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Thread: Real Tax Reform

  1. #1

    Real Tax Reform

    Complying with IRS rules takes a lot of time and money.

    How much money?

    • $409 billion per year, or $1266 per man, woman, and child

    How much time?

    • 8.9 billion man-hours per year, equivalent to 160 million people (the entire US labor force) working for a week

    https://taxfoundation.org/compliance...s-regulations/

    This is pure waste; it yields nothing but a lower standard of living.

    So, how can compliance costs be reduced? First, lowering rates won't help. Rates should be lowered, of course, but for other reasons. Compliance costs are high because the code is complex; lowering rates doesn't make it less complex. Second, reducing the number of brackets (e.g. to one, with a flat tax) won't help; the accountants aren't spending 8.9 billion hours per year because they can't figure out which bracket to use. Third, even eliminating deductions and credits won't help all that much. The fundamental reason that the federal tax code is so complex is that it's focused on taxing income, which is inherently difficult to define, esp. for businesses.

    If you want a simpler code, with lower compliance costs, you need to tax something other than income. I propose real estate. Calculating tax liability would be dead simple; compliance costs would drop to virtually nothing. What would the tax rate have to be? The total value of real estate in the US is around $30 trillion. Supposing the government's spending what it currently spends, the average real estate tax would have to be around 13%. Or, the tax could be graduated, based on property values. I don't have the data to do this, but it would be possible to set real estate tax brackets so that everyone ended up paying approximately the same tax they're paying now. In other words, nothing would change, except we'd save that $409 billion and 8,900,000,000 hours wasted on tax compliance. Finally, instead of relying on government assessments (as with local property taxes), people could be given the option to self-asses. But wouldn't people abuse this and value everything at $1? Yes, which is why they'd be required to sell their property at whatever price they self-assessed, should anyone offer that amount. Businesses especially would take advantage of this option, as their properties have no sentimental value to them.



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  3. #2
    No , I oppose all property tax .

  4. #3
    At this time I am quite happy to spend 100 bucks at my accountant and a couple hours every year totaling things so I pay no tax now that I am retired . I am uninterested in all tax plans that raise my tax .

  5. #4
    Property tax is evil, the only good taxes are sales tax/VAT and tariffs.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

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  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    Property tax is evil, the only good taxes are sales tax/VAT and tariffs.
    Why's that?

  7. #6
    I have a better idea. Quite giving the government money and starve the beast.
    "The Patriarch"

    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post

    Not going to happen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Schifference View Post
    The man did not think clearly. It was almost as if he had brain cancer of something.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    Why's that?
    Because the target may not have any income or even savings with which to pay, any form of wealth tax or head tax is as close to pure theft as you can get, money should be taxed when it moves not when it sits still.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  9. #8



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  11. #9
    It would be a huge change of rule in the middle of the game. People made decisions to buy property as a speculation. A lot of people wouldn't have the cash to pay the taxes.

    I am, however, strongly in favor of eliminating the special tax treatment home ownership gets. I think selling a home should be taxed at capital gains, like every other asset, and the tax deduction for mortgage interest should be eliminated. Those are things people should not have expected to be permanent.

    A better option to eliminate waste that might be politically possible, is to combine a sales tax with a flat tax.

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Krugminator2 View Post
    I think selling a home should be taxed at capital gains
    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.
    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.
    Anonymous

  13. #11
    There will be no real tax reform, real tax reform can only happen if government drastically shrinks. This isn't happening. Shifting the method of confiscation is not reform.
    "The Patriarch"

    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post

    Not going to happen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Schifference View Post
    The man did not think clearly. It was almost as if he had brain cancer of something.

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    any form of wealth tax or head tax is as close to pure theft as you can get
    Either something is theft or it isn't, it's not a matter of degree, and all tax is theft; property tax isn't "closer" to theft.

    Because the target may not have any income or even savings with which to pay...
    I appreciate the distinction you're making, but, ultimately, it isn't significant.

    With a property tax, you can get a bill which you literally cannot pay - don't have the money, never had the money - and so you have to sell the property. With a sales tax (for instance), this cannot happen. However, what can happen with a sales tax is that you don't have the money to buy the goods you want to buy. Is having to give up something you already have worse than not being able to obtain it in the first place...? I don't see how. Moreover, in most cases, it's not that people won't be able to pay property tax, it's that they'll just have to cut back on consumption in order to pay it (i.e. exactly the same effect as sales tax). Nor do I find persuasive the argument that sales tax is less bad because you can choose how much to consume; you can similarly "choose" (it's not a free choice) whether or not to own property, can't you? The bottom line is that any tax system creates a situation analogous to the one you're lamenting, where someone - due to the tax - has to make an unpleasant decision to forgo doing something they wanted to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCount View Post
    I don't necessarily think that real estate tax valuation would be simpler. It may just shift the much of the cost of income tax preparation to a valuation assessment and verification cost.
    The cost of property assessment may be comparable to the cost of compliance with the existing tax code, I don't know (though I doubt it), but the fact is that almost all property in the US is already assessed either for insurance purposes or by local property tax assessors. Federal assessments could piggyback on those at virtually no additional cost.

    P.S. I just did a little research. New York City spent $17,206,000 last year valuing properties for tax assessment. With a population of 8,538,000, that comes out to $2.01 per person per year, or 99.8% less than average federal tax compliance costs. And that's NYC, which has a lot more complex commercial buildings than most places. Property valuations in Podunk Iowa should be cheaper still.

    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    Shifting the method of confiscation is not reform.
    It does when shifting the method of confiscation saves taxpayers $409 billion in compliance costs.

    In effect, it would be a $409 billion tax cut.
    Last edited by r3volution 3.0; 09-22-2017 at 09:52 AM.

  15. #13
    No on real estate taxes. The value is subjective and fluid. There would have to be one rate for all, and I know my house and yard are not as valuable per acre as someone's in a different part of the country. Furthermore, property is assessed for taxes by someone who has a vested interest in making me pay as much as possible. There is no way to make the process impartial.
    Last edited by euphemia; 09-29-2017 at 09:07 PM.
    "There are two freedoms - the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought."~~Charles Kingsley

  16. #14
    If you're concerned about the method of taxation, you're missing the point. Really, the government could set the tax rate at 1% for everyone. 1% of whatever... income, real estate, purchases, etc.

    Ron Paul has said this a million times: The real tax is the spending!!

    Only a small portion of anyone's taxes is collected directly anymore. Now, it's mostly in carried debt, inflation and misallocated resources. They spend more than they collect every year and you still pay the difference. You just may not recognize it. The whole tax collection method is just another Keynesian scheme to make it look like people are working.
    "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works." - Bastiat

    "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire

  17. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by CaptUSA View Post
    If you're concerned about the method of taxation, you're missing the point. Really, the government could set the tax rate at 1% for everyone. 1% of whatever... income, real estate, purchases, etc.
    As you might imagine, I agree that tax rates should be much lower, but the method of collection is still important. Even if the rate is only 1%, or 0.001%, you want the collection method to be as efficient as possible. There's no reason for preferring a system that imposes higher compliance costs. BTW, if the government were only spending what it should (about $200 billion/year by my estimate, almost all of that for the military), you could finance it on a flat property tax of about 0.6%.

  18. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by euphemia View Post
    No on real estate taxes. The value is subjective and fluid. There would have to be one rate for all, and I know my house and yard are not as valuable per acre as someone's in a different part of the country. Furthermore, property is assessed for taxes by someone who has a bested interest in making me pay as much as possible. There is no way to make the process impartial.
    I'm wondering if you read the OP, since I already addressed these issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Me
    the tax could be graduated, based on property values....

    ....people could be given the option to self-asses. But wouldn't people abuse this and value everything at $1? Yes, which is why they'd be required to sell their property at whatever price they self-assessed, should anyone offer that amount. Businesses especially would take advantage of this option, as their properties have no sentimental value to them.



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  20. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    But wouldn't people abuse this and value everything at $1? Yes, which is why they'd be required to sell their property at whatever price they self-assessed, should anyone offer that amount. Businesses especially would take advantage of this option, as their properties have no sentimental value to them.
    See that? You lost us all. Required to sell???
    "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works." - Bastiat

    "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire

  21. #18
    Problem is the Courts are corrupt, all we need to do is follow the Income tax as written. Then most would not owe any income tax.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheCount View Post
    Drudge is a traitor to the Leader and the Revolution.



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  22. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    With a property tax, you can get a bill which you literally cannot pay - don't have the money, never had the money - and so you have to sell the property. With a sales tax (for instance), this cannot happen. However, what can happen with a sales tax is that you don't have the money to buy the goods you want to buy. Is having to give up something you already have worse than not being able to obtain it in the first place...? I don't see how. Moreover, in most cases, it's not that people won't be able to pay property tax, it's that they'll just have to cut back on consumption in order to pay it (i.e. exactly the same effect as sales tax). Nor do I find persuasive the argument that sales tax is less bad because you can choose how much to consume; you can similarly "choose" (it's not a free choice) whether or not to own property, can't you? The bottom line is that any tax system creates a situation analogous to the one you're lamenting, where someone - due to the tax - has to make an unpleasant decision to forgo doing something they wanted to do.
    There is a great difference between taking something I already have and increasing the cost of something I don't yet have, I am already adjusted to my lifestyle with the wealth I already have and without the property I don't own, if you delay my ability to buy something you do me far less harm than if you come take what I already have.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  23. #20
    Quick numbers. Value US housing: $30 trillion. US government spending: $4 trillion. 14% property tax rate. On top of current state and local property taxes. Median home price in the US: $200k. That would mean $28,000 a year in taxes. Median income? $59,000 a year (latest). That would be equal to a 47% income tax rate for the average family.

    Think housing and rental prices are high now? (property taxes are included in your rental costs)
    Last edited by Zippyjuan; 09-22-2017 at 01:28 PM.
    Donald Trump: 'What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening'

    "Truth isn't truth"- Rudy Giuliani

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCarolinaLiberty View Post
    I didn't actually read any of the thread. I now mostly just come here to mess with Zip.
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  24. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Quick numbers. Value US housing: $30 trillion. US government spending: $4 trillion. 14% property tax rate. On top of current state and local property taxes. Median home price in the US: $200k. That would mean $28,000 a year in taxes. Median income? $59,000 a year (latest). That would be equal to a 47% income tax rate for the average family.

    Think housing and rental prices are high now? (property taxes are included in your rental costs)

    Source?
    Quote Originally Posted by TheCount View Post
    ...I believe that when the government is capable of doing a thing, it will.
    Quote Originally Posted by Influenza View Post
    which one of yall fuckers wrote the "ron paul" racist news letters
    Quote Originally Posted by Dforkus View Post
    Zippy's posts are a great contribution.




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  25. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by CaptUSA View Post
    See that? You lost us all. Required to sell???
    Yes, required to sell if you *opted* for self-assessment.

    If you don't want to do that, you take the traditional assessment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    There is a great difference between taking something I already have and increasing the cost of something I don't yet have, I am already adjusted to my lifestyle with the wealth I already have and without the property I don't own, if you delay my ability to buy something you do me far less harm than if you come take what I already have.
    The problem you're describing only applies during the initial implementation of a property tax.

    Once it's in place, people will "adjust their lifestyles" accoringly: e.g. if you know you can't afford the tax on some house, you don't buy it.

    i.e. exactly the same as with a sales tax (if you can't afford the tax-inflated price of the widget, you don't buy it).

    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Quick numbers. Value US housing: $30 trillion. US government spending: $4 trillion. 14% property tax rate. On top of current state and local property taxes. Median home price in the US: $200k. That would mean $28,000 a year in taxes. Median income? $59,000 a year (latest). That would be equal to a 47% income tax rate for the average family.

    Think housing and rental prices are high now? (property taxes are included in your rental costs)
    As I indicated in the OP, it could be gradated based on property values:

    1% for property <$100k
    2% for property $100l - $200k
    etc

    Given present government spending, this would be politically necessary, as your figures indicate.

    Ideally, government would spend vastly less, and we could have a very low flat rate, but that's another issue.
    Last edited by r3volution 3.0; 09-22-2017 at 01:44 PM.

  26. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    Yes, required to sell if you *opted* for self-assessment.

    If you don't want to do that, you take the traditional assessment.
    So you can chose one bad method of valuation or a different bad method of valuation.
    This is one reason why wealth should be taxed when it moves not when it sits still, when it moves the market automatically determines a just valuation.



    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    The problem you're describing only applies during the initial implementation of a property tax.

    Once it's in place, people will "adjust their lifestyles" accoringly: e.g. if you know you can't afford the tax on some house, you don't buy it.

    i.e. exactly the same as with a sales tax (if you can't afford the tax-inflated price of the widget, you don't buy it).
    No it applies any time that by choice or misfortune my income is insufficient to pay the tax.



    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    As I indicated in the OP, it could be gradated based on property values:

    1% for property <$100k
    2% for property $100l - $200k
    etc

    Ideally, government would be spending <10% of what it presently does, and we could have a very low flat rate, but that's another issue.
    Any graduated tax is bad, it is a disincentive to wealth production.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

  27. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    Yes, required to sell if you *opted* for self-assessment.

    If you don't want to do that, you take the traditional assessment.



    The problem you're describing only applies during the initial implementation of a property tax.

    Once it's in place, people will "adjust their lifestyles" accoringly: e.g. if you know you can't afford the tax on some house, you don't buy it.

    i.e. exactly the same as with a sales tax (if you can't afford the tax-inflated price of the widget, you don't buy it).



    As I indicated in the OP, it could be gradated based on property values:

    1% for property <$100k
    2% for property $100l - $200k
    etc

    Given present government spending, this would be politically necessary, as your figures indicate.

    Ideally, government would spend vastly less, and we could have a very low flat rate, but that's another issue.
    Idealy, everybody would be millionaires and everything would be free.
    Donald Trump: 'What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening'

    "Truth isn't truth"- Rudy Giuliani

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCarolinaLiberty View Post
    I didn't actually read any of the thread. I now mostly just come here to mess with Zip.
    I am Zippy and I approve of this post. But you don't have to.



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  29. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Idealy, everybody would be millionaires and everything would be free.
    If you mean that it's unlikely that government spending will be dramatically cut, I agree.

    ...and if government spending remains the same/grows, we would still benefit from lower compliance costs.

  30. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    If you mean that it's unlikely that government spending will be dramatically cut, I agree.

    ...and if government spending remains the same/grows, we would still benefit from lower compliance costs.
    But higher taxes. Half of all income tax filers owe no net taxes currently. And as I mentioned, renters aren't exempt either. It does not only apply to property owners. The tax is included in their rents.

    If your rent is $1,000 a month and due to this tax it goes up 14%, you are now paying $1140 a month or an extra $1,680 a year.
    Donald Trump: 'What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening'

    "Truth isn't truth"- Rudy Giuliani

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCarolinaLiberty View Post
    I didn't actually read any of the thread. I now mostly just come here to mess with Zip.
    I am Zippy and I approve of this post. But you don't have to.

  31. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    But higher taxes. Half of all income tax filers owe no net taxes currently. And as I mentioned, renters aren't exempt either. It does not only apply to property owners. The tax is included in their rents.

    If your rent is $1,000 a month and due to this tax it goes up 14%, you are now paying $1140 a month or an extra $1,680 a year.
    No, not higher taxes, neither on average nor for any particular person.

    Quote Originally Posted by The OP Which Apparently No One Read
    I don't have the data to do this, but it would be possible to set real estate tax brackets so that everyone ended up paying approximately the same tax they're paying now. In other words, nothing would change, except we'd save that $409 billion and 8,900,000,000 hours wasted on tax compliance.

  32. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    No, not higher taxes, neither on average nor for any particular person.
    Impossible. On average, perhaps (assuming you are only collecting to replace the income tax- my figures assume that this was your only tax and that you want to pay the entire budget with it- ie no deficit- that alone requires more money than income taxes currently pay for so the average will have to be higher). But anytime you change the structure of taxes, even if it is revenue neutral, some will end up paying higher taxes and some will have their taxes lowered. With about half currently not paying any income taxes, it is likely that a good amount will face higher taxes. (like renters with lower than median income who currently owe nothing but would pay the property taxes their building is assessed or somebody making under $50k a year who buys their own home).
    Last edited by Zippyjuan; 09-22-2017 at 02:15 PM.
    Donald Trump: 'What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening'

    "Truth isn't truth"- Rudy Giuliani

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCarolinaLiberty View Post
    I didn't actually read any of the thread. I now mostly just come here to mess with Zip.
    I am Zippy and I approve of this post. But you don't have to.

  33. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Impossible. On average, perhaps (assuming you are only collecting to replace the income tax- my figures assume that this was your only tax and that you want to pay the entire budget with it- ie no deficit- that alone requires more money than income taxes currently pay for so the average will have to be higher). But anytime you change the structure of taxes, even if it is revenue neutral, some will end up paying higher taxes and some will have their taxes lowered. With about half currently not paying any income taxes, it is likely that a good amount will face higher taxes. (like renters with lower than median income who currently owe nothing but would pay the property taxes their building is assessed or somebody making under $50k a year who buys their own home).
    Sure, particular individuals might pay more or less (that's pretty much inevitable with any change in the tax code).

    What I meant is that the property tax rates (emphasis on rates, plural) could be set such that the categories of taxpayers we always talk about in the context of tax reform (e.g. poor, middle class, rich) would not see a significant changes in their collective obligations: e.g. most people earning $100k would end up paying about the same in property tax as they previously paid in income, payroll, etc, combined.

    As for total tax revenues, they would be the same. As explained, I'm talking about abolishing all existing taxes and replacing them with a property tax designed to yield the same revenue. I said nothing about closing the budget deficit (which is a separate issue, and should be accomplishing by cutting spending, in any event).

    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    the market automatically determines a just valuation.
    That is precisely what self-assessment subject to sale at that price accomplishes.

    No it applies any time that by choice or misfortune my income is insufficient to pay the tax.
    What happens if choice or misfortune leaves me with insufficient income to purchase goods that I want to purchase? What happens if I'm forced to sell something I already own to purchase those goods? What happens if home maintenance costs rise to the point that I have to sell my home? Or car maintenance costs rise to the point that I have to sell my car? Again, I don't think the distinction you're making is a meaningful one.

    Any graduated tax is bad, it is a disincentive to wealth production.
    That's true of all taxes: granted, more so for graduated taxes (but less so for a tax on property than a tax on income). The only reason I proposed that the property tax be graduated is that the rate required for a flat tax would make it a political non-starter. Likewise, for a flat sales tax to be revenue neutral, the rate would have to be too high to be politically feasible, hence the "prebate" concept. The same could be done with a property tax, no?

  34. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    That is precisely what self-assessment subject to sale at that price accomplishes.
    No, anyone who did not wish to sell at any price would have to set a stratospheric value and be taxed at that value, that method of valuation is horrible.



    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    What happens if choice or misfortune leaves me with insufficient income to purchase goods that I want to purchase? What happens if I'm forced to sell something I already own to purchase those goods? What happens if home maintenance costs rise to the point that I have to sell my home? Or car maintenance costs rise to the point that I have to sell my car? Again, I don't think the distinction you're making is a meaningful one.
    Those are natural hazards, taxes are a man made hazard and should not add additional damage to ordinary misfortune.




    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    That's true of all taxes: granted, more so for graduated taxes (but less so for a tax on property than a tax on income). The only reason I proposed that the property tax be graduated is that the rate required for a flat tax would make it a political non-starter. Likewise, for a flat sales tax to be revenue neutral, the rate would have to be too high to be politically feasible, hence the "prebate" concept. The same could be done with a property tax, no?
    I prefer a sales tax/VAT that exempts food, energy, housing and possibly other necessities but has a flat rate on everything else and is combined with a moderate tariff.
    If the rate is still too high you cut spending until it isn't, once you allow graduation the camels nose is in the tent.
    Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    Robert Heinlein

    Give a man an inch and right away he thinks he's a ruler

    Groucho Marx

    I love mankindÖitís people I canít stand.

    Linus, from the Peanuts comic

    You cannot have liberty without morality and morality without faith

    Alexis de Torqueville

    Those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
    Those who learn from the past are condemned to watch everybody else repeat it

    A Zero Hedge comment

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