When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676

They call it Tax Reform. A Jobs Bill. That’s what it must be, right? Journalists and commentators are playing the same old game. Argue a proposed piece of legislation on its merits. Time to reset the boundaries in When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676.

Freedom Of Choice

While listeners to The Bob Davis Podcasts always have the freedom to choose what they think is right, I want to introduce the concept of marginal improvement. Legislators on both sides of the political spectrum talk big about ‘reform’. Usually though they make what really are marginal changes. This is especially relevant when we’re talking about the tax code.

The Real Football Game Is Congress

Team Red moves the ball back to the Blue thirty yard line. It’s hailed as a great victory. Team Blue moves the ball back to the Red twenty yard line a few years later. These are what both sides call marginal improvements. Meanwhile, as economist Milton Friedman famously suggested, they keep getting elected by making the tax code more complicated.

Budget Neutrality Isn’t A Thing

Enter a legislative concept called Budget Neutrality. The idea every expenditure must be ‘paid for’ with tax increases, or budget cuts. You think Tax Reform means lower taxes. What they’re really doing is taking away tax deductions and loop holes, and increasing our overall tax. The sad part is, it’s not their money, it’s our money. In When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676.

What Is Real Reform?

If you want real reform. The end to this kind of corruption? Then the power of the federal government to tax our incomes and our property must be permanently eliminated. Should corporations be taxed at all? Do you have property rights if you pay property taxes? How does government pay for the wonderful things both sides wants it to provide? We talk about it in When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676.

Already Socialists

So called conservatives like to argue the merits of capitalism versus socialism. It seems like I’d be on pretty safe ground if I suggested the United States has been collectivist for decades. Our economic system is not so much capitalist as it is a controlled market economy. Our elected Kings and their privy courts control our behavior and our futures with regulation and a tax code so complex, were it to be proposed as a single law in its present form, it would cause a revolution.

(Editor’s Note: While the first actual income tax in the United States was levied during the Civil War, it was later repealed as ‘unconstitutional’. Several attempts were made to establish an income tax through the late 1800’s which were unsuccessful, until the 16th amendment, ratified in 1913.)

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and Reliafund

When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676

Has United States Been Socialist For A Long Time? Podcast 625

We hear a lot of words used to describe various political factions in the US. Most will say the US economic system is capitalist but is this just an illusion? Are we socialist? Have we been socialist for a long time? It seems to me, we have. In Has United States Been Socialist For A Long Time? Podcast 625.

Socialism Is Everywhere

Just because a country’s economic system is socialist, does not mean it’s a tyranny. Denmark and Canada aren’t dictatorships. Singapore is a Socialist Market Economy. Places where ‘the people’ own or control the means of production. Most socialist countries these days enjoy democratic political systems.

Government and Non Profits Dominate State Economies

Americans think of themselves as capitalists. The thing is, the top three employers in my state are public institutions. Americans depend on social security, medicare, or medicaid ‘entitlements’. Home buyers get tax subsidies. We enjoy many tax deferred investment options. Farmers get subsidies. Public workers get pensions. All kinds of grants for education exist. Then there are the business subsidies and government contracts. Some popular business personalities receive billions in subsidies from the government. We’ll talk about it in Has United States Been Socialist For A Long Time? Podcast 625.

Both Parties Support Socialism

Democrats complain about light rail projects running through their backyards, but support government programs because ‘It’s the right thing to do’. Republicans complain about big government unless it’s the military, support for their businesses, home mortgage tax credit, social security and 401K programs.

The Right Thing To Do

It’s true that many of these programs date back to the depression in the 1930’s. Also true that creation of these programs came with the best intentions. Whether we like it or not, government is deeply involved in our lives. Of course, what the government giveth, the government takeaway. We’ll talk about it in Has United States Been Socialist For A Long Time? Podcast 625.

Classic Liberalism Is Forgotten

Republicans and Democrats argue the same side of the coin. Both are collectivists. Neither adhere to Classic Liberalism, a philosophy of limited government with the sole purpose of securing a maximum amount of individual liberty, property rights and free markets. While no political scientist would argue the US is Socialist maybe we should consider the possibility we are and have been for some time.

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and X Government Cars

Has United States Been Socialist For A Long Time? Podcast 625

 

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast 521

Stormy Weather. In a surprise only to ‘conservatives’ who listen only to ‘conservative’ talk show hosts, watch ‘conservative’ TV shows and go to conservative websites, the FBI decided not to recommend criminal prosecution of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her use of a personal email server while she was in the Obama Administration. Why? The short answer is, intent is a key consideration in cases like these. The long answer is, Mrs. Clinton played her ‘Benghazi Card’ better known as ‘If I go down, you go down’ and she got action from the administration. At least that’s one possible explanation. In the past few days President Obama suddenly closed ranks with the Clintons (despite all the rumors of the rancor between the Obamas and the Clintons). Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a now famous ‘tarmac meeting’ with former president Bill Clinton and President Obama allowed Hillary Clinton to ride Air Force One with him to a campaign event, where they walked, hand in hand, down the steps. “If I go down, YOU go down”. Now it’s a matter of politics. He said, she said. He said she’s a crook. She said he’s an anti semite. Congress releases a damning report on the administration’s conduct regarding ‘Benghazi’…Democrats say it is a partisan document. Republicans say it’s the ‘truth’ about Mrs Clinton and her boss, President Obama. “If I go down, YOU go down.” More fodder for the campaign trail. They were asleep and the switch, says one side. They’re partisan dividers, says the other side. Meanwhile the world’s leading economies are drowning in a sea of paper money and deficit spending, and economies are faltering. Do you really think this election is going to fix anything? We live in interesting times, with the great potential of a new technical industrial revolution and all that portends, and a personal challenge to change the way we think and how we work, and what we demand of our political institutions. Too bad our sclerotic politics delivers a statist who wants to spend and tax more, and a statist who wants to wall the country off from the rest of the world. We could have this technology revolution now, or we can languish for another thirty years while these idiots we call presidential candidates stumble around in economic darkness. Yeah sure, go ahead and talk until you’re blue in the face about Hillary’s email server, or about the Star of David on Trump’s twitter account, while the printing presses debase the currency, governments spend themselves into the poor house, the media puts on cartoons and calls them news, and we hurtle toward our destiny, whatever that may be. The US is now a country that’s happy about revised economic growth from .5 percent to 1.1 percent, with 95 million people out of the work force, a media that writes gossip and calls it news, and a population that believes Russian Propaganda and You Tube conspiracy theories because…what’s the difference? The Earth is hollow, you know and there’s a whole civilization down there, right? And you wonder about moral hazard? Sponsored by Karow Contracting and Brush Studio in the West End, Saint Louis Park. (Editor’s Note: In this podcast I refer to former CIA Director David Petraeus’ offenses regarding passing classified information with intent, and engaging in a coverup after as occurring while Petraeus was on active military duty. I wondered whether he would be under the Military Code of Justice in this case. This is incorrect. Petraeus was director of the CIA when the offenses occurred and not on active duty. For comparison to the Clinton question, one should refer to the FBI director’s congressional testimony regarding the differences between the Clinton question and the Petraeus case.)

Podcast 478

On Media. It started out as an idea for a podcast on Friday. A departure from the increasingly tedious, even terrifying and depressing world of politics. As the weekend progressed and opportunities for socializing were offered, ‘On Media’ moldered, then morphed into something more complex. After several attempts to assess what the podcast would be about, one attempt to write it and three attempts to record it, I finally just said the hell with it and decided to talk it out. Thus ‘On Media’. Some of it is a repackaging of ideas behind the podcasts I’ve done about the fact that the mass marketing most of us have gown up in is gone, replaced with a new world of mass specialization. People ask me all the time what is going on in the world. What’s wrong with the media. Or, they tell me the media is at fault. The media is bad. What is the definition of media? What is it’s role in society? What’s really going on? These days we have millions of sources of information available at any time. Any one of those sources can be the most viewed in any single day. It is not unusual for You Tube channels to have more views in a few hours than the cable news channels have all week. In the middle of this is politics. All news coverage is emotional and symbolic. There used to be a tactic called political theater. Now it’s all theater. Politics is media. We are submerged in images of persuasion everywhere we go. From the logos on the clothing we wear, to the TV’s in bars pouring their images into our minds while we eat our burgers. All these images are emotional, and emotional because emotion persuades. You think people seem angry, frustrated, confused? Wonder why? We can’t seem to get a handle on what’s wrong. Our government is the product of something called The Enlightenment. Are we enlightened? Or enslaved? Sponsored by Brush Studio in the West End, Saint Louis Park, and by Hydrus Performance.

PODCAST 457

Donald J. Trump Authoritarian. If you are a Trump supporter you probably want to know, the left has decided you have ‘authoritarian tendencies’. What is an authoritarian? We can now name the New Yorker with confidence; Donald J Trump Authoritarian. What does it make you if you support Donald J. Trump Authoritarian? What does it mean to have Authoritarian ‘tendencies’. Is it a new fangled way to call you a fascist? Since it’s well known that the first person who brings up Hitler in an argument has lost the argument, and since the left has already tagged the New York business man as another Hitler, they have to come up with something new. While you’re guzzling white wine and picking at the brie at the local university cocktail party, and someone asks what you think of Trump you can simply say, “Well you know his supporters are a bit authoritarian, don’t you think?” Where is this coming from? A self described ‘Phd candidate’ and Massachusetts political consultant Matthew MacWilliams has done a study. His study and ‘simple’ statistical analysis shows Trump supporters to have these authoritarian tendencies. It’s not enough that Trump supporters supposedly have lower education levels (and therefore must be stupid), or hail from the Blue Collar side of the tracks (which used to be democrat territory, back in the day), now it appears the kind of government they like is a little more on the authoritarian side. Hey! There’s a study, so it must be true, right? The bottom line is, if Republicans vote the way the polls show, and it’s a big if, Donald J Trump is going to be the Republican nominee. It’s been pretty clear from the get go that Trump not only terrifies the republican establishment, apparently he also terrifies the socialist left, which if it isn’t busy trying to put you in the photo with Hitler and Eva, is busy coming up with clever new ways to say you’re a fascist. What are the origins of fascism? What are the conditions that have to be met before you can have fascism? Which part of the political spectrum is meeting those conditions? What kind of political system is susceptible to fascism? The answers might surprise you. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and X Government Trucks.

Podcast 425 – New Thinking Part 1

New Thinking Part 1. These days, politics is one emotional appeal after another. The media refers to politicians like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders as ‘populists’ but in fact they are demagogues; Using emotional appeals and often stimulating people’s long held prejudices and biases to gain support for their campaigns. In 2016 we’re going to see the ‘new rules’ of politics come into play with a vengeance. Most of the action will take place on the so called ‘small screen’ which means your television and especially your smart phones, social media, news websites where viewers watch a video, or part of a video and move on. A strange and symbiotic relationship between media, polling and politics have turned American politics into a freak show. Outrageous characters and weekly ripples in story lines mean more eyeballs. Media moguls and the candidates are laughing all the way to the bank, to the Capitol and the White House. Meanwhile increasingly angry voters become frustrated, losing faith in the outcome of elections, voting and the government itself. Moreover, the worst invective is often heard at meetings where the same politicians and charlatans troop through and tell people what they want to hear. It’s time for a reboot of American Political Thinking. It doesn’t start with politicians or personalities. It starts with individuals, communities, and values. It means researching and thinking about the concerns of your community, developing ideas about issues, talking about those issues, and creating effective political organization around those ideas, not the rhetoric of some pol who will forget about you and your concerns the minute he is elected. A new America is being created.  A new way of thinking is being created, whether you want it or not. If we don’t change the way we think about politics, taking it back to the blocks and rebuilding it, we’re doomed to being controlled by personalities — demagogues — more interested in power than the people. I’m starting a new series of podcasts, which will bear the ‘New Thinking’ title. I’ll do them when the spirit moves me, or I encounter a person or situation I think will help build a new way to think, talk and DO politics in this country, because what we have right now, isn’t cutting it. Sponsored by Baklund R&D, Pride of Homes and Luke Team Real Estate. 

Podcast 420

Bob Davis Unplugged. I’ve always admired talk show hosts who can do a good show without notes, preparation or a plan. Certainly walk and talk podcasts fit that bill, but it helps to walk while you talk. In studio is a different story. There have been some interesting developments in the news this week. Commentators are back to following the proverbial bouncing ball and missing some points that I think need to be made. Regarding the Oregon shooting; When I asked people what was going on in the news they said, “There’s the Trump thing, the Pope thing and oh yeah, another mass shooting.” Of course the President didn’t skip a second rushing out to demand Americans surrender their guns. Why do we have a second amendment? Is there a final check on the dangerous power of government? While we don’t generally think of a government that seems to exist to extract money from our paychecks and mail checks to others, including billionaires like Warren Buffett, there’s immense power in spying and militarized police departments. Then there’s the Communist Pope. The left loves Francis, or at least they did until it was reported that the Pope – who would rather talk about the scourge of Capitalism rather than the scourge of pedophilia in the Catholic Church – met with Kim Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk who refused to marry gay couples. Suddenly the ‘amazing’ Pope Francis was tarred and feathered on social media, to the extent that the Vatican this week back pedaled ‘explaining’ the Pope’s meeting with Davis. Then there are the economic pundits and employment numbers. Almost all of them predicted a ‘great’ employment report this week, especially since low gas prices ‘act like a tax cut by stimulating the economy’, until they don’t. Now, if you have been listening to the Bob Davis Podcasts you have been warned about this shibboleth long ago. Lower gas prices don’t ‘act like a tax cut’. Our economy would have to create over 375,000 jobs a month for a long time in order to bring the millions of people who are out of the work force back in. Sadly 375,000 is a number this country’s economy has not been able to attain since the recession back in 2008, despite all the efforts to ‘stimulate’ and ‘prime the pump’ from a trillion dollar stimulus to ‘cars for clunkers’ and every other cockamamie scheme cooked up by President Obama. Moreover, none of the presidential candidates, on both sides of the political spectrum seem to have a clue about how to grow the US Economy other than more stimulus, or tax cuts but no spending cuts. Have we — as in everyone in the world — forgotten how to be capitalists? Could we feed ourselves without a job or government handout if we had to? Maybe this could be one of the positive effects of a future ‘gig economy’ … with everyone freelancing, we might actually learn to create, not take. Sponsored by Pride of Homes and X Government Trucks.

Podcast 385

The Pope and The Media Circus. After a long trip home from the East Coast in the Mobile Podcast Command Unit, it’s time for a full stereo podcast from just outside the Broadcast Bunker, on the flat, by a real fire, back in Minnesota. Sometimes getting you ready for the coming week is a tall order, especially when it comes to the ‘borg’; the modern media machine. Will the new technology revolution – and it is coming – disrupt institutions that have existed for generations? Government, and religion, all seem to have become cloying media whores, looking to make one more lurid statement so they can get another story written for the Daily Beast, or get on CNN, or get some kind coverage for something…anything to stay relevant. Here comes the Pope all tarted up, to condemn capitalism and the ‘filth’ in the world. Of course the reaction is already classified as right wing or left wing, in tweets, on FaceBook and any number of shout-fests, roundtable gabs, and table pounding orations. If there is one takeaway from the recent trip through the American Southeastern Coast, including Washington DC, and from a trip earlier this spring to the West Coast, its seems like the people in this country are living their lives in spite of the constant chatter. Is it possible that our government and other institutions are becoming irrelevant, thus their leaders struggle more and more to be heard, by making one lurid statement after another? The media, and the politician, even when he is a ‘man of the cloth’ have become all one thing, feeding on each other, feathering their own nests and advancing no one else’s fortune but their own. All of them busting into our living rooms, cars and onto our phones with their incessant nonsense. Most of the time we spend our time just trying to get out of the way, hoping whatever international initiative, legislation or some nonsense laden bill sponsored by a publicity hungry politician doesn’t ruin our business, our town, our life or the lives of someone we love. Sometimes you find yourself wishing they would just shut up. You know, maybe we need a new holiday in America. How about Dead Air Day. All the stations go dark, all the politicians shut up, and all the media whores take a day off, including and especially the Pope. Oh wait! That would mean passing another law. Never mind! On the longest day of the year, and the shortest night. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing of Saint Paul

Podcast 272

Christmas Insanity. Stories we are missing because of all the reporting on Congress, Oil, Australia and … Christmas. Suddenly we have to be told how to ‘deal’ with the Christmas Holiday, by practicing ‘abundance without attachment’. In english, that means we should not criticize commercialism, or judge materialism, but be unattached to money and just enjoy ‘the experience’. (Editor’s Note: I am well acquainted with the concept of practicing non attachment, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the rash of lazy journalism regarding spending money during the ‘holiday season’.) The biggest problem is expectations, being generating because of all the emotional stimuli in commercials and these incessantly cheerful all christmas all the time radio stations. Maybe the bad reporting comes from the fact that this is the worst time of the year to be doing issues or news based media, since people are checking out. Nothing is wrong with materialism, even the love of money. What’s wrong is the media’s obsession with predicting economic performance based on individual sales days like black Friday and Cyber Monday. The whole season becomes an economic bellwether? The truth is, its only since about the 1930’s in the US that Christmas per se, has become this macro holiday, with all its attendant markers for the wider economy. The best Christmas gift so far? The Sony Hackers. Revealing how Hollywood is actually the rapacious capitalist, rather than Wall Street. Anyone want to see if millionaire Senator Elizabeth Warren will take on greedy Hollywood execs? Why is it always Wall Street Banks, or dirty industrial companies. Eew. Do we still value people who actually make things? Or do we care more about the perfumed princes and princesses of Hollywood and the whales, global warming, public-private partnerships to preserve water and other nonsense. MSNBC’s days may be numbered. A new digital service called MSNBC Shift will be testing programming for the ailing progressive mouthpiece no one is listening to. Don’t rule out a completely new approach’ sports or entertainment. While Fox enjoys huge audience numbers, they sit astride a delivery channel (cable television) that may actually have an expiration date. Remember when Global Warming enthusiasts said warming causes tornadoes? The US had fewer tornadoes in the last three years, since they started measuring these things back in the 1950’s. And finally, the dumbest story of the week; “Scientists” say the warmer it is, the less you make. 54 degrees is the optimal temperature for productivity. Sigh. Sponsored by Baklund R & D

Podcast 198

News Cleanse Days 3 & 4. What happens when a news junkie quits cold turkey? No news. No Cable. No Talk Radio. No Newspapers, No Internet News. No Political Conversations. And by the way, the News Cleanse also includes TV Weathercasters. Continuing to get questions about whether I will talk about politics (yes) and ‘sociology’ (yes). “Is this forever?” (no). Late night, in the backyard of the bunker, as the neighbors sit around their bonfire, the last few planes on final approach at MSP, and lots of thoughts about the last two days without filling them up with news scanning, printing and reading. Without the anxiety and angst. Without the screaming and shouting. Spending time touring manufacturing companies, hanging with friends, and finding everyday Americans being quite creative. Which is better? Suburbia, exurbia, or the City. Saving money by shopping volume. How to blanch vegetables. A salmon recipe of sorts, discussion about Talk Radio, Media, and the future of media, including Podcasting. Getting some great email and questions about the News Cleanse, and seeing some great comments on the comments section at The Bob Davis Podcasts, and finding out many people listen to the podcasts right on the page. Suburban manufacturing warehouse availability and a tease on some new developments coming for the Bob Davis Podcasts. Sponsored by Autonomouscad.com