much you can get from “the rich” with a reasonably high tax rate:

To get the most accurate picture possible, throw in all the scraps of income, from the most obvious (like wages, interest and dividends) to the least (like employer contributions to health plans, overseas earnings and growth in retirement accounts). According to that measure — used by the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution — the top 1 percent includes about 1.13 million households earning an average income of $2.1 million.

Raising their total tax burden to, say, 40 percent would generate about $157 billion in revenue the first year. Increasing it to 45 percent brings in a whopping $276 billion.

The Wall Street Journal has computed the costs of Bernie Sanders’ spending plan, and it came out to $18 trillion. Getting rid of all the current outstanding student loan balances would cost $1.2 trillion alone. I’ve already talked about the consequences of raising the minimum wage for young, minority workers – they won’t be able to find the entry level jobs they need to get their careers started, so they can move up.

The real question that needs to be asked is the one that Cavuto asked – do you expect the wealthy to continue producing at the same level when you take half or all of what they make. On the student’s view, the rich would work just as hard even if you took all their money and gave it to students taking underwater basket weaving, medieval pottery and puppetry. This is the question that people on the left never ask – what are the consequences of these policies for ALL of the parties who will be affected. That’s a simple question, but apparently not something that leftist professors teach their students to ask. College is generally little narcissists learning from big narcissists, at least in non-STEM programs. It certainly is not the place to learn basic economics and basic civics.

UK Guardian claim: religious children are meaner than non-religious children

A conflict of worldviews
A conflict of worldviews

Here’s what the the radically secular and leftist UK Guardian had to say about a recent study:

Children from religious families are less kind and more punitive than those from non-religious households, according to a new study.

Academics from seven universities across the world studied Christian, Muslim and non-religious children to test the relationship between religion and morality.

They found that religious belief is a negative influence on children’s altruism.

“Overall, our findings … contradict the commonsense and popular assumption that children from religious households are more altruistic and kind towards others,” said the authors of The Negative Association Between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism Across the World, published this week in Current Biology.

“More generally, they call into question whether religion is vital for moral development, supporting the idea that secularisation of moral discourse will not reduce human kindness – in fact, it will do just the opposite.”

Now, whenever I read studies like this that trumpet how great secularism is, I always look more closely to see how they define the terms. Usually, what’s been done is that the study will define the “good” behavior as “leftist” behavior. For example, “punitive” might mean “judging something morally wrong”, which the secular left regards as bad. So, if your starting point is feelings of compassion, moral relativism, non-judgmentalism, then yes – religious people will look bad.

Anyway, here is a response to the Guardian’s article, and the study they cite, from statistician William Briggs.

He writes:

Here’s how to you can replicate their study at home. First, define altruism. Go on, I’ll wait.

Have a definition in mind? I’m sure it’s correct and matches everybody else’s definition in precise detail, details like no-greater-love, supreme sacrifice, kindness, patience, love, and so on, right? Well, maybe not, but never mind. Instead, think about how you would quantify your definition. Quantification makes your definition scientific. Science means unquestionable truth.

Was your answer about quantification the “Dictator game”? Like this (from the Supplementary description)?:

[C]hildren were shown a set of 30 stickers and told to choose their 10 favorite. They were then told “these stickers are yours to keep.” Children were instructed that the experimenter did not have the time to play this game with all of the children in the school, so not everyone would be able to receive stickers. Children were finally shown a set of envelopes and informed that they could give some of their stickers to another child who would not be able to play this game by putting them in one envelope and they could put the stickers they wanted to keep in the other envelope. Experimenters turned around during the child’s choice and children were instructed to inform the experimenter when they were finished. Altruism was calculated as the number of stickers shared out of 10.

Yes, this scientifically captures every possible nuance of the scientific concept of altruism, doesn’t it? Science science science science. Science. It must be science! Scientists wrote this, peer scientists reviewed it, and scientists nod sagely when reading it.

Now define “religiosity” for kids. I’ll wait again.

Have it? Ha ha! That was a trick question. The authors never assessed the “religiosity” of kids; they did it for the kids’ “caregivers” instead. How? The authors asked parents to name their religion. They also asked parents questions like “How often do you experience the ‘divine’ in your everyday life?” They took pseudo-quantified answers from these and combined them scientifically with a quantification of religious attendance and derived a complete scientific quantification of “religiosity.” This was assigned to each kid in the study.

One of my friends in academia who publishes studies with regression analysis writes:

[I] Don’t buy all of his critiques of regression analysis but he is dead on in that the operationizing of the variables in that research is poor. I would also add that the regression model is underspecified.

So that’s two scholars who deal in statistics who don’t like the study. Sociologist Dr. George Yancey also responds to the study’s methodology in detail over at The Stream.

So here are my thoughts: first of all, children typically are little monsters, and they do not understand religion enough to act consistently with it until much later. So it’s a mistake to look at the religion of the parents and assume that in most cases, the children will have accepted that and be operating from that worldview. Second, if you were judging my religiosity at age 12 by talking to my parents, I would not have been considered religious at all, except I was. Third, giving stuff away to strangers is the secular left’s definition of altruism. Earning things through work and then sharing with people you actually know is what conservatives consider “altruism”. The study didn’t ask about how many stickers the religious kids shared with their friends and family when they got home. Conservatives tend to not want to hand out goodies to strangers through some unknown intermediary like big government. We prefer to give to people we know or through private organizations we know. Government is known to waste money on nonsense.

Hypocrisy on the left

There’s a lot of hypocrisy on the secular left. On the one hand, they want to give away lots of taxpayer money to the poor, on the other hand, they personally give far less in charity to the poor. I.e. – they are very generous with other people’s money – especially when they can brag about it to others to appear generous. But in their personal lives, they are often much less generous about giving away their own money. In fact, Arthur Brooks did a study of non-religious and religious people and charitable giving, and he found that the religious people gave away much more than the non-religious people.

Take a look at this video to understand how secular leftists think about “morality” and giving away money:

So, yes – they may sound generous when they are talking about spending someone else’s money, but they themselves are not generous. And that’s not unexpected, since secular leftists believe that this life is all they have, and there is no objective moral standard, nor any accountability to a Creator / Designer when they die. How will you generate a robust notion of generosity, when your story of origins is “survival of the fittest”? You can’t.

Seven policies that conservatives oppose, because they cause poverty

Women for bigger government, higher taxes
Women for bigger government, higher taxes

The list is from John Hawkins, who runs Right Wing News. It’s posted at Townhall.com, though. (H/T Lindsay)

Intro:

Keeping Americans poor in a prosperous country like America is not as easy as you think. After all, this is the “land of opportunity.” Legal immigrants pay tens of thousands of dollars and wait years for the opportunity to come legally and illegal immigrants often risk their lives just so they can get here and do menial work. This is the country that made Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and even OPRAH into billionaires and it’s a nation where you can have everything from hoverboards to medicine for your pet delivered right to your door. So when there’s so much wealth and opulence everywhere, how do you lock Americans out of that success?

No matter what you do, there will always be a few poor people around, but to really maximize those numbers there are very specific government policies abetted by a few cultural attitudes that will make all the difference.

Here’s the list of policies that make people poor:

  1. Making Sure Taxes And Regulations Are Sky High
  2. Encouraging Dependency
  3. Encouraging People To Have Babies Out Of Wedlock
  4. Demonizing Success
  5. Screwing Up The Education System
  6. Having Massive Immigration
  7. Ratcheting Up Their Expenses

I partially disagree with him on #6, where he goes after skilled immigrants. I think it’s right to go after unskilled immigrants, and immigration through family sponsors, since those people may use more social programs than they pay for in taxes. I don’t mind if they come, so long as they are barred from social programs. Failing that, we should only allow skilled immigrants to come – they pay in more than they use up.

However, if he was talking about illegal alias, and not skilled workers, I agree 100%. Everyone who is here should be here legally with a work permit, and there should be enforcement to punish employers who cheat.

Here’s the one I really like, though – the one I think my Democrat co-workers would not be surprised by:

7. Ratcheting Up Their Expenses: Of course, if you want to create more poor Americans, it’s best to tax the middle class as much as possible, but in a country where they can vote you out of office, you have to be careful about directly reaching into their wallets. So, how do you take their money without their realizing that you’re responsible?

Have the Federal Reserve print money non-stop, which drives up inflation. Over time, that reduces the purchasing power of the middle class as the cost of everything seems to creep up. It’s also important to go after cheap sources of energy like oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear power. Not only does that drive up the cost the middle class pays across the board for products, it also hits people directly when they heat and cool their homes. Exploding medical costs are also helpful and Obamacare has done an amazing job of this. Medical costs are skyrocketing for the middle class and helping to drive them towards poverty. As an extra added bonus, middle class Americans who can no longer afford to pay for their medical care because of Obamacare will also be hit with a tax penalty. If your goal is to hurt middle class Americans financially, you could not do much better than Obamacare.

There are many ways to impoverish working people more than just raising their taxes. Just make them pay more for everything by regulating and taxing the people who create the services and products that people buy.

Bernie Sanders says his spending proposals will tax everyone, not just the rich

Wall Street Journal calculates cost of Sanders spending plan
Wall Street Journal calculates the cost of Bernie Sanders’ spending plan

This story is from ABC News.

Excerpt:

Sanders is perhaps best known in political life for his efforts to champion the middle class, saying that in order to bridge the widening wealth and income inequality gap in America, the country needs a revamped tax policy that forces Wall Street, big corporations, millionaires and billionaires –like Trump – to pay up – and doesn’t impose further taxes on the middle and working class.

However, when pressed by Stephanopoulos about whether the proposed Senate tax legislation he backs, which would use a payroll tax to fund a mandate for 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave from all U.S. employers, Sander confirmed that the bill would require taxing all citizens -– not just the top 1 percent.

“[The payroll tax] would hit everyone –- yeah, it would. But it would mean we would join the rest of the industrialized world and make sure that when a mom has a baby she can in fact stay home with that baby for three months, rather than going back to work at the end of one week,” Sanders said.

What most Democrats (all?) don’t understand, is that when you tax the rich, the costs filter down to consumers and employees. If a company is making a 5% profit (and Wal-mart makes a 3% profit), then slapping even a 5% tax increase on them will cause layoffs, outsourcing and other repercussions. We have a serious problem in this country with economic illiteracy – a widespread lack of familiarity with how the private sector works, and how jobs are created. For one thing, the public thinks that the average profit margin of companies is over 32%, when it fact it is much lower.

Public perceptions of corporate profit margins
Public perceptions of corporate profit margins

So the real question is, how much does Bernie Sanders want to spend, and pass on to “the rich”? Because if it’s more than a 1% or 2% increase in corporate taxes, we are all – all of us – going to feel the burn. And it’s not going to a slight increase to our payroll taxes, it’s going to be a huge number of people losing their jobs, and the prices of consumer goods and services rising to pay for the new taxes.

How much does all this Bernie Sanders spending cost? 

The Wall Street Journal – which knows something about business and economics – has done an analysis of how much the socialist agenda of Bernie Sanders will cost. The final price tag? $18 trillion dollars!

Read it:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose liberal call to action has propelled his long-shot presidential campaign, is proposing an array of new programs that would amount to the largest peacetime expansion of government in modern American history.

In all, he backs at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal, a sum that alarms conservatives and gives even many Democrats pause. Mr. Sanders sees the money as going to essential government services at a time of increasing strain on the middle class.

[…]To pay for it, Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent running for the Democratic nomination, has so far detailed tax increases that could bring in as much as $6.5 trillion over 10 years, according to his staff.

A campaign aide said additional tax proposals would be offered to offset the cost of some, and possibly all, of his health program. A Democratic proposal for such a “single-payer” health plan, now in Congress, would be funded in part through a new payroll tax on employers and workers, with the trade-off being that employers would no longer have to pay for or arrange their workers’ insurance.

Investors Business Daily has more to say about Sanders’ proposals:

His “Medicare for All” single-payer health plan alone would cost roughly $15 trillion over a decade.

He wants the government to provide “universal” child care and pre-kindergarten programs, along with free tuition at any public college, and proposes spending an additional $1 trillion on infrastructure and expanding Social Security by $1.2 trillion. Add up just these and a few other items on Sanders’ list, and price tag tops $18 trillion over a decade.

[…]And this doesn’t count the massive costs of mandates and regulations Sanders wants to impose on businesses, such as a $15 minimum wage, plus mandatory paid medical leave, vacations and sick days.

He’d also make it far easier for unions to organize.

Keep in mind that when Obama became president, the national debt was about $8 trillion. Now it’s $18.5 trillion, thanks to the Democrats. And if Bernie Sanders is elected, it will go to over $36.5 trillion. This is what Bernie Sanders expects to solve by “taxing the rich”. And Hillary Clinton expects to get the money for her spending from “taxing the wealthy”, as she said in the CNN debate. Do the rich have enough money lying around for the Democrats to confiscate?

Can we pay for it by “taxing the rich”?

A while back, the libertarian Cato Institute had an article talking about who would pay for Obama’s $1 trillion health care plan. They asked whether Obama could pay for it by “taxing the rich”.

The answer is no:

Funding the new health-care plan on the backs of households making $200,000 or more per year would require permanently increasing their annual total tax payments by about 50 percent. So, for example, a household that currently pays $50,000 in federal income taxes would need to pay another $25,000. Remember, however, that Social Security and Medicare already face enormous shortfalls. Shoring up these programs — another Obama campaign promise — would require collecting 328 percent more tax revenue from the rich. No, we didn’t forget a decimal point: That is three hundred and twenty-eight percent.

And what follows from taxing the rich?

[…]A major tax increase causes the tax capacity of the rich to shrink gradually as two factors kick in. First, many of the households falling into Obama’s “rich” definition are married couples in which both partners are working professionals. When tax rates rise, the lower-earning spouses in these couples tend to work less. Often, they quit work entirely. Second, many of the “rich” are budding entrepreneurs and small-business owners. They finance their operations using their own after-tax income, or with after-tax resources from family and friends. Small-business innovation is the fuel for long-term economic growth. In fact, many of the largest companies in the United States today were either small or nonexistent just 25 years ago. Killing small business kills the American economy.

The rich in France abandoned France in droves when the socialist Francois Hollande passed a 75% top income tax rate. Why do Democrat voters think that this would not happen here? We have to learn economics by watching what happens after the policies are enacted, in other times and places. Higher taxes on the rich cause them to produce less, lowering tax revenues.

I myself have been planning to stop working within the next 5 years, exactly because I can see that the Democrat voters are taking us in the direction of massive taxes on employment. I don’t intend to be working when that happens. If enough people respond to higher tax rates like me, the Democrats are going to have an even bigger problem paying for their spending promises.