danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
[personal profile] danieldwilliam
Some quick throughts on Trumps first 100 days proposals. He should strike fast before House Republicans remember that they hate him.

http://www.npr.org/2016/11/09/501451368/here-is-what-donald-trump-wants-to-do-in-his-first-100-days



* FIRST, propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress;

I don't think I have a huge problem with term limits for members of Congress. I'm not for it but it's not awful.

* SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health);

Clearly Trump wants to reduce the size of the US federal government. Not sure I'm for this (although see below on regulations) but if you're going to do that then a hiring freeze is probably the most humane way of doing it. I expect the citizens of the USA will miss the services that are under resourced at some point. Only one way to find out.

* THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated;

I'm in favour of the regulatory reduction initiative. Having dealt with US federal reguations for nearly two years they are verging on impossible to understand let alone comply with. Only large businesses with specialist departments can hope to fully understand and comply with them. Everytime anything bad happens they add another regulation. Many of them are purposeless, other than to make every single organisation prove in advance that they are not using one of several thousand unsavory practices. Cutting the number of regulations and with it the number of federal employees and private sector employee dancing round them would be a good thing.

It should be noted that large incumbents favour complex regulations which act as a barrier to entry for their competitors. That's why they pay lobbiest to make sure they exist.

Also, it would let the next Democratic president in 2020 re-write them from the bottom up.

* FOURTH, a 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service;

* FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government;

* SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.


I don't think I have a problem with restrictions on lobbying although good luck getting that through a Congress that is heavily influenced by lobbyiests. I think this is where the wheels might start to come off Trump's wagon as Congress refuses to vote against Congress not being bribed.

On the same day, I will begin taking the following 7 actions to protect American workers:

* FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205

I'm in favour of free trade agreements and I don't think protectionism works. Also not sure how he's going to get a renegotiation of NAFTA through a Congress which is still accepting lobbying money from companies who are doing well out of NAFTA. More fundamentally, the jobs that were moved to Mexico under NAFTA won't come back. They are either done cheaply in Mexico by Mexicans or cheaply in the US by robots.

* SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership

I know less about TPP then I ought. I think it's probably not a hugely great trade deal.

* THIRD, I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator

I wonder how the Chinese will respond to being labled a currency manipulator. Probably not favourably. What does the US need from China? What can China make the US want from it?

* FOURTH, I will direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately
A committtment to do all that can be done, because clearly what has been missing from US politics is that not enough people cared about the US.

* FIFTH, I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars' worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.


* SIXTH, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward

* SEVENTH, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America's water and environmental infrastructure

Long term I think these three energy and climate change initiatives are a very, very bad idea but in the short term I expect they will boost production of energy reserves a bit, but there is a limit to the amount of production you can increase before the price tanks. Personally I shall look forward to cheaper energy and a reduction in the global influence of Russia and Saudi Arabia but I'm less keen on drowning 100 million Bangladeshies or Florida.


Additionally, on the first day, I will take the following five actions to restore security and the constitutional rule of law:

* FIRST, cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama

He has a little list, he has a little list.


* SECOND, begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States

This is probably the biggest prize of the 2016 Presidential election. I wonder how long Democrats in the Senate can stall this appointment. Probably not two years.

* THIRD, cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities

This will probably suck - not sure how he's going to enforce it with fewer federal employees.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctuary_city

* FOURTH, begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won't take them back

This will also suck for the people affected.

* FIFTH, suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.

This will not make America easy to do business with. Or go on holiday to. And I expect other countries will retaliate and do business with someone else instead.

Next, I will work with Congress to introduce the following broader legislative measures and fight for their passage within the first 100 days of my Administration:

Middle Class Tax Relief And Simplification Act. An economic plan designed to grow the economy 4% per year and create at least 25 million new jobs through massive tax reduction and simplification, in combination with trade reform, regulatory relief, and lifting the restrictions on American energy. The largest tax reductions are for the middle class. A middle-class family with 2 children will get a 35% tax cut. The current number of brackets will be reduced from 7 to 3, and tax forms will likewise be greatly simplified. The business rate will be lowered from 35 to 15 percent, and the trillions of dollars of American corporate money overseas can now be brought back at a 10 percent rate.

A tax cut for the middle classes would be no bad thing - if it was balanced by a tax increase for the rich. Which it won't be. So unless the Laffer curve is perfectly understood and perfectly poised this means a reduction in Federal tax receipts. Is the dollar still the reserve currency of world? Does the US still want it to be? (It's worth about 2% lower interest rates.)

The US corporate tax rate is pretty high. I expect left-leaning well off states (eg California) will replace the federal tax with local taxes. Their services won't be de-funded. Poor (Republican leaning states) will have less federal money to spend and less option to raise their own taxes. So this is basically a shift in wealth to rich liberal states from poor conservative states.

The IRS are pretty brutal as a revenue operation - giving them less meat to eat would be no bad thing.

I wonder what the impact of the reduction in repatriation taxes will be on the US economy. It ought to provoke a round of dividends leading to increased consumption but I think the marginal propensity to consume of most corporate shareholders is low.


End The Offshoring Act. Establishes tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free.

Again, I'm still broadly in favour of free trade and I can see a retalitory trade war brewing as well as higher prices. Still the buggy whips will be both tremendous and American.


American Energy & Infrastructure Act. Leverages public-private partnerships, and private investments through tax incentives, to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years. It is revenue neutral.

The US could badly do with some energy and other infrastructure. Not sure how the necessary energy infrastructure works with protection for fossil fuels as lots of the needed infrastructure is needed to transport cheaper wind energy from the Great Plains to the coast. $1 trillion is likely to be about half or one third what is needed.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-and-clinton-both-want-to-fix-infrastructure-but-that-doesnt-mean-theyll-succeed/

Despite the pledge that this is revenue neutral I think he'll struggle to get this through Congress.

School Choice And Education Opportunity Act. Redirects education dollars to give parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends common core, brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and make 2 and 4-year college more affordable.

This sounds like an internal market in education. I'm sceptical about that working well.

Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act. Fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, and lets states manage Medicaid funds. Reforms will also include cutting the red tape at the FDA: there are over 4,000 drugs awaiting approval, and we especially want to speed the approval of life-saving medications.

As advertised. I wonder if the blue-collar workers who benefit from Obamacare will notice it when it is repealled and if so what they will do about it at the House elections in 2018.

Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act. Allows Americans to deduct childcare and elder care from their taxes, incentivizes employers to provide on-side childcare services, and creates tax-free Dependent Care Savings Accounts for both young and elderly dependents, with matching contributions for low-income families.

Working Family Tax Credits I think.

End Illegal Immigration Act Fully-funds the construction of a wall on our southern border with the full understanding that the country Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such wall; establishes a 2-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. after a previous deportation, and a 5-year mandatory minimum for illegally re-entering for those with felony convictions, multiple misdemeanor convictions or two or more prior deportations; also reforms visa rules to enhance penalties for overstaying and to ensure open jobs are offered to American workers first.

Mexico will pay, ha, ha, ha.

Mexico will unleash a horde of South American illegal immigrants and Mexican drug gangs before it pays a red peso.


Restoring Community Safety Act. Reduces surging crime, drugs and violence by creating a Task Force On Violent Crime and increasing funding for programs that train and assist local police; increases resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent offenders behind bars.

The wrong solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

Restoring National Security Act. Rebuilds our military by eliminating the defense sequester and expanding military investment; provides Veterans with the ability to receive public VA treatment or attend the private doctor of their choice; protects our vital infrastructure from cyber-attack; establishes new screening procedures for immigration to ensure those who are admitted to our country support our people and our values

Personally delighted but more generally I'm pretty sure the marginal beneift from defence dollars in the US is pretty limited. Also, the reduction in regulation on federal procurement could probably save the US government a good few percent of their defence budget.

Clean up Corruption in Washington Act. Enacts new ethics reforms to Drain the Swamp and reduce the corrupting influence of special interests on our politics.

Necessary but difficult.

Date: 2016-11-11 10:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] danieldwilliam.livejournal.com
US federal corporation tax rates are 35%. Only Zambia, Cameroon and Greece have higher rates of CT.

Japan has a Corporation Tax rate of 32%. About the same as the USA. Germany a shade lower at 30%. France ranges between 15-33%

The UK CT rate is 20% and falling. The Netherlands is 20%. So is Russia Singapore and Hong Kong at 17%. Ireland 12.5%.

So I don't think US corporation rates are low in comparison to other large economies.

And US personal maximum tax rates for federal tax are 40% with up to 13% state tax on top for total of 53% depending where you live. And payroll taxes are not particularly low either. So higher CT is doesn't appear to be offset by lower personal taxation. The USA's tax to GDP ratio is about 25% compared to the EU's 36% but in the EU you get health care included in your tax bill.
I think the constitutional restriction you are refering to is in the Californian constitution rather than the US constitution. My understanding of Californian constitutional law is that it is difficult to increase taxes as tax increases require a 2/3rds majority in both houses in the California legislature. The relevant ballot I think is Prop 13 in 1978.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_13_(1978)#Other_taxes_created_or_increased

So California *could* raise taxes if they wanted to. They would just have to really, really want to. And given how many profitable companies are based in California and will, post a reduction in federal corporation taxes be a wash with money, I think Californians might feel a bit more relaxed about state and local taxation.

There's also a tax incidence effect, Federal corporation taxes represent a cost of doing business for corporations. If that cost is reduced then there is more money available for suppliers, customers, employees and owners - most of whom I think will be based in California and paying tax in California. So California might end up not paying federal taxes and therefore consuming federal expenditure in Alabama and Arkansas and end up paying more state and local taxes by having more profit and wages located in California even if the tax rates remain the same.

Date: 2016-11-11 02:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theweaselking.livejournal.com
I was referring to the California Constitution, yes. Along with the political suicide that "re-elect me, I raised your taxes" is in the USA.

And the US corporate tax rates aren't "high" because they're large on paper. They're low because they're low IN PRACTICE. A 35% paper rate means nothing when Apple pays zero without breaking a single rule.

Date: 2016-11-11 03:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] danieldwilliam.livejournal.com
I suspect they are low in practice if you are the type of business that has sufficiently complex affairs that it can take advantage of corkscrewing through complex loop-holes and exemptions.

If you're not then they appear pretty high to me. (Unless you are telling that there are so many exemptions that are so easy to claim that literally nobody pays 35% - in which case I very literally need to sack my US tax accountant and if so they will be unemployed next week).

So, assuming that my assumption about complex tax affairs is right, reducing them to 15% means that Amazon continue to game the system to pay 0% and small simple compliant businesses' tax rate falls from 35% to 15%.

If the tax rate change is combined with a concerted effort at tax simplication then Amazon et all have less room and their effective tax rate goes up.

Date: 2016-11-11 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] danieldwilliam.livejournal.com
I guess the re-electability of tax raising representatives is a matter for the citizens of California and New York and so on but it seems like California has more chance of being able to protect public services for Californians than Alabama does.

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