Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15, 2013 - it could be worse...

A few days ago I met with my accountant to settle my obligations, under the questionably ratified 16th amendment, which states that my income is subject to taxation "from whatever source derived." 
O.K., if you say so.
Two reminders in this brief posting today.
First, the Founders never intended for us to face what we all must deal with today.  They did not want us to pay taxes on our income.  This "direct tax" as they called it would be a violation of our natural right to property - income being that property. 
From 1776-1914 this was the law of the land.  No income taxes.  None.
100 years ago the sixteenth amendment was passed and beginning the next year we have been paying every year.
Which brings me to my second point. 
Look at the cartoon  above.  It is accurate.  These are the top marginal tax rates that we have seen over the last 100 years. 
Thank God - and Ronald Reagan - that we are now in an era where we do not pay these rates any more.
Yes, we still pay too much.  We still pay on too many things (capital, real estate, our death, our investments, our savings, our property and more).
But at least President Reagan charted a sharply downward course from which President Obama has a long way to go before he can restore the tax rates he would like - and that we used to have.
So, as I prepare to mail my check that reflects theft, plunder and a violation of my natural rights I will pause for a second and give thanks that the muggers in Washington, D.C. currently shake me down for far less than what they used to.

Monday, April 8, 2013

God Bless You, Lady Thatcher

This morning I received an email request from The Heartland Institute - a think tank I am an advisor to - requesting a comment for the media on the passing of Margaret Thatcher.

This was the first I had heard of her death.

After a long time of staring at the computer I was finally able to offer this:

“At a time when the world was facing a growing threat from economic collectivism, Lady Thatcher stood firmly rooted in the principles of economic liberty.  Her refusal to cave into the onslaught of union threats, the plea for greater government spending and higher taxes, meant that Britain transitioned from a nation mired in stagflation to one that came to be admired for pragmatic free market reforms.  The last of the giants of 20th century economic liberty will be missed more than the world is prepared to comprehend.”

It is very difficult to explain to people who are much younger than I what impact the Iron Lady had on global economic freedom.

Even before Ronald Reagan arrived on the scene, Margaret Thatcher was engaged in a great struggle in Great Britain to impose a new economic order on her nation.

When World War II ended, incredibly the British voters gave Winston Churchill the boot and elected a Christian Socialist by the name of Clement Atlee.

Atlee and the Labor Party successfully nationalized Britain's major industries - forcing businesses to sell their property to the government.  The government promised to reform Britain's economy by protecting workers and nonworkers from the evils of capitalism. 

Within 30 years Great Britain had become one of the poorest nations in all of Europe.

Thatcher, who had learned economics as a girl working in her father's store, and from reading Hayek's The Road to Serfdom became Prime Minister in 1974 when England was facing roaring inflation, high rates of unemployment, labor strikes all over the place and growing welfare and tax burdens.

What came next can be seen in the video I am added below.

In just 10 years of her brilliant, pro-liberty reforms, Great Britain's economy was once again a beacon for other nations to emulate.

With her passing, the world is worse off.  The cause of liberty is on shakier ground and heaven has received one of the all-time champions of human dignity.

Thank you, Lady Thatcher.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

For Sale: One Cat. Price: Negative $143.12

Six years ago my wife and youngest son spotted the cat in this picture trying to climb a tree at a nearby gas station.  The cat was just a kitten - abandoned - ridden with fleas and cute. 
Wife brings cat home.
Cat begins constant desire for food and normal medical attention.
Husband (me) not happy.
This cat costs me about $400 per year in food and vet bills.  That means if she (Tommi is her name) lives for 15 years I am going to be out $6,000.  That is 10 days (probably) in Europe or a month and half of camping in the Northwest or a decent used car or some help for my kid's education or other stuff that I want or need.
I do not want or need this cat.
She does not lay eggs like the two chickens we recently acquired.  She does not give milk.  She does not guard the house against intruders and Jehovah's Witnesses.  She does not do anything that any economist would claim is of value.  She does bring in the occasional flea, causes me to sneeze, takes naps on clothes I am trying to sell on eBay and even vomits on the floor from time to time.
I realize this is a horrible ad for a cat I am writing so please ignore the ad and look at the price.
Negative $143.12
That's right.  I, the supplier am willing to pay you, the demander, to take this cat off my hands.
And I am not joking. 
In a normal market, where supply and demand intersect at prices above zero, the buyer pays the seller.
In a market where the product is of such low value (think used chewing gum, junked cars and Julia Robert's movies), supply and demand can acually intersect at a price below zero.
This is where my cat enters the picture.
How did I arrive at the price?  Very simple - it is called trial and error.
I do not know what the equilibrium price is for this cat but I have fully disclosed her problems.  Her records are up to date and she is happy inside and outside.  She has many more years left to hang out with one of you cat lovers and you can have her and some cash to get started on giving her a new home.
Let the bidding begin.