Obama's Jobs bill -- another nightmare?

I heard very little last night about what was IN the bill, and heard mostly what the bill would do for America. Well, considering how unconnected Obama has been to the business sector, I'm wondering if it will be another "You'll have to pass it to see what's in it" bill. Did you notice how much he talked about transportation, infrastructure, and building? 

I warned several months ago about the new transportation bank "they" are talking about. This sounds to me like an official proclamation upon this very thing. I am all for the marketplace determining economy. I seriously doubt the Democrats will be able to allow that, though. It will be more government-in-your-face than ever before.

I was going to do a lot of research before posting about this, but I'm too afraid it will make me sick at my stomach. Obama gave us a lot of "sounds good" rhetoric, but I'm like that old lady at the hamburger place, "Where's the beef?" I didn't hear any place in the speech where he used specifics concerning actual wording in the bill. He did make sure we understood he was urgent about it, but it was like ramming it all down our throats never mind we're choking to death.

He used phrases like: 
"We should all be taxed fairly." -- Absolutely. Everyone grumbles, but we all know we have to pay them. That is a homer statement for everyone listening. What did he mean behind the statement? Strip away the rich corporate loopholes and make sure corporations don't make a profit. That means share holders won't be investing in corporations any more and that means death of the corporation, death to major employers, death to new jobs. But, yeah make sure those rich guys pay through the nose so us middle-class folks don't have to pay.

He said:
"Cut in half payroll taxes, and that will make sure everyone takes home more money for their families." -- The most expensive tax out of the paycheck is Medicare and Social Security. So how will those two "protections" keep the river of money flowing into the pool so we can all play in it?

OBAMA: But what we can't do, what I will not do, is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades.

It's a contradiction. The only basic protections we Americans have had for decades are Medicare and Social Security, and unemployment insurance.

I wrote an essay on how the USA is mirroring the tactics of the Roman Empire where I note that Augustus revived the Empire's economy by doing massive public works. It did put people to work, and it did greatly boost the economy. But, the Romans didn't realize there is a definite need to know when to back off and when to keep going. Then Tiberius cut back on the public works, but hoarded money causing a shortage of money.  “The shortage of money and the curtailment of state expenditures led to a sharp downturn in economic activity which was only relieved when the state made large loans at zero interest in order to provide liquidity” (Thornton, M.K., and Thornton, R.L. (1990) "The Financial Crisis of A.D. 33: A Keynesian Depression?" Journal of Economic History 50(3): 655-62). Stimulus Package, Roman style.

 That is so familiar I'm wondering if we couldn't just save paper and look up the news tablets of ancient Rome. 
 
Why can't we take a leaf from Augustus' notebook? Why can't we learn from history? The growth of the Roman economy did not come from taxes! Before Augustus there was a system of tax farming where the tax collectors added exorbitant fees onto the required taxes because they could. [Tax farming]  became so burdensome on the provinces they raised a hue and cry and “tax farming” (Bartlett, 1994) was abolished in favor of wealth taxes and population tax under Augustus.  It was a pro-growth instead of progressive tax system. 
This is because any growth in taxable capacity led to higher taxes under the tax farming system, while under the Augustinian system communities were only liable for a fixed payment. Thus any increase in income accrued entirely to the people and did not have to be shared with Rome. Individuals knew in advance the exact amount of their tax bill and that any income over and above that amount was entirely theirs. This was obviously a great incentive to produce, since the marginal tax rate above the tax assessment was zero. In economic terms, one can say that there was virtually no excess burden (Musgrave, R.A.  The Theory of Public Finance. New York: McGraw-Hill 1959.)
 
If it worked back then, why can't it work now for both individuals and businesses? Where is Thomas Jefferson when we need him?
 

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