October 3, 2007

Light Moderating Alert

Filed under: General — Tom @ 11:00 am

Just a quick note to let readers know that I will not be paying much attention to the blog for about 36-48 hours due to business commitments. There are some scheduled posts that will be going up, but comment moderating will be very limited to non-existent.

Carnival Barking (100307)

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 10:07 am

The 85th Carnival of Ohio Politics, edited by Ben Keeler, is here.

Bush Supply-Side Cuts Played Out? Time for Another Tax Cut

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:15 am

The “magic” of the 2001 and 2003 (mostly 2003) supply-side tax cuts looks like it has just about run its course. Presidential candidates taking their cues from Old Media, which is gushing over ideas like “baby bonds,” the usual “soak the rich” schemes, and (of all things) a war tax surcharge, are going to miss a great opportunity to steer the agenda towards what taxpayers really want — a tax cut.

It’s clear that my prediction of $315 billion in federal receipts during September is not going to be met, as this chart shows (line item data is from the Daily Treasury Statements of 9/29/06 and 9/28/07; the Sept. 2006 total can be found in the latest Monthly Treasury Statement; the final two items in Sept. 2007 column are estimates):

Sept07EstdTreasRecs

I believe that final receipts for September 2007 will be just barely higher than they were in September 2006. That’s significant, because September is one of the four big months for estimated tax payments (January, April, and June are the others). September 2007 was held back a bit because it had 19 business days instead of 20, which explains why withheld items didn’t go up much, but the flatness in the combined total of corporate income taxes and individual non-withheld payments was the bigger factor.

It has been a great run (Sept. 2007′s estimate is incorporated into the graphics below), but I believe it’s just about played out:

Prev12MosChartUSrecs
Prev12MosGraphUSrecs

The Treasury took in almost $800 billion more in the 12 months that ended in September of 2007 than it did in the 12 months ended in September of 2003. The 9.6% annualized growth rate during that 4-year period is phenomenal, and cannot possibly be explained as due to economic growth alone. What is more accurate to say is that the supply-side cuts led to the growth that occurred after a difficult period that began with the fourth quarter of 2000 and ended in the middle of 2003.

But you can see from the results for the 12 months just ended that the revenue gushers of the previous two years have receded. Well, you can’t expect a supply-side tax-cut boost to the economy to continue without ….. enacting another supply-side tax-cut boost.

Ryan Ellis at the American Shareholders Association, who refers to evidence that Americans “want Congress to deal head-on with the economy, which includes new tax cuts,” has many very good suggestions:

  • The most pressing need is to make the expiring tax cuts permanent. Failing to do so would result in capital gains, dividends, and small business tax increases that would definitely wreck the economy. (plus it will slow down the economy well ahead of when they actually expire — Ed.)
  • The corporate income tax is the highest in the industrialized world, behind only Japan. At 39%, the U.S. rate is far higher than the European average of 25% (and falling).
  • Capital, the formation of which is key to economic growth, is taxed multiple times in the current tax system. This can be fixed by full business expensing, killing the death tax, zeroing out the capital gains and dividends tax, and expanding tax-free savings accounts.
  • The U.S. is the only country in the developed world that double-taxes the international income of its taxpayers. This forces U.S. companies and wealthy individuals into offshore tax havens. The U.S. should shift to a territorial tax system like the rest of the world has.
  • Dozens of countries, from Hong Kong to Estonia, have adopted a flat rate income tax. Almost nothing would do more for economic growth than having a flat income tax rate in the teens.

I would take death tax repeal, elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax, and a 10% across-the-board cut for everyone. In an ideal world, I’d take the Fair Tax, effective January 1, 2010.

Presidential candidates should be talking up these ideas, but they aren’t. What are they waiting for, a favorable media climate? Ronald Reagan didn’t wait for that, and if candidates inclined to consider tax-cut ideas wait for that, they might as well tape their mouths shut now and get it over with.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org and Wide Open.

SOBer Thoughts (100307)

Filed under: Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:03 am

Maggie Thurbers nails it on SCHIP’s anti-logic.

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Smoke If You Got ‘Em found a WaPo piece about subsidized housing for the poor not so poor pretty well off.

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Pro Eccelsia writes on the annual Red Mass Ruth Bader Ginsburg won’t go to. It must be the only thing red that she doesn’t like.

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Porkopolis, and Dave at Wide Open, are all over a possible Jean Schmidt pork payoff in OH-02. Go to either place for more.

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Interested-Participant notes that the last white landowners in Zimbabwe will not be landowners in Zimbabwe very much longer (scroll down to Oct. 1; can’t get his link to go below the top of the page).

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TaxManBlog wants to go after the state lottery for ripping off the poor. Fair enough, but that comes AFTER the payday lending industry.

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The Flight 93 Memorial project has gone outrageously out of whack. Right on the Right has more. If the current one stays as is, I hope someone builds a real one privately. If that happens, the Crescent will gather dust.

Positivity: ‘Batman’ deemed a medical miracle

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Seabrook, New Hampshire:

September 18, 2007 6:00 AM
Andy Eaton, 39, of Seabrook, is the second known person to have survived rabies.

This is according to Andy and his wife, Rhonda, who say even though tests came back negative from the Centers for Disease Control, the diagnosis written on the doctor’s slip simply states, “rabies.”

Doctors got tired of calling it, “suspected rabies,” Rhonda said. Half were convinced that’s what he had, she said. The other half said it was encephalitis.

The family believes rabies fits all of Andy’s symptoms.

“Some people don’t believe it, there’s lots and lots of stories going around,” said Rhonda. “Every test for rabies is inconclusive, except one: autopsy.”

Eaton’s doctors at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center could not be reached for comment. They put him in an induced coma and treated him with a cocktail of drugs that had saved the life of a 15-year-old Wisconsin girl, the first known survivor of rabies.

Eaton came home to Folly Mill Terrace in July. He is thin and weak, and still wears a trichotomy tube to breathe, but he is talking, walking and glad to be alive.

“He’s like a kid who wakes up every morning for Christmas,” said Rhonda. “He’s very Zen. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff.”

His prognosis? Full recovery, she said.

Andy’s ordeal began last December while on a roofing job in Merrimac, Mass. He reached his hand inside of the roof and got stung by a bee, he thought. Andy’s been bitten by bees before, said Rhonda. It didn’t make his hand and arm swell up the way it did after this bite, she said. The family thought no more about it.

Three months later, Andy started feeling ill. He went to two area hospitals where doctors thought it might be pneumonia, or a drug addiction, said Rhonda. They kept sending him home and Andy got sicker.

Eaton ended up in the intensive care unit of Massachusetts General Hospital. He had the classic signs of rabies, including paranoia and frothing at the mouth.

“We kept going back to the emergency room,” said Rhonda. “The doctors couldn’t understand why he was frothing, he couldn’t swallow.”

Finally, she said, “a doctor came up and said, has your husband ever been bitten by a bat? That’s when they started saying, this looks like rabies.”

The family began putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Everything fit. Rhonda talked to Andy’s co-workers on the roofing job and learned there had been numerous bats flying around. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.