Marilyn Monroe on the set of River of No Return.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I don’t know about anyone else, but I find this picture of Marilyn stimulating. It certainly gets a rise out of me. (For a larger version of this picture see here.)

Unlike Ms. Monroe, however, the various stimulus packages don’t seem to be getting a rise out of anybody. The market averages are consistently down, and the value of everyone’s 401(k), including mine, is sliding into oblivion. Now comes word that GM and Chrysler, having blown through the billions given them back in December want additional billions, and that the Obamessiah, whose mere presence and charm was supposed to make the oceans rise, wants to stave off foreclosures. Essentially he wants to make me pay for someone else’s mortgage while I sit back and watch my retirement income vanish.

I had words to say about the auto bailout a while back, and I suggested how the government could provide a stimulus.

  1. Real tax reform. No corporate tax. No capital gains tax. A simple, flat tax on income. No corporate tax, because that is not really a tax on the evil corporations, it’s a tax on the people who buy their products. The tax is calculated and added into the price of everything you buy, so you’re paying the tax for the corporation. No capital gains in order to stimulate investment.
  2. Actual spending cuts. Not cuts in the growth of spending. As a former government employee and contractor I can testify that there are enormous periods of dead time in any government office. Many of the programs do not actually work, and the best thing to do is get rid of them and the related personnel.
  3. Sell off non-performing lessons. The Post Office is a good place to start on the national level. The schools are a good place to start on the state and local level.

Harry Browne long ago pointed out that there was little difference between taxation and theft or extortion. Consider this:

—Hey, Tom, you ain’t been paying us regularly. You know we gets a percentage of what you make from this place.
—Yeah, well I’ve been having a hard time make ends meet. The market’s down, the mortgage is upside down. Times are tough.
—Yeah, I know but the boys and me. Well, we got some special services that we do in the neighborhood. So look, you gets the money together by Friday, or Vinnie and Rocko here are going to see you. They might do some serious damage to this place of yours. Repossessing it, if ya know what I mean.

How does that differ from the underlying rationale of income tax?

Or consider this:

—Hey Tom, I like that new car ya got. What’d she cost ya?
—About 35K.
—Yeah, that much. Listen I gotta tell ya, I’d hate for anything to happen to that nice car of yours, so why don’t you give me 1,500, and I’ll see that nothing happens to that nice car of yours. Like ya know, having it towed away.

How does that differ from personal property tax.

Taxes may be a necessary evil, but they are an evil, and they’re evil whether they’re collected by the state, the county, the feds, or Vinnie and Luigi. The best thing to do to get the economy moving again is to put as much of their money back in the hands of the people as possible.