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  • Archive for the 'Taxes' Category

    Paying Higher Taxes Can be Very Profitable (rerun)

    Posted by David Foster on 11th April 2014 (All posts by )

    (Originally posted in January 2010–now an April perennial)

    Chevy Chase, MD, is an affluent suburb of Washington DC. Median household income is over $200K, and a significant percentage of households have incomes that are much, much higher. Stores located in Chevy Chase include Tiffany & Co, Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, Versace, Jimmy Choo, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Saks-Jandel.

    PowerLine observed that during the 2008 election season, yards in Chevy Chase were thick with Obama signs–and wonders how these people are now feeling about the prospect of sharp tax increases for people in their income brackets.

    The PowerLine guys are very astute, but I think they’re missing a key point on this one. There are substantial groups of people who stand to benefit financially from the policies of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid triumvirate, and these benefits can greatly outweigh the costs of any additional taxes that these policies require them to pay. Many of the residents of Chevy Chase–a very high percentage of whom get their income directly or indirectly from government activities–fall into this category.

    Consider, for starters, direct employment by the government. Most Americans still probably think of government work as low-paid, but this is much less true than it used to be. According to this, 19% of civil servants now make $100K or more. A significant number of federal employees are now making more than $170,000. And, of course, the more the role of government is expanded, the more such jobs will be created, and the better will be the prospects for further pay increases.

    If one member of a couple is a federal employee making $100K and the other is making $150K, that would be sufficient to allow them to live in Chevy Chase and occasionally partake of the shopping and restaurants. But to make the serious money required to really enjoy the Chevy Chase lifestyle, it’s best to look beyond direct government employment and pursue careers which indirectly but closely benefit from government activity…which are part of the “extended government,” to coin a phrase.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Taxes | 2 Comments »

    The Depression may be here.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 4th February 2014 (All posts by )

    I have believed for some time that we were entering another Depression. I have previously posted about it.

    The Great Depression did not really get going until the Roosevelt Administration got its anti-business agenda enacted after 1932. The 1929 crash was a single event, much like the 2008 panic. It took major errors in economic policy to make matters worse. Some were made by Hoover, who was a “progressive” but they continued under Roosevelt.

    I posted that statement earlier and it got a rather vigorous rebuttal. I still believe it, however. I think a depression is coming soon. What is more, I am not the only one. Or even only one of two.

    The second article preceded the election of 2012 but is still valid.

    When employment hit an air pocket in December, most analysts brushed off the dreadful jobs number as an anomaly, or a function of the weather. They chose to believe Ben Bernanke rather than their lying eyes. It’s hard to ignore a second signal that the U.S. economy is dead in the water, though: on Monday the Institute for Supply Management reported the steepest drop in manufacturing orders since December 1980:

    fredgraph

    In January, only 51% of manufacturers reported a rise in new orders, vs. 64% in December. Not only did the U.S. economy stop hiring in December, with just 74,000 workers added to payrolls; it stopped ordering new equipment. The drop in orders is something that only has occurred during recessions (denoted by the shaded blue portions of the chart). The Commerce Department earlier reported a sharp drop in December orders for durable goods. In current dollars, durable goods orders are unchanged from a year ago, which is to say they are lower after inflation.

    So, the economy stopped hiring, even at the poor pace the past five years have seen, but business also stopped buying.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Britain, Business, Health Care, Obama, Politics, Taxes, Tea Party, Urban Issues | 33 Comments »

    The Minimum Wage Debate and Tax Incentives

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 30th November 2013 (All posts by )

    Originally when I started over at Chicago Boyz I used to write regularly about tax policy. I haven’t written as much lately on that topic because the news has been completely dispiriting… at every turn it seems that the Federal, State and Local governments have taken positions to make the system more complex, confusing, and dysfunctional.

    The goal of a tax policy should be to:
    1. Achieve the revenue goals that they set out to meet
    2. Do so in a way that has causes the least amount of distortions to the economy

    Recently the idea of “fixing” our tax policies and incentives, for me at least, is aligned with recent discussions on the idea of raising the minimum wage. The minimum wage is $7.25 / hour, although this varies with state and local laws as summarized here. A suburb in Seattle, near the Seattle-Tacoma airport (Sea-Tac), recently passed an ordinance to raise the minimum wage to $15 / hour. This ordinance is a bit more clever than most, since the airport is unlikely to close or take significant actions due to the immense capital costs and constraints associated with doing so, and has a strong public element (politicians can just try to pass the costs on to air travelers).

    These same discussions come up in Chicago, as fast food workers also have had some (small) demonstrations to try to raise the minimum wage to $15 / hour. While their campaign has sputtered out, it will likely re-surface and be championed by our governor.

    The obvious difficulty with raising the minimum wage is that employers are not sitting ducks. There are many low wage workers in River North, for instance, working in bars, restaurants, cleaning services, and in various security related occupations (virtually every building has a set of doormen). If you doubled the minimum wage, for instance, all of these businesses and institutions would immediately embark on a host of labor saving initiatives and automation efforts. I am not an expert in these sorts of automation experts but can imagine people being replaced by computers, call centers handling service, and moving to self-service for customers in other instances. It is highly unlikely that they would just attempt to pass on the price increases and keep the same level of staffing; that would be economic suicide, especially with their competitors scrambling to reduce their labor expenses. Efforts that could not be automated would rise in price, which would likewise discourage consumption, until an equilibrium was reached.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Taxes | 9 Comments »

    Archive Post – Military Rites, Practices & Legends: BX & Commissary Privileges

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 1st October 2013 (All posts by )

    (An archive post from [gasp] 2004, wherein I attempted to explain and demystify certain military practices and establishments to a strictly civilian readership. I was reminded of this series, as one of the chief effects of the fed-gov shut-down is that just about all of the military commissaries at stateside bases will be closed from about midday today. The resulting effect on the retiree and active duty population at stateside bases probably will be rather minor, especially for those bases in or near larger cities, since Walmart, Target, Costco, Sam’s Club and local grocery chains provide alternative sources.)

    The main attraction of these privileges – access to the military base Commissary and Exchange – lies mostly in the fact that such access is forbidden to the usual run of civilians, and so they tend to think of them as vast Aladdin’s caves of riches and materiel things, to which they do not have the magic key! Alas, while I am fairly sure that the gold-plated bases in the military pantheon probably are pretty well stocked with the luxury goods, and may very well resemble Aladdin’s cave, at the ordinary level they are as Cpl. Blondie observed “full of stuff you don’t need.”
    When I was giving the school-kiddy tours at Mather AFB, to kids who had never been on a military base before, I would have the school-bus driver take a circuitous loop around the base, and point out the various establishments: “A base is just like a city or a town– this is the Headquarters building, it’s like the Mayor’s office and the City Hall, over there is the housing area, where everyone lives with their families. There is even an elementary school for the kids. That is our grocery store, only we call it the commissary. We even have our own gas station… this is the Exchange, it is just like a small department store, with a little bit of everything…”
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Current Events, Customer Service, Military Affairs, Personal Finance, Personal Narrative, Taxes | 10 Comments »

    Robert Reich Movie “Inequality for All”

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 28th September 2013 (All posts by )

    I saw the movie “Inequality for All” starring Robert Reich, the former labor secretary for Bill Clinton and a very short guy (he’s 4′ 11″) who is pretty personable and funny. Reich uses his day job as a university professor while teaching a class to illustrate his thoughts on inequality from the movie.

    In the movie he attempts to link:
    - decline in average wages, in “real” terms (adjusted for inflation)
    - growth in the highest wages (the top 1%)
    - with various factors, including globalization, automation, declines in unions, and the financial bubble
    - income inequality with lower marginal tax rates on the rich

    There are certainly some concepts in here than anyone can agree with. It would be good if more people in the USA earned a higher salary, had better educations, and were more productive.

    In the movie he mentions Warren Buffett, who famously pays a lower marginal tax rate than everyone else in his office, which is due to the fact that he receives long term capital gains and dividend income which are taxed at a lower rate. This is grist for the “raise taxes on the wealthy” discussion, as Buffett plays the likable old man. However, what he fails to mention is that Warren Buffett is the very candidate that the ESTATE TAX is designed to catch… rather than nickel and dime him every year on his assets as they rise in value (and cause friction and force him to sell them off to meet the tax bill), the estate tax would be levied on the super rich and it would effectively make up for the lower marginal rate during his lifetime by taxing increases on his wealth at a rate of 40%, for all amounts greater than about $5M. However, Warren Buffett is choosing to “evade” these taxes by setting up trusts and / or giving it away to his favorite causes; if Warren couldn’t avoid his estate tax through these loopholes (the same way you or I can’t avoid the payroll or sales taxes) then 40% of his $60B estate ($24B) would go to the Federal government, to fund the “investments in people” that Robert Reich is so passionate about. Funny that Reich didn’t call that out (didn’t follow his narrative, apparently).

    Another element he fails to mention is the growth in illegal immigration in the USA, and the havoc that this causes with unskilled labor (as they are willing to work for far less). It is funny because two professions he specifically mentions, meat packing and short order cooks, are magnets for immigrants and their arrival is a direct cause for falling wages in these fields. Not surprisingly, Reich didn’t want to alienate a core Democratic group.

    There is a rich “pillow manufacturer” who makes $10M+ / year who also describes how ridiculous it is in his opinion that his marginal rate isn’t higher. That same entrepreneur says that he invests in “funds of funds” and due to this he makes money without creating any jobs. That is quite a statement – what do you think those hedge funds invest in? They invest in commodities, stocks, real estate and debt (I’m assuming). When you are an investor and you provide money for stock and debt you are supporting companies that, in turn, hire staff. I can’t believe that Reich let this comment slide, but since it was what Reich wanted to hear, why interject?

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Academia, Big Government, Economics & Finance, Taxes | 27 Comments »

    Are We More or Less Free Than We Were in 1975?

    Posted by Lexington Green on 4th September 2013 (All posts by )

    I recently sent this link to some friends, which lists “10 Things You Could Do in 1975 That You Can’t Do Now.” The list included:

    2. You could buy cough syrup without showing an ID

    4. You could buy a gun without showing an ID
     
    5. You could pull as much cash out of your bank account without the bank filing a report with the government
     
    6. You could get a job without having to prove you were an American

    9. You could open a stock brokerage account without having to explain where the money came from

    10. You could open a Swiss bank account with ease. All Swiss banks were willing and happy to open accounts for Americans

    I opined: “We are FAR less free than we used to be. The “War on Drugs” is a major cause, but general government encroachment for its own sake is behind most of it.”

    My friend Singapore Pundit responded:

    [Lex], I have to challenge your theory that we are “FAR less” than free we use to be. Here is a short list of things from the 70′s which we are free from today: The military draft; 70% marginal tax rates on income; airline price regulation by the federal government; forced busing of school children; gas rationing by the federal government (Nixon); legalized monopoly of telecommunications; US gov. restricted travel to China, Vietnam, Russia and east Europe; banned importation of books based on ideology; tariffs on goods from Canada and Mexico; federal government price controls (Nixon); 25% of workers in unions (now it’s 7%). Here are somethings we have today versus the 70′s which I would argue make us freer: charter schools; home schooling; the internet and access by it to free information; 401K; more right-to-work states; right to vote for citizens over 18.

    I had to concede these were all good things.

    So, on net, are we freer or less free?

    Posted in Civil Liberties, History, Taxes, USA | 39 Comments »

    Chicago “TIFs”

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 31st July 2013 (All posts by )

    In Chicago a “TIF” stands for “Tax Increment Financing”. Here is a link to the City of Chicago web site which explains how a site qualifies as a TIF. Basically a TIF limits the amount of property tax the city can collect at the location and in effect gives the owner / developer a big tax break. There are many reasons listed by the city as to why a location might qualify but supposedly it is used to eliminate “blighting factors”.

    The Chicago Reader has written a series of articles about how TIF’s are used to reward already rich developers with tax breaks. The Sun Times wrote one this week:

    It’s time for another serious look at the pros and cons of Tax Increment Financing in Chicago — a tiff over TIF — the controversial economic development program that’s supposed to revitalize struggling neighborhoods by offering financial incentives to potential investors.

    The “sweeteners” come from property taxes that, to a large extent, might otherwise be spent on education, housing, parks, libraries, and public safety.

    That’s defensible when there’s enough tax revenue to go around, but it’s problematic in lean times, like now, when Chicago is closing schools, firing teachers, reducing library hours and trying to fight violent crime with fewer police officers.

    Another concern is that many TIF “districts” are in affluent areas, especially in and around downtown, which violates the intent of the state law that created the program in 1977 to revitalize “blighted” communities.

    Here is a project that is being built under a TIF; this is for a $29M park alongside the Chicago River at Canal and Lake Street. the “River Point TIF” is obviously located in an area that doesn’t appear to be tied to much blight…

    While it is likely that politically connected developers and clout-heavy individuals are tied to this process, on the other hand this is one of the few ways the city actually and concretely assists businesses that generate all of the economic value for them. Businesses pay very high property taxes in Cook County / the Loop and then the tax breaks fall back to the selective few that run through this process. It is a very opaque process and there is limited information available on the TIF accounts and funding.

    Cross posted at LITGM

    Posted in Chicagoania, Taxes | 1 Comment »

    Illinois Will End up Like Detroit if It Does Not Change Course

    Posted by Lexington Green on 30th July 2013 (All posts by )

    Detroit was once the greatest city of the modern world. Automobiles were the cutting edge of technology in the first half of the twentieth century. Talent and genius flocked to Detroit. Innovators in engineering, technology, design, finance, marketing, and management created a concentration of economic dynamism and creativity unlike anything the world had yet seen. Detroit was the Silicon Valley of its day, except its products were made of tangible metal, rubber, and glass. The auto industry transformed America into a land of mobility and personal freedom beyond the dreams of earlier generations. Henry Ford said, “History is bunk.” He meant the old limits could be blown away, and ordinary people could have a better life than they had ever dreamed of before.

    (The rest is here.)

    Posted in America 3.0, Big Government, Conservatism, Economics & Finance, History, Illinois Politics, Leftism, Political Philosophy, Politics, Society, Taxes, Transportation, Unions, Urban Issues, USA | 22 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Lexington Green on 3rd June 2013 (All posts by )

    The solution to this scandal is not to fire the likes of Lois Lerner (though that would be a good start). The answer is to abolish the agency entirely, and to make a concerted effort to shrink the size and reach of the entire federal government apparatus.

    Ace of Spades

    RTWT.

    Posted in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Taxes, USA | 8 Comments »

    Peggy Noonan is figuring it out …

    Posted by Lexington Green on 2nd June 2013 (All posts by )

    Peggy Noonan is getting there. A few days ago she was still talking about “restoring trust.”

    But the IRS scandal is about facts not trust. She has apparently figured that out.

    Now she says “If it isn’t forced back into its cage now, and definitively, it will prowl the land hungrily forever.”

    That’s progress.

    But “forced back into its cage” is a metaphor. Peggy can’t bring herself to say what it must mean.

    Let’s think out loud about what it must mean.

    The IRS is staffed by unionized employees who are aligned with one political party. The IRS is about to be given sweeping new powers under the ACA. This entity cannot be forced into a cage. The incentives drive the conduct, and the incentives are destructive for the liberty of anyone who opposes the Democrats on anything. That is structural, it is not a matter of individual incompetence or malice.

    The only solution is too radical for most people to consider: The existing IRS has to be shut down and replaced. The only way this limitless menace can be removed is if the existing IRS, the existing tax code, the existing storehouse of personal data on all Americans, and the capacity to destroy people’s lives at discretion are ended. A new simplified type of tax code and a new taxing authority to enforce it, staffed with a new workforce, is a massive proposal, but anything less won’t work.

    The monster can’t be caged, it has to be eliminated.

    BTW, this is Cook County on a galactic scale. We have seen the Black & White version of this movie in Chicago, the color version in Springfield and now this is the 3D IMAX version of the same horror story. Government power for partisan oppression is too normal to talk about here in Chicago. Fifty Democrat alderman and zero Republicans is too normal to mention. Democrat super-majorities in Springfield at the same time they are reducing the state to an international dunce is somehow the way things inevitably go.

    We know where this is going. America is next.

    But America is a big place, and the Chicago Way may not play well in the other 49 states.

    I hope the rest of the country figures out what is happening.

    Soon.

    (We discuss eliminating the IRS in America 3.0.)

    Posted in Taxes, USA | 24 Comments »

    Cascade

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 15th May 2013 (All posts by )

    And so it begins; at first a trickle of rocks falling down a steep mountainside; then more and bigger rocks, and then half the mountainside comes away and falls away in a mighty roar, the earth trembles, and White House spokes-minion Jay Carney is probably looking around desperately trying to figure out what hit him. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Civil Society, Conservatism, Leftism, Obama, Taxes, Tea Party, The Press, USA | 21 Comments »

    RERUN–Paying Higher Taxes Can be Very Profitable

    Posted by David Foster on 9th April 2013 (All posts by )

    (Originally posted in January 2010–now an April perennial)

    Chevy Chase, MD, is an affluent suburb of Washington DC. Median household income is over $200K, and a significant percentage of households have incomes that are much, much higher. Stores located in Chevy Chase include Tiffany & Co, Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, Versace, Jimmy Choo, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Saks-Jandel.

    PowerLine observed that during the 2008 election season, yards in Chevy Chase were thick with Obama signs–and wonders how these people are now feeling about the prospect of sharp tax increases for people in their income brackets.

    The PowerLine guys are very astute, but I think they’re missing a key point on this one. There are substantial groups of people who stand to benefit financially from the policies of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid triumvirate, and these benefits can greatly outweigh the costs of any additional taxes that these policies require them to pay. Many of the residents of Chevy Chase–a very high percentage of whom get their income directly or indirectly from government activities–fall into this category.

    Consider, for starters, direct employment by the government. Most Americans still probably think of government work as low-paid, but this is much less true than it used to be. According to this, 19% of civil servants now make $100K or more. A significant number of federal employees are now making more than $170,000. And, of course, the more the role of government is expanded, the more such jobs will be created, and the better will be the prospects for further pay increases.

    If one member of a couple is a federal employee making $100K and the other is making $150K, that would be sufficient to allow them to live in Chevy Chase and occasionally partake of the shopping and restaurants. But to make the serious money required to really enjoy the Chevy Chase lifestyle, it’s best to look beyond direct government employment and pursue careers which indirectly but closely benefit from government activity…which are part of the “extended government,” to coin a phrase.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Taxes | 5 Comments »

    Taxed Enough Already

    Posted by Lexington Green on 25th February 2013 (All posts by )

    Very closely are noble issues bound up with material ones. Nothing could be more grossly material than the refusal to pay taxes, and the honest historian who comes to examine these occasional epic refusals will find often that the tax was reasonable and the refusal, on material grounds, absurd. Yet the refusal to pay taxes is one of the sacraments of history, the outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace, the symbol of a resurgent spirit among an oppressed people, the assertion of the rights of man, the voice of liberty defying the dictates of authority.

    William the Silent: William of Nassau, Prince of Orange, 1533-1584 by C.V. Wedgwood

    Posted in Anglosphere, Arts & Letters, Book Notes, History, Taxes, Tea Party, Video | 16 Comments »

    The Sequester

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 22nd February 2013 (All posts by )

    As we count down to March 1, we are hearing more and more about the dreaded sequester. The left is confused about its history.

    How did this become Obama’s fault? It started with Mitt Romney, a once-influential Republican Party politician and its 2012 nominee for president. In the third debate with President Obama, Romney fretted that “a trillion dollars in cuts through sequestration and budget cuts to the military” would weaken America’s defenses. The president literally dismissed this with a wave of his hand. “The sequester is not something that I proposed,” he said. “It’s something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen.”

    How did this get to be the story ?

    The accidental Bible of Sequestration is The Price of Politics, Bob Woodward’s history of the debt-limit wars, and one of the least flattering portrayals of the president this side of Breitbart.com. In it, Woodward recounts a July 27, 2011, afternoon meeting between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and White House negotiators. Reid wanted a “trigger” as part of a debt deal, some way to force more cuts in the future without defaulting on the debt that summer. Chief of Staff Jack Lew and adviser Rob Nabors proposed sequestration, as a threat that could be averted if/when Congress passed a better deal.

    OK. The White House staff suggested it. Why ? Because they assumed that Republicans would cave in rather than accept cuts in the defense budget.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Conservatism, Economics & Finance, History, Leftism, Obama, Politics, Taxes | 9 Comments »

    Warren Buffett The Hypocrite

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 21st January 2013 (All posts by )

    Taxes are very complex in that there are many different types of taxes designed to raise revenue and modify behavior that the government wants to incentivize or dis-incentivize. At the highest and most simplified level you have:

    Sales Taxes – generally taxes paid by the buyer to the seller at the point of purchase (tax on food at the grocery store)
    Income Taxes – taxes on money people earn paid to the Federal, State or Local governments. Often this money is “withheld” from your paycheck. Typically there are myriad deductions applied to determine the amount owed
    Property Taxes – taxes levied on property owned based on valuation and paid to the local government annually
    Excise or “Sin” Taxes – taxes on specific items that the government wants to dis-incentivize such as cigarettes and alcohol, collected at the point of purchase
    Payroll Tax – tax on wages used to “fund” social security and medicare and are levied on the employer and employee alike, to a certain amount, with few or no deductions
    Capital Gains Tax – tax on the profits of securities, properties or businesses sold when the amount received is greater than the cost
    Estate Tax – tax on the accumulated assets of someone who died, paid to the government.

    There has been talk in the media about wealthy individuals who advocate “higher taxes” for various reasons, and they receive disproportionate press coverage for their “selfless” actions. Warren Buffett in particular has called for higher taxes on the rich, specifically INCOME taxes, as you can note below:

    As fiscal cliff talk buzzes around Washington and Wall Street, Buffett on Monday published a New York Times editorial calling on Congress to impose a 30% tax on people making $1 million to $10 million a year and 35% percent above that.

    However, Warren Buffett is taking significant steps to actually avoid paying the ONE tax specifically designed for him – the estate tax. Here he joins with other billionaires on their “pledge” to give away their fortunes (to trusts that they would designate how the money gets spent).

    Warren Buffett got 11 more billionaires to agree to give away half of their wealth to charity.

    It is hypocritical for those billionaires like Buffett to set aside their money in charities to be directed for purposes that they “believe in” while everyone else’s money is funneled to Federal, State or Local governments to fund whatever that governmental body decides to do with it. You and I can’t control where our payroll, income, sales or property taxes go – and we have to accept that. Then Buffett, too, should accept that when he calls on higher taxes for everyone (but income taxes hardly dent him since his wealth would be taxed through capital gains if he chooses to sell or most likely the estate tax on all of his unrealized gains through his lifetime) he should dismantle his “estate tax” protections and just show up and give his billions directly into the US Treasury when he dies, to be used for whatever purpose the government chooses, likely to pay interest on debt that we issue to the Chinese or to pay for some sort of poorly run entitlement or wealth transfer scheme.

    Warren – if you believe in the call for higher taxes, then just die without an estate plan, and let the Federal government get their 40% of your billions. It is the right thing for you to do, since you believe (apparently) that they will spend this money wisely.

    Cross posted at LITGM

    Posted in Taxes | 19 Comments »

    Why Paris Hilton Makes a Poor Poster Child for the Death Tax

    Posted by Shannon Love on 18th November 2012 (All posts by )

    From Instapundit:

    “The idea behind the estate tax is to prevent the very wealthy among us from accumulating vast fortunes that they can pass along to the next generation,” said Patrick Lester, director of Federal Fiscal Policy with the progressive think tank — OMB Watch. “The poster child for the estate tax is Paris Hilton — the celebrity and hotel heiress. That’s who this is targeted at, not ordinary Americans.”[emp added]

    This is just one problem with that little story:

    Conrad Nicholson Hilton (December 25, 1887 – January 3, 1979) was an American hotelier. He is well known for being the founder of the Hilton Hotels chain.

    In 1979, Hilton died of natural causes at the age of 91. He is interred at Calvary Hill Cemetery, a Catholic cemetery in Dallas, Texas. He left $500,000 to each of his two surviving siblings and $10,000 to each of his nieces, nephews and to his daughter Francesca. The bulk of his estate was left to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation,[6] which he established in 1944. His son, Barron Hilton, who spent much of his career helping build the Hilton Hotels Corporation, contested the will, despite being left the company as acting President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board of Directors. A settlement was reached and, as a result, Barron Hilton received 4 million shares of the hotel enterprise, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation received 3.5 million shares, and the remaining 6 million shares were placed in the W. Barron Hilton Charitable Remainder Unitrust.[6] Upon Barron Hilton’s death, Unitrust assets will be transferred to the Hilton Foundation[citation needed], of which Barron sits on the Board of Directors as Chairman.[7]

    On December 25, 2007, Barron Hilton announced that he would leave about 97% of his fortune (estimated at $2.3 billion),[7] to a charitable unitrust which would eventually be merged with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.[8] By leaving his estate to the Foundation, Barron not only donated the fortune he had amassed on his own, but also returned to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation the Hilton family fortune amassed by his father, which otherwise would have been gone to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation 30 years previously had Barron not contested his father’s will.[emp added]

    So, not only has Paris Hilton not inherited anything yet, because her grandfather is still alive, she won’t inherit anything major ever. It all goes to charity. Paris Hilton is a sleazoid, but she is a largely a self-made sleazoid. Her personal financial assets are almost entirely the result of her leveraging her, uh, other assets via secret sex tape into a bizarre celebrity career. She’s worth several hundred million now, none of it inherited.

    Paris Hilton has been trotted out by Leftists for years as an example of the need for the death tax and yet apparently none of them bothered to actually check if she was actually an heiress. The elite Democrats who carefully construct the party’s talking points, don’t seem to even bother to check Wikipedia. (Or they do and just assume that the average Leftist voter won’t.)

    The real point of interest here is not the inanity of the death tax, but rather the studied indifference of the Democrats and Leftists in general to actually studying the wealthy and telling the truth about them.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Leftism, Taxes | 42 Comments »

    After Math – Going Mini-Galt

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 8th November 2012 (All posts by )

    Blondie and I went to bed Tuesday night around 9:30, already fearing that things were not going well as regards Mitt Romney’s chances of taking up residence in that big official governmental residence on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington … so it was not a totally incapacitating shock to the system on Wednesday morning to wake up (to the tune of our next door neighbor’s Basset hound incessantly barking –G*d, are we beginning to hate that dog!) in the wee hours, turn on the computer and discover that Michelle will have another four years of lavish vacations on the government dime.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Americas, Big Government, Deep Thoughts, Politics, Taxes, Tea Party | 37 Comments »

    The Beer Index

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 3rd November 2012 (All posts by )

    Pity the UK government. Like most, they have had a great deal of trouble closing the gap between money spent and tax revenue. And, like most, they have scrambled to raise taxes in order to increase the amount of money coming in.

    One of the items hardest hit with rising tax rates in Great Britain is beer.

    The powers-that-be have enacted a “beer duty escalator“, which automatically raises the tax on beer by 2% over inflation every single year. According to the article behind the last link, the average beer drinker in the UK now pays £177 every year just in taxes alone. The average pub owner must shell out £66,000 per year in beer taxes, above and beyond the overhead costs that come from running any small business. And, thanks to the automatic increases, every year is going to be worse than the last.

    As any economist who hasn’t drunk deep of the Liberal kool-aide will tell you in a heartbeat, adding frivolous costs to any commodity will result in limiting demand. Beer sales in the UK have plummeted, while close to a score of pubs across the island nation have been going out of business every week.

    Just think of all those people who were dependent on the family business, now out of work and on the dole. I don’t have the numbers to tell for sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to find out that any jump in revenues realized by the beer duty have been more than offset by the increased number of people who now rely on public assistance.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, Economics & Finance, Energy & Power Generation, Taxes | 9 Comments »

    Take Home Candy – A Halloween Tax Parable

    Posted by Shannon Love on 1st November 2012 (All posts by )

    This was supposed to go up yesterday but apparently I forgot to hit the “publish” button. *Sigh*

    Posted in Taxes, Video | Comments Off

    Joe Biden and the debate

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 12th October 2012 (All posts by )

    A clownish Joe Biden mugged, groaned and interrupted Paul Ryan for 90 minutes last night. It was an odd spectacle but, apparently, just what the Democrats wanted. He lied about the Libya story and now Bill and Hillary Clinton may be thinking rebellion. Biden strongly suggested that the State Department was to blame for the murders because they did not ask for more security, in spite of the testimony before Congress the day before. If Hillary thinks she sees the bus coming, she may jump ship and it won’t be pretty.

    With tensions between President Obama and the Clintons at a new high, former President Bill Clinton is moving fast to develop a contingency plan for how his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should react if Obama attempts to tie the Benghazi fiasco around her neck, according to author Ed Klein.

    Biden also lied about Iran and their nuclear ambitions. He dismissed the danger of doing nothing. He said they do not have a “delivery system.” They have a delivery system named Hezbollah. Iran may not have an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the US, yet. If Iran were to choose to attack the US, a container ship and a US port are much more likely to be involved than a new missile. Certainly, Israel is within reach as are the countries of Europe. Saudi Arabia is within reach. The Sunni-Shia rivalry is sufficient motive but the other reasons should not be ignored. Iran is ruled by a sect of suicidal maniacs.

    Ryan capably described the Romney-Ryan tax proposals and his Medicare plan. I expected the abortion question and I thought it was well handled. Biden, of course, lied about the administration’s rules for health insurance coverage of contraception and abortion. That is not a big issue for me as I am pro-choice but the dishonesty is annoying. The “47% issue” and Ryan’s mention of a “30% who are takers” will not bother many people who agree and the offended are likely Obama voters no matter what happens.

    It will be interesting to see what the result will be. The left, of course, is excited by the nasty tone Biden adopted.

    On their $5 trillion tax cut, Romney/Ryan really need to either start naming the loopholes they’d close to pay for it or just admit they can’t make it revenue neutral without whacking the middle class. The VP was appropriately relentless on this point. Even I’m starting to feel sorry for them every time someone brings up this little flaw in their plan. I suspect I’m not alone in realizing that this country simply can’t afford to elect people promising a tax cut of this magnitude who, when it comes to paying for it, essentially say “trust us, we’ll find a bipartisan solution.”

    The “$Five trillion tax cut” has been thoroughly debunked, including Stephanie Cutter’s retreat from the claim.

    But, as I pointed out, Gov. Romney has already taken capital gains and dividends-for example-off the table. Now, here’s the revealing part: Larry said, and I know many in the investment community, including Mitt, feel exactly the same way, “I don’t consider those loopholes.”

    So, here is a lefty who wants to raise taxes on investment income and capital gains. I don’t see enough responses pointing out that this income has already been taxed as ordinary income. Mitt Romney and most investors had salary income, taxed at the rates of the time, which they saved and invested. The capital gains and dividend income is income that was already taxed once. The left simply does not understand this.

    Ryan kept his cool and Biden played the fool. Ann Althouse was impressed as I believe many women were impressed.

    As I said, I’m tired of the yelling. I found the debate really hard to watch, but I kept watching because I was committed to live-blogging. Even still, I got catatonic. There was a point when I didn’t write anything for 20 minutes and then I said:
    Biden has been yelling at Martha Raddatz for the last 15 minutes (as the subject is war). It’s so inappropriate!

    The previous post had been:
    The stress level is rising. Biden is so angry. Why is he yelling? Ryan needs nerves of steel not to lose his cool. I’m impressed that Ryan, when he gets his turn, is able to speak in an even, natural voice. It’s hard to concentrate on the policy itself, because the emotional static is so strong.

    That shows how I felt: pain. So here’s my question. Ratings were down, I see, but when were the ratings taken? In the beginning? How did the ratings drop off over the course of the 90 minutes?

    I have seen many comments about people, especially women, turning off the debate because of Biden’s rudeness and blustering. The ratings were down and the question is when were the ratings surveyed ? Of course, last night was also a big sports night. I think Ryan did better than the initial impressions suggest.

    If Obama uses the Biden debate tactic as a model for next Tuesday, the election may well be over.

    Posted in Economics & Finance, International Affairs, Iran, Leftism, Middle East, National Security, Obama, Politics, Taxes, War and Peace | 23 Comments »

    The Romney tax cut.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 7th October 2012 (All posts by )

    Today, the Sunday morning TV shows on politics demonstrated the response of the Obama campaign to Romney’s debate win last week. Paul Krugman, who looks more and more like a political cheerleader and less like an economist, led the charge. The topic was the “five trillion dollar tax cut.”

    The Obama campaign is already backing away from this claim, but let’s consider it.

    This “five trillion dollar tax cut” figure is arrived at by taking his statement that he will cut rates by 20% and limit deductions. Multiple the total tax revenue per year by 20% and you get five trillion. This same reform was done in 1986 and the result was a 15 year economic boom. The results are discussed here.

    Twenty years ago today (2006), President Ronald Reagan signed into law the broadest revision of the federal income tax in history. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 — the biggest and most controversial legislative story of its time — had lawmakers, lobbyists and journalists in Washington in an uproar for two years. Despite nearly dying several times, the measure eventually passed, producing a simpler code with fewer tax breaks and significantly lower rates. The changes affected every family and business in the nation.

    Of course the Congress undid it over the ensuing years. We all expected that. What about Romney’s plan ?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Business, Conservatism, Economics & Finance, Elections, Health Care, Obama, Political Philosophy, Politics, Predictions, Taxes, Tea Party | 11 Comments »

    Economic Policy Advice From 1377 AD

    Posted by David Foster on 30th September 2012 (All posts by )

    Ibn Khaldun, the great Muslim historian, in his Introduction to History:

    Taxation and the reason for low and high tax revenues

    It should be known that at the beginning of a dynasty, taxation yields a large revenue from small assessments. At the end of the dynasty, taxation yields a small revenue from large assessments.

    The same reason for this is that when the dynasty follows the way of Islam, it imposes only such taxes as are stipulated by the religious law, such as charity taxes, the land tax, and the poll tax. Theses have fixed limits that cannot be exceeded.

    When the dynasty follows the ways of group feeling and (political) superiority, it necessary has at first a desert attitude, as has been mentioned before. The desert attitude requires kindness, reverence, humility, respect for the property of other people, and disinclination to appropriate it, except in rare instances. Therefore, the individual, the individual imposts and assessments, which together constitute the tax revenue, are low. When tax assessment and imposts upon the subjects are low, the latter have the energy and desire to do things. Cultural enterprises grow and increase, because the low taxes bring satisfaction. When cultural enterprises grow, the number of individual imposts and assessments mounts. In consequence, the tax revenue, which is in sum total of (the individual assessment), increase.

    When the dynasty continues in power and their rulers follow each other in succession, they become sophisticated. The Bedouin attitude and simplicity lose their significance, and the Bedouin qualities of moderation and restraint disappear. Royal authority with its tyranny and sedentary culture that stimulates sophistication, make their appearance. The people of the dynasty then acquire qualities of character related to cleverness. Their customs and needs become more varied because of the prosperity and luxury in which they are immersed. As a result, the individual imposts and assessments upon the subjects, agricultural labourers, farmers and all the other tax payers, increase. Every individual impost and assessment is greatly increased, in order to obtain a higher tax revenue. Customs duties are placed upon articles of commerce and (levied) at the city gates. Then, gradual increases in the amount of the assessments succeed each other regularly, in correspondence with the gradual increase in the luxury customs and many needs of the dynasty and the spending required in connection with them. Eventually, the taxes will weigh heavily upon the subjects and overburden them. Heavy taxes become an obligation and tradition, because the increase took place gradually, and no one knows specifically who increase them or levied them. They lie upon the subjects like an obligation and tradition.

    The assessments increase beyond the limits of equity. The result is that the interest of the subjects in cultural enterprise disappears, since they compare expenditure and taxes with their income and gain and see little profit they make, they loose all hope. Therefore, many of them refrain from all cultural activity. The result is that the total tax revenue goes down, as individual assessment go down. Often when decrease is noticed, the amounts of individual imposts are increased. This is considered a means of compensating for the decrease. Finally, individual imposts and assessments reach their limit. It would be of no avail to increase them further. The costs of all cultural enterprise are now too high, the taxes are too heavy, and the profits anticipated fail to materialize. Finally, civilization is destroyed, because the incentive for cultural activity is gone. It is the dynasty that suffers from the situation, because its profits from cultural activity.

    If one understands this, he will realize that the strongest incentive for cultural activity is to lower as much as possible the amounts of individual imposts levied upon persons capable of undertaking cultural enterprises. In this manner, such persons will be psychologically disposed to undertake them, because they can be confident of making a profit from them.

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    Posted in Economics & Finance, History, Islam, Middle East, Political Philosophy, Taxes | 24 Comments »

    Ryan & Subsidiarity

    Posted by Ginny on 1st July 2012 (All posts by )

    Last week, in my Sunday School class, the substitute teacher argued that those who linked “liberation theology” with communism were wealthy landowners hoping to tar legitimate complaints of the poor with that brush. The sermon quoted Fr. Martin: “Congressman Ryan – or any of us – can say of a budget plan that slashes supplemental funding for basic economic needs to those in poverty, that it’s a Democrat plan or Republican plan, but no one can ever say that a plan with such likely repercussions is consistent with Church teaching or is a plan Jesus would endorse or approve.” Clearly, that church voice agrees with the letter from some of the Georgetown faculty.

    To my mind, Ryan has the better argument. For one thing, he is more descriptive than self-righteous. In both speech and questions, Ryan respects human dignity & human nature – why subsidiarity works. More importantly, he is honest: productivity of all helps all, free lunches aren’t really free, and we have taken from our children to make our lives easy. Implicit is a sense few acts have more questionable ethics than forcing charitable contributions from others or infantilizing those we help.
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    Posted in Economics & Finance, Religion, Speeches, Taxes, USA | 9 Comments »

    Paying Higher Taxes Can Be Very Profitable

    Posted by David Foster on 16th April 2012 (All posts by )

    (I originally posted this in early 2010–today seems like an appropriate day for a re-post)

    Chevy Chase, MD, is an affluent suburb of Washington DC. Median household income is over $200K, and a significant percentage of households have incomes that are much, much higher. Stores located in Chevy Chase include Tiffany & Co, Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, Versace, Jimmy Choo, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Saks-Jandel.

    PowerLine observed that during the 2008 election season, yards in Chevy Chase were thick with Obama signs–and wonders how these people are now feeling about the prospect of sharp tax increases for people in their income brackets.

    The PowerLine guys are very astute, but I think they’re missing a key point on this one. There are substantial groups of people who stand to benefit financially from the policies of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid triumvirate, and these benefits can greatly outweigh the costs of any additional taxes that these policies require them to pay. Many of the residents of Chevy Chase–a very high percentage of whom get their income directly or indirectly from government activities–fall into this category.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Taxes | 1 Comment »

    Chicago Tax Day Tea Party, April 16, 2012, Daley Plaza, Noon

    Posted by Lexington Green on 14th April 2012 (All posts by )

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    April 12, 2012

    Contact: Eric Kohn
    Communications Director, Chicago Tea Party
    eric@chicagoteaparty.org
    773-209-3435

    TAX DAY TEA PARTY PLANNED FOR CHICAGO

    CHICAGO – Concerned citizens are set to gather at noon on Monday, April 16 at Daley Plaza at 50 W. Washington to protest out of control spending, unsustainable deficits and the unprecedented growth of government. People will come together in downtown Chicago, where the tea party movement began, to hold politicians of both parties accountable, stop runaway spending and defend individual liberty and free markets.

    “We are concerned with the direction of our country and our state,” said Chicago Tea Party Communications Director Eric Kohn. “The only solutions being offered from politicians in Washington and Springfield are higher taxes, more spending and massive debt. We will continue to fight for less government, more freedom and fiscal responsibility on tax day and every day through the November election.”

    EVENT DETAILS

    What: Chicago Tax Day Tea Party
    Where: Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago
    When: Noon – 2PM, Monday, April 16

    FEATURED SPEAKERS:
    U.S. Conressman, Joe Walsh, IL-8th District
    Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch
    Dana Loesch, CNN Contributor, Co-Founder St. Louis Tea Party
    Denise Cattoni, State Director, Illinois Tea Party
    Joel Pollak, Editor-in-Chief, Breitbart.com
    Dan Proft, WLS-AM 890 Host
    David From, State Director, Americans for Prosperity Illinois
    Contact Eric Kohn at 773-209-3435 for press availability with the speakers.

    There will be shirts for sale at the 4th annual Tax Day Tea Party Rally, including the above design from Bob Black.

    Posted in Announcements, Chicagoania, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Conservatism, Obama, Political Philosophy, Taxes, Tea Party, USA | 4 Comments »