Last week Kyle James, son of Kansas City’s mayor, Sly James, was the topic of local talk radio hosts after his latest run-in with the police. His car was towed from in front of the family home and impounded after he failed to pay for taxes and registration. After some phone calls and a seven hundred dollar payment to the tax collector, the vehicle was returned, although a two hundred dollar fee was waived.
Despite claims from the mayor’s spokesman to the contrary, many suspect there was preferential treatment shown to the younger James. It seems others have not had such luck getting around impounding fees and feel like the mayor’s son shouldn’t enjoy such a privilege.
But in defense of the guy, no one should have to pay the cops two hundred bucks for the inconvenience of retrieving his vehicle after they stole it. Property taxes are evil enough, but paying thieves to get your stuff back is just piling on.
In all the commentary regarding this story no one suggested that we all ought to be free from such gangsterism. Instead, there was a lot of whining about how James should have to pay up. Of course it’s unethical for the political class and their family to take advantage of their station, but why should we expect any different? So yes, special privileges should be done away with, but not in the way so many are calling for. This case demonstrates why it’s critical to strike the root, rather than try and reform this rotten system.
“…they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.”
This was Alexis de Tocqueville’s impression of Americans when he visited in the nineteenth century. Not much has changed, as the “Market Place Fairness Act” makes it way through congress.
No doubt, brick-and-mortar businesses can’t wait for something like this, which will surely deter Internet commerce by imposing new taxes on online retailers. That one group is bilked by the state, so the only way to ensure fairness is to expropriate from another group, turns fairness on its head.
No business should be forced to collect taxes for the state, it’s a horribly regressive form of taxation in the first place, Second, it means the business necessarily becomes an agent of the government, an altogether perverse situation.
This twisted idea that the government is doing this in order to achieve fairness — and not put its hands on billions of dollars in tax receipts — seems quite transparent. But maybe I’m just too cynical.
Today is Tax Freedom Day. In a sense, everything else that is produced from here until the end of the year, is ours.
…is all of it.
1) The GOP is just as guilty of allowing taxes to increase. They set the sunshine on the Bush tax cuts and plenty of them voted to raise taxes in January.
2) “America” didn’t take anything back yesterday. The sequester is a creature of both parties (plenty from each party voted for it) and it’s not as if spending is decreasing; it’s still going up.
Recently the Food Network aired an episode of Chopped, a competitive cooking show, in which the contestants were professionals who worked for non-profit food banks and charities. The host and the judges each made a point to thank the chefs for serving their fellow man and commended them essentially, for ”giving back to their communities.” The assumption being that for-profit organizations don’t serve others or are somehow less praiseworthy.
The truth is that both kinds of organizations provide valuable services. For-profit firms, along with offering value to willing customers, take their profit and reinvest it, thereby increasing the capital stock and with it, future productivity. Living standards can rise only when production increases, and profit makes this possible.
It seems that Rush Limbaugh has been criticizing non-profits, and those who go to work for them. This is in part because of the misconception that those organizations are more “socially responsible” or some other such cliché. But Limbaugh’s ire is also largely due to the tax exemption that they receive, as if the problem is that there are just too few companies being forced to hand over money to the government.
During one of his recent shows, Limbaugh said this about non-profits:
[T]he people that run nonprofits earn lots of money. They have nice new buildings. They have cars. They have expense allowances. […] You know what, nonprofits don’t pay taxes. The Harvard Endowment is a nonprofit. They claim to be. The Harvard Endowment makes about $10 billion in profit every year. They don’t pay a penny in taxes.
The irony of a guy spewing pro-tax rhetoric against “the rich,” who stereotypically rails against liberals wanting to impose punitive taxes on the wealthy, is rich indeed.