Tag Archives: IRS

Supreme Court Lotto

Gays win and blacks lose in Supreme Court lotto, according to Bloomberg.  Of all the institutions demeaned by partisanship and tabloid reporting, Jeremiah mourns the Supreme Court most.  As one commentator put it:

What is the point of this headline?  Other than dividing people into ‘groups’… I mean what if you’re gay and black?  You make it sound like there is a points total where people are constantly winning or losing.

The article goes on to label each Justice according their presumed political bias, and never once considers the specific cases or their merits.  For that, you need The Economist.  Jeremiah has written about this before.  Partisans see the three branches of government as an undifferentiated mass of politicians, each of whom is “either with us or against us.”

In Windsor v. United States, the plaintiff was legally married according to the state of New York, which the Court upheld, and so she does not have to pay tax on her wife’s estate.  Rich old lesbian spanks IRS.

See also:  Judicial Restraint

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Language Lesson

Jeremiah has a new pastime, trolling partisan blogs for the fascism debate.  Here we have Mother Jones defending the IRS, of all things, and then the community flaming one lonely centrist.

Where was your outrage when Bush used the IRS against Greenpeace?

This is healthy for young people who don’t remember the Watergate hearings, or maybe young liberals who came of age during the Bush administration.  In time, they will learn that surveillance and intimidation are always evil – no matter who’s in the White House.

Meantime, we have cracked the fascism comes from the left question.  It can’t, by definition.  The right calls it “tyranny.”  What we learned from the partisan blogs is that each side has its own language, which prevents them discussing a mutual danger.

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Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment

Shortly after we published Jeremiah’s call to End the IRS, Ron Paul wrote roughly the same thing.  That link is here.  Dr. Paul points out that the IRS is a bipartisan weapon, and has been put to evil purpose by both parties.  The very existence of the IRS, he writes, is an attack on your civil rights.  The IRS, as everyone knows, is a recent invention, intended to be temporary, and not supported by the Constitution.

The US flourished for over 120 years without an income tax, and our liberty and prosperity will only benefit from getting rid of the current tax system.

We want to emphasize that ending the IRS is a realistic proposal.  Ending the IRS would actually save money, and it’s pretty straightforward.  Congress just has to repeal the founding law of the IRS, and roll back to the prior system.

The prior system was for the states to pay tax to the federal government.  Each state already has a tax agency, so the IRS is redundant.  America’s founders never intended the federal government to reach over the states and tax their citizens directly.  That’s an obvious source of abuse.

The real problem is that this is a federal program, wherein the states spend “federal money” under federal direction.

Paying tax only to your state means that you don’t encounter an omnipotent federal agency.  It also frees the states to collect tax any way they choose.  Your state may have a personal income tax – not all do.  It may rely on a corporate tax, a sales tax, a property tax, or the lotto.  This is the states’ traditional role as laboratories for new policy.

One way or another, your state taxes would go up, but your federal tax would go to zero – and there would be one less giant bureaucracy to support.

See also:  President Guts Welfare Reform

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Generational Conflict

The letter from Clara we published last week sets out the markers in a generational conflict that dominates our debate about class and wealth.  Political pundit Stephen Colbert says much the same thing here, and here is a blogger who writes that Social Security promises are null and void in the new economy.

promises made when the economy was growing by 4% a year and the next generation was roughly double the size of the generation entering retirement cannot be fulfilled

On the flip side, people retiring today have been paying into this failed system all their working lives.  Is it fair that Mr. Colbert’s generation should be the one holding the bag?  As Sami Karam observes in his own Clara piece, demographic challenges can be foreseen far in advance.

the number of people aged 40 in the United States twenty years from now is roughly the same number of people aged 20 today

Jeremiah does not blame greedy oldsters for wanting “their” Social Security payments.  He blames the political class for not reforming the program.  The housing bubble may have been a surprise, but this crisis has been brewing for twenty years.  To reform Social Security, it pays to understand where the program went wrong.

  • Passthrough funding seemed like a clever idea when the dependency ratio was low.  It allowed the program to show immediate benefits.  The adverse trend in this ratio was predictable, though, and funding should have been shifted to an investment model.  This would mean positive returns to the program, and it would also fund economic growth.
  • Social security holds its deposits in a special class of Treasury debt, which means free funding for the government.  It should be in an age-weighted portfolio, like any private pension fund.  The administrators should have a stake in obtaining positive returns on investment, and against the Fed’s policy of financial repression.
  • It is irresponsible to go on making promises about benefits, while not investing and not planning for population trends.  The program ought to work more like a defined contribution fund, regularly publishing changes to benefits and the retirement age, depending on the health of the fund.  This would give the public an interest in how well the program manages its money.
  • One goal of the program is redistribution.  People with good jobs would prefer to fund their own IRA, but they face an individual mandate to join Social Security.  We should allow them to opt out, fractionally, in exchange for lower benefits.  This would cost the program some funding, but it would add diversity and reduce total size.

Finally, the administration of Social Security needs to be reformed.  Its three main operations are funds collection, investment, and disbursement.  The latter two could easily be outsourced, taking care to end the Treasury’s conflict as a borrower from the fund.  Jeremiah would also like to see collections handled by a different agency than the IRS, because the IRS is unspeakably evil.

See also:  Age Shall Weary Them

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Blind Faith

Political pundit Jon Stewart is here, making the same point as this Bloomberg editorial.  The recent IRS scandal, and the AP scandal, have given oxygen to right wing crazies that don’t trust the government.

Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, Americans have had to sacrifice some privacy in the name of shared security. We can live with that.

Jon, we’re not crazy because we mistrust the government.  This is why America has the separation of powers, the Judiciary, checks and balances, states’ rights, the Bill of Rights, and – on a good day – political pundits.  Do you really think your civil liberties are safe just because there is a Democrat in the White House?  Now, that’s crazy.

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Fascist Baseball

It is nice to find a cause that the left and right (should) agree on.  We were looking for info on the surveillance issue, and found this comment posted to a right-wing blog:

You said we were crazy when Bush was doing this.

The dialogue continued, along the lines of, “when your boy was setting up a police state, that was okay.”  The ACLU has also noticed this dangerous continuity of policy:

Danger that the Obama administration will institutionalize some of the most troublesome policies of the previous administration.

Jeremiah is reminded of the debate surrounding Jonah Goldberg’s book, which proposed that fascism will come to America from the left.  Armchair historians set about comparing Stalin (left) and the Shah (right), without much attention to cause and effect.

Dear reader, fascism is not a long fly ball.  It does not help to be looking over one shoulder or the other.  Federal agencies can now spy on you, imprison you without trial, and then lie about it through their sock-puppet media.  That’s not a fly ball.  That’s a line drive right in your face.  If you can’t see it, then you have your eyes closed.

See also:  IRS Targeted Groups Critical of Government

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Fear the Government

Jeremiah is not dead-set against “socialist” programs to redistribute wealth, as long as they are honest, efficient, and well-planned.  See essay on public spending.  Wealth spreaders like President Obama generally have noble intentions – or at least they start that way.  What worries Jeremiah is the expansion of government per se, as a threat to liberty.

The present persecution of Standard & Poor’s is a case in point.  This is open retaliation for their recent downgrade of America’s credit rating.  There can be no mistaking the message.  Or, this one – Congress releasing confidential trading data.

They’re afraid that if they go and speak out like Bernie Marcus or Steve Wynn, that the IRS is going to be on them, the SEC is going to be on them.

When Bernie Marcus made this assertion, he was dismissed as a right-wing crank – and then the SEC went and proved him right.   We are starting to have a really scary government.

See also:  Shrink the Executive

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