Desperate times call for desperate measures, of course. But when the measures get truly desperate, they also get truly goofy. Remember that scene in the Marx Brothers movie Go West, where they’re on a train that’s running out of coal? The bad guys are getting away, so Harpo begins grabbing everything he can to throw into the engine’s firebox to keep it in hot pursuit of the villains. When he runs out, he starts chopping up the wood of the train itself until the train consists of an engine pulling a bunch of skeletal platform cars.
And that’s about where America is with its tax base, right now, thanks to decades of Republican and Democrat politicians, in two branches of government, happily throwing money at every constituent they can. (You know, the Czar’s other doctor friend once remarked that the difference between Democrats and Republicans is this: a Democrat will promise to take your money and spend it; a Republican will promise to return your money, but spend it just as fast.)
So here we have Joe Biden, America’s mid-season replacement for Donald Trump. He’s like Charles Rocket, when Saturday Night Live saw their original monster cast leave en masse. He was gonna be great. Remember Rocket? That’s okay; few do. Sadly, he’s passed away.
Back on track; it’s so easy to lose your place when talking about Biden. So here we have Joe Biden, and he’s promised the progressive community a Big Thank You for getting Bernie Sander’s apparatchiks to vote for somebody not an outright communist. And his plan was clever: spend as much money as has ever been spent by a government on every crazy thing the progressives could think of. Free daycare? You’re in. Free community college? Sure, why not. Put wind farms in every neighborhood? Um, okay. But here’s the clever part: call it Infrastructure. Who hates that? Everyone loves bridges, and overpasses, and canals, and shipping docks, and conduit, and wiring, and plumbing and stuff.
Except the bill came in a well over 3 trillion dollars, setting up the perfect Simpsons gag in real life. Turns out, stupid stuff also costs real money.
Well, Americans don’t want to pay $20,000 per taxpayer extra. So in typical political fashion, the Democrats agreed that they could cut the spending down to about 1 trillion bucks, with some analysts estimating that a more realistic cost (after those cuts, of course) will be closer to 4 trillion.
Problem is: there is no more money. None. It’s over. Americans cannot afford to have taxes raised to this extent.
All right, all right, all right, all right: Bernie Sanders whips out his dull golf pencil (they’re free; just take one from the mini-golf admissions booth!) and uses his math skills to their full extent. He declares the bill will actually cost nothing. This amazing bit of calculus is predicated on his suspicion that billions of people are secretly billionaires who have been hiding money in regular bank accounts, and all this money should have been paid in taxes already. Sanders also assumes that “raising taxes” is not as essential if you simply call it something else, something more market-friendly, like… like “not raising taxes.”
And this fooled nobody. So another Democrat equally skilled in economics—so that’s got to be Elizabeth Warren—had the idea to investigate all bank transactions into or out of the United States if their amount was equal to $600 or greater. Evidently, someone is unaware that this is millions of transactions a day, in hopes they can find may be a few that are questionable. And gosh, if you catch like 10 a week, and tax those scofflaws for a couple hundred bucks, you’ll have those trillions collected in no time.
Guess what. Even a small Lhasa Apso in Yonkers understood that the costs to hire that many analysts to weed through millions of transactions would easily cost more than the possible revenue that would generate. So plan C was for Treasury Secretary Yellen to suggest that Americans pay tax on unrealized capital gains.
Okay, now Americans paused. What was that, exactly? “Okay, dummies,” she said, “A capital gain is when you make a lot of money cashing in an investment.”
Yeah, we said, we already pay tax on that. It’s one of the reasons more Americans don’t invest.
“Well, dummies,” she continued, “An unrealized capital gain is when you don’t cash it in, yet.”
Now we understood: you’re proposing to tax us for when an investment goes up in value, even if we don’t cash it in?
“Yes, now you get it.”
So today if we play poker in Vegas and win $20,000 at the end of the night, that’s a capital gain we pay tax on. But under your proposal, if we’re playing poker in Vegas, and on the turn discover we have four of a kind, we get taxed on the amount of money we could win if we played all the way through…even though we haven’t won the money yet, and therefore have to pay out of our own pocket.
That will do a lot more than cause people to not play poker. It will cause a mass sell-off of stocks. It will cause people to cash in bonds and crush the government’s cash flow. It will make people under-contribute to their 401(k)s and other retirement plans. And no one will sell a house, for fear of it going up in value, anytime ever. This will absolutely destroy the economy of the United States and push America into a massive depression.
Needless to say, that idea isn’t going forward, either.
These are all acts of desperation: America cannot—simply cannot—afford to pay government any more money. So like Harpo chopping up the train, the Biden administration is looking for any conceivable source of revenue to tax. But it’s all been taxed. So now they’re down to just bankrupting people in order to steal the money.
This all sounds terrible because, frankly, it is. But there’s a glimmer of hope: we are now extremely close to Washington admitting we’re broke. We need to start letting some of you go to save costs. The Department of Education was always a first choice, but lately the Department of Transportation has stepped up to announce it’s more interested in taking time off to spend time with the family. And with our military more invested in winning the hearts and minds of Castro Street than anywhere else, there’s probably some good cuts to be made there.
Come to think of it, maybe our Treasury and State departments have a little too much free time lately.
You could easily come up with some great ideas faster than they can, eh?
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.