Monday, April 28, 2008

Just Waiting for the Dog Food

Good thing I buy my Lab high-end dog food.

In an otherwise interesting article about food choices in harder economic times, the New York Times has this gem:
Burt Flickinger, a longtime retail consultant, said the last time he saw such significant changes in consumer buying patterns was the late 1970s, when runaway inflation prompted Americans to “switch from red meat to pork to poultry to pasta — then to peanut butter and jelly.”

“It hasn’t gotten to human food mixed with pet food yet,” he said, “but it is certainly headed in that direction.”

Well, yes. If we GDP goes down 1 percent it isn't economic doom, but it is headed in that direction. The Red Sox might lose one game. That doesn't mean they'll miss the playoffs...yet. But it is headed in that direction.

Burt, I hope you were taken out of context.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Imagine No Possessions, It's Easy If You Try

Yoko Ono is suing the makers of Expelled for using the song Imagine in their documentary. They should be protected by Fair Use.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Is Barack Obama the New Adlai Stevenson


Monday, April 07, 2008

The Day Beer Flowed Again

Sounds like that was a very good day.

Labels: ,

Saturday, April 05, 2008

WSJ Doesn't Want Obama to Raise Capital Gains Rates
Barack Obama recently released his tax records, and it was notable how little he and his wife appear to invest in the stock market. That may explain the Senator's odd belief that a significant hike in the capital gains tax rate won't matter to shareholders or harm the economy.

Or so Mr. Obama's replied to CNBC's Maria Bartiromo when she asked how much he'd increase the cap-gains tax, something he's said is necessary to restore "fairness" to the tax code. Thanks to the 2003 tax cuts, the top rate is currently 15%.

"When I talk to people like Warren Buffett or others and I ask them, you know, what's – how much of a difference is it going to be if it's 20 or 25%, they say, look, if it's within that range then it's not going to distort, I think, economic decision making," he said. He concluded that a higher rate would boost federal receipts, which would allow the government to redistribute "relief to middle class and working class families."

With apologies to economists Buffett and Obama, the history of this tax isn't on their side.

The interesting thing to me, at least, is their references to JFK and Clinton. Well, maybe not JFK. He seems to have been a tax-cutter.
The capital gains rate is crucial to investment decisions; higher rates make capital more expensive, dampening incentives to invest and reducing economic growth. John F. Kennedy understood this, as he proposed a capital gains tax cut. Bill Clinton joined with Republicans in 1997 to sign legislation lowering the rate to 20% from 28%.

Critics howled this would reduce tax revenues, and they howled when Republicans cut the rate to 15% in 2003. What followed in both cases was an enormous "unlocking" effect, as investors sold more stock and assets to take advantage of the lower rate. Capital gains realizations soared to an estimated $729 billion in 2006 from $269 billion in 2002. This goosed Treasury receipts from capital gains, to an estimated $110 billion in 2006 from $49 billion in 2002.

Mr. Obama doesn't have to guess what sort of "distortion" would come from significantly raising the cap-gains rate. In 1986, the tax rate jumped to 28% from 20%, a 40% increase. Tax revenues spiked briefly in anticipation of the hike (as investors moved to cash in at the lower rate), then dropped precipitously. Four years later, in 1990, the federal government was still taking in 13% less revenue at the 28% rate than it did in 1985 at the 20% rate.

That history seems pretty damning to Obama's position.

I would like to say that Warren Buffett's positions on the estate tax and capital gains tax are curious. I guess if you have $40 billion you don't really care much. But as others have pointed out about the estate tax, Buffett benefits from a higher estate tax because it forces people to him.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Presbyterian Thoughts About Issues, Etc.

Issues, Etc. was a confessional Lutheran radio show on KFUO, a station run by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. It was cancelled recently which has caused a storm on the Internet, since it was a popular show.

I should know. I've been listening to it since 2004 and have been a regular caller to the show since 2005.

As a Presbyterian (PCA), I feel this show not only was great for getting across Lutheran theology. It was incredibly valuable resource for the larger body of Christ.

Recently, I needed to respond to someone promoting the Zeitgeist movie. Lo and behold, Issues, Etc. did a half-hour interview on it and it is in my iPod.

In early 2006, they interviewed Bart Ehrman. On the show, he admitted (contrary to what he says on NPR) that we pretty much know what the New Testament authors wrote. That will always be a highlight for me.

While I would love the show to come back, I don't think it should. Rather, it shouldn't come back to where it was. It should be independent. It should be its own ministry.

I'm not sure what that would look like, but I would definitely donate to its efforts.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?