Thursday, April 30, 2009

THREE QUICK THOUGHTS ON RAISING MONEY FOR THE USA

1. Like many others, I'm for legalizing marijuana and taxing it, and making the legal age to obtain it twenty-one, or maybe a doctor's prescription, but legalizing it, thereby eliminating the criminal control of it and making it a legitimate business that would have to pay legitimate taxes, just like the alcohol and tobacco businesses (and it could be required to carry the same kinds of warnings etc.).

2. Religious organizations shouldn't be exempt from taxes, but in fact should be required to pay taxes on all property and profits. Why should we be outraged at the CEOs of banks and car companies riding in private jets and paying for million dollar bathrooms etc. that are at least taxed while CEOs of various religions and religious organizations fly around in their tax free private jets and build their multimillion dollar mansions etc. (I know there are many churches that do not make a profit or devote their profits entirely to provable charitable works etc. but the former wouldn't have to pay any taxes while the latter could make use of all the charity write offs that already exist etc.)

3. I think we should make it the law that if any individual is found to have avoided paying their fair share of taxes through offshore banking, they should lose their citizenship, and same for corporations that put their headquarters offshore to avoid paying taxes here, they should be banned from doing business in the USA. Maybe that would keep a lot of the wealthy and the corporate from using offshore banking and headquarters to avoid paying their fair share. (I know, the corporate part of this one would be difficult to enforce and some, rightwingers especially, will argue that it would lead to corporations leaving the USA altogether. But I doubt any corporation would want to be banned from this country and its consumers, even to save on taxes.)

9 comments:

JIm said...

I certainly agree with you on marijuana. My son Michael works with a firm that provides health care to inmates. He estimates that non violent inmates convicted of possession make up 30% of the population. Let us expand legalization to all drugs. Have the govt. regulate, tax and use the proceeds for rehab and as a bonus reduce our prison costs.

Church tax has merit but I think needs work.

The high US corporate tax rate is already driving US corporations off shore. Any increase will just turn the exodus into a stampede. I think it would be better to eliminate the income tax and run the govt. on a consumption tax with an exemption on the first $30,000 or so of income. That way no one can evade taxes

harryn said...

historically, it seems that anything illegal or tax exempt leads to big business, high profits, corruption, and unaccountability - including alot of so-called non profit organizations ...
guess you just have to be careful about what industry is created through monitoring ...
read a book a while back about the 'ethical imperatives' in society and how they lacked high-yield profit ...

Tore Claesson said...

spot on in my view. I grew up in Sweden, used to pay my fair share of taxes when I could afford to assuring me of certain things when or if I couldn't. That never hindered the Swedes to be creative. Nobel price anyone?
I lived in Holland where coffee shops could sell marijuana legally. Didn't numb the Dutch society at all if you ask me. They're pretty successful. And a richer, as well as a more balanced distributed wealth-wise society per capita than the US.
In my experience alcohol is a way more dangerous drug. And everybody knows that much. It's this double standard and idiocy that makes obvious things impossible. Politics and religion are two very destructive forces. If anything ought to be banned that is the intolerance that comes off the two.

Tore Claesson said...

@Jim,
It's not the taxes that drives US corporations overseas. The US has very friendly corporate taxes compared to most.
It's the cheap labour, and unfortunately for the US, good labour. Whether it was the garment industry. The Chines, Indian, Thai, whomever, didn't sew worse or slower than someone living in the US. However, their food was cheaper, their housing was cheaper, etc. etc. and so we couldn't compete if we wanted to make our rich people even richer.
Same goes for programmers etc. Especially the Indians, as you have learned already, are as good as anybody in the US or Europe. They are also easy to work withy as they speak English better than most of our population. And the Chinese for $2-$6 an hour, depending on complexity, and dead sharp technically, are no let off either. Straightforward business-wise as well if you know them.

JIm said...

The US 35% Corporate tax rate is the highest after the Japanese, in the world. The Japanese have been in a twenty year slump. JFK, Reagan and George W. proved that the best way to raise tax revenues is to cut the rates.

John M. Lally said...

If we were able to limit corporate waste and greed, it would save the government bundles. Our government is so dependent on outside contractors now, that the health of the government depends on how much we're paying out to the corporations.

JIm said...

jmlally,
What a novel idea, limit corporate waste and greed. If allowed to function, the market place is a great disciplinarian of corporate waste. As far as greed, the world functions because individuals, corporations, nations pursue their self interest. The Ancient Greeks bemoaned and warned of government waste, It has only gotten worse. With a tripling of the government debt in his first year, Obamanomics is sure to make history in the waste department
.

Curtis Faville said...

The problem about globalism is that economic pressures tend to be isostatic, whereas the world is still organized and structured as a collection of independent nations, each of which is responsible to its own citizens--their interests, their welfare.

We may be in a transitional period during which disequilibriums among economic spheres and populations is being ruthless exploited for capital gain. When globalism was first proposed as a descriptive term for trans-border capital activity, the conservatives promised health and wealth for everyone. Obviously, that's a lie. The freedom to move money around, invest it and sequester it anywhere, to avoid obligations and taxes; the freedom to exploit marginal populations and then sell commodities to the highest bidder, following markets--all this has been a complete disaster for the West. It isn't "healthy" to have corporations set up cheap factories in Third World countries, exploit those people (and their land), then ship the product back to America where it's sold for top dollar, then bank the profits offshore in tax haven shadow accounts.

Any nation which permits itself to be b*tt-f*cked this way is headed for disaster. Capital flows out, jobs are lost, tax revenue evaporates, and the capitalists who do it send their kids to school in Switzerland, and have three vacation homes in France, Hawaii and Vail, but on paper, they're almost insolvent! Wal-Mart is basically a Chinese corporation; on paper it's owned by share-holders, but it's run from Guangdong. Is this something America should tolerate? Can we afford to let our way of life deteriorate in service to a phony "free market" ideal that benefits a tiny minority of rich entrepreneurs?

JIm said...

Curtis,
I believe you are advocating ecomomic isolation and high tariffs. Hoover and FDR did that with less than satisfactory results. Clinton won approval for NAFTA (free trade agreement) which probably overcame the negative reaction to his tax increases.