March 20, 2013

It Can Happen Here

One of the constant refrains running through commentary on the plan to seize a portion of bank deposits in Cyprus is that it can't happen here. This is America and we just don't do thinks like that.

California's top-end taxpayers -- already steamed over a recent hike in the nation's highest state income tax -- are now fuming over a new $120 million retroactive tax grab on small business owners. 

In December, the state's tax authority determined that a tax break claimed over the past few years by 2,500 entrepreneurs and stockholders of California-based small businesses is no longer valid and sent out notices of payment.

These businesses took a perfectly legal tax write-off. In essence they put money in the bank. Now the state of California is going to exprpriate that money.

This is Cyprus via a slightly different mechanism. It can happen here. It is happening here.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:10 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 19, 2013

CSI Washington D.C.

The political chattering class is buzzing over the recently released GOP report on what they think they need to do to stop sucking so much. Some are even questioning why the GOP itself is calling the report an autopsy. I have a few possible answers.

It would be most beneficial if it was a post-mortem examination of their now dead conservative principles. Maybe they could find out who killed them and hold them accountable?

I am sure that any thorough forensic examination will reveal that the cause of death will be the removal of the establishment GOP's spine. Which was made possible by the voluntary surrender of their testicles.

If the evidence doesn't indict as accessories John "I trust Obama completely" Boehner and John "if you defend the Constitution you're a Wacko-Bird" McCain then you know the fix is in (and nothing will be fixed).

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:01 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 12, 2013

Sweet Sweet Corruption

There is noting so sweet as to work in an industry where the Federal Government will bend over backwards to make sure you succeed. As long as you keep donating to their campaigns.

The U.S. Sugar industry is propped up with huge tariffs  that keep out any imported sugar. But even with that, they still struggle. But they don't have to struggle too hard.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave loans to sugar producers. I don't have the details but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the terms were far better than anything they could have gotten on the open market. If they could even get a loan on the open market.

Despite the heavy handed protectionism not everything is going sweetly

Domestic sugar prices have been trading at about 20 cents a pound, their lowest level in nearly four years, putting companies that make sugar from cane or beets at risk of defaulting on loans they received from the USDA when prices were higher.

But not cry for the sugar industry. The government is coming to their rescue.

The USDA plans to by as much as 400,000 TONS of sugar on the open market so that sugar producers can afford to pay back their loans to the USDA.

What does the USDA plan to do with 400,000 tons of sugar? Sell it to ethanol producers who really don't want it.

But U.S. ethanol producers don't have much use for the sugar. Most use corn as a feedstock, and while plants can include some sugar in the mix, renewable-fuel makers earn extra money from the byproducts of corn ethanol production.

How are they going to get ethanol producers to buy the sugar they really don't want? Since there is no Affordable Sugar Act mandating that they buy or pay a tax/fine to the IRS, the USDA is going to sell it to them cheap. They will the sugar they bought at $.20 a pound for $.10 a pound.

Sugar producers make money. The USDA collects it's loan payments. Ethanol producers get cheap feedstock. Everybody wins!!!!

Except the taxpayers who have to fund the loss on the sugar sale. And anyone who buys sugar or anything that contains sugar as they will continue to pay artificially high prices.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:15 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

Missing the Point

Living in the greater NewYork area, I've been able to read and hear a great deal of commentary and debate about the Bloomberg Soda Ban. What I find more annoying than a petty left-wing tyrant wannabe trying to control his subjects lives, is the utter failure of virtually everyone on the other side if the issue to make the counter arguments that need to be made.

The primary argument from those in support of this affront on individual liberty is that it needs to be done to reduce the healthcare costs to society. Of course by "society" they mean the government.

There are two counter arguments that should be made to this assertion. The first is cheap easy and fun. Mayor Bloomberg was recently quoted as saying:

When it comes to the United States federal government, people do seem willing to lend us an infinite amount of money.

If we can borrow an infinite supply of money, why do we need to worry about the cost of healthcare?

The second far more serious and necessary counter argument is to ask the question why? Why is the cost of an individual's healthcare government's problem? Why are someone else's poor dietary choices my problem? Why  should I pay any price either financial or in loss of liberty for the personal individual decisions of people I do not know and do not chose to support?

Government's involvement in providing, paying for and subsidizing health care are ultimately means of control. The Bloomberg soda ban is just the one of the more egregious examples.

Bloomberg was stopped for now but he and those like him who believe they know better how to live our lives and are willing to use force to make us obey, will be back to try again.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:23 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 11, 2013

You Want Fries With That?

Hoist a big gulp in celebration of a small victory for individual liberty.

The asinine soda regulations put in place by the asshole Mayor of New York City have been given a firm kick in the ass by a New York judge.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal:

The city is "enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations,” New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling decided Monday.

The regulations are "fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences,” the judge wrote. "The simple reading of the rule leads to the earlier acknowledged uneven enforcement even within a particular city block, much less the city as a whole….the loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the state purpose of the rule.”

Mayor Bloomberg, being the asshole that he is, plans to appeal.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:40 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 09, 2013

No Comment

I don't know if anyone has noticed, and based on the rather pathetic levels of site traffic, the possibility is slim, but a few weeks ago I grew tired enough of deleting large batches of SPAM that I disabled comments altogether.

Since that time has made some improvements to its spam filters, so I turned them back on.

If anyone notices.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:32 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

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