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 365

Protecting Your Rights. One example of how the government protects your rights (which is what it is supposed to do) and one example of how government tramples your rights. Ok, maybe more than one example of government trampling your rights. In Garland, Texas, extra security and police at a ‘Draw Muhammed’ contest protected the rights of Americans to think and express what they feel so well, two knuckleheads who called themselves ‘terrorists’  and warriors’ are dead. The mother of one of the dead ‘terrorists’ said, “He wasn’t violent” and, “He wasn’t a terrorist”. Unfortunately mom, he was. Good riddance. God’s work. The officer who took on the two ‘terrorists’ with rifles, with his pistol has not been identified. The Islamic State has ‘claimed’ the bungled attempt at a mass shooting. Beware though, these kinds of attacks may become common. IS claims to have 71 ‘warriors’ ready to go in the US. All the more reason businesses in Minnesota should remove those stupid, so and so “bans guns in these premises” signs. They should say, “Carry Permit holders welcome”. In the case of Garland, Texas … the government protected our rights. The Trans Pacific Fast Track Trade authority republicans want to grant the President is another thing entirely. It is reported that only members of Congress can read the trade agreement, and at that a page or two at a time, in the basement of the Capitol and that it is being considered in secret. No republican or democrat should support anything congress is asked to pass without the American people being able to see and read what it is beforehand. Mitch McConnell should be ashamed. No one likes the IRS these days, but we can all stop beating this dead horse, or so the alternatively whiny and arrogant IRS Head John Koskinen says. Nothing to see here, people. New measures have been put in place to see to it that the agency will not be used as a political cudgel against groups, um, someone we will not name, doesn’t like. This is not an admission we did such things before, you understand. Or is it? Is it a coincidence they found a bunch more emails from Lois Lerner? Why weren’t these kinds of controls put in place decades ago? The answer is, the IRS has been used as a kind of political praetorian guard for the White House since God was a boy. It’s time for a simple, flat tax with no loopholes for individuals and corporations, so simple that John Koskinen and a coffee maker can collect taxes and that’s all they do. Finally, do you like Christmas? Apparently the federal government is very concerned that your crazy uncle, who puts Santa and the Reindeer up on the roof of the house in Saint Louis Park every December could hurt himself and we wouldn’t want that would we? Well, now Christmas decorations will be regulated by the Consumer Protection Agency, since there have been two hundred some deaths from such things since 1980. What about Roller Coasters and Power Drills, or for that matter, treadmills? Yet another example of how the government does not protect our rights. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul

Podcast 363

Minnesota, Land of Confusion. What is the nature of what has been described as Minnesota’s ‘quirky’ political tendencies? Doubling as a Minnesota News Update, and commentary on the political state of affairs in the state, this podcast delves into the top political stories in the current time frame, and the conservative ‘movement’ in the state. As the House, with a Republicans majority vote to increase the education budget, the Senate with a Democrat majority votes to increase the gas tax by 16 cents. A tax which will come on top of the state’s 28 cent a gallon gas tax, federal taxes and local taxes. What’s the money going to used for? Roads and Bridges … Oh wait! Transportation. This, in addition to some three hundred million dollars a year which comes from the state’s recent Transportation Amendment, and existing bonding and budgeting for, well, roads and bridges. Senator Scott Dibble makes the ridiculous statement that ‘young people are leaving … for better transit options’. Richard Florida’s unproven assertions aside, studies show young people are moving to smaller, and larger cities like Austin, and Dallas, Denver, Des Moines and Omaha for career opportunities and cheaper housing. And what about the ‘lack of investment’ in the last thirty years? Projects on 94, 35W, 62, 100, the 610 interchange, the interchanges on 100 in the west metro this summer, innumerable ’roundabouts’ built all over the state, not to mention trains, trains, trains! And new buses. And a police force for the Met Council, and salaries for the Met Council. It seems as though, in this state Infrastructure, Education and Trains have taken their place next to entitlements as ‘third rail’ issues. Everyone wants more money, but they don’t want to have to pay for it. Solution? Tax the rich, tax corporations. And how many people in rural Minnesota really think they’re going to get their farm road repaved, or a new bridge down on the corner when the mayors of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Duluth and rich Doctors in Rochester have their hands out for ‘infrastructure’ and transit projects of their own? And yet another Minnesotan has been killed by the ‘safe and clean’ Green Line … this one an employee of the Minnesota Senate. Meanwhile, reports are the Met Council actually plans for about 5 deaths like Lynne Thomas’ every year. Target laid off another 100 employees downtown, with more to come. Educators lied through their teeth about how STEM education was needed because STEM jobs were going unfilled in Minnesota. Most jobs in the state are for unskilled labor. Despite all this, it appears the conservative ‘movement’ in the state is failing. The republican leadership is moderate. Polls show the state’s population leans to the left. Why? Minnesota is an island of old-time-democrat-union-monopoly, in a sea of forward thinking, business oriented policy and politics in all the surrounding states. What’s wrong with us? Year after year the same arguments about Sunday liquor sales, stadiums and light rail, and yet the money is taxed, the outraged brooked, and the cycle starts over again. Is this how Minnesotans ARE? What can be done about it. SHOULD anything be done about it? Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul. Image from the tenth amendment group

Podcast 362

No Growth Economy. New numbers say the US Economy grew by only .2 percent. Yet still, the Federal Reserve says the economy should grow now in the second quarter. Never mind all the ‘experts’ predicted 2015 would be a ‘blow out’ year, and that they have been revising their predictions down all through the quarter, they were still way above what the numbers actually show. Excuses? They have a few. The weather. The work slow down at the Port in Los Angeles. The weather. The strong dollar. Did I mention the dollar? The US has now had quarter after quarter of slow, no, or only anemic growth, and yet the Obama administration and its apologists, and the bone headed financial media call it a ‘boom’. Meanwhile small and medium sized businesses all over the country know it for what it is. A no growth economy. Why do business writers believe things will change if the policies don’t change? Does the consumer really account for 70 percent of the economy? What if we’re using the wrong tools to stimulate the wrong things? What’s that old saw about the definition of insanity? Banks aren’t lending because they can make more money borrowing at the discount window, reinvesting in the stock markets. Companies aren’t investing because they’re buying back their own stocks. The US corporate tax rate is the highest in the world (by far), and the tax code is so complex it costs us dearly in productivity lost (while we comply with the tax code) and literally billions of dollars spent complying with its byzantine rules. Regulations of all kinds make it almost impossible for small and medium sized businesses to grow. What are the policy ideas we need to hear from candidates (which we’re not hearing) to fix the economy. It’s not about inequality. It’s not about ‘reformicon’ tax policies (which are actually democrat tax policies warmed over), or making the government work more efficiently. In this podcast, some ideas you may agree or disagree with, but it will definitely start you thinking. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating and X Government Cars

Podcast 333

Licensing Yoga Instructors? Updates to start the week out right. This is the day Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will sign the state’s Right To Work law, making Wisconsin the 26th state to do so. Is Wisconsin so different from Minnesota? A University Professor says they didn’t used to be, but now that they advocate laws like ACT 10 and Right To Work they are. Fact is, Wisconsin has always been more industrial than Minnesota and was settled by people from different parts of Europe. Moreover, Wisconsin’s industrial base is a little older than Minnesota’s. Is it possible Wisconsin is facing the fall out from too much regulation and choking demands from unions in the public and private sector a decade or so sooner than Minnesota? With Target, and now General Mills laying off people, and businesses considering the Badger state’s friendlier attitude toward business, things might not be as rosy in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes as some think. While Wisconsin’s Assembly and Governor address these kinds of problems, Minnesota’s legislature is playing small ball, trying to break up the Minneapolis School District and brokering peace between warring DFL leaders. Is Minnesota too passive-aggressive to actually have the discussion about what is best for the future of the state, between progressives and conservatives? And in Colorado, the state legislature is considering requiring yoga instructors to be licensed, introducing higher costs and more regulation. The sponsors? A publicly traded company with lots of studios called ‘CorePowerYoga’. Suddenly crony capitalism wears Yoga Pants. In Minneapolis are you ready to pay for yet another Stadium. Rich Guy Bill McGuire and his rich friends including the Pohlads and Glen Taylor want the hard working tax payers of the state of Minnesota to foot the bill for a professional soccer team. And the artist responsible for all that triumphal Red Guard Propaganda in China during the Cultural Revolution, a man who flourished while others were being oppressed, will be painting the official portrait of Pope Francis. Wonder if the Pope will be wearing a green hat with a red star on it? He should. Sponsored by Complete Basement Systems

Podcast 328

Net Neutrality. If you were called on to explain something called ‘Net Neutrality’ could you? Most people can’t, and many in the telecommunications business are challenged when it comes to explaining it in terms ‘regular’ people can understand. In spite of this, the FCC has issued new rules regarding Internet Service Providers based on something called Title II, of the Communications Act of 1934. Hey! Did you fall asleep? These new rules – now pay attention – reportedly begin government regulation of Internet Service Providers in a way similar to how telephone companies have been. With the passage of the new regulations, media coverage of this issue has exploded. Now, the earliest these rules can go into effect is this summer, and there will be court challenges, and public pressure brought to bear in the meantime. The FCC is supposed to be an independent agency within the executive branch, and FCC Chair Tom Wheeler was in favor of a lighter touch here, until President Obama issued a video purported to be directed to the public, but the audience was in fact Tom Wheeler, appointed by the President. So, Wheeler knuckled under and issued harder regulations. Reportedly, supporters of Net Neutrality (oddly enough mostly on the political left) issued as many as four million emails supporting the President’s version. If you are one of those people slapping the table and decrying another power grab by the President, how many emails did you send? The real issue here is the increasing power and proliferation of government agencies controlled by bureaucrats appointed by executives to issue rules with the force of law, controlling our lives. The last months of the Obama Administration will be one wild ride after another, triggered by executive order, executive memoranda, or prosecutorial discretion. This is the reason every little thing in life seems political, and its the reason people who want to cut the Gordian Knot of Government have to get involved and stay involved. Sponsored by Baklund R&D

Podcast 187

Romney? Again? A podcast that started out as a ‘start-your-week-off’ update detoured into pet peeves about right/left politics in the US today, moderate republicans, progressive democrats and the coverage of nothing but rhetoric, even in entertainment news. As more and more Americans get Obama Care the law is becoming more unpopular. Is Obama Care going to become a symbol of ‘Government Gone Wild’ throughout the political spectrum? A teaching moment? The Kennedy’s are ‘Kingmakers’? Really? They can’t seem to decide if they want Bill and Hillary Clinton, or Senator Elizabth Warren, who complains constantly about the ‘one percent’. Odd that she is spending time at Hyannis Port with the most one percent of the one percent crowd; The Kennedy’s. Retch. The Russians chased a US RC-135 spy plane out of international airspace. And what do Federal workers do when they get bored (they seem to be bored a lot). Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul.

Podcast 158

A secret deal brought the 2018 Super Bowl to Minneapolis and Saint Paul? Say it ain’t so! The Star Tribune reports that a document has come to light ‘through a source’, clocking in at over one hundred and fifty pages, detailing the behind the scenes and secret demands of the Perfumed Welfare Queen known as the National Football League. Are taxpayers on the hook for free police escorts, and free presidential suites? What about demands for “airport management personnel” available to see to the needs of the owners of private jets? What about Taxpayers; People who certainly won’t be there on Superbowl Sunday 2018 and probably won’t see too many games in the stadium, more than half of which they paid for, because only rich people can afford tickets. Minneapolis Mayor Betzy Hodges says she didn’t know about the deal because it was, you know, secret. Sigh. Minneapolis and Saint Paul will do anything to look like an important city, where it isn’t minus-thirty and snowing around the time of the Superbowl. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul