Label-induced Hysteria

“Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that ‘if [Obamacare] had been seen as a tax, they wouldn’t have gotten ten votes, much less sixty. . . they either don’t know what they’re doing, or they lied to us. So this is a huge issue in the fall.’”  Senator Graham, himself deluded or gullible by his own admission, indicates that the American people don’t have the sense to look through labels to substance.  He’s probably right:  Look at the effort to relabel the estate tax the “Death Tax,” and to call a trillion-dollar retroactive territoriality scheme a “Holiday.”


Revenue from marijuana — Uruguay

The ruling party in Uruguay seems likely to act, according to press reports:  “If approved, Uruguay’s national government would be the first in the world to directly sell marijuana to its citizens. Some local governments do so[?].”

A monopoly provides the advantage (over taxes) of instantaneous price adjustments that can accelerate the death of the black market.  I figured the first country to get into the business would be a tiny island country whose tax haven business the developed countries had shut down, but who knows?

Joint Tax Committee staff — 1986 Act reunion photo

Joint Committee on Taxation --  25 years after the Tax Reform Act of 1986
Joint Committee on Taxation — 25 years after the Tax Reform Act of 1986

I won’t identify these upstanding folks, who may not want to be associated with my unorthodox views, but we all worked on the Tax Reform Act of 1986 for the Joint Congressional Committee on Taxation.  This photo was taken in the Joint Committee office in January 2012.  I’m in the back row, in front of the window, with a barely visible tie.  I’m proud to be associated with everyone in the picture, and with more who missed it.

If you can’t beat ’em, “tax the heck out of them.”

Our North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, fighting a losing battle against video gambling operations, says  “We need to tax the heck out of them and regulate them, regulate them hard.”  Makes sense to me.   The same idea makes sense for marijuana, too, instead of continuing the 40-year war on it.  See “Laws To Tax Marijuana,” 59 State Tax Notes 251-280 (January 24, 2011), downloadable at

Here’s more of the gambling story:


Continue reading “If you can’t beat ’em, “tax the heck out of them.””