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Economists expect no hyperinflation

April 16, 2010

Given their track record it’s time to start preparing for Zimbabwe like conditions –

On average, the 56 surveyed economists, not all of whom answer every question, expect tame inflation, forecasting consumer prices in December will be just 1.8% above year-earlier levels.

(…)

When asked what presents a bigger risk over the next year, 23 economists said accelerating inflation and 23 said slowing inflation.

(…)

On average, the economists expect the unemployment rate, currently at 9.7%, to fall to just 9.3% by December while the economy adds around 1.9 million jobs over the next 12 months. The survey found that, on average, the economists expect the U.S. economy to expand at about a 3% annual rate in each of the four quarters of this year, although three-quarters said growth is more likely to be stronger than weaker than their forecast.

So a recovering economy slowly gathering strength seems to be the consensus. Whether or not that will be enough to help the democrats in November remains to be seen.

(h/t)

Speaking of November, two Democrat pollsters offer advice on how the Democratic party can avoid an electoral bloodbath – Adopt the TEA Party platform

To turn a corner, Democrats need to start embracing an agenda that speaks to the broad concerns of the American electorate. It should be somewhat familiar: It is the agenda that is driving the Tea Party movement and one that has the capacity to motivate a broadly based segment of the electorate.

(…)

the most recent Gallup poll shows that the Tea Party movement is at least as popular as the Democratic Party. And the Tea Party movement stands for fiscal discipline, limited government and balancing the budget — an agenda that has broad public support extending well beyond the movement. Polling conducted by one of us (Schoen) found that 55 percent of respondents endorse that agenda. More important, a solid majority of swing voters endorse it.

The swing voters, who are key to the fate of the Democratic Party, care most about three things: reigniting the economy, reducing the deficit and creating jobs.

These voters are outraged by the seeming indifference of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, who they believe wasted a year on health-care reform. These voters will not tolerate more diversion from their pressing economic concerns.

The GOP would do pretty well to listen to this advice also

(h/t).

-elsewhere-

Did Glenn Beck go full on religious nutbag yesterday? I caught the last 15 minutes of his show yesterday and it was all about how everything we do politically should be in praise of God and how the only way America can be great again is if we return to God. I admit I didn’t hear everything proceeding so I don’t have much context on this issue but it was a little disturbing.

America actually has a flat tax structure we just don’t realize it.

So, we have federal income-tax rates that are lower than most of our competitors, and are not unusual in terms of their degree of progressivity (although they are much less progressive than they used to be). But those facts are misleading. Payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare are levied at a flat rate, but only up to $106,800, making them regressive (e.g., you pay a higher proportion of your income in payroll taxes if you make $40,000 per year than if you make $240,000). State and local sales taxes are nominally flat, in that everyone pays the same amount per dollar spent, but since poorer people spend a higher proportion of their income, they too are regressive. Property taxes may have some correlation to income (richer people tend to own more valuable homes), but they are far from a perfect proxy for it.

The total result is that different strata of society pay roughly the same share of total taxes as they take home in income. And then you must consider that even the federal income-tax code is riddled with loopholes that favor the wealthy:

It sounds like the poor are disproportionally affected by our current tax structure, but I would argue that they also benefit more from various entitlement programs so maybe it isn’t as unfair as the article makes it sound. Personally if I was trying to fix the tax system I would do a couple things –

1. I would exempt all income at the federal poverty level plus $5000 per household member from federal income tax.
2. There would be 2 tax rates. 20% and 30%. Income greater than item 1 and up to double triple the poverty level plus 5000 / household member would be taxed at 20% income higher than that would be taxed at 30%.
3. No deductions other than retirement savings. (max 15% currently I think)

Like most people I would prefer not to pay taxes at all, but I am also a realist and I know that we never going to get government back to that level. I chose 20 and 30% because I heard on some news program the other day that most people that were polled felt that those were the optimal rates but If I were actually writing this as law I would of course be more scientific.

(Average household size in the US is about 3 so triple poverty rate plus 5000 per person puts taxable income at around 70,000. Under my system the tax on the first $33,000 would be zero and on $33,000 to 70,000 would be .20. anything over 70,000 would be taxed at .30. So if a family of 3 made $80,000 the tax burden would be

((33000*0)+((70000-33001)*.20)+((80000-70001)*.30)-(80000*.15)) )

Never mind I thought about this a bit more and I don’t think it would work

Another thing that I would do if I were fixing things – Means test Social Security and Medicare. I don’t know how much money that would save those programs in the long run but I find the extremely wealthy being eligible for Medicare as irritating as I find people sitting on welfare for years. Social Security and Medicare should be what they were originally intended to be – safety nets, not primary sources for retirement or medical insurance.

Is there a conservative TV network coming? – This is the first I have ever heard of this. If this is true Greg Gutfeld should take Red Eye to prime time.

Megan McCardle looks at the Golden Age of Liberty

First, let’s point out that 1880 simply wasn’t a libertarian paradise–and neither was any other era in American history. Yes, commercial taxes and regulation were lower. On the other hand–even leaving aside the special rules for various minority groups and women–we’re talking about an era of school prayer, blue laws, various gross infringements of economic liberty by state legislatures cutting special deals for their friends, criminal punishment for union organizers, high tariffs, and so on. We’re not arguing about whether we want to be in libertarian paradise, or not. We’re arguing about whether the departures from the ideal in 1880 were better, or worse, than the departures today.

If you are a white male, probably–not definitely, but probably. If you are black, the question is ludicrous–you’re talking about an era of legalized public discrimination. Likewise if you’re gay, which was, as far as I know, an actual criminal offense. But what about white women?

That sounds pretty familiar 🙂

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