Mobile millionaires

If you read these columns regularly, you understand that wealthy people typically didn’t get that way by being so dimwitted they can’t imagine how to protect their wealth when someone tries taking it away.

But like many things we all “know,” it can be hard to cite examples under pressure. So as a public service, we present several of those priceless examples, for deployment next time some Liberal ninny says we can solve all our problems with higher tax rates that squeeze the “top two percent” a little harder.

The British government has found to its chagrin that wealthy people are able to move or shift income just as two-thirds of the country’s millionaires have done, to escape confiscatory taxation. It’s not as if British millionaires are the only ones figuring this out. People are fleeing California, as NBC TV’s Los Angeles affiliate reported this month.

That story only scratches the surface. This fall, the Manhattan Institute noted that taxes, both existing and anticipated, have played a role in 3.4 million people leaving California since 1990. That’s like the entire population of Connecticut packing up and leaving; it’s more than the populations of 21 states.

Another place in some ways very much like California—that is to say, France—is finding it hard to get rich people to stand still for the fleecing.

Most delicious of all is this report of Google revenues being shifted to escape high taxes. Google has proven that even people who helped bankroll the Obama re-election don’t behave like idiots all the time. The question is, does anybody in the administration read this stuff?


Mining misdirection

The proverbial old dog may not be receptive to learning new tricks. On the other hand he might not be too severely disadvantaged if his old tricks are good enough. Beware of the old dog.

Along those lines, Tim Cullen’s 2011 return to the Wisconsin Senate after a couple of decades’ absence placed a notably crafty practitioner among minority Democrats’ otherwise pedestrian lineup.  Blame for the current Legislature’s failure to approve job-creating reforms of Wisconsin’s iron-mining law has been rightly directed at sporadically Republican Senator Dale Schultz. But don’t underestimate Cullen’s role abetting Schultz’s primal instinct to pose for bipartisan holy pictures.

Schultz needn’t be a factor in the 2013-14 Senate, where the GOP margin won’t depend on any single member. But Republicans are openly expressing their aversion to partisan combat—on the 2011 scale, at least—so the potential of Cullen’s skills to make mining go away for good with some empty compromise is not to be underestimated.

On Sunday, Cullen falsely told Milwaukee TV host Mike Gousha the current session’s bill would exempt mining companies from meeting Wisconsin environmental standards, tossing in the Democrats’ old standby diversion that mining “isn’t going to be creating any jobs in Wisconsin any time soon.”

Sound familiar? Remember “Drilling in the Arctic isn’t going to get us any oil for ten years,” twelve years ago?

The Assembly came up with a pretty good mining bill in the two-year session now ending, and it ought to be reintroduced next month and passed by a more secure Republican majority. People on the other side will howl. So what? They will howl at whatever is done, or not done.

Billions in economic growth and thousands of jobs are at stake. Let the howling begin.

Don’t forget to visit 3000jobscom to contact your legislator and to sign a petition supporting the assembly mining bill.

The importance of Michigan

We’ll confess to reacting less than optimistically to November commentaries saying Republican governors would hold back the Obama agenda. That skepticism makes the recent political earthquake in Michigan all the more impressive.

Ponder the enactment of a right-to-work law there, of all places.

Michigan spawned the public employee unionization that’s eaten away state and municipal solvency nationwide. Morris Andrews came from there more than half a century ago, built the Wisconsin Education Association Council on the United Auto Workers industrial union model, and turned feeble Wisconsin teacher unions into the 800-pound gorilla of state politics.

Wisconsinites are uniquely qualified to evaluate certain aspects of the developments in Michigan. TV audiences nationwide saw the turmoil there, while Wisconsin viewers saw a noxious but conspicuously thin replay of the events here in early 2011.

The most striking aspect of video shot last Tuesday in the Michigan Capitol? Half the rotunda floor was visible. The same shot in the Wisconsin Capitol would have shown no floor, but thousands of union protesters packed together in a solid mass.

Concede that this all happened over a few days instead of a couple of months, and it remains amazing that bigger crowds didn’t assemble in the cradle of forced unionism.

Wisconsin state AFL-CIO president Phil Neuenfeldt partook in the Michigan protests and complained about the rapid process on Sunday morning television, saying, “If it’s good public policy you shouldn’t be afraid to have a discussion with your constituents.”  Fair enough.  Here’s the “discussion.”

Chances are the next step is a union lawsuit, and we’ll see if the Michigan courts are as intellectually dishonest as those in Dane County, where almost any judge is willing to say the Legislature doesn’t get to make the laws.

3000jobs.comLast week, we told you how the ethically-challenged President of the Wisconsin Mining Association worked hand in glove with liberal Democrats and radical environmentalists to kill a new mine in Northern Wisconsin. The new mine could mean 3000 family supporting jobs, paying an average of $80,000 a year.

While the November elections should render these parties irrelevant when the new Republican majorities are sworn into office, and Governor Walker has called on GOP leaders to pass new mining legislation in January, Wisconsin families can’t afford to just sit back and wait.

That’s why the, Wisconsin Club for Growth has launched a new multi-media campaign urging legislators to follow Governor Walker’s lead and approve a mining bill in January. provides important information about the proposed mine and an opportunity for you to directly contact the Governor and your legislators. You can also sign a petition in support of legislation that will help streamline the permitting process and allow a new mine to open more quickly.

It’s time to expose hidden agendas and put an end to the partisan politics that blocked mining reform legislation last spring. It’s time to get Wisconsin back work!

Tuning up the Wisconsin job killer

We’re guessing relatively few who voted to re-elect Barack Obama can articulate a motivation that stands up to logical scrutiny. Those who reside in Wisconsin have a special reason to be ashamed.

A week ago today, the Internal Revenue Service finalized its rules for implementing a new tax that targets an industry significantly concentrated in Wisconsin and making products essential to the American quality of life.

It’s the new 2.3 percent tax on medical devices, supposedly to help finance the government health care takeover. That’s not 2.3 percent of profits, by the way; it’s 2.3 percent of gross sales. If a company has a very small profit margin, say 2 percent, the tax will confiscate its earnings and a little more. If a company is just breaking even and makes the mistake of selling any products, it’s immediately going in the red.

Many Wisconsin employers are in line for this Obamacare looting; an abundance of precision and high-tech manufacturing makes the state a target-rich environment. GE Medical Systems is an obvious example, but even a cursory, ten-minute search identified additional medical device manufacturers in Menomonie, De Forest, Waukesha, Clear lake, Chippewa Falls, Madison, Milwaukee, Menominee Falls, Grantsburg, Port Washington, Sussex, Clayton, Fort Atkinson, and Grafton.

Too often business pleads for “regulatory certainty” rather than challenge the premise of regulation. At least Mark Leahey, CEO of the Medical Device Manufacturer’s Association, doesn’t buy the “certainty” excuse, saying the finalized IRS rule “does nothing to prevent the loss of jobs and innovation that has already occurred as a result of the medical device tax, and will unfortunately continue if we do not repeal this bad policy.”

No repeal is in sight for a bad policy enabled, unwittingly, no doubt, by 52.8 percent of Wisconsin voters.

And now, the UNternet?

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) was established in the 19th century to set uniform standards ensuring the telegraph would provide efficient, reliable communications worldwide.

You should care about the ITU because you’re reading this on the Internet and because the ITU is now a United Nations outfit. Some of the unpleasant regimes that infest the UN are hoping otherwise humdrum ITU treaty negotiations in Dubai this week will set up UN control of the Internet, and there’s concern that Internet freedom may get the kind of Obama administration defense that’s been all too typical in dealings with dictators.

Last Friday’s Wall Street Journal reported State Department negotiator Terry Kramer shunning hard-line positions on Internet freedom, and ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Toure advocating what sounds like making the Internet an instrument of government.

Meanwhile, a separate ITU action advanced another line of attack against Internet freedom, through the adoption of a Chinese government plan that, among other things, will make it easier to locate dissenters.

We hardly need go on about Internet communications such as…oh, say the Wednesday Update—playing an increasing role as the conventional media prove themselves untrustworthy, but…

A pertinent fact about the collapse of Poland’s communist dictatorship during the 1980s is that the regime’s undoing was assisted materially by Western groups providing Poles with FAX machines. The technology helped them bypass the lying, government-controlled media and circulate true accounts of what was going on in the country.

What’s different today is that the Internet can do the same job so much faster and better. No wonder the world’s tyrants are eager to control it, and hopeful that a halfhearted U.S. defense might let them.

Same-day shenanigans

Republicans would understandably hope to downplay the inevitable controversy over any move ending same-day voter registration in Wisconsin. We therefore hope last week’s statements that nothing much is going on there—from officials known to favor repeal—are meant to douse the flames without extinguishing the fire.

At least that’s what we hope. Only ten states have adopted laws allowing election-day registration at polling places. The other 40 may or may not have foreseen how same-day registration would be used to overwhelm ballot security; either way they’ve made the wiser choice.

For proof, look across the Mississippi. In Minnesota, well over 6,200 election-day registrations from 2008 proved fraudulent. Post-election efforts to verify names and addresses revealed one or both to be fictitious in that many cases.

Remember, 2008 was the election that made Saturday Night Live clown Al Franken Minnesota’s junior Senator, furnishing the crucial 60th vote for the monstrosity of Obamacare. Franken’s winning margin? 312 votes.

In Wisconsin this year, same-day registration chaos prevailed at polling places in the June recall that narrowly deposed Republican State Senator Van Wanggaard. The November presidential election saw 57,000 polling-place registrations in Milwaukee alone.

Repeal acquired fresh importance as a ballot-security measure last Friday, in light of statements by entrepreneurial litigator Vince Megna, candidate for the state Supreme Court seat held by Justice Pat Roggensack.

Megna said he’d rule Wisconsin’s Voter ID law unconstitutional, effectively declaring he will prejudge cases and that he considers this a virtue that ought to decide the April election.

There was a time when Megna’s words would have doomed his candidacy. Now, we’d say the integrity of Wisconsin elections needs multiple new layers of protection.