Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Now, Back To Obama

I returned from Chicago today and checked the mail. You guessed it- an irritating direct mail piece "from Obama", addressed to me.

I put "from Obama" in quotes, because the letter says, "Barack Obama" on the envelope's return space, and on the letterhead, but the back of the envelope has a return for the Democratic National Committee.

This mailing confirms another thing that irritates me. The conventions of the Ds & Rs are not what they were. They're press conferences. Coronations. Yawn.

The letter reads:
"As Democrats, you and I are united by the great traditions of our party, and bound by its longstanding commitment to social and economic justice for all of our citizens."

This is just as presumptuous and offensive as the McCain letter. I am a well-advertised Libertarian partisan. I just cannot think well of someone so sloppy that they would put their name on a letter as ill-informed as this. If you cannot be trusted to be in charge of an organization that acts on your behalf to get a basic fact or two correct, what can you be trusted with?

Beyond that, my break with the Democratic Party in 1995 occurred in large part because of my profound disagreement on the terms social justice, and economic justice. At the core of it, I do not believe it just to take the earnings of one person and give them to someone who has not earned them. It is a basic injustice, and a perversion of the meaning of the word justice. I simply cannot have anything to do with such bullshit merchants.

I could be a Democrat, if indeed the party was true to its' traditions- its' Jeffersonian traditions. Honor this quote, if you honor Democratic traditions:
A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.

-Thomas Jefferson

Alas. Beyond this mailing, I then noticed Obama's tax plan, via Harvard economist Greg Mankiw's blog. In a nutshell, almost everyone will be paying more in taxes under Obama.

That's not a change I can believe in. So, I'm down on Obama right now, at least until I notice McCain again.


Alan Viard said...

I am one of the authors of the article about Obama's tax plan that was cited by Greg Mankiw's blog, as

alan viard said...

I am one of the authors of the article about Obama's tax plan that was cited by Greg Mankiw's blog and that is mentioned here. The discussion of the article on this site is incorrect. The article does not find that "almost everyone would be paying higher taxes"; as the article makes clear, most people would pay lower taxes under Obama's plan because he would cut taxes for the lower and middle classes.

The point of our article, available at

was that Obama's tax cuts are designed in ways that raise marginal tax rates and therefore reduce incentives to earn income. The marginal rate rises because the size of the tax cut falls as income rises. But, tax payments are lower under Obama's plan (than under current law) at all of the income levels shown in our chart.

Alan D. Viard, Resident Scholar
American Enterprise Institute

Mike Kole said...

I appreciate the comment!

Two scenarios come to mind:

My wife, and I suspect most Americans, work a set number of hours per week, and that the number of hours will not change. So, with higher marginal rates, she and other Americans in a similar situation will pay more in taxes. The incentives or disincentives have no bearing on their real-world experience.

I am a contractor, and my objective is to take on as much work as I can handle. The incentives or disincentives have no influence on my decision to take on work as I can. If I get the same amount of work, I will pay more in taxes. The only way I pay less is if I make less, and that wouldn't be by my design, to be sure.

I'm going to have to look over the chart again, though, because almost all of the marginal rates were higher, including on all incomes under $70,000.

But, the bigger picture idea that is indeed folly is to do something that could reduce incentives to earn. That's ludicrous.


Nice to see well connected scholars defend themselves here, Mike.

I wonder if Alan Viard has studied the FairTax yet?