Legislators Are Caught In The Past

The New York Times — that wonderful institution that used the power of Eminent Domain to build its NY City headquarters — wrote a lengthy article condemning by explanation that fellow Liberal corporation, Apple Computers which uses legal trickery to avoid paying taxes!

That is a hoot! Is there no honor among thieves?

It seems that Apple Computer has a tiny Reno, Nevada office to avoid paying California taxes on its sale of intellectual property through iTUNES and similar electronic sites in the Cloud, and offices in Ireland and the British Virgin Islands to avoid taxes in Britain.

All very legal, of course, the difference between avoiding (legal) and evading (illegal) so the article could be considered by rational people as really a condemnation of stupid tax laws.

Liberals love Apple Computer, and hate Wal-Mart, but Apple pays an effective 9.8% tax rate while Wal-Mart pays an effective tax rate of 24%. (According to the NYTimes.)

So, who is not paying their ” fair share?”

A Wall Street Journal analysis shows that of the top 35 corporations who increased jobs, 2/3 of the jobs were gained overseas! Last year Wal-Mart added zero jobs in the US, but 100,000 jobs overseas. Kraft Foods lost 4,000 US jobs, but they added 33,000 overseas.

Our tax laws and regulatory laws drive corporations to find loopholes, and methodologies to make a profit.  Legally!

And, how can a corporation that used legal (but I would argue immoral) methods to site their corporate headquarters, complain about Apple Computer?

The mind boggles! We need to fix the problems, and passing laws restricting movement of people and money is not the answer — it violates the Constitution.

We need to compete! While it is not easy to move brick and mortar sites, moving intellectual property sites is cheap and easy. Raise the tax heat too high, and all of the taxes fall to zero as the site is electronically relocated.

Legislators are caught in the past.

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And Now, The Rest of the Story…

Let me admit that I am addicted to a history series in The Daily, much as I once was to the Paul Harvey radio series, “And, Now, The Rest of The Story.”

This week the Daily had the history of drones, and just today there is a new chapter being written as a Sunday drone strike killed three terrorists in Pakistan.Pakistan is much exercised over our use of drones in their airspace.

But the history of drones was fascinating to those of us old enough to remember Reginald Denny. He was a movie and Broadway star with 60 movies, you may recall him in My Fair Lady, but he became interested in radio controlled airplanes in the 30s and in 1935 opened a radio-controlled airplane shop on Hollywood Boulevard.

In WWII, his company produced 15,000 balsa wood drones for the US Air Force. They were low and slow by modern standards, with a 22 HP engine that could reach 140 MPH, only for an hour.

A sidelight was that toward the end of the war (1945), an Air Force Lt. named Ronald Reagan sent a film man to film the factory, and there the film man saw a beautiful girl working on the assembly line. He advised the 19 year old to go into movies.

She took up his suggestion…her name was Norma Jean…

Yep! Marilyn Monroe!

On a related note, I have often expressed my appreciation for DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency.

They run various Challenges for the Defense Department, and in this case for new drone concepts in  the May time frame for a $100,000 prize.

You can see some of the finalists of the drone challenge at

www.uavforge.net

(Some of the short videos are pretty amazing!)

Zero Tolerance on Zero Tolerance Policies

If there ever was a rule designed to keep school administrators from having to use their minds, it is the ” zero tolerance” policy.

Witness a Maryland high school lacrosse team taking a bus trip to play an opponent, and on the team bus the Coach told everyone that their bags would be inspected because there was information about the smuggling of alcohol.

One player asked if the small knife he had in his bag to cut and tighten the strings on his lacrosse stick could be considered contraband, and another player had a lighter to burn the ends of his strings.

Both 17 year old students were suspended, and that suspension negatively impacted their college applications.

The Maryland State Board of Education has reversed the high school decision, and expunged the suspensions — too late to help the students. We will never know what colleges turned down these students before their suspensions were overturned.

The Board said, “This case is about context and the appropriate exercise of discretion.”

Exactly!

The use of “zero tolerance” policies against students who simply DRAW a gun on a sheet of paper, shows the insanity of the policy that has no human input into the decision process.

Something For Very Little

The president is hitting the college campus hard, because young people are the Democrat’s natural constituency.

Young people grow up in familial socialism, everything is free and there is no need for them to work for it. That continues well past college, but it is obvious in college with the current Occupy Wherever call for “free” college tuition and forgiveness of college loans.

The president can’t do that — college loans are currently a greater debt load than all of the credit cards  of the nation combined, but he is trying every day on a college campus to tell the Young (Familial) Socialists that he has their back.

Like Clinton, he feels their pain and will do what he can to ease the load they voluntarily signed up for. The Obama administration does not believe in contract, and it does not believe in investment for a youth’s future — it believes in giving them, if not something for nothing, at least something for very little.

Of course, every able-bodied youth can always get a free, excellent — “Top Five”  — education on the taxpayers. All they have to do is go the a Service Academy! Yes, they must then serve a few years in the military, but for that they will also get paid, and get to travel.

It is a win-win.

Basic Math and Human Nature

Yesterday, George Will, the William F. Buckley of our time, wrote about the subject facing many of the liberal states – and certainly true of California.

Will quoted from an article — “Freedom to Fail: The Keystone of American Federalism” by Paul E. Peterson and Daniel Nadler, written in the University of Chicago Law Review.

Peterson and Nadler wrote, “If states and localities attempt in a serious way to tax the rich and give to the poor, the rich will depart while the poor will be attracted.”

That is why businesses are leaving California, and California – with 12% of the US population – has 34% of the US welfare cases.

The problem with liberals is that they do not recognize the problem, and double down on their mistaken ideology…eventually having to resort to police state laws to staunch the exodus of the rich. We see that now on a national level, with attempts to punish corporations from keeping their foreign-made profits out of this country where they can be taxed, and previous California efforts to tax profits made by corporate subsidiaries in other states.

In California, the problem was the rapid declaration of Tiger Woods as a Florida resident, after a long college and aftermath life in California – and just before he signed a multimillion dollar contract with Nike. Now, California can only tax Tiger if he plays a California tournament and only for the earnings in that tournament.

States, and nations must compete among themselves for business, and business provides both jobs and tax money.

That is why Texas continues to win, and California continues to lose.

As If We Didn’t Already Know This…

The Global Warming scientists are slowly catching up with the reality that their dire predictions have not come true.

Measurements trump predictions, all day, every day.

This from (of all places), MSNBC:

“James Lovelock, the maverick scientist who became a guru to the environmental movement with his “Gaia” theory of the Earth as a single organism, has admitted to being “alarmist” about climate change and says other environmental commentators, such as Al Gore, were too.”

Ahhhh…yes.

…and…

“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.

“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said.’”

http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/23/11144098-gaia-scientist-james-lovelock-i-was-alarmist-about-climate-change

Years ago, before most of the readers of this blog joined, I said that computer modeling is a precarious business when you have thousands of unknowns, and unknowables in the equation. I wrote the Navy’s first “Artificial Intelligence” program in 1969, and as I often admit it was mostly artificial and had very little intelligence.

But I was not dealing with unknowns and/or unknowables. I like to think that if I had been I would not have had sufficient hubris to have tried to pass it off as science.

Climate predictions are snake oil.

Diminishing the “Federal Brand”

The late night comedians are having a ball with the Secret Service prostitution fiasco.

You may have missed Jay Leno on the subject. Leno said: “the trouble began when a guy offered an “escort” $40 for an $800 night!

“Wouldn’t you know it? One guy in Washington tries to hold the line on spending, and they fire him!”

“Yes, they fired a dozen Secret Service! Six of them were hired as Party Planners by the GSA!”

I Love it!

Liberals are concerned that such Secret Service escapades diminish the “Federal Brand.”

Sounds like a winner to me!