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Archive for September, 2012

Lots of Good Stuff

Back in July, the John Locke Foundation published a report on cronyism in the State of North Carolina. It argues that government has extended into too many things, and when it attempts to influence the market, it can only bestow favors on some by penalizing others. One way governments play favorites is through regulation. Of particular note is the chart on page 19 showing the number of pages added to the North Carolina Register in recent years. Recommendations for eliminating regulations that work against a healthy economy are also offered.

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Wi Li?

A couple days ago, I read a quote from a politician that combined a couple scriptures. It was one of those, “How many animals did Moses bring on the ark?” kinds of things. The statement should make him appear to be religious to those who don’t read the Bible, and stupid those who do. In an honest world, he would alienate everybody. But what is more likely is that the quote galvanized a large contingency that pretends to read the Bible.

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On Black Holes & Cornucopias

An activist group, “Progress North Carolina” made headlines. They put up signs to protest a candidate’s support of tax credits for businesses. The local daily seems to claim one party is evil and the other is good, but this blog is required by law to be nonpartisan, equal-time, and all that other stuff that salvages evil, crazy, and stupid ideas from outright dismissal when people are actually trying to get things done.

Anyway, the activists complained that the threshold is so high almost any privately-held business can take advantage of the tax. They claim it is rather wicked for legislators who own businesses to be self-dealing in such a manner. Not only that, the move is depriving the state of $336 million, or 5500 teacher salaries. Persons interviewed said they would much rather support teachers than business. The article doesn’t attempt give a column inch to the standard refutations.

Where does one start? North Carolina has one of the highest corporate income tax rates in the state, and that serves as a disincentive for businesses shopping across state lines for new locations. The article acts as if the activists truly believe what was portrayed on one of the signs: Business people accumulate money and sit on it. They’re crazy loons who lust after wads of money they have no intention of spending.

Oddly, those who argue so vehemently about job creation, as opposed to meaningful employment, didn’t catch that $50,000 per year could translate to one job created or saved per business assuming, as they did with their teacher argument, that all money would be channeled that way. But one must ask why the teachers want money. Surely, they do not intend to patronize businesses so dastardly hoarders can stuff their tuffets. If businessmen don’t spend their money, then why do economic multipliers weigh so heavily in arguments coming from a certain political direction?

The argument assumes people are pawns that move into position by government and stay put until the mighty hand of government moves them to another square. It doesn’t even grant humans as much intelligence as the behaviorists, which von Mises observed used animals and infants to predict human choice. However, LeChatelier has accurately articulated the truism that even molecules will realign to accommodate stress.

But then, the thrust of the article is that the tax breaks should have only been applicable to small businesses. That, of course, encourages businesses with threshold profits to become less productive in order to score the incentive. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the passing of money around that makes a healthy economy, but the production of more and better tradable goods.

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(1) Nationalize or (2) Else

The local daily has announced an event, “True Stories.” It is cosponsored by WNC Health Advocates and Know Your Care NC. It is anticipated that the program will present a false dilemma: keep the existing, broken system or advocate for Obama’s plan to eventually nationalize healthcare.

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Some Courtesy for the Everyday Economy?

Last year, the press was able to determine when the president was going to visit Asheville by noting a large booking of Secret Service agents at a local inn. To make things harder, the campaign has only announced that VP Joe Biden will visit Asheville and Charlotte this coming Tuesday. Short-notice celebrity visits are OK, but when they come with major road closings, they are not funny.

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Now, Class

Read the following Wikipedia paragraph and answer the questions below.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited the empty Solyndra factory in mid-2012 as his campaign shifted from the primaries toward the convention and the general election. He criticized the bankruptcy and President Obama’s previous support.[26] Soon after Romney’s visit to Solyndra another solar energy company, Konarka, declared bankruptcy. Like Solyndra, Konarka had received federal financial support. But Konarka also had received 2002 financial support from then-Massachusetts Governor Romney’s administration. As such Konarka became something of a counterpoint to Solyndra in the political exchange with the Democratic president. But this seeming hypocrisy could also be undercut by the fact that the Konarka loan in the amount of $1.5M was repaid whereas the $535M loan to Solyndra was a loss to federal taxpayers.

The moral of the story is:

  1. Republicans are evil. Support government subsidies to industry.
  2. Democrats are evil. Support government subsidies to industry.

The form of logic used in the paragraph is:

  1. Modus pocus.
  2. Modus tollens.
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Good Thing the River Was Already There

Hendersonville County staff received a 2012 Partner of the Year award from the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development. The award is for, well, partners, but these “go above and beyond the norm in creating and retaining quality jobs.”

[Chip Gould] cited an instance in which Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. representatives wanted to view the Ferncliff property by boat on short notice while they were in the area on a scouting trip in the summer of 2011, a company Henderson County ended up landing when Sierra Nevada announced earlier this year that they would place their eastern U.S. operations here.
“We learned of this request on a Monday and they were coming on Tuesday,” Gould said, adding phone calls were made to county staffers including Emergency Services Director Rocky Hyder, who worked with the Henderson County Rescue Squad to provide the water transportation.
“Not only did we have the client viewing the property from the river riding in Zodiac boats, we had client representatives viewing it from the air by helicopter,” Gould said.

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A Unidirectional Arrow of Trade

Here is yet another example of how that golden cornucopia of free money just blows more golden cornucopias out its little ears, and so on, and so on . . .

Hendersonville’s Housing Assistance Corporation, a nonprofit, received a $424,800 grant from the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. Funding is for fifteen or more homes to be added to a subdivision where fifteen grant-funded homes already exist. Make no mistake, the homes will be green.

“I’m glad we’re able to fund a project such as this,” [USDA Housing Administrator Tammye Trevino] said, adding that it will have a ripple effect on the economy. Jobs will be created in the process and the new homeowners, in turn, will require the services of other business sectors for furniture, landscaping, title work, taxes and more.
It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” Trevino said. . . .
Pam Hysong, area director of USDA Rural Development, said that the taxes alone generated from the 117 homes the HAC has built since the ’90s have invested more than $100 million in the local economy. . . .
“One way to wealth is equity in a home,” Trevino said.

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C’mon, Be a Bad Parent for the Volunteers

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Haywood County does not need volunteers to spend time with at-risk youth. It is seeking children who could use its mentors. Parents who have time to read the newspapers, but not enough for their kids, are encouraged to enroll the little darlings.

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Collecting Taxes for the Private Sector

The Jackson County Commissioners and a task force appointed to revamp the local tourism agency are at odds over whether the commissioners should have oversight in how approximately $484,000 in annual tax revenue collected is spent. Representatives from the hospitality industry do not care to have the elected officials’ input on how to attract more tourists.

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