No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

Archive for January, 2017

January 6, 2017

Tax tease

by @ 22:23. Filed under Taxes.

Just a quick tease here. I was doing some research for a piece I’m planning to write for RightWisconsin, and I decided to compare taxes collected versus wages over the last 30 years. This little series of nuggets ought to be worth a mention in a whole host of pieces. Before I unleash, I ought to mention my sources: the Bureau of Labor Statistics for wage data (specifically, the average weekly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees in the private sector) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development for taxes (all major taxes levied at every level).

– In 1985, the average weekly wage was $304.62, and the total tax take was $1,069,914 million (or a shade over $1 trillion).
– By 1995, the average weekly wage rose to $400.04, while the total tax take rose to $2,028,327 million.
– By 2007, just before the start of the Great Recession, the average weekly wage rose to $589.18, while the total tax take rose to $3,867,405 million.
– In 2009, the year the Great Recession officially ended (though only for government types and Wall Street), the average weekly wage rose again to $615.96, while the total tax take actually fell to $3,318,696 million.
– In 2015 (the last year OECD data is available), the average weekly wage only rose to $709.13, while the total tax take spiked to $4,754,120 million.

And yet some people wonder why there aren’t too many stay-at-home parents anymore, why the “recovery” feels like anything but, and why we can’t (re-)double the transportation taxes in Wisconsin.

Revisions/extensions (10:44 pm 1/6/2017) – So you want to consider GDP? Okay; let’s do that. In fact, I’ll give you the advantage of considering the private-sector portion; not only is it the portion that funds government, but its growth is greater than the government portion. Direct from the Bureau of Economic Analysis:

– In 1985, private-sector GDP was $3,438.3 billion (or if you prefer, just over $3.4 trillion).
– In 1995, private-sector GDP was $6,211.9 billion.
– In 2007, private-sector GDP was $11,675.7 billion.
– In 2009, private-sector GDP was $11,329.6 billion.
– In 2015, private-sector GDP was $14,818.3 billion.

In short, both between 1985 and 2015, and since the Great Recession “ended” (and especially since the Great Recession “ended”), growth in tax collections outstripped even private-sector GDP. The “why” is a subject of yet another post, but it starts with “Huge” and ends with “Government Growth” (and not the portion that adds to GDP either).

R&E part 2 (10:47 pm 1/6/2017) – Read the wrong line for everything except 1985 private-sector GDP on the spreadsheet. Corrected.

January 4, 2017

Election bauble

Though this place may not exactly reflect the truism, the election cycle never really stops. Yesterday saw the last date candidates could file for the spring non-partisan election, headlined (at least on paper) by the state Supreme Court seat currently held by Justice Annette Ziegler and the state superintendent of public instruction seat currently held by Tony Evers, as well as the release of most of the counties’ reimbursement requests for conducting the Presidential recount.

First, the shocking and surprising item. The Jill Stein campaign will almost certainly have spent significantly less than originally billed for her total net 66 vote gain (and 778 net vote loss vice winner/President-elect Donald Trump). With final reimbursement requests from 69 of 72 counties and a preliminary request from a 70th (Milwaukee), those 70 counties spent a total of $1,533,488.25 on the recount, a mere 51.6% of their estimates of $2,992,849.31. If Brown and Kenosha Counties spent a similar percentage of their original $368,757 estimates, the counties/municipalities portion of the bill will come to just a tick over $2 million.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission has yet to produce its costs, but I somehow doubt that it will be anywhere close to $1.5 million. This may be a Flashing VCR Correct moment (more rare than the Stopped Clock Right moment), but you do have to love efficient, accurate government. If only the DOT would take a lesson from this and not do expensive stuff like putting in a 300-foot dedicated right-turn lane to service a half-dozen residences.

Next, the shocking-but-shouldn’t-have-surprised-anyone moment. Justice Annette Ziegler will be unopposed on the ballot. It’s shocking in that the last person to run unopposed was the late Justice Patrick Crooks in 2006, with 7 contested elections, the last 6 with sitting Justices (though the last was essentially an open seat) in the interim. It shouldn’t have been surprising because 5 of those sitting Justices won re-election, with Justice Michael Gableman’s defeat of then-Justice Louis Butler in 2008 being the only defeat of a sitting Justice since 1967.

Another item in the “shouldn’t have been surprising” bin – JR Ross notes Justice Ann Walsh Bradley was unopposed in 2005.

Meanwhile, Evers (WEAC-WEAC) drew a former Beloit superindent Lowell Holtz and Walker recall signer John Humphries to force a February 21 primary.

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