A Modest Tax Proposal

A quick hit:

My proposal is nothing new, nor is it so outrageous that it requires the invocation of Jonathan Swift. Elements of this have been discussed by many people over time. But here’s my synthesis:

Flat tax; single nominal rate, not to exceed 20%. (See Hauser’s Law for the underlying rationale behind the maximum.)

Poverty floor. Earnings equal to or below that floor are not subject to income tax. No carryforward/carryback.

Elimination of all tax credits.

Elimination of all deductions/adjustments except:

Charitable deduction. Phase out over time–say twenty years. The sudden elimination of this deduction would be catastrophic for private charities.

Home mortgage interest deduction. Phase out over time–at least twenty years. Possibly a quicker phase-out for non-primary resident property residences. Suddenly eliminating this deduction, in addition to being politically impossible, would seriously harm those currently holding mortgages. The deduction is priced into the price of housing, and into the cost of borrowing, and people have made the biggest investment decision of their lives based on that pricing, and on the expectation of the home mortgage interest deduction remaining intact. (See also, “Sacred Cows: The Home Mortgage Interest Deduction.”)

Adjustment for family size, head of household, along those lines.

The only other deduction to possibly keep intact that comes to mind might be some sort of catastrophic medical expense adjustment–or at least a deferral of tax liability.

Treat capital gains as regular income AND eliminate the corporate income tax. If corporate income tax is not eliminated, capital gains would continue to be taxed at a lower rate than regular earnings (perhaps around half the nominal regular earnings rate). Elimination of the corporate tax eliminates double taxation, would spur economic growth, and would have the side benefit of eliminating the most of the controversy surrounding 501(c) tax entities, since taxation would no longer be an issue. (501[3] contribution deductibility might still be a sticking point though–I haven’t really thought this all the way through.)

If the states want to get cute on a state level, say with a progressive state income tax, they can knock themselves out. All of this only pertains to federal taxation.

I may expand on this later, but that’s pretty much my proposal. Again, none of it is very new.

And no, I am not a fan of a national sales tax. That’s a discussion for another post. Suffice it to say that a national sales tax would seriously screw existing savers by taxing the earnings, and then taxing purchases, thus harming existing savers–the very people who played by the stupid rules that we as a society have constructed vis. policy. There are other issues with national sales tax, as well, but the double taxation visited on existing savers is one of the worst.

And anyway, those who argue for a national sales tax would do well to find the political will to merely institute simplification of the existing tax regime as a starting point toward a complete overhaul–and interim measure, as it were. Otherwise, advocating for a national sales tax is pretty much the usual People For A Perfect World approach to politics and economics–which seldom works out well.


Additional note: Probably the biggest 800-pound gorilla in all this is what to do with social security and medicare.

Rand ‘Paul’s foreign policy views are at best foolish and naïve’

“Pentagon Official: Why Rand Paul’s Ideas Scare Me — And Why They Should Scare You,” Joseph Miller, The Daily Caller, 7/21/14:

….Paul’s narrow interpretation of a libertarian foreign policy theory cannot craft American foreign policy. The interconnectedness of the global economy, and the ability for America’s enemies to attack the country from great distances, render Paul’s policy positions little more than a philosophical fancy that may fly at college libertarian conferences, but are scary to those of us who actually do this for a living.

There is much to be said for limiting military intervention abroad, but the decision should not be determined by Paul’s dogma. The decision to undertake military action must be made after determining 1) If it’s necessary, given other potential solution; and 2) If it serves the just interests of the United States.

The problem is that Paul cannot seem to differentiate what U.S. national security interests are any more so than Obama can, though Paul does so in the name of a noninterventionist dogma, while the Obama administration simply lacks a viable and coherent foreign policy. Amid a crowded GOP field, Rand Paul stands alone in a plain of absurdity, looking over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans he somehow believes will keep our homeland safe….

The senator is best suited to argue his policy in the upper chamber, not from the Rose Garden or the Situation Room. Because given his record, if Paul does find himself calling the world shots from the executive, it will be in world unsafe to live in.

Say What?

Politico: “Clinton: ‘Specific campaign’ on growth”:

“If you look at two Republican two-term presidents, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and two Democratic two-term presidents, Bill Clinton and now Barack Obama, and if I just were to compare Reagan’s eight years with Bill’s eight years, it’s like night and day in terms of the effects, the number of jobs that were created, the number of people lifted out of poverty, 100 times more when Bill was president,” she said….

“You have to know going into this that there is a deep divide between parties and between forces who support those parties about the right way to create growth and tackle inequality,” Clinton said. “I’m not sure there is some tablet somewhere that can be brought down from on high, but I think there are lessons to be learned about the best way to come forward with policies and to run on those policies and to then do everything you can to implement them and to make it very clear who is on the other side.”


CLA Radio 07/25/14: Blues


The next ConservativeLA Radio show (on Duane FM in the Hughniverse, Friday night, 07/25/14, 7:00 Pacific/10:00 Eastern) will be all about the Blues.

Hope you can stop by, listen to the show, and join us in chat!

Spoiler set list:

B.B. King: Every Day I Have the Blues
Mamie Smith: Crazy Blues
Mississippi John Hurt: I’m Satisfied
R.L. Burnside: Goin’ Down South
Robert Johnson: Preachin’ Blues (Up Jumped the Devil)
Howlin’ Wolf: Smokestack Lightnin’
Seasick Steve: Down on the Farm
Peetie Wheatstraw: Drinking Man Blues
Taj Mahal: Lovin’ in My Baby’s Eyes
Allman Brothers: Stormy Monday
Jimmy Reed: Honest I Do
Big Joe Williams: Don’t You Leave Me Here
Blind Willie Johnson: It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine
Skip James: How Long Blues
Bessie Smith: I Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle
Big Joe Turner: Ooo-Ouch-Stop
Victoria Spivey: Black Snake Swing
Lowell Fulson: Reconsider Baby
David Lindley & El Rayo X: Mercury Blues
Elizabeth Cotten: Shake Sugaree
Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A-Comin’
Little Walter: Blues With a Feeling
Muddy Waters: Mannish Boy
Muddy Waters: I Can’t Be Satisfied
Johnny Winter: Rock Me Baby
Johnny Winter & Sonny Landreth: T-Bone Shuffle
Johnny Winter: It’s My Own Fault

FAIR and the Eugenicists?

Well, this is interesting. While looking for something unrelated, this headline jumped out at me:

“Immigration reform: Why Laura Ingraham has done a disservice to conservatives and our nation.”

Far more interesting than the article itself, however, was a link therein: “Hijacking Immigration?” by Mario H. Lopez in The Human Life Review, 2012.

As a former member of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), I was surprised to see connections made between the neo-Malthusian eugenics crowd and FAIR. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised. (I’ve only scanned the piece so far, and will go back and read it after I post this.)

In 2013, NRO said:

Over time, the Human Life Review, a quarterly journal dedicated to the defense of human life, has had several important articles tracing the history of eugenics in America, and its insidious connection to abortion and population control; we have also devoted many pages to the fizzling of Paul Ehrlich’s “Population Bomb.” Thus, although immigration policy is not a subject in our purview, Mario H. Lopez’s article, “Hijacking Immigration,” which asserts that there are disturbing connections between the population-control movement — including abortion and euthanasia advocates — and anti-immigration organizations is appropriate for our pages and our readers.

And a bit more background, from Wikipedia:

The Human Life Review is a quarterly journal published by the Human Life Foundation since 1975. It is devoted to explorations of life issues, primarily abortion, as well as neonaticide, medical genetics, prenatal testing, human cloning, fetal tissue experimentation, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and also publishes articles dealing with more general questions of family and society. It was founded by James Patrick McFadden, formerly associate publisher of National Review, who had also founded the Human Life Foundation, and is now edited by his daughter, Maria McFadden. It was launched from the offices of National Review, with the support of William F. Buckley.

Writers whose work has been featured in The Human Life Review include Nat Hentoff, Hadley Arkes, William McGurn, Thomas Sowell, Wesley Smith, David Quinn, Kathryn Jean Lopez and President Ronald Reagan.

Note that Maria McFadden is the author of the NRO piece quoted above.

Here are some brief excerpts from the much longer Human Life Review piece:

With some notable exceptions, FAIR’s board of directors, national advisory board, and staff include many population-control, pro-abortion, and forced-sterilization advocates. Their statements and membership in other pro-abortion population-control groups reveal their true ideological allegiances.

FAIR’s website openly touts environmentalist and population-control rhetoric….

That extreme population-control rhetoric is unsurprising, because FAIR’s executive director is population-control advocate Dan Stein. He routinely appears on radio and television shows arguing that immigration should be stopped because it increases the total population of the United States. Stein described China’s one-child policy as an “international family planning program.” He is married to Sharon McCloe Stein, the former executive director of Negative Population Growth (NPG)….

Planned Parenthood has many representatives on both FAIR’s main board and advisory board.

Perhaps I should have been paying closer attention to FAIR’s worldview. As it was, I was focused on immigration policy, rather than the underlying ideology that was presumably driving it.


Update: After having read the Human Life Review article, all I can say is…wow. Read it.

Ron Paul Is A Gibbering Loon (But You Knew That)

From Mediaite via Hot Air:

Speaking with Newsmax TV’s John Bachman earlier today, Paul said “Putin is a little bit smarter than that. I don’t think he would ever come close to participating in an act like this.”

“At the same time, there have been these new sanctions from the White House,” Bachman replied. “And there have been a lot of fingers pointed in Putin’s direction for not directly being involved but being complicit with the fact that some of these weapons — he might turn his back to it — but they’re Russian weapons.”

Paul’s response: “That may well be true, but guess what? ISIS has a lot of American weapons. We send weapons into Syria to help the rebels and if al Qaeda ends up getting it, it doesn’t mean our American government and Obama deliberately wanted ISIS to get American weapons.”

Comment is hardly necessary, is it?

More on Ron and Rand from this blog:

Rand Paul’s Antisemitic Dog Whistles

Rand Paul’s Presidential Aspirations Death Watch Update

Rand Paul Is Dangerous

Ron Paul Jumps The Beluga

Ponder This Ron Paul Quote

Ron Paul Is Not A Conservative

Your Daily Flaming Dumbass: Paulites At CPAC

Your Daily Flaming Dumbass: Ron Paul

And so on.

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