View 681 Thursday, June 30, 2011 – 2
California today passed what the governor is pleased to call a balanced budget without new taxes. There were new taxes, of course. One of them was another dodge to collect sales taxes on Internet sales. This time California has levied a sales tax to be applied to any firm that has business or business associates in California.
Amazon responded by cancelling the Associates program, meaning that my links to Amazon books with my Amazon Associates link code no longer result in my getting some small percentage of book sales done that way. It was not insignificant income, about $2,000 a year, on which I paid California income tax, and if I spent the money in California I would of course pay state and county and city sales taxes. I do buy books through Amazon, and sometimes diet supplements. In theory I will now have to pay sales taxes on those but I doubt it will amount to anything like the amount the state will lose because I have lost the income from the Associates program. Of course Governor Brown is in thrall to the unions who insist that spending must never slow down and revenue must always rise, so there is no point in trying to point out to the Democrats that this program isn’t going to do them much good, while it will certainly bring harm to the Amazon Associates in this state. I suspect this will cause some of them to leave the state altogether. This is not a place in which to build a career.
Part of California used to be a good place to retire to, and looking at the wreckage of the state economy I’d think it would welcome more retired people, but ruthlessly enforcing sales taxes is hardly the way to attract them. Sales taxes fall heavily on those with low to low-middle income, since they have little alternative to spending a good part of their income, and can hardly find ways to bank some of it outside the state. None of which matters to those who will riot if they do not receive their perks and benefits from the government, and the legislature which has to come up with something to call a balanced budget or it will not get paid.
Of course that is farce. Part of the balance in this budget is an income forecast that simply can’t happen. They’d have been more honest if they simply set down a line item specifying $5 billion from the Easter Bunny. Of course they all know this.
Democracies endure until the citizens discover they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. I said all this long ago in my introduction to Imperial Stars.
“Democracies endure until the citizens care more for what the state can give them than for its ability to defend rich and poor alike; until they care more for their privileges than their responsibilities; until they learn they can vote largess from the public treasury and use the state as an instrument for plundering, first those who have wealth, then those who create it”.
I could wish I had been wrong. Yet it may be that America will save California. First, though, California has to be allowed to suffer the consequences of its folly. The punishment will begin soon enough.
You may also find I am forced to increase the frequency of my pledge and subscription appeals. Incidentally, those who have tried to subscribe since the conversion to WordPress and have been unable to do so should try again. It should work this time. If you were thinking about subscribing, this would be a good time to subscribe. Help test the system.
= = = = = = = = =
Back to dialup for the moment. I got more than 120 mb of email, mostly spam, in four hours. At $50 a gigabyte I can’t afford that. I’m looking into what I can do about that. Historically I have not worried much about spam since I got high speed access, since my filters take care of it and my systems are fast enough to deal with it (although sometimes the slowdowns can be annoying), But If I have to pay this kind of rate I can’t afford to keep that up. I need to look at the options BlueHost offers in the spam control. Haven’t got around to that, and clearly they are not set for what I am doing.
Note that ordinary mail is not a problem. All the normal mail from all of you won’t amount to more than a few megabytes a day, and that’s not a problem. But when it gets to 50 megabytes and hour it’s a bit much for someone paying for telephone access.
I’ll work something out. It’s not as if this goes on forever.
© 2011, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.