When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676

They call it Tax Reform. A Jobs Bill. That’s what it must be, right? Journalists and commentators are playing the same old game. Argue a proposed piece of legislation on its merits. Time to reset the boundaries in When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676.

Freedom Of Choice

While listeners to The Bob Davis Podcasts always have the freedom to choose what they think is right, I want to introduce the concept of marginal improvement. Legislators on both sides of the political spectrum talk big about ‘reform’. Usually though they make what really are marginal changes. This is especially relevant when we’re talking about the tax code.

The Real Football Game Is Congress

Team Red moves the ball back to the Blue thirty yard line. It’s hailed as a great victory. Team Blue moves the ball back to the Red twenty yard line a few years later. These are what both sides call marginal improvements. Meanwhile, as economist Milton Friedman famously suggested, they keep getting elected by making the tax code more complicated.

Budget Neutrality Isn’t A Thing

Enter a legislative concept called Budget Neutrality. The idea every expenditure must be ‘paid for’ with tax increases, or budget cuts. You think Tax Reform means lower taxes. What they’re really doing is taking away tax deductions and loop holes, and increasing our overall tax. The sad part is, it’s not their money, it’s our money. In When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676.

What Is Real Reform?

If you want real reform. The end to this kind of corruption? Then the power of the federal government to tax our incomes and our property must be permanently eliminated. Should corporations be taxed at all? Do you have property rights if you pay property taxes? How does government pay for the wonderful things both sides wants it to provide? We talk about it in When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676.

Already Socialists

So called conservatives like to argue the merits of capitalism versus socialism. It seems like I’d be on pretty safe ground if I suggested the United States has been collectivist for decades. Our economic system is not so much capitalist as it is a controlled market economy. Our elected Kings and their privy courts control our behavior and our futures with regulation and a tax code so complex, were it to be proposed as a single law in its present form, it would cause a revolution.

(Editor’s Note: While the first actual income tax in the United States was levied during the Civil War, it was later repealed as ‘unconstitutional’. Several attempts were made to establish an income tax through the late 1800’s which were unsuccessful, until the 16th amendment, ratified in 1913.)

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and Reliafund

When Tax Reform Isn’t-What Congress Giveth It Taketh Away-Podcast 676

Podcast 570-Election 2016 Results

Podcast 570-Election 2016 Results. Comprehensive analysis and minute by minute vote totals for Election 2016. How do podcasters cover presidential elections in real time without being live on the air, and without streaming? Podcast 570-Election 2016 Results shows you how. Follow along as I experience the election in real time on November 8th, 2016. The world seems surprised at news that Donald J. Trump has won the presidential election in The United States. Podcast 570 and Podcast 569 are meant to be listened to as companion podcasts. Since I did not endorse either candidate, I was able to provide objective analysis and experience the race objectively. Podcast 569 broke down the final poll data for the state by state races, avoiding any analysis of the national presidential preference polls. This minimized the surprise for anyone subscribing to the Bob Davis Podcasts, because you already knew no one could comfortably call this race. That did not stop the charlatans in talk radio, cable news and on line from attaching probabilities, or calling the race for one or the other. Not only was this race surprising overall, it was surprising on the state by state level. For the most part though, the state by state polls were either close to the totals in some cases, or within the margin of error. The US election is a state by state election, with the electoral college actually choosing the president on or about the 15th of December. In this hour plus long podcast I’m joined by friends, and family on the phone as well as a late night visit from local Minnesota Politico and web developer Mitch Rossow. At the close of this podcast we’re still waiting for Michigan and Minnesota returns to come in. I’ll have to update those on the next podcast. With Republicans retaining the Senate and the House majorities, and now winning the Presidency, now it is a question of the way forward. We’ll be talking about these issues and more on future podcasts. Pundits like to say the country is divided. What they might say is we can now agree on one thing. The worst election in recent memory is now, mercifully, over. And, tomorrow is another day, after all. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating and X Government Cars.

Podcast 559-Why I Travel

Podcast 559-Why I Travel. Travel is good for so many things. Join me for a ride on the Washington State Ferry on the way to Port Townsend, Washington, on a clear, bright, sunny day in the Pacific Northwest. You’re inside the ride from boarding Mobile Podcast Command Unit 8, a conversation with one of the ferry workers, and a quick walk up to the main deck for a cup of coffee and a walk around the outer decks as the ferry leaves the dock. This is a big deal for a midwesterner. In Minnesota we do not have the working ports, the huge ferries and the breathtaking scenery of the Pacific Northwest. Minnesotans will of course say, “Oh but it’s pretty good here in Minnesota” and it is, but the Pacific Northwest is pretty much peerless on this front. Pines, islands, temperate climate, mountains, and the Pacific, beaches. Still every place has something it can call its own that is pretty incredible. I’ve talked to a lot of people on this trip and they ask about Mobile Podcast Command, or they ask about snow in Minnesota. So there’s that. Podcast 559-Why I Travel takes a look at why travel is so therapeutic for the soul. It softens hard opinions. It opens your mind. It allows you to appreciate the small things people do for each other, and it allows you to appreciate the jewels every state has. Believe it or  not, every state of our country is a little different from the other. Regions are even more different, and since this trip is a Great Northwest and Great Western trip, you’re going to be hearing a lot about some of the issues regarding development and the environment. These two issues are paramount in the west, and the northwest. Some of this was covered in Podcast 558-Pipeline Protest, and I am sure there is more to come along these lines. After the Ferry Ride, another Ferry Ride and a quick hit in Seattle, then south to the Oregon Beaches, as a big Pacific Fall Storm bears down on the region. One thing is for sure and it is driven home when I head out aboard Mobile Podcast Command. The country is not falling apart. Some people might be hurting and we could use more economic growth, but for the most part the highways are smooth (remember I am driving on two lane state roads most of the way, and they are fine, even in North Dakota where the oil trucks are beating them to death.) and small towns look prosperous. Sponsored by X Government Cars.

Podcast 437

STFU Media. Most of the time the blog I write to describe each podcast, as long term subscribers to the Bob Davis Podcasts know, is written in the third person. Not this one. In the wake of the Paris Terror attacks I am grateful I’m not getting paid to go on the air, flap my jaws, and spread utter nonsense about a breaking news story no one knows anything about as it breaks. This was the case for the weekend of November 13th, as terrorists attacked a theater in Paris, France. What is the total effect of this cavalcade of nonsense? Nothing will happen. There will be counterstrikes which will be pin pricks. Speeches will be given. Statements of ‘solidarity’ will be issued. There will be pledges to bring the ‘attackers to justice’, but that’s all a bunch of bull. These kinds of attacks benefit the media, the state and the terrorists. No matter what our so called leaders tell you, they’re not going to do anything about anything. Instant experts appear on television to pimp their blogs, books and radio shows. Politicians appear to make strong statements of condemnation or to suggest carefully that we ‘avoid the rush to judgement’, and the terrorists claim credit. Everyone wins, right? Given the stellar examples of US Government competence like the VA, the Obama Care Website, Amtrak, and the Department of Education, do we really believe they are going to be able to protect citizens from a bunch of determined terrorists with Ak-47’s, grenades and suicide belts? I wouldn’t hold my breath. As a presidential election cycle approaches candidates are throwing out one liners as ‘solutions’. It’s always someone else who has to ‘do something’. It’s as easy as pushing a button on your car radio, or switching to another cable news channel for the same nonsense under a different label. Except it isn’t. I’ve done several foreign policy podcasts and I have said again and again the United States needs a new foreign policy, and that it isn’t going to come out of a can or box. No one seems to have thought much about that, least of all the voters. The truth? We’re at the beginning of at least a multi decade struggle for our survival and something tells me, we’re still completely unprepared. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul and Pride of Homes

Podcast 372

Memorial Day Weekend 2015. A midnight walk in the park, as we head into Memorial Day Weekend, 2015. As the country slows its roll for the big three-day weekend, it feels like the pace of the news is also slowing down. In the Upper Midwest, the big thing is opening the cabin, getting the RV ready to roll, and heading up to the lake. This is a weekend for putting in the dock, and establishing a ‘beach head’ for the summer. Some will be heading to state parks, others will be working, or hanging around the house. With a sense that people are slowing down for the weekend, the flow of news events also seems to be a bit stale. More stories about ‘candidates’ for presidential office, over a year away. More stories about things happening thousands of miles from the Upper Midwest. More blather about ‘Obama’, or ‘Clinton’, or ‘Jeb Bush’. In this podcast some observations from a day spent driving around the metro in gridlock traffic in search of parts – or a truck wash – for Mobile Podcast Command, visiting the ambulance supply warehouse, RV centers, and friends at various businesses around town. This driving around town thing is exhausting! After reading a thatch of news stories, taking a nap and dinner, time for coffee and a midnight walk through a deserted suburban town. Stories about summer’s and memorial day weekend’s past … the cold ones, and the hot ones. It is better to put the dock in when it is warm and sunny than it is to put it in when there is still ice floating on the lake. This year, the Upper Midwest has been lucky so far. It’s been a warm spring, and the forecast for the weekend is pretty good. Is it a good thing that there’s so much focus on Iowa for both political parties, this early? Events in other parts of the world continue, but things still don’t seem to have reached a point that requires decisions, or provokes new actions to debate. As summer comes on, it still feels like resolution on so many different news fronts will take a little longer. Maybe its a good time to pick out that summer novel. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul

Podcast 310

Jeb Bush “Conservative”. Jeb Bush talks about the Middle Class and the American Dream in the nitty gritty northern city of Detroit, Michigan serving up ‘The Right To Rise’ political concept. Will Republicans buy this warmed over rhetoric one more time? If Bush convinces the mainstream GOP ‘he can win’, bet on it. If someone doesn’t come along to counter Bush’s contributions, and command of the rhetorical battleground – regardless of what the few crummy polls say right now – he will be the Republican nominee in 2016. Yet, nothing is harder to define than the so called Middle Class, and The American Dream. The Middle Class is supposed to be an income bracket, yet pundits, politicians and academics have defined it as low as thirty thousand dollars a year and as high as two hundred thousand dollars a year. The American Dream is supposedly enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, on the Statue of Liberty, in Martin Luther King’s speeches and so deeply ingrained in our culture you’d think its in the US Constitution. Where did the American Dream come from? What about the dystopian vision of the American Dream? Really, these concepts – and that’s what they are – mean anything any politician, demagogue, preacher or commentator want them to mean. What policies will Bush use to ensure a ‘middle class rise’? Well, to start with, he says, power will pass from the Federal Government to the states, but the Federal Government will also pass policies that benefit the so called middle class. We won’t repeal Obamacare, we’ll just fix it. We’re going to fix immigration, because illegals are just like the people who came over on the Mayflower. What’s the fix? Truthfully, solidifying what the President has been doing by executive order for the past three years, or more. All of this provokes a question? Aren’t Republicans and Democrats really just different sides of the same coin? Aren’t they both conservative in that they want to continue the status quo? What if what we need is a radical departure, a radical reduction in the scope of Federal Government Power that could be catastrophically dangerous to a Republic. Moreover, as technological developments become industry; That is, the new retail, manufacturing, autonomous machines and software, new ways to use media (like this podcast), sell and buy, hire and find jobs the disruptions will be chaotic. Add more government to that mix, whether it has an R or a D in front of it, and you’re going to have yet more chaos. What are you? How do you know? What are your values? What are your principles? How do you translate these into political ideas, policies, and ideas people can get behind. This is what is meant by organization, and today’s radicals are a long way from being close to having all that work done. Sponsored by Baklund R&D

Podcast 306

Political Polarization. This Podcast is live from the backyard, on a warm summer night. This is made possible by the magic of on demand audio. How did politics get so personal? How did Political Polarization become something written and talked about all the time. These days it seems like the media tries to divide Americans by slicing and dicing poll data. What’s the real divider in America today? The Government. What’s the solution? Maybe getting the government out of the people’s lives. Is the solution a third political party? Former Minnesota Governor Jessie Ventura is saddened by the news that the Independence Party has lost major party status in his home state. What about Ventura’s one term as Minnesota’s Governor? How did that work out? Meanwhile, how does one explain the fact that ‘divided’ Americans keep putting up moderate candidates like Mitt Romney, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton and Jim Webb? If American Politics is so polarized, why do moderate candidates consistently end up as favorites? Mitt Romney continues toying with a presidential run, trash talking Clinton and Obama, but offering no solutions or plans of his own. (Editor’s Note: And you wonder why I say Republican arguments so far are nothing by rhetoric.) Is it possible we Americans run a little deeper on the issues than polling data can show? Is it possible people are divided on different issues, yet not necessarily ‘polarized’ when it comes to the leaders they choose? Has the growth of government in our personal lives made everything political? Is it possible the divisions, and frustration and anger might be mitigated if Washington and Saint Paul would just get out of the way? Sponsored by Depotstar

Podcast 228

Predicting the Future. Are TV shows and movies predicting the future? How do humans predict the future? On Wall Street they use computers and physics to create algorithms to tell traders what is happening across a wide spectrum of the market, and help make trading decisions. Other traders and analysis use models and theories like the Elliot Wave Theory, The Dow Theory and other technical analysis disciplines. Some people prefer Astrology, Tarot and other forms of Divination. Some suggest humans don’t predict the future well at all. Aside from the idea we are writing history as it happens, not living it as it is fated, it’s fun to ask whether movies and TV shows have some ability to predict the future, whether the writers and producers of those movies know it or not. Why do we resonate – internationally – on certain movies. ‘Titanic’ was a hugely popular movie, right before 9/11. A whole slew of movies at the end of the 90’s – from American Beauty and Magnolia to Fight Club and The Matrix – seem to predict a much more chaotic and unpredictable world than what we were experiencing during the Clinton Era. Would anyone argue we seem to be living in a world that is increasingly chaotic and unpredictable? Did the movies ‘predict’ it, or ‘depict’ it subconsciously? Or are these movies a subtle form of propaganda, pushing us subconsciously toward this kind of world? Finally, there’s TV. The shows we love. The shows we binge watch. House of Cards, Homeland, Breaking Bad, MadMen, and The Walking Dead. Shows that seem to be depicting a world where people in authority have short term, selfish and cynical views on how to manage, are just managing a government seconds from catastrophe, are losing their grip on reality, or are literally running from crowds of zombies. With the Ebola and Enterovirus outbreaks, border security in question, presidential security in question, thousands of thugs loose in the desert beheading people and keeping western governments at bay, economies slowing down, and confusion about what comes next, it makes you wonder. Will a new era break through, creating chaos and washing away the old, or will be it brought through by people who are free to innovate and solve problems? It’s up to us. Sponsored by Baklund R & D