Good morning, everyone.
Below, we talk about why Bill Lee is the way he is, get you ready for tonight's lunar eclipse, and discuss everyone's favorite topic aside from death: taxes. You can follow us on Twitter (@realpamphleteer), LinkedIn (@realpamphleteer), or Instagram (@realpamphleteer) for additional content.
Thanks for reading.
✎ LEE'S PEN RUNS DRY
Governor Lee sent back a bill designed to strip county health departments of local control without his signature last Friday. However, he did not go as far as to veto the bill which means it will still become law. The bill itself was an anomaly for the state legislature and consequently raised questions and concerns. The implications of its contents suggest that the state will be required to sign off on decisions made by county health department officials, perhaps even beyond Covid-related issues. This consolidation and centralization of state power sets a precedent that can be wielded by any administration in the future.
It is not uncharacteristic for Governor Lee to be averse to the practice of consolidating and centralizing power. Through the pandemic, he deferred many decisions back to local officials and Tennessee citizens.
A few examples:
- Mask opt-outs at the discretion of parents; Executive Order No. 84.
- Granting power to Mayors regarding masking protocol.
- Lee’s refusal to call Covid Special Session, compelling legislatures to drum up the 2/3rds support in the House and Senate to call the session themselves.
Following his signing of the Covid “omnibus” bill on Friday (not the part regarding county health departments), Lee ended the implementation of Executive Order No. 84. Order No. 84 created the power for parents to opt their children out of having to mask up in school. The need for this executive order became unnecessary following the signing of the new legislation as it contains protections against mask mandates in schools. Consequently, all lawsuits regarding Executive Order No. 84 are now obsolete.
◉ On TONIGHT'S LUNAR ECLIPSE
In the wee hours of the morning, you can witness a partial eclipse of November’s full Beaver Moon. The earth’s shadow will begin moving across the autumn moon at 1:18 AM Friday morning and will be visible throughout middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. Peak viewing will be at 3:03 AM and will cover 99.1% of the moon. Eye protection is not necessary to observe a lunar eclipse. Dialing in your telescope or even pulling out a pair of binoculars can enhance your ability to see the beauty of the event. It looks like local observers will enjoy clear skies, but brisk weather. If you wish to find a perfect vantage point, light pollution begins to dissipate about 12 miles outside the city. The sky gets darker sooner when traveling West or North of Nashville as opposed to the areas that lie to the South or to the East.
If you capture a stellar picture of this celestial event, send it to [email protected] for your chance to be included in Monday’s Newsletter.
- Record store owners seek to buy building from landlord (Post)
- Transpotainment company founder buys building near science center (Post)
- Metro will issue up to $50M of bonds for Century Farms infrastructure (Biz Journal)
- Edgehill commercial building sells for $2.5M (Post)
- Owners of Valentino’s pay $1.38M for restaurant’s home (Post)
- Green Hills retail building sells for $11M (Post)
§ TAX THE WHO?
Tucked into the Infrastructure Bill that Biden signed on Monday are two hotly contested amendments to the tax code directed at the crypto industry. Though the provisions will not take effect until 2024, the nascent "crypto lobby" has already begun the work to undo and refine the provisions.
- Amendment to §6045: Expands the definition of a "broker" to include “any person who (for consideration) is responsible for regularly providing any service effectuating transfers of digital assets on behalf of another person.”
- Amendment to §6050I: Expands the monitoring of cash transactions over $10,000 to include digital cryptocurrencies. Parties engaged in transactions over $10,000 would need to file a report with IRS within 15 days or else face penalties.
Advocates take issue with the first provision's expansive definition of who qualifies as a "crypto" broker. Concerned lawmakers such as Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) have sought to hone in the definition of broker so that it doesn't include miners, wallet providers, software developers, and other key components of the cryptocurrency industry who don't broker digital assets, but whose technology may facilitate the transmission of digital assets between parties. Ted Cruz (R-TX), on the other hand, has filed a motion to repeal the redefinition of "broker" entirely.
The second, and more damning, provision falls in lockstep with the Biden administration's efforts to beef up tax revenue by hiring more IRS employees and shrinking the size of transactions that draw its attention. As has been well publicized, a provision in the Infrastructure Bill requires that all business transactions over $600 be reported to the IRS. This includes everything from payment apps like Zelle, Paypal, and Venmo to small business payments to vendors or employees. Prior to the Infrastructure Bill, the limit was $20,000. The new rules, deliberately or not, target people from the lower and middle-classes working second and/or part-time jobs. Forbes penned the obligatory "...and here's why that's a good thing" piece. Tax the rich, right?
But the latest and greatest tax innovations don't stop with petty cash payments. The Infrastructure Bill also reworks the requirement that cash transactions of over $10,000 be reported to the IRS to include digital currencies and assets. Critics call the provision an expansion of "deputized surveillance" because there are no third parties involved in most—if not all—cryptocurrency transactions. If the provision sticks, transactions exceeding $10,000 in cryptocurrency would require that both parties report information on the counterparty to the IRS within 15 days. The provision is the first foot in the door to more intimately and precisely monitoring transactions of all kinds between private citizens.
A cursory look at the history of taxation reveals a fundamental truth that gets lost in the Democrats' feverish attempts to expand tax revenue by "taxing the rich": taxes always fall hardest on the lower and middle classes. One could even argue that the history of government—and in turn, taxation—involves governments around the globe developing their powers for the express purpose of enforcing standards and rules on the least among us in order to extract more and more capital to enrich themselves and fund whatever "revolutionary" social initiatives will convince their constituents to continues shoveling over cash to them. At the root of American freedom is the idea of "economic freedom" and a large part of economic liberty is freedom from aggressive taxation. It's a tired point that gets lost in the fray of the Culture Wars, but consistently and permanently relevant.
- OSHA officially suspends enforcement of Biden’s vaccine mandate after federal appeals court decision to uphold a stay on the mandate.
- Starting Jan. 1, the IRS will begin taxing transactions in payments apps for accounts whose goods and services expenditures exceed $600. The current limit is $20,000. Tax the rich, baby!
- The FBI's raid of Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe's house has sparked condemnation of the FBI's actions from the unlikeliest of places: the ACLU, the Washington Post, and Politico.
🐓 TODAY IN: A GIANT TOPIARY IN SOUTH GEORGIA
“Who the hell needs a chicken in Fitzgerald? We need housing,” she says. “That man needed to be out of office.”
‘The Chicken Is Obviously Polarizing’: Mayor’s Giant Topiary Project Gets Him Ousted In the smalltown of Fitzgerald, Georgia, the failed construction of the world's largest chicken topiary has created a major rift in the community and resulted in the town of Fitzgerald, Georgia's mayor being ousted.
THINGS TO DO
View our full event calendar here.
🖼 Medieval Bologna: Art for a Universal City at the Frist is running until Jan 30. It's the first museum exhibition in the United States to focus on medieval art made in the northern Italian city of Bologna. Home to the oldest university in Europe, Bologna fostered a unique artistic culture at the end of the Middle Ages (Info)
🍍 The Hart Grand Opening @ The Hart, 11a-11p, Info
⚡ Funky Tonk @ Acme Feed & Seed, 7p, Free, Info
🎺 Hot Club Gypsy Jazz Thursdays @ Rudy’s Jazz Room, 5p, $12-$72, Info
💃 Line Dancing + Free Lessons @ The Skydeck at Assembly Hall, 7p, Free, Info
Around the Web
✽ Ivermectin Much More Than You Wanted To Know
✥ More than 500 hospitalized from scorpion stings after storm in Egypt The storms forced scorpions from their hiding places into many houses across the Aswan province. Those who were treated were discharged after they received anti-venom doses.
❍ Closer to Home Getting beyond the transportation debate of city versus suburb
Political Theater Highlight Reel
- Alejandro Mayorkas graded himself with an “A for effort” on Tuesday, telling senators he believes the Biden administration is on the right track to solve the border’s chaos.
- Krysten Sinema says of Mitche McConnell: "He has a dry sense of humor. It's underrated."
- NPR slammed for calling Boston’s first female, Asian American mayor ‘a disappointment’