As Fuzzy As Rand Paul Is…

…on foreign policy and defense, the more I see of this kind of talk, of a 14.5% flat income tax for individuals and businesses…:

So on Thursday I am announcing an over $2 trillion tax cut that would repeal the entire IRS tax code—more than 70,000 pages—and replace it with a low, broad-based tax of 14.5% on individuals and businesses. I would eliminate nearly every special-interest loophole. The plan also eliminates the payroll tax on workers and several federal taxes outright, including gift and estate taxes, telephone taxes, and all duties and tariffs. I call this “The Fair and Flat Tax.” . . .Even Mr. Obama’s economic advisers tell him that the U.S. corporate tax code, which has the highest rates in the world (35%), is an economic drag. When an iconic American company like Burger King wants to renounce its citizenship for Canada because that country’s tax rates are so much lower, there’s a fundamental problem.

 

…the more I want him to remain a contender.

Options

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Roughed out my taxes. Going to have to write a check to the IRS – not enough deductions.

I suppose I could
start a private charity to solicit giant donations – the blue arrowhead is helpful, find your friends! Or maybe just not pay the taxes.

But I’m not a Democrat. I need a side business where I can lose some money on paper and write off expenses such as bar association dues.

Any suggestions?

Joe Doakes

I got nothing for you, man.

Anyone?

More Words, More Problems

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Always hated Word Problems in Math class. What’s the point? When will I ever use that stuff?

“If the amount on Line 8 of Form M1 is over $36,080 but not over $143,350, then Enter on Line 9 of Form M1 $1,930.28 + 7.05% of the amount over $36,080.”

From Table Rate Schedule, Table 29, Minnesota Individual Income Tax Forms and Instructions, 2014

That’s it. I’m a Flat Taxer from now on.

Joe Doakes

what’s the old joke? “A conservative is a Democrat that’s been mugged; a libertarian is a conservative that’s been audited?”

Over-Theft

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If the cashier at Cub took my money then announced she had a surplus, I’d say she overcharged me. That’s a bad thing.
If the State takes my money then announces it has a surplus, I’m supposed to be thrilled?

In the private sector, a budget starts with a realistic expectation of income, then works in spending that can be afforded.
In government, a budget starts with special interest spending demands on paid-for politicians, who set the income to cover the payoffs.
The equivalent process in the private sector would be monopolistic price fixing by a crime syndicate.
Joe Doakes

Everything you really need to know about government budgeting, you learn from Henry Hill’s soliloquy about Jimmy Conolly from “Goodfellas”.

You know what I mean; the one that goes “business is been bad? F*** you, give me the money”.

The Proverbial Frog In A Pan

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails in re a recent Powerline article:

“Mandatory” [spending] does not include defense, it covers things the government must spend because people are entitled to them: i.e., welfare, medicare, social security, etc.

 

Entitlements are the big growth. Not a surprise. For my wife and me, it’s $22,000 worth. That’s an eye opener.

Joe Doakes

It’s amazing how conservatives can warn people about something for six years, and it can still be a surprise, even to smart people, how bad it actually is.

Thanks, Tea Party!

Federal spending (as a percentage of US GDP) drops close to the historical average

The federal budget is shrinking as a percentage of gross domestic product, falling just below 20 percent in the third quarter of 2014. That’s down four points from its peak of 24 percent in 2011, according to market analysis firm Strategas’ survey of recent Treasury Department data.

 

“That’s a pretty large drop in government spending,” said Daniel Clifton, head of policy research for Strategas.

 

The drop puts current federal spending close to the norm for the last half-century. While the budget has grown in absolute numbers — the omnibus spending bill passed earlier this month totaled more than $1 trillion — federal spending has averaged just over 19 percent of GDP since 1963.

 

The decline is due to a combination of factors, the main one being the restraints that were put on federal spending in 2011 as a result of the debt ceiling standoff in Congress

…for the past half-century.  Which, to be fair, is about when the Fed started its orgy of spending like a crack whore with a stolen gold card in peacetime.

Who’d have thought we’d be talking about the Johnson years as a positive baseline?

At any rate, it’s an incremental step in the right direction – thanks, in its entirety, to the Tea Party.

An Idea Whose Time Is Long Overdue

This is from a piece of constituent mail, reprinted on a Minnesota legislator’s facebook page:

What do you think about replacing the word “free” to read “Taxpayer Funded” in all goverment paper and documents?  Like instead of schools “Free” lunch program, it would read “Schools Taxpayer Funded Lunch Program”.  It would be more truthful. 

I say submit the bill and run with it, hard.

Saint Gruber

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This is why the cities of Brooklyn Park, Waite Park and Lake Park need to pay more taxes: so Saint Paul gets more LGA for an $8 million public library in the city’s wealthiest neighborhood, Highland Park.

Meanwhile, my street still hasn’t been plowed or even sanded, and the Mayor wants Congress to pay for street repairs.

No reason to prioritize when you’re spending Other People’s Money.

joe doakes

Proponents of the system will tell you that the money comes from two different sources; that there’s no way the library money could be spent on the streets.

In other words, they’re “Grubering” you.

Slump

Amid all the DFL’s bragging about the economy – which Bill Glahn dispensed with earlier this week – let’s note that for the fifth straight month, tax receipts are off.

And not by just a little bit (emphasis added):

Minnesota’s tax collections for July have come in $69 million below expectations.

The Department of Minnesota Management and Budget released its monthly revenue Monday. It shows the state took in 6.6 percent less than was forecast.

And in the wake of the DFL’s bragging about the state’s ostensible unemployment rate?

The shortage was most acute in the area of individual income taxes, which were off by $36 million. Officials say some could be attributed to timing of tax payments or refunds.

Sure.  Some of it could.

But most of it is attributed to the fact that under DFL rule, the state’s economy is slumping.  Slowly – it’s a gradual thing, as economic trends always are – but definite.

And all the DFL’s happy talk is fermented BS.

Doakes Sunday: Findings Of Fact

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Another company leaving Minnesota for Wisconsin. This one is probably more about marketing to its customer base than taxes; still . . . . . Dayton -1, Walker +1.

unlike the date and administrations job numbers, the number of “companies leaving Minnesota” is getting revised downward anytime soon.

In unrelated news I see that Chuck Knoblauch is accused of domestic assault, therefore the Twins have cancelled his induction into the Twins hall of fame.
I don’t care a whit for sports heroes, but the endless manipulation for PC is really tiresome. Not to mention that if this happened when he was on the team and useful for their pennant rally, they would be on the soap box reminding us that the justice system needs time to work, that a person is innocent until proven guilty, etc.
I did not read any of the story, or see it on the news. Don’t have a clue what evidence, if any, is involved. But PC sucks.
Joe Doakes

it’s Minnesota. “People” – ha ha – accused of domestic abuse will be assured a speedy trial and immediate execution.

The Real Minimum Wage

Progressives, awash in worry about income inequality, will barber on and on over whether the minimum wage should be $10, or $11.50, or even a Seattle-sized $15/hour.

Conservatives know that the real minimum wage is zero

“Diggity”, a new fast-food restaurant concept in Coon Rapids, gets a jump on McDonands, does away with the server:

Diggity functions on an elaborate and expensive system of self-serve, touchscreen kiosks and software that allow customers to place orders directly from smartphones or tablet devices. Diners watch monitors (or their phones) to track the progress of their order and pick it up at the counter when ready.

 Customers can also order takeout online, drive into a designated spot in the parking lot and check in using the restaurant’s wireless Internet connection, which will ping the staff with a request to bring the order out.

“You don’t even have to make a telephone call, which is one more convenience factor,” Cary said.

The system cost six-figures (Cary wouldn’t be more precise), but he said he has no doubt it will pay for itself. The setup from Michigan’s Nextep Systems allowed Hemipshere to hire half the staff a restaurant of Diggity’s size would normally need.

But wasn’t it just the “wow” factor that led to the innovative design? 

Cary and Managing Partner Anoush Ansari said the new model was inspired by Minnesota law mandating a gradual bump in the minimum wage.

Thanks, DFL!  The teen unemployment rate is going to take another hit.

Dear “Progressives”

We warned you. Oh, yes we did.

“When you raise the taxes on the parts of our society that produce wealth, the wealth moves”

That’s especially true when the taxes you’re raising make the producers of wealth – companies, in this case – less competitive in a global marketplace with other companies that produce wealth and get less of a tax hit.

Two weeks ago, it was Medtronic packing up its corporate plantation moving to Ireland for a much, much, much better tax rate.

This week? Word that Walgreens is planning a similar inversion with a company in Switzerland.

And after news that Nash Finch and Advance Auto Parts are leaving Minnesota largely because of the DFL’s tax orgy, and Red Wing Shoes and Laurence Transportation shelving major expansions because of that same tax policy, i’m wondering how much longer the DFL can hide behind the the headlines about Minnesota’s phantom, low unemployment rate.

(Which translates to “low unemployment in the metro, where all the Fortune 1000 companies are, with the market a little less reassuring outstate…)

Closing The Hatches

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Help thousands of customers into loans they can’t afford leading to foreclosure, bankruptcy, and Trillions in federal bailouts . . . yawn.

Help a few people hide money from the tax collectors . . . $2.5 Billion in fines.

Priorities

You can’t take a house out of the country. Taxpayers are another matter.

Democrat Fatcat Largesse

Think you’re done paying for football?

Hah.  Dream on, peasant ripe-sucks.

Helga Braid Nation is doing cartwheels that “we” will be hosting a Super Bowl in 2018 at “our” stadium. 

And Mark Dayton is going to soak up whatever sunlight the event gives him among the “Happy To Have Someone Else Pay For My Bread And Circuses” set:

Dayton and members of the city’s bid committee held a news conference Wednesday to celebrate landing the Super Bowl. The NFL chose Minneapolis largely because of its new stadium.

Oh, yeah – even though none of us will be able to afford to attend this particular circus, we’ll all be subsidizing it:

The governor says the state has made no commitments for tax breaks to the NFL apart from a sales tax exemption for Super Bowl tickets that remains on the books from when Minnesota hosted it in 1992.

But Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, says organizers may ask for sales tax exemptions for some of the other festivities.

Here’s a note to Minnesota’s Republicans; here would be a great time to draw the line on the whole “limited government” thing.  Also the “subsidizing billionaires” thing. 

So the next time you find yourselves surrounded by The Walking Meat all dressed up in purple and pounding the Idiot Drums, think to yourselves; in 2012, Mitt Romney and a whole bunch of Minnesota Republicans lost, not because independents didn’t vote GOP – they did – but because conservatives, angry about serial betrayals on the whole “limited government” thing (Vikings stadia, caving in on budget hikes in 2011 before the negotiations even began, etc), stayed home in droves.

(If the Bears aren’t playing, I don’t care.  And if the Vikings are playing, I’ll bring Scarlett Johannson as my date).

Paging Fran Tarkenton

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Dorsey lawyer’s Strib editorial on residency requirements for income tax purposes doesn’t make much sense. Not surprising, as it’s plainly self-interested on three fronts – keeping in good with the Tax Court and with Democrat politicians, as well as keeping her wealthy clients after they move out-of-state.

First, she says the law on residency hasn’t changed and it’s not a problem. Then she says two recent notable cases weren’t a big deal and the losers should have lost. But then she says she supports the proposed change in legislation because people who move out of state shouldn’t have to switch lawyers to prove a change in residence.

Hey, either the law was fine before, or the critics were right and the tax court has turned this state into the Hotel Minnesota: once you live here you can never leave, you’re always a “resident” for income tax purposes.

I agree with the critics: the present law is overly broad, inconsistently applied and antiquated. The only reason we still have it is Democrats want to tax rich people wherever they live, however slight their connection to this state and the present law is a fig leaf to justify it.

Joe Doakes

rumors that the DFL wants to tax everyone who has ever been a professional athlete in Minnesota are exaggerated.

Probably.

I’m Jumpin’ NARN Flash, It’s A Gas, Gas, Gas…

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism, as the Twin Cities media’s sole source of honesty!

  • I’m in the studio today from 1-3.  I’ll have Senator Roger Chamberlain on, regarding the dueling Bullying Bills.  Then, we’ll talk with Kim Crockett about the “Minnesota Exodus”, all of companies leaving Minnesota over taxes. (oops – that’s next week…)
  • Don’t forget the King Banaian Radio Show, on AM1570 “The Businessman” from 9-11AM this morning!
  • Tomorrow,  Brad Carlson is on “The Closer”!

(All times Central)

So tune in to all six hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, the Twin Cities’ media’s sole guardians of honest news. You have so many options:

Join us!

Tax Cuts!

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is picking up cat food at the grocery store.  Avery LIBRELLE, carrying a case of kombucha, walks past, sees BERG, and stops. 

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!   University Avenue is about to get a $1.4 Billion dollar tax cut!

BERG:  (Looking for a graceful way out) Um, what now?

LIBRELLE:  The Green Line light rail is rebating 1.4 billion dollars worth of local, state and federal taxes to the consumer of Saint Paul!

BERG:  Um, we’re spending a billion and change on a light rail line. 

LIBRELLE:   Right – the taxes were paid, and then the money is being sent back to the taxpayer in the form of rail!  It’s a tax cut!

BERG:  That’s absurd. 

LIBRELLE:  And MNSure is tens of millions of taxpayer dollars being returned to Minnesota’s healthcare consumers. 

BERG:  And Information Technology companies, and business consultants.

LIBRELLE:  Exactly!  All of them are benefitting from the Tax Cuts!

BERG:  None of these are tax cuts.  All of them are government taking money from some people, and giving it to others…

LIBRELLE:   …you’re a sore loser, Merg!   Why, look at the tax cuts we’re giving to the working poor!

BERG:  “Tax cuts?”  You hiked the budget $2.1 Billion, and took over a billion extra out of the economy, and the DFL’s idea of a “tax cut” is to give a few million back to people to reinforce their DFL votes?

LIBRELLE:  Blah blah blah!  It’s tax money, and someone is getting it back!

BERG:  So giving hundreds of millions of tax dollars to Zygi Wilf is a “tax cut?”

LIBRELLE:   Is it tax money?  Is someone getting it?  It’s a tax cut!

BERG:   So the CIA and the SEALS gave Osama Bin Laden a “tax cut” when they killed him?

LIBRELLE:   Don’t be absurd!  They lowered the unemployment rate!

(And SCENE)

Strib: “Oops – Sorry About All Those Unexpected Property Tax Hikes”

If there’s a “broken record” phrase in all of Minnesota conservative alt-media, it’s “the Star Tribune is carrying the water for the DFL”.

It’s like saying “Boy, isn’t Lady Gaga weird”.  It’s the baseline.  It hardly needs to be said.

As Strib observers and critics go, I’m more jaded and cynical than most, which is another way of saying “almost cynical enough”.

But even I – who doesn’t really doubt that the Strib’s editors, and likely some “journalists”, are on the local version of “Journo-List” with the DFL, Take Action, Alliance for a Better Minnesota and Alida Messinger – wasn’t ready for the avalanche of lies and bald-faced image-shaping in this editorial.

The subtitle says it all:  “Relief not as sizable as hoped, but help goes where it’s most needed.”

There was no relief, and the “help” was taken from most Minnesotans and given to the Minnesotans whose votes the DFL wants to buy!

It only gets worse:

As many previous statehouse politicians learned to their sorrow, local property taxes are hard to control from the Capitol. That reality has hit home to the DFLers in charge of the Legislature and the governor’s office.

 They thought they set the table in 2013 for noticeable reductions in property taxes around the state. Instead, they got mixed results and a muddled message. Total K-12 school and local government levies are up $125 million this year, giving Republican politicians the chance to crow that the DFL’s tax-suppression strategy failed.

There was no “DFL Tax-Suppression Strategy, other than repeating “raising Local Government Aid will lower property taxes!” enough times for the incurious to believe it. 

None! 

But DFLers also engineered an increase in property tax refunds for both homeowners and renters, distributed on an income-based formula to low- and middle-income taxpayers facing high tax bills. Factor in estimated claims for the richer refunds, and net property taxes in 2014 are down slightly from 2013 — by $8 million, or 0.1 percent…But count us too among fans of the $133 million boost this year in refunds to qualifying taxpayers. The income-driven property tax refund and renters’ credit are well-designed programs that this year will reach an estimated 550,000 property owners and renters — up from 140,000 previously eligible.

“Income based formula”.

In other words, the DFL took money from some people, and gave it to others. 

That’s not a tax cut.  That’s redistribution.  That’s the state picking winners and losers. 

 That leaves plenty of Minnesota’s 2.1 million households staring at higher taxes again this spring. This is the 12th year in a row for increases in total property tax burdens, with yearly increases averaging $332 million.

 But the credits are helping to stabilize housing for low-income Minnesotans by sending help to those whose property tax bills are high enough in proportion to their incomes that their ability to remain in their homes could otherwise be in doubt.

That’s not “property tax relief”.  That’s a social program, using the state to funnel money to overextended low-income home owners.

 The refunds may not stifle political criticism, but they’re sound policy.

No.  They are DFL campaign spending.

Fact: after two years of the DFL claiming at every turn that the GOP’s cuts to LGA hiked property taxes, and that their reinstatement would “cut property taxes” – their words, over and over and over again – nearly 80% of Minnesota’s jurisdictions raised property taxes. 

The DFL lied to the people.

TheStrib, in this editorial, is covering for the lie, and doing it clumsily. 

Well, too clumsily to fool anyone that’s paying attention. 

But the Strib’s political coverage isn’t aimed at that audience.

When Grownups Run Things

On the one hand: Minnesota hikes taxes two billion dollars.  The “surplus” rises about $200 million over what the Republican majority in 2011-2012 left.  The DFL majority is currently arguing not so much over how to spend the “surplus’, but how many times over it shall be spent. 

On the not-stupid hand:  Wisconsin under Scott Walker cut taxes.  Wisconsin’s surplus is pushing a billion dollars.  And the only argument in Wisconsin today is “how are the taxpayers going to get the overbilling back?”

“The additional revenue should be returned to taxpayers because it’s their money, and my administration will work with the Legislature to determine the most prudent course of action,” Walker said in a statement.

Walker has been talking with Republican leaders about tax cut proposals he plans to release in his State of the State speech next Wednesday. Walker’s spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster said the governor wants to adjust income tax withholding tables to put more money in taxpayers’ pockets immediately and is also eyeing income and property tax reductions.

It’d sure be nice to have grownups in charge in Minnesota again.

(VIa regular commenter Chuck)

Chanting Points Memo: That Humongous Surplus!

How soon people forget…

…well, no.  How soon the DFL and its stenographers in the mainstream Minnesota media try to make them forget. 

The GOP-majority legislature in 2011 and 2012 bounced the state back from a (let’s take the Democrat-controlled bureaucracy at its word) $6 Billion-and-change deficit to an $800 million surplus, without raising taxes.  Had they followed the Tea Party freshmens’ advice, and held spending at 2010 levels, it would have likely been more like $2 Billion – but that’s water under the bridge for now.  They also tried to use some of that money to pay back the “school budget shift” – a DFL-designed accounting gimmick that operated entirely as a chanting point for the DFL – but Governor Dayton Messinger vetoed it to hold it out there as an election-year rhetorical cudgel. 

But it’s another year.  And a DFL controlled legislature.

And after increasing taxes by two billion dollars – many of which haven’t kicked in yet – the DFL is taking full credit for a “Billion dollar surplus”. 

Let’s make sure we’re clear on the compare-and-contrast, here:

  • The GOP, without raising taxes, moved moved the revenue needle seven billion dollars (although two billion got eaten up by additional spending the DFL demanded via Governor Dayton Messinger. 
  • The DFL, in one year, took an additional two billion dollars out of the productive economy and handed it to government – leaving us with a grand total of $200 million in additional surplus.   And remember – the worst of the DFL’s taxes haven’t even started yet. 

That of course begs a question – concluding that a surplus is a good thing.  It’s not; it’s money taken out of the productive economy.  That billion dollars is money the State of Minnesota thinks it deserves more than you – the person who actually earned it. 

The DFL is going to do its best to obscure that – because for all of their endzone-happy-dancing, it’s really not all that good.

Snow Place Like Home

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

City of St. Paul takes responsibility for street plowing the way Obama’s IRS does – proclaim outrage, shuffle people around, make vague promises and hope the issue goes away.

A city taxes residents to perform a few, basic duties: keep the peace, fight fires, provide safe drinking water, treat sewage and plow the streets.  Since I moved here in 1998, streets have been a cruel insult.

Comparing St. Paul to Minneapolis sounds fair – both big cities with huge staff and monster budgets – but a better comparison is Roseville or Falcon Heights – a small city with small staff and small budget whose streets are plowed and sanded, clean and dry, weeks before St. Paul’s streets are done.  If the little town can do it with tiny staff working for peanuts, why can’t giant St. Paul do it with all its union employees and LGA resources?

I suspect Mayor Chris Coleman doesn’t want to discuss the solution proven to work:  contract it out.  I vaguely recall the City did for a while back in the early 90’s – maybe during Mayor Norm Coleman’s time?  I think they contracted to heavy equipment companies that did road construction in the Summer but sat idle all Winter.  We could hire them again.

I want to say it was West or South Saint Paul, or maybe a trial program on the West Side.  The city’s union employees claimed, unsurprisingly, that the private contractors were terrible at the job, and the program was ended.  “Cauterized” might be a better term.

Plus, St. Paul never plows alleys – residents band together to hire some guy with a Western plow on his pickup, which is good Winter work for landscapers.  They could each clean a few streets, too, and have them perfectly clean before the city crews even get to the shop.

A chicken in every pot, a car in every garage, a plow on every block: now there’s a campaign slogan I could love.

That’s my block; one of our neighbors does plowing.  We each chip in $20 a winter – and he has to keep the alley plowed to get to work.  I think during the big blizzard in 2010 he may have made one of the side streets passable too…

  When I bought my last vehicle, I went shopping for a 4-wheel drive.  My in-laws asked me “Why do you need a 4-wheel drive, you live in St. Paul?” and I replied “I need a 4-wheel drive BECAUSE I live in St. Paul.”  Now that’s pathetic.

Joe Doakes

Saint Paul seems to be getting counterintuitively worse at clearing roads.  While last year was the worst – with even high-traffic streets remaining impassible sheets of glare ice for days after big storms – we haven’t had a real donnybrook of a storm yet, either.

The roads, even after last week’s modest storm, are like goat paths in the Bolivian Andes.

We’re Number 47!

Minnesota has the 47th-best tax climate, according to the non-partisan [1] Tax Foundation.

In none of the five major categories – corporate, individual income, sales, unemployment or property taxes – is Minnesota even in the top 60%.

Keep up the good work, DFL!

[1] – Hey, if the media calls “Common Cause” “non-partisan”…

CORRECTION:  47th best.  Not 47th worst.  I needed coffee.

Why Do Reps. Ellison, McCollum, Walz And Nolan Hate Veterans?

Four of Minnesota’s five House reps voted against funding veterans benefits during the shutdown (Collin Peterson did the right thing).

Now, their explanation will be that the Democrats’ congressional leadership – Reid and Pelosi – want the whole budget passed, not a bunch of piecemeal mini-budgets – because that’s just not the way we do budgets, apparently.

Of course, the Democrats don’t do budgets at all But I digress.

It’s buncombe, of course; the GOP’s strategy, making the Democrats justify their spending piece by piece rather than having it all jammed down in full tantrum mode – might just show the people that there’s an alternative in DC.

That’d make the Democrats in DC very upset.

So the real question is why do DC Democrats hate taxpayers?