Illnois' "Amazon Tax" is unconstitutional. Also it's against federal tax law to boot.
Illinois is probably going to appeal the ruling, because "We need to recoup some of the estimated $153 million that was not paid by online merchants prior to the law being implemented." Because Illinois is so broke it can't pay attention.
...and Illinois Democrats are making plans to spend even more money they don't have, even while the state is already past being in the red.
Yeah, I'd like to know what color the sky is in their world. Can't be blue, that's for damn sure.
* * *
A couple of links to commentary on the EPA jackbooted thug who likened EPA enforcement strategy to the Roman method of crucifying the first five men they found in a rebellious village.
Armendariz explained to his underlings: “You hit them as hard as you can, and you make examples out of them, and there is a deterrent effect there. And, companies that are smart see that, they don’t want to play that game, and they decide at that point that it’s time to clean up.”You think it's just a federal regulator trying to bring recalcitrant companies--habitual and willful polluters--to heel?
In other words: Suck up, fly left, or face prosecution. The goal isn’t a cleaner environment. The goal is political incitement of fear.
Armendariz the Executioner tried nailing a drilling company — Texas-based Range Resources — to the cross in 2010 with an emergency declaration that its fracking work in the Lone Star State had contaminated groundwater. The Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees the oil and gas industry, found no scientific evidence for the Obama EPA’s claims.Emphasis mine. It's not about protecting the environment, as said above; it's all about a boot stomping on a human face.
Forbes magazine reported: “In recent months a federal judge slapped the EPA, decreeing that the agency was required to actually do some scientific investigation of wells before penalizing the companies that drilled them. Finally in March the EPA withdrew its emergency order and a federal court dismissed the EPA’s case.”
It's about making energy more expensive in the United States; it's about the exercise of power.
Senator James Inhofe wants an investigation. I don't know what a Senate investigation will do when the Senate is run by Democrats. But I give him points for trying.
We've really got to rein in this monstrosity that Nixon saddled us with. Damn.
* * *
Obama's not that dumb, Mr. Bad Example. What it is, in fact, is Obama playing dumb. He knows the federal student loan program is socialism.
He just doesn't want anyone else to twig to it. It certainly isn't his desire to have it known--outside of D.C., anyway--that it's socialism.
* * *
Okay, the economy!
Despite Washington, D.C.'s best efforts, GDP only grew at 2.2% last quarter.
Despite record deficit spending, despite fudging the Consumer Price Index, despite finagling the unemployment numbers, reality stubbornly refuses to cooperate and give Obama the booming economy he needs.
That's a CNBC article. The "C" stands for "communist"; those guys can't write a word contrary to Obama and they spin the latest numbers as hard to the left as the helmsman of the Titanic trying to steer away from the iceberg.
Karl Denninger explains the facts. "...[W]e are again decreasing capital formation and borrowing forward in an attempt to use our fingernails to keep from falling off the cliff."
The Dow, predictably, is up. Well, the "2.2%" figure is essentially flat, as economists were expecting 2.5%.
But that's annualized: quarterly it's 0.55% and that stinks.
Surprisingly, though, government expenditures decreased. This means that the number we're seeing has actual economic growth in it. It's not enough to bring the per-capita numbers up--per-capita, GDP is in decline--but it's the one single bright ray in an otherwise gloomy report.
...but deficits are not changing. How on Earth "G" (government spending) can decrease but deficits cannot--that, I do not understand at all, unless it's the effect of rising interest rates.
(Interest rates are not rising, though. Go figure.)
* * *
A speech to the Fed. It's not too long and worth reading, but I especially liked this paragraph:
The noose is tightening on your organization, vast amounts of money printing are now required to keep your manipulated economy afloat. It will ultimately result in huge price inflation, or, if you stop printing, another massive economic crash will occur. There is no other way out.Not because of the information it conveys--I think he's right and this is disastrous--but because the guy had the balls to get up in front of the Fed and tell them they're a bunch of cockmonkeys.
Only not in so many words, of course.
* * *
While on my walk this morning, I gave some thought to some of the niggling problems with "RELEASE CANDIDATE #1", and I came up with some solutions. Better, I like them.
Given a certain supply of energy, a civilization can only develop so far. If our civilization, for example, had been limited only to burning coal and wood to generate steam--if we didn't have petroleum or nuclear power--how advanced do you think we'd be by now?
Given the economic circumstances of the colony world where the story begins, then, I realized that even if the society could go on burning the local equivalent of coal ad infinitum, it still could not increase the size of its economy past what steam power could support.
The world has no real petroleum--its dinosaurs did not live the right way for that--and though on Earth you can do organic chemistry (plastics etc) starting with coal, the biochemistry of life on this colony world is not conducive to any similar result from the local equivalent of coal.
And don't even suggest "biofuel" to me. When your civilization is staring energy starvation in the face, you're not going to try something that requires an input of 1.2 BTU for every BTU you get out. No.
...and no economically exploitable deposits of uranium, either. That's explicit in the story as written; the planet is about 25% settled and as the story begins a big war over the right to expansion is ending. (One government went to war to unify the nations of the planet in order to put an end to the "dog in the manger" attitude towards the annexation of new territories.)
There are such deposits of uranium there; they've just never been found, and no one can go look without starting a war. And then, other things happen during the course of the story.
But it's a promethean tale, and it's a fun read (I am told; I know I enjoy it) which is why it's "RELEASE CANDIDATE #1". It just had some things which were bothering me, questions I know that nitpickers would ask me; and today I came up with answers for those questions.
Now all I have to do is figure out where to put them.