10x25MM

Metallurgical engineer, troublemaker....

Trump’s Taxes

Why No Criticism of GM, Chrysler, and the UAW? They Got a Much Sweeter Tax Loss Deal from the Democrats.

nyt-logoA Saturday story in the New York Times alleges that Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump may have avoided paying income taxes for 18 years due to a $ 915 million net operating loss declared on his 1995 federal tax return.  A net operating loss is a form of tax loss carry forward which can be used by a taxpayer to offset future (and sometimes past) income taxes due the federal government.  The authors claim that someone anonymously mailed them pages from Trump’s 1995 return.  A felony violation of federal law which the New York Times only participates in when its enemies are the victims.  Given recent history, it is far more likely that some snake in Obama’s IRS mailed the pages to the New York Times.  One more reason to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

None of this is news.  Trump admitted to the size of his 1990’s loss in his book Art of the Comeback.  More interestingly, he explains how the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (TRA 1986) crushed the real estate market in New York and created his massive loss.  Note that he mistakenly attributes his predicament to TEFRA, a 1982 act which also caused him some problems, but it was actually TRA 1986 which he is referring to.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in AmesTax loss carry forwards date back to at least 1954 in the U.S. tax code. The logic behind them is simple: if the government benefits from an entity’s income, it should share that same entity’s misfortune when it runs losses. Both moral and ethical, two concepts not usually associated with the U.S. tax code. The salacious case being made against Trump has no merit, except as propaganda. Remember, Trump had to lose $ 915 million on long term assets to get the tax loss carry forward.  More importantly, Trump’s massive loss was created by a sea change in the rules of the game dictated by the same federal government.

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Catch-22

Bleakley Image aMichael J Talbot ImageAttorney Thomas H. Bleakley (P23892) has to be feeling a lot like Captain John Yossarian, the harried protagonist of Joseph Heller’s great satirical novel Catch-22. Chief Judge Michael J. Talbot of the Michigan Court of Claims dismissed Attorney Bleakley’s Helen Moore et al v. Rick Snyder [16-000153-MM] lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Legislature’s passage of the DPS bail out on August 4th, in an order published on August 8th.

The Michigan Court of Claims was moved from the Ingham County Circuit Court to the Michigan Court of Appeals by PA 164 of 2013 to:

MCL 600.6419 Court of claims; exclusive jurisdiction; exceptions; claims less than $1,000.00; powers and jurisdiction; counterclaims; res judicata; setoff, recoupment, or cross declaration; writs of execution or garnishment; judgment as final; no jurisdiction of claim for compensation under MCL 418.101 to 418.941 and MCL 419.101 to 419.104; jurisdiction of circuit court over certain actions and proceedings; “the state or any of its departments or officers” defined.

Section 6419(1)

(a) To hear and determine any claim or demand, statutory or constitutional, liquidated or unliquidated, ex contractu or ex delicto, or any demand for monetary, equitable, or declaratory relief or any demand for an extraordinary writ against the state or any of its departments or officers notwithstanding another law that confers jurisdiction of the case in the circuit court.

But, according to Judge Talbot, not the constitutional claims pleaded in Helen Moore et al v. Rick Snyder

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When $ 175,000 A Year Just Isn’t Enough

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time....President Abraham Lincoln

Adamo DemolitionDetroit’s Deputy Director of Construction and Project Management, James Wright, suddenly resigned today. Wright had been the Detroit Medical Center’s Corporate Vice President of Facility Engineering and Construction when Mayor Duggan hired him under a contract to be the $ 250,000 a year Deputy Director of the Detroit Land Bank Authority two and a half years ago. He was then transferred to the city’s payroll in March of this year at a $ 175,000 a year salary. Mr. Wright’s resignation does not include a severance and was effective immediately. Certain evidence of a firing at this level of government, not a resignation.  You can bet that Wright just got his Federal target letter. from U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.

The FBI and the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) have been investigating Detroit’s demolition program for about a year now. Enough time to start issuing indictments. SIGTARP has jurisdiction over the Hardest Hit Fund which provided the $250 million Detroit has spent on home demolitions (and lavished on contractors). Detroit Mayor Duggan has pledged complete cooperation with the investigation.  Wright Right…..

Barry Ellentuck ImageWright’s resignation comes on the heels of Attorney General Bill Schuette’s failed prosecution of whistleblower Barry Ellentuck, the ADR Consultants, LLC President who went to the FBI with solid evidence of the corruption in the Detroit home demolition program – the very day before AG Schuette indicted him. Mr. Ellentuck was set up by a lying, thieving subordinate and his prosecution had all the hallmarks of retaliation for squealing to the Feds. Home demolition contract costs suddenly rose from about $ 10,000 per house to $ 16,000 per house under Mayor Duggan, just after Mr. Wright took control of the program.

The city originally signed Wright to a two-year contract that paid $250,000 a year. He was transferred to the city’s payroll at $175,000 a year when his original two year employment contract expired in March.  Evidently, $ 175,000 a year is just not enough for Mayor Duggan’s exalted talent.  As a point of reference, Governor Snyder makes $ 159,300 per year as Governor of Michigan. Governor Snyder clearly holds the wrong office to make money in this state.

Wright awarded corrupt ‘unit price’ demolition contracts to three connected demolition companies, Adamo, Homrich and MCM Management. You might recognize them as very profitable MDoT contractors, but that was the Proposal 1 story of last year. Wright disclosed contract prices before the bids were opened to their competitors and allowed all three companies special, reduced bonding requirements unavailable to other bidders.

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Quid Pro Quo: How The DPS Bail Out Passed

Pavlovian Conditioning In Michigan Politics

Money Transfer ImageMichigan’s campaign finance laws were designed to expose quid pro quo donations to legislators and politicians by the individuals and groups having special interests in government actions. A particular goal of campaign finance laws was to prevent politicians from benefiting personally from their votes and actions. In the American Civics version of representative government, politicians are expected to represent their voters exclusively. Selling their votes and actions to the highest bidder creates an unresponsive, alien government in short order. Think Venezuela, Illinois, or Detroit. Where Michigan is now heading.

Political campaigns are expensive today. Consultants and media outlets are the particular beneficiaries of lavish campaign spending and have, in turn, convinced candidates that money is the sine qua non of political success. Today, you are not considered a serious candidate for the lowest rung in the Michigan political firmament – State Representative – unless you have a $ 100,000 campaign war chest.

American politicians and their special interest backers are developing a technique which directs quid pro quo donations right into politicians’ pockets.  This technique is fast becoming a staple of Michigan politics and Michigan’s nitwit media have ignored this ingannation of representative government.

Michigan politicians are now morphing into vending machines that cater to the highest bidders in Lansing and Washington.  This explains the passage of the PA 192 – 197 Detroit Public Schools bail out over the objections of many outraged Michigan voters.

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August 2nd Matters

The DPS Bail Out Can Be Spiked By Defeating Just One State House RINO

Michigan Capitol Building Image 1The six bills (PA 192 – 197 of 2016) of the Detroit Public School bail out package passed in the Michigan House of Representatives by margins of 55 – 53 to 60 – 48. The same six bills passed in the Michigan Senate by margins of 19 – 18 to 21 – 16. Close votes; over 50% + 1 but nowhere near two-thirds. And these close votes were only obtained after an entirely false narrative of doom and gloom was presented to the Legislature. This is becoming a major issue in the August 2nd primaries which Michigan’s nitwit media are conveniently ignoring.

Attorney Thomas H. Bleakley (P23892) filed a lawsuit (Helen Moore et al v. Rick Snyder, 16-000153-MM) in the Michigan Court of Claims on the 5th of July which alleges that the entire DPS bail out package’s passage was unconstitutional; the claim being it was in fact a collection of local acts according to the Michigan Constitution of 1963.  Local acts require two-thirds legislative vote margins and voter approvals to become law.  The six bills of the DPS bail out package were all passed, in both houses of the Michigan Legislature, under the more liberal 50% + 1 voting rule allowed only for general acts.

The Michigan Constitution of 1963, Article IV, Section 29 states “No local or special act shall take effect until approved two-thirds of the members elected to and serving in each house and by a majority of the electors voting thereon in the district affected….”. Article IV, Section 30 further states that “….two-thirds of the members elected to and serving in each house of the legislature shall be required for the appropriation of public money or property for local or private purposes.”.

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The DPS Bailout – An Alternative History Under Bankruptcy

A Bankruptcy Postponed Is Not A Bankruptcy Avoided

US Bankruptcy Court ImageThe $ 617 million PA 192 – 197 bail out package signed by Governor Snyder on 21 June (plus the $ 48.7 million emergency down payment earlier this year) will not fix the Detroit Public Schools. The culture of corruption and incompetence long fostered within DPS suggests that the new DPS – same as the old DPS, except for some liabilities – will fail miserably a few years hence in an avalanche of new liabilities. Michigan will then be left to sort out two separate DPS entities with unsustainable liabilities. This could easily occur even before Governor Snyder leaves office in 2019. Karma. Déjà vu all over again.

Governor Snyder secured the Michigan Legislature’s approval of the $ 617 million bailout by regaling them with an entirely false narrative of the aborted 1991 Richmond, CA Unified School District bankruptcy, then implying that the entire $ 3.5 billion in DPS liabilities would fall upon the taxpayers of Michigan. The Michigan Legislature’s Republicans (and our nitwit media) bought Governor Snyder’s tale hook, line, and sinker – then delivered a $ 617 million gift to DPS for its past ill behavior. The Michigan Legislature’s Democrats had the chutzpah to hold out for even more taxpayer paid goodies.

There was another, better option: bankruptcy.

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A House Divided – And Its Not Republicans!

Replacement of Representative Plawecki on the Ballot Reveals Democratic Party Discord, Preparation for a Lame Duck Session?

Julie PlaweckiDuring a week of dramatic racial conflict across the U.S.A, few noticed a more subdued racial conflict which surfaced right here in Michigan. First term Michigan State Representative Julie Plawecki died on June 25th during a hike on Misery Ridge at Smith Rock, Oregon. Representative Plawecki was running unopposed for reelection in the Democratic primary on August 2nd, in Michigan’s 11th State House District. Representative Plawecki’s death occurred after the April 19th Michigan primary election filing deadline, so it is up to the local party to select a replacement Democrat to appear on the November 8th ballot in accordance with PA 116 of 1954.

The ‘local party’ in this particular instance is the Michigan 13th Congressional District Democratic Party (SoS BoE 516418). Representative Conyers represents the 13th Congressional District, even though he hasn’t lived in it since the 2012 redistricting. Even so, Representative Conyers does maintain control over the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party apparatus through his agent Jonathan C. Kinloch. Jonathon C. Kinloch 2Mr. Kinloch, a Detroiter who also resides outside the 11th State House District, is perhaps best known as an Emergency Manager appointed member of the esteemed Detroit Board of Education.

Half of the 11th Michigan House District’s population is in Garden City and Inkster, with the balance in attached pieces of Westland, Dearborn Heights and Livonia. Garden City and Inkster are polar opposites ethnically, but both vote heavily Democratic. The Westland and Dearborn Heights segments of the 11th are somewhere in between Garden City and Inkster, while the small segment of Livonia trends Republican. Hidden in the Census data for this district are substantial South Asian and Arab ethnic communities, but the district’s African-American population fraction is pretty well identified by the Census at about 35%.

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The DPS Bailout – Debts & Obligations

Part II - The Eventual Cost of DPS Liabilities to Michigan Taxpayers and Detroit Schoolchildren

Debt ImageDPS has two types of formal debt: operating and capital. Operating debt is a conversion of present and past annual operating deficits into ‘long-term notes’ sold to the financial markets, as well as more immediate debts owed to the State of Michigan directly. DPS capital debt exists only in the form of bonds which were sold to financial markets to purchase and rehabilitate facilities.  DPS’ formal bonds are identified by Series, which consists of the year issued and a letter suffix when different purpose bonds are issued in a single year.  The financial markets apply a further identifier, CUSIP, which is a unique identifier of municipal bonds by series and their intended dates of redemption.  All of the DPS debt sold to the financial markets has been enrolled in Public Act 92 of 2005, a program designed to reduce interest rates to local school districts in accordance with the 1963 Michigan Constitution’s Article IX, Section 16.  Most DPS debt is effectively secured by a general obligation to pay, which requires Detroit taxpayers to increase taxes and reduce spending should financial difficulties repaying arise.

DPS 2009B Bond StatementDPS pays off its capital debt in annual installments of both interest and principal, before it pays off (or adds to) its operating debt.  Bond interest and principal payments are required by bond terms which – if ignored – would result in immediate default and bankruptcy.  The exact contract terms of DPS debt sold to the financial markets are laid out in official statements which detail all the formal legal and financial features of the bonds.  The official statement is essentially a contract between DPS and its bond purchasers.

DPS’ operating debt payments are somewhat more flexible than capital debt payments because only a portion of operating debt has been converted into formal bonds covered by statements; much of it is separately owed to the Michigan School Loan Revolving Fund. The SSLRF can best be thought of as a State sponsored credit card. School districts tap into it when they are short of cash, and pay off their balance when they are flush.  Operating debt is only converted into formal bonds when Michigan school districts exceed their limits at the SSLRF.  Those limits are not exact, and generally come into play when DPS goes through one of its periodic financial spasms.

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The DPS Bailout – The Bankruptcy Alternative Not Taken

Part I - No, The Richmond USD Case Did Not Challenge U.S. Bankruptcy Court Authority

Daniel Howes ImageGovernor Snyder browbeat the Michigan Legislature to approve the $ 617 million bailout of Detroit Public Schools which he signed today by regaling them with a parade of horribles which would occur if the bailout was defeated and DPS was forced to file for bankruptcy. Daniel Howes regurgitated Governor Snyder’s compelling tales of impending doom delivered behind closed doors in a Detroit News article, but was any of it true?

Right at the top of Governor Snyder’s parade of horribles was the Federal bankruptcy filing of the Richmond [California] Unified School District on April 19, 1991 . Governor Snyder portrayed the outcome of this action as the U.S. Bankruptcy Court denying the petition and ordering the State of California to financially bail out the district.  From Daniel Howes’ article:

There is scant precedence for school districts filing for bankruptcy, the Snyder administration found. In 1990, according to an administration letter to state Rep. Laura Cox, R-Livonia, the Richmond Unified School District in Northern California filed for bankruptcy because of $42.5 million in debt. The judge ruled the district could not be protected by the court in bankruptcy and ordered the state to provide the district with operating funds.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

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Absentee Voter Ballot Applications Available Now

You Can File One Form For Both The State House Primary and the Presidential/General Elections

Michigan Capitol ImageThe standard form required to request an absentee ballot in the upcoming August 2nd Michigan primary and November 8th general elections is now available online as a .pdf file here. The large print version of the application for the visually impaired as a .pdf is here. Completing and filing this application also gets you the ballot(s) for any local candidates and/or issues also voted on in August and November.

Absent Voter Ballot Application Header
Just download this application form, fill it out, and mail it to your clerk.

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