Caucus Review – Part II and Other Items

Yesterday, I proposed some planning changes for the next caucus whenever that occurs.  The St. Charles caucus was reported in just about every news outlet in the state. Here is a recap of that meeting by an attendee.  I urge you to follow the link and read the entire article.

I was at the St. Charles County caucus held in St. Peters, MO, on Saturday, March 17, 2012, which I now affectionately refer to as “The Raucous Caucus”. I’m not really interested in putting a particular political spin on what occurred. Rather, I’d like to state what occurred as just matters of fact and go over the major points of contention that led to it being brought to a close with no delegates and alternates being designated. So, as much as is possible, I have left out the names of the camps of supporters involved in the events of the Raucous Caucus. Source material and links provided are a different matter: they can and do name names and I didn’t take it upon myself to edit them. Where I do interject my perspective while delineating the points of contention, it’s for the purpose of logically connecting the sequence of events, to provide an explanation for why there appeared to be a conflict on a particular matter or specific event, or to provide a reasonable range of possible objectives or motivations.  The Blog Czar, March 20, 2012. 

The article documents the source of some of the confusion and presents more lessons learned to make future caucus planning and operation move more smoothly.

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Obamacare goes before the US Supreme Court next week.  Oral arguments will be heard, briefs submitted, if they haven’t been already, and in a few weeks, or months, a decision will be rendered.

From some reports, it’s beginning to appear that Obama and his liberal cronies are preparing for a loss.

By Amie Parnes 03/21/12 05:00 AM ET 

President Obama will not mark the two-year anniversary of his signing of the healthcare law — which takes place days before the Supreme Court offers a decision on the constitutionality of his signature legislative achievement.

Senior administration officials said on Tuesday that Obama will not be offering a vigorous public defense of the law, holding events or even making public remarks in the lead-up to the Supreme Court case.

Obama will instead leave arguments to the Justice Department, which begins defending the law on Monday.  Likewise, Obama is not expected to hold an event around the two-year anniversary on Friday, said officials who labeled it a faux milestone and off the radar of most Americans. 

In the mean time, HHS Secretary Sibellius is pushing full steam to implement the worst elements of the bill—violating the 1st Amendment on religion for one.  It makes one speculate whether the Obama left hand is fully communicating with the Obama right hand.

Oh!  Silly me. There are no Right hands in the Obama administration.

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Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) presented a proposed federal budget and the screams of Washington liberals were heard clear to the left coast. The democrats have refused to submit or pass a budget since Obama took office. They prefer stealth spending that keeps their attempts to transform our country into a “dictatorship of the proletariat” as secret as possible. 

Paul Ryan submitted a budget last year what was blocked by democrats. Once again he is proposing a budget that cuts trillions from the budget over the coming years and impacts heavily welfare spending.

Ryan, Obama budgets offer radically opposed visions of America

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin did something Tuesday that President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democratic congressional leaders refuse to do — propose a 2013 federal budget that makes the hard choices needed if America is to regain its economic vitality and avoid becoming Greece. At least Obama did propose a 2013 budget earlier this year; Reid and his Democratic colleagues in Congress haven’t done that in three years. Unfortunately, the president’s approach makes all the wrong choices, opting to increase spending, taxes and debt without regard to the consequences. Worse still is the fact that the Obama budget, if adopted, would add immensely to the difficulties facing his successors in the Oval Office, to say nothing of the children and grandchildren of today’s taxpayers.
On spending, for example, the Obama budget increases federal spending every year, for a total of $1.5 trillion over the next decade. Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” decreases federal spending by $3.5 trillion. On the federal deficit, not only does Obama propose the fourth-straight year with a federal deficit of at least $1 trillion, his budget projects oceans of red ink as far as an accountant’s eye can see. The Ryan budget goes in the opposite direction by progressively reducing the deficit by $3 trillion over a decade, compared with the Obama proposal, and puts the government’s ledger on the way to being balanced thereafter. (Go here for the full article.)
The democrats are already spewing horror stories about Ryan throwing Granny out in the street—stories reminiscent of the famous cartoon from last year showing Ryan pushing an elder in a wheelchair off a cliff.
The democrats have no solution except more taxing and spending.  The tax well is now dry. It time to attack the other end, cut spending.  Spending cuts will hurt.  I’m retired, receiving Social Security and this month was forced to sign up for Medicare. (I had to sign up or lose my Social Security payments.)
If we don’t cut spending, the economy and quite likely the nation will collapse.  What emerges from that collapse may be something none of us will like.
We’ve come to a pivotal point in the history of our country.  It’s sink or swim.  I prefer to swim…to a reformation and return to the original concepts of the Constitution.

Caucus Review

Yesterday, I presented a recap of Cass County’s caucus with my observations.  Today is a continuation on that caucus theme…not the results of the weekend but on the conduct of the caucuses across the state.

I have to say that the conduct of some attendees across the state have been…well words fail me, let’s use atrocious.  Some of that behavior, as it appears from the videos out of the St. Charles caucus, was planned.  Other instances, supported by my observations of the Cass County caucus, was through ignorance of the process and of Robert’s Rules of Order.

When I was in High School a number of decades ago, Robert’s Rules and parliamentary procedures were taught in the government and speech classes.  The latter was an elective, the former, at least at that time in Illinois, was not.

In those classes, we conducted meetings using Robert’s Rules.  We were taught how to use them and how the Rules allowed maximum communication while preventing chaos.  Such topics and school instruction seem to have fallen by the wayside in today’s “modern” curriculum.

The parliamentary procedures are necessary if the meeting is not to fall into a shouting match.  The St. Charles caucus failed to control the mob.  In retrospect, it now appears that there was nothing the St. Charles chairman could have done.  The disruption was planned in advance with the intent of seizing control of the caucus. We were more fortunate in Cass County, although for a while, our meeting got a bit boisterous as well.

It is important to recognize that when a dozen or more people are shouting, no one can be heard from that herd.  There’s a reason why adherence to the Rules are important.

Now that the caucus is over, it’s time to review the caucus and make a “lessons learned” list.  What was done well, such as the credentialing process, and what must be done better.  For the latter, let me present some ideas.

1.  Have an alternate site available in advance with working P/A facilities.  The auditorium where we met was the right size, but it lacked a P/A.  That made it difficult for the chairman to be heard in all corners of the room.
2. Building on the P/A…have a wireless mic available for speakers from the floor.  Once recognized, the speaker could be handed the mic and then be heard throughout the room.
3.  If the site is moved at the last minute, post a sign with a map and instruction were to find the new site.  I was told by a number of folks that no sign nor map was posted at the New Justice Center.  Some folks were late and were not allowed to enter.  My Pastor and his wife were some of those turned away.
4.  Better communication with the public.  Before the meeting, I roamed the room greeting folks.  One common question was, “Where’s the ballot box?”  All to many thought the caucus was just like the primary with a ballot.  Many people there did not know they would not be voting on a presidential candidate but for delegates.
5.  If I heard correctly, only the four team leaders and the chairman had a copy of the proposed rules submitted by the Rules Committee.  Going forward, copies should be available as handouts to be distributed as attendees passed through the credentialing process.  Our caucus referred to the rules numerous times during the meeting.  I had an opportunity to glance over them at the beginning of the meeting.  Most of those attending did not and did not understand some of the issues under discussion.

6. Provide a brief handout on parliamentary procedures, explanations for “Points of Order, Points of Information, and Question.”

7.  Finally, the county Central Committee should, and may have such already, schedule a review of the planning and performance of the caucus.  Along with that review, record a “lessons learned” document for any future events.  We don’t, as a party, want continue to make the same mistakes if/when the next caucus occurs.

I’m sure those who were more actively involved in the planning and conduct of the caucus can add more to my short list above.  It is as important to document what went well as that that didn’t go well.  When the next caucus or large meeting occurs, use those lessons learned to make that future event a success. 

As important Robert’s Rules of Order are for a successful event, risk management—what could go wrong and how to mitigate the risks, is a top tool for planning.  Lessons Learned provide input to the risk management process to make the meeting move smoothly.

Judging from the size of caucuses across the state, the Republican Party has grown.  More and more are interested in Grass Roots politics.  Many, such as myself, are becoming more active to work within the Party and to restore confidence in our government and respect to the Constitution.  The Party as a whole must be prepared to accept these new members and integrate them into all levels from the local, through the state and on to the national committees.

We have a great opportunity before us. To paraphrase Archy Bunker, “Let us not screw this up!”

Missouri Republican Caucus, Cass County Style

My wife and I attended the Cass County Republican caucus Saturday.  It was our first caucus and we looked forward to the experience.  To say it was a learning experience is an understatement. From beginning to end, the caucus was five hours of instruction.

This year, the ‘Pub caucus was specifically designed to give all counties, rather than a populous few, representation.  Delegates selected at the local caucuses will go to caucuses for each congressional district on April 21st, and to the state caucus on June 2nd.  The congressional caucuses will select delegates to the national convention. The state caucus will select some state-wide delegates and alternates for the national convention.  (Note: I’m relying on memory and the state caucus may select some other delegates not mentioned here.)

The Cass County caucus started at 10:30am.  It was moved late in the week from the New Justice Center to the Harrisonville High School when early estimates indicated the Justice Center would be too small. As always, there were some who did not get the word.

The process was straight forward.  We arrived, filled out an affidavit showing our name, address, attesting that we were registered voters and that we were Republicans.  We then showed our photo IDs and were credentialed.  This process would come to be important later in the session because the state rules and the rules adopted later stated that all delegates and alternates had to be credentialed. We were each given a numbered red card that we would present to have our vote counted and to be allowed to re-enter the caucus if we had to leave.

Everyone who attended and signed the affidavit was credentialed allowing anyone attending to be qualified as a delegate or alternate.  The final count was 342 credentialed attendees.

The meeting open with the Pledge of Allegiance and a Prayer.  The first order of business was the selection of a caucus chairman.  Two candidates were submitted, Bill Kartsonis by the Santorum faction and Ron Johnson. I’m unsure who nominated Ron Johnson. Ron Johnson won the vote on a 51% to 49% spread.

The Rules Committee Chairman, presented the proposed caucus rules. These were the same as the proposed rules issued by the state.  After discussion, one amendment was added to require the delegates to be bound for the first ballot to their candidate. Thereafter they would be released to vote their conscience.

Under these rules, if no one candidate acquired more than 50% of the votes, delegates would be selected proportionally from the four candidate groups.  The initial assumption was that no one group had than 50+% majority.  It was supported by the fact that the Santorum faction, recognizably the largest group at the caucus, had failed to get a majority of votes for their candidate for caucus chairman.

Two and a half hours had passed and we were just getting to the meat of the caucus—the straw poll to determine the distribution of supporters for the four Presidential candidates.
 


Group          Votes      %      Delegates   Alt. Delegates
Santorum:     162      51%         22                 22
Paul:               88      28%         12                 12
Romney:         37      12%           5                   5
Gingrich:        27         9%          4                   4
Total:            314                      43                 43

As a full disclosure, my wife and I were in the Newt Gingrich camp.  Frankly, it was a close choice for us between Gingrich and Santorum. I could live with either but I liked Gingrich’s aggressiveness, intelligence and his scoring points on Obama rather than on other ‘Pub candidates. I had hoped to be a delegate for Gingrich to the District and State Caucuses, but that was not to happen.

After the straw poll the Santorum faction had sufficient votes to block the proportional slate.  As the session continued, it was apparent the Santorum leadership intended to seize control of the caucus from the beginning.  It was only by a narrow vote their chairman candidate was defeated.  The initial agreements supporting proportional representation was tossed aside and an alliance was made between the Santorum and the Romney camps to acquire a clear majority.

Understanding politics, this was acceptable.  The Santorum group had the votes. They could now present their slate of delegates and get them approved. Cass County was allocated 43 delegates and 43 alternate delegates for the subsequent District and State caucuses.  

What happened next is where the controversy arose.  The Santorum faction failed to present a complete slate.

Initially when delegate lists were presented for the proportional distribution, the Santorum faction submitted only twenty-two names—their percentage of the 43 delegates. However, they did not submit any names for alternates.  The other three groups did submit people for their allocation of delegates and alternates.

As the Chairman read the delegate counts submitted by the leadership of each faction, the Santorum shortage was revealed and the Santorum group erupted.  It took some time for the Master-at-Arms to quiet the room.  The Chairman recessed the caucus for fifteen minutes to allow the Santorum group to present a full list of 22 delegates and 22 alternates.

At the end of the recess, instead of submitting a complete list of names—delegates and alternates, the Santorum leadership called for an up-down vote of the proportional slate “as presented”, that is short 22 alternate delegates from the Santorum faction.

During the recess the leadership of the Santorum group made an alliance with the Romney group to vote down the proportional slate.  With that alliance, those two group could control the slate and leave the Paul and Gingrich groups out in the cold.

And that is exactly what happened.  One Santorum leader was heard to say that since Santorum won the primary in February, it was only right that he receive all the delegates from Cass County.

Yes, it was within the rules.  Combined, the two groups had the votes to sweep the slate. They did so.  And, truth be told, while it was unexpected, I can’t argue against that tactic.  It was within the rules.  What followed next, however, was not.

The rules voted and accepted at the beginning of the caucus, stated that ALL delegates and alternates had to be credentialed, i.e., be a Cass County resident, be a registered voter and attest to be a “good Republican.”  Each of us attended completed and signed before a witness an affidavit attesting to those conditions. Therefore each attendee had been credentialed.

The Chairman asked the Santorum leadership to present their slate and for each delegate and alternate to stand and be recognized.

The Santorum leadership refused.  They claimed that the rules stated that proposed delegates and alternates did not have to be present to be qualified.  That was true as I read the rules.  The Chairman agreed.  Already, according to the vote counts, thirty people had left the caucus some time between the beginning to the caucus and the time when the initial slate was voted down.

But those thirty people had been credentialed.  By refusing to present the slate before the caucus, how could those of us there, those of us who would vote for that slate, know if the slate met the requirement to be credentialed.  It could happen, as one attendee stated, the Barack Obama’s name could be on that list.  

Again, the Santorum leadership refused to reveal their slate and they had the votes to force an adjournment of the caucus. One excuse was that it was getting late and some attendees wanted to attend the St. Pat’s parade in Belton.  Politicians love to get their face before a crowd.

After five hours, the caucus adjourned. No one, outside of the Santorum faction leadership knew who was on the slate of delegates and alternates.  It was a prime example of the tyranny of the majority. Democracy in action.  For all we knew, the slate was filled with democrats although I say that tongue-in-cheek.

After the caucus, I spoke with a number of people who attended. Many, like my wife and I, were neophytes—and to an extent, naive in local politics.  We received a good teaching experience.

I am very curious why the Santorum leadership refused to present their candidates to the caucus body.  They had to provide the names to the Chairman so he can forward them to the GOP state organization.  The consensus of those whom I spoke at the caucus was that the list was filled with the cronies of the Santorum leaders. I’m not that familiar with the county’s internal politics to know if that’s a possibility.  

Another attendee said that the slate contained names of some who were not present and had not been credentialed.  The Chairman offered to give the Santorum leadership time to acquire credentials for any on his slate who had not been credentialed that morning. Again, the Santorum leadership refused.

I had several conversations over the weekend about the results of the caucus. I was curious about the refusal to reveal the slate by the Santorum leaders.  I have since been told, by more than one attendee, that the slate contained names of people who did not attend nor were credentialed and that in the end, the slate will be short by 4 to 8 delegates.  The number varies depending on the source.

Since the Santorum leadership refused to present their list of names, we don’t know what the real motivation was.  Inexperience? Perhaps. Poor planning and leadership? Perhaps.  Chrony politics? Perhaps.  All of the above?  Perhaps.


The Santorum group won…but in the end, the county lost.  I don’t mind that Santorum will get our votes at the next caucus.  I do mind that in their pursuit of seizing control of the caucus, the Santorum leadership lost track of the purpose of the caucus—to provide Cass County with full representation.  An apparent personal agenda won with little regard for others.

Regardless which faction you favored in the caucus, I can guarantee the experience will be remembered for some time to come.

Inflation strikes!

When Mrs. Crucis and I had been married only a few years, the Viet Nam War ended.  Nixon had been elected and was making good on his promise to end the war.  The peace talks finally bore fruit.  But another fruit, one created by LBJ and the democrats had ripened too.  Inflation and debt.

Most citizens now don’t remember those days. The days of high, over 10%, inflation, interest rates over 20%, and wage and price freeze.  It happened at the end of WW1, again after WW2, and in 1976, with Jimmah Cahtah in the White House, instead of using the wisdom of past presidents to keep their hands off the economy, Jimmah had to meddle.  Home mortgage interest rates skyrocketed to nearly 25%.

The turmoil continued until Reagan was elected.  Within two years, interest rates fell like a rock off a cliff, employment was up and the recovery was well underway.

I scanned the news websites this morning and what do I see.  Jimmah Cahtah redux.  For those of you who don’t know, the Consumer Price Index measures inflation.

The cost of living in the U.S. rose in February by the most in 10 months, reflecting a jump in gasoline that failed to spread to other goods and services.
The consumer-price index climbed 0.4 percent, matching the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, after increasing 0.2 percent the prior month, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The so-called core measure, which excludes more volatile food and energy costs, climbed 0.1 percent, less than projected.
The biggest jump in gasoline in more than a year accounted for about 80 percent of the increase in prices last month, leaving households with less money to spend on other goods and services.


The biggest jump in gasoline in more than a year accounted for about 80 percent of the increase in prices last month, leaving households with less money to spend on other goods and services.

The government, for decades, has manipulated reports of inflation by dropping data for the most volatile items affected by inflation, fuel and food.

The “core” items mentioned in the article are those that do not include food and fuel.  When you add food and fuel, the CPI doubles, more than double if you delve into the figures.

One reason why the price of oil has spiked is inflation.  The Dollar is still the currency of oil.  When the fed pumps out more dollars, it takes more dollars to buy the same amount of oil, i.e, the price goes up.  Some analysts have declared if the fed hadn’t run off more dollars in their so-called “Quantitative Easing,” the price of oil would be in the $80 range instead of the current price over $100 a barrel.  In short 20% of the increase of oil can be attributed to inflation.

Dollar Inflation the Primary Cause of Rising Oil Prices

I’m under strict instructions, and have been from the beginning, to not talk about the dollar.” -White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino, March 17, 2008 – Link

There is a direct relationship between Dollar value and oil prices. All crude oil purchases worldwide have been conducted exclusively in U.S. Dollars for over thirty-five years. [1] When Dollar value falls via inflation (i.e. the creation of money by the Federal Reserve and other banking mechanisms), oil prices rise. [2] [3] [4]Petrodollar Inflation; it occurred during the 1970′s oil ‘price shock’, and it is occurring right now. [1] This phenomenon could be called
Oil is a critical economic and strategic resource – because every country needs oil to develop and prosper, they also need U.S. Dollars. This has raised the demand, and value, of the Dollar worldwide for several decades. [1]
However, the U.S. Dollar is continuously devalued (inflated) by Federal Reserve and U.S. government monetary policies. [5] Due to recent ‘super-inflation’ of the Dollar, oil producing nations are losing money – or rather, wealth – by selling oil in Dollars. To prevent losses, oil producing nations will sell some or all of their oil in other currencies (Euros, for example). This further devalues the Dollar, since oil buying countries no longer need them to purchase oil.

So when you hear Bernake talk about more “Quantitative Easing,” know, too, your gas at the pump will be going up as well. 

To paraphrase, Obama’s Pastor and mentor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, “Obama’s chickennnsss!…have come home!…to roost!”

Thursday Thoughts

Darrell Issa tries to get documents from Holder’s DoJ.  After multiple delays, he receives paper so redacted as to be useless.  What remains that is readable is questionable.  After all, this administration is built on lies.  They manipulate data and when caught, deny the act.  All that makes this cartoon so appropriate.
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The 2nd Amendment had a couple of winners recently.  First Maryland’s “May Issue” concealed carry statues were declared unconstitutional because they were capriciously granted to favorites.  This decision will undoubtedly be appealed but it puts another nail in the coffin of gun-control and makes the anti-2A forces retreat once again.

The second case was concealed carry on campus in Colorado.  The Colorado courts have declared unconstitutional the prohibition against student’s, who have all the proper state permits, from carrying on campus. No more gun-free zones in Colorado universities.  No more Virginia Tech-type shooting galleries.

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We’re from the government and we’re here to help you!  Whether you can afford it or not.

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And finally, Eric Holder blocked the use of photo-IDs for voting in Texas.  Yep, gotta protect democrat vote fraud in the Lone Star State.

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As you can see, I had trouble finding a topic for today.  Cartoons are always a good fall-back and today, I had plenty to choose from.          

No Sales Tax on Caucus Platform

I belong to a number of conservative groups in Missouri. Note, I said “Conservative,” not Republican groups although I belong to those too.  For the most part, quite a large part, I agree with their viewpoints—smaller government, fiscal and social responsibility, adherence to the Constitution as it was originally formulated and presented to the states.

But there is one area I vehemently disagree.

Many of these groups are on FaceBook.  I received notice of a post this morning concerning the ‘Pub party platform for this coming Caucus and what should be included.  Once again, the Hydra raised its head—the Federal Sales Tax.

I am continually amazed how people think this is a solution for their hatred of the IRS!  I don’t like the IRS either.  However, it has a necessary purpose.  As long as there are taxes, some agency must exist to insure the government gets its legal cut.  It’s true that often the IRS can give mob leg-breakers tips and lessons how to get people to cough up what is owed.  I don’t like those techniques either.

However, removing the IRS, which seems to be the primary motive of the Sales Tax crowd, won’t remove the need for the function served by the IRS.  Something WILL replace it.

Be that as it may, let me list the objections that I have about any sales tax.

It is a tax on consumption.  Read that again!  It a tax on consumption.  It will increase cost of the taxed item to the buyer.

When times are good, the personal impact is less and often ignored.  The personal bite has a lesser impact. When times are bad, like it has been since the fall of 2008, the tax bite grows longer teeth. 

When times are tough, people review their expenditures…and cut back.  Necessities come first, everything else is reduced or cut completely according to circumstances.

That has had a decisive impact to Cass County. A county sales tax is the sole revenue stream for the county.  Sales tax revenues have fallen short of forecast.  The budget was developed using those forecasts and now when the bills are coming due, the funds aren’t there.  Spending levels depended on that missing revenue. Now, for a number of reasons, the county could have bankruptcy.

That’s one danger of a sales tax, the “trickle-down” effect.  But let’s take another look at sales taxes—the unintended consequences.

Who and what will be required to be taxed.  The proponents say that a sales tax will be more equitable, that everyone will pay their “fair” (oh, how I detest that word) share.  Does anyone really think those on the lower end of the economic scale, those on various welfare programs, will pay their “fair” share?  I don’t.  They already receive food stamps, many receive free or subsidized housing, free medical care.  The liberals will immediately move to exempt this block from the sale tax and given the plethora of liberal judges in the state, I think it would be a matter of hours before some judge blocked the sales tax or exempted the welfare class. 

But that’s just an expected legal entanglement.  What about those working poor?  They must buy food, fuel, pay for housing just like every taxpayer.  The impact to them is higher prices for the necessities of life.  It matters not if the base price of those necessities doesn’t increase (they will), the bottom line is that with the additional sales tax, food, fuel and housing will take more of their limited dollars every month. The people will, in self-defense, cut spending for other items that can be deferred or ended. 

Then there is the impact of increased sales taxes on fuel.  Shall there be limits on who shall be taxed there.  Should fuel be taxed? There is already approximately $0.35 state and federal tax per gallon now and around $0.45 tax per gallon of diesel fuel. 

Increased taxes on fuel has a significant trickle-down effect on everything, everything that is transported by truck from food, fuel, delivery of manufactured items, from auto-parts to clothes at the local Target and Walmart stores. Everything that is sold at the retail level must be transported by truck. If fuel costs go up, so will those items.

Fortunately, we here in Cass County, live close to the Kansas State line.  Kansas has a higher sales tax than Missouri at this time.  If Missouri’s sale tax increases to that or higher than that in Kansas, what is the incentive to buy here, in Missouri?

None.

People will take their limited dollars to neighboring states with lower taxes and buy their necessities there.  Shall Missouri build guard posts on the state borders to impose a sales tax on people returning from shopping trips in other states? 

It is interesting that Kansas has, in past times, sent “spies” into Missouri looking for Kansas residents buying in Missouri to avoid the higher sales tax in Kansas.  Will Missouri now create an office to monitor our buying habits?

The proponents say, “We’ll exempt food and fuel.”  From everyone or just individuals?  If individuals are exempt, what about corporate entities?  Like restaurants.  Shall restaurants be exempt from sales tax on food purchases?  You do know they will then pass those costs along as increased prices for that steak, or hamburger you just bought, don’t you?

And what about the service industry?  Shall they be taxed, too?  They sell a service.  If we’re to be “fair”, the service industry must collect sales tax too.  Like your plumber, or your neighboring electrician.

Shall internet sales be taxes, too?  Many such sales already are.  There will be a significant impact to internet sales as well.  Amazon already has legal battles in some states over the collection of sales tax.  So much that Amazon has moved some facilities from those states.  A number of on-line dealers will no longer sell to California residents for similar reasons.

If the proponents say they’ll exempt every example of these taxed items, how will that meet the state’s revenue requirements?  How can the state properly project revenue to insure it has the funds to meet the budget?

They can’t.  That’s how Cass County got itself in the situation it is now for revenue.  They forecasted a very modest increase and discovered that instead of a slight increase of revenue from the county sales tax, the revenue decreased.  People cut their spending.

With every exemption, the sales tax system gets more complex, more difficult to stay in compliance.  Errors in collection, errors in accounting will increase.

That is the problem with income taxes—too much complexity, too much confusion, unequal application, unequal assessment, unequal enforcement.

A consumption tax can easily turn into a death spiral from negative feedback.  Taxes increase. People spend less. Revenues fall. The state then increases the sales tax to compensate for the lost revenue. People cut further, buy in neighboring states, move out-of-state. Revenues continue to fall.  That’s negative feedback.

So, what is to be done?  I agree the current progressive income tax is too complex and too unequal to continue.  At the federal level, it is supported by the 16th Amendment. To remove the income tax at the federal level, that amendment would have to be repealed.  The likelihood that of happening is remote to say the least.

If a federal sales tax is imposed without that repeal of the 16th Amendment, we would end up with both a federal sales tax AND a federal income tax the next dime the liberals gain control of a house of congress.  I have no expectation the establishment ‘Pubs would fight the revival of the income tax. Worst, the federal sales tax would morf into a Value Added Tax like Europe. At every stage of production, through the wholesaler, to the retailer, to the end user, every stage is taxed and the rolled up costs added to that of the end-user.

That last is exactly what the liberals and democrats want—turn the US into a welfare state like Europe destroying the Constitution in the process.

No, there are too many dangers in expanding scope of sales taxes to allow such to continue.  If you truly want equitable taxation, change the progressive income taxes into flat taxes.  Everyone pays, no exemptions, a flat rate for all, individuals and corporations.  The progressive tax can be changed to a flat tax by an act of Congress or the state legislature.  The trick is passing it in such a fashion to make it impossible (if that can be done) to revert to a progressive tax model.

That is the true fair tax.

All to often people seize on an idea without thinking it through. There are always unintended consequences to every act.  Most can be recognized and planned for.  Any risk manager knows this.

Let’s all be risk managers. Block any inclusion of a state and/or federal sales tax in our party platform come the caucus.

My ongoing saga

Is it cheating to copy a Face Book status post to my blog?  Well, they’re both mine and I have readers who don’t see both sides so I’m gonna cheat for today.

The saga is correcting my voter registration.  I’ve lived in the same house, same address for the last 15 years. I’ve voted in the same ward, same precinct for that same period.  Now magically, my house seems to have been transported to the opposite side of my street.

Here’s the tale…
The saga of voter registration—mine and that of my wife, continues. During the February “practice” primary, we discovered we were no longer in the voting book. After showing our registration cards, we were written into the back of the book and allowed to vote.

The following week, I went down to Harrisonville and checked with the County Clerk. Lo! Our house had been moved to the east side of the road putting us in a different precinct 32. The problem with that is that we still live on the west side of the street. After checking the maps, looking at my “old” registration card, I was told it’d be fixed. Point of information, I’ve lived in the 33rd precinct for 15 years. I’m smack in the middle of Ward 2.

Saturday, my wife and I received our new registration cards. No change. We were still in 32 instead of 33.

Another trip to Harrisonville today. Same scenario as back in February. Yes, I’m in 33 and new registration cards will be mailed.

When I got home, I sat in the car thinking about a comment the lady at the desk said, “even numbered houses were on the east side of the street in precinct 32.” I offered to show her on Google maps my house was even numbered and clearly on the west side of the street.

She didn’t argue, just made a note and said she’d fix it. Then she said, it was SOUTH Sxxxx that had even numbered houses on the east!

???
That’s contrary to all the numbering conventions I’m aware of but there are always exceptions.
 So I drove south down my street, down North Sxxxxx (all even numbers of the west side,) to the switch to South Sxxxxx. I continued on south past the first two blocks on South Sxxxxx, the houses on the west side still had even numbers!!

I only drove two blocks on South Sxxxxx. I was heading to the park for my daily (I wish!) walk. Maybe the house numbers switched further south towards Lucy Web Road. I’ll check that another day, but I doubt there are any even numbered houses on the east side of the street.

My wife and I should be getting corrected voter registration cards before the April city elections. I’m wondering how many others on my street have been shifted into Precinct 32 from 33? I don’t know if the shift has any consequences. I’m just a retired engineer who instinctively tries to fix errors when he stumbles across them.