Charles Rollet

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Paying taxes is deeply repellent to many Americans who profit daily from what these collected monies make possible. Corporations particularly find this process galling. Paul Ryan visited Boeing in Washington State a week ago to give full-throated disapproval of the 35% corporate tax rate. Of course, the airplane manufacturer pays closer to 5%. Apple’s payout is often essentially negligible. The average effective corporate tax rate in the U.S. is roughly 27% thanks to myriad loopholes.

The House Speaker, the Oval Office and usually warring factions of Republicans all agree the number needs to be lowered to between 15-20%. Experience shows this reduction won’t create new jobs, just enrich the already wealthy. When Americans wonder where all the money went and why we can’t build infrastructure without ballooning the deficit — which exists largely because of Dubya’s tax cuts for the wealthy in 2001 — the answer rests mostly in congressional offices and corporate suites.

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One of the main bugaboos plaguing Russian businessman and scientist Igor Ashurbeyli’s proposed Asgardia: The Space Nation (as opposed to Asgardia: The Thing That Guards My Ass) is the issue of taxes, though that’s hardly the only obstacle. His vision is one of “Space Arks” orbiting the Earth and being home to a “democratic utopia,” a nation-state beyond the rules of Earth that works to protect the mothership.

Hundreds of thousands folks from a variety of nations have already applied for citizenship (damn foreigners!), though, as you might expect, there are some details to be worked out even beyond preventing everyone from dying in a container in the stratosphere. As Charles Rollet explains in a Wall Street Journal article, the entrepreneur has decided taxes will be voluntary, perhaps not the easiest way to build a new civilization.

The opening:

It’s tough enough to create a nation in space. There’s the Earth-orbiting colony to plan, the provisioning to figure out and the technical challenge of launching thousands of people.

On top of that, you have to make folks get along before they even rocket up there.

The scale of the human task is dawning on Russian businessman and scientist Igor Ashurbeyli, who last year drew headlines with his plan for a peaceful democratic utopia dubbed Asgardia above the stratosphere.

More than 300,000 people from 217 countries and territories signed up online to be Asgardians—among them starry-eyed dreamers, sci-fi fans and political idealists—and 110,000 of them are now officially citizens.

While Dr. Ashurbeyli’s lofty plan involves launching “Space Arks” into lower Earth orbit by 2025, he has found himself caught up in earthly debates among his people about pesky details such as the space nation’s constitution and potential taxes.

Not to mention its prospective shortage of women.

Among problems facing Asgardia, “the biggest is self-organization,” said Dr. Ashurbeyli, 53, “because no one has ever tried organizing…what is today 100,000 citizens from 200 countries who don’t know each other and live in different places on Earth.”

Dr. Ashurbeyli, based in Moscow, has few details about how Asgardia, named after Asgard, the godly realm of Norse mythology, would be built, launched and run. Specifics are to be decided by the nation’s parliament.•

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