Sunday, 3 February 2013

09:24 – Barbara’s mom is doing a bit better. Frances stayed with their dad last night and will tonight, so Barbara has a couple days at home off dad-sitting duty. She’s covering Monday and Tuesday nights.

Paul Jones stopped by yesterday to borrow a laser collimator. We talked about having dinner, and Paul mentioned that he and Mary had plans for yesterday evening and tonight. When I mentioned that to Barbara, she said they were probably having or going to a super bowl party today. I, of course, hadn’t realized that today is the super bowl thing.

Netflix sent me email yesterday to announce availability of their remake of House of Cards. We watched and liked the British version years ago, so I added it to our queue. Now I see there are all kinds of on-line articles about Netflix’s “$100 million gamble” and about how Reed Hastings is determined to have Netflix become more like HBO faster than HBO can become more like Netflix. We’ll see. Hasting is flying in the face of conventional wisdom by releasing all 13 episodes of the first season at once, catering to so-called “binge watchers”, rather than stringing them out as HBO would. But Hastings is a very smart guy, and he’s determined to transition Netflix from a content-delivery company to a content-creation and -delivery company. I think he’ll succeed.

Work continues on building more science kits. Barbara got a bunch of bottles labeled yesterday and will do more today. She’ll finish up the bottles for the next batch of 60 chemistry kits and get started on the next batch of bottles for biology kits. This coming week, I’ll be filling bottles.

And I see that Minnesota and Florida are in a spat because Minnesota is trying to tax Florida residents as though they were Minnesota residents. The rule has always been that if one lives in a state for more than half a year, one is a resident of that state for that year. If you spend six months and a day in State A and five months and 29 days in State B, you are legally a resident of State A. There are minor exceptions for military personnel and so on, but that’s always been the rule. Now Minnesota is trying to tax people whose legal residence is in Florida but who take long vacations in Minnesota, the so-called snowbirds. Florida is encouraging the snowbirds just to move to Florida full-time.

Differential state taxes have always been an issue. I grew up in New Castle, Pennsylvania, which is about 10 miles from the Ohio state line. When I was young, I remember my parents driving over to Youngstown, Ohio to buy major items like furniture. They’d have them delivered by truck. Because Pennsylvania charged sales taxes on these items and Ohio didn’t, they’d end up paying significantly less. We have the same situation in North Carolina near the Virginia border. Gasoline taxes are lower in Virginia, so it’s almost impossible for a gas station to stay in business near the border. Everyone drives over into Virginia to fill up. And the recent to-do over Phil Mickelson moving out of California to avoid state income taxes is yet another example, as is Amazon’s ongoing battle with states that are trying to force it to charge sales taxes, as is the “smuggling” of cigarettes from low-tax states like Virginia and North Carolina to high-tax states like New York.

The obvious solution is for all states to eliminate income, sales, and excise taxes, putting everyone on a level playing field. If we must have taxes, let’s return to what the Founding Fathers intended: import duties and a per capita tax. Period. I’d suggest $500/person to the city/county, $50/person to the state, and $5/person to the feds. That’s a federal budget of $1.5 billion/year, which should be plenty for them to do everything they should be doing.


12:19 – I’m cutting purchase orders for science kit components. It’s interesting. Back when we started building kits in mid-2011, I was typically issuing POs for 30 kits’ worth of components at a time. Then I started doing 60 kits’ worth, and then 120 kits’ worth. I’m now cutting POs for 250 kits’ worth or more at a crack. That’s likely to be the limit, though, simply because of our limited storage space.

I still have no good idea of how many kits we’ll sell this year. Right now, we’re maintaining roughly a kit per day, which annualizes to 350+ total kits for the year. But that ignores seasonality. In the July, August, September period, we should sell literally 10 or more times the number of kits per month that we sell in slow months. January and February are slow months. Our goal for 2012, our first full year in operation, was 250 total kits, which we easily beat. Our goal for this year was 500 kits, but unless the current run rate is an anomaly we’re looking at easily 1,000 kits for the year, if not more. We may end up having to rent space sooner than I’d planned.

17 thoughts on “Sunday, 3 February 2013”

  1. And the unseemly scramble for the last trainloads of fiat currency dollars begins in earnest….bitter skirmishes between states now…the game of musical chairs writ large…someone will be left out when the music stops and I have a pretty good idea who that will be.

  2. North Carolina’s high state income taxes was one of the reasons I was considering moving elsewhere, but now that the Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the governor’s mansion it seems quite possible that North Carolina will abolish state and corporate income taxes. North Carolina is already high on the list of business-friendly states. Abolishing income taxes would move it to the top of the list.

  3. The Stupor Bowl took me by surprise, too. I thought it had always been sometime in January. I guess they moved it to February because of the global warming.

  4. “…it seems quite possible that North Carolina will abolish state and corporate income taxes.”

    Oh Lord; Thou in thy infinite and merciful wisdom; have mercy on these thine unworthy servants in Vermont; strike the minds and spirits of our liege overlords that they may emulate thy servants in North Carolina and doth the selfsame merciful works. In the name of Thy only Son our Lord, Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and forevermore. Amen.

    Hope no one minds. But it is pretty much all we have left here in Nova Anglia.

  5. OFD, what’s your stance on tithes? 🙂

    Given that the guy you’re beseeching said “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” in regards to Roman taxes, I’m not too sure how much help he’ll be!

  6. Can’t hurt to ask.

    Just asking for a little mercy, in the face of those who keep screeching at us that we don’t pay *enough* in taxes and that we’re actually getting off *easy* and should be grateful for all the wonderful things that Caesar does for us.

    Ave Caesar!

  7. Need I remind you that the Great State of Texas does not charge us, the grateful inhabitants, state income tax? The very limited list here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_income_tax#U.S._States_with_no_individual_income_tax

    I wish you in Vermont and North Carolina luck because you are going to need it. State income taxes are like an addiction to Twinkies. You know that they are bad for you but you just gotta have one more. Your legislatures are attending classes right now on how to deal with the addiction and their instructors are from Washington DC.

  8. BTW, I am advocating that The Great State of Texas raise our gasoline/diesel tax from 18 cents/gallon to 28 cents/gallon. I firmly believe in use taxes and public infrastructure. And with all of these people moving to Texas (25% population increase over last 10 years), we need more roads and we need major road maintenance. And road widenings, overpasses, etc, etc, etc.

    For comparison, Florida pays 30 cents/gal and has wonderful roads. And we have more toll roads than Florida does too.

    Right now in Texas, a two lane road (one lane each way) has to go over 30,000 cars/day to get upgraded to four lanes plus a turn lane. During rush hour, the road that I am talking about requires 3 to 5 stoplight cycles to get you through. And when the train comes through (at about 40 trains/day), oh my goodness.

    And, when did people stop learning that a blinking red light requires one to STOP? Then look and go if it is clear or wait your turn. I’ve seen both worst cases recently, people that just sail through the blinking red light and those who never go, waiting for a green light. Amateurs!

  9. Same deal with the blinking red light up this way, too; morons. And even when I have the green I slow down considerably and look in all directions; I’ve seen people blow right through steady red lights, not just blinking ones. I have driven all kinds of vehicles for forty-four years now and only had two accidents, neither of which was my fault and neither of which was avoidable, one of them a head-on with a parked Plymouth Fury III and no seat belts being worn.

    I’ve also had extensive driver/traffic training and emergency reaction (skid school) classes, etc., etc.

    And even I am very, very careful out there. We are surrounded by cretins on the one hand, oblivious regular schmucks on another hand, and evil sons of bitches on still another hand.

    And RIP ex-Seal sniper extraordinaire Kyle, lost to us down in Texas yesterday, I hear; no idea WTF happened there.

  10. Careful there, Lynn. Governments tend to become addicted to those types of funds, and will soon use them for general revenue, leaving you with high gas taxes and crappy roads.

  11. Having taken Interstate 10 across the width of the Lone Star State, I was very impressed with the quality of that road.

  12. “And RIP ex-Seal sniper extraordinaire Kyle, lost to us down in Texas yesterday, I hear; no idea WTF happened there.”

    Very sad. Now the liberal asshats are all saying “told ya so, couldn’t even save himself”. How stupid cruel and heartless can libtards be?

  13. I noted that the libtards got very busy on the media and the net before Mr. Kyle was even pronounced DOA, rotten sons of bitches that they are; no consideration for the guy’s family, friends, former colleagues, nothing. Same way they used former Rep. Giffords, same way they used/use children, etc. Bastards. I have a cold dark place in my heart for them, though I know it to be a sin.

    Apparently the word, such as it is, so far, is that a fellow vet from the Sandbox, ex-Marine, shot Kyle and another man in the back at the range and killed them both. No idea on God’s green earth why. Or even if that’s the straight scoop.

    But we knew that the usual suspects would get right on it and exploit blood and death for their ends; they have no shame at all, none.

  14. OFD wrote:

    “Ave Caesar!”

    Hail Cincinnatus! Hail Cicero!

    There, fixed that for you… 🙂

  15. OFD wrote:

    “And RIP ex-Seal sniper extraordinaire Kyle, lost to us down in Texas yesterday, I hear; no idea WTF happened there.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-04/star-navy-seal-sniper-shot-dead-at-rifle-range/4498722

    The usual suspects got straight on the bandwagon after Sandy Hook, milking the incident for all it was worth. But woe betide anyone who “exploited” the incident by calling for teachers to be armed.

    I agree about the lunatic liberal vultures and the victim. What a waste. RIP.

  16. Careful there, Lynn. Governments tend to become addicted to those types of funds, and will soon use them for general revenue, leaving you with high gas taxes and crappy roads.

    Oh, we already have that here in the Great State of Texas. Half of the gasoline tax goes into the public school funds and about 10% of it is used for the Department of Public Safety (highway patrol). But, I like use taxes way more than income taxes and we need way more money for the roads.

    Having taken Interstate 10 across the width of the Lone Star State, I was very impressed with the quality of that road.

    Um, what are you comparing I10 to? I have driven I10 from Los Angeles to Jacksonville in my land yacht, my 2005 Ford Expedition, in the last 5 years and found the Texas portion to suck. The San Antonio to Houston portion really sucks and needs three lanes per side today. The Houston to Orange portion should be labeled an obstacle course. The only worse portion of I10 is the entire state of Louisiana. Steel grating bridges are so 1950s, give me a break! The Mississippi and Alabama portions of I10 are just nice and the Florida portion is so smooth that you want to drive 100 mph on it.

  17. My days of driving 160 km/h (100 m/h) are a long way behind me. I just get too tense, it takes way too much nervous energy. I used to drive 160 km/h across the Hay plain between Canberra and Adelaide for hours at a time, and never see a cop car. Nowadays the road is swarming with them and I’d get a very hefty fine, and possibly a holiday from driving for that. Plus I just don’t like it. I once nearly had a prang at 170 in an 80 zone in the outskirts of Melbourne. That was pretty scary. Nowadays I cruise at 110 km/h and go to 120 only for overtaking.

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