Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Spending

Texas Beats California: No Income Tax, Booming Economy, Friendly Folks

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 8, 2014:

texas our texas

Texas, Our Texas!

Following Toyota’s announcement April 28 that it would be consolidating its three American business headquarters and moving them from California to a new $300-million campus in Plano, Texas, the debate over why has heated up once again. Toyota follows Occidental Petroleum (which is leaving Los Angeles for Houston, after being there for a hundred years), Raytheon (which is moving its El Segundo headquarters to McKinney, Texas), and Legal Zoom (the largest legal-issues website in the world, which has already moved from Los Angeles to Austin). In the past 18 months more than 50 companies have made the same decision to move from California to Texas.

Some say it’s because of the lower cost of living in Texas. The cost of living in Plano is about a third lower than in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area where Toyota is currently located. As calculated by the Dallas-based conservative think tank National Center for Policy Analysis, “People of all incomes will save in Texas,” according to Pamela Villarreal, a senior fellow at the institute. Some will save a little; others will save a lot by moving to Texas to keep their jobs with Toyota. As Villarreal explained, the calculation takes into account property taxes “which are pretty high in Texas” — about twice what they are in California for equivalently priced homes. Once real estate taxes are factored in, a single woman in Texas making $75,000 a year will have about $14,000 more in discretionary income than she would if she lived in California, but married workers making $150,000 a year who move from California to Texas would not see as dramatic a jump in discretionary income.

The Manhattan Institute says it makes sense for California companies to make the move to Texas, owing to California’s high taxes, oppressive regulations, expensive electricity, union influence, and the high cost of labor. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the cost per kilowatt-hour for commercial establishments in California is 13.11 cents while it’s only 8.2 cents in Texas — a saving of almost 40 percent. For industrial users, the savings are even greater: 10.72 cents per KWH in California versus just 5.86 cents in Texas. That cuts a heavy user’s energy bill in Texas nearly in half. Advantage: Texas

The advantage enjoyed by Texas is reflected in the states’ comparative economic growth rates: nearly four percent last year in Texas versus half that in California. In job growth, Texas regained the jobs it lost during the Great Recession by May of 2011 while California just made it back to even by May of this year — a three-year difference in favor of Texas. Since May 2011, Texas has added more than a million new jobs, while California has added barely 25,000 new jobs since this past May. Advantage: Texas

According to the blog 24/7 Wall Street, Texas ranks eighth among the country’s most quickly growing states with GDP growth jumping by $1.5 trillion in 2013. Its population continues to grow as well, with unemployment below the national average. California is well off the pace. Advantage: Texas

Bradley Allen, a pediatric heart surgeon in Paso Robles, just announced his candidacy for Congress in California’s 24th district, and in the process noted the difference between California and Texas in an opinion article at the Wall Street Journal: “Texas has no state income tax, while California’s 13.3% marginal rate is the highest in the country. Electricity rates are about 50%-88% higher compared to Texas due to the Golden State’s renewable-energy mandate, and its gas is 70-80 cents per gallon more expensive because of taxes.” Advantage: Texas

Allen’s opponent is incumbent Lois Capps, who sports a dismal Freedom Index rating of just 21 out of 100 on constitutional issues. Out of California’s 53 congressional districts, 18 of them have FI ratings of 20 or lower, while just one has an FI rating of 80 or higher. In Texas, by contrast, just three representatives have a rating of 20 or less out of the state’s 36 districts, with one, Rep. Steve Stockman, holding an FI rating of 95. Advantage: Texas

One of the best measures of the difference between the two states is just how much a Californian would have to pay to move his family to Texas. In November 2012, a Californian living in San Francisco would pay $1,693 to rent a 20-foot U-Haul truck and drive it San Antonio. On the other hand, a Texan in San Antonio moving to San Francisco would pay just $893 for the same truck. (Since then the numbers have become even more favorable: A Californian moving his family on August 1 from San Francisco to San Antonio would have to pay $1,890 for the same truck while a Texan moving the other way would pay only $737.) Advantage: Texas

However, David Horsey, writing for the Baltimore Sun, noted that Californians moving to Texas will leave an awful lot behind:

California has Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Texas has oil and gas.

California has Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi. Texas has Ted Cruz and Louie Gohmert.

In California, billionaires get taxed more to pay for programs for the poor. In Texas, billionaires get to keep their money, and the poor go without health care.

[California Governor Jerry] Brown got voters to approve a tax hike to balance the budget and fund education. [Texas Governor Rick] Perry balanced the budget by slashing spending on education.

In lots of places in California, it’s tough to live on a middle class family budget. In lots of places in Texas, it’s hard to live outside a church-going, football-loving, white, heterosexual lifestyle.

Absence of snarky, politically correct, bitter liberals. Advantage: Texas.

 

Mississippi Corruption’s Impact on Morality

This article was first published at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, June 23, 2014:

Satan's Super Congress / Committee - Cartoon

The latest study on state corruption within the U.S. is by two college professors. It defines corruption as the “misuse of public office for private gain,” and it shows Mississippi at the very top of the list. This is fine as far as it goes, but they fail to connect the dots: As goes political corruption, so goes moral decline.

The study, entitled “The Impact of Public Officials’ Corruption on the Size and Allocation of U.S. State Spending” published in the May/June issue of Public Administration Review, confined itself to political corruption: bribery, extortion, graft, cronyism, and embezzlement. They left out nepotism. They also left out any analysis of how the citizens of the states fared

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Mississippi is the most Corrupt state, says a new study

Mississippi state welcome sign

Based on the number of convictions for violating federal corruption laws, Mississippi – a state with just 3 million citizens – ranks at the very top of the list of all states, according to a recent study. Two college professors published their report in the May/June issue of Public Administration Review.

Their study said the high level of corruption in the state resulted in high state spending on projects most likely to be “bribe-generating” like capital improvements and highway construction, while leaving more socially beneficial projects like schools and health facilities behind. It also noted

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The President’s Latest Plan to Flood Colleges with New Students

 

College Students Spending Time Outside

College Students Spending Time Outside (Photo credit: York College of PA)

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, June 18, 2014: 

Mr. Obama has never been very good at math or in getting his facts straight. His misunderstanding of basic laws of economics, however, is breathtaking. Last week, on Tumblr, he announced his latest plans to make it easier for high school graduates to borrow their way into college. First he’ll cap their debt repayments at 10 percent of disposable income. Second, if they default after 20 years, their debts will be forgiven.

Often in error but never in doubt, the president said:

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The War on Poverty Continues to be a War on the Family

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, June 6, 2014:

 

Family 1

In less than three months, the War on Poverty announced by then-President Lyndon Johnson in August 1964 will be 50 years old. There ought to be some victors in this war that has cost the American taxpayer more than $17 trillion. And indeed, there are: the initial program, the Economic Opportunity Act, was funded by (in today’s diluted money) $178 billion. Today, there are 126 federal welfare programs and numerous state ones spewing forth taxpayer monies at the rate of a trillion dollars a year. That means government jobs for millions to monitor, track, follow, and spend, and then request additional funds for next year.

But what about the intended beneficiaries? How are they doing?

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Oklahoma is the next state to Affirm gold and silver as Legal Tender

1907 Double Eagle, Liberty Head, Obverse

1907 Double Eagle, Liberty Head, Obverse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Wednesday, June 4, Oklahoma joined Utah, Texas and Louisiana in affirming that gold and silver coins are (as they always have been under the Constitution) legal tender in the payment of debts in the state. On the surface this seems almost silly: affirming a right that already exists in Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution. But it is much more than that.

 

Senate Bill 862 which Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed into law this week says:

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Despite the 50-year War on Poverty, more than one in five Children Remain in Poverty

Money Dollar

If further proof is needed that the so-called War on Poverty continues to fail, the latest report from the Census Bureau has just provided it: 21.3 percent of children under the age of 18 – more than one in five – are living in poverty. In 1964, the year that then-President Lyndon Johnson declared the federal government’s war on poverty, that percentage was 22.7 percent.

The news from the Census Bureau provides additional evidence of the war’s failure:

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Defense Department Announces Latest Presidential Helicopter Contract

UTC Sikorsky logo

UTC Sikorsky logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It didn’t take long for the skeptics to scoff at the costs of the latest effort to upgrade the fleet of presidential helicopters announced by the Defense Department on Wednesday, May 7. They say the $1.2 billion contract awarded to Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation will be just the beginning.

There are at least two reasons to be skeptical: the open-ended nature of the White House requirements and recent history. The Department of Defense outlined its requirements, stating that Marine Helicopter Squadron One which currently operates 19 presidential helicopters, must provide

 

Safe and timely transportation for the President and Vice President of the United States, heads of state and others as directed by the White House Military Office.

In addition, each aircraft must be equipped with various self-defense features such as bullet-proof glass and body panels and specialized communications equipment that allows the president to maintain “critical command functions” while airborne. Each needs to be large enough to carry up to 14 passengers and several thousand pounds of baggage while being small enough to operate from the White House lawn.

Each must have a minimum range of 300 miles and carry a full complement of defensive countermeasures to thwart heat-seeking and radar-directed missiles and also be hardened against an EMP (electromagnetic pulse), either from an enemy or from the sun. It must be able to send and receive encrypted communications and hold secure teleconferences while in flight.

And each must have air-conditioning and a toilet.

Under the contract Sikorsky promises to deliver two prototypes by 2016, with another 21 fully operational aircraft six years later.

Several questions arise. First,

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Michigan Senator wants to close “Tax Inversion” Loophole

United States Senate election in Michigan, 2002

United States Senate election in Michigan, 2002 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The recent bid by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to acquire British-based drug maker AstraZeneca has given the senior senator from Michigan, Carl Levin, just the opening he has been seeking: to offer his bill prevent such “tax inversions” from taking place. Said Levin:

It’s become increasingly clear that a loophole in our tax laws allowing these inversions threatens to devastate federal tax receipts.

We have to close that loophole.

If the deal between Pfizer and AstraZeneca (currently in doubt) actually takes place, the tax inversion would allow Pfizer to consider Great Britain as

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How much is a Trillion Dollars, anyway?

Historical government spending in the United S...

Historical government spending in the United States from 1902 to 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wayne Crews has a problem. For years now he has been updating the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s “Ten Thousand Commandments” but the numbers, despite his best efforts, are simply beyond human comprehension.

 

But he continues to try, nevertheless. He says that the regulatory state takes

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Congressional Budget Office Confirms Obama’s Continuing Attack on the Middle Class

Saul Alinsky

Saul Alinsky (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Robert Klein, a nationally renowned accountant who has written widely on taxes for many respected journals, was astonished to learn how much the taxes on his wealthy clients jumped just in the last year:

For [my] clients in the 39.6% tax bracket … their average federal income tax liability was $436,000, $51,000 greater than their 2012 tax liability … an average increase [of] 13.3%…

 

In summary, if you were in the 39.6% tax bracket in 2013, the 4.5% increase in your tax bracket, combined with additional income-tax liability resulting from additional tax on Medicare wages, a loss of itemized and personal exemption deductions, a 5% surcharge on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends, and the 3.8% tax on net investment income, reduced your spendable income considerably.

 

The damage was [even] greater for those subject to state income tax to the extent that unfavorable state tax law changes took effect in 2013.

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Fed Transcripts from 2008 Reveal Experts to be Clueless and Confused

English: President Barack Obama confers with F...

President Barack Obama confers with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke following their meeting at the White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Followers of the Fed have carefully analyzed the 1,865 pages of transcripts it released in February of its eight regularly scheduled meetings and six emergency meetings in 2008 and have concluded that these experts were clueless and unaware of the opening economic abyss yawning before them. Even the New York Times was forced to admit, following its review of the documents, that

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$100 Billion in Improper Welfare Payments Uncovered

News that the federal government spends $100 billion improperly caused barely a ripple in light of its enormous budget and the continuous flow of revelations of such waste and corruption that have provided journalists with full-time careers in tracking them down and writing about them.

$100 billion is less than 3 percent of the federal government’s annual budget and most observers are probably happy that it isn’t any worse than that. Two such journos at National Review uncovered

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More Fraud Found by Detroit’s Emergency Manager

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 10, 2014:

It was no surprise to anyone that Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s interim emergency financial manager of the city during its bankruptcy, would uncover a massive fraud dating back to 2005 that helped precipitate the city’s descent into bankruptcy. It’s also no surprise that the two banks and the insurance company involved now want to cut a better deal

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Rosy CBO Report Leaves out Critical Factors

At first reading the latest report on the government budget and the economy released on Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is all sunshine and roses. In its summary of the 182-page report the CBO noted that deficits this year (from last October to next September) will be even lower than initially estimated, dropping to $514 billion, down from $680 billion last year and $1.1 trillion in 2012. And, in the very short run at least, further declines in deficits are expected through 2015, perhaps touching a low of

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Argentina’s economy is cratering, again

While Wall Street declined by 3 percent over global growth concerns last week, few were noting or even interested in the 11 percent decline in the Merval, Argentina’s stock market index. It hit a high of 5,970 on Tuesday, January 21, the day before the Argentina government devalued its currency, and closed at 5,337 on Monday. The peso itself has been in decline far longer, having lost nearly

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Highland Park, Michigan, is Teetering on the Brink of Bankruptcy

The final straw for Highland Park, Michigan, may have arrived in the form of a letter from Fifth Third Bank last month announcing it is ending its monthly checks that have provided life support for the city inside of Detroit for the last three years. One of three banks sending checks to the city, Fifth Third said in its letter dated December 12 that it is

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Birch Society smeared for opposing the Article V convention push

Joe Wolverton is one of the leading lights among the gifted writers and investigative journalists regularly having his articles appear in The New American magazine and its companion website, TheNewAmerican.com.

A constitutionalist attorney who not only writes but speaks around the country for the John Birch Society (the publisher of The New American), Wolverton saw the dangers inherent in efforts by Mark Levin to promote a constitutional convention – a “con-con” – in order to rein in out-of-control government spending. Levin’s book, The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic, has formed the basis for a movement to call a convention of the states that would be limited in scope to addressing just the issue of spending.

Wolverton disagreed and

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America’s Economic Freedom Slide Continues, says the Heritage Foundation

The latest Index of Economic Freedom released by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal shows just how successful the Bush and Obama administrations have been in their seeming attempts to turn the United States into a third world economy. The index shows

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Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn Releases His Annual “Wastebook”

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, December 20th, 2013:

In his press release announcing the publication of his annual “Wastebook” summarizing 100 examples of egregious, wasteful, and outrageous government spending, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn tried to make himself appear “holier than thou” by

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.