Play the game: Name that central planner

Now, who in our modern era might this gentleman be talking about?

Adam Smith

“The statesman, who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.”

— Adam Smith, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations




34 comments on “Play the game: Name that central planner

  1. The rotating youtube video that popped up below about the new breed of dog was hilarious, but I have no idea who that more modern
    central planer might be. William Blake?

  2. What do you think ObamaCare is?

    I don’t ever see the ads. Those don’t show when I look at it, though I know others are served up ads. Nothing wrong with profit, but where’s my share?

  3. Steve says:

    I was wondering what YouTube vid Phil was referring to.
    I don’t ever see ads on this blog.

    Obamacare isn’t a person though if there is any one person who expended more effort to get it passed and is more drunk with power than Harry Reid I cannot fathom who that may be.

  4. Vernon Clayson says:

    Obama is in in no manner a statesman, he is the face of the central planners, witness his/their recent individual savings plan, labeled Myra, allegedly for those that lack the sense to plan for retirement. Just more deductions from the pay of working people and there surely will be some floater to cover for those that don’t work, it’s the birth of his BS inequality of income. It’s also another burden for future generations as the money will be spent now with promises of income late in life, kind of like an addendum to social security. All that aside, where are the statesmen that write intelligently and understandingly for history now, instead of each day’s news cycle????

  5. Harry and Barry both fit the bill.

  6. Steve says:

    I remember Obama staying away from Congress. For most of his first term.
    I believe he even took some bad press for his aloofness towards mixing with congressional actions.

    I think Harry had more to do getting Obamacare passed than Obama himself did.

  7. Milty says:

    “I remember Obama staying away from Congress. For most of his first term.”

    No surprise that he’s stayed away from Congress during his presidency. He stayed away from Congress when he was a member.

  8. Vernon Clayson says:

    These treacherous bastards aren’t done with healthcare yet, their intent is single payer, the only ones that don’t seem to notice that are the Republicans. The last part of that sentence is just me being facetious, actually the Republican effort is towards being able to take some credit for this movement. Cue in The Great Pretender song for them.

  9. Yes, I think Harry’s staff largely wrote the thing.

  10. Milty says:

    The Brookings Institution just released a study showing that Obamacare is starting to achieve its goal of redistributing income. I didn’t listen to the SOTU address, did President Obama brag about this aspect of his signature legislation?

  11. Steve says:

    I read a story the AP did on that. It claimed the top income earners would take about a one percent hit while low income earners would get a six percent bump.

    To me that was saying the redistribution is largely from future potential to present recipients, with some small effect on their own group of top income earners. (from both sides of the aisle)

  12. Here is another link for that Audi Doberhuahua commercial that remains hilarious …
    I guess the planner par excellence was ,,,

  13. Milty says:

    Excellent post, Phil. The doberhuahua a perfect illustration of what would happen if the central planners in the current administration ever tried their hands at dog breeding.

    But if the choice were to have the Obama administration’s central planners in charge of dog breeding or design of a national healthcare system, I’d much prefer that they be in charge of dog breeding.

  14. Nyp says:

    I thought you were going to name as the worst central planner whoever it was that came up with Medicare.

  15. That would work, too.

  16. Nyp says:

    And Social Security — right?

  17. Steve says:

    Since I changed jobs this year and was out of work for a total of one week, I had severance pay and regular wages coming in since the end of September.
    This made for an interesting tax year. I have no big outlays that exceed the standard deduction so I was a bit concerned about the effects on my tax status. Turns out I need not have been.

    Interestingly I found I pay less than Mitt Romney (by percentage) and THIS was very interesting, I do have investments in some drip stock. The dividends I received are taxed at….wait for it……


    ZERO percent.

    When will all you libs get a clue and admit the rich pay more than the middle class, Nyp?

  18. Nyp says:

    Steve / I don’t understand what you are saying. That upper – income tax rates are greater than lower-income tax rates?

  19. Steve says:

    No, Nyp.

    The percentage they pay is more. Not rates, percentage of gross after all adjustments have been figured.

  20. Nyp says:

    ?? You find it noteworthy that the tax system is mildly progressive??

    I concede the point.

  21. Steve says:

    “mildly progressive?”


    Then I look at the tax structure on investments, we middle class denizens are taxed at zero percent. You guys should love that….heavily progressive in that category.

    But you do understand the main point and that is good.

  22. nyp says:

    No, the overall tax system is mildly progressive. (Although the private equity guys get away with murder with their carried interest exemption.)

    I’m not quite sure why your dividends are taxed at a 0% rate of interest, but if that is really the case I’d love to have your accountant.

    In any event, it is not particularly surprising or meaningful to me that our tax system is mildly progressive. Nevertheless, I am pleased that this is a matter upon which you and I can agree.

  23. Steve says:

    People love to claim they want the “flat” tax. The same rate for “them” as “us”. What I found was the overall rate was within 2 percentage points.

    My accountant? Me. Verified with Tax Act.

    From the i1040a form.
    Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet—Line 28
    8. Subtract line 7 from line 6. This amount is taxed at 0%

    You disappoint, being from the money world and all.

  24. iShrug says:

    Jack Lew. Note they call it MyRA, not YourRA. First get poorer people to waste money on Treasury bonds. That sets the precedent for government taking control of your voluntary retirement savings (on top of involuntary Social Security taxes).

    Obviously, this won’t be enough to make the US Treasury solvent. What they really want, and have been salivating over for years, is existing private retirement accounts. No coincidence that these total about $19 trillion.

    The market will take a big dive, people will be scared, and along comes the Federal government to “take care of” your account. They will “guarantee” a rate of return, and set your account value to what it was before the market tanked. A carrot for baby boomers who are close to retirement age.

    Just don’t count on passing those accounts on to your heirs, if you die before you can spend it. It will go into a black hole, and get redistributed to others.

  25. Boyd says:

    ” the overall tax system is mildly progressive. ” Compared to what US Progressives want, no doubt.

    Compared to “a recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on the share of taxes (both personal income and payroll taxes combined) paid by the richest 10 percent of households in 24 industrialized countries. The bars represent the share of the total taxes collected that are paid by top earners in these 24 countries.The richest 10 percent of U.S. households (those making $112,124 or more) contribute a greater share of taxes (45.1 percent of all income taxes) than their counterparts in any other industrialized nation.” not so much. It’s common knowledge that the US has some of the most progressive tax rates in the industrialized world. Strange anyone would even bother to claim otherwise.

  26. nyp says:

    Why, indeed, would one “bother to claim” that the US does not have one of “the most progressive tax rates in the industrialized world”?

    How about this?: One would bother to make such a claim because the argument that the US tax system is extremely progressive simply because rich people pay a higher percentage of the overall tax burden than in other countries is an absolutely terrible, meaningless argument.

    The rich in the US pay a higher share of the overall tax burden than the rich do in other countries because they earn such a bigger share of the overall national income, not because our tax system is markedly more progressive than that of our peers.

    There are legitimate arguments in favor of the proposition that the US tax system is already highly progressive. But the fact that rich people pay a high percentage of overall tax revenues is not among them.

  27. Boyd says:

    “There are legitimate arguments in favor of the proposition that the US tax system is already highly progressive.”

    ”the overall tax system is mildly progressive.”

    So which is it? There’s only so many pins one can dance on the head of here.

  28. Nyp says:

    The second statement.

    There happen to be legitimate arguments that the tax system is highly progressive. I don’t happen to agree with them, but they are not nonsensical arguments.
    But the notion that the system is highly progressive simply because the rich pay a large share of the total tax system is nonsensical and therefor not a legitimate argument.

  29. Boyd says:

    “simply because ”

    The quote I used is a factor in the argument of progressivity but hardly the only one. And there is nothing “meaningless about it. The idea that the share of tax burden (in a Country where the top 50% pay all the income taxes) has no relationship to how progressive our tax rates are is what strikes me as nonsensical on its face. It’s difficult to see how that result derives from a “mildly” progressive tax system. The word “mildly” is slippery here for a reason.

  30. nyp says:

    There is indeed an element of slipperiness in this exchange, but not on my part.
    First you say that the US has “some of the most progressive tax rates in the industrialized world” because our rich people pay a higher proportion of the overall tax burden. Given that fact, you say that it is “strange that anyone would even bother to think otherwise.” Then, after I point out that your argument is absurd, and that rich people pay a greater percentage of the tax burden because they earn a greater proportion of the national income, you shift your argument: the fact that rich people pay a higher percentage of the tax burden is merely a single “factor” in a vast vast tapestry of arguments, none of the others of which you are willing to advance.

    The relative “progressivity” of the tax system is a subject of considerable debate, in part because there is little agreement over fundamental terms of reference and measurement. Most informed observers agree that the overall tax system is mildly progressive.

  31. Boyd says:

    What is your point? Really, what is it? You can split all the hairs, parse all the words and dance on all the pins you like but I know what 20 years of working on welfare projects has shown me. The pathologies that derive from not having any skin in the game are heartbreaking to watch and impossible to stop as long as the controlling politics of our times thinks the forced transfer of wealth to those people can ultimately be anything but destructive. Compounding this some want to make things even worse by killing the engine of wealth that same underclass are completely dependent on. They are so arrogant they actually believe they have the omniscience to be given power “dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.” The 20th Century is littered with the bodies of a hundred million victims of this thinking. And as always some nit-wit comes along insisting an effective set of debate tactics is all it takes to change human nature. That and a nice office in Washington DC.

  32. nyp says:

    Yes, that’s it. Eliminating the carried interest loophole for hedge fund managers in order to pay for universal pre-k leads straight to the Holocaust and the Gulag.

    Got it.

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