You Earn It; They Tax and Waste it

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Based on the myriad of reports over the years, the Federal government is wasteful, inefficient and lacks the incentives to act differently.  The news reports of waste, overpayment and abuse are so common and often run in the billions of dollars.  For example, one report looked at about 100 examples of government projects that produced […]

Trawling for Dollars: The Profitable DOJ

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Our federal Department of Justice (DOJ) excels at seizing the cash.  In the past two years, often acting as another Department’s attorney, DOJ has prosecuted violators shaking at least $45 billion in fines and penalties out of companies – notably, JP Morgan ($13B), Bank of America ($9.5B), Anadarko ($5.2B), HSBC ($1.9B), Deutsche Bank ($1.9B), SAC […]

Taxing the Internet is a Bad Idea

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For over 15 years, American’s have enjoyed untaxed access to the Internet, thanks in part to the Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998, which provided that no entry point to the Internet could be taxed. Congress at that time understood the importance of keeping the barriers to entry as low as possible, giving as many […]

The Taxing Problem of Internet-Based Sales

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A sales tax imposed on Internet purchases has had many proponents, since the inception of the Internet, wanting to force online retailers to collect sales taxes on items purchased by consumers via their website. Last year, the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would require retailers to collect sales taxes based on where the […]

The Hill’s Congressional Blog: The Taxing Problem of Digital Goods

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Currently, states can tax downloaded products – such as software, music and movies – in a variety of ways, and there are no rules in place for determining what the tax jurisdiction should be for these “digital” goods and services.  As a result, it is possible that a consumer who downloads a ringtone could be […]

The Sue and Settle Cabal

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When the voters elect representatives, they expect the legislature to act on their behalf, and the public and legislature expects government agencies to act in accordance with laws the legislature adopted.  Issues that the public and legislators regard as ripe for action go through public hearings and drafting of bills for negotiation, refinement and ultimately […]

Pension Time Bombs

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Detroit’s bankruptcy is an implosion of overpromises, underfunding, national recession and local depression.  Detroit’s residents and creditors are feeling real pain from their bankruptcy.  It’s an unusual case because pension obligations are being forcibly reduced, sending waves of alarm to unionized workers across the US. For decades, local politicians agreed to wage and benefit deals […]

Government Shutdown Déjà vu

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Most consumers would welcome some events again; the birth or college graduation of a child, paying off our mortgage, or man on the moon.   But government shutdown and debt ceiling “chicken” are not on the welcome list.  In October this year, politicians grossly overestimated their constituents’ support for a budget grudge match.  Those hostilities may […]