That Precious Moment…

….when a “progressive” realizes that taxation, at its root, is essentially those who don’t create anything, extorting from those who do:

“Our Olympian and Paralympic athletes should be worried about breaking world records, not breaking the bank, when they earn a medal,” said ‎Schumer.

“Government is the things we all do together taking from net creators and giving to net consumers”.

Mixed Messages

Being a liberal must be confusing.

Exhibit A:  This week’s City Pages.

On the one hand:  Mike Mullen complains that Mendards’ management training program urges the store’s staff to oppose tax hikes.  Because taxes are what makes life worth living, and by no means should Menards expect its management to support the store’s financial health, nosirreebob.

On the other hand:  Corey Zurowski bemoans a non-profit that presumably is no “happy to pay for a Better Minnesota” as it has been extincted by…taxes.

I’d imagine this’d cause some heads to explode, if any of the City Pages’ audience really thought about it.

But I jest.

Sometimes I slay me.

(Via regular commenter Chuck)

Dodging The Point

Ever since Governor Dayton passed one of the highest taxes in the nation on people earning over about $150,000 a year, conservatives have been predicting an exodus of the productive class.

DaytonDustbowl

The Minnesota left is doing cartwheels over “data” showing it’s not happened

…sort of.  I add emphasis:

The ranks of the very rich are growing in Minnesota, despite a controversial tax increase that singles out the biggest earners to pay more.

Critics predicted that the ultra-affluent would flee after Gov. Mark Dayton secured 2013 passage of a new income tax tier of 9.85 percent on individuals who make more than $156,000 a year. But the latest data show that the number of people who filed tax returns with over $1 million in income grew by 15.3 percent in the year after the tax passed, while the new top tier of taxpayers grew by 6 percent.

So many holes in this “story”:

People making over a million a year – the “ultrarich” – can live anywhere they want;  the Twin Cities are a great place to be rich; good quality of life with lots of bigger-city amenities, and your dollar, after taxes, still goes a ways.   That’s why so many big corporations have their headquarters in the Twin Cities, even though they haven’t hired a non-service blue-collar worker in Minnesota in decades; it’s a great place to be a CEO.

As to the number of people in the >$156K tax bracket rising?  So what?  As the value of the dollar drops, and inflation creeps in, more real estate agents, dentists, software architects, insurance salespeople and the like find their incomes creeping upward from $145K to $156K.

But you have to then ask:

  • How many of them hit that $156K mark, stew on it for a year or so, and decide to move to Hudson or Fargo or Superior?
  • How many more would have reached that threshold if it weren’t for the tax hike?

The answers, by the way are “anecdotally, many” and “the Strib, being Tina Flint-Smith’s waterboys, sure aren’t going to tell us”.

Capital Runs

Carls Junior / Hardees corporate HQ flees California for Tennessee.

Yes, we know that CKE’s official line is that the firm is relocating because it has less need for office space as it consolidates operations. But the company executives say this with a wink. Tax savings are a big factor, as is the stifling regulatory environment on the left coast, where businesses are treated like villains and rich people as cash dispensers for big government programs. It’s not a coincidence that CKE’s CEO Andy Puzder has been one of the leading critics of high taxes and onerous rules in Washington D.C. and Sacramento.

The next time some liberal hamster asks “what’s the matter with Kansas?”, one might respond “the usual.  What’s the matter with California?”

The state legislative group ALEC finds in its latest “Rich States, Poor States” rating of the states on business climate that California ranks 44th of all the states in business competitiveness.  California has lost roughly 9,000 companies over the last decade, with most of them moving to Texas, Florida, and Tennessee. Last year, in a major loss, Toyota moved its North American headquarters from the Golden State to North Texas.

And that’s just the headquarters – although with many small-to-medium companies, the HQ and the production/distribution/retail is all under one roof.

But with bigger companies?

Minnesota liberals love to hide behind the fact that the Twin Cities is home to a lot of Fortune 1000 companies.  The part they omit (or don’t understand) is that the Headquarters  – with its staffs of senior executives and high-level technocrats, with their taste for the lifestyle and ameniities and central location of major metro hubs like the Twin cities – is a small part of the organization.

Quick – when was the last time 3M or Ecolab built a manufacturing or distribution facility in Minnesota?

(Don’t use Target for an example; it manufactures nothing. It’s employees are all white-collar headquarters workers, and red-collar service employees out in the retail world).

But when things get bad enough?   Even the headquarters staff can move – or, as 3M did during the tax-happy Perpich and Carlson eras, start thinning out the central HQ and moving people to Austin.

Harbinger?

Off-year election results around the country were a mixed bag.

And by “mixed”, I mean generally good for conservative Republicans nationwide, and six of one, half a dozen of the other in Minnesota.

Tinkering With Leviathan:   Saint Paul’s elections yesterday, were a victory for DFL zealots over DFL extremists.

The City Council gained two councilors who ran on an agenda critical of Mayor Chris Coleman.   This can, in some ways, be read as a very mild moderate win – Jane Prince, who ran unopposed in Ward 7, and Rebecca Noeker (who is currently leading by a razor-thin margin as the “Instant Runoff” counting slogs on and on in Ward 2) ran in opposition to Mayor Coleman’s profligate subsidies of favored businesses via “Tax Increment Financing”, as well as his botched plan to install parking meters on Grand Avenue to try to chisel revenue out of shoppers in Saint Paul’s only successful mid-market retail district.

But I wouldn’t count on much change from the Council on the larger issues that are sandbagging Saint Paul; the stifling regulatory environment, the obeisance to the Met Council’s lust for 19th-century transit, and the crime problems that are percolating along University and out on the East Side.

Meet the New Boss, Same As The Old Boss:  The Saint Paul School Board election, as predicted, installed the four union-backed wholly union-owned candidates over the four formerly union-owned candidates. Whatever residue of independence from the Teachers Union that might have existed in the Saint Paul public schools will be hunted down and buried in concrete shortly.

While changing Superintendent Silva’s intensely unpopular disciplinary policies may be one of the upshots of yesterday’s elections, look for the fiscal profligacy and unaccountability to accelerate.

The election will be a great boon to charter schools – if Saint Paul parents are smart.

Schools Dazed:  The referenda in the various school districts around the east metro went about 50-50; the pattern seemed to be, broadly, that voters approved the bond levies for maintenance and repairs, but voted down the big additions to infrastructure and programming.

Which may show – who knows? – that voters are still manipulable by demands “for the children”, but they have their limits.

We’ll see.

The Gathering Storm?:  Around the country, the news was less ambiguous.  A Republican not only won the Kentucky governor’s race. but so did his black Tea Party Republican Lieutenant Governor.  In VIrginia, Michael Bloomberg, hoping in his ghoulish way to capitalize on the deaths of a couple of TV reporters, pumped a ton of money and a lot of agenda into a couple of key races, with control of the Virginia state senate on the line.  It flopped; just as in Colorado a couple of years ago, only in the most addlepated coastal hothouses can gun control get any popular traction.

In Houston, a referendum on gay rights got swept away in a vote that would be hard to see as anything but a backlash against the creeping fascism of the Social Justice Warriors and their waves of lawsuits and coercion against supporters of traditional marriage.  And even in San Francisco, the sanctuary-city-promoting sheriff got sent packing.

It’s a year ’til the next election.  Look for “progressives” with deep pockets to spend a ton of money to try to iron out the wrinkles in the narrative.

Green Fizzle

The much-lauded California program that jacked up taxes on out-of-state corporations and devoted half the proceeds to “green” projects has apparently fallen short of expecations

90% short.  At least, as far as they can tell; the program isn’t actually releasing details, which – let’s be honest – means they actually did worse than 10% of projections.

Three years after California voters passed a ballot measure raise taxes on corporations and generate clean energy jobs by funding energy-efficiency projects in schools, barely one-tenth of the promised jobs have been created, and the state has no comprehensive list to show how much work has been done or how much energy has been saved.

Money is trickling in at a slower-than-anticipated rate, and more than half of the $297 million given to schools so far has gone to consultants and energy auditors. The board created to oversee the project and submit annual progress reports to the Legislature has never met, according to a review by The Associated Press.

In other words, the law didn’t repeal human behavior – corporations curtailed California operations to avoid the tax – and, most damningly, the whole thing turned into a wealth-transfer program, moving money from the productive class to the rent-seeking parasites.

Thanks A Billion

To:  Governor Dayton, the Minnesota DFL, and just enough Republicans to make it a community embarassment
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Thanks For Nothing, Idiots

All,

We – those of us on the real right – tried to warn you.  But you were too busy gettign yoru arm twisted by Zigi Wilf, or entertaining sentimental stories about families going to Met Stadium in -25 blizzard conditions, or wiping foam from guys in helga braids off your face, to pay attention.

So pay attention now; you were wrong, and we were right, and the deal you were browbeaten into or were too stupid to know better than to oppose “crafted” to build the new Vikings stadium is one of the worst stadium deals in the US.

However, I’m sure the Downtown Brotherhood has made their thanks known.

On behalf of the rest of us?   Oh, yeah – we don’t count, except if we don’t pay our taxes on time.

That is all.

 

Transit Is Painless

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is mowing his lawn.  Avery LIBRELLE, fresh from a trip on the Green Line ,ambles up the sidewalk.  

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!  Societies that impose punitive taxes on cars, like Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, all have higher qualities of life than the US does!

BERG:  OK.  So?

LIBRELLE:  So we could do with fewer cars!

BERG:  Correlation does not equal causation.

LIBRELLE:  What are you talking about?

BERG:  All three of those countries have higher suicide rates than the United States.  Clearly high taxes and lack of cars make people want to kill themselves.

LIBRELLE:  Why do you hate science?

And SCENE

As Fuzzy As Rand Paul Is…

…on foreign policy and defense, the more I see of this kind of talk, of a 14.5% flat income tax for individuals and businesses…:

So on Thursday I am announcing an over $2 trillion tax cut that would repeal the entire IRS tax code—more than 70,000 pages—and replace it with a low, broad-based tax of 14.5% on individuals and businesses. I would eliminate nearly every special-interest loophole. The plan also eliminates the payroll tax on workers and several federal taxes outright, including gift and estate taxes, telephone taxes, and all duties and tariffs. I call this “The Fair and Flat Tax.” . . .Even Mr. Obama’s economic advisers tell him that the U.S. corporate tax code, which has the highest rates in the world (35%), is an economic drag. When an iconic American company like Burger King wants to renounce its citizenship for Canada because that country’s tax rates are so much lower, there’s a fundamental problem.

 

…the more I want him to remain a contender.

Options

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Roughed out my taxes. Going to have to write a check to the IRS – not enough deductions.

I suppose I could
start a private charity to solicit giant donations – the blue arrowhead is helpful, find your friends! Or maybe just not pay the taxes.

But I’m not a Democrat. I need a side business where I can lose some money on paper and write off expenses such as bar association dues.

Any suggestions?

Joe Doakes

I got nothing for you, man.

Anyone?

More Words, More Problems

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Always hated Word Problems in Math class. What’s the point? When will I ever use that stuff?

“If the amount on Line 8 of Form M1 is over $36,080 but not over $143,350, then Enter on Line 9 of Form M1 $1,930.28 + 7.05% of the amount over $36,080.”

From Table Rate Schedule, Table 29, Minnesota Individual Income Tax Forms and Instructions, 2014

That’s it. I’m a Flat Taxer from now on.

Joe Doakes

what’s the old joke? “A conservative is a Democrat that’s been mugged; a libertarian is a conservative that’s been audited?”

Over-Theft

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If the cashier at Cub took my money then announced she had a surplus, I’d say she overcharged me. That’s a bad thing.
If the State takes my money then announces it has a surplus, I’m supposed to be thrilled?

In the private sector, a budget starts with a realistic expectation of income, then works in spending that can be afforded.
In government, a budget starts with special interest spending demands on paid-for politicians, who set the income to cover the payoffs.
The equivalent process in the private sector would be monopolistic price fixing by a crime syndicate.
Joe Doakes

Everything you really need to know about government budgeting, you learn from Henry Hill’s soliloquy about Jimmy Conolly from “Goodfellas”.

You know what I mean; the one that goes “business is been bad? F*** you, give me the money”.

The Proverbial Frog In A Pan

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails in re a recent Powerline article:

“Mandatory” [spending] does not include defense, it covers things the government must spend because people are entitled to them: i.e., welfare, medicare, social security, etc.

 

Entitlements are the big growth. Not a surprise. For my wife and me, it’s $22,000 worth. That’s an eye opener.

Joe Doakes

It’s amazing how conservatives can warn people about something for six years, and it can still be a surprise, even to smart people, how bad it actually is.

Thanks, Tea Party!

Federal spending (as a percentage of US GDP) drops close to the historical average

The federal budget is shrinking as a percentage of gross domestic product, falling just below 20 percent in the third quarter of 2014. That’s down four points from its peak of 24 percent in 2011, according to market analysis firm Strategas’ survey of recent Treasury Department data.

 

“That’s a pretty large drop in government spending,” said Daniel Clifton, head of policy research for Strategas.

 

The drop puts current federal spending close to the norm for the last half-century. While the budget has grown in absolute numbers — the omnibus spending bill passed earlier this month totaled more than $1 trillion — federal spending has averaged just over 19 percent of GDP since 1963.

 

The decline is due to a combination of factors, the main one being the restraints that were put on federal spending in 2011 as a result of the debt ceiling standoff in Congress

…for the past half-century.  Which, to be fair, is about when the Fed started its orgy of spending like a crack whore with a stolen gold card in peacetime.

Who’d have thought we’d be talking about the Johnson years as a positive baseline?

At any rate, it’s an incremental step in the right direction – thanks, in its entirety, to the Tea Party.

An Idea Whose Time Is Long Overdue

This is from a piece of constituent mail, reprinted on a Minnesota legislator’s facebook page:

What do you think about replacing the word “free” to read “Taxpayer Funded” in all goverment paper and documents?  Like instead of schools “Free” lunch program, it would read “Schools Taxpayer Funded Lunch Program”.  It would be more truthful. 

I say submit the bill and run with it, hard.

Saint Gruber

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This is why the cities of Brooklyn Park, Waite Park and Lake Park need to pay more taxes: so Saint Paul gets more LGA for an $8 million public library in the city’s wealthiest neighborhood, Highland Park.

Meanwhile, my street still hasn’t been plowed or even sanded, and the Mayor wants Congress to pay for street repairs.

No reason to prioritize when you’re spending Other People’s Money.

joe doakes

Proponents of the system will tell you that the money comes from two different sources; that there’s no way the library money could be spent on the streets.

In other words, they’re “Grubering” you.

Slump

Amid all the DFL’s bragging about the economy – which Bill Glahn dispensed with earlier this week – let’s note that for the fifth straight month, tax receipts are off.

And not by just a little bit (emphasis added):

Minnesota’s tax collections for July have come in $69 million below expectations.

The Department of Minnesota Management and Budget released its monthly revenue Monday. It shows the state took in 6.6 percent less than was forecast.

And in the wake of the DFL’s bragging about the state’s ostensible unemployment rate?

The shortage was most acute in the area of individual income taxes, which were off by $36 million. Officials say some could be attributed to timing of tax payments or refunds.

Sure.  Some of it could.

But most of it is attributed to the fact that under DFL rule, the state’s economy is slumping.  Slowly – it’s a gradual thing, as economic trends always are – but definite.

And all the DFL’s happy talk is fermented BS.

Doakes Sunday: Findings Of Fact

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Another company leaving Minnesota for Wisconsin. This one is probably more about marketing to its customer base than taxes; still . . . . . Dayton -1, Walker +1.

unlike the date and administrations job numbers, the number of “companies leaving Minnesota” is getting revised downward anytime soon.

In unrelated news I see that Chuck Knoblauch is accused of domestic assault, therefore the Twins have cancelled his induction into the Twins hall of fame.
I don’t care a whit for sports heroes, but the endless manipulation for PC is really tiresome. Not to mention that if this happened when he was on the team and useful for their pennant rally, they would be on the soap box reminding us that the justice system needs time to work, that a person is innocent until proven guilty, etc.
I did not read any of the story, or see it on the news. Don’t have a clue what evidence, if any, is involved. But PC sucks.
Joe Doakes

it’s Minnesota. “People” – ha ha – accused of domestic abuse will be assured a speedy trial and immediate execution.

The Real Minimum Wage

Progressives, awash in worry about income inequality, will barber on and on over whether the minimum wage should be $10, or $11.50, or even a Seattle-sized $15/hour.

Conservatives know that the real minimum wage is zero

“Diggity”, a new fast-food restaurant concept in Coon Rapids, gets a jump on McDonands, does away with the server:

Diggity functions on an elaborate and expensive system of self-serve, touchscreen kiosks and software that allow customers to place orders directly from smartphones or tablet devices. Diners watch monitors (or their phones) to track the progress of their order and pick it up at the counter when ready.

 Customers can also order takeout online, drive into a designated spot in the parking lot and check in using the restaurant’s wireless Internet connection, which will ping the staff with a request to bring the order out.

“You don’t even have to make a telephone call, which is one more convenience factor,” Cary said.

The system cost six-figures (Cary wouldn’t be more precise), but he said he has no doubt it will pay for itself. The setup from Michigan’s Nextep Systems allowed Hemipshere to hire half the staff a restaurant of Diggity’s size would normally need.

But wasn’t it just the “wow” factor that led to the innovative design? 

Cary and Managing Partner Anoush Ansari said the new model was inspired by Minnesota law mandating a gradual bump in the minimum wage.

Thanks, DFL!  The teen unemployment rate is going to take another hit.

Dear “Progressives”

We warned you. Oh, yes we did.

“When you raise the taxes on the parts of our society that produce wealth, the wealth moves”

That’s especially true when the taxes you’re raising make the producers of wealth – companies, in this case – less competitive in a global marketplace with other companies that produce wealth and get less of a tax hit.

Two weeks ago, it was Medtronic packing up its corporate plantation moving to Ireland for a much, much, much better tax rate.

This week? Word that Walgreens is planning a similar inversion with a company in Switzerland.

And after news that Nash Finch and Advance Auto Parts are leaving Minnesota largely because of the DFL’s tax orgy, and Red Wing Shoes and Laurence Transportation shelving major expansions because of that same tax policy, i’m wondering how much longer the DFL can hide behind the the headlines about Minnesota’s phantom, low unemployment rate.

(Which translates to “low unemployment in the metro, where all the Fortune 1000 companies are, with the market a little less reassuring outstate…)

Closing The Hatches

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Help thousands of customers into loans they can’t afford leading to foreclosure, bankruptcy, and Trillions in federal bailouts . . . yawn.

Help a few people hide money from the tax collectors . . . $2.5 Billion in fines.

Priorities

You can’t take a house out of the country. Taxpayers are another matter.

Democrat Fatcat Largesse

Think you’re done paying for football?

Hah.  Dream on, peasant ripe-sucks.

Helga Braid Nation is doing cartwheels that “we” will be hosting a Super Bowl in 2018 at “our” stadium. 

And Mark Dayton is going to soak up whatever sunlight the event gives him among the “Happy To Have Someone Else Pay For My Bread And Circuses” set:

Dayton and members of the city’s bid committee held a news conference Wednesday to celebrate landing the Super Bowl. The NFL chose Minneapolis largely because of its new stadium.

Oh, yeah – even though none of us will be able to afford to attend this particular circus, we’ll all be subsidizing it:

The governor says the state has made no commitments for tax breaks to the NFL apart from a sales tax exemption for Super Bowl tickets that remains on the books from when Minnesota hosted it in 1992.

But Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, says organizers may ask for sales tax exemptions for some of the other festivities.

Here’s a note to Minnesota’s Republicans; here would be a great time to draw the line on the whole “limited government” thing.  Also the “subsidizing billionaires” thing. 

So the next time you find yourselves surrounded by The Walking Meat all dressed up in purple and pounding the Idiot Drums, think to yourselves; in 2012, Mitt Romney and a whole bunch of Minnesota Republicans lost, not because independents didn’t vote GOP – they did – but because conservatives, angry about serial betrayals on the whole “limited government” thing (Vikings stadia, caving in on budget hikes in 2011 before the negotiations even began, etc), stayed home in droves.

(If the Bears aren’t playing, I don’t care.  And if the Vikings are playing, I’ll bring Scarlett Johannson as my date).