Political quickie: Repeal the Death Tax

The U.S. House of Representatives voted last week to repeal the Federal Death Tax, legally called the Estate Tax. Even if repeal passes in the Republican-controlled Senate, the President will veto it. Nevertheless the left has put itself into a rage. Their arguments against repeal are:

  • Repeal would reward the wealthy and then only a very few
  • It would punish the poor
  • It would perpetuate a new aristocracy
  • It would cost the Treasure and contribute to the deficit
  • It would exacerbate income inequality

These are weak arguments. They reveal that liberals are envious and hateful, thus their tenacious support of this punitive, unusual, and very stiff tax. They are little concerned with fairness, equity, and the principle of even-handed justice when it comes to their enemies, the evil rich. To our mind, the fewer the people who must pay the estate tax, the more unfair it is. Even if it forces only a single family to sell a business or farm to raise the cash needed to pay the tax, it is discriminatory, punitive, and anti-American. The death of a family member is horrible; the insertion of the greedy hand of the tax man into this event is as unnecessary as it is unseemly.

A few more points. The estate tax is now at the confiscatory level of 40% with an exemption level of $5.43 million. Pace the left, it affects far more than the people who have to pay it, since the desire to avoid or minimize it costs many years of planning with expensive attorneys. How many people know when they are going to die and how much their business or farm will be valued at that time? These planning and other costs, which otherwise would have gone into growing a business, amount to a large percentage of the tax revenues gained. Thus this is an inefficient tax as well as an unfair one. While accumulating the estate paid tax upon tax; a new tax payable on death is unfair double taxation. The motivation for passing wealth on to children is a family value, as well as a great motivation for economic growth – resulting in increased tax revenues. This tax is anti-family. Inherited wealth and life insurance payments are generally not considered income at the Federal level, with the exception of tax-deferred retirement accounts. But if death is not a taxable event for inheritance, why should it be a taxable event for estates? Sweden and Norway, those bastions of progressivism, recently repealed their estate taxes. By liberal logic, should we not follow suit?

The only real question remaining is not why should the estate tax be repealed, but why the Republican Senate will not also vote to repeal? Perhaps for the same reason that ten Republican Senators voted today to confirm Loretta Lynch for Attorney General despite her support of Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions.   Troglo

Troglo

A Century of Masked Robbery

Beauty-schools

For almost a hundred years private beauty schools have been masking their true motives. This masquerade is designed to enrich the owners of these schools by robbing citizens, especially those pursuing an occupation in barbering or cosmetology.

Beauty schools don’t commit robbery by burglarizing homes or by sticking a sawed-off shotgun in the face of their victims, but by what is better described as “strong-armed” robbery – using the strong arm of the law.

How do beauty schools use the law to enrich themselves? Specifically, they use cosmetology licensure laws that they have promoted, which require the purchase of costly courses that can legally be offered only by licensed beauty schools. These courses are required by state statutes, enacted at the behest of these beauty schools, before prospective cosmetologists, barbers, manicurists & estheticians may pursue gainful employment.

The title of a post by Matthew Yglesias in Slate Magazine pretty much says it all: “Beauty Schools Are Ripping off Their Students. Terrible Licensing Rules Deserve Some of the Blame”.

Have I unmasked the motives of beauty schools yet?

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AP bias uptick: it must be election season

Regular readers know our thoughts about the left-wing bias of the Associated Press (AP.) Now that the warm-up to the 2016 elections is upon us, we are starting to see an increasing number of blatantly biased AP articles. Most of these articles are unsigned, perhaps for obvious reasons. As one example we read today the astonishing news regarding same-sex couples that we live “in a nation that recognizes their marriages.” One would think that the writer would try to present this fatuous assertion a bit more artfully.

Our main point in this post is the reporting of the debate about funding welfare for the next fiscal year in the Missouri State legislature. This story will be typical of the AP’s coverage of the upcoming elections, as it seeks to portray Republicans in a negative light. We read the following about the Republican war on the poor and downtrodden:

  • Cutting social services priority for GOP lawmakers
  • Republican lawmakers are using their large majorities this session to try to limit the social safety net on a number of fronts
  • Republicans looking to trim the state’s social safety net
  • Lead budget writer Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, is pushing for funding cuts to the state’s social services, health and mental health departments next fiscal year

None of this is of course true. Weasely reporters have a long history of portraying actual increases as funding cuts. They do this by implicitly comparing the actual funding not against the previous year’s funding, but against requested funding or projections. The AP can only get away with this whopper by not reporting the context. Since Senator Schaefer is a candidate for Attorney General in the upcoming election, he has an AP target on his back. Below are the details the AP omitted to report, based on what Senator Schaefer has said himself here.

Welfare spending has been increasing at an unsustainable rate, threatening to gobble up every new dollar in revenue the state receives as the economy improves. Something needs to be done. The safety net cannot become a hammock.The legislature has had a difficult relationship with the Governor and the department heads, who will not cooperate and help the legislature fund the most pressing needs first. Social Services requested an additional $1 billion over what had been spent the previous year. Senator Schaefer’s proposal would give Social Services an $800 million increase over the previous year’s expenditures. An $800 million increase cannot honestly be characterized as a cut. Senator Schaefer proposes to give the department heads their entire budget allocation in a lump sum, the equivalent of block grants, and thus the responsibility for prioritizing what is needed where. This strikes us as a sensible policy until we get a new Governor, at which time accurate measures of the effectiveness of the expenditures should be put into place.   Troglo

Troglo

Linguistic fascism: the pronoun ‘he’

George Orwell’s ‘Politics and the English Language” is probably the best known of many essays and books showing how language is manipulated for political purposes. One might be tempted to think that the terms we use are of little importance, just a question of semantics. But the forces for political change know that they cannot rely just on politics. They need to attack the social norms and institutions that bind our society and culture together, for it is they that impede radical political change. Our culture reflects our concepts and our concepts reflect our language. Subversion of language is thus an easy way to begin the process of deforming our culture in preparation for political change. Since the family is the most important glue holding together our culture, the linguistic fascists attack it, starting with our notions of what is feminine and what masculine. For example, the traditional use of the pronoun ‘he’ to refer to a person of unknown sex was the first to go, supplanted by the ugly ‘he or she’ and more recently the uglier ‘they’ to refer to a singular antecedent. The use of ‘he’ in this context was considered a ‘sexist’ and offensive relic of ‘patriarchy.’ Or consider the sudden and imperceptible slide away from the term ‘homosexual’ to the term ‘gay,’ which projects a more positive image.

This weekend’s Wall Street Journal ran an article by Ben Zimmer, Can We Take ‘They’ as a Singular Pronoun? Mr. Zimmer, seeming to answer in the affirmative, ventures to say this:

Lately, transgender issues have been driving the call for a more inclusive pronoun. The singular ‘they’ avoids having to assign a static role to someone transitioning from one gender to another. And many who identify as transgender or ‘gender-fluid’ would prefer the use of the pronoun ‘they’ rather than ‘he’ or ‘she.’

The willful confusion between sex (biological) and gender (grammatical) has been a potent progressive tool. It is not a secret that marriage is between a man and a woman and there are manly and feminine roles. Is to say this bigotry? Consider the present social disintegration. Much of it is fueled by the number of never married single mothers, whose sons have no father figure and statistically can look forward a life of poverty and probability of incarceration, generating the next generation of fatherless children. If for fear of giving ‘offense’ our families and schools do not teach the values followed by real men with respect to women, along with citizenship and patriotism, this depressing cycle will repeat itself, worsening with each new generation. Our society’s values are too important to be scuttled by rampant individualism and its antinomian celebration of made-up virtues. Proscribing sex-based pronouns is an important step in the radical agenda. Let’s refuse to be cowed; our singular personal pronoun of choice should be ’he,’ not ‘they.’ And let’s reclaim the term ‘gay’ by not confusing it with ‘homosexual.’  Troglo

Troglo