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Archive for April 28th, 2010

It doesn’t mean anything, and it definitely wasn’t a scientific survey, but more than 88 percent of the people who voted in the U.S. News & World Report poll on the flat tax vs. the current system chose my side of the debate.

To be sure, a dead skunk in the road would beat the current tax system, so I’m not letting this go to my head.

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Every experience I’ve had with speed cameras has been negative. That’s hardly a surprise, but the other common experience is that they always are set up in places where the speed limit is absurdly low (a 45-mph limit on a stretch of interstate highway in DC is a good example). As one might suspect, there is considerable evidence that greedy and corrupt governments use cameras as a revenue generator. But cameras are not a necessary component of speed traps. Here’s a story from Michigan about how local governments are ignoring state requirements to set reasonable speed limits solely because the bureaucrats want to rip off motorists:

Metro Detroit motorists who exceed posted speed limits may not be breaking the law, because in many cases the limits themselves are unlawful, according to one of the state’s top traffic cops. Four years after the passage of Public Act 85, which requires municipalities in Michigan to conduct studies to set proper speed limits, most cities, villages and townships have not complied, according to Lt. Gary Megge, head of the Michigan State Police Traffic Services Section. One likely reason, said Megge, whose section advises communities on how to set proper speed limits, is that communities want speeding ticket revenue, and failing to conduct the required speed studies allows them to keep enforcing their speed limits that Megge calls “artificially low.” …Ferndale Police Chief Michael Kitchen admitted revenue was the reason behind his recent decision to step up traffic enforcement. “We have to write more tickets in order to avoid layoffs,” Kitchen said. …Kitchen admitted that the 35-mph speed limit on the most heavily-driven roadway in Ferndale — Woodward Avenue near Nine Mile — is likely too low. “That speed limit would probably be 45 mph if they ever did a speed study,” said Kitchen, adding that Woodward falls under MDOT’s jurisdiction.

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A former Governor of Delaware, Pete DuPont, explains that a value-added tax means bigger government and slower growth. This issue is very important since Obama clearly is trying to set the stage for imposing this European-style national sales tax in the United States:

The VAT has been in use in the European countries since the late 1960s, and has had a strong, negative economic influence. Before the European VATs were put into effect, the average EU tax burden was 28% of gross domestic product, compared with the 25% in the U.S. By 2006 with the VATs EU average tax burden was 40% compared with 28% in America. Average European government spending was about 30% of GDP when the VATs were instituted in the late 1960s. Fast forward to today, and we see European government spending has grown more than 50% and now hits 47% of GDP. And European government debt in 2005 was 50% of GDP, compared with under 40% in America. Perhaps most important, bigger government spending and higher taxes have radically reduced job growth in Europe. Between 1982 and 2007, Europe created fewer than 10 million new jobs, vs. 45 million in the U.S. Our economic growth was more then one-third faster. The European Union now requires all member nations to have a minimum VAT of 15%–more or less the equivalent of Congress telling each of our 50 states how high their taxes must be. So has the VAT replaced some of the income tax in Europe? Absolutely not, nor has it reduced the income tax rates. The average VAT rate there is just under 20%, and the EU’s top income tax rates average about 46%. …What the VAT really does, as we have seen in Europe, is to do away with government spending controls. So if enacted by the Congress, higher taxes, bigger government, lower economic growth and fewer jobs will be the result, and all of us will soon be living in a new and much less successful America.

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