Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Helloooo... California!

We tax all the others and pass the revenue on to you

Arnie's tax plan won't rescue California from its wretched spending excesses. No, it's Barney Frank who wants the rest of us to do that, mostly so he can cite precedent when his northeast states need the same thing. Way to plan ahead, Barn.

Arnie just wants to hold the line at a $15 bil deficit instead of $21bil. Arnie said "What we didn't know in February was that the economy was going to get worse." Say what? Nope, no clue three months ago that the economy wouldn't be just rosy, nosirree, none at all.

Most see today's relevant ballot measures failing. Shades of Gray Davis. Time to step down, Arnie. Bye.

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In my own Oregon our pols want to increase our income tax from 9% to 11%, up some 22% but you don't see that figure in the press releases. 9% is the new 11%. More of the same "tax ourselves into fiscal prosperity" notions that haven't worked anywhere else. If 11% is a good idea, then why wouldn't 30% be a great idea? Except for, you know, poverty and inconveniences like that?

They're also kicking around a "tax amnesty" for tax scofflaws, investing a mil to get it going and really, what else can you buy for a measly mil? Lots of stuff, you say? Maybe, but apparently not in Salem. Tax amnesties are generally bad ideas, poorly conceived and poorly executed and not cost-effective. Trouble is, they sound good, like government is finally doing something. I'll write more if this thing picks up momentum.

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Cap-and-trade? Has anyone explained this to you in a way that you and your mom could understand? Me neither. Too much like carbon credits, too illusory and too Gore. No thanks.

Carbon tax? Felix Salmon did a piece on it for Reuters yesterday. It's a maybe, nothing more. The thing is, it's purely a revenue item, not a green item, unless the major uncontrolled polluters (India, China, Russia) get on board and why should they? They think that catch-up pollution is their right. Even Yale environment 360 is down on the idea.

Sin taxes ("lifestyle tax proposals" in Senate-speak) are the only easy tax sell in DC these days. That's because smokers, drinkers and dabblers ar each their own minority. It's a tough sell for them, balancing the books on their backs, but easy pickings for folks like the Senate Finance Committee. "Divide and conquer" is their mantra. But the low-hanging fruit is disappearing as alcohol and tobacco use trend downward.

Then what? Just as we're going to get mileage taxes plus gas taxes to make up for better fuel economies, we'll surely hear a push to tax pot, and is it such a leap to then tax all forms of now-illegal products? It's the same logic, after all. The rallying cry will be "I otherwise wouldn't be for this but we're in tough times and besides... it's for the children." Do you really want to tax drugs, porn and prostitution in order to pay for entitlements? Might not fewer entitlements at least be on the table? You make the call.

Sure, it'll be a hard sell for incumbents who are afraid of losing their sinecures, so look for a new generation of grasping politicians to sell this as "Your way didn't work so let's try mine." Change we can believe in. The truth will only be in the footnotes, that we over-spent ourselves into poverty and sold out our kids to pay for it.

God forbid that politicians would try to get a grip on spending or growth in government. It's not in their best interest. See Arnie and Gray references above. Even Colin Powell weighs in with "Americans are looking for more government in their lives, not less." Nope, don't think so Colin. Time for you to re-register.

If you make any money, the government shoves you in the creek once a year with it in your pockets, and all that don't get wet you can keep. -- Will Rogers

1 comment:

  1. Makes me feel a little silly for trying to get out of debt. Won't my extended circle of family and friends have to bail me out if I make bad choices? Yeah, they'll want to do that about as much as I want to start bailing out states that have spent beyond their means... Why is it that the money never gets to the people who have actually been innocent victims of circumstance??
    Previous deletions due to stupid spelling errors by yours truly. Good idea to read before posting.