Tuesday, September 6, 2011



quoted from MidwestAntiwar

What if @Antiwar2 told you that from now on every #Tuesday is #AfghanistanTuesday? #howboutthat? #wouldyabelieveitthen? #antiwar #nowar

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

California War against Baby Sitters

There are two ways a person can go into business, and that is either providing a good or providing a service. Based on two laws, the Food Safety Modernization Act and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, it is potentially impossible for an individual to sell a product as a means of earning a living.

But there is no consistent regulation of providing services instead. The Institute for Justice has detailed many instances of local regulation regarding taxi service, interior decorating, or hair cutting. One area that has been ignored until now has been house cleaning or babysitting.

The state of California is now making an inroad on this means of augmenting a family budget - it has introduced Assembly Bill 889 that covers "persons who engage in specific types of domestic service." It leaves out those who provide health care through various state programs.

There are exemptions from those covered in the proposed law. Those under 18 are not covered by it, and family members who provide those services are not covered by it. This will not impact the income bondage of teenagers forbidden from earning a real living since it is unlikely they would ever earn much through babysitting, and so they are exempted. The bill requires extensive record keeping and benefits to accompany domestic employment and the fines are per violation per day so can quickly add up.

This will not impact the wealthy who hire domestic help, as they are capable of affording the paperwork that the bill demands. But a maid who works for several different middle class clients will find those clients have a hard time keeping up with the paperwork. It also creates a disincentive to do this without paperwork on the grounds that only the employer is liable and the employee is not. Therefore it sets the scene for a domestic employee to be able to turn around and threaten to report the employer unless unreasonable demands are met. Finally those who depend on babysitters will have a harder time having their needs met.

It is obvious who will be hurt by it; all who make money from babysitting or house cleaning, and those who depend on the services but are not wealthy enough to afford the employee paperwork. Who will benefit from it though? The bill sponsor claims that it is to protect domestic laborers, many of who are poor, minority, and even illegal aliens. That is not a politically powerful group. Who actually benefits from it?

House cleaning services, babysitting services, and day cares all benefit on the financial side. It will drive out the independent operator as those in the middle class who would hire domestic help will be forced to contract with the agency that handles the paperwork. On the political side the government will definitely benefit from more and more people being employed instead of self-employed and thus easier to track and record in accord with the war on home based businesses.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

California Shoots Self In Foot

Because California legislators are unable to control their urge to spend, especially their urge to spend on public employee pensions and salaries, they are always looking for new sources of revenue. There was one major stream of business not taxed, so the inevitable occurred. The government of the state of California decided to force businesses that do business over the internet to collect sales tax.

It is already law that residents of the state are supposed to pay the sales tax for all internet purchases. There is a line on the state income tax forms for that purpose - a line ignored by Californians. Frustrated by their inability to force Californians to pay yet another tax in one of the highest taxed states in the country, the idea was to “close a loophole” and force internet businesses to do the same tax collection that stores physically located in the state collect - a service they provide “free” to the state.

Already Amazon.com and Overstock.com are reacting to this new law. They are not collecting the sale taxes, though. They are pulling out of the state.

Both businesses have affiliate programs whereby people can sell their products through these major corporations. Both partners in the affiliate programs profit. The major corporations profit by getting a portion of the proceeds, and the small affiliates profit by having their products listed through major outlets where they can reach larger audiences.

These affiliate programs are all ended. The business connections have been severed. Amazon alone had 10,000 affiliates in California, and has ceased to do business with them unless they leave the state.

This law, instead of raising revenue, has created a revenue loss. Instead of increased sales tax, it has resulted in decreased income tax. It may have even resulted in increased unemployment compensation.

One would hope that the legislators and the governor would see the results and admit that a mistake has been made. One would hope that they would see the decreased revenue and the increased unemployment. Of course one would also hope that politicians are honest, capable, and intelligent, but the evidence indicates otherwise.

Monday, May 9, 2011


War taxes and the draft?  Shouldn't the LP be in front?

quoted from BeatTheChip

Cindy Sheehan camping @Sacramento captial protesting war$tax & draft entrapments. MAY 9th @Antiwarcom @Antiwar2

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Local Tyranny

If a person is unlucky enough to rent an apartment in the cities of Lancaster, California or Palmdale, California, that person no longer has any fourth amendment protections against searches. It is written in to the law of both cities. The setup is convoluted, but the end result is that no renter has rights.

It starts with code enforcement, as does many of the evils of local government. In order to ensure that apartment complex managers and owners are not mistreating the tenants, code enforcement officials are authorized to enter any rental unit without the permission of or a warrant against the people dwelling there.

So in order to ensure that, for example a fire detector has the batteries installed, agents of the government are allowed in with only the requirement that the property owner, not the renter, be notified. And this only applies to rental properties; homeowners are not subject to these inspections.

The problem is that anything that the renter might be doing is reportable to the police, and the word of the safety code inspector is all the police need to get a warrant. That means that apartment owners are subject to criminal searches under building and safety codes.

Given the vast number of laws that people are subjected to, and nobody knows all the laws that a person must obey, this means that the one guarantee people have to protect them from malicious prosecution – the fourth amendment prohibition against warrantless searches – is null and void for anyone who rents an apartment in Lancaster or Palmdale.

The theory behind the reportability is that since the government agent already has permission to enter the home, anything found is legally reportable. But the search is technically on the property of the lessor, not the dwelling of the lessee. It is a difference without a difference as far as the city governments are concerned.

One could make an argument that this is a coincidental byproduct, an unintended consequence. That would be understandable, except for the wording of the ordinances. Lancaster has the more severe wording.

5.40.020 Purpose

The existence of substandard and unsanitary residential rental properties and residential rental units, the physical conditions and characteristics of which violate applicable state housing, county and local codes and render them unfit or unsafe for human occupancy and habitation, threatens the physical, social, and economic stability of sound residential buildings and areas, and their supporting neighborhood facilities and institutions; necessitates disproportionate expenditures of public funds for remedial action; impairs the efficient and economical exercise of governmental power and functions; and destroys the amenity of residential areas and neighborhoods and the community as a whole. It has been statistically demonstrated that areas with rental housing facilities are responsible for a disproportionate share of police calls for service.

The disproportionate demand upon police services necessitates a disproportionate expenditure of public funds for such properties and impairs the property value of these properties and the surrounding neighborhoods as well as community as a whole.

It is the purpose of this chapter to implement a crime free rental housing program ("LANCAP") to provide a stable, more satisfied tenant base; increase demand for rental units with a reputation for active management; lower maintenance and repair costs; increase property values, and improve the personal safety for tenants, landlords, and managers.

It is also the purpose of this chapter to identify the existence of substandard and unsanitary residential rental properties and rental units and to cause the owner thereof to cure such defects.

For these reasons, it is in the public interest for the protection of the health and safety of the people of Lancaster to protect and promote the existence of sound and wholesome residential rental properties and residential rental units by the adoption of regulations for participants in LANCAP training and the periodic inspection of such structures.

The second paragraph is a key point. Given that the description of how substandard construction drains resources is already in the first paragraph, the second paragraph as a stand-alone describes apartment dwellers alone as being more prone to uncivil behavior.

On the national level, the TSA already has completely dispensed with the fourth amendment, but at least they do so on the refuted claim that they are trying to keep people safe from terrorists. In the case of Lancaster and Palmdale they lack even that much of a justification for eliminating the rights that should belong to every American.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Don't Blame Proposition Thirteen

California is once again facing a budgetary shortfall, after the politicians managed to come up with a "fix" that balanced the state budget for a few more months. This has happened several times over the past year, and each time there is a predictable chorus of people blaming Proposition Thirteen for the inability of politicians to not spend more than is collected in taxes.

The first argument is that Proposition Thirteen makes it impossible to raise taxes. Given that in February of 2009 the largest state tax increase in the history of the United States was passed, that is truly an absurd argument to make. If Proposition Thirteen really did make it impossible, instead of merely more difficult, to raise taxes, the tax increase of 2009 would never have happened.

The other argument is that Proposition Thirteen somehow leads to minority rule. The problem with that argument should be obvious to everyone - two thirds is not a minority. If two thirds of politicians vote for something, a majority has voted for that something.

A more sophisticated version of that false argument is that the majority, in order to pass anything, the majority must convince part of the minority to vote with the majority, and this in a very weak way this results in minority rule. But in truth this once again is still majority rule, and if the minority under persuasion demands something the majority is unwilling to give that minority cannot pass anything - it is a minority.

The real reason there is a budget crisis is because those in government are unwilling to control their spending. The situation in California is identical to a person who continuously lives beyond his means and then blames his employer for not giving him enough money once the credit card bill is due. If an individual makes that argument, the absurdity of the claim is readily apparent.

But when a government official makes that claim, for some reason people actually take it seriously. Assemblywoman Noreen Evans made exactly that claim: "There is this mantra out there 'living within our means' and while it sound really nice it sounds really simple and it sound really responsible it's meaningless. Our means are completely within our control". It's not her fault that she approves spending far beyond what tax revenues will allow, it's the tax payers for not writing her a blank check.

She blames Proposition Thirteen for the lack of a blank check. The real reason there is no blank check is because they don't exist.