Category Archives: Government

He Said That? 2/23/17

From Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), American politician and actor, 40th President of the United States, First Inaugural Address (1981):

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?

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California, Nestle and Decentralization, by Antonius Aquinas

California is driving out businesses and productive people with its onerous taxes and regulation, but California’s liberals assume everything will turn out okay, because things are always golden in the Golden State. Until they don’t. From Antonius Aquinas on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Nestle USA has announced that it will move its headquarters from Glendale, California, to Rosslyn, Virginia, taking with it about 1200 jobs. The once Golden State has lost some 1600 businesses since 2008 and a net outflow of a million of mostly middle-class people from the state from 2004 to 2013 due to its onerous tax rates, the oppressive regulatory burden, and the genuine kookiness which pervades among its ruling elites.* A clueless Glendale official is apparently unconcerned about the financial repercussions of Nestle’s departure saying that it was “no big deal” and saw it as an “opportunity,” whatever that means!

The stampede of businesses out of what was once the most productive and attractive region in all of North America demonstrates again that prosperity and individual freedom are best served in a political environment of decentralization.

That the individual states of America have retained some sovereignty despite the highly centralized “federal” system of government of which they are a part has enabled individuals and entrepreneurs living in jurisdictions that have become too tyrannical to “escape” to political environments which are less oppressive. This, among other reasons (mainly air conditioning), led to the rise of the Sun Belt as people sought to escape the high taxes and regulations of the Northeast to less burdensome (and warmer!) southern destinations.

This can also be seen on a worldwide scale. The US, for a long time, had been a haven of laissez-faire economic philosophy, which, not surprisingly, became a magnet for those seeking opportunity and a higher standard of living. No longer is this the case as increasing numbers of companies and individuals are seeking to avoid American confiscatory tax and regulatory burdens and move “offshore” or expatriate to more favorable economic climates.

To continue reading: California, Nestle and Decentralization

A Budget without Russians: The Empire’s Nightmare, by Fred Reed

Fred Reed laments the absurdity of the present hysteria about Russia. From Reed on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Methinks the insane hysteria over Russia needs to stop. It probably will not. For reasons of domestic and imperial politics the American public is again being manipulated into a war frenzy by Washington and New York. It is stupid, without justification, and dangerous.

The silliness over Russia is, obviously, part of the Establishment’s drive to get rid of Trump. Yes, the man is erratic, contradictory, shoots before he aims, backs off much of what he has promised, and may be unqualified as President–but that is not why Washington and New York want to get rid of him. It is about money and power, as is everything in the United States. Wall Street, the Pentagon, the Neocons, and the Empire run America. Trump has threatened their rice bowls.

Consider:

He has threatened to cut the F-35, a huge blow to Lockheed-Martin and hundreds of subcontractors; to pull US troops out of South Korea, a blow to the Empire; to end the wars, a blow both to the Empire and the military industry getting rich from them; to pull troops out of Okinawa, crippling the Empire in the Pacific; to start a trade war with China with a forty-five percent tariff of Chinese goods, threatening American corporations with factories there; and to chase out illegal immigrants, an important source of cheap labor to businesses. He has called NATO “obsolete,” when leaving it would be the death knell of the Empire; and threatened to establish good relations with Russia, when the lack of a European enemy would leave NATO even more obviously unnecessary.

Thus New York and its branch operation in Washington resuscitate Russia as a bugbear to terrify the rubes,meaning most of the public. Money. Power. Empire.

To continue reading: A Budget without Russians: The Empire’s Nightmare

Should Trump “Unleash” Wall Street? by Bill Bonner

Wall Street is a perfect case study in how an industry deteriorates in a mixed economy. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartners.com:
LOVINGSTON, VIRGINIA – Stocks show little movement. Investors are waiting for something to happen.

And wondering…

Corporate earnings have been going down for nearly three years. They are now about 10% below the level set in the late summer of 2014.

Unleashing Wall Street

Why should stocks be so expensive?

Oh, yes… because the Trump Team is going to light a fire under Wall Street.

But they must be wondering about that, too.

Raising up stock prices – as we’ve seen over the last eight years – is not the same as restoring economic growth and family incomes.

And as each day passes, the list of odds against either seems to be getting longer and longer. As the petty fights, silly squabbles, and tweet storms increase, the less ammunition the administration has available to fight a real battle with Congress or the Deep State.

Still…

“Goldman Stock Hits Record on Bets Trump Will Unleash Wall Street,” reads a Bloomberg headline.

Goldman Sachs is a pillar of the Establishment, with its man, Steve Mnuchin, heading the Department of the Treasury. So a win for Goldman is not necessarily a win for us.

“Unleashing” suggests a win-win deal, as in allowing the financial industry to get on with its business. But there are different kinds of “unleashings.”

Some things – like Dobermans – are kept on a leash for a good reason. Unleashing the mob… or a war… might not be a good idea, either.

Untying Wall Street from bureaucratic rules is at least heading in the right direction. But it will only benefit the Main Street economy if Wall Street is doing business honestly, facilitating win-win deals by matching real capital up with worthy projects.

Deep State Industry

That, of course, is what it is NOT doing. It is a Deep State industry aided and abetted by the Fed’s fake money.

To continue reading: Should Trump “Unleash” Wall Street?

 

Philadelphia Soda Tax Leads To 30-50% Plunge In Sales, Mass Layoffs, by Tyler Durden

For we anti-statists, this is a truly heartwarming story. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

When Philadelphia became the first US city to pass a soda tax last summer, city officials were eagerly looking forward to the surplus-tax funded windfall to plug gaping budget deficits (and, since this is Philadelphia, the occasional embezzlement scheme). Then, one month ago, after the tax went into effect on January 1st we showed the tax applied in practice: a receipt for a 10 pack of flavored water carried a 51% beverage tax. And since PA has a sales tax of 6% and Philly already charges another 2%, the total sales tax was 8%. In other words, a purchase which until last year came to $6.47 had overnight become $9.75.

What happened next? Precisely what most expected would happen: full blown sticker shock, and a collapse in purchases.

According to Philly.com reports, two months into the city’s sweetened-beverage tax, supermarkets and distributors are reporting a 30% to 50% drop in beverage sales and – adding insult to injury – are now planning for layoffs.

One of the city’s largest distributors told the Philadelphia website it would cut 20% of its workforce in March, and an owner of six ShopRite stores in Philadelphia says he expects to shed 300 workers this spring. “People are seeing sales decline larger than anything they’ve seen up to this point in the city,” said Alex Baloga, vice president of external relations at the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association.

Since all of this is taking place as previewed in a recent post: “The ‘Soda Police’ Just Learned A Valuable Lesson About Taxes”, we doubt it would come as a surprise to anyone, although we are confident that Philadelphia city workers will be amazed by these unexpected developments.

Sure enough, in response instead of admitting the tax was a bad decision, the city lashed out by launching the latest “fake news” campaign, when it questioned the legitimacy of the early figures and predicted that customers responding to the initial sticker shock by shopping outside the city would return. “We have no way of knowing if their sales figures and predicted job losses are anything more than fear-mongering to prevent this from happening in other cities,” said city spokesman Mike Dunn.

To continue reading: Philadelphia Soda Tax Leads To 30-50% Plunge In Sales, Mass Layoffs

Lincoln and His Legacy, by Joseph Sobran

The Golden Pinnacle plowed fairly untilled literary soil with a less than flattering take on Abraham Lincoln. His historical record belies his contemporary deification, especially for libertarians. From Joseph Sobran at lewrockwell.com:

[Classic, February 19, 2008] — At this point it is probably futile to try to reverse the deification of Abraham Lincoln. Next year, if I know my countrymen, the bicentennial of his birth will be marked by stupendously cloying anniversary observances, all of them affirming, if not his literal divinity, at least something mighty close to it.

No doubt we will hear from the high priests and priestesses of the Lincoln cult: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Garry Wills, Harry V. Jaffa, and all the rest of the tireless hagiographers of academia, who regularly rate Honest Abe one of our two greatest presidents, right up there with Stalin’s buddy Franklin D. Roosevelt, father of the nuclear age and defiler of the U.S. Constitution. Such, we are told, is the Verdict of History.

But if Lincoln was so great, we must ask why nobody seems to have realized it while he was still alive. The abolitionists considered him unprincipled, Southerners hated him, and most Northerners opposed his war on the South. Only when the war ended and he was shot did people begin to transform him into a hero and martyr of the Union cause. But that cause was badly flawed.

The Declaration of Independence, which Lincoln always quoted selectively, says that the American colonies of Great Britain had become “free and independent states” — separate states, mind you, not the monolithic “new nation” he proclaimed at Gettysburg. The U.S. Constitution refers constantly to the states, but never to a “nation”; and this is a fact we should ponder.

To continue reading: Lincoln and His Legacy

The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost, by Andrew P. Napolitano

Information is power, and by allowing the intelligence agencies to acquire so much information, in a misbegotten quest for security, we have allowed them to become powerful enough to challenge the duly elected president. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Last week, The Wall Street Journal revealed that members of the intelligence community — part of the deep state, the unseen government within the government that does not change with elections — now have acquired so much data on everyone in America that they can selectively reveal it to reward their friends and harm their foes. Their principal foe today is the president of the United States.

Liberty is rarely lost overnight. The wall of tyranny often begins with benign building blocks of safety — each one lying on top of a predecessor — eventually collectively constituting an impediment to the exercise of free choices by free people, often not even recognized until it is too late.

Here is the back story.

In the pre-Revolutionary era, British courts in London secretly issued general warrants to British government agents in America. The warrants were not based on any probable cause of crime or individual articulable suspicion; they did not name the person or thing to be seized or identify the place to be searched. They authorized agents to search where they wished and seize what they found.

The use of general warrants was so offensive to our Colonial ancestors that it whipped up more serious opposition to British rule and support for the revolutionaries than the “no taxation without representation” argument did. And when it came time for Americans to write the Constitution, they prohibited general warrants in the Fourth Amendment, the whole purpose of which was to guarantee the right to be left alone by forcing the government to focus on bad guys and prohibit it from engaging in fishing expeditions. But the fishing expeditions would come.

To continue reading: The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost