Category Archives: Taxation

UPDATED (8/22): Paul Manafort’s Lawyers Decide To … Gamble. What’s There To Lose Except The Rest Of Client’s Life

Justice, Law, Taxation

His life is on the line—the rest of it—yet Paul Manafort’s lawyers have opted for a risky defense strategy. Risky when so much is at stake.

Instead of mounting a defense against the oddly timed prosecution out of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, Manafort’s lead attorney Kevin Downing decides to wing it. His defense relied on cross examination of the prosecution’s witnesses.

Apparently the belief is that juries are sophisticated enough to discern that “the government has not met its burden of proof.”

“This is very common after prosecution rests to file a motion saying they didn’t meet the burden beyond a reasonable doubt,” said John Cohen, a former homeland security official and ABC New contributor. “Typically, this doesn’t work.”

Manafort’s lawyers clearly felt that gambling was the way to go, here. After all, what’s there to lose? The rest of their client’s life?

UPDATE (8/22):

Dumb lawyer gambled with his client’s life and the client lost.

UPDATED (8/2/018): ‘FREEDOM’ Is Feeling The Full Weight Of The State Come Down On You

America, Criminal Injustice, Democracy, Law, Liberty, Taxation, The State

When the full weight of the state can be brought down on one man, and when that man is not a criminal in any meaningful sense—remember, taxation is legalized, state theft of private property—you know that man, Paul Manafort, in this case, was never free.

AND you know YOU are not free. Beware!

BUT, “Our democracy” is under threat. The Russians, the Russians.”

As usual, Tucker is the only sane member of Big Media.

Related (no partisanship, please): “The Robert Mueller Inquisition Is The Star(r) Chamber By Any Other Name”

More “free” people of the West. Having to defend yourself against the state for saying stuff:

UPDATE (8/2/018):

TRUMP Trade Tactics Are About WINNING Negotiations

Canada, Free Markets, Labor, Taxation, Trade

I love Canada, am a Canadian (and American) citizen, have Canadian loved-ones. I don’t want to see Canadians hurt.

It’s true, however, that, in the artificial universe of trade agreements, previous US leaders have shown they don’t care about US workers. Trump’s the opposite. He’s using American power to muscle deals he believes are beneficial to American workers.

Canada taxes purchases of American goods starting at $20, whereas America starts taxing Canadian goods at $1000. Trump has said he’s love for trade to be entirely and mutually without tariffs:

“No tariffs, no barriers. That’s the way it should be. And no subsidies. I even said, ‘no tariffs’,” the US president said, describing his meetings with fellow Group of Seven leaders as positive “on the need to have fair and reciprocal trade”. “The United States has been taken advantage of for decades and decades,” he continued, describing America as a “piggy bank that everyone keeps robbing.”

But since that’s not going to happen …

“Canada is going to have to make some concessions,” says Laura Dawson, head of the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington, DC. Among them might be raising the threshold at which Canada taxes purchases of American goods from C$20 to around C$1,000, the American level. Canada might consent to more onerous conditions for a vehicle to be imported duty-free within NAFTA, including on wages and the amount of North American content.

And of course, the American market is enormous. Trump knows it. Leaders before him no doubt knew the power of American markets but refused to use it:

Canada gamely argues that the United States would also be hurt in a trade war. Canada is the biggest destination for exports from 36 of the 50 American states. Bilateral trade in goods and services is immense: $674bn in 2017. It is also, despite what Mr Trump says, balanced. In 2017 the United States had a small surplus with Canada, of $8.4bn. Yet Mr Trudeau’s bargaining position is weak. “We absolutely need them, but they could live without us,” says Philip Cross, an economist.

BESIDES,

Canada’s system of supply management, which sets limits on the production of dairy, poultry and eggs, has long irritated the United States (and should anger Canadians, who pay more for food than they need to). Canada subjects imports of those products beyond a ceiling to punishing tariffs (298% in the case of butter). Mr Trump has been angry about this since he met dairy farmers from Wisconsin in April 2017.

The article is “Canada: Breaking a few eggs: The economy is already feeling the effects of Donald Trump’s trade war,” courtesy of The Economist.

1 Reason The State Department Turned On #RexTillerson: He Tried Trimming Budgets & Getting Rid Of Deadwood

Business, Economy, Federal Reserve Bank, Free Markets, Government, Political Economy, Taxation, The State

The Economist notes that Rex Tillerson was a poor secretary of state—but not for the reasons I would advance.

One reason for their opinion is that, “Disastrously for morale, he declined to defend his own department when the White House proposed cutting its budget by 25% or more … Mr Tillerson squandered goodwill with a corporate restructuring that felt to many staff like an invitation to resign. At one point, outside consultants sent round a questionnaire asking: “To optimally support the future mission of the Department, what one or two things should your work unit totally stop doing or providing?” (“Trump Unbound: In foreign affairs, America just moved closer to one-man rule,” March 17, 2018.)

TILLESRSON TRIED TO CUT GOVERNMENT! Defending your employees, The Economist here equates with increasing or maintaining the budget for the department, it diplomats, envoys and other career and or deadwood staff.

State institutions are self-reinforcing and not amenable to reform; they grow through failure.

So while it would be nice if state institutions were able to reform, because of the structure of incentives, the state cannot be corrected. The incentive structure underlying state institutions is antithetical to reform.

To correct processes that may be killing people—affirmative action, when the subject of special privileges isn’t qualified—you have to cut budgets in the billions. This likely will never happen, in state institutions, because they don’t abide by the profit motive. So to express belief in this is to express belief in the possibility of the state fixing itself.

The libertarian grasps that the state grows through inefficiency. The more it bungles—the greater its budget will be. Economically, the state’s incentives are inverted.  A private company, on the other hand, grows through economic and performative efficiencies; by singles the customer. The state is the opposite. As a monopoly, it need please nobody. For example, the education system is a giant failure.  Will it be scrapped? Of course not. The system will reward itself with MORE, not less, funds to fix the problem.

This is a structural fact of the state.

Why can the state grow and prosper through inefficiency? Because it has access to the funds of an indentured third party, taxpayers, and has the promiscuous use of the printing press.

A private institution can come back from the abyss, because, economically, it will go bust if it doesn’t start pleasing customers. However, if, like the Florida bridge collapse, a private enterprise is working in tandem with the state, then taxpayers bail it out.

Profit is privatized, loss is socialized.

Most people no longer read or understand the economics of the state. Ten years ago, I had readers who had at least read Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson.