28 December 2008

Tax And Spend

Please read Tom Friedman from today's (Sunday) NYTimes. Then tell someone else, fast. If you can find a better idea (not his by the way, as I saw it suggested before the election) you should be president.


Revwilly said...

I have some problems with Mr. Friedman's idea. 1.)I don't believe taxes should be used to regulate people's behavior. 2.)Higher taxes on gas hurts the poor perhaps causing them choose to spend money on gas to get to work instead of other things needed by the family. 3.)Putting more money in the hands of government is not a great idea because they have demonstrated they can't be trusted to manage it well. The biggest panse scheme in the world is Social Security! 4.) No where does Mr. Friedman suggest things like making it easier for nuclear energy plants to be built or allowing drilling off our coasts. Both those things would keep more money in the US while creating new jobs.

WFW said...

In response, friend.

1) All taxes regulate behavior, the question is whether it is conscious or not. in this case, think of it as a user fee - roads, plows, etc.

2) Offsets, like child care, which is on the 1040 EZ, can mitigate that. Besides, wild swings (and what we had this past year would qualify) are what makes planning hard. Establishing a floor (which is what the fellow who wrote about it first suggested) helps oil producers, car makers and consumers predict better.

3) Government is run by the same species as business. To say government is less trustworthy than say, GM or Lehman Brothers, reflects ideology as much as observation. In re SS, if we raised both the retirement age to 70 (reflecting longer lifespans) and taxed a high percentage of income, the problem would be much smaller.

4) What Friedman says does not rule out off-shore exploration or nuclear energy. He is focused on oil use and and its perils. We are years from payoff from either off shore or nuclear energy. A gasoline tax now would help pay for the expected infrastructure project, and be easy too, as we are currently paying gas prices that are 1990s in size. Have you driven around Detroit recently? Symbolic of the industry it serves.

Enough for now.

(BTW, the name was Ponzi, Charles Ponzi, from Boston. And he fell for his own scheme which is why he got caught.)

Revwilly said...

(BTW, the name was Ponzi, Charles Ponzi, from Boston. And he fell for his own scheme which is why he got caught.)
Yes, most certainly. I have a friend with the last name of Panse pronounced the same way. I guess my default spelling was firmly in place.

Our government has been "caught". Will it fall?