Where Free Marketers Meet and Take Action in Southeastern Wisconsin

Shepherd Express doesn’t quite make the cut.

06.29.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

The Sheperd Express apparently was slated to have a little hand out from the state government–a provision in the state budget was going to allow it to print legal notices (although no one was really thinking through why a legal notices should be printed at all instead of being put on Craig’s List, but whatever).

To his credit, the Governor vetoed it.  The story is here:  http://www.wpri.org/blog/?p=849

CYPer in the paper

06.29.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

Dale Kooyenga, who regularly attends our events, had this to say:

From the transformation of General Motors into “Government Motors” to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the last six months have seen government involvement in the private sector rise to historic new levels. The question now on everyone’s mind is, “Will it work?” Oddly enough, clues to the answer of that question may come from an unexpected place: Iraq.

Several months ago, I completed my one-year tour of duty in Iraq. The heart of the counterinsurgency work my unit was assigned focused on creating jobs in order to prevent terrorism. Reducing the number of idle young men roaming the streets without school or employment was viewed as key to reducing insurgent violence and unrest.

Coalition forces employed a variety of programs in an attempt to accomplish this goal. The most familiar was the creation of community security groups commonly referred to as the “Sons of Iraq.” Millions of dollars were also invested in the Microgrant Program. Finally, millions were invested in State Owned Enterprises, or SOEs, large businesses nationalized by Saddam Hussein in the 1970s and ’80s.

The American taxpayers’ return on investment from the Microgrant and Sons of Iraq initiatives were positive. The Sons of Iraq were force multipliers, providing local security without the deployment of additional U.S. soldiers. Microgrants allowed individuals to reopen their shops or create new jobs and businesses, thereby restoring the building blocks of a market economy.

By contrast, the return on investment in state-owned enterprises was negative. The millions spent on SOEs failed to create a single additional job in Iraq.

There are over 190 SOEs in Iraq, and all but a handful are bloated government bureaucracies that have three to four times as many employees on the payroll as show up for work on a daily basis. The basic fundamentals of business are foreign to the management of these companies, since their positions are based more on political connections than market performance, education and experience.

On one particular mission, we visited a SOE that made automobiles. One thing that made an indelible impression on me was that the single framed picture in the CEO’s office was a photo of an over-sized check from the U.S. government. The pride and joy of this CEO was not his product or his people but, rather, his ability to secure “free money” from the U.S. taxpayer to subsidize his business.

As we enter the brave new world of TARP, ARRP and the nationalization of major U.S. industries, we would do well to look at the lessons of a rebuilding Iraq. As our successes in Iraq demonstrate, government can have a constructive role in creating a stable environment in which property rights are protected and the risk/reward transactions of business investment can be safely pursued by free individuals in a free market.

However, we must also realize that excessive government entanglement in the free market can be a recipe for disaster that delivers a poor return on investment for the taxpayer. How many CEOs in our own country can now display a check from the U.S. government in their office? In times when executives should be making sure their products are well-suited for the consumer, is the emphasis instead on securing taxpayers’ dollars?

Our military men and women half a world away are working to rebuild a statist, Third World system into a modern, first-world market economy. Let’s be careful that we are not moving in exactly the opposite direction here at home.

Our Side and Green Shoots

06.25.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

Yesterday, I had to explain to someone what a “green shoot” refers to:  it’s the first sign that a plant has begun to grow–a seedling.  Originally, people started using it in reference to the economy, referring to a recovery that frankly, cannot get here soon enough.

But more recently, I’ve started hearing “green shoots” in reference to the conservative side of the ledger (although most conservatives run as Republicans, I’m sensative to substituting the two, so I usually use “Our side”, to encompass AFB, CYP, Tosa Taxpayers Alliance, etc. etc.).

It’s early, but things are starting to come around and things are starting to get organized.  If you know your Wisconsin state politics, you know that a bunch of reasons, the outcome of elections in the State Senate and the Assembly will be very important and also very close (despite the losses of 2006 and 2008, Republicans are close to the majority in both). 

And today, we saw another “green shoot.”  Rep. Leah Vukmir, my representative, declared that she’d be running for State Senate in the 5th District against incumbent Sen. Jim Sullivan.  See    www.LeahVukmir.com for more information.

Leah was our speaker back when CYP was very small; in the spring, we’ll undoubtedly have her back.  But beyond being a good sign for Tosa, Brookfield, Elm Grove, West Allis, and parts of Milwaukee (who would benefit immensely from a Senator who doesn’t like to sit on the sidelines and talk about bike trails while taxing the heck out of anything that walks or crawls), this is a good sign for “our side”–people are starting to step up.

It’s going to take quite a bit of work for Leah to overcome Jim Sullivan’s incumbency.  I encourage you to get excited and give Leah some support.  Even just an email to say, “hey, good job and good luck” would be helpful as she starts her great adventure:  [email protected]

Barbara Boxer is a low-class rude jerk.

06.18.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrpFSfpXD50&feature=player_embedded

So Barbara Boxer was having a bad day and decided to take it out on a Brig. General.  “Call me “Senator” not “ma’am” because I’ve earned it.”

Did she copy that right out of “A Few Good Men”?   Wow, I’m impressed, very clever.  I repeat movie quotes when I’m at bars with my friends.  I understand “ma’am” is acceptable use in the military.  It’s fine to ask someone to call you something different, if you think it’s more respectful or you don’t like “ma’am” or “sir.”  No problem with that.

But taking a condescending/caustic tone to a subordinate means you just lack class.  Didn’t your mother raise you any better than that?

Russ Decker: comparing apples and oranges

06.18.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

The Senate Democrats now propose that capital gain will now be taxed at 100% in Wisconsin, instead of excluding 60% of capital gain from state income taxes.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/48253947.html

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau is saying it will raise a something like $315 million, but I don’t know anyone with any capital gains, so we’ll see.  It will hurt investment in the state because it raises the cost of capital–the same stuff I always say.

Anyway, Decker justified it by saying:

“Eliminating the capital gains exclusion is about tax fairness,” he said. “Why should someone who sells a painting, a second home or gold coins get a tax break while someone who earns their money by working all year does not?”

That’s accurate as far as the income tax is concerned.  However, if you sell a painting or gold coins, you will pay sales tax which is sort of odd if you think it’s an investment like Decker is thinking (the sales tax is kind of a mess in that no one really knows what it is theoretically supposed to tax).  You don’t pay sales tax on real property, but, really, what about the property taxes you’ve been paying on your second home?  So it’s not really the same, is it, when it comes to tax fairness?  It may not be the same, but it isn’t really a loophole.

No matter, because gold coins are not where the bulk of the $315 million is going to be coming from (well, may be if Obama doesn’t get his money printing machine under control).  The bulk will come from investments in corporations–buying and selling stock and mutual funds.  Decker probably doesn’t want to talk about that, because large numbers of voters sell stocks for a profit (although, again, not for a few years now).

And therein lies the rub–corporate profits were already taxed by the state at 7.9% (and the recycling surcharge) .  Profits are then  distributed out as dividends to be taxed again at 6.75% (and now probably 7.75%).  The one sop to an investor was that when he sold his investment, the investor could exclude a portion of the capital gain from tax.  Investors do not have it easy.

Decker makes an implicit argument that Wisconsin should tax capital and labor income similarly, but looks to a very narrow definition of “tax”.

July 15th Happy Hour: Zen on 7 at Hotel Metro

06.17.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

Want to know the good, the bad and the ugly about the new state budget? 

Come to CYP Happy Hour to find out from our Special Guest Rep. Scott Newcomer (33rd District)

Wed., July 15, 5:30-8:00

Place:  “Zen on 7″ on the 7th floor rooftop bar at Hotel Metro.

Meet up at one of Milwaukee’s coolest spots.  Hopefully the scenery can distract you from the terrible provisions in the state budget.  Scott Newcomer will briefly address the budget and getting involved in politics.

Special thanks to Heather Treptow for getting this great spot and to Jeff Schaefer for getting our speaker.

Russ Decker disagrees with Assembly, U.S. Constitution

06.16.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/48072932.html

The state budget has a tax on oil companies.  As proposed, the law prohibits oil companies from passing on the tax to consumers at the gas pump.  The problem is, and the Assembly rightly realized, is that such a law is unconstitutional.   They took out the part that prohibited the oil company from passing along the tax.

Now, Russ Decker thinks that he doesn’t have to follow the Constitution.  Well, when we’re refunding all of the tax collections from the new gas tax, I guess Decker will have to believe it when the state is refunding the tax to oil companies at 9% interest.  Is anyone even paying attention in the legislature any more? 

http://www.hamilton-consulting.com/updates/docs/foley_opinion-oil-tax.pdf

ABC/White House Broadcasting Corporation

06.16.2009 · Posted in Uncategorized

Wow.  In contrast to many people, I actually think that most reports of media bias are bunk.  But I have seen a shift in the traditional media–they really have given up on trying to be fair to both sides of a debate.  The abomination that is reporting on Sarah Palin (like her or hate her, she and her children have been singled out) is a good case in point.

Apparently, according to Drudgereport.com, the Nightly News will look like the propaganda arm of the White House.  The press is free to do whatever they want–that’s the first amendment.  They can cuddle with the White House all they want.  But when they shouldn’t  wonder why conservatives–a plurality of voters–don’t watch their crummy quasi-news shows.

ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

The network plans a primetime special — ‘Prescription for America’ — originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.