March 16, 2007

This Post from Club for Growth Is So Good ….

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:06 am

I just took a screen shot of most of it, and saved it as an “upper” to head into the weekend, meaning this will most likely be my last post of the day:


Though there are the significant issues to contend with (including but not limited to Islamofascism, bad guys getting their hands on nukes, the population-reductionist streak in the enviro movement, and whether repressive China can really be turned), post author Andy Roth at the Club for Growth isn’t just dreaming.

These previous BizzyBlog posts made note of similar sentiments expressed elsewhere:
- Mar. 8 — World’s Quickest Path out of Poverty
- Feb. 17 — The Saturday Afternoon Post: Tom, Jill, and Globaloney
- Dec. 14, 2006 — Global Poverty to be Reduced Sharply in the Coming Quarter-Century
- Aug. 25 — Wal-Mart as the Cure for Global Poverty?
- Aug. 4 — Reality-Based Optimism on Ending World Poverty

Let us hope that Andy and the other positive-outlook folks are correct.

Patents for Tax Strategies?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:15 am

If This Doesn’t Prove the Need for the Fair Tax, I Don’t Know What Does?

From a subscription-only article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal:

Patents on Tax-Related Ideas Stir Worry

Pressure is mounting on Congress to restrict government issuance of patents for tax-planning strategies.

Critics say these types of patents can raise troublesome issues for taxpayers. In addition to checking out whether a proposed technique is legitimate, taxpayers also may need to find out if someone holds a patent on the idea. Otherwise, they could get sued — as one man was last year in Connecticut.

I’ve been either preparing taxes or following the tax laws for almost 30 years, and NEVER knew that tax strategies are patentable. That they are, and that they are less than universally available to everyone without some kind of license fee or other financial arrangement, is absurd.

The tax laws are so complex and manipulatable that people are actually making livings figuring out how to game the system. A Fair Tax would eliminate all of that. I don’t dispute that there would be a substitute cottage industry that would try to play games with the Fair Tax, but it would, in my opinion, be much smaller and have a lot less wiggle room — as long as lawmakers leave the darn thing alone once it’s passed.

Announcement (031607)

Filed under: General — Tom @ 6:25 am

For a variety of reasons, starting on Monday, and for the foreseeable future, I’m going to stick to posting only the Positivity and briefer early AM items.

The Evil Rich Are Carrying Us — An Update

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:20 am

Per the IRS (HT Don Luskin) more taxable income was reported in 2004 compared to 2003:

Adjusted gross income (AGI) increased by 8.9 percent from the previous year to $7.4 trillion for 2005 and taxable income increased 9.5 percent to $5.1 trillion.

Okay, who was reporting all of that extra taxable income (and, obviously, paying taxes on it)?

….. the top 1 percent of taxpayers ….. accounted for 19 percent of total AGI, representing an increase in income share of 2.2 percentage points from the previous year. These taxpayers accounted for 36.9 percent of the total income tax reported, an increase from 34.3 percent in 2003.

If that isn’t the most underreported economic stat of the month, I don’t know what is. Heaven help us if the evil rich ever decide they’ve got enough, and just stop.

Previous more detailed looks using 2003 info, including reviews of other types of taxes, are here and here.


UPDATE, March 20: Here’s a quickie chart from a subscription-only Wall Street Journal editorial:


Ninth Circus Court of Schlemiels: They’re at Least Consistent — Consistently WRONG

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:15 am

Monday’s Wall Street Journal had a brief subscription-side editorial on the the Ninth Circuit Circus Court of Appeals Schlemiels, with these key paragraphs (bold is mine):

So far the Justices have reviewed eight Ninth Circuit decisions, and the Circuit is 0-8. The High Court has reversed four decisions and vacated four more. In Ayers v. Belmontes, a 5-4 Court reinstated a death sentence that the Ninth Circuit had overturned. In U.S. v. Resendiz-Ponce, a criminal procedure case, Justice Antonin Scalia cast a lone dissenting vote in favor of the Circuit’s position.

The six other cases were all unanimous. That means — for those keeping score — that the cumulative vote against the Ninth Circuit in Supreme Court reviews since October is 67-5.

The scary question is how many rulings by the Ninth Circuit Circus Court of Appeals Schlemiels (a nickname that I think originated with Michael Savage) AREN’T being heard by the Supremes. It would appear that the chances of appellants who don’t get through to the Supremes getting any kind of constitutional justice are pretty low.

Another Item for the ‘No, We Do NOT Want to Be Like Them’ File

Filed under: Business Moves,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 6:10 am

More than a few European critics (HT NewsBuckit via Hot Air) can’t put away their Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) long enough to enjoy a movie — one that is on its way to big success at the box office:

The studio had banked on how well sword-and-sandal movies play abroad, but when 300 was unveiled at the Berlin Film Festival in February, the filmmakers got some hostile reactions from journalists. “I was getting bombarded with political questions,” says Snyder. Some Europeans saw Leonidas’ lone-wolf march against the Persians as an allegorical defense of President Bush’s incursion into Iraq. “When someone in a movie says, ‘We’re going to fight for freedom,’ that’s now a dirty word,” says Snyder. “Europeans totally feel that way. If you mention democracy or freedom, you’re an imperialist or a fascist. That’s crazy to me.”

Yes, I know there has been some of the same BDS in movie reviews here in the US, but it appears to be nowhere near as pervasive. Though movie is being panned here by the usual “smarties,” they’re mostly not going the BDS route.

Pass the popcorn.

This Move by Utah to Monitor Their Senators Bears Watching

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:05 am

Repeal the 17th noted last month that the Utah legislature is attempting to monitor and give formal direction to its US Senators. Obviously the direction is non-binding, but anything that forces US Senators to pay at least some heed to the state they actually represent is a good thing. Thought it is something the Founders clearly intended, it has been almost totally lacking since the 17th Amendment was “ratified.”

Positivity: 564 Children, and Counting (Project Cuddle)

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Costa Mesa, CA, and around the country:

Mother of seven dedicates her life to saving babies from abandonment
Updated: 8:01 p.m. CT March 2, 2007

COSTA MESA, Calif. – The album is filled with photos of her kids — all 564.

“I love them all,” says Debbe Magnusen. “They’ll always be a part of my life.”

“This one was born on New Year’s Day, 30 seconds after the new year,” she says as she flips through the album, “and this one came in from Missouri.”

They’re not blood relatives, but make no mistake, these are Debbe Magnusen’s babies — the ones she’s helped save.

“What drives me is the thought that another baby could end up in a dumpster or lay in a back alley and lie there for days before dying with nobody,” says Magnusen.

Despite safe surrender laws, hundreds of newborns are abandoned every year across the country. After one was found in a dumpster near her home, Magnusen started Project Cuddle with little more than a phone and a dream.

Ten years later, it’s a nationwide crisis hot line with 1,400 volunteers and one goal: To save babies at risk of being abandoned.

“Debbe’s wonderful,” says Priscilla Alvarez, who has benefited from Project Cuddle. “She’s very loving and she’ll go out of her way to do anything for anybody, and she’ll go all over the world just to save a baby.”

Magnusen offered Alvarez clothes, care and what the homeless, frightened teen needed most, a friend, as she gave birth and gave up her daughter for adoption.

“I know that she’s safe,” says Alvarez.

Safe in homes like Leigh-Anne and Gary Ayers’; they adopted a Project Cuddle baby.

“Everybody says, ‘That’s such a great thing that you did this for this baby!’ and I think, ‘No, it’s such a great thing that this woman did for me,’” says Leigh-Anne.

Despite two kids of her own, five more she adopted, 30 she’s been a foster mom to and the hundreds she’s helped rescue, Magnusen feels she still could do more.

“What keeps me going is the thought of who I can save and the reminder of who I couldn’t,” she says.

She’s a mom who, despite an overflowing scrapbook, insists there’s plenty of room for more.