TAX REFORM

When I was getting my education in accounting and economics, I was taught tax policy had two functions: revenue collection and social policy. How taxes are collected affect social behavior. This is an important point and is often overlooked. They economic system will adapt to any changes in the tax code with corresponding social consequences. There is also the issue of unintended consequences.

I believe our spending priorities and tax policies are long overdue for change. If we don’t make choices that will be very unpopular with the large political contributors, we are doomed to wallow in the quagmire of social discontent and suffering for the foreseeable future.

As it is nearly impossible to detach social policy from tax policy, my comments over the next few posts will touch on both. I have several ideas ping-ponging around in my head, which I will be sharing. I haven’t written them down yet, so I don’t know how many there are. I will try to make each post short and digestible because I know the technicalities of tax law can be very boring.

One final note today: When I see lists of Western countries with high tax rates and list of countries whose population is relatively happy, there seems to be a high correlation. One of the axioms of statistics is “correlation is not causation”, but I think in this case, there is. The social safety net these tax revenues can provide relieve general stress levels of most of the population and allow happiness to shine through.

Accumulated Earnings Tax

Someone is probably going to tell me why this idea doesn’t work, but I don’t see a reason now. Section 531 of the IRS Code levies a tax on excess accumulated earnings. I will quote from an IRS document here: (https://www.irs.gov/irm/part4/irm_04-010-013)

Accumulated Earnings Tax (IRC 531)

  • The purpose of the accumulated earnings tax is to prevent a corporation from accumulating its earnings and profits beyond the reasonable needs of the business for the purpose of avoiding income taxes on its stockholders.
  • Liability for the accumulated earnings tax is based on the following two conditions:
  • The corporation must have retained more earnings and profits than it can justify for the reasonable needs of the business
  • There must be an intent on the part of the corporation to avoid the income tax on its stockholders by accumulating earnings and profits instead of distributing them
  • Any corporation within a chain of corporations can be subject to the accumulated earnings tax. A subsidiary corporation can be subject to the accumulated earnings tax even though the parent corporation is not subject to the accumulated earnings tax and vice versa
  • The accumulated earnings tax is computed on the corporation’s accumulated taxable income for the taxable year in question
  • The accumulated taxable income is the corporation’s taxable income with various adjustments. These adjustments are made primarily for the purpose of arriving at an amount that corresponds more closely to financial reality and thus, measures more accurately the corporation’s dividend paying capacity for the year.

The audit guidelines for this specifically exclude “sleight of hand” type adjustments that don’t affect their ability to pay dividends. The tax is 20% of excess retained earnings.

I would submit that share buy back programs are prima facie evidence the corporations have excess earnings that should have been distributed as dividends and thereby subject to income tax. My “quick and dirty” analysis shows this might generate $100B in revenue per year. This would not require any new legislation, just enforcement of existing law. Why hasn’t this been investigated?

END GAME

Most of us have seen what the end game of capitalism looks like. Just the think about the old board game “Monopoly”. One person with all the marbles. We are in an accelerating phase of this process. If we don’t want to all end up de facto slaves, we need to erect some boundaries very soon. Just something to think about for awhile and then take what action you can. I leave you with a couple of poems.

POEM 3

Love envelopes you like a cocoon

To its powers we are not immune

Love delivers warmth to make it through the night

Love creates forgiveness

Love is the foundation of empathy

Love bonds in strength

Love is the nemesis of stress

Love is the opioid of humanity

Love is never wanting to say goodbye

Love rolls in like fog, quietly, unstoppable

Love is support in trying times

Love accepts the differences

Love heals wounds, old and new

Love can make you crazy

Love is the glue that holds life together

Love is indescribable bliss

Love creates serenity

Love creates its own glow

Poem 4

Life is what happens when making other plans

The trick is to avoid too much strife

Relax into the wildlife

Live now, not in the afterlife

Life is yours to live

You only have one life

Make life your basis for fun

Live the life uncommon

Any occasion is cause for fun

Keep everything in proportion

Don’t succumb to superstition

Life can meet the definition of heaven

A healthy attitude is the only condition

Don’t spoil life with too much ambition

Attitudes are meant to be flexible, not frozen

Don’t let responsibilities become a prison

In your life, nay-sayers are the villain,

Just attack with a happy disposition

Life was not meant to be lived in isolation

Join with your partner in celebration

It’s time to surrender to the joys of life

Let the glimmer of happiness shine on you

With your happiness, don’t be a gambler

Be at peace, enjoy the rapture

Being happy is not sappy

Happiness is about understanding

Life is about collecting experiences

Life is about accepting the differences

Live your best life

Don’t deal with regrets

Another day

When I post, my intention is not to tell you what is on my mind. It is to encourage you to think, to create your own meaning. I am posting a poem without a title specifically because I want you to create your own meaning.

No one can put it in words

When it brings a moment of joy

When it kicks us in the teeth

We keep coming back, we know it’s worth

Man gains resolve from it

Woman lives with it in her blood

It’s the force that created civilization

It’s the crucible of life

It gives us the will to continue

Denying it makes it stranger

It’s the cement between people

It’s the motivation to create

Don’t think about it, be it

Don’t watch it, live it

Don’t shun it, receive it

Give it, it feels great

Accept the feeling, roll around in it

Smell its sweetness

Taste its bitterness

Touch its force

See its bliss

Hear its softness

People live for it

People die for it

Wanting it to end belongs to neither

Try to live without it

New Beginning

It’s been a long time since I have posted on a regular basis. My intent is to start again. I have been reading some books on how to write because I have very little formal training. I am trying to incorporate it into my writing.

I am entering a new chapter of my life. I rented my condo and moved into an RV to live full time, the transition period was rushed, and many mistakes were made. It has caused me to develop a new life philosophy: forget yesterday, start today pointed in the desired direction and re-evaluate tomorrow, if appropriate. It boils down to: move on.

More writing is the last piece of the pie to be fit in. I’ve written a few poems over the last month and I will share one here:

Bold New Life

A new life on the road

I was so bold

It is different than I imagined

Success is certain, I am determined

I must learn to live again

I must proactively use my brain

Lady Karma has finished her drink

She knows where I am, I need to think

I’m in a new paradigm

Adjusting will take a little time

A new life on the road

This could be the best episode

I know not where I go

I wait for the directional arrow to glow

Cruising along, just being mellow

Moving along at a leisurely pace

Unlike early life, this isn’t a race

It’s way too late for saving face

A new life on the road

Go where the river has flowed

Take the path less traveled

Seek out the new or unique

Maybe even touch an antique

What’s the point of being rational?

The goals and experiences are personal

Bob and weave, avoid the strife

New chapter beginning, it’s a new life.

JUST POETRY XXI

63 Making Love

Two souls, melting together

Time is suspended, not watching the weather

Blissfully floating in the intoxicating ether

Both a follower, both a leader

Like an enveloping fever, both a seeker

This is not a journey for the disbeliever

Nor a place for the deceiver

Wanting it to end belongs to neither

Making love, life gets deeper and deeper

64 Soulmate 2

The journey of life, an undetermined fate

Carrying our share of the Universe’s weight

One day, Karma will reveal our soulmate

Many forces will endeavor to complicate

The joy of life, we must rejuvenate

The joy of life is purpose consummate

Life can be easy, do not complicate

Hand in hand, life is intimate

With our soulmate, happiness we generate

Bliss and serenity can be our fate

65 FULL

Having a partner makes us grateful

Time with your partner isn’t stressful

Exploring life together is wonderful

The glass is double half full

Making your blood run youthful

The joys of life are plentiful

The foundation is to be truthful

Once again, life becomes meaningful

The little things in life become delightful

To the Universe, I am thankful

JUST POETRY XX

60 A DAY

It’s another beautiful sunny day

Sure to keep the blues at bay

The cares of the world float away

Do what you must to get to the play

Friendship coffee in a cozy little café

A walk on the windy beach takes me halfway

A positive attitude makes life okay

We live in a perpetual Saturday

Walk with me, it’s not a workday

61 SNOW

The ground is covered by a blanket of snow

Watching out the window, sipping my cocoa

Gently falling, creates its own flow

The peace and tranquility help my happiness grow

Resting my head on a down pillow

The feeling created by a new rainbow

The eternity of time is but a shadow

The serenity of basking in the afterglow

Sometimes, the meaning of life is out the window

62 Soulmate

Somewhere lives my soulmate

To find her is largely up to fate

To achieve nirvana, must suffer many a date

The payoff is worth the wait

Her talents never underestimate

My feelings she will not discombobulate

Together, through life we will navigate

Our mutual growth will be appropriate

It will be great to have a lifetime playmate

CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is the biggest, long term problem facing our planet. It has entered a self-perpetuating loop. The average temperature has been increasing for years. The polar ice caps have shrunk to the point where their reflective value will no longer prevent further melting and rising sea levels. The level of oxygen in the atmosphere is decreasing. It is only a matter of time until the oxygen levels reach a point where human life will not be supported. When this happens, and humans cease to exist. The earth will start to regenerate and over some period of time will revert to the level it was 2000 years ago, with one major difference. We won’t be here.

This is preventable. We probably won’t do what is necessary. We will think we are working hard to prevent this, but not hard enough. Humans won’t dump their sense of entitlement to the fruits our planets offers. To prevent the apocalypse, all humanity must turn substantial resources towards not just reducing carbon emissions, which is the current thinking, but to actively clawing back lost ground. We must plant and maintain billions of trees. We must reduce our consumption of animal protein. We must develop nonharmful sources of energy. We need to stop the production of single use plastics. We need to reduce and eventually stop the consumption of fossil fuels. We must abandon the consumer culture. We can live a fulfilling life. It will just be different than the life we are living now.

LAW ENFORCEMENT REFORM

While a great many of the individuals serving in law enforcement in the United States are good people, there are enough bad actors to give many agencies a bad name. I am coming from a limited experience base, but in dealing with organizations, it’s the people at the top that set the overall tone and if the department is acting badly, enable the bad actors. Top management in various law enforcement agencies should be tasked with equal distribution of justice among all groups, regardless of race, religion, etc.

There should be more thorough psychological testing to weed out poor applicants. The Federal government should fund a thorough evaluation and psychological test of all existing law enforcement officers at both the local and national level to weed out those with violent tendencies and white supremacist leanings.  Officers with multiple complaints in their file for violence or other unacceptable activity should be disciplined or terminated. Officers who just stand by and watch while their partners commit acts of violence should be held accountable. Officers found complicit in civil unrest should be immediately disciplined and/or dismissed. The limited immunity laws need to be addressed and changed if needed to hold officers accountable for intentional acts. If it becomes more apparent bad actions will have consequences, actions will become more in line with what is acceptable. There should be increased training in social skills and hiring of trained social workers to handle non-violent situations. Body cams should be worn by all officers while on duty and it should be a terminatable offence to intentionally turn them off during the performance of duties.

As a society, we need to make law enforcement a welcome addition, not something that various segments of society actually need to fear.

A SYSTEM

It is difficult to write after the events of the past day, but I will try.

Political ideals, social justice and economic principles are all part of a system of running the world or country that each of us has. The systems are unique to each of us. My system is unique to me. It will be slightly different tomorrow based on information and thought garnered today. The writing I do helps me organize my thoughts. Although I can’t define everything that has happened in the last two days, there has probably been a great deal of change in my system.

Our Constitution was the best collective thought 200 years ago. It’s been amended 27 times since then. The process for amending the Constitution is very cumbersome and slow. It was a compromise when written and I believe it has slowly become more out of touch with the needs of our country. In my opinion, it has four major flaws: The electoral college should be abolished, the Senate should be abolished, the ERA should be enacted, and voting guidelines in national elections should be governed by national, consistent laws giving everyone the right to vote.

The United States is supposed to be a democracy ruled by the collective will of the people. Unless the above changes are made, the collective will of the people is not being heard. Many times, in the last 50 years, the person receiving the majority of the votes hasn’t been the president. The electoral college and the Senate are relics of the United States’ slavery past and should be abolished as part of a first step to eliminating systemic racism. With the Senate, a small minority of the American population can control what happens and stymie progress. There is ample evidence of this happening in the last few years.