Saturday, March 17, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
I mean c'mon, compare this question to a high hard one like this Washington Post reporter asked today...............
"Does Bo think you should release the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?"
With media vetting like this, who needs media?
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Rhode Island's education commissioner did not mince words when asked about the possibility that Woonsocket will close all of its schools for the year several months early - she says it's illegal and isn't an option.
The Woonsocket School Committee on Wednesday night is poised to discuss and possibly vote on a measure that would end the school year April 5, when the district is expected to run out of money.
State law requires schools to remain in session for 180 days a year. Woonsocket's 180th day would be June 13.
Education Commissioner Deborah Gist said the premature end to the school year can't happen.
"Honestly, [180 days is] really the bare minimum," Gist said. "It's not just the minimum we have by statute. It is the minimum that we have to offer our students."
Woonsocket is the latest Rhode Island municipality to consider dramatic steps. The capital Providence's bond rating was cut to near junk on Wednesday as it faces insolvency. Central Falls filed for bankruptcy last August and East Providence's finances is now directly controlled by a state-appointed budget commission.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Now most of you know that I am generally against regulation but how about one that work's for Old Gordon by creating barriers to entry into the market? With my CPA designation, I'm usually grandfathered into all these regulations.
Congress never gave the IRS the authority to license tax preparers, and the IRS can’t give itself that power.
But last year the IRS imposed a sweeping new licensing scheme that forces tax preparers to get IRS permission before they can work. This is an unlawful power grab that exceeds the authority granted to the IRS by Congress.
The burden of compliance will fall most heavily on independent tax return preparers and small businesses. Unsurprisingly, big firms such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt support the licensing scheme. As The Wall Street Journal explained: “Cheering the new regulations are big tax preparers like H&R Block, who are only too happy to see the feds swoop in to put their mom-and-pop seasonal competitors out of business.”
These regulations are typical government protectionism. They benefit powerful industry insiders and at the expense of entrepreneurs and consumers, who will likely have fewer options and face higher prices. But tax preparers have a right to earn an honest living without getting permission from the IRS. And taxpayers—not the IRS—should be the ones who decide who prepares their taxes.
Yet, I'm against these regulations. Why? because the industry doesn't need them.
I've been a CPA for 23 years. There was never an outcry for regulating the industry until the past few years. Anyone want to guess why?
With the expansion of the earned income credit, lot's of unscrupulous people got into the industry to extract large fees from lots of poor dumb asses. For instance, cruise into any bad neighborhood and you'll usually see a tax preparation business right next to the local pawn shop and/or check cashing business.
These people are willing to charge upwards of $500 for a tax return I would charge $95 for. Now you might be asking why customer would be willing to pay that. But if you are due a $7,000 refund for money that was never yours to begin with what do you care what the fee is?
And like all other types of "free" government money, the earned income credit invites all kinds of fraud into the process.
Hence the government now needs to regulate the people who are ripping off the system.
If the feds really wants to get rid of the riff raff in the tax preparation business, simply take the money out of it. The guys in the business will move to greener pastures like Medicare fraud.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Pennsylvania's distressed capital city, Harrisburg, will skip $5.3 million of debt payments due next week, the first time the city has defaulted on its general obligation bonds, to ensure there is enough cash to fund vital services.More......
Pennsylvania's capital of 50,000 people is mired in $326 million of debt due to the expensive retrofits and repairs of its troubled trash incinerator.
"Although this default on general obligation bonds is unfortunate, I don't think it's going to hold up the process for proceeding under the recovery plan," Receiver David Unkovic said.
The name painted in the plate-glass window, "Bradley's," has a martini glass standing in for the "y."
The late-afternoon sun has turned the other windows into mirrors. Deep inside, in bar-appropriate shadow, patrons rest their drinks on 100-year-old mahogany and, as in many a neighborhood pub, consider hopes gone astray.
Across the way are a marina without boats and parking garages without cars. There are few people outside on downtown sidewalks.
This is what it looks like when a city is close to going under.
Within the next three months, Stockton could become the nation's largest city to file for protection from creditors under U.S. bankruptcy code. Using a new California law, the City Council is trying to slow or stop the bust by entering mediation with creditors, including public employee unions. In the meantime, the Central Valley port city of 300,000 has suspended several bond payments and will not cash out vacation or sick time for employees who leave.
The Obama administration blocked Texas’s new law requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls, escalating a partisan dispute over voting restrictions.
The U.S. Justice Department is using its power under the Voting Rights Act to halt the Texas law, saying in a letter to the state today that the measure may disproportionately harm Hispanics. The department in December blocked a similar law in South Carolina.Voter identification laws were passed last year in eight states. Whether the requirements are inconveniences or barriers to voting is at the core of a debate between Republican supporters who say the laws will protect election integrity, and Democrats who oppose the statutes as attempts to disenfranchise minorities and the poor.
Maybe Eric Holder needs to read up on the Pygmalian effect
Here is a sincere question: Why have the good people of Rochester, N.Y., failed to tar and feather school superintendent Bolgen Vargas as a prelude to running him out of town on a rail?
Mr. Vargas is fortunate enough to have in his charge one Jada Williams, a 13-year-old eighth grader who voluntarily took on some difficult extra work: reading Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life and writing an essay on the subject. Frederick Douglass is dangerous reading, truly radical stuff. Miss Williams, like most of the students in her dysfunctional school, is black. Most of the people being paid to go through the motions of teaching them are white. Coming across the famous passage in which Douglass quotes the slavemaster Auld, Miss Williams was startled by the words: “If you teach that nigger (speaking of myself) how to read, there will be no keeping him. It will forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master.” The situation seemed to her familiar, and her essay was a blistering indictment of the failures of the largely white faculty of her school: “When I find myself sitting in a crowded classroom where no real instruction is taking place I can say history does repeat itself.”
Her teacher was so offended by the essay that she circulated copies of it to the rest of the faculty and to the principal. Miss Williams, an A student, suddenly began to receive Ds. According to accounts, her mother received harassing telephone calls from teachers who suggested that she was in some way disturbed rather than merely observant. She was forced eventually to withdraw from the school and enroll in an even worse one. (The Blaze has more.)
For decades, Detroit has been the poster child for urban decline in America. Now things have reached an even newer low: The city is projected to run out of money by next month and seems to have no credible plans to make up this shortfall.
Interestingly, despite statements by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder that the state would appoint an emergency manager to run the city in lieu of the elected government, the Wall Street Journal reports that Snyder and Detroit Mayor David Bing have agreed to forgo this process as well, leaving the city in the hands of many of the people who brought it to this point in the first place. The turnaround should begin any minute.
Unemployment in the city of Detroit is estimated at about 20 percent; two thirds of the city’s children live in poverty. The two largest employers in the city: the dysfunctional public school system and the crippled city government. Decades of incompetence and corruption by elected officials in tandem with the decline of the once flourishing American automobile industry and (entirely understandable) flight by the better educated and the better off have thoroughly blighted what was once one of America’s most flourishing cities.
Leftie intellectuals spend a lot of time analyzing the “false consciousness” that keeps American workers voting for Republicans who (in the view of the intellectuals) support anti-worker policies. We don’t hear nearly as much from these incisive social thinkers about the false urban consciousness that keeps voters supporting policies and politicians that have ruined the cities, but there you are. Many of the policies that are dearest to the hearts of powerful Democratic politicians are responsible for wrecking the lives of many of their most loyal supporters, but the loyal supporters turn out year after year.