Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Do tax hikes, welfare spending and minimum wage hikes lower income inequality?

Here’s Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore to explain.

He writes:

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren recently appeared on one of the late night talk shows, beating the class warfare drum and arguing for billions of dollars in new social programs paid for with higher taxes on millionaires and billionaires. In recent years, though, blue states such as California, Illinois, Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland and Minnesota adopted this very strategy, and they raised taxes on their wealthy residents. How did it work out? Almost all of these states lag behind the national average in growth of jobs and incomes.

So, if income redistribution policies are the solution to shrinking the gap between rich and poor, why do they fail so miserably in the states?

The blue states that try to lift up the poor with high taxes, high welfare benefits, high minimum wages and other Robin Hood policies tend to be the places where the rich end up the richest and the poor the poorest.

California is the prototypical example. It has the highest tax rates of any state. It has very generous welfare benefits. Many of its cities have a high minimum wage. But day after day, the middle class keeps leaving. The wealthy areas such as San Francisco and the Silicon Valley boom. Yet the state has nearly the highest poverty rate in the nation. The Golden State, alas, has become the inequality state.

In a new report called “Rich States, Poor States” that I write each year for the American Legislative Exchange Council with Arthur Laffer and Jonathan Williams, we find that five of the highest-tax blue states in the nation—California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois—lost some 4 million more U.S. residents than entered these states over the last decade. Meanwhile, the big low-tax red states—Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia—gained about this many new residents.

What’s wrong? Isn’t raising taxes, growing government and spending more on welfare supposed to make reduce income inequality? Well, the trouble is that you need to think about things from the point of view of the people who create the jobs. People who want to start a business prefer to move to states where they can keep more of the money they earned. So, that’s why there is a mass exodus from states that don’t allow job creators to keep the money they earn. And naturally, they hire workers in their new state once they get there. Eventually people in the high-tax states move to where the jobs are, too.

Stephen Moore has actually measured it:

The least “regressive” tax states [high tax states] had average population growth from 2003 to 2013 that lagged below the national trend. The 10 most highly “regressive” tax states [low tax states], including nine with no state income tax, had population growth on average 4 percent above the U.S. average. Why was that? Because states without income taxes have twice the job growth of states with high tax rates. 

[…]Ohio University economist Richard Vedder and I compared the income gap in states with higher tax rates, higher minimum wages and more welfare benefits with states on the other side of the policy spectrum. There was no evidence that states with these liberal policies had helped the poor much and, in many cases, these states recorded more income inequality than other states as measured by the left’s favorite statistic called the Gini Coefficient.

[…]The 19 states with minimum wages above the $7.25 per hour federal minimum do not have lower income inequality. States with a super minimum wage—such as Connecticut ($9.15), California ($9.00), New York ($8.75), and Vermont ($9.15)—have significantly wider gaps between rich and poor than states without a super minimum wage.

No, I am not an economist, but I think that this is because the real minimum wage is ZERO, and that’s what more people in high minimum wage states make compared to people in low minimum wage states. If Seattle raises the minimum wage to $15 and the workers end up making the real minimum wage (ZERO) because job creators can’t pay them, then naturally the gap between rich and poor increases.

I think it’s always a good idea for people to think about things from the point of view of the small business job creator, and it all makes sense. If you want to get trained in how to do this, I recommend picking up introductory books by economists like Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman or even F.A. Hayek. The goal here is to achieve good results, not to have good intentions.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , ,

A primer on the fiscal cliff facing us in January 2013: tax hikes and Obamacare

This is a medium-length article from the Tax Foundation. I found it fascinating to read, because I am busy making plans myself to deal with the next four years under Barack Obama.

Excerpt:

On December 31, 2012, a large swath of the federal income tax code is scheduled to expire, an event which has come to be known as the “fiscal cliff.” Among the expiring provisions are the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts enacted under President Bush, a compromise on the estate tax, a “patch” in the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) reducing its impact, the temporary 2 percent payroll tax holiday, increased business expensing, and the “extenders” package of miscellaneous tax deductions. On January 1, 2013, five taxes enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)—popularly referred to as Obamacare—also take effect, along with sequester spending reductions of $109 billion due to the failure of the “Supercommittee” to reach consensus on budget reductions.

In late February, the U.S. government will hit the debt ceiling, exhausting its ability to borrow to finance ongoing spending without an increase by Congress. Finally, the federal government’s continuing resolution appropriating spending expires on March 27, 2013.

Here are some of the things to look out for, which are all described in detail in the article:

  • 2001 and 2003 Tax Cuts Expiration
  • Estate Tax Increase
  • Alternative Minimum Tax
  • Payroll Tax Increase
  • Business Depreciation Expense
  • Taxes in PPACA (Obamacare)
  • Debt Ceiling
  • Sequestration

I am most concerned about income tax increase, the capital gains tax increase, the dividend tax increase and the payroll tax increase. These are all going to clobber me. I will have less money for charity and savings, and will have to retire later – and have less time for my Christian activities as a result of having to work longer. The voters in the last election have decided that I must sacrifice more of my earnings so that Obama can hand it all out to his constituents in exchange for their votes.

It helps to know exactly what will be changing in the future, because I have to know how to respond to this. Some adjustments that I might make cannot be done at the drop of a hat. Some take months to plan and execute. It’s best to think about things in advance. We have two deadlines: December 31st and March 27th. It will be interesting to see  what Washington decides to do.

UPDATE: James Pethokoukis of AEI explains the significance of the tax increases for capital gains and dividends. Other countries have lower rates on these taxes, so expect the capital that funds businesses and creates jobs to leave the country. Obama likes to rail against outsourcing, but he actually causes it – because of his ignorance.

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75% of the costs of Obamacare will be paid by those making $120,000 or less

The video shows the chief economist of the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Moore, making the claim that nearly 75% of Obamacare costs will fall on the backs of those Americans making less than $120,000 a year. (H/T Gateway Pundit)

The Heritage Foundation explains more, using the official numbers from the Congressional Budget Office. (H/T Bad Blue)

Excerpt:

President Obama repeatedly promised not to raise taxes on middle-class families. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that he already has.

Chief Justice John Roberts upheld the President’s health care law on the grounds that the “individual mandate” is a constitutionally permissible tax increase. This violates Obama’s pledge. Middle-class families will pay the vast majority of these new taxes.

Obamacare imposes a penalty—or tax increase—on Americans who do not purchase health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that most of those paying these taxes are middle-class individuals and families making less than 500 percent of the federal poverty level: $59,000 for an individual and $120,000 for a family of four. Three million lower-income and middle-class Americans will pay an estimated $2 billion in these “mandate taxes.”

The Supreme Court’s interpretation puts the President in a peculiar situation. In 2008, he promised not to raise taxes on the middle class and accused Republican nominee John McCain of wanting to tax health benefits: “And I can make a firm pledge: under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase…not any of your taxes. My opponent can’t make that pledge.… [H]e wants to tax your health benefits.” Who could have predicted that Obama would raise taxes on millions of Americans who do not have health insurance?

Obama grossly mischaracterized his health care plan, and now American citizens will pay the price. He has both attacked individual freedom and burdened millions in the middle class.

I thought that Obama said that he would raise taxes on the middle class? For a full list of the taxes in Obamacare, click here.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

In 2013, taxpayers will be paying more of their incomes to government

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

The tax increases scheduled to take effect in January 2013 – dubbed Taxmageddon – could have the American people spending more days than ever working to pay for federal and state government, areport from the Tax Foundation shows.

A host of tax rates are scheduled to rise in January 2013 – when George W. Bush-era tax rates and the annual patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax expire – leading to a tax increase of approximately $500 billion in 2013, according to the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The Congressional Budget Office reported in January that taxes would increase by $4.6 trillion over ten years, if Congress allows the rates to rise as scheduled at the end of this year.

Tax Foundation economist William McBride estimated that this historic tax increase would push Tax Freedom Day to its latest point ever.

Tax Freedom Day is the day when – theoretically – Americans begin working for themselves and can stop paying for government. It assumes that 100 percent of a person’s wages go to paying for federal and state tax burdens. The day when government operations are fully paid for is Tax Freedom Day.

In 2012, Tax Freedom Day was April 17. However, Taxmageddon may push it until the end of April or beyond, McBride reported in a blog post on the foundation’s website. At the federal level, the 2012 tax increases would add 11 days to the Tax Freedom Day calculation, pushing it to April 28.

Adding in rising state and local tax revenues could push Tax Freedom Day beyond its May 1 record.

The Taxmageddon provisions adding to the cost of government – measured in the days that Americans will spend paying for it – are as follows:

  • Bush tax rates – 2.6 days
  • Alternative Minimum Tax – 2.2 days
  • Small business tax cuts – 0.4 days
  • Corporate income tax – 3.4 days
  • Payroll tax cut – 2.5 days
  • Estate tax – 0.2 days

One of the problems with all of this voting for bigger government is that there is less money for people to make their marriages and families work. The more we vote for bigger government, the less we haves as individuals for our own plans, including our marriage and family plans.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Julia Gillard’s carbon tax leads to massive defeat in Queensland election

Australia 2010 federal election results

Australia 2010 federal election results (Red = Labor Party)

I was disappointed with Queensland because of the last federal election in 2010. They elected several Labor Party MPs. And now the federal Labor Party is pushing for a carbon tax and gay marriage, too.

Look what happened in 2010:

Turnout 94.41% (CV) — Informal 3.56%
Party Votes % Swing Seats Change
Australian Labor Party 1,020,665 42.91 +8.13 15 +9
Liberal Party of Australia 818,438 34.40 –5.01 10 –7
National Party of Australia 239,504 10.07 +0.32 3 –1
Australian Greens 133,938 5.63 +0.57 0 0

The Liberal Party and the National Party are the two conservative parties – they form a conservative coalition, and they continued to lose seats, just like they did in 2007.

Given that, I was heartened by the results from this past weekend, when Queensland held state-level elections. (H/T Bill M.)

Excerpt:

[Opposition leader] Tony Abbott has sought to capitalise on the Queensland election saying Labor MPs right across the country will be worried about the “fundamental lesson” from yesterday’s landslide defeat.

Speaking on Sky News’s Australian Agenda the Opposition Leader said Labor needed to have a “good, long, hard look at itself” and said the party’s brand was “toxic” around Australia.

“This is a triumph for Campbell (Newman) and the LNP,” Mr Abbott said this morning of the Queensland result.

“I think Labor members of parliament right around Australia would be very worried about the fundamental lesson from this which is that a government which isn’t competent, which isn’t frugal and which isn’t truthful loses and loses big time.

“The basic message is that the Labor brand is toxic right around Australia.”

“Certainly there were two candidates for Queensland one of them Anna Bligh, who was for the carbon tax, and the other Campbell Newman who was against it,” Mr Abbott said.

Mr Newman’s Liberal National Party ended Labor’s 14-year reign in Queensland last night with a crushing win.

The latest forecasts have the LNP winning as many as 78 seats in the 89-seat parliament, with Labor expected to hold just seven seats of its former 51.

Mr Abbott said while the Queensland election had buoyed the Coalition’s hopes of winning the next federal election he conceded things could be different if Julia Gillard improves.

“If the federal Labor government is able to lift its game and be truthful, yes things could be different,” the Opposition Leader said.

“But I think federal Labor has clearly established its character.”

Mr Abbott stood by his comments last week that the Queensland election would be a referendum on the carbon tax and dishonest politicians.

Those results are now final – Labor went from 51 seats to 7 seats! This is as bad as what happened to the leftist Liberal Party in Canada in 2011.

Let’s hope that Julia Gillard, the head of the Australian Labor party, doesn’t learn anything from this and continues to push for left-wing fiscal and social policies. Tony Abbott is quite awesome in general, so they do have a good candidate running against her whenever the next election is held.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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