Who should determine the course of our lives? There is no shortage of people who aim to control others, imposing their will and restricting choice through the force of government.
Self Control or State Control? You Decide by Dr. Tom G. Palmer is the Libertarian Book Club's selection for the month of May. Below is a curated selection of our thoughts and notable quotes from the book.
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We are a monthly book club for anyone who wants to learn more about Libertarianism. We will discuss each book's chapter/section in separate posts, so everyone will be able to read along at their own pace. We typically also focus on books which are available for free so that everyone can participate.
I highlighted a good deal in this chapter and I'm sure everyone will excuse me for the heavy quote pasting.
"Free people are not subservient, but neither are they uncontrolled. They control themselves. Taking control of your life is an act of both freedom and responsibility"
"Unsurprisingly, they consider freedom frightening. As a consequence, many have believed that order and virtue must be imposed at the expense of freedom. They equate responsibility with submission to the commands of others."
"One can never legislate or choose the outcomes directly; all legislators or rulers can do is to change the incentives that participants in social interactions face. Thus, actions may be outlawed because the legislators think they're bad"
I think this chapter does a nice job of explaining a few things:
1) My life is mine. Not anyone else's. I really enjoy endurance sports (MMA, bike touring, hiking marathons, and most recently the dreaded Barkley Marathon ("the race that eats its young"). I can not rely on government to keep me safe; it is my responsibility - and mine alone - to keep myself safe. If I'm stupid, then I reap the consequences for that, if I am smart; the benefits.
2) No victim, no crime. I hate drugs. Hate them. I don't want to be around them. I don't want to watch others do them. With that said, it is immoral for me to push this belief on to others, we must look at the proof that the law hasn't prevented drug usage (arguably, it's only gotten worse and created a violent black market around it).
There are a few other highlights I liked quite a bit:
"Self-control is never perfect, but state control is no improvement"
"A harmonious society rests on respect for the freedom of each member"
"The rules of the road facilitate the transportation of millions of people to millions of different destinations, all without a central power issuing commands to them; they're not perfect, but rather simple rules of the road help many millions of people to avoid collisions and arrive where they want to be every minute of every day"
'But without police at every street corner, why would anyone follow the law?', the statist asks.
Simple: it's in everyone's best interest to follow the rues of the road.
Clearly, the nanny state and the desire to protect us all from ourselves is counter-productive. It seems that society can - and would - flourish much more in a society that allowed individuals to make their own choices.
"The Founding Fathers believed in the unalienable human right to liberty, but they knew it depended on personal responsibility. To be freed from a tyrant's rule, men had to be able to rule themselves: that truth seemed self-evident"
"In workplaces, managers scoring high in self-control were rated more favorably by their subordinates as well as by their peers. People with good self-control seemed exceptionally good at forming and maintaining secure, satisfying attachments to other people. They were shown to be better at emphasizing with others and considering thing from other people's perspectives"
"When she tested prisoners and then tracked them for years after their release, she found that the ones with low self-control were most likely to commit more crimes and return to prison"
As will be covered more in future chapters, the welfare state brings a host of problems: namely that it keeps the poor, poor.
I really don't like anti-welfare arguments centered around the belief of "they're just lazy" (this is as old as at least the Victorian period. Check out the TV mini-series "Victorian Slum House") as there is a lot more to it than that and the negatives of the welfare state expand much more than just that "some people are too lazy to work."
As an aside, has anyone read The Human Cost of Welfare: How the System Hurts the People It's Supposed to Help"?
"We are throwing these people a life preserver to keep them afloat, but not pulling them into the boat. They are effectively creating and perpetuating a dependent class".
"One of the first things our welfare system does is make people poorer so that they may qualify for benefits. Qualifying for benefits means spending down assets and savings, and that includes vehicles, which is especially problematic".
This chapter breaks down how only Property Rights can prevent overfishing. "Fisheries using Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQs) in places ranging from Iceland to New Zealand have seen fish populations stabilize and even grow along with fishing incomes". But... but .... without fishing licenses controlled by the government, that's impossible!
Additionally, this chapter elaborates on some things Murray Rothbard wrote in New Liberty.
"Environmental problems are generally conflicting claims over resources and how they are used. Property rights help to resolve those conflicts by providing a legal institution that prioritizes particular uses—the uses that the owner prioritizes, in the time frame that the owner chooses. For some environmental problems, such as chemical pollution in a self-contained lake, individual ownership of the land that includes the lake is likely to give the owner incentives to maintain the lake’s quality, either for his/her own consumption value or because pollution would reduce the market value of the property."
My favorite chapter thus far! Contrary to a point I made about an earlier chapter, this one does seem to advocate for a stateless society, or at least nearly so:
"It is often assumed that the Catholic Church, because of its social teaching, is committed to high levels of state intervention and regulation. However, in its most authoritative document on such matters, it states:
"Another task of the state is that of overseeing and directing the exercise of human rights in the economic sector. However, primary responsibility in this area belongs not to the state but to individuals and to the various groups and associations which make up society.”"
One wonders why in this quote "sole" could not replace "primary?"
"The reaction to the financial crash of 2007–2008 provides an indication of how state regulatory institutions are created and operate. In the wake of the crash, tens of thousands of pages of regulations were written and promulgated. It was estimated that the Dodd–Frank Act in the United States, with its associated regulations, would come to thirty thousand pages.
In 2011, some 14,200 new financial regulations were created worldwide. That trend was underway well before the financial crash. It is often asserted that there was a period of deregulation before the financial crash and that the crash was a consequence of deregulation. That is not so, certainly not in the United Kingdom."
Not just in the US either.
The evidence is quite strong that systems of state regulation have not been successful. Not only did the comprehensive systems of financial regulation that developed in the United Kingdom from 1986 and in the United States from the 1930s not prevent the financial crash, but in many ways they were contributory causes that exacerbated and spread the crisis globally. Many forms of mistaken and reckless behavior that led to the failures of banks and other financial institutions in 2007–2008 were encouraged by regulation."
Boy, you can say that again.
The dominant historical narrative suggests that, before the twentieth century, urban development was chaotic and that each property owner and developer could do what they wished without regard to the impact of their actions on anyone else. The result, supposedly, was terrible slums, and ugly unplanned development. (A visit to such places as Bath and Bloomsbury might raise doubts about that narrative, of course.)"
I was in Bath about a year and a half ago and can confirm.
I also love the point made on pages 89-90 how urban sprawl was caused by "muh roads" being taken over by government from private turnpike trusts.
"Interestingly, the same people who advance that account also often complain about “suburban sprawl” in the United States without stopping to reflect that such “sprawl” is associated with and largely caused by governmental regulatory regimes. Complaints about the ugliness and poor quality of public and private buildings produced under the pre-1948 regime in Britain are also puzzling when one considers the poor quality of so many buildings that have been produced since that time."
"A free person makes her own choices and manages her own life; an unfree person's life is managed by someone else"
"We are free persons, rather than mere material objects, because we can be held accountable for our acts. We are distinguished as individuals by what we do - the very things for which we are responsible. Responsibility for our actions and the freedom to choose for ourselves foster social cooperation, coordination, and harmony, and when our freedom and responsibility are overridden, social order is disrupted and conflict replaces harmony."
"...welfare states tax to provide (frequently monopolistically) through political means what could be provided and chosen voluntarily - from retirement income, to medical care, to housing, to education - and in the process induce people to reduce their savings, engage in riskier behavior, abandon voluntary mutual aid organizations, and pay less attention to securing their own well-being and that of their families and communities."
"Replacing self-control with state control rarely generates any of the benefits claimed by its enthusiasts and always generates other, unintended, consequences."
Self Control or State Control introduces the reader to a number of different concepts that they may not be aware of in which the State controls us and the life we wish to live for ourselves. Most of the 11 chapters are written by a different authors, but they all compliment one another well.
This book covers a range of topics, such as the welfare state (how and why it has failed), business regulations, will power, the philosophy of individualism, and others. Overall, I found the book to be an interesting read, and I really liked that each chapter contained numerous references (I'm quite the stickler for this. Without references, a book such as this isn't worth much).
I think that this is a fantastic read for those that are new to Libertarianism, and I believe that it is especially good for those that are crossing over from a previously Left-wing ideology.
4½ stars overall, since I found some parts of the chapters discussing individualism to be somewhat dry. Still a great book and a suggested read!
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"Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day, but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of (politicians), too plainly prove a deliberate and systematic plan of reducing us all to slavery." -Thomas Jefferson
The problem with the news today is they no longer provide an objective look at what happened. Instead, they provide a biased point of view and then tell you what to think and how to feel about it.
Instead, I'll cover two competing views on Republican Representative Justin Amash's YES vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and allow you to make up your own mind. Haven't read it yet? I'll post it at the bottom of the article in an effort to declutter.
We'll first look at his decision and validate it against our Principle of "Constitutionalism". This allows us to determine whether the new AHCA bill is even valid, legal or constitutional.
The second way to critique Representative Amash's decision and look at his reasoning. We can then determine if the new AHCA incrementally takes us 'Closer to Liberty' or 'Closer to Tyranny'.
Is AHCA even Constitutional?
There is no gray area on this question. The AHCA Bill is either constitutional or it's not. If it's not, Rep Amash took an oath to uphold the constitution and failed by voting YES. A NO vote on an unconstitutional bill is a constitutional vote. A YES vote for an unconstitutional bill is an unconstitutional vote.
The argument from those who uphold this principle of Constitutionality will claim that we even if AHCA is incrementally better than ObamaCare, his vote on a law that violates the Constitution should be an automatic NO.
They would also claim that just because this unconstitutional law is slightly better than the previous unconstitutional law, Libertarians have never been about voting for the lesser of two evils, Quite the opposite.
So is AHCA unconstitutional? Again, I won't tell you what to think but reading more on it should color your favorability (or not) or Rep Amash's vote. No one has ever been able to clearly articulate to me why the Robert's precedent made ObamaCare constitutional so I'm not the guy to give legal advice. Might I suggest a couple great articles:
Is Ryancare’s ‘Lapsed Coverage’ Surcharge Unconstitutional Under Roberts’s Obamacare Precedent?
Why I voted NO on the American Health Care Act - Representative Andy Biggs
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Does AHCA Take us Closer to Liberty or Closer to Tyranny?
Those who support Rep Amash's YES vote because "AHCA is incrementally better than ObamaCare" will typically claim that they are 'realists' in the room. They understand that we won't wake up tomorrow living in a libertarian society with a perfectly Free Market Health Care system. They argue that libertarians have to do what we can, when we can, to reduce the size of government, even if incrementally.
Rep Amash knows that a NO vote doesn't repeal ObamaCare, it's the law of the land. Realistically, he notes, a YES vote can at least get us started in a new direction, one towards Liberty.
This might be true even though I believe AHCA to be a monstrosity of legal code atop another monstrosity of legal code.
The problem is that for for the past seven years, Republicans have run for Congress on a commitment to repeal Obamacare. And now, even though they claim this is it, they are only amending ObamaCare, retooling the subsidies, taking out the individual mandate, and ensuring the government is the one who maintains power of the health care market.
The AHCA is bad politics for the Republicans and bad policy for Amash's name to be tied to. Why risk putting your name on a slightly better turd sandwich than the one you inherited? The one they all got elected on promising to repeal? The one they passed very clear Repeal Legislation on more than 50 times when they knew President Obama would just veto?
It seems to me that allowing the ill-effects of government intervention into the health care market only empowers those calling for Single Payer, a death knell for individual liberty and one that ensures increased scope of government and decreased quality of product.
My principles of Limited Government and Free Markets refuses to support AHCA. Part of me cheers knowing that it's not likely to pass the Senate in it's current form.
This is a tough one. I'd love to hear your thoughts below on whether your support the AHCA because 'at least it's a slightly better turd sandwich' or if you'd prefer a NO vote on it because 'Repeal ObamaCare or NOTHING'.
Would you be happy living with ObamaCare for another few years in an attempt to try to get full repeal? I'm not optimistic that any power given to the government is one that you'll see them give back without a long fight and without multiple electoral consequences for politicians.
Rep Justin Amash's Response
This is not the bill we promised the American people. For the past seven years, Republicans have run for Congress on a commitment to repeal Obamacare. But it is increasingly clear that a bill to repeal Obamacare will not come to the floor in this Congress or in the foreseeable future.
I just want to make it clear that this post has nothing to do with Chip and Joanna Gaines, so if you do not like them, then there's no need to say that here.
That would be missing the point, so just ignore the subject names, if you must. They simply happen to be the writers of a statement that I find very refreshing, considering the anger and vitriol that are roiling our country right now.
The article, published in late November of last year, attempted to paint Chip and Jo as people who harbor so much hate in their hearts, they refuse to let people on their show.
"Get the equivalent of a Ph.D. in libertarian thought and free-market economics online for just 24 cents a day."
Look at what they say about differences of opinion and how to handle them. Look at what they say about how to treat people who disagree with us. That, to me, is a very relevant consideration today.
If I post something about Obama, liberals frequently comment on my posts to insult conservatives. If I post something about Trump, conservatives--yes, we conservatives are every bit as bad--usually respond by denigrating and insulting the other side. So read this short statement of theirs, and while you do, consider whether this is how you treat people who disagree with you.
Do you stick to the facts, or do you simply look for information that supports your position? Are you willing to give the other side the benefit of the doubt? Do you treat both sides equally? If you're liberal, do you treat conservatives respectfully? Do you amicably agree to disagree? If you're conservative, do you treat liberals respectfully? Do you amicably agree to disagree?
I know that many of you are inclined to respond to this by comparing Trump and Obama or by simply saying that one side or the other is worse. Is that truly your standard--simply to not be as bad as someone else? If you respond this way, then that's what you're saying. Set a higher standard for yourself, for your parties, and for your leadership than that.
If you're a Christian or simply someone who believes in the merit of the Golden Rule, then before you respond telling me about the lies of the other side or how terrible you think the other side or another candidate is, why don't you first consider whether that is treating the other side as you yourself prefer to be treated? Why don't you first consider whether that qualifies as "turning the other cheek"?
Perhaps you're right: perhaps the other side doesn't treat your side fairly. So what. Why can't that change start with you? It is, after all, the height of hypocrisy to demand that the other side change its ways while you yourself are unwilling to take the first step.
Stop criticizing the merit of the other side. Instead, set an example yourself. Stop seeing your fellow Americans as the enemy simply because some of them disagree with your policy preferences.
Americans are on the same team, and sometimes teammates don't agree. That doesn't make them enemies though. If you want enemies, then look outside our nation's borders, and I assure you that you'll find plenty of enemies arrayed against your team. Like it or don't, but we are all in this together.
“This past year has been tough. In my lifetime, I can’t recall humanity being more divided. Plenty of folks are sad and scared and angry and there are sound bites being fed to us that seem fueled by judgement, fear and even hatred. Jo and I refuse to be baited into using our influence in a way that will further harm an already hurting world, this is our home. A house divided cannot stand.”
With the effectiveness of their thought-control mission breaking down all around them, leftists are going hysterical.
Last week the San Francisco teachers' union, the United Educators of San Francisco, released a "lesson plan" for students in the wake of Donald Trump's election.
It is exactly what you would expect.
Nobody other than leftists has a point of view worth respecting. Everyone is a "racist" and "sexist."
Here's how it begins:
"Tomorrow, I hope that you will take the time to put all lessons aside and talk to our students about what has happened and how they feel. Please, let them speak and be heard. Let them say what is on their minds, this is crucial for our school and our community. Let us please not sidestep the fact that a racist and sexist man has become the president of our country by pandering to a huge racist and sexist base."
And now, the "objectives," followed by my translation:
"Students express their concerns and voice their thoughts/feelings."
Of course, they'd better be the correct thoughts, or they'll be reeducated by the San Francisco teachers' union until they turn 18 or die of lunacy, whichever comes first.
"Students gain empowerment/hope."
Students are taught that bullhorns, marches, and political activism are the best way to improve their lives, and are not juvenile, demeaning, or dehumanizing in any way.
"Students feel safe and respected."
What this will mean for any student who, in this atmosphere of intimidation, dares utter a thought that diverges from the herd, is unclear, but given the tone of this document, this provision is chilling.
"Anti-Racist/Anti-Sexist/Anti-Islamophobic/Anti-Homophobic (etc.,) teaching lenses are magnified and put into full use tomorrow and students should come away with an understanding of this through discussions held in class/norms established."
No one will be allowed to mention racial crime statistics. No one will be able to mention differences between men and women -- we have declared, a priori, that there can be no such differences. All income differences among races and sexes is attributable exclusively to "discrimination" and "white supremacy."
Although criticism of Christianity is of course welcome, no one may wonder about any aspect of Islam, which is an unalloyed good not to be questioned. And anyone who thinks commercial transactions -- cake baking, to choose an example at random -- should occur peacefully and without threats of violence, is "homophobic."
"Students gain a working knowledge of context of American racial violence, sexism etc."
Can't imagine any bias coming through here. I'm sure the Ron Unz article on racial killings will be assigned, for balance. On the off chance that it isn't, I link to it here.
The instructions continue:
"Let the students speak one at a time. PLEASE VALIDATE STUDENTS FEELINGS. Example: 'What you are saying is valid,' or ' hear you,' 'I support you, I understand you,' 'you are right and this is unjust.' Let them speak, guide the discussion, use a talking piece if necessary."
Huh. Well, suppose someone said, "I personally think the likelihood of war with Russia is now diminished, and this is more important to me than whether the president says sweet things to me before sending me off to die."
Would that student's feelings be validated?
In my view, the more the left pulls stunts like this, the better. Americans are getting a valuable education in the true nature of the left. Any fool watching television, even with a biased media, can see where all the hate is coming from.
Then this warning not to instruct students to avoid bad language:
"(I know that they might curse and swear, but you would too if you have suffered under the constructs of white supremacy or experienced sexism, or any isms or lack of privilege. You would especially do so if you have not yet developed all of the tools necessary to fight this oppression. It is our job to help them develop these tools, ie the language etc., Let’s not penalize and punish our youth for how they express themselves at this stage.)"
Of course: white privilege. Let's test that theory. What race would anyone in his right mind want to belong to when applying to college? Has any black student ever lied and claimed to be white on a college application? If not, why not?
Then we read, in bold: DO NOT: Tell them that we have LOST and that we have to accept this. We do not have to accept ANYTHING except that we must and will fight for justice against an unjust system and against unjust people.
What exactly would minority folks in America's inner cities have "lost," exactly, by the election of Donald Trump? All those world-class schools black and Democratic mayors and city governments have built for them? Those enviable, crime-free neighborhoods they've had over the past 50 years of Democratic rule? What, exactly, are they losing?
Finally, the Resources section of the lesson plan is drawn from Michael Moore and other leftists, and is replete with horrified outrage that convicted felons can't vote.
The point of education, in other words, is to make students think a certain way. An inane, fact-free way, to boot. Trump Derangement Syndrome is bringing it out of them more brazenly than ever.
Everyone has a tipping point. For some of you, maybe it's this. Maybe it's the next thing. But whenever that tipping point comes, your liberation is one click away:
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Ok so Trump won.
Now that the election is over, what do we do now? Those of us searching for a Hero of Liberty during the primaries held our noses Election Night or didn't vote at all.
Jason Stapleton tells us that we need is to be uncompromising. Now.
Progressivism has slowly eroded our freedoms. They demand all guns be banned and then compromise toward a position that has less freedom and liberty than where we started.
Our goal should be what some would call 'obstructionist'. Not one more inch. Progressivism is successful becuase they are playing the long game.
Check out Jason Stapleton's quick take on how we should be orienting ourselves as Liberty Lovers who believe in Free Markets, Limited Government, Peace, Tolerance, and Individualism:
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I can't help myself.
I've written another free eBook.
This one is in response to all of you who have asked about how to start a podcast, or self-publish a book, or be an affiliate marketer, or whatever. I've learned a lot about that stuff, having done it all myself, and I know how to teach it.
After all, between the Tom Woods Show and Contra Krugman, I've released well over 800 podcast episodes. You can trust that I know something about it.
Here's a step-by-step overview of exactly what I do -- both in podcasting and in making a living online in general.
And yes: all these things can be monetized, if you know what you're doing.
You don't have to monetize them, of course. I blogged for years as a pure labor of love. But in my case, with five children and family health issues to cope with, I'm not upset when I'm compensated for something I enjoy doing. Who in his right mind would be?
Believe me, over the years I've made a lot of mistakes and gone down a lot of dead ends. You can save yourself the same fate by reading this book.
Get it here:
PS. Tom Woods has also put together an amazing resource where you can learn about Liberty, Free Markets and Economics all while commuting to work. Be a smarter libertarian! Check it out!
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Since the first Presidential Debate, there has been a lot of hue and cry because Donald Trump had the temerity to declare that he paid no income taxes. More specifically Hillary Clinton said, about his refusal to make his income tax statements public:
Trump retorted, "That makes me smart," more or less declaring he didn't pay any income taxes and he's proud of it.
And so he should be.
To be sure, he is vulnerable to the charge of hypocrisy, not paying tax, on one hand, and advocating what could turn out to be the largest infrastructure project in American history on the other, in addition to kvetching about crumbling infrastructure and declining military spending.
Yet, on the matter of taxes alone, he is right.
Judge Learned Hand stated that "anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands." (Gregory v. Helvering 69 F.2d 809 - 1935)
Ironically, that judgment went against the taxpayer, something not often noted by those who quote it. The issue is known as the doctrine of substance over form. In that particular case, a businesswoman named Evelyn Gregory had swapped assets between two corporations, then dissolved one of them which distributed the assets to her as owner. She then claimed a lower tax liability as a result.
In an analysis of Hand's contribution to tax law, Yale law professor Marvin Chirelstein notes that the courts "follow no single and consistent set of rules in deciding when to accept and when to disregard the taxpayer's choice of form" and that when the courts reject the citizen's chosen form of organization, they "commonly assert as a matter of principle that the incidence of taxation depends upon the substance of a transaction and that mere form is not controlling." But if the form is accepted, Hand's maxim reigns - "There is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible."
That is why many businesses hire tax attorneys to advise them of the best options available to them.This results in a contradictory position. "In practice the first principle means simply that the range of effective choice is limited in the situation under review, or indeed that the only route to the taxpayer's destination is the one that bears the highest tax. By contrast the second principle, when applicable, confirms that the availability of alternative legal procedures also gives the taxpayer a right of election with respect to the tax consequences."
What this means is that tax law is inconclusive and vague, but there's no harm in trying to keep taxes low. That is why many businesses hire tax attorneys to advise them of the best options available to them.
Everyone Should Do It
This is not just a privilege of the rich, though they might have more options available and the means to hire skilled tax lawyers. Every citizen has options available so as to limit or lower her taxes. These include such things as the various Individual Retirement Plans (IRAs) which confer certain tax advantages. Additionally, interest paid on a loan for business purposes is tax deductible. Many people run small businesses from their homes in order to deduct some of their living expenses.
A recent article in the New York Times looking at the Trump tax imbroglio notes that tax write-offs for start-up business ventures are generous. "There was a point when even ruinous projects like an unfinished, unleased office tower could end up producing a profit for some investors, thanks to ample tax write-offs."
Such loopholes, the article notes, were largely closed off for outside investors when the Reagan administration overhauled the tax act in 1986. "But active real estate investors and developers were allowed to keep that tax break."
The article notes that when Trump had to disclose his tax filings to get a casino license back in the 80s, there were two years, 1978 and 1979, in which Trump paid no income taxes at all. "By taking advantage of deductions available to real estate developers and claiming losses from partnerships, Mr. Trump reported a “negative income” of $406,379 in 1978 and $3.4 million in 1979 — thus avoiding any tax liability for those two years, a time when he claimed to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars."
The article notes further that Trump paid no income taxes in 1984, 1991 and 1993. The Donald was losing money on his Atlantic City casinos in those latter years which would have put him under water. But that is what entrepreneurship is all about. You take risks, including the risk of loss. And during the losing years, you pay no taxes. That is not, despite the agitations of the professional teeth gnashers, a bad thing. Nor is it shady or underhanded or in any way blameworthy.
The Widespread Demand to Pay as Little as Possible
We recently visited friends who live in a gated community on Vancouver Island. It's a fairly wealthy strata community and our host told us about one neighbor who boasts that he pays no income tax. I was amazed as I pay some tax even on my pension income. I wondered how he did it. But thinking about it, I can think of many ways in which a retired person with substantial assets can have a decent income and pay no income tax at all. These are options open to all my fellow Canadians who have accumulated some wealth during their working lives.
If they have a beef, it should be with the governments making those tax laws, not with people and businesses making reasonable business decisions.These include Tax Free Savings Accounts (similar to Roth IRAs in the United States), reverse mortgages, remortgaging properties and so on. There is no capital gains tax in Canada on your principal residence. So if you bought a house in Vancouver for under $50,000 forty years ago which is worth over a million today, you can sell it and pocket that million bucks tax free. It's all above board and legal.
Corporations often use differences in jurisdictional tax laws to avoid taxes by having subsidiaries in other countries. Ireland, for example, has some of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world and some companies use Irish subsidiaries to avoid paying American taxes.
The professional crying in their soupers, of course, think this is a dastardly thing. But again, these companies are making use of existing legislation to minimize their tax liabilities. What's wrong with that? If they have a beef, it should be with the governments making those tax laws, not with people and businesses making reasonable business decisions.
Indeed, Ireland gives generous tax benefits to creative artists. You can earn up to fifty thousand euros tax free if you live there if you are a cultural worker – a writer, a composer or a sculptor. No one seems to object to that but they cry a river when corporations use advantageous tax laws in other jurisdictions.
Tax avoidance is as American as apple pie.Like Clinton in the debate, the professional whinging class like to spout off all the things that the taxes would buy if only Trump or businesses or you and me were sacrificially minded enough. Clinton said, "So if he's paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health."
A site denouncing the Irish tax haven says America's three largest tech giants have avoided $8 billion over the years, money that could have paid for health insurance for 4 million kids, salaries for 200,000 teachers or pay for the California highway patrol for four years. A recent meme from Occupy Democrats says not paying taxes makes Trump, not smart, but "a selfish unpatriotic crook".
Even the Clintons use trusts and charities that they control to minimize taxes. And what's wrong with that? Nothing.
Remember that America was founded to a large extent on a tax revolt - the Boston tea party. Tax avoidance is as American as apple pie.
The holier than thou types should consider again Judge Hand's words. "There is (no) patriotic duty to increase one's taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands."
Amen to that!
Marco den Ouden writes at The Jolly Libertarian.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
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I was first interested in Rules for Radicals when I saw the image above.
This is exactly what we have seen over the past 40 years so I decided to read the book. I wanted to be able to better identify when its strategy was used against the American people.
Also, I wanted you to save ten hours of your life. You're welcome.
Main salient points to follow:
So how do we combat this effective progressive agitation?
Our first weapon is information. Call it out when we see it. Call out the immoral tactics. Call out the abuse of inaccurately creating social problems. Call out the divisive nature of media and government along social, racial, class and religious lines. Call out biased news reporting and holding the 4th branch of government accountable to facts and logic.
If you want to read more, check out Barack Obama's Rules for Revolution by David Horowitz below. Also Six Alinsky Rules That Explain Obama’s Words and Deeds located here.
More from LibertyLOL:
How You, and You Alone, Can Build Liberty
When people first discover the wonderful, beautiful, glorious world of liberty – the ideas, the tradition, the possibilities – they tend to fall into a trap. They note that governments are a main enemy. They never stop violating our rights. Government are supported by mass numbers of people. Those people acquiesce in the loss of rights and therefore the diminution of prosperity.
We can choose the path of despair, or we can take what we have learned and start taking control. The lens of liberty reveals tremendous evil in the world that doesn’t need to exist: restrictions, wars, poverty, despair, suffering. Looking at all this can be depressing, to say the least. And that turns to anger: why, oh why, won’t governments stop doing evil things and just let people be free?
Thus does the initial exuberance of having discovered good ideas turn dark. After all, if only government change is the answer, and I have no real power to change that government, what is my life worth? What is this body of ideas worth?
This is a tragic turn. What’s more, it is wholly unnecessary. As it turns out, change is within our grasp. It all comes down to how we live our lives and how we think about our place within the social and political structures that surround us. We can choose the path of despair, or we can take what we have learned and start taking control. We can acquiesce to oppression or we can do something about it within the realm that we do control: which is our own lives. Here we find our source of hope.
This is why I’m super excited about the new book from The Atlas Network and Students for Liberty. It is called Self-Control or State Control? You Decide. It is edited with two chapters by the brilliant Tom G. Palmer. It has contributions on policy, psychology, sociology, law, and so much more. But here is what makes this book different: it is focused on you and what you can do to build a free society. It is practical, achievable, realizable, doable. And it makes an enormous contribution to improving your life, right now, and, by extension, making the world a better place.
To get a flavor of what I mean, consider the opening from Palmer:
FEE is pleased to make this book available to you as a free download.
And let me add something else here that is extremely important. The Atlas Network and Students for Liberty have embraced Creative Commons. That means: no more fear of sharing. No more regulatory restrictions. No more publishing monopolies. This book is for the whole world.
This is a very beautiful thing. And the license they have adopted is the most liberal: you only need to attribute the source. Otherwise you are free to share.
Please help me by distributing this great book to the world, and thereby spreading the hope of liberty to the multitudes.
Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education and CLO of the startup Liberty.me. Author of five books, and many thousands of articles, he speaks at FEE summer seminars and other events. His latest book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World. Follow on Twitter and Like on Facebook. Email. Tweets by @jeffreyatucker
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
More from LibertyLOL:
We wrote earlier this week concerning the banning/throttling of conservative ideas on Facebook, specifically the Being Libertarian page. We noted that as a private company, FB owns it's own servers and can ban speech it doesn't politically agree with. We concluded that as free-market believers, while no law has been broken, we should seek to expose this as much as possible so others are knowledgeable and can boycott or stop using the product if necessary.
Well, it's happening again, this time with Twitter banning Conservative LGBT advocate, Milo Yiannopoulos.
The contretemps has been brewing all week, as Milo engaged in a barbed to and fro with embattled Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones over her Twitter feud with trolls who hated her new movie. At one point the CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey intervened himself, asking Jones to direct message him. Milo himself said nothing racist, though he joked that Jones’ grammatically challenged quips at him were “barely literate”, said America needs better schools and referred to Jones facetiously as “a black dude”.
Milo has been suspended from Twitter before and also lost his verification tag. Will tonight’s suspension really be permanent?
Earlier today Milo said he was not sorry for his dialogue with Jones.
“No, of course, I don’t have any regrets,” Milo told Heat Street. “But feminists on the other hand should have regrets that they have taught strong women that they are victims and attacked people for having different opinions to them on Twitter.”
We'll see how this ends, however, it should be noted that Ms. Jones isn't exactly the perfect angel on Twitter.
The Social Justice Lovin' NYT covers the behavior by noting:
For years, one of the main grievances among Twitter users has been the ability of anonymous trolls to send abusive comments to other people on the service.
But on Tuesday, Twitter barred one of the most egregious and consistent offenders of its terms of service, Milo Yiannopoulos, in an attempt to show that it is cracking down on abuse.
The NYT emotionally tear-jerking story ends with some contrived sympathy towards Ms. Jones and sets her up as a victim:
On Monday evening, Ms. Jones quit using Twitter with a final message of exasperation after days of near-nonstop abuse. “I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart,” Ms. Jones tweeted. “All this cause I did a movie.” On Monday evening, Ms. Jones quit using Twitter with a final message of exasperation after days of near-nonstop abuse. “I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very
sad heart,” Ms. Jones tweeted. “All this cause I did a movie.”
We're still waiting for our ban. It's really our only goal at this point.
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