Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Z-Bux Redux

We tax all the others and pass the revenue on to you

OFF TOPIC: Keep your eye on Zimbabwe for how bad economic collapse can get. Not for us. Our bad times are gravy trains for a lot of the world. Other countries, though, are getting a glimpse of what happens when no one has a hand on the wheel. Zimbabwe has tanked from a healthy, self-sufficient exporter to a failed state in the course of one man's 29-year rule. It's not the only failed state but it is the one with the most recent healthy economy.

THEN... pay attention to Russia and see if you can find any similarities. One-man rule, obscured by rigged elections, comes to mind, as does an extraction economy untempered by environmental concerns, armed -- and largely un-reported-on -- insurrections, blame always directed outward, never inward.

The latest mid-day, Chechnya-related murders of a civil rights lawyer and an accompanying journalist in downtown Moscow were caught on video. Round up the usual suspects. Here's a text mesage the lawyer received a few days before his murder: "You brainless animal, you are again involved in the Budanov case? Idiot, couldn't you find a calmer way of killing yourself?"

There is a modern reign of terror in Russia. You only know a few of the big-name victims: Politovskaya, Litvinenko, Yushchenko, now Markelov and Baburova. It's not on the sweeping scale of 1937's "The Terror" but it doesn't have to be to get the same results.

From Zimbabwe via MSNBC, this chilling on-point comment: "Any government who goes out and assaults its own citizens, its own people, has lost completely any kind of legitimacy," she said. They understand in Zimbabwe. They understand in Russa, too, and their advocates are dying brutal deaths.

NOW do you see any similarities? When the Zimbabwe economy collapsed we didn't notice. If -- some say when -- the Russian economy collapses we will.

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TimmyG will be our SecTreas, count on it. He apologized, after all, and that oughta be enough for congress. Now Tim says that the bailout "needs serious reform". Isn't that the buyout that congress just passed and doled out? No political elitist worth his salt ever started a new job without promising to right the wrongs of his predecessor. But the current congress of his own party, not to mention his own party's transition team (and where was he?), is neck-deep in this. Can we expect any more from this guy than "It's not my fault, man, and neither were those darn taxes." Poor us.

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From US News & World Report: According to the report, "International Taxation: Large U.S. Corporations and Federal Contractors With Subsidiaries in Jurisdictions Listed as Tax Havens or Financial Privacy Jurisdictions," 83 of the largest publicly traded companies were in such locations in 2007, and 74 of those companies had federal contracts that ranged from $12,000 to over $23 billion.

Hey! Hey TIM! Here's an idea: If they do business here, if they get US government subsidies, if they make their money off of US... they ought to contribute a FULL TAX SHARE!!! There's a change I could believe in.

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