Monday, August 27, 2012

Will ObamaCare Cost Employers More Money?

Not long ago, I was talking to a fellow business owner about the disastrous effects of ObamaCare when it goes live. He is somewhat left-leaning, even though he owns his own business, and he tried to defend ObamaCare and he asked me; exactly what in ObamaCare is going to cause small business owners any challenges?

I told him that if he had a company of over 50 employees it would cost him easily over $4500 per year per employee. He said he didn't have 50 employees, he only has 10. Then he told me that unless I had read the entire Affordable Health Care Act then I shouldn't be making any statements. Still, I threw this back at him and I said unless he had read it he should not defend such a worthless piece of legislation. Still, he wanted to know what I think will happen once a goes into effect, and therefore I've made a small list for you.

Less Expansion
Forcing Jobs Offshore
Closing of Companies
Increase in Health Care Fines
Higher Prices - Wholesale Inflation
Eventual Collapse of the Government Run Obama Care Program

There will obviously be less expansion of businesses because no business owner will want to get more than 50 employees. If business owners fail to grow, they won't buy any new equipment, which will also hurt the manufacturing sector. In that case it will force jobs offshore because that's where people can manufacture cheaper. Once those manufacturing jobs are taken offshore, companies will close.

Those businesses which cannot afford to pay more for healthcare insurance and still stay in business might opt to pay the penalty and fine instead. This means that more people will get on board with the government run health care system, which will run inefficiently because government doesn't do anything very well. This will cause a balloon in the ObamaCare program, which will eventually collapse and stick the taxpayer with the bill.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Next Four Years

On November 6th the men and women spoke with their votes. The question is what was achieved as basically the government remained the same. The next question is what will happen in the next four years. Will it be better than the last four years? We've two main issues which are coming up.

1. Fiscal Cliff. The Congress along with the President have already been kicking it down the road for various years. Now they are going to generate some decisions since as of January 1st 2013 the tax increases and spending cuts will take effect. These will have an effect on all Americans in a negative way. The tax enhance for a lot of middle-income families will be about $2,000.00 determined by calculations of your Tax Policy Center. The Congressional Budget Workplace is estimating 3-4 million jobs will be lost. They also estimate unemployment would rise to 9.1 %. The total price of this determined by the Congressional Budget Workplace will be $671 billion in 2013.

2. The next big question is how will the Affordable Care Act affect our economic climate? A few of the taxes which might be in this bill certainly are a 3.8% surtax on dividends, interest, rent, capital gains, annuities, house sales, on people with a gross revenue of 200,000 for men and women and 250,000.00 for joint tax filers. Also, in the event the Bush tax cuts are not extended then the tax on dividends will go from 15% to 43.8% affecting lots of seniors because they depend on their dividends for their earnings. The flexible spending account contribution will likely be set at $2,500.00 whereas, in the present time there's no restriction. The itemized health care deduction now is $7,500.00 and raised to $10,000.00. The non healthcare withdrawals from a health financial savings account went up in 2011 from 10% to 20%. The over the counter medicines are not paid from the flexible spending account as of January 2011. As of 2013 the healthcare manufactures will need to spend a 2.3% physical exercise tax on items more than $100.00.

The consequences for little organizations are in the 50 employee level. At this level the small business will have to face the 50 employee threshold. These firms will need to either present health insurance that is acceptable to the government or have a tax penalty of 2,000.00-3,000.00 dollars. So firms which might be under 50 people are not going to hire more people, and if they are at just 50 people, then they may lay off personal to acquire beneath the 50 employee level. Lots of compact businesses will contemplate hiring temporary help as an alternative to full-time help as a method of dealing with this predicament. Companies are already starting to cut staff from full-time to part-time. A lot of companies are not planning on hiring staff within the future. The economy has slowed down as many corporations have held back as to view what the elections would bring. Now that they know, they are adjusting towards the consequences of the elections. Elections have consequences no matter whether it is positive or unfavorable. Firms are searching how these new policies affect them. They are making the choices to keep their firms afloat. The sad truth is that the American people will really feel the effects of the election.

Monday, August 13, 2012

What Has the Union Ever Done For Us?

What has the union done for us cry the Nationalists rather like those characters in the Life of Brian wondering what the Romans have ever done for us. To ask the question is to answer it.

The trouble with most nationalists is that they actually appear to know very little about Scottish history or literature. Anyone who compares and contrasts Scotland prior to the union with Scotland after the union will immediately see exactly what the union has done for us.

A quick glance at Scottish history pre union shows an obscure European country, much poorer than the average, fighting continually with its larger neighbour or alternatively fighting with itself. One of the most dangerous jobs in Scotland was to be king and the most notable feature of most reigns was treachery, factionalism and assassination.

There were, of course, some wonderful things which developed in Scotland, pre-eminently the four ancient universities. There are some fine thinkers and writers. Dun Scotus is one of the greatest of medieval philosophers. John Barbour's Brus is still studied in universities as is Blind Harry's Wallace. The people they wrote about Robert the Bruce and William Wallace are celebrated as heroes the world over as is Mary Stuart, but there's little else in pre union Scottish history or culture that has travelled beyond this country. From the perspective of the rest of the world, pre union Scotland amounts to Braveheart and Mary Queen of Scots ruling romantically, shambolically and in the end tragically.

The union of the crowns in 1603 immediately brought cultural and linguistic benefits. King James VI a Scottish King on the throne of England made one of the greatest contributions to the English speaking world by publishing the King James Bible and he published it not in his native Scots, but in English. Precisely for this reason English gradually took over in Scotland bringing us one of our greatest benefits from the union, a language spoken the world over.

Up until the union people in Scotland spoke and wrote either Gaelic or Scots, the latter a divergent strain of Anglo Saxon rapidly developing into a language which would no longer be mutually comprehensible with English. If Scotland had remained independent, the likelihood is that we would now speak a language in Scotland as different from English as Dutch is from German. But instead with the introduction of the King James Bible and the prestige of the court in London, English came to be the dominant language in Scotland, leaving Scots as a language spoken on the margins less and less used by the educated, used in literature, but mainly as dialogue, poetry and song, barely used at all in philosophy or economics or history or in the church. We may regret this, but the benefits to Scotland today of speaking a world language are obvious and it can be traced to the union of the crowns.

With the union of 1707 came further benefits. Scottish merchants, now protected by the Royal Navy and with new markets opened up to them, which had been closed before, were able to begin to prosper as never before. Prior to entering into currency union with England in 1707, 12 pounds Scots obtained 1 pound Sterling. The Scottish economy was bankrupt after the Darien scheme, but rapidly the union brought prosperity, the benefits of a strong stable currency, order and increased trade, both within the union and without.

As in England, Scotland had been fighting a civil war since the 1630s, which amounted to a fight between Presbyterians on one side versus Catholics and Episcopalians on the other. This same civil war continued, on and off, throughout the reigns of Charles II, James II and VII and had its final battles in the attempts to restore Stuart rule during the Jacobite rebellions.

Many Scots, including me, love the romanticism and the fundamental justness of the Jacobite cause. But thinking Scots realise, that only with the final defeat of the Stuarts and with it the doctrine of the divine right of Kings, arrived the Scottish enlightenment and the prosperity that followed. Bonnie Prince Charlie nearly won in 1745 and without the union he may well have done so. My heart wishes that he had won, but my head realises that Scotland prospered with the Hanoverians, that parliamentary democracy and the idea of constitutional monarchy brought in with the "Glorious revolution" of 1688 was the key to us avoiding the horrors of revolution which engulfed France, the French domination which Jacobite victory would have brought, and so while I toast the king o'er the water, I am glad he remained there.

The end of the century long British Civil war in 1745, brought stability, boredom and prosperity, with it came Scotland's greatest period of intellectual and cultural development. What did the union ever do for us? For one thing, it gave us David Hume (1711-1776), considered by most to be Britain's greatest philosopher and studied the world over wherever philosophy is taught. The union, without which the Scottish enlightenment would not have happened, gave us Adam Smith (1723-1790), perhaps the world's greatest economist. The wealth, which the union brought enabled architect Robert Adam (1728-1792) to design and build, many of the buildings which we most associate with the architectural style of Scotland. Henry Raeburn (1756-1823) painted the Scots who were prospering from the union. Scotland's greatest poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) considered himself a unionist Scottish and British and because he used the Scots language to address concerns which touched the hearts of everyone, rather than addressing narrowly nationalistic issues, he carried that language the world over, giving the world a song sung everywhere on the 31st of December.

Scotland's greatest novelist, Walter Scott (1771-1832), perhaps did even more than Burns to promote Scotland and virtually invented much of what we consider today to be Scottish culture. Scott who was wildly popular the world over, virtually invented the historical novel and influenced each historical novelist who came after from Victor Hugo to Lev Tolstoy. His novels helped to heal the wounds of the Jacobite rebellion, because Scott himself was a Jacobite with his heart, a Hanoverian with his head. It is this duality which makes his novels complex and interesting. He wrote about Scotland in a way that made the English love Scotland and because he was a unionist he loved them back, sparking the revival of interest in medieval England with his novel Ivanhoe.

It is unnecessary to continue much further the list of great Scots who flourished by being in the union. Britain's greatest writer of adventure stories Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), and Britain's greatest writer of detective stories Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), were hardly hindered by being from the UK. There are Scots inventors, like John Logie Baird (1888-1946), Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), scientists like Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) and James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), famous the world over. What do they have in common? They were all unionists.

It's almost impossible to find a major writer or thinker prior to the 20th century who seriously supported independence. In fact, the only major writer I can think of who the SNP can claim is Hugh MacDiarmid (1892-1978). He was an important and fine writer, but notorious for his hatred of the English, listing Anglophobia amongst his hobbies in his Who's who entry.

Nationalists therefore reject the point of view of nearly all those who made Scotland great and do so in a language they would not even be able to speak without the union. They romanticise an independent Scotland through figures like William Wallace, who we only know about through myth, poetry and Hollywood lies and nonsense. They want to resurrect a country, which was obscure, poor and violent and reject a country which gave us the world and made us world famous: shame on them for their narrow nationalism and lack of patriotism.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Positive Case For Unionism

Unionists are frequently asked to come up with positive reasons why they support the continued existence of the Union. For me the main reason to support the union is that I think that it is better for people who live contiguously and who speak the same language to live in one country rather than many.

When the United States has a presidential election something fairly extraordinary happens. Across a huge country, with a population originating from all over the world, essentially people do the same thing. They choose between either a Republican or a Democrat and they accept that the president who results from this choice is the president of all of them. No one much cares from which state that president comes. It is the fact that the United States is a union that makes this process possible. The common identity of the citizens of the United States keeps them together, even when they are in other respects diverse. Fundamental to the unity of the United States is the existence of a common language. There are differences between states and a good deal of power is devolved to the state level and even more locally. However, the common federal structure of law, the rule from Washington, creates an experience for citizens such that they feel that they are in the same country wherever they live. This means that it is easy for people to move. If there is a lack of jobs in Ohio, people can move to California and start seeking work immediately. Their qualifications and experience are immediately recognised, the work practices are familiar, the language is the same. This makes the United States one huge labour market, with enormous economies of scale. It is the fact that United States is a union that makes it prosperous.

Imagine if the Confederacy had won the Civil War. Imagine if the southern states had succeed in their attempt at secession. How would history have played out subsequently? The two successor states would undoubtedly have been less powerful than the United States that came to dominate the twentieth century. Even if both the South and the North had chosen to join the world wars on the same side, the fact that there would have been two armies, two navies and two air forces, would have weakened the contribution from North America. Economically the United States would never have reached the level it did if it had given up its unity in the 1860s. There would have been no single market between Alabama and New York. It is undoubtedly the union of the United States, the unity of the people who live there, which has enabled them to be both wealthy and powerful.

The same, of course, is true of Britain. Imagine if Britain had not gradually come together to form a single country from the middle ages onwards. Imagine if there had been four separate sovereign states in the British isles in the 18th century. Would it have been possible under these circumstances to create the power that this country had, would it have been possible to create the wealth? The answer to this is obviously no. There is a single labour market in the UK and the economy in each part of the UK is closely related to the others. People from one part of the UK can easily work in any other part, our qualifications and experiences are recognised everywhere. Just like the United States, the United Kingdom is a successful union and this union is the source of both our wealth and strength. It is the fact that we did not have to worry about fighting amongst ourselves which enabled us to concentrate on developing strong armed forces, which faced outwards rather than faced inwards. If the UK had been four sovereign states, no doubt each squabbling with the other, who is to say that the Industrial revolution would have developed in these islands, who is to say that our success at innovation and invention would have happened at all?

Looking at the English speaking countries in the world, it is obvious that they are all better together. Imagine if the United States was made up of fifty sovereign nations. Imagine if Western Australia seceded along with New South Wales, if the South Island of New Zealand decided it could no longer bear to live with the North Island? Imagine if British Columbian nationalism rose, with the rallying cry "it's our fish", why should we share it with landlocked Alberta? Does anyone seriously think that the result for any of these countries would be anything other than that they would be less powerful and less wealthy? The strength of each of the English speaking countries of the world is that they are united, that they each form a union of parts. The benefit in terms of economics is that there is free movement of labour and a single market, the benefits in terms of power is that they each can fight a common enemy as one.

To suppose that a democratic union of people speaking the same language is undesirable, is to suppose that none of the English speaking nations are desirable and that it would be better if secession occurred in each of them. But this is exactly what the SNP are saying about the UK. This implies that they think that it would be sensible, if oil were discovered off the coast of Nova Scotia, that this province should decide to secede from Canada. They are saying that if Texas always votes Republican, but sometimes gets a Democratic president, that it would be better for Texas to secede in order to get a political regime closer to the wishes of its people. There are indeed some Texans at the moment striving to secede from the United States, but they are generally recognised as poor losers bordering on the ridiculous. But these sort of people have a line of argument remarkably similar to the SNP.

What we have in the UK is actually quite unusual. Our common language culture and identity is exactly what makes the existence of a single market in this country possible. It is the source of our wealth and prosperity. The reason that the Scottish economy converges so beneficially with the English economy is that we have been living in the same country for over three hundred years.

Nationalists might wonder if union is so beneficial, why are so many unionists also Eurosceptics? A Scottish nationalist might suggest that a unionist who supports withdrawal from the EU is expressing his British nationalism and desire for British independence, while hypocritically denying a Scot the same right to express his own Scottish nationalism by seeking withdrawal from the UK and independence for Scotland. The answer is to realise that many unionists are not nationalists at all. We are unionists precisely because we do not see nationalism as the solution. Rather we see it as part of the problem. In principle, I have nothing whatever against the EU. I have at various times been a keen supporter of European integration. The ideal of countries coming together because they are willing to give up their nationalism appeals to me. If it were possible to create a fully democratic United States of Europe I would wholeheartedly support it. Unfortunately, recent events have made clear that it is not possible. The reason that the United States and the UK can succeed as countries is that we have a common identity, language and culture.

The lack of a common language, the lack of a common culture and identity dooms the attempted union of the EU to failure. The attempt at monetary union fails because Germans don't feel that they are at all the same as Greeks. Most ordinary Europeans struggle to seek work in another country owing to their lack of the necessary linguistic skills. Because the EU lacks the conditions for the possibility of creating a single country, the process by which they are attempting to create a United States of Europe is progressively becoming more and more undemocratic. People are being ruled by unelected officials and international organisations, the results of referendums are being ignored. It is for this reason that unionists are more and more frequently expressing opposition. Not because we are against union, but because we are in favour of democracy. If on the other hand, someone suggested creating a federation of the Anglosphere, with common elections, a single head of state and the right to live, work and travel anywhere where English is spoken, I for one would see this as a wonderful opportunity.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Does Congress Act Like A Congress Of Baboons?

Most of us have seen nature programs or been to the zoo and seen the behavior of Baboons. They are the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive and, many believe they are the least intelligent of all primates, beside the Congress... right!

Some have incorrectly claimed that a group of Baboons is called a "Congress," this I believe is an insult to the baboon. In reality, what they are is a "Troop" and are actually very smart among most non-human primates. However, referring to the United States Congress as a Congress of Baboons may not be far from the truth when referencing its intended use as a joke poking fun at our elite, pampered representatives.

A Congress of Baboons, maybe today, it is more than just a joke. I guess congressional actions pretty much explain the reason why legislation is in stalemate, and symbolizes the baboon like behavior ongoing between the two stately bodies hired to protect the Constitution, and pass laws that benefit all America instead of select group or individual in Washington!

This is the impression of many American's who cast their vote in the November elections. The Obama Administration constantly berating the Republicans as the reason he cannot achieve any of his policies, borders on telling the American voter they are too stupid to realize it takes two houses to make a Congress. When you have one controlled by one party and the other controlled by the other, they must work harmoniously to pass law.

Since nothing has changed politically, the congress remains the same unbalanced body it was before the election. The difference, they have the opportunity to do something in this Congress they did not do achieve in the last four years... come together, pass legislation and put forth a budget that they so stubbornly have refused to pass.

Instead of milling around accomplishing little, they must find solutions to fix the economy by stimulating employment, reducing regulations that stymie growth, invest in our future by investing in our natural resources, and assisting the housing markets recovery; all without raising individual taxes.

The next four years will either establish our Congress as two bodies working together to solve our problems. If not, as a Congress of Baboons... once again insulting the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive and notably, one of the most intelligent non-human primates.