Saturday, July 10, 2010

Note to LeBron James: Elections have consequences

Here are excerpts from a couple of related posts about LeBron James.  Let me begin by stating that I don't care where LeBron James chooses to throw plastic bags of air through metal rings.  I'm a football guy. 

The first (from back in October 2008) is from, in which rapper Jay-Z and LeBron James offer the following words of encouragement:

If you plan on voting for Barack Obama, Jay-Z would prefer that you do it sooner than later. He and NBA superstar LeBron James are calling on people to cast their ballots ahead of time – and vote for Obama. James and Jay-Z hosted a concert and rally Wednesday at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland . James attended a Cleveland rally earlier this month to encourage people to vote for Obama. He’s also contributed $20,000 to a committee supporting the Democratic presidential nominee.

Next, we have this gem from the Wall Street Journal.  I'm quoting from the version quoted at The Tax Prof, since I don't subscribe to the WSJ's online edition:

We come not to praise or bury LeBron James, but only to note that by moving to Miami he's going to save a bundle on taxes. ... Florida has no income tax. The rate in Akron, Ohio is a little over 7%.

Mr. James figures to earn close to $100 million in salary over five seasons in Miami. According to an analysis by Richard Vedder, an economist at Ohio University, Mr. James's net present value tax savings on his salary are between $6 million and $8 million by living in Miami versus his home town of Akron. Professional athletes do have to pay other state taxes for the dates they play in visiting team arenas, but most of Mr. James's considerable endorsement income would be taxed at Florida rates.

The tax comparisons looked even worse for two other teams in the LeBron bidding, the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets. ...

The New York State tax rate is 12%.  If James was serious about supporting the Teleprompter Jesus and all his holy works, wouldn't New York have been the best place to go?  The idea behind Obama's candidacy was for the wealthy to start paying as much as possible as soon as possible, right?   

While LeBron's departure got extraordinary media attention, it is hardly unique. In the early 1990s, Ohio was the home of 43 Fortune 500 companies. Twenty years later the number is 24. Census Bureau data show that from 2004-2008 Ohio saw a net outmigration of $6 billion of income and some 97,000 taxpayers. Even Ohio's famously liberal Senator, the late Howard Metzenbaum, moved to Florida late in his life to reduce his estate taxes.

We feel for Cleveland fans, but maybe they should allocate some of their wrath to the state politicians who keep driving high-income individuals and their businesses to financially sunnier climes.

$8,000,000 is merely the amount that Mr. James is trying to save on state taxes.  That's on his basic salary, not endorsement deals.  Does anyone care to guess how many tax accountants LeBron James is now currently employing to protect his earnings from Barack Obama's Treasury goons?  (Hint: I bet that the answer is "lots".) 

The LeBron James Nike ad came from here. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

In praise of good neighbors. Ed in particular.

I love my neighborhood, and have great neighbors. 
We occasionally have some badness drifting up from a nearby high-crime region, though. 

My truck has been broken into something like 3 times in 10 years.  The police can always be relied on to say something like "Doh !"

A few nights ago, one of my neighbors heard somebody messing around with his pickup, which was parked out on the street.  He looked outside, and yep, somebody was messing with his truck.  Mr. Ed, the truck-owner, is a calm, older black gentleman, and one of the best folks I know.  Age Morgan Freeman by about 20 more years, shave his head, and you've got Mr. Ed.

Mr. Ed calmly got his pistol, went outside, and took a shot at the son of a bitch. 

He missed.  Mr. Ed apparently had all the appropriate permits that are required for someone to shoot at truck thieves, and as far as I know he isn't in any trouble with the law. 

That happened four or five nights ago.  I sleep like a baby, knowing that Mr. Ed is out there, and a restless sleeper. 

Barack Obama is going to raise taxes so he can keep spending.  No one has been able to plug the hole in the Gulf.  Our soldiers are still getting shot in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Nancy Pelosi is Speaker Of The House. 

But I don't think we have to worry about that guy breaking into any more trucks. 

When seconds count, the police are just minutes away ! 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The real British Petroleum scandal

From the Powerline blog:

Corn is great food, but lousy energy. Energy derived from corn--ethanol--cannot compete in the marketplace with more efficient sources of energy, like petroleum, unless its producers get money from the government (i.e. you) to artificially lower the price of their product. This is what is known as "green energy."

It amounts to having a bonfire with your money. Well, no, not exactly a bonfire, since, while there is undeniably a net inefficiency and thus a destruction of wealth, your money doesn't go up in smoke. Rather, your tax dollars are transferred to a combination of Midwestern farmers and politically connected ethanol plant developers. Like other government subsidy programs, it's great if you get to cash the checks, but bad if you are a taxpayer or an energy buyer.

Ok, roll that around in your head for a minute, and then check this out - from Kevin Williamson of The Corner:

BP's oil-spill cleanup bill, so far: $3.2 billion

Money BP is setting aside for the total bill: $20 billion
Annual cost of U.S. ethanol subsidies: $5 billion
Ethanol subsidies going to BP this year: $600 million

Conclusions: Every four years, U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing the energy firms by an amount equal to the maximum that BP expects to spend on the cleanup. BP specifically will collect an equivalent amount every 33 years. This year's BP ethanol subsidy by itself will offset about 20 percent of what BP has spent on the cleanup so far.

And that's just one subsidy program.
Tell me again why this "green economy" stuff is not a scam.

The banks paid back their TARP money, and the nation remains scandalized by that bailout. What are the chances the energy industry is going to pay back a penny of the billions we're pouring on them through green energy subsidies?

The Obama Tax Hike Exemption Card

You can go here to get your Obama Tax Hike Exemption card. 

How to use the card:

Step 1: Present the card to merchants, employers, and tax authorities.

Step 2: If challenged, pleasantly ask: “Are you calling President Obama a liar?”

Here's some background:

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

--Candidate Barack Obama, Sept. 12, 2008

“If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.”

--President Barack Obama, Feb. 24, 2009

“The statement didn’t come with caveats.”

--Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, April 15, 2009, when asked if the pledge applies to healthcare

And here's the reality.  Hit the link above for even more:

First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief

In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families. These will all expire on January 1, 2011:

Personal income tax rates will rise. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:

- The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
- The 25% bracket rises to 28%
- The 28% bracket rises to 31%
- The 33% bracket rises to 36%
- The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%

Higher taxes on marriage and family. The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.

The return of the Death Tax. This year, there is no death tax. For those dying on or after January 1 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement account could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.

Higher tax rates on savers and investors. The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011. The dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011. These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in 2013.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A new goal

I have many, many goals to achieve in my remaining years of life. 

One of them is to make it onto this list. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mowing yards, unemployment, the joys of the lake, and perverse incentives

Imagine that you need to find a neighborhood kid to mow your lawn. 
You bang on three different doors, but none of the kids want to come outside.  You learn that the parents at all three houses are paying their children to "house sit".  The kids could make a little more money mowing yards than house-sitting (i.e. - doing nothing) but not much.  It's not worth their while to get up and mow yards just for an additional, say, $1.00 per hour. 
For you, the frustrating thing is that all three groups of parents owe you money.  They are using your money to pay the kids to sit and play video games, watch TV, and surf the internet all day. 
So you either mow your own yard or you hire a lawn service whose employees are already putting in 60 hours a week. 


I've been unemployed before, once for about 4 weeks.  It wasn't fun, but it was comfortable.  I went to the unemployment office downtown, filled out some paperwork, and then checked my mailbox for a check every week. 
I made a few efforts to find jobs that paid as much as the one I had lost.  There were none. 
Every two or three days I put on a suit and made the interview rounds, but The Cooking Channel beckoned.  Blockbuster Video had tons of movies I'd not yet rented.  Short trips to the lake were suddenly possible every day. 
Various companies offered me jobs that were almost exactly the amount of my unemployment compensation.  But why in the world would I want to take one of those and work for 40 hours a week when I could get the same amount by staying at home and learning how to cook Peking Duck and watching old episodes of Monty Python?  Where were the incentives? 
The incentives eventually came in the form of Mrs. Whited, who told me to take a job, any job, because she was tired of coming home from working all day and seeing me unshaved, unwashed, and on the couch. 
I took a job that paid around .75 cents an hour more than my unemployment compensation.  Within about a year and a half, I was up to my old salary again. 
But man, it was hard to tear myself away from cable TV, Blockbuster Video, and the lake. 


I've interviewed three different people in the last month who knew that the jobs I was trying to fill were perfect for them.  They knew that they would fit in well.  They had friends who worked for me.  They were perfect for what I needed. 
But dammit, the government was also paying them (with your money) to sit at home.  The government's pay rate is about 80% of what I offer to start at some of those jobs. 
Unemployment insurance is a good thing.  But when it is automatically extended and extended and extended, just to show how compassionate politicians are in an election year, it can totally destroy incentives.  But get ready for a barrage of political ads denouncing the evil meanies in Congress who voted against extending unemployment benefits through the end of The Obamessiah's term.   


Hope everybody had a good 4th.  I'm gonna go get they guys started in one of the warehouses and then see if I can find a kid to mow my yard.


Addition: Go here to see a totally different point of view from The Obamessiah's pet journalist/economist Paul Krugman.  Mr. Krugman neglects to mention the root cause of so much of the unemployment we're seeing - The Teleprompter Jesus demonizing employers, forcing corporations to become nannies, and demanding that those who put their capital at risk pay even more tribute money to Washington if they're succesful.  
I've been able to see things from Paul Krugman's point of view a few times in the past, but it was uncomfortable having my head that far up my ass.    

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Al Gore and the masseuse - The Taiwanese video ! ! !

If you get your news from the mainstream media, you might not be aware that Saint Albert, The Goracle of Music City, Tennessee, has finally been accused of sexually assaulting someone who is not in the manufacturing or transportation industry. 

The story the alleged victim told the police goes something like this:

Saint Albert calls a massage service to send someone to his hotel room. 

The masseuse arrives, starts doing her thing, but she fails to properly massage Saint Albert's ego or other assets. 

Saint Albert forces the masseuse onto a bed.  She calls him a "crazed sex poodle". 

Who knows what happens next.  But the masseuse claims that Al Gore left some of his carbon footprint on her black jeans, much like Bill Clinton left a trail on Monica Lewinsky's blue dress from The Gap. 

She puts the black jeans into a ziplock bag, preserving the evidence for possible peer review by trained scientists. 

The masseuse tells a friend about the incident.  The friend argues against making the story public, since without Saint Albert, the world will surely perish from Global Warming Climate Change. 

She takes the story to the police. 

Later on, Saint Albert announces his divorce. 

If you didn't quite follow all that, here's a visualization from a Taiwanese news agency.  Keep an eye out for the poodle. 

A fresh coat of Whitening to Jim Treacher for the video.