Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Michigan = France

I heard something on the radio this morning that reminded me just how backwards the Michigan economy is these days. The radio host was talking to the heads of both major state political parties. He said something like:

"now there's a proposal in front of the state legislature to make it so that the big 3 auto makers don't pay any taxes until they make money again. This will help keep them in Michigan. I'm surprised no one's thought of this before."

What?!?! Everyone's thought of this. Nowhere else in America are you taxed when you have no income. Michigan has had what's called the Single Business Tax for years. This is a tax calculated on gross revenue, not on income. So businesses here pay taxes even if they lose money. It has finally been repealed, but now they are looking at replacing it with a "revenue neutral" business tax (read: high tax rate). This will hardly improve the business environment.

And the politicians wonder why the economies of every other state are growing, and Michigan's is not. They wonder why car companies find it cheaper to build in Ohio or Indiana and then entice skilled workers to move there from Michigan. They wonder why the state has a huge budget deficit and unemployment that is almost twice the national rate, and no population growth (0.3%/year).

Confiscatory taxes do not work. This lesson has largely been learned by conservatives (and even many liberals). Ireland has learned it, South Korea and Taiwan have learned it. Even Communist China has learned it to some degree. Only Western Europe - such as Germany and France, and Michigan seem to be behind the times.

When you combine this with the hold the unions have on the state, and the weird things Michigan spends money on (MI is the only state with a state surgeon general), a pattern starts to emerge

Michigan = France when it comes to economics.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Honey Baked Buffalo?

This is the scariest pig I've ever seen.

How would you like to run into this guy deep in the forest? My favorite quote:

He said he shot the huge animal eight times with a .50- caliber revolver and chased it for three hours through hilly woods before finishing it off with a point-blank shot.

Eight 50 cal. rounds? And it took 3 hours to catch it! Where the heck do you get a .50 cal. pistol anyway?

I don't think I'd let my 11 year-old hunt anything that size. But I'll take this kid on my team when the shooting starts.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

America is not Rome

There's a great article on National Review's site today. It's nice to read something positive about America hidden among all the negativity. The author's main point is that there have been a series of "crises" over the last century. Over and over, we were supposed to be replaced by a new superpower, or a new economic system. Over and over, all have failed.

Our Constitution is the oldest written constitution in the world. Our economy is open, efficient, and above all, flexible. But the best line of the whole article is this one:

"Does merit — or religion, tribe, or class — mostly gauge success or failure in America? What nation is as free, stable, and transparent as the U.S.? Try becoming a fully accepted citizen of China or Japan if you were not born Chinese or Japanese. Try running for national office in India from the lower caste. Try writing a critical op-ed in Russia or hiring a brilliant female to run a mosque, university, or hospital in most of the Middle East."

In America people rise based on merit, not the station or tribe they were born into. Merit is largely the sum total of a lifetime of individual choices; it is moral agency at work. That is the reason for our strength.

you can read the whole article here:

"No Decline Here"