We have been seeing a lot of open bitterness between liberal actors who supported (or settled for Hillary Clinton) and paying audience members who supported (or settled for) Donald Trump.

So being a fan of compromise between actors worried about being triggered by the sight of audience members who they disagree with and audience members who don’t want to be lectured from the stage let me make the following proposal that we can all get behind.

The “Hamilton” Infrastructure Ticket SurTax.

I propose an Excise Tax of 100% on any ticket to a play or show that sells for $100 or more (including reseller fees) with such dollars being directed toward infrastructure development.

This is a tax that everybody should love, For the right it not only provides a funding mechanism for proposed spending rather than just spending it also directs the majority of the funding toward those voices on the left who have been insisting for years that they don’t mind being taxed, taking them at their word not to mention

Meanwhile our liberal Friends should love this tax for several reasons:

  • It funds infrastructure which is always a big issue for the left.
  • It is a tax specifically directed to the top 1% since it is only applied to tickets above the $100 level thus ensuring the rich pay their “fair share”.
  • and most importantly it exponentially decreases the chances that any performer might risk being triggered by the sight of those plebes in anything but the nosebleed seats that we’ve been reliably informed is all, in a best case scenario, Trump voters can’t afford anyway.

It also provides two excellent incentives

  1. It provides innovation for producers worried about the effect of such a tax on sales to come up with low cost creative alternatives say a flat fee streaming service for people to see plays or a regularly scheduled monthly performance where all seats are under $100 meaning actors would have warning and time to prepare before the traumatic triggering experience of facing an audience of the Hoi Polloi.
  2. It provides an incentive for the good government types on the left who unexpected had no problem with the IRS targeting conservatives over the last few years to rediscover their dislike of a government targeting their political enemies.

The “Hamilton” Infrastructure Ticket surtax, an idea whose time has come!


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By John Ruberry

Last night the New York Times, using an illegally obtained copy of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax return, speculated that because of a $916 million loss listed on that return, the Republican nominee may have, yes, may have, avoided paying federal income taxes for 18 years.

With help from his wealthy father, not the government, Trump, a real estate developer, built an international business empire. And because of his Apprentice television franchise, even before his presidential run Trump was likely the most recognized business person in the United States.

Hillary Clinton is also rich. Her business–make that racket–is influence peddling. While her husband was attorney general, and then governor of Arkansas, Clinton was an attorney at the Rose Law Firm in that state’s capital city. The Clintons, aided by the Rose Law Firm, used its clout to protect themselves and Jim and Susan McDougal, their investment partners. While they didn’t make money in Whitewater, Arkansas’ first couple did their best to cover up the Whitewater scandal, which led to the convictions the McDougals, Bill’s successor as governor, and Webster Hubbell, a partner at the Rose Law Firm and a close friend of the Clintons.arkansas-sign

The McDougals ran Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan in Little Rock, which failed in the 1980s. They chose, of course, the Rose Law Firm to defend their thrift.

After emerging from the White House “dead broke,” the Clintons were still able to purchase a mansion in Westchester County, New York, one of the most expensive real estate markets in the nation. In 2001 the Clinton Foundation was formed, by this time of course Hillary was a US Senator from New York. The foundation traded off of Bill’s status as an ex-president–six-figure public speaking fees to him went to this “charity,” which offered high-priced salaries to Clinton family cronies and served as a lucrative waiting room for those Clintonistas between government jobs.

The former first couple learned that influence peddling, not property investments, was their pathway to wealth.

While Hillary was serving as Barack Obama’s secretary of state, foreign donors poured money into the “charity,” probably using their cash as down payments for favors from Madame Secretary. It worked. A majority of the non-governmental meetings Hillary had at State were with Clinton Foundation donors, which is why the foundation is commonly referred to as a slush fund.

In Illinois, where Hillary grew up, that’s called pay-to-play.

John ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

There’s nothing like this type of sordidness in Trump’s background.

After leaving State, it was Hillary’s turn to collect the big-money speeches, with Wall Street firms being some of her most lucrative clients. Without having been a major government figure–or the spouse of one–Clinton’s speech income just might have matched that of a Times Square busker, such as the Naked Cowboy.

In 2014 just 5.7 percent of the Clinton Foundation budget was spent on charitable grants.

Where is that story, New York Times?

Oh, do you know anyone who doesn’t try to pay as little income tax as possible?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

 

 

Every year between January and April Americans see ads like this:

From tax preparation companies and ads like this

from tax software companies

As a person who has done their own federal taxes on paper without using tax preparation software as my mother taught me and has no interest in sharing my tax numbers with anyone else such ads have no interest to me, but to most Americans the selling point of these ads is the ability of either the professionals at H & R block or Turbo Tax to make sure that their customers get every deduction that they are legally allowed to take.

Now picture if those ads were different.

What if that Turbo Tax ad instead of saying “In her case yes the amount goes right here” when asked about a load deduction said: “In her case yes but we at Turbo Tax aren’t going to apply it because we want to help you to be a patriotic American who pays her fair share of taxes.”

What if that H & R Block ad instead of saying “Nobody gets more of your money back then Block, guaranteed.” said “Nobody makes sure you pay your fair share of taxes like Block, guaranteed.”

Or picture going to your local accountant who instead of promising to get you the best refund they legally could promised to make sure you paid your fair share of taxes.

Would you pay any of those people to do your taxes?

Of course not! That’s idiocy.

It’s a fair critique to say that Donald Trump is the first major presidential candidate to not release his taxes in 40 years and if you object to that failure, that’s fine.

But to critique Donald Trump for employing accountants who take every tax deduction specifically allowed under US law, that’s simply nuts.

FYI I’d be interested in hearing how many members of the MSM employ such civic minded accountants. Maybe they can provide us with a list.


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Come to Draft Town
Draft Town billbard, Chicago

By John Ruberry

Deadly shootings in Chicago are up 20 percent this year over 2015. Last year Rahm Emanuel and the exclusively-Democratic City Council stuck it to Chicagoans by enacting the city’s biggest property tax in history to pay for municipal worker pensions–with probably more hikes to come. Chicago’s population decline continues, the onetime Second City is now third, with Houston within reach to pass it.

How does Rahm Emanuel respond?

With Roman style bread and circuses.

Two weeks ago the NFL draft was held in downtown Chicago for the second straight year–accompanied by an elaborate Draft Town festival.

And like the bounty hunters who doggedly pursued Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, Rahm desperately wants to plop the proposed George Lucas museum on Chicago’s Lakefront despite opposition from preservation groups and a federal judge. Chicago was Lucas’ second choice for his temple, plans for a San Francisco museum fell through two years ago. The filmmaker’s ties to Chicago are at best tenuous. He married his second wife, a Chicago native, on the lakefront a few miles south of the proposed museum site. Oh, Harrison Ford, who played Solo, was born in Chicago and he grew up in suburban Morton Grove, where your humble blogger lives.

Lake Michigan in Chicago
Lake Michigan in Chicago

Meanwhile the carnage in Chicago continues. Last night a man eating dinner was shot to death while eating dinner when someone fired into his Southwest Side home. Early this morning a passenger in a car was murdered when he was shot on Lake Shore Drive. Another man was shot on the same road, albeit not fatally, two days earlier.

Oh, I almost forgot. Chicago anemic school system, which kind-of-sort-of educates children, is essentially insolvent.

Meanwhile Mayor Emanuel cries out with a Hail Mary pass, “Help us Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re our only hope.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit

Grixdale
Grixdale

By John Ruberry

Type “Detroit revival” or “Detroit comeback” into your Google search box and you’ll collect a lot of hits and discover glowing yarns about the turnaround of what was once one of America’s greatest cities. Here’s one from Forbes just last week. There is even a Pure Michigan TV commercial about Detroit.

But as John Adams once famously wrote, “Facts are stubborn things.”

Yes, there is a Detroit bounceback underway but it is centered in downtown and the neighborhoods that border it. That’s it.

Then there are the facts.

The fiscal year for Detroit Public Schools ends on June 30. On July 1 there is no money for summer school or physical upkeep, unless the state rushes in for a rescue. Such a rescue should not be confused with a proposed $720 million one that will deal with DPS’ long-term debt.

Adding an exclamation point to the problems of DPS last week was a former school principal who pleaded guilty to accepting kickbacks from an allegedly crooked supplier. A dozen other DPS officials, most of them former principals, have also been charged with collecting kickbacks.

Abandoned Detroit school
Abandoned Detroit school

When I visited Detroit last summer I ventured into the neighborhoods outside of its downtown ring. Places like Grixdale. This is a typical 21st century Grixdale block that in 1950 that had twenty homes each with wage earners with fat wallets: Two occupied homes, two abandoned homes, the rest are rubbished filled vacant lots with coarse weeds.

Detroit has some millstones that will impede its recovery. Its commercial property tax rates are the highest in the nation and city services are substandard. Detroiters are burdened with a municipal income tax and possible future Detroit residents who want to dip their toe in the Motor City water by taking a job in the city are subject to a commuter tax. And Detroit is still a very violent city.

Just last week a study was released that discovered that Detroit has the least storefront concentration of any big city.

Look for the Detroit comeback, such as it is, to proceed very slowly.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – It would seem that Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is off to a rather rocky start as he goes up against the majority Republican Legislature. It appears that the Republicans aren’t going to make life easy for Edwards.

On the campaign trail, Edwards wrapped himself in moderate clothes and won the votes of many Republicans; some of that, in part, was due to the fact that voting for David Vitter was just a peg too far. Many people believed Edwards when he promised to get rid of state education Superintendent John White, a proponent of Common Core.  That is not likely to happen now as Edwards has stacked the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education with White supporters.

Edwards won’t be fighting Common Core any longer either as just last week his office announced that he would no longer pursue the Jindal lawsuit against Common Core. Edwards says that the lawsuit is financially and educationally unnecessary as Louisiana has worked to rewrite the standards.

Immediately after that announcement, the Louisiana Attorney General, Republican Jeff Landry released a statement saying that as Attorney General, he is intervening in that case and only he will decide if that lawsuit goes forward or not, indicating that he is the one, and not the governor, who decides the legal course for the state.

Gov. Edwards has called for a Special Session of the Legislature later this month for the purpose of resolving the looming budget shortfall left by the Jindal administration. Edwards has laid out a staggering list of potential tax increases to solve the problem.  All of the usual tax increases are there including raising taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, income, utilities, property, and so on.

There are no proposals for welfare reform or to cut unnecessary staff and crony positions. As a matter of fact, those Jindal era staff salaries that Edwards criticized on the campaign trail?  He’s keeping those and raising them some.

Again, with a Republican-dominated Legislature, this Special Session wish list might just be a pipe dream, but if nothing else, Gov. Edwards has shown in just a few short weeks his true colors and any Republican that pulled the lever for him, thinking they were getting a moderate Democrat who shared their values, has been proven to be delusional.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Don Fanucci:  This is my neighborhood. You and your friends should show me some respect. You should let me wet my beak a little. I hear you and your friends cleared $600 each. Give me $200 each, for your own protection. And I’ll forget the insult.

The Godfather part 2 1974

Monday evening I was grabbing something at the supermarket when I noticed a headline at the Boston Globe concerning the safety of e cigarettes. As that story is behind a subscription wall I bring you this report from the Washington Examiner instead:

A majority of people say in a new poll that e-cigarettes are harmful to health and should be subject to strict regulations that tobacco cigarettes now face.

The poll, released Monday by Harvard and the Boston Globe’s Stat news service, comes as federal regulators are finalizing a slew of regulations for the burgeoning e-cigarette industry.

Now the first thing that jumped out at me was: WHO CARES?

In terms of evaluating any drug for safety the question isn’t what the general public thinks, the question is what do we actually know.

Now ecigs contain nicotine so if the government wants to judge their safety based on the known risks of nicotine that’s perfectly legit.

But these polls aren’t about public safety, or the data, it’s all about justifying a tax on a product so that the government bureaucracy can wet it’s beak.

The difference between Don Fanucci & the government is Fanucci doesn’t pretend it’s not about feathering his nest.

John ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

By John Ruberry

Did you hear about the release of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s returns on from 2007 through 2014 on Friday afternoon?

If you didn’t–well, that was the goal of the Clinton camp. Both political parties do it–disclosing possibly bad news on a Friday afternoon just as reporters are leaving work for the weekend. It’s called a Friday news dump–or a document dump. And since August is a popular vacation month–some of those members of the media will be on the beach instead of at the computer this week. When these reporters return to work–whether it’s Monday or next Monday–they might dismiss the Clinton revelations as old news and neglect to report on it at all

What can we learn from the Clinton returns? Well, they are rich. There is nothing wrong with that–I want to be rich. The once and possibly future first family collected $139 million between ’07 and ’14. But in the last two years–after Hillary resigned as secretary of state, the Clintons collected $23 million in speaking fees in 2013 and $20 million last year. Many of those speeches were given to corporate and special interest groups–who of course may be seeking favored status from a President Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2017.

That’s a big problem because nearly all Americans can’t buy access to a president.

Thirty-five percent of the Clinton income went to federal income taxes–which is something we’ll be hearing a lot about from HRC. But don’t expect Hillary to brag about her family’s charitable giving–which was almost $15 million in the last eight years. Ninety-nine percent of those donations went to the Clinton Foundation–which is in actuatlity a slush fund and a jobs bank for Clinton cronies.

Please spread the news about the Hillary document dump. She doesn’t want other people to know.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

In the rush of news all over the place Rand Paul’s Tax plan hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.

Paul is to be commended for putting out a plan with substance but there is a point I’d like to make.

I don’t mind a consumption tax if the income taxes are totally eliminated but if you keep it them both there is a problem and it’s a problem that Chris Christie once talked about concerning New Jersey:

35 years ago we didn’t have an income tax in NJ no income tax like right here in NH, we had no income tax and Governor Brendon Byrne, a democrat said: If you just give me a small income tax, a little one, I will lower your property taxes, we had the highest property taxes in America back in 1977 so 35 years later, what have we got? We’ve STILL got the highest property taxes in America and the income tax that started at 2% under governor Byrne is now 9%

If we have flat income tax AND a VAT what’s going to happen is as soon as democrats get power back (or as soon as the Boehner & his allies want to appease the left) both taxes will be raised.  I’ll give the last word to Randy Barnett

I still don’t like a VAT without killing the privacy-destroying income tax (and IRS) with a silver bullet and stake through its heart.

But still he deserves credit for going there, one must walk before one runs.

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If you didn’t catch it my latest for Watchdog.org is The Wages Sin Taxes:

My father always told me that everything cost something.  The current debate on the decisions of both going into Iraq and pulling out when we did has shown that even most noble intentions can have devastating consequences.

You can read the rest including my explanation of said costs here: