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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Food For Thought...

Though seldom heard in the mainstream media, there are some excellent conservative writers/thinkers/personalities out there. Walter E. Williams and Larry Elder are among them. We don't hear enough from them, so I'm giving you a sneak peak into what they're saying... You'd be wise to listen up.

Walter E. Williams is an Economics professor at George Mason University. Here are his thoughts on the "bailout": Lessons from the Bailout.

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. Here are his thoughts on "the rich" that everyone seems to be so angry with: In Defense of 'The Rich'.

(Thanks to Dad for the articles.)

15 comments:

Gretchen Fagan said...

Thanks for sharing these! No wonder we haven't heard of them, they actually tell facts, not fiction. I will spread the word.

J.Knight! said...

I have heard of them and I love them; AND THEY ARE BLACK! How many strong black conservatives have we seen during these elections? I love it!!!

Andy said...

Here's a different thought to digest...it belongs to Jim Wallis - author of God's Politics

It is true that families with the highest 10% of income pay about 60%of all income tax and the top 25% pay about 90% of all tax revenue. And tax rates are progressive. So the tax system in somewhat progressive. What's also true is that many in the upper middle class pay between 35-40% of their income in federal income tax and social security taxes while the richest 1% only pay 18%. It you drill down into that richest 1% and look at corporate CEO's and old money families, you will find that their taxes only amount to 5-10% of their income. For example, John Kerry/Theresa Hines pay $5 million in taxes in 2003. His campaign released that figure. Their estate is worth $1 billion. Assuming a conservative rate of return of 5% on their money, they had true income of $50 million. Thus their $5 million tax payment only represented 10% of their income, far less than the 25%-40% that the vast majority of americans pay in federal income and social securty taxes.
Yes, high marginal taxes takes away money for capital investment. But, it's only the capital investment in small business that creates net new jobs. Multinational profits have been associated with outsourcing of jobs and suppression of middleclass wages.

Kelley said...

Hey, I'd be all for only paying 10% taxes across the board... rich or poor. 10% seems a lot more just than different rates for different people, a confusing tax code where the wealthy or smart can outmaneuver the government, or where any one group gets stuck with the burden. I know I'd pay a lot more than now (cause a majority of my expenses are deductible for ministry purposes and I'm exempt from social security), but I'd rather have a set percentage that everyone paid... then you're not punished for moving into a higher tax bracket or happening to get stuck in the one that carries everyone's burden.

Andy said...

ok...so we go with 10% for everyone. Now let's say I make $50,000, and you make $1,000,000. I pay $5,000 and you pay $100,000. You, Steve Forbes, and others like you all would call this just and equitable. Quite honestly, I don't see that. How is it just that the price I pay is 20 times less than the price you pay to procure the same liberties? Do you get more governmental rights for paying 20 times what I pay? Of course not! So how is it just that the price of your freedom is exponentially greater to you than me? Please answer that question because I believe if you do, you will use the same line of reasoning that is invoked in the imposition of our progressive structure.

The "fair tax" is no more fair than a progressive structure, and I would argue with great veracity that it's actually unjust. Obviously, my argument for this unjustice is based on moral and societal parameters that you would reject, so I won't get into those. I will only quote our friend John Adams and say, "The happiness of society is the end of government."

Isn't life more fun when someone disagrees with you!?! Can you believe we came from the same school? Boy, where did I go wrong - Joe Bray would take back my 'A' and flunk me. I guarantee you I couldn't pass that PEERS test again!

Kelley said...

Andy, point taken on using the same line of reasoning... but I still happen to think it would be less arbitrary than the system we have now.

Bottom line, I would like to see America return to the days when the average tax burden on people was between 1-3%. Government was not caretaker or provider and we became the most prosperous and free nation on earth. It's been moving in the wrong direction since FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society.

What kind of tax code would you be in favor of?

Andy said...

I agree. I don't like the idea at all of the government being the caretaker of its constituency, and I do not support a welfare program. I too would like a tax code where they took substantially less and did substantially less. I would like to see the size of government greatly reduced.

Here's how I truly see it. Other than the two illustrious presidents (FDR/LBJ) that you mentioned, the next three president's that have presided over the largest year over year spending increases are Bush II, Bush I, and Reagan. I see the majority of the republican party as wolves in sheep's clothing. They spout the company line - which I honestly agree with. I want smaller government - but then they act in the exact opposite manner. I get disgusted when McCain says I will do a spending freeze and then two questions later says we'll "increase funding" for special needs children because that is close to the heart of this campaign. The fact of the matter is that no "christian" republican has shown the ability to look at the needs of this country and not throw money at it.

On the other hand, I see Obama as what he is. He's going to increase spending on his domestic agenda. He says that. He also says he's going to raise taxes on the wealthiest 5% which makes fiscal sense if you're going to increase spending. There has to be a basica understanding of how you at least make steps towards balancing the budget.

The tax less/spend more approach is what is going to drive this country off of the edge of the cliff. It is not sound - nor has wealth shown the ability to "trickle down" the way we all hoped it would. The wealthiest .001% of this country have 5% of this country's wealth. I believe what John Adams said is correct when he said that our government is wholy inadequate to govern anyone but a moral people (my paraphrase). We are no longer a moral people. The wealthiest, for the most part, spend their excess on themselves. They do not give to the church and therefore the church is ill-equipped to do for society what it is designed to do. Therefore, as a citizen of this country, I understand why so many people want to use government to bridge that gap. I'm not saying I walk arm-in-arm with them, but I am saying that the Obama plan will keep this country afloat for a longer time. An extension of Bush policies and American interventionism will, in my opinion, bankrupt this country.

I wish we could right every wrong done in the world and deal with every threat, but it is just not fiscally responsible. People tell me that the economy is God's judgment on this nation for turning away from Him. I think we just walked away from His principles and the Law He set in place forces us to reap the repercussions. We've been fiscally irresponsible for a long time, and after FDR/LBJ, I see our generation of Republicans as the major players in that.

The Republican party has been hijacked. The rhetoric is still the same, but the actions don't line up. Taxing less has never generated more revenue for the government - I've looked at the numbers.

So I say all of this to say that in principle I totally agree with you. I would love to start from scratch and do completely away with the income tax. I would love to go back to the gold standard. I believe though that those chasms have become unbridgable. I think the graduated system is the best system for us where we sit today. It is the most prudent from a financial perspective (again, in my opinion). It brings in revenue more in line with what we are spending. I also reject the notion that if you tax the ultra wealthy that they will no longer employ people. They, even if devoid of morality, will act on the basic premise of capitalism and do what betters their bottom line. If that means expanding their business than they will do it.

Sorry for the rambling.

Anonymous said...

Trying to base any decision about voting to "keep the country afloat" based solely on economic reasons is missing the mark. The sanctity of life must come first. God gave life and it is holy in His sight. He made one man and one woman and called them into a holy union representative of Himself and His church (His Bride).He called them to be fruitful and multiply. Which candidate supports life at conception and marriage as a union of one man and one woman? Life and Death issues must come first. All economic policy must come after those two main issues. Man will always make mistakes economically as far as greed and policy are concerned but we must make sure the sanctity of life and marriage and the family are honored. Pick a candidate on these moral issues first then work with them to change policy.

Nathan Talbot said...

Andy you said,

"Taxing less has never generated more revenue for the government - I've looked at the numbers."

That is just not true. Under Reagan revenues increased. Revenues also increased during the Bush Admin after tax cuts.

So Obama is being honest? Please. He keeps saying 95% of working Americans will get a tax cut. Lie. Not that many working Americans pay income tax. What he is setting up is a welfare state to "spread the wealth". The government is going to be cutting checks to people who pay no federal income taxes. They already do this, but it will increase.

It is a fundamental difference of opinion. Obama's "tax plan" is based in socaialism. It can be called nothing else. I fundamentally disagree with this. It is insanity to increase taxes and spending in times of ecomomic crises.

So the Reps have gotten it wrong. I agree, spending is out of control. Does that mean we throw the baby out with the bath water? I don't think so. Is McCain the be all end all, not by a long shot. However, fundamentally they agree with principles I do fiscally, and socially.

As for trickle down economics, it does work. Because in actuality trickle down is a straw man. The first dollars spent when business expands and for new start ups is on infrastructure and labor. Who builds the buildings? Who labors for the new companies? Who cleans the buildings? Who builds the computers? Who runs the IT? Who does the tax returns? Who writes the contracts? You see where this is going? The first dollars go into the ecomony. Businesses spend money when they expand or start for PROSPECT of future profit. The dollars they invest in infrastucture and labor go directly to stimulate the ecomony and create jobs. The money doesn't trickle down when they succeed, the money has already been spent when they expanded or started. The profit is their reward for taking the risk and spending the money in the first place.

This idea of punishing success is completely and totally contrary to the founding principles of our country and what has driven our success.

Also, I agree with Anon. The economy is not the only issue at play here. There are many others. Life being a huge one. Gun rights being another. Taking into consideration Barack's associations, involvment with ACORN(and subsequent lying about it), and his guarding of all his transfripts, papers and even birth certificate lead me to believe he is extremely untrustworthy. Let us not forget the next POTUS could very well appoint 2-3 supreme court judges and alter the leaning and face of the highest court in the land for the next 3 decades. I am not comfortable with the one of the most liberal candidates to ever be nominated appointing those judges.

I could go on and on.

You also said,

"I make $50,000, and you make $1,000,000. I pay $5,000 and you pay $100,000. You, Steve Forbes, and others like you all would call this just and equitable. Quite honestly, I don't see that. How is it just that the price I pay is 20 times less than the price you pay to procure the same liberties? Do you get more governmental rights for paying 20 times what I pay? Of course not! So how is it just that the price of your freedom is exponentially greater to you than me?"

I can answer that. First taxes don't pay for freedom. Our liberties, our rights, are given to us by our Creator not the government. Our founders were very clear about this. Our taxes are meant to secure our safety and our infrastructure.

Second if the percentage is the same then it is not progressive and not a punishment for success. It is an equitable payment based on a flat percentage for all income earners.

I am torn on the fair tax. Honestly I need to research it more. I like some of the things I have heard about it, liking closing down the IRS, but I also think some of the arguments against it have some merit. I am for a flat tax.

Kelley said...

Andy, I agree with you in essence, though not in totality. I agree that Republicans have been every bit as bad as Democrats when it comes to spending habits. I agree that our economy is evidence of walking away from God's principles and merely reaping what we've sown. I agree that morality is the linchpin of our nation and is desperately needed if we want to see any true change (we as the Church better start here). I, likewise, get frustrated when McCain talks about increased funding for various programs (and at the same time a spending freeze). Clearly, we don't have a true conservative running in this election. If Obama wins, I hope it will ignite a conservative revolution. If McCain wins, I hope it doesn't move the Republican party continually to the left.

While I know the trend of government can't change over night, I do think it's possible to at least halt it's increase and move it in a more conservative direction. What we need is a candidate who can articulate conservative principles and then act on them! AHHHHH! So frustrating!!!! Is anyone out there??!!!??

Furthermore (agreeing with "anonymous" here), even if I liked Obama's tax plan better (which I don't), I could not vote for him in good conscience. His worldview is completely backwards from mine. Anyone who places the so-called "rights" of things such as healthcare, education and privacy over the most basic right to life, will not be my candidate.

distance runner said...

I love this blog!!!
Great ideas and stimulating debate!
Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Nathan,
I absolutely love your comment on our taxes not paying for our freedoms!! Excellent point! Also I own a business and if we are forced to pay higher taxes (for being successful) you can be sure we will have to pass the cost on to the consumer in order to keep producing and keep making payroll for our employees. So you see EVERYONE WILL SUFFER if you raise taxes in this time of economic crisis.

Andy said...

I understand the people who make abortion the one issue that everything hinges on. I understand how and why a Christian can come to that conclusion and I fully respect that conclusion. I'm just sorry to say that I disagree with it, and it's not because I condone abortion - I do not. I find it to be in direct opposition to the Word of God.

Personally, my conscience forces me to stand in direct opposition to "preemptive war" as being a major part of our foreign policy. I find the war in Iraq to be unnecessary and excessively expensive. I find our unilateral approach to the world to be both provocative and irresponsible.

It's not that I view these things as having a "greater value" in the eyes of God. It's that I see a President having a much more direct and determined influence on these things than I see him having on abortion.

Nathan, you make excellent points regarding the possible appointment of new Justices to the Supreme Court. I see the validity of that argument regarding a possible overturn of Roe v Wade. I just don't see that happening. Currently, seven of the nine justices who sit on the court were appointed by republicans - if it was going to happen, it should have happened already (if all it took were republican appointments to the court). I don't see Chief Justice Roberts taking the court in that direction, but I may be wrong. Anyway, I understand and see how you all could come to the conclusion you do and I respect that conclusion.

Nathan, you were right when you called me out on “taxing less doesn’t increase revenues”. I apologize for that. This is what I was referencing, and I was wrong to make a blanket statement based on the information provided in this link (info is interesting though – especially during a time of expansion) http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/bush-tax-cuts/revenue.cfm.

It is true, however, that Bush I, Bush II, and Reagan have brazenly engaged in more deficit spending than any presidents other than FDR/LBJ. Dick Cheney even went so far as to say “deficits don’t matter”. I have moral objections with that as well.

Since the income tax was instituted in 1913, it has always had a progressive structure. Repealing the tax cuts that Bush put in place for the wealthiest of Americans is a step back to where we were 10 years ago – and the outcry of “socialism” was barely an audible whisper then. To take it a step further, social security tax is regressive in nature. I understand why social security was initially taxed that way, but let’s all be honest and say that it is simply a tax that we will never reap a benefit from (if we are under 55). It is simply a tax just like income tax, and at 12.4%, it is a hefty tax. However, this tax stops at $102,000 and nothing is taxed above that. I remember back in 2004 when I first made over $88,500 (the threshold at the time). I couldn’t believe they stopped taking social security tax from my paycheck after that. I got an additional 12.4% of my money. It seemed wrong to me that once I crossed a threshold that I would get to encounter a lower tax burden but that is exactly what happens. It is a regressive tax – not sure how you all feel about that, but I obviously don’t approve.

Finally, I agree with James 1:9, but let’s be honest, taxes do pay for our freedom. Anyone who disagrees with that is just making words work for them. Try defending the country without tax revenues and then ask yourself what “economically” pays for your freedom.

I can understand how you come to the conclusion that a flat tax is more “fair” or “just”, but I believe that to whom much is given much is required. I personally believe this principle applies in every aspect of life.

Nathan Talbot said...

Ok well let's go ahead and tackle the abortion issue real quick since it has been thrown in as part of the this debate.

First of all I don't think we can hinge our decisions on whether or not we believe Roe will ever be overturned. While as Christians we can agree that abortion is a terrible act and should not be allowed our only fight can't be Roe. It should be one of them but not the only one. The Pro Life movement has made great strides in reducing abortions and getting rid of abhorrent practices like partial birth abortion. I won't appeal to the emotional and describe this act in detail, but if you have never read exactly what takes place you need to.

Now Obama is the most radical "pro abortion" candidate to ever be nominated for POTUS. He has PROMISED to pass the freedom of choice act. According to the Bill's own supporters this would, abolish bans on partial-birth abortion and parental notification laws nationwide while implementing tax-payer funded abortions.

Again this is what Barrack has promised his supporters he is going to do. How atrocious is that? I can't fathom a Christian voting for someone with this stance on this issue. This is as radical as it gets.

We could go on about the infanticide issue.

So we have him passing the freedom of choice act and appointing judges to SCOTUS. You can't tell me that this isn't going to radically alter the way this country treats abortion and do great harm to the work and inroads the pro-life movement has made over that last couple decades.

On top of that justices on the SCOTUS will weigh in on many important issues concerning our rights, like the 2nd amendment, and our Constitution. Forgive me if I think a left leaning SCOTUS will do much more harm than good.

Now as for the tax issue. It is obvious we have a fundamental difference of opinion. You are applying the Biblical principle of to who much is given much is required to our tax structure, which I think is a very doctrcinally incorrect application of that princple. It is not the governments job to implement God's requirements on those who have "much".

You said,

"Since the income tax was instituted in 1913, it has always had a progressive structure."

Does that make it right? Does that mean we should go further into the the ditch of a progressive tax structure? I don't think so.

You said, "Repealing the tax cuts that Bush put in place for the wealthiest of Americans is a step back to where we were 10 years ago – and the outcry of “socialism” was barely an audible whisper then."

Barrack's plan goes much deeper than this simple return to the Clinton tax structure(not that I agreed with that either), obviously he has you fooled along with a lot of others. His plan is absolutely socialism at its core. Don't believe me, take a look at the WSJ.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122385651698727257.html

His "tax credits" are going to be cutting checks to almost 63 million Americans who pay ZERO federal income tax. That is welfare. That is socialism. That is taking from successful, FORCEFULLY, and redistributing their money to those who make less money. There is nothing else to call it. If you can formulate and argument for why this isn't socialism then I would love to hear it.

Another very disturbing portion of Obama's tax plan is the marginal rate. It actually punishes low to middle income people for working harder and making more money.

The WSJ puts it this way.

"There's another catch: Because Mr. Obama's tax credits are phased out as incomes rise, they impose a huge "marginal" tax rate increase on low-income workers. The marginal tax rate refers to the rate on the next dollar of income earned. As the nearby chart illustrates, the marginal rate for millions of low- and middle-income workers would spike as they earn more income.

Some families with an income of $40,000 could lose up to 40 cents in vanishing credits for every additional dollar earned from working overtime or taking a new job. As public policy, this is contradictory. The tax credits are sold in the name of "making work pay," but in practice they can be a disincentive to working harder, especially if you're a lower-income couple getting raises of $1,000 or $2,000 a year. One mystery -- among many -- of the McCain campaign is why it has allowed Mr. Obama's 95% illusion to go unanswered."

That last question is one that has baffled me for months. The fallacy of 95% getting a tax cut is so obviously wrong I don't know why the McCain campaign hasn't been hammering it out of the park.

As for SS, it is just a fine example of our government not being able to be fiscally sound with any program they run. We won't see a dime of SS and it should be privatized. Why on earth would people who can clearly see our governments failed track record of fiscal soundness want to hand our healthcare system over to them? It astounds me.

Lastly check this out for me please.

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/10/21/the-comprehensive-argument-against-barack-obama/

It is a case against BHO. The thing I like about it is they provide documentation and video of Barrack's own words to document their arguments. It is not a smear piece, but an honest look at his record, his words, and his platform.


The man is wholly unqualified to be POTUS, he is radically left in his views including abortion, his economic policy is one principled in socialism, and he is woefully unfit to handle foreign policy in an increasingly dangerous world.

Nathan Talbot said...

One more quick point. Obama has never cut taxes for anyone. He is a tax raiser. He has never once lead or supported legislation to help "the middle class". I don't believe him for a second when he talks about all the things he wants to do for the middle class because quite frankly the man is lying so much it is very difficult to distinguish what is true and what isn't. So I have to look at the record. His record is that of a radically left wing party line towing tax RAISING, government SPENDER.