Tag: #MAGA

On Taxes and Businesses

I expect a lot of hype about how little Trump paid in taxes — and, yeah, it really sucks that someone is able consider private planes, meals, club memberships, car leases, etc to be a tax-deductible business expense. One of my first introductions to the working world was a privately-held company. I was the IT department, and one of my jobs was to move data from the old systems (mainframe for order management, database for inventory, and paper ledger for accounting) into the new all-in-one business management platform. Which meant I not only had access to all of the company’s accounting, but that I had to read through it all to get the information typed into the new platform. The company owner’s plane was owned by the business, so the hangar and maintenance was a business expense. He’d hire time in the plane for person use, but he got a really good discount from his company’s transportation service. Same for the company car he drove. And the country club membership — that’s where he’d meet with clients to solicit business, after all. Food and drink at those client meetings were business expenses too. It was all perfectly legal and designed both to maximize the owner’s enjoyment of life and the minimize the business’s profits. As a broke out-of-college kid, it seemed awfully unfair that the rich old dude was able to eat every day and avoid paying some taxes in doing so but the huge chunk of my paycheque that went to various taxes meant I had some rice to eat that day.

There were subordinate companies that paid consulting fees back to the main company to zero out any profits they made. And that parent company had a bunch of “business expenses” that minimized their profits. Ideally, the CFO told me, you’d net zero every year (or even have a paper loss) and not have to send the federal government anything in business taxes. Which I get — people shop around for the best price, find coupons and promo codes … you try to get the best deal. And, if the legal structure allows you to do so, why wouldn’t you avoid paying taxes altogether?

I’ve heard people say that a business needs to show a profit every ten years — that’s not true. If you don’t show a profit once in a ten year period, you may be asked to prove to the IRS that it’s a legit business. I come across this in the soap-making community — buying stuff for my soap-making hobby is not tax deductible even if I construct a business entity under which to make those purchase. Even if I happen to sell a few bars of soap to friends and neighbors. But if you’re advertising your product, going out to craft fairs and selling your soap … you provide the IRS evidence of your attempts to sell your product and you could be losing money every year for decades and still write off business expenses.

And the tax code is designed to encourage businesses to minimize their net — investing in your business offsets profit too. It’s one of the biggest problems I had with the interaction Obama had with Joe the not-a-plumber. If you buy a plumbing business that grosses a million dollars a year? You hire another plumber, buy another truck … you invest in a new tool that lets you offer more services. You spend some of that money and don’t have to pay taxes on it. Well, that hiring and purchasing also improves the country’s economy.

The New Caravan

Federal agents policing cities is a total campaign-as-reality-show move, just like the caravans were in 2018. Enough legit story there to ensure coverage, attention-getting footage. “The caravans” was a “get out the vote” instead of “appeal to voters” strategy — make sure your voters fear the possibility of loss to ensure they show up. Caravan fear didn’t work well in 2018, so it’s not exactly a fail-proof strategy.
Why didn’t it work? Well, for one — people had bigger concerns. Republicans want to throw my 22-year-old kid off my health insurance, and they promise preexisting conditions aren’t coming back but have no answer for how that becomes financially sustainable to private insurers. Those are really personal concerns, whereas an invasion of caravans was a far more abstract concern.
But the caravans weren’t the boogie monster Trump made them out to be either. There was a pastor in Texas — Gavin Rogers — who spent time traveling with one of the “caravans” that I thought did a really good job of humanizing those refugees. I’m sure there were others, but he had a pretty public media tour and gained a lot of followers. Without having empathy for other people, I can see how Trump couldn’t fathom people having sympathy for refugees … and, yeah, there were some news agencies promoting racist views and villainizing “the caravans” even after stories about people fleeing cartel violence started airing.
In 2020, he’s replacing ‘caravans’ with ‘protesters’ — which seems even less likely to succeed. And not just because employer-based health care amid a pandemic an economic collapse means people have *way* bigger problems than protesters. And that protesters out in the big city are still a fairly abstract concern for the majority of the country. Not to mention voter’s desire for competent disaster response. The protesters seem like they’d be a lot more generally sympathetic than refugees — protesters are Americans, a huge majority of Americans think police brutality is a problem that needs to be addressed. I had a good discussion with an acquaintance a few weeks ago — she didn’t see why sports players had to kneel in protest when there were so many other ways they could have talked about whatever they wanted to talk about. I’m sorry you were uncomfortable, but do you think the message needed to get out there? (And, post George Floyd, she totally thought the message needed to get out there). Those people did try many other ways to communicate the problem. People ignored the protest until the form of protest selected made people uncomfortable. So, evidently they did need to kneel at public sporting events. Maybe protesters today need to destroy some property for people to take notice too.

Black Helicopters Approach

So there are unidentified federal agents picking up protesters in Portland?! The guiding principal of Republican governance: States rights above all else … except when I don’t agree with how you’re running things. Then we’re invading your city and teaching you radicals a lesson.
 
How long you think it’ll be before random psychopaths start dressing up like unidentified federal agents and rounding people up downtown? No one is going to believe the Trump administration when they swear they never kidnapped Uncle Frank. Hell, there’ll be a whole army of Trump supporters hitting the Army Surplus store for camo outfits and renting vans on election day.

Monolithic Extremism

From The Nation:

‘The report did warn that individuals from a far-right social media group had “called for far-right provocateurs to attack federal agents, use automatic weapons against protesters.” (The Nation is withholding the name of the group in order to not disrupt any potential law enforcement investigations.) ‘
 
The report basically says they’ve not found any evidence that Antifa is involved in the rioting. I guess we have the monolithic communism theory applied to extremist organizations. Monolithic extremism? Other non-entities are equally not involved — alt-right is a loosely defined association of a bunch of different groups to … it itself probably doesn’t have coordinated involvement in anything.
While they cannot link Antifa to the riots, the FBI did find a far-right group promoting violence. That is a logical extension of ‘Bernie Bros” — it’s not like a protest verifies the identity and online history of every participant to ensure they’re legitimately concerned about racial equality and/or police practices. But someone within a couple blocks of your protest loots Macy’s & you’ve become Antifa rioters to the MAGA crowd.

Trump Impeachment / SARS-CoV-2 Timeline

The timeline below was posted to a FB group today, but I wanted a more visual format to show how much nonsense  the “impeachment was a distraction from this serious pandemic business” story is. I cross-referenced dates in the timeline with the number of US SARS-CoV-2 infections using archived data from Johns Hopkins through 23 March and the dataset from COVID Tracking (which is current but doesn’t go back far enough to provide correlation with the impeachment dates). There is some overlap, but it’s not like Trump was completely focused on impeachment activity before 05 Feb. Campaign rallies and golfing were his choice distractions. Both of which continued well after the impeachment trial ended.
Timeline with a few additional impeachment-related events added and location info for rally and golf events:
Date # US Infections Detail
18-Dec-2019 0 House Impeaches Trump
18-Dec-2019 0 Trump campaign rally – Michigan
21-Dec-2019 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
22-Dec-2019 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
23-Dec-2019 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
24-Dec-2019 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
26-Dec-2019 0 Trump golfs – Florida
27-Dec-2019 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
28-Dec-2019 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
29-Dec-2019 0 Trump golfs – Florida
30-Dec-2019 0 Trump golfs – Florida
31-Dec-2019 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
1-Jan 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
2-Jan 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
3-Jan 0 Trump campaign rally – Florida
4-Jan 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
5-Jan 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
8-Jan 0 First CDC warning
9-Jan 0 Trump campaign rally – Ohio
14-Jan 0 Trump campaign rally – Wisconsin
16-Jan 0 House sends impeachment articles to Senate
18-Jan 0 Trump golfs – Florida
19-Jan 0 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
20-Jan 1 First case of corona virus in the US, Washington State.
22-Jan 1 “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”
22-Jan 1 Impeachment prosecution’s opening arguments and presentation of evidence
23-Jan 1 Impeachment prosecution’s opening arguments and presentation of evidence
24-Jan 2 Impeachment prosecution’s opening arguments and presentation of evidence
25-Jan 2 Impeachment defense presentation
28-Jan 5 Trump campaign rally – New Jersey
30-Jan 5 Trump campaign rally – Iowa
31-Jan 7 Impeachment Senate vote against calling witnesses & travel restriction from China
1-Feb 8 Trump golfs – Florida
2-Feb 8 Trump maybe golfs – Florida
2-Feb 8 “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”
5-Feb 11 Impeachment Senate votes to acquit. Then takes a five-day weekend.
10-Feb 11 Trump campaign rally – New Hampshire
12-Feb 12 Dow Jones closes at an all time high of 29,551.42
15-Feb 13 Trump golfs – Florida
19-Feb 13 Trump campaign rally – Arizona
20-Feb 13 Trump campaign rally – Colorado
21-Feb 15 Trump campaign rally – Nevada
24-Feb 51 “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
25-Feb 51 “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”
25-Feb 51 “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”
26-Feb 57 “The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”
26-Feb 57 “We’re going very substantially down, not up.” Also “This is a flu. This is like a flu”; “Now, you treat this like a flu”; “It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.”
27-Feb 58 “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
28-Feb 60 “We’re ordering a lot of supplies. We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. But we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.”
28-Feb 60 Trump campaign rally – South Carolina
2-Mar 98 “You take a solid flu vaccine, you don’t think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?”
2-Mar 98 Trump campaign rally – North Carolina
2-Mar 98 “A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they’re happening very rapidly.”
4-Mar 149 “If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”
5-Mar 217 “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”
5-Mar 217 “The United States… has, as of now, only 129 cases… and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!”
6-Mar 262 “I think we’re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down… a tremendous job at keeping it down.”
6-Mar 262 “Anybody right now, and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. And the tests are beautiful…. the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good.”
6-Mar 262 “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it… Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”
6-Mar 262 “I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.”
7-Mar 402 Trump golfs – Florida
8-Mar 518 Trump golfs – Florida
8-Mar 518 “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus.”
9-Mar 583 “This blindsided the world.”
1-Mar 583 Travel lockdown from Europe.
13-Mar 2179 State of emergency declared
17-Mar 6421 “This is a pandemic,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
18-Mar 7783 It’s not racist at all. No. Not at all. It comes from China. That’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate.
23-Mar 42152 Dow Jones closes at 18,591.93
25-Mar 63928 3.3 million Americans file for unemployment.
30-Mar 160530 Dow Jones closes at 21,917.16
2-Apr 239099 6.6 million Americans file for unemployment.