Too many people think that long-term care planning is just a decision about whether to purchase long-term care insurance. However, long-term care planning is so much more. It is a discussion about how you will fund this expense, where you will receive long-term care, and who will provide the care.
Ask a D.C. insider what’s the best way to solve the debt crisis. Nine times out of ten, they’ll recommend taking on more debt. That’s how things operate in the Potomac swamp. Up is down, right is left, digging yourself into more debt is the best way to get out of it. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact, there used to be common sense when it came to the economy. So where did it all go wrong?
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stop working. Especially now that you have all the time in the world to do what you really want. Entrepreneurs don’t only come out of Silicon Valley. They come from all walks of life, from all different ages. If you’re retired and want to stay active while you relax, then find out the steps you need to take in order to start, manage, and grow your next small business.
Every year millions of Americans wait until the last minute to prepare and file their taxes. Regardless of whether you’re one of these people, there are still things you need to be aware of before you send those forms in.
Austrian economics does more than tell you what happens when the government disturbs market forces. In the hands of knowledgeable investors and entrepreneurs, it can tell you exactly what to expect from the market. Market behavior depends on how people behave. And how people behave is central to the Austrian perspective.
The U.S. dollar has been the world's reserve currency for almost a century, and already there are signs it may be in decline. But that doesn't mean it's not still valuable. On the contrary... As Chris Mayer explains, there are many reasons the U.S. dollar will remain relevant on the world stage for years to come. Read on...
The government will do whatever it takes to make sure it has enough of your money to fund itself. On the surface you might think that means enduring a grueling audit. But the IRS and the government is more than willing to ignore your privacy in the cold relentless pursuit of the money they think they deserve. As they get bigger and bigger every year, the smaller and smaller your paycheck becomes as they leach off it.
World War II might have dragged the country out of the Great Depression, but it did so at a great price. Central planning took center stage, and politicans and bureaucrats suddenly knew what was best for America, the economy, and your life. On top of that, they replaced the free market with a new economic system… Creditism.
If you’re good at something should you be penalized so others have a chance at success? Should award winning actors and actresses be barred from future Oscar ceremonies to give other men and women the chance to succeed? Success should always be rewarded and encouraged. But what happens when you have a government that wants to even the playing field and take away the spoils of success. Gregory Bresiger finds out...
Argentina is suffering the ravages of government debasement of the currency -- i.e., inflation, the process by which government pays for its ever-increasing debts and bills by simply printing more paper currency. The expanded money supply results in a lower value of everyone’s money, which is reflected in the rising prices of the things that money buys.
Its acceptance is as widespread as its justification is important, for it provides the rationale for the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented monetary expansion since 2008. While critics may dispute the wealth effect’s magnitude, few have challenged its conceptual soundness. Such is the purpose of this article. The wealth effect is but a mantra without merit.
Baron Rothschild, the famous French financier, was once heard to say that he knew of only two men who really understood money -- an obscure clerk in the Bank of France and one of the directors of the Bank of England. “Unfortunately,” he added, “they disagree.”
The saga of All Saints could soon be coming to a community near you. Thanks partly to the scandal surrounding the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, the agency has proposed a new set of rules for a huge number of social-welfare groups that claim tax exemption under Section 501(c)4 of the tax code.
Nihilo ex nihilo fit. Out of nothing, nothing comes. First put forward by ancient Greek philosopher Parmenides in the fifth century B.C., Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine later used this axiom to prove that the universe needed a “first mover” to get things going. Even if the whole thing began with some kind of “Big Bang” moment, it still needed a banger to bang it. Who? God, of course.
Economic theories don’t lend themselves to laboratory testing, so the work of a national appraisal firm is especially enlightening. A new study lends support to the Austrian business cycle theory, which says that the less government is involved, the faster a market will recover.
What positive steps can we take? The energy that is now expended by well intentioned, freedom-seeking individuals on the destructive course of politics can be turned into powerful steps that will have a positive effect on the future. All are moral, right and just. None require aggressing. Consider the following...
The first principle in dealing with government is: Don't be awed by it. What little the government achieves is almost always due to the voluntary participation of its citizens. Those who don't want to help the government can go their own ways without running into much trouble.
National Treasury Union President Colleen M. Kelly recently described the 2014 IRS budget allocation as “woefully inadequate.” But the agency has not proven itself to be an efficient steward of taxpayer dollars. Here are ten ways the IRS lost the trust of the American people.
It’s easy to be negative about the U.S. economy these days. Find a glint of silver, and folks come running to point out all of the dark clouds looming about. This, of course, is what we got last week when the monthly jobs report was released from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Folks pooh-poohed the number of jobs and whining that they’re not enough or that it’s less than a bunch of economists thought that it might be. But you know what? Stuff ’em.
Given how poorly states like California and Illinois have funded the pension funds for their own employees, one would think that this would stop dead in its tracks any plan to have the government assist in managing private sector funds too. The spate of recent activity, however, suggests otherwise.
The financial world is plodding along like a drunken sailor avoiding debt collectors by keeping no cash in his wallet. It’s not the kind of calm that’s going to last or end well. But the storm will have to wait until after the Olympics.What a game! We’ve never watched ice hockey closely before. But watching […]
President Obama crowed in his State of the Union speech about the economy, even mentioning “a rebounding housing market.” Maybe he was referring to friends in high places, like the seller of Penthouse One in New York, which just closed for $50.9 million, all cash. Millions of mere-mortal homeowners likely wanted to throw something at […]
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is acting in a bipartisan way to cover up the biggest single threat to the bipartisan political alliance that is stripping America of its wealth: the United States Congress.There is no question that the following policy is bipartisan. Democrats and Republicans in Congress are completely agreed that the following information […]
Amidst all the revelations about how the American people, many of whom are absolutely convinced they live in a free society, have their telephone calls, emails, website visits, and who knows what else under surveillance by their own government, let’s not forget the massive infringements on financial privacy that have gone on for decades.Consider, for […]
The exercise had an awesome name, inspired by the movies: “Quantum Dawn 2.”On July 18, scads of U.S. banks, stock exchanges and government agencies took part in a digital fire drill — a practice run in the event all of Wall Street came under massive cyberattack.This isn’t the first time banks have come under an […]
The faces of the Detroit bankruptcy are the thousands of pensioners whose promised benefits are suddenly part of the restructure negotiation. When Motown filed for Chapter 9 last July, the city had $11.5 billion in unsecured liabilities. The vast majority of this was pension and health care benefits owed to retired city employees.The images of […]
The Largest Company in History:“The United States Corporation of Government (USCOG)”I follow global social and commercial networks, looking for entrepreneurial opportunities.Innovation surges when industry and government models change. Buggy whips. Landline phones. Railroads. The Soviet Union. Apartheid South Africa. All marked social and commercial innovation, both bad and good.We are witnessing a new form of […]
A contributing factor in the rise of Internet commerce, a feature that gave it a kick-start, was that you didn’t have to pay sales tax on what you purchased out of state. Ah, the glory days of the 2000s, when you could order anything and, for once in your life, not get hammered by the government. It was not a free market, but freer than most anything else you could find.
This is a major factor in why, despite every prediction that it could never work, Internet commerce rose from the ashes of the dot-com crash to become a huge and growing profit center today.
Alas, those days seem to be coming to an end. And why? Because the U.S. Congress is highly sympathetic to the plight of its state-based cousins, who are starved for money. As a proposed fix, Congress is suggesting a new innovation. Congress wants to give the OK to states that want to take your money.
Here is one argument you will not hear in the debate over taxing Internet sales: This will be good for the business climate. Instead, the debating points concern how much revenue it will raise for states, how onerous the burden will be for small business, whether it is “fair” to brick-and-mortar shops to pay and for online sellers not to pay, and so on.
The real issue — whether this is good for business and prosperity — is not even on the table.
Will taxing all Internet purchases harm business, harm job creation, harm the profitability of those who have seized on digital venues as a viable commercial space? Of course it will. There can be no doubt. The question then becomes: Why is the political class interested in unleashing state legislatures to collect sales tax when it is so obviously harmful to prosperity?
Maybe the answer is obvious, but it still needs to be said. Despite the stump rhetoric, the political class is not interested in fostering a vibrant commercial life to help you and me get by in this world. Instead, it is interested in extracting as much revenue as possible from the existing commercial environment. The government elites want their cut, regardless of the consequences.
You can learn something about the way the world works just by watching the way this legislation is coming down the pike. Here we are, still in a deeply struggling economic environment. Young people have a hard time getting jobs. Growth rates are anemic. Families are still smarting from the surprise payroll tax increase earlier this year.
Online commerce — with low startup costs and a potentially unlimited market — actually represents a ray of hope. This is especially true for young and tech-savvy people.
So what do the politicians do? They plot another hammer blow. Even by old-fashioned Keynesian standards, this is the worst possible time to enable vast tax increases across all states that hit millions of people. But economic rationality is not high on the list of values held by Capitol Hill.
What does this say about whole libraries full of books that instruct the political class on how to foster the well-being of society? What does this say about the hundreds of well-worked-out theories of how the government can manage the economy in the best possible way? What does this say about the oceans of policy reports that presume that the political class has the best interests of the public in mind?
If it is true that political actors only want to get the government’s beak wet and otherwise don’t care a flying fig about the consequences for you and me, many theorists are going to have to go back to the drawing board. The bulk of writing on political economy over the last hundred years might as well be pulped.
There is also an interesting dynamic taking place in terms of those pushing for the change to allow states in which there is no physical presence of the relevant Internet retailer to tax purchase. The world’s largest and most successful Internet retailer, Amazon.com, is backing the change, and paying politicians left and right to go along.
Why? Here, we need to understand something about way regulations are used as a competitive tool in the world of enterprise. The larger the business, the more it is in a position to absorb new regulatory costs. The regulations will invariably hurt the little guy more than the big guy. Therefore, even though the big guy is paying more, the regulations end up working as a kind of subsidy to keep competition at bay.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Big Business and Big Government work together. Does that sound like a wacky conspiracy theory? It shouldn’t. The reality goes back at least 100 years. Big Business was a huge supporter of the Progressive Era regulations of food and safety, the New Deal’s interventions on prices and labor, the Great Society medical expansions, protectionism during the 1980s, and almost every other major intervention in free enterprise in the annals of history.
Sometimes the biggest enemies of capitalism are not socialists, but the capitalists themselves. They don’t like capitalism because they don’t like competition, because it threatens their business and their profits. A real free market has winners coming and going. But a heavily regulated markets entrenches elites who are working with the political establishment.
You might think that this would cause left liberals pause, but apparently not.
Here is what the blog at National Public Radio said about an Internet sales tax:
“Collecting state and local sales tax all around the country would require a fair bit of effort on the part of online retailers, because sales tax rules vary from state to state. That’s not a huge deal for a giant company like Amazon, but it would be more of a burden for smaller online retailers. From Amazon’s point of view, that’s a good thing — it makes life harder for Amazon’s smaller competitors.
“That’s why big businesses, despite what they may say, often like regulations. They make life harder for small, would-be competitors.”
The Amazon sales tax case is complicated by the fact that it is already mostly paying these taxes because many states started interpreting the law to mean that if there is a warehouse in the state, it is subject to tax. Amazon has warehouses all over the world so that it can offer same-day delivery. That allows it to go after physical stores with even greater intensity.
The average eBay mom and pop is not going to be in a position to file tax statements to every state where it shipped goods. Amazon will be there to not only comply, but have the competitive edge on everyone. The battle between Amazon and eBay has been so intense that the Internet Association has refused to take a position.
This is how business becomes cartelized. There is still competition, but it is not on a level playing field. You have to be heavily capitalized just to get your foot in the door. Then people look at the configuration of the remaining industries and scream, “Hey, business is too big and too powerful!” But they don’t discover the reason. It is too far back in time. And the cause and effect is too opaque to the casual observer.
It’s not hard to imagine the consequences. There will be fewer startups because the accounting costs of filing with states every month will be too daunting. Consumers will start looking at overseas merchants to buy their goods — as they are already doing for cigarettes, prescription drugs, and electronics. Digital currencies will help facilitate this move.
Meanwhile, the domestic market using government currency will be dominated by just a few players.
Everyone these days is sitting around regretting the way the recession just goes on and on, seemingly without end. If you are looking for the answer, look to Capitol Hill. Every time free enterprise tries to come up for air, the Congress and the regulators are there to put it underwater again.