John Ransom
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Doctor Roy wrote: You guys remember when I told you that corporations are not persons and money is not free speech? And that Citizens United would come back and bite you all in the behind? And that the only way to stop the shenanigans is to take the money out of getting elected? Well just chalk all this up to your "free speech". This is what you want. So this is what you get. -Cleared of Ethics Charges, Maxine Waters Ready to Write Bank Laws

Dear Comrade Doctor,

You have cause and effect jumbled up as most liberal ground troops do.

Citizens United isn’t the problem.

The problem is a government that has the power to pick winners and losers in our society. That’s the problem.

Do you know why lobbyists aren’t lined up to lobby plumbers? Because plumbers don’t have the ability to pass trillion dollar stimulus bills that go to fund startups owned and operated by rich donors. As long as the government has the ability to spend trillions on favored groups like, say, solar companies or banks or union-controlled auto companies or- gasp! oil companies, you will see people trying to “buy” influence.



As long as the government has the ability to punish disfavored groups like, say, oil companies, coal companies, cement factories and gasp! doctors, passing laws limiting campaign contributions will do no good.

Stop the government from running everything in this country- or just try stopping them from running any ONE thing- and you will see money disappear from politics.  

Cedar Rebellion wrote: I like the "too stinkin' rich" approach along with "you didn't write that you only said the words" and especially "you need to give back" views of the Left. So, why not having a two-step tax system for entertainment? First $100,000 is only taxed at normal rates while all amounts, including future estimated earnings, are taxed at 99%. The extra tax can be distributed by John Ransom based on his compassion model. -Let's Tax Matt Damon

Dear Cedar,

Not sure exactly how all that would work. I do however like the idea of me being able to distribute the extra tax.

I already have some idea where my “compassion” would be directed.   

HaliburtonThrockmorton3rd wrote: Boy, I guess John Ransom is now anti Free Market. Hates Wall Street, class warrior, thinks the elite are the problem, just because he can't afford to move. If he went to Harvard like Mitt did, he'd be happy as a clam, counting the money he 'earned' because he knows all the right people. Instead he's got a platform here, and that's as far as he'll go. So sad. P.S., when you invest money with a hedge fund, they tell you that it is a RISKY investment, and you could lose SOME or ALL of your capital. NO GUARANTEES. Use only money you can afford to lose.- Idiots All

Dear Comrade Throck,

The elite are the problem. But that doesn’t mean I’m a class warrior.

When you look at the people who govern the modern Keynesian city-states that have evolved since World War II, they have the same educational background, went to the same schools. I think we have the most massive case of institutional rot and group think in history. 17th century kings of Europe looked enlightened by comparison.   

How can $1.6 billion of segregated customer funds still be missing at MF Golbal and no one be under investigation for a crime? I knew people who lost money through MF Global. And the money that they lost wasn’t because of “investment risk.” It was because someone dipped into segregated customer funds and used them to prop up MF Global as it was going down. That’s the same as a bank employee hacking into your checking account to prop up your bank.

Glad to know that when YOU put money into a segregated account that YOU expect you may lose some of all of your money. You should tell your broker that.

The rest of your financially illiterate screed I will now ignore.

Just imagine me whistling for favorite song.   

Ken5061 wrote: Sorry I missed this one first time around, it is a good column. I have long done my own taxes and have had them done as well and I take the position that no one, not one person among us, can calculate his taxes exactly right according to the code. I get them close and try not to make any mistakes, but I always miss something I could have taken off or declare some income I actually did not have. It is possible that 1% of us do their own taxes and/or are able to. Furthermore, half of us do not pay any income taxes and may not even file. Yet a majority of the population of non tax experts is easily persuaded that people making more money than they do are not paying enough in taxes. Sounds like demagoguery. ­-Want More in Taxes? Create a Job

Dear Ken,

Yep. That’s the problem exactly.

The IRS will admit that the tax code is so complex that one-in-four taxpayers are “out of compliance” with the tax code at any given time. And guess who gets to decide which error is a Turbo Tax problem and which error requires hard time?

You guessed it: The most patriotic, selfless government agency on earth: The IRS.

And it goes to a deeper problem that we have as a society.

Selective enforcement of the laws means that we already share some aspects of a dictatorship. The federal government gets to decide who is a lawbreaker and who just made a mistake. And they do it on tax returns, immigration status, air quality, income bracket, gender and race, just to name a few.         

Scrap Iron in Texas wrote: I enjoy your articles, especially the Sunday rant, but I have never heard you mention, one way or the other, your position on the Fair Tax Bill, HR 25/S 13.Would this fulfill your requirement that we "fix" the tax code?

Dear Scrap,

Is that a trick question?

Flat, fair, final. No question I would support a sales tax if the other taxes were abolished along with the IRS. In general I would support any tax that is distributed evenly across all groups above the poverty level. You spend more? You pay more.

Imagine if people had to pay a 40 percent tax on all purchases. How do you think people would feel about government spending then?    

Roosonhead wrote: Unions do serve valid functions like workplace safety, training, and allowing members to take advantage of group insurance pools that the market may ignore. The problem with Unions is not their existence but their overreach. -The People vs. Unions: Cash, Credit and Corruption

Dear Comrade Head,

Actually, it’s their existence that’s the problem.

See in our society we have elected legislatures that can help with workplace safety. We also have professional associations that can do training and we have employer-sponsored health insurance benefits that more employees than not take advantage of.

In a free society we have many problems that if left alone are finally solved by the very freedom that created them in the first place.         

Lingvistika wrote: This guy's doing some moronic math. He divides the cost of the bailout by the population within the city of Detroit and thinks he's arrived at the cost on a "per capital" basis, as he calls it. What people call "Detroit" is a metropolis of 4.5 million people. So if you divide the cost of the bailout by that, you get $1,777 per person. However, the Big Three don't only employ people in Detroit. -In Four More Years We'll Be Detroit

Dear Comrade Vistika,

Per capita, not “per capital”. 

There was a typo in the article, as you are no doubt aware.

I myself am aware that the greater Detroit metroplex has a considerable number of people above the number that I cited for the City of Detroit.

But here’s the real point: I’m not going around claiming that I saved the city of Detroit as Obama and Joe Biden are claiming to have done.

Are you saying that we need to “redo” the math to prove somehow Detroit and many of its neighboring cities are not broke? That somehow if we divide the money thrown at the auto industry by a greater number of people that we can deny that Detroit can’t pay its bills?  That by counting Appleton and Nashville and other cities that host auto factories that we can prove that Detroit is flush because Joe and Barack say so?

The only “moronic” math comes from anyone who’d claim responsibility for the so-called “revival” of Detroit.            

Joshua170 wrote: I'm not a fan of China, but China obviously is not semi-medieval. -Prepare for Fiscal Doom

Dear Comrade Josh,

The average income in rural China is less than $3 per day. Even then these figures are measured in “purchasing power parity,” which means a dollar in China doesn’t buy what a dollar buys here.

“A typical village farmer grow rice, corn, chilies and vegetables on a half acre of land, and maybe keeps some chickens and pigs,” says the site Facts and Details. “Farmers produce enough to eat but not much to sell. There are inadequate basic public services such as education, health and applications of new technologies. Typical rural families live in simple wooden houses, use outhouses and cook in shacks over open hearths.” 

The peasants aren’t allowed to leave the land and are governed by a unit of government that looks an awful lot like a baronial fiefdom.   

In fact, you are right in this sense: Medieval serfs had plenty more freedoms than rural Chinese have.

And the goshdarn Liberal wrote: You John Birchers need to grow up and find another boogie man. For 60 years I have heard nothing from the right about Europe other than it is a socialist hell and going down the tubes. When is it going down the tubes and what do you mean by that? For all your doom and gloom you never offer a time line. Just, "Its going down the tubes in a socialist hell". As I said, I've been hearing this for 60 years, and I am still waiting. -Prepare for Fiscal Doom

Dear Comrade Gosh,

Maybe the riots in Greece and Spain might clue you into how “socialist” Europe is going to hell. Or could it be the practical dissolution of the Euro that’s the “boogie man,” as you call it.

“The euro zone hasn't grown for four straight quarters,” writes the Wall Street Journal “and the latest decline in gross domestic product was the second straight. Economists often define recession as two straight quarterly GDP contractions.”

And right now, if you look up economic depression in the dictionary, you are likely to see a map of Europe.

From the WSJ:

French business leaders are more downbeat, worried that uncertainty over tax and labor policies will weigh on investment. "Confidence fell over the summer as business leaders were scared by the government discourse which appeared to be attacking business by blaming it for the crisis," said Pierre-Antoine Kern, who runs a company supplying telecommunications services to businesses around Dijon, in France's Burgundy region.

We don’t have to provide you a timeline.

The time is now.

Andy544 wrote: Apparently, character doesn't matter anymore; and a 4-star general (who is responsible for the safety of our troops, and the success of the mission in Afghanistan...which, btw, hasn't been going very well for a long, long time) who sends hundreds (thousands?) of sexually suggestive e-mail messages to a MARRIED woman NOT his wife (many of the e-mails, we must assume, while he was 'on duty' in Afghanistan...you know he wouldn't be doing it at 'home', with 'wifey' in the next room) APPARENTLY, that is no 'big deal' to many, but to me, CHARACTER is EVERYTHING; and a leader without 'character' is a FAILURE in his personal relationships, and a failure in his professional duties. He is a disgrace, and should resign or be removed from duties. -Let the FBI Catch Criminals and the Marines Kill Bad Guys

Dear Comrade Andy,

Character counts. But so does the presumption of innocence.

Eisenhower had an affair, so, probably did George Washington. MacArthur had a dalliance with an Asian prostitute. These were all men who served our country in a way that is irreplaceable. 

I don’t know the content of the “sexually” suggestive emails from General Allen to Jill Kelley, but the emails are not the reason we have lost the war in Afghanistan.

Nor are they the likely reason his name is being smeared through the media.

Military service is hard on families, who spend a lot of time separated from each other under trying conditions. The divorce rate is very high.

Leave Allen alone and let’s get back to war fighting.

Wehavemettheenemy wrote: "In everything that he does, he clumsily overreaches, asserting authority that not only he doesn’t have, but probably can‘t enforce without coersion." In the real world of politics John, power equals authority. -At the Fiscal Cliff I Cry "Jump, Jump, Jump!"

Dear Enemy,

Power equals power equals authority. But coercion can last for only so long.

Eddie again wrote: Does ransom really think that such a global tax can make it through the house of representatives? If he does, maybe he is the one who should wake-up. If he does not, why is he stoking an unnecessarily alarmist fire? -At the Fiscal Cliff I Cry "Jump, Jump, Jump!"

Dear Comrade Eddie,

The current House of Representatives isn’t the last House of Representatives. You might remember that HillaryCare was first suggested to the US House of Representatives in 1992 and rejected by them.

It passed finally in 2010.

The problem many people like you have is that they think ten years is a long time.

In terms of history, it’s just the blink of an eyelash.     

William6346 wrote: You people are completely insane. May I suggest, Mr. Ransom, that if you ever want your party to hold the presidency again you convince your fellow columnists to stop writing this tripe and convert to topics with headlines such as "We're sorry Latinos, we'll do better!" and "If you're young we invite you to help us change." and "Okay we get it - so we've fired Rush Limabaugh." Otherwise you are doomed -- for decades. -Petraeus Just Another Mystery Victim in the Benghazi Triangle

Dear Comrade Bill,

I’m going to leave the apology tours to your president. That seems to be working out really well for the United States. I can feel universal respect flowing towards our great leader and Noble prize winner, Barack Obama for his “I’m Sorry for America’s Greatness Tour.” This was most apparent in Benghazi. (Eye roll)

You’re like my Comrade Friend Bill, above.

You think a few elections cycles make history.

The GOP made the same mistake.  

I’m thankful for my Comrades, all of you.

That’s it for this week.

V/r,

JR

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John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.