Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

For "a human being, the question 'to be or not to be,' is the question 'to think or not to think.'" Ayn Rand

17 October 2019

My Tax Rate as an Individual and as an Employer

Bernie Sanders is proposing raising the highest bracket of the federal income tax from 37% to 52%.  This caused me to think once again about the taxes I pay.

I pay all of the usual personal taxes such as federal income tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, Maryland income tax, real estate taxes on my home, and the Maryland state sales tax.  In addition, I am a small business owner.  As a small business owner, I pay the following taxes:

Social Security (half for each employee)
Medicare (half for each employee)
Federal Unemployment
Maryland Unemployment
S Corporation Tax
Workman's Compensation Insurance (required by state)
Real Estate Property Tax
Personal Property Tax (laboratory equipment, supplies, computers, furniture, etc.)
Sales Tax

The sales taxes are too onerous to calculate, so I am going to leave those out of my calculation of the tax burden I carry as an individual and as an employer.  I did this calculation for the year 2018.

Leaving sales taxes out of the calculation for both the company and at home, the other taxes I paid equal 99.0% of my income.  Taking into account the sales taxes, that percentage goes well beyond 100%.

Now most of you are likely to argue that many of the taxes I paid are just a cost of doing business and it is not as though the various governments ganged up on me and took every penny I earned and more and left me to actually starve in the streets.  But it is true that if these governments did not tax me, my personal income could have been about 60% more than what it was.  Viewed from this perspective, I was likely only able to control the spending of about 35% of the income I could have had were it not for the many government taxes I pay both as an individual and as a small business owner.  I am one hell of a taxpayer.

Is it any wonder in the modern era that so few people choose to be employers and so many prefer to be employees.  This does not even consider the many risks involved in being an employer and a business owner.  It does not include the paperwork burdens.  It does not include the weight of the responsibility for your employees' welfare.  It does not include the cost of complying with the many regulations imposed by governments, many of which have little regard for a cost-benefit ratio that is rational.

Reducing the costs and the many other burdens that governments put on employers has a truly dramatic effect on encouraging entrepreneurs, who are under extremely heavy burdens at present.  The entrepreneurial spirit in America is being squelched.  Let it flourish and the growth rate in our economy will skyrocket.  Even small improvements in the growth rate have a tremendous impact on compounding the growth of the economy over the 40 year period that most people have yet to live.

Think about this when the Democrat Socialist Party politicians propose more taxes to partially cover the expenses of their many proposed new welfare programs.  Not only are they not going to allow entrepreneurship to grow the economy more, but they are actually determined to further squelch it, to smother it, to brutally murder it.  They simply view employers as the enemy, which is exactly what is to be expected of socialists.

More and more employers will go on strike -- they will shrug their shoulders and let all of these heavy burdens crash to the ground.  Atlas will shrug.  The many American employees will have far fewer jobs with far fewer people willing to bear the many burdens of being an employer.  The number of employers has fallen dramatically over our history as governments have grown.  This is not the only reason for this, but it has been an important reason for it.

12 October 2019

Executive Branch Corruption Prevention vs. Foreign Contributions of Value

The President of the United States of America is constitutionally tasked with enforcing the laws of the nation within its constitutionally delimited powers.  That enforcement function implies that he must not allow corruption within the Executive Branch.  It is his duty to root it out, reveal it, and prosecute it.

During the Obama presidency, his administration had numerous incidences that appeared to be examples of severe corruption and which he ought to have seriously investigated.  However, it is highly plausible that Obama was actually involved in some or all of these instances of very plausible corruption.  None of these corruption instances were properly investigated.  It is not unusual for an administration to fail to investigate instances of corruption for fear of embarrassment or for fear that they will lose votes in the next election because they were caught in their planned corruption.  This is especially true of the Democrat Party, whose corruption is commonly so pervasive that they cannot even be embarrassed by the fact of it and are only ever embarrassed by the ineptness that caused them to be overtly caught engaging in it.

Now let me give you a few of the very plausibly corrupt actions that occurred by politicians under the Obama administration:

  • Lois Lerner and the IRS holding up more than a hundred Tea Party, Constitutional Government, and Patriot tax-exempt status requests which kept many of them from expounding policy arguments that the Democrat Socialist Party did not want Americans to hear before the 2012 election.
  • The Uranium One, whose controlling ownership was Russian, but also partly Canadian, deal to buy American uranium which required the approval of several Obama agencies, including the State Department, then headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Prior to these approvals and during the approval process, huge donations were made to the Clinton Foundation by Uranium One officers and Bill Clinton was offered $500,000 to give a speech in Moscow at a meeting that recommended investments in Uranium One.
  • Hillary Clinton stole more than 60,000 e-mails from the U.S. government while Secretary of State, routing them through an insecure server in the basement of one of her homes.  When these were demanded back, she destroyed about half of them, claiming they were only personal notes.  Even among those that were returned, numerous instances of information requiring secure handling were found.  The hard drive and other storage media for the e-mails had been destroyed, in violation of the legal requirement that the e-mails be returned to the government and for a proper investigation into security violations.  After Clinton had the e-mails destroyed she and the media pretended that Trump had called upon the Russians to steal these already destroyed e-mails.  This is the Democrat Socialist Party way to turn a violation of the law to advantage.  This invitation to steal narrative became part of the myth of Russian collusion by Trump.
  • A deal was made by the Obama Attorney General Lynch with Bill Clinton on the tarmac of an airport not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her theft of the State Department e-mails and for any security violations.
  • Violations of the FISA court requirements occurred at least four times in requests made by the Obama FBI and intelligence agencies for FISA warrants to spy upon the Trump presidential campaign.  This violation of law is at least as serious as the Watergate burglary that ended the Nixon presidency.  Numerous high-level Obama officials were involved in the Spygate scandal and were collaborating with the intelligence agencies and other persons in the United Kingdom, Russia, Australia, Ukraine and Italy.
  • Vice President Joe Biden using his special envoy assignments with Ukraine and Red China to win sweetheart deals for relatives who had nothing to offer in exchange for large sums of money except the fact that they were related to Joe Biden.
Since Obama did not root out, reveal, and prosecute these likely cases of corruption under his administration, it is the very proper job that the following President do so.  Indeed, the following President would be slacking his responsibilities if he did not do so.

Ah, but note that in several of these cases there are actors from other countries.  During the 2016 election, had Trump actually received any useful information from the Russians on e-mails they may very well have stolen from Clinton's insecure home server, the Democrats would have said he had received something of value from a foreign country in violation of campaign finance laws!  This is a Get out of jail free card for a corrupt politician.  The same would have been true if Trump had received damning evidence against Clinton from a Canadian or a Russian source connected with Uranium One.

Now, the claim is being made that because Joe Biden is running for President, any evidence of his corrupt activities in Ukraine and China obtained by the Trump administration is something of value received from a foreign country in violation of campaign finance law.  So all a corrupt politician needs to do to be forever protected from investigations of his crimes is to be sure that the witnesses of his crimes are all foreigners and that he continue his political career without end so he can never be investigated and prosecuted.  What an incredible trick and the Democrat Socialist Party appears to have discovered its utility.  Corruption safe and forever.  Rather like Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton staying married forever, so neither can ever be forced to testify to the crimes of the other.  The abuse of power through foreign corruption and a political career are a marriage made in heaven, apparently.

As always, context is extremely critical in rational thinking.  One can understand how the campaign finance laws came to be and their intent.  One can understand how those who wrote the laws may not have anticipated the way the Democrats are currently trying to use these laws to prevent the proof of corruption of some of their leading politicians.  The rational man must understand that any valid intent of the campaign finance laws was to prevent corruption, not to enable it.  

The rational man understands that no campaign finance law can stand in the way of a President's core constitutional functions to execute the laws with proper respect for the individual rights of every citizen and that must mean to do so without corruption.  A President must be free to root out, reveal, and prosecute corruption in the Executive Branch of the government.  And we must note that both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden may have been guilty of corruption as officials of the Obama administration.  That very plausible possibility needs to be seriously investigated and to do so requires that foreign actors be able to deliver information about their deeds to the present administration headed by President Trump.