May 28, 2006

Voting With Their Feet, New England Edition

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:02 pm

Thousands have been fleeing Massachusetts for the “Live Free or Die” State of New Hampshire.

This editorial in the Manchester (NH) Union Leader looks at what will and won’t work to stop the bleeding:

Mass. exodus: How to lose a city in five years
Monday, May. 22, 2006

PUT ALL the people who have fled Massachusetts in the past five years into one place and they would form a city the size of Norfolk, Va. Last week the candidates for governor of Massachusetts presented their plans for preventing further population loss. New Hampshire should fear Kerry Healey.

Candidate Chris Gabrieli proposed investing $1 billion of state money in embryonic stem cell research. Evidently he thinks Massachusetts is losing hundreds of thousands of Ph.D.s. Deval Patrick said he would keep people in the Bay State by raising the minimum wage by $2 an hour and building high-speed commuter rail from Boston.

Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, a Republican, proposed cutting the state income tax rate to 5 percent, slashing unemployment insurance taxes, and giving tax-free savings accounts to first-time home-buyers. A recent Boston Globe survey found that the top two reasons people gave for leaving the state were to find a better job and a cheaper place to live. Healey’s proposals have the best chance of stimulating job growth and cutting the cost of living.

Southern New Hampshire is booming partly because people continue to flee Massachusetts. So we have one bit of advice for Bay Staters this year. Vote Democrat. New Hampshire wants more economic growth.

One hopes that those who remain in Massachusetts get the message.

Weekend Question 3: Remind Me, Why Is Nationalized Health Care Described As “Free”?

Filed under: Consumer Outrage,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:04 pm

“” Interested-Participant, who clearly has his alerts set up for these types of things, has a story that’s outrageous on so many levels from two of Canada’s provinces, Ontario and Alberta:

Toronto hospital doesn’t have funds to operate device
Patient must travel to Alberta every 16 days for therapy

May 25, 2006

Tom Garrett, an 18-year-old leukemia patient, flies to Calgary every 16 days to receive a medical treatment no hospital in Ontario can provide — even though the machine needed for his photoimmune therapy lies collecting dust in Toronto.

It costs the Ontario government $1,600 for each photopheresis treatment for Garrett in Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre, and he’s had about 30 so far. And in 2004-05, the Ontario health ministry spent more than $1.6 million to send eight people to the United States for the same treatment at an average cost of $201,715 per patient.

Meanwhile, at Princess Margaret Hospital sits a machine about the size of a photocopier built by a Johnson & Johnson company called Therakos Inc. for the express purpose of providing photopheresis, a machine the manufacturer donated to the hospital five years ago.

The University Health Network, which includes Princess Margaret, says it doesn’t have the money to run it. The network submitted a proposal a couple of months ago to the government on how much it would cost and how many people would benefit if a photopheresis program were started.

….. Garrett’s mother accompanies him on his frequent flights to Calgary for treatment. Flights can cost $1,100 to $1,400 a ticket and are not covered by the government.

The two stay for three days of treatment before flying home. They had an apartment in Calgary for seven months but gave it up in April because the separation was too hard on the rest of the family, who live on a farm.

….. On Monday, Garrett and his mother flew to Calgary, where he’ll receive treatments for three days. The cost of flying to Calgary, accommodation and other expenses come out of his family’s pocket and the Peterborough and Windsor communities that have rallied around the teen. More than $100,000 has been raised to cover his medical expenses.

“It’s been four years of a battle,” Johnston said.

Garrett’s battle is a story of bravery. The bureacracy making the battle more difficult ought to be a source of shame.

When will Canada honestly examine its failed experiment sacrament of nationalized health care?

Remember The Rumor That The Post Office Wanted an E-mail Tax? Now the EU Really Does

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:01 am

I had to take another look at the calendar to make sure it isn’t April Fool’s Day.

The European Union thinks a tax on e-mails and instant messages would be a great idea, and unlike the US Postal Service rumor many years ago, this is not a spoof:

European Union lawmakers are investigating a proposed tax on emails and mobile phone text messages as a way to fund the 25-member bloc in the future.

A European Parliament working group is reviewing the idea, tabled by Alain Lamassoure, a prominent French MEP and member of the centre-right European People’s Party, the assembly’s largest group.

Lamassoure, a member of Jacques Chirac’s UMP party, is proposing to add a tax of around 1.5 cents on text or SMS messages and a 0.00001 cent levy on every email sent.

“This is peanuts, but given the billions of transactions every day, this could still raise an immense income,” he said.

Currently the EU budget is funded through a combination of import duties, value added tax revenues and direct contributions from member states — the so-called “Gross National Income resource”, which is calculated according to wealth.

However, following a year-long battle over the current seven-year budget, agreed last December, it was decided that the way in which the EU is funded should be changed, with new proposals expected by 2008/2009.

A single “EU tax” has found support among many of the 25 EU governments, MEP’s and the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm. Other ideas include a tax on airline tickets and an extra levy on oil companies.

The mind staggers at the complications involved in collecting the tax and/or charging it through to customers/end users, neither of which (of course) is addressed in the article.

If these people want to see themselves get left eating dust in the Information Age, they should go right ahead and tax themselves silly.

UPDATE: There’s an “interesting” mix of reax at the ZDnet post on the Reuters article.

UPDATE 2: In a totally related story, The BBC reports that “EU foreign ministers have said there is little immediate hope of re-launching the EU constitution, a year after French and Dutch voters rejected it.” The idea of taxing e-mails won’t help that constitution much.

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Positivity: Mutual Lifesaving

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:10 am

He saved an accident victim’s life, and believes that because he did that, she saved his.

This is excerpted from a May 20 column written by Pat Boone about his son-in-law, Chris Allen: