Head Thumping Commentary

Corporate Taxes in the Real World

Victor C. Bolles

October 25, 2021

Progressive Democrats and the Biden White House continue to work on hashing out the details of the American Families Plan along with increases in the tax rates for corporations and wealthy individuals to pay for it. But in the real world (compared to the ideal but unattainable world envisioned by progressives) most corporations pass on the increased costs of higher taxes to consumers and workers while corporations that cannot pass on such increased costs will suffer from reduced competitiveness against other companies around the world. In this commentary, we look at how corporations are likely to react to the progressives' plans in the real world.

 

Quote from Commentary:

“I am pretty sure the polls influencing the policy decisions of the Biden Administration do not include a question about how much the American people would support the American Families Plan if they were told the cost would come out of their own pocket.”

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Modern Monetary Nonsense

Victor C. Bolles

October 14, 2021

 

The progressive left continues to push for passage of President Biden’s $3.5 trillion (which in reality is more than $5.0 trillion) spending plan and Socialist Bernie Sanders touts the bill as a “compromise” insisting that the real amount should be more than six trillion. How can the left justify such massive spending since no one believes that the proposed tax hikes to accompany the spending will cover more than a fraction? Conveniently, economists of the progressive left have a theory (they have a lot of theories in lieu of facts) that says government can spend all they want. In this commentary, we investigate the rationale behind Modern Monetary Theory and some of the dangers application of this unproven theory would create.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“Modern Monetary Theory subjects a currency to political goals, regardless of the economic situation or how it affects the users of the currency. Stability of the currency is not the goal; a specific social justice outcome is the goal. People’s trust in the currency is lost and inflation begins to surge.”

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Is a Better Life Worth Slower Growth?

Victor C. Bolles

October 8, 2021

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial (The Entitlements of U.S. Decline, October 7, 2021) remarked that the Biden Administration’s claim that higher taxes and more social welfare spending were “the path to national revival” was startling and audacious “especially when the global evidence is the opposite.” The assertion flies in the face of reason just as the President’s claim the cost of his programs is “zero” because of his tax hikes. Europe’s social welfare system has dragged down the continent’s economic growth for decades. But excessive social welfare spending can cause even greater harm than just slower economic growth. In this commentary, we look at the impact that cradle to grave entitlements can cause.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“And transfer payments can create unintended consequences that often negate the benefits the transfers provide. The War of Poverty might well have been named the War on the Black Community as the result of the many benefit programs has broken up black families and created a plethora of single parent families and fatherless children. Without stable families, efforts to educate poor children so that they can escape grinding poverty have been an utter failure.” 

Cautiously Optimistic

Victor C. Bolles

September 29, 2021

 

Many of the Founders had grave doubts about the long-term viability of the American experiment in democracy, as documented in a recent book by Dennis Rasmussen, Fears of a Setting Sun, The Disillusionment of America’s Founders. Democracies did not have a very good reputation in 1776. But here we are. And as fractious as our twenty-first century politics are, Dr. Rasmussen’s book shows that many of the vicious disputes that wracked those first years of our country are eerily similar to the division and rancor we face now. In this commentary we discuss some of the origins of those disputes and why, even after two centuries of fighting, there is cause for optimism.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“So, Americans have been going after each other for over two hundred years and, apparently, for much the same reasons. Hoover Institution Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy, Thomas Sowell wrote in his book, A Conflict of Visions, Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, that the world can be divided between two mega-groups that have two very different views of humanity.”

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The Future of Tennis (and the World)

Victor C. Bolles

September 16, 2021

 

The modern era has ended the geographic isolation that created different characteristics among people that were classified as different races. As a result, people from different parts of the globe are meeting and eventually intermarrying with each other, blurring the concept of race beyond any measure. This trend was highlighted in the recent U.S. tennis Open which featured rising young stars that were a mix of people from around the world. In this commentary, we look at this trend and its implications in America.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“These young tennis players are representative of a growing trend in America and around the world. None of these tennis stars are Americans but they are in the same mold as golfers Tiger Woods (American and Thai) and Xander Schauffele (German father and Taiwanese mother). Even Joanna Gaines, an Americana fashion icon from Waco, Texas, has a Korean mother.”

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Closing the Real Achievement Gap

Victor C. Bolles

September 10, 2021

 

Closing the black-white academic achievement gap is an important problem that America needs to solve. But the way to solve this problem is not to lower academic standards to the lowest common denominator. This would be a disservice to black kids and to the nation. We need to raise the academic achievement of black kids, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it will also help us to close the real achievement gap, the one between American kids and Chinese kids. In this commentary we look at the achievement gap that will most affect the liberty of our kids and grandkids.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“This is all part of Xi Jinping’s plan to inculcate Chinese kids in party lore and history, infuse them with patriotism and even chauvinistic nationalism, and to prepare them to be the future soldiers and scientists that China needs to become the dominant power in the world. While the PISA ranking of US students is in the doldrums, China’s ranking is superb, number one across the board. While Chinese students are drilled with stories about how great China is, US students are told that America is an irredeemably racist country and that all Americans are either racist white supremacists or oppressed victims.”

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Systemic Enlightenment

Victor C. Bolles

August 27, 2021

 

The Enlightenment based Western Civilization that we live in did not arrive in this world in full bloom the moment John Locke put down his pen. It has evolved slowly and sometimes painfully over the centuries. The greatest achievement of this civilization has been the liberation of human capital through the participation of millions and millions of people in our Western systems of governance, economics and knowledge. In the twenty-first century, these great systems have come under attack. In this commentary we analyze the source of Western power and the nature of the attacks against it.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“As Americans we believe these natural rights are obvious and normal and should be understood and accepted by everyone. But this was not the case historically, as we have seen. Nor are these rights understood and accepted by everyone around the world even today. Only in the Western world, and most prominently in the United States, have these rights been understood and accepted. And not only understood but raised up as the founding principles of our society.”

The New Order of the Ages

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The End of Enlightenment

Victor C. Bolles

August 9, 2021

 

A new woke ideology of egalitarian idealism is spreading out from academia and into our public schools, corporations and government institutions like a lab-leaked virus. This ideology rejects the Enlightenment principles and ideals on which America was founded. It rejects universally accepted concepts like reasoned discussion and rational discourse believing that they make up part of a socially constructed web of power meant to oppress minorities. This makes debate that could lead to an acceptable compromise impossible. In this commentary we take a look at this mutated ideology and discuss methods to preserve our American heritage.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“The woke ideologists don’t hate America because it doesn’t live up to its principles and ideals, they hate those principles and ideals and want to throw them in the rubbish.”

The Piketty Solution

Victor C. Bolles

August 3, 2021

 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell announced last week a continuation of the Fed’s policy of purchasing government bonds in order to stimulate economic growth and reduce unemployment despite an uptick of inflation above the Fed’s target. This move prompted the Wall Street Journal to speculate that the Fed might also view inflation as a mechanism to cut the enormous size of the public debt; a mechanism recommended by the Marxist economist Thomas Piketty and other progressives. In this commentary we look at the efficacy of this strategy and the dangers it breeds.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

Maybe the fact that the stock market is up over 20% above its pre-pandemic levels, bitcoin is up over 450% and that someone awash in cash was willing to fork over $69 million for an NFT (non-fungible token) collage by a virtually unknown artist who goes by the name Beeple will give you an idea where all the cash the Fed is spewing out is going.

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Desperation

Victor C. Bolles

July 20, 2021

 

Leftwing progressives seem intent on using razor thin majorities in Washington to permanently transform the United States into their vision of a Europeanized social democratic state or worse. They are pushing multitrillion dollar spending plans, taking over public schools to indoctrinate children on anti-racism and changing election laws to permanently entrench the left in power. But why now and why the rush? In this commentary I discuss why I believe that that progressives are so desperate to restructure America before a growing backlash takes the reins of government power from their hands.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“This is the rationale behind the left’s push to pass laws by even the thinnest of majorities, and to create bureaucracies by executive order. Once established bureaucrats will fight tenaciously (backed by their public employees’ union) to maintain programs (and well-paying government jobs).” 

It’s Not Just Chicago

Victor C. Bolles

July 14, 2021

 

Fox News likes to pick on Chicago’s murder rate, using anecdotal evidence instead of statistics. But increasing violence and murder is spreading across the country and this spread isn’t limited to just the big cities. It is coming to a city near you. Police departments are being defunded by left-wing mayors and city councils. Police officers, citing low morale, are retiring or resigning in droves leaving departments understaffed and citizens exposed to rising violence. In this commentary we take a look at some of the causes of this increasing violence and trace it back to its roots.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

But the rot is spreading to other cities and Austin is a prime example. Our cities and school districts are becoming more and more progressive, but their policies have not delivered safer streets or better educated children.

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The Purpose of Sports

Victor C. Bolles

July 5, 2021

 

Progressive political activists and social justice warriors are attempting to capture competitive sports as another way to bludgeon us into accepting their left-wing agenda. But sports have always been a respite from daily cares and should not become another mechanism of political division. In this commentary, we investigate the current state of sports and analyze how it has deviated from its traditional purpose. 

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“But protesting from the podium is more than just an embarrassment to your country. It is divisive. It tells your teammates that your politics outweigh the team’s accomplishments at the games. It ruptures the sense of solidarity that sports competitions are intended to create.”

Taxing Picasso

Victor C. Bolles

June 25, 2021

 

A recent Internet meme about Pablo Picasso prompted me to wonder about how many unsold paintings and other art objects he still had when he died. This thought came to me because Democrats are proposing all sorts of new taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and I wondered how Picasso’s estate might have been affected had he been subject to these taxes. That led me to wonder why the Democrats were so obsessive about taxing the wealthy. It could not be because they are suddenly fiscally responsible, because they aren’t. And it is not because they are worried about the mounting public debt, because they aren’t worried about that either. In this commentary, we look at the real motives behind the Democrats’ raising taxes. (Hint: Its politics)

 

Quote from the Commentary:

Pablo Picasso’s estate contained 1,885 paintings, 1,228 sculptures, 7,089 drawings, as well as tens of thousands of prints, thousands of ceramic works and 150 sketchbooks when he passed away in 1973. He also owned five homes and a large portfolio of stocks and bonds. It is estimated that this estate would be worth over a billion dollars today, but I think that is a low-ball estimate seeing as how just one of his paintings sold for about $180 million in 2016. No matter how you count it, that’s a pretty big estate for a man who professed to being a Communist.

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The Limits of Diplomacy

Victor C. Bolles

June 22, 2021

 

President Joe Biden has just returned from his first overseas diplomatic mission attempting to repair the damage wreaked by the Trump administration to our relationships with G-7 and NATO allies. But America’s role as global leader had been in decline long before President Trump arrived on the scene and the world is not better off as a result. The United States must not only revamp its foreign policy it must also rebuild its economic, industrial and military strength and power to be in position to provide the needed global leadership and to inspire other nations to emulate our democratic and free market principles. In this commentary, we look at what the United States must do to regain the prestige and authority to be the global leader it once was.

 

Quote from the Commentary: 

“President Biden is correct that we need to rebuild our alliances in order to deal with the global challenges we face. And there is a role for diplomacy to play in rebuilding alliances and rebuilding a world order. What he does not realize is that it takes more than good intentions to achieve world peace and prosperity. It takes strength. And power.”

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Between Scylla & Charybdis

Victor C. Bolles

June 9, 2021

 

Donald Trump’s intervention in the 2020 Senate election in Georgia was a disaster that propelled two Democrats into the Senate, paving the way for the Biden administration and far-left progressives to attempt to make a generational change to transform America. Mr. Trump and his fervent base of supporters are conducting a purge of any Republican deemed insufficiently loyal to him personally to remake Republicans into the Party of Trump. Americans are not happy with the leftward lurch of President Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer but Mr. Trump will strengthen the Democrats position as he tightens his grip on the Republican Party. In this commentary, we analyze the potential impact of the Party of Trump.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

A truly chilling editorial by Fox News Columnist David Marcus trumpets the rise of the New Right and asserts that the Trump presidency has irrevocably changed the American conservative movement. He denigrates Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Mitt Romney and Representative Liz Cheney as part of the “old guard” that wants to turn back the clock and restore the old Republican party of 25 years ago. He goes on to say, “there is no turning back” and that the American conservative movement is now a populist, nationalist party.

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Lifestyle or Liberty

Victor C. Bolles

June 1, 2021

 

President Biden is proposing a $6 trillion budget in order to begin the implementation of his American Jobs Plan and his American Families Plan thinking, apparently, that attaching the word “American” to his progressive agenda will blind the American people to its true intent. But the process to make America more like Europe will make us more vulnerable at a time of rising authoritarianism and his budget shortchanges our defense. In this commentary we scrutinize the problems with his progressive agenda and the existential threats it ignores. 

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“Europeanization of the United States as being implemented by the Biden administration would do little to achieve the announced goals of all these trillions of dollars of spending (while greatly benefiting the unannounced goals of entrenching unions across the country, hiring DEI trainers in our institutions and assuring Democratic control for the foreseeable future).”

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I Don’t Want to be an Antiracist

Victor C. Bolles

May 17, 2021

 

Antiracism is like antimatter. It is the opposite of racism, but it is not better than racism, just opposite. And the combination of the opposing forces is explosive. Ibram X. Kendi’s book, How to be an Antiracist, tries to make the case for antiracism and the success of the book and the incorporation of its ideas into diversity, equity and inclusion training indicate the influence of this ideology in America. But reading the book convinced me that an America based on antiracist ideology would be a horrible place to in which live, for blacks, whites and everybody else. In the commentary we take a critical look at some of the key tenets of the antiracist ideology.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“But I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him (Kendi). He is obsessed with race and racism. He is consumed by racism. His life, education and profession are dedicated to race and racism. As if the world contained nothing good, beautiful or eternal but only race, racism and racial oppression.”

Harry, Sally and Jeff

Victor C. Bolles

May 5, 2021

 

Amazon recently stopped selling a book because it disputes the progressive vision of transgender theory. But transgender issues make up only one front in the battle of ideas that dominates political discourse in America. Free speech is under attack in this country. In this commentary we look more closely at the transgender controversy and its implications for the progressive agenda sweeping America.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

The reason behind this behavior is that social justice warriors are not acting on logic or reason but on emotion. Their causes are fair. They seek equitable outcomes. They are good people so whoever opposes them must be evil. Logical arguments cannot alter their good intentions. You must comply with their social justice goals or be silenced. 

Who Built This Country, Joe?

Victor C. Bolles

April 30, 2021

 

President Joe Biden has given his first speech to a joint session of Congress recounting his accomplishments in the first 100 days as president and, in the speech, he promised to give trillions of dollars to just about everybody and make big corporations and greedy one-percenters pay for it all. Will it work? Is it a good idea? In this commentary we examine some of the implications of what the president is proposing might look like.

 

Quote from the Commentary:

“If you think about it, President Biden’s trillion-dollar plans are an insult to the American people. It is an expression of the contempt elites have in their low expectations for the American people. He and the Democrats believe that the American people are incapable of taking care of themselves.”

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The Economic Cure

Victor C. Bolles

April 27, 2021

 

The Center for Disease Control has recently re-approved Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine after a brief pause stating that the benefits far outweigh the harmful side effects. Similarly, America’s free market economic system (sometimes called capitalism) has been accused by the left of many harmful side effects including the exploitation of labor, income inequality and other social justice shortfalls. Leftists recommend that the economy be cured with socialism. But like J&J’s vaccine, socialism has gone through its own clinical trial, but unlike J&J, socialism failed to cure the patient. In this commentary we examine more closely the harmful side effects of free markets.

 

Quote from Commentary:

“If socialism were a vaccine to cure the ills of the free market system, the Center for Economic Disease Control (I made that up) would demand clinical trials before approving such a new vaccine just like the real CDC required for the Pfizer vaccine. But socialism has had clinical trials: The Soviet Union under various dictators, China under Mao Zedong, Cambodia under Pol Pot, Cuba under the Castros, and Venezuela under Chavez and Maduro. These experiments to cure economic ills have resulted in death and poverty for the patients. Few survived.”

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