North Archives - July 27, 2010
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Tax Law Change Places Disproportionate Burden on Self-Employed
By Steve Cairns
As part of its 2010 efforts
to increase revenues and stem the flow of red ink in the state budget,
the Vermont legislature enacted several changes to the way the "income
sensitivity" based property tax credits are calculated. Several of these
are retroactive and have profoundly affected some previously filed property
tax credit applications. One additional change will have a dramatic impact
on the calculation of the credit for many more homeowners, primarily the
self-employed. Beginning next year employees will enjoy a considerable
advantage over the self-employed when property tax credits are computed
because they will still be allowed to deduct expenditures that will no
longer be deductible by the self-employed.
ObamaCare Tax on Your Existence
By John McClaughry
a startling development last week, the Obama Justice Department, defending
against a host of lawsuits to invalidate the ObamaCare law, declared that
the law's individual insurance mandate is not founded on the power of Congress
to regulate interstate commerce. Surprise! It's a new tax!
The reason obviously, was
that trying to hang the ObamaCare coverage mandate on the interstate commerce
clause looked more and more like a loser in court.
By Martin Harris
as a writer, you lack the imagination to invent a late 19th century London
private-eye (with MD side-kick) as Conan Doyle did, you can parasite-ize
on his inventiveness anyway by appropriating the fictional characters,
giving one of them a heroin addiction and the other a cure; calling your
opus "the 7% solution" and even getting your little tale movie-ized. That’s
what one Nicholas Meyer did in the mid-70’s. His Holmes/Watson theft left
no lasting literary footprint, but his title did, and has since been applied
to everything from debt-growth analysis to diabetes management. Other numbers
have been used as well; one is "the 2% solution", a 2005 political treatise
by one Matthew Miller and now a Sierra Club catch-phrase for carbon-footprint
reduction. Not to be outdone, the Vermont Education Department has its
own "2% solution": a pro forma budget-cut suggestion to local school districts.
Since annual K-12 spending is now above $1.4B, 2% works out to all of $23MM.
As I’ve laid out the basic math in earlier columns, this amount could be
captured by raising the pupil-teacher ratio from 10-to-1 to 12-to-1, about
where it was in the cave-dweller school days of the previous decade.
Video Extra, 7-26-10
Rob Roper exposes House Majority
Leader Floyd Nease's sign that tells Vermont Democrat representatives how
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to rule is the mother of heresies."
– St. John Chrysostom
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Weekly News Round-Up
Nation’s Worst State Attorneys General
By Hans Bader, Competitive
Enterprise Institute, July 22, 2010
Vermont's State Attorney
William Sorrell named as one of the nations worst.
Lake Access Can Be an Act 250 Crap Shoot
Caledonia Record Editorial,
July 23, 2010
Mark and Julie Pernokas want
to construct a 6-foot-wide gravel path extending from the end of an existing,
previously permitted residential gravel driveway and ending about 35 feet
from Lake Willoughby's shoreline. The Wellesley, Mass., and Westmore couple
has received a town zoning permit for construction of the path, which will
offer water bars. The application for the local zoning permit was approved
by Westmore Zoning Administrator Andrew J. Berley in mid-May.
That's not enough, though.
They now have to get an Act 250 permit to build their path on their own
property down to the area containing an existing boathouse, concrete pad
and dock, all still their own property. In their own words in the Act 250
application, "It is currently worth noting that since the creation of this
subdivision, there are no means by which the current residents have safe
access down slope to their dock and waterfront through their own property."
Out: Bad Day for Vermont Democrats!"
Vermont GOP Newsletter,
July 22, 2010
Democrats in Montpelier can't
seem to get their act together these days. First, two candidates
for governor, Peter Shumlin and Susan Bartlett, joined their super-majority
friends in putting
interest group politics above job creation and balanced budgets during
a State House press conference. Then, Peter Shumlin and Matt Dunne
went at it over accusations
about inaccuracies in a mail piece sent to voters. And now we
learn that Democrat Attorney General Bill
Sorrell has been named the 6th worst Attorney General in the country.
"Vermonters are fed up with
Montpelier Democrats who are so comfortable in office that they forget
about the most important issues facing Vermonters," said Erik Mason, Executive
Director of the Vermont Republican Party. "Whether it is putting interest
groups before fiscal responsibility and job creation, arguing over who
sponsored a bill to bankrupt our health care system or being called out
as one of the worst Attorneys General in the country, it is clear that
Democrats in Montpelier are out of touch."
Shumlin's Pie In The Sky
Caledonia Record Editorial,
July 21, 2010
Peter Shumlin's first TV
political ad goes straight to four dear-to-his-heart issues: universal,
single-payer health care; early childhood education; renewable energy (i.e.
wind turbines); and connecting rural Vermonters to high-speed Internet
service. He is to be commended for two things: making it very clear what
he wants to do if he is elected governor and making it equally clear why
Vermonters should not elect him governor.
Three of his four issues
are financially completely unsustainable. Let's start with universal, single-payer
health care. Despite having successfully cornered and spent a quarter of
a million dollar legislative grant for yet another study intended to lead
to a legislative recommendation to establish single-payer, universal health
care, Shumlin just will not face the fact that Vermont simply has no way
to raise the $2 billion minimum necessary to pay for it. It's pie in the
From Vermont Tiger, July
As we are all aware, the
political movement known as the Tea Party is an affiliation of racists,
rubes, and retards who have been left behind by the marvels of the 21st
century. Those who call themselves members tend to move their lips
when they read and are convinced Charles Darwin was a communist.
They are, simultaneously, exceedingly dangerous and not to be taken seriously.
We know all this because
the political elites and the mainstream media have
told us so. And they, of course, are not to be doubted.
Even so, we thought our readers
might be interested in meeting a real live Tea Party person who also happens
to be Vermont Tiger's chairman. Jack Harding will be joining
thousands and, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of other knuckle draggers
in Washington late next month to demonstrate in support of such radical
notions as balanced budgets and an end to union control of the economy.
Jack explains his reasons in today's featured
post. We'll take up some space here to introduce him
to readers interested in understanding just what sort of person is drawn
over to the dark side.
Caledonia Record Editorial,
July 20, 2010
Some minor changes in the
school tax prebate/rebate tax rules are causing some people to cry out
in pain. They aren't going to get prebates as large as they did last year,
and, horrors, some of them are going to have to pay a larger share of their
Guess who is crying the most?
Certainly not the people who pay their full property tax bills. It wouldn't
matter if they cried out. Nobody has listened to them since Ralph Wright
finished installing his income redistribution scheme in Act 60 10 years
ago and the Democratic legislators Act 68 later.
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Global War on Terrorism
Filling America's Vacuum
From Investor’s Business
Daily, July 21, 2010
As the U.S. retreats from
the world stage, the nation's top military officer is warning us about
China's military buildup and intentions. Already, China is telling us to
keep off the grass. Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, visiting U.S. troops
at Camp Red Cloud in South Korea on Wednesday, talked about his growing
concerns about China.
Coming End Of Islamic Fascism In Iran
Crucial signs that
freedom is not only possible but imminent.
Kahlili, Forbes Magazine, July 22, 2010
Unrest is everywhere: among
students, teachers, union workers, Iranian regular army officers and, most
importantly, the merchants at Tehran's bazaar, who had until now been supportive
of the regime and who helped finance Khomeini's rise. The traders in the
bazaar went on strike in early July to protest an increase in income
taxes, and the regime let loose their thugs to intimidate them
and force an end to the strike, even stabbing a merchant to death.
The Islamic rulers are losing
control of their people and their economy. Inflation is on the rise, government
workers are not being paid in a timely fashion and people are suffering
to make ends meet. Recent sanctions will put more pressure on an already
destabilized situation in Iran.
Related Article: Rising
Speculation About Bombing Iran’s Nukes
Villagers Battle the Taliban in Ghazni
By Bill Roggio, The Long
War Journal, July, 2010
Weekly Standard, I rounded up the news of Afghan villagers
in Ghazni province who stood up to a force of Taliban fighters infiltrating
from neighboring Uruzgan province. The news is welcome as it gives hope
that the Afghan people can eventually organize to oppose the Taliban, much
as the Sunni tribes in Iraq opposed al Qaeda.
the Flames of Jihad
By Scott Stewart, Strategic
Forecasters, July 22, 2010
On July 11, 2010, al-Malahim
Media, the media arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), published
the first edition of its new English-language online magazine "Inspire."
The group had tried to release the magazine in late June, but for some
reason — whether a technical glitch, virus (as rumored on some of the jihadist
message boards) or cyberattack — most of the initial file released was
The magazine was produced
by someone who has a moderate amount of technological savvy, who speaks
English well and who uses a lot of American idioms and phraseology. We
did not note any hint of British or South Asian influence in the writing.
A government source has suggested to us (and we have seen the claim repeated
in the media) that Inspire was produced by a U.S citizen who was born in
Saudi Arabia named Samir Khan. Khan is a well-known cyber-jihadist who
has used the Web name Inshallahshaheed ("martyr by Allah’s will"). Given
Khan’s background, history of publishing English-language jihadist material
and the fact that he reportedly left the United States for Yemen in 2009
and has not returned, it does seem plausible that he is the driving force
Dawa from the World Trade Center Rubble
Meet the Ground Zero
Mosque imam’s Muslim Brotherhood friends.
By Andrew McCarthy, National
Review, July 24, 2010
Feisal Abdul Rauf is the
imam behind the "Cordoba Initiative" that is spearheading plans to build
a $100 million Islamic center at Ground Zero, the site where nearly 3,000
Americans were killed by jihadists on 9/11. He is also the author of a
book called What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America.
But the book hasn’t always been called that. It was called quite
something else for non-English-speaking audiences. In Malaysia,
it was published as A
Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the
Heart of America Post-9/11.
to Stop Defeating Ourselves
By Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely,
US Army (Ret), Family Security Matters, July 21, 2010
Diana West wrote: MG Paul
Vallely has some excellent questions for our civilian
and military leadership today. He also has some excellent answers -- all
of which involve abandoning once and for the self-destructive, self-defeating,
not to mention masochistic, strategies of "counter-insurgency" (COIN)
doctrine and nation-building.
As Gen. Vallely points out:
"The COIN principle is not based on winning; it is based on political whims
and is not a true tenet of warfare. Warfare is, and always should be, about
Winning this specific war
against forces impelled by Islamic ideology calls for unconventional measures,
Gen. Vallely writes, not the conventional actions followed by lengthy occupations
such as we have seen and are seeing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such an unconventional
war doctrine, as he writes below, "heavily leverages the core capability
to break enemy states, target and destroy the enemy’s capability to bring
harm to America" -- what Gen. Vallely has long advocated as the "unheralded"
Global Lily Pad strategy.
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Authorities Shut Down WordPress Host With 73,000 Blogs
From TorrentFreak, July
After the U.S. Government
took action against several sites connected to movie streaming recently,
nerves are jangling over the possibility that this is just the beginning
of a wider crackdown. Now it appears that a free blogging platform has
been taken down by its hosting provider on orders from the U.S. authorities
on grounds of "a history of abuse". More than 73,000 blogs are out of action
as a result.
Abolish State Income Taxes
By Richard W. Rahn, The
Washington Times, July 19, 2010
Did you know there are nine
states that have no state income tax? The non-income-tax states (see accompanying
chart) are geographically and economically diverse, ranging from the state
of Washington in the Pacific Northwest, to Texas and Florida in the South,
and up to New Hampshire in the Northeast.
Why is it that some of the
states with the biggest fiscal problems have the highest individual state
income tax rates, such as New York and California, while some of the states
with the least fiscal problems have no state income tax at all? High-tax
advocates will argue that the high-tax states provide much more and better
state services, but the empirical evidence does not support the assertion.
On average, schools, health and safety, roads, etc. are no better in states
with income taxes than those without income taxes. More importantly, the
evidence is very strong that people are moving from high-tax states to
lower-tax-rate states - the migration from California to Texas and from
New York to Florida being prime examples. (Next year, the combined federal,
state and local income tax rate for a citizen of New York City will be
well over 50 percent, as contrasted with approximately 38 percent for citizens
of Texas and Florida.) If the citizens of California and New York really
thought they were getting their money's worth for all of the extra state
taxation, they would not be moving to low-tax states.
Ways to Tackle Spending and Deficits
By Brian Riedl, The Heritage
Foundation, July 21, 2010
When Gallup recently polled
Americans on the biggest threat to America's future well-being, the escalating
national debt tied terrorism at the top.
They're right to worry. Washington's
debt is on a completely unsustainable path. The Congressional Budget Office
projects that the national debt held by the public — which stood below
$6 trillion as late as 2008 — will top $20 trillion by the end of this
decade if President Obama's budget is implemented. At 90 percent of the
economy, such debt levels would risk large increases in interest rates
and tax rates, and could also result in a Greece-like economic crisis.
Beyond our own economic consequences, dumping this staggering debt load
on future generations would be absolutely immoral.
Worker Productivity Has Destroyed Millions of Jobs, and We Should Be Grateful
From Professor Mark J. Perry's
Blog for Economics and Finance, July 17, 2010
Ron Bullock, chairman of
Bison Gear & Engineering Corp, writing in the Washington
foreign competition has led to increasing manufactured-goods trade deficits
and the loss of 7 million U.S. manufacturing jobs since 1980."
Don Boudreaux responds:
"This account –
repeated ad nauseam – would be more plausible if it were also the case
that U.S. manufacturing output, during this same time, had declined. But
this output rose. Manufacturing output today is nearly 100 percent higher
than it was 30 years ago (see chart). Importantly, manufacturing output
is up while manufacturing employment is down for a reason that is cause
not for the pessimism that universally attends accounts such as Mr. Bullock‘s
but rather for optimism. That reason is substantial growth in productivity,
which is the only source of sustained and widespread prosperity."
Bill Would Make Housing Less Affordable
By Wendell Cox and Ronald
Utt, Ph.D., The Heritage Foundation, July 20, 2010
In addition to the devastating
economic effects of cap and trade, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power
Act (S. 1733)—introduced by Senators John Kerry (D–MA) and Joseph Lieberman
(I–CT)—would likely lead to the same conditions that caused the housing
bubble of a few years ago.
It would do this by providing
financial incentives to the federally funded metropolitan planning organizations
to shift transportation resources and passengers away from automobiles
to public transit and forms of non-motorized transportation such as walking
and bicycles. The bill further suggests that these be accomplished through
"zoning and other land use regulations" that lead to a more crowded living
environment. In turn, these communities of higher population density would
be more amenable to forms of transportation common in the decades prior
to the invention of the internal combustion engine.
Related Article: Democrats
Pull Plug on Climate Bill
Natural Gas Man
By Philip Klein, The American
Spectator, July 22, 2010
T. Boone Pickens explains
why America should embrace natural gas to end our dependence on foreign
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