Feds fine small business $4,000 over a missing trash can lid, $70,000 over a broken car horn…

More of the same?

Richmond Times-Dispatch:

According to conventional progressive wisdom, regulation is the means by which a compassionate government protects the weak and innocent from the strong and malevolent.

Try telling that to Brad Jones.

Jones is one of the owners of Buckingham Slate, a Virginia business a little over an hour’s drive west of Richmond. The company is distinguished by the quality of the highly valued Arvonia slate it produces. And by the fact that its roots trace back almost to the Civil War. And by the fact that federal regulators smacked it with a $4,000 fine.

Over a trash can.

The offending can — or “waste receptacle,” in the words of the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s official citation — was “not covered.” What’s more, “the receptacle was full.” It “could be smelled.” There were — brace yourself — “flies fl[y]ing in and around the receptacle.” And to crown all, “management engaged in aggravated conduct constituting more than ordinary negligence” by allowing this “condition to exist.” The horror.

Buckingham Slate has racked up other fines, too — such as a $70,000 fine imposed because one of its trucks had an inoperable horn. Perhaps regulators were following the approach advocated by Al Armendariz, the former EPA official who said enforcers should “crucify” offenders to “make an example” of them, which would then make others “easy to manage.”

According to President Obama’s campaign rhetoric, Republicans have nothing to offer but “the same prescription they’ve had for the last 30 years. . . : ‘Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!’ ”

Funny stuff. But Martha Boneta isn’t laughing.

Boneta, a Fauquier County farmer, hosted a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls — an occasion for which she lacked the proper “events permit.” For this, the county slammed her with a $5,000 fine. She also got in hot water for selling items, such as yarn and birdhouses, that she had not made herself.

Outraged over how the county was treating her, local farmers showed up at a zoning-board meeting a couple of months ago with pitchforks in hand. But the demonstration was only so useful. She ended up closing her shop anyway.

Americans should place more trust in “the guiding hand of government,” according to the president and his supporters.

But try telling that to Nathan Hammock and his family. The Hammocks own a dairy farm in Museville. Because of drought, they wanted to put an irrigation pond on their property. They eventually managed to — after three years trying to get permission from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. “I think we’ve spent close to $30,000” in the process, Hammock says.

Hammock made the comment in a video you can find on the website of Rep. Robert Hurt (go tohttp://hurt.house.gov/ and click on “Videos”). Hurt, who represents Virginia’s Fifth District, has introduced legislation to let farmers farm without having to navigate a “tremendous bureaucratic maze.” It is moving through Congress — slowly.

New Tax Hikes Motivating Small Businesses to Sell

Going Galt.

Wall Street Journal:

A looming increase in the capital-gains tax rate next year is fueling sales of some privately-held businesses.

Many business owners—mostly founders who could gain a lot from a sale—are looking to close deals before next year, when the maximum tax on investment income is scheduled to rise from 15% currently to at least 23.8% on most capital gains, at least for higher-income households. Many sellers intend to convert their equity into retirement funds or just start anew.

“It just made more sense for me to take my chips off the table and go do something else,” said Bert Wolf, 60 years old, who has an agreement to sell his compressed-gas business, Acetylene Oxygen Co. of Harlingen, Tex., before year-end.

Mr. Wolf added that if he waited until after the tax increase to sell, he would have to expand the business at the current rate “for at least 3 or 4 more years to achieve the same after-tax sales dollar.” He is profiting on the sale of his business to PraxairInc., a public company.

“There’s a kind of a panic on to get things done,” said Beatrice Mitchell, co-founder of Sperry, Mitchell & Co. Inc., a New York investment bank that is advising Mr. Wolf on the sale.

The top tax rate will go up at year-end by at least 3.8 percentage points because of a provision in President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul law. But that will be added onto a top rate that will depend on negotiations between Mr. Obama and Congress after the November election, when they are expected to seek a deal on numerous tax and spending measures.

Mr. Obama and Congress agreed in late 2010 to extend the current 15% capital-gains tax rate through this year. Absent further action, the top capital gains tax rate will rise to 20% on Jan. 1. After adding the extra charge from the health-care law for higher-income households, the maximum tax on investment income would be 23.8%. When combined with the scheduled expiration of some other tax breaks for high earners, the maximum tax on investment income would be as high as 25%.

Many Republican lawmakers want to extend the 15% rate. If they prevail, the maximum tax likely would rise to at least 18.8% because of the health-care charge.

Mr. Obama proposes to let the top capital gains tax rate rise to 20% on income above $250,000 for couples, but hold it to 15% on income below that threshold.

But here is the rub, most “couples” that make 250k aren’t the one’s who pay these taxes, small businesses and investors do. It directly chases jobs and investment out of the country.

Top Clinton Staffer Endorses Romney

Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate Director tells Politico:

For most of my life, I’ve been an active Democrat. I am proud to have worked for President Bill Clinton and then-Senator Hillary Clinton, and, during that time, I saw firsthand what can be accomplished by strong, bipartisan leadership. I know what it means to work across the aisle on issues that are important to the American people. And that’s why I am supporting Mitt Romney. Governor Romney has a plan to restore the prosperity this country deserves and expects. He will work with people of good will no matter what their party, and he will pursue the policies that are in the best interest of our country, no matter who proposes them. That’s what President Obama promised to do four years ago. But like so many of his promises, bipartisan cooperation is just another one he has broken. We can’t have four more years of failed policies and two parties that can’t work together. We need the change Mitt Romney is offering.