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Why Everyone Is Wrong About "Tax Reform"

So, What’s Wrong With “Tax Reform”?

I’ll start with this little hint:  What we are seeing debated right now in the abortion we call Congress is not tax reform.  It isn’t even a significant tax reduction.  Okay, so that was more than a hint.

Take a gander at my piece about Boris and Ivan.  When I posted it last week a Boris attitude was running rampant through social media and cable news.  Commentators and the wider ignorant crowd were whining about how unfair it is that the rich get the several times more than everyone else.They should pay more still!

When I read and hear people saying such things I often wonder if they are stupid and pathetic enough to actually believe it, or if they are hoping to join the chorus of the left, hoping that Daddy Government will kill Ivan’s goat for them.

At any rate, it seems to be working.  Since last post congress has been debating who should get taxed to pay for the tax cuts.  (Can you see the stupidity at work here?)   It appears they will not only keep the top rate at 39.6%, there is serious talk of running it up to 48%+ to pay for the measly tax breaks the middle class is getting.

There are so many things wrong with the ongoing debate it is hard to know where to start.  The undiluted bullshit is flowing out of DC like a wall of stinking lava.

The first, and most significant point is how blatantly disinterested the Republican are in a true, free-market fix to our tax code.  I would lump Trump in with them but I have to allow for his monumental ignorance about all things political and economic.  I have been so hard on him over the years it wouldn’t be fair to pretend he understands what is actually being debated here.  Clearly, the Four Morons simply stroked his ego, let him think he was the driver of the debate and told him this was going to be a historic tax cut.  It’s not going to be any such thing.

If the GOP actually wanted to REFORM the tax code, they would have started from a position of real reform.  This would have been to announce that taxes and spending were going to be slashed to the bone.  Naturally, the Dems would have had fits.  But they would have been forced to defend the ridiculous code we have now.  Any conservative, even pretend conservatives like Paul Ryan could have easily won that debate.

The result, even with compromises, would have been far more productive and far better for the economy than what we have now.  That’s because the GOP started, as they did with Obamacare repeal and Immigration, from a position that was already 90% a Dem/Socialist position.  And as with Obamacare and Immigration the Dems couldn’t have been happier with the laws being proposed by Ryan and McConnell.

When you see the Democrat half of the Four Morons saying how horrible the GOP plans are, you are just hearing hot air.  They know three things: There are a few honest conservatives on the Right who know this is all theater and will have a hard time supporting it.  They also know there are at least two political whores, McCain and Collins, who will not support anything that isn’t 99.9% liberal so they can claim to be “mavericks” working across the aisle.  Finally they know the Ryan and McConnell are weak leaders who care more about simply being in their cushy positions as party leaders than actually accomplishing something.

Result:  the Dems know they will either keep everything as they want it or if they “lose” the debate, they keep 90% of what they want.  In other words, the Dems can’t lose and the GOP had already surrendered their principals before the first committee took up “tax reform”.

Oh Yeah, about the “reform” thing.

I really hope if you are reading this you are not one of those pathetic rubes excited about the post card tax form.  THAT is the first “reform” Paul Ryan has been touting.  There is nothing new about that card.  It is a 1040A printed in a smaller piece of thicker paper.  You’ll enter the same numbers in basically the same way.  The only difference is there will be more people claiming “gifts” from the government in the form of “earned” income credit (EIC) and the “alternative minimum” tax (AMT) repeal.

While these “gimmees” send more of our money to mostly people who don’t pay income taxes to begin with, they represent more of the federal government taking money from you and me and pretending to help us by giving it back or giving it to someone else.  Why take it to begin with?

So the card is a hoax.

The state tax write-off.

Most people actually think this is a good thing.  While I am sure they love the idea of getting the money in their Federal refund, did you ever consider what little sense it makes?

Let’s say you live in Mississippi.  Your government taxes you and everybody else. At the end of the year you get a deduction for what you paid Mississippi.  In other words Daddy Government is subsidizing your citizenship in a state.  Pretty good, right? 

But in MS, you don’t pay very much in the way of state taxes.  New Yorkers, on the other hand, pay a huge tax bill to the state.  Their deduction is a lot bigger.  So when businesses and people decide to live in New York, it is understood that to live in such a “great” state, you have to pay for the privilege.  But wait, they are subsidized too.  Hmmm.

What would happen, I wonder, if the federal government dropped everyone’s tax rates a bit and stopped subsidizing people living in congested, high tax, big, bureaucratic areas?  Would a small to medium sized business person stay there with the traffic and the crime and the red tape, if someone else was not paying him public money to do so?  Just chew on that one.

But everyone is worried about the deduction (which the government never had any business creating) going away.  The idea of the government subsidizing what state you live in deserves more attention.  And I will revisit this subject in greater detail soon.

And what of your mortgage interest deduction?  Did you buy a home because you got a deduction?  Don’t lie.  You’re not a billionaire.  You bought a house because you were ready to buy a house.  Period.  The “deduction” you get is smoke and mirrors.  How about we knock a few more point of your tax bracket and stop wasting time and money factoring and paying inflated refunds.

How about the child-care credit?  That’s going up!  How about we knock more still off what you pay to begin with and not pretend to “give” you that money every year?  Do you know what happens to prices when there is less money chasing them?  That’s right!  Very good!  They go down.  It is the illusion of getting that money from Daddy Government that contributes to the high cost of child care.

And if you don’t qualify to pay income taxes, everyone else is paying for your child care and your “earned” income credit.  You should thank people for that every day.  If that line makes you smirk it is because you are an ingrate with an over-bloated sense of entitlement.  Don’t worry, you are not alone.  This tax debate and the comments I see on social media indicate there a bunch of you out there.

Don’t get me wrong.

Any reduction in taxes will have a positive effect on the economy right now.  But the pathetic little we will come away with after this bit of worthless theater in Congress will not be anywhere near the boost we’d get from a real across-the-board cut.  Everyone paying the same percentage of their income, closing all loop holes would be better.

But the tax cuts need to be paid for!!!!

No they don’t.  Not in the near term.  But once the economy settles into the new norm, there will be no new boost from the tax rates.  So, since we know that any new revenue from the volume of taxes being paid will be wasted by the spending pigs in the House and Senate, what is a voter to do?  What is the 1 smart statesmen in 50 to do?

Well, if you want to offset tax cuts directly, you don’t raise other kinds of taxes.  That kills the point of the exercise.  You must cut spending.  First there has to be a push for no new spending.  No one is dying in this country because the government doesn’t piss enough money away.

Uncle Stinky can, as I point out in Street Politics, dump a lot of useless spending over night. Start with the entire Department of Education.  It has never educated a single child in this country since its inception.  In fact, like the “war on poverty”, every dollar spent by the Dept of Ed has resulted in one less educated graduating class after another.  It is a drag on REAL education.  Dump it.

Put the EPA under the Department of the Interior.  Strip it of its entire mission other than referee of disputes between states over shared waterways.  Every state now has an EPA of its own.  We don’t need a 51st EPA in DC.  Slash it by 90%.  Not a single molecule of carbon will be emitted because of that cut.  Until now the only thing that stood between fossil fuels and success was bribe money on K Street.  Now the states will be the final arbiter of who burns what fuel and who builds wind farms.

And don’t get me started on job training programs.  They are most wasted tax dollars ever spent.  Not one of the 47 job training programs run by the federal government has reported a single success.  Most don’t even pretend to have a matrix to justify the money they waste.

That’s just three examples of billions we can save to put the “pay for tax cuts” canard to rest.  There are more in the book and many more to be had throughout the federal pig trough.

Conclusions

This should be your take-away.  There is only one true, honest, permanent tax reform to be pursued.  That would be a flat tax.  To be most effective it should be a point-of-sale retail tax, but or now we just leave it as an income tax.  No pretend loop holes.

Arguing for more taxes to pay for tax cuts is the kind of sick shit Orwell tried in vain to warn us about.  Reduce the size of the pig trough.

My final conclusion is this:  I am likely pissing up a rope (old Navy talk for wasting my time).  My guess is the GOP will put out a plan even more Byzantine than our existing tax code which will do 1/10th of what a simple across-the-board cut will do.  There will be great fanfare.  The Donald will call it the greatest tax cut in history.  And you will let them all get away with it.

 Don’t be a political pansy! Read Street Politics: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore! Grab your copy here.
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Smirky Head Shakers II

Those TV and movie moments that make normal people smirk and shake their heads.

I was at a doctor’s office waiting for my wife last week, watching a Biloxi news show. I had to cringe. This is why local news is seen as the kindergarten of the news media industry.

The anchorwoman was discussing child obesity with a local “expert” on the subject. The “expert” said that child obesity strikes 74 million boys and 50 million girls in this country. The “news” anchor joined the “expert” in a short round of somber head-shaking. Why, it’s just shocking!

Made all the more shocking by the fact that we now have 124 million kids out of 73.8 million (total) suffering from obesity. (Look at those numbers again if you aren’t smirking yet).

We see this almost every day; and not just on local news. It only stands out on a local level because these programs look like high school media projects. But we see this kind of “reporting” everywhere. The reason why most people don’t question enough is because when the shoddy information is reported it is often reported on varsity outlets like cable news, featuring our favorite celebrity reporters.

Guests make the most outrageous claims and the “news” celebrity nods, giving the statements an air of legitimacy. We shake our heads and wonder My god! Is there ANTHING that can be done about this!

 In most cases, with the slightest intellectual curiosity on our part, we would find that what we are being told is either grossly exaggerated, being spun to the point where the underlying information is worthless, or that the statements are outright lies.

Name a big news item we’ve seen on the last 10 years. Think about what is reported and opined upon with respect to the “news”. With ten minutes of critical thought, you can probably find that a) the “reporting” provides very little in the way of fact surrounding the item, and b) the opinions are ALMOST always an effort to advance a commentator’s personal crusade or to advance the career of the commentator/”reporter”.

Here’s the problem with that. Once we reach the point where discussion is bereft of fact or reason argument ceases. You cannot argue a point with reason on one side and self-serving bullshit on the other. And when reporting and discussing reaches the point where both sides are shoveling agenda and spin and ignoring reason, you hit the slimy bottom of the sewer.

As a culture, we’ve been there for a while.

Name the subject:  North Korea, Donald Trump, the Vegas shooter or fat kids; there is precious little being said anywhere having any intrinsic value. There is almost no subject upon which we can gain purchase and reach valid conclusions. Not from the sources we presently accept as legitimate.

We ARE the “idiocracy”.

We live in a world where in some powerful circles Donald Trump is still referred to as “brilliant” and a great “deal maker”. He was NEVER either. We live in a world where an entire house party caucus still allows itself to be disgraced by Nancy Pelosi. We live in a world where a cabinet officer, former first lady and presidential candidate is caught red-handed, up to her eyeballs committing felonies – and nothing happens. In this world, Mitch McConnell is still revered. Global warming alarmism is gospel, while not a single person can tell you what the ideal median temperature of the earth* is supposed to be.

And while half of the population latches onto one of these stupid conclusions the other is only motivated by how they can be used to discredit or destroy political opponents.

We may well have passed the tipping point where recovering a mature, educated, civil society is impossible.

How do we now teach our daughters that a pat on the ass, while most consider it inappropriate, is NOT sexual assault? How do we then teach her to handle such things as an adult?

How do we teach our children that history favors free and open discourse, while we allow a growing list of things we are not permitted to discuss?

How do we, as a nation, ever again recognize the laws of economics (as hard and fast as gravity) versus the failure of “managing” an economy among 312 million people?

We live in a country where adults watch TV shows about vampires and zombies, and now police officers with magic super powers. Think about that! Less than a generation ago such concepts would be laughed out of any adult gathering.

Me-too-ism is running rampant. For every dramatic news event, there are now battalions of Americans jumping in and trying to be part of someone else’s narrative. They are followers and claim the mantle of weakness or victimization as if those were good things.

Our schools, our government and now many of our corporations operate not from a position how do I improve my world today, but from a kill Ivan’s goats perspective.

Some believe we just need “god in schools” to fix everything. But our present-day, citizen-as-obedient-drone society has been metastasizing since Woodrow Wilson. Religion has been around since the discovery of fire. Prayer in schools and the Pledge of Alligiance didn’t stop the rise of FDR or LBJ. So that’s not the answer.

If someone can tell me how we can un-Animal Farm this nation based on reason and without magical thinking, I’d love to hear your argument. I will enthusiastically invite you to post it here.

Just follow and message me here.

Don’t be a political pansy! Read Street Politics: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore! Grab your copy here.
Let’s demand good governance!

Kindle version here!

Or just start reading for free on Kindle Unlimited!

 

 

 

 

 

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The Four Morons Are Laughing At You!

Who Are The Four Morons?

You would only know the answer to that if you are a regular reader here.  The Four Morons are the house and Senate leadership; Mitch McConnel, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan.  Donald Trump has lately filled the roll of court jester, keeping the Morons entertained and happy.

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Ryan and his band of cowardly, corrupt Republicans are going for a second bite at the apple to preserve Obamacare.  This time they are offering the Freedom Caucus a “compromise” that amounts to an insult.  Even the MOST basic free market reform, and the most effective in driving down costs, is not included in the present proposal; the sale of insurance policies across state lines.  Instead we have territories carved out by the government. 

Why?

Because major insurance companies pay government lackeys to keep competition off the field.  And they pay well.

How do most of you NOT know this!

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I have said many times, (notably here) that Trump was either completely ignorant of the Constitution, or he was a shill for the Democratic party.  One of those statements is true.  You can decide which.  But you can’t deny the damage he is doing to the Conservative cause and to the country, as he sits in the White House deciding who likes him and who doesn’t.  Nor can you deny his complete lack of intellectual curiosity.  He has no intention of learning his job or following the Constitution.

And the “Experts” Aren’t Helping

Amazingly, if you listen to people who call themselves conservative, both on the idiot box and on social media sites, you’ve heard them saying that Republicans needed to pass Obamacare Lite.  It’s a binary choice they said;  Obamacare or Ryancare.  Or they point out how important it is for the Freedom Caucus to “support the President” by passing legislation they find repugnant.

First off, legislators are not sent to Washington to make sure the President, any president, looks good. Unless they are Democrats.  It is not their job to sell the mistakes of the President and Congressional leadership to us rubes outside the Beltway.  Unless they are Democrats.  Their job, as Ryan has long forgotten, is to represent their constituents based on the principles they ran and succeeded on.  In the case of every single Republican save one, Collins, all ran on conservative, free market principles and a belief in individual liberty.  Even Collins paid a bit of lip service to those principles.

But only a handful stood by these beliefs and they killed the crap designed to replace the extra smelly crap.

And how does the Twitter twat-in-chief react to REAL conservatives voting down trash legislation?  He threatens to fight them and the Democrats as opponents.  This assures us of two things. 

First, no matter what, he’ll now not be able to muster a majority to kill Obamacare.  Dems and lame Republicans (who got elected saying they are conservative, but are no such thing) now have Trump’s cover to reject any real free market reforms to medical insurance. 

Ryan and his ilk didn’t want to get rid of Obamacare.  They want all the corporate goodies and easy votes from chumps that Obamacare gave the Dems.  So they put up a poorly-funded version of the same dog shit, hoping we’d be stupid enough to let them get away with it.

And don’t kid yourself.  No matter what he said, Chuck Schumer LOVED Obamacare Lite.  The only thing he loves more is the full-flavored Obamacare.

Second, Trump has made the possibility of his re-election much more difficult.  Ann Coulter, FOX News and Brietbart will have to work overtime to pull the wool over your eyes again. 

Of course it wasn’t too difficult the first time around.  Trump mangled a couple of Bible verses and that was enough for the “Christian” hucksters to jump aboard and bring almost all of their rubes with them.  He blurted out utterly nonsensical statements on abortion and the Obamacare individual mandate and still his cult, and not just a few “experts”, declared him a conservative!  Amazing!

As Usual, I Hit the Nail on the Head!

So as I predicted, one year ago yesterday, Trump IS overseeing the destruction of free-market conservatism either by design or ignorance.  But he is doing nothing to move this country in the right direction.  And no, executive orders saving 1000 jobs here and 200 jobs there, don’t amount to anything.

To put a finer point on it, watch what happens with “tax reform”.  There will be no reform AT ALL!  There will be a reduction in the amount you pay right now.  But the all mechanisms in place to raise them again, when the country sickens of Ryan and Trump, will remain in place.  That’s not reform.  That’s cotton candy, sweet and fluffy but without real substance. 

And that is the nature of the Trump presidency so far.

If Trump ends this calendar year without striking all of Obamacare from the books and allowing competent professionals to produce free-market medical insurance, he will be a one-term President and a failure.

Matt Jordan is host of Streetpolitics.us and author of Street Politics: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore!  Grab your copy here and support a good cop in his battle with Multiple Sclerosis!  50% of all author proceeds go to Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Kerr and the Colonial Crossroads charity event.

 

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The Price of Apathy – Part 1

Our Apathy Leads to a Beltway Circus

We are seeing a repeat of all the same types of policies from the previous eight years playing out before our eyes. Some intentions are diametrically opposed to those of the previous administration. But the results will be the same or worse.  Apathy is to blame here.  This circus and others I’ll talk about later will continue to play out at our expense because the “swamp” knows you won’t do a thing about it.

The apathy of thinking people, while understandable, is why our government continues to circle the toilet bowl. We are mid-flush. And they will take the country down with them.

How Not to Fight for Our Interests

I listen to people like Chuck Schumer and Adams Schiff decrying the coziness between the Trump campaign and the Russians. While there is some real “there” there, these two and many others have been gleefully fanning this Russian hysteria. Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign was twice as cozy with Vladimir Putin than Trump ever was.

The bottom line is this, Chuck Schumer and all the people staging the phony investigation about the Russians don’t give a shit about foreign influence and the White House.  They never have.

Where were these two when B.H. Obama fought tooth and nail against his own Congress in pursuit of Iranian interests over US interests? That fight got downright nasty at times. Obama wouldn’t think twice about throwing an American under a bus in order to see that the Iranians got nukes AND got sanctions lifted. I spoke of this in my book and in this post written in 2015.

So why are the Dems crying now about Trump wanting to lift Russian sanctions (or at least Trump not actually fighting to keep them in place)?

I will stipulate that rewarding either Iranian or Russian bad behavior is not good for the United States. It is far worse for our allies. But favoring such bad actors over American interests has become business as usual inside the Beltway.  So Schumer knows he is full of it every time he opens his whiny mouth on this.

And What the Hell are the Cultists Celebrating?

For months, while Hillary Clinton’s crimes were oozing out, courtesy of Wikileaks, Trump and his mindless band of “ingnoratti” actually praised the source! This is a rogue organization that has never, EVER worked in the interests of the United States.  But your typical, blind Trump-ette has no way of knowing that.  No one ever discussed it in the Facebook echo chamber.

What had become clear to Julian Assange anyway, was by destroying Clinton he just might open the door for Trump, and that would be the worst thing he could do to this country. If it hadn’t, he’d have done something else.  But Julian Assange is no goddamn hero. 

It must have been a near-run thing for poor Julian to come by such a conclusion. Both were locked in a race for the bottom.  But which was the slimiest?  I would have to say Clinton.  She was the actual criminal.  Putin’s buddies paid BJ BIll $500,000 for his lame speeches.  And the phony “Foundation” made a killing selling strategic material to the Russians.  Trump has just shown himself to be a big, impetuous kid with an extremely delicate ego.

Well, it’s still not possible to tell for sure. Obama wanted to help the Iranians at our expense and at the expense of our allies. Trump now seems enamored with Putin, and already had to can three people for being up to their eyeballs in Russian (and other foreign) influence. Rex Tillerson WILL be next.

And Still the Child Tweets!

And how does Trump handle this situation? He tweets. From the first ill-conceived, early-morning tweet about being “bugged’ at Trump Tower to this morning’s I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I-rant (3-20-16), the President has put himself further behind the eight ball than any thinking President would be at this point. The Twitter-twat-in-Chief is either utterly ignorant of sound foreign policy or he truly does believes Russia belongs in Crimea. Either way, because of his gross immaturity, this administration will be mired in an unseemly mess for some time to come, and deservedly so.

While is it 100% true that the Dems and their media lackeys created the myth of the Russians successfully “hacking” or “rigging” the election (they always try), that is not what has placed the Administration in the eye of the storm. It should have been held to ridicule at the very beginning and then treated as a non-issue. But Trump, because his ego insists he poke the lion with a stick, had to make the situation worse for himself.

And thanks to the weak links like Ryan and McConnell (not a gonad between them), the Republicans played right into their opponents’ snare.

Tell me again how brilliant Donald Trump is.

This update:  It was announced on 21 March the Rex Tillerson would not be attending the upcoming NATO Ministerial Meeting.  He will be in Mar-a-Lago.  AND THEN he will visit Moscow the following month.  You just couldn’t make this stuff up.  An administration that wants favors from NATO, has a NATO image problem, trying to tamp down the Russian influence charges…and this is the plan?

Tell me for a third time how brilliant Donald Trump is.

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Canard of the Week: Free trade Agreements

The government is notorious for creating terms that are utterly devoid of truth.  Affordable Care Act leaps to mind.  So I will occasionally dedicate space to the vetting of a fun canard.

This week, free trade agreements.

Does anyone know who Fred Hochberg is?  I didn’t until today.  He is the present head of the Import-Export “Bank” of the United States.  This is a government monster created by, get this, executive order in the 1930s to finance trade to other countries; trade so risky and/or worthless, that no bank would bother to get involved.  It has since grown into a cabinet level function of the government.  Have you ever heard of this creature?  No? Well, too bad, because keeping this obvious moral hazard alive is the price we are paying for an example of this week’s canard.

The Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), some people calling it the Asian free trade agreement, is by itself a red herring.  It is touted by supporters as a bill designed to help American goods get to market.

Problem:  There is nothing FREE about it.  This (and What is called “Fast Track) is an example of Congress once again handing its power to the executive branch ostensibly to foster faster trade deals with foreign countries and “help the American worker”.  (I am blowing raspberries.)  How could anything negotiated by a few heads of state, always done in the interest of selected corporate “winners” and handed to our Legislative branch for an up-or-down vote without amendment be called free?  Further, in this case, the power is being handed to the man who set back-to-back billion dollar records for selling influence to major corporations.  A man with only two desires applicable; the acquisition of personal power (he only has two years left and is in dire need of a success) and selling the aforementioned influence.   This will set him up for his multimillion dollar paydays after he leaves office.  Even if we had a 100% pure and honest broker in the oval office, there would be nothing free about this or any other trade deal that would be made by anyone other than the parties buying and selling their goods.

In order to get enough liberals to vote for this free trade myth, McConnell – who appears to be missing a jaw bone as well as a spine – agreed to make the survival of the Import-Export “Bank” part of the bill.  Of this move, Mitch said that although he doesn’t support the phony bank, those that do support it are entitled to a vote.  Aww, too bad his predecessor didn’t feel that way when Obamacare was rammed through without real debate or substantial amendment and one-sixth of our economy was being hijacked.  At the time, McConnell was on all fours, pants around his ankles saying, “Do me again, Harry!”

Anywho, according to AP’s Myway.com, this all came with the “usual presidential phone calls, closed-door Capitol meetings and urgent, private pleadings. [Emphasis mine]

A cute side note:  The president stayed up late into the night making phone calls to keep this bill alive.  Hmmmm… Well where the hell was he on 9/11/12?  NOWI want more personal power so I’ll stay up all night in order to get it.  THEN: Someone is attacking my ambassador in Libya? Oh well, do what you can.  I have a fund-raiser tomorrow.  I have to go night-night.