Category Archives: Taxes

O’Reilly and Beck Completely Miss the Point

Last night on The O’Reilly Factor, Glenn Beck responded to O’Reilly’s stupid idea for a two percent “temporary” national sales tax by proposing an even more asinine idea.  Beck suggested a two percent Value Added Tax (VAT) instead, apparently feeling a need to one-up O’Reilly’s ridiculous and naïve idea.  After taping the show, they probably left the studio to go play chicken with each other in fast cars on some quiet suburban street full of children.

Clearly, anyone who is not watching the turnip truck drive away while picking gravel out of their posterior can see the flawed logic on display here.

In O’Reilly’s case, the notion that any national sales tax would be temporary, or held at 2% for that matter, is simply ludicrous and is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who has observed politics for more than a month.  Furthermore, the very notion of adding a tax like that with the expectation that it will generate any real revenue demonstrates a lack of understanding of how the tax system influences behavior, particularly in a recession.

Glenn Beck’s proposal is equally stupid but has the added feature of making the taxation far more insidious and dangerous.  Value Added Taxes, like the corporate income tax so beloved by statists and the myrmidons with whom they play simplistic and dishonest class warfare games, add the far more dangerous reality that the taxes simply get hidden in the prices of products and services, allowing the levitation government to covertly connect yet another tick to the neck of productive America.  At least O’Reilly’s idea involves a tax that we can see, though the notion of any tax being “temporary” ranks right up there with the ludicrous idea that ObamaCare will help with the deficit and the economy.

I propose a simpler idea, one that may be too clear for smart guys like O’Reilly and Beck.  Let’s stop the spending.  At a time when so many Americans are struggling to pay their mortgages or keep their old cars running long enough to get back in the black with their personal finances, a proposal to raise taxes on any Americans is patently absurd.  Bill and Glenn, like so many American politicians, sit up on their ivory pedestals without any memory of what it is like to be a regular middle class American.

Furthermore, we need to reduce subsidies to those who were getting a free ride before the recession hit.  How much money could we save by canceling the euphemistically named Earned Income Tax Credit and any other tax credit programs that simply transfer money from the productive to the non-productive?

I submit that any increases in taxes right now would only hurt the economy and the Americans who fund our system, and are the equivalent of treating a hangover by imbibing a little “hair of the dog”.  Additionally, I humbly submit that since we have so many people hurting who were not societal parasites before this recession, we can longer afford the luxury of continuing to subsidize the lifestyles of people who were living off of us before the economy tanked.  For a deeper discussion of which groups get a free ride and which groups are societal parasites in America, check out a piece that I wrote for my other blog titled On Taxes and Socialism.

Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly could really stand to read Milton Freidman’s Free to Choose.  They would learn a lot.

America’s Self-Punishing Corporate Tax

In a short post over at CATO@Liberty, Daniel Mitchell comments on a new KPMG global survey of corporate taxes, pointing out the obvious fact that it punishes American companies for keeping jobs in America.

KPMG has released its annual global survey of corporate tax systems. For the 10th consecutive year, the average corporate tax rate fell, and it is now down to 25.5 percent — and just 23.2 percent in the European Union!

In the United States, unfortunately, the corporate tax rates remains stuck at about 40 percent. Only one developed nation, Japan, has a more punitive regime.

That’s something to keep in mind the next time a politician complains that jobs are going to China, where the corporate tax rate is 25 percent.

Take a look at the KPMG survey data here.  It is interesting to contrast what some other countries are doing compared to the US.  From the KPMG survey:

Country 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
US 40 40 40 40 40 40 40
UK 30 30 30 30 30 28 28
Russia 24 24 24 24 24 24 20
Germany 39.58 38.29 38.31 38.34 38.36 29.51 29.44
Canada 36.6 36.1 36.1 36.1 36.1 33.5 33
India 36.75 35.875 36.5925 33.66 33.99 33.99 33.99

Note the far more sensible response to the economic downturn from countries like the UK, Russia, and Germany.

Corporate taxes are simply indirect taxes on individuals, essentially hiding the staggering scale of the cost of government by building it into the cost of goods and services.  When you hear politicians in the US talk of a possible Value Added Tax they are looking for more of the same, dishonestly hiding the costs of government in the prices that consumers pay for the items that they buy every day.

Clearly the best thing that could happen for American taxpayers would be the abolition of corporate taxes and the income tax, replacing them with something like the FairTax.

Barack Obama and Bernie Madoff: Intellectual Soulmates

Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff

We’ve all seen the news.  We have this guy who had the trust of a lot of people but he dishonestly allocated their money, seemingly with no concern for the future in terms of financial solvency, as he massively grew a ponzi scheme.  And on the other hand we have Bernie Madoff.

How different are Obama and Madoff, really?  They both take money from people who trust them, they both pour it into ponzi schemes with no future other than insolvency, and they both use obfuscation and dishonesty to get it done.  And of course they both do it simply for their own aggrandizement, one looking for money and the other for a legacy.

Madoff: taking money, making poor investments, ponzi scheme, thief

Obama: taking money, making poor investments, ponzi scheme, thief

President Obama

President Obama

At least the Madoff victims had a choice; they could take their dollars elsewhere.  With Comrade Obama we have no choice.

The Obama Imperial Presidency: Chains you can believe in.

The Real Culture War is not about moralism

The real “Culture War” in America is not about religion or abortion or gay marriage or anthropogenic climate change.  The real culture war being waged in this country, most recently evidenced by the well attended Tea Parties on tax day, is about the appropriate relationship between Government on one side and The People and our economy on the other side.  Arthur Brooks wrote a smart piece in the WSJ that outlines his view of the true culture war:

Despite President Barack Obama’s early personal popularity, we can see the beginnings of this schism in the “tea parties” that have sprung up around the country. In these grass-roots protests, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans have joined together to make public their opposition to government deficits, unaccountable bureaucratic power, and a sense that the government is too willing to prop up those who engaged in corporate malfeasance and mortgage fraud.

That was exactly what I saw when I attended my (not quite) local Tea Party with 20,000 other very vocal citizens.  Brooks points out that these were regular people engaging in a true populist movement which he labeled as “ethical populism”:

The protesters are homeowners who didn’t walk away from their mortgages, small business owners who don’t want corporate welfare and bankers who kept their heads during the frenzy and don’t need bailouts. They were the people who were doing the important things right — and who are now watching elected politicians reward those who did the important things wrong.

After quoting some rather scary statistics about support for capitalism versus socialism among different age groups and different parties (“Republicans were 11 times more likely to prefer capitalism than socialism; Democrats were almost evenly split between the two systems”) he points out that government is helping this along:

The government has been abetting this trend for years by exempting an increasing number of Americans from federal taxation. My colleague Adam Lerrick showed in these pages last year that the percentage of American adults who have no federal income-tax liability will rise to 49% from 40% under Mr. Obama’s tax plan. Another 11% will pay less than 5% of their income in federal income taxes and less than $1,000 in total.

To put a modern twist on the old axiom, a man who is not a socialist at 20 has no heart; a man who is still a socialist at 40 either has no head, or pays no taxes. Social Democrats are working to create a society where the majority are net recipients of the “sharing economy.” They are fighting a culture war of attrition with economic tools. Defenders of capitalism risk getting caught flat-footed with increasingly antiquated arguments that free enterprise is a Main Street pocketbook issue. Progressives are working relentlessly to see that it is not.

I have always argued that collectivism, which I personally utilize as an umbrella term encompassing socialism, communism, marxism, maoism, etc, is inherently immoral in and of itself, regardless of what results come from it.  Collectivism says to me that I am owned by the government and am a cash cow to be milked for what they (Ellsworth Toohey’s all) deem to be the collective good.  I argue strenuously that collectivism is not different from slavery in kind, only in degree.  I was happy to see Brooks echo that sentiment, though perhaps in more toned-down terms than I just did:

Advocates of free enterprise must learn from the growing grass-roots protests, and make the moral case for freedom and entrepreneurship. They have to declare that it is a moral issue to confiscate more income from the minority simply because the government can. It’s also a moral issue to lower the rewards for entrepreneurial success, and to spend what we don’t have without regard for our children’s future.

Brooks ends with a pep talk about the present opportunities for free marketeers.

We had better continue what the Tea Parties started if we care about our childrens’ (and grandchildrens’) future.  Please read Brooks’ entire piece here and draw your own conclusions.

Is David Axelrod a moron or a liar?

Appearing on Face The Nation, Senior White House advisor David Axelrod was asked about the Tea Parties that occurred across the nation on April 15th.

From CNN.COM:

Senior White House adviser David Axelrod on Sunday suggested the “Tea Party” movement is an “unhealthy” reaction to the tough economic climate facing the country.

Axelrod was asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” about the “spreading and very public disaffection” with the president’s fiscal policies seen at the “Tea Party” rallies around the country last week.

“I think any time you have severe economic conditions there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that’s unhealthy,” Axelrod said.

You can never tell what a slimeball like Axelrod really thinks; people like him are just too good at playing the lying-and-obfuscation game.  But I would submit that he knows that the Tea Party movement is not an unhealthy reaction to the tough economic times but is in fact a healthy and vibrant reaction to President Obama’s unhealthy and stupifyingly unwise responses to the economic crisis.  The people at the Tea Parties are not the easily convinced, starry-eyed myrmidons who would applaud if Obama blew his nose or broke wind.  These are people who have been around the block before, who have seen Presidential economic decisions and their consequences before.  This was not a crowd that gets enamored by shiny objects – which is essentially how Mr Obama got elected.

I saw no “save me, I am a loser” signs (a la the Obama campaign) at the Atlanta Tea Party.  Other than the anti-bailout signs I saw nothing about the economy, but I did see a lot about Mr Obama’s collectivist response to the economic crisis.  These Tea Parties are not about the economic crisis, they are about opposing higher taxes and government growth that are being foisted upon us under the cover of the [largely government caused] economic crisis.

Mr Axelrod continues:

“The thing that bewilders me is that this president just cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people,” Axelrod argued. “I think the tea bags should be directed elsewhere because he certainly understands the burden that people face.”

Hmmmmm.  If anyone reading this actually believes that their taxes for 2009 or later will be lower than they are now, please comment on this post.  I have a relative in Nigeria who needs to get some cash out of the country and would share some of it with you in return for your help.  To those of you who are not net taxpayers, sponging off of the rest of us, I am sure that your Sugar Daddy President Collectivism will continue to rob other people to subsidize your lifestyle.  How else can he buy your loser vote? 

But seriously, that is just a pathetic response from Axelrod.  They could raise the tax rates on the most productive Americans up to 90 percent and they still would not be able to fund the President’s Brave New World.  Every single person in America who pays taxes will pay higher taxes as a result of Mr Obama’s huge spending.  I suspect that even some of the societal parasites who pay no taxes (approaching 50 percent) will see a decrease in the false-rebate welfare checks that they get simply for living within America’s borders.

I give credit to Carville for not toeing the line on calling the Tea Parties “unhealthy” and he has a point about the Tea Parties that is partly right:

Democratic strategist James Carville disagreed with Axelrod on CNN’s “State of the Union” when John King asked him if it’s unhealthy for “an American to go out and hold a sign and say ‘I think my taxes are too high.'”

Carville said, “No.” He called the Tea Party movement “harmless and damaging to Republicans.”

Carville has that partly right.  The Tea Party movement is damaging to Republicans who govern like Democrats: big spending, big government lovers.  This Tea Party movement is not coming from the GOP, it is going after the GOP.  Or at least the parts of the party who are indistinguishable from the Democrats.

Politicans, you need to be very afraid of the Tea Party movement.  We are the ones who fund this whole thing, the ones that President Obama is going to stick it to.  We are not going away because we know that the people that the Democrats are really sticking it to are our children and grandchildren.  Mr Obama clearly does not care at all about the future of this country when that priority stands in the way of his push for leviathan government.

I am ready for the next Tea Party.  It’s time to march on D.C.

In answer to the rhetorical question posed by the subject of this post: obviously, the latter.

CNN reporter becomes Anti Tea Party Obama spokesman

Showing once again why conservatives despise CNN, so-called reporter Susan Roesgen was completely unable to contain her obvious pro-Obama bias while “reporting” from the Tea Party in Chicago on tax day.

UPDATE: CNN got YouTube to pull the video to which I had linked.  Click here to see the embedded version instead.

The CNN reporter’s tone was mocking from the get go and her opinion on the subject of the protest is obvious even before she starts overtly defending the Obama administration.  Like a good MSM reporter she brought an agenda to the Tea Party in Chicago, and that agenda involved mocking and undermining it.  One sure way to piss off a thoughtful conservative is to bring a mocking and smirky attitude to a subject that they consider intellectually defensible.

The guy with the baby had a point that he was trying to make, convoluted as it was, but the reporter had no concern for what he was saying – she simply wanted to make her point.  It was about her…  and of course, her new Dear Leader.

As the guy tried to make his point about Lincoln’s position that we should be able to keep the fruits of our labor, this “reporter” actually starts attacking the premise that it could have anything to do with his taxes; I suspect that she wasn’t even listening, instead just waiting for the next opportunity to defend her beloved Barack.  As she essentially morphs into Robert Gibbs when she tries to tell the guy that he will get a new child tax credit she proves to any observer that she is nothing more than another Obama spokesman at CNN.

When the guy finally finishes his point the “reporter”, going into complete Obama defense, responds by telling him that his state (IL) gets $50 billion in the stimulus package.  It is interesting that when she continues her Obama defense, she turns to look at the camera as if this interview is all about her – perhaps this will help with the liberal bonafides that it takes to get into the beltway cocktail circuit.  She arrogantly sums up “the tenor” of the rally when handing back off to the anchor desk as “anti-government” and “anti-CNN” (because it was promoted by the “right-wing conservative network Fox”, she further editorializes).  She also claims that “this is not really family viewing” without providing any justification for that.

We are not anti-government, but are anti unconstitutional government.  The most fundamental position at the tea parties was that we cannot borrow trillions from future generations to spend on vote buying today.  That is how I see both the stimulus package and the budget: conventional liberal huge spending on vote buying schemes – simply every off-the-shelf collectivist program of the last 40 years carted out under the cover of the economic crisis.

The video I linked above from FoundingBloggers.com has more video taken by bystanders after the CNN story where a woman makes the point that the reporters are intentionally not talking to the mainstream people, instead seeking out people that they can perhaps caricature more effectively.  The woman going after the so-called reporter makes the point that the media wants to ignore: we are pissed at both parties.  The media wants to paint this as simply a bunch of sore-loser Republicans whipped up into a frenzy by evil rich Conservatives.  Interestingly, one never hears media criticisms of the incredibly evil George Soros and his always-astroturfing MoveOn.Org.

At the end the reporter even tries to get into the alleged “astro-turfing” allegations, questioning how all of these people found out about the tea party.  One has to surmise that since she knows that the media has been ignoring the Tea Party movement she does not understand how the proles found out about it.

I saw a sign at the Atlanta Tea Party that deserves a mention here:  CNN – YOU SUCK!

Atlanta Tea Party Pictures

Great turnout.  I have a lot of thoughts on the Tea Party and Janet Napolitano’s pre-emptive strike with her right-wing extremism BS and what this thing is all about, but I am too busy working for that now.  I just wanted to post some pictures that I took last night.

I made the cardinal error of neglecting to bring backup batteries for the camera and did not get as many pictures as I had hoped.  Doh!

30 minute wait for subway tokens

30 minute wait for subway tokens

Do these people look like Janet Napolitano’s imaginary right wing extremists to you? 

 
Finishing his sign while in line for MARTA tokens

Finishing his sign while in line for MARTA tokens

His pen was failing; hope he did not end up Mad As He.

Headed to the capitol

Headed to the capitol

Angry dangerous extremists?  Perhaps dangerous to left wing tyrants…

The Gold Dome

The Gold Dome

 

Call it progressive, it still stinks

Call it progressive, it still stinks

 

Atlanta Tea Party

Atlanta Tea Party

I happen to have known this protestor for about 25 years.  She is hardly a right wing extremist.  But she is pissed.

"Chains" is right

"Chains" is right

This cute little thing has it right.

Atlanta Tea Party

Atlanta Tea Party

These are just regular people.  But you have to really piss them off to get them to cart their tails all the way down to the gold dome.  In my case it was over an hour drive to MARTA, then the ride downtown.  It was worth it.

Atlanta Tea Party

Atlanta Tea Party

Packed in wall to wall over a block away from the real action.  I never saw the live speakers myself, but the crowd was into it.  They had a huge big screen that I could catch glimpses of through the sea of signs.

4-15-tea-party-021

 more-4-15-tea-party-004

more-4-15-tea-party-005

Spot on, brother.

Spot on, brother.

 

One of our family's key philosophies...

One of our family's key philosophies...

The acorn does not fall far from the tree, eh?

more-4-15-tea-party-009

 

more-4-15-tea-party-010

 

more-4-15-tea-party-013

 

more-4-15-tea-party-014

Are we that generation?

more-4-15-tea-party-016

 

Don't tread on me!

Don't tread on me!

Now that Metallica song will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day.  Liberty or Death!  What we so proudly hail!

Custom biohazard suits

Custom biohazard suits

These guys cracked me up.

Drug test Congress

Drug test Congress

Unfortunately, I am not sure that there is a reliable test for seeing if someone is drunk on self-congratulatory false compassion.

Atlanta Tea Party

Atlanta Tea Party

I found this above photo at Instapundit.com, a reader had emailed this picture taken on Washington Street near the capitol… now I can see how they say that there were 15,000-20,000 people there.  You can see the columns of the gold dome on the far right (no pun intended).  I was about two blocks down and one block to the left of this picture and it was wall-to-wall fired up people.  I wish that the Atlanta Tea Party had been held at a venue that could show the extent of the people, somewhere like Centennial Olympic Park (conveniently located next to CNN center).  If anyone has an aerial shot of the Atlanta Tea Party I would love to get it.

BTW, do these look like dangerous extremists to you?

Who gets to pay Obama's bill?

Who gets to pay Obama's bill?

UPDATE: I really liked this picture, you can go see the blog post that contained it and other pics over at Lighthouse On The Right.