Thursday, March 10, 2016

More Free Stuff for Everyone

The latest free stuff to be offered by Democrats is free university education (add this to health care, pre-school, smart phones, broadband internet, etc.). Not to be outdone by Bernie Sanders, Hilary Clinton, in a recent debate, said she supports debt-free college education. While Sanders supports free college for everyone, Clinton said the “rich” would still pay for college, but for everyone else it would be free. She also said she would keep the costs down (how exactly?) and that if you study a degree that doesn’t get you a job, you would get your money back (I wanted a follow up question asking if this means she wants to get rid of philosophy and gender studies, among other degrees).

All of this of course is completely ludicrous.  Even my 9-year old son can understand this. When I told him that Hilary Clinton is saying college should be free, he responded by saying, “but who will pay all of the people that work at the colleges?” Exactly. I understand that free stuff sounds great. But someone, somewhere, has to pay for this stuff. Estimates of the cost to pay for free public education in the U.S. are between $60 billion and $100 billion a year, and this is in addition to subsidies already coming from state governments. If you wanted to pay for this from the top 1% of taxpayers as Clinton claims, you would have to increase the top marginal rate by approximately 7%.*  The top 1%  of the country already pays close to 50% of all taxes in the country (and the people in the bottom 50% of income pay close to nothing). This change would increase their tax burden by an additional 20%. Where does this stop?

As Margaret Thatcher so famously said, the problem with socialism is that eventually you start running out of other people’s money. Haven’t we learned this countless times, from Greece to Venezuela to Zimbabwe to Nicaragua, and of course the Soviet Union? Free stuff gets you votes, but also bankrupts nations.

*The top 1% of the income distribution has a combined adjusted gross income of approximately $1.9 trillion. Taxing all of this at 5% would generate $95 billion, but not all of this income is taxable at the highest rate.  The average AGI at that level is $1.4 million, so perhaps 70% of the income is taxable at the highest rate. Thus a 7% increase to the top rate is likely necessary.


This article makes the best case for Trump I have read yet. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Can we please move on from Trump?

In today’s political environment, I understand why Trump is popular. Political correctness is out of control and average Americans are sick of every little special interest getting highlighted and protected while they continue to work hard and pay the bills. Politicians from both sides also seem to lie with ever greater frequency and seem willing to sacrifice their principles at any slight change in polling data. So I get it. Trump is none of these things. He says what he thinks and he never apologizes. I respect that as much as anyone.

Unfortunately that is not enough to qualify you to be president. And when you say things like all Muslims should be restricted from coming into the country, in my view you are immediately disqualified. Not only is this statement contradictory to a fundamental tenet of America, but also it is dangerous as it is exactly the ammunition that ISIS uses to help bring in new recruits. The world has 1.6 billion Muslims and 99% of them are not a threat to the United States. Quite the opposite really in my experience.

Benjamin Franklin said “those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither”. I agree with this and I would add, “those who would sacrifice religious tolerance for security deserve neither”.

Playtime is over. Let’s move on and focus on the other candidates.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fire them all!

The federal minimum wage is $7.25, yet Walmart raised its minimum wage to $9 and is increasing it to $10 in February 2016. Employees of Walmart are returning the favor by protesting and demanding a minimum wage of $15. Contrast this headline with headlines surrounding the millions of Syrian refugees fleeing from a war torn country where average incomes are approximately $2,000 a year. $10 an hour equates to roughly $20,000 a year, so my solution for Walmart is to fire all the protesters and replace them with Syrian refugees. These new hires would be the happiest employees Walmart has ever seen.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Living in Denmark

As Bernie Sanders has prompted a discussion about how life is in Denmark versus the U.S., I remembered hearing about a tour that Oprah Winfrey did of a typical house in Denmark. The link for it is below. I am not a big fan of Oprah in general, but this is pretty amusing. Obviously people have different priorities around the world, which is wonderful. But watching this video wouldn't make most Americans want to move to Denmark.

Friday, September 11, 2015

First Pitch

Wonderful video highlighting one of the most positive moments following 9/11.