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Comment Re: It's pretty simple (Score 1) 273

There is a huge misconception many people have about promoting the general Welfare. It's a phrase that basically means no crony capitalism (which in practice tends to appear even more with socialist politicians). The general welfare is the welfare of everyone in the country, as opposed to the specific welfare of individuals or a geographic or other subset. So defense spending defends everyone, but solar panel company loan guarantees benefit only the people who buy and sell solar panels, making it out of scope for Congress' power to raise and spend money.

In terms of Energy Star specifically, it's a completely useless rating which just encourages manufacturers to have their default "energy saving" rating take say, two hours to do a load of dishes (because then the energy consumption per minute is really low!) and when consumers complain, they add a speed wash mode you can select which uses way more energy but actually does the dishes in a reasonable time.

Comment Re:Poster does not understand Algebra (Score 1) 366

If you want to play the extreme example game, it's a game two can play at in this discussion.

If all wealth were managed to be consumed tomorrow (apparently your ideal world), we'd have a really big party and then on the day after tomorrow life would suck horribly because we'd be in a rapid downward spiral to starvation for many.

No one has suggested no consumption. Obviously the point of growing wealth is later consumption. Ideally people decide for themselves how much investment vs consumption is useful in their life. They know their life better than others. So sure, I'd vote for absolutely no taxes to achieve that. They respond to market interest rates, which are the price accounting for the time value of consumption.

Short of that situation, the ideal tax from an economic perspective is a consumption tax, because that creates the least distortion and reduces ongoing wealth creation the least. In other words, over time it leads to the ability to consume more for everyone compared to an investment or income based tax system. If you doubt me, check with whatever economist you know.

Your example is just criticizing Alice and Bob's time preferences for consumption. If Alice's excess is as "useless" as you claim, why does Bob constantly want it? What really happened is that Alice deferred her consumption in order to create something for other's to use so that she can have more consumption later. In turn, their preference was to consume that now in return for her deferred consumption of it. How much they pay for that privilege/preference is what we call interest. Without the interest, then Alice has no incentive to defer her consumption and thus Bob ends up with no place to live and both are ultimately worse off.

Bottom line, your proposed tax distorts the market for time preferenced consumption (by taxing it and thus resulting in less of it) and in the process makes the landlords and the renters both worse off. You can say you're fighting for the renters, but making it so they have to pay more in rent and/or otherwise have no place to live isn't going to feel like "help" to them!

Comment Re:Poster does not understand Algebra (Score 1) 366

The point is to encourage the increase of the overall level of wealth, i.e. have people on average be wealthier.

Your prescription is for the opposite, i.e. keeping people poor.

Distinguish between actions which create wealth, investment, and actions which consume wealth, hence the word consumption.

Any savings beyond a little cash in a mattress (i.e. real savings) is invested. Investments are what lead to wealth creation. For example, money is lent to a business to expand, equipment is purchased to make people more efficient, people are hired to work in an industry to create products or services. All of that is ultimately paid for from someone's savings.

When someone consumes a car, or food, or a shirt, or whatever, those resources are what don't return to the economy. Even if something is re-sold, it's typically worth less than it was purchased for, i.e. part was consumed and that part of the stock of wealth was destroyed.

Comment Re:Poster does not understand Algebra (Score 0) 366

You need to distinguish between actions which create wealth, investment, and actions which consume wealth, hence the word consumption. Don't confuse nominal money flows with the underlying reality of what happens.

Any savings beyond a little cash in a mattress (i.e. real savings) is invested. Investments are what lead to wealth creation. For example, money is lent to a business to expand, equipment is purchased to make people more efficient, people are hired to work in an industry to create products or services. All of that is ultimately paid for from someone's savings.

When someone consumes a car, or food, or a shirt, or whatever, those resources are what don't return to the economy. Even if something is re-sold, it's typically worth less than it was purchased for, i.e. part was consumed and that part of the stock of wealth was destroyed.

In terms of food, what you're trying to say is that low income earners spend a higher percentage of their income on consumption than higher income earners. What you aren't considering is that in order to get a benefit from their investments, at some point those higher income earners must consume that income. Ultimately, taxing consumption is the most fair system and the closest which corresponds to an individual's level of wealth.

Comment Re:Poster does not understand Algebra (Score -1) 366

Economically, the "better" tax is a consumption tax.

Tax what people spend, not what they earn or they invest.

You want a Yacht or a Ferrari, great, add in the taxes. Your company wants a private jet,pay up. You want to live on the beach, pay up.

You can only afford a used car and an apartment? Pay much less.

You are going to save/invest your money, which will grow the economy so more can be consumed later. Great, we aren't going to penalize you for that.

Comment Re:Irony (Score 1) 190

Whenever someone start talking about Politifact, I just point to their contradiction of themselves. For them, the facts depend on if it's someone they like saying them or not. On the sites which rate fact-checking site bias, Politifact is on the slightly left-wing tilt, which is better that some out there, but to pretend their always neutral is easily shown to be false.

Also, what stories, or what angle on stories a news site chooses to cover tends to contain large amounts of bias. So you see CNN presenting how the Obama Administration wiretapping a Republican campaign staffer is evidence he was doing something wrong, while for the same story, Fox News is covering it as confirmation the Obama Administration wiretapped the campaign, but didn't actually find anything.

Comment Re:Serving his friends against his constituents (Score 1) 257

But for 40 years, people have claimed they were spending more money on schools to benefit the students. Now we are to believe that _this time_ it's true?

You'll have to do a better job of describing why you think "cheap ass voters" need to pay for even more. How about the school districts just take some of that non-beneficial spending and redirect it to your idea instead of going back to the taxpayers?

Yeah, it sucks that the school employees consider the bureaucrats their customers. But after all, that's who controls their funding and directs them in what to do, the rest of us just get to pay for it all.

Comment Re:Fiber not expensive? (Score 1) 257

So your school _already_ has two extra dark fiber lines, but you think the cost of running fiber is too expensive to have more than one line be run?

The obvious question about your other examples is that if it's soooo difficult for competitors to get going, why does the local government need to grant them a monopoly? Wouldn't they just naturally have one anyway? The existence of thousands of monopoly franchise agreements with local governments seems to contradict your analysis....

And yes, I've provisioned internet access for a K-8 school and written e-rate grants applications, etc... I'm sure in a different State than you are from, but this doesn't significantly affect that.

Comment Re:Serving his friends against his constituents (Score 1) 257

So your prediction would be that if we say, triple the inflation adjusted spending on schools, and also double the amount of staff, we'll have much better educational results?

Yeah, we tried that experiment over the last 40 years and found out that educational results continued unchanged, if anything got a little bit worse.

They also studied specific districts where funds were cut on average 20% over time. Again, no change in educational outcomes.

Comment Re:IF IF IF (Score 1) 257

So because government regulations have distorted the market, we need to have yet another layer of government regulations to keep the market from being distorted? It's regulatory turtles all the way down.

Price caps = reduction in supply. It doesn't make a lot of sense to say because supply has been reduced, we need price caps. If anything, the economics argues for precisely the opposite. How do you expect competition to exist if there are price caps? With price caps, you're basically legislating reduced supply and competition only to provide the crappiest service possible for legislated price.

Don't even get me started on local government franchise monopolies....

Comment Re:Make America Great Again (Score 1) 257

The price controls are for the benefit of the utilities, not for the benefit of their customers.

They are part of the scheme where their buddies in the government prevent anyone from competing with them and ensure they have steady profits and don't have to worry too much about expenses (including lobbying money).

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