Learning Economics

October 27, 2010 at 6:15 AM | Posted in Economics | 2 Comments
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called Economics "The dismal science"

It is a commonplace that if we want to learn something, we should teach it. The same goes for writing. I want to learn about economics because, in one sense it is about time but more importantly, I have questions that I want answers to. I want the answers to be comprehensive and not a slogan or a party line – of any Party.

It is quite clear that has been a major shift of wealth to the rich in our country. As reported in the NY Times:

“Over the last three decades, the top 1 percent of the country has received 36 percent of all the gains in household incomes; 1 percent got more than a  third of the upside. And the top one tenth of 1 percent acquired much more of the nation’s increased wealth than the bottom 60 percent did.”

In parallel with this really astounding change is that there is an outcry to keep the taxes of these very rich people low. Of course the rich want this and have the means to effect it but many of the middle class want it too, the very class that is getting squeezed out.

In a further parallel many people want to go back to the way things used to be. Well, there are two decades in the last six that had the greatest economic growth, the sixties and the nineties.  In both periods the rich were taxed more than they are today and in the sixties they were taxed much more.

  • Top Tax Rate 1951 – 1963       91%
  •                            1964 – 1980     70%
  •                             1982 -1986      50%
  •                             1993 – 2000   39.5%
  •                             2003 –              35%

The above table doesn’t tell the full story as there are differing points as to where the top rate begins. Likewise, a friend of mine is of the opinion it was because the tax rate was lowered in the sixties that the economy grew quickly.  Regardless, the change form 1951 to today is dramatic.

I would have liked the Ozzie and Harriet life but back in those days, the ones that we now wax rhapsodic about, I didn’t know anyone like them then – or now . It wasn’t real then but because so much time has passed, we forget that. We are also not crazy about this globalization thing and would like to get rid of it.

So, my questions that I want to study are: what is happening in the world economically, why do people think as they do and what should we do about it?

My plan is to look into aspects of economics that interest me and see, by this circuitous route, if I can get my questions answered.


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  1. One of the greatest words in human language is the sincere “why”.

    Why is something the way it is. Why do I see it that way.

    Why challenges us to research, validate, and in cases change what and the way we think.

    On economics, you comments prompted me to look into some other topics:

    The elasticity of taxable income or the relationship of tax rates and tax revenue.

    Does paying taxes (not a tax credit) build an ownership mentality and how does that impact the numbers/percentages of persons receiving welfare?

    With the billions spent on eliminating poverty in America (starting with Johnson) why is the poverty level higher today than when we started?

    How has the expansion of the welfare class or the dependency class impacted the distribution of wealth in America.

    Thank You Tom

    • Yes, excellent questions Mitch. Thanks for writing!

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