Wednesday, October 22, 2014
   
Text Size

Search our Site or Google

The Great Western Revenue Crisis, Part III

Articles & Blogs - International Commentary

User Rating: / 4
PoorBest 

In Part I, I rebutted one of the great myths of the mainstream media: that the terminal debt-problems facing Western economies are/were the consequence of reckless spending. I pointed out how the reality was that in fact we were in the midst of the worst revenue crisis in the history of our economies, and then in Part II I described some of the symptoms of that crisis.

The conclusion to this series will focus on how we can begin the healing process from this massive hollowing-out of our economies, and why the appropriate solutions are nothing more than a function of simple arithmetic and the most basic principles of economics.

In 2005 and 2006 we were subjected to the worst of B.S. Bernanke’s lies: that the U.S. housing bubble and the endless $trillions of Wall Street Ponzi-schemes which had been based upon that bubble represented a “Goldilocks economy” – where U.S. house prices and U.S. markets were just going to keep going up and up forever. Months later the whole, fraudulent house-of-cards came tumbling down.

For the edification of Mr. Bernanke and all those who still mistakenly follow his preaching, I will describe what a real “Goldilocks economy” would look like, and how it would function. To begin with we need to quickly rebut another of the popular myths of the media propaganda-machine: that advocating economic policies to promote a healthy middle-class is “socialism”.

Roughly 2,000 years ago (and more than 1,500 years before the birth of socialism), Greek philosopher Plutarch informed us of something which was already “old news” at the time of the Roman Empire:

An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all Republics.

Was Plutarch some sort of closet, leftist ideologue who had somehow managed to travel back in time to the ancient past? Hardly. Like many of the classical Greek philosophers he was simply proficient with two age-old tools: logic and arithmetic. Indeed, most of the reputable elements of modern economic theory are nothing more than a fusion of simple arithmetic and common sense.

Any/every healthy economy should have a wealth-distribution curve that looks almost exactly spherical in shape: widest around the middle, and narrowing at the most-rapid rate as we approach either extreme. In other words, a healthy economy is one where the vast majority of citizens are solidly established at a middle-class level of existence. As stated previously, favoring a strong, healthy middle-class has absolutely zero to do with ideology and everything to do with arithmetic. To demonstrate this we need to again resort to the starting point of all analysis: definition of terms.

What is a “healthy economy”? Obviously to attempt to answer that question succinctly requires a general answer: a healthy economy is one which provides the optimal balance between savings and consumption. How do I justify my definition? Too much consumption is unhealthy. Not only does that necessarily imply insufficient capital for investment/development, but excessive consumption leads to numerous unhealthy consequences. To begin with, economies overheat.

When you have the maximum amount of consumption dollars flooding into an economy, inventories are drawn down, sparking prices to move higher in an inverse manner (the basic principle of supply and demand). Over-consumption (as we have seen vividly illustrated in our own economies) leads to excessively high inflation, asset bubbles, and (in the extreme) excessive personal debt – as consumers spend more than 100% of their discretionary dollars.

It is a basic fact of arithmetic that the poorer the individual, the greater the percentage of every dollar they hold that is spent. This is one facet of the basic economic principle known as the “marginal propensity to consume”. Despite the intimidating label it is nothing but an expression of a simple, unequivocal fact: by definition the poor have no excess wealth – and thus each dollar they obtain is spent.

For this reason, we would not want to structure our economies to cause all of those consumption dollars to flow into the hands of the poor. While such policies would be extremely stimulative, they would literally be “too much of a good thing”. Of course, if the poor had all the money they would no longer be “poor”, but since it’s Monday morning I’ll side-step that logical paradox and simply stay focused upon the general principle.

At the opposite extreme we have the wealthy. If the “problem” with the poor is that they spend too much, then you don’t need to have the gift of prophesy to be able to predict the problem with the wealthy: they spend too little. As people become wealthier and wealthier, even though their total consumption may continue to increase in absolute terms, the percentage of each new dollar of wealth that they spend steadily declines. They inevitably begin hoarding wealth.

Only those who inhabit the economic middle provide an economy with the optimal blend of savings and consumption. “Not too hot” as when the poor have all the wealth, and “not too cold” like when the wealthy are hoarding all of a society’s riches: a true “Goldilocks economy.” Again, this conclusion has absolutely nothing to do with ideology. It is merely the other half of the principle of the marginal propensity to consume, and is an accepted part of economic theory in any/every economics textbook ever written. The rich hoard – it is all simply a function of arithmetic.

Thus in any/every economy where a disproportionate share of an economy’s wealth flows into the pockets of the wealthy we would expect the exact opposite problems we experience when (if) the poor had all the money. Instead of our economies overheating, this hollowing-out effect would cause our economies to get more and more sickly – precisely mimicking the biological symptoms of anemia.

This is what our theory dictates, but what of our empirical evidence? Today the wealthy (most specifically the top-1%) hold the largest proportion of our societies’ wealth in history. Worse, their annual incomes have never been higher while their effective tax rates have never been lower. The “sucking sound” as these parasites drain the remaining blood from our economies simply gets louder and louder.

What has been the consequence of this hollowing-out? Surprise, surprise! Exactly as our economic theory has predicted our revenue-starved economies are all at the point of collapse. Yet instead of doing anything to stop the blood-sucking of the parasites at the top, we have our governments continuing to insist that their victims engage in ever more-extreme dieting – i.e. “austerity”. Our governments have become nothing more than “pimps” for Vampires, like some low-budget “Dracula” movie.

Greece’s economy didn’t really begin to disintegrate completely until its government initiated austerity. The UK’s two years of austerity has only caused its deficits to grow, while its economy now shrinks into an official “double-dip recession”. The most recent convert to these suicidal policies of Friedman Austerity is Spain. It’s not making any progress on its deficit, but its economy is shrinking now too.

Obviously if the deficits only grow (or at worst remain the same) while the economies continue to shrink smaller and smaller this is not “fixing things” – it is literally lemming-suicide, as clueless Western governments follow the government of Greece off its economic cliff.

If starving/squeezing those on the bottom only makes our economies sicker and sicker (until they default like Greece) then obviously to heal our economies we need to boost revenues by taxing the (very) wealthy. Even if I had not already established this fact with charts, theory, and analysis; this is a simple proposition of logic.

Again, we have empirical evidence to back-stop the argument. If the Bush tax-cuts from 2000 (the biggest tax-cuts for the very wealthy in history) caused U.S. tax revenues to totally collapse, then merely reversing those hand-outs must have an extremely positive effect on revenues.

Of course in the U.S. that’s no longer nearly enough. The $trillions which ultra-wealthy Americans have piled on top of history’s largest wealth-hoards have all come at the direct expense of added $trillions in U.S. debt (at all levels of the economy). It is not sufficient that the Vampires are simply prevented from any more blood-sucking. One way or another they must disgorge much of the blood they have already drained from our economies, to retire those added debts (and the interest payable on them) with budget surpluses.

History’s answer to this “disgorging” process has always been the guillotine. However that is so very, very messy. As I have pointed out in this series (and previously), a wealth tax is a humane mechanism to dispossess the ultra-wealthy of all of their excess blood without going to the extreme of decapitation.

Our economies are collapsing. The statistical lies of our governments can hide that (for a while) but it certainly won’t do anything to prevent it. Indeed, with our governments all literally engaged in the most harmful, destructive policies possible (to feed the Vampires), every further day of denial only causes further irreparable economic harm.

We can stop this destruction (i.e. our economic rape) before our economies have finished their collapse or after they have done so. If we do so after, history tells us that almost certainly the “tool” to be used will be the guillotine. If we begin to repair our economies before the Vampires have drained the last drop of blood then more benign solutions remain possible.

Our economies have gone from being a series of roughly spherical distribution curves for the wealth of their populations, to a collection of obscene, inverted pyramids. You don’t need a degree in economics to understand that an inverted pyramid is not a stable structure (for an economy, or anything else in the universe).

The pendulum of history is about to swing back because it must swing back (just as it has always swung back for thousands of years). It would behoove those currently on top to facilitate this progressive reversal rather than to stand in its way. History is very clear about what happens to such people.

Trackback(0)
Comments (8)Add Comment
Jeff Nielson
...
written by Jeff Nielson, May 02, 2012
P.S. The "logic" of the Right tells us that government should be forced out of ALL aspects of business because (supposedly) it's always incompetent.

However, our governments are incompetent at EVERY one of the functions they perform. So using the EXACT SAME logic of the Right, we should simply ABOLISH all of our governments and accede to permanent anarchy.

Obviously the RATIONAL solution is not to ABOLISH government but to REFORM government - so that it performs its functions COMPETENTLY (whatever those functions are).
Jeff Nielson
...
written by Jeff Nielson, May 02, 2012
Jeff, which is worse:

- Monopoly A, a corporation which produces things you MAY want or need, but you can choose not to buy?

- Monopoly B, a government which FORCES you (at gunpoint, if need be) to buy/use its services, most if not all of which you DON'T want or need?

Best,
Mr. P.


C'mon MrP, let's not stack the deck here (lol)!

What's worse: someone pointing a gun at you or someone offering you a bag of money? Lol!

Let's try a somewhat more NEUTRAL comparison. What's worse: a corporate entity where the shareholders (i.e. beneficiaries) are the ENTIRE population; or a corporation where the beneficiaries are primarily BILLIONAIRES???

Do we want totally elitist societies geared exclusively to promoting the interests of 1% of the population? OR do we want governments OF the majority, BY the majority, and FOR the majority???
MrPaladin
...
written by MrPaladin, May 02, 2012
Jeff, which is worse:

- Monopoly A, a corporation which produces things you MAY want or need, but you can choose not to buy?

- Monopoly B, a government which FORCES you (at gunpoint, if need be) to buy/use its services, most if not all of which you DON'T want or need?

Best,
Mr. P.

Jeff Nielson
...
written by Jeff Nielson, May 02, 2012
James, rolling out the guillotines would be ANOTHER societal failure - in two respects. First it would show we hadn't ADVANCED to the point where we could solve these problems in a more civilized manner.

More importantly, rolling out the guillotines implies ANGER but not necessarily COMPREHENSION. It is important that the people know what was done to them (and how) so that we don't simply begin ANOTHER theft-cycle immediately afterward.

MrPaladin, what could be more "pro-business" than a wealth tax - where there would be NO corporate taxation? People will invariably find it difficult to apply labels to myself (and make them "stick") because I'm a pragmatist and not an ideologue.

I'm not "anti-business", I'm anti-monopoly and anti-oligopoly. And since these evil monstrosities should have NEVER been allowed to exist in the first place, being anti-monopoly is like being anti-Satan.
Dingo
...
written by James "The Dingo", May 02, 2012
I say roll out the Guillotines! (create some jobs cleaning up the mess)

All the sickly Western Nations DO need Civil Wars!

Now it don't mean you're weak if you turn the other cheek, but sometimes you have to fight to save your Nation!
MrPaladin
...
written by MrPaladin, May 01, 2012
I agree with apberusdisvet: there are deserving rich (e.g., innovators, industrialists) and undeserving rich (Wall Street fraudsters, et al), just as there are deserving poor (unfortunates) and undeserving poor (the lazy, lifetime-entitled).

It is the undeserving rich and their ill-gotten gains that should be subject to your wealth tax. Jeff, sometimes you seem to be inherently anti-business, as if you feel that big companies are all crooked. But corporations are not necessarily evil. It is only when they lie, cheat, steal and use their Washington, D.C. contacts that they act despicably. Such corruption and fraud should be prosecuted, of course, but it usually isn't. I believe that the profit motive is a good and natural thing, and that capitalism certainly works better than any other system. At the same time, as Philip Wylie once noted: "profit as the sole reason for a business is not enough." Well, maybe in a perfect world....

In any case, I believe Western governments have no choice but to cut spending. Nations where 50 percent of the population is receiving a government handout of one form or another are unsustainable. One half of a people can only support the other half for so long. In the USA, this is compounded by wasteful, expensive and draining wars around the globe, as well as the so-called wars on poverty and drugs. This is a lemming-like economy.

The problem is that around the turn of the century (2000), the powers-that-be decided that, for political reasons, financial pain and hardship could no longer be tolerated. They preferred to debase the currency into infinity rather than accept a mild recession. After a decade or so, we're now in a position with no way out: must keep spending just to maintain status quo, can't raise interest rates above zero or the country goes bankrupt. The USA and its allies are just like Greece -- eventual default is the only option. If our leaders acted sanely, they would cut the defense budget and cut entitlements. They would stop bailouts and backstops for banks and big corporations, and cut government in half. Yes, many more people would become unemployed, but the dead wood and phony jobs would clear out, and we could start anew with the solid base of a real economy. Of course, that would cause pain and hardship, and therefore won't be allowed.

Face it, Jeff, neither your plan nor mine will be enacted, and Armageddon awaits, just around the corner.

Cheers.


Jeff Nielson
...
written by Jeff Nielson, May 01, 2012
It's always mind-boggling to me that GAAP for earnings reports is vastly different than GAAP for determining tax liability. They should be one and the same. It is unconscionable that GE pays no taxes (actually has a tax loss carry forward) and that Apple pays less than 10%. I would agree totally with your thesis if you made the distinction between wealth that is produced by the producers/innovators and that produced by the manipulators/corruptors. It is part of the American Dream to emulate the former and imprison the latter.


Apberusdisvet, if there is ONE lesson we have learned from the GRAVE MISTAKE of an income-tax based system it's that the ONLY way that (all) corporations could ever be taxed fairly/equally is to NOT TAX THEM AT ALL.

It's ONLY when we ignore the wealth in the hands of these corporate pirates and TAX IT in the hands of their owners (i.e. the shareholders) that there is NOWHERE TO RUN.

This is yet another in the infinite benefits of wealth taxation - the opportunity to PERMANENTLY end the corrupt/unequal manner in which corporate wealth is taxed.
apberusdisvet
...
written by apberusdisvet, April 30, 2012
Jeff: That there is massive income inequality is not in question. While there are millionaires and billionaires that deserve their wealth by dint of innovation and hard work (Ford, Edison, Jobs, etc) there are too many (especially in the financial sector) who have gamed the system by corrupting politicians to gain beneficial tax or regulatory treatment. It's always mind-boggling to me that GAAP for earnings reports is vastly different than GAAP for determining tax liability. They should be one and the same. It is unconscionable that GE pays no taxes (actually has a tax loss carry forward) and that Apple pays less than 10%. I would agree totally with your thesis if you made the distinction between wealth that is produced by the producers/innovators and that produced by the manipulators/corruptors. It is part of the American Dream to emulate the former and imprison the latter.

Write comment
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

busy

Latest Commentary

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12

Latest Comments

Disclaimer:

BullionBullsCanada.com is not a registered investment advisor - Stock information is for educational purposes ONLY. Bullion Bulls Canada does not make "buy" or "sell" recommendations for any company. Rather, we seek to find and identify Canadian companies who we see as having good growth potential. It is up to individual investors to do their own "due diligence" or to consult with their financial advisor - to determine whether any particular company is a suitable investment for themselves.

Login Form