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Contrary to what the Presidential candidates have been saying, Cornell's Robert Frank says, "the...

Contrary to what the Presidential candidates have been saying, Cornell's Robert Frank says, "the nation doesn’t actually face difficult economic choices." Inter alia, Frank advocates spending money to repair crumbling infrastructure and so create jobs, and "replacing the current income tax with a more steeply progressive consumption tax, making big-ticket spending much more expensive."
Comments (68)
  • youngman442002
    , contributor
    Comments (5131) | Send Message
     
    Remember the luxury tax of 20 years ago....it put millions out of work....Planes, boats, and cars...good job lefties...nothing in this guys head about cutting expenses...his ideas are about government doing it all ...just how to pay for it....and the sad fact is we can´t pay for what we are doing today..let alone new programs
    23 Sep 2012, 08:11 AM Reply Like
  • bbro
    , contributor
    Comments (10526) | Send Message
     
    30 year money available at 3%....hell Baa corporates can borrow at 4.91% a 47 year low....
    23 Sep 2012, 08:18 AM Reply Like
  • The Geoffster
    , contributor
    Comments (4196) | Send Message
     
    Another proponent of central planning screaming for more tax and spending. You feed the parasites, you get more of them.
    23 Sep 2012, 08:40 AM Reply Like
  • designshoe
    , contributor
    Comments (917) | Send Message
     
    well if you believe the police,fireman, librarians, sewer workers are parasites then by all means lay them all off and see what happens.
    23 Sep 2012, 09:03 AM Reply Like
  • The Geoffster
    , contributor
    Comments (4196) | Send Message
     
    The unions are.
    23 Sep 2012, 10:28 AM Reply Like
  • surfnspy
    , contributor
    Comments (415) | Send Message
     
    Design,
    How the hell do you make that jump? Jeez.
    23 Sep 2012, 10:45 AM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    I gave you a thumbs up. Yes, they are parasites. Glad you agree.
    23 Sep 2012, 10:58 AM Reply Like
  • Mad_Max_A_Million
    , contributor
    Comments (1175) | Send Message
     
    designshoe: have you done any homework on this?
    Cities are declaring bankruptcy and canceling union contracts thru the courts.
    Then they do not have to lay off that many police/firemen.
    Unions get extreme salaries and pensions reduced to where they should have been before they bankrupted the city.
    23 Sep 2012, 01:20 PM Reply Like
  • Poor Texan
    , contributor
    Comments (3533) | Send Message
     
    Yes, every government employee is indispensable and we need more of them:-(
    23 Sep 2012, 04:39 PM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    Librarians don't need many of as the internet provides more information than people need but there are not many anyways so likely not an issue.

     

    Firemens' benefit exists if it costs much less to pay them then let the structure burn and replace it with insurance. Since most things do burn beyond help it is likely the benefit of paying firefighters has passed. At least paying them ridiculous pay and benefits.

     

    Sewer workers is not a big part of the labor force as far as I know.

     

    Police work needs support as long as we plan on keeping UE high and trashing the private sector. Low UE reduces the police load tremondously.
    23 Sep 2012, 05:39 PM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10705) | Send Message
     
    And....we need to pay them more for the "important" jobs that they do. Please don't get me started on the inefficiencies in road construction,
    multiple lights at intersections because we're all too stupid to know when it's our time to turn, and the ramps from sidewalks to streets to accommodate the skateboarders, the street lights on streets where there is no reason to have them, the concrete walls they put up in neighborhoods near streets who bought their houses when there was a street with street noise there already, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum.
    23 Sep 2012, 06:52 PM Reply Like
  • PeakOiler
    , contributor
    Comments (298) | Send Message
     
    Yeah Geoff, like 10% of the American workforce is unionized. Unions have no impact, you're living in the 1960's my friend.
    23 Sep 2012, 08:44 PM Reply Like
  • PeakOiler
    , contributor
    Comments (298) | Send Message
     
    Most govt employees are in the armed forces so I'm in total agreement, cut 'em loose. If it wasn't for the armed forces in America, the country would actually have a future, for example the totally stupid invasion of Iraq almost bankrupted the country, the financial effects of that disaster will be felt for decades to come.
    23 Sep 2012, 08:47 PM Reply Like
  • lostalloncoal
    , contributor
    Comments (373) | Send Message
     
    The great Obamaway.
    23 Sep 2012, 09:10 PM Reply Like
  • designshoe
    , contributor
    Comments (917) | Send Message
     
    totally agree with the professor. the treasury can issue bonds at ridiculous low rates, why not enjoy this privilege? Stieglitz said so too
    23 Sep 2012, 08:46 AM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Stiglitz is a dunce.
    23 Sep 2012, 10:58 AM Reply Like
  • PeakOiler
    , contributor
    Comments (298) | Send Message
     
    And Junker is an appropriate name.
    23 Sep 2012, 08:48 PM Reply Like
  • Terry330
    , contributor
    Comments (870) | Send Message
     
    High taxes have worked for decades in Northern Europe, like Norway-Sweden. They are worlds ahead of US in standard of living,education, income, etc.
    23 Sep 2012, 08:47 AM Reply Like
  • CCCB
    , contributor
    Comments (57) | Send Message
     
    Well why don't you just go to Norway and Sweden if it's so great. Besides you probably don't pay tax anyway.
    23 Sep 2012, 09:24 AM Reply Like
  • The Geoffster
    , contributor
    Comments (4196) | Send Message
     
    Norwegians and Swedes do well in America too. It's the people stupid.
    23 Sep 2012, 10:30 AM Reply Like
  • Mike Maher
    , contributor
    Comments (2764) | Send Message
     
    Big governments have also worked wonders in Greece and Italy. Its as much a question about the quality of the leaders at it is the size of the government. You may trust DC with your money, but I do not.
    23 Sep 2012, 10:31 AM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Norway has a sovereign oil trust fund that they siphon off the top, socialist style, and plunder not unlike the way Hugo Chavez gives 'free' oil aka patronage to his people to buy votes. They are also a homogenized culture(ie, racist) so that there is more social unity and less immigration. Thus, they can 'play' the game a little longer.

     

    The muslim immigration is changing that for them rather quickly however. And they are currently using our military global HOA as a convenient way for them to continue their Club Med socialism without having to worry about the big bad wolf themselves. Won't last too much longer.
    23 Sep 2012, 11:00 AM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10705) | Send Message
     
    When was the last time Norway and Sweeden bought an air defense airplane, an aircraft carrier, a missle defense system, or an ICBM?
    23 Sep 2012, 06:55 PM Reply Like
  • PeakOiler
    , contributor
    Comments (298) | Send Message
     
    And why would they need to buy planes, etc. since they are peaceful nations. The defense department is bankrupting America and you dopes can't even see the connection. USA! USA! USA! Proud, but bankrupt.
    23 Sep 2012, 08:51 PM Reply Like
  • lostalloncoal
    , contributor
    Comments (373) | Send Message
     
    Terry330, look at what happened when socialist president took over in French. Just read more and get out of Obamaland.
    23 Sep 2012, 09:10 PM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    The will buy planes when we are no longer their defense department. The need will be obvious then. Bailing all these countries out in WWII has led to bad behavior.
    23 Sep 2012, 09:16 PM Reply Like
  • Mike Maher
    , contributor
    Comments (2764) | Send Message
     
    Peaceful nations can be attacked by the armies of other, less peaceful nations. Its why countries have defense forces. Maybe you should do a little bit of reading as to what Europe was like from the early 1900's til 1945.

     

    And Norway has F-16's, and as of June is considering buying 2 C-130's from the US. Sweden some Saab made fighters, and is planning on adding new helicopters. Lets not pretend that these nations dont have armies, or air forces, or any sort of military spending.
    23 Sep 2012, 09:25 PM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    MM

     

    Great then let's get out of NATO if they all have it under control. Why are we wasting our money with bases in Europe. They don't have any bases here helping us from the wildly aggressive Canadians.
    23 Sep 2012, 09:42 PM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10705) | Send Message
     
    Well, just look back to WWII to understand what a country's defense requirements - specifically those mentioned.

     

    The don't need to buy much of anything because they have NATO to defend them. And just so you know, I am all in favor of bringing the troops home, telling the rest of the world to fend for themselves, and that if they mess with the US, then they will suffer the consequences.
    23 Sep 2012, 11:09 PM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10705) | Send Message
     
    Amen....and MM, what portion of their GDP do they spend on Defense?
    23 Sep 2012, 11:10 PM Reply Like
  • Mike Maher
    , contributor
    Comments (2764) | Send Message
     
    http://bit.ly/UwemqD

     

    1.6%, compared to 4.6% in the US. The US number will be coming down as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan end. As for the US ending its policy of projecting power around the world, it wont happen. Policing the oceans, keeping shipping lanes open, and occasional regime change are all tasks that Europe wants, but would rather have the US do. Since the US has as much to lose as the other nations from piracy, unstable regimes with nukes, etc, the US acts. Washington has been arming the Gulf States, and Israel, to help take some of the burden off the US military, but a shift towards a world with a smaller US military power is decades off.

     

    And we arent wasting all our money via the military, 20% of the budget goes to defense spending, a number that will be coming down. Growth in healthcare costs are the big issue facing the government, and our society. We have a horribly innefficent healthcare system, where doctors are paid by drug companies, I pay the insurance company, the insurance company insists it should pay nothing to anyone, and the government pays everyone more than they should. There is corruption and waste at every level, and without a change in the system, it will only get worse.

     

    http://bit.ly/PZufjr
    24 Sep 2012, 12:26 AM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    Dancing and changing the subject is always a good idea when losing an argument.
    24 Sep 2012, 12:52 AM Reply Like
  • Mike Maher
    , contributor
    Comments (2764) | Send Message
     
    So is being a smart ass. I never said they had it all under control, and we wont leave nato because it helps spread the spending around, and gives our defense companies export markets to sell to.
    24 Sep 2012, 12:55 AM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    I'm not losing. You just lost another argument. And in record time.
    24 Sep 2012, 12:56 AM Reply Like
  • Bret Jensen
    , contributor
    Comments (11305) | Send Message
     
    An academic with no experience in real world wants more taxes and govt spending. I am shocked! :-). Guess almost $6T in new debt over last four years is not near enough.....exactly why we should never put academics (Bernanke) or Senators for that matter in any positions of power.
    23 Sep 2012, 09:00 AM Reply Like
  • untrusting investor
    , contributor
    Comments (9973) | Send Message
     
    BJ,
    Maybe Mr. Frank should first apply his experience to getting his universities costs and tuition down, instead of burdening students and their parents with ever increasing debt loads and constantly increasing university costs that far exceed average inflation.
    23 Sep 2012, 01:32 PM Reply Like
  • designshoe
    , contributor
    Comments (917) | Send Message
     
    yes, the northern europeans have the right social compact. They seem to realize that the high taxs are well spent. In a service-based economy with graying population, only the federal level gov. can create policies to maintain near full employment. Even if it mean creating jobs like home healthaids, hospice, and sanitation workers.
    Americans seem to believe the almighty power of the free market, and thereby get the most expensive healthcare system, dilapidated infrastructure, ineffective public schools, legalized for profit education scams....
    23 Sep 2012, 09:01 AM Reply Like
  • alf2011
    , contributor
    Comments (520) | Send Message
     
    "Americans seem to believe the almighty power of the free market, and thereby get the most expensive healthcare system, dilapidated infrastructure, ineffective public schools, legalized for profit education scams.... "

     

    Fascinating choice of examples. Health Care is the one sector of the economy where the free market is badly prevented from working. How? 40% percent of the spending is paid for by the government. Tax incentives for employer-paid low-deductible insurance with associated reduction of consumer pressure on health providers. Legal prohibition against health insurance companies competing across state lines. The 'dilapidated infrastructure' and the 'ineffective public schools' are both run by the government. I don't know what 'legalized scams' are being referenced, but that's not mine, or anyone's, idea of what free markets are about.

     

    Overall, probably the strongest case for the free market I've seen in a while.
    23 Sep 2012, 09:23 AM Reply Like
  • Mike Maher
    , contributor
    Comments (2764) | Send Message
     
    If the northern europeans have such a great socialist system, and the free market system in the US is so bad, how come companies like IBM, Microsoft, Google, Oracle etc are all founded in the US, and not in Europe? High taxes to support central planning crush innovation by taking away the reward for creating a new company. Norway has a huge pension fund from its oil reserves to fund its pensions. Its also a country whose population, at 4.9 million, is a quarter the size of the largest MSA in the US according to the 2010 census. Its not the same country as the US, and we shouldnt have the same policies.
    23 Sep 2012, 10:40 AM Reply Like
  • surfnspy
    , contributor
    Comments (415) | Send Message
     
    Looks like Terry330 or whatever set up another profile.
    23 Sep 2012, 10:49 AM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Medicare and medicaid have ensured no free market in healthcare for the last forty plus years. Might want to educate yourself. It has destroyed true free markets and distorted natural economic forces and along with it innovation.
    23 Sep 2012, 11:04 AM Reply Like
  • Buddy Canuspare
    , contributor
    Comments (399) | Send Message
     
    So you'll forswear BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes, Audis, Toyotas, Heineken, Courvoisier, Cuban cigars, H&Ks, Glocks, flying on Airbuses and even the computer you're using since they're all made by Socialists (at least your computer's monitor), and thus can't possibly be as good as Fords, Sam Adams, Jack Daniel's, Hav-A-Tampas, S&Ws and Boeings? I'm sure F, SWHC and BA stockholders at least will be glad to hear it.
    23 Sep 2012, 04:44 PM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    Always owned an American made car, drink local brews, don't smoke, like Smith & Wesson or a big Colt 45, Boeing and used computers by US companies.

     

    Nothing to give up for me.
    23 Sep 2012, 05:42 PM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10705) | Send Message
     
    Mike, excellent point. Someone please tell me the last major invention to come from France......duh....was it Pastuerization?
    23 Sep 2012, 06:57 PM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10705) | Send Message
     
    I wonder where the BMW's, Audi's, etc you mention above, would be without the AMERICAN consumer???
    23 Sep 2012, 06:59 PM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    Or conversely what does another country provide the US that we could not do without or that we could not replace? We ship our technology and pharma's and medical devices all over the world.

     

    What do we get that is so innovative and hard to make?
    23 Sep 2012, 08:34 PM Reply Like
  • Mike Maher
    , contributor
    Comments (2764) | Send Message
     
    BMW's and Toyotas are assembled in the states like South Carolina, Airbus is planning an assembly plant in Alabama, there's an embargo against Cuban products in the US, and Jack Daniels is awesome. I'm pretty sure no one suggested that Fords were better than BMW's because we have a more open market. I will however, argue, as others in this discussion are also arguing, that the things that people point out the US is falling behind in, ie healthcare cost and quality, and public education, are things the government is heavily involved in. Its not coincidence that the government agrees to pay medical bills through medicare and medicaid, and give out student loans to every 18 year old with a pulse, and the costs of healthcare and higher education skyrocket. Its economics.
    23 Sep 2012, 09:42 PM Reply Like
  • designshoe
    , contributor
    Comments (917) | Send Message
     
    now you're speaking sense Wyatt! Bravo!
    the Health/Edu/Utilites/Soc. Services are areas where natural monopolies develop. the socialist countries puts in price controls on these sectors, where as US allows the monoplies to take over their respective industries. Medicare/Medicaid are actually keeping a lid on prices, but doctors gamed the system by increasing volumn on unsuspecting patients.
    same with Education, where as volumn of students cannot easily grow but prices have spiralled out of control.
    25 Sep 2012, 07:55 AM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    Edu, health and soc services have no natural monopolies. Utilities might be but what if we developed the technology in volume to allow people to leave the grid like uh.............solar and geo thermal? I won't even bother to take apart the rest of your nonsensical comment.

     

    Monopolies are forced constructs to keep out competition and innovation and concentrate power.
    25 Sep 2012, 10:38 AM Reply Like
  • designshoe
    , contributor
    Comments (917) | Send Message
     
    you tell me the local hospital is not a natural monopoly?
    next time you have an accident where is the ambulance gonna take you? to another hospital 30 miles away?
    how about the regional university? where else can you get an 4 year accredited degree? at another college with poorer kids?
    how about the the unemployment office? where do you go when you get laid off?
    26 Sep 2012, 07:17 AM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    I have 4 hospitals within 10 miles of me and 2 universities.

     

    I don't do UE so don't know about that but that would likely be a government office which is a government monopoly. Nothing natural about that.
    26 Sep 2012, 02:42 PM Reply Like
  • designshoe
    , contributor
    Comments (917) | Send Message
     
    not trying to win an debate w/ you TVP.
    just pointing out the profit potential of going 100% stocks right now.
    since 60-70% of investors are bearish or neutral, valuations are reasonable, corp's are raising dividends.
    UE could be bad for 20 more years
    so what?
    that's nothing we can do about it
    28 Sep 2012, 03:48 AM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10705) | Send Message
     
    Hussman says valuations are such that expected future returns are as bad as historical data has shown - down to anticipate 4.5%.
    28 Sep 2012, 09:23 AM Reply Like
  • alf2011
    , contributor
    Comments (520) | Send Message
     
    How about eliminating payroll taxes, corporate taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes, all state and local taxes, and replacing the whole thing with a national sales tax and a personal property tax (with exemption on the first 500,000)? Essentially taxation proportionate (with some progressivety) to lifestyle.
    23 Sep 2012, 09:02 AM Reply Like
  • alf2011
    , contributor
    Comments (520) | Send Message
     
    and eliminating the income tax also, of course!
    23 Sep 2012, 09:39 AM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    If it shrinks the federal goobermint by two thirds I am all for it.
    23 Sep 2012, 11:05 AM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10705) | Send Message
     
    Liberals would say the sales tax would be too regressive !
    23 Sep 2012, 07:00 PM Reply Like
  • youngman442002
    , contributor
    Comments (5131) | Send Message
     
    I am all for a national sales tax....but if that happens..the Politicians have to eliminate the Income tax....but they will not...so the sales tax will just be ANOTHER tax.....more money to Washington....
    23 Sep 2012, 09:33 AM Reply Like
  • designshoe
    , contributor
    Comments (917) | Send Message
     
    7-9% national VAT would be a good thing. then a flat 15% income. get rid of this existing tax code, PLEASE!!!
    23 Sep 2012, 09:35 AM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Careful with a VAT. Whatever 'new' you introduce, the federal bureaucrats if they are adept at one thing, it is to ever expand on whatever new program they start. I could see a VAT start at 7% and then explode to well over 25% to almost 30% the way it did in Europe. And Europe is still a mess.
    23 Sep 2012, 11:06 AM Reply Like
  • The Geoffster
    , contributor
    Comments (4196) | Send Message
     
    Right you are Wyatt. Politicians have one purpose. Get money from every source possible and spend it. But not necessarily in that order.
    23 Sep 2012, 12:44 PM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    I guess I will take Cornell of my list of potential colleges for my kids. I quote "Many problems will be expensive to solve, yet we can solve them without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone."

     

    I am not sure why we have any problems if they are not that difficult to solve. Of course we have a lot of idiots in WDC which explains it in part but that is not the whole explanation.

     

    What he suggest is to pre-approve a new tax system and then phase it in when the economy recovers after issuing more debt and spending it. I am all for redoing the tax system but our government always overshoots spending so encouraging them to spend more with the idea it will come down is not realistic.

     

    Generally we should just have the federal government downsized to 15% of economic activity and states around 8% which then leaves about 75% of the economic activity in the hands of the private sector which includes consumers, workers and businesses. Excess money the government receives should be held for inevitable recessions and not given back.
    23 Sep 2012, 12:43 PM Reply Like
  • dreadlordnaf
    , contributor
    Comments (481) | Send Message
     
    You shouldn't compare us to the Scandinavians. They are genetically superior to us all. The vikings for generations would go around raiding other parts of Europe. The ones that went on these expeditions were the toughest, strongest and also most savvy of their countrymen. On these raids into Europe they would take all the hot healthy women back and then procreate with them. The result is that after generations of doing this you now have a population that is descended from the creme of the genetic crop. Its not just due to randomness why so many Scandinavian women are really attractive today. Not every county has had this genetic advantage so trying to compare a country that took the opposite policy of letting everyone in, weak, strong, successful or stupid-- like we in the US have is like comparing apples to oranges.

     

    I think the US had done quite well for having the "open" genetic background that we do.
    23 Sep 2012, 12:52 PM Reply Like
  • The Geoffster
    , contributor
    Comments (4196) | Send Message
     
    Yeah, but can they dunk?
    23 Sep 2012, 01:02 PM Reply Like
  • Poor Texan
    , contributor
    Comments (3533) | Send Message
     
    Hilarious!
    23 Sep 2012, 04:46 PM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    Darn. Why wasn't I born then? Chasing hot and healthy chicks and plunder and drinking all night long.
    23 Sep 2012, 05:45 PM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10705) | Send Message
     
    I'd be kinda happy to put the "more progressive" tax system in for 5 years with a sunset just to show these dough heads it won't change anything in a positive manner.
    23 Sep 2012, 07:02 PM Reply Like
  • Petelovesamy
    , contributor
    Comments (178) | Send Message
     
    Cornell's, Mr Robert Frank agrees with me, and we are both right!
    23 Sep 2012, 10:25 PM Reply Like
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