Monday, October 15, 2007

Updates on Fair Tax, Immigration, and Health Care

Mea Culpas -

Occasionally I make a mistake or overlook something I’ve written about. Usually, it’s one of you that points it out to me via e-mail.

On Sept 13, I wrote about the Fair Tax in “A Tax Cure All?” :

“A glaring problem is crossing borders to buy big-ticket items in Canada and Mexico…to purchase a car, boat, jewelry...Only a fool would buy any big-ticket item inside the U.S.”

John C. and Ian wrote in to let me know that buying a car in Mexico would be easy to check once you filed the paperwork for registration and license plates here in the U.S. I do still think jewelry would be easy to avoid a national sales tax. It would be hard to prove where you bought it without a massive effort. But, I do feel pretty dumb not thinking that cars have to be registered, titled, and insured.

Also on the Fair Tax I described how the theoretical ABC Services Inc. would be hurt because they would have to pay taxes on all revenue and not just on their thin profit margins. Ian pointed out that if the income tax was replaced, the tax accounting costs and human resources costs for the company would fall substantially. If you don’t pay corporate taxes you don’t really need that extra accountant. If you don’t have to fill out a whole bunch of IRS forms for W2, Social Security, Medicare…you might not need that extra HR staff member. I don’t know if this completely makes up for the extra taxes that are calculated on all revenues, but it shrinks the margin and muddies my argument.

Last week, I wrote about using remittances and work visas as leverage for opening markets in Mexico and Central America. After getting no e-mails for a few days, I felt a little like Ben Stein up at the chalkboard talking about the Smoot-Hawley trade act, “Anyone, anyone?” However, Alex G. who does work for the U.S. State Department sent this lone reply:

“Well I think you are on the right track with *some* of your comments about leveraging the money transfer issue. Your end goal…I think is too small in scope.”

“Our issuance of visas has to be looked at globally, and used as a diplomatic tool with those countries for whom we have the greatest desire to strengthen relationships. If you increase the number of visas to Mexico, India, China and others are going to (rightfully) cry foul.”

Updates –

In an article printed today at, a study reveals that even though basic dental coverage is guaranteed by Britain’s National Health Service many British residents have resorted to pulling their own teeth. They cannot find an available government subsidized dentist and cannot afford the more expensive private dentists.

“One respondent in Lancashire, northern England, claimed to have extracted 14 of their own teeth with a pair of pliers.”

Sounds like a great system! Let’s hear it for Government run health care and insurance! Woohoo!

Pass along –

If you are consistently annoyed by many of your local paper’s columnists, like I am, and would like to send a “Letter to the Editor” here are some of their helpful tips from a posting at

Step Five

State your opinion right off the bat in the first line: "I am writing to say ..."

Step Six
Clarify your context. For example, "In response to yesterday's headline, let me say ..." or "In printing John Smith's diatribe against big dogs, you've lost this small reader's subscription ..."

Step Seven
Trim your letter. Column inches are precious, and the newspaper will edit the letter if you don't.

Step Eight
Keep insults, name-calling and hearsay out of the contents if you want your letter published.

Step Nine
Proofread carefully, then hand your missive to someone else to proofread a second time.

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