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Archive for April 14th, 2012

Readers of this blog appreciate humor. The top two posts Since I started International Liberty are this cartoon about Obama’s economic prowess and this joke comparing Texas and California.

The one liners from the late-night talks shows also tend to be quite popular. And since I like anybody who mocks politicians, I’m happy to share the ones that get me to chuckle.

Jay Leno

  • The Obama administration is trying to distance itself from remarks made by long-time Democratic adviser Hilary Rosen. She said that Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, a stay-at-home mother of five who has cancer, has never worked a day in her life. The ironic part — because of that idiotic statement, she may never work another day in her life.
  • And now, even vice president Joe Biden is furious. He said, “Making stupid comments that hurt the president, that’s my job. She has no right.”
  • The average wedding now costs $27,000. Well, no wonder Newt Gingrich is broke. He’s constantly shelling out all that money.
  • Newt Gingrich’s campaign paid $500 to get his name on the Utah primary ballot, and the check bounced. You know, if Newt is spending money he doesn’t have, maybe he really is qualified to be president.
  • The price of gasoline has now doubled under President Obama’s administration. He and Jimmy Carter are the only presidents ever to have had that happen. But in fairness, at least under President Obama we don’t have to listen to disco.
  • President Obama’s popularity is starting to dwindle among well-known liberals like Matt Damon and Gene Simmons. In fact, you know the number one liberal to turn against President Obama? Mitt Romney.
  • Today was the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, or as Republicans call it, “President Obama’s socialist egg redistribution.”
  • Mitt Romney had an Easter egg hunt as well. He does it a little differently. He hides money offshore and then the kids hunt for the nest egg.
  • The earth’s population is now well past 7 billion people. And still, the Republicans can’t find one candidate they really like.
  • Rick Santorum’s campaign is now formally calling on Newt Gingrich to drop out of the race. But you know Newt. He has vowed to stay in. And believe me, when Newt Gingrich takes a vow, he keeps it — unless, of course, you know, marriage.
  • Sarah Palin co-hosted the “Today” show. She did a pretty good job, and they want to bring her back for a new version of “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” What they’re going to do is release Matt into Central Park, and then Sarah will track him down “Hunger Games” style.
  • Oh, here’s your tax dollars at work. This is what makes people furious. The head of the GSA, a woman named Martha Johnson, has resigned after they found out she spent over $830,000 on a four-day government conference in Las Vegas. And the president is furious. Not President Obama, the president of China. It’s his money. It’s his money she spent.

David Letterman

  • Rick Santorum has dropped out of the race. He wanted to ban gambling and outlaw pornography. And this is a guy who claims Mitt Romney is out of touch with America.
  • Gingrich is $5 million in debt. And he’s the guy who was going to fix our economy.
  • Mitt Romney is trying to get female voters and Rick Santorum said, “What? Women can vote? Are you kidding me?”

Conan

  • George W. Bush said he wishes people would stop referring to his tax policy as the Bush tax cuts. He also wishes people would stop referring to his presidency as the eight-year oopsy.
  • Newt Gingrich says he still has a chance. He say people walk up to him all the time and beg him to stay in the presidential race. It’s a group of people known as Democrats.
  • Three people have won the Mega Millions lottery. You know what that means — three more votes for Mitt Romney.
  • Newt Gingrich said that Mitt Romney has no principles. In other words, he has given Romney his official endorsement.

Jimmy Kimmel

  • There’s certainly nothing fun about paying taxes. But you have to remember that all the money goes to a good cause, like paying the salaries of the meter maids who give parking tickets, keep welfare checks flowing to the Octomom — important things like that.

Jimmy Fallon

  • Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced that he is supporting Mitt Romney for president. Jindal said he couldn’t think of a better way to show his support than waiting until Romney was the only guy left.
  • After dropping out of the GOP race, Rick Santorum emailed his supporters to ask for help paying off his campaign debt. So if you believe in his message of responsible spending and no handouts, just give him a handout to cover all his irresponsible spending.
  • Over the weekend, Mitt Romney was actually spotted bodyboarding in California. Yeah, Romney would have gone surfing, but you know — he hates standing for something.
  • Actually, it turned out there weren’t enough waves that day, so Romney asked Newt Gingrich to do a cannonball.
  • Joe Biden launched a new Twitter account to give supporters updates from the campaign trail. His most recent update: “They still won’t let me go on the campaign trail.”
  • Yesterday was April Fools’ Day. Mitt Romney’s staffers played a prank on him by staging a fake campaign event in an empty room — or as Newt Gingrich put it, “My staff has been playing that prank on me for six months.”

Craig Ferguson

  • The protesters say Google is underestimating the dangers of merging man with machine. Well, they’re a little late to stop that half-man, half-cyborg thing. They’re already here. One of them just captured the Republican nomination.

If you’re a recent reader and want to catch up on these barbed remarks, you can peruse previous editions by clicking herehere, here, here, here, hereherehereherehereherehere, and here.

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The silly debate about the “Buffett Rule” is really an argument about the extent to which there should be more double taxation of income that is saved and invested.

Politicians conveniently forget that dividends and capital gains get hit by the corporate income tax. And since America now has the developed world’s highest corporate income tax rate, it’s adding insult to injury to tax the income again. Actually, it’s adding injury to injury!

No wonder Ernst and Young found that the United States has a very anti-competitive system for taxing dividends and capital gains. (perhaps it’s time to copy the clever British campaign against punitive double taxation)

If you believe in fairness, the right capital gains tax rate is zero. John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, has a good explanation.

Income tax time is an appropriate moment to go to the heart of President Obama’s complaint about the taxes Warren Buffett and other rich people pay, or don’t pay. What the president is really complaining about is that the tax rate on capital gains is too low. But there is a more basic question to be asked: why tax capital gains at all?

That’s a very good question, because a capital gain isn’t income. It’s an asset that has increased in value. But the tax only applies on the gain if you sell the asset.

But why does an asset, such as shares of stock, rise in value? According to finance research, asset prices rise in value when there’s an expectation that there will be a greater after-tax stream of future income. But that income will be taxed (at least once!) when it materializes, so why tax it before it even happens? John hits the nail on the head.

The companies will realize their actual income and they will pay taxes on it. If the firms return some of this income to investors (stockholders), the investors will pay a tax on their dividend income. If the firms pay interest to bondholders, they will be able to deduct the interest payments from their corporate taxable income, but the bondholders will pay taxes on their interest income. Here is the bottom line: There is no need for the IRS to tax the bets that people make along the way — as stock prices gyrate up and down. Eventually all the income that is actually earned will be taxed when it is realized and those taxes will be paid by the people who actually earned the income.

Amen. John is exactly right. He’s making the same arguments I put forward in my video on capital gains taxation.

By the way, the capital gains tax isn’t indexed for inflation. So if you bought an asset 30 years ago and it’s doubled in value, you’ve actually lost money after adjusting for inflation. Yet the IRS will tax you. Sort of adding injury to injury to injury.

Finally, I like how John closes his column.

…why not avoid all these problems by reforming the entire tax system along the lines of a flat tax? The idea behind a flat tax can be summarized in one sentence: In an ideal system, (a) all income is taxed, (b) only once, (c) when (and only when) it is realized, (d) at one low rate.

In this awful period leading up to tax day, isn’t it nice to at least dream of a tax system that is simple, fair, and non-corrupt?

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