New Year: Time for Big Brother to Take More Money, Freedoms

It wouldn’t be a new year if governments across the land weren’t rolling out new ways to squeeze money out of you and further limit your individual freedoms.

For starters, 19 states were unable to resist Democrat calls to raise the minimum wage. The federal effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour fizzled (thank God), but that hasn’t stopped liberals from trying to screw up state and local economies.

Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles all pushed $15 minimum wage laws in 2014. The states that are increasing wages have (so far) not been as insane as those cities, with Washington raising its wage to $9.47 per hour, the highest state minimum in the country.

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Minimum wage hikes are among those things that sound good on the surface but are really poison for the economy. When an industry is thriving and rewards its workers with higher pay, that’s a good thing, but when government comes in and orders a top-down increase in pay regardless of actual business climate, the inevitable result is a net decrease in low-wage workers’ pay. While some workers receive a raise, that is nullified by the complete loss of wages by workers who get laid off.

Further, the mandated increase in a business’ costs forces many business owners to raise prices to customers. Eventually, that will mean lower sales and require the owner to make some hard decisions about employees.

The federal government is piling on businesses this year as the delayed Obamacare employer mandate finally kicks in. It was supposed to begin last year, but President Obama arbitrarily delayed it to try to help his party in the recent election. That plan backfired, but businesses are now staring at the requirement to provide overpriced insurance to most or all of their employees.

Businesses with 100 or more employees are going to have to provide insurance for at least 70 percent of their employees or begin facing heavy penalties administered by the IRS.

Many businesses already are in compliance with the mandate, but for those that aren’t, it’s just another top-down cost increase and will have similar effects to that of hiking the minimum wage. The mandate will effectively act like another brake on the economy.

The socialists who run far too many of our governments are not content to stop at picking your pocket, of course.

California has quietly changed the law to restrict the types of handguns that licensed dealers can sell. An outright ban on guns has never flown, so the state continues to take a piecemeal approach to eliminating Californians’ gun rights.

Now there is a new list of guns that are approved for sale or not allowed to be sold within the state. The list looks to be the usual logic-free assortment of whatever lawmakers thought looked scary, based on AB1964, which Governor Moonbeam signed into law in July.

Across the nation, there are new laws that will affect taxes, food quality, pot smoking, chicken “rights,” use of leaf blowers and numerous other issues. Basically, anything government can do to make life more miserable it will try to do. There might even be one or two beneficial laws in the mix.

So soldier on, and here’s hoping it’s a happy new year despite Big Brother.

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