After last night’s SOTU, Americans instantly proved their innovation, creativity, intelligence, and can-do spirit by putting out great memes. USA! USA!
The tax bill is the gift that keeps giving, not least because it exposes the Democrats as the greedy party that thinks all America’s money is theirs.
In a blue county, financial professionals unwittingly reveal that the tax bill is “bad” because California loses its free ride on the back of poorer states.
I was at a party during which I ended up speaking to a CPA and a personal financial adviser. They both assured me that the tax bill was a disaster. Of all the terrible things Trump has done, it is the worst. There is nothing more terrible than this tax bill.
I put on my ingenuous face. “I don’t really know much about it. What’s wrong with it?”
Said the CPA, “Well, I’m retired, so I actually don’t know the details. But it’s right up there with what he’s done to climate change and the national parks.”
“Oh, okay,” I replied. As far as I’m concerned, any intelligent conversation with that person was dead in the water.
I turned to the personal financial adviser, who had begun to offer his two cents.
“It’s a disaster. I mean, it’s what you would expect from Trump and the Republicans. It rewards rich people and hurts poor people.”
“As I said, I haven’t paid attention to the specifics. What does it do?”
“Well, I don’t really know yet, but I know it’s going to hurt poor people in California. It takes away the mortgage tax deduction and it no longer allows us to deduct our state income taxes from taxable income for our federal income taxes. It’s so destructive.”
Further inquiry revealed that, when he said “poor people in California,” he actually meant that it was going to be a problem for him, personally. For laudatory reasons that I won’t divulge here, he’d extended himself financially to live in our middle-class-by-Marin-standards neighborhood, so he has a large mortgage compared to someone in, say, Bakersfield or Abilene. I appreciate his personal problems and the sacrifices he’s making, but his personal financial issues, standing alone, are not a global indictment of a tax policy that simplifies (somewhat) an insanely complicated system and that lowers taxes across the board.
The same duo also castigated the tax bill because it reduces the corporate tax. I put on my ingenuous face again. “But won’t that help bring more business to the U.S. and create more jobs?”
“No,” both these financial professionals assured me. “It will simply reward Trump and his cronies.”
The party moved on. I would loved to have heard more, but it was not to be.
Some weeks are so crazy, with reality outrunning satire, that it’s hard to find pictures for the illustrated edition. Still, this round-up works.
Reminder to all: tax rates are merely legal minimums. You are free to send as much as you’d like.
— Pat Sajak (@patsajak) December 2, 2017
In an email obtained by @JudicialWatch through a federal lawsuit, a top prosecutor (who is now a deputy for Mueller’s Russia probe) praised Sally Yates after she defied Trump travel ban order https://t.co/fFEQQSWAWM pic.twitter.com/uury79Ye9R
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) December 5, 2017
I recently wrote posts about both Disney Princesses (and their dresses) and about Tesla and other electric cars. These are a few fun updates to those posts.
I wrote two posts in the past few days that have already been overtaken by events. The first post was about my disdain for Tesla, which I see as a rich people’s car built on poor people’s backs. The second post was about the impact Disney Princesses have on American women — and why.
My Tesla post is adequate, but the comments my readers have left are splendid, including updated information about battery technology. I have one more comment I want to add to the subject, plus a great link to a post at Zero Hedge. The comment is that, yes, it’s true that America’s rich people pay most of America’s taxes, so one can reasonably argue that they’re just getting their own money back — which is a point I’ve made in past posts over the years regarding electric cars. However, to the extent the taxpaying working class has any of its taxes siphoned off to Tesla, I think that’s wrong.
Also, a significant percentage of America’s tax revenue comes from corporations (corporations other than Tesla, I guess). You know and I know, though, that corporations don’t hang on to the deficits occasioned by their tax obligations. Instead, they pass those costs on to consumers. So when Wal-Mart has a hefty tax bill, it raises the prices on its products by a few pennies here and a few pennies there. I can easily absorb those increases. Poor people cannot, making corporate taxes an extremely regressive form of taxation.
The other update I want to add to my Tesla post is that Zero Hedge points out that governments around the world are announcing that all cars within their jurisdictions must be electric within “X” number of years. Those laws will bring problems even an elementary school child should be able to predict:
Most people will never accept this. Would you accept waiting 30-45 minutes (absolute best-case scenario, if a “fast” charger is available) to put a partial charge back into your EV? Were you aware that at the high-voltage “fast” chargers, due to the nature of the thing (and for the sake of battery life) you cannot put more than 80 percent charge back into the thing?
So, whatever the advertised best-case range of the car is, subtract 20 percent.
That puts even the longest-ranged of them in the same class as the fiercest-guzzling IC-engined SUV. Maybe 200 miles or so. But the fierce-guzzling SUV can be refueled to 100 percent in 5 minutes.
Which would you prefer to take on a road trip? One where there might not be a “fast” charger available when you run out of juice. What then?
Then, you spend overnight wherever you happen to be.
Electric car freaks peddle a Disney-esque fantasy to counter this objection. They envision everyone plugging in at home, overnight – or at work, while they work. The problem with this idea is the ant-like uniformity of use it assumes. Everyone going to work – and back home – at pretty much the same time.
Exactly! You also need to factor in the fact that, if California goes all-electric, but neighboring states don’t, there’s no way California drivers can take their cars outside of California borders. The moment you get to Nevada or Oregon, your electric car becomes a huge problem.
I don’t have any changes to make or new ideas to add to my Cinderella/Princess dress post. However, With perfect timing, the conservative blogosphere has been lighting up about the fact that a leftist mommy took it upon herself to edit her almost-3-year-old daughter’s Disney book: [Read more…]
So as not to run afoul of copyright issues, I no longer reprint political posters or cartoons from syndicated artists. Instead, I only reprint posters from anonymous posters makers or from named people who want their images to be shared. And the cool thing is that, looking to these sources, I manage to have so much brilliant material, combining wisdom and laughter about today’s political and cultural scene. I know you’ll enjoy these as much as I did. (Special thanks to Caped Crusader for his help.)
Legal work precluded me from blogging today, but I have some ideas for the rest of the evening. Meanwhile, as a warm-up act, a few clever political posters.
Prager U is out with another video, this one asking whether the economy benefits or suffers from government intervention. Steve Forbes makes the case (with which I agree) that government helps an economy best when it creates optimal economic conditions (low taxes, low regulation) and then sets the economy free. Government hurts the economy when it taxes job creators and regulates them to death.
Incidentally, I continue to believe in the saying “Few rules but unbreakable.” Rather than trying to micromanage every step a business takes, go big: “Don’t lie to consumers.” “Don’t sell dangerous products.” “Don’t withhold information from potential investors.” The more rules there are, the more rules that can be broken — and the more opportunities for graft.
Here’s the video:
Without diving into the details, there are two central flaws with this poster that negate everything it advocates: It assumes (1) that the money Bernie wants to spend belongs to the government, not the taxpayers, and (2) that the government will spend that money better under Bernie’s aegis than you would spend it for your own benefit or that past governments have spent it for the “public good.” One needs only to look at the history of socialism everywhere to realize that, when it comes to managing money (your money, that you earned), the government (which simply took it at gunpoint) does a lousy job and that individuals make smarter decisions.
Let me turn the rostrum over to Milton Friedman:
My daughter introduced me to a pro-Bernie site called I Like Bernie, But…. There, in response to various concerns voters might have about Bernie (e.g., he’s a socialist or a taxer), the website provides short, pithy, and entirely inaccurate responses aimed at setting those fears to rest.
Because I know that the website appeals strongly to young voters, I created a website called I Don’t Like Bernie, Because… that challenges the misinformation. Today I challenged the pro-Bernie’ website’s breezy promise that higher taxes on the rich will easily fund Bernie’s spending plans, leaving tons of money left over for everyone else. Here’s that post:
The new website I Like Bernie, But… tries to calm people’s fears about Bernie Sander’s socialist extremism. It states questions reflecting concerns that people might have about Bernie, and then provides pithy little answers refuting those fears.
In a previous post, I addressed the myriad falsehoods, omissions, and misconceptions in the website’s assurance that Bernie isn’t a dangerous socialist, he’s a good socialist. This post addresses the misleading answer to a concern that “I heard he [Bernie] wants to raise taxes.”
Here’s what I Like Bernie, But…. has to say about Bernie and taxes:
That’s simply false. Here’s the truth:
Another excellent Prager University video, this time about America’s tax code, which is fair if you believe (a) in income redistribution and (b) that one can still have good government if almost half of America’s people, because they pay no taxes, have no skin in the game when it comes to government spending.
Here, I’m happy to say, it’s raining! Considering that Marin is constantly hovering just a few gallons away from water rationing during this drought, rain is always good news. Equally good is the fact that it’s supposed to rain for another day, and then rain again in five days. Woo-hoo!!!
Last year was a triumphant year for gay marriage in California. That means that this year, for many newly wed gay couples, April 15 was the first time they filed their taxes as married couples. I have it on very good authority that many of these newly nuptialed couples are extremely unhappy now that they’re dealing with the infamous marriage penalty.
Considering how politically powerful gay men have become, could gay marriage lead to lower taxes?
And while we’re talking about taxes, Bill Whittle offers a sensible tax policy, one that would give all citizens a stake in America, while ending the current policy of taxing the producers right out of existence:
Flat taxes, once I understood how they worked, were one of the stepping stones on my way to conservativism. Twenty years ago, a brilliant conservative managed to explain to me how an across the board 10% sales tax would work. When he first told me about it, I got ruffled, pointing out that this was regressive tax that would hurt poor people. He shook his head sadly at my ignorance and explained that the most that poor people would get taxed, if they spent every penny they had, would be 10%, which is a reasonable amount to pay to have a stake in this country. (This was 20 years ago, before 51% of Americans paid nothing at all.) Moreover, he said, the bulk of taxes would come from those who aren’t poor, because middle class and rich people buy more. Everyone buys staples, but it’s the classes above the poverty line who have always — as a practical matter — bought into the American dream.
A 10% tax wouldn’t be high enough to deter high income spending, especially if there were no other taxes, so middle and upper class Americans would have an incentive to invest in the economy through purchasing goods. In the meantime, a 10% sales tax might be high enough to encourage a poor person to save more, rather than to buy inessential products, helping the poor person to stay solvent.
Certainly, a flat sales tax (or any flat tax) would be cheaper to administer than our current tax system. If it unleashed a rising tide of prosperity, it would bring in more revenue. On the other hand, if it brought in less revenue, it would stop rampant government spending (this was also before debt ceiling wars).
Bottom line: Anything more simple and more fair than what we have now is a better tax system.
One of the things I’ve tried to drill into my children is the truism that the single biggest indicator of poverty is single motherhood. That data, incidentally, does not reflect the old-fashioned kind of single motherhood, which was the result of widowhood or abandonment. Instead, we’re talking about modern single motherhood, the kind that sees women who are deluged with birth control choices nevertheless get pregnant with boyfriends or hook-ups who feel no emotional connection or sense of economic obligation to either mother or baby.
One of my children has a part-time job at a cafe and is, for the first time, meeting adults who have full-time jobs but who aren’t middle-class professionals living in single family homes in solidly upper middle class neighborhoods. One of these adults is pregnant and is unhappy about the fact that the cafe, where she’s been working for only five months, will not give her maternity leave.
Inquiry revealed that the pregnant woman is not married; that she’s living with a boyfriend who may or may not be the father of her child (my kid doesn’t know), and that the boyfriend doesn’t work. Except for getting regular nooky at night (assuming that the pregnant woman still wants that kind of attention), the mother-to-be will be, for all practical purposes, a single mother.
My child found it concerning that the boss won’t pay this single mother not to work for him. My child was therefore stymied when I asked this question: “Why should he pay for her foolish choices?”
I noted that, while it’s entirely possible that this woman was using enough birth control to protect six woman, and nevertheless still managed to get pregnant, the greater likelihood was that she was careless. Indeed, if she really wanted to protect against single motherhood, she could have abstained from sex until she had a ring on her finger and some economic prospects.
I threw in the fact that it’s incredibly costly to do business in California, especially in the food service industry, which have extremely low profit margins. Employers generally are drowning in regulations, which makes businesses very expensive to run. Add in taxes and all the other costs of business (rent, insurance, salaries, benefits, supplies, etc.), and it’s guaranteed that the employer is clearing just enough money for his personal expenses (mortgage, insurance, food, etc.). This owner is almost certainly not living extravagantly but is, instead, living a very temperate life.
Much of the money that the federal and state government are taking away from this man, both from his business and from him personally, is going to welfare programs for single mothers, something this employer must know. Since he’s already paying for the welfare this young woman will inevitably end up using, why should he pay twice by carrying her on the books even though she’s contributing nothing to his business? Even if he was feeling charitable, the government has left him nothing with which to be charitable, not to mention the fact that the government, by snatching money from his pockets, has already decided on his behalf which charities he should support — including economically foolish single motherhood.
Such a simple question: “Why should he pay for her foolish choices, when the government is already taxing him heavily in advance to pay for all the foolish choices of intentionally single mothers across America”?
We went to our accountant last night. She looked exhausted. When we asked why, she explained that this has been an exceptionally painful tax season. Obamacare taxes are hitting this year, and she had to informed people (well-to-do people, admittedly), that their taxes have increased by thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. They were not pleased.
Interestingly, none of them saw this coming — which, when you think about it, tells you an awful lot about the mindset of people here in Marin, most of whom are overwhelming Leftist, including the rich. The rich here know how to make money, but they really don’t know much else. They’re uninformed about the world and how it works. Moreover, because they think that voting Democrat makes them nice people, and voting for a black Democrat makes them good people, they are as blindly uninformed and as easily led as the 20-year-old college student or the 50-year-old cafeteria worker who reads only People and watches only Dr. Phil.