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I oppose coercion on principle and because it usually fails.The government too readily turns to coercion to accomplish what it decides is good. The immediate response to coercion is to find ways to get around it. Most coercive measures fail to achieve their purposes.

The ACA mandates are a good recent example. Tax penalties are a decades long example of tax shelters and tax avoidance. The whole frustrating record of trying to limit the corrupting influence of money in politics is an excellent example.

I always look for ways to provide incentives to accomplish purposes. For example, I believe it would suit our purposes if we eliminate all control of money in campaigns (not of course bribery or other such illegal activities) by erasing all those existing campaign finance laws, which don’t work anyway, and replacing them with one law: all money donated or spent for political purposes in campaigns must be fully disclosed as to its source. All attempts to conceal the ultimate source would be a serious felony with serious penalties. Let the rich spend whatever they want, but everyone must know exactly who the money comes from; then we can evaluate the motives behind the “speech”. In a single stroke, Citizens United is made moot. In my considered opinion, the Constitution guarantees free speech; it does not guarantee anonymity. I believe the corrupting influence of money in politics does not derive from its quantity, but from its anonymity. You can’t buy a politician if the doors and windows are open and people are watching. Total transparency will accomplish the goal of ending the corrupting influence of money in politics, and do it without coercion.

One quick way to immediately eliminate the incentives for companies to relocate overseas, moreover to incentivize foreign companies to relocate to the USA, would be to eliminate corporate income taxes, which would automatically eliminate double taxation of dividends. This would be energetically opposed on “fairness” grounds, but if you think about it, no company pays taxes, their customers pay the taxes. That money is built into the price of the products. With the current tax code, big corporations pay small taxes anyway, and most of their profits remain overseas where they do the US no good at all, lest they be taxed in the US. The fact that the US has the highest corporate tax rates in the industrial world is ruining our industrial base.

The immediate result of a zero corporate tax rate would be a stampede of investors and companies into (back into) the USA. The increase in tax revenue from all the jobs and capital investments and supplier and resource purchases would fill our treasury many times more than the corporate income tax revenue lost. It’s a win/win/win/win.

An old Russian joke explains why this idea will never happen, unfortunately.

A farmer plowed up a magic lantern. The genie told the farmer he would be granted one wish; but whatever he wished for, his neighbor would be granted two-fold. Now, the farmer hated his neighbor, so he discarded his first thought to wish for a million rubles, because his neighbor would receive two million. He thought maybe a beautiful young maid who would fulfill his every desire; no, then his neighbor would have two beautiful young maids.

“Aha! I have it”, exclaimed the farmer. “Take out one of my eyes!”

Remember in 2008 when Obama was asked if he would raise the capital gains tax even if the result was lower tax revenue? His answer was, “Yes, for reasons of fairness”. And that reveals the main problem. Our tax and other policies are not designed mainly for maximum jobs and tax revenue and benefits to the country; they are designed for social goals. We can’t possibly do something that will produce massive good for the country as a whole, if it would benefit also a company’s executives and shareholders. We can’t do anything to bring back our manufacturing industry if it would also benefit the rich. “Take out one of my eyes”, as long as the rich lose both eyes.