Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mish Gets Libertarian Advice Wrong

Of course I am no libertarian, but Mish entertained a question as to whether a "Trust Fund Baby", an adult whose family is supported by a trust fund and therefore no one works, prefers to spend time together (I wonder what that is like, spending all your time together), a libertarian, who finds under Romney/Obamacare he is legally entitled to $600 in welfare payments.

Two points jump out:

1. Two teens still at home.

2. "The trust fund makes the money, not him."

Mish turns to a mentor, Pater Tenebrarum (Father Darkness?) who in turn cites Ayn Rand.  Eeeew! And the advice is in essence, take the money and run.  You paid in, so take out what you can get.

It's not that simple.  People and corporations ought pay in as little as possible, do everything within the law, like Boeing and Apple and Google, to pay no taxes whatsoever, because there are no instances when taxes are used to do good.  In every instance taxes go malinvestment which in turn distorts the market and leads to the terrible uneven distribution we see daily.

On the other hand it is foolish to run afoul of the tax laws, however wrong, even Jesus paid his taxes, although he performed a miracle to do so.  The lesson is if you pay taxes, it is another example of a miracle.

So to navigate whether to take government money, we first need to understand only end-users, consumers, pay taxes.  Business cannot pay taxes.  When you buy a Hershey chocolate bar, you have paid all of Hershey's taxes (as well as all of their expenses).  All costs including taxes are paid by end users.  (If a company goes bankrupt, the taxes it paid borne by the end-users, the receivers of the bankrupt firm).  In this case paying as little as possible becomes a competitive advantage, you lose unless you play.    All of this talk of "business paying their fair share" is pointless drivel.

The point is to wherever you find yourself in the flow of funds, you leverage it to the good. Let's look at some examples.

Now, taxing government payrolls is too a pointless exercise (why not just pay them net?) until we come to the business tax laws.  Your average federal paycheck is about $80k, and taxes may be about $20K, so $60K net say.  In that case that funny money $20k could be pre-tax dollars to invest.... instead of giving it to Uncle Sam in taxes, use $20K to start a business, and reduce your income to the Same $60k take-home anyway.  Of course your taxes are now based on $60K, not $80K, so maybe now you have $13K in taxes, but you make have built untaxed equity in a business in excess of the $13K in taxes.  Consult a CPA about where that sweet spot is for you ($80k is average, half make above that, so $200K is nothing special for mid-level ministers of funny walks, etc.)

Of particular interest to me is the "marketing dollars" the Feds distribute to businesses looking to build export markets.  Now this is money taken in taxes and then given back to businesses that are building markets worldwide.  Here is the problem in this instance:

1. It is directed to a very specific activity - essentially advertising.

2. It is putatively for all USA business but as a practical matter designed only for large USA business.

So here is the deal, if you do not use the money, it will be used by big business.  You can only use the money on market-building.  Here is the problem, as a practical matter it can only be used by big business, but  I F ,   if, you know how the game is played, you can work the program to where legally you can take advantage of it.  In this instance, you are building your business and starving evil big business of the limited funds.  But it is like Odysseus sailing past the Sirens, you have to be strapped to the mast during a certain phase or the programs will drive you mad and your business will crash.  One reason I teach is to show people how to get this money, and most importantly, when, and how to leverage it properly.

There are programs that are just hoaxes, like Foreign Trade Zones which get you nothing except paperwork, and payroll work subsidies that get you headaches.  yes some programs you ought to just steer clear of.

But now to the Trust Fund Baby.  We are all trust fund babies, we fly in planes in an industry that has never turned a profit since the Wright Brothers got that bicycle to launch.  A classic example of socializing costs and privatizing "profits" the airline industry is an example of convention, not markets.  Not to pick on the airline industry, just one example of countless instances of which we are "heirs" to investments we do not paid for, we did not earn.  Indeed, USA borrows half of what it spends, so we are all welfare queens as well.

Mish takes Father Darkness's lead in pointing out all taxation is theft, so any and all restitution is acceptable.  Take the money and run.  Fair enough analysis. Except...  we are all also thieves.  So grab from the booty and run?  The USA economy, and imperial economy depends on our ability to terrorize others who cannot be bribed into paying us tribute.  That is imperialism.  We cannot get away from the reality is little girls are set on fire overseas so we can have free junk here.  We call it collateral damage, or "the price we pay" but it is not rare, Madeleine Albright said expressly a half million dead Iraqi children is worth it.  (Razia did not die after being set on fire by USA troops.)  We invaded their countries on a false pretense, but with the express goal of having them pay for their occupation and our hegemony.  This hegemony is the basis for Chinese loans to us, that we can credible repay from imperialism what we borrow form the Chinese so we can have pointless junk that crowds out a more authentic life.  We are all as guilty as hell of that, and there is probably not less than 100, not 50, not ten here who are not guilty.

So as I pointed out above, the salient points are trust fund, no work, two teens...  free "money."  Well, the trust fund is a state creation to achieve a stable cadre of regime-adherents.  The fund is strictly limited as to in what it can invest.  One gets trapped into a pas-de-deux with the regime.  Next, managing assets would be work in its own right, but here again, expressly forbidden by the regime rules.  So the funds in the trust are as solid as the state (in fact support the regime goals) and at the same time deny us the good of the beneficiary being obliged to come out and compete with the rest of us.  The kids of these adults will never know from example of what it is to struggle and produce. The Trust Fund is an evil government entity.

So the $600 a month in welfare payment to an independently wealthy family is indeed odd.  The money comes from imperial oppression, if not taken it will likely end up in the war profiteers accounts, so what to do?

We are all trust fund babies in some sense and we will all be "getting" social security at some point. Social Security is a welfare payment to a trust fund baby when you get it, so we are all faced with the fellow to which Mish refers.

So what to do?  For my part, I have decided I will take the money, but not "run" with it.  Since these payments all rely on USA imperialism, I've targeted the funds to a group that removes UXO around the world, particularly Vietnam.

I tried to find a charity that does this, but charities (NGOs) are government chartered entities that usually end up doing far more damage than good (see "Africa").  Eventually I found a private company that can sally forth with $10,000 to remove mines, ex-minelayers who repent of their evil.  This is serious work, not for starlets and princesses, fronting NGOs, who more often simply, as Father Darkness advises, take the money and run.  So my social security checks will go to the UXO removal company, which actually removes UXO, by people who are healed by removing UXO.  I rather dig ditches for rice and beans in Mexico than accept USA welfare.  (I am assuming the ditches are not far from the ocean, and there is beer with the rice and beans.)

What is left is working at building what is good, directing what targeted funds are around you to good rather than let it go to bad, and direct "untargeted funds" to the people upon whom we've imposed for the provision of the money in the first place (say, Laotian farmers.)  Then you are closer to the free market, and are closer to surviving come what may.

And also, along these lines, it pleases me to no end to see the poor using their EBT cards in the most upscale grocery stores, buying the finest free range meats and organic produce.  the last thing they should be buying is Cheetos and Coke, and in so buying upscale they support the small farms in their effort to recover farming in USA.  Smile encouragingly when you see the mom with the screaming kid stocking up on pate and paying with her EBT card.  Offer to carry out her bags (not to worry, the store has plenty of help for that.)

The bottom line is entrepreneurs never take risks. Whatever your circumstances, work with it.  There are no times in history when things were just right.  Previous generations left us work for us to do.  We've got to get out of imperialism, and each of us can work in a relatively free market, by our practices.

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