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

Storm Clouds Gather Over The Bull Market-Podcast 665

We don’t see the storm building over the markets. Distractions. Shiny things that draw the eye and ear. A war of words between a North Korean dictator and the president. Kneeling football players and the Tweeter In Chief. Meanwhile, the long expansion in the markets may be about to end. A heads up for you on how and why in Storm Clouds Gather Over The Bull Market-Podcast 665.

Watch The Shiny Thing

We don’t look beyond the distractions in the media to see what they conceal. No amount of pointing and saying ‘look’ is going to change it. We have not had a serious market or financial crisis since 2008. Our economy has been on life support ever since. Now the DNR order has been signed. Find out why in Storm Clouds Gather Over The Bull Market-Podcast 665.

Market Shocks Have Political Consequences

Remember 2008? The market crashed. The banking system was going to seize up, they said. A republican administration suddenly bailed out the banks, insurance companies and big car companies. The shock changed politics. A new administration came in, in 2009. New banking regulations, more government spending and a very large stimulus package was passed by congress.

Hey! What Happened To The Punch Bowl?

The Federal Reserve, bank of last resort, began a program called Quantitative Easing in 2009. Over the next eight years the FED added trillions of dollars to its balance sheet as it ‘injected’ money into the US economy. QE one, two three and four indirectly supported the stock market through the purchase of hundreds of billions of dollars worth of securities. What happens when they take that away?

Pay Attention

So this is a simple heads up that it might be time to start paying attention. While we’re talking about things that don’t matter they are doing things that do. That storm roiling to the west, might be rolling in anytime. In Storm Clouds Gather Over The Bull Market-Podcast 665.

Sponsored by Brush Studio In The West End Saint Louis Park, and by Ryan Plumbing and Heating in Saint Paul.

Storm Clouds Gather Over The Bull Market-Podcast 665

 

 

 

Minnesota 2nd District Congressman Jason Lewis-Podcast 647

Minnesota 2nd District Congressman Jason Lewis joins Bob Davis during the Pan-O-Prog (Panorama Of Progress) parade in Lakeville Minnesota.

High Stakes

Coming back from the recess, republican majorities in the House and Senate have a lot on their plate. Stakes are high. The Senate has to take up the question of ObamaCare. The House prepares to move onto Tax Reform and a big bombshell when it comes to the budget. For the first time in a long time the house will tackle so called mandatory spending.

No Town Hall Meetings So Far

There’s pressure on Freshman Congressman Lewis because he’s been meeting with constituents and detectors one on one rather than hold so called Town Hall meetings. Lewis addresses this criticism during Minnesota 2nd District Congressman Jason Lewis-Podcast 647. Still, Lewis points to legislative progress in key areas of this podcast and says he still supports the president’s agenda, with qualifications.

Not A Debate

Subscribers sometimes wonder why I do not debate sitting legislators and executives when I interview them. Every now and then our conversations get heated, but I don’t feel it is the role of the podcaster or interviewer to ‘debate’. We ask the questions, you draw your own conclusions.

Fasten Your Seat Belts For This Parade

Minnesota 2nd District Congressman Jason Lewis-Podcast 647 is a slice of life, interviewing the congressman on a gorgeous summer evening in Mobile Podcast Command as we roll through the parade. We talk about his concerns and challenges as a first term congressman. Two talk radio guys can cover a lot of ground, so fasten your seat belts for this parade.

Devil’s In The Details

New Congressmen are inundated with detail when it comes to legislation pending, and bills they’ve voted on. Especially interesting and relevant to me is the higher level of detail in Congressman Lewis’ answers versus Jason Lewis the candidate.

2018 Depends On This Congress Acting

One point the congressman makes is very important. He feels strongly for republicans, of which he is one, that this congress has to act. Lewis is looking to actions candidates in the 2018 cycle can point to as essential to a successful ‘re-elect’. We’ll see. Thanks again to the congressman and the people of Lakeville, Minnesota

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing of Saint Paul and X Government Cars

Minnesota 2nd District Congressman Jason Lewis-Podcast 647

 

Return On Investment Chaotic World-Podcast 646

Fast and sometimes chaotic change sometimes causes people to cling to the old days and old ways. Return On Investment Chaotic World-Podcast 646 focuses on advertising for small business.

An Incredible Time

These days individuals and small business have the ability to achieve the kind of reach only dreamt about in past eras. One of the biggest problems I encounter is the habit of small businesses to fall into small thinking.

You Put A Dollar Into One End Of This Machine and You Get Twenty

Seems like business owners think there’s a machine somewhere that converts one dollar bills into twenty dollar bills and its called ‘Return on Investment‘. Social Media. Digital Advertising. Funnels. SEO. What are these? How do you set your business apart from competitors? We’ll talk about it in Return On Investment Chaotic World-Podcast 646.

ROI Is A Pig In A Poke

You don’t build a brand – as hackneyed as that concept is these days – worrying about ‘return on investment’. You don’t build a brand with ‘Hey Come On Down’ advertising approaches. Old thinking dominates main street and our political process.

Do You Feel The World Change?

Change is especially relevant these days. Chaos is another thing. Problem is if you don’t orient yourself and your business to it, change will become chaos.

There are more yoga teachers in the United States than Coal Miners, but we are developing a major economic policy for coal miners. Internet Commerce is in the process of disrupting and destroying retail. Yet, we’re building more malls. Autonomous machines and software of all kinds is replacing workers but city councils are passing higher minimum wages. In Return On Investment Chaotic World-Podcast 646.

Delivery By Drone

Technology already exists to deliver most of major company’s commerce by drone. Regulation and approval is holding it up. Same with driverless cars and many other innovations.

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch

I think it is probably predictable that in the face of potential chaotic change, people cling to the old ways of thinking and doing. Especially when it comes to advertising and politics. Change waits for no one though. It seems like the more we wait to adapt and improvise the more potential chaos looms.

Mundane to Extraordinary

The Return on Investment trope is the trigger for a romp through a discussion of new technology and its effects. From tanks in World War I to Edward Snowden. From advertising to asymmetric threats. It is here and more is coming. Return On Investment Chaotic World-Podcast 646.

Sponsored by Brush Studio In The West End

Return On Investment Chaotic World-Podcast 646

Podcast 613-Rising Tide? Trump’s Minimal Economic Impact

We’re Growing Again Right?

Trump ballyhoos new numbers. Seems like the new president is turning our economy around. A rising tide? What does an improving economy look like? Are there actions that cause real economic growth? Do you think new leaders are taking those actions?

Republicans Know How To Fix The Economy Right?

Deregulation. Tax cuts and reform. Infrastructure construction. Campaign Pledges were made. Pledges spurred optimism. Furthermore promises can be kept because republicans are in charge and republicans understand business. So the story goes.

Trump Has Already Started Making Things Better Right?

Trump claims credit for the new numbers. Can a new president have an economic impact after less than 90 days?

What’s Better?

How do you define economic success for the United States? Better job? More money? Saving a job? Getting a loan for business or housing? Seeing your 401K account fatten because of stock performance? Cheaper gas? GDP? Productivity? Improved employment? Interest Rates? Jobs coming back to America? Consequently how do you know when it’s working?

What Has Been Done?

Because of the new numbers coverage exploded. However, what have Trump and the new Congress actually done? Executive orders on regulation. Business and the environment. Pipelines. Budget cuts. Trade and the budget. In conclusion, is there an impact on the economy overall?

How Do You Know?

Who are the people that put these reports together and what methodology do they use? How do economists and traders judge these numbers? Seems like people accept them at face value. Should you place confidence in these reports?

What Actually Works?

Are there specific actions that can be taken to grow our economy? If business and economic philosophy is important, what do our leaders believe? Do you think there is a standard approach to economics and government in Washington? More importantly, we know ideas counter to the current approach exist. Will the new congress and president embrace them?

Back To The ’50’s

Let’s face it. We have a sclerotic, 1950’s style government. People are developing and using new technological tools developed for the 21st Century. Moving fast toward building a new world. Block Chain Currencies. Improved Communication tools. Robotic manufacturing. Higher productivity. Government might be out of step with those developments.

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

 

Podcast 611-Define Political Progress

When it comes to politics these days noise is the norm. The latest outrage drowns out talk about political progress. Voters in 2016 made their choices for a reason. Not too early to ask whether the politicians are making progress toward addressing those reasons. We talk about it in Podcast 611-Define Political Progress.

ObamaCare Repeal

Number one issue on the campaign trail. Bogged down in congress already. Republicans wanted a full repeal of the ACA. New GOP plan isn’t a full repeal. President Trump has already endorsed it. What happened to promises of a full repeal?

Economy

Somewhere around 96 million people are out of the workforce. Need to create 375,000 new jobs a month for several months to get those people back in the work force. For years we were less than impressed with a quarter of a million jobs each month. Economic growth has been promised. In Podcast 611-Define Political Progress.

Cutting Federal Budget

Smaller government? Proposed budget cuts are accompanied with proposals to shift money to defense. Does this reduce the size of government? A hiring freeze can be considered progress. Corporate tax reductions can be progress. However making up corporate tax reductions with higher taxes somewhere else doesn’t cut the budget.

Foreign Policy and Military Spending

Resurgent Russia. Rising China. Political changes in Turkey. Expanding NATO. Cyber Threats. US troops in Iraq and Syria. ISIS. Terror. Climate Change. How will reducing foreign aid and increasing military spending address these concerns? What should the foreign policy of the US be? It’s all in Podcast 611-Define Political Progress.

Too Early?

First benchmark on progress made by a majority republican government in the United States. Did you vote for republicans? Are they doing what you wanted them to do?

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

 

Podcast 595-Money

Money and Controlling the Media Battle Space

Money. Money. Money! Everything the new President says and does is controversial. The latest eruption concerns Trump’s executive order regarding immigrants from several war-torn countries in the middle east region. A handful of court rulings challenging the order are centered on whether due process can be denied people allowed into the United States legally. The court rulings do not suggest the President cannot use executive orders to control departments in the executive branch but whether if the executive orders deny legal rights without due process.

This is just another in a series of actions and comments by President Trump and his administration that have received wide comment and coverage in the media. While protesters protest and media outlets gas-bag about the latest affront to society, Trump and his people throw another rock into the lake creating new ripples that have to be protested against and reacted to by the already too reactive media. This is a tactic or strategy known as an OODA Loop. Trump is forcing the media and his opponents to react to him. When they react his team observes their reaction, decides on a new initiative and then acts, restarting the loop. In this way the administration controls the media battle space.

About the Money

In Podcast 595-Money: When it comes to Money, once the initial spate of executive orders and stunts at press conferences passes, Congress and the President will get down to work on legislative initiatives to address the moribund economy of the United States. Podcast 595-Money wonders whether what has been talked about by this president on the campaign trail and in the media will indeed, make America Great Again.

No Growth

The United States has grown less than 3 percent a year roughly for the last eight years. Those old enough to remember the early 80’s know that the experience of robust economic growth in that era was real. People didn’t worry so much about getting jobs. As inflation came under control and interest rates came down and as unemployment started to come down, optimism took hold. We have not had that kind of feeling in the United States for a long time.

The question is whether the things Trump wants to do will actually produce economic growth. Middle Class taxes are already historically low. Cutting corporate taxes may result in higher profits which is good for Wall Street but may not translate to jobs. Some parts of clearing out the thicket of Federal Regulations can be done by executive order but most of it will require congressional action. Will a Trillion Dollar Stimulus package to build roads and bridges spur economic growth?

A Republican Stimulus?

President Obama’s Trillion Dollar stimulus was supposed to stimulate economic growth and didn’t. Part of the problem with big federal stimulus efforts is the money has to be block granted to states and the spending becomes political. Another issue is the fact that most people in the United States are employed in services rather than construction trade. Aside from the fact that government spending doesn’t ‘create’ jobs, putting people to work in a small swath of the population usually doesn’t result in a high multiple. This is why the Obama Stimulus produced dubious results.

Another problem is Trump’s Trade Protectionist sentiments. While the trade unions love the idea generally the United States has been a free trade nation. Trade agreements are negotiated because most of our trading partners are trade protectionists. The agreements generally break down borders to our trade. The fact certain kinds of manufacturing is cheaper in Latin America and Asia has actually benefited Americans in the form of cheaper goods. Putting up barriers to manufacturing overseas also means goods in the US will become more expensive.

Most of the jobs lost in the last decade or so have been lost due to information technology, robotics and automation. New manufacturing plants are much more automated these days which means they will not produce the manufacturing jobs expected. When one considers completely automated warehouses like Amazon’s and robotic manufacturing like Elon Musk’s showplace plant, don’t expect ‘bringing manufacturing back to the United States’ means jobs at the factory for Uncle Mike.

If you believe the economy is the sum total of individual’s transactions then an economy can be considered a force of nature. This is the first time in recent memory a ‘conservative’ president has endorsed trade protection and big government spending. Two of the biggest problems economically in the United States are the ongoing budget deficits and the total public debt. One wonders how the cornerstones of the Trump economic policy will produce enough growth to reduce the deficits and public debt.

Finally in Podcast 595-Money, the proof will be in the pudding. With all the other controversies swirling around this president after just two weeks if his policies fail to produce the promised economic growth republicans will have real problems in the 2018 and perhaps the 2020 cycles, especially for the politicians that endorsed Trump. Be careful what you pray for.

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

 

Podcast 580-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-56

Podcast 580-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show-56. Four mini podcast for your weekend. It’s time to move beyond talk about fake news and false narratives. Time to work on becoming better citizens. We have to get beyond reactions to get what is needed to create better political structures for the future. People have very high expectations about a Trump presidency. Whether you fear the future or can’t wait for it, the President-Elect’s cabinet nominations are moderate and establishment republicans. Trump’s ideas are philosophically all over the road. The new republican administration may end up being just as statist as a Hillary Clinton presidency. One example is Trump’s penchant for roads and bridges and airports. Given the establishment congress of republican moderates expecting a reduction in the cost and power of the federal government is too much to ask for. Fake News is still ‘in the news’. There were suggestions from the CIA at the end of last week that the Russians ‘could have’ been responsible for the Wikileaks hack. Still no proof though. That doesn’t stop the media from feeding into the Clinton camp narrative that Russia put Trump in the White House. It’s impossible to say what influenced voters in Ohio, Pennsyvania, North Carolina and Florida where Trump won by tight margins. None of these facts stop demands to ‘do something’ about ‘fake news’. FaceBook is caving and censorship is suddenly now a big topic. There have also been reports that Electors (members of the electoral college for 2016) have received death threats. What happens if Trump doesn’t have a majority of electors? What is the goal of people supporting the effort to influence the Electoral College? Have you driven around the country lately? If you had, you would know the United States does not have an ‘infrastructure’ problem. Building new airports, roads and bridges will not create enough new jobs to influence a 16 trillion dollar economy. Moreover, trade protection, cutting taxes on the middle class, increasing spending and government power including military spending is fraught with problems and probably won’t result in economic growth. Where does the money come from for these shiny objects? It has to be taxed or borrowed, sooner or later. For those who supported Trump because he ‘isn’t Hillary’, there are no guarantees he’ll be materially different from Clinton, when it comes to results. Sponsored by Brush Studio in the West End and Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.[Powerpress]

Podcast 450

Beware The Soothsayers. So much of our media these days is caught up in predicting the future. Weather, economics, sports and especially politics, isn’t so much about fact as it is about predictions based on opinion and poorly supported ‘fatcs’. Without a real basis in science or proven facts, we’re constantly told what the ‘future will bring’. It’s a wonder news anchors and ‘commentators’ don’t wear brightly colored head dresses and look into a crystal ball. One of the reasons we are ill served by a modern media possessed of the greatest technology for informing known to man, is its executives exhort their on screen ‘actors’ and so called ‘journalists’ to use opinion and hearsay to ‘predict’ what ‘will’ happen, rather than just report the facts around an event, or ‘the news’. For instance, lower prices for gasoline was going to ‘act like a tax cut’ and we would have economic growth. The Christmas retail shopping season might be a little down, but it would still be good. Donald Trump would be a flash in the pan, and would ‘collapse’ as soon as voters ‘came to their senses’. This is the time of year astrologers make their predictions for 2016, which are about as accurate as the wild ‘predictions’ made by the cable news services, round table discussions, commentary pieces distributed on line, and most of the rest of the media conglomeration complex, especially talk radio and the cable news channels. What do you think would happen if they stopped making predictions? There’d be a lot of dead air. In fact most of what is being broadcast and written these days is little more than fortune telling, and not very good fortune telling at that. In a late night podcast by the fire, as we labor under a winter storm watch in the upper midwest (at least a foot of snow ‘predicted’ with the ‘storm’ starting Monday night), time to air some concerns about what we are being told, and talk about the antidote to it. Sponsored by Hydrus Performance, and by the Mobile Podcast Command Unit of The Bob Davis Podcasts. 

Podcast 441

Shopping, Trump, Lies & Liquor. Welcome back from the big Thanksgiving weekend. The weeks starts with the National Retail Federation, AKA The Propaganda Ministry for the Big Box Retailers. If they’re not making up stories about how many people will shop the day after Thanksgiving, they’re blaming lackluster retail numbers on … wait for it … The Internet and specifically Amazon.com. This is the latest nonsense cooked up to convince lawmakers ‘something has to be done’, and that something is regulation of the Internet, so people will continue to shop at obsolete brick and mortar retailers located inside something called ‘The Mall’. Do we have data that shows the Internet is killing the Mall? Not really. Meanwhile ‘Black Friday’ is more and more an example of all that is wrong in America, and provides a great ‘look at the fat Americans fighting over flat screen TV’s’ story often seen in the foreign media. Maybe people aren’t shopping because they don’t believe the fairy tail about our growing economy, or because the new job only pays half what the old job pays, or because there’s a double digit health insurance premium. Yeah, right. We’re going to ‘spend the savings on two dollar gasoline’ at the mall. You know, like a tax cut. Meanwhile, Political Information Lag produced a lot of surprises at the Thanksgiving table as relatives discovered each other were rooting for Trump, or Bernie Sanders. Both candidates are outside the ‘establishment’ Republican and Democrat story line. Everyone HATES Washington and they HATE mainstream media charlatans who lie to them, while they work for candidates like Hillary Clinton. Once real people actually start voting, we’ll see whether anti-establishmentarianism is a ‘thing’, or not. Jeb! shouldn’t hold his breath tho. Meanwhile the City of Edina’s liquor store apparently can’t complete with ‘cut throat’ discount liquor stores (that actually have a responsibility to their stock holders to make money; how quaint.) Thus, the Mayor of Edina wants a liquor store tax, to make up the loss. “It’s a good business, and we’re going to stay in it”. Why are municipalities in the business of selling liquor? Bottom line, if government can’t even make money selling liquor apparently its incompetence knows no bounds. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and X Government Trucks.