How the US made affordable homes illegal

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Flsg_mzG-M

February 15, 2022. Tags: , , . Economics, Housing. Leave a comment.

Shame on the New York Times! Instead of asking “Where are the fathers of these children?” the New York Times blames childhood poverty on lack of government funding. Also, shame on the New York Times for saying “they had little choice.”

Here is a recent article from the New York Times about a bunch of unmarried women and their out-of-wedlock babies.

The word “father” does not appear in the article.

Instead, the New York Times uses the following words and phrases to explain why these women and children are living in poverty:

“have few options”

“waiting for subsidized housing”

“18 people had been inside the four-bedroom public housing unit, triple the number of people who had moved in a decade earlier”

“mothers, sons and daughters”

“they had little choice”

“a growing family forced to crowd ever more tightly into the apartment it already had”

“According to a 2016 assessment of housing needs in the city, Philadelphia is supplying less than 12 percent of the publicly supported housing needed for its low-income households”

“Without enough funding to support a program like that”

“Shakia Miller, who lives in a three-bedroom unit at the West Park Apartments, which are owned and managed by the housing authority, applied for a bigger place when she was pregnant with twin boys. They are now 9 years old, yet the family, which includes Ms. Miller’s three older children, is still living in the same apartment.”

“There were six people on the lease at that time, a number that expanded, by the time of the latest lease, to 14. There were three sisters, Rosalee, Virginia and Quinsha, and a growing number of children”

“There should have been a lot more resources for the family”

“For the families that are in such a situation, there may not be much of a choice at all.”

So that’s what’s in the article.

According to the New York Times, these women had no control over anything, and the reason that these women and their children are living in poverty is because the government is not spending enough money.

The New York Times never asks where the children’s fathers are.

The New York Times never asks why these women had so many out-of-wedlock babies that they could not afford to take care of.

Shame on the New York Times for not asking, “Where are the fathers of these children?”

Shame on the New York Times for blaming their poverty on lack of government funding!

Shame on the New York Times for falsely claiming these these women had no choice and no control over their situation!

I’d like to propose a new policy. Instead of the government spending more money on unmarried women and their out-of-wedlock babies, the government should stop funding them entirely.

Unmarried women who have babies out of wedlock should not be rewarded with public housing and section 8 vouchers.

Whatever you reward, you get more of.

We should stop rewarding unmarried women who have babies out of wedlock.

An unmarried women who has a baby out of wedlock should never be eligible for public housing or section 8 vouchers.

Before the Democrats started their “Great Society” and their “war on poverty” in the 1960s, only 5% of babies in the U.S. were born out of wedlock.

Today, it’s 40%.

This chart shows the increase. The chart is from this link at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nonmarital_Birth_Rates_in_the_United_States,_1940-2014.png

Nonmarital_Birth_Rates_in_the_United_States,_1940-2014

And now I’d like to talk about the origination of the fire that killed those mothers and their children.

First, someone removed the batteries from the home’s smoke detectors.

And second, a very careless and negligent cigarette smoker left their lighter in a place where a five-year-old boy was able to get it and then use it to set the family’s Christmas tree on fire. I don’t blame the five-year-old boy. I do blame the adult smoker.

This incident happened in Philadelphia. And while I don’t know the statistics for Philadelphia, I do know that in New York state, low-income smokers spend 25% of their income on cigarettes.

Choices matter.

Choices result in actions.

Actions result in consequences.

Having babies out of wedlock that you can’t afford is a choice, no matter how many times the New York Times writes that “they had little choice.”

Taking the batteries out of smoke detectors is also a choice that can lead to disastrous results.

Leaving a lighter where a five-year-old can get it is irresponsible and negligent.

Smoking is stupid.

Spending 25% of your income on cigarettes when your own children don’t even have adequate housing is inexcusable.

Childhood poverty would be greatly reduced if people behaved responsibly. Let’s consider two groups of people in the U.S. The first group has a poverty rate of 2%. The second group has a poverty rate of 76%.

The first group consists of people who followed all three of these steps:

1) Finish high school.

2) Get a full-time job.

3) Wait until age 21 and get married before having children.

The second group consists of people who followed zero of those three steps.

Among people who follow all three of these steps, the poverty rate is 2%.

Among people who follow zero of these steps, the poverty rate is 76%.

My source for that information is this article, which refers to this PDF, and the relevant data is on page 15 of the PDF. The study uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Finally, I’m going to end this blog post by posting a video of the song “Love Child” by the Supremes from the 1960s. By today’s standards, this song would be considered extremely conservative, as well as racist and sexist. It’s a great song, with a lesson that needs to be taught more often:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdmGO-GvHyo

February 12, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , . Economics, Housing, Media bias, Parenting, Smoking, Social justice warriors. 3 comments.

Billionaire Leon Cooperman asked Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez exactly what it is that he has done wrong. They refused to answer him.

The Washington Post recently published this article on billionaire Leon Cooperman.

The article states:

He…  wrote letters to politicians such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) whenever they criticized billionaires in their speeches, because he couldn’t understand: What exactly had he done wrong? What rule had he broken? He’d been born to poor immigrant parents on the losing end of a capitalist economy. He’d attended public schools, taken on debt to become the first in his family to attend college, worked 80-hour weeks, made smart decisions, benefited from some good luck, amassed a fortune for himself and for his clients and paid hundreds of millions in taxes to the government. He had a wife of 57 years, two successful children, and three grandchildren who were helping him decide how to give most of his money away to a long list of charities. “My life is the story of the American Dream,” he’d said while accepting an award at one charity gala, and he’d always imagined himself as the rags-to-riches hero, only to now find himself cast as the greedy villain in a story of economic inequality run amok.

Warren, Sanders, and Ocasio-Cortez have all refused to answer Cooperman’s question.

January 31, 2022. Tags: , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Economics. Leave a comment.

In California, the leftists who see “racism” everywhere are now claiming that their own rooftop solar program creates “racist” “inequities.” Their contradictory “solution” is to create a new tax on the very same solar power that they are subsidizing.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

January 30, 2022

For more than 20 years, California has been giving homeowners financial incentives to install rooftop solar panels on their homes. The goal here is to encourage the use of solar power.

Because whatever you subsidize you get more of, the program has more than achieved its goal of one million solar rooftop installations. 

That should be a cause for celebration.

Except that we’re talking about leftists here. And leftists always find something to complain about.

In this particular case, they are claiming that their own very successful program, which they have been supporting for more than two decades, has created “racism” and “inequities.”

And their proposed “solution” to this “racism” and “inequity” is to create a new tax on the very rooftop solar installations that they have been subsidizing for more than two decades.

Just as subsidies lead to an increase in whatever is being subsidized, taxes lead to a reduction in whatever is being taxed.

So instead of celebrating the success of their own solar rooftop program, the left is now trying to discourage the very same thing that it had been encouraging for more than 20 years.

January 30, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , . Economics, Environmentalism, Equity, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Cuban Goes to Home Depot for FIRST TIME – DREAM CAME TRUE!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLsscvpsH8E

January 23, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Housing, Immigration. 2 comments.

Student debt forgiveness should be funded by fraudulent colleges that sold worthless degrees, instead of by innocent taxpayers

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

January 17, 2022

Democrats think that innocent taxpayers should be forced to pay off student debt.

I think this is a horrible idea.

I’m a Libertarian, which means that I am against punishing innocent taxpayers.

It also means that I, unlike Democrats, understand the horrible incentives that would be created if innocent taxpayers were forced to pay off student debt. Such a policy would encourage colleges to raise their tuitions even more than they already have, and would also encourage future students to borrow even more money than what had been borrowed by past students. This would make the problem of student debt worse, not better.

By comparison, my proposal would not do these harmful things. On the contrary, my proposal would cause colleges to think very hard before they encourage their students and potential students to borrow money. It would also encourage colleges to reconsider their current policy of offering worthless majors that cause their graduates to end up working at Starbucks.

January 17, 2022. Tags: , , . Economics, Education. 5 comments.

What an idiot: “I have $131K in student loans and can’t afford my life, despite making $110K a year…. I didn’t care what the cost was – I didn’t even look at what I was signing”

https://www.marketwatch.com/picks/it-doesnt-seem-fair-she-has-131-000-in-student-loans-and-cant-afford-her-life-despite-making-110-000-a-year-how-she-and-other-borrowers-can-get-out-of-student-loan-debt-faster-01632845888

‘It doesn’t seem fair’: I have $131K in student loans and can’t afford my life, despite making $110K a year. How to get out of student-loan debt faster

By Brienne Walsh

December 29, 2021

Question: I’m now 39, and in a better place in my life than I was roughly 10 years ago, when I decided to take out over $100,000 in student loans to attend a food policy and nutrition master’s program. The program was the only master’s program I got into, and I didn’t care what the cost was — I didn’t even look at what I was signing.

Now, in total, between my undergrad and grad loans, I owe $131,000. Some of the loans are federal and some of them private; one of those companies charges an interest rate of 6%. Though most of my loans are on pause now (thanks to the federal government), I’m worried about what will happen when that stops. The loan payments are too expensive, even though I’m now a nutrition and public health consultant who works on a contractual basis, and I make a good salary — $110,000 a year.

But our mortgage costs $1,100 a month; daycare is about the same, and car payments are $400. Otherwise, I feel we live very frugally: We even bathe our son in a Tupperware tub because our bathroom needs to be renovated, but we don’t have the money for it! We can’t even afford, as it is, to contribute to retirement or pay for some much-needed dental work. I honestly don’t know what we are going to do when my loans become unfrozen. How can I get out of debt faster? — Erin

Answer: First up, you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed by student loan debt, and you’re doing some things right, like “limiting the mortgage and the car loan,” which are both “well within your range for your income level,” says Mitchell C. Hockenbury, a certified financial planner at 1440 Financial Partners in Kansas City. But, Hockenbury says, with your low mortgage and other seemingly reasonable expenses, you should see if there is more money to put towards debt payments. Even if there’s not, once the daycare stops, you will have that money to more aggressively pay down debts.

The next question is whether to refinance loans to save money. But first, consider that right now your federal loan payments are on pause through May 2022, and that you should be careful about refinancing a federal loan into a private loan as you will lose some of the federal loan protections, such as income-based repayment and forgiveness options. (You can get details on how much a refinance could save you here). But Ethan Miller, the founder of Washington, D.C.-based financial planning firm Planning for Progress, says Erin should likely refinance some of her private loans, as rates are pretty low right now (see the lowest fixed student loan refinance rates you can qualify for here). “If you feel confident in your income, and you know you’ll have a job for many years, this is the best option,” says Miller.

There are other options as well, says Hockenbury: “Is there a possibility to take a cash-out refi?  Interest rates are low, housing prices have soared.  Perhaps she could use the cash to pay down some debt,” he says. Though, of course, she needs to be sure she can repay that or she risks losing her house.

Though for some borrowers, student loan forgiveness may be an option, it does not sound like Erin would qualify for a loan forgiveness program like the Public Student Loan Forgiveness Program, as she’s a contractor at a government agency, not a full-time employee, explains Miller. (See details on loan forgiveness, cancellation and discharge here to see if you might qualify.) But if she looks at her budget, she may find extra money to pay down her debt faster; refinancing at least some of her loans at today’s low rates could make the payments more manageable, and a cash-out refi on her home may be another option. Best of luck, Erin!

December 30, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Economics, Education. Leave a comment.

Democrats are preparing to roll back a Trump-era tax measure – and it could restore tax breaks for some of America’s wealthiest residents [a $500 billion tax cut – with $400 billion flowing to the top 5% of households]

https://www.yahoo.com/news/democrats-preparing-roll-back-trump-202742046.html

Democrats are preparing to reverse a Trump-era tax move – and it could cut taxes for America’s wealthiest residents

By Juliana Kaplan

November 2, 2021

Democrats are ready to repeal a Trump-era policy that cut tax breaks for residents of wealthy states.

Democrats have previously argued that capping the deduction for local taxes impacts wealthier blue states more.

However, one budget expert calls it a “gigantic expensive tax cut for the rich.”

Democrats are about to include a tax break in their $1.75 trillion social spending plan that will overwhelmingly benefit higher-earning Americans.

On Tuesday, Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey wrote on Twitter that the provision had been added into the plan. A Democratic aide familiar with negotiations told Insider that Democrats were eyeing a five-year tax break that runs through 2025, a development first reported by Punchbowl News.

The break would also be retroactive to this year.

The SALT deduction allows taxpayers to deduct their state and local tax totals from their federal obligation. Under Trump’s 2017 tax plan, the previously unlimited deduction was capped at $10,000. That primarily impacts taxpayers in areas with high local taxes, which tend to be in wealthier blue states like New Jersey.

Trump’s tax plan especially hit people with properties in multiple states, who were able to deduct their state property-tax totals in, for instance, New York City, if they had a property there as well as a nearby state like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Connecticut.

Revenge of the SALT Caucus

A repeal does have bipartisan support: 32 legislators from both sides of the aisle formed a “SALT Caucus” in April. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has said that the Trump cap was “mean-spirited” and “politically targeted” by taking aim at wealthy residents of blue states. It also had support from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

Marc Goldwein, a budget expert at the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, projects that the five-year SALT deduction would amount to a $500 billion tax cut – with $400 billion flowing to the top 5% of households

“It’s a very good question about priorities when they’re willing to put two and a half times as much into tax cuts for the rich as they are into child tax credit and the EITC expansion that mainly go to the poor and middle class,” Goldwein said. 

Jason Furman, a former top economist to President Barack Obama, wrote on Twitter that he guesses most Americans with a net worth of $50 to $300 million would actually get a tax cut.

“The bill would do more for the super-rich than it does for climate change, childcare or preschool,” Furman wrote. “That’s obscene.”

Some Democrats defended the effort to repeal the cap. “This is about punishing blue state voters,” Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, told Insider.

When asked about the SALT deduction as a tax for the wealthy, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey told Insider, “You clearly have not come to New Jersey.”

“I live in a low income neighborhood,” Booker added. “People are paying more than $10,000 in taxes. So what are you talking about?”

“This is a middle-class issue and it’s something that’s really a concern for people,” he told Insider.

Not all Democrats are onboard with a repeal. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont came out against it, saying it would effectively provide a tax cut to the very rich.

“At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, the last thing we should be doing is giving more tax breaks to the very rich,” he wrote on Twitter. “Democrats campaigned and won on an agenda that demands that the very wealthy finally pay their fair share, not one that gives them more tax breaks.”

Sanders added he was open to a compromise approach on the issue, but “won’t support more tax breaks for billionaires.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said that she thinks “it’s just a giveaway to the rich,” breaking from some of her fellow New York representatives. She wrote on Twitter that Congress shouldn’t endorse a “100% repeal.”

Democrats are using the party-line reconciliation process to approve the plan over united Republican opposition. Its afforded them very little room to maneuver given they can only spare three votes in the House and zero in the Senate to mold President Joe Biden’s economic plans into law.

November 2, 2021. Tags: , . Economics. Leave a comment.

America’s big cities are turning into housing catastrophes. If we want to fix this mess, we should try and copy Tokyo.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/americas-big-cities-turning-housing-120600526.html

America’s big cities are turning into housing catastrophes. If we want to fix this mess, we should try and copy Tokyo.

By Jairaj Devadiga

October 9, 2021

Tokyo

A view of residential houses in Tokyo, Japan.

In major cities around the world, housing is becoming less and less affordable.

Tokyo, Japan, is a notable exception, with prices barely rising since 1995.

The US has restrictive, often absurd regulations, and should instead mirror Tokyo.

Jairaj Devadiga is an economist specializing in public policy and economic history.

This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

In major cities around the world, housing prices have spiraled out of control.

In California’s Bay Area, the median house price is $1.3 million. In Vancouver, the average household must save for 34 years to make a down payment on a house, and put aside 85% of its pre-tax income for mortgage payments. In Sydney, a decrepit house without any toilet facilities sells for $3.5 million.

In this sea of craziness, Tokyo has been an island of sanity. Its housing prices have barely risen since 1995. This is not due to deflation either.

While the population of Japan as a whole has been shrinking, Tokyo has been growing. Between 1995 and 2019, the population of Tokyo grew by 2.17 million, or just above 90,000 per year on average. To accommodate all these new people, lots of housing had to be built. Over the same time period, there was an average of 153,000 housing starts annually.

A study by the Fraser Institute illustrates what happens when housing supply fails to keep up with demand. Between 2015 and 2019, 120,000 new jobs were created in Vancouver and Toronto. In the same time period, there were only 57,000 housing starts every year. Since demand was growing more than twice as fast as supply, prices skyrocketed. The same story played out in almost every major city. Lots of new jobs being created, lots of people wanting to move, and not enough homes being built for all of them.

There are numerous bad policies which prevent the construction of more housing. Chief among them are restrictive zoning laws. In most cities with expensive housing, vast swathes of residential land are reserved exclusively for single family homes. Until very recently, the worst of the bunch was San Jose, with 94% of the land being off limits for apartment buildings. No wonder it is the least affordable city in America.

Not only does this make housing costlier for middle and low income folks, but also subsidizes mansions for the rich. The land on which a mansion sits would be worth a lot more if an apartment building could be built on it. The developer would make a profit even if they sold each apartment at an affordable price.

However, because that’s not allowed, developers won’t bid for that land, thus driving down its price.

While Tokyo does have low density zones, these do not prohibit multi-family buildings. Thus it is not uncommon to see a three story apartment building right next to a single family home.

Apart from zoning, cities dictate minimum lot sizes and maximum floor area ratios (how much of the plot is covered by the building itself), which further stifle construction. In much of Mumbai, for instance, the floor area ratio was capped at 1.33 until 2018.

This had the disastrous result of pushing poor people into slums, as they could not compete with affluent families for the limited housing. In 1971, 22% of Mumbai’s population lived in slums. By 2010, this had risen to 62%. By contrast, Tokyo allows floor area ratios as high as 13, and even higher with government permission.

Another problem is cities wanting to preserve too many historical sites. For instance, cities often declare old homes or commercial establishments to be historical monuments, which prevents them from being torn down and replaced with apartment buildings.

In some cases, cities prevent development even when the historical monument itself would be untouched. For instance, last year, a historic preservation board in Seattle rejected a proposal for a 200-unit apartment building because it would be taller than nearby historical monuments. While Tokyo has historic buildings, its criteria for preservation are much stricter and thus don’t get in the way of affordable housing.

Another important factor in raising housing prices is over-regulation. A recent report by the National Association of Home Builders estimates that regulations add almost $94,000 to the price of new homes. The vast majority of these regulations are purely aesthetic, such as mandating certain types of landscaping and architectural styles, or banning vinyl sidings.

This is not exclusive to American cities. A study on India’s Ahmedabad shows that unnecessary regulations add 34% to the cost of housing. By contrast, Tokyo has very few common sense regulations; mainly to protect against the frequent earthquakes. As long as developers follow these and the very liberal zoning laws, they are free to build as they please.

At this point, you might wonder why these restrictive rules persist if they are so obviously bad. Why is liberal city-planning the exception, rather than the norm? To answer this, we must examine the policy making process itself, to understand the motivations of all participants.

Consider San Jose, with its 94% single-family zoning. The politicians in San Jose were catering to the wishes of their constituents; the people already living in San Jose. Those voters wanted high prices. To them, their house is an investment, which would lose value if more housing were built in their neighborhood. It would also result in new neighbors bringing in a different culture from what the residents are used to.

People who wanted to move to San Jose, but couldn’t due to high prices, would benefit from more liberal planning. They might live in different parts of California, or even in other states. Obviously they don’t get to vote in San Jose elections, thus local politicians have no incentive to help them.

The same process plays out across every city, resulting in sky-high prices.

At the state or national level, though, the political calculus changes completely. People in a particular city might want to restrict housing development, but everyone else wants more. Thus state and national politicians have an incentive to liberalize.

This is exactly what happened in Japan. It too had local governments choking the housing market, resulting in a massive housing bubble in the 1980s. This prompted the national government to enact a series of reforms to rein in housing prices.

The national government formulates building codes, zoning laws, and other city-planning regulations for the entire country, giving very little leeway to local governments.

Recently, governor Gavin Newsom did something similar in California, by finally abolishing single-family zoning statewide, and also loosening some other restrictions.

To win elections, local politicians must necessarily keep down the supply of new housing. It is up to state and national governments to deny them that power, and quickly. Otherwise, home-ownership will remain a pipe-dream for most people.

October 9, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , . Economics, Housing. Leave a comment.

Democrats wage war against family farmers and small business owners

https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-business-6019bbf1969016cbd2749b213ba47a08

As tax changes loom, farmers worry about the next generation

By Tim Grant

SHARPSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Michael Kovach got into the farming business 13 years ago with the purchase of a 107-acre farm in Mercer County after retiring from the oil and gas industry at 39.

“I’ve worked too hard on this piece of ground to really even consider the thought of it turning into anything other than what it is and getting better than what it is,” said Mr. Kovach, 52, owner of Walnut Hill Farm in Sharpsville.

He has two full-time employees who help him raise grass-fed livestock such as Angus cattle, lambs and chickens, which are sold direct to consumers at the farm. His wife, Karen, runs the farm stand.

Mr. Kovach bought the farm hoping to one day pass the mantle of ownership to his daughter, who is 17. Now he and and other family farmers across the state worry how changes in the tax law could impact their plans to transfer their farms from one generation to the next.

President Joe Biden has proposed tax changes in order to pay for the American Families Plan, which provides government benefits and tax breaks for middle- and lower-income people.

The proposal that’s garnered the highest profile in the business community has been Mr. Biden’s plan to raise the 21% corporate tax rate that has been in place since 2018. He’s proposed changing it to 28%, which is targeted at the largest corporations, some of which effectively pay no income tax on billions in revenue.

Small-business owners are most concerned about increased taxes on capital gains — profits on the sale of assets — and on inherited wealth. Mr. Biden’s plan calls for nearly doubling the top tax rate on capital gains and eliminating a significant tax benefit on appreciated assets known as the “step-up in basis.” The combined tax rate increase could add up to 61% on inherited wealth.

For example, if someone dies after starting a business decades ago that’s now worth $100 million, under the current tax law, the business would pass to family members with no capital gains tax because the cost basis of the business is stepped-up to its current value at death.

Under Mr. Biden’s plan, the heirs would immediately owe a capital gains tax of $42.96 million based on the capital gains rate of 39.6%, plus the net investment income tax of 3.8%, minus the $1 million estate tax exemption. The proposal would reduce the estate tax exemption from $11.7 million to $1 million.

If the estate tax remains unchanged, the family would also pay an estate tax of 40% on $57.04 million of the remaining assets. Including exemptions, the estate tax would amount to $18.13 million.

The combined federal estate tax and capital gains tax liability would total $61.1 million on the heirs’ original $100 million inheritance. That’s without including state capital gains and estate taxes.

“That’s a really important thing if I’m the daughter of a business owner and I want to inherit stock in my family’s company,” said Elizabeth “Li” Connolly, a partner at the Connolly Steel accounting firm in Avalon. “Me, as a regular person, could be theoretically not targeted by this, but it’s going to affect everyone in a negative way.”

Dividend payouts and stock buybacks

The tax proposal most closely tied to the larger economic recovery is the corporate tax hike that could go from 21% to as much as 28%, although negotiations are ongoing, and media sources have reported Mr. Biden floating the idea of a minimum corporate tax of 15%.

Prior to the corporate rate being reduced in 2018 by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, corporations paid a tax rate as high as 35%.

Pennsylvania State Treasurer Stacy Garrity said she has met with small-business leaders across the state who are interested in expanding their companies but are holding back due to the uncertainty of tax changes.

Pennsylvania has 1.1 million small businesses, which Ms. Garrity said make up 99.6% of all businesses in the state.

She said owners of farms in rural Pennsylvania are particularly worried about a capital gains tax hike.

More than 8% of U.S. adults have at least $1 million in assets, according to the Global Wealth Report 2020 by Credit Suisse. That comes out to slightly more than 20 million Americans.

The Pennsylvania Farmers Union has 300 members, all of whom are owners of family farms. The national farmers organization has 200,000 members.

“Some of these farmers have had these farms in their families for generations, and now, if they go to pass on the farm to the next generation, anything over $1 million they would have to pay that capital gains tax on it,” Ms. Garrity said.

Farm operator households usually have more wealth than the average U.S. household because they own significant capital assets, such as farmland and equipment necessary to run a farm. In 2019, the average farm household had $1,042,855 in wealth, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Gus Faucher, chief economist at Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group, said the bank is waiting to have a better sense of what’s likely to get through Congress before incorporating the tax increases into its forecast.

But on the surface, he said, it’s not likely to have a significant impact on economic growth.

“We saw very little change in growth when the corporate income tax cuts were passed under the Trump administration in 2017,” Mr. Faucher said. “There was a modest growth pickup in business fixed investment following passage of the tax cuts, but that faded in 2019.

“Mostly the impact of the corporate income tax cut was to increase dividend payouts to shareholders and boost stock prices, with little impact on the real economy. Therefore, I would expect a very small negative economic impact from the proposed Biden tax cuts.”

‘Tax is a price’

A tax increase of a few percentage points can be absorbed by most profitable companies.

“If they know what the tax rate is, over a period of months they will adjust to it,” said Robert Fragasso, chairman and CEO of Fragasso Financial Advisors, Downtown. “They will adjust just like we do in our homes and our personal finances. We adjust to changes in pricing. Tax is a price. It’s part of what corporations pay to do business.

“You could argue that corporations spend too much money on this or that or pay people too much at the top,” he said. “That’s just financial management. But taxes in and of themselves is neither good nor bad. It’s how they are applied to the business. I’m not advocating for higher taxes. But we do have to pay for what we’re spending.”

Mr. Fragasso, whose company manages nearly $2 billion for clients, said lawmakers could get a false impression of how much corporations are making without taking into consideration that profitability varies from year to year, and responsible company managers put money aside for unforeseen events that will impact their future.

“That’s what we do,” he said. “A legislator could look at us and say, ‘Tax them more because they are a rich company’ when in fact we set it aside for the future to hedge the unexpected or to use to grow the company and create more employment.”

Ms. Connolly noted that nothing is carved in stone yet.

“Over the years, I don’t get worked up about anything until I see it signed into law because there’s going to be a lot of changes,” she said.

“Everything right now is still speculation because there’s going to be a lot of negotiation as part of this.”

June 19, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , . Economics. Leave a comment.

In California, the left is eating itself – excessive regulations are making it very difficult for the state’s legal sellers of recreational marijuana

This is hilarious. Instead of reducing the excessive regulations, the government is planning to spend $100 million to help business owners deal with the regulations.

In addition, seven different environmental organizations have complained about the effects of legal marijuana on the environment.

In California, the left is eating itself.

As a libertarian, I am in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana, and I am against excessive regulation of businesses. The fact that California wants to spend this $100 million, instead of reducing the excessive regulations, is hilarious.

Here’s the article:

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-06-14/california-struggling-marijuana-industry-cash-grants-budget

California offers $100 million to rescue its struggling legal marijuana industry

By Patrick McGreevy

June 14, 2021

SACRAMENTO —

The California Legislature on Monday approved a $100-million plan to bolster California’s legal marijuana industry, which continues to struggle to compete with the large illicit pot market nearly five years after voters approved sales for recreational use.

Los Angeles will be the biggest beneficiary of the money, which was proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to be provided as grants to cities and counties to help cannabis businesses transition from provisional to regular licenses.

“California voters approved Proposition 64 five years ago and entrusted the Legislature with creating a legal, well-regulated cannabis market,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), the chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. “We have yet to reach that goal.”

Many cannabis growers, retailers and manufacturers have struggled to make the transition from a provisional, temporary license to a permanent one renewed on an annual basis — a process that requires a costly, complicated and time-consuming review of the negative environmental effects involved in a business and a plan for reducing those harms.

As a result, about 82% of the state’s cannabis licensees still held provisional licenses as of April, according to the governor’s office.

The funds, including $22 million earmarked for L.A., would help cities hire experts and staff to assist businesses in completing the environmental studies and transitioning the licenses to “help legitimate businesses succeed,” Ting said.

The grant program is endorsed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who said in a letter to legislators that the money is “essential in supporting a well-regulated, equitable, and sustainable cannabis market.”

Separately, the governor wants to give cannabis businesses a six-month extension beyond a Jan. 1 deadline to transition from provisional licenses by complying with mandates of the California Environmental Quality Act. That extension, which faces opposition for delaying promised environmental safeguards, was not included in the state budget bill approved Monday and is still being negotiated with lawmakers.

The governor’s proposal to extend provisional licenses has drawn objections from a coalition of seven environmental groups including Sierra Club California, Defenders of Wildlife and the Nature Conservancy.

They said in a letter to Newsom that the proposal allowing the extension of provisional licenses and interim alternatives to CEQA rules goes against what voters were promised and is “wholly inadequate to protect local communities and the environment.”

At the same time, industry officials say the governor’s proposals do not go far enough in helping businesses struggling to stay open with provisional licenses while meeting what they see as burdensome rules under the state’s environmental regulations.

“It is a significant amount of money, but I don’t know that it actually answers the problem of provisional licenses making it through CEQA analysis in a timely manner to get an annual license,” said Jerred Kiloh, president of the United Cannabis Business Assn.

He said delays in cities adopting rules, their limited staffing and lack of resources by cannabis firms mean some face two to four years to get through the licensing process. Many would face the prospect of shutting down, at least temporarily, if they don’t get a regular license by current state deadlines, Kiloh said.

California voters paved the way for state licensing of cannabis stores, farms, distributors and testing when they approved Proposition 64 in 2016. State officials initially expected to license as many as 6,000 cannabis shops in the first few years, but permits have been issued only for 1,086 retail and delivery firms.

In 2019, industry officials estimated there were nearly three times as many unlicensed businesses as ones with state permits. Although some industry leaders believe enforcement has reduced the number of illegal pot shops, a study in September by USC researchers estimated unlicensed retailers still outnumbered those that were licensed.

Supporters of legalization blame the discrepancy on problems that they say include high taxes on licensed businesses, burdensome regulations and the decision of about three-quarters of cities in California not to allow cannabis retailers in their jurisdictions.

The bill approved by the Legislature on Monday includes $100 million and identifies 17 cities and counties earmarked to receive grants, including Los Angeles, which would get the largest grant. Other cities that will get grants include Long Beach, San Francisco, Oakland, Commerce, Adelanto and Desert Hot Springs.

Originally, pot businesses were supposed to transfer from temporary licenses to regular annual licenses by 2019, but many businesses were unable to comply in time, so the state allowed provisional licenses until Jan. 1, 2020, and then extended the deadline again to Jan. 1, 2022.

A key requirement to convert from a provisional license is to conduct a CEQA review to indicate how pot farms and other cannabis businesses will affect the surrounding water, air, plants and wildlife, and to propose ways to mitigate any harms.

However, Kiloh said, some cities are just setting up ordinances and staffing to process licenses, meaning many businesses cannot meet the looming deadline.

Each cannabis grower must provide evidence that they met the requirements for environmental review. If their city and county do not provide the required document, the applicants must prepare one, which often means hiring environmental consultants.

A bill by state Sen. Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) would have allowed the state to extend provisional licenses six years until 2028, but she shelved it after it drew opposition from the coalition of environmental groups.

The groups sent a letter to lawmakers saying that the bill “does not provide adequate environmental protection.”

The governor’s proposal, which is being considered by lawmakers, would allow the extension of existing provisional licenses by six months.

Environmentalists still hope the budget trailer bill can be changed to address their concerns, according to Pamela Flick, California program director of Defenders of Wildlife.

The group “opposes the proposed trailer bill language because it needs stronger environmental protections consistent with the original commitments made in Proposition 64, in which the voters intended meaningful and timely compliance” with environmental laws, Flick said.

The Newsom administration is warning of dire consequences if pot businesses are not given more time to get a regular license.

“Absent this extension, it is possible that a significant number of these licensees could fall out of the legal cannabis system, significantly curtailing the state’s efforts to facilitate the transition to a legal and well-regulated market,” the administration warned in its budget proposal.

The $100 million would go to local agencies with the most provisional licenses for growing, manufacturing, distribution, testing and retail operations. Some of the money can be used by cities offering equity funding to cannabis businesses owned by people of color.

Lawmakers welcomed the budget proposal from Newsom, who has an interest in seeing the legal market succeed because he was a leading proponent of Proposition 64.

“Gov. Newsom is dedicated to the success of the legal cannabis industry in California,” said Nicole Elliott, the governor’s senior advisor on cannabis. “The purpose of this one-time $100 million in grant funding is to aid locals and provisional licensees, many of which are small businesses, legacy operators and equity applicants, in more expeditiously migrating to annual licensure.”

Garcetti said in his letter that it will help Los Angeles “in creating a robust CEQA compliance program and comprehensive assistance programs to aid licensees in meeting annual licensure requirements.”

However, industry officials note the money will go to a small fraction of California cities, and only those that have already decided to allow cannabis businesses.

“It’s not incentivizing localities who have cannabis bans to get their ordinances up and running,” said Kiloh, owner of the Higher Path cannabis store in Sherman Oaks.

“The real problem is CEQA analysis is a very arduous process,” he added. “I think it would be good to have more reform of the licensing system instead of just putting money to it.”

June 14, 2021. Tags: , , , . Economics, Environmentalism, War on drugs. Leave a comment.

Socialist-Themed Vegan Food Company Lays Off Workers Without Notice Or Severance (This same left-wing company had previously tried to stop its employees from forming a union)

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/no-evil-foods-layoffs_n_60c653fbe4b0402a2c033cf3

Socialist-Themed Vegan Food Company Lays Off Workers Without Notice Or Severance

Workers at No Evil Foods’ North Carolina plant were furious at the news, according to audio of the layoff announcement.

By Dave Jamieson

June 13, 2021

A self-described socially conscious vegan food manufacturer laid off its entire production staff in North Carolina on Friday, infuriating workers who said the lack of notice and severance pay was out of step with the company’s stated values.

Audio of the layoff announcement at No Evil Foods provided to HuffPost by a source captured stunned workers shouting back at company leaders who delivered the news.

“So we get fired so you can stay alive?” one worker said to the company’s chief executive, Mike Woliansky, as Woliansky explained that the facility will be shut down.

Several workers reacted with disbelief after the company’s human resources chief, Drew Pollick, explained they would be paid for Friday’s work but nothing beyond that because “we’re out of money.”

Workers were heard yelling “screw all of y’all” and ”F*** you!”

“You can’t tell me there’s absolutely no money,” one said.

“They got a better deal ― the ones that f***ed up,” added one worker, in apparent reference to the company’s leadership.

No Evil Foods, which is based in Weaverville, north of Asheville, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Woliansky said in the meeting that No Evil Foods was counting on a new infusion of cash that recently fell through. He said the pandemic presented a number of challenges for the company, and that leaders had decided to move to a co-manufacturing model, rather than have its own dedicated facility.

“The reality of the situation is the company has essentially run out of money, and we’re now really forced to make some really big, really difficult changes,” he said in the audio obtained by HuffPost. “It’s coming down to whether or not there will be a No Evil at all.”

Mike Rapier, one of the workers who spoke up during the meeting, said in an interview with HuffPost that the company’s leaders deserved all the backtalk. No Evil Foods describes itself as a purpose-driven food manufacturer, seeking to address “food insecurity, economic justice, and climate change” through plant-based options. Some of its products make cheeky nods to socialism, like the chicken-free Comrade Cluck.

Rapier said company leaders often spoke about the workforce as a family. That’s why Rapier, a production employee, expected more than a recommendation letter and a leaflet about an upcoming job fair.

“We would have big monthly meetings about core values and family and respect and save-the-world,” said Rapier, who added that he did not make the audio recording. “They preached all of this stuff, but then when it came down to it … they were very, very cutthroat.”

Companies generally are not required to provide severance pay unless a contract requires it. Sometimes employers are required to give 60 days notice or more under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act or similar state laws, but the mass layoff at No Evil Foods appears to be small enough so that the law does not apply.

Rapier estimated that there were between 30 and 50 workers laid off on Friday, though he said others had been let go earlier in the year. The layoffs were first reported by Insider.

This is not the first time workers have accused No Evil Foods of not meeting its socially conscious image. The company pushed back hard against a union drive last year, holding captive-audience meetings and urging workers to vote down the effort with the United Food and Commercial Workers union. When audio of those meetings were posted to the internet, the company made legal efforts to have them removed.

The company fired two workers involved in the organizing effort, claiming they had violated the facility’s social-distancing rules. The two workers, Jon Reynolds and Cortne Roche, accused the company of illegal retaliation, and the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel pursued a complaint. As Jacobin recently reported, No Evil Foods settled those claims by paying $20,000 to Reynolds and $22,500 to Roche.

Rapier said he really enjoyed working at No Evil Foods. He eats meat and didn’t buy into the plant-based-foods mission of the company, but he considered it a solid job and liked his co-workers. He left Ace Hardware a year ago to work at No Evil Foods.

According to Rapier, the company had recently invested in equipment that did not suit its production well, leading to frequent shutdowns. He said he had a feeling business was not going well. Still, Rapier said, given the mission of No Evil Foods, he assumed the company would try to give workers a softer landing.

“They talked the talk but they didn’t walk the walk with regard to their philosophy. They just dumped us,” he said. “This kind of upheaval is not right, the way they went about this.”

Rapier, 59, said his health insurance through No Evil Foods ended immediately Friday, and he isn’t sure if he’ll be able to find coverage he can afford. As for his next work plans, Rapier said he plans to go to that job fair.

June 14, 2021. Tags: , , , , . Economics, Social justice warriors, Unions. Leave a comment.

House Agriculture Chairman David Scott, a Democrat, says Biden’s proposed tax increase will “make it more difficult for young, beginning, and socially disadvantaged farmers to get into farming”

https://www.rollcall.com/2021/06/02/house-agriculture-chairman-opposes-key-plank-of-biden-tax-plan/

House Agriculture chairman objects to Biden inheritance tax plan

Scott says capital gains change would increase obstacles for young, beginning and disadvantaged farmers

June 2, 2021

House Agriculture Chairman David Scott objected Wednesday to President Joe Biden’s proposal to change the capital gains taxation on inherited property, signaling growing opposition among farm-state Democrats to a change Biden hoped would help to fund sweeping domestic spending proposals.

Scott, D-Ga., in a statement called the proposal to tax capital gains at the time of a person’s death “untenable” and said exemptions that would allow farmers and ranchers to delay tax payments on intergenerational land transfers are inadequate.

“Any increase in inheritance tax for those taking over farm land is untenable and will further strain a farm economy that is just now beginning to recover from the strain of the pandemic,” Scott said.

In a letter to Biden Wednesday, Scott said he supported the president’s goals, but said the tax proposal could impose significant tax increases on farmers, ranchers and small businesses in rural America.

“The potential for capital gains to be imposed on heirs at death of the landowner would impose a significant financial burden on these operations,” Scott wrote.

“Additionally, my understanding of the exemptions is that they would just delay the tax liability for those continuing the farming operation until time of sale, which could result in further consolidation in farmland ownership. This would make it more difficult for young, beginning, and socially disadvantaged farmers to get into farming,” he said.

Biden would pay for part of his $1.8 trillion paid leave, child care and education proposal by nearly doubling the top capital gains rate on millionaires and eliminating stepped-up basis, which resets the value of inherited property to market value at the time of the original owner’s death.

Under Biden’s proposal, heirs who inherit assets of more than $1 million per person would have to pay capital gains taxes on the full appreciation in value from the time the original owner purchased the assets, in some cases many decades earlier.

The proposal, which was detailed further in the president’s fiscal 2022 budget request released May 28, would allow family-owned and -operated businesses, like farms, to defer payment of the tax until they sell the business or no longer operate it. And taxes owed on non-liquid assets could be paid off over time under a 15-year fixed-rate payment plan.

Treasury estimates that Biden’s capital gains tax increases would raise $322.5 billion over 10 years.

Scott’s letter comes nearly a month after 13 farm district Democrats in May wrote Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., to warn that changing the stepped-up basis for capital gains could lead to taxes that long-time family farms couldn’t afford.

The lawmakers, led by House Agriculture Committee members Jim Costa, D-Calif., and Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, called for “full exemptions for these family farms and small businesses that are critical to our communities.”

The Democrats also drew a distinction between the “administrative difficulties” of taxing farm assets and taxing other inheritances that are easier to value, such as shares of stock. The stocks have a clear price for valuation and capital gains are simple to administer, they said, adding that farms, machinery and some small businesses may be illiquid and hard to value.

Selling stock to pay a tax bill also has less far-reaching consequences than breaking up land holdings in families that use that land to earn a living, they said. Farm operations could be left less viable by those changes, the lawmakers said.

Biden’s proposal seeks to address some of the concerns about administrative difficulties in valuing inheritances. He proposes a deduction for the full cost of appraising the assets and allowing Treasury to issue safe harbor rules in cases where complete records needed to conduct an appraisal are unavailable.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and agricultural financial advisers raised red flags in March as Democratic members of Congress floated tax changes similar to the ones Biden eventually called for. Republican lawmakers also have argued against the proposed changes.

June 3, 2021. Tags: , , , , . Economics, Joe Biden. Leave a comment.

Loyola University Maryland yanks video promoting black Baltimore entrepreneurs, financial literacy

https://www.thecollegefix.com/loyola-university-maryland-yanks-video-promoting-black-entrepreneurship-financial-literacy-in-the-city/

Loyola University Maryland yanks video promoting black Baltimore entrepreneurs, financial literacy

By Matt Lamb

March 31, 2021

Cancels entire business competition

Loyola University Maryland’s business school removed a video that proposed a project to match black entrepreneurs in Baltimore with black students to provide them with mentoring on business skills and financial literacy.

Several students at the Catholic university in Baltimore submitted the video to the “Building a Better Baltimore” competition as part of the Sellinger School’s annual “Building a Better World Through Business” series that involves various events.

“How might the Baltimore business community effectively advance racial equity?” the proposal competition asked.

The video quotes from slavery abolitionist Frederick Douglass and former President Barack Obama to make the case for the mentorship program that focuses on the “black youth of Baltimore.” Students talk about the program while walking through decrepit streets and housing.

The video (below) has been removed by university officials, but someone reuploaded the video and The Fix uploaded it as well to preserve it in case that version is removed.

The program, to be called “Baltimore’s financial fathers” would have worked with the “Baltimore business community” to match black business owners with black youth to become “agents of change.”

However, the university removed the video after complaints from the student government association and an activist group called “Addressing the System.”

Furthermore, the entire competition has been cancelled by the university. “This even [sic] has been cancelled” the page said.

University officials are thankful for community members for “calling us into deeper conversations about institutionalized racism on campus,” Kathleen Getz, the business school dean wrote in an email, a portion of which the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education obtained.

Getz also said that “Black lives matter, and we must demonstrate that through our actions.”

Getz said the university planned to find “opportunities” for the community to “participate in a practice of restorative justice.”

Students drive university to respond

The response came after complaints from some student leaders and activists.

“This is disrespectful on so many levels and is Racist [sic] !!” the student group wrote on Instagram on March 22 along with a screenshot of one student participant walking through crippled buildings while wearing a suit.

“The video promotes the ideology of white saviorsim [sic], white supremacy and most of all a lack of addressing structural racism!” the page said.

“Countless times Loyola has pushed racial issues to the side. And deemed them self’s [sic] as separate from the Baltimore community !!” the activist group said.

The student government, which co-sponsored the annual business promotion event, criticized the video as well.

“[W]e do not condone the racially insensitive messages displayed in the video,” the group posted on social media, in a post archived by FIRE. It appears to be from an Instagram story, which deletes after 24 hours. The post is not visible on its Instagram page.

“As a once-proud Loyola University alum, I am ashamed that my alma mater has succumbed to this kind of pressure,” Giovanni Gravano, a staffer for the free-speech group, wrote in the blog post covering the story.

“Where strong university values once guided Loyola and its initiatives, it seems those have been replaced by submission to politically motivated demands from social media,” Gravano said.

The free-speech group said it is monitoring the situation.

April 1, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , . Cancel culture, Dumbing down, Economics, Education, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

California’s AB-5 destroyed many freelance jobs. Now Democrats want to expand the policy to the entire country.

A proposed new federal law is modeled after California’s AB-5. You can read about it here:

https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/538505-the-pro-acts-abc-test-fails-american-workers

Joe Biden supports making the policy nationwide:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickgleason/2020/07/07/joe-biden-endorses-california-law-doing-harm-to-freelancers-which-democrats-hope-to-impose-nationwide/

After many news reports of AB-5 destroying jobs in California, Lorena Gonzalez, the California politician who created AB-5, says the jobs that got destroyed were “not good jobs to begin with.”

https://www.kusi.com/assemblywoman-lorena-gonzalez-fletcher-responds-to-californians-hurt-by-ab-5/

Here are some examples of the devastation that the law caused in California:

California’s AB 5 kills off 40-year Lake Tahoe Music Festival

https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/californias-ab-5-kills-off-40-year-lake-tahoe-music-festival/

California Wedding Industry Turned ‘On Top of Its Head’ by Freelancing Law

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:OolG5bsqcVoJ:https://www.theepochtimes.com/california-wedding-industry-turned-on-top-of-its-head-by-freelancing-law_3222935.html+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

The Young Turks: New Law Could DESTROY Independent Music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwpx-8Rl7lM

Vox praised AB-5 for allegedly making workers better off. But a few months later, Vox laid off hundreds of its own writers in response to the very same law.

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:q2hpHWVNK1IJ:https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/19/how-law-aimed-uber-lyft-is-hurting-freelance-writers/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

AB-5 limits freelance journalists to 35 pieces per year for any given publication

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/california-freelance-journalists-sue-over-204250896.html

The Devastating Impact of AB5 on People with Disabilities and Their Families

https://medium.com/@staceybiro/the-devastating-impact-of-ab5-on-people-with-disabilities-and-their-families-fae1b47a76ec

February 21, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Economics, Joe Biden, Unions. Leave a comment.

Cuba opens up its economy to private businesses

https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-latin-america-55967709

Cuba opens up its economy to private businesses
 
February 7, 2021

Cuba has announced it will allow private businesses to operate in most sectors, in what is a major reform to its state-controlled economy.

Labour Minister Marta Elena Feito said the list of authorised activities had expanded from 127 to more than 2,000.

Only a minority of sectors would be reserved for the state, she said.

The communist country’s economy has been hit hard by the pandemic and US sanctions introduced by the Trump administration.

Last year its economy shrank by 11% – its worst decline in almost three decades – and Cubans have been facing shortages of basic goods.

Ms Feito said just 124 economic activities would be exempt from private involvement although she did not mention which ones.

“That private work continues to develop, is the objective of this reform,” Ms Feito was quoted by AFP as saying. She said the move would “help free the productive forces” of the private sector.

Experts on Cuba’s tangled and complicated economy say the step essentially opens up almost all economic activity on the island to some form of private enterprise, the BBC’s Will Grant in Havana says.

This will be a significant shot in the arm for those families and individuals who harbour hopes of moving beyond just the very small businesses into medium-sized ventures, he notes.

Apart from hundreds of thousands of small farms, Cuba’s non-state sector is composed mainly of small private businesses run by artisans, taxi drivers and tradesmen. Around 600,000 people, around 13% of the workforce, joined the private sector when the opportunity arose.

However a large number of private businesses are involved in the island’s tourist industry, which has been hard hit by the pandemic and sanctions.

Given how slowly reforms tend to move in Cuba, it may still be some time before the change is noticeable in daily economic life, our correspondent says.

Some 60 years of hostility between the US and Cuba were eased in 2015 when then US President Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro agreed to normalise relations , allowing US citizens to visit the island and empowering local businesses.

But Obama’s efforts were rolled back by his successor, President Donald Trump , with the support of hawkish Cuban-Americans who saw Mr Obama’s historic opening as an appeasement of Castro’s communist regime.

New US President Joe Biden – who was Barack Obama’s vice-president – has previously signalled that he wants to improve US-Cuban relations but observers say it is not clear how high it might be on his priority list.

February 9, 2021. Tags: , , , . Communism, Economics. Leave a comment.

Biden Commerce Secretary Nominee Ran The State Ranked Worst For Commerce

https://dailycaller.com/2021/01/27/bidens-sec-commerce-ran-state-ranked-worst-commerce/

Biden Commerce Secretary Nominee Ran The State Ranked Worst For Commerce

By Nicole Silverio

January 27, 2021

Rhode Island was ranked one of the worst states in the country for business under President Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of commerce, Fox News reported.

Under Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo, WalletHub ranked the state last on its 2019 “Best & Worst States To Start A Business” list and CNBC ranked it the 48th worst state for commerce on its 13th annual “America’s Top States For Business” guide in 2015, according to Fox News.

The state faced an $800 million federal deficit at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Providence Journal reported in May 2020.

Rhode Island’s unemployment rate sits at 8.1% as of December 2020, according to the Rhode Island Department Of Labor And Training, just above the national unemployment rate of 6.7 percent, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics January report.

A Rhode Island commerce agency spokesperson told Fox News that Raimando’s first year in office saw large investments in commercial real estate and that the state was one of the few to continue construction and manufacturing through the pandemic.

“We have stopped the decline, and together we have ignited a comeback of this great state and our economy,” Gov. Raimondo said in her State of the State address on Jan. 15, according to Fox News.

Gov. Raimondo’s RhodeWorks policy, intended to create jobs by funding infrastructure, charged tractor-trailer drivers tolls up to $20 on a single trip and $40 in a single day for traveling through the state, according to CNBC.

“We need funds for improved infrastructure, better roads, safer roads, safer bridges, which also creates jobs,” she said during her confirmation hearing, according to Fox News.

American Trucking Association filed a lawsuit against the initiative, calling it unconstitutional, according to CNBC. The suit was dismissed by a federal judge and the ATA has appealed.

Some of Rhode Island’s economic issues are due to its size, lack of a railroad network and few higher education institutions, according to CNBC.

Raimondo’s Senate confirmation hearing took place on Tuesday.

January 28, 2021. Tags: , , , . Economics, Joe Biden. Leave a comment.

According to the logic of liberals, the local minimum wage in San Francisco should be increased to $74.40 per hour

“Affordable” housing is defined by the government as that which does not cost more than 30% of a person’s income.

Source: https://www.census.gov/housing/census/publications/who-can-afford.pdf

In 2019, the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco was $3,720 per month.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/01/san-francisco-one-bedroom-rent-price-drops-11point8percent-in-june-zumper.html

If a person works 2,000 hours per year, then according to the math, they would need to earn a minimum of $74.40 per hour in order for the average one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco to considered “affordable.”

Therefore, according to the logic of liberals, the local minimum wage in San Francisco should be increased to $74.40 per hour.

January 21, 2021. Tags: , . Economics. 2 comments.

Amtrack, the government run passenger rail system, purchases soda for $3.40 per serving, and then resells it to customers for $2.00. Meanwhile, McDonald’s purchases soda for 9 cents per serving, and then resells it to customers for $1.29.

Amtrack, the government run passenger rail system, purchases soda for $3.40 per serving, and then resells it to customers for $2.00. So they are selling it at a loss. The taxpayers make up the difference.

Source: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/amtrak-lost-800m-on-cheeseburgers-and-soda

Meanwhile, McDonald’s purchases soda for 9 cents per serving, and then resells it to customers for $1.29. So they make a profit.

Source: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:sYIxP3SJKxsJ:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/04/13/a-trend-the-restaurant-industry-could-do-without/+&cd=13&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

In my opinion, cutting taxes is better than having the government waste the taxpayers’ money.

December 26, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , . Economics, Government waste. Leave a comment.

Kamala Harris supports the Green New Deal. Let’s see what that entails.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

October 9, 2020

Kamala Harris supports the Green New Deal.

Source: https://www.harris.senate.gov/news/press-releases/harris-statement-on-the-green-new-deal

According to NPR, the Green New Deal offers “economic security” to people who are “unwilling” to work.

Source: https://apps.npr.org/documents/document.html?id=5729035-Green-New-Deal-FAQ

This proves that the people who created the Green New Deal have zero understanding of human nature.

According to the same NPR link, the Green New Deal wants to get rid of fossil fuels and nuclear power.

I wonder what they will do when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

Also, acccording to the same source, the Green New Deal also offers “safe, affordable, adequate housing” to everyone.

Meanwhile, I’d like to point out what government provided housing is actually like in the real world.

In the four minute video posted below, the housing conditions at a three bedroom apartment at a public housing project in the Bronx in New York City are absolutely horrible.

There are rats, roaches, and black mold.

There are leaks in every room.

And every time the tenant calls maintenance to ask for repairs, the government employees always make up some bogus excuse for why they can’t fix anything.

And why should the government employees fix anything, when they know they can’t get fired?

And as all of this is going on, the federal government is giving them $30 million per week to make these repairs.

Since they’re not actually making these repairs, what are they really spending that money on?

The video also says that at other apartments in the same building, sometimes there is no heat, sometimes there is no hot water, and sometimes there is even no running water at all.

Here’s the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz9PJOrDaXk

October 9, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Economics, Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

Since we started burning fossil fuels on a widespread, global scale, the number of people killed by natural disasters has gotten smaller, not bigger

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

September 28, 2020

Since we started burning fossil fuels on a widespread, global scale, the number of people killed by natural disasters has gotten smaller, not bigger.

Does this mean that we have fewer natural disasters now than in the past?

No.

Instead, what it means is that the huge amount of wealth that we have created by burning fossil fuels has made us better able to withstand natural disasters.

This chart shows the number of people killed (per 100,000 population) by natural disasters by decade.

You can see a bigger version of the chart by clicking this link: https://www.businessinsider.com/natural-disasters-used-to-be-so-much-worse-2015-2

 

September 28, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , . Economics, Environmentalism. 1 comment.

San Francisco elected official Hillary Ronen blames the city’s homeless problem on “Republican ideology.” She is wrong. Here are six reasons why “progressive ideology” is the real cause of the city’s homeless problem.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

September 1, 2020

Hillary Ronen is an elected government official who gets paid $140,148 per year to work as a member of the legislative body for San Francisco.

In this video, Ronen blames San Francisco’s homeless problem on “Republican ideology.” (Skip to 8:52 in the video).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uw8MACDZ3RI

Ronen is wrong.

“Republican ideology” is not the cause of San Francisco’s homeless problem.

Here six are reasons why “progressive ideology” is the real cause of San Francisco’s homeless problem.

First of all, here is a link to an article that was published by the Atlantic in 2007.

When a developer builds housing, there are three separate and distinct costs: the cost of land, the cost of construction, and the cost of getting a building permit (which the article refers to as the “right to build”).

The article includes this chart:

So in San Francisco, getting a building permit (which the article refers to as the “right to build”) adds approximately $700,000 to the cost of a new home.

And please remember, this cost for the “right to build” is completely separate from the cost of the land, and the cost of construction.

The cost for the “right to build” is determined entirely, 100% by zoning laws, density restrictions, and other local government policies.

Since Hillary Ronen is an elected government official who works as a member of the legislative body of San Francisco, she is one of the people who is responsible for the city’s zoning laws, density restrictions, and other local government policies.

Secondly, here’s another example of how hard it is to get a building permit in California:

http://www.aei.org/publication/texas-great-american-job-machine-solely-responsible-1m-net-us-job-increase-since-2007/

January 23, 2015

… there were more permits for single-family homes issued last year through November in just one Texas city – Houston (34,566) – than in the entire state of California (34,035) over the same period.

Let’s put this into perspective.

Houston is 628 square miles.

California is 163,696 square miles.

So even though California is 260 times as big as Houston, Houston actually issued more new building permits for single family homes in 2014 than did the entire state of California.

Just think about that for a minute.

Those numbers show just how incredibly, ridiculously hard California makes it to build new housing.

Anyone who has ever bought or sold anything at eBay understands that, all else being equal, the bigger the supply of something, the lower price, and the lower the supply, the higher the price.

By making it so difficult to get a building permit in California, the government is causing housing to be far, far more expensive than it would otherwise be.

Third, here is a great article by Thomas Sowell about how the politicians in California have waged war against the construction of new housing.

Fourth, this video also explains San Francisco’s war against the construction of new housing. And please note that it is progressives, social justice warriors, and other left wing activists who are the ones that are most opposed to building this new housing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExgxwKnH8y4

Fifth, in the video with Ronen that I included at the beginning of this blog post, she brags about creating a new government program that gives free illegal drugs to homeless people. (Skip to 7:56 in the video.)

Being high on illegal drugs makes the problem of homelessness bigger, not smaller.

And sixth, the Washington Post published this article, which is called:

“Rand Paul is right: The most economically unequal states are Democratic”

The article includes this chart, which ranks the states by their levels of inequality based on their Gini coefficients.

You can see a bigger version of the chart at this link:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://arc-anglerfish-washpost-prod-washpost.s3.amazonaws.com/public/NJ6UOCWVE426LBX7NOQN6ECZVU.jpg

The information in the chart verifies the title of the Washington Post article. Blue states have more inequality than red states.

So that’s six different reasons why Hillary Ronen is wrong to blame San Francisco’s homeless problem on “Republican ideology.”

In each and every one of those six cases, it is actually “progressive ideology” that is causing San Francisco’s homeless problem.

San Francisco is waging a very strong, major war against the constriction of new housing.

For Hillary Ronen to blame this on “Republican ideology” is a huge lie.

On the contrary, since Ronen is one of the left wing, progressive, elected government officials responsible for San Francisco’s housing policies, it is Ronen’s own fault that San Francisco has such a big homeless problem.

September 1, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economics, Housing, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

Liberal YouTuber Rebecca Watson says, “… you definitely can vote for politicians who will keep their constituents healthy by easing income inequality…” Meanwhile, the Washington Post says, “The most economically unequal states are Democratic.”

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

August 15, 2020

Rebecca Watson is a liberal YouTuber who lives in San Francisco.

At 7:45 in this video, she says:

“… you definitely can vote for politicians who will keep their constituents healthy by easing income inequality…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3wiCiKNFqk

Meanwhile, the Washington Post published this article, which is called:

“Rand Paul is right: The most economically unequal states are Democratic”

The article includs this chart, which ranks the states by their levels of inequality based on their Gini coefficients.

You can see a bigger version of the chart at this link:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://arc-anglerfish-washpost-prod-washpost.s3.amazonaws.com/public/NJ6UOCWVE426LBX7NOQN6ECZVU.jpg

The information in the chart verifies the title of the Washington Post article. Blue states have more inequality than red states.

And since Watson lives in San Francisco, I’d like to point out this article from Vanity Fair, which is called:

“San Francisco’s Income Inequality Rivals that of Developing Nations”

This video is called:

“Inside Nancy Pelosi’s District: This Is Not What America Should Look Like”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wh6saOx-Q6s

I’ve watched a lot of Watson’s videos, and I know that she hates and loathes Republican politicians.

It seems to me that Watson is voting for politicians who make income inequality bigger, not smaller.

August 15, 2020. Tags: , , , , , . Economics. Leave a comment.

The Maduro diet: How most Venezuelans lost an average of 43 pounds in two years

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

July 15, 2020

In May 2017, the Washington Post reported:

In a recent survey of 6,500 Venezuelan families by the country’s leading universities, three-quarters of adults said they lost weight in 2016 — an average of 19 pounds… a level of hunger almost unheard-of outside war zones or areas ravaged by hurricane, drought or plague.

In February 2018, Reuters reported:

Venezuelans reported losing on average 11 kilograms (24 lbs) in body weight last year… according to a new university study…

That’s 43 pounds in two years.

Before I explain how this came to happen, I want to start out by explaining what did not cause this to happen.
(more…)

July 15, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Food, Military, Police state, Politics, Social justice warriors, Venezuela, War against achievement. Leave a comment.

Black America Needs Fathers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuT-g9amfPw

June 3, 2020. Tags: , , , , , . Black lives matter, Economics, Racism. Leave a comment.

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