Tag Archives: Taxes

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)


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.


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.

Eight years of socialism: more debt, more regulation, fewer Americans working:

Has the economy been doing well lately? When I ask Democrats that question, they often point me to the stock market. I know that the stock market has done very well in the last 8 years. But I really question which Democrat policies have been responsible for this winfall.

Certainly, policies like Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, green energy subsidies, blocking Keystone XL, creating a student loan bubble, and even loosening mortgage lending again to create another housing bubble, cannot cause any economics growth. My personal opinion is that all the growth came from adding over $10 trillion dollars to the debt – a process that started with the election of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to the House and Senate majorities, respectively, in 2007.

Look at the national debt:

Gross public debt, Democrats control spending in 2007
Gross public debt, Democrats control spending starting in 2007

If you add $10 trillion to the national debt in 8 years then OF COURSE the stock prices will go up. You would look richer too if you took your credit card balance from $8,500 to $18,500. But what is behind all this consumer spending and government spending? Just trillions of dollars of new debt.

I think a better measure of how the economy is doing is to ask job creators how it is doing. For example, we can ask small businesses, since they are responsible for so much of the job creation in this economy.

Here’s an article from the Daily Signal about that.

It says:

More than five years after the end of the “Great Recession,” only 21 percent of small businesses* say they have fully recovered. During the recession, lack of sales ranked as the top problem small business faced. Taxes placed second, and “government regulations and red tape” placed third. And since 2012, at least one in five small business owners identify government regulations as their most important problem.

The reason for this is simple—small business owners directly feel the impact of federal regulation in the daily life of their businesses. The small business owner is often the main person in a business who bears the burden of complying with regulations and paperwork requirements. According to a 2010 study, small businesses spend $10,585 per employee on regulation, which amounts to 36 percent more per employee than larger companies spend.

With that as a backdrop, it is easy to see how small business owners continue to wonder why Washington just does not get it when it comes to regulation. For decades, Congress has sought to solve societal problems through mandates on business. Too many Americans without health insurance? Congress tries to solve that by requiring businesses to provide health insurance to their employees (regardless of whether or not they can afford it) or pay hefty penalties. Too many Americans unable to care for a sick relative? Congress seeks to address that by mandating that a business keep a position open three months out of every year for qualified employees, using a cumbersome reporting system.

Always entrepreneurial, with a keen focus on the bottom line, the American small business owner looks for ways to minimize the time and money spent on things other than running his or her business. Since many of these regulations wisely exempt the smallest of small businesses, some employers purposefully do not increase hiring because they do not want to have to comply with the regulatory regimes that await businesses that expand to 10, 15, and 50 or more employees.

This might be why the labor force participation rate is at a 38-year low.

CNS News explains:

A record 94,031,000 Americans were not in the American labor force last month — 261,000 more than July — and the labor force participation rate stayed stuck at 62.6 percent, a 38-year low, for a third straight month in August, the Labor Department reported on Friday, as the nation heads into the Labor Day weekend.

[…]In August, according to BLS, the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population, consisting of all people 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 251,096,000. Of those, 157,065,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.

The 157,065,000 who participated in the labor force equaled only 62.6 percent of the 251,096,000 civilian noninstitutional population — the same as it was in July and June. Not since October 1977, when the participation rate dropped to 62.4, has the percentage been this low.

So… do you still think that the economy is in good shape? Any economy is going to look better if you take an $8.5 trillion debt and run it up to $18.5 trillion. But if you look a little closer, you see that small businesses are hard-pressed, and it’s affected the real unemployment rate.