Raymond Richman - Jesse Richman - Howard Richman
Richmans' Trade and Taxes Blog
Let's End Means-Tested Benefits -- we were published in American Thinker yesterday
Here's a selection
To read the whole thing, go to:
BOOK REVIEW: Ha-Joon Chang, Economics: the User's Guide (New York: Bloomsbury Press 2014)
The title of the book is Economics but aside from learning some terminology the reader will learn little economics from it. He writes that his book “differs from other economics books in that it contains a lot of information on the real world.” Much of the world he describes is the fantasy world of Marxists and leftists. He describes a multitude of old and new economic problems but there is no economic analysis in it but a lot of assertions. It has a lot of definitions of economic concepts and a bit of economic history, selected from a Marxist point of view. Not a single statement of how much the standard of living has gone up under capitalism
He defines economics as the “study of rational human choice” and defines capitalism as an economy organized in pursuit of profit, a dirty word to Marxists. Income would be a better word than profit but workers are also interested in income. A better definition of capitalism appears in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 10th Ed., namely, “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.” ...
Let's end means-tested benefits
In his 2015 State of the Union speech, President Obama proposed programs to assist people who work. In fact, he denigrated those who sit at home, enjoying benefits without contributing. For example, he asked:
Then more of the same when he said:
And yet more of the same when he said:
Was Obama intentionally leaving out the many poor people who make no effort? Does this emphasis imply that he would favor bills that would end the means-tested work-discouraging system built by Washington over the last several decades?
Perhaps the clearest presentation of these disincentives appeared in a slide from a July 2012 presentation by then Pennsylvania Secretary of Public Welfare Gary D. Anderson. Here is one of the graphs that he presented:
The Democrats and their loving media are bent on making the distribution of wealth and income the principal issue in the 2016 campaign. President Obama in his so-called state-of-the-union message (1/20/15) proposed to raise taxes on the very wealthy, saying “let’s close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the top one percent to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth.” One trouble with that statement is that it suggests the rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes. In 2008, the top one percent of personal income taxpayers according to the IRS paid 38.02 % of the federal personal income tax paid, the top 10% which includes all the really rich paid 69.94%, the top 25% paid 86.34%, the top 50% paid 97.3%, and the bottom 50% paid only 2.7%.
We are all for closing loopholes but it is hard to identify a loophole? Are charitable deductions loopholes? Some believe they are. Besides the president was telling an untruth when he implied that loopholes created wealth inequality. The inequality of wealth is largely due to inventions and innovations. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, to name only two of the thousands who became millionaires and billionaires, did so by creating the products produced by Apple and Microsoft.
The anti-poverty charity Oxfam reported ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the best-off 1% has increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014 (while Obama was President incidentally) while the least well-off 80% own just 5.5%. At the most recent meeting of the American Economic Association, economists took issue with some foolish writings about inequality written by French economist Thomas Piketty .
An Oxfam spokesman said it would use its high-profile role at the Davos gathering to demand urgent action to narrow the gap between rich and poor. How? They do not say. One would think that it would be more important to reduce the number of poor than narrow inequality. That is what American inventors and innovators have done historically. ...
Chinese stock market tumbling...
It's midnight here in Pennsylvania, but it's Monday morning in China and the stock market is already down 6.3% today. Go to the following website to see where it stands right now:
This from Bloomberg News today:
So how does this play out?...
Chinese Firms Particularly Vulnerable?
ODU Professor of International Business Shaomin Li published a piece in Fortune Magazine on the 12th which made an interesting argument about the vulnerability of Chinese firms to declining economic growth. The title is: "Corporate Ponzi Game in China?"
They report a series of interesting findings.
1. Many Chinese firms have relatively low profit margins.
2. In order to grow rapidly such firms have relied upon debt financing.
3. The debt-financed growth of capacity in the absence of substantial profits makes China's economy particularly vulnerable to a slow-down in economic growth...
China's imports up just 0.6% in 2014
China just released its December 2014 trade statistics. After rapid growth from 2005 to 2013, the dollar value of Chinese imports was stagnant in 2014.
Here is the rate of Chinese import growth:
China pulls December trade statistics
China in 2015 is like the United States in 1929. It has grown rapidly by practicing mercantilism. Instead of buying imports from its customers, it destroyed the market for its exports. The Chinese stock market may be about to lead the world down into an economic recession.
The Chinese stock market began tomorrow morning's (Monday's) trading in free fall after the default of a Chinese property developer. Zerohedge.com reports:
Meanwhile, in a supposedly unrelated development, Reuters reports that the Chinese government briefly published its trade statistics for December 2014, and then pulled them:...
November trade report suggests that a worldwide recession is starting
On Wednesday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released the trade report for November 2014. The good news is that the U.S. trade deficit went down, despite the high flying dollar. The bad news is that the report shows a decline in investment spending in the world as a whole and in the United States in particular. It could be that the world and the United States are going into a recession at the moment....
Journal of Economic Literature:
Atlantic Economic Journal: