Seeking Liberty

Liberty is the Fruit from Which All Progress Grows

Health Care Hang-Ups

Telecommunications giant AT&T will record a $1 billion charge for the first quarter of 2010 due to the tax implications of the recently passed health care legislation, according to the Atlanta Business Journal. According to the Journal:

In the filing, AT&T added, “As a result of this legislation, including the additional tax burden, AT&T will be evaluating prospective changes to the active and retiree health care benefits offered by the company.”

So much for helping to rebuild our economy. The tax implications of this bill are already having a detrimental effect on employee compensation and retiree benefits. Before the legislation was even passed, Caterpillar, Inc. sent a letter to members of Congress urging them to vote against this bill, which they estimated would cost the company over $100 million per year. Because America didn’t know fully what was in the bill before it was passed, both small and large businesses are only just now able to start coming to grips with what the legislation really means for them. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: economics, health care, insurance, taxes, , , , , , , , , ,

Caulk won’t save our economy.

To improve our economy, President Obama wants us to spend tens of billions of dollars on… Caulk.

That’s right. The President believes that both our energy situation and the unemployment issues that far out-strip any projections made by his economic team can be solved by “weatherizing” our homes. All we need to do is hire hundreds of thousands of union laborers to add weatherstripping and caulk to lower our energy costs. This will have a ripple-effect that will resonate throughout our economy and kick-start the jobs machine. To do this, the Stimulus Package already signed into law provided billions of dollars for training workers to install caulk and other weatherizing improvements into people’s homes.

This is all part of President Obama’s “Green Jobs” initiative, which he extensively campaigned on and continues to hold up as the future of our domestic economy. He even went so far as to call insulation “sexy.”

I have a “sexy” idea for President Obama: Instead of focusing on “green jobs,” how about focusing on “jobs?” We can worry about the “green” part when we get back to that 8% unemployment level that he said his magical stimulus would prevent us from ever topping. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: economics, environment, Government, politics, taxes, wealth, , , , , , , , ,

The Real Cost of Agricultural Subsidies

CottonBy Matthew W. Quinn

Imagine you’re a cotton farmer in West Africa.  One day, the man who comes to buy your cotton to be exported does not show up.  You go to the marketplace and find there is nobody willing to buy your cotton.  In fact, there is cheaper cotton available from abroad.

You now cannot sell your crop, or at least you cannot sell it for very much.  You need to buy food and fertilizer, and your children need medicine and money to pay for schooling.  You’re in trouble now.

Are these the workings of the free market?  No.  The reason the foreign cotton was able to price the West African cotton out of the market is because it came from the United States and was heavily subsidized.

Cotton subsidies are one of the most notorious examples of government agricultural supports and it gives American cotton producers an unfair advantage over more efficient producers abroad. For example, in Burkina Faso, it costs one-third as much to produce cotton as it does in the United States.  According to the British aid agency Oxfam, the only clear advantage American cotton growers have over competitors in Africa is their ability to get government subsidies. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: economics, personal health, poverty, taxes, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How the Wheel Was Invented

Author’s note: This was originally published at RedState in February, 2009.  Its high acclaim there prompted me to post it here as I expand this blog.

I was asked if the wheel was invented out of necessity, or if someone demanded it first?

Not content to simply answer the question, I wrote a story about it.  When I published this story in a public forum, the usual suspects started asking the usual questions:

“Was this invention Ogg and Thag’s property?”

Since someone tried to use this as a chance to attack the idea of personal property, I have updated the story a bit as a lesson on government.

It’s kinda’ long, so get a glass of milk and some cookies.

Enjoy!

* * * * *

Ogg and Thag had just killed a smallish mastodon somewhere in central Asia, near modern-day Astana, Kazakhstan, just a few yards from the A343 highway. Knowing their tribe was starving and that winter was fast approaching, they understood they’d have to get the mastodon back to their camp as soon as possible

“I say, good fellow,” Thag queried Ogg, “However will we get all this tender flesh back to our social cooperative? The beast trampled Ook and Gork, and it is many miles. By the time winter returns, we’ll surely have frozen to death.”

“I know not, my good man,” Ogg replied. “If we go to obtain help first, the scavengers will surely have picked it clean before we return.”

Thag sighed. “We’d best get to dragging this monstrous creature back, or there will have been no point in killing the poor thing.”

So Ogg and Thag began dragging their kill back to camp, struggling to pull its bulk over the hills and through the forests. Soon, they were exhausted but they kept pulling, knowing they must feed their family.

Soon, they saw a series of felled trees they had cut down some days before in order to make the spears.

“I say, Thag!” Ogg stated, “but we must change our course or move those terrible boughs blocking our path!”

“Oh, let us just go through them, Ogg,” replied Thag. It will take too long to find a new path through the forest, and if we move the logs, we’ll not wish to start dragging this beast again. The trunks are not overly thick, and they are close enough together that it won’t take long once the creature is on top of them.”

“Very well,” sighed Ogg, and they began pulling the beast over the fallen tree trunks. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: economics, Government, socialism, , ,

Bill Stouffer’s Blog Tells It Like It Is

Missouri State Senator Bill Stouffer’s (R-Laffayette) blog made this interesting video:

Yeah, it’s 2 weeks old. I don’t care, it makes a great point.

The important thing to note here, is that the “Stimulus” money isn’t for “shovel ready projects,” as the President claimed. It is largely for enacting new government programs, which the state will later have fund itself.  So instead of closing the budget gap in various states and providing work for the unemployed, as the Congress promised, the state will actually be on the hook for more spending it cannot afford without creating new jobs.

It’s like we’re all part of a huge game of Three Card Monty, except there never was any queen…

Filed under: economics, socialism, taxes, , , , ,

Loophole Loopiness

I’m watching Fox & Friends and seeing a woman and her husband complain that baby formula is not tax-deductible.  Seems she had a double mastectomy a couple years back and could only feed her child formula.  They claim that formula is not tax deductible while Viagra, Dr. Scholl’s footpads and sunscreen, depending on the purpose, can be.  The couple is asking that baby formula be given a tax exemption, as well.

Now, I’m no fan of taxes but I’m even less of a fan of obscure tax loopholes.  I think our tax system is entirely too complex.  We need to reduce the number of deductible items, not increase them!  Concurrently, we need to lower our taxes. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: economics, taxes, , , ,

I was looking around over at RedState and found this blog post.

In case you’re not going to click-over, here’s the attached video:

The video appears to have been filmed in Kansas City, MO, a town with which I have some history.  I graduated from high school there, lived there for a third of my life, and I consider it my “hometown,” if someone as nomadic as I am can have such a thing.

There isn’t much else to say that what is one the video, though I’d like to make a couple of points: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: health care, media, , , , , ,