What Glass?

Lately when people ask me if I’m a glass half-empty of a glass half-full kind of a guy they get the rather snarky, What Glass?

UK Telegraph: Older people blighted by pessimism and fear for the future are more likely to live longer, according to scientists.

A study, into 40,000 adults across ten years, has found those with low expectations for a “satisfying future” actually led healthier lives.

In contrast, people who were “overly optimistic” about the days ahead had a greater risk of disability or death within ten years.

The extraordinary research, published by the American Psychological Association, will not doubt prove comfort to anyone with a tendency to grumpiness.

Frieder R. Lang, lead author of the study from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, said: “Our findings revealed that being overly optimistic in predicting a better future was associated with a greater risk of disability and death within the following decade.

“Pessimism about the future may encourage people to live more carefully, taking health and safety precautions.”

The research, based on data collected between 1993 and 2003, asked 40,000 respondents to rate how satisfied they believed they would be in five years time.

They were interviewed again five years later, and their satisfaction levels compared with their own predictions.

Those who overestimated how happy they would be were found to have a 9.5 per cent increase in reporting disabilities, and a ten per cent high risk of death.

Older people, who tended to have a “darker outlook” on the future, were shown to be the most accurate in their predictions, with optimistic youngsters overestimating their success.

“Unexpectedly, we also found that stable and good health and income were associated with expecting a greater decline compared with those in poor health or with low incomes,” said Dr Lang.

“Moreover, we found that higher income was related to a greater risk of disability.

“We argue, though, that the outcomes of optimistic, accurate or pessimistic forecasts may depend on age and available resources.

“These findings shed new light on how our perspectives can either help or hinder us in taking actions that can help improve our chances of a long healthy life.”

Of those interviewed, 43 percent of the oldest group were found to have underestimated their future life satisfaction, 25 percent had predicted accurately and 32 percent had overestimated, according to the study

Research published last year by the Office for National Statistics found most people are now living six years longer than current life expectancy projections, with no sign of an upper age limit.

Previous studies have suggested that “unrealistic optimism” about the future can help people feel better while facing inevitable negative outcomes, such as terminal disease.

VINDICATION!  Science says so… 🙂

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

You’re all Flocked!

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

“You know, the one thing about being president is, after four years, you get pretty humble. You’d think maybe you wouldn’t but actually you become more humble–you realize what you don’t know,” Obama said. 

“You realize all the mistakes you made. But you also realize you can’t do things by yourself.

Says President Fiat, and President Regulations-Will-still-get-me-what-I-want.

I guess he didn’t build that! 🙂

That’s not how our system works. You’ve got to have the help and the goodwill of Congress, and what that means is you’ve got to make sure that constituents of members of Congress are putting some pressure on them, making sure they’re doing the right thing.”

Translation: Pressure the Republicans into caving in yet again to my will and what I want.

This President never actually says what he really means. Don’t Do as I do, Do as I say…Just Translated.

Thomas Sowell: John Stuart Mill’s classic essay “On Liberty” gives reasons why some people should not be taking over other people’s decisions about their own lives. But Professor Cass Sunstein of Harvard has given reasons to the contrary. He cites research showing “that people make a lot of mistakes, and that those mistakes can prove extremely damaging.”

Professor Sunstein is undoubtedly correct that “people make a lot of mistakes.” Most of us can look back over our own lives and see many mistakes, including some that were very damaging.

What Cass Sunstein does not tell us is what sort of creatures, other than people, are going to override our mistaken decisions for us. That is the key flaw in the theory and agenda of the left.

Implicit in the wide range of efforts on the left to get government to take over more of our decisions for us is the assumption that there is some superior class of people who are either wiser or nobler than the rest of us.

And they, the Left, are the superior class, they just don’t want to tell you to your face that they think you’re a moron for not trusting that they know better than you on everything.  Because, it’s simple: Vote For me, The Other Guy’s an Asshole!
Yes, we all make mistakes. But do governments not make bigger and more catastrophic mistakes?

ObamaCare anyone? Community Re-Investment Act Anyone??

Think about the First World War, from which nations on both sides ended up worse off than before, after an unprecedented carnage that killed substantial fractions of whole younger generations and left millions starving amid the rubble of war.

Think about the Holocaust, and about other government slaughters of even more millions of innocent men, women and children under Communist governments in the Soviet Union and China.

Even in the United States, government policies in the 1930s led to crops being plowed under, thousands of little pigs being slaughtered and buried, and milk being poured down sewers, at a time when many Americans were suffering from hunger and diseases caused by malnutrition.

The Great Depression of the 1930s, in which millions of people were plunged into poverty in even the most prosperous nations, was needlessly prolonged by government policies now recognized in retrospect as foolish and irresponsible.

One of the key differences between mistakes that we make in our own lives and mistakes made by governments is that bad consequences force us to correct our own mistakes. But government officials cannot admit to making a mistake without jeopardizing their whole careers.

Can you imagine a President of the United States saying to the mothers of America, “I am sorry your sons were killed in a war I never should have gotten us into”?

No, But the Left constantly raves about Bush and Iraq to the point of foaming at the mouth and veins popping…

What is even more relevant to Professor Sunstein’s desire to have our betters tell us how to live our lives, is that so many oppressive and even catastrophic government policies were cheered on by the intelligentsia.
Back in the 1930s, for example, totalitarianism was considered to be “the wave of the future” by much of the intelligentsia, not only in the totalitarian countries themselves but in democratic nations as well.

The Soviet Union was being praised to the skies by such literary luminaries as George Bernard Shaw in Britain and Edmund Wilson in America, while literally millions of people were being systematically starved to death by Stalin and masses of others were being shipped off to slave labor camps.

Even Hitler and Mussolini had their supporters or apologists among intellectuals in the Western democracies, including at one time Lincoln Steffens and W.E.B. Du Bois.

An even larger array of the intellectual elite in the 1930s opposed the efforts of Western democracies to respond to Hitler’s massive military buildup with offsetting military defense buildups to deter Hitler or to defend themselves if deterrence failed.

“Disarmament” was the mantra of the day among the intelligentsia, often garnished with the suggestion that the Western democracies should “set an example” for other nations — as if Nazi Germany or imperial Japan was likely to follow their example.

Too many among today’s intellectual elite see themselves as our shepherds and us as their sheep. Tragically, too many of us are apparently willing to be sheep, in exchange for being taken care of, being relieved of the burdens of adult responsibility and being supplied with “free” stuff paid for by others.

free stuff

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

 You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

 

Fail Fail Again

If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try again…

Concerned that foreclosed subprime borrowers won’t qualify for another home for years, housing-rights groups want banks to offer them “dignity mortgages.” Here we go again.

This is the left’s latest scheme to make amends for its disastrous experiment to socialize mortgages for people who could not afford homes before the crisis and should never have been approved in the first place.

But it won’t end any better, especially for the inner-city minorities whose credit the left’s already ruined.

Housing activists’ new bright idea is approving home loans for people who have rebuilt their finances since losing their job and their homes during the crisis, but who still have bad credit.

Though required to make a down payment, inner-city housing groups could front them the money.

This new type of loan they’re pitching to bank regulators would come with a higher rate to cover the higher risk.

But it would be capped so that deadbeat borrowers would pay only up to 1.25 percentage points above creditworthy borrowers.

So if, for example, a customer with sterling credit and 20% down payments got a 3.5% fixed rate, the risky applicant would get OK’d for 4.75%.

Reset Clause

But if he made timely payments for five years, the rate would drop to 3.5%, and the extra money paid in interest would be used to reduce the mortgage balance.

Only, the borrower doesn’t always have to pay. If he loses his job or his spouse, a “reset clause” lets him suspend payments temporarily.

But here’s the real kicker: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac eventually would be required to take the loans off banks’ hands.

That’s right, those same failed government wards that epically collapsed and brought down the entire mortgage industry with them after taking on too much subprime risk before the crisis.

The so-called dignity mortgage is the brainchild of Greenlining Institute’s Bob Gnaizda and Operation Hope’s John Bryant, who worry low-income blacks and Latinos are being denied credit in the wake of record subprime defaults.

They cite recent Fed lending data that show just 4% of all home loans were made to African-Americans, who make up 13% of the population, and 6% to Latinos, who represent 16%.

Ignoring credit-score data explaining the shortfalls, they charge that banks are “redlining” minorities again.

Redistributionists At Work

Both groups have redistributionist agendas. Greenlining is a Berkeley, Calif.-based anti-redlining group that before the crisis shook down banks for subprime mortgages for minorities with bad credit.

Recently, it argued for expanding the Community Reinvestment Act — a prime suspect in the lending debacle — to correct racial “inequities” in everything from stock ownership to business contracts to employment.

Bryant, meanwhile, is a major Obama supporter.

As IBD first reported, his inner-city group is a one of the recipients of millions in payola extorted from banks by Attorney General Eric Holder during his witch hunt over “lending discrimination.”

“You get your dignity back,” Bryant told foreclosed borrowers, “a chance to reset your life without being called a bum or your credit ruined.”

Don’t fret, he and Gnaizda tell worried bankers, they’ll make sure this new class of superdeadbeat applicant gets financial counseling.

This time, they promise needy borrowers will pay their bills, and in exchange for their altruism, lenders will get CRA credit from regulators.

Where have we heard this story?

Dignity mortgages are just repackaged subprime loans promoted by the same radical groups that trapped minorities in them the last time.

Thanks, but no thanks. We don’t need a sequel to this financial horror show.

But just like the original, it won’t be there fault in 10 years or so when it all crashes again.
It’s never there fault. They aren’t held accountable. So they will continue bang their head against that wall until they win.
IF they just try hard enough, long enough and have the best of intentions they will succeed! 😦
Thus, they never learn there lesson.
And we pay the price.

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Galling

Retailers are preparing for a triple whammy as the restoration of the payroll tax, surging gas prices, and stagnant employment and wages take a bite out of consumers’ disposable income, leaving them with less cash to spend on clothing, groceries, and eating out.

But the world is going to end if their is a 3% cut in the increase in spending! OMG! The Sky is Falling! 🙂

As a result, more than three years after the recession officially ended, American consumers might be preparing to downshift again, if only slightly, with low-income consumers hit the hardest. Sensing consumer trepidation, retailers are scrambling to adjust.

Retailers, restaurants, and consumer goods companies like Wal-Mart are lowering sales forecasts and adjusting marketing campaigns ahead of expectations that consumers will slash spending, the Wall Street Journal reports.

But Government wants to Spend Even More!

In a survey released Thursday, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said some 46 percent of consumers plan to spend less as a result of the payroll tax increase. One-third said they will reduce dining out and one-quarter will spend less on “little luxuries,” like manicures and trips to coffee shops.

“A smaller paycheck due to the fiscal cliff deal early last month, higher gas prices, low consumer confidence and ongoing uncertainty about our nation’s fiscal health is negatively impacting consumers and businesses across the country,” Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF, said in a statement.

And that’s all the Republican’s Fault! (or Bush’s)… 🙂

Originally enacted in December 2010 to help taxpayers weather the recession and to spur economic activity, the payroll tax cut expired Jan. 1 of this year. The restoration of the tax effectively raised the rate from 4.2 percent in 2012 to 6.2 percent in 2013, shaving 2 percent from consumers’ take-home pay.

Can you say Bait and Switch to bribe the stupid to vote for the Democrats…

That means Americans making $50,000 a year will pay $83 more in taxes each month, almost $1,000 more each year. Those making $75,000 will pay $125 more each month, or $1,500 more each year. As retailers see it, that’s $1,500 less a consumer has to spend on groceries, household goods, and dining out.

Multiply that by 153.6 million people in the labor force and retailers start to panic. According to an estimate by Citigroup, the expiration of the payroll tax cut will move $110 billion out of consumers’ pockets.

So Democrats can spend it on paying off their Apparatchiks, looking like they “care” and blaming it all on “rich” people and Republicans.

And the Republicans don’t do anything about it! Which is also very galling.

For high-end consumers, the payroll tax may not change a thing, and for many middle-income consumers, it will likely result in only a subtle shift. But the impact is most likely to be felt among low-income consumers and the businesses they tend to frequent, like Wal-Mart.

“It’s a big deal,” says Morgan Housley, a macroeconomic analyst with Motley Fool, an online financial education website. “The biggest impact is on lower-income households since the payroll tax is regressive, only applying to the first $113,000 of income. Wealthier households don’t feel the same pinch because the tax doesn’t hit all of their income. Lower-income households also spend a larger share of their income than wealthier consumers.… Low-income families are in one of the toughest spots they’ve been in since 2009.” (CSMonitor)

But remember, ask a liberal about it and they’ll give you the political answer of, “well it’s that same as it was 3 years ago” before the cut so it’s not an increase.

Tell that to their pocketbooks. They play games with you but you can’t hold them accountable for it. Your the Mouse and they are the Cat. So, you’re just a Cat toy…

Oh, and it’s the Republican’s/Bush Fault!! Can’t for get that one.

And Republican just want to throw grandma out on the street to eat trash and dog food!

The dishonesty of it all is so galling.

Speaking of Galling…

Who says intransigence doesn’t pay? After driving Hostess out of business by refusing to negotiate, union bakers have been rewarded by the White House with Trade Adjustment Assistance. It’s all the foreigners’ fault.

Politics: Who says intransigence doesn’t pay? After driving Hostess out of business by refusing to negotiate, the White House has decided to reward the union bakers with Trade Adjustment Assistence, blaming foreigners. What a sweet deal.

Last November, Hostess Brands went into liquidation, throwing 18,500 employees out of their jobs. The baking giant had been through two restructurings, but the company remained unprofitable.

All the same, most workers at the bread and pastry maker, famous for its Twinkies and Ho Hos snack cakes, were willing to tighten their belts until good times returned.

They included hard-line unions, such as the Teamsters, not known for making concessions.

But there was one exception: the AFL-CIO-affiliated Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International (BCTGM).

It refused to deal, taking the entire company, including fellow workers, down with it.

Turns out the union knew exactly what it was doing.

This week, the Labor Department decided to shower Hostess workers with Trade Adjustment Assistance, a multibillion-dollar pork barrel program that was beefed up as a bone to Democrats, who were blocking passage of three free-trade treaties in Congress in 2012.

Politically Correct “obstructionism” and being a Party Apparatchik pays! $$$$

TAA is a lavish program doled out by the Labor Department for laid-off workers who’ve lost their jobs due to “global trade.”

Aka, Apparatchik pay offs.

It provides worker retraining due to the supposed evils of free trade — plus moving expenses, baby-sitting expenses and as much as two years of unemployment pay. If a worker ends up making less than his union salary afterward, Uncle Sam spots the worker for 50% of the supposed lost wages in a “free” subsidy.

What’s more, “virtually anybody can qualify,” said TAA certifying officer Elliott Kushner in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

As long as you’re an Apparatchik.

Kushner was the one who signed off on shoveling the pork to Hostess. (IBD)

So Liberal “obstructionism” that brings down a whole Business is rewarded.

It pays to be a Union “obstructionist” and make everyone lose their job.

Just because they are Apparatchiks of the Party!

So be of The Body, or be screwed.

Do what we say when we say it or else!

In Hostess’ case, labor costs were almost certainly a factor. The Labor Department says the average wage for bakers nationally is $11 an hour.

The unionized Hostess bakers were pulling in as much as twice that amount, which, together with pensions, was what made the company uncompetitive.

Imports weren’t the problem.

But it’s so much easier to blame foreigners, even if no significant foreign goods can be found.

This shows how something like the TAA can turn into a perverse incentive, encouraging all workers to make no concessions in tough times, even if it means saving their company.

The BCTGM union’s intransigence was directly responsible for the liquidation of Hostess Brands.

Yet the same union is being rewarded with premium unemployment packages that encourage its members to go on the dole — and to blame foreigners for it.

Undoubtedly, more examples of this perverse incentive will take down more companies, an unintended consequence of a boondoggle that sounds good on paper.

It’s not good. It’s a reward for those who refuse to negotiate, and a sop to the manipulative unions that are most adept at gaming the system.

This doesn’t create value. It’s corruption. (IBD)

But since it’s Liberal Union Corruption, that’s ok. 🙂
Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

 Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

 Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

 

Sprinkles

Inflation-adjusted per capita federal spending went up $822.90 from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2012, according to official data from the U.S. Treasury and the Census Bureau.

Real federal spending also increased $2437.64 per household between 2008 and 2012.

In constant 2012 dollars, the federal government spent $3,176,376,470,000 in 2008 and $3,538,446,000,000 in 2012, according to the U.S. Treasury. (The 2008 spending number was adjusted to 2012 dollars using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.)

On April 1, 2008 (the midpoint in the federal fiscal year which ends on Sept. 30), there were 303,381,938 people in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and on April 1, 2012 there were 313,336,712.

The $3,176,376,470,000 that the federal government spent in fiscal 2008 equaled $10,469.89 for each of the 303,381,938 people who lived in the United States that year. The $3,538,446,000,000 the federal government spent in fiscal 2012 equaled $11,292.79 for each of the 313,336,712 people who lived in the United States that year.

Thus from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2012 inflation-adjusted federal spending per person increased by $822.90.

That means that over the past four years, the federal government has increased its spending on average by about another $206 each year for every man, woman and child in the country.

But that’s Bush’s Fault!!

Alternatively, it’s the “obstructionist” Republicans fault for not letting the Democrats do what they “needed to do”.

There were 111,115,000 households in the country in April 2008 (the midpoint in the fiscal year) and 114,055,000 households in April 2012. The $3,176,376,470,000 the federal government spent in fiscal 2008 equaled $28,586.39 per household. The $3,538,446,000,000 the federal government spent in fiscal 2012 equaled $31,024.03 per household. Thus from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2012 inflation-adjusted federal spending per household increased by $2437.64.

That means that over the past four years, the federal government has increased its spending on average by about another $609.41 each year for every household in the country.

In order to cut real federal spending in fiscal 2013 back to the level it was at in fiscal 2008, the federal government would need to cut actual spending this year to a level that is $362,069,530,000 below what it was last year.

But all we get is OMG! THE SKY IS A FALLING!  THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END!

Over a cut in the Increase in Spending….

So Doomed!

 

Not Helpful

My first job paid $4.35/ hr. I was a “detailer” for Avis Rental Cars. That’s a fancy word for Window Washer.

That’s what I did all day.

After 18 months of that I decided to go back to College and get a degree.Which I did.

Then after college, got my first job in a Call Center. At 5.35/hr. But then I started moving up.

You don’t move up from a Window Washer. And at least one guy I worked with at that job wasn’t looking to move up from it.

It was slow. It was hard. It wasn’t glamorous or profitable. But eventually I made enough to buy this house. But it was hardly overnight. And I’m hardly set for life. I still have to perform or else.

You wanna know what the punch line to this is?

Adjusted for inflation that $4.35/hr would now be $8.82 because of inflation caused by the government and other entities.

So Obama wants to raise the minimum wage to be effectively the same as that was all those years ago.

So it’s about the politics of “caring” not about the actual problem – inflation. Especially inflation from devaluing the currency because of all the spending and borrowing.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The unemployment rate for teens is at 23%, and the rate for unskilled workers is at 12%. Why does President Obama propose raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour and indexing it for inflation, as he stated in his State of the Union Address?

Obama and his advisors seem to believe that if the minimum wage were raised and then indexed, all workers would retain their jobs. But this is not the case.

Between 2007 and 2009, the federal hourly minimum wage rose to $7.25 in three steps from the $5.15 rate that had prevailed for a decade. If the wage were raised to $9 and then indexed for inflation, it would rise every year.

It sounds compassionate to alleviate poverty by mandating that employers raise wages, but employers often replace low-skill workers with machines. Think self-checkout machines in supermarkets, or computerized call centers.

Or, try a thought experiment — would you have your job if the minimum wage were $50 an hour? Probably not.

At its current level, the minimum wage disproportionately affects teens and low-skill workers, many of whom qualify only for entry-level slots.

University of California (Irvine) economists David Neumark and J.M. Ian Salas, together with Federal Reserve Board economist William Wascher, have written extensively on the effects of the minimum wage on employment. In a National Bureau of Economic Research paper published in January, they conclude that “minimum wages pose a tradeoff of higher wages for some against job losses for others.”

They specifically mention that a higher minimum wage results in more unemployment for teens and low-skill workers.

Why is it that some studies, such as those by Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers chairman Alan Krueger, have found that increases in the minimum wage do not affect employment in the restaurant industry?

Two reasons, according to Neumark and his coauthors. First, many restaurant workers are paid above minimum wage. Second, a higher minimum wage can encourage employers to substitute more-skilled employees for less-skilled employees, so that total unemployment in that industry does not decline substantially.

Minimum wage workers are overwhelmingly young and work part-time. See the Labor Department’s Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers.

Two-thirds of minimum wage earners worked part-time in 2011, the latest year available. Only 3% of hourly wage earners earn minimum wage or less.

Workers under the age of 25 made up about half of the 3.8 million workers who earned at or below the minimum wage in 2011. Employed teenagers are seven times more likely to be among the minimum wage earners than workers older than 25.

Another 11 million workers earned between $7.26 and $8.99. Some will be in danger of losing their jobs if the minimum wage is increased.

In his State of the Union Address, Obama said that a full-time minimum-wage worker makes $14,500 a year. That’s 1.3 million workers, in a labor force of 156 million, about eight-tenths of 1%. But this understates actual income, because it does not include transfer payments.

As Michael Saltsman of the Employment Policies Institute has shown, the Earned Income Tax Credit adds to the minimum wage. Read Michael Saltsman.

Then you also add in your Obama Phone, Your Obama Internet….

In addition to the EITC, the value of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, formerly food stamps, has risen over the past 20 years, increasing the resources of low-income workers. (See chart.)

In 1992, the hourly minimum wage was $4.25. For a family with one parent and two children, the value of the earned income tax credit was 69 cents, and the value of food stamps was just over a dollar, for total income of $5.96 an hour. (Other possible benefits include housing and Medicaid, depending on the state.)

Fast forward to 2012. The minimum wage was $7.25 an hour. For the same family, the EITC rose to $2.62, and the food stamps program added $1.67, for a total of $11.54. Assuming 2,000 hours of work annually, and including the EITC, the family makes not $14,500, but $19,736. This family also qualified for food stamps, bringing the total family income to $23,072.

Unlike increases in the minimum wage, these government transfers do not discourage employers from hiring.

The minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, plus the mandatory employer’s share of social security, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation taxes, brings the hourly employer cost to $8, even without benefits. Raising the hourly minimum wage to $9 will bring the cost to employers to about $10.

And in 2014, employers with more than 49 workers who do not offer the right kind of health insurance will have to pay a penalty of $2,000 per worker per year, further increasing costs and discouraging hiring. Many are already cutting back or reducing workers’ hours, because no penalty is owed on those working less than 30 hours weekly.

Unemployment rates for teens and low-skill workers rose faster than others in the recession. The adult unemployment rate stood at 7.3% in January 2012. That’s over 3 percentage points higher than the 3.8% rate in December 2007, five years earlier, at the start of the recession. But the January 2012 unemployment rate for teens was about 6 percentage points higher than December 2007, at 23%.

Employers now only employ workers who can produce $8 an hour or more of goods or services. Under Obama’s proposal, they would employ only those who could produce $10 an hour, an amount that would rise every year. The government can mandate steadily rising minimum wages, but not steadily rising teen skills and productivity.

As minimum wages rise, employers change technologies or hire more skilled workers.

Forbidding employment of those whose skills aren’t worth $10 an hour prevents workers getting their foot on the bottom of the career ladder. Obama is essentially proposing to take away the right to work for low-skill workers.

Most American employers have to pay more than minimum wage just to attract and hold the workers they need. Almost 140 million workers now earn above minimum wage, not because of federal or state law, but because that is the only way that firms can attract and keep employees with skills.

Instead of more money for youth employment, why not expand the federal minimum wage exception for teens? Under federal law, employers are allowed to pay teens $4.25 an hour for 90 consecutive calendar days, or until their 20th birthday, at which point the wage has to revert to $7.25 an hour.

The law is not simple. Employers have to show that teen workers don’t displace others. If the state minimum laws don’t specifically include the teen exception, then teens have to be paid the regular minimum — and the large states, such as California and New York, don’t mention teens. Ninety calendar days might cover a summer job, but if teens want to continue the job during the school year, employers have to pay them the standard wage.

Youth unemployment is a serious social problem in some European countries, such as France (27%), Spain (55%), and Italy (37%). These governments have taken every possible step to discourage the young from working short of criminalizing work: wages are regulated to be high, and it is costly to hire a new worker and even more costly to let one go. In these countries, young people have a much harder time getting started up the career ladder than their American counterparts.

America does not want to go down this road. Working at an early age teaches useful skills, transferable to future jobs, such as getting to work on time, staying the whole day, and putting up with unpleasant colleagues.

Increasing the hourly minimum wage to $9 and indexing it for inflation is bad news for teens and low-skill workers who deserve a better opportunity, and it is bad news for America where we cannot afford to further cripple our economy. (Market Watch)

But because he “cares” he will make your boss fire you because he can’t afford you any longer and that is your Boss’s fault because he’s just a greedy capitalist pig.

But at least now you have 2 years+ of unemployment, Food Stamps, you could move back in with your parents, Your Obama Phone and Internet so Life is good… 🙂

Rich Detour 590 LI 2

Lincoln Comp 590 cdn

Food For The Sowell VI

People on both sides of tax issues often speak of such things as a “$300 billion tax increase” or a “$500 billion tax decrease.”

That is fine if they are looking back at something that has already happened. But it can be sheer nonsense if they are talking about a proposed increase or decrease in the tax rate.

The government can only raise or lower the tax rate. Whether the actual tax revenues that the government will collect as a result will go up or down is a matter of prophecy. And these prophecies have been far too wrong far too often to base national policies on them.

When Congress was considering raising the capital gains tax rate from 20% to 28% in 1986, the Congressional Budget Office advised Congress that this would increase the revenue received from that tax.

But the Congressional Budget Office was wrong, not simply about the amount of the tax revenue increase, but about the fact that the capital gains tax revenue actually fell.

There was nothing unique about this example of tax rates and tax revenues moving in opposite directions from each other — and also in opposite directions from the predictions of the Congressional Budget Office.

Reductions of the capital gains tax rates in 1978, 1997 and 2003 all led to increased revenues from that tax.

The Congressional Budget Office is by no means the only government agency whose prophecies have been grossly unreliable. Anyone who looks at the history of the Federal Reserve System will find many painful examples of wrong prophecies that led to policies with bad consequences for the whole economy.

In a worldwide context, during the 20th-century economic central planning by governments — prophecy at the grandest level — led to so many bad consequences, in countries around the world, that even most socialist and communist governments abandoned central planning by the end of that century.

The failures of governmental prophecies in so many different contexts cannot be blamed on stupidity.

Most of the people who made these prophecies were far more educated than the average person, had far more information at their fingertips and probably had higher IQs as well.

Their intellectual superiority to others may well have given them the confidence to venture into areas where no human being has what it takes to make prophecies that lead to policies overriding the plans and actions of millions of other human beings.

As John Stuart Mill said, back in the 19th century, “even if a government were superior in intelligence and knowledge to any single individual in the nation, it must be inferior to all the individuals of the nation taken together.”

People competing with each other, and being forced to make mutual accommodations with each other in the marketplace, are operating in a trial-and-error process.

Human beings are going to make errors in any kind of economic or political system. The question is: Which kind of system punishes errors more quickly, and more effectively, in terms of forcing errors to be corrected?

A market economy with many competitors has incentives and constraints that are the opposite of those in a government monopoly.

Anyone familiar with the economic history of businesses knows that their mistakes have been common and large. But red ink on the bottom line lets them know that they are going to have to shape up or shut down.

Government agencies face no such constraint.

The Federal Reserve can keep making the same mistakes in the next hundred years that it made in its first hundred years. Or it can make new and bigger mistakes.

Nor is the Federal Reserve unique. The same thing applies to the Congressional Budget Office and to government agencies on down to the local DMV.

Elected politicians not only can keep making the same mistakes. They have every incentive to deny that they made a mistake in the first place, since such an admission can end their careers.

That is why these prophets can lead to our losses.

**************

A nation’s choice between spending on military defense and spending on civilian goods has often been posed as “guns versus butter.”

But understanding the choices of many nations’ political leaders might be helped by examining the contrast between their runaway spending on pensions while skimping on military defense.

Huge pensions for retired government workers can be found from small municipalities to national governments on both sides of the Atlantic.

There is a reason. For elected officials, pensions are virtually the ideal thing to spend money on, politically speaking.

Many kinds of spending of the taxpayers’ money win votes from the recipients. But raising taxes to pay for this spending loses votes from the taxpayers. Pensions offer a way out of this dilemma for politicians.

Creating pensions that offer generous retirement benefits wins votes in the present by promising spending in the future.

Promises cost nothing in the short run — and elections are held in the short run, long before the pensions are due.

By contrast, private insurance companies that sell annuities are forced by law to set aside enough assets to cover the cost of the annuities they have promised to pay.

But nobody can force the government to do that — and most governments do not.

FDR’s Cuts

This means that it is only a matter of time before pensions are due to be paid and there is not enough money set aside to pay for them.

This applies to Social Security and other government pensions here, as well as to all sorts of pensions in other countries overseas.

Eventually, the truth will come out that there is just not enough money in the till to pay what retirees were promised. But eventually can be a long time.

A politician can win quite a few elections between now and eventually — and be living in comfortable retirement by the time it is somebody else’s problem to cope with the impossibility of paying retirees the pensions they were promised.

Inflating the currency and paying pensions in dollars that won’t buy as much is just one of the ways for the government to seem to be keeping its promises, while in fact welshing on the deal.

The politics of military spending are just the opposite of the politics of pensions.

In the short run, politicians can always cut military spending without any immediate harm being visible, however catastrophic the consequences may turn out to be down the road.

Despite the huge increase in government spending on domestic programs during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration in the 1930s, FDR cut back on military spending.

Throwing Duds

On the eve of the Second World War, the U.S. had the 16th largest army in the world, right behind Portugal.

Even this small military force was so inadequately supplied with equipment that its training was skimped.

American soldiers went on maneuvers using trucks with “tank” painted on their sides, since there were not enough real tanks to go around.

American warplanes were not updated to match the latest warplanes of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan.

After World War II broke out, American soldiers stationed in the Philippines were fighting for their lives using rifles left over from the Spanish-American War, decades earlier.

The hand grenades they threw at the Japanese invaders were so old that they often failed to explode.

At the battle of Midway, of 82 Americans who flew into combat in obsolete torpedo planes, only 12 returned alive.

In Europe, our best tanks were never as good as the Germans’ best tanks, which destroyed several times as many American tanks as the Germans lost in tank battles.

Fortunately, the quality of American warplanes eventually caught up with and surpassed the best that the Germans and Japanese had.

But a lot of American pilots lost their lives needlessly in outdated planes before that happened.

These were among the many prices paid for skimping on military spending in the years leading up to World War II.

But, politically, the path of least resistance is to cut military spending in the short run and let the long run take care of itself.

In a nuclear age, we may not have time to recover from our short-sighted policies, as we did in World War II.

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne


Michael Ramirez Cartoon

Bass Ackwards

For years, ObamaCare critics focused on its least popular feature — the mandate that everyone buy insurance — taking their fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

But as ObamaCare’s official launch date approaches, even its backers are beginning to admit that the law could actually create powerful incentives for millions of people and thousands of businesses to drop their coverage, despite the mandate.

Like: Universal Studios Orlando, the #2 attraction next to Disney:

Universal Orlando plans to stop offering medical insurance to part-time employees beginning next year, a move the resort says has been forced by the federal government’s health-care overhaul.

The giant theme-park resort, which generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue, began informing employees this month that it will offer health-insurance to part-timers “only until December 31, 2013.”

The reason: Universal currently offers part-time workers a limited insurance plan that has low premiums but also caps the payout of benefits. For instance, Universal’s plan costs about $18 a week for employee-only coverage but covers only a maximum of $5,000 a year toward hospital stays. There are similar caps for other services.

Those types of insurance plans — sometimes referred to as “mini-med” plans — will no longer be permitted under the federal Affordable Care Act. Beginning in 2014, the law will prohibit insurance plans that impose annual monetary limits on essential medical care such, as hospitalization, or on overall spending.

Universal is one of the largest employers in Central Florida, with approximately 17,000 employees. It has thousands of part-time workers, though Universal said only about 500 of them are enrolled in the current insurance plan, as many part-timers are covered by a parent’s or spouse’s insurance.

“We care about our team members and we want them to have best, most-affordable medical benefits we can provide,” Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said Tuesday. “This particular issue affects about 3 percent of our 17,000 team members, and we’re going to continue to work toward a solution.”

A spokesman for Orlando-based Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster, Olive Garden,etc..) said Tuesday its limited-coverage plans will “go away after this year,” as well.

“We’d like to have the option to continue offering them, since they are popular with our part-time employees, but the ACA doesn’t offer that type of flexibility,” spokesman Rich Jeffers said. “There is still a lot we don’t know about the new health-care regulations for 2014, but we are committed to helping all of our employees navigate through the new environment as we learn more.”

Walt Disney World has about 1,400 part-time employees enrolled in limited plans. A spokeswoman for the resort would say only that Disney is “still assessing the health-care reform act and how it impacts our business.”

“They have not talked to us about it yet,” added Eric Clinton, president of Unite Here! Local 362, which represents some of Disney’s part-time employees.

SeaWorld Orlando, too, offers some limited-benefit plans to part-time and seasonal workers. The company said it is “currently assessing options.”(Orlando Sentinel)

There is growing concern, for example, that the law’s market reforms will cause a huge “rate shock,” particularly for those young and healthy.

A February survey of major health insurance companies in five cities across the country found that they expect premiums for this group to climb an average 169%.

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said late last year that he expects premiums to double for some small businesses and some individuals as a result of the law.

And state insurance commissioners are worried as well.

“We are very concerned,” California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones told federal health officials at a December meeting, “if there is so much rate shock for young people that they’re bound not to purchase (health insurance) at all.”

The cause of this rate shock is simple: ObamaCare imposes what is called “community rating” on insurance companies, effectively forcing them to charge the young and healthy more so they can charge older and sicker consumers less.

The five-city survey, for example, found that while the law will jack up rates for the young, it will lower them an average 22% for older and sicker customers.

Which means the lowest risk is paying much higher because the  higher risk are paying less. THE EXACT OPPOSITE of the way insurance is supposed to work.

That’s like lowering the premiums on the guy who’s had 2 DUIs and raising it on the driver who hasn’t had an accident in 20 years to pay for it.

At the same time, ObamaCare also forbids insurance companies from turning anyone down — a reform called “guaranteed issue” — which also will provide an incentive for some to drop coverage, knowing they can get it back any time.

“Even with the tax penalty … some healthy people would avoid purchasing coverage until they are sick,” Howard Shapiro, director of public policy at the Alliance of Community Health Plans, told regulators .

The problem is that if the young and healthy drop coverage, the result be what the industry calls a “death spiral.” Premiums will climb as the pool of insured gets sicker, causing still more to cancel their policies.

This is just what happened in states that imposed strict community rating and guaranteed issue reforms in the past. In fact, of the eight states that did so, most ended up either dropping the reforms or loosening the rules after they saw enrollment decline and premiums climb.

ObamaCare backers say the law’s subsidies will keep premium costs down, while the mandate to buy insurance will keep the young and healthy in the market.

But even they admit that the subsidies won’t protect everyone from ObamaCare-caused rate shocks, and the mandate is likely to prove too weak to be very effective.

In fact, the annual penalty for not buying insurance will be as low as $95 in 2014, and even when the mandate penalty is fully phased in by 2016 it will be modest relative to the cost of buying insurance.

In one illustrative example provided by the IRS , a family earning $120,000 in 2016 would owe just $2,400 in “shared responsibility payments” — the administration’s new euphemism for the penalty — while buying insurance would run them, in the IRS example, at least $20,000.

In addition, after 2016, the penalty amounts will be indexed to inflation, even though insurance premiums have consistently risen much faster than the CPI, which means “shared responsibility payment” will be less of a deterrent over time.

On top of all this, the IRS has virtually no ability to collect the penalties from those who don’t pay them. As the IRS itself explains, the law forbids the agency from imposing liens or criminal penalties, leaving it few options beyond deducting the penalty from tax refunds.

Aren’t you glad you bought the “Vote For Me, the Other guy’s an Asshole!” because you wanted everything to be the same as it has been. 🙂

 

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Oh SNAP!

Ah, Dear old Batty VP Joe Biden, “if you want to protect yourself, get a double barrel shotgun”.

I guess he didn’t get the memo again.

Neither Did this moron…

Democratic Colorado state Rep. Joe Salazar apologized Monday for suggesting some women are so unjustifiably afraid of being raped that they are liable to start shooting wildly.

Salazar, arguing in favor of disarming college students, said Friday on the Colorado House floor that women fearing rape may suddenly and haphazardly ”pop a round at somebody.”

“It’s why we have call boxes; it’s why we have safe zones; it’s why we have the whistles — because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop a round at somebody,” Salazar said.

Now imagine if this had been a Republican or non-liberal…. 🙂

Oh, SNAP!!…

The United States Department of Agriculture has been working to dispel immigrants’ concerns that getting on will harm their chances of becoming U.S. citizens.

The USDA addresses those fears in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp, brochures it distributes to Mexican consulates as part of its “partnership” with the Mexican government “to help educate eligible Mexican nationals living in the United States about available nutrition assistance.”

In one portion of the brochure, USDA’s text asks, “If I get on SNAP benefits, will I be a ‘public charge?’” The brochure then answers: “No. You and your family can apply for and receive SNAP benefits without hurting your chance of becoming U.S. citizens.”

The brochure further advises immigrants that members of their family could qualify for food stamps, even if they do not.

“If you are not eligible due to your immigration status, your legal immigrant or citizen children may still qualify,” the brochure reads. ”You do not have to provide immigration information about yourself when you apply for your legal immigrant or citizen children.”

Legal immigrants may obtain SNAP benefits after a five-year wait. Children under 18, refugees, asylumees, and some disabled and elderly do not have to wait, as the pamphlet notes.

So, the tip is, don’t come here legally it’s much more beneficial.

An analysis of March 2011 Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey data by Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, revealed that heads of households born in Mexico are the most likely nationality to be on some form of food assistance, with 45.3 percent reporting use of food assistance.

By comparison, 13.9 percent of native-born Americans reported using food assistance, and in general 24.1 percent of all immigrant household heads report some food assistance use.

But to suggest that Illegal Mexicans are pimping off our system is racist! you know… 🙂
Michael Ramirez Cartoon
Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

 Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

False Consensus

Argument from authority (argumentum ad verecundiam), also authoritative argument and appeal to authority, is an inductive-reasoning argument that often takes the form of a statistical syllogism. Although certain classes of argument from authority can constitute strong inductive arguments, the appeal to authority is often applied fallaciously: either the authority is not a subject-matter expert, or there is no consensus among experts in the subject matter, or both.

Yes, many climate scientists believe that emissions of greenhouse gases are heating the earth. Of course there are some who don’t.

You mean the Global Warming CONSENSUS that says, “of course it’s Global Warming” and you must be an ignorant moron not to believe it! 🙂

But when confining the question to geoscientists and engineers, it turns out that only 36% believe that human activities are causing Earth’s climate to warm.

So 64% are ignorant morons who have been lied to be the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy…

This is the finding of the peer-reviewed paper “Science or Science Fiction? Professionals’ Discursive Construction of Climate Change” and this group is categorized as the “Comply with Kyoto” cohort.

Members of this group, not unexpectedly, “express the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.”

Academics Lianne M. Lefsrud of the University of Alberta and Renate E. Meyer of Vienna University of Economics and Business, and the Copenhagen Business School, came upon that number through a survey of 1,077 professional engineers and geoscientists.

Their work also revealed that 24% “believe that changes to the climate are natural, normal cycles of the earth” while another 10% consider the “‘real’ cause of climate change” to be “unknown” and acknowledge that “nature is forever changing and uncontrollable.”

The 10% group, known as the “Economic Responsibility” cohort, expresses “much stronger and more negative emotions than any other group, especially that climate science is a fraud and hoax and that regulation is futile, useless, and impossible.”

The 24% group, tagged as the “Nature is Overwhelming” faction, is the “most likely to speak against climate science as being science fiction, ‘manipulated and fraudulent'” and is “least likely to believe that the scientific debate is settled, that IPCC modeling is accurate.”

The researchers also found a group they call the “Fatalists” — the 17% who “diagnose climate change as both human- and naturally caused,” “consider climate change to be a smaller public risk with little impact on their personal life” and “are skeptical that the scientific debate is settled regarding the IPCC modeling.”

Lefsrud and Meyer also note that “skepticism regarding anthropogenic climate change remains” among climate scientists. They mention, as well, that “the proportion of papers found in the ISI Web of Science database that explicitly endorsed anthropogenic climate change has fallen from 75% (for the period between 1993 and 2003) as of 2004 to 45% from 2004 to 2008, while outright disagreement has risen from 0% to 6%.”

If the alarmists are getting only limited cooperation from man, they are getting even less from nature itself. Arctic sea ice, which sent the green shirts into a lather when it hit a record low in the summer of 2012, has “with a few weeks of growth still to occur … blown away the previous record for ice gain this winter.”

“This is only the third winter in history,” when more than 10 million square kilometers of new ice has formed in the Arctic, Real Science reported on Tuesday, using data from Arctic Climate Research at the University of Illinois.

At the same time, the Antarctic “is now approaching 450 days of uninterrupted above normal ice area,” says the skeptical website Watts Up With That, which, also using University of Illinois Arctic Climate Research data, notes that “the last time the Antarctic sea ice was below normal” was Nov. 22, 2011.

This is all illuminating information. But it won’t get the same media attention given to Al Gore and the usual assortment of eco-radicals, because it violates the narrative that our selfish activities are warming this planet.

It is consistent, however, with what most people call common sense. (IBD)

And when it comes to the Liberal Left’s Agenda, common sense is totally absent. There is a consensus on that at least.
THE AGENDA IS THE AGENDA.
Control of everyone and everything every second of every minute of every hour of every day of your life and beyond is the Agenda. Period.
End of Line. 🙂
Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert
Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

 Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

 Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Solar Panels or Chevy Volt anyone??
Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

What Difference Does it Make?

I’m Back. I’m tired. I got in at 2am in the morning.

Talk about admirable aspirations, ignore the nation’s economic and fiscal realities, keep everyone fighting amongst themselves over anything at hand while calmly deploring all the disputes, rancor and chaos that this president has helped to engineer.

Such stunning cynicism has actually worked pretty well for the Real Good Talker this past year.

Never mind stratospheric millions of jobless, an amazingly ineffective economic stimulus program, historic highs in poverty rates, a national debt larger than a national economy and nearly 50 million people collecting food stamps tossed out like free candy from a parade float.

Instead, talk about educating every single American child for their own fair shot at some kind of idealized future, delivering better healthcare to millions more people for less money with no additional doctors and protecting ill-defined middle-class Americans from someone doing something to them.

None of it will ever come to pass on his grand rhetorical scale. But the community organizer doesn’t care. By the time enough figure it out, Obama will be back in the Pacific golfing with Choom Gang buddies while another ghostwriter drafts the next autobiography.

Now that he’s got Washington and Republicans fighting over how to address his briefly postponed sequester cuts and a national debt that grows by $2.8 million every single minute of every single day, Obama this morning launches his next divisive distraction: More controls on firearms.

While the media has been full of stories of booming post-election gun sales, less attention has been focused on another fact: As the estimated count of non-military U.S. firearms now exceeds 310 million, the annual number of gun homicides has declined strikingly: From more than 17,000 in 1993 to 9,900 in 2011.

No one believes that anything Washington orders will stop the awful occasional outbreaks by a few twisted souls among the more than 315 million Americans. But it’s admirable to try, isn’t it? It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Can you prove it won’t work?

“My starting point is not to worry about the politics,” Obama said with a straight face. “My starting point is to focus on what makes sense, what works, what should we be doing to make sure that our children are safe and that we’re reducing the incidents of gun violence.”

And fortuitously for Obama and his mob from Chicago, the nation’s newest gun homicide capital, a renewed emotional if useless, constitutional debate over bearing arms will keep folks from discussing other issues potentially more embarrassing to this White House. (IBD)

BENGHAZI

After explaining to Gregory that there are still a number of unanswered questions regarding Benghazi, McCain concludes by saying there’ s been a massive cover-up. Gregory is confused: “A massive cover-up of what?”

You ought to know Mr. Gregory, oh that’s right, you’re too busy trying to bury it and make it a non-story… 🙂

JOHN MCCAIN: I’m asking you, do you care– I– I’m– I’m asking you, do you care whether four Americans died? Or do you– the reasons for that? And– and shouldn’t pe– people be held accountable for the fact that four Americans died–

DAVID GREGORY: Well, what you said was the cover-up–

(OVERTALK)

DAVID GREGORY: A cover-up of what?

JOHN MCCAIN: Of the information– concerning the deaths of four brave Americans. The information has not been forthcoming. You can obviously believe that it has. I know that it hasn’t. And I’ll be glad to send you a list of the questions that have not been answered, including what did the president do and who did he talk to the night of the attack on Benghazi?

And why was it? Why was it that we– that the f– the people who were evacuated from the– from the consulate the next day were not interviewed the next day. And then they would’ve known that it was not a spontaneous demonstration. Why did the president for two weeks, for two weeks during the heat of the campaign continue to say he didn’t know whether it was a terrorist attack or not?

Is it because it interfered with the line of Al Qaeda has decimated? And everything’s fine in that– in that part of the world? Maybe. We don’t know. But we need the answers. Then we’ll reach conclusions. But we have not received the answers. And that’s a fact.

But hey, what difference at this point does it make, right?  (Newsbusters)

Political Cartoons by Robert Ariail

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

 Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Spending Problem

 

8 percent

lost in translation

 

Sen. Harkin: “First of all, I want to disagree with those who say we have a spending problem. Everyone keeps saying we have a spending problem. And when they talk about that, it’s like there’s an assumption that somehow we as a nation are broke. We can’t afford these things any longer. We’re too broke to invest in education and housing and things like that. Well look at it this way, we’re the richest nation in the history of the world. We are now the richest nation in the world. We have the highest per capita income of any major nation. That kind of begs the question, doesn’t it? If we’re so rich, why are we so broke? Is it a spending problem? No.

Nancy Pelosi: “We have to make a judgment about what — how do we get growth with jobs, that is where the real revenue comes from. You don’t get it by…cutting your education and cutting back on investments in science and National Institutes of Health, food safety, you name it. So, it isn’t as much a spending problem as it is a priorities — and that is what the budget is, setting priorities…So it is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem, we have a budget deficit problem.” 

ANCHOR: Sir, does the country have a spending problem?

HOYER: Does the country have a spending problem?  The country has a paying-for problem.  We haven’t paid for what we bought.  We haven’t paid for the tax cuts, we haven’t paid for the wars…

ANCHOR: Are we promising too much?

HOYER:  Absolutely.  If we don’t pay, we shouldn’t buy.  

ANCHOR: So how is this different from a spending problem?

HOYER: Well, we spent a lot of money when George Bush was President of the United States… 
Bravo, Congressman. (1) Concoct a plausible-sounding alternative to describing the government’s patently obvious spending problem, (2) insinuate that it’s a revenue issue, (3) imply that the bulk of the gap is due to unpaid-for tax cuts and wars — hint: Bush, (4) pay lip service to future fiscal restraint, (5) explicitly blame Bush.  Perfect.  (Townhall)

We don’t have spending problem, we have a “paying for it” problem!!!

ROTFL!

And Orwell would be proud you can say that with a straight face and mean it!

Yeah, last time I look at my budget, if I had a “paying for it” problem I cut my spending I didn’t go to my boss and ask for a raise because I needed to make more money to pay for my spending!!

That is, if you have a job and a boss to begin with… 🙂

Doctor-Who-50

I am leaving in a few hours for my annual pilgrimage to LA for The World’s Largest “Doctor Who” Convention where I can indulge in pleasure for 3 days and not have to worry about the end of my country as I knew it.

So I will be back on Monday. (No applause please) 🙂

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

It’s Wafer thin…. 🙂

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

 

 

Circus Act

Our Dear Peter Principle Ex-Governor is at it again:

“I often hear the argument that before reform can move forward, we must first secure our borders,” Napolitano said at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s first hearing on immigration reform.

“But too often, the ‘border security first’ refrain simply serves as an excuse for failing to address the underlying problems. It also ignores the significant progress and efforts that we have undertaken over the past four years. Our borders have, in fact, never been stronger.”

She wants those illegal alien votes when she thinks about running against Hilary in 2016 too.

Back in December, “undocumented Americans” were in the running to become TIME Magazine’s “Person of the Year” and just two weeks ago, Democratic Rep. John Conyers referred to illegal immigrants as simply “out of status” Americans. Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, illegal immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas asked Congress not to call him “illegal.”

Jose Antonio Vargas, an illegal immigrant and former reporter, scolded a congressional panel on Wednesday, saying that he should not be called illegal, and saying it is an insult to his family who brought him here.

“When you inaccurately call me illegal, you not only dehumanize me, you’re offending them,” he said. “No human being is illegal.”

Mr. Vargas testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee alongside Chris Crane — a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent and president of the ICE agents’ union — who is unable to arrest him under the administration’s new non-deportation policies.

Mr. Vargas, who “came out” as an illegal immigrant several years ago, delivered an emotional plea for the country to legalize him.

How can Vargas be legalized if he isn’t illegal? As a reminder, entering the United States without permission is a crime or in other words is, illegal.

A reminder about US Code-Section 1325- Improper Entry by Alien:

(a) Improper time or place; avoidance of examination or inspection;
misrepresentation and concealment of facts Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

(b) Improper time or place; civil penalties Any alien who is apprehended while entering (or attempting to enter) the United States at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers shall be subject to a civil penalty

But that’s the point of the Orwellian word games and the “racist” charges isn’t it?

To make the illegal appear to be just an aberration of normal and nothing to get excited about. And if that doesn’t work, bully people into going along with your Agenda.

How Liberal is that.

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

Either Obama recruited writers from “The Daily Show” or a thick cloud of unreality has descended on the White House. How else to explain lines like these in Tuesday’s speech:

“It is not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government.”

That’s rich coming from the guy who jacked up spending to record levels. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government is now on track to consume an average of 22.1% of GDP over the next decade.

That’s bigger than all but eight of the 60 post-World War II years before Obama took office.

Going to preschool ends up “boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime” and can help infants eventually “form more stable families of their own.”

Preschool cuts crime and improves marriages? How was this miracle kept hidden all these years?

Never mind that the two states Obama praised for their commitment to preschool — Georgia and Oklahoma — rank in the bottom third for reading and math proficiency, and college attendance, according to the Department of Education.

Then there was this: “As long as countries like China keep going all in on clean energy, so must we.”

All in? Sixteen of the world’s top 20 most polluted cities are in China. The New York Times reported just a couple weeks ago that Beijing’s air quality ranked a “crazy bad” 755 on a scale of 0 to 500.

The country has been building a new coal plant almost every week and plans 363 more, and China now emits almost twice as much CO2 as the U.S.

“Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs.”

This would be funny if it weren’t so tragically wrong. After trending downward, insurance premiums spiked 9.5% the year after ObamaCare became law, and another 4.5% last year. And that’s before the main event happens in 2014, when ObamaCare takes full effect.

One study finds ObamaCare’s mountain of rules and regulations will nearly triple premiums for young people. And his own health care experts say that national spending will shoot up 7.4% in 2014 and will climb 6% or more for the foreseeable future.

“We can’t cut our way to prosperity.”

That line had to elicit a chuckle out of Bill Clinton, at least. After all, the economy saw record growth in the 1990s even as real spending on domestic and defense programs was being cut four years in a row.

The 1980s boom, too, happened while Reagan was cutting federal “investments.” And the economy took flight in the 1950s after Congress slashed spending by a stunning 72% in the years following World War II.

Obama’s own record shows pretty clearly that the obverse — that we can spend our way to prosperity — is just as ridiculously false.

Apparently, Obama believes all this nonsense. Which isn’t funny at all. (IBD)

So it’s the Ministry of Truth’s job to crush the opposition and to prop up the greatest con man since PT Barnum.

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

 Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

The Smarter Government

Fiscal Policy: President Obama now says the deficit problem is all but fixed, so we can stop all this unpleasant talk about spending cuts and get on with government spending. Maybe this is good politics, but it’s reckless policy.

So like any good Orwellian what you do is just change the terms. Like “Global Cooling” becomes “global Warming” then that become the nebulous and more mailable “Global Climate Change”.

Illegal Alien become Illegal Immigrant, become Undocumented Immigrant to even more extreme, just plain “immigrant”.

Change the terms. Say it over and over again. Make it politically correct to use only your terms. Then you own it and them.

In Orwell’s 1984, a government strategy claims that to limit language = to limit thought. But, if that claim be true, can language also be purposely used to limit emotion?

The totalitarian aim of the Party is to prevent any alternative thinking—”thoughtcrime”, or “crimethink” in the newest edition of Newspeak—by destroying any vocabulary that expresses such concepts as freedom, free enquiry, individualism, resistance to the authority of the state and so on.

thoughtcrime is the criminal act of holding unspoken beliefs or doubts that oppose or question the ruling party. In the book, the government attempts to control not only the speech and actions, but also the thoughts of its subjects. To entertain unacceptable thought is known as to crimethink in Newspeak, the ideologically purified dialect of the party.In the book, Winston Smith, the main character, writes in his diary: “Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death.” There is also a “ministry of love” which is actually the place of torture for people who commit thoughtcrime or any type of crime for that matter.

“If there is no language with which to express an idea …” and “If there is no language with which to express an emotion …”

Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like “freedom is slavery” when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.

And who is more orthodox than the radical Left and our President??

And who has more of these: Orwell spoke of “slogan swallowers” who repeat the nonsense formulas of demagogues.

The Left.

Who wants you to shut up about how wrong they are?

The Left.

Democracy as a marketing campaign. Or a Campaign Organization by a Campaign Organizer.

Orwellian slogans mean nothing, but they set human beings’ minds at rest — i.e. put them to sleep.

State of the Union last Night: “Nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth,” Obama said.

Very general, very non-threatening. But it’s all a lie.

“We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence,” he said. “Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science and act before it’s too late.”

If Congress won’t act “soon,” he added, “I will,”  probably through new Environmental Protection Agency limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

That is an explicit threat. Do it my way or the highway. If you won’t play, I will have my EPA crush you!

Then comes HHS, SEC,FDA and the rest of the Alphabet Nazis….

Government Power Uber Alles!

The “smarter” government is how to demonize people who disagree with him better. To force them off the table.

In the run-up to his State of the Union speech, Obama was running around telling everyone how we’ve already “cut our deficit by more than $2.5 trillion,” and are now “more than halfway towards the $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists . .. say we need to stabilize our debt.”

Clearly Obama wants all the dreary talk of deficits off the table. That way he can attack Republicans who try to impose deeper spending cuts, and push for more federal “investments” to help grow the economy.

But there are just two problems with Obama’s claim.

First, despite what Obama says, the debt crisis is nowhere near fixed — as anyone who’s looked at the report from Obama’s own debt commission would know.

That report opened with this stark statement: “Our nation is on an unsustainable fiscal path.” Left unchecked, it said, the rising debt “will put America at risk,” and that “continued inaction is not a viable option.”

The panel also made it clear that stabilizing the debt would require a huge, long-term commitment to spending restraint at every level of government, as well as an overhaul of out-of-control entitlement programs.

When the commission filed its report in 2010, the national debt was $9 trillion, or about 63% of the nation’s GDP. The national debt today is over $12 trillion, and has already surpassed 76% of GDP.

Had the debt commission’s plan been adopted, the deficit this year would be $646 billion, and on its way down to $279 billion by 2020. And the debt would be holding steady at about 65% of GDP.

Instead, this year’s deficit will be $845 billion — even after the alleged $2.5 trillion in savings that Obama touts — and will start climbing again in three years, reaching back up to $1 trillion by 2023, according to the latest forecast from the Congressional Budget Office.

The national debt, meanwhile, never drops below 73% of GDP, according to the CBO, and starts climbing after 2018, reaching 77% of GDP by 2023.

Even that forecast is optimistic, since it assumes ObamaCare costs don’t explode and that there’s no recession over the next decade.

Meanwhile, on the same day Obama delivered his State of the Union speech, the head of the Congressional Budget Office warned Congress that the country will continue its charge toward the fiscal cliff unless “significant changes” are made to entitlements.

But rather than push for anything like that, Obama wants to call it “Mission Accomplished” after a couple rounds of relatively tiny and mostly phantom spending cuts and no meaningful entitlement reforms.

And that gets to the second problem with Obama’s claim — that more Keynesian-style government “investments” will boost economic growth.

In case anyone has forgotten, we’ve just been subject to the longest sustained experiment in Keynesian economics in the nation’s history, with spending and deficits at historic highs for four straight years.

Obama four years ago predicted that his economic policies would produce 4.6% GDP growth by 2012 and an unemployment rate of just 6%.

Actual results: GDP climbed just 2.2% last year and the unemployment rate has never dropped below 7.8% since Obama took office.

Obama might honestly believe that the nation’s long-term fiscal picture is just fine. But woe to the country if anyone else buys into his fantasy. (IBD)

That’s the Ministry of Truth’s Job.

The Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment, the fine arts and educational books. Its purpose is to rewrite history and change the facts to fit Party doctrine for propaganda effect. For example, if Big Brother makes a prediction that turns out to be wrong, the employees of the Ministry of Truth go back and rewrite the prediction so that any prediction Big Brother previously made is accurate. This is the “how” of the Ministry of Truth’s existence. Within the novel Orwell elaborates that the deeper reason for its existence is to maintain the illusion that the Party is absolute. It cannot ever seem to change its mind (if, for instance, they perform one of their constant changes regarding enemies during war) or make a mistake (firing an official or making a grossly misjudged supply prediction), for that would imply weakness and to maintain power the Party must seem eternally right and strong.

The War has begun.

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

The Dark Side of Green

Homeowners on the hunt for sparkling solar panels are lured by ads filled with images of pristine landscapes and bright sunshine, and words about the technology’s benefits for the environment – and the wallet.

What customers may not know is that there’s a dirtier side.

But I doubt this Dark Side of The Green “paradise” is worth anything because THEY are doing something for the environment and global warming so they are unassailable.

The Road is paved with them an all that…

While solar is a far less polluting energy source than coal or natural gas, many panel makers are nevertheless grappling with a hazardous waste problem. Fueled partly by billions in government incentives, the industry is creating millions of solar panels each year and, in the process, millions of pounds of polluted sludge and contaminated water.

To dispose of the material, the companies must transport it by truck or rail far from their own plants to waste facilities hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of miles away.

The fossil fuels used to transport that waste, experts say, is not typically considered in calculating solar’s carbon footprint, giving scientists and consumers who use the measurement to gauge a product’s impact on global warming the impression that solar is cleaner than it is.

After installing a solar panel, “it would take one to three months of generating electricity to pay off the energy invested in driving those hazardous waste emissions out of state,” said Dustin Mulvaney, a San Jose State University environmental studies professor who conducts carbon footprint analyses of solar, biofuel and natural gas production. [Emphasis added]

Associated Press Article Details Waste Created by Solar Energy

The article then discusses solar panel companies in California, which leads the U.S. market:

The state records show the 17 companies, which had 44 manufacturing facilities in California, produced 46.5 million pounds of sludge and contaminated water from 2007 through the first half of 2011. Roughly 97 percent of it was taken to hazardous waste facilities throughout the state, but more than 1.4 million pounds were transported to nine other states: Arkansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.

Several solar energy experts said they have not calculated the industry’s total waste and were surprised at what the records showed. ​[Emphasis added]

The fossil fuels used to transport that waste, experts say, is not typically considered in calculating solar’s carbon footprint, giving scientists and consumers who use the measurement to gauge a product’s impact on global warming the impression that solar is cleaner than it is.

After installing a solar panel, “it would take one to three months of generating electricity to pay off the energy invested in driving those hazardous waste emissions out of state,” said Dustin Mulvaney, a San Jose State University environmental studies professor who conducts carbon footprint analyses of solar, biofuel and natural gas production.

The waste from manufacturing has raised concerns within the industry, which fears that the problem, if left unchecked, could undermine solar’s green image at a time when companies are facing stiff competition from each other and from low-cost panel manufacturers from China and elsewhere.

In many cases, a toxic sludge is created when metals and other toxins are removed from water used in the manufacturing process. If a company doesn’t have its own treatment equipment, then it will send contaminated water to be stored at an approved dump.

“We want to take the lessons learned from electronics and semiconductor industries (about pollution) and get ahead of some of these problems,” said John Smirnow, vice president for trade and competitiveness at the nearly 500-member Solar Energy Industries Association.

The increase in solar hazardous waste is directly related to the industry’s fast growth over the past five years – even with solar business moving to China rapidly, the U.S. was a net exporter of solar products by $2 billion in 2010, the last year of data available. The nation was even a net exporter to China.

New companies often send hazardous waste out of their plants because they have not yet invested in on-site treatment equipment, which allows them to recycle some waste.

Nowhere is the waste issue more evident than in California, where landmark regulations approved in the 1970s require industrial plants like solar panel makers to report the amount of hazardous materials they produce, and where they send it. California leads the consumer solar market in the U.S. – which doubled overall both in 2010 and 2011.

The Associated Press compiled a list of 41 solar makers in the state, which included the top companies based on market data, and startups. In response to an AP records request, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control provided data that showed 17 of them reported waste, while the remaining did not.

The same level of federal data does not exist.

But what about Solyndra, the solar panel company that left taxpayers on the hook for $535 million and turned its equipment into modern art after going bankrupt?

Solyndra…reported producing about 12.5 million pounds of hazardous waste, much of it carcinogenic cadmium-contaminated water, which was sent to waste facilities from 2007 through mid-2011.

Before the company went bankrupt, leading to increased scrutiny of the solar industry and political fallout for President Barack Obama’s administration, Solyndra said it created 100 megawatts-worth of solar panels, enough to power 100,000 homes.

The records also show several other Silicon Valley solar facilities created millions of pounds of toxic waste without selling a single solar panel, while they were developing their technology or fine-tuning their production. [Emphasis added]

But the Associated Press adds in defense of solar energy: “While much of the waste produced is considered toxic, there was no evidence it has harmed human health.”

The article concludes with the assertion that solar energy is still better for the environment than fossil fuels, and it’s better that the toxic sludge end up in waste facilities than in the air or water.

The only challenge is getting the solar panel companies to be open with the amount of waste they produce.

The executive director of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, which began in 1982 and scores companies on their environmental impact, commented: “We find the overall industry response rate to our request for environmental information to be pretty dismal for an industry that is considered `green.’”

THE AGENDA IS THE AGENDA

No matter what the cost or consequences, obamas pet “green” energy products will always have only the best reported on them….that may be why we don’t hear much about them except in his speeches on how great they all are. Hey, I will be the first one to say we need to explore all the options in front of us, but at the same time lets not put our blinders on to the reality of the situation. When he stops trying to blow smoke up our butts maybe he will begin to become credible…not likely in our lifetime though! If we used BS as an energy source, obama and DC could power the world….may be worth looking into. The Hot Air resources alone has to be worth something besides debt and decay.

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

Scope

“We’re going to be mandating that every single person in this state have insurance,” said state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), chairman of the Senate Health Committee and leader of the effort to expand professional boundaries. “What good is it if they are going to have a health insurance card but no access to doctors?”

Well, we’ll just have to e-doctors who diagnose things from the internet and you won’t have any idea if they are even a Doctor…. 🙂

The next booming internet business.

Doctors say giving non-physicians more authority and autonomy could jeopardize patient safety. It could also drive up costs, because those workers, who have less medical education and training, tend to order more tests and prescribe more antibiotics, they said.

“Patient safety should always trump access concerns,” said Dr. Paul Phinney, president of the California Medical Assn.

Such “scope-of-practice” fights are flaring across the country as states brace for an influx of patients into already strained healthcare systems. About 350 laws altering what health professionals may do have been enacted nationwide in the last two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Since Jan. 1, more than 50 additional proposals have been launched in 24 states.

I wonder if they’ll have to have the Malpractice Insurance Doctors have? And that will drive up the costs too.

Gee, wasn’t this supposed to be cheaper and easier if the government stepped in and saved us all from the evil for-profit capitalists?? 🙂

Diana Dooley, secretary of the state Health and Human Services Agency, said in an interview that expanding some professionals’ roles was among the options policymakers should explore to help meet the expected demand.

At a meeting of healthcare advocates in December, she had offered a more blunt assessment.

We’re going to have to provide care at lower levels,” she told the group. “I think a lot of people are trained to do work that our licenses don’t allow them to.”

Lower the bar to meet the demand. Just what everyone wanted when ObamaCare was passed. And the advocates were so happy about. 🙂

Allowing certain health workers to set up independent practices would create voids in the clinics, hospitals and offices where they now work, he said. “It’s more like moving the deck chairs around rather than solving the problem,” Phinney said.

His group proposes a different solution: It wants more funding to expand participation in a loan repayment program for recent medical school graduates. Doctors can now receive up to $105,000 in return for practicing in underserved communities for three years.

Still, it typically takes a decade to train a physician. (LA Times)

So, of course, the answer is SPEND EVEN MORE MONEY.

That will fix any problem in Liberal land. The fact that California is more debt than some small nations are is irrelevant to the Left.

“We have always understood that when times change, so must we,” Obama said. “That fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges, that preserving our individual freedom ultimately requires collective action.”

Even if some tangible economic or social benefit were to be gained by imposing such Orwellian restrictions (and invariably there isn’t), these “collective actions” remain morally wrong and anathema to our nation’s founding principles — the latest missteps down a slippery slope leading to total subservience (and total dependency).

Beyond ideological concerns, what are the practical implications of these actions?

Do nanny statists such as Obama and Bloomberg — who are always seeking to expand their power by “protecting us from ourselves” — run the risk of depriving us of more than just our liberty?

Absolutely. Consider the case of Denmark, which recently repealed a Bloomberg-esque tariff on saturated fats.

Described by the Economist as “the world’s first fat tax,” Denmark’s levy artificially inflated prices on fatty food in an effort to discourage its consumption. The Danish fat tax created confusion, inequity, bureaucratic waste and — most significantly — economic losses.

One report referenced by the Economist found that 48% of Danes engaged in “cross-border shopping” to evade the tax — costing the nation an estimated $1.8 billion last year, according to its tax ministry.

Like Obama’s war on coal — or the broad new taxing power ensconced in his socialized medicine law — the manipulation of choices within the free market is the most effective way for government to slip its tentacles deeper into our livelihoods.

And the greater control government exercises over our livelihoods, the easier it can drive us to dependency — the great unspoken goal of all bureaucracies.

In recent years we have witnessed a dramatic escalation of the American welfare state — even as the economy “recovers.” Welfare programs cost American taxpayers $1.03 trillion in fiscal 2011 — a 32% increase from fiscal 2008.

Why Work?

This culture of dependency is crippling our nation — draining the treasury, sending deficits through the stratosphere and preventing our economy from experiencing a real, sustainable recovery.

And until we stop paying people to sit on the sidelines, things will continue to get worse.

Consider this: When it comes to disposable income, the head of a household of four making minimum wage is better off than the head of a family of four making $60,000 a year.

Why? Because when you factor in housing allowances, energy subsidies, food stamps, extended unemployment benefits and the rest of the welfare smorgasbord — it pays more to do nothing.

No wonder our labor participation rate is at its lowest level in three decades. Millions of Americans have figured out they can live better by not getting a job.

Last month the government of Japan announced its intention to trim welfare payments by nearly $1 billion as part of an effort to weed out the “comfortably poor.”

Of course, this reduction represents a mere sliver of the nation’s welfare tab — and we’ll see if the Japanese government follows through on its stated intentions.

One thing is clear: If governments continue to strip choices away from one segment of consumers while paying a growing segment of dependents to do nothing — the center cannot hold. Every day our leaders put off reforming this basic inequity, they add destructive force to the coming storm. (IBD)

But at least the 18 year old with a website down the street or the pharmacy student will be your new “Doctor”. 🙂

Don’t fix the problem, just re-define the words. Orwell would be proud.

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson


 

Care Less

It’s an uphill battle keeping the public focused on any story more than a few days old. But Republican senators did their best Thursday to draw attention to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The story continues to reveal much about Barack Obama’s leadership and priorities.

Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee were the two men with key roles in the Libya debacle — departing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Their testimony was as much about a disengaged president as it was about their own failures.

The biggest attention-getter was Panetta’s revelation, during questioning by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that Obama talked to him only once during the Benghazi assault and never called him back for updates.

Panetta suggested that this is how things are normally done: “The purpose of staff is to be able to get that kind of information, and those staff were working with us.”

But Graham rightly expressed wonderment that, with a U.S. diplomatic mission under attack, American lives in danger, the president didn’t show more curiosity.

He was too busy golfing. Besides ,they had already “effectively” finished off Al-Qaeda so it was non-issue. Move on…

Either that or that’s when they were coming up with the hair-brained idea that an internet video that had been out for 3 months was the cause and was prepping Susan Rice to the poster child for the lies in exchange for a Cabinet Position.

I think the the second one is more likely.

“So you think it’s a typical response of the president of the United States,” he said, “to make one phone call, do what you can and never call you back again and ask you, how’s it going, by the way, showing your frustration we don’t have any assets in there to help these people for over seven hours?”

In fact, such disengagement was all too typical.

The Obama administration ignored warnings of a possible attack in Benghazi, including an Aug. 15 cable from Amb. Chris Stevens stating the facility would be unable to defend itself if attacked. (Stevens was killed in the Sept. 11 assault, along with three other Americans, Glenn Doherty, Tyrone Woods and Sean Smith.)

On the day the consulate was stormed, help was nowhere near. The closest American troops were 400 miles away in Tripoli. U.S. aircraft, which could have been deployed as close as 90 minutes away on the island of Crete, were nine to 12 hours away by Panetta’s estimate.

The man most directly responsible for this neglect of security is Panetta, who is stepping down. Hillary Clinton, who’s already done as secretary of state, is also at fault for ignoring Stevens’ Aug. 15 cable.

For Obama, they’re convenient scapegoats — taking the blame with them as they leave his administration.

But the fact remains they were carrying out his policies and reflecting his priorities. Security at Benghazi was poor not just because Cabinet members cared too little, but also because their boss seemed to care even less. (IBD)

Political Cartoons by Ken Catalino

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

Term Notice

Political Cartoons by Robert Ariail

Here’s just a sampling from Obama’s first term:

• January 2009: “My economic agenda … begins with jobs.”

• November 2009: “This is my administration’s overriding focus.”

• January 2010: “We are going to have a sustained and relentless focus over the next several months on accelerating the pace of job creation, because that’s priority No. 1.”

• September 2010: “Our No. 1 focus has to be jobs, jobs, jobs.”

• December 2010: “My singular focus over the next two years is … jump-starting the economy so that we actually start making a dent in the unemployment rate.”

• January 2011: “My principal focus, my No. 1 focus, is going be making sure that we are … creating jobs not just now but well into the future.”

• November 2012: “Our top priority has to be jobs and growth.”

This time around, Obama says he has a “growth agenda.” But from what he told his fellow Democrats, he’s not only going to recycle his jobs promise Tuesday night, but also offer up the same tired liberal economic policies he’s been pushing for the past four years.

Throw more taxpayer money at green energy while sticking it to the oil and gas industry, spend (sorry, “invest”) more on education and roads, raise taxes still higher on the rich in the name of fairness, and yammer on about growing the economy from “the middle out.”

These policies have already produced the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression. In fact, had Obama’s recovery been merely average, the GDP would be $1.2 trillion bigger today, and there’d be 7.5 million more people with jobs.

Under Obama, middle-class families have seen their incomes decline. Millions have fallen into poverty. The income gap is widening.

So why should we expect different results now? (IBD)

The definition of insanity is to the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
Obamanomics anyone?
But don’t worry, you voted for him because the other guy was a rich white asshole!:0
And you got what you deserve.

President Obama’s second inaugural address was part one of a nanny statist’s dream, with the upcoming State of the Union promised to be part two, of one homage after another praising the virtues of our entitlement culture and with just one mention of the soaring debt propping it up.

For those of us who hold our prosperity and our individual liberties dear, the inaugural address was a frightening vision of America’s ongoing descent into neo-fascism.

“We have always understood that when times change, so must we,” Obama said. “That fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges, that preserving our individual freedom ultimately requires collective action.”

What does Obama mean by “collective action?” More nanny state assaults on the free market — like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s war on soda.

Such incursions are prima facie intolerable: Government has no more business dictating the size of our sodas than it has dictating the fuel efficiency of the cars we drive or the pixel ratio of the television screens we put in our living rooms.

Those choices belong to individual consumers, or at least they should.

On To Dependency

Yet every time overbearing power grabbers like Obama and Bloomberg succeed in wresting these decisions away from us, we become less free — as do the markets we rely on for our prosperity.

Even if some tangible economic or social benefit were to be gained by imposing such Orwellian restrictions (and invariably there isn’t), these “collective actions” remain morally wrong and anathema to our nation’s founding principles — the latest missteps down a slippery slope leading to total subservience (and total dependency).

Beyond ideological concerns, what are the practical implications of these actions?

Do nanny statists such as Obama and Bloomberg — who are always seeking to expand their power by “protecting us from ourselves” — run the risk of depriving us of more than just our liberty?

Absolutely. Consider the case of Denmark, which recently repealed a Bloomberg-esque tariff on saturated fats.

Described by the Economist as “the world’s first fat tax,” Denmark’s levy artificially inflated prices on fatty food in an effort to discourage its consumption. The Danish fat tax created confusion, inequity, bureaucratic waste and — most significantly — economic losses.

One report referenced by the Economist found that 48% of Danes engaged in “cross-border shopping” to evade the tax — costing the nation an estimated $1.8 billion last year, according to its tax ministry.

Like Obama’s war on coal — or the broad new taxing power ensconced in his socialized medicine law — the manipulation of choices within the free market is the most effective way for government to slip its tentacles deeper into our livelihoods.

And the greater control government exercises over our livelihoods, the easier it can drive us to dependency — the great unspoken goal of all bureaucracies.

In recent years we have witnessed a dramatic escalation of the American welfare state — even as the economy “recovers.” Welfare programs cost American taxpayers $1.03 trillion in fiscal 2011 — a 32% increase from fiscal 2008.

Why Work?

This culture of dependency is crippling our nation — draining the treasury, sending deficits through the stratosphere and preventing our economy from experiencing a real, sustainable recovery.

And until we stop paying people to sit on the sidelines, things will continue to get worse.

Consider this: When it comes to disposable income, the head of a household of four making minimum wage is better off than the head of a family of four making $60,000 a year.

Why? Because when you factor in housing allowances, energy subsidies, food stamps, extended unemployment benefits and the rest of the welfare smorgasbord — it pays more to do nothing.

No wonder our labor participation rate is at its lowest level in three decades. Millions of Americans have figured out they can live better by not getting a job.

Last month the government of Japan announced its intention to trim welfare payments by nearly $1 billion as part of an effort to weed out the “comfortably poor.”

Of course, this reduction represents a mere sliver of the nation’s welfare tab — and we’ll see if the Japanese government follows through on its stated intentions.

One thing is clear: If governments continue to strip choices away from one segment of consumers while paying a growing segment of dependents to do nothing — the center cannot hold. Every day our leaders put off reforming this basic inequity, they add destructive force to the coming storm. (IBD)

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert
Michael Ramirez Cartoon
Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Purple People Eater

Pro golfer Phil Mickelson has gotten a lot of flak for his recent comments about threatening to make “drastic changes” in his life due to state and federal tax increases. Never mind that he later backed off, saying he should have kept his thoughts to himself and apologized to those he “upset or insulted.”

He was cowed into being Politically Correct.

Mickelson was telling the truth. If there’s anything that should upset or insult Americans, it’s just how much of their money the government takes. Mickelson estimates that more than 60% of his earnings are snatched in federal and state taxes (he lives in California). Should a private citizen, no matter how successful, really owe the government more than half of what he or she makes? Intuitively, this cannot make sense to anyone who believes in the principles of hard work and personal responsibility.

Which a Liberal does not. Blame someone else first and always. You do hard work and the rich guy gets all the rewards, the bastard!

But Mickelson’s comments reveal something far more profound. He was talking about an increasingly complex tax code (nearly 74,000 pages!) that also reserves special punishment for small businesses, working families and even the little guys. The rich, like Mickelson, can hire high-priced lawyers and accountants to compute their taxes and take advantage of loopholes. Or, they can pick up and move. The middle class is not quite so fortunate; most cannot simply pick up and move to a better economic climate.

And that’s the rich people’s fault. So hate them. 🙂

A high income-tax state like California is not just driving away successful men and women like Mickelson, but driving businesses out, too. This ultimately results in even less tax revenue, which sinks California’s economy even more.

So they have to raises taxes even more.

The wealthy were already paying a significant portion of California state income tax.  Based on 2010 tax figures, those earning over $250,000 per year were accounting for 62 percent of state income tax revenue.  Those earning over $450,000 were paying 46 percent of state income tax. (TaxLawhome)

The Top 10% pay consistently from 66-70% of all Income Taxes. But it’s “unfair”.

But it’s not fair! They have to pay more! Scream the Left and their class warfare rhetoric.

Get the peasant to revolt. Gin up this class hatred.

“If you have excessive regulations and excessive tax, that’s just not where you want to be,” said Peter Farrell, president of ResMed a medical-device maker in San Diego that employs 600 workers and is considering moving its offices out of state. “California is unfriendly. It’s become an unfriendly business environment.”

One possibility is Texas, where the personal income-tax rate is zero, compared to 13.3 percent for top California earners.(end time news)

Farrell said November’s election results, including the passage of tax increases, made California less hospitable for ResMed.

“The whole place is very Democratic, very union-friendly and tax-unfriendly,” Farrell said. “And we just see the costs going up, and the benefits going down. We see more regulation and more taxes, and more of an anti-business kind of environment.”

Another San Diego-based company, Fallbrook Technologies, a maker of variable speed transmissions, recently announced it is leaving for Texas.

Nevada tax accountant George Ashley said he’s received more than 100 inquiries from higher-earning Californians about the possible tax advantages and feasibility of relocating to a state with lower taxes.

California has played the role of piñata for years among national business leaders because of its anti-business reputation. Chief Executive magazine has put Texas on top as the most business-friendly state and California at or near the bottom for eight consecutive years. (UTSD)

Now back to Fran…

Massive state government spending leads to higher taxes. More taxes lead to less government revenue because overtaxed businesses and higher income individuals depart for more business-friendly states. This vicious cycle hurts average citizens and the most vulnerable alike.

From the payroll tax hike surprise that most workers found in their first paycheck of 2013 to Medicare tax increases to raising top tax rates to nearly 40%, Washington has made life more difficult for most Americans. When companies raise prices to pass the cost of the corporate income tax — now the highest in the developed world — on to consumers, these “hidden taxes” hit fixed-income families the hardest.

I have never seen it quite so bad for job creators. Today, many are being punished for just doing business. Confiscatory taxes. Suffocating regulations. Stifling energy costs. There is only one way to create the jobs we need: we must put our fiscal house in order. Our nation must lower tax rates to be more competitive and to incentivize businesses to invest and job creators to grow their businesses. Pro-growth policies will lead to more businesses and more jobs; these jobs will create more taxpayers and government revenue.

After the unfair treatment Mickelson received from partisans and the press, we won’t likely hear from him again soon on economic policy. That’s unfortunate, because his frank talk on taxation is the kind of discussion America needs.

Fran Tarkenton is founder and CEO of OneMoreCustomer.com, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, and member of the Job Creators Alliance.

Dr. Benjamin Carson at the National Prayer Breakfast (via Townhall.com)

CARSON:  Well, some people say, they say, “Well, that’s not fair because it doesn’t hurt the guy who made $10 billion as much as the guy who made ten.” Where does it say you have to hurt the guy?  He just put a billion dollars in the pot! You know, we don’t need to hurt him.  It’s that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands.  That money needs to be back here, building our infrastructure and creating jobs.

And there’s more:

CARSON: Here’s my solution: When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record, and a health savings account to which money can be contributed — pretax — from the time you’re born ’til the time you die.  When you die, you can pass it on to your family members, so that when you’re 85 years old and you got six diseases, you’re not trying to spend up everything. You’re happy to pass it on and there’s nobody talking about death panels.

Number one.  And also, for the people who were indigent who don’t have any money we can make contributions to their HSA each month because we already have this huge pot of money. Instead of sending it to some bureaucracy, let’s put it in their HSAs.  Now they have some control over their own health care.

What’s most effective about Dr. Carson’s remarks is that they make the case for free enterprise medicine — based not on economics, or efficiency — but based on morality.  Kudos to him for that — hope the GOP was taking note.

And the fact that Obamacare targets HSAs to be eliminated by lowering their benefits and increasing their costs is particularly telling.

We are From the Government and We know what’s good for you better than you do. 🙂

 

Going Postal

So that quasi-private, quasi government entity The United States Postal Service is going to end Saturday delivery because they are so incompetent in business and the Unions are choking them to death.

And you want the Government to run your Health Care?? Why??

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night…

“The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits,” Donahoe said. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”

But the president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Fredric Rolando, said the end of Saturday mail delivery is “a disastrous idea that would have a profoundly negative effect on the Postal Service and on millions of customers,” particularly businesses, rural communities, the elderly, the disabled and others who depend on Saturday delivery for commerce and communication.

He said the maneuver by Donahoe to make the change “flouts the will of Congress, as expressed annually over the past 30 years in legislation that mandates six-day delivery.”

But mostly it hurts THEM, so it must be bad. After Unions are only concerned about 1 thing — themselves.

So their sanctimony and “concern” is self-servicing.

So expect lots and lots teeth-gnashing self-servicing fear mongering about small towns and small business and poor people and grandma that will be just used as pawns for Union greed.

The agency in November reported an annual loss of a record $15.9 billion for the last budget year and forecast more red ink in 2013, capping a tumultuous year in which it was forced to default on billions in retiree health benefit prepayments to avert bankruptcy.

The financial losses for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 were more than triple the $5.1 billion loss in the previous year. Having reached its borrowing limit, the mail agency is operating with little cash on hand.

The agency’s biggest problem — and the majority of the red ink in 2012 — was not due to reduced mail flow but rather to mounting mandatory costs for future retiree health benefits, which made up $11.1 billion of the losses. Without that and other related labor expenses, the mail agency sustained an operating loss of $2.4 billion, lower than the previous year.

The health payments are a requirement imposed by Congress in 2006 that the post office set aside $55 billion in an account to cover future medical costs for retirees. The idea was to put $5.5 billion a year into the account for 10 years. That’s $5.5 billion the post office doesn’t have.

No other government agency is required to make such a payment for future medical benefits. Postal authorities wanted Congress to address the issue last year, but lawmakers finished their session without getting it done. So officials are moving ahead to accelerate their own plan for cost-cutting.

The Postal Service is in the midst of a major restructuring throughout its retail, delivery and mail processing operations. Since 2006, it has cut annual costs by about $15 billion, reduced the size of its career workforce by 193,000 or by 28 percent, and has consolidated more than 200 mail processing locations, officials say.

So cutting $2 billion for Saturday service is a drop in the bucket compared to the Union required red ink.

Meaning, they’ll be back for more by 2014-2015.

Obamanomics in action. 🙂

jefferson