Why Does Gas Cost So Much in California?

Old Gas Pump in Savannah Georgia.  Author: Lukelastic from Wikimedia Project.

More unintentionally humorous content from the mainstream media on politically charged issues.   This from one of America's newspapers of record, the LA Times: Tesoro plan to buy Arco gets more scrutiny amid gas-price surge As California gasoline prices set fresh records daily, consumer advocates are gearing up to fight the sale of the low-cost Arco brand and its Carson refinery to a Texas company not known for its cheap fuel. Some experts are calling the proposed $2.5-billion sale to Tesoro Corp. of San Antonio the biggest shift in California's petroleum business in decades. Activists say the deal, announced in August, would reduce competition and possibly raise prices for motorists, and they will ask state and federal regulators … [Read more...]

Cut Out That Middleman! Buying Local Saves You Money

Potatoes grown in the Dieng Plateau (****) (Photo by Midori)

  Never pay retail. Here's a good lesson in reductive economics (*), from the Wall Street Journal blog, a grass-roots movement in Greece: Potato Movement Takes Root as Recession Bites (**) Angry over food prices that keep rising even as Greece stumbles through a fifth straight year of recession, ordinary Greeks have teamed up with local farmers in a new grass-roots consumer movement to bring potatoes and other basic foodstuffs to market by cutting out the middle men. The middle men being price-fixing wholesalers and supermarket chains, who enjoyed immense markups from the wholesale price all the way to retail: The roots of the movement date back to late last year, when farmers in the northern Greek district of Nevrokopi … [Read more...]

Why Study History, Indeed…

Gaius Aurelius Valerius "Chuckles" Diocletianus, b. 245 - d. 336

Doesn't matter who wins or loses in this year's Presidential elections, taxes are going up.  What's more,  Government at all levels, city, county, state or Federal, will become ever more predatory in collecting taxes to alleviate budget troubles.  Easy enough prediction to make, but such is modern life. Here's the latest nail in the coffin, a random link from CBS News: Owe The IRS? Bill Would Suspend Passport Rights For Delinquent Taxpayers LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A bill authored by a Southland lawmaker that could potentially allow the federal government to prevent any Americans who owe back taxes from traveling outside the U.S. is one step closer to becoming law.... ...In addition to authorizing appropriations for federal … [Read more...]

Random Dividend Thoughts and Stupid Taxes

BONDS I have relatives that live in Alpharetta, Georgia. Great little town. Daytime population about 120,000, shrinking down to 57,000 residents in the evening.  Where to all those people go at night?  Back home, that's where.  Alpharetta has a nifty business model, having transformed itself in a few years from rural backwater to corporate refugee ghetto for companies seeking to relocate to a lower-tax jurisdiction.  The message from the city elders to corporations seems to be a simple one:  "come on down, we promise not to pluck you too badly".   Corporate branches or headquarters and numbers of employees include the … [Read more...]

A Taxing Set of Mid-Week Random Links

Random Doodle #30

Looking back on posts, I realized that I neglected to do a roundup of random links last weekend. It's become such a part of established blogging routine, that I feel a little out of sorts. On Taxes... This Associated Press  headline was the kind to make you stock and smack your forehead: IRS: Budget cuts would hurt service, raise deficit WASHINGTON (AP) -- (Oct 17, 2011) Legislation that would trim hundreds of millions of dollars from the Internal Revenue Service budget would force significant cuts in the services it provides taxpayers and cost the government $4 billion annually in lost revenue, the agency warned Congress on Monday. In a letter to lawmakers, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said the budget cuts "would lead … [Read more...]

Can Taxes Kill?

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Governments love taxes revenue, the little people love it when you soak the rich, and corporations just make bottom-line calculations. This is especially true when governments consider windfall profit taxes. Some of the more unscrupulous governments such as Venezuela merely expropriate producing assets. Chavez's government did just that with Crystallex International's (KRY) gold mines a couple years back. They nationalized the mines, and thanks very much Crystallex for doing all the hard work. Other Western governments, more wise cunning and sophisticated devious in the ways of extracting revenue from industry, do it through windfall taxes. As commodity prices soared in 2009 and 2010, the Administration of Australian Prime Minister … [Read more...]

Thoughts for Tax Season

Image via Wikipedia The time is nigh for that time of the year.  Spring is coming, birds are singing, flowers blooming, and the IRS comes looking for its cut.  This is when we either agonize over how much goes out, or expect a nice chunky return from state and federal – which most of the time is already spent long before it shows up in the mail.  This time of year is good for a little reflection and discussion on an oft-debated topic. What are income taxes used for? Not roads and schools....much. This seems to be a reflexive argument, and for the life of me I don’t where it originates.  “We need income taxes to pay taxes for roads and schools”.  Except that they're not.  It’s relatively simple to fact check … [Read more...]