Showing posts with label economics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label economics. Show all posts

Biden Brings Big Brother to Your Bank Account

The Biden administration has presented a plan that would compel banks and other financial institutions to provide the IRS with an annual report on clients' account inflows and outflows of $600 or greater.

Photo by olia danilevich from Pexels

By Andrew MoranSeptember 27, 2021

This article was originally published in Liberty Nation News

One of President Joe Biden’s chief economic policies is to provide the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with $80 billion to collect more taxes to fund his extravagant agenda. This consists of hiring more enforcement officers and beefing up audits of high-income earners. But the administration has also proposed another method to confirm greater compliance: force financial institutions to turn over clients’ bank account information to the IRS. Not everyone is pleased by this idea, and the banks are pushing back against something they assert would be a “liability” nightmare.

Giving The IRS More Money And Power

The Biden administration recently outlined a plan that would require banks and other financial entities to offer the U.S. government an annual report on customers’ account inflows and outflows of $600 or more to the tax-collecting agency. This measure would apply to banking, investment, and loan accounts, and it is estimated to generate approximately $463 billion in additional revenue over the next decade.

If Congress approves this policy mechanism, the IRS will garner sweeping new powers and information to extract more wealth from taxpayers. However, the banks are not enthusiastic about the plan, arguing that it would increase compliance costs and add more paperwork to an industry that reports millions of $10,000-plus transactions every day to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FCEN).

According to the Treasury Department, the public reports less than half of their total income when additional earning sources, such as freelance income or rental earnings, are not confirmed by a third party.

Forty banks sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), urging lawmakers to reject the president’s idea. The coalition letter, which includes the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), American Bankers Association (ABA), and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), warned of the “tremendous liability” regarding the collection, storage, protection, and the use of “this enormous trove of personal financial information.” They added:

“This proposal would create significant operational and reputational challenges for financial institutions, increase tax preparation costs for individuals and small businesses, and create serious financial privacy concerns. We urge members to oppose any efforts to advance this ill-advised new reporting regime.

“Privacy concerns are cited as one of the top reasons why individuals choose not to open financial accounts and participate in the financial system. This proposal would almost certainly undermine efforts to reach vulnerable populations and unbanked households.”

But, in a memo to congressional Democrats, White House officials stated this “basic, high-level information” can help the IRS locate “flags” when high-income account holders under-report their income and, thus, “under-pay their obligations.” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also recommended the House add the proposal to the broader $3.5 trillion spending package that can help shrink the tax gap and make sure “tax evaders are not able to structure financial accounts to avoid it.”

Citing a House Democrat source, Bloomberg reported that legislators are brokering an agreement that would “not have the $600,” but instead raise the threshold to $10,000. House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) told reporters, “You want to make sure it doesn’t hit the unintended. You don’t want to hit people at the lower end.” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) also wants to adjust the plan to concentrate on wealthy Americans.

Finding Tax Revenue

According to the Treasury Department, the public reports less than half of their total income when additional earning sources, such as freelance income or rental earnings, are not confirmed by a third party. So, while the Treasury avers that tax compliance is at 99% for funds that are verified by another entity, there is a chasm of accurate tax reporting. This is concerning for a U.S. government spending between $4 trillion and $5 trillion a year and running a federal deficit of more than $3 trillion. Uncle Sam needs to try to scour through every avenue to create revenue to keep the lights on.

This article originally appeared in Liberty Nation News on September 25, 2021
Liberty Nation News offers commentary, analysis and opinions – the good, the bad and the ugly — on all things related to American public policy and the political discourse.

Our Gods Have No Heads

We’re on a planet-sized haunted hayride to Armageddon, and no one is driving.

Sure at first glance it looks like someone’s driving. It appears that there are governments which are run by elected officials, and that those officials get together regularly with the officials from other governments to determine how the world should be run.

Then you look a bit closer and you discover that’s not how it works at all. The official elected governments are controlled by corporate and financial plutocratic institutions which have no loyalty to the citizenry of any nation they dominate, with wealth poured into manipulating those governments proportionate to their importance in securing the interests of the plutocracy.

Then you look closer still and it gets even weirder, because you see that even the plutocrats aren’t really calling the shots themselves. What’s ultimately driving things is not so much the people within those institutions as the institutions themselves, which operate based on motives of profit and growth that are built into them and are entirely divorced from normal human values.

You see this evidenced in the way these entities actively and deliberately select executives with “dark personality traits”, i.e. narcissists and sociopaths, because ethical and empathic people will not do the things that are necessary to advance the agendas of those entities. The executive isn’t choosing cutthroat actions for the corporation to make, the corporation is choosing executives who will enact its cutthroat agendas.

In the old days we invented gods to worship who we pretended lived in the heavens, and we talked about miracles and divine intervention. Now we invent gods who live right here on earth, and we talk about profit margins and market forces. The only difference between the old gods and the new is that the high priests of old had their own personal agendas served by their religion, whereas the new high priests actually serve the agendas of their gods.

And the problem of course is that these are not wise and beneficent gods, they are manmade conceptual constructs with no more intelligence or insight than that growth-at-all-cost values system held by a cancerous tumor. The modern gods are mindless devourers who are controlled by no one. The modern gods have no heads.

As Steinbeck wrote in The Grapes of Wrath:

“We’re sorry. It’s not us. It’s the monster. The bank isn’t like a man.”

“Yes, but the bank is only made of men.”

“No, you’re wrong there—quite wrong there. The bank is something else than men. It happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it. The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It’s the monster. Men made it, but they can’t control it.”

So now we are watching our world be devoured by these headless modern gods, because ecocide is profitable and leads to growth. Because exploitation is profitable and leads to growth. Because war is profitable and leads to growth. Because infiltrating government power is profitable and leads to growth.

They will not stop until there is nothing left to devour. There is nothing built into these massive devourers which could ever tell them to stop. They cannot stop, they can only be stopped.

At some point we’re going to realize that market forces and the profit motive do not have the wisdom to navigate through the existential crises humanity now faces. The only question is whether we’ll realize this in time to do something about it, or realize it in our final gasps as a species.

The modern gods to not serve us. We can only create a healthy world when we find it within ourselves to stand up to their infernal religion, chop off their headless heads, and begin replacing the gods who ruled us with systems designed to benefit humans.

Caitlin's work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more, you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list on her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has her permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else she's written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on Caitlin, where she stands, and what she's trying to do with her platform, click here. Read the original article here.

Elon Musk's Gamble on a Clean Energy Future Pays Off

Alongside his personal wealth, Elon Musk has created countless jobs, contributed millions of dollars to deserving charities, and spearheaded technological and engineering feats that once seemed impossible.

BY DANIELLE BUTCHER - August 1, 2021

This article was originally published by the Foundation for Economic Education

It’s no secret that entrepreneur and engineer Elon Musk is something of a cultural icon. With CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, founder of The Boring Company, and co-founder of another handful of companies among his many titles, Musk now has one more proverbial feather to stick in his cap—richest man in the world (briefly). Surpassing Amazon giant Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk achieved this status last week, hitting an estimated net worth of more than $185 billion.

This achievement in and of itself is an enormous feat, but what's more impressive is the way in which Musk built this fortune. Many progressives are quick to criticize people who have attained billionaire status, suggesting that no one person should have an opportunity to accumulate such capital while others live below the poverty line. What is often forgotten in these discussions, however, is the good these entrepreneurs have created for others and for society at large.

While a popular narrative may be that Musk achieved success by exploiting others, there seems to be a deep disconnect between this theory and reality. Alongside his personal wealth, Musk has created countless jobs, contributed millions of dollars to deserving charities, and spearheaded technological and engineering feats that once seemed impossible. His important breakthroughs have made way for progress, both within and outside of his own companies.

Historically, innovation has been fueled by people like Musk, not government actors.

Rather than condemning Musk, we should be examining his path to prosperity. While it’s true Tesla received significant government subsidies, there are lessons to be learned here, and chief among those lessons is that of the power in risks. After all, if the government is going to get involved in private industry at all, it should be by providing incentives for innovation, rather than punishing or overregulating promising entrepreneurs.

In 2003, when EVs were largely considered a niche market, Elon Musk founded Tesla, the famed electric car company. With its unconventional marketing strategy and luxury appeal, Tesla contributed significantly to the popularization of electric vehicles in the 21st Century.

Since Tesla’s founding, the production of electric vehicles themselves, as well as EV infrastructure, has grown astronomically. Since 2003, the US has surpassed one million sales of EVs, and infrastructure has only continued to expand. Tesla paved the way for other EV manufacturers to debut in the modern market. The industry’s growth has surpassed initial expectations and with that, accelerated our path to a cleaner future.

Musk, of course, had no way of knowing this 17 years ago when he took a risk and founded Tesla. Entrepreneurs often precede market trends with their products, which is the beauty of a free market. Because of Tesla and similar EV companies, consumers were given a new, more sustainable choice.

Musk is a pioneer, and he took a risk that others were not willing to take on, creating jobs, improving society, and spearheading vital technological developments and research.

Historically, innovation has been fueled by people like Musk, not government actors. Innovators are often maligned for their success, despite spearheading the very initiatives those on the left often urge governments to take on. The key difference, of course, is that entrepreneurs take risks with their own resources and at their own consequence, while governments take action at the expense of the taxpayers, and often at the cost of personal freedoms.

What’s critical is that Musk wasn’t reacting to government demanding a certain number of electric vehicles by a certain year or, as California enacted late last year, a complete phase-out of traditional, gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035. Instead, Musk created Tesla because he had an idea he believed would benefit and appeal to consumers. Luckily for him, the market responded enthusiastically, and Tesla became a household name in less than two decades.

Musk is a pioneer, and he took a risk that others were not willing to take on, creating jobs, improving society, and spearheading vital technological developments and research in the process. He was successful because his approach was one that government will never be able to replicate—an approach of creating based on ambition, curiosity, and responding to the demands of the market rather than a mandate or policy.

Danielle Butcher

Danielle Butcher is the executive vice president at the American Conservation Coalition (ACC) and fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF).

Capitalism Hits the Fan

photo courtesy of Tijmen Van Dobbenburgh
I'm linking here to an article that has the most succinct and accurate summation of the real cause of our current financial crisis that I have seen. Capitalism Hits the Fan by Richard Wolff, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts.

Throughout the article, point-for-point, I agree with his reasoning and support his conclusions.

At the end of the article he has also included the solution. I think his solution would work, however, it is radical enough where I do not see the U.S. government enacting it. At least not until things have gotten much, much worse.

So, ya, we're pretty much screwed.

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