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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
What Happens When Rich People Leave California?
Long before Phil Mickelson wondered out loud if higher taxes will force him to leave the State of California, Tiger Woods did just that!  Moving to another desirable coastal state, in Tiger’s case, Florida, saved him millions of dollars per year, as he escaped  California’s ridiculously high income tax.  The fact that California has since raised the top tax rate again, this time to 13%, more top earners are leaving and they are taking their money and all it represents with them.
 
Mickelson’s example tells the story of somebody who was not only earning money in this state, but a man who wanted to reinvest his earnings here.  People who make a lot of money invest their excess earnings in a number of ways in order to diversify and protect their assets.  In the meantime, their investments morph into jobs for other people.  So, the people leaving the state because of high taxes will now be investing elsewhere for the same reason. 
 
We all spend money as consumers, buying cars, houses, and the like.  But now these people fleeing California will also consume elsewhere because most states do not have our high sales tax rates either!
 
California’s once solid gold reputation is now just a cracked gold patina revealing a rust to the core of our former world-class economy.  The industries who are still left here were started when taxes and regulations were more favorable.  They are now referred to as legacy industries.  The truth of the matter is there are no new industry clusters being created in California.  Once a start up is ready to grow, they locate the manufacturing headquarters out of state or in another country altogether. 
 
I personally know a half-dozen people here on the Central Coast who have already moved or are in the course of moving to avoid the government taking most all of their profit in the form of taxes.  One friend has already moved to Washington.  Another to Florida.  They will be able to save tens of thousands of dollars each year, and at the same time, move into a bigger house for less money than what they have here.  Higher quality of life at a lower cost, what is not to love?
 
The problem with tax and spend democrats, like the ones who now constitute a super-majority in Sacramento, is that they think they can make changes in the tax and regulatory codes and business will continue as usual.  But, people make changes in their lifestyle to adapt to changes in their environment all the time.  If it becomes too expensive to live here, well then, those that can will simply move elsewhere.
 
If you are one of the people whose class-envy has been stoked by President Obama and Governor Brown, well, what goes around comes around.  You were part of the majority who decided to stick it to the rich guy, but the rich guy has other options!  You will now not have as many job opportunities available for yourself, and the burdens of our high tax state and huge welfare class will now disproportionately fall on you! 
 
The very rich know a trick that is not available to you!  They can afford to maintain more than one residence.  They will claim their main domicile in a State with no income tax, and only visit their California abode for a limited time each year.  They avoid paying state income tax and now you will be paying their bill at the end of the year!  They did not get rich by being stupid and they won’t stay rich by being timid.
 
Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB and the host of The Andy Caldwell Show weekdays from 3-5 pm on AM1440 and AM1290.
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Monday, January 28, 2013
Phony Government Budgeting
As the deadline to approve an increase in the federal debt limit approached, we were deluged with wall-to-wall media coverage, talk show discussions and debates, and presidential speeches, all intended to sway public opinion to favor one approach or another to solving the problem.
 
However, I submit they were all a waste of time.  They may have attracted eyes and ears to the radio or T.V., which is good for the media outlets but didn’t really provide any long term solution.
 
Certain terms or words that are commonly used by politicians and bureaucrats are now so ubiquitous that they have become buzzwords. They are intended to convey a particular meaning in political discourse and legislation but are invariably misunderstood by the public. That, of course, is the idea – to keep people unaware of what the politicians and bureaucrats are actually doing.
 
Since these words usually don’t mean what they appear to say or what we may think they say, I thought I would offer my own explanations of those that are most often heard in today’s political discussions in the hope that they will clarify some of the political discourse that we heard.
 
“Balanced Budget”: Most people seem to think this means that budgeted income matches projected outgo, ergo, the budget balances. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works in the Beltway. Even when government budgets are prepared that appear to balance, many of them really can’t, probably ever. One major reason is that a number of extremely large obligations are usually not included on the government’s books or on the financial reports of most other jurisdictions, that is, states, cities and counties. These are generally referred to as “unfunded” liabilities (debt), which simply means that the money to pay them has not been set aside in a separate fund so the cash will be available when they come due. A good example of this is the pension obligations for government employees. When these commitments are included, most government financial statements do not “balance”.
 
“Budget Cut”: There’s always a lot of political posturing about various cuts in the budget that one side or the other wants to impose. However, this is pure sleight-of-hand, because they are not real cuts at all, and the public in general has little or no understanding of how things actually work.. This get a little complicated, but the budget process does not work the way most people may think.
 
The Federal government uses a method of budgeting that does not determine how much should be spent, which is called “zero based budgeting.” Instead, the budget for each new fiscal year starts with the expenditures that were adopted for the previous year and are automatically increased by a certain percentage to arrive at the amount needed for the next year. For example, say a one billion dollar budget for some department in the current year is to be increased by 7% for the next year, which would raise it to one billion-seventy-million dollars.
 
Here’s the tricky part: If the proposed increase is reduced to, say 5%, it is considered a cut. In other words, if the budget for the prior year is only increased by $50 million instead of $70 million, that’s called a cut, even though no one may be advocating an actual reduction in the total amount of expenditures from the prior year. All hell breaks loose in the political posturing that ensues, because someone is advocating a CUT. However, a cut is not actually a cut at all.  But, politicians are able to call it one so people will think anyone who favors something less than the proposed automatic increase in a particular budget, say for school lunches or Social Security, is a heartless, unfeeling, evil scrooge. Neat trick, huh?
 
“Out-Year”: Here’s another way budget numbers are finessed by clever politicians, especially at the Federal level. “Out-year” refers to subsequent years after the budget for a particular year is adopted. The budget for several years is projected to balance in the future, after the politicians responsible for developing it are no longer in office, such as the President or members of Congress who are involved in the process and vote on the legislation. In other words, the budget doesn’t balance now, but it will later, when they’re no longer around – so they can’t be held accountable if it doesn’t balance at that time.  It doesn’t balance now but it will later. “Trust us,” they say, “It will all work out in the end”.
 
“Debt Limit”: This one is really absurd. The term usually refers to the amount of money the Federal government is authorized to spend. The fact that there is a limit to the amount of money politicians can spend is a good thing, right? Yes, but…any limit is only good so long as it is not changed, otherwise it’s not really a limit, is it?
 
When our fearless leaders run up against the debt limit, what can they do? Either cut something or raise the limit. And, what invariably happens? Notwithstanding all the debate and arguing that takes place, they invariably raise it. Whenever the debt ceiling is breached, Congress, in its infinite wisdom, simply passes a bill to increase it. Nothing could be easier and nothing could be phonier than the “debt limit.”
 
Abe Lincoln’s famous admonition, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time,” never had greater meaning than it does today. Unfortunately, there are not yet enough people who see through the political sleight of hand that our legislators use to mislead the public today to be able to put a stop to these practices.
 
In general, the obvious intent of our politicians is to label their actions and legislation in ways that the public does not understand, to divert opposition and confuse people so they don’t actually realize what the consequences of legislative actions actually are. Makes one wonder if they don’t go to work every day, thinking, “Let’s see how we can fool them (the public) today.”
 
There ought to be a law that requires truth in legislation and politics. I know that’s a silly idea, but it is fun just to think about it.
 
© 2013 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
 
NOTE: If you have been on my mailing list very long, you are undoubtedly aware that I publish an updated version of this column periodically (to remind people of the way government budgeting works). - HRS
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Friday, January 11, 2013
Al Gore and Al Jazeera- America’s Loss is Their Gain!
Al Gore may now be richer than Mitt Romney, but, our nation is poorer as a result!
 
Whereas, Mitt made his money by investing in America and creating jobs in the process, Al has done just the opposite.  As a high priest of the global warming cult, he has lobbied to reduce the production levels of American industry.  He has helped spur the outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries.  And, he has helped to artificially squash our domestic supply of energy and the thousands of jobs that could be created through the production and use of this energy.  Al is no hero, but he is no doubt a shrewd business man.
 
Al Gore’s latest triumph is the sale of the Current TV network he helped create.  This left-leaning media company was so proud of its emphasis on the environment and sustainable lifestyles that it wouldn’t even sell any ads to the oil industry.   Be that as it may, Al and his partners had no compunction selling the entire station to oil magnates from Qatar!  Current TV is now Al Jazeera TV!  But, wait, the story gets worse!
 
Glenn Beck is a conservative author, television host and radio talk show host.  To say he leans right would be an understatement, but he is with no doubt a patriotic American.  Beck reports that his company actually made an inquiry to purchase Current TV, but was told that the owners wouldn’t sell to him because of his politics!
 
Please pause to consider what this means. 
 
Al Gore and company wouldn’t sell ads to an oil company but they are now $500 million richer because they sold the entire network to Middle East oil barons?  Al Gore would not sell to Glenn Beck because of his conservative, libertarian politics, but he would sell to the one mouthpiece that has done more to promote terrorist propaganda throughout the world than any other medium?
 
Speaking of propaganda, if you study the origins of the Global Warming religion, you will discover that it has nothing to do with the environment, but everything to do with redistributing wealth from America and Europe to Third World countries.  We can now surmise some of this redistributed wealth was also directed to Al Gore's personal bank account!
 
The greenhouse gas theory was manufactured by a think tank called the Club of Rome.  I was assigned one of their reports as required reading in a political science class while attending UCSD, over 30 years ago.  The Club of Rome published a series of reports warning that the redistribution of wealth was essential and they came up with the Trojan horse of global warming as the con to get America to agree to give up its standard of living in order the save the planet.
 
The planet quit warming 16 years ago!  All that we are witnessing today in the form of climate change are weather patterns and phenomenon that have all occurred in the past and will be repeated again in the future.  Nothing has changed, except that Al Gore became a very rich man, a true 1%!
 
Andy Caldwell is the Executive Director of COLAB and the host of the Andy Caldwell Radio Show weekdays on KUHL AM1440 and News Press Radio AM 1290.
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Friday, January 4, 2013
Guns Are Not The Problem
The December 14 (2012) incident of the senseless shooting of students and teachers at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, in which a 27 people, including 20 children,
were reported to have been killed, has already prompted calls for increased “gun control,” including the outright confiscation of all guns.
 
But, are guns really the problem?
 
I don’t think so.
Since the unfortunate shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut, the media has been blanketed with endless speculation about the shooter. Why did he do it? What was there in his background that turned him into a killer?
Blame his mother, the school administration, health care professionals, the police, and above all, the lack of national, state and local gun control laws. In other words, the media and most commentators seem to be focusing primarily on guns,
rather on the one simple, easy to understand the reason for this terrible tragedy: the shooter. In short, the guy is simply unhinged, crazy.
 
Are we now going to lock up every nut case whom we think may be a risk to others? If so, how do we identify them and who decides?
 
I have known people whom I felt could become violent enough to shoot a neighbor over seemingly unimportant issues. We never know what might set someone off, and I don’t know of any way to predict it.
 
But gun control advocates insist that this latest incident (in Connecticut) is clearly due to the fact that guns are the problem.
 
Following are the headlines of some of the many articles that have flooded the media since the advent of the shooting:
“Once Again, the Guns Did It and It’s the Conservatives’ Fault (MinuteMenNews.com)
“Breaking the Gun Control Stalemate” (The Wall Street Journal)
“Taking on Guns Will Be the Easy Part” (BernardGoldberg.com)
“Geraldo Rivera (Sort of) Admits: Guns Needed in Schools” (CLASHDAILY.com)
“Feinstein to Introduce Assault Weapons Ban at Start of Next Congress” (VISION TO AMERICA)
“Piers Morgan on gun control: ‘How many kids have to die?’” (L.A. Times)
“Shooting After Shooting, What Do We Have Left?” (LAST RESISTANCE Blog)
“High Court Fight Looms Over Right To Carry A Gun” (Associated Press)
“Time for U.S. to cure its sick gun laws” (The Globe and Mail)
“The Solution to our Nation’s ‘Gun Problem’” (Political Outcast)
“New Rule: All Teachers Should Be Allowed to Carry Guns” (CLASHDAILY.com)
“Left Mobilizes to Politicize School Shooting” (Rush Limbaugh)
“New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, moved to politicize…school shooting” (BREITBART)
“Slaughter Triggers Media Push For Gun Control” (WND.com)
“How to respond to ‘Active Shooter’ spree Murder events” (PATRIOT UPDATE)
 
The proposed solution to the problem ranges from confiscating all guns from every American to doing nothing. However, we are the only nation that that enshrines the right of its citizens to own guns in its founding document,
in this case the Second Amendment to our Constitution, which “…protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.
The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess and carry firearms…” (Wikipedia)
 
All of which brings me back to the question of whether or not the problem of the random shooting of people by deranged individuals can be prevented by confiscating guns, assuming that’s possible.
 
I doubt it, for the simple reason that no one has yet been able to determine in advance just who is a risk and who is not.
 
In my opinion, the periodic shooting of unarmed citizens is often caused by people who are simply mentally unbalanced or “crazy.” Nothing more.
There are other motives, of course, such as during the commission of a crime or lovers’ quarrels. But the incidents that seem to get the most media coverage are the random shootings.
 
And, I don’t know of any way to identify them in advance and keep guns out of their reach. Just thinking that someone might be a risk to others is not sufficient reason to lock them up.
If that were the case, I can think of a lot of people who might qualify as such a “risk”.
 
How about you?
 
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
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Thursday, January 3, 2013
Marijuana: Legal vs Illegal
Marijuana is addictive.  Marijuana is not addictive.
Marijuana is a “gateway” drug to addiction.  Marijuana is not a “gateway” drug to addiction.
Marijuana should be legalized. Marijuana should not be legalized.
 
Take your pick of any of the foregoing statements and you will probably have half the population agreeing with you – or disagreeing with you, depending on your point of view.
 
Common Marijuana Myths, Exposing Marijuana Myths: A Review of the Scientific Evidence,” by Marijuana.com offers the following information about marijuana:
 
“Since the 1920s, supporters of marijuana prohibition have exaggerated the drug's dangers. In different eras, different claims have gained prominence, but few have ever been abandoned. Indeed, many of the "reefer madness" tales
that were used to generate support for early anti-marijuana laws continue to appear in government and media reports today.”
 
For a while in the 1970s, scientific inquiries seemed to begin influencing the government's marijuana policies: Following thorough reviews of the existing evidence by scholars and official commissions, criminal penalties for marijuana offenses
were lessened, and a number of states moved in the direction of decriminalization, and in response to continuing concerns about marijuana's potential toxicity, the government increased the funding of scientific research, mostly through the newly-created
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
 
In the 1970s, there were three large "field studies" in Greece, Costa Rica and Jamaica, which evaluated the impact of marijuana on users in their natural environments.  These were supplemented by clinical examinations and laboratory experiments
oriented toward answering the questions about marijuana that continued to be debated in the scientific literature.
 
Following are some of the claims about the scientific evidence that supports or dispels the most prominent of the anti-marijuana claims:
 
“Legalizationofmarijuana.com” provides the following information about the use of marijuana in the United States:
 
The War on Drugs has resulted in the U.S. prison population increasing to between six to ten times as high as most Western European nations.
In 2000, more than 734,000 people were arrested in the U.S. for marijuana-related offenses.
 
Since 1990, nearly 5.9 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges, a greater number than the entire populations of Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota,
Vermont and Wyoming combined. In 2000, state and local law enforcement arrested 734,498 people for marijuana violations.  In 2000, the overwhelming majority of whom were charged with marijuana violations – 646,042 (88 %) —
were for simple possession. The remaining 12% (88,456 Americans) were for “sale/manufacture”, an FBI category which includes marijuana grown for personal use or purely medical purposes. FBI statistics indicate that one marijuana smoker is
arrested every 45 seconds in America.
 
The total number of marijuana arrests in 2000 far exceeded the combined number of arrests for violent crimes, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
 
People are arrested, jailed and treated like criminals solely because their recreational of marijuana. To make matters worse, state agencies often declare the children of marijuana smokers to be “in danger,” which has resulted in many
children being placed into foster homes.

This causes enormous pain, suffering and financial hardship for millions of American families. It also engenders distrust and disrespect for the law and for the criminal justice system overall.
 
Responsible marijuana smokers present no threat or danger to America or its children, and there is no reason to treat them as criminals, or to take their children away.
We need to find ways to discourage personal use of drugs, but responsible marijuana smokers are not the problem, and it is time to stop arresting them.
 
ANNUAL AMERICAN DEATHS CAUSED BY DRUGS
TOBACCO …………………… 400,000
ALCOHOL …………………… 100,000
ALL LEGAL DRUGS …… … .….20,000
ALL ILLEGAL DRUGS …  ….….15,000
CAFFEINE ……………………….2,000
ASPIRIN …………………   ………500
MARIJUANA ……………    …..……. 0
—————————————-
Source: United States government, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bureau of Mortality Statistics
 
The most common problem attributed to marijuana is frequent overuse, which can induce lethargic behavior, but does not cause serious health problems. Marijuana can also cause short-term memory loss, but only while under the influence.
It does not impair long-term memory and, contrary to popular opinion, it does not lead to harder drugs.
 
Marijuana does not cause brain damage, genetic damage, or damage the immune system. Unlike alcohol, marijuana does not kill brain cells or induce violent behavior.
Continuous long-term smoking of marijuana can cause bronchitis, but the chance of contracting bronchitis from casual marijuana smoking is minuscule. Respiratory health hazards can be totally eliminated by consuming marijuana with non-smoking methods,
that is, using marijuana in baked foods, tincture, or a vaporizer.
 
Marijuana smokers did not exhibit significantly different rates of decline in lung function as compared with those individuals who never smoked it. The study concluded: “No differences were noted between even quite heavy marijuana smoking and
non-smoking of marijuana.”
 
Marijuana does not cause serious health problems like those caused by tobacco or alcohol, such as strong addiction, cancer, heart problems, birth defects, emphysema, liver damage, etc. Death from a marijuana overdose is impossible.
There has never been a single death attributed to a health problem caused by marijuana.
 
Legalizing marijuana would not only make life better for most people, but it would free up significant government and police forces that are currently dedicated to attempting to stop people from using it.
 
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved
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