CHART: Taxes Soaring Past Highest Level Ever.
Well! There are a number of problems with this chart, so let’s tackle them in order.
1. The Y axis is tax revenue as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, right? In truth, I don’t know. “Tax Burden” seems to be a wholly made-up term with no basis in reality. But it’s at least partially based on revenue, which is the most illogical possible methodology for determining the relative rate of taxation because it incorporates the distorting impact of economic performance.
The Heritage Foundation understands this, and also how to lie with statistics. The problem is that they aren’t nearly as good at lying with statistics as I am.
2. Nominal tax rates at a fixed percentage will necessarily generate more revenue in positive economic periods. This is because bad economic times trigger a variety of tax breaks, most notably loss carry-forwards, and typically come coupled with a precipitous decline in capital gains revenues as markets crash. That’s why there’s a big collapse in the 2005-2010 frame.
3. Note how the chart begins in 1975? This is because it marked the end of large declines in nominal tax rates for high-wage-earners as the post-WWII, post-Great-Society tax rates were rolled back. I’m sure whatever fantastical composite “Tax Burden” represents, but I’m sure it was larger “in US history” when top wage-earners were paying 80-90% of gross income.
4. Why no annotation for that bump in 85-90 from the Reagan tax increases?
This may not be all of them: They were talking about closing as many as 120 stores. Each store employs 40-80 people. So, at minimum, we’re talking 3,160 layoffs. Are any of these stores near you?
Such a shame that the Nicollet Avenue K-Mart is not on this list.
Although it was inevitable, Monday’s announcement that the St. Paul Ford Motor Plant will close for good Dec. 19 brought a strong dose of finality to plant employees, city officials and neighbors in Highland Park who’ve spent the past five years trying to keep the plant alive, or at least delay its closing.
"Even though we’ve known it was coming, finally getting that date makes it real," said Merritt Clapp-Smith, a senior planner at the city of St. Paul. "It’s an emotional piece of news."
In addition to the work done to try to persuade Ford to keep the plant up and running, officials kept busy on Plan B and have invested tons of time preparing for the closing and ultimate reuse of the site.
The next step in the Ford Plant saga comes next month when Ford officials will hold a public meeting to outline the end game. They’ll talk about equipment removal and demolition of the buildings as the begin the long process to sell the 125-acre site.
The meeting, billed as “Next Steps After Ford Plant Closure,” is Nov. 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the UAW-Ford-MnSCU Training Center Auditorium, at Ford Parkway and Mount Curve Blvd. in St. Paul.
Ford officials will discuss logistics of the shutdown and site clean up, said Janelle Tummel of the city’s Planning and Economic Development Department.
"The meeting is open to everyone and is geared toward the community, letting people know what to expect next, with specifics on timing," she said. "People will want to know about the noise level during demolition, how loud and dusty it’s going to be, and how these things will affect the community."
I believe we need a national PR Campaign for Skilled Labor. A big one. Something that addresses the widening skills gap head on, and reconnects the country with the most important part of our workforce.
Right now, American manufacturing is struggling to fill 200,000 vacant positions. There are 450,000 openings in trades, transportation and utilities. The skills gap is real, and it’s getting wider. In Alabama, a third of all skilled tradesmen are over 55. They’re retiring fast, and no one is there to replace them.
Alabama’s not alone. A few months ago in Atlanta I ran into Tom Vilsack, our Secretary of Agriculture. Tom told me about a governor who was unable to move forward on the construction of a power plant. The reason was telling. It wasn’t a lack of funds. It wasn’t a lack of support. It was a lack of qualified welders.
In general, we’re surprised that high unemployment can exist at the same time as a skilled labor shortage. We shouldn’t be. We’ve pretty much guaranteed it.
In high schools, the vocational arts have all but vanished. We’ve elevated the importance of “higher education” to such a lofty perch that all other forms of knowledge are now labeled “alternative.” Millions of parents and kids see apprenticeships and on-the-job-training opportunities as “vocational consolation prizes,” best suited for those not cut out for a four-year degree. And still, we talk about millions of “shovel ready” jobs for a society that doesn’t encourage people to pick up a shovel.
In a hundred different ways, we have slowly marginalized an entire category of critical professions, reshaping our expectations of a “good job” into something that no longer looks like work. A few years from now, an hour with a good plumber, if you can find one, is going to cost more than an hour with a good psychiatrist. At which point we’ll all be in need of both.
I came here today because guys like my grandfather are no less important to civilized life than they were 50 years ago. Maybe they’re in short supply because we don’t acknowledge them they way we used to. We leave our check on the kitchen counter, and hope the work gets done. That needs to change.
One of the better (and disheartening) things I have read this week. It is okay to get a little dirty now and then. You’ll be a better person because of it.
Amazing how fiscal responsibly goes by the wayside when it comes to major sports. The Vikings are the last group that needs to be considered if they’re not even going to be paying for half of the costs of the new stadium.
I know some of these big guys, they’re all still driving their big SUVs. You know, they got their big monster trucks and everything. You’re one of them? Well, now, here’s my point. If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting eight miles a gallon — (laughter) — you may have a big family, but it’s probably not that big. How many you have? Ten kids, you say? Ten kids? (Laughter.) Well, you definitely need a hybrid van then. (Laughter.)
Quote of the day.
"I have noted the irony when I’m at the Capitol, and people have pounded on me about the massive cuts they’re about to make to the city and then lean on me about, ‘When are you going to lead in building a statewide [sports] facility?’ " the mayor said.
"There’s an irony that the city has been the single-largest leader in building sports facilities, and we generate $400 million more in sales and property taxes than we get back in LGA,” Rybak said. “And yet the idea is to make a massive cut to the city and to lead the stadium debate."
The state contributed no money to Target Field, which is funded with a Hennepin County sales tax. The state provided limited funds after the city rescued Target Center, and it provided no initial funding for the Metrodome, which was paid for via city taxes, too.
While he said he “will be at the table,” as the Vikings debate goes forward, “The city of Minneapolis cannot lead any effort. We can be a supportive partner. It’s unlikely we would lead.”
Today and tomorrow, the Minnesota House of Representatives is debating a bill to eliminate all of Minneapolis’ LGA — not just cut it, but eliminate it entirely. The bill starts by requiring us to eliminate $80 million worth of City functions this year alone and would eliminate all aid by 2014.
Make no mistake: this bill is a tax increase that the State is passing on to Minneapolis.
To give you a sense of proportion, $80 million is:
- Twice the annual cost of filling potholes and paving streets.
- The cost of salary and benefits for 800 police officers — nearly our entire force.
- Larger than the Fire Department, 911 and criminal prosecution combined.
Just so you know, on paper the bill proposes a $40 million cut this year — but because the cut would come halfway through our budget year, we’d have to cut $80 million to make up for it.
The bill wouldn’t raise property taxes this year, but it seriously compromises our goal of holding the line on property taxes next year.
The bill is also a job-killer. Minneapolis is the economic engine of Minnesota, but by 2014, we would have to cut nearly every City function that helps employers attract jobs, grows our economy and keeps our quality of life high.
I’m asking you to contact House Speaker Kurt Zellers of Maple Grove, Representative Greg Davids of Preston (chair of the House Tax Committee) and Representative Linda Runbeck of Circle Pines (chair of the House Property Tax Committee) and tell them that you oppose this bill to raise property taxes, eliminate core services and kill job growth in Minneapolis.
One thing to know: it would be bad enough if they proposed eliminating aid to all Minnesota cities, and I would oppose that strongly, too. But they’re not: they’reeliminating aid only to Minneapolis, Saint Paul and Duluth.
And don’t let anyone tell you that State aid is a “handout” or that Minneapolis taxpayers are “dependent” on the State. If anything, it’s the other way around: Minneapolis helps keep the State afloat. This year alone, we will send $367.5 million more to the State in sales and property taxes than the State has promised us back in LGA. State aid to Minneapolis is not a handout.
Only a little over 64% of Americans are in the labor force…
We have ~ 10% unemployment among those 64%…
Only 54% have jobs? O_O
Ugh. Imagine if that was how it worked. The 8.9% is of those 64.2%, so (1.0-0.089)*64.2% = 58.5% of the population have jobs (actually, 58.4% if we didn’t round the other figures). Incidentally, this is called the employment-population ratio, and is computed by the BLS so that we don’t have to do the multiplication ourselves. But this leads to the question: what would the unemployment rate be if the labor force participation rate was at the 67.3% peak? 1-58.4/67.3=13.2% (assuming I didn’t screw anything up).
Considering that 24.3% of the population is under 18 and 12.9% of the population is 65 or older, that 64% isn’t all that surprising. If you add it all together, it comes to just about 100%.
The Block E Applebees closed quietly over the weekend.
A small sign posted on the skyway entrance announced that the restaurant’s last day of business was Sunday, March 13.
Crews spent the morning of March 14 dismantling the décor, removing framed photographs from the walls and stacking them in a corner. Workers also lifted wooden tabletops from the booths. According to one crewmember, the bric-a-brac will be placed in storage, where it will await redistribution to other Applesbees locations.
The restaurant needs to vacate its space on the skyway level of Block E by this Thursday. Applebees originally debuted in Block E in April of 2003.
The closure comes one year after the Block E GameWorks folded, leaving a glaring vacancy on the corner of Hennepin and 7th Street, and rounds out a twelve-month period that also witnessed the shuttering of Hooters, another big Block E tenant.
Prior to Applebees’ closure, the vacancy rate at Block E was 28 percent
What is next? Is there even anything left to close on the second floor, aside from the Mexican place and the movie theater (which is on owner #3 presently).