Soaking the Rich Never Works




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The New York Times is doing their best to cover the spending tracks left by President Obama. The op-ed, titled "The Truth About the Deficit" could win gold in mental gymnastics. They bend, twist and contort the facts into a pretty little ball of "blame Bush."

I showed you yesterday that George W. Bush was part of the problem, but Obama is pressing the accelerator. The Times claims that the deficit is the result of cutting taxes on the wealthy and they offer this stern warning: "The last thing the government should do is slash spending."

History tells us that "taxing the rich" and slashing government spending are both progressive lies. I read a lot and I read a lot of in-depth history. I could send you to "Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalsm," but it will make your eyes bleed. Instead, this is a beginner's book of history, a gateway to the history that no one is teaching: "A Patriot's History of the United States."

I can't believe I'm going here, but let me tell you a little about Presidents Harding and Coolidge.

Andrew Mellon — he was the Timothy Geithner without the TurboTax scandal — did a study in 1921 on why the wealthier classes had paid less and less in taxes as the government raised the rates on them over and over again. Mellon found that higher taxes actually drove the money underground.

Let's put it in today's context. On Monday, I showed you the reports on Oprah Winfrey and her mansion in Montecito, California — because California has one of the highest progressive tax rates on people making over $1 million a year, she actually monitors the number of days she stays there, in order to avoid being considered a "full-time resident" and thus avoid paying the full punishment in taxes.

Here's another example: In 1969, Ireland introduced a tax-exempt status for artists. When they decided, in 2006, to put a cap on that tax break — 250,000 euros — Bono, another one of these celebrities who champion progressive politicians, promptly moved U2's business operations to the Netherlands.

That's how the money goes "underground," just like Mellon found in the 1920s; the uber-rich look to save money any way they can. And as long as it's legal, I don't blame them. But it drives me nuts when I see people like Oprah campaigning for the guy who wants more taxes and then she doesn't want to pay the taxes.

I mean, who do you think he's talking about when he says "the wealthiest one percent?" Come on, Oprah! Do your patriotic duty, like Vice President Biden says.

How about Michael Moore? I thought the rich don't pay their fair share? So why did he apply for and receive a tax credit from the state of Michigan of all places for shooting his latest film there? Michael, why are you so greedy?

Soaking the rich doesn't work; they move their money as California and New Jersey are finding out. They leave the state. New Jersey in four years has lost $70 billion in wealth.

They leave!

In the 1920s, Mellon found that "the rich" tended to invest abroad rather than build new factories and mills in the United States and pay the 73 percent tax on the income from those investments. That's right, 73 percent.

It didn't start that way, though. When progressive Woodrow Wilson introduced the "progressive income tax" in 1913, the 16th Amendment had to be passed because income taxes were unconstitutional. How did these reformers manage to get it passed? They said taxes would be extremely low. Many would pay no taxes at all.

The richest of the rich only paid seven percent, while the average American paid one percent. Of course, it didn't last. By the end of Wilson's term the lowest bracket bumped up to four percent and the highest at 73 percent.

President Harding decided to listen to Mellon. And from 1921 to 1926, Congress worked to reduce the top tax rates. Eventually they got to top rates down to 25 percent. The result: Tax revenues from the wealthiest taxpayers tripled. The national debt dropped from $24 billion to $18 billion.

President Calvin Coolidge assumed the presidency in 1923 after Harding suddenly died and continued with the smaller government, lower tax strategy. He talked about not building up the weak by pulling down the strong; not being in a hurry to legislate and cutting the size of government. Coolidge and Harding decreased the real per capita federal expenditures from $170 per year in 1920 to $70 in 1924.

These policies, along with fostering the mentality of self-reliance (the opposite of what progressives had been preaching the previous 20 years) and the opposite of what they preach now, by saying "too big to fail" or you can't make it without government safety nets.

What followed was arguably one of the most prosperous eight years this country has ever seen. You've probably heard of a little term called "The Roaring Twenties," right? The progressive history books have done their best to hide the fact that a lot of it had to do with Mellon's tax policies, including the tax cuts for the wealthy.

Progressives don't want you to know this. They'll say the tax cuts and small government caused the Great Depression. No, I'm going to go out on a limb here and use common sense: The same things that caused the problems of today were the root of the problem in 1929: greed; the Federal Reserve; government making every single mistake. The president before the crash was a Republican, but a progressive Republican. But, that's for another show.

Let me get back to what happened when they cut taxes in 1921:

Automobile production was up 191 percent for the decade and while the elites bemoaned those wealthy fat cats and their automobiles, their appetite for driving created jobs. The demand for auto-related products skyrocketed: metal; lumber; steel; cotton; leather; paint; rubber; glass and of course, gasoline. Companies had to be created to meet the demand. This is real job creation. People had to be hired. Roads were being built. State highway construction spending increased tenfold between 1918 and 1930; did they fire all the cops and teachers?

In 1920 there were only 5,800 passengers who had flown on a plane. By 1930 it was 70 times that amount.

RCA brought us the radio and along with it, advertising. Now you could hear Babe Ruth hitting home runs all anywhere in the country.

Thomas Edison brought us movies in the 1880s, but in the 1920s the true modern-era motion picture arrived with Cecil B. Demille and "The Ten Commandments."

A whistling Mickey Mouse was introduced to America by Walt Disney in 1928; the first cartoon with synchronized sound.

Conveniences like telephones became less exclusive and more commonplace in the '20s. More Americans had irons, vacuums, washing machines and refrigerators. And all of these new products meant there was a demand for something else: energy. America needed huge power plants.

Does all of this innovation and growth seem to anyone else, like lasting job creation? Assuming the Fed and the government don't come in and screw everything up. And unlike the temporary jobs or the low-paying census jobs our government creates, per capita income had increased 37 percent from 1921 and 1929. People saved and invested like never before, gaining access to things for the first time such as life insurance.

It was America's coming-out party. And all of this success, all of the innovation, all of the prosperity without punishing the rich, without big government, absolutely baffled progressives. Especially the fact that everyone benefited; from the bottom up.

Evidence? Leon Trotsky, a Marxist revolutionary in the Soviet Union with Lenin, later lived in New York City in 1917. He fought all his life for Marxism to help the working class. Here's what he said about New York: "We rented an apartment in a workers district... and that apartment, at $18 a month, was equipped with all sorts of conveniences that we Europeans were quite unused to: Electric lights, gas cooking range, bath, telephone, automatic service elevator, and even a chute for the garbage."

What would Mr. Communism himself have said about New York a decade later? This was the conditions for the working class under evil, evil capitalism.

I can tell you what the intellectuals and the progressives said. F. Scott Fitzgerald said that Americans had engaged in "the greatest, gaudiest spree in history."

What do you think "The Great Gatsby" was all about? How materialistic and evil the average American had become? No. Did you read your own book?

The fact that the middle class was closing in on the upper class because the policies of smaller government — decreasing government spending and cutting taxes on the wealthy — were working didn't sit well with progressives.

And we are at the same place in history today.

We have a clear choice: Do we listen to the elites and The New York Times who warns of the dangers of cutting spending and lowering taxes? Or do we listen to our gut and common sense? The things that work in our own home. If the boss is having trouble keeping the doors open, you don't ask for a raise. If you are in debt, you stop spending.

We need to set the country back on the course of personal responsibility and innovation because that leads to prosperity and a better life for all of its citizens.

— Watch Glenn Beck weekdays at 5p & 2a ET on Fox News Channel

In light of the national conversation surrounding the rights of free speech, religion and self-defense, Mercury One is thrilled to announce a brand new initiative launching this Father's Day weekend: a three-day museum exhibition in Dallas, Texas focused on the rights and responsibilities of American citizens.

This event seeks to answer three fundamental questions:

  1. As Americans, what responsibility do we shoulder when it comes to defending our rights?
  2. Do we as a nation still agree on the core principles and values laid out by our founding fathers?
  3. How can we move forward amidst uncertainty surrounding the intent of our founding ideals?

Attendees will be able to view historical artifacts and documents that reveal what has made America unique and the most innovative nation on earth. Here's a hint: it all goes back to the core principles and values this nation was founded on as laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Exhibits will show what the world was like before mankind had rights and how Americans realized there was a better way to govern. Throughout the weekend, Glenn Beck, David Barton, Stu Burguiere, Doc Thompson, Jeffy Fisher and Brad Staggs will lead private tours through the museum, each providing their own unique perspectives on our rights and responsibilities.

Schedule a private tour or purchase general admission ticket below:

Dates:
June 15-17

Location:

Mercury Studios

6301 Riverside Drive, Irving, TX 75039

Learn more about the event here.

About Mercury One: Mercury One is a 501(c)(3) charity founded in 2011 by Glenn Beck. Mercury One was built to inspire the world in the same way the United States space program shaped America's national destiny and the world. The organization seeks to restore the human spirit by helping individuals and communities help themselves through honor, faith, courage, hope and love. In the words of Glenn Beck:

We don't stand between government aid and people in need. We stand with people in need so they no longer need the government

Some of Mercury One's core initiatives include assisting our nation's veterans, providing aid to those in crisis and restoring the lives of Christians and other persecuted religious minorities. When evil prevails, the best way to overcome it is for regular people to do good. Mercury One is committed to helping sustain the good actions of regular people who want to make a difference through humanitarian aid and education initiatives. Mercury One will stand, speak and act when no one else will.

Support Mercury One's mission to restore the human spirit by making an online donation or calling 972-499-4747. Together, we can make a difference.

What happened?

A New York judge ruled Tuesday that a 30-year-old still living in his parents' home must move out, CNN reported.

Failure to launch …

Michael Rotondo, who had been living in a room in his parents' house for eight years, claims that he is owed a six-month notice even though they gave him five notices about moving out and offered to help him find a place and to help pay for repairs on his car.

RELATED: It's sad 'free-range parenting' has to be legislated, it used to be common sense

“I think the notice is sufficient," New York State Supreme Court Judge Donald Greenwood said.

What did the son say?

Rotondo “has never been expected to contribute to household expenses, or assisted with chores and the maintenance of the premises, and claims that this is simply a component of his living agreement," he claimed in court filings.

He told reporters that he plans to appeal the “ridiculous" ruling.

Reform Conservatism and Reaganomics: A middle road?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio broke Republican ranks recently when he criticized the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by stating that “there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker." Rubio is wrong on this point, as millions of workers have received major raises, while the corporate tax cuts have led to a spike in capital expenditure (investment on new projects) of 39 percent. However, the Florida senator is revisiting an idea that was front and center in the conservative movement before Donald Trump rode down an escalator in June of 2015: reform conservatism.

RELATED: The problem with asking what has conservatism conserved

The "reformicons," like Rubio, supported moving away from conservative or supply-side orthodoxy and toward policies such as the expansion of the child and earned income tax credits. On the other hand, longstanding conservative economic theory indicates that corporate tax cuts, by lowering disincentives on investment, will lead to long-run economic growth that will end up being much more beneficial to the middle class than tax credits.

But asking people to choose between free market economic orthodoxy and policies guided towards addressing inequality and the concerns of the middle class is a false dichotomy.

Instead of advocating policies that many conservatives might dismiss as redistributionist, reformicons should look at the ways government action hinders economic opportunity and exacerbates income inequality. Changing policies that worsen inequality satisfies limited government conservatives' desire for free markets and reformicons' quest for a more egalitarian America. Furthermore, pushing for market policies that reduce the unequal distribution of wealth would help attract left-leaning people and millennials to small government principles.

Criminal justice reform is an area that reformicons and free marketers should come together around. The drug war has been a disaster, and the burden of this misguided government approach have fallen on impoverished minority communities disproportionately, in the form of mass incarceration and lower social mobility. Not only has the drug war been terrible for these communities, it's proved costly to the taxpayer––well over a trillion dollars has gone into the drug war since its inception, and $80 billion dollars a year goes into mass incarceration.

Prioritizing retraining and rehabilitation instead of overcriminalization would help address inequality, fitting reformicons' goals, and promote a better-trained workforce and lower government spending, appealing to basic conservative preferences.

Government regulations tend to disproportionately hurt small businesses and new or would-be entrepreneurs. In no area is this more egregious than occupational licensing––the practice of requiring a government-issued license to perform a job. The percentage of jobs that require licenses has risen from five percent to 30 percent since 1950. Ostensibly justified by public health concerns, occupational licensing laws have, broadly, been shown to neither promote public health nor improve the quality of service. Instead, they serve to provide a 15 percent wage boost to licensed barbers and florists, while, thanks to the hundreds of hours and expensive fees required to attain the licenses, suppressing low-income entrepreneurship, and costing the economy $200 billion dollars annually.

Those economic losses tend to primarily hurt low-income people who both can't start businesses and have to pay more for essential services. Rolling back occupational licenses will satisfy the business wing's desire for deregulation and a more free market and the reformicons' support for addressing income inequality and increasing opportunity.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality.

Tax expenditures form another opportunity for common ground between the Rubio types and the mainstream. Tax deductions and exclusions, both on the individual and corporate sides of the tax code, remain in place after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Itemized deductions on the individual side disproportionately benefit the wealthy, while corporate tax expenditures help well-connected corporations and sectors, such as the fossil fuel industry.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality. Additionally, a more complicated tax code is less conducive to economic growth than one with lower tax rates and fewer exemptions. Therefore, a simpler tax code with fewer deductions and exclusions would not only create a more level playing field, as the reformicons desire, but also additional economic growth.

A forward-thinking economic program for the Republican Party should marry the best ideas put forward by both supply-siders and reform conservatives. It's possible to take the issues of income inequality and lack of social mobility seriously, while also keeping mainstay conservative economic ideas about the importance of less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate studying economics at Tufts University. He is a contributor for Lone Conservative, and his writing has appeared in Townhall and The Daily Caller. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Is this what inclusivity and tolerance look like? Fox News host Tomi Lahren was at a weekend brunch with her mom in Minnesota when other patrons started yelling obscenities and harassing her. After a confrontation, someone threw a drink at her, the moment captured on video for social media.

RELATED: Glenn Addresses Tomi Lahren's Pro-Choice Stance on 'The View'

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this uncomfortable moment and why it shows that supposedly “tolerant" liberals have to resort to physical violence in response to ideas they don't like.