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Wednesday, December 27, 2017 ISSUE #922
 

A fertile gift, a moving embassy, and taxing questions 

 Did you hear about the most appropriate Christmas gift this year? Treasury Secretary Mnuchin owns a house in Beverly Hills and wanted some fertilizer for his organic roses.  Well, a government employee for the County of Los Angeles in the Mental Health Department got word of it somehow (mental telepathy?) and personally delivered a load of horse manure to Mr. Mnuchin’s house. Mnuchin was amazed when he got wind of it. He probably figured there must be a horse nearby. The donor, Robert Strong, is proud of the gift. Who can blame him? Do you know how much it costs to have a truckload of horse manure delivered to Beverly Hills? Don’t be fooled by Rodeo Drive; no horses reside anywhere near that stretch of pomposity. 

Now if Mr. Mnuchin (or even Mr. Strong) needs more horse manure I invite him to come to “my” little ranch up at Pacific Palisades. With a big horse barn and a polo match on Sunday afternoons, if you bring a scoop shovel you can gather up a ton of fresh fertilizer. This offer might be more important for Mr. Strong in case he loses his government job for his generous gift to a Republican. Folks in their mansions in Bel Air and Palm Springs might pay him $10 a pound for this precious natural resource.

          President Trump says we will build a new Embassy in the capital of Israel, Jerusalem. Amazingly, over 50 countries where we have embassies in their capital city are opposed to this decision. Palestinians are opposed because they say East Jerusalem is their capital. Well, to be ready in case they can ever become peaceful and deserve recognition as a country, with a capital, let’s build the embassy on the border between Jerusalem and East Jerusalem. Maybe Guatemala can do the same, and other countries to follow. Create an Embassy Row right on the border. 

The Tax bill was signed into law before Christmas. You may not have decided if you’re happy or sad. Here’s one fact: despite a limit on deductions for mortgage interest, 96% of people with home mortgages are not affected, and neither are 100% of those who rent or have paid for their homes.

One argument is over the end of the individual tax cuts in 2027, while the corporate taxes are “permanent.” It seems that every critic of the tax bill is terrified that middle class taxpayers will lose all the benefits they have gained. Two questions: if Republicans are in control of Congress in 2027will they vote to continue the tax cuts? Or if Democrats are in control, will they vote to raise taxes on the middle class? The obvious answers to both those questions tell you the tax cuts are permanent.

Happy New Year.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

          "Money, horse racing and women: three things the boys just can't figure out." DT #2679, March 7, 1935

          “I thought they had the Jerusalem and Palestine thing pretty well settled as to whose it was.” DT #966, Aug 30, 1929

"It costs ten times more to govern us than it used to, and we are not governed one-tenth as good." DT #1770, March 27, 1932

"We owe more money than any Nation in the World, and we are LOWERING TAXES. When is the time to pay off a debt if it is not when you are doing well? You let a Politician return home from Washington and announce, 'Boys we lowered your taxes. We had to borrow the money to do it, but we did it.' Say, they would elect him for life." WA #161, Jan. 10, 1926

"There is a tremendous movement on to get lower taxes on earned incomes. Then will come the real problem, 'Who among us on salary are earning our income?'" DT #1051, Dec. 8, 1929


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