Wrongful Arrest Payout for Librarian in Email Scam

There are all kinds of weird people out there, including some who would like a spanking with a copy of Finnegan's Wake. Check out this story from the New York Daily News:

"The city has agreed to a $25,000 payout for an ex-librarian at the Riverdale Country School in the Bronx who was busted last year for sending bizarre e-mails to his boss. The city agreed to settle Billy Hallowell's wrongful arrest lawsuit rather than go to trial. Hallowell was detained for 30 hours in April last year after cops were told Hallowell had sent a lewd e-mail to his former boss.

"We could do it in the library," the e-mail said. "I could spank you with a vintage copy of Finigan's (sic) wake."

But Hallowell never sent the e-mail. The mixup occurred when librarian Robin Berson responded to an e-mail from Hallowell, who informed her he was quitting, asking him to return a library key. Berson sent the reply to an e-mail address that was nearly identical to Hallowell's. The person who inadvertently received the e-mail sent it back with the bizarre note.

Harassment charges were dropped by the Bronx district attorney.
Hallowell, a freelance journalist, hopes the mixup will spur the NYPD to train their officers in the basics of e-mail and the Internet. "I'm happy that they took responsibility and admitted their mistakes," Hallowell said.

I guess that naughty rep is destined to follow librarians to the grave.


If it is a crime to offer to spank someone with a copy of a classic, then I guess I am a criminal.

They arrested some guy because they thought he sent an email offering to spank someone with a book? Heck even if he did make the offer, why are they not out arresting the porn and viagra spammers that flood my inbox?

If it is the same Billy Hallowell that blogs at www.williamhallowell.com I am quite glad that he was compensated for the wrongful arrest.

It seems the idiot in this case is the librarian supervisor who is apparently too stupid to either hit reply to respond to an email or to correctly address an email. If she had been able to correctly address an email this never would have happened. While the police should have been able to differentiate the email address of Billy Hallowell from Ben Hallowell, the librarian most certainly should have been able to tell the police it was all a misunderstanding because she made an error. We expect librarians to be technologically adept, not so much police officers.

If I were Mr. Hallowell I would have sued her as well for her baseless complaint. That school has deep pockets.

Are you glad he was compensated because he's a conservative or because he suffered the humiliation of being falsely accused?

Well not really, but moreso because he was given a bit of money to compensate for other people being stupid. Not too much money because it was not really life changing. Sort of a economic 'smack upside the head' as they say.

Heck I don't even think Democrats or Socialsists should be unjustly incarcerated. Republicans are terrified when in jail...not so much the jail part, but we have never been accustomed to being provided for by the government. Ted Stevens (R- Federal Bureau of Prisons) will be very perplexed very soon.

(Excuse me while I wipe the soda I just spat on the terminal off)

*Ahem*...at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, even to an RN cum librarian cum lawyer...

Sayeth Phil Gramm:

I'm carrying so much pork, I'm beginning to get trichinosis.

has basically taken a blog that was pretty much originally designed as a place for professional discussion and turned it into a place to whine about his conservative ideology.

Most conservatives talk about not living off of subsidies or being "self made people" when in fact, for most of their lives as well as the lives of their parents, and even graindparents, they have basically lived off a a massive substructure supported by government. You can go back clear to 1913 and see that everytime a conservative majority government cut taxes, there was either an immediate economic recession, which they blamed on the previous president, or if the recession was delayed, an economic bubble followed by an economic crash. On the other hand sustained economic growth always occurs during period of when the top marginal tax levels were very high.

The problems with this is the result of a rather simplistic inablility to tell the difference between profit making and wealth creation. Low taxes create profits for the very few, high taxes create wealth for many, by creating an economic environment that favors the hard work of creating and expanding new businesses and government created infrastructure that assists them.

The creation of the interstate system and funding public libraries is not profitable, but allows for the creation of wealth and are rhe result of high taxation.

Low taxes create situations that favor market speculation and this has historically been related to junk bonds, leveraged buyouts, hostile takeovers, greenmail, mortgaged backed securities, credit default swaps, all followed by economic bubbles, market crashes and finally bank failures. And calls for GOVERNMENT BAILOUTS...

which are currently being used to give CEO's bonuses, and shareholders dividends, rather than to fix the problems created by the CEOS

The conservative economic myth is that the market will punish CEO's and other executives who do a bad job running a business into the ground. The reverse is true. The guys who screwed up the markets under a basically conservative regime of low taxes and high government deficits are going to walk away richer than they started, and the average American has a much better chance of losing his job, his home, his retirement benefits, his savings and will continue to see his real income drop. The result of 30 years of conservative economic philosophy has been that 50 percent of everything there is to own in the United States is concentrated in the hand and bank accounts of the top one percent of its citizens.

So we have told the basic truth about conservative ideology. There is a good reason why fiscal and social conservatives joined each other in a single political party. Both base their ideas on theological assertions. Fiscal conservatism is based on a theological belief in the sanctity of market economics. Social Conservatives on he sanctity of their religious beliefs.

Neither are scientific because as Karl Popper noted, for an idea to be scientifically valid, the possibility that it can be proven false must exist. When conservative ideas do not work, they continually offer convenient explanations why they didnt work in this particular case.

This reminds me of the way doomsday cults insist that the world will end this saturday night are found explaining why it did not in church he next sunday morning.
So all of the answers about conservatism are given here. They are no longer needed on a board about librarianship

The only problem I can see that most librarians have is that they tend to be so tolerant of the ideas of others that they will allow one person to hijack a web site with complete non sequitors.

This is a professional blog, designed for proffessional librarians to discuss things pertinent to librarianship, not for someone like this fellow to sit and whine about conservative politics.

It is time to bring this board back to the basic purpose it was established for.

When Blake asks me to stop posting I will.

I think I am using the board for the purpose for which it was established. I am doing that whilst not ending a sentence with a preposition.

You managed to let a discussion about a librarian who won a lawsuit against the city for improper arrest and incarceration into ramblings about CEO compensation.

You seem a bit tense.

the problem still remains that most of your posts seem absurdly unrelated to librarianship. Have been that way for as long as you have been posting.

I can always tell a conservative by their almost mindless nitpicking when it comes to the way a post is written. It is indicative of the sort of emptiness of their total life philosophy.

Basically most of your arguments are the typical conservative arguments. They are based on a set of assertions which are basically theological in nature. They tend to be inconsistant with what would be considered empirical observation.

Your massive rants about how much money YOU lost as a result of Obama's election. The government doesnt exist to consider your personal wealth. It exists to consider the economic well being of 300 million people. You can lose every cent you have invested for all I care and the government cares. It is irrelevant. It means nothing. In fact the historical evidence is that the sort of economy that makes money for you in the market is generally bad for everything and most everyone else. Get used to it. One of Obamas first priorities will be first national health, which will become a political third rail which conservatives will not dare touch, and then to double or triple capital gains taxes. so business will be based on the soundness of individual small companies, and not paper speculation. History has proven that conservative economics are bad for the economy, and only good for a small and select set of crooks.

You put a conservative light on everything. Even things which have NOTHING to do with left/right positions. However your assertions that you have made it on your own are the largest absurdity of all.

I am glad someone realized it was humor.

I was also in the movie Cocoon that came before RN and after picking up dead people for the Medical Examiner's office. You may want to add that to your list.

N.B. I never practiced law, I went to school and passed the test, but I don't want to do that for a living and I don't delude myself thinking I would be a good advocate for others. Monsieur l'avocat is not I. That is why I can pontificate about the law, yet never give any actual advice. I do make that clear when I prattle on about legal issues.

Will see the inside of a jail. Presidential pardons have been given often, and with no real rhyme or reason. There are suggestions that any pardons by this administration will somehow be overridden, but I think that will not actually occur. You also currently have the current VP and Alberto Gonzoles under indictment for abuses of prisoners in federal facilities in Texas, but I dont expect much will come of this either.

Conservatives are not used to being "subsidized" because they simply avoid looking at exactly how much of their daily life IS subsidized by various direct and indirect subsidies. Like deducting mortgage interest. Over a 20 year period the government is subsidising about 66 percent of the cost of a home by allowing this deduction for those who buy homes but not the rents of those who rent. It is a preferential subsidy.
It is claimed that this is necessary to shore up the housing market, but there are counties with the same percentage of homeownership as the United States that do not offer this tax subsidy to those who own homes. Canada is an example. There is no deduction for mortgage interest in Canada, but homeownership is about the same. What this does effect is the cost of housing which is a bit lower in Canada compared to the U.S.

Do you have employer paid health insurance. The tax subsidies for this also are slanted to those who have it, and against those who do not.

In both these instances, the tax subsidies favor those who are at the upper ends of the income scale, rather than those who are at the lower end.

When you look at the distribution of health insurance by income, though the total percentage of people who have health insurance through their employers is in the mid fifty percent area, those in the top two percent of income tend to have the best insurance, their employers cover more of the cost, and a higher percentage of this group is covered. About 85 percent of those in the top two percent of income have employer based health insurance while those less than fifty percent of those in the bottom 98 percent are covered by employer based health insurance and this group usually has to pick up a higher percentage of their own premiums, have higher deductables, and literally no choices in the kind of coverage they get. Those at the top are offered several plans, while 76 percent of the lower 98 percent are offered only one plan. only 24 percent of people who have employer based health insurance are offered a choice of plans.

Of course the mortgage subsidies favor the top income brackets as well. If a median income person buys an "affordable" home usually the amount of interest that they pay is not large enough to amount to much of a deduction if any deduction, while a person making a larger income buys a more expensive home and gets a whopping big deduction. The entire tax code is filled with government subsidies, except that most conservatives do not look at the as such, though tax accountants, the Congressional Budget Office and the Comptroller General of the U.S. calls them what they are. Govenment subsidies.

No mortgage deduction for me as I don't have a mortgage. It was too much of a pain in the neck when I bought my house in 1994 so I just used my savings to buy a house I could afford. It has been a wise investment as even today Zillow estimates it is worth 2.347 times what I paid.

Yes I do have health insurance through my employer. I have a high deductible plan that costs me 50 bucks a month. I also get six hundred bucks deposited into my HSA by my employer annually so if you want consider it in totality I pay nothing for my health insurance. I do have to pay for everything until I meet my deductible of $3200 (it increases each year). I have yet to meet my deductible in the several years I have had this insurance.

Since last month the amount that has been deducted from my salary for all taxes passed the $20K mark I think that I am paying more tax than any possible benefit I am getting over and above people who don't pay taxes.

In case you didn't notice the comment was to be amusing. I never brought politics into it, but birdie did. I am certain that birdie was being amusing as well. If you were on the edge about the seriousness of the comment the (R-Federal Bureau of Prisons) should have given it away.

So get your knickers untwisted. You don't agree with my political views, and as you can see from reading other posts here you are not the only one. However you are the one with the seventeen paragraph diatribe about politics in reply to an amusing post of a few sentences.

You don't have to refer to me in the third person, my name is right there on my posts. I don't hide behind anonymity. Rather than having conviction in your opinions you make personal attacks and refuse to use even a pseudonym.

You seem a bit deranged to me.

Save your money, constantly improve your skills to make yourself more marketable so you can advance in your career, make sure you have adequate insurance as a catastrophic loss can spell financial ruin, and don't waste money on absurd material things like televisions the size of your car. Everyone has the same opportunities as I have used to my advantage, I am just an average guy. If I can get a good job and put a few bucks away anyone can.

N.B Whilst I don’t normally correct other’s spelling errors hysterically is how it is spelled. Looking at it the other way in the headline was just grating.

nitpick without a sense of the ironic.

The fact that your investments are subject to a different set of taxes, the fact that the government subsidizes about 80 to 90 percent of your lifestyle. If you are old enough to have the degrees you assert, then large portions of your education were also government subsidized. Conservatives in the United States basically have this false belief that the portions of their lives which were government subsidized are justifiable and others are not.

Like I said, I will be glad to listing to your ranting reactions when Obama first doubles and then a few years later triples capital gains taxes. He appears to be following the New Deal playbook of FDR, at least if one has looked closely at his programs. Except in this case Obama appears to be making it impossible for market investors to...shelter their investments.

My investments are not subject to a different set of taxes. I am subject to the same taxes as everyone else in the US. I am unclear why you would think otherwise.

The government does not subsidize my life style any more than it subsidizes yours, or the bum or the corner. I am indeed old enough to have the degrees I have, and you are welcome to stop by and look at them. I did go to a state university for some of my degrees, and others I took outside the US so the government most certainly did not subsidze those. I never got a Pell grant, as I was ineligible, so I paid my own tuition. If you think public funding for education is a subsidy I say stop all of it and I will send my children to a nice Catholic school - which of course I will do nonetheless, so I would be ahead by not being taxed for public education. That is just dandy with me. Heck I'll send my homeschooling neighbor's kids to school too, it would still be cheaper for me.
I do drive on the roads, but I pay 18 cents per gallon of gas in federal tax, I do fly on planes and use the air traffic control system, but I pay per flight taxes for that as well. I am certain I am paying more than any subsidy I recieve.

I could care less if Obama triples capital gains taxes, since I am not going to retire before he leaves office in 4 years. I have no plans on realizing any capital gains for at least another decade and a half. (Except of course the de minimis gains some mutual funds pass along, but the tax on that is less than $100 per year.)

You seem to lack a coherent grasp of what investment in private enterprise do, and you seem to feel that it is improper to follow the tax law as written to legally minimize tax liability. I pay all the taxes I am legally required to pay. I even calculate and remit sales taxes from purchases shipped from out of state, such as amazon. Last year I had to send my state forty seven bucks.

If you want to come by and look at my diplomas and tax returns just let me know. Of course since you are still hiding your name I'll have trouble knowing it is you. Just remind me you are the schmeckel from the Interwebs.

Your investments are given a preference for other kinds of spending.

Actually it is you who fail to grasp what private market investment does and the negative effects that lowering taxes has on the economy as opposed to raising them.

For all the assertions, tax cuts have never accomplished what they claim. They have never stimulated an economy, they have never created jobs. At no time between 1913 and today, has the conservative assertion that tax cuts are GOOD for the economy been proven. Every tax cut has resulted in either recession or economic crash consistantly.

Tax law as it has been changed since the early 1980's has largely subsidized the economic activities of a small group of investors, at the expense of a larger group of non investors. Most currently, the market destroying close to half of the value the homes of private home owners is one proof of this.

The fact that the law subsidizes one sort of spending and not others is still a subsidy whether you agree or not. Conservatives refuse to call these subsidies, but this is the standard term for the deducions you take. Even the conservative "Tax Foundation" calls them what they are. Subsidies.

When you receive a part of your income tax free in the form of health insurance, the government and everyone else in related professions terms this a "subsidy"

When you are given a lower rate of taxation on a long term investment, that is when investment income is taxed under a separate type of taxation called "capital gains taxes" rather than simply ADDED to your gross income and considered to be the equivalent to money you have earned from labor...this is


It is CALLED a subsidy by those in professions related to this.

What is most important, is that in 2008, the American electorate rejected the absurd assertion that tax cuts for investors and people at the top of the income pile is good for the economy. Primarily because the empirical evidence does not point to this assertion being true.

It is, as I said, a theological assertion, an economical religious creed, asserted by conservatives, which has not a single shred of historical evidence to back it up.

Every time conservative elected officials have asserted their conservative economic ideology, the result has been a bad economy, poor economic growth, and largely speculative casino type market environments.

Fortunately those who made money this way are likely going to see themselves held accountable for the mess that they have caused over the next ten to twenty years.

On the contrary. Conservative economic governments have caused stagnant growth. The most recent example has been the anemic economic growth between 2001 and 2007, with an average of 1.7 percent,, less han half of the 3.9 percent that occured between 1950 and 1975 during the high tax years pre Reagan.

Every tax cut has been followed by recessions or crashes. Not some. Every. Top marginal Tax rates during World War I were around 70 percent. they were cut to 55 in 1922, to 45 the next year and to 25 in 1925. You had the economic bubble of the "Roaring 20's followed by a massive crash with massive bank failures. In 1932 Hoover raised the rates to the mid sixties, and this saw the first upturn in the economy.

Roosevelt raised them twice between 1933 and the start of WWII and during this period, the economy increased by 58 percent.

The Truman/Eisenhower years saw much the same. Kennedy talked about cutting taxes. He didnt do so. Johnson cut taxes slightly and the economy stagnated. The markets did not move at ALL between 1964 and 1980. Reagan came to office, cut taxes in 1981, and there was an IMMEDIATE recession. He insisted it was the result of Carter and so proceded to another tax cut n 1986. The next year, the largest economic crash since the depression , bank failures and government bailouts.

George HW Bush raises taxes slighly and the result is to slow the recession. Clinton comes into office and raises taxes and creates the best economy of the past 100 years. George W Bush comes into office, gives tax cuts, and a recession ensues. He gives a second tax cut and the road to the current economic catastrophe ensues.

Republicans will continually attempt to create explanation after explanation as to why these economic catastrophes occured duiring their tenure controlling government. Invariably the one consistant element in their argument is that their basic premise that tax cut and market investment is good for the economy.

But there is no evidence of any kind that this "magical market" actually works. Or has any reality to it whatsoever.

There is NO evidence that market investment or market forces work.

There is CONSIDERABLE evidence that when taxes are kept high enough to make it necessary for businessmen to keep plowing their money back into a business in order to avoid having that money taxed at high rates, you get constant and consistant economic growth while the reverse is true when you make "profit taking' from a business cheap and easy.

When profit taking is cheap what occurs is what we have just seen.

It is hard work to start a business and grow it. That very much deserves to be rewarded.

It is much easier to plunge money into speculative markets, attempt to control those markets, develop various derivatives that have no direct relation to the actual worth and future real profitability of a company, and this is the sort of economy that develops under low tax, conservative economic ideas and policies.

The low tax environment of Hoover in the 20s led to fast money made in speculative markets that had no relation to the actual capital value of the companies being invested in.

The Reagan Savings and Loan failures were caused by the same ideas, and the current economic catastrophe was the next mess caused by the same economic ideology.

The basic market assumption that bad CEO's who run corporation and businesses into the ground will be punished by "market forces' is another part of this conservative myth.

On the contrary, every one of those CEO's who have been going to the government asking for bailouts, for every Mea Culpa, there is going to be a rich CEO taking his private jet back to his mansion, and a million average working class Americans who lose their jobs and lose their homes.

The conservative myth is just that. A myth. A theological assertion that profits for stockowners is the equivalent of economic growth when in fact, they are totally opposite.

I suspect that you may be surprised by how the next president effects your abilities to do what you think you will be doing in the next four years. I would not be surprised if the changes he makes are well in effect for the next two to three decades at the minimum.

"It is CALLED a subsidy by those in professions related to this."

Post one authoratative citation.

You cam get government documents or professional tax journals that call any kind of deduction or special rate of taxation a tax subsidy:

For mortgages and capital gains:

Subsidies for Assets: A New Look at the Federal Budget


the biggest federal subsidy for homeowners. The cost of owning a home is further subsidized. through the property tax deduction and the exclusion of capital ...

www.cfed.org/imageManager/assets/subsidiesforassets.pdf -

Tax-reporting implications of asymmetric treatment: direct subsidies vs. tax deductions.

Publication: Journal of the American Taxation Association

Publication Date: 22-MAR-03

Author: Vines, Cynthia C. ; Wartick, Martha L.

COPYRIGHT 2003 American Accounting Association


The Treasury Department has criticized use of the federal income tax system to deliver indirect subsidies to taxpayers in the form of tax deductions, and recommended that all such deductions be eliminated. It recognized, however, that it would be necessary to replace some tax deductions with direct subsidies. Using an experiment, we examined whether the form of the subsidy (tax deduction or direct subsidy) affects tax reporting. Despite the economic equivalence of the two forms of subsidy, we found that taxpayers who are disadvantaged by not receiving a direct subsidy reported more income than taxpayers disadvantaged by not receiving a tax deduction.


Just plain old business writers:

Let's End Tax Subsidies for Housing?
Posted by Chris Farrell on Thursday, April 17, 2008

Homeownership has been long a vibrant part of achieving the American Dream. But these days owning a home is more like starring in a horror flick, perhaps called Nightmare on Main Street. The numbers are frightening. Home prices are falling nationwide, and the foreclosure rate is at record levels. The delinquency rate for subprime adjustable rate mortgages is an astonishing 20%, and the Federal Reserve's home equity measure is at its lowest level in 60 years. Moody's Economy.com estimates that more than 10% of the nation's homeowners were "upside down" on their mortgages at the end of March--meaning that the value of their mortgage is greater than what their home is worth.

It's a safe bet that with both the housing market and the economy deteriorating more federal money (as well as state funds) will go toward supporting housing this year. But once the downward trajectory moderates, the government should learn from recent experience and take a radical stance: Forget propping up housing. Instead, eliminate the many taxpayer subsidies for housing. Yes, you read that right.

There's no question the U.S. tax code is full of special tax provisions that favor housing. Among the biggest breaks are the mortgage interest deduction, the deduction for state and local real estate taxes, and the capital gains exclusion for homes. (The first $250,000 in profit is exempted from capital gains taxes for individual filers, and a $500,000 profit for couples). The federal tax code funnels more than $100 billion dollars annually into the housing sector, estimates the Tax Foundation in Washington D.C.

This figure doesn't include the mammoth subsidized institutions that support the housing and mortgage markets. This includes Government Sponsored Enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to name only two of the best known players. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that in 2003 the benefit of the explicit and implicit ties to the federal government for GSE like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac amounted to a federal subsidy of more than $23 billion, according to economists William G. Gale, Jonathan Gruber and Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in their 2007 paper, Encouraging Homeownership Through the Tax Code.


Citizens for Tax Justice:

Time to Stop Subsidizing Wall StreetEliminate the Tax Loopholes for Capital Gains and Dividends

Americans are in no mood to subsidize Wall Street. This became clear Monday, when theHouse of Representatives rejected the financial rescue plan that was supported by leadersfrom both parties as well as the President. Reasonable people can differ on whether thegovernment should step in to prop up the financial system right now. There are progressivesand conservatives on both sides of that issue. But what seems indisputable is that Wall Streethas mismanaged its affairs and Americans are in no mood to pay for its mistakes. So if Congress is going to enact some rescue plan (which is still uncertain at this point) itwould be sensible to include provisions ending the subsidies we are currently doling out toWall Street. The biggest and most unjustified of these subsidies is the special low tax rate oncapital gains and dividends. These tax loopholes subsidize people whose income comes frominvestments rather than wages, as well the Wall Street brokers who rely on their business.


Citizens for Tax Justice, the largest conservative tax think tank in the U.S. calls the lower capital gains taxes SUBSIZATION.

Again homeownership subsidization:

Economics of Home Ownership Subsidies
Arnold Kling

It's a good question. Some of the subsidies to homeowners, such as the mortgage interest deduction, tend to go to more affluent people, so from a distributional perspective they are regressive.

From an economics perspective, the question should not be whether home ownership is good or bad for the individual (or family). The question should be whether there are positive or negative externalities.

If housing is a good investment, that is not a positive externality--it is a benefit to the owner. Conversely, if homeownership is risky, that is not a negative externality. If owning a home raises the cost of moving, that is not a negative externality.


Its simple. If on any particular income the tax obligation is a set amount of dollar, if the goverment allows you to spend a portion on any particular activity that is chosen by the spender, then to allow you to deduct this from your gross income creates a government subsidization of that expenditure. This is simple tax accounting 101.

This is a simple article in which all itemized`deductions are called SUBSIDIES:


First of Two Parts: Deductions vs. Credits

There should be a tax policy rationale or theory for converting all these deductions into a combined credit at a 15 percent rate. Credits can be viewed as subsidizing all eligible purchases or expenses at the same rate. At a 15 percent rate, government effectively would pay for 15 percent of costs, taxpayers the other 85 percent. Actually, if the credit is nontaxable, the effective subsidy rate is a bit higher and is worth more to taxpayers in higher income tax rate brackets. (The nontaxability of the itemized deduction also enhances its value more in higher income brackets.) Thus, even a 15 percent credit is not really a uniform subsidy. The exclusion of proposed credits from nontaxability -- an exclusion is equivalent in economic effect to full deduction

http://www.taxanalysts.com/www/econpers.nsf/e172eb973c4c929485257173000cd0ff/21dc069eb0224f0..., rather than credits, in the first place.

Tax deduction ALL tax deductions are categorized by the rate of subsidization that the deduction creates

If an individual or a company shows a gross income that puts it in the 35 percent tax bracket its debt obligation to the government is 35 cents on every dollar. The government allows you to lower that debt subsidizing a portion of that debt by allowing deductions for expenditures it wishes to encourage.

This does not mean you do not owe the 35 percent, but that the government allows that debt to be reduced if you spend money and earn money using it one way, as opposed to another

Conservatives have massive difficulties understanding this rather simple principal

was a created word. A mix of historical the other. Conservatives have a tendency to ignore historical and historically economic events when attempting to justify their positions.

As far as subsidization goes, if you actually have a law degree, you would know that accountants, tax attorneys and just about everyone else involved, describe any personal or corporate spending that is given preferntial treatment to other spending as a "tax subsidy"

Deductions for losses on investments are "tax subsidies". Deductions on corporate expenses, also "tax subsidies" Deductions on one kind of interest but not another is a "tax subsidy" If the government allows a lowering the income that can be taxed, it is legally defined as a "tax subsidy" If you can deduct it on your income taxes, its a subsidy. The government loses tons of revenue by allowing people who have employee based health insurance to have a form of "untaxed income" while a private individual who purchases their own health insurance does not get the exact same tax consideration by subsidizing employer provided health insurance, but not doing the same for privately purchased health insurance. If your employer based health insurance, pensions, etc, were taxed the first thing it would do is push you into a higher income bracket and raise your taxes. The person who makes the same total dollar income as you do with your benefits added in is taxes at a higher rate because your benefits enjoy a government tax free income status, while the person who buys the same benefits on their own, does not.

And what does all this have to do with the original story about the guy who was wrongly accused of harrassment? You rant about mdoneil taking over every topic with his rants, but aren't you doing the same? If this actually ties into the original story, please point that out.

Which really didnt have much at all to do with the post at all. What does a comment about conservatives not being used to government subsidization have to do with a guy who was wrongly arrested in Riverdale, New York?

The statement that conservatives are not used to being subsidized by the government was too absurd to not respond to. For the last 40 years, Stevens has lived a life that has been largely subsidized by the government. More than the average citizen. Stevens statement was typical of many conservatives, in the legislature or not. Most conservatives live a life that is largely made possible by being shored up by the government in one way or another. They simply lack the ability to be aware of it.

Apparently you also made up the word 'Govenment' in your last sentence fragment. Apparently you used effect rather than the correct verb affect incorrectly on purpose. That is a really lame excuse for your error filled post. You could have let it die by either not mentioning your typographical error or if you insisted on mentioning it, admitting the error and moving on. Rather than do that you provided some nonsense about how clever you are by combining hysterical and historical. Everybody makes mistakes; some people learn from them, some cover them up with outrageous stories. I prefer to learn from mine.

Your second paragraph is simply nonsense. A subsidy (or subvention) is paid to a business or person such as unemployment benefits paid, or a tax credit for hiring disabled workers. It has nothing at all to do with 'spending given preferential treatment' and frankly the concept of spending being given preferential treatment is another bit of nonsense you have conjured up.

Deductions for losses on investments are not tax subsidies. I am amazed at your inability to grasp the obvious. Let me see if I can make it very clear for you.

I buy 100 shares of Acme at $1 per share. At the same time I buy 100 shares of Zed at $5 per share. Six months later I sell both Acme for $3 per share and Zed at $4 per share.
My cost for the stocks was $600. When I sold the stocks I received a check for $700. My taxable capital gain is $100 (the selling price less my basis).

If we split them apart you can see I made $200 on Acme, but lost $100 on Zed. I am allowed to use capital losses to offset capital gains. That is the way it has been done since the tax code was written.

I don't have to pay tax on the $100 I paid for Acme; I don't have to pay tax on the $500 I paid for Zed. I paid for those with post tax money - the money left over after taxes are taken out of my paycheck.

Let’s make it a bit more complex. Three months after I bought Zed it was trading for $1000 a share. If I sold on that day I would have made $99500 (100000- 500 basis) but I didn't sell then, I just held onto the security. I don't have to pay tax on that because I did not realize a capital gain. Only when I actually realize a gain am I taxed on it. Only when I realize a loss may I use that as a credit to offset other gains.

Deductions for expenses are not tax subsidies. GM makes a car that it sells for $1000, but it has expenses of $900 for parts and labor. The taxable gain is $100 not $1K. Business expenses are just that -expenses - the cost of doing business. If businesses were not allowed to deduct the cost of goods sold from the gross there would be no reason to be in business. It is not a tax subsidy.

Deductions of one kind of interest and not another is not a tax subsidy. Many years ago all types of interest paid could be deducted - mortgage, credit card, automobile loan. These were done away with to make the tax code fairer. The mortgage deduction remains but to call the deduction of mortgage interest a tax subsidy is simply incorrect.

You seem to feel that anything that is not taxed is somehow subsidized. If you hold up a liquor store but only take $500 of the $1000 in the till you are not subsidizing the liquor store by $500, you are simply taking less of their money.

You seem very confused about insurance and its taxability. Certain insurance benefits (cafeteria plans primarily) are from pre-tax dollars. The insured still has to pay for the insurance, but the premiums are taken out before the income taxes on his wages are calculated and deducted. This is done in an effort to encourage more people to obtain health insurance. Insurance premiums may be deducted by persons who pay for their own insurance. You may wish to consult IRS Topic 502 for edification. There are also deductions for partners and Subchapter S corporation deducting self-paid insurance costs.

Following the tax code so that one may pay as little tax as possible is prudent. I am sorry if you are missing credits or deductions for insurance premiums - you do seem a bit fixated upon that. You do realize you can amend filed returns by filing a 1040X and you may be able to recoup some of the taxes you have inadvertently overpaid by failing to apply for the credits and deductions to which you are eligible.

N.B. This is not legal or tax advice. If you need legal or tax advice please contact a competent professional that is licensed in your area.

A subsidy is anything that reduces federal revenues by taxing it at a lower rate or by allowing it to reduce tax obligation through deduction.

Every article describing for example, the tax deduction allowed for income that is given to an employee in the form of a benefit rather than salary is classfied as a "tax subsidy"

For example:

subsidy reflected in tax system:

a government subsidy to a particular company, industry, or activity in the form of reduced taxation



Definition 1
Economic benefit (such as a tax allowance or duty rebate) or financial aid (such as a cash grant or soft loan) provided by a government to (1) support a desirable activity (such as exports), (2) keep prices of staples low, (3) maintain the income of the producers of critical or strategic products, (4) maintain employment levels, or (5) induce investment to reduce unemployment. The basic characteristic of all subsidies is to reduce the market price of an item below its cost of production. Also called subvention.

Definition 2
Indirect financial contribution by a firm to its employees, such as low cost meals or free transportation. Also called benefit.


As directly applies to employee benefits such as health insurance EVERYONE involved in the field terms this a "tax subsidy"


Health and public-finance economists agree, virtually unanimously, that excluding compensation paid in the form of health-insurance premiums from workers' income taxes causes workers to end up with more health insurance than they would have absent the exclusion. Because the value of the exclusion increases in proportion to a worker's taxable income, this stimulus causes higher-wage workers to be more likely not only to have insurance but to have more generous insurance than lower-wage workers.1 Despite dissent from some journalists and a few health economists, there is also general agreement that this higher level of coverage leads to increased consumption of medical care, both in quantity and quality.2 Finally, with the possible exceptions of some very high-risk households, of some very expensive but rare types of care, and of some families at the lower end of the income distribution who still get a modest benefit from the subsidy, there is general agreement that the additional coverage induced by the tax subsidy leads to inefficiently high levels of health care spending and administrative costs for insurers.3


The AMA defines this as a subsidy as well:

How the government currently helps people buy health insurance:
The employee tax break on job-based insurance


For a librarian, you are fairly well uninformed as to the terminology applied to such tax considerations. As a lawyer. Well I have my doubts as to that. Anyone who took a tax law course would be well aware of the nature of tax preferences that are given to various forms of income.

If your investment income is simply NOT piled on top of your wages, but given separate consideration and is then taxed DIFFERENTLY than your labor based income, at a lower rate, in order to do what YOU assert it does, somehow benefit the economy, than your investment is given a subsidy, say as compared to the simple interest on a savings account that another person places in a bank.

No one can say that deposits in interest bearing bank accounts are not GOOD for the economy, yet they are not granted the same sort of lower tax status that income earned by investment is. This means that the investment gets a "tax subsidy" but the bank deposit interest does not.

are by definition tax subsidies. By the BUSINESS definition the reduction of tax obligation for any reason is a "tax subsidy"

If the government allow your to deduct ANYTHING for any reason in order to lower tax obligations this is subsidization of that particular economic activity.

For example


A firm's deduction of the interest payments on its debt from its earnings before it calculates its tax bill under current tax law.

Virtually any deduction by the business definition is a subsidy.

there is no particularly good reason that anyones tax obligation should be reduced for a personal decision. There is no good reason for example, if you invest in a stock and lose your shirt, for you to be able to take a tax deduction on this loss. You personally decided to take the risk, and gamble on the stock, not me.

The same thing applies to a business. If a business decides it has to borrow money to start, or begin a new venture, or buy plant equipment, there is no real reason that the interest on this loan should be deductable from the total business income at the end of the year. There is no reason at all for business expenses to be deductable.

The those who wrote the tax code decided that there was some value in this activity that is, overall, beneficial to the government and the welfare of the governed.

For example, as I noted in a previous post about mortgage deductions. The assertion is that these deductions in some way stimulate the construction industry and in some way increase consumption in that industry, which in turn is an assertion that the increased business activity will create jobs, etc, and more people will purchase homes rather than rent. But this is not necessarily true. As I noted the percentage of home ownership in a country that borders this one and has a very similar political and economic make up, Canada, has no such tax deduction for mortgage interest, and the percentage of Canadians who own their own homes, rather than rent, is roughly the same as it is in the United States.

The assertion that allowing investors to have their investment earnings be taxed at different rates makes than income earned from a persons own labor is an assertion that has not been proven true. If the choice is to put money in a saving account at 1.5 percent interest per year, or invest in a mutual fund and make an average of ten percent per year, many will chose the investment over the savings account even if the profits on their investments are taxed at the same rate as their work income, even if those investment increase their taxable income and place them into a higher bracket. The assumption that lowering the taxes on investment income has some relation to whether people will invest or not is based on a false premise.

"There is no good reason for example, if you invest in a stock and lose your shirt, for you to be able to take a tax deduction on this loss."

The loss can only be deducted insofar as it offsets a gain. I can't buy GM today and when it becomes worthless take a deduction for a loss. I can only deduct that loss to offset other gains I have made trading other stocks - although a small portion may be deductible against ordinary income not capital gains.

To put it very simply, you can't just deduct a huge loss in the stock market against your income. If I lose $50K I can't just take that off my Adjusted Gross Income.

The idea that the cost of doing business should not be deductable is laughable. Would you open a business if you had to pay tax on every cent you took in? McDonald's would have to pay tax on the total price of every hamburger sold, without being able to deduct their expenses - the meat, the bun, the pickles, the wages of the cook and the cashier, the cost of electricity to light the restaurant, and yes even the expense of the loans used to pay for the grill on which it is cooked. If that were the case nobody would open a business in this country.

"The assumption that lowering the taxes on investment income has some relation to whether people will invest or not is based on a false premise."

I can't believe you actually believe that lower capital gains taxes don't promote investment. You can't really be that stupid.

I'm done responding to you. You are either a troll or so far out in left field as to be a member of the tinfoil hat crowd.

you do not. I do not have an asserted law degree, but I do have a considerable degree of accounting classes under my belt.

You BELEIVE that lower capital gains taxes promote investment, but there is zero evidence that investing in the market has any sort of positive effect on economic growth. The empirical and historical evidence in fact refutes this assertion.

The longest period of economic growth in the United States occured under the highest marginal tax rates and the highest capital gains rates. This has occured consistantly.

Corporations and small companies do not pay higher taxes when the marginal rates are higher, they simply take advantage of the only method by which they can avoid being taxed. Either by keeping their money in the investment OR plowing that money back into the business. Same thing goes with money invested in the markets. When the capital gains are lower, rather than keep money invested, investors indulge in regular profit taking which results in less money being available for capital formation rather than profit making.

The recent economic crisis, which confused the hell out of Alan Greenspan was seen coming a mile away by every Keynsian watching.

Over the last 90 or so years the following facts cannot be denied:

The three great tax cutting periods of these years resulted in recession, or a short economic bubble, followed by major economic crashes.

The first:
1. Hoover

During World War I, the top marginal tax rate went up to 73 percent -- not the highest ever, but pretty high.

In 1922, a series of rate cuts began. Down to 56 percent, 46 percent, and finally, in 1925, it went down to 25 percent.

The stock market took off. There was a boom. But the boom was a bubble.

It was followed by the Great Crash of 1929.

There were bank failures and the Great Depression.

The second:

2. Reagan

From Franklin Roosevelt's second term all the way through to Jimmy Carter -- from 1936 until 1982 -- the top rate was in the 70 to 92 percent range.

Then along came Reagan in 1981. In 1982, he cut that down to 50 percent.

The economy went into "the worst recession since the Great Depression."

His supporters argued that it was all Carter's fault and that the new policies would take time to work. The tax cuts stayed in place. In 1987, there was another round of tax cuts. They took the top rate down to 38.5 percent. It would stimulate the economy!

Then, in October 1987, there was a crash -- the worst since '29. It was called Black Monday.

Much of the bubble money had gone into -- ohmigod! -- real estate.

Suddenly there were bank failures! More than during the Great Depression. There was a Savings & Loan crisis! There had to be a bailout.

The third:

Bush II

George Bush came into office with the healthiest, post powerful economy in American history.

He immediately cut taxes. The top marginal rate went down from 39 percent to 35 percent. He also cut capital gains taxes and inheritance taxes. A recession immediately ensued. But he persisted.

Eventually, the economy began to grow.

Employment didn't grow very much. Median income went down. The stock market was pretty flat. But the financial sector -- and only the sector -- grew.

Which should have made it obvious to someone, that it was … a bubble.

There was a crash.

Bank failures. A bailout.

The three worst economic disasters in American history follow the exact same pattern: tax cuts, boom, bubble, crash.

On the other hand, when we look for periods of high growth, the historical information shows:

High Taxes Correlate with Strong Economic Growth

The four periods of greatest economic growth in American history, by pretty much any measure, are:

World War II (1941-45): top tax rate varied from 88 to 94 percent

Post-war under Truman and Eisenhower: top rate bounced around from 81 to 92 percent

Clinton years: Clinton raised Bush's top rate of 31 percent to 37 percent and then to 39 percent

First two Roosevelt administrations (1933-40). When Roosevelt came into office, Hoover had already raised the tax rate in 1932 from 25 percent to 63 percent. Roosevelt raised it again in 1936 to 79 percent.

A lot of ink, sweat and ranting have gone into proving that the New Deal did not end the Great Depression. Nonetheless, the economy grew 58 percent from the time Roosevelt came into office and when the United States entered the war.

Some of that anti-New Deal rhetoric also claims that the recovery began under Hoover. Perhaps, but to say so is also to say that it began with tax hikes.

Likewise, many right-wing critics insist that the Clinton boom actually started under Bush the First. It is necessary to remember that Bush the First also raised taxes (from 28 percent to 31 percent) and was soundly thrashed by the conservatives for doing so. Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute called it "The Crime of the Century" and explained at length how it had brought ruin to America.


These are facts.Conservatives assert that tax cuts stimulate the economy and cause economic growth, while the evidence for this does not exist.

The idea that mere investment in the market due to lower taxes on income gained from business activity is also largely false, because of the nature of the economic environment that occurs when profit taking due to low taxes occurs.

When there are lower taxes on business profits, rather than shield those profits from taxation by keeping the money in a business and spending them on things that are not taxed, such as new stock, plant equipment, hiring new employees, opening second or third or fourth factories, opening new branches of stores, which all create new jobs as well as wealth, the money goes running after quick and easy profits.

That is paper starts chasing paper. Those who invest run to a hot sector, which drives the prices of stock in that sector higher, but higher in a way that is completely out of proportion to the value of anything that the business has to offer, either in product or services. The situation in the dot com industries of the 1990's was a clear example. There was absolutely nothing that Yahoo did that made its stock remotely worth the 400 dollars and more that the shares went up to at one point. The value of the stock was created out of the sheer speculative nature that becomes the center of the economic process when both income and capital gains taxes on investment is low.

Low capital gains encourage making investments in ways that are not good for economic growth or the creation of overall wealth for an economy or a nation. The assertion that investment is good is also not the absolute that conservatives assert. The fact is that income earned by investment in markets, simply by the market chasing the market rarely has any positive effect on the industries that are being invested in.

For example during the Reagan years, the vast majority of earnings bases on tax cuts and lower capital gains were largely taken as personal profits by a very few wealthy investors, were given back as dividends to shareholders, etc. About 4 percent of the total was used to in job creation, or in any way put back into the businesses to improve them in any way, by buying new equipment etc.

The clearest proof in this lies in the creation of the "jobless recoveries" which occured under both Reagan and the current president, while there was massive job creation in the 1990's under Clinton. In 2006 EIGHTY percent of all the income from capital gains went to those making pver 200,000 dollars a year, which at that time was the top two percent of all Americans. Very few Americans would be in any way effected by raising the capital gains taxes in any adverse fashion.

The majority of Americans would experience a net plus out of an increase in capital gains. The top two percent of earners are not going to stick their money into low interest savings accounts. They never have. They will invest, because the other option is to watch their net worth decline by keeping their money in accounts that do not at least keep up with inflation.

This tired old argument has largely been rejected by the average working American who basically has no investments, other than those others have placed in their pension plans and about 98 percent of these people have watched those retirement benefits vanish down a hold created by the theory that favoring income earned by investment, rather than that earned by labor.

It is basically a false argument, and I do not beleive it because the facts basically indicate that it is false.

If you look at the average tax return in the United States, 87.1 percent show NO capital gains at all and 12. 9 show some capital gains. Currently a very TINY percent of those who pay capital gains pay at the top rate.

A breakdown of this indicates that 4.1 percent of income earners who earn under 50k show capital gains on their taxes. 5.9 percent of those who earn between 50 and 100k show capital gains. 9.8 percent of those who earn between 100k and 200k show capital gains. And 80.2 percent of those who earn more than 200K show capital gains.

I say screw them. Its not like they are going to shove their money under the mattress or stick in in a super saver cd at 4 percent. They are going to invest, no matter what the tax situation because to to anything else means losing the portion of their income that is not spent on necessities or even the odd yacht is going to disappear down the inflation hole.

Its a nice assertion made by the rich, to benefit the rich, the same way the assertion that income tax cuts that are not targetted to those at a lower income will benefit everyone equally.

Over the last few years, the American public has discovered that what George HW Bush called "Voodoo Economics" the trickle down economics bs that conservatives have been trying to make taste good over the last 30 years is just that BS.

This form of economics, over the last 30 years has concentrated a bit over half of all the wealth in this nation into the hands of about 1 percent of the population. 30 years ago this figure was about 17 percent. The entire conservative economic philosophy has been designed to rob the middle and lower working classes of most of their real income, most of the economic gains that came to the middle classes as a result of the New Deal and its creation of a large middle class, which was virtually non existant before FDR became president, and would not exist today had his opponent won the election.

So no, I do not beleive the assertion that low capital gains taxes encourage investment any more than I belieive that allowing home owners to deduct their mortgage interest results in higher home ownership.

The empirical facts to not support this.

Simply asserting something as a fact, does not make it a fact, does not make it true. You have to look at the events and see what has occured as a result of imposing any particular economic regime.

Someone once said that the more you repeat a lie, the more people will accept is as being true.

This is what lies behind virtually all conservative economic assertions. In spite of the obvious results of applying their economic ideas, they keep asserting that they work, when the actual results of doing so seem to indicate that they do not.

and Library science, its largely librarians who are working in the new IT industries, and a large number of the staff working at places like Google are in fact, plain old MLS librarians. Many if not most of the functions of Google, like Google Scholar are largely the result of Google working in tandem with libraries and most of the materials which have been available online through Google have been converted from paper format to electronic format by...librarians. Most of the classification for various search engines have come to some form of unified standard, again through the work of librarians. Mostly plain vanilla MLS librarians.

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