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The Basic Republican Lie About Taxes

Boehner 11

The basic Republican lie about taxes is that money (or wealth) is taxed. It’s not.

What is taxed is instead the transfer of money (or wealth). There’s a big difference.

When you buy something, and the sale is taxed, what’s taxed is the transfer of your money to the vendor – not the money itself.

When a wealthy person dies and an estate tax is triggered, what’s taxed is not the wealth but the transfer of that wealth to the person’s heirs.

When a worker is taxed on the income he receives from an employer, what’s being taxed is not the wealth that is earned but the transfer of that wealth to that worker, from that employer.

If the person happens to be self-employed, he’s being taxed on the net income that has been transferred to him by his customers, after deducting his expenses to his suppliers.

Similarly, when a corporation’s profits are taxed, what’s taxed is that corporation’s net income, which has been transferred to that corporation by its customers, after deducting the corporation’s expenses, which the corporation has paid to its suppliers.

Republicans vociferously deny all of this. They claim, for example, that stockholders are “taxed twice on a corporation’s income – first at the corporate level, and then at the individual level.”

But instead, those are actually not monies at all that are being taxed – two separate transfers of money are being separately taxed – and a corporation isn’t ever taxed on its money (such as Republicans presume).

And they similarly claim that when a very rich person’s wealth is subject to an estate tax (which they lie and call a “death tax” even though fewer than 1% of people are rich enough for their estates to trigger any tax when transferred; so, this “death tax” applies to only very few “deaths,” and death is never really taxed), the money is “being taxed twice,” because (supposedly) “it” was taxed “while it was being built up” (when actually “it” had not been taxed at all), and then is being taxed “yet again” as it goes to the children or other heirs.

The only major exception to this transaction-basis of taxes is “property taxes” – the tax paid each year on real estate one owns. But that’s not a federally applied tax anyway, so it’s irrelevant to Republicans’ assertions in the ongoing federal tax-debates.

What is the purpose of all these Republican lies? All of these lies challenge some form of tax – specifically, a form of tax that covers a wealth-transfer that, not coincidentally, the wealthiest 1% have purchased the Republican Party in order to fight and argue against. It’s their only “moral argument” against taxes on the top 1%.

But does a typical car-salesman argue that there is some type of “moral principle” that should prevent him from being taxed “yet again” on income that came to him via his employer’s sale of cars to customers? Does he say “That’s double-taxation” on the money that went from the customer to the dealer to this employee?

No (not unless he’s a fool, or else a liar himself). Ordinary people aren’t as crooked as the propaganda-makers of the Republican Party are (and need to be). Then, why do the few extremely wealthy people complain against the estate tax by using basically the same ridiculous false reasoning?

And why do corporate stockholders use that very same fraudulent reasoning when arguing against taxes on capital gains or dividends (“It’s double-taxation!”)?

Rich people, and their political agents, do this because there are enough suckers out there who will believe such lies.

Honest individuals don’t lie about taxes.

And intelligent individuals don’t believe the lies about taxes – and they reject the liars who peddle those lies.

The only way to stop fraudsters from fraud, or to stop Republicans from their lies, is to punish them with defeat for doing it. That would put the Republican Party out of business.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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These Cars Are So Hot They're Out Of Stock

Scion Fr S Concept

The popularity of cars can be measured by several factors. Among these are total unit sales in a year, market share versus direct competitors, and sales improvement year-over-year.

The best measure is none of these. Rather, it is the availability of a particular model on any given day, week or month. The auto manufacturing industry calls this measure “days to turn” or “time on lot.” The average car or light truck takes 50 or 60 days to sell once a dealer gets it.

Jump ahead to see which cars are selling out >

Some models can stay on lots for more than 90 days. The vehicles that are in really great demand are on lots for fewer than 20 days, and sometimes closer to 10.

An analysis of cars that sit on dealer lots for the least time finds that they fall into three groups. The first consists of extremely expensive cars, with sticker prices above $50,000 or even $100,000. The next group is inexpensive sports cars. The third is cars that get very high mileage, including hybrids.

Most of the cars and light trucks that have tight inventory have been on the market for several years. The Ford Escape and Subaru Impreza are examples of economy-priced cars that have sold well for five years or more.

The price range of vehicles that are in tight supply is surprisingly wide, and the range of car types is equally broad. The list includes cars that cost less than $25,000 and two that cost more than $100,000, as well as heavy SUVs and light economy cars with small engines.

Based on November 2012 days-to-turn data for vehicles sold in the United States, provided by Edmunds.com, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 models that spend the shortest time on the lot.

Edmunds also provided annual sales for these models dating back to 2007, as well as the first 11 months of sales for 2012. We also identified base MSRP of these models, as well as additional features from manufacturer websites.

10. Mercedes-Benz M Class

10 Mercedes Benz M Class

Days to turn: 18 (tied for 9th fewest)
2012 sales: 33,860
Price: $47,270
Configuration: SUV

Mercedes has four lines of SUVs, including the M-Class, which is priced in the middle of its fleet. Like most vehicles from major manufacturers, the M-Class comes in a number of models.

The least expensive is the ML-350, which carries a 3.5-liter engine used in a number of other vehicles in the Mercedes model line.

Like most car companies, Mercedes offers the M-Class in several configurations and with several engines. The top-end M is the version made by the AMG high-performance division of Mercedes, which was established in 1967.

The ML63 has a base price of $96,100 and comes with a 518-horsepower engine.



9. Subaru BRZ

9 Subaru Brz

Days to turn: 18 (tied for 9th fewest)
2012 sales: 3,647
Price: $24,495
Configuration:two-door coupe

The Subaru and its nearly identical twin — the Scion FR-S — were designed and built in a joint venture between Subaru and Toyota Motor Corp.

The cars were launched to great acclaim. Recently, each was among the top picks by the car reviewers of The New York Times. One of the evaluations: “The BRZ’s chassis, steering, brakes and manual gearbox are all beyond reproach, and a compact boxer engine helps to keep the car low, balanced and planted on the pavement.”

The car is also inexpensive, which means it can appeal to a relatively broad audience. But it is rare among Subarus in not having all-wheel drive.



7. BMW M6

7 Bmw M6

Days to turn: 17 (tied for 7th fewest)
2012 sales: 391
Price: $106,100
Configuration: two-door coupe

BMW’s M cars and SUVs are made by its high-performance division. The vehicles are rare and very expensive.

A case in point is the M6, the muscle version of BMW’s high-end two-door mid-sized coupe, which has a 560-horsepower engine. B

MW markets the car primarily against two other very high-end sports cars — the Mercedes-Benz CL63 and Audi R8 — each of which also has a base price well above $100,000.

Potential buyers of the M6 can get additional packages with amenities, including options such as a heated steering wheel for up to $5,300.



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How The US Is Now Experiencing Its Own, Bizarro-World Version Of The Euro Crisis

Today New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered a historic tirade blasting fellow Republican John Boehner for refusing to hold a vote on aid for Hurricane Sandy.

The raw anger and emotion was like something from out of a movie, but beyond the obvious points, Chris Christie brought up one fact about the US economy that really should get a lot more attention than it does.

Rich states like New Jersey, New York, and California (which frequently get blasted by conservatives for having high taxes and big government) pay a lot more in federal taxes than they get back from the federal government. While Republican states, with their low taxes and small governments, get more back than they pay in.

This map demonstrates that phenomenon. The ones shaded blue pay in more than they get back. Texas is the only "blue" state here that doesn't vote Democratic.

Transfer

Anyway, it's the system of intra-state transfers that makes the United States a functioning union, and it's the reason that we're not like the Eurozone.

The US states and the various Eurozone countries are actually similar in that they can't print their own money, and have to strive to balance their books, and if they don't, markets may lose confidence in them. But the difference is that the rich states are permanently bailing out the poor states, a mechanism which doesn't exist formally in Europe (it exists on an ad hoc basis).

Not only that, but there are mechanisms to balance things out, when there's a slump.

Although Florida currently pays in more than it receives, during the collapse, it got a big benefit.

Paul Krugman pointed out earlier this year:

1. From IRS data, we find that Florida’s tax payments to Washington fell approximately $25 billion between 2007 and 2010, the bottom of the slump.

2. From Labor Department data, we find that in 2010 special unemployment insurance programs — extended benefits paid for from DC — were about $3 billion in 2010.

3. From SNAP (food stamp) data, we see that food benefits to Florida rose about $3 billion over the same period.

Both Florida and Spain had huge housing busts, but the difference was that Spain didn't benefit from all these special programs, and lower taxes paid to a central European authority. It just had to fend for itself.

So anyway, the fact that some states help other states is great, but here's where it gets weird.

In Europe, you have rich, high-productivity states like Germany demanding that the poor, low-productivity states cut their government budgets if they want bailout money. And although the economic don't work, the sentiment is logical, especially if you're a German politician that has to explain to voters why their tax dollars are going to a different country.

But in the US it's totally different. It's the moocher states (the Greece-like states that are poor and rely on handouts) imposing austerity on everyone. Imagine if Greece were to try to dictate what kind of economic policy Germany could use to stimulate its economy. That's what's happening in the US.

And that's why Chris Christie is rightly outraged that the GOP is so reluctant to aid New Jersey, when over the years (and every year) New Jersey gives more than it gets back.

And although Christie specifically blasted Boehner (while trying to elevate Eric Cantor) in his speech today, this is not just a Cantor thing. Last year Cantor himself was demanding "offsets" for Irene aid spending in the immediate wake of the debt ceiling fight. So this is a GOP thing through and through.

The US doesn't have an acute debt problem, but it does have a growth problem. And the continued fights with the pro-austerity camp that emanates from moocher states is not helping the US break out of that trap.

SEE ALSO: Why New Jersey should be outraged with John Boehner >

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