Statist-In-Chief: “Set Aside The Belief That Government Can’t Reduce Inequality” With Wealth Redistribution…
Third, we need to set aside the belief that government cannot do anything about reducing inequality. It’s true that government cannot prevent all the downsides of the technological change and global competition that are out there right now — and some of those forces are also some of the things that are helping us grow. And it’s also true that some programs in the past, like welfare before it was reformed, were sometimes poorly designed, created disincentives to work, but we’ve also seen how government action time and again can make an enormous difference in increasing opportunity and bolstering ladders into the middle class. Investments in education, laws establishing collective bargaining and a minimum wage — (applause) — these all contributed to rising standards of living for massive numbers of Americans.
Via Weasel Zippers
“Government policies effectively redistributed more than $2 trillion in income from the top 40 percent of American society to the bottom 60 percent in 2012, according to a new study from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.
The study tracked the beneficiaries of government spending programs largely paid for by taxpayers who are not very big beneficiaries of those programs.
Families in the top 1 percent shouldered nearly half of the more than$2 trillion that was redistributed last year.”
Via The Daily Caller
“As America’s road planners struggle to find the cash to mend a crumbling highway system, many are beginning to see a solution in a little black box that fits neatly by the dashboard of your car.
The devices, which track every mile a motorist drives and transmit that information to bureaucrats, are at the center of a controversial attempt in Washington and state planning offices to overhaul the outdated system for funding America’s major roads.
The usually dull arena of highway planning has suddenly spawned intense debate and colorful alliances. Libertarians have joined environmental groups in lobbying to allow government to use the little boxes to keep track of the miles you drive, and possibly where you drive them — then use the information to draw up a tax bill.”
Via LA Times
Treasury Secretary Pleads for Higher Taxes, More Government Spending, Big Farm Bill, No Cuts in Food Stamps
“Mish Alternative Food Stamp Proposal
- Prohibit food stamp purchases of potato chips, snacks, soft drinks, candy, pizza, frozen foods of any kind except juice.
- Limit food stamp users to generic (store brand vs. name brand) dried beans, rice, peanut butter, pasta, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, frozen (not bottled) juice, canned vegetables, canned soup, soda crackers, poultry, ground beef, bread, cheese, powdered milk, eggs, margarine, and general baking goods (flour, sugar, spices).
- Calculate a healthy diet based on current prices, number in the family, ages of recipients, and base food stamps allotments on that diet.
- In the interest of health and cleanliness, expand the food stamp program to include generic soap and laundry products.
My proposal will not only lower the cost of the food stamp program, the resultant healthier diets would lower Medicaid and Medicare costs as well.
Moreover, my proposal would give people a strong incentive to get off the food stamp program without intrusive, costly big-brother ideas like drug testing which cannot possibly work for the simple reason that anyone who fails will steal to get food rather than starve.”
“In the first nine days of October, while the federal government was in what is commonly being called a shutdown, federal tax collections went up.
Last year, from Oct. 1 through Oct. 9, 2012, according to the Daily Treasury Statement, the federal government collected $55.235 billion in total tax revenues. This year, from Oct. 1 through Oct. 9, 2013, according to the Daily Treasury Statement, the federal government collected $56.188 billion in total tax revenues.
During nine days of a shutdown this year, the federal government collected $953 million more in taxes than it did in the same nine calendar days last year–when it was open for business.”
Via CNS News
“The last time we opined on the possibility of a Cyprus-style “bail-in” in Greece, which is essentially a legally-mandated confiscation of private sector assets held hostage by the local financial system, until such time as the balance sheet of said financial system is viable, we were joking. Well, not really joking.
But not even we thought that a banking sector “bail in”, in which unsecured bank liabilities, which include bonds and of course deposits, are used as a matched source of extinguishment of non-performing bad debt “assets” could spread to the broader economy, and specifically to unencumbered private sector assets. Alas, this is precisely what Greece, which is desperately to delay the inevitable and announce it needs not only a third but fourth bailout, appears keen on doing.
As Kathimerini reports, the Greek Labor and Social Insurance Ministry is “seriously considering drastic measures in order to obtain the social security contributions owed by enterprises and to avoid having to slash pensions and benefits.” What drastic measures? “The ministry is planning to force companies to pay up or face having their assets seized, so that the 14 billion euros of contributions due can be recouped.”
After all, it’s only “fair.”"
Via Zero Hedge
$5.25 Million For Senate Hair Care And 21 Other Ways Politicians Are Living The High Life At Your Expense
“If you want to live the high life, you don’t have to become a rap star, a professional athlete or a Wall Street banker. All it really takes is winning an election. Right now, more than half of all the members of Congress are millionaires, and most of them leave “public service” far wealthier than when they entered it. Since most of them have so much money, you would think that they would be willing to do a little “belt-tightening” for the sake of the American people. After all, things are supposedly “extremely tight” in Washington D.C. right now. In fact, just the other day Nancy Pelosi insisted that there were “no more cuts to make” to the federal budget. But even as they claim that things are so tough right now, our politicians continue to live the high life at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. The statistics that I am about to share with you are very disturbing. Please share them with everyone that you know. The American people deserve the truth.”
“Now that “bail-ins” have become accepted practice all over the planet, no bank account and no pension fund will ever be 100% safe again. In fact, Cyprus-style wealth confiscation is already starting to happen all around the world. As you will read about below, private pension funds were just raided by the government in Poland, and a “bail-in” is being organized for one of the largest banks in Italy. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. The precedent that was set in Cyprus is being used as a template for establishing bail-in procedures in New Zealand, Canada and all over Europe. It is only a matter of time before we see this exact same type of thing happen in the United States as well. From now on, anyone that keeps a large amount of money in any single bank account or retirement fund is being incredibly foolish.”
“After being rebuffed on the carbon tax, California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer said she will try to pass it again through tax reform.
Boxer’s carbon tax bill from earlier this year does not have the 60 votes necessary to pass the Senate unimpeded, reports the Hill newspaper. She claims a carbon tax would enable other tax rates to be lowered.
“We are looking at tax reform to see whether there is a possibility to utilize a fee on carbon that could be returned to the people in dividend form, such as the Bernie Sanders bill and there are others like it. So, we are really mostly working toward the tax reform issue,” Boxer said.”
Via The Daily Caller
“Marvin Horne had been praying for what drought-struck central California’s famous farmlands need little of — a good dry spell.
His acres of raisin vines require two weeks of uninterrupted scorching sun to shrivel the grapes here in this gentle valley of sleepy fruit groves and yawning blue skies.
Unfortunately, an unseasonal inch and a half of rain earlier in the week has partially rehydrated his crop, laid out to dry on reams of paper running the length of the vines.
As raisin grapes produce only a single crop per season, Horne could lose a hefty slice of his harvest. But, like all raisin growers in the United States, he is used to having part of his crop taken from him”
Via Weasel Zippers