Biden Vows Not To Use Taxes as 'Punishment' of Rich

October 1, 2019 at 8:03 pm

Joe Biden's little-noticed "no punishment" promise to wealthy donors offers a sharp contrast to the the wealth tax and exit tax proposed by Senators Sanders and Warren. That may have constitutional significance if a court ever has to decide whether a Warren wealth tax is really a tax or an unconstitutional punishment of the sort forbidden by the Constitution's bill of attainder clause. It's all the subject of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Ban Public Schools

September 27, 2019 at 7:46 am

The best defense against recent proposals to ban private schools is a good offense, I write at Education Next. Please check out the full column here. There's even a Warren Buffett angle.

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Another FARA Case Loss For Federal Prosecutors

September 25, 2019 at 6:02 am

A federal judge in Virginia, Anthony Trenga, has issued a ruling acquitting Bijan Rafiekian, who was convicted on July 23, 2019 after a jury trial on charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent of Turkey.

Rafiekian, the memorandum opinion says, "was the Vice-Chairman, Director, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Flynn Intel Group," which he cofounded with retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was eventually named President Trump's national security adviser.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act was passed in 1938 amid anxiety about German influence as World War II loomed. I've suggested that perhaps it's time for Congress to revisit the law with an eye toward narrowing its scope or even repealing it altogether. Federal prosecutors went after lawyer Greg Craig on similar charges and met a similar result.

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Return of the Reichsfluchtsteuer

September 25, 2019 at 5:37 am

Democratic "exit tax" proposals in 2012 (Charles Schumer) and 2015 (Hillary Clinton) had me remembering the Reichsfluchtsteuer, the 25% tax that the Nazis imposed on Jews trying to flee Germany in the 1930s.

Now the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates who back a "wealth tax" — Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders — are also both backing Reichsfluchtsteuer-style proposals. "Sanders' wealth tax plan includes a steep 'Exit Tax' similar to that proposed by ewarren," an economic policy reporter at the Washington Post, Jeff Stein, tweeted yesterday.

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'States' Rights' Is Cry of the Democrats

September 24, 2019 at 8:28 pm

California, Massachusetts, and other states have filed a federal lawsuit arguing that states have the right to set their own auto emissions standards regardless of what Washington says. The clash is the topic of my column this week: "This is amusingly satisfying in so many ways that it's hard to know exactly where to start, but perhaps the best place is with an 'I told you so.'" Please check out the full column at Reason (here), Newsmax (here), and the New York Sun (here).

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The Biden-Trump Foreign Policy

September 17, 2019 at 9:14 pm

Maybe Trump should offer Joe Biden the job of national security adviser, I suggest in my column this week. It would draw attention to Biden's flip-flops over the years on foreign policy issues. Please check out the full column at Newsmax (here) or the New York Sun (here).

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Trump's China Tariffs

September 13, 2019 at 8:36 am

Trade with China is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here) and Newsmax (here).

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Carl Icahn To Florida

September 13, 2019 at 7:57 am

"Billionaire Carl Icahn is planning to move his home and business to Florida to avoid New York's higher taxes, according to people familiar with the matter," Bloomberg News reports.

FutureOfCapitalism earlier covered Paul Tudor Jones to Florida (2017, from Connecticut), Leon Cooperman's move to Florida (reported in 2016, from N.J. or N.Y.), and David Tepper's move to Florida (reported in 2016, from New Jersey). And a 2017 post was headlined "Florida Financial Boom."

As I concluded the dispatch about Tepper's move:

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The Greg Craig Acquittal

September 4, 2019 at 9:56 pm

Back in April I wrote about the federal criminal charges facing President Obama's White House counsel, Greg Craig, and concluded:

The more you get into it...the more it looks like a story about overly zealous prosecutors and FBI agents, and laws drafted in ways that allow such prosecutors and FBI agents enormous discretion to depict routine, non-criminal activities as somehow sinister. It's the sort of thing that Mr. Trump, in other contexts, has described as a witch hunt or a perjury trap.

Sure enough, Craig was acquitted today by a federal jury on the one count remaining after a federal judge threw out the other count.

Josh Gerstein reports for Politico:

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Judge Steven Menashi

September 4, 2019 at 9:36 pm

The responsible press coverage so far of President Trump's nomination of Steven Menashi to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has focused, understandably, on debunking the absurd, outrageous, and false claims that he is somehow a racist by virtue of having defended Israel in a 2010 law review article. For some fine examples, see the August 16 National Review article "Rachel Maddow's Racial Smear of Second Circuit Nominee Steven Menashi," the August 25 Wall Street Journal editorial "Smearing Steven Menashi," and the September 4 New York Times column by Ross Douthat, "Four Things That Are Not White Nationalism."

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The Socialist Scenario

September 3, 2019 at 9:40 pm

The risk that Senator Warren and Senator Sanders could somehow team up to defeat Vice President Biden and put a socialist agenda in the Oval Office is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Reason (here), Newsmax (here), and the New York Sun (here).

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Biden in Erskine Bowles' Backyard

August 29, 2019 at 7:59 am

Vice President Biden was in Charlotte, N.C. on Wednesday night and attended a fundraising event at the home of Erskine and Crandall Bowles, according to a pool report distributed by the Biden campaign.

Erskine Bowles, who did a stint as Bill Clinton's chief of staff, was co-chairman of the Simpson-Bowles bipartisan deficit reduction commission that in 2010 issued a report with a lot of interesting ideas, including a fundamental tax reform that would have replaced the current income tax rates with just three — at 8%, 14%, and 23%.

"Biden spoke to a poolside crowd of roughly 140 people from 8:50 p.m. to 9:17 p.m.," according to the report, which is called a pool report because one reporter represents the entire pool of press, not because the fundraiser's backyard featured a swimming pool.

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August 27, 2019 at 12:13 pm

In his trade negotiations with China, President Trump increasingly seems to be taking the approach advised by Natan Sharansky and Ron Dermer, I write in my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here) and Newsmax (here).

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Antigua and Barbuda Courts Amtrak Audience

August 26, 2019 at 6:04 am

Amtrak now has a reasonably nice glossy print magazine called The National. The current issue features a half-page color advertisement from the Citizenship by Investment Unit of the government of Antigua and Barbuda, promoting a program established in 2013 that offers citizenship in that Caribbean island nation in exchange for a contribution of $100,000 to the country's National Development Fund. Benefits, according to the ad, include "visa-free access to more than 150 countries, including the United Kingdom and Schengen area" as well as "no tax on worldwide income, inheritance, capital gains or investment returns."

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How Old Is Joe Biden?

August 19, 2019 at 9:21 pm

Biden's blunders, and the way they raise questions about his age, are the topic of my column this week. Please check the full column out at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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