Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Death tax abolished in Russia: "President Vladimir Putin will in the next few days sign off on a law newly approved by both chambers of parliament that does away with inheritance tax, as well as canceling payment of gift tax by close relatives and spouses. Other transactions will remain subject to real-estate, vehicle, stock, equity and participatory interest gift tax of 13%, the same as Russia's unified income tax rate. The law, due to come into force on January 1, 2006, was drafted by the government with record speed after Putin stated in his April state of the nation address that he thought that it would be a good decision to abolish the inheritance tax".

Death tax boneheads: "Florida Governor Jeb Bush ought to send his counterpart in Connecticut, Republican Jodi Rell, a thank-you note with a box of chocolates and a ribbon tied around it. Last month Ms. Rell marked her first anniversary as Governor by signing into law a tax bill that might as well be called the "Palm Beach Economic Development Act." The law requires that any resident of the Nutmeg State with an estate of more than $2 million pay a death tax of up to 16%--merely for the privilege of dying in Connecticut. The legislators in Hartford hope that the tax will raise $150 million in revenue each year--money that will come in only if the legislators in Hartford are also planning to build a Berlin Wall around the state. Otherwise, expect a stampede of retirees and family businesses out of Connecticut into the many states without a death tax, such as Florida, which has a constitutional prohibition against estate taxes. Thanks to the Connecticut death levy, a successful small business owner with a $10 million estate can save about $1 million by packing up and heading south".

Hear here!: "In a hall of fame for corporate-welfare queens, the sugar industry would occupy a place of special honor. For decades, powerful sugar growers have gotten politicians to enrich them with a protectionist scheme that inflates domestic sugar prices to the detriment of American consumers, American manufacturers, American farmers, and the American economy as a whole. In that congeries of absurdities known as U.S. farm policy, sugar's sweet deal stands out as perhaps the most damaging and least defensible program. Now, more than ever, it needs to be scrapped".

Dumb CAFTA opponents: "Here's what a leading Democrat opponent said in opposition to CAFTA: "I don't see any benefits for workers, for sugar people," said Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon, who said his family owed everything to 225 years of sugar production in his home state of Louisiana. "We've given away textiles. We've given away steel. We've given away fruits and vegetables," Melancon said. "Now let's just go ahead and give away everything and be dependent on every other country for our food and our defense." The Democrat Melencon forgot his kindergarten economics. If each American were free to trade with Central America for sugar, instead of being forced to buy high priced American sugar, each American would be richer by the amount saved on sugar. The extra money that had been spent on sugar, could then be spent on other things to raise their standard of living. Yes, American sugar workers would lose their jobs but employment would be stimulated in others industries where the extra money was being spent. This is the nature of economic progress. There is no net lose in jobs. We have had growing free trade, despite Democratic insanity, for 200 years. Unemployment is now at 4.9%, a 30 year low. Homeownership is at an all time peak, average home size is bigger than ever, $3000 TV sets are now common, there are now more cars than drivers"

New Zealand expert highlights inferiority of European social model: In a recent speech, Roger Kerr of the New Zealand Business Roundtable compares the robust performance of Anglo-American economies with the stagnant - and statist - economies of Japan and continental Europe. Kerr cites the work of Olaf Gersemann's Cowboy Capitalism: European Myths, American Realities to dispel myths that American success is associated with social costs: "The big world story of the last two decades of the twentieth century was the demise of communism as an economic system and power bloc, and with it the end of the cold war between East and West. At the same time, another story has been unfolding, not as dramatic as the ending of an entire political and economic system but still of great long-term significance. That story is about the pre-eminent success of the Anglo-American economies (which include not just the United States but also Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom) and the relative failure of the various versions of the so-called social market economy or managed capitalism in Continental Europe and Japan. In the last dozen years or so, economies based on free trade, private ownership, light regulation and moderate taxation have opened up what looks increasingly like a decisive lead over economies characterised by active state partnership with business and trade unions in steering the economy, high levels of taxation and social spending, a greater role for banks than for stock markets in corporate ownership and control, and intrusive regulation of business. ...I fully expect American ideas and practices to continue to exert in the twenty-first century the all-pervasive influence they did in the twentieth century and to set the standards by which all societies are judged, however much they may also be resented and subject to bogus criticism. It seems unlikely that hard-working Chinese, Indians and other Asians will be attracted to the European model"

No comments: