Who are the 1%?

Who are those 1% of the wealthiest Americans who allegedly are oppressing the rest of us? From Robert Samuelson:

In a study, economists Jon Bakija, Bradley Heim and Adam Cole break down the top 1 percent as follows: executives in nonfinancial companies, 30 percent; doctors, 14 percent; professionals in finance (banks, hedge funds, pension funds), 13 percent; lawyers, 8 percent; computer experts and engineers, 4 percent; sales workers, 4 percent; sports, entertainment and media stars, 2 percent. The rest include farmers, management consultants, real estate developers and scientists.

Also, it turns out that the membership in that group keeps changing.  From John Q. Wilson:

The “rich” in America are not a monolithic, unchanging class. A study by Thomas A. Garrett, economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, found that less than half of people in the top 1 percent in 1996 were still there in 2005. Such mobility is hardly surprising: A business school student, for instance, may have little money and high debts, but nine years later he or she could be earning a big Wall Street salary and bonus.

Mobility is not limited to the top-earning households. A study by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis found that nearly half of the families in the lowest fifth of income earners in 2001 had moved up within six years. Over the same period, more than a third of those in the highest fifth of income-earners had moved down. Certainly, there are people such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates who are ensconced in the top tier, but far more common are people who are rich for short periods.

via Angry about inequality? Don’t blame the rich. – The Washington Post.

This isn’t to feel sorry for them.  Can we tax these people to end the deficit and fund all kinds of  wonderful things as the president and other Democrats are advocating with the so-called “Buffett tax”?  More from Samuelson (who favors the tax):

In September, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the 10-year deficit at $8.5 trillion. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation estimates that a Buffett Tax might now raise $40 billion annually. Citizens for Tax Justice, a liberal group, estimates $50 billion. With economic growth, the 10-year total might optimistically be $600 billion to $700 billion. It would be a tiny help; that’s all.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Joe

    Any analysis of this Buffet Tax needs to include some modeling about how many people would actually pay the tax v. how many would change their behaviors to avoid the tax.

  • Joe

    Any analysis of this Buffet Tax needs to include some modeling about how many people would actually pay the tax v. how many would change their behaviors to avoid the tax.

  • WebMonk

    Congrats to the WaPo for giving a completely reference-less set of descriptions that give the completely opposite impression from reality.

    The article makes the mobility rate in the top 1% sound like it’s “big” by completely avoiding any sort of comparison by which one can gain an accurate perspective. If you compare it to the rest of society, you’ll find that the level of mobility demonstrated in the top 1% is downright stagnant compared to the mobility in the rest of society.

    Taking such a narrow slice of a population can very easily lead to distortion, so the far more accurate measure of income mobility is to take the population and divide it into fifths and measure the movement between the fifths.

    The top quintile has a 70% retention rate whereas the middle quintile only has a 33% retention rate. The middle classes are much more fluid than the top class.

    If you want to look just at the top 1%, it’s far more useful to see how much they move than just whether or not they remain in that tiny sliver of 1%. That top 1% stayed in the top 10% over 80% of the time, and they stayed in the top quintile 90% of the time. Compare that to almost any other slice in our society, and the 1% slice from anywhere else has closer to a 5% retention rate within itself, and a 20% retention rate within its quintile.

    The article makes it sound like there’s lots and lots of mobility in the top 1%, but in comparison to the rest of society, the mobility of the top 1% is only one tenth to one quarter of a similar slice from somewhere else in the income distribution level.

    Don’t read anything into my complaint – this is strictly a lament about reporting and misrepresentation of facts.

  • WebMonk

    Congrats to the WaPo for giving a completely reference-less set of descriptions that give the completely opposite impression from reality.

    The article makes the mobility rate in the top 1% sound like it’s “big” by completely avoiding any sort of comparison by which one can gain an accurate perspective. If you compare it to the rest of society, you’ll find that the level of mobility demonstrated in the top 1% is downright stagnant compared to the mobility in the rest of society.

    Taking such a narrow slice of a population can very easily lead to distortion, so the far more accurate measure of income mobility is to take the population and divide it into fifths and measure the movement between the fifths.

    The top quintile has a 70% retention rate whereas the middle quintile only has a 33% retention rate. The middle classes are much more fluid than the top class.

    If you want to look just at the top 1%, it’s far more useful to see how much they move than just whether or not they remain in that tiny sliver of 1%. That top 1% stayed in the top 10% over 80% of the time, and they stayed in the top quintile 90% of the time. Compare that to almost any other slice in our society, and the 1% slice from anywhere else has closer to a 5% retention rate within itself, and a 20% retention rate within its quintile.

    The article makes it sound like there’s lots and lots of mobility in the top 1%, but in comparison to the rest of society, the mobility of the top 1% is only one tenth to one quarter of a similar slice from somewhere else in the income distribution level.

    Don’t read anything into my complaint – this is strictly a lament about reporting and misrepresentation of facts.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Webmonk – good points. It ties in with some other observations over the last week or so of posts – misreading statistics. As someone whose bread and butter depends very much on good statistics, I can’t agree with you more.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Webmonk – good points. It ties in with some other observations over the last week or so of posts – misreading statistics. As someone whose bread and butter depends very much on good statistics, I can’t agree with you more.

  • SKPeterson

    WM points the interesting statistics of income mobility and persistence. What he reveals is that higher incomes tend to persist over time – higher income earners tend to continue as higher income earners, while lower income earners, especially those that we would call lower middle class, have more uneven earnings and their persistence is not assured. These are the folks for whom a long-term illness, a series of financial setbacks like unemployment, a house fire, or the death of a spouse, will push them down the income quartile/quantile rankings. This reality, and its continued existence despite government programs, etc. is one of the main issues why people have a pessimism over the state of the economy and a focused resentment against the 1% or 10% of top 20% of income earners. The economy is working pretty well for the top 40 or 50%, but for those just on the margin, the economy is becoming or staying, well, more marginal. Things aren’t improving or the improvements are halting, incomplete, or tenuous. In effect, opportunity is viewed as a severely attenuated prospect.

    I also want to point out that one of the associated measures for income mobility is income inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient and related Lorenz curve. These provide a quick measure of income distribution by percentile – what percentage of the total population has what percentage of the total income. An interesting phenomenon is that, depending on how you slice your population, income inequality shows up in very curious places. If I took the top 1% or 5% or 10% and restricted my population to just this group, income is still not evenly distributed (obviously, right?), but even within the 1%, income is unevenly distributed – a few individuals, i.e. the Buffets and the Gates, make most of the money that the “1%” makes. In fact he distribution of income inequality within the top 1% or 10% is more highly skewed than is income inequality over the entire population. The 1% make most of the income of the top 10%, oddly implying that the 9% have the greatest grievance against the 1%.

  • SKPeterson

    WM points the interesting statistics of income mobility and persistence. What he reveals is that higher incomes tend to persist over time – higher income earners tend to continue as higher income earners, while lower income earners, especially those that we would call lower middle class, have more uneven earnings and their persistence is not assured. These are the folks for whom a long-term illness, a series of financial setbacks like unemployment, a house fire, or the death of a spouse, will push them down the income quartile/quantile rankings. This reality, and its continued existence despite government programs, etc. is one of the main issues why people have a pessimism over the state of the economy and a focused resentment against the 1% or 10% of top 20% of income earners. The economy is working pretty well for the top 40 or 50%, but for those just on the margin, the economy is becoming or staying, well, more marginal. Things aren’t improving or the improvements are halting, incomplete, or tenuous. In effect, opportunity is viewed as a severely attenuated prospect.

    I also want to point out that one of the associated measures for income mobility is income inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient and related Lorenz curve. These provide a quick measure of income distribution by percentile – what percentage of the total population has what percentage of the total income. An interesting phenomenon is that, depending on how you slice your population, income inequality shows up in very curious places. If I took the top 1% or 5% or 10% and restricted my population to just this group, income is still not evenly distributed (obviously, right?), but even within the 1%, income is unevenly distributed – a few individuals, i.e. the Buffets and the Gates, make most of the money that the “1%” makes. In fact he distribution of income inequality within the top 1% or 10% is more highly skewed than is income inequality over the entire population. The 1% make most of the income of the top 10%, oddly implying that the 9% have the greatest grievance against the 1%.

  • Jimmy Veith

    To Joe @1: You state: “Any analysis of this Buffet Tax needs to include some modeling about how many people would actually pay the tax v. how many would change their behaviors to avoid the tax.”

    What do you think someone who is now “earning” most of their income from investments and paying a 15% tax rate on their capital gains would do to avoid this tax, if their tax rate went up to 30% on the amount exceeding 1 million a year? Do you think they would actually quit doing what they are doing now and start working for wages so they could pay 30% like the rest of us? I don’t think so.

    They did not do that when Clinton raised taxes in the 90’s and gave us balanced budgets. The problem with the economy now is not lack of investment money or investors, but lack of demand as a result of a weak middle class. I believe that we should pursue economic policies that actually strengthen the middle class, and the economic prosperity of the middle class will “trickle up”, and rich people will do just fine.

  • Jimmy Veith

    To Joe @1: You state: “Any analysis of this Buffet Tax needs to include some modeling about how many people would actually pay the tax v. how many would change their behaviors to avoid the tax.”

    What do you think someone who is now “earning” most of their income from investments and paying a 15% tax rate on their capital gains would do to avoid this tax, if their tax rate went up to 30% on the amount exceeding 1 million a year? Do you think they would actually quit doing what they are doing now and start working for wages so they could pay 30% like the rest of us? I don’t think so.

    They did not do that when Clinton raised taxes in the 90’s and gave us balanced budgets. The problem with the economy now is not lack of investment money or investors, but lack of demand as a result of a weak middle class. I believe that we should pursue economic policies that actually strengthen the middle class, and the economic prosperity of the middle class will “trickle up”, and rich people will do just fine.

  • Joe

    Jimmy many did alter behaviors in the 70′s to avoid the very high tax rates that kicked in at highest income levels.

    What do I suspect they’ll do? Divest some of their holdings to companies or other entities that they control will be able to avoid some or all of the tax. It really isn’t that hard to figure out how to hold your investments through other entities that you control to keep your taxes low. People respond to stimuli, give them a significant reason to change how they hold their wealth and they will.

  • Joe

    Jimmy many did alter behaviors in the 70′s to avoid the very high tax rates that kicked in at highest income levels.

    What do I suspect they’ll do? Divest some of their holdings to companies or other entities that they control will be able to avoid some or all of the tax. It really isn’t that hard to figure out how to hold your investments through other entities that you control to keep your taxes low. People respond to stimuli, give them a significant reason to change how they hold their wealth and they will.

  • Jimmy Veith

    So you think that what rich people should do to avoid the tax rate that the middle class pays is to take their money offshore, like the Cayman Islands? Well, I would like to end that loophole too.

  • Jimmy Veith

    So you think that what rich people should do to avoid the tax rate that the middle class pays is to take their money offshore, like the Cayman Islands? Well, I would like to end that loophole too.

  • WebMonk

    Hey Jimmy, not that it derails your point, necessarily, but the Clinton tax hike had almost zero to do with the budget surplus of the 90s.

    The tax increases only increased revenue about $35 billion per year over what they would have been before. That $35 bn per year was less than a tenth of what was needed to bring a surplus.

    If you want to look at the cause of the surplus, you can look at the economic boom that was paired with government spending that only grew at less than 3% per year.

    Government revenue increased dramatically for nearly five years (without the tax increase it would have been about 5.7% per year – this is because the increase came from a booming economy) and the spending increase stayed under 3%.

    Because that kept up for several years, a surplus arose – not because of increased income from higher taxes, but because of the slow(er) increase in spending.

    If you want to discuss something that is actually somewhat controversial, discuss the cause of the economic boom, but it’s not at all controversial whether Clinton’s tax hike caused the surplus, it didn’t.

  • WebMonk

    Hey Jimmy, not that it derails your point, necessarily, but the Clinton tax hike had almost zero to do with the budget surplus of the 90s.

    The tax increases only increased revenue about $35 billion per year over what they would have been before. That $35 bn per year was less than a tenth of what was needed to bring a surplus.

    If you want to look at the cause of the surplus, you can look at the economic boom that was paired with government spending that only grew at less than 3% per year.

    Government revenue increased dramatically for nearly five years (without the tax increase it would have been about 5.7% per year – this is because the increase came from a booming economy) and the spending increase stayed under 3%.

    Because that kept up for several years, a surplus arose – not because of increased income from higher taxes, but because of the slow(er) increase in spending.

    If you want to discuss something that is actually somewhat controversial, discuss the cause of the economic boom, but it’s not at all controversial whether Clinton’s tax hike caused the surplus, it didn’t.

  • Joe

    Jimmy – you do realize that a capital gains tax is the second time the money at issue is taxed correct?

  • Joe

    Jimmy – you do realize that a capital gains tax is the second time the money at issue is taxed correct?

  • Joe

    And how is it a loop hole? the wealth is owned by an entity that does not reside or is not located in the US how in the heck is it right for the US to tax it? Should be take every corporation or entity in the world?

  • Joe

    And how is it a loop hole? the wealth is owned by an entity that does not reside or is not located in the US how in the heck is it right for the US to tax it? Should be take every corporation or entity in the world?

  • WebMonk

    Jimmy @7. You’re so 1990s! :-D

    Cayman island accounts are no longer needed or used much for tax avoidance purposes. Get with the times! You need to look into corporations designed to maximize tax shelter effects and other legal entities.

    Pfft! Offshores accounts are for amateurs! :-)

  • WebMonk

    Jimmy @7. You’re so 1990s! :-D

    Cayman island accounts are no longer needed or used much for tax avoidance purposes. Get with the times! You need to look into corporations designed to maximize tax shelter effects and other legal entities.

    Pfft! Offshores accounts are for amateurs! :-)

  • Jimmy Veith

    Webmonk. You are correct. I don’t know much about how rich people shelter their money these days with offshore accounts.

    However, last year I did go to the Cayman Islands, but it was not to visit my money. I went to swim with the Stingrays. A very fun thing to do, and I would recommend it to everyone.

  • Jimmy Veith

    Webmonk. You are correct. I don’t know much about how rich people shelter their money these days with offshore accounts.

    However, last year I did go to the Cayman Islands, but it was not to visit my money. I went to swim with the Stingrays. A very fun thing to do, and I would recommend it to everyone.

  • John

    Here is the problem with Obama’s proposal:
    The wealth differential between Buffet and Gates and a person earning $1mil/yr. is greater than the wealth differential between said millionaire and someone making minimum wage. If we are going to play the income class card, Buffet is no more in touch with the millionaire than the millionaire is with the McDonald’s worker.

  • John

    Here is the problem with Obama’s proposal:
    The wealth differential between Buffet and Gates and a person earning $1mil/yr. is greater than the wealth differential between said millionaire and someone making minimum wage. If we are going to play the income class card, Buffet is no more in touch with the millionaire than the millionaire is with the McDonald’s worker.

  • Steve Billingsley

    We didn’t have the first $2 billion dollar annual federal budget until less than 10 years ago and now it expenditures (notice I didn’t say budget, we haven’t had one for 2 years thanks to the Democratic leadership in the Senate) are well over $3.5 billion. Revenues are down due to the economic slowdown of the past 4 years but we keep increasing the budget. Costs of entitlements will explode over the next 15-20 years if they are not reformed in some way. All of the talk about tax increases to raise more revenue are shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. I am fine with tweaking tax rates and closing “loopholes” to raise revenue. But we don’t have a revenue problem. It’s the spending, stupid! And until this is dealt with in a realistic and reasonable fashion – other discussions are pretty pointless.

    John @ 13 – Good point. Any tax increase won’t be even a slight bother to the Buffet’s and Gates’ of the world. It will hit those in the $200K-300K income range the most. And while that is a very good income, for many this also includes aspects of a small business they own or operate and any reduction in their income could affect their ability to hire workers, give raises or provide benefits. In the last 50 years we have had top marginal tax rates ranging from 91 percent to 28 percent and throughout the entire time frame revenue to the government has traded in the 18-19% of GDP range. We have a long history of manipulating tax rates. What we don’t have a history of is controlling spending. Show me the plan to control spending first and then we can talk about tax rates.

  • Steve Billingsley

    We didn’t have the first $2 billion dollar annual federal budget until less than 10 years ago and now it expenditures (notice I didn’t say budget, we haven’t had one for 2 years thanks to the Democratic leadership in the Senate) are well over $3.5 billion. Revenues are down due to the economic slowdown of the past 4 years but we keep increasing the budget. Costs of entitlements will explode over the next 15-20 years if they are not reformed in some way. All of the talk about tax increases to raise more revenue are shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. I am fine with tweaking tax rates and closing “loopholes” to raise revenue. But we don’t have a revenue problem. It’s the spending, stupid! And until this is dealt with in a realistic and reasonable fashion – other discussions are pretty pointless.

    John @ 13 – Good point. Any tax increase won’t be even a slight bother to the Buffet’s and Gates’ of the world. It will hit those in the $200K-300K income range the most. And while that is a very good income, for many this also includes aspects of a small business they own or operate and any reduction in their income could affect their ability to hire workers, give raises or provide benefits. In the last 50 years we have had top marginal tax rates ranging from 91 percent to 28 percent and throughout the entire time frame revenue to the government has traded in the 18-19% of GDP range. We have a long history of manipulating tax rates. What we don’t have a history of is controlling spending. Show me the plan to control spending first and then we can talk about tax rates.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Well, while you guys fret, our governments here, both federal and provincial (well, at least in SK), have indicated that austere budgets are coming this spring, and will include tinkering with old age pensions (Social security in your terminology), with a likely increase of the retirement age from 65 to 67.

    And we’re not even close to the same problems you guys have – in fact we’re by far the best of the G-8.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Well, while you guys fret, our governments here, both federal and provincial (well, at least in SK), have indicated that austere budgets are coming this spring, and will include tinkering with old age pensions (Social security in your terminology), with a likely increase of the retirement age from 65 to 67.

    And we’re not even close to the same problems you guys have – in fact we’re by far the best of the G-8.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    While it doesn’t say anything about the retirement age change — this news article says a lot about the drastic cuts in government spending the Canadian government intends to accomplish: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Parliament+returns+with+massive+shakeups+pension+federal+budget+expected/6065066/story.html

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    While it doesn’t say anything about the retirement age change — this news article says a lot about the drastic cuts in government spending the Canadian government intends to accomplish: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Parliament+returns+with+massive+shakeups+pension+federal+budget+expected/6065066/story.html

  • Steve Billingsley

    Klaisie,

    Canada has done much, much better in almost all aspects of fiscal management over the past 20 or so years. And they have accomplished this with universal health care (I am a political conservative and I think that the monolithic, knee-jerk conservative opposition to universal health care is an enduring political shibboleth – that being said I think Obamacare is a horribly written law that doesn’t expand coverage nearly as far as it claims while failing to control costs – it is essentially a $2 trillion sloppy wet kiss to insurance and pharma companies) and reasonable bank regulation. Canada has much to be proud of in this current financial climate.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Klaisie,

    Canada has done much, much better in almost all aspects of fiscal management over the past 20 or so years. And they have accomplished this with universal health care (I am a political conservative and I think that the monolithic, knee-jerk conservative opposition to universal health care is an enduring political shibboleth – that being said I think Obamacare is a horribly written law that doesn’t expand coverage nearly as far as it claims while failing to control costs – it is essentially a $2 trillion sloppy wet kiss to insurance and pharma companies) and reasonable bank regulation. Canada has much to be proud of in this current financial climate.

  • DonS

    Steve @ 14: “We didn’t have the first $2 billion dollar annual federal budget until less than 10 years ago” — I’m pretty sure you meant “trillion”.

    Who are the 1%? Are we talking wealth or income? Buffett already has his money. That’s why he’s so sanguine about higher tax rates — won’t hurt him — we don’t tax wealth. The class warriors always talk about “millionaires” and “billionaires”, but the top 1% of income starts in the $300,000 per year income range. That’s who these class warriors are really targeting, but they don’t like to say that, because they realize most people don’t consider such people as filthy rich. Understand, people, that the middle and upper middle class is where the real money is — the tax eaters who form an increasingly large percentage of the population are coming after you, ultimately!

    So, if we are talking income, the 1% is certainly mobile — it changes as various professionals and small business people enter their peak earning years. With two-earner households being the majority, many families will ultimately earn $150,000 or more annually, and thus be in the top 5-10%, and a good number will reach the top 1%. If you are talking wealth, forget it. Unless you inherit it, or found Facebook, it’s pretty hard to amass $9 million or more in assets, which is required to approach that 1% level. And with the current trend toward confiscatory steeply progressive tax rates, it will be increasingly hard in the future. Funny thing — just as minorities and women gain earning power in our increasingly colorblind society, we shut the doors to them amassing wealth by taxing them to death — conspiracy? ;-)

    This is why Jimmy @ 5, Obama, and much of the rest of our current class warfare-oriented establishment is dead wrong on capital gains taxes: 1) dividends and capital gains have already been taxed at the corporate level — at a rate of 35% — so that the combined corporate and capital gains taxes on this income is 50%, just at the federal level, and 2) capital gains are only taxed when they are realized. When capital gains tax rates are too high (a 30% federal rate is WAY too high) people avoid realizing their capital gains by not selling appreciated assets. As a result, two things happen. One, the government gets NOTHING. Two, assets are often locked up in less than ideal investments, rather than being moved to fund new ventures offering greater opportunities for economic growth. In other words, high capital gains tax rates result in inefficient use of capital, and consequent lower economic growth.

    But, of course, you won’t hear Obama or his compatriots in the “bash Romney” media establishment explain this simple and obvious fact.

  • DonS

    Steve @ 14: “We didn’t have the first $2 billion dollar annual federal budget until less than 10 years ago” — I’m pretty sure you meant “trillion”.

    Who are the 1%? Are we talking wealth or income? Buffett already has his money. That’s why he’s so sanguine about higher tax rates — won’t hurt him — we don’t tax wealth. The class warriors always talk about “millionaires” and “billionaires”, but the top 1% of income starts in the $300,000 per year income range. That’s who these class warriors are really targeting, but they don’t like to say that, because they realize most people don’t consider such people as filthy rich. Understand, people, that the middle and upper middle class is where the real money is — the tax eaters who form an increasingly large percentage of the population are coming after you, ultimately!

    So, if we are talking income, the 1% is certainly mobile — it changes as various professionals and small business people enter their peak earning years. With two-earner households being the majority, many families will ultimately earn $150,000 or more annually, and thus be in the top 5-10%, and a good number will reach the top 1%. If you are talking wealth, forget it. Unless you inherit it, or found Facebook, it’s pretty hard to amass $9 million or more in assets, which is required to approach that 1% level. And with the current trend toward confiscatory steeply progressive tax rates, it will be increasingly hard in the future. Funny thing — just as minorities and women gain earning power in our increasingly colorblind society, we shut the doors to them amassing wealth by taxing them to death — conspiracy? ;-)

    This is why Jimmy @ 5, Obama, and much of the rest of our current class warfare-oriented establishment is dead wrong on capital gains taxes: 1) dividends and capital gains have already been taxed at the corporate level — at a rate of 35% — so that the combined corporate and capital gains taxes on this income is 50%, just at the federal level, and 2) capital gains are only taxed when they are realized. When capital gains tax rates are too high (a 30% federal rate is WAY too high) people avoid realizing their capital gains by not selling appreciated assets. As a result, two things happen. One, the government gets NOTHING. Two, assets are often locked up in less than ideal investments, rather than being moved to fund new ventures offering greater opportunities for economic growth. In other words, high capital gains tax rates result in inefficient use of capital, and consequent lower economic growth.

    But, of course, you won’t hear Obama or his compatriots in the “bash Romney” media establishment explain this simple and obvious fact.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Canadian capital gains work at your marginal rate – of course, adding your capital gains in your given tax year to your basic income is going to push you towards the top marginal rate pretty quickly. For thos more interested – http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/t4037/t4037-e.html#P487_50715

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Canadian capital gains work at your marginal rate – of course, adding your capital gains in your given tax year to your basic income is going to push you towards the top marginal rate pretty quickly. For thos more interested – http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/t4037/t4037-e.html#P487_50715

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 19: Yeah, that’s not good. Capital gains need to be taxed at a low enough rate to encourage capital to flow to the most productive use. Overly high capital gains rates, since capital gains are elective in nature (you can avoid them by not selling the appreciate asset) tend to lock up capital in less productive investments for too long of a time.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 19: Yeah, that’s not good. Capital gains need to be taxed at a low enough rate to encourage capital to flow to the most productive use. Overly high capital gains rates, since capital gains are elective in nature (you can avoid them by not selling the appreciate asset) tend to lock up capital in less productive investments for too long of a time.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    I would like to make an unpopular suggestion here: The real problem for you guys is NOT tax rates, NOR entitlements. It is INEEFECTIVENESS, BLOATEDNESS, AND BUREAUCRACY.

    Listen to the following interview that CBC Morning live here in SK had back in October with Govervor Schweitzer from Montana. (Only 8:41 long). Oh, and btw – great guy – by the sounds of it.

    http://www.cbc.ca/morningedition/episode/2011/10/04/montana-eyes-saskatchewan-health-care/

    This concentrates on Medical Insurance. For those that do not have the time – SK has a marginally higher population than Montana, very similar ethnic make-up, larger land area (although the North is sparsely populated). SK has a slightly longer life expectancy (2 years), and lower infant mortality rates. Yet they do 4-5 times as many procedures in Montana than here. And the cost of healthcare coverage in Montana? 8 Billion Dollars. And in Saskatchewan? 4 Billion Dollars.

    QED.

    PS: Do yourselves a favour and stop the excuses. That’s why you never get anywhere with this damn debate.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    I would like to make an unpopular suggestion here: The real problem for you guys is NOT tax rates, NOR entitlements. It is INEEFECTIVENESS, BLOATEDNESS, AND BUREAUCRACY.

    Listen to the following interview that CBC Morning live here in SK had back in October with Govervor Schweitzer from Montana. (Only 8:41 long). Oh, and btw – great guy – by the sounds of it.

    http://www.cbc.ca/morningedition/episode/2011/10/04/montana-eyes-saskatchewan-health-care/

    This concentrates on Medical Insurance. For those that do not have the time – SK has a marginally higher population than Montana, very similar ethnic make-up, larger land area (although the North is sparsely populated). SK has a slightly longer life expectancy (2 years), and lower infant mortality rates. Yet they do 4-5 times as many procedures in Montana than here. And the cost of healthcare coverage in Montana? 8 Billion Dollars. And in Saskatchewan? 4 Billion Dollars.

    QED.

    PS: Do yourselves a favour and stop the excuses. That’s why you never get anywhere with this damn debate.

  • Jimmy Veith

    A 15% tax rate on capital gains began during the George W. Bush administration. Why do you think that tax rates established during his administration determine what is fair and appropriate for all times? It is not as if these tax rates initiated an era of tremendous economic growth, balanced budgets and a prosperous middle class.

    For a brief history of capital gain rates see:
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/the-history-of-capital-gains-taxes/

  • Jimmy Veith

    A 15% tax rate on capital gains began during the George W. Bush administration. Why do you think that tax rates established during his administration determine what is fair and appropriate for all times? It is not as if these tax rates initiated an era of tremendous economic growth, balanced budgets and a prosperous middle class.

    For a brief history of capital gain rates see:
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/the-history-of-capital-gains-taxes/

  • DonS

    Jimmy @ 22: I assume your comment was directed at me.

    Here is a table showing historic capital gains tax rates since the establishment of the income tax in 1913: http://www.ctj.org/pdf/regcg.pdf

    As you will see, if you peruse that table, for most of the history of the capital gains tax, the rate was far lower than for ordinary income. This was often done, as you will note, by excluding a percentage of the realized capital gains from taxation, depending oftentimes on how long the asset had been held. Conveniently, Krugman, a big government statist masquerading as an economist, didn’t bother to report that only a portion of capital gains were taxed (because of the exclusion) during most of the 20th Century. So, you comment concerning the 15% tax rate on capital gains beginning with George W. Bush is misleading, to say the least. It began AGAIN with Bush, because it was recognized that lowering the capital gains tax rate for long-term gains is good for economic productivity, for the reasons I stated above, i.e. the lower rate unlocks capital, resulting in tax income for the government and a flow of capital to its most productive use.

    Now, since you’re so big on “fairness” (whatever that means), as a basis for economic theory, hopefully you realize that capital gains realized by stock sales, as well as dividends from stocks, have already been taxed at the corporate level. In other words, for the case of Romney for example, he invested X dollars in a company stock. The company takes that money and makes a profit, which is taxed at 35%. The remainder is either issued as a stockholder dividend, or increases the asset value of the company, in which case it results in a stock price increase, and thus a capital gain. So, you do understand that the dividend/capital gain is being taxed AGAIN when it is received by the stockholder? The effective tax rate is 50%. Isn’t that unfairly high, compared to ordinary income tax rates?

  • DonS

    Jimmy @ 22: I assume your comment was directed at me.

    Here is a table showing historic capital gains tax rates since the establishment of the income tax in 1913: http://www.ctj.org/pdf/regcg.pdf

    As you will see, if you peruse that table, for most of the history of the capital gains tax, the rate was far lower than for ordinary income. This was often done, as you will note, by excluding a percentage of the realized capital gains from taxation, depending oftentimes on how long the asset had been held. Conveniently, Krugman, a big government statist masquerading as an economist, didn’t bother to report that only a portion of capital gains were taxed (because of the exclusion) during most of the 20th Century. So, you comment concerning the 15% tax rate on capital gains beginning with George W. Bush is misleading, to say the least. It began AGAIN with Bush, because it was recognized that lowering the capital gains tax rate for long-term gains is good for economic productivity, for the reasons I stated above, i.e. the lower rate unlocks capital, resulting in tax income for the government and a flow of capital to its most productive use.

    Now, since you’re so big on “fairness” (whatever that means), as a basis for economic theory, hopefully you realize that capital gains realized by stock sales, as well as dividends from stocks, have already been taxed at the corporate level. In other words, for the case of Romney for example, he invested X dollars in a company stock. The company takes that money and makes a profit, which is taxed at 35%. The remainder is either issued as a stockholder dividend, or increases the asset value of the company, in which case it results in a stock price increase, and thus a capital gain. So, you do understand that the dividend/capital gain is being taxed AGAIN when it is received by the stockholder? The effective tax rate is 50%. Isn’t that unfairly high, compared to ordinary income tax rates?

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 21: This is a tax thread, not a health care thread. But, in general, it’s hard for me to see how giving government 100% responsibility for health care results in less bloatedness and bureaucracy. It’s easy to reduce health care costs when you ration care the way it is done in Canada and other countries with universal health care.

    The problem with the U.S. is not too little government intrusion into health care, it is too much. Our magnanimous tort liability system, brought to us by ridiculously lenient class action tort and malpractice laws, are a major reason why so many needless procedures are performed in the U.S. Another big problem we have is the distortions and cost-shifting brought about by federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, which attempt to control costs by starving the practitioners with unreasonably low reimbursements. Then there are the coverage mandates the government imposes on insurers — you can”t buy a bare-bones catastrophic care policy anymore, thanks to the looming spectre of Obamacare.

    The real answer is to extract government out of the health care industry, except for the genuinely needy. Low-cost, high-deductible policies, with deductible, copay and premium subsidies for the poor, preferably using HSA’s which would allow the poor to save money for future years if they were smart consumers of health care, would be a far better solution, without the rationing (the reason for only 4 million procedures in SK), wait times, and bureaucracy of a government-managed universal care system.

    But, we certainly are moving away from that approach. We’ll be in line with you in no time.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 21: This is a tax thread, not a health care thread. But, in general, it’s hard for me to see how giving government 100% responsibility for health care results in less bloatedness and bureaucracy. It’s easy to reduce health care costs when you ration care the way it is done in Canada and other countries with universal health care.

    The problem with the U.S. is not too little government intrusion into health care, it is too much. Our magnanimous tort liability system, brought to us by ridiculously lenient class action tort and malpractice laws, are a major reason why so many needless procedures are performed in the U.S. Another big problem we have is the distortions and cost-shifting brought about by federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, which attempt to control costs by starving the practitioners with unreasonably low reimbursements. Then there are the coverage mandates the government imposes on insurers — you can”t buy a bare-bones catastrophic care policy anymore, thanks to the looming spectre of Obamacare.

    The real answer is to extract government out of the health care industry, except for the genuinely needy. Low-cost, high-deductible policies, with deductible, copay and premium subsidies for the poor, preferably using HSA’s which would allow the poor to save money for future years if they were smart consumers of health care, would be a far better solution, without the rationing (the reason for only 4 million procedures in SK), wait times, and bureaucracy of a government-managed universal care system.

    But, we certainly are moving away from that approach. We’ll be in line with you in no time.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DonS – healthcare was the example of government bloatedness, not the specific issue at hand. You are missing the fact that we do it at half the cost. The issue which I wish to underline is not so much the healthcare itself, but the effectiveness of government. Your problem is an Ineffective government, not high or low tax, simply put. Most of that is on the federal level, I would guess.

    Talking endlessly about tax rates is missing the point.

    Talking endlessly about benefits is also missing the point.

    Fixing the humungous white elephant in the room is the point.

    That is all I want to say.

    The Montana healtcare situation was merely an illustrative example.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DonS – healthcare was the example of government bloatedness, not the specific issue at hand. You are missing the fact that we do it at half the cost. The issue which I wish to underline is not so much the healthcare itself, but the effectiveness of government. Your problem is an Ineffective government, not high or low tax, simply put. Most of that is on the federal level, I would guess.

    Talking endlessly about tax rates is missing the point.

    Talking endlessly about benefits is also missing the point.

    Fixing the humungous white elephant in the room is the point.

    That is all I want to say.

    The Montana healtcare situation was merely an illustrative example.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    PS (to #25): Listen to the interview – it will underscore my point at #25.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    PS (to #25): Listen to the interview – it will underscore my point at #25.

  • DonS

    Klasie: I understand your point. I disagree with it. Canada does healthcare at half the cost because of strict rationing. And, incidentally, because the U.S., for a host of unfortunate reasons, absorbs most of the costs of inventing new treatments (that’s why prescription medications, made here in the U.S., cost half as much in Canada as in the U.S.). But the bottom line is that when Canadians of means get sick, they come to the U.S. for treatment.

    My proposals would get government out of health care, not further into it. And whenever government (which can never be “efficient” when doing things it is not constituted to do) gets out of something, that thing is, by definition, more efficient.

    That’s all I want to say ;-)

  • DonS

    Klasie: I understand your point. I disagree with it. Canada does healthcare at half the cost because of strict rationing. And, incidentally, because the U.S., for a host of unfortunate reasons, absorbs most of the costs of inventing new treatments (that’s why prescription medications, made here in the U.S., cost half as much in Canada as in the U.S.). But the bottom line is that when Canadians of means get sick, they come to the U.S. for treatment.

    My proposals would get government out of health care, not further into it. And whenever government (which can never be “efficient” when doing things it is not constituted to do) gets out of something, that thing is, by definition, more efficient.

    That’s all I want to say ;-)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    No Don, you defintely do not see my point – because the point has got absolutely nothing to do with healthcare. Healthcare was the example, not the subject.

    Neither is the point whether government should or should not do something. The point is that whenever the US Federal government does something, it swells to an enourmous size, number one, and multiplies inefficiencies, number 2. Not all governments are like this – witness ours. But yours are – if you don’t like the Healthcare example, what about the DHS, or the TSA and the whole alphabet of other security agencies? It is ruddy ridiculous, and a $$ eater. You could increase efficiency, and decrease cost by halving size and amalgamating many of these, and getting rid of useless turf wars.

    White elephant, meet DonS… :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    No Don, you defintely do not see my point – because the point has got absolutely nothing to do with healthcare. Healthcare was the example, not the subject.

    Neither is the point whether government should or should not do something. The point is that whenever the US Federal government does something, it swells to an enourmous size, number one, and multiplies inefficiencies, number 2. Not all governments are like this – witness ours. But yours are – if you don’t like the Healthcare example, what about the DHS, or the TSA and the whole alphabet of other security agencies? It is ruddy ridiculous, and a $$ eater. You could increase efficiency, and decrease cost by halving size and amalgamating many of these, and getting rid of useless turf wars.

    White elephant, meet DonS… :)

  • Cincinnatus

    Klasie: It helps that you guys effectively have a one-party state (i.e., Westminster parliamentarianism).

    It’s easier to slash the budget, et al., when you don’t have to trifle with checks and balances, separated powers, and the like. Geez, you’re an obnoxious quasi-Canadian ;-) The obvious and “easy” answer in the United States is, frankly, to obliterate most of our bureaucratic agencies, federal entitlements, etc. But that ain’t gonna happen.

  • Cincinnatus

    Klasie: It helps that you guys effectively have a one-party state (i.e., Westminster parliamentarianism).

    It’s easier to slash the budget, et al., when you don’t have to trifle with checks and balances, separated powers, and the like. Geez, you’re an obnoxious quasi-Canadian ;-) The obvious and “easy” answer in the United States is, frankly, to obliterate most of our bureaucratic agencies, federal entitlements, etc. But that ain’t gonna happen.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 28: What do you think I did not see, exactly? I definitely see your point that the U.S. federal government is an enormous failure. I do not see a pathway toward making it more efficient, however, so the only way to shrink it is to return it to its constitutionally prescribed roles, which DO NOT include Brian Schweitzer’s proposal of universal health care. The two economic sectors where the U.S. federal government has intruded the most — health care and higher education, are the two sectors where inflation is stubbornly about three times the rate as in the rest of the economy. Coincidence? I think not.

    Talking about tax rates is relevant because such an inefficient government should not be fed more tax revenues. It needs to be starved to force it to efficiency. Talking about benefits and entitlements is relevant because these are the things which will need to be cut to bring its expenditures into line with reasonable tax revenues. Hopefully, restricting tax revenues to historical averages will force the liberal establishment “governmentarians” into addressing the inefficiencies — corporate welfare, a ridiculously complex tax code with resultant poor compliance, a runaway regulatory environment, and public employee unions which lead to excessive administrative costs — so that the government can provide adequate benefits.

    As for Canada, it ain’t all you’ve cracked it up to be. Undoubtedly, it has come a long way back from the disaster it was in the mid-nineties — an extended time of conservative government has certainly helped in that regard. But it is still big, and wasteful. Moreover, Canada does not respect individual or provincial rights the way the U.S. does. The Human Rights Commission is an abomination. What Mark Steyn went through as a journalist in Canada, for something he wrote, would never happen in the U.S., thank God. As for provincial rights, Canada has it backwards. The Canadian constitution allows provinces to govern only in areas the federal government allows them to. All governing authority, however, is reserved to the federal government. In contrast, the U.S. Constitution through the 10th Amendment reserves all rights not specifically granted to the federal government to the states. Much better. Unfortunately, we are moving de facto in the wrong direction — i.e. in the direction of Canada — but that doesn’t mean it’s right. The best way for the U.S. government to improve is to shrink, to exit all but its constitutionally authorized responsibilities, and to let the states do the rest. Power to the people. You also have a parliamentary system, which is great for “getting things done”, but terrible for checks and balances. Your government SHOULD run better since it is run by a single party with only token opposition, but it can also easily run away, which is a bad thing.

    Canada has a huge advantage in being the neighbor of the U.S. Its defense is provided for, leaving almost all government revenues to domestic purposes. As I mentioned earlier, we are gracious enough to develop your medications for you, allowing your prescription drug costs to be half of ours. But, you still have those dang lines, and the need to have a government bureaucrat, who might be having a bad day, approve your medical treatment.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 28: What do you think I did not see, exactly? I definitely see your point that the U.S. federal government is an enormous failure. I do not see a pathway toward making it more efficient, however, so the only way to shrink it is to return it to its constitutionally prescribed roles, which DO NOT include Brian Schweitzer’s proposal of universal health care. The two economic sectors where the U.S. federal government has intruded the most — health care and higher education, are the two sectors where inflation is stubbornly about three times the rate as in the rest of the economy. Coincidence? I think not.

    Talking about tax rates is relevant because such an inefficient government should not be fed more tax revenues. It needs to be starved to force it to efficiency. Talking about benefits and entitlements is relevant because these are the things which will need to be cut to bring its expenditures into line with reasonable tax revenues. Hopefully, restricting tax revenues to historical averages will force the liberal establishment “governmentarians” into addressing the inefficiencies — corporate welfare, a ridiculously complex tax code with resultant poor compliance, a runaway regulatory environment, and public employee unions which lead to excessive administrative costs — so that the government can provide adequate benefits.

    As for Canada, it ain’t all you’ve cracked it up to be. Undoubtedly, it has come a long way back from the disaster it was in the mid-nineties — an extended time of conservative government has certainly helped in that regard. But it is still big, and wasteful. Moreover, Canada does not respect individual or provincial rights the way the U.S. does. The Human Rights Commission is an abomination. What Mark Steyn went through as a journalist in Canada, for something he wrote, would never happen in the U.S., thank God. As for provincial rights, Canada has it backwards. The Canadian constitution allows provinces to govern only in areas the federal government allows them to. All governing authority, however, is reserved to the federal government. In contrast, the U.S. Constitution through the 10th Amendment reserves all rights not specifically granted to the federal government to the states. Much better. Unfortunately, we are moving de facto in the wrong direction — i.e. in the direction of Canada — but that doesn’t mean it’s right. The best way for the U.S. government to improve is to shrink, to exit all but its constitutionally authorized responsibilities, and to let the states do the rest. Power to the people. You also have a parliamentary system, which is great for “getting things done”, but terrible for checks and balances. Your government SHOULD run better since it is run by a single party with only token opposition, but it can also easily run away, which is a bad thing.

    Canada has a huge advantage in being the neighbor of the U.S. Its defense is provided for, leaving almost all government revenues to domestic purposes. As I mentioned earlier, we are gracious enough to develop your medications for you, allowing your prescription drug costs to be half of ours. But, you still have those dang lines, and the need to have a government bureaucrat, who might be having a bad day, approve your medical treatment.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    A bit touchy, aren’t we? ;)

    Of course we aren’t perfect – let me know when you find Utopia, I’ll also like to move there. But the fact of the matter is that our balance sheets look a heck of lot better. Cincinnatus is correct of course, and one cannot apply what happens here directly to what happens there. But I’d also whish to remind him that for most of the last 15 years, Canada has had a minority government anyway.

    But the principle remains that government inefficiency, the proliferation of government departments etc is a Major waste. A good place to start cutting costs is there.

    Don’t be so wrapped up in ideology that you can’t see the obvious.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    A bit touchy, aren’t we? ;)

    Of course we aren’t perfect – let me know when you find Utopia, I’ll also like to move there. But the fact of the matter is that our balance sheets look a heck of lot better. Cincinnatus is correct of course, and one cannot apply what happens here directly to what happens there. But I’d also whish to remind him that for most of the last 15 years, Canada has had a minority government anyway.

    But the principle remains that government inefficiency, the proliferation of government departments etc is a Major waste. A good place to start cutting costs is there.

    Don’t be so wrapped up in ideology that you can’t see the obvious.

  • DonS

    Klasie, the history of this world is governments oppressing individuals. That’s why I am ideological about these things. The U.S. is very unusual in the course of human history, in that it was founded to put the individual first, over the government, rather than vice-versa. Obviously, this concept of valuing the individual has been a ringing success, and a uniquely bright spot in world history, yet in the name of the promise of a bit of security (Esau’s bowl of stew), many Americans are ready to give back to government the very freedoms our fathers fought so hard for.

    You are advocating that the answer to America’s problems is to technically improve the function of government — to make it more like Canada’s. Then, once it’s “fixed”, it can take on more responsibility, as government does in Canada. That is ideology — it’s just a different one than I hold. Of course, as both Cincinnatus and I have pointed out, the constitutional structure of the U.S. federal government is designed to be unwieldy, in order to ensure the necessary checks and balances to keep it from expanding beyond its proper bounds. I like it that way. Nothing could be worse, in my mind, than to take the Canadian approach to “fix” American government.

  • DonS

    Klasie, the history of this world is governments oppressing individuals. That’s why I am ideological about these things. The U.S. is very unusual in the course of human history, in that it was founded to put the individual first, over the government, rather than vice-versa. Obviously, this concept of valuing the individual has been a ringing success, and a uniquely bright spot in world history, yet in the name of the promise of a bit of security (Esau’s bowl of stew), many Americans are ready to give back to government the very freedoms our fathers fought so hard for.

    You are advocating that the answer to America’s problems is to technically improve the function of government — to make it more like Canada’s. Then, once it’s “fixed”, it can take on more responsibility, as government does in Canada. That is ideology — it’s just a different one than I hold. Of course, as both Cincinnatus and I have pointed out, the constitutional structure of the U.S. federal government is designed to be unwieldy, in order to ensure the necessary checks and balances to keep it from expanding beyond its proper bounds. I like it that way. Nothing could be worse, in my mind, than to take the Canadian approach to “fix” American government.

  • kerner

    Klasie @21:

    If MT does 4-5 times as many procedures as SK for only twice the cost, doesn’t that make MT about 2-2.5 times as efficient as SK? Or is that what you meant?

  • kerner

    Klasie @21:

    If MT does 4-5 times as many procedures as SK for only twice the cost, doesn’t that make MT about 2-2.5 times as efficient as SK? Or is that what you meant?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner – that depends on the nature of the procedures. Since we don’t have any info on that, we can’t say anything. But since life expectancy etc is not improved, a lot of those procedures are not really necessary, they are financially inefficient.

    DonS – Exceptionalism, City on a Hill, the new Zion and all that eh?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner – that depends on the nature of the procedures. Since we don’t have any info on that, we can’t say anything. But since life expectancy etc is not improved, a lot of those procedures are not really necessary, they are financially inefficient.

    DonS – Exceptionalism, City on a Hill, the new Zion and all that eh?

  • DonS

    Klasie — now whose being the ideologue? ;-)

  • DonS

    Klasie — now whose being the ideologue? ;-)

  • DonS

    who’s

  • DonS

    who’s

  • DonS

    Seriously, Klasie, I simply reject your notion that the U.S. should abandon its distinctive tilt toward the individual in order to be a more efficient bureaucracy. In my view, the better approach is to continue the historic, constitutional approach of spinning functions away from government and into the private sector. So, that’s where we differ, respectfully.

  • DonS

    Seriously, Klasie, I simply reject your notion that the U.S. should abandon its distinctive tilt toward the individual in order to be a more efficient bureaucracy. In my view, the better approach is to continue the historic, constitutional approach of spinning functions away from government and into the private sector. So, that’s where we differ, respectfully.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Really though, DonS, although the US has had an early start on civil liberties etc (excluding slaves of course, and aborignals), that is not really the question here. I am not advocating you becoming like Canada. If that is all you are taking away from my examples, then I have failed. The US can stay the US, with all its peculiarities. But it needs to get its financial house in order. Your retreat into ideological arguments is not helping – because it is exactly that which is causing the iompasse at every level of political debate in your country. You are all so hung up on ideology that you’ll rather see the budget go to hell than attempt simple pragmatic solutions like what I’m proposing that avoids ideology, both on the left and the right.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Really though, DonS, although the US has had an early start on civil liberties etc (excluding slaves of course, and aborignals), that is not really the question here. I am not advocating you becoming like Canada. If that is all you are taking away from my examples, then I have failed. The US can stay the US, with all its peculiarities. But it needs to get its financial house in order. Your retreat into ideological arguments is not helping – because it is exactly that which is causing the iompasse at every level of political debate in your country. You are all so hung up on ideology that you’ll rather see the budget go to hell than attempt simple pragmatic solutions like what I’m proposing that avoids ideology, both on the left and the right.

  • kerner

    Klasie:

    A great deal of health care is not related to life expectancy, but to quality of life. The interview touched on that issue, with Gov. Schweitzer pooh-poohing the long waiting lists in SK for things like hip and elbow replacements. Something along the lines of: “O, gee, if you are in your late 50′s, like the Gov., and me, you don’t really need that hip replacement…just play a little less tennis and take some Advil…” But I just wonder how many old Canadians are in wheel chairs or hobbling behind walkers because they are still on a long waiting list for that new hip. And hey…just as their number comes up, some of them die. There an unnecessary procedure that nobody has to pay for. Hooray?

    My mother just had cataract surgery. She’ll be 80 next month. How “necessary” is it for an 80 year old lady to be able to see clearly? And who decides what’s necessary? Some benevolent genius in Ottawa?

    I also checked the wait times for MRI’s in Western Canada:
    http://waittimes.alberta.ca/CategorySummary.jsp?rcatID=18&levelOfCare=All
    http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/diagnostic-imaging-mri-wait-times

    I don’t think anybody has to wait for an MRI in the US (unless there’s a fight over coverage or something). But I note from this map that I got from the SK website (if I’m reading it correctly) that there are only 6 MRI machines in the entire province. So, if you need one, don’t move to the boondocks, I guess.

    Look, Klasie, I know you are getting all patriotic about your adopted country and all, but are you sure having to wait long periods for health care is an example of “efficiency”? Really?

  • kerner

    Klasie:

    A great deal of health care is not related to life expectancy, but to quality of life. The interview touched on that issue, with Gov. Schweitzer pooh-poohing the long waiting lists in SK for things like hip and elbow replacements. Something along the lines of: “O, gee, if you are in your late 50′s, like the Gov., and me, you don’t really need that hip replacement…just play a little less tennis and take some Advil…” But I just wonder how many old Canadians are in wheel chairs or hobbling behind walkers because they are still on a long waiting list for that new hip. And hey…just as their number comes up, some of them die. There an unnecessary procedure that nobody has to pay for. Hooray?

    My mother just had cataract surgery. She’ll be 80 next month. How “necessary” is it for an 80 year old lady to be able to see clearly? And who decides what’s necessary? Some benevolent genius in Ottawa?

    I also checked the wait times for MRI’s in Western Canada:
    http://waittimes.alberta.ca/CategorySummary.jsp?rcatID=18&levelOfCare=All
    http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/diagnostic-imaging-mri-wait-times

    I don’t think anybody has to wait for an MRI in the US (unless there’s a fight over coverage or something). But I note from this map that I got from the SK website (if I’m reading it correctly) that there are only 6 MRI machines in the entire province. So, if you need one, don’t move to the boondocks, I guess.

    Look, Klasie, I know you are getting all patriotic about your adopted country and all, but are you sure having to wait long periods for health care is an example of “efficiency”? Really?

  • kerner

    Klasie @38:

    Well, there’s an element of truth in that comment. No doubt.

  • kerner

    Klasie @38:

    Well, there’s an element of truth in that comment. No doubt.

  • kerner
  • kerner
  • trotk

    DonS -

    From the outside, it is amusing to watch you (of all people) argue with someone who made the simple point that our government could and should be more efficient as a means of saving money.

    Of course. Don’t we all agree with that? Couldn’t we all list a dozen areas where our government is terribly inefficient?

    I think you just got prickly because you thought Klasie implied a.) that Canada was superior across the board, and b.) that we should have universal healthcare. Neither of those things were his point, which he did try to make clear @25 and 28.

  • trotk

    DonS -

    From the outside, it is amusing to watch you (of all people) argue with someone who made the simple point that our government could and should be more efficient as a means of saving money.

    Of course. Don’t we all agree with that? Couldn’t we all list a dozen areas where our government is terribly inefficient?

    I think you just got prickly because you thought Klasie implied a.) that Canada was superior across the board, and b.) that we should have universal healthcare. Neither of those things were his point, which he did try to make clear @25 and 28.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Trotk – exactly! At least someone gets the freaking point. The rest of you seems to sufffer from a guilty national pride or ssomething.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Trotk – exactly! At least someone gets the freaking point. The rest of you seems to sufffer from a guilty national pride or ssomething.

  • helen

    Kerner @ 39
    My mother just had cataract surgery. She’ll be 80 next month. How “necessary” is it for an 80 year old lady to be able to see clearly? And who decides what’s necessary? Some benevolent genius in Ottawa?

    Very necessary! (Spoken as one who hopes to get there and still be able to read).
    [I had my cataract surgery compliments of private insurance + 20% from me, though, since I'm still full time employed.]

  • helen

    Kerner @ 39
    My mother just had cataract surgery. She’ll be 80 next month. How “necessary” is it for an 80 year old lady to be able to see clearly? And who decides what’s necessary? Some benevolent genius in Ottawa?

    Very necessary! (Spoken as one who hopes to get there and still be able to read).
    [I had my cataract surgery compliments of private insurance + 20% from me, though, since I'm still full time employed.]

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Btw Kerner, you still have no ruddy clue about the Canadian healtcare system anyway. The provinces control them, not the Federal government. The federal government contribute some money, but what is covered etc etc is controlled by the province.

    But as I said before, that was not my point.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Btw Kerner, you still have no ruddy clue about the Canadian healtcare system anyway. The provinces control them, not the Federal government. The federal government contribute some money, but what is covered etc etc is controlled by the province.

    But as I said before, that was not my point.

  • DonS

    trotk @ 42: I question how much you were paying attention about Klasie’s allegedly “simple point”.

    It started back @ 15, where Klasie chimed in about austerity budget cuts coming in Canada — great news. It looks like the conservative government there is getting serious about cutting spending — wish we had a conservative government here in the U.S. He continued @ 16, linking to a news article and mentioning a retirement age change from 65 to 67 in Canada’s social security system which Reagan made here in the U.S. in 1983. Steve gave him an “attaboy” @ 17, acknowledging that Canada has done a good job extricating itself from the huge mess the Liberals got it into in the ’90′s, and then @ 18 I continued our prior discussion on capital gains taxes. @ 19, Klasie responded that Canada taxes capital gains at the marginal income tax rate, and @ 20 I explained to him why I think that is a terrible idea. Then, @ 21, Klasie pivoted to spending again, and blamed bloated government for all of our problems, linking to a radio interview with Democratic Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, concerning the advantages of universal health care, followed by QED — debate over, in his mind.

    After the main discussion on capital gains continued with Jimmy Veith, I responded to Klasie @ 24, by stating that I didn’t see how having the U.S. take on universal health care, as Schweitzer suggests, is going to help us cut bloat and spending. I gave details for an alternate approach that ACTUALLY WOULD HELP.

    So, how does Klasie respond, @ 25? By saying, oh I didn’t really mean to focus on healthcare, it was just an example. Of course, it was the only example he gave, so I’m not sure what he wanted me to do with that. He gave no suggestions whatsoever as to how the U.S. was going to cut bloatedness sufficiently to extract itself from $1.4 trillion annual deficits, without addressing taxes and the overall scope of government programs, and certainly didn’t explain how taking on universal health care would reduce bloat. What exactly is the “humongous white elephant”? How are we supposed to address it, in Klasie’s mind. No clue from him, we just should.

    So, at 27 I explained to Klasie why I thought Canada could do more at a lower governmental cost. It spends far less, per capita, on defense than the U.S. does, because, quite frankly, Canada relies on us for defense. Also, we are the country that bears the expense of developing new medicines — prescription drugs are half as much in Canada than here. A reasonable point to make to a guy who hasn’t yet provided any explanation as to how we are to wring $1.4 trillion per year out of the “government bloat” without addressing taxes or spending.

    Klasie @ 28: More generalities. Help us to understand, Klasie! How do we do this great and wondrous thing?

    Cincinnatus @ 29 and Me @ 30 — we both simultaneously explain to Klasie that under Canada’s parliamentary system, where one party runs the show, a lot more can get done. With the checks and balances of our government, the good is avoiding the doing of bad things, the bad is preventing the doing of good things. Bottom line — Klasie’s dream of wringing $1.4 trillion of waste, fraud and bloat out of the U.S. government, while not touching taxes or spending, and maybe throwing universal health care in for good measure, is a non-starter.

    Klasie’s response to our substance — you’re just an ideologue. Huh. Well, that’s not helpful.

    So, trotk, since I’m just an ideologue, why don’t you explain in English how we are going to magically implement Klasie’s detailed suggestion to just get rid of a bunch of government departments and save the day?

  • DonS

    trotk @ 42: I question how much you were paying attention about Klasie’s allegedly “simple point”.

    It started back @ 15, where Klasie chimed in about austerity budget cuts coming in Canada — great news. It looks like the conservative government there is getting serious about cutting spending — wish we had a conservative government here in the U.S. He continued @ 16, linking to a news article and mentioning a retirement age change from 65 to 67 in Canada’s social security system which Reagan made here in the U.S. in 1983. Steve gave him an “attaboy” @ 17, acknowledging that Canada has done a good job extricating itself from the huge mess the Liberals got it into in the ’90′s, and then @ 18 I continued our prior discussion on capital gains taxes. @ 19, Klasie responded that Canada taxes capital gains at the marginal income tax rate, and @ 20 I explained to him why I think that is a terrible idea. Then, @ 21, Klasie pivoted to spending again, and blamed bloated government for all of our problems, linking to a radio interview with Democratic Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, concerning the advantages of universal health care, followed by QED — debate over, in his mind.

    After the main discussion on capital gains continued with Jimmy Veith, I responded to Klasie @ 24, by stating that I didn’t see how having the U.S. take on universal health care, as Schweitzer suggests, is going to help us cut bloat and spending. I gave details for an alternate approach that ACTUALLY WOULD HELP.

    So, how does Klasie respond, @ 25? By saying, oh I didn’t really mean to focus on healthcare, it was just an example. Of course, it was the only example he gave, so I’m not sure what he wanted me to do with that. He gave no suggestions whatsoever as to how the U.S. was going to cut bloatedness sufficiently to extract itself from $1.4 trillion annual deficits, without addressing taxes and the overall scope of government programs, and certainly didn’t explain how taking on universal health care would reduce bloat. What exactly is the “humongous white elephant”? How are we supposed to address it, in Klasie’s mind. No clue from him, we just should.

    So, at 27 I explained to Klasie why I thought Canada could do more at a lower governmental cost. It spends far less, per capita, on defense than the U.S. does, because, quite frankly, Canada relies on us for defense. Also, we are the country that bears the expense of developing new medicines — prescription drugs are half as much in Canada than here. A reasonable point to make to a guy who hasn’t yet provided any explanation as to how we are to wring $1.4 trillion per year out of the “government bloat” without addressing taxes or spending.

    Klasie @ 28: More generalities. Help us to understand, Klasie! How do we do this great and wondrous thing?

    Cincinnatus @ 29 and Me @ 30 — we both simultaneously explain to Klasie that under Canada’s parliamentary system, where one party runs the show, a lot more can get done. With the checks and balances of our government, the good is avoiding the doing of bad things, the bad is preventing the doing of good things. Bottom line — Klasie’s dream of wringing $1.4 trillion of waste, fraud and bloat out of the U.S. government, while not touching taxes or spending, and maybe throwing universal health care in for good measure, is a non-starter.

    Klasie’s response to our substance — you’re just an ideologue. Huh. Well, that’s not helpful.

    So, trotk, since I’m just an ideologue, why don’t you explain in English how we are going to magically implement Klasie’s detailed suggestion to just get rid of a bunch of government departments and save the day?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DonS – your answer is another triumphant QED for me.

    Why?

    My point, from the beginning, was that inefficiences cost money, lots and lots of money, and one can and should begin cutting the federal budget there because it woud avoid ideological debates that forestall cutting in the first place. You (and Kerner) promptly entered into an ideological debate into what governement should and should not do, and how Canada is a not such a great place anyway. Huh?? So what?? I tried to explain, and you got testier and testier.

    This is why congress fails. Because what happened in this thread is a super mini version of what happens there. And THAT is the problem. Because of your ideological blinders, you cannot see that. I’m not even critisizing your ideology at all – I’m not even disagreeing with you or Kerner at all. I’m just saying that That is not the best place to begin, because that stalls the debate. The best place to begin is to first clean up the obvious inefficiencies. If you did the effort to listen to the interview I linked to above, that is what Governor Schweitzer intended – but he got steamrolled by Federal bureacrats.

    Other examples: Why is there a separate FDA & USDA? Combine them – and save billions. There are 16 Intelligence agencies in the US. Can’t you whittle them down to 3 or 4 – save money – and be more effective and stopping the bad guys as well (and also be more secure, offering less opportuinties for the Bradley Mannings of this world). The Federal bureacracy is overbloated – following Gov. Schweitzer’s request and delegating some of the health authority down to the States will save billions as well.

    These are real, pragmatic solutions, saving billions, making life easier, and even making the US more secure, possibly.

    For the life of me I can’t understand why this necessitates you, and Kerner etc to attack me and Canada and get all snarky about it. I guess it is just hat ultra- Conservative pride, that thing of not wanting outside advice, or that ideological thing of just seeing ideological solutions to everything, and nothing else.

    I am sorely dissappointed today. :(

    Cincinnatus comment I did understand, because it had to do with the ease of budget reduction etc, and not with the principle itself. It is a real difficulty he raised.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DonS – your answer is another triumphant QED for me.

    Why?

    My point, from the beginning, was that inefficiences cost money, lots and lots of money, and one can and should begin cutting the federal budget there because it woud avoid ideological debates that forestall cutting in the first place. You (and Kerner) promptly entered into an ideological debate into what governement should and should not do, and how Canada is a not such a great place anyway. Huh?? So what?? I tried to explain, and you got testier and testier.

    This is why congress fails. Because what happened in this thread is a super mini version of what happens there. And THAT is the problem. Because of your ideological blinders, you cannot see that. I’m not even critisizing your ideology at all – I’m not even disagreeing with you or Kerner at all. I’m just saying that That is not the best place to begin, because that stalls the debate. The best place to begin is to first clean up the obvious inefficiencies. If you did the effort to listen to the interview I linked to above, that is what Governor Schweitzer intended – but he got steamrolled by Federal bureacrats.

    Other examples: Why is there a separate FDA & USDA? Combine them – and save billions. There are 16 Intelligence agencies in the US. Can’t you whittle them down to 3 or 4 – save money – and be more effective and stopping the bad guys as well (and also be more secure, offering less opportuinties for the Bradley Mannings of this world). The Federal bureacracy is overbloated – following Gov. Schweitzer’s request and delegating some of the health authority down to the States will save billions as well.

    These are real, pragmatic solutions, saving billions, making life easier, and even making the US more secure, possibly.

    For the life of me I can’t understand why this necessitates you, and Kerner etc to attack me and Canada and get all snarky about it. I guess it is just hat ultra- Conservative pride, that thing of not wanting outside advice, or that ideological thing of just seeing ideological solutions to everything, and nothing else.

    I am sorely dissappointed today. :(

    Cincinnatus comment I did understand, because it had to do with the ease of budget reduction etc, and not with the principle itself. It is a real difficulty he raised.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Apologies for the typo’s above.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Apologies for the typo’s above.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 47: I guess I don’t get the whole notion of anything about these issues being a “triumph”. Whatever.

    Thank you for finally providing examples of what you actually meant. The universal health care example has practically nothing to do with cutting and consolidating agencies in the U.S., because we don’t yet have that function. So, naturally, the discussion moved into a discussion on the U.S. adopting universal health care — what the heck did you expect? It was a terrible example if this is the point you were actually trying to make. You know full well that health care, thanks to the ramming of Obamacare into law, is a hot button issue here.

    As for the consolidation of agency functions, it’s a great idea. I’ve been advocating it for years. The problem is that in the U.S. it doesn’t work very well, largely for the reasons Cincinnatus and I outlined to you yesterday — checks and balances allow Democrats and statist Republicans to block any reforms which actually intend to cut government workers, functions, and administration. Jimmy Carter created the Energy Department and the Education Department to “consolidate” those functions in two new agencies. Of course, the result was to have two new agencies creating new programs and snagging more tax dollars, not fewer. Similarly, Bush created the Homeland Security Department to consolidate security agencies. Fail.

    Assuming that somehow these obstacles could be overcome, and administration, duplication, etc. actually reduced, probably $100-200 billion annually could be saved. A small dent in a $1.4 trillion problem, so I am still not sure why you think this solution would eliminate the need to talk about a full tax and entitlement reform.

    By the way, the article you linked to yesterday indicates that Canada is running a $36 billion deficit. With 1/10 the population that is the equivalent of about $360 billion here in the U.S., which is larger than almost all of the Bush year deficits. Canada, obviously, has its own work cut out for it.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 47: I guess I don’t get the whole notion of anything about these issues being a “triumph”. Whatever.

    Thank you for finally providing examples of what you actually meant. The universal health care example has practically nothing to do with cutting and consolidating agencies in the U.S., because we don’t yet have that function. So, naturally, the discussion moved into a discussion on the U.S. adopting universal health care — what the heck did you expect? It was a terrible example if this is the point you were actually trying to make. You know full well that health care, thanks to the ramming of Obamacare into law, is a hot button issue here.

    As for the consolidation of agency functions, it’s a great idea. I’ve been advocating it for years. The problem is that in the U.S. it doesn’t work very well, largely for the reasons Cincinnatus and I outlined to you yesterday — checks and balances allow Democrats and statist Republicans to block any reforms which actually intend to cut government workers, functions, and administration. Jimmy Carter created the Energy Department and the Education Department to “consolidate” those functions in two new agencies. Of course, the result was to have two new agencies creating new programs and snagging more tax dollars, not fewer. Similarly, Bush created the Homeland Security Department to consolidate security agencies. Fail.

    Assuming that somehow these obstacles could be overcome, and administration, duplication, etc. actually reduced, probably $100-200 billion annually could be saved. A small dent in a $1.4 trillion problem, so I am still not sure why you think this solution would eliminate the need to talk about a full tax and entitlement reform.

    By the way, the article you linked to yesterday indicates that Canada is running a $36 billion deficit. With 1/10 the population that is the equivalent of about $360 billion here in the U.S., which is larger than almost all of the Bush year deficits. Canada, obviously, has its own work cut out for it.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Obviously my mistake was trying to say something constructive, and mention the word “Canada” as well. That is apparently akin to the unforgiveable sin, because once again you try and make this about Canada. Why the hell that is an issue, because I said again, and again, and again, that this is not about Canada, or about making the US like Canada, or anything like that I do not understand.

    Of course Canada has its work cut out to reduce that deficit – hence the drastic cuts. I did acknowledge what Cincinnatus said (TWICE!!) – and I should add that over the last 20 years, for 7 of those ears Canada had a minority government, which negates the advantages of a parliamentary system. And just to help you even more, Canada has less debt repayments – our debt to GDP ratio is 35%, compared to over 100% for the US. But once again, this hanever been about Canada. All I did was quote Governor Schweitzer from MONTANA and his frustrations with the WHITE HOUSE, as he was using SK as an example to improve the situation in Montana.

    But hey, it seems that for some that is the Mortal sin – I committed the supreme act of evil by, as a ghastly outsider making a comment and using an outside exmple. The utter gall!! Oh my!! How dare I do such an unholy thing!! How dare I!! To the stake with him, to the stake!!

    Oh, I beg for forgivness……..

    Fiddlesticks. Any intelligent person can see that there are some on the ultraconservative side that are about to go off the deep-end. Even if they are not already there. Take a good look in the mirror. Especially if you love your country. As you should. We all desire a financially healthy, prosperous America. Don’t climb down our throats if we try and make helpful suggestions. And don’t be so ruddy touchy either.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Obviously my mistake was trying to say something constructive, and mention the word “Canada” as well. That is apparently akin to the unforgiveable sin, because once again you try and make this about Canada. Why the hell that is an issue, because I said again, and again, and again, that this is not about Canada, or about making the US like Canada, or anything like that I do not understand.

    Of course Canada has its work cut out to reduce that deficit – hence the drastic cuts. I did acknowledge what Cincinnatus said (TWICE!!) – and I should add that over the last 20 years, for 7 of those ears Canada had a minority government, which negates the advantages of a parliamentary system. And just to help you even more, Canada has less debt repayments – our debt to GDP ratio is 35%, compared to over 100% for the US. But once again, this hanever been about Canada. All I did was quote Governor Schweitzer from MONTANA and his frustrations with the WHITE HOUSE, as he was using SK as an example to improve the situation in Montana.

    But hey, it seems that for some that is the Mortal sin – I committed the supreme act of evil by, as a ghastly outsider making a comment and using an outside exmple. The utter gall!! Oh my!! How dare I do such an unholy thing!! How dare I!! To the stake with him, to the stake!!

    Oh, I beg for forgivness……..

    Fiddlesticks. Any intelligent person can see that there are some on the ultraconservative side that are about to go off the deep-end. Even if they are not already there. Take a good look in the mirror. Especially if you love your country. As you should. We all desire a financially healthy, prosperous America. Don’t climb down our throats if we try and make helpful suggestions. And don’t be so ruddy touchy either.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@50), I’m not sure I’ve ever before seen a post with that much histrionics end with “And don’t be so ruddy touchy either”.

    I do think DonS (@49) has a point here, though. You seem to have imagined yourself providing “simple pragmatic solutions” (@38) all along in this thread, whereas it would seem that DonS and I only seem to have noticed anything like that towards the very end (@47).

    As I see it urging people to cut waste and be less inefficient isn’t a pragmatic suggestion, it’s a hopelessly naive one. Maybe we should shoot for something even more vague and simply declare that government should be better, not worse; smarter, not dumber. See? Problem solved!

    Except not, of course. Because what does that mean? Nothing. And who would disagree with those vague principles? No one. The devil is in the details, of course. That’s where you’ll find the partisanship and animosity.

    The US can stay the US, with all its peculiarities. But it needs to get its financial house in order.

    Color me cynical, but those statements aren’t exactly orthogonal. As has been pointed out, one of the features (not a bug) of our government is a sluggishness powered by checks and balances at many turns. Everyone hates this when they want to get something done, but everyone loves it when the opposition wants to get something done.

    Point being, I’m not sure that the US would be able to get its financial house in order and remain the same, “with all its peculiarities”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie (@50), I’m not sure I’ve ever before seen a post with that much histrionics end with “And don’t be so ruddy touchy either”.

    I do think DonS (@49) has a point here, though. You seem to have imagined yourself providing “simple pragmatic solutions” (@38) all along in this thread, whereas it would seem that DonS and I only seem to have noticed anything like that towards the very end (@47).

    As I see it urging people to cut waste and be less inefficient isn’t a pragmatic suggestion, it’s a hopelessly naive one. Maybe we should shoot for something even more vague and simply declare that government should be better, not worse; smarter, not dumber. See? Problem solved!

    Except not, of course. Because what does that mean? Nothing. And who would disagree with those vague principles? No one. The devil is in the details, of course. That’s where you’ll find the partisanship and animosity.

    The US can stay the US, with all its peculiarities. But it needs to get its financial house in order.

    Color me cynical, but those statements aren’t exactly orthogonal. As has been pointed out, one of the features (not a bug) of our government is a sluggishness powered by checks and balances at many turns. Everyone hates this when they want to get something done, but everyone loves it when the opposition wants to get something done.

    Point being, I’m not sure that the US would be able to get its financial house in order and remain the same, “with all its peculiarities”.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, I was hyper-irritated sure. But I was getting tired of the fact, also noticed by trotk, that when I offered an idea, based on getting rid of enormous inefficiencies in departnments, and used an example from a US Governor that also involved Canada, the whole response was – ‘oh well, Canada is not perfect, and your health system sucks, and and and’.

    I’m bloody well sick and tired of a certain portion of people here that every time one dares to identify something that could be done better, you get the – “well you foreigners are actually totally inferior to totally awesome us, so just shuddup” treatment (after Gene indicated that a South African Canadian perspective is more than welcome here).

    Now Cincinnatus made some very valid observations about the legislative process, – observations I did not address, because I do not have an answer to them. But I’m not going to cower and crawl before jingoist folks anymore. I’ve had it.

    As to your other point regarding pragmatic solutions – trotk @ 42did notice what I was trying to say @ 25 already. It all refers back to the linked interview – the complaint by Governor Schweitzer that Federal bureacracy, the bloated white elephant creates inefficiencies which costs money. How’s that not clear?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd, I was hyper-irritated sure. But I was getting tired of the fact, also noticed by trotk, that when I offered an idea, based on getting rid of enormous inefficiencies in departnments, and used an example from a US Governor that also involved Canada, the whole response was – ‘oh well, Canada is not perfect, and your health system sucks, and and and’.

    I’m bloody well sick and tired of a certain portion of people here that every time one dares to identify something that could be done better, you get the – “well you foreigners are actually totally inferior to totally awesome us, so just shuddup” treatment (after Gene indicated that a South African Canadian perspective is more than welcome here).

    Now Cincinnatus made some very valid observations about the legislative process, – observations I did not address, because I do not have an answer to them. But I’m not going to cower and crawl before jingoist folks anymore. I’ve had it.

    As to your other point regarding pragmatic solutions – trotk @ 42did notice what I was trying to say @ 25 already. It all refers back to the linked interview – the complaint by Governor Schweitzer that Federal bureacracy, the bloated white elephant creates inefficiencies which costs money. How’s that not clear?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    As to your final point, that is a real issue, and relates to Cincinnatus’ point.

    Bipartisanship? Maybe bipartisanship under a Romney (ie technocratic) administration? I have no idea. But even that has a much better chance than flailing at ideological windmills such as “Government must not get involved in healthcare / education / social security” blah blah blah…….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    As to your final point, that is a real issue, and relates to Cincinnatus’ point.

    Bipartisanship? Maybe bipartisanship under a Romney (ie technocratic) administration? I have no idea. But even that has a much better chance than flailing at ideological windmills such as “Government must not get involved in healthcare / education / social security” blah blah blah…….

  • Steve Billingsley

    Klaise,

    Yep the “government healthcare” thing I really do think is a conservative shibboleth (and I consider myself conservative). There are quite a few countries that have some form of universal or “government-run” healthcare system and no two of them are really alike. Canada has a lot of differences with the UK’s system and Switzerland his different from either, etc. There are single-payer and multi-payer versions with a variety of insurance and financing schemes.
    The current US system is a real hodge-podge of private and public and provides an incredibly high quality of care for some and not so good for others. I don’t think that being politically conservative requires some sort of rigid orthodoxy as to what is the best delivery system and financing system for health care.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Klaise,

    Yep the “government healthcare” thing I really do think is a conservative shibboleth (and I consider myself conservative). There are quite a few countries that have some form of universal or “government-run” healthcare system and no two of them are really alike. Canada has a lot of differences with the UK’s system and Switzerland his different from either, etc. There are single-payer and multi-payer versions with a variety of insurance and financing schemes.
    The current US system is a real hodge-podge of private and public and provides an incredibly high quality of care for some and not so good for others. I don’t think that being politically conservative requires some sort of rigid orthodoxy as to what is the best delivery system and financing system for health care.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 52: I didn’t mean to make you “hyper-irritated”, so I apologize for that. I speak my mind on these threads, and enjoy doing it, but I don’t take anything here personally. Please don’t take anything I say personally, either. I like you, a lot. There are a lot of things we more or less agree on, and a lot we don’t, but I enjoy it when you’re in the conversation and contributing your thoughts, ideas, and expertise, in the same way as I really like tODD, even when he’s whacking me on one thing or another, and Bror when he’s whacking me on evangelicalism. So, take that for what it’s worth. And thanks, tODD @ 51, for chiming in and maybe helping Klasie to realize that he wasn’t coming across the way he thought he was. That happens — I know that many of my comments have been misconstrued/misunderstood/miscommunicated on many occasions, especially when they are written in haste.

    As for “jingoist”, well, again, if I came across that way I apologize. I didn’t mean to. Look, I am not going to apologize for thinking that the U.S. was founded to be something really special, and that its unprecedented success, economically, socially, and in the realm of human rights, is due to our Constitution and its protection of individual human rights and liberties. But, I well understand that America in fact has never been America the ideal. We have an ugly history like almost every other country that’s ever existed — slavery, anti-immigration attitudes, racism, imperialism, to name a few. We also have strayed far from the ideals of the founders in terms of the size and nature of our federal government, and its functionality. There is no excuse for leaving our kids with a debt of $15 trillion and rapidly growing, with no seeming national will to even make the smallest dent in it.

    That being said, Canada and the U.S. have very different roots, and very different forms of government. That’s all I was trying to say. What might work there won’t necessarily work here, or be desirable here, because of our differing core values. The example you gave, health care, fell squarely in that category, in my opinion, and I said so. That doesn’t mean Canadian system are wrong for Canadians, just that they’re not necessarily right for Americans. And, presumably, vice-versa.

    And, for those reasons among many others, I must vehemently disagree with your point that to resolve our problems we don’t need to look at tax and entitlement overhauls. We most certainly do.

    Now, probably, this is a good time for me to bow out of this thread ;-)

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 52: I didn’t mean to make you “hyper-irritated”, so I apologize for that. I speak my mind on these threads, and enjoy doing it, but I don’t take anything here personally. Please don’t take anything I say personally, either. I like you, a lot. There are a lot of things we more or less agree on, and a lot we don’t, but I enjoy it when you’re in the conversation and contributing your thoughts, ideas, and expertise, in the same way as I really like tODD, even when he’s whacking me on one thing or another, and Bror when he’s whacking me on evangelicalism. So, take that for what it’s worth. And thanks, tODD @ 51, for chiming in and maybe helping Klasie to realize that he wasn’t coming across the way he thought he was. That happens — I know that many of my comments have been misconstrued/misunderstood/miscommunicated on many occasions, especially when they are written in haste.

    As for “jingoist”, well, again, if I came across that way I apologize. I didn’t mean to. Look, I am not going to apologize for thinking that the U.S. was founded to be something really special, and that its unprecedented success, economically, socially, and in the realm of human rights, is due to our Constitution and its protection of individual human rights and liberties. But, I well understand that America in fact has never been America the ideal. We have an ugly history like almost every other country that’s ever existed — slavery, anti-immigration attitudes, racism, imperialism, to name a few. We also have strayed far from the ideals of the founders in terms of the size and nature of our federal government, and its functionality. There is no excuse for leaving our kids with a debt of $15 trillion and rapidly growing, with no seeming national will to even make the smallest dent in it.

    That being said, Canada and the U.S. have very different roots, and very different forms of government. That’s all I was trying to say. What might work there won’t necessarily work here, or be desirable here, because of our differing core values. The example you gave, health care, fell squarely in that category, in my opinion, and I said so. That doesn’t mean Canadian system are wrong for Canadians, just that they’re not necessarily right for Americans. And, presumably, vice-versa.

    And, for those reasons among many others, I must vehemently disagree with your point that to resolve our problems we don’t need to look at tax and entitlement overhauls. We most certainly do.

    Now, probably, this is a good time for me to bow out of this thread ;-)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Don – you started derailing the whole thing at #30. Instead of discussing the practicalities of inefficiency reduction, you started laying into Canada – you guys take care of our defence, our healthcare sucks blah blah blah. What does that have to do with the price of eggs??

    Also, at no point did I say that one should Not look at taxes etc. I consistently said that one should start by looking at the least ideological issue, namely inefficiency reduction. No rocket science required. Why on earth that standpoint should require an attack on Canada only you will ever know.

    Yes, I do acknowledge your apology, but it is very clear to me that those to the right of the GOP have become so wrapped up in semantics that it is nigh impossible to have a simple conversation, not unless you somehow manage to avoid all those damn shibboleths, as Steve calls them. BTW, I wasn’t even agitating for any specific solution to the healthcare issues either. I was merely (for the umpteenth time!) Using an example of current inefficincies.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Don – you started derailing the whole thing at #30. Instead of discussing the practicalities of inefficiency reduction, you started laying into Canada – you guys take care of our defence, our healthcare sucks blah blah blah. What does that have to do with the price of eggs??

    Also, at no point did I say that one should Not look at taxes etc. I consistently said that one should start by looking at the least ideological issue, namely inefficiency reduction. No rocket science required. Why on earth that standpoint should require an attack on Canada only you will ever know.

    Yes, I do acknowledge your apology, but it is very clear to me that those to the right of the GOP have become so wrapped up in semantics that it is nigh impossible to have a simple conversation, not unless you somehow manage to avoid all those damn shibboleths, as Steve calls them. BTW, I wasn’t even agitating for any specific solution to the healthcare issues either. I was merely (for the umpteenth time!) Using an example of current inefficincies.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    I’m sorry if I offended anybody in my posts above, but “guilt-by-country-of-origin-arguments” (as opposed to guilt-by-association-arguments) really get my goat. They really rank as some of the worst arguments out there.

    And they really let me dig deep into the sarcasm well.

    Make no mistake. I like the States, and wish you all of the best – after all, your financial health is our financial health, thus my deep, deep concern with your financial health!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    I’m sorry if I offended anybody in my posts above, but “guilt-by-country-of-origin-arguments” (as opposed to guilt-by-association-arguments) really get my goat. They really rank as some of the worst arguments out there.

    And they really let me dig deep into the sarcasm well.

    Make no mistake. I like the States, and wish you all of the best – after all, your financial health is our financial health, thus my deep, deep concern with your financial health!

  • kerner

    Klasie:

    Well, time for my own apology. I did not mean to come across like:

    ““well you foreigners are actually totally inferior to totally awesome us, so just shuddup”

    I’ll try to do better. I would ask, however, for you to consider the possibility that sometimes your comments come across like:

    “if you stupid arrogant Americans would just look around you and see how much smarter than you the rest of the world is, you wouldn’t have so many problems…”

    I take you at your word that you don’t mean it that way. And I’ll try to remember that when I start to get hyper irritated myself.

  • kerner

    Klasie:

    Well, time for my own apology. I did not mean to come across like:

    ““well you foreigners are actually totally inferior to totally awesome us, so just shuddup”

    I’ll try to do better. I would ask, however, for you to consider the possibility that sometimes your comments come across like:

    “if you stupid arrogant Americans would just look around you and see how much smarter than you the rest of the world is, you wouldn’t have so many problems…”

    I take you at your word that you don’t mean it that way. And I’ll try to remember that when I start to get hyper irritated myself.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner – and that is, because I did not want to sound that way, I took the words of a US governor. I mean, if that doesn’t work, what else can I do??

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner – and that is, because I did not want to sound that way, I took the words of a US governor. I mean, if that doesn’t work, what else can I do??

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @2

    My problem with the measures of mobility are that they don’t account for all the folks who move to the US from somewhere else. It would be interesting to see mobility for those whose grandparents were born here vs. those whose grandparents, parents or themselves were not born here. My husband’s grandparents weren’t born here. They were bottom quintile most of their lives, but his parents were top quintile. Because of immigration patterns, the US is exceptional. Hey, maybe Canada is, too! Anyway, is this an unsustainable pyramid scheme? I don’t know, but there is more to it than mobility.

    Don’t read anything into my comment – this is strictly a comment about reporting and labeling mobility in a system that is growing due to immigration vs. one that is just stewing in its own juices.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @2

    My problem with the measures of mobility are that they don’t account for all the folks who move to the US from somewhere else. It would be interesting to see mobility for those whose grandparents were born here vs. those whose grandparents, parents or themselves were not born here. My husband’s grandparents weren’t born here. They were bottom quintile most of their lives, but his parents were top quintile. Because of immigration patterns, the US is exceptional. Hey, maybe Canada is, too! Anyway, is this an unsustainable pyramid scheme? I don’t know, but there is more to it than mobility.

    Don’t read anything into my comment – this is strictly a comment about reporting and labeling mobility in a system that is growing due to immigration vs. one that is just stewing in its own juices.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    sg, I think immigrants are generally upward mobile in any largely immigrant country (US, Canada, Australia etc). But that only explains one direction. So I’m not sure that it explains Webmonk’s observations….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    sg, I think immigrants are generally upward mobile in any largely immigrant country (US, Canada, Australia etc). But that only explains one direction. So I’m not sure that it explains Webmonk’s observations….


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