ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, August 15, 2008

I have met the enemy - and it is us

We've been railing against the idiocy that is our current tax system since the inception of this blog...

We're in the Age of Unreason.

The WSJ has this excellent Op-Ed today which points out the fact that the US is one of the most unattractive places to do business.

America the Uncompetitive
August 15, 2008; Page A14

The new international tax rankings are out for 2008, and congratulations to Washington, D.C., are again in order. Our political class has managed to maintain America's rank with the second highest corporate tax rate in the world at 39.3% (average combined federal and state).

Only Japan is slightly higher overall, though if you are silly enough to base a corporation in California, Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or other states with high corporate levies, your tax rate on business income is even higher than in Tokyo. For the first time, the U.S. statutory rate is now 50% higher than the average of our international competitors, continuing a long-term trend as the rest of the world keeps reducing corporate tax rates. (See nearby chart).

Economists argue over how much this tax penalty on corporate profits injures U.S. competitiveness and drives capital overseas. We've long believed that it hurts a lot. And now even the folks at the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) say they agree.

A new OECD study, "Taxes and Economic Growth," examines national tax burdens and their impact on growth and incomes in member countries. It concludes that "corporate taxes are most harmful for growth, followed by personal income taxes, and then consumption taxes." The study adds that "investment is adversely affected by corporate taxation," and that the most profitable and rapidly growing companies tend to be the most sensitive to high business tax rates.

In Washington, meanwhile, the politicians are still living in their own populist alternative universe. Last week Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota waved around a new politically generated study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finding that 28% of large U.S. corporations paid no income tax in 2005. "It's time for big corporations to pay their fair share," Mr. Dorgan roared.

Well, the Tax Foundation looked at those numbers and found that, among the large companies that paid no taxes, 85% of them also made no profits that year. American Airlines and General Motors escaped income tax for 2005 through the clever tax dodge of losing $862 million and $10.5 billion, respectively. How unpatriotic.

The GAO data only add to the case for cutting U.S. corporate rates. America now has the worst of all worlds: high corporate tax rates, but also lots of loopholes passed by Congress at the behest of favored businesses to avoid the confiscatory rate. This imposes huge compliance costs as businesses scramble to exploit the loopholes, with the result of less revenue for the government.

The average European nation has tax rates on corporate income 10 percentage points lower than the U.S., but those countries on average raise 50% more as a share of GDP in corporate taxes than does the U.S., according to a 2007 study by the Treasury Department. Ireland with its 12.5% rate captures a higher share of its GDP (3.4%) in corporate taxes than the U.S. does (2.5%) with its 39.3% rate.

To correct this revenue dearth, Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress are proposing to pry more tax money out of U.S. companies that have profitable affiliates outside the U.S. Mr. Obama is also shamelessly taking the Byron Dorgan line that the problem is venal U.S. CEOs rather than the nutty U.S. tax code.

One proposal would tax foreign profits when they are earned, rather than waiting until the dollars are brought back to the U.S. This may raise more revenue in the short term, but it would also accelerate the trend of U.S. companies moving entirely offshore, or being bought out by Asians and Europeans so they can escape onerous U.S. taxes.

John McCain has proposed cutting the 35% federal corporate tax rate to 25%. That's a good start, but even that would leave the U.S. with a combined state and federal rate nearly five percentage points above the global average. With corporate tax rates falling around the world, and with its damage to investment increasingly obvious, abolishing the U.S. corporate income tax should be on the table. Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin have proposed replacing the corporate tax with a value-added consumption tax. We worry about a VAT turning into a runaway money machine for government, but something has to give on the corporate tax.

Every month that goes by without tax reform, America is a relatively less attractive place to do business. Over the past 18 months, nine of the 30 most developed nations and 20 countries world-wide -- from Israel to Germany to Turkey -- have cut their corporate tax rates. Nations are slashing rates to attract capital and jobs from the U.S., and the tragedy is that our politicians keep making it easy for them.

It's the slow death caused by the weak, limp-wristed grasps of politicians around the nation's neck.

As the capital starts to flow out of the country, the politicians try to exert even more power - forcing even more capital to flee.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just When You Think the Freaks at Daily Kos Can't Get Any Worse

Thanks to the good folks at LGF for this gem from the whackjobs at Daily Kos.

Daily Kos: 'If God Can Give Robert Novak a Brain Tomour then Why Cant He Give All of Them One'
Tue, Aug 12, 2008 at 6:14:29 pm PDT

Wow.

You think you’ve seen the most hateful, illiterate garbage possible from the Kos Kids, and then they post something like this: Daily Kos: If all rightwing pundits had one neck, I’d hack it though.

This will be about mostly right wingnut pundits. It will have profanity, Ideas/images that will upset you. Bad spelling, horrible gammer, disgusting punctuation. So if the F word shivers your timbers, or a misplaced semi-colon is like fingernails along a blackboard. Then I suggest you move on to another blog. Cavet Empty

If god can give Robert Novak a brain tomour then why cant he give all of them one. I’m sure they annoy the f*ck out of him. I’ve heard that novak is called the prince of darkness. Hes just an vile slimey crumudgeon. Prince of Darkness? Too flattering by a long shot. But hes got his now and is out of the picture. Good riddence. A question? If your a liberal/democrat asked to appear on fox news. Dosnt that make you a lame by definition? Its like the old saying. If your in a poker game and you dont spot the sucker in the frist 30 minutes, you are the sucker. I dont understand why anyone(liberal/democrat) would agree to go on that channel.You would just be used as a punching bag. If you’ve actually watched Hannity and Doormat you know what I mean. I used to listen to a lot or wingnut radio, but it gets boring after a while. If your not one of the converted being preached at is just annoying. No dissenting voices are allowed. Anyone who makes a valid point is accused of being a seminar caller. Like I need to go to class to refute thier bullsh*t. Was there ever such a thing as a right wing radio seminar? Wingnut radio is only successful because they give it away. If I’m the general manager for a radio station, why would I hire local talent, who needs to be paid in actual dollars with benifits ect. when I can get the syndicated wingnut by giving up a few minuets of time each hour for them to sell ads. Air america failed beacuse they didnt give away there programming. Of course I could be wrong. And I was certinatly ready to listen. They had great talent; Randi Roades case in point.

With a “poll” that asks the question, “which right wing f*ckstick should get the next brain tomour?”

Rush“lock the medicene cabniet when I visit” Limbaugh - 5% - 1 votes

Laura“bitter closeted carpet muncher” Ingrahm - 0% - 0 votes

Sean“fredo corleone” Hannity - 11% - 2 votes

Bill “I’ll get fox news security to f*ck you up” O’Rielley - 5% - 1 votes

Mike“I was drunk when I sucked Allen Gingsbergs c*ck so Im not queer”savage - 11% - 2 votes

Dennis“my moral compass is jammed up my ass” Prager - 0% - 0 votes

Mike“the thunderbolt missed me and hit my wife”Gallagher - 0% - 0 votes

Mark“how many conservative jews is too many on the radio”Levin - 0% - 0 votes

Mike“draft dodger chicken hawk” Medvid - 0% - 0 votes

Charles“Dr. Strangelove” Krathenhammer, - 0% - 0 votes

Mort“I am not a pussy”Kondrackie - 0% - 0 votes

Matt“Im not a fag”Drudge - 0% - 0 votes

Ann “c*nty” Colter - 0% - 0 votes

Oh lord we beseech thee, smite them all - 35% - 6 votes

how can they have a brain toumour with no brains - 29% - 5 votes


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Chink in The Obamessiah's Armor?

From Rasmussen Reports:

59% see Russian Invasion of Georgia as Threat
Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The majority of Americans (59%) regard Russia’s ongoing invasion of neighboring Georgia as a threat to U.S. national security, but less than a third (31%) believe the United States should take any diplomatic action against Russia.

A similar number (33%) say the United States should not take diplomatic action against Russia, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey taken Monday night. A plurality (36%) remain undecided.

Just over half (51%) also believe that John McCain is the best equipped of the two major presidential candidates to handle a similar crisis in the future, while 36% believe Barack Obama is the better of the two to deal with this kind of situation.
[...]

It would seem that only the die-hard progressives socialists think Obama's "solution" (which can be summed up as "Boys!! Boys!!! Play nice!!!!") to the invasion of Georgia would have any impact.

Seth Colter Walls has good analysis of the impact of these events on the US Presidential campaign and how Obama is missing an opportunity while he "summers" in Hawaii.
McCain Seizes On Russia-Georgia Conflict During Obama's Vacation

Maybe Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin didn't get the memo. World leaders are supposed to grease the skids on the global stage for Barack Obama, not turn long-simmering regional tensions into boiling international incidents during the one week the presumptive Democratic nominee takes a vacation.

All kidding aside, Russia and Georgia likely don't care one way or the other right now about how their conflict plays in America's presidential campaign. But those who do care should note that John McCain currently has the field to himself in addressing the hot international topic of the week.

In a statement released to reporters, McCain not only recapitulates points he made over the weekend, but goes into full-blown professor mode, educating Americans about the history of Georgia and its importance to America's interests.

Recall that McCain looked in Putin's eyes and the only thing he saw was three letters - KGB. (BTW, someone at Pravda should really fact check their stories - McCain isn't 77!!)

I seem to recall an ad... a bear in the woods. And an old guy with some cojones who made the bear crap in the woods and flee.

Who do you think Putin is more concerned about? A lawyered-up, professorial street organizer who's served 2 years in the US Senate and cannot complete a sentence without an "ummmmmm" or an "uhhhh"?

Or some guy who's actually been on the tip of the spear and killed some imperialist commies? Someone who's shown that he's not one to break under pressure?

Meanwhile, Putin moves to position troops to take Tbilisi, the Georgian capital.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler