Email, Hate Mail and Comments from Readers

Posted: Oct 23, 2011 12:01 AM

Natch wrote: Well, you really stuck your neck out on this one, John. So who is your recommendation for "bell ringer" in chief? – in response to Jackass: The Candidacy

Dear Natch-

I don’t have a recommendation. I like having elections, as I said.

No one has yet proven to me that they are going to run away with the nomination or that they deserve my support...yet. At this point we could end up with anyone of the candidates catching fire.

Of course any of the GOP candidates would be a vast improvement on Obama.

I’m actually more interested in what type of Congress we get than who we nominate as a candidate for president.    

Insighting Truth wrote: There is something critically wrong with a site dedicated to free speech that censors posters who attempt to use the words from the title of the column they are commenting on. – in response to Jackass: The Candidacy

Dear Truth,

We’re not a site that’s “dedicated to free speech.” We’re a conservative finance site.

Free speech is among the things we support politically, but unfortunately people’s use of obscene words and phrases spoils the conversation. We reserve the right to delete content that we find objectionable.  

A good example would be if you invited someone into your home and he used vulgar and offensive words, you’d ask him to leave. That’s not an abridgement of free speech; it’s the prerogative of a homeowner to control what happens in his home.

Well, this site is our home. 

I think the word filter says more about our foes than it does about Townhall.    

Steve wrote: Also...wasn't Obama just scratching his head with the middle finger in that speech to Hillary? That might have just been an example of his stupidity rather than rudeness. – in response to Jackass: The Candidacy

Dear Steve,

That’s not how I saw it. I watched the video several times and I think it was a shot at Hillary, taken in public.

John Ransom, Finance Editor writes: Oh, my God. Take a deep breath people – in response to Fair, Flat and Final

Dear Mr. Ransom,

Couldn’t agree more.

John wrote: I can't wait to see the Sunday hate mail edition of this column. – in response to Fair, Flat and Final

Dear John,

Here goes:

71 911E TX wrote: John, I'm hardly "the E-Trade speculator sits in his crib and pays nothing." – in response to Fair, Flat and Final

Dear 71,

No, but you are advocating that capital gains be exempted from taxes.

I think income, no matter the source- earned income, short or long-term capital gains, interest income or dividends- should be taxed at the same rate.

I have had some people argue that capital gains should be tax free because investment creates jobs. Yeah? Spending also creates jobs. When you tax income, you tamp down spending, not so much investment.  

It’s not like I’m unfamiliar with using the stock market to create current income. Most everyone I know does that. And so does my household.     

Eddie Again wrote: Our current tax code allowed GE to earn billions in profits without having to pay one cent in federal taxes. Strange that Mr. Ransom prefers that system to 9-9-9. – in response to Fair, Flat and Final

Dear Eddie,

I don’t prefer our current system to 999. Never said that.  Nor did I make the case that GE shouldn’t pay taxes. I think you have me confused with your congressman.

Bruce wrote: Nice job Mr. Ransom, got something for everybody in this article, sounds like your emotions got ahead of your head and as finance editor, that's not good. – in response to Fair, Flat and Final

Dear Bruce,

I don’t approach any of this with emotion. I think the people who are supporting Cain are too emotional about this. In some ways they remind me a little of the Ron Pauilites.

You can support tax reform without buying into every detail of Cain’s plan. Chances are, no matter who gets elected, tax reform will look different than what is being proposed by candidates right now.

Someone asked me this week what kind of balanced budget amendment I favored. I answered “Yes.” Same thing with tax reform. Yes. I’m in favor of it.

Now let’s talk about what that looks like as candidates stump on the campaign trail. We might be surprised- and I bet we are- that some other plans with great features, and some no so great features will be proposed between now and election day.             

So far, Cain hasn’t presented enough of the details of his plan for anyone to have an idea exactly what’s in it. I spoke with the campaign this week and they said they would have more details on the plan shortly. I think they got a little sidetracked with the abortion fracas and staffing up. I don’t feel they did the best job they can with the rollout of the plan. See below.     

Smitty wrote: Question for Ransom or others, how is Cain's 9% tax on business a VAT but the current corporate tax isn't and does the reduction from 35 to 9% mean nothing. – in response to Fair, Flat and Final        

Dear Smitty.

Corporate taxes are based today on bottom-line income: that is, profits. Cain’s plan would tax sales at the retail level, not profits. For the purposes of Cain’s plan, he means for a tax to be imposed only when there is a sale to the consumer.      

The problem is that the ambiguity of “at the retail level” leads to a tax on everything that is bought and sold eventually. That ends up being a VAT.  

Saying that taxes will drop from 35 percent to 9 percent is comparing apples and oranges. In actual dollars, some companies- like the GE example- will be generating more in tax revenues; some less.

Bottom line is that tax revenues in Cain’s plan is supposed to generate the same or more revenue. The question is how is that revenue distributed amongst different parts of our economy? Cain is attempting, as he should be, to get the social engineering out of the tax code.    

Moonbat Exterminator:  John, your E-trader would pay 9% on his purchases. I believe that dividend income will be treated as ordinary income. Also, the typical day trader doesn't hold onto his investments long enough to qualify for cap gains, so he'd be taxed at the 9% for trading proceeds. . – in response to Fair, Flat and Final

Dear Moonbat,

Nope, yes and nope.

A 9 percent sales tax on investment purchases would kill the market. How does one make money when one is already underwater by 9 percent?  This is part of the confusion surrounding the plan. 

There wouldn't be a sales tax on investment purchases.  

Dividends would be taxed as ordinary income.  

Under the current system short-term capital gains are treated as ordinary income, but they are still short-term capital gains, not income.