"Sometimes societies become too stupid to survive." Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn: Buying ‘Buffett Rule’ makes you a fool

By MARK  STEYN

By MARK STEYN

Syndicated columnist

In the end, free societies get the governments they deserve. So, if the American people wish to choose their chief executive on the basis of the “war on women,” the Republican theocrats’ confiscation of your contraceptives, or whatever other mangy and emaciated rabbit the Great Magician produces from his threadbare topper, they are free to do so, and they will live with the consequences. This week’s bit of ham-handed misdirection was “the Buffett Rule,” a not-so-disguised capital-gains tax hike designed to ensure that Warren Buffett pays as much tax as his secretary. If the alleged Sage of Omaha is as exercised about this as his public effusions would suggest, I’d be in favor of repealing the prohibition on Bills of Attainder, and the old boy could sleep easy at night. But instead every other American “millionaire” will be subject to the new rule – because, as President Obama said this week, it “will help us close our deficit.”

Wow! Who knew it was that easy?

Article Tab: President Barack Obama speaks about the Buffett Rule, Wednesday, April 11, 2012, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington.
President Barack Obama speaks about the Buffett Rule, Wednesday, April 11, 2012, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington.
SUSAN WALSH, ASSOCIATED PRESS
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A-hem. According to the Congressional Budget Office (the same nonpartisan bean counters who project that on Obama’s current spending proposals the entire U.S. economy will cease to exist in 2027) Obama’s Buffett Rule will raise – stand well back – $3.2 billion per year. Or what the United States government currently borrows every 17 hours. So in 514 years it will have raised enough additional revenue to pay off the 2011 federal budget deficit. If you want to mark it on your calendar, 514 years is the year 2526. There’s a sporting chance Joe Biden will have retired from public life by then, but other than that I’m not making any bets.

Let’s go back to that presidential sound bite:

“It will help us close our deficit.”

I’m beginning to suspect that the Oval Office teleprompter may be malfunctioning, or that perhaps that NBC News producer who “accidentally” edited George Zimmerman into sounding like a racist has now edited the smartest president of all time into sounding like an idiot. Either way, it appears the last seven words fell off the end of the sentence. What the president meant to say was:

“It will help us close our deficit … for 2011 … within a mere half-millennium!” [Pause for deafening cheers and standing ovation.]

Sometimes societies become too stupid to survive. A nation that takes Barack Obama’s current rhetorical flourishes seriously is certainly well advanced along that dismal path. The current federal debt burden works out at about $140,000 per federal taxpayer, and President Obama is proposing to increase both debt and taxes. Are you one of those taxpayers? How much more do you want added to your $140,000 debt burden? As the Great Magician would say, pick a number, any number. Sorry, you’re wrong. Whatever you’re willing to bear, he’s got more lined up for you.

Even if you’re absolved from federal income tax, you, too, require enough people willing to keep the racket going, and America is already pushing forward into territory the rest of the developed world is steering well clear of. On April Fools’ Day, Japan and the United Kingdom both cut their corporate tax rates, leaving the United States even more of an outlier, with the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world: The top rate of federal corporate tax in the US is 35 percent. It’s 15 percent in Canada. Which is next door.

Well, who cares about corporations? Only out-of-touch dilettante playboys like Mitt Romney who – hmm, let’s see what I can produce from the bottom of the top hat – put his dog on the roof of his car as recently as 1984! That’s where your gran’ma will be under the Republicans’ plan, while your contraceptiveless teenage daughter is giving birth on the hood. “Corporations are people, my friend,” said Mitt, in what’s generally regarded as a damaging sound bite by all the smart people who think Obama’s plan to use the Buffett Rule to “close the deficit” this side of the fourth millennium is a stroke of genius.

But Mitt’s not wrong. In the end, a corporation doesn’t pay tax. The marble atrium of Global MegaCorp’s corporate HQ is indifferent to the tax rate; the Articles of Incorporation in the bottom drawer of the chairman’s desk couldn’t care less. Every dollar of “corporate” tax has to be fished out the pocket of a real flesh-and-blood human being, whether shareholder, employee or customer.

And that’s the problem. For what Obama’s spending, there aren’t enough of them, or us, or “the rich” – and there never will be. There is only one Warren Buffett. He is the third-wealthiest person on the planet. The first is a Mexican, and beyond the reach of the U.S. Treasury. Mr. Buffett is worth $44 billion. If he donated the entire lot to the Government of the United States, they would blow through it within four-and-a-half days. OK, so who’s the fourth-richest guy? He’s French. And the fifth guy’s a Spaniard. No. 6 six is Larry Ellison. He’s American, but that loser is only worth $36 billion. So he and Buffett between them could keep the United States Government going for a week. The next-richest American is Christy Walton of Wal-Mart, and she’s barely a semi-Buffett. So her $25 billion will see you through a couple of days of the second week. There aren’t a lot of other semi-Buffetts, but, if you scrounge around, you can rustle up some hemi-demi-semi-Buffetts: If you confiscate the total wealth of the Forbes 400 richest Americans it comes to $1.5 trillion, which is just a little less than the Obama budget deficit for year.

But there are a lot of “millionaires,” depending on how you define it. Jerry Brown, California’s reborn Gov. Moonbeam, defines his “millionaire’s tax” as applying to anybody who earns more than $250,000 a year. “Anybody who makes $250,000 becomes a millionaire very quickly,” he explained. “You just need four years.” This may be the simplest wealth creation advice since Bob Hope was asked to respond back in 1967 to reports that he was worth half-a-billion dollars. “Anyone can do it,” said Hope. “All you have to do is save a million dollars a year for 500 years.”

It’s that easy, folks! Like President Obama says, all you have to do to pay off his 2011 deficit is save $3.2 billion a year for 500 years.

He thinks you’re stupid. Warren Buffett thinks you’re stupid. Maybe you are. But not everyone is. And America’s foreign debtors understand that “the Buffett Rule” is just another pathetic sleight of hand en route to the collapse of the U.S. dollar, and of American society shortly thereafter.

When he’s not talking up his buddy Warren, the Half-Millennium Man has been staggering around demonizing Paul Ryan’s plan, which would lead, he says, to the end of the weather service, air traffic control, national parks, law enforcement, and drinkable water. Given what’s at stake, you might think then that the president would have an alternative plan. But he has none, save for his proposal to pay off the 2011 federal deficit by the year 2526. The Obama No-Plan plan means the end of everything. That really ought to be the only slogan the Republicans need this fall:

What’s your plan?

And all you hear are crickets chirping.

But don’t worry, they’re federally funded crickets, chirping at a research facility in North Carolina investigating whether there’s any correlation between chirping crickets and the inability of America’s political institutions to effect meaningful course correction.

Hey, relax. The Buffett Rule will pick up the tab.

©MARK STEYN

I Can't Tolerate Your Intolerance!

Original post and video here:

“‘Celebrate diversity’ — the great bumper sticker — actually means ‘celebrate stultifying homogeneity,’” Canadian best-selling author and columnist Mark Steyn told The Daily Caller.

In an exclusive interview this week with TheDC’s Ginni Thomas, Steyn railed against liberal “diversity”-speak and the lack of tolerance for traditional values.

“As you know, if you go to the average American newsroom you can have diversity of race, diversity of gender, diversity of orientation — everything except the only diversity that matters, which is diversity of thought,” he said. “And the left does not want to celebrate diversity of thought. They rage against so-called intolerance, yet they themselves are stupefyingly intolerant.”

“They are conformity enforcers,” he explained,” but they’ve co-opted all the light, fluffy, happy, smiley-faced buzzwords.”

“That’s the classic trick taught to us by Orwell explicitly in ’1984.’ People of a conservative disposition read that book and think he’s warning of a dystopian future. People of the left read it and use it as a manual.”

The rest of Mark Steyn’s interview will be online Monday morning, only at The Daily Caller.

Follow David on Twitter

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/04/08/mark-steyn-liberals-conformity-enforcers-stupefyingly-intolerant-video/#ixzz1rYTKwNgn

Food for Thought That DOESN'T Lead to Indigestion Isn't Worth It

Original article here.

THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2012

The $67 Billion Feminist Tax that Women Primarily Pay

Follow me closely on this one because it takes some explaining, but I’ll try to make this as clear and as simple as possible so you see my point.

In order for something to be taxed there must be some kind of transaction. You get a paycheck, you sell some stock, you buy gas, you sell a house, etc. etc. That transaction is recorded not just in company or government records, but at banks, so if you were ever to get audited, there would be some kind of proof a transaction did indeed occur. There are only two ways to avoid this taxation:

1. That transaction is done in cash (and therefore no banking or electronic proof that transaction occurred).

2. You barter for services or goods (again, no electronic record of any transaction).

Now, that being said, the IRS still requires you to report any cash or bartering transactions so you can pay taxes on it, but they’re relying on the honor system in these cases. Naturally, there’s an incentive to make transactions via cash or barter, resulting in an US underground economy estimated to be anywhere from $500 billion to even $3 trillion.

When you think “underground economy” you usually think drugs, weapons, maybe contractors doing favors for one another, but you rarely think of housework as part of the underground economy. Basic house maintenance, upkeep and cleaning is viewed more as a chore and even the most ardent of IRS agents I doubt would advocate somehow requiring homemakers reporting whether or not they vacuumed that year or mowed the lawn.

However, they don’t really have to. Feminism has already done that for them.

Again, before I continue on, let me get the disclaimers out here so we can blunt the knee-jerk reactions from the non-thinking reactionaries. Let me state that I for one never viewed house work as “beneath” anybody. I never viewed what could be considered traditional “women’s work” beneath traditional “men’s work” and to this day still am looking for proof where society placed less value on traditional women’s roles than they did traditional male’s roles. Truthfully, I believe having “men’s” work and “women’s” work categorized was really more of a symbiotically beneficial division of labor allowing both groups to produce more than had they tried to do both jobs, but that is for another debate at another point in time. For purposes of our discussion now, I view traditional “women’s work” just as vital as traditional “men’s work,” while at the same time agreeing there are instances where the traditional roles could be reversed that would also be beneficial.

But getting back to my original point, feminism has indeed brought a lot of the unspoken labor involved in house work, house maintenance and traditional “women’s work” out of the world of barter and into the official (and now taxable) economy.

How?

Well consider this.

1950’s home maker Sue spends her day cleaning and taking care of the house. Washing dishes, doing laundry, cooking meals, and (more importantly) taking care of the kids. All of this has vital value to the continuing function of the household and thus the economy and thus the country, but because she is not paid to do it, there is no way to put a market value on it and therefore no way to tax it.

But today, many thanks to feminism, women are no longer “shackled” to the doldrums of the 1950’s housewife. She can go and pursue her own education, her own career, have kids, have a home, have a car, pursue her hobbies, run for president, fly to the moon and cure cancer. She can do it all and she can have it all because she has moxie and grrrrrl power (TM). And so, in 2012, Amy is “having it all” as she works as a lawyer in a prestigious DT law firm, with her 3 children, her house payments and car payments, as she participates in the local wine club, and goes out and partays as she is single because her ex-husband was a jerk.

The question is, naturally, if Amy is out doing all these things, how does she take care of her house and her children?

Simple, she doesn’t. She pays somebody else to do it. She outsources all these things.

Uh ohhhhhh!

“Did you say, “outsource,” Captain?”

Yes, yes I did. And you know what that means. That was a transaction. A transaction that is recordable and now, thusly, taxable.

In short, by kicking the homemaker (whether it was male or female, it doesn’t matter) out of the house and into the working world you no longer have a willing and amiable spouse to stay at home and do all that work for “free.” You have to pay somebody, and NOW you get to pay taxes on it.

How much? Well, shucks howdy, a cool $67 billion every year ladies and gentlemen.

How did I come about that figure? With my patented “Super Awesome Economic Genius,” of course!

If you go to the NIPA accounts and look at personal consumption expenditures and add up all the various “household services,” “day care,” “cleaning services,” and other things that would have been done by a traditional housewife, you get $169.3 billion spent on everything. But in the 1950’s, that wouldn’t have been a transacted number. That would have been a theoretical value applied to the barter. But since $169.3 billion has actually been transacted, you need to apply the roughly 40% tax rate to that amount, which results in the $67 billion tax bill I estimated above.

Now who pays this tax?

Disproportionately women.

Men were already working in the official economy and therefore paying income taxes. It’s not like male labor force participation jumped since the 1950’s. But to pay for the outsourcing of house maintenance, home keeping, child-rearing, etc., this bill fell on women who were now on their way to having it all. Women were now not just working and paying regular income taxes, they were now paying that extra $67 billion in taxes to essentially free them up from those horribly oppressive traditional roles so they could pursue their careers.

However, this brings up a funny “chicken or the egg” observation.

Often times I will hear people (not just women, but men too) say,

“Well, you need a two-person income to support a family today. It’s impossible to have a stay at home parent.”

Really?

Is it that you need to work two jobs to pay for everything, or is it that “everything” costs so much because it was cheaper for one parent to stay home instead of paying $22,000 a year for day care, $10,000 a year for a cleaner, and an extra $12,000 a year for eating out at restaurants because nobody has time to shop for groceries let alone turn them into meals?

Sadly, today the point is moot. Society, in voting in a bevy of social programs, has made the option of a parent staying home nearly impossible. Too many government programs exist today to accommodate the two-working-parent model that if you decide one of you will stay home to rear children and take care of the house, you’re stabbed on property taxes, sales taxes, and other non-income tax related levies. You are also forfeiting “free” government programs that have taken over some of these traditional housewife duties.

However, the fact there are so many government programs brings up two last, but wickedly ironic points.

Point 1 – Cleaning the house, doing the dishes, etc., etc., is one thing. But the most expensive item that was bartered for back in the olden days was rearing children. Society, in all of its wisdom, has effectively outsourced that to the government. You have day care, pre-school, early childhood development programs, high school care for teenage moms’ children. You could even argue elementary school is largely a baby sitting operation. And with the early-morning school programs and after-school programs, you can hardly argue it isn’t. You can pretty much just go and have a child and after a bit of maternity leave, drop the kid off at some school, institution or daycare and the government will either subsidize it or outright pay for it. Thank god, you don’t have to deal with that icky, yucky, gross child of yours, let alone RAISE that darn thing! Whew! Onto your masters degree.

But who then raises your child?

And here is the wicked part.

Point 2 – Though not always, predominantly other women take care of your kid. Amy the lawyer or Kelly the engineer would be one thing in that the economic argument could be made that in outsourcing their traditional housewife duties, they COULD make more as an engineer, pay somebody else to maintain the home, pay the extra “feminist tax” on those transactions and STILL come out ahead. They and their husbands could make bookoo coin, fly around the world, gallivant and drink wine, and heck yes, more power to you, AS LONG AS YOU DON’T HAVE CHILDREN. However, that is not the case in the majority of working women. The majority of working women are not only NOT engineers, the majority of women DO want children.

So what ends up happening?

Women, in droves, disproportionately major in “early childhood development,” “education,” “child psychology,” “sociology,” “social work,” and a bevy of other worthless degrees to do what????

Take care of other womens’ children.

Not only do you NOT get to take care of your own children, you get to work to pay the taxes to pay other women to take care of yours (and the taxes needed to employ this veritable army of social workers is infinitely more than $67 billion).

Of course, this is all good. We’re all empowered. We’re all “having it all.” We’re all happy. I’m sure the government does a much better job at child rearing than actual mothers (or stay at home fathers) do. Thank god we abandoned traditional roles that somehow developed (for no reason whatsoever) over the millinea of human history. Otherwise there may have been some longer-term consequences that would dwarf the mere $67 billion tax bill. And that certainly isn’t possible now, is it?