Fergus Hodgson (page 7)

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    Federal debt cracks $15 trillion, officially, but that’s not even half of it

    As the Washington Times reported this morning, the Treasury Department’s figure for federal debt has now surpassed $15 trillion. That equates to an increase of $4.4 trillion during Obama’s term. A few simple calculations put these numbers into painful perspective. Per capita, for example, $15 trillion breaks down…
    Fergus Hodgson, November 17, 2011
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    When the Nanny State disapproves of sweets

    Twenty-six states intrude on our nutritional freedom by taxing soda at a higher rate than other groceries, and seventeen states do the same for candy. In North Carolina, groceries are exempt from sales taxes, but both candy and soda are not. As if that were not bad enough in “the…
    Fergus Hodgson, November 15, 2011
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    The case for the death tax continues to crumble, if there ever was any

    As David Logan of the Tax Foundation noted in a recent public testimony, proponents of a tax on one's estate at death mistakenly emphasize three outcomes. The break up of large concentrations of wealth Given that wealthy people are likely to bequeath to multiple people anyway, this is, to a large degree, a non-issue. The wealth is already broken up. Regardless, wealthy people can bequeath prior to death (inter vivos), and attempts to tax them beyond what they can avoid will discourage greater wealth generation, a "virtue tax." In terms of inequality, who said the money was going to other wealthy people? It may not, and two prominent studies have shown that inherited wealth has almost zero impact on such inequality. "When wealthy investors were polled, only 7 percent indicated that inheritance was a source of any of their wealth, and it is estimated that 85 percent of millionaires in this country are the product of self-made success." Increased revenue for state services Given that the death tax only brings in 0.3 percent of North Carolina's general fund revenue, this would appear foolish at face value. However, there are good reasons why a death tax, even if imposed at a higher rate, would fail to generate revenue for a state.
    Fergus Hodgson, November 10, 2011
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    Civil disobedience—the honorable kind

    Given the presence of OWS vandalism and trespassing, one might be tempted to dismiss the ethical weight of civil disobedience within the current context. This video clip demonstrates that it still has value, and it can be carried out in a way that respects the liberty and private…
    Fergus Hodgson, November 8, 2011
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    A medicine shortage? Duh, let in imports.

    Obama’s latest executive order, out on Monday, decries the shortage of pharmaceutical drugs. His proposals, however, will do nothing to increase supply; rather, they push for more paperwork and counterproductive lawsuits. As I point out in my latest commentary with The Future of Freedom Foundation, “Eliminate Medicine…
    Fergus Hodgson, November 4, 2011
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    Constituents ready for an end to NC’s death tax

    The Civitas Institute’s latest poll ought to give comfort to anyone seeking to eliminate North Carolina’s death (estate) tax. An overwhelming majority of likely voters in the state—two thirds—oppose it. In fact, only 25 percent of the 600 individuals surveyed either somewhat or strongly support the death tax.
    Fergus Hodgson, November 2, 2011
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    Oh the irony: Advocating liberty to Americans. (Q&A from tax debate)

    At the end of last week's tax debate, my opponent and I received about 45 minutes of questions from audience members. Most of these attacked pro-liberty ideals, which also happen to be American ideals. As I was born in New Zealand and moved to the United States in adulthood, this placed me in a bizarre scenario: advocating liberty to Americans. Here are seven of the questions that perhaps best represent the total. Almost all were directed at me, but my opponent, John Scott of the University of North Carolina, made a few remarks as well. 1. "Legitimate" taxation, and what about government education? (three minutes) [audio:http://bit.ly/u7CHUI] I didn't actually use the phrase "taxation is alright for a legitimate cause," but the question remains, and it is by no means an easy one. Many people—staunch libertarians or anarchists—say all taxation is theft and unacceptable. The minarchist or minimal-government libertarian position is that taxation is only warranted for defensive activities, the protection of life, liberty, and property. That equates to police, national defense, and a judicial system. Activities such as these better fit the characterization of "protectorate," rather than "government." In other words, they are only in place to protect individual rights, rather than to redistribute wealth, provide entitlements, or manage individuals, as collectivists so desire. They are, however, the roles originally prescribed by the Declaration or Independence, the United States Constitution, and the North Carolina Constitution. Article 1, Section 1 of the North Carolina State Constitution: We hold it to be self-evident that all persons are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness.
    Fergus Hodgson, October 31, 2011