Category Archives: Political Commentary

An Alternative View of Alternative Minimum Tax

There is a strong case for flat taxes. They reduce compliance (and avoidance) costs. They create a very broad base for taxes that in turn distort the economy less and have a lower dead weight social loss. The Economist says that they may be practical and feasible.

The conventional wisdom from (NYT, April 10) is that alternative minimum taxes (AMT) are bad news. An alternative view is that they are a back door way to get a flat tax. The number of people who pay AMT is expected to grow to $200 billion projected in 2015. This growth is due to three factors: deductions get more generous, maximum marginal rates stay low due to the tax cut, and inflation and growth steadily increase income. While $200 billion less than 5% of the federal budget and less than 1% of the $20 trillion economy (in 2000 constant dollars) projected for 2015, it is still a significant portion of taxpayers paying a flat tax.

If US wants a flat tax, it should do nothing about AMT, it should increase deductions like crazy and reduce the marginal rate of the non-flat tax further. For those worried about the budget deficit, the AMT rate can be raised, or perhaps Medicare and Social Security rationalized.

The National Debt Is Too Small

Borrowing to build physical and human capital is a way to finance growth. Can you imagine the quality of education and the number of college educated people if there were no student loans? Can you imagine the house you could get without a mortgage? They would not be nearly so nice as if you get a generous loan at a low interest rate. The same is true of our nation’s capital investments. Can someone tell me if we are carrying on our books assets such as the following: the nation

Going For The Idiot Vote

One of the most hilarious things that I found about the Florida voting fiasco in 2000 was the Democrats’ cheerful willingness to advance the proposition that uninformed morons, unable to read a ballot or punch a hole all the way through a flimsy piece of cardboard, were a key (in fact, apparently essential) part of their constituency (a notion that I mercilessly mocked a couple years ago). Shamelessly, and utterly innocent of how foolish it makes them look, they’re apparently still at it.

If They Really Want Social Security

AARP types should be flexing their political muscle to cash in and fully fund social security. They should not pussyfoot around trying to keep social security payments high every year. It is a political battle every year as the report on how well the social security trust fund is doing comes out, much like China before permanent normal trade relations (PNTR).

Instead, they should get Congress to fully fund social security and privatize it at the same time by distributing bonds to all seniors. The bonds that they would distribute would magically make appear the trust fund that has not exactly been on the books since the original Social Security Act of 1935. An individual version of the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation can monitor each senior

Routing Around It

In the context of the perhaps-imminent fall of the Canadian government, and the laughable chicanery of the San Francisco city government, Wretchard has an interesting post about how, once again, attempts to impose censorship are futile in the age of the Internet. Dean Esmay once wrote, with regard to the Swift Boat Vet story, that:

The Internet has detected the mainstream media as a form of censorship and simply routed around them.

It seems to be applying to real censorship as well.

Of course, while Colby Cosh was careful (it will be interesting to see if anyone from Ottawa goes after him), there’s an interesting question as to whether Winds of Change is a Canadian blog, because it’s run by Joe Katzman. Where is it hosted? Is Joe sticking his neck out legally, by posting to it from Toronto? Could other Canadians get into trouble by discussing it on Free Republic?

The absurdity abounds.