ANOTHER GREAT NEW TAX IDEA
The "objective ability to pay principle" as a theory of taxation? Great idea. Good luck applying it.
That sounds to me like the kind of idea that gets turned into a journal article when you tell a tax law professor to come up with something new to publish.
Am I the only one who thinks it’s odd that execution by lethal injection is considered inhumane, but euthanasia by lethal injection is considered humane?
Revisiting a topic I have covered before, my Real Estate Law Update for May is about the Arizona requirement for an affidavit of disclosure when selling unsubdivided land in an unincorporated area (that is, outside of an incorporated city or town). The question is: what does “unsubdivided” mean? It you’re interested, you can read my take on it in the publications section at deconcinimcdonald.com. Your comments are welcome, as always.
STOP AND THINK FOR A MINUTE: WOULD A U.S. GOVERNMENT AGENCY ASK YOU TO PAY A TRANSACTION FEE WITH ITUNES GIFT CARDS?
I really don’t mean to be critical or demeaning toward the people who are victimized by these scammers. I just can’t help thinking that if the victims would stop and think for a minute, they would realize that they were being scammed. In this story, the caller said he was calling from the “U.S. Government Grant Department,” and had $9,000 in federal grant money for the victim. All she had to do was pay a $150 “transaction fee.” The scammer told her to get $150 worth of iTunes gift cards and give him the card numbers, which she dutifully did.
The scammer then decided to go for more, telling the victim that since it was an “out of state transaction” she would also have to pay $900 for “insurance.” When she said that was beyond her means, the scammer reduced the price to $425. Perhaps because at that point she was starting to catch on, the victim called her bank, who told her she had been scammed.
Are there enough red flags in that script? I’m not sure how you could get many more in there without the integrity of the scam falling apart completely. Stop and think: if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true.
BECAUSE IT’S CHEATING, THAT’S WHY
A post at the Cato Institute blog asks, why is insider trading illegal? It tells the story of what sounds like insider trading at its most benign: a former star ballplayer who just happened to find out from his CEO neighbor that the neighbor’s firm was about to be acquired by a giant corporation. The ballplayer bought some of the stock, and told others to do the same. He profited handsomely when he later sold the stock.
I claim no expertise whatsoever in securities law. It’s a very complicated are, inhabited by specialists. I will never dabble in it. But I can tell you the easy answer to the question posed by that Cato blog post: because it’s cheating. It’s profiting through knowledge that isn’t available to you and me, only to those whose neighbors happen to be CEOs.
The argument that it’s a case of “no harm, no foul” doesn’t cut it with me. If my team is stealing the opposing team’s signals, but we lose the game anyway, is the league going to let it slide? I don’t think so.
Pretty soon this trend is going to be a cause for concern instead of just an amusement. The author of this blog post about it thinks it’s already a cause for concern. I’m not sure I agree, but as I have said before, I think the whole concept is so obviously logically flawed that I can’t see it going anywhere.
LIFE IN THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY WAS UNDENIABLY HARDER IN SOME RESPECTS, EVEN IF YOU WERE JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER
You may have already read the post at Cafe Hayek that discusses the differences between the life of John D. Rockefeller in 1916 and the life of an ordinary American today, but if you have not, I recommend it. Although the discussion is by, and clearly from the perspective of, an economist, to me it’s as much as anything a gratitude check. No matter how rich Rockefeller was, he couldn’t change some of the more sobering realities of life 100 years ago, such as infant mortality, disease, and just plain discomfort in everyday life that would seem intolerable today. It calls to mind the thought I have when I’m reminded of what it was like when my grandparents came to Arizona around that time (actually, slightly earlier). People were just much tougher then. They had to be.
SIGN ME UP
If you live in the Phoenix area, you can apply to be a test user of Google’s self-driving vehicles (which are now being developed by a separate company called Waymo that was spun off from Google at the end of last year).
If I lived there, I would have applied the moment I found out about it.
Via the Antiplanner Blog.
That is, don’t forget to pay the second half of your 2016 property taxes. As I explain when asked about it, which seemingly happens a lot, property taxes in Arizona are paid in arrears. The first half of the taxes for the current year is due in October (delinquent if not paid by November 1). The second half isn’t due until April of the following year (delinquent if not paid by May 1).
It’s easy to forget about the second half, perhaps in part because you don’t pay it until the year for which it is paid is long over, but also no doubt because you get the bill about eight months before the second half is due and the county treasurer doesn’t send any reminder. I always put a reminder on my calendar to make sure I don’t forget about it.
More information can be found on the web site of the Pima County Treasurer.
The law says your bar has to be 500 feet from the street, so you build a maze that makes the walk 500 feet even though the actual distance is less than half that? No way. I’m calling bogus on that one. And even if it did work wherever that story claims it happened, it would never work in Tucson. I guarantee it.
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.