This post was published at Reluctant Preppers
The most important deadline that we have faced so far is at midnight on Sunday, but I am not going to ask you for any money. I just want to say thank you to everyone that has donated, volunteered and prayed over the past six months. Without all of your efforts, it would have been impossible for us to be within striking distance of victory here in Idaho’s first congressional district with just a little more than four months to go until election day. When I first announced that I would be running, many people told me that it would be impossible for a political outsider to win in this district, but we are proving the naysayers wrong. We are so far ahead of where we thought that we would be at this point, and our opponents are literally freaking outover how well we are doing.
As the December 31st deadline approaches, my opponents have been sending out email after email in a desperate scramble for money. The reason why I know this is true is because we are on all of their email lists.
But I have decided that we are not going to do the same thing. Yes, we need support just as badly as they do, but I am simply going to trust the Lord that the resources will come in. We have already told our supporters what our needs are, and we are going to trust that the Lord will move in the hearts of those that are supposed to give.
The stakes in this race are exceedingly high. As we look at the numbers, it appears likely that one particular opponent is likely to emerge victorious if I do not win next May. If he wins, it will be a complete and utter disaster for the Trump movement.
This particular opponent fought to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, his campaign has repeatedly attacked my faith, and by lying over and over again he has demonstrated that he simply does not have the moral character to serve in Congress.
This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on December 30th, 2017.
When it comes to the global economy, few things matter as much as China, the trajectory of its economy and especially the pace and impulse of its credit creation, which is ironic because virtually all data coming out of China is fabricated and manipulated, and thoroughly untrustworthy, either on purpose or “by accident.”
The latest example of the former was highlighted over the weekend, when we discussed that a nationwide Chinese audit found some local governments inflated revenue levels and raised debt illegally, once again making a mockery of China’s credibility on the global stage. As Bloomberg reported ten cities, counties or districts in the Yunnan, Hunan and Jilin provinces, as well as the southwestern city of Chongqing, inflated fiscal revenues by 1.55 billion yuan, the National Audit Office said in a statement on its website dated Dec. 8.
An even more blatant example of the former was highlighted in October ahead of China’s Communist Party Congress, when the local securities watchdog literally “advised” some loss-making companies to avoid publishing quarterly results ahead of the Congress as authorities sought to ensure stock-market stability during the critical gathering of China’s political elite. As a result, at least 17 Shenzhen-listed companies announced delays to their earnings reports from Oct. 20 to Oct. 24, up from three during the same period last year.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Wed, 12/27/2017.
At last, tax reform is happening! Last week, President Donald Trump celebrated the passage of the most important legislation so far of his presidency.
The final bill falls far short of the ‘file on a postcard’ promise of Trump’s campaign. It even falls short of the bill trotted out by Congressional Republicans just a few weeks ago. It is, nevertheless, the most significant tax overhaul in more than a decade.
Corporations and most individual taxpayers will see lower overall rates. That’s the good news.
Unfortunately, there is also some not so good news investors need to be aware of.
Because no spending cuts will be attached to ‘pay’ for the tax rate reductions, the legislation will grow the budget deficit by an estimated $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion over the next decade. The actual number could end up being smaller…or bigger, depending on how the economy performs. But more red ink will spill.
This post was published at GoldSeek on Tuesday, 26 December 2017.
Will Wilkinson, the vice president for policy at the Niskanen Center, does not like the tax bill just passed by Congress. Writing in The New York Times, he finds the legislation ‘notably generous to corporations, high earners, inheritors of large estates and the owners of private jets.’
Wilkinson has discovered a surprising source for the legislation he dislikes so much. It is none other than the libertarian idea, promoted by Murray Rothbard and Ayn Rand, that taxation is theft. Under their theory of ‘absolute’ property rights, taxation was ‘morally criminalized.’ Democratic majorities, in this view, cannot override property rights.
Wilkinson rejects this account. ‘The idea that there is an inherent tension between democracy and the integrity of property rights is wildly misguided.’ Democracy is a means for the poor and middle class to protect themselves from exploitative elites. Democracy is a relatively recent innovation; in pre-democratic states, ruling elites exploited the ‘lower orders.’ Those not in the ruling elite need the redistributive democratic state for protection.
The fault is no doubt mine, but I find Wilkinson’s line of thought difficult to follow. How does the thought that taxation is morally wrong underlie a tax bill? If you reject taxation, would you not oppose taxes rather than enact new taxes? Perhaps what Wilkinson has in mind is this: in present circumstances, Republicans under nefarious libertarian influence could not proceed all the way to abolition of taxation. The best they could manage is not to tax the well-off as much as Wilkinson thinks appropriate.
This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 12/21/2017.
Last night the Senate passed the Republican proposed tax plan, a major political victory for Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress.
At the Mises Wire, we have featured numerous articles pointing out many of the fallacies involved with the general debate on the issue of “tax reform.” For example, the absurdity of “revenue neutral” reform, the danger of raising rates through eliminating loop hopes, the fallacy of trying to address the deficit through eliminating deductions on state and local taxes, and the general notion that tax breaks can be equated to tax subsidies. While the Republican bill does fall for some of these traps, the result of the bill as a whole is a genuine reduction in the tax burden for the majority of Americans. That is always something worth celebrating.
There are additional benefits to be found within the bill as well.
For example, the elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate is a small, but significant, step to improving the American healthcare system. As I noted in March, when Paul Ryan’s attempt at Obamacare reform failed, the rise of direct primary care and other market solutions meant that the best thing the GOP could do is simply provide as much freedom as possible for Americans to opt out of government-managed insurance markets:
Given that this is happening naturally on the market already, the legislative focus for those in Washington concerned about American healthcare should be preventing any future laws and regulations that would destroy this model going forward. Further, rather than trying to completely overhaul Obamacare, simply eliminating the individual mandate tax and allowing Health Savings Accounts to be used for healthcare membership would be subtle ways of empowering the market to revolutionize American medicine. This should be coupled with real tax cuts, not ‘revenue neutral reform’ to help Americans keep their own hard-earned money to help pay for it.
This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 12/20/2017.
Update: In a vote that almost exactly mirrored yesterday’s results, the House once again passed the final Trump tax bill – formerly known as the conference agreement on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – by a vote of 224-201.
As the Financial Times pointed out, “the vote gives the president a longed-for legislative victory to carry into his second year, one whose scope matches the radical reforms of healthcare and Wall Street regulation achieved by his predecessor Barack Obama.”
But the tax bill is already as divisive as Mr Obama’s achievements, ensuring 2018 will be dominated by electoral sparring over whether it will help middle-class families, as Republicans claim, or will deliver further riches to the wealthy and powerful, as Democrats say.
Mr Trump said at a ‘celebration’ cabinet meeting that people would begin seeing the results of the tax bill in February when adjustments to their after-tax income started appearing in pay checks. ‘We got it done,’ he said, thanking congressional leaders.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 20, 2017.
As the House prepares to hold its second vote on the final version of the Republican tax plan, Fox Business and Dow Jones Newswires are reporting that President Donald Trump might wait until early next year to sign the bill once it reaches his desk. His reason? By delaying the signing, Trump would effectively push certain spending cuts to programs like Medicare until 2019.
At issue are so-called “pay as you go,” or “pay-go,” budget rules that could be triggered by deficits in the tax bill. Congressional Republicans are preparing a separate fix to waive the rules after they finish the tax bill. But – given their already jam-packed legislative schedule – if Congress fails to pass the waiver before its year-end recess, one way to delay the cuts would be to wait until January to sign the bill.
If successful, the waiver would likely be attached to Congress’s ‘continuing resolution’ bill that would keep the government funded through Jan. 19.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 20, 2017.
Barring some unforeseen catastrophe (or another floor-vote surprise akin to Sen. John McCain’s last minute decision to strike down the Senate’s plan to repeal and replace Obamacare), Congressional Republicans appear all but certain to pass the reconciled version of President Donald Trump’s tax-cut plan – the first time Congress has successfully passed comprehensive tax reform since 1986.
With their self-imposed Friday deadline looming, the Republicans’ Senate leadership managed to secure commitments from several holdouts, including Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Utah Sen. Mike Lee.
At last count, the only Senator who hasn’t committed to a ‘yes’ vote is Arizona’s Jeff Flake. Flake famously delivered a scathing speech condemning President Trump from the floor of the Senate after announcing that he would not seek another term. He has been an outspoken Republican critic of the Trump agenda, per Reuters.
Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Corker – the only senator who voted against the Senate’s original tax bill – said late last week that he would vote for the current bill after several provisions were added that would benefit him personally, along with a handful of other Republicans.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 19, 2017.
Yesterday we joked that with the US House of Representatives set to vote for the GOP tax bill on Tuesday, markets would “price in” the same tax legislation they have been pricing in every day for the past year, all over again…
Get ready for US markets to price in tax reform all over again in just a few short hours
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) December 19, 2017
… and sure enough, that’s precisely the narrative being spun this morning to explain why US futures and global stocks are once again, drumroll, higher. To wit, from Bloomberg: “European stocks struggled to build on Monday’s jump as the common currency advanced, while U. S. equity futures edged higher as the prospects for tax cuts in the world’s largest economy continued to buoy sentiment.” Of course, US equity futures have been doing that precisely that every single day for weeks and months on end, but now that Congressional passage finally appears imminent, it may finally be time to stop buying the endless rumor and sell the news. As a reminder, on Monday Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said she’ll back the GOP tax bill, a move that all but clinches the votes necessary to pass the legislation. Both the House and Senate plan to vote by Wednesday on final legislation before sending it to the president.
As markets grind toward the end of a stellar year for global stocks, the biggest focus for investors still chasing gains is the progress of U. S. tax reform, which is inching toward a denouement. The House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the tax bill following a floor debate that morning. It then goes to the Senate, where Republican leaders intend to bring it up as soon as they get it. ‘It will help sustain a very strong year of earnings growth for U. S. and for global equities,’ said Timothy Graf, State Street Bank & Trust head of macro strategy EMEA., speaking on Bloomberg TV. ‘It will keep sentiment robust.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 19, 2017.
It’s not just the ultra rich, as well as a dazed and confused Bob Corker who is set to reap a $1+ million windfall from the passage of a tax bill which he opposed until just days ago, who will benefit from the passage of tax reform: according to Goldman Sachs among the biggest beneficiaries from the GOP tax cuts are, drumroll, the big banks. In an analysis from Goldman’s Richard Ramsden, the FDIC-insured hedge fund writes that based on its “preliminary analysis of the current tax bill under consideration by Congress, our EPS estimates for our coverage would increase by 13% on average if the US statutory rate were to be reduced to the proposed 21%, all else being equal.”
proposed tax changes (e.g., the base erosion tax, the DTA
and deemed repatriation), as well as the prospect of the bill itself
changing from the current proposal.
This is shown in the table below:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 18, 2017.
This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Kunstler. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
The Tax ‘Reform’ bill working its way painfully out the digestive system of congress like a sigmoid fistula, ought be re-named the US Asset-stripping Assistance Act of 2017, because that’s what is about to splatter the faces of the waiting public, most of whom won’t have a personal lobbyist / tax lawyer by their sides holding a protective tarpulin during the climactic colonic burst of legislation.
Sssshhhh…. The media has not groked this, but the economy is actually collapsing, and the nova-like expansion of the stock markets is exactly the sort of action you might expect in a system getting ready to blow. Meanwhile, the more visible rise of the laughable scam known as crypto-currency, is like the plume of smoke coming out of Vesuvius around 79 AD – an amusing curiosity to the citizens of Pompeii below, going about their normal activities, eating pizza, buying slaves, making love – before hellfire rained down on them.
Whatever the corporate tax rate might be, it won’t be enough to rescue the Ponzi scheme that governing has become, with its implacable costs of empire. So the real aim here is to keep up appearances at all costs just a little while longer while the table scraps of a four-hundred-year-long New World banquet get tossed to the hogs of Wall Street and their accomplices. The catch is that even hogs busy fattening up don’t have a clue about their imminent slaughter.
This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by James Howard Kunstler ‘ December 18, 2017.
Update: in addition to the previously leaked highlights (see below), Republicans on Friday evening released the final version of their legislation to slash tax rates for corporations and individuals. The 1,097 page document, containing the bill and an explanatory statement, was crafted by the House-Senate conference committee. The bill is expected to come up for votes in Congress next week.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 15, 2017.
With Bloomberg writing this morning that “Mystery, Suspense Mount” two days after President Donald Trump told the American public that Congress was ‘just days away’ on tax reform, two more senators – including one-time Trump rival – Marco Rubio appear to be getting cold feet – much to the market’s chagrin. Yesterday afternoon, stocks dropped and the VIX jumped above 10 as Rubio and Utah’s Mike Lee said they had reservations about the draft bill being put together by the conference committee.
Worries about the bill’s impact on the deficit have persisted, and if anything, they only intensified after the Treasury Department released a laughable one-page report about the tax plan’s impact on GDP and revenue that was widely ridiculed.
As the fast-moving Republican tax package has evolved, it has tilted increasingly toward benefiting businesses and wealthy taxpayers, a trend that aides were saying privately is a growing concern for some lawmakers. Provisions for offsetting the revenue costs of last-minute changes also were becoming worrisomely unclear, they said.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 15, 2017.
Congressional Republicans finally reached a deal on the tax cuts, the biggest reform in 30 years. This sets the stage for a vote next week. The U. S. corporate tax rate was changed upward moving to 21%. The top[ tax rate will be reduced marginally from 39.6% to 37%.
The corporate alternative minimum tax will probably be repealed. The proposed $10,000 cap for state and local property tax deductions should survive and the cap on mortgage interest deductions will be set at $750,000 on home loans, and provide the owners of pass-through businesses with a tax rate of 20%.
Of course, the criticism from Democrats is the typical Marxist slant that the Republican plan benefits the rich and corporations rather than the middle class. Small business employs 70% of the civil workforce and that is the engine that creates jobs. The top rate moves down from 39.6^ to just 36%, so that is nothing to write home about, yet the Democrats will do so anyway.
This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 14, 2017.
Most of New York City’s largest developers are probably optimistic about the near future now that one of their own is occupying the most powerful office in the world. Bu, this very specific group of taxpayers stands to benefit immensely from several of the provisions that have appeared in the Senate or House plans: Repealing the AMT and estate taxes would allow them (and their heirs) to shave a pile of percentage points off their tax bills. And those are just two examples.
To be sure, the tax plan’s passage isn’t assured – now that Alabama Democrat Doug Jones has defeated Republican Roy Moore. With Jones expected to be seated some time after New Year’s, the time pressure facing Republicans has intensified. Because at the start of the next Congress, their already precarious two-vote majority will shrink to one. Beyond this, Republicans haven’t agreed on a final version of the bill yet, and existing differences between moderates, deficit hawks and conservatives within the party could prove insurmountable.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 13, 2017.
A conference committee has been merging the tax bills that were passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, and even though we could still see some minor changes, it looks like the major parameters of the final bill have now been agreed upon. The final bill will be known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and we are being told that it will be one of the largest tax cuts in U. S. history. Unfortunately, the impact on our tax bills will be relatively minor, but at least it is a step in the right direction. The following summary of the major provisions in the final bill comes from AOL…
A less generous corporate rate cut: Republicans may cut the corporate rate to 21% from the current federal rate of 35%, instead of the 20% proposed in both the house and Senate bills. The new rate would start in 2018. A lower top individual tax rate: The top individual bracket would drop to 37% instead of the 38.5% proposed in the Senate bill. It would still be down from the current 39.6%. Keep the estate tax, but raise the threshold to qualify: Instead of phasing out the estate tax over time, like the House bill, the compromise bill would instead simply increase the threshold for an estate to qualify – from $5.6 million to around $11 million. That aligns with the Senate bill. Repeal the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT): The corporate AMT in the Senate bill was a sore spot for many companies because it would have negated the effects of many popular deductions and credits, like the research and development credit.
This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on December 13th, 2017.
After an early slide last night following the stunning news that Doug Jones had defeated Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama special election, becoming the first Democratic senator from Alabama in a quarter century and reducing the GOP’s Senate majority to the absolute minimum 51-49, US equity futures have quickly rebounded and are once again in the green with the S&P index set for another record high, as European stocks ease slightly, and Asian stocks gain ahead of today’s Fed rate hike and US CPI print.
‘The big issue now is whether Republicans will push through their tax bill before Christmas,’ said Sue Trinh, head of Asia foreign-exchange strategy at RBC Capital Markets in Hong Kong. ‘And more broadly, U. S. dollar bulls will be more worried that this marks a Democratic revival into 2018 mid-term Congressional elections.’
The negative sentiment faded quick, however, because according to Bloomberg, despite the loss of a Senate seat, it probably won’t affect the expected vote on business-friendly tax cuts, however, as the winner won’t be certified until late December.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 13, 2017.
In her testimony to the Congress Economic Committee on November 29, 2017, the Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that the neutral rate appears to be quite low by historical standards. From this, she concluded that the federal funds rate would not have to increase much to reach a neutral stance.
The neutral rate currently appears to be quite low by historical standards, implying that the federal funds rate would not have to rise much further to get to a neutral policy stance. If the neutral level rises somewhat over time, as most FOMC participants expect, additional gradual rate hikes would likely be appropriate over the next few years to sustain the economic expansion.
It is widely accepted that by means of suitable monetary policies the US central bank can navigate the economy towards a growth path of economic stability and prosperity. The key ingredient in achieving this is price stability. Most experts are of the view that what prevents the attainment of price stability are the fluctuations of the federal funds rate around the neutral rate of interest.
The neutral rate, it is held, is one that is consistent with stable prices and a balanced economy. What is required is Fed policy makers successfully targeting the federal funds rate towards the neutral interest rate.
This framework of thinking, which has its origins in the 18th century writings of British economist Henry Thornton1, was articulated in late 19th century by the Swedish economist Knut Wicksell.
This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on December 11, 2017.