Monday, 6 May 2013

09:20 – Barbara’s dad is doing better, but it’s looking like he’ll never be able to live at the retirement village apartment. It’s “independent living”, and at this point Dutch needs at least “assisted living”, if not yet a nursing home. Barbara and Frances are looking at options. Apparently, the hospital has provided them with a list of such facilities so that they can review them. When it comes time to discharge Dutch, the hospital will give them a subset of that list–the ones that have beds available–and then discharge Dutch directly to the family’s choice of facility. Although assisted-living facilities are more expensive than independent-living ones, Barbara’s parents’ actual out-of-pocket expenses may not change much, if at all. Dutch’s VA insurance doesn’t pay anything toward their current costs because they’re in independent living; if he or he and Sankie move to an assisted-living facility, the VA insurance starts paying part of the costs.

Meanwhile, Sankie is starting to break down physically under the stress. Basically, she knows that she can’t take care of Dutch in their apartment, and she’s not even comfortable with being there by herself. She’s exhausted and stressed out. What she really wants is Barbara and/or Frances to be there with her 24 hours a day, which obviously isn’t going to happen. Sankie does have long-term care insurance that will pay if she’s in an assisted-living facility or nursing home, so the best solution may be to find an assisted-living facility that will accept both Dutch and Sankie and allow them to share a room. The downside is that most such facilities have small rooms, so they wouldn’t be able to take many of their possessions along with them. Still, the combination of having round-the-clock help available on-site and being able to continue living together may be enough to make that the best option. The other option is to move Dutch to assisted-living and leave Sankie where she is. Of course, with that option, she’s not going to have someone with her constantly. Until a week or so ago, Sankie seemed content with the idea of living at Creekside by herself after Dutch dies. Now she’s worried that she won’t be able to make it on her own, but we’re hoping that’s only because she’s exhausted and possibly ill at the moment. We’re hoping that things work out as well as possible for Dutch and Sankie, which would also take a great deal of the stress off of Barbara and Frances.

11:58 – I haven’t said much about this new initiative to force businesses to collect and remit sales taxes on interstate sales because I’ve been waiting to see what happens. The bill appears to be likely to pass the Senate, although it may founder in the House. I hope so.

The problem with this bill is that it violates the Constitution on its face. States are not permitted to interfere with interstate commerce. North Carolina, for example, cannot set up a customs station at the Virginia border and impose an import duty on goods crossing into North Carolina. Nor can North Carolina tax a transaction that does not occur fully within North Carolina. If I sell a kit to a buyer in another state, neither state can Constitutionally tax that transaction, because it did not occur fully within either state. Attempting to tax that transaction is interfering with interstate commerce, which the Constitution prohibits states from doing.

In fact, the whole “nexus” idea violates the Constitution. If I visit the local Wal*Mart and purchase an item, Wal*Mart can legally collect sales tax from me. But if I visit Wal* and purchase an item, the fact that Wal*Mart has physical stores in North Carolina is insufficient for North Carolina to tax that sale. That sale did not occur fully within North Carolina, so in taxing it North Carolina is interfering with interstate commerce, thereby violating the Constitution.

The same holds true for so-called “use taxes”, which are transparent attempts to enforce extraterritoriality, again in violation of the Constitution. If I buy an item from Amazon, the Constitution prohibits North Carolina from charging a sales tax. Calling it a “use tax” doesn’t make it allowable, unless North Carolina also charges that use tax on local purchases, in addition to the sales tax. And, of course, forcing any business to collect sales taxes (or any other type of taxes) on the governments’ behalf is prohibited Constitutionally, if nothing else by the amendment that prohibits involuntary servitude.

The only minor concession this proposed new law makes is to exempt small business with revenues under $1,000,000 annually from collecting sales taxes for roughly 9,000 separate tax jurisdictions. So, our way forward is clear. We will simply refuse to allow our revenues to exceed $1 million annually. If we eventually get to the point where $1 million in annual revenues is a real possibility, we’ll simply incorporate a second, legally separate business and split the sales between the two businesses.

13:46 – Barbara called a little while ago to say that her sister was taking their mom to the hospital. Frances had taken Sankie to a doctor’s appointment, and apparently the doctor thought she should be in the hospital. Sankie has suffered for years from recurring lung problems, and she apparently has some kind of lung infection again. The doctor talked about possibly sending her home with a prescription for azithromycin, but when Frances explained that there was no one to stay with her mom around the clock, he apparently decided to admit her to the hospital and put her on stronger antibiotics. Barbara and Frances suspected she might have another lung infection and that that was causing or at least contributing to her problems over the last few days. We hope they’ll get Sankie cured and back to her apartment soon. So now Barbara and Frances have not one but both parents in the hospital, and in not one but two different hospitals. Geez.