Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Presidential Candidate I Can Support

And you should, too!







18 comments:

Law and Order Teacher said...

Darren,
Nicely done. OK so now post your platform and I'll consider my vote.

Eric W. said...

"power to the ppl" indeed

KauaiMark said...

But...I want the job!!

Darren said...

My platform:

1. Peace through strength.
2. No omnibus spending bills.
3. Tax increases = veto.
4. Strong border protection.
5. All Americans can and should be proud of their country, even if they're of a different political persuasion than their President.

Anonymous said...

If the Maxim model isn't your running mate, you're a freakin' idiot.

Dan

Darren said...

Get rid of the word "running" :-)

Law and Order Teacher said...

OK. You've got my vote. Your platform is Reaganesque. When I was at his library, I realized how very monumental he is as a president. We are fortunate to have been alive to vote for and live during the Reagan Era.

Anonymous said...

Darren,

I'm a Democrat, but I agree with all of your platform, except for one part, which hopefully you can explain to me:

Why no tax increases? A government needs money to administer various things, no?

Anonymous said...

With regard to your no taxes increase plank and your very wise choice of running mate, I envision the following comment at a future Rose Garden press conference:

"Laffer curve? I barely knew her!"

Dan

allen (in Michigan) said...

Uhh, if you're looking for a Secretary of the Treasury I could probably work that into my schedule. Heck, I'd be willing to sweep up around the printing presses.

Darren said...

Anoymous:

The federal government already collects too many taxes, and funds too many things that aren't its business. I want to shrink the federal government as well as the share of taxes it collects.

What taxes do you think should be raised, and what additional ways should the feds spend our money?

Anonymous said...

Darren, you were to restrained. Tax increases go two ways: increases in rates, and increases in revenue. The one we care about is revenue. The tax rate is irrelevant except in terms of perceived fairness -- if you can increase revenue by lowering a tax rate, it's a win - win: the revenues increased because incomes rose, so you did three good things (assuming the tax revenue was needed for some societally desirable function): government has more to spend, citizens had higher incomes, AND they get to keep a higher percentage of that income. Reagan and JFK both did this (well, encouraged Congress to do it). I can fix the entire system
though. The Perfect Tax System to follow.

Dan

Anonymous said...

The Perfect Tax:

1) Make each department start at zero each year, so they don't have an incentive to overspend excess reserves at the end of the year. This ensures that a service is actually necessary, and removes the incentive to spend excess reserves at the end of the year to artificially prop up their budget.

2)Eliminate all taxes, tolls, user fees, etc. EXCEPT state and federal income tax. These are the easiest and most efficient to collect, and while cities would love to collect their own taxes, in most cases states could come up with a fairly reasonable population-based distribution sceme.

3)Take the budget figures you collected in step 1. Estimate next year's GNP. Figure out a bracketed system of tax rates that will collect at least this much revenue. Make this as progressive (higher % from the rich) as you like. If you like flat taxes, do that. If you want to eliminate deductions, fine -- although if you do that, you will be taking equity from every homeowner in the country who purchased assuming that write -off.

4) Collect the revenue. If you guessed right, cool. If you over-collected, either a) set the money aside to pay for the year where incomes fall and you under collect, OR give it back as rebates in the same percentages as the tax rates you established. It really doesn't matter which one you do: the rebates will be re-spent, increasing national income; the rainy day fund will prevent higher tax rates later.

This plan has the added advantage of lumping all taxes together so that people will see how much of their income they actually pay in tax. Most people are unaware that it's around 50% on average in Cali.

Was that so hard?

Dan

Darren said...

Dan, your instruction about taxes assumes that current tax rates are to the right of the inflection point on the Laffer Curve. *I* believe that it is, so that your tax rate/revenue scenarios are correct, but it's not axiomatic that the current tax rate will *always* place us to the right of the inflection point regarding revenue.

And what about all those government workers you'd throw out of work? Heartless libertarian!!!

michael mazenko said...

Darren and Dan,

While I am fiscally conservative, I am also pragmatic in terms of government, so I find it hard to believe anyone is still having serious conversations about the Laffer curve which has been continually discounted by both liberal and conservative economists since the end of the 1980s. While conservatives find it easy to disagree with Paul Krugman, it's more difficult to argue with Bush's chief economic advisor and Harvard economist George Mankiw who has referred to supply-siders as "charlatans and cranks" and argued that "he did not find [the Laffer curve] credible based on available evidence."

I would recommend far more reading on economics before you develop your political platform, knowing that the zero tax increase position is not the Reagan-esque position you think it is. Reagan, pragmatically, raised taxes four times between 1982 and 1986 including a bump in the corporate tax rates. It is hard to argue at this point in history that Americans are over-taxed considering the amount of deductions they can take and the cost of maintaining a superpower. Aircraft carriers and highways aren't cheap.

Before Dan puts his tax plan into place, he may want to research similar attempts in Colorado under the TABOR restrictions. While it sounded good in theory to those of us in Colorado, the disasterous economic impact of the theory has led to bi-partisan support for fixes to the tax plan.

Again, I vote for fiscal conservatism, and I often voter Libertarian, but I am also rational enough to understand that the extreme libertarian theory of almost no taxes (or "starve-the-beast" of government) is about as practical as the theories of Karl Marx - look great on paper, but ultimately don't work.

Anonymous said...

Michael,

I actually have an MA in economics, so I'd appreciate a little less condescension about readings . . .
It is actually a fact that tax revenues increased after both JFK and Reagan dropped the top tax rates. Whether or not that suggests a continuous curve is debatable, but a smaller percentage of a bigger pie CAN be larger than a bigger piece of a smaller pie -- and the cool thing about my plan is that it would be very easy to manipulate the tax rates to maximize revenue while minimizing burden.

It's also true that after Reagan dropped the tax rates, the concentration of wealth moved substantially towards the upper 5%, and away from the middle class. To me, that suggests that a)you're entirely right -- supply side economics doesn't by itself trigger growth, b)there should have been more tax decreases or a wider spread of change to benefit the middle class more, and c)a lot of the money that didn't get invested in new growth probably got invested in the stock market, being a large part of the reason behind the Dow's precipitous climb. And guess who that indirectly benefited? The middle class, and anyone who had money in a mutual fund.

I would be greatly interested to hear about the legislation and unintended consequences in Colorado -- Darren can get you my e-mail, if you post a request for it.

Dan

michael mazenko said...

Dan,

No condescension was intended regarding the reading. It seemed that the earlier discussion on the Laffer curve and supply-side economics was too generalized, and I felt it ignored the conventional wisdom about the theory. As a teacher I regularly recommend that my students read both sides of the issue before drawing conclusions. That was the point of my statement, and I'm sorry you took offense.

The problems with the TABOR (which stands for Taxpayers Bill of Rights) issue in Colorado is analyzed with great detail in a book called "The Conservatives Have No Clothes" by Greg Anrig. I don't agree with all of his conclusions, but his research is extensive, and the documentation makes it easy to track down his sources and evaluate their arguments. I'd recommend it.

Anonymous said...

Offense not so much taken -- more so that you thought I might be a freakin' supply sider . . .I don't parade the bonafides unless cornered. I haven't taught English in a long time, but I agree entirely with you about seeing both sides . . .for example, I assign primary readings in both Adam Smith and Karl Marx. My general opinion is that all macroeconomic theory is, and has been shown to be, pretty much crap. Even if it works, it only works until people figure out how to subvert the government's policy -- note, for example, the lack of success of the Fed's attempts to lower interest rates in doing anything except devaluing the dollar internationally. The best government can do is the least it need do, and we should leave it at that. And if that ain't kickin' it Jefferson style, I don't know what is.

Thanks for the recommendation.

Dan