Tax Complexity Marches On

The gist of this post is so obvious, it’s hardly worth writing.  But I sometimes find myself unable to remember specific examples of April income tax silliness when I’m discussing the need for fundamental tax reform at election time.  So here are some of my favorites from this year’s Maryland return. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Census

I received my census form the other day, and fortunately it was the short form.  That spared me from a lot of questions I wouldn’t dream of answering.  Unfortunately, it didn’t get me completely out of the woods.

As most readers probably know by now, Question 8 asks whether we are “of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?”  If we are, then we are invited to be more specific, distinguishing Mexican ancestry from Puerto Rican, Cuban, etc.  Question 9 then asks for each person’s race, offering us 14 specific options followed by “Some other race.”

I hate these questions.  For one thing, it seems to me there are now large numbers of people who have parents or grandparents in at least two of the Census Bureau’s 14 “race” boxes. What box are they supposed to check?  What box is President Obama going to check?  During the campaign, people used to write a lot of nonsense about whether he was too black, hardly black at all, not black enough, etc.  It was somewhere between unseemly and repugnant then, but now it seems the Census Bureau really wants an answer. Read the rest of this entry »

One More Thing that Won’t End Well

I don’t have time for a long discussion of President Obama’s speech on health care; I suspect many of you are grateful for that.  But enough people have e-mailed me for a reaction that I thought I might as well respond briefly here. Read the rest of this entry »

The Case for Fundamental Tax Reform (Reposted)

The following was originally posted on April 15, 2008:

It’s April 15, and like many Americans I just finished spending much too long trying to figure out what I owe in federal and state income taxes. What better day could there be to consider the need for fundamental tax reform? Read the rest of this entry »

“You’re suspicious to me.”

The Campaign for Liberty is a political organization formed last year to continue advocating the political and economic principles on which the Ron Paul presidential campaign was founded.  As a proud member, I was interested to learn that an internal report of the Missouri State Police lumped the Campaign for Liberty in with skinheads and Branch Davidians as a part of the “modern militia movement.”  The report (dated Feb. 20, 2009) listed a number of supposed hallmarks of domestic terrorist organizations, including opposition to the Federal Reserve system, advocacy for a gold standard, and a belief in the impending economic collapse of the United States.  In one particularly silly paragraph, the report stated,

Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups.  It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty, or Libertarian material.  These members are usually supporters of former Presidential Candidate:  Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr.

I wasn’t sure whether to be alarmed or amused by this, but C4L officials took it seriously, possibly because they were at that time planning a big regional conference in St. Louis.  The report was roundly condemned, impressively satirized, and subsequently withdrawn.  The Missouri State Police apologized to the named presidential candidates, and it seemed to be over.

But now there’s this:  Read the rest of this entry »

The Chicago Tea Party

The folks at CNBC are often accused of cheerleading regardless of the evidence — with some justice, though no disparagement of Erin Burnett will be permitted on this blog.

Rick Santelli was not cheerleading today.  Watch the video.  CNBC’s online poll is showing substantial support for Santelli’s sentiments.

Don’t Waste Your Vote! (Third Parties Turn the Tables)

Anyone who has ever considered voting for an independent or minor-party candidate has probably been vigorously admonished by his Republican or Democratic friends not to “waste” his or her vote.  Yesterday, the Libertarian ticket turned the tables by sending out an e-mail arguing, in effect, that a vote for John McCain would be wasteful in precisely the same sense.  The e-mail, which came from Bob Barr’s Campaign Manager Russ Verney (former Campaign Manager for Ross Perot), carried this subject heading:  “McCain is guaranteed to lose . . . so what does that mean for America?”  Here’s the rest of the e-mail: Read the rest of this entry »