International Tax Competition and Coordination   Recently updated !

The Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance has the working paper International Tax Competition and Coordination.

This paper aims to provide a comprehensive survey of the theory of international tax competition. Starting with the standard framework, it visits the non-cooperative equilibrium of tax competition, analyses aspects of partial and regional coordination, repeated interaction, stock-flow-effects, agglomeration effects and time consistency issues in dynamic models. We discuss profit shifting in the Keen-Kanbur model an d then survey frameworks to analyze countries’ bidding for firms, tax rate differentiat ion and preferential tax regimes, the role of information exchange and recent work on tax havens. The paper also discusses approaches that replace the benevolent government assumption b y selfish (Leviathan) governments or by political processes that determine countries’ decis ions on their tax policy in an international context.

I have just started to read this paper. What got me interested was the knowledge of one of the truths mentioned near the beginning of the paper.

It is over the last two decades or so, however, that increased economic integration has made international considerations a central component of tax policy making around the world. Like it or not, national tax policy makers are involved in a game with one another. This class of games is what is meant here by “international tax competition,” and it is the aim of this chapter to take stock of what is known of this game, the outcomes it may lead to, and the ways in which it might be beneficially reshaped.

If you are not a policy wonk, you are probably unaware of this issue, let alone how important it is to how we are governed and taxed. I suspect George W. Bush was told how important this is so that he would pull us out of coordination talks as soon as he came into office. Coordination would have ended the games companies play.


Racism and the founding of the GOP: Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War and the real history of the Republican Party   Recently updated !

For those looking for a more detailed description of how the new Republican Party was formed, one can start with a Google search formation of the republican party. One of the items I found was this Salon article Racism and the founding of the GOP: Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War and the real history of the Republican Party.

The political party that grew from these concerns over slavery was the Republican Party. In turn, it nourished and carried forward the public’s anti-slavery feelings. But the party was an amalgam of strangely different elements. It contained men from different political backgrounds, and it combined antislavery convictions and antiblack prejudices.

For any topic as complicated as this is, I wouldn’t expect simple answers. This article can only be expected to provide food for thought, not a definitive answer to many questions. I don’t know if reading the book from which this article was excerpted, Lincoln’s Dilemma: Blair, Sumner, and the Republican Struggle over Racism and Equality in the Civil War Era (A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era) will provide any more details.


Single-Payer Bernie Sanders Morphs Into Public Option Howard Dean

Counterpunch has the article Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean.

And PNHP, in a paper titled The Public Plan Option: Myths and Facts, says that

“the current Medicare experience combined with experience in many different states that have tried this type of reform shows that public plans are left with the sickest patients and fail due to rising costs while the private insurers continue to collect premiums from the healthiest patients and maintain their high profits.”

We have to be very wary of what Senator Sanders proposes.


Bill Black: Why Did Preet Bharara Refuse to Drain the Wall Street Swamp?

Naked Capitalism has copublished the article Bill Black: Why Did Preet Bharara Refuse to Drain the Wall Street Swamp? Lest there be any confusion, the key word in the title is refused.

Bharara knew how to drain the Wall Street swamp. He had the facts, the staff, and the jurisdiction to drain the Wall Street swamp. Bharara refused to do so.

Makes you wonder why the Trump administration fired him, as he seemed to be the pussycat that the Department of Justice wanted to guard Wall Street crime.

The other point is to not let the corporate press like The New York Times fool you into thinking that the Justice Department under Barack Obama had any interest in reining in corporate crime.

Could the Obama legacy be the massive corruption of the executive branch of our government?


Clinical psychologist explains how Ayn Rand helped turn the US into a selfish and greedy nation   Recently updated !

Rawstory has reprinted the article Clinical psychologist explains how Ayn Rand helped turn the US into a selfish and greedy nation.

The good news is that I’ve seen ex-Rand fans grasp the damage that Rand’s philosophy has done to their lives and to then exorcize it from their psyche. Can the United States as a nation do the same thing?

As a reformed fan of Ayn Rand who had an epiphany in sophomore year of college in 1962, I found this explanation of her life and influence to be fascinating and in agreement with what I now think of her.

I was surprised to read the following in the middle of the article:

If Rand really believed that the Socratic Method described by Plato of discovering accurate definitions and clear thinking did not qualify as “reason,” why then did she regularly attempt it with her Collective?

I, too, believe that the Socratic Method described by Plato of discovering definitions does not qualify as reason. In fact I wrote a humanities paper in my freshman year of college making this exact point. I got the glorious grade of D from a professor who, come to find out, thought that Plato’s description of circular reasoning was great logic. (I guess he actually must have liked my paper a little. The D was better than the Fs he gave all my other papers. My sister who was on her way to getting a Master of Arts degree helped me to raise my grade on that final paper.)

I later found that Plato’s idea of logic is now known as syllogism, and does not get much respect from logicians these days.

I mentioned this in a previous post What Kind of Academic Background Does Elizabeth Warren Have? In that post I quoted an explanation that proved through a form of syllogism called a sorites that you cannot make a heap of sand by pouring more sand on.

So what I am left with is a feeling of assurance that Ayn Rand was a charlatan, and Socratic logic is not a good basis for the Supreme Court to use to make decisions. I guess that is not cognitive dissonance if I don’t believe in Ayn Rand anymore and the fact that she disparaged, but used a form of logic that I also do not believe in.


Why Don’t We Just Reform The Democratic Party?

There is an organization called Draft Bernie For A People’s Party. In the March 23, 2017 weekly conference call, they had an experienced organizer explain exactly why we don’t just reform the Democratic Party.

The Draft Bernie organization sent an email summary of the conference call from which I quote.

Last night on the second call, we were joined by Bill Bianchi, the former head of the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) in Chicago and now a member of Draft Bernie, and Lee Camp, comedian and host of Redacted Tonight.

Bill Bianchi traced the history of many failed attempts to bring progressive ideas into the corporate-controlled Democratic Party over the years. Not even Bernie Sanders with his millions of followers have been able to make a dent in the party after his historic run in the Democratic primary. Bill thinks it’s necessary to fight the corporate Democrats by drafting Bernie to unite progressive groups into one huge movement and people’s party.

Lee Camp emphasized the impact of election fraud that has been documented by experts for well over a decade. He described how it was used in the primary to thwart Bernie’s victory. He ended by telling us to, “Keep fighting”!

Here is the audio of the conference call. Bill Binachi’s part starts within the first 2 minutes of the audio.


The DLC Lives: “Third Way” Democrats Are Trying to Push the Party Rightward

Truth Out has the article The DLC Lives: “Third Way” Democrats Are Trying to Push the Party Rightward.

I think the main value of this article is to arm you against the attack of the Democratic Party oligarchs who will try to convince you to support them against your own best interests.

I may be on the hairy edge of the principle of fair use in the excerpts I show below. The irony of that is the fact that there is so much more of the article that I wanted to quote. I guess, you’ll just have to read the article for yourself.

The basic premise: Democrats are wrong to appeal to growing demographics that lean liberal, such as Latinos and young people. Third Way claims that this thinking has led Democrats to “pursue a base-only strategy without worrying about persuading a broader swath of voters to support them.” Democrats are failing to acknowledge, it argues, that voters are increasingly registering as independents and do not identify as liberal. It declares that the party must move to the center.
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However, the more persuasive argument is that the Democrats lost the election precisely because they are too much like what Third Way wants them to be: deferential, non-ideological and too close to Wall Street. “Secretary Clinton does represent the establishment,” Sen. Bernie Sanders explained during the primary.
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Third Way’s rhetoric repeatedly conflates “independent” with “moderate.” This conflation is repeated frequently in the media as a truism. And while the specific politics of “independent voters” vary widely and change from election to election, pollsters agree that “it’s critical not to confuse ‘independents’ with ‘moderates,'” as 538 acknowledged in an article about Bernie Sanders’ success among independents.

The reality that “independent” does not equal “moderate” has been affirmed by many other pollsters and experts, including Tom Jensen at Public Policy Polling and even the DLC’s still surviving sister think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute, which acknowledged as much in 2010.

“One of the frustrating things about contemporary political analysis is the frequency with which key terms get used in a very sloppy manner that reflects highly biased or inaccurate assumptions,” the Progressive Policy Institute stated in a 2010 article on its website. “A perpetual example is the use of ‘independent’ and ‘moderate’ as interchangeable words for unaffiliated voters.”


Is the Federal Reserve a privately owned corporation?   Recently updated !

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has the pamphlet Is the Federal Reserve a privately owned corporation?

The Federal Reserve System is considered to be an independent central bank. It is so, however, only in the sense that its decisions do not have to be ratified by the President or anyone else in the executive branch of the government. The entire System is subject to oversight by the U.S. Congress….the Federal Reserve must work within the framework of the overall objectives of economic and financial policy established by the government.

I find another clarifying statement rather definitive.

  • The Board of Governors—Located in Washington, D.C., Board members are appointed by the U.S. President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Board members and staff are civil service employees.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco uses different words to explain the same basic truth that was explained in my previous post Who owns the Federal Reserve? This post gives the link to a pamphlet from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. As per the above quote “Board members and staff are civil service employees.”


    A Look at Desktop Environments: KDE 5 Plasma

    Ghacks has the article A Look at Desktop Environments: KDE 5 Plasma.

    This time around we will be looking at KDE: powerful, graphically beautiful, and filled with an array of useful software; but the most resource intensive of the major desktop environments.

    I think this is a way overblown description. However, I use KDE on a virtual machine on my computer. This article may point to some useful information that I have not been using, so I post it here for future reference.


    Simple Explanation of the Need for Federal Budget Deficits.   Recently updated !

    I think I finally found a way to explain the impact of federal government deficits on the private economy in a way that non-experts may be able to understand. I’ll give you my full response to a comment on Ed Markey’s post.

    Obamacare is saving money although not nearly as much as Medicare for all would have saved. If there is any flaw in the Democrat’s health care changes over the last 8 years, it is that it failed to even include a government option, let alone Medicare for all.

    The federal government creates US money. The federal government puts that money into the private sector by spending it. If there were no federal government deficits, there would be no new money added to the private sector economy to replace all the money that is leaving the domestic private sector and going to the foreign private sector because of our foreign trade deficit.

    Without the deficits, there would be a huge deflation and there would be such a huge contraction of our economy that you would be seeing massive breadlines larger than during the depression. All of our jobs would be outsourced because of the strength of our money, after deflation, compared to other nations.

    We need a gradual inflation to help the transition to more equal wage scales around the world. That transition would help lessen the size of our trade deficits, lessen the need for huge federal budget deficits, lessen the outsourcing of our jobs, and spread the pain of adjustments more equally among all income levels in our country. That adjustment of wage levels is inevitable, but we don’t need to isolate the burden of that adjustment to just the lower 90% of income earners. The oligarchs should not be allowed to foist that burden on only the rest of us.

    Some of the world wage scale adjustment will come from the increased standard of living in foreign countries, which will be no burden to us at all.

    Ed Markey is no liberal. He is what is called a neo-liberal which translates into not-liberal or anti-liberal.

    Here is the link to Ed Markey’s post The real March Madness is President Trump’s budget.