How the government broke my digital camera

Joe Kent Blog, Taxation

Once upon a time, the government decided break my digital camera. Like the mean kid who throws your favorite toy down the stairs, the government succeeded in making all DSLR cameras worse for no reason. The consequence is that today, my DSLR camera cannot record videos longer than 29 minutes. Sure, that may not seem like a big deal, but if you work with video, this gets annoying fast! Let’s say I want to record an hour long speech — I have to stop the recording half way through and re-start it, just so I can get the entire thing. When I watch my final video, I have a big black pause right in the middle of my video. Some may think the 29 minute limitation is because of a technical glitch, or to prevent from overheating, but the real reason involves international tax law. According to tax laws for some EU countries, any camera that records video for more than 29 minutes is classified as a “video camera” and subject to much higher taxes of 5 to 14 percent. So in order to get around it, DSLR cameras simply record less than 29 minutes at a time. But all is not lost. Sure, the government may have taken my camera and thrown it into traffic, but there’s a way to “fix” it! Hackers have come to the rescue across the internet by providing ways to correct the problem. Now you can record video for as long as you want — in exchange for voiding your warranty. Still, the fix may be worth it! Now I can set up a few tripods and record longer interviews, without worrying about whether or not the camera is still recording. But the strange camera quirk is just another example of how we live …

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: Episode 2 – The Tall Tax

Joe Kent Blog, Jonathan Gullible, Taxation

Another episode of Jonathan Gullible has been produced. In this episode, Jonathan Gullible meets a man crawling on his knees to avoid the “tall tax”. Jonathan says, “That must hurt!” The man says, “Yeah, but it hurts more not to.” This is the second cartoon episode in a series being produced by Liberty International. Joe Kent helped to animate the characters, with voice-over help from Ken Schoolland, and students at Hawaii Pacific University. Ken Schoolland is also the author of Jonathan Gullible: a Free Market Odyssey, available here! Please feel free to re-post or share!

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Will the Fiscal Crisis Create an Opening to Shrink the Burden of the State?

kenli Conferences, Economic Policy, Europe, North America, Taxation, Welfare

[button url=”http://isil.org/conferences/lausanne-2013/” style=”blue” size=”small”]See more videos from the Lausanne Conference[/button] [highlight type=”grey”]This is a transcription of the Dan Mitchell’s talk at the ISIL 2013 World Conference.[/highlight] [highlight type=”grey”]Transcription edited by Kenli S.[/highlight] I don’t have a good t-shirt to hold up, but I did think to throw some humor into my presentation. So before I jump into what’s happening with fiscal policy, this is the challenge that we all face as libertarians. At the top left is what republicans think we are, the middle top is what democrats think we are, and the top right is what the media thinks we are. Our friends, they’re at the lower left. We think of ourselves as freedom fighters. Then of course what we really do every day is we shake our heads and think how government is screwing everything up. So that sort of is a good lead in to talking about fiscal policy because I’m going to show how government is messing things up. Primarily because the poorly designed entitlement programs—not that there’s such a thing as a well-designed entitlement program—mixed with demographics is creating fiscal chaos and unfortunately politicians usually never address the problem, at least in a productive way, until you’re already in the middle of a crisis. I want to show some numbers first from the BIS, the OECD, and the IMF. This first chart (and we’re using France as the first example because in the Bank for International Settlements study they were the ones that had the legend in it) and the red line is basically government left on autopilot, the green and the blue lines are what happens if you do medium level adjustment or significant adjustment in terms of age related government spending. This is debt as a share of GDP. Now, government debt is …

Head of Dutch Libertarian Party Arrested Just Weeks Before Election

peterbeukelman Crime and Self-Defense, Europe, Taxation

The former chairman of the Dutch Libertarian Party, Toine Manders has been kidnapped in Cyprus by the FIOD (the Dutch IRS) and is currently locked away in the Netherlands in complete isolation (aside from his lawyer), in an undisclosed location. He is being held for an extended 90-day period, the charges for which are unknown. Toine Manders began his career by giving legal advice, through his company HJC, to young Dutch men who wanted to avoid military conscription. He helped roughly 6,000 men avoid being trained as hit-men for the government. The mainstream media jumped on this, calling them ‘refusal yuppies’, who used legal loopholes to evade their duty to the country. After military conscription was suspended in 1996, Toine’s company moved on to help businesses avoid taxes through strictly legal methods. In the Netherlands, the combined pressures of income tax, VAT, inheritance tax, inflation, and other forms of taxation add up to an astounding 80%, according to calculations by Amsterdam professor Roel Beetsma. Legal tactics of avoiding taxes are widely used by large corporations like Starbucks, Apple and Ikea, however, Toine Manders had attracted special attention from the government by running controversial ads that stated “Taxation is theft”. The ads went on to say that it was people’s moral duty to pay as little in taxes as possible, as the government is a criminal enterprise. Unable to hire teams of accountants to do it for them, Toine also tried to help smaller business make use of legal tax avoidance methods. The first signs of government backlash appeared in 2008 when his radio commercial ‘taxation is theft’ was banned by the Reclame Code Commissie (Commercial Ethics Commission) on the basis of being ‘in violation of decency’, along with a defense of the social contract. For fear of losing their licenses …