Tuesday, February 24, 2004


Virgina Postrel says official figures make unemployment look a lot worse than it is because the U.S. government's bean-counters miss out on whole categories of small business that have grown rapidly over the last few years.

Learn from Colorado: "Colorado is often cited as the state with the most stringent tax and expenditure limit (TEL) in the country. State elected officials nationwide can learn from how Colorado got its TEL and how it is attempting to cope with recent challenges. One of the most important changes in Colorado tax policy was the adoption in 1987 of a flat income tax set at 5 percent, replacing the graduated income tax."

Take, for instance, the case of Gregory Mankiw, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers. Mankiw has been castigated of late for his pronouncement about the loss of service sector jobs, saying that 'outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade.' Political opposites as different as John Kerry and Dennis Hastert roundly condemned Mankiw, accusing him of economic heresy. But while the lawmakers are right about the importance of jobs, their criticism of Mankiw is off-target. The economist may need some coaching in the art of phrasing his comments, but he is right that job shifting naturally occurs in a global economy."

A good article here about how globalization and outsourcing are changing large numbers of lives in India for the better.

"Argentina's flouting the rule of law explains the poverty of nations. Adam Smith's 'Wealth of Nations' explained how a non-governmental 'invisible hand' in free markets fuels national prosperity. In contrast, as the Argentine example corroborates, national penury is explained by the 'black hands' of government leaders who torch the rule of law and private property rights for political benefit. A succession of Argentine presidents since 1999 have ruined the nation's fortunes by making the laws and contractual promises akin to a restricted railroad ticket, good for this day and train only."

Official U.S. government data on who pays most tax here. Excerpt: "The top one percent of tax filers paid 36.18 percent of federal personal income taxes in 1999, the latest year for which data are available... The 4.00 percent share paid by the bottom half of taxpayers was virtually unchanged during this period, as was the 96.00 percent share borne by the top half". In other words almost all tax in America is paid by "the rich". "The poor" pay nothing.


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