Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wine Grapes: The Most Taxed Ag Product - Well Almost

Depending on what state you live in, tobacco is probably taxed more than wine grapes. But the question is, why should wine grapes  be taxed at such a high rate while HFCS is subsidized by the federal government? In case you don't know what HFCS is, it is high fructose corn sugar. The government pays subsidies to corn farmers to produce a product that is making Americans sick and obese. And don't get me started about glyphosate in wine. (Round Up - glyphosate. All that corn is Round Up ready. There must be tons of glyphosate in sugary soft drinks.) Why don't the neoprobhibs look here for a story? (Because they are fucking dumb!)
How much are wine grapes taxed? Let's start with property taxes of $77 per acre. Assuming 4 ton to the acre, this is $19.17 per ton tax. Assuming 150 gallons per ton, that is $0.17 per gallon.
Then we support the Wine Commission (locally known as the 'Good Ole Boys' Club') to the tune of $.08 per gallon and $12 per ton of grapes harvested for another $0.16 per gallon.
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board wants a cut of $0.87 per gallon.
With a small producer credit of $0.90 the federal tax rate for wine under 14% is $0.17 per gallon, but if it is a big Cabernet Sauvignon (over 14%), the rate is $0.67 per gallon.
And then there is personal property tax on winery equipment. Hard to quantify by the gallon, but on a 20,000 gallon winery with its own bottling line, it would be around $200 or about $0.01 per gallon.
Add this all up and you get $1.84 per gallon in taxes. Multiply by 150 and get $276 per ton. At four tons to the acre this all adds up to $1104 taxes per acre for growing wine grapes! It appears the government doesn't want you to grow those fucking things.
I guess this money goes to corn farmers who received $4,843,815,583 (yes, that is billions) in subsidies in 2013 or about $52 per acre.
So the government pays $52 per acre to grow a crop that is causing obesity and poor health to its citizens, and terrible damage to the environment (Gulf of Mexico, Monarch butterflies, you Google it. 488,000 results), but penalizes a healthy food like wine, which when consumed in a conscientious manor is part of a healthy life-style, to the tune of $1104 per acre.
It's crazy shit like this that makes you want to vote 'NO' for all government.
As the Chad Mitchell Trio sang in 'Rhymes For The Irreverent,'
"Should I write a letter to my congressman?
Each congressman has got two ends
A sitting and a thinking end
And since his whole success depend upon on his seat
Why bother friend?
Like I've always said, we have the best government money can buy. And you ask why I am grumpy.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

$15 Wage and The Wine Industry

I assume you are expecting me to go off about how bad this idea is and how it will put the wine industry out of business. Well, I'm here for surprises. That's why you follow this blog.
So that little girl or young man behind the counter at Micky Dee's thinks their services are worth $15 per hour. They do have a high school education (equivalent to a sixth-grade education in any other country) and they are looking at paying inflated prices for a second-rate college education, majoring in medieval art and minoring in ethnic basket weaving. Give them a two-dollar bill and see if they are worth $15 per hour.
So, what's my point? We just raised the rate we pay our vineyard workers to $12 per hour. Why? Several reasons: First, all those illegal aliens that Trump talks about aren't coming to Washington State. We haven't had an illegal, err excuse me, undocumented worker  apply for work in ten years. They must be going to New York to work for Trump. (Undocumented is an oxymoron. All these people have documents. You can buy them in LA for about $100.)
Second, wages should be governed by supply and demand. The number of brain-dead high school graduates available to work at Micky Dee's is limitless. They have no skills and no work ethic. They think the world owes them a living because all through school they have certificates that say 'Participation.' They think 'participant' is synonymous with 'winner'. They should look in the mirror, there is a big 'L;' on their forehead.
There is high demand for field work right now. Huge crews are being hired by large apple companies to plant trees. Hops need to be trained. Soon the cherry harvest will start. When cherries start, there will be no workers unemployed in the state. (Notice, I said workers. There still will be people on rocking chair 'looking for work.'
Third, it is hard, back breaking, dirty work. Not to sound racist, but no white people ever apply.
There is a parable about Jesus returning to Earth. The first person he meets is a blind man with a tin cup. Jesus touches him and says, "You shall see." The man threw away his cup and responded, "The colors are so bright, the world is beautiful!"
The second person Jesus met was a cripple begging for food. Jesus touched him and declared, "You shall walk." The man jumped up and ran happily away.
The third man was standing on the corner with a sign that said 'homeless. Need money.' As Jesus approached him the man started backing away while muttering, "Hey man, don't touch me. I just got on disability."
We were lucky to get a crew to thin our grapes; but we had to pay $12 per hour. Let the market decide the wage.