Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pass the Internet Sales Tax

I guess I’m going to anger my regular readers even more today; they are starting to tune in to see what crazy idea I’ve come up with lately.  Today’s idea is that it is wrong to be able to buy stuff on the internet and not pay the appropriate sales tax to your home state.

 In saying this I am sure that this will decrease internet sales, and increase local sales of some items, as the combination of sales tax and shipping cost will turn some people off to some sales.  The problem is that most states need the revenue from lost sales tax in order to continue needed services without going bankrupt, and local retailers need the business.

 I can think of no legitimate reason why the present situation where most internet sales are tax free should continue, except personal selfishness.

 If the internet sales tax bill now before Congress passes into law, I’m sure it will reduce some of the purchases I normally make via the internet, especially with Amazon, but only marginally, as I will continue to give considerable  weight to the convenience and ease of internet purchases – and to the fact that some items I have bought I could find no other way.

Let’s hear it for the lemmings.


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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rasmussen Agrees With Me

Many of you are ignoring the facts and just don’t get it. The class situation in this country is worse than at any time since just before the Great Depression. I’ll say it again: the top 20% of Americans own 93% of this country’s wealth, while the bottom 80% owns just 7%, and the bottom 40% owns just .3 of 1%. The average real wage has declined steadily since the 1970’s, creating increasing divisions and hardship, while CEO pay has increased 1000%. Republicans are ignoring these facts at their peril. Rasmussen agrees:
Republicans Need to Get Over the Makers vs. Takers Mindset

By Scott Rasmussen - April 21, 2013 RealClearPolitics

Mitt Romney’s secretly recorded comment that 47 percent of Americans are “dependent on the government” and “believe they are victims” isn’t the only reason he lost the presidential campaign. But the candidate himself acknowledged after the election that the comments were “very harmful.”

He added, “What I said is not what I believe.”

But many Republicans still believe it, and the “makers vs. takers” theme has a deep hold on the party. In private conversations, many in the GOP are whispering that Romney was right and that his only mistake was saying it out loud.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say something like, “Well, the half who favor government programs is the half who don’t pay any taxes.”
This is ridiculous — on many levels.

First, the overwhelming majority of those who don’t pay federal income taxes pay a whole variety of other taxes, including state and local taxes, payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, sin taxes and more. They don’t feel excluded from sharing the tax burden just because they don’t pay one particular tax.
It’s also worth noting that these aren’t the people pushing for higher taxes. At Rasmussen Reports, our most recent polling shows that people who make $100,000 or more each year are more supportive of higher taxes than those who make less.

Second, the 47 percent who don’t pay federal income taxes include large chunks of the Republican base. Many senior citizens fall into this category because their primary income is from Social Security. They don’t consider themselves“takers.” They paid money into a Social Security system throughout their working lives and now simply expect the government to honor the promises it made.
Third, low-income Americans aren’t looking for a handout. Among those who are living in poverty, 81 percent agree that work is the best solution to poverty. Most would rather replace welfare programs with a guaranteed minimum-wage job. Sharing the mainstream view, 69 percent of the poor believe that too many Americans are dependent upon the government.

Sixty-five percent of low-income Americans consider it “very important” for an economy to provide everybody with an opportunity to succeed. Interestingly enough, low-income Americans consider that more important than those who earn more.
But if I had to pick just one number to highlight how bad the 47 percent remark was, it would be this. Just 11 percent of Americans today consider themselves dependent upon government. Sure, some receive a Social Security check or an unemployment check, but that’s not dependence upon government. That’s cash received in exchange for premiums paid.
If they want to seriously compete for middle-class votes, Republicans need to get over the makers vs. takers mentality. We live in a time when just 35 percent believe the economy is fair to the middle class. Only 41 percent believe it is fair to those who are willing to work hard. Those problems are not created by the poor.

GOP candidates would be well advised to shift their focus from attacking the poor to going after those who are really dependent upon government — the Political Class, the crony capitalists, the megabanks and other recipients of corporate welfare.
 Scott Rasmussen is the founder and CEO of Rasmussen Reports.



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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tragedy? No, Atrocity

The ceremony at Fenway Park today shouted a loud message to jihadist Muslims everywhere: “You can hurt us, but you’ll never beat us”.  It was a very emotional ceremony that left fans and players alike in tears, remembering the dead and injured and honoring the law enforcement professionals who quickly identified and brought down the animals who slaughtered innocents at the Boston Marathon.

 The proceeding was capped by Neil Diamond who led the crowd in the traditional singing of “Sweet Caroline” during the eighth inning.

And Mr. President, when Muslim terrorists kill and maim innocent civilians who have nothing to do with a political issue, it is not a tragedy, it is an atrocity; and when a Muslim terrorist named Hasan slaughters more than a dozen of his fellow American soldiers, it is also an atrocity and an act of terrorism, not a ‘case of workplace violence’.
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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Why No Answers on Benghazi

Some special Forces veterans want answers on what happened at Benghazi and why all survivors have been prevented from testifying before Congress. has prepared and released this video:

If you cannot view this video, go here



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Friday, April 12, 2013

More Shocking Ideas

Last fall my readers were shocked to learn that I agree with President Obama that incomes and wealth are badly disproportionately distributed in the USA.  The data are shocking, and the situation is immoral and, ultimately, unsustainable.  I won’t go into this again here.

The basic economic problem that we have here is that real wages have been steadily declining since the early 1970’s, after increasing regularly every decade since 1830.  The promise of a better life tomorrow for ourselves and our children has ended, and that’s where the trouble starts.

When this first began happening, workers responded by working more hours, by taking two jobs and by sending other family members out to work – in order to maintain or improve their standard of living.  When this didn’t work, people began borrowing on their homes and on their credit cards.  This is one reason why the housing and credit crash of 2008 was so devastating.

Of all the factors that have led to the decline in real wages and the growth in inequality, perhaps the only one that is somewhat under our control is the decline in private-sector unions.

“But the figures announced by the bureau point to grave problems for the future of organized labor. The portion of private sector workers in unions fell to just 6.6 percent last year, from 6.9 percent in 2011, causing some labor specialists to question whether private sector unions were sinking toward irrelevance. Private sector union membership peaked at around 35 percent in the 1950s.”  New York Times

As a business owner and employer, I always cheered the decline in union membership and power, but as an American, I now realize that this was one of the worst developments that could happen in our country.  The decline in real wages and the inequalities now present were what re-elected Obama, and there is no end in sight to the class-warfare situation that is developing.

 In my view, raising taxes on the wealthy and strengthening unions are the only two remedies realistically available; promoting growth has not worked.  The Republican Party should adopt a program of supporting and encouraging the growth of responsible unions, and should stop the automatic opposition to all tax rate increases.



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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Stockton and You

I have asked my Congressman not to approve any bailouts for bankrupt cities.  You can use the banner on this blog at the ottom right to do the same.
Judge Approves Stockton, CA Bankruptcy

Rick Moran April 2, 2013 American Thinker

A federal judge gave permission for the city of Stockton, CA to begin bankruptcy proceedings, over the objections of bondholders in the city's pension system.

The bondholders believe that Stockton did not negotiate in good faith, preferring the bankruptcy route to the more painful and politically unpopular route of altering the pension system.

In a case being studied by other cash-strapped American cities including Detroit, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Christopher Klein's decision was a setback for bondholders and insurers who had resisted the California city's bankruptcy filing. Stockton is the largest U.S. city ever to file for bankruptcy.

The judge also signaled that the California Public Employees Retirement System's position in the case was not above review. Stockton, a city of 300,000, has so far not reduced pension payments to retired city workers, although it has eliminated retiree healthcare benefits.

"This does not mean there is not potentially a serious issue involving Calpers," Judge Klein said. "But at this point I do not know what that is." He added that there were "very complex and difficult questions of law that I can see out there on the horizon," relating to Calpers.

The decision on Stockton marks the start of a lengthy restructuring of the obligations that currently overwhelm its finances, which were crippled by the housing crisis and recession.

Investors in the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market are concerned that if Stockton is able to avoid paying bondholders in full without cutting pension payments, other cities will pursue a similar strategy as they struggle to cope with budget shortfalls.

Kenneth Naehu, head of fixed income at Bel Air Investment Advisors in Los Angeles, agreed that the case could cloud the issue of where bondholders stand in relation to retirees and pension funds in a municipal bankruptcy.

In a lengthy preamble to his ruling, Klein delivered a stinging rebuke to the so-called capital market creditors - mainly the insurers for bondholders who own hundreds of millions of dollars of Stockton debt - who had opposed the bankruptcy filing.

He rejected the arguments of bondholders and insurers that Stockton was not truly insolvent when it sought Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection last summer and that it had improperly failed to seek relief from its pension obligations.

Klein said capital market creditors had failed to negotiate in good faith in a pre-bankruptcy mediation, as required by law, and also criticized their refusal to pay part of the bill for mediation.

Bondholders and insurers in this, and other municipal bankruptcies to come, will almost certain have to endure a substantial haircut - just as their sovereign debt holder counterparts in Europe. By the time this all shakes out, borrowing money will get a lot harder, and a lot more expensive for cities and states.




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