The Government’s War on the Little Guy

Government war on the little guyby John Stossel –
Marty the Magician performed magic tricks for kids, including the traditional rabbit-out-of-a-hat. Then one day: “I was signing autographs and taking pictures with children and their parents,” he told me. “Suddenly, a badge was thrown into the mix, and an inspector said, ‘Let me see your license.'”

In “Harry Potter” books, a creepy Ministry of Magic controls young wizards. Now in the USA, government regulates stage magicians—one of the countless ways it makes life harder for the little guy.

Marty’s torment didn’t end with a demand for his license. “She said, from now on, you cannot use your rabbit until you fill out paperwork, pay the $40 license fee. We’ll have to inspect your home.”

Ten times since, regulators showed up unannounced at Marty’s house. At one point, an inspector he hadn’t seen before appeared. He hoped things had changed for the better. [Read more…]

California Income Tax Rates 2013 and Beyond, Highest Taxes in America

California Income Tax Rates Highest in America by Chris Banescu –
Following the passage of Proposition 30 in November 2012, California’s income tax rates have reached an astronomical 13.3% rate. Not only does California now have the most progressive income tax rates of all the states, individuals begin paying an 6% rate at $27,898 and an 8% rate at $38,727 in income, but it now surpassed Hawaii (11% top rate) as the state with the highest income tax rate in America.

According to a 2013 survey from Chief Executive magazine California’s business climate ranks dead last among all 50 states. Is it any wonder that so many companies, corporations, and high income individuals continue to flee California and relocate to other states?

Proposition 30 raised income tax rates for all Californians earning more than $250,000 per year. It progressively increased tax rates from 1% to 3% for all individuals and families earning above that level. Higher income households now face a 10.8% to 29.1% increase in overall tax rates. [Read more…]

California Faces Large Tax Increases with Propositions 30 and 38

California Tax Increases by Chris Banescu –
California taxpayers, already paying some of the highest income and sales tax rates in the country, will face even higher taxes this November. If California voters approve Propositions 30 and 38, the state Sales Tax rate will rise to 7.5% and the Income Tax rates paid by individuals and families at all income levels will rise significantly, with higher income taxpayers having to pay an astronomical 15.5% tax rate.

Proposition 38 will raise income tax rates for all Californians earning more than $7,316 per year. It will increase tax rates from 0.4% to 2.2% across all income levels above that limit. This represents a 17.5% to 20% increase in overall tax rates for low and middle income taxpayers and a 17.2% to 21.4% increase for higher income households.

Proposition 30 will raise income tax rates for all Californians earning more than $250,000 per year. It will progressively increase tax rates from 1% to 3% for all individuals and families earning above that level. Higher income households will see a 10.8% to 29.1% increase in overall tax rates. Prop 38 also raises the state sales tax rate to 7.5% from the current 7.25% for everyone. [Read more…]

Franchisors Warn Obamacare Will Halve Profits

Franchisors warn Obamacare will halve profitsby Paul Bedard
The International Franchise Association held a convention in Washington this week where most of the Radio Shack, Dunkin Donuts, Curves and other franchisers were grumbling about new federal regulations, especially the impact of Obamacare.

Most, said Atlanta Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken franchiser David Barr, presumed that the reports about how hard Obamacare will hit them were overblown. “They had their head in the sand,” he told Secrets.

That is until he pulled out his powerpoint showing how funding Obamacare will cut his –and likely their– profits in half overnight. [Read more…]

Government Spending Does Not Create Economic Growth

Government Spending Does Not Create Economic Growth If you knew a dollar invested in something would wind up losing more than a dollar, would you consider that a good investment?

The government does just that when it starts spending taxpayer dollars or borrowed money which future generations must pay back with interest. In the video below Professor Antony Davies of Duquesne University explains the unseen costs of government spending and the best way to stimulate the economy: the private sector.

Professor Antony Davies explains:

“There’s a misconception that when the government spends money it creates jobs. … What we’re forgetting is that the money doesn’t fall from space. The government obtains the money by taxing or borrowing. And when it does those things jobs are destroyed.

So at the end of the day the government isn’t creating jobs, it’s moving jobs. Jobs leave where the government taxes and borrows and appear where the government spends.” [Read more…]

Michael O’Leary on Ryanair Success and EU Incompetence

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary by Lachlan Markay –
Innovation and market disruption can be powerful forces for economic growth. But government involvement in the market tends to be a force against disruption, and hence a force against innovation. The drive to protect the dominant companies – often justified in the name of job preservation — prevents success for companies that offer better, cheaper, or different products or services.

The European Union received a frank lesson in these economic truths when it brought Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary to speak at its recent innovation convention. In a rousing and thoroughly entertaining speech and subsequent Q&A, O’Leary roasted the European Commission’s attempts to protect Europe’s major airlines, often at the expense of innovation in the industry.

“This is the first time I think that I or Ryanair have ever been invited to a conference by the European Union,” O’Leary jibed, “because as most of you know, the European Union spends most of its time either suing me, torturing me, criticizing me, or condemning me for lowering the cost of air travel all over Europe.” [Read more…]

How to Create a Job: Creating Value, Not Just Work

How to Create a Job: Creating Value, Not Just Work Capitalism Economic FreedomWith unemployment still above 9 percent, Americans are searching for answers that will lead to quality, lasting jobs. Past failures of jobs programs show that addressing the symptom instead of the disease has yet to lead to real job growth.

Instead of talking about jobs programs, what needs to be discussed is how to provide the right environment for growth: economic freedom. Watch this video to learn more. [Read more…]

Tax Cuts, Less-Intrusive Gov’t Help Canada Soar

Canada flag low taxes economic success by IBD Editorials –

Success: Away from the low growth and high regulation of an America under Washington’s thumb, our northern neighbor is economically strong. As 2011 ends, Canada has announced yet another tax cut — and will soar even more.

The Obama administration and its economic czars have flailed about for years, baffled about how to get the U.S. economy growing.

In reality, the president need look no further than our neighbor, Canada, whose solid growth is the product of tax cuts, fiscal discipline, free trade, and energy development. That’s made Canada a roaring puma nation, while its supposedly more powerful southern neighbor stands on the outside looking in. [Read more…]

Throw ‘Em All Out…And Good Riddance!

Throw Them All Out Government Corruption by J.R. Dunn –
Crony capitalism is the most serious current danger to the American community, a threat not simply to government or the economy, but to our very way of life. It is the worst such threat since the trusts and monopolies of the early 20th century, and in much the same way. Cronyism is one of the major forces behind the establishment of the corrupt pseudo-aristocracy that has been taking shape in this country over the past two decades, a synthetic privileged class made up in large part of politicians, hustlers, and hangers-on who have become expert in exploiting the rest of us.

The legacy media, for some obscure reason, tends to bury discussions about this group. While the reportage on discrete incidents is there — see the parade of stories on Solyndra, Goldman Sachs, and MF Global for examples — we find little effort to pull it all together. Academics, with the single exception of Angelo Codevilla, who sounded the alarm two years ago in The Ruling Class, appear oblivious, as if they had no idea what’s going on, which may well be the case. [Read more…]

Job Creation Is No Mystery

Job Creation Business Economy Not Government by Tom McClintock –
The government’s continuing failure to address our nation’s gut-wrenching unemployment stems from a fundamental disagreement over how jobs are created in the first place.

We are now in the third year of policies predicated on the assumption that government spending creates jobs.

We have squandered three years and trillions of dollars of the nation’s wealth on such policies, and they have not worked because they cannot work.

Government cannot inject a single dollar into the economy until it has first taken that same dollar out of the economy. [Read more…]

Fatal Flaws of Keynesian Economics

Keynesian Economics Failureby Ron Ross –
It’s now clear that the federal government’s massive stimulus spending has not achieved its objectives. Why hasn’t it? It’s important that we have answers to that question.

The stimulus was premised on the economic model known as Keynesianism: the intellectual legacy of the late English economist John Maynard Keynes. Keynesianism doesn’t work, never has worked, and never will work. Without a clear understanding of why Keynesianism cannot work we will be forever doomed to pursuing the impossible.

There’s no real mystery about why Keynesianism fails. There are numerous reasons why and they’ve been known for decades. Keynesians have an unrealistic and unsupportable view of how the economy works and how people make decisions. [Read more…]

America Slouching Towards Fiscal Armageddon

America Slouching Towards Fiscal ArmageddonAmerica is in grave danger. Our government’s out-of-control spending and our politicians’ refusal to implement meaningful budget reforms are leading us towards a fiscal crisis that can undermine our very way of life. We are spending ourselves into oblivion. With each passing day, we are $5 billion in deficit spending closer to the edge of an abyss that can cripple our economy, destroy America’s wealth, and lead to catastrophic social consequences for all current and future generations. Yet our leaders in Washington refuse to face reality and continue to play political games while the country’s budget crisis deepens and the threat grows exponentially.

In February of this year the US federal budget deficit grew by a record $224 billion; the biggest one-month increase in history. Worse still, the 2011 US budget deficit is forecast to reach $1.5 Trillion.  According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this annual deficit represents the largest budget gap in our country’s history, equivalent to approximately 10% of America’s total economic output.  This follows the enormous $1.3 Trillion deficit racked up for 2010 and will be superseded by an equally disturbing $1.65 Trillion deficit forecast for 2012. [Read more…]

Inflation, Back to the ’70s We Go!

Inflation in AmericaConservatives warned about it, economists predicted it, and now it’s here. Inflation has arrived and it’s taking off like a rocket. IBD reports that wholesale prices, often a precursor to consumer prices, rose at an yearly rate of 8% in February. The story warns: “Food prices today are the highest on record, rising at double-digit rates (see chart). Meanwhile, gasoline tests the $4-a-gallon level, the dollar is weakening and gold is near its all-time high.”

This ominous surge is attributable to very high energy and food prices driven mostly by our government’s reckless spending that’s accelerating rather than abating. Combined with Obama’s suicidal energy policies, continuing political instability across the Middle East, the government’s stifling regulatory hold on our economy, the EPA’s assault on manufacturers and energy producers, and the recent catastrophe and devastation in Japan, a dangerous perfect storm of inflationary and destabilizing factors are emerging which will spell disaster for our economy and negatively affect all American consumers’ purchasing power and wealth. [Read more…]

Budget Cuts Lingo, Stranger Than Fiction

Budget Cuts Sanity vs InsanityYesterday, the Senate Democrats soundly defeated the attempts by the Republicans in the House to implement a very minute cut for the 2012 federal budget. Referring to the approximately $61 billion that the GOP was recommending (a mere 1.6% when compared to the $3,700 billion budget being proposed) the Democrats “emphatically rejected a budget-slashing House spending bill as too draconian.”

Yes, you read that right, a 1.6% cut is deemed “draconian.” The party of “it depends on what the definition of “is” is”, is once again re-defining the meaning of language and distorting reality to promote its scorched earth political agenda. [Read more…]

The Only Way Out for the American Economy

by Steve McCann –
Economic despair reigns in America, as stagnation and mounting debt make our future look hopeless. Yet America is uniquely positioned to rebound and recover our economic preeminence. All that is necessary is a political decision to reverse our energy policy and stimulate domestic production of hydrocarbons. From that would flow a true economic stimulus that would mend many of our ills. [Read more…]

Good News! American Workers Are Giving Up

by Jeffrey Folks –
On Friday, the president wasted no time informing the country that unemployment rates had dropped from 9.8% to 9.4%. That sounds pretty good until you dig into the underlying numbers. Then it sounds dire.

Despite expectations that the U.S. would add 170,000 new jobs, only 100,000 were added in December. And yet the unemployment rate fell by 0.4%, a feat that would normally require the addition of up to 750,000 new jobs. How could the rate fall so dramatically with job gains of only 100,000? [Read more…]

Five Reasons Electric Cars Will Disappoint

2011 Nissan Leaf
2011 Nissan Leaf

12/1/2010 – Rick Newman –
They’re cool. That’s for sure.

The Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt could turn out to be the most innovative mass-produced cars in a century. By taking some or all of their power from a household electrical outlet, they offer the first real glimpse of transportation that doesn’t rely on petroleum—and could even crest the magical 100-miles-per-gallon threshold, once the official electricity-to-gasoline conversions are complete. Even better, the two electrics offer something new without the ugly packaging that has doomed futuremobiles in the past. They’re cute, actually.

The Leaf is a perky five-passenger hatchback with sporty handling that can go about 100 miles on an eight-hour charge. The Volt, a bit edgier, is a four-passenger hatch that can go about 40 miles on a charge, with a gas engine that kicks in after that. Both offer a comfortable interior, futuristic controls, and do-gooder credibility. Together, these first-generation electrics set worthy standards for competing models from Toyota, Ford, Smart, and even Chinese manufacturers to meet or beat as they arrive over the next few years.

Now for the bad news: Hardly anybody will buy one, and for a good long while most car buyers will consider electric vehicles to be a great purchase—for somebody else to make. [Read more…]

How Washington Continues to Ignore Small Businesses

When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was enacted by Congress in February of 2009, a mere 0.899% of the funds were directed toward helping Small Businesses. Despite the fact that the Small Business sector employs over 50% of the American population, Big Business and Wall Street got most of the attention from our government during the “Great Recession” (and continues to do so).


[Read more…]

Yes, Taxes Do Change Behavior

10/23/2010 – Tom Roberson –
Bloomberg Businessweek details the complicated “Dutch Sandwich” tax strategy employed by Google to avoid the massive tax hit it would incur on overseas profits repatriated to the U.S. After reading this and seeing the lengths that U.S. companies go to protect their profits, can anyone seriously believe that taxes do not influence behavior? Should anyone be surprised that these innovative companies are able to develop innovative tax avoidance strategies? Let me point out that these are perfectly legal tax avoidance strategies and it is management’s duty to pursue every legal opportunity to minimize corporate tax obligations to maximize shareholder value. [Read more…]

Volt Fraud At Government Motors

GM Volt car Government Fraud and Failure10/19/2010 – IBD Editorial –

Government Motors’ all-electric car isn’t all-electric and doesn’t get near the touted hundreds of miles per gallon. Like “shovel-ready” jobs, maybe there’s no such thing as “plug-ready” cars either.

The Chevy Volt, hailed by the Obama administration as the electric savior of the auto industry and the planet, makes its debut in showrooms next month, but it’s already being rolled out for test drives by journalists. It appears we’re all being taken for a ride.

When President Obama visited a GM plant in Hamtramck near Detroit a few months ago to drive a Chevy Volt 10 feet off an assembly line, we called the car an “electric Edsel.” Now that it’s about to hit the road, nothing revealed has changed our mind. [Read more…]

Private Company Does in 3 Days What Government School Could Not Do in 12 Years

Sylvan Learning Center private company success by John Stossel –
With public schools spending more than $100,000 per student on K-12 education, you’d think they could teach students how to read and write.

South Carolina is one of many states to have trouble with this. It spends $9,000 per student per year, and its state school superintendent told me South Carolina has been “ranked as having some of the highest standards of learning in the entire country.” So let’s ask the infamous question, “Is our children learning?”

Dorian Cain told me he wants to learn to read. He’s 18 years old and in 12th grade, but when I asked him to read from a first-grade level book, he struggled with it.

“Did they try to teach you to read?” I asked him.

“From time to time.”[Read more…]

The Nanny State in Space

SpaceShipOne spacecraft
SpaceShipOne spacecraft

No sooner had SpaceShipOne safely landed in the Mojave Desert, making history as the first privately-funded manned space vehicle, than government officials rekindled their desire to regulate this nascent private industry. Such concern for the safety of future space travelers is commendable but somewhat disingenuous, given Congress’ rather poor record of oversight in maintaining the safety of NASA’s Space Shuttle program.

On Monday, October 4th, 2004, piloted by a civilian, SpaceShipOne reached space for the second time in two weeks. As reward for such a remarkable feat Mojave Aerospace Ventures, a private company headed by aeronautic legend Burt Rutan and funded by billionaire Paul Allen, will receive the $10 million Ansari X-Prize.

The revolutionary SpaceShipOne project was started by Burt Rutan partially in response to the challenge setup by the X-Prize. The prize was created to reward the first privately funded team that sent a three-person spacecraft into space on two different flights within a two-week period. With approximately $30 million in funds Rutan and his group were able to achieve this amazing goal in a relatively short amount of time and claim the award. [Read more…]