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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The 21st Century Great Disconnect in Economy, Race & Sexual Orientation

There is such a great disconnect today between reality and perception, its getting to the point of being truly scary; the masses of the ignorant and uninformed believing things are better now or at least holding steady because of a sunny, rosy news article or worse, a rising stock market.

There's just too many days like yesterday -- a stock market that at one point rose over 160pts to ultimately close +106 at 14,800 or thereabouts..

Why?

“The reality is that investors are only enamored with what the Fed and other central banks are doing. They’re shoveling money out the door,” says Gary Shilling, president of A. Shilling & Co., an economic consulting firm. Investors, in turn, have adopted a “don’t fight the Fed,".  (Yahoo!)
So it doesn't matter that corporate growth is weak and that "is likely to spell an equally troubled bottom line for the 11.7 million unemployed."  (CNBC)

Nope..  No one in the world of finance and investing gives a flying fig about your unemployment situation or the nation at large.  For them to care, the person unemployed would need to be him or her.

This doesn't matter to the finance world either:
"Millions of Americans suffered a loss of wealth during the recession and the sluggish recovery that followed. But the last half-decade has proved far worse for black and Hispanic families than for white families, starkly widening the already large gulf in wealth between non-Hispanic white Americans and most minority groups, according to a new study from the Urban Institute.

“It was already dismal,” Darrick Hamilton, a professor at the New School in New York, said of the wealth gap between black and white households. “It got even worse.” " (NY Times)

We wonder, to be blunt, if President Obama cares either?
If a white man were currently President whether it be Bush or Biden, the Black leadership would be screaming until their voices were hoarse about double-standards, racism and how an entire group of people were being collectively ignored and brushed aside.

Hard for people to protest when 98% of blacks voted for and love Obama while blind to the fact he's done nothing for them.

Could a white President get away with this:

"Obama told the audience at the annual gala (of the Congressional Black Caucus) to “take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying.""  (Politico 9/26/11)
We'll never forget how truthful California Representative Maxine Waters was in remarks made in a town hall meeting in Detroit back in August, 2011...  She said:

"We do not put pressure on the president because y'all love the president... You're very proud ... to have a black man (in the White House). ... First time in the history of the United States of America. If we go after the president too hard, you're going after us...

When you tell us it's all right and you unleash us and you tell us you're ready for us to have this conversation ... we're ready to have the conversation. The Congressional Black Caucus loves the president, too. We're supportive of the president, but we're getting tired y'all. ... We're getting tired."  (USA Today 8/11/11)

Such a disconnect, its sickening!
What does it matter the Dow is at all-time highs and closing in on 15,000 like that number means something when so many people are out of work, overworked, under-valued and fearful of what will happen if that next paycheck does not come?

What does it matter if someone of your own race or gender or sexual orientation is leading your nation when your life is exponentially Worse than when leaders of opposite race, gender or sexual orientation were in power?

And what does it matter if a male professional sports figure that very few to no one has ever heard of, comes 'out' as publicly gay when despite the trumpeting that he's "brave", the truth is that he isn't and the announcement means nothing?
NBA journeyman Jason Collins acknowledged publicly that he was gay yesterday.

We're sure it was not easy and and nothing we write about Collins is meant to be negative against him in any way, but rather to address this great disconnect that permeates all aspects of society between what some people may want to be true and the greater reality of what Is.

So we are only addressing this from an economic perspective...

Not that it matters either way to us personally, but a famous male athlete coming out as gay is only socially relevant or can be considered brave when it is a star or at least someone known to the public; someone with something to lose
Collins is a mid 30s, 12 year NBA veteran who's played with 6 teams,and is probably at the tail end of his career with no contract going into next season.

Here's why Collins coming out of the closet was not That brave and will ultimately mean little to nothing:

1) It is conceivable that had Collins not came out, no NBA team would be have been clamoring to sign someone who this season averaged 1.1 points per game and 1.6 rebounds.  In his career, Collins has averaged 3.6 pts per game.
2)  We will go out on a limb and say based on Collins' stats that he receives not a penny in endorsements. Thus there was no worry of upsetting any sponsors and the subsequent fear of public backlash that companies deal with when signing athletes and celebs to endorse products.

3)  The team he played for this year, the Washington Wizards were not in the playoffs.. So Collins came out without having to privately or publicly interact with the team he played for.  The Wizards' season ended two weeks ago.. So we have no idea how "liberal-minded" his teammates sincerely would have been.

Its kinda like a President coming out of the closet after his second term in office is completed and never has to face voters...
4)  Being the first means nothing

For example, ever hear of Earl Lloyd?  Any guesses?

You know who Jackie Robinson is, right?  Well Lloyd was the NBA's equivalent-- first black person to play in the NBA-- Oct 31, 1950 for the then Washington Capitols.

Where's his bio movie?  Why isn't his number retired in every NBA arena?  Guess we as a society demand more of our civil rights trailblazers 8.4 points and 6.4 rebound career averages...

Think back to 1991-- Who was the first pro athlete to announce he had AIDS?   Magic Johnson..  Think the impact would have been the same around the nation if it was journeyman Joe Java?
So in spite of all the positive press and hype, the truth is this-- If/when a true star in the prime of his career comes out of the closet while risking millions in endorsements and the potential for the public to turn on him (someone like LeBron James or Robert Griffin III in the NFL), that will be Brave..

And a Big Deal.

We all want economic recovery for this nation, economic equality and a world where we are all judged on content of character rather than periphery things of inconsequence.

But without substance, its all agendas.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Taking a stand- Avoiding sales tax wherever possible

It is looking more and more like some kind of Internet sales tax bill will be passed next week, which is quite a hideous and sadistic piece of legislation..

You will hear a lot of bullshit about 'fairness' but its nothing to do with it...

Corporations have already crushed to death local brick and mortar merchants because they can't match the retail prices which Wal-Mart and Target-type chains can sell at since those major chains can acquire items at large bulk which drives down the wholesale prices.
But corporations could never benefit from the zero sales-tax policy of the Internet because they had footholds in every state which forced them to collect taxes.  So this gave advantage to Amazon and internet business i.e.  individuals and small businesses that could sell products without overhead and through secondary outlets such as eBay auctions.

Amazon turned traitor and became pro-sales tax as it decided it was more advantageous to get tax breaks and open distribution centers in numerous states in exchange for collecting sales tax vs fighting the system and the Greedy state politicians.

So what's the best way for corporations to crush and decimate upstart private internet businesses?

Make them collect sales tax too.
Of course when you take into consideration most corporations get either discounted tax rates on property and revenue and are allowed to keep a percentage of sales tax if turned in early, they're already at an advantage.

Now take a small merchant barely generating enough extra $ to supplement income, make that person charge sales tax along with shipping and you've practically discouraged shoppers from buying unless that vendor is selling their item at dramatically low cost.

And if its via auctions, the seller has to also pay eBay and PayPal fees..

Yep, those fucking bastards in Congress and White House including that GD President who supports this legislation are going to Destroy Internet commerce forever and seriously hurt the ability of many struggling people to stay afloat, all under the guise of 'fairness'
And if you don't like our tone or language... Tough Nuggies

Flat taxes are the most egregiously unjust form of taxation there is...

Example:  Two people buy $500 television sets at a store.  One person makes $1700/mo.. another makes $ 1700/wk   The tax on the TV based on 6% comes to $30.

Who feels the pain of that extra $30 in sales tax more.. the person making $1700/month ($20,400/yr) or the person making $1700/wk ($88,400/yr)?  And don't even Dare to say the person making $1700/month  does not deserve to be able to buy a $500 TV...
So.. if you're as Furious about this as we are, the question remains 'What to do'?   How to beat the system? Most of the time we have no option.. states have got us via wage and property taxes and drivers licenses and plate fees... But they don't have to control us when it comes to basic goods and service.

The key is to know which states close to you in driving distance do not charge sales tax and on what items is it excluded...

Currently there are 5 states that do not charge sales tax on products and services:

Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon.
This does not count restaurants, hotels, car rentals, etc and we can not promise that local jurisdictions do not add any tax.

But if you want to buy a TV, computer, jewelry, clothing, etc., these 5 states are worth a visit if you are close enough to make a drive practicable.

Or if you know someone who lives in one of those states whom you trust, have him/her buy the items you wish tax-free, then pay the person back along with S&H to have the item(s) mailed to you... even with shipping, you may have saved compared to buying locally or with the new Internet tax coming.
Some may rationalize its not worth the cost in gas and time.   That is fine-- to each his/her own.  We at A&G believe in Principle and rather spend a tiny bit extra to take a nice day trip to a tax-free state then pay sales tax which is undeserved!

Most products we buy are made abroad, so the state had absolutely nothing to do with the idea, creation, implementation, packaging, distribution or delivery of the product to which it attaches its grubby 5-9% 'hands'...

If it was someone with slicked back hair, a black pinstripe suit and Don Corleone-like voice making the demand, it would be the Mafia.  Instead its people with phony smiles and sociopathic tendencies called elected officials demanding a cut based on Nothing!
Now if you don't live near any of those 5 states, you still can save some money when you shop because there are currently 7 states that do not collect sales tax on clothing:


Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont

A couple states like Massachusetts and New York will charge tax if clothing is above a certain amount-- usually in the $150 range.  Just need to do research and see what specific laws apply.

Many states also charge no sales tax on food.  Some are broad and there's zero tax on any food.  Other states will not tax anything un-prepared (for example, ready to eat rotisserie chickens would be taxed)  Other states only are tax free on essentials like bread, milk, unprepared meat, etc.. but will charge tax for chips, dip and soda pop.
Once again, do research on your state and neighboring states that are of a practical driving distance away.

The best revenge is to dramatically cut back one's purchases.. deprive the states of revenue altogether for being so petty on Internet shopping.  But we know people won't do  it.. Its that naughty 'self-sacrifice' thing... too foreign a word for most...

We at A&G simply refuse to take it.   Used to pay $79 yearly to Amazon for Amazon Prime to get orders sent with free 2 day delivery but then they charged sales tax and we didn't renew.    Used to buy A Lot from them.. In last 12 months, we only purchased 2 items that didn't come from secondary merchants.

We Refuse to pay that GD sales tax as much as possble...  Refuse...
We live in a state with many toll roads.  We Refuse to pay it.  So unless its an emergency or too great a difficulty, we always seek out non-Turnpike and Expressway alternate routes.   Maybe the drive is a couple minutes longer but the state does Not get our $$.

Refuse to give a penny of our money to government which we don't have to!

We wish others would be as pissed off and Refuse as well.

Alright, so now this Internet tax nonsense..  OK.. fine..

We won't order anything on the Internet at all unless the price is dramatically less or its by necessity.  And we will travel the necessary distance and do what is needed to be done to acquire the goods we wish without sales tax added to our purchases.
And if more people possessed the 'Mad as Hell and Not Going to Take it Anymore!" Mindset, and truly acted upon it in non-violent civilly disobedient ways, then Government would not have the courage to pass nonsense like taxing online purchases.

Only two ways government listens to its people folks: 1) When the people 'squeak' loud enough, they will receive the proverbial 'grease' and 2) When government truly Fears the populace,it works to placate them...

Otherwise its all lobsters in pots...

Friday, April 26, 2013

How do Immigrants succeed in the US? In a word: Sacrifice

Gotta love the corporate media or White House.. or both...

They keep saying its 'recovery' -- We know its ongoing recession..

They tout that 1Q 2013 GDP checked in at 2.5%   -- They fail to mention compared to 4Q GDP at 0.4%, 2.5 looks just super...

** As a comparitable, remember a couple weeks ago when the Dow dropped 200pts based on China's "bad" 1Q GDP?  They were 7.7%

They play with numbers, saying for instance Consumer Confidence in April was at 76.4, topping economists' expectations for 73.2 -- They fail to mention it dropped this month from 78.6 in March and 100 is the magic number where Americans are Truly feeling confident
They keep telling young people the best way to guarantee a good future is college  -- Occasionally they slip up and mention things like this:

"A survey released last week from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reported that businesses plan to hire only 2.1% more college graduates from the class of 2013 than they did from the class of 2012...

It's not only a bleaker job outlook 2013 graduates face. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the class of 2013 will likely earn less over the next 10-15 years, than they would have before the recession hit and jobs were more plentiful."  (CNBC)
Good thing those student loans can get discharged when the college grad goes bankrupt.  Oh yeah, we forgot-- it can't be.

A more suffocating ball and chain than marriage..

So what to do?

Well, unfortunately there's no election of importance for a while, not that it would make much of a difference..

Like, really folks-- It's not like those Presidential libraries pay for themselves.   And if you think Reagan's or Clinton's or Bush 43's Library looks 'Wow!', just you wait till Obama's Library is built via Wall Street 'thank you' donations'..

So we're in a real predicament as a nation.
The young woman and man--possessors of debt and degrees in worthlessness can not find quality jobs that matches their intellect, skill sets and deserved pay scale.  The elderly are forced to work because the Fed took away their ability to live off savings, and the middle of the pack, the 30-60yr old set, is just trudging along paycheck to paycheck...

Yes, quite a pickle.

Now there are ways to beat the system and by 'beat' we don't mean anything illegal or unethical, but to live a life the most minimal if any debt and obligation.

The problem is, the options are limited and will take great personal discipline and sacrifice; the kind that to be frank, historically and presently, only first generation immigrants seem to possess...

Pretty much two options to survive in our non-manufacturing, non-creating anything economy:
Option 1: Do not even think about marriage until mid to late 30s.   And if you are male, or the one who normally picks up the check during dates, put off relationships as long as humanly possible.  Those meaningless restaurant meals and movies add up...

The sole focus should be on working whatever jobs are available and saving every penny humanly possible.  Don't look to be renting apartments or buying expensive clothes with silly polo-playing horseys.. Treat the public free library as your personal 'entertainment center' for books, CDs and movies...

 Dedicate yourself to living bare-bones and building up that nest egg....

Money is power and freedom.
Option 2:  If you do get married, both and and your spouse have to be zealously focused on working and saving every penny so your children don't experience debt.

We see this quite often with immigrant families... Total 100% dedication and self-sacrifice.  They know their lives will not be easy.  In some families, each spouse works 2 jobs..7 days a week.. no holidays...

Every penny put away for their children so they can attend college without the shackle of debt or so they can start their own business.  Nothing is frivolously fretted away.

And that's how you survive and beat this corrupt system that seeks to profit off you during every breath your lungs inhale and exhale between 18yrs old until death...
You must either sacrifice your need for instant gratification for a small portion of your life, choosing to live extremely modest and budgeted until you compile a true nest egg, or be dedicated to this pursuit of saving and thrift with a like minded spouse for mostly the entirety of one's life for the betterment of your children

This is why so many people succeeded here-- from the colonial immigrants from England, Scotland and Wales to the Germans and some Irish in the mid 1800's to the Southern and Eastern Europeans in the later part of the century to the Asians and now East Asian people today..

And of course we include Central & South American and African immigrants as well..   Overall, they seem to possess the drive and the focus it takes to be successful if not this instant, then for the future
And asked again, why or how did they achieve the American dream so quickly compared to other groups who still flounder about?

Because one generation... someone... HAD to sacrifice.  To be the one that figuratively or literally cupped their hands so the other could place their foot upon and propel upwards.

The days where everyone thinks of themselves and the children just automatically succeed on their own is history.. Only the super rich can do that..

To succeed in today's economy.. the economy of the early 21st century, someone has to be extremely disciplined... Someone has to sacrifice.

Or keep doing as has been doing, put everything on credit cards, and place your hope and faith in others; strangers...  worse, politicians to sort out your life.

The latter option is not a pleasant one...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Funny little scared Investor monkeys & How states can gather revenue without taxing the internet

Today's blog is a continuation on yesterday's; an expansion of thoughts and realistic ideas i.e. solutions for states to expand their revenues without continually trouncing upon the poor and working classes to pay the tabs of the wealthy..

But first as a quick aside, something happened in the stock market yesterday that gave us the tee-hee giggles..   For those who aren't aware, we wanted to share..

It seems the Associated Press' Twitter account had gotten hacked into and a hoax tweet was released.  Now the specifics of the tweet we do not find humorous in any shape or form-- the tweet lie was that there were two explosions at the White House which injured the President.

What we enjoyed was Wall Street's response, an instant drop of 145 pts and by extension $200 billion of value from the stock markets.  It was brief but pleasurable..
Because you see, though the panic upon Investors and traders' faces must have been hysterical, that's really not the issue of consequence.  These are:

1)  Most if not all of mainstream media is dependent on two sources for the vast majority of the news stories it reports:  AP and Reuters.

For the most part, newspapers and visual media are too Cheap and Lazy to hire Real reporters and investigative journalists..  So they're heavily dependent upon those two sources for everything they report

2)  For all the supposed education that professional traders and Investors have-- the degrees from top name Universities, etc, they're all pretty much a barrel of mindless monkeys holding each other's "tails" in the hopes the lead monkey knows what he/she is doing...
React first and acquire information second.  Absolute F-ing cowards.  Emasculated men with neither balls nor spine who have too much money and not enough sense.

When we say we wish the market would drop 4 digits in a single day, we absolutely mean it...  Wall Street is such a cesspool of greed and Ground Zero when it comes to the slow, continual destruction of our nation economically.

However, we do not want terror or destruction to be the cause..  We much rather it be triggered by Wall Street's own greed and let that in itself trigger the run.

This topic leads back to our original one--
Did you know a report was recently released showing the top 7% wealthiest Americans got wealthier during the last 4+ years.  It may not be a recovery for all of us but sure as shit was for them...

"The upper 7 percent of households owned 63 percent of the nation's total household wealth in 2011, up from 56 percent in 2009, said the report from the Pew Research Center, which analyzed new Census Bureau data released last month.

The main reason for the widening wealth gap is that affluent households typically own stocks and other financial holdings that increased in value, while the less wealthy tend to have more of their assets in their homes, which haven't rebounded from the plunge in home values, the report said."  (AP)
So you see Bernanke's strategy of artificially inflating the stock market, one of his aims is to make the well-to-do even stronger financially..  Well done Bastard Ben!

"The average net worth of households in the upper 7 percent of the wealth distribution rose by an estimated 28 percent, while that of households in the lower 93 percent dropped by 4 percent... the mean wealth of the 8 million households in the more affluent group rose to an estimated $3.2 million from an estimated $2.5 million while that of the 111 million households in the less affluent group fell to roughly $134,000 from $140,000."

Doin' a hell of a job Benji! All that in only four years...
So, how states can generate income without this constant need to hit everyday people at every turn...

1)  Currently, if you stay in a nice high quality hotel, you're paying around 15% in state taxes.  So for every stock market transaction where you buy stocks or sell at a profit, you're charged 6-10%.  depending on the amount invested

Invest $1000, pay a $60 tax.     Invest $10,000 and pay $1,000.

The positives of this is it would discourage people from entering the stock market which really is for people's own good since its the economic equivalent of shark infested waters and it would kill off day trading.
2)  Add a special tax of 2% to homes sold over $1.25 million.  If someone can afford to buy a $1.25 mil home and secure lending for it, then they can afford the additional $25,000 which to a super wealthy person is like half the cost of a third car...

Speaking of which, this extra tax would be placed on new automobiles over $100k, diamond purchases over $20k, fur coats (real or faux) over $2k, etc..  Items that typically the very affluent would be able to afford to buy, are taxed.

3)  Force bricks and mortar businesses to turn in All state taxes.  No more discounts for turning taxes in early.  Pay back to the state 100% of what was collected by X date or pay penalties
4)  No more tax breaks or incentives for corporations to relocate to one's state or city.  This law would need to be passed on a Federal level to ensure that the business of using one state vs another to manipulate the very best deal at the detriment of the state could not continue.

We can go on and on but the point is this-- Instead of trying to close some imaginary loophole where every people can maybe save a buck or two, states should be concentrating on closing real loopholes that allow those with the means to escape paying what they owe so the struggling can have increased burden.

Leave the Internet alone..  Let shopping be tax-free!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Internet Sales Tax-- Another means of stealing $ from the poor

Oh, those poor, poor bricks n' mortar stores..

Woe is Thee!

Oh, not 'mom & pop' independent businesses.. Blehh.. Who in power ever cares about them?

No we mean those corporate chains like Wally World (Wal-Mart), TargeĆ© (Target) and Least-Best Buy..  Those poor beautiful creatures!    They just can't seem to compete for lowest prices with those meanie Internet sites like Amazon and eBay...

Of course let's put aside the fact they do not want to compete-- most stores like Best Buy have rather begrudgingly accepted price matching of items on Amazon and Wal-Mart is such a fucked up mess of a corporation that they will not even honor and adjust lower prices in-store where the discount is found on their own website!
And let's put aside other advantages those physical stores have to online such as the immediacy of taking an item home vs waiting 1-5 business days, better return policies usually and for those stores that actually care about such quaint things, knowledgeable staff on hand to answer questions..

Nope.. Those poor bricks n' mortar stores.. See, they're at a disadvantage so they say...  They have to charge sales tax and for the most part those dirty bird online retailers don't..

Its enough to make a grown woman or man cry ~sniffle

Of course anyone who's owned or help run a business know that not 100% of all sales tax is turned in by the merchant to the state.  By turning in state taxes before deadline, the store gets to keep a percentage of that sales tax for themselves...

Nice scam, eh!
And lets put aside all the benefits major corporations receive for moving into a particular state..  For instance, Amazon is now accepting sales tax in Pennsylvania and California.. Why?  Because both states gave them lucrative, tax free deals to open distribution centers in those states in exchange for collecting taxes in those states...

As always, its the worker-bees who will be paying into the system to cover both themselves and their employer, then be thankful to Zeus for the opportunity to have a boss keep them in line 40hrs a week...

So there's great pressure upon the crooked politicians to enact an additional tax upon the poor, and yes that is what the state sales tax is-  a flat tax on all people of all income levels based on the purchasing of goods and services, and adjusted not based on what one brings in or what's in their savings account but item cost.
If you make $20k or less, you're not supposed to have anything nice... You're not supposed to have the means to purchase any item of quality.  So if you do, the more it costs, the more the state will steal from you while those better off who can afford to pay more, will pay the same rate and feel less pain.

And vendors like Amazon and eBay were the last hope..   Well Amazon used to be part of the good guys until they turned traitor..

Now the jackals are at the door... The Senate is trying once again to introduce a Internet sales tax and rush it through with as little to no debate and discussion as possible..
From Wall Street Journal (in blue font)

"Every time Congress has taken a serious look at proposals to boost Internet sales taxes, it has rejected them. That's probably why pro-tax Senators are trying to rush through an online tax hike with as little consideration as possible.

As early as Monday, the Senate will vote on a bill that was introduced only last Tuesday...

For Senators curious about what they're voting on, it is the same flawed proposal that Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.) introduced in February. It has been repackaged to qualify for a Senate rule that allows Majority Leader Harry Reid to bypass committee debate and bring it straight to the floor. 
The Enzi plan would require a centralized tax collector for each state or for a group of states that would gather both state and local levies from the online merchants...

The drivers of this rush to tax are Wal-Mart and other big retailers that can more easily absorb the costs of collection than can smaller competitors. Also supporting the bill is Internet giant Amazon, which coincidentally now sells its own tax compliance service to other merchants. 

Adding to the lobbying muscle are state and local governments. The politicians believe they'll collect tens of billions of dollars in taxes that are already owed by shoppers on remote sales but rarely paid. 

So big business and big government are uniting to pursue their mutual interest in sticking it to the little guy"
Yep.. Exactly..

Of course the White House is on board too..  "The White House today endorsed the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would be a tax hike for purchases made over the Internet. The White House claims the tax would "level playing field for local retailers.""  (Weekly Standard)

We're still waiting for the Obama Administration do to something, really Anything to make the lives of the millions and millions of his loyal supporters; the lives of the working classes and the poor actually Better; to put more money in their pockets or at least keep the little left they have..

Amazing what you can get away with when your party affiliation is (D)
So back to corporations:

Why compete for the customer's business by offering the best prices or improve service when you can just use government via all that lobbying money to cut the legs of those Internet retailers who offer better prices and value..

Big Business has already done a successful job destroying the ability of small business and independent sellers to survive on an even level playing field of bricks and mortar..  Gotta now destroy the 2nd hand vendor and eBay merchant too...

And all to supposedly generate this magical tax revenue that could be acquired just as easily by states through increasing income tax for those who make $1mil/yr or more, or instituting a luxury tax on those who buy Cartier diamonds or $150k automobiles..
Nope..gotta crush Internet shopping and then increase taxes on 'vices' like cigarettes and alcohol why pushing other vices such as lottery and casino gambling via heavy TV advertising..

The way things are going, it looks like we'll be taking bi-weekly trips to Delaware (no state sales tax) to buy everything we need..  A bit of a hassle yes but anytime one can rebel and legally middle-finger state or Federal government, its worth it.