What a great day to celebrate our country, our freedom, our independence!
Let’s eat all day – from pancake feeds to BBQ to potato salad, from watermelon to strawberry shortcake to pie! Blow stuff up – fireworks, where the weather allows. Go to our favorite swimming hole with friends and family!
But let’s take some time out to remember that our freedom and independence is only secure if we pay attention to our own economic situations. No one cares as much about us or our families the way we do. On that rather serious topic, IFO has two comments for today:
* Patriotism does not involve mindless support for taxes. An otherwise good comment by Mish indicates that he, too, passes on cliches. Charts of the Day: Transfer Payments (Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc.) vs. Total Government Receipts
Given personal transfer receipts take up nearly 100% of federal government receipts, in theory, there should be no room for anything else, including wars, roads and bridges, and wages of federal employees.
Problem: roads and bridges money comes from dedicated state and federal gas taxes, not counted in general fund receipts. Plus, the feds only got about $28 billion in 2006 from gas taxes.
* Our wealth creation must keep up with the times. As Michael Barone points out in “Replacing Property as a Source of Wealth Creation,” in the U.S. years ago, we used to measure our wealth in the size and productivity of our farms. Now, since fewer than 2 percent of our population farms, and a decreasing number of people own their own homes free and clear, another measure is developing. In these edited excerpts, he proposes:
Finding an answer, it seems to me, must start with recognition of a change that has been occurring for decades and that has accelerated with the financial crisis and recession: The fact that Americans are less likely to work their whole careers in large organizations and more likely to work in [many] small organizations.
We are less likely to find success and accumulate wealth as small interchangeable cogs in very large machines and more likely to do so as unique contributors to nimble and adaptive enterprises. …
…[O]ne problem with a free market economy is that no one can foresee exactly how it will grow in the future. … Our property-holders’ democracy has served us well. Let’s hope it leaves the way open for us to develop new forms of wealth accumulation.