Democrats are willing to fight anyone except a foreign invader?

Democrats frequently promise to “fight” when seeking election. Here’s the party’s thought leader, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “‘We can and must fight‘: AOC urges Americans to ‘get to work’ to defeat Donald Trump following Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death” (Independent 2020). Nancy’s Pelosi’s 2010 statement on President Obama’s Economic Speech says Democrats are “fighting” for the middle class. The most excellent of current Democrats, as evidenced by his/her/zir/their elevation to the Presidency: “I want to make sure we’re going to fight like hell by investing in America first,” said Biden. (NYT, December 2020) Biden’s inaugural address: “I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.” Biden in April 2021: “the climate crisis is not our fight alone. It’s a global fight.” The godlike Obama in 2018: “You can make it better. Better’s always worth fighting for.” Obama in 2009: “I will fight for you. … I got my start fighting for working families in the shadows of a shuttered steel plant.” Hillary Clinton’s concession speech: “I have, as Tim said, spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. … please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”

A Quinnipiac University poll, however, found that there was one thing Democrats did not want to fight against: a military invasion.

As the world witnesses what is happening to Ukraine, Americans were asked what they would do if they were in the same position as Ukrainians are now: stay and fight or leave the country? A majority (55 percent) say they would stay and fight, while 38 percent say they would leave the country. Republicans say 68 – 25 percent and independents say 57 – 36 percent they would stay and fight, while Democrats say 52 – 40 percent they would leave the country.

Here’s more granular data (from the above URL, click “download as PDF”):

White men were the group most likely to say that they were willing to fight, at 75 percent. We’re informed that Americans who identify as “women” are generally strong and independent, but, in the event of an invasion, only 40 percent say that they’d be willing to fight. Americans identifying as “Hispanic” were actually slightly more likely than whites to be willing to fight while Americans who identify as “Black” already had one foot over the border (only 38 percent would be willing to stay and fight, the lowest percentage of any demographic group).

Although most apparently won’t be fighting, Americans who identify as “white women” are the ones who are truly suffering from what is happening in Ukraine, with 65 percent saying that they’re feeling anxious:

When we combine decades of political rhetoric with the poll results, is it fair to say that Democrats are enthusiastic about any fight except one involving a foreign army that is trying to take over the U.S.?

Full post, including comments

Democrats’ persecution of Donald Trump partly responsible for the Ukraine situation?

In a recent video chat among friends, a Russian immigrant to the U.S., asked about the Ukraine situation, said “I am not following it closely, but I assume that Putin has a reason for doing what he’s doing. Either it will benefit the country or it will benefit him.”

I chimed in, “How could it possibly benefit Putin? Doesn’t he already have everything that he might want?”

She responded, “He may be worried about what would happen to him if he loses power. Maybe he thinks that this Ukraine action will help him stay in power and he needs to do that.”

Her perspective is at odds with much of the American and recent Western European experience. Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush were free to go home to their respective Texas ranches after starting and/or escalating disastrous wars, for example. But the quiet comfortable retirement of former leaders is unusual when compared to what happens in most countries and what has happened through most of human history. And, even in the U.S., the new rulers may try to make life unpleasant for former rulers. Consider what the Democrats are doing to Donald Trump right now. New York State Democrats have been seeking to put him in prison for alleged financial misstatements (“2 Prosecutors Leading N.Y. Trump Inquiry Resign, Clouding Case’s Future” (NYT) for the latest on this one). Democrats in the U.S. Congress are also seeking criminal prosecution (“The Jan. 6 Committee’s Consideration of a Criminal Referral, Explained” (NYT); “The Obscure Charge Jan. 6 Investigators Are Looking at for Trump” (Daily Beast)). Democrats were, in fact, already seeking to imprison Donald Trump at least as early as 2018. “The Presidency or Prison” (NYT):

Donald Trump — or, as he’s known to federal prosecutors, Individual-1 — might well be a criminal. That’s no longer just my opinion, or that of Democratic activists. It is the finding of Trump’s own Justice Department.

On Friday, federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York filed a sentencing memorandum for Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, who is definitely a criminal. The prosecutors argued that, in arranging payoffs to two women who said they’d had affairs with Trump, Cohen broke campaign finance laws, and in the process “deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election.”

Representative Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat and former prosecutor, told me, “This president has potential prison exposure.”

Ordinarily, you know that a democracy is failing when electoral losers are threatened with prison. But Trump’s lawlessness is so blatant that impunity — say, a pardon, or a politically motivated decision not to prosecute — would also be deeply corrosive, unless it was offered in return for his resignation.

So the original idea was to put Trump in prison for paying people who identified as “women” to do what people who identify as “women” have been doing for a long time. Then January 6 came along and the idea shifted to putting Trump in prison for “obstructing an official congressional proceeding”.

If Putin observes that Donald Trump is continuously at risk of a prison sentence, depending on the whims of Democrats working as prosecutors and serving on juries, wouldn’t he reasonably be concerned about his own post-leadership fate? The Russian legal system doesn’t offer superior protection against politically motivated prosecution compared to the U.S. system, does it?

Separately, Apple News sets up a visual comparison between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden. One leader is using armored vehicles and soldiers holding rifles. The other leader has “sanctions”:

Full post, including comments

Levi Strauss casts out its coronapanic heretic

An interesting article by a gymnastics champion-turned-Levi-Strauss executive:

My tenure at Levi’s began as an assistant marketing manager in 1999, a few months after my thirtieth birthday. As the years passed, I saw the company through every trend. I was the marketing director for the U.S. by the time skinny jeans had become the rage. I was the chief marketing officer when high-waists came into vogue. I eventually became the global brand president in 2020—the first woman to hold this post. (And somehow low-rise is back.)

Over my two decades at Levi’s, I got married. I had two kids. I got divorced. I had two more kids. I got married again.

We’re told that it is impossible to have children and work at the same time (but ladling out more taxpayer cash will help, especially if extracted from the childless) and yet Jennifer Sey had four children while climbing the Levi’s corporate ladder! (She also had time, presumably, to be a litigant in the California Family Court.)

I wrote op-eds, appeared on local news shows, attended meetings with the mayor’s office, organized rallies and pleaded on social media to get the schools open. I was condemned for speaking out. This time, I was called a racist—a strange accusation given that I have two black sons—a eugenicist, and a QAnon conspiracy theorist.

Example hate speech and Science-denial from the op-ed (February 2021):

I find myself stunned and enraged every day since March 13 that my kids, San Francisco public school students, and approximately 50% of students across the country have no in person instruction at all for what amounts to almost a full year. They are going without classroom education, socialization, and, for kids with few resources, necessary social services. Denying kids educational opportunity amounts to denying them a future and it is nothing short of child abuse.

The lack of effort to open schools by leaders, with few notable exceptions – Governor Ron DeSantis [!!!], Governor Gina Raimondo – is a tacit endorsement that closed schools are not only acceptable but preferred, despite the fact that study after study proves that schools can be safe.

Kids went to school in the Warsaw ghetto. Kids went to school in London during the Blitz. Kids went to school during the Spanish flu pandemic. Amidst chaos and destruction, the world signaled to kids how much they mattered, that our very future depended on them. We are doing the exact opposite now. They won’t forgive us.

Looking at the highlighted text above, I think we can begin to see the problem.

The paragraph below contains a date that may be useful to historians.

In the summer of 2020, I finally got the call. “You know when you speak, you speak on behalf of the company,” our head of corporate communications told me, urging me to pipe down. I responded: “My title is not in my Twitter bio. I’m speaking as a public school mom of four kids.”

But the calls kept coming. From legal. From HR. From a board member. And finally, from my boss, the CEO of the company. I explained why I felt so strongly about the issue, citing data on the safety of schools and the harms caused by virtual learning. While they didn’t try to muzzle me outright, I was told repeatedly to “think about what I was saying.”

Meantime, colleagues posted nonstop about the need to oust Trump in the November election. I also shared my support for Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic primary and my great sadness about the racially instigated murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. No one at the company objected to any of that.

Let’s see what the divorce plaintiff-turned-senator had to say about lockdowns: “Warren: ‘We should be imposing mask mandates’ and vaccine requirements” (state-sponsored WGBH, December 23, 2021. The story includes a photo of the Native American icon protecting herself and others from Omicron with a cloth mask:

The top executives aren’t stupid:

Then, in October 2020, when it was clear public schools were not going to open that fall, I proposed to the company leadership that we weigh in on the topic of school closures in our city, San Francisco. We often take a stand on political issues that impact our employees; we’ve spoken out on gay rights, voting rights, gun safety, and more.

The response this time was different. “We don’t weigh in on hyper-local issues like this,” I was told. “There’s also a lot of potential negatives if we speak up strongly, starting with the numerous execs who have kids in private schools in the city.

I’m not sure that the Levi’s official position on “gun safety” is consistent with the way that the term is used by some of the gun enthusiasts who comment here… Also note that, as in Boston, the best way for white elites to show support for Black Lives Matter was to advocate for the closure of schools for Black children while the private schools attended by their own kids were open.

I met with the mayor’s office, and eventually uprooted my entire life in California—I’d lived there for over 30 years—and moved my family to Denver so that my kindergartner could finally experience real school

Jennifer Sey was ahead of Relocation to Florida for a family with school-age children (April 6, 2021)!

National media picked up on our story, and I was asked to go on Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox News. That appearance was the last straw. The comments from Levi’s employees picked up—about me being anti-science; about me being anti-fat (I’d retweeted a study showing a correlation between obesity and poor health outcomes); about me being anti-trans (I’d tweeted that we shouldn’t ditch Mother’s Day for Birthing People’s Day because it left out adoptive and step moms); and about me being racist, because San Francisco’s public school system was filled with black and brown kids, and, apparently, I didn’t care if they died. They also castigated me for my husband’s Covid views—as if I, as his wife, were responsible for the things he said on social media.

Levi’s agrees with Pol Pot that even the worst offenders can be reformed through re-education and confession:

Meantime, the Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the company asked that I do an “apology tour.” I was told that the main complaint against me was that “I was not a friend of the Black community at Levi’s.” I was told to say that “I am an imperfect ally.” (I refused.)

The DEI executive seems to have been correct:

Anonymous trolls on Twitter, some with nearly half a million followers, said people should boycott Levi’s until I’d been fired. So did some of my old gymnastics fans. They called the company ethics hotline and sent emails.

Every day, a dossier of my tweets and all of my online interactions were sent to the CEO by the head of corporate communications. At one meeting of the executive leadership team, the CEO made an off-hand remark that I was “acting like Donald Trump.”

In the last month, the CEO told me that it was “untenable” for me to stay. I was offered a $1 million severance package, but I knew I’d have to sign a nondisclosure agreement about why I’d been pushed out.

Readers of Real World Divorce will be pleased to see that Jennifer Sey celebrates gold diggers:

I never set out to be a contrarian. I don’t like to fight. I love Levi’s and its place in the American heritage as a purveyor of sturdy pants for hardworking, daring people who moved West and dreamed of gold buried in the dirt.

Everyone at Levi’s supports Elizabeth Warren and AOC but they can’t agree on how best to follow these two saints?

But the corporation doesn’t believe in that now. It’s trapped trying to please the mob—and silencing any dissent within the organization. In this it is like so many other American companies: held hostage by intolerant ideologues who do not believe in genuine inclusion or diversity.

Being a Progressive is not a religion, yet people can argue over who has the pure and genuine inclusion and diversity?

At least most of the Progressives at Levi’s seem to be intelligent:

Not one [fellow Levi Strauss employee] publicly said they agreed with me, or even that they didn’t agree with me, but supported my right to say what I believe anyway.

A reader comment on Jennifer Sey’s piece:

As for Levi’s – that company doesn’t even manufacture ONE STITCH of clothing in the US anymore and hasn’t for years. Look for sweatshops in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Indonesia for mfg.

What about the husband whose hateful views on Covid also got the righteous Elizabeth Warren-supporter in trouble? It seems to be Daniel Kotzin, whose Twitter bio says “Stay-at-home dad. Human rights advocate. My freedom protects you; your freedom protects me.” Example hate:

And he’s a vaccine denier!

(For the record, I disagree with Mx. Kotzin regarding “vaccine remorse.” Although I recognize that a Marek’s disease-style vaccine-driven evolution of SARS-CoV-2 is possible, and nobody without a letter from God can say for sure what will be the effect of vaccinating 5-year-olds against a killer of 80-year-olds, I think it is more likely that the COVID-19 vaccines will end up with a similar status as the flu shot. Nobody regrets getting a flu shot, though plenty of people who get a flu shot subsequently get the flu…)

Here’s one where we learn that the family should have moved to Florida instead of Colorado:

(I think there is a lot to love about Colorado, but if you’re passionate about children being free to live without masks, Florida is the only state that I know where it is actually illegal for public schools to order kids to wear masks. (“illegal” meaning against a law passed by the Legislature))

In addition to being a good lesson in the range of speech that can be tolerated in a Progressive company, Jennifer Sey’s story is interesting because of the feeling of betrayal by politicians. She and her husband were presumably both aligned in their passion for Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren and they were repaid with the (abhorrent to them) imposition of school closures and mask orders for children.

Unlike the hate-suffused Trump-tainted “schools should be open” idea, a political cause that is sufficiently uncontroversial for Levi’s to support:


Full post, including comments

Is our public health policy now informed by the Kyle Rittenhouse prosecutor?

Science, August 2021 edition: Getting COVID-19 (e.g., in Florida) is due to stupidity, irresponsibility, failure to get injected with an emergency use-authorized vaccine, Science-denial, and support for Donald Trump. It’s mostly old people dying, which is why we need to redouble our restrictions on the young.

Science, December/January 2022: Getting COVID-19 (e.g., in New York or Boston) is a sign of intelligence, virtue, rule-following, and being guided by Science. As the double- and triple-vaccinated get infected through their masks, we should enhance our mask protocols to include N95 and remember the immunocompromised and also that every infection potentially leads to a dangerous mutation. It’s mostly old people dying, which is what makes COVID-19 worse than World War II, and which is why we need to order 5-year-olds to get experimental use authorized injections.

Science, February 2022: Despite a near-record death rate, Governors should drop the mask orders and other restrictions that they had imposed starting in March 2020. The immunocompromised can fend for themselves. If SARS-CoV-2 wants to have a mutation party in an unmasked school, that’s okay too. It’s mostly old people dying and there are thousands of such deaths per day, but we don’t need to do anything special to try to prevent these deaths.

[See “Masks Come Off in More States, but Not Everyone Is Grinning” (NYT, 2/9):

Some Americans cheered the moves, mostly by Democratic governors, but others questioned the timing, with more than 200,000 new virus infections being reported each day.

New York’s governor said on Wednesday that she was ending the state’s indoor masking rules. The governor of Massachusetts announced that face coverings would soon become optional in schools. And by day’s end, the governors of Illinois, Rhode Island and Washington said that they, too, would loosen coronavirus rules.

… others asked whether states were moving too fast at a time when more than 200,000 new infections were being announced each day and when the country was reporting more than 17,000 deaths a week, more than at any other point in the pandemic except last winter.

Note that it is “Democratic governors” who are delivering freedom to the people and who are being cheered.]

What’s the situation in Washington State, for example, where the governor is loosening the rules dictated by Science? Deaths tagged to COVID-19 are at an all-time high:

The above progression seems inconsistent with “normal science”. A paradigm shift (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; Wikipedia) has occurred, apparently, and that requires “extraordinary research” according to Thomas Kuhn. But who did the extraordinary research?

My vote is Dr. James Kraus, MD, PhD. His/her/zir/their discovery was “Everybody takes a beating sometimes.” (I apologize for the source, but this is one video moment that the New York Times and CNN don’t seem to have covered.) Dr. Kraus, MD, PhD tells us that, as occupiers of the biosphere, humans are fated to be attacked periodically by viruses and we shouldn’t try to defend ourselves.

Dr. Kraus, MD, PhD’s results and conclusions were rejected by peer reviewers (the jurors in the Kyle Rittenhouse case), just as Thomas Kuhn predicted. But, also as Kuhn predicted, when data inconsistent with the old paradigm (saliva-soaked bandanas are effective PPE against an aerosol; shutting down schools while keeping marijuana stores open will make a respiratory virus go away) became too glaring to ignore, Dr. Kraus, MD, PhD’s new paradigm was accepted.

February 9, email from the “person of color” who is the principal of a high school in Maskachusetts:

Last night I announced that Lincoln Sudbury would shift from mask required in school to mask optional effective Monday, March 7. … The notion of stepping away from the mask requirement will evoke a range of response and emotion from members of our community. … Mask wearing absolutely remains an option for everyone. I expect we will respect each person’s personal choice.

Reaction from a heretical bandana-denier friend who received the email:

I wish you had respected our personal choices over the last two years.


Full post, including comments

Voter participation increases as government expands?

Friends from Maskachusetts (a.k.a. “Democrats”) were attributing all of the nations’ current woes to Donald Trump. One example that they highlighted was Trump’s reference to the 2020 election as “stolen” and/or “rigged.” I am not the best audience for outrage regarding the election due to my belief that we should return to the standards of the early 1800s, i.e., voting should be limited to those have worked for approximately 8 years (it was “21-year-old males” back then and men began working at 13; of course, to update this system for the 21st century we would have to allow a full rainbow of gender IDs because people in a full rainbow of gender IDs can and do work).

One of my examples was that college students could be reliably expected to vote for free college tuition, student loan forgiveness, etc., without regard to the burden that this would place on working Americans. These folks might not start working until age 28, so the idea that they might be burdened with higher tax rates was an abstract and uncertain one.

This discussion resulted in a a review of some voting statistics. Did the constant drumbeat of Facebook and Google telling young people to register and then vote result in a significant change in college student voting? “College Students Voted at Record-High Rate in 2020” (Inside Higher Ed):

Voter turnout among college students jumped to a record high of 66 percent in the 2020 presidential election, according to a new report from the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education.

That was 14 percent higher than college student turnout in the 2016 election, the report found, and just a shade lower than the national rate of 67 percent for all voters in 2020, as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau. The student “yield” rate — the rate at which students who registered to vote actually cast their ballots — hit 80 percent, which the report called “an important milestone and signal that they are vested in their own futures and the health of democracy.” In 2016, the yield rate was 60 percent. Other data found that younger students outvoted older ones, with those aged 18 to 21 voting at higher rates than the 30-and-over crowd.

But maybe more college students voted simply because more Americans voted? From Wikipedia:

This made me wonder if the growth in tendency to vote could be correlated with growth in the role of government. From Trading Economics:


But maybe the sharp rise in 2020 isn’t about the dollars and isn’t about the unsolicited mail-in ballots? In 2020, Republicans realized that technocratic government had the power to lock them into their apartments, prevent them from working, deny an education to their children, prevent them from breathing outdoors without a mask, etc. Democrats realized that bad government, ignoring Science, had the power to kill millions of people by not ordering life-saving lockdowns, not ordering virus-preventing masks, and not closing virus-spreading schools.

(Separately, from these same Democrats’ point of view, Trump continues to be responsible for most of the hate crimes in the U.S. The U.S. was mostly hate-free under Obama’s leadership. Trump made hate acceptable. The election of Joe Biden, however, did not reverse the trend and restore us to a hate-free situation because Trump remains stubbornly alive and his existence on Planet Earth makes the expression of hate acceptable.)


Full post, including comments

MIT spirit in Washington, D.C.

“‘I am deeply sorry for my conduct’: Biden’s top science adviser apologizes to staff” (Politico):

[MIT prof] Eric Lander, the president’s top science adviser and a member of his Cabinet, sent a Friday night email to his roughly 150-person staff apologizing for speaking to colleagues in a “disrespectful and demeaning way.”

“It’s my responsibility to set a respectful tone for our community. It’s clear that I have not lived up to this responsibility,” Lander wrote in an email provided to POLITICO. “This is not only wrong, but also inconsistent with our Safe and Respectful Workplace Policy. It is never acceptable for me to speak that way. I am deeply sorry for my conduct. I especially want to apologize to those of you who I treated poorly or were present at the time.”

Lander heads the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy and is leading President Joe Biden’s “Cancer Moonshot,” an initiative aimed at reducing cancer deaths that had its splashy launch event earlier this week.

The email appears to reference an investigation POLITICO has been conducting into Lander’s treatment of staff, which Lander acknowledges in his email. “I understand that some of you have been asked about this, and I thought it was important to write directly to you,” he wrote. “I also realize that my conduct reflects poorly on this Administration, and interferes with our work. I deeply regret that.”

Biden himself declared a zero-tolerance policy for improper conduct on the first day of his administration. He pledged that “if you are ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot. On the spot. No ifs, ands or buts.”

Lander pledges in his email that “[w]e will take concrete steps to promote a better workplace. We will schedule regular forums to check in with staff on how we are doing in creating and upholding a safe and respectful workplace. We will also ensure that every employee knows how to report conduct that concerns them.”

Lander is probably one of the nicer people at MIT (like being a dwarf among midgets, admittedly), so perhaps this shows that Science is something to follow every day while scientists are best restricted to their labs.


Full post, including comments

Report on a Southern Secession (Buckhead City)

On our return from Denver, we stopped overnight in Buckhead, the rich area of Atlanta that was annexed by the city in 1952 and that soon hopes to vote on seceding into “Buckhead City.” Our local host explained that the secession wouldn’t starve Atlanta of significant tax revenue, e.g., for schools. The big difference would be that Buckhead could fund and run its own police force (see “In Atlanta’s Buckhead Neighborhood, Rising Crime Fuels Move to Secede” (WSJ): “Potential loss of the city’s wealthiest and whitest area spurs debate as officials move to address homicides and property crime”).

From what I observed, Buckhead already essentially does fund and run its own police force. The restaurant where we dined and the hotel where I stayed both had hired off-duty police officers, clad in bulletproof vests and wearing guns, to make sure that roving thugs didn’t rob all of the customers. Immigrants from Caracas, Venezuela will feel right at home.

Here’s one from the only part of Umi, our inland sushi destination, that wasn’t too dark to photograph:

Faith in cloth masks is alive and well in Atlanta. Here are a couple of signs encountered on 1/29/2022:

Atlanta adheres to the proven-by-Science principle that if restaurant customers are wearing masks when walking in the door, it doesn’t matter how close together unrelated parties sit once unmasked and talking, drinking, or eating (we saw some counter-serve places with long communal tables that were completely jammed). The FBO where we parked had the obligatory signs reminding pilots and passengers that Uncle Joe’s 1/21/2021 order regarding masks at airports applied even to the world of private planes. Nobody inside was wearing a mask, however.

Our local host was in favor of secession. In his opinion, the city government was incompetent and plagued by nepotism.

(I am not sure how Georgia can compete with neighbors Florida and Tennessee in the long run. The state income tax rate is 5.75 percent (compare to 0% in FL and TN).)


Full post, including comments

Your Christmas gift to the richest people in the U.S.

If you’re concerned that you haven’t spent enough on Christmas this year, the Wall Street Journal reassures you that, via your federal income tax payments, you’re subsidizing some of America’s richest private equity partners, $1,500/hour lawyers, etc. “High-Income Business Owners Escape $10,000 Tax Deduction Cap Using Path Built by States, Trump Administration” (12/6):

More than 20 states created workarounds to the limit, and New York’s law firms and private-equity firms are signing up

Here’s how it works. Normally, so-called pass-through businesses such as partnerships and S corporations don’t pay taxes themselves. Instead, they pass earnings through to their owners, who report income on individual tax returns. That subjects them to state individual income taxes—and the federal limit on deducting more than $10,000, created in the 2017 tax law.

Details vary by state, but the workaround flips that concept. The states impose taxes—often optional—on pass-through entities that are roughly equal to their owners’ state income taxes. Those taxes then get deducted before income flows to the business owners.

The laws then use tax credits or other mechanisms to absolve owners of their individual income-tax liabilities from business income. Thus, they satisfy state income-tax obligations without generating individual state income-tax deductions subject to the federal cap.

In these systems, state revenue is virtually unchanged, because the entity-level tax replaces personal income taxes. Business owners win, because every $100,000 of state taxes that go from nondeductible to deductible yields up to $37,000 in net gain on federal income-tax returns. The federal government loses money.

In New Jersey, pass-through businesses reported $1.3 billion in entity-level liability for the tax’s first year in 2020, suggesting an equivalent amount of federal deductions that might have otherwise been disallowed. In New York, more than 95,000 pass-through entities opted into the tax for 2021 before the Oct. 15 deadline.

“It’s really a slam dunk,” said Phil London, an accountant and partner emeritus at Wiss & Co. in New York, who said he has seen the owners of one business save $1.5 million and expects law and accounting firms to use the workaround. “The larger-income entities and real-estate investors and real-estate operators, they’re going to benefit from it.”

Private-equity firms have been particularly interested, said Jess Morgan, a senior manager at Ernst & Young LLP. And some businesses have restructured themselves to take maximum advantage of the benefit, she said.

After rejecting other workarounds, the Treasury Department blessed these a few days after the 2020 election, citing a footnote in a committee report from the 2017 law and a handful of entity-level taxes that predated 2017. The Trump administration, which had pressed for the $10,000 cap, offered the path out of it.

In other words, many of the richest Americans in high-tax states will be able to deduct nearly all of what would have been their state tax liability, thus keeping the subsidies flowing from workers in low-tax states and from ordinary W-2 slaves who can’t work around what was advertised as the law.

Full post, including comments

We are standing up to China by sending $1 billion for broadcast rights to the Beijing Olympics?

“U.S. Will Not Send Government Officials to Beijing Olympics” (New York Times, today):

American athletes will still be able to compete in the Winter Games, but the diplomatic boycott is a slap at China for human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Pressure has been building for months from members of Congress in both parties to hold China accountable for abuses of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region and crackdowns on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Those calls only intensified after the disappearance from public life of the tennis star Peng Shuai after she accused a top Communist Party leader of sexual assault.

On the latter point, previously in the NYT: “She said she met Zhang earlier in her career and had a consensual relationship with him. She said he sexually assaulted her shortly after he stepped down as one of China’s top leaders in 2017.” Her story is that she enjoyed having sex with this elderly married guy right up to the day that he no longer had the power to do stuff for her? (He’s 75 now; Peng Shuai is 35)

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said administration officials did not believe it was appropriate to send a delegation of U.S. officials to the Games in February after “genocide and crimes against humanity” in Xinjiang.

“Genocide” is so bad that the word doesn’t appear in the story until after we learn about the young tennis player who was having sex with an old married guy?

But previous attempts to pull athletes out of the Games have fallen flat. The last time the United States pursued a full boycott of the Olympics was in 1980, when President Jimmy Carter rallied against allowing athletes to participate in the Summer Games in Moscow, to protest the Soviet Union’s military presence in Afghanistan.

The New York Times doesn’t mention that, in addition to boycotting the sports event, we poured cash and weapons into the hands of the Mujahideen (“those engaged in jihad”). How did that work out for us? (see also “How Jimmy Carter Started America’s Afghanistan Folly” (Washington Monthly))

So… we won’t send any U.S. politicians or bureaucrats to China, but we will send $1 billion in cash for the host city’s share of the American broadcast rights? How does our family sign up to be boycotted?


Excitement building in London, May 2012:

“London’s Summer Games in 2012 generated $5.2 billion compared with $18 billion in costs. What’s more, much of the revenue doesn’t go to the host—the IOC keeps more than half of all television revenue, typically the single largest chunk of money generated by the games.” (CFR)

Full post, including comments

Urban/rural divide in Virginia Gubernatorial election

Readers will recall that one of my pet themes here is the diverging interests of urban/suburban Americans who get richer when government gets bigger and rural Americans for whom a bigger government brings higher taxes and few benefits (since government buildings and programs tend to happen in cities).

The New York Times illustrates this nicely with a per-county map of the Virginia election results:

Virginians near the state capital (Richmond) or the Nation’s Capital (D.C.) just loved hearing about the Democrat’s promises to expand government. Virginians elsewhere were more enthusiastic about the Republican’s expressed dream of eliminating the state’s income tax. The rich folks in Fairfax County (median household income $125,000/year in 2019), bordering D.C., preferred Democrat to Republican by 65:35. Folks in Lee County, at the southwest corner of the state, have a household income of less than 1/3rd that of the government-affiliated people in Fairfax: $33,000/year in 2019. They voted 88:12 in favor of the Republican candidate.

A good illustration of my pet theory?


Full post, including comments