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January 03, 2013 – Comments (34) | RELATED TICKERS: T , A , X

And anyone else that thinks we can tax ourselves to prosperity...

That Russian Movie Star, Gérard DepardieuBy DAVID M. HERSZENHORN

MOSCOW — At the time, it seemed like a joke. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russiaat his annual news conference before more than 1,000 journalists last month, declared with a mixture of braggadocio and magnanimity that if one of the world’s best-known Frenchmen, the actor Gérard Depardieu, really wanted to renounce his French citizenship, he would find the doors toRussia wide open — with a residency permit and Russian citizenship his for the asking.

But since then, a public feud between Mr. Depardieu and French officials has continued to simmer over Mr. Depardieu’s complaint about France’s high tax rates on the wealthy. French politicians and commentators have lambasted him for renouncing his French citizenship and registering as a resident of Néchin in Belgium, which has lower taxes. And on Thursday, the Kremlin announced that Mr. Putin had kept his promise and had signed a decree making Mr. Depardieu a citizen of Russia.

A spokesman for Mr. Putin, Dmitri Peskov, said that Mr. Depardieu had recently applied for citizenship, and that it was granted in honor of his cultural achievements.

“The thing is that Depardieu has been a part of large film projects and has acted many parts, including the part of Rasputin,” Mr. Peskov told the Interfax news agency. Referring to a television movie about the mad monk, he added, “This film has not been shown here, but it is a very bold and innovative interpretation of the character.”

In a letter to Russia’s Channel One television station, Mr. Depardieu confirmed that he applied for Russian citizenship and said he was happy that the request was granted.

“I adore your country, Russia, your people, your history and your writers,” he wrote, adding that his father was a Communist who listened to Moscow radio. He promised to study Russian and said he wanted to live in a village because Moscow was too big of a city.

He said he had informed the French president, François Hollande, of his decision and also said, “I love your president, Vladimir Putin, very much and it’s mutual.”

It seemed likely, however, that Mr. Putin also saw a poetic opportunity in the chance for Russia, long known for losing wealthy citizens to the West, to claim one in return — and not just anyone, but a macho actor instantly recognizable by a giant nose that seems made for sniffing Bordeaux by the barrel.

That Mr. Depardieu might find Russia an attractive place in which to settle down, or at least to declare as his official tax address, fits in well with a narrative that Mr. Putin has developed in recent months portraying Russia not just as a geopolitical equal of Western powers, but as superior in many respects, especially in terms of its performance during the economic downturn.

“On the whole, we made a recovery from the crisis even faster than other countries,” Mr. Putin said. “Just look at the recession in Europe. Russia has posted growth, albeit a modest one, but we still have a much better situation than in the once-prosperous euro zone, or even in the United States.”

If Mr. Depardieu chooses to take up Russian citizenship, he would potentially trade steep French income tax rates, which he said now claim 85 percent of his income, and even Belgian rates of 60 percent or higher, for Russia’s flat 13 percent income tax. The value-added tax, a sales tax on goods and services, is 18 percent in Russia compared with nearly 20 percent in France, while Russian social security taxes are 30 percent compared with 50 percent in France.

But aside from tax savings, Mr. Putin suggested that French officials were too brusque in their response to Mr. Depardieu’s complaints and that he might find that Russians simply understand him better as an artist. “Actors, musicians and artists are people with a special, delicate psychological makeup and, as we say in Russia, the artist is easily offended,” Mr. Putin said at the news conference on Dec. 20. “So I understand Mr. Depardieu’s feelings.”

Mr. Putin at the time went out of his way to say that he meant no ill will toward the French. “Among our foreign partners, France stands out,” he said, prefacing his response to a reporter who asked if he had offered Mr. Depardieu residency. “We have had close spiritual ties for centuries now, despite tragic events in our common history.”

Mr. Putin also said that he regarded Mr. Depardieu as thoroughly French as Mr. Putin, a former K.G.B. agent, is Russian. “I must say that even though he said — and I read his statement — that he considers himself a European, a citizen of the world, I know for a fact that he considers himself a Frenchman,” Mr. Putin said. “I know this since we have very friendly, personal relations, even though we have not met many times. He loves his country, its history, its culture; that’s his life.”

Mr. Depardieu, it turns out, is no stranger to Russia. In October, he visited Grozny, the capital of the Russian republic of Chechnya, where he attended a celebration of the capital’s 194th anniversary with the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, who has invited Mr. Depardieu to live there.

Video of the October event shows Mr. Depardieu exhorting an appreciative crowd in a mixture of Russian and French: “Glory to Grozny! Glory to Chechnya! Chechnya is strong! Glory to Kadyrov!”

Mr. Depardieu has also agreed to star in a movie written by Gulnara Karimova, the eldest daughter of President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, the former Soviet Republic.

A spokeswoman for the French government, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, said Thursday that the decision to grant Mr. Depardieu a passport was “an exclusive prerogative of the head of the Russian state,” and declined to comment further, Europe 1 radio reported.

I find it extremely funny that a former communist nation has turned the tables and now is the low tax alternative. Your "tax till it hurts!" ideas will result of more of the same. I wonder how many non-celebrities have done the same thing. France was already a hard place to do business anyway, I can't imagine someone that could figure out how to succeed despite all the other barriers would want to stay in a place that won't let them enjoy the reward if they did.

Tax them till it hurts! If it hurts enough, they'll go away and take their jobs with them. 


34 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On January 03, 2013 at 7:20 PM, awallejr (36.64) wrote:

I actually found that story amusing.  I was listening to one commentator mentioning that you also have to factor in a high cost of "protection" if you are wealthy and want to live in Russia heheh.

I am game to discuss more just to make things interesting here but I might just be repeating myself from the last thread. I showed you charts from our brief history with Income Tax that showed low top rates hurt the majority while with high top rates the majority florished.  I am really not concerned about rooting for a handful of people to amass fortunes at the expense of the masses.  That's a sucker's fight.

As I said plenty times, I am not anti wealth, I am anti obscene wealth.  Of course that is subjective.

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#2) On January 03, 2013 at 7:53 PM, VExplorer (29.05) wrote:

cost of "protection" is depending on who you are and what is your business. For Mr. Depardieu it will zero because of both reasons. First, friend with power reduce the cost. Actually most profitable business for him will be providing the "protection" up to level in which his business will start compete with business of another "friends" of his "friends".

In general, this case is irrelevant. As I noted already: trust of ordinary people to goverment, to local community to each one around - it is a key. US will 4th grade country in months if this trust will evaporate.

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#3) On January 03, 2013 at 7:58 PM, ChrisGraley (28.47) wrote:

LOL I would argue that you are anti-economy, but at least you are trying to help things, albeit with the wrong premise. when devoish shows up he'll just spout the party line.

I am definately for obscene wealth. I hope the US gets the first trillionare. As long as that entrepeneur brings his employees up with him and helps the economy along the way, I see no problem with it. I think that's where we differ. You are upset with the results and I am upset with the methods. If a guy honestly makes a buck, neither of us have a right to tax 95% of it. The CEO of COSTCO deserves to be the richest man in the US right now. Bill Gates on the other hand, deserves purgatory. he did more to hurt the world than he can ever make up for.

I am anti corporate welfare and anti government lobyist and anti chronyism, but I am also anti tax.

Taxes do 1 thing well. They discourage things. If you are anti-smoking, tax smoking. If you are anti-economy, tax profit. 

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#4) On January 03, 2013 at 9:44 PM, awallejr (36.64) wrote:

As long as that entrepeneur brings his employees up with him and helps the economy along the way, I see no problem with it.

That's the problem, they don't.  It took the NLRA to start that process. I point to history, you point to surmise. If you cap (and I concede the amount is negotiable) you force the top earners from being flat out greedy. 

What is the point of taking money that will be taxed at say 95%? Instead you encourage their behavior in keeping the money in the business and rewarding others with raises or bonuses.  Or you encourage them to spend it on plant and equipment.  That is exactly what happened during the late 40's and the "happy days" 50s.

I am telling you right now Chris until we start to see rising incomes for the Average Joe we aren't going very far.

As an investment thesis stick with the mlps, bdcs and reits as I urged since 2009.  Reinvest the income back into the mlps, bdcs and reits because we still have a long way to go before we ever see a robust economy.  It actually might take us baby boomers dying out for it to happen.

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#5) On January 03, 2013 at 10:01 PM, ChrisGraley (28.47) wrote:

Nope, history proves you wrong. You point to communism which has failed multiple times. Fix the problem, not the result. Stop corporate welfare and political bribes. 

I agree that incomes have to rise for the average Joe, but what you are proposing is to insure that they fall and in your mind it's ok because they will be supported by the government with those tax dollars you took from the rich. And when the rich leave and the poor realize that working isn't worth it, you will realize why Marx was a moron.


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#6) On January 03, 2013 at 10:17 PM, awallejr (36.64) wrote:

History I am talking about is what happened here.  Capping is not communism at all although I submit this country was close to becoming so back during the depression.  There are a ton of links I could post showing what it was like working for steel companies, mining companies and pretty much every company back then.  But that is something Porte would do heheh.

The conditions sucked.  Plain and simple.  The NLRA (National Labor Relations Act) changed it and I submit saved this country from going communist. It forced collective bargaining.  And it worked for the masses. Sadly the mob got involved but then the RICO Act was enacted to counter that with some success.

It doesn't matter if rich people leave.  They will simply be replaced by others not so greedy. But personally I think it prudent that we devise policy that helps that Average Joe, not that rare billionaire.

Simply put Chris you and I and probably every person that reads this blog will never ever be in that "club."  Defending it is a "sucker's" game.

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#7) On January 04, 2013 at 7:15 AM, ChrisGraley (28.47) wrote:

Why do you keep switching topics to the NLRA? This topic is about taxes and a massive redistribution of wealth. No, those people will not be replaced. There is no incentive for anyone to replace them. I understand that you feel "I'll never be rich, so tax the hell out of them!", but you don't understand that when they leave they take economic prosperity with them. The new economy you propose is a grim one and you'll have a worse standard of living than you do now.



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#8) On January 04, 2013 at 12:57 PM, awallejr (36.64) wrote:

I am not switching topics.  I mention it because it was a dramatic economic turning point for the American worker.  It codified the workers' right to form unions and force collective bargaining.  That in turn forced the employers to start sharing the wealth.  You then saw the middle class  grow and thrive peaking. imo, in the 1950s.

And during that peak period you had a hard tax cap on the wealthy.  Yet they didn't leave like you keep claiming should happen.

The lowering of the standard of living for the Average Joe has been happening for over 30 years as a result of a LOW tax policy.  It is your tax policy that will keep killing the middle class as well as too much Government regulation (another topic for another day).

And making say $50 million a year is not an incentive for people?  Of course it is.  Romney during the Presidential debates finally quit the ridiculous trickle down argument and acknowledged what I have been arguing for years here, that the small entrepreneur is the real job creator.  They will continue to grow their businesses even if their net income is capped at a certain point because they will still be making plenty to live on.

And if you think these last 6 years was economic prosperity for the middle class then go back to our last threads' charts.



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#9) On January 04, 2013 at 2:26 PM, ChrisGraley (28.47) wrote:

There was no cap on wealth in the 50's and growth was due to the soldiers returning from the war. Small businessmen will go to wherever they are rewarded most for their efforts. That won't be in your economy.

I think the last 6 years were hell, but that is mostly because of the same policies you propose. Tax and Spend. We haven't even seen the true impact of our current spending binge. That will come much later.

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#10) On January 04, 2013 at 4:49 PM, L0RDZ (91.04) wrote:

As  far as  I  know,  never  has  anyone  taxed  it's way   into  prosperity   with  high taxes  if  this  was  the case  why  not  have  100%  tax  rates  and  simply  live  off  what  the  gov-ment  decides  to  give  anyone.


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#11) On January 04, 2013 at 5:07 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

^ LordZ performs reducto ad absurdum to a tee,

I've never had it properly explained why violence (taking money at gun point) achieves prosperity.   But in order for that to happen, Progressives would have to admit that they cheer violence as long as it is delivered by the State.

I don't really care what this rich a**hole does or where he moves.  But I've busted my a** to get where I am, and I really don't like paying 40-50% of my income to psychopathic racist thieves to "provide" me services I could get at a fraction of the cost on the free market.

David in Liberty

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#12) On January 04, 2013 at 5:57 PM, Turfscape (< 20) wrote:

So...we're now looking to Gerard Depardieu for our guidance on economic policy? The man who couldn't hold it long enough to make it to the bathroom on the airplane?

Might as well make Matt Damon Secretary of the Treasury if we're starting down that path...

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#13) On January 04, 2013 at 8:44 PM, ChrisGraley (28.47) wrote:

The guy didn't set policy.He followed it.

What we are trying to do is follow France's economic policy. We'll have the same results. 

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#14) On January 04, 2013 at 11:16 PM, awallejr (36.64) wrote:

There was no cap on wealth in the 50's

Of course there was we were taxing people over 90% back then.  

Just look at all the charts I had linked here:

But keep defending the handful that tries to con you into defending them.


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#15) On January 04, 2013 at 11:27 PM, HarryCaraysGhost (87.59) wrote:

Did anyone else notice that their paycheck was a bit light this week?

 So this helps the economy how?

I (average working Joe) spends less.

The (rich) who pay for my services do not spend,thus shutting down many small shops.

I wind up on the gov't dole, providing no tax base at all.

Sounds like a great plan (sarcasm).

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#16) On January 05, 2013 at 3:19 AM, Turfscape (< 20) wrote:

>>What we are trying to do is follow France's economic policy. We'll have the same results.<<

Same results as in our most obnoxious of actors will move away? Sign me up! Goodbye Steven Seagal!

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#17) On January 05, 2013 at 1:40 PM, awallejr (36.64) wrote:

Did anyone else notice that their paycheck was a bit light this week?

Yup Harry that was the end of the 2% payroll tax cut.  Let's keep hitting the middle class (or what is less of it).

And lol Turfscape.

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#18) On January 05, 2013 at 1:41 PM, awallejr (36.64) wrote:


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#19) On January 05, 2013 at 1:46 PM, awallejr (36.64) wrote:

And oh darn just noticed I gave the wrong link in #14 above.  While that was a good one too it should have been this:

Charts in that thread in comments #21, #29, #32.

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#20) On January 05, 2013 at 2:11 PM, NOTvuffett (< 20) wrote:

Actually, I am glad that they discontinued the "tax holiday" for SS.  How can you declare a tax holiday for a program that will have a shortfall in a few years when you have represented it as being a sort of insurance/retirement program?

Employee contributions went from 4.2 to 6.2%.  That was the rate before the tax holiday.  If any employees don't think the 6.2% that comes from the employers pockets don't cost them money, they are a special kind of stupid. 

Even at that rate, SS will not be able to continue benefits with the current model. 


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#21) On January 05, 2013 at 6:54 PM, HarryCaraysGhost (87.59) wrote:

@ NOTvuffett

Yeah man, I get that.

My question was more, how can you support a nation if you tax them into welfare?

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#22) On January 05, 2013 at 7:40 PM, ChrisGraley (28.47) wrote:

awallerjr we went over that. That was  a paper tax that nobody paid.

and turfscape try this article...

France plans savage 75% tax rate for top earners as the rich vow to desert country if it goes ahead


Read more: 

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France's highest earners are preparing to leave the country if Francois Hollande hikes up the top rate of tax.

One Paris law firm says it has been inundated with calls from wealthy businessmen asking if they should leave France if the socilaist President Francois goes ahead with his promise to introduce a 75 per cent tax rate on income above one million euros.

Vincent Grandil, partner of Altexis, which specialises in tax law, admitted his company has been receiving concerned calls from high earners since the French President's tax announcement.

He told the New York Times: 'We're getting a lot of calls from high earners who are asking whether they should get out of France.

'Even young, dynamic people pulling in 200,000 euros are wondering whether to remain in a country where making money is not considered a good thing.'

The feeling of unease among France's top earners comes after Hollande became the country's first socialist president since Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s.

His 75 per cent tax proposal to 'get the country back on its feet again' will be debated when parliament resumes in September. 

Hollande has vowed to reduce France's budget deficit from 4.5 per cent of the nation's gross domestic product to 3 per cent next year.

The tax would effect around 30,000 workers out of the country's population of 65million.

Mr Grandil continued: 'French people have an uncomfortable relationship with money. Here, someone who is a self-made man, creating jobs and ending up as a millionaire, is viewed with suspicion. This is big cultural difference between France and the United States.'

He added that a lot of companies are now looking at moving their high-paid executives out of France to avoid the new tax. 

It remains to be seen how many people will jump ship to avoid the tax measures but former Victoria's Secret model Laetetia Casta, the restaurateur Alain Ducasse and the singer Johnny Hallyday have already left the country.


 If the supermodels leave I'm coming after you turfscape!


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#23) On January 05, 2013 at 8:29 PM, NOTvuffett (< 20) wrote:

It is very funny to me that an avowed solicialist/communist high income earner is leaving a socialisist utopia like France for tax reasons, lol.

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#24) On January 05, 2013 at 10:24 PM, awallejr (36.64) wrote:

awallerjr we went over that .  That was  a paper tax that nobody paid.

Except you didn't see the point if that is what you came away with.  It wasn't a paper tax, it was a hard cap so people didn't pay it because it would be foolish to draw the income to do so.  That is the whole point of making it extremely high after a certain amount. If you don't see this point I don't know what more to say since it is critical point to the argument.

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#25) On January 06, 2013 at 12:13 PM, ChrisGraley (28.47) wrote:

LOL, yeah that is totally wrong. Plenty of people made that income, but the loopholes in place meant that nobody paid the tax.

The upper limit for taxes was like 300k. The Carnegies and Rockafellers were still around then. 

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#26) On January 06, 2013 at 4:15 PM, L0RDZ (91.04) wrote:

Is  25  the new cap on comments ?

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#27) On January 06, 2013 at 6:50 PM, awallejr (36.64) wrote:

"loopholes" or deductions whatever you wish to call it is designed to purposefully influence behavior.  For right or wrong (and which could make for an interesting discussion) people are being encouraged, if not forced to spend their money in certain ways, such as business deductions, charitable contributions, energy improvements, etc. 

There are also bad ones which I mentioned in the other thread such as not treating stock options as ordinary income, carried forward interest, even capital gains.

That is exactly what was happening in the late 40's to 50's.  Top earners were free to just take the high income and just keep 6% of it but you really need to be greedy to do that.  Instead what you saw was people keeping their taxable income under the top tier by spending that overage back into the business or spending it on business meals etc.

So the middle class actually did prosper since it basically forced the wealthy to start sharing the wealth.

But you don't have that with low high end taxes as I have been arguing.  It basically encourages greed and caused a greater accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few. Such as here:

And LZ I am guessing the answer to your question is no;p

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#28) On January 06, 2013 at 10:04 PM, ChrisGraley (28.47) wrote:

The loopholes were that offshore tax havens were created and essentially took money directly out of the country. Is that what you mean by influencing positive behaivor? If those loopholes were closed, then the J P Getties and Howard Hughes of the time would have simply moved themselves out of the country.

So you lose that money from your economy no matter what. That's why taxes as a percentage of GDP were so low in the 50's. Nobody paid the tax! Not Howard Hughes. Not JP Getty. Not John D MacArther. Not the Rockafellers or Duponts on anybody else.

Your hard cap did nothing. The money was still made. It was just taken out of the country. We kept spending like drunken sailors though and that helped caused the inflaftion we had in the 1970's.

I know it's easy to scream for a tax that you think you'll never pay. Well when that money is taken out of the country who do you think the government is coming after to make up the difference. That's right you are making your own tax burden harder. The higher you make that cap the more money that flows out and lower they have to make that cap to tread water.

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#29) On January 07, 2013 at 12:55 AM, awallejr (36.64) wrote:

No read your own article in the other thread.  Tax havens occurred lately not in 1948.  Just look at the charts I posted.  The fact that we kept income tax so low on the top earners encouraged them to maximize profits.  Ship those jobs overseas because then you make and KEEP more money due to LOW taxes.

I have asked you this before.  Show me where during the 100 years we charged income tax that you saw a booming economy for the masses under low taxes on the high earners.  You can't.  I, however, can point to a period where we charged high rates on top earners where the economy boomed and the masses florished.  Yup you guessed it, late 1940s through 1950s. And for the reasons I keep repeating.

As for the Getties and Hughes nope they just didn't sell their stocks.  Tis why I say change capital gains tax by extending the time period you need to hold.  The longer the period the more people are investing instead of trading.  I say make the holding period 5 years.

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#30) On January 07, 2013 at 12:57 AM, awallejr (36.64) wrote:

P.S., fun discussion too bad Devoish hasn't joined the fray.

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#31) On January 07, 2013 at 5:25 PM, ChrisGraley (28.47) wrote:

Tax havens have existed since taxes have existed. Switzerland and Bermuda became really popular in the 40's.

As far as when we were booming with low taxes in the last 100 years with low taxes you're right. I can't point to that time because we haven't had low taxes in the last 100 years. But our country flourished with low taxes before the income tax and corporate taxes ever came into existence.

As far as your delusion of prosperity in the 50's, you are looking at too many liberal blogs. Yes the growth in the 50's was a little better because the soldiers in the war returned to the private sector, but first, it was only 3.4% and second we spent money like drunken sailors and paid for it later.

Yes, I miss devoish in this thread too. You are fun to argue with, but you are too cordial. :D




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#32) On January 07, 2013 at 7:37 PM, awallejr (36.64) wrote:

Well I could call you a dumb*ss if that will make you feel better;p

I would say the top earners during the last 12 years have enjoyed them with capital gains at 15%.  Romney would have even managed lower but he purposefully withheld taking full charitable contributions deduction.  I guarantee he has since sent in an amended return.


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#33) On January 07, 2013 at 9:13 PM, ChrisGraley (28.47) wrote:

He probably has, but income isn't the problem. Spending is the problem and specifically politicians on both sides that promise everything to everyone. 

30 Stupid Things The Government Is Spending Money On By Michael, on February 29th, 2012     

If you want to get paid for doing something stupid, just turn to the U.S. government.  The U.S. government is paying researchers to play video games, it is paying researchers to study the effects of cocaine on Japanese quail and it has spent millions of dollars to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly.  The amount of money that the government wastes is absolutely horrifying.  Do you remember all of that political wrangling over the debt ceiling deal last year?  Do you remember how our politicians told us that there were cutting spending as much as they possibly could?  Well, it was all a giant lie.  As you will see below, the U.S. government is spending money on some of the most stupid things imaginable.  What makes all of this even worse is that we are going into enormous amounts of debt in order to pay for all of this.  We are borrowing billions of dollars a day in order to pay for stupid stuff that no government on earth should ever be paying for.  Trust me, you are going to find it hard to believe some of the stuff in this list.  It is almost inconceivable what our politicians are doing with our tax dollars.

The following are 30 incredibly stupid things that the federal government is spending money on….

#1 The U.S. government is spending $750,000 on a new soccer field for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.

#2 The Obama administration plans to spend between 16 and 20 million dollars helping students from Indonesia get master’s degrees.

#3 If you can believe it, the U.S. government has spent $175,587 “to determine if cocaine makes Japanese quail engage in sexually risky behavior”.

#4 The U.S. government spent $200,000 on “a tattoo removal program” in Mission Hills, California.

#5 The federal government has shelled out $3 million to researchers at the University of California at Irvine to fund their research on video games such as World of Warcraft.  Wouldn’t we all love to have a “research job” like that?

#6 The Department of Health and Human Services plans to spend $500 millionon a program that will, among other things, seek to solve the problem of 5-year-old children that “can’t sit still” in a kindergarten classroom.

#7 Fannie Mae is about to ask the federal government for another $4.6 billion bailout, and it will almost certainly get it.

#8 The federal government once spent 30 million dollars on a program that was designed to help Pakistani farmers produce more mangos.

#9 The U.S. Department of Agriculture once gave researchers at the University of New Hampshire $700,000 to study methane gas emissions from dairy cows.

#10 According to USA Today, 13 different government agencies “fund 209 different science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs — and 173 of those programs overlap with at least one other program.”

#11 A total of $615,000 was given to the University of California at Santa Cruz to digitize photos, T-shirts and concert tickets belonging to the Grateful Dead.

#12 China lends us more money than any other foreign nation, but that didn’t stop our government from spending 17.8 million dollars on social and environmental programs for China.

#13 The U.S. government once spent 2.6 million dollars to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly.

#14 One professor at Stanford University was given $239,100 to study how Americans use the Internet to find love.

#15 The U.S. Postal Service spent $13,500 on a single dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

#16 The National Science Foundation once spent $216,000 to study whether or not politicians “gain or lose support by taking ambiguous positions”.

#17 A total of $1.8 million was spent on a “museum of neon signs” in Las Vegas, Nevada.

#18 The federal government spends 25 billion dollars a year maintaining federal buildings that are either unused or totally vacant.

#19 U.S. farmers are given a total of $2 billion each year for not farming their land.

#20 The U.S. government handed one Tennessee library $5,000 for the purpose of hosting a series of video game parties.

#21 A few years ago the government spent $123,050 on a Mother’s Day Shrine in Grafton, West Virginia.  It turns out that Grafton only has a population of a little more than 5,000 people.

#22 One professor at Dartmouth University was given $137,530 to create a “recession-themed” video game entitled “Layoff”.

#23 According to the Heritage Foundation, the U.S. military spent “$998,798 shipping two 19-cent washers from South Carolina to Texas and $293,451 sending an 89-cent washer from South Carolina to Florida”.

#24 The U.S. Department of Agriculture once shelled out $30,000 to a group of farmers to develop a tourist-friendly database of farms that host guests for overnight “haycations”.

#25 The National Institutes of Health paid researchers $400,000 to find out why gay men in Argentina engage in risky sexual behavior when they are drunk.

#26 The National Institutes of Health also once spent $442,340 to study the behavior of male prostitutes in Vietnam.

#27 The National Institutes of Health loves to spend our tax money on really bizarre things.  The NIH once spent $800,000 in “stimulus funds” to study the impact of a “genital-washing program” on men in South Africa.

#28 According to the Washington Post, 1,271 different government organizations work on government programs related to counterterrorism and homeland security.

#29 The U.S. government spent $100,000 on a “Celebrity Chef Fruit Promotion Road Show in Indonesia”.

#30 The feds once gave Alaska Airlines $500,000 “to paint a Chinook salmon” on the side of a Boeing 737.

How in the world can our government be so foolish?

Anyone that claims that there is not a lot of stuff that can be cut out of the federal budget is lying to you.

All of this crazy spending is going to get us into a massive amount of trouble eventually.  Already, on a per capita basis the U.S. national debt is worse than the national debts of Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.

We have accumulated the biggest debt in the history of the world and we are adding to it at a rate of about 150 million dollars an hour.

Our politicians strut around as if they are the smartest and wisest leaders in the history of the world, but the truth is that someday people will look back in horror at the decline of our once great society.

The federal government needs to stop spending so much money on stupid things and needs to stop pushing our national debt to nightmarish new levels.

Unfortunately, the corruption in Washington D.C. is so deep and so pervasive that it is going to be almost impossible to turn it around. 


btw devoish would call me every nasty name for a conservative that he could think of even though I am not conservative. I have reminded him of this point several times, but where he grew up it's the nastiest name you can think of.

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#34) On January 08, 2013 at 12:12 AM, awallejr (36.64) wrote:

Oh you are preaching to the choir with this comment:

Unfortunately, the corruption in Washington D.C. is so deep and so pervasive that it is going to be almost impossible to turn it around.

But I do think Obama does have a good sense of humor for whatever that is worth.

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