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TheTrueConservative: Higher tax rates and economic growth

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Intriguing! After the post just prior to this, Do lower taxes on the top 1% boost economy?, a comment appeared from Steve Roth at TheTrueConservative. He offers an outlook unusual on the web. Go check it out. Here’s a sample of his work, comparing taxes to changes in gross domestic product of nations:

clipped from trueconservative.typepad.com

Oecd_taxes_and_gdp_growth_scatter
If taxes have a profound effect on growth, you’d expect to see a trend from the upper left (low taxes, high growth) to the lower right. And there is the faintest glimmer of one—check out the trend line.
Over twenty years the difference between low (23%) and high (46%) taxers was [only] a profound several percentage points of GDP growth.
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Follow the link to the other chart in his post, which compares tax increase with GDP growth. Here’s his conclusion:

. . . there’s not a shred of evidence that taxes in the range of 30–50% of GDP are the catastrophe that American anti-taxers assert.In fact, since all of these stable, prosperous, successful countries tax in the range of 25–50% GDP, the strongest evidence we see here is that taxes (or actually, expenditures) in that range are necessary to that prosperity. [emphasis mine]

C’mon, “economic conservatives” – let’s face the facts: modern conservatism’s anti-tax passion is the emperor’s new clothes. Has it made <i>you</i> more prosperous? Of course not.

Let’s question the shibboleths that keep us apart, and get on with building a better society.


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Written by Monte

January 17, 2008 at 1:48 pm

Posted in patriotism, Politics

White evangelical voters: poverty no. 1 moral issue

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The Great AwakeningI had always been a skeptic of the church of personal peace and prosperity … of righteous people standing in a holy huddle while the world rages outside the stained glass. But I’ve learned that there are many people of the cloth who are also in the world, and from debt cancellation to the fight against AIDS and for human rights, they are on the march. – Bono

Change is indeed in the air. As voters head to the polls (I write this on Super Tuesday, 2-5-08, in the USA), the main moral issue on the minds of white evangelicals is now poverty! That homecoming is nothing short of astonishing.

clipped from blog.beliefnet.com
[New York Times] columnist Nicholas Kristof quotes The Great Awakening, where Jim Wallis says, “Evangelicals are going to vote this year in part on climate change, on Darfur, on poverty.” Kristof then adds that, according to a CBS News poll, this year white evangelicals consider the fight against poverty to be the top moral issue, displacing abortion to a distant second.
Kristoff quotes CARE’s Helene Gayle about evangelicals’ work against global poverty: they “have made some incredible contributions … We don’t give them credit for the changes they’ve made.” Similarly, Environmental Defense president Fred Krupp said, “Many evangelical leaders have been key to taking the climate issue across the cultural divide.”
Kristof concludes, “In parts of Africa where bandits and warlords shoot or rape anything that moves, you often find that the only groups still operating are Doctors Without Borders and religious aid workers: crazy doctors and crazy Christians.”
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More of Rick Warren’s story:

I could see this shift in action a few weeks ago in Davos at the World Economic Forum. I got to see Rick Warren in action, motivating business and political leaders to put poverty, disease, and peace-making higher on their agenda. Kristof tells a story about Warren, who for many years didn’t pay much attention to these issues of social justice and compassion. Then, during a 2003 visit to Africa, Rick came into a ramshackle tent where a little church was caring for 25 AIDS orphans.

Rick said, “I realized they were doing more for the poor than my entire megachurch. … It was like a knife in the heart.” Kristof recounts how Rick turned this heartbreak into action: mobilizing his church to constructive action in 68 countries, recruiting 7,500 members to pay their own way to serve poor people around the world – experiencing a transformation in their own values and priorities in the process.

Mm-mm. That’s renewal: hearts moved toward the priorities of Jesus.

OK, God:  Show me my place in it!


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Written by Monte

February 5, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Pat Buchanan: McCain would be a War President

with 3 comments

clipped from www.globalresearch.ca

McCain win would mean war with Iran

McCainMSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked old-line conservative Pat Buchanan about McCain’s remarks, saying, “He talked about promising that more wars were coming. … Is he so desperate to get off the economic issue?

Pat Buchanan replied that McCain never used the word “promise” but simply said there would be more wars, and that from McCain’s point of view, “that is straight talk. … You get John McCain in the White House, and I do believe we will be at war with Iran.”

“That’s one of the things that makes me very nervous about him,” Buchanan went on.

“There’s no doubt John McCain is going to be a war president. … His whole career is wrapped up in the military, national security. He’s in Putin’s face, he’s threatening the Iranians, we’re going to be in Iraq a hundred years.”

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Me too, Pat.

Look, has this war been a good thing?

Do we want more? More dead soldiers? More traumatized children? More PTSD? More amputations? More brain injuries? More divorces? More suicides? More billions for bombs? More arming the world? More Abu Ghraibs? More international hatred? More world dominance?

McCain, if so, is apparently our choice. And unfortunately, most of the remaining candidates seem more preoccupied with talking tough than with calculating—à la Colin Powell—the human cost of Round 2.

For too long, Americans have said, “Presidents know things that we can’t know; if they think we must go to war, we should support them.” But presidents have taken us to combat dozens of times in the last fifty years. How many conflicts can you name that Americans would have supported, had they known the whole story? Precious few.

Perhaps we should refuse to elect people who assume war is inevitable. Why see suffering as a done deal?


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Written by Monte

January 30, 2008 at 2:36 pm

UN inspector: US on brink of war with Iran

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“Like flicking matches” at gasoline: Scott Ritter, UN weapons inspector who opposed the Iraq invasion (and was correct about the absence of WMD), believes Bush is prepping for another war. Click through on the link for details.
clipped from www.commondreams.org
0120 05 1Scott Ritter, one of the former United Nations inspectors who didn’t find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, denounced the Bush administration for going to war with WMDs as the primary rationale in March 2003. Now he fears the United States is on the brink of war with Iran.Ritter points to a military buildup in the region, the so-called threats to the U.S. Navy from Iranian speed boats last week and a U.S. Senate resolution that labels elements of Iran as a terrorist organization.“It’s like filling up a house with gasoline and flicking matches at the door,” Ritter said. “Sooner or later it will connect.”. . .

His conclusion: “What’s really going on is a road map for global domination. The war in Iraq initiated a long-term strategy neo conservatives have been formulating to divide the world into spheres of influence and dominate them economically, militarily and diplomatically.”
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Written by Monte

January 20, 2008 at 9:01 pm

Posted in Iran, Iraq, Politics

Immigration, sacred conservatism, and jubilant self-strangulation

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Have you noticed that “trickle-down” trickles up? Decades removed from Reagan himself, the American rich are vastly richer, the rest of us, on average, are about the same or less well off. Zealots may say conservative economic moves just haven’t been radical enough. But shouldn’t good medicine help a bit, even in medium gulps?

There may be a link between the current immigration crisis and this legacy. Here are some excerpts from a thought-provoking essay well worth reading at DailyKos:

Currently undocumented immigrants flood over the borders daily risking their lives, and sometimes losing them, in order to find work and security in the United States….

Americans of all political stripes are concerned about this situation and there is great division on exactly how to solve the problem. Some have advocated a tightening of security and closing of the porous border as a solution. Others have promoted a method to regulate and legitimize the flow of the undocumented.

But there is one thing missing in both of these strategies. Neither contains any analysis of why this problem exists, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

November 11, 2007 at 6:22 pm