Saturday, July 11, 2009

What Tax Surcharge?

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

NYTimes pimps the health care bill's 1% tax surcharge proposal like this: "House Democrats will ask the wealthiest Americans to help pay for overhauling the health care system with a $550 billion income tax increase".

"Ask"? That plays better to readers than "force". Taxes are not voluntary payments that you are asked to submit. They are extracted from taxpayer wealth by law with the idea that the government needs money to run on and to provide essential services. Fair enough, the government actually does need money to run.

But whom do you think the Gray Lady chose to illustrate the tax pitch? Why, Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the people who write our tax laws. Problem is, CharleyR doesn't pay his own taxes!

CharleyR failed to report rental income from his Caribbean villa either on his 1040 or his congressional disclosure forms. He got caught scamming the NYC Housing Authority regarding his FOUR rent-controlled apartments, scamming the DC Housing authority about his DC residency and caught in a sweetheart loan deal whereby he doesn't pay interest on a contributor's loan to buy said villa. In fact, CharleyR has defended a Caribbean tax shelter (you know, where the wealthy don't pay taxes) on behalf of a principal donor to his own foundation. BTW, forgiven debt, i.e. interest payments that you haven't made for ten years, is taxable income.

Did I mentiono that CharleyR writes the tax laws, or at least oversees their writing. Oh, I did? Thanks to ProPublica for last year's overview of CharleyR.

It'll all be OK pretty soon, though, because CharleyR filed some House ethics complaints against himself. Say, did you know that statements made in a House ethics investigation can't be used in a later criminal trial? Neat side-step, Charley. And if you're not paying your own taxes, why not add a 1% surcharge to someone else's?

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The WSJ headline is "Obama Exhorts Africans to Fight Corruption, Embrace Democracy". Well, yes, that is as good a banality as any. Too bad he didn't mention any of that in Moscow... or to the Iranian protesters.

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In the '60s our marginal tax rate was as high as 90% and that spurred the growth of aggressive tax shelters. Watch for it again when the rich take exception to paying a surcharge for nationalized health care. And BTW, the plan still only covers 1/3 of our uninsureds. National health care is gonna cost more. Know how I can be so sure? CharleyR added a provision to increase the tax surcharge in one year. Has congress ever authorized a tax that they didn't implement? Nah, didn't think so, and what's a surcharge to CharleyR if he doesn't pay in the first place?

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The gummint wants to sell 36 F-18 SuperHornet jet fighters to Brazil. OK, exports are good for America and Brazil's a reasonably friendly ally. Problem is, Brazil wants a "big portion" of the plane's components to be made in... Brazil. Boeing's gonna do it, too, resulting in 5,000 new jobs in Brazil. Nanci Pelosi is all about "... jobs, jobs, jobs!" when she's pitching health care reform. Not so much, I guess, when it comes to exporting 5,000 defense jobs.

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Not much gained in the prez's international journey. Turns out that most of the G-8's members don't want to sign on to a new global warming bill and the major developing nations adamantly refuse to, something we have mentioned in the past. Then in Moscow we gave up some missiles and got in return... nothing. In Ghana, well, nothing. There's nothing to get in Ghana.

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Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. P. J. O'Rourke

1 comment:

  1. What's wrong with a set of car keys and a little whiskey??