Broadening the tax base mainly means eliminating or reducing deductions. The most popular target is the home-mortgage interest deduction. It is an absurd deduction, based on the silly premise that owning a home generates positive externalities: improved maintenance of residential property and enhanced sense of commitment to the community. All residential ownership does is reduce job mobility by increasing relocation costs and delay. But it’s a sacred cow.
Richard Posner, Tax Reform.
The corporate income tax is criticized as penalizing investment, because it taxes the income generated by corporate investment twice—first at the corporate level and second when corporate earnings are distributed to the corporation’s shareholders in the form of capital gains or dividends. And penalizing investment reduces economic growth, which depends on investment. But the corporate income tax is so riddled with exceptions and opportunities for avoidance that it accounts for only 8 percent of total federal tax revenues. If the tax were abolished, some other federal tax would have to be increased.
Richard Posner, Tax Reform.
This is a pretty good overview of some work Justice Posner has been doing with Lee Epstein and William Landes to “provide a comprehensive, numbers-filled assessment of judicial voting patterns.” It’s a good read, especially the bit where they compare and contrast voting patterns in the Supreme Court to the District Courts. A related work would be Posner’s 2005 Harvard Law Review article “A Political Court.”
Our political system is pervasively corrupt due to our Supreme Court taking away campaign-contribution restrictions on the basis of the First Amendment.
Richard Posner is the most influential conservative judge outside the Supreme Court. He is a renowned member of the Chicago-based Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. He is not only the nation’s most prolific jurist-academic, he is seen by some as the most influential judge outside of the nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet, he is against Citizens United v. FEC which he considered it encourages bribery.
Read more (via moneyocracy)
I’ve become less conservative since the Republican Party started becoming goofy.
Richard Posner, speaking to NPR.
[There is] an increasing tendency of justices to engage in celebrity-type extrajudicial activities, such as presiding at mock trials of fictional and historical figures (was Hamlet temporarily insane when he killed Polonius?…). My own view…is that such activities give a mistaken impression of what trials are good for. But I would give Justice Sotomayor a pass for appearing on Sesame Street to adjudicate a dispute between two stuffed animals.
Richard Posner, in “Supreme Court Year in Review”, a conversation at Slate (June 27. 2012)
As of last year there were estimated to be 360,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona, which is less than 6 percent of the Arizona population—below the estimated average illegal immigrant population of the United States. (So much for Arizona’s bearing the brunt of illegal immigration.) Maybe Arizona’s illegal immigrants are more violent, less respectful of property, worse spongers off social services, and otherwise more obnoxious than the illegal immigrants in other states, but one would like to see some evidence of that.
Yes indeed, Justice Scalia, one would like to see some evidence of that. (via thecallup)
(Source: Slate, via thecallup)
The chief justice, echoing Justice Scalia’s ‘broccoli’ comment at the oral argument, rejected (as did the four dissenters, and so that is now the view of a majority of the justices) the Commerce Clause ground for the mandate, saying that to accept that ground would mean that ‘Congress could address the diet problem by ordering everyone to buy vegetables.’ This argument, reassuring though it is to our obese population, confuses separate constitutional provisions. The Commerce Clause would empower Congress to order everyone to buy vegetables, because the market for most vegetables is interstate, but the ‘liberty’ protected against the federal government by the Fifth Amendment would doubtless be interpreted to forbid such an imposition, just as it would be interpreted to forbid a federal law requiring everyone to be in bed with the lights out by 10 p.m. in order to economize on the use of electricity and, by doing so, reduce carbon emissions from electrical generating plants.
Justice Posner on yesterday’s SCOTUS ruling upholding (most of) the ACA, Part One (via lacartaajena)
We add that the appellants’ brief is rambling, and would be more effective if compressed to 14,000 words.
Richard Posner. Most of the time we like to talk about Judge Posner’s great legal work, his insightful economic commentary, or other academic work. Sometimes, we just love his most awesome legal retorts.
Say’s Law, rather confusingly paraphrased as supply creates its own demand, treats money as a medium of exchange and a standard of value, but nothing more. This is essentially a barter theory of the economy. But modern economies are not barter economists. In a modern economy, receiving money in exchange for some good or service doesn’t dictate that you exchange the money forthwith for some other good or service. You can save the money indefinitely. If you put it under your mattress, it makes no contribution to productive activity. Similarly, money can pile up in Federal Reserve Banks if people are disinclined to spend, without contributing to economic activity.
Richard Posner, The Federal Reserve and the World Economic Crisis