Friday, July 07, 2017

More Taxes Create Problems

Tax cuts for the Rich and 20 million people will lose their health care coverage. The headline kind of makes you wonder. If they repeal Obamacare, this is the declared outcome.

For some reason, it doesn’t hold water. A tax cut for the rich means they’re going to be taxed at a lower rate. How can 20 million people lose a benefit if they paid for it? If they didn’t pay for it, now that’s a different story.

When you lose a free government benefit, a taxpayer had to be paying for it. So, giving the rich a tax break limits the amount of largess the government has to spend on those who are broke. I get upset when I realize that food stamps allow a family the ability to have a cell phone and cable TV. Of course, you don’t see it from the kid’s side, “milk toast for breakfast and hot dogs and macaroni and cheese for dinner” every day until you graduate high school or run away from home. Many states have renewed the work mandate for food stamps that Obama ignored, and it looks like there has been a 50 % drop in food stamp applicants.

Notice how there is contempt projected from our Congressmen for giving the rich a tax break and how there is the implied request for sympathy for people who stand to lose their coverage. Your Congressmen mentally weights the issue and comes to the conclusion, “By God I want to get reelected!” and this should do it.

A new mind set is in the mix. The one issue voter. Guns, gay rights, black lives matter, abortion, save the earth, health care, etc. are gone. The Christian religion appears to be the new touchstone of American politics.

In the last election, the tables were turned upside down. The rich were represented by the Democrats as were the poor. Kind of a confusing mix. Big business and socialism don’t mix. On the other hand, the Republicans lost the Rich and gained the middle-class voter who felt that they were being neglected because of all of the special interest groups. I don’t think that it will be politically incorrect to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” this year.

The big thing to notice that just happened is the passage of the Illinois State budget over the governor’s veto. The state will increase the state tax rate about 32%. Another way of stating it, is that the present rate for individuals rises from 3.75% to 4.95% and businesses rise from 5.25% to 7%. The problem here is that you will be paying more and receiving even less in benefits than before. This is what happened during the great depression. States and Municipalities raised taxes expecting to increase their tax revenues. The net result, tax receipts declined, it was the exact opposite of what the legislators had expected. People voted with their feet and moved.
If you go back to President Eisenhower, we had a tax rate on the very rich of about 80% and it generated very little tax revenue. Rich people then were not stupid, they bought stocks and paid 15 percent in capital gain taxes.

In today’s world, governments need to live on more realistic budgets and that is just not happening. Reality is starting to settle in. When your police force or fire department pull up for gas in Illinois, it is cash on the barrel head no state credit cards accepted.

So here is what we can conclude. 20 million people on free health insurance is not even feasible in any government budget. The assumption that raising taxes will increase the amount of tax collected is false. The opposite is more likely.

The neat thing about states that run out of money is that there are no bankruptcy laws to expunge the debt. States can’t file for bankruptcy so you could have a long wait, to get paid. I believe that Missouri just recently paid off a delinquent state bond issued 120 years ago.

Where to from here? It is kind of one of those questions without an answer. We borrowed too much and have no way to pay it back. The 1964 dollar has gone to a dime, inflation wise. I guess the 2017 dollar will also go to a dime and if my math is right, that’s a 1964 penny.

“A penny for your thoughts.”