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Unions Represent the Collective

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

LoninPa wrote: Is Ransom saying that the Senate would never approve the tax bill that they already approved and sent to the house? I know it started out as a non-tax bill with the tax part amended on. But that hardly changes the fact that the Senate voted for it.


Editor's note: This column orginally appeared December 9, 2012.

What Ransom, pretty much alone, seems to have missed is that the Democrats don't have to vote for a tax hike bill. The Republicans voted for one 12 years ago (extended by a compromise for two years) and it will go into effect in January. The Democrats only plan on passing tax cut bills. That is not so unpopular. - Obama: More Peas for You!

Dear Comrade Lon,

Getting past the argument that tax bills must originate in the House, technically speaking, you are still wrong. You’re wrong mostly because you’re a liberal. But the particulars of your argument aren’t good to you either.

If you think Democrats are going to be able to skate through on the argument that because they didn’t vote for anything and just let tax cuts expire that somehow they won’t have to own the resulting tax increases, then you don’t understand why the Democrats didn’t vote for Obama’s budget in February. No one’s escaping from this well no matter what the GOP does.  

Personally I hope the GOP moderates help pass the tax increase in the House. Increasing tax rates is bad policy and by passing them Obama will once again get his wish- and it won’t have any good effect economically. While it won’t hurt Obama particularly, it also won’t help his party.

The most powerful argument that conservatives had in 2010 is that Democrats had a free hand to do what they wanted in 2009 and 2010 and their plan didn’t work.

Let’s have them do it again.           

OL1 wrote: John, Your first premise that Democrats figured that there was a good chance President Obama wasn't going to be re elected is foolish as you are. We always knew he would be re elected, because you never from day one presented a candidate or idea that was competitive. Using poles from the last century and stressing your own revised version of the constitution which only protects old white men (of which I am one). My small business will do just fine with OBAMACARE, me paying my fair share of taxes, and the President encouraging the United states to catch up and lead the world in renewable energy. Get out of your glums and be proud. This is going to be a great four years. - Obama: More Peas for You!


Dear Comrade OL,

Why do old, liberal white men have to let us know that they are old, liberal white men?

I don’t go around telling people, “You know, speaking as an almost middle-aged, white, conservative, fat guy….”

Would you take my arguments more seriously if I did?

The answer here is either: 1) Yes, you would take me more seriously, in which case that would just prove how dumb you are or; 2) No, you wouldn’t, in which case it would prove just how dumb you are.  

I’m anxious to know how much your small business pays in taxes now, speaking as an old, white, small business owner. How much will it pay under Obama’s newest proposals?

I’m guessing that neither your small business nor you will be affected by any of Obama’s tax-measures including Obamacare. But if you owned a company like Chili’s, where servers are going to lose employment hours and money, you might have a different perspective.

I’m glad that your old, male whiteness and small business will do just fine under Obamacare, but the 1,170 employees at Stryker Medical who just lost their jobs because of Obamacare aren’t as lucky as you.

Maybe we should have an old, liberal, white guy who-is-doing-just-fine tax to make it up to everyone else who isn’t doing just fine.         

Stan342 wrote: Why has the Republican party not focused like a laser beam on revenue . . . oh, by that I don't mean the Democrat doublespeak of revenue=taxes. No, I mean actual revenue, which has consistently gone up since forever. Except for a flat year and one dip, revenues have consistently risen for the last 12 years. So why the crying and writhing about revenues? Because, spending is out of control, and it is NOT just SSI and Medicare, revenue has kept up with that growth but not the rest of government spending. -Talking Tax Reform, Let’s Start with Cokie’s Uterus


Dear Brother Stan,

Even worse, as our friend Dan Mitchell from Cato points out, that by just cutting 5 percent from spending each year and raising “revenues” by 5 percent each year you could balance the budget in just 5 years.

Think of it as 5-5-5.

“Taxpayers will be happy to know the ‘balanced approach’ gets rid of red ink and also leaves enough room to make the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent,” writes Mitchell who condemns both the GOP and the Democrats equally, even though he’s a really old, white guy. “Heck, there would be enough left-over revenue to enact additional tax cuts. After all, since we’re looking for balance, there’s no need to let revenues grow by 7 percent or 8 percent each year.”

Read more on Dan Mitchell and the dishonest budget math here

Nimh2 wrote: Iceland solved its bankster-caused "crisis by "bailing out" the average person while putting the blame where it rightly belonged--on the banksters. -Talking Tax Reform, Let’s Start with Cokie’s Uterus

Well let’s see if the Icelandic experiment pays off.

The country largely paid for the bailout of average folks by stiffing foreign creditors. That probably would have different implications for a country that has the world’s reserve currency.

Amongst other things, interest rates would have to rise. That has implications for a country like the US that has financed huge deficit spending for decades.

Interest rates in Iceland are 6 percent right now. If the US were looking at similar rates, interest on our debt would increase substantially.

Right now average interest on US government debt is around 2.8 percent. Debt financing cost around $454 billion in 2012.  If interest rates were to rise to 6 percent here, federal debt financing would climb to about $972 billion.

Debt would then account for 42 percent of federal revenues of $2.3 trillion with the government running deficits of $2.1 trillion or more.


Of course, all of that’s assuming that the rapid rise in interest rates and US default wouldn’t trigger a massive depression, which of course it would.

I say we don’t bailout anyone next time.

And there will be a next time.   

JasonQ42 wrote: It is important to recognize that corporations are themselves collectivist entities of precisely the kind that people like Ayn Rand warned could overwhelm the rights of individuals. One way to remedy this is to pass laws defining and supporting the rights of individuals to organize themeselves into a collective in order to achieve some measure of equality at the bargaining table. As a final point, ask yourself how many commercials on television are pro-labor as opposed to pro-corporate? Answer: 0% and basically 100%. As the paying customers of the media are their advertisers, with which side do you think the media allies itself?- Who Owns You? Dems or Unions?

Dear Comrade Jason,

People in the US have the right here to organize themselves into groups. It’s called freedom of association. It predates unions.

Your casual use of the term “collective,” like it’s a good thing, is really odd.

Ok… I guess not so odd for a liberal.  

DoctorRoy wrote: Hey that's fine. If you want to end the defined pension take it to the collective bargaining table and negotiate. Don't tell a guy after he's worked for you for 40 years that sorry you are sol we can't honor our commitment. ?- Who Owns You? Dems or Unions?

Dear Comrade Doctor,

Don’t tell a community that they can’t afford to hire cops because the politicians who were bankrolled by unions negotiated unsustainable union contracts. Instead go ask public employee pension plans to follow the same rules that private pension plans have to regarding rate of return assumptions.

I’m sorry that a guy who worked for 40 years now has to take a smaller retirement than pension actuaries, union bosses and politicians promised. In the real world we call that fraud.  Unions call it SOP for SAPS.


People in the real world go to jail for it.  

In liberal land the practice could land one the Democrat nomination for president or vice president.     

Canetoad wrote: If electric cars are not viable why are Nissan, BMW, Chevy, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Volvo, Volkswagon, Audi, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Renault and Lexus just to name a few car manufacturers all working to bring new models to the market. Can it be they know more than John Ransom and all his little cronies on TH. -Electric Cars: The Environmentally Friendly Way of Losing Money Since 2009

Dear Comrade Toad,

They do know more about electric cars than I do. And when they are profitable without my tax money going to subsidize them, I say “Bravo.”

But I don’t like public money going to a narrow set of people, like unionized automakers, who have a narrow agenda that never will benefit the public at large.

It’s not constitutional for the federal government to be involved in the manufacture of automobiles, except those vehicles for their own use. Additionally, the subsidies involved just distort the market.

I didn’t pen the Congressional Budget Office report that told us that federal subsidies for electric vehicles weren’t cost effective or likely to have an impact on foreign oil imports. Neither did any of my cronies here on Townhall Finance.      

ACPoints wrote: Not sure where the Volt numbers from this article come from. They don't seem credible or at the very least horribly out of date. If the $50,000 per vehicle loss is referring to the September Reuters article, that's half baked math for half baked thinkers. But if you do want to use that line of "reasoning" you need to decrease the "loss" every month as more vehicles are sold. As to the number sold, YTD stands at around 26,500. So by my math that's about $200 million in federal tax credits - based on what I think is the safe assumption that almost all the tax credits will be claimed. -Electric Cars: The Environmentally Friendly Way of Losing Money Since 2009


Dear Comrade AC,

Yes, I’m using the line of thinking that takes into account all of the capital costs involved in the Volt. From my perspective the Volt is in danger of being a failure. I think it’s likely that the Volt will never make any money. That’s why I’d continue to charge off the capital costs against sales. Heck I never would have gone into a business that requires a federal subsidy.

While you are right that every month that they sell more Volts you can reduce the loss of the Volt in terms of capital costs, you’re wrong overall because they have had to lower the price by $10,000 to get rid of inventory. Now that the price has been bumped back up to $40,000 sales have dipped again.

And make no mistake: This car is losing money even when discounting capital costs.   

Chevy has sold about a third of the number of cars this year so far than they touted- about 20,000. With a goal for 2012 of 60,000 units sold, one would have to consider the sales year a failure. You know? Unless you want to look at everything through an ideological prism rather than through economics. 

PaleoPatriot wrote: John, how does the BLS calculate the folks no longer looking for work? In Colorado to stop unemployment benefits you simply stop filing for weekly benefits. You don't call, or notify the State in any manner. So when I couldn't a new job in Colorado I stopped taking unemployment benefits and started my own company. Colorado has no idea if I'm sitting at home, at a new job, or just hanging with the "occupy-marxists." Does Colorado and the BLS just simply assume that I'm flipping burgers and add one more job created? -Obama Hypocrisy Index Picks up Steam

Dear Patriot,

The BLS does a survey, called the Household Survey that is just a scientific sample of all US households. Survey, by the way, is a nicer word for polling.


Anywho, the BLS surveys 60,000 US households to gather data. They then extrapolate out for 114,916,000 total US households. With a sample of 60,000 that’s a margin of error of plus or minus about 0.4 percent.

It’s a little more complicated than this but it is important to note that employment numbers are largely estimates based on survey work rather than separate data from states tabulated into whole picture.

While I do think it would be hard to manipulate the data, I think the survey no longer adequately expresses conditions in the economy with regard to employment.              

That's it for this week,



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