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

Market Goes Down Blame The Media-Podcast 631

Sudden scandal engulfs Washington. A one day market drop is blamed on media ‘persecution’ of the president. Is this possible? Can the media cause a drop in the markets? In Market Goes Down Blame The Media-Podcast 631.

Russia Was A Dead Issue. Then Trump fired Comey

Not too long ago we were talking about ACA repeal, Tax Reform and Foreign Policy. The only people talking about Russians and Trump were the former Democratic Presidential Candidate and the new chair of the Democratic National Committee. Then, Trump fired the FBI director. That put Russia and Putin back on the front burner.

Trump’s Twitter Feed and Political Mistakes

Now, we’re talking about the latest White House debacle. Not congressional progress on key economic issues. Seemingly, without warning, the market is down! It has to be the media’s fault! Right? We’ll talk about it in Market Goes Down Blame The Media-Podcast 631.

Why Invest?

Investors put their money in markets in the hopes of taking advantage of future growth. With the election of a business man as president, some investors were willing to bet on the future. Health Insurance and Tax Reform. A stronger US Foreign Policy. Less regulation. Progress on the kinds of economic legislation that seeds growth. Or at least that’s the story.

Things Aren’t Getting Better

Truth is, the US economy has been holding in place for nearly ten years. While the markets have been fueled by central banks buying securities and low interest rates, main street has been struggling. The business man president who was supposed to fix main street has done nothing but make speeches, sign executive orders and complain about the media coverage he’s getting. Meanwhile, 1st quarter US Growth was a mind-blowing .7 percent.

The US President Is Not A King

Fact is, the US Presidency is not a dictatorship. US presidents are answerable to congress, the courts and the law, not to mention state and local governments. The presidency itself is mainly a political office. To be effective and memorable, a president’s agenda has to be backed up with legislation. That means the president has to work with congress to get it done.

Rhetoric Doesn’t Work

President Trump has a lot of ideas. He talks about them all the time. Talk is cheap. There’s no action on Tax Reform, ACA Repeal, the Budget, Regulation Reform and trade. Why? Not because of the media. We have a president who likes to talk. He doesn’t like to lead congress to take action. In Market Goes Down Blame The Media-Podcast 631.

Republicans Don’t Want To Talk About Politics Anymore

In January most republicans were on top of all the latest developments in Washington and their new president. They were especially prickly about criticism of Trump. Suddenly they have other things to do. Don’t want to talk about politics. Given the obvious missteps by the president it’s easy to forgive the desire to blame the media for all that is wrong. This time though, the blame lies directly at the president’s door.

Money Talks…Bullshit Walks

Traders want action. Not talk. Investors don’t make decisions on today’s news stories or rhetoric from the president. They’re looking out into the future and investing in future growth. The top political leader in the United States is President Trump. He sits astride a republican White House, Senate and House. Yet, he hasn’t been able to get anything done. Maybe that’s why the markets are down.

Sponsored by X Government Cars

Market Goes Down Blame The Media-Podcast 631

 

 

Podcast 604-We Don’t Need No Stinking Principles

Bob Davis Podcast Radio Show #67

In Podcast 604-We Don’t Need No Stinking Principles. He is known as Milo. A self described agent provocateur. A guy who took it to the left using the left’s tactic. A person who could cause left wingers to spontaneously combust. Taken down by the right. Another personality raised up to do people’s thinking for them. Someone to speak for so called conservatives.

These days videos and articles by personalities suffice as arguments. Someone getting the best of you on FaceBook? Don’t like someone’s tweet? Bam! Throw up the Milo video and the other guy is toast. Want to say something about politics? Post someone’s video or article about what you think. It’s the ‘What He Said’ method of political discourse. Of course the bigger they are the harder they fall.

Suddenly a heavily edited video tape from the near past emerged. Milo allegedly appearing to condone pedophilia, Goodbye Breitbart. See ya later Book Deal. Forget about taking the purple at the Vatican Conclave known as ‘CPAC‘. Post that Milo video now and you’re a pedophile too. There’s a vacuum in the market for ‘What He Said’ videos and articles. Don’t worry. Plenty of future Milo’s into the breech, boys.

Principles Over Personalities

We’re urged to put principles over personalities. What principles? What are the principles of the republican party? Free markets. Oh wait. We’re talking about trade protection. Republicans and so called conservatives are for Freedom too. Oops! Not if you’re taking about increasing NSA surveillance of people we don’t like. The GOP is for lower deficits and ‘smaller’ government. Oh wait. We’re going to have a trillion dollar stimulus package and cut taxes. So. Yeah. Before people can support principles over personalities a political movement has to have some principles. Neither the republicans or the democrats have any. Welcome to Podcast 604-We Don’t Need No Stinking Principles.

Business Unfriendly

Also in Podcast 604-We Don’t Need No Stinking Principles. A new study ranks the most business friendly states. Vermont and Minnesota lead the least business friendly states. Nevada, Texas and South Dakota lead the most business friendly. The biggest problem according to the study is that the least business friendly states seemingly have no intention of addressing the thicket of taxes and regulations that prevent the formation of small scalable businesses. A little principle here might be useful. Of course most of the time its republicans in states like Minnesota that often are the first to propose more government solutions to problems created by too much government.

Taxing Robots

Robots and AI are nothing more than sophisticated tools. People think nothing of using the wheel or a wrench but break out in a cold sweat when confronted with the feared robot. Bill Gates has a solution for all that. Tax Robots. Employees are usually the biggest cost center for businesses. Its natural to want to cut those costs as much as possible. Cutting costs and freeing human capital to do better things is a natural part of human progress. Let’s slow it down by making robots more expensive. Principles? Lots to talk about in Podcast 604-We Don’t Need No Stinking Principles.

Sponsored by Hydrus Performance and Brush Studio in the West end.

 

Podcast 588-Russians Coming!

 

CIA Report on Russian Hacking

On this week’s Bob Davis Podcast Radio Show, we’re back in a news rich environment. The release of the CIA Report on ‘Russian Hacking‘ adds to the latest tempest in a teapot. A skeptical President Elect Trump got a briefing from top intelligence officials in the Obama Administration last week. What does ‘Russia Hacks The US Election’ mean to you? Does it mean the Russians managed to get control of voting machines and change votes in key states. Decidedly no.

In Podcast 588-Russians Coming! The story goes, the Russians, under order from President Putin, hacked into the DNC through John Podesta’s email, gaining access to the server for months. The Obama administration also has been told by its US intelligence employees that the Russians were responsible for the release of sensitive material from the DNC severs to Wikileaks. Oh, and the Russia Today network put a new TV show on critical of Hillary Clinton. The Russians also apparently employed a number of Internet trolls in service to Donald Trump. Or something like that.

The subliminal message here is Americans have lost control of their political process and therefore should have no faith in its outcome, which oddly seems like the original goal of Russia’s alleged interference. Proving the Russians hacked into the DNC is hard enough to prove. Proving it had any effect on the election is quite another. One should never say never and skepticism should be the first approach for people who want to believe the Russian Hack story and those who do not. Still, there are reasons why this is one story that may never be proven. Find out why in Podcast 588-Russians Coming!

While Trump supporters remain skeptical, Clinton supporters have latched onto the Russian Hack story as the new grand conspiracy theory in all that ails America. However, if you’re looking for a smoking gun you may be waiting a long time. Like the famous WMD in Iraq story, when a president asks the intelligence community to ‘prove’ something, a ‘report’ will be issued. Reports issued because a president wants one, usually include a ‘preponderance‘ of evidence.

Remember how the CIA managed to convinced Congress and most of the people in the country going to war against Iraq was necessary? While the left attacked Bush and the CIA for its ‘preponderance of evidence of WMD’s in Iraq’ finding, suddenly they’re ready to believe the ‘Russia Hack’ story. Even though we all know how the WMD story turned out for George W. Bush, the left wonders how else Hillary Clinton’s loss could be explained. It had to be the Russians.

2016’s presidential race heralded a tectonic shift in politics in the United States and perhaps the world. How politics is conducted. How it is reported on. How races are measured and predicted. Considering this shift, is it impossible to suggest people in the great lakes region in 2016 reached the point where they were just fed up with politics as usual? Maybe the cozy relationship between big government types, Hollywood and Wall Street just got to be too much for the little guy? Bernie Sanders thinks so. Senator Sanders has called Clinton out for choosing to hang with Gentry-Liberals rather than campaigning in Wisconsin and Michigan in the final stretch when it might have made a difference.

Foreign involvement in the US political process is nothing new. During the effort to ratify the US Constitution, in an effort to support arguments for an indirect election of the President through the Electoral College, The Federalist talked about foreign involvement in US Presidential elections. Historian Barbara Tuchman wrote a book about British subterfuge to get the US into World War I. The Soviets attempted to influence US politics through the creation and promotion of the American Communist Party from the 1920’s on. During those early decades of the twentieth century, some American intellectuals thought the Soviets had solved the problems of industrialization. Some Americans were happy to move to the glorious Soviet Union.

Will the new president plan a reorganization of the United States’ far flung fleet of intelligence agencies? The OSS was originally tasked with the collection and interpretation of strategic information. After the National Security Act of 1947, the newly formed CIA took up the job with some additional responsibilities. Federal agencies tend to grow and morph from their original mandate as time goes on. The United States now has scores of intelligence agencies. Are we sure our Congress and President knows what these agencies actually do? Are we sure that our government can actually supervise intelligence services that have a long history of making serious mistakes?

What is this story obscuring right now? As we argue about the ‘preponderance of evidence’ linking a spear phishing scheme to the DNC servers, a scheme that succeeded because DNC officials who should have known better did not follow security procedures, politicians in Washington, our State Capitols and City Councils are stealing us blind.

Sponsored by X Government Cars.[powepress]

 

Podcast 489

New York Primary Results. The results of the New York Presidential Primary are in. Now sit back and watch the story lines change. Surprise! After a day of voter confusion and typical New York statements from election officials about investigations, the New York Primary Results are in. Donald Trump won roughly 60 percent of the Republican votes, and Hillary Clinton managed about 57 percent of the Democratic votes in a slightly closer race. The most interesting outcome of this presidential preference poll is which republican candidate came in second. While Trump celebrates a win large enough for him to control a lion’s share of the delegates from the Empire State, Ohio Governor John Kasich ran a good second, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz came in a distant third, which should be enough to change the media story lines from ‘Ted Cruz is posing a strong challenge to Trump’, to whether or not John Kasich could be the nominee for the republicans in a contested republican convention this summer. The next primaries favor Trump and especially Kasich. Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island will hold primaries on April 26th. While most analysts expect Trump to win most of the delegates, many will be keeping a close eye on Kasich. Is the republican establishment working for Trump opponents in states that favor them? Recent polls from Wisconsin suggest that might be true. More establishment figures as well as candidates seem to be pointing toward a contested convention. With the establishment concerned about the so called ‘down-ticket’; the US Senate and House, chances are Trump and Cruz — who don’t poll well against Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in a head to head match ups — may not be able to get the nomination if they can’t get the required 1237 majority of delegates on the first ballot. This is the main thing to pay attention to in the next few weeks. Ignore the pundits and the exit poll nonsense and focus on the next spate of primaries. Finally, the New York Times reports voters ‘disillusioned’ by primary races that depend on delegate elections, not the popular vote. Are they being sidelined or were voters always sidelined in these state primaries and caucuses? Sponsored by Brush Studio and X Government Cars.

Podcast 362

No Growth Economy. New numbers say the US Economy grew by only .2 percent. Yet still, the Federal Reserve says the economy should grow now in the second quarter. Never mind all the ‘experts’ predicted 2015 would be a ‘blow out’ year, and that they have been revising their predictions down all through the quarter, they were still way above what the numbers actually show. Excuses? They have a few. The weather. The work slow down at the Port in Los Angeles. The weather. The strong dollar. Did I mention the dollar? The US has now had quarter after quarter of slow, no, or only anemic growth, and yet the Obama administration and its apologists, and the bone headed financial media call it a ‘boom’. Meanwhile small and medium sized businesses all over the country know it for what it is. A no growth economy. Why do business writers believe things will change if the policies don’t change? Does the consumer really account for 70 percent of the economy? What if we’re using the wrong tools to stimulate the wrong things? What’s that old saw about the definition of insanity? Banks aren’t lending because they can make more money borrowing at the discount window, reinvesting in the stock markets. Companies aren’t investing because they’re buying back their own stocks. The US corporate tax rate is the highest in the world (by far), and the tax code is so complex it costs us dearly in productivity lost (while we comply with the tax code) and literally billions of dollars spent complying with its byzantine rules. Regulations of all kinds make it almost impossible for small and medium sized businesses to grow. What are the policy ideas we need to hear from candidates (which we’re not hearing) to fix the economy. It’s not about inequality. It’s not about ‘reformicon’ tax policies (which are actually democrat tax policies warmed over), or making the government work more efficiently. In this podcast, some ideas you may agree or disagree with, but it will definitely start you thinking. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating and X Government Cars

Podcast 265

China Wins! Weekend updates start with the news that China has overtaken the US as the largest economy in the world. Except it’s not true. According to the IMF, using one measurement of economic magnitude, China has overtaken the US. Of course the US media jumps all over this story despite the fact that the measurement called PPP is controversial for many reasons. In fact China’s economy is considerably smaller and poorer than the US. However, it should be pointed out, when your neighbor is saying ‘things are better now’; if the US continues to have sub par growth (par in this case would be a normal dynamic growth of 4% or more for the same length of time as the recession), China will eventually overtake us. All the more reason to advocate growth policies focused on production, rather than trying to stimulate consumption. Protesters, variously reported as protesting the Ferguson Grand Jury decision and advocating for a higher minimum wage, blocked I35W just outside of the downtown Minneapolis. (Editor’s Note: The confusion in reporting got me talking about minimum wage, but the effect is the same. I don’t understand how making people angry because they sit in traffic for an hour makes them amenable to the cause, whatever that is.) The kinds of people who make more money are the people who develop time and productivity saving innovations, and figure out how to market them. Increasing wages by fiat won’t make anyone’s life better in the long run. Moreover, it’s possible in the short run, some fast food and service industries that employ human beings will automate most of these processes and actually improve service and the quality of their product. Low and middle skilled labor in the next twenty five years will face some grim employment challenges. Protesting this sea-change in the production and labor equation, is spitting into the wind. Black Friday sales are down, provoking all kinds of discussion about ‘what it means for the economy and retailers’. Probably nothing, either way. But, it does provoke a discussion about why some retailers are going out of business, and it isn’t because they’re not offering discounts. Its because they’re not retooling properly for the new consumers who don’t want to wait until the day after Thanksgiving for the best deals, and they want better service. Some stories from the consumer front prove this thesis. For example, a new study says people care more about the WIFI connection than they do the bed, when it comes to choosing a travel hotel. Did the North Koreans really hack Sony Pictures. Not so fast. Investigators now think it was a disgruntled employee. But the real story is how much these Hollywood types are making … but you won’t see any minimum wage protesters on the Sony studio complex. Meanwhile, more TV viewers are streaming their favorite shows, and its happening with radio too as people listen to podcasts and services like Pandora, over the internet. Finally, that all meat diet you’re on may actually be better for your heart than the gluten free bagel diet. New studies show its the carbs that kill your heart. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul, and by Depotstar

Podcast 93

Greetings from the coldest city in North America! Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Podcast 93 is about the January doldrums. Greed on Wall Street, France’s Socialist President becomes a Supply Sider, Tall White Aliens control America, Europe dumps Carbon controls for Fracking as the US is putting their refineries out of business and more. Much more. A trip through Bob Davis’ weekend reading ‘grabs’ sets you up for the week. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

Podcast 63

Watching neighbors bring their kids to a soccer game provoked a question: Where is the dynamic recovery we need to generate jobs and opportunity? These days it seems like all the opportunity is either in Washington D.C. or Wall Street. Could the meanness and partisanship in today’s politics be the result of concern about the economy? Concern that’s turning to fear? What’s wrong? How do we fix it? Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating.