The Iron Lady

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JasonL
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by JasonL »

That's my overall frustration with the populist moment yes. It's give them what they want or else they'll get what they want. But what they want is objectively bad. Anti globalism is objectively bad. Protectionism - bad. High minimum wages - bad. Healthcare - good, needs to happen. MfA as the flavor - Bad. No immigrants - bad. Labor protections from dismissal / rigidity in labor markets - bad. Defined Benefit or public pensions - bad. Cheap housing - I hear you but have no idea how to stop NIMBYs in local markets which is 100% of the problem not Thatcherism.

What would I do? I'd expand EITC both in level and in breadth to cover childless and single household. I'd do universal catastrophic coverage supplemented by insurance unrelated to employers on private markets generally following high deductible with HSA as a model. If you make me I'll do regional small increases in minimum wage if I can keep it way under the danger zone in those localities.

But that's not 1/1000 of what people act like is the minimum acceptable thing, which is apparently to return to 1975.
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Warren
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Re: The Iron Lady

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JasonL wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 09:42 That's my overall frustration with the populist moment yes. It's give them what they want or else they'll get what they want. But what they want is objectively bad. Anti globalism is objectively bad. Protectionism - bad. High minimum wages - bad. Healthcare - good, needs to happen. MfA as the flavor - Bad. No immigrants - bad. Labor protections from dismissal / rigidity in labor markets - bad. Defined Benefit or public pensions - bad. Cheap housing - I hear you but have no idea how to stop NIMBYs in local markets which is 100% of the problem not Thatcherism.

What would I do? I'd expand EITC both in level and in breadth to cover childless and single household. I'd do universal catastrophic coverage supplemented by insurance unrelated to employers on private markets generally following high deductible with HSA as a model. If you make me I'll do regional small increases in minimum wage if I can keep it way under the danger zone in those localities.

But that's not 1/1000 of what people act like is the minimum acceptable thing, which is apparently to return to 1975.
Okay Jason, I'm down with all of that. Or most all of that anyway. Now, are we ready to get real about debt yet?
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Yes taxes have to go up. Raise wage limit on FICA, limit deductions to a maximum dollar amount. I want a carbon tax that's significant as well, maybe enough to double the price of gas at the tank, but I'm not sure that's a new revenue thing, I'd like to offset that with lower income taxes in some part - ETA or other revenue neutral approach to the carbon tax, even handing it back out so long as it increases costs of carbon activities relative to non carbon activities.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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If that doesn't get enough revenue I'll move on to a VAT.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Cut military spending by 20% for starters.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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I like the cut military spending.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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JasonL wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 10:50 If that doesn't get enough revenue I'll move on to a VAT.
OH DEAR ZEUS ON OLYMPUS NO! Please no.

Raising taxes doesn't get you more revenue. You want to take on the debt, you've got to cut spending.
Did I say cut? I meant slash. 20% off Defense is a good start, but you've got to go after entitlement programs, hard.
Ramp up age to collect SS to 72 over 25 years. Limit lifetime Medicare payments. Eliminate most if not all welfare programs; move to negative income tax.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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VATs are bad for the same reason pretty much every "revenue source" short of taxing actual living, breathing human beings are bad; namely, they disguise the fact that they are really a tax on living, breathing human beings.

I'm all for cutting the military budget probably significantly more than 20%, but because of its impact on the overall economy it has to be done slowly and deliberately and there has to be another nonpartisan closure commission equivalent to take specific decisions out of the hands of Congress.

The only reason to impose a carbon tax in the U.S. is because market prices are so cheap. But if we impose a carbon tax on ourselves without making it a part of an international agreement, we'll have fewer cards to play.

Yes on FICA. Yes on EITC. Yes on catastrophic care; that's the most affordable expansion of government subsidized health care and the concern most worrying to most people. Also, let's let individual taxpayers take above-the-line deductions for all health insurance, not just HSAs, and start weening Americans off the notion that their health care is inextricably connected to their employment and let's let health insurance companies offer policies across state lines.

Minimum wages should be a state issue. Period.

Very gradually raise the age for Social Security eligibility and take a look at ending some of the supplemental Social Security programs that are really just welfare programs in disguise.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Warren wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 12:34
JasonL wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 10:50 If that doesn't get enough revenue I'll move on to a VAT.
OH DEAR ZEUS ON OLYMPUS NO! Please no.

Raising taxes doesn't get you more revenue. You want to take on the debt, you've got to cut spending.
Did I say cut? I meant slash. 20% off Defense is a good start, but you've got to go after entitlement programs, hard.
Ramp up age to collect SS to 72 over 25 years. Limit lifetime Medicare payments. Eliminate most if not all welfare programs; move to negative income tax.
Raising taxes does get you more revenue. Raising top marginal rates doesn't but raising taxes through a broad base like either the payroll tax or a VAT definitely does. It isn't really arguable if you look at revenue per unit gdp throughout the OECD and especially the nordics. I don't want to go nearly that high, but it is a real lever.

You will not decrease either social security or medicare outlays other than as an effect of demographics. No possible way except maybe raising of the retirement age slowly. All in all, given that the payroll tax is the most regressive tax and I have questions about what you might call the productivity frontier at too much above age 65, I'd rather just increase the ssi wage cap.

You need funding for universal catastrophic that will have to be broad based. Negative income tax is expensive. EITC or wage supports much less expensive.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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We are doomed.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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D.A. Ridgely wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 13:06 The only reason to impose a carbon tax in the U.S. is because market prices are so cheap. But if we impose a carbon tax on ourselves without making it a part of an international agreement, we'll have fewer cards to play.
Cards to play for what? The US doesn't sign global treaties, and when it does it doesn't follow through on them. Other countries would be fucking suckers to believe a word coming out of the State Dept, Congress, or the White House regarding climate treaties.

The only reason to impose a carbon tax in the US is to speed the transition away from a carbon economy.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Hugh Akston wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 13:46
D.A. Ridgely wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 13:06 The only reason to impose a carbon tax in the U.S. is because market prices are so cheap. But if we impose a carbon tax on ourselves without making it a part of an international agreement, we'll have fewer cards to play.
Cards to play for what? The US doesn't sign global treaties, and when it does it doesn't follow through on them. Other countries would be fucking suckers to believe a word coming out of the State Dept, Congress, or the White House regarding climate treaties.

The only reason to impose a carbon tax in the US is to speed the transition away from a carbon economy.
Agree. Though to be fair, the US is I think better about following the treaties it signs than everybody else.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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The reason to impose a carbon tax is to make some kind of attempt to capture the largest externality on the planet in the decisions of market participants in the largest economy on the planet. I don't care if we raise a dime and I'm not at all optimistic about a post carbon economy - I just think it needs to be priced such that it finds it's way into home size, corporate real estate, cars per household, car type, etc. I'll take attractiveness of geothermal or solar or whatever if I can get it but realistically that isn't going to be a broad solution to much of anything. Maybe 15%-20%? More nuclear would be good.

The US has already spent enough money we need to raise taxes. It's a done deal. Our tax burden is lower than almost any other modern economy and by a good amount. The biggest difference between higher tax nations and the US is not taxing rich people more it's taxing everyone else more primarily through a combination of a) flat, less progressive income tax rates; b) VAT; c) payroll taxes. The key to me here is you can't actually fund anything nor raise a significant amount of revenue by taxing only rich people.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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The reason to impose a carbon tax is because it is sole means of curtailing CO2 output that will actually work. And even then only if you make it a "flat tax" and not try to spare people from freezing to death because heating oil cost too much etc. Mostly I just want the climate change people to STFU, or if I can't have that, at least make it more obvious to more people how stupid their arguments are.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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D.A. Ridgely wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 13:06
I'm all for cutting the military budget probably significantly more than 20%, but because of its impact on the overall economy it has to be done slowly and deliberately and there has to be another nonpartisan closure commission equivalent to take specific decisions out of the hands of Congress.
I'm wondering what percentage we could get without cutting any spending at home. Surely just withdrawing from foreign adventures would save a tremendous amount even without killing any weapons programs or closing any US bases.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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dead_elvis wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 16:27
D.A. Ridgely wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 13:06
I'm all for cutting the military budget probably significantly more than 20%, but because of its impact on the overall economy it has to be done slowly and deliberately and there has to be another nonpartisan closure commission equivalent to take specific decisions out of the hands of Congress.
I'm wondering what percentage we could get without cutting any spending at home. Surely just withdrawing from foreign adventures would save a tremendous amount even without killing any weapons programs or closing any US bases.
But those foreign adventures involve supplies that are often made at home, or at least pass through domestic distributors. They involve support personnel hired from the US, sometimes working in the US to support remotely. You can't just trim tens to hundreds of billions of dollars of spending without some people at home being hit.

We've wrapped so much of our economy in war-making, and we won't be able to undo it overnight.

I hate saying this, but in the short-term we might need to pay some defense contractors to make widgets and pay other contractors to disassemble and recycle those widgets.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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BAH!
"We need to keep destroying stuff to keep the economy going" is broken windows theory.
We need a military to keep us safe from foreign invaders and pirates. Everything else is wealth destruction.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Warren wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 16:52 BAH!
"We need to keep destroying stuff to keep the economy going" is broken windows theory.
We need a military to keep us safe from foreign invaders and pirates. Everything else is wealth destruction.
Yeah but if you've been breaking windows for 70 years and extra double plus breaking windows for 18+ years. I don't know what suddenly putting 0.5% of your GDP out to pasture would do, but doing it now while the entire hospitality industry is also fucked seems like a bad plan. Spreading that shock over some period of time is almost certainly going to be necessary.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Yeah, this isn't about breaking more windows, it's about giving soft landings to window-breakers. If that means that we pay one person to make a few more crowbars for a couple years, and pay another person to recycle the crowbars for scrap, well, it keeps them from breaking windows on a mercenary basis in the private sector.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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thoreau wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 16:44
dead_elvis wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 16:27
D.A. Ridgely wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 13:06
I'm all for cutting the military budget probably significantly more than 20%, but because of its impact on the overall economy it has to be done slowly and deliberately and there has to be another nonpartisan closure commission equivalent to take specific decisions out of the hands of Congress.
I'm wondering what percentage we could get without cutting any spending at home. Surely just withdrawing from foreign adventures would save a tremendous amount even without killing any weapons programs or closing any US bases.
But those foreign adventures involve supplies that are often made at home, or at least pass through domestic distributors. They involve support personnel hired from the US, sometimes working in the US to support remotely. You can't just trim tens to hundreds of billions of dollars of spending without some people at home being hit.

We've wrapped so much of our economy in war-making, and we won't be able to undo it overnight.

I hate saying this, but in the short-term we might need to pay some defense contractors to make widgets and pay other contractors to disassemble and recycle those widgets.
I'm just thinking about what's politically palatable. It's a lot easier to say "fewer shifts making disposable munitions" than to kill the F-35 or littoral combat ship programs or close a US base.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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lunchstealer wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 18:25 Spreading that shock over some period of time is almost certainly going to be necessary.
Fine fine. IF we actually followed through with it.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Warren wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 19:33
lunchstealer wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 18:25 Spreading that shock over some period of time is almost certainly going to be necessary.
Fine fine. IF we actually followed through with it.
Don't worry, there's very little chance of a political candidate getting elected on a platform of our military being dangerously underfunded.
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Re: The Iron Lady

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Warren wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 19:33
lunchstealer wrote: 18 Nov 2020, 18:25 Spreading that shock over some period of time is almost certainly going to be necessary.
Fine fine. IF we actually followed through with it.
Well yeah I mean we're in magic flying unicorn ponyland so obviously it won't happen and even if it did no it would get undone/go-slowed/SirHumphrey'd before it finished but as with the Peace Dividend if you give people the illusion that it won't hurt right away and maybe won't happen to them it might get some of the work done before being undermined.
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