February 26, 2009

Obama's budget will solve problem of rich getting richer.

Dave Leonhardt enthuses in the New York Times:

The budget that President Obama proposed on Thursday is nothing less than an attempt to end a three-decade era of economic policy dominated by the ideas of Ronald Reagan and his supporters.

The Obama budget — a bold, even radical departure from recent history, wrapped in bureaucratic formality and statistical tables — would sharply raise taxes on the rich, beyond where Bill Clinton had raised them. It would reduce taxes for everyone else, to a lower point than they were under either Mr. Clinton or George W. Bush. And it would lay the groundwork for sweeping changes in health care and education, among other areas.

More than anything else, the proposals seek to reverse the rapid increase in economic inequality over the last 30 years.

Moreover, Obama's budget, we are informed, will also the problem of increasing carbon emissions.

And, guess what? I bet that in 2009 the rich will be less rich than in 2007 and less carbon will be emitted.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

25 comments:

rast said...

"I bet that in 2009 the rich will be less rich than in 2007"

Only in absolute terms. In relative terms, which are what the truly rich truly care about, they will be richer in 2009.

Shazaam said...

Too bad for Steve Sailer, but the Obama birth certificate issue ain't going away. Here is a HUGE thread at Karl Denninger's:

Active Soldier Defies POTUS Orders - Doubts Eligibility

Did Steve ignore the issue during the campaign because it was one way to distance himself from the "fever swamps"? Or was it because Steve is a liberal baby boomer at heart and, as such, he really doesn't give a damn about the technical aspects of the Constitution? Regardless, many Americans still do care about the issue.

Steve considers himself the preeminent Obama expert, but he let Obama slide on the birth certificate issue. That is too funny because it was always the true Achilles Heel of the Obama campaign.

Now watch as the economy tanks and Obama's approval rating continues to plunge toward Bush levels (it's already down to 59% now from 80%)... and then watch as the seething masses will suddenly feel a pressing need to see the actual birth certificate. Yes, after the markets lose another 50% and U6 category unemployment approaches 30%, the fickle voters are bound to start asking "Just who the hell was this guy that we elected?"

The birth certificate issue was THE issue of the 2008 campaign yet SAILER GAVE OBAMA A PASS. Now Steve will have to sit and watch the biggest political story in history erupt like Watergate x 10.

The only thing that prevented the sharks from swarming around Obama's birth certificate issue was the Obama Phenomenon. But what happens when Obama's popularity falls off a cliff?

The logical progression of the politics from here is unstoppable: It is in lock step with the inevitable fiscal bankruptcy of our government.

Tom Regan said...

It was Churchill who said after the Battle of Britain, in reference to the efforts and sacrifice of British pilots: "Never was so much owed by so many to so few".

The modern American version may well be: "Never do so few owe so much to so many".

The entitlement culture has turned into a vengeance culture, and the readers of this blog will increasingly find themselves being told they are obligated to help the feckless, sulking masses.

Anonymous said...

The government won't go bankrupt, it will just print more money. We'll all have lots of money, but it won't be worth much.

Anonymous said...

More power to Obama. I'm just disappointed he isn't cutting the bloated military budget deeper and faster. All this useless war spending is bleeding us dry.

Anonymous said...

"Moreover, Obama's budget, we are informed, will also the problem of increasing carbon emissions."

Oooh, I'm sure glad Obama did not forget to take care of Global Warming. Were it not for this saviour we would all fry in 2010. More money down an ideological rat hole. How office holders can be so stupid, s to fall for this shit. Anybody who stood on a large mountain realises that we humans are just specs of dust in the grand scheme of things. Even our power stations are just specs of dust compared to volcanoes, the sun or the atmosphere.
But I’m sure Obama does not give a fig about the environment. It’s just tax payer money thrown at the SWPL crowd to ensure his 2012 campaign. Obama is using the budget to ensure 2012. Now the Dems can stick their sticky, greedy fingers in the national cookie jar.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with all of Obama's policies but I couldn't care less about his birth certificate. Apparently the Redumblicans are so intellectually bankrupt that all they can come up with is legalistic challenges to Obama's eligibility. A joke of an opposition party.

Anonymous said...

All this useless war spending is bleeding us dry.

To be replaced with even more useless, and counterproductive, welfare spending. Think of all the jobs Americans won't be doing when 90% of the unskilled workforce is on welfare. We'll need tens of millions of immigrants to fill their shoes!

As for the rich getting less rich: it was disturbing that wealth was climbing at so fast a rate as it was during the last decade, because it clearly was not climbing much for the people in the middle or at the bottom. I realize the modern economy places a premium on knowledge, but there was no way the gap could grow that fast without the wheels coming off. There was no way it could grow that fast without the aid of a corrupt or incompetent government. Simply put, relative wealth matters. "Dynamists" such as Virginia Postrel and The Wall Street Urinal like to focus on people's ability to buy lots of cheap clothes, not to mention cool gadgets that didn't even exist 20 years ago. They ignored the soaring cost of real estate, and the changes in relative wealth that make your congressman far more interested in the billionaire next door than in you and a thousand other people like you.

hcl said...

According to reigning conspiracy theory, the same moneymen clique retain a total hold on government.

Is it conceivable after three decades of working to lower taxes on themselves, they will now raise taxes on themselves??

After all, Rahm Emanuel and Geithner ducked their own taxes...

I'm just not seeing the whole picture here... that's the only conclusion I draw.

Paranoidly, my mind wanders.

Perhaps... (1)it's true the idea truly rich have their money tucked in tax-free foundations, and simply mean to "keep down" the noveau riche; or (2) have confederates who have captured the IRS and will "look the other way" on certain persons and classes, or (3) have sheared off so many billions off the $8.5 trillion bailout (gross, not net) that they are kind enough to return a few dimes to the middle and working classes. Who knows...

Appeal to Reason said...

Anonymous:
"I'm just disappointed he isn't cutting the bloated military budget deeper and faster. All this useless war spending is bleeding us dry."

Indeed. That's the issue. The main thing to do is to stop the rich from getting richer at the taxpayers expense. Because that's what they've been doing. That was the strategy of the Carter/Reagan administrations: cut taxes on the rich, raising taxes on everybody else, cut social services for the poor (and forcing states and municipalities to raise sales taxes and other regressive taxes in order to pick up the tab), and, above all, raise military spending to astronomical levels, meaning more contracts to weapons manufacturers, more subsidies to hi-tech industry, etc. In other words, a massive redistribution of wealth from the bottom up. This is the root cause of our economic crisis. The "ruling classes" (to use a now unfashionable term) of our nation have been screwing American workers over through wage cuts for the last forty years, all the while making us work harder and obscenely enriching themselves in the process. But the rich still need to have people by their products, so they turned to the idea of pushing people into debt as a way of artificially maintaining the purchasing power of the American working class. When Americans couldn't pay back their debts, the system collapsed. (This is a vindication of Marxian economic theory, as Steve himself has suggested).
This is why Tom Regan's comment that "readers of this blog will increasingly find themselves being told they are obligated to help the feckless, sulking masses" is exactly wrong. The "feckless, sulking masses" have been told that we have to help the rich through massive military spending (the most egregious example, but there are plenty of other ways we subsidize rich folk) because if we don't the Russians or the Arabs will come rape our daughters or something.
The root cause of the crisis is economic inequality, so something needs to be done about that. Unfortunately, the problem can hardly begin to be addressed until we cut the massive Pentagon budget, which equals about half the military spending of the entire world combined. Its time to get Lockheed Martin off the dole.

Cossack in a Kilt said...

Anonymous:

More power to Obama. I'm just disappointed he isn't cutting the bloated military budget deeper and faster. All this useless war spending is bleeding us dry.

Deeper? Faster? Cutting? Please note, I'd be in favor of all those things as well, but I simply don't see them. The military budget is set to grow another 4 percent, exclusive of Afghanistan and Iraq costs.

Sure, Obama talked a good fight . . . in the primaries. Then again, George W. Bush promised us a more humble foreign policy, too.

Meanwhile, that sixteen month timetable for withdrawal of all US combat troops from Iraq is beginning to remind one of the Holy Roman Empire, as it is no longer sixteen months, no longer a withdrawal and no longer covers all US combat troops.

zylonet said...

--The modern American version may will be: "Never do so few owe so much to so many".

The entitlement culture has turned into a vengeance culture, and the readers of this blog will increasingly find themselves being told they are obligated to help the feckless, sulking masses.--

Your statement ignores the notion that today's rich have gained their position through manipulation of politicians and government policies that enabled top managers and financiers to profit greatly upon the plunder of the middle and lower classes. There is no sanity behind the wealth earned on wall street, in banking and by Fortune 500 managers. Much of the profit was completely phantom in that it was built upon the housing bubble. Much more was built upon wage arbitrage enabled by mass immigration and outsourcing; truly sickening. I care not for the wealthy. Unfortunately, Obama is an economic idiot and his policies are going to hurt all of us.

As someone who is starting his own business I can tell you that immigrants are going to be the beneficiaries of Obama's economic plan. Immigrants will benefit because they are inordinately involved in small businesses. So all they need is to put more family members on the payroll to skirt the tax increases.

Anonymous said...

More power to Obama. I'm just disappointed he isn't cutting the bloated military budget deeper and faster. All this useless war spending is bleeding us dry.

Useless? Why do you realize women now have the right to vote in Iraq and Afghanistan? And you ain't seen nothin' yet, sonny. The black hole of African peacekeeping awaits.

Oh, and once all those rich people shrug their shoulders and light out for the Bahamas, Monaco, Luxembourg, Belize, etc., who's going to pay the salaries for all us working schleps back in the States?

--Senor Doug

Evil Sandmich said...

'War spending' is cheap as free compared to Obama bailing out his rich banker buddies.

The birth certificate issue reminds me of when they fired my boss years ago. He was incompetent and treated people poorly and he had basically fallen into the job position as the default choice. When management decided to fire him they stacked up the most trivial offenses against him (ex. offending a cold call vendor) so that the sacking could be justified. Of course since management in this case (SCOTUS, Congress) is even more incompetent I doubt anything like that will happen, thus the birth certificate issue is a dead end.

Chief Seattle said...

"The entitlement culture has turned into a vengeance culture, and the readers of this blog will increasingly find themselves being told they are obligated to help the feckless, sulking masses."

I've tried to explain this to conservatives throughout the Bush administration, but they all seemed to be ignorant of history. The pendulum swings, and you can bet that all the excesses of hedge fund managers paying 15% tax and haliburton getting no-bid contracts and then doing shoddy work will be eventually balanced by similarly ludicrous transgressions on the left. But probably not for another 10 or twenty years, since there is a lot of forgetting that needs to go on before anyone will ever trust a Republican to be the party of small government.

Anonymous said...

A couple of days ago I was at the supermarket and after picking up some fresh produce thought to myself..."You know, I value this product very much. It was picked by a Mexican, probably, who will never do anything other than this. And it is hard, hard work."
As someone who did hard work as a youngster, all I can say is too many middle class Americans pay too much obeisance to the stuck-up few who think they create wealth when in actuality there are millions of people who create the wealth, and who never get the credit for it.

Anonymous said...

Of course, the article makes no mention of immigration and its effect on income inequality.

Anonymous said...

Unskilled wage versus Inflation

1940 to 1970
$276.84 using the Consumer Price Index
$557.38 using the unskilled wage

1970 to 2000
$443.36 using the Consumer Price Index
$450.08 using the unskilled wage

[data calculated at: http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/]

Comparing the CPI and the unskilled wage from 1940 to 1970 (low immigration period) we see that unskilled wages were running well ahead of inflation. In other words unskilled workers were making real improvements in living standards.

The period from 1970 to 2000 (high immigration period) shows that unskilled workers were barely able to keep pace with inflation. That is, they were unable to make real improvements in living standards.

Obviously other factors affected this, notably the increasing returns to human capital (smarts) during this period. However, it is remarkable that there is such coincidence in the crossover from what many consider our golden period (1940 to 1970) to our stagnant period (1970 to current).

Is immigration a full explanation? Probably not, but it is a shame that we never see it mentioned during the great "inequality" debates.

testing99 said...

Obama spent $1 million in legal fees and some considerable personal time during the campaign to prevent issuing of the real birth certificate (instead a precis of the original).

Something embarrassing and upsetting is in there. Either he's listed as a Muslim, a citizen of Kenya or both.

As far as military spending we need LOTS MORE.

Military spending got us out of the Depression, nothing else did. Military spending got us out of the Nixon-Ford-Carter recession, nothing else did.

Military spending is the only proven way to produce Keynsian pump-priming:

Large industrial firms get big orders from the only customer that can pay, the government, and hire LOTS of people for ships, planes, tanks, and other manufacturing products. During WWII, New Orleans went from dismal, 50% unemployment to 100% employment, with Higgins factories running 24/7, 7 days a week, in three plants. Other shipbuilding firms kept basically the entire state of Louisiana employed.

After the military spending pump priming, people have money in their pockets and there is improvement in industrial capital and manufacturing. People have more money, including critically, savings nest eggs. Companies like Ford, Chrysler, and GM, which were pre-War on the ropes, suddenly have these big factories which can turn out both cheap exports and cheap domestic cars.

Plus, in a dangerous world the US suddenly has lots more bigger sticks to threaten people: the Saudis, the Iranians, the Pakistanis, the North Koreans, all of whom are purusing nukes or already have them, are deeply hostile to the US, and are factionalized. Heck making an example, explicitly, out of one of them and setting down the rules for the other in US dominance is a good thing.

Groups/factions don't fight against the dominant power if the rules make accomodations less costly than fighting, and the power is so dominant that fighting is suicide.

Or you can rely on the goodness of human nature and kindness.

Obama and Dems are not serious because they are rejecting the FDR history of success: military spending pump priming. [Which has the added bonus of being easy to make Americans only, too, for domestic employment, unlike US economic expansion that only sucks up Mexican illegal aliens as that nation's economy and society collapses.]

Anonymous said...

t99 is a Keynsian. Who knew?

So what do the "invalid birth certificate" nuts expect to happen? Obama will be kicked out of the White House? Oh yeah - THAT'S going to happen. ROFLMAO

Anonymous said...

As much money as possible must go to the military. It is the largest employer of Republicans...

Mr. Anon said...

"testing99 said...

As far as military spending we need LOTS MORE.

Military spending is the only proven way to produce Keynsian pump-priming."

How did military spending work out for Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan?

I'm curious.

rightsaidfred said...

How did military spending work out for Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan?

They should have spent more.

Jim Bowery said...

It may seem like a little thing -- this conflation of income with wealth in political economic thought -- but we must remember that it was just such a "little thing" in the thinking of Aristotle, conflating position with velocity, that delayed the industrial revolution until Newton managed to get a hearing.

David said...

Contra Keynes, military spending does not increase capital in absolute terms. A bomber is not a capital good - it doesn't create wealth, it destroys it. A machine gun gives no milk.

Military spending should be looked at as a necessary drain on the positive economy (necessary to protect the economy). Not as a source of wealth.

"Guns or butter" was always a false dichotomy. It should be: "a butter churn and herds of cows, w/ some guns to protect them."

In relative terms, a military can bomb the enemy back to the stone age, at terrific cost; so that the victor's economy can look great by comparison, though much of capital (including human capital) on both sides is laid in ruins.

You can't bomb your way to prosperity. Even if no war breaks out, the economic toll of high military spending is considerable. Else why the narrative that the Cold War bankrupted the Soviets?