Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Today's links

  • From LRC: Walter Block on the pay gap, glass ceiling, etc.
  • From RR: Peer progressivism vs. network libertarianism. By libertarian lights a collaborative peer network is a species of market. It’s true that when network libertarians say “market,” people sometimes hear “big business.” What Johnson may not realize, however, is that we libertarian types have quite a liberal definition of markets. Indeed, most of us would define a market as any system in which a participant in said system can pursue some value through voluntary interaction.
  • From Takimag: Pat Buchanan about the financial cliff. He’s partly about loyalty to the Republican Party, a good part of his character but the party doesn’t deserve it, but this is pretty good.
  • From Mark in Spokane: The Kirkian conservative instinct.


  1. I hate to quibble with Pat Buchanan, but federal tax revenues have been at *70-year* lows as a percentage of GDP. Incredibly, in constant dollars federal revenues are lower than they were in *1998*, when the country had 35 million fewer residents and $3 trillion less in real GDP!

    If federal revenues were returned to 2000 levels, that alone would make up roughly half of our ruinous budget deficit.

    And here's the thing: that still would leave more than a half trillion in federal spending cuts---a scale of cuts never seen in modern times save the winding down of WWII.

    Realistically we are not going to be able to cut our way out of this massive hole. And neither are we going to tax our way out. It's going to take both, and the sooner the two sides in Washington realize this, the better.

    I wish they would join together and collude against the fickle and stupid American public who want low taxes and endless goodies, because it seems to me that both are scared to death of pissing off their bases.

  2. The problem with temporary tax hikes to alleviate the deficit problem is that it doesn't take into account the political pressures on politicians- IIRC, some economists once calculated, based on federal budgets from the past half-century, that every dollar of additional revenue tends to precede a minimum of $1.40 in additional Congressional spending- meaning that, once they've convinced the American people to swallow another onerous tax hike, they just use it as an excuse for another spending spree.

    In short, they'll raise taxes, but they sure won't balance the budget- or if they do, it won't be for long (note how those Clinton-era surpluses, paid for in part by President Bush the Elder's willingness to break his "no new taxes" promise, somehow vanished after being preserved for a couple of years by partisan gridlock, and the budget subsequently exploded like never before). Hearing people say we need higher taxes to get the budget "under control" is like hearing a morbidly obese man say he needs access to more food in order to get his weight under control. He's not fat because he keeps running out of food, he keeps running out of food because he doesn't restrain his appetite.

    1. If you can find a politically and economically realistic way of taking a trillion dollars out of the federal budget, be my guest.


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