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Steve Forbes on 2016

July 27, 2015 at 12:55 pm

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Reason has an interview about with Steve Forbes about the 2016 presidential campaign. Mr. Forbes cautions Republican presidential candidates against tax-reform proposals featuring two different rates:

take Rubio: he's put a plan out there but it has two rates instead of one. And when you put two tax rates together, it's like putting two rabbits together—they will multiply. We should have learned that from 1986 when we got it down to two rates. Within a few years, the weeds were growing again. So you've gotta do one. Because if you have one and you want to make a change, you can't say, "Oh, that guy will pay. You won't." And if you're going to make a change, the simplicity is its best defense. If you're gonna make a change, everyone sees what you're doing. Whereas, with the current code today, you can put something in, it'll be two years before somebody discovers it.

Mr. Forbes is also critical of Republican proposals to dramatically expand the child-tax credit:

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Prep School Pay

July 27, 2015 at 11:46 am

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The Boston Globe takes a look at the pay for heads of New England prep schools:

Among leaders of more than 30 top private high schools in New England, the median pay package was nearly $450,000 in 2012, a 23 percent climb from 2009, according to complete data from the most recent tax filings. Some 2013 figures are also available.

The head of Belmont Hill School, a private boys' school with about 440 students, received $700,000 in compensation in 2013, according to the school's latest tax filings. The head of Buckingham Browne & Nichols in Cambridge received $627,000, while the leaders of Deerfield Academy in Western Massachusetts, Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut, and St. Paul's School in New Hampshire were each paid more than $500,000.

At Noble and Greenough, a Dedham prep school with just over 600 students, head of school Robert Henderson Jr. received nearly $1.3 million in salary and compensation in 2012 — an amount that included what a school official said was a one-time only payment.

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Long Term Versus Short Term

July 27, 2015 at 11:40 am

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Responding to my comment in the Hillary Clinton capital gains tax post that "I'm generally sympathetic to the idea that there's too much short-term focus in American business," a FutureOfCapitalism reader-participant-watchdog-community member-content co-creator wrote:

I am not sure how you how you know this or measure it. But a look at NFLX, AMZN, GOOG, and FB--just to name a few--would suggest that these companies think very long term and perhaps have an investment horizon that exceeds that of their investors!

Even INTC, which is facing very sharp changes in its markets, is very thoughtful about how it invests. It costs more than $1 billion to build a fab, a decision they do not make lightly.

I believe managers of these and quite a few other companies are incredibly good at what they do. I am not sure corporate management has ever been better. These managers are very good at considering the trade-offs between short, medium, and long-term opportunities despite a more rapid rate of change--I would assert--than any prior era.

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Hillary's Capital Gains Tax Increase

July 24, 2015 at 2:06 pm

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"Hillary Adds Capital Gains Complexity With Tax Rise, 6-Year Wait," is the headline that Bloomberg hangs over its news article about Secretary Clinton's speech in Manhattan today. The negativity is justified by the details:

For Americans in the top tax bracket, assets held for less than two years would be taxed at the top ordinary-income tax rate of 43.4 percent, according to the campaign.

The rate would drop to 39.8 percent after two years, 35.8 percent after three years, 31.8 percent after four years and 27.8 percent after five years. Taxpayers would have to hold onto assets for at least six years to get the 23.8 percent rate, which would remain the lowest available.

Clinton wants to push capital gains taxes higher than the 28 percent proposed earlier this year by President Barack Obama -- and higher than the 20 percent maximum Clinton advocated in her 2008 campaign for president.

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In GOP Field. Where's Emma Lazarus?

July 24, 2015 at 11:29 am

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The Daily News has published an op-ed I wrote about the Republican presidential candidates and immigration:

The Republican Party is in danger of sinking into the swamp of nativism. It's not just Donald Trump, who soared to the top of presidential polls after characterizing Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals.
Two other leading Republican contenders whom I saw campaigning in New Hampshire this month aren't much better.

Please read the whole thing here.

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Scott Walker and Arthur Brooks' Conservative Heart

July 23, 2015 at 1:05 pm

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If the governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, gets elected president of the United States, he might want to think about giving the president of the American Enterprise Institute, Arthur C. Brooks, the Medal of Freedom. Or at least sending Mr. Brooks a really nice thank-you present.

Governor Walker's presidential announcement speech, delivered July 13 and repeated by Mr. Walker essentially word-for-word over and over again on the campaign trail, tracks remarkably closely with Mr. Brooks' book The Conservative Heart: How To Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America, whose publication date was July 14. The following side-by-side comparison details the similarities in language and substance, which have not been reported elsewhere:

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Mass. Millionaires Tax

July 23, 2015 at 10:15 am

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Labor unions — SEIU, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the American Federation of Teachers-Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts AFL-CIO — are pushing a November 2018 ballot initiative that would raise the Massachusetts state income tax rate, currently a flat 5.15%, by four percentage points for taxpayers with earnings more than $1 million. The Boston Globe reports:

About 14,000 Massachusetts taxpayers reported taxable income of $1 million or more in 2013, the last year for which a breakdown is available. Many of them were clustered in Boston and wealthy suburbs such as Newton, Wellesley, and Weston.

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Too Good for Television

July 22, 2015 at 10:45 am

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The New York Times reports on Barack Obama's seventh appearance on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show":

In a segment that officials at the show said would appear only online (the episode was scheduled to be broadcast at 11 p.m. Eastern time), Mr. Stewart grilled the president on why government does not work more effectively.

"Government works better now than it ever has, given what we ask it to do," Mr. Obama said in response to a series of questions about lapses in service delivery by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"We've been able to systematically add resources to the V.A.," Mr. Obama said, echoing remarks from earlier in the day in a speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars' national convention in Pittsburgh. "You still have this massive structure with millions of people being served."

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The Church Versus Christie

July 21, 2015 at 1:28 pm

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The libertarian public interest law firm the Institute for Justice is representing the archdiocese of Newark in a lawsuit against the Christie administration challenging a law signed by Governor Christie that bars religious institutions from selling cemetary headstones. NJ.com has a news article and the Institute for Justice has a press release and a video.

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Rand Paul Versus the Tax Code

July 21, 2015 at 12:51 pm

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Senator Rand Paul is not someone I'm a big fan of, but even so I think this is the best campaign commercial I've seen so far this cycle:

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O'Malley's Speeches

July 21, 2015 at 10:49 am

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The Cato Institute's David Boaz highlights a Washington Post article about how the former governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley, who is now running for president as a Democrat, earned $147,812 in speaking fees from "Environmental Systems Research Institute, a company that makes mapping software that O'Malley heavily employed as governor as part of an initiative to use data and technology to guide policy decisions."

One ESRI contract with the state of Maryland was worth as much as $3,702,000.

Link via Walter Olson.

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Alito on Liberty

July 21, 2015 at 10:28 am

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The latest Conversations With Bill Kristol interview is with Justice Alito. In addition to detailing the behind-the-scenes nuts and bolts of how the Supreme Court justices discuss and decide cases and assign opinions, the justice talks about his concerns about the court's decision to find a constitutional right to gay marriage in the "liberty" protection of the 14th Amendment:

the decision was based on, really, one word in the 14th Amendment. The Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment prohibits the deprivation of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. So this was all based on liberty and on a substantive protection of liberty, not a procedural protection, which is what you might think the Due Process Clause was about, but substantively the Constitution protects certain liberties, the Court held. And the right to same-sex marriage is one of those liberties.

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Four Percent Growth

July 21, 2015 at 10:20 am

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How to get 4% GDP growth? "Open borders immigration policy," Noah Smith writes at Bloomberg View. "The more people in your country, the higher the output."

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Questions for Walker and Bush

July 21, 2015 at 10:18 am

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The upcoming Republican presidential debate — specifically, possible questions for some of the participating candidates — is the topic of my column this week. Please check it out at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Obama, Kennedy, and the Iran Deal

July 17, 2015 at 1:05 am

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This is a bit far afield from our usual topics, but for those interested, I have an article up at the Federalist.com about President Obama's misuse of President Kennedy in his attempt to sell the deal with Iran. Please check it out here if you are so inclined.

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