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.)

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

Will 1968 Unrest Shockwaves Echo In 2018-Podcast 670

Every now and then it’s necessary to break it down. Why does a long time political observer and analyst find it more difficult to talk about politics these days? In Will 1968 Unrest Shockwaves Echo In 2018-Podcast 670.

Rhetorical Partisans

Some say the US hasn’t been this politically divided since 1968. At least in 1968 we were fighting about specific issues. It seems to me we’re fighting over a person in the present time frame.

Demanding Loyalty

Attack Trump. Defend Trump. At any cost. Ideas and principles aren’t important. Commentators are running for office, under the employ of some partisan organization, or supporting a person or point of view. Will 1968 Unrest Shockwaves Echo In 2018-Podcast 670.

Garbage In Garbage Out

Social media, the Internet and so called news sites spew a constant stream of invective, misinformation and outright lies. They are so busy predicting the future they put Tarot Card Readers and Astrologists to shame.

Read It and Weep

Denying our freedom to choose what we think about an issue based on facts, in the quest to demand loyalty is the height of folly. In Will 1968 Unrest Shockwaves Echo In 2018-Podcast 670. We end up shouting at each other; partisan mobs, not an informed electorate.

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Will 1968 Unrest Shockwaves Echo In 2018-Podcast 670

 

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 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 597-Pure Insanity

Trump Sets The Pace

In Podcast 597-Pure Insanity. Controversial executive orders. Cabinet confirmations. A Supreme Court nomination. The robust legislative agenda. Trump’s White House is setting the pace. Media and the partisan left is struggling to keep up. Any action taken by a republican is met with derision and a firestorm of social media reaction. Just mentioning a Trump initiative, executive order or tweet means an  argument. Scenarios of the death and destruction caused by all things Trump have reached hysterical levels.

Hysteria and Pure Insanity

Now it’s democrats talking about secession, impeachment and Coup d’etat. What is a coup? Why would the president plan a Coup against himself? There is no evidence of a Coup being planned against the United States government. Clearly those writing such things do not understand what a Coup really is. Dusting off an old French word to make the Trump administration seem darker and less legitimate is the goal. Defining the term and explaining why suggesting a Coup is an insult to your intelligence, is part of Podcast 597-Pure Insanity.

Cal-Exit

Talk of California seceding from the United States generated a lot of coverage. Remember when  right wingers talked up secession at the beginning of the Obama Presidency? Now it’s left wingers. Would California secede? Aside from the obvious question of legality, without California’s votes and money the chances of a democrat being elected President of the United States would be very low. So…

…Forget secession.

Trump will be impeached. Uh. No. Not unless democrats gain a majority in both houses of congress in 2018. Is it necessary to remind everyone Impeachment would result in the Presidency of Mike Pence? With no shortage of hate for the Vice President on social media and at protests, one wonders whether the overwrought and bereft left consider impeachment would leave them with an even more conservative president. Unfortunately it’s necessary to point this out in Podcast 597-Pure Insanity.

Why? Because They Can

Some have forgotten history and context and how the Representative Republic of the United States works. Some think cabinet positions are elected. Others don’t understand that while legislative minorities have rights, majorities do entitle control of committees, rules and certain appointments as well as the legislative agenda. Not only do republicans have legislative majorities the party controls the executive branch, many state legislatures and governor’s offices. While opposition and protest are the right of Americans maybe the opposition should be asking how did a supposedly dying GOP managed to garner these majorities? Is it possible some voters agree with them?

There are people in the United States happy with actions taken by the new president. They like his executive actions and his picks for the cabinet and his pick for the Supreme Court. They might even cheer when they hear Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary suggest government schools really aren’t doing a very good job and that competition in the form of vouchers and charter schools is a good thing. They are perfectly satisfied with the idea of cutting regulation and taxes. Despite the caterwauling on the left this is hardly a national crisis or the first glimmerings of American fascism.

Social Media Cesspool

In Podcast 597-Pure Insanity, nowhere is the left’s increasingly impotent rage more apparent than on social media. Memes, videos, live sessions, tweets, angry rants, de-friending and blocking. The Social Media Cesspool, with its misspelled signs confusion about history and how our government works has become a place where people post to live and live to post. A place where anger and extremism are encouraged. People wonder whether it will change. Will it? Why would it?

One thing social media is good for is cat and dog pictures and videos, performances of song and dance and all things pure and real. Maybe it’s time for everyone to take a step back, a break from the day to day news and social media and consider what is most important in life. Did you ever think you’d see the day when you would hope to see pictures of people’s dogs or see a performance of a song?

That day has come.

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Podcast 594-Civil War-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show 63

In Podcast 594-Civil War-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show 63, Suddenly people in this country are interested in George Orwell’s 1984. A new movie is being made called ‘Little America‘, a dystopian depiction of what happens after the ‘Trump Administration bankrupts America and the Chinese take over’. Several stories suggest rich people are worried about a Civil War between the haves and the have nots. The Rich are building bunkers and buying reinforced compounds in New Zealand. In fear of a Civil War the Elites are signing up for luxury bunkers in the desert, protected by mercenaries. Academics are getting into the act by lecturing and writing about the Civil War between Athens and Sparta. Of course all of this will be caused by President Trump’s Authoritarian ways.

Tyranny

Of course in order to have tyranny whether it is fascism, communism some kind of junta, or 1984 style mind control, the conditions to support such tyranny have to exist first. Mechanisms like the peaceful transfer of power, countervailing powers, representative state and federal power, and a robust judiciuary governed by a written constitution have to be disabled. The United States differs structurally and significantly from unstable powers that have experienced tyranny like Germany’s Weimar Republic, Italy prior to Mussolini and the Russian Monarchy’s spectacular failure prior to Bolshevism.

In Podcast 594-Civil War-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show 63, reaction to the first week of the Trump presidency has been nothing short of hysterical. From Shia Laboufe’s ranting in New York City to the media taking the bait on an almost hourly basis either pointing out that Trump is always wrong or asking what he is doing. Honestly, it seems like Trump is doing exactly what he promised and what the people that voted for him expect him to do. From the controversy with the Mexican government over the wall, to the back and forth about illegals voting and brining back torture, the media is like a moth to a flame. As Trump and the administration tweets and stunts and the media reacts, the new president is signing executive orders and readying legislation. These real actions aren’t getting nearly as much coverage as his tweets and comments. None of it is getting any real substantive or investigative reporting.

Now the American Left is convinced we won’t last through the presidency of Donald Trump. Now the left is posting the crazy memes on social media. Now the left is putting up You Tube videos predicting a massive economic failure and national takeover of one kind or another. How quickly they forget their brethren on the right who were posting videos telling the world us Barack Obama wouldn’t leave the White House and would declare martial law, or that Hillary Clinton and her reptilian cohorts would stage a coup and remove Trump before he could be sworn in.

Civil War?

In Podcast 594-Civil War-Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show 63, Civil War. Really? Civil Wars are the bloodiest wars of all. Time for a little history lesson regarding the American Civil War, which killed over six hundred thousand people in a country which boasted only 33 million at the time. This is the worst war in American history, worse even than World War II which only claimed somewhere around four hundred five thousand casualties. It almost goes without saying that the fissures that sparked the Civil War in the US were significant. Nothing like the minor political differences we have to today.

After the National Park Service and the EPA tweeted and spoke out about the new president’s supposed positions on Climate Change, they were told to stop tweeting. This is viewed as tyranny? Does anyone remember Reagan firing the air traffic controllers? What about Harry Truman firing Douglas MacArthur for doing exactly what the park service in the Badlands did; Going around the president to the media with a position that undermines the boss. What is the difference between a public servant and a civil servant? A public servant has an election certificate and has been chosen by the people to represent their interests. A civil servant works for elected officials.

Then there’s the executive orders. People hated Obama for issuing executive orders because he was blocked by a republican congress, but suddenly Trump’s use of executive orders is just fine? What’s the history of executive orders? How many executive orders have been issued? Which president issued more in recent history? In short the use of executive orders, which have been issued starting with Washington, does not make any president a dictator. It is the content and constitutionality of those orders that is in question.

Finally almost everyone is predicting Trump’s presidency will be a disaster. This podcaster refuses to take sides or defend this president, but will give credit where credit is due. As was suggested at the dawn of the Obama presidency concerning the Stimulus, what if it works? Of course we know the ARRA was a dismal failure in terms of making the economy grow. So let’s afford Trump the same consideration and ask what if his policies work? If the United States starts experiencing 4 to 5 percent economic growth per year for the next few years, things are going to be completely different in this country.

In Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show 63, when Reagan came into office in 1981, some people thought he would be a great president. Others weren’t sure Carter was so bad, despite the economic problems the country faced at the time. 2 years later, we all knew James Earl Carter, for all his sincerity and honesty, had been a terrible administrator. It was hard for some to recognize what a good president Reagan was but eventually many did. Is it possible people will be saying the same about Trump in a couple of years?

Time will tell.

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and Hydrus Performance.

 

Sunny Lohmann – Podcast 454

Sunny Lohmann. Political Humorist Sunny joins the Bob Davis Podcasts with an announcement about a new You Tube effort, plus  the top stories catching her attention. Sunny announces a new You Tube channel, details at House of Sunny TV. From the mass attack on women in Germany, by ‘Middle Eastern’ and ‘East African’ men which appears to have been coordinated, to the rancher dispute in Oregon and the occupation of a federal government wildlife facility in the middle of nowhere, Sunny’s got game. From there it’s onto Guns! Guns! Guns! The President’s executive orders on gun control and what they mean, and discussion of crime and firearm statistics. Almost all of these numbers are fertile ground for political activists and point of view journalists, as well as presidents, as witnessed by President Obama’s recent CNN ‘Town Hall’ meeting on gun control. According to Sunny, one of the things point of view researchers do is lump firearm suicides and incidents where law abiding citizens have defended themselves and property with firearms, with mass shootings. Moreover, the question of whether to include a terror incident which includes a mass shooting such as San Bernardino, with other types of mass shooting events is usually never addressed by commentators … but it is here. Do ‘conservatives’ in the United States need another enemy? Sunny and Bob react to a nationally syndicated columnist and talk show hosts call for ‘statism’ to become the ‘new philosophical enemy’ of ‘conservatives’. Sounds like another opportunity for a talk show host to sell books and to gin up more outrage. Bob and Sunny also talk about life, raising children and visits to the Golden State; California, where Sunny lives. Surprisingly enough both agree, “It’s beautiful there.” Sponsored by Pride of Homes and Luke Team Real Estate and Hydrus Performance.

Podcast 327

Right To Work. As Wisconsin’s Assembly considers Right To Work legislation amid controversy, Minnesota conservatives wonder what’s wrong with Republicans in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes. The Washington Post this week ran a piece decrying the decay of the organizational power of unions in the Badger state since ACT10 was passed in 2011. The reader is left with the idea this isn’t such a bad thing for local and state budgets, or the employees of counties, towns and the state either. Was this the intent? 24 states have passed right to work legislation, and Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker made history with legislation limiting the power of government unions. A brief history of collective bargaining for government workers suggests why the democrats and the left are terrified by Walker. At least two of the landmark government acts establishing unions in the public sector were executive orders. Given President Obama’s precedent setting use of executive orders and executive memoranda, think what a President Walker might do with the existing executive orders dating back to Nixon, regarding Federal workers and collective bargaining arrangements. Wisconsin is the home of AFSCME, and was the first state to pass a law allowing its public workers to unionize. How things have changed. The reality is collective bargaining in state and local governments created a gordian knot that must be cut, if authorities want to be able to get control of their budgets. The state cannot offshore its work, or move to a right to work state in the south, to cut costs. As the media tries to cover right to work laws negatively it is inadvertently showing how governors in democrat and republican states are able to cut that knot and get control of their budgets. Now, Minnesotans want to know why what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t happening in Minnesota. Minnesota Republicans seem content to play small ball; Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt is thrilled to act a peacemaker between warring democrat Governor Dayton and Senate Majority leader Bakk, and in the Senate, minority leader Nienow is thrilled to announce more spending for education than the Governor wants, which is saying something. Small Ball, indeed. Some might characterize it as small balls in fact. What should be advocated? What’s working in other states? Why are Minnesota’s Republicans unable to take a lesson from Wisconsin’s Republicans, who are having a better time of it. Sponsored by X Government Cars

Podcast 326

Live From The Mall of America. In the wake of shadowy threats of terror attacks at the Mall of America, a ‘courageous’ podcast live from the mall on a Monday night. (Editor’s Note: Maybe someday I will be able to embellish this story to make it sound like I braved tribal fighters, and small arms fire to bring you this podcast, but not really.) As Congress debates defunding as a protest over President Obama’s executive orders on illegal immigrants, the Department of Homeland Security begins to plan for the imminent ‘shutdown’. Except the department doesn’t really shut down. Some fifteen thousand employees – mostly in the TSA – will be ‘furloughed’. The rest of its employees and managers show up for work, though they may miss a paycheck or two. Keep in mind, federal employee benefits and pay are much higher than the private sector. So, while Dave the TSA guy may have to stay home for a few days, he has a job when this whole thing is over. But when you get laid off from that major retailer, you’re out of a job. So, pardon me for not gnashing my teeth over the DHS ‘Shutdown’. This year’s Oscar telecast may as well have been a Sunday morning talk show on MSNBC for all the posturing and political speech, not to mention its ratings. What does Hollywood do when it has a bad year? Trot out stars to make political statements, so people talk! Apparently the word is, the producers of the Oscar telecast think that since the Academy is mostly old, white and rich, they needed to spice it up. The problem is, middle America has just about had it with billionaire screen stars telling them what they ought to believe about anything. It’s becoming obvious Hollywood and Washington are out of touch. In this podcast a little about the history of Hollywood’s involvement with Washington, and its shadowy ties to the Chicago Outfit. And if the scolds telling you what to think isn’t enough, now the Federal Government wants you to switch to a plant based diet. Yep, they want to make your dad a vegetarian, and monitor his television viewing. That’s all we need. The good news is the redemption of coffee. Researchers now say the Black Gold is one of the best things for you, and you can drink a lot more than you do. Sponsored by Depot Star

Podcast 264

Jeb Bush? Really? What started as a midweek update, back in the studio after the road trip, turned into a discussion of whether the ‘conservative movement’ has completely lost its way, even whether it exists at all. As Congress seems to struggle with how to handle President Obama’s executive orders on immigration, in an effort to avoid a government shutdown which moderates feel is bad publicity for Republicans, the Speaker’s plan is apparently to pass a continuing resolution for the overall budget while offering a separate budget for Homeland Security (Which is where the funding for the President’s controversial executive order on Immigration is funded). This leaves room for the complete Republican 117th Congress to address these issues after January. This strategy isn’t sitting well with some Republicans who believe they were sent there to stop the President’s power grab. While political junkies should probably stop worrying about Congress and start concentrating on building organizations for 2016, there is a big fight brewing on both sides of the political spectrum. Progressive and Moderate Democrats on one side, and a mixed bag of Republican constituencies on the other. Libertarians, Moderates, Religious Conservatives all vying for control of the GOP … again. This leaves space for yet another Bush to ride in on the White Horse they keep down there on the ranch and be ‘the adult in the room’ and stop all those crazy ‘Paul-Bots’, and ‘Tea Baggers’; i.e.; The Conservative Movement. Or what’s left of it. The challenge in this podcast is, once again, to define what exactly a conservative is? While the Republicans won a huge midyear victory, that victory does not mean the ‘movement’ is healthy … or even alive. A conservative is a former Florida Governor who believes in Common Core and doesn’t want to repeal Obama Care? Republicans might have won a legislative majority in 2014, but that doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing. All it shows — and they certainly deserve credit for it — is that they were able to get their people out to vote, while the other side stayed home. But what is the GOP for? What do the conservatives want to do about economic policy, spending and debt, foreign policy? The so called grassroots are talking about 1776, the constitution and a constitutional convention (Editor’s Note: The dumbest idea ever.) This is a conservative ‘movement’? Next? Someone finally has taken the pundits who keep saying cheaper gas is like a huge tax cut. Except it’s not. In this podcast find out why. Plus, don’t forget there is an ominous demand side to the cheaper gas we’re currently enjoying; Slow downs in Europe, Japan, China and Latin America do not bode well for the global economy, and the US isn’t growing dynamically to pull everyone else’s fat out of the fire this time. Black Friday turned out to be a bust. So don’t expect that just because gas is 2.49 a gallon it means unicorns and rainbows, economically speaking that is. Sponsored by X Government Cars and by Depotstar