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3. According to Republican orthodoxy, the goal, if not the stated purpose, of tax reform is to: (1) cut taxes paid by wealthy Americans through a combination of rate cuts and exclusions (and, in the case of the "death tax", eliminating it entirely), (2) increase taxes paid by working Americans through a combination of an increase in the regressive payroll tax and shifting of government functions to the states, which rely on regressive taxes, (3) create large deficits as an excuse to cut government social programs, and (4) turn ordinary working Americans into tax protesters (see (2) above). All the rest is just haggling about the price.

Let me guess: you twice voted for Obama and have an Obama bumper sticker on the ass end of your Prius.

FWIW, I agree with everything rayward said and can't stand Obama (or pretty much any liberal). But anyone who votes Republican and has a net worth under a few million is a tool.

One party caters to losers and weirdos and the other to the rich and superrich. We really need a viable third party.

Douthat's article shines through how much he hates his UMC classmates, but I'm not sure his trying to crush people in the high five or low six figures working overtime at a difficult career that are just trying to afford a shoebox in an expensive city (the only place their jobs are) is really sticking it to the "rentiers". The super rich really are the only "rentiers", evidence being that they actually collect rents.

I don't know if the super rich have enough money to pay for everything the modern welfare state wants (like diabetes meds for the obese, anti-retrovirals for promiscuous fags, diversity regulations and bureaucrats to enforce them, and futile educational programs for the low IQ), but there is enough there to help working people who play by the rules to afford life's most important needs.

This is only true if one discounts entirely any consideration of non-economic issues in politics.

That's precisely how Republicans assemble their tool collection. They promise a great deal on non-economic issues and deliver exactly zip. Contrast that with the Democrats who consistently reward their supporters.

One party is daily creating and importing more millions of your "losers" sole economic contributions are made on Election Day when they each are driven to several polling places to vote themselves more of other people's money. The other party is importing millions of illegals to lower salaries. A pox on all their houses.

That child in the (now) old movie saw dead people. I see politicized envy.

And, I take back the bumper sticker comment. Rayward likely has a "9/11 was an inside job" sticker on the Subaru.

You want a third party that calls for eliminating the welfare state by immediately ending Social Security, Medicare, and the "defense" industry welfare spending?

And no excuses about not cutting off the welfare to Republican voters cold turkey: they have had the benefit of endless tax cuts and tax sheltered savings accounts since the 80s and are thus deemed the richest generation in America. Surely the richest generation can get by on the same welfare system as their grandkids who pay higher effective total tax rates than the 1% do. (FICA, Federal and State income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes in the rent, etc)

Wow, T. Shaw. That's really a stunning refutation.

I'd say Rayward's analysis is pretty accurate, based on, you know, history and facts and logic and all. Maybe you'd care to introduce some of that into your thinking.

You could start by explaining why it's wrong to say that a plan that wants to eliminate taxes on capital income doesn't mostly eliminate taxes on people whose income is primarily capital income.

Democrats aren't exactly on the correct side of EITC expansion, minimum wage, healthcare reform, education reform, and eliminating various discriminatory preference programs: you know, some things that actually effect poor people.

Furthermore, the majority of Americans own stocks - capital gains effects everyone.

Capital gains affects everyone?

Really?
First of all, many who own stocks have them in IRA's and the like, where cpital agins taxes don't apply.

Second, there's a huge difference between working and having a small or medium stock portfolio and holding millions in stocks. Most people in the former category will be only very lightly affected by elimination of CG taxes.

Third, Rubio-Lee also eliminates taxes on interest and dividends. Again, lots of people get some income from these sources, but the real beneficiaries are those in the Romney+ category.

Let me guess Bernard, you rent.

Bad guess.

I suspect most of your other guesses about my financial circumstances are also wrong.

Besides, capital gains on home sales, if tat's what you are refrring to, are a minor part of total capital gains, and have enjoyed various exemptions over the years. I'v taken advantage of these myself, as I've owned my homes since about 1980, and have sold a copel of times.

Got another ill-informed snark?

Obviously there was a little editorializing in what he said, but the outcomes of those republican policies are pretty much what he claims, and can be verified by the data. But thanks for raising the level of discourse.

Pretty much what he claims?

Can you cite the data you think supports this?

Republican President's have cut taxes on all tax brackets not just the wealthy.

2. Why "creative" in creative ambiguity? It's just ambiguity.

"1. Who are the most important persons in an image?" Baby Jesus and his mum, obviously. Or Emperor Obama if you're American.

Democracy is a big problem for the EU, US and Japan. For China, not so much.

Those places are all much richer than China, particularly comparing the common people from China versus the democracies. So maybe democracy isn't the problem, perhaps confusing rates and levels is the problem.

I agree with everything in the article on China, though I think he should have placed more emphasis on stability. True, the CPC has delivered enormous growth and lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty over the last three decades, but that is not their only accomplishment. They brought an end to centuries of instability. I would not underestimate the value of that achievement. As long as the grandparents are alive, they will remind today's generation that things were much worse in earlier times for reasons not entirely having to do with lack of prosperity.

Shambaugh's essay is a latter day version of Gulliver's Travels, and an example of prose with a hidden message . Read it carefully and notice how many of his comments about the CCP are thinly veiled criticisms applicable to another world power. It would be interesting to note if this was his conscious purpose in writing the article or if it simply emerged.

Taiwanese media use the term Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but the mainland media and the Party itself use the term Communist Party of China (CPC). Your Taiwanese spin on an article expressing confidence in the stability of the mainland government is self-evident.

Taiwan was the furthest thing from my mind.

5. Hawaii will continue to slide behind the rest of the country. In 1970 the average Hawaiian earned 25% more than the average American. Now the average Hawaiian earns 5% less than the national average (looking just at per capita income). Adjusting for cost of living the typical Hawaiian is quite poor indeed.

There's no economies of scale on a small island chain thousands of miles away from other countries. They suffer the same kinds of problems as New Zealand.

That doesn't mean that Hawaiians can't continue to enjoy a high standard of living. It's just that any hope of creating "Tropical Silicon Valley" is going to fail.

Yep, Hawaiian are being screwed by the immigrants driving down wages. Immigrants like the one leading the article: born in California and then working for five years as a well paid professional in Florida, moving to Hawaii expecting paradise with the same high salary and low living costs of the mainland.

GDP suffers many flaws. One of those is not taking in to consideration natural beauty.

The BEA has started to publish indices of regional price parities by state.

According to their data Hawaii's cost of living is 117.2% of the national average

and real per capita income is 87% of the national average. Only four states have lower

real per capita incomes.

re: important people in a photo
... first are there any economics professors and then graduate students and so on.

"The important two people appear to be the British Queen and the Bishop."

That's no Bishop, that's a Lord Mayor!

Remember, Communism anywhere West of Ukraine did not fall by the will of the people, but the stupidity, corruption, and tiredness of the leadership. The Soviet Union did not collapse by the unstoppable will of the people, but due to trade balance issues and the lack of will of the leadership. If Cuba, Vietnam, or North Korea's regime collapses, it will almost certainly not be by the will of the people (as in Libya). China's democratization may, however, be due to an upwelling of opposition resulting from economic slowdown.

Really? So when the entire population of East Germany moved to West Germany, that was not a reflection of the will of the people but some sort of false consciousness?

I agree the leadership was stupid, corrupt and tired. But actually the people simply did not want Communism. Especially those people to the West of the Ukraine. As soon as the leadership proved themselves too weak to murder people who objected in public, people objected in public and the entire system collapsed. The collapse of Communism is the only mass, popular, rebellion in European history.

So far the governments of Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea *are* willing to murder people who object. Even in private. So we do not know what the will of the people is. But I am willing to bet the second it becomes safe for the people to express their will, they will express a strong desire for some other sort of political system.

Does anyone see Singapore as a model for Future China?

#4a Political repression of regional unrests. Regional unrests though they might probably not endangering the state they are threats to the ruling faction. The Tiananmen incident caused Secretary General Zhao and thirty of his ministers to be purged and the rise of President Jiang. How the Tibet incident was handled cemented President Hu's ascension. It is interesting that current regional unrests were in the areas where Xi's oppositions have the greatest influence. Though they might not have created them, how they are handled might have great impact on the ruling faction.

What a pity Shambaugh had to travel to Beijing to find out that Xi's book was given away for free. If he only have visit Forbes.com he would have discovered that they are giving away for free. http://www.forbes.com/sites/elizabetheconomy/2014/12/09/zuckerbergs-love-affair-with-xi-jinping/ "For Americans interested in reading the book, the Beijing Review magazine has been sending emails out to people offering complimentary copies." I have no connection to or endorse any of these.

Re "Chinese officials come across as wooden and bored" Look at what happen to the charismatic and energetic Bo Xilai. Xi is in the school of Deng who said to keep your head down until the situation demands otherwise. Such behaviour might appear to other as weak or insecure. However it is such quality that landed him the job as the compromised candidate and much to the surprise of the king maker who organized Xi's rise (with inputs from party elders) that he is now appeared to be in trouble with Xi.

#4c It is a strange world when a senior Tibetan criticized Dalai Lama while a former senior Communist Party official openly prayed in front of a portrait of the Dalai Lama http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30983402

#1: Adam at 4:06pm is right. It seems that the authors do not know how to recognize either a Lord Mayor or a bishop. They should probably fix that.

The root problem in the whole China issue is that you essentially have multiple countries within one China. The needs, wants, outlook, economy, everything of Shanghai, Beijing, and other prosperous areas on the East Coast are completely different from those in the heartland. When all were poor, and the rural were isolated from information of the wider world, that was fine. But now the heartland has its eyes on a chunk of the country that's rushing towards the Taiwan and Hong Kong standards. Pretty soon they'll want a bigger piece of that growing pie. Meanwhile the urban nouveau rich will expect higher and higher standards for everything from plumbing to trains to potholes. They were able to seal off Hong Kong and prevent calls for its plunder for the benefit of the larger nation, but they can't do that for Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Tianjin, etc. In general I don't think people appreciate how incredible it is that urban Americans don't really protest the use of their tax dollars to subsidize rural areas and states, and that's mostly because the gap isn't big enough for that to be a huge problem. In China the gap is huge, and growing, and both sides are fully aware of it.

"The root problem in the whole China issue is that you essentially have multiple countries within one China."

That could be said about any large country and, in fact, some small ones as well.

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