The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Dollars. Taxes.

Rich Galen

Thursday November 2, 2017

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  • In a scene from the Marx Brothers movie, "Duck Soup," Chico gets into a riff with a member of the governing court. Freedonia is about to go to war and there is not enough money in the treasury.
    "We have to raise taxes," the official says.

    Chico: "I got a uncle lives in taxes."

    Official: No, I'm talking about taxes. Taxes, dollars"

    Chico: "Dollars! that's where my uncle live: Dollars, Taxes"

  • There are something on the order of 75,000 pages in the U.S. tax code which generate about 10 million words. As someone has previously said, "Every word on every page has a champion."

  • Those champions are largely in the form of K Street lobbyists who are paid handsomely to put those words in, and make sure some other handsomely paid K Street lobbyist doesn't have them taken out.

  • This is one of the few examples of a totally successful closed recycling program in existence.

  • The big issue, when tinkering with tax code, is: How much less or more money will it generate for the federal government to do the things we want the federal government to do.

  • Before you grind your teeth and send me an email that the only things the government should do is protect the homeland and a few other things, stop and think about how much you and your family depend on government programs.

  • Student loans. Health care. Farm subsidies. Military. Roads. Bridges. Airports. Social Security. And on and on.

  • We saw this during the early "Repeal and Replace" fights. When people began to realize they were going to have to foot the bill for their parents' health care without Medicaid expansion, Obamacare was not such a bad idea.

  • The ideological debate comes when we try to "score" tax policy. The famous (or infamous) "Laffer Curve" which holds that (within reason) the more you tax something the less of it will be produced and the less you tax something the more of it will be produced.

  • The other side of the ideological divide comes to how to define a reduction in tax revenue. Conservatives tend to talk about it as workers keeping more of their money. Liberals tend to call it a "tax expenditure."

  • My feeling is:
    It's my money.

    I'll pay you my fair share in taxes,

    Don't try to convince me it's YOUR money and you'll let me keep only as much as you choose.

  • There are difficult issues. Whether to change the tax treatment of 401(k) retirement accounts and whether to do away with the deduction for state and local taxes, to name but two.

  • I don't know if a tax bill will be introduced today, next week or never.

  • I do know that the GOP can claim a victory by doing just one thing: Reduce the tax on corporate profits from just shy of 39 percent to 20 percent. That will generate more revenue, raise wages, repatriate nearly $2 trillion in profits stashed overseas, and allow U.S. companies to better compete globally.

  • As of today, there are 22 legislative days left for the year. In reality, that is not nearly enough time to tackle many of those 75,000 pages with any vigor or hope of closing even some of the loopholes trade groups, corporations, unions, and others have paid so dearly to have inserted into the tax code.

  • Neither Donald Trump nor the Republicans in the House and Senate want to see the sun set on 2017 with a big fat zero in their "Mission Accomplished" column.

  • We all live in Dollars, Taxes.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Subscription Drive page as well as to "Duck Soup" and the Laffer Curve.

    The Mullfoto is from Reagan National Airport last week.

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