Thursday, June 30, 2011

LQ&C 6/30/11

- Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White's legal troubles stemmed from him trying to take bribes to bestow favors to those seeking sanction from the Public Transportation Commission. The Tampa Tribune advocated the Commission's abolition:

The panel, created by state law, allows public officials to pick winners and losers in the transportation business, which not only curtails free enterprise but also opens opportunities for favoritism, if not graft.

Those trying to start new vehicle-for-hire businesses say the PTC can be counted on to safeguard existing businesses. Last year after taxi companies complained, the board banished an electric vehicle service that provided free rides while making money from advertising.

Bravo. Say, who was that guy that told the Trib that misbehavior by Hillsborough County Commissioners was an inevitable result of government's power to control?

- The WSJ says there is a federal revenue problem, and it ain't because of the Bush tax cuts:

On May 12, the budget arm of Congress examined the changes in its baseline projections from 2001 through 2011. In 2001, it had predicted a surplus in 2011 of $889 billion. Instead, it expects a deficit of $1.4 trillion.

What explains that $2.29 trillion budget reversal? Well, the direct revenue loss from the combination of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts contributed roughly $216 billion, or only about 9.5% of the $2.29 trillion. And keep in mind that even this low figure is based on a static revenue model that assumes almost no gains from faster economic growth.

After the Bush investment tax cuts of 2003, tax revenues were $786 billion higher in 2007 ($2.568 trillion) than they were in 2003 ($1.782 trillion), the biggest four-year increase in U.S. history. So as flawed as it is, the current tax code with a top personal income tax rate of 35% is clearly capable of generating big revenue gains.

- A union official in Michigan put up a sign stating that any non-union/non-American made cars would be towed from the parking lot. Maybe it's understandable, given that the union members' jobs are dependent on the purchases of union/American made cars. Don Boudreaux offers some more foes to union employment:

The person who drives, say, a 1991 Buick Regal – whether he bought it new 20 years ago or bought it used yesterday – opts, no less than does the person who drives a 2011 Toyota Camry, not to buy a newly made American automobile. Both persons spend their money now in ways that keep demand for new American-made automobiles lower than it would otherwise be. The spending choices of the owner of the 1991 Buick harm your members no less than – and for exactly the same reasons as – do the spending choices of the owner of the 2011 Toyota.

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