Patterico's Pontifications


The Liberty Classroom Contest

Filed under: — Patterico @ 1:17 am

During the Black Friday Holiday weekend, I am offering incentives to people who purchase a Liberty Classroom membership through my affiliate link. Tom Woods is offering steep discounts during that time period. Black Friday is when I bought my own lifetime membership.

Tom Woods and his liberty-minded faculty teach Austrian economics and real history with an emphasis on liberty and decentralization. I am a lifetime member and have listened to about 450 of the lectures there.

I am sweetening the deal. My bonus incentives include the chance to commission a post written by me, or run your own guest post, as well as a pretty decent chance at having me buy you a year’s worth of Amazon Prime.

Here are the details. The subscription must be purchased through my affiliate link during the following time period:

Starts: Friday, Nov. 25th 12:01 AM EST

Ends: Monday, Nov. 28th 11:59PM PST

I am offering special bonuses to anyone who signs up through my link during the Black Friday weekend. If you sign up for any basic or basic plus Liberty Classroom membership through my affiliate link, you can either: 1) commission a post from me on a topic of your choice, or 2) submit your own guest post on my site. If you sign up for a Master Membership (a lifetime membership, like the one I have), the number of posts you can write or commission goes up to three.

In addition, whoever buys and/or refers the greatest dollar value of memberships will get a free year of Amazon prime from me. Here’s how it works. When you sign up, email me your name and address and what level membership you purchased. If you refer someone else, and they actually purchase a membership, email me their name and email address as well. You’ll get full credit for the referral. They will also get credit for their own purchase if they email me their name and address. In January, I’ll add up the total dollar amount of memberships purchased and referred, and whoever referred and/or bought the greatest dollar amount will get a free year of Amazon Prime from me.

The winner will be announced in the first week of January, 2017. If there is a tie, I will select a winner randomly. The memberships have to still be active as of January 2, 2017.

Any guest posts written by people who buy memberships will be subject to editing for clarity and good taste. For example, no posts devoted to insulting one of my commenters will be allowed. There will be no profanity or nudity or any of that rot. I retain final editorial discretion. The same goes for any topics you commission a post from me about. The topics must be appropriate for the blog. Again, I have the final say.

But other than basic common-sense restrictions like that, you’ll get a chance to get your thoughts out to the audience . . . or have me write about a topic of your choice.

One important caveat: to be eligible for the incentives, and to enter in the contest for a full year of Amazon Prime, you have to get a subscription for yourself. Unfortunately, gift subscriptions are not eligible for the incentives or for my contest. The reason is that Tom is unable to track gift subscriptions as an affiliate purchase, so I get nothing out of it. If you get a subscription for someone else, you’ll get the steep discounts, but nothing extra from me.

If you have any questions about any of this, email me.

Now that you have all the details, if you’re interested, make sure to buy your subscription through the affiliate link below.

SUBSCRIBE TO LIBERTY CLASSROOM BY CLICKING HEREUPDATE 1-14-17: Sorry I didn’t get to this last week. We have a winner. I have sent him an email. I’ll announce the winner Monday.

4 Responses to “The Liberty Classroom Contest”

  1. I just listened to your argument concerning the electoral college. You claim that most arguments against it are specious simply because the law is the law and abolishing it would be next to impossible. Fine; it is what it is.
    But, many of your arguments make no sense whatsoever and your baseball analogy is so condescending as well as not at applicable that it pretty much tells us what you truly think about the intelligence of the ‘average’ American.
    Your first, and primary argument, after the law is the law disclaimer, seems to be that were the popular vote the deciding factor in a presidential election that the candidates would campaign differently. Maybe, but it wouldn’t matter and that’s a terrible argument.
    Most political rallies and campaign stops are where the candidates are preaching to their respective choirs. There are anti-candidate protests ( members of the other choir ) but these people’s minds are, for all intents and purposes, made up already.
    The other group involved would be the media and, despite what one might say about how they decide to spin things, there are enough attendees who film/tape the events/speeches so anyone who wishes can see these things in their entirety can easily do so. Next…you have the debates and then you have talk shows, interviews, other appearances etc. So, to tell anyone that the undecideds ( the votes that each candidate are really gunning for ) are attending these campaign en masse in order to make up their minds based upon these events is ridiculous. Additionally, if you’re telling me that the candidates would then change their positions and viewpoints to pander to the most populous states then what’s the point of their taking a position on anything at all? Am I missing something here?
    Additionally, as time has passed since these parameters were originally put in place the trend has been more and more towards popular votes mattering more in all federal and state elections…not less. The additional assumption is that by just going by popular vote that only a few states…left and right coast…would be the only states that mattered. Another assumption is that these states would never consider the interests of the smaller states who, by being way more numerous, somehow wouldn’t be able to use the senate ( as designed ) to their advantage in this respect. The smaller states would always have a majority…but, I suppose, you feel that the coasts would always go democratic and that party would always transcend the smaller states rights/concerns etc. You must think very little of the majority of Americans. In any event, without going further into it I think you might want to re-examine your position, if not your arguments, on this issue. The baseball analogy…patently absurd…any American or reasonable intelligence should be offended by that. Maybe you’d be better off using several analogies…NASCAR for the south, hockey for the north etc. Funny, if there’s a national sport that transcends state boundaries
    government and American values can’t?

    Robert (e9d908)

  2. Dear Patterico:

    I joined up, but don’t need anything.

    Simon Jester (c63397)


    Constitutional Question: Could this proposal be enacted by Executive Order of the President?

    This proposal creates financial consequences for employers who choose to hire illegal immigrants by using the existing tax code as the mechanism to significantly reduce the cost advantages of hiring illegal workers willing to work for wages lower than legal workers.

    Political Advantages
    The narrative becomes “Why should corporations be getting tax breaks while violating the law?” instead of “You will be unfairly targeting Hispanics.”

    Because Democrats hate corporations so much and want to increase taxes on them, they will have no philosophical grounds upon which to oppose this policy.

    Gives employers huge financial incentive to fire most of the illegal immigrants they employ

    Uses the soft financial power of the IRS code instead of the hard police powers of ICE to eliminate jobs for illegal immigrants

    Policy will set off huge wave of Self-Deportations that is less controversial than roundups for forced deportations

    It significantly weakens the jobs magnet that attracts illegal immigration in the first place.  Fewer folks will be trying to get past the border wall.

    Policy can be in place long before the border wall is completed because you don’t need new laws or appropriations passed by Congress.  President can implement unilaterally.

    Voters instinctively understand that it’s not right for corporations to get reductions in their taxable income by engaging in illegal activities.  We don’t allow corporations to deduct parking tickets as a business expense.  

    So why should we allow corporations to lower their taxable income by deducting wages paid to illegal immigrants?

    This proposal could significantly reduce the demand for illegal immigrant labor.  Then a large majority of illegal immigrants would not have the means to remain in the US, and people outside the US will have even less motive for attempting to enter the country illegally.  There will be a large wave of self-deportations as millions of illegal aliens realize that they simply cannot afford to remain in the shadows.

    This proposal will have far more impact than building a fence along the border with Mexico.  And it resonates with independents and Democrats who don’t like to see corporations profiting by breaking the law.

    When a business hires an employee, that business is not obligated to authenticate the documents that prove that applicant’s eligibility status.  If an applicant provides a fake Social Security Card and birth certificate, a business owner has fulfilled his duty by accepting these documents.

    The existing E-Verify system provides a tool for employers to authenticate the Social Security Number provided by the applicant.  However, there are no immediate financial sanctions to a business owners that choses to ignore a rejection of a SSN by the E-Verify system, and currently, E-Verify is a voluntary program.

    Nullification creates financial consequences for employers who choose to hire illegal immigrants by using the tax code as the mechanism to significantly reduce the cost advantages of hiring illegal workers willing to work for wages lower than legal workers.

    This is an anti-illegal-immigration proposal that does not put law enforcement and employers in the position of stigmatizing and discriminating against persons because of their ethnic origin.  It minimizes the need for extensive confrontation and forceful deportations.

    The best proposals will force illegal immigrants to conclude that they should leave on their own accord.

    If business owners cannot reduce their taxable income because the wages and salaries paid to illegal immigrants are not permitted as a reduction against revenue, then they will significantly reduce their demand for this labor.  However, this proposal can be implemented only if all employers, employees and taxpayers participate.  And it is this widespread participation of all Americans that ensures that a subset of legal residents of the US are not treated unfairly.

    Employers only have to do this for employees for whom they wish deduct wage and salary expense to reduce taxable income.  If an employer knows that someone is illegal and is willing to incur this additional expense by forgoing the tax benefits, then that employee will not be caught up in the system.  However, the employer would still be subject to whatever other legal sanctions currently exist.

    It may even be possible that the next President could implement this program without any new law passed by Congress.  It could be a regulatory act meant to enforce existing laws similar to President Obama’s recent increase in the minimum salary threshold for classifying exempt workers.

    Program Details:
    Here is how it would work:

    Employers would annually verify and confirm that the data provided in the current Form I-9 by submitting information online to the E-Verify system. Then the SSA will respond with one of the following replies:

    ¥ Approved – confirmation number XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    ¥ Approved with Notice that Employee is Currently Employed Elsewhere – confirm YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

    ¥ Tentative Non-Confirmation

    The Form 941 that every employer currently submits to the IRS has information about each employee.  An additional line with the confirmation number would be added.  When the IRS receives the Form 941, it can authenticate whether the confirmation numbers were issued to this specific employee.  When this is authenticated, then the employer is permitted to charge the labor costs of that employee against his revenue.

    We could expand this concept to vendors who are issued a 1099.  The Form W-9 submitted by a vendor to an employer will have a line for the confirmation number and the vendor’s birthdate.  This allows the employee to query the SSA so that they can authenticate the eligibility of the vendor.

    This proposal does nothing to significantly impact the cash economy problem, but that’s the point. It merely forces people to utilize after tax dollars to indulge their hunger for illegal immigrant labor. This proposal would lessen the demand for illegal immigrant labor to levels seen in the early 1980s. That was a time when most illegals were working in the cash economy doing housekeeping, baby sitting, gardening, and other jobs paid by homeowners with their after-tax earnings.

    If you wanted to significantly dent the cash economy employment of illegal aliens, you would have to require non-employers to obtain confirmation numbers whenever they claim more than a set threshold over a 12 month period (say $2,500) in wage deductions, and you would have to impose penalties for failure to report.  This extension would disrupt the employment of caretakers and tradesman paid with after-tax dollars by homeowners for personal services.  However, this proposal would be hard to enforce unless the illegal immigrant testified against their employer.  Nevertheless, most homeowners of means would not want to be potentially held hostage by a violation of this law.

    Phase In Period To Gradually to Correct Errors:

    This proposal will require a phase-in period to deal with database errors and the problem of illegals using the SSN of other persons.  I propose a 12 month period where employers submit data to the SSA and submit confirmation numbers.  During the first 12 months, the employer will inform an employee if he was not confirmed.  If an employee insists this is in error, then the employer can continue to deduct the labor costs of this employee for a period (say 90 days) while the employee corrects the problem.  However, after 12 months, this grace period would expire.
    Any individual will be allowed to log into the SSA database to verify their data before they go to an employer.  In fact, there would be a SSA print-out that job-seekers would routinely bring to an interview.  If there are problems, then individuals should address them prior to seeking employment and warn their employers if they are in the process of correcting a database error.

    Maintaining the Database

    I suggest an annual verification of the person’s employment status to protect against fraud.

    There are recurring problems with identity theft, people being falsely declared dead and other schemes that show that maintaining the integrity of this database requires constant vigilance.

    Also, if another individual is using your SSN, that scheme must be uncovered.  To tackle this problem, the IRS could mail a notice to the individual and the individual’s employers that there is a fraud alert in situations where it seems likely that identity theft has occurred (e.g. multiple employers for one individual are 500 miles apart).  The reason for the fraud alert is not disclosed to the employer to ensure privacy if the employee does not wish to let his employer know about another job.  Then the employee can check in with the IRS to determine the reason for the fraud alert.

    Both individuals will receive a fraud alert and the one stealing the identity will probably skip town.  The innocent individual will work with the IRS to confirm if there was an identity theft

    The Math Behind Nullification of Illegal Tax Breaks

    Current Situation:  

    Employer has Revenue of $1,000,000 and pays $500,000 in wages to illegal immigrants who have provided fake documents to employer.

    His Net Income for Taxation = $500,000.  Assume a 40% marginal tax rate so his net income after taxes = $500,000 x (100% – 40%) = $300,000.

    With Nullification Policy in place the employer could not deduct $500,000 of wages so his taxable income equals $1,000,000.  He would be obligated to pay $400,000 in taxes.

    Now his net income after taxes equals $1,000,000 – $500,000 (illegal wages) – $400,000 (taxes) = $100,000.
    Under Nullification, his net income after taxes are lowered from $300,000 to $100,000.

    Suppose that he has to pay legal workers $700,000 compared to paying illegal workers $500,000.

    Now the result is:  $1,000,000 – $700,000 = $300,000 taxable income.
    $300,000 x (100% – 40%) = $180,000.

    Under Nullification, he’d make $80,000/year more with a legal workforce than he would hiring an illegal work force.

    In fact, a legal workforce would have to cost more than $833,333 for an employer to be better off staying with an illegal workforce.

    In general the break-even point is calculated as:

    Break-Even Legal Wages = (Illegal Wages) / (1 – tax rate)

    El Gipper (510612)

  4. It looks interesting. I can’t join today though. But will bookmark for a future purchase.

    jd2 (bc1815)

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