Category Archives: Government Spending

Earmarks, Pork and the Meat Axe: Time for Action

Today Representative John Culbertson (R-Texas) pulled (that is, withdrew) a bill that would have made changes to the earmark ban the House imposed earlier.  An earmark is basically an addition to a bill that includes some kind of project or spending for the congressman’s home district.   It is a rider.  And normally, it constitutes “pork barreling” designed to get that representative re-elected.   So when I first read the headline that the bill was proposed by Culbertson, I thought, well, here… Continue Reading ››

Who Really Benefits from Internet Sales Taxes?

So it seems Bob Goodlatte, a Republican House member from Virginia has introduced for circulation among his Judiciary Committee colleagues a framework proposal for taxing internet sales transactions, something “brick and mortar” stores have wanted for some time.  Goodlatte’s aide says the plan is simple and fair.  As an article on the plan states, “Internet sales would be taxed according to the rules of the state in which the seller was located but would pay at the tax rate of… Continue Reading ››

Dueling Economic Proposals: Will They Sway Anyone?

I have so far avoided taking any position on the two main candidates for president.  For my colleague Mark Smith, don’t worry, I will.  I intend to continue the path of avoidance in this blog.  Today I would like to examine and evaluate each candidate’s economic program.  I say nothing about their personal morality, or personality, or anything except economic program as articulated formally.  Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have both now laid out their plans.  I will look first… Continue Reading ››

Happy Tax Day (Late)

Below is a chart comparing categories of income tax between 1913 and 2016, published by Americans for Tax Reform.  Note the categories labeled “Top Tax Bracket Threshold” and “Family Standard Deduction,” both adjusted in terms of today’s dollars.  Our tax liability now begins at 25 times the amount it began at in 1913.  Our deduction has been reduced by a huge percentage.  This is illuminating information, assuming it is accurate (I have no reason to question the basic numbers).  It… Continue Reading ››

Hail to the Victors! But Let’s Get the Victors Right.

Another college basketball season has come and gone, as has another football season.  I didn’t watch the NCAA National Championship game but did see the last couple of exciting minutes.  As always, basketball is fun to watch as is football.  But I also read an article in the National Review Online that caught my eye, mainly because it resonated with what I have been saying for twenty years.  Now some readers won’t like what I am about to say, but… Continue Reading ››

Taxes Versus Spending

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a DC group, had this to say about Ted Cruz’s campaign proposals: “Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has, by our count, put forward seven sets of policy proposals on his campaign website covering areas such as immigration, military spending, and tax reform. By our very rough and initial estimates, these major initiatives could add anywhere from $3 to $21 trillion to the debt over the next decade, with our central cost… Continue Reading ››

Frederic Bastiat as Prophet

I have been reading quite a few articles lately in which the individuals (politicians, bureaucrats and just ordinary citizens) are asked about various issues related to the presidential campaigns.  One answer I have heard quite a bit is simply that “the government” should do something.  Sometimes the issues are even cast in terms of a “crisis,” about which someone ought to take action now (or NOW!).  “Pass a law” is another common response.  While I realize that this is a… Continue Reading ››

And we wonder why our global economy continues to sputter

When all the institutions of public policy remain committed to Keynesian economic fallacy, what hope have we that we will have real recovery?  I’ve written before about my despair that public discussion of inflation/deflation is almost completely backwards, with inflation now a good thing and deflation something that will be very harmful.  The reality is that both are symptoms of something else, not the root cause of any problem, and further that most deflations in history were benign while almost all… Continue Reading ››

How Big Should Government Be? The Politicians’ Answer

At the Democratic candidate debate last week, Bernie Sanders was asked how big government should be.  His response was illuminating, as was Hillary Clinton’s response to Sanders’ answer.  Here is part of what he said: WOODRUFF: “And, welcome back to this PBS Newshour debate, Democratic debate, here in Milwaukee. Let’s get right to the questions.  Senator Sanders, to you first. Coming off the results in Iowa and New Hampshire, there are many voters who are taking a closer look at you,… Continue Reading ››

How Big Should Government Be? Not Big Enough for Many.

Have we reached a critical mass of voters?  On what issue you might ask.  On whether big government is bad on the whole.  I have read a couple of articles recently, addressing that question.  I don’t honestly know whether or to what extent people may believe big government is basically good.  But here is a quote from the author of the article, Jim Geraghty, writing in National Review, January 21, 2016 (read it at  He quotes from research by… Continue Reading ››