Would you trade the income tax for a value added tax?

A former Treasury official in the George H. W.  Bush administration has put forward a new tax reform proposal.  It would eliminate the income tax for households that earn less than $100,000, cutting the rates for those above that threshold to 16% or 25.5%.  Instead, everyone would pay a Value Added Tax (basically a national sales tax) of 12.9%.  Charles Lane explains the proposal after the jump.

What would you think of this? [Read more...]

Thoughts on Ferguson shooting

We’ve blogged about the militarization of the police (here and here), but what about the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri?  Some say the 18-year-old was just minding his own business walking down the street when the police officer killed him in cold blood.  Police have put out a more complicated  story.  But let’s assume the police story is true. . . . [Read more...]

The problem with cops in camo

Why would police officers, as in those in Ferguson, Missouri, wear green camoflage jungle fatigues?  If it’s necessary to hide from urban bad guys, they should wear black, grey, and dirty white camoflage so as to blend in with asphalt, concrete, and dilapidated houses.  (Like this.)  The answer, of course, is that since most of our military’s fighting these days requires desert camoflage,  our government unloaded the jungle pattern for police departments and whoever else wants them.  So now the police are purposefully dressing up to look like soldiers.  This signifies a confusion of vocation. [Read more...]

Rick Perry indicted for trying to oust drunk D.A.

A district attorney who was in charge of the public integrity unit (!) was convicted of drunk driving.  So Texas governor Rick Perry called on her to resign.  If she didn’t resign, he said, he would veto the funding for her office.  (Which he did.)

So now the Democratic machine in Austin has indicted Gov. Perry for abuse of office and coercion of a public official, felonies that carry penalties of up to 99 years. [Read more...]

Demilitarizing the Police

I just got back from St. Louis, staying just a few blocks from the riots in Ferguson over the police shooting an unarmed teenager.  I didn’t see anything and I don’t want to address the incident, as such.  But the Cato Institute’s Walter Olson raises some interesting questions:

Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors? Why are the authorities in Ferguson, Mo. so given to quasi-martial crowd control methods (such as bans on walking on the street) and, per the reporting of Riverfront Times, the firing of tear gas at people in their own yards? (“‘This my property!’ he shouted, prompting police to fire a tear gas canister directly at his face.”) Why would someone identifying himself as an 82nd Airborne Army veteran, observing the Ferguson police scene, comment that “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone”?

Now Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky), citing what happened in Ferguson and quoting his fellow libertarian Olson, challenges the militarization of the police, which has happened thanks to the federal government. [Read more...]

Are freedom and democracy obsolete?

The Prime Minister of Hungary has said what many people around the world have been thinking:  That freedom and democracy are obsolete.  With today’s complex economic and social problems, the democratic process is always checking and balancing itself, making it just too slow and polarizing, as evidenced by the political paralysis in the United States.  The most successful models that nations should be emulating, he says, are the authoritarian systems of Russia, China, Turkey, and Singapore. [Read more...]


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