Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Forbes Tax Misery & Reform Index

Forbes magazine came out wit their Tax Misery & Reform Index, which tracks overall tax burdens of various countries around the world. Take a look at the comparision between Canada and the U.S on income & payroll taxes for a family of four making 50,000 Euro (at today's rates, that would be roughly $64,000 U.S. or $70,000 Canadian) - the net take home for canada is roughly 72% while in the U.S. it is 80% on average. This doesn't even factor in the differences in sales taxes and other forms of taxation.
If you want to point out why the U.S. standard of living is better than that of Canada and all of Western Europe - compare the tax rates for starters.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day - Lest We Forget

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

John Stuart Mill

Friday, May 26, 2006

National Review's Editorial on Senate Amnesty Bill

Temporary MadnessBy The Editors

The Senate isn’t serious about enforcing the nation’s immigration laws. It is bad enough that the bill that 39 Democrats and 23 Republicans just voted to pass provides an amnesty to illegal immigrants already here. There might be an argument for doing that if there were any evidence of a commitment to enforce the immigration laws in the future. But the bill actually prohibits local police from enforcing civil violations of immigration laws—which in practice, given the byzantine rules distinguishing between civil and criminal violations of those laws, will get local police out of the enforcement business altogether. No serious effort is being made to make the bureaucracy capable of the enforcement tasks that will now be asked of them, such as performing background checks on the illegal population.

The bill forbids the federal government to use any information included in an application for amnesty in national-security or criminal investigations. Any federal agent who does use that information would be fined $10,000—which is five times more than an illegal alien would have to pay to get the amnesty. The Senate, on a tie vote, defeated John Cornyn’s (R., Tex.) attempt to rectify these provisions.When Sen. Johnny Isakson (R., Ga.) offered an amendment to require that enforcement be proven to have succeeded before the amnesty or guest-worker provisions could take effect, he was voted down, 55-40. For most senators, enforcement is just boob bait for the voters. They are not willing to demand it before getting what they, for various reasons, really want: an amnesty and a massive increase in legal immigration.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) wanted to deny illegal immigrants the earned income tax credit. It is one thing to legalize them, went the argument, and another to subsidize them. He, too, was voted down, with Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) flippantly suggesting that the amendment was akin to requiring illegals to ride in the back of the bus. (No, senator: They’re in the front of the line, at least for legal residency in the U.S.)

The “temporary” guest-workers will be eligible for citizenship. If they overstay their welcome, there is no guarantee they will be deported—especially when Congress will have signaled, by passing this bill, its view that deportation is draconian. So these “temporary” workers will permanently change America. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation estimates that the bill would make for an inflow of 66 million immigrants over the next 20 years. Since much of this inflow would consist of poor and relatively uneducated people, one result would be, he says, the largest expansion of the welfare state in 35 years. (And he’s not accounting for the likely effects of these people’s votes.) Another very likely result would be the increased balkanization of America, as this massive inflow slows both economic and cultural assimilation.

If supporters of the Senate bill were serious about securing the border, they would have considered following a strategy of attrition—of stepping up enforcement of the immigration laws so as to shrink the illegal-immigrant population over time—and, if they ultimately rejected that strategy, explained why. Implicit in their arguments for amnesty and a guest-worker program is one possible objection to the attrition strategy: that the American economy needs more cheap, unskilled labor. Proponents of mass immigration boast that immigration brings a net benefit of $10 billion to the American economy. But this amount is, in the context of our $13 trillion economy, trivial. Reduced immigration would lead to some increased outsourcing, some substitution of machines for labor, some increased wages, and some higher prices. The economy would survive.

So will Republicans, if they reject this bill (as most Senate Republicans did). They are being told that they need to pass a bill, even if they dislike many of its provisions, to be seen as “doing something” about the border. But the voters who care the most about this issue know that the Senate bill does something they heartily detest. They know that the only way to get any enforcement of our immigration laws—at the border or the workplace—is to keep all of the interests that want increased immigration from getting what they want until enforcement is achieved. The Senate should stand down in favor of the House’s enforcement-first approach, not the other way around. But it would be much better to enact no bill than to enact the Senate bill.

Amnesty Bill Passes Senate

The U.S. Senate passed its version of the Illegal Immigrant Amnesty and Reward program. I do not have much hope that the most odious parts of this bill get culled in conference with the House of Representatives. I have probably bitched about this enough times, but it merits repetition on what an immigration 'reform' package should look like, in order:
  1. Border security first. All reasonable efforts must be made to secure the borders to prevent the massive influx of illegals into the U.S. This is a critical national security issue. This should materially increase the difficulty of illegal entry, turning it from a torrent to a drip.
  2. Real enforcement on employers who hire illegals. Sanctions should be real, and enforcement should be vigorous.
  3. Start deporting illegals caught by authorities. No more 'catch and release' - if in the course of normal policing, law enforcement officials have in their possession an illegal, they should be deported immediately - no questions asked. Once a significant percentage of the illegals already here have their employment opportunities reduced and the threat of deportation significantly increased - many will 'self-deport'.
  4. No more federal and state benefits for illegals - no discounted tuition, no social security, no legal preferences, no legal standing - period. This should be a no-brainer.
  5. Reform the INS - operations should be streamlined. There is no reason that it should take years to process some visa or naturalization applications. There should also be consistency in the application of immigration law, no the current situation where any border guard has their own interpretation of the law. There should be a clear cut set of rules of what type people should be admitted, and a process to timely process them.
  6. An open debate on what kind of immigration policy should the country have. Should the focus be economic or humanitarian, with an emphasis on the long-term impact. The current bill would bring in a large influx of permanent residents who are uneducated, unassimiliated, low-skill and would be a large burden on government resources long-term.

Otherwise, anything else is a sham. The current bill would be a mess because of all the issues mentioned above. It gives preferences to a class of people who are breaking the law at the expense of those who follow it. That is inherently wrong and unjust.

Friday, May 19, 2006

History once again repeats itself

For those of you who think that we can 'talk rationally' with Iran, here comes a blast from the past:

Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims...

Iran's roughly 25,000 Jews would have to sew a yellow strip of cloth on the front of
their clothes, while Christians would wear red badges and Zoroastrians would be forced to wear blue cloth.

It would make religious minorities immediately identifiable and allow Muslims to avoid contact with non-Muslims.

Yup, this just adds to the reality that regime change must happen sooner rather than later there. I have no faith that the Europeans will do anything outside of feigning indignation on this. Hey, we'll see a Kristalnacht in Tehran soon enough.

Hewitt & Steyn

Hugh and Mark, on their weekly radio interview, hit it out of the park again. On the immigration issue, the absurdity and the idiocy of Congress and the White House. It seems that the federal government is unable to do it's most basic of functions - protect the integrity of the borders, and to add insult to injury, wants to reward those who have flaunted the laws of this nation with a plethora of benefits at the expense of those who respect the law.
The worst part about this is that many Republicans are complicit in this action.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Nanny's Hypocricy


This old story reminds me why I left the U.S.S.P. (Union of Soviet Socialist Provinces). Looks like a lot of people will be out of work come June 1. Let's look at the absurdity of the Ontario Liberals and their anti-smoking campaign.

  1. Ban smoking at the casinos. Guess with the ban, and the new requirement for U.S. citizens to have passports in order to re-enter the U.S. means that those nice shiny buildings in Niagara Falls and Windsor will be closed. Does this mean that the government will finally get out of the numbers racket?
  2. A friend of mine who runs a gas station told me that cigarette sales are the only reason his station is profitable. Because of the razor thin margins that he has due to the wholesale price of gas, if prices are unusually volatile, he loses money on the gas end but makes it up with smokes. Now that the government has severely impaired his ability to make a living and hire people, will they compensate him for the decline in business that they have caused.
  3. As Christina Blizzard wrote in the Toronto Sun, she finds it ironic that the government is dropping the hammer on users of a legal product but ignore those who grow and use marijuana, an illegal product. Then she goes on about the casino and liquor rackets that Dalton and friends have their fingers in, and then wonders when are they going after the lardbutts.
This is why we need constitutionally limited government. These jackasses are just picking on a politically expedient minority. Someone once told me you could really tell if a society believed in tolerance and freedom by looking at they way they treated smokers. Looks like Kanada has failed that test miserably.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

This was fun

Well I had some time to kill as the hot water tank ruptured in the middle of the night and had to wait for maintenance to come by. So I thought I'd edit this site.. well that has helped kill some time and I lose some of my links, like my old sitemeter.

Teaches me to screw around with stuff!

My point ... again

From the Washington Times:
The Senate yesterday voted against securing the border before implementing provisions that would grant the right of citizenship to millions of illegal aliens and that would double the flow of legal immigration.
The amendment would have delayed the "amnesty" and guest-worker provisions in the Senate's comprehensive immigration-reform bill until the border had been sewn up successfully. The majority of Democrats, 36 of 44, were joined by 18 Republicans and the chamber's lone independent to kill the amendment on an 55-40 vote.
It seems that everywhere in the Western World, immigration is an issue where the people are consistently ignored. Europe - unfettered immigration of unassimilated immigrants continues, despite widespread opposition and skepticism to it. Canada - a large segment of the population wants a debate about current immigration policy - both numbers and types of immigrants admitted. Here in the U.S. a large segment of the population wants the border secured, and does not want a law that rewards law-breakers. The common thread is that a opponents to open-borders are immediately labeled as "racists".

I'll be the first to disclose that I have a stake in this, considering I'm working down here on a visa. I'm all for legal immigration and reforming the INS to ease and speed up the process, all why ensuring that security and economic needs of the U.S. comes first. Letting in a huge unskilled population into the country when you already have a large number of people on social assistance will only create greater social issues and will worsen the plight of the 'underclass'.

I'm going to try to avoid posting on this immigration bill. I know it will ultimately tick me off what passes as a final bill. So for those of you who view this on a similar vein, Michelle Malkin is your one stop source on this issue.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

#@$*&!!! Teachers' Unions

This story just caps everything I felt about provincial governments in Canada, and public education in general. Run by the Teacher's unions, of the Teacher's Unions, and for the Teacher's Unions. This proposed bill to give the Union voting control over the College of Teachers is just another step. We already have too many teachers in elected office, we already have the teachers running roughshod over school boards with their extorsion and dumbing down the curriculum and adding the leftist fad du jour. Teacher slept with you kid? Teacher flunked your kid because his parents are prominent conservatives? Well, you're SOL if he's tight with the union, because as I've learned from my experience with unions, is that their raison d'etre is to protect the incompetents, time-wasters, and creeps from being held accountable for their actions.

This just reinforces an opinion I started to develop when Mike Harris became premier. The teachers unions and other special interest groups have destroyed public eductation. More money spent for worse results. I have sadly concluded that the only real way to save education is to destroy it in its current incarnation. Though it probably won't happen in my lifetime.

Same S**t, Just on Prime Time

I didn't bother watching Bush's speech last night on immigration. Knew what it was going to entail with the usual platitudes and myopia that has surrounded this issue. My big thing is that all the politicians that are pushing for this 'guest worker' program have never dealt with the INS.

The INS as is it is presently structured, it wholly incapable of handling current immigration law and processing the current workload in a timely and accurate manner. I can attest to this based on first hand experience. But now they want to add tens of millions more more to the casualty? Not going to work.

From a purely selfish view, the current mess is a joke. All this obsequious behavior in order to bring in a massive wave of unasimilated, uneducated, unskilled people who will become a huge burden on the state as it stands. But hey, if you're educated, assimilated, and a net contributor - you're not welcome! Sounds a lot like the Canadian system if you ask me! Politicans pandering to an 'emerging voting bloc' rather than dealing with the long term issues.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The futility of government handouts

This story in the Virginian-Pilot was in the local paper about Ford closing down the Norfolk assembly plant in 2008. Of course we have the obligatory actions of the Governor of Virginia jetting up to Dearborn to plead and bribe Ford motor executives to maintain their excess capacity in their state, much like Jennifer Granholm is attempting to have the big three keep their inefficient and unprofitable structure in Michigan.

These governors don't seem to realize that this is only going to get worse. A lot of locals here are upset about it. I tell them they should be lucky that their entire economy isn't dependent on the Big Three like Michigan. Ford needs to shrink considerably. They all have capacity well beyond their market share. For years, the big three thought they could sell their way back into prosperity. They haven't been able to address market needs and perceived quality issues, while firms like Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai keep eating away market share while having a strong financial structure.
In addition to this, there comes a time that people must accept that the U.S. economy is transforming itself from a primarily industrial base to a primarily service/knowledge base. This is as painful as the changes that indsutrialization brough in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and as ineveitable. The state should not be trying to keep antiquated plants and industries on life support with taxpayer monies that could have been invested better in private hands.

Canadian Budget Redux

It is so funny watching the Kabuki dance called the Federal Budget. The Harper government tabled a budget that was meant for a minority government: he pushed through items of his agenda that he knew he could get away with without triggering an election. In that light, it is a good step. On the whole issue of limited government and the proper role of the Federal government, it is timid and weak. However, you'd never know it from the hyperbolic reactions of the opposition parties.

This is not a "neoconservative budget". I wish those on the left would learn their terminology. "Neoconservatism" is a school of conservative throughout that originated by Norman Poderherz and Irving Kristol. It is a school of thought that generally believes in the power of government to preserve cultural norms. The left uses it in a more sinister, and often an anti-semetic light. Plus, a budget that does not give more money to indians nor more to government funded brainwashing, err daycare spaces is not the end of the world.

However, Douglas Fisher, writing in the Ottawa Sun has made to observations that is indeed a first step on getting some real change on Indian affairs (my take - guess what? You're Canadian too - start paying taxes and assimilate, no more handouts) and the Federal role in daycare/education (once again - no more state indoctrination centers for yuppies in the major cities).