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Big Brother is killing America. The economically-stupid-and-evil right-wing conservatives favor cutting government taxes while the economically-stupid-and-evil left-wing progressives favor raising government spending. These political and economic ignoramuses allege that this tyrannical nonsense will "stimulate the economy." But the correct answer is -- as much as possible -- cut spending and cut regulations.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Why not cut spending, taxes, and regulation? Taxes are amoral so any reduction in taxes is a moral goal.

I think Wotan's point is that the Republicans want to cut Taxes, which historically leads to more money being brought in to government coffers, just to increase the amount of money available for the state to waste on spending. It's not actualy saving any citizen money because when taxes are lower we tend to buy, consume more and produce more wealth, which is then expropriated in smaller (but more frequent) ammounts.

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Big Brother is killing America. The economically-stupid-and-evil right-wing conservatives favor cutting government taxes while the economically-stupid-and-evil left-wing progressives favor raising government spending. These political and economic ignoramuses allege that this tyrannical nonsense will "stimulate the economy." But the correct answer is -- as much as possible -- cut spending and cut regulations.

Well, yeah.

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Big Brother is killing America. The economically-stupid-and-evil right-wing conservatives favor cutting government taxes while the economically-stupid-and-evil left-wing progressives favor raising government spending. These political and economic ignoramuses allege that this tyrannical nonsense will "stimulate the economy." But the correct answer is -- as much as possible -- cut spending and cut regulations.

Do you have a question?

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The Answer is unfortunately out of political reach I fear.

Our economic problems are deeply structural. That said, there are many regulations which, if repealed, would make room for significant economic growth. Many of these are deeply entrenched in the political economy. For one, we must repeal the Wagner Act and probably the minimum wage. We need cheap factory jobs in America. People talk of slapping tariffs on Chinese imports - as if. We also need to roll back entitlements to near nothing compared to what they are. This would free real capital.

Speaking of that... We need to seriously restructure the central bank. It should only exist to bankroll the federal government. Thus the US Dollar should be a relatively strong, realtively common form of currency used to pay for necessary government. This currency would not be used to manipulate markets in any way. Period. There also needs to be liberalization of currency to allow competition.

But this would require some amount of regulation to prevent catastrophic fraud (not that there's something wrong with simple habits such a food storage and self-sufficiency as cultural habits to protect against said occasional economic learning experiences). And speaking of that, we need to sort out financial regulation. It is unreasonable to deregulate the sector, unless there has been a reset already. For example, the only large banks I can store my money in prior to the 1990's must follow Glass-Steagle. I don't even get to choose a 'safer' vs a 'riskier' bank. I don't get a contract that says the bank won't take stupid risks. And yet, by repealing the act, Congress allowed banks to take risks that their customers had never agreed to because the regulation implied as much in the first place. So, you must allow banks to start taking risks, but not change an institutionalized rule overnight.

We need financial reform that is nuanced enough to allow economic freedom, while conservative enough to enable people to actually grasp and agree to the changes. This level of nuance is not possible given the political economy's dependence on Wall Street.

Nonetheless, even if you fix the currency, finance, and basic economic regulations that affect hiring and business creation you'll always end up with the problem of monopolies.

A functional economy will produce monopolies. A functional finance system, and healthy commerce, will lead to new businesses with new ideas that will inevitably be the best at doing that which didn't exist until they did it. The future of the worlds' fairs? The future we were promised but never got - with space travel, flying cars, glowing cities, undersea complexes, robots, the medical breakthroughs - we were promised this because there was momentum that reasonably implied that this would happen by now. And it was stopped. The future we never got was stolen from us because of anti-trust, I think. Everything else since then has been a steady patchwork to cure the disease started by anti-trust. But the disease keeps getting worse.

We can fix it all, but until we no longer have anti-trust, we have no future.

Oh, and the real answer, the short answer, is to withdraw all public funding of higher education PERIOD! That, and disband public schools - at least set up a voucher program - but breaking the progressive education system that instill social dependency and narcissism in the entire nation's culture is critical as well. Thus intellectual capital will slowly and surely divert towards wealth creation - and true progress - and society will get off its butt and work to build that progress.

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Why not cut spending, taxes, and regulation? Taxes are amoral so any reduction in taxes is a moral goal.

I deliberately omitted advocating cutting taxes. I don't think that such a policy is consonant with increasing political freedom.

Cutting regulation is always and universally good -- until we get to 0. Cutting spending is almost always and universally good -- until we get to 2% or so (to fund the police, army, jails, courts, gov't itself, and nothing else).

Cutting taxes is questionable. Or positively evil.

Cutting taxes doesn't reduce the size or power of gov't. It just puts off the day of reckoning. All those gov't bills have to be paid eventually. Probably better sooner than later. Paying later via excessive tax cuts raises inflation and interest rates -- both of which hurt the economy. Tax cuts which add to the deficit also provide the mere illusion of doing something -- of cutting the size and power of gov't -- not the reality. Only cutting regulation and spending provides the reality of shrinking gov't reach and influence, and of advancing individual liberty.

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I think Wotan's point is that the Republicans want to cut Taxes, which historically leads to more money being brought in to government coffers, just to increase the amount of money available for the state to waste on spending. It's not actually saving any citizen money because when taxes are lower we tend to buy, consume more and produce more wealth, which is then expropriated in smaller (but more frequent) amounts.

Good guess, Zip. But not so. My point is: cutting (or raising) taxes is irrelevant to freedom. Only cutting spending and regulation advances liberty. Cutting taxes is fool's gold -- or sheer poison.

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I deliberately omitted advocating cutting taxes. I don't think that such a policy is consonant with increasing political freedom.

Cutting regulation is always and universally good -- until we get to 0. Cutting spending is almost always and universally good -- until we get to 2% or so (to fund the police, army, jails, courts, gov't itself, and nothing else).

Cutting taxes is questionable. Or positively evil.

Cutting taxes doesn't reduce the size or power of gov't. It just puts off the day of reckoning. All those gov't bills have to be paid eventually. Probably better sooner than later. Paying later via excessive tax cuts raises inflation and interest rates -- both of which hurt the economy. Tax cuts which add to the deficit also provide the mere illusion of doing something -- of cutting the size and power of gov't -- not the reality. Only cutting regulation and spending provides the reality of shrinking gov't reach and influence, and of advancing individual liberty.

Since taxation involves the direct use of aggression against the rights of property, it is per se incompatible with Objectivist ethics, and thus by its nature illegitimate and criminal. Supporters of individual rights have to favor any decrease in the initiation of force. Thus, if we can keep someone's money in their pocket, we should favor it. There can be no such thing as "excessive" tax cuts.

You state that taxes don't reduce the size of government, but this is wrong. It reduces the amount of aggression the government commits, so it does reduce government reach and influence, and advance individual liberty.

It doesn't necessarily reduce the spending of government, true enough. But it does reduce the amount of money the government has available to spend. Now certainly, the problem is that the government borrows and inflates on top of the amount it takes in direct taxation. If the government is intent on spending all its tax revenue and borrowing and inflating on top of that, it won't matter how high direct taxes are. It will take in $n in taxes, and spend more than $n anyway, so not wanting inflation and debt is not a valid reason to maintain any level of taxation.

The objection that cutting taxes means we have to pay for something later, as you mention, but you jump from the fact that we are currently forced to pay, because we accept taxation, to the value-judgment that it is better that we should pay (sooner over later.) But the whole point is that we should not have to pay for this public waste, period. The government will have to default and be liquidated to remain consistent with Objectivist ethics.

Edit: And also, this kind of confusion is actually poisonous because is adds to the idea that tax cuts are bad because they "add to the deficit." But tax cuts only "add to the deficit" if you implicitly consider all the income of the citizens as the property of the government, and thus cutting taxes constitutes increases spending. But who is the owner of the funds paid in taxes? Once it is established that the citizens, not the government, are the owners of the funds in question, revenue and expenditure are essentially the same things then, and any amount of taxation can never be justified. Tax cuts aren't spending increases, and tax increases aren't spending cuts.

Edited by 2046
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Cutting taxes doesn't reduce the size or power of gov't.

If Congress cuts taxes, I get to keep more of my money. That's extra freedom I'm getting, to spend what I earn as I see fit. And power the IRS loses, to take that money. Not sure how you can rationalize your way around something that concrete and obvious.

On a more abstract scale, all the current government's power is built on taxation. Including their borrowing power. Without the power to tax, they would have no undue powers.

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Good guess, Zip. But not so. My point is: cutting (or raising) taxes is irrelevant to freedom. Only cutting spending and regulation advances liberty. Cutting taxes is fool's gold -- or sheer poison.

Interesting POV. I will have to think on this. I'm not sure the two are as separated as you think.

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