Trump’s Prerogative – Cut the Red Tape

Trump cuts red tape

ObamaCare has not been repealed or replaced.  As of this writing Tax Reform is stalled.  Planned Parenthood abortions are still being funded with tax dollars and there are no bricks in The Wall.

Crooked Hillary escaped without a scratch.  We don’t have a budget and Congress will soon pass yet another bloated continuing resolution to avoid shutting down the government when it busts the debt ceiling.  Again.

Appointments for judicial, state, and agency officials languish on desks as buildings full of holdover Obama appointees and Clinton devotees spend their workdays plotting new coups against the president.

With Republicans holding both houses of Congress and the White House for almost a year now, it appears that conservative voters have little to show for their 2016 trifecta victory at the polls.  But there is a bright spot.  A very bright spot.

While Congress sits on its thumbs, President Trump has used his executive prerogative to cut red tape and waste in the federal bureaucracy.  He threw down the gauntlet last March when his perfectly-chosen budget director Mick Mulvaney announced, “The president’s beholden to nobody but the people who elected him, and yes, I understand that every lawmaker over there has pet projects. That’s the nature of the beast.”   USA Today listed the 62 agencies and programs on Trump’s chopping block at that time, and breathlessly warned that it was the tip of the iceberg.

Last week Trump and Mulvaney thoroughly enjoyed graphically comparing the mountainous volume of regulations in place today versus the small stack of the 1960’s.   The Trump administration has already cut over 1500 regulations and vows to make the “stack” even smaller than it was when the Beatles topped the charts.

“By ending excessive regulations, we are defending democracy, and draining the swamp,” the president declared. “Unchecked regulation undermines our freedoms and zaps our national spirit. It destroys our economy – so many companies are destroyed by regulation. And it destroys jobs.”

Trump is just getting started.  It’s hard work, but long overdue.  His predecessor, Barack Obama, clobbered the US economy with an additional $122 billion dollars of red tape per year, stretching his authority or even flouting the Constitution in the process.

Trump can’t force Congress to do the right thing, or keep its promises.  But as president, it is his prerogative to cut red tape and waste in the agencies under his control.  It’s good news for conservatives.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right SideEverybody’s talkin’ all this stuff about me
Why don’t they just let me live?
I don’t need permission, make my own decisions
That’s my prerogative!

My Prerogative – Bobby Brown

Bye Bye California

Calexit

Poor California.  She is just trying to be nice, and all she gets from most of her brothers and sisters is derision and ridicule.

She wants to save the planet, so she destroys her agricultural industry by diverting all the Central Valley’s water into the ocean to protect a tiny fish.  She feels sorry for poor people from all over the world, so she opens her borders and gives away her peoples’ jobs, streets and money.  She even chose to be a sanctuary state, so that illegal aliens who commit violent crimes won’t be sent away.

She says marijuana is cool and should be legal.  She thinks anybody should be able to choose their gender, and change it at any time.  She believes white people are mostly racists, men are mostly rapists, and if guns were outlawed, nobody would ever be killed again.  Except babies in the womb, who are terribly inconvenient.

The rest of the family just doesn’t understand her, Daddy Trump is threatening to send her to bed without supper, and poor California is so upset she wants to run away from home.

A group called Yes California leads the secession movement, saying:

Being a U.S. state is no longer serving California’s best interests. On issues ranging from peace and security to natural resources and the environment, it has become increasingly true that California would be better off as an independent country.

Their website lists many reasons why California should secede.  Their liberal values are impeded by our federal laws.  They are tired of contributing to the United States’ military apparatus, and think separation from the USA would make them less likely targets for terrorists.  They are convinced that their votes don’t count because of the electoral college, and as a result they now must bear the ultimate insult in the form of President Trump.

The California secessionists are right about one thing:  secession is a perfectly legal and legitimate option to states.  Despite Lincoln’s heavy-handed and bloody suppression of the southern states during the Civil War, and the federal corruption and abuse that continued for decades after his death, our Constitution allows and anticipates that states can leave the union.  The nation was created by the states, not the other way around.  The notion that secession is treason is nothing more than revisionist history.

Should anyone find the possibility of a state splitting the sheets with its mother country unthinkable in this day and age, consider Catalonia, whose citizens voted for independence from Spain and hope to raise their own flag by the end of this year.

Secession is complicated.  Will California pay its share of the national debt?  Will the USA have to shut down its military installations?  Will Trump have to build a wall around California to keep illegal immigrants from fleeing to Nevada when the state runs out of money?

Anyway, I say go for it, California.  You don’t have to put up with us meanies any longer.  Go ahead and secede.  Party on.

Just don’t call us to pick up the pieces when the fun is over.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

You can go your own way
You can call it another lonely day
You can go your own way
You can call it another lonely day

 

What the Hell is Going On In the Middle East?

Don’t you wish we still had a functioning news apparatus in this country?  The Middle East is blowing geopolitical gaskets left and right, and our news media spends every waking moment hyperventilating over Hillary’s abuse of Bernie a year and a half ago.  That and the non-stop bashing and belittling of our president.

Last week Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammad Bin Salman, arrested most of the senior leaders of his nation, including 11 princes, ostensibly on corruption charges.  A few hours later rival Prince Mansour bin Muqrin’s helicopter went down near the Yemeni border with seven other officials on board and no explanation.

Then Lebanon’s prime minister resigned after the Saudi crown prince claimed that he routinely dispatches Hezbollah attacks against Saudi Arabia. And Bin Salman again loudly blamed his ongoing conflict with Yemen on Iranian subterfuge, further angering his nearly-nuclear neighbor.

Meanwhile, the Saudi treasury is quickly bleeding out due to tumbling oil prices in the wake of a world-wide drilling frenzy.  The crown prince’s answer is to plant a glitzy mega-city called “Neom” in the desert, in hopes that if properly fertilized it will grow money.

While the mainstream media has totally whiffed trying to prove Trump-Russia campaign collusion, they also failed to notice that under Trump’s watch ISIL has thrown in the towel after getting thumped by American-led Iraqis and purged from Syria by Russian-led troops.  Now there’s some real collusion for ya.

Wait, there’s more.  It seems Qatar just signed a defense agreement with Russia.  I wonder, does that give them access to our huge military base at DoHa?

These are exciting times in the desert, all right.  But if you are one of the vast majority of Americans who gets your news from Joe and Mika, or the Comedy Channel, or Sean Hannity for that matter, you didn’t hear about any of this last week.  They can’t waste their important air time on such trivia, because you need to know who paid for the fake story about prostitutes peeing on Obama’s bed in Russia years ago.

Tom Balek, Rockin’ On the Right Side

The King called up his jet fighters
He said you better earn your pay
Drop your bombs between the Minarets
Down the Casbah way

I usually share live performance videos, but this classic sendup by the Clash is just too much fun!

Coffee Talk on Tax Reform


Some “coffee talk” on tax reform:


Our national debt is now approaching $21 trillion ($231 trillion if you include unfunded liabilities like government pensions), and nobody seems to care.  Most of our congressmen still want to spend more and tax less.  I guess they think we can just print more money whenever we want and there is no down side.  They had better hope interest rates can be artificially held to near zero for generations to come.


Everybody knows the tax code is ridiculously complex.  But few understand what a drag on the economy this complexity causes.  Here’s something to think about:  the cost of filling out government tax forms is estimated by the IRS at $400 billion per year.  At the bottom of every business tax form is a small box that asks how many hours were spent preparing this form.  The preparer will write “2 hours” or “.5 hours” on the form, and the IRS rolls up this number, multiplies it by some arbitrary labor cost per hour, and comes up with $400 billion.  But that’s just for filling out the form!  It doesn’t include the billions of hours spent on accounting to generate the numbers to report on the form!  I know some of this accounting also serves internal purposes, but much of it does not, especially in small businesses.  And we aren’t even counting the cost of the IRS, the IT systems required for data gathering, or the Advils swallowed every April.

I’ll bet the cost of reporting taxes easily exceeds a trillion dollars.  Think about it:  our annual GDP is $20 trillion.  Ask any business owner what percentage of the labor hours in his business are spent punching computers, gathering data and doing accounting.  A conservative average might be 25%.  That would be $5 trillion of bookkeeping per year.  Imagine what our economy could do if we didn’t spend a quarter of our time bean-counting instead of making something useful.


OMB Director Mick Mulvaney knows that there is terrible waste in government, and we could cut a huge chunk out of the federal budget without causing any pain for Americans.  And while he is making the effort to cut spending as best he can, it won’t work.  “Too slow,” says Mulvaney, an honors scholar and holder of advanced degrees in international economics, commerce, and finance.  “The only way to turn the ship around is to grow the economy.”

Mulvaney believes 3% GDP growth, which has been fairly common in our history, would grind down our debt and reduce the drag on the economy, but only only if we could muster some restraint in the growth of spending.  It’s encouraging and discouraging at the same time.  It’s definitely do-able.  But our elected class has learned that they can get elected and re-elected by promising to give everybody somebody else’s money.


The purpose of taxes is to fund the government.  Collecting taxes should be simple:  Here is the budget for next year (say $1 trillion).  Add up the total wages of all adult citizens ($33 trillion).  Divide – the answer is 3%.  Ask each citizen to send a check for 3% of their wages to the swamp.

That might be a little bit too simple – for example, all business and investment profit would need to be distributed as personal income, not retained.  But our tax code has grown to over 75,000 pages, and that’s because it is used for much more than just funding the government.  It’s all about controlling our behavior.  Most tax laws were put in place to reward some of us with tax breaks, or to punish some of us with higher taxes, or to encourage (or require) all of us to act in a certain way.

If you think the government should have less control over your daily life, you should want the tax code to be severely simplified, and the corrupt IRS whittled down to reflect its core mission.


Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

It’s Hell! Tryin’ to make it
When you’re doin’ it by yourself
It’s Hell! Payin’ taxes
When there’s no money left

Money Can’t Buy Me Love – Or Votes

The recent Republican primary runoff victory by Judge Roy Moore over Luther Strange in the race for Jeff Sessions’ Alabama senate seat is just the latest in a string of expensive losses for the Swampers.  Nearly a full year after American voters turned the pollsters and pundits upside down, the DC good-ole-boys are still in full Trump Denial.

Here are some of the Swampers’ embarrassing defeats:

  • Breitbart News reports Strange lost the runoff election by 20%, spending an estimated $30 million ($137 per vote) compared to Moore’s $2 million ($7 per vote).  This is after Moore pounded Strange in the first primary despite being outspent 25 to 1.  Strange was heavily funded by Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund and the NRA.
  • Issue One claims Democrats blew $32 million in a failing effort to push Jon Ossoff past Republican Karen Handel for the Georgia congressional seat vacated by Tom Price, who has already resigned his administrative office.  Issue One says Handel spent $23 million, but other analysts claim Handle was outspent 8 to 1 – the truth is probably somewhere in-between.
  • Hillary Clinton spent about $15 per vote, three times the amount Donald Trump invested on the presidency in 2016.

The first shot over the DC Establishment bow was fired by Dave Brat in 2014, when he sacked Eric Cantor, Republican house majority leader, in the Virginia congressional primary race.  Cantor had the backing of the entire swamp, including the Chamber of Commerce, the NRA, and the National Association of Realtors.  All of the Republican money and every loose dollar on K Street was bet on Cantor – $5.5 million in all.  Brat had a measly $200,000 and a warm smile from the Tea Party.  It’s fitting that Brat’s first name is David, as Goliath (Cantor) fell in a large, thunderous heap.  Brat has since been a stellar Freedom Caucus member.

My Congressman, Ralph Norman (R-SC), spent a little bit more than his opponent, Archie Parnell, seeking the seat vacated by Mick Mulvaney a few months ago.  And most of that spending was his own money.  “I don’t want to owe favors to anybody,” he told me early in the race.  And he has stayed true to his word, already taking strong positions against the powerful, big-money lobbyists.  Norman is also on the Freedom Caucus.

Maybe the Swampers will finally “get it” and stop trying to buy political offices against the will of the people, who are tired of business as usual on Capitol Hill.

Nah, it won’t happen.  The DC Establishment Swampers will continue to do what Swampers do – spend other peoples’ money.  They can’t help themselves.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

 

I don’t care too much for money,
Money can’t buy me love!

Can’t Buy Me Love – the Beatles

 

The lads are rockin’ it with their Rickenbackers and Voxes!

 

 

Red Light Rummies, Center Lane Simpletons, Nascar Ass Cars, and the Scooter Jerk

Is it just me or is bad driving an out-of-control epidemic?

I know people have complained about bad drivers since cars ran on kerosene.  But I swear, in the last year or so, I am seeing auto insanity at a level I never thought possible.

A couple of days ago I drove over the bridge to Charlotte and back.  20 miles each way, through suburban and city traffic.  The stuff I saw on just that one trip would have set my hair on fire, if I had any.

First there was the Scooter Jerk.  The heavy traffic on our four-lane expressway had slowed in one spot to maybe 15 mph, but the Jerk figured he shouldn’t have to wait in line like everybody else.  So he gunned his little machine to its pathetic full speed, squeezing his little scooter butt between the two lanes of commuters and truck drivers, down the dotted line to his important destination.  Drivers honked and beeped their displeasure to no avail.  But then the congestion cleared and the traffic resumed its normal 55 mph pace.  Except for everybody in the right lane.  We were all stacked up and cussing behind the Scooter Jerk, who was maxed out in the middle of our lane at 30 mph.

I finally got past the little Jerk and was cruising at posted speed, singing third harmony with Tom Petty.  Until I had to jam on the brakes to avoid hitting a Nascar Ass Car.  These guys are all over the place.  They can’t tolerate being behind anyone, so as soon as a car-length opening appears in the adjacent lane, they dive into it to gain a couple of feet advantage.  No turn signal, of course.  Hell, Kevin Harvick don’t need no stinkin’ turn signals!  The Ass Cars slalom down every road, weaving back and forth through the lanes, squeaking by bumpers and fenders.  After all the Nascar maneuvering, they might get to work 50 seconds earlier.

The light just ahead of me turned yellow, so I pulled my big red Ram to a stop.  But the Redlight Rummy behind me had other plans.  He ripped his steering wheel to the right, lurched around my truck and half off the street, and zoomed through the red light in front of me just in time to avoid getting clipped by the crossing traffic.  I really thought it was gonna be a T-Bone, and I don’t mean steak.

Running red lights is an art form around here.  Nearly every time I stop at a red light two or three brainiacs continue through the intersection in the other lanes.  The drivers behind me are ticked off at me.  “Doesn’t that bozo in the red truck know there’s a three-second safety buffer between the red light and the green going the other way?”  And remember the “right on red” rule?  Did you think you were supposed to stop first before you turn right?  Me, too.  Boy are we suckers.

Many of our streets have two lanes in each direction, and a center lane that can be used to turn either left or right in the middle of the block.  At least that’s the plan for most of us.  The privileged Center Lane Simpletons think it is their own private express lane, driving down the middle for blocks or even miles at high speed and giggling at how stupid the rest of us are for staying in our lanes and waiting our turn.

It’s anybody’s guess why bad driving has become so commonplace, so suddenly.  Maybe it is rebellion against Trump and any other authority.  It could be we have a new generation of drivers who grew up on participation awards and continuous self-esteem building who can’t be bothered with traffic laws that might interrupt their social media participation.  Our silly rules just don’t apply to them.

Maybe cops overlook traffic infractions because 1) they don’t want to risk offending anybody, 2) they don’t get paid enough to put up with crap from self-centered narcissists, 3) they don’t want to get shot, or 4) the last traffic citation issued in the U.S. was in 1986 and they have forgotten how to write a ticket.

My advice for a long and happy life:  when the light turns green, count to five, and then look both ways before you start.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light
Those days are over . . .
You don’t care if it’s wrong or if it’s right

Roxanne – the Police

 

 

Tax Reform – Time to Get Down On It

Only one group of people likes our tax laws just the way they are:  the accountants.

Our tax code is so complex that nobody understands it.  If you call the IRS ten times to get a question answered, you are likely to get ten different answers – that is, if your call even gets through!  30 million calls went unanswered at last count in 2015.

No two CPAs will ever come up with the same tax liability given the same set of books.  It’s not their fault – the tax code was 75,000 pages a year ago (probably more by now).  And that’s a good thing, if you make your living doing tax returns.  For the rest of us, not so much.

Tax compliance costs almost a half-trillion dollars a year, and that doesn’t include the routine accounting that businesses do every day to determine their profitability. 90% of Americans think the tax code is too complex.

Finally there is an opportunity to do something about it.  GOP members of congress have come up with a tax reform plan that would reduce most individual tax returns to one simple page, eliminate most loopholes and targeted deductions, repeal the complex alternative minimum tax, and do away with business depreciation.

Oh, the humanity!  Tax accountants will be leaping from their first-story windows.  H&R Block will no longer have an office on every block.  Packages of TurboTax software will be relegated to the bargain bin at Ollie’s.  Corrupt and inefficient IRS employees will have to get real jobs that actually produce something of value.

More importantly, GDP growth will suddenly jump from 2.5% to 3%.  Then 4%, and upward. Eliminating the productivity drag of all that accounting, reducing tax payments, and deducting the cost of capital purchases from taxable income will give businesses and individuals a huge shot of economic momentum.

Of course this can only happen if Congress is convinced that voters give a damn.  Most of them would just as soon spend your money for you rather than let you do it yourself, and they enjoy controlling your behavior by controlling your wallet.

It’s way past time for tax reform.  Today might be a good day to pick up the phone and call your member of Congress and tell him or her to get down on it.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Get down on it, come on and
Get down on it, if you really want it.
Get down on it, you gotta feel it
Get down on it, get down on it

Get Down On It – Kool and the Gang

 

They’re getting a little gray, but they still got it going on!  It’s Kool and the Gang.