News — At The Edge — 10/7

Beyond the natural and human generated carnage this week, only two articles of note — which oddly enough are about death and taxes.

Issue from the future — as the number of ways humanity can go extinct grows, the more we collectively need visible, easy to understand indicators of the dangers.

Issue for the present — proposed tax plan will damage the economy and further exacerbate our political malaise inasmuch as the rhetoric supporting it is an outright lie — the plan primarily benefits the wealthy at the expense of the most vulnerable.

Here are articles of mine about our existential risks you might find of interest:

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Issue from the future

Putting Odds on the Human Future -

“The more we learn about [cosmos]…more we see how…events in one era can cascade into radical changes in another…[so] we’re no less vulnerable…than any other species.

Yet we do have…a capacity to modify our choices and actions….Our problem seems to be an inability to turn inaction into action, to stay focused….

The ‘Doomsday Clock’ is a pretty good example of an effort to whisper those warnings in our ears…[but] need more of these reminders…[for] existential risk factors, from AI to asteroids, and the odds of our species getting off-world, or getting a whole lot smarter….

[T]his could be done seriously (with genuine probabilities and projections)…to guide our choices instead of relying on either optimism or pessimism.https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/life-unbounded/putting-odds-on-the-human-future/

Issue for the present

I helped create the GOP tax myth. Trump is wrong: Tax cuts don’t equal growth. -

“Four decades ago…[helped] in creating the Republican tax myth…[that] high taxes and tax rates were largely responsible for stagflation in the 1970s [and] Reagan’s 1981 tax cut…led to an abundance of growth….[So] tax cuts became the GOP’s go-to solution for nearly every economic problem….

[It’s] wishful thinking [as]…is most Republican rhetoric around tax cutting…[because] there’s no evidence that a tax cut now would spur growth….

[T]he prosperity of the ’80s is overrated in the Republican mind…[because] real gross domestic product growth was higher in the ’70s — 37.2 percent vs. 35.9 percent…[and] leaves out other factors that also contributed to growth in the 1980s:

  • First was the sharp reduction in interest rates… from about 19 percent in July 1981 to about 9 percent in November 1982.
  • Second, Reagan’s defense buildup and highway construction programs greatly increased…government’s purchases…[which] is textbook Keynesian economics.
  • Third, there was the simple bounce-back from the recession of 1981–82….
  • [Finally] Reagan raised taxes several times after 1981. His last budget showed that as of 1988, the aggregate, cumulative revenue loss from the 1981 tax cut was $264 billion and legislated tax increases brought about half of that back.

Today, Republicans extol…Tax Reform Act of 1986…[lowering] top individual income tax rate to just 28 percent from 50 percent, and the corporate tax rate to 34 percent from 46 percent…. But there is no evidence showing a boost in growth from the 1986 act….Real wages fell….

[E]very Republican in Congress voted against the tax increase proposed by Bill Clinton in 1993. Yet the 1990s was the most prosperous decade in recent memory. At 37.3 percent, aggregate real GDP growth in the 1990s exceeded that in the 1980s.

Despite huge tax cuts almost annually during the George W. Bush administration that cost the Treasury trillions in revenue, according to [CBO]…growth collapsed in the first decade of the 2000s.…

Obama allowed some…Bush tax cuts to expire, raising the top income tax rate to its current 39.6 percent from 35 percent. The economy grew nicely….

[Still] Republicans propose cutting the top individual rate…despite lacking evidence that this lower rate led to growth…[and] this $1.5 trillion cut over the next decade will only be paid for partially by closing tax loopholes. Republicans’ various claims…that the rich will not benefit…is practically impossible…[and] have failed to make a sound case that it’s time to cut taxes…[or] commit to a viable process….

Tax Reform Act of 1986 grew out of a detailed Treasury study and took over two years to complete. Rushing through a half-baked tax plan [like]… health-care reform, should be rejected out of hand….There are good arguments for a proper tax reform…[like] efficiency, administration and fairness…[but] requires heavy lifting that this Republican Congress has yet to demonstrate.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/09/28/i-helped-create-the-gop-tax-myth-trump-is-wrong-tax-cuts-dont-equal-growth/?utm_term=.f353ab21cd4b

Find more of my ideas on Medium at, A Passion to Evolve.

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May you live long and prosper!
Doc Huston

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