Archives for May 2010

Blaming Capitalism for Every Wrong That Happens in Society

Tragic, tragic state of affairs lately in China, with the rash of maniacs killing or maiming small schoolchildren.

Meantime, the Associated Press writers always love to blame “huge social inequalities” on this, a reference to China’s transition from communism to capitalism, in which most people have broken out of poverty and some people are getting rich. But no further explanation is ever given. How are huge social inequalities supposed to lead to mass murder of children? Do the AP writers mean to say that the murderers are envious of people who are richer than them, and therefore kill kids (many of whom could well be poorer than the murderer)? That’s absurd.

So a lot of clarification is in order on the part of AP. Either that, or drop the class-warfare, anti-capitalism rhetoric that AP reporters are so keen to foist on us.

Can I Start the Job When My Unemployment Benefits Expire?

 

Yep, Obama’s economy is here. Employers are having difficulty hiring because people would rather stay on unemployment than work.

See this article. It’s stark evidence that the unemployment rate goes down when unemployment benefits run out.

Chris Pompeo, vice president of operations for Landscape America in Warren, said he has had about a dozen offers declined. One applicant, who had eight weeks to go until his state unemployment benefits ran out, asked for a deferred start date. “It’s like, you’ve got to be kidding me,” Pompeo said. “It’s frustrating. It’s honestly something I’ve never seen before.”

There are a lot of things we’ll start seeing that we’ve never seen before, now that Obama is here. And little of it’s good.

Obama and the leftist majorities in Congress keep passing extensions of unemployment benefits. Will they do so indefinitely? We seem to be getting the Euro-sclerosis-like structural unemployment where the unemployment rate is so high because government benefits are so lavish. (Note: the word “generous” is normally used there, but when you’re lavish with other people’s money, that’s not generosity. It’s only generous when you give away your own money.)

As in Europe, people choose to be a ward of the state rather than work.

For more on this, see the Nov. 9, 2009 entry below: “More Unemployment Benefits = More Unemployment”.

All (Revenue-Generating) Corporations Pay Taxes

The other day I heard TV and newspaper commentator Juan Williams complain that half of all corporations don’t pay taxes, a refrain that I’m sure is common among the left.

Sounds ominous, but actually it’s not. A very large percentage of corporations (I don’t have the exact percentage) are S-corps, or Subchapter S corporations, also known as pass-through entities. They don’t pay any corporate taxes at all. Instead, the earnings (if there are any) are passed through to the owner(s), and the owner pays income and/or payroll taxes on those earnings.

C-corporations pay taxes on earnings before they’re passed through to the owner. But lots of those don’t pay corporate taxes because they don’t have earnings – i.e. their expenses exceed their revenues.

And even if S and C corporations don’t pay corporate taxes, if they have employees, they pay a lot of payroll taxes – the employees pay half of the Social Security and Medicare taxes, and the corporation pays the other half. There are tons of other types of taxes they pay as well, such as unemployment taxes and various state and local taxes.

What’s a corporation? A building with lots of office furniture, computers, and equipment inside? Can a building pay a tax? Does a corporation experience consciousness? Can it feel pain? Does it have feelings?

A corporation is another word for a group of people working together. All of those people pay taxes (unless you’re the owner and you’re losing money).

So no, Juan, you’re wrong in your allegation that half of corporations don’t pay taxes. Corporations are groups of people (or even just one person, if it’s a single-member corporation), and assuming all of those people get income from their work, then all corporations pay taxes.

You’re To Blame for the Gulf Oil Spill Disaster

There’s a lot of blame going around for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and of course BP is getting most of it.

Who else should get a lot of the blame?

Look at yourself in the mirror – i.e. you, me and anyone else who chooses to consume oil and oil-derived products.

We all love oil – even those who profess to hate it and the companies that produce it. They love oil too, or else they wouldn’t keep choosing to consume it all the time.

We the consumers of oil rely on other people to extract it from the ground for us. While we expect them to extract it flawlessly, that’s not always realistic. With such vast and sophisticated extraction operations, fraught with methane and other flammable liquids and gases at every turn, there are bound to be occasional accidents and oil spills. Without you generating the demand for oil, there would be no oil wells. And no oil spills. So the ultimate responsibility for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster lies with you.

Yes, that includes Prius-driving, Big-Oil condemning, snowmobile-loathing people who call themselves environmentalists. Chances are, they’re among big oil’s best, most loyal, and most dedicated customers as well. They’re constantly using their product – every day, many times a day; every time they drive their car, grease their bike, turn on their oil heater, moisten their lips with Vaseline, ride the bus, fly to their destinations, and buy their food that was transported to the grocery store in oil-consuming trucks. They hate Big Oil but love its product. Without it, their well-being, comfort level, and happiness would be severely compromised. They’d be living in abject poverty.

So you think that driving a Prius will reduce the demand for oil and thus help prevent oil spills? Nonsense – driving a Prius will help prolong our supplies of oil. We’ll keep extracting it for a longer time than we otherwise would have. So driving a Prius may even increase the potential for oil spills in the long run.

BTW, I’ve got nothing against buying a Prius at all. I’m all for prolonging our supplies of oil and saving people money.

In fact for my next car I’m thinking of a Civic hybrid (Priuses to me look nerdy). But because it’s about $5,000 more expensive than a regular Civic, I calculated that, assuming $2.80/gal. gas, I’d have to drive it for about 10 years in order for it to pay off in terms of money saved thanks to the higher gas mileage. That’s a let-down. And there’s no tax credit for Civic hybrids anymore.