Economics

Krugman's "23 Percent Solution" & Historical Levels of Government Revenue

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If you identify as libertarian (and I do like to use it as an adjective more than as a noun), you get used to people saying you're crazy or that your ideas are simply unworkable in the real world.

Which brings me to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, the Nobel-winning economist who rarely misses a chance to get in such a dig at libertarians and who has recently unveiled a "23 Percent Solution" for the nation's budget woes.

The Top 100 scientist or thinker (source: Time!) proclaims that "America is a low-tax country by international standards" and cites a graphic showing that. According to the table, the U.S.'s total receipts of government at all levels as a percentage of GDP came to a bit over 30 percent. The average for the major OECD nations (a stand-in for the developed world) came to around 36 percent and four countries (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland) came in over 50 percent.

Krugman was calling up such data to chide his Times colleague Ross Douthat, who is worried about federal taxes rising to 23 percent of GDP, which happens to be what is would take to pay for President Obama's proposed budget plan. Krugman adds to his empirical observation, "You may not approve of a shift that moves America closer to the OECD norm, but that's not the same thing as saying that it would be inconceivable or disastrous." (Full Krugman here.)

Let's leave aside whether increasing the federal tax burden that much would be "disastrous" and ask whether it is inconceivable. Which depends on your definition of the term. Since 1950, total federal revenues have averaged a hair under 18 percent of GDP. So going to 23 percent from the historical average would mean increasing the federal burden by 28 percent. Since 1950, total federal receipts as a percentage of GDP (table 1.2) have been higher than even 20 percent precisely once: in 2000, when they reached 20.6 percent. You need to go back to 1944 and 1945 to crack the 20 percent level. And even that doesn't get you within shouting distance of 23 percent

Between 1950 and now, we have had presidents and congressfolks who have tried their damnedest to jack revenue through top marginal income tax rates as high as 92 percent (and as low as 28 percent), all sorts of tariffs and levies and temporary surcharges and parking fees at National Parks and you name it. Why, we've even got a federal corporate tax rate so high (35 percent) compared to other OECD countries that the Obama administration wants to cut it. But none of that has worked to increase revenue anywhere near 23 percent, or even far north of 18 percent.

My point is directed at fellow libertarians and is simply this: The next time somebody tells them that our ideas are all nice and interesting and provocative but come on, pally, they just can't work in the real world, respond by pointing to the flights of fancy demonstrated by Paul Krugman and others like him. They blithely assert, against all historical evidence and typically without outlining exactly how they are going to squeeze massive new revenues out of taxpayers that all we need to do to bring fiscal sanity to Washington is twist the tax dial upwards. You can even grant that it's not inconceivable, just highly improbable.

And then point your conversation partner to the "The 19 Percent Solution," by me and Veronique de Rugy, which lays out how to balance the federal budget by 2020 by keeping total outlays at 19 percent or less of GDP. That figure is not pulled out of a hat—it's what the Congressional Budget Office's "alternative scenario" (prized for its realism) has estimated revenue will be 10 years out if current tax levels are maintained. It's a bit higher than the historical average but is within the bounds of reality. And the cuts that would need to take place over the next 10 budgets to bring outlays from 25 percent of GDP to 19 percent are not in any way, shape, or form draconian. Unless you consider the federal government spending more in 2020 than it did in 2000 (when outlays equaled 18 percent of GDP) a real problem.

Here's a chart that shows just how damned workable The 19 Percent Solution is:

For more on budget fantasies and workable plans to reduce spending, go here.

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  1. Why stop there? 100 percent is the Holy Grail, why not go for it?

    1. Hitch your wagon to a Krugman!

    2. I see Krugman takes his urine neat.

    3. Sorry, just can’t take advice on important matters from someone that can’t hold a wine stem the proper way.

      1. In your teeth?

  2. All those other countries suck.

    1. If you took someo the hyperbole thrown around here seriously they should resemble something just a tad better than German concentration camps or Southern plantations. Yes shockingly they do not seem to be hell on earth.

      1. Not concentration camps. But they suck nonetheless.

      2. sux nope. i lived in the benelux, FRG, & spent alotta time in denmark & sweden. those societies are educated & live comfortably.

        1. You lived there? Well, then the science is settled. n=1 is always the preferred sample size.

          1. Anecdotal evidence is the best evidence. Do try and keep up.

          2. yea i never got out of my apt in 5 yrs abroad. ah huh

            1. Hey, Finland just gave the middle finger and said “Up yours” to the EU because the other EU countries fiscally suck.

              And Iceland just gave the middle finger to bailing out their largest bank.

              Fiscally, Europe sucks.

              1. Miiiight want a better link than “larouchepac”.

                1. Miiiight want a better link than “larouchepac”.

                  Good catch. I heard the iceland story on NPR so I just googled “iceland votes down bailout” and got the first hit.

                  So, for better reference:

            2. You just stayed inside and practiced your communication skills, right?

        2. If they turn over 50% of what they produce to someone pointing a gun at them, they still suck.

        3. It’s no wonder Europeans think that Americans are idiots when people like PFC Dipshit are representing us.

          1. u run w the wrong euros then

        4. I lived in Germany for 2 years. Traveled all over Europe. I’m not saying it was hell. But it sucked in comparison. The US has freedom unheard of in those countries. We get angry when a cop arrests someone for talking back (bike incident). In Germany, Netherlands, and many other OECD countries, the cops would kick your ass, then arrest you. Then, you would be convicted and no one would care.

          1. I’ve lived in England, Germany, Portugal, and spent several months in Finland.

            Sterile to a titanic extreme, and infantile and horrifically mediocre in all its sociopolitical aspects. Slavish pygmies comprise the vast majority of the populations of those countries; here’s a small example – some of these people honestly couldn’t believe, all in shock and awe, that I didn’t call traffic cops “sir” when talking to them.

            God mother-fucking bless the Republic.

            1. of these people honestly couldn’t believe, all in shock and awe, that I didn’t call traffic cops “sir” when talking to them.

              Provincial ugly American gutter trash. How dare you!

            2. u shoulda got out more; great museums, astounding architexture, & the alps were gorgeous. i really liked the spas in baden baden.

              1. u shoulda got out more; great museums, astounding architexture, & the alps were gorgeous.

                We agree.

              2. That’s what I spent about 50% of my time on, and apart from our short time in Italy, not even the architecture made a difference. If I ever want great museums, astounding architecture, and highly varied and diverse landscapes and environments for different forms of entertainment and sight-seeing, I’ll travel around the United States. Thanks very much.

                1. Actually, scratch that. The architecture was pretty interesting. I’ll give you that.

              3. And that is exactly what almost all of Europe has become today: Disneyland on the other side of the pond; a giant tourist destination. Absolutely wonderful places to visit and spend a week, not nearly so great places in which to spend your life in.

              4. u shoulda got out more; great museums, astounding architexture, & the alps were gorgeous. i really liked the spas in baden baden.

                LOL at this bit of nerd fantasia. LARPers have more credibility than you do.

          2. Man, I loved living in Denmark. England less so.

            I enjoyed california as well though.

          3. Hmmmm, that is interesting. I used to work with some Germans, and they always told me they were terrified of the cops here because no one ever believed the cops in the German courts, and if there was ever something as vulgar as a beating everyone involved would be fired.

            1. Fwiw, in the seminal video, Don’t Talk to the Cops, in part 2 an actual police officer talks to the class. He said he did some work overseas in Spain and Italy and he said that it was standard procedure for any police interview to “begin physically”.

            2. I saw beatings. I did not see a single person coming to the beaten party’s assistance. Usually, they were drunk. But if that’s an excuse to beat people….

              It is also a very stratified society. A friedn of mine had the landlord come to their door and accuse them of throwing some trash out of his window onto the common patio. When he said he would never do that, the woman said (paraphrase): It must have been you, because I’ve already asked the Turks and the Italians, and they denied it. God forbid that a German would do that!

              1. I believe in a thread a couple of years ago we started talking about European attitudes towards race and class– I was referencing my own mother who emmigrated from Europe to the US, and someone made the pithy remark that Europeans were racists with higher culinary standards.

        5. I’ve always wanted to live in a country that throws veterans in prison for burning a Koran. Truly enlightened society over there.

          1. What part of “No Gods or Kings” did they not understand?

        6. Re: OO,

          sux nope. i lived in the benelux, FRG, & spent alotta time in denmark & sweden. those societies are educated & live comfortably.

          My pet fish lives comfortably. That’s my opinion because I can’t ask my fish. And you can’t ask every single person living in the Benelux, Scandinavia or France to know if they themselves believe they live comfortably. Maybe YOU lived there comfortably and your friends were being polite to you when discussing the issue, as in “I am telling you what you want to hear because how I live is none of your Goddamned business, you busybody.”

          1. call me crazy, but im not convinced ur fish speaks several languages which is common in the eu.

            1. Anglosphere is best sphere

            2. Re: OO,

              call me crazy, but im not convinced ur fish speaks several languages which is common in the eu.

              You’re crazy. Only crazy people come up with such non sequiturs.

              There. No need to thank me. The ability to speak several languages is not indicative of well being, you dolt.

              By the way, people have to know how to speak several languages when their mother tongue is just a few degrees away from being a dead language. No suprise there.

              1. There were lots of multilingual people in the Soviet Union.

              2. well educated was part of it. id like to speak several more languages

                1. So go learn ’em. No one’s stopping you. Your folly is in the magical thinking that living in a particular society is what makes a person well rounded. You want it, go get it.

                2. Re: OO,

                  well educated was part of it. id like to speak several more languages

                  I would like you to write at least one well enough, let alone speak it.

          2. You’d honestly laugh your ass off, or cut yourself in the tub, at how fucking sad some of these cultures are.

            The guy who was showing me around London literally trembled as if someone was holding a gun to his head when a police car pulled us over, and I was driving. The cop came up to my window and started talking to me as if I was a fucking death row inmate, because I went 3 MILES OVER THE LIMIT–you know, similar to what full-of-shit American cops do with their AUTHORITAH bullshit, but about 100 times worse. Very subtly, I told him to fuck off, and the tour guide said something like “OH MY WORD, YOU NEVER SPEAK TO POLICE OFFICERS LIKE THAT. NEVER, EVER, OR YOU’LL GET THROWN IN JAIL.”

            I wonder in what variant of the fetal position the cop would have assumed on the ground if I had been carrying my pistol. After all, British cops don’t carry guns, and don’t know shit about shit.

            The OFFICIAL advice of the police over there is that if someone steals your car, or if a robber approaches you and demands your money and car keys and anything else, you must give it to them, and the police will decide what to do next. Lmfao.

        7. Really, cause I have relatives who live in Benelux and their opinion is it’s “pretty, but everything else blows”. So, my anecdotal evidence trumps yours.

          1. dude i had a riot in brussels & antwerp

          2. Whenever people start comparing the way things are done in Europe to the way things are done in the USA, I try to remind them that the USA is full of the ancestors of people who used to live in Europe but one morning woke up, looked around and said, “This place sucks. I am packing my bags and moving to some foreign country where I don’t know anybody, don’t speak the language, don’t have a job lined up, where I may very well die, but by God it’s got to be better than staying here in this hellhole.”

            Europe, on the other hand, is full of the ancestors of the people who didn’t do any of that.

            1. Fuckin-A I’m stealing that.

            2. Yup, and there are boatfuls of morons here who want to turn the US into Europe.

              I tell them there already is a Europe and they can move there if they like it so much.

              Fuck them and fuck Europe…I’m tired of paying for their defense and their health care.

        8. Europe is a nice place to visit and has a lot of things going for it if all you value is sitting around drinking beer and not working. But we will see how long that lasts.
          I haven’t been since smoking bans went into effect everywhere, so I am sort of scared to go back, though. I used to think that Europeans had sort of traded economic dynamism and freedom for some level of social freedom and cool bars that everyone hangs out at all the time (this was back when those things seemed a lot more important, i.e. before I had a house and a job). Now I see that too many are all too willing to roll over and submit.

          1. as soon as my youngest graduates HS, im going back to social freedom & more cool bars. come to think of it, already started

            1. You will be missed.

            2. Why don’t you take your kid with you? It’ll be so much better educated? Or do you want it to grow up an ignorant savage?

              1. If it’s Orin’s kid, it’s already too late.

      3. I’ve got to tell you that my tolerance for people stealing a big chunk of my money and using it for useless, venal, or otherwise unconsented purposes is about at an end.

        I am not a willing participant in what’s being done to me.

        1. ProL was not unresponsive.

          1. That’s about the size of it.

      4. Heh, I lived in southern Italy for 3 years. 10 years after we had unmetered internet they were still on dial-up.

        Lots and lots of tax and regulations, yet the roads were still crap.

        1. I don’t think So. Italy is typical of Europe. Much of Europe has had much faster internet than we do (for the price) for quite some time. Not defending anything, just a little reality.

          1. And I was on dialup (in the NE US) until a few months ago. And I still can’t get DSL or cable.

            1. Dude, even people in bum fuck, middle of nowhere texas have broadband. Where the fuck were you?

            2. http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls…..01710.html

              Italy is slower and has less broadband penetration.

              1. IN fact, according to the scores in various factors overall, the US is ahead of or tied with all of the large European nations.

          2. what’s Italy’s broadband market penetration? That’s the important statistic here.

  3. I don’t understand how that is supposed to be inconceivable when the average for OECD nations is higher. Is it just supposed to be inconceivable here, and is that supposed to be because it has never been done here?

    American exceptionalism?

    1. Well, that would be Krugman’s response:

      “Regardless of the fact that dramatic changes in US marginal tax rates never achieved higher percentages of GDP as tax receipts, it MUST be possible because they manage it in Scandanavia.”

      I think the problem with that counterargument is that it’s probably the case that in order to achieve those higher rates you would have to dramatically restrict the capacity of taxpayers to achieve tax avoidance. And I see no way to do that without making much – MUCH – higher percentages of people wage-earning employees.

      Countries with atrophied small business sectors, where very high percentages of income earners earn wage income and NOTHING ELSE, are much more vulnerable to marginal tax increases.

      So to bring our tax receipts / GDP ratio up to Scandinavian levels, you’d somehow have to fundamentally alter the basic economic pattern of the US to make it more Scandinavian. And you’d have to do it in the next five years, and you’d have to do it without those changes lowering economic growth rates in the near or medium term.

      Good luck with that.

      1. That was why we snuck that whole 1099 thing into my health care protocol. Too bad it was so unpopular.

      2. That’s the real intent of regulations – to kill entrepreneurs and force more people into wage slavery to big corps.

        The genius of the plan is that the assholes pushing it claim to hate corps and enact the regs to protect the little guy from them. When in reality they protect the corps from competition and punish the little guy via lack of choices.

        1. I’m not sold on exactly how much intent has to do with it, but that is certainly the result.

          1. I give a fuck about intent.

            Do you actually think Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were intentionally being evil?

            Stupidity = evil.

      3. Another way to think about it is the effective complaince to tax rates.
        Last year, I paid a little over 30% to the feds of the 95% of the income I reported.
        If we go to krugernut’s 50% rate, I (as a law abiding american patriot) will pay 50% of the 70% of my income I report. Raising tax rates high enough and we might see tax compliance reach (decrease) to the sophisticated european levels of Italy and Greece.

        See also:
        http://www.acus.org/new_atlant…..mpliance-0

        1. Clearly then, the sort of taxes Krugman refers to must not be primarily income taxes. They would have to be taxes on things hard to hide and hard to avoid: land, bldgs., fuel, outer clothes, agricultural prod’n, vehicles, drugs, medical devices, hospitaliz’n.

      4. The thing that drives me insane about the gubermint manages the economy crowd is this:
        Does Krugman think Tubro Tax Timmy regulated the NY banks well, before he got his current position?
        Does Krugman think Bernanke understood data when Bernanke said “subprime is contained?”
        Does Krugman think that the 2 (count em TWO!!!) regulatory agencies whose only job was overseeing Freddie and Fannie did a good job?
        All these guys are in a democratic administration.
        Now let me dispense with the arguement that it is ALL Bush’s fault (I certainly have a big problem with Goldman Sachs Hammering Hank Paulson)
        There are all sorts of things done by Rubin et al in the Clinton administation that planted many seeds of destruction as well.
        So in a nutshell, Krugman means when he say gubermint regulation, Goldman Sachs regulation.

        1. OH, and there is that little problem of Europe itself – Does Krugman think Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal bureacrats did a good job?
          Does Europe do a good job of regulating big banks?
          Krugman gets a fortune telling bankers what they want to hear – it a nice scam calling himself liberal.

      5. There’s also the high sales/VAT taxes, which are in the 20% range IIRC. That, and higher excise taxes on things like alcohol. Go to the website of Sweden’s state alcohol monopoly systembolaget.se, and be shocked at how high the prices are. Then go to alko.fi and be even more shocked, and vinmonopolet.no and be most shocked of all.

      6. So to bring our tax receipts / GDP ratio up to Scandinavian levels, you’d somehow have to fundamentally alter the basic economic pattern of the US to make it more Scandinavian.

        It’s like a keep saying whenever this is brought up–Scandinavian liberalism works great in societies dominated by Scandinavian liberals. In a country where “ethnic diversity” is seen as the highest good, it’s unworkable because professional grievance-mongers immediately start playing the “fairness” game and eventually render it unsustainable.

    2. Not inconceivable, risky. Rates that high have never been applied to the American economy. Just because they work in other econmies, with other cultures, doesn’t mean they won’t break this one. Apparently, Professor Krugman doesn’t believe in the precautionary principle.

      Set aside the suspicious fact that Krugman shows the data for one year, not a multi-year average. There is also no consideration of how much better the US economy performs given the lower tax burden, i.e. how much more per-capita wealth it generates.

      It’s possible to lie while doing nothing more than stating the facts. Krugman’s m.o. is to cherry pick the facts. He tells lies of omission. Paul Krugman is a liar.

    3. The other OECD countries do it by targeting most of the population for high taxes, not just the rich. They do that in two ways:
      1) the top marginal rates for personal income/wage taxes kick in a exceedingly low levels of income. See Table 1.7 at http://www.oecd.org/document/6……html#pir. In Sweden for instance you get at 56.5% rate at only $57,241 (converted using Purchasing Power Parity)) and 2) they use the VAT tax, which hits rich and poor alike. In the Netherlands, you get a 50% rate at only $53,533. In the US, the top rate of 43.2% (the methodology says it accounts for both federal and state income and payroll taxes) doesn’t kick in until $383,260.
      2) they use a VAT tax that hits both rich and poor alike.
      So, it seems likely the US could raise substantially more revenue if it followed that European example and imposed exceedingly high rates starting at low thresholds. People in these income ranges have much less opportunity for tax avoidance/income shifting etc. than those in the higher brackets and there are just more of them.

      1. This. This a thousand times. Every single discussion I have about the topic with my lefty friends, they can’t seem to wrap their brains around the fact that EVERYBODY in Euro-welfare states pays higher taxes – not just the highest brackets. The phenomenon in the US of roughly 45% of the population not paying any taxes, simply does not exist in Europe (at least with a number that high).

        Furthermore, in dirigiste economies like France and Scandanavia, the government owns portions of several key industries, which further helps increase revenue.

        1. the way that last sentence is written makes it sound like I think there is a country called “Scandinavia”. I meant of course, the countries that comprise the region known as Scandinavia (I also spelled it wrong).

        2. So, to get to the Progressive dream of really high tax levels, one would have to do away with a progressive tax structure?

          Oh, the irony.

    4. Also, I just looked up the critical number:

      Health care spending is currently 15% of GDP.

      Let’s say that 66% of that represents private premium spending, so that’s about 10% of GDP.

      That means that if US health care spending were nationalized as taxes instead of premiums, we would bounce up to 30% on that basis alone.

      That to me indicates that if we granted Krugman ONE of his wishes – single payer health care – that in and of itself would bring the US tax receipts / GDP number up to where he thinks it should be, and we’d have to raise it even higher to cover the spending required for all his other wishes.

      1. You forget that nearly all drugs, medical devices, and medical advances happen in the US or because of the US market.

        We pay for Europe’s healthcare.

    5. Maybe, and this is just one of those out of left field maybes, economies vary due to factors other than things measured in currency or quantity. After all it is a social science, even if the practitioners as of late have done everything within their power to convince the world otherwise.

    6. in order to get there, you need to place much higher taxes on the middle class. We are very top heavy in our tax structure when compared to most OECD countries. They all have 15-25 percent VATs on top of their income taxes. Until someone is willing to propose that, you are nto going to get revenued up to the higher percent by just saying you are going to tax rich people more.

    7. Great sub-thread. A+ to all.

  4. Doesn’t the OECD data also ignore state-level taxation? That has been one of my big bugaboos with using that stuff, though I’m not certain it does or doesn’t.

    1. That question sure gets asked a lot. However there never seems to be an answer one way or another. It’s funny that most of Krugman’s contentions can be blown out of the water with such a simple question. What is his claimed expertise anyway?

      1. u wouldnt understand

        1. Urine, thanks for enlightening us all once more with your special class of stupid. It’s so welcomed here.

          1. It’s like working the heavy bag before fighting a real boxer….warms you up but no real challenge!

            Keep posting Urine you do serve a purpose.

            1. Also, lol!

        2. Jesus Fucking Christ, OO, how hard is it to spell words properly and use punctuation? It’s bad enough that you are a boring, pointless troll, at least try to write like someone older than 13.

          1. Re: Zeb,
            The result of Americhan Pulbic Educashion can’t write well enough even to save his life. Please, cut him some slack.

      2. Actually, I believe that Krugman won his Nobel for work demonstrating that countries that adopt interventionist industrial policies achieve negative results.

        That doesn’t stop him from writing in the Times every day demanding more and more government powers in every area of the economy, though.

        1. So he’s advocating for negative results?

          He’s an anti-economist!

          1. You assume he’s advocating for the country’s interests, not his own.

            1. What is he shorting?

      3. Be quite simpleton, and gaze upon my shiny Nobel prize.

        1. Yeah….I gave mine a name once too.

  5. The Federal government already takes far more money than is requires to perform its Constitutional duties.

    1. Indeed this is true, it’s too bad the only people that care about that exceptional document all post here.

  6. I’m alarmed at how many constitutionalists/libertarians in the media and politics believe in a very steady, slow reduction of state presence and power. KILL IT ALL NOW. RIGHT NOW. ASDFGSASDFG

    1. What does “ASDFGSASDFG” mean besides “I have a bad case of asthma and can’t breathe”?

      1. I think it means he got so worked up that he punched his keyboard.

        1. I tried googling the term and google told me that that is not what I meant to say and then told me what it was that I did mean to say.

          So I think what the term means is “it doesn’t matter what I say, you are just going to say I said whatever it is you want to say I said”.

  7. Speaking of Finland at its tax rate, the endless bailouts for other countries is starting to cause anger even in that country, which the Finns are not known for. The recent election results are especially surprising for a country like Finland. Even the non EU Scandanavian countries will have problems with their future finances, and they have no way of raising taxes because they really are at their limits, unless one believes in the Tony curve that is a straight line up, as taxes go up so does the revenue even at the 99% tax rate point.

    1. Finns – probably the most reserved people on the planet, even when drunk

      1. “Ya, it’s pretty good” is their most extreme superlative.

        1. Sounds like Minnesotans or South Dakotans. Oh, wait…there may be a reason for that.

        2. Actually, I once encountered some Finnish MILFS here in Prague, me, a pretty boy American, and another American who spoke Finnish because he’d been a Finnish exchange student in high school.

          These MILFS were totally focused on the pretty boy and completely uninterested in this guy who was trying to talk to them in their totally bizarre language which has like 35 cases or something.

      2. HHmmm…ever seen Finns on vacation in Turkey?

        1. I’ve just seen Turks in Finland.

          1. I’ve seen fins on a turkey.

  8. Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy, you so CRAZY!

    All your 23% are belong to us! LOL!

    http://www.wtf?.anonbot.de.crap

    1. Is this a spoof?

      1. Unless there is a new .crap TLD for anonymity bots, I would say yes.

  9. I’m alarmed at how many constitutionalists/libertarians in the media and politics believe in a very steady, slow reduction of state presence and power. KILL IT ALL NOW. RIGHT NOW. ASDFGSASDFG

    1. You can say that again! LOL!

      http://www.krugnutssucks.de.fuk

  10. Damn. Dead-alive-dead-alive interval with my connection. Sorry for double-posting.

  11. Damn. Dead-alive-dead-alive interval with my connection. Sorry for double-posting.

    1. You can say that again! LOL!

      http://www.krugnutssucks.de.fuk

      1. You can say that again! LOL!

        http://www.krugnutssucks.de.fuk

        1. HahHahHah!

          1. Damn, I actually meant to double post. I, for one, blame the ratbagging teafuckers.

            1. Squirrels!

  12. At some point, however, we need to admit that the model of lowering taxes for the rich and allowing them to build exorbitant wealth and power is not conducive to freedom and liberty either. Some of you guys miss the forest for the trees.

    1. When most of that wealth comes either directly from the gov’t or indirectly through rentseeking behaviour, the gov’t is the problem.

      You think people at Goldman Sachs really care about tax brackets? They’re experts at stealing and hiding money. The problem lies with being able to obtain the money in the first place by having the gov’t steal it from us and give it to them.

      1. …also, what Scruffy said

    2. [citation needed]

      I can’t remember the last time Forbes or Gates or Soros or Buffett infringed on my liberty or freedom b/c they made more money or had more “power” (whatever that means). But I’m pretty sure “never” covers it.

      I can tell you EXACTLY when and how the local, state and federal gummints have done so. Repeatedly, over time, never less, always more.

      So, no, I reject your assertion.

      1. That’s the one thing I wish more people understood. Bill Gates can’t do anything to me other than raise the price of his company’s software. The government can throw me in prison, take all my stuff, invade my privacy, intervene in trades I want to make with other individuals, etc. The people with the guns(gov’t) have power to force others to do or not do things. Rich people don’t.

        1. You know it.

        2. You don’t think economic power influences government power?

          1. That’s a different question – see “rent seeking”

          2. Re: Meta_Man,

            You don’t think economic power influences government power?

            Yes, which is why one advocates for no government, not for no rich people. You’re looking at things exactly backwards.

          3. “You don’t think economic power influences government power?”

            If I’m part of the 10% of the population that essentially funds the government, you can bet your ass I’m getting a seat at the table.

          4. Of course it does, which is why less government is preferable.

            1. BAM!! EAT THAT, META MAN, you STATIST FUCK!!!!!

        3. Which is precisely why people who could make a boatload of money if they were to leave office continue to be congresspeople, making in the range of $200-300k when factoring in all various and sundry expense budgets.

    3. I keep trying to imagine a scenario in Libertopia in which evil corporations reduced liberty, but I can’t conceive of it. I am not very imaginative though, if someone could please help me with this.

      1. I can help with this!

      2. Don’t you understand. Ads force poor people to buy things they can’t afford. And makes them eat bad food.

        (As far as I can tell, this is actually the argument.)

      3. The argument I’ve repeatedly heard is that one corporation will be so successful at pleasing their customers that nobody buys from anyone else, and then after there is nobody else, they bring in Snidely Whiplash to jack up prices and then “buy out any new competitors”, preventing price drops. Then we’re all corporate slaves.

        Of course, this has happened many times in history and never requires government actively aiding the monopoly by preventing new competitors by legal threat of force or anything.

    4. The top wealth combined is maybe 1 trillion.

      The government is spending 3.5 times that just this year.

      Which one do you think is the “forest” amount again?

    5. How does the net worth of anyone else in the world infringe on your freedom?

      1. Because people with money can use that money to influenece government. You guys seem to have this idea that the government is some seperate instition when things are really quite intertwined.

        1. Sounds like a powerful argument in support of reducing the effect government has on our lives then, doesn’t it?

          1. Yes. Yes indeed.

        2. We understand perfectly well the fact that the wealthy and the government are intertwined. That’s why we know that giving the government more power is an insane idea. That only INCREASES the resulting leverage that the wealthy have.

        3. Re: Meta_Man,

          Because people with money can use that money to [influence] government.

          You mean, unlike now?

        4. “Because people with money can use that money to influenece government.”

          If you are the one providing the bulk of the financing to run an institution, wouldn’t you expect to have some input as to how that money is spent?

        5. Learn to spell, dickweed. Then go covet someone’s wealth…

    6. Re: Meta_Man,

      At some point, however, we need to admit that the model of lowering taxes for the rich and allowing them to build exorbitant wealth and power is not conducive to freedom and liberty either.

      You watch too many Big Hollywood movies, Meta_Man.

    7. “We” need to admit no such thing. Bill Gates or Steven Jobs becoming rich by making stuff people use and value more than the money they paid for stuff — like the computer I’m typing this on — doesn’t make me less free or take away my liberty.

    8. Right. Almost half the population pays no income tax, and 10% of the population provides 80% of the income tax revenue to the feds, yet somehow “allowing” individuals to accumulate wealth is a freaking disaster.

  13. My point is directed at fellow libertarians and is simply this: The next time somebody tells them that our ideas are all nice and interesting and provocative but come on, pally, they just can’t work in the real world, respond by pointing to the flights of fancy demonstrated by Paul Krugman and others like him.

    So two wrongs do make a right?

    1. Just point to all the low-tax, small-government countries that are superpower kick ass like, uh, …

      1. The United States used to be. Like Hong Kong was before the UK handed it over to the PRC.

      2. Re: Richard Headless,

        Just point to all the low-tax, small-government countries that are superpower kick ass like[…]

        Why would being a superpower be neceesary to validate the concept of a small government?

        1. because how else will we be able to blow the commies back to hell?

          I think it’s weird but Americans seem polar on the America! Fuck yeah! to actually praying for the fall of the empire. I’m pretty firmly in the ‘fuck yeah!’ camp. But being a superpower means you get to tell other countries what to do.

          But by superpower I think he just means really successful country. Not in the cold war sense.

        2. Why would being a superpower be neceesary to validate the concept of a small government?

          Unfortunately OM, I believe for most people that yes, it is necessary. Many, many Americans are inordinately proud of being “the best” (comes from the capitalist drive to succeed), and will not accept solutions which involve reducing American prestige or power. Being the biggest bully on the block is that important to many people.

          If forced to choose between Libertopia without superpower status, or creeping fascism but as the biggest baddest hardass on the planet, I honestly believe many, if not most, Americans would knowingly and willingly choose the latter.

          Imagine going to Texas Motor Speedway, and trying to convince someone with a hat that says, “These colors never run!” that we need to give up being the “greatest” (as they would describe it, but they actually mean “militarily strongest”) nation on earth. I don’t think you’ll get very far.

          1. Americans are inordinately proud of being “the best” (comes from the capitalist drive to succeed

            Jimmy,

            Interesting take on American exceptionalism, but citizens of pretty much every country in the world thinks theirs is the best. Hard to blame this on teh nasssty captialissssims.

          2. Americans are inordinately proud of being “the best” (comes from the capitalist drive to succeed

            Jimmy,

            Interesting take on American exceptionalism, but citizens of pretty much every country in the world thinks theirs is the best. Hard to blame this on teh nasssty captialissssims.

            1. sigh

              1. Interesting take on American exceptionalism, but citizens of pretty much every country in the world thinks theirs is the best. Hard to blame this on teh nasssty captialissssims.

                Yes, I noticed all the lines-ups at embassies NOT to get into the US. Why just the other day, there was a line-up to get into Libya for the nightly fireworks!

            2. Sorry, that was poorly phrased. I think the drive to succeed is a good thing, and a natural result of capitalism (which is an economic system that I’m a huge fan of). The problem is when that drive gets put to bad uses, such as justfying gov’t control over our lives so that we can “win” on the international scale.

        3. I’d prefer to live in a country with a strong economy, an economic superpower if you will.

          Would your small government do that? Are there, or have their ever been any such countries?

          1. Hong Kong has incredibly low taxes and paper-thin regulation. Its unemployment rate is 3%, and it has the fourth-highest human development rating in the world, beating even us. Their official (so take it with a grain of salt) annual inflation is 2.2%, 0.5% lower than ours.

            Historically, the United States experienced its largest period of economic growth, and thus growth in standard of living, during the Guilded Age when the federal government was for all intents and purposes a minarchy.

            For the record, Old Mexican and I are both anarcho-capitalists, so our ideal society would have no government in the traditional sense.

    2. Um, I think you missed the point.

      1. *shocked face*

    3. Re: rather,

      So two wrongs do make a right?

      “Wrongs”?

      I see you have a problem with concepts.

      1. OK, two ill-contrived ideas make the lesser implementable!

  14. Since government spending is a portion of GDP, wouldn’t cutting government spending without changing tax rates increase revenue as a percentage of GDP?

    1. The sad part is that we count all of our deficit spending as part of the GDP.

      1. …so if she weighs less than a duck………A WITCH!

        1. Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?

    2. Not if the unproductive dollar spent by the government gets spent more productively by a business.

  15. They blithely assert, against all historical evidence and typically without outlining exactly how they are going to squeeze massive new revenues out of taxpayers that all we need to do to bring fiscal sanity to Washington is twist the tax dial upwards.

    Words.

    On paper.

    Pass a law, and the magic will just happen.
    Magically.

  16. One difference with our Euro Betters may be that they have a VAT, which is capable of sucking vast amounts of money out of an economy. Income taxes are self-limiting in a way that VATs may not be, as they seem to be more prone to capital flight and the Galt effect.

    Of course, the real argument needs to be, not how do we raise as much money for government as we possibly can, but how much government should we be trying to raise money for.

    1. The dirty little secret that they dare not say is that in order to fund the ostensibly desired cradle to grave state the progressives desire, taxes need to be increased broadly. I think they recognize that TEH RICH!1!! are not a significant enough chunck of the overall pie to fund the vast entitlement state (a simple look at the numbers bears that truth out) but they know that Joe Sixpack won’t be so happy about the entitlement state if he finds that an extra 20% of his income is getting annexed to pay for it. The VAT is their ideal, because they can say its a tax on TEH EVUL KORPORASHUNZ!1!! without acknowledging that it would lead to such costs passed onto consumer goods and services. Yes, anyone with half a brain could figure that out, but the left is banking on the one correct precept of leftist thought, that something between 75-90% of Americans don’t have a functioning half of a brain.

    2. The VAT is a misleading source of income but it replaces other taxation. Ireland has no yearly real estate taxes (except a charge on the initial purchase) but the VAT is 21%.

      Sometimes, I think politicians should be barred from travel abroad because they fail to see the whole picture

      1. The VAT is a misleading source of income but it replaces other taxation. Ireland has no yearly real estate taxes (except a charge on the initial purchase) but the VAT is 21%.

        Bzzzt. Try again.

        1. You misinterpret what that article says. First, there is not a yearly tax but they intend to bring one in. Secondly, there betides a stamp-duty when you purchase property, and it is a one time fee, and thirdly, what that article refers to is the sale of one’s property. If you do not make a new purchase of property within two years of the sale you pay a heave property tax. BZZZZZZZZZZZZ,

  17. I assume Krugabe yearns for a VAT.

  18. Seeing that picture just after reading the Piss Christ post made me gag a little.

    1. Well that piss had to go somewhere.

    2. Ha ha. Drink up, Pauly!

  19. Great alt-text. +1 Internets.

  20. Marginal tax rates matter. However, just because *some* people once faced 90% marginal rates and it didn’t yield more revenue does not mean that it’s impossible to get more. Tax brackets also matter! In these OECD countries, you reach the top bracket (usually around 50%) very quickly… Perhaps around the $80.000 mark. Try something like that and i’m pretty sure that you’ll get more revenue…

    Not to say that it’d be a good idea and that it wouldn’t have bad consequences, but i don’t see what’s so special about the US that it wouldn’t work.

  21. Marginal tax rates matter. However, just because *some* people once faced 90% marginal rates and it didn’t yield more revenue does not mean that it’s impossible to get more. Tax brackets also matter! In these OECD countries, you reach the top bracket (usually around 50%) very quickly… Perhaps around the $80.000 mark. Try something like that and i’m pretty sure that you’ll get more revenue…

    Not to say that it’d be a good idea and that it wouldn’t have bad consequences, but i don’t see what’s so special about the US that it wouldn’t work.

    1. You can say that again! Wait, no, you’re wrong.

      LOL!

      http://www.krugnutssucks.de.fuk

      1. Actually, he’s right: http://www.oecd.org/document/6……html#pir. See Table 1.7.

        1. Try something like that and i’m pretty sure that you’ll get more revenue…

          …is what the Bot was referring to. It’s been tried in the US, and *hasn’t worked*. See Gillespie/deRugy’s work as one source.

          1. There have been 50% marginal rates at $60,000-$80,000 of income in the US? When was that?

  22. I don’t know where to begin here. Its funny because Krugman talks in terms of ‘receipts’ a.k.a. money in and the 19 percenters speak in terms of outlays…as in what is spent. That right there demonstrates the chasm between the thinking. You add up what the total cost of government is in terms of outlays today…well we’re bumping north of 40%, though its a lumpy distribution (California compared to Wyoming for instance).

    Think about it. 30% of US GDP (assuming GDP = 15T) works out to 4.8 trillion. Ugh. Split two ways (between all jurisdiction layers and the Feds works out to $2.4 trillion for the Feds. They take that in for receipts today. At OECD levels (36%) split two ways it equals $2.7 trillion.

    At Finland insanity levels it works out to $3.75 Trillion for the Feds. The budget this year is still $3.8 trillion and the states are going to need some scratch from somewhere for all the Obamacare and pensions (both sacred Krugcows I’m sure) as-is.

    Its just another baseline where give-us-money-today and our crystal ball says great things coming in ten years. Just like when they passed Medicare, or Medicaid, or Social Security, or how much the ‘war on terror’ would cost.

    The pundits need to get their crystal balls (tiny, tiny balls I’m sure) fixed, stat.

  23. One reason why Scandinavia can get away with it is because their levels of corruption border on non-existent. Not surprisingly, our convoluted legal framework encourages more and more corruption.

    1. Yeah. Best way to be like Scandinavia is probably have a country full of Scandinavians. Fill it with Russians or Nigerians and you probably won’t have the same synchronized watch of a society.

      Matter of fact, wherever you see a collectivist example of collectivism working so well, you also see a society that is ethnically homogeneous and bearing long traditions of technical and cultural excellence (Japan for instance, or pick-a-Scandinavian country).

      You look at a country remotely close to the United States in population, diversity of population, or scale of geography, and you see a country that in per capita and aggregate terms is a place that is far less free, much poorer, and has some shitty healthcare to boot.

      1. Careful, you’re going to summon slappy.

        1. Bullshit. Diversity often promotes discord and you see high-levels of social distrust in diverse countries.

          The social welfare net countries that work the best are extremely homogeneous (same race, same religion, etc.) Go read Will Wilkinson talk about Denmark (95% white Lutherans).

  24. It’s cool that the government is raping you in the ass, because it’s dick is smaller on average than other ass rapers. Hell, it should go on Enzyte so that it performs just as well as the other ass rapers. That would be rapetastic.

    1. STEVE SMITH NOT WANT GOVERNMENT TO CROWD OUT PRIVATE RAPE! STEVE SMITH NOT NEED COMPETITION IN WOODS FOR BACKPACKERS! STEVE SMITH NOT NEED ENZYTE FOR RAPE!

    2. STEVE SMITH LIKE YOUR IDEAS. WISH TO SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER!

      1. STEVE SMITH WISH TO RAPE SPOOFER!

        1. NOT IF STEVE SMITH RAPE STEVE SMITH FIRST!

  25. The interesting question, unasked and unanswered, is why the magical 19% seems to exist.

    Any answers …

    1. Why should government services be immune to the fundamental economics of supply and demand?

      The price point for federal government services as a percentage of GDP has been remarkably stable for years.

      It is entirely possible that this is simply as much as Americans are willing to spend on their national government. Perhaps 19% is simply the price point where the supply and demand curves are in long-term equilibrium.

      Our problem is that while 19% is all we are willing to spend on national government (vs. everything else we want to spend money on), the services we want from that government actually cost far, far more–and our politicians have spent decades telling people that they can have $100 dollars of services for $50–or for “free.”

      1. There needs to be a Groupon for government.

    2. The interesting question, unasked and unanswered, is why the magical 19% seems to exist.

      Because that 19% AVERAGE is mostly scooped off the top few percent of taxpayers, with most of the population paying little or nothing. Which means to get it, the govt needs to screw over that top few percent with high marginal tax rates, which causes people to go Galt on that marginal income.

      Case in point: my wife earns well into six figures, which means my effective marginal tax rates for all levels of government is over 60%. (Fed income tax in the high 30s — state income tax at 11% — social security, medicare, General excise tax, etc.) Throw in commuting expenses and other stuff, and I can clear ten, fifteen bucks a day tops at the middle-class jobs I have the skills to do. Guess who has a huge incentive to be a stay at home dad and do all the work — lawnmowing, pool, home repairs — that would be outsourced to employees if we had less exorbitant levels of marginal taxation?

  26. So, what’s their plan? Their desire to end Teh Bush Tax Cuts for Teh Rich won’t even get close.

  27. Now, now, let’s give Pauly a break, he’s got it tough. As former Democratic party campaign worker said:

    “Paul Krugman is a flat out asshole…And he’s? not even a real economist”

    1. That was Pat Caddell, btw.

    2. But but but…..he won that prize ……thingy…..from that bank!

      Don’t all “real” economists win those.

      (Shit I think I just endorsed Krugmans immunity challenge icon….just forget this post entierly!)

  28. Question: does “total receipts of government ” include state-owned enterprises (for instance, Norway’s oil production)? Because that would make a difference.

  29. Yeah Paul, but these 36% countries have numerous tax schemes to squeeze 36%. They have wealth taxes, solidarity taxes, VAT taxes, and 40%+ marginal income taxes on $70K+ in income. Moreover, these are much smaller nations where people feel a closer relationship with their neighbors and have a stronger faith in their government which more accurately reflects their population, not just TEAM RED/TEAM BLUE bullshit.

    1. How you tax solidarity?

  30. that face! must resist… urge to punch… computer screen.

    1. I think you should punch your computer screen! For the good of the economy!

      1. Agreed. Bastiat’s broken window with a modern twist.

        1. Yes, prease stimurate see-see business. Sank yu.

  31. If all your friends jumped off bridges…

    1. I would have to find catch new friends.

  32. I guess Krugman is advocating 50% tax rates on income over $60,000 and a national VAT tax of 20% then. The other OECD countries raise this kind of revenue by targeting most of the population for high taxes, not just the rich. They do that in two ways:
    1) the top marginal rates for personal income/wage taxes kick in a exceedingly low levels of income. See Table 1.7 at http://www.oecd.org/document/6……html#pir. In Sweden for instance you get at 56.5% rate at only $57,241 (converted using Purchasing Power Parity)). In the Netherlands, you get a 50% rate at only $53,533. In the US, the top rate of 43.2% (the methodology says it accounts for both federal and state income and payroll taxes) doesn’t kick in until $383,260.
    2) they use a VAT tax that runs in teh 20% range that hits both rich and poor alike.
    So, it seems likely the US could raise substantially more revenue if it followed that European example and imposed exceedingly high rates starting at low thresholds. People in these income ranges have much less opportunity for tax avoidance/income shifting etc. than those in the higher brackets and there are just more of them.

    Do I hear Kruhman and Obama calling for 50% rates on everyone earning over $60,000 a year and impose a national sales/VAT tax of 20%? You think there’s a backlash over Ryan’s plan to revamp Medicare, just try going out and proposing a tax plan like that.

    1. No stupid, we only have to tax rich people and corporations. They have been killing the middle and lower class for too long and finally some sensible ideas are being laid out to spread the wealth around. We are the wealthiest nation on earth and it’s time we provided services commeasurate with that stature.

      1. LOL – this whole thing reminds me of the Steve Martin bit where he explains his simple plan for how we can all be rich and happy living on a million dollars a year: “First, get a million dollars…….”

        For all those who argue about how to raise revenues or cut spending, simply saying “raise revenues” or “cut spending” is not an argument.

        And that is precisely what Krugman is saying and precisely what Gillespie is saying that Krugman is saying.

        Raise the corporate tax rate? It’s already at 35% and the corporations don’t pay that – raise it as much as you want and they still won’t pay a nickel more than they do now.

        Repeal the Bush tax cuts? Prior to the Bush tax cuts we had pre-Bush-tax-cut revenues and that wasn’t raising a nickel more than we are now.

        Impose new taxes on the rich? We’ve already had 92% marginal income tax rates and we didn’t raise a nickel more than we are now.

        Cut spending? We’ve already hacked and slashed and cut spending to the bone and haven’t managed to spend a nickel less than we ever have.

        So what’s the answer? How do we balance the budget? How do we get our fiscal house in order? Well the first rule of holes is that when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. Sadly, I think we are a long way yet from stopping the digging.

        1. You were doing fine until:

          Cut spending? We’ve already hacked and slashed and cut spending to the bone and haven’t managed to spend a nickel less than we ever have.

          1. Cut spending? We’ve already hacked and slashed and cut spending to the bone and haven’t managed to spend a nickel less than we ever have.

            Apparently in that orgy of hacking and slashing the state of Florida has found sufficient funding to buy the unemployed superhero gear!

            http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/201…..unemployed

            Now….lets get back to that discussion about how to balance the budget.

        2. “Cut spending? We’ve already hacked and slashed and cut spending to the bone”
          ——-

          citation needed

          Or was that a joke I missed?

  33. Sweden has what, a corporate tax rate of 25%. Is Krugman advocating lower corporate taxes as well?

  34. I like how the United States of America hasn’t been the United States of America since about 1950, but we’re all so full of shit (unwittingly) that we’re willing to humor these cock-sucking parasites and waste time on discussing minor cuts to this, minor concessions here, minor alterations there. What the fuck is this shit?

    Skull-fuck the federal government, and allow society to refresh itself. *Rage*.

    1. Yup the 1950s were great.

      1. We had a lower unemployment rate, we had higher high school graduation levels, we had more intact families,………

        1. Exactly! They were objectively better off when they couldn’t vote or use the same schools or water fountains, or marry outside their race. We should reinstitute that!

          1. All government imposed by the way. My dad always told me his family was much better off before the government started to help him.

          2. I can use the same water fountain as the white folks now.

            But the white folks moved away, and now the water fountain don’t work no more.

    2. Yep 1950s tax rates and government spending levels were great.

    3. Were we even around then? When did Lawrence of Arabia come out?

      1. As in, COMPLETELY stopped being the Founders’ Republic. I don’t mean it was perfect and then went and fucked itself up. I bet you like FDR, too, you trollolololols.

    4. LMAO @ skull-fuck, that is some good imagery.

    5. Relax — this system is inherently unstable. I suspect it’ll collapse soon enough, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. We had a good run.

      1. Sure is. Buy guns and ammo and get ready.

  35. It’s irrelevant what Danes do, what Frenchmen do, what Swedes do, what Germans do and so on.

    Inter-country comparison yields no fruit and cannot be basis for argument.

    Each one of those countries has tiny population compared to the United States.

    Because their established contractual relationships are different (rules) and their mindsets (psychology) are different, their outcomes are different.

    Krugman makes appeal to those susceptible to the bogus argumentative method of inter-country comparison.

    1. Exactly. I suspect Krugman believes that Euro-style social democracy is the inevitable and desirable end-stage of the American experiment. But America is not the kind of high-trust monoculture one still finds in France, Germany, Sweden, or the Upper West Side. It would take a much costlier (and oppressive) state apparatus to impose the same equality-of-outcome. The per-capita output he’d end up with might be closer to that of the Soviet Union than Sweden.

    2. So compare the US of today with the US of the past with higher tax rates. We were at our most prosperous and competitive with much higher rates than today. This isn’t that complicated. Government can direct resources to do big things, be it education or going to the moon or building infrastructure. Most things just require money thrown at them. We have historically low tax rates now–so theoretically we should be a comparative prosperity machine. Are we?

      1. So were back to stapling random thoughts together in an attempt to form a coherent paragraph.

        Okay…I want to play too!

        We were at our most prosperous and competitive with much higher rates than today.

        More prosperous and competitive….fewer regulations to comply with….better overall educational standards because the Dept of Ed hadn’t fucked that up yet! Todays major (India,China) competitors laboring under ….wait for it…..too much government…..Japan and Germany smashed due to war and rebuilding. Who really was left to buy things from?

        The moon? NASA please….their most ambitious project in the last twenty five years was trying to keep the diaper wearing attempted murderess out of the limelight.

        What is with you statists and the compulsion to do “big things”……what are you compensating for?

        1. I guess government can direct resources to do big things. I mean, the Eqyptians built the pyramids, right? Even though they serve no purpose other than a tourist attraction and countless died during the building, those are big things.

      2. “We were at our most prosperous and competitive with much higher rates than today.”

        Uh no.

        We were at our most prosperous and competitive before the federal income tax was ever enacted.

        1. ^ Winner

      3. This isn’t that complicated.

        It’s impossibly complicated. Our standard of living has been much higher under low top rates (80’s thru 00’s) than under under high (60’s & 70’s). I know this from personal experience, and I have never been rich. Even so, I’m reluctant to call that cause and effect. There are too many other variables, e.g. loose money, deficit spending, increased productivity.

        The economy is not a machine, it’s a super-organism. Government & its enablers seem to think they can remove the organs they don’t like without making it sick.

      4. For the record, the greatest period of economic growth in our history was 1868-1890 when read GDP, real wages, population, and the standard of living all rose faster than at any point in our history.

        Now should we fuckin’ fight a war with the South again? No. So for you to knock down my argument would require you to knock down yours about the 1950s being a time we should get back to.

        1. It’s no accident that Krugman was pining for World War 2 recently–after all, the obliteration of our overseas competitors made all that postwar growth possible.

          It’s telling that both Krugman and Tony support industrial genocide just to satiate their wealth envy.

  36. Yes, let’s compare ourselves to countries in the Big League: BRIC comes to mind. How’s health-care there? Oh, nevermind.

    Comparing the USA to Sweden is like comparing Jupiter to Mars.

  37. So what’s the per capita income average for the OECD?

  38. KKKrugman can KKKiss my ass.

    Betrayed by Brewer: Arizona governor vetoes bills.
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl…..ernor.html

  39. Gillespie does a man’s job, but fisking Krugman is like the Stone of Sisyphus. No matter how many times he’s caught out, he’ll remain relevant because his actual function is to confirm the biases of his audience. He appears superbly adapted to that role.

  40. Gillespie does a man’s job, but fisking Krugman is like the Stone of Sisyphus.

    Alternately;

    Gillespie does a man’s job, but fisking Krugman is like shooting dairy cows with a high powered rifle……there’s no sport in it.

  41. Best pitch for the 19% solution yet.

    http://www.intellectualtakeout…..ebt-burden

    http://sunshinereview.org/inde….._2011-2012

  42. The funny thing about Krugman and all the other leftists who keep holding up the European socialists states as models for us to follow is that the only reason any of them have been able to afford their expensive welfare programs is that they have been getting military protection welfare from the United States ever since the end of WW2.

    If they hadn’t been, not only would they NOT have been able to afford that welfare, none of them would even be in existence as independent nation states today.

    1. Aren’t we generous.

      I’m actually fine with us being the global police. But you do realize that we also have among the world’s highest healthcare costs per capita. That doesn’t have anything to do with our wasting money elsewhere. Almost half of all bankruptcies are due to healthcare costs in this country. That doesn’t have anything to do with the military. It has to do with our having a bad system. One too dependent on the free market.

      1. Fuck you piece of shit.

        I’m tired of paying for Europeans’ defense and healthcare.

        They can fuck off. I want the US out of NATO and the UN should be banished to Europe.

      2. “I’m actually fine with us being the global police”

        Totally beside the point you moron.

        The point is that the nations you leftists hold up as a “superior” model are totally dependent on an external power to pay for their defense. Their model doesn’t work without it.

        Their system is not, in fact, superior in any way – period.

      3. It has to do with our having a bad system. One too dependent on the free market.

        Yeah, because the healthcare industry is currently operating with NO regulatory oversight or government intereference whatsoever.

  43. One thing that I notice from the figures cited by Gillespie is that the one year since 1950 that we federal tax receipts were more than 20% of GDP (in 2000) we also had the largest surplus. If we’re going to pay down our debt, won’t we need to run surpluses?

    1. Yes we do, which we cannot do so long as spending increases faster than economic growth. At the levels we are at, it doesn’t matter how much we tax, so long as spending is increasing faster than economic growth

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