The Dismal Truth

Political Soapbox

Economics, the “dismal science”, is at the heart of our national political distress these days.  Each party has its version of what is right, but is either one what is best?  It isn’t, I know it isn’t, and on my visit to the gym this morning I found proof of that on a Planet Money pod-cast.  It was so remarkably true and real that I wanted to share it with you, my readers.  But I offer it with a riddle worthy of an Aladdin’s tale:  you will discover in it the truth about economics in America, but that truth will be of no practical use to you, nor to either political party.  How can that be?  Listen, and you will know.

About Jim Wheeler

U. S. Naval Academy, BS, Engineering, 1959; Naval line officer and submariner, 1959 -1981, Commander, USN; The George Washington U., MSA, Management Eng.; Aerospace Engineer, 1981-1999; Resident Gadfly, 1999 - present. Political affiliation: Democratic.
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5 Responses to The Dismal Truth

  1. ansonburlingame says:


    The link is REMARKABLE and I say “let’s do it” in every case as recommended by the panel. I have written for well over a year for some of the things discussed, but frankly I would vote for EVERYONE of the six panel recommendations.

    I will not disclose the nature of the link above in order to get your readers to listen carefully to the WHOLE panel discussion, al 24 minutes of so.

    But I will also point out that JUST doing one or two of the recommendations does not achieve the correct goal of providing the federal government with the revenues, progressively collected, to achieve the goals desired and actually needed by all Americans.

    I will however reveal ONE of the six recommendations, DELETE ALL DEDUCTIONS FROM THE INCOME TAX. CODES period. Just tax income, period. (But obviously at a much lower but still progressive rate)

    But of course to do so the “people” must decide beforehand just how much money the federal governmet MUST have to satisfy the needs of ALL Americans, like roads, bridges and defense and a saftey net of reasonable and affordable size and scope. THAT is where the debate needs to be, WHO should be “laying” in a safety net provided by all other Americans.

    But that is just the tip of the iceberg in this audio broadcast. I encourage all of you to listen carefully and see if you can come to the same conclusion that I as a conservative can come to. But remember, we MUST do ALL six things, not just pick and choose the best for “us” as political factions.

    Jim, I don’t know if you came up with this on your own or in response to my comment back to you “over there” on the EC blog. But if YOU support what this panel says IN TOTAL, then I will lock arms with you on these blogs and try to move forward!!! together!!!



  2. Quite interesting Jim – glad I found this. I agree strongly with their positions on most of the issues.
    I have one minor objection when the the moderator stated that we have the largest corporate tax rate in the world – 35% — stated that without mentioning that no corporation actually pays that.
    (Try – you can’t find one.) Not to say I disagree with their conclusions, just that I can’t help but react whenever I hear that.
    Some very sensible positions, nicely explained. A well-spent 24 minutes.


    • Jim Wheeler says:

      Like Anson below, I would enthusiastically support enactment of them all but most voters would instantly reject them. As for the tax, I agree that there are loopholes, the largest of which is to simply move operations overseas. That’s why I’ve argued for reducing it so the jobs can come back, something my friend Duane can’t bring himself to embrace. Of course, his hangup is a valid one: government has bills and the money has to be found somewhere. I agree with that but I just say that the corporate tax is not the right source. It isn’t working.

      Thanks for the feedback, Helen.


      • I actually agree with you there — reducing the corporate tax. I’d like to see it reduced to a rate that corporations actually pay — no loopholes — if for no other reason than that it would prevent people from saying corporations pay a 35% tax rate. I kind of like what I’ve heard Thom Hartmann advocate — a low corporate tax rate, but if American companies do their manufacturing overseas, then charge a tariff for bringing the goods back in. A tariff high enough to make it worthwhile to keep the work here.


        • Jim Wheeler says:

          That sounds good to me Helen. Of course there would be foreign kick-back to your tariff idea, with China and others applying their own tariffs. That’s the global conundrum, that and blatant cheating by hidden and not-so-hidden government subsidies. It’s a tough problem and one I’m not an expert on.


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