Treaties Are Not Special Here

Treaties are no more sure to be right than statutes. A democracy needs to have laws that suit the people, so being able to get out of treaties is what the Founders had in mind when they put treaties on a par with statutes.

But treaties are confusing — a thicket. Some countries’ internal laws do make treaties superior, so their hands are tied. But ours aren’t. This infuriates countries like the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Japan, and Belgium, which are utterly stuck., p.320.

[UPDATE April 2016: That was a bad link. Here is a better one:

“There is also significant variation among monist states concerning the hierarchical rank of treaties within the domestic legal order. In Austria, Egypt, Germany, and the United States, treaties are equivalent to statutes; they rank lower than the Constitution.79 In South Africa, treaties rank lower than statutes.80 In China, France, Japan, Mexico, and Poland, (at least some) treaties rank higher than statutes but lower than the Constitution.81 In the Netherlands, some treaties rank higher than the Constitution.82 In Chile, Russia and Switzerland, the hierarchical rank of treaties is contested, but it is undisputed that at least some treaties rank higher than statutes,83 and there is some authority for the proposition that some treaties have constitutional rank.84”]

So it irritates them when we use the Founders’ rule. Understandably.

Here is an article looking way back to the Founders, and pointing out that in recent years, “the United States has drawn international criticism for overriding bilateral tax treaty obligations through changes to its tax laws.”

So as not to rub it in, Congress uses the word “override” when the time comes.  Not violate, not breach, not abrogate.   See  Tax Treaty Overrides: A Qualified Defense of US Practice.



Tax Base for Marijuana: Price Fails

They are giving the stuff away in Colorado.  Clearer proof of the inadequacy of a percentage of price tax base for marijuana would be hard to find.  If the price (the tax base) is zero, the tax rate doesn’t matter.  Of federal taxes on tobacco or alcohol, only the cigar tax uses (in part) a price base.  But all the marijuana taxes so far do.  We have a long way to go. Continue reading Tax Base for Marijuana: Price Fails

280E Marijuana tax: The center may hold

The marijuana industry is lining up anti-tax leader Grover Norquist and pro-legalization Democrats to support repeal of Code section 280E, says Roll Call.  I kind of like 280E because it discourages marketing of marijuana, as I wrote for Huffington Post.  And we need a federal tax on marijuana. Continue reading 280E Marijuana tax: The center may hold

State Marijuana Monopoly under AG Holder’s Eight Criteria

Continuing to think that the best way to legalize marijuana is via state monopoly, I’m thinking that AG Holder’s eight criteria might open the door.

Only this criterion — “growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands” — might create some problem for state stores by far-fetched analogy.

There are at least three problems for state monopoly under this analysis: Continue reading State Marijuana Monopoly under AG Holder’s Eight Criteria

Designed by Apple in California and Taxed Nowhere

The Apple Corporation’s ad campaign is happy to associate itself with our biggest and richest state.  But when it comes to paying taxes here –or anywhere, watch out.  “Apple has been a pioneer in tactics to avoid paying taxes to Uncle Sam,” says the N.Y. Times.  This has been going on for years.  And Apple dodges taxes in the U.K., too.  And en France.   Intangible-rich companies like Apple shift income to tax havens, and the big countries haven’t mustered the will to stop them.