Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Curmudgeon’s ten minute fix to all the fiscal problems of the national government, the unjust tax system, and the economy, too….

OK, before I begin, suspend disbelief.

Let’s make some assumptions…assumptions that you and certainly I don’t take for granted.

  • First, let’s assume that this is an active blog that some people still have on their readers. Let’s then assume for a minute that this is an appropriate place to rant about straight-up Washington politics.

  • Let’s assume that the national government is at least legitimate in principle, or could be legitimate if it stuck to the powers and limitations in the written Constitution.

  • To get even more theoretical, let’s assume that there was a group of individuals who had the intelligence, moral integrity and will to truly reform things for the common good.

  • Let’s assume those people got past the gatekeepers and rose to power.

  • Finally (since we’re already in the province of the absurd) let’s assume that I, the Kansas City Curmudgeon, was the leader of this little cabal of right thinking men.

The Curmudgeon Cabal doesn’t have silver bullet to immediately kill the serious moral and cultural monsters that haunt our society. Admittedly, those moral and cultural problems are far more important than taxes, spending and the economy. There just isn’t a quick fix--except perhaps outlawing television, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. What’s been destroyed since the 1920s (or since the French Revolution, or the days of William of Occam) will need to be rebuilt over generations, not months or years.

But there IS a quick fix to the temporal, material problem, and the fix might actually be a first step (or a second step, after fervent prayer and mortification) in addressing the moral/cultural problems. The quick fix is what I’ll call the Curmudgeon Reform Act of 2011. There are 5 elements—so far:

  1. Replace the Social Security scheme with a real savings and disability plan.

  2. Institute a low, simplified tax on ordinary income and long-term capital gains.

  3. Retain or increase taxes on short term speculation.

  4. Restore revenue generating tariffs on imports and adjust excise taxes to cover certain public goods

  5. Institute a new Culture, Welfare and Education tax (“CWE”) that will never be collected.

Here are the details:

1. Replace the Social Security scheme with a real savings and disability plan. Eliminate payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare). Instead, require, for the first ___ years after the elimination, that every wage earner put 10% of his income in a privately managed, competitive but somewhat regulated welfare plan that provides disability and retirement income. Create a self-funded pension insurance program among the welfare plan providers to ensure at least a subsistence pension. Allow voluntary participation in Social Security and Medicare for people over 45 or so. Continue the employer-side taxes for a short while to help fund the folks currently on, or about to go on, the old system. Eventually, as the people’s savings ethic is restored and our charitable infrastructure is rebuilt, we can eliminate the mandatory savings plan. Or maybe we can’t.

2. Institute a low, simplified tax on ordinary income and long-term capital gains. Reduce taxes on ordinary income and long-term capital gains to a flat 5% or so on all income above the poverty level for each family. No deductions. Simplify the business tax rules so it’s easy to get to a net taxable income, and eliminate things like tax credits, accelerated depreciation, and the like. Tax every individual person and every limited liability entity (corporations, LLCs, LPs and LLPs) that function as a separate legal person. (Yes, this is double taxation, but at 5% / 10%, it’s a reasonable price to pay for the privilege of doing business in a non-recourse entity).

3. Retain or increase high taxes on short term speculation. Keep taxes on short term capital gains at a high level. Let's say 25%. Disallow the write-offs of short term capital losses. Yes, this would be said to “punish” short term investors. Why? Because they’re not really investors; they’re traders. We’ve gone from a society of investors to a society of speculators. Some speculation is necessary to ensure liquidity in our markets and to reward, in some degree, risk taking (that is, taking risks with ones’ own resources). However, high taxes on speculators will hopefully realign our capital markets.

4. Restore revenue generating tariffs on imports and adjust excise taxes to cover certain public goods. Institute modest tariffs on all imported goods. Not 40% or 50%. More like 5% or 10%. The tarriff should be a revenue mechanism, not a protectionist one. We won’t need protectionism if the Curmudgeon reforms are in place. Once again, it will pay to actually make things in the USA. Also, adjust excise taxes on things like motor fuel, as well as fees, to fully recover the cost of providing public goods like highways, so the taxes and the cost of those public goods are balanced and self-supporting.

5. Institute a new Culture, Welfare and Education tax (“CWE”) that will never be collected. Here’s the capstone of the plan: In lieu of all federal welfare, cultural and education programs, the Curmudgeon Cabal will institute a 10% tax on all income above the poverty level for the support of culture, welfare and education (sounds suspiciously like a tithe, doesn’t it?). The beauty of the CWE tax is that if it works, it will never be collected. We will allow a 100% tax credit (not a deduction…a dollar-for-dollar credit) for donations made to qualified charitable organizations. You know….organizations which are now referred to as 501(c)(3)’s. Although we hate bureaucracy and regulation, we acknowledge that we’ll need a few rules about this. Organizations will be subject to some minor regulation, somewhat as they are now, in order to assure legitimacy. They’ll also be classified: the big categories will be (a) physical welfare/poverty, (b) religion, (c) the arts, (d) the environment, and (e) education. Moneys flowing to these organizations will rebuild the societal infrastructure that was in place before the New Deal and the Great Society. The beauty is that the taxpayer--not the government--will decide how to allocate those donations between categories and which organizations within the categories to support. The only substantial restriction on the taxpayer is that no more than half of that 10% tax can go to any one category. Overtime, churches can restore hospitals, private education, and the like. Communities can support the arts (hopefully a restoration of true art, and nothing involving the use of feces). The cost of higher education can come down for those who should pursue it. Private conservation groups can buy and preserve habitats. Yada Yada.

In Conclusion

Now, I didn’t say The Curmudgeon Reform Plan wasn’t crazy. It is.

I didn’t say it would cure instantly the cultural malaise. It won’t.

I didn’t say it would bring about the Catholic confessional state. It can’t.

The plan (and the radical cuts in the federal and state government that go along with it) it be vigorously opposed by the greater DC real estate industry--not just the machine of government itself. The housing and office markets in DC, Montgomery County, Maryland and Fairfax County, Virginia will be devastated as out-of-work bureaucrats leave to find private sector jobs in the Heartland. But heck, maybe it will help the real estate market in Detroit?

All and all, the Curmudgeon Reform Plan can’t be worse that what we’re doing now. And, since this is a sorta, kinda Catholic blog (or at least a blog by a Catholic), I point out that it will be good for Holy Mother Church. I eagerly await the USCCB endorsement.

OK, I’ve already thought of one necessary change. Five percent on ordinary income may be a pretty high rate, considering that President Curmudgeon will be eliminating the federal welfare system, reducing the military to its proper role national defense (instead of imperial domination), ending foreign aid, reinstituting modest revenue-producing tarriffs, and otherwise moving to a consumption-based tax system for roads, etc. Let’s make it 3%.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Another subtler sign ....

That, however S L O W L Y it is happening, the human element in the Church is regaining its sense of taste and proportion, and with that, perhaps its focus on "the True, the Good, and the Beautiful." You know, it's focus on God.

Vatican Slams New Pope Sculpture

Compare that to what's going on in the elsewhere....I saw something where they redid the head on a classic statue of Pope St. Pius X so that it had Bl. JPII's head. Can't find it to link right now, but you can search if you haven't seen it already.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

C'mon Everybody

Gimme a little kumbaya?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Hey Stan Hazlett!

It's been a couple of months since you put a break in your show-trial disciplinary hearing for Phill Kline, but I'm still wondering....

Are you actually on Planned Parenthood's payroll, or are you just a volunteer?

See the complete list of LSN stories by Peter Smith on the Kline trial:

* 107-count criminal case begins against Planned Parenthood in Kansas* Phill Kline ethics trial: Day 1 – Live update* Kansas abortionists failed to report 166 potential cases of child rape: Phill Kline trial day 2* Phill Kline attorney makes witness sweat in Planned Parenthood ethics complaint case* DA’s diary snatching brings new twist to Phill Kline ethics trial, potential crime* Kansas Travesty: 249 child-age abortions over 3 years, just four sex abuse reports: Kline Hearings* Kansas judge testifies ‘probable cause’ existed to investigate criminal PP activity: Kline Hearings* Kline did not violate judge’s order in secret Planned Parenthood case: judge’s legal counsel* Planned Parenthood gambit: beat Phill Kline charges, defeat Live Action?* Former Tiller attorney combed CD of sensitive records from Kline investigation * The Phill Kline saga: Planned Parenthood protected, children forgotten, the prosecutor prosecuted* Day 6 trial: Kline protected sexual assault victim privacy, Tiller compromised patient privacy* Video: Kline says ‘those in power’ blocked Planned Parenthood, Tiller investigation* Witness: Phill Kline didn’t need/want adult patient names* Prosecutor tells investigator: we don’t have to accept report clearing Phill Kline* UPDATE: Kline tells ethics panel, ‘You are violating my due process rights!’ * ‘It is wrong!’: Phill Kline blocked from presenting full defense, calling all witnesses * Phill Kline: Kansas Supreme Court ‘obstructed’ child rape investigation to save Planned Parenthood* Phill Kline ethics trial adjourns for now: battle has cost him $200,000 says Kline

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Obama bin Laden's "death"

Ok, the real important question here is, now that we've invaded yet ANOTHER country and headshot an unarmed bin Laden, and he's supposedly dead (again), and yee-haw, we won the war on "terrorism" (whatever the hell that is), CAN WE SEND THOSE MOUTHBREATHING, KNUCKLEDRAGGING TSA PERVERT STOOGES BACK TO THEIR OLD JOBS AT BURGER KING?
Gosh, what a wonderful country this would be if you could walk onto a plane again in the "land of the free" (insert guffaw here) without being accosted, stripped, sexually assaulted, and irradiated by those bastards.

Man, Hitler, or Stalin, or Mao or Pol Pot would have wet their pants with glee if they'd have been able to be as intrusive into the lives of their ordinary subjects as our government has managed to be.

Do me a favor, and when you fly next time, and some TSA goon expects you to answer politely when he demands you speak to him, ask him point blank when he's going back into the fast food industry.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Yeah, unchanging Truth .... except ....

.... for this German guy named Martin (maybe you've heard of him?) a few hundred years ago who decided to drop a few books from the scriptural canon, to finesse a few minor passages here and there, and ... oh yeah ... decided that only two of the seven Sacraments are really of divine origin!

OK. folks at Risen Savior Lutheran Church, Basehor, Kansas, I know you're Missouri Synod (which means that you're likely actual Christians, like some of your friends in the ELCA who've entered the New Age). Quit kidding yourselves. There's one true Church, and it didn't start in Wittenburg.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oops, look what slipped through the pro-abort filters at the Associated Press AND Microsoft

Here's an interesting article (at least it was interesting as originally published at 10:02 am Central time today). It was actually written in a truthful, matter of fact style. To think that it got through the mainstream media filter at Associated Press, and that it was posted on the Yahoo! news site!

Obviously, it states the case against the butcher too plainly to last before it's totally rewritten or removed altogether from the wires, so I've printed it off and linking it. I may post it later if it changes or disappears:

Pennsylvania Abortion Doc Charged with 10 Counts of Murder.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

In praise of illiteracy....

As I was desperately looking for comfort, rationalizaton and self-justification for myself and Mrs. Curmudgeon, what with the fact that more than half of the little Curmudgeons are illiterate, I stumbled upon a passage from an "old friend" from graduate school, Richard M Weaver:

What the defenders of present civilization usually mean when they say that modern man is better educated than his forebears is that he is literate in larger numbers. The literacy can be demonstrated; yet one may question whether there has ever been a more deceptive panacea, and we are compelled, after a hundred years of experience, to echo Nietzsche’s bitter observation: “Everyone being allowed to learn to read, ruineth in the long run not only writing but also thinking.” It is not what people can read; it is what they do read, and what they can be made, by any imaginable means, to learn from what they read, that determines the issue of this noble experiment. We have given them a technique of acquisition; how much comfort can we take in the way they employ it? In a society where expression is free and popularity is rewarded they read mostly that which debauches them and they are continuously exposed to manipulation by controllers of the printing machine…. It may be doubted whether one person in three draws what may be correctly termed knowledge from his freely chosen reading matter. The staggering number of facts to which he today has access serves only to draw him away from consideration of first principles, so that his orientation becomes peripheral. And looming above all as a reminder of this fatuity is the tragedy of modern Germany, the one totally literate nation.

--from Ideas Have Consequences (1948), pp. 13-14.

Take THAT, Barbara Bush!