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The U.S. Budget and Compromises

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The Unites States federal budget spends a lot of money: between $3.5 and $4.0 trillion annually.

How much do citizens of the United States earn each year? A little more than $6 trillion. In other words, the U.S. government is spending roughly two-thirds of the amount earned by all working Americans. Two-thirds.

The top 10% of income earners represent $1 trillion in earnings, certainly a lot, equal to the entire stock valuation of Apple (not the same as Apple's earnings, which are $9 billion per quarter, $36 billion annually).

If every penny earned by the top 10% were confiscated it would have no material effect on the federal budget. That's how out of sync spending is today.

The total wealth in the United States is nearly $70 trillion, meaning everything owned by every person or company, at current "fair value" is worth $70 trillion. Yet, if you were to sell off things, they immediately lose that value so this is a complex and rough notion of how much we are …

Trump and Brownback and the GOP

If socialists and statists wanted to damage limited government and republicanism they could not have chosen better men as Manchurians than Trump and Brownback.

Trump is the poster child for crony capitalism and everything against the ideals of a free and open society you could imagine. Open: as in trade, borders, tolerance, speech....

Brownback apparently never completed a serious economics course and certainly never read Adam Smith, Hayek, or Milton Friedman. You balance budgets with mildly progressive taxes that recognize the commons must be funded or the middle-class will revolt. (Smith noted all rebellions in English politics are from the monied classes, not the bottom.)

Low taxes are ideal. As low as the community will tolerate, ideally. Low and fair, rewarding hard work. But you cannot cut taxes without a plan to determine what should be funded and why.

In my ideal world, only first-responders and a handful of other priorities are funded through taxes. As little as possib…

Economics of the Minimum Wage

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Minimum Wage by U.S. state and U.S. territory (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands), as of July 24, 2009. States with minimum wage rates higher than the Federal rate States and territories with minimum wage rates the same as the Federal rate States with no minimum wage law States and territories with minimum wage rates lower than the Federal rate (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Minimum wage debates tend to overstate the estimated and real effects of any changes to the minimum wage in the Unites States. Most studies show a minor increase in a place with wages already rising has no significant effect on employment. But, there is a cost when wages rise quickly and there is an effect when wages fail to keep pace with the cost of living. The problem is that the minimum wage is not, contrary to any mythologies, the income of most adults with full-time work.

As the debates below suggest, there is a limit to what a local economy can bear in terms of wage growth. At the same time, we …

Advice on how to talk to the white working class.

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English: Number of self-identified Democrats vs. self-identified Republicans, per state, according to Gallup, January-June 2010 http://www.gallup.com/poll/141548/States-Competitive-Terms-Party-Identification.aspx. 18 point Democratic advantage 10-17 point Democratic advantage 3-9 point Democratic advantage 2 point Democratic advantage through 2 point Republican advantage 3-9 point Republican advantage 10-17 point Republican advantage 18+ point Republican advantage (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Best interview I've read on the Trump voters. Period. And the Slate reporter? Total jerk. Cannot stand the tone of the questions. I resent the tone. It is precisely why I am not and will never be a Democrat. The insulting, condescending, Thomas Frank "you're all idiots back home" rhetoric pushes me away from the "elites."

The reporter? I dislike him more and more as the interview transcript progresses. A self-absorbed, self-righteous intellectual moron.

I dislike Trump. A…

No Pattern to Strong Economies? Yes! All Western States...

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English: Economic regions of California, as defined by California Economic Strategy Panel, October 2006 Northern California Northern Sacramento Valley Greater Sacramento Bay Area Central Coast San Joaquin Valley Central Sierra Southern California Southern Border (Photo credit: Wikipedia) What do the strongest state economies in the United States share? Blue states with high taxes? NOPE. Red states, with low taxes and right-to-work laws? NOPE.

In the end, it is LOCATION. In particular, the states in the West and Southwest are the big powers of the U.S. economy. That's the only thing they have in common. Really.

Read more:
Economic Power States for 2016-17 - All in the West. The perennial leaders have been California and Utah, two states without a whole lot in common other than mountains, saltwater lakes and the tech industry. Texas kinda sorta belongs on the leader list, too, given that it didn't miss the 2016 top 10 by all that much (it came in 17th place), and it had the countr…

Paris: Not a Treaty… and That's a Mistake

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US-EPA-Seal-EO11628 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) President Trump's potential unilateral withdrawal from the Paris Accord on Climate should remind all politically engaged Americans that there is a risk when presidents ignore process. Executive orders and executive action can be undone.

Had the Paris Accord on Climate been ratified as a treaty, by the Senate, no president could then withdraw unilaterally. The Accord was, unfortunately, not entered into with Senate ratification.

The lesson here: executive-only actions are a bad idea. But, Congress is worthless, too.

Our government is broken. Badly. In case anyone was wondering.

People cheer when "their president" does things without Congress. The problem with executive actions is that they are undone just as easily.

We also shouldn't enter into armed conflict without Congressional approval. But, why bother with details of the Constitutional process?

Related articlesWhat Is The Paris Climate Agreement? Are Accord, Climate C…

Systems are Self-Defensive Organisms

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English: Schematic diagram of the hexon of a virus capsid (Photo credit: Wikipedia) "The surest way to incur the wrath of a government agency is to demand they do their job," a friend from the "justice system" told me.

I'm finally cynical enough to agree and I was pretty cynical before this year.

Once you have a "system" in place, it exists to defend itself. It's like corporations... but with even less oversight. Who controls the system? Other parts of the same larger governmental system? The federal government oversees states, to a degree, but then what?

Though recourse generally exists through courts and legislatures, it's hard to change the bureaucracy.