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Another Day, Another DC Crony Lobbying for Continued Protectionism

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Just Another DC Day

It’s a day with a “Y” in it (check not your calendar – I’ve already checked mine). Which means in many places throughout $4-trillion-per-year Washington, D.C., there are recipients of massive cronyism – looking to keep their gravy trains a-rolling.

They’d ordinarily take for granted that the cronyism would continue – and be looking to accelerate their respective locomotives. But the election of President Donald Trump offers We the Victims the first glimmer of hope in decades that a diminishment of this business-as-usual – may finally be in the offing.

Most of the time, this rent-seeking is done in the privacy of Congressional offices and secluded corners of very expensive bars and restaurants. But sometimes, the behest-ing is brazen – and done in public.

Like, say, at Congressional hearings. As will happen today – when the House Ways and Means convenes to discuss direly needed tax reform.

Our tax code is a disaster. A nightmare mess of thicketed code complexity – and ridiculously high rates. And it is filled to the rafters with asinine anti-incentives to economic activity and productivity. More

Walmart Isn’t Conservative – Walmart is a Massive DC Self-Interested Special Interest

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Another Contributor to the America Last Approach

Walmart and the founding Walton family have long been seen as conservative stalwarts.  The Waltons have indeed contributed much money to conservative causes – much to the Left’s chagrin.

Walmart has long been a Leftist bogeyman – in large part because they remain rightly, reasonably opposed to the unionization of their stores.  Which drove the Left nuts.  And led to years of union-funded Leftist campaigns against the company.

To aid in their defense against this onslaught, the Waltons elicited conservative assistance.  Because conservatives bizarrely think people should be free to choose whether or not to join unions – and unions do not.

And it worked – Walmart remains a right-to-work entity.  God bless America.

But as time has marched on, it’s looking more and more like the Waltons cut these checks not in the interest of ideology – but in the interest of Walmart protectionism.  On a whole host of other issues, Walmart has been anything but conservative.

Which tells all of us what many of us have all along known – Walmart is just another massive, massively self-interested Washington, D.C. special interest.

Walmart has long been a lead outside champion of a ridiculous tax increase scheme ridiculously misnamed the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA).  Their brick-and-mortar stores have to collect sales and use taxes for the states and localities in which they are located.  Internet companies that sell in those states and localities but are not located there – do not. More

DC Economics ‘Experts’: Too Much ‘DC’ – Not Enough ‘Economics’

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

More Out of Balance than Ever

Steve Forbes, Larry Kudlow, Arthur B. Laffer and Stephen Moore are four big name Washington, D.C. free market economic “experts.”  They have for decades been ensconced inside the Beltway – doling out their brands of reform.

But as we have seen from nigh anyone who enters the belly of the DC Beast – people grow comfortable, and start to stray from the less government ideas that brought them there.

Rather than rock the boat – they’d prefer to remain comfortably aboard.

DC is now a $4-trillion-a-year luxury liner.  Retaining your all-access-passage – far too often trumps adhering to better policy.

Art Laffer was the first to deviate from the conservative norm.  He has for years been a leading champion of the Marketplace Fairness Act.  An absolutely awful federal law that would empower state governments to collect sales and use taxes – from companies not located in those states.

Get that?  This is the quintessential example of taxation without representation. More

The Border Adjustment Tax: If You’re Right – You Don’t Have to Lie

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Once Lost, Integrity is Difficult to Regain

I like Bill Buckley, Frederic Bastiat, Milton Friedman and a whole host of other conservative luminaries.  But I am a conservative first and foremost – because I loathe lies and liars.  And Leftism – is a giant lie.

All the lies told by all of Leftism’s practitioners – are told in service of hiding the fact that the Big Idea behind all of it is hopelessly failed and fraudulent.  What is particularly annoying for a conservative – is when other conservatives do their best Left impersonations, and lie to advance a bad idea.

I speak of the very good idea that is the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) – and the lies some conservatives are telling to try to stop it.

What is the BAT?: “Under (this) tax reform, this system would not tax the exports of American companies, but would tax the gross value of any imports into the country. The new rate of tax on corporations is expected to be 20 percent, so that would also be the de facto rate of tax on imports.

“U.S. companies would immediately be on equal footing with their international competitors, the great majority of whom benefit from territorial taxation and border adjustability today.  American firms would be further advantaged by tax reform’s low 20 percent tax rate on corporations (down from a global high 35 percent today), and full business expensing of asset purchases (replacing multi-year depreciation deductions).

“Instead of taxing exports and not imports, we’d be taxing imports and not exports. Instead of reading about corporate inversions and outsourcing, we’d be reading about jobs and firms moving into the U.S. to take advantage of the favorable tax rules here.” More

Phil Gramm is Woefully Wrong on the Border Adjustment Tax

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Still His Approach Today

I have long liked former Texas Congressman, Senator and presidential candidate Phil Gramm.  I in fact voted for him in the 1996 Republican presidential primary.  The one time I got to meet him – years thereafter, at a UBS event (with whom he’d landed a post-politics gig) – I told him I had cast a presidential ballot for him.  His response was a deadpan “That was you?”

Gramm received my 1996 vote – in part because of a move he made in 1983.  Then a conservative Democrat Congressman, Gramm had been just about excommunicated from the Donkey Party for working on budget issues with Republican President Ronald Reagan.  So he announced he would switch Parties – and that he would resign his seat to do it.  Having been elected as a Democrat, he felt it dishonest to make the change without again facing the voters.  His voters re-ensconced him in a special election.

Gramm called his move: “(T)he only honorable course.”  He described his situation thus: “My crime was that I dared to practice in Washington what I preached here at home….That I should be punished for representing the people who sent me to Washington is unfair.” More

Republican Business Tax Reform: Less Government in Businesses’ Wallets – and Yours

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Finally Headed in the Right Direction

Congress hasn’t done major tax reform since 1986.  We are WAY past due.  And it is WAY past necessary.

The current tax code is an economy-stifling combination of sky-high rates – and stupid mandates and stipulations.  Most of what our government has ensconced in tax law – works to drive businesses out of business and out of the country.  Taking with them the jobs and salaries they proffer.

Our elected officials say they want to foster a business-friendly environment – so as to make available the most opportunities to the most Americans.  Their tax code belies them.

We invite you into our house – and then our tax code simultaneously picks your pockets and beats you about the head and shoulders with a bat.  We should at least have the decency to not act surprised when you get up and leave.

We need to rewrite tax law – that has for decades incentivized a mass American business exodus. This America Last, “Made In America Tax” code – is terrible policy. More