Category Archives: Taxes

Inequality, CEO Compensation and Thomas Piketty

What do the three phrases in the title of this blog have in common?  This is not a trick question, although some may be tricked by the rhetoric that has come from these.  OK, you have had enough time to think about it.  The answer is:  Inequality is the “new” social justice term, median CEO compensation has reached $10 million per year, far above the lowest paid worker in a given firm, and Thomas Piketty has captivated liberals with his… Continue Reading ››

Let the beating commence until morale improves! Senator Levin says close the tax loopholes!

Sen Levin has a new target in the war against our large budget deficits–corporations that legally flee the U.S. to avoid paying taxes: It’s become increasingly clear that a loophole in our tax laws allowing these inversions threatens to devastate federal tax receipts. We have to close that loophole,” said Levin in a statement. This is the typical illustration of government creating a problem, then when people try to mitigate the harm, the government takes further actions which create yet… Continue Reading ››

Don’t tax me, Don’t tax thee, Tax the fellow behind the tree! Latest obfuscation on taxes by Krugman within

Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman delights in stirring the pot, and he is not only a brilliant economist (legitimately so in the specialized area of international trade), but he is also very clever.  He doesn’t out-and-out lie, but he gives tidbits of truth while deliberately ignoring other facts to lead a reader to his own biased and false conclusion.  So what’s Mr. Krugman up to lately?  He argues that evil Republicans favor the rich–after all, everybody knows this–and they do it… Continue Reading ››

The Tax Man Cometh

The monster that never sleeps—the Internal Revenue Service.  I am reminded of the phrase in Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, written in 1651, which speaks of government as being “that mortal God.”  Its purpose for Hobbes was to “overawe” everyone and bring order.  Well, it looks as if we have a different kind of “mortal God,” one that definitely is not being used just to overawe everyone, but to overawe certain citizens and certain groups who aren’t on the “right side” politically.… Continue Reading ››

A Threat to the Rule of Law

Well, as many know by now, Lois Lerner has been identified as the high-ranking IRS official who illegally sent information about donors associated  with Tea Party-related organizations to the Federal Election Commission.  In addition we heard yesterday that someone in the IRS did leak confidential tax information to the liberal Human Rights Campaign, which immediately released it to the media.  The information included donors’ names and addresses.  Both of these actions were illegal under Federal law.  But some might say… Continue Reading ››

Nudge, Nudge

Economics is often thought of as a quasi-hard science;   a field where number crunching and rationality yield positive and true results.  While Ph.D.s in the field acknowledge that it is often hard to account for all the variables, in the past they would argue that if it were possible to account for all factors, a  mathematical conclusion would emerge. Enter the world of “nudge” economics, technically known as behavioral economics.  It originated in the 1970s from a combination of economics and psychology… Continue Reading ››

The Perfect Storm

I hope everyone has been watching the unfolding scandal at the IRS (that’s the Internal Revenue Service for the present).  As I see it, this seems like the perfect convergence of several disturbing trends in recent decades. First, we see the increasing use by congress of “big” and “broad” statutes whose language is left (deliberately?) vague.  So we begin with vagueness–even extreme vagueness. Second, Congress then leaves the implementation of these bold and vague laws to the agencies either already… Continue Reading ››

How ’bout Apple paying zero corporate income tax?

There is a lot of discussion today and yesterday about Apple’s avoidance of the corporate income tax.  As the WSJ reports on Senate Democrats investigation of Apple, Mr. Levin unveiled the results of his months-long investigation into Apple’s corporate taxes and accused the American business success of employing “alchemy” and “gimmickry” to lower its tax bill. What Mr. Levin did not do was present any evidence of anything illegal or even inappropriate. He did prove that Apple has smart accountants… Continue Reading ››