Monthly Archives: February 2009

Thanks For Nothing, Mr. President

Remember Barack Obama’s promise to cut taxes for 95% of American workers ?

Well, it’s in the stimulus bill, but it doesn’t amount to much of anything:

Q: What are some of the tax breaks in the bill?

A: It includes Obama’s signature “Making Work Pay” tax credit for 95 percent of workers, though negotiators agreed to trim the credit to $400 a year instead of $500 — or $800 for married couples, cut from Obama’s original proposal of $1,000. It would begin showing up in most workers’ paychecks in June as an extra $13 a week in take-home pay, falling to about $8 a week next January.

Let’s be generous and say its $ 13 a week for the entire year.

Over a 52 week year, that amounts to $ 676.00 .

Barely enough to make a car payment for some people.

Not enough to cover rent for most.

And the mortgage ? Forget about it.

There is, however, one thing you’ll be able to buy with that $ 13 per week:

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Actually since, the shirt is $ 15.99 plus shipping and tax, you’ll need to use about two weeks worth of your tax cut to buy it.

But it’s worth it to make a point.

Resist The Stimulus

Now that the members of the United States Congress have ignored the American people and are set to steal and borrow around $800 billion for a “stimulus” package which benefits left-wing special interests, political machines on the state and local level, and other vote buying programs in general; those of us who actually believe in the free market must continue to resist this plan to the end. Just because we have likely lost the fight in the Congress does not mean this fight is over. “Yes We Can” still defeat the stimulus or at least make it as costly to the Democratic party and the “moderate” Republicans who supported it as possible.

The battlefield, once the Obamessiah signs the bill into law, now shifts to the states who must decide whether or not to accept the “stimulus”. Here in the states, we can have more impact because governors of the states and our state legislators in most cases, are respsonsive to fewer people than our Congresscritters and are up for reelection before 2012. Therefore, we can have more success fighting this on the state level.

The plan now needs to be to call our state representatives and to call our governor offices and tell them to refuse to accept the money from the stimulus AND to refuse to implement any unfunded mandates and any other regulations that the “stimulus” calls for.

The second phase of the plan is to use our little rebates that the Obamessiah is giving us to fund the organizations that led the fight against the stimulus AND give money on top of that to fight the continued march toward socialism that the Obamessiah and the Democratic Party will lead us toward.

As an added bonus, your contributions to some, but not all of these organizations are tax deductible.

Americans for Prosperity

Cato Institute

Citizens Against Government Waste

Club for Growth

Heritage Foundation

Finally, in 2010 and 2012, vote the politicians that created this new mess out of power, if we still can.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at IJ Review.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

Possibly the most profound words I have ever heard spoken

“We are living in a universe of willing slaves; which is what makes the concept of liberty so dangerous, and the concept of freedom so dangerous” — James Baldwin

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Feds to Launch New Comedy Site

From FinancialStability.gov (props):

Banner: Financial Stability.gov

This site is coming soon.

On Tuesday, February 10th, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner outlined a comprehensive plan to restore stability to our financial system. In the address, Secretary Geithner discussed the Obama Administration’s strategy to strengthen our economy by getting credit flowing again to families and businesses, while imposing new measures and conditions to strengthen accountability, oversight and transparency in how taxpayer dollars are spent. And Secretary Geithner explained how the financial stability plan will be critical in supporting an effective and lasting economic recovery.

For more information, please visit http://www.treas.gov/initiatives/eesa/


I think it’s safe to assume that this website will provide as much sarcasm and laughter as when Obama officials  met with federal legislators the other day:

Administration officials were greeted with sarcasm and laughter Monday night when they briefed lawmakers and congressional staff on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s new financial-sector bailout project, according to people who were in the room.

The laughter was at its height when Obama officials explained that the White House planned to guarantee a wide swath of toxic assets — which they referred to as “legacy assets” — but wouldn’t be asking Congress for money. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), a bailout opponent in the fall, asked the officials to give Congress the total dollar figure for which they were on the hook. The officials said that they couldn’t provide a number, a response met by chuckling that was bipartisan, but tilted toward the GOP side. By guaranteeing the assets, Geithner hopes he can persuade the private sector to purchase a portion of them.

The major problem is that our overdose of federal financial intervention isn’t really a laughing matter.

Quote Of The Day

The current state of America, summed up quite nicely in this comment over at Donklephant:

Instead of wasteful fiscally irresponsible and corrupt Republican controlled government spending money we don’t have on Republican pork, constituencies, contributors, and unproven pet ideologies led by a president who couldn’t talk…

We now have a wasteful fiscally irresponsible and corrupt Democratic controlled government spending money we don’t have on Democratic pork, constituencies, contributors, and unproven pet ideologies led by a president who talks a good game.

Yea, that about sums it up, doesn’t it.

Newsweek: “We Are All Socialists Now”

newsweek-socialistsIt’s no longer just libertarians making this claim, but now Newsweek magazine:

As the Obama administration presses the largest fiscal bill in American history, caps the salaries of executives at institutions receiving federal aid at $500,000 and introduces a new plan to rescue the banking industry, the unemployment rate is at its highest in 16 years. The Dow has slumped to 1998 levels, and last year mortgage foreclosures rose 81 percent.

All of this is unfolding in an economy that can no longer be understood, even in passing, as the Great Society vs. the Gipper. Whether we like it or not—or even whether many people have thought much about it or not—the numbers clearly suggest that we are headed in a more European direction. A decade ago U.S. government spending was 34.3 percent of GDP, compared with 48.2 percent in the euro zone—a roughly 14-point gap, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 2010 U.S. spending is expected to be 39.9 percent of GDP, compared with 47.1 percent in the euro zone—a gap of less than 8 points. As entitlement spending rises over the next decade, we will become even more French.

This is not to say that berets will be all the rage this spring, or that Obama has promised a croissant in every toaster oven. But the simple fact of the matter is that the political conversation, which shifts from time to time, has shifted anew, and for the foreseeable future Americans will be more engaged with questions about how to manage a mixed economy than about whether we should have one.

Again, no surprise to libertarians, but perhaps a bit of shocker to others:

The architect of this new era of big government? History has a sense of humor, for the man who laid the foundations for the world Obama now rules is George W. Bush, who moved to bail out the financial sector last autumn with $700 billion.

Adds reason: “Thomas, the story’s co-author, is the great-grandson of six-time Socialist Party candidate for president Norman Thomas.”

Stimulus vs. Stability

In Barack Obama’s first press conference, he says the following:

“It is absolutely true that we cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or economic growth. That is and must be the role of the private sector…But at this particular moment, with the private sector so weakened by this recession, the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back to life.”

This shows a profound misunderstanding of the nature of the crisis.  The economy is driven to prosperity by those who plan for the present and the future, those who produce wealth today and deploy capital to continue producing wealth in the future.

The US Government has a role to play in this production of wealth, even though it is utterly incapable of producing wealth on its own.  It provides, at least it is supposed to provide, the stable foundation upon which an economy can thrive.  The US Constitution provides for the post office, post roads, the defense of the nation, the commerce clause, and a common currency–the physical foundation, the legal foundation, and the financial foundation.

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PETA Says AKC Is Like KKK? WTF?

I’m sure this will get their point across:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals knows how to grab attention. And show off its laundry.

The animal rights group, which every year stages a protest at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, had two of its members dress in Ku Klux Klan garb outside Madison Square Garden on Monday.

Their goal, according to a post on the PETA website, was to draw a parallel between the KKK and the American Kennel Club. “Obviously it’s an uncomfortable comparison,” PETA spokesman Michael McGraw told the Associated Press.

But the AKC is trying to create a “master race” when it comes to pure-bred dogs, he added. “It’s a very apt comparison.”

The group passed out brochures implying the Klan and AKC have the goal of “pure bloodlines” in common.

There’s a bit of a difference, though… Last time I checked, the AKC wasn’t burning crosses outside the homes of people who own mutts. I’m not sure if this is a real-world corollary of Godwin’s law, but I think PETA has already lost this round.

So what’s the over/under on when the media starts indicting PETA for “hate speech”?

Who must suffer so others may profit?

One of my favorite TV shows is Babylon 5.  It offered interesting plots and much to think about.  The episode “Deathwalker” comes to my mind when thinking about the stimulus.  Jha’dur, a scientist from a vanquished enemy species, has become known as “Deathwalker” for her terrifying bioweapon experiments.  Now, she appears on Babylon 5 with the promise of immortality.  The price, it is revealed, is that for every life extended another must end.  Jha’dur knew that once this discovery was available, people would turn against each other, seeking to exploit each other for their own immortality.

The stimulus strikes me as being similar to this.  Obama, Pelosi, and the other Democrats selling this plan are focusing only on the gains certain parties will see.  No one is talking about where the wealth to fund this package will come from.  Notice I said wealth, not money.  While it is easy for the government to conjure money out of thin air, it cannot do so with wealth.

So, where will the wealth for this come from?  It will come from you, me, and anyone else who holds US dollars.  All our wealth stored in dollars will be diminished via the inflation tax.  Those who have saved, invested, and otherwise sought to provide for themselves in the future will be punished.  These are the people who have provided economic stability and prosperity for the nation for two centuries.

In addition, the productive workers of the future will also be punished, as they will be the ones paying back the interest on the wealth redistributed.  The current generation of people under 35 will spend their entire working lives paying the price for the excesses of the Obama stimulus plan.

This plan is a declaration of war on those who produce wealth and live responsibly, now and into the future.  Who must suffer so others may profit?  We do.

Wisconsin Police Woman Endangers Family

This is another one of those stories that I read and say “this could happen to me!”

More than a month after Sam Salter wound up in the Ramsey County jail for two nights, the 40-year-old adjunct college instructor from Hudson, Wis., is still fuming. “You feel totally helpless,” he said.

At the end of a New Year’s Eve traffic stop on Interstate 94 in St. Paul, State Patrol Sgt. Carrie Rindal rammed Salter’s 2001 Toyota Sienna van, causing $1,500 damage to his vehicle, and arrested him at gunpoint while his three children, ages 2, 3 and 6, sat in the van. His wife had to pick up the kids as he was taken to jail.

Rindal said Salter was attempting to flee. He said he was merely looking for a safe place to pull over.

The county attorney decided that the evidence from the dashboard camera suggests that Salter was not trying to flee but to find a safe place to pull over (just as Salter said). The video of the incident can be viewed here (If I can figure out a way to embed the video, I will post it here later). From what I see, Salter made three mistakes: speeding, changing lanes without signaling, and getting out of his van once the van came to a stop*. If it were me, I would have slowed down, turned on my hazard lights to indicate that I will pull over in a safe location, and wait to give the officer a piece of my mind when she approached the window with my hands in plain view on the steering wheel.

It shouldn’t be unreasonable for a motorist to look for a safer place to pull over than the shoulder of a highway. If I were in Salter’s position, I would have also taken the nearest exit to pull over.

Why?

Watch this video and then tell me how pulling over onto the shoulder is a good idea:

I would rather take my chances being pulled over by Sgt. Rindal but it’s very unsettling the thought that I might have to choose between doing the safe thing and going to jail.

Hat Tip: The Agitator

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Which is Freakier: A bong hit or “the application of pure carbolic acid to the clitoris [as] an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement?”

Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps took a bong hit; Kellogg’s has dropped their sponsorship of Phelps.

In my opinion, Kellogg’s has every right in the world to drop the sponsorship. And I have every right in the world to quit using Kelloggs’ products. If the Phelps issue wasn’t enough, let’s take a look (H/T to Huffpo) at some of the bizarre history of John Harvey Kellogg’s radical beliefs. Here are some cut-and-pastes from his Wikipedia entry:

Some of his work on diet was influenced by his belief that a plain and healthy diet, with only two meals a day, among other things, would reduce sexual feelings. Those experiencing temptation were to avoid stimulating food and drinks, and eat very little meat, if any. Kellogg also advocated hydrotherapy and stressed the importance of keeping the colon clean through yogurt enemas. [snip]

He appears to have gone beyond his own advice, since though he and his wife were married for over 40 years, they never had sexual intercourse and had separate bedrooms all their lives. It has been suggested he worked on Plain Facts on their honeymoon.

He was an especially zealous campaigner against masturbation; this was an orthodox view during his lifetime, especially the earlier part. Kellogg was able to draw upon many medical sources who made claims such as that “neither the plague, nor war, nor small-pox, nor similar diseases, have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of onanism,” credited to one Dr. Adam Clarke. Kellogg strongly warned against the habit in his own words, claiming of masturbation-related deaths “such a victim literally dies by his own hand,” among other condemnations. He felt that masturbation destroyed not only physical and mental health, but the moral health of individuals as well. Kellogg also believed the practice of “solitary-vice” caused cancer of the womb, urinary diseases, nocturnal emissions, impotence, epilepsy, insanity, and mental and physical debility – “dimness of vision” was only briefly mentioned. Kellogg was the first to mention the psychological role in producing insanity. [snip]

Kellogg worked on the rehabilitation of masturbators, often employing extreme measures, even mutilation, on both sexes. In his Plain Facts for Old and Young, he wrote

“A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed.”

and

“In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid [phenol] to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement.”

He also recommended, to prevent children from this “solitary vice”, bandaging or tying their hands, covering their genitals with patented cages, sewing the foreskin shut and electrical shock.

I’ll strongly defend Kellogg’s right to no longer support Michael Phelps. I’ll also strongly defend the rights of consumers who choose not to purchase products from Kellogg’s anymore.

Drudge Headline Vindicates Libertarian Arguments

Since the term has been in existence, libertarians have railed against our federal monetary policy, bloated federal budgets and deficit spending.  Today’s headline from the Drudge Report illustrates what we’ve been arguing for years.  Here’s a re-creation scaled for this site:


'Enough to pay off more than 90% of the nation's home mortgages'...

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TAXPAYERS RISK $9.7 TRILLION ON BAILOUTS AS SENATE VOTES

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The Monopoly money says it all…

An Economy Is Not About Jobs

One of the bizarre fallacies propounded by President Obama, the Congressional leadership, and their intellectual enablers such as Paul Krugman, is the notion that society should be organized to give people jobs, and that if the supply of jobs is insufficient to meet the demand, the government should step in and create an additional supply through economic policies.

Walter Block, restating an argument made famous by Frederic Bastiat, points out that nothing could be farther from the truth.

The purpose of an economy is to align production of goods with demand, so that people have their desires to consume goods satisfied.  Dr Block points out that if we lived in a society where 30% of the population dug holes that were filled in by the other 30%, with the remaining 40% laboring to supply food, clothing, shelter and tools for the hole-diggers and hole-fillers, we would be far poorer than if that 60% were redirected to other forms of labor that produced things useful to the other 40%.

This becomes obvious when you consider a thought experiment.  If you ask people to choose between having a job, and having the enough food, clothing, shelter etc, they will choose the latter in a heart-beat.  People work primarily so that they can produce what they need in order to be comfortable, either by making the stuff they want to use directly, or making stuff that they intend to trade to other people for the stuff they want to use themselves.

Much of the proposed stimulus project is makework that is little better than hole-digging and hole-filling in.  Absent the stimulus spending, the people who will be employed under the stimulus project would have to find tasks to busy themselves with that produced goods and services that people were willing to pay for.  Instead of working to identify what unmet needs were most urgent and in the greatest demand, now they will coast, “earning” a paycheck, while working on either less profitable tasks, or even unprofitable ones, where the resources they consume are greater than the product they produce.

No doubt that some people would read the above paragraph and say, “Aha! But what if they can’t find anything to do?  What if they can’t find anyone willing to hire them, don’t know how to subsistence farm, etc!  What, Mr Free-Market Anarchist, should they just hurry up and die – making sure that they starve to death out of sight?”

At first, this seems like a powerful argument, until one considers what percentage of the population is actually unemployable?  I would expect that they number no more than 5% of adults, perhaps 25 % of the entire population adding in the elderly and young children.  And, these people are probably unemployable even under a government make-work project.  Even if there was a massive shortage of workers, they would be unemployed and dependent on charity.  Rather, most of the people employed under any job-generation scheme will be able-bodied.

Nor will the able-bodied be unable to find work.  We humans live in a universe of scarcity.  We always have unmet needs, we want more shelter, better food, better cars, better streets, better entertainment etc.  Many of these needs are not met not because humanity lacks the raw materials or the land needed to realize these needs, but because there aren’t enough people around to satisfy them.

The only way to find out which of these unmet needs are th emost urgent is via the price system.  People will pay more for labor that is needed to satisfy more urgent demands and less for labor that satisfies less urgent demands.  The higher wages will act as a signal to the unemployed who can do the job to start doing the job.

The temporary unemployment that accompanies recessions occurs becasue the price system requires the passage of time to reach an approximate equilibrium.  Essentially, in a recession, people who were producing things that were not in heavy demand stop that undesired production and spend some finite period of time looking for othe rthings to do.  Simmilarly prospective employers need time to figure out where the shortages are, or to identify opportunities to start expanding production again.

By attempting to sabotage this feedback system, the proponents of the stimulus plan are setting the stage for long-term stagflation at best, and a future crash at worst.  Not only are they shifting the problem of what to do with the unemployed into the future, they are encouraging, though false price signals, people to abandon productive pursuits in favor of the make-work projects being promoted by the state.  If, for example, the state promotes the construction of dams, then people who otherwise would have chosen to become farmers or mechanical engineers or home builders will instead gravitate to civil engineering.  They will then form a political group which strives to keep the emergency programs going indefinitely, much as farmers continue to agitate for the price supports borne from the “emergency” of the Great Depression, of the California Prison Guards’ Union agitates against the repeal of anti-drug laws.  This would be bad enough if government official were to attempt, in good faith, to guess what the unmet needs in greatest demand were.  When one considers the inevitable corruption and rent-seeking that accompany the establishment of such emergency programs, the true scope of the danger to the economy presented by the stimulus project becomes clear.

Barack Obama has been in office less than a month.  The early signs are that he will prove to be a bigger disaster than George Bush.

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

So, we’re not all going to drown, or be killed by hurricanes?

This is the single best, and clearest, explanation of the Rationalist Position on global warming I’ve Ever Seen

Key line: “So, why don’t we ever talk about the suns contribution to global warming? …Well, because we can’t regulate it, tax it, or make it feel guilty for what it’s doing“.

Got it in one there friend.

There’s no profit, political gain, or power to be grabbed from acknowledging the real causes, and real effects of whatever global warming there actually is. So, the interested parties simply ignore all that, shout down anyone who disagrees with them, and go about seizing as much power as they can, in a disorderly fashion.

From “What You Oughta Know“, a website with videos explaining an assortment of general, and sometimes esoteric knowledge.

Oh and here are the links he mentioned in the video:

Pacific Research Institute:
the documentary, more information

Reid A. Bryson – scroll down for ice cap article

Solar Activity: A dominant factor in climate dynamics – scroll down read sections in blue

BBC’s The Great Global Warming Swindle

Other possible causes for global warming

Oh and just for fun, here’s the same sites take on “Liberals vs. Conservatives“… which is really a pretty solid explanation of the foundations of minarchist positions:

And a great take on the bailout:

“Because there is no disaster that immediate, decisive, wrong action cannot make worse”

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Economic Enhancement

As reason (via Stephen Littau) informs us, all economies have “performance issues.”  Our national case of electile dysfunction has led to a stimulus package that Robert Stacy McCain says simply “won’t work.”

If we are going to continue with the sexual analogies, here’s a thought: Obama certainly isn’t going to stimulate me with a trillion-pound lady who has pork grease dripping off her chin.

If history can be used to predict the future, tomorrow’s Playboy Playmates will be even trimmer than today’s are. It’s my belief that people are more likely to pitch a political tent for a svelte fiscal policy than for an overweight and bloated one.

Democrats’ love of dependency on display

One of the most galling moments for hard-left Democrats in the last two decades was Bill Clinton embracing welfare reform. Gone were the days that welfare acted as a black hole that sucked people in and kept them there. The spirit of the law was changed from one of dependence to one of independence, removing from the law books a set of incentives that created a permanent underclass.

To most Americans, this was a victory and a reinforcement of the principles of self-determination upon which this nation was founded. To the far left, this was a stinging rebuke of their core beliefs. Now that they’re in power, they seek reinstate dependency as a core value of the federal government. The rhetoric has been clear for months. They want dependency on the state for health care, jobs, mortgages, and banking. They want each of us to have no choice but to live an life inexorably entangled with bureaucrats.

Now, the stimulus package sees the first implementations of those desires. Mickey Kaus points to a line item intented to increase the number of welfare recipients:

A State meets the requirement of this clause for a quarter if the average monthly assistance caseload of the State for the quarter exceeds the average monthly assistance caseload of the State for the corresponding quarter in the emergency fund base year of the State.

States are rewarded for keeping their welfare numbers up. Get people off welfare and back to work? Lose the grant. Get more people on welfare? Get a bigger grant.

On the health care front, Democrats are acting like dope dealers, pushing the first hit of Medicaid on people who’ve lost jobs:

Under “stimulus,” Medicaid is now on offer not to just poor Americans, but Americans who have lost their jobs. And not just Americans who have lost their jobs, but their spouses and their children. And not Americans who recently lost their jobs, but those who lost jobs, say, early last year. And not just Americans who already lost their jobs, but those who will lose their jobs up to 2011. The federal government is graciously footing the whole bill. The legislation also forbids states to apply income tests in most cases.

House Democrat Henry Waxman was so thrilled by this blowout, it was left to Republicans to remind him that the very banking millionaires he dragged to the Hill last year for a grilling would now qualify for government aid. His response? A GOP proposal to limit subsidies to Americans with incomes under $1 million was accepted during markup, but had disappeared by final passage. In this new health-care nirvana, even the rich are welcome. CBO estimates? An additional 1.2 million on the federal Medicaid dime in 2009.

Even the tax “cuts” reek of dependency. Instead of implementing tax rate cuts, the Democrats are proposing one-time refundable tax credits. These are transfer payments granted by the beneficence of the current congress and administration. True tax cuts allow people to keep the money they’ve earned. These payments allow the government to give money to those they think deserve it.

This fundamental mindset, that people should depended on government for wealth and health, is incompatible with a free society. The patriotic thing for all Americans to do is to oppose this mindset and all actions that flow from it, including the stimulus bill.

Kevin Drum Completely Blows It On Payroll Tax Cut

Kevin Drum, responding to Matt Yglesias’ suggestion that a payroll tax cut would be worthwhile in the “stimulus” bill:

Agreed, but isn’t the $500/$1000 refundable tax credit in the current package essentially the same thing? Technically it’s a credit against income tax, but in practice, since it’s refundable, it’s a flat tax rebate for everyone who’s employed, which makes it roughly the same as a temporary payroll tax cut. The only real difference is that a flat tax credit is relatively more generous to the working poor than a payroll tax cut — which is a good thing — and internally it gets charged to the general fund rather than the Social Security trust fund — which doesn’t matter one way or the other. What’s not to like?

Okay, let me count the ways…

1) As a matter of stimulus, this is far from immediate. Any impact won’t be felt until at least March/April 2010. It’s not money in peoples’ pockets now, it’s a tax provision that’s pushed out into the future. An immediate cut in payroll taxes puts money in peoples’ pockets today — and being “found money” — is more likely to be spent quickly.

2) $500/$1000 isn’t that much. While he lauds it’s effect on the working poor, those of us with higher incomes paying payroll taxes are paying far more than that. Again, if you want “stimulus”, I can stimulate the economy a lot more with $3000-4000 in my pocket than I can with $1000.

3) He discounts the effect of reducing they employer’s portion of payroll taxes. If an employer can save 6% per employee (Social Security, not counting Medicare) right up front, that may make it a lot easier to keep those marginal employees on the payroll. We’re talking about a significant employer savings.

So why is a payroll tax holiday a lot better than the refundable tax credit? It’s immediate, it gets money into the economy now, it’s larger, and it helps retain jobs. None of these things are true of the refundable tax credit. So what’s not to like?

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