By Bradley Harrington
NOTE: As mentioned in my previous post, this is the correction column to the misdirected rant I penned the previous week. — BTH
“A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.” — Alexander Pope, “Thoughts on Various Subjects,” 1727 —
Well, Dear Readers, it isn’t very often that I screw up, but it does happen on occasion — and, when I do, both integrity and good journalism demand that I own up to it and correct it afterwards.
As in when I made this claim while discussing the Wyoming “WIN” (“Wyoming Invests Now”) initiative last week, for instance:
“So, while the bureaucrats have become quite adept at pointing to the short-term gains in ONE sector of the economy that happened to have benefited by their interventionism — McGinley Orthopedics, in this case — they fall flat on their faces when it comes to explaining the losses such policies create in the REST of the economy over longer-term periods of time.” (“Wyoming ‘WIN’: Little more than old wine in new bottles,” WTE, April 15.)
Yes, it IS true that when government plunders resources from the taxpayer in order to pay for “economic development” schemes — such as Wyoming’s ENDOW initiatives, for instance, now on track to steal about $45 million from all of us — that this reasoning would apply.
In the case of Wyoming WIN, however, that reasoning is completely invalid, because WIN is not a normal “economic development” scheme, based in taxation like ENDOW, at all … Which is what I THOUGHT it was, and what prompted last week’s rant.
OK, so … If WIN’s NOT a tax-based “economic development” scheme — what IS it instead?
A pretty darned good idea, actually, when it comes right down to it … Which actually ROLLS BACK government regs … Allow me to explain:
■ In 2012 Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the “Jumpstart Our Businesses Startup Act” (“JOBS”), which was intended to ease restrictions and regulations on small business capital investments.
In particular, Title III of that Act, or the “Crowdfund Act” as it is called, wiped out many of the securities restrictions placed on capital investment — and, in 2015, the Securities Exchange Commission approved that Title III ruling, which became effective in 2016.
■ At that point, Ed Murray, our former Wyoming Secretary of State, promoted legislation that would piggyback upon these federal easements and allow Wyoming companies and investors to take advantage of those restriction relaxations. This push, in turn, resulted in legislation (passed by the State Legislature in 2016) that essentially rewrote the Wyoming Uniform Securities Act and replaced most of it with legislation supporting the easements.
■ And that Act, in turn, is what created Wyoming “WIN” (WS 17-4-203) — the “intrastate crowdfunding exemption,” which exempts such investments from the normal mass of SEC regulations and other gobbledygook.
So, just what IS “crowdfunding,” anyway? Webster’s defines it as “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.”
Well, that sure sounds like the “stock market” and “day trading” to me, practices we’ve had around for a while … But the point, here, is that the stock market continues to suffer under all the SEC regulations, whereas many of the “crowdfunding” opportunities now have those regulations softened or eliminated.
So … NICE! An actual paring back of government! Something, as most of you Dear Readers know, that I’ve been pushing for many years now. Well, here’s a good example of it.
Yes, there’s STILL some restrictions to those exemptions in the new Wyoming Uniform Securities Act, such as ceilings on dollar amounts and whatnot — restrictions that, most likely, need to be relaxed even more.
But, nothing’s perfect, and let’s get the facts straight this time: Wyoming “WIN” is NOT an “economic development” scheme based in taxation at all, but an actual rollback of stupid and stifling federal government regs regarding investment practices … An “enterprise zone,” if you will, regarding crowdfunding and other investment opportunities.
So … OOPS! Yep, I screwed up bigtime. That’s what happens when you jump without looking first.
Therefore, Mr. Buchanan, when I accused you last week of supporting “government ‘economic diversity’ operations based in financial thuggery,” that accusation was based upon false information and a flawed premise, and I therefore retract it.
And, Mr. McGinley of McGinley Orthopedics: When I strongly implied that you were the recipient of looted funds — well, that didn’t happen, either.
And, Dear Readers: I’m sorry to have relayed bogus information. Now you have the proper facts, and I would ask that you accept my apologies as well.
Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This column was originally published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on April 22, 2018. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.