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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.
  blog it
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

Let’s chill. We’re both partly wrong. (Sermon of 1 Feb 09)

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In the aftermath of  World War II, many European intellectuals (later joined by Americans and many others) were forced to ask this question:  how could this have happened? This referred to two world wars, and especially the Holocaust. […] They diagnosed the sickness that had befallen Western civilization in general and “Christian” Germany in particular to be excessive confidence.

Brian McLaren in Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises, and a Revolution of Hope

Mark 1:21-28 (NIV*)

Arguing over a sales commission (Chicago Theater Blog)

Arguing over a sales commission (Chicago Theater Blog)

21They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

Strange thing to say, isn’t it?  Rabbis certainly did have authority to teach the Scriptures. But when Jesus spoke, something else happened.

And as if to prove it:

23Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24″What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

Remember, we’re in Chapter 1 here.  Who else in the room would have even thought this? Virtually no one but Jesus himself. How shocked they must have been to hear it. What a statement!

And what a source! Jesus reacts immediately. First:

25″Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly.

Why would he shush, if it’s true? Why would an evil spirit say it, anyway? Read the rest of this entry »

What’s next, GOP?

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An exciting era of American history has begun.  Bipartisanship (even post-partisanship) is on the front burner.  The President is trooping down to the Capitol today to listen to Republicans.

Competence is in; cronyism is out.  Effectiveness is in; ideology is out.  Diplomacy is in; war is, well, less.  A new wave of young people have energized government.  A new wave of non-white participation has democratized government.

But the most powerful in the GOP read their recent trouncing as a sign that they’re not conservative enough.  As the thoughtful conservative David Brooks writes in the NY Times:

David Brooks

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In one camp, there are the Traditionalists, the people who believe that conservatives have lost elections because they have strayed from the true creed. […]

To regain power, the Traditionalists argue, the G.O.P. should return to its core ideas: Cut government, cut taxes, restrict immigration. Rally behind Sarah Palin.

Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are the most prominent voices in the Traditionalist camp […]

Only one thing is for sure: In the near term, the Traditionalists are going to win the fight for supremacy in the G.O.P. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 28, 2009 at 10:48 am

Do lower taxes on top 1% boost the economy?

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Since the days of Reagan, many have held that the economy can be stimulated by cutting taxes on the incomes of people who have the most money to invest. An insightful analysis at LaneKenworthy.net offers evidence questioning that assumption. Consider some intriguing observations on the data graphed below.

Chart 1: Note that at the close of World War II, Americans in the top 1% of income paid a marginal tax rate of 90%. Now, it’s about 35%. I’m sure most Americans don’t realize how profoundly this rate has fallen.

Chart 2: As the rate dropped, government revenue from this group (as a proportion of GDP) plummeted. Find ‘the late ’90s through 2001; compare them with ’02-’05.

Chart 3: Finally, note the comparison of the top 1%’s marginal tax rate with the growth rate of the national GDP. Note that it’s pretty tough to find a link between the two.

clipped from lanekenworthy.net
The following chart shows the top marginal rate and the average effective rate on the top 1% of taxpayers since World War II

The following chart shows federal government tax revenues as a share of GDP by the effective tax rate on the top 1%. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 16, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Politics

Conservatives of Jesus’ time were against him

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Remarkable conclusions of theologian Stanley Hauerwas:
clipped from findarticles.com
“The functional character of contemporary religious convictions is perhaps nowhere better revealed than in the upsurge of religious conservatism. While appearing to be a resurgence of `traditional’ religious conviction, some of these movements in fact give evidence of the loss of religious substance in our culture and in ourselves. Christianity is defended not so much because it is true, but because it reinforces the `American way of life.’ Such movements are thus unable to contemplate that there might be irresolvable tensions between being Christian and being `a good American.'”
Phillips Brooks, a Protestant pastor in the late nineteenth century, wrote: “In the best sense of the word, Jesus was a radical. … His religion has so long been identified with conservatism … that it is almost startling sometimes to remember that all the conservatives of his own times were against him; that it was the young, free, restless, sanguine, progressive part of the people who flocked to him.”
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So it seems.


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Written by Monte

January 3, 2008 at 3:48 pm