Taxation without consideration

The Wall Street Journal reports on another Congressional jam down:

Every time Congress has taken a serious look at proposals to boost Internet sales taxes, it has rejected them. That’s probably why pro-tax Senators are trying to rush through an online tax hike with as little consideration as possible.

As early as Monday, the Senate will vote on a bill that was introduced only last Tuesday. The text of this legislation, which would fundamentally change interstate commerce, only became available on the Library of Congress website over the weekend. And you thought ObamaCare was jammed through Nancy Pelosi‘s Democratic House in a hurry.

. . .

Mr. Enzi’s Marketplace Fairness Act discriminates against Internet-based businesses by imposing burdens that it does not apply to brick-and-mortar companies. For the first time, online merchants would be forced to collect sales taxes for all of America’s estimated 9,600 state and local taxing authorities.

New Hampshire, for example, has no sales tax, but a Granite State Web merchant would be forced to collect and remit sales taxes to all the governments that do. Small online sellers will therefore have to comply with tax laws created by distant governments in which they have no representation, and in places where they consume no local services.

. . .

The drivers of this rush to tax are Wal-Mart and other big retailers that can more easily absorb the costs of collection than can smaller competitors. Also supporting the bill is Internet giant Amazon, which coincidentally now sells its own tax compliance service to other merchants. Adding to the lobbying muscle are state and local governments. The politicians believe they’ll collect tens of billions of dollars in taxes that are already owed by shoppers on remote sales but rarely paid.

So big business and big government are uniting to pursue their mutual interest in sticking it to the little guy. Any Internet seller with more than $1 million in annual sales would be forced to serve all of the nation’s tax collectors.

Which is pretty much what Adam Smith predicted in Wealth of Nations.  I’m sure that the taxing agencies will collect more tax dollars, but at the expense of driving small internet based businesses out of business.  I wonder if the added cost of government support for bankrupt business owners and employees is more or less than the projected increase in tax revenues, never mind the actual increase in revenues.

For shame!

Yates Walker overt at The Daily Caller has a great article that proposes that Republicans capitalize on shame, now that the President has opened up that can of worms.  Here are some graphs, read it all:

As a nation, we’re burning the house down because we’re cold. The next American generation is going to be cold, staring at a pile of ashes and told that they have to pay interest on it.  . . . Ours is a government of thieving hedonists. And the leader of that government is invoking shame over the fact that only 41 laws prohibited Adam Lanza from shooting up an elementary school?

Whether Republican leaders realize it or not, Barack Obama just pulled his goalie. He opened a door to Republican victory and a conservative resurgence that could define the next 10 election cycles. By invoking shame, Obama started a conversation that he never intended to start.

. . .

GOP critics are presently insisting that the GOP needs fundamental change to appeal to new voters. They’re wrong. It’s all about messaging. It’s always about messaging. Would Obama have won in 2008 if he said that he was going to abandon Clinton’s landmark welfare reform, extend food stamps to one-seventh of our citizenry, take over a sixth of our economy, fold on gay marriage, leave embassies undefended, abandon all of the progress our soldiers fought for in Iraq, legalize untried, indefinite detention of American citizens, and add $10 trillion to the national debt — all the while, partying with celebrities in Hollywood, inciting class warfare, and soaking the rich?

No.   . . .

Republicans can learn from Alinsky. Someone in leadership on the right needs to engage Obama in a national conversation about shame, redirecting the shame from gun control to spending and the willful mortgaging of America’s future. Whenever Obama mentions new spending, he needs to hear a shame chorus from the right concerning shattered piggy banks and America’s beleaguered future generations. The shame angle needs to be harped on until it gets a response from the president. Eventually Obama will be forced to address the argument. When he does, specific cuts should be demanded. If he makes the requested cuts, new cuts should be demanded. When he fails, the shame chorus should begin anew.

. . .

Unlike most Republican arguments, this one is bite-sized, populist, and winning: Stop robbing America’s children. A brighter, less indebted American future polls well with students, parents, seniors, veterans, whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and everyone else.

Even narcissistic kleptocrats Progressives can get this one.

Its not pretty behind the curtain

As we approach Summer of Recovery 3 (TM) the song and dance team in Babylon on the Potomac are frantically assuring us that we are getting better in every day in every way, hoping that we won’t notice the stench of decay and corruption becoming ever more nauseating.  Bill over at Apocalypse Cometh details the numbers:

“More workers joined the federal government’s disability program in March than got new jobs, according to two new government reports, a clear indicator of how bleak the nation’s jobs picture is after three full years of economic recovery.”

 

 

 

 

 

In addition, while hiring has been very weak during the recovery, the number of people who have dropped out of the labor force entirely has exploded by 7.3 million since June 2009, an IBD analysis of BLS data show. Some aged into retirement, but most either signed up for disability, stayed in school, moved back in with parents, or just quit looking for a job. The participation in the labor force [is now 63.8%, down from 65.7% in June 2009] as a percentage is the lowest it’s been in the history of this country.

 

The number of people with jobs is still nearly 5 million below its pre-recession peak.

 

The number of long-term unemployed — those out of work 27 weeks or more — is still 5.4 million — almost 1 million higher than when the recovery began, and almost twice the level it ever reached prior to Obama’s recovery.”

 

That’s the gist of it.  There are a few more nuggets in there, and the kicker at the end, which will likely surprise you, it did me.

Fragility

The banking crisis in Cyprus shows clearly how fragile our civilization has become.  Richard Fernandez over at The Belmont Club describes some of the effects.

With Cyprus unable to convince anyone to bail it out the banks will remain closed until at least next week.  And when they reopen they may be subject to capital controls.

Nobody knows exactly what this may involve. But Max Keiser notes that the restrictions could include, but not necessarily be limited to the following:

  • Restrictions in daily withdrawals
  • Ban on premature termination of time savings deposits
  • Compulsory renewal of all time savings deposits upon maturity
  • Conversion of current accounts to time deposits
  • Ban or restrictions on non cash transactions
  • Restrictions on use of debit, credit or prepaid debit cards
  • Ban or restriction on cashing in checks
  • Restrictions on domestic interbank transfers or transfers within the same bank
  • Restrictions on the interactions/transactions of the public with credit institutions
  • Restrictions on movements of capital, payments, transfers

Even though these have not been enacted as yet their impact is being felt, and how.

I went to the pharmacy today to buy some milk and medicine for my 3-year-old and the pharmacist informed me that they were no longer taking credit or debit cards. It’s cash only, because that’s what their suppliers are demanding. The same is true at several gas stations on the island, and I don’t doubt that more will soon follow …

We know what happens then. Cyprus shows us.  A European country goes from credit, to plastic, to cash, then barter, and then finally, unless the process is halted, to guns, knives and clubs, teeth and fingernails.

Nicholas Nassim Taleb and Russ Roberts discuss the counter intuitive fact is that the stronger we make the system the more inflexible it becomes.  The more inflexible it becomes the more fragile it becomes.  Ideally our economy would be flexible in such a way that the shocks of the boom and bust cycle and bounce back with a minimum of pain.  Maybe we will re-learn that lesson after we’ve had our noses rubbed in it some more.

Summer of Recovery 3

Market Ticker has a marvelous chart which explains why Summer of Recovery 3 will be as big a hit as was Summer of Recovery 2.  And since nothing succeeds like success, we’re also being set up for Summer of Recovery 4!  Nobody’s quite sure, but the hot money says it’s being written by Cloward-Piven and performed by the wonderful, zany descendants of the Keystone Cops, our very own Elite Political Class.

Administrative state metastasis

Back in the day, Mrs. Black, my PoliSci 101 prof, elucidated the real rules for bureaucracies.

  1. Perpetuate its own existence.
  2. Extend its power and influence
  3. Defend and increase its budget and turf
  4. Complexify its internal operations
  5. Perform the function it was created for.

Obamacare regsSenate majority leader Mitch McConnell has put out a picture of what that looks like in practice.  On the right, 1,600 pages of Obamacare; on the left, 20,000+ pages of Obamacare regulations so far.  In the words of the prophet Pelosi, “We have to pass it find out what’s in it.”  Indeed.

This is a business killer, which is exactly what it was intended to be.  Obamacare was from the start intended to nationalize the entire medical insurance industry and establish a Federal health management system as a sinecure for supporters of the Party of Socialism.

Bloomberg reveals . . .

the cause of overcrowded homeless shelters!  You’d best be sitting down for this one, because it is a real eye-opener:  Billionaires with private jets!

New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg’s fascist zeal to regulate soft drinks and salt intake has likely resulted in him taking his eye off the ball of what really matters: reading scores and the homeless. While Bloomberg has yet to explain why reading scores in his city are such a disaster, he does have an oddball excuse for the record explosion in the homeless population: The wealthy.

No, really: “You can arrive in your private jet at Kennedy Airport, take a private limousine and go straight to the shelter system, walk in the door, and we’ve got to give you shelter,” the billionaire mayor fumed on his weekly WOR radio show. That’s what the law is. I didn’t write the law.”

Imagine it, scads of billionaires swooping into the Big Apple to belly up to the haute cuisine at New York City homeless shelters.  Oh, the humanity!

But wait!  Isn’t Hizzonor a billionaire with a private jet?

Nothing to see here folks

no inflation here
For those of us who live in the real world there is no doubt that the cost of living is going up, up and up. What’s more, not only does it show no sign of decreasing, there is very good reason to expect that the ascent will fire afterburners in the not too distant future. Have a peek at Shadow Stats for their take on it.  Or, trust the Government if you prefer, now that we will soon be heading into Summer of Recovery 3.