Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Life in hard-Left San Francisco

San Francisco's excrement problem is worse than ever. A new study found that the city by the bay fielded 28,315 calls about human and animal waste piling up on the streets from 2017 to 2018, an increase of 35 percent.

The figures were compiled after a review of calls to San Francisco's 311 line, according to the report by RentHop, an online apartment search company.

The worsening situation comes as San Francisco poop complaints have steadily risen about 80 percent since 2011, RentHop reports.

San Francisco can partly blame its love affair with pets. The dog-friendly city has around 120,000 canines, according to San Francisco Animal Care & Control.

The rest can be attributed to some 7,000 homeless persons, in a city that's lacking enough shelters and services to help them, says RentHop.

The problem has even prompted San Francisco to send out a 'poop patrol', armed with street washers to hose away the waste.

'It's a serious public health concern,' said Richard Tarlov, owner of the Canyon Market in the San Francisco's Glen Park section, where the city had 61 complaints of the neighborhood getting pooped on by either human or beast in 2018, up from just 20 complaints the previous year.

Tarlov, in an interview with KRON, called the city's excrement woes a problem also for public relations, tourism and convention hosting. 'Frankly it's embarrassing', he told the news outlet.

The dirtiest neighborhoods are at the heart of San Francisco, with its Tenderloin neighborhood winning the 'poopiest neighborhood' contest three years in a row, says RentHop.

Tenderloin saw 8,644 incidents of either human or animal excrement per square mile in 2017, 7,722 in 2018, and 6,887 so far in 2019.



Leftmedia Pulls More Fake 'Kids in Cages' News

"A Nov. 18 story headlined 'U.S. has world's highest rate of children in detention — U.N. study' is withdrawn," Reuters reports. "The United Nations issued a statement on Nov. 19 saying the number was not current but was for the year 2015." Agence France-Presse and National Public Radio likewise scrubbed stories about this. And the Associated Press explained in its retraction, "The story quoted an independent expert working with the U.N. human rights office saying that over 100,000 children are currently being held. But that figure refers to the total number of U.S. child detentions for the year 2015."

Other than that, the story was accurate!

These stories initially made it past the vaunted fact-checkers solely because they were meant to vilify the Trump administration over immigration detentions. They fit the leftist narrative of Trump's "xenophobic and racist" immigration policies. Of course, that was untenable because the data was collected during the Obama administration.

In fact, there are roughly 6,500 minors detained in the U.S. at the moment, and over the past year, the Trump administration has detained less than 70,000 kids at any point or duration. Again, 100,000 was the cumulative total for all of 2015. Hope 'n' Change and all that.

Moreover, says the Washington Examiner's Becket Adams, "That '100,000' figure should have never made it past the editing process, let alone launch a handful of headlines declaring the U.S. the leader in detained children. That figure requires not just shoddy math but also a total suspension of disbelief regarding what goes on in the darker, more tyrannical corners of the world. To say the U.S. is a world leader in detained minors would mean that America is being measured against all countries, including China, Russia, and North Korea. If you believe U.N. investigators have reliable figures from any of those countries, then, oh boy, have I got a bridge to sell you." China is currently detaining as many as two million Uighurs. Think maybe some of them are children?

We've seen this movie before. Back in the summer 2018, when outrage over the Trump administration's detention polices was at its peak, the media hyped pictures of kids in cages that were actually taken during Obama's regime, all to make Trump look bad. Fake news often happens because of Trump Derangement Syndrome.



Democratic candidates stupid or in denial about wealth tax

You may recall, a number of years ago an admiral was testifying before Congress about the need to put more military personnel on an island in the Pacific. A congressman, in all seriousness (perhaps after having a bad night), asked the admiral if he was concerned that the island in question might “tip over and capsize” with all of the additional people on it. Others, who are not that foolish, deny they have an alcohol or drug problem when it is obvious that they do. And now there are presidential candidates who claim it is possible to have massive tax and spending increases without making most people worse off rather than better off.

The evidence shows that at some point the burden of more government spending and regulation becomes so great that the economy slows and real income growth, despite the increase in government transfer payments, is much lower than it would be with smaller government. The United States and most other countries are beyond that point.

Likewise, each tax has a rate beyond which tax revenue and the general welfare fall over time (the Laffer Curve effect). The revenue- and welfare-maximizing tax rates are a function of the form of tax and time. For instance, the capital gains tax revenue depends on the willingness of people to realize capital gains by selling an asset such as real estate or stocks. If the rate is perceived as being too high, fewer people sell assets, and the government often receives less revenue rather than more.

The Reagan Treasury Department did a study to try to determine the optimum capital gains rate and concluded it was approximately 15 percent. Many studies in the years since have shown similar results. Current capital gains tax rates — federal plus state — are higher than the optimum; so, if our political leaders were more rational, they would cut the rate to bring in more revenue. Yet, most of the presidential candidates have proposed increasing the capital gains tax rate with the totally false claim (ignoring all of the empirical evidence) that it will bring in more revenue.

Most of the candidates have also proposed increasing the income tax rate on “the rich.” One great advantage of actually being rich is that one can often determine both the form and place of their compensation, unlike the less well off. That is why every time and every place politicians have tried to increase tax revenue by taxing the rich at very high rates, it always fails to bring in the promised revenue. This experiment has been tried in dozens of countries, including the United States, over the last century; yet the political and media class are in denial. The maximum individual tax rate under President Carter was 70 percent; and under President Reagan, it was finally lowered to 28 percent. Yet, tax revenues were higher under the 28 percent rate than under the 70 percent rate because the economy grew so much faster with the lower tax rates.

Elizabeth Warren and some of the other candidates want to put in a “wealth tax” to pay for their multi-trillion-dollar spending schemes. Other than the fact that the wealth tax is unconstitutional, unadministrable and destined to fail, as did the other attempts to impose wealth taxes in various countries — it is a fine idea in the minds of those who have lost touch with reality.

A person’s “wealth” is not fixed — it is variable. Rich people do not keep their wealth in a pile of gold coins in a safety deposit box, but instead normally have numerous investments in many different places. Most of these investments create jobs for others. As the late great Jack Kemp used to say, “How many truck drivers do you have if there are no trucks?” Wealthy people supply the trucks, the factories, the stores, and all of things and places where people find good-paying jobs. Those who would tax the “wealth” (in reality, productive capital formation) are job destroyers, if the truth were told.

If a wealth tax is placed on stock holdings, the wealthy will hold fewer stocks, driving down the price and new investment. If a wealth tax is placed on private businesses (many of them family owned), the owners are likely to move part of their assets elsewhere and the government’s tax base will shrink year by year. If the government puts a wealth tax on luxury second homes — the wealthy will sell again, driving down the price and the tax base, and perhaps choose to buy or rent in low-tax jurisdictions around the world.

Ah, but Elizabeth Warren has an answer to capital flight — a 40 percent exit tax. The old Soviet Union had exit taxes, which most people correctly considered evil. Clearly, she sees the American people as tax slaves to serve the interest of the government class. The American Founders believed government was a necessary evil and therefore should be kept to a minimum to protect liberty, property and person.



Christmas in the Swamp: The Top Ten Bad Policies in the Continuing Resolution

This week, Congress passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that funds the federal government through Friday, December 20. In recent years, funding the federal government has become an exercise in governing by crisis. Everyone in Congress knows these deadlines exist, but congressional leadership uses them to force members to vote for either CRs or omnibus spending bills packed with other legislative items that have nothing to do with funding the government. If members don’t vote for these bills, leadership says, the government will shut down.

The current CR is a bad deal because it sets up a Christmas for the Swamp, leaving taxpayers with a lump of coal in their stockings. This is not a theoretical notion. In March 2018, Congress passed a 2,232-page omnibus spending bill that included several other bills that had nothing to do with funding the federal government. Why? Because it was one of the few opportunities to legislate all year. Leadership added the legislation that they knew would get the votes they need to pass the bill and relied on the fear of a government shutdown to coax others into voting for something that they may have otherwise opposed.

Although the current CR isn’t quite as loaded as the March 2018 omnibus, it still includes several things that are bad for Americans. Below are the top ten bad provisions included in the CR that Congress passed this week:

Only extends spending to December 20 of this year, setting us up for yet another massive omnibus spending package with who-knows-what in it. Congress knows that Americans stop paying attention to politics during the holidays, and leadership will use that to their advantage to leave plenty of goodies under the Christmas tree for lobbyists and special interests.

Waives the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act, eliminating any accountability in Congress for increasing spending. Under the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act, if Congress increases spending without offsets, it sets up automatic mandatory spending cuts at the end of the year. By waiving this requirement, Congress is only continuing to worsen the budgetary outlook, adding more red ink to a deficit that is already expected to exceed $1 trillion.

Repeals $7.6 billion recission in highway funds that was scheduled to come into effect in 2020. Was used to offset projected costs of the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. $5.4 billion would have been straight recissions of unauthorized funds, while $2.2 billion would have been taken from funding already allocated to states. Because of a technicality of the federal budget process, this won’t even be counted as a spending increase by the government.
Extends the authorization of government mass surveillance under Section 215 of the Patriot Act for three months with zero reforms.

Delays scheduled cuts to Medicaid hospital reimbursements until December 20. These cuts were scheduled under ObamaCare as part of gradually shifting more of the burden of its Medicaid expansion onto the states over time. The states are naturally lobbying hard to make sure those scheduled cuts never happen so they can continue to shift the costs of their bad decision to expand a broken program onto other states’ taxpayers.

Renews the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s (PCORI) funding until December 20. PCORI is the rationing board under ObamaCare that was often referred to as the “death panel” because of its task to decide how to allocate (or not allocate) Medicare funding to reduce costs.

Continues the last CR’s extensions of the expiring National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), again avoiding a needed debate on reforming or eliminating this problematic program

Reauthorizes U.S. Export-Import Bank, the reauthorization of which FreedomWorks has continually opposed. The Export-Import Bank is the face of cronyism and is used by corporations that can easily get private financing for taxpayer-backed loans and subsidies.

Adds in an extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), one of the primary federal direct welfare programs. Once again, this is ducking the need to evaluate and reform the program on its own.

Although all of the individual changes above seem to incur fairly small costs on their own (inasmuch as millions or billions of dollars can be called small costs when it’s coming out of our wallets), the CBO has estimated that this CR authorizes a further $77 billion in new mandatory spending over the next ten years.

As one can see, the CR that Congress passed this week is pretty bad for those of us who believe in limited government and individual liberty, but it’s just a precursor of what’s to come only days before Christmas when Americans are preparing for the holiday with their families. If we don’t speak out now and put members in an uncomfortable position, the budget deficit will only get worse and taxpayers will continue to lose while lobbyists and special interests feast on Christmas.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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