We have some interesting news items this week . . . if by “interesting” you mean completely baffling. From the perspective of the Just Third Way, many of the problems that people are trying to solve by doing failed programs more intensively (and expensively) can be solved with ease with the Just Third Way of Economic Personalism. Maybe it’s time to consider it:
• Biden Infrastructure Plan. As we see it, there are four fundamental problems with President Biden’s infrastructure plan. One, we’ve always been somewhat dubious about the whole idea of “job creation” and “jobs market.” The idea that people can only exist by having a “job” comes out of socialism and Keynesian economics. Adam Smith’s first principle of economics is that consumption is the purpose of production. Keynes’s principle is that production isn’t really the issue, just how to enable consumption. Jean-Baptiste Say had the answer: produce, and you can consume. If you produce by means of a job, fine, but it’s better to produce something directly with your labor or capital, than sell your labor so somebody else can be productive. Two, in the current economic paradigm, infrastructure does not self-liquidate, i.e., pay for itself, except in relatively rare circumstances, such as toll roads and bridges. That means tax monies must fund infrastructure, either immediately, or to retire bond issues floated to fund it. If the surrounding economy isn’t productive, there won’t be much or anything to tax. Three, infrastructure is owned by whoever finances it, not by the people who build it or use it. That means either the government, or (if some proposals go through) rich private sector investors. Why not all the citizens? Turn infrastructure into self-liquidating capital, and let it pay for itself in a way that turns everybody into an owner. And how do you do that? By, four, getting away from creating money for consumption, and creating it in ways that finances new capital and turns people into owners, such as with the Economic Democracy Act.
|"NOBODY TOLD ME, EITHER!" (Yes, we did.)|
• Sovereignty and the Corporate Tax. Janet Yellen wants a global and uniform corporate tax code. (“The Corporate Tax and American Sovereignty,” Wall Street Journal, 05/07/21, A-15). Aside from the obvious problem that taxes are a grant from people to government and unjust without their consent — and how can you consent to a tax levied on a global scale except by being a voting citizen of a world government? — not an exercise of property by government, politicians and academics still haven’t figured out that corporations don’t really pay taxes. Their customers do. Corporate taxes are a cost of doing business. If a corporation or any other form of business organization cannot cover its costs by raising prices to the consumer, it goes out of business. Here’s a twist that the experts don’t seem to consider: why not raise corporate taxes but make dividends tax-deductible to corporations, and fully taxable to recipients, unless used to make tax-deferred purchases of new capital assets? This makes share acquisition easy by those who currently own no shares, increases consumption income and the tax base, and makes corporate management more accountable to shareholders. It’s a win-win all around.
|Same cuppa, but the money is worth less.|
• Capital Gains Tax. If President Biden wants to change how capital gains are treated, it’s very easy to do it in a just manner. First, inflation index all capital gains to ensure that the gains are actual gains. Second, tax capital gains at the same rate as all other income. Frankly, by not inflation indexing capital gains and home prices, people are being taxed on “phantom gains” that erode the value of their property. Inflation erodes not only the value of the currency and all assets denominated in it, but allows the government to tax a gain that doesn’t really exist.
|You always lose because it's not under ANY of them!|
• Crypto Currency Investing. And what is it that you’re investing in? If you invest in a capital project, you own a capital asset and have a right to a share of the profits it generates. If you “invest” (actually speculate) in a commodity, you own pork bellies or art or something tangible. If you invest in a crypto currency, you . . . what exactly are you doing? It’s not really investing, of course, because crypto currencies don’t produce anything, any more than do non-crypto currencies. It doesn’t really sound like speculation, either, because you can’t point to anything you actually own except the crypto currency itself which doesn’t stand for anything except itself — and what does the Bible say about how nothing can testify to itself? So it seems to be a very expensive video game with a gambling feature added . . . which is hardly something that can be considered investment or productive activity.
• Economic Personalism Landing Page. A landing page for CESJ’s latest publication, Economic Personalism: Property, Power and Justice for Every Person, has been created and can be accessed by clicking on this link. Everyone is encouraged to visit the page and send the link out to their networks.
• Economic Personalism. When you purchase a copy of Economic Personalism: Property, Power and Justice for Every Person, be sure you post a review after you’ve read it. It is available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble at the cover price of $10 per copy. You can also download the free copy in .pdf available from the CESJ website. If you’d like to order in bulk (i.e., ten or more copies) at the wholesale price, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for details. CESJ members get a $2 rebate per copy on submission of proof of purchase. Wholesale case lots of 52 copies are available at $350, plus shipping (whole case lots ONLY). Prices are in U.S. dollars.
• Sensus Fidelium Videos, Update. CESJ’s series of videos for Sensus Fidelium are doing very well, with nearly 150,000 views in total. The latest available Sensus Fidelium video is “Seeking the Good.” The video is part of the series on the book, Economic Personalism. The latest completed series on “the Great Reset” can be found on the “Playlist” for the series. The previous series of sixteen videos on socialism is available by clicking on the link: “Socialism, Modernism, and the New Age,” along with some book reviews and other selected topics. For “interfaith” presentations to a Catholic audience they’ve proved to be popular, edging up to 150,000 views to date. They aren’t really “Just Third Way videos,” but they do incorporate a Just Third Way perspective. You can access the playlist for the entire series The point of the videos is to explain how socialism and socialist assumptions got such a stranglehold on the understanding of the role of the State and thus the interpretation of Catholic social teaching, and even the way non-Catholics and even non-Christians understand the roles of Church, State, and Family, and the human person’s place in society.
• Shop online and support CESJ’s work! Did you know that by making your purchases through the Amazon Smile program, Amazon will make a contribution to CESJ? Here’s how: First, go to https://smile.amazon.com/. Next, sign in to your Amazon account. (If you don’t have an account with Amazon, you can create one by clicking on the tiny little link below the “Sign in using our secure server” button.) Once you have signed into your account, you need to select CESJ as your charity — and you have to be careful to do it exactly this way: in the space provided for “Or select your own charitable organization” type “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington.” If you type anything else, you will either get no results or more than you want to sift through. Once you’ve typed (or copied and pasted) “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington” into the space provided, hit “Select” — and you will be taken to the Amazon shopping site, all ready to go.
• Blog Readership. We have had visitors from 32 different countries and 37 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and India. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “The Religion of Humanity,” “What is Socialism?, I: The Natural Law,” “News from the Network, Vol. 14, No. 17,” “JTW Podcast: Mortimer Adler and Mike Wallace,” and “What is ‘the Theory of Certitude’?”
Those are the happenings for this week, at least those that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we’ll see that it gets into the next “issue.” Due to imprudent language on the part of some commentators, we removed temptation and disabled comments.