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Monthly Archives: June 2009

From TJIC:

It’s a well known fact that lottery winners are idiots with the money (although this may be, in part, because they’re pre-selected to be people who “play” the lottery in the first place)

LOL.  I have always said that a lottery is a tax on stupid people.  In fact, this is another example of Liberals in general and Democrats in specific actually implementing legislation that keeps their base down.

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Tax it.

If you want less alcohol being sold, tax it.  Same with cigarettes.  Do you wanna have fewer homes built in a certain area?  Tax new home construction.  This is true of all things.  People will buy less of something when that thing is more expensive.  This concept is very powerful; and should be equally obvious.  When you ask someone on the street to identify their favorite beer and then present them with the option of buying as many of them as they want at $10 a pop, think they’ll buy more or less than if you offered that same beer at $0.50 a bottle?  Right.  Me too.

However, when you get politicians involved you get different responses that you might expect.  Now, I’m not sure why this is the case, but I suspect that it has more to do with politicians enjoying the fruits of power than anything else.  But, you could also argue that politicians are just like everybody else and they just don’t KNOW certain things.  And so it should not be surprising when corporations walk away from States who want to tax business.  Remember, when you tax a thing, you get less of it.

The law hasn’t even passed yet and already North Carolina is getting “less of it”.

Amazon.com said Friday it has pulled the plug on commissions for North Carolina Web sites that make referrals to the online retailer, because a law designed to collect taxes on some of its sales transactions could soon be enacted.

Seattle-based Amazon said it wrote to Web site operators, telling them its “Associates program” will end after Friday. Web sites that posted links to the company about its products have received up to a 15 percent cut on sales.

As I mentioned, this law is only being considered at this time, it hasn’t been voted on or sent to the Governor.

But the Legislature is considering a provision in its final budget plan designed to collect sales taxes on these so-called “click-through” transactions.

Competing House and Senate plans both contain the provision, so it’s likely to be in the compromise budget proposal that could be approved in the next several days.

Rather than driving money OUT of North Carolina, how about our State Government just reduce our spend, by, say:

North Carolina expects to collect an additional $13.2 million in the coming fiscal year on the “click-through” transactions and by companies collecting sales taxes on music, video and software downloads purchased electronically, according to a legislative fiscal analysis.

I don’t know, 13.2 million?

Just another example of our Government trying to do too much.

I was reading the News and Observer this morning and saw that Smithfield Packing finally succumbed to the kudzu that is Unions.

Smithfield Packing, union agree on NC contract

TAR HEEL, N.C. — Smithfield Packing Co. and a union that worked for years to organize a huge North Carolina slaughterhouse say they have agreed on their first contract for the plant.

I have not yet taken the time to check and see if Smithfield Packing is a publicly traded company or not, but I am sure that the value of this company just took a 10% hit.  Not only that, but employment in the company went down today as well.

I repeat, there is nothing, not ONE thing that is good about unionization within a company.  Unless, of course, you are a Union official.

Unions effectively tax …  [company] investments by negotiating higher wages for their members, thus lowering profits. Unionized companies respond to this union tax by reducing investment. Less investment makes unionized companies less competitive.

And a less competetive company is a company that is not as valuable as a more competitive compant.  If you need further proof that Unionization is a bad thing, take a look at the States with the highest unemployment rates and see how many of them are Union states and how many are right to work.

Heck, I’ll save ya the time:

1 Nebraska Right to Work
2 North Dakota Right to Work
3 South Dakota Right to Work
4 Wyoming Right to Work
5 Utah Right to Work
6 Iowa Right to Work
7 Montana Forced Union
8 Oklahoma Right to Work
9 New Hampshire Forced Union
10 New Mexico Forced Union
41 Kentucky Forced Union
42 DC Forced Union
43 Tennessee Right to Work
44 Ohio Forced Union
45 North Carolina Right to Work
46 Nevada Right to Work
47 California Forced Union
48 South Carolina Right to Work
49 Oregon Forced Union
50 Michigan Forced Union

Interesting list, huh?

So, the President travelled to the Mid-East and then Europe earlier this month.  While in France, the President delivered his Weekly Radio Address.  In this address, he spoke directly about our health care situation and how we need to change it.  I think that we should take the opportunity to explore the French version of this vision.

With just a little bit of Googling I found numerous articles from sources such as:

Reuters

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

Business Week

After just an easy overview of these articles, it is apparent that the French are kicking our asses in the whole health care thing.  In the Business Week article, France has itself coming in 1st with the US rounding out at 37th.  In Reuters, Uncle Sam is running 19th in a 19 man race while France, again, places 1st.  All in all, no matter how you look at it, America is lagging.  Perhaps Mr. Oabama had it right to initiate his Health care kickoff in the country that has it going on.

But, before we acknowledge that we have indeed failed, let’s take a look at what it is that has France ranked so high in all of our studies.  For example, in the Reuters study, it was a ranking of 19 nations in preventable deaths due to treatable conditions.  And in the Business Week article, it quotes the ranking done by WHO, The World Health Organization, that has France coming 1st and the United States a dismal 37th.  In that ranking, the WHO lists infant mortality rates, life span, available beds and doctors per citizen as well as deaths from respiratory disease.  And all of this, of course, as the United States pays more for it’s health care than any other nation.

On the face of things, it would seem that indeed, the United States is in dire need of reform and, in fact, may finally have to implement some form of national health care.  After all, America remains the only industrialized nation not to have such a system.

In the following days, I will look deeper into the claims made by various agencies.  Look deeper into the numbers and identify if yes, the United States is in as bad as shape as it would appear.

Okay, so, some time ago I posted here on TarHeelRed that I was pro-choice.  I want to explain where I was and where I am now.

So, I think that the Government is horrible at what it does.  Especially when what it does is something that it should not do.  So, using that as a maxim, I found myself coming out as pro-choice.  And here is why.

See, I am anti-abortion.  Totally.  Except when the mother is a victim of a crime or her life is in danger.  In those two cases, I am in favor of allowing the mother to choose.  However, in ALL cases, I am against late term abortions; even in crime cases.  Because I am in favor of legislation that would prohibit abortions, an exception would require judicial review.  And because I adhere to Pino’s Maxim, in part because I am Pino, I acknowledge that the government must necessarily suck at:

  1. Quickly deciding the case.
  2. Deciding it correctly.

Therefore, I was left with no choice, heh heh, but to come out on the side of:  Pro-Choice.

However, since then, I have rethought my position and decided that rather than give my okay to abortions that I consider immoral, I must advocate better legal procedures.

Therefore and hereby, I am, Pro-Life.

Barack Obama’s Weekly Radio Address

June 6, 2009

Over the past few days, I’ve been traveling through the Middle East and Europe working to renew our alliances, enhance our common security, and propose a new partnership between the United States and the Muslim world.

You can call it that, in fact, many do.  I mostly call it an apology, but hey–that’s just ME.  Oh yeah, psst, when, umm, are the, you know, Muslims going to step forward and propose a new relationship with the United States?

But even as I’m abroad, I’m firmly focused on the other pressing challenges we face – including the urgent need to reform our health care system.  Even as we speak, Congress is preparing to introduce and debate health reform legislation that is the product of many months of effort and deliberation.  And if you’re like any of the Americans I’ve met across this country who know all too well that the soaring costs of health care make our current course unsustainable, I imagine you’ll be watching their progress closely.

Closely.  Yeah, that’s a word.

I’m talking about the families I’ve met whose spiraling premiums and out-of-pocket expenses are pushing them into bankruptcy or forcing them to go without the check-ups or prescriptions they need.  Business owners who fear they’ll be forced to choose between keeping their doors open or covering their workers.  Americans who rightly worry that the ballooning costs of Medicare and Medicaid could lead to fiscal catastrophe down the road.

Okay, so really, turn down the lights and put away the mics.  Serious.  Medicare and Medicaid.  In a speech designed to convince me that we need to turn our health care system over to you, you bring up Medicare and Medicaid?  Maybe, just maybe, before you decide that you wanna add another program to our debt load, you would think that you would fix these two?  No?  how come?  Really, yeah….details….

Simply put, the status quo is broken.

Perhaps.  But I am SURE you have no clue as to why.

We cannot continue this way.  If we do nothing, everyone’s health care will be put in jeopardy.

Not true.  Not true at all.  See, people who continue to value health care will make sure that they have it.  Those that don’t, well, won’t.  But jeez, that would require that you have experience in the real world, and well, you don’t have that.  Do you?  My, how embarrassing.

Within a decade, we’ll spend one dollar out of every five we earn on health care – and we’ll keep getting less for our money.

Wanna talk about that whole “Less for our money thing”?  Did you know that the world’s wealthiest most powerful people come to America for medical care?  You know, King Hussein, you know, King of Jordan, traveled to a small farm town in the middle of Minnesota;s farm land to see a doctor.  Meanwhile, a small town teacher in the heart of the same farm community also drove to the Mayo for treatment.  Gotta hand it to those conniving merciless profiteers out there in Rochester.  Bastards!

That’s why fixing what’s wrong with our health care system is no longer a luxury we hope to achieve – it’s a necessity we cannot postpone any longer.

Postpone.  I suspect that’s a word you will get used to saying.  Perhaps not hearing.  Cause, well, you know, YOU won’t be expected to be covered by this crappy insurance.

The growing consensus around that reality has led an unprecedented coalition to come together for change.

Huh?  Flashback Presbo?  What in THEE hell are you talking about?

Unlike past attempts at reforming our health care system, everyone is at the table – patient’s advocates and health insurers; business and labor; Democrats and Republicans alike.

No one is at the table you crazy loon.  Just you.

A few weeks ago, some of these improbable allies committed to cut national health care spending by two trillion dollars over the next decade.  What makes this so remarkable is that it probably wouldn’t have happened just a few short years ago.

Right.  Along with the President of the United States firing a CEO, limiting executive pay and compensation and then just kinda shredding bankruptcy law.  But hell, who’s keepin’ score?

But today, at this historic juncture, even old adversaries are united around the same goal: quality, affordable health care for all Americans.

See, you politician speak on this one.  We all agree that “medical care” is high.  But you don’t wanna fix that.  Nope, no way.  What you wanna do is keep it high and then just make everybody pay for it.

Now, I know that when you bring together disparate groups with differing views, there will be lively debate.  And that’s a debate I welcome.

Welcome.  You keep using that word.  I do not think that word means what you think it means. /sexyspanishaccent

But what we can’t welcome is reform that just invests more money in the status quo – reform that throws good money after bad habits.

We must attack the root causes of skyrocketing health care costs.  Some of these costs are the result of unwarranted profiteering

See buster.  I KNEW you could do it.  Damn profiteers.  I mean really, who would think that modern economic theory was so so wrong!?

that has no place in our health care system, and in too many communities, folks are paying higher costs without receiving better care in return.  And yet we know, for example, that there are places like the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and other institutions that offer some of the highest quality of care in the nation at some of the lowest costs in the nation.  We should learn from their successes and promote the best practices, not the most expensive ones.  That’s how we’ll achieve reform that fixes what doesn’t work, and builds on what does.

Whoe nellie!  That’s not what you’re saying.  What you are saying is “Lets take this same crappy system and just nationalize it.  Let’s just make everybody buy insurance and then tax the hell out of ’em”.  You never once have mentioned innovation in terms of “medical care” delivery.  Never!

This week, I conveyed to Congress my belief that any health care reform must be built around fundamental reforms that lower costs, improve quality and coverage, and also protect consumer choice.  That means if you like the plan you have, you can keep it.  If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too.  The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.

LOL

I also made it very clear to Congress that we must develop a plan that doesn’t add to our budget deficit.

Stop.  Serious.  Who is buying this?

My budget included an historic down payment on reform, and we’ll work with Congress to fully cover the costs through rigorous spending reductions and appropriate additional revenues.  We’ll eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in our health care system, but we’ll also take on key causes of rising costs – saving billions while providing better care to the American people.

All across America, our families are making hard choices when it comes to health care.  Now, it’s time for Washington to make the right ones.  It’s time to deliver.  And I am absolutely convinced that if we keep working together and living up to our mutual responsibilities; if we place the American people’s interests above the special interests; we will seize this historic opportunity to finally fix what ails our broken health care system, and strengthen our economy and our country now and for decades to come.

Good night.  I am done.

I know that we don’t have teacher’s unions in Carolina, but still, the negative effects are everywhere.

Today, the N&O reported on the idea of merit pay for teachers.  In this case, the merit pay seemed to be limited to the type of school a teacher taught at; not how well that teacher did.  But still,  it’s a start.

I started my working career as a teacher, it was the first job I had after college.  Further, that first year was also a “negotiation” year for the “EA” and the school.  I remember the feeling when I saw the results of my elected representation:

No raises for teachers going from 0-1, 1-2 or 2-3 years of experience.  However, raises for everyone else.

I knew then that the whole “working for a union thang” wasn’t for me.  I left as soon as the year was up.

What I don’t understand is how so many people, with a straight face, claim that paying more money to a better performer is bad. Ffor anything.  Really.  Never ever understood that.  Ya know, while I think that the salaries we pay athletes is gross, at least we have the right incentives in place.

  1. We agree on a specific number of years in the contract.
  2. I will pay you according to the market.
  3. When you are no longer able to perform, you are no longer able to be employed.

Why would it be any different for teachers?  Why, WHY, do we want to protect low performing teachers?

I just don’t get it.