Political campaign years are filled with candidates’ promises to solve people’s problems. Government policies will “create jobs,” will reduce or even block the “unfair” competition of market rivals in foreign lands, will restore or create prosperity for all, and will assure “fairness” for everyone, even if it means imposing regulatory or special tax burdens on some to guarantee politically provided privileges and benefits for others who are deemed “deserving.”
Liberals love to extol their deep compassion for the poor, whom conservatives allegedly don’t give a fig about. Thus our Community-Organizer-in-Chief pontificates endlessly about income inequality, to justify his determination to “fundamentally transform” our nation, so that “everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”
In fall 2014, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) refused to allow a vote on the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), a bill effectively forcing online businesses to collect and remit sales taxes to cities, counties, and states in which they are not located.
The subject of tax inversion, in which American firms avail of lower tax rates in foreign countries by merging companies in those countries, has become very topical in the last couple weeks thanks to a decision by Abbvie, a drug company, to merger with Shire, an Ireland-based firm and move its headquarters overseas. One of at least 47 tax inversions in the last decade, the Abbvie-Shire deal is the largest such action yet, worth $54 billion. Perhaps unsurprisingly, President Obama and Democrats in Congress have become apoplectic with rage at the audacity of a business making a prudent decision to escape bloodsucking taxes.
Regulations have a way of growing like weeds: unless they are rooted out, they spread. Regulatory compliance has always been a headache for small business owners who do not enjoy the cozy relationships with big government that large corporations often develop. In fact, they are frequently ignored by legislators both in Washington and in the states. John Lieber, chief economist of Thumbtack, recently joined Heartland’s own Steve Stanek for a talk on the business climate in America today. Thumbtack is an online marketplace that brings together service providers and consumers who can negotiate and organize jobs.
The benefits of government-funded university research are not shared widely enough in society, with universities retaining full ownership, for the most part, of their academic work. This means they get to profit from the government-funded research, and rarely have to share it with the taxpayers. By mandating that the research it spends so much taxpayer money on enter the public sphere, the government can more effectively spread the benefits of its own largesse and do its duty to all its citizens to provide them with the full benefit of what it produces with their tax money.
President Obama seems committed to forcing the minimum wage up through federal intervention. If he succeeds, it will only damage the economy further, resulting in higher unemployment and less growth. Here are four reasons a minimum wage is a bad idea.
The net neutrality movement is positioning to influence the FCC, Congress, and candidates in the mid-term election cycle, to support their version of net neutrality — i.e. FCC reclassification of broadband Internet service as a telephone common carrier service.
Few French economists have achieved the kind of adulation Thomas Piketty has experienced recently from the media and the left. Within the context of the American political scene, Piketty’s dour predictions for the future of capitalism and his call for a “utopian” global wealth tax fit perfectly with the left’s frame of an inequality message.
Coming thirteen days after state and federal income tax returns were initially due, Tax Freedom Day, according to the Illinois Policy Institute’s Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst Benjamin VanMetre, marks the point in the year when Illinoisans have worked long and hard enough in the aggregate to cover their share of state, federal and local taxes “and can start keeping their hard-earned money.” About a third of Illinois residents’ efforts this year – 118 days’ worth out of the calendar year’s 365, in other words – went just to paying taxes.
For the past several years, the policies that favor certain minority groups at the level of college admissions and public employment, commonly called affirmative action, have been on the back foot. Laws and constitutional amendments in various states, most notably in the liberal stronghold California in 1996, have restricted or banned outright the practice of discrimination on the basis of race, whether favoring the majority ethnic group or a minority. These movements ought to be welcomed by supporters of liberty. Our nation is founded on the principle of equality before the law. It seems inherently unjust to favor one group over another because of the color of their skin or ethnic history. It is doubly unjust that the organization engaging in such practices be the government to which we all pay taxes and from which we are meant to expect equal treatment and consideration.
President Obama and many of his fellow Democrat politicians think they have identified a terrible injustice in the “gender pay gap.” But with almost no effort, anyone who can access the Internet can go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website and find information showing a far greater injustice: the pay gap between young people and older workers.
The Federal Communications Commission has been much in the news recently — and deservedly so — owing to its ill-conceived “Critical Information Needs” study. Thankfully, after a public outcry, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently canceled this study.
As the newly reconstituted Commission moves forward to tackle thorny issues, such as the IP transition and the incentive auction, the agency will be confronted with incessant pleas from various parties seeking “fairness” and a “level playing field” in the name of promoting competition.
“Mike,” who declined to give his last name, responded to my recent blog post, “Of Toilet Bowls and Fiscal Cliffs: A Simple Solution,” in which I proposed as a political[…]