Don’t Close the Tax “Loopholes”

Why do some conservatives and libertarians want some Americans to pay more in taxes?
Oh, they don’t actually come out and say that. Then they would sound like Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.
What they do say is that certain tax deductions are ‘loopholes’ that need to be ‘closed’ because they ‘distort’ the tax code, ‘subsidize’ high-income taxpayers, and encourage people to make ‘economically unwise decisions.’ Although most of them also add that the increased government revenue that would result from the elimination of a particular deduction should be used to ‘pay’ for ‘good tax reform’ by ‘offsetting’ the ‘cost’ of lowering tax rates and making the tax code ‘simpler’ and ‘fairer,’ there is no getting around the fact that some conservatives and libertarians still want certain Americans to pay more in taxes.
The latest deduction under attack is the State and Local Tax Deduction (the SALT deduction).

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on November 27, 2017.

An Equal-Opportunity Thanksgiving Day Cartoon That Can’t Offend Anyone

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman must be worried that some of the royals rounded up during his ‘corruption crackdown’ cash grab are holding out on him. Because the Saudi prince has reportedly hired a crew of American mercenaries who haven’t hesitated to employ an array of ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques.
As the Daily Mail reports, mercenaries purportedly employed by Academi, a successor to infamous US security contractor Blackwater, have been stringing up some of MBS’s ‘guests’ at the Riyadh Ritz Carlton by their feet and savagely beating them during interrogations. The claims have spread rapidly on Arabic-language social media, and even Lebanon’s president Michel Aoun has accused MbS of using mercenaries. Still, the Daily Mail isn’t the most reputable news organization, so these reports should be taken with a grain of salt.
‘They are beating them, torturing them, slapping them, insulting them. They want to break them down,’ the source told DailyMail.com.
‘Blackwater’ has been named by DailyMail.com’s source as the firm involved, and the claim of its presence in Saudi Arabia has also been made on Arabic social media, and by Lebanon’s president.
The firm’s successor, Academi, strongly denies even being in Saudi Arabia and says it does not engage in torture, which it is illegal for any U. S. citizen to commit anywhere in the world.
The Saudi crown prince, according to the source, has also confiscated more than $194 billion from the bank accounts and seized assets of those arrested, and could eventually end up with $800 billion in cash and assets to replenish Saudi’s rapidly diminishing reserves. Given the febrile atmosphere in the kingdom, and the tacit support for the crackdown among Saudi citizens, who have seen their jobs and generous government subsidies cut, MbS has been able to circumvent the country’s legal system.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 23, 2017.

Alwaleed Bin Talal Reportedly Hung Upside Down And Beaten By US Mercenaries

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman must be worried that some of the royals rounded up during his ‘corruption crackdown’ cash grab are holding out on him. Because the Saudi prince has reportedly hired a crew of American mercenaries who haven’t hesitated to employ an array of ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques.
As the Daily Mail reports, mercenaries purportedly employed by Academi, a successor to infamous US security contractor Blackwater, have been stringing up some of MBS’s ‘guests’ at the Riyadh Ritz Carlton by their feet and savagely beating them during interrogations. The claims have spread rapidly on Arabic-language social media, and even Lebanon’s president Michel Aoun has accused MbS of using mercenaries. Still, the Daily Mail isn’t the most reputable news organization, so these reports should be taken with a grain of salt.
‘They are beating them, torturing them, slapping them, insulting them. They want to break them down,’ the source told DailyMail.com.
‘Blackwater’ has been named by DailyMail.com’s source as the firm involved, and the claim of its presence in Saudi Arabia has also been made on Arabic social media, and by Lebanon’s president.
The firm’s successor, Academi, strongly denies even being in Saudi Arabia and says it does not engage in torture, which it is illegal for any U. S. citizen to commit anywhere in the world.
The Saudi crown prince, according to the source, has also confiscated more than $194 billion from the bank accounts and seized assets of those arrested, and could eventually end up with $800 billion in cash and assets to replenish Saudi’s rapidly diminishing reserves. Given the febrile atmosphere in the kingdom, and the tacit support for the crackdown among Saudi citizens, who have seen their jobs and generous government subsidies cut, MbS has been able to circumvent the country’s legal system.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 23, 2017.