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12/10/2006

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Frank

The answer to the "cost" of the estate tax is to make the rules clearer, not to scrap it altogether.

birdwin03

So what is the best way to tax the luck wealth?

I would personally favor a change in taxation such that income taxes are reduced and taxes on wealth are increased. Or, an ever better system would have income taxes reduced and consumption taxes increased.

If you really want to tax Paris Hilton's luck money, then you could do so by taxing her millions of dollars of consumer purchases annually.

Unfortunately, I believe that the very same people that would support increased taxation of luck earnings would also support increased income taxes. So realistically, there wouldn't be any offsetting tax decrease, now would there?

One other comment- I totally disagree that the heirs of wealthy parents would be incented to work harder and be more productive if their inheritances were heavily taxed. If estates are subject to an extremely high estate tax, then parents will simply transfer wealth over their lifetimes rather than at the end. Would the children work harder if the parents are paying for their houses, cars, education, lavish vacations, cosmetic surgery, expensive jewelry, wedding celebrations, and all of the expenses for their grandchildren?

Right now we have a modest estate tax and you see the above gifts commonly given by parents to their children. Yes, the IRS has an annual limit ($12,000) on gifts, but I speculate that this limit is often ignored or seriously underreported, particularly for gifts of goods or services, rather than outright cash gifts. Furthermore, in some ways the tax code even incents wealth transfer by parents and grandparents to their offspring. For example, a grandparent can fund a 529 education savings plan with $60,000 today, under the assumption that this represents five years of gifting at the IRS max of $12,000/yr. Do you actually believe that a grandparent who funds such an account will NOT give that same grandchild anything else over the next five years? Please...

I have even seen modestly well-do-to parents establish and continue to invest equity in businesses for their less ambitious children to manage...so that their children can maintain a certain lifestyle and have the appearance of productive work.

Parents have an instinctive desire to provide for their children. If the government were to legislate a 99% estate tax, the tax planning industry would immediately begin creating even more innovative ways of transferring wealth before death. Not to mention that the rate of retirement savings and investments would collapse as parents substitute between consumption tomorrow and consumption today.

Jack

Haris: I suppose that there is "nothing wrong" with any economic choice. But! an ever increasing trade deficit of $750 Billion (or say each American household buying $7,500 more than we produce and sell) is much like the inheritors of a farm partying in town and mortgaging their back 40 then the front 40 until some poor year has them facing their bankers with less income than there are payments. Hatfield sums it up cynically but well:

"In the end, a final accounting and settlement always falls due. Hopefully, I'll be in my grave when it all falls due."

As for "catching up" I'm all for it, and China is growing at 10% plus while we're at 3% or less and they, India are all running surpluses while we'll soon have Trillion buck trade deficits. But..... to be fair they have been lending us enough against our back 40 for us to keep partying!

Birdwin: "No go" Consumption taxes are ALWAYS regressive and fall more heavily on middle income and lower earners who spend all they make just to make ends meet. (Currently, they/we are spending 5% MORE than the earn, pulling the rest out of home equity) The rich spend a much smaller fraction of their income.

It's a bit difficult to tax wealth itself and those with a lot of assets could live their lives borrowing against the increased value of their holdings and never pay any tax.

That leaves: Taking a swipe at inheritance time, which the Brits call something like a "duty tax" or capital gains, to capture something when the assets are finally sold, and dividend taxes which are currently a far cheaper method of taking revenue from closely held family corporations than taking income.

The Bush Dynasty of course is playing to this set, and much of the run-up in capital gains tax revenue can likely be chased down to those taking advantage of "the one time sale" or discount.

For the last few years we've had twice the number of housing starts as the "sustainable number" (2.3 million) so LOTS of long held "family farms" have benefitted by the Cap Gains break........ but in terms of future tax revs? housing starts are dropping to just half that 2.3 million number and land use and cap gains will drop from that source.

And lastly we expect the very rich to pay for Jr's college, car etc. whether a tax "freebie" or not, and under the old rules estates of $1 - $2 million could be passed on tax free, while something on the order of a 40% tax was levied on the rest. I doubt that Unc would really get 40% of Gates or Buffet's thus far untaxed fortunes, but if they did do you think Gate's daughter could manage OK with half of $50 billion plus being the Ex Director of the Gates Foundation? Or would it be best not to have the ""death tax"" and have working folk tighten their belts a bit to cover the "war" debt?

William  Taylor

No statement in political economics is more profoundly incorrect nor emotionally appealing to a demagogue populist politician than: the rich are getting richer and the poorer are getting poorer (with the implication that the gains were wrongfully taken from the poor). Why the case fails to make sense is demonstrated by the following examples:

Suppose two identical people getting identical monthly public assistance , except for credit history, occupy a public housing project and one is offered an opportunity to buy but the other continues to rent.

Suppose the buyer has to incur a mortgage payment of $100 a month more than the renter inorder to purchase the net equity value conveyed.

Assume an inflation rate in real estate of 3% per year in real estate prices. After 10 years, they are both still in their respective units receiving an identical monthly stipend. The renter is still poor, no net worth still living below the poverty line. The purchaser now has both purchased and appreciated equity as is substantially richer that the poor renter. The reality is that the renter has had $100 a month more in discretionary income and has enjoyed a higher standard of living.

A second and more cogent example.

Suppose five people come across a border to NEWLAND. They are alone around a campfire, none has anything more than the shirt on their back. One knows where he can borrow some capital to buy shovels. The borrower provides the shovels to the co-workers for a price equal to one hour of production say $8 per day. The borrower then repays the lender over a one year period, but he has to pay the equivalent of two hours of production during that year. After that the borrower gets to keep the proceeds. Assume the borrower also is a worker with a shovel during this time.

The income statement for the year look like:

Worker Income 2000 hours x $8 revenue /hour 16000
Shovel cost 50 weeks x 5 days x 8 2000
Worker Net Income 14000

Shovel Owner Shovel Work 16000
Shovel Rent 4 Workers x 2000 8000
Loan Cost 4 Shovel x 4000 -16000
Owners Net Income 8000

The next year:Owners Income 24000

The owner was poorer from an income comparison than the other workers the first year, but was 71% richer the next year. The owner also has 5 worn shovels valued at 16000 less depreciation. The point is that each worker became much better off than when they came to NEWLAND because one of them had knowledge and took a chance. Do the workers care that the owner owns $16000 worth of shovels? Probably not until some editorial writer tells them how rich the owner now is relative to them, the newly poor. The owner actually had to live on less each month than the workers during the first year. They probably did not care about that either. There was equality in poverty, but one person's care of capital made them all better off if unequal.

The point lost to the demagogues of wealth distribution is that in order increase workers real income it is necessary to improve the technology available to each worker. That inevitably requires an owner to mass ever larger amounts of capital to purchase more productive
technologies.

Referring back to the example, that an owner has a bunch of shovels or any other productive asset is irrelevant to the equality relationship among the five workers coming to Newland. If the owner sells the shovels and moves to Palm Beach and consumes the sales proceeds, that is different. But as long as the shovels are maintained in a productive relationship with the workers, the owner is a hero as far as the workers are concerned. When that understanding prevails among workers in an economy regarding the relationship between workers, owners and innovation, those workers will likely have an increase in real income. The economy that has the highest amount of capital per worker in an innovative economic setting may well have both the highest per capita income and the largest disparity between the top and bottom.

An attempt to reallocate the wealth arbitrarily in such an economy will likely cause a catastrophic decline in per capita income at the lowest level and a collapse in values of the productive assets.The result is more relative equality, but it is self destructive.

Jack

William! Ahhh, indeed it has been a long trek from Henry Ford's sharing some of the increased productivity of the assembly line at the, then, unheard of pay of $5/day to that of Walmart's similar productivity enhancing distribution system who keeps it all for themselves and does there VERY best to "third party" $1.5 Billion of what should be their labor costs to taxpayers and those who pay higher medical premiums for having to cover uninsured Walmarters who show up half dead at the ER. Puzzling too that Costco can pay double what Wmart pays and still be highly successful.

BTW.... productivity has about doubled over the last 25 years, but at the "poor" end of the wage spectrum not only is there NO wage gain, but in the case of the min wage it has fallen some 40% under the iron heel of the "majority". Do you think the best way to celebrate the doubling of overall productivity (ie std of living) is to not only let it "trickle" down to the $80k level, but if you can get away with it to steal bread out of the mouths of the lowest paid? Thanks, Jack

Nelson

There is no such thing as a trade deficit. We should ignore any argument/call for action based on it.

Products and services comming in balance out the dollars going out... in fact, the products we import are worth more to us than the dollars we export, otherwise we wouldn't be making the trades to begin with.

Nelson

I think Jack, and people like him, who think Wal-Mart is a bad thing should create a company that employs as many low skilled people as Wal-Mart does and pay them more without higher prices for consumers.

Jack

Nelson sez:
There is no such thing as a trade deficit. We should ignore any argument/call for action based on it.

Products and services comming in balance out the dollars going out... in fact, the products we import are worth more to us than the dollars we export, otherwise we wouldn't be making the trades to begin with.

....... were you to delve into an econ text you could see what should happen to those "worth les" dollars piling up in China and SO many other coffers around the world.

..... Using China is it IS a big, big problem today, what SHOULD happen is that with a mountain of useless Bucks around and NOTHING they'd wish to buy here, the value of their currency SHOULD rise and their exports to the US become less attractive. But! they are not allowing that to happen. There are a variety of means of doing this too complex to cover here. But one means of making the "current account" balance is for them to buy US securities with their pile of unwanted US script.

Well, having them "buy" something sounds kinda cool at first, until you wake up and realize it means they are buying the equities in our productive assets. "Cool!" sez the short-sighted winger, "pumps up our DOW!" Ahh, indeed it does and HAS! But we have to recall why anyone buys a stock and that is "for future capital gains and income" Thus MSFT and others are becoming "Chinese companies" and their future cap gains and income will ADD to the outflow of US dollars to China and our numerous other creditor nations at this year's rate of 3/4ths of a Trillion bucks.

You don't have to learn from me, but when guys like Gspan and Bernanke say the word "unsustainable" no matter how quietly and moderated their tone, it might be good to listen and believe. Perhaps you noted the clout Kerkorian and others have wielded with 5% of C or GM stock?


Posted by Nelson at December 15, 2006 01:09 PM | direct link

I think Jack, and people like him, who think Wal-Mart is a bad thing should create a company that employs as many low skilled people as Wal-Mart does and pay them more without higher prices for consumers.

.......... this one is definitely "wingerish" and sorry a company named Costco already pays their people double that of Walmart. None of my posts indicate the highly productive Walmart distribution gains are "bad" but we ONCE lived in a nation where productivity gains as JFK said "was a rising tide that lifted ALL the boats. Now I can SEE why top corporate owners might want to hog all the gains made by their innovations coupled with the hard work of their loyal workforce, but I can't for the life of me understand why average working guys would want to shill for them. Any idea?

Extra credit: Do you see a WORKABLE model in which increasing numbers what you describe as "low skilled" workers doing jobs that must be done can work for less that half what it costs to maintain the most basic living standard? (I'd hope w/o resorting to the creeping socialism of ever more transfer programs to "fill the gap?")

Thanks, Jack

Jack

Nelson sez:
There is no such thing as a trade deficit. We should ignore any argument/call for action based on it.

Products and services comming in balance out the dollars going out... in fact, the products we import are worth more to us than the dollars we export, otherwise we wouldn't be making the trades to begin with.

....... were you to delve into an econ text you could see what should happen to those "worth les" dollars piling up in China and SO many other coffers around the world.

..... Using China is it IS a big, big problem today, what SHOULD happen is that with a mountain of useless Bucks around and NOTHING they'd wish to buy here, the value of their currency SHOULD rise and their exports to the US become less attractive. But! they are not allowing that to happen. There are a variety of means of doing this too complex to cover here. But one means of making the "current account" balance is for them to buy US securities with their pile of unwanted US script.

Well, having them "buy" something sounds kinda cool at first, until you wake up and realize it means they are buying the equities in our productive assets. "Cool!" sez the short-sighted winger, "pumps up our DOW!" Ahh, indeed it does and HAS! But we have to recall why anyone buys a stock and that is "for future capital gains and income" Thus MSFT and others are becoming "Chinese companies" and their future cap gains and income will ADD to the outflow of US dollars to China and our numerous other creditor nations at this year's rate of 3/4ths of a Trillion bucks.

You don't have to learn from me, but when guys like Gspan and Bernanke say the word "unsustainable" no matter how quietly and moderated their tone, it might be good to listen and believe. Perhaps you noted the clout Kerkorian and others have wielded with 5% of C or GM stock?


Posted by Nelson at December 15, 2006 01:09 PM | direct link

I think Jack, and people like him, who think Wal-Mart is a bad thing should create a company that employs as many low skilled people as Wal-Mart does and pay them more without higher prices for consumers.

.......... this one is definitely "wingerish" and sorry a company named Costco already pays their people double that of Walmart. None of my posts indicate the highly productive Walmart distribution gains are "bad" but we ONCE lived in a nation where productivity gains as JFK said "was a rising tide that lifted ALL the boats. Now I can SEE why top corporate owners might want to hog all the gains made by their innovations coupled with the hard work of their loyal workforce, but I can't for the life of me understand why average working guys would want to shill for them. Any idea?

Extra credit: Do you see a WORKABLE model in which increasing numbers what you describe as "low skilled" workers doing jobs that must be done can work for less that half what it costs to maintain the most basic living standard? (I'd hope w/o resorting to the creeping socialism of ever more transfer programs to "fill the gap?")

Thanks, Jack

Jack

As the title of this thread is World Inequality, and we've mostly discussed the soaring inequality of the US, perhaps we should finish it out with some discussion of the main theme, and especially so as our border with Mexico is THE border of highest income/wealth inequality in the world.

From the Congressional, presidential and media "debate" discussion that delves deeper into Mexico than a km or so below the proposed fencelet might be "unapproved" or subject to some arcane rule buried deep in the Patriot Act, but being a wholistic sort of a guy, I have this idea that much of our immigration problem has its roots in Mexico, and indeed the further south one goes into their agricultural sector the worse are the impacts of an ill-conceived "NAFTA".

Anyone have ideas of how we might implement win-win policies that would improve employment and wages IN Mexico? Or, I suppose even, taking the theme of Becker Posner....... that, hand wring, sad but serious look "We can do nothing" and should begin right away to fence "them" in and ramp up our fortifications while they starve and perhaps revolt "down there?"

Nelson

"Anyone have ideas of how we might implement win-win policies that would improve employment and wages IN Mexico?"

That one is easy. Fully and legally open up our borders to Mexico for goods, services and people. Let Mexicans work and live in the US legally without restrictions on going back and forth freely between the two countries.

Consumatopia

The argument that we should only worry about income, not assets, is completely bogus. Yes, for the vast majority of people earnings matter more than returns on capital--that is because earnings matter more to poor people, and most people are poor. So benefits due to returns on capital are unjustly concentrated on narrow elite. Therefore, we should be focusing on asset inequality, not just income inequality.

Consumatopia

Nelson, if you don't want to pay the bill for living in America, please go somewhere else. And then you can STOP WORRYING about what we do with our country, because it belongs to the voters of this country do, because it's our country, not yours.

Otherwise, we have the right to bill you--just as a landlord charges rent--for the privilege of living in our country.

Nelson

Eliminating any programs to "protect" our farmers and buying more Mexican agricultural products would also help Mexican workers.

And as far as assets vs. income, the 5th Amendment states: "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." There is a good reason why our founders believed in strong property rights. It shows the sad state of our educational system that so many "intellectuals" want to destroy those rights.

Jack

Nelson????? sez????

"Anyone have ideas of how we might implement win-win policies that would improve employment and wages IN Mexico?"

That one is easy. Fully and legally open up our borders to Mexico for goods, services and people. Let Mexicans work and live in the US legally without restrictions on going back and forth freely between the two countries.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ Do you jest?

Eliminating any programs to "protect" our farmers and buying more Mexican agricultural products would also help Mexican workers.

@@@@@@@@@@@@ Yes NAFTA should be rejiggered... but more than that; continuing bilateral talks to find more areas of mutual advantage. We have a problem they have a host of problems. "Let's talk".

Nelson sez:

And as far as assets vs. income, the 5th Amendment states: "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." There is a good reason why our founders believed in strong property rights. It shows the sad state of our educational system that so many "intellectuals" want to destroy those rights.

@@@@@@@@@@@ Further readings should turn up the history of taxation. About the only way the Feds can take a share of wealth itself is when it is sold (capital gains) or when it is passed to the next of kin, and much of the justification for the estate tax WAS to break up massive fortunes that we NOT become the land of lords and serfs we "thought" we'd left behind. One does not have to be a "rights destroying" "intellectual" that the right to outspend ALL other countries combined on warmongery and incur $9 trillion in D E B T requires SOME means of paying for it. I guess I'd assume that since voters could hear the lust to continue some form of "cold war" in the Bush 2000 campaign that a vote for them was that of signing a blank check for the higher taxes? Remember!

"Taxes are not what they collect, but what they spend and these guys have spent $3 TRILLION more than they've collected with most of the cost of rogue warmongering still to come".

Nelson

"Let Mexicans work and live in the US legally without restrictions on going back and forth freely between the two countries.
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ Do you jest?"

No. "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Lets examine that for a minute. It says "all men" have the rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, not just all American men... but all men. What could be more injurious to these "unalienable" rights than restricting the free movement of people and having the ruling elites telling them where they may live and where and for whom they may work. All men should be able to visit, trade, live and work in any country they want, regardless of where they were born.

Aside from the philosophical foundations of greater freedom for all being a "good", many of the so called negative externalities could be alleviated by making this freedom legal instead of driving people born in different locations who are willing to engage in voluntary exchanges underground to hide from the repression of the state (which should exist to secure our freedoms, not deny them).

Haris

Nelson
You're right, unrestricted migration would probably equalize wealth/income more than any other change of laws anywhere. But it's hardly necessary. Capital, fortunately, is becoming ever more mobile, and it will go where labor is cheapest. Rather than allowing unrestricted migration, which is politically untenable for a variety of unflattering reasons, free trade & free capital flows will accomplish the same thing. In American terms, rather than "foreigners" coming in to take "our jobs," "our jobs" will be outsourced. In any case, free trade & capital movements will lead to more convergence between the rich and poor. Well, they would. "Fortunately," we have the proper lobbies in place to prevent this from happening.

Jack

Nelson: Your ideal is interesting and to be sure, by comparison I'm taking "baby steps" from our past policies of "we stole your land by force, but otherwise "fair and square" and screwing Mexico and S-A vigorously and often over the intervening decades, but even bring the focus of the discussion of the "Mexican immigrant problem" below the border and asking that our "diplomats" seek policies beneficial to both is enough to have me labelled "soft on something or other" or "soft in the head" by the fence em off and forget em set.

But! stodgy as it may seem I've reservations as to having no nations and no borders but instead favor a "nations" or groups who can run somewhat differing experiments as we do in the US with different states. For example, I live in Alaska and it takes newcomers quite a while to learn why we might do things differently here, or better example, when our rich salmon fisheries were managed (before statehood) by those in WA DC the resource was wiped out. Today, under Alaskan management it's been restored to the runs of the early 1900's Currently there's a raging controversy over a proposed mining of a huge deposit of copper and gold, but the mining tech used for that type of mine may lay waste to Lake Illiamna (perhaps the largest and best sport fishing Lake in the world) and damage or ruin the huge Bristol Bay Salmon run. I doubt this would turn out well if it were up to a few Congressmen taking 3 day junkets; instead much of the outcome will be decided by those living here, native Alaskans in the region etc.

But more of your post is about the free migration of labor, and I'd agree that where a labor vacuum exists next to a country in labor surplus the vacuum is likely to be filled..... by one means or another.

But! there are concerns here as well. Say one country has sacrificed in some way, say to preserve their rivers, farmlands or the environment in general, while over a century a neighboring nation has laid waste to their natural resources, so when the inevitable famine or disaster strikes them, do they just pack up and move to the "green" country? And try to do the same?

Coming back to the present, fortunately, despite tremendous adversity 99.5% of Mexico's 100 million people chose to stay home each year; they like their country, family and friends. But half of them are under 30 and probably are looking at 30% unemployment in that age group. So the least disruptive policy would seem one that purposely exported some of our labor shortages to Mexico (if need be at the expense of rapidly growing China or India) in hopes of bringing their wages and levels of employment closer to ours.

If we "got it right" 50 or 100 years from now Mexico might play more of a "Canada role" in North America and freedom of choice would seem much easier. Today the problem for both "globalization" and immigration in many parts of the world is simply that the pace is too high.

Haris, also in "free trade" et al it's the pace of change that is far too high and with too many Americans being naively provincial I think we fail to "GET" just how large the labor overhang (unemployed or starving with a "job") is (something like 1.5 billion) and no matter how strong the market of our 5% of the world's population is we can NOT employ (offshore et al) all of them without taking our wages down so far that the living std of the US will be unrecognizable in the very near future.

The economics of "relative advantage" used to speak to the natural advantages one trading nation held over another at similar pay scales not the employment of .50 labor having the "advantage" over the nation of $20 labor.

There are but two choices here (other than ruin) the US has to aggressively find SOMEthing or MANY things to export or adopt policies to dramatically slow our imports. The "free trade" theory is fine but it only works in "the long run" and as Keynes famously said, "In the long run we're all dead". Jack

Jack

Nelson: Your ideal is interesting and to be sure, by comparison I'm taking "baby steps" from our past policies of "we stole your land by force, but otherwise "fair and square" and screwing Mexico and S-A vigorously and often over the intervening decades, but even bring the focus of the discussion of the "Mexican immigrant problem" below the border and asking that our "diplomats" seek policies beneficial to both is enough to have me labelled "soft on something or other" or "soft in the head" by the fence em off and forget em set.

But! stodgy as it may seem I've reservations as to having no nations and no borders but instead favor a "nations" or groups who can run somewhat differing experiments as we do in the US with different states. For example, I live in Alaska and it takes newcomers quite a while to learn why we might do things differently here, or better example, when our rich salmon fisheries were managed (before statehood) by those in WA DC the resource was wiped out. Today, under Alaskan management it's been restored to the runs of the early 1900's Currently there's a raging controversy over a proposed mining of a huge deposit of copper and gold, but the mining tech used for that type of mine may lay waste to Lake Illiamna (perhaps the largest and best sport fishing Lake in the world) and damage or ruin the huge Bristol Bay Salmon run. I doubt this would turn out well if it were up to a few Congressmen taking 3 day junkets; instead much of the outcome will be decided by those living here, native Alaskans in the region etc.

But more of your post is about the free migration of labor, and I'd agree that where a labor vacuum exists next to a country in labor surplus the vacuum is likely to be filled..... by one means or another.

But! there are concerns here as well. Say one country has sacrificed in some way, say to preserve their rivers, farmlands or the environment in general, while over a century a neighboring nation has laid waste to their natural resources, so when the inevitable famine or disaster strikes them, do they just pack up and move to the "green" country? And try to do the same?

Coming back to the present, fortunately, despite tremendous adversity 99.5% of Mexico's 100 million people chose to stay home each year; they like their country, family and friends. But half of them are under 30 and probably are looking at 30% unemployment in that age group. So the least disruptive policy would seem one that purposely exported some of our labor shortages to Mexico (if need be at the expense of rapidly growing China or India) in hopes of bringing their wages and levels of employment closer to ours.

If we "got it right" 50 or 100 years from now Mexico might play more of a "Canada role" in North America and freedom of choice would seem much easier. Today the problem for both "globalization" and immigration in many parts of the world is simply that the pace is too high.

Haris, also in "free trade" et al it's the pace of change that is far too high and with too many Americans being naively provincial I think we fail to "GET" just how large the labor overhang (unemployed or starving with a "job") is (something like 1.5 billion) and no matter how strong the market of our 5% of the world's population is we can NOT employ (offshore et al) all of them without taking our wages down so far that the living std of the US will be unrecognizable in the very near future.

The economics of "relative advantage" used to speak to the natural advantages one trading nation held over another at similar pay scales not the employment of .50 labor having the "advantage" over the nation of $20 labor.

There are but two choices here (other than ruin) the US has to aggressively find SOMEthing or MANY things to export or adopt policies to dramatically slow our imports. The "free trade" theory is fine but it only works in "the long run" and as Keynes famously said, "In the long run we're all dead". Jack

ben

Jack, your posts are misguided enough when submitted once. I count your last post three times, twice here, one in Posner's. If you can't write anything sensible, you could at least learn to click the button once.

Benj

Thanks! and wouldn't it be great if the post showed up after posting!

As for "misguided" and not "sensible" after "tagging" me for using what's in econ books for discussing economic issues, I assume those words too have 4th dimension "meanings" among the, remaining, adherents to faith-based "voodoo" econ that has left us as the largest debtor nation in the history of the world? But if you would like to practice I'd certainly be open to some sensible criticism. Jack

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