Archive for the ‘taxes’ Category

Cuba: Citizens with no property rights to pay 35% tax rate

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Thanks to fifty years of Communist rule, Cuba’s broke, and will continue to be broke. And now, Cubans will be taxed on what they don’t own.

Adding to the preposterousness of the situation, Reuters reporter Marc Frank, formerly of Communist Daily, comes out with an article where he posits that Most Cubans have not paid taxes for half a century, but that will change under a new code starting January 1,

The new code covers 19 taxes, including such things as inheritance, environment, sales, transportation and farm land, various license fees and three contributions, including social security.

Inheritance of what?? The regime abolished private property from the get-go, and it has not restored it,

It’s a perversely absurd view of the issue. The truth is that the castro regime, like all other totalitarian ones, is concerned with complete control of the citizenry. Political control, economic control, it’s all the same and necessary for the retention of power which is the sole aim of despots. castro, inc. is interested in generating revenue wherever it can while maintaining as much control as possible. I’ve stated many times that if raul castro truly wanted to implement the “Chinese Model” economy into Cuba he could have done so by now. He doesn’t do it because he knows Cuba is not China and the Cuban people will not be so easy to control once they have more economic self-determination. The regime wouldn’t last six months under a Chinese type of economic system.

Frank’s assuming that “businesses will become cooperatives or be privately leased” and will be able to survive enough to pay taxes.

Yeah, right.

What happened to the small businesses that were mowed down in the 1990s? What about this year’s new import fees?

Kevin McCullough:

So when the state controlled industry, businesses endured a 100% tax rate, and the nation never rose to prosperity, never saw an increase in take home pay, never really ever saw a modern way of life take hold.

Memo to Kevin: The state still controls everything in Cuba,
New Cuban Tax Just Same Old Communist Expropriation

the money workers could earn if free to choose their employers at wages that reflect their worth now all goes to the state and its “free” programs. Officially or not, it’s a tax well beyond 99%.

And what a surprise, the Castro brothers just happen to have personal fortunes in the billions of dollars, according to the last Forbes estimate. That’s a lot of taxes.

The Castro dictatorship is looking to take cash from the supposedly independent new businesses it’s permitted to set up shop, originally as a way of cutting the bloated state employment rolls.

Far from being a market liberalization or modernization, the Castroite tax hike is nothing but a shakedown of businesses that are struggling to grow, and an effort to reassert the power of the state over its citizens.

It’s the same-old, same-old, folks.

“SEVENTY-FIVE!? Yeah, that’s different”

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Today’s hit-by-reality moment is brought to you by Will Smith,

On France’s TF1 in early May, Smith explained why he supported the idea of paying higher taxes, saying, “I have no issue with paying taxes and whatever needs to be done for my country to grow. I believe very firmly that my ability to sit here — I’m a black man who didn’t go to college, yet I get to travel around the world and sell my movies, and I believe very firmly that America is the only place on Earth that I could exist. So I will pay anything that I need to pay to keep my country growing.”

The interviewer then said, “Do you know how much in France you would have to pay on earnings above 1 million euros [French President Francois Hollande’s proposal]? Not 30 percent – 75 percent.”

At that point, Smith said, “75? Yeah, that’s different, that’s different. Yeah, 75. Well, you know, God bless America.”

Ooooh yeah.

The taxman commeth

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Sicking the taxman on your political opponents is becoming quite the vogue in our hemisphere:

The Taxman Cometh

If you want to publicly criticize Argentina’s government, make sure all your tax filings are in order.

That was the thinly veiled message President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner sent Wednesday near the end of a speech broadcast on all national television and radio stations. Reiterating her standard criticism that media “operations” are depressing Argentinians with gloom-and-doom stories, she derided an article published last Sunday. (She didn’t say this, but the paper that ran it was Clarín, the country’s largest-circulation daily.) In the story, the owner of a real-estate agency, one of its directors and an employee were quoted complaining that recent government measures essentially blocking the sale of foreign currency to citizens had paralyzed their business.

Kirchner then dropped this bit of information: the firm in question hasn’t filed taxes since 2007 and neither has the director quoted in the story, whom she named.

How did she know? She had called up the head of the tax agency to ask, and this, too, she openly revealed on Wednesday’s broadcast.

…Kirchner’s statement on Wednesday was different: by saying that she had called the taxman out of supposed concern for the real-estate agency, she unabashedly established cause and effect: you criticize me; I punish you. Was there a better way for her to flex muscle than signal that Argentina’s government agencies are at her beck and call and say so with no shame?

Not cause-and-effect, but coincidental,
Strassel: Obama’s Enemies List—Part II
First an Obama campaign website called out Romney donor Frank Vandersloot. Next the IRS moved to audit him—and so did the Labor Department.

Mr. VanderSloot has since been learning what it means to be on a presidential enemies list. Just 12 days after the attack, the Idahoan found an investigator digging to unearth his divorce records. This bloodhound—a recent employee of Senate Democrats—worked for a for-hire opposition research firm.

Now Mr. VanderSloot has been targeted by the federal government. In a letter dated June 21, he was informed that his tax records had been “selected for examination” by the Internal Revenue Service. The audit also encompasses Mr. VanderSloot’s wife, and not one, but two years of past filings (2008 and 2009).

Mr. VanderSloot, who is 63 and has been working since his teens, says neither he nor his accountants recall his being subject to a federal tax audit before. He was once required to send documents on a line item inquiry into his charitable donations, which resulted in no changes to his taxes. But nothing more—that is until now, shortly after he wrote a big check to a Romney-supporting Super PAC.

Two weeks after receiving the IRS letter, Mr. VanderSloot received another—this one from the Department of Labor. He was informed it would be doing an audit of workers he employs on his Idaho-based cattle ranch under the federal visa program for temporary agriculture workers.

Perhaps all this is coincidence. Perhaps something in Mr. VanderSloot’s finances or on his ranch raised a flag. Americans want to believe the federal government performs its duties without fear or favor.

Only in this case, Americans can have no such confidence. Did Mr. Obama pick up the phone and order the screws put to Mr. VanderSloot? Or—more likely—did a pro-Obama appointee or political hire or career staffer see that the boss had an issue with this donor, and decide to do the president an unasked-for election favor? Or did he or she simply think this was a duty, given that the president had declared Mr. VanderSloot and fellow donors “less than reputable”?

As a commenter in the latter article put it,

Here is the problem. Despite living an exemplary life and keeping all of your affairs in order and legal to the best of your abilities, because the laws are so outrageously complex and of such breadth and volume that it is impossible to know them and thus adhere to them, everyone who has any arrangement beyond the most simple can likely be found, upon thorough investigation, to be in violation of something. For this reason, getting audited can be problematic, despite honest attempts to stay compliant. Thus, people rightly fear being singled out and becoming an audit target.

Criticisms of “what have you to hide?” are a simpleton’s response to such fears. Nowadays, managing a business or any enterprise is fraught with big and little gotchas in every conceivable corner.

Not a good trend.

Not good at all.

Cross-posted in The Green Room.

Bar the inspections, and other roundup items

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve gone “Whoa!” when reading a tweet, but this one deserved it,

Among the delegation was a man under investigation for child pornography. Check it out,

The State Department broke with normal procedures last week when it ordered the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) not to conduct a secondary inspection on members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) on their way to visit government officials and think tanks in the United States.

This happened despite the fact that one member of the delegation had been implicated – though not charged – in a U.S. child pornography investigation, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has learned.

Beyond the State Department’s prohibition on conducting extra scrutiny of Dardery and members of his delegation, the State Department barred US Customs officials from carrying out even the standard inspection mandated for foreigners arriving from Egypt, where an enhanced security program is in place as a result of the 9-11 attacks.

“Smart diplomacy”!

Gawker Hires ‘Fox Mole,’ Who Misses the Point of His or Her Own Tale

But assuming that the Mole actually works for Fox — is the Mole’s lack of ability to get a job outside Fox evidence of liberal media bias? Doesn’t the Mole admit as much in noting that they have been “blacklisted” by potential employers?

My friend Maria sent me this link to the HuffPo, Conservative Politics, ‘Low-Effort’ Thinking Linked In New Study. I wonder if Arianna paid the writer of that post for his ‘low-effort’, considering that she doesn’t have to.

President Obama tries to get one guy a job, and fails, but they have a basketball for the ages. Speaking of basketball

Where the wild things are at the Easter Egg Roll.

Smitty ponders the double-secret strategy, now that Santorum is off the race. Menwhile, Newt’s check bounced.

Obama: Buffett rule about fairness, future, so, How will the “Buffett Rule” reduce the deficit? (h/t Ace),

The Obama Rule
He says taxation is about fairness, not growth or revenue.
The Buffett Rule is a Tax on Job Creation

Time for some history painting!

A break from politics,
I was in Betty Jo Tucker’s podcast, talking about Willem Defoe. You can listed to it here.

What we ought to discuss, instead of how much Warren Buffett’s secretary earns

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Last year I asked, Just how much money does Warren Buffett’s secretary make?

In the annals of class-warfare propaganda, the answer appears to be somewhere Between $200,000 And $500,000/Year, which considering how much her boss pulls in, is not unreasonable.

She even went on TV (imagine that!) to say she feels she represents all secretaries, but also is “the poster woman for [Obama’s] tax policy”, which means the “poster woman” is in the top 1%,

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I would like to see their tax returns, Warren’s and Debbie’s. Warren even says “I think if you’re an ultra-rich guy and there’s a strong suspicion that you’re paying taxes at a rate that’s half the rate of what Deb pays, you’re going to expect some heat.” Until Warren coughs up his personal tax returns, we should dismiss anything he says as hypocritical propaganda.

But all this is a distraction. Not only Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Owes Taxes Going Back To 2002, Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.

The Keystone XL pipeline would have reduced America’s dependence on oil dictatorships and created an estimated 20,000 jobs; however, Democrat Rep. Jan Schakowsky dismisses that with the comment,

Twenty thousand jobs is really not that many jobs and investing in green technologies will produce that and more.

Buffett is directly profiting from Obama energy policies while feeding into the Obama propaganda machine.

That, my friends, is the real story.

UPDATE, Monday 30 January,
Warren Buffett: Stop talking about the woman I keep dragging into the spotlight, via Instapundit.


The NFL and prosperous cities

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

How Sunday’s NFL Cities Became Champs
Favorable property taxes were game changers for New York, San Francisco and Boston. Baltimore needs a Hail Mary.

All these cities had long pursued progressive political agendas with pride. But the problem with redistributive policies at the local level is that the donor classes might move out as fast as beneficiary classes move in—or, as the population figures cited earlier show, even faster. Robin Hood may seem a heroic figure, but once his rich victims flee Nottingham, even that city’s poor might question his effectiveness.

San Francisco and Boston were rescued from their folly by statewide tax revolts. California’s Prop 13, passed in 1978, capped property taxes in that state at 1%—which slashed San Francisco’s rate by almost two-thirds. Massachusetts followed suit in 1980 with Prop 2½, which mandated that municipalities could not increase their total property tax receipts by more than 2.5% annually. New York City taxpayers did not revolt, but state legislators rationalized the Big Apple’s chaotic property tax system in 1981; it now enjoys property tax rates that average about one-third of those in its surrounding suburbs (though its other taxes are certainly punishing).

While no single factor explains any city’s destiny, it is not a mere coincidence that Boston, New York and San Francisco reversed their declines at the exact moment they became favorable environments for private investment in residential and business capital.

It has to do with the fact that

Every time a city raises the tax rate on residential and business property, its owners suffer a capital loss (which economists refer to as “tax capitalization”). In effect, tax hikes are incremental expropriations; owners flee not just because of short-term wealth losses but in fear of future damage to their property rights. Tax caps not only improve the immediate cash flow on investments in real property but—perhaps more important—secure it against further expropriations.

Go read the rest.
Here’s the video,


About that payroll tax fiasco,

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

The Wall Street Journal has the editorial, The GOP’s Payroll Tax Fiasco
How did Republicans manage to lose the tax issue to Obama?

The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass. This is no easy double play.

Michael Ramirez has the cartoon, (h/t Clifton)


Taxed in New Jersey

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Second-highest tax burden in the country:

5 Highest State Tax Burdens
1. Connecticut
Income tax: 5%
Sales tax: 6.35%
Property tax per capita: $2,381
Inheritance tax: 7.2% to 16% with $2 million exemption
High taxes in Connecticut are paired with the nation’s highest income per capita–$56,001 per person in 2010, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. A sales tax increase took effect in July, raising the rate, from 6 percent to 6.35 percent, and adding a further 3 percentage-point levy on luxury goods such as expensive cars and boats. The state collects the third-highest property taxes per capita and is one of 14 states to tax Social Security income, according to CCH.
2. New Jersey
Income tax: 6.37%
Sales tax: 7%
Property tax per capita: $2,625
Inheritance tax: See note*
Regularly listed as a state with one of the highest tax burdens, New Jersey is cited by the Tax Foundation as having the country’s highest property tax per capita. All Social Security benefits in New Jersey are excluded from gross income.
* Transfer to a spouse, lineal descendant, or charitable organization is tax-free; transfer to children-in-law is taxed at 11 percent to 16 percent; all other transfers are taxed at 15 percent to 16 percent.

Buy New Jersey magazine, and you’ll find dozens of ads for housing and retirement communities in Pennsylvania.

(h’t Instapundit)


Michelle Fields and the Patriotic Millionaires

Friday, November 18th, 2011


Costa Risa: A tax increase Costa Ricans are not happy about

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Tax ‘Experts’ Target Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s official tax stats are deceptive. In 2008 the central government’s revenues equaled only 15.9% of gross domestic product. But as Cato Institute scholar Juan Carlos Hidalgo pointed out in a January op-ed in the Costa Rican daily La Nación, that number doesn’t include local taxes or taxes paid to government entities like the Institute for Tourism and the Institute for Agrarian Development. Nor does it include social security taxes, which rich countries include when they discuss their tax-to-GDP ratios.

Tally up the total take and, according to Mr. Hidalgo, the burden for Costa Ricans in 2008 was 23.1% of GDP. In recessionary 2009 it fell to 21.7%. Compare that to the U.S. overall tax burden of 26.1% in 2008 and 24% in 2009 (the latest year for which Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development figures are available), and it is clear that Costa Ricans are not undertaxed.

Nevertheless, the country’s fiscal deficit as a percentage of GDP rose to 3.5% of GDP in 2009 from only 0.2% in 2008. In 2010, according to the United Nation’s Economic Commission on Latin America, Costa Rica’s fiscal deficit was 5.2%, the highest in Latin America. The government forecasts a deficit of 5.5% in 2012.

The problem is government spending. While revenues as a percentage of GDP are forecast to be 7.5% lower this year than they were in 2008, expenditures as a percentage of GDP are expected to come in 29.4% higher. Most of that money is going into an expanded bureaucracy, which grew by 20% during the previous PLN government of Oscar Arias. Mr. Arias was also generous with salary increases. Tocqueville predicted it.

Now Ms. Chinchilla’s “reform” proposes, among other things, a 14% value-added tax on all goods and services to replace a 13% sales tax on goods only and tax hikes on small and medium-sized businesses. Far from simply raising taxes on the rich, as the politicians want people to believe, this proposal will hit ordinary Costa Ricans hard.

Check out the Costa Risa website (in Spanish). Tax increases are for the clowns.