• Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    Today, 08:39 AM
    What evidence do you have that this was the founders' intent? The Constitution certainly doesn't require that federal expenditures be made on an apportioned basis, and federal spending from 1787 on has never been on such a basis. The "refund" of 1836 was in actuality a loan by Congress to the States, since the Secretary of the Treasury could require the States to repay the money on an installment basis whenever the Secretary needed it to cover federal expenditures. In essence, the States were being used as banks to hold the excess revenue until needed by the federal government.
    39 replies | 356 view(s)
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    10 replies | 181 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:51 PM
    Not if a State gets more back from the federal government than it pays in federal taxes. This can vary dramatically from state to state. See https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/05/which-states-are-givers-and-which-are-takers/361668/ Admittedly, this analysis was based on current federal taxation, which isn't apportioned. But there's no guarantee that federal benefits would necessarily be proportional to population if taxes were apportioned.
    39 replies | 356 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    10-15-2017, 08:57 AM
    Except that's not what he said -- he said "NO ONE has any "authority" over anyone else." So if no one has any authority over me and no one has any over you and we get into a disagreement that we can't settle peacefully, it's whoever has the most physical power to exert his will on the other that wins. Not quite. While you might not agree, I see a distinction between pure physical power and law, which is power that has been legitimized in some fashion. The simplest example would be where you and I enter into a contract and agree that any dispute is to be settled by an independent arbitrator, whose decision will not only be final but will be enforced by physical force. By entering into such an agreement we have legitimized the use of force by the arbitrator. It s gets more complicated when more than just the two of us are involved and when something other than a contract is at issue. Many on this site would argue that unless one has explicitly consented to the application of a law one isn't bound to observe it and any enforcement against one who hasn't consented is illegitimate. But all that means is that I can commit any series of violent acts against other people who will have absolutely no grounds to stop or punish me other than their use of physical force -- i.e., might making right.
    86 replies | 1553 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    10-14-2017, 05:43 PM
    The notion of separation of church and state is inherent in the Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses. The last thing any believer should want is for the State to use its power and influence to promote a particular religious belief. But Moore sees no problem in using the power of his office to push his particular views..
    192 replies | 4915 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    10-13-2017, 01:40 PM
    In other words, might makes right.
    86 replies | 1553 view(s)
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    10-11-2017, 01:08 PM
    Free markets are unworkable unless there is a process by which contracts can be interpreted and enforced and that will bind both parties. You also need a process to determine whether the contract is valid in the first place -- e.g., was one party induced to enter the contract as the result of fraudulent representations by the other, or did one party have the mental capacity to contract? Sure, the contract might recite that any dispute will be resolved by an independent arbitrator, but if one party alleges fraud then the entire contract (including the arbitration clause) is subject to being deemed invalid. In addition, who's going to force the losing party to abide by the arbitrator's decision? And I don't see how free markets would last without a process to resolve what are generally considered as tortious or criminal acts, where there's obviously no advance agreement to let an arbitrator determine the issue.
    86 replies | 1553 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    10-06-2017, 12:02 PM
    As usual, you haven't a clue.
    30 replies | 520 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    10-06-2017, 10:47 AM
    The proposed §2704 regs arguably did. For a summary of this complex area, see http://www.willamette.com/insights_journal/16/winter_2016_2.pdf Some regulations that exceed statutory authority are actually taxpayer-friendly, so nobody complains. One I come across from time to time are the regs under §338(h)(10) that allow an acquisition of stock in an S corporation to be treated as an asset purchase for tax purposes (the advantage here is that the buyer gets a cost basis in the corporation's assets thereby allowing future depreciation and amortization deductions). But there's nothing in the language of the statute that addresses this situation.
    30 replies | 520 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    10-06-2017, 10:30 AM
    IRC §6702 not only imposes penalties for frivolous returns and positions, it specifically authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe a list of frivolous positions. There is plenty of statutory support for the frivolous return program.
    30 replies | 520 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    10-06-2017, 08:31 AM
    This is old news, and you don't know squat about my opinion of Hillary (hint: it's lower than a snake's belly). On July 7, 2017 the IRS identified eight regulations that in its opinion met at least one of the first two criteria set out in the order (the IRS would never admit that any of its regs met the third criterion -- i.e., that they exceeded the Service's statutory authority). Among the regs identified by the IRS were proposed regulations under IRC §2704, dealing with valuation issues in the gift and estate tax area. These proposed regs had been severely criticized by the estate planning community in hearings last December as vague, beyond the IRS's regulatory authority, and having the effect of overturning long-standing rules on valuing closely-held business interests. Fortunately, the IRS withdrew these proposed regulations two days ago. While the executive order probably hastened the demise of the regs, the criticism from the estate planning community that had been leveled before the executive order was issued had already had an effect, as the IRS had announced that the estate planners had misconstrued the proposed regs and that the Service would seek to clarify them. As I do a lot of estate planning work, I was overjoyed to see the proposed regs vanish.
    30 replies | 520 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    10-02-2017, 06:57 AM
    And there you have put your finger on the issue. Government-mandated segregation was what the Brown case ruled unconstitutional in 1954. But there are some who would claim the case was wrong because the Constitution doesn't mention schools. As far as the federal government's involvement is concerned, the Brown case was brought by private parties, not the federal government, and some institution (e.g., the Supreme Court) had to decide the plaintiff's 14th Amendment claims. In any case, the 14th Amendment explicitly gives Congress the power to enforce the Amendment through appropriate legislation, so Congress could have theoretically outlawed racially segregated schools via legislation (although in 1954 this would have been politically impossible).
    33 replies | 1973 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    10-01-2017, 04:17 PM
    Just the opposite. The founding fathers wisely put a provision in the Constitution prohibiting religious tests for federal office. Moore, on the other hand, wants to ban Muslims from serving in Congress. In addition, I don't recall that the founders violated court orders or thought themselves above the law.
    33 replies | 1973 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    10-01-2017, 03:30 PM
    It doesn't say anything about schools either, so are you OK with racially segregated public schools (assuming that there will be such schools)?
    33 replies | 1973 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-30-2017, 10:08 AM
    The people can elect whomever they want. They can also remove the person they've elected if, as in Moore's case, he violates the law or judicial ethics.
    33 replies | 1973 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-30-2017, 10:05 AM
    If a marriage law violates the Constitution a federal or state court may declare it void, as happened in the 1967 anti-miscegenation case.
    33 replies | 1973 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-29-2017, 01:43 PM
    What business is it of yours or mine? If he wants to take the oath with his hand on the owner's manual for a 1953 De Soto convertible, that's his choice. The law doesn't require congressmen to put their hand on anything when being sworn in. Apparently the people in Minnesota who elected him didn't care that he was a Muslim, so why should you or Moore care? Incidentally, I forgot to mention that the Quran that Ellison used once belonged to Thomas Jefferson.
    21 replies | 448 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-29-2017, 01:27 PM
    Both parties have used the tax code to push their particular agendas since day one. Want to protect your business from foreign competition? Get Congress to raise tariffs. Want to transfer money to the poor? Give them refundable child credits. Want to lower taxes for businesses? Increase the amount they can expense for buying equipment instead of requiring them to depreciate the cost over time. Want to encourage home ownership? Allow a deduction for home mortgage interest (but not too much -- limit the amount "the rich" can deduct). Want to require "the rich" to pay tax even though the law doesn't require them to? Enact the Alternative Minimum Tax.
    115 replies | 1907 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-29-2017, 12:50 PM
    If you're gay, atheistic, or Muslim, he doesn't. To show how much of an ignorant wacko this guy is, he argued that representative Keith Ellison (D. Minnesota), who is a Muslim, shouldn't be allowed to take the oath of office because he planned to do so with his hand on a copy of the Quran. Moore is apparently oblivious to the fact that the Constitution prohibits religious tests for federal offices.
    21 replies | 448 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-28-2017, 08:32 AM
    If the voters in Alabama prefer a theocratic hypocrite for their Senator, that's their business.
    33 replies | 1973 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-27-2017, 03:43 PM
    It matters little what is in Trump's plan, as there will be fierce negotiations within the House, within the Senate, and likely within the Conference Committee. It can truly be said that the two things that you really don't want to see how they are made are sausage and tax legislation.
    115 replies | 1907 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-27-2017, 08:22 AM
    True, but it has been done -- "Black Like Me", a 1961 book by John Howard Griffin, made into a film in 1964. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Like_Me http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057889/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
    8 replies | 270 view(s)
  • Sonny Tufts's Avatar
    09-22-2017, 08:23 AM
    It already is under current law. And the first $250,000 of gain ($500,000 for a married couple filing a joint return) is exempt if the home's been used as a personal residence for at least 2 years.
    44 replies | 837 view(s)
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We have long had death and taxes as the two standards of inevitability. But there are those who believe that death is the preferable of the two. "At least," as one man said, "there's one advantage about death; it doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."
Erwin N. Griswold

Taxes: Of life's two certainties, the only one for which you can get an automatic extension.
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