A Warren Buffett Acolyte

Patriotic Millionaires Chair Morris Pearl doesn’t want his taxes cut as part of a reform of our tax code.

Well, those of us who are less wealthy spend their money, they don’t invest it in assets. Investing in assets is not what grows the economy. Spending money is what grows the economy.

This is where he parts company with his sensei, though: he appears not to understand how a free market, capitalist economy works.

From where does Pearl think the things on which people spend money come—the turnip tree? From where does Pearl think folks get the money to spend—the dollar tree?

The EU Strikes Again

In a 130-page decision from August that was made public on Monday, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, asserted that two Apple units registered in Ireland brought in $130 billion in profit over an 11-year period that should have been taxed at Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate, but instead remained largely untaxed anywhere.

As the WSJ noted, this is an early volley in the struggle by European Union authorities to impose their tax will on scofflaw sovereign nations who are so impertinent as to apply to multinational corporations doing business within them national tax schemes and such emoluments as these nations deem useful rather than acceding to their EU Know Betters.

Tax Cuts and Deficits

The Wall Street Journal had a piece earlier in the week that focused on Republicans’ dismay over President-Elect Donald Trump’s tax cut plans, his infrastructure spending plans, and the deficits that would seem to result from the two.

However.

Once again, the pundit takes tax cuts (and individual spending items) in isolation. Of course, he knows better: broad spending cuts must accompany tax cuts—and isolated spending items—even dynamically, in order to achieve budget surpluses and so reductions in our debt.

The last two times Republicans reclaimed the White House from Democrats—in 1981 and 2001—they also successfully pushed for large tax cuts. Deficits nonetheless rose during their administrations.

Donald Trump’s Taxes and our Tax Code

Republican Party Presidential candidate Donald Trump took a tax loss of more than $900 million in 1995.  This would seem to allow Trump to pay vastly reduced, or no, income taxes in the ensuing several years.  Democrats are all up in arms over that, and how unfair it is, and how Trump must be dishonest to do such a thing.

Discretionary Spending

Much is made of the limits imposed on the Federal government’s discretionary spending by such “mandatory” spending items as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and interest on the national debt.  Indeed, after mandatory items—these three major items and a few others—discretionary spending amounts to only 33% of total Federal spending as of 2015.

Another Thought on Clinton’s Death Tax

This one by Brad Anderson, ex-Best Buy CEO.

This is a devastatingly stupid idea…. I worked for a guy who was a high school graduate, created a company—it didn’t make money for 20-years. And after 20 years it finally starts to build up. He has a dream that he’s trying to build, that includes passing some of it along to his family and if you take that away, why does he pay the price?

And why does that man’s family pay an even bigger price?

It’s Not the Family’s Money

It’s the Government’s.  Never mind that Government didn’t build and earn that wealth, the family did, along with their associates.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would impose a 65% tax on the largest estates and make it harder for wealthy households to pass appreciated assets to their heirs without paying taxes, according to an updated version of her tax plan released Thursday.

This is the Progressive view of property rights and property ownership.

There Are Charities, and There Are Charities

The Daily Caller has some numbers on the Clinton Foundation, which is pleased to refer to itself as a charity.  The Clinton Foundation spent, according to its 2014 Form 990 (the latest available)

  • a hair under $91.3 million in 2014
  • $34.8 million on salaries, compensation, and employee benefits.
  • Another $50.4 million was marked as “other expenses”

And

Despite taking in an additional $30 million in 2014, the Clinton Foundation spent 40% less on charitable grants in 2014 than in 2013. Even as it slashed charitable spending, the foundation increased the amount spent on salaries, employee benefits and compensation by $5 million in 2014.

Union Greed

It isn’t enough that unions demand the “right” to raid honest citizens’ pocketbooks for union dues—demanding that non-union members pay up as a condition of being allowed to work.  Unions also are demanding the “right” to raid honest citizens’ pocketbooks for tax money with which to plus up union “pensions.”

See, for instance, the United Mine Workers of America and their pet Democratic Party Senator, Joe Manchin (whom we had thought was more honest than this).

The Miners Protection Act of 2015—sponsored by Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV) and co-sponsored by eight Republicans—would bail out the underfunded pension plan of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).

Because Sit Down, and Shut Up

Apple Inc’s aggressive response to a €13 billion ($14.5 billion) tax ruling by the European Commission shows the U.S. technology company doesn’t understand the moral obligation on big companies to pay taxes, according to the leader of the eurozone’s finance ministers.

Because it’s terrible that a company which has played by all the rules should see its money confiscated—or the attempt made—anyway.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem [President of the Eurogroup, the collection of Eurozone finance ministers] said Apple had “failed to grasp” the public outcry over tax avoidance by large companies.