Thank God for big, faceless corporations

rebelNorth Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is scrambling to rescue his career. In an election year he should have known better than to sign a mindbogglingly stupid bill aimed at intimidating gays and lesbians. Republican Governors in such progressive strongholds as Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina have already demonstrated the good sense to resist so-called “bathroom bills” or similar measures.

When Indiana Governor Mike Pence made the same mistake, corporate pressure forced him into a frenzied and humiliating retreat. Pence, however, enjoyed a resource McCrory lacks – time. North Carolina will fix this dumb move, but the ugly process will play out across the span of a particularly difficult election season for Republicans. McCrory’s inexplicable miscalculation will probably cost him his job and take the state’s Republican Senate seat with him.

Then, there’s Mississippi.

A state that raised Jim Crow to a violent art form has taken the anti-gay backlash to new heights. Using religion as a smokescreen, lawmakers there have enshrined into law a personal right to discriminate that extends to virtually any service delivered in public or private spaces. There will be no political consequences whatsoever.

What makes North Carolina so different from Mississippi is that North Carolina is tied into global capitalism. The new Jim Crow will fail in North Carolina as it has in so many other places because of pressure by corporations.

It will remain in place in Mississippi because that state has nothing anyone wants in a modern economy. Boycotting Mississippi is the political equivalent of bombing the rubble.

As our political system grows more frighteningly dysfunctional it pays to live in a place with lots of big corporations. They are among the last remaining political forces with a solid commitment to practical outcomes and the power to make them happen. From civil rights to climate change and education, corporate political pressure is becoming the last reliable force holding back the barbarians.

Be grateful you live in a place where major corporations want to do business. Life beyond their influence can be rather dark.

North Carolina’s Governor is not flailing because of pressure from liberal groups. Marches and protests and boycotts by noisy activists don’t frighten him in the least. Years of remarkable “Moral Mondays” demonstrations at the state capital have yet to move the needle in North Carolina politics. North Carolina is threatened with a loss of legitimacy at a national level by the concerted pressure applied by corporate interests.

In our era, the greatest business advantage doesn’t come from cheap waste disposal, plentiful coal, or access to oppressed workers. The most lucrative capital returns come from building a powerful pool of human talent. It is difficult to maintain talent in an environment where your employees might be harassed for their identity with complicity from government. The death of Jim Crow was an essential key to the rise of the South as an economic player. Businesses will not stand by and let their investments be decimated by a Neo-Confederate revival.

Republicans are finding themselves torn between old interests and new, between business and bigots. Money is going to win that fight 100 times out of 100. The problem is that money doesn’t care about certain places.

Business is almost certainly going to save North Carolina over the long term. In time, corporate interests will also roll back the damage that Neo-Confederates have done to that state’s schools and infrastructure. Other places that are blissfully free from the influence of big faceless corporations will not be so lucky.

No one is riding to the rescue of Mississippi. Left to the mercy of Neo-Confederate bigots, Mississippi will just keep getting poorer. Like the residents of Flint, Michigan who, over time, voted their way into a cascade of catastrophes so severe that even the federal government can’t bail them out, our own domestic Afghanistan is building for itself a landscape of almost irremediable misery.

Beware what happens when you lose the attention of those terrible ‘corporate interests.’ Take a moment today to feel thankful that you live in a place where big corporations still want to do business.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Neo-Confederate, Religious Right, Uncategorized
67 comments on “Thank God for big, faceless corporations
  1. Otis Moorehouse says:

    I was born in Mississippi, and except for a few forward-thinking cities like Oxford and Starkville, this state is sinking into the shitter faster than a Tokyo bound bullet train.

    Governor Bryant is doubling down on HB1523 and Lt. Governor Reeves is channeling his inner Ross Barnett in preparation for his own run for the governor’s mansion in a few years. To make matters worse, both are also wrapping themselves in the confederate flag (state flag) and will not even acknowledge that it if offensive to Black Mississippians or that such imagery tarnished the states national image. The flag is just low hanging fruit and it’s just so easy to pander to the undereducated masses than to push Mississippi of the bottom. I won’t even go into the asinine economic policies those two have inflicted on the state.

    In full disclosure, I’m black and left Mississippi a years ago after graduating from Ole Miss to work at Boeing. I only came back to help care for my aging parents, but I’m outta here for good after they pass. There is no future here for me or anyone outside of working a low wager factory job. I’m not making nearly half as much here as I made in Seattle.

  2. Titanium Dragon says:

    I think you (and everyone else) should probably read this:

    This is a great example of the power of the greys. Not the aliens; the American “tribal” group, the politically active people who aren’t members of the Red and Blue tribes who have been running the country for centuries.

  3. 1mime says:

    This just in: looks like SCOTUS is deadlocked on O’s immigration plan, which means the lower court opinion which kills DOMA etc will prevail…at least in TX, at least until all of the other RED states file their own cases in friendly courts to achieve the same end game.

  4. moslerfan says:

    Big faceless corporations;

  5. flypusher says:

    How would you fare under a President Trump? Find out by calculating your Trump score:

    I got a 560, so I had better watch my back. Yeah, I have small hands, but they’re very skilled hands! Size isn’t everything!

  6. 1mime says:

    Interesting article here on the “how and what is coming” regarding religious liberty legislation. These things don’t just “happen”…

    “There are more than 100 active bills like this right now, across 22 states. They fall into a handful of categories — some are bathroom bills, some let judges refuse to marry same-sex couples, some let businesses deny services to LGBT people — but they all have the same goal: legalizing discrimination against queer people.

    While it might seem like this onslaught of legislation came out of nowhere, religious conservatives have been working toward this kind of full-blown assault for years. They’ve been test-driving various anti-LGBT bills at local levels, anticipating the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision on marriage equality and preparing ways to weaken it.”

  7. n1cholas says:

    You. Will. Atone.

    • vikinghou says:

      “Network” is one of my favorite movies. When it released in 1976 it was considered to be outrageous satire. But as it turned out, the film was very prescient. Much of the on-the-air antics depicted in the film are commonplace today.

      • 1mime says:

        Network was special. I just rented “Truth” via redbox (60 Minutes saga of GWB’ national guard investigation) which took down Dan Rather and Mary Mapes while the truth blurred in the machinations of political control. Good background, excellent acting and script. No wasted scenes. Of course, being the liberal I am, I found much to enjoy on the HBO series, “The Newsroom” which ran only 3 seasons before Sorkin pulled the plug to prepare for his new movie on Steve Jobs.

  8. Pseudoperson Randomian says:

    What the…?

    Can someone with more understanding of corporate taxes explain the data? Are we missing something that’s not covered in the article? How does this happen? Is this why companies still operate out of the US even though taxes are theoretically at a very high rate compared to other countries?

    • goplifer says:

      Our corporate tax rate is obscene and absurd. The federal rate alone is 35%, then state taxes pile on top, often exceeding 50%. By comparison, German corporations pay about 16%. In Ireland it’s 12.5%. Singapore 17%. South Korea 10%.

      Our corporate tax rate is the third-highest in the world, behind those bastions of economic fairness – Chad and the UAE. The global average is 22%.

      US voters would freak the F&^% out if we proposed setting a more sensible corporate tax rate, so over the last eighty years or so we have steadily carved out a whole series of exceptions for specific companies and industries so we can avoid slaughtering the Golden Goose. Our refusal to face reality around corporate taxation has created an entire industry around politically-driven tax exceptions.

      No healthy US corporation pays their taxes at the posted rate. No one who paid our tax rate could possibly dream of staying in business.

      There is an obvious cure, which the public would never tolerate. Drop the corporate tax rate to a fairly reasonable, globally competitive, yet still pretty high 15% and eliminate every tax expenditure carved out to evade taxes. Your biggest obstacle is the Sandernistas, who are never going to see reason or budge. So we will keep losing tax money to various hedges. Over time, we will start losing companies themselves. This has already started, as operating on a global scale becomes increasingly practical and the relative advantages of being based in the US decline.

      • 1mime says:

        If corporate tax reform is so desperately needed, why hasn’t it happened? Why are businesses so loathe to give up their tax breaks in return for a lower tax rate?

      • Stephen says:

        I think corporate taxes should drop to zero. But tax dividends and capital gains when they are paid at the individal’s marginal rate. This would encourage productive use of capital by corporations since until payed out it would be tax free.

      • flypusher says:

        “I think corporate taxes should drop to zero. But tax dividends and capital gains when they are paid at the individal’s marginal rate. This would encourage productive use of capital by corporations since until payed out it would be tax free.”

        I’m OK with this.

      • 1mime says:

        In order for something like this to be not only “fair” but “sufficient” to run our country and provide services and benefits, there would need to be individual tax restructuring. Again, those who are top earners don’t have to worry – they can take care of their daily needs and desires, prepare a healthy retirement, and all the rest…housing, kids, etc. When you have billionaires paying extremely low rates because they have the sophistication and means to utilize tax shelters, and all the rest of the wage earners are paying top rates, that needs to change. Carried interest – gone. Offshoring – gone. And all those legal tax dodges I’m not smart enough to figure out but people like Romney et al can hire expertise to utilize.

        Maybe this is an argument for a simpler, graduated tax with zero deductions or far fewer deductions so that at least everyone is paying proportional to their earnings and not “gaming the system”.

      • 1mime says:

        There has to be another side to your argument, Lifer. Sanderistas aside, Republicans don’t want lower individual taxes and they also want to reduce corporate taxes. How is it fiscally feasible to do both? This “across the board lower tax philosophy” works fine for those who are in the top income levels, but there is a cost to simply operate a large country and provide services to the people. How would you balance those two out?

      • 1mime says:

        Geezim, Republicans “want” lower individual taxes and lower corporate taxes….sorry.

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer, how can you read the WaPo article and links and make the argument above? I cannot recall one of your posts(or your book, The Politics of Crazy) dealing specifically with corporate tax reform, but this report resulting from the FOIA request by Sanders sullies big business’ justification for their claim of paying the highest taxes in the world. The “rates” may be highest but the tax dodge results in a much different “actual” tax burden. It honestly makes it look like a shell game….complain about high tax rates while lobbying and successfully obtaining tax credits and deductions while also benefiting with personal income tax rates.

        IOW, big business is having it both ways. How is that fair?

      • goplifer says:

        A 0% rate can inspire some weird distortions. It also inspires a lot of chicanery. There are only a few zero-rate jurisdictions in the world and they all have a reputation for corruption. Simple and low is probably the best answer.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        A low rate that has a high compliance has a couple of positive attributes. One is the high compliance, another is that if you have other revenue sources, you can check one against the other for compliance.

      • 1mime says:

        Unarmed, America needs to have a real conversation about what kind of country we want to be. If we want to have the biggest, baddest military in the world, low corporate and individual tax rates, a safe, viable infrastructure and a safety net – taxes are necessary. How “much” is debatable but you cannot have both low taxes and high quality of life. I believe the American people are demonstrating in today’s disenchanted political maelstrom that they are not happy with things as they are. IOW, their priorities are too far down the list. It takes money to run government and we should all pay our fair share. Critical, of course, is “what” is each person’s or businesses’ fair share, and, how is it levied?

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Mime – I’m not sure if you agree with me or not. My point is that reducing rates and raising compliance (also closing loopholes) can raise as much or more than the status quo.
        Other than regressive taxes, I can’t think of less fair taxation than loopholes that all cannot use to their advantage.

        See the link to the tax reform during the Reagan years. Not saying anything pro or con about these changes, only, repeat only, that the marginal rate on personal income tax went from 70 percent to 28 and the taxes raised stayed approx’ the same. This was because some loopholes were closed in following years and it was simpler to pay taxes than jump thru the hoops. This could apply to corporate taxes. Along with making investment income taxed as earned income, we could raise as much as needed.

        Pick a rate 3, 10, 15 percent. we could make it work.

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t disagree with you at all, unarmed. My concern comes from observing Republican fiscal policy in action. They want both lower personal taxes and lower corporate taxes AND they want to cut services and expenditures – but not “all” services/expenditures – just those that primarily do not serve their donor base. How is it possible to figure out what amount of taxation is adequate without first having an open discussion about national priorities. Do we really need the world’s largest military? America leads in many areas but lags behind in others, and the “others” are typically those wanted and needed by ordinary Americans.

        What would a fiscally responsible blueprint for America look like? What would it cost? How much are all Americans willing to pay for it? I have read Paul Ryan’s budget plans and once more, tax cuts dominate over core services. A balance has to be struck and changes doubtless will be needed but not in such a way that our nation is crippled and a huge swath of our population lose what little security they have.

        The Houston Chronicle today had an editorial on this subject. They offered 3 simple changes that would extend SS and help Medicare reduce costs. (1) Raise the cap on earnings to generate additional revenue to extend SS, (2) Allow Medicare to do what Medicaid and the VA program do – negotiate drug prices based upon bulk purchase, and (3) change from “any willing provider” in Medicare to allow prioritization of most efficient providers. These three changes would not be as drastic as Ryan’s voucherization and block grants of medicare and other programs that primarily serve children, the elderly and disabled.

        So, let’s have that conversation where everything is put on the table and find a way to allow the American people to weigh in as to what they think our nations’ priorities should be – not allow 40 conservatives in Congress to hold up the entire US budget because they think it isn’t austere enough. Get your head around that number: 40 people kept the House of Representatives from meeting its budget deadline. Until Republicans are willing to govern through consensus and compromise, these 40 people will likely make all our financial decisions. I don’t know about you but I think this is wrong. Last I checked, there were Democrats in the House of Representatives who care about our nation’s budget and they are being shut out of the process. By 40 Tea Party conservatives. That is why we’re not getting anything done here.

      • WX Wall says:

        I’m sorry Chris, but this is absolutely not true. Our top tax rate is higher than everyone but Chad and UAE. But that is nowhere near what the average corporation pays. The far more accurate statistic to use to measure overall tax burden is corporate tax revenue as a percentage of GDP. According to the OECD, here:

        The U.S. corporate tax revenue was 2.3% of GDP, which is actually *below* the average of 3.0 for the entire OECD. (albeit Germany was even lower at 1.8).

        Furthermore, even your stats on top tax rate are incorrect. According to here
        The German corporate tax rate is 29.65 and was 38.4% as late as 2007 (when ostensibly it was cut as part of the response to the recession). South Korea’s was 24.20. Although these are lower than the US, they’re not as far off as your quoted rates of 16 and 10%. I’m not sure why your figures and mine are so far off for Germany and south Korea’s tax rates. If you could post your source, that would be beneficial in figuring out the discrepancy.

        (Ireland and Singapore, we are in agreement on tax rates, but I’d discount them given that Ireland is a tax haven and Singapore is a small city-state heavily dependent on trade, so I’d assert they’re not peer countries to compare tax policies with).

        At the end of the day, the U.S. has a relatively high nominal corporate tax rate (although not as extreme as your original figures would imply), but the actual tax burden on companies is less than other developed countries. I’d agree that I’d rather lower the tax rate and eliminate tax loopholes, but that’s a different issue of whether the overall burden is unduly high. Even if we increase our corporate tax revenue by 50%, we’d barely be above average for the OECD.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Mime – I agree the know-nothings and the no-everythings in congress are hurting us all in many ways. They are so wrong about taxation and spending, I don’t even consider them any more. I wasted enough time in the 70s and 80s talking about trickle down economics.

        You are right, tho. We need to start the conversation and somehow determine where we want to go as a country. That is why this blog is so interesting. We are so effed up, the current political stuff will have to bring an improvement, right?


        In the meantime I try to talk people on my side about the unfairness of mortgage interest and property tax deductions.

      • goplifer says:

        Germany’s corporate tax rate is 15%. The US rate is 35%.

        Add in variable taxes for states, municipalities and various surcharges and the German rate can sometimes reach 30%. The average is about 26%.

        Add in similar charges in the US, plus the “gross receipts” charges and other local taxes and the total surges over 50% in many parts of the country.

        To add a little more complexity and needless burden, we also tax corporations when they repatriate income they earned overseas, even after they have paid taxes owed in those foreign jurisdictions. This is a huge advantage for overseas companies, especially in Europe, who only pay taxes in the jurisdictions where the money is earned.

        So naturally, anyone who is going to stay in business in the US is going to find some way to avoid that ridiculous tax burden. After 80 years of carving out exceptions to these dumb rules, hardly any business actually pays those rates. And local governments work hard (with their Congressmen) to help businesses avoid our stupid taxes. They would be hit hardest if many of these companies were actually forced to pay our standard tax rates.

        Click to access dttl-tax-corporate-tax-rates-2015.pdf

        Our blind impression that corporations are some sort of cancer is destructive and pointless.

      • 1mime says:

        Our corporations are not the problem but they can be part of the solution. We need a fair and adequate tax code both for personal taxes and corporate taxes. Frankly, I’m tired of all the conversation that goes nowhere but results in reports such as the WaPo list that is terribly unfair. It is happening at the local level with businesses as well. Tax incentives of all kinds are being created to lure and keep business. What’s so frustrating is that all this type of patchwork does is kick the can down the road and result in an unfair distribution of taxes in our country.

        The same people who can’t understand the need for rational corporate tax reform are those who don’t understand Fair Trade and the value of the EX-IM Bank. I’m all for laws that help our businesses thrive so long as it is not on the backs of ordinary Americans. I don’t care what the tax rates are, what they are paying is what is – the rest is just garbage.

      • moslerfan says:

        I agree on the 0% rate, lifer curious what pathologies you’d expect. Are you sure the causation doesn’t run from corruption to rates, not the other way?

      • 1mime says:

        The problem is really bigger than just currency…which, after all, is just paper. There are concerns that the backlash from populism is threatening to undo decades of globalization.
        Will calmer heads prevail? Are there any “calm” heads in decision-making positions these days?

      • moslerfan says:

        Former New York Federal Reserve President Beardsley Ruml wrote a short paper in 1946 titled “Taxes For Revenue Are Obsolete” (easily googled). In that paper, he argued for a 0% corporate tax rate, basically because corporate taxes cause corporations to do stupid things to avoid the tax, and it’s redundant if the tax is captured at the individual level.

        Interestingly, he felt that the one obstruction to eliminating corporate taxes was that tax wouldn’t be paid on retained earnings. But by his own arguments about the purposes of taxation that problem doesn’t actually exist. Ruml recognized that taxes do not serve to fund the Federal government, they exist to regulate the value of the currency. In other words, Federal taxation serves to make money valuable by removing some of it from circulation, and thereby controlling inflation or deflation. But unspent money cannot possibly push prices higher, so that’s a non-issue.

        Incidentally, state and local governments are funded by taxes. Only the Federal government has the legal power to print money. It is that power that makes the need for tax revenue unneccesary for Federal spending.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s my question, Mosler. You assume that if there were no corporate taxes they would be captured at the individual level, but what always seems to happen is that those who have the means find another way around paying at their stipulated rate(s). I guess I’ve become rather cynical where taxation is concerned. The whole “he who has the gold, rules” skepticism. The goal would assuredly be to disallow people from gaming the system through whatever means, but do you really think this is realistic?

      • moslerfan says:

        Mime, I don’t assume taxes would be recaptured at the individual level, just that they could be. It’s always a game between the tax police and the tax avoiders, that will probably always be the case. It is certainly true, however, that complexity helps the avoiders, and simplicity would make noncompliance harder.

      • 1mime says:

        Fair enough….just need something to make the system more fair to all….not just those with tax accountants.

    • 1mime says:

      I agree, Pseudo. Five years worth of zero taxes for our largest corporations while they were getting tax benefits? I’m all ears. Are these the same big businesses that we need to count on to curb irresponsible government? I am happy they are standing up to obvious absurdity but I’d be real interested in why this same group of businesses don’t understand their fiscal responsibility to our government and its employees. It’s sort of like the $5B fine paid by Goldman with half of the payment qualifying for tax deductions…..a business loss, sure, but what about the total loss experienced by those who lost homes and jobs and all their savings?

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        One of the comments on that WaPo article mentioned that some fines can be deducted as a business expense of some sort – but another mentioned that the tax is on profits and not on revenue. I don’t understand at all, and am looking for a better explanation of how corporate taxation works.

        Regarding Goldman Sachs – I’m curious whether the fines they paid actually hurt the people who profited from it, and if the fine is more than the profits that were made.

        I have little understanding of the whole system, but in my mind, a fine is a business expense. If I can earn $10 every time I engage in illegal activity, and I pay a penalty of $5 if I get caught, or even if I have to pay $20 but I only get caught 10% of the time, I would continue engaging in the illegal activity. It’s still profitable without other penalties.

        Well, I wouldn’t, but perhaps that’s why I’m not rolling around in cash…

      • 1mime says:

        The profits generated by the large banks and mortgage brokers (“shadow” banks, as HRC has named them) were immense. The fines, in comparison were paltry. You would have to google each large bank that was fined to break out how much of their fine was charged off as an “expense”, as the fines varied due to the size of each bank’s mortgage mea culpas. I do not agree that any portion of these fines should have been negotiated as a write off; rather, all fine revenue after government legal processing was deducted, should have gone to the people and businesses who were hurt.
        There are many people who do not believe government should have bailed out banks which knowingly took advantage of people and circumstances. I am certainly not an expert in matters of high finance, I don’t think we had much choice if we didn’t want our economy to collapse, but I do agree that people should have gone to jail, the fines should have been higher (proportional to profits driven by mortgage malfeasance), and that Dodd-Frank, while it offers more protection than we had, is not nearly strong enough to prevent problems like this and others.

        Here’s a couple of links which will give you more background. Decide for yourself.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        Fines should not be tax deductible, ever. It’s already too tempting for companies to see them as just another cost of doing business. Allowing them to be deducted as such reinforces that idea.

        The whole nut should come right off the profit line. Asking taxpayers to pick up any part of that is very literally adding insult to injury.

      • 1mime says:

        Big business is sitting on their checkbooks for the conventions. The parties have enjoyed healthy subsidies from corporations to throw their convention events but in this toxic political environment, things might be different. Whether that will that be a good thing or a bad thing seems less important to it being a “sure” thing.

  9. 1mime says:

    My recollection was that turn out was about 8%….which, of course is great for those who turn out and vote their position. I have read that the proponents of HERO will try again. I hope they do and those who sat on their hands rather than support the ordinance with their votes, have a chance to redeem themselves. Texas, we’re better than standing on the sidelines on issues like this.

  10. TheMeansAreTheEnd says:

    The big corporations are doing this primarily because their customers and employees as a whole are strongly opposed to such restrictions. So if they want to hire the best people & have the largest group of consumers interested in their products, they must take this position. They are indeed helping in this case — but only because society as a whole has changed its views & insist that the companies they work for & buy things from match their values.

    Of course there are smaller companies who take social positions to lead on issues that matter to those who control the company — or who choose to get in front of trends. And some companies are gung-ho for diversity because they’ve found that it actually improves the business! But mostly I think it’s because they are reflecting what their employees and customers want. As a result, they are in effect acting on votes over a larger constituency than the people (or sometimes just the politicians) of a single state.

  11. Stephen says:

    Someone runs even the largest corperation. It all boils down in the end to the individual. People can be devils or saints with most of us in between. My dad told me politics Iike many things in life swung from one extreme to the other extreme. We have reached the max of one side of the arc and now are changing direction. As in all social change you have winners and losers. The losers are fighting their last battles. But they already have lost the youth and therefore the future.

  12. irapmup says:

    Enlightened self-interest.

    Works every time.

  13. vikinghou says:

    The casino/hotel industry in MS can’t be pleased about this.

    • 1mime says:

      Wonder if holstered guns are allowed in the casinos in Mississippi per this new broadened gun legislation? Wonder how the casinos feel about that option?

      • flypusher says:

        Aren’t guns NOT allowed if a certain amount of alcohol is served? I remember some genius in AZ lobbying for allowing concealed carry in bars. What could possibly go wrong?????

      • 1mime says:

        Remember, this is MS….One would hope that guns wouldn’t be allowed in establishments serving alcohol but that would exclude most restaurants, too. I haven’t read the legislation so I really don’t know the details.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        The laws vary widely from state to state. As someone who actually does carry once in a while — and is licensed in 38 states to do so — I can tell you that it’s a reasonable general assumption (not to mention good common sense) that you should not carry into a bar, since that is in fact the law in the majority of states. If in doubt, just don’t.

        But it’s not true in all of them. (AZ, for one, has signage laws that are so byzantine that most bars can’t follow them, which effectively makes it OK to carry into most bars there.) So it pays to check one of the many websites that offer state-by-state comparison of the relevant gun laws.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks, Sara, but I don’t own or carry a firearm. Are you watching what’s going on in Missouri with their demands on PP?

  14. Pseudoperson Randomian says:

    Big Corp is a double edged sword, lifer. The new economy will create a lot of economically nonviable humans – and these are a drain on Big Corp. Gayness, OTOH, doesn’t change economic viability.

    Trump and Sanders are both fuelled partly by the fear and worry about that economic nonviability.

    Govt will need to handle this – and this is why I support stuff like a universal basic income+negative income tax. It’ll artificially make those benefiting from it economic players.

    But relying on Big Corp alone, like most hardcore libertarians seem to want to is not a recipe for success.

    • flypusher says:

      Agree about the double-edged sword. When the corporate overlords have a grounding in reality, are willing at a minimum to operate on a level of enlightened self interest when it comes to ethics, and don’t get too greedy, their power can indeed be used for good. But we’ve had plenty of examples of big business denying science/ being quite willing to harm people for profit- I’m looking right at you, Big Tobacco and Big Coal.

      Mississippi and Louisiana and all those other red states so enamoured of supply side economics and “religious liberty” will see their brain drains escalate. They will eventually wake up, but the question is how low do they have to go. Texas is pretty damn backwards too, but it has oasises like Houston and Austin and San Antonio, etc. where we 21st Century people can participate in the global ecomony and higher education and all the cultural variety. Therefore I’ve stayed put, even though I must endure the likes of Cruz and Cornyn representing me.

      • vikinghou says:

        I’ll agree that Houston is a kind of oasis of enlightenment in Texas. However, I must say that I was surprised that there wasn’t more of a backlash to the defeat of the HERO ordinance. Perhaps the difference is that we had a referendum here instead of passing a bill. Nevertheless it was disappointing and I hope Mayor Turner gives HERO another chance.

      • flypusher says:

        Dry stats can’t compete with images of creepy guys managing little girls in bathroom stalls. That’s the issue that’s going to have to be addressed here. You also have to understand that many of the people who are freaked out over this (and probably have young female relatives) aren’t necessarily trans-phobic, but worried about non-trans people falsely-claiming to be trans in order to make their predation easier. You will have to convince them (in a polite, respectful manner) that there won’t be increased danger to change their minds. Personally, I think more unisex bathrooms is the most likely solution. After all you also have situations with a parent with a child of the opposite sex who would be too young to go into the bathroom alone. School locker rooms, though, are a thornier problem, IMO.

      • 1mime says:

        If one travels in Europe, unisex bathrooms are commonplace. If for no other reason than to serve those who need help in using the bathrooms, unisex bathrooms are needed. Get over it.

      • flypusher says:

        “Menacing”- $&@# autocorrect!

      • 1mime says:

        It is ironic and expected that criminal justice reform has resulted in a reduction in incarceration numbers. “Red” states such as LA, KS, and MS which have relatively low per capital income and legislatures intent on slashing taxes, are having great difficulty operating basic services – schools are having to close or shorten the school year, college funding is being cut, and the cost of incarceration is rising. In MS, it costs $43/inmate for housing in a state public facility; in a private, for profit facility, that cost is $80. Prisoners have been used as a revenue producer by performing work in private contracts or in lieu of hiring locals to perform county services (roads, maintenance, etc). With reductions in prison population – a good thing – suddenly the cost to maintain prison operation has become a drain on local budgets instead of an income generator.

        Those jails have always been scary places to work in and live in. It is going to get worse with less funding. This is a classic example of conservative fiscal policy that doesn’t work. And, it goes to the heart of this discussion about what kind of taxes are needed to meet basic services without crippling those who provide the income.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        Fly, I’m not sure it works that way. Brain drain is not a self-balancing cycle, but a self-reinforcing one. If the smart people leave (usually because the stupid people have rather aggressively driven them off), the stupid people left behind will not likely be smart enough to figure out that what they need is to get all smart people back.

        In fact, the more the smart people leave, the overall stupider the place gets — and the more hostile to smart people, who will then be even less likely to come there or stay there. It’s a death spiral — one that’s almost impossible to recover from once it gets going.

        Years ago, I had a jeweler friend who’d started life as an economics professor in Afghanistan. He told me about how, in the 80s, the country began to lose its brains. It started at the top, he said, with the richest tier of Afghanis. When things started getting weird, everybody with enough capital to buy a house in Europe or America and ship their kids off to school in Switzerland got on a plane and vanished.

        Next went the elite management class — the people who ran thriving businesses, who were the VPs and directors of the corporations, the college professors like him, the bankers and the senior bureaucrats running the government — basically, anybody with the kind of high-level education and management skills required to run a modern economy. When they left, the schools and hospitals collapsed, taxes didn’t get collected, the banks no longer worked, and corruption rose catastrophically.

        The inability to fund and run those large, complex systems next drove out the skilled middle and upper-middle class people who work in those systems — the teachers, doctors, accountants, airline pilots, the folks who actually make things go. Not far behind them went the skilled working class — nurses, plumbers, mechanics, the guys who know how to build a road or wire a house or run a modern farm. At that point, he said, quality of life declined rapidly, because there was literally nobody left who could keep the lights on.

        According to him, they left in pretty strict order; and after a decade or so, the only people left in the country were those who were too poor to scrape together a plane ticket and a visa. And those folks joined the Taliban.

        It’s not hard to argue that Mississippi may be on the same trajectory.

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