Death, Gifts, and Taxes
Are estate and gift taxes Constitutional? Have they ever been challenged? If I recall correctly, the first imposition, by federal law, of an income tax, was declared unconstitutional (does anyone know the name of the case, if such a case existed?), necessitating the passage of the 16th Amendment, allowing Congress to stick its fingers into our wallets. Neither of the aforementioned taxes, however, are taxes on income. Rather, they are taxes on the transfer of property, whether from one living person to another (gift), or from the estate of a dead person to a live person Estate). The taxes are paid by gift giver and the estate, respectively, so they are not taxes on income.
The relevant sections of the Constitution:
Art. I. Section. 8.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
Now, the last three items-Duties, Imposts and Excises-are all taxes placed on things-goods and services. But the first, catch-all "Taxes" might cover it, especially given the recent tendency of the courts to give the Feds power extending far further than what the Founders envisioned.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
This, to me, is simple: if the Constitution doesn't say the Feds can do it, then they can't. Art. I, Sec. 8 doesn't specifically say that the Feds can place taxes on property transfers. So can they?
Passed by Congress July 2, 1909. Ratified February 3, 1913.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
Now, to me, the existence of this Amendment, after the courts had told Congress that they couldn't have an income tax without amending the Constitution,is the strongest argument against the Constitutionality of the gift and estate taxes. The Constitution doesn't say Congress can pass an income tax, therefore the tax isn't allowed. the Constitution doesn't specify that gift and estate taxes are allowed, therefore they are not. Anyone out there have more knowledge in this area?
F9/11 in Europe
Funny how we haven't seen this particular poster here in the states. Poster is from Belgium, via MooreWatch (hat tip to Instapundit):
The Ugly Anti-War Left
The Seattle P-I is a nasty liberal rag that I usually ignore, and Mr. Jameison is reliably liberal, but I'll give them both credit for printing this, even if the writer does try to excuse the behavior of the decidedly nasty people involved. From yesterday's Seattle P-I:
Think about the Seattle area -- Bainbridge Island to be exact -- and you think scenic views and liberal-minded tolerance.
At least the killer views are still there.
The bucolic island's deep reputation for civility got a gut check this week during the annual Grand Old Fourth of July celebration.
That's when Jason Gilson, a 23-year-old military veteran who served in Iraq, marched in the local event. He wore his medals with pride and carried a sign that said "Veterans for Bush."
Walking the parade route with his mom, younger siblings and politically conservative friends, Jason heard words from the crowd that felt like a thousand daggers to the heart.
To understand why the reaction of strangers hurt so much, you must read what the young man had written in a letter from Iraq before he was disabled in an ambush:
"I really miss being in the states. Some of the American public have no idea how much freedom costs and who the people are that pay that awful price. I think sometimes people just see us as nameless and faceless and not really as humans. ... A good portion of us are actually scared that when we come home, for those of us who make it back, that there will be protesters waiting for us and that is scary."
Make sure you get it right: they said those things to not just a veteran, but a wounded veteran, whose father did two tours in Vietnam and earned a Purple Heart there. So much for "We support the troops, but not the war."
Now, in fairness, aside from Seattle, The Evergreen State College, and a few spots like Bainbridge, most of Washington and even the Puget Sound area in particular really does support the military. (Maybe because it's home to two aircraft carriers, a bunch of nuclear subs, an Air Force base, and the Army's two Stryker brigades. Plus, the main body of the WA National Guard, the 81st Brigade, is also in Iraq.) The freeway overcrossing outside the Madigan gate at Ft Lewis (ironically, the road is named Berkeley St) has been festooned with yellow ribbons since the first troops deployed to Iraq, and a small but reliable group gathers there on weekends and holidays to way flags and "Support the Troops" signs. So don't judge the state by the actions of a few loud jerks.
The Scariest Thing I've Ever Heard
Listening to the Laura Ingraham Show on the car radio this morning, just caught about a minute before the end of the hour break. They must have been discussing some potential consequences of a victory by the
Socialist Democratic candidate for President. That short bit of time contained a phrase that was truly, truly, horrifying.
"Chief Justice Hillary Clinton"
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
No sooner do I post something about the failure of Lefty Radio, than by pure chance (because I usually don't listen to the radio at that hour) do I find an actual liberal talk show. Local show, right here in South Carolina. It's called the Seed Show, on from 7-8 AM on 840 AM, WCEO-Columbia.
For the few minutes I was able to listen, it was funny. Funny because some of the things they were asserting were so preposterous. A caller who insisted that Clinton was more popular than Reagan, based on opinion polls. OK, bud, but in the only polls that really matter, Clinton never scored over 50%, while Reagan beat the snot out of Carter and Mondale. 49 states, dude.
Then, of course, the Dick Cheney-Halliburton Axis of Greed. Cheney is still getting paid by Halliburton. Did you get that from his 1040A? Or are you calling him a tax cheat, as well? Oh, wait, all rich folks, I mean, all rich Republicans, cheat on their taxes. Halliburton's is making millions off the war. Probably true, but that's mostly because of a five year contract they won in 2000, IIRC.
I need to get a radio in my office, because this show is just too funny.
I'm a Bad Libertarian
I'll say it right now: There no way I can, in good conscience, vote for Michael Badnarik. Why? Because he looks like he cribbed his War on Terror/National Security notes from the International ANSWER crowd, that's why. I'm sorry, I'm a soldier; the first priority of work is ALWAYS security, because without it nothing else can happen.
From Badnarik's website:
It was because of American troops in Saudi Arabia, lethal sanctions on Iraq, support for states in serious violation of International Law, and siding with Israel in its dispute with the Palestinians to the tune of more than $3 billion per year in taxpayers' funds that 3,000 innocent Americans paid the ultimate price on September 11, 2001.
Let's see, they hate us because we had troops in Saudi Arabia-those troops are now gone, and they still seem to hate us.
They hate us for supporting states in serious violation of international law-which international law, exactly? There's no international law mandating free societies and democratic governments.
They hate us for supporting Israel-Israel is the only democracy in the crappiest region in the world. If they want to hate us for supporting Israel, that's fine with me. At least it's a noble thing to be hated for.
But basically, Badnarik, like many of the Leftist-Moonbat crowd, blames Sept 11th on American foreign policy, rather than the fact that leaders in the region use Islam to direct hatred at outside sources to keep that hatred fronm toppling their own awful governments.
The proper response would have been to present the evidence as to who committed the heinous act both to Congress and to the people, and have Congress authorize the president to track down the individuals actually responsible, doing everything possible to avoid inflicting harm on innocents.
Michael, it's kind of hard to declare war on a shadowy terrorist organization. The niceties of a formal declaration of war are meant for dealings between nation states. Playing by the rules only works if both sides do it.
As for attacking AFghanistand and Iraq, the best way to deal with terrorist organizations, to most reduce their ability to do serious damage (because, let's face it, as long as their warped ideology exists, it's impossible to totally eradicate them), is to eliminate the ability of supporter nations, like Afghanistan and Iraq, to support them. And asking nicely doesn't work. TH U.N. tried 14 times with Iraq.
The U.S. government has never succeeded in establishing freedom and democracy in any of its foreign adventures in the last fifty years.
Notice how this qualified-"in the last fifty years." Because if you extend that horizon another ten years, you find South Korea, Germany, Italy, and Japan, which seem to be doing pretty well, democracy-wise.
In short, a libertarian foreign policy is one of national defense, and not international offense.
Well, the best defense is a good offense. Sitting back and playing defense means trying to stop the next 9/11 once they're already inside our borders. You win football games by playing on the opponent's end of the field, and you wins wars by attacking and destroying the enemy.
There's a lot to like about Badnarik's positions, and a lot to dislike about Bush's, but on the #1 most important issue, Bush wins.
Also Over the Weekend...
Saturday night, driving downtown to pick up pizza for dinner, since the actual good pizza joints here are too far from my home to deliver. Show comes on the radio (AM, of course) about cigars. That the punchline. And entire, nationally syndicated radio show about cigars. Website can be found at www.cigardave.com. It's only two hours, on Saturdays. But it's there, and it must therefore be making money, which is more than Al Franken & Co can claim.
It just makes it all the more remarkable to me that, despite repeated attempts, there has yet to be a successful, liberal-oriented, polical talk radio show. There are so many topics covered on talk radio-cigars, guns, cars, investment, the law, personal advice, and of course, the 800-lb gorilla, conservative talk, that I find it amazing that the lefties can't keep a show on the air unless they get taxpayers to subsidize it, a la NPR. I think that above all says the most about how their message is received by most of America.
Why Some People Are Fat
Saturday evening I was watching TV with my wife. My wife was watching a show on MTV about obese people. Not just fat-these people were beyond that. Obese. One was a high school senior who weighed over 350 pounds.
First of all, let me say that any parent who lets their kids get that fat is in my mind guilty of child abuse, except in cases where the kids has a thyroid condition or something like that. It may not meet the legal definition of abuse, but it does in my mind. It's abuse because kids need to be told "No" at times, otherwise they end up spoiled and without any sense of personal responsibility. And, of course, sometimes they end up as walking tubs of lard because their parents wouldn't say no when the kid wanted another double bacon cheeseburger.
And that's exactly what happened to this kid. They showed him at work, getting winded after walking across the store, then showed him on his lunch break, eating a some buffet restaurant. He piled enough food to feed me for an entire day on his plate, and then went back for a second plateful. And no, it wasn't salad. Later, his mom (haven't finally realized that her son is a blimp) is telling him that he needs to eat better, and the kid pops out what I thought was the most revealing quote about his attitude. "When I get my [gastric bypass] surgery, it'll do it for me." He doesn't even see why he should make any effort to lose wieght, because the surgery will "do it for me." Just hand it to him on silver platter.
Another aspect of this show that irritated me was the sublte attempts to make the viewer feel pity for the fat folk. Things like saying how a 600 pound woman wasn't able to take a regular bath, or showing her struggling to fit into the passenger seat of a full size pickup truck (maybe they should just let her ride in the bed.) Or showing the aforementioned teen being unable to ride roller coasters at an amusement park because they couldn't close the safety bars over his girth. Now, I don't care if a person doesn't care that they're fat. I think you should have the same right to eat yourself to death as you should to kill yourself with cigarettes or drugs or no-helmet motorcycling. But don't expect the rest of the world to change the way it operates to accomodate your fat ass, like the fat folks who cry discrmination when airlines charge them for two seats, because that's how many they take up. Hey, I've got a 33" waist, and I can barely fit in some airline seats. That's life. Don't like it, lose weight, or find another way to travel. Just because you decided to not control your appetite, doesn't make it everyone else's problem.
Happy Anniversary Sweetheart
Yesterday, July 4th, in addition to being Independence Day, was my anniversary. That's why I didn't post anything-I was busy enjoying the day with my wife.
I love you sweetheart. Here's to many more years.