Splendid Isolation

Hold Back

From Reader Mike L. comes this piece of good news:

A Pennsylvania man says he is celebrating his Mega Millions win by getting engaged.  The man, who didn’t release his identity to the public, reportedly won a $1 million Mega Millions prize in New Jersey with a ticket he ordered using the Jackpocket app.  Representatives with the lottery app said the lucky winner decided to purchase the winning ticket while on a break from work.

First things first:  I hope he had the foresight to hold back $450k in taxes from that million, otherwise his friendly local neighborhood IRS agent is going to give it to him good, as will the poxy New Jersey tax enforcers.

Second thing:  yes, his luck was good, but not that good.  Why?

The winning ticket matched all five white balls, just missing the gold Mega Ball.

Had he got the Mega Ball, his winnings would have been about $120 million, in which case he could have got engaged in a cabana at the Four Seasons in the Seychelles:

As it is, his $550k is a lovely windfall, but after buying a decent house, an engagement ring and paying for the wedding, he’ll still have to keep on working.

Being a millionaire isn’t what it used to be…

Outright Theft

Here’s a little snippet that caught my eye briefly, then buzzed around in my subconscious until it turned into a raging tornado.

Inheritance tax receipts increased to £5.2billion in the eight months from April to November, data from HM Revenue & Customs reveals.

This marks a £400million increase from the same period a year ago, and continues the upward trend over the last decade.

Last month, the Chancellor shied away from slashing inheritance tax in the Autumn Statement, as it emerged the levy is on track to raise nearly £10billion a year by the end of the decade.

The body text concerns me hardly at all because it’s Britishland, and for centuries their governments have always stolen from the country’s wealthier citizens.

It was really just the first two words which snagged me like an errant fish hook.

Here’s how it’s defined by our own beloved IRS:

The Estate Tax is a tax on your right to transfer property at your death. It consists of an accounting of everything you own or have certain interests in at the date of death. The fair market value of these items is used, not necessarily what you paid for them or what their values were when you acquired them.

There are a whole bunch more words which on the surface are supposed to clarify the matter, but which in true IRS form serve only to create more questions, to be clarified by tax accountants and lawyers, and which can be re-interpreted (in the State’s interests, natch) by IRS agents in any way they choose.

Yeah, you have a right to transfer property — your own private property, how nice that they call it a “right” — but that right can be taxed (is it then still a right?) because reasons.

Basically, the State is saying that your private property isn’t really yours, it belongs to the State and therefore they are entitled to a piece of it.

Yeah, I know, it really only applies to “the rich” and we little peasants shouldn’t worry our silly little heads about it.  (The ceiling for application of the death tax is currently set at an estate value greater than $13.6 million.)

Even among people not affected by the estate tax, it is one of the most hated taxes in the nation.  Worse still, it used to cost the State more in the collection thereof than the income it generated — in fact, it only recently “broke even”, and now the revenue : cost relationship stands at something like 1.24 ($1.24 dollars is collected for every dollar it costs to collect it).

If ever there’s a piece of governmental thievery which needs to be taken outside and shot in the back of the neck, this one is it.  (Don’t even ask me about the politicians who support it and the government agents who collect it, because my response would put me on the Naughty List.)

Yes I know, there is a difference between “inheritance” taxes and “estate” taxes.  Regardless of how the godless IRS defines it or how/when it gets collected, however, the principle is the same for both.

British Worms Turning

I haven’t been Over There for a while, and it’s probably a Good Thing I haven’t because in addition to London’s “congestion charge” (a.k.a. let’s create an additional tax revenue stream by scalping drivers) there’s now something called the Ultra Low Emissions Zone “ULEZ” (here’s the explanation, I couldn’t be bothered to type it out).

Anyway, it seems that more than a few Londoners have taken exception to this little scheme.  Cameras (both fixed and in mobile units) are used as an enforcement tool, like London doesn’t have enough of those poxy things already — and the fed-up public have decided to take matters into their own hands, to show Hizzoner the Mayor what they think about this nonsense:

For the first time since the anger of the Poll Tax riots during Margaret Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister or the anti-Iraq war demonstrations under Tony Blair, we are witnessing an outpouring of anger against the government. In this case it is anger at the anti-car measures by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Citizens are attacking and disabling the network of cameras in London that monitors all traffic and fine cars that do not meet certain standards.

The attack on the motorist in London goes back to 2003 when the then London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, implemented the Congestion Zone whereby drivers would have to pay to enter. The public were told that this would cut congestion but many felt it was just anyway to extract money from the motorist. Public transport in London is very good but never before has there been a road charge in the UK. The London Congestion zone was, and probably still is, the largest in the world.

The next attack on motorists was the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) which was also introduced by Ken Livingstone in 2008 and was, as the name suggests, a charge/fine based on vehicle emissions. It was expanded a number of times and now covers all of London. This was to target older trucks and large vehicles. Ken Livinstone was a Labour socialist mayor but the next intrusion came from the so-called Conservative mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

In 2014 Boris announced the creation of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) which was targeted at car drivers. Five years later the ULEZ zone started in central London and older cars entered the zone to pay for the privilege of driving on London roads for that and every day. The cost of driving an older car into central London was now £12.50 for ULEZ and £15 for Congestion Charge. That’s over $30 a day to drive on a public road.

The fightback we are seeing today has been dubbed the ULEZ “Blade Runners.” Hundreds of the ULEZ cameras have been damaged or destroyed across London. Campaigners/vigilantes/angry citizens (take your pick) are cutting wires on the equipment and spraying the lenses with paint. Up to a quarter of all the cameras have been attacked. To combat this fight back, Sadiq Khan has employed an army of CCTV camera vans to drive around and fill these blackspots. But now we are seeing vans parking in front of these vans to block their camera and render them useless.

There is so much frustration against this onslaught in motorists that the legacy media is even running stories on the Blade Runners and interviewing them so their story can get out. This “lawbreaking” seems to be championed by sections of the media which is intriguing and encouraging. The public has been invited to take part in consultations on the introduction of both of these charges but the government was always going to implement them. They claim it is about the environment but it seems to be about something else which the government are always short of. Money!

The congestion charge rakes in £220 million every year. That’s a quarter of a billion dollars every year. A quarter of that (£55 million) is used to administer the zone but the rest is pure profit. A tax on the motorist. The ULEZ expansion is estimated to net Sadiq Khan up to £300m in its first year. That’s half a billion dollars a year.

The attacks on this network are only increasing. Not only are the public against the fines but they are also against this new level of surveillance. Sadiq Khan operates a network of 1,544 Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras. ULEZ will add another 2,700.

Does anyone believe the lie that this is about saving the planet and nothing to do with raising more tax?

LOL.  Keep it up, British people.

Ordinarily, I’d suggest a more drastic solution to the problem, i.e. an ancient and much-used British legal device:

…but no doubt some Brit rozzer would have a problem with that.

Spying On Spending

Oh, here’s a nice one, if the meaning of “nice” includes having the State’s Big Dick shoved up your ass in real time:

Government Will Track Every Dime You Spend

  • Under this new digital currency, any transfer of funds to family, friends, charities, or clients would be able to be tracked by the nation’s central bank that issued this virtual money. Big Brother will be in your wallet every hour or every day. You will not be able to buy a stick of gum without a Federal Reserve computer knowing where, when, and to whom you just put down a buck.
  • We should be rightfully concerned about inflation, energy independence, aggressor nations armed with nuclear weapons, and woke public policies that denigrate the very foundation of this great country. But these are jabs compared to the enormous destructive power of a digital currency “option” slipped into Executive Order 14067.

Read the whole article to get a full flavor of this bastardy.

And by Executive Order, not through law voted on by Congress.  My suggestions:

Envious Socialism, Part 17

Here’s a headline which made the news recently:

BBC star Gabby Logan and her husband Kenny were paid more than £500,000 to promote major tax avoidance scheme to their celebrity friends

…followed by:

The tax avoidance scheme sparked a huge public backlash when it was exposed

…followed WAY down the page by this little admission:

There is no suggestion of illegality on the part of Mr or Mrs Logan, or any other celebrities mentioned.

In other words, these folks used their popularity and names to pimp a legal product to their friends.  Happens every day, so why the fuss?

Because some most  people in Britishland seem to think that tax avoidance is the same as tax evasion — which they aren’t of course;  the first is not only legal but praiseworthy, while the second is a crime, ask Boris Becker — the lovely Gabby and her handsome hubby are going to be “called as witnesses” in a court case which they aren’t involved with.

And let’s not even talk about the “public backlash” from the Perpetually Envious Set, who think that the government is “owed” tax money (when in fact it’s extorted at gunpoint).

Anyway, the pics of Gabby in the linked article are total crap.  Here are a couple of good ones, from my files:

All part of the service, no need to thank me.

Basic Stupidity

Several of you sent me this lovely little bit of governmental stupidity:

More than 140 people experiencing homelessness in Denver will each be provided up to $1,000 in cash a month for up to one year as part of a basic income program designed to help “lift individuals out of homelessness,” the city announced last week.

The $2 million contract with the Denver Basic Income Project was approved by the City Council and will provide direct cash assistance to more than 140 women, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, and families in shelters.

Civic altruism and wokism, all subsidized by taxpayer dollars.  And I hate to break it to these Colorado morons, but “up to” a grand is going to lift precisely nobody out of poverty.  It will, however, encourage more people in similar circumstances to come to Denver…

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of socialists.