Interior Department destroys 100-year old small business

November 30, 2012

Drakes Bay Oyster logo

Because, y’know, we must all sacrifice for Gaia (1). Mary Katherine Ham summarizes at Hot Air:

It’s just a 100-year-old company and California’s only surviving cannery, a sustainable, family-owned operation employing 30 people. The Drakes Bay Oyster Company has been in a seven-year fight with the federal government and environmental groups over whether it’s 40-year lease would be renewed this week. The Lunny family, which owns the oyster farm, was among a group of families that sold their ranch lands to the National Parks Service in the 1970s to protect them from developers, with the understanding they would get 40-year-leases renewed in perpetuity. After buying and operating the oyster farm without incident— they were even featured as outstanding environmental stewards by the National Parks Service— the Lunnys learned in 2005 they were accused of bringing environmental damage to an area the NPS and environmentalists were anxious to designate as the nation’s first federally recognized marine wilderness.

And thus Secretary Salazar has decided to shut down a farm that accounts for 40% of the oyster harvest in California, in violation of the original lease agreement and on the basis of  “science” driven by an environmentalist agenda:

The trouble started in 2005, when Kevin Lunny, a local rancher, purchased the oyster farm from Johnson Oyster Co. He was required to get a special-use permit from the California Coastal Commission, which had placed a cease-and-desist order on the property as a result of previous problems.

In the midst of those negotiations and discussions about extending the 2012 lease, the Park Service came out with accusations of environmental damage, setting off a series of dueling scientific reports.

“What has happened is the National Academy of Sciences has shown that all the claims made by the National Park Service are wrong,” Lunny said. “It gives us a clean bill of health.”

Lunny and others claim Jon Jarvis, the Pacific West regional director of the National Park Service, deliberately misrepresented data to bolster his own ideological agenda.

Jarvis apologized Tuesday for mistakes that were made on the initial report but defended the Park Service’s handling of the science.

“They didn’t say our research was wrong. They just said it was incomplete,” Jarvis said. “What there really is here is a disagreement among scientists about the level of impact on the environment. That does not mean that one side is guilty of misconduct.”

The battle intensified in 2007, when the Park Service issued a report claiming, among other things, that oyster farming reduced the number of harbor seals and damaged eelgrass beds.

Lunny, who is trying to persuade the Park Service to renew a 40-year occupancy agreement in 2012, was furious. His case was helped by Corey Goodman, a biological scientist who reviewed Park Service studies on oysters.

They accused Park Service officials of fabricating environmental problems to drive the oyster company off the bay where explorer Sir Francis Drake purportedly landed more than 430 years ago.

Be sure to read the whole article. At best, the Park Service study was incompetent; at worst, it was a hit job meant to serve a Green objective (2), rather than objective science. Whatever the truth, a venerable business has been wrecked, livelihoods ruined, and the economy of California’s rural north, which has already suffered terribly (3) at the hands of environmental extremists, takes another blow.

This is another example of Washington-as-Leviathan, where abstract policy goals (and big donor groups) come before the needs of individual people, and science is a tool to be used to reach that goal, rather than a source of information leading to a wise, just decision.

(And didn’t Obama want to depoliticize science? Never mind…)

Of course, in the midst of this sad story is some irony, too. The Lunny’s farm is near Inverness, in Marin County, which is infamous in its liberalism. While we don’t know how the people of the area voted in the last election, Marin as a whole went 75% for Obama. (For comparison, California overall voted “only” 60% for the President.) Thus I think it’s safe to say a majority of the affected people likely were Obama voters.

How’s that for gratitude, folks?

That bit of snark aside, what’s happening here is unjust and needless, and one hopes that pressure from the public and Senator Feinstein’s office will find a way to undo the harm caused by Secretary Salazar’s arrogance. You can see a short documentary on the Lunny’s battle at Hot Air.

Afterthought: I suppose one can also take grim satisfaction at the thought of rich Bay-Area liberals having to pay more for their precious shellfish, given that Salazar’s decision will massively contract the available supply. Nah. They’ll never make the connection.

Footnotes:
(1) Except for the High Priests of the faith, such as Al Gore, who can jet around the globe as much as they need and just buy themselves absolution via the carbon credits scam.
(2) Of course, that’s S.O.P for Ken Salazar, who was found by a federal judge to have misrepresented the science in a report used to justify a moratorium on drilling permits in the Gulf after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
(3) Other than marijuana, of course, now that logging, mining, and fishing have been all but killed. If you eliminate legitimate industries, people will turn to what they have to in order to survive.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Random thoughts on SCHIP and adult children

November 29, 2012

SCHIP is, for those who don’t know, is the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Under changes enacted in 2010 by the Unicorn and Skittles Obama Administration, parents can keep their children on their insurance until the “children” are at most 26 years old.

Since we’re now defining childhood to last through age 26, shouldn’t we…

  • Raise the voting age to 27?
  • Require parental consent to marry for anyone 26 and below?
  • Require parental consigning for any contracts the “children” may undertake?
  • Prohibit alcohol purchases to anyone 26 and younger?

I  mean, if we’re going to be giving college-age and in-the-workforce adults the benefits of being children, shouldn’t we treat them as children?


In Obama’s America, you’re better off on welfare

November 29, 2012

Oh, I know. I know. I’m RAAAAACIST!!! for even suggesting that. But numbers, while subject to interpretation, don’t lie. And in this case, they’re pretty hard to read any other way. From Zero Hedge:

Exactly two years ago, some of the more politically biased progressive media outlets (who are quite adept at creating and taking down their own strawmen arguments, if not quite as adept at using an abacus, let alone a calculator) took offense at our article “In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year.” In it we merely explained what has become the painful reality in America: for increasingly more it is now more lucrative – in the form of actual disposable income – to sit, do nothing, and collect various welfare entitlements, than to work. This is graphically, and very painfully confirmed, in the below chart from Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a state best known for its broke capital Harrisburg). As quantitied, and explained by Alexander, “the single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.

And here’s the chart that illustrates the point:

(Click for a larger view)

Talk about perverse incentives. As structured now, a rational individual would look at this and conclude that he’s better off collecting rents from the rest of us, than working to better himself.

Be sure to read the rest. There’s much more — and it’s scary.

Not that we’ll have to worry for long, though, since the economy will simply shut down in 2027.

via Power Line

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Dissolve Detroit?

November 29, 2012

The city that’s been the butt of “urban wasteland” jokes for as long as I can recall may finally be reaching the end, as a state senator proposes disincorporation:

It would no doubt be controversial, but the idea of dissolving the fiscally struggling city of Detroit and absorbing it into Wayne County is being tossed around in Lansing.

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports some state Republicans are talking about giving the city the option to vote itself into bankruptcy. And mid-Michigan Senator Rick Jones said all options should be considered — including dissolving the city.

Thus we see the fruits of 50-60 years of unrestrained liberal governance –Walter Mead’s “Blue Model”– and the failure to adapt to changing economic environments: collapsing essential services and abandonment.

One wonders if, on hearing the news, someone in the Wayne County government asked “What did we ever do to you??”

via Moe Lane

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


More on California’s epic self-inflicted failure

November 28, 2012

Fairness

It’s okay. It’s all in the name of fairness:

California residents already contend with one of the most progressive tax codes in the country. Not only does California have high marginal rates, those high rates kick in at relatively modest income levels. California’s middle class residents earning $48,000 a year, for example, pay a state tax rate of 9.3%. Millionaires in 47 other states don’t even pay that high of a marginal rate. However, one of the state tax code’s greatest flaws is it’s over-reliance on upper income households and the revenue volatility it creates, and that is a problem that Prop. 30 would further exacerbate.

As of 2010, the state relied upon 144,000 households, 1 percent of taxpayers, for 50 percent of total state income tax… [With Proposition 30’s passage,] the top 10 percent of earners would be responsible for over 80% of the projected income generated – a fact that Gov. Brown and other advocates of the bill readily acknowledge.

I think I know how the lookout on the Titanic must have felt.

One of the weirdnesses (among many) I’ve noticed on the Left is the assumption that tax compliance is static, that, no matter how high you set the rates, you’ll draw in the expected revenue. That idea is, of course, a crock.

Tax behavior instead is dynamic: raise the rates too high, and rationally self-interested taxpayers will do whatever is legal to avoid them, including moving out of the jurisdiction.

Businesses are already leaving California at a rapid pace. Once Prop 30 really kicks in –with its backdated taxes– businesses and the so-called rich will truly head for the border.

But that’s okay; the left has already figured out the answer — we’ll just charge them exit taxes!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Yikes! Student loan bubble bursts.

November 28, 2012

“The next subprime crisis.” This is bad.


California: We’re the best worst state! Yay? Updated.

November 28, 2012

The new flag of California

Now here’s something to be proud of. Thanks to nearly 50 years of  Democratic control of the legislature and the legislators’ kowtowing to public unions in return for donations and  support, the state of California –the Golden State, the land that inspired untold millions of dreams and created unheard of prosperity for its people– is officially the worst-run state in the nation:

50. California

Debt per capita: $4,008 (18th highest)
Budget deficit: 20.7% (17th largest)
Unemployment: 11.7% (2nd highest)
Median household income: $57,287 (10th highest)
Pct. below poverty line: 16.6% (18th highest)

California is 24/7 Wall St.’s “Worst Run State” for the second year in a row. Due to high levels of debt, the state’s S&P credit rating is the worst of all states, while its Moody’s credit rating is the second-worst. Much of California’s fiscal woes involve the economic downturn. Home prices plunged by 33.6% between 2006 and 2011, worse than all states except for three. The state’s foreclosure rate and unemployment rate were the third- and second-highest in the country, respectively. But efforts to get finances on track are moving forward. State voters passed a ballot initiative to raise sales taxes as well as income taxes for people who make at least $250,000 a year. While median income is the 10th-highest in the country, the state also has one of the highest tax burdens on income. According to the Tax Foundation, the state also has the third-worst business tax climate in the country.

The best run state? North Dakota. In fact, the top five are run by fiscally conservative Republican governments, while the three worst of the bottom five are dominated by liberal Democrats.  I detect a pattern here, and it has much more to do with governing philosophy than with the letter after the politician’s name.

The analysis given after the data is horse feathers, though. Yes, California did suffer heavily from the economic crisis that hit in 2008 and the resulting recession. But that does not explain the slowness of our recovery. That, instead, is explained by the poor policies followed by the government in Sacramento, which has done everything right — if the objective was to choke of economic growth and job creation. Borrowing too much money, then spending it on on padded public pensions and useless projects like high-speed rail; raising already-high taxes on the very people who create the jobs we desperately need, thus leaving no money for reinvestment and driving those people out of the state or out of business; and a regulatory environment that can only be described as miserable. Our “leaders” have taken us straight into the pit and they show no sign of changing course.

Well done, California. Well done!

via Legal Insurrection

RELATED: Other measures of our success: California now leads the nation in poverty, or, as my friend Teach puts it, we’re “Brokefornia.”

UPDATE: Walter Russell Mead explains far better than I did why California’s recovery is so weak:

The problem with California has never been that bad policies put the state in a permanent recession. Rather, bad policies have meant that the state and its residents suffer more than average when recessions come, and that they benefit less than they should when the good times return. Some of the world’s most dynamic people and industries are found in California, but poor governance means that the state as a whole keeps losing ground when compared with the country as a whole. That is California’s real problem, and the Times would serve its readers better by analyzing the forces holding California back from achieving its magnificent potential instead of hailing a modest and cyclical economic recovery as some kind of proof that the state’s model ‘works’.

Left unspoken: We keep electing those responsible for the poor governance.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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