Thursday, February 27, 2014

The War on Terror Is a Racket

It's been a terrible month for the military. Generally considered above reproach, even worshiped, Stars and Stripes reports corruption runs rampant among military personnel, "The laundry list of wrongdoing, in the Defense Department and in various other government agencies, is contained in a surprisingly readable but unknown document compiled by the equally unknown Defense Department's General Counsel's Standards of Conduct Office. The name of the July 2013 report says it all: 'The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure,' a 164-page who's who of bureaucratic ne'er-do-wells that details all of those government personnel who have tried to fleece the government, line their pockets with public money, use government property for their own use or demand loans from subordinates. Additional stories report over 800 soldiers gamed the recruiting system, senior sailors were implicated in nuclear a reactor scam, and 92 US nuclear weapons officers were tied to cheating scandal. And you thought the military was keeping us safe.
These reports aren't surprising. Military personnel, like everybody else, want to improve their standard of living, but they get paid to kill people with money stolen from taxpayers. It's a tiny step for people attracted to such amoral, violent activity to engage in a little illegal corruption to pad their bank accounts, especially since they risk their lives while our rulers stay safe and get rich.
In 1935 the most decorated Marine in history, General Smedley Butler, wrote War Is a Racket. Butler explained our rulers' motive for all wars, including supposed good wars, is war-profiteering. Some 8.9 million Americans make a living directly from war. Many get fantastically rich. War profiteers take money from taxpayers, line the pockets of politicians, and lobby for more war. Eisenhower also warned us about that when he left office.
But the problem of war profiteers controlling war policy spun out of control with the War on Terror. To insure the War on Terror gravy train never ends, our rulers are arming al Qaeda and funding the Taliban while also fighting them. They are literally fighting al Qaeda affiliates in Fallujah while arming al Qaeda affiliates next door in Syria. They ordered special forces to secretly, illegally fight beside al Qaeda in Syria. They turned Libya over to al Qaeda affiliates then turned them loose in North Africa. You can't have war-profiteering without an enemy to scare people.
In an essay entitled "Why We Fight", subtitled "Because it pays well", former CIA agent, counter-terrorism expert and military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi breaks down who profits and how much from what should be called the War for Profiteering, "Columbia University economist Joseph Stiglitz has estimated that the total cost of Iraq alone will exceed $5 trillion when all the borrowed money and legacy expenses for 30,000 wounded soldiers are finally paid off. And Iraq is only one part of the enormous shift in national resources that has taken place over the past twelve years. The direct costs of the Bush-Obama war are reflected in the Defense and intelligence budgets, both of which are more than twice as big as they were pre-9/11, but factor in the additional domestic costs for the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and growth of the federal bureaucracy in general and the numbers become mind boggling. And then there is the replication of the federal spending at the state and local levels..."
Giraldi estimates what we get for our money, "When all the increases are added up and compared to the baseline of 2001, the war on terror currently costs the American taxpayer more than $500 billion per year. As there may be only 100 or so terrorists seriously interested in attacking the United States directly, that works out to something like $5 billion per year per terrorist." Yet liberals blame capitalism for income inequality.
Ron Paul adds, "Appearing last week before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified that he could not say the threat from al-Qaeda is any less today than it was ten years ago."
If, after stealing over $6 trillion and killing hundreds of thousands of people ostensibly to fight the War on Terror against al Qaeda, and the threat hadn't diminished, that would be so far beyond outrageous I have no words, but it gets worse. Paul continues, "A former State Department official stated last year that every new drone strike in Yemen that kills innocent people results in the creation of 40-60 new enemies. Likewise, the young girl from Pakistan who had been brutally shot by the Taliban for her desire to go to school told President Obama during a White House meeting that 'drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people.'"
Clapper even admits the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria being armed by the US aspires to attack the US. You can't make this stuff up. The War on Terror makes us less safe every day, it's helping collapse our economy, and our rulers are laughing at us all the way to the bank.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dayton's Income Tax Makes Every Year Terrible for Jobs

Reality forced the Dayton Daily News to write a story titled "2013 was bad year for jobs in Dayton". That had to hurt. There's no better propaganda organ for Dayton's thieving rulers than the Dayton Daily News. They seem to publish fantasies about things improving in Dayton every day, but they rarely publish stories about Dayton's real, long, painful decline. They seem to quote some politician or bureaucrat saying Dayton's future looks bright every day, but rarely, if ever, do they challenge these parasites about their 50 year record of failure. Their propaganda is both hilarious and sickening.
But this headline downplayed how bad the news really is. From the article, "The Dayton metro area lost 600 jobs last month, and the region’s labor force shrank to the lowest level since at least 1983, which made for a disappointing finish to a disappointing year for the region, according to preliminary data released Tuesday." The DDN characterizes this epic failure not only of our rulers but of our system of rule - a failure that has damaged tens or hundreds of thousands of lives over the decades and sends the young, best and brightest packing for greener pastures every year - the same way they describe sports teams losing. To the victims, Dayton's economy is a disaster which shouldn't be belittled.
But true to form, instead of questioning why our rulers consistently make the economy worse while claiming they're making it better, the DDN can't help but say something ridiculous to protect the system and the parasites who rule us, "After showing signs of vitality in 2012, the local job market mostly regressed last year." I travel around Dayton quite a bit and talk to many people. Like most Daytonians, I missed those signs of vitality. Not in 2012. Not in many years. Everywhere, every year, I see decline. Every year there's fewer businesses and more abandoned buildings. Every year people are worse off. Every year there's more looting projects, which our rulers laughably claim boost our economy, dragging Dayton into the ground. The record of decline is indisputable. The truth hurts.
The story, as usual, also proclaims new jobs are coming soon, just wait, but no stories report more jobs are being destroyed by government looting.
Dayton's problem is simple and obvious: Dayton's rulers are looting more than producers can overcome. Our system of rule is legalized corruption. Rulers legally steal money through taxes and use it to enrich themselves and their cronies through wasteful, worthless and counter-productive pseudo-services while making the vast majority of us poorer for having our money stolen. Naturally, this system attracts the worst parasites to work for it. A recent study verified the obvious, that students who cheat in school are more likely to seek government jobs. Power corrupts, and it attracts corrupt people to it. That's why it doesn't matter who voters elect. The legalized looting system itself is the problem.
Dayton's income tax is the most damaging looting tool our city rulers use. Every outside investor I talk to cites the income tax as the reason they avoid Dayton. They'll invest in the suburbs but not the city because of that tax. Every businessman I talked to who worked for a company fleeing Dayton pointed to the income tax as a reason for leaving. I've talked to a lot of business people over the years. They all avoid Dayton's income tax. The only outsiders investing in Dayton are cronies of our rulers who receive tax incentives. That income tax is killing Dayton.
But the people of Dayton may be figuring this out. On May 6, Dayton's temporary 0.5 percent income tax goes to voters for renewal, but the DDN reports, "That 0.5 percent tax expires on Dec. 31, 2014, and rather than asking for another six- or eight-year renewal, [Mayor] Whaley said the city will ask residents to make it permanent." They're making the tax permanent, but another article reveals they're hiding it from voters. The ballot doesn't mention permanence. Neither article reports the negative impact of the tax on Dayton's economy. None ever do.
Daytonians have an opportunity to overrule our parasitic rulers and improve their personal lives and Dayton's economy by rejecting this tax. Tax breaks needn't be just for cronies. If voters reject this tax, every Dayton business, big and small, and worker will get a tax break, and they deserve it. Furthermore, this would give outside investors a tax incentive to invest in Dayton instead of the suburbs. Rejecting this tax would be a true step toward turning around Dayton's decline.
The first bureaucracy cut should be the economic development bureaucracy. Because everything government has, it first steals from taxpayers, it's impossible for government to improve our economy. All it can do is steal wealth out of the economy, waste plenty on parasitic government workers, then reinsert less wealth into the economy, enriching government's cronies who line the pockets of politicians in return. While legal, this system is corrupt to the core, and it can only be counter-productive.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Who Owns Target Stores?

Bush and Obama's state-run economy continues its downward spiral. To virtually no media coverage, the Wall Street Journal and Heritage Foundation released their 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, and for the first time, the US has fallen out of the top ten to twelfth. This is scandalous. Our American forefathers practically invented economic freedom. Because of the tremendous economic freedom Americans enjoyed for most of American history, America became the greatest economy in the world. Economic freedom lifted more people out of poverty than any system known. Now we're squandering it by allowing our rulers to force fascism and socialism on us. Canada and Estonia are more economically free than the US.
The consequences are everywhere. Dow component and perennial chip-making and money-making machine Intel recently announced it will lay off 5 percent of its workforce. While tech CEOs like Bill Gates lie about having too few tech workers in the US, the reality is 35,000 electrical engineering jobs were eliminated last year.
Finance is down too. Mortgage lending by big banks is down 50 percent from the beginning of 2013. No company is deeper in bed with the government and the Federal Reserve (Fed) than Goldman-Sachs, but its profit fell 19 percent in Q4. The Dow, divorced from reality by a flood of the Fed's newly printed money, fell 494 points over Jan. 23rd and 24th.
But most Americans don't notice these things. Unless they or somebody they know is directly affected, these economic problems are invisible, but CNBC reports on a tsunami of retail store closings that will be visible to pretty much every American, "On Tuesday, Sears said that it will shutter its flagship store in downtown Chicago in April. It's the latest of about 300 store closures in the U.S. that Sears has made since 2010. The news follows announcements earlier this month of multiple store closings from major department stores J.C. Penney and Macy's. ... In addition to J.C. Penney—which announced last week that it will close 33 stores—there are about a dozen retailers that still have too many stores, [analyst] Sozzi said. Among them: American Eagle, which needs to move some of its aerie lingerie locations into its main stores; AĆ©ropostale, which is on track to close 175 stores over the next few years; and Wal-Mart, which has about 100 stores in the U.S. producing same-store sales declines deeper than 3 percent, Sozzi said." Like the good propagandist it is, CNBC blames online purchases for the closings, but the real reason is our declining economy.
Target suffers from our declining economy like other retailers, and Target's plan to shut its Trotwood store - part of its plan to close twelve stores and open ten new ones - has Trotwood's rulers and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) wanting to exercise ownership control over that store. Dayton Unit NAACP President Derrick Foward is unhappy Target didn't inform Trotwood's rulers of declining revenue. The Dayton Daily News reports he was unhappy with Target's response when he asked why, "All they can say is, 'we're sorry.' I can tell you that's not good enough ... At the end of the day, it's about the community. Corporate responsibility." On the contrary, Target has no corporate duty to lose money in Trotwood, nor does Target answer to Trotwood's rulers. Its managers answer to its board of directors. Their fiduciary responsibility is to Target's stockholders. If Foward wants a say in Target's decisions, he can buy Target stock. He can run for Target's board. That's the only way he should have a say.
Foward prefers to pressure government to use its power of coercion to force Target to obey him. The DDN documents Foward's threat, "Foward said the NAACP will monitor developments whether Target moves down the road to Clayton or Englewood. 'The NAACP is going to have a huge problem with that,' he said."
Bureaucrats consider tax incentives an issue too, "City Manager Mike Lucking said Target received a 15-year tax abatement worth $1.2 million. 'That's money that would normally go to the schools, go toward city services,' Lucking said. 'That's money they realize they benefited from ... Basically at the end of their abatement, they're moving out of town.'" If true, that would make perfect sense. With revenue declining, Target could hardly afford an expense increase due to higher taxes. If Trotwood's rulers really wanted to keep the store, they could offer to forego all taxes. I doubt they'll offer that though. They prefer to make Target the bad guy even though they're stealing Target's money.
Our rulers' greedy looting programs - increases in spending, regulation and taxes by local, state and federal governments including the Fed's printing of money - are dragging our economy off a cliff. The tsunami of retail closings is the next phase of the collapse. The malls are emptying. The mother of all busts is coming. The only way to turn it around is to stop the looting so producers can begin creating wealth and advancing civilization again.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Two Tales of Moraine's Big Fish Deal

It's about time we had some good economic news in Dayton. I'm not talking about December's official 6.7 percent unemployment rate. That happened because hundreds of thousands of more people dropped out of the work force. President Obama and the Federal Reserve continue dragging the US economy down the drain, and government statistics continue to hide the decline as real unemployment climbs to nearly 25 percent. The good, maybe great, economic news is Chinese auto glass manufacturer Fuyao Group Glass Industries Co. Ltd plans to purchase 1.4 million square feet of factory space in the old General Motors plant in Moraine and eventually employ up to 800 people there. Given the exodus of businesses and workers from Dayton over the last ten years, this is the first, honestly good economic news I've heard in Dayton in that period.
But it's funny, if predictable, how government and its propagandists claimed credit for this Big Fish deal. On January 10, the Dayton Daily News published a hilarious tale crediting JobsOhio with bringing Fuyao to Moraine.
The article began, "The deal to bring 800 jobs to the former General Motors assembly plant in Moraine involved wooing the leader of Fuyao Glass Industry Group on three continents over eight months. JobsOhio, the state’s private economic development arm, started courting Fuyao in April and sent Managing Director Kristi Tanner to Fuyao’s opening ceremony for its newest auto glass plant in Kaluga, Russia, and then to meet with company officials at Fuyao’s headquarters in Fuzhou, China."
This tale would have us believe that heroic, tireless bureaucrats at JobsOhio identified Fuyao as a potential buyer for the old GM plant, then dogged its reluctant officers, selflessly wining and dining them all over the world for eight months at taxpayer expense, to reel them in. We're to believe that bureaucrats marketed the property then landed the Big Fish, not the owner of the property, Industrial Realty Group, LLC, based in California, which has been doing deals like this for 40 years.
Fuyao's billionaire chairman praised JobsOhio, and the deal was supposedly consummated, "with a formal, highly-scripted ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse, complete with Chinese and American flags, an exchange of gifts, and the signing of the sale agreement between Industrial Realty Group, the plant owner, and Fuyao Chairman and Founder Cao Dewang." Nobody becomes a billionaire without climbing in bed with government and making politicians and bureaucrats look good. Plutocrat Dewang plays that game well.
The only problem with this narrative is it's dishonest. Before the propaganda piece was scripted, the DDN reported, "Fuyao’s agreement to move to the former General Motors complex at Ohio 741 and Stroop Road is the fruition of months of work by local and state officials — and nearly three years of work by the plant’s owner, redeveloper Industrial Realty Group (IRG)." Reporting the real work done by the property owner seems an afterthought.
In another DDN article, Dewang tells the truth, "'We are here because our customers want us to be here,' Dewang said through an interpreter at the state capitol." His customers include General Motors, Chevy, Cadillac, Buick and Hyundai. Furthermore, from late in the fish tale, "Cao, who is a self-made billionaire, said he fell in love with the Moraine plant at first sight."
So much for JobsOhio and local government. IRG and market forces brought Fuyao to Moraine, not government. Government was an obstacle, not a facilitator. If you fell in love at first sight with a property you wanted, and if the price was right, ideally, you would just buy it. Imagine instead, before you could buy your dream property, you had to pay tribute to the rulers of Moraine, Montgomery County and Ohio. Imagine you had to spend eight months sucking up to wasteful, vapid bureaucrats from JobsOhio. You might pass on the property.
Fortunately Fuyao didn't pass. Before it could buy the perfect plant for its business needs, it first had to promise tribute to Moraine's, Montgomery County's and Ohio's rulers. That burden of government delayed the sale to three years before it was done. That wasteful signing ceremony in Columbus was part of the tribute. Political theater was its only purpose. It wasted time and resources for the two parties making the deal, but it boosted Gov. Kasich politically. The deal doesn't actually close until April. Government could still ruin it.
And JobsOhio didn't woo Dewang. This deal that will benefit everybody in greater Dayton was made between private sector actors driven by the profit motive. JobsOhio bureaucrats used this impending deal as an excuse to fly all over the world and party for eight months on money stolen from taxpayers. This idea that government helps business deals is a fraud. It's impossible for government to help. Because of its coercive nature, government can only hinder business deals, reduce profits, bankrupt businesses, and drag our economy down. Of course our rulers offered reduced taxes as incentives, but that's just a reduction of the tribute demanded by brigands. Fortunately, these two companies overcame the burdens government put in front of them to make this deal.