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Interests: Home Improvement, Cooking, Doing anything with my two daughters like making jewelry, soap, riding bikes, going to see plays, etc (and definately not in this order)
Recent Activity
I wish people would stop trying to control others.... How's that :) Our thoughts are ours. If you disagree with them, you can lay out a case for why you disagree.
I posted to the washington post editorial by Eugene Robinson @ He used the false headline to make an editorial... I informed Eugene of his mistake. Maybe he'll do the due diligence? Maybe he'll be neglignet? What do you think?
I had to google Manolo Blahniks. $500-$1,000 for a shoe? That shoe better make my coffee in the morning! :) just teasin'. As for the PS3 - count me out. For Christmas I'm buying a $30 game that you load on the PC as well as many other things for my kids.
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2006 on Darwin Awards Please (AskMom) at baldilocks
Accusations that are speculation need no response. His research is in line with past conclusions and not based on black bags of designer clothes. Wup. This is a little more than 'no response'. I'll end it here.
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2006 on Who is more 'caring'? (Baklava) at baldilocks
You're funny. And yes they are intriguing.
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2006 on Experts wrong again (Baklava) at baldilocks
It'll still go on. People act like Bush senior and or Bush junior "want" people to be poor as if they know what anyone "wants". They'll attribute negative desires to them just because they've been convinced he's evil or bad...
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2006 on Poverty (Baklava) at baldilocks
The last post from me is irrelevant Justin? There is hundreds on cato, heritage, humanevents but instead of it being discounted I want you to UNDERSTAND and CONCEPTUALIZE why it happens. It does no good to see statistics you don't understand. You'll argue against it. What is hard to understand that taking money from consumers will result in less consumer spending. Maybe I'll take it backwards for you step by step. Tell us Justin what GDP is. We'll move backwards from there.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2006 on Raising Taxes? Please Don't (Baklava) at baldilocks
Me too. People tend to try to vote themselves more and more goodies not realizing that it is going to cost them. I still haven't gotten around to the post about the 100 billion in bond spending people voted for with propositions here in CA. Doubling the amount CA spends will help the economy in CA but it'll cost them for years on end.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2006 on 10 Safest Cities (Baklava) at baldilocks
Thank you Baldilocks and Justin. I've never lost somebody so close to me so I was never able to sympathize with those who have. Now I understand...
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2006 on What is your perspective? (Baklava) at baldilocks
There was only one movie shoot that I know about here in Sacramento CA. I couldn't imagine having to put up with it too often. Idling cars everywhere as traffic piles up, people in emergency vehicles having a hard time navigating through to hospitals, all of the materials used to change the scene...
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2006 on UCLA Study: Who Pollutes? (Baklava) at baldilocks
It certainly isn't attractive. Extremely negative people affect me to where I want to walk out of the room... I've been called too positive but I consider myself a realist with a positive way of dealing with the future.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2006 on Despair is not a method (Baklava) at baldilocks
Justin wrote, "I'm sorry, but I still don't follow you--you can't separate taxing and spending." You can for their affects on the economy. They affect the economy in distinctly different ways. If you fail to separate you can't do good analysis (not trying to be offensive). Let's take a store for example. If a grocery store decides to raise prices across the board 10% that is a completely separate decision from how much it pays it's employees. If a grocery store owner makes the mistake of tying prices to employee salaries and raises both prices and salaries by 10% they'll soon find out that both actions affected things differently. Your argument is like saying, "you have to have employees so therefore you have to have prices". Yes. We ALL agree you have to have taxes and you have to have spending. Focus like a laser beam. Keep spending increases rising by 7% per year as they have been. Now remove spending from the argument. Good. No need to talk about removing spending for police, military, roads now right? OK. It is supremely important that people understand that raising tax rates have a negative effect on economic growth. The higher and faster you raise tax rates the more the impact. This is not even debatable. We are simply trying to help you grasp the concept. Really. Justin asked, "As for your math example in your first response, not to be offensive, but it is much too simplistic. You would clearly agree that taxation is a necessary prerequisite to a healthy economy, right?" Nobody has been talking about eliminating taxes. The discussion is about what the effect is of raising tax rates. The Laffer curve shows that it's important to note that there is a sweet spot on how much revenue (maximum) can be sustainably brought into the goverment by certain tax rates. Obviously 0% tax rate brings in $0 revenue. The discussion is about current tax rates being raised and what effect on the economy is there. Now remember... spending is going up 7% per year and is not part of the equation. Focus.. Justin wrote, "like your contention that higher tax rates drag the economy, the belief that lower tax rates increase revenue has no empirical basis." That is a separate question and always debatable as it is complex. Lower tax rates help the economy but whether they increase revenue is entirely dependant on how much the economy is helped and how much lower the tax rates are reduced and current economic growth rates. Even though it is a separate conversation, I will say that during a recession the worst thing you can do is raise taxes, a good thing to do is lower taxes, and if the economy is successfully turned around from a recession you will see revenues increase into the government. Justin seems to be avoiding the math above by writing, "that nobody is going to try to make less money because the top tax rate is 4 points higher" Nobody was trying to assert that people would try to make less money. That is an argument for tax rates close to 100%. Diversion doesn't help here. Clarity does. My argument in the math in the first reply dealth with removing $40,000 from tax payers and therefore they would spend $40,000 less or more. That would be 10 billion less spent on goods and services and Justin can't and won't tell me that no the goods and services would still be purchased by use of credit or refi's or whatever. You haven't even attempted. If you extract $40,000 from people, generally they won't be spending it and might not spend up to $80,000 or more because they would know that the effect of raising tax rates might slow the economy and they would want to hunker down and keep what they have during the recession. Some won't. Some will just not spend the $40,000 that they don't have anymore. ADDITIONALLY, the goods and services not bought means companies are not going to produce those goods and services and therefore won't need the labor and materials. When labor and materials are purchased at a lower rate and goods and services aren't purchased as much that is a drag and maybe decline in the GDP. Labor is people being layed off. Materials is more people being laid off as those materials are materials from companies that employ more people. There is a ripple effect to raising tax rates that slows economic growth and possibly reduces GDP depending on the size of the tax rate increase. Good luck with your work. Get home at 5!
Toggle Commented Nov 15, 2006 on Raising Taxes? Please Don't (Baklava) at baldilocks
Justin wrote, "but the argument I'm making is that raising taxes to the Clinton-era tax levels will not necessarily be a drag on the economy, and may even help" GO back to my first reply and tell us how raising tax rates by 4% and removing more income from people (removing a chunk that they can't spend as consumers) would help the economy step by step. You CAN'T. You continue to confuse (not focus - please don't be offended) on the effects of taxation by bringing in spending which has a separate effect on the economy. Justin wrote, "and while I am not very well versed in the theory behind tax rates vs. revenues, I" I see. Let's take a different (non-income tax) example. Remember the luxury tax on autos and yachts over $30,000? It was imposed to bring in more revenues. Like income taxes, raising tax rates have adverse consequences. Since this one was highly specialized, it affected a specific part of the economy. Luxury autos and yachts for a couple years had sales plummet putting the WORKERS out of work. Revenues went DOWN. Economic activity in that sector went DOWN. The poor were adversely affected more than the rich as the rich changed what they spent on. Income tax revenue ALSO went down for that sector as those people had no jobs to pay income taxes with. Congress realized the error (even though it was Democrat controlled) and removed the luxury tax thereby increasing revenues in that area. This is the relation between tax rates and revenues. Democrats (just being descriptive but yes some Republicans also) continue to fail to understand the two are not tied to each other. As revenues have soared because of economic growth in the last 3 years, people like Robert Rubin and you think that you can actually increase revenues even more by raising tax rates without understanding that raising tax rates have an effect on the economy. Walk it through the math as I have asked you to do in my first reply to you. Justin stated, "Baklava, I disagree, you can't talk about taxes without spending." You can as they affect the economy separately. Because you can't focus you fail (not trying to be offensive) in understanding the effects of raising tax rates. Not focusing is the problem. Appropriations are separate and have been increasing steadily every year for over 6 decades. Justin argues in the extremes by doing the same thing for a third time, "Of course, if the government taxed people and didn't spend the money, that would clearly slow economic growth." Spending is a separate topic. It has increased every year for over 6 decades in all categories of spending. Yes, removing spending negatively affects the economy also. Nobody is talking about removing spending for police, military, roads or whatever. This topic requires focus. Justin wrote, "Would it surprise either of you to know that I am in favor of getting rid of the corporate income tax and lowering cap gains taxes? That's a whole different argument that I have with my liberal friends." Hooray!!! Good deal. Corporations do not like to show profit during good economic times as it is simply taxed away from them and they aren't able to spend that money in later years as investments, research and development or save for a rainy day. When there is a recession and no profits all of that revenue is not seen by the government because there is no profit to pay taxes on. I have a business and marvel at the governments stupidity here. All commerce is taxed through income and sales taxes. TO have corporate taxes promotes irresponsible corporate spending to reduce tax liability and during recessions decreases revenues into the government dramatically. The way to develop a more consistent revenue stream into the government is through tax rates that promote economic growth and on a WIDER band of people. Currently, the top 50 % of income earners pay 96%+ of the income taxes. The top 20% pay a high percentage of that 96%. Recessions therefore negatively affect revenue streams into the government dramatically.
Toggle Commented Nov 15, 2006 on Raising Taxes? Please Don't (Baklava) at baldilocks
Justin wrote, "there is very little historical correlation between taxes and economic growth (over the past 50 years), and, there is even a slight positive correlation between higher taxes and a better economy." That opinion is not supported in fact. You cannot share anything that shows that higher tax rates have a correlation with a better economy. The only thing you can do is share that higher government spending is correlated with a better economy. This is agreed to by Democrats/Republicans independants. They have separate effect on the economy. Justin wrote, "but I also believe that running a deficit in a strong economy will hurt economic growth more than a tax increase on the top marginal tax rates." Sure running a deficit is harmful. If you want to address it when revenues are increasing between 11% and 14% each year then address the deficit by reducing or keeping spending the same. Unfortunately spending has increased by 7% each year and the deep recession got the two (expeditures versus revenues out of wack). Increasing tax rates have the effect of slowing economic growth and possibly reducing GDP and therefore would reduce revenue increases from the 11%+ increases to some lower number. If GDP decreases, revenues would actually decrease not increase. Then you'd really have a deficit. Justin wrote, "As to your analysis--you are only looking at one side of the equation" On purpose. Because taxes and spending effect the economy differently. I'm trying to get you to focus like a laser beam which you seem unwilling to do. Let's just do a what if... Let's just say that raising taxes does not affect the economy for your sake and that revenues actually go up from a 14% increase to a 15% increase (from 2 trillion to 2 trillion, 10 billion or whatever the number). That money DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY GET SPENT JUST BECAUSE IT'S NEW MONEY. THEY ARE SEPARATE. It is probable that appropriations are the same increase of a 7% increase. You HAVE TO TREAT the 2 separately. I have had this conversation with more than 1 liberal. It is extremely difficult to get a liberal to open their mind to the fact that they are separate and affect the economy separately. Do you Justin admit that the two affect the economy differently and just because you have 10 billion more coming into the treasury doesn't mean spending goes up 10 billion more? There is a deficit remember? Why would you automatically increase spending by 10 billion in your mind when you need to address spending also to address the deficit? Justin stated, "Whether it is more efficient for goverment or the private sector to spend in certain cirumstances is an enormously complicated question" Yes. And not relevant to this post. Though I will post on the subject because there are built in efficiencies to private versus government spending. That is a generalization that I do not wish to get diverted into right now. Justin wrote, "How does the government get that money? It has to tax" You fell into the trap again of implying that I'm calling for zero tax (as in the above post with no military, roads or police). Nobody is calling for zero tax nor zero spending. I'm addressing whether tax rate increases affect the economy negatively. The fact is indisputable and yes. Spending helps the economy. The two should be near each other so that there isn't a deficit but you have to try to focus like a laser beam or the conversation goes around in circles. Justin's last statement was, "I believe that now we need a combination of top bracket tax increases and spending cuts to cut the defict for the next few years, and then we can lower taxes again." That would lower revenue increases from the between 11% - 14% (due to the impact on the economy) so you would have a negative effect on the deficit. Spending cuts would also adversely effect the economy at the same time so you would have a negative effect on the defecit. Both combined would have a double negative effect and cause more people to be dependant on the government and therefore put strain on your ability to cut government spending. Since you want to divert the conversation to talk about the deficit only... I'll tell you what would be wise (you can be free to disagree). 1) Changes tax rates to be helpful to the economy for the long term (don't focus short term). One of the taxes that would be helpful is lowering the capital gains tax rates. Money stays tied up in capital because people don't want to sell when capital gains tax rates are high. With lower capital gains tax rates capital is released, more investing occurs, more improvements, hiring, job growth occurs. 2) On the spending side, I have grown from my days in 1991 where I converted from liberalism to libertarianism (they want an 80% cut in government). I am now a centrist conservative. That means that I'd like to see the size of government stay the same for the next 10 years while we reprioritize what we spend on towards our obligations and constitutionally spelled out duties. The 2 solutions together would take a deficit and turn it into massive surpluses. Government revenues are more than 2 trillion right now but lets just use an even number of 2 trillion to be helpful. If over 10 years, revenues into the government increase 5% per year (less than the 11% - 14% currently because of a strong growing economy), compounded that would be more than 50% and therefore 3 trillion in revenues. If over the same 10 year period spending remained at 2.15 trillion, we would see no deficit by the second year and surpluses of 850 billion by the 10th year. More than enough to take care of the IOU's for Social security and Medicare problem coming. Unfortunately it is impossible to get these left of center Republicans and more left of center Democrats to be responsible, focus on the two (taxes versus spending) separately and be responsible stewards of our money. They almost seem to purposefully ignore evidence that tax rate increases negatively affect the economy and instead of helping our economy have negatively affected our economy over and over again. They have also been reckless and spent more than we take in and have raided Social Security surpluses to reduce deficits in the past and now we have an IOU problem. Leftism is the problem.
Toggle Commented Nov 15, 2006 on Raising Taxes? Please Don't (Baklava) at baldilocks
Justin wrote, "but can you point to any empircal evidence that shows that raising taxes by any amount leads to slower economic growth?" :) Lots. But would you discount it? I will try to reason with you using math instead. The only way to understand the effect of raising taxes is to take it step by step. Without diverting into other topics (like government spending) let's focus on the effect of a government raising taxes on families with over 1,000,000 in income by 4% more and how that might affect the economy. Please do not divert into the topic of whether or not raising the taxes by 4% would raise revenue. Your question deals with evidence that tax rates 'slows' economic growth. Let's say there are 250,000 families in America earning $1,000,000. Remember, not focusing on any other factors, the government raises tax rates by 4%. The effect is that these families would pay $40,000 more. That is $40,000 times 250,000 equalling 10 billion dollars of spending power removed from consumers. What is the effect of 10 billion dollars being removed from these consumers? Is it nothing Justin? Or do businesses see less goods and services purchased? Is it 10 billion dollars worth of goods and services that aren't purchased or maybe 20 billion as those families might feel they have to hunker down for slower economic growth? Let's just pretend that it is 10 billion dollars of goods and services that aren't purchased to make it simple... What do companies do when less goods and services are purchased? They also spend less on labor and materials do they not? Justin, why would companies purchase the same amount of labor and materials when they see inventories growing or services not being purchased as much. What is it when less goods and services are purchased? Slower economic growth or even economic shrinkage (depending on the size of the effect) What is it when less materials and labor is purchased by companies? Slower economic growth or even economic shrinkage... GDP does not grow as much and might even shrink depending on the effect of the tax rate increases. Now... Step by step can you paint me the opposite scenario using math and no diversions as to how it is possible that raising tax rates would not slow economic growth Justin? Justin wrote, "There is very little correlation between taxes and econmic growth over the medium to long term, and, in fact, economic growth tends to be positively correlated with higher tax rates" This opinion is unsupported by fact and mathematics and economics. What usually happens is liberals insert a diversionary topic of government spending. Of course increased government spending increases economic growth. This is why it is unrealistic for government to reduce spending by 80% as libertarians want. It'd be a long painful depression as 2 trillion reduced by 80% would be 1.6 trillion dollars not spent all of a sudden. Tax rate increases remove money from people, spending gives money to people. Mixing the two then begs the question - who do you give money and who do you take money from. Do you give money to able bodied people who simply are earning less than others? What incentive does that give those people to change what they are doing to earn more? And what decentive would it be for people who may be working overtime or taking risks to only have money taken from them? I incredibly enough did not read your entire post. I was responding bit by bit. So... I just got to this part Justin. You wrote, "And, your explanation of taxes and econmic growth is overly simplistic, as certain government spending certainly leads to a better economy (imagine trying to do business without a military or police force, or roads)." Who was talking about spending? :) :) :) :) Why would you write, "imagine trying to do business without a military or police force or roads"? Who was talking about cutting spending? The post was about tax rate increases. The government has been raising spending every year in every category for over 6 decades and liberals (just being descriptive) will divert the tax rate discussion every time to spending as if we have to do without military, roads and police while revenues into the government have been rising betwen 11% and 14% for the last 3 years. I would like you to try this time with me to stick to tax rate increases and what effect that has on the economy. Taxes and spending are TOTALLY separate. The government operates both independantly, will operate in a defecit situation and will operate in a surplus situation. IF, we stick to the topic of tax rate increases and recognize that with a strong and growing economy revenues have been rising dramatically, why would we worry about how much the government has to spend and negatively effect the economy? If the government is spending too much that is a separate question that the government needs to address by not raising spending as much the next year (not cutting out spending for roads, military, police - but reducing the amount of increases in a category - instead of a 7% increase, a 4% increase). Justin asked, "And the deficit is the issue now, isn't it?" Every fiscally minded person would like there to be no defecit or no debt. The question is how do you vet there. When revenues into the government have been increasing each of the last 3 years between 11% and 14% because of strong economic growth, why wouldn't somebody look at the spending side of the equation. Of course, 2001 and 2002 had a strong recession. There was negative economic numbers BEFORE tax cuts were implemented and the recession which happened added to because of 9/11. When a recession happens revenues into the government decreases and government spending increases (causing a defecit - that no fiscal minded person wants). The large imbalance started there and hasn't been completely rectified because spending has continued to increase even though there is a strong economy. Republicans have governed to the left of center. Leftism is the problem here. Size of government hasn't shrunk and had continued to increase. And yes. All of that spending adds to deficits. It's a double edged sword. Government spending helps the economy but defecits (because of the spending) has a negative effect on interest rates. Justin laughinly (pardon my fun here) wrote, "It is highly unlikely that the government could ever cut spending enough to balance out the deficit, so taxes would need to be raised" First revenues are rising the last 3 years each year between 11% and 14%. Secondly, total government spending has increased an average of 7% each of the last 3 years. Instead of government spending rising by 7%, if it just remained at 3 year ago levels or only slightly rose, there would be no deficit. Thirdly, to have the 'opinion' that government could never cut spending enough to balance out the defecit is funny to me. I don't know how an opinion like that could ever be formed and actually be stated. Why can't government spending be reduced enough to have revenues into the government catch up?
Toggle Commented Nov 15, 2006 on Raising Taxes? Please Don't (Baklava) at baldilocks
Justin asked, "Wouldn't rolling back the top tax bracket tax cuts to the 1990s levels increase revenues?" Revenues have increased by double digits (between 11 and 14%) each year in the last 3 years. So the question should really be, "Wouldn't increasing the top tax bracket to the 1990's level tax rate increase revenues more than the current 11% - 14%." Answer: Probably not. As with everything there is no absolutes. The American people dictate how well the economy performs. But common sense and past history does show that tax rate increases (especially on the rich) slow down investments and risk taking. Capital improvements decrease, research and development decrease, hiring decreases, new purchases in general decrease. Why? Because out of 100 earned, a few more dollars goes to the government. Less money to spend means less investing and risk taking and job creating. Does that make sense? When economic growth decreases due to tax rate increases it always depends on how much economic growth decreases to determine if there will actually be revenue increases or decreases. The question is better stated, "Do we want to slow down economic growth? Is economic growth too rapid and unsustainable?" That is a fair question to ask but liberals don't ask that. (I don't wish to be offensive using the term liberal - I'm trying to be descriptive). Even Robert Rubin himself admits that he thinks our economy could sustain a tax increase. Again, The question is how much will our economy be negatively affected? Justin also asked, "Is there any evidence that this would slow the economy?" Not just any. A myriad. And by use of common sense and knowing that taking 4 dollars out of every 100 away from somebody results in them being able to spend less, invest less. When people spend less that means they are purchasing less goods and services and when less goods and services are being purchased, companies don't need to produce as much goods and services and when they don't need to produce as much goods and services they don't and therefore need less people and materials. Do you understand the effect? Did this help?
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2006 on Raising Taxes? Please Don't (Baklava) at baldilocks
Cas6039, That's what I got from the chart also. Torchy, Sorry, I wasn't clear with my Brazil is doing it comment. Brazil is using Hydrogen for buses and has hydrogen filling stations but I never meant to imply they are using it as a "primary" vehicle fuel source.
Thanks XRLQ. I read your stuff from time to time. You are definitely one of the smart ones out there...
Thanks Teal.
Toggle Commented Nov 9, 2006 on Who will gain or lose? (Baklava) at baldilocks
Thanks El.
Same as the Hoover Dam... But essentially, the service that the Hoover Dam or subway line provides is infrastructure which is in line with what I wrote when I said, "other than those that are required to provide government services." Economic Development after that (for instance in the new New York areas or the LA area because of the Hoover Dam's electricity and constant water supply) is due to people making decisions to start businesses to supply for demand. As risk takers figure what is needed or wanted in an area they take a risk to provide goods and services... It is these risk takers that provide jobs and a tax base to the government so that the government can have the employees that it has. The federal government has spent to the tune of 20% of the economy for the last 6 decades. This means that the government has to find a way to confiscate 20% from the economy. If the government decided to change that equation to 50%, people would not be willing to take the risks only to be punished.
Economic Development yes. But, I'm always curious why people think government creates jobs other than those that are required to provide government services. If a positive economic climate exists (low taxes and regulation) business will come because businesses are there to supply needs for those who demand. Or maybe not even needs but wants. I'd be curiouis to see the political make-up of the ten safest cities also... You might find a mix of Republicans and Democrats or mostly Democrats or mostly Republicans. It isn't the party label that makes the city (as cities become what they are over time) but what climate exists with respect to security, business and dependancy.
How was my first guest blogging post for Baldilocks?
Toggle Commented Nov 7, 2006 on Who will gain or lose? (Baklava) at baldilocks