MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Medicare’

Erie Times E-Edition Article-$3.5T sought for social, climate efforts

Posted by M. C. on August 10, 2021

“While Democratic leaders’ have asserted that the measure will be fully paid for,” When you pay for stuff by printing money you end up looking like Venezuela and Wiemar Germany (recall the photos wheelbarrows of money used to buy bread).

“with much of it paid for with tax increases on the rich and corporations.” Just about everything anymore will be paid for by ” tax increases on the rich and corporations”. How long before YOU are considered (taxable) rich? Corporate taxes are costs of business. Corporations can develop new products, create job opportunities…or not.

When you get something for “free” from government, government first has to take it from someone else.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=230e5a54a_1345e9e

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats unveiled a budget resolution Monday that maps $3.5 trillion in spending boosts and tax breaks aimed at strengthening social and environmental programs, setting up an autumn battle royal over President Joe Biden’s top domestic policy ambitions.

The measure lays the groundwork for separate legislation later this year that over a decade would pour mountains of federal resources into Democrats’ top priorities. Included would be more money for health care, education, family services and environmental programs and tax breaks for families, with much of it paid for with tax increases on the rich and corporations.

While Democratic leaders’ have asserted that the measure will be fully paid for, the budget does not require that. The Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, which control tax legislation, have been given flexibility to raise as much money as they want to offset the bill’s costs, and a memorandum summarizing the budget says those savings will be “substantial.”

The budget’s introduction marks the start of a long legislative trek through Congress that Democrats hope will result this fall in a progressive reshaping of government. To succeed, they’ll have to overcome likely unanimous Republican opposition and find the sweet spot between the demands of their own often antagonist progressive and moderate factions.

That will be a fraught task in a Congress they control by a hair. They’ll need the support of every Democrat in the 5050 Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote, and will be able to lose only three Democrats in the House and still prevail – margins that give every Democrat tons of leverage.

“At its core, this legislation is about restoring the middle class in the 21st Century and giving more Americans the opportunity to get there,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a letter to his colleagues that unveiled the plan.

The resolution calls for creating free prekindergarten for 3- and 4-year-olds and two years of free community college, extending tax breaks for children and some low-income workers, and establishing paid family and sick leave.

Medicare coverage would be expanded to cover dental, hearing and vision benefits, and the program’s eligibility age would be lowered from its current 65. There would be an extension of federal subsidies for people buying health insurance through former President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law and money for states that haven’t yet expanded Medicaid coverage.

Spending would also increase for housing, home health care and job training, and new resources would go to efforts encouraging a faster transition to clean energy.

To pay for the plans, taxes would be raised on wealthy people and large corporations, without any increases on people earning under $400,000 a year, a key Biden campaign pledge. The budget also calls for reducing the prices the federal government pays for pharmaceuticals it buys for Medicare recipients, a longtime goal of Democrats who want the government to be allowed to negotiate those prices.

“At its core, this legislation is about restoring the middle class,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a letter to his colleagues that unveiled the plan.

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The Unthinkable: Culling the Population To Balance the Books – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on June 5, 2021

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/06/no_author/the-unthinkable-culling-the-population-to-balance-the-books/

By Bill Sardi with Matthew Sardi

Five years from now fearful Americans will still be wearing face masks when riding in cars.  According to the agenda laid out by the World Economic Forum that is driving these social, political and financial changes, no one will own anything.  Vehicles will be rented on a trip basis.  No one will own cars or homes or businesses.  There will be no wealth, only stipends for survival.  The new automobile lots are already empty, said to be due to a shortage of computer chips as new vehicle production winds down.  It will be the end of America as we know it unless the mindless and naïve public comes to its senses and fights for freedom and liberty.  The US will no longer be the greatest country in the world.  And, to hell with any idea of an anti-aging pill.  You had still better die on time. 

See the rest here

Bill Sardi, writing from La Verne, California. This article has been written exclusively for www.LewRockwell.com and other parties who wish to refer to it should link rather than post at other URLs.

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Why Your Nation-State Is On Its Way To The Scrap Heap of History

Posted by M. C. on September 3, 2020

The State will do any number of things to maintain itself, its cronies, and accompanying parasites—who all, in turn, support it. But while that happens, free thinkers will use evolving technologies to find each other and reorient their loyalties. More and more people will conclude the State no longer serves a useful purpose.

The concept of phyles originated with the sci-fi writer Neil Stephenson, in his seminal book Diamond Age. I’ve always been a big fan of quality science fiction. There’s no question sci-fi has been, and still is, a vastly better predictor of social and technological trends than anything else—including full-time “think tanks.”

https://internationalman.com/articles/why-your-nation-state-is-on-its-way-to-the-scrap-heap-of-history/

by Doug Casey

People believe the State is necessary and—generally—good. They never even question whether the institution is permanent.

My view is that the institution of the State itself is a bad thing. It’s not a question of getting the right people into the government; the institution itself is hopelessly flawed and necessarily corrupts the people that compose it, as well as the people it rules. This statement invariably shocks people, who believe that government is both a necessary and permanent part of the cosmic firmament.

The problem is that government is based on coercion, and it is, at a minimum, suboptimal to base a social structure on institutionalized coercion. In fact, it’s not only possible but increasingly necessary to minimize organized coercion. For society to function in the 21st century and beyond, the State has to be minimized—a reversal of the current trend. Even while technology controlled by the State makes it ever more dangerous, those same technologies make the State increasingly obsolete.

Communication technologies are an example. One of the huge changes brought on by the printing press and advanced exponentially by the Internet is that people can now easily pursue different interests and points of view. As a result, we have less and less in common with each other. Living in the same political jurisdiction is no longer enough to make us “countrymen” with strangers.

That’s a big change from earlier times, when members of the same region had almost everything in common, including genetics, language, traditions, religion, and worldview. That’s no longer the case with today’s nation-states. If you’re honest, you may find you now have very little in common with most of your countrymen besides superficialities and trivialities.

Ponder that point for a minute.

What do you have in common with your fellow countrymen? A mode of living, perhaps a common language, possibly some shared experiences and myths, and a common ruler… but very little of any real meaning or importance. In fact, your fellow citizens are more likely to be an active danger to you than those of a presumed “enemy” country like Iran. If you earn a good living, and certainly if you own a business and have assets, your fellow Americans are the ones who actually present the clear and present danger.

The average American (about 50% of them now) pays no income tax. Even if he’s not actually a direct or indirect employee of the government, he’s a net recipient of its largesse—which is to say your wealth—through Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and numerous other welfare programs. Not to mention the multitrillion-dollar giveaways of recent months.

Over the years, I’ve found that I have much more in common with people of my own socio/economic station  in France, Argentina, or Hong Kong than with a US Government employee in Washington or a resident of the LA barrios, a project in Chicago, or a trailer park somewhere. They may or may not be decent people, but we don’t have too much in common. It’s very un-PC to say so, but I suspect that many of you agree with that observation.

What’s actually important in relationships is shared values, principles, interests, and philosophy. Geographical proximity and a common nationality are meaningless—no more than an accident of birth. I have much more loyalty to a friend in the Congo—although we’re different colors and have different cultures, native languages, and life experiences—than I do to the Americans who support Bernie, Kamala, and AOC. I see the world the same way my Congolese friend does; he’s an asset to my life. I’m necessarily at odds with many of “my fellow Americans”; they’re an active and growing liability. Some might read this and find a disturbing lack of loyalty to the State. It sounds seditious. As far as I can tell, there are only three federal crimes specified in the U.S. Constitution: piracy, counterfeiting, and treason. That’s a far cry from today’s world, where almost every real and imagined crime has been federalized, underscoring that the whole document is a meaningless dead letter, little more than a historical artifact.

I’m not overly concerned about piracy. But the counterfeiting and treason—not to mention over 5000 other, more recently minted, federal crimes, are problematic.

Counterfeiting is simple fraud. But the Federal Reserve now legally debases the currency on a gigantic scale. The average American, however, thinks it’s part of the cosmic firmament, assuming he even knows what it is.

Treason is usually defined as an attempt to overthrow a government or withdraw loyalty from a sovereign. This is a rather odd proviso, considering the framers of the Constitution had done just that only a few years before. That said, I suspect the government is at risk of a de facto, if not de jure, overthrow in the not too distant future. Its replacement is likely to be even less friendly to freedom.

The Constitution was imperfect, even in its original form. Its most important part, by far, is the Bill of Rights. But that’s been interpreted out of existence for all practical purposes. America was a unique and excellent idea, but it’s almost vanished. It’s been replaced by the United States—which isn’t much different from any of the other nation-states that cover the face of the globe like a skin disease. Even the United States is on the slippery slope.

The way I see it, Thomas Paine had it right when he said: “My country is wherever liberty lives.”

But where does liberty live today? Actually, it no longer has a home. It’s become a true refugee since America withered away.

So now what? Here’s where the ongoing communications revolution comes in. It’s facilitated the possibility of Phyles.

Phyles

The concept of phyles originated with the sci-fi writer Neil Stephenson, in his seminal book Diamond Age. I’ve always been a big fan of quality science fiction. There’s no question sci-fi has been, and still is, a vastly better predictor of social and technological trends than anything else—including full-time “think tanks.”

The book, set mostly in China in the near future, posits that while states still exist, they’ve been overwhelmed in importance by the formation of phyles. Phyles are groups of people bound by whatever is important to them. Maybe it will be their race, religion, or culture. Maybe their occupation or hobby. Maybe their worldview or what they want to accomplish in life. Maybe it’s a fairly short-term objective. There are thousands—millions—of possibilities.

The key is that a phyle might provide much more than a fraternal or beneficial organization (like Rotary or Lions) does. I take the concept quite seriously. It’s one reason I believe organized charity is on its way out. “Big charity” is mostly a scam to benefit its managers and allow its enablers to feel righteous, while generally degrading its supposed beneficiaries. Phyles would know their members personally, obviating most fraud and self-aggrandizement.

In the same vein, phyles might provide insurance services very effectively, since a like-minded group—held together by peer pressure and social approbation—eliminates a lot of moral risk. It might very well offer protection services; a criminal might readily harm a citizen “protected” by a State. But they’ll think twice before attacking members of the Mafia—which is, in fact, a criminal variety of phyle.

People are social. They’ll inevitably organize themselves into groups for all the reasons you can imagine.

In the past, technology only allowed people to organize themselves by geography—they had to be in the same area. That’s changed over the last century, with the emergence of the train, the car, and especially the airplane. The same goes for communication. The telephone and television were huge leaps, but the Internet is the catalytic breakthrough. It’s now possible for people to reach out all over the world to find others that are their actual countrymen, not just some moron who shares a piece of government ID.

As things develop, people will discover—or create—places where their loyalties lie.

The nation-state has mostly been a counterproductive and expensive nuisance; it’s rapidly becoming completely insufferable and, as governments bankrupt themselves, dangerous. The people living off the State (those who act as parasites upon their “fellow citizens”) are going to resist having their rice bowls and doggy dishes broken. They’ll undoubtedly use the coercive powers of the State to try to maintain the status quo.

The military and the police will be out in force, wearing riot gear, in the next few years. They’re necessary to maintain order in today’s world. But remember, their loyalties are first to their coworkers, then to their employer, and only then to those whom they’re supposed to “serve and protect.” You can’t rely on them. You’re much better off finding a protophyle… as the real thing evolves.

The next decade is going to be tumultuous. The Greater Depression has been catalyzed by the mass hysteria surrounding COVID-19. The virus will go away in the next few months, the way they all do. But the damage the hysteria has caused will linger and compound. I suspect the bankruptcy of most States, as well as major sections of the population, are going to result in some major political and social upsets.

We’re just at the start of a new era. The State will use an intimidating variety of technologies to keep its subjects under control. Even while the Reds and the Blues—who’ve come to hate each other—each try to gain control of it.

The State will do any number of things to maintain itself, its cronies, and accompanying parasites—who all, in turn, support it. But while that happens, free thinkers will use evolving technologies to find each other and reorient their loyalties. More and more people will conclude the State no longer serves a useful purpose.

Editor’s Note: A government-led crisis is already underway in the US and throughout the rest of the world.

If you want to navigate the complicated economic and political situation that is unfolding, then your need to see this free report from best selling author Doug Casey and his team.

It reveals what you need to know as the crisis deepens, and what you should do so you don’t get caught in the crosshairs.

Click here to download the PDF now.

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Of Two Minds – The Road to Hell Is Paved with Virtue-Signaling

Posted by M. C. on August 16, 2019

It’s impossible to even discuss issues of citizenship and immigration as they relate to the long-term impact of devaluing citizenship

https://www.oftwominds.com/blogaug19/hell-virtue-signaling8-19.html

Charles Hugh Smith

The idea that everything will be solved if we borrow a couple more trillion and give it away is the dominant paradigm.

The road to Hell is paved with virtue-signaling: rather than actually solve the knotty problems that are dragging us toward the abyss, we substitute self-righteousness for problem-solving. That is virtue-signaling in a nutshell.

Virtue-signaling goes hand in hand with the only “solution” that’s politically correct: throw a borrowed trillion dollars at the “problem”, dance the humba-humba around the bonfire at midnight and hope that magic will resolve the underlying issues.

Hence the calls for Medicare for All, Universal Basic Income, and free college for all, all paid with borrowed money, despite the virtuous bleatings that “taxes on the rich/robots” will magically pay for trillions of additional dollars to be squandered on corrupt, self-serving cartels…

As for the “defense” industry, a.k.a. the military-industrial-intelligence cartel: rather than do the hard work of redefining America’s role in the world (declining to pursue wars of choice and policing the world) and then right-sizing the armed forces for the emerging realities of automated warfare, cyber-warfare and asymmetric warfare, we spend trillions of dollars on a jumble of horribly costly legacy weaponry with a sprinkling of pixie-dust “innovation.”

This also describes the higher education cartel, a horribly costly legacy jumble that’s failing students while enriching insiders and lenders. It also describes the standard institutional response to knotty issues such as homelessness: the conventional legacy “solution” is to insist on building “affordable” housing at $400,000 per unit, which means we can build 1,000 units rather than the 100,000 units of super-low-cost housing we need…

It’s impossible to even discuss systematically downsizing America’s role and military footprint without being accused of treason, as virtue-signaling support for the Imperial Project is necessary to broadcast your membership in the politically correct camp.

It’s impossible to even discuss the connection between the high-profit snacks and sugar-water beverages that fill supermarket shelves and diabesity and metabolic disorders, or the connection between the decline of community and the rise of the Savior State…

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. The road to Hell is paved with virtue-signaling, and we are about to discover that virtue-signaling, self-righteousness and indignation are not substitutes for the difficult task of completely restructuring failing institutions, modes of production and governance.

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My Future Lies Beyond the Yellow Brick Road | VoVatia

 

 

 

 

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Republicans Love Socialism Too – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on June 27, 2019

https://www.fff.org/2019/06/25/republicans-love-socialism-too/

by

Today’s New York Times is carrying a video op-ed entitled “I’m Republican. I Never Thought I’d Fight for Medicaid.” The op-ed calls for an expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina and other states to cover people who are uninsured and do not qualify for Medicaid because they make too much money.

First things first. While Republicans have traditionally despised welfare programs for the poor, such as food stamps, they are among the fiercest proponents of socialist programs for the middle class and wealthy.

Examples of the Republican embrace of socialism abound: Social Security, Medicare, public (i.e., government) schooling, school vouchers, education grants, state support for colleges and universities, foreign aid to dictators, farm subsidies, corporate grants, and many others.

Every one of those programs is based on using the coercive apparatus of the state to tax one group of people in order to give it to another group of people. In his great little book The Law, the French free-market legislator Frederic Bastiat called that type of system “legal plunder.”

Thus, while it might be shocking for a Republican to find himself supporting a welfare program for poor people, he is being disingenuous if he suggests that he opposes socialism in general. While he might disagree with Democrat Bernie Sanders in degree, he shares a deep commitment to socialism in principle with that self-labeled socialist.

Americans once had the finest healthcare system in the world — a free-market healthcare system. It was so reasonably priced that hardly anyone had medical insurance, with the possible exception of catastrophic insurance. It was a system in which people in all income categories were being treated. Doctors, who at that time loved their profession, would voluntarily provide free healthcare services to poor people simple out of sense of moral obligation.

The enactment of Medicare and Medicaid succeeded in destroying that healthcare system. That’s when healthcare costs began soaring, launching an ever-increasing set of healthcare crises, followed by healthcare reform after healthcare reform. Meanwhile, doctors began hating what they do in life and began checking out with early retirement.

Of course, no reform has ever worked to resolve the healthcare crises. There is a simple reason for that: Socialism cannot be made to work, even when it’s not referred to as socialism and even when it’s run by American bureaucrats…

There is only one way to get America back on the track toward the finest healthcare system in history: the repeal (not the reform) of Medicare and Medicaid and the total separation of healthcare and the state. There is no other way. Socialism cannot be made to work, not with Medicaid expansion, not with Medicare for all, and not with a full socialist government takeover of healthcare.

Finally, and most important, there is no way to reconcile a system of mandatory charity, which is what Medicare and Medicaid are based on, with the principles of a genuinely free society. Thus, Americans have to make a choice: Do you want freedom or do you want the “security” that supposedly comes with Medicare, Medicaid, and other socialist programs? You can’t have both because freedom and mandatory charity are opposites. The choice must be made: Freedom or “security”?

I say: Let’s go with freedom. Let’s repeal, not reform, Medicare and Medicaid. Let’s cast America’s horrific experiment with healthcare socialism into the dustbin of history and restore a free-market healthcare system to our land.

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Socialist Promises – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 22, 2019

Socialism promises a utopia that sounds good, but those promises are never realized. It most often results in massive human suffering. Capitalism fails miserably when compared with a heaven or utopia promised by socialism. But any earthly system is going to come up short in such a comparison.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/05/walter-e-williams/socialist-promises/

By

Presidential contenders are in a battle to out give one another. Senator Elizabeth Warren proposes a whopping $50,000 per student college loan forgiveness. Senator Bernie Sanders proposes free health care for all Americans plus illegal aliens. Most Democratic presidential candidates promise free stuff that includes free college, universal income, “Medicare for All” and debt forgiveness.

Their socialist predecessors made promises too. “Freedom and Bread” was the slogan used by Adolf Hitler during the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi) campaign against president Paul von Hindenburg. Hitler even promised, “In the Third Reich every German girl will find a husband.” Stalin promised a great socialist-Marxist society that included better food and better worker conditions. China’s Mao Zedong promised democratic constitutionalism and the dream that “farmers have land to till.” These, and other promises, gave Mao the broad political support he needed to win leadership of the entire country in 1949…

Capitalism, or what some call free markets, is relatively new in human history. Prior to capitalism, the way individuals amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. With the rise of capitalism, it became possible to amass great wealth by serving and pleasing your fellow man. Capitalists seek to discover what people want and produce and market it as efficiently as possible as a means to profit. A historical example of this process would be John D. Rockefeller, whose successful marketing drove kerosene prices down from 58 cents a gallon in 1865 to 7 cents in 1900. Henry Ford became rich by producing cars for the common man. Both Ford’s and Rockefeller’s personal benefits pale in comparison to the benefits received by the common man who had cheaper kerosene and cheaper and more convenient transportation. There are literally thousands of examples of how mankind’s life ha been made better by those in the pursuit of profits. Here’s my question to you: Are the people who, by their actions, created unprecedented convenience, longer life expectancy and a more pleasant life for the ordinary person — and became wealthy in the process — deserving of all the scorn and ridicule heaped upon them by intellectuals and political hustlers today?..

By the way, I’m not making an outright condemnation of socialism. I run my household on the Marxist principle, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” That system works when you can remember the names of all involved.

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The Socialist Utopia [MYTH] of Nordic Countries - Ben ...

 

 

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Ending the Pentagon’s Long Con – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on May 1, 2019

In short, the U.S. spends staggering sums annually, essentially stolen from a domestic economy and infrastructure that’s fraying at the seams, on what still passes for “defense.” The result: botched wars in distant lands that have little, if anything, to do with true defense, but which the Pentagon uses to justify yet more funding, often in the name of “rebuilding” a “depleted” military. Instead of a three-pointed pyramid scheme, you might think of this as a five-pointed Pentagon scheme, where losing only wins you ever more, abetted by lies that just grow and grow.

The Pentagon will never be forced to make significant reforms until Americans stop believing in (and consenting to) its comforting lies.

https://original.antiwar.com/william_astore/2019/04/30/ending-the-pentagons-long-con/

Originally posted at TomDispatch.

Consider it a conundrum. Both parties in Congress and the president simply can’t pour enough money into the Pentagon and the rest of the national security state. As a result, theirs has been a cumulative trillion-dollar budget for years and it’s still on the rise. On the other hand, the domestic basics are increasingly being starved. When the president’s long-delayed infrastructure plan finally made it to Congress, two years late, it disappeared without a trace. Meanwhile, the country’s roads, rail networks, dams, schools, and so on are in increasingly poor shape. (In reality, the only infrastructure being built up is the Pentagon’s.) Meanwhile, Medicare is now slated to become insolvent in 2026, three years earlier than previously expected. As for the Social Security system, according to the latest government report, its costs will exceed its income next year and it’s expected to become insolvent in 2035. The result: retirement payments are likely to diminish and healthcare costs for aging Americans rise.

I sometimes imagine bringing back my long-dead parents and trying to explain to them what this country now does and doesn’t invest in. They would, I know, be genuinely shocked and that sense of shock, so appropriate for their time and experience, should be no less appropriate now. After all – and here’s that conundrum I mentioned – Washington is no longer eager to invest in what actually works in this country, while politicians from both parties and the president are filled with enthusiasm for a vast and growing military system that doesn’t work at all. From ridiculous sums going into weaponry that’s superfluous or unlikely to function as advertised to ridiculous sums going into distant wars that never end, the U.S. military has in the twenty-first century been a misfire machine of the first order. And unlike infrastructure, Medicare, or Social Security, the less it all works, the more eager Congress and the president are to dump your tax dollars into it.

Consider it a first-class puzzle, one that, in his own striking fashion, TomDispatch regular William Astore, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and historian, takes on today as he considers how the Pentagon has conned us all. ~ Tom

How the Pentagon Took Ownership of Donald Trump

By William J. Astore

Donald Trump is a con man. Think of Trump University or a juicy Trump steak or can’t-lose casinos (that never won). But as president, one crew he hasn’t conned is the Pentagon. Quite the opposite, they’ve conned him because they’ve been at the game a lot longer and lie (in Trump-speak) in far biglier ways.

People condemn President Trump for his incessant lying and his con games – and rightly so. But few Americans condemn the Pentagon and the rest of the national security state, even though we’ve been the victims of their long con for decades now. As it happens, from the beginning of the Cold War to late last night, they’ve remained remarkably skilled at exaggerating the threats the U.S. faces and, believe me, that represents the longest con of all. It’s kept the military-industrial complex humming along, thanks to countless trillions of taxpayer dollars, while attempts to focus a spotlight on that scam have been largely discredited or ignored.

One thing should have, but hasn’t, cut through all the lies: the grimly downbeat results of America’s actual wars. War by its nature tells harsh truths – in this case, that the U.S. military is anything but “the finest fighting force that the world has ever known.” Why? Because of its almost unblemished record of losing, or at least never winning, the wars it engages in. Consider the disasters that make up its record from Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s to, in the twenty-first century, the Iraq War that began with the invasion of 2003 and the nearly 18-year debacle in Afghanistan – and that’s just to start down a list. You could easily add Korea (a 70-year stalemate/truce that remains troublesome to this day), a disastrous eight-year-old intervention in Libya, a quarter century in (and out and in) Somalia, and the devastating U.S.-backed Saudi war in Yemen, among so many other failed interventions…

And this endless long con of the Pentagon’s was all the more effective because so many of its lies were sold by self-serving politicians. Exhibit one was, of course, John F. Kennedy’s embrace of that false missile gap in winning the 1960 presidential election. Still, the Pentagon was never shy in its claims. Take the demand of the Air Force then for 10,000 – yes, you read that right! – new ICBMs to counter a Soviet threat that then numbered no more than a few dozen such missiles (as Daniel Ellsberg reminds us in his recent book, The Doomsday Machine).

To keep the Air Force happy, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara settled on a mere 1,000 land-based Minuteman missiles to augment the 54 older Titan II ICBMs in that service’s arsenal, a figure I committed to memory as a teenager in the 1970s. And don’t forget that some of those missiles were MIRVed, meaning they had multiple nuclear warheads that could hit many targets. It all added up to the threat of what, in those years, came to be called “mutually assured destruction,” better known by its all-too-apt acronym, MAD.

And the Pentagon’s version of madness never ends. Think, for instance, of the planned three-decade $1.7 trillion “modernization” of the U.S. nuclear triad now underway, justified in the name of “overmatching” China and Russia, “near-peer” rivals in Pentagon-speak. No matter that America’s current triad of land-based, submarine-based, and air-deployed nukes already leave the arsenals of those two countries in the shade.

Reason doesn’t matter when the idea of a new cold war with those two former enemies couldn’t be more useful in justifying the through-the-ceiling $750 billion defense budget requested by President Trump for 2020. The Democrats have pushed back with a still-soaring budget of $733 billion that accepts without question the “baseline” minimum demanded by Pentagon officials, a level of spending Trump once called “crazy.” Talk about resistance being futile!

In other words, when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars, the Washington establishment of both parties has essentially been assimilated into the Pentagon collective. The national security state, that (unacknowledged) fourth branch of government, has in many ways become the most powerful of all, siphoning off more than 60% of federal discretionary spending, while failing to pass a single audit of how it uses such colossal sums….

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Guess who ends up paying those taxes meant only for the rich… | The Daily Bell

Posted by M. C. on April 15, 2019

https://www.thedailybell.com/all-articles/news-analysis/guess-who-ends-up-paying-those-taxes-meant-only-for-the-rich/

By Joe Jarvis

Imagine starting a small business in the USA in 1875.

Imagine working for yourself, or building a company from scratch. With no corporate taxes, and no income taxes, you kept the full rewards of your risk and labor.

It’s not surprising that in about 100 years the United States went from non-existent, to having the largest economy in the world.

Unparalleled economic freedom helped create the industrial revolution which spurred legendary economic growth from 1870 through the turn of the century.

For most of the 19th century, the main source of tax revenue for the federal government was tariffs—taxes on imported goods.

But in 1913, everything changed.

Around the world, communist and socialist philosophies were spreading. Marx was a hero. The Bolsheviks would come to power in Russia in just a few years. And America was caught up in the same craze.

There were all these rich people in America now, and the politicians wanted them to pay their fair share

In 1913, the 16th Amendment was added to Constitution, which allowed Congress to replace tariffs with an income tax as the main source of US federal revenue.

The first income tax code was just four pages long. And the top tax rate was 7% on income over $500,000—worth around $12 million today.

Plus, in today’s money, anyone earning under $76,000 per—most people—paid no income taxes at all. That’s how nice the tax code was…

But it didn’t take long for things to change. Tax rates went up, the exemption fell, and debts from the Great War mounted.

By 1918 the top earners handed over 77% of their income.

The top tax rate made it all the way to 94% by 1944 to pay for World War Two.

(Two years earlier, President Roosevelt proposed a 100% tax rate to fund the war, arguing “no American citizen ought to have a net income, after he has paid his taxes, of more than $25,000 a year.” – about $300k in today’s dollars.)

At the same time, the exemption fell to $500 (from $3,000) and the lowest tax rate spiked to 23% (a 23x increase) – meaning you coughed up 23% of your income over $7,000 in today’s dollars.

In just a few decades, the income tax went from barely skimming from the richest of the rich, to confiscating a quarter of the poorest people’s income…

They start off only targeting the rich. But inevitably, rates go up, and everyone pays.

The Alternative Minimum Tax is another great example. The AMT originally targeted 155 people who were making over what today would be $1.1 million per year, but weren’t paying any federal income taxes because of loopholes and deductions.

But the tax was never adjusted for inflation.

But by 2017, five million taxpayers were paying extra taxes because of the AMT, and more than half of them made less than $200,000 per year.

Same story with self-employment taxes…

Today, people who are self-employed pay double the payroll taxes as typical workers. The government forces them to cover both the employee and employer contributions to Social Security and Medicare…

Do you think if the people from 1913 could see America now, would they still vote for the income tax?

Probably not if they saw which people ended up with the burden…

Be seeing you

tax crime

 

 

 

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Doug Casey on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – Casey Research

Posted by M. C. on January 19, 2019

https://www.caseyresearch.com/casey-daily-dispatch/doug-casey-on-alexandria-ocasio-cortez

 

Justin’s note: America can’t stop talking about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC).

AOC, if you haven’t heard, is a 29-year-old democratic socialist. Earlier this month, she became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

And that concerns me. I say this because her platform is every socialist’s dream. She wants Medicare to be free. She wants college education to be free. She wants to cancel student debt. She wants to hike the minimum wage to $15. And she wants to replace oil and gas with green energy by 2030.

Now, I realize these ideas might sound good to some people. But none of this would come free. It would require massive tax hikes and a lot more national debt. In short, she’s advocating for policies that often destroy entire economies.

Yet, she’s one of today’s most popular political figures…

Doug: Most likely she’s the future of the Democratic Party – and of the U.S. Why? She’s cute, vivacious, charming, different, outspoken, and has a plan to Make America Great Again. And she’s shrewd. She realized she could win by ringing doorbells in her district, where voter turnout was very low, and about 70% are non-white. There was zero motivation for residents to turn out for the tired, corrupt, old hack of a white man she ran against.

She’s certainly politically astute – but doesn’t seem very intelligent. In fact, she’s probably quite stupid. But let’s define the word stupid, otherwise, it’s just a meaningless pejorative – name-calling.

But in fact it doesn’t seem like she has a very high IQ. I suspect that if she took a standardized IQ test, she’d be someplace in the low end of the normal range. But that’s just conjecture on my part, entirely apart from the fact a high IQ doesn’t necessarily correlate with success. Besides, there are many kinds of intelligence – athletic, aesthetic, emotional, situational…

A high IQ can actually be a disadvantage in getting elected. Remember it’s a bell-shaped curve; the “average” person isn’t terribly smart, compounded by the fact half the population has an IQ of less than 100. And they’re suspicious of anyone who’s more than, say, 15 points smarter than they are.

However, there are better ways to define stupid than “a low score on an IQ test,” that apply to Alexandria. Stupid is the inability to not just predict the immediate and direct consequences of actions, but especially the indirect and delayed consequences of your actions.

She’s clearly unable to do that… Read the rest of this entry »

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Republicans’ Responsibility for Socialism’s Comeback

Posted by M. C. on September 18, 2018

http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2018/09/republicans-responsibility-for.html

By Ron Paul

According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos survey, 70 percent of Americans, including about 50 percent of Republicans, support Medicare for all, the latest incarnation of single-payer health care. Republican support for a health plan labeled “Medicare for all” is not surprising considering that Republican
politicians support Medicare and that one of their attacks on Obamacare was that it would harm the program. Furthermore, the biggest expansion of Medicare since its creation — the Part D prescription drug program — occurred under a conservative president working with a conservative Congress.

Conservative Republicans do propose reforming Medicare to reduce its costs, but their proposals are always framed as “saving Medicare,” and most reform plans increase spending. Few conservative Republicans would dare advocate allowing young people to opt out of paying Medicare taxes in exchange for agreeing to forgo Medicare benefits.

Many conservative Republicans favor other government interventions into health care, including many features of Obamacare. In fact, Obamacare’s individual mandate originated as a conservative proposal and was once championed by many leading Republicans. Many other Republicans simply lack the courage to repeal Obamacare, so they say they only want to repeal the “unpopular” parts of the law. It would not be surprising if we soon heard conservatives and Republican politicians talk about defending Obamacare from supporters of socialized medicine. Read the rest of this entry »

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