No, I finally realized that Martha Stewart‘s release from jail was being carried live, complete with reporters hollering the usual inane questions from behind the security fence, “Martha, are you glad to be out?“
As Stewart walked the short distance to the airplane that would take her home for the first time in five months, the commentators observed how healthy she looked, the radiance of her smile, and the appropriateness of her attire.
Good grief, the media coverage is this intense a few minutes after being sprung from the joint? With her acute business sense, Martha Stewart will undoubtedly embrace her freedom with financial windfall that will be staggering - well beyond her previous highpoint.
Already, the stock in her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, has jumped back to its former price level. She has two highly anticipated TV shows ready to hit the air. Advertising has begun to fill the pages of her magazine, again. Million dollar book deals are in the making. Movies will be next. Everyone wants to know, “How did Martha spend her time behind bars?“ Making license plates? Sharing chocolate chip cookie recipes? Doing the chain gang thing?
What I find ironic is that Martha Stewart was convicted because her detractors wanted her knocked down a notch. Undisclosed officials in the SEC admit that the feds wanted to make an example of her to deter others from making profits illegally on insider stock transactions. Meanwhile, O.J. Simpson and corporate crooks that bilked thousands of ordinary people out of their retirement funds walk free.
Martha Stewart‘s enemies, who were salivating at the prospect of her financial empire in ashes and Martha ostracized as a pariah, must be tortured as she comes back bigger than ever.
In a way, not much has really changed. Welcome back, Martha.
When Alan Greenspan speaks, E.F. Hutton listens.
Recently, when the Chairman of the Federal Reserve suggested that he favors a consumption tax over income tax, the economic pundits took notice.
Many economists have long favored a form of consumption tax. Until Greenspan‘s admission, a consumption tax has been considered folly, about as likely to happen as cessation of Bill Clinton‘s roving eye or George W. Bush admitting to any mistakes. The respect for Greenspan‘s every word, however, has raised the idea of a consumption-based tax to mainstream status overnight.
Think of a world where there are no income tax returns to be competed, no accountants to be paid, and best of all - very little withholding from your paycheck. Think of a world where we can all earn as much money as possible and never entertain even a thought of tax consequences in a profitable year. Think of a world...yes, I‘m serious here, where there is no IRS. Don‘t tear up your 1040‘s forms just yet, but the abolition of personal income taxes may be imminent.
President Bush has stated that income tax reform (as opposed to the usual politically motivated tax cuts) will be a very high priority in his second term. Currently, the IRS code is a nightmare of mumbo-jumbo, complicated by mountains of regulations, interpretations, and tax legislation. Each presidential administration gives lip service to tax reform, but adds more taxes or tax cuts to the unwieldy mess. The bulging patchwork that we call the IRS code is near eruption.
Due to Greenspan‘s endorsement, the president may go for the end zone - a consumption based tax. If a consumption tax replaced our income tax system, the tradeoff is that we would all pay significantly more taxes when buying goods. People, just consider the consumption tax to be akin to tough-love. We all need incentive to save more of our earnings, right? The beauty of the consumption tax is if you decide your taxes are too high - DON‘T BUY ANYTHING.
In general, I have not supported President Bush‘s economic policies. Privatization of social security won‘t fix the problem and the federal deficit of $7 trillion is a national scandal. Yet, Bush is on the right path if he decides to push for a consumption tax.
It is time to eliminate income taxes once and for all.