Congress Tries to Close Down Small Businesses

Congress, apparently afraid that this country has too many successful small businesses, has launched on a campaign to bury them in an avalanche of paperwork.

Hidden in the new health care “reform” law is a requirement that every time a business makes a purchase over $600, they must send an IRS form 1099 to that person and the IRS — which includes obtaining that person’s name, address, and taxpayer ID.  Here’s a summary:

Basically, businesses will have to issue 1099s whenever they do more than $600 of business with another entity in a year. For the $14 trillion U.S. economy, that’s a hell of a lot of 1099s. When a business buys a $1,000 used car, it will have to gather information on the seller and mail 1099s to the seller and the IRS. When a small shop owner pays her rent, she will have to send a 1099 to the landlord and IRS.

Now for large businesses that have an accounting system in place that is capable of handing this it will be difficult and burdensome, but still possible.  For a small business owner, collecting all this information and sending out these forms will probably require hiring another full time employee.  Not every mom and pop business out there has $100k in spare profits that they can see eaten up in government compliance costs.

New York City Discovers There’s No Free Lunch

Given this statement regarding a collection of housing units in NYC:

All are owned by private or nonprofit groups overseeing buildings that were already deeply distressed and populated by the poorest of residents, giving owners razor-thin margins to operate on. People bought co-op apartments for as little as $250, according to the city, while renters pay as little as $90 a month.

…tell me if this surprises you:

the residents of 1694 Davidson Avenue in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx, a formerly city-owned 42-unit building … say living conditions have gone from to bad to worse.The front door locks have long been broken. The garbage incinerator stopped working for months, leading to a stomach-churning stink and attracting raccoon-size rats.

Five years ago the elevator ground to a halt, forcing children of one tenant, Nina Mitchell, to take turns last year hoisting their mother, hobbled by a torn Achilles tendon, up and down four flights of stairs, in her wheelchair, until she healed.

Step one, break the market and impose artifically low caps on rental rates.  Step two, bemoan the poor condition of the city’s rental stock.  Anyone feel like these two are somehow related?

On Our Purpose in Life

Gail Gollins on her purpose on this earth:

David Brooks: Most people in public life are in it for the right reasons. They’re representing a point of view or a group. They’re faced with horrendous character tests — a system that perpetually tempts them to put loyalty to the team ahead of loyalty to the truth. I find the most accurate approach is to view them with sympathetic scrutiny but rarely outright scorn.

Gail Collins: On behalf of the scorn contingent, I have to protest. I’m with you about there being very few evil people in politics, but there are a LOT of self-satisfied, shallow careerists, and I was put on this earth to make fun of them.

Gender Stereotypes

Women like talking about their day, men don’t:

[As part of the study] researchers measured levels of a stress hormone called cortisol in the saliva, four times a day.

These cortisol profiles provided biological backing for a familiar frustration in many marriages. The more that women engaged with their husbands in the evening, talking about the day, the faster their cortisol dropped. But the men’s levels tapered more slowly when talking with a spouse.

The article continues on to note “A previous generation’s solution: ‘cocktail hour’.”

Farm Policy

It’s been well known for some time that U. S. farm policy consists of large farming corporations handing policians campaign donations, and politicians handing these companies large quantities of taxpayer cash in return.  In an editorial today, the Wall Street Journal discusses just how rediculous this policy has become, and the lengths our politicians will go to in their efforts to protect this waste of taxpayer money.

U.S. cotton farmers took in almost $2.3 billion dollars in government subsidies in 2009, and the top 10% of the recipients got 70% of the cash. Now Uncle Sam is getting ready to ask taxpayers to foot the bill for another $147.3 million a year for a new round of cotton payments, this time to Brazilian growers.

Here’s the problem: The World Trade Organization has ruled that subsidies to American cotton growers under the 2008 farm bill are a violation of U.S. trading commitments. The U.S. lost its final appeal in the case in August 2009 and the WTO gave Brazil the right to retaliate.

Brazil responded by drafting a retaliation list threatening tariffs on more than 100 U.S. exports, including autos, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, electronics, textiles, wheat, fruits, nuts and cotton. The exports are valued at about $1 billion a year, and the tariffs would go as high as 100%. Brazil is also considering sanctions against U.S. intellectual property, including compulsory licensing in pharmaceuticals, music and software.

The Obama Administration appreciates the damage this retaliation would cause, so in April it sent Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro to negotiate. She came back with a promise from Brazil to postpone the sanctions for 60 days while it considers a U.S. offer to—get this—let American taxpayers subsidize Brazilian cotton growers.

I’m really not sure what to say.

Twitter Unveils Plan to Stop Loosing Money Hand Over Fist

According to the New York Times:

The microblogging service plans to link keyword searches with advertising and show users relevant promoted posts.

Even better was the headline linking to the article:  “Twitter Has a Plan to Make Money With Ads.”  Because after years of the revenue-deficient service shouting its impending online dominance into the public square, they’ve finally decided they intend to raise funds on teh internets from teh advertisers.  Breaking news, I tell you, breaking news.


Doing an image search for quotation marks, I found this wonderful blog posting chastising those fiction writers who decline to make usage of this wonderful symbol.  To whet your appetite:

But then, dear fiction author with literary pretensions, your problem is not that you don’t know how to use the quotation mark, is it?