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Rethinking the Corporate-Income Tax PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Mark W. Hendrickson   
Thursday, 19 August 2010 05:19

It is hard to find anything positive to say about the corporate-income (i.e., profits) tax. Economists across the ideological spectrum agree that the corporate-profits tax is woefully inefficient:

1) It warps corporate decision-making, inducing expenditures made only to reduce a company's tax liability.

2) The compliance costs are astronomical, often exceeding 60 cents for every dollar of revenue that the government raises from taxing corporate profits. How would you like to spend $6,000 per year calculating that you owe Uncle Sam $10,000?

3) It fosters over-reliance on debt. Corporations often need to borrow money to replace funds that government taxed. In fact, the tax code encourages debt, making corporate debt tax-deductible.

The corporate-profits tax is also ethically problematic.

Simplicity and Truth -- Reflections on “Roots: Jazz/Blues/Spirituals” PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Lois Deloatch   
Wednesday, 11 August 2010 14:33

Lois Deloatch"If you're gonna tell it, tell the truth and tell it all!" was an adage I heard often as a child growing up in rural North Carolina, where hard work, honesty, and generosity anchored our deep, abiding family and community values. Entering adulthood, I learned that living this seemingly simple conviction is much more complicated than the phase itself appears. "If you're gonna tell it" implies that you've made a choice, a conscious decision to speak truth, while "tell the truth" suggests that you have knowledge or understanding of what the truth is, that you know right from wrong and fact from fiction. Finally, "tell it all" reveals that the truth cannot be selective, and you cannot conveniently or deliberately omit facts or tell part of the story. When my siblings and I sometimes landed in trouble, as children often do, my mother admonished, "I don't care what you've done or how bad it seems, I need you to tell me the truth. I can deal with the truth, but there is nothing I can do with a lie!"

Political-Party Platforms Don’t Matter, the Media Say, but ... PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Herb Strentz   
Tuesday, 27 July 2010 05:26

Two things you should know about the 2010 platform of the Iowa Republican Party:

(1) The document of some 12,000 words and almost 370 planks is a fascinating and provocative read. The work is a great candidate for any time capsule so people 100 or more years from now can see how their ancestors approached issues of public policy.

(2) The news media in general, and The Des Moines Register in particular, continue to ignore party platforms as irrelevant to the 2010 election.

The state convention of the Iowa GOP came and went with news coverage given to the nominations of Terry Branstad and Kim Reynolds for governor and lieutenant governor. Little or no news coverage was given to the GOP platform.

There seldom is.

New Hope for Freedom: Fully Informed Juries PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by Don Doig   
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 05:57

(Editor's note: A feature article on jury nullification -- "'A Law Unto Themselves': Jury Nullification and the Deck Stacked Against It" -- can be found here.)

With the resurgence of the ideals of free markets and individual liberty throughout the world, an English and American common-law tradition is being resurrected in the United States that has profound implications for emerging democracies. This idea, incorporated into the constitutions of nations, can provide a lasting barrier against the assumption of arbitrary power by government.

The founders of the United States were worried that the government might someday grow too powerful, and pass laws that would violate the rights of the very people the government was created to protect: ordinary, peaceful citizens. They knew there was one institution that might hold the government in check: the right to a trial by a jury of one's peers.

How can a jury protect people from arbitrary and unjust prosecution, or from bad laws? The legislature creates laws. Aren't citizens supposed to obey them, and lobby their legislators for any changes that need to be made?

Traditionally, U.S. citizens have had a more substantial and direct means by which to protect themselves from oppressive laws. The founders of the United States realized that the temptations of power were too great to leave it to the legislature, executive, and judicial branches of government to define citizens' rights. Ultimately, citizens acting in accordance with the dictates of individual conscience were to have final say. The people would have a veto power over bad laws.

Drones Over America: Tyranny at Home PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 05:40

"A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home." - James Madison

The U.S. government has a history of commandeering military technology for use against Americans. We saw this happen with tear gas, Tasers, and sound cannons, all of which were first used on the battlefield before being deployed against civilians at home. Now the drones - pilotless, remote-controlled aircraft that have been used in Iraq and Afghanistan - are coming home to roost.

Drones, a $2-billion cornerstone of the Obama administration's war efforts, have increasingly found favor with both military and-law enforcement officials. "The more we have used them," stated Defense Secretary Robert Gates, "the more we have identified their potential in a broader and broader set of circumstances."

Now the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is facing mounting pressure from state governments and localities to issue flying rights for a range of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to carry out civilian and law-enforcement activities. As the Associated Press reports, "Tornado researchers want to send them into storms to gather data. Energy companies want to use them to monitor pipelines. State police hope to send them up to capture images of speeding cars' license plates. Local police envision using them to track fleeing suspects." Unfortunately, to a drone, everyone is a suspect because drone technology makes no distinction between the law-abiding individual and the suspect. Everyone gets monitored, photographed, tracked, and targeted.

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