Corruption: July 2011 Archives

Goin' Galt In Alabama

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This is yet another post staying as far away from the Obama-owned debt limit crisis of his making. The last thing I need at this time of the day is to be even more pissed off than I am. So what am I going to write about instead?

Goin' Galt.

This story made the rounds on the blogosphere and the reaction has been one that has evoked two responses from me: elation that someone finally said "Enough of this horse***t," and has decided to pull the plug on his business; and a sense of sadness that it had to come to this point.

It seems that Alabama coal mine owner/operator Ronnie Bryant heard enough at a Birmingham public hearing, with a number of residents laying the blame for everything that seems to be wrong with their lives on one of his future coal mines. After all the local, state, and federal hoops he had to jump through in order to get permission to start this mining operation, he then had to listen to endless business-bashing by far too many of the know-nothings attending the meeting. It reached the point where he'd had enough.

...he finally stood to speak. He sounded a little bit shellshocked, a little bit angry -- and a lot frustrated.

My name's Ronnie Bryant, and I'm a mine operator.... I've been issued a [state] permit in the recent past for [waste water] discharge, and after standing in this room today listening to the comments being made by the people.... [pause] Nearly every day without fail -- I have a different perspective -- men stream to these [mining] operations looking for work in Walker County. They can't pay their mortgage. They can't pay their car note. They can't feed their families. They don't have health insurance. And as I stand here today, I just ... you know ... what's the use? I got a permit to open up an underground coal mine that would employ probably 125 people. They'd be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And my only idea today is to go home. What's the use? I don't know. I mean, I see these guys -- I see them with tears in their eyes -- looking for work. And if there's so much opposition to these guys making a living, I feel like there's no need in me putting out the effort to provide work for them. So as I stood against the wall here today, basically what I've decided is not to open the mine. I'm just quitting. Thank you.

The only thing I'm sure of is that what I saw today is a broken process and a sham. We all want a decent environment in which to live, but when various people at a public meeting -- including federal officials and community members -- talk about "environmental justice" and make it clear that their intent is to make it harder for businesses to operate, well, I can see why a businessman would decide to quit. I consider myself an environmentalist -- because I want to live in a safe, secure, clean world -- but what I saw isn't reasonable concern for the environment as much as it's an ideological agenda.

I don't blame Ronnie Bryant for saying "The hell with this! I quit!" But I have no doubt that many of the same people at the hearing will now point the finger at him for making a number of much needed jobs disappear, and claim that it's all because he's greedy and uncaring about the working man. One has to wonder about the logical disconnect from which these people suffer.

The comments to this piece are telling, with a large majority of them supporting Bryant's decision that creating all those jobs and the money they brought into the local economy wasn't worth the effort any more because the knee-jerk opposition of the religious environmentalists (and let's face it, this kind of environmentalism is a religion, and a mindless cult at that). Why should he have to deal with that kind of abuse just to run a business? So he did what anyone else facing that kind of crap would have done - he threw in the towel, goin' Galt, and letting those same self-righteous assholes suffer the consequences of their actions. He'll just take his money and go someplace else.
You know it's getting bad when a rogue federal agency is being used as a bludgeon to punish critics of the present administration. (Of course the critics aren't so much saying anything about the Obama Administration so much as showing them to be the know-nothing socialist chumps they are.)

In this case the EPA is doing its darnedest to cripple the Texas economy by using environmental rules never meant to apply to the situation in Texas. By trying to force Texas to abide by the EPA's Cross State rules regarding coal-fired power plants and setting a very short deadline by which Texas must comply, Texas will lose a considerable amount of its electrical generation capacity.

But somehow I doubt Texas is going to cave in to the socialist yokels running the EPA and will call their bluff, in effect telling them in true Texas fashion to "Come And Take It", or as the PJ Tatler writes it, "Kiss my ass!"

Such an action by the EPA can have nothing but negative consequences, particularly for the Obama Administration and for the power of the ever expanding government bureaucracies. As Obama and his czars try to clamp down on the economy and drive even more businesses to the brink, the backlash is likely to sink any chance the President has for re-election.

Let's hope this is the case as we can no longer afford the destructive forces of this know-nothing administration.
Is it just me or is the state of California doing everything it can to ensure its total financial collapse will take place? Nope, it isn't me.

It seems every measure the California legislature is taking will have the effect of increasing support of the state employees unions pay, benefits, and pensions while increasing the burden on the taxpayers, or decreasing its already falling tax revenues, or both.

The latest stupid, rent-seeking action? Shutting down Amazon's Associate program in California by trying to force Amazon to collect California sales taxes (even though the move is illegal). The amount of sales taxes collected by this move? Zero The estimated amount of income tax revenues lost with the shutdown of the Amazon program? $151 million.

As Bill Quick, a now former Amazon Associate, writes:

Did I mention that these people are leftists, greedheads, and wreckers? Let me add that they are also corrupt bribe-takers on a massive scale. They pushed this law through, and are more than happy to see the Amazon Associates program permanently shut down, because that is the goal the real backers of this law were after in the first place. It has nothing to do with sales tax collections. It is, in its entirety, designed to use the government as a club to shut down Amazon's Associate Program in the biggest states in the country.

How so?

Big companies like Wal-Mart, (an out of state corporations itself) who have associate programs that are much less effective at driving sales than the Amazon Associate program is, can't handle that competition head on by beefing up their own programs. Or at least they don't want to. So what these sponsors were really after was not to collect additional sales tax for California, but to shut down the competition in the state. They got what they wanted. The politicians behind this bill will get what they want - more money and support (bribes) from companies like Wal-Mart. And the state will get nothing, in fact, will lose money.

But of course the big drive now is to somehow make Amazon the villain in all this. And too many people are buying the propaganda. Sad.

So while the aim of the legislation appeared to be to collect sales taxes, it was really a rent-seeking move by Amazon's competition? This sounds a little paranoid. But unfortunately, it is likely true. There's certainly enough precedent for such a move, and we've seen it at the federal level, particularly since "The One" Term Wonder took up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Should this type of shenanigans continue in the Golden State, the motivation for businesses and residents to leave California will rise and the stream of businesses and workers already leaving will turn into a flood. That ought to help the state's bottom line. NOT.

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