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 593-Surreal Weekend

Surreal Weekend

The Inaugural Ceremony in the United States is supposed to symbolize the peaceful transfer of political power. Podcast 593-Surreal Weekend reviews my reactions to the weekend of January 20th, 2016 from the Inauguration speech of the new President Trump, to the protests on Sunday and a bizarre first-time appearance of the President’s new press secretary. Yes. It was a surreal weekend.

After the new President’s speech, the arguments started almost immediately over how many people watched and attended. Sunday’s protests can only be described as the ‘anti-inaugural’. From talking vagina signs to the thugs smashing windows in Washington to Madonna fantasizing about ‘blowing up the White House‘, this was a was a Surreal Weekend.

FaceBook and Twitter were ghettos of dueling memes and videos posted by furious adherents to one side or another. An old woman berated a fellow passenger on a plane for being a Trump supporter, ending with her being escorted off the plane by police to the cheers of passengers.

If you did not support either mainline candidate you’re in a difficult position. The media believes its job is to react to whatever stimuli is thrown out by Trump’s team. When so called journalists aren’t taking the bait on Trump’s line they’re busy predicting the future. We’re swimming in a sea of partisanship. Pundits discuss the ‘significance’ of protests in urban centers that would have supported any candidate put up by democrats in 2016. News anchors debate something called ‘alternative facts’.

Did you think the tactic of distracting the media with one stunt after another would be over after the election? Think again. Apparently the media will take the bait every time. Hook, line and sinker. Pundits and talking heads will ‘explain’ whatever stunt was employed or argue the reaction to the stunt. ‘Guests’ will appear on every show arguing the merits of the silly outcome of the latest stunt. Popular songs will be written. Memes will be distributed on social media. Videos will be made. People will scream and yell at each other.

What if you support no one. If you don’t believe any of then are going to remove the boot heel on our necks, then what? Substance? Really? Compare the substance and specificity as well as philosophy of the first Reagan inaugural to the vacuum of Trump’s. Examine the difference between the language and intent of the so called protests this weekend to the language of Martin Luther King’s rally in Washington. America’s discourse today is a sad echo of the past. Yes. It was a surreal weekend.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

We don’t think anymore we attack. Attack the messenger. Or attack the source. Attacking the person is always good too. The method is attack and attack and then move on to the next target. This week’s talking head video says what needs to be said. Tomorrow it’s another meme or video. Ignorant of the facts? Unable to put a sentence together? No problem. Just post this meme or video and boom! It’s bad and its going to get worse.

We should certainly give the new president and his team the benefit of the doubt but I do not intend to defend him. He is capable of defending himself. When the new administration does something I think is right, I’ll say so. However, I do think people who supported President Trump all through the campaign have a responsibility to defend him. Trump supporters will have to develop the arguments to defend him and they’ll have to organize against what is already formidable opposition. If you’re a Trump supporter and you’re not our organizing your neighborhoods, good luck in the next election cycles.

I get this feeling there is something evil out there. Something Wicked This Way Comes. Maybe it’s the result of a surreal weekend, but something doesn’t feel right. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m not talking about the man in the oval office. I’m not talking about the left’s protests. It is a feeling that I can’t shake.

We’ll see.

(Editor’s Note: Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton collapsed during the State of the State message at the Minnesota State Capitol Monday, adding to the surreal quality of the current time frame. While I find little to agree with the Governor on politically, I have interviewed him and he is a gracious and nice man. The latest reports in the current time frame are that the Governor is doing well.)

Sponsored by Brush Studio in the West End.

 

 

Podcast 478

On Media. It started out as an idea for a podcast on Friday. A departure from the increasingly tedious, even terrifying and depressing world of politics. As the weekend progressed and opportunities for socializing were offered, ‘On Media’ moldered, then morphed into something more complex. After several attempts to assess what the podcast would be about, one attempt to write it and three attempts to record it, I finally just said the hell with it and decided to talk it out. Thus ‘On Media’. Some of it is a repackaging of ideas behind the podcasts I’ve done about the fact that the mass marketing most of us have gown up in is gone, replaced with a new world of mass specialization. People ask me all the time what is going on in the world. What’s wrong with the media. Or, they tell me the media is at fault. The media is bad. What is the definition of media? What is it’s role in society? What’s really going on? These days we have millions of sources of information available at any time. Any one of those sources can be the most viewed in any single day. It is not unusual for You Tube channels to have more views in a few hours than the cable news channels have all week. In the middle of this is politics. All news coverage is emotional and symbolic. There used to be a tactic called political theater. Now it’s all theater. Politics is media. We are submerged in images of persuasion everywhere we go. From the logos on the clothing we wear, to the TV’s in bars pouring their images into our minds while we eat our burgers. All these images are emotional, and emotional because emotion persuades. You think people seem angry, frustrated, confused? Wonder why? We can’t seem to get a handle on what’s wrong. Our government is the product of something called The Enlightenment. Are we enlightened? Or enslaved? Sponsored by Brush Studio in the West End, Saint Louis Park, and by Hydrus Performance.

Podcast 474

Gonzo Talk. No prep. No notes. No editing. These are the rules of Gonzo Talk. I’ve done it before, under different names. I kind of like ‘Gonzo Talk’. This is the way I used to do podcasts, but after nearly 500 podcasts you evolve. It seems weird now, to do Gonzo Talk since I have become comfortable with a little more planning, or what I like to call a controlled burn. I know what I want to say, and rather than pussy foot around, I am able to get right to it because I have put some thought into it beforehand. Not so with Gonzo Talk. You start talking and you keep talking until the podcast is over. What comes up, is what comes up. What is said, is what is said. No editing. We start talking about different coffee makers, progressing to Minnesota’s establishment ‘republican’ effort to get rid of the state’s caucus system, and in view of Iowa’s Pride over their caucus system it seems a little statist. What a surprise. Progressing through the primary and caucus wins this weekend for Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Isn’t it funny how the two candidates winning are most decidedly not establishment candidates. The only candidate that has more potential than Trump to freak the fuddy duddies out in the republican establishment, is Senator Ted Cruz. Just this last week Mister Loser himself suggested breaking the rules he backed to defend himself against Ron Paul at the RNC in 2012. Now Romney is pulling the aw shucks I don’t know nuthin, mister routine. After creating a process that has resulted in unmitigated disaster for establishment republicans, now they want to flush the whole primary process and contest the convention, thus nominating old Milque Toast himself, Mitt Romney. What about sealing off Washington, and forming a new government in Council Bluffs, Iowa? We don’t tell Washington they’re not in charge anymore. We just let them think they’re running things! Wait! Isn’t that kind of the way it is? Or maybe the way it will be? The people are speaking and they are not speaking establishment, on either side of the supposed political spectrum. Of course the tone deaf establishment, democrat and republican, isn’t listening. Why should we listen to them? Hey! I kind of like Gonzo Talk! Sponsored by Brush Studio and Pride of Homes and Luke Team Real Estate.

PODCAST 430

You’re Not That Hot Anymore. Are the institutions of our society failing us, or just failing to live up to their over the top narratives? A bad customer service experience leads into a discussion – presented as sort of a rant but meant as a question  – about whether the business models and technology that seemed so forward five to ten years ago don’t seem that way at all now. Technology companies, Internet Service Providers, consumer products, office supplies, services, health care, travel, utilities and all kinds of services in the western world seem to have stopped progressing in terms of service to the customer a few years ago. No longer is it good enough to deliver a great product or service, you have to have an ‘amazing’ story, be saving the whales, or making your product in some aboriginal prefecture where you pay fair wages and post the obligatory pictures of building schools, or handing out water at the local marathon or breast cancer walk. What happened to buying a toaster that works, and when it doesn’t being able to rely on a customer service approach that says, “Yep, here’s a new one”? Instead you get protocols, upsells, long waits at the help desk (with the same three songs that play over and over) bored, surly or overwhelmed ticket agents, or admissions ‘techs’. The gauntlet of nose-ring festooned ‘greeters’ sporting ‘man-buns’ or just plain mean city, county, state and federal workers is actually the new normal. We need to talk about it, and we need to fix it. Is the problem that companies are spending too much time saving the whales, and not enough time saving the customer? Or is it excessive government regulation, poor economic growth, or we’re just not as competent as our ‘amazing’ history and resume says we are? No institution in our society is more dangerously corrupt and incompetent than the government, despite what the politicians say about Wall Street. What can be done? Meanwhile…still on hold with customer service. Sponsored by X Government Trucks and Pride of Homes and Luke Team Real Estate. (Editor’s Note: Podcast 429 isn’t done yet, and will be on the way…so here’s podcast 430. Don’t worry you didn’t miss one.

Podcast 420

Bob Davis Unplugged. I’ve always admired talk show hosts who can do a good show without notes, preparation or a plan. Certainly walk and talk podcasts fit that bill, but it helps to walk while you talk. In studio is a different story. There have been some interesting developments in the news this week. Commentators are back to following the proverbial bouncing ball and missing some points that I think need to be made. Regarding the Oregon shooting; When I asked people what was going on in the news they said, “There’s the Trump thing, the Pope thing and oh yeah, another mass shooting.” Of course the President didn’t skip a second rushing out to demand Americans surrender their guns. Why do we have a second amendment? Is there a final check on the dangerous power of government? While we don’t generally think of a government that seems to exist to extract money from our paychecks and mail checks to others, including billionaires like Warren Buffett, there’s immense power in spying and militarized police departments. Then there’s the Communist Pope. The left loves Francis, or at least they did until it was reported that the Pope – who would rather talk about the scourge of Capitalism rather than the scourge of pedophilia in the Catholic Church – met with Kim Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk who refused to marry gay couples. Suddenly the ‘amazing’ Pope Francis was tarred and feathered on social media, to the extent that the Vatican this week back pedaled ‘explaining’ the Pope’s meeting with Davis. Then there are the economic pundits and employment numbers. Almost all of them predicted a ‘great’ employment report this week, especially since low gas prices ‘act like a tax cut by stimulating the economy’, until they don’t. Now, if you have been listening to the Bob Davis Podcasts you have been warned about this shibboleth long ago. Lower gas prices don’t ‘act like a tax cut’. Our economy would have to create over 375,000 jobs a month for a long time in order to bring the millions of people who are out of the work force back in. Sadly 375,000 is a number this country’s economy has not been able to attain since the recession back in 2008, despite all the efforts to ‘stimulate’ and ‘prime the pump’ from a trillion dollar stimulus to ‘cars for clunkers’ and every other cockamamie scheme cooked up by President Obama. Moreover, none of the presidential candidates, on both sides of the political spectrum seem to have a clue about how to grow the US Economy other than more stimulus, or tax cuts but no spending cuts. Have we — as in everyone in the world — forgotten how to be capitalists? Could we feed ourselves without a job or government handout if we had to? Maybe this could be one of the positive effects of a future ‘gig economy’ … with everyone freelancing, we might actually learn to create, not take. Sponsored by Pride of Homes and X Government Trucks.