Posts Tagged ‘taxes’

GOP to Push Homeschool Tax Credit?

Posted: Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 8:13 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Let’s see if Kristi Noem will vote to put money in my pocket….

The new GOP majority in the U.S. House includes some members who would like to give homeschooling families a tax break. The New York Times is hosting a discussion on the topic, wherein the Home School Legal Defense Association says a $500 homeschool tax credit would encourage parents to get involved in their kids’ education. Education reform guru Chester Finn says fine, but you don’t get federal money without jumping through federal hoops, like requiring homeschool kids to take more tests. And that prospect sets off the Cato Institute’s Constitutional alarms.

Professional teachers receive a similar tax credit. When I taught at Montrose, the Educator Expense Deduction shaved another $250 off my taxable income, as compensation for books and other educational materials I used on the job. If we offer this compensation to teachers working with the support of a school district, can we justify offering the same compensation to parents doing the same job mostly on their own?

Even though we plan on homeschooling our daughter for at least a few more years, my wife and I still believe in supporting the public school system. We oppose vouchers, in part because they don’t make sense in rural South Dakota (and Rep. Kristi Noem agrees), but in larger part because they drain money directly from school districts and threaten the solvency of the public school system. Some folks have no problem with dismantling public schools,but we recognize that a free society requires free schools for the majority of citizens who either cannot afford to have parents stay home to teach full-time or who simply aren’t intellectually equipped to do so (seriously: how many of you parents could quit work, go home, and teach high school literature, algebra, history, and foreign language?).

A federal tax credit for homeschool does not directly subtract money from local school district budgets; it just leaves a little more money in the pockets of parents who’ve already chosen to pull out of the public system. But it still reduces the support that homeschool parents provide for public goods that they and their children still rely on for their education. Homeschoolers use public libraries and museums; they attend concerts and cultural events supported by public money; they drive on roads to get there.

A homeschool tax credit should set off conservative and liberal alarm bells. The credit opens the doors for federal regulation of homeschool via the IRS. I would think that prospect would kill the idea among my conservative friends. And given the religious motivation of many homeschool parents (my wife and I are in a distinct minority here in Madison, choosing homeschool for purely secular rather than spiritual reasons), my liberal friends can go ape over the potential of federal tax credits subsidizing religious instruction. Mix those two, and politically, the homeschool tax credit looks like it goes nowhere.

If we really think homeschool is a good idea, we might support it better by leaving Uncle Sam out of it and focusing on changing state law. Give local school districts their full per-student allocation for homeschoolers, and in return give homeschoolers full access to all resources of their chosen district.

I won’t complain much if Rep. Noem votes to send more money to help us educate our daughter. But a homeschool tax credit doesn’t doesn’t sound like the best way to do that.

Olson, GOP: No Money for Schools, Plenty to Subsidize Economic Development

Posted: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 9:00 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Incoming (that’s what teachers and school boards should start shouting any time Republicans enter the room) South Dakota Senate Majority Leader Russell Olson demonstrates the warped free market fundamentalism that pollutes our public policy.

At the end of the 2010 Legislative session, Senator Olson voted to short K-12 education millions of dollars, despite the fact there was 2.2% more wealth available in South Dakota. He doesn’t appear to have any vision for avoiding even deeper cuts to education in the 2011 session. Education just isn’t worth more creative thinking and funding in Olson’s world.

But check out what he told the city commission and economic development corporation in Colman about how Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts work:

Russell Olson, manager of community and economic development for Heartland Consumers Power District in Madison, gave the group an update on Colman’s TIF district.

A TIF is a mechanism used to promote economic development on a local basis. The increased tax revenue is the “tax increment,” which is dedicated to financing debt issued to pay for the project.

“This instrument allows the use of property taxes on a specific project while not harming the general fund of the school district,” Olson said. “The state of South Dakota makes up any shortfall to the school, thus keeping them secure” [Staff, "Colman Officials Discuss TIF District, Future Growth," Madison Daily Leader, 2010.12.27].

Now consider: in Olson’s thinking, Pierre can’t spend more on education itself. Show Olson a school district where they need a foreign language teacher or classroom renovations or cost-of-living increases for staff salaries, and he’ll turn his pockets inside-out and shrug. But show Olson a school district where the city is subsidizing some private developer’s effort to put up new businesses or houses (which just might use more of the electricity Russ’s organization sells), and Pierre can find more money to send.

Education funding should be simple. Kids need to learn. Teachers need to eat. Find the money, invest in our future workers and leaders.

But maybe that sounds too socialist for our Republican leaders. They can’t just spend money on people. They have to construct these Rube Goldberg machines of subsidies for their entrepreneur pals and paste comforting labels of “economic development” on the front, even though TIF districts are a much greater intrusion of government into the free market than funding schools.

I’d suggest that schools could take the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” route, get their local governments to establish TIF districts everywhere they can, and then hit Pierre up for the difference in school-funding revenue. But that only gets more Rube Goldbergy. Let’s just raise revenue by imposing a corporate income tax and use the money to meet the basic democratic and constitutional mandate to provide free education to all citizens.

The Rich Pay Way More than their Share

Posted: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 12:50 am
By: Ken Blanchard
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tax burden

I am not at all sure that the recent extension of Bush tax cuts was good policy.  I understand the argument that we shouldn’t raise taxes during a period of economic stress, but I wonder whether the stress might not be better addressed by serious attempts to put our fiscal house in order.

That said, the argument from the Left that the rich are being coddled is utter nonsense.  The top 1% of income earners in the U.S. pay almost 40% of income taxes.  The top 2-5% pay another 20%.  That means that 5% of U.S. taxpayers pay more than the other 95% combined.  The bottom 50% of earners pays just 3.1% of income taxes.

There are all kinds of things wrong with this.  One is that it gives the rich an unfair advantage politically.  The 5% who pay 60% of the bill are going to figure out how to leverage that financial weight.  They didn’t get rich by being stupid.  Just ask a nephew in a family in which Grandma controls the fortune.

The other problem is that it conceals the cost of government from most of the voters.  If my taxes are going down, why should I care if the cost of government is going up?  I should care because those costs have to be paid out of the productive economy.  It is the latter that produces all the wealth and all the real jobs.  It is too much to ask that each citizen should calculate the cost of a government program in terms of all of its effects on the economy.  Maybe he should know what it costs in terms of his or her own tax returns.

At any rate, we need to evaluate tax policy in terms of who actually pays what.  In the debate over the tax cut extensions, we certainly weren’t doing that.

Reich Reviles Rotten Reaganomics Rehash

Posted: Friday, December 17, 2010 at 6:58 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Senator Tim Johnson was on SDPB Dakota Midday Tuesday insisting that he had no choice but to vote for the $858 billion Stimulus II that the Republican leadership and President Obama worked out. Funny: Senator Tom Harkin from Iowa thought he had a choice. So did twelve other Senate Democrats, six Senate Republicans, and one Senate Indy-Socialist (roll call vote #276 here).

South Dakota’s last Democrat in Washington needs to read more Robert Reich. America’s best darn former Secretary of Labor critiques exactly this false “have no choice” excuse. Reich says we ought to have the courage to choose something other than a rehash of failed Reaganomics:

Supply siders are also fond of claiming that Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts caused the 1980s economic boom. There is no evidence to support this claim. In fact, that boom followed Reagan’s 1982 tax increase. The 1990s boom likewise was not the result of a tax cut; most of it followed Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax increase.

Nor did George W. Bush’s tax cuts trickle down. Between 2002 and 2007 the median wage actually dropped. And Bush’s record of job creation was pathetic relative to Bill Clinton’s, when taxes were higher. Under Clinton, America added 22 million net new jobs. Under Bush, barely 8 million [Robert Reich, "The New Tax Deal: Reaganomics Redux," blog, 2010.12.16].

Holy cow: our gal Stephanie and my man Dennis both voted aye! Michele Bachmann and Anthony Weiner voted nay. We should have more votes with alignments like that.

Wow: two empirical examples of significant tax increases followed by better economic growth than we got after the Bush tax cuts… ineffective cuts that we are now extending.

I know, it’s all over but the shouting. But there are economic lessons we aren’t learning… and I intend to keep shouting them.

Ag Productivity Tax Risks Revolt…

Posted: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 5:24 pm
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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…but GOP Sponsor Opposes Further Study

Remember a couple weeks ago when I asked our District 8 State Senate candidates about the possible farm revolt over the new ag productivity tax (also known as income tax done bass-ackwards)?

Bob Mercer reports in the Pierre Capital Journal on some of the reasons this new tax formula may induce farmers to bring their pitchforks to Pierre. Assessed values on crop land could go up 40% to 90% by 2018. The new tax law limits increases and decreases to 10% a year through 2017, but come 2018, counties could impose much higher increases to catch up with costs, a possibility Mercer says could cause a backlash among landowners. The ag productivity tax formula also assumes that landowners get 35% of the income from cropland they lease out, a figure several members of the legislative task force studying the tax say is unrealistically high.

You know, legislators, instead of guessing how much farmers might make on their land, wouldn’t it be easier to simply tax them on the amount they actually make each year?

Senator Jim Peterson (D-4/Revillo) says that before we get our bibbers in a bunch, we need to compare the potential assessment increases with the valuations that would have happened under the old system. I hear from a neighbor that some farm land just east of Madison sold this fall for $6000 an acre. At prices like that, farmers might come out ahead on a tax system based on what the land actually produces rather than the speculative fancies of wealthy city dwellers.

The legislative task force that discussed the ag productivity tax Monday got the state Revenue Department to agree to gather more data on the landowner lease-income percentage to see if the formula needs tweaking. Interestingly, the prime sponsor of the ag productivity tax, Senator Larry Rhoden (R-29/Union Center), argued against any further study:

The task force’s chairman, Sen. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center, argued against collecting the additional data at this time. He said it’s better to let the system start to work.

Rhoden further warned that the data could merely fuel the arguments of opponents who fought against the new system when it was approved in the 2008 and 2009 sessions of the Legislature [Bob Mercer, "Tax Boost Likely on Ag Land," Pierre Capital Journal, 2010.11.09].

Don’t study it, because data might support opponents’ arguments? If that’s Senator Rhoden’s attitude toward studying problems, we should be alarmed about the direction the Legislature will take this year.

If the ag productivity tax is to be fair, it needs to be based on every bit of data we can collect. For the prime sponsor of the tax to advocate closing our eyes to available information puts landowners and taxpayers in danger of being fleeced by a badly designed tax.

SD Job Losses Projected from B.O. Tax Hikes

Posted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 at 1:19 pm
By: RadioActive Chief
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This is a fairly serious article on the economic impact of the Obamunist program of tax hikes that are planned for us. In the words of the Warren Zevon song: “It ain’t too pretty at all.”

Obama Tax Hikes: The Economic and Fiscal Effects

Since 1996, Congress after Congress has voted to lighten the tax burden on Americans. The current Congress will decide this fall whether to continue this policy or to significantly raise personal income taxes. President Obama has advanced a plan that reverses the long-standing successful policy: The President and his supporters are calling for tax increases, primarily on upper-income taxpayers and businesses— including small businesses, the primary job creators in the country. Those who will be most burdened if this plan becomes law are the millions of Americans just starting their economic lives and the millions more trying to find work after the worst recession in 60 years. The rest, whose lives are affected by the investments and business decisions of those taxpayers in the high-income classes, will share the burden. No income earner will be unscathed.

…or, to carry the lyrical comparison a bit farther with Rod Stewart’s “Every picture tells a story, don’t it?”:


Click on image for larger version.)

So…South Dakota looks to take a hit from all this…estimate job losses from this tax hike of 1820-2320 jobs lost per year, from 2011 through 2020. Oh, joy.

There are a lot more gory details in the article, on how these tax increases are NOT the way to grow the economy, but they ARE a dandy way of the Washington “progressive” establishment to increase its power over us.

At least if taxes are raised, they can be cut again…eventually…perhaps not until after 2012.

Presidential Disingenuity

Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 11:21 pm
By: RadioActive Chief
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This is the latest example of B.O.’s continuing disingenuous criticism of Republican “obstructionism”. Frankly the Chief is really tired of hearing this sort of attack…like the GOP should roll-over and rubber stamp whatever he proclaims as being The Truth.

Obama: GOP Holding Tax Cuts “Hostage”
President Urges Congress to Approve Extension of Middle Class Tax Cuts from Bush Era for Families Making Less Than $250,000

President Obama is applauding two Republican senators who voted for a small business bill and says he’d welcome that kind of cooperation on the divisive issue of extending tax cuts for the middle class.

Mr. Obama thanked Republicans George Voinovich of Ohio and George LeMieux of Florida for voting to move the bill closer to final passage. Speaking in the Rose Garden after a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Mr. Obama urged lawmakers to approve an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for middle class families making less than $250,000 a year.

After praising these two Republocratic Demmicans for being properly submissive to the proclaimed will of The One, B.O. went on with one of his favorite complaints against the opposition:

Mr. Obama says Republicans should stop holding those tax cuts “hostage.”

This was originally, and continues to be one of the most puzzling political statements one can ever encounter. Let’s do some simple arithmetic.

The House of Representatives currently contains 434 members (with one vacant seat). This is comprised of 256 Democrats, and 178 Republicans. The Senate seats are currently held by 57 Democrats, 41 Republicans, and 2 Independents. Even without using a calculator or computer, it is readily apparent that there are significantly more Democrats than Republicans in both houses.

After careful examination of my trusty pocket Constitution, I see nothing there that prevents majority rule from operating in either of the houses of Congress. If President B.O.’s halo of political glory is not enough to persuade even his own party members from supporting his often ill-conceived legislative and policy initiatives, then what reason does he have to blame the GOP? All he needs to do is to have his partisan legislative satraps drum up enough loyal Democrats and he would be able to pass anything he wanted…oh, yeah, enough loyal Democrats to support his agenda…not any more.

In the case at hand the bone of contention concerns whether or not to kill the so-called Bush tax-cuts, which is worth commenting on in itself:

“They want to hold these middle class tax cuts hostage until they get an additional tax cut for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans,” Mr. Obama said. “We simply can’t afford that.”

This statement, on its face, is false. According to B.O. he so called wealthy are those with $250K or more of income. While the Chief concedes that that certainly seems to be greatly more than he has had the chance to appreciate in his life, it must be recognized that a significant number of small businesses that are not incorporated are included in this group, and pay income tax on their legal BUSINESS as legal INDIVIDUALS.

Given the continued stubborn lack of employment to respond as predicted to the massive Keynesian bout of trillion dollar stimuli, throwing a de facto tax increase onto these small businesses, that historically create the most jobs, is the LAST thing needed to help relieve unemployment. Also of dubious veracity is the shot about affording this tax cut, ignoring the dynamic that repeatedly increases net government revenue as marginal tax rates are reduced…but why quibble with reality, when there’s an need for some way invent another political stick to flail the opposition in response to diving poll numbers and fading electoral hopes.

Fight Debt: End Reagan-Bush Voodoo Economics

Posted: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 at 6:27 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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A new report from the Congressional Budget Office expresses concern (as ought we all) over continuing growth of our national debt-to-GDP ratio. The CBO appears to agree with something I said to Mr. Gibilisco the other day: sometimes you have to borrow money (e.g., wartime production, anti-recession stimulus), but the more you borrow, the less wiggle room you have for future spending. Bringing down the debt requires austerity programs that raise taxes and cut spending. CBO says such policy changes usually though not always “exacerbate… economic downturns.” So odds are you have to pick what you want grumble about. If you don’t like the recession, you might have to live with a growing debt for a few more months. If you don’t like the debt and want austerity now, then brace for another downturn.

Austerity, alas, is a dirty word in American politics, which assumes a perpetual-motion machine of magic abundance. Conservatives are harping on the debt, but they don’t want to take direct action to pay it down. The President comes up with a health care law that will save $8 billion on Medicare this year and $575 billion over the next ten, and conservatives fan fears among seniors that these cuts will mean Democrats want old folks to die. Conservatives instead want to leave most of the big spending (war, entitlement programs for senior voters) in place and cut taxes, thinking the debt will magically reduce itself.

Cutting taxes does a lot of things, but it doesn’t reduce the debt, certainly not as a percentage of GDP. Check out the bumps around the time of the great Reagan and Bush tax cuts. Those bumps don’t go downward:

CBO historic chart of national debt-to-GDP ratio
Figure 1: U.S. Debt-to-GDP Ratio, historic.
Source: CBO report, p. 2. Click figure to enlarge.

David Stockman, who worked for President Reagan, agrees that the fiscal policy Republicans offer is a useless mess. Stockman finds it “unseemly” that Republicans respond to our mounting public debt with cries to extend the Bush tax cuts and spare the wealthiest Americans a three-percent tax increase. (CBO notes it would take a 1% increase in federal revenues to stop the growth of the debt-to-GDP ratio; a 3% increase would reverse that growth.) Stockman finds this shirking of fiscal responsibility particularly odious given that the wealthiest 1% amassed two-thirds of the economic gains from the 2002–2006 economic bubble.

Our debt situation is dire due not to drunken-spending Democrats but Republicans living in la-la-land, says Stockman:

This debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party’s embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don’t matter if they result from tax cuts.

In 1981, traditional Republicans supported tax cuts, matched by spending cuts, to offset the way inflation was pushing many taxpayers into higher brackets and to spur investment. The Reagan administration’s hastily prepared fiscal blueprint, however, was no match for the primordial forces — the welfare state and the warfare state — that drive the federal spending machine.

Soon, the neocons were pushing the military budget skyward. And the Republicans on Capitol Hill who were supposed to cut spending exempted from the knife most of the domestic budget — entitlements, farm subsidies, education, water projects. But in the end it was a new cadre of ideological tax-cutters who killed the Republicans’ fiscal religion.

Through the 1984 election, the old guard earnestly tried to control the deficit, rolling back about 40 percent of the original Reagan tax cuts. But when, in the following years, the Federal Reserve chairman, Paul Volcker, finally crushed inflation, enabling a solid economic rebound, the new tax-cutters not only claimed victory for their supply-side strategy but hooked Republicans for good on the delusion that the economy will outgrow the deficit if plied with enough tax cuts [David Stockman, "Four Deformations of the Apocalypse," New York Times, 2010.07.31].

Stockman notes that under President GW Bush’s last budget, federal revenue was just 15% of GDP, the lowest percentage since the 1940s. Once again, we see that cries of “Taxed Enough Already!” show ignorance of historical fact… and a thin-skinnedness that Grandma and grandpa would find shameful. And don’t forget: those low taxes not only make the debt worse but also may be hurting the economy.

Let’s trade the myths about the Bush tax cuts for reality. Right now, those tax cuts for the rich are responsible for about 25% of our annual deficit. Extend the Bush tax cuts, and they’ll be responsible for around 50% of our deficit in 2019.

Make Grandma and Grandpa proud: end voodoo economics. End the Bush giveaways. Pay the bills.

Extend Ethanol Subsidy or Tax Gasoline?

Posted: Monday, July 19, 2010 at 9:34 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) wants to end the ethanol subsidy. The chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee says $7.6 billion a year in taxpayer support is unnecessary for “a mature technology whose market share is well protected.” Bingaman cites this CBO report that analyzes the cost-effectiveness of the biofuels subsidy at reducing petroleum usage and greenhouse gas emissions.

Note that the CBO study is about the subsidy for all biofuels, but in 2009, 94% of the 11.5 billion gallons of biofuel produced in the U.S. was ethanol.

The CBO report includes some useful numbers on the energy in gasoline and ethanol:

  • One gallon of gasoline contains 125,000 BTUs of energy.
  • One gallon of ethanol contains 85,000 BTUs of energy.
  • You thus need 1.48 gallons of ethanol to get the same amount of energy as you can get from one gallon of gasoline.
  • By current techniques, ethanol producers burn 11,000 BTUs of petroleum fuel to produce each gallon of ethanol.
  • An ethanol producer thus needs to put 1.69 gallons of ethanol on the market to replace the energy from one gallon of gasoline at the pump and petro-fuel taken off the market to make that ethanol.

Remember: the ethanol credit is 45 cents per gallon (which goes to blenders, not farmers). So the net subsidy to support the 1.69 gallons of ethanol needed to replace one gasoline gallon’s worth of energy is 76 cents. CBO does some math and good guessing to figure out how much ethanol consumption is attributable to the tax credit (about 32%) and figures the net cost to taxpayers to replace the BTUs from one gallon of gasoline with BTUs from ethanol is $1.78 per gallon.

Harvard’s Professor Mankiw asks an interesting question: if our goal is to reduce gasoline consumption, might we not do so more cheaply and in a better targeted fashion simply by adding a dollar-per-gallon tax to gasoline and charging those who keep consuming rather than levying additional income tax on all taxpayers?

To Spend or Not 2 Spend 2

Posted: Monday, June 21, 2010 at 11:00 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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bush-eating-cornIn response to my last post on this subject, intrepid reader Donald has this:

First, you have left out taxes. Spending that is paid for by taxes doesn’t increase debt.

Donald is quite right, but very unfortunately, this doesn’t speak to the point.  I am simple minded, so let me approach the question in the simplest fashion.  Suppose you are looking a cornfield ready to harvest.  A lot of time and other resources have been invested in those juicy kernels.  Now: what can you do with the corn?

First you can eat some of it.  Second, you can sell some of it.  Third, you probably ought to save some of it as seed corn for next year’s crop.  Some uses of the corn contribute to future corn production.  Call those uses investment.  Some uses do not.  Call those uses consumption.  Figuring out which is which is complicated.  Eating corn is investment in so far as it keeps you and your labor force alive and healthy.  Selling corn and buying a machine that doesn’t increase production but is pretty or has a better CD player is consumption.

I think that my cornfield is a pretty good metaphor for the economy as a whole.  How does government figure in?  A king or a congress can seize part of the corn for its own use.  That’s taxation.  It can buy the corn, using money taxed from someone else.  It can also borrow some of the corn in return for a promise of future payment.  Again, that future payment will have to be got by taxing someone.  Finally, it can buy the corn with manufactured money, which has the effect of inflating the currency.  That is just another, more subtle as less honest form of taxation.

The only difference between direct taxation and borrowing is that in the latter case taxation is deferred and generally more expensive.  People charge interest when they lend you their ears or their dollars.  Inflation is one way of reducing the expense, by reducing the value of the debt.  Government can divert wealth by all these mechanisms.

What matters for the future of the economy is what government does with the wealth it confiscates.  We expect government to perform many services which promote economic production.  The king is supposed to clear the seas of pirates and the roads of bandits.  He establishes courts that settle commercial disputes in a way that reassures everyone that their labor will be rewarded.  That’s investment.  Government sometimes also builds gaudy temples and palaces with doors and faucets made of gold.  That’s consumption.

When the U.S. Government built the interstate highway system after WWII, that was investment.  When government takes money out of the paycheck of a guy hammering plywood onto the roof of a new factory, and pays it out to a retiree playing golf, that’s consumption.  I don’t mean to say that social security is a bad idea.  It is the one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in U.S. history.  But someone has to feed the golfers and water the greens, and it is important to recognize that fact.

So here is the question before us: is the massive spending we are doing right now contributing more to investment or to consumption?  If, as Paul Krugman and other recommend, we should increase our public spending even more, would that contribute to future economic growth or would it shift even more wealth away from productive enterprises toward consumption?

The argument for more spending is based on the idea that there is a vast potential for economic production sleeping out there, a lot of people with energy, money, and ideas, just waiting for an invitation to jump into action.  That was the case when government went deeply into debt during the Second World War.  It wasn’t government spending, but victory that reenergized the American people.  Our soldiers came back home and built lots of stuff and had lots of babies who built a lot more stuff.  That’s how we paid back the debt.

I find that very hard to believe that we are in a similar situation, except in so far as we are going into debt just as deeply and just as fast.  The modern welfare state is all about consumption.  It shifts money from workers to retirees, from workers in the productive sectors to public employees.  It creates vast blocks of clients who will vote against any attempt to reduce their guaranteed levels of consumption.

The healthcare bill is a case in point.  Congress is great at distributing benefits, but dreadful at reducing consumption in any way that might make the distribution affordable.  It wants to make cheap energy more expensive, and spend the money on green energy that has no realistic possibility of contributing to actual production in the short term.

It doesn’t matter whether we tax, borrow, or inflate.  We are eating our seed corn.  We are mortgaging the crops that might have been grown with that seed corn.  I don’t see any way out of this except to stop doing the one and the other.