Category Archives: Government Issues

the root of the problem

The Population issue and how it concerns us in the near term

The Population issue and how it concerns us in the near term

Based on the estimates by the experts that study and analyze population and based on current technology the Earth’s resources have the ability to “sustain” somewhere between 3 & 5 billion people. What this means, with a population exceeding 7 billion we are using up our resources at an alarming rate. Current projections show that the world’s population will be just short of 10 billion in 2050!

In the past, we have believed that one significant measure of a country’s success is growth in the economy. When we examine this view along with population growth it becomes evident that this belief is not sustainable without creating conflict among countries. As resources dwindle countries will become more protective of the resources they have and they will be much less willing to share. Competition for resources will eventually lead to a significant increase in armed conflicts!

Currently, in the US the death rate is slightly higher than the birth rate which I view as positive. The downside is that there are fewer persons working to support the retirement funds that seniors rely on, especially when the numbers in the senior group continue to increase. You might think that the seniors have paid into Social Security and they are merely getting what they put in returned. Unfortunately, that is not the case, but that is a topic for yet another post to this blog.

Fortunately, we do have a modest growth rate in workforce availability via immigration. Looking forward we must come up with more feasible measures of success that do not rely on depleting resources. I would suggest that both productivity and quality of life are worth considering.

Who pays taxes & who should

Who pays taxes & who should

I admit that I am a bit addicted to the National Debt Clock. While the growth of our debt is alarming and our unwillingness to manage it unconscionable, that web page carries quite a bit of useful information. Anyone can access that information at: https://www.usdebtclock.org/

Before I get to that it is also alarming to know that the currently stands at over $22 trillion and is on target to add over another $trillion in the next 12 months. Putting that into perspective the taxpayers’ average potion of this debt is over $180,000!

What this page contains that pertains to this post is a general breakdown of the sources of the tax revenues: 51% comes from taxes reported on personal tax forms, 35% from payroll taxes. 7% from Companies & 7% from misc. other sources. What is interesting to me is that only 7% is being paid by companies. Prior to the recent tax code change the company portion stood at 9%. While there are those that were appalled by that redistribution of income I am not. I will not repeat what is contained in an earlier post which contends that our economy would benefit in the extreme if there were no corporate taxes, since in the long term all costs eventually are reflected in consumer pricing and become, in effect, a regressive tax.

I am much more concerned with the impact of taxation on the middle class. There are numerous financial definitions of income to describe the middle class. In 2013, Congress quoted its own definition of a middle-class income during the fiscal cliff compromise. It said the middle class is anyone making less $400,000 or couples making less than $450,000. This seems too high for me and does not define a range (no lower boundary). I prefer to be a bit more conservative and will use the range of $30,000 to $300,000 annual family income as a definition.

Family incomes above $300,000 represent only 1% of the population. Family incomes below $30,000 represent 50% of the population. By this definition the middle class represents about 49%. Also using this definition, the middle class (the primary consuming class) bears 63% of the tax burden. My contention is the middle class should be paying no more than their fair share (no more than 49%) and the rich should be paying the amount required to make up for the lack of lower and below poverty families to pay tax (currently at about 4%). This bottom group struggles just to survive.

Again, I will not regurgitate how to achieve this since my approach is contained in previous posts.

One more comment related to companies. I do not think that dividends (the reward for capital investment) should be taxed. We should encourage capital investment!

Facts, Beliefs & Feelings

Facts, Beliefs & Feelings

In Pew Research Center surveys conducted in 2017, 37% of registered voters identified as independents, 33% as Democrats and 26% as Republicans. These are survey “facts” which I assume carry the standard tolerance of + or – 3%.

These facts dictate that neither party will be successful without a near majority of the independent vote support. Finding out what the major issue are for the Independent voters would be a key to winning?

I tend to identify with facts when making decisions including voting decisions. I realize that both beliefs and feelings tend to carry more weight with most voters. For the average person collecting the “facts” is simply not in the cards for a variety of reasons that could well be a topic for a separate posting.

I fear that the majority of voters, regardless of party or independent affiliation are “single issue” voters. The best example of this is the right to life vs abortion issue. My guess is that at least 1/3 of the voters (& likely more) will vote for a candidate based on his or her stance on this one issue, even if the candidate is not sincere about their stance. The preferred candidate might be of despicable character or be way off target on most other issues, but that will not matter.

If the preceding is true then it really narrows down the voting targets. Attempting to appeal to the to other than your party will not be financially productive since 90 – 95 % of Democrats will not stray from their party and the same will hold true for Republicans.

Keeping in mind that most likely 1/3 of the independents are also single- issue voters the target voter prospect is now in the range 23 – 24%. If I was a campaign manager, I would focus on this group in an effort to understand their top 2 – 3 issues since it will likely be the key to winning.

The pundants claim that there are 3 key states that that will determine the outcome of the 2020 Presidential race: Wisconsin, Michigan & Ohio and that the Democratic candidate will likely need to carry all 3 to claim victory.