Education is Cool

Possibly the biggest problem in this country, unfortunately, is that most of its people are ignorant and/or stupid.  Smart kids get made fun of in grade school and high school for being geeks.  Southern rednecks refer to college-educated people as coastal elites.  Stupid assholes like Rick Santorum and the people who vote for him think that religion is more important than education.  Unless you want to be a priest, that is bullshit.  Urban ghetto kids think you are a loser if you even go to school, which is why most of them never get out of the ghetto.

Somewhere along the line, whether it is parents or teachers (and it should be both), education needs to be incentivized.  Kids need to learn that they’re not going to get a job like their dad at the local factory making $60k/year with benefits and a pension.  It’s a different world now, but very few people seem to recognize that.  You will not be competing with little Joey down the street for your first job.  You will be competing with little Nabhij from India, and that fucking kid is under no false impression as to how smart he needs to be in order to get ahead in this world.

A lot of American kids get their parents to spend a shitload of money to go to college so they can join fraternities, do keg stands and bang chicks.  They major in Sociology, Physical Education, Art History or some other bullshit field of study that provides no marketable value in the workplace.  Meanwhile, the Indian kid goes to the same college, majors in Computer Science or Chemical Engineering, spends all of his time in the science library, and he thinks it is cool to be smart.  If I’m running a company, I will hire the Indian kid over the American prick any day of the week.  So don’t complain about foreigners taking your jobs.  Grow a pair of balls and don’t let them take your fucking job.

I do recognize that the ridiculous cost of higher education eliminates many kids from even attempting to achieve it.  Well here is another news flash:  you don’t have to go to some fancy school to get an education.  Instead of buying your $400 sneakers or your $600 handbag, go out and buy a fucking computer.  It is 2012 and they aren’t expensive anymore.  You can learn anything you want over the internet.  If nothing else, you will have access to information from all over the world, and you can figure out what the hell you want to do in life.  Also, if the cost of education is your biggest hurdle, at least vote for candidates who want to subsidize it and make it less expensive.  Don’t be a stupid redneck and blame the government for all your problems.

In my view, the first part of the higher education process needs to be teaching kids why education is important.  If a middle class kid goes to college but doesn’t really want to learn, it is a waste of time and money.  The piece of paper doesn’t mean shit anymore.  You can wipe your ass with a college degree nowadays, so don’t waste money on it if you plan to fuck around for four years.  You can do that anywhere.  Once you learn why it is necessary to learn, then it might be time to go to school.  If you come from a family that views educated people as elitist douchebags, than I feel bad for you, but it is still no excuse.  In this case, you need to recognize that the people in your family are probably stupid redneck assholes, and they are clinging to a world that doesn’t exist anymore.  Fuck them, and go buy a computer.  If you are a poor kid in the ghetto who is too cool for school, than I feel bad for you too.  But you should still recognize the value of an education (regardless of how you get it).  The smart gangsters are the ones who don’t get caught.  If you think it’s cool to be ignorant and stupid, get used to prison.

Supply-Side Fallacy

Supply-side economics is a theory that asserts an economy’s ability to supply more goods and services is the primary component in generating economic growth.  Also known as ‘trickle down’ economics, this theory states that a reduction in tax rates on wealthy individuals and corporations will incentivize them to increase private investment, which in turn will bolster the economy’s production capacity.  Increased investment creates new businesses and allows existing companies to expand.  The wealth created from these new investments is supposed to ‘trickle down’ to the rest of society in the form of job creation and higher wages.  But the most important concept in supply-side economics is that people will be substantially more encouraged to work and invest if their tax rates are lower.  It is an unwavering, religious belief in the elasticity of the labor supply.  The promise of a slightly higher net income will bring more people into the labor force, and this larger tax base is supposed to make up for the revenue lost due to lower rates.  Supply-siders believe that capital gains and dividend taxes must be reduced to encourage investment, and marginal income tax rates must be reduced to encourage employment.  If this happens, the economy will grow, everyone will have a job, Jesus will love you, and the world will be a better place.

Generally speaking, there is some truth to this hypothesis.  I suppose there is some level of taxation that would discourage people from work, assuming they had other means to provide for themselves.  If the top marginal rate was 75% and we reduced it to 30% overnight, the psychology of labor and investment may change to some degree as noted above.  Unfortunately, these little tidbits of truth have nothing to do with the United States of America in 2011.  Tax policy would have to be transformed dramatically, such as in the previous example, to produce any meaningful change in behavior.  And while excessive taxation may have been part of the problem in the 1970s, it is not a problem now.  Tax rates are as low as they have been the past 100 years, and they are among the lowest in the developed world.  They were higher during the economic expansion of the 1990s, when over 20 million jobs were created.

Supply-side zealots do not understand that relativism matters.  I got news for you shitheads; the labor supply is not that fucking elastic.  If you increase the highest marginal tax rate from 35% to 39%, it will not have a dramatically negative impact on investment behavior or labor participation.  And if some rich douchebags refuse to work under a 39% tax rate, than they can go fuck themselves, and it won’t have an effect on GDP.  The world is awash with liquidity and corporate balance sheets are stacked with cash.  A haircut on someone’s net income will not change that.  Obviously there are other reasons why businesses are sitting on this cash rather than expanding, such as a lack of demand for their products and services.  Unfortunately, since supply-siders do not believe consumer demand is relevant, their only remedy for a stumbling economy is to cut taxes.

The people who bloviate about this shit on TV all day will have you believe that supply-side principles are a proven scientific formula for economic greatness.  Any deviation from this incredibly simplistic view (such as going back to what the highest rates were under Clinton as part of a budget compromise) will cause an economic meltdown.  If you raise the highest marginal rate from 35% to 39%, people will stop working and employers will not hire anyone.  If you raise the capital gains rate from 15% to 20%, nobody will buy real estate or invest in new businesses.  This is not an academic theory, it is a fucking religion, and Ronald Reagan is their god.  The people who preach this shit are either mindless idiots, or they are manipulating the mindless idiots who listen to them and read their books.  Most of them are greedy, rich assholes who don’t want to pay any taxes.  Some of them are Tea Party morons who were instructed to preach this nonsense by the greedy, rich assholes.  It is easier to believe in some bullshit about cutting taxes than it is to actually read an economics textbook.  Within the context of this country’s current economic predicament, taxes do not have any impact on job creation.  It’s just a fact.  Anyone who says otherwise is full of shit.

According to these jerkoffs, consumer demand is totally irrelevant when it comes to economic growth or creating jobs.  As long as rich people (I’m sorry, ‘job creators’) have extremely low tax rates, they will start businesses and hire people.  Hell, let’s assume that one of these rich pricks actually does own a small chapter ‘S’ corporation or LLC that is taxed at the highest marginal rate.  Supply-side proponents believe the tax rate will drive his decision-making process on whether to hire more people and make capital investments.  The overall demand for this person’s product or service is irrelevant according to them.  Does this make any fucking sense?  No, of course not.  That marginal rate could be 25% or 40%, but if there is demand for his product, he will hire more people.  That is how people make decisions and that is how capitalism works.  With all the fucking deductions available for small businesses, this guy’s effective tax rate will be half the marginal rate anyway, and he knows that.  The same is true for investment.  Let’s assume someone has the means to make a substantial long-term investment in stocks, bonds, or real estate.  When the opportunity presents itself, a 5% increase in the capital gains tax will not prevent them from pulling the trigger.  And if you really believe otherwise, than you are stupid.