Correction to the Correction to the Correction

At this time, as a public service, we are glad to post the following superceding additional supplementary bulletin from the Office of Fluctuation Control and Ceiling Repairs, Bureau of Edible Condiments, Soluable, Insoluable, and Indigestible Fats and Glutenous Derivitives, Washington, D.C.:

Correction of the Correction of the Correction of Directive 943456201, issued earlier today, February 2, 2023. First correction: that number is now 943456202. The second correction: please note that said Directive reading “chopped hogmeat” formerly reading “ground hogmeat” formerly reading “groundhog meat” should now read “sausage.”

Correction to the Correction

At this time, as a public service, we are glad to post the following supplementary bulletin from the Office of Fluctuation Control and Ceiling Repairs, Bureau of Edible Condiments, Soluble, Insoluble, and Indigestible Fats and Glutinous Derivatives, Washington, D.C.:

Correction of the Correction of Directive 943456201, issued earlier today, February 2, 2023, concerning the fixed price of groundhog meat. In the Directive above-named, the price-fixed low-water-level quotation on groundhog meat should read “chopped hogmeat.”

Correction

At this time, as a public service, we are glad to post the following supplementary bulletin from the Office of Fluctuation Control and Ceiling Repairs, Bureau of Edible Condiments, Soluble, Insoluble, and Indigestible Fats and Glutinous Derivatives, Washington, D.C.:

Correction of Directive 943456201, issued earlier today, February 2, 2023, concerning the fixed price of groundhog meat. In the Directive above-named, the price-fixed low-water-level quotation on groundhog meat should read “ground hogmeat.”

Enforcing California’s Proposed Wealth/Exit Tax

California has another proposal in its legislature for a wealth/exit tax. The bill includes provisions to create contractual claims tied to the assets of a wealthy taxpayer who doesn’t have the cash to pay their annual wealth tax bill because most of their assets aren’t easily turned into cash. This claim would require the taxpayer to make annual filings with California’s Franchise Tax Board and eventually pay the wealth taxes owed, even if they’ve moved to another state.

One of the common criticisms of the exit tax provision I’m seeing amounts to, “Oh, yeah, and how do you think you’ll collect when I’ve moved to another state?” My personal experience suggests the FTB knows how.

My wife and I moved to California in 1982. We left in 1990. When we left, we sold all our real property, removed all our personal property, and closed all our bank or other financial accounts in the state. We had no financial connection to California. In 1994, the Franchise Tax Board filed a tax lien on our house in Maryland, claiming that we owed back income taxes. That was first notice we had of the alleged delinquency. When we didn’t immediately pay in full, the FTB’s response was to turn us in the IRS, triggering a federal audit.

The IRS determined that we had overpaid for the year in question and sent us a refund of about a hundred bucks, and we were able to use that audit to show that we had overpaid our California income tax as well. It turned out California only owed us about five dollars. Normally, we would let such a small amount ride as a credit to be applied to next year’s taxes, but since we had no intention of ever living in California again, we made them send us a check—and remove the tax lien.

Yes, we beat California’s attempt of extort us, but I believe our experience shows the kind of tactics the FTB would use to enforce an exit tax.

UPDATE—It’s been pointed out that a wealth tax would violate the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment and an exit tax would violate the fundamental right to travel of the Fourteenth Amendment. True, but when has a law being patently unconstitutional ever stopped the California legislature from passing it?

You Get What You Pay For …

… then you pay for what you got. After Trump was elected, a video surfaced of a Google employee meeting in which the corporate leadership said they could not allow an election like that to happen again, and there’s plenty of evidence suggesting that Google participated with other tech companies in tipping the scales in Biden’s favor in 2020. They got what they paid for.

Of course, what they paid for is a dangerously incompetent administration. The poor economy is but one Joe Biden’s failures. Google may be big, but it’s not so big that it isn’t affected by a stagnant economy. They’re laying off 12,000 employees.

As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

The Easiest Way to Get the Wrong Answer …

… is to ask the wrong question.

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting that a bill introduced in the Connecticut legislature would allow women to skip the Candidate Physical Ability Test for firefighters and qualify with a test with “revised physical standards.” It seems that the Democrats who have authored the bill are looking for an answer to the question “How do we make fire departments more diverse?”

Perhaps Connecticut should consider the question “How do we make our fire departments more effective?”

A Common Sense Tax Proposal

My neighbors with plug-in electric vehicles are getting a free ride not paying the fuel taxes that pay for roads and highways. Perhaps it’s time to put a tax on electricity used to charge EVs and to require EVs only be charged from properly metered connections to the electrical grid. After all, it’s illegal for me to fuel my diesel VW from a pump for non-road (farm and construction) equipment.

Safe Cooking

According to a report published on the National Institutes of Health website, there is an association of cooking over an open flame and asthma, but the effect depends upon which fuel is used. The report’s abstract states:

Background: Indoor air pollution from a range of household cooking fuels has been implicated in the development and exacerbation of respiratory diseases. In both rich and poor countries, the effects of cooking fuels on asthma and allergies in childhood are unclear. We investigated the association between asthma and the use of a range of cooking fuels around the world.

Methods: For phase three of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), written questionnaires were self-completed at school by secondary school students aged 13-14 years, 244,734 (78%) of whom were then shown a video questionnaire on wheezing symptoms. Parents of children aged 6-7 years completed the written questionnaire at home. We investigated the association between types of cooking fuels and symptoms of asthma using logistic regression. Adjustments were made for sex, region of the world, language, gross national income, maternal education, parental smoking, and six other subject-specific covariates. The ISAAC study is now closed, but researchers can continue to use the instruments for further research.

Findings: Data were collected between 1999 and 2004. 512,707 primary and secondary school children from 108 centres in 47 countries were included in the analysis. The use of an open fire for cooking was associated with an increased risk of symptoms of asthma and reported asthma in both children aged 6-7 years (odds ratio [OR] for wheeze in the past year, 1·78, 95% CI 1·51-2·10) and those aged 13-14 years (OR 1·20, 95% CI 1·06-1·37). In the final multivariate analyses, ORs for wheeze in the past year and the use of solely an open fire for cooking were 2·17 (95% CI 1·64-2·87) for children aged 6-7 years and 1·35 (1·11-1·64) for children aged 13-14 years. Odds ratios for wheeze in the past year and the use of open fire in combination with other fuels for cooking were 1·51 (1·25-1·81 for children aged 6-7 years and 1·35 (1·15-1·58) for those aged 13-14 years. In both age groups, we detected no evidence of an association between the use of gas as a cooking fuel and either asthma symptoms or asthma diagnosis.

Interpretation: The use of open fires for cooking is associated with an increased risk of symptoms of asthma and of asthma diagnosis in children. Because a large percentage of the world population uses open fires for cooking, this method of cooking might be an important modifiable risk factor if the association is proven to be causal.

Funding: BUPA Foundation, the Auckland Medical Research Foundation, the Health Research Council of New Zealand, the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand, the Child Health Research Foundation, the Hawke’s Bay Medical Research Foundation, the Waikato Medical Research Foundation, Glaxo Wellcome New Zealand, the NZ Lottery Board, Astra Zeneca New Zealand, Hong Kong Research Grant Council, Glaxo Wellcome International Medical Affairs.

Note the finding of no evidence of an association between the use of gas as a cooking fuel and either asthma symptoms or asthma diagnosis.

The report was originally published in Lancet Respir Med in 2013.

Someone Else’s Tax Returns

Because they are none of my business, I don’t plan to look a Donald Trumps tax returns. However, I probably won’t be able to completely avoid people who have stuck their noses where they don’t belong running off at the mouth or keyboard about them.

Sigh.

But It’s OK When They Do It

Joe Biden is in the US Virgin Islands for a year end vacation, so the omnibus funding bill is being flown from DC to St. Croix so he can sign it. Several tonnes of carbon will be emitted because of his vacation schedule.I’ll worry about the carbon footprint of my VW diesel as soon as … oh, never mind.

Gaming the Supreme Court

Ian Millhiser has an article over at Vox suggesting that Justices Sotamayor and Kagan should retire while there is still time for Joe Biden to appoint youthful successors who can be confirmed by a Senate still under Democrat control.

If Sotomayor and Kagan do not retire within the next two years, in other words, they could doom the entire country to live under a 7–2 or even an 8–1 Court controlled by an increasingly radicalized Republican Party’s appointees.

He writes that as if it would be a bad thing for the country to have judges who follow the Constitution.

OK, I suppose that is a problem for Progressives who for most of the last century have used the courts to impose social policy that could not get enough votes in Congress or state legislature. Winning court cases based on emanations of penumbras was usually easier than convincing legislators and the public to amend the Constitution. A court that sticks to the written rules is just too much of a burden on their “democracy” to be tolerated by right thinking people.

In spite of his screw ups in the 2022 election cycle, we owe a debt of gratitude to Cocaine Mitch for his work getting good judges confirmed.

Ho Hum, Another Possible Government Shutdown

So the government may shutdown if the Senate doesn’t pass the omnibus funding bill under consideration—and members of the House, including Speaker-presumptive McCarthy, have said that after control of the House flips next year they will quash any legislation originated by a Republican senator who votes to pass the bill.

Hmmm.

Given that I work as a government contractor, I suppose I should take a greater interest in the matter, but I was planning to take next week off anyway. Oh, and one of the reasons I’ve got over six weeks of paid time off accrued is because my previous experience with Congressional budgetary incompetence.

The next few weeks are going to be … um … complicated.

Nothing To See Here. Move Along!

WaPo reports that the FBI found … oh, here it is in their own words—

That review has not found any apparent business advantage to the types of classified information in Trump’s possession, these people said. FBI interviews with witnesses so far, they said, also do not point to any nefarious effort by Trump to leverage, sell or use the government secrets. Instead, the former president seemed motivated by a more basic desire not to give up what he believed was his property, these people said.

The people familiar with the matter cautioned that the investigation is ongoing, that no final determinations have been made, and that it is possible additional information could emerge that changes investigators’ understanding of Trump’s motivations. But they said the evidence collected over a period of months indicates the primary explanation for potentially criminal conduct was Trump’s ego and intransigence.

Funny how that leaked the week after the midterm elections.