The primary election is over. Sadly, I did not win.

Either the power of social networking is not yet up to the task of overcoming television ads and the visual and other pollution of yard signs EVERYWHERE, or New Hampshire is not ready for the #SAFE_DEAL and to #IMPOVERISH_DRUG_LORDS. (Or, I suppose, they just didn’t like me. Quickly figuring my likely exposure, though, I believe a large percentage of folks who heard my message actually voted for me. So maybe I just need to get better and spreading the word at low cost. I do find it ironic that MAYDAY pac endorsed a candidate who did spend money on the grounds he pledged to fight against large campaign media budgets in the future, while I operated on a minimal media budget. Notice that is not a criticism of the candidate they did endorse.)

Anyway, completely cribbed from WMUR-TV’s site, here are the apparent 99% returns:

Brown, Scott 58,635    50%  Rubens, Jim   27,048 23%  Smith, Bob     26,483 23%

Kelly, Walter    1,376      1% Heghmann, Bob  823   1%  Farnham, Mark   733    1%

Martin, Andy      717       1% Beloin, Gerard     500   0%  Dziedzic, Miro    499     0%

D’Arcy, Robert  415        0%

While of course it is painful that less than 1,000 voters rushed to support me when I really thought my policies were best and that I had the best chance to not only win the general election but forcefully guide the country in a better direction by winning with a minimal expenditure, I also find it interesting that Robert D’arcy finished dead last. Now I only met Robert at the Franklin Pierce debates, so I have not thoroughly vetted him. But with the exception of one of his ideas that I completely disagree with, I thought he had a set of ideas and proposals in the top two of a field that contained a lot of folks who would serve us well. Being left off the NHPR interviews and the WMUR-TV debates, Robert also apparently had trouble getting his message out. After the debate at Franklin Pierce it WAS reported that he had a detailed 10 point plan. But his actual plans were not reported. (At least not widely.) I faced a similar, though possibly even more damaging (though completely accurate as far as it went) result of reporters words: Unless you took the trouble to read my positions on this blog (as about 800 did, which I can see from the site tracking, and which compares very favorably with getting 733 votes) all you knew from the newspaper (if anything at all) was that I wanted to subsidize the poor and make drugs legal. Without an explanation of how and why, those are pretty unlikely positions to inspire my fiscal conservative, be kind to your brother, social libertarian base. Oh well. I really cannot blame anyone else; instead of waiting to publish my ideas lest they be grabbed by several campaigns, I should have published my programs and policies last fall and started a long slow push. Live and learn. I don’t think it would be useful to undertake a write-in campaign in the general election. But if you’re thinking of voting for Shaheen, go ahead.

In a few days I’ll put up a poll regarding whether I should form a non-candidate oriented pac to promote my ideas. I still think it is shameful we spend enough on welfare to have no one legally here in poverty, yet over 12 million often go to sleep involuntarily under the stars and hungry. And I still think the best way to put money and power in the hands of criminals is to make something popular illegal. We just got to end this drug war. The war on drugs makes the problems worse, not better.

All the best!

Mark W. Farnham

Posted in Book Review, politics, Thinking Clearly, US Senate Primary | 1 Comment

Farnham for US Senate: Please remember to vote

I hope you vote for me. I’ll do my best for both the country and New Hampshire if I am elected. Most of my recent entries on this blog explain my views and how I will try to solve problems. The somewhat dated “Justify Laws” I hope provides a framework for understanding how I think the government should operate.

But regardless of whether you plan to vote for me, please get out there and vote every chance you have (except for my friends from Chicago, who I ask to vote only at each legal opportunity).

God bless!

Mark W. Farnham

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Dear “Pro-life”: I am against abortion. But I am not against choice

If you run for office, you’ll get loaded questionnaires that essentially insist you sign up to overturn Roe v Wade. (And from the other side that you’ll sign up against things like the Hobby Lobby ruling, when the real issue is that individuals or families, not corporations, should control their own health care insurance choices.)

And let’s decode a little bit, since even the names of the movements are a lie: “Pro-life” means “I want to make abortion illegal.”

“Pro-choice” means I want the government to routinely fund abortion and make it a popular choice. I’m aligned with clinics that provide abortions and we tout the advantages to your life style of not having a child to raise or going through the inconvenience of carrying a child to term to be adopted.

Well I’ll have none of it. Here is the way I see it: The government does not get to make this choice. Having the threat of the government becoming involved in the choice probably causes additional actual abortions to take place and under worse conditions than are really necessary.

Essentially this is an issue of religious freedom and your definition of when life begins.

But I AM against abortion. If I am privileged to be in the circle of trust from whom some woman facing this choice seeks guidance, my advice will be for life.

Now let’s be specific: If the life of the mother is endangered I agree it is a slippery slope between the always present risk of mortality and the near certain death some pregnancies pose. I do not believe even Solomon could make a general call on what to do in every case. I would probably tend to side with saving the mother in the hopes of a chance for a more normal pregnancy later. But that is only advice and only hypothetical. The choice, after being fully informed and free of coercion in either direction, belongs to the mother.

What about rape? If the mother’s life is not in special jeopardy, MY counsel is for life. Half of that DNA is yours. Probably you will love this child beyond all reason. If you are convinced you will not, there is always adoption. But once again, that is only advice and advice only given to a specific pregnant woman if I’m invited to give my opinion by HER.

So that’s it. I’m against abortion. I’m against laws against abortion. I’m against corporations being involved in health care decisions, and that means they should not be involved in funding health care. (It was a stupid artifact of wage controls in world war II that got that whole business started, and that is too long a story for this entry.) I’m quite certain my “score” will be near zero with both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” forces. I don’t care. My goal is different: I want both personal freedom AND the fewest possible actual abortions.

 

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Farnham for US Senate: #IMPOVERISH_DRUG_LORDS

The most effective way to put money and power in the hands of criminals is to make something popular illegal.

What do I mean? I mean we should have learned this from the Prohibition. We should have learned this from the great failure of the war on drugs.

IF you really want less addiction and use of drugs, you are far better off to stop having them be illegal.

What?

Okay, there will always be a baseline use of drug of various kinds for recreational purposes. Do you want it to be more or less?

When you make something illegal, you create a profit incentive for criminals to smuggle and distribute whatever it is. Because they profit from illegal consumption it is guaranteed they will market the illegal thing to make it more popular.

This is what funds the drug cartels. This is what makes drugs expensive. This is what prevents legal investment in the creation of recreational drugs that are safer and less addictive.

IF you really want less addiction and use of drugs, you had better get behind eliminating the profit motive to push drugs.

It really is that simple. NO illegal drugs. Cocaine will be about the price of aspirin. Am I saying you should go have some? NO. What I’m saying is that there will be no profit in pushing. If there is no profit, there will be no marketing. If there is no profit there will be no drug lords and they will not have funds to arm their killers.

So take the power out of the hands of the drug lords and reduce addiction: Just make it ALL legal.

#IMPOVERISH_DRUG_LORDS and empty our jails. Fifty years is just too long to let this idiocy continue.

 

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The #SAFE_DEAL: On the road to Equal Taxation with a baseline of the poverty level

Twenty-two years ago, when I previously ran for US Senate and began writing about reviving the idea of full support of persons legally in the country to the poverty level, we were in much better overall financial shape. An actual maximum tax would have been possible with some budget discipline. Eventually and philosophically, I think that is still the goal. If everyone made enough money to pay an equal share of the country’s budget and still be above the poverty level, that is what we should do. The philosophy is clear: One Person, One Vote; One Person, One Tax.

But of course we live in a world where many make close to zero and an arguable number somewhere around 50 million make less than the poverty level. Currently federal welfare spending is about $514 BILLION dollars. Unfortunately only about half of what we spend reaches recipients as cash. We have a lot of programs, we force a lot of people to grovel before civil servants to get money, and we try to control what welfare recipients are allowed to spend money on. That is all very expensive. Even if we say it would cost the IRS $14 BILLION dollars a year to distribute economic aid directly as a cash negative income tax payment, we would still have $500 BILLION dollars to give to those 50 million. If we group those 50 million as households of 4 (which is a pretty good weighted average and close enough for first order estimates), then we have 12.5 million households under the poverty level. Most of them don’t actually make zero income, but even if we pretended they did, 500 billion divided by 12.5 million is $40,000. The benchmark “poverty level” for a household of 4 is under $24,000. So there is something very wrong with our welfare system.

Now, with a bit of editing to current numbers and acknowledging that a maximum equal tax has become a future goal rather than a near term reality, here are my thoughts (only a few of them original) that have not changed much in twenty-two years:

One Citizen, One Vote; One Citizen, One Tax

What the heck is an Equality Tax, and why the heck should You support it? (Eventually, as a goal) 

Let’s change the main tax basis altogether:  Take the budget, subtract off the items you plan to pay for with taxes on easily metered use (such as gasoline taxes to pay for roadwork or a direct fee to businesses hiring non-Citizens legally in the country), and call that the net budget to be raised. Now take the number of Citizens aged 23 to 62, and divide. There is your equal tax. (Why only people aged 23 to 62? Well I think that forty years is enough to pay tax. Any younger, and you start making it hard to get a good start on adult life. Any older, and I start getting uncomfortable about putting death and taxes too close together. I know I can’t avoid either, but I’d prefer not to have them at the same time.)

Okay, so there is your equal tax. Well, almost. The problem is, some Citizens make no money at all or earn less than the poverty level, and I don’t want to tax any Citizen into poverty. While I disagree vehemently with success penalty taxes that attempt to transfer income from the top earners to others (including many well above the poverty line), I find support to the poverty line to be qualitatively different and I believe it is a legitimate public policy. In fact you can make a strong case that by supporting Citizens universally to the poverty level you eliminate justification for crimes of necessity (my children were hungry, what else could I do?) and probably you save money over all. Besides that, we are a great country and we just should not have Citizens living in poverty. Of course this means that you’re going to have to add the required funds to raise Citizens to the poverty level to the net budget, but the result is that every Citizen above the poverty level pays the same tax and shares the burden equally. No citizen is left below the poverty line, so instead of arguing about each possible social program, such as subsidized health care insurance, we just debate raising or lowering the poverty level and let individual families make their own decisions on which things to buy. Since it is pretty easy to get a head count and an estimate of poverty level support costs, the cost to each Citizen of each government program becomes transparent and easy to calculate. Suppose there are 100 million taxpayers. Then a billion dollar program is going to cost ten bucks each. Simple! You can directly assess whether a given program is worth it to you and so advise your representatives.

There is one more slight complication for dealing with the Citizens that are in the age range being taxed who earn more than the poverty level but not enough to reasonably pay the full equal tax. These Citizens should not be faced with a penalty for earning more. In fact we want them to earn more so they can strive toward paying the equal share instead of being subsidized. So let them keep seventy-five cents of each dollar they earn up to the point where they are paying the full equal tax. If you make more than four times the poverty level plus the equal tax, then you can just pay the equal tax and be done with it. At that level you are off the dole, you have paid your equal tax, and you are free to use your prosperity for yourself and the charities of your choice. 

So, in summary, Citizens start at a minimum of the poverty level. Citizens get to keep 75 cents of every dollar they earn until they have defrayed the poverty level subsidy and paid the full equal tax. Once the net tax payment reaches the full equal tax, you are done paying that year and you get to decide what to do with the rest. 

What else happens? Well, for starters, there is no need for a minimum wage. Instead of marginal small business owners being squeezed between working themselves to death and hiring a Citizen at the minimum wage, they hire at the wage the work is worth to the business. The business owner wins, because it makes economic sense. The government wins, because the Citizen hired at a value based wage otherwise didn’t have a job and the taxed Citizens were paying the whole tab to the poverty level. And the hired Citizen wins, because the Citizen below the full equal tax gets to keep 75 cents on the dollar of what is earned so it does not cut into the poverty level support the Citizen receives.

This is just one example. The list of things that just fall into place with almost no effort is nearly endless. How about the third rail? Well guess what – if Citizens get a base line of the poverty level then you really don’t need social security, do you? Of course we have to pay off our moral obligation to everyone who thought they were paying into a retirement plan (when in fact they were paying benefits to current recipients). So if the social security payment you are due tops the poverty level, then you should continue to get that excess. But we should stop collecting payroll taxes for two reasons: First, payroll taxes distort the flat tax above the intended rate and make cash under the table arrangements profitable. Second, collecting payroll taxes creates the impression that the government is saving your money for your retirement and your healthcare.

So what should your benefit be if you’re somewhere in the middle when the funding source is no longer a payroll tax? Well we can argue a bit about the calculation, but currently you are required to earn 40 quarters (10 years) to qualify for normal retirement benefits and in a working life of 40 years you would earn 160 quarters. So one way is to divide the number of quarters you have earned by 160 and pay you that quotient (with a ceiling of 1) times the benefit you would otherwise have received. That way people over, say, 60 won’t be caught by surprise and people who have paid in for a few years expecting a benefit have plenty of warning but don’t lose everything.

Another huge advantage to the baseline safety net of the poverty level for persons legally in the country is that it creates a price advantage for employers to hire persons legally here in the recorded economy instead of to persons who are not here legally as cash under the table. The net effect is that we reduce the illegal immigration magnet. With this price advantage in effect, it once again becomes more profitable to hire Citizens than persons here illegally. This is the way to get immigration reform by economic force. With the diminished demand for workers it will no longer be profitable to engage in sophisticated human smuggling operations. This, combined with ending the war on drugs (a separate lengthy post in its own right) will return the upper hand to our border patrol without exorbitant capital expense. Tunnels and armed parties just won’t be worth it. 

Equality taxation, where all of us who have enough share the burden equally, results in a simple and elegant framework where everything else just makes sense. There is nothing particularly magic about the 25 cents on the dollar flat tax in the range where you have income but not enough income to be unsubsidized. Any number in the range where effort to earn the next dollar is incentivized will do, but 25 cents makes the readily understood word formula “four times the poverty level plus four times the equal tax” true as an easy to express formula of the income level you need to pay your equal share. At which point the government should not have to be told how much you actually make, since you are not asking for any subsidy. Equality taxation can be implemented with or without ending corporate taxation, which would also be a smart move both for efficiency and to get corporations out of the business of deciding social charitable priorities in the course of tax avoidance.

Unfortunately, as I noted in the lead paragraph, capping at the top Equality Tax is an eventual goal. Currently we have too big a national debt. We’ve been digging a hole of obligations since 1935 and it will take a while to whittle that down. In the short term, not only is it unlikely we will be able to cap taxes at the theoretical Equality Tax, if we intend to start paying off the debt we might need to go a little bit “progressive” on the top end. By a little bit, I mean no more than 35% percent. Why? Because that is about the rate above which the rich will fight back to keep more of their earnings!

The fact that some folks have figured out a way to earn a lot of money brings forth a lot of greed and jealousy on the part of some of our biggest political airbags. “The income gap is horrible and unacceptable!” they scream. Well folks, they are worried about the #WRONG_GAP. The #CORRECT_GAP for the government to concern itself with is the gap between the poorest and the poverty level. Persecution of the wealthy not only fails to close the #CORRECT_GAP, it causes many of the wealthy to tighten their grip on the money they have earned. This does not help the poor. When we shift to a predictable flat tax rate that is reasonable (at most 35%) the wealthy tend to react in charity beyond their taxes. And they both have a right to choose and choose better than the government.

Of course it is far better if we can keep the rate down to a flat 25%.

Using current figures with a little rounding, that means a family of four with zero income will get $24,000. Not pleasant perhaps, but not in poverty. Earn a dollar and this family’s new net is $24,000.75 and the subsidy is down to $23,999.75. Please notice that the net income always goes up for a dollar earned and the subsidy always goes down (and eventually becomes a net tax.) This is why this plan is sometimes called the “negative income tax.” So, using these current figures, when your earned income reaches $96,000, your subsidy reaches zero. Above that, you actually start paying net taxes, but only at the rate you have been paying all along. Perhaps above $200,000 we might raise the rate a bit if we cannot balance the budget over the business cycle. But even at the 25% rate, someone earning $200,000 will pay $26,000 net in taxes. (Being the $50,000 in taxes on earned income minus the $24,000 baseline).

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FARNHAM for US Senate Campaign 4 Hashtags, 3 Key concepts

One of my friends noticed that I am trying to push forward campaign finance reform by trying to win without a TV media budget, and he asked what was my hash tag. DOH! I should have created hash tags long ago. Okay, there is still time to go viral. I’ve registered four hash tag definitions with hashtag.org, and I’ll explain them here, first with just the snapshot definitions I could get to stick without the site complaining : Stop! You’re posting too fast and then with the full story as individual blog posts. Hang in there. This is important.

Oh, and my top priority is establishing the #SAFE_DEAL.

#SAFE_DEAL

A system where the government makes sure all persons legally resident start with a base minimum income of at least the poverty level and get to retain at least 65 cents on each dollar they earn. See rsiz.wordpress.com for the details.

#WRONG_GAP and #CORRECT_GAP

When you hear an airbag politician decry the income gap between the poorest and the richest, they are talking about the wrong_gap. The correct_gap for the government to be concerned about is the gap between the poorest and the poverty level. See rsiz.wordpress.com for more details.

#IMPOVERISH_DRUG_LORDS

The best way to put money and power in the hands of criminals is to make something popular illegal. We should have learned this from the prohibition. We are now 40 years into the “War On Drugs” and we have thus created DRUG LORDS and DRUG LORD CARTELS more powerful than most small countries and powerful enough to destabilize regions of Mexico. If you want to take money and power away from the DRUG LORDS and if you want to end the profitability of marketing drugs so we will have less addiction, make it all legal, no matter how vile the drug. See rsiz.wordpress.com for more details.

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Eight days to go – Who are you voting for in the NH Republican Senatorial Primary?

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