Sunday, July 31, 2011

Taxes: A Quote from the Blog Politicalprof

As it happens, I think Americans think about taxes upside down. We think about them in terms of what “the government” takes, not in terms of what we get in return. We would do better to have an honest national conversation about the things we want—how big a military? how big a social safety net? how “free” a public school system? etc.—and then think about the kinds of taxes we wish to pay to fund that system. If we refuse to fund the system we want, then we cut it. If we have to raise taxes to fund the system we want, we raise them.
This won’t happen, of course. Many recipients of government services—schools, water, Medicare, home mortgage deductions, a functioning legal system, and the like—don’t see themselves as beneficiaries of government programs. The talking and screaming heads that shape political discourse today make too much hay by being extremists; actual thought gets drowned out. And interest groups fight hard to create and protect exemptions in the tax code that favor their constituents—whether retired persons, corporations, or, like me, homeowners.
...Americans have become utterly convinced that they can have everything they want without sacrifice, while any sacrifices (whether in program cuts or higher taxes or both) ought to be borne by others.
 -Poiliticalprof (identified only as a professor of politics and government)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Resposible, Resourceful Poor

We tend to be patronizing about the poor in a very specific sense, which is that we tend to think, ‘Why don’t they take more responsibility for their lives?’ And what we are forgetting is that the richer you are the less responsibility you need to take for your own life because everything is taken care for you. And the poorer you are the more you have to be responsible for everything about your life….Stop berating people for not being responsible and start to think of ways instead of providing the poor with the luxury that we all have, which is that a lot of decisions are taken for us. If we do nothing, we are on the right track. For most of the poor, if they do nothing, they are on the wrong track.-Ester Duflo at the Center for Effective Philanthropy, quoted in A View from the Cave

Sunday, July 3, 2011

All of the Profits, None of the Responsibility!

"A corporation is a legal person created by state statute that can be used as a fall guy, a servant, a good friend or a decoy...A person you control... yet cannot be held accountable for its actions. Imagine the possibilities!"

This is not a criticism-- it is an advertising pitch for Wyoming Corporate Services. Reuters reports that the company "serves as a little Cayman Islands in the Great Plains.

"In the U.S., (business incorporation) is completely unregulated," says Jason Sharman, a professor at Griffith University in Nathan, Australia who is preparing a study for the World Bank on corporate formation worldwide. "Somalia has slightly higher standards than Wyoming and Nevada."
Eye opening reading.