Gongol.com Archives: February 2007
Brian Gongol

February 20, 2007

Graphics Graphic of the day: Ornament

Socialism Doesn't Work Your employees don't really work for you
According to Iowa Senate File 182, the state gets to decide how much an employee is paid, not the private business that hired the employee. It's nominally an "equal pay for equal work" clause, but in reality, it's a huge infringement upon private commerce.

Iowa Tax giveaways for hybrid cars
Iowa SF 196 would give away tax breaks to people buying cars that get better than 27.5 miles per gallon. Yet another complication to the tax code -- and one that will aggravate the existing problem of declining road funds due to overall improvements in fuel efficiency.

Socialism Doesn't Work Laws working at cross-purposes
Iowa HF 403 would impose a tax on anyone who exports ethanol from the state of Iowa, while HF 404 would create new incentives for building biodiesel plants. Here's a crazy idea: Neither tax nor subsidize either business. If the business makes economic sense, then the private sector will follow. Related: The 2007 Iowa legislative scorecard.

Iowa The Chuck Norris Amendment
Iowa HF 414 would increase the state's protection of anyone using lethal force in self-defense

Socialism Doesn't Work Yet another proposal for a big cigarette-tax increase
Iowa HF 395 would raise cigarette taxes from 36 cents a pack to $1.53 a pack. Huge hikes in cigarette taxes, though well-intended, are an open door for organized crime.

Socialism Doesn't Work Nothing is going to turn Holstein or Holy Cross into Hollywood
Iowa HF 411 (and its twin, Senate File 183) would give away a treasure trove full of tax credits and incentives to encourage people to make movies in Iowa. There's no reason for it. What possible leap of logic could justify giving away taxpayers' dollars to filmmakers when the DOT wants to increase taxes on motorists by $200 million a year? Starry-eyedness is absolutely no excuse for stupid public policy. If state legislators want more movies to be made in Iowa, they should dig into their own pockets and fund those movies themselves. Another silly proposal (HF 410) would exempt certain light bulbs from state sales taxes if they're used to raise chickens. What makes chickens special? If chicken farms are given the credit, why shouldn't every business be allowed to deduct the cost of light bulbs? Vastly wiser than any tax giveaway is HF 407, which would prevent the state from over-spending just because taxes were collected over and above expectations. Related: The 2007 Iowa legislative scorecard.

Socialism Doesn't Work Should states be selling capital assets to pay for operational expenses?
Selling or leasing a capital project (like an airport), which was built with tax dollars under rules that differ from those applying to the private sector, in order to cover operational expenses (like child poverty programs) seems to violate the principle of separating capital and operational budgets. Not to mention it's a short-term answer to a long-term problem, unless the government owns lots of things that the private sector might want to use...which sets up an incentive system that encourages government to take as much as it can in order to have the maximum amount of capital possible to sell back to the private sector. Government shouldn't be in the business of building financial houses of cards.

Socialism Doesn't Work Taxing Iowa to death
We have the highest corporate tax rate in the country, and the 5th-highest individual rate. Oh, and there are people who want to raise sales taxes, too.

News SpongeBob doesn't do that
Sickos putting porn on DVDs labeled "SpongeBob" and leaving them near elementary schools. What kind of crackhead does something like that?

Health 10-ounce premature baby survives; goes home after four months
Born by Caesarian section after 21 weeks and six days

Iowa A bigger rainy-day fund might make sense
Iowa SF 222 would increase the state's budgetary "rainy-day" or "economic emergency" fund to 10% of what the state reasonably expects to collect in taxes over the following year. It's a good idea if it will keep the government from dipping into unrelated trust funds to pay the state's normal operating expenses. Related: The 2007 Iowa legislative scorecard.

Aviation News France and Germany can't get along, so Airbus may be broken up

Socialism Doesn't Work Smoking ban is turning Britain into a police state
They're spending tens of millions of dollars to train people to become undercover smoking police -- with the authority to issue on-the-spot fines on the range of $100 to anyone caught smoking. Seriously: There's no reason to turn a free country into a police state just because most of us don't like smoking.

Threats and Hazards Kid may have been killed over text messages
Another reminder to parents that they ought to teach their kids to show some self-discipline when it comes to using any form of communication -- mobile phones, text messages, and MySpace alike

Broadcasting Satellite radio companies will merge
XM and Sirius plan to merge to become a monopoly provider of satellite radio in the US

Iowa A little privacy, please?
Iowa Senate Study Bill 1223 would impose new rules restricting the state's use and release of individuals' Social Security numbers. Nice that it's only taken 71 years for the law to catch up with the concept of privacy. Related: The 2007 Iowa legislative scorecard.

Business and Finance How to benchmark savings and investment performance

Water News ISU students used to drink highly contaminated water

Broadcasting And the campaign commercials begin
(Video) Mitt Romney becomes the first 2008 Presidential candidate to start airing ads in Iowa. Related: An article in the Des Moines Register is focused on the social issues that have distracted far too many Republican candidates and voters lately, ignoring the fact that where the candidates stand on economic issues is vastly more important than how they "feel" about social issues.

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