Force me to be smart, sir.

“So let me explain why I like to pay taxes for schools, even though I don’t personally have a kid in school: It’s because I don’t like living in a country with a bunch of stupid people.” That’s life according to John Green.

A public school teacher couldn’t have said it any better.

But Green’s logic contains an implicit message that we proles cannot expect to become educated and functioning adults without a mandatory school system funded by taxpayers. How would this kind of logic match up in other areas of life?

“I don’t want to live in a country where people smell. I benefit from people who don’t smell disgusting. Therefore deodorant should be taxpayer funded!”

“I don’t want to live in a country where people are obese. I benefit from being part of a healthier community. Therefore gym memberships and salads should be taxpayer funded!”

etc…

Obviously Greene’s logic doesn’t extend to most sectors of human life because people are usually capable of taking care of their own needs. Why is education any different? Green would have us believe that we’re all a bunch of  simpletons who, instead of finding creative alternatives to state-run schools, would just surrender to the futility of effort, embrace our ignorance and become this guy:

 

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More on John Green

Since public schools educate people John Green likes to pay taxes and thinks everyone else should be forced to do the same.

I don’t know anybody who would prefer to be surrounded by a herd of ignoramuses, but I also object to the premise that this would be the natural trade-off of choosing voluntary educational institutions instead of sticking with these institutions based on force.

Anyways, if I was so fortunate to live with as much righteousness as John Green then I would set about tomorrow morning to rid my fellow man of their ignorance by forcing them to purchase Tom Woods’ new book Real Dissent. Why, it was educational to me, and you should know that if you aren’t forced to get educated you’ll end up with critical thinking skills similar to this:

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Why “More Jobs” is the Wrong Focus

I went to CPAC on February 26th and 27th. The brief time that I spent there was enough to damper my confidence for the future of American politics.

Each speaker seemed to prepare himself for his speech by packing it with “guaranteed applause lines.” He would urge the crowd to look into what specific candidates have done to reduce the size of government, but would then go on to say something vague like “America is the greatest nation in the history of the world.” The crowd ate it up every single time.

The most specific speaker I heard was Donald Trump. He recommended tripling sanctions on Iran and Russia, taking back the jobs from Mexico and China, and what sounded like engaging in a global military campaign to defeat ISIS.

Aside from all of this, however, was a popular notion that America suffers from a lack of jobs, and that economic policy needs to focus on increasing the number of jobs.

This attitude reminds me of a story told of Milton Friedman who traveled to an Asian country in the 1960s and was introduced to a public works program wherein workers were building a canal. To Friedman’s surprise, they were using shovels instead of machines. When he asked the government bureaucrat why the workers were not equipped with machines, the bureaucrat responded that this was a jobs program, meant to increase employment. Friedman famously suggested that if the goal was to increase employment, then instead of giving the workers shovels to build the canal the government should provide them with spoons.

Obviously economic progress in the last 200 years hasn’t taken place thanks to these kinds of government make-work projects. It occurred because of the newly widespread acceptance among western nations of property rights and limited government that allowed for the process of decentralized wealth creation to take place.

So long as the focus remains on creating jobs, however, ideas such as public works projects will retain at least some semblance of credibility. The future of American politics should not be focused on creating jobs, but on tearing down the destructive incentives that force productive enterprise out of this country.

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You’ve Got to Watch This

The “Trillion Dollar Coin” is old news now, but this had me laughing my ass off!

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Are “The Rich” Paying Their “Fair Share”?


[From Prager University]

Either refute it or learn from it.

A bullet point summary of the video:

Do the rich pay their fair share?

  • Who is rich?
    • Top 10% of all income earners = $150,000 gross it’s a nice living but not rich
    • Top 5% $190,000 still not rich
    • Top 1% $500,000 and above, this takes long years of hard work
      • Number who make more than $1m very small
  • What is fair?
    • Group who earns “x” percent of national income pays “x” percent of taxes
    • Top 10% of all earners pay 71% of all federal income tax while earning 43% of all income
    • Top 1% earns 17% pays 37%
  • Is the payroll tax unfair?
    • Takes a bigger bite of paycheck of lower earners than higher earners.
      • Benefits are capped, means that payroll taxes of high earners helps subsidize beneifts lower earners will earn later.
    • US tax system more progressive than other countries
      • Other country’s system even more unfair
    • How high are tax rates?
      • Federal and state means top earners are under top rate of 50% in Cal and NY
    • To say the rich don’t pay their fair share is simply wrong
    • When tax rates are too high, investment and job creation decline.
      • When that happens, it’s the poor who suffer

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The Great Charity


President Obama learned some unfortunate news from BuzzFeed that Staples is avoiding the employer-mandate feature of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by limiting their employees’ hours to less than 25 per week.

He mentioned that there is no reason for Staples to do this, when so many people stand to benefit from the program. Most importantly, though, Staples “could well afford to treat their workers favorably,” the President said.

Of course, this recent news from Staples is not really news at all. Many people were able to foresee that the ACA was going to set an incentive for companies to cut back on weekly hours for employees.

The lesson here is an old economic maxim saying that individuals respond to incentives, and so policies should be judged based on the incentives they create rather than the intentions behind them.

Many people thought it was obvious that the ACA was going to create harmful incentives. But the intentions behind the ACA have been more popular.

The problem is that ACA supporters look at the federal government like it’s a charity, responsible for engaging in philanthropic practices. But the difference between federal charity and private charity is that only one of them is voluntary.

President Obama is not the leader of a charity. It is not his responsibility to direct private profits towards his own social desires. No public official should be in the position to decide how profits are to be used. Such compassionate people might want to stop running for office. If their ideas are so good then people should not need to be forced into following them.

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“Go ahead and raise that wage, I was wrong,” admits Krugman…[Not really]

In September 2014 Paul Krugman raised some points with Business Insider to explain why he thinks minimum wage could be raised to $15/hr without severe consequences.  The following are direct quotes from Krugman when he, as the Huffington Post described it “Demolishes Classic Argument Against Raising Minimum Wage“:

  • “What all the evidence says, is, ‘We can raise these wages without losing a lot of jobs.'”
  • “The best research on minimum wages all says that when the minimum wage is as low as it is in the United States there’s actually hardly any cost to raising it.”
  • “Um, but people don’t want to believe it. So they keep on coming up with stories.”
  • “The fact of the matter is minimum wage workers are almost all in the United States employed in non-tradable industries. Production can’t move to China. They’re employed in areas where, yeah you can mechanize some but not very much.”
  • “We could do this. If we had a government that wanted to raise the minimum wage to $15…I think we could do it…and the adverse consequences would be much less than people imagine.”

So obviously Krugman has “demolished” the classic argument that says artificially raising wages prices some people out of jobs. The best research proves that, he says. So who are these “economists” who keep coming up with these blatantly false ideas? Ideas such as:

  • “So what are the effects of increasing minimum wages? Any Econ 101 student can tell you the answer: The higher wage reduces the quantity of labor demanded, and hence leads to unemployment.”
  • “Clearly these advocates very much want to believe that the price of labor–unlike that of gasoline, or Manhattan apartments–can be set based on considerations of justice, not supply and demand, without unpleasant side effects.”
  • “This is, incidentally, a 57 percent increase in the cost to employers; you have to have a lot of faith in Card-Krueger not to worry that some jobs might be lost.”
  • “What is remarkable, however, is how this rather iffy result has been seized upon by some liberals as a rationale for making large minimum wage increases a core component of the liberal agenda–for arguing that living wages “can play an important role in reversing the 25-year decline in wages experienced by most working people in America”

Clearly those are all ideas that Krugman has adequately demolished. So, who is the economist who said those things, and why does he still have a job? Unsurprisingly, the economist is none other than:

Paul Krugman. The man, the myth, the legend. Those quotes were directly taken from what he wrote in a 1998 book review that you can read HERE.

Krugman can read all of the studies he wants and continue to play down the harmful consequences of minimum wages. Here are some consequences happening right now as a result of raising minimum wages:

  • A headline from theweek.com reads:
    • IF YOU’RE GOING TO SAN FRANCISCO

      San Francisco bookstore closes because of $15 minimum wage law

      February 3, 2015
  • As for Krugman claiming that automation isn’t likely to substitute labor:

Finally, check out this hilarious take on the minimum wage by David Angelo.

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