The End of 2012: The Forgotten

I’m still not sure the Mayans were wrong, just that Non-Myans got the date wrong. :0

The US National Debt as of this moment:$16,329,089,300,000

But since we borrow $57,870.37 every second by the time you read this it won’t be. 🙂

But just remember, cutting spending is evil and “unfair”. Raising Taxes is not.

And that sums up 2012 pretty well, don’t you think. 🙂

What  was interesting, according to WordPress the most commented on blog of 2012 occured on May 11,2012 when I blogged about the US Forest Service screwing over the City of Tombstone,AZ.

Bitch Fight at The OK Corral

Update, 3 Days ago: The 9th Circuit denied the city of Tombstone, Ariz., a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Forest Service, which refuses to allow bulldozers access to a federal wilderness area to repair springs damaged by mudslides.
     In December 2011, the Tombstone, an old frontier town east of Tucson, sought a preliminary injunction that would allow the city to take bulldozers into a federal wilderness area to repair 25 springs that were damaged in a wildfire and subsequent mudslides.
     The loss of these springs allegedly caused a water shortage in the town, but a district judge found that the town’s claims of a water emergency were “overstated and speculative.”
     On appeal, Tombstone argued that the U.S. Forest Service issued the city a special use permit in 1962, which “allows the city to have access to these wells and perhaps also to construct facilities, and pipes and so forth, to take the water.”
     It also claimed that maintaining the city’s water supply is an essential governmental function and the federal government’s interference with the city’s duty to its citizens violates the 10th amendment.
     In opposition, the Justice Department acknowledged that the special use permit “allows [Tombstone] to maintain the water system, but it doesn’t say anything about motorized vehicles,” and maintained that the city needs permission from the Forest Service to make the desired repairs.

Justice Department attorney David Shilton contended that the 1962 special use permit does not explicitly allow Tombstone to brings “bulldozers or dump trucks” into the national forest.
     “The special use permit allows [Tombstone] to maintain the water system, but it doesn’t say anything about motorized vehicles,” Shilton said. “It does say that if they want to do reconstruction they have to get permission. Then you have the Wilderness Act, which comes along in 1984, and so after that if the city wants to use motorized vehicles, they have to go to the Forest Service for permission.”
     The Forest Service granted the city permission to repair two of the springs, but the other 23 requests remain pending. The Forest Service has “ignored” the city’s application for access to the 23 other springs for more than a year, Dranias said.

The Justice Department lawyer said the Forest Service allowed it to do work with motorized equipment where that was appropriate, where the city had appropriately applied and told the Forest Service what it wanted to do.”

Now that’s not Bureaucratic at all! Do it my way or F*ck off! We don’t think it is a vital as you claim.

Now imagine ObamaCare with that attitude. Afraid yet? 🙂
     A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling, finding that “Tombstone failed to raise serious questions going to the merits of its Tenth Amendment challenge and we do not reach whether the City has satisfied the other requirements for a preliminary injunction. Assuming without deciding that the Tenth Amendment constrains the Forest Service’s authority to regulate Tombstone’s activities under the Property Clause, no unlawful commandeering has been shown.”
     The unpublished opinion continued: “It is the Supreme Court’s prerogative alone to overrule its precedents. We therefore have no authority to apply the traditional or integral governmental functions test Tombstone has urged.”

And I’ll say it again, why do people want people like this running their health care, their retirement, and more??

The Most Popular image of 2012 on this blog was a good choice: The Forgotten Man

The Forgotten Man

It’s an Urban Myth attributed to Bill Gates, but the real author is discussed here- The Real Authorship. I loved this that a friend sent me because there is truth here. Truth no liberal wants to here.

11 things they did not and will not learn in school.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes; learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs. (anything with “Housewives” in the title is not normal).

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

I would add: The Universe doesn’t give a crap whether you like it or not, The Truth is the Truth regardless.

And the truth is, America voted to destroy itself this year, so I want to close with the oft-quoted line by Senator Padme Amidala:

“So this is how liberty dies…with thunderous applause.”

“Forward” to cliff diving down a bureaucratic black hole for 2013…

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Welcome to the Dawn of 2013- Lies & SEP

Have you ever asked yourself why the people who want to actually cut spending (not just “cut” the rate of growth and call it a “cut”) and want to actually cut the size and scope of government intervention in our lives are portrayed as violent, ignorant, and/or extremists??

I do. Every day.

And I still think it comes down to drug addiction. But it goes deeper.

The people are addicted to the “free” stuff that isn’t free. And politicians are addicted to themselves and their own power. The Politicians are the dealers. The people are the enablers and the addicts buying from the dealers. And the Dealers are addicts to selling the drugs.

So they are incestuously addicted to each other.

The politicians keep giving the people “free” drugs – entitlements, class warfare, etc. and the people keep electing people who will give it to them.

And the sane ones who say that we have to stop this behavior are hated by everyone. The responsible one in the room is the last person anyone wants to listen to.

The Republicans aren’t happy with the Tea Party. Happy they got elected in 2010. But not happy that they keep getting reminded why they were elected which goes against this grain. And they aren’t prepared to fight the fight that is required to stop or wean off the addiction because they are in fact, addicts themselves.

And the Democrats and the Media that portray anyone who isn’t on board with them as “extremists” , “obstructionists”, “unfair”, “racists”, none more than the “domestic terrorists” known as The Tea Party.

Not loved by anyone.

Funny that.

Because in the end we will be forced to grow up. The longer we wait the harder and more painful it will be for us and for the future.

The Truth will come. That’s inevitable. It WILL come regardless. It is the real wolf at the door.

But like a petulant child, we refuse.

We want our candy and presents. We want Santa Claus/Obama Claus to come along and bring all of us more toys and tell us it was mean old Scrooge’s fault and that the Tea Party is the Grinch who wants to steal their Christmas.

The People of Whoville don’t want to know the truth.

There is is no joy in Whoville when it comes to the Truth about The Debt, The Deficit, Entitlements, Taxes, and Foreign Policy Threats like Al-Qaeda.

The People of Whoville want to be told sweet little lies because the Truth is too much too bear. And they are at fault and they can’t face it.

The Political Class just see an opportunity to use this to gain more power for themselves. But it’s a trap too.

Now they are addicted to lying. They can’t tell the truth anymore. And anyone who tries will be summarily crushed.

Divide and Conquer has no softer side. Authoritarians have non softer side.

And they are addicted to the power to control everyone and everything. The authoritarian modern liberal more so than the weak Republicans.

So the politicians are addicted to the power money brings them and the people are addicted to the money the government brings them.

What  a viciously incestuous cycle.

And the sane ones who want this to stop are the bad guys.

Well, a drug intervention is never anything but messy.

But 315 million addicts is a lot of messy.

The addict’s judgment is clouded due to their substance of abuse making it tough for them to see or think clearly.

And the Ministry of Truth is there to feed them sweet lies and to calm their fears. 🙂

That’s the Comfort Zone.

(with apologies to Fleetwood Mac)

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies
(Tell me lies, tell me, tell me lies)
Oh, no, no you can disguise
(We want you to disguise, you can disguise)
Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies

Although I’m not making plans
I hope that you understand
There’s a reason why
Close your, close your, close your eyes…

But I couldn’t find a way
So I’ll settle for one day
To believe in you
Tell me, tell me, tell me lies

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies

It’s someone elses’ fault other than our own and we don’t want to take the medicine to get it better.

Somebody Else’s Problem (also known as Someone Else’s Problem or SEP) is a condition where individuals/populations of individuals choose to decentralize themselves from an issue that may be in critical need of recognition. Such issues may be of large concern to the population as a whole but can easily be a choice of ignorance at an individualistic level. Author Douglas Adams‘ description of the condition, which he ascribes to a physical “SEP field,” has helped make it a generally recognized phenomenon.

Where multiple individuals simultaneously experience the same stimulus, diffusion of responsibility and/or the bystander effect may release individuals from the need to act, and if no-one from the group is seen to act, each individual may be further inhibited by conformity.

“Somebody Else’s Problem”, an effectively-magical field that obscures things you think aren’t relevant to you, such that even though you see them (or hear them or read them) you don’t actually *notice*, and quickly forget.

More generally, the phenomenon that causes people to ignore issues that they know about but think of as either not something they can do anything about, or not personally relevant to them right now. This can result in something that’s very important to a group of people being ignored by every individual member of that group.

Popularized by Douglas Adams in the “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” series, in which Ford Prefect describes it as:

“An SEP is something we can’t see, or don’t see, or our brain doesn’t let us see, because we think that it’s somebody else’s problem…. The brain just edits it out, it’s like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won’t see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye.”

When individuals are exposed to a multitude of messages about pressing matters of concern- information overload (now also known as Information Fatigue Syndrome) may be a result.

In Joseph Ruff’s article “Information Overload: Causes, Symptoms and Solutions” Ruff states, “Once capacity is surpassed additional information becomes noise and results in a decrease in information processing and decision quality”.

The 24/7/365 News cycle anyone? 🙂

The virulent “I don’t wanna know” reaction , mixed with deeply cynical fear and racist power politics equals the 2012 election anyone?

Vote for Me, the Other Guy’s asshole!!! It’s HIS Fault!!

And the Politicians and The Ministry of Truth can herd these willfully ignorant sheep to use to satisfy their own addictions.

Thus the cycle continues.

There may also be a tendency to argue that since a proposed solution does not fit a problem entirely then the entire solution should be discarded. This is an example of a perfect solution fallacy. “This fallacy is often employed by those who believe no action should be taken on a particular issue and use the fallacy to argue against any proposed action”.

The nirvana fallacy is the informal fallacy of comparing actual things with unrealistic, idealized alternatives. It can also refer to the tendency to assume that there is a perfect solution to a particular problem. A closely related concept is the perfect solution fallacy.

By creating a false dichotomy that presents one option which is obviously advantageous—while at the same time being completely implausible—a person using the nirvana fallacy can attack any opposing idea because it is imperfect. The choice is not between real world solutions and utopia; it is, rather, a choice between one realistic possibility and another which is merely better.

The perfect solution fallacy is an informal fallacy that occurs when an argument assumes that a perfect solution exists and/or that a solution should be rejected because some part of the problem would still exist after it were implemented.

It’s Not “fair”!  🙂

It is common for arguments which commit this fallacy to omit any specifics about exactly how, or how badly, a proposed solution is claimed to fall short of acceptability, expressing the rejection in vague terms only. Alternatively, it may be combined with the fallacy of misleading vividness, when a specific example of a solution’s failure is described in emotionally powerful detail but base rates are ignored.

Misleading vividness is a term that can be applied to anecdotal evidence[1] describing an occurrence, even if it is an exceptional occurrence, with sufficient detail to permit hasty generalizations about the occurrence (e.g., to convince someone that the occurrence is a widespread problem). Although misleading vividness does little to support an argument logically, it can have a very strong psychological effect because of a cognitive heuristic called the availability heuristic.

The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that occurs when people make judgments about the probability of events by the ease with which examples come to mind. The availability heuristic operates on the notion that, “if you can think of it, it must be important.” The availability of consequences associated with an action is positively related to perceptions of the magnitude of the consequences of that action. In other words, the easier it is to recall the consequences of something, the greater we perceive these consequences to be.

Short circuit logic with emotion and keep it simplistic. Sound like Obama and the Democrats?

Never let a Crisis Go to Waste! 

Create new ones daily. Crisis Mode prevents a lot of actual critical thinking.

And the anti-nirvana heuristic solution  is to do something substantive and real. Hence, The Tea Party is against nirvana, utopia, mom and apple pie so they are the ultimate evil and must be destroyed. 🙂

The ones who truly want people to face the truth and fix the problem are seen as the problem. 😮

Welcome to the dawn of 2013 where doing the responsible thing makes you the Grinch, the enemy, the bad guy…

Well, Isn’t that Special? 🙂

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

 

Happy Tax Increases Everyone!

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

As part of the fiscal cliff, the top tax rate on dividends is scheduled to nearly triple in 2013.  Here are some questions you might have:

What is a dividend?  A dividend is a cash payment that a company makes to shareholders.
What type of people receive dividends?  Almost everyone benefits from dividends.  If you are covered by a traditional pension or 401(k) plan at work, you almost certainly own dividend-paying stocks and mutual funds that own dividend-paying stocks.  Ditto for your IRA or Roth IRA.  Additionally, the IRS data cited above shows that over 25 million American families choose to receive dividends directly.

Traditional pensions, 401(k)s, and IRAs are accounts for middle class Americans, not rich people.  That’s where many dividends end up.  Additionally, nearly 23 million out of the 25 million American families that get paid dividends directly earn less than $200,000 per year.  Over 40 percent of all taxable dividends are earned in these households.

Not just evil “rich” “angry white guys” or “evil” Corporate America. 🙂

Obamacare contains twenty new or higher taxes. Five of the taxes hit for the first time on January 1.  In total, for the years 2013-2022, Americans face a net $1 trillion tax hike for the years 2013-2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The five major Obamacare taxes taking effect on January are as follows:

The Obamacare Medical Device Tax:  Medical device manufacturers employ 409,000 people in 12,000 plants across the country. Obamacare imposes a new 2.3 percent excise tax on gross sales – even if the company does not earn a profit in a given year.  In addition to killing small business jobs and impacting research and development budgets, this will increase the cost of your health care – making everything from pacemakers to artificial hips more expensive.

The Obamacare Flex Account Tax: The 30-35 million Americans who use a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs will face a new government cap of $2500. This will squeeze $13 billion of tax money from Americans over the ten years. (Currently, the accounts are unlimited under federal law, though employers are allowed to set a cap.)

There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are several million families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare tax provision will limit the options available to these families.

The Obamacare Surtax on Investment Income: This is a new, 3.8 percentage point surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single).  This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income:

Capital Gains   Dividends  Other*2012
    
15%                     15%             35%2013+ (current law)
    

23.8%                43.4%       43.4%

The table above also incorporates the scheduled hike in the capital gains rate from 15 to 20 percent, and the scheduled hike in dividends rate from 15 to 39.6 percent.

The Obamacare “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deductions: Currently, those Americans facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  This tax increase imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. By limiting this deduction, Obamacare widens the net of taxable income for the sickest Americans.  This tax provision will most harm near retirees and those with modest incomes but high medical bills.

The Obamacare Medicare Payroll Tax Hike:  The Medicare payroll tax is currently 2.9 percent on all wages and self-employment profits.  Under this tax hike, wages and profits exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 in the case of married couples) will face a 3.8 percent rate instead. This is a direct marginal income tax hike on small business owners, who are liable for self-employment tax in most cases. The table below compares current law vs. the Obamacare Medicare Payroll Tax Hike:
 
First $200,000                 All Remaining Wages
($250,000 Married)        Employer/Employee  
Employer/Employee    
                       
Current Law
1.45%/1.45%                       1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed           2.9% self-employed

Obamacare Tax Hike
   
1.45%/1.45%                       1.45%/2.35%
2.9% self-employed           3.8% self-employed

2012 CBO Report on Revenue Effects of Obamacare
Tax Hike
2013-2022

Tax Penalty Payments by Uninsured Individuals $55 billion

Tax Penalty Payments by Employers $106 billion

Excise Tax on High-Premium Insurance Plans $111 billion

Associated Effects of Coverage Provisions
on Tax Revenues $216 billion

Reinsurance and Risk Adjustment Collections $184 billion

Fees on Manufacturers and Insurers $165 billion

Additional Hospital Insurance Tax $318 billion

Other Revenue Provisions $87 billion

Courtesy of ATR

This won’t hurt everyone, the economy and job “growth” now will it!

But don’t worry,it’s still Bush’s Fault!! That will keep you warm by the fire, until they ban it (bad for the environment, you know) or tax it that is…

Happy New Year. Happy New Tax Increases EVERYONE…. 🙂

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Throttle “Forward”

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

Social Security ran a $47.8 billion deficit in fiscal 2012, drawing in even less than it paid out last year, with just 1.67 workers supporting each retiree. But instead of confronting the truth, the left still denies reality.

According to official Social Security Administration data this week, the program’s incoming cash from the working population and their employers came to $725 billion in fiscal 2012 while it paid out $773 billion in cash and overhead.

That’s as the number of retirees and disabled using the system grow 10,000 a day to more than 57 million people currently, according to research by CNS News editor Terence P. Jeffrey.

And the trust fund? With so many new beneficiaries, the Social Security trustees say it’s fallen to just $2.7 trillion and is set to run out in 2033 — not 2036 as projected just last year.

Since 2007, Social Security has moved from an $81 billion surplus to a $58 billion deficit — a swing of $139 billion into red ink, according to a news report by IBD’s own Jed Graham. Over the next 20 years, Social Security deficits alone will hike total U.S. debt by 18% of GDP.

That means only 75% of promised benefits can be paid out from the trust fund through 2086, and that’s after a legally mandated 22% cut in benefits. So like France and other western nations with similar shortfalls, either taxes must rise or benefits must be cut further.

That’s a picture of unsustainability. But with millions of Americans depending on the program, it also ought to raise fiscal alarms in any responsible government.

Incredibly, under President Obama, it’s not. The left has created a cottage industry of opposing any meaningful effort to end the rapidly accelerating slide downward, with all sorts of denialist arguments against basic math.

The AFL-CIO, which runs various activist operations dedicated to halting any reform of Social Security, basically denies there’s any crisis. It insists the trust fund — which is loaded with government IOUs, not money — is enough, and refers to any call to fix the broken system as “sky is falling Social Security coverage.”

The union claims that interest earned on government IOUs in the trust fund will be sufficient to finance the mess and advocates tax hikes until eternity to the extent the trust fund fails. “Flash! Social Security Is Not Doomed,” its website blares.

Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum has a more subtle argument — that in the past, Social Security taxes were purposely too high. This benefited the rich, he argues, who got lower income taxes as a result.

Coming tax hikes will shrink the Social Security deficit and benefit beneficiaries — yet the money will come from the federal government anyway.

But these are just end-runs around reality as we approach what should be called the Social Security cliff.

Republicans — most recently presidential candidate Mitt Romney — have put forward proposals to fix the system. Unfortunately, they only included cutting benefits and raising the retirement age — the sort of “austerity” that triggered riots in Greece, France and Spain.

So what should they do? The biggest arrow in the GOP quiver has always been privatization, a bold “Chilean model” proposal similar to the ones unveiled by candidates Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain.

In them, Social Security would be converted to a system of private accounts, something pioneered by the city of Galveston, Texas decades ago and later by the entire nation of Chile in 1980, both to spectacular results.

Today, neither Chile nor Galveston have pension debt weighing their economies down. And retirees pull in hefty pensions from investment funds that showed average returns of 7% to 10% over 30 years.

But private accounts require political will — made all the harder in the U.S. by two failed efforts to enact such a change by Presidents Clinton and Bush in the 1990s, when the transition would have been easier, but the political recognition of the problem was much lower.

Though politically challenging, privatization would still be the best solution for younger workers. Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan put this in his original fiscal road map. He should consider reviving the idea as the fiscal picture grows uglier, as it no doubt will.

Social Security has been seen as the most soluble of the entitlement programs, but the fact that it will soon add another 2.4% of GDP to the U.S.’ already massive deficits means it can’t be ignored. It’s time for serious solutions to be put back on the table. (IBD)

But if you do you’re a heartless, grannie-over-the-cliff, capitalist meanie white guy!
Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

When David Letterman asked Obama about the size of the national debt, Obama couldn’t even make a guess. It seemed to be the furthest thing from his mind.

But Obama’s cynicism about the debt doesn’t change the fact that it is a looming national crisis. It’s undeniable that our entitlement obligations are growing at an unsustainable pace and that our national debt and the annual mandatory interest payments on it are reaching alarming heights.

The budget debates essentially boil down to the Republicans’ desire to return the nation to financial health vs. Obama’s desire to use the government’s taxing and spending powers as tools to remake America in his image rather than to facilitate economic growth or balance the budget.

Before you write off my comments as unfairly partisan, I ask you to ponder Obama’s major negotiating demands. He is insistent, is he not, on increasing tax rates and reducing deductions for higher-income earners, even though it’s an objective fact that Obama’s plan to raise taxes on just a small percentage of Americans would not generate enough revenue to make a significant dent in our nation’s deficits or debt. He has to be demanding this change, then, for other reasons. I can think of none, other than his idea of fairness, by which he means punishing the rich, even if it won’t improve the economy or our fiscal picture.

Further, he has stubbornly resisted meaningful spending cuts and has absolutely continued to dig his heels in over GOP efforts to reform entitlements to avoid our nation’s impending financial meltdown.

On top of all this, Obama wants $80 billion more in “stimulus” spending. Can you believe this? In budget negotiations that are supposed to be about fiscal sanity, he’s wedded to yet more federal spending of money we don’t have. Finally, he is demanding that Republicans surrender their authority to set limits on future spending through budget ceilings.

As you can see, Obama’s goal of fundamentally remaking America happens to be nearly incompatible with economic growth and national solvency.

Don’t you see? There is no way Obama can do what he was born to do — remake America in his image — unless he continues to implement the very policies that drove us toward this cliff in the first place. Obama’s ideology compels him to keep spending borrowed money and increase growth-suppressing tax rates on the very people whose productivity is imperative for economic growth. Maybe Obama cares some about economic growth and our national deficits and debt. Maybe not. Either way, he’s tied to policies that harm both. (David Limbaugh)

But at least you can warm yourself by the fires of hate that it was all Bush’s fault and still is to this day. 🙂
Political Cartoons by Chip Bok
Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell
Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Disable the Throttle

The Social Security program ran a $47.8 billion deficit in fiscal 2012 as the program brought in $725.429 billion in cash and paid $773.247 for benefits and overhead expenses, according to official data published by Social Security Administration.

The Social Security Administration also released new data revealing that the number of workers collecting disability benefits hit a record 8,827,795 in December–up from 8,805,353 in November.

The overall number of Social Security program beneficiaries—including retired workers, dependent family members and survivors and disabled workers and their dependent family members—also hit a record in December, climbing from 56,658,978 in November to 56,758,185 in December.

In 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was an average of 112.556 million full-time workers in the United States, of whom 17.806 million worked full-time for local, state or federal government. That left an average of only 94.750 million full-time private sector workers in the country.

That means that for every 1.67 Americans who worked full-time in the private sector in 2011, there is now 1 person collecting benefits from the Social Security administration.

Despite its fiscal 2012 “net cash flow” deficit, as SSA describes it, the agency was able to book an on-paper “increase” of $64.580 billion in the Social Security Trust Funds. That, SSA says, is because the U.S. Treasury “paid” the trust funds $112.398 in “interest” in fiscal 2012 on the historial surpluses in Social Security taxes that the Treasury siphoned off to cover other spending by the federal government.

As of the end of calendar year 2011, according to SSA, the Social Security Trust Fund equaled approximately $2.678 trillion.

The last time the Social Security program ran a “net cash flow” surplus was in fiscal 2009. In that year, Social Security’s revenues exceeded its benefit and overhead payments by $19.358 billion. In fiscal 2010, Social Security ran a $36.8 billion deficit; and, in fiscal 2011, it ran a $47.975 deficit.

There are two Social Security Trust Funds: the Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance Trust Fund. The OASI Trust Fund covers benefits to retired workers and their families and deceased workers families. The DI Trust fund covers benefits to disabled workers and their families. The trust funds are required by law to hand over all surplus revenues to the Treasury and the Treasury then provides “special issue” non-marketable bonds—essentially electronic IOUs—to the trust funds in return for the cash. These “IOUs” become part of the national debt. When the Treasury pays “interest” that increases the value of the Social Security Trust Funds it does so by increasing the number of IOUs it owes the trust funds.

When the Social Security program runs a net cash flow deficit, as it has in the last three fiscal years, the Treasury needs to borrow cash from the “public” to keep the program funded. As of Dec. 21, the federal government’s debt was $16.336 trillion. (CNS)

Bur don’t worry, everything is fine, that Cliff we are going over is no big deal. We just have to spend even more and tax rich people more and everything will be fine.

Enjoy your ObamaCare taxes…. 🙂

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

That After Christmas Meal

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

A Few facts for that After Christmas meal to digest. It’s a good thing that he has the Ministry of Truth to cover all this up and blame it on someone else and a Republican party that will gladly fall on his sword for it. 🙂

Economy: “The economy’s getting stronger … confidence is growing.” The media and Obama repeated these like a mantra. But as IBD reported earlier, real weekly earnings for American workers have fallen 3.5% since Obama took over, a declining trend that has continued post-election.

How about other signs of well-being? The Census Bureau reported after the election that the number of Americans in poverty grew by 712,000 people in 2011. A far-more bullish report issued in September said it had fallen by 96,000. Oh yes, and a record 47 million people today are on food stamps — up 47% since Obama took over.

Meanwhile, we also heard that consumer confidence was strengthening — and that would lead to a spurt of new economic activity in the new year. But in December, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index tumbled to 72.9, its lowest reading since June, from 82.7 in November.

For small businesses, whom Obama regularly claimed to be helping while on the stump, the picture’s no better. The National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index fell 5.6 points in December to 87.5 — one of its lowest readings ever.

“Between the looming ‘fiscal cliff,’ the promise of higher health care costs and the endless onslaught of new regulations, owners have found themselves in a state of pessimism,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. Remember: Small businesses create 80% to 85% of all jobs.

Employment: Yes, unemployment has dropped to 7.7%. But only because hundreds of thousands of Americans have left the workforce. In September and October, nonpayroll farm jobs were reported as rising 148,000 and 171,000, respectively, solid gains. The mainstream media played it up as a major turnaround for the economy, giving Obama a boost.In early December, a new government jobs report highlighted that job growth was a 146,000 in November, less than the 151,000 average since the start of the year. And it revised September and October job growth down by 49,000.

Yes, the total number of people with private-sector jobs has grown by 2 million over the last year, as the White House proudly trumpets — and did on the campaign trail. But what never gets reported is that 2.4 million people have left the workforce entirely over the same stretch — so there is no net real job growth.

And we have more college graduates who also get out there and find nothing so they move back in with Mom and Dad. But at least ObamaCare gives them health care until they are 26 on Mom & Dad’s dime… 🙂

• Regulations: President Obama stayed virtually mum on the topic of regulation during his campaign. Smart move. The EPA is set to release a tidal wave of new rules to slash CO2 that will close as many as 332 energy plants, while costing the U.S. economy $700 billion, according to the Manhattan Institute. The rules will hit Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia — states that voted for Obama — especially hard. Think they might have liked to know that before voting?

• Budget: Obama promised a “balanced” approach to taxes and spending. But data from the CBO and OMB show spending will surge 55% over the next 10 years under Obama — nearly $2 trillion in added spending — swamping Obama’s promised “cuts” of $880 billion.

• Taxes: Remember how Obama and his Democratic surrogates taunted Republicans repeatedly, saying they wanted to raise taxes only on “millionaires and billionaires” while cutting taxes for the middle class?

When Republicans tried to do just that, Obama said no thanks. In fact, he has major tax hikes in store for middle-class Americans — starting with ObamaCare’s 18 or so new taxes, and ending with the admission of key Democrats such as former presidential candidate Howard Dean that taxes on everyone must rise dramatically to pay for the Democrats’ spending orgy.

• Benghazi: The White House described the early- September attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, as a reaction to an anti-Muslim film clip that appeared on the Internet.

In recent weeks, we’ve found that the film played no role at all — and that Obama and his national security staff did nothing to save the lives of those under attack, even though they knew the attack was ongoing.

• War On Terror: Obama claimed the war against al-Qaida was basically over. Now we find out that isn’t true. Governments friendly to al-Qaida, if not its aims, have taken over in Libya and Egypt. Syria may be next.

For those who think the fight’s done, think again. Quietly, Obama is sending troops back to Iraq to help stabilize the country. And he plans to send Army teams to as many as 35 countries in Africa to battle growing terrorist threats — mainly from al-Qaida.

So were Americans duped? (IBD)

Yep. Do they seem to care??  Nope.

And that is the saddest truth of all.

Political Cartoons by Ken Catalino

Christmas Day Sing Along

I'll be Broke Fro Christmas


Baracka Claus is comin’ to town
Baracka Claus is comin’ to town

You better not work
You better not try
Get your hand out
I’m telling you why
Source: LYBIO.net

Baracka Claus is comin’ to town
Baracka Claus is comin’ to town
Baracka Claus is comin’ to town

If you’re a success
I’m taxin’ you twice
Gonna reverse who’s naughty and nice

Hey!
Baracka Claus is comin’ to town
Baracka Claus is comin’ to town
Baracka Claus is comin’ to town
I’ll pay you just for sleeping
Don’t work, stay home and play
You will care if you’re bad or good
‘Cause if you’re bad you get more cake

So, Republicans watch out
I’m lookin’ real fly
Media shouts ‘We elected our guy’

Hey!
Baracka Claus is comin’ to town
Baracka Claus is comin’ to town
Baracka Claus is comin’ to town

The market’s goin’ down
Why do you have a frown?

Baracka Claus is comin’ to town

Now the Christmas Sermon….
The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others. Never
    under any circumstances admit that your own failure may be owing to your own weakness, or that the failure of anyone else may be due to his own defects – his laziness, incompetence, improvidence, or stupidity.”

American economist and philosopher Henry Hazlitt wrote the above.  Hazlitt understood Socialism and its evil foundations.

As we read, “Hate the man who is better off than you are,” our thoughts turn toward President Barack Obama.  Obama’s 2012 Presidential campaign was heavily focused on creating envy and hatred for those who have high incomes and wealth.  Obama promised his supporters that he would reward them by punishing “the rich,” whom he characterized as those in the upper 2% income bracket.

Saul Alinsky said of his book Rules for Radicals,

    “The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”

Obama promised a “balanced” approach to taxes and spending. But data from the CBO and OMB show spending will surge 55% over the next 10 years under Obama — nearly $2 trillion in added spending — swamping Obama’s promised “cuts” of $880 billion.

And remember he borrows $5 Billion dollars A DAY. 🙂

Merry Christmas. Enjoy it while you’re allowed to.

Michael Ramirez Cartoon