New Tax for Ecuadorians Protects Few at the Expense of Many

Special Interests Revel as Internet Shoppers Pay More

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador. (Wikimedia)

EspañolA new tax burden is set to join Ecuador’s already long list of trade restrictions. The Committee of Foreign Trade (Comex) announced in recent days that all online purchases will be taxed with a US$42 levy per pack, for those packages included in the “4 x 4 postal system,” (which allows shipments up to four kilograms or US$400). Books and Medicines will keep their tax-exempt status.

Until now, shipments through this system, created to simplify customs and taxes, were only charged a 5 percent tax (ISD) on foreign currency outflow. Now, in addition to the tax, the Comex-promoted reform will limit each person’s shipments per year to five or a cap of $1,200. In other words, an Ecuadorian will be allowed to purchase online only five times per year or until he reaches the $1,200 limit.

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Open Immigration: It’s the Economy, Stupid

Migrants Make the United States, the World More Productive

EspañolA hidden economy lies beneath the immigration debate in the United States, and nobody is paying attention.

Thousands of migrant workers are part of the heart of the US economy. Despite the usual portrayal of immigrants as “taking our jobs,” they are an often-ignored wheel of the economy. Vice News’ documentary The Worst Job In New York: Immigrant America tells the story about an unauthorized worker at a dairy farm and shows his struggle against immigration policy and the fear of deportation. This is the story of millions of immigrants.

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Food Shortages Arrive in Panama, Right on Cue

Varela Has Even Labeled the Regulated Products, So People Know What to Hoard

EspañolPresident Juan Carlos Varela of Panama was warned a thousand times that implementing emergency price controls after taking power was not a good idea. Panama is so close to Venezuela; to repeat its experience with price controls ignores reality.

As a new resident, I can confirm that we have already started to see empty shelves in Panamanian supermarkets. We are not talking about a situation as bad as Venezuela’s, where you will need to stand in line for hours to purchase a product, but the situation in Panama serves as evidence that common sense regarding market behavior is never wrong.

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Le combat entre les grandes entreprises et les libertariens au sein du Parti républicain

Le lobby des affaires veut protéger ses intérêts, au détriment de la population

Les Républicains ne se cédant pas aux quatre volontés des grandes entreprises (Big Business) semblent avoir touché le gros lot.

Le mois dernier, elles ont perdu lors des primaires en Virginie. En effet, le leader de la Chambre des Représentants (Chambre) Eric Cantor a perdu contre David Brat, un inconnu chouchou du Tea Party. Ce dernier a critiqué Cantor pour ses liens avec le monde des affaires et a promis ceci : « Je vais me battre pour mettre fin au capitalisme de copinage (crony capitalism) qui n’avantage que les riches et puissants. »

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The Moral Universe Is with Oswaldo Payá, Harold Cepero

Their Nonviolent Legacy Will Live On, and Justice Will Be Served

EspañolI have not lost faith. I’m not in despair, because I know that there is a moral order. I haven’t lost faith, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Ebenezer Baptist Church, April 30, 1967.

oswaldo

Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante. (Cuban Exile Quarter)

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Let’s Not Pay Our Debts Because … “I Choose Argentina”

That's Right, It Makes Sense to Me Too

EspañolThis month, Argentineans celebrated the anniversary of independence from Spain. A group of pro-President Kirchner musicians, social activists, and actors took the occasion to release a video against the vulture funds (those that hold Argentinean debt) and spread it across social media networks. The central message of was “#YoElijoArgentina – No a los Buitres” (I choose Argentina, not the vultures).

The cast of celebrities attack the holdouts (who’s holding out again?) with heavy-handed rhetoric. They label them as speculators who have never invested in the country’s growth, as powerful economic interests that bought debt bonds after the “biggest default in the country’s history.” They added that “the Argentineans” — I hope to leave myself out of this category — do not want anymore crises that put “our” economic growth in danger.

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EPA Clean-Power Plan? The Market Has It Covered

Environmental Protection Regulations Useless at Best

About a month ago, the Obama Administration published its Clean Power Plan, which aims at cutting carbon emissions from the electric power sector by 30 percent below the 2005 levels. In addition, the plan aims at reducing pollution that creates soot and smog by over 25 percent by the year 2030.

Environmental Protection Agency

Environmental Protection Agency. (Wikimedia)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) argues that these reductions will lead to public health and climate benefits worth an estimated US$55 billion to $93 billion in 2030, while also maintaining an affordable and reliable energy system. The EPA claims the plan’s implementation will prevent 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children. Despite these laudable goals, there is one question that is worth asking: are these claims realistic?

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Schools Hire Retired Police Officers for Protection, Save Millions

Police Union Screams "Exploitation" and "Cronyism"

Hiring retired police officers to keep the peace at schools seems like a no-brainer, but one police union is pushing back.

Since the December 14, 2010, school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, lawmakers and school authorities across the country have been desperate to find ways to protect children from school violence. But with school budgets already stretched thin, employing full-time police officers isn’t an option for many districts.

The Time Has Come for Atlas to Shrug

Why All Business Owners Should Strike on September 2

Español Puerto Rico labor unions have been out in the streets the last few weeks protesting proposed changes from the current administration. They’ve been protesting almost as much as they did when the previous administration proposed any changes of their own. These proposals, while imperfect, are needed to bring the island’s fiscal house in order and hopefully stave off a default. Even with these changes, however, that default may still occur.

Unions use strikes to put pressure on politicians by making things uncomfortable for the general public, forcing politicians to give in to their demands. It usually works. In fact, it works so well that politicians long ago threw fiscal sanity out the window in order to keep unions happy. Unions themselves have shown little interest in understanding how business actually works, sometimes even to their own detriment. Unions helped destroy US manufacturing and were directly responsible for the end of Eastern Airlines and the Twinkie (although Twinkie is now back and in non-union hands).

I think the time has come for business owners to fight back. It is time for Atlas to shrug.

Drug War, Migration Prohibition Force Children Into the Shadows

Strike the Root, as the Least Among Us Suffer

EspañolEver since the early 1990s, when US allies in Colombia hunted and assassinated Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug empire has crumbled.

With increased demand for illicit drugs in the United States, Mexican drug cartels flourished. For several years, the trafficking business was bullish. Mexican cartels were the main providers of illegal drugs to the United States through the 1990s and early 2000s, commanding 90 percent of the cocaine trade in North America by 2007. But soon enough, the Mexican military began interfering with local operations.

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