Monday, May 28, 2012

The US Budget Explained

I ran into this over at Samizdata while on my Daily Blog Patrol this morning. I believe it is quite self-explanatory so I will make no further comment.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

"This Is Not How a Free Society Treats People"

There's a great guest post over at Zero Hedge by Simon Black . He is commenting on the proposal by Chuckie (don't get between me and that camera if you know what's good for you) Schumer to impose a punitive exit tax on Americans, natural born or naturalized, who renounce their citizenship. he was prompted to do this after hearing the news that Brazilian-born, naturalized US citizen and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin had opted to renounce his US citizenship and that doing so might save him $65 million in capital gains taxes when Facebook completes its IPO. From the post:

But no. Saverin left behind a lot of value and decided to move on to greener pastures in Singapore. Now the do-gooders in Congress are cooking up new legislation (the EX-PATRIOT Act) designed to permanently bar ‘renunciants’ like Saverin from re-entering the United States.
It’s interesting that, rather than change their ways of doing business and introducing legislation that provides incentives for productive people to come here and stay here, they maintain policies that chase people away, and introduce new ones to lock the door after they’re gone.
The lesson here (especially for natural-born citizens) is this: simply by accident of birth, you are born with a lifelong obligation that you never signed up for to finance the corrupt misdealings of the political class. And if you choose to abandon this obligation, they will bar you from ever entering your homeland again.
Regardless of what the propaganda says, this is not how a free society treats people. It might look and feel like a representative democracy on the surface, but under the hood it’s the modern day equivalent of feudal serfdom.

Last year 1,800 American citizens opted to do the same thing as Eduardo Saverin. They did the analysis and decided that the burdens imposed by their citizenship outweighed the benefits. IRS overreach in requiring foreign banks to report on accounts held by US citizens are just making it hard for Americans to open bank accounts where they may be living overseas and the US is the only country on the planet that taxes its citizens on their income earned outside the country. 

Eduardo Saverin made a completely rational decision and he should not be vilified or punished for it.
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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Should You Need a Government License to Make an Honest Living?

It seems like in too many cases the answer has become yes. As the following Institute for Justice video will make clear there are far too many occupations that impose licensing requirements that really have nothing to do with public health and safety and everything to do with protecting the turf of incumbents. The video relates how in 1950 only 1 in 20 workers needed a license for any particular occupation. Now it's 1 in 3. The Institute looked at 102 low to mid-level occupations to see what barriers were thrown in front of people who might desire to make a living in those occupations.

In my state, Arizona, for example, to be able to cut and style hair it is necessary to get a license that requires 1,500 hours of instruction. Not usually one to look to federal government requirements as an example, the Federal Aviation Administration actually seems to have the right balance. To qualify for an Airline Transport Pilot's license, an ATP, the requirement is for a total minimum flight time of 1,500 hours. However, unlike the requirement of 1,500 hours to wield a pair of scissors and possibly do a bad haircut, the actual minimum legal requirement for instruction is roughly 55 to 75 hours spent with an instructor, depending on how you interpret Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR). The rest is minimum logged time in various buckets; total flight time, cross country, night, instrument, etc. Most of the time is individual practice. You move on to various license levels by FAA check rides your instructor signs you off for when you are ready.

To require so much instruction time to cut hair and so little to gain a license to fly an airlplane that is potentially carrying  hundreds of people is ridiculous on its face. 

Now, with that in mind, here is the video.

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