Category Archives: Taxes

Greedy Texas Cities Rush To Extend Camera Contracts Ahead Of The State’s Red Light Camera Bans

Twelve years after first broaching the subject, the Texas legislature has finally killed red light cameras. This follows years of fraud, corruption, and contractual language negating prior ban attempts. The Newspaper reports on the good news, which unfortunately comes with some bad news. The supermajority vote means the bill can’t be vetoed by the governor, but some cities have managed to grandfather in their resident-screwing cameras.

The majority of red light camera programs in the Lone Star State will be shut down under legislation that cleared the Texas legislature on Friday. By a vote of 23 to 8, the state Senate approved the partial ban on automated ticketing that had sailed through the House with a vote of 109 to 34. Because it passed with supermajority support, the bill becomes law upon being signed by Governor Greg Abbott (R), who made getting rid of cameras part of his campaign platform.

Most, but not all, of 37 cities running red light cameras would lose the ability to approve $75 photo citations issued by private, for-profit companies. Cities that have clauses that allow for early termination of their photo ticketing contract in the event of adverse state legislation must pull the plug immediately. Cities that struck the escape clause in anticipation of the legislature’s move can continue using the cameras until the contract expires — many of the deals have been extended for twenty years or more.

Arlington is one the cities that has decided to screw its residents porn-style, going at them from multiple angles.

When the bill passed, city legislators unanimously voted to extend its contract with American Traffic Solutions from five years to twenty years. This move will give residents less protection from traffic cams’ perverse incentives than residents living elsewhere in the state. It also means they’ll be paying more tax dollars for this dubious privilege, as there will be no reason for ATS to maintain competitive pricing for the next couple of decades. Nor will it feel any pressure to improve its tech, which has performed poorly enough to result in millions of dollars of refunds.

The good news is these cities will have to deal with the state Attorney General if they want to continue utilizing traffic enforcement measures the state has banned. Tickets from red light cameras in the cities that opted for extended revenue generation rather than compliance with the law are going to have a hard time collecting on unpaid tickets. The law prohibits the DMV from blocking vehicle registrations and license renewals for unpaid tickets. The problem is drivers may not be aware of the ban and will continue to pay fines when they’re not legally required to.

Cities that have opted for further resident-screwing will face increased activism efforts that will fill the gaps in the Attorney General’s enforcement.

Jurisdictions that attempt to defy the legislature will have to take on state attorney general Ken Paxton, who is tasked by the bill with enforcing the shutdown. Byron Schirmbeck, state coordinator for Texas Campaign for Liberty, says his group will also hold cities to account.

“Fortunately the remaining camera sanctuary cities will no longer be able to block registrations for unpaid tickets making them completely optional,” Schirmbeck told TheNewspaper. “The cities that do have to shut down their programs are also not allowed to pursue outstanding tickets and all existing registration holds will be removed. We will consider petition efforts and an increased trash your ticket campaign to go after those that choose to operate camera programs after the ban.”

While it’s always tough to watch a revenue stream dry up, the fact is traffic cameras do little more than generate unearned revenue. They don’t make drivers safer or encourage better driving. But that was never the goal. Revenue generation was the endgame. Fortunately for most Texans, the state has realized this money is no longer worth pursuing.

Source: by Tim Cushing | Tech Dirt

Naked Money Grabs

The Unprofitably Incompetent, by Robert Gore

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Those who can’t do, demand.

Profit propels civilization. When a producer can make an item or provide a service at a cost lower than a customer values that item or service, and the customer has the means and the freedom to buy, the difference between what’s paid over cost is profit. That profit is the producer’s incentive to produce, and in turn funds the producer’s consumption, savings, and investment, which creates other producers’ profits. Profit is the necessary prerequisite for consumption, savings, investment, and consequently, progress.

Many of us profit every day. We offer services and provide goods, supporting ourselves at a cost that is lower than what we’re paid. We’re profitably competent, engaging in honest production and peaceful, voluntary exchange. The only alternatives to profitable competence are living off of someone else’s profitable competency via inheritance or charity, or criminality—theft via fraud or violence.

Criminals cloak their thefts in all sorts of justifications, some of which, like socialism, become full-blown political doctrines. Ironically, a larcenous litany of demands and rationalizations are efflorescing at a time when whatever is left of the overall profit pool has been drained. It has been mortgaged multiple times, just as hordes of the unprofitably incompetent, who had no hand in producing it, clamor for their “fair share.” They’ll insist the profitably competent figure out how to pay for it, but the fair share of nothing is nothing, political promises to the contrary notwithstanding.

“Your means, my ends; I wish, you fulfill,” is the foundational fantasy of modern governance. The favored groups shelter in their safe spaces—government and its rackets, crony corporations, academia, the media, and Hollywood—living on the delusion that there will always be someone who will produce, without question or protest, for their benefit. Upon that foundation they’ve constructed a phantasmagorical edifice of illusory constructs and passages to nowhere.

As the foundational fantasy totters, the fantasies it supports become more fantastical. The profit pool exhausted, you would think everything possible would be done to succor the profitably competent who are supposed to replenish it. Instead, that illustrious group is demonized at every turn, and the demands on them become ever more absurd. They are guilty because they’re productive, and must expiate their guilt by producing for the unproductive, whose incompetence makes them morally superior.

The most “toxic” trait often associated with masculinity may be competence. It’s not exclusively masculine, but whether its possessors are male or female it has certainly become toxic, depriving them of any right to what they produce and any right to criticize those who steal it from them. Twits who can’t replace a light bulb demand free schooling and medical care, guaranteed jobs and incomes, trips to Mars, and who knows what else. Those who are to fund it all are to cheerfully regard doing so as a privilege.

The notion of reparations won’t die. Anyone with money (the only people who can pay) supposedly owe the descendants of various victim classes reparations for the supposed sins of their ancestors. To hold individuals guilty of crimes they couldn’t have committed is a moral obscenity. The demands for retribution are simply another naked money grab.

The rhetoric grows increasingly hateful. The slave class can be openly disparaged, denigrated, and deplored based on their race, gender, geographic location, religion, politics, the way they smile at a Native American, or any other characteristic the masters don’t like. But woe to the slaves who utter anything the tyrannical cult deems offensive or incorrect. Transgressors are put through social media hell, ostracized, ruined, and coming soon, incarcerated.

If you’ve found your safe space and you’re incapable of producing marketable value that exceeds its cost of production, you’re dependent on the profitably competent, but their very existence is a constant reproach, a reminder of your own inadequacy. So where gratitude would be appropriate, you instead hate, mock, and abuse your meal tickets. This isn’t PhD in psychology material—spoiled children have been abusing their parents for centuries. Interestingly—at least for psychology PhDs—the dependent get more abusive as they get more dependent.

Their safe spaces require little or nothing in the way of competency. They have become havens for personal predilections and peccadilloes that were once socially unacceptable, virtually free from any standards of comportment or dress, and citadels of venomous, self-serving ideologies.

One month into the partial shutdown of the largest safe space, it’s obvious that not only has the sky not fallen, but unsurprisingly, America is doing just fine without those 800,000 furloughed workers that even the government considers nonessential. Which elicits the question: What were they doing when they were on the job?

“Not much” is not necessarily the right answer. The 100,000 plus pages of the Federal Register and the tax code suggest that they’ve been spending a lot of time gumming up the works for and extracting money from the profitably competent many of them despise. The furlough may accomplish the first step of breaking America’s addiction to government: realizing that most of it is not only useless, but harmful. We’ll see if it leads to the next steps: getting rid of personnel, programs, agencies, and entire departments, and changing policy accordingly (we can dream). If things change in that direction, expect the denizens of what are no longer safe spaces to become increasingly vitriolic.

You can’t reach a point where dependents openly denigrate those who support them without the latter’s tacit or explicit consent. Parents who spoil their children and endure the brats’ abuse get what they deserve. Ayn Rand had it right. The people who make America go could bring it to a shuddering stop simply by stockpiling their resources and walking off their jobs for a month or two. An added turn of the screw would be withdrawing their funds from the banking system (see “The Yellow Vests Get it Right,” SLL).

It’s time to stop funding the abusers, time to stop excusing them with “they mean well, but…”, time to reject their claims to moral superiority, time to stop building safe space sanctuaries, time to stop apologizing for profitable competence, and time to recognize its moral value and reclaim the right to its profits. If it takes a strike to hurl the brats into the maw of their own incompetence and upend the tyrannical cult, so be it. The biggest crime hasn’t been that of the brats and the cult, it’s been the failure of those who haven’t defended what’s rightfully theirs.

Source: by Robert Gore | Straight Line Logic

The Fruits of Graft – Great Depressions Then and Now

Wayne Jett, author of “Fruits of Graft”, interviewed by Sarah Westall in an eight part (video) series to discuss in depth the amazing history of events and actions leading up to the Great Depression. They also discuss the activities and actions taken during the Great Depression that caused increased misery for millions of Americans. This is an epic historical view of the Great Depression you have not heard before; that also serves to explain what is really driving most current events we are living through today.

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Classical Capital

Video Series Links

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Part 4


Part 5


Part 6

The Elitist Manifesto

The Red Symphony

Progress And Poverty by Henry George

The Government Is Coming For Your Bitcoin (video)

The same day Bitcoin cracked its all-time high above $11,000, the government dealt its first blow to the crypto world…

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On Wednesday, a federal judge in San Francisco ordered the popular Bitcoin exchange, Coinbase, to provide the IRS with information on over 14,000 account holders.

The taxman noticed that only 800-900 people reported gains related to Bitcoin in each of the years between 2013-2015. It seemed unusual given Bitcoin’s meteoric rise.

So the IRS went for its pound of flesh.

Initially, the government wanted complete data on every Coinbase user that transacted between 2013 and 2015. The exchange’s website says it has 13 million users (more than the number of Schwab brokerage accounts).

But Coinbase pushed back… and the government agreed to only take limited data (including name, date of birth, address, tax ID number, transaction statements and account logs) for accounts that have bought, sold, sent or received at least $20,000 worth of Bitcoin in a given year.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you about Coinbase. I told Sovereign Man: Confidential readers last month:

If you’re tempted to purchase Bitcoin from the popular Coinbase exchange, don’t bother.

They’ve sold out to regulators.

The IRS is calling this a “partial win.”

But you can be sure, there will be a public beheading. This is something governments almost always do.

They’ll find a prominent Bitcoin person, someone that’s polarizing to the public – like “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli.

It will be a very public trial… and they’ll throw his ass in the slammer.

Government’s always do this because they want to scare people.

Kim Dotcom is the perfect example. Kim founded the popular file-sharing site Megaupload.

The government wanted to stop illegal downloads, so they raided his guy’s house in New Zealand for violating US law.

The government also does this for taxes… everything, really.

Look at Wesley Snipes. The IRS accused him of felony tax evasion. He spent three years in jail.

They had to take a celebrity and throw him in jail to scare everyone else.

Back to Bitcoin…

Now that it’s at all-time highs, the government wants its piece.

I read the 400+ pages of the proposed tax code. How many lines in there do you think deal with cryptocurrency? ZERO.

How many lines deal with e-commerce? ZERO.

The government had every opportunity to set the rules for the 21st century. And they failed miserably.

So the rules remain as clear as mud.

Instead of trying to make it clear, their tactic is intimidation, force and coercion.

This is just the beginning. There will be more.

And my advice is don’t be one of those guys.

Every transaction that you make in Bitcoin is potentially a taxable event.

Let’s say you bought Bitcoin for $1,000 and after it went to $10,000 you buy a business class trip to Australia for $10k. When you pay the airline with one Bitcoin, you’ve just triggered a taxable event.

The IRS would say that you essentially sold your Bitcoin, have a $9k gain and used those proceeds to buy the ticket.

Which means you owe the IRS capital gains tax on $9k, which is 20% plus the Obamacare surcharge.

So, don’t be that guy. If you’ve been doing this, trust me, you don’t want the IRS find out.

You’d rather come forward yourself and disclose it and pay taxes… Rather than be the next Martin Shkreli.

… or you can try what Jeff is doing.

Source: ZeroHedge

California Tried to Seize Millions From Former Resident Who Fought Back And Won (video)

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After Gil Hyatt, a successful California inventor, moved to Nevada, he faced harassment from California tax regulators. This abuse included threats, exposure of personal data, and even racism. Hyatt later sued the agency and won a judgement of over $300 million. Jon Coupal stated this example is reflective of numerous systemic problems with California’s tax authority.

Gilbert Hyatt’s legal battle is a story of greed, harassment, anti-semitism, and the abuse of power.

Americans Spend More on Taxes Than Food & Clothing Combined

Americans on average spent more on taxes in 2016 than they did on food and clothing combined, according to data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The same data also shows that in three years—from 2013 to 2016—the average tax bill for Americans increased 41.13 percent.

In 2016, according to BLS, “consumer units” (which include families, financially independent individuals, and people living in a single household who share expenses) spent more on average on federal, state and local taxes ($10,489) than they did on food ($7,203) and clothing ($1,803) combined ($9,006).

The average tax bill for American “consumer units” increased from $7,423 in 2013 to $10,489 in 2016, according to data released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

RELATED: You’ve Lost Another 16% of Your Buying Power

The tax-and-spending data was collected as part of the BLS’s Consumer Expenditure Survey, which is conducted for the BLS by the Census Bureau. The survey measures the expenditures and incomes of American consumers.

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The survey publishes the itemized expenditures of what it refers to as “consumer units,” which include “all members of a particular household who are related by blood, marriage, adoption, or other legal arrangements,” or “a person living alone or sharing a household with others or living as a roomer in a private home or lodging house or in a permanent living quarters in a hotel or motel, but who is financially independent,” or “two or more persons living together who use their income to make joint expenditure decisions.” The BLS said that a consumer unit generally refers to a family…

Source: NWO Report

Philadelphia Tax Makes Soda More Expensive Than Beer

https://i1.wp.com/freebeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Pepsi.jpgPhiladelphia’s tax on sugary drinks has made soda more expensive than beer in the city.

The Tax Foundation released a new study on the excise tax last week, finding that the 1.5-cent per ounce tax has fallen short of revenue projections, cost jobs, and has forced some Philadelphians to drive outside the city to buy groceries.

The study finds that the tax is 24 times higher than the Pennsylvania tax rate on beer.

“Purchases of beer are also now less expensive than nonalcoholic beverages subject to the tax in the city,” according to the study, written by Courtney Shupert and Scott Drenkard. “Empirical evidence from a 2012 journal article suggests that soda taxes can push consumers to alcohol, meaning it is likely the case that consumers are switching to alcoholic beverages as a result of the tax. The paper, aptly titled From Coke to Coors, further shows that switching from soda to beer increases total caloric intake, even as soda taxes are generally aimed at caloric reduction.”

The Tax Foundation points out that unlike most cities, Philadelphia passed the tax specifically to raise revenue, not to fight obesity. The city even includes diet sodas in its tax, as a way to raise money for pre-kindergarten programs.

However, less than half of the $39.4 million collected since the tax went into effect on Jan. 1 has gone to education funding.

“[T]he tax was originally promoted as a vehicle to raise funds for prekindergarten education, but in practice it awards just 49 percent of the soda tax revenues to local pre-K programs,” Shupert and Drenkard write. “Another 20 percent of the soda tax revenues fund government employee benefits or city programs, while the rest of the money will go towards parks, libraries, and community schools.”

Collections from the soda tax are also well below original projections of $92 million per year, due to tax avoidance.

“Soda sales in Philadelphia have also declined since the tax went into effect at the beginning of 2017, threatening the long-run sustainability of the tax,” Shupert and Drenkard write. “According to some local distributors and retailers, sales have declined by nearly 50 percent. This is likely primarily due to higher prices, which discourage purchasing beverages in the city.”

Earlier this year PepsiCo announced it was laying off up to 100 workers because of the tax, which the company blames for costing a 43 percent drop in business.

Philadelphians are also no longer able to buy 12-packs or 2-liters of Pepsi products in grocery stores due to the tax, the Tax Foundation said.

“From an operational standpoint, the tax rollout continues to create problems for the city as collections have come in less than projected,” the Tax Foundation added. “In July, city officials lowered beverage tax revenue projections by 14 percent, leaving the pre-kindergarten programs that the tax promised to fund in jeopardy.”

“Furthermore, soda taxes are regressive, hurting low-income earners the most. Philadelphia’s experience serves as a cautionary tale for other areas weighing similar beverage taxes,” the group said.

Source: The Washington Free Beacon