Craig Hill’s editorial explaining the importance of crop insurance to farmers made a lot of sense. (“This much is certain – For farmers, crop insurance is essential” 10/5/2016) Most business and individuals buy insurance to reduce risk, and, as Mr. Hill explained, farmers have plenty of risk. What he did not explain is why taxpayers need to subsidize about 60% of the premium. Contrary to his opinion, it definitely is a handout. Farmers, on average, have much more wealth than the average person. It doesn’t matter that much of the wealth is tied up in land values. Land can be sold for cash just like any other asset. Crop insurance is a good idea, it just should not be subsidized by taxpayers. In the next farm bill, a couple of years from now, we need to eliminate the taxpayer subsidy for crop insurance.
Link to Register article: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/iowa-view/2016/10/04/much-certain-farmers-crop-insurance-essential/91551614/
Many of us feel very dissatisfied about having to choose between the lesser f two evils for president. Many think that Hillary Clinton is dishonest and has been bought and paid for by large special interests, and many think that Trump is unqualified in international affairs and a braggart bully with no substance on the issues. We shouldn’t have to make the least bad choice.
Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico and the Libertarian Party candidate for President, is a good choice. Johnson is a down-to-earth, common sense person who believes in fiscal responsibility, social tolerance, strong defense international good will, and individual liberty. Socially, he has a live-and-let-live philosophy – you should be able to do pretty much whatever you want as long as you don’t initiate force or fraud against others, and don’t put others in danger. Fiscally, he believes the federal government should play a much smaller role in our lives. He does believe there is a proper role for government – to help protect our lives, our liberty, and our justly acquired property. He is against crony capitalism. He knows that a welfare state creates dependency. He believes that we should work together, cooperatively and voluntarily, to solve our common problems.
If you are polled about who you would support or vote for President, tell them that you are for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president. At least that might get him into the national debates and give us a chance to learn about an alternative to the the lesser of two evils.
In 1862 California passed the, “Act to protect free white labor against competition with Chinese coolie labor, and to discourage the immigration of Chinese into the State of California.” Some things never change. Even though we are not that many generations away from our own ancestor immigrants, once we get settled, we don’t want others to come in and change things.
If we do nothing to fix our Social Security scheme, our trust fund will be depleted by 2033, and then benefits will be required to be reduced by 23%! There are only two ways to fix this problem: raise taxes or reduce benefits. Taxes can be raised on all workers, on only certain workers, or on non-workers. Benefits can be reduced by lowering monthly payment amounts or by raising the retirement age. Of course, any combination of the above is possible.
Recently, more and more people have been calling for the elimination of the cap on Social Security taxable earnings. (For 2014, earnings over $117,000 are not taxed for Social Security. The cap is increased every year.) The original idea for the cap was that Social Security is an insurance-type plan and taxes paid in should bear some relationship to benefits paid out. The tax is limited because the benefits are limited. Social Security was never intended to be, or sold to the public as, a welfare plan. (We have a broad welfare safety net for those who are poor.)
Like so many government programs, Social Security provided benefits greater than the amount of tax collected. Current and past retirees got their benefits and shifted much of the cost to future generations. This needs to stop. Wherever possible, those who receive benefits should pay the cost. It would be morally wrong to place extra taxes on high earners just because we can. That would be an example of tyranny by the majority.
To the extent that we do not want to reduce benefits, it seems most fair to raise taxes on all earners. But maybe the best solution would be to continue to raise the normal retirement age. Today we live much longer and healthier lives than when Social Security was created. Should a required government retirement insurance plan be designed to pay for 20 or 30 or more years of retirement? For those unable to work, we do have Social Security Disability benefits. For those who are healthy, it seems better to delay retirement and not reduce the benefit amount.
Disclosure: I am currently semi-retired and my earnings are below the cap. So, increasing or eliminating the cap would not increase my SS taxes. An overall increase in the SS tax rate would increase my SS taxes. Most proposals to increase the normal retirement age would not affect me since I am 61 years old.
If seems as if all businesses now require some type of welfare program. The definition of economic development is grants or loans or special tax breaks given by our government to businesses. Banks get their welfare indirectly – from loan guarantees from many government programs. Of course our farmers must be protected from losses by government – through crop insurance subsidies that not only cover natural disasters, but actually protect against price declines. All types of energy companies receive special tax credits or tax breaks. The biggest manufacturers in Iowa receive large tax credits for research. Now, Mediacom and John Deere want a grant of $800,000 from the federal government to help bring high speed internet to farmers who buy high-tech, internet connected tractors that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We should say no! We need to reverse the trend of expecting taxpayers to fund all types of economic development. Just as with with individuals and families, welfare for businesses create dependency. Our economy will continue to grow sluggishly as long as we look to government to manage our economic development.