American Elephants


I Took A Couple Days Off! Here’s Why. by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about the light blogging. Taxes due, and on general principal, I always wait to the last minute to sign and write the check. I’m quite willing to pay what is required, after going through the “required” bit to whittle it down as much as is currently possible. Because I work hard at the whittle part, I expect the federal government to whittle in turn, when they start spending that which I have so valiantly struggled over. Only fair, but so few back there seem to understand that they were chosen because we thought they’d do a better job of it than the other choice, not because we were enamored with their wonderfulness. We give them a chance at a big salary, media attention, and the opportunity to distinguish themselves by doing good for the country, but the chance is limited, as is our patience. We know the media attention part is intoxicating, but that is not why they are there, something the new young democrats – Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib have yet to learn.

Also a long day at the hospital to have some tests, mostly spent in waiting rooms, to certify that I am, as I claim to be, just fine.  Which turns out to be certified. So I read a lot of magazines.  Did you know that The Ladies Home Journal still exists? I had no idea. The National Geographic featured on the cover the young man who climbed El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. I’ve seen that spectacular cliff, and cannot imagine why one would find it a personal challenge to climb, (I find it a challenge to climb out of bed), even with ropes and spikes, but to climb without anything but strong fingers, arms and climbing skill – and survive! An enormous feat, a first, but it will probably lead others to try – who may not survive. One false move!  I guess it is the ultimate freedom — to set yourself a goal, work hard to meet the challenge, and surpass it — leaves you with proof that you can face any challenge life presents. Please don’t go rushing off to Yosemite.



Managing Risk Is Hard. When the Threat Comes From Government, It is Terrifying! by The Elephant's Child

Taxes are a complicated matter, and everybody hates them. There is all sorts of confusion about just whose money it is (ours!), or the government’s (the government has no money of its own). If you allow the Bush tax cuts to expire — you are raising taxes. If you extend some Bush tax cuts for just one more year, it is not a cost to government. Things simply remain the same. If we could just agree on the meaning of language, it would help.

There are arguments as well on what the effect of raising taxes is on the economy. Democrats usually believe that is a good way to get more revenue. Republicans know that raising taxes always brings in less revenue than was expected, particularly because wealthier people have more ways to avoid paying taxes, but it also has a negative effect of dampening business activity. And the more uncertainty there is  in the mix, the more it will dampen business activity.

There is risk to all business activity. Somebody may invent a product tomorrow that will make your business obsolete. Your suppliers may raise their prices or simply fail to produce. Your employees may do something really stupid. The risks are endless. When the government essentially promises that “we’re really going to get you, starting on January 1;” who is going to hire a bunch of employees under threat of huge unknown health care costs? To top that off, it is clear that the heavy hand of government regulation may just descend on you at any time for regulations you have never heard of.

I don’t think that President Obama has a very clear understanding of business risks or of how businesses make hiring decisions. I don’t think he understands”small business.” There is an army of workers out there who are free-lancers or individual craftsmen. They work on their own, at their own pace and at their own pleasure, independently. There are small businesses that we classify as “Mom & Pop” businesses —little shops. Then there are small businesses, with only a few employees: insulation installers, plumbers, all sorts of service businesses who may range from sole practitioners to a boss with a couple of employees. All of these could fit in Mr. Obama’s under $250,000 category on whom he does not want to raise taxes because he envisions them as — Small Business. But they are not the engine of employment in the American economy.

The small business that drives employment and provides the most jobs could still be plumbers  but those who hope to be major plumbing contractors, who hope to own a fleet of trucks and grow their business. I’ve known both kinds. Both may be ambitious, but one hopes to do more business and make more money, but does not want the hassle of running a larger company, and likes his independence. If he wants to take some time off to go fishing, he can.

It’s the driven, who want to build a bigger business that create the growth in employment and in economic activity. I think that is a distinction lost on Mr. Obama, who seems to know that “you don’t raise taxes in a recession when the economy is fragile,” yet believes that anyone with a household income over $250,000 is one of the hated “rich” who need to pay more taxes —partly because he believes in redistribution of income, partly because he wants voters to hate the rich in general and Mitt Romney in particular.

There are 894,000 businesses that file their taxes as individuals or sole proprietors. They not only are targeted with much higher taxes at the beginning of the year, but if they have over 49 employees, they will be targeted by ObamaCare. To that add the uncertainty in our own economy, the uncertainty in Europe, the uncertainty of a government focused on regulating everything, and the threat of a government that seems not to understand business at all.



Should Federal Employees Be Expected to Pay Their Income Taxes? by The Elephant's Child
March 6, 2010, 1:39 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Law, Taxes | Tags: , ,

Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has the odd idea that federal employees should be paying their income taxes.  And he’s trying to do something about it.




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