Sunday, October 4, 2009

Danger! Danger!

Since I just finished my weekly stint on John Batchelor's radio show, it's going to be a short post tonight. Below are three important articles having to do with our economy - and what happens when the biggest gorilla in the room (in any room), the federal government, does the wrong thing(s).

California: the Golden State or America's first "failed state?" (You know the American media is asleep at the wheel when it takes a Brit news outlet to do a story like this one.)

Cash for Clunkers: "Dumbest government program - ever?" As the author writes, "Farm subsidies are unjust. Trade restrictions are counter-productive. Energy regulations have done great damage. Housing policies helped cause the financial crisis. But for pure dumbness, Cash for Clunkers takes the cake." At least one person is "dancing on its grave."

How does this work? "In 2009, roughly 47% of households, or 71 million, will not owe any federal income tax." In addition, "Some in that group will even get additional money from the government because they qualify for refundable tax breaks." This is due to our progressive taxation but be warned: "As the number [of nonpayers] becomes larger, we have to question whether we'll make good decisions about how to allocate resources," economist George Zodrow, a professor at Rice University. "Most people don't understand how skewed the tax distribution is. Experts say that to pay for all the things on the country's growing tab, the money can't just come from a shrunken pool of taxpayers. Over the long run, you'll have to have a broader base," Zodrow said.

Gentle reader, when you read these things, remember what Thomas Paine wrote: "That government is best which governs least."

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