ratpag Opens Its Mailbag to Discuss the Trust Fund and MonkeyParking

It’s been some time since ratpag opened up the old mailbag to see how everyone thinks we’re doing.  That’s a fact.

We’re happy to re-open it today by carefully selecting certain topics that easily meet our agenda while allowing us to flesh out some incomplete thoughts we had on certain topics, some weeks or months old (we kid).  Our first letter hits on one of our latest and greatest causes:  the Highway Trust Fund.

Dear “ratpag” –

Why are you so hung up on raising our taxes to pay for your stupid ideas?  I know you don’t have a car and that’s why you’d love to raise the gas tax, you assholes.  What’s wrong with the latest idea to raise funds by letting businesses underfund pensions (which I’m sure you have a problem with because you’re a union sympathizer)?  Money’s money.  It shouldn’t matter how it comes from.

Sincerely,

Lyle S.

Virginia Beach, VA

Thanks for the letter, Lyle.  We assume you’re talking about the latest Congressional end-around to fund our national transportation infrastructure with a temporary, short-sighted gimmick, as discussed by the New York Times.  The plan is this (and, might we add, passed the Ways and Means Committee last week):

If you change corporate pension funding rules and let companies set aside less money today to pay for future benefits, they will report higher taxable profits.

If they have higher taxable profits they’ll pay higher taxes which could, presumably, be placed in the Highway Trust Fund.  As the article notes, this is a gimmick because:

  1. Corporations will have to make up for pension payments in later years, resulting in less taxes paid
  2. Congress has a 10-year window in which they set laws and calculate the budget.  This is unhelpful because anything that happens after 2024 is not taken into consideration – like less taxes paid, meaning yet another shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund.

The article goes into detail about why it’s dumb to fund transportation with changed corporate pension policies, why it would be good to just invest via bonds due to record-low interest rates, and how this is a gimmick that would have Congress scrounging for another idea not in 10 years but in 5 months – January 2015 – and is worth a read.  We hope that answers your question, Lyle.

We were so excited last week when we thought we had entered a Twitter war with MonkeyParking following our article regarding whether they should have to follow the law.  Somebody called ParkingMonkey responded to our initial inquiry with a simple

No, we shouldn’t. #freespeech

And we took it from there.  We zinged them by positing that insider trading could be considered free speech and, so, why is that not legal, too?  To which they responded:

Great example of free speech suppressed by government interference.  The wealthy create jobs and  should be left alone.

Shots had been fired and we were ready for a long battle before one ratpagger finally decided to click on ParkingMonkey and discover that they are a like-minded parody account.  Nevertheless, we see that our efforts – and likely the efforts of the City of San Francisco, though we can’t be certain – have brought a temporary halt to the sale of public land (parking spaces) to the highest bidder.

Our satisfaction may make it seem that ratpag is viciously against new ideas or stuck in its way and not interested in a change in how things are done.  This isn’t the case.  ratpag is simply interested in a level playing field for all to succeed and that doesn’t include one business flaunting the law for personal profit (particularly when this flaunting includes selling the rights for access to publically-owned land).

So that’s it for this installment of ratpag’s mailbag!  Sure, it was only one letter and one analysis of a fake twitter war, but we feel like we accomplished a lot today and want to go out on a high note.  We have another big week in store at ratpag – much TBD – with our DC correspondent in Argentina and certain news about a certain rail agency’s labor dispute.

Oh, and despite our reader’s insistence that ratpag’s 102nd post was more significant than a ratpagger becoming a father for the first time, well, that ratpagger became a father for the first time.  Congrats!

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