I Agree With AOC – Stop Bribing Corporations With Our Tax Money

A few weeks ago Amazon decided against putting a new corporate headquarters facility in Queens, New York. Media mega-star freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), an outspoken critic of the $2.5 billion tax break being offered, was blamed for the loss of new jobs Amazon promised. Her motivation for opposing the tax incentive was pretty fuzzy.

“If we were willing to give away $3 billion for this deal, we could invest those $3 billion in our district ourselves, if we wanted to. We could hire out more teachers. We can fix our subways. We can put a lot of people to work for that money, if we wanted to,” Ocasio-Cortez said. – FoxNews 2/20/19

AOC, who claims to have a degree in economics, could not grasp the difference between spending existing tax funds and foregoing future tax income.

But I agree with her ultimate aim. I think it’s crazy for cities all over the country to prostitute themselves to the ‘next big thing’ with tax abatement bribes.

It’s not that I believe corporations should pay more taxes, or that reducing taxes is a bad thing. But giving big local tax exemptions to companies who relocate or build new operations just doesn’t make economic sense. Here’s why.

• Local taxes always go up, they never go down. Most of the tax abatements offered to these corporations are reductions in property tax and reduced or free infrastructure cost assessments – streets, utilities, fire stations, etc. All of the costs that were there before the newcomer arrived are still there, plus more. And those costs will be borne by the same local taxpayers who have been footing the bill all along while the new corporation skates.

• Favoring one company over others always screws up the free market. Proponents of tax abatements always justify tax incentives by saying, “If we don’t do it, somebody else will”. So what? Does it harm your city if another city gets a new employer? And are these really new jobs? Isn’t the new company just cherry-picking the good employees already in the local market, leaving their previous employers to find and train new ones? And employees who move to the area for the new jobs will no longer be paying taxes back home, leaving a dent in that economy.

• These deals are often “too good to be true”. It’s not unusual when the new company doesn’t hold up its end of the deal. Promises of thousands of new jobs fall woefully short (FoxConn). Long-term agreements get cut short(Chiquita). And the federal government is no better at corporate welfare than local governments (Solyndra).

My South Carolina county is abuzz this week with word that the Carolina Panthers are considering moving their corporate office and practice facility across the state line to the ‘burbs. Hmm, you don’t suppose they want something in return? And how should Charlotte residents feel after pumping millions of tax dollars into the Panthers’ stadium?

Back in the 80s I was CFO for a locally-owned chain of lumber yards and home centers. My company employed hundreds of good, hard-working taxpaying employees, paid tons of local taxes, and contributed to countless local charities. Then one day the first of the big-box home centers announced it was opening in our city, thanks to a boatload of local tax incentives and up-front benefits. We lost a number of good employees, whom we had trained and nurtured, for a buck or two an hour pay increase. Turns out the new store hired three times as many employees as they intended to keep so they could pick the best of them and dump the rest. They low-balled prices for a few months to entice new customers and then jacked them back up later when nobody was looking. Oh, and yes, the new company was out of business a year and a half into their five-year commitment to the city.

So Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is actually right. We should not subsidize corporations with public money. When our government picks winners and losers, the taxpayers always seem to be the losers.

Soy un perdedor
I’m a loser baby so why don’t you kill me?
(Get crazy with the Cheeze Whiz)

Loser – Beck (cover by the Cleverlys)

Sorry, Dan Rather. Dionne Warwick is Not A Victim.

You might remember Dan Rather, the veteran CBS News anchor and 60 Minutes reporter who was fired in disgrace in 2015 in the first big “fake news” scandal. A devoted Democrat, Rather was caught reporting a fabricated story about President GW Bush’s military service.

Rather went into hiding for a while, but reappeared some years later, doing low-budget work for cable news and entertainment channel AXS, which later dropped out of the news business and now focuses exclusively on music shows. He still works for AXS as the host of “The Big Interview With Dan Rather”, a series of face-to-face talks with popular musicians and entertainers. Rather is not stupid; he knows that nobody will tune in to see him, but if he brings Keith Urban along, he can still score a paycheck.

Like all devout Democrats, Dan Rather is a soft-racist who believes that anyone whose skin is darker than his must be a victim of incessant American injustice, deserving of pity. This makes many of his interviews almost painful to watch. His subjects are individuals who have, through talent and hard work, built extraordinary success. But Rather thinks his main responsibility is assessing the depth of their victimhood status.

“American Idol” milks the same Democrat format. On this show, two contests run concurrently: who is the best singer, and who is the most pitiful? So far this season, contestants include a homeless guy, a kid with cystic fibrosis, a blind girl, an immigrant, and a poor kid from the rural South. Last season a drag queen transgendered contestant made the finals. The cool thing is these people have extraordinary talent and worked hard to develop their skills. The icky thing is the way the network overplays their “victimhood”.

A while back Dan Rather interviewed Dionne Warwick, the beloved and award-winning diva, and it wasn’t long before he turned to his stock-in-trade line of questioning. “You, as an African-American and a woman, had to struggle through those tough categories over your career. What about that?”

Warwick didn’t bat an eye. “I didn’t see any of that,” she replied. She explained that she was never a victim of discrimination on either count. “I don’t believe in negatives,” she continued. “I never felt any of that pressure. If I did, I guess I ignored it.”

Dionne Warwick credits God and songwriters Hal David and Burt Bacharach for her success. Over her career Warwick had 80 singles on the Billboard charts.

Dan Rather pressed on, struggling to make her story one of overcoming racism and sexism and this-ism and that-ism. You know, the Democrat way.

He wanted to know how she coped with all the death in her life. Her brother died in a crash while racing the car she had bought him when she was 26. “At first I felt guilty,” she said. “But then I decided he was an adult and he knew right from wrong.” Her parents had both died within the last ten years or so – Warwick didn’t accept any victimhood on those grounds, either. She was, after all, 75 years old at the time of the interview.

Unrelenting, Rather demanded to know how devastated she was when her superstar cousin, Whitney Houston, died young under grim circumstances including drug use. “Was Whitney Houston a victim of fame?” Rather prodded.

“No,” said the adult in the room, Dionne Warwick. “She was a victim of bad choices.”

Rather wanted so badly to make Dionne Warwick into a victim of some kind. “Don’t make me over,” was her unstated, but clear response.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Accept me for what I am
Accept me for the things I do
Accept me for what I am
Accept me for the things I do

Don't Make Me Over - Dionne Warwick

Why Can’t We Take Care of Our Own Needy?

My friend Dennis is a good Christian man who goes out of his way to help people in need. He has had an ongoing relationship with a homeless guy, Roy, for a long time. From time to time Dennis finds Roy on the street, gets him a meal or a place to sleep, paying out of his pocket. Some of us men in Dennis’ bible study group try to help a little with expenses.

Roy is in his early 60s, has a bum knee that prevents him from working, can barely read let alone advocate for himself, and is unemployable. He gets $700 a month in disability payments.

For a while, Roy stayed with a bunch of other indigents in a private (for profit) home that took half of his disability check (sometimes they would demand more) in exchange for a worn-out recliner to sleep in. They never shared food or anything else with him and the situation was abusive at best. I was surprised to learn that flop-houses like this are home to many people who don’t have any other alternative. While it did provide a roof over his head, it was a terrible way to live.

I called the county welfare office to find out what services might be available to Roy and was told there were many programs in place and it should not be any problem getting him some permanent subsidized housing. I gathered this information and shared it with Dennis, who took Roy to the county office only to find out that their information was outdated and in fact there were no available services. My gut instinct is that there probably are plenty of amply-funded assistance programs. The money just never seems to get out of the government offices. The local Salvation Army also sent Dennis and Roy away, saying they were already over capacity.

So Roy is back sleeping on the street, and even in the South, it gets pretty cold at night this time of year.

Meanwhile, our southern border crisis continues. Government officials and media talking heads chatter about whether there should be 42,000 or 49,000 beds for illegal migrants at the care stations our government provides on the border. There seem to be all kinds of support services available to people who illegally invade our country, and anyone who suggests we should build a barrier to close the border is branded a heartless racist.

But apparently nobody in this richest nation on earth cares about Roy, and the other millions of American citizens who don’t have anyplace to sleep tonight. What the hell is wrong with us?

If you don’t want me
Why don’t you tell me
Instead of tellin’ lies
And makin’ me cry
Don’t you care? Don’t you care?

Don’t You Care – the Buckinghams

Identity Politics for Dummies

It’s tough being a leftist these days, or even understanding them. Identity Politics is so hard! To help you navigate this trending leftist revolution (also known as the ‘CNN Spring’), here are some tips and techniques.

First there is the daunting challenge of identifying all of the different victim groups and subgroups, which grows daily. Then there is the difficulty of ranking them in terms of which is the most abused and deserving of compassion, protection, and other stuff. And a code of behavior must be enforced in the brave new world of Identity Politics.

IDENTIFYING VICTIM GROUPS The easiest way is to figure out who is not a victim, and then categorize everybody else. Non-victims are basically American-born Caucasian males. Everybody else fits into one or more victim groups.

Non-males comprise the largest victim group even though they outnumber males. Sometimes we forget that women are victims because they keep telling us how much stronger, smarter, and tougher they are than males. But for some reason they still need to be protected. Men are to be perpetually ashamed of their toxic masculinity, and are subject to severe persecution if a non-male remembers or even creates the memory that a male so much as brushed a hand against her/its breast, whether accidentally or not, and there is no statute of limitations. Non-males are not to be questioned, or accused of any sexual aggression or intentions.

The non-male victim group has recently expanded to include dozens of new gender categories that did not previously exist, and a given victim can change her/its status daily or hourly.

Non-Caucasian victims are entitled to special treatment and care because all Caucasians are born with, and will always have “white privilege”. Even the poorest, sickest, down-on-his-luck skid-row Caucasian bum is considered to have “white privilege” and must be despised, even by other Caucasians if they are leftists. A complication arises; if a person has one Caucasian parent and one non-Caucasian parent, does he/she/it have “half-white-privilege?” And if only Black Lives matter, does his/her/its life only half matter? Oh, by the way, there are special exceptions to race-based victim-hood. For some reason, East Asians (China, Korea, Japan, etc.) are apparently honorary Caucasians. They don’t have white privilege, but they are not afforded any victim status for race.

Caucasian men can only be victims if they were not born in the United States or if they have significant college loan debt.

RANKING VICTIMS – This is the most difficult aspect of identity politics. Does a female African-American migrant have more advanced victim-hood than a Caucasian trans-gendered student with huge student loans? Does “white privilege” completely neutralize other victim-hood status? One must assume that the more victim-hood categories one claims, the higher up the leftist ladder one advances.

BEHAVIOR – The world of Identity Politics can be difficult to navigate even for victims, given that certain behaviors are fine, while others are strictly forbidden, and the absence of any requirement for honesty makes it nearly impossible to determine which is which. For example, it is acceptable for a Caucasian woman to lie about her race to get a government job and even run for president, but a Caucasian governor faces forced resignation for wearing a black-face costume.

And of course since the entire Identity Politics system exists for political purpose, one’s political leanings and values enter into the equation: even victims can be docked for not agreeing in lock-step with every leftist political position. Being a female African-American Trump supporter can result in a below-Caucasian-male ranking.

As difficult as Identity Politics is to manage, there is a simple solution. If we had a system that assigns a point value to each category of victim-hood, it would be easy to add up a total for every individual and determine his/her/its rank. American-born Caucasian males would set the base level of zero points. Add 5 points for female, and add another 10 points for any other gender. Add 5 points for non-American and 10 more for illegal immigrant. Having big student loans might be worth 5 points. Race is much more complicated, since it is unclear whether only Black Lives Matter and how pigmentation works into the algorithm.

Of course there must be a negative index as well. Want to Make America Great Again? Minus 25 points. Climate Change denier? Minus 10. Believe in capitalism? Minus another 15. Are you a Christian? Minus 20. Even victims could go quickly negative, based on their politics and values.

This exercise has caused me to ponder my own Identity Politics score. I think I am somewhere around -175.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Don’t you know that she’s just my style,
Everything about her drives me wild,
Don’t you know that she’s fine, so fine.

Just My Style – Gary Lewis and the Playboys


Who Really Cares About Illegal Migrants?

I turned the corner across from the neighborhood shopping center and something caught my eye. A shiny, brand new 20-passenger mini-bus stopped at the corner. Out jumped three people: Dad, Mom, and kid. Hispanic, probably Central American. Zoom, away went the bus to its next shopping center. As Mom and kid perched on the curb, Dad turned toward the street and flipped over his cardboard sign that read “Homeless. Need Food.” They looked lost and scared.

photo credit Vox

I shook my head in a befuddled combination of worry for the family and loathing for the human-trafficking pimps that are taking advantage of these victims and God knows how many more like them. Already out in traffic, I drove on and only a few blocks later realized that I should have stopped to talk with them. But it’s unlikely they spoke English anyway.

Nearly every high-traffic street corner in our country now has beggars as permanent fixtures. Few of them are independent operators; in most cases they are pimped out by entrepreneurs who extract a high percentage of their “take” from well-meaning drivers in exchange for a few hours of prime panhandling real-estate and protection from other pimps who would take over their turf.

Apparently the beggar-pimping business is profitable enough to support the purchase of new buses to deliver the most helpless of us to our day jobs. And while the most popular beggar model is still the African-American grey-beard with a crutch and/or limp holding a “Homeless Veteran” sign, lately more and more beggars come from the flood of illegal migrants through our Mexican border, thanks to Nancy Pelosi and the leftists who claim that a border barrier is “immoral”.

I don’t mean to imply that Democrats don’t care about migrants. They absolutely do. They want as many helpless migrants here as possible because when Pelosi’s House Bill HR1 (early voting, automatic registration, same day registration, no-fault absentee voting) is implemented, it will result in an impenetrable majority of votes for Democrats in every future election. You see, anyone who is so vulnerable as to be forced to beg on a street corner for starvation wages is certainly vulnerable enough to be a paid (or just misled) participant in a vote fraud scam which will never be prosecuted. Add to the mix the leftist desire to replace the electoral system with popular vote and the numbers work – big time.

No, Nancy, a border barrier is not “immoral”. Enticing uneducated, hungry Central Americans to give their life savings to a coyote from a drug cartel to help them sneak over the border is. Encouraging them to drag their children thousands of dangerous miles, even through the deadly southwestern desert is. Inviting them to run their children unattended through a gauntlet of perverts and traffickers on the unproven promise of riches in the land of milk and honey is. Pimping them out on American street corners for a few dollars a day is immoral.

Instead of enticing helpless people to a situation worse than the one they are leaving, wouldn’t it make more sense to discourage them from migrating and try to make things better in their home countries? Creating a balkanized nation that resembles Somalia and Guatemala won’t solve the problem. Building a border barrier would sure help.

Shame on you, Nancy. Shame on you leftists who blindly follow your tribe, trading human dignity for a few votes for wealthy insider politicians.

Tom Balek, Rockin’ On the Right Side

If I’m minding my business just doing the right thing
And you try to front me off in the street
Shame on you
If a family’s waiting for that special blessing to
Come their way
But they ain’t trying to get on their knees and pray
Shame on them

So What the Fuss – Stevie Wonder

USA vs. China – Good Thing Our President is a Fighter

President Trump has withstood a lot of criticism for his policies aimed at forcing China to adopt fair trade practices and to stop abusing intellectual property rights.

Chinese Military Island – credit CCTV

His critics also don’t understand why Trump is alarmed about China’s rapid military buildup, including a growing arsenal of short to medium range missiles within range of US bases in Japan, expansion of naval shipbuilding, and the construction of island military bases in the South China Sea, from with they harass any competitor who dares near.

Trump’s instincts about global politics in general, and China in particular, continue to be spot on. But with all of the news reporters, more than half of the members of congress, most of the federal bureaucrats (including the Dept. of State) and half of our indoctrinated citizens throbbing in various degrees of Trump Derangement Syndrome, every move he makes is questioned and threatened.

While our news is dominated by breathless 24×7 reporting on President Trump’s “fitness for service”, news like the following is completely ignored:

Rear Admiral Lou Yuan has told an audience in Shenzhen that the ongoing disputes over the ownership of the East and South China Seas could be resolved by sinking two US super carriers.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) reports Admiral Lou gave a wide-ranging speech on the state of Sino-US relations. The high-profile, hawkish military commentator reportedly declared the current trade spat was “definitely not simply friction over economics and trade,” but was instead a “prime strategic issue”.

His speech, delivered on December 20 to the 2018 Military Industry List summit, declared that China’s new and highly capable anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles were more than capable of hitting US carriers, despite them being at the center of a ‘bubble’ of defensive escorts.

“What the United States fears the most is taking casualties,” Admiral Lou declared. He said the loss of one super carrier would cost the US the lives of 5000 service men and women. Sinking two would double that toll.

“We’ll see how frightened America is.”

— news.com.au January 2, 2019

China continues to gather influence in developing countries by building needed infrastructure with big strings attached. Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s “Little Rocket Man” is back in Beijing today schmoozing with Chinese President Xi Jinping and showing President Trump that his big brother is never far away.

For decades, China has squeezed wealth out of the United States, exploding its own economy, technology and military strength. President Trump is the first post-war US leader to recognize and address the growing Chinese threat and attempt to slow, if not reverse, the transfer of global power. Meanwhile, the Democrat/Media machine spends every breath, every ounce of blood in its veins digging for any speck of dirt it can contrive to take Trump down.

In fact, the Trump-obsessed media has not even reported that a travel advisory has been issued by the state department warning US citizens that travel to China is dangerous:

Despite the opposition, President Trump has had remarkable success with our economy and foreign policy. I, for one, am glad that our president is a fighter. But he has to spend too much time and effort fighting off the personal and political invective of his own fellow Americans, many of whom think America itself is evil. Shouldn’t we back off and let him fight for our common national interests against our sworn adversaries?

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

I read about some squirrelly guy
Who claims that he just don’t believe in fightin’
And I wonder just how long
The rest of us can count on bein’ free
They love our milk and honey
But they preach about some other way of livin’
But when they’re runnin’ down our country, man
They’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me

The Fightin’ Side of Me – Merle Haggard

The Pants On Fire Party

Just when it seems that Democrats could not be more dishonest, we see that they actually get better and better at it. They know they are lying, but they believe the end (one-party group-think socialist government) justifies the means. They know they are lying, but they think all non-Democrats are so stupid that we won’t see through the chicanery and will just give them what they want. They know they are lying, but they don’t care because winning is everything, even if it bodes disaster for everyone.

Pick a topic – examples abound. How about the Democrats’ dishonest character assassination to try to prevent the nomination of a Supreme Court justice (again). When their lies were exposed, they showed no embarrassment or guilt. They just start looking for a new victim.

I’m still waiting for the Democrats’ apology for Obama’s promise that I could keep my doctor and my health insurance plan. They knew full well he was lying at the time, but would not let that get in the way of their socialist ambitions.

And why wouldn’t the Democrats apply their hard-earned talent for deceit to the current crisis of the day? The illegal migration issue has come to a full boil, as well it should. Having open borders and inviting the entire third-world to a smorgasbord of free benefits is an invitation to catastrophe. A rational third-grader can understand that. Democrats do too, but won’t admit it, and instead tell lie after lie to discredit our president, who obviously is as smart as a third-grader.

Where to start?

A border wall/fence won’t work. What about the wall between Israel and Egypt? Their border was abused by thousands of migrants every day, and after placing a security wall, they now encounter zero incursions. Same deal for the Serbia/Hungary border wall.

We Democrats will never support a border wall/fence. Hmm. Who were those imposters claiming to be Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Chuck Schumer when they faced the cameras and called for strong border security? Senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006.

We Democrats want to stop illegal immigration, but not with a wall/fence. What kind of border security are you for, Democrats? You are against any physical barrier. You oppose enforcement of existing laws and allow anyone who breaks over the border claiming asylum to remain in the USA pending a court hearing years later. You support sanctuary cities and states, even refusing to identify and deport illegal alien criminals. You insist on providing government benefits to illegals and your deep state officials in the IRS continue to accept fake social security numbers from illegals in order to send them billions of dollars in fraudulent “tax” credits. You refuse to even consider stopping the chain migration that brings in millions of purported family members of illegals. We are waiting to hear what you ARE willing to do to deal with the illegal migrant problem!

Democrats are quick to label President Trump a liar. While he is prone to exaggeration and sometimes loose with details, Trump is not even in the same league as the Democrats. When he says he wants to “Make America Great Again”, he means it. It drives the Democrats crazy; they can’t handle the truth.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is rightside350.png

Lies, lies
I can’t believe a word you say
Lies, lies
Are gonna make you sad someday

Lies – the Knickerbockers