Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

A lot has happened in a week, as Krauthammer saying “the president now is toxic” seems to be getting proved more and more true.  That’s because the Obama government is chosing winners and losers – the winners will be the recipient class of serfs and the big government autocrats, and the losers will be independent people who took care of their own lives.

And it keeps getting more and more notice.

Things like this gullible leftist couple getting hit with Obamacare bills is in no small part how (via HotAir):

San Francisco architect Lee Hammack says he and his wife, JoEllen Brothers, are “cradle Democrats.” They have donated to the liberal group Organizing for America and worked the phone banks a year ago for President Obama’s re-election.

This plan was ending, Kaiser’s letters told them, because it did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. “Everything is taken care of,” the letters said. “There’s nothing you need to do.”

The letters said the couple would be enrolled in new Kaiser plans that would cost nearly $1,300 a month for the two of them (more than $15,000 a year).

And for that higher amount, what would they get? A higher deductible ($4,500), a higher out-of-pocket maximum ($6,350), higher hospital costs (40 percent of the cost) and possibly higher costs for doctor visits and drugs.

So what is Hammack going to do? If his income were to fall below four times the federal poverty level, or about $62,000 for a family of two, he would qualify for subsidies that could lower his premium cost to as low as zero. If he makes even one dollar more, he gets nothing.

That’s what he’s leaning toward — lowering his salary or shifting more money toward a retirement account and applying for a subsidy.

“We’re not changing our views because of this situation, but it hurt to hear Obama saying, just the other day, that if our plan has been dropped it’s because it wasn’t any good, and our costs would go up only slightly,” he said. “We’re gratified that the press is on the case, but frustrated that the stewards of the ACA don’t seem to have heard.”

They had a really good plan, they lived well, and now they’re being penalized for it.  Their solution is to drop their income in order to get handouts from the government.  They are willingly becoming serfs.

The problem is that the healthy and those who live healthy are just “genetic lottery winners” who were paying an “artificially low price” because of “discrimination” against the sick.

Obamacare is reverse eugenics.  Live right, eat healthy, exercise, and you must be punished with taxes in order to pay for your unhealthy neighbor because it’s “discrimination” to recognize your success over their failure.  It’s “health justice”.

Some, like the Hammacks, believe in the idea that genetic winners and those who live healthy must be punished – even at their own expense.  Of course, they believe in it being a price levied against other people, and they’re personally going Galt.

Previously.

Now, some more choice quotes.  From a Yahoo piece titled “Health Care Shoppers Aren’t as Dumb as Obama Thinks“:

Jim Stadler is one of the “5 percenters”—the 5% of Americans with health insurance policies they purchased on their own—who got notified recently that their carrier was canceling coverage because it didn’t meet the tougher new minimum requirements of the ACA. Stadler, a freelance writer who lives outside of Charlotte, N.C., was laid off from a full-time job at an ad agency in 2009, at which point he became a freelancer and bought individual health coverage for him and his two kids.

Under Stadler’s expiring policy, his premiums are $411 a month, for coverage that always seemed adequate to him. “It’s not a substandard policy,” he says. “I thought it was a great deal.” The premium for the new policy offered by his insurer will be $843 a month, with coverage that’s more or less the same as far as he’s concerned.

Since Stadler’s family’s income is too high to qualify for federal subsidies, he’s considering putting his kids on the policy his wife, a teacher, gets through her job. But that would be expensive, too. “The thing that gets me,” says Stadler, who voted for Obama in the 2012 presidential election, “is I thought Barack Obama was the only guy I could trust in Washington. He ended up lying to me because he said, if I like my insurance, I could keep it.”

Patterson, a 58-year-old unemployed insurance broker, pays $500 a month for insurance now, plus about $100 in co-pays for three brand-name medications used to treat chronic migraines. She might qualify for subsidies under the exchange that would help lower her premiums, but she worries that her out-of-pocket costs for drugs will skyrocket. “I had a really good plan,” she says. “My main problem now is uncertainty. It has me sick. I don’t know whether or not I’ll have health care and I don’t know what it will cost me.”

They canceled my insurance, then said, ‘Hey go get yourself some insurance, and if you don’t, we’re going to fine you,’”says Nate Quarry, a 41-year-old former mixed martial arts fighter who lives outside of Portland, Ore., and whose insurance will expire at year-end. Quarry was happy with the $650-a-month plan that covered him and his daughter. He doesn’t qualify for subsidies, so he’s been looking for a new individual policy similar to the one he’s losing.

And there’s this story from Breitbart, where some NJ college students are losing low-cost catastrophic insurance that isn’t “good” enough for Obama:

New Jersey built up a relatively extensive network of junior colleges in the 1970’s and 80’s. Now, ObamaCare is forcing them to drop cost effective insurance programs they had previously provided to students.

Many students have found themselves in health care limbo this semester. Community colleges in New Jersey used to offer cheap health insurance for hundreds of dollars a year but they had to drop the practice because Federal Law prohibits the sale of bare bones policies.

Via HotAir, from the Chicago Sun-Times a former Dem staffer who forced Obamacare on you, now has it forced on her:

I spent two years defending Obamacare. I had constituents scream at me, spit at me and call me names that I can’t put in print. The congressman was not re-elected in 2010 mainly because of the anti-Obamacare anger. When the congressman was not re-elected, I also (along with the rest of our staff) lost my job. I was upset that because of the health care issue, I didn’t have a job anymore but still defended Obamacare because it would make health care available to everyone at, what I assumed, would be an affordable price. I have now learned that I was wrong. Very wrong.

When Klinkhamer lost her congressional job, she had to buy an individual policy on the open market.

Three years ago, it was $225 a month with a $2,500 deductible. Each year it went up a little to, as of Sept. 1, $291 with a $3,500 deductible. Then, a few weeks ago, she got a letter.

“Blue Cross,” she said, “stated my current coverage would expire on Dec. 31, and here are my options: I can have a plan with similar benefits for $647.12 [or] I can have a plan with similar [but higher] pricing for $322.32 but with a $6,500 deductible.”

She went on, “Blue Cross also tells me that if I don’t pick one of the options, they will just assume I want the one for $647. … Someone please tell me why my premium in January will be $356 more than in December?

The sticker shock Klinkhamer is experiencing is something millions of individual policyholders are reeling from having gotten similar letters from their private insurers.

“I am a Democrat and I believe in health care for all,” she said.

And I was excited that previously uninsured people could now get insurance on the open market. But this is not affordable to me.

The Democrat party’s chickens are coming home to roost.

Wayne Allyn Root has this piece at FOX where he lays out the case:

The GOP needs to stop calling ObamaCare a “trainwreck.” That means it’s a mistake, or accident. That means it’s a gigantic flop, or failure. It’s NOT.

This is a brilliant, cynical, and purposeful attempt to damage the U.S. economy, kill jobs, and bring down capitalism.

It’s not a failure, it’s Obama’s grand success.

It’s not a “trainwreck,” ObamaCare is a suicide attack. He wants to hurt us, to bring us to our knees, to capitulate- so we agree under duress to accept big government.

Obama’s hero and mentor was Saul Alinsky — a radical Marxist intent on destroying capitalism. Alinksky’s stated advice was to call the other guy “a terrorist” to hide your own intentions.

To scream that the other guy is “ruining America,” while you are the one actually plotting the destruction of America. To claim again and again…in every sentence of every speech…that you are “saving the middle class,” while you are busy wiping out the middle class.

He lays out the whole case, but the quick summary is that Obamacare is a transformative piece of legislation.  It forces redistribution of wealth, from the productive members of society to the less productive (also regardless of what they did before – so rich older folks with low income but lots of savings get handouts, while poor young folks with higher income but no savings get taxed to pay for it).

Obamacare destroys the middle class by deciding who the winners and losers will be.  As with the last post here, a lot of middle-class liberals are even astonished that they’re being targeted to pay for Obamacare.  I guess they didn’t expect to be the ones being liquidated.

Obamacare destroys small businesses – Root suggests those are the supporters of the GOP, but they’re more the supporters of the Tea Party than anything.  It does destroy ideological opposition through economic warfare.

Obamacare does give the IRS power over 16% or so of the US economy, moreso than it already has, and as an enforcement arm that garnish your wages, it can ignore the Fourth Amendment by just taking your property and earnings from you without your knowledge.

Now today, from Forbes, a piece that notes what we’ve known all along:

More suspicious voices on the right warned that the Left would use a collapsing Obama Care as an excuse for a single payer medical care system. The “train wreck” of the Obama Care roll-out has underscored its incredible complexity, contradictions, and peccadilloes, and we are just beginning to scratch the surface. Who knows what horrors lie buried in the thousands of pages of regulations that no one has read?

The warning that the Republicans will be blamed for the crash of Obama Care is already coming true. As ueber-Liberal Robert Reich writes from his Ivory Tower of Berkeley (Don’t Blame Dems. We Wanted Single Payer):

“Had Democrats stuck to the original Democratic vision and built comprehensive health insurance on Social Security and Medicare, it would have been cheaper, simpler, and more widely accepted by the public.”

The Left is champing at the bit to go single payer, even before Obama Care has begun. The employer mandate has been delayed and thousands of exemptions have been granted. Of the major provisions, only the individual mandate and fines remain, and even they may be delayed. But the liberals say:  Let’s change the venue and the rules before the game even starts.

The objective was to create fundamental transformation.  Also, the Forbes piece brings up Paul Krugman, who as we all know, is an idiot – but more on that later.

It is successful because it destroys the health care economy and sets the stage for single payer government socialist health care.  It’s not good, it’s not successful, it’s not what we want, it’s not something that can even work, but it’s what they will force upon us.

A few choice quotes.  The first from the LA Times:

Thousands of Californians are discovering what Obamacare will cost them — and many don’t like what they see.

These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years.  …

Fullerton resident Jennifer Harris thought she had a great deal, paying $98 a month for an individual plan through Health Net Inc. She got a rude surprise this month when the company said it would cancel her policy at the end of this year. Her current plan does not conform with the new federal rules, which require more generous levels of coverage.

Now Harris, a self-employed lawyer, must shop for replacement insurance. The cheapest plan she has found will cost her $238 a month. She and her husband don’t qualify for federal premium subsidies because they earn too much money, about $80,000 a year combined.

It doesn’t seem right to make the middle class pay so much more in order to give health insurance to everybody else,” said Harris, who is three months pregnant. “This increase is simply not affordable.”

Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.

She said, ‘I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,'” Kehaly said.

…many are frustrated at being forced to give up the plans they have now. They frequently cite assurances given by Obama that Americans could hold on to their health insurance despite the massive overhaul.

All we’ve been hearing the last three years is if you like your policy you can keep it,” said Deborah Cavallaro, a real estate agent in Westchester. “I’m infuriated because I was lied to.

Cavallaro received her cancellation notice from Anthem Blue Cross this month. The company said a comparable Bronze plan would cost her 65% more, or $484 a month. She doubts she’ll qualify for much in premium subsidies, if any. Regardless, she resents losing the ability to pick and choose the benefits she wants to pay for.

I just won’t have health insurance because I can’t pay this increase,” she said.

And from the San Jose Mercury news:

Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama.

Yet, like many other Bay Area residents who pay for their own medical insurance, they were floored last week when they opened their bills: Their policies were being replaced with pricier plans that conform to all the requirements of the new health care law.

Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four.

“I was laughing at Boehner — until the mail came today,” Waschura said, referring to House Speaker John Boehner, who is leading the Republican charge to defund Obamacare.

“I really don’t like the Republican tactics, but at least now I can understand why they are so pissed about this. When you take $10,000 out of my family’s pocket each year, that’s otherwise disposable income or retirement savings that will not be going into our local economy.”

Of course, I want people to have health care,” Vinson said. “I just didn’t realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally.”

The hardcore leftists who believe in collectivism and destroying the individual for the common good still say it’s a good thing, of course:

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said the state and insurers agreed that clearing the decks by Jan. 1 was best for consumers in the long run despite the initial disruption. Lee has heard the complaints — even from his sister-in-law, who recently groused about her 50% rate increase.

People could have kept their cheaper, bad coverage, and those people wouldn’t have been part of the common risk pool,” Lee said. “We are better off all being in this together. We are transforming the individual market and making it better.”

Translation: “We are doing this to you.  We do not approve of your choices.  We will force you to change.  We will transform the market into what we want it to be.”

And when it doesn’t work, as it always doesn’t, they’ll start looking for people to blame and more people to squeeze money from, just like happens in every socialist/communist utopia.

“The rates aren’t going up because insurance companies are pocketing more money,” Lee said. “That is what it takes to pay the claims and deliver the healthcare.”

That would be bad if those people with the cheaper “bad” coverage wouldn’t be part of the collective.  So they are forced into the system in order to force them to pay for what liberals and leftists want to do with your money.

Gary McCoy / Cagle Cartoons

The same collectivist totalitarian logic would say that good cars are good, so everyone needs to drive a Cadillac.  Thus Kias will be made illegal, and anyone not buying a Cadillac will be taxed for a Cadillac until they buy a Cadillac.  Don’t need a Cadillac?  Well then you’re one of the stingy people with cheap, bad coverage who doesn’t know what’s best for yourself, and who’s a greedy selfish asshole who won’t pay for litte Billy’s Cadillac.  You must be punished because  you resist the collective.

“We believe the prices are higher than they should be,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica advocacy group. “This is giving a bad name to the Affordable Care Act.”

Socialism gives socialism a bad name every time.  Communism gives communism a bad name every time.  That’s why socialists and communists always lie and say that socialism and communism work, that every time they were historically used “that wasn’t real socialism/communism”, and other such lies.

The FSA [Free-Shit Army] strikes at two Wal-Marts in Louisiana courtesy of CBS news.

Wal-Marts in Springhill and Mansfield were ransacked by EBT users attempting to take advantage of the two store’s hospitality of allowing the users to use their cards even though the EBT debit system was down and there was no way to validate a balance on any specific card. Springhill police chief Will Lynd explained one such situation:

… the cards weren’t showing limits and they called corporate Walmart, whose spokesman  said to let the people use the cards anyway. From 7 to 9 p.m., people were loading up their carts, but when the cards began showing limits again around 9, one woman was detained because she rang up a bill of $700.00 and only had .49 on her card. She was held by police until corporate Walmart said they wouldn’t press charges if she left the food.

Providing for her family, or just plain looting? Tough to say either way unless you consider the mind of an average member of the FSA. They think anything and everything should come with out cost. From Healthcare to Obamaphones these people want MOAR!

moarNever mind the taxpayers footing the bill that’s what they want. Here is a further example of the behavior of FSA members:

Amateur video taken on shoppers’ cell phones shows dozens of shopping carts, piled high with merchandise, abandoned in the aisles of one Walmart after the announcement was made that EBT cards were once again showing accurate spending limits.

So now that our cards show a balance that doesn’t cover what we are “buying” let’s get the hell out of Dodge. Once the rules of trading have been reestablished, as usual, the FSA retreats in haste to its previous position.

There were people present who actually called this situation exactly as they saw it:

Shopper Stan Garcia was more critical of the unscrupulous shoppers, however, saying that taking advantage of the brief glitch in the benefits system amounted to “… plain theft. That’s stealing, that’s all I got to say about it.”

Agreed Stan, if you don’t have the cash you shouldn’t get the goods.

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We’ve talked about the push for an internet sales tax before, and some effects it’s going to have.  And now we’re seeing some more of those effects:

From the Miami Herald, about KC MO:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Online retailer Amazon is severing ties with its online associates in Missouri because of a new state law that subjects their transactions to sales taxes.

Amazon Associates write blogs or product reviews then link to Amazon.com, and collect commissions — between 4 percent and 8.5 percent — if people use that link to buy something on Amazon’s site.

Amazon is blaming a new Missouri new law that takes effect next week subjecting those online transactions to sales taxes for its decision to sever the ties, the Kansas City Star (http://is.gd/X0XZdE ) reported.

It’s worth noting that Amazon is for a federal internet sales tax, because it will be used to crush competitors.  Here they don’t like it because it bothers them.

The end result is that small internet companies are destroyed, the taxes that the government wants to wring out of the citizen vanish with the companies, and peoples’ livelihoods are harmed.  Those same citizens who owned the now dead companies now have less to spend in their own communities, and won’t pay state sales taxes or income taxes on income they no longer earn.  The community is now poorer.

From the Fiscal Times:

The Internet sales tax is hitting consumers like me in the gut – literally.

As someone interested in keeping my weight down (who isn’t), I order a supply of low-calorie pre-packaged meals from a food-and-lifestyle website – and have it delivered each month without so much as a keystroke if there’s no change to my existing order.

The company is based in Maryland, but that’s been irrelevant. The convenience of receiving the order at home in New York without thinking about how far the food travels has been hard to beat.

Recently, however, this polite but scary note hit my in-box – and by the way, when companies are this polite in an email you know it’s not good news:

“We wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that we will begin collecting and remitting sales and use taxes on all Internet sales where applicable as of September 1, 2013. The sales tax will be visible during checkout as part of the overall breakdown…

“Our decision to join other major Internet sellers in the collection of and remittance of sales and use taxes is in response to the growing instances of states legislatures and revenue agencies seeking the enforcement of Internet sales tax. We expect to see more measures enacted aimed at enforcement of sales and use tax collection.

He basically sums it up by saying he probably won’t be buying from the same company, since he’ll be paying more.  And he may simply change his buying habits altogether, and he wonders what kinds of taxes he’ll have to pay on that.

Well, the answer is screw you, citizen, because the government will wring every last dime out of you so it can fund more perpetual Democrat voters on the welfare plantation and buy them new Obamaphones.  You being free to choose what you like is a problem, because they need that money to fund their bigger and bigger governments, and you need to be nudged into the slot they want you in.  The Ruling Class will do as it pleases, and it will do as it pleases to you.

Elections have consequences, and the power to tax is the power to destroy.

From the KC MO story:

Amazon’s email to its associates in the state called the new law unconstitutional. LaFaver said the legislature did not hear from the company when the bill was being debated.

If you understand how the market works, then you know that raising taxes creates a cost on businesses.  Those costs will be passed on to customers.  In the meantime, the businesses may have to eat the cost until they can shift it to their customer base (which will shrink as a result of higher prices), and many businesses simply don’t want to deal with that.

Amazon previously said it was in favor of a national sales tax, but that’s because it’s used there as a barrier to competition that will crush their smaller competitors that can’t afford to comply with new rules.  Amazon can slowly creep towards monopoly by having the government crush its competition with regulations.  That’s cronyism.

Here, Amazon looked at the increased costs in one market and decided to cut off some business partners because that’s what the bottom line favored.

Of course Democrat LaFaver couldn’t possibly have forseen that an increase in taxes would result in harm to businesses.  He’s a Democrat, and therefore can’t understand that actions in the marketplace by government have consequences.  He seems to think you can just raise taxes and more money will magically appear.  But the private sector doesn’t have Ben Bernanke and can’t run on IOUs.

From the Atlanta Business Chronicle:

United Parcel Service Inc. plans to remove thousands of spouses from its medical plan because they are eligible for coverage elsewhere. The Atlanta-based logistics company points to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as a big reason for the decision, reports Kaiser Health News.

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Rising medical costs, “combined with the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, have made it increasingly difficult to continue providing the same level of health care benefits to our employees at an affordable cost,” UPS said in a memo to employees.

According to Kaiser, UPS (NYSE: UPS) told white-collar workers two months ago that 15,000 working spouses eligible for coverage by their own employers would be excluded from the UPS plan in 2014.

Small government conservatives and libertarians were telling everyone this is what would happen.  It sucks being Cassandra.

Obamacare is just a step to destroy the private market and bring everyone into government health control, where IPABs will declare you obsolete.

obsolete man mr wordsworth 3

Via HotAir, from CNS:

(CNSNews.com) – The Treasury Department’s Financial Management Service (FMS), which publishes both the federal government’s official Daily Treasury Statement and its official Monthly Treasury Statement, is reporting that in July the federal government ran a deficit of $98 billion but that the federal government’s debt remained exactly $16,699,396,000,000 for the entire month.

At the static $16,699,396,000,000 level that the Treasury reported for every day of July, the debt was just $25 million below the legal limit of $16,699,421,000,000 that was set in a law passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama.

If Treasury’s daily statements were to declare that the government had borrowed an additional net $98 billion to cover the $98 billion deficit the Treasury declared in its monthly statement for July, the Treasury would be conceding that the government had already surpassed the legal limit on the debt–and has been violating the law by continuing to borrowing additional money.

How strange.

Maybe it’s because $17 trillion sounds really bad for Obama, who’s had the debt skyrocket under his administration, creating more debt in his first term than Bush did in two, and all the other president before GW Bush combined did in over two hundred years.

Or maybe it’s because the real number is closer to $70 trillion.

The federal government has been low-balling the public for years on how much debt it actually has, a University of California, San Diego economics professor says, adding that the real amount is $70 trillion – not $16.9 trillion.

James Hamilton’s claim the United States is in a much deeper financial hole than many realize comes as Congress gets ready for another budget battle when lawmakers return in September. Both sides have been digging in on their policy positions over the debt, spending and the country’s future fiscal health.

Hamilton believes the government is miscalculating what it owes by leaving out certain unfunded liabilities that include government loan guarantees, deposit insurance, and actions taken by the Federal Reserve as well as the cost of other government trust funds. Factoring in those figures brings the total amount the government owes to a staggering $70 trillion, he says.

None of this is ultimately good.

Looks like it’s time to invest in more precious metals.

308 ammo

California Needs MOAR Money

Posted: August 12, 2013 by ShortTimer in California, Democrats, Economics, Government, Leftists, Tax, taxes

From UT San Diego:

California may have the nation’s highest sales tax, but it’s still not generating the revenue it should be to keep up with the state’s economic growth.

A report released this week by the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office says Californians are spending less on taxable goods, and more on non-taxable services like health care, auto repair and groceries, which have increased in price. That means the state is generating less sales-tax revenue, about half of of which is used for the general fund while the rest is funneled to local municipalities. The average sales tax rate in California municipalities is now 8.4 percent. San Diegans pay 8 percent.

Citizens are spending that on health care because they need it (and while they still can before Obamacare sets in), spending it on auto repair because they can’t afford new cars, and spending on groceries to live.  There’s a depression on.

Of course, that’s no reason for the state of California to give up their spending habits and handout habits.  So they need MOAR!

moar

Of course, to the left, it’s all the market’s fault.

But it’s not the high rate that’s causing the drop in revenue – it’s that the price of taxable goods in California isn’t rising fast enough. Prices for services, which are not taxed, however, have increased 2.5 percent year-over-year faster than goods. That means they’re taking up a bigger chunk of income. In 1979, Californians spent 53 cents of each dollar on taxable items. In 2012, they spent 33 cents of each dollar on taxable items.

That’s contrary to what analysts expected when they started the research two months ago.

“We thought consumers were buying fewer lawnmowers and, as an alternative, buying more landscaping services,” said Chas Alamo, an LAO fiscal and policy analyst who co-authored the study. “Through our research and revenue forecasting, however, we discovered that the decline occurred primarily because prices of services have increased faster than inflation and prices of taxable goods have increased slower.”

It’s as though the idea of the government spending too much money can’t even occur to them.

Actually, the California treasurer did say this a few years ago – and he even says he can’t blame the Republicans because there aren’t any left:

And he notes they need Republicans to lead because culturally they’re fiscally more responsible.

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I am reminded of a joke by Richard Lewis about government: “They think there’s money left in the bank because they have checks in the book!”

From Free Enterprise (last year):

Tis the season to give thanks. And for the last 80 years, the federal government has required raisin producers to “give thanks” for the privilege of selling their raisins nationally by requiring them to fork over up to half of their raisins – for free. A lawsuit raising a constitutional challenge to the program has now made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case is Horne v. Department of Agriculture.

The program, operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has a rather Orwellian-sounding name – the “Raisin Marketing Order.” In a nutshell, under this program, every year, as a condition for “letting” farmers sell their raisin crops in interstate commerce, the federal government has taken up to 47% of the farmers’ raisins – often for no payment at all, or below the cost of producing the raisins. The program has its origins in Great Depression efforts to fix the prices of agricultural crops. Don’t care much for raisins? Similar programs cover a variety of other agricultural products, such as walnuts, almonds, prunes, tart cherries – and cranberries! That’s something to chew on as you sit down to your Thanksgiving meal tomorrow.

From Free Enterprise (a few weeks ago):

The Supreme Court overruled a decision that allowed the federal government to attempt to strong-arm raisin farmers, Marvin and Laura Horne, into giving up half their raisin crop.

…When the government told the Hornes to hand over the raisins or their cash equivalent, the Hornes fought back.  Their legal fight began over a decade ago and the federal government has levied almost $700,000 in fines against them.  Today, Marvin and Laura won their Supreme Court case.

In today’s decision, the Supreme Court held that the raisin farmers could use the Constitution’s Takings Clause to defend their property rights in the enforcement proceedings the government initiated after the Hornes refused to hand over their raisins.  (The Constitution’s Takings Clause says that the federal government must provide just compensation when the government takes a person’s private property.)

It’s nice to see SCOTUS pushing back against the government and the government’s regulatory oppression of businesses.  The problem is the government wanted to keep their $700,000 in fines and then make them file again to get the money back that the government illegally took.  Thieves with the force of law.

Worland, Wyoming.  Photo by ShortTimer.