Catching Saul Alinsky's Virus 3

Trump can rocket-power the economy by getting government out of the way.

For some decades now, being a Democrat has meant never having to say you're sorry.  It also means never needing to worry about finding actual solutions to a problem - simply propose your existing agenda as a solution to whatever the problem du jour might happen to be.  Global cooling?  Give government complete power over business and the economy!  Global warming? Give government complete power over business and the economy!  An epidemic of Wuhan Flu?  Give government complete power over... you get the idea.

One of the world's great mysteries is why Republicans nearly always fall for the scam.  In this series, we're exploring an even more interesting thought - why can't conservatives play the same way and promote a freedom agenda as the solution to all man's ills?  This should be easy, since in most cases it actually is, but somehow it's rarely even tried.

Since Republicans other than Mr. Trump can't seem to figure out how to do it, we've been helping them out with some ideas.  There are too many to fit into one article, so we'll pick up where we left off with the next batch.

Encourage Greed

One of the reasons the global warming scam gets so much traction is that warmists are greedy for government subsidies for uneconomic forms of energy generation, and support anyone who'll promote costly renewables.  Our government has so much money that it has become easier to have government give you money than to deliver enough value that customers choose to pay their own cash for your products.

Greed for honest profit is generally a force for good.  At a time when computers were multi-million dollar machines which lived in air-conditioned splendor behind glass, Bill Gates' greed brought us MS-DOS which put computers on desktops.  He didn't get much money for each copy, so he had to sell in volume.

Andy Grove, a total paranoid who headed Intel, brought the price of PC chips down so low that Mr. Steve Jobs, another greedy capitalist, was able to put computers in every pocket - most of the modern clones of which now use Google's Android operating system software that is entirely free of charge.

We have benefited immensely from the greed of these men.  We don't begrudge any of them one thin dime of their fortunes - PCs and smart phones have benefited us at Scragged enough that all of us have willingly spent thousands of dollars of our hard-owned, after-tax funds buying the hardware and (occasionally) software they offer.

How did Mr. Jobs get the money pay to develop the iPhone?  Did he apply for a government grant?  No, he earned profits from selling iPods and music downloads, which in turn he'd developed with money from selling Macs, and so on backward.  If government had taken his profits in the first instance, he would not have been able to create these later marvels which so many today take for granted.

Can you imagine any government program bringing us smartphones at such low prices that Chinese street beggars use them to collect electronic donations from people passing by?

Political greed is another matter.  What did Hillary do for Goldman Sachs in return for the $675,000 they paid her for speeches she refused to publish?  Her speeches cost us money - she used our tax dollars to reward "Government Sachs" for benefiting her.  Instead of letting us choose to buy services from Goldman, she gave them tax money taken from us by government under threat of force.

Ms. Pelosi expected Planned Parenthood to return some of the billion-dollar subsidy she proposed for them as bribes, which polite people call campaign contributions.

There is all the difference in the world between these two manifestations of greed.  The evil party encourages crony capitalism, which benefits them hugely while harming people and the economy.

In stark contrast, Mr. Trump should encourage traditional capitalism - or better put, real capitalism - by offering a tax holiday on all profit on all investments in America in 2020 through 2025.

Americans have shown a lot of creativity converting factories to make masks and respirators.  This answers our "Can We?" question in the affirmative - yes, we can, if government gets out of the way.

If investors were told they could keep all profits from investments made over the next 5 years, they'd invest in spite of the uncertainties brought about by the virus.  That's right - announce that there will be no taxation on investments made within, say, the next year, for the following 5 years.  What could more strongly encourage a business boom!

Get Rid of Corporate Income Tax

We don't have to stop there.  American corporations which are large enough to have their stock traded keep two sets of books.  One set is based on accounting standards set by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).  The FASB's goal is to make financial statements comparable between businesses so that investors can make rational decisions to buy or sell the stock.

If each business used a different definition of "depreciation" or "EBITDA," for example, it would be difficult to figure out how well company managers were doing by comparing their performance with others in the same line of business.  These are the numbers business magazines use when writing about how well or poorly businesses are doing.

The second set of books is specified by our arcane tax law, which has nothing to do with how well the business is run or even what sort of business it is.  Harvard University is regarded as a tax-free "nonprofit" organization in spite of having accumulated billions of dollars of tax-free endowment, for example.

The second set of books should be abolished.  Let businesses compute profit based on FASB standards which are all that concern most people anyway.  Once earnings per share are computed, assign the income to the owners of those shares and let them pay tax on the income.  In legal terms, make every corporation into a tradeable S-corp of unlimited size.

Why does this matter?  Right now, the owners of corporations (that is, everyone who owns stock or a mutual fund either directly or as beneficiary of a retirement plan) pays taxes twice: once when the corporation earns the profit, and then another time when the corporation returns dividends to stockholders who then have to pay taxes on their personal income taxes.

With this double-whammy, obviously corporations prefer not to issue dividends; they keep the money and invest it in something else.  This is a good strategy for avoiding unnecessary taxation, but it's bad for the economy: large corporations are not usually where innovation and economic growth come from.

Well-endowed "nonprofits" don't pay taxes at all.  If an entity is legitimately for a charitable purpose, it shouldn't be piling up riches beyond comprehension; it should be spending its money on doing the good works it was founded for.  How many churches or hospitals have billion-dollar endowments?  Any?  Yet Ivy League colleges do, all of which is untaxed.  It's time for that to end, to put rich "nonprofits" on a level playing field with entities that must work for a living.

Small businesses have been the primary engine of the American economy for our entire existence, but for them to prosper, people have to have more ready access to money to invest in them.  Removing the disincentive for corporations to return profits to their owners is one way to do that; removing the immunity to taxes of vast unaccountable immortal "charitable" trusts is another.

But, doesn't that mean that corporations get away with not paying taxes?  Of course not - with this plan, the stockholders in corporations would be personally responsible for paying taxes on their share of the profits, as part of their personal income tax returns.

Since they're going to pay taxes on the profits anyway, stockholders can decide whether to let the business retain the profits for future investment or pay some or all of money to shareholders to help them pay the taxes.  Either way, bookkeeping would be a lot simpler, the economy could move funds from slow-moving giant companies to nimble fast-growing small businesses more easily - and best of all, billions of dollars would be removed from gigantic international mega-corporations which have a nasty tendency to enforce political correctness and donate to Democrats.

The argument for consistently taxing the wealth of nonprofits is even stronger.  If the money is spent on the charitable purpose, of course it should not be taxed.  If it's just piling up, though, why shouldn't it be?  If the choice was between spending the money on something useful or giving it to the government in taxes, nearly all nonprofits would choose the former - jump starting both charity and the economy.  And if they failed, well, the national debt can use all the help it can get, and a charity that can't find anything charitable to spend money on is no charity at all.

Whack Regulations

Since few Republicans and no Democrats in Congress were willing to work with Mr. Trump during his first few years in office, most of the economic boost he's brought about has been due to whacking back regulations via executive order.  Although Democrat-appointed federal judges have said that President Trump cannot reverse executive orders issued by President Obama, we're confident that they will be only too happy to permit a future Democrat to reverse President Trump when the opportunity arises. 

So far, the President has used this emergency to override regulations forbidding medical personnel to work across state lines and permitted "telemedicine" which lets patients consult with doctors who are far, far away.  This has worked well by allowing remote medical staff to handle simpler cases, which reduces the load in hard-struck areas.

He is also giving nurses more authority to offer services without having to get a doctor's approval.  Medical professionals have traditionally fought such provisions - they have no desire to compete with people living in lower-cost areas or whose educations cost less.  We don't like monopolies and hope that this continues.

Aside from the direct good this has done, it's provided a vivid example: the state of Arizona noticed that wives of military personnel assigned to their state were not able to use their skills in Arizona due to onerous regulations, in particular in medical fields. They are now working to change the law so that Arizona now recognizes professional licenses issued by other states.  We also see states having second thoughts about idiotic, un-American and deadly plastic bag bans.

The New York Post explains how our response to the virus was woefully delayed by FDA and CDC regulations.

Most of the country was woefully unprepared for a pandemic - and pre-crisis federal regulations have slowed responses now to a painful crawl.

Plenty of companies would love to retool factories idled or slowed by the crisis to manufacture goods that are now desperately needed, and so keep their employees working and money coming in. But they need regulators' OK to produce this stuff - and that normally takes months.

The FDA has jurisdiction not only over medical device design and function, but also approves any manufacturer which desires to produce a medical product.  This is a recipe for keeping costs high - it costs so much to get approved to make a medical device that few companies want to bother.  This leaves incumbents free to raise prices at will because the normal fear of lower-cost competitors has been taken away by the government.

"The Forbidden Silver Bullet Against Infection" shows that the FDA forbids cures that have been sold over the counter in other countries and are known to be both safe and effective.  It's all about power, turf, and budget - patients aren't even on the radar.

Medical skills have an obvious relationship to coronavirus, but we can see a shining example of Mr. Trump not letting this crisis going to waste so he can do something else completely unrelated: he has "indefinitely suspended" EPA regulations.  Now that was something that never, ever could have happened if normal life was going on!

But we're only just getting rolling.  We'll work through some more ways to "not let this crisis go to waste" in the next article in this series.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Partisanship.
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