The Mentor tax credit: a Taxes are Good*™ Program from Esrati

Photo from IMDB site of Bad News BearsWe give the über rich people all kinds of tax credits. Face it, our tax system has become so complicated only those who are either empty-pockets broke and do their 1040ez themselves, or the super rich who can afford accountants and financial planners to work the system get treated well. The rest of us in the middle- it’s a crapshoot.

When Taxes are Good*™ they reward policy and practices that move us forward as a society, not as individuals. That’s why I want to introduce the Coaches Credit™  – a tax credit for all those Little League, AAU, Pop Warner coaches (and don’t think it’s just for sports- cheerleader coaches, theater group directors, Scout leaders etc.) should get something back for giving back from Uncle Sam.

We understand that the time you invest in a young persons future- is an investment in the future of America, because kids who play sports are too busy to get into other trouble (David Wright and your Mom’s station wagon and the 17 stop signs, you, my High School friend, were the exception).

When I say I plan to invest in the future of our Country- I mean it. I’m starting with you Mr. Tris Speaker Coach, we salute you.

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21 Responses

  1. pizzabill December 17, 2007 / 12:17 pm
    Although well intended, adding financial a incentive (tax credit) is incongruous to the basically altruistic (giving back to the sport and community) and/or enlightened self-interest (coaching my own child to share the experience with them or to keep another well-intended coach from screwing up their swing/stride/shot) motivation that many coaches have. It’s my opinion that a vast majority of the people that volunteer and are good coaches do so and will continue to do so not only without government intervention, but preferably without government intervention– even if it is to their financial benefit.

    A tax credit/incentive also takes the act of coaching out of the realm of community service and turns it into a type of job. Money would corrupt the spirit of volunteerism, and would eventually attract people with no real interest in coaching who simply want the money.

    As with any government program, there would have to be a set of rules and regulations governing the administration of such a program: a more complicated tax code; arguments about who meets the definition of a “coach”; ad infinitum. No thanks.

    As is often the case, the unintended consequences of well intended govenment programs such as the tax credit for coaching idea are all negative. Please keep the local, federal, and state government out of my coaching.

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  2. David Esrati December 17, 2007 / 12:42 pm

    So I guess the part about the State checking for sex offenders needs to go to PizzaBill?
    Sorry you don’t approve. The tax credit isn’t going to be enough to make coaching that attractive- just another box to check off. This doesn’t have to be that complicated. There would be a penalty if when you get audited- you couldn’t supply proof.
    I’d also like to provide tax incentives to run youth sports- and build a coordinated national Olympic training program that is comprehensive, not piecemeal.
    The time you spent coaching, could have been spent making your business more profitable- and you could be the next Tom Monaghan. But, the time you spend contributing to youth sports is something infinitely more valuable to the future of our county- and when Taxes are Good*™ they reward positive behavior.

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  3. Juan December 17, 2007 / 8:23 pm
    hmmm, “Taxes Are Good”? I don’t think that’s a slogan that’s going to win a lot of voters over to your side. Most people already think that they’re taxed too much and are only in favor of raising taxes on other people.

    You wrote something that is very interesting though…”When taxes are good, they reward policy and practices that moves us forward as a society, not as individuals.” While I can’t match PizzaBIll’s eloquence in disagreeing with you, you did inadvertanly hit on one of the big problems with the income tax code – it’s used to reward – and punish – various groups and companies. Is that a good thing?

    I don’t think that it is a good thing. This gives enormous amounts of power to those in Congress. It also lets organizations/companies/individuals with deeeeeep pockets buy favoritism, often at the expense of others.

    Why not get away from using government revenue generation as a mode of reward and punishment? Instead, we should look at raising revenue through consumption taxes rather than on income. In other words, the more you buy, the more you pay. Rich people are generally going to buy more expensive things than people that earn less, therefore they will automatically pay more. In other words, when you buy a pair of Calvin Klein jeans, you will end up paying a larger consumption tax on those jeans than I will pay when I buy my “Members Mark” jeans from WalMart.

    This takes the games out of things like “Mentor’s Credits”, etc. People that volunteer do it for a reason and getting some modest tax credit isn’t going to make people volunteer more. If it does, as PizzaBill said, it will make you question their motives.

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  4. David Esrati December 17, 2007 / 8:28 pm

    Juan, if taxes are bad- we should just get rid of them?
    Consumption tax is regressive.
    Taxes are used to buy things we can’t afford on our own- like police, fire, roads, sewers, F-16’s and the occasional nuclear bomb.
    Of course, when you look at some things government provides- they are for the public good. I’d like to do more things like that- and less handing money to private corporations and special interest groups.
    Think about how many candidates have lied to you. Then rethink Taxes are Good*™

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  5. Juan December 17, 2007 / 10:55 pm
    David,

    I looked at my post didn’t see where I said taxes were bad. I also never implied that we should get rid of taxes. I don’t think they are good though, either. Taxes are just a necessary to fund government. You are right – they are needed to buy things we can’t afford on our own such as infrastructure and national defense. But, should they be used on other things like buying bad sculpture for government buildings that no one in the free market would even consider purchasing? Or special interest musuems such as the “Woodstock Museum” that Senator Clinton tried to earmark funding for? I think not. The whole pork barrel spending mentality of both the D’s and the R’s needs to stop.

    Consumption taxes aren’t necessarily regressive either. Have you looked at the FairTax? http://www.fairtax.org (You can put in the hyperlink stuff there) It’s set up to remove the regressive angle of a consumption tax by “prebating” the consumption taxes paid on the basics of life up to the poverty level. This prebate will be sent to the (legal resident) head of each household and will be based on the number of people in the household. I will agree that it will be regressive on those that are in this country illegally – but, is that a bad thing?? Take a look at this. Better yet, read HR-125. It’s 132 pages of new tax code designed to replace the 50,000 pages of the current income tax code. That would be the same code that encourages special interests to lobby their elected officials for favors. That would be the same code that’s been amended more than 10,000 times since the 1986 “Tax Simplification Act”.

    Besides, do taxes HAVE to be Progressive?? Where in the Constitution does it say that? I agree that we don’t want regressive taxes as that only discourages the poor, but taxes don’t have to be progressive to the point of punishing the non-poor either.

    I’m not a smart guy, David. Try as I might, I just can’t seem to get the meaning of your last statements: “Think about how many candidates have lied to you. Then rethink Taxes are Good.” What does “Taxes are Good” have to do with candidates lying to me? Yeah, candidates and elected officials of both parties have lied. But I’m still not seeing the connection between lying and taxes are good. Help me out here!

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  6. David Esrati December 17, 2007 / 11:12 pm

    Juan, If I had a nickel for every time I heard a politician say something like “cut taxes” or “No new taxes” I’d be Bill Gates. Taxes ad Good*™ are where they are used as seed capital or investment for the greater good. Taxes are bad, when they are used for corporate welfare and waste.
    I’ll have to dig into the Fair Tax details- but, I agree- accountants should be concentrating on how to make business more profitable- instead of how to avoid paying taxes.
    Once we get rid of all the IRS and craziness of accounting for taxes, maybe we can get rid of all the craziness and paperwork involved with health insurance too and have a Single Payer plan? You agree on that Juan?

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  7. J.R. Locke December 18, 2007 / 12:27 pm
    The old tax debate? Well I think that this fair tax or consumption tax is far more favorable for the rich and connected than anything we have now(network of corruption would force a need for so much more oversight on the supply end). But I know how popular it is to think that our current government structure is abominable so I will leave that debate.

    But I will support Mr. Esrati’s claim that good taxes can be had. As an assistant football coach for the last two years I can say that I spent at least 30 hours every week while in season involved with the team. I got paid $2100 for four months of worth(roughly $4.00 an hour). The reason I was a coach was because I wanted to get involved the reason I was able to get involved was because there was some financial incentive, paid by the school district with tax money.

    Let me hop on the ole soapboax quick: All those “conservatives” out there seem to forget that end game of a purely capitalist society is a monopoly. The most effective regulator of the system is government, which is responsible to the people. The small government mantra of low taxes, limited government interference(just on the fiscal end cause lord knows most of these small government folk love to tell everyone who they can or can’t marry) is obviously in self interest for those who are already rich or those who maintain a sense of identity with the idea that everything is equal in the U.S. They made it in life not because of an advantage in opportunities but because because of their hard work. So even the working poor jump in on the “small government” side, well like subsidized farmers!

    Anyway Mr. Esrati I think that you should propose a death tax that requires all wealth beyond a point to be redistributed between all U.S. citizens not just ones family or mistresses. Because we are all God’s children right?

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  8. gene December 18, 2007 / 2:58 pm
    The opposite might work: a LIFE tax. If you have a kid, you pay X amount per kid per year. Then maybe people would think twice before having kids, and maybe the poor would stop having kids, and over time this would get rid of the poor……….perfect. BC everyone seems to think once you are poor you can only stay poor – you know, they are victims of the rich and powerful. But if we tax people per kid, well then they would go away.

    Over time then the rich will have to pay LESS taxes to help the dwindling poor population, they could invest that money and pass it on to their own kids, if they have any. It would be amazing if I could control my own money, you know, that green stuff I work so hard for, and when I am about to leave earth I can give it to who I want…… You know, it is MY money I worked for, and if I want to give it to my nephew, so be it.

    But let’s take from those lazy ass rich people and give it to those really super duper hard working poor people. That make sense.

    Or maybe we hold people accountable for their own lives, empower them through education and programs rather than hand outs. But hand outs are just easier for the poor.

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  9. David Esrati December 18, 2007 / 5:20 pm

    Gene, that’s the most interesting thing I’ve heard out of you- a tax on having babies. You’d have to put up $20K right away- at inception- just to get them through K-12. $40K to get them through college- it’s all part of a government trust- and then we invest it and the dividends pay for schools etc, instead of property taxes. Brilliant!
    The only problem is what happens when you don’t have the money – then, we’d have to kill you. That solves the poor problem too. You’ve just solved the worlds problems.
    Maybe, rich people, can sponsor poor babies- and then they can be granted votes for the elite who keep giving them tax breaks too- that would work.
    Isn’t is grand having this discussion? Find another candidate this accessible?
    (this post is in jest- in case you don’t know)

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  10. gene December 18, 2007 / 5:46 pm
    As was mine……..

    I just wonder who would have been my rich sponsor.

    It is a dumb idea, kinda like taking MY MONEY after it has been taxed and giving it to the government. The hell with them, they already get their share. If you want more, take it while I make it, at least I can bitch about it. But like my lucky watch, my TV, and clothes and my house, and of course my money, I want to GIVE IT TO SOMEONE WHEN I DIE – the government already got their cut – DONT FRICKIN TOUCH MY CASH.

    BTW, why is it all you bleeding hearts want more tax money but don’t hand over your own cash to charities and the such. You never pay your fair share. Look in the mirror.

    You just dont get the “Death Tax” thing – IT IS MINE, NOT YOURS

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  11. Juan December 19, 2007 / 8:56 am
    Even though both of your comments were in jest, Hillary (the Marxist) proposed just such a “life tax” about 6 weeks ago. Do you remember her “baby bond” idea? It was to “give” each child born in the US a $5000 account that would eventually be used to fund their education. And for the poor, well their “sponsors” would be the evil rich. What a great concept for income redistribution! Of course, the idea was so outlandish that even many of the Hillary supporters thought it was wacky so it was dropped within 24 hours of being proposed.

    Gene – I couldn’t agree more with your death tax views. You’re right – it’s been taxed once, why does the Government get another whack at it? Contrary to popular liberal beliefs, much of the wealth in this country is not inheireted (sp), it is “new wealth” created by the sweat of one’s brow (literally and figuratively) and, often, careful spending and investing. The Paris Hilton’s of the world are the exception, not the rule. Take for example, Clay Mathile. He started out selling dog food for the Iams Company, worked his way up the ladder, bought the company and continued to grow it and then sold it for a ton. He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he got it by taking risks and working hard. Is it fair that he can’t pass on this previously taxed wealth to his family? Hasn’t he “given back” enough through the charities he supports and the extremely generous donations he makes? Is this really fair? What about the guy who starts a company from scratch, works his ass off to make it a success, turns it into a multi-million dollar enterprise and then the family has to sell it upon his death because of the death taxes? It’s not as uncommon as many would lead you to believe.

    Gene (and David), there’s a great book that’s an easy read. It’s called “Do as I say (Not as I do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrysy” by Peter Schweizer. There are many great chapters in the book, but one in particular is about Teddy Kennedy and his support for death taxes. Even though there is great Kennedy wealth (gleaned from bootlegging) much of it is held in offshore trusts that are exempt from US tax law and therefore able to be passed along to subsequent generations.

    I’d loan you my copy of the book, but I loaned it to a liberal friend and never got it back! ;)

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  12. gene December 21, 2007 / 5:04 pm
    Teddy Kennedy is an elitist prick.

    Liberals love to tax the dead, but the moment they are receiving cash from a loved one they change their tune. Like I said, it has been taxed once and if you more taxes just propose to raise current taxes so at least I can complain.

    What about the taxes on smokes? When is that going up again and is it good/fair to tax smokers compared to fat people compared to book readers compared to beer drinkers etc….

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  13. Juan December 21, 2007 / 7:47 pm
    Gene – I want to party with you, dude!! ;)

    You have a great point. “Sin” taxes are another way that taxes are used to modify behavior of certain groups. Tobacco and alcohol are the classic examples. But, I think that one could argure that obesity costs society as much as tobacco or alcohol abuse, yet we don’t put a sin tax on twinkies.

    Random thought – Another good “sin tax source” these days would be one on tatoos. (ohhh, that ought to get some responses!)

    I am always amazed at what people put in their shopping carts. I am somewhat heavier than I want to be although I drink a total of 3 or 4 soda’s a month, otherwise it’s mostly water, coffee in the morning and a glass of wine (or 6) in the evening. I buy fresh vegetable and very little in the way of prepared foods. But, I see these obese people with a ton of crap in their carts and now, to top it off, Krogers provides these motorized carts for these lard asses to motor around the store in. Arghhh!!

    But, back to the tatoos…. I was at the Kroger store at 741 and Alex-Bell Rd. in Moraine a couple of months ago. There was a couple in their early to mid 20’s in front of me. Neither one was a picture of fitness and both had several tatoos. They broke up the stuff in their cart into two orders. One they paid for (with a credit card) and the other, all baby items, was paid for with WIC coupons. As the cashier was ringing this stuff up she admired their tatoos to which the male expressed his gratitude and went on to tell her in great detail about the other one that he was planning to get in a few days. I about shit myself!! I’m helping to pay for their baby food and he has spare cash (or a credit card that he’s going to default on) to buy freakin’ tatoos.

    OK, deeeeep breath and climb down off the soap box…. And back to work so I can keep paying for this shit…

    Gene, you fiesty bastard, let me know when I can buy you that beer! ;)

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  14. J.R. Locke December 22, 2007 / 5:20 pm
    “You just dont get the “Death Tax” thing – IT IS MINE, NOT YOURS”

    Gene isn’t it all Gods? Shall we covet or not?

    Anyway I always love how the word liberal and elitist go so well together. Just like blue blood New England cowboys.

    Juan I would love to see how you validate your claim that most wealth is created in America and not inherited or tied to ones own family resources. Everything I have ever read on social mobility in America shows a strong trend between wealth and success. For instance read up a little on the topic of “black wealth.” There have been studies showing how old racial laws preventing ownership of land, occupation restrictions etc in the 1700-1800’s cost blacks through the years. Interesting stuff if you grew up on a farm. But it might be too liberal of a concept to warrant your interest.

    Anyway I will buy you both a beer anytime you want to discuss sin taxes. If we could only tax marijuana, coke, heroin and meth!

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  15. J.R. Locke December 22, 2007 / 7:28 pm
    Gene but everything you have ever written here sounds just as elitist and “know it all.” Your omnipotent morality, right and wrong, is no different than Ted Kennedy’s.

    Anyway what makes someone down to earth? Is it talking in a drawl, listening to country music and being a misogynist and racist? Cause that is the code where I grew up.

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  16. David Esrati December 23, 2007 / 3:25 pm

    Gene-
    Since you seem stuck on it- where do I say “train” people?

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  17. Juan December 23, 2007 / 3:29 pm
    JR – If you re-read what I wrote, you will see that I did NOT say that “MOST” wealth is created. I did say that much wealth is created. There is a big difference and you are trying to misquote me for your own benefit.

    Recent IRS studies have found that over the last 20 years that the people that are in the top few percent of earners changes from year to year. Since inheireted wealth passes tax free to the recipient, these people never show up in these statistics. This is because people are creating wealth and then cashing in on it (when they sell investments, businesses, etc.) Inheireted wealth is not taxed by the recipient, so that does not move people in and out of this category.

    With regards to “black wealth,” the black middle class is one of the faster growing segments of the economy. More and more blacks are starting businesses which prosper. They in turn hire blacks to fill the positions in these companies and these people gradually go from being economically disadvantaged into the middle class.

    I don’t know which specific things you’ve read about keepin’ the brothers down, but I’ve read similar things. I’ve also read things that show this has not been the case (except for isolated cases in the deep deep South) for the last 30 years. If “everything you’ve ever read on social mobility” says that blacks are still being screwed, maybe you should look at other authors! But, maybe that would take you too far out of your liberal comfort zone.

    You know, it’s funny that conservatives are often labeled as discriminatory. Most conservatives that I’ve known have been more than willing to give people of any race or background a helping hand and a fair shake. But most liberals, apparently including you, still think that certain groups need handouts to make things “fair.” Are you not discriminating against these large groups of people by not giving them the credit to work hard and succeed without special handouts? Hmmm, if someone of my ancestory can succeed in this country, anyone should be able too.

    As far as letting you buy me a beer…I’m going to pass on that. I’d be happy to have a beer with you, but I’ll buy! ;) And yes, we should be collecting sin taxes from the users of ganga, coke, meth, etc. Forget this pointless and costly war on drugs.

    I think I read in one of your posts on another topic that you were about to graduate, I’m assuming from college. So, this quote which I’ve seen attributed to many different people is for you….

    “If a man is not a liberal at eighteen, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is thirty, he has no brain” – Winston Churchill

    Feliz Navidad,
    Juan.

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  18. David Esrati December 23, 2007 / 5:58 pm

    Gene- I think you are confused. I don’t drink lemonade.
    I have worked with pizza clients for over 11 years- so I do have some experience.
    And- “We will get you trained”- I have no clue what you are talking about.

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  19. Jeff December 23, 2007 / 6:24 pm
    JR Locke: “… lord knows most of these small government folk love to tell everyone who they can or can’t marry…”

    Thank You.

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  20. Steve Peck February 4, 2008 / 9:48 pm
    Do Liberals not see how close they are to Socialism? “Let’s distribute wealth to everyone!” Sounds like the old collapsed Soviet Empire to me… Why is it so bad for someone to succeed while others fail? Why is it that I should work my ass off to education myself so I can get a decent job with a good wage to provide for my family only to let you Liberal idiots tax everything I have in order to give it to some lazy asshole who will NEVER work because you give them everything!! Whatever happened to ‘Teach a man to fish”? Do we not have enough overtaxed government programs that will allow these poor mistreated souls to get up off their fat, lazy, uneducated butts and do something to better themselves? I’m all for helping someone out of a hole, but let’s help them by getting them out and teaching them not to fall back in – don’t just throw them food down in the hole and tell them “I feel your pain” – William Jefferson Clinton.

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  21. David Esrati February 4, 2008 / 10:01 pm

    Mr. Peck, is it better to only distribute wealth to a few? We’re doing a damn fine job of that now. Believe it or not, life is a team sport- unless of course you are a lawyer, then it’s every man for himself (which is why Congress is really a mess).
    So, is it bad to take money from all of us to educate all of us? If you want them not to be “fat, lazy, uneducated” shouldn’t we encourage youth sports, good schools and competitive spirit? Hmmm, sounds just like a mentor program to me.
    I’d rather reward good behavior- than pay the price of bad behavior- prisons aren’t cheap.
    Thanks for your input, though. Hope you take time to look over the rest of my platform.

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