Posts tagged ‘ID’

Great Moments in Labeling

This is pretty funny, as highlighted in Reason's Hit and Run:

Under the plan, any person seeking a new job would be required to obtain an updated "counterfeit-proof" Social Security card, equipped with a digitized photo and an electronic identification strip containing the person's legal status. To offset fears of government intrusion, the card would be clearly marked, "This is not a national ID card," [California Republican congressman David] Dreier said.

Gosh, what a great solution.  Think of the applications.  All Phillip Morris has to do is write "this is not a cigarette" on each Marlboro and poof: all that nasty regulation and litigation goes away.  I guess I would not need a liquor license to sell Budweiser's labeled "this is not beer".  Or maybe Pamela Anderson can get a T-shirt that says "these are real".  LOL.

By the way, for business owners, don't miss this gem later in the article:

Employers would have to check a prospective employee's legal status against a new employment eligibility database either by swiping the card or calling a hot line. Those who fail to do so, or knowingly hire an undocumented worker, would face fines of up to $50,000 and five years in prison for each occurrence.

Nothing like spending 5 years in the slam for having one of your managers forget to check the ID of someone they hired.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of State Sales Tax Systems

Note that this is the newest in my series of "real-world" small business issues.  Other posts in this series include Buying a Small Business and Working with the Department of Labor

One of the things I did not mention in my series on buying a small business was the notion of complexity.  Our business manages over 175 sites with 500 seasonal employees in 10 states.  I have friends who own businesses that have the same sales, and more profit, from working alone from their home.  As I often tell people, I love what I do, working in recreation and spending most of my time in National and State Parks, but it is overly complex for the money we make.

The one advantage of this is that, despite being a small business, I get to observe business practices in many parts of the country.  And one business-related practice that varies tremendously from state to state is sales taxes.  (By the way, before I bought this business, I was a strong Federalist.  Putting most regulatory power in the states slows government encroachment.  It also limits anti-business regulation, because states know that such unilateral regulation will just chase employment across state lines, as California has found out.  However, having to deal with 10 different tax and regulatory regimes every day is causing me to revisit Federalism a bit).

Anyway, based on this experience, I will dedicate the rest of this post to my observations of the good and bad of state sales tax systems.

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No ID to Vote

Its crazy that no one asked me for any sort of ID to vote today. They did not even hear my name right and I just pointed to my name on the list. Since I was voting just before the polls close, I could have been anyone and just looked at their list on the table to quickly spot some one who has not voted and used that name.

I understand the desire to get more people to vote, but we have really gone overboard the other way on election security. I do not think it is too much to ask for some sort of ID when you vote.


I got a nice paper ballet - it's the kind where you use a black pen to fill in a blank next to your preference. It was easy to use, and the ballot boxes had a built in scanner so they were tallied as soon as I put it in the box. If it could not read what I filled in, it spits it back out and I fix it. As a result, a paper trail exists for each vote, but there is no hand tallying. What is wrong with this system? Why does everyone want an electronic machine with no paper trail?

Also, with a paper ballot, each polling location has near infinite capacity. All you need is tables and pens and some of those little privacy dividers. It costs like $5 to add another voting station. Never was any kind of long line at my voting location. I have not seen the stats, but I would be willing to bet that most of those locations they showed on TV with 5 hour long lines were using some type of machine. Since the machines cost a lot, you end up with too little capacity and long lines.

Buying a Company, Part 2

In the previous post on buying a company, I discussed what I have learned about finding and valuing a small company. In this post, I will discuss a second technique I used to find a seller, and then show how we conducted due diligence and selected the form of the deal (e.g. C vs. S Corporation, Asset vs. Equity purchase). In the next installment, we will get to the various legal documents and financing strategies.

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