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The Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

web posted November 15, 1999

You've heard of the "self-loathing Jew" or the "Uncle Tom black?" We as human beings have such wonderful ways of expressing things when a member of a group fails to fall in lockstep agreement with everything their peers believe in. Makes you feel good about yourself.

Sometimes self-loathing is real though. Take, as an example, many of the wealthy. They have the reputation of being politically conservative and only want changes to a tax code that will see them pay less tax. Admirable traits both of them but unfortunately that's not always true. Today's wealthy, whether the so-called dot com millionaires (or billionaires) or new money in general, seem to hate themselves for being rich and want to punish themselves in the same manner that religious zealots did back in medieval Europe. Life isn't good unless you feel pain.

Donald Trump is no different. Trump, who is worth between $1.3 billion or $5 billion (depending on whether you're listening to Forbes magazine or Trump himself), wants to tax the rich. To hear a presidential candidate say that is hardly remarkable, but like his real estate holdings, Trump has big plans. Real big. Big enough that Bill Clinton's tax and spend policies would look insignificant by comparison. Trump wants to raise $5.7 trillion in taxes.

I told you it was big.

Potential Reform Party candidate Trump announced recently that if elected, he would bring in a one-time "net worth tax" on individuals and trusts worth $10 million or more. By his calculations, his proposed 14.25 per cent levy on such net worth would raise $5.7 trillion and wipe out the debt in one full swoop.

With the debt wiped out, says Trump, the middle-class would get a tax cut and $100 billion a year could be deposited into the Social Security trust fund. The tax also would lead to the repeal the current federal inheritance tax "which really hurts farmers and small businessman and women more than anything else," Trump said.

Not to mention Trump himself.

All of this "tax-cutting" -- which was financed with a $5.7 trillion tax after all -- would trigger a 35 to 40 per cent boost in economic activity, says Trump. And Ronald Reagan was accused of voodoo economics?

Along with that $5.7 trillion, I doubt Trump's $1.3 billion is sitting in a bank account somewhere earning a few percentage points. As the wealthy are wont to do, that money is invested in markets, funds and businesses...things that create jobs and prosperity. But he, like many other wealth-haters, seem to think the rich lie on big piles of money like Uncle Scrooge, hoarding it just so no one else can get at it.

Either Trump is ignorant of basic economics -- doubtful since he went to the Wharton School of Business -- or he hates himself. Either way, it ain't pretty for a billionaire.

web posted November 1, 1999

Money is not the root of all evil, but it certainly does promote lies by the morally bankrupt and when it comes to politicians we can hardly chart the number of lies told.

If you are a Canadian you have doubtless heard of the massive surplus building up in the Employment Insurance program. Just as income tax was introduced in Canada as a temporary measure to help fight World War I, money robbed from workers for the Employment Insurance program was only to be spent on the unemployed.

Thanks to excessive skimming of cream, the federal government has robbed an extra $21 billion from workers. Even with the recent cuts to premiums for the program, Canadians will pay $1 billion less in premiums next year but the federal government will pay out $5 billion less thanks to a tightening in eligibility requirements. Sweet deal if you can get it.

Naturally, a fat surplus in a program invites all manner of spending. Although the Reform Party and auditor general Denis Desautels have attacked the surplus as unnecessary -- with as little as $10 billion needed to cover pay outs in the event of a depression -- Finance Minister Paul Martin has announced that it will not be returned to the people it belongs to.

No, the money, ostensibly to be used for the benefit of the unemployed, now figures to be just regular money to be spent by the government.

"The total consideration is, in fact, the financial needs of the country," said Martin recently.

"The need for tax reduction, the need for investment in health care and in education, and the need to bring down the premiums themselves."

Simply, Martin figures the money should be spent on other bankrupt government programs with a small slice to be given back to his wage slaves.

Now we know how many lies $21 billion buys you. One really big one.

The Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

web posted October 11, 1999

The judiciary is supposed to be the home of impartial opinion as it is charged to dispense the law. Unfortunately in these days of judicial activism -- typically liberal but also tainted by conservatism -- judges often seek to make social policy by ignoring the tenets of law and ruling in flagrantly biased ways.

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman is at least one person who decided to do his job.

On October 6, Ruehlman dismissed Cincinnati's lawsuit against gun manufacturers on the grounds that it was vague and unsupported by legal precedent, the first dismissal of this kind of suit.

The city had sued the manufacturers, a distributor and three trade associations. The suit demanded reimbursement for the costs of providing police, emergency, court and prison services in connection with shootings in the city, including suicides and accidental shootings as well as homicides, alleged reduction of property values and loss of tax revenues, plus court orders that would force the defendants to change the way they design, distribute and advertise their products nationally.

Ruehlman, however, ruled that only the legislature has the authority to impose that type of legislation. He also rejected other claims by Cincinnati as vague or not supported by laws or precedent in court cases.

Americans can take at least some solace in the fact that one judge believes in the law and not social engineering. Even more so, unless Cincinnati appeals -- which it is certainly to do, the decision forces the debate back into the legislature. Too long the opponents of America's Constitution have side-stepped debate and merely looked to the courts to impose their statist agenda. Democracy ceases to exist when lawyers get involved and we can thank Ruehlman for understanding that.

Have someone you want considered for the Earth is Flat Award or the Vinegar in Freedom Award? Email ESR with your candidates!




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