The Angry Left

Bernie Sanders is angry. Who is he angry at? Rich people. Why rich people? That’s not clear.

But has been the mantra of The Left for a generation at least. A generation brought up on this garbage. Garbage in, garbage out.

At Liberty University, Sanders complained about a small number of people who have “huge yachts, and jet planes and tens of billions” while others “are struggling to feed their families.” In Madison Wisconsin, Sanders called for a “political revolution against greed.”

So what’s the connection between people who have “tens of billions” and people who are “struggling to feed their families”? For the most part it’s a positive one. In a capitalist system, people get rich by meeting other people’s needs. Because some people are rich, other people find it easier to feed their families.

Take the world’s richest man, Bill Gates. When I was a student at Columbia in the 1970s, I remember a friend showing me a fantastic hand held device. It could add, subtract, divide and multiply. And it only cost $400. Today, I can sit in bed with my lap top, which in 1970 dollars cost less than $400. I can buy and sell goods on eBay, conduct personal banking, purchase airline tickets, book hotel rooms and even work the New York Times crossword puzzle – in large part because of Bill Gates.

Take the world’s richest woman, JK Rowling. When she wrote the last Harry Potter book or helped on the last Harry Potter movie was she making anyone worse off? Was she taking food out of the mouths of babes? Or was she bringing entertainment and pleasure to millions of people?

Is Bill Gates greedy? There’s no evidence of that. He is giving all his money away in ways that are curing diseases that kill children all over the world. More generally, I have never met a truly creative person who was motivated by greed. But even if greed were the motivation, we need more of it – as long as it’s meeting our needs.

So what’s Sander’s complaint? Here are his own words:

“99 percent of all new income today (is) going to the top 1 percent.”

In 2007, “the top 1 percent of all income earners in the United States made 23.5 percent of all income,” which is “more than the entire bottom 50 percent.”

“Today the Walton family of Walmart own more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of America.”

When Sam Walton was alive, he was one of the world’s richest men. Yet he wore blue jeans and drove a pickup truck. No one in Bentonville, Arkansas even knew he was rich until they read about it in Forbes. Is Walmart making it harder or easier for people to feed their families? You be the judge.

As has been said many times, The Left is only interested in the Narrative, not the truth.

Muslim kid brings homemade electronic device to school and the School system freaked out because of all the school violence.

The Left doesn’t give a crap about that. It’s all about the fact that he’s a Muslim.

Then it came out that it was all a setup by a Muslim “activist” father who set up the whole thing.

The Left doesn’t care. It’s all about “racism” to them because that fits their Narrative and what THEY want to be true.

bomb

Behind the rhetoric on the left, there is one persistent theme, always implicit, never explicit. Leftist rhetoric is designed to encourage people to believe that the reason they are poor are because other people are rich. And this kind of rhetoric is not confined to politicians who know nothing of basic economics. Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz, Jeffrey Sachs and other well-known economists are just as guilty. They invariably imply that “all property is theft,” a staple of barn yard Marxism. Yet, on rigorous examination, this idea is silly. Most of the people on the Forbes 400 list are self-made or next generation of self-made billionaires.

But the truth doesn’t matter, to The Left.

Writing in the Dallas Morning News, Cullen Godfrey asks: why do we demonize billionaires?

And usually, not Democrat Million and Billionaires. Nor, say, NFL player millionaires, just the owners.

They didn’t steal our money. They earned our money by providing us with the things that we want and that make our lives better. The Forbes 400 list includes names such as Oprah Winfrey, filmmakers Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Phil Knight (Nike), Elon Musk (Tesla), Charles Schwab, Ralph Lauren and Michael Ilitch (Domino’s Pizza). Of course, there are those with inherited wealth, but the vast majority on the list are first-generation, self-made billionaires, and those with inherited wealth have, as a rule, been excellent stewards of their good fortune.

Like Jeremy Corbyn, the new Labour Party leader in Britain, Bernie Sanders is appealing to our worst instincts. His is not the message of compassion and love. His is the message of resentment, jealousy and hate.

The hallmarks of the Left.

What would he do? Tax capital. He hasn’t given us a figure, but if he goes along with the 90 percent income tax rate favored by Paul Krugman or the 80 percent rate proposed by Thomas Piketty, Bill Gates may never have been able to start Microsoft. Sam Walton may never have given us Sam’s Club.

I’m not sure The Left would care about that.

As I wrote at Forbes earlier this week, the left is intellectually bankrupt. While appealing to our basest emotions, they have no real solutions to any real problems. In fact, their “solutions” would almost certainly make the poor more poor.

But they make them “feel” empowered. Perception is not reality, but it works for them.

There is, however, a proposal from the right of the political spectrum: tax consumption rather than saving, investment and capital accumulation. As I wrote previously:

[W]hen Warren Buffett is consuming, he’s benefiting himself. When he’s saving and investing, he’s benefiting you and me. Every time Buffett forgoes personal consumption (a pricey dinner, a larger house, a huge yacht) and puts his money in the capital market instead, he’s doing an enormous favor for everyone else. A larger capital stock means higher productivity and that means everyone can have more income for the same amount of work. So it’s in our self-interest to have very low taxes on Buffett’s capital. In fact, capital taxes should be zero. That means no capital gains tax, no tax on dividends and profits — so long as the income is recycled back into the capital market. We should instead tax Buffett’s consumption. Tax him on what he takes out of the system, not what he puts into it. Tax him when he is benefiting himself, not when he is benefiting you and me.

But the Left Politicians are only interested in Taxes that benefit THEM.

The Clash

Liberal Government overlords who tell you what you can and can’t do VS “the entitled” – Rich Californians (many Liberals)! Let’s not discuss the poor… 🙂

Hilarious.

“California used to be the land of opportunity and freedom,” Barbre said. “It’s slowly becoming the land of one group telling everybody else how they think everybody should live their lives.” -Brett Barbre, Barbre sits on the 37-member board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

That’s what Liberals do!!!! 🙂 That’s their SOP!

Jurgen Gramckow, a sod farmer north of Los Angeles in Ventura County, agrees. He likens the freedom to buy water to the freedom to buy gasoline.

“Some people have a Prius; others have a Suburban,” Gramckow said. “Once the water goes through the meter, it’s yours.”

Not according to Liberals and “helpful” Government Overseers!

Yuhas, who hosts a conservative talk-radio show, abhors the culture of “drought-shaming” that has developed here since the drought began four years ago, especially the aerial shots of lavish lawns targeted for derision on the local TV news.

Drought or no drought, Steve Yuhas resents the idea that it is somehow shameful to be a water hog. If you can pay for it, he argues, you should get your water.

People “should not be forced to live on property with brown lawns, golf on brown courses or apologize for wanting their gardens to be beautiful,” Yuhas fumed recently on social media. “We pay significant property taxes based on where we live,” he added in an interview. “And, no, we’re not all equal when it comes to water.”

Yuhas lives in the ultra-wealthy enclave of Rancho Santa Fe, a bucolic Southern California hamlet of ranches, gated communities and country clubs that guzzles five times more water per capita than the statewide average. In April, after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) called for a 25 percent reduction in water use, consumption in Rancho Santa Fe went up by 9 percent.

But a moment of truth is at hand for Yuhas and his neighbors, and all of California will be watching: On July 1, for the first time in its 92-year history, Rancho Santa Fe will be subject to water rationing.

“It’s no longer a ‘You can only water on these days’ ” situation, said Jessica Parks, spokeswoman for the Santa Fe Irrigation District, which provides water service to Rancho Santa Fe and other parts of San Diego County. “It’s now more of a ‘This is the amount of water you get within this billing period. And if you go over that, there will be high penalties.’ ”

So far, the community’s 3,100 residents have not felt the wrath of the water police. Authorities have issued only three citations for violations of a first round of rather mild water restrictions announced last fall. In a place where the median income is $189,000, where PGA legend Phil Mickelson once requested a separate water meter for his chipping greens, where financier Ralph Whitworth last month paid the Rolling Stones $2 million to play at a local bar, the fine, at $100, was less than intimidating.

All that is about to change, however. Under the new rules, each household will be assigned an essential allotment for basic indoor needs. Any additional usage — sprinklers, fountains, swimming pools — must be slashed by nearly half for the district to meet state-mandated targets.

Residents who exceed their allotment could see their already sky-high water bills triple. And for ultra-wealthy customers undeterred by financial penalties, the district reserves the right to install flow restrictors — quarter-size disks that make it difficult to, say, shower and do a load of laundry at the same time.

When I read this it reminded me of a story I saw on British Television when I was on vacation in May about British Gas installing a debit meter on a house by force that effectively meant that if you want gas (a primary heating source in the UK) you had to pay off the meter before it’s removed. And they did while the homeowners weren’t even home!

UK Guardian: Suppliers can also force existing customers on to prepayment meters if they have a significant debt on their account and have not attempted to pay it off or agree a repayment plan. Not letting them in your home won’t stop this happening – they can get a warrant to force entry, and charge you for it too.

Prepayment meters, also known as pay as you go meters, enable you to pay for your gas and electricity before you use it. British Gas considers a good “budgeting” tool. 🙂

More than half a million pre-payment energy meters have been forcibly installed in people’s homes over the last six years, according to figures obtained by BBC Radio 5 live.

97,000 pre-pay gas and electricity meters were installed in England, Wales and Scotland last year alone.

“Pre-payment meter customers can’t take advantage of the competitive energy market,” she added. “Many people become trapped on them and can’t get a better deal.”

prepayment-meter-007

See the story at (2012- but it has been increasing of late – the story I saw was recent): http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-2124092/British-Gas-breaks-couples-home-installs-pre-pay-meter–changes-locks.html

Energy bills: prepay meters can cost poorer households hundreds. Customers who have to use prepayment meters are often offered only the most expensive tariffs.

Energy UK, the umbrella body for energy suppliers, said suppliers only installed pre-payment meters with a court warrant “as a last resort to help customers manage their debt“.

Gas, Water…as Hillary said, “What Difference does it make?”

Coming to an American Liberal Government near you?? 🙂

And back to California, which mismanaged their resources to begin with (see Delta Smelt for just 1):

In extreme cases, the district could shut off the tap altogether.

This is not Detroit!

Oh, the high-priced Lawyer lawsuit heaven!

“I think we’re being overly penalized, and we’re certainly being overly scrutinized by the world,” said Gay Butler, an interior designer out for a trail ride on her show horse, Bear. She said her water bill averages about $800 a month.

“It angers me because people aren’t looking at the overall picture,” Butler said. “What are we supposed to do, just have dirt around our house on four acres?”

YES!, Gee, I’m guessing “Global Warming” isn’t going to cow him. 🙂

The Liberal, I want to do what I want to do because I want to do it attitude meets the reality of Liberal government mismanagement.

Welcome to Reality.

On Friday, the state said it would impose sharp cutbacks on senior water rights dating back to the Gold Rush for the first time in four decades, a move that primarily hits farmers. And starting this month, all of California’s 400-plus water districts are under orders to reduce flow by at least 8 percent from 2013 levels.

Top water users such as Rancho Santa Fe are required to cut consumption by 36 percent. Other areas in the 36-percent crosshairs include much of the Central Valley, a farming region that runs up the middle of the state, and Orange County, a ritzy Republican stronghold between San Diego and Los Angeles.

The Central Valley has been suffering from a drought largely cause by environmentalists! (see Delta Smelt).

https://indyfromaz.wordpress.com/2009/09/18/of-fish-and-foul/

https://indyfromaz.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/you-smelt-it-you-dealt-it/

But don’t worry, we’re from The Government (or British Gas) and we’re here to run your life for you! 🙂

Be happy. It’s for your own good. 🙂

A Pipe Dream

“However many jobs might be generated by a Keystone pipeline,” he said, “they’re going to be a lot fewer than the jobs that are created by extending the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance.”-Obama Dec 8, 2011

Unemployment more important jobs. Unemployment and dependence creates jobs. 🙂

The great un-decider who wants someone to blame for his non-decision decisions is at it again.

In a decision that quickly re-ignited a fierce energy debate, the Obama administration on Wednesday rejected the controversial Keystone XL pipeline because the 60-day deadline imposed by Republicans did not allow adequate time to review an alternate route through an ecologically sensitive area in Nebraska.

It’s BS. They’ve been studying it for  3 years already!

He’s just playing his normal game with jobs. Where the jobs “saved or created” are credited to him, in service to him, or dependent on him.

But these were largely Union jobs, which is what so funny about this whole debacle.

But that’s the Republicans fault!!

Isn’t everything on the Left.

The boring meme of “they made me do it” is so tedious.

President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL oil pipeline sums up his presidency. When it comes down to well-paying new jobs and cheaper energy vs. his political base, guess which wins.

Because he is, after all, the most important man in the world and his re-election the only issue.

The 1,700-mile TransCanada Keystone crude oil pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf Coast is a no-brainer. Canada’s oil sands are the largest source of crude oil outside the Middle East and the 700,000 barrels of black gold per day the pipeline would bring would mean hundreds of thousands of new jobs, lower gasoline prices, less U.S. dependence on Mideast oil and hundreds of millions of dollars in increased revenues for the states.

All those high-salaried jobs are why both Democratic-supporting labor unions and Republican-supporting business interests are pro-Keystone.

Yet, instead of supporting it in a spirit of bipartisanship, the “Great Uniter” had a State Department flunky announce his opposition on Wednesday.

Put more simply, the Obama administration hit back at Republicans by saying no because of their forcing him to decide on the project in just 60 days. Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail promptly painted the decision as a rejection of thousands of American jobs purely for political reasons.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, decried the news. “President Obama is about to destroy tens of thousands of American jobs and sell American energy security to the Chinese,” said Brendan Buck. “The president won’t stand up to his political base even to create American jobs. This is not the end of this fight.”

The Canadians have said that if we won’t approve the pipeline they’ll run it to Vancouver and sell it to the Chinese.

The White House has been trying to thread a needle between two segments of the Democratic base split over the pipeline: labor unions that support the project for the jobs it would bring, and environmentalists who oppose it for the adverse impacts that development of tar-sands oil could have on the environment.

So what you have is a PURELY POLITICAL Position.

The timing of the announcement was more surprising, since the administration had until Feb. 21 to decide. But a Wednesday announcement does make some political and economic sense. It allows Obama to go on offense before Thursday’s debate between Republican presidential candidates in South Carolina and before his own State of the Union address next Tuesday. It also comes before public anger could grow if gasoline prices continue their upward climb in the weeks ahead.

So when you here the meme that it was Republicans fault for the $4 a gallon gas this summer and that Armageddon is coming just remember who really started this mess because neither The Democrats nor The Media will remember it.

“This is the last day to own this issue on their terms,” said Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners, a Washington-based energy consulting firm. “The administration gets to explain their choice before it gets explained for them.”

Obama fundraiser Wendy Abrams, for example, a well-heeled Chicago enviro-activist and Rahm Emanuel buddy whose family owns the country’s largest privately held medical equipment maker (ObamaCare anyone?), recently warned that the Keystone decision would show whether Obama “really wants to begin the transformation to building a renewable energy future.”

And after all, Obama’s Re-election is more important anything in the Liberal universe. Who gives a crap about jobs when only 1 job matters now.

And blaming the Republicans for YOUR OWN decisions is more important in the long run.

“Vote For Me– it’s The Republicans Fault!!”

“Vote for Me! the Other Guy is an Asshole!!”

“President Obama has taken steps to make us energy independent and create an economy that’s built to last,” the Obama campaign said on the Web page where the ad is hosted. It is already running in several swing-states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania.

<<Barf bag overload>>

The new ad is partly intended to shield Obama from criticism about his energy policies, which have curbed opportunities for oil companies, nudged up gas prices and heavily subsidized risky green-tech companies, including the failed Solyndra solar-tech company.

That purpose is highlighted in the ad’s first few words, which claims “secretive oil billionaires are attacking President Obama with ads fact-checkers say are not tethered to the facts.”

Those “secretive oil billionaires,” according to the campaign’s website, are David and Charles Koch — a pair of libertarian brothers who run an huge oil-services company and openly declare their opposition to Obama’s energy policies.

The Koch Brothers are the latest childish Satan-on-Earth obsession of the extreme left.

The campaign website began promoting the new ad on the same day Obama announced he would continue to freeze plans to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the United States.

Coincidence, I think not.

The Obama ad also touts a reduction in the nation’s energy imports. “For the first time in thirteen years,” it claims, “our dependence on foreign oil is below fifty percent.”

But that decline was a natural outgrowth of the nation’s economic recession, which has curbed energy consumption.

So we are using less because we can’t afford  to use it. That’s good! according to Obama so what we really need is to use even less and we’ll be fantastic!!

Instead of increase supply lower demand.

Break out the Horse and Buggy! Or worse a Chevy Volt!! 🙂

Environmental Protection Agency rules requiring expensive boutique blends of gasoline for different states during different seasons could be scrapped.

So could the law burdening oil refiners with a requirement to use a nonexistent product: “cellulosic ethanol.”

State laws requiring — we’re not making this up — that gas stations not charge too little per gallon could also be repealed. And, of course, we should drill, baby, drill into some of America’s own vast, untapped oil reserves.

But Obama insists on blaming Big Oil for big government’s failures. He had Attorney General Eric Holder establish an as-yet-to-be-heard-from task force last year to investigate, for the umpteenth time, price gouging by oil companies — about as easy as finding cellulosic ethanol in a switch grass haystack.

And Obama’s “Jobs Council” this week conceded that more oil “pipeline, transmission and distribution projects are necessary” and that until fossil fuels are replaced many years from now, “we need to be all in.”

But when we won’t take a treasure trove of oil from next door — forcing Canada to sell it to China instead — it proves the president is “all in” his green-left political base’s pocket.(IBD, Townhall and others)

And it’s the Republicans Fault!

So Vote Obama! It’s everyone else’s fault!

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

 Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

 

 

Going Green

Just not Greenbacks.

President Obama declared today’s 41st annual Earth Day proof of America’s ecological and conservation spirit—then completed a three-day campaign-style trip logging 10,666 miles on Air Force One, eating up some 53,300 gallons at a cost of about $180,000. And that doesn’t include the fuel consumption of his helicopter, limo, or the 29 other vehicles that travel with that car.

“If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting 8 miles a gallon, you know,” Obama said laughingly. “You might want to think about a trade-in.” (at a prior town hall)

Green Day: The day set aside to save the planet has become a second Halloween where we fear imaginary planetary ghouls and goblins. Greenies get the treats, but the trick has been on us.

It is appropriate that Earth Day comes a week after Tax Day, for our slavish dedication to saving the planet rather than saving jobs imposes a hidden tax on all of us in the form of reduced economic growth and rising inflation.

This Earth Day, we have more to fear from rising gas and food prices than from rising sea levels.

We have long argued that wealthier societies are healthier societies and that reducing emission levels to those desired by such entities as the U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change and treaties like Kyoto was a recipe for global poverty.

Consider that a 2008 MIT study showed that even the carbon footprint of a homeless person in the United States is more than four times the U.N. recommendation.

Last week, after a record 92 tornadoes struck North Carolina over the weekend, a Time magazine blog seriously asked the question, “Did climate change play a role in this violent outbreak of tornadoes?”

It is such constant fearmongering that drives climate change hysteria. Consider that the worst tornado outbreak in U.S. history occurred in 1974 — the year Nixon resigned.

That was also around the time that major media outlets like Newsweek were warning of a coming Ice Age. That year, there were at least 163 tornadoes in 13 states.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has produced a chart showing tornado frequency fluctuating over time but in general decline even as levels of carbon dioxide increased since that record year and as improvements in storm detection, reporting and monitoring occurred.

Hurricane frequency and intensity, as well, are a natural cyclical phenomenon, made worse only by growing numbers rushing to the coasts, not fleeing from them.

Chalk this latest fear mongering next to the myth of Himalayan glaciers that were supposed to banish by 2035.

Fear is the warm-mongers’ stock in trade. Facts are not. But they lead us to do things like ban offshore drilling to save the fruitful and multiplying polar bears and to put corn in our gas tanks in the form of ethanol.

This only drives up demand for corn and food prices while the gas used to get to the supermarket soars in price as well.

We are still looking for the 50 million climate refugees the United Nations Environmental Program predicted in 2005 would be fleeing coastal areas and soon-to-be-submerged islands by 2010. At last report, the coastal cities to be affected are booming in population, as are the islands that are still well above sea level.

As Indur M. Goklany of the Cato Institute wrote recently in the New York Post: “Climate-change remedies can lead to greater poverty, starvation and disease, as well as widespread ecological destruction — some of the very misfortunes that they’re supposed to prevent. In our haste to address global warming, we have yet to think seriously about our policies’ unintended effects.”

Certainly the war on fossil fuels and energy consumption in general lead to reduced economic growth and lower standards of living.

It is based on the irrational fear that carbon dioxide, the product of human respiration and the basis of all life on Earth, is a dangerous pollutant.

These days the U.N. is seriously considering a proposed treaty granting human rights to the planet itself.

This is being pushed by those who consider the human beings on the planet a plague upon Gaia, the Earth goddess, and that efforts to reduce their numbers are to be encouraged.

These are the inmates that are running the global warming asylum. Boo! (IBD)

As all this suggests, environmentalism has become our newest religion. According to Joel Garreau, professor of law, culture and values at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, a religion is characterized by “a distinction between sacred and profane objects; a moral code; feelings of awe, mystery and guilt; adoration in the presence of sacred objects and during rituals; a worldview that includes a notion of where the individual fits; and a cohesive social group of the likeminded.” Environmentalism, Garreau concluded in an article last year, fits this definition of religion very well.

Environmental historian William Cronon of the University of Wisconsin, Madison — president-elect of the American Historical Association — writes of environmentalism that it has “certain landscapes — usually the wildest and most natural ones — [that] are celebrated as sacred”; it is “openly prophetic”; it develops frequent “parallels to biblical prophecy in the Hebrew and Christian traditions”; and it offers “practical moral guidance about virtually every aspect of daily life….from the apocalyptic to the mundane.”

Contemporary environmentalism prophesies virtually the same set of environmental calamities resulting from global warming: rising seas, famine, drought, pestilence, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Often without realizing it, environmentalism is recasting traditional biblical messages. The Endangered Species Act replaces Noah’s Ark; wilderness areas are the environmental “cathedrals”; Earth Day is the new “Easter,” a time for deep religious reflection and revival.

Environmentalism thus is literally, not simply metaphorically, a new religion.(DC)

So Happy Green Day. Happy, Happy, Joy Joy!

Save the Planet!

Just not any greenbacks. They’re evil! 🙂

And Satan is the $5 a Gallon for that evil Gas for that evil gas-guzzling behemoth you own.

And it’s “the rich” people’s fault!

Oh, and the EPA has declared your exhales as a “danger to human life” already.

And “green” products cost more.

But you must save the planet from you, or else you’ll go to HELL!

AMEN! 🙂

Into the VAT

President Obama: “you will not see your taxes increased a single dime.  I repeat: not one single dime.”

A Series of quotes and excerpts follow, see if you can connect the dots:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=864kh6hJlyg&feature=player_embedded

“Most of the health-care reform will be paid from money already being spent, and it will not increase the deficit,” the DNC repsonse statement reads. (NY Post)

Now think about that for a moment, they will pay for reforms with money ALREADY being Spent.

Think about it.

So in comes (pun not intended) a potential new friend. Imported for the more “civilized” Europeans:

A VAT is tax on consumption similar to a national sales tax. But it’s not just paid at the cash register. It’s levied at every stage of production. So all businesses involved in making a product or performing a service would pay a VAT. And then the end-user — such as the retail customer — ponies up as well.

CATO:

Since being elected, Obama has raised cigarette taxes and has advocated raising healthcare taxes, energy and small business taxes, in addition to corporate taxes. What’s more, economic advisers like Larry Summers seem eager to get rid of all the Bush tax cuts, not just those on so-called wealthy Americans.

And it’s also no secret that economists love the idea of a VAT. It promotes savings over consumption, and its hidden nature may mean it has less behavioral impact on taxpayers. Conservative economist Bruce Bartlet puts it this way, “As a broad-based tax on consumption, it creates less economic distortion per dollar of revenue than any other tax–certainly much less than the income tax.” Indeed, a VAT is part of cash-strapped California’s newly proposed tax reform.

Liberals love the idea of a VAT because it’s, well, so European — also because it does raise tons of revenue to expand government. And that is what Obama wants: more revenue to pay for bigger government. Is a VAT better than the soak-the-rich approach favored by Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Rangel? Sure. Of course, the concern is that a VAT would be in addition to new soak-the-rich taxes. (James Pethokoukis-Reuter At a symposium today in Washington, Alan Greenspan predicted taxes would be headed higher and thought a VAT would be the ‘least worst’ way of doing it.

…former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. In a two-part interview with Charlie Rose airing yesterday and today(Oct 1-2), Volcker says that if Washington can’t get spending under control, either a VAT or a carbon tax would be effective revenue raisers. “Those are two big ones,” he says.

“There’s going to have to be revenue in this budget,” said Podesta, Clinton’s former chief of staff and co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s transition team, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing today (Sept 28th).

A so-called consumption tax would “create a balance” with European and Japanese economies and “could potentially have a substantial effect on competitiveness,” said Podesta. Value- added taxes in Europe and Japan encourage savings by taxing consumption.

Podesta said such a tax may be regressive, but can be balanced by exempting some products and using “the money to support low-wage workers.”

Yesterday Oct 1, the Center for American Progress, the liberal think tank with close White House ties, holds a conference on the rising national debt. While speaker after speaker — Paul Krugman, Roger Altman, CAP President Podesta (again), Laura Tyson — admits entitlement spending must be reduced, they also agree that taxes must be raised. Altman suggests $400 billion in new tax revenue is needed almost immediately to calm financial market fears, and a VAT would be a great way of doing it. That’s $400 billion a year, by the way, not over ten years.

Podesta is also president of the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank closely allied with the White House.

WSJ Online:

“As progressives we need to debate the policy merits and likelihood of enacting a range of options — including designing a small and more progressive value-added tax, changes to the corporate tax code, and taxing upper income earners beyond reversing the Bush tax cuts,” Mr. Podesta said in a statement Tuesday.

White House economic adviser Larry Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner refused to rule out middle-class tax increases during Sunday talk-show appearances over the summer. “We have to bring these deficits down very dramatically,” Mr. Geithner said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And that’s going to require some very hard choices.” But White House press secretary Robert Gibbs disavowed the comments.

Forbes:

This is also the conclusion of one Washington insider with ties to the White House economic team: ‘Does this all add up to a trial balloon? Of course, it’s a trial balloon. And I expect the administration will propose major tax reform, including a VAT.’

CNN Money:

“Tax rates could be raised in the existing system, but that would be extremely inefficient,” said Rudolph Penner, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office and now an institute fellow at the Urban Institute, a public policy research group.Penner in a paper about the VAT, “Tax reform might raise revenues more efficiently, but that is excruciatingly difficult politically.”

“That leaves the possibility of a brand new tax, and a VAT is a very likely candidate,” he added.

Democrats say it’s regressive, meaning it would hit lower-income people hardest since they tend to spend all of their income on consumption purchases that could be subject to the VAT. Low-tax advocates, such as conservative Republicans, see a VAT — on top of the current tax system — as harmful.

But given the depth of the nation’s fiscal needs, there aren’t many attractive options.

CNN:

An increasing number of influential Democrats and fiscal-policy experts have signaled that lawmakers will have to get a handle on the deficit. And they recommend seriously considering the creation of a value-added tax (VAT) on top of the federal income tax

Bruce Bartlett, Forbes.com columnist:

For example, a recent National Bureau of economic Research study by Lawrence Summers and James Hines argues that globalization makes it harder for national governments to tax income and recommends that taxes be shifted more towards a consumption base. Summers is, of course, director of the National Economic Council in the White House.

A Wall Street Journal report from this morning indicates that a group with close White House ties, the Center for American Progress, will be recommending a VAT as part of a fiscal reform initiative to reduce budget deficits. It will be opposed by the usual right-wing suspects. But as I have explained on many occasions, they are fools because if we don’t raise revenues through a consumption tax they will inevitably be raised by soak-the-rich taxes that will be far more harmful to the economy.

To offset the income tax reduction, the commission would create a wide-ranging business tax that would encompass virtually every corner of California capitalism, including the service sector — lawyers, engineers, business consultants — that currently are not taxed. Such businesses are viewed as growth industries.

Baltimore Sun:

“We are now closer than ever before to finally passing reform that will offer security to those who have coverage and affordable insurance to those who don’t,” Obama said.

Lower Income Taxes, but create Health Care taxes, and a consumption tax on everything.

Will he and the Democrats in Congress risk a political backlash by trying to pass another big tax hike during some future session? In a word, yes. It’s an inescapable element of their broader political program, and they believe it’s the right thing to do. As with health care, they believe that whatever short-run political costs they must bear, they’ll be seen as heroes in the long run by moving America closer to the European-style welfare state they consider the necessary outcome of social progress.(NRO)

YES!

Stick you toe in the VAT of warm water little piggie, it’s not boiling……………YET!