"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, March 02, 2009

"I don't really trust a sane person." - Lyle Alzado

***

Swiss govt folds like a lawn chair

"UBS agreed to a $780 million fine and to reveal the identities of 250 numbered-account holders to the IRS. Emboldened by this capitulation, the feds are now insisting the bank give them the identities of all 52,000 American account holders...

These are sad times for anyone with any ambition in life. Sadder still is the fact that it is all premeditated by a government that realizes it has written checks it can't cash, and needs the ability to grab your money."


youngmoney: You are wrong on so many levels I don't even know where to begin. Although I completely agree with the concept of client privacy, that should not be a means for tax evasion. You find it personally offensive that someone is doing his job? If DiCicco gets paid (out of my tax money) to ensure that people are taxed properly, then I say good job to you, sir. Since when is it a sad time for someone ambitious when laws can no longer be broken? I find your post completely ridiculous. And while I don't know the details of the issue at hand, I think it's appalling that you take this stand and belittle someone who is obviously worthy of admiration. Or since there's a star by your name now everyone that makes under $200k a year is a "pencil-dick". Maybe if there were more people like DiCicco, scandals like Madoff's or Stanford's would have never happened.

To conclude - that money was never YOUR money. If you choose to live in a country and take advantage of everything it has to offer, then you shall abide by its laws. It's not a one way street. So if the law says you need to pay x% in taxes on earned income, than so you shall. If you don't want to so that, you're free to move elsewhere.

Edmundo Braverman: To gently correct you, it is MY money, just as it is YOUR money and every other individual's money. It is not THEIR money. It is money taken by force, just like any other robbery, and if you don't think so try not paying your taxes. Voluntary my ass.

Perhaps you could explain to me how our country survived for 126 years without a permanent income tax? Or did your professors overlook that fact while they were cheerleading for an omnipotent central government?

You see, youngmoney, talented people create value. It doesn't matter where they live or what flag flies over their local courthouse. Government robs value. A perfect example is the failure of the bailout that we are witnessing presently.

youngmoney: I didn't say America was God's gift to man. Far from it. It does, however, present some advantages over other economies in the world (not to mention social advantages compared to almost everyone except Europe and possibly Australia). The time period to which you are referring to, the 126 years or tax free America, means nothing. Do you really want to live in a 21st century quasi wild wild west again? Don't get me wrong - I am a capitalist and by no means a left wing advocate. However, I do believe in some extent of government protection for the unemployed (system which I admit is not perfect), government enforcement of laws, safety programs and the ability of government to protect its people against enemies. All of this is done through taxation. I admit that the tax code is not perfect - but I see it as a part of the evolution of man (as opposed to the tax free era) that the rich bear more of the burden than the poor.

I like having a highway to drive on when going to see my gf. I enjoy knowing that the neighborhood I live in has good schools and is kept safe by the tax money people pay for programs such as education and law enforcement. Government doesn't rob value, as you say - government, with all of its flaws, creates the environment that allows for talented people to create value.

Edmundo Braverman: The tax you pay on a gallon of gas pays for that nice stretch of road you're driving on - NOT INCOME TAX

The property taxes homeowners pay go to pay for the schools (though I defy you to identify a public school that would rank as "good" in the traditional, i.e. literate student body, sense) - NOT INCOME TAX

Property taxes cover law enforcement as well, except for the jackbooted thugs at the federal alphabet agencies (ATF, DEA, FBI, etc...).

With the exception of providing for the common defense, almost every other use of federal tax money is a blatant usurpation of state and local government.

And yes, I would much prefer the Wild Wild West to the current Nanny State. The fact that you actually believe that the federal government is entitled to commit these abuses is proof positive that all the stolen money funneled to the teachers' unions over the past decades is finally paying off for the feds.

youngmoney: I wonder if you've ever lived in another country as a basis for comparison. And I wonder how well you think your employer would fare in a Wild Wild West environment. Nobody likes to pay taxes, myself included. The difference i guess is that I see taxation as necessary to provide for the rights we take for granted. Nonetheless, i think that this is a good discussion.

Edmundo Braverman: I believe there is nothing any government can provide (national defense included) that private industry could not provide better and cheaper. The U.S. government seems to be proving my case for me, as their reliance on mercenary soldiers has reached unprecedented levels in the current conflicts.

Taxation is a mafia-style protection racket, nothing more. You pay because they tell you that you must and that bad things will befall you if you don't. Believe me, you would only notice the absence of a federal government by the increase in your quality of life. If everyone agreed to stop funding these brigands, they would just go away. Government only exists in the minds of the governed.

youngmoney: I agree with you from a purely ideological standpoint. However, I don't think it's that simple. Private industry favors people with capital. As such, decisions would be made for the benefit of the few. And not that government has proven to be much good with respect to this, but excesses like the recent ones on Wall Street would also be much more prevalent. Moreover, you'd have no one to cushion the fall when things turn sour, like governments all over the world are doing today by injecting billions in capital for ailing banks (the results of this remain to be seen).

The problem is that not all people are like you and I. Not all people are driven and ambitious (congratulations by the way on your extremely early retirement, and I do mean that sincerely). Not all people believe in the power of capitalism, and to give that power to only the few would result is mass social upheaval when people with money make decisions that only benefit themselves (I believe that there are plenty of examples of this in other parts of the world). So to that extent, some transfer of wealth is necessary. And while I agree that in a purely ideological world, my hard earned money should go to me and not to pay someone else's unemployment check, i see the alternative as worse.

Edmundo Braverman: I think you might be discounting the fundamental goodness of mankind. I could be completely wrong, though. I believe that human nature dictates that we take care of one another and help those in need, despite the millions of examples to the contrary. Perhaps it is my personal delusion. I really think that enlightened self interest solves more problems than government mandated charity.

At our core, we are all free men. Government subverts our inalienable right to attempt to achieve all we desire and, by extension, our ability to help others to do the same.

nrc_chicago: Privacy and trust are paramount to a functioning capitalist democracy; however there is no excuse for breaking the law. It's easy to rant about government holding people down, but as I mentioned earlier, it is a highly impractical philosophy to do without government. In fact, contrary to your ranting, government serves the interests of the rich, even if politicians must pander to the masses before every election. Imagine a world with no government. Poor people, who are far more numerous than commodity traders who retire at 30 (and who's source of income comes from a regulated business that relies on the threat of government enforcement to maintain trust) would storm your Mansion and take what they want without fear of punishment. If you hired private security to mow them down, what would keep the security from turning on you and taking your wealth themselves? Okay, so you keep the court system and property protections (that is the libertarian purpose of government) - but to do so, you need the buy-in of the masses. How do you get the buy-in of the masses to protect property rights, which benefits the rich most? You given them social services, and subsidize them, much like the Roman emperors of old gave free bread to the masses of Rome to keep them docile. Thus, the whole argument for no government collapses on itself.
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