Here’s the latest edition of my responses to your comments. If you’ve been left out, it will probably appear in a forthcoming edition.
John at Blagnet followed up my post, with one of his own:Minarchist States and Basic Necessities, in which he dismantles arguments in favor of the holy triumvirate of minarchist libertarianism: the police, the courts, and national defense, often painted as basic necessities for a functioning society:
[T]hose types of things are not the most basic needs; food, water, shelter, and medical care are. Fire departments, defense from outside attackers, and criminal investigation/prosecution/punishment systems are very important in any remotely large society, but they are secondary needs. People have to be living healthily before they even consider those things relevant.
Good stuff, John. If you believe that a free market can provide the absolute necessities of life, then why can’t it also provide those secondary items?
Responding to How to Destroy the Middle Class, Kip says Obama isn’t trying to kill 401(k) type retirement accounts. He’s right. It is, on the other hand, something that the Democrats are considering. I wonder of the Obamessiah would nix it?
In addition to the 401k, I noted that eliminating the mortgage interest deduction would be a tax hike of calamitous proportions.
Jeff Molby is not in favor of the mortgage interest deduction because it encourages people to maintain dangerously low levels of equity in their homes. As long as people can be persuaded that paying $1 in interest to a bank and receiving 33 cents of their own money back is a good idea, this will be true. It doesn’t change the fact that eliminating the interest deduction would be the biggest tax hike in history.
I heard on today’s TV news that the owner had been instructed that what he was doing violated state gambling laws.
Go figure. The State is always eager to protect its monopolies, to which rhyddid alludes:
the State hates it when people compete with it … I wonder where the State draws the line? Schools use raffles for fundraisers all the time, giving away even cars sometimes… The State’s illogic continues to impress me with it’s depths.
Zach left a comment on Can I Raffle My House?
There is still a tax implication for the ‘buyer’ He could deduct the $100 from his taxes, but he would have to pay taxes on the fair market value of the house minus the $100 bucks. I think the effective tax rate at that high of “income” is somewhere around 36%-40%. I can not remember off the top of my head.
All these people getting “free” houses on Extreme Home Makeover have to pay taxes on these things. Remember the Oprah car debaucle (sic)?
…The winner of the home would be f’ed.
I mentioned the tax implications for the buyer, that’s significant, and most people couldn’t handle it.
As for the Extreme Home Makeover comment, my understanding of the situation is that a loophole exists which allows the homeowners to avoid the capital gains tax associated with an enormous home makeover. According to USA Today, ABC Network “rents” the house for a period of time, and accordingly, the owners are not liable for improvements made during the rental period. Some tax pros don’t agree with that opinion.
According to the letter of the law, ABC’s stance seems hunky-dory. Of course, the IRS can always decide to retroactively change the interpretation of its rules. In any event, the recipient of the new house is always liable for higher property taxes resulting from the improvements.
Josh left a comment on Medical Marijuana in Michigan.
Yes, lets maek pot legal so that we can be a country of stoners. Yay freedom!
Clearly, abstention didn’t improve his spelling and/or grammar.
RG left a comment on How do taxes Destroy Productivity? He had a number of questions about taxes that I hope to have answered with What is an Appropriate Tax Rate? (And Other Questions).
A number of people (some of whom are long-time Detroiters) seem to agree with my prognosis, that General Motors will go bankrupt. With each passing day, it looks more and more likely that they’ll get their bailout, though. This only makes things worse.
Mike left a comment in Slavic (I think?) on Dog Blogging.
No to je také zlaté psícko!!!!
I have no idea what it means. In any event, it seems she somehow scratched her eye roughousing with a friends dog while we were dogsitting. She is doing much better and no longer wearing the cone.