Taxes (page 214)

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    William Niskanen (1933-2011) discussed government’s inability to keep its promises … before the financial crisis

    Longtime Cato Institute chairman William Niskanen died this week after a massive stroke that followed a September heart surgery. In 2008, the last year of his chairmanship at Cato, Niskanen delivered the annual Pope Lecture at N.C. State University. He also granted an interview with Carolina…
    Mitch Kokai, October 27, 2011
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    Taking on a contemporary liberal (collectivist) over taxation

    Yesterday, I had the opportunity to debate John Scott of the University of North Carolina on tax policy, with all aspects on the table. He carried the "liberal" banner, while I was the "conservative." To be more precise, however, I represented classical liberal and libertarian views, and the contrast was stark. Introductions (two minutes): [audio:http://bit.ly/vGD4xG] My opening argument (15 minutes): [audio:http://bit.ly/uKTfHM] My desire was to bring to people's minds the moral implications of voting to redistribute other people's money, since that violates their right to property. I also sought to call their attention to the underlying force involved in taxation (and all government activity, for that matter)—that if you don't pay, the guns will come out.
    Fergus Hodgson, October 27, 2011
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    Quarter Cent Sales Tax = Support for Durham Schools

    According to a flyer downloaded from the Durham Public Schools website, “Quarter Cent Sales Tax = Support for Durham Schools.”  You can guess what a vote against the tax increase means! FYI: § 115C?46.1. Limitation on the use of public funds. A local board…
    Terry Stoops, October 27, 2011
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    Montgomery County Schools promote sales tax

    On their website, Montgomery County school officials call the proposed sales tax “An Investment in Education.”  Should school district resources be used in this effort? FYI: § 115C?46.1. Limitation on the use of public funds. A local board of education shall not…
    Terry Stoops, October 27, 2011
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    Orange County: Sales tax advocacy?

    Does Orange County cross the line into advocacy when they produce videos like this?…
    Terry Stoops, October 27, 2011
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    Cato’s Tanner notes Obama’s misunderstanding of economic inequality

    Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute details for National Review Online readers some inconvenient truths about the “rich” in America. According to data just released by the Tax Foundation, the top 1 percent of the wealthiest Americans earned 16.9 percent of all adjusted gross…
    Mitch Kokai, October 26, 2011
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    Cain’s 9-9-9 plan gets some praise from an unlikely source

    Fareed Zakaria, not known for his rabid right-wing tendencies, has some nice things to say in the latest TIME about Herman Cain’s tax plan. I am going to defend not Cain’s specific policy proposals but their general thrust. His plan is sloppy…
    Mitch Kokai, October 24, 2011
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    As glowing a review of the 9-9-9 plan as you are going to get

    If you want to understand why one would or should support Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan--not that I endorse it--I strongly recommend Art Laffer's positive review in the Wall Street Journal. With "Cain's Stimulating '9-9-9' Tax Reform," Laffer (famous for the Laffer curve and popularizing supply-side economics) first laments the "ever-more arcane" tax code that we have. "...the sole purpose of the tax code was to raise the necessary funds to run government. But in today's world the tax mandate has many more facets... income redistribution, encouraging favored industries, and discouraging unfavorable behavior... Three federal taxes at 9% that would raise roughly $2.3 trillion [the current level] and replace the current income tax, corporate tax, payroll tax (employer and employee), capital gains tax and estate tax." Along with simplifying compliance, Laffer emphasizes the increased incentives for productive activity. In other words, if you face a 9 percent marginal tax rate, rather than a 35 percent one, you'll be more likely to work.
    Fergus Hodgson, October 21, 2011