Saturday, April 23, 2011

Think Atlas Shrugged Is Fantasy? Think Again

DISCLAIMER: Unlike most conservatives, I have no problem with requiring internet retailers to pay state sales taxes. But then, I am famously in favor of consumption taxes, anyway.

But this is the case of doing the right thing for all the wrong reasons.

Illinois has budget problems. It also has a job problem. So as blue-state governments are wont to do, Illinois’s political class took on the “how could we possibly make things worse?” challenge and… successfully made things worse, imposing an internet sales tax on online retailers that has not only cost the state jobs, but ultimately makes Illinois a less attractive place to live and do business.

[…]

Wilson says after today — Amazon will boycott business with BradsDeals — and roughly 9,000 other retailers in Illinois to skirt the tax. Illinois residents can still go online and get the latest best seller from Amazon, they just won’t be getting that book from any Amazon affiliate in Illinois.

[…]

“But Patrick,” you say, “surely Illinois would just lift the job-destroying taxes they’ve imposed.” But nay, friends, we must remember the challenge. Why would Illinois’s political class fix its state’s problem, when they can make its problem America’s problem.

Which is why, as the segment notes, Sen. Dick Durbin will imminently introduce legislation to do just that.

This is exactly the type of thing that happens in Atlas Shrugged. Rather than rewarding successful states, or better yet, letting the market handle things with a more laissez-faire approach, the government punishes the successful to bring them down to the level of failing states.

There’s no doubt that Illinois is a failure, and they’re doing everything they can to make the state inhospitable to business. That’s why Caterpillar flirted with the idea of leaving the state. It’s why many other business will. So, instead of fixing their problem, they want to make their problems, yours. This is the liberal idea of “fair”. Mine is different. My idea is that everyone should get an equal chance to succeed, not an equal chance to fail.

But that’s not all. Remember, I said earlier that this was a bad week for people that believe in the Constitution. In an effort to one up Illinois, the NLRB is attempting one of the most extreme power grabs I’ve ever heard of. As Ed Morrisey points out:

I’ve heard plenty of people dismiss Atlas Shrugged (the book as well as the movie) as overwrought, contrived paranoia about the regulatory state.  The government can’t run companies through its regulatory system, critics scoff, no matter what a Russian ex-patriate thought more than 50 years ago.  No one is marching into manufacturers in the US and telling the Hank Reardons of the world what they can build and where.

Of course not:

The NLRB obliged with its complaint yesterday asking an administrative law judge to stop Boeing’s South Carolina production because its executives had cited the risk of strikes as a reason for the move. Boeing acted out of “anti-union animus,” says the complaint by acting general counsel Lafe Solomon, and its decision to move had the effect of “discouraging membership in a labor organization” and thus violates federal law.

Ah, that must be the Anti Dog-Eat-Dog Law, or one of the Fairness Laws, or something, right?  The WSJ isn’t sure what law the NLRB is talking about, either.  Not only do businesses routinely relocate to find the most advantageous environment possible, states and cities compete for that business by calculating their business climate. If this has escaped the notice of the NLRB, perhaps they should get out more.

This is atrocious. The NLRB is part of the Executive branch, so this comes straight from the President Barack Obama’s (D-USA) White House. The White House is telling Boeing where they can and can not do business. Next they’ll be telling you where you can live and who you can do business with, and what you can buy. Oh wait. They already do the last two. It’s called ObamaCare.

The case goes before an administrative law judge in Seattle on June 14th. This won’t be the last post I make on this issue. It’s not worth mentioning that I have little faith in a judge from Seattle, of all places.

I don’t listen to Glenn Beck much anymore (yes, I know, I promised a blog post about that), but I remember he used to say with regularity:

“You’re going to wake up one morning and you’re not going to recognize your country anymore.”

Sadly, this is yet another thing that Beck is right about.

Over the last two years, I’ve been waffling between the belief that Obama is incompetent, or deliberately trying to destroy the country. Lately, I’m leaning more and more to the deliberate side. To say that I’ve lost faith in this President would be the understatement of the year. I now no longer believe that he believes that the America I grew up in should continue to exist.

He’s getting closer, too. I truly believe that if we give him four more years, he can accomplish his goal of destroying America. I have a friend who believes that if Obama is re-elected in 2012, that we won’t have elections in 2016. I’ve dismissed him as crazy up until now, but I’m starting to wonder. He clearly sees no limits to his power or to the power of the Executive.

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