'Tis the season to abolish the IRS

If you check out Amazon's business bestseller page, you'll spot an as-yet-unpublished volume on the so-called fair tax leading the pack. Even if you're not a tax policy wonk, you may have heard the term. And you likely heard it from Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee, who wants to implement such a plan.

Fair tax proponents want to eliminate the IRS and the income tax. They want to replace them with a nationwide sales tax of about 23%. The advantages of the tax, supporters say, is that it's much simpler and won't discourage saving. Not so fast, say critics. The less fortunate among us spend more of our income, so the tax ends up being regressive, even if you include rebates for the poor. Still, with tax season in full swing, many Americans may invite a simpler tax system, even if it's not quite perfect.

Want to learn more? Boortz & Linder, authors of the new book, have delved into this topic before. You can check out their first book from us!

Presidential Primary Particulars

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The Ann Arbor City Clerks Office, Washtenaw County Clerk and the State of Michigan have posted voter information regarding the Michigan Presidential Primary Tuesday, January 15, 2008. Since no unlisted candidates filed an affidavit of identity with the Secretary of State by January 4, write-in votes WILL NOT COUNT even though there is a place on the ballot to enter write-ins.

Ron Paul's curious economics

As always, the 2008 presidential election brings us some, shall we say, interesting characters. When it comes to economics, though, few are quite as interesting as Republican Ron Paul. In addition to abolishing the IRS, Mr. Paul hopes to bring back the gold standard as the basis for U.S monetary policy. Ben Bernanke is indubitably shaking in his boots.

Currently, our money is basically as good as our word; other countries accept dollars because they trust that we're willing to trade it for other goods & services. The gold standard, however, makes each one of those dollars equivalent to a specified amount of gold. Paul argues that, in the era of the declining dollar, perhaps we need that gold standard back.

Of course, there are plenty of good reasons why we abandoned the gold standard. But one has to give Paul some props for some unconventional economic thinking. Of course, recent economic news may have people clamoring for someone unconventional, just not quite as unconventional as Ron Paul.

Live Election Results

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CTN channel 19 will air the unofficial elections returns LIVE from the Washtenaw County Clerk's Office beginning at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, November 6th. Coverage will continue throughout the night. Polls open at 7 a.m. and new Voter I.D. requirements are in effect.

Vote Tuesday, November 4th ~ And Bring Your I.D.

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Polls open at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 4th. Remember, this election you'll need to show valid I.D. when voting. Visit the Michigan Votes website and you'll get answer to these questions and more: Am I registered to vote? Where do I vote? How do I get there? What type of voting equipment is available? Who is my city/township clerk? Am I eligible to vote absentee? Need to review the candidates and proposals? Visit the Washtenaw County Elections website and scroll down to the November election.

Gore for President…again?

A few weeks ago I spent a morning handing out flyers for the Kerrytown BookFest at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market. I stood alongside the usual political demonstrators, with their pins and t-shirts, among them a group with a rather unconventional premise: convince former vice president Al Gore to run for president in 2008. The group’s affable volunteers persevered despite mixed responses from the market-goers; some pushed past their table, eager to reach the caffeine and pastries at Sweetwaters. Others scrunched up their faces and made rude remarks. A decent number of shoppers, however, seemed pleased to see the group, and many of them signed their petition.

So, this afternoon while perusing the most-emailed articles on the New York Times, I was not at all surprised to see the group mentioned in an article detailing the national phenomenon of support for Gore sans Gore.

…what do you think? Should Al give it a go? Thoughts on candidacy without a candidate? Discuss!

So you think you can vote?

Well, if you're a citizen, you probably can vote. The question posed by Bryan Caplan in The Myth of the Rational Voter is whether you're good at it. Specifically, he questions voters' intelligence in making decisions about the economy. The American voting public routinely advocates policies, Caplan says, that make them worse off.

Why, you might ask? I'm a smart person, I know what I'm doing when I vote. But according to Caplan, many voters have four biases that screw up the economy: voters tend to be anti-market, anti-foreigner, think more jobs solve everything, and are overly pessimistic. And Caplan demonstrates graphically, as economist are wont to do, that as stupid policies less directly affect voters, they become more irrational. Think global warming.

Whether people think it's genius or elitist, the book is bound to be influential. Check out the intro here. Does it pique your interest? Then why not check it out from your friendly public library?

City Council Candidate Update

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Contact information for the Ann Arbor City Council candidates is now available. City residents can use the Ann Arbor Voter Information look-up tool on the web to find specific information about their ward and precinct, voting districts and polling place. Please call the City Clerk at 734-994-2725 for more information or to check the status of your voter registration in the City.

It's Debatable ~ Tonight

Tune in to CTN Channel 19 tonight, July 23rd, for the live broadcast of the City Council candidate debates sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area. Candidates for Ward One begin debating at 7:00 p.m., Ward Three at 8:00 p.m. and Ward Five at 9:00 p.m. The debates will be rebroadcast up until the August 7th election.

Register & Vote

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City of Ann Arbor residents have until 5 p.m. Monday, July 9th to register to vote in the August 7th City Primary. You can register to vote at City Hall or any Secretary of State office. Save even more time by printing off a Voter Registration Form beforehand. Not sure if you're registered? Check your status at Michigan Votes. If you need to vote via Absentee Ballot, call the City Clerk's office at (734) 994-2725.

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