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Republican Tax Policies Lack Economic and Political Sense
Raymond Richman, 7/21/2014

What do Republicans stand for when it comes to taxes? The Republican platform of 2012 recites:

"Taxes, by their very nature, reduce a citizen’s freedom. Their proper role in a free society should be to fund services that are essential and authorized by the Constitution, such as national security, and the care of those who cannot care for themselves. We reject the use of taxation to redistribute income, fund unnecessary or ineffective programs, or foster the crony capitalism that corrupts both politicians and corporations. Our goal is a tax system that is simple, transparent, flatter, and fair. In contrast, the current IRS code is like a patchwork quilt, stitched together over time from mismatched pieces, and is beyond the comprehension of the average citizen. A reformed code should promote simplicity and coherence, savings and innovation, increase American competitiveness, and recognize the burdens on families with children. To that end, we propose to: Extend the 2001 and 2003 tax relief packages-commonly known as the Bush tax cuts-pending reform of the tax code, to keep tax rates from rising on income, interest, dividends, and capital gains; Reform the tax code by reducing marginal tax rates by 20 percent across-the-board in a revenue-neutral manner; Eliminate the taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains altogether for lower and middle-income taxpayers; End the Death Tax; and Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax." 

The Republican objection to all taxes is reprehensible. Taxes do not “reduce a citizen’s freedom”. They are a necessary price for having a government of laws and providing security of persons and property. Taxes are bad not because they reduce freedom but when they distribute badly the burden of authorized expenditures of governments or because they have bad economic or social effects, usually the unintended consequences of legislative incompetence and ignorance. And some taxes, e.g., the taxes on motor fuels can be justified as a charge to finance the building and maintenance of highways and streets. The same can be said for court fees and similar charges. ...

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The Unemployment Claims Filed Last Week Were Even Worse than the Week Before Reported Below
Raymond Richman, 7/17/2014

We have another instance this week of the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report of the U.S. Department of Labor reporting incredible numbers....

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How is the Economy Doing? The Weekly Unemployment Insurance Claims Say "Not So Good"
Raymond Richman, 7/14/2014

In the week ending July 5, the advance number of actual initial claims for unemployment insurance, totaled 322,248, an increase of 16,542 (or +5.4 percent) from the previous week. The figure the media reported was for seasonally adjusted initial claims, 304,000, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 315,000. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 28,394 (or + 9.3 percent) from the previous week. We do not know what seasonal factors could produce the expectation of a 9.3 percent increase in a single week with the exception of seasonal factors such as annual layoffs in the auto industry perhaps. They did not occur. The actual number of claims filed is a more reliable figure than the seasonally adjusted figure as I have long argued on this blog. The BLS should report the actual number of claims filed and then append what seasonal factors may be affecting the number of claims.

After several weeks of actual claims falling below 300,000, which indicated a strengthening economy, it is unnerving to see such a substantial increase in unemployment insurance claims. We viewed the numbers below 300,000 as very  promising but we need several weeks of claims data to determine where the economy is heading. The interruption of the downward trend must give us pause especially when coupled with the dismal decline in Gross National Product of 2.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014. The trade deficit in  May amounted to $44 billion, equivalent to about 360 to 440 thousand jobs. ...

 

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Hold Mexico Responsible for the Invasion of Illegal Immigrants from Central America
Raymond Richman, 7/11/2014

We saw a few months ago how Mexico stopped an American Marine who had arrived at a Mexican entry point as a result of a driver’s mistake and kept him in jail for alleged illegal transportation of personal weapons he had in his vehicle. We have now witnessed Mexico allowing thousands of children and teenagers to enter Mexico illegally from Central America without visas or even documents of personal identification. In addition,  Mexico provided them with transportation and sustenance from their point of entry in Mexico to the U.S. border, a distance of several hundred miles, by bus and by train. This required the cooperation and approval of the Mexican government and in our opinion is a hostile act, making it complicit in a conspiracy to violate U.S. immigration laws. Mexico must be held responsible for this invasion. We should demand that they indemnify the U.S. for all the expenses of repatriating those illegal immigrants and all the expenses of sustaining them while they are in U.S. custody.

For reasons we cannot fathom, none of the media have mentioned Mexico’s responsibility for the present influx of illegal immigrants and the millions of illegal immigrants of the past recent decades. It may be a deliberate effort by Mexico to effectively retake parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California taken from it as a result of the U.S.-Mexican Wars. The U.S. has reacted passively to the influx of illegal immigrante, apparently fearful of offending Mexico. But it is time we insisted that Mexico behave as a friendly neighbor. These are unfriendly acts. ...

 

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The Minimum Wage is a Racist Law -- we were published in today's American Thinker
Howard Richman, 7/5/2014

We begin:

In his 2014 State of the Union Address, President Obama praised the states that had recently raised their minimum wages, and he called upon Congress to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10. He said:

Tom Harkin and George Miller have a bill to fix that by lifting the minimum wage to $10.10.  This will help families.  It will give businesses customers with more money to spend.  It doesn’t involve any new bureaucratic program.  So join the rest of the country.  Say yes.  Give America a raise.

He didn’t mention that young unskilled workers would be harmed....

To read the rest, go to:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/07/the_minimum_wage_is_a_racist_law.html

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The Minimum Wage Should Not Apply to Teenagers or the Unskilled
Raymond Richman, 7/1/2014

Economists are divided on how much unemployment the minimum wage causes but there is little doubt that a legal minimum wage decreases the demand for unskilled workers. What wage potential employers are willing to pay depends on what the employer believes that hiring an additional worker would be worth to him. No employer will hire a worker unless he believes the worker will contribute as much value as the worker costs. Who is hurt the most by a minimum wage? Teenagers having no work experience and unskilled 20 or over without work experience. And as the data shows, black teenagers and the black unskilled are affected the most, an unintended consequence.

There seems to be little chance for abolishing the current federal minimum wage of $7.25. There is increasing pressure to increase it as already has been done in some states. Twenty-two states have minimum wages above the federal minimum. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics only 1.5 million workers are actually employed at the federal minimum. So how do we end this tax on teen-agers and the unskilled?  For the former, it is easy. Eliminate or reduce the legal minimum wage insofar as it applies to teen-agers and the unskilled looking for work.

The data clearly justify this policy change. Compare the unemployment rates of teenagers and the rest of those in the civilian labor force. The unemployment rate during the first quarter of 2014 was 6.5 percent for those 20 years of age and older but 20.9 percent for those aged 16 to 19. White teenagers had an unemployment rate of 20.9 percent, black teenagers 34,5 percent, Latin teenagers 24.4 percent and Asian 15.4 percent. Black male teenagers has the scandalous astronomical level of  42 percent. ...

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  • [An] extensive argument for balanced trade, and a program to achieve balanced trade is presented in Trading Away Our Future, by Raymond Richman, Howard Richman and Jesse Richman. “A minimum standard for ensuring that trade does benefit all is that trade should be relatively in balance.” [Balanced Trade entry]

    Journal of Economic Literature:

  • [Trading Away Our Future] Examines the costs and benefits of U.S. trade and tax policies. Discusses why trade deficits matter; root of the trade deficit; the “ostrich” and “eagles” attitudes; how to balance trade; taxation of capital gains; the real estate tax; the corporate income tax; solving the low savings problem; how to protect one’s assets; and a program for a strong America....

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  • In Trading Away Our Future   Richman ... advocates the immediate adoption of a set of public policy proposal designed to reduce the trade deficit and increase domestic savings.... the set of public policy proposals is a wake-up call... [February 17, 2009 review by T.H. Cate]