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Archive for October 31st, 2019

My all-time favorite bit of Halloween humor is this video, which I periodically recycle.

Courtesy of the satirists at Babylon Bee, we now have some more Halloween-themed humor.

A haunted house for our left-leaning friends!

It’s that time of year where houses, churches, and businesses around the neighborhood begin opening up their haunted houses for those seeking a good fright. One haunted house in Portland is promising progressives the scariest experience of all: a tour of a regular conservative guy’s home. The home contains a sizable collection of guns, several Bibles, a few American flags, some pictures of Ronald Reagan, and of course, a copy of the Constitution. “I can’t look!” screamed one progressive as he opened one door and saw a hunting rifle. “Ahhhhh!!!” He ran from the house screaming, taking shelter in a nearby yoga studio. …No progressive has currently made it through more than a few rooms in the house, as they usually run screaming or dive out a window in their hurry to get away.

By the way, we can’t have a holiday without considering how it is hindered by the visible foot of government (as opposed to the prosperity-creating invisible hand of the market).

Janelle Cammenga of the Tax Foundation has some analysis of how state politicians have turned the taxation of candy into a complicated mess.

If you’re like many Americans, you’ve been stockpiling bags of chocolate and nougat-based treats to share with trick-or-treaters… In other words, there’s no better time for a map looking at how different state sales taxes treat consumable goods like candy… Forty-five states and the District of Columbia levy a state sales tax. Of those, thirty-two states and the District of Columbia exempt groceries from the sales tax base. Twenty-three states and D.C. treat either candy or soda differently than groceries. Eleven of the states that exempt groceries from their sales tax base include both candy and soda in their definition of groceries: Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Vermont, and Wyoming. …This picking and choosing creates arbitrary and counterintuitive discrepancies that go beyond the bowl of Halloween candy. If you live in New Jersey, it also affects the jack-o-lantern on your front porch. A recent tweet by the New Jersey Division of Taxation reminded consumers that decorative pumpkins are subject to sales tax, but pumpkins intended to be eaten are exempt. …Twenty-four states align with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA), which determines that candy is different from other sweet foods because it comes in the form of bars, drops, or pieces, and does not contain flour. …this particular definition leads to some interesting distinctions: If you bought a Hershey’s® bar, it would be subject to sales tax. If you bought a Twix® bar, it would be tax-free.

If that wasn’t sufficiently confusing, here’s a map showing the strange mix of different tax regimes.

At the risk of being wonky, the best sales tax is zero. Just like the best income tax is zero.

But if politicians are going to grab that source of revenue, they should have the lowest-possible rate and impose it evenly on all consumption. As the Tax Foundation observed, “…states and consumers alike would benefit from a low, flat-rate sales tax that captures all final consumer products. Such a tax would be easy to administer, providing a stable source of revenue through a neutral and transparent structure.”

At the risk of understatement, it’s not good tax policy to have zero-tax rules for groceries combined with a hodge-podge of special taxes on candy.

But politicians benefit from a complicated approach because they can swap special favors for campaign cash. Just like the crowd in Washington uses the internal revenue code as a means of extorting money.

P.S. Thanks to corrupt sugar subsidies, our Halloween candy is needlessly expensive.

P.P.S If you want more Halloween-themed humor, here are some oldies but goodies about Obamacare. And here a couple of classics about class-warfare Halloween.

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