Charles Ferguson: "Standing Behind Every Great Con Artist Is Someone Like Glenn Hubbard "

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Submitted by Charles Ferguson, Oscar-winning creator of Inside Job

Standing Behind Every Great Con Artist is Someone Like Glenn Hubbard

Mitt Romney has a credibility problem. He changes his beliefs like laundry (abortion, medical insurance, whether Bin Laden was worth killing, attacking Iran), refuses to disclose his tax returns, and won't explain how he could possibly pay for the tax cuts he proposes. But there is another scandal in Romney's campaign -- namely Glenn Hubbard, Romney's chief economic advisor, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under George W. Bush, and is now Dean of Columbia Business School.

I interviewed Hubbard for my documentary film Inside Job, and analyzed his record again for my book Predator Nation. The film interview became famous because Hubbard blew his cool after I interrogated him about his conflicts of interest: "This isn't a deposition, sir. I was polite enough to give you time, foolishly I now see, but you have three more minutes. Give it your best shot." But the really important thing about Hubbard isn't his personality; it's that as an economist and an advisor, he is a total, unmitigated disaster.

First, Hubbard has an abysmal track record in economic policy, including the very issues that Romney has made the pillar of his presidential campaign. Second, like Romney, Hubbard refuses to disclose critical information about his income, conflicts of interest, and paid advocacy activities. Third, both in public statements and in my personal experience, Hubbard has been evasive, misleading, and even dishonest when discussing both policy issues and his own conflicts of interest. And last but not least, those conflicts of interest are huge: Hubbard has long advocated policies that Wall Street loves, often without disclosing that he is, in fact, highly paid by Wall Street.

Let's start with tax cuts, since Romney claims that he can cut tax rates sharply without increasing the deficit, and without benefiting the rich. Mr. Romney claims that tax cuts will be fully paid for by closing loopholes and deductions, and will not add to the deficit; Hubbard has publicly supported Romney's claims. Interestingly, Mr. Hubbard has quite a record on this very issue. Shortly after becoming chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors in 2001, he spearheaded the Bush administration's tax cuts, and he said lots about them.

How did that work out? First, we now know that over half of the benefits of the Bush-Hubbard tax cuts went to the top 1 percent of the population. In part to benefit the wealthy, the tax cuts were also structured to reward investment in financial assets, rather than either consumer spending or real capital investment. As a result, the tax cuts caused huge budget deficits, yet did little to stimulate growth or job creation: there were basically no new jobs created during the Bush administration, despite adding trillions to the national debt.

That is not, however, what Hubbard said would happen. On August 22, 2001, he published anarticle in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Tax Cuts Won't Hurt the Surplus." Oops. In the article, also, Hubbard predicts that his tax cuts would preserve the Clinton budget surpluses by causing GNP to grow 0.3 percent per year faster.

Hubbard also co-authored an article with William Dudley, then the chief economist of Goldman Sachs, entitled "How Capital Markets Enhance Economic Performance and Job Creation." It was published by the Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute in 2004, just as the housing bubble was getting seriously crazy. In my filmed interview, here's how Hubbard described the article:

INTERVIEWER: In 2004 you co-wrote a paper with William Dudley, who was then the chief economist of Goldman Sachs. What do you think about the arguments you made in that paper?

GLENN HUBBARD: As I recall that paper, the arguments were basically to the effect that healthy capital markets are important for the economy, views that I held before and certainly hold after.

Well, here's what that paper really said. Hubbard wrote that "The ascendancy of the U.S. capital markets" had yielded "enhanced stability of the U.S. banking system... more jobs and higher wages... less frequent and milder [recessions}... a revolution in housing finance." Later in the article: "The capital markets have helped make the housing market less volatile... " Next, "Credit crunches... are a thing of the past... " and my personal favorite, "The revolution in housing finance has also... been important in making the economy less cyclical." In other parts of the article, Hubbard and Dudley specifically praise credit default swaps for their role in reducing and spreading risk. Like wow, man.

Hubbard refused to tell me whether he was paid to write that article; no payment is disclosed in the document itself, nor on Hubbard's CV. Which brings us to Mr. Hubbard's many, many disclosure problems and conflicts of interest. After the release of my film Inside Job, Columbia University was forced to establish disclosure requirements for the first time for its professors. At the time, Hubbard stated that he welcomed them. Well, it wasn't quite that way in our interview. Here are some selections, verbatim and unedited:

INTERVIEWER: Let me go back to your own personal business involvements. I'm looking at your résumé now, and I guess it looks to me as if the majority of your outside activities are consulting and directorship arrangements with the financial services industry. Would you not agree with that characterization?

GLENN HUBBARD: Not to my knowledge. I don't think my consulting clients are even on my C.V.

INTERVIEWER: Who are your consulting clients?

GLENN HUBBARD: I don't believe I have to discuss that with you. You have a few more minutes and the interview's over.

Slightly later:

INTERVIEWER: Okay. Who are you a director of?

GLENN HUBBARD: I don't believe I have to answer that question.

Well, actually, now that Columbia had adopted disclosure regulations, we now know at least something about Hubbard's income sources, and the overwhelming majority of them are in the financial sector. The HTML version his CV (which you can read here) does not fully disclose his activities, but if you click on the PDF version, you see more. And what you see is that at least two thirds of his literally dozens of consulting, advisory, and directorship arrangements over the last decade are with the financial sector -- MetLife, KKR, Goldman Sachs, Freddie Mac, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, the list goes on and on.

Even Columbia's new policy does not require Hubbard to disclose how much they pay him; all we know currently comes from required SEC disclosures of his director's fees from the boards of three financial sector companies, which pay him over $700,000 per year. His total financial sector income, including consulting and speaking, is undoubtedly much higher. Yet here's how he described his income in our interview, once again verbatim and unedited:

INTERVIEWER: Forgive me, but I'm going to be direct: How does your personal income compare, your private income as opposed to your university salary?

GLENN HUBBARD: Vastly times more, because I write textbooks, so that's much more remunerative than being a professor.

INTERVIEWER: How about your consulting income from the financial services industry, and your directorships?

GLENN HUBBARD: I don't do much consulting in the financial services industry. I do have some directorships, but the income from those would be modest compared to my other income.

Textbooks. You read that correctly. As for not doing "much" consulting for the financial sector, I counted consulting or directorships with 29 financial sector firms on your CV. And your $700K per year directorship income is "modest" compared to the other stuff? Really, now, Glenn.

But we're not done yet. There is a more that Hubbard still hasn't disclosed, and refused to disclose to us when we were making Inside Job. On his CV, Hubbard lists The Analysis Group as a consulting client. That is misleading at best. The Analysis Group is one of a half dozen major firms that specializes in matching private companies and lobbying groups, who are the real clients, with professors who they pay to support their positions in regulatory, policy, Congressional, and legal disputes. It was The Analysis Group, for example, that arranged for Hubbard to testify on behalf of two Bear Stearns hedge fund managers who were prosecuted for securities fraud in 2009. Hubbard was paid $100,000 for his testimony.

Hubbard has been affiliated with the Analysis Group for many years, but when we asked him, he refused to disclose who he had worked for or what he had done. He also refused to provide us with a copy of the Federal financial disclosure form he was required to submit in 2001; we couldn't obtain it from the White House, because they had already destroyed (yes, that is interesting, isn't it?). Nor has Hubbard provided his total consulting income, his tax returns, or a comprehensive list of his income sources and clients for the period since he left the White House in 2003.

So the next time you hear Mitt Romney refuse to release his tax returns, and then tell you that he can cut taxes and balance the budget while creating lots of jobs, well... I would ask you to remember that standing behind every great con artist is someone like... Glenn Hubbard.

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Sat, 11/03/2012 - 10:26 | 2944019 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

So this douche bag, whom I remember very well from the film, is Romney's, I mean Wall Street's, secret economic weapon....

BOHICA everyone!

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 10:31 | 2944030 economics9698
economics9698's picture

Hubbard, UCF grad, is a fucking Keynesian.  His textbook is 50% propaganda bull shit.  Political programming for the masses. 

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 10:42 | 2944056 ThirdWorldDude
ThirdWorldDude's picture

Is Glenn related to L. Ron Hubbard? That would explain a lot!

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 10:56 | 2944075 economics9698
economics9698's picture

The Bush tax cuts, 2003, resulted in a revenue increase of 40.1%. If I told you that the increase in revenue was because of the Bush tax cuts I would be lying. Alan Greenspan’s 1% federal funds rate and the housing boom created most of the tax revenue increase but the Bush tax cuts were instrumental in giving the green light to consumers to spend, spend spend.

It’s a lie that tax cuts hurt tax collections. Unless they are below 25%, and we have not seen that rate since Calvin Coolidge, they collect MORE taxes because of increased economic activity.

Reagan collected 69% more revenue over his 8 years.

Kennedy posthumous cuts in 1964 greatly expanded tax collections.

Romney should eliminate corporate taxes and cut the top rate down to 30%.

The author does not understand why there is such wealth inequality and blames it on tax cuts. He is clueless. The reason for the wealth inequality, which began in 1971, is because of inflation.

The rich and government own the means of production and can raise prices whenever they want and have the ability to do so. The working class cannot and their wages are subject to supply and demand. With unlimited immigration, higher payroll taxes for social programs like Medicare and social security, and constant inflation of course they are going to lose out.

It has nothing to do with the top rate going from 39.6% to 35%. This is absurd.

These economic “experts” should do a little fucking research before they open their fucking mouth making a fool of themselves before a national audience.

Hubbard is clueless as well.

If you want to stop wealth inequality return to a gold or silver standard.  Until then these assholes are talking bull shit.

 

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/FGRECPT?cid=107

 

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 11:00 | 2944083 bobnoxy
bobnoxy's picture

Er...maybe not.

 

''The Congressional Research Service (CRS) isn’t explaining why it recently decided to pull a study that examined Republican theories about tax cuts for the rich and found them wanting.

''The study looked at 65 years of tax policies and compared them with resulting effects on America’s gross domestic product, finding that cutting taxes for the very wealthy has never led to job creation and mostly just tends to encourage greater income disparity between the rich and the poor.

“The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth,” the study concludes. “The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution.” 

Raw Story (http://s.tt/1rJOR)

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/11/02/congressional-research-service-pul...

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 11:28 | 2944124 economics9698
economics9698's picture

I have researched this pig nine ways to midnight.  When the US went off the gold standard and the money creation locomotive went into high gear the bottom 90% lost out. 

Main causes,

1.  Inflation. 

2.  Taxes.

3.  Immigration.

Think about it a second, 10 million illegal immigrant blue collar workers flooding the labor market during the housing boom.  What do you think will happen?

Social Security taxes going from 2% of GDP to 6%.  Who does that hit?  It’s not the rich.

Inflation.  How often do workers get a raise?  How often can a merchant raise prices?  Do the math.

So tired of all these lazy greedy corrupt “economist” covering up for the elites theft.

Get a silver or gold standard and living standards will increase for all if, for no other reason, than capital will be efficiently allocated and not wasted on housing bubbles.  The gold standard also put a cost on money so assholes on Wall Street who get $20 million dollar bonuses would have to be paid in real gold money, not some paper Ben prints out of his ass whenever he wants.

It’s all right there on the White House Historical Tables.

Fucking look once in awhile, you might learn something.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals

Lazy MF economists covering for the elites.

 

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 12:01 | 2944244 aint no fortuna...
aint no fortunate son's picture

All good reasons but I believe there's an additional key one. Reagan brought in Donald Regan, CEO of Merrill Lynch, who ended up holding positions as his CoS and SecTreas. As the latter, he pushed to deregulate commercial banks and S&L's - we know how that worked out in the late '80's/early 90's. I doubt it was a coincidence that under Reagan/Regan the entire country went on a spending spree,, buy now, pay later - CONgress with the joys of deficit spending, civilians with a massive proliferation of credit cards. Wall St revved up its "asset" securitization engines and the rest was history. Under Reagan US debt surged over the $1 TRILLION level and it obviously hasn't looked back ever since, and no matter who wins this farce of an"election" we'll be over $20 Trillion in 4 more years.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 15:02 | 2944583 economics9698
economics9698's picture

I agree Reagan/Regan lit the fuse.  Raising taxes on the middle class and cutting taxes for the rich.  Spending increased 76% under Reagan.  Still the main cause of the wealth inequality is no gold standard.

Would the credit expansion be possible with sound money?

I think not.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 16:57 | 2944853 narapoiddyslexia
narapoiddyslexia's picture

Reagan was not relevant. GDP grew exponentially from 1910 to 2007 or so. The causes were outside Reagan's influence. His claim to have affected growth by cutting taxes is the same as the crowing rooster claiming he's the cause of the sunrise. Its a good way to fool the inattentive, but still a false claim.

See the chart

Reagan didn't affect anything that I can see. The growth curve did not change its inflection during his term.

Where am I wrong? [I'm no expert, just a guy with question.]

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 17:06 | 2944874 economics9698
economics9698's picture

Here is the inflation chart.

 http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?s[1][id]=CPIAUCSL

They look the same.

ZH has some good blogs on productivity growth and wages, the seperate in 1971.

Inflation.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 17:12 | 2944889 I am more equal...
I am more equal than others's picture

The author of this article is a fucking idiot.  A victim of group think for popularity. 

With statements like this "won't explain how he could possibly pay for the tax cuts he proposes" shows a mindset that is totally corrupt.  First, taxes are a confiscation process that pays for ever expanding government.  The origin of the money comes from my hard work (and people like me) - I do not work hard for the government - I work hard for my family.  My obligation to government - taxes - should decrease the more I make not increase.  Government should be limited to what it can do - fucking idiots like this author want ever expanding services.  FUCK YOU! Fuck the bitch the birthed you and the winch that birthed her - she was probably an FDR whore and you the product of an enormous progressive idiot.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 19:41 | 2945219 tooktheredpill
tooktheredpill's picture

Nice troll looking avatar too.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 22:53 | 2945557 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

you really have a way with words.  i'm convinced.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 12:14 | 2944279 11b40
11b40's picture

While you do make some valid points, you still need to do some more work.  No where in your research do you mention jobs....or the lack thereof.  Gutting our manufacturing base and the financialization of every thing that moves, or can be found to have any value, is one of the root causes of all this, but there are many reasons that contribute to our dire situation.

Regarding the Kennedy tax cuts, do you recall what the top rates were back then?  As a reminder, they were 92% - more than 2 times as high as today.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 13:24 | 2944421 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

 

It's an EXCESS OF LABOUR. When the labour pool tipped in the 70s everything fell apart which lead to a huge expansion of credit and financialization of the economy. 

Exceess of labour means people get paid less (less tax revenue), which means they can buy less (GDP drops) and people need to borrow more to keep up (causing inflation). This turns into a vicious cycle. 

And it doesn't matter what you do as far as changing the tax code or implementing a gold standard. As technological innovation continues (replacing jobs) and cheaper manufacturing bases continue to pop up globally there is no way the amount of jobs necessary to keep up with the workforce will be created. 

Specialized highly educated workers will always be in demand, but the whole thing with "specialized" is those jobs are rare. The rest of the workforce is in serious trouble. 

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 15:00 | 2944597 economics9698
economics9698's picture

"No where in your research do you mention jobs....or the lack thereof.  Gutting our manufacturing base and the financialization of every thing that moves, or can be found to have any value, is one of the root causes of all this, but there are many reasons that contribute to our dire situation."

Trade deficit?

Take a look here.

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NETFI?cid=108

 

What do you see before 1971 and after?

When you can print the medium of exchange and the medium of exchange is not backed by gold and other countries are lined up to buy the worthless paper then why not take advantage of it?  After all its not your ass losing a job.

Simply put it is cheaper fro the elites to printing money and import cheap shit to sell than pay real American workers in real plants to make real shit.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 15:13 | 2944607 economics9698
economics9698's picture

"It's an EXCESS OF LABOUR. When the labour pool tipped in the 70s everything fell apart which lead to a huge expansion of credit and financialization of the economy."

 

Foreign born Americans was at a all time 20th century low of 4.7% in 1970 and has increased steadily to 12.3% today.  The elites want cheap labor and democrat votes.

For those interested here is a link to the income tax top rates from the Brookings Institute.

Kennedy 91 to 77.

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?DocID=543&Topic2id=30&Topic3id=38

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 17:27 | 2944923 11b40
11b40's picture

There are plenty of contributing factors, but you are correct.  Without U.S. Dollar hegemony, this would not have happened.

It was around 1974 that the lobbyists for the mass merchants & catalog showrooms finally got their way and had fair trade laws abolished in America.  Congress signed on to the idea that the maker could not control how his product was sold once title passed to the seller.  No longer was the smaller merchant protected.  No longer was a carefully developed brand from a smaller manufacturer protected. 

At the same time, these mass merchants were also working hard to reduce and/or eiminate tariffs. 

These 2 factors went hand-in-hand in allowing our manufacturing base for consumer goods to be siphoned off and re-deployed wherever the lowest cost labor could be found.

I have been involved with the retail industry for 40 years in various capacities, and traveled the trails of production from the U.S. to Japan, then Korea, then Tiawan, then mainland China.  We are now watching China lose market share in certain categories to India, Viet Nam, Maylasia, and other third world countries.

All the while, even though my income increasingly came from imported goods, I kept saying this was wrong.  I knew immediately that Ross Perot was 100% correct in 1992 when he railed against NAFTA with his "giant sucking sound" commentary.  We should NEVER have allowed this flood of cheap merchandise to pour into this country, force our domestic factories to compete against subsidized foreign industry, eliminate our manufaturing jobs, destroy the tax base, and dramatically drive up the costs of social programs.

We should never have allowed the multi-nationals to buy Congress, either, or finacial institutions to grow from 15% of the economy to almost 45%.  We should not have bought the supply-side, trickle down economics fairy tale.  It was a bad joke, and the joke was on us.

Now, we are well and truly screwed as a country.  Things are, in my opinion, much worse than most realize, and I do not know if there are any viable solutions that preserves the America we once had.  It's kind of like a beautiful tropical fish aquarium.  By turning up the heat, we can make fish stew from it.  Once it becomes fish stew, it can never be made back into an aquarium.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 11:11 | 2944125 nope-1004
nope-1004's picture

I will be contacting Columbia University and advising that they have a corrupt, inbred douche on staff.  Universities and colleges need to gain respect, as that is what higher learning is about.  Universities and colleges do not need to be aligning themselves with white collar, insider trading, faggots.

 

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 12:06 | 2944253 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

"I will be contacting Columbia University and advising that they have a corrupt, inbred douche on staff."

Geez that will narrow it down. What university staff is not 99% corrupt inbred douches?

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 12:58 | 2944381 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Columbia is very well aware. I've posted this clip many times, but it never gets old - Hubbard in inside job, enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlIoeTObmEk

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 11:13 | 2944132 redpill
redpill's picture

People are missing the forest for the trees.  None of Romney's flip-flopping promises are relevant, because even if he wins the White House, the Republicans won't have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and the Democrats will oppose every one of his policies in retaliation for kicking their golden boy out of office.  But the red teamers eat up the propaganda like the shit is already passed and that it all works out in the end.

And while I despise Mitt Romney, the faux outcry to see his old tax returns as if that is going to have a bearing on his qualifications is disingenuous.  The only reason people want to get their hands on them is to comb through them and try to find some dirt to use against him politically.  In that context I'm surprised he released the two years of returns that he did.  If a potential employer asked me to provide them multiple years of tax returns I'd tell them to go fuck themselves.  Plus I don't think one need to point out the irony of blue teamers complaining about a candidate not releasing personal documents.

 

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 11:18 | 2944144 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

and Obummer paid what, 20% income taxes in 2011? It's F R A U D on both sides on the ugly gov divide.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 11:24 | 2944156 redpill
redpill's picture

If anyone were honestly concerned about ensuring the tax system was fair we would replace the income tax and corporate tax system with a consumption tax on new retail goods and services that would act much more like a wealth tax than the income tax does.  It would also encourage saving, which we desperately need, give people more choices in when and how to pay tax, and would result in a rush of capital back into the country since there would no longer be a reason to hide it offshore.

 

But people aren't serious about it.  They are consumed by the red team / blue team horse race and will view every and any issue through their partisan perspective.

 

Disclosure:  Don't blame me, I voted for Ron Paul

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 12:40 | 2944341 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

"we would replace the income tax and corporate tax system with a consumption tax on new retail goods and services"

My income got taxed on the way in.  Now you want to tax my savings when I spend them?  Fuck that.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 13:11 | 2944409 redpill
redpill's picture

You're already paying indirect taxes on your savings anyway. Corporate and payroll taxes get passed on to you every day. Besides it would also be offset by lack of income tax going forward. Ideally older folks wouldn't spend the principal of their savings anyway, but rather use the interest or dividends as income for expenses. Of course that's hard with ZIRP, but assuming we wrestled our monetary policy away from Keynesian madmen (which is about as likely as politicians giving up their ability to trade tax giveaways for votes through the income tax system) it would be a massive net benefit.

But even if all that were not the case, I'd rather take a hit on my savings today but ensure a future for me and future generations where the IRS and politicians no longer get to stick their fingers into every detail of every person's financial life each year. I don't think people realize the destruction our tax code inflicts on the economy.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 15:10 | 2944618 economics9698
economics9698's picture

I second whatever red pill said.  Some good insights.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 16:27 | 2944788 t0mmyBerg
t0mmyBerg's picture

If you believe those sons of bitches will allow the income tax to decline as an offset to the VAT if they can get it through, you are smoking some seriously powerful hashish.  It will merely result in a new higher level of tax for all.  They must not be allowed under any circumstances whatsoever to assess a VAT in America.

Sun, 11/04/2012 - 08:15 | 2945116 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

"You're already paying indirect taxes on your savings anyway."

That's no reason to pile direct taxes onto my savings.

" Ideally older folks wouldn't spend the principal of their savings anyway, but rather use the interest or dividends as income for expenses. Of course that's hard with ZIRP,"

Old folks spend their principal.  This isn't your "ideal" world.  Hard with ZIRP?  LOL.  You should have stopped right there.

"but assuming we wrestled our monetary policy away from Keynesian madmen"

LOL.  Come back with your proposal when that happens.  The answer is still 'No'.

"But even if all that were not the case, I'd rather take a hit on my savings today but ensure a future for me and future generations where the IRS and politicians no longer get to stick their fingers into every detail of every person's financial life each year."

Dude, they tap your phone, they read your email and they inspect your butthole every time you fly.  Hang on to your checkbook.  You might need it.

 

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 20:14 | 2945284 Acet
Acet's picture

Consumption taxes are regressive in that they affect the most those people that spend the biggest percentage of their income, i.e. the poorest.

Poor people don't save: they earn very little money and have to spend all of it in essentials.

Middle class people save little if any since they have little or no money left after essentials and some consumption.

Rich people spend a small percentage of their income in consumption and even after spending in luxuries, they still have most of their income left which is often used in things like property. Certainly, it's not going to be spent in one country only.

So your consumption tax is designed to fuck the poor, hard, and fuck the middle class while the rich keep most of their income. Well done! Great idea! Where did you got it from, the Cato Institute?

 

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 13:16 | 2944415 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

"replace"

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 19:02 | 2945120 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

"Got it".

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 12:52 | 2944363 Nehweh Gahnin
Nehweh Gahnin's picture

"If a potential employer asked me to provide them multiple years of tax returns I'd tell them to go fuck themselves."

 

But then, you're not running for PUBLIC office, are you?  If I am going to trust you with my public policy, I expect you to own up to what you do and who you are.  If, otoh, I am merely hiring you to do a job, I expect you to do that job according to the criteria and goals I set for you, perform well, and make it more profitable for me to pay you than to not.  And if I am hiring you to do my finances, I damn sure WILL be looking at your financial record, and if you tell me to fuck myself, well, I guess you're not the one for the job, are you?

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 13:40 | 2944452 redpill
redpill's picture

Really?  Do you demand to see your accountant's personal tax returns?  You'd have a hard time finding a CPA that would agree to that.

This is why we wind up with douchebags in public office, because they are only ones willing to go through the unreasonable process.  Instead of getting the best person for the job, we get some asshole that doesn't mind having every detail of their life torn apart and spread across every media outlet known to man. 

Divorce papers, tax returns, college transcripts, it's all bullshit.  It gets demanded for mudslinging purposes, not because it's actually a way to appraise a candidates qualifications. 

As long as we make it clear that political candidates are going to have every aspect of their entire lives disgorged, we'll only get the scum to run that are so power-hungry that they are willing to put up with it.

 

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 14:05 | 2944495 OneTinSoldier66
OneTinSoldier66's picture

The other end of the spectrum is we know nothing about candidates and vote for them just based upon whether or not we like the sound of their name.

 

Who determines where the line is drawn?

 

I have come to believe that Representative Democracy through electoral politics is a myth. I could vote for someone to represent me, but they're not ever going to be me no matter how hard I pull the lever.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 14:16 | 2944516 redpill
redpill's picture

How about instead of demanding tax returns and divorce papers we demand actual policies and legislation. Proof of action, not just words. Make these assholes actually write up some legislation and say "this is what I will do" instead of the horseshit we put up with in 2008 where all we heard is hope and change only to find out the prick just hands over the legislative agenda to Nancy "you have to pass it to see what's in it" Pelosi. Or Mitt's magical tax world where he promises it will all work out fiscally on the back end. Really? How about you fucking write that one out Willard? And like back in math class, SHOW YOUR WORK.

We hear so much verbal masturbation from these assholes, I'm tired of it. I don't give a shit what they say, show me the laws you'll sign, period.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 14:36 | 2944539 OneTinSoldier66
OneTinSoldier66's picture

I hear ya, loud and clear. +1

 

However, it won't work. The only thing that is a vote is when you trade... spend money, or labor, or barter. That's the only method in which the market receives a signal these days. Now that we have state issued monopoly money, we have the best Government that monopoly money can buy, for those that have state issued monopoly money.

 

Btw, I just want to let you know that I gave you a green arrow on all your posts about a consumption tax. Cheers

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 15:33 | 2944676 Gutterballs
Gutterballs's picture

Studies of time series data are worthless. The past century of data is not a nice gaussian distribution of data points, it is a slow and relentless march towards more debt, more leverage, more financialization, more inflation, etc. Any correlations massaged from the data are suspect, before you even get to the whole "correlation is not cuasation" elephant.

You need to learn to differentiate the signal from the noise. Economic data points are noise. Drawing conclusions based on correlations of noise is not just a waste of time, it also crowds out the pursuit of real knowledge and insight. Do us all a favor and refrain from posting this crap.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 16:52 | 2944840 TheProphet
TheProphet's picture

GDP is a monetary measurement and thus highly susceptible to inflation.

To be sure, Stephanie Pomboy was written up in Barron's a few months back and has attributed 83% of the GDP "growth over the last four years to dollar inflation.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 16:52 | 2944841 TheProphet
TheProphet's picture

GDP is a monetary measurement and thus highly susceptible to inflation.

To be sure, Stephanie Pomboy was written up in Barron's a few months back and has attributed 83% of the GDP "growth over the last four years to dollar inflation.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 11:00 | 2944091 hawk nation
hawk nation's picture

Nice response I'm going to keep my eye on you [supposed to be from the scene in back to school with dangerfield]

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 11:05 | 2944106 CaptainObvious
CaptainObvious's picture

Heh heh, crazy Sam Kinnison.  How I'd like to see him in Nanny Bloomberg's face right now. 

"...putting headbands on, running in the goddamn New York Marathon!  AHHHHHHH!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!"

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 11:15 | 2944139 true brain
true brain's picture

Isn't this a round-about way of attacking Romney on the final weekend before the vote? They're all crooks. What about Obama's con-artist, Corzine, Rubin, Summers, Levit, etc .etc.

That's why I ain't voting no more.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 15:04 | 2944604 Whiner
Whiner's picture

You Sir are not bright. Vote for the candidate who will hurt you LESS! It's like having to choose a bride out of the whore house. Don't pick the one w herpes, but the one with a head cold

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 22:53 | 2945559 true brain
true brain's picture

Whiner, you're such a typical idiotic sheeple. Don't you even think? So Romney take 49% from me and Obama takes 50%, big freaking difference. Both supports NDAA, drones, wars upon wars. If you have a little brain and critical thinking skill,  you will realize that there is essentially no difference between the two. By voting, you legitimize and allow the corrupt government to persist. If 50.01% of voters don't vote, the government does not have legitimate claim to govern and everything must be redone until there is majority vote. Do you understand now? Idiot.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 22:53 | 2945560 true brain
true brain's picture

Whiner, you're such a typical idiotic sheeple. Don't you even think? So Romney take 49% from me and Obama takes 50%, big freaking difference. Both supports NDAA, drones, wars upon wars. If you have a little brain and critical thinking skill,  you will realize that there is essentially no difference between the two. By voting, you legitimize and allow the corrupt government to persist. If 50.01% of voters don't vote, the government does not have legitimate claim to govern and everything must be redone until there is majority vote. Do you understand now? Idiot.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 11:11 | 2944123 i_call_you_my_base
i_call_you_my_base's picture

"Bush tax cuts were instrumental in giving the green light to consumers to spend, spend spend."

Really? I thought it was primarily people levering up their homes.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 11:14 | 2944137 Too Big 2
Too Big 2's picture

You make some good points but let's cut through the b.s.  If the citizens of the USA want to create jobs we only have to establish a flat tax. 

If Romney were smart he would make Forbes his economic advisor and get a flat tax established for both personal and corporate taxes.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 14:37 | 2944560 Kobe Beef
Kobe Beef's picture

If Romney were smart: Ron Paul, Treasury Secretary.

Sat, 11/03/2012 - 12:25 | 2944305 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

the reason for so much inequality is the perpetual bailouts of the real estate "lobby." i think Sandy might have popped the last three bubbles: Manhattan, Switzerland and California. We shall see. Once real estate values nationally start resetting then i think a great "leveling effect" will begin. Obviously your argument is totally false empirically: taxes were astronomical after World War II...and there wasn't a lot of inequality. The current variant only happened after Nixon and the closing of the so called "gold window." Simply put "the rich have gotten bailouts and we've gotten the shaft" ever since.

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