Swamp Times headline: tax reform hurts Federal employees

The evil Republicans have deliberately targeted Federal employees. Among the wealthiest of taxpayers, Federal swamp denizens often are situated in the highest tax bracket. But the new tax reform law reduces the top tax bracket less than the lower brackets. This is clearly discriminatory.

As proof that this targets the most deserving Federal employees, we will just cite this story from reliable CBS News proving that many Federal employees are in the top bracket. Click here. Below are some highlights, proving that Federal employees are exceedingly deserving.

  • The five richest counties in the United States border the Washington, D.C. area. The median family income exceeds $100,000.
  • 9 of the top 20 richest counties are in the D.C. area.

Another report proves that the most productive Federal employees have been unfairly targeted. Click here. Some of the key points from the linked report are below.

  • More than 30,000 of D.C.’s best earn more than any state governor.
  • According to the report, the number of federal employees making $200,000 or more increased by 165 percent between fiscal 2010 and 2016. Federal employees making $150,000 or more grew by 60 percent, with the number making more than $100,000 increasing by 37 percent in the same time period.
  • A total of 406,960 federal employees made six-figure incomes in fiscal 2016 – that’s roughly one in five federal employees.
  • There is a new ‘minimum wage’ for federal bureaucrats – at 78 departments and independent agencies, the average employee made $100,000 or more.

Further proof comes from a Wall Street Journal article by the wicked Kimberley Strassel (link here, alas, for subscribers only.) Her basic points are cited below. Study them carefully so you can refute her claims. The basic problem, she says, is:

a federal workforce whose pay and benefits are completely out of whack with the private sector. A 2011 American Enterprise Institute study  found federal employees receive wages 14% higher than what similar workers in the private sector earn. Factor in benefits and the compensation premium leaps to 61%.

These huge payouts are the result of automatic increases, bonuses, seniority rules and gold-plated pensions that are all but extinct in the private sector. The federal workforce is also shielded by rules that make it practically impossible to fire or discipline bad employees, to relocate talent, or to reassign duties. These protections embolden bureaucrats to violate rules. Why was Ms. Lerner allowed to retire with full benefits? Because denying them would have cost far more—and required years of effort. It’s been nearly 40 years since the last civil-service overhaul.

Next time you hear the clamor to move most Federal departments out of the swamp of D.C. and distribute them among the states they are supposed to serve, you will know what to say.   

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)


From napalm to the manger: a Christmas message

Many of us will never forget the Pulitzer-prize winning photograph of 1972 from the Vietnam War: the little nine year old girl, naked, terrified, running with others away from the napalm bombs in the smoky background. That single photo helped carry the antiwar movement to victory. Little did we know then that she had horrible burns all over her back and would have died but for the efforts of the photojournalist. Napalm had been perfected for the bombings of Japanese cities near the end of World War II. It was used because the weather over Japan made precision high-altitude bombing ineffective and because the wooden Japanese houses would catch fire very easily. The American public saw no photos of the collateral damage.

To see the photo and gain a little background from the photographer, click here. The little girl, Kim Phuc, survived and, married with two children, is now living in the Toronto area. The Wall Street Journal a few days ago ran a brief article she wrote for Christmas. A link to it is here. I do not know if it is available to non-subscribers. Let me quote a few passages for those who cannot access it.

Those bombs have caused me immeasurable pain over the course of my life. …But even worse than the physical pain was the emotional and spiritual pain….I had so much hatred and bitterness in my heart.

Ten years after the bombing she attended a Christmas Eve service at a small Vietnamese church. The Pastor talked about God’s gift of himself for us, in the form of the child Jesus, born to die. She explains:

I knew in my heart that something was shifting inside of me….After years in the spiritual wilderness, I felt the kind of healing that can only come from God. I had spent so much of my life running – first from the bombs and the war, then from communist Vietnam .I had always assumed that to flee was my only choice. Looking back, I understand the path I had been racing along led me straight to God….my heart is 100% healed.

Kim concludes with a Christmas prayer for us:

No matter what type of pain or sorrow you may be experiencing, as Christmas approaches, I encourage you not to give up. Hold fast to hope. It is hope that will see you through. This peace I have found can be yours as well. I pray that it finds you this Christmas.   

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)

Prominent lawyer sought donor cash for two Trump accusers: Hmmmm

California lawyer Lisa Bloom’s efforts included offering to sell alleged victims’ stories to TV outlets in return for a commission for herself, arranging a donor to pay off one Trump accuser’s mortgage and attempting to secure a six-figure payment for another woman who ultimately declined to come forward after being offered as much as $750,000, the clients told The Hill.

The women’s accounts were chronicled in contemporaneous contractual documents, emails and text messages reviewed by The Hill, including an exchange of texts between one woman and Bloom that suggested political action committees supporting Hillary Clinton were contacted during the effort.

Bloom, who has assisted dozens of women in prominent harassment cases and also defended film executive Harvey Weinstein earlier this year, represented four women considering making accusations against Trump last year. Two went public, and two declined.

In a statement to The Hill, Bloom acknowledged she engaged in discussions to secure donations for women who made or considered making accusations against Trump before last year’s election.

From Instapundit. The full article in The Hill is available here.   

Troglo  (L. H. Kevil)

Law Prof gets how to teach millenials – hilarious and surely effective

Prof Adam McLeod of the Jones School of Law, Montgomery, Alabama, has learned that to teach his first-year students legal reasoning hilarious , they need to be disabused of the nasty habits and conditioned reflexes of unreasoning they were taught as undergraduates. So here are his ukases for his Foundations of Law course:

So, here are three ground rules for the rest of the semester.

1.  The only “ism” I ever want to come out your mouth is a syllogism. If I catch you using an “ism” or its analogous “ist” — racist, classist, etc. — then you will not be permitted to continue speaking until you have first identified which “ism” you are guilty of at that very moment. You are not allowed to fault others for being biased or privileged until you have first identified and examined your own biases and privileges.

2.  If I catch you this semester using the words “fair,” “diversity,” or “equality,” or a variation on those terms, and you do not stop immediately to explain what you mean, you will lose your privilege to express any further opinions in class until you first demonstrate that you understand three things about the view that you are criticizing.

3.  If you ever begin a statement with the words “I feel,” before continuing you must cluck like a chicken or make some other suitable animal sound.

So far, he says, only two students have been obliged to utter clucking sounds – much to the amusement of the class, I suspect.

You can read his whole account, Undoing the Dis-Education of Millenials here.   

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)

Will reducing the corporate tax rate actually lead to increased wages?

Democrats and others are claiming that the proposed Republican tax package’s reduction in the corporate tax rate is a sham and a ruse to benefit the one percent. It would actually only lead to enriching corporations and have zero effect on wages. A brief review of what real economists say will be refreshing.

Start here with David Henderson’s short post on the subject.

Let me quote the most germane part of Professor Henderson’s post:

So let me explain in simpler words by noting that the key assumption in the above is the assumption of a perfectly elastic long-run supply of capital. Why would it be perfectly elastic? Because capital is quite mobile across countries, so when one country’s government cuts its tax rate on capital, that draws in capital from around the world.

Why does this matter? The greater the stock of capital, the higher is the ratio of capital to labor, and, therefore, the higher is the marginal product of labor, and, finally, the higher is the real wage.

Thus increasing the marginal product of labor, i.e. the value of labor, entails rising wages.

If you follow the link to Professor Mankiw’s blog post you will see that he shows there is a multiplier bonus effect: every dollar of tax cut to capital (on a static basis) raises wages by $1.50.

Bingo. QED. Try explaining this to denialist Democrats with a vested interest in naïve counterfeit economics.    


Addendum: it might be helpful to say that there is a tight relationship between the marginal product of labor and wages (total compensation.) Greg Mankiw shows that as the former goes up, so does the latter. See  here  especially point #4 for a fuller, yet still simple explanation.


Gun control? The debate and the true message

Mollie Hemingway, my favorite television commentator, on Fox News’s Special Report spoke with unusual simplicity and wisdom:

We’re pretending we’re having a debate about gun control, but we’re really having a debate about the nature of evil and whether a big enough government can contain it.

You can see her comments here at about 1:54 into the clip. Kudos to a  post by Andrew Klavan for highlighting her apercu. He follows up with truly touching reflections about evil in our fallen world. Well worth the little bit of time it would take to read and digest it.

A few thoughts come to mind regarding those who believe that for every evil there is a government solution, or at least a good government response. This leads to faith in a millenarian telos achievable by collective action, i.e. all powerful government. We saw the fruits of this in the horrors of the totalitarian states of the 20th century. To hold this faith amounts to belief that evil exists only by our collective inaction, thus denying the permanence of evil in the world. As individuals we can do little except support bigger government. If the remedy is collective and fails, we as individuals, pointing the finger at others,  can absolve ourselves and justify not acknowledging that the evil around us also exists in us.   


Blind and Deaf versus Blind, Deaf, and Dumb

Paul McGann, who is blind and deaf, successfully sued a movie theatre chain under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.) The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his claim, initiated by the group Disability Rights Pennsylvania and supported by the U.S. Dept of Justice, that the theatre should be required to provide him with “tactile interpreters” so he would be able to appreciate movies by feeling the hands of American Sign Language interpreters provided by the theatre.

More details about this absurdity here.

I do not wish to write churlishly about the truly disabled, including Mr McGann, who deserve  our every sympathy. But in Mr McGann’s case our courts are legally blind to common sense, deaf to pleas to stop abusive law suits, and just plain dumb. Feeling the hands of tactile interpreters will not permit Mr McGann to appreciate movies. Nothing will, pace the ADA law: he is deaf and blind. It is a fraud to think this decision will do anything positive for Mr McGann. But it does satisfy one interpretation of the letter of the law. And it does something for the disability lobby, which labors to expand the definition of disability to increase the rolls as well as the scope and cost of the ‘remedies’ demanded. Just like the Medicaid expansion which includes childless working-age adults who have no disabilities, crowding out funding for the truly disabled who have children.

Many if not most Federal mandates over time have led to great abuse and needless expense, as seen in the lawsuits against the EPA by environmental groups and most notoriously by the trial bar’s abuses of the ADA and fraudulent suits alleging racial or sexual discrimination. Legislation creating legal ‘rights’ are inherently suspicious. These fictitious ‘rights’ favor some groups over others and create havoc in the legal system, not to speak of our economy. One sixth of the adults in Puerto Rico are on Federal disability. Overreaching, expensive , and inflexible legal rights for the disabled seem like empty symbolic gestures designed magically to deny the reality of their crippling conditions and are very poor substitutes for medical and technical advances, not to speak of human compassion. Such legislation betrays a naïve belief that for every perceived problem there is a government solution, and these solutions can be trusted to be wise, effective, and beneficent and would never ever have negative unanticipated consequences or lead to the entrenchment of powerful special-interest groups. After all who would believe that ‘common-sense’ gun-control legislation could ever lead to confiscation?   

Troglo (L. H. Kevil)