Roman Around

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Posts Tagged ‘Economy’

LOVE THAT DEBT – DETAILING THE CLINTON SURPLUS MYTH

Posted by Andrew Roman on June 9, 2010

The number is: 19,600,000,000,000.

No, it isn’t the number of times President Barack Obama uses the word “I” or “me” during the course of the work day. It isn’t the amount of times Democrats blame George W. Bush for all that is wrong in any given week. It isn’t the amount of money being spent each month on dye for Paul McCartney’s hair.

It is what the national debt of the United States will be five years from now under Obamacratic rule.

From Reuters:

The report that was sent to lawmakers Friday night with no fanfare said the ratio of debt to the gross domestic product would rise to 102 percent by 2015 from 93 percent this year.

“The president’s economic experts say a 1 percent increase in GDP can create almost 1 million jobs, and that 1 percent is what experts think we are losing because of the debt’s massive drag on our economy,” said Republican Representative Dave Camp, who publicized the report.

He was referring to recent testimony by University of Maryland Professor Carmen Reinhart to the bipartisan fiscal commission, which was created by President Barack Obama to recommend ways to reduce the deficit, which said debt topping 90 percent of GDP could slow economic growth.

The U.S. debt has grown rapidly with the economic downturn and government spending for the Wall Street bailout, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the economic stimulus. The rising debt is contributing to voter unrest ahead of the November congressional elections in which Republicans hope to regain control of Congress.

The total U.S. debt includes obligations to the Social Security retirement program and other government trust funds. The amount of debt held by investors, which include China and other countries as well as individuals and pension funds, will rise to an estimated $9.1 trillion this year from $7.5 trillion last year.

By 2015 the net public debt will rise to an estimated $14 trillion, with a ratio to GDP of 73 percent, the Treasury report said.

An exasperated blogger at Reuters, who goes by the name of johnchick, posted the following rhetorical question: “How can any Administration raise the debt by 20-30% in a couple years?”

To which another blogger responded with the following:

You should ask George Bush, Cause he was the first to do it. And he is largely the origin of the current fiscal mess that the U.S. is in. Bushie inherited a surplus from the Clinton Administration and quickly turned that into the largest yearly deficits that the U.S. has ever seen. And his Conservative ideology ruined the American Economy in the process.

The U.S. is now going the way of the DoDo.

And the world will be a better place for it.

To begin with, it’s an absolute riot to hear lefties complain about out-of-control federal spending. Most of them, given the chance, would spend more taxpayer dollars on big-government bailouts and stimulus packages. To a lefty, the failure of a liberal policy or initiative is tied directly to its funding.

George W. Bush, who might as well have been a drunken Democrat with the country’s checkbook, made no friends on the conservative side of the aisle when it came to government spending. By the time he left office in January of last year, he was able to put on his resume that he had presided over what was the biggest growth of federal spending in the nation’s history. Like all misguided Republicans, he failed because he embraced liberalism.

Right now, Barack Obama is on pace to make George Bush look like a veritable pinchfist. Obama is apparently determined to make America collapse under its own weight, just as is happening across Socialist Europe right now. At the current rate, America’s publicly held debt will hit an unbelievable 90% of the Gross Domestic Product in a decade. That would be the highest percentage since the Second World War.

The difference, however – and it is a significant one – is that the post-war economic boom contributed mightily to the dramatic fall of that debt-to-GDP ratio.

Today, it’s all about entitlements (i.e., what the government can do for you). Federal spending, as a percentage of the GDP, was nearly 25% last year – the highest in this nation’s history. (It’s projected to shoot up to near 26% this year). And even though President Bush did spend recklessly in terms of total dollars, during his first seven years in office, federal spending as a percentage of GDP was very consistent with all post-war administrations: ranging from 18.11% to 19.38%. (His final year, arguably his most fiscally liberal, it jumped to 20.65%)

It simply isn’t possible to tax ourselves out of the economic disaster that looms with Obama at the helm.

On paper, tax rates would have to be raised to economy-crushing, unheard of levels.

But in reality, no economy could survive such a thing.

It would be the end of America.

And that’s where we’re headed.

So, while no conservative will ever condone the ridiculous Democrat-like spending that went on during the Bush administration, the fact that revenues to the government did go up following the 2003 Bush tax cuts only reinforces the fact that conservative principals – when applied correctly – actually do work. Unfortunately for Bush, spending like a lib in conjunction with those tax cuts was akin to having two fully loaded double whoppers and cheese fires with a diet soda.

Libs cannot have it both ways.

If out-of-control government spending is deleterious to a healthy economy, then it doesn’t matter who is occupying the Oval Office when it happens. The argument that the economy can reach a point where the only way to cure the ills of out-of-control spending is with more out-of-control spending is Leftocrat doltism at its finest.

And let’s be perfectly clear, there was never a true surplus under President Bill Clinton.

Indeed, it flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but the numbers do not, in any way, back up such a claim.

For example, the surplus announced in 2000 – $230 billion – was really a nifty bookkeeping stunt. It was not a genuine surplus, because only the “public debt” was accounted for.

Remember, there are two components to the national debt: public debt – which includes such things as savings bonds and treasury bills – and intergovernmental holdings, which includes income tax revenues and governmental borrowing from itself.

During the last years of the Clinton administration, the public debt did go down, but intergovernmental debt increased by a greater amount.

Not once during Clinton’s time in office did the national debt decrease.

It is not possible, by definition, to have a surplus if the national debt keeps increasing.

First of all, the official Clinton “surplus” numbers, which can be seen here, via the Congressional Budget Office, are as follows:

Fiscal Year 1998 – $69.3 Billion surplus.

Fiscal Year 1999 – $125.6 Billion surplus.

Fiscal Year 2000 – $236.3 Billion surplus.

Please note that these very numbers were also reported by CNN.

Now, if you go to the Bureau of the Public Debt website, which is part of the United States Department of Treasury, you’ll find a link that reads “See the U.S. Public Debt To The Penny.” (You may need to scroll down a bit)

Once you click on that, you’ll be brought to page that gives you the current total national debt (divided into two subgroups: “Debt held by the Public” and “Intrgovernmental Holdings”) along with a search application that enables you to type in the dates of your choosing to see what the total national debt was on that given date.

The important thing to check are the FISCAL YEAR parameters. (The fiscal year always begins on October 1st and runs through the end of the following September).

For instance, if you type in “October 1, 1999″ in the first box and “September 30, 2000″ in the next box, you will be asking to see the total national debt figures for Fiscal Year 2000. You’ll note, after typing in those parameters, that if you scroll all the way to the bottom, the total debt held by the public at the end of Fiscal Year 2000 was “$3,405,303,490,221.20.” You’ll also notice that Intragovernmental Holdings total was “$2,268,874,719,665.66.”

These are official Department of Treasury numbers.

Adding those two numbers together gives you a grand total of “$5,674,178,209,886.86.”

That is what the total national debt was at the end of FISCAL YEAR 2000. The National Debt is thus calculated by adding the Public Debt and Intragovernmental Holdings together.

Compare the total public debt of FY2000 to that of FY1999.

President Clinton did technically pay down the PUBLIC NATIONAL DEBT from FY1999 to FY2000.

FY1999 PUBLIC DEBT: $3,636,104,594,501.81

FY2000 PUBLIC DEBT: $3,405,303,490,221.20

It was paid down by a total of $230,801,104,280.61 – amazingly close to the announced $236 Billion surplus for that year. But it was done so by borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund (primarily) which ran a surplus that year. The Social Security Administration is required by law to buy government securities with its surpluses (convenient, isn’t it?). That money was thus used by the government to do its business without having to get it from the public. Hence, the public debt was “paid down.”

I fully concede the point that President Clinton paid down the PUBLIC debt, but not the national debt.

Unfortunately, that $230 Billion “pay down” does not take into account Intragovernmental Holdings, which is as much part of calculating surpluses and debts as the Public Debt is.

Intragovernmental Debt ROSE in FY2000.

FY1999: $2,020,166,307,131.62

FY2000: $2,268,874,719,665.66

That’s an increase of $248,708,412,534.04

The difference between how much of the public debt was paid down compared to the growth of the Intragovernmental debt was: – $17,907,308,253.43

That means FY2000 resulted in a true deficit of almost $18 Billion under Bill Clinton.

Granted, it is miniscule compared to the yearly deficits of the Bush years and what is waiting for us with the Obama regime, but it was not a surplus.

Those pesky facts.
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Posted in Bailout, Big Government, Economy, George W. Buah, National Debt, Obama Bonehead | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

REVELATION: BAM IS A PARTISAN. BAM NOT UP TO THE TASK.

Posted by Andrew Roman on June 7, 2010

When ObamaCare became the law of the land in February, the majority of Americans did not approve.

Not that it mattered.

Obamacrats knew what was best for the citizenry; and if you would have asked any one of them, they’d have told you so.

While conservatives, Republicans, tea-partiers and sane-minded Democrats (few as they were) unceasingly crunched the numbers to expose a sham of a plan that would all but bankrupt the United States – and ensure mediocre health care for practically all Americans – Democrats sidestepped the land mines of reality and transformed the debate from substantive to emotional.

As Republicans were going through the two-thousand page monstrosity to illustrate how destructive the bill would be to both the economy and the medical industry, Dems were ushering out some of America’s uninsured,  presenting sob-story after sob-story, sad-sack tale after sad-sack tale, woe-begotten heartstring-tugger after heartstring-tugger, in an attempt to convince the American people that government-run mandatory health care was an absolute necessity before the bodies started to pile up.

Dems were countering cold-hard facts and analysis with syrup and schmaltz.

Ultimately, thanks to major Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress – and some last-minute vote-buying – two thousand pages of vastly unread government control became law, contrary to the will of the American people.

Welcome to the Obamacratic States of America.

Amazingly, Democrats truly believed that once ObamaCare cleared the final hurdle and officially hit the books, the American people – those cretins, those self-involved, unrefined, God-fixated, gun-loving ninnies – would turn their thinking around, see the wisdom in President Obama’s big-government vision, accept the price tag, and move on.

We didn’t.

More than ever, the American people are opposed to ObamaCare – as well as everything else President Obama and his out-of-touch collection of retro-revolutionaries and college campus theorists have been doing.

Let’s summarize some of the highlights from Obama’s Big Book-O-Accomplishments: A Stimulus Bill that has done absolutely nothing except guarantee that money will be taken out of the pockets of the American people; an unemployment rate hovering at near 10%; a private sector that has all but stagnated while the number of government jobs increase; nonexistent leadership in the face of mounting international challenges (e.g., Iran, North Korea); the inability to do anything except deflect blame for everything wrong to the previous administration; the lack of understanding of the dangers of espousing moral equivalency (e.g, Israel and the Palestinians); the ineptitude and lack of leadership in not having the feds take control of the Gulf oil spill efforts; the capacity to transform the mightiest nation on the face of the Earth – the protector of goodness and liberty – into a bastion of weakness and appeasement; and his refusal to hear anything other than his own out-of-touch, arrogant brand of leftist crapola have all contributed to a Presidency that almost makes Jimmy Carter’s palatable.

Not only is President Obama turning out to be a gravely ineffective and embarrassingly incohesive, Americans now feel the first “post-partisan” President is anything but.

Of course, we all knew that by the Spring of 2008.

Andrew Malcolm of the Los Angeles Times writes:

One of the 2007-08 Obama presidential campaign’s changes that Americans believed in by the many millions was his oft-repeated promise to work with all sides no matter what and change the harsh political tone of Washington.

Good luck with that tired professed aspiration. George W. Bush promised the same thing a decade ago. That worked well for several minutes.

Well, Bush is gone and the majority parties have switched places. Now Democrats run the whole D.C. show.
And after almost 17 months of Democrat Obama’s White House administration, it appears Americans have given up on his promised bipartisanship, or even on less partisanship. It’s an impressive squandering of good will from his inaugural glow.

A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds 61% of likely voters believe the nation’s capitol will see more, not less, partisanship during the next year. Which includes, of course, the unfolding midterm election campaigns leading up to Nov. 2.

Michael Goodwin of the New York Post says that O just isn’t up to the job, writing:

The high point of his presidency came the day he took office. Since then, a majority of Americans has opposed virtually all his major policies and he has prevailed on several only because of large Democratic congressional advantages.

The problems are growing, but he’s not. If he were, we’d see green shoots of improvement.

Instead, the White House is going backwards at home and abroad and shows no ability to adjust. Like a cult, it interprets every reversal as proof of its righteousness and of others’ malignancy.

What started out as a whiff of rookie incompetence has become a suffocating odor. It’s hard to find a single area where Obama’s policies are a convincing success.

To be fair, one thing most Americans will probably be able to agree on is that Barack Obama is magnificent – unbeatable – as a campaigner. Indeed, he has been in campaign mode ever since announcing his candidacy for the Presidency a million years ago.

That’s quite an accomplishment, to be sure.

And with few exceptions, the lamestream media are still eating it up.

But many Americans – even those who rode the original Bam-o-licious disciple train – are growing tired of his baby-carrying, whistlestop schtick. Young girls just aren’t fainting anymore at his mere presence. And with each body of water he trods upon, Obama’s ankles are growing increasingly more wet.

The teleprompters are finally starting to get some recognition.

Still, no one – and this is hardly debatable – can bow to foreign heads of state and dignitaries like our own Bam.

Although Secretary of Defense Robert Gates could give him a run for his money.

Secretary of Defense Gates taking a page from the Obama Appeasement Chronicles.

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Posted in Bailout, Big Government, Democrats, Economy, leftism, Liberalism, Moral Clarity, Obama Bonehead, politics, stimulus bill | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

GOOD ECONOMY? IT DOESN’T MATTER. WE DON’T WANT BAMMY BACK.

Posted by Andrew Roman on May 7, 2010

It’s interesting.

Pundit after pundit, analyst after analyst – including many on the right – have pontificated that a second Obama term would all but be assured, regardless of whatever else was happening, if the economy improved. That was the criterion, according to many – the benchmark – for stretching four agonizing years into eight calamitous ones.

However, with the President’s approval numbers continuing to spread roots below the fifty percent line, a new poll suggests that even with an improving economy, people may not want to catch a Bammy return engagement.

Redi Wilson at National Journal.com writes:

American voters are more confident that the economy will improve in the next year, but trust in major institutions continues to fall — a slump that mirrors Pres. Obama’s tumbling approval rating.

Seven in 10 voters say the economy will improve over the next 12 months, according to the new Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll, while just 27% believe the economy will worsen. But 56% of voters say they have less confidence that elected officials in DC will make good financial and economic decisions.

I hate to interrupt a perfectly good article, but I’d be very interested in knowing exactly what it is that leads 70% of the population to think that the economy will improve over the next year. What, pray tell, is that based on?

I digress.

Voters also say they have less confidence than they did a year ago in major corporations (50% say they are less confident), investment banks (55%) and national banks (51%) to make wise fiscal decisions.

As trust in national institutions falls, so has Obama’s approval rating. Just 48% approve of the job Obama is doing, while 46% disapprove, the poll shows. That’s down from a 61% approval rating Obama sported in an Allstate/National Journal poll conducted in April ’09.

Only 39% of voters said they would vote to re-elect Pres. Obama if the election were held today, while 50% say they would vote for someone else. A quarter of voters would definitely vote to re-elect Obama, while 37% would definitely vote for someone else.

So much for the “An-Improved-Economy-Means-An-Obama-Two-Term-Lock” theory.

Most people understand that if the economy begins to to recuperate – and we all hope it does – it will have little, if anything, to do with President Obama and his bankrupting, free-market-crushing crusades. The economy, if it improves, will do so in spite of Chicago’s most famous metrosexual.

The real question – the real story here – concerns Barack Obama’s approval rating versus his potential re-election numbers.

How is it that 48% of Americans still approve of the job he is doing, but only 39% approve enough to say they would re-elect him?

I guess approval doesn’t always mean you approve.

Even more brain-bending than that is the fact that four in ten Americans said they’d sign up for an Obama Book II.

Four in ten?

Based on what?

Who are these people, and are the hallucinogens they are receiving free through some government-sponsored health plan?

I’d love to be introduced to some of these folks. I have an overflow of Wyoming ocean front property I need to unload.

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PRIMATES GETTIN’ HIGH ON OUR DIME

Posted by Andrew Roman on March 8, 2010

When you think “reviving the economy,” what comes to mind?

Implementing tax cuts? Less government regulation? Unleashing the power of the free market?

They seem like reasonable choices.

But maybe I’m being a bit too simplistic – a bit too ideological. Maybe my conservatism is showing.

Perhaps some nuance is required.

How about this: cocaine and monkeys?

How’s that for an economy-jolting combination?

When you hear the words “cocaine” and “monkeys” used in the same sentence, do you think of rejuvenating the American economy?

After all, what says “economic growth” more than using stimulus money to enable university researchers to feed blow to monkeys?

Benjamin Niolet of the Raleigh News Observer writes:

Monkeys are getting high for science in North Carolina.

An analyst at the Civitas Institute seized on that image when selecting a cocaine addiction study at Wake Forest University Medical School as No. 1 on a list of the “10 worst federal stimulus projects in North Carolina.” Civitas’ Brian Balfour takes swipes at projects, writing that they “seem completely unrelated to avoiding an economic ‘catastrophe,’ but rather an ad hoc satisfaction of countless dubious wish lists.”

So, what is the $71,623 federal stimulus grant paying for?

Well, a job, said Mark Wright, a spokesman for the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

“It’s actually the continuation of a job that might not still be there if it hadn’t been for the stimulus funding. And it’s a good job,” Wright said. “It’s also very worthwhile research.”

The study is examining the effects of cocaine on a particular neurotransmitter among monkeys who have had a long-term addiction to cocaine.

Maybe I’m not focusing enough, but stoned primates generally don’t make me think, “Man, that stimulus money is working!”

I know I’m not a liberal, but let me try to wrap my brain around this somehow.

According to the brochure, the Obama “stimulus money” was meant to give a jolt to the ailing economy by creating or saving jobs. Thus, one would have to assume – considering billions and billions of jobs have already been “saved” by the stimulus bill – that this Wake Forest stimulus story is yet another example of an economy-saving Obamacratic triumph.

In short, because of this study – and others like it – the unemployment rate stayed just below 10%.

Thus, it would be correct to conclude that if not for this stimulus money, the snowblowing monkey researchers would have all been fired. If not for this stack of ObamaCash, all of these university folks have all been out of work.

After all, wasn’t Obama’s stimulus money meant to “create” or “save” jobs?

Certainly none were created here. It isn’t unreasonable to assume, then, that the jobs of these otherwise soon-to-be-unemployed university researchers were “saved” because of the continuance of “monkeys on coke” studies.

Ahh, makes sense now.

“How does this study help revive the economy?” Balfour asked.

Well, again, jobs, said Nancy Avis, a professor in the Department of Social Sciences and Health policy at the medical school. The funding, more than $147,000 over two years, will contribute to the salaries of six people.

Really?

So, are all of these six jobs considered “saved?” Without taxpayer dollars to help “revive the economy,” would these six “hanging-by-a-thread” researchers all been cast out to the unemployment lines? And if they were, wouldn’t they just be collecting government-provided funds in the form of unemployment anyway?

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JOBS ARE A SIDE ISSUE – THAT’S WHY OBAMA IS FOCUSING ON JOBS

Posted by Andrew Roman on November 19, 2009

For sheer incoherence, this may very well be on par with “I was for it before I was against it,” although not nearly as quotable. However, for the unrivaled capacity to redefine things at will, the award has to go to Barack H. Obama, Chief Executive.

No one else is even in his league.

He may certainly be the best sounding fertilizer peddler since Barney Frank on peanut butter, but there isn’t a soul – not even William Jefferson Clinton himself – with the hypnotizing ability to change the rules of the game on a dime as Barack Obama can.

The purpose of Obama’s Stimulus Bill, you recall, was to revitalize the economy and put Americans to work. It all sounded so divinely FDR. It is all anyone heard from clucking Obamacrats leading up to the bill’s who-did-it-and-ran passage in February – that the $787 billion dollar spending spectacular would create somewhere around 4 million jobs, and the unemployment rate would top off at around 8%, and America would finally live up to its promise because only government can save.

Blah, blah, blah.

The reality is the unemployment rate has been steadily rising and currently stands at over 10%. The confidence of the American people is plummeting. And although the President continues to sing the praises of his illusory “job recovery,” there aren’t too many people buying it.

Job recoveries are hard to wrap your arms around when less people are working.

Besides, if there are any jobs being “created” or “saved” by Obama’s Spendulous Bill, the bulk of them are government sector jobs, which means taxpayer dollars are being sucked out of the economy so that they can be redistributed to others as salary.

FDR, indeed.

To top it off, the government’s assessment of the Stimulus Bill’s success has been embarrassingly incorrect. There has been job creation in non-existent districts; there have been more “jobs saved” than actually exist at given places of employment; and no one seems to be sure what the criteria is for any of it.

This is where Obama’s sheer incoherence will score him some “ah-ha” points with the mainstream media (who have been a bit worried that their savior is losing some credibility even among hardcore Obamacrats).

It turns out that all along, according to Obama, the number of jobs created wasn’t particularly relevant – a mere “side issue,” as he calls it.  Rather, job growth was his real number one priority.

See? Problem solved.

From Fox News

“I think this is an inexact science. We’re talking about a multitrillion-dollar economy that went through the worst economic crisis since 1933. The first measure of success of the economic recovery is, did we pull ourselves back from the brink? We did,” Obama said. “The question now is, can we make sure we’re accelerating job growth? That’s my No. 1 job. Nobody’s been more disappointed than I have to see how high the unemployment rate has gotten. And I spend every waking hour, when I’m talking to my economic team, about how we are going to put people back to work.”

How exactly does one track job growth without counting jobs?

Recall that last week Obama credited the Stimulus Bill for putting a million people back to work. Or for keeping them at work. Or whatever it was supposed to do. Why would the President make it a point to mention how many jobs the Stimulus Bill was responsible for if it was only a “side issue?”

What about the “multi-trillion” dollar debt poised to be left as an “Obama Was Here” calling card for countless future generations?

And I love the line about accounting being “an inexact science.”

How bleeping convenient.

Is projecting how “cost effective” and “efficient” government-run healthcare will be an inexact science too?

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STIMULUS CRAP

Posted by Andrew Roman on October 29, 2009

stimulus package hatHow about that?

The economy grew by 3.5% during the third quarter. Needless to say, it was unexpected by “experts.”

Yahoo News went so far as to say that the recession was over.

Happy days must be here again.

I would advise, however, that before anyone starts wetting their inseams with glee, a little perspective is in order.

Think of a restless boy on a dose of Ritalin. As the drugged child settles down and begins his excursion into the cognitive abyss, the doctor walks by to see the “out of control” lad pacified at last. He’s quiet now – in that just-recently-lobotomized sort of way. He still needs tending to, but things are finally calm. The doctor also sees a frazzled parent slumped back in the chair, relieved to finally find a few moments peace. The “Leave It to Beaver” theme plays in the parent’s head.

As heart rates decrease and tensions abate, both doctor and parent arrive at the same conclusions: Ritalin, good. Peace, good. Rambunctious boy, bad.

And the long term effects of the dope-instead-of-parenting approach?

Who cares?

As long as it’s quiet.

This, my dear readers, in a nutshell, is a good place to start when trying to understand the Obama economy – drugged and artificial.

Here’s the bottom line … despite the orgasmic reports of an economic third quarter that has put to bed the worst recession in seventy-years (which only a few days ago, according to Joe Biden, was a full-fledged depression), the reality is, this is no recovery. This is not the beginning of a long term trend based on investment and genuine growth. Rather, it is the temporary result of an infusion of the drug known as government intervention. Take away the Cash-for-Clunkers program and the Homebuyer Tax Credit – fleeting “fixes” that spurred temporary consumer activity – and all that’s left is an absolute failure of a stimulus program that increases nothing except the tax burden for generations to come. In other words, when the Ritalin wears off, the child will be out of control again.

These moronic lefty contrivances are not genuine economic stimulators. Obama’s gargantuan deficits will not encourage private-sector investment. The President’s “there-isn’t-a-tax-I don’t-love” approach will not promote economic growth. His “to-hell-with-the-free-market” modus operandi will never stimulate a damn thing.

And exactly what proof is there that Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package – which, incidentally, has only been 20% implemented, and most of that in non-stimulating capacities – had anything to do with the so-called recovery? Because Joe Biden said so? (Remember, this was a depression not too long ago) Because the state-level recipients, who wouldn’t dare levy a negative word at the money-givers, said so?

This morning, on her nationally syndicated radio program, Laura Ingraham spoke with former Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director, Douglas Holtz-Eakin:

Ingraham: (The Stimulus) has been, without a doubt, exposed as a farce … We have lost jobs. They predicted three million. We now see an exodus, when you add it all up, of six-and-a-half million jobs from the United States.

Holtz-Eakin: And remember, when it became obvious that this was not going to work, they invented a new term – “jobs saved” – something that has, literally, no foundation in fact, and (can) never be verified, in order to sell (the success of the Stimulus).

“Jobs saved” is just as easy to verify as “souls saved.” I mean, there is just no way to do this.

And then there’s this …

According to the Associated Press, the Obama administration’s “economic recovery plan overstates by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program, a mistake that White House officials promise will be corrected in future reports.”

The government’s first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by least 5,000 jobs, according to an Associated Press review of a sample of stimulus contracts.

The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced.

It is interesting to note that the CBO let out its economic soothsayers back in February, predicting that by the end of this year, we’d see some kind of economic recovery even if Obama and the Cats did absolutely nothing. They also pointed out that all the debt that will result from Obama’s astronomical spending spree could trigger a re-recession – or a double-dip recession – when the bills come due.

It’s pretty easy to grasp.

Government spending does not create economic growth. It would seem to be self-evident seeing as the government gets its money from the private sector through taxation. This is so basic that “one-plus-one-is-two” is labyrinthine in comparison.

Perhaps someone ought to slip some Ritalin into the Congressional water cooler.

Incidentally, isn’t it a delicous coincidence that the “worst recession since the Great Depression” would come to an end on the 80th anniversary of the event that is considered to have triggered the Great Dpression itself – the Stock Market crash of 1929?
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EMPIRE STATE FAT TAX, ROUND TWO

Posted by Andrew Roman on October 21, 2009

paterson and sodaFrom the “You Deserve What You Get” file …

The enormously popular Governor of New York, David Paterson, is going to try again. In that elder George Bush style, Paterson – who pledged not raise taxes – is going to raise taxes … again. Sounding cranky and a bit tired, the Governor, in a radio interview, said he is going to reintroduce his “fat tax” on sodas and other sugary beverages in his next budget.

New York’s Legislature already rejected a Paterson “fat tax” proposal earlier this year – an 18% tax – and instead opted to tax the wealthy some more.

But next year will be a new day.

This latest “fat tax” chatter began after Paterson heard an audio clip of Brooklyn Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries saying that a soda tax (as well as a boost of out-of-state tuition fees) could be a viable way to help close the $3 billion budget gap facing New York – an alternative more appealing than pursuing the education and health care cuts Paterson proposed.

That’s when  aclearly annoyed Paterson responded.

Brendan Scott of the New York Post writes:

“I promise I will put (the soda tax) back in my budget address and give the Legislature another chance to do it,” Paterson said during an interview on WNYC. “But you can’t keep voting down the ways to create revenues and then saying you don’t want to make cuts.”

The problem, as Paterson sees it, is that the soda tax wouldn’t be put into effect until next year when the new budget is created. Indeed, he’s all for it, but he needs to figure out a way to start slicing and dicing this year’s budget.

While Paterson said he would be open to another soda tax proposal next year, he rejected Jeffries’ claim that such new taxes could help close the $3 billion gap in the state’s current budget.

“He’s right about different ways we can enhance revenues if the Legislature will agree to it,” Paterson said. “But he’s totally wrong because I’m talking about payments that must be met by Dec. 15.”

“I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to say this before people understand and are persuaded that we have to act now,” the governor continued.

Meow.

It’s always government, government and more government, isn’t it?

Albany has been unable – or perhaps, more fittingly, unwilling – to trim the fat in New York. (What blue state is?) The fact is, New York is so over-regulated – which translates into being “over-taxed” – that its budget cannot be anything but out of control. After all, who is going to make sure the never-ending maze of regulations and codes are enforced? People cost money. Money comes from taxpayers. That means bigger budgets.

Here’s a suggestion perfectly suited to today’s proponents of government-run, rationed, mediocre health care (which, theoretically, a “fat tax” could help pay for):

Forget the “fat tax.”

How about taking a page from the Robert Reich “Let’s Tell The Truth About Health Care Reform” Songbook and propose a “fat subsidy?” In other words, pay people to get fat – not unlike the federal government pays some farmers to grow corn and soybeans, which are processed into fattening food ingredients such as corn syrup and vegetable oil that could get taxed by a “fat tax.” (Yes, in the United States we tax food on the consumer end while subsidizing it on the production end).

With a fat subsidy, people will die sooner and thus save precious medical resources for the rest of us who fall within whatever guidelines the government creates for us (for our own good).

Makes sense, no?

Or…

As one blogger put it, “We could let adults make, live with, and pay for their own lifestyle choices.”

Talk about radical.
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Posted in Big Government, Economy, Liberalism | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

WHEN BIDEN SPEAKS, FACT CHECKERS SCRAMBLE

Posted by Andrew Roman on September 4, 2009

Our Vice President

Our Vice President

In terms of the news cycle, there is very little I look forward to as much as hearing anything the Vice President of the United States has to say. Call it a guilty pleasure – or a grievous mental defect – but knowing Joe Biden has spoken publicly somewhere – and that there could very well be sound bites from his visit – is a source of great excitement for me. It’s reminiscent of those anticipatory tinglings I would get as boy knowing a new album by a favorite musical group was about to be released, or a new movie was set to hit the theaters. When “Crazy Uncle Joe” opens his mouth, I am not only assured of having something to write about on the blog, I know that the bulk of what he says will be based on everything other than reality.

That’s what makes it so much fun.

Take Biden’s harebrained, la-la-land assertion that the Obama $787 billion stimulus bill passed in February is proving to be a success. Next to Elvis sightings and the Sports Illustrated prediction that the New York Mets would win the World Series this year, it’s hard to pinpoint anything more epically mythical.

He’s so adorable when he’s just being Joe, isn’t he?

Ben Feller of the Associated Press writes:

Defending a costly plan to revitalize the economy, Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday said the government’s sweeping stimulus effort “is in fact working” despite steady Republican criticism and public skepticism.

“The recovery act has played a significant role in changing the trajectory of our economy, and changing the conversation in this country,” Biden said. “Instead of talking about the beginning of a depression, we are talking about the end of a recession.”

Nearly 200 days into the effort, Biden delivered an upbeat report card about the $787 billion rescue effort that President Barack Obama pushed through Congress. He quoted estimates by private analysts that the plan has created or saved 500,000 to 750,000 jobs so far. But many million people remain out of work.

The effectiveness of the two-year program is a matter of sharp political debate, and Biden sought to counter critics with a listing of tangible results.

Of course, Joe is a little light on some of the actualities of the spendulous recovery farce, but that never kept him from filling his pie hole with one or more of his own feet.

As of Monday, a little less than 15% of the stimulus bill has been spent – a total of about $85 billion. And the vast majority of it, up to this point, has not been spent on anything remotely stimulating.

Recall how the bill was sold to the American people back in February – as being the necessary life preserver for a nation on the brink of financial ruin. It was the only way to save the United States from destruction – and it had to be done quicker than immediately. There was no time to waste. America’s very existence depended on it.

Seven months later, with some economic indicators suggesting the recession may be slowing (stabilizing housing prices, a vibrant stock market, etc.), in a nation that was only a few short months ago flirting with elimination, the question is … how much has actually been spent on bona fide “stimulus?”

Arkady Kamenetsky (of the great Indy Mind blog), writing at the Examiner.com website breaks it down:

Let us examine some of the major recipients of taxpayer moneys for brevity we will examine those departments receiving more than 20% of allocated funds.

Railroad Retirement Board: Small chunk of change and unclear where the funds are going.

Social Security Administration: 13 billion spent upgrading computers and one time payments. Not stimulating as there is no direct impact to job creation.

Veterans Affairs: .5 billion spent on upgrading facilities, payments, state grants and benefits to veterans. While not stimulating, entirely justifiable given the neglected veterans in this country.

Department of Labor: 18 billion spent on providing education and worker training to workers and “easing the burden of the recession” by assisting and expanding access to health care. Not stimulating, no direct impact on job creation or tax benefits. Providing education to workers is not the responsibility of the federal government and easing the burden of the recession can create a dangerous precedent of reliance.

Department of Justice: 1 billion spent on providing training, equipment and support for crime prevention including the hiring of additional police offers. Stimulating as it provides jobs to those seeking employment as police officers, however police are the responsibility of municipal governments. In other words we here in Boston should be not be paying for cops in Wichita, Kansas.

Health and Human Services: 28 billion spent on upgrading hospital’s IT programs, research and state grants, Medicare payouts. The biggest recipient of taxpayer moneys has also the most vague and hard to navigate web-page, giving no clear answer as to what the money is being spent on. According to the information there, it appears that the money is being used to advance Obama’s theory regarding electronic record keeping and the health industry. Whether or not upgrading our hospitals will impact us beneficially is to be determined, but this appears to be non stimulating spending and egregious spending at that.

It is also worth mentioning the Department of Education which has spent 14 Billion on state grants, school modernization, Pell grant funding and possibly preserving education jobs in states where funding is critical. Largely not stimulating as most of the money is being used on things that simply have no impact on our economy what so ever and do not belong in a federal stimulus package.

Arkady also points out that in February the Congressional Budget Office predicted a slow down of the recession by the end of this year without the benefit of any messianic intervention. And while there is obviously no way of knowing how accurate that prediction would have been, free market economies are funny things. They’re cyclical – not unlike the climate. They have a strange way a straightening – or correcting – themselves with minimal government meddling. (See the Recession of 1921). Because panic (like the one that swept across this country last fall) often spawns the dreaded and quick-to-metastasize “do something” disease – even among conservatives – governments tend to grow, liberties tend to erode, and problems tend to be prolonged (See the Great Depression).

Commenting on Biden’s remarks that the “wasteful spending” dog didn’t bite, Christopher Flavelle and Amanda Michel at ProPublica write:

wasteful spendingThe government did allocate millions of stimulus dollars for tiger and lion cages at the National Zoo, as we reported in May. And the Florida Department of Transportation got $3.4 million to build tunnels for migrating turtles—a project praised by local residents but held up by Republicans as just the kind of wasteful-spending story the vice president wanted to avoid.

In July, we reported that more than $100 million in stimulus dollars were being spent on airports with fewer than one flight an hour, while many of the country’s busiest airports were getting nothing at all. Last month, the watchdog for the Department of Transportation did indeed bite, calling for a full audit of stimulus airport grants.

Last week, The Associated Press reported that some of the country’s busiest border checkpoints were getting no stimulus money while small checkpoints had been allocated millions of dollars. Among the checkpoints getting money – $199 million, or five times more than any other station – is one at Nogales, Ariz., the home state of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the AP said.

And regarding Biden’s assertion that the spendulous money was to “bring relief to those hardest hit by the recession,” Flavelle and Michel write:

As ProPublica reported last month, a county-by-county breakdown of contracts, grants and loans showed no relationship between where the stimulus money is going and either unemployment or poverty.

The stimulus bill specifically calls for infrastructure funds to be directed at “economically distressed areas.” So far, at least, the numbers suggest that isn’t happening. States with higher unemployment are also spending and completing transportation projects more slowly, according to a stimulus spot check conducted by the ProPublica Reporting Network.

Imagine that.

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CBO SAYS OBAMA IS A RECORD-SETTER

Posted by Andrew Roman on August 10, 2009

As promised

As promised

From the “Who Would Have Guessed?” file …

It isn’t neuro-surgery – although one may be able to make a compelling case that Democrats are in desperate need of some group synapse therapy. (That’s a separate issue).

It’s really quite basic.

Government bailouts for car companies and banks actually cost money. Liberal nation-saving initiatives such as the stimulus bill and Tarp  – not to mention the looming health care overhaul – will take a tremendous financial toll. The President has decided that the current generation of Americans is incapable of dealing with tough times and can only survive by making future generations carry the load. President Obama is not only transforming the country (as he promised), he is setting records.

Ladies and gentlemen, glance up at the Big Board, if you will; the deficit, as of the end of last month, has hit $1.3 trillion.

And there’s more where that came from.

Walter Alarkon from The Hill writes:

Bailouts for financial firms and billions in tax revenue lost because of the recession drove the deficit to a record $1.3 trillion in July, according to the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Tax receipts that have fallen due to the poor economy and increased spending to save car companies, banks and mortgage firms were major contributors to the federal deficit, according to CBO, which provides official budget numbers for Congress. The federal deficit grew by another $181 billion in July.

Falling tax receipts and increased spending on bailouts for auto companies and the financial sector and for the economic stimulus package added to the deficit, according to CBO, which provides official budget numbers for Congress.

Spending through July of 2009 has increased by $530 billion, which is 21 percent over the same period in 2008. The bailout money for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae accounted for almost half of the spending increase. Unemployment benefits have more than doubled, Medicaid spending has grown by a quarter and Medicare spending has increased by 11 percent.

Keep in mind that Nancy Pelosi – America’s official swastika spotter, and third in line for the Presidency of the United States – recently assured Colorado town hall attendees that the proposed health care bill will not increase the deficit.

How about that?

The cost of destroying the greatest health care delivery system on earth and transforming it into a government-run entreprise of rationed mediocrity (at minimum) is projected to total a trillion dollars over ten years, but it will not have any effect whatsoever on the exploding deficit.

That’s what Nancy says.

Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), the top Republican on the Budget Committee, said that Democrats in Congress aren’t doing anything to address the record deficit and are instead pushing ahead with “wildly expensive” healthcare legislation.

“To allow the deficit to hit these previously unthinkable levels – while still planning to implement massive new spending programs – shows an incredible lack of fiscal responsibility, especially toward the future generations who will be saddled with the consequences of today’s actions,” Gregg said.

Unthinkable levels by unthinking politicians.

Who would have guessed?

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THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T SAVE?

Posted by Andrew Roman on May 26, 2009

main2_01

Over at the great Dirty Rotten Scoundrels blog, “Sherri” has posted a letter that talk show host Neil Boortz read on his radio program last week. It’s something that deserves more than the negligible amount of exposure it has received – and in speaking with friends who consider themselves well-informed and up-to-speed on things that go largely ignored by the main-stream media, it really has been overlooked.

Certainly, this is the type of letter that would almost inevitably prompt some enterprising investigative reporter at CNN or MSNBC to create a special “The Economy Hits Home” heart-string tugging report, or a Dateline NBC story about “Everyday Americans Feeling the Sting of a Bad Economy,” had anyone else but Obama been sitting in the White House.

(Recall the story that CNN ran into the dirt late last year of the lady and her dog living in her vehicle in California – a tragic victim of Bush’s “rich man good, working man bad” economy.)

Here is the text of the letter “Sherri” has posted:

My name is George C. Joseph. I am the sole owner of Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu, a family owned and operated business in Melbourne, Florida. My family bought and paid for this automobile franchise 35 years ago in 1974. I am the second generation to manage this business.

We currently employ 50+ people and before the economic slowdown we employed over 70 local people. We are active in the community and the local chamber of commerce. We deal with several dozen local vendors on a day to day basis and many more during a month. All depend on our business for part of their livelihood. We are financially strong with great respect in the market place and community. We have strong local presence and stability.

I work every day the store is open, nine to ten hours a day. I know most of our customers and all our employees. Sunshine Dodge is my life.

On Thursday, May 14, 2009 I was notified that my Dodge franchise, that we purchased, will be taken away from my family on June 9, 2009 without compensation and given to another dealer at no cost to them. My new vehicle inventory consists of 125 vehicles with a financed balance of 3 million dollars. This inventory becomes impossible to sell with no factory incentives beyond June 9, 2009. Without the Dodge franchise we can no longer sell a new Dodge as “new,” nor will we be able to do any warranty service work. Additionally, my Dodge parts inventory, (approximately $300,000.) is virtually worthless without the ability to perform warranty service. There is no offer from Chrysler to buy back the vehicles or parts inventory.

Our facility was recently totally renovated at Chrysler’s insistence, incurring a multi-million dollar debt in the form of a mortgage at Sun Trust Bank.

HOW IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CAN THIS HAPPEN?

THIS IS A PRIVATE BUSINESS NOT A GOVERNMENT ENTITY!

This is beyond imagination! My business is being stolen from me through NO FAULT OF OUR OWN. We did NOTHING wrong.

This atrocity will most likely force my family into bankruptcy. This will also cause our 50+ employees to be unemployed. How will they provide for their families? This is a total economic disaster.

HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN IN A FREE MARKET ECONOMY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?

I beseech your help, and look forward to your reply. Thank you.

Sincerely,

George C. Joseph

President & Owner

Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu

Can there be any doubt that across America there exist many Mr. Josephs – honest, hard-working entrepreneurs who have built their successes one step at a time, utilizing the free market to the extent that their desire, talent, ambition and God-given liberty will allow them, who are now dismayed and outraged to feel the heavy hand of government “fundamentally transforming” the way business is conducted in this country?

This is as frightening as it is infuriating.

Please also see this post at the Dirt Rotten Scoundrels blog, originally from AutoBlog.com:

A story in the New York Times shines a light on some reasons for the Committee of Chrysler Affected Dealers to challenge the car company’s bankruptcy efforts. The element common to all of the dealers profiled is that they did extraordinary things Chrysler asked them to do, such as buy too many cars and combine franchises at their own expense, only to find out they had been chosen for termination after bankruptcy.

Chrysler isn’t buying back the inventory that sits on dealer lots — inventory that, in some cases, Chrysler specifically asked dealers to take too much of in order to help make the company look better for sale. Banks have also dropped many dealers because they no longer have new-car franchises, making it even harder to sell the cars they have.

Fundamental transformation, indeed.

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JOEY B THE ANECDOTE MACHINE

Posted by Andrew Roman on May 14, 2009

yo joe

yo joe

That Vice President Joe Biden can bend reality into shapes that have yet to be defined – with seemingly no effort whatsoever – is something many of us should watch closely and appreciate. It truly is fascinating to watch. He compels us to pay attention to him – like a car wreck or a streaker. Even the Clintons, at their best, take the place and show positions behind Joe when he’s being Joe.

The Associated Press – no bastion of conservative pom-pom pumpers – is reporting that The Vice President’s assessment of how President Obama’s spendulous package is working isn’t exactly accurate.

Shocked?

Biden released his first quarterly report on the Obamacratic spending extravaganza earlier this week, and rather than compile actual data to formulate an accurate assessment, Joe went selectively anecdotal.

How adorable.

AP’s Matt Apuzzo writes:

It is not disputed that Washington is spending historic amounts of money at a rate far faster than normal. Workers are getting tax breaks, Washington is picking up a greater share of state Medicaid costs and road construction projects are beginning.

Even Recovery.gov, the Web site that has yet to live up to its billing as a one-stop way to track every penny, offers more information than typical government programs, and faster.

But the effect of that spending is less clear. Many of the claims the White House is making are based on anecdotes selected to fit the Obama administration’s message. For instance, the report cites a newspaper article about workers being rehired at a factory in Chicago. That account is true, but is no more an accurate snapshot of the nation’s economy than a story, not cited in the report, about a Roanoke, Va., railcar factory closing.

Biden, for instance, claimed that first-time home buyers are “driving increased activity in the home sales market.” More people are being hired in the mortgage industry, according to Biden, because of the first-time home buyers tax credit in the stimulus bill.

On the surface, it sounds promising, of course … but let us not forget that this is Joe Biden. An automatic suspension of reality is in order when he is involved.

The Vice President is getting his information from anecdotes included in a New Orleans business journal, according to Matt Apuzzo. The facts show that not only have home sales gone down since February, the number of jobs in the real estate industry has dipped as well.

Big Joe also claims that employment agencies are putting more people to work since February. Again, he’s tapping into the same New Orleans business journal that supplied him with his first set of “facts.”

Apuzzo writes:

The anecdote may be true, but it’s impossible to extrapolate that any further, even just to New Orleans. The city has lost more than 200 jobs since February. Overall, Louisiana lost 16,085 jobs over the same span, according to the Department of Labor.

And the kicker – the one that employs the most obvious slight of hand (or words) – is something I’ve written about several times since the Obama annointment, namely the claim that jobs are being “saved” by the stimulus package. Specifically, the White House claims that 150,000 jobs have been saved or created since Obama’s craptacular bill became law.

Oh really?

“Saved?”

Exactly how does one measure a “saved” job? What are the criteria? Is this born of the same school of thought that says that someone who has been out of work for one day is to be counted among America’s uninsured – even if that worker gets a new job the next day with comprehensive health coverage?

I digress.

Apuzzo writes:

Since February, the nation has lost more than 1.3 million jobs, according to the Department of Labor. To make the case that the country created jobs over that same stretch, the White House has put forward a benchmark of jobs created “or saved.” The argument is that the job numbers would have been even worse had it not been for the stimulus, and the difference between those numbers is a net positive.

Recall the Obama administration’s projected “deficit cuts” over the next several years were actually calculated by first including trillions of dollars of projected war spending into each fiscal year’s budget ahead of time and then “cutting” back on that. That would be akin to my wife and I budgeting for a one million dollar car every year for the next eight years, then cutting it out of the budget and claiming that we are suddenly saving $8 million.

There are few hard numbers when it comes to tracking stimulus jobs. The Obama administration numbers are based on estimates by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, based largely on a formula Obama’s transition team put forward. It estimates the effect of tax breaks, government spending and social programs on job growth.

Spending money will put people to work. But spending has a cost. At some point, Washington will have to pay for this program, either by raising taxes or interest rates, and those policies typically hurt job growth. The Obama administration’s job data do not take into consideration this back-end cost, an omission some economists, particularly conservative economists, say is a flaw in the analysis.

Intellectual honesty from the Associated Press.

Take an “attaboy” out of petty cash.

Posted in Big Government, Economy, Joe Biden, Liberalism, politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

BUDGET BLAST-OFF

Posted by Andrew Roman on April 3, 2009

Liberals offend easily.

It is what motivates them to policy decisions – to do all they can to eradicate that which offends (unless the offended are right of center).

For instance, inequality (of outcome) is offensive to the Left, hence big government. Leftists would rather see everyone poorer and more equal. Leftists don’t aspire to elevate the unsuccessful. They wish to punish those who have succeeded by bringing them back to the pack.

While I am generally inclined to leave being “offended” to children, Leftists and other non-adults, there are things that conservatives admittedly find offensive – and they generally have to do with the tearing down by Leftocrats of the traditions and institutions that make the United States of America the greatest nation the world has ever known.

That’s usually And so, just over two months into his reign, President Obama – who has played the “I inherited a deficit” card more often than a Kennedy’s lips touches rum – has guaranteed that the taxes to be paid by my children, and their yet to exist children, will go up – and not just casually. The new Big Man has decided that what was “left to him” by the previous administration was so horrific, so unmanageable, so debilitating that it has become necessary to deal future generations ridiculous tax burdens out of “necessity.”

And while the brain-dead across the pond continue to expend energy, saliva and vocal chords in gushing over the visiting American royal family, realities that would have already been broached tenfold by the press had anyone not named Obama been at the helm, are being largely ignored by the disciple pool who are just happy to be along for the ride.

Hey, as long as the First Lady can show off her arms and her latest whatever it is she is wearing, all is right (or rather, Left) with the world, yes?

It’d be nice if someone charged with the task of being a journalist found the testicular fortitude to ask the President how the astronomical debt he is proposing will trigger the prosperity Bam has assured the American people.

That would seem to be a somewhat relevant question to pose.

But then again, Obama’s assurances mean nothing, do they?

Recall that the word “earmark” was brutalized and redefined as a “cover your tush” maneuver by Bam. Remember how this was the worst economy since the Great Depression, before it became worse than the Great Depression, before it somehow became sound again.

Michael Boskin writes:

What of the claim not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000 a year? Even ignoring his large energy taxes, Mr. Obama must reconcile his arithmetic. Every dollar of debt he runs up means that future taxes must be $1 higher in present-value terms. Mr. Obama is going to leave a discounted present-value legacy of $6.5 trillion of additional future taxes, unless he dramatically cuts spending. (With interest the future tax hikes would be much larger later on.) Call it a stealth tax increase or ticking tax time-bomb.

What does $6.5 trillion of additional debt imply for the typical family? If spread evenly over all those paying income taxes (which under Mr. Obama’s plan would shrink to a little over 50% of the population), every income-tax paying family would get a tax bill for $163,000. (In 10 years, interest would bring the total to well over a quarter million dollars, if paid all at once. If paid annually over the succeeding 10 years, the tax hike every year would average almost $34,000.) That’s in addition to his explicit tax hikes. While the future tax time-bomb is pushed beyond Mr. Obama’s budget horizon, and future presidents and Congresses will decide how it will be paid, it is likely to be paid by future income tax hikes as these are general fund deficits.

These deficits are so large for a prosperous nation in peacetime — three times safe levels — that they would cause the debt burden to soar toward banana republic levels. That’s a recipe for a permanent drag on growth and serious pressure on the Federal Reserve to inflate, not the new era of rising prosperity that Mr. Obama and his advisers foresee.

Let’s keep in mind that this budget does not yet deal with what will be an exponential Social Security cost boom down the road.

Rail all you like against the inherited deficits of the Bush administration – recall that President Obama and the Dems supported the Bush bailouts – but Obama’s nonsensical, mythical proposed $2 trillion “cut” of the national debt is about as substantive as Obama’s “work experience and qualifications” box on his resume.

As Boskin explains:

That was mostly a phantom cut from an imagined 10-year continuation of peak Iraq war spending.

In other words, it’s like saying I am proposing a home budget that includes buying a new $50,000 car every year. Then, when I don’t buy the car, I make the claim that I have saved $50,000. Over the course of ten years, I can say I have save half-a-million bucks.

Obamalicious.

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QUICK AIG THOUGHTS

Posted by Andrew Roman on March 21, 2009

aig-insurance

Clearly, I’m in the minority on this one – even among conservatives – but this entire AIG bonus “scandal” is absolutely meaningless to me, inasmuch as I am not outraged, disgusted, bothered or in any way troubled by the payout of these bonuses. That this is considered some kind of a moral stain upon the American landscape or is portrayed by the cackling masses as a world-class ignominy is far more disturbing than the supposed “disgrace” these bonuses have brought upon the face of a nation purportedly consumed with indignation.

This entire thing is a farce of the highest order.

Because I am aware of the facts, and because I am not a class warrior, and because I have a firm grasp on reality, and because I can put into perspective the fact that contractually obligated retention bonuses of $165 million dollars make up an infinitesimal percentage of the entire bailout money given to AIG, I find the entire spectacle – including the entire surreal neo-McCarthy like hearings on Capitol Hill this week – a complete embarrassment. (Of course, there was truth in what McCarthy was claiming).

I cannot think of a grander waste of time than to hear noodle-brained pundit after noodle-brained pundit – on both sides of the aisle – talk about the outrage being generated all across the nation by these bonus payments.

On top of that, listening to a mush-mouthed United States congressman demand “the names” of those who have not been intimidated or frightened enough into returning the bonus money on their own is both scary and surreal – and beyond reprehensible. If not for these bona-fide morons making the AIG executives in question out to be worse than Joseph Stalin, I wouldn’t have never even expended a batting lash on it.

However, what is entirely meaningful to me is watching the painful and destructive Obama-promised transformation of my country take place before my very eyes. The inner-Marxist that lurks deep within the American liberal is emerging – unchecked and unfettered, and it isn’t pretty.

If there is a disgrace, it is in how this Democrat-controlled White House and Congress operate.

The truth is, the “bailout” money – in all of its Marxist glory – should have never been handed out to begin with, and the fact that the trillions of dollars being poured into pointless, careless pig-meat projects aren’t drawing nearly as much animus as this piddly little AIG non-story epitomizes how backwards the value system in this country is among the knee-jerks and the reactionaries. It’s class warfare at its liberally-fomented finest. True, taxpayer bucks were dished out to a company that should have been allowed to fail, but the unmitigated gall of these Capitol Hill sky pilots to dictate after the fact how this money was to be used when they are the ones who authorized the payment of these bonuses is categorically contemptible. There were no provisions. There were no strings. There wasn’t a single stipulation attached to the money.

And what makes this all the more detestable is that these weren’t even performance bonuses. This entire witch hunt would actually make more sense if these were performance bonuses. They were pre-bailout contracts made between AIG and employees who were being asked to stay on with the company through a critical business cycle, knowing the future was not particularly bright.

Hence, the term “retention bonus.”

The fact that some of these executives are actually giving back the money they rightfully earned in living up to their end of the contract is truly remarkable – and worthy of praise.

And the thing is … The Washington big boys knew that AIG planned on fulfilling their obligations to these people when they were given their slice of bailout pie. There were no surprises.

And now, because of “public outcry,” the House of Representatives has passed a bill (328-93) that would tax this bonus money at a rate of 90%, with a Senate vote to follow next week – all meant to teach these greedy, piggish, money-hungry bastards a lesson…

.. and to show who is really boss.

This is like granting your child permission to go to the 11:00 PM movie, knowing that his curfew is midnight, then punishing him when he comes homes at 1:00 AM.

According to Bloomberg:

The House bill passed yesterday would affect employees earning more than $250,000 who received bonuses from companies that received more than $5 billion in aid from the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

“These people are getting away with murder,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel of New York. “They’re getting paid for the destruction they’ve caused to our communities.”

give me the names!

give me the names!

In short, the Congress of the United States has dipped into its Politburo bag-o-tricks and begun targeting its private citizenry with mob-rules legislation. While death threats against AIG executives fly, and Congressman Barney Frank asks for the names of these threatened private citizens to be released publicly, and bus tours of AIG executives’ homes are being put together by the Connecticut Working Families Party, Leftocrats applaud a job well done.

And yet, time and time again, conservatives are attacked as “Nazis” or “fascists.”  They are represented and portrayed as the ones who demand control of American lives. Conservatives are the totalitarians, according to the Left. Libs whine about conservatives wishing to intrude on the private affairs of Americans, but promote the nationalization of health care, the expansion of government influence (and control) into the private sector, and support doing away with private union votes. Libs decry the imposition of conservative values on liberty loving citizens, but demand that taxpayer dollars be used to pay for abortions (both domestically and abroad) and fund unproven controversial stem cell science. They say conservatives want the power to inflict their beliefs on everyone, but insist that Americans accept same-sex marriage, and agree to the distribution of condoms to high school students on demand. Libs moan incessantly about the so-called violation of civil rights due to the Patriot Act, but go after private citizens who lawfully receive bonus money through expo-facto legislation, stirring the anger of the American public to the point that death threats are being levied at these innocent people.

The assault against American individualism continues.

And as far as Congressman Charlie Rangel is concerned, if I may address him directly …

How deliciously ironic of you to proclaim that anyone is “getting away with murder.” I have to assume you know both the pot and the kettle. These AIG executives were getting paid because they were contractually entitled to that money. Period. Have you forgotten that the provision for paying these bonuses was written into the stimulus bill that your party ran through Congress last month? Have you forgotten that it was signed into law by the President of the United States? Surely, this little detail hasn’t escaped you – like paying your taxes did or forgetting that you can’t use your rent-stabilized apartments in New York to run campaigns.

Silly, Charlie.

These obligations existed long before you and your party helped to create the current financial mess we are in now by compelling financial institutions to offer mortgages to people who simply could not afford them.

Silly facts.

If ever there was scandal that wasn’t a scandal, this is it.

Posted in Bailout, Big Government, Economy, Liberalism, politics, socialism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CAN BIDEN AND OBAMA GET ON THE SAME PAGE? MAYBE?

Posted by Andrew Roman on March 17, 2009

biden_brain1So, the economy was on the brink of catastrophe before it was fundamentally sound before it became worse than FDR’s – if I understand correctly. Or is it better to say that it was the worst economy since the Great Depression before it was basically strong before it became the worst economy ever, including the Great Depression.

I’ll say one thing for these Obamacrats, they certainly have themselves covered – building a formidable arsenal of sound bites for every possible occasion. They divert, reflect, reinvent and redefine reality as it occurs, setting new standards for confusion and misdirection. If they weren’t in power, it’d be almost amusing. This is more than simply having the left hand and the right hand not being in synch. This is about getting “for rent” notifications from the brain in between.

According to the second most powerful man in the country, President Obama has it worse than Franklin Roosevelt did at the same point in his Presidency seventy-six years ago.

Carol E. Lee at The Politico writes:

Vice President Joe Biden’s discussed the economy in stark terms at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser Monday night, in contrast with the upbeat tone coming from the White House over the past few days.

In a 20-minute speech in the lobby of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Biden said President Obama “has inherited the most difficult first 100 days of any president, I would argue, including Franklin Roosevelt.”

“Let me explain what I mean by that,” he added. “It was clear the problem Roosevelt inherited. This is a more complicated economic [problem]. We’ve never ever been here before – here or in the world. Never ever been here before.”

I take it Joe’s microphone was on this time.

This, of course, is not to be confused with the White House message on Sunday that the economy is fundamentally sound.

Do Barack and Joe not talk? Or exchange e-mails? Or text with eachother?

In one respect, Obama does have it more difficult than Roosevelt.

He has Biden.

Posted in Big Government, Economy, Joe Biden, Liberalism, Obama's first 100 days, politics | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

TALE OF TWO QUOTES – REDEFINING “CATASTROPHE”

Posted by Andrew Roman on March 13, 2009

“A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession, a less robust recovery, and a more uncertain future.”           -Barack Obama, February 4, 2009

“I’ve never bought into these Malthusian, woe, Chicken Little, the earth is falling. I tend to be pretty optimistic … I don’t think things are ever as good as they say, or ever as bad as they say. Things two years ago were not as good as we thought because there were a lot of underlying weaknesses in the economy. They’re not as bad as we think they are now.”        -Barack Obama, March 12, 2009

______________________

Three quick points …

First, didn’t the President also say that a failure to act on passing the stimulus bill could mean the economy might never recover?

Second, didn’t Chicken Little say the sky was falling?

Third, if the economy turns around on the Obama watch, will he then acknowledge things just aren’t as good as they seem?

______________________

 

From the Liberal/English Dictionary entry catastrophe: 

Main Entry:

ca·tas·tro·phe

Pronunciation:

\kə-ˈtas-trə-(ˌ)fē\

Function:

noun

Etymology:

Greek katastrophē, from katastrephein to overturn, from kata- + strephein to turn – confiscated by American Democrat Party for political scare mongering

Date:

1540 original, February 2009 Democrat redefine

1: no biggie <failure to act will be a catastrophe>

2: false scare <this crisis will turn into a catastrophe if left alone>

3: as expected <my Presidency is a catastrophe>

 

cat·a·stroph·ic \ˌka-tə-ˈsträ-fik\ adjective

cat·a·stroph·i·cal·ly \-fi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Posted in Bailout, Big Government, Economy, Obama's first 100 days, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

BAM’S BILL HAS (SLIM) MAJORITY SUPPORT … 37% SUFFER FROM DO-SOMETHING DISEASE

Posted by Andrew Roman on February 19, 2009

pork_steaksIn a Fox News poll released today, a slim majority of Americans – 51% – support Barack Obama’s $787 billion pig meat bonanza, signed into law on Tuesday (four days after it had to be passed by Congress, lest the nation disintegrate into oblivion). The poll also says that 40% of Americans oppose it.

But here’s the kicker.

As Dana Blanton writes:

For those supporting the stimulus bill, the top reason is because it was seen as the best option and we “have to do something” (37 percent). Other main reasons include the spending included in the bill (17 percent), belief in Barack Obama and the Democrats (14 percent), and simple belief the plan will work (11 percent).

That should be astonishing to me, but it isn’t. (After watching the salivation and bootlicking adulation at Obama’s Fort Myers townhall meeting last week, nothing surprises me). 37% of Americans say that Obama’s craptacular spending bill was the best option because something – anything – had to be done. It didn’t matter what it was, apparently, just as long as something got done. The Obamacrats could have allocated billions of dollars to the study of Appalachian toe jam, or the nasal mucus eating habits of Berkeley, California city council members, and it wouldn’t have mattered, as long as something was done.

Yes, the dreaded “do something” virus, fabled in story and song.

Please note this actual e-mail exchange between myself and a liberal friend whom I will call “Dexter,” (because he doesn’t want me to use his real name, Len). My assertion in the e-mail is untrue, by the way. I was only having some fun.

Me: Have you read this thing at all? Be honest. You haven’t. Look on Page 822, Dexter. There is almost $700 million dollars being directed toward the study of “Pityriasis capitis prevention” – dandruff! Are you kidding?

Dexter: You’re a one-trick pony, my friend. Gripe, gripe. Deal with it. It’s the law. And when the economy comes around, it’ll be interesting to hear your complaints then.

Verbatim.

The idea that nearly a billion was being spent on dandruff seemed not to phase him. Only after four or five more exchanges did he realize that I was making it up, to which he wrote, “But do you disagree that medical research is a good thing at least?”

Libs.

Note that, according to the poll, less than one-fifth of Americans cited actually having any faith in the Obamacrats as their main reason for supporting the bill, while just over ten percent said they supported the measure because they actually believe it will work.

Lord, help us.

Also interesting to note is that while 58% of Americans believe some sort of legislation was necessary, almost one-fourth of them were against the plan that Obama signed into law. And better than one-half of Americans say the bill is best characterized as a “spending bill” instead of a “stimulus” bill.

Blanton also writes:

Another word about pork — or specifically “porky amendments” as New York Sen. Chuck Schumer called them when he said recently Americans “really don’t care” if the stimulus bill included earmarks and pork spending. The poll finds Americans disagree with Schumer, as a large 79 percent majority says they do care, including most Democrats (76 percent), Republicans (84 percent) and independents (78 percent).

Charles Schumer misspoke?

You don’t say.

Posted in Big Government, Economy, Obama's first 100 days | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

PHONY REPUBLICAN GRAHAM SAYS MAYBE TO BANK NATIONALIZATION

Posted by Andrew Roman on February 18, 2009

rinoFrom the “What The Hell Is Happening To My Country” file … or the “Phony Republicans, Get Lost” file …

I have to believe that somewhere in this nation are people who have actually lived through a recession before. The people of the United States cannot possibly be this frail, this spineless, this whiny and thin-skinned. A nation of rugged individualists simply could not have been fundamentally transformed into a dominion of unsure, frightened, dependant crybabies this quickly. The realities of an economic downturn cannot be so unique and so extraordinary as to inspire such intellectual depravity and idiocy from those charged with power. The so-called leadership in Washington already has enough of its citizens thinking that the country is teetering on complete collapse. Do we now need terrified, jelly-spined Republicans going along with the Obamacratic vision of nationalizing banks?

Dammit, we are not Sweden … or are we?

From the Financial Times of London:

Long regarded in the US as a folly of Europeans, nationalisation is gaining rapid acceptance among Washington opinion-formers – and not just with Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve chairman. Perhaps stranger still, many of those talking about nationalising banks are Republicans.

Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator for South Carolina, says that many of his colleagues, including John McCain, the defeated presidential candidate, agree with his view that nationalisation of some banks should be “on the table”.

“You should not get caught up on a word [nationalisation],” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “I would argue that we cannot be ideologically a little bit pregnant. It doesn’t matter what you call it, but we can’t keep on funding these zombie banks [without gaining public control]. That’s what the Japanese did.”

Barack Obama, the president, who has tried to avoid panicking lawmakers and markets by entertaining the idea, has moved more towards what he calls the “Swedish model” – an approach backed strongly by Mr Graham. In the early 1990s Sweden nationalised its banking sector then auctioned banks having cleaned up balance sheets. “In limited circumstances the Swedish model makes sense for the US,” says Mr Graham.

Stunning.

Simply stunning.

By all means … if it worked in Sweden – whose entire population totals less than half of New York City’s metropolitan area alone – it ought to be a cinch to click here in the United States. After all, the efficiency with which government has been shown to operate speaks for itself.

How dare these petrified, lily-livered Republicrats lend any credibility whatsoever to Obamacratic big-government ideas by even suggesting that nationalizing American banks is an option. That such concepts are even considered as viable solutions in challengeing times is more frightening than the suggestion itself – particularly from those in the Republican Party.

It’s interesting how some on “our side” are instinctively quick to relinquish liberties when times are tough.

I’m curious where Senator John McCain falls on this issue.

President Obama said that the signing of the $787 billion porktabulous spending bill into law would not immediately turn the economy around, but that it was, in fact, the “beginning of the end.”

Sadly, he may be right.

Posted in Big Government, Economy, Liberalism, Obama's first 100 days | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

THE DEMOCRAT EIGHT-DOLLAR-A-WEEK DELUSION

Posted by Andrew Roman on February 17, 2009

how can New Yorkers not be proud?

how can New Yorkers not be proud?

Spread it out, and they will spend … that’s what Democrats say.

Okay then.

I’m ready to do my part by giving this economy a good swift kick in the pants.

Let’s see … Eight dollars will almost get me a pack of cigarettes in New York City – and at some places in town, a full one. Eight bucks, however, will not be enough to get me across the Verrazano Bridge into Staten Island by car (that’s $10.00), but I would be able to take four subway rides. It’ll also score me a McDonalds double quarter-pounder value meal in Manhattan, or a week-and-a-half of New York Times home delivery at fifty percent off the regular subscription rate. For that kind of money, I can take home about a third of a pot roast, or just under two jars of Manischewitz Premium Gold Gefilte Fish.

In other words, I’d better start reworking my budget now … the Obama “tax cut” is coming to town.

To be fair, the Obama “tax cut” plan – similar to George W. Bush’s “stimulus rebate” check dispersal in 2008 (but only spread out over time) – is slated to afford taxpayers about $13 a week in extra spending cash beginning in June, but then fall back to about $8 at the beginning of next year. That means for the second half of this year, people like me will be able to afford an extra box of Bubba Burgers and a roll of Viva paper towels … or three heads of lettuce and a couple of gallons of diesel fuel … or almost fifteen boxes of chicklets.

Look out, economy … here we come.

And how do we know this will work? 

Because the illustrious and never-interesting Charles Schumer, Senator from New York, gave his ringing endorsement to the plan. Drawing eloquently from his bag of crippled cognition, he said, “Instead of giving one paycheck at once…” (as opposed to giving one paycheck twice, I suppose) “… which George Bush did, and it really didn’t stimulate the economy, the economists said ‘stretch it out and people are more likely to put it into economy and get our economy going.’ ”

Whether or not America’s retailers are bracing for a stampede of eight-dollar power shoppers is unclear.

What is clear is that Democrats simply don’t get it.

Schumer is right in that George Bush’s ridiculous stimulus debacle did nothing to jumpstart the economy … but being a Democrat, Schumer lives and operates by the credo “If something fails, do it again!”

While it is true that people will tend to spend more if they see more money in their paychecks on a regular basis, insignificant rebates such as these over a limited stretch of time is hardly the way to get people digging into their wallets. Remember, the entirety of each Obama “cut” is a mere $400 for each individual and $800 for each couple.

I hate to be the one to sneeze on someone’s Pop Tart, but this is sheer idiocy. The impact of such “cuts” will be barely perceptible, if at all.

Not only is this $13 a week nonsense not a “tax cut,” but the fact that these “cuts” are not permanent will dissuade people from the kind of purchases needed to get the economy rolling again.

From Fox News:

Some worry the cut is not enough to encourage consumers to go out and spend. And since two-thirds of the economy is consumer spending, the effectiveness of the tax cut in spurring workers to open their wallets is key to an economic revival.

“The average person will get $8 per week in their paycheck and they will pass on to their grandkids $1.1 trillion in debt,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C. “We created more new government than we did jobs and the substance and process cannot repeat itself.”

Moody’s economist Mark Zandi also says the nature of the tax cut could reduce the number of jobs created by the $787 billion stimulus package.

“With regard to how much of the tax cut’s going to spent for individuals, the White House, I think, is assuming that people are going to behave as if that tax cut is permanent, and I doubt that will be the case,” he said.

Precisely.

The ability of people to buy an extra box of Swiffers on a weekly basis thanks to distributed rebates that will total far less to each working person than what George Bush offered in his failed attempt at stimulus will do positively nothing for the economy.

Compare someone who is given a genuine tax cut – that is, an actual reduction in the percentage of the tax being paid resulting in the ability to keep (and spend) more of one’s own money – with someone getting miniscule rebates for a limited period of time. People are less likely to spend when they know the boost in take home money – in this case, a whopping $13 a week through the end of the year – is temporary.  However, if a genuine cut in taxes is made permanent, then people can more reliably count on that extra money being there and budget accordingly. People are more likely to spend when they have more of their own money.

I’m wondering if Chuck Schumer is openly advocating for struggling taxpayers to take on additional monthly payments for items such as washing machines and big screen televisions using “stimulus money” knowing that it will run out long before the items have been paid off.

Then what?

More outstanding debt on top of growing debt?

I guess if it’s okay for the government, it’s okay for Johnny Lunch Bucket.

_____________________________________________

Update: February 17, 2009 – 5:35 PM

A blogger at FREE REPUBLIC.COM called theDentist commented on my observation that the $8.00 a week “tax cut” wouldn’t even be enough money to get across the Verrazano Bridge, from Brooklyn to Staten Island, seeing as the toll is $10.00.

He wrote:  “Well, that’ll get you 80% across. From there, you jump like the rest of us.”

Too funny.

 

the fact that it costs $10.00 to cross the Verrazano Bridge from Brooklyn into Staten island

Posted in Bailout, Big Government, Economy, Liberalism, Obama's first 100 days | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

MORTGAGE PAYING SUCKERS … LIKE ME

Posted by Andrew Roman on February 15, 2009

foreclosureIt pays when someone else pays.

I initially thought President Obama was going to turn a blind eye and neglect the housing crisis in his porktabulous $787 billion spending bill in favor of doorknobs, STD awareness, hybrid cars and abandoned mine sites. It looks like I couldn’t be more wrong … and it took an article I read at the Indy Mind blog to bring it to my attention. (Thanks a million, Arkady).

Nothing apparently gets by President Obama – that is, except the truth, American values and the need to keep terrorists caged. Housing, as it turns out, is a huge priority for our 44th Chief Executive. To that end, Obama is, in fact, going to push a boatload of money toward housing – $13.5 billion in total, according to the bill he is expected to sign on Tuesday.

However, in the spirit of clarity, it should be noted that all of that critical stimulus money – needed, we were told, in short order to keep the United States breathing- is being directed toward “section 8 housing, low-income and public housing.” And two billion of that money is going toward “abandoned and foreclosed homes.”

How nice.

Now, that’s what I call stimulating.

(Boy, do I feel like a sucker. I should have let the house go into foreclosure).

The first question that comes to mind is … if a home has already been abandoned, what is the federal government  supposed to do with it, to it, or for it, to stimulate the economy?

The second question that pops into my head is … if the home has been foreclosed on, what is the federal government  supposed to do with it, to it, or for it, to stimulate the economy?

Whatever it is … it is going to cost at least two billion bucks.

Please explain it to me. I’m willing to learn.

Pouring money into Section 8 housing and inner city housing projects, funded by taxpayers who actually pay their mortgages on time, for such inspiring economic catalysts as “Grants and loans for green investment” (for example), to the tune of over a half-billion dollars, seems to concern no one outside of conservatives and people who think. In Obama-speak, this is stimulus, and it will save America.

Admittedly, the bounds of my imagination may be more stunted than the visionaries on Capitol Hill, but what on Earth exactly is “green investment?” And how is it to be implemented in Section 8 housing? And how in hell is it stimulus? What exactly are we talking about here?

Solar-powered food stamps?

Reusable bathroom tissue?

Carbon credit magnets for the kitchen?

As Arkady at Indy Mind writes, $13.5 billion housing dollars breaks down this way:

-Public housing capital improvements: $3,000,000,000
-Public housing renovations and energy conservation investments: $1,000,000,000
-Native American housing block grants: $510,000,000
-Community development funding: $1,000,000,000
-Emergency assistance for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes: $2,000,000,000
-Additional capital investments in low-income housing tax credit projects: $2,250,000,000
-Homelessness prevention and re-housing: $1,500,000,000
-Assistance to owners of properties receiving section 8 assistance: $2,000,000,000
-Grants and loans for green investment in section 8 properties: $250,000,000

Homelessness prevention and re-housing” dangles a $1.5 billion price tag?

And thank the Lord those “Native American Housing Block Grants” are finally coming through. It is unlikely this country would see an economic recovery without it.

Arkady finishes his post this way:

Call me old fashioned, but I do not believe that this country amounted to greatness due to punishing and robbing those that do everything right only to reward those that did everything wrong. A trend like this cannot continue and must not continue, America’s stability depends on it.

Amen.

Posted in Big Government, Economy, Liberalism | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

WHITE HOUSE/CONGRESSIONAL AGREEMENT – BUT NO REPUBLICANS ALLOWED

Posted by Andrew Roman on February 11, 2009

no-gop

It’s good to be left out sometimes. A couple of weeks ago, Republicans unanimously pulled themselves out of the fun of passing Obama’s stimulus bill in the House – and they took eleven Dems with them. Yesterday, save for three legislative wastes of space, Republicans said “no” to the Senate version. Now, comes the word that Republicans are being left out of the House-Senate negotiations on finalizing the bill by the all-inclusive, unity-happy, postpartisan Democrats.

Politically, I say “good.” Let them have it. All of the credit for a bill that everyone with at least a few working synapses knew would pass know matter what Republicans did can stay with the Obamacrats.

Republicans shouldn’t want any credit for this disaster. I comment on this only because its fun to point out all of the “change” and “bi-partisanship” Democrats have showered upon Washington during in their eventful first three weeks in complete power.

From the Great Human Events website, Connie Hair writes:

Republicans have caught the Democrats in a midnight “stimulus” power play that seeks to cut Republican conferees out of the House-Senate negotiations to resolve a final version of the Obama “stimulus” package. Staff members from the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) met last night to put together the “stimulus” conference report.

They intend to attempt to shove this $1.3 trillion spending bill through in the dead of the night without Republican input so floor action can take place in both chambers on Thursday.

Fox News is reporting that a tentative $790 Billion stimulus bill deal between Congress and the White House has been reached:

Congressional leaders and the White House have crossed a first hurdle, tentatively agreeing to a $790 billion price tag on President Obama’s economic stimulus bill. The new price tag reflects a cut of nearly $50 billion from the Senate version.

Among the considered cuts to the bill, according to numerous Democratic aides involved in the talks, is a trim to Obama’s tax credit — $500 per worker and $1,000 per couple — with a phase out beginning sooner than originally written: at about $70,000 per individual and $140,000 for couples.

You mean the coveted, much talked-about Obama “tax cuts” are being tossed aside?

No way.

Posted in Big Government, Economy, Liberalism | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

WHERE DO THESE PEOPLE COME UP WITH THESE NUMBERS?

Posted by Andrew Roman on February 11, 2009

government-spendingIt’s not just the colossal amount of waste in the Obama Recovery Kill that has my head trying to make apple juice out of pomegranates, but it’s trying to figure out how the meatheads who created this thing arrived at some of their funding figures. (Whole cloth comes to mind).

For instance, $650 million has been allocated for “abandoned mine sites.” Call me uncreative and void of vision, but how exactly does one spend over a half-billion dollars on abandoned mine sites?

On bigger signs warning people to stay out?

To fill the holes?

To put up a gift shop?

Interestingly enough, the mine money is $150 million dollars more than the funds set aside for state and local fire departments. I may not have supported the Obama spendulous disaster, but at least shoveling money into fire departments makes some sense to me.

There is, of course, the much talked-about $650 million allotment going out to rabbit-eared Americans so they can make the switch from analogue TV to digital TV in June – the same amount of money set aside for those abandoned mine sites. Each converter box is about $50.00, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), as of January 9th, said the waiting list for free converter box coupons totaled a little over a million.

That’s a figure just north of $50 million.

I consider myself fairly bright – in an everyday shlub kind of way – but I must admit to some confusion here.

Even if the list of queued converter box recipients totaled five million, what is the other $400 million for?

Stamps?

Barack Obama scratch-n-sniff fridge magnets?

Maybe if there’s any leftover, it can be allocated for “abandoned rabbit ears.”

Keep in mind, that while well over a billion dollars goes for abandoned mines and TV converter boxes combined, only $10 million is being set aside to combat Mexican gun runners.

Priorities.

Ten times that amount, I’m happy to see, is being directed toward a far worse plague on the American landscape – “lead paint hazard reduction.”

That’s a hundred million dollars.

I might be able to save them some money here, if they’re so inclined. I respectfully submit this cost-effective tactic in lead paint hazard reduction: “Junior, don’t eat the paint!”

See? Didn’t cost a thing.

Something that is finally getting some attention in this craptacular spending bill is the age-old problem of “watershed rehabilitation.” While only $65 million is heading in that direction – because Lord knows there are a whole lot of watersheds that need rehabbing – $10 million is going straight to “urban canals.”

Thank the good Lord for that.

Other than not knowing what the hell that means, it sounds stimulating.

It’s funny, I never got paid for volunteering for anything – hence the name – but the Feds need $160 million for “volunteers at the Corporation for National and Community Service.”

I think they’re missing the concept.

Maybe they should think about throwing some of this money at the Mexican gun running budget.

Then, there’s $300 million going toward hybrid and electric government cars – less than half as much set aside for those abandoned mines – but $25 million more than “flood prevention.”

How on earth does one spend $25 million on preventing floods?

Man, if we could do that, why would we even care about Global Warming? Or Climate Change? Why not then spend $100 million, or $500 million, on preventing tornados? Or humidity?

We’re obviously far more advanced than even I would have imagined.

And explain to me why over a half-billion dollars is needed for “construction on the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” and yet only $300 million is needed for “constructing FBI office buildings?”

Something’s amiss there, I think.

And that’s pretty vague, isn’t it? “FBI office buildings?”

And this one I love most of all … $5.5 billion (with a “b”) for “making federal buildings green.”

What, pray tell, does that mean?

Toilets powered with tiny windmills? Emergency Exits illuminated with those squiggly light bulbs? Organic lap tops?

One things for sure, each and every one of these “pet projects” will cost more than the money being allocated for them.

Many many thanks to Eric the Red at Vocal Minority for inspiring this piece.

 

Posted in Big Government, Economy, Liberalism, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

WHERE DO THESE PEOPLE COME UP WITH THESE NUMBERS?

Posted by Andrew Roman on February 11, 2009

government-spendingIt’s not just the colossal amount of waste in the Obama Recovery Kill that has my head trying to make apple juice out of pomegranates, but it’s trying to figure out how the meatheads who created this thing arrived at some of their funding figures. (Whole cloth comes to mind).

For instance, $650 million has been allocated for “abandoned mine sites.” Call me uncreative and void of vision, but how exactly does one spend over a half-billion dollars on abandoned mine sites?

On bigger signs warning people to stay out?

To fill the holes?

To put up a gift shop?

Interestingly enough, the mine money is $150 million dollars more than the funds set aside for state and local fire departments. I may not have supported the Obama spendulous disaster, but at least shoveling money into fire departments makes some sense to me.

There is, of course, the much talked-about $650 million allotment going out to rabbit-eared Americans so they can make the switch from analogue TV to digital TV in June – the same amount of money set aside for those abandoned mine sites. Each converter box is about $50.00, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), as of January 9th, said the waiting list for free converter box coupons totaled a little over a million.

That’s a figure just north of $50 million.

I consider myself fairly bright – in an everyday shlub kind of way – but I must admit to some confusion here.

Even if the list of queued converter box recipients totaled five million, what is the other $400 million for?

Stamps?

Barack Obama scratch-n-sniff fridge magnets?

Maybe if there’s any leftover, it can be allocated for “abandoned rabbit ears.”

Keep in mind, that while well over a billion dollars goes for abandoned mines and TV converter boxes combined, only $10 million is being set aside to combat Mexican gun runners.

Priorities.

Ten times that amount, I’m happy to see, is being directed toward a far worse plague on the American landscape – “lead paint hazard reduction.”

That’s a hundred million dollars.

I might be able to save them some money here, if they’re so inclined. I respectfully submit this cost-effective tactic in lead paint hazard reduction: “Junior, don’t eat the paint!”

See? Didn’t cost a thing.

Something that is finally getting some attention in this craptacular spending bill is the age-old problem of “watershed rehabilitation.” While only $65 million is heading in that direction – because Lord knows there are a whole lot of watersheds that need rehabbing – $10 million is going straight to “urban canals.”

Thank the good Lord for that.

Other than not knowing what the hell that means, it sounds stimulating.

It’s funny, I never got paid for volunteering for anything – hence the name – but the Feds need $160 million for “volunteers at the Corporation for National and Community Service.”

I think they’re missing the concept.

Maybe they should think about throwing some of this money at the Mexican gun running budget.

Then, there’s $300 million going toward hybrid and electric government cars – less than half as much set aside for those abandoned mines – but $25 million more than “flood prevention.”

How on earth does one spend $25 million on preventing floods?

Man, if we could do that, why would we even care about Global Warming? Or Climate Change? Why not then spend $100 million, or $500 million, on preventing tornados? Or humidity?

We’re obviously far more advanced than even I would have imagined.

And explain to me why over a half-billion dollars is needed for “construction on the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” and yet only $300 million is needed for “constructing FBI office buildings?”

Something’s amiss there, I think.

And that’s pretty vague, isn’t it? “FBI office buildings?”

And this one I love most of all … $5.5 billion (with a “b”) for “making federal buildings green.”

What, pray tell, does that mean?

Toilets powered with tiny windmills? Emergency Exits illuminated with those squiggly light bulbs? Organic lap tops?

One things for sure, each and every one of these “pet projects” will cost more than the money being allocated for them.

Many many thanks to Eric the Red at Vocal Minority for inspiring this piece.

 

Posted in Big Government, Economy, Liberalism, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

FACT-CHECKING, EARMARKING, NOSE-GROWING

Posted by Andrew Roman on February 11, 2009

pork1

When anyone on the payroll of the Associated Press actually bothers to veer away from Interstate Obama and earn their pay by doing some genuine reporting, i.e., legitimately questioning some of the claims put forth by the Messiah himself, it is definitely worth acknowledging. (It happens so rarely). AP reporter Calvin Woodward has actually done a fairly nice job fact checking some of The One’s assertions made in Elkhart, Indiana on Monday, while the President was attempting to build up support for his pig-meat spectacular, ultimately passed by the Senate yesterday. . The problem is, while doing a respectable job checking some of the President’s spending ishkabibble, Woodward falls into the “earmarks” trap Obama himself created – something I have been writing about a lot in recent days.

First off … the fact checking.

Said Obama:

“I’ve appointed hundreds of people, all of whom are outstanding Americans who are doing a great job. There are a couple who had problems before they came into my administration, in terms of their taxes. … I made a mistake … I don’t want to send the signal that there are two sets of rules. Everybody will acknowledge that we have set up the highest standard ever for lobbyists not working in the administration.”

As we know, two Obama appointees, Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer, dropped out when it came to light that both had failed to pay taxes. (Obama’s vetting machine needs vetting). There is also Timothy Geithner, the new Secretary of the Treasury, who decided not to drop out when it was revealed that he had some IRS difficulties of his own – that is, until he paid his $34,000 IRS bill.

As far as lobbyists go, Woodward writes:

Obama has in fact established tough new rules barring them from working for his administration. But the ban is not absolute. William J. Lynn III, tapped to be the No. 2 official at the Defense Department, recently lobbied for military contractor Raytheon. William Corr, chosen as deputy secretary at Health and Human Services, has lobbied as an anti-tobacco advocate. And Geithner’s choice for chief of staff, Mark Patterson, is an ex-lobbyist from Goldman Sachs.

Then there’s Obama’s stimulus-bill promise of creating (or saving) millions of new jobs.

Note the word “save.

Said The One:

“The plan that we’ve put forward will save or create 3 million to 4 million jobs over the next two years.”

Woodward counters:

THE FACTS: Job creation projections are uncertain even in stable times, and some of the economists relied on by Obama in making his forecast acknowledge a great deal of uncertainty in their numbers. Beyond that, it’s unlikely the nation will ever know how many jobs are saved as a result of the stimulus. While it’s clear when jobs are abolished, there’s no economic gauge that tracks job preservation.

Clever Democrat-speak, to be sure. The President has spent the better part of the last two weeks talking about the impending “catastrophe” of allowing his spending bill to die. That didn’t happen, of course, but had the bill not passed, job losses across the country would have been massive, he told us. Naturally, Obama never actually defined just how massive “massive” really is. Thus, no matter how many jobs are lost over the next two years, Democrats will assure the public that the total is not nearly what it would have been had the recovery bill not passed.

Viola! Saved jobs.

Then there’s the “earmark” thing.

Said Obama:

“I know that there are a lot of folks out there who’ve been saying, ‘Oh, this is pork, and this is money that’s going to be wasted,’ and et cetera, et cetera. Understand, this bill does not have a single earmark in it, which is unprecedented for a bill of this size. … There aren’t individual pork projects that members of Congress are putting into this bill.”

Here is where Woodward forgets how to be a reporter:

THE FACTS: There are no “earmarks,” as they are usually defined, inserted by lawmakers in the bill. Still, some of the projects bear the prime characteristics of pork – tailored to benefit specific interests or to have thinly disguised links to local projects. For example, the latest version contains $2 billion for a clean-coal power plant with specifications matching one in Mattoon, Ill., $10 million for urban canals, $2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrid cars, and $255 million for a polar icebreaker and other “priority procurements” by the Coast Guard. Obama told his Elkhart audience that Indiana will benefit from work on “roads like U.S. 31 here in Indiana that Hoosiers count on.” He added: “And I know that a new overpass downtown would make a big difference for businesses and families right here in Elkhart.”

U.S. 31 is a north-south highway serving South Bend, 15 miles from Elkhart in the northern part of the state.

President Obama is playing a dishonest game, and Mr. Woodward did not do his homework.

First off, as I have said repeatedly – and will continue to do when facts are deceitfully manipulated – “earmarks” are not a process – as Obama suggested on January 6th, when he said, “We will ban all earmarks in the recovery package. And I describe earmarks as the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review. So what I’m saying is, we’re not having earmarks in the recovery package, period.”

The President seems to think – or wants us to think – that because “pet projects” were not inserted into the bill individually by members of Congress after the fact, as is often the case, they are not earmarks. In my article “President Liar and Company – Confirmed,” I used this analogy:

Let’s say, for instance, I declared to the world that there will be no profanity used in this article. After that, I went on to say that I describe profanity as the process by which an offensive word is inserted it into this piece. The guidelines I lay out speficially state that a profanity is only such if I type the word myself, using my keyboard. Then, with that newly created criterion in mind, instead of physically typing a four-letter-word into this article, I simply browsed the internet until I found the desired curse word on someone else’s website and cut-and-pasted it into my article. I could then claim that based on how I defined it, there is no profanity in this piece because I didn’t type it myself. Using the Obama method, I defined profanity based on the process by which it found its way into my piece – not the word itself.

pinocchiobamaOf course, the President contradicted his own assertion on Friday of last week when he said, “Then there’s the argument, well, this is full of pet projects. When was the last time that we saw a bill of this magnitude move out with no earmarks in it? Not one.

The fact of the matter is there are earmarks in the bill, no matter how many times the President looks America square in the eye and says otherwise. There can be no doubt about it. Americans are not stupid – at least many of us aren’t.

The definition of “earmark” according to the Federal Office of Management and Budget is money provided by Congress for projects where the destination of that money, whether in bill form or in legislative reports, is specified or managed by Congress (as opposed to the Executive Branch).

Where Woodward stumbles is in neglecting to point out that there are two types of “earmarks” – hard earmarks and soft earmarks. Hard earmarks are those that are actually written into the bill (like those in Obama’s crapulous package), while soft earmarks – the most common and the kind Woodward is referring to – are written into reports that “suggest” where spending bill money should go.

If I can do the research to find such things out, certainly a professional like Mr. Woodward can.

Posted in Big Government, Economy, Liberalism, Media Bias, Obama's first 100 days | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

PRESIDENT LIAR AND COMPANY – CONFIRMED

Posted by Andrew Roman on February 6, 2009

obama-liar1

That’s a harsh title and a serious accusation, I know.

But if you truly believe that President Obama does not know what an earmark is, then he is only a sensationally irresponsible Chief Executive, and I am nothing but a bomb thrower. Otherwise, he is both profoundly careless and calculatingly dishonest, i.e., a liar.

You choose.

I opt for the latter.

I assure you, it gives me no great pleasure to use the term “liar.” There is more than enough material out there to nail the President and crew on.

The fact is, he has lied. He has willfully deceived.

I’ll explain.

Two days before Christmas, when Joe Biden was still heading the Office of Vice-President-Elect, he stressed that there would be no pet projects in any Barack Obama stimulus bill. He said, “…And we will not tolerate business as usual in Washington. There will be — I will say it again — there will be no earmarks in this economic recovery plan.”

On January 6, 2009, Barack Obama himself said, “We will ban all earmarks in the recovery package. And I describe earmarks as the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review. So what I’m saying is, we’re not having earmarks in the recovery package, period.”

So far, so bad, right?

Typical lib falsehoods.

But now, the President himself seems to confirm the dishonesty of those assertions.

Yesterday, President Obama said the following:

Then there’s the argument, well, this is full of pet projects. When was the last time that we saw a bill of this magnitude move out with no earmarks in it? Not one.

And he laughed about it, as if to say to those of us who are actually concerned about reckless, irresponsible spending, “What’s the matter with you? You know this kind of stuff goes on all the time.”

So, not only has he effectively admitted that there are earmarks in the stimulus bill, he has conceded that it is business-as-usual in Washington. He said it himself : When was the last time that we saw a bill of this magnitude move out with no earmarks in it?”

Let’s be clear …

The President took it upon himself to redefine the term “earmark” so that he could look into the eyes of America and say, in good conscience, that he did not go back on his word. His phrasing was very carefully crafted.

He said, “I describe earmarks as the process …” (blah, blah, blah)

The process.

Again, is there anyone who honestly believes that Bam has no idea what an earmark really is?

Let’s say, for instance, I declared to the world that there will be no profanity used in this article. After that, I went on to say that I describe profanity as the process by which an offensive word is inserted it into this piece. The guidelines I lay out speficially state that a profanity is only such if I type the word myself, using my keyboard. Then, with that newly created criterion in mind, instead of physically typing a four-letter-word into this article, I simply browsed the internet until I found the desired curse word on someone else’s website and cut-and-pasted it into my article. I could then claim that based on how I defined it, there is no profanity in this piece because I didn’t type it myself. Using the Obama method, I defined profanity based on the process by which it found its way into my piece – not the word itself.

That’s Obama-think.

Bam went on to say:

So then you get the argument, well, this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill. What do you think a stimulus is? That’s the whole point. No, seriously. That’s the point.

My Lord. Where to begin?

How about … Wrong, Mr. President. Wrong!

You have peddled this spendulous monstrosity as a stimulus package. This is not your everyday, off-the-rack, spending bill, sir. “Stimulus” is the word you and all the little Obamacrats have chosen to label this craptacular disaster.

We’re not idiots, Mr. President. We know that literally a stimulus bill is a spending bill. (You’re going to have to do better than that to frame an argument).

The question is … What are you spending $900 billion on?

How is the Phase II design and construction for a Latino Cultural Center in Dallas stimulus?

How is the creation of an African American/Ethnic Heritage Trail along a stretch of St. Catherine Street between the Forks of the Road Slave Market Site in Natchez, Mississippi stimulus?

How are golf course renovations in Arlington, Texas stimulus?

How is building an indoor soccer field in Hempstead, New York stimulus?

How is funding a program for residents to reduce their carbon footprints and training programs to meet new green technologies stimulus?

How is supplying Laurel, Mississippi with new doorbells stimulus?

(Insert your own waste of taxpayer dollars here)

Despite the absolute ludicrous claims by President Obama that the United States economy may never recover if his stimulus bill is not passed as soon as humanly possible (before more Americans really know how much garbage is contained in it), history has shown us that the only thing truly “irreversible” is big government.

Indeed, I did write an article back on January 30, 2009, where I accused the President of lying, called Obama Lied, The Economy’s Fried.

This time, however, both the President and I are saying it.

On that, we can agree.

Posted in Big Government, Economy, Liberalism, Obama's first 100 days | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

UNIONS: DON’T GIVE LIMBAUGH THE SATISFACTION

Posted by Andrew Roman on February 5, 2009

New York’s largest Public Employee Union is AFSCME (American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees). It is one of the affiliated unions of the AFL/CIO. Today, an e-mail marked “urgent” was sent out to member employees urging them to contact their Senators right away to tell them how imperative it is that they vote “YES” on the Obamacratic spending bill. (I’ll get to the contents of that e-mail in a moment). However, most interesting was a call to action at the AFSCME website, asking members to keep talk show host Rush Limbaugh from basking in the “satisfaction of sinking our economy.”

In fact, for a while today, visitors to the AFSCME website were actually redirected automatically to a page demanding that they “Call the Senate Right Now!” – complete with a great big “URGENT” in white letters across the top, and the ominous headline underneath, imploring in full:

Don’t give Rush Limbaugh the satisfaction of sinking our economy.

As the Senate votes on the Obama jobs and economic recovery plan, Rush Limbaugh and Republican leaders are working overtime to kill the bill because it invests money in vital public services. Instead, they want to continue the same old policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

But you can stop them!

I love how that is worded … “Rush Limbaugh and Republican leaders.”

It almost sounds like a late fifties/early sixties vocal group, doesn’t it?

Rush Limbaugh and the Republicans!

And, naturally, playing up the “fat cat” angle is the textbook modus operandi of the Left.

rush-photoThere is, predictably, a picture of the fat cat talk show host on the AFSCME call-to-arms page – a close up shot of him, sporting a look that only fat cats can get, with a great big cigar in his mouth (because that’s what fat cats do) at a location that looks like some oceanfront vacation spot that only fat cats are permitted to visit. (I happen to like the photo, but that’s me). The caption reads:

“On his January 16 radio show, Rush Limbaugh said he hoped President Obama’s economic recovery plan ‘fails.'”

Lord, help me in small letters this time for our liberal friends …Of course Limbaugh wants these policies to fail. Do we have to go through all over again?

I do too. I’ve said it. I’ve written about it. I’m trying to get it made into t-shirts and magnets … and I don’t shy away from it. I even wrote a column that has brought me more abusive hate-filled e-mail than I have ever gotten – outside of my anti-same sex marriage columns – called “The Obama Manifesto – 25 Reasons to Support Failure.

As far as the AFSCME e-mail that was sent out today … It came from Charles M. Loveless, Director, AFSCME Legislation:

I have been in this business for more than 25 years, and never has there been a more urgent situation for public service jobs—and the entire economy. That’s why I’m writing you for the first time ever.

President Obama’s economic recovery plan—legislation that helps Main Street—is in trouble.

That’s why I’m asking you to make a call right now to Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer.

I’ve heard from AFSCME members across the country who are fighting furloughs, layoffs, and other cutbacks while at the same time dealing with a crushing demand for services. Meanwhile, Wall Street executives have given themselves record bonuses. That’s an outrage.

The Obama legislation will create jobs and jumpstart the economy. It will also save public service jobs by providing billions of dollars in aid to state and local governments for Medicaid, education, law enforcement, transportation, unemployment insurance operations and other vital public services.

Republicans and Democrats alike should support Obama’s bill. Yet not one Republican voted for it when it passed in the House last week. Now there is an organized conservative campaign to stop it in the Senate. Rush Limbaugh has said outright that he hopes Obama “fails.”

In solidarity,

Charles M. Loveless
Director
AFSCME Legislation

“In Solidarity.”

Nice touch.

 

Posted in Big Government, Economy, Liberalism, Obama's first 100 days | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

CATASTROPHE LOOMS – PASS THIS THING SAYS BAM

Posted by Andrew Roman on February 4, 2009

obama-smiles

The President is warning of an impending “catastrophe” in the event his ever-swelling “stimulus” bill doesn’t pass in the Senate. Yet, only 37% of Americans like the spendulous plan, which has now gone north of the $900 billion line.

Gee, I don’t know why.

Doesn’t the addition of cash for medical research and tax breaks for car purchases make a bad spending bill a little better?

Even support among Democrats for this hideousness has slipped ten percentage points since last week.

And now, a posse of so-called Senate centrists have hop scotched over to the White House to voice their objections to the President’s trillion-dollar disaster by asking for $50 billion in cuts.

How delightful. That ought to make it even better, don’t you think?

My question is … which contingent of the population is more reprehensible – those that serve in Congress, or those of us who put them there?

Fifty billion? Out of over $900 billion? That still leaves this version of the bill more expensive than the one that passed the House last week.

This is compromise??

What is the game here? To bat around the $900 billion figure for a day or two so that when the bill does pass in the Senate – and it will, mark my words – the illusion of responsible budgeting can be peddled to the masses? Is that like jacking up the prices of all inventory at Circuit City (or any store at death’s door) just before the Going Out Of Business sale kicks in so prices can be slashed dramatically?

From Fox News:

Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, as well as Ben Nelson, D-Neb., have tentatively agreed to cutting more than $50 billion from the bill, a Nelson spokesman said, though details weren’t yet available.

Their effort is central to building at least some bipartisan support for the bill, which has come under increasing attack for too much spending unrelated to jolting the economy right away.

Meanwhile, 45% of Americans say they favor some sort of tax cut plan to boost the sagging economy. But I wonder if that means real tax cuts, or Obama-riffic style tax cuts. Remember, in Democrat-speak, Obama tax cuts are just a siphoning of revenues generated by taxing the “rich” and doling them out to the “not so rich.”

The president rejected some criticisms of the plan: that tax cuts alone would solve the problem, or that longer-term goals such as energy independence and health care reform should wait until afterward.

In remarks at the White House, Obama argued that recalcitrant lawmakers need to get behind his approach, saying the American people embraced his ideas when they elected him president in November.

Obama ran for President staying on point, hammering in a conservative concept that sounded nice – tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.

52.7% of Americans bought it.

Unfortunately, not one aspect of anything Obama ran on amounted to a genuine tax cut.

Socialism 101.

Posted in Big Government, Economy, Liberalism, Obama's first 100 days | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CATASTROPHE LOOMS – PASS THIS THING SAYS BAM

Posted by Andrew Roman on February 4, 2009

obama-smiles

The President is warning of an impending “catastrophe” in the event his ever-swelling “stimulus” bill doesn’t pass in the Senate. Yet, only 37% of Americans like the spendulous plan, which has now gone north of the $900 billion line.

Gee, I don’t know why.

Doesn’t the addition of cash for medical research and tax breaks for car purchases make a bad spending bill a little better?

Even support among Democrats for this hideousness has slipped ten percentage points since last week.

And now, a posse of so-called Senate centrists have hop scotched over to the White House to voice their objections to the President’s trillion-dollar disaster by asking for $50 billion in cuts.

How delightful. That ought to make it even better, don’t you think?

My question is … which contingent of the population is more reprehensible – those that serve in Congress, or those of us who put them there?

Fifty billion? Out of over $900 billion? That still leaves this version of the bill more expensive than the one that passed the House last week.

This is compromise??

What is the game here? To bat around the $900 billion figure for a day or two so that when the bill does pass in the Senate – and it will, mark my words – the illusion of responsible budgeting can be peddled to the masses? Is that like jacking up the prices of all inventory at Circuit City (or any store at death’s door) just before the Going Out Of Business sale kicks in so prices can be slashed dramatically?

From Fox News:

Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, as well as Ben Nelson, D-Neb., have tentatively agreed to cutting more than $50 billion from the bill, a Nelson spokesman said, though details weren’t yet available.

Their effort is central to building at least some bipartisan support for the bill, which has come under increasing attack for too much spending unrelated to jolting the economy right away.

Meanwhile, 45% of Americans say they favor some sort of tax cut plan to boost the sagging economy. But I wonder if that means real tax cuts, or Obama-riffic style tax cuts. Remember, in Democrat-speak, Obama tax cuts are just a siphoning of revenues generated by taxing the “rich” and doling them out to the “not so rich.”

The president rejected some criticisms of the plan: that tax cuts alone would solve the problem, or that longer-term goals such as energy independence and health care reform should wait until afterward.

In remarks at the White House, Obama argued that recalcitrant lawmakers need to get behind his approach, saying the American people embraced his ideas when they elected him president in November.

Obama ran for President staying on point, hammering in a conservative concept that sounded nice – tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts.

52.7% of Americans bought it.

Unfortunately, not one aspect of anything Obama ran on amounted to a genuine tax cut.

Socialism 101.

Posted in Big Government, Economy, Liberalism, Obama's first 100 days | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

NANCY – BOX OF ROCKS OR MISUNDERSTOOD? (VIDEO CLIP)

Posted by Andrew Roman on February 4, 2009

There are apparently a hell of a lot of babies being made in this country.

Last July 4th, President Bush marveled at how our country had grown from 13 colonies to a nation of 300 people. In seven months time, we have exploded to the point that a half-billion Americans a month are losing jobs – according to Nancy Pelosi. At this rate, by next July 4th, there will be two-and-a-half-billion people out of work here in the United States.

I’m no economics guru, but I would think this is something to avoid, no?

It’s been out there for more than a week, but for those who haven’t already seen it, here’s a funny little clip – 19 seconds long – of our Speaker of the House going a bit math-numb.

Note that when President Bush did it, he was an idiot. When Nancy Pelosi does it, she is simply misspeaking, and vindictive conservatives need to settle down and stop being so damn petty.

Reporter: The economic recovery package is going too fast? And maybe it won’t be ready by the President’s Day recess?

Pelosi: Every month that we do not have an economic recovery package, 500 million Americans lose their jobs. I don’t think we can go fast enough …

Come on. Tell me the truth.

Is this Joe Biden in drag?

*cough*

Okay, everyone misspeaks. The point is, not all gaffes seem to get the same kind of coverage, do they?

Fancy that.

Leno? Letterman?

________________________________________________________________

Update:  February 4, 2009  11:42 PM

Fair is fair.

Jay Leno, did, in fact, mention Pelosi’s magic math during his Tonight Show monologue.  

 

 

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CONSERVATISM – GREAT WHILE IT LASTED

Posted by Andrew Roman on February 1, 2009

crist and palin - depending on stimulus cash for their states

crist and palin - depending on stimulus cash for their states

For one inspired moment this past week, conservatism’s vital signs looked strong. Stunned Democrats, who almost certainly expected some sort of Republican rollover in the wake of Earthquake Obama and his leftist aftershocks, saw not a single GOPer vote for the Obama spending bill in the House. The long-awaited, oft-promoted, so-called post-partisan age of government, i.e., the age where everyone thinks liberal, ushered in by Obama didn’t quite happen the way it read in all the Dem brochures. Conservative pensmiths from all over praised House Republicans for unanimously finding their lost tomatoes – including myself.

It was great while it lasted.

The principled dissent of House Republicans that so inspired the conservative base last week may be taking a back burner due to the abundance of states who have ledgers running deep in the red. Governors from across the country are urging that the Obama stimulus package pass the Senate so that their states can get their slice of the enormous pie – including a whole host of Republican Governors, like Florida’s Charlie Crist and Alaska’s Sarah Palin. In fact, Palin is set to meet with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell this weekend to talk about Alaska’s share.

From Fox News:

States are coping with severe budget shortfalls and mounting costs for Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor. So governors, including most Republicans, are counting on the spending to help keep their states afloat.

Clyde Frazier, a professor of political science at Meredith College in North Carolina, said it wasn’t politically inconsistent for Republican governors and members of Congress to part ways on the stimulus plan.

“For governors, it’s free money — they get the benefits and they don’t have to pay the costs of raising the revenues,” Frazier said. “Senators and representatives get only some credit for the expenditures, and they have to pay the bill.”

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is one of the very few who has said that he isn’t sure whether or not he would accept the money that his state would receive from the Obama spending bill – around $3 billion. Even Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a rising star in the Republican Party and a favorite of many conservatives, says that while he would have voted against the bill were he back in Congress, he would still accept the stimulus money for his state.

Meanwhile, South Carolina’s Governor Mark Sanford is not happy.

“It’s incumbent on me as one of the nation’s governors to speak out against what I believe is ultimately incredibly harmful to the economy, to taxpayers and to the worth of the U.S. dollar,” Sanford said in an interview. “This plan is a huge mistake and is going to prolong and deepen this recession.”

Sanford outlined his concerns in December when the then-president-elect met with governors in Philadelphia to discuss the stimulus proposal. Sanford said he had heard nothing from the White House since then.

Associates say Sanford, who recently was elected chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has been disappointed in how few of his GOP colleagues have joined him in speaking out against the size and scope of Obama’s plan.

Like Barbour, Sanford has yet to decide whether or not to accept the money.

Ultimately, however – even with a huge chunk of GOP governors eagerly sticking their hands out for a piece of trillion-dollar cake – for the recently rediscovered pulse of the elephants to remain steady and strong, Senate Republicans must follow the lead of their House counterparts and vote against the Obama spendulous package, lest a bi-partisan tag be placed on the toe of what all conservatives had better believe will be Obama’s economic cadaver.

The problem is … the following United States Senators are Republicans: Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, George Voinovich and Richard Lugar. (Feel free to insert your own RINO here).

Let’s face it, Democrats can sniff spaghetti-spined Republicrats from miles away. (Think starving sharks when blood hits the water).

If not a unanimous vote in the Senate, how about a nice little filibuster for good measure?

Just a thought.

Posted in Big Government, Conservatism, Economy, Liberalism, Obama's first 100 days | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

I AM GOVERNMENT, HEAR ME ROAR

Posted by Andrew Roman on January 31, 2009

There’s more?

If this country had a dollar for every “new” financial plan President Obama has proposed, we’d be talking about the national debt in the past tense. The latest and greatest messianic initiative, announced today by the President, will somehow lower American mortgage costs and get America’s credit juices flowing again, blah, blah, blah.

There is, however, one little problem with it.

It doesn’t exist yet.

There was no actual plan released today … just a plan to announce the official plan sometime soon.

At least that’s the plan.

Said the President in today’s weekly radio address:

Soon my Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, will announce a new strategy for reviving our financial system that gets credit flowing to businesses and families. We’ll help lower mortgage costs and extend loans to small businesses so they can create jobs.

There is no official timetable for the plan’s release, but according to a Reuters story, “His chief spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said on Friday that the White House would hold meetings next week about financial industry regulation.”

Who’d have guessed. More government intrusion.

The President also made this remarkable statement:

“Americans know that our economic recovery will take years — not months, but they will have little patience if we allow politics to get in the way of action, and our economy continues to slide.”

That the recovery will take time is no surprise to anyone. That it will take longer – far longer than it needs to – because of government meddling is something nugatory to Obamacrats across the board.

But to possess the chutzpah to suggest that his administration is not going to allow politics to get in the way of action is like saying the United States is committed to winning the War on Terror, as long as we don’t make the enemy too mad and  don’t use too many guns and bombs and stuff (because they’re destructive).

Who exactly is the President kidding?

Was it not President Obama who said “I Won” as a response to Republican Jon Kyl who questioned the contents of the Obama-Nation Abomination stimulus package?

Was it not Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, who said “Yes, we wrote the bill. Yes, we won the election.”

And exactly how is telling American citizens that they need to stop listening to Rush Limbaugh a non-partisan act?

Just asking.

And as long as I’m there, what, pray tell, is this rabid obsession with doing away with partisanship? (Perhaps the better question is: Am I surprised that Democrats want to do away with anti-Obama dissention?) Why exactly is standing up for core principals a negative thing? When, on matters of finance, foreign policy and social programs has “divisiveness” not existed? Why is it so difficult for Dems to admit that they, like their Republican counterparts, politicize?

So what?

I expect nothing less from politicians.

Remember, that when anyone, on any side of the aisle, speaks of fostering unity, it simply means that they wish for everyone to think as they do.

Again, so what?

I am a firm, unabashed conservative. I’d love it if more people thought as I do. I admit it.

Being one doesn’t render me – or anyone else – incapable of thinking clearly or ascertaining the “other side” of any argument. 

To the contrary, conservatives in America are bombarded constantly with liberal positions and viewpoints far more than liberals are made to face and confront conservative positions. We are exposed to far more liberal ideas and concepts on an everyday basis then the other way around. Indeed, it is almost reflexive – inborn, if you will – for today’s conservative to have to develop the ability to define and debate their positions on demand. Liberals, after all, believe their positions are in the American mainstream. 

Disagree?

As soon as conservatives get any kind of foothold in academia, motion pictures, popular music, television, newspapers and advertising, drop me a line. We’ll talk about it.

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OBAMA LIED, THE ECONOMY’S FRIED

Posted by Andrew Roman on January 30, 2009

yes we canThe only thing I might have done differently during President Obama’s campaign drive for the White House is expand the campaign slogan to include three additional words: “…Screw Up America.”

They’re ahead of schedule.

Change has, indeed, descended upon Washington – just like the new President of the United States promised. In that sense, he has been true to his word. Otherwise, with all due respect, the President – only ten days into his “Yes We Can” makeover of the country – has lied to the United States.

I assure you, I do not use that word lightly. This is not “Bush Lied, People Died” bumper sticker twaddle. (More on this in a moment).

If George W. Bush’s anti-conservative approach to spending could be characterized as a nagging cough, Barack Obama’s spendulous plan is Stage Three Pancreatic Cancer.

And now, as Charles Hurt’s Inside Washington column explains, the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 is about to rest in pieces – blown apart by this Obamacratic spending disaster.

Deep within the language of the spending bill – on Page 354, Section 2101 – is an interesting choice of phrasing – five little words, as Mr. Hurt points out – that “could drastically undo two decades of welfare reforms.”

Those words?

Such sums as are necessary” … as in: “Out of any money in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, there are appropriated such sums as are necessary for payment to the Emergency Fund.

In short, from the Treasury, there will be unlimited money available to the “Emergency Fund.”

The “Emergency Fund” is the well from which welfare payments are distributed to the states.

I’ve got to hand it the President. That is what you call change.

As Mr. Hurt writes:

The very heart of the widely applauded Welfare Reform Act of 1996 is a cap on the amount of federal cash that can be sent to states each year for welfare payments.

But, thanks to the simple phrase slipped into the legislation, the new “stimulus” bill abolishes the limits on the amount of federal money for the so-called Emergency Fund, which ships welfare cash to states.

“This re-establishes the welfare state and creates dependency all over the place,” said one startled budget analyst after reading the line.

In addition to reopening the floodgates of dependency on federal welfare programs, the change once again deepens the dependency of state governments on the federal government.

President Obama won on promises of changing the way Washington works.

Which brings me to my charge – and a serious one – about the President lying.

Back on January 6th, a full two-weeks before he took a botched Oath of Office – when he was still Secretary of the Office of President-Elect – Obama told reporters that his recovery plan and stimulus package would set a “new higher standard of accountability, transparency and oversight. We are going to ban all earmarks, the process by which individual members insert projects without review. We’re not having earmarks in the recovery package. Period.”

That, my fellow Americans, is a bold-face, empirically provable, substantively verifiable lie.

An earmark is not defined by the process by which individual pet projects are inserted into a spending bill. (Clever attempt there, Bam). It is, rather, defined as the provision itself that “directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects or that directs specific exemptions from taxes or mandated fees.” The process of creating this catostrophically bloated spending bill may have been void of individual insertions, as Obama alluded to, but by any measure it is loaded – by definition – with earmarks.

At the great “Indy Mind” website, Arkady writes:

Only if you were to consider billions of dollars going to non-profit groups like ACORN, hundreds of millions to buy new government vehicles, millions for global warming research, millions for digital tv conversion subsidies, billions to upgrade federal buildings, millions for clearing out water pollution and a slew of other items as NON-pork. Technically speaking individual members did not insert projects without review, so yeah, I guess there are no earmarks.

How exactly does sending out analogue-to-digital TV converters stimulate anything?

President Bush was raked over the coals – and rightly so – for his reckless spending. Now it makes more sense why Obama wants to do away with coal.

So, yes … change is in the air. Without question, the differences between this administration and the previous one are glaring – just as Obama said it would be.

Obama is different from Bush.

For one, Obama is a liar.

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CONSERVATISM, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? GONNA STICK AROUND?

Posted by Andrew Roman on January 29, 2009

money_treeI wish conservatism would have been shaken from its sleep when  it counted. I wish we would have seen more of it throughout 2008.

Because we didn’t, we now have a brand new reality to contend with.

Yes, Obama’s stimulus package passed the House of Representatives, but Republicans proved – finally – that they are capable of locating and listening to the little conservative voices that have been (for quite a while) bound and gagged within them. They showed the world – at least for now – that they have the capacity to take inventory of their spines and stand up for something other than the collective o-gasm that has blanketed the country since The One won.

Each and every House Republican who voted yesterday – along with eleven Democrats – voted against President Obama’s $819 Billion stimulus package – The Pork Salad Bammy Government Expansion and Spending Bonanza.

Good for them.

The final vote was 244 to 188.

Why is this so important?

Because Democrats, who easily have the numbers needed to float this bill through both houses of Congress, know that they’ll need Republican votes to help absorb some of the blame if (when) this massive spending bill hits the fan as a bona-fide failure – which it will. Obmacrats know that with bi-partisan cover, the political sting of a disastrous “stimulus” washout will be easier to take.

Why else cuddle up to and tickle toes with Republicans?

After all, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reminded the world, they won and they wrote the bill. There wasn’t a damned thing “bi-partisan” about it.

Perfect. I invite them to take full responsibility for it.

Michelle Malkin writes at her blog that it was great day for conservatism.

Thank you, GOP.

It’s a sad state of affairs when I can tally the number of notably good days for the Republican Party on one hand over the past two years: the defeat of shamnesty, the (temporary) prevention of massive S-CHIP expansion, last summer’s Drill, Baby, Drill revolt on the House floor. Fortunately, the GOP held the line this evening in a remarkable, powerful way. They may have lost the vote, but they sent a lasting message. They took a stand for principle and posterity. They reclaimed their brand as the party of small government, low taxes, and fiscal responsibility. They restored their damaged credibility.

There’s no mystery in how best to rebuild the party and energize the base: Talk like conservatives. Walk like conservatives. Vote like conservatives.

Senate Republicans, take note. Don’t squander this opportunity for redemption. Make no apologies for principled obstructionism. Counter the inevitable liberal overreaching with plain facts and free-market alternatives.

That the bill passed the House is a defeat for this country. Let’s not forget that. The staggering amount of irresponsible, unnecessary, pork-barrel crap shoved into this thing is beyond disgusting. This is expressly one of those moments – and there so many of them lately – that I wanted – nay, prayed for – the President to fail.

He didn’t.

When this financial monstrosity passes the Senate – and it will – the only thing to salvage will be conservatism itself.  Anything less than a repeat of what Republicans did in the House will be unacceptable.

Can there be any doubt that given the situation, with Democrats in full control of everything, that the best thing Republicans can do is allow the entire weight of this spending frenzy to rest on the shoulders of the Savior and his minions?

Players must play the hand they’re dealt, and even with a guaranteed losing hand in this particular game, this is still the Republicans’ power play.

Make it count.

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THE ASSAULT ON WHITE AMERICA

Posted by Andrew Roman on January 22, 2009

Mr. Reich, professional

Mr. Reich, professional

With the stirring, heartfelt words of Reverend Joseph Lowery still resonating across the multicultural divide that (according to liberals) defines America’s greatness, comes further revelation that the white people of America have had it too good for too long – particularly professionals.

Gather around for just a moment, if you would.

I’d like to try a little exercise in reverse racism you might find interesting. Just for grins and giggles, substitute the word “white” for “black” in following passages. (If you’d rather use “hispanic” or “oriental,” feel free).

Just beginning to make the rounds across the blogosphere in earnest today are comments made on January 7th by Obama economic advisor Robert Reich at an Economic Recovery Plan Meeting in which he said:

“Now let me say something about infrastructure. It seems to me that infrastructure spending is a very important and good way of stimulating the conomy. The challenge will be to do it quickly – to find projects that can be done, that have a high social return, that also can be done with the greatest speed possible. I am concerned, as I’m sure many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high skilled people who are already professionals, or to white male construction workers.”

No, this is not a comedy sketch. It is a “Yes We Can” moment meant to foster unity.

He went on to say:

“I have nothing against white male construction workers. I’m just saying that there are a lot of other people who have needs as well, and therefore, in my remarks I have suggested to you – and I’m certainly happy to talk about it more – ways in which the money can be – uh, the criteria can be set so that the money does go to others: the long-term unemployed, minorities, women, people who are not necessarily construction workers or high-skilled professionals.”

Did you substitute “white” with any other racial and cultural designation?

Wasn’t it fun?

Maybe it’s just me, but if the advisor had been on the George W. Bush team of financial gurus, and non-white professionals were singled out, would the backlash be anything short of furious? Shouldn’t it be?

All that was missing from Reich’s assertions was the rhyming scheme, ala Reverend Joseph Lowery …

“Where blacks can build streets, so they can eat … Where brown can build a bridge in your town … Where the broken-hearted can survive by extending Interstate Five…”

By all means, let’s bring in the non-professionals to build up America’s infrastructure … and as long as they aren’t white professionals, may the spirit of freedom ring.

(Say, amen).

But what of black professionals? Surely there must be some in this country of intolerance, close-mindedness, oppression and hatred. Are they to be excluded, too?

Haven’t people of Spanish origin risen to the level of “professional” in this nation yet? I could have sworn I saw one once. Are they to be denied?

Personally, I feel a bit left out – and inadequate. Seeing as I am white, and whites apparently have not been affected by the recession, I have clearly let my fellow caucasions down.  I promise to do my best to not let the recession affcet my family and me next time.

Here’s the Reich video from You Tube.

_________________________________________________________________________

Update: 22 January 2009 4:04 PM

I received a private e-mail through one of the blog sites where this article is posted.

It read, in part:

“Are you a white supremist? Or sympathetic to the cause? Your article is posted at a White Power website, I hope you know. You must be a white racist, based on this ugly article.”

The ugliness is in the reverse racism of Mr. Reich’s remarks – and the fact that no one, outside of talk radio is even bringing this up.

I have no control where links to my articles are posted, except where I specifically post them – like at the great Free Republic.com website or at Townhall.com.

There is not a single racist phrase, passage, word or idea in any article I have ever written.  I defy any clear thinking blogger – regardless of what side of the aisle he or she is on – to find where I have been racist. To discuss matters of race does not mean one is racist.

To answer your question directly, I am not a white supremist. In fact, being a Jew, I am guessing that I would not be among the most welcome in that particular group of people.  Skin color is so irrelevant to me when it comes to matters of conducting life, making decisions and doing what’s right that I have yet to see a mechanism invented that can measure my indifference to it.

However, Robert Reich, as evidenced in the video I have linked to, apparently does care about skin color – enough that he could accurately be called a white racist, only in reverse.

It is sickening.

Racism against any race – including whites – is deplorable.

Period.

 

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YOU ASKED FOR IT, YOU GOT IT – $825 BILLION WELL SPENT

Posted by Andrew Roman on January 16, 2009

economy

If afforded the opportunity, by a show of hands, how many would voluntarily fork over some of their hard-earned money to help pay for the weatherization of “modest income homes?” Would you be willing to hand over some of your paycheck to make sure that internet service is provided in “undeserved” areas? How about coughing up the dough to “put more scientists to work doing climate change research?” Or to “help local communities build and rehabilitate low-income housing using green technologies?”

Assuming you would not voluntarily contribute to one or more of these outstanding ventures, no need to worry. It’ll all be taken care of. The Democrats will do it for you.

The $825 billion spending plan put together by the House Appropriations Committee – Democrat controlled, incidentally – is out and boy is it chunky. (Feel free to insert your own well-chosen adjective).

Talk about comprehensive.

Not only is there $2.4 billion allotted for “carbon capture demonstration programs,” but $1.5 billion is being set aside for expanding “good jobs in biomedical research.” Sure, there’s the predictable $20 billion for the increased funding of food stamps, $87 billion to up Medicaid funding “temporarily,” and $20 billion in health information technology to “prevent medical mistakes,” but there’s also $400 million being earmarked “to put more scientists to work doing climate change research.”

I feel better now. We’re finally headed on the right track.

Some of the other goodies include:

-$6 billion for “higher education modernization.”

-$300 million to provide rebates for people who purchase Energy Star products

-$600 million for the federal government to buy brand new energy efficient cars

-$400 million for state and local governments to buy brand new energy efficient cars

-$300 million for grants and loans to state and local governments for projects that reduce diesel emissions, “benefiting public health and reducing global warming”

-$400 million “to put more scientists to work doing climate change research”

-$1.5 billion to help local communities build and rehabilitate low-income housing using green technologies.

What about the $600 million needed to keep button-makers across the country productive? You’d think they must already be doing a brisk business. To this day, more than two months after the election, I still see “Yes We Can” buttons on jackets, lapels and carry bags all over Manhattan. I can’t swing a dead cat without hitting something that has his name or face on it.

What about the $750 billion needed to subsidize bible manufacturers? It isn’t cheap to replace the word “Jesus” with the word “Obama,” you know.

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RESCUING PORN

Posted by Andrew Roman on January 7, 2009

Call it hard to believe.

Call it requesting a life-preserver for an industry that has gone soft.

Call it rising to an economic challenge.

Whatever half-clever nomenclature you wish to ascribe to it, there’s one thing for sure – publicity stunt or not, this is, undoubtedly, the most interesting call yet for government bailout money.

By a show of hands, who wants to lend a hand to the pornography industry?

If size matters, this bailout request is probably on the small side – only $5 billion – but its proponents are looking for serious stimulation.

From CNN’s Political Ticker:

rated-xHustler publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis said Wednesday they will request that Congress allocate $5 billion for a bailout of the adult entertainment industry.

“The take here is that everyone and their mother want to be bailed out from the banks to the big three,” said Owen Moogan, spokesman for Larry Flynt.

“The porn industry has been hurt by the downturn like everyone else and they are going to ask for the $5 billion.

Is it the most serious thing in the world? Is it going to make the lives of Americans better if it happens? It is not for them to determine.”

One has to believe that at some point, the demand for publications like “The Onion” will be rendered limp because of the increasing difficulty to distinguish between real life and parody.

From the absurdities of global warming to the threats of third-hand smoke, after reading things like this, I can’t help but expect someone to jump out from behind a tree yelling, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”

Francis said in a statement that “the US government should actively support the adult industry’s survival and growth, just as it feels the need to support any other industry cherished by the American people.”

“We should be delivering [the request] by the end of today to our congressmen and [Secretary of the Treasury Henry] Paulson asking for this $5 billion dollar bailout,” he told CNN Wednesday.

Flynt and Francis concede the industry itself is in no financial danger — DVD sales have slipped over the past year, but Web traffic has continued to grow.

But the industry leaders said the issue is a nation in need. “People are too depressed to be sexually active,” Flynt said in the statement. “This is very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such but they cannot do without sex.”

“With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind. It’s time for congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America. The only way they can do this is by supporting the adult industry and doing it quickly.”

So far, there has been no congressional reaction to the request.

This may have to be the last government bailout story I write about. They keep losing their impact. The precedent has been set, and everyone has their hand out.

It’s hard to keep up.

 

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THE FIDDLERS FIVE

Posted by Andrew Roman on January 3, 2009

i can carry it in my suitcase

Paterson: I can carry it home in my suitcase

Five Governors – all Democrats – are asking that the federal government provide a thousand billion dollars to the fifty states (that’s a trillion dollars for those of you educated in public school) to help pay for “education, welfare and infrastructure.”

The Obamacratic trinity.

According to New York Governor David Paterson – one of the five Governors pressing for the big T – forty-three states are running deficits totaling $100 billion (So, naturally, an extra $900 billion seems perfectly reasonable).

Lookout taxpayers … blue state grab-hands are on the way.

As I have written about and lamented extensively since Bailout America hit the big stage, we could very well see hard working taxpayers in a Rocky Mountain state, say Wyoming, being hit up for tax dollars to help support people living in public housing in Coney Island, Brooklyn … or a shoe-store owner in Meridian, Mississippi paying more so that money can be poured into failing public schools in Milwaukee or Chicago or anyplace where the tax-dollar-per-student ratio is embarrassingly (and unproductively) high … or warehouse workers in Oklahoma watching their tax burden jump a bit so that public schools in Boston can feed breakfast to kids who should be eating at home.

For those of you who feel you’ve seen this movie before, you have. It bears repeating, however, because the invention has yet to be developed that can measure the level of absurdity associated with every aspect of this bailout disaster. People from all over the star-spangled map will quite literally see their taxes rise (as will generation after generation to come) so that Washington, D.C. can collect it all before shipping it right back out disproportionately to outstretched hands.

And where do you think most of it will wind up?

Inner cities?

Failing school districts?

Consider that New York’s budget deficit alone is over $15 billion! (So, of course, the logical answer is to tap taxpayers in the other 49 states).

Now that’s the America we sing about around the campfire!

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (did I mention he was a Democrat?) summed it up as well as anyone when he said, “It’s clear that the federal government needs to step in and jump-start the economy.”

Good, Deval.

John Hurdle at Reuters writes:

The latest package calls for $350 billion to create jobs by building or repairing roads, bridges and other public works; $250 billion to maintain education; and another $250 billion in “counter-cyclical” spending such as extending unemployment benefits and food stamps, which are typically a responsibility of the states.

The remainder would be used to fund middle-class tax cuts, stimulate the embattled housing market, and stem the tide of home foreclosures through a loan-modification program.

Middle Class tax cuts?

Is that old thing still around? Wow, that brings me back to the golden days of the 2008 campaign.

I haven’t written about redistribution of wealth since just before Thanksgiving.  

Gov. Jon Corzine of New Jersey said he hoped some of the $700 billion authorized by Congress in the Troubled Asset Relief Program would be available to help the housing market.

Of course, he did.

But fear not … there are some on our side speaking up.

The Republican Governors Association, however, said the level of federal aid being sought would create a burden for the future.

“The proposal by the Democratic governors goes beyond things like ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects and is essentially a bailout of these states’ general funds,” Nick Ayers, executive director of the Republican Governors Association, said in a statement. “Now is the time to focus on finding cost-effective ways to provide essential services without burdening future generations with ever greater debt.”

The entire “shovel-ready” infrastructure proposal always sounded like political double-speak to me. (Imagine that). Am I to assume that everyone out of work due to the down economy will know how to operate the “shovels” (along with everything else) needed to get these projects going?

And don’t forget the money needed to conduct the séances summoning the spirit of FDR during this resuscitation of the “New Deal.”

That’ll be huge.

 

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FREEDOM OF PRESS BAILOUT

Posted by Andrew Roman on January 2, 2009

With each passing day, it seems that the number of industries in the United States not asking for a chunk of the bailout loaf dwindles. Safe to say, if somehow belly-button lint were a commodity, you can wager your last nickel that representatives of the American navel lobby would be banging at bailout’s door for a touch.

constitution_quill_penWith so many entities begging for their own wedge of government rescue, does it surprise anyone that the newspaper industry is the latest to come a-mooching? That papers are struggling all across the country isn’t news to anyone – nor should it be. The Old Grey Lady herself, as widely reported in recent weeks, is desperate for cash – as are others like the Tribune Company and the McClatchy Company.

But putting aside the everyday, off-the-rack objections that I (and many others) have voiced over and over about government bailouts of private industries in general, does it worry anyone that a bailout of newspapers could actually come to fruition?

If not, shouldn’t it?

The idea of government throwing life preservers at free press publications so that they may survive is a dangerous game to play.

From Reuters:

Connecticut lawmaker Frank Nicastro sees saving the local newspaper as his duty. But others think he and his colleagues are setting a worrisome precedent for government involvement in the U.S. press. Nicastro represents Connecticut’s 79th assembly district, which includes Bristol, a city of about 61,000 people outside Hartford, the state capital. Its paper, The Bristol Press, may fold within days, along with The Herald in nearby New Britain.

That is because publisher Journal Register, in danger of being crushed under hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, says it cannot afford to keep them open anymore.

Nicastro and fellow legislators want the papers to survive, and petitioned the state government to do something about it. “The media is a vitally important part of America,” he said, particularly local papers that cover news ignored by big papers and television and radio stations.

To some experts, that sounds like a bailout, a word that resurfaced this year after the U.S. government agreed to give hundreds of billions of dollars to the automobile and financial sectors.

Relying on government help raises ethical questions for the press, whose traditional role has been to operate free from government influence as it tries to hold politicians accountable to the people who elected them. Even some publishers desperate for help are wary of this route.

The question is whether or not the free press can truly remain free when the government rides in on its white stallion to rescue it from market-driven doom. In this particular case, the state of Connecticut has not offered cash to the failing publications, but rather tax breaks and other incentives, such as “training funds” and “financing opportunities.”

But once the state doles out even this kind of medicine to sick newspapers, what then? Can this possibly be a good precedent to set?

Connecticut does not see trying to find a buyer and offering tax breaks as exerting influence on the press, said Joan McDonald, the economic development commissioner.

“It is what we do … with companies whether it’s in aerospace, biomedical devices, biotech or financial services,” she said. “If a company is developing laser technology, we don’t get into the business of what lasers are used for.”

Newspapers (and media in general) are already lambasted as being agenda-driven engines of political influence (rightly so in many cases). For anyone taking in oxygen, it’s hard to deny that. Still, depending on (and allowing) the government to serve as actual lifelines for failing papers – who have traditionally existed to function outside of the direct influence of government – is more than troublesome.

Providing government support can muddy that mission, said Paul Janensch, a journalism professor at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, and a former reporter and editor.

“You can’t expect a watchdog to bite the hand that feeds it,” he said.

Even as industries deemed too important to fail are seeking bailouts, most newspaper publishers have refused to give serious thought to the idea, though some industry insiders recounted joking about it with other newspaper executives.

“The whole idea of the First Amendment and separating media and giving them freedom of control from the government is sacrosanct,” said Digby Solomon, publisher of Tribune Co’s Daily Press in Newport News, Virginia.

I am an anti-bailout guy to begin with … and while arguments can be made, much as I might disagree with them, about the necessity of rescuing financial institutions, there is simply no palatable argument that can be made in support of the government rescue of privately owned newspapers. Again, no cash is being offered here, but if ever a slope was slippery, this is it.

Indeed, newspaper publishers are businesses, like automobile companies, and need to be able to survive based on the merits (and demand for) their product in the marketplace. In that respect, they are no different from any other free market enterprise.

However, newspapers (and other media outlets) are different in that they wield incredible influence on the American political landscape precisely because they are not supported by government. It’s what the Freedom of Press clause in the First Amendment is all about. The media may endorse given policies or even construct a messianic veneer for a given candidate, but to be assisted by government – even with non-cash inducements – somehow doesn’t sit right.

Call me silly.

If a newspaper cannot compete, let it die the death it deserves.

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YOU CAN’T DO THAT, MR. BUSH

Posted by Andrew Roman on December 31, 2008

See what happens when you behave like a lefty?

Believe it or not, there are some GOPers who hate it when that happens – and they’re determined to do all that is necessary to make their disdain official.

When the Republican National Committee has their monthly get-together in January, President George W. Bush could be on the hook – along with some less than principled Congressional elephants – for embracing socialism.

Harsh words, indeed.

Ralph Z. Hallow at the Washington Times writes:

rnc-logoRepublican Party officials say they will try next month to pass a resolution accusing President Bush and congressional Republican leaders of embracing “socialism,” underscoring deep dissension within the party at the end of Mr. Bush’s administration.

They said the RNC must take the dramatic step of wading into policy debates, which traditionally have been left to lawmakers.

“We can’t be a party of small government, free markets and low taxes while supporting bailouts and nationalizing industries, which lead to big government, socialism and high taxes at the expense of individual liberty and freedoms,” said Solomon Yue, an Oregon member and co-sponsor of a resolution that criticizes the U.S. government bailouts of the financial and auto industries. Republican National Committee Vice Chairman James Bopp Jr. wrote the resolution and asked the rest of the 168 voting members to sign it.

See what happens when you decide that government bailouts of free-market industries make for sound policy?

See what happens when you make comments like, “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free market system”?  (Yes, President Bush said that).

Hallow continues:

If enacted, the resolution would put the party on record opposing the $700 billion bailout of the financial sector, which passed Congress with Republican support and was signed by Mr. Bush, and opposing the bailout of the auto industry. The auto bailout bill was blocked by Senate Republicans, but Mr. Bush then reversed course and announced that he would use financial bailout money to aid the auto manufacturers.

Some of the comments from bloggers at the Washington Times website in support of the proposed resolution:

– It’s about time, but it could be too little too late. Bush HAS governed more like a socialist, and it’s high time we get rid of the Bush-moderate-lib-socialist-demokissa$$ types. I guarantee you both Reagan and Goldwater would be VERY disgusted with Bush right now.

– no kidding! i am shocked, shocked! william kristol of the hated NYT had it right a week or so ago. the present republican party is the party of big government. what a shame. can we drop back, regroup and come up with a new contract for america?

– Thank God I’m not the only one living in mortal Terror of the impeding socialist regime. No more Bailouts, stop the political parties from saying whatever will get them elected and then doing everything other once in office.

Some, however, aren’t particularly thrilled with the idea:

– I am a republican but I do not agree with the rnc on this bull-calling Bush a socialist is the dumbest idea I have heard from this party-If the Rnc had gotten off it’s butt and fought harder and given us someone to work with other than McCain, things might be different. Palin was his savior. I’m from Pa and never even got a chance to choose a candidate because of the damn way the RNC chooses it’s candidate. The party supported a rino, now they want to blame Bush.

– You guys are a joke. I don’t know who is conservative enough to meet your needs. Some of you tout Ronald Reagan, but I guess you are in denial that he signed that amnesty back in 1986. President Bush has done a fine job. The RNC and GOP pinheads want to pin the blame on him because the party is dying the death of a sad old man. Why did McCain lose? Because he was the best the GOP had to offer and it sure didn’t persuade the majority in this country.

The resolution, in part, reads as follows:

“WHEREAS, the Bank Bailout Bill effectively nationalized the Nation’s banking system, giving the United States non-voting warrants from participating financial institutions, and moving our free market based economy another dangerous step closer toward socialism; and WHEREAS, what was needed, and is still needed, to fix the banking industry is not a bailout, but rather a commitment to fiscal responsibility.”

If I may … Duh.

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IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T FAIL, TRY TRY AGAIN

Posted by Andrew Roman on December 31, 2008

This time, I suppose, it’s probably a good idea.

After all, nothing brings a recession to its knees like offering more bad loans to borrowers who can’t afford them, right?

Just when you thought the vaults had been depleted of its stupidity reserve, here comes the latest bird-brained financier – GMAC – to tackle the cancer with a shot of typhoid.

From Yahoo News:

gmac-logo1A $5 billion government bailout aimed at reviving General Motors Corp.’s ability to make car and truck loans has dealers hopeful that cash-strapped consumers will return to their showrooms.

GMAC Financial Services, the automaker’s troubled financing arm, on Tuesday loosened its tight lending standards, which in recent months have made it more difficult for would-be car buyers to get loans. GMAC’s move marks the first time that a financial institution has said it will use money from the $700 billion bank bailout to offer more affordable credit to consumers.

This bailout money sure is getting around, isn’t it?

In short, we the taxpayers will be financing car loans for people who cannot, under normal circumstances, afford them.

Can I get a “yippee?”

The government funds, on the heels of the $17.4 billion automaker bailout approved by the Bush administration earlier this month, could provide relief to auto dealers. They have blamed the industry’s steep drop in sales partially on a lack of affordable credit.

You caught that, I’m sure.

Auto dealers.

The economic recovery will not happen as long as bonehead moves like this continue to add fuel to the recession fire.

Pouring taxpayer dollars into corporations that should rightly be dead is repugnant. 

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KRAUTHAMMER IS WRONG – HERE’S WHY

Posted by Andrew Roman on December 30, 2008

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer

Three times in the last five years Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Charles Krauthammer has lauded the idea of raising the tax on gasoline as a way of suppressing consumption, thus – according to the theory – lowering global gas prices and reducing dependency on foreign oil. His latest construct of an idea he is obviously smitten with, published this past weekend in The Weekly Standard, calls for this new gas tax hike to be “offset” with a cut in the FICA tax, creating a “net-zero” effect.

So goes the hypothesis.

He breaks down the numbers this way …

The average American purchases 14 gallons of gas a week. Krauthammer proposes a $1 a gallon tax increase to consumers while giving taxpayers a $14 FICA tax cut. The Feds therefore will not be taking in any additional revenue, according to the plan – and to Krauthammer, that’s the key. It must be revenue-neutral to work.

The idea, as he explains it, is that “cash can be spent on anything.”

He writes:

You can blow it all on gas by driving your usual number of miles, or you can drive a bit less and actually have money in your pocket for something else. There’s no particular reason why the individual consumer would want to plow it all back into a commodity that is now … more expensive. When something becomes more expensive, less of it is bought.

Krauthammer is a world-class thinker, no question. To this day, I admire him greatly.

But respectfully, I wonder if he has thought this position all the way through.

The idea is, first and foremost, predicated on the idea that the “extra” $14 a week “in your pocket” could be used elsewhere instead of at the gas pump. In fact, for the Krauthammer plan to succeed, it would have to be, otherwise why bother?

But is this a realistic expectation?

Millions of Americans, for example, use their credit cards to buy gasoline. For millions more, debit cards have largely replaced cash for everyday purchases. Budget-conscious folks are increasingly concerning themselves with how much money is available “on their card,” rather than how much cash is in their pocket. Personally, my wife and I use our debit cards at the gas pump. Our paychecks are direct-deposited on a bi-weekly basis without the money ever finding “our pockets” until we swipe the cards or hit an ATM machine. An extra $1 at the pump per gallon will mean virtually nothing to me – and many other debit card users – knowing that an extra $14 has been deposited into the bank thanks to the FICA cut. I suspect there will be many, in fact, who will be standing there at the pump, feeding their cars, thinking, “I just got a few extra bucks in my paycheck. I can fill her up.”

Indeed, while I agree with Krauthammer that there does come a point when the price of gasoline gets so high that it directly affects the amount of driving Americans do – as we saw this year – is that point really fourteen dollars a week? Especially since we’ve seen such dramatic drops in the price of oil in recent times?

For Krauthammer’s idea to work, in short, everyone who receives that $14 FICA cut would have to be sure to use 14 less gallons a week – on average. How many people would actually make the deliberate effort to cut back on their consumption in this way? Rest assured, I’m not giving the preverbal middle finger to $14. (That’ll score me a couple of orders of small fries in Manhattan, won’t it?) I’ll take the extra money anytime. But I just don’t see many gas pumpers trimming their fuel expenditures like that – certainly not as many as it would take for this plan to be functional and effective.

Second, the entire “net-zero” concept only works if gas taxes remain untouched. By a show of hands, who believes for even a fraction of a second that politicians – on either side of the aisle – have the ability to keep their meat hooks out of the gasoline pump?

I don’t see many.

And if gasoline taxes were raised (bet a limb on it), a corresponding cut in the FICA tax would then have to be implemented. Is there anyone alive who believes this is possible while Democrats exist?

I invite you to stand on your head if you do.

Oil PricesThird, as a resident of the nation’s largest city, there are mass transit options available to me that are not available to people who live in less populated areas of the country. In Manhattan, for example, there are tens of thousands of people who simply have no need for a car on a daily basis. This is not the case, however, for the overwhelming vast majority of Americans.

Even smaller cities that do have a bus system – like Fort Wayne, Indiana, for example (a place I lived for a few years) – cannot possibly provide adequate public transpotation to its people, primarily because they no longer have centralized populations. Only the largest metropolitan areas of the United States can begin entertaining the concept of cutting down on automobile use in favor of mass transit – and good luck making that happen.

My wife, for instance,  is originally from rural Northwest Ohio – a place I also had the pleasure of living for several years. (This Brooklyn boy has been around). Out there, the “blocks” are a mile wide and a mile long, with names like “County Road J” and “6.” Living out in “walk to the mailbox naked” country, vehicles are lifelines. Krauthammer’s proposal would disproportionately affect residents of communities that do not have mass transit alternatives – which is a sizeable chunk of the American population.

This would, in effect, mean that suburban and small-town America – far more reliant on their cars – are helping, to some extent, to subsidize urban America.

It is also important to remember that all across “fly-over” country, bigger and heavier vehicles are the norm because of the need to be able to commute in treacherous wintry conditions. These vehicles consume more gasoline.

Fourth, no matter where one lives in the United States, the goods that we purchase are made available to us because they are shipped to our local markets and stores via trucks – everything from clothing to food to electronics to gasoline itself. Higher gas prices for those who deliver the goods means higher prices for those who purchase and consume the goods.

I’m somehow missing the benefit of this.

As one poster at the great Free Republic.com website pointed out:

NO ONE is reporting that, in this past year, over 1,000 trucking companies have folded, including some of the top 100; A year ago, the industry was short about 8,000 drivers – now, there are tens of thousands out of work. This is directly linked to the price of fuel.

The idea apparently, as Krauthammer proposes it, is to tax ourselves into energy independence. As he laments, the United States keeps letting these golden opportunities to raise gasoline taxes slip by.

In 2004, he wrote:

By the mid-’80s, rational consumer reaction to high prices — home insulation, fuel-efficient appliances and lighter cars — had actually solved the energy crisis. We had OPEC on the run. In July 1986 oil plunged to $7 a barrel. It is now $41 a barrel. We had a golden moment, and we let it pass.

In 2005, he wrote:

We have a unique but fleeting opportunity to permanently depress demand by locking in higher gasoline prices. Put a floor at $3. Every penny that the price goes under $3 should be recaptured in a federal gas tax so that Americans pay $3 at the pump no matter how low the world price goes. Why is this a good idea? It is the simplest way to induce conservation.

And just this past weekend, he called his “net-zero gas tax” proposal a “once in a generation chance.”

In June, when the price of oil was over $130 a barrel, Steven Mufson and David Cho of the Washington Post explained:

Economists fear that the steadily rising price of gasoline is eating into the money consumers have to spend on other items and that fuel prices could be a drag on an economy already weighed down with concerns about housing prices and the stability of financial institutions.

“It saps people’s purchasing power,” Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Economy.com said, “If they have to spend more to fill their gas tanks and heat their homes, everything suffers.” He added that he worries that “the surge in energy prices overwhelms the economy if we stay here for very long.”

Zandi said energy costs — including electricity, gasoline and heating — now account for about 6.5 percent of the average household budget. For the poorer half of the nation’s households, energy costs are gobbling up close to 10 percent of family budgets.

Precisely.

These are the among the barrel-o-concerns I have when reading proposals like Krauthammer’s that call for tax increases.

offshore_rig_mmsAnd now, with the economy sick in bed for the foreseeable future, and gas prices plummeting, is raising the gasoline tax really the right move to make now? Smack dab in the middle of a recession?

Krauthammer’s desire to slash American dependency on foreign oil is one I wholeheartedly share. And if I actually thought there was even an iota of likelihood that something like this could work to achieve that end, I might actually consider it – might. But even after three readings of his piece, I just cannot get on board. Admittedly, I am predisposed to loathe supporting federal tax increases as a means of fixing anything – but his proposition, well-written as it is, does not click for me.

Perhaps I have a bit of an antiquated view of things – something I am fully prepared to admit. Maybe I even exude a smidgen of naivety – something I am happy to entertain with the more learned around me.  But I’m wondering if it at all makes sense to formulate some sort of proposal that is inclusive of something other than raising the gas tax, like … oh, I don’t know, some tasty tax cuts (thus keeping more money in the hands of those who make it … and spend it) … leaving the price of gasoline alone (no government intervention, if you please) … and more domestic and offshore drilling? (more windmills, Mr. Kennedy!)

At least as a start?

Or something like that?

Just a thought.

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BLUE STATE BAILOUT

Posted by Andrew Roman on December 29, 2008

no, but we really need it

no, but we really need it

Senator Charles Schumer from New York – the state where the Governor is proposing a “fat tax” on sugary non-diet drinks, and where the daughter of an ex-President who has never been elected to anything wants to be Senator – says that his state (my state) could get up to $18 billion dollars of federal stimulus package money (there’s that phrase again) during the first two years of an Obama administration.

Did you catch that? Eighteen billion bucks to New York.

And for what?

The $800 billion economic package is expected to include $5 billion for New York as part of $80 billion to $100 billion in additional Medicaid payments to the states, Schumer said. That’s meant to ensure Medicaid remains strong, and that states can avoid tax hikes and spending cuts that would counteract the federal stimulus, he said.

What was that? Medicaid in New York? Siphoned from wallets in Nevada and Louisiana?

How exactly does this latest step of the “save us from ruin” stimulus package shuffle affect the proposal by the National Retail Federation last week to create sales tax-exempt shopping days at the state level, only to have the federal government make up for any lost tax revenues by siphoning wallets in Nebraska and Missouri?

If the Feds actually made available to the public the seeds to those money trees they’re obviously hoarding, they could eliminate the national debt quicker than Obama can say, “Anyone have a light?

This would all be very funny if it weren’t so nauseating.

Said the Senator from New York:

“President-elect Obama understands we have to push money into the economy or it will get worse. If the federal government is putting money in while the state governments are taking it out … the government is giving with one hand and taking away with another.”

He thinks that is convoluted?

Think about what is being proposed here.

The federal government will take money from taxpayers in Colorado, Utah and Mississippi, throw it all into a big hat in Washington, D.C., then redistribute it back to the states in ways they determine.

Isn’t it amazing how the first instinct of Schumer, et al – the first resort – is to take away from its citizenry so that it can be redistributed to its citizenry?

Clearly, the situation is a complicated one – but just once I’d like to hear one of these bubble-headed “do-something” cocktail party jockeys mix in a “comprehensive income tax cut” or a “significant tax incentive for business owners” or something where more of one’s own money being kept by the taxpayer is at the core of a recovery plan.

According to Schumer’s office, Congress and the transition team are working to have the stimulus measure signed in to law by the end of January, with a second package to follow the next year. That would mean $10 billion in direct additional health care aid to New York over the two years, though Schumer noted, “If the economy starts moving ahead, the second year may not come to pass.”

You cannot make this stuff up.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to  Blue State Bailout ’09.

Just curious … How many red states are asking for their own chunk of stimulus cake?

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STIMULATE, BABY, STIMULATE

Posted by Andrew Roman on December 26, 2008

300_216229Okay, Christmas is over. Now it’s time for some real giving.

Reality, anyone?

The “gimmee gimmee” train continues its steady roll along the rails. This time, a group representing America’s retailers is pleading its case for their share of the stimulus pie in the form of sales tax-exempt shopping days.

On the surface, this doesn’t sound like a half bad approach. After all, similar ideas from economists, pundits and serious thinkers who believe in the power of the free market have been batted around in abundance – that is, giving working Americans some form of substantial tax breaks to help stimulate spending (as opposed to taking from the big money makers and spreading their wealth around).

However (and here’s the kicker), according to the proposal from the National Retail Federation, tax revenues lost to the various states during these tax exempt shopping days would be reimbursed by the federal government.

No, seriously.

In other words, the feds would foot the bill for tax breaks at the state level, which would be paid for by the people through federal taxes, which would be collected and then paid back to the states to make up for those tax breaks.

Or something like that. (Oh yeah, and at least someone would be doing something.)

Slipshod, vulgarly expensive and laden with unnecessary extra steps.

Can anyone say Federal Government?

Ann Zimmerman at the Wall Street Journal writes:

The country’s largest retail trade association asked President-elect Barack Obama Tuesday to add a series of sales tax-exempt shopping days to a coming economic stimulus package in an effort to revive consumer confidence and spur spending.

The National Retail Federation called for three periods of sales tax-free shopping that would last 10 days each in March, July and October 2009. The trade group estimates that it would save consumers about $20 billion, or $175 per family.

Under the industry group’s proposal, which would exclude alcohol and tobacco sales, the federal government would reimburse states for the lost tax revenue. State sales tax rates range from 2.9% to 7.25%, the group said. The five states without a sales tax — Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon — would also receive monies.

In a letter signed by the chief executives of retail chains, including J.C. Penney Co., Saks Inc. and Petsmart Inc., the NRF warned the situation was “critical,” with consumer confidence in October falling to the lowest level in the 41 years data has been collected.

“Without swift, additional Congressional measures, the current economic weakness could worsen, creating a more rapid downward spiral — beyond what economists are predicting for 2009 — in the years ahead,” the NRF said.

The group said it supports Mr. Obama’s efforts to create a long-term stimulus plan to generate jobs by rebuilding the country’s infrastructure and investing in public schools and alternative energy. However, the NRF said short-term incentives are also needed to encourage consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of the U.S. economy.

States without a sales tax would also receive money?

Is that the same line of thinking that proposed giving tax “cuts” to people who paid no federal income taxes?

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MERRY CHRISTMAS BIG THREE

Posted by Andrew Roman on December 19, 2008

you did it, didn't you?

you did it, didn't you?

He’s going to do it.

I would have wagered a kidney.

With his time in the White House dwindling away, and the Messiah waiting in the wings to fire up his own trillion dollar stimulus package, President George W. Bush has decided to dip into his bag of inexplicable tricks and live up to the “lame” half of lame duck. He is tapping the $700 billion bailout bag – the three-quarters of a trillion dollar taxpayer bailout bag-o-loot originally intended to save the banking industry – and try to make things all better for the failing American automobile industry.

I’d like to say that I can’t believe it, but I do.

I knew this was coming. So did you.

From Fox News:

The federal government will enable Detroit’s ailing automakers to survive a little longer by providing $17.4 billion in short-term financing, President Bush said Friday.

“Allowing the auto companies to collapse is not a responsible course of action,” he said, adding that a bankruptcy was unlikely to work for the auto industry at this time and would deal “an unacceptably painful blow to hardworking Americans” across the economy.

The low-interest loans will be drawn from the $700 billion Wall Street rescue fund, Bush said.

Of the $17.4 billion, $13.4 billion will be doled out in the next two months with another $4 billion to be added later, he said. The loans will be called back if the companies are not viable by March 31.

(Yelling at the President now)

With all due respect, Mr. President, the car companies themselves allowed this situation to manifest. It is they who have failed, sir. They have been unable remain competitive under their current models in the free market. The creative destruction of capitalism has served its purpose.

Why, then, are you not allowing the free market to be free?

It was their cacophony of failing ideas, union concessions, poor product and miserable planning that lead to this. It is not – nor should it ever be – up to the taxpayers of the United States of America to save an industry that is deserving of death by siphoning their money from them so that these failures are given new life to do it all over again.

How exactly does that responsibility lie with us, Mr. President?

And what if the Big Three do not become “viable,” by whatever definition you choose to implement? How do they pay back the loan? Do you offer them another portion of the $700 billion to pay back the first?

How then do we deny the next failing industry their share of the bailout pie?

If I may amend your words … Allowing government to interfere in the private sector in this way is not a responsible course of action.

(No longer yelling at the President)

The Big Three automakers said anew on Thursday that bankruptcy wasn’t the answer, as did an official of the United Auto Workers who called the idea unworkable and even dangerous. For unions, bankruptcy could mean voided labor contracts and renegotiation of benefits. The car companies argue that no one would buy a vehicle from a bankrupt company for fear that the company might not be around to honor warranties or maintain a supply of spare parts.

The National Automobile Dealers Association also spoke out against bankruptcy “in any way shape or form, orderly or disorderly, prepackaged or unpackaged, managed or unmanaged,” said spokesman Bailey Wood.

This has always been about the unions and nothing else.

Indeed, I hold a great deal of respect for this President – particularly his resolve in fighting the war against Islamo-fascist terrorists. He is a good man. But this is a colossal mistake.

There you go, unions.

Enjoy.

Merry Christmas from all of us out here.

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