Taxes: If They Do the Crime, Make Them Do the Time

Americans like to trumpet the belief that we’re a “nation of laws”. Unfortunately, our laws are unevenly enforced when enforced at all. Congress churns out dozens of laws every year, while at the same time, guaranteeing they’ll fail by not budgeting for enforcement. Tea partiers like to say that most corporate laws constitute “over-regulation”. However, one could make a reasonable case that we don’t over-regulate, we under-enforce – and a law unenforced is no law at all.

You could easily say the same for failing to pay personal taxes. There’s a burgeoning industry devoted to helping scofflaws avoid penalties for “cents on the dollar”. Apparently, assisting tax deadbeats is more profitable than chasing ambulances. Some might argue tax issues wouldn’t be a problem if the taxes were lower, but these negotiated settlements allow defendants to avoid punishment. “If you do the crime, you have to do the time (except as negotiated by Nasty, Rude, Brutish, and Short, LLP).”

America is also stuck in a swamp of economic gelatinous goo. Just to spite each other we’re cutting off everything with a nose to pass a budget that takes regular taxpayers back to government circa 1865 and pumping up the wealthy’s wealth to a tax-free 2082. Yet, here are two almost untouched revenue streams. We could take a bite out of crime and the budget by simply enforcing the laws we have.

If BP befouls the Gulf of Mexico or Exxon paints Prudhoe Bay a wonderful, multicolored rainbow sheen, let’s not negotiate a settlement for pennies on the dollar while they reap some mighty fine profits. Profits at least partly derived from the other 98 cents on the dollar you and I paid to clean up the flaming dog poop they left on our porch. And bonus – maybe they’d think twice before doing the same stupid, illegal things they did to cause the accident in the first place – a twofer that helps modify bad behavior and raise revenue at the same time.

SWEET!

And since corporations have equal to (or greater than) the rights of flesh and blood, private citizens it’s only fair we stop negotiating sweetheart deals for the proletariat too. Paying taxes is a legal obligation, not an optional thing you do only when it pays for school vouchers or Muslim extermination programs. Saying you cheated or didn’t pay your taxes because “everyone does it” is no excuse. Remember Momma’s rule, “If everyone jumped off a bridge into a Chevron-managed tar pit, would you do it too?”

Of course, these actions won’t make all the bad economics go away, but it will make the sharing of pain fairer, without taxing the rich one more penny. It’s time to stop whining about what we owe and pay up.

If they do the crime, make them do the time.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

Budgeting in the United States of Me

Taxes are a lot like salaries. If you paid someone $1 million a day (oh wait, we do) they’d scream bloody murder they should’ve gotten $1,ooo,ooo.o1. If you taxed someone 1%, they’d whine they shouldn’t have to pay more than 000.1%, with those whining the loudest being the people with the lowest tax rates and highest pay.

Perhaps the most oft-repeated charge against Obama bin Karl Marx and the Democrat Politburo is that they’re dangerous socialists. But according to a recent story from CNBC, a funny thing happened on the way to the Kremlin. If you look at their list of the 10 most socialist states, there’s a whole lotta red in Governors’ mansions. In fact, six of 10 governors sport big red Rs next to their names. BTW, the People’s Republic of California didn’t even make the list.

All the tri-cornered hats and tea bags notwithstanding, the charge that most states are tax and spend Central Bureaus is shaky too.

Despite the screeching about high taxes, Americans enjoy some of the lowest taxes in the western world. American companies pay the second highest taxes, but they don’t mention their taxes are high because American companies gorge on taxpayer-funded corporate welfare far more damaging than the most greedy, imaginary, Cadillac-driving welfare queen.

American Productivity: The Bee’s Knees
They also don’t say they’re not leaving the US so much because of high taxes, but because they can hire workers from Third World countries at pennies on the dollar relative to Americans workers. Oh yeah, American workers who are generally rated as some of the most productive in the world.

The uber-capitalist view on this is that government is inherently inefficient and can’t be trusted with a dollar and there is massive fraud out there to be picked like leaves from the Liberty Tree. However, everyone’s favorite tax and spend worker’s paradise, California, has the lowest number of employees per 10,000 residents.

And when it comes to California’s current economic pickle, it’s useful to remember that if California were a country, its economy would be the eighth largest in the world – somewhere around the size of Spain’s. Fixing California’s problems is as difficult as fixing the two national economies that’ve already gone off the edge – Iceland and Ireland. BTW, both have smaller economies than California’s. But take heart don’t tax and spender conservatives, if Ireland goes, we could overtake Spain. USA! USA! USA!

Plus, a remnant from the last misguided tax revolt is a draconian tax and spend process worse than the broke Eurotrash’s. You may have heard of it, Prop 13. Prop 13 makes it extremely difficult to raise taxes to support social programs, infrastructure projects, and most importantly, education. So, California’s educational system has dropped from best in the nation to sub-Alabama levels since its introduction, its roads look like mule trails to the Hindu Kush, and social and educational programs have taken the biggest hits in the sausage slicing process…in a state with more poor people than any other.

Rid the government of fraud you say?

That’s a dandy idea, but none of our erstwhile CEO/politicians can explain how much there is, where it is, or how to cut it. BTW, if we removed of all of it, the spending effect – like banning earmarks – would be like pissing into a hurricane.

Of course we could start cutting the continued contracts with known fraudsters like, Blackwater/XE, Halliburton, and dozens of others carbuncles on the ass of the American economy. But hey, what do I know…except that having worked in both the public and private sectors I can vouch for the fact that fraud, abuse, and waste in corporate America is roughly the same in government America after being scaled to their relative sizes.

Moossilini and the Gajillionaire
Yes, people have a right to complain when their tax money isn’t spent wisely and no one wants to pay any more than necessary (excepting gajillionaire Warren Buffet, but you know how crazy the unbelievably rich are). But there’s the rub. One man’s waste is another man’s essential. If it were easy, we wouldn’t have a problem – even if Moosilini says it is. Still, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Yet, you can bet that when it comes to the cutting, some of the same folks who now complain righteously, albeit incorrectly, aren’t going to be happy.

Do you think that Granny holding the “Get Rid of Obamunist” sign is going to be happy when the people she voted for decide that her Social Security and Medicare are wasteful perks? How about those who are ready to send Junior off to college only to find that all that grant money went poof? And when Mom gets e-coli from some ConAgra-raised hamburger, treated with bum drugs, and it eventually kills her (without even the courtesy of a death panel) the FDA doesn’t look so wasteful anymore.

We are all Americans and part of the responsibility of every American is to chip something in for the common good of the nation – or we would be called the United States of Me.

Stop yelling about how bad you’ve got it.

You could be working 14 hours a day in an Indonesian sweatshop to make shirts you’ll buy on the cheap at Walmart.

Always low prices…Always.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Budgeting in the United States of Me

Taxes are a lot like salaries. If you paid someone $1 million a day (oh wait, we do) they’d scream bloody murder they should’ve gotten $1,ooo,ooo.o1. If you taxed someone 1%, they’d whine they shouldn’t have to pay more than 000.1%, with those whining the loudest being the people with the lowest tax rates and highest pay.

Perhaps the most oft-repeated charge against Obama bin Karl Marx and the Democrat Politburo is that they’re dangerous socialists. But according to a recent story from CNBC, a funny thing happened on the way to the Kremlin. If you look at their list of the 10 most socialist states, there’s a whole lotta red in Governors’ mansions. In fact, six of 10 governors sport big red Rs next to their names. BTW, the People’s Republic of California didn’t even make the list.

All the tri-cornered hats and tea bags notwithstanding, the charge that most states are tax and spend Central Bureaus is shaky too.

Despite the screeching about high taxes, Americans enjoy some of the lowest taxes in the western world. American companies pay the second highest taxes, but they don’t mention their taxes are high because American companies gorge on taxpayer-funded corporate welfare far more damaging than the most greedy, imaginary, Cadillac-driving welfare queen.

American Productivity: The Bee’s Knees
They also don’t say they’re not leaving the US so much because of high taxes, but because they can hire workers from Third World countries at pennies on the dollar relative to Americans workers. Oh yeah, American workers who are generally rated as some of the most productive in the world.

The uber-capitalist view on this is that government is inherently inefficient and can’t be trusted with a dollar and there is massive fraud out there to be picked like leaves from the Liberty Tree. However, everyone’s favorite tax and spend worker’s paradise, California, has the lowest number of employees per 10,000 residents.

And when it comes to California’s current economic pickle, it’s useful to remember that if California were a country, its economy would be the eighth largest in the world – somewhere around the size of Spain’s. Fixing California’s problems is as difficult as fixing the two national economies that’ve already gone off the edge – Iceland and Ireland. BTW, both have smaller economies than California’s. But take heart don’t tax and spender conservatives, if Ireland goes, we could overtake Spain. USA! USA! USA!

Plus, a remnant from the last misguided tax revolt is a draconian tax and spend process worse than the broke Eurotrash’s. You may have heard of it, Prop 13. Prop 13 makes it extremely difficult to raise taxes to support social programs, infrastructure projects, and most importantly, education. So, California’s educational system has dropped from best in the nation to sub-Alabama levels since its introduction, its roads look like mule trails to the Hindu Kush, and social and educational programs have taken the biggest hits in the sausage slicing process…in a state with more poor people than any other.

Rid the government of fraud you say?

That’s a dandy idea, but none of our erstwhile CEO/politicians can explain how much there is, where it is, or how to cut it. BTW, if we removed of all of it, the spending effect – like banning earmarks – would be like pissing into a hurricane.

Of course we could start cutting the continued contracts with known fraudsters like, Blackwater/XE, Halliburton, and dozens of others carbuncles on the ass of the American economy. But hey, what do I know…except that having worked in both the public and private sectors I can vouch for the fact that fraud, abuse, and waste in corporate America is roughly the same in government America after being scaled to their relative sizes.

Moossilini and the Gajillionaire
Yes, people have a right to complain when their tax money isn’t spent wisely and no one wants to pay any more than necessary (excepting gajillionaire Warren Buffet, but you know how crazy the unbelievably rich are). But there’s the rub. One man’s waste is another man’s essential. If it were easy, we wouldn’t have a problem – even if Moosilini says it is. Still, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Yet, you can bet that when it comes to the cutting, some of the same folks who now complain righteously, albeit incorrectly, aren’t going to be happy.

Do you think that Granny holding the “Get Rid of Obamunist” sign is going to be happy when the people she voted for decide that her Social Security and Medicare are wasteful perks? How about those who are ready to send Junior off to college only to find that all that grant money went poof? And when Mom gets e-coli from some ConAgra-raised hamburger, treated with bum drugs, and it eventually kills her (without even the courtesy of a death panel) the FDA doesn’t look so wasteful anymore.

We are all Americans and part of the responsibility of every American is to chip something in for the common good of the nation – or we would be called the United States of Me.

Stop yelling about how bad you’ve got it.

You could be working 14 hours a day in an Indonesian sweatshop to make shirts you’ll buy on the cheap at Walmart.

Always low prices…Always.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Healthcare's Constitutionality

Much fuss has been stirred up in the aftermath of the healthcare reform vote, and even before the vote, over the constitutionality of an individual mandate to get coverage.  Republicans and conservatives have taken aim at this provision and set their sites on bringing down healthcare because of it.  Many believe that the government "forcing" people to buy healthcare coverage is unconstitutional.  I am not a big fan of the mandate, but I understand the rationale that went along with it when it was decided upon to be included in the bill.  Constitutionality determinations are best left to the professionals themselves who study Constitutional law.  An interesting Politico story opened my eyes to the whole situation.  

Erwin Chemerinsky specializes in American Constitutional Law and has boosted himself right into the healthcare debate that now ensues.  His recent Politico piece will have some thinking a little harder about Constitutionality.

Those opposing health care reform are increasingly relying on an argument that has no legal merit: that the health care reform legislation would be unconstitutional. There is, of course, much to debate about how to best reform America’s health care system. But there is no doubt that bills passed by House and Senate committees are constitutional.


I'm much more inclined to believe someone who studies Constitutional Law at Harvard than a yahoo toting a gun and screaming socialism at the top of their lungs, but lets read on and see just what Chemerinsky means by this.

Congress clearly could do this under its power pursuant to Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution to regulate commerce among the states. The Supreme Court has held that this includes authority to regulate activities that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. In the area of economic activities, “substantial effect” can be found based on the cumulative impact of the activity across the country. For example, a few years ago, the Supreme Court held that Congress could use its commerce clause authority to prohibit individuals from cultivating and possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal medicinal use because marijuana is bought and sold in interstate commerce.

He cites Article I section 8 of the Constitution, and more specifically Clause 1 stating that:  "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States"  

The gray area (gray? grey?) is where does laying/collecting taxation etc. stand in regards to our current bill?  The mandate must stay within the lines of taxation and spending powers that the government has.  According to Chemerinsky, the "mandate" does just that.  

 

Just some food for thought.

 

For the article in its entirety, check out this link

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1009/28620.html

gettin' my Galt on

Crossposted at The Motley Moose

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I've had some great conversations here at MyDD. Interacting with you guys is often informative and challenging. Because of the high regard I hold this board in, I wanted you to be the first to know:

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