A BAT In The Belfry

Ever wonder where that saying came from?

Surprisingly, belfry does not come from bell, and early belfries did not contain bells at all. Belfry comes from berfrey, a medieval term for a wooden tower used in sieges. The structure could be rolled up to a fortification wall so that warriors hidden inside could storm the battlements. Over time, the term was applied to other types of shelters and towers, many of which had bells in them. Through association, people began spelling berfrey as bellfrey, then as belfrey and later belfry. On a more metaphorical note, someone who has “bats in the belfry” is crazy or eccentric. This phrase is responsible for the use of bats for “crazy” (“Are you completely bats?”) and the occasional use of belfry for “head” (“He’s not quite right in the belfry”).

Now that has absolutely nothing to do with the post what so ever…..but now you know.

Trump is about to start his assault on tax reform and one of those items we need to watch for is a “border tax”…….

With an ObamaCare alternative off the table for now, the White House is turning its attention to a new initiative, the first fundamental overhaul of the tax code in 30 years. Intense lobbying already is underway, with one of the most contentious issues the idea of a “border adjustment tax,” or BAT. Here’s where things stand:

  • The border tax would effectively levy a tax on products coming into the US and give tax breaks to companies sending products abroad. Proponents say it would protect US jobs, while opponents say it would raise prices of everyday goods for many Americans. See a primer at CNN.
  • As you might expect, companies such as Boeing, Merck, and Dow Chemical that export many of their products are big fans of the BAT, while heavy importers such as retailers Walmart and Target oppose it because they say it would drive up their prices, reports the Atlantic.
  • A huge ad war is unfolding. The National Retail Federation, for example, is running ads against the BAT, like this parody of an infomercial.
  • Paul Ryan and House Republican leaders are pushing for the BAT, but their Senate counterparts generally oppose it, reports the the Washington Post. Conservative Tom Cotton, for instance, called it “a theory wrapped in a speculation inside a guess,” in this op-ed at USA Today. In a possible hint of compromise, the Post notes that Treasury chief Steven Mnuchin has suggested that some products or industries could be exempt, without offering details.
  • President Trump himself sounded skeptical of the tax initially but might be warming up. “Anytime I hear border adjustment, I don’t love it,” he told the Wall Street Journal in January. In February, however, he told Reuters that it “could lead to a lot more jobs,” and on Sunday, Reince Priebus said Trump thought a border tax could even “the playing field between our country” and others, per Fox News.
  • The success of the BAT hinges on the economic premise that it would strengthen the US dollar, though there’s a fair amount of skepticism about that, notes Business Insider. A more in-depth analysis, which takes note of “significant confusion and uncertainty” about how exchange rates might respond, is at Real Clear Economics.
  • The European Union might sue if a border tax goes into effect, reports dw.com. Canada isn’t a fan, either, notes Fortune.
  • More broadly, the GOP’s failure to repeal ObamaCare complicates tax reform, because Republicans were relying on savings from the ACA’s elimination as part of their calculations. The New York Times delves into the thorny legislative consequences, which mean that Republicans might have to work more closely with Democrats.

Your produce is about to become more expensive….to start……

Let the debate begin!

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9 thoughts on “A BAT In The Belfry

  1. Time for greedy-assed American Farmers to start selling more of their produce here in the US rather than exporting it to nations that love to burn our flag. I do not mind paying more for my produce if it means less invasion of our country from across those taxed borders.

      1. Yes “Greedy!” I hae yet to find one that does not drive at least two cadillacs per family and who does not live in a house pushing a market value of a quarter million dollars and who is so heavily subsidized by Uncle Sugar that there will never be any worries again unless the kids rebel against the traditional “Farming Family” model and decide to go off to the big city to seek their fortune. But no, I am primarily speaking of the Agri-Giants and not the family operations.

      2. I will agree about agri-nazis…..the farmers in my area are poor and barely hanging on to their farms….you are talking about corporate welfare and that costs this country more than the piss poor programs for hungry people.

  2. The Brexit negotiations only started today, yet our government is already talking about slapping high import taxes on EU goods, if we do not get a good exit package. When in doubt, tax. This seems to be the motto of politicians the world over.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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