Monday, May 18, 2015

I've always like a good trilogy....

"I've always liked a good trilogy" will become my standard rebut to the established, "with Hillary we get Bill too!"
Assuming of course, and why not assume, that Jeb Bush is going to secure the GOP nomination.
Its not that I like Jeb Bush when I say that, but what I hope it does is imply that three is greater than two. If the logic we are using to support Hillary is that we also get the experience of a former President, and what could be better than that? I'd say the experience of two former Presidents is better.
George H. W. Bush is perhaps the most under appreciated President in history, certainly in our time, while Bill Clinton is perhaps the most over rated.
Throw in W. and you got the winning hand -- If it all boils down to the considerations and ties to experience.
I still don't get why Hillary is the only one running from the Democrats up to this point. Bernie Sander is an independent running as a Democrat, therefore I have to set his candidacy aside for the moment.
Jay Stevens, a biased pundit of the left said, "There’ll be no surprises from her, no possibility of greatness, no hope of transformative change."
He also said, "Oh, and the Electoral College map makes a Democratic win in 2016 almost inevitable."
Considering all the really smart ideas and people on the left, especially with all the behavior scientists and economist pontificating why people behave and do, I find it so ironic that there is no one else within the party stepping up.
The food pyramid was changed because Cass Sunstein and his cohorts figured people needed a simpler reminder about eating healthy, you'd think they advocate choice as a more rationale method of nominating a Presidential candidate.
What I am implying there is power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Democrats are just ceding power to a woman and family tainted, nay, doused in corruption allegations?
We truly are in a bad place if this be the case.
I'm sure the smart people on the left know this isn't a good idea, but up to this point it is the reality, which perhaps suggests that absolute power is already being wielded. Have all the would be contenders been "advised" as to what is good for them?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Where The Wealth Is, Part 3

In predicting that the left may suggest a flat tax on capital soon, in order to booster their anti-1% cred, deflect criticism from Hillary's wealth, and in fact be well intended, what I failed to point out is that it would be detrimental and worsen certain aspects of the economic balance of our society.
It won't work, or happen, as simply as I stated, for the very reason that a 90% income tax on the rich isn't going to work either. Which by the way is the liberal answer to the conservative flat tax.
The reason being is the wealthy have choices now. Unlike fifty or sixty years ago when very much the entire world was in crumples and the United States dominated all, a 90% tax rate on the rich was doable. Where else would they go?
Try doing that today and see what happens! The Cayman Islands couldn't berth all the yachts headed their way.
Consider what businesses are doing today. The corporate taxes here are some of the highest in the world and to escape them companies are finding partners to merge with that share only a slither of a common cause. They're looking in Ireland, Canada and anywhere else where they can find a willing partner and a friendly tax regime. They're are then moving headquarters outside the United States in order to save money on taxes at record numbers.
Outsourcing 2.0.
A flat capital tax would do the same thing, to certain degrees, and that is not only a challenge for the United States and its own income inequality, but its a challenge for the entire world.
What we need to do, and why the GOP needs to get in the game, is have a discussion about how to use the existing tax system to extricate wealth and capital from the 1% in a way that is beneficial to us all and doesn't drive them(the wealth holders) away.
I'm loathe to suggest that the government just tax and spend. Argh!
Let's face it, a flat tax isn't going to happen and a flat capital tax has more of an opportunity, if nothing else, to get another Democrat elected President. Romney lost because of his wealth, Obama didn't have a lot of great ideas on addressing the disparity, he just hammered the idea of Romney being in the 1%.
Take a look at this article in Fortune Magazine,
What you'll find is the 1% is investing in alternatives to big oil. What you'll learn is that the UN figures the world needs $1 trillion a year in investments to "decarbonize" the global economy.
Where are we going to get that money? Well, the 1% is already doing it on their own, to preserve their wealth status. But even so, their commitments aren't enough.
I've wrote it before and it bears repeating, the GOP is a hindrance in this country when it comes to the tremendous opportunity that green technology presents for American business. Couple that with their defiance on wealth disparity and we could very well miss out on more than we could ever imagine to change the energy game in this world.
However, billionaires are plowing ahead, the GOP be damned
That's an opinion too, of course, but its worth conveying that this Democrat President, the one that beat Romney and who is driving a multi-pronged agenda to establish his party dominance for years to come, just allowed the Department of Energy, "to provide support and access to federal clean-tech R&D to a broad range of private investors and philanthropists. The aim of the program, called the Clean Energy Investment Initiative, is to help wealthy investors mobilize $2 billion in new clean-tech investments." -Fortune Magazine.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Where The Wealth Is, Part 2

Fortune Magazine, Yahoo Finance, and Bill Gates' Blog are three spots where I came across references to wealth, inequality, and the 1% since I last wrote on May 6th. Which is to confirm what I already have said, that this isn't an issue that is going away.
Glenn Beck may at some point catch up, but the contrast to these intelligent opinions is striking. Especially Bill Gates, who contributed ideas, not mocking attacks.
I'm not smart enough to come up with great new ideas, but I have my opinions. One opinion I have is that this issue is going to steam roller the Republican Party unless they start cramming.
The Democrats have a less than idea candidate to champion wealth related positions in Hillary Clinton, but its been my experience that for the left its the ideas and causes, not the character and personal failings that swing their levers.
So I don't think there will be a Romney-esque label placed on Mrs. Clinton that will succeed in distracting attention away from the validity of the ideas and statistics related to wealth disparity.
Here is one idea that I believe is going to up end conservative voters and leave them behind: the flat tax.
The flat tax is an idea that conservatives have dreamt about for years. Its been highly regarded and also disregarded, some think of it as a panacea for what ails the tax code and the bloated IRS. Others, like me, have come to believe that it would never overcome the vested interests, like the attorneys and accountants.
Plus the current tax code on income, although complex and unwieldy at times, is already regressive and somewhat fair. The complexity comes from the government valuing assorted behaviors from the people, and using the tax code accordingly to promote those behaviors.
The greatest deficiency of the flat tax idea however is that it targets the wrong thing, and this is where the progressives may find an election winning cause.
Income isn't where the money is at, its capital. What may come is an idea from the left, from the Democrats, to levy a flat tax on capital.
If you need a quick cramming on the distinction here, read the blog by Gates via the link I provided above. Its not difficult to understand. Taxing income, or labor, necessarily includes people who are already squeezed in this economy. Taxing capital is a whole different animal and captures wealth that escapes an income tax. The 1%, as it is, derives much of its wealth from capital, not income. They don't hold jobs, they employ capital.
In short, income taxes, a flat income tax specifically, doesn't change the equation we are a part of. The equation where the cliche that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer is valid and true.
Now the conservative arguments about class envy or class warfare are going to rise, but in the end they will be muted as more and more people come to understand the particulars of this topic.
Wealth distribution is out of whack, America is not as egalitarian as we think, upward mobility isn't as achievable as it once was in this country and statistically, historically, we as a society are as stratified into have and have not's as at any point in the past. The past being in all recorded modern human history. Understand there were times that were very, very stratified between the have and have not's, like 1800's.
The world wars wiped the wealth away from the 1% in the last century, a reset occurred. Since then they've come roaring back and are on course to truly dominate human kind like never before. This isn't a question of punishing the wealthy, but preserving opportunity for all.
Or we can wait, or hope, for a global calamity to do the job. That's not an approach I would champion.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Where the Wealth Is, Part 1

One of the oldest lines of advice that has stuck with me, not really advice but admonishment, was by the late and great Robert Anton Wilson. He wrote, "it only takes twenty years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea."
Often times I wondered what would you become in twenty years if you were conservative to begin with?
I tuned into talk radio the other day, Glenn Beck as it were, and caught the tail end of one of his mocking sessions. I must admit two things when it comes to Glenn Beck. Of course I do think he is nuts and I infrequently listen to him. But when I catch him, along with his cohorts, mocking someone, I am usually amused and entertained.
Simpleton stuff for the most part, like what Huffington Post does to conservatives.
The other day, when I tuned in, he was mocking someone because the person said something to the affect that a certain Scandinavian country had a more equal distribution of wealth than the United States.
The specifics really aren't that important, but the admonishment by beck was that the average income here in the States is higher than over there in Europe. That's what Glenn was selling, and he probably is right.
However that does not prove the opinion on wealth distribution wrong.
Wealth and Income are two distinct measurements. While it is true that income averages are greater here, it is also true that in certain countries wealth distribution is more equal than here in the States.
Again I'm not trying to be specific, or even attempting to carry the argument that was started by the unidentified speaker.
During the Presidential election cycle we all were exposed to a new issue and a new vernacular: Wealth distribution and the 1%.
If the Conservatives, like Mr. Beck and his followers, have any desire to influence in the arena of ideas, specifically now I'm talking about wealth and income disparities and what is a good public policy a society should adopt in regards to these imbalances, they ought to take the time to understand the distinction between the two measurements.
Mocking is entertaining, but the people with a better understanding of the points being made by economist are going to have more influence in elections.
Additionally, and we've seen this in Health Care, if the Conservatives are going to take the approach that the whole "1%" theme is over blown and inconsequential then they may be eliminating themselves from the entire debate. Which could happen to our collective detriment.
Wealth, Income, and Capital distribution is a real concern, and one in which we all have to discuss. We will not be served well if the GOP decides again to let the Democrats carry the conversation alone, and only after decisions are made to get serious about it.
We can't afford that.
At some point though, and many Democrats think it is eminent, conservatives are going to be so far behind the curve that they will become inconsequential themselves and winning national elections a thing of the past.
Twenty years later, a conservative may very well have missed a lot of new ideas. They risk becoming the Amish of the political community.
I consider myself rather conservative, but I'm open to new ideas and learning what people are passionate about, what learned people have been studying.
The idea that because one party or side of the political spectrum is for something, therefore I must be inherently against it is anathema to me.
Below is a hugely influential book by a French economist on Wealth, Income, and Capital. It was published after our last presidential election, but unless Mr. Beck and his cohorts catch up
with the conversation, his side risks losing a lot more than an election.…" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />