Saturday, June 30, 2018

Herbert Hoover and the largest tax increase in American History

I like how the constant harping and carping about tariffs these days gets invoked together with fearmongering about Smoot Hawley and the Great Depression. What is missing? The Revenue Act of 1932. After the 1929 crash there was a small tax cut, but this was overshadowed by Smoot Hawley just months later. In the middle of bad economic times, you simply don't raise taxes, and yes, a tariff is a tax. But let's get to the meat of the numbers, shall we?

The Revenue Acts of 1918 and 1921 had a top tax rate of 73%.

The Revenue Act of 1924 reduced this to a top tax rate of 46%.

The Revenue Act of 1926 reduced this again to a top tax rate of 25%.

It was not raised from this number until The Revenue Act of 1932, which had a top tax rate of 63%. This was lower than the ninteen-teens tax rates of 73%, but considering the jump of 25% to 63%, this is over a 100% increase and it indeed was at the time the largest peacetime tax increase in American history.

But that is not what we received in 2017. For all its flaws, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act does a reverse-Hoover by lowering taxes. I can explain; there is a certain formula here:

1929: poor economy, raising tariffs, largest tax increase in American history. (From what I can tell, they were not lowering burdensome regulations in 1929 either)

2017/2018: decent economy, raising tariffs, lowering taxes as well as lowering regulation.

See the stark differences here? Most of the time we hear that these tariffs should not exist and they will only lead to trade wars and other issues. But in reality it is the 16th amendment which should be repealed. The only thing they get correct when talking about this issue is that a mixture of income taxes and tariffs is a deadly combo. They should not be mixed. But it isn't the tariffs which should be eliminated, it is the income tax which should die a horrible and bloody death.

The Founding Fathers used tariffs as the only (or at least main) form of taxation, and that is probably the most proper way of taxation. The irony of tariffs is that they are in general taxes only on the rich - the problem is that it does not grant the kind of authoritarian domestic controls that income taxes bring, which is really what the progressives love and seek.

Even with taxes, the issue is not actually the issue. For progressives, control is the issue and control is always the real issue. Everything else is merely window dressing. It's always been about control and it has been this way going back to 1906 when income taxes were first proposed by the president in his SOTU that year. It's all about control.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Who was the first President to implement price controls?

The more I research progressivism to discover ways to use their history against them, the more I understand why nobody's ever really done this before. Nobody actually wants the answer to the question because it always leads back to Theodore Roosevelt.

In today's episode of erased history, or how American progressive historians have turned TR's legacy into the American version of a picture missing Nikolai Yezhov, we examine how price controls, contrary to popular belief, was not first implemented by Nixon, or Franklin Roosevelt, or even Woodrow Wilson as a part of the effort for World War I. But it was, naturally, the offspring of authoritarian progressivism. The first progressive is the one who gave us this nonsense. These progressives, they just couldn't wait to take control of everything.

You see, price controls were first implemented in the mix of Theodore Roosevelt's anti-capitalist efforts. Specifically, the war on railroads. The year was 1906. The act was the Hepburn Act. Judge Napolitano, a brave man for taking on TR's legacy and doing the job that most mainstream historians just do not want to do, describes it thusly:

The Hepburn Act gave the Interstate Commerce Commission(ICC) the power to set maximum rates for railroads

In other words, price controls. Which have never worked btw. Price controls are a guaranteed 100% failure of a policy and it was also a failure for TR. In the end, the railroad companies were so damaged by the totality of Hepburn that it gave rise to the modern trucking industry as we know it today.(I wrote about this about a year and a half ago, here) The FTC is quite proud of this legacy of price fixing, as they write here in a suspicious little footnote: (p. 19)

Most significantly, the 1906 Hepburn Act (different from the 1908 Hepburn Bill, discussed infra) empowered the ICC to replace existing rates, upon complaint, with “reasonable” maxima

Yeah right. If you like your railroad rates, you can keep your railroad rates. We know what the progressives consider to be "reasonable" and its never reasonable. But notice their play on words. To "replace existing rates". They could have just said price controls. Theodore Roosevelt even wrote in his own Autobiography, the following: (page 560)

I have always believed that it would also be necessary to give the National Government complete power over the organization and capitalization of all business concerns engaged in inter-State commerce.

Go ahead and show me any big time TR historian who has collected this information and presented the big-government progressive side of our 26th president. I've never seen it. The world has never seen this. We have been lied to on a grand scale by progressives.

As far as the progressive historians are concerned, Theodore Roosevelt was just a great guy. He was just an outdoorsman. Isn't that great? He was just almost assassinated, but nothing more. He even kept speaking! Wasn't he great? Strenuous lifestyle! Strenuous lifestyle! Strenuous lifestyle! In no way shape or form should you ever examine his substantive political record, in no way should you ever examine big government. Shame on you.

Well, shame on me anyways. And it's a shame I proudly wear. Sunlight is the best disinfectant and we've got ourselves a century's old outbreak of progressive bacteria to cleanse. You don't just mow a stubborn garden weed and then hope it goes away. You have to destroy the roots.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Constitution? Not important.

In his book "Progressive Democracy" (1914), Herbert Croly wrote the following: (page 29)
As in the case of every great political edifice, the materials composing the American system are derived from many different sources, and are characterized by unequal values, both as to endurance and as to latent possibilities. The appearance of definiteness and finality which it derives from its embodiment in specific constitutional documents and other authoritative words is to a large extent illusory. Its real origin and meaning are very much more doubtful and complex than these words intimate. Historians are no more agreed as to the former than political theorists are to the latter.

So what do we take from this? The Constitution, well that's not important. It cannot be, if its authority is largely illusory. Additionally, the rise of the professional (progressive) historian brought disagreement, because they too didn't see anything worthy in the Constitution. This benefits political authors and journalists who also have a similar mindset, because now they don't have to point to a friend they work with, they can point to some "distant" "expert" who by only a surface-level examination appears to be unbiased. So wink wink, nod nod over here, wink wink nod nod over there, everybody is in agreement - the Constitution sucks. These are old, outmoded ideals and we should progress toward something which is clearly better. We should progress toward something which is more concrete and not an illusion. Three pages in, Croly clarifies:

Emphatic, however, as was this assertion of its direct control over its own political institutions by the primitive American democracy, its willingness to restrict its own effective political power was no less definite and insistent. It did not show the slightest disposition to translate this supposedly effective popular control over the institutes of government into active popular control over governmental behavior. The democracy abdicated the continuing active exercise of effective power in the very act of affirming the reality of its own ultimate legal authority.

So you see, the illusion is the contradictory assertion of direct control, but yet a restriction on its own power. You need full total control, nothing less! Without full total control, that's the illusion. It's an abdication of effective power, that's what he's saying. The Constitution is, in his view, not important because it's a joke.

People with a mindset such as this cannot understand governmental limitations. Government is force, and these were the people, these progressives, who were born to be our masters. Government should be big, it should be unlimited, and of course! it should be the progressives who are in power until eternity.