Why You Should Vote Democrat

demWhat you are about to read is the best political comment I have EVER read on a website. It was written by someone who uses the moniker, “The Fall of America.”

The comment was posted on Wednesday morning, March 19, in response to a piece in The Hill.  If you are unfamiliar, this is a Washington “insider’s site” covering the nitty-gritty of what goes on within the hallowed halls of Capitol Hill.

The title of the piece was “O-Care premiums to skyrocket,” although this comment could have been in response to any topic in Washington today.

So thank-you, “The Fall of America,” whoever you are, for writing such brilliant truth and I hope that the re-posting of your comment here on RedState finds its way back to you after it goes viral. (Hint-hint to our readers.)

Why I vote Democrat    
(comment by TheFallofAmerica on March 19, 2014) 

I vote Democrat because I believe it’s okay if our federal government borrows $85 Billion every single month.

And has taken in more in Taxes in the last 18 months than anytime in American History.

When in Debt, SPEND EVEN MORE!

I vote Democrat because I care about the children … but saddling them with trillions of dollars of debt to pay for my bloated leftist government is okay.

That is if the survive Planned Parenthood.

I vote Democrat because I believe it’s better to pay billions of dollars to people who hate us rather than drill for our own oil, because it might upset some endangered beetle or gopher.

I vote Democrat because I believe it is okay if liberal activist judges rewrite the Constitution to suit some fringe kooks, who would otherwise never get their agenda past the voters.

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I vote Democrat because I believe that corporate America should not be allowed to make profits for themselves or their shareholders. They need to break even and give the rest to the federal government for redistribution.

I vote Democrat because I’m not concerned about millions of babies being aborted, so long as we keep all of the murderers on death row alive.

And news of Fetal baby parts selling out of the news.

I vote Democrat because I believe it’s okay if my Nobel Peace Prize winning President uses drones to assassinate people, as long as we don’t use torture.

And “Muslim Terrorists” don’t exist, you islamophobe!

I vote Democrat because I believe people, who can’t accurately tell us if it will rain on Friday, can predict the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don’t start driving a Chevy Volt.

And do everything they tell us regardless of how much it costs. Who cares if it “works”. It make me “feel good” about “doing something”.

I vote Democrat because Freedom of Speech is not as important as preventing people from being offended.

Gotta have my “safe space”. Those people who disagree with me are morons anyways… 🙂

I vote Democrat because I believe the oil companies’ profit of 3% on a gallon of gas is obscene, but the federal government taxing that same gallon of gas at 15% isn’t obscene.

And Obama is responsible for the lowering of Gas Prices in 2016 but it’s the Republicans fault for the $4 Gas.

I vote Democrat because I believe a moment of silent prayer at the beginning of the school day constitutes government indoctrination and an intrusion on parental authority ….. but sex education, condom distribution and multiculturalism are all values-neutral.

And Showing R-Rated Michael Moore Films is good “education”.

I vote Democrat because I agonize over threats to the natural environment from CO2, acid rain and toxic waste ….. but I am totally oblivious of the threats to our social environment from pornography, promiscuity and family dissolution.

I vote Democrat because I believe lazy, uneducated stoners should have just as big a say in running our country as entrepreneurs who risk everything and work 70 hours per week.

And those stoners should make $15/hr if they bother to work at all.

I vote Democrat because I don’t like guns ….. so no one else should be allowed to own one.

Especially not Cops, they just kill minorities. But when someone breaks into my house I call the..whoops…

I vote Democrat because I see absolutely no correlation between welfare and the rise of illegitimacy.

fish1

I vote Democrat because I see absolutely no correlation between judicial leniency and surging crime rates.

Nor “Strict Gun laws” and rising crime.

I vote Democrat because I believe you don’t need an ID to vote but you do to buy beer.

California alone created 605,000 Illegal Immigrant Voters!

I vote Democrat because I believe marriage is obsolete, except for homosexuals.

I vote Democrat because I think “fairness” is far more important than freedom.

I vote Democrat because I think an “equal outcome” is far more important than equal opportunity.

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.

I vote democrat because I would rather hide in a class room while others fight for my freedom.

And don’t even think of challenging my beliefs, I need my “safe space”.

I vote democrat because I’m not smart enough to own a gun and I need someone else to protect me.

But Cops are evil and they kill people wantonly and the Military is just a bunch of PTSD Psychos.

I vote democrat because I would rather have free stuff than freedom.

And lastly, I vote Democrat because I’m convinced that government programs are the solution to the human condition, NOT freedom.

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

bernie-free-college-750

THE LAND OF THE IGNORANT AND THE HOME OF THE SLAVE.

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

 

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

The Next Big Banned Word

You don’t have to be Frank Luntz or George Lakoff to know that linguistic framing matters a great deal in politics. Sometimes, however, nuance is in the eye of the beholder.

House Republicans unveiled their budget this week, an ambitious plan which balances the budget over 10 years and repeals Obamacare.

One word appears throughout the document, one which New Republic writer Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig believes should be “eliminated” because it subtly divides people into “makers and takers.”

The word? “Taxpayer.”

The word she believes should be used instead? “People.”

So Orwellian it hurts!

The New Republic’s Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig considers “taxpayer” an ideologically weighted term. A Conservative term, so it must therefore be evil.

In the 43-page budget, the word “taxpayer” and its permutations appear 24 times, as often as the word “people.”

It’s worthwhile to compare these usages, because the terms are, in a sense, rival ideas. While “people” designates the broadest possible public as the subject of a political project, “taxpayer” advances a considerably narrower vision—and that’s why we should eliminate it from political rhetoric and punditry.

Well, yes, “taxpayer” is a narrower term because not all people are taxpayers. But somehow that distinction is now deemed discriminatory.

…[T]axpayer terminology also seems to subtly promote the idea that a person’s share in our democratic governance should depend upon their contribution in taxes…Our share in democracy arises not from what we can pay into it, but from the fact that we are persons and personhood confers certain obligations and dues.

In both President Obama’s and the GOP’s budget proposals, the terms “taxpayer” and “taxpayer dollars” or variations thereof are used, referencing government’s responsibility to use the funds wisely and efficiently.

But even the fact that taxpayer dollars came from taxpayers and therefore taxpayers should be happy with how they are used is somehow a touchy issue:

If money owed in taxes is imagined, as in the budget plan … to belong to the taxpayer, then programs operating off of public revenue do seem to have some obligation to correspond to their funders’ consent, and serving the interests of others does seem unfair. But these are all obfuscations brought on by the term.

Bruenig ends with characterizing all who use the term “taxpayer” as “carrying political water.”

Orwell at it’s finest.

“It forgets that its financial resources come from hard-working American taxpayers who wake up every day, go to work, actively grow our economy and create real opportunity.” In other words, Americans’ taxes are parallel with taxpayers’ consent, suggesting that expenditures that do not correspond to an individual’s will are some kind of affront. The report goes on to argue that  food stamps, public housing assistance, and development grants are judged not on whether they achieve improved health and economic outcomes for the recipients or build a stronger community, but on the size of their budgets. It is time these programs focus on core functions and responsibilities, not just on financial resources. In so doing this budget respects hard-working taxpayers who want to ensure their tax dollars are spent wisely.

…[A]s the Republican authors of this budget know well, the beneficiaries of welfare programs tend to receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes, because they are in most cases low-income. The “taxpayers” this passage has in mind, therefore, don’t seem to be the recipients of these welfare programs, but rather those who imagine that they personally fund them. By this logic, the public is divided neatly into makers and takers, to borrow the parlance of last election’s Republicans…

 

…Public revenue is just that: a pool of public money to be used for the good of the public, not 300 million pools of private money each to be used to serve private individuals’ interests. What is in the interest of the public may involve expenditures that can’t be filed in a pay-in-cash-out formula, as the “taxpayer” terminology would suggest.

The she goes on to complain that this “formula” would be bad for kids, roads, utilities, ad nauseum because after all they are a “necessary social function” and “provides for the common good” and if we continue to use the ideologically conservative word “taxpayer” we will in due course steal candy from babies, destroy and neglect our children, old people, roads, bridges,environment etc. Hell will be let loose on earth!

We must ban any hot button conservative-leaning words that remind people where all this “free” money and “necessary social function” comes from.

We just want them to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our Socialist labor and not question where it came from.

Orwell could do no better.

Political Cartoons by Dana Summers
Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley
Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell
Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

The Cost Curve

‘When Americans tried it, they discovered they did not like green eggs and ham and they did not like Obamacare either,’ he said. ‘They did not like Obamacare in a box, with a fox, in a house or with a mouse. It is not working.’– Sen Ted Cruz.

Last night, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finally began to provide some data on how Americans will fare on Obamacare’s federally-sponsored insurance exchanges. HHS’ press release is full of happy talk about how premiums will be “lower than originally expected.” But the reality is starkly different.

Based on a Manhattan Institute analysis of the HHS numbers, Obamacare will increase underlying insurance rates for younger men by an average of 97 to 99 percent, and for younger women by an average of 55 to 62 percent. Worst off is North Carolina, which will see individual-market rates triple for women, and quadruple for men.

http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2013/what-will-obamacare-cost-you-map.html

“Premiums nationwide will also be around 16 percent lower than originally expected,” HHS cheerfully announces in its press release. But that’s a ruse. HHS compared what the Congressional Budget Office projected rates might look like—in 2016—to its own findings. Neither of those numbers tells you the stat that really matters: how much rates will go up next year, under Obamacare, relative to this year, prior to the law taking effect.

Former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin agrees. “There are literally no comparisons to current rates. That is, HHS has chosen to dodge the question of whose rates are going up, and how much. Instead they try to distract with a comparison to a hypothetical number that has nothing to do with the actual experience of real people.”

So the spin is full swing and if the sun rise in the west because the earth is spinning now in the opposite direction you’ll know why.

It’s Propaganda 24/7/365. The Premiums are low, they have always been low and always will be low. Anyone who disagrees will be shut down, investigate, harassed and destroyed.

There is nothing to see here.

HHS-27-yo-men HHS-27-yo-women

40-year-olds, surprisingly, will face a similar picture. The cheapest exchange plan for the average enrollee, compared to what a 40-year-old would pay today, will cost an average of 99 percent more for men, and 62 percent for women.

For this cohort, men fared worst in North Carolina, with rate increases of 305 percent. (They are a “red State” so who gives a rat’s asses-certainly not Democrats!)Women got hammered in Nebraska, where rates will increase by a national high of 237 percent. Again, Colorado and New Hampshire fared best, with 17 percent and 5-8 percent declines, respectively.

Remember that here, we aren’t conducting an exact comparison. Instead we’re comparing the lowest-cost bronze plan offered to the average participant in the exchanges, to the cheapest plan offered to 40-year-olds today. This approach artificially flatters Obamacare, because the median age of an exchange participant is, in most states, below the age of 40.

All of the analyses I’ve discussed thus far involve changes in the underlying cost of health insurance for people who buy it for themselves. Many progressives object to this comparison, because it doesn’t take into account the impact of Obamacare’s subsidies on the net cost of insurance for low-income Americans.

I’ve long argued that it’s irresponsible to ignore the change in underlying premiums, because subsidies only protect some people. Middle-class Americans face the double-whammy of higher insurance premiums, and higher taxes to pay for other people’s subsidies. However, it is important to understand how subsidies will impact the decisions by Americans as to whether or not to participate in the exchanges.

Remember that nearly two-thirds of the uninsured are under the age of 40. And that young and healthy people are essential to Obamacare; unless these individuals are willing to pay more for health insurance to subsidize everyone else, the exchanges will not serve the goal of providing coverage to the uninsured.

And remember, “subsidies” mean Government artificially suppressing the price with TAXPAYER money. THAT’S YOU!!! 🙂

And once you are truly addicted to it, they can remove the subsidies and then you’re really screwed but your too addicted to complain by then.

Hook you first. Then tell you that “the other guy” wants to take away your drugs!! So vote for me to continue letting you shoot up even if it will kill you. What do I care, if you vote for me life is good.

The bottom line: Obamacare makes insurance less affordable

For months, we’ve heard about how Obamacare’s trillions in health care subsidies were going to save America from rate shock. It’s not true. If you shop for coverage on your own, you’re likely to see your rates go up, even after accounting for the impact of pre-existing conditions, even after accounting for the impact of subsidies.

The Obama administration knows this, which is why its 15-page report makes no mention of premiums for insurance available on today’s market. Silence, they say, speaks louder than words. HHS’ silence on the difference between Obamacare’s insurance premiums and those available today tell you everything you need to know. Rates are going higher. And if you’re healthy, or you’re young, the Obama administration expects you to do your duty and pay up. (Forbes)

It’s only “fair” and “we are in this together” after all…

 

 

Food For the Sowell XI: The Narcissis

sowell- liberal care

The fundamental problem of the political left seems to be that the real world does not fit its preconceptions. Therefore it sees the real world as what is wrong, and what needs to be changed, since apparently its preconceptions cannot be wrong.

A never-ending source of grievances for the left is the fact that some groups are “over-represented” in desirable occupations, institutions and income brackets, while other groups are “under-represented.”

From all the indignation and outrage about this expressed on the left, you might think that it was impossible that different groups are simply better at different things.

Yet runners from Kenya continue to win a disproportionate share of marathons in the United States, and children whose parents or grandparents came from India have won most of the American spelling bees in the past 15 years.

And has anyone failed to notice that the leading professional basketball players have for years been black, in a country where most of the population is white?

Most of the leading photographic lenses in the world have — for generations — been designed by people who were either Japanese or German. Most of the leading diamond-cutters in the world have been either India’s Jains or Jews from Israel or elsewhere.

Not only people but things have been grossly unequal. More than two-thirds of all the tornadoes in the entire world occur in the middle of the United States. Asia has more than 70 mountain peaks that are higher than 20,000 feet and Africa has none.

And is it news that a disproportionate share of all the oil in the world is in the Middle East?

Whole books could be filled with the unequal behavior or performances of people, or the unequal geographic settings in which whole races, nations and civilizations have developed. Yet the preconceptions of the political left march on undaunted, loudly proclaiming sinister reasons why outcomes are not equal within nations or between nations.

All this moral melodrama has served as a background for the political agenda of the left, which has claimed to be able to lift the poor out of poverty and in general make the world a better place. This claim has been made for centuries, and in countries around the world. And it has failed for centuries in countries around the world.

Some of the most sweeping and spectacular rhetoric of the left occurred in 18th century France, where the very concept of the left originated in the fact that people with certain views sat on the left side of the National Assembly.

The French Revolution was their chance to show what they could do when they got the power they sought. In contrast to what they promised — “liberty, equality, fraternity” — what they actually produced were food shortages, mob violence and dictatorial powers that included arbitrary executions, extending even to their own leaders, such as Robespierre, who died under the guillotine.

In the 20th century, the most sweeping vision of the left — communism — spread over vast regions of the world and encompassed well over a billion human beings. Of these, millions died of starvation in the Soviet Union under Stalin and tens of millions in China under Mao.

Milder versions of socialism, with central planning of national economies, took root in India and in various European democracies.

If the preconceptions of the left were correct, central planning by educated elites with vast amounts of statistical data at their fingertips, expertise readily available, and backed by the power of government, should have been more successful than market economies where millions of individuals pursued their own individual interests willy-nilly.

But, by the end of the 20th century, even socialist and communist governments began abandoning central planning and allowing more market competition.

Yet this quiet capitulation to inescapable realities did not end the noisy claims of the left.

In the United States, those claims and policies reached new heights, epitomized by government takeovers of whole sectors of the economy and unprecedented intrusions into the lives of Americans, of which ObamaCare has been only the most obvious example.

The political left has long claimed the role of protector of “the poor.” It is one of their central moral claims to political power. But how valid is this claim?

Leaders of the left in many countries have promoted policies that enable the poor to be more comfortable in their poverty.But that raises a fundamental question:

Just who are “the poor”?

If you use a bureaucratic definition of poverty as including all individuals or families below some arbitrary income level set by the government, then it is easy to get the kinds of statistics about “the poor” that are thrown around in the media and in politics. But do those statistics have much relationship to reality?

“Poverty” once had some concrete meaning — not enough food to eat or not enough clothing or shelter to protect you from the elements, for example.

Today it means whatever the government bureaucrats, who set up the statistical criteria, choose to make it mean.

And they have every incentive to define poverty in a way that includes enough people to justify welfare-state spending.

Most Americans with incomes below the official poverty level have air-conditioning, television, own a motor vehicle and, far from being hungry, are more likely than other Americans to be overweight. But an arbitrary definition of words and numbers gives them access to the taxpayers’ money.

This kind of “poverty” can easily become a way of life, not only for today’s “poor,” but for their children and grandchildren.

Keep Them Down

Even when they have the potential to become productive members of society, the loss of welfare state benefits if they try to do so is an implicit “tax” on what they would earn that often exceeds the explicit tax on a millionaire.

If increasing your income by $10,000 would cause you to lose $15,000 in government benefits, would you do it?

In short, the political left’s welfare state makes poverty more comfortable, while penalizing attempts to rise out of poverty. Unless we believe that some people are predestined to be poor, the left’s agenda is a disservice to them, as well as to society. The vast amounts of money wasted are by no means the worst of it.

If our goal is for people to get out of poverty, there are plenty of heartening examples of individuals and groups who have done that, in countries around the world.

Millions of “overseas Chinese” emigrated from China destitute and often illiterate in centuries past. Whether they settled in Southeast Asian countries or in the United States, they began at the bottom, taking hard, dirty and sometimes dangerous jobs.Four-Letter Word

Even though the overseas Chinese were usually paid little, they saved out of that little, and many eventually opened tiny businesses. By working long hours and living frugally, they were able to turn tiny businesses into larger and more prosperous businesses. Then they saw to it that their children got the education that they themselves often lacked.

By 1994, the 57 million overseas Chinese created as much wealth as the one billion people living in China.

Variations on this social pattern can be found in the histories of Jewish, Armenian, Lebanese and other emigrants who settled in many countries around the world — initially poor, but rising over the generations to prosperity. Seldom did they rely on government, and they usually avoided politics on their way up.

Such groups concentrated on developing what economists call “human capital” — their skills, talents, knowledge and self-discipline. Their success has usually been based on that one four-letter word that the left seldom uses in polite society: “work.”

There are individuals in virtually every group who follow similar patterns to rise from poverty to prosperity.

But how many such individuals there are in different groups makes a big difference for the prosperity or poverty of the groups as a whole.

The agenda of the left — promoting envy and a sense of grievance, while making loud demands for “rights” to what other people have produced — is a pattern that has been widespread in countries around the world.

This agenda has seldom lifted the poor out of poverty. But it has lifted the left to positions of power and self-aggrandizement, while they promote policies with socially counterproductive results.


When teenage thugs are called “troubled youth” by people on the political left, that tells us more about the mindset of the left than about these young hoodlums.

Seldom is there a speck of evidence that the thugs are troubled, and often there is ample evidence that they are in fact enjoying themselves, as they create trouble and dangers for others.

Why then the built-in excuse, when juvenile hoodlums are called “troubled youth” and mass murderers are just assumed to be “insane”?

At least as far back as the 18th century, the left has struggled to avoid facing the plain fact of evil — that some people simply choose to do things that they know to be wrong when they do them. Every kind of excuse, from poverty to an unhappy childhood, is used by the left to explain and excuse evil.

All the people who have come out of poverty or unhappy childhoods, or both, and become decent and productive human beings, are ignored. So are the evils committed by people raised in wealth and privilege, including kings, conquerors and slave owners.

Why has evil been such a hard concept for many on the left to accept? The basic agenda of the left is to change external conditions. But what if the problem is internal? What if the real problem is the cussedness of human beings?

Rousseau denied this in the 18th century and the left has been denying it ever since. Why? Self preservation.

If the things that the left wants to control — institutions and government policy — are not the most important factors in the world’s problems, then what role is there for the left?

What if it is things like the family, the culture and the traditions that make a more positive difference than the bright new government “solutions” that the left is constantly coming up with? What if seeking “the root causes of crime” is not nearly as effective as locking up criminals?

The hard facts show that the murder rate was going down for decades under the old traditional practices so disdained by the left intelligentsia, before the bright new ideas of the left went into effect in the 1960s — after which crime and violence skyrocketed .

What happened when old-fashioned ideas about sex were replaced in the 1960s by the bright new ideas of the left that were introduced into the schools as “sex education” that was supposed to reduce teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases?

Both teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases had been going down for years. But that trend suddenly reversed in the 1960s and hit new highs.

One of the oldest and most dogmatic of the crusades of the left has been disarmament, both of individuals and of nations. Again, the focus of the left has been on the externals — the weapons in this case.

If weapons were the problem, then gun control laws at home and international disarmament agreements abroad might be the answer.

But if evil people who care no more for laws or treaties than they do for other people’s lives are the problem, then disarmament means making decent, law-abiding people more vulnerable to evil people.

Since belief in disarmament has been a major feature of the left since the 18th century, in countries around the world, you might think that by now there would be lots of evidence to substantiate their beliefs.

But evidence on whether gun control laws actually reduce crime rates in general, or murder rates in particular, is seldom mentioned by gun-control advocates. It is just assumed in passing that of course tighter gun-control laws will reduce murders.

But the hard facts do not back up that assumption. That is why it is the critics of gun control who rely heavily on empirical evidence, as in books like “More Guns, Less Crime” by John Lott and “Guns and Violence” by Joyce Lee Malcolm.

National disarmament has an even worse record. Both Britain and America neglected their military forces between the two World Wars, while Germany and Japan armed to the teeth. Many British and American soldiers paid with their lives for their countries’ initially inadequate military equipment in World War II.

But what are mere facts compared to the heady vision of the left?

After all, they can’t possible be wrong. There’s is the superior intelligence. The superior compassion. And just plain old superior to everyone and everything.
There’s a word for that: Narcissism.

At the heart of the left’s vision of the world is the implicit assumption that high-minded third parties like themselves can make better decisions for other people than those people can make for themselves.

That arbitrary and unsubstantiated assumption underlies a wide spectrum of laws and policies over the years, ranging from urban renewal to ObamaCare.

One of the many international crusades by busybodies on the left is the drive to limit the hours of work by people in other countries — especially poorer countries — in businesses operated by multinational corporations. One international monitoring group has taken on the task of making sure that people in China do not work more than the legally prescribed 49 hours per week.

Why international monitoring groups, led by affluent Americans or Europeans, would imagine that they know what is best for people who are far poorer than they are, and with far fewer options, is one of the many mysteries of the busybody elite.

As someone who left home at the age of 17, with no high school diploma, no job experience and no skills, I spent several years learning the hard way what poverty is like. One of the happier times during those years was a brief period when I worked 60 hours a week — 40 hours delivering telegrams during the day and 20 hours working part-time in a machine shop at night.

Why was I happy? Because, before finding these jobs, I had spent weeks desperately looking for any job, while my meager savings dwindled down to literally my last dollar, before finally finding the part-time job at night in a machine shop.

I had to walk several miles from the rooming house where I lived in Harlem to the machine shop located just below the Brooklyn Bridge, in order to save that last dollar to buy bread until I got a payday.

When I then found a full-time job delivering telegrams during the day, the money from the two jobs combined was more than I had ever made before. I could pay the back rent I owed on my room and both eat and ride the subways back and forth to work.

I could even put aside some money for a rainy day. It was the closest thing to nirvana for me.

Thank heaven there were no busybodies to prevent me from working more hours than they thought I should.

There was a minimum wage law, but this was 1949 and the wages set by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 had been rendered meaningless by years of inflation. In the absence of an effective minimum wage law, unemployment among black teenagers in the recession year of 1949 was a fraction of what it would be in even the most prosperous years of the 1960s and beyond.

As the morally anointed busybodies raised the minimum wage rate, beginning in the 1950s, black teenage unemployment skyrocketed. We have now become so used to tragically high rates of unemployment among this group that many people have no idea that things were not always like that, much less that policies of the busybody left had such catastrophic consequences.

I don’t know what I would have done if such busybody policies had been in effect back in 1949, and prevented me from finding a job before my last dollar ran out.

My personal experience is just one small example of what it is like when your options are very limited. The prosperous busybodies of the left are constantly promoting policies which reduce the existing options of poor people even more.

It would never occur to the busybodies that multinational corporations are expanding the options of the poor in third world countries, while busybody policies are contracting their options.

Wages paid by multinational corporations in poor countries are typically much higher than wages paid by local employers. Moreover, the experience that employees get working in modern companies make them more valuable workers and have led in China, for example, to wages rising by double-digit percentages annually.

Nothing is easier for people with degrees to imagine that they know better than the poor and uneducated. But, as someone once said, “A fool can put on his coat better than a wise man can put it on for him.”

But feels they can not only make the coat superior but they can wear it to. And that’s all down to their own sense of their own vast Superiority.

Homo Superior Liberalis. 🙂

Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

 Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson


The Road to Hell is Paved…

The tax code is so hideously complex that even the IRS is complaining about it. Too bad President Obama is about to make it far worse.

In her latest annual report, IRS National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson spells out just how mind-bogglingly complicated our tax laws have become. Some examples:

• The code today consists of nearly 4 million words.

• Complying with it requires the equivalent of more than 3 million full-time workers, and wastes $168 billion a year.

• Tax laws are so complex that almost 90% either pay a professional or use tax software to file their returns — even though nearly half of Americans don’t owe any income taxes.

• Even so, the IRS still gets more than 115 million calls for help each year.

• Since 2001, Congress has enacted nearly 5,000 changes to the code, or more than one a day.

As Olson explains, massive complexity not only wastes time and money, it also makes it tougher to collect what’s owed and breeds contempt for the system.

A classic example is the Alternative Minimum Tax, designed to keep the super rich from using loopholes to avoid paying taxes. The AMT increasingly ensnares middle-class families while still letting tens of thousands of rich people avoid paying income taxes.

Olson calls for a radical simplification of the tax code that trades lower rates for fewer deductions, exemptions, breaks and incentives, and broadens the base.

Unfortunately, Obama is pushing the code in the opposite direction. Not only has he managed to get rates increased as part of his “fiscal cliff” deal, his health reform law will add vast new layers of tax complexity.

For example, ObamaCare adds a new refundable tax credit to offset the cost of insurance that will not only be a nightmare to administer, but will also narrow the tax base still further by kicking 8 million off the tax rolls.

The law gums up the code with new breaks for small businesses, health care investments, adoptions and so on. And it forces the IRS to figure out who gets penalized for not buying insurance and how much they owe.

All told, the IRS says it needs more than a thousand new auditors and staff to cope with ObamaCare. None of that will make taxpayers’ lives any easier.

But it will give Olson lots more to complain about in the years ahead. (IBD)

And if you don’t do it right, the IRS will chop off you fingers and toes and feed them to The Beast.

In the short time since President Obama was re-elected, government has issued hundreds of new regulations. The bureaucrats never stop. There are now more than 170,000 pages of federal regulations.

Worse, government’s micromanagement stifles innovation. Companies now invest in lawyers and “compliance officers,” rather than engineers and creators. Tax attorney, etc.

Government-Good Intentions Gone Wrong

We are From the Government and we are here to help you…

 

 

Memorial to the Left

The Left for you: A spokesman for a leading veterans organization criticized MSNBC’s Chris Hayes for arguing on his television show that that he’s “uncomfortable” describing American soldiers who died in battles as heroes.

“If Mr. Hayes feels uncomfortable, I suggest he enlist, go to war, then come home to what he expects is a grateful nation but encounters the opposite. It’s far too easy to cast stones from inexperience,” Veterans of Foreign Wars spokesman Joe Davis told The Daily Caller on Sunday.

Hayes, a liberal writer who hosts the weekend show “Up with Chris Hayes,” said he is “uncomfortable about the word [hero] because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war.”

“I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, he said, “and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism — hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic.”

And these are the people who will stop Iran from nuking the world? 😦

“Like anorexics, who think they are grossly fat when they are very thin, the American body politic is suffering from a national version of body dysmorphia, with nearly half the country believing taxes are high, when they are comparatively and historically low.”
— Reuters global editor at large Chrystia Freeland
“I keep hearing we’re a centrist country and that candidates, after they get through their primaries, have to pivot back to the center, because that’s where we all are. And yet, you have a Republican Party that is in no way in the center, in terms of their issues. They’re clearly out of the mainstream on rolling back, on really rolling back 70 years of legislation.” — CBS’s Lesley Stahl (MRC)

The Origination Clause in Article I, Section 7 states: “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.” In addition to clarity, this provision has an even greater virtue: It serves a very good purpose.

The Founding Fathers required revenue measures to originate in the House because they wanted this authority to belong to the legislative body closest to the people. Plus, the Framers wanted the larger states to enjoy the most influence on matters of taxing and spending, which is the case in the House (whose seats are allocated according to population) but not the Senate (where each state gets two seats regardless of population and smaller states have outsized influence). “This power over the purse,” James Madison explained in Federalist No. 58, “may, in fact be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has taken to thumbing his nose at this clear mandate. Recently, he publicly dismissed the Origination Clause as a “hyper-technical budget issue,” raised by his Republican opponents as “a fig leaf to hide their blatant obstruction.” The matter arose as Reid orchestrated a high-profile Senate floor debate on the Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012, prior to House consideration of this or any other revenue bill. Also known as the “Buffett Rule,” the Senate measure would impose a hefty new tax on millionaires.Aware that the Republican House would no more propose new, economically debilitating taxes than Warren Buffett would voluntarily follow the rule that bears his name, Reid opted to move unilaterally. Why let a little thing like the Constitution stand in the way of making sure a red-meat, eat-the-rich proposal like this gets maximum media exposure during an election year?

It does not stop there. In its version of the legislation extending federal price controls on student loans, the Senate included a hefty tax increase — again absent the requisite House action. Then there is the Violence against Women Act, which contains a new $30 fee for immigrant visas, another Senate revenue provision that violates the Origination Clause. When House leaders uncovered this constitutional infirmity, they quickly issued a “blue slip” notification, effectively killing it.

Remarkably, as Congressional Quarterly reported, the House move “blindsided” the many constitutional illiterates in the Senate. One unnamed Senate staffer even speculated that the House’s fealty to the Constitution “may be part of some Republican plan.” This is all in keeping with how the leftist intelligentsia has viewed previous efforts to ignore the Origination Clause. The New York Times characterized one such mishap as an “arcane parliamentary mistake” the enforcement of which was designed “to block . . . everything else Mr. Reid is hoping to accomplish,”(NRO)
Private Equity Vs. Public Equity

After all, if Romney’s record in private equity is fair game, then so is Obama’s record in public equity — and that record is not pretty.

Since taking office, Obama has invested billions of taxpayer dollars in private businesses, including as part of his stimulus spending bill. Many of those investments have turned out to be unmitigated disasters — leaving in their wake bankruptcies, layoffs, criminal investigations and taxpayers on the hook for billions. Consider a few examples:

Raser Technologies. In 2010, the Obama administration gave Raser a $33 million taxpayer-funded grant to build a power plant in Beaver Creek, Utah. According to the Wall Street Journal, after burning through our tax dollars, the company filed for bankruptcy protection this year. The plant has fewer than 10 employees, and Raser owes $1.5 million in back taxes.

ECOtality. The Obama administration gave ECOtality $126.2 million in taxpayer money in 2009 for, among other things, the installation of 14,000 electric car chargers in five states. Obama even hosted the company’s president, Don Karner, in the first lady’s box during the 2010 State of the Union address as an example of a stimulus success story.

According to ECOtality’s own SEC filings, the company has since incurred more than $45 million in losses and has told the federal government: “We may not achieve or sustain profitability on a quarterly or annual basis in the future.”

Worse, according to CBS News, the company is “under investigation for insider trading,” and Karner has been subpoenaed “for any and all documentation surrounding the public announcement of the first Department of Energy grant to the company.”

Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP). The Obama administration gave NGP a $98.5 million taxpayer loan guarantee in 2010. The New York Times reported in October that the company is in “financial turmoil” and that “after a series of technical missteps that are draining Nevada Geothermal’s cash reserves, its own auditor concluded in a filing released last week that there was ‘significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.'”

First Solar. The Obama administration provided First Solar with more than $3 billion in loan guarantees for power plants in Arizona and California. According to a Bloomberg Businessweek report last week, the company “fell to a record low in Nasdaq Stock Market trading May 4 after reporting $401 million in restructuring costs tied to firing 30% of its workforce.”

Abound Solar. The Obama administration gave Abound Solar a $400 million loan guarantee to build photovoltaic panel factories. According to Forbes, in February the company halted production and laid off 180 employees.

Beacon Power. The Obama administration gave Beacon — a green-energy storage company — a $43 million loan guarantee. According to CBS News, at the time of the loan, “Standard and Poor’s had confidentially given the project a dismal outlook of ‘CCC-plus.'” Last fall, Beacon received a delisting notice from Nasdaq and filed for bankruptcy.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. A company called SunPower got a $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the Obama administration, and as of January, the company owed more than it was worth. Brightsource got a $1.6 billion loan guarantee and posted a string of net losses totaling $177 million.

And let’s not forget Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer that received $535 million in taxpayer-funded loan guarantees and went bankrupt, leaving taxpayers on the hook.

Obama has declared that all of the projects received funding “based solely on their merits.” But as Hoover Institution scholar Peter Schweizer reported in his book “Throw Them All Out,” 71% of the Obama Energy Department’s grants and loans went to “individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party.”

Collectively, these Obama cronies raised $457,834 for his campaign, and they were in turn approved for grants or loans of nearly $11.35 billion. Obama said this week that it’s not the president’s job “to make a lot of money for investors.” Well, he sure seems to have made a lot of (taxpayer) money for investors in his political machine.

The cronyism and corruption are catching up with the administration. According to Politico, “The Energy Department’s inspector general has launched more than 100 criminal investigations” related to the department’s green-energy programs.

Now the man who made Solyndra a household name says Romney’s record at Bain “is what this campaign is going to be about.” Good luck with that, Mr. President. If Obama wants to attack Romney’s alleged private-equity failures as chief executive of Bain, he’d better be ready to defend his own public-equity failures as chief executive of the United States. (IBD)

PAUL KRUGMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: This is hard to get people to do, much better, obviously, to build bridges and roads and healthcare clinics and schools. But my proposed, I actually have a serious proposal which is that we have to get a bunch of scientists to tell us that we’re facing a threatened alien invasion, and in order to be prepared for that alien invasion we have to do things like build high-speed rail. And the, once we’ve recovered, we can say, “Look, there were no aliens.”

But look, I mean, whatever it takes because right now we need somebody to spend, and that somebody has to be the U.S. government.- Liberal “economist” Paul Krugman (Newsbusters)

So let’s all have a moment of silence and on this Memorial Day when we remember those who have fallen in War, remember the Death of Common Reason and Rational Thought on the Left.

The Message Rule

“There are others who are saying: ‘Well, this is just a gimmick. Just taxing millionaires and billionaires, just imposing the Buffett Rule, won’t do enough to close the deficit,’ ” Obama declared Wednesday. “Well, I agree.”

But it works for ME, what the hell, might as well…I will say anything to get re-elected so I can be “flexible”.

“The notion that it doesn’t solve the entire problem doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it at all,” he explained.

Who cares about the economics. It’s good politics.

So let’s cut spending, it won’t solve the whole problem but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it right? 🙂

Appointing the Simpson-Bowles commission and then disregarding its findings, offering a plan for business tax reform only, and issuing a series of platitudes. The Buffett Rule, rather than overhauling the tax code, would simply add another layer.

And another layer of bureaucratic morass can’t be bad and beside it’s more “fair” and that’s much more important. 🙂

A search of the White House Web site yields 17,400 mentions of the Buffett Rule — a proposal that would bring in $47 billion over 10 years  (That’s 4.7 billion a year– The government current has a debt of over 3 billion a day!- Wow! That’s a great plan!), much of that from 22,000 wealthy households. By contrast, the alternative minimum tax gets fewer than 600 mentions on the site. The AMT, if not changed, will take about $1 trillion over a decade from millions of taxpayers, many of whom earn less than $200,000 a year.

And the DEMOCRATS passed the AMT back in 1968 as a way to stick it to 155 millionaires!

YES, I SAID 155 Millionaires!

In August 1969 as he was preparing the next year’s budget <Treasury Secretary> Barr warned that the country faced a taxpayers’ revolt. He explained, according to the Washington Post, that in 1967 there were a total of 155 individuals with incomes over $200,000 who did not pay any federal income taxes; twenty of them were millionaires. These individuals successfully used all tax loopholes available to legally evade paying taxes. The revelation attracted wide media attention and led to public shock.

Sound familiar? Gee, Liberals don’t stray very far from their “fair” tree do they. 🙂

And funny how that all worked out. You don’t think it could happen again do you? 🙂

The politics of the Buffett Rule — it has no chance of passing when the Senate takes it up next week — are so overt that Obama’s remarks Wednesday were virtually indistinguishable from a section of his campaign speech in Florida on Tuesday.

Wednesday: “If we’re going to keep giving somebody like me or some of the people in this room tax breaks that we don’t need and we can’t afford, then one of two things happens: Either you’ve got to borrow more money to pay down a deeper deficit, or . . . you’ve got to tell seniors to pay a little bit more for their Medicare. You’ve got to tell the college student, ‘We’re going to have to charge you higher interest rates on your student loan.’ . . . That’s not right.”

So does this mean he admits to being an evil “rich” Millionaire. Aren’t they untrustworthy, selfish, self-centered, egotists only looking out for #1?-themselves 🙂

Tuesday: “If somebody like me, who is doing just fine, gets tax breaks I don’t need and that the country can’t afford, then one of two things is going to happen: Either it gets added to our deficit . . . or, alternatively, you’ve got to take it away from somebody else — a student who’s trying to pay for their college, or a senior trying to get by with Social Security and Medicare. . . . That’s not right.”

Parts of Obama’s “official” speech will no doubt be repeated on the stump, including the points that “we just need some of the Republican politicians here in Washington to get on board with where the country is,” that Obama cut taxes 17 times (the bobbleheads nodded in agreement), and the contention that Republicans today would view Ronald Reagan as a “wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior.”

Nothing is inherently wrong with campaign-style rhetoric from the White House; George W. Bush used it repeatedly to pass his tax cuts and in his attempt at a Social Security overhaul. The pity is that Obama doesn’t use his unrivaled political skill to sell a tax plan of more consequence — and less gimmickry. (Dana Millbank)

The federal tax code with its 44000 pages, 5.5 million words, and 721 different forms so whose going to notice one more gimmick?

According to the National Taxpayers Union, we each waste about 12 hours a year, every year, filling out this crazy stuff. Schedule B. Schedule C. Above the line. Below the line. Deductions, exemptions, non-refundable credits. Medical bills over 7.5% of adjusted gross income. The instruction booklet for the 1040 now runs to 189 pages. No kidding. Seventy-five years ago, says the NTU, it was two pages.

The U.S. tax code is insane and out of control. It’s tripled in a decade. It now runs to 3.8 million words. To put that in context, William Shakespeare only needed 900,000 words to say everything he had to say. Hamlet. Othello. The history plays. The sonnets. The whole shebang.

Your tax bill this year is a lie. You’re only seeing about two-thirds of the full cost of government services. Really. Taxes are $2.3 trillion. Government spending is $3.6 trillion. The rest is being put on the national credit card.

The tax bill is a lie every year. We’ve only paid our bills in full on April 15 five times in the last fifty years. The last president to balance the books every year he was in office? Calvin Coolidge — back in the 1920s.

But ultimately he’s not selling anything but himself. It’s all about HIM. The universe does revolve around him and he just has to get you to see it too.

So it begins…

In 2008, a mostly unknown Barack Obama ran for president on an inclusive agenda of “hope and change.” That upbeat message was supposed to translate into millions of green jobs, fiscal sobriety, universal health care, a resetting of Bush foreign policy, and racial unity.

Four years later, none of those promises will be themes of his 2012 re-election campaign. Gas has more than doubled in price. Billions of dollars have been wasted in insider and subsidized wind and solar projects that have produced little green energy.

Unemployment rates above 8 percent appear the new norm, when 5 percent in the past was dubbed a “jobless recovery.”

From the Middle East to the Korean peninsula, the world seems on the brink. Modern racial relations are at a new low.

If borrowing $4 trillion in eight years was “unpatriotic,” as Obama once labeled George W. Bush, no one quite knows how to term the addition of $5 trillion in new debt in less than four years. ObamaCare is unpopular with the public. Its constitutionality now rests with the Supreme Court.

After four years, the claims of “Bush did it” and “It might have been worse” grow stale. So re-election will rest not on a new agenda, or an explanation of what happened, but on a divide-and-conquer strategy. Translated, that means Obama will find fissures in the voting public over fairness, expand them, and then cobble together various angry partisans in hopes of achieving a bare majority. Such an us/them strategy is not new in American history.

There are suddenly new enemies called the “one percent” — those who make more than $200,000 per year and who “do not pay their fair share.” Apparently in a zero-sum economy, this tiny minority has taken too much from the majority and thereby caused the four-year lethargy that followed the 2008 meltdown. Andrew Jackson, William Jennings Bryan and Franklin D. Roosevelt all ran, with varying success, against the selfish “rich.”

Congress is also now a convenient enemy of the people. Although it was Democratically controlled in Obama’s first two years, and the Senate remains so, the new theme insists that a Republican House stops the Democrats from finishing all the good things they started. When support for 16 years of the New Deal had evaporated by 1948, Harry Truman ran successfully against a “do-nothing” Republican Congress that had blocked his own big-government “Fair Deal” follow-up and thus supposedly stalled the economy.

In 2009, Obama pushed through his health care plan by a narrow partisan margin in the House, despite constitutional questions about the individual mandate. Now, as the Supreme Court seems skeptical of the legality of ObamaCare, the president seems to be running against “unelected” justices. That could work too. In 1968, Richard Nixon squeaked by Hubert Humphrey in a divisive campaign, in part by lambasting the activist Warren Court that had done everything from outlawing school prayer to supporting school busing.

Team Obama has seized on the Democrats’ allegations of a “war on women,” waged by both Republican and Catholic grandees against federal subsidies of birth control. For the first time since the campaign of John F. Kennedy a half-century ago, the role of the Catholic Church in politics is suddenly a landmark issue.

The president faults “Big Oil” and tension in the Middle East — not his own failure to develop vast new gas and oil reserves on public lands — for high gas prices. Jimmy Carter likewise blamed greedy oil companies and the Middle East in 1980, after gasoline prices spiked and lines formed at filling stations.

Suddenly, after the Trayvon Martin tragedy and what may prove to be murderous white vigilantism in Oklahoma, race again looms large. President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have weighed in often on that issue. The former castigated police for acting “stupidly” in one incident, and more recently reminded the nation of the racial affinities between himself and Trayvon Martin. The latter blasted the nation’s reluctance to discuss race as cowardly, and alleged racial bias among his own congressional overseers. Race is always an explosive wedge issue. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson ran successfully in part on the need to expand civil rights, while in 1968 Richard Nixon found traction in the backlash against racial violence.

If Obama can cobble together disaffected young people, greens, women, minorities and the poor — who all believe a nefarious “they” have crushed their dreams — then massive debt and deficits, high unemployment, sluggish growth and spiraling gas prices won’t decide the election.

Lots of presidential candidates have run by identifying such enemies of the people, rather than debating the general state of the nation — sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

But the problem with an us/them strategy is not just winning an election, but trying to put back together what was torn asunder. (Victor David Hanson)

Assuming a Democrat would want to do that to begin with. Divide and Conquer is more satisfying when you get to the Conquer bit.

Conquering is good.

Conquering is “fair”

Conquering gives you the power to do what you want when you want because you want to. And doesn’t every “selfless” and “fair” liberal just want “fairness” and “justice” for all. :0

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

 Political Cartoons by Eric Allie
Political Cartoons by Gary McCoy

Political Cartoons by Ken Catalino

Moral Hazard

Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc-ra-cy)- a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing,and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed,are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

THE $7 Trillion Dollar Secret

The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

A fresh narrative of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009 emerges from 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions. While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.
‘Change Their Votes’

“When you see the dollars the banks got, it’s hard to make the case these were successful institutions,” says Sherrod Brown, a Democratic Senator from Ohio who in 2010 introduced an unsuccessful bill to limit bank size. “This is an issue that can unite the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. There are lawmakers in both parties who would change their votes now.”

The size of the bailout came to light after Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, won a court case against the Fed and a group of the biggest U.S. banks called Clearing House Association LLC to force lending details into the open.

The Fed, headed by Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, argued that revealing borrower details would create a stigma — investors and counterparties would shun firms that used the central bank as lender of last resort — and that needy institutions would be reluctant to borrow in the next crisis. Clearing House Association fought Bloomberg’s lawsuit up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the banks’ appeal in March 2011.

$7.77 Trillion

The amount of money the central bank parceled out was surprising even to Gary H. Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1985 to 2009, who says he “wasn’t aware of the magnitude.” It dwarfed the Treasury Department’s better-known $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.

“TARP at least had some strings attached,” says Brad Miller, a North Carolina Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, referring to the program’s executive-pay ceiling. “With the Fed programs, there was nothing.”

Bankers didn’t disclose the extent of their borrowing. On Nov. 26, 2008, then-Bank of America (BAC) Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D. Lewis wrote to shareholders that he headed “one of the strongest and most stable major banks in the world.” He didn’t say that his Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm owed the central bank $86 billion that day.
‘Motivate Others’

JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon told shareholders in a March 26, 2010, letter that his bank used the Fed’s Term Auction Facility “at the request of the Federal Reserve to help motivate others to use the system.” He didn’t say that the New York-based bank’s total TAF borrowings were almost twice its cash holdings or that its peak borrowing of $48 billion on Feb. 26, 2009, came more than a year after the program’s creation.

Howard Opinsky, a spokesman for JPMorgan (JPM), declined to comment about Dimon’s statement or the company’s Fed borrowings. Jerry Dubrowski, a spokesman for Bank of America, also declined to comment.

The Fed has been lending money to banks through its so- called discount window since just after its founding in 1913. Starting in August 2007, when confidence in banks began to wane, it created a variety of ways to bolster the financial system with cash or easily traded securities. By the end of 2008, the central bank had established or expanded 11 lending facilities catering to banks, securities firms and corporations that couldn’t get short-term loans from their usual sources.
‘Core Function’

“Supporting financial-market stability in times of extreme market stress is a core function of central banks,” says William B. English, director of the Fed’s Division of Monetary Affairs. “Our lending programs served to prevent a collapse of the financial system and to keep credit flowing to American families and businesses.”

The Fed has said that all loans were backed by appropriate collateral. That the central bank didn’t lose money should “lead to praise of the Fed, that they took this extraordinary step and they got it right,” says Phillip Swagel, a former assistant Treasury secretary under Henry M. Paulson and now a professor of international economic policy at the University of Maryland.

The Fed initially released lending data in aggregate form only. Information on which banks borrowed, when, how much and at what interest rate was kept from public view.

The secrecy extended even to members of President George W. Bush’s administration who managed TARP. Top aides to Paulson weren’t privy to Fed lending details during the creation of the program that provided crisis funding to more than 700 banks, say two former senior Treasury officials who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak.
Big Six

The Treasury Department relied on the recommendations of the Fed to decide which banks were healthy enough to get TARP money and how much, the former officials say. The six biggest U.S. banks, which received $160 billion of TARP funds, borrowed as much as $460 billion from the Fed, measured by peak daily debt calculated by Bloomberg using data obtained from the central bank. Paulson didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The six — JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup Inc. (C), Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Morgan Stanley — accounted for 63 percent of the average daily debt to the Fed by all publicly traded U.S. banks, money managers and investment- services firms, the data show. By comparison, they had about half of the industry’s assets before the bailout, which lasted from August 2007 through April 2010. The daily debt figure excludes cash that banks passed along to money-market funds.
Bank Supervision

While the emergency response prevented financial collapse, the Fed shouldn’t have allowed conditions to get to that point, says Joshua Rosner, a banking analyst with Graham Fisher & Co. in New York who predicted problems from lax mortgage underwriting as far back as 2001. The Fed, the primary supervisor for large financial companies, should have been more vigilant as the housing bubble formed, and the scale of its lending shows the “supervision of the banks prior to the crisis was far worse than we had imagined,” Rosner says.

Bernanke in an April 2009 speech said that the Fed provided emergency loans only to “sound institutions,” even though its internal assessments described at least one of the biggest borrowers, Citigroup, as “marginal.”

On Jan. 14, 2009, six days before the company’s central bank loans peaked, the New York Fed gave CEO Vikram Pandit a report declaring Citigroup’s financial strength to be “superficial,” bolstered largely by its $45 billion of Treasury funds. The document was released in early 2011 by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a panel empowered by Congress to probe the causes of the crisis.
‘Need Transparency’

Andrea Priest, a spokeswoman for the New York Fed, declined to comment, as did Jon Diat, a spokesman for Citigroup.

“I believe that the Fed should have independence in conducting highly technical monetary policy, but when they are putting taxpayer resources at risk, we need transparency and accountability,” says Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee.

Judd Gregg, a former New Hampshire senator who was a lead Republican negotiator on TARP, and Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who chaired the House Financial Services Committee, both say they were kept in the dark.

“We didn’t know the specifics,” says Gregg, who’s now an adviser to Goldman Sachs.

“We were aware emergency efforts were going on,” Frank says. “We didn’t know the specifics.”
Disclose Lending

Frank co-sponsored the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, billed as a fix for financial-industry excesses. Congress debated that legislation in 2010 without a full understanding of how deeply the banks had depended on the Fed for survival.

It would have been “totally appropriate” to disclose the lending data by mid-2009, says David Jones, a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York who has written four books about the central bank.

“The Fed is the second-most-important appointed body in the U.S., next to the Supreme Court, and we’re dealing with a democracy,” Jones says. “Our representatives in Congress deserve to have this kind of information so they can oversee the Fed.”

The Dodd-Frank law required the Fed to release details of some emergency-lending programs in December 2010. It also mandated disclosure of discount-window borrowers after a two- year lag.
Protecting TARP

TARP and the Fed lending programs went “hand in hand,” says Sherrill Shaffer, a banking professor at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and a former chief economist at the New York Fed. While the TARP money helped insulate the central bank from losses, the Fed’s willingness to supply seemingly unlimited financing to the banks assured they wouldn’t collapse, protecting the Treasury’s TARP investments, he says.

“Even though the Treasury was in the headlines, the Fed was really behind the scenes engineering it,” Shaffer says.

Congress, at the urging of Bernanke and Paulson, created TARP in October 2008 after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. made it difficult for financial institutions to get loans. Bank of America and New York-based Citigroup each received $45 billion from TARP. At the time, both were tapping the Fed. Citigroup hit its peak borrowing of $99.5 billion in January 2009, while Bank of America topped out in February 2009 at $91.4 billion.
No Clue

Lawmakers knew none of this.

They had no clue that one bank, New York-based Morgan Stanley (MS), took $107 billion in Fed loans in September 2008, enough to pay off one-tenth of the country’s delinquent mortgages. The firm’s peak borrowing occurred the same day Congress rejected the proposed TARP bill, triggering the biggest point drop ever in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (INDU) The bill later passed, and Morgan Stanley got $10 billion of TARP funds, though Paulson said only “healthy institutions” were eligible.

Mark Lake, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley, declined to comment, as did spokesmen for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

Had lawmakers known, it “could have changed the whole approach to reform legislation,” says Ted Kaufman, a former Democratic Senator from Delaware who, with Brown, introduced the bill to limit bank size.
Moral Hazard

Kaufman says some banks are so big that their failure could trigger a chain reaction in the financial system. The cost of borrowing for so-called too-big-to-fail banks is lower than that of smaller firms because lenders believe the government won’t let them go under. The perceived safety net creates what economists call moral hazard — the belief that bankers will take greater risks because they’ll enjoy any profits while shifting losses to taxpayers.

Moral hazard arises because an individual or institution does not take the full consequences and responsibilities of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to hold some responsibility for the consequences of those actions. For example, a person with insurance against automobile theft may be less cautious about locking his or her car, because the negative consequences of vehicle theft are (partially) the responsibility of the insurance company.

If Congress had been aware of the extent of the Fed rescue, Kaufman says, he would have been able to line up more support for breaking up the biggest banks.

Byron L. Dorgan, a former Democratic senator from North Dakota, says the knowledge might have helped pass legislation to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which for most of the last century separated customer deposits from the riskier practices of investment banking.

“Had people known about the hundreds of billions in loans to the biggest financial institutions, they would have demanded Congress take much more courageous actions to stop the practices that caused this near financial collapse,” says Dorgan, who retired in January.
Getting Bigger

Instead, the Fed and its secret financing helped America’s biggest financial firms get bigger and go on to pay employees as much as they did at the height of the housing bubble.

Total assets held by the six biggest U.S. banks increased 39 percent to $9.5 trillion on Sept. 30, 2011, from $6.8 trillion on the same day in 2006, according to Fed data.

For so few banks to hold so many assets is “un-American,” says Richard W. Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “All of these gargantuan institutions are too big to regulate. I’m in favor of breaking them up and slimming them down.”

Employees at the six biggest banks made twice the average for all U.S. workers in 2010, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics hourly compensation cost data. The banks spent $146.3 billion on compensation in 2010, or an average of $126,342 per worker, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s up almost 20 percent from five years earlier compared with less than 15 percent for the average worker. Average pay at the banks in 2010 was about the same as in 2007, before the bailouts.
‘Wanted to Pretend’

“The pay levels came back so fast at some of these firms that it appeared they really wanted to pretend they hadn’t been bailed out,” says Anil Kashyap, a former Fed economist who’s now a professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. “They shouldn’t be surprised that a lot of people find some of the stuff that happened totally outrageous.”

Bank of America took over Merrill Lynch & Co. at the urging of then-Treasury Secretary Paulson after buying the biggest U.S. home lender, Countrywide Financial Corp. When the Merrill Lynch purchase was announced on Sept. 15, 2008, Bank of America had $14.4 billion in emergency Fed loans and Merrill Lynch had $8.1 billion. By the end of the month, Bank of America’s loans had reached $25 billion and Merrill Lynch’s had exceeded $60 billion, helping both firms keep the deal on track.
Prevent Collapse

Wells Fargo bought Wachovia Corp., the fourth-largest U.S. bank by deposits before the 2008 acquisition. Because depositors were pulling their money from Wachovia, the Fed channeled $50 billion in secret loans to the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank through two emergency-financing programs to prevent collapse before Wells Fargo could complete the purchase.

“These programs proved to be very successful at providing financial markets the additional liquidity and confidence they needed at a time of unprecedented uncertainty,” says Ancel Martinez, a spokesman for Wells Fargo.

JPMorgan absorbed the country’s largest savings and loan, Seattle-based Washington Mutual Inc., and investment bank Bear Stearns Cos. The New York Fed, then headed by Timothy F. Geithner, who’s now Treasury secretary, helped JPMorgan complete the Bear Stearns deal by providing $29 billion of financing, which was disclosed at the time. The Fed also supplied Bear Stearns with $30 billion of secret loans to keep the company from failing before the acquisition closed, central bank data show. The loans were made through a program set up to provide emergency funding to brokerage firms.
‘Regulatory Discretion’

“Some might claim that the Fed was picking winners and losers, but what the Fed was doing was exercising its professional regulatory discretion,” says John Dearie, a former speechwriter at the New York Fed who’s now executive vice president for policy at the Financial Services Forum, a Washington-based group consisting of the CEOs of 20 of the world’s biggest financial firms. “The Fed clearly felt it had what it needed within the requirements of the law to continue to lend to Bear and Wachovia.”

The bill introduced by Brown and Kaufman in April 2010 would have mandated shrinking the six largest firms.

“When a few banks have advantages, the little guys get squeezed,” Brown says. “That, to me, is not what capitalism should be.”

Kaufman says he’s passionate about curbing too-big-to-fail banks because he fears another crisis.

‘Can We Survive?’

“The amount of pain that people, through no fault of their own, had to endure — and the prospect of putting them through it again — is appalling,” Kaufman says. “The public has no more appetite for bailouts. What would happen tomorrow if one of these big banks got in trouble? Can we survive that?”

Lobbying expenditures by the six banks that would have been affected by the legislation rose to $29.4 million in 2010 compared with $22.1 million in 2006, the last full year before credit markets seized up — a gain of 33 percent, according to OpenSecrets.org, a research group that tracks money in U.S. politics. Lobbying by the American Bankers Association, a trade organization, increased at about the same rate, OpenSecrets.org reported.

Lobbyists argued the virtues of bigger banks. They’re more stable, better able to serve large companies and more competitive internationally, and breaking them up would cost jobs and cause “long-term damage to the U.S. economy,” according to a Nov. 13, 2009, letter to members of Congress from the FSF.

The group’s website cites Nobel Prize-winning economist Oliver E. Williamson, a professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, for demonstrating the greater efficiency of large companies.
‘Serious Burden’

In an interview, Williamson says that the organization took his research out of context and that efficiency is only one factor in deciding whether to preserve too-big-to-fail banks.

“The banks that were too big got even bigger, and the problems that we had to begin with are magnified in the process,” Williamson says. “The big banks have incentives to take risks they wouldn’t take if they didn’t have government support. It’s a serious burden on the rest of the economy.”

The Moral Hazard.

Dearie says his group didn’t mean to imply that Williamson endorsed big banks.

Top officials in President Barack Obama’s administration sided with the FSF in arguing against legislative curbs on the size of banks.
Geithner, Kaufman

On May 4, 2010, Geithner visited Kaufman in his Capitol Hill office. As president of the New York Fed in 2007 and 2008, Geithner helped design and run the central bank’s lending programs. The New York Fed supervised four of the six biggest U.S. banks and, during the credit crunch, put together a daily confidential report on Wall Street’s financial condition. Geithner was copied on these reports, based on a sampling of e- mails released by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

At the meeting with Kaufman, Geithner argued that the issue of limiting bank size was too complex for Congress and that people who know the markets should handle these decisions, Kaufman says. According to Kaufman, Geithner said he preferred that bank supervisors from around the world, meeting in Basel, Switzerland, make rules increasing the amount of money banks need to hold in reserve. Passing laws in the U.S. would undercut his efforts in Basel, Geithner said, according to Kaufman.

Anthony Coley, a spokesman for Geithner, declined to comment.
‘Punishing Success’

Lobbyists for the big banks made the winning case that forcing them to break up was “punishing success,” Brown says. Now that they can see how much the banks were borrowing from the Fed, senators might think differently, he says.

The Fed supported curbing too-big-to-fail banks, including giving regulators the power to close large financial firms and implementing tougher supervision for big banks, says Fed General Counsel Scott G. Alvarez. The Fed didn’t take a position on whether large banks should be dismantled before they get into trouble.

Dodd-Frank does provide a mechanism for regulators to break up the biggest banks. It established the Financial Stability Oversight Council that could order teetering banks to shut down in an orderly way. The council is headed by Geithner.

“Dodd-Frank does not solve the problem of too big to fail,” says Shelby, the Alabama Republican. “Moral hazard and taxpayer exposure still very much exist.”
Below Market

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, says banks “were either in bad shape or taking advantage of the Fed giving them a good deal. The former contradicts their public statements. The latter — getting loans at below-market rates during a financial crisis — is quite a gift.”

The Fed says it typically makes emergency loans more expensive than those available in the marketplace to discourage banks from abusing the privilege. During the crisis, Fed loans were among the cheapest around, with funding available for as low as 0.01 percent in December 2008, according to data from the central bank and money-market rates tracked by Bloomberg.

The Fed funds also benefited firms by allowing them to avoid selling assets to pay investors and depositors who pulled their money. So the assets stayed on the banks’ books, earning interest.

Banks report the difference between what they earn on loans and investments and their borrowing expenses. The figure, known as net interest margin, provides a clue to how much profit the firms turned on their Fed loans, the costs of which were included in those expenses. To calculate how much banks stood to make, Bloomberg multiplied their tax-adjusted net interest margins by their average Fed debt during reporting periods in which they took emergency loans.
Added Income

The 190 firms for which data were available would have produced income of $13 billion, assuming all of the bailout funds were invested at the margins reported, the data show.

The six biggest U.S. banks’ share of the estimated subsidy was $4.8 billion, or 23 percent of their combined net income during the time they were borrowing from the Fed. Citigroup would have taken in the most, with $1.8 billion.

“The net interest margin is an effective way of getting at the benefits that these large banks received from the Fed,” says Gerald A. Hanweck, a former Fed economist who’s now a finance professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

While the method isn’t perfect, it’s impossible to state the banks’ exact profits or savings from their Fed loans because the numbers aren’t disclosed and there isn’t enough publicly available data to figure it out.

Opinsky, the JPMorgan spokesman, says he doesn’t think the calculation is fair because “in all likelihood, such funds were likely invested in very short-term investments,” which typically bring lower returns.
Standing Access

Even without tapping the Fed, the banks get a subsidy by having standing access to the central bank’s money, says Viral Acharya, a New York University economics professor who has worked as an academic adviser to the New York Fed.

“Banks don’t give lines of credit to corporations for free,” he says. “Why should all these government guarantees and liquidity facilities be for free?”

In the September 2008 meeting at which Paulson and Bernanke briefed lawmakers on the need for TARP, Bernanke said that if nothing was done, “unemployment would rise — to 8 or 9 percent from the prevailing 6.1 percent,” Paulson wrote in “On the Brink” (Business Plus, 2010).
Occupy Wall Street

The U.S. jobless rate hasn’t dipped below 8.8 percent since March 2009, 3.6 million homes have been foreclosed since August 2007, according to data provider RealtyTrac Inc., and police have clashed with Occupy Wall Street protesters, who say government policies favor the wealthiest citizens, in New York, Boston, Seattle and Oakland, California.

The Tea Party, which supports a more limited role for government, has its roots in anger over the Wall Street bailouts, says Neil M. Barofsky, former TARP special inspector general and a Bloomberg Television contributing editor.

“The lack of transparency is not just frustrating; it really blocked accountability,” Barofsky says. “When people don’t know the details, they fill in the blanks. They believe in conspiracies.”

In the end, Geithner had his way. The Brown-Kaufman proposal to limit the size of banks was defeated, 60 to 31. Bank supervisors meeting in Switzerland did mandate minimum reserves that institutions will have to hold, with higher levels for the world’s largest banks, including the six biggest in the U.S. Those rules can be changed by individual countries.

They take full effect in 2019.

Meanwhile, Kaufman says, “we’re absolutely, totally, 100 percent not prepared for another financial crisis.”(Bloomberg)

Feel better now? 🙂

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

 Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Let The Cronies March In…

More Crony Favoritism By Obama:

Another Millionaire (1%er) and “evil” profit-monger has gotten a contract to produce something that is not needed, except by his companies profits and Obama Campaign War Chest.

If you’re going to kick back to Obama, you’re always an approved business. Ain’t that right, comrade? 🙂

$443 Million dollars this time.

Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433-million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work.

Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world’s richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor. (he was 52nd in the world in 2010 according to Forbes)

More like the .01%!! 🙂

When Siga complained that contracting specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services were resisting the company’s financial demands, senior officials replaced the government’s lead negotiator for the deal, interviews and documents show.

When Siga was in danger of losing its grip on the contract a year ago, the officials blocked other firms from competing.

Siga was awarded the final contract in May through a “sole-source” procurement in which it was the only company asked to submit a proposal. The contract calls for Siga to deliver 1.7 million doses of the drug for the nation’s biodefense stockpile. The price of approximately $255 per dose is well above what the government’s specialists had earlier said was reasonable, according to internal documents and interviews.

Once feared for its grotesque pustules and 30% death rate, smallpox was eradicated worldwide as of 1978 and is known to exist only in the locked freezers of a Russian scientific institute and the U.S. government. There is no credible evidence that any other country or a terrorist group possesses smallpox.

If there were an attack, the government could draw on $1 billion worth of smallpox vaccine it already owns to inoculate the entire U.S. population and quickly treat people exposed to the virus. The vaccine, which costs the government $3 per dose, can reliably prevent death when given within four days of exposure.

Siga’s drug, an antiviral pill called ST-246, would be used to treat people who were diagnosed with smallpox too late for the vaccine to help. Yet the new drug cannot be tested for effectiveness in people because of ethical constraints — and no one knows whether animal testing could prove it would work in humans.

The government’s pursuit of Siga’s product raises the question: Should the U.S. buy an unproven drug for such a nebulous threat?

No. But party politics, cronyism, and Obama’s Re-Coronation War Chest are more important than any force on Earth anyhow, aren’t they?

As much as Obama can funnel to his “friends” and they can funnel back to him. The “rich” and Corporate CEO’s are only evil and worth demogogueing if they aren’t in the Obama Inner Circle.

You have to look after your “rich” apparatchiks while demonizing the “rich” overall for your class warfare strategy. Making two sides so you can play both of them.

“We’ve got a vaccine that I hope we never have to use — how much more do we need?” said Dr. Donald A. “D.A.” Henderson, the epidemiologist who led the global eradication of smallpox for the World Health Organization and later helped organize U.S. biodefense efforts under President George W. Bush. “The bottom line is, we’ve got a limited amount of money.”

SINCE WHEN HAS THAT EVER STOPPED OUR DEAR LEADER?  NEVER!

Dr. Thomas M. Mack, an epidemiologist at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, battled smallpox outbreaks in Pakistan and has advised the Food and Drug Administration on the virus. He called the plan to stockpile Siga’s drug “a waste of time and a waste of money.”

But smallpox isn’t the purpose. Kickbacks to donors and kickbacks to his campaign coffers is. Besides, it’s taxpayer money, it’s free and it easy!

Besides, we can always blame it on someone else!! 🙂

The Obama administration official who has overseen the buying of Siga’s drug says she is trying to strengthen the nation’s preparedness. Dr. Nicole Lurie, a presidential appointee who heads biodefense planning at Health and Human Services, cited a 2004 finding by the Bush administration that there was a “material threat” smallpox could be used as a biological weapon.
See, when it fails or makes them look bad, IT WAS BUSH’s IDEA! So it’s his Fault!! 🙂

A Liberal just can’t go wrong on anything, no matter what it is, when they can blame Bush for it! 🙂
Smallpox is one of 12 pathogens for which such determinations have been made.

“I don’t put probabilities around anything in terms of imminent or not,” said Lurie, a physician whose experience in public health includes government service and work with the Rand Corp. “Because what I can tell you is, in the two-plus years I’ve been in this job, it’s the unexpected that always happens.”

Negotiations over the price of the drug and Siga’s profit margin were contentious.

I thought profit was evil and unfair. Don’t let the Occupiers know… 🙂

In an internal memo in March, Dr. Richard J. Hatchett, chief medical officer for HHS’ biodefense preparedness unit, said Siga’s projected profit at that point was 180%, which he called “outrageous.”

In an email earlier the same day, a department colleague told Hatchett that no government contracting officer “would sign a 3 digit profit percentage.”

In April, after Siga’s chief executive, Dr. Eric A. Rose, complained in writing about the department’s “approach to profit,” Lurie assured him that the “most senior procurement official” would be taking over the negotiations.

“I trust this will be satisfactory to you,” Lurie wrote Rose in a letter.

Profit is good when it benefits Socialist Politicians. Profit is bad when it benefits Socialist Politicians.

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated. The process has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt.

And is there anyone better at it than Obama and his apparatchiks? 🙂

National Debt today: 14.986 Trillion. 🙂

It Pays to be Illegal

Quick Aside: if you get a chance watch TORCHWOOD: Miracle Day, there’s a lot in there about manipulation of language for economic and political advantage. Torchwood: Children of Earth is a nice nasty allegory about how far a government could go.

Now back to the regularly scheduled rant…

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

If the federal government had actually wanted to encourage illegal immigration, wouldn’t a big tax credit be the way to bring them in? Lucky us, that’s what the IRS is doing — and with our money.

A blistering Treasury Department audit released Friday found that “individuals not authorized to work in the United States were paid $4.2 billion in refundable credits.” Those credits are meant to zero out any taxes paid by the poor, and often amount to checks as high as $1,000, courtesy of other taxpayers.

In the last five years, some 2.3 million illegal immigrants decided they, too, were “entitled” to that money, and the IRS paid them. Word got out and the payouts to illegals grew fourfold over the last five years.

The Treasury report noted that paying these credits to illegals is explicitly prohibited by U.S. law, which holds that those unauthorized to work here cannot receive federal benefits.

The IRS claims it’s not its job to check the immigration status of those requesting U.S. money (easily done if a filer has a valid Social Security number instead of a “taxpayer ID”).

Just like the Justice Department. Funny That…

The tax agency apparently thinks laws only apply to people it audits — not politically sensitive illegal aliens.

So now we have the sorry spectacle of $4.2 billion in money from law-abiding taxpayers flowing to law-breaking foreigners who belong in other countries.

No wonder the U.S. has some 12 million illegal immigrants, rolling in by the thousands daily in part from the well-established human smuggling rackets controlled by Mexico’s drug and crime cartels.

No economic phenomenon ever happens without vast sums of money involved. IRS tax credits are just such a big-money incentive, the Treasury report found.

“(T)he payment of Federal funds through this tax benefit appears to provide an additional incentive for aliens to enter, reside, and work in the United States without authorization, which contradicts Federal law and policy to remove such incentives,” the report said.

This could explain why in recent years millions of illegal immigrants are going beyond just the old trick of having anchor babies with automatic U.S. citizenship to win benefits. They’re now bringing their foreign-born kids over, too. All that “free” education, “free” medical care, “free” legal aid and now “free” tax credits add up.

And you get to pay for it! Oh, and if you object– YOU’RE A RACIST!!  🙂

As much as the open-borders lobby insists that illegal immigrants are only here to work and produce, this report shows they’re also here to drain and consume.

So much for that liberal dismissive hoary of “doing jobs Americans won’t do” if they are getting paid under the table AND getting IRS rebates to boot! They are doing BETTER than WE would at those jobs!

So not only do illegal immigrants take jobs from low-skilled Americans, and depress all wages by their willingness to work off the books at lower costs (which are princely sums for the standards of living in the countries they remit money to), they also get big tax credits from other taxpayers, too.

By handing out these freebies indiscriminately, it’s clear the federal government seems to want it that way, making illegal immigration a more attractive option than staying home and emigrating legally.

But as there’s also no free lunch, the IRS is also blithely betraying the people it’s sworn to protect and defend: law-abiding taxpaying U.S. citizens.

“With our debt standing at over $14.5 trillion and counting, it’s outrageous that the IRS is handing out refundable tax credits, which are spending through the tax code, to those who aren’t even eligible to work in this country,” said Utah’s Sen. Orrin Hatch, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

“The disconcerting findings in this report demand immediate action from Congress and the Obama administration.”

At a time when enforcing the integrity of our border is a major federal failure, the one thing the feds shouldn’t be doing is offering additional incentives to encourage even more illegal immigration.

The fact that they do suggest an out-of-control federal government that wants, that’s right, wants, more illegal mendicants to justify its own gargantuan size.

That’s not an existence worthy of the American people and if the federal government’s minions cannot follow the laws, then it’s time to cut them down to a manageable mission. (IBD)

Comment on IBD: Since the IRS is about to become the “nanny” for Obamacare, perhaps we could put them in charge of rounding up illegal immigrants since they know where they are since they have both address and bank account numbers.

Sorry, the IRS Police will only go after you, the Legal American. Not the future Democrat voters of Amerika.

Amerika, what a country! And you want for more years of this don’t you? 🙂

Political Cartoons by  Bennett

I Love Irony!

Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

A delicious irony was uncovered in regards to Unions and our Union Orginizer-in-Chief…<<drum roll>> UNION COLLECTIVE BARGAINING IS ILLEGAL FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES! and better yet this was PASSED BY JIMMY CARTER AND THE DEMOCRAT CONTROLLED CONGRESS 33 Years ago!!

Now that’s comedy. Black Comedy. 🙂

When candidate Obama was campaigning in South Carolina in 2007, he said he was proud to wear the “union label” and that if workers were denied rights to organize or collectively bargain when he was elected, “I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America.”

But as the protests over collective bargaining rights drag out in Wisconsin, President Obama has yet to join the demonstrators outside the Capitol building in Madison, and it appears his administration is trying not to get involved in the fight.

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett says what’s happening in Wisconsin is not a national fight. “Let’s not turn what’s really a Wisconsin issue into a Washington issue,” Jarrett told Fox News in an interview Tuesday. (FOX)

Which is why when this started President Obama called it “an assault on unions”. 🙂 but then he figured out he might be opening a can of worms that may turn on him.  And certainly goes against his new “centrist” image. So he decided he didn’t want to get involved (at least not directly, better to have his apparatchiks and minions do it for him quietly).

Why, because the CEO of the Federal Employees and Their Union is a massive Hypocrite.

Yes, I know, a Liberal who’s a Hypocrite. Amazing! 🙂

WSJ: The union horde is spreading, from Madison to Indianapolis to a state capital near you. And yet the Democratic and union bigwigs engineering the outrage haven’t directed their angry multitudes at what is arguably the most “hostile workplace” in the nation: Washington, D.C.

It will no doubt surprise you to learn that President Obama, the great patron of the working man, also happens to be the great CEO of one of the least union-friendly shop floors in the nation.

This is, after all, the president who has berated Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees, calling the very idea an “assault on unions.” This is also the president who has sicced his political arm, Organizing for America, on Madison, allowing the group to fill buses and plan rallies. Ah, but it’s easy to throw rocks when you live in a stone (White) house.

Fact: President Obama is the boss of a civil work force that numbers up to two million (excluding postal workers and uniformed military). Fact: Those federal workers cannot bargain for wages or benefits. Fact: Washington, D.C. is, in the purest sense, a “right to work zone.” Federal employees are not compelled to join a union, nor to pay union dues. Fact: Neither Mr. Obama, nor the prior Democratic majority, ever acted to give their union chums a better federal deal.
Scott Walker, eat your heart out.
For this enormous flexibility in managing his work force, Mr. Obama can thank his own party. In 1978, Democratic President Jimmy Carter, backed by a Democratic Congress, passed the Civil Service Reform Act. (The Civil Service Reform Act (P.L. 95-454, 92 Stat. 111), the first comprehensive civil service law since 1883, fulfilled the campaign promise of President Jimmy Carter to reform the federal civil service. Along with Reorganization Plan Number 2, it abolished the Civil Service Commission and created three new agencies to implement these reforms: the United States Merit Systems Protection Board, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Federal Labor Relations Authority. Of particular concern were the problems of employees with poor job performance and the protection of federal employees who “blew the whistle” on government misconduct and fraud.-enotes.com) Washington had already established its General Schedule (GS) classification and pay system for workers. The 1978 bill went further, focused as it was on worker accountability and performance. It severely proscribed the issues over which employees could bargain, as well as prohibited compulsory union support.

Democrats weren’t then (and aren’t now) about to let their federal employees dictate pay. The GS system, as well as the president and Congress, sees to that. Nor were they about to let workers touch health-care or retirement plans. Unions are instead limited to bargaining over personnel employment practices such as whether employees are allowed to wear beards, or whether the government must pay to clean uniforms. These demands matter, though they are hardly the sort to break the federal bank.
Which is precisely the point. Washington politicians may not know much, but they know power—in particular, the art of keeping it. Even Carter Democrats understood the difference between being in electoral debt to the unions, and being outright owned by them. And as Gov. Walker will attest, allowing unions to collectively bargain over pay and benefits is allowing them the keys to the statehouse.

Innocent Americans assume that unions use collective bargaining solely to obtain better pay and benefits. Not exactly. The real game is to insist that the dough runs through the union—giving it power over the state.

In Wisconsin, for instance, the teachers union doesn’t just bargain for more health dollars. It also bargains to require that local school districts buy health insurance for their teachers through the union-affiliated health-insurance plan, called WEA Trust. That requirement gives the union (not the state) ultimate say over health benefits. It also costs the state at least $68 million more annually than it would if schools could buy the state-employee health plan—money that goes to a union outfit.

Since Washington pols aren’t about to let unions run their town, the result is a weird bifurcation. On the state level, union campaign dollars are primarily contingent upon Democrats agreeing to allow public-employee unions to milk taxpayers dry. On the federal level, union dollars are primarily contingent upon Democrats agreeing to pervert federal laws and institutions so that private-sector unions get special privileges over employers and nonunion companies—consider project-labor agreements, Davis-Bacon and card check.

All of this helps explain why Mr. Obama has gone quiet on Wisconsin, and why Organizing for America is scurrying to hide its involvement. The president’s initial instinct was to jump into the state, a 2012 battleground area where he might build points with his liberal base.

The White House has since sensed danger. As the world is painfully aware, Mr. Obama is under no obligation to balance his budget. So to whack Gov. Walker for his efforts to do so might strike some Americans as irresponsible, especially as the president is working to convince them that he really does care about deficits.

The other risk: The spotlight turns back to D.C. If the president is so worried about Wisconsin’s “assault,” why has he never taken up federal bargaining rights? If the Badger State’s current system is the gold standard, why has he not replicated it? If it is so important that all parties “sit at the table”—as White House Press Secretary Jay Carney recently lectured Wisconsin—how dare Mr. Obama unilaterally declare a federal pay freeze? (Honestly, the union-busting gall!) 🙂

The debate over public-union giveaways has only started. That debate would benefit were Mr. Obama to explain how it is that Wisconsin is wrong to ask for the same budget flexibility that he enjoys as president. If he’s unable to do that, perhaps the debate ought to be over.

AMEN!

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

FDR: In a little-known letter he wrote to the president of the National Federation of Federal Employees in 1937, Roosevelt reasoned:

“… Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the government. All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations … The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for … officials … to bind the employer … The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives …

“Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of government employees. Upon employees in the federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people … This obligation is paramount … A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent … to prevent or obstruct … Government … Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government … is unthinkable and intolerable.”

But FDR had no inkling of what the end game would be. In 1958, New York City Mayor Robert Wagner signed an executive order allowing civil workers to unionize. It was an obvious appeal to union voters. A Wagner aide suggested that city workers would be a large enough constituency to guarantee his re-election.

This opened up the floodgates around the country as other Democratic legislators followed Wagner’s lead. In 1959, Wisconsin became the first state to enact public employee collective bargaining laws. President John F. Kennedy then followed with an executive order granting federal employees the right to bargain collectively. As journalist Roger Lowenstein wrote in his recent book detailing the explosion of government pension debt, “Membership in public unions rose exponentially.”

The incestuous relationship began. But to this day 88% of the American People are not in a Union. Don’t have the Unions fat-cat, nearly-free Health care or can retire in their 40s with massive pensions that will cost the taxpayers Millions.

But the spoiled brats in the Unions will continue to kick and scream and yell, “MINE!” like some 5 year old with their favourite toy — Taxpayers $$$.

“I didn’t like cap and trade, I didn’t like Obamacare, I didn’t like the stimulus…but I didn’t walk out.” -Sen Paul Ryan (R-WI)

But the irony that Democrats did worse to Federal Employees than what Governor Walker, Governor Daniels and Governor Kasich want to do to their Unions is quite frankly hilarious.

But don’t tell the Liberals or the Ministry of Truth in the Media. They will just shout you down you evil Lying Nazi Dictator!!! 🙂

And thus concludes our lesson in “civility” and “adult conversations”. 🙂

Also see: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29975

Astroturf & Notes From The Left

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Doctors in white coats are standing outside the Wisconsin capitol in Madison, giving away fake doctor’s notes the way shirts are given out at basketball games. They’re a disgrace to our profession.

The news not only offends my professional pride and code of ethics, it also strikes me as a violation of their license to practice medicine.

The Wisconsin State Medical Examining Board of the Department of Regulation and Licensing should suspend these doctors for violating their Hippocratic Oath as well as their professional responsibility.

The 12.6 percent share of health-insurance costs that the new Wisconsin bill asks for from public employees is paltry by comparison to the 50 percent or more that many private employers now ask.

But if the doctors at the University of Wisconsin and the Medical College of Wisconsin who are writing these notes are so concerned about teachers and other employees being able to afford their health care, I’d suggest that these doctors (if they really are so altruistic) provide care to these public servants for free.

Are these disgraces to the profession unaware that the state of Wisconsin (as well as other states) is going bankrupt — even before ObamaCare forces huge new Medicaid costs on them?

The Wisconsin fake-note writers might also note that federal anti-trust law forbids physicians from engaging in collective bargaining or work stoppages. This law serves a purpose — it protects the American public from greed. The health of our patients would be threatened if we could go on strike, just as the education of the students of these protesting teachers is at stake here.

These doctors should value their medical degree more, before they lose the chance to use it to see actual patients.

Dr. Marc K. Siegel is a practicing internist in New York and a Fox News medical contributor. (NY Post)

Liberals don’t care. The law doesn’t apply to them.

But you know the Left is worried because now THEY HAVE A POLL to use as a Talking Point!!

It was conducted by the AFL-CIO, a Union. Guess what it said?

The Voters are with the protesters and hate Gov. Walker!!

I know, you’re shocked that a leftist poll done by a Union would side with the Union. It’s just so amazingly coincidental.

BTW:Average Salary In Wisconsin: $46,390
Salary raise last year: 4.7%
Salary raise over 10 years: 21.5%

The Daily Caller has broken out the salaries and benefits of teachers who have publicly entered the debate by commenting to the press.

Wisconsin’s 2010 Teacher of the Year, Leah Lechleiter-Luke of Mauston High School, told CNN the budget changes would force her to look for additional part-time work.

“When people say that public sector employees live high off the hog, I’d like to share that for 13 of my 19-year teaching career I have held a part-time job either in the summer or teaching night class at the local technical college,” Lechleiter-Luke told CNN. “In addition to tightening the belt even more and crossing our fingers that nothing breaks, I will need to find part-time work again.”

Lechleiter-Luke makes $54,928 in base salary and $32,213 in “fringe benefits,” which include health insurance, life insurance and retirement pay. (which she currently doesn’t pay for at all!)

Brad Lutes and his wife, Heather Lutes, told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz that Walker’s budget would hit them twice as hard.

“Having to explain to an 8- and 10-year old that the governor of your state basically wants to take money away from dad and mom? It’s just really, really frustrating,” Brad Lutes told Schultz.

He makes $49,412 in base salary with $27,987 in fringe benefits and his wife makes $50,240 with $9,413 in benefits. That’s $137,052 annually between the two of them.

ASTROTURF SALES SKYROCKET IN MADISON

The Community Agitater-In-Chief, Barack Obama, has sent his minions onto the battlefield to crush the State of Wisconsin’s government with his own apparatchiks and his narcissistic Union thugs.

All in the name of the children, and freedom of speech, of course. 🙂

So the teachers get fake doctor’s notes so they don’t have to show up and do their job and mobs of the Agitators minions shout down anyone who disagrees with them.

They have hateful, uncivil discourse and immature signs but don’t you dare call it hateful, uncivil, and immature because liberals are never hateful,uncivil or immature. 🙂  Just ask them.

And of course, they are geniuses and superior to everyone, especially YOU.

“The unions are the people who brought us a weekend. If we don’t do this now, our children will not have a weekend!” —One Protestor yelled out!

So the 88% of you who aren’t in a Union, you need bow down and kiss the ass of every Union member because they have brought you weekends!! Hallelujah!!

So why does anyone work on “the weekend” because the Unions brought it to you? Must be greedy capitalist pigs!

“We need to make sure that as loud as the voices are in the capital, we don’t let them overpower the voices of the tax payers I was elected to represent. We are willing to take this as long as it takes, because in the end, we are doing the right thing, and for us, we have to do this.”

There is so much wrong with how liberals go about attempting to exercise power. Teachers leave their work to hang out at the capitol to try to harangue the duly elected government? The schools they are supposed to be working in are closed down, the kids no longer having a place to go and their parents now responsible to stay home with them or find some other arrangement?

The Democrats that are supposed to be a functioning part of the government decided to leave the state they are supposed to be helping to govern and hid in Illinois to prevent the government from being able to move forward legislatively, making themselves a tyranny of the minority. In addition, the ‘protesters’ are now going to the home of the governor and scaring his family. These are the same tactics the union thugs did with the AIG execs.

A CNN reporter asked one of the protesters:

“You talk about coming to the table.. the governor coming to the table. Do you think it was the right tactic for the Democratic senators not to come to the table.”

At which point the CNN reporter was shouted down with

“United we stand. UNITED WE STAND. UNITED WE STAND…”

Nice answer. And these folks are teaching our kids? These people are an embarressment. The people of Wisconsin are being threatened by a thuggish political state.  (WThe)

Funny, That was the slogan of Ross Perot in the 1990’s, but that was evil. 🙂

American Fedn of State, County & Municipal Employees: $43,337,565 in political contributions in the last 12 years 98% Democrat.

National Education Assn: $32,021,910 93% Democrat.

American Federation of Teachers:  $28,731,591 98%-Democrat

Over a $100 million in 12 years!!

That’s a lot of dues. AFSCME was founded in Wisconsin.

So is it any wonder that the Community Agitator-in Chief would be very swift and decisive to save his own apparatchiks but dither like a person with Alzheimer’s on the Middle East?

No. But the left will use it for their own spin…

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: All right, one quick last question. When you make the reference to Egypt, you aren’t saying that the conditions that the Wisconsin teachers are teaching under with this new — new bill or without it is remotely like Egypt, or are you?

STATE SEN. LENA TAYLOR, D-WIS: No, what I’m saying in particular, Greta, is that in Egypt, if you look, after they overthrew their ruler, they had some specific rallies and protests, and one of the ones that they had was on workers’ rights. How ironic is that, right?

Sen. Taylor also said: I have to do what I have to do so that the people of Wisconsin can have an opportunity to be heard and that this bill is not rammed so rapidly that they have no idea what’s going on.

My immediate reaction to this was then Speaker Queen Pelosi’s: As the business community and more public polling shows opposition to ObamaCare, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tells us, “[W]e have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”

But the Senate Democrats in Wisconsin are hiding out in Illinois (undoubtedly being paid by the Unions, George Soros, or the DNC) because they haven’t got the balls to face the democratic process when they aren’t the majority.

So enter the Astroturf:

We now know that Organizing for America (O.F.A) (Obama’s 2008 election campaign tactical team) and the Democrat Party have been hard at work supporting this protest. Ben Smith wrote this on February 17:

O.f.A Wisconsin’s field efforts include filling buses and building turnout for the rallies this week in Madison, organizing 15 rapid response phone banks urging supporters to call their state legislators, and working on planning and producing rallies, a Democratic Party official in Washington said.

And so I ask, who are the “Astroturf activists” now? Those people on the streets are not there as citizens, but as members of a powerful interest group, gathered to petition government for special treatment, with the DNC and Organizing for America coordinating the events on the ground from their offices in Washington DC.

The Astroturf activists on the streets of Madison may think they are helping their cause, but the American people are watching. And they are judging–judging them and those officials we elected to serve taxpayer rather than union interests.

America’s Organizer in Chief, President Obama, weighed in on the issue last week, calling Governor Walker’s actions an “assault on the unions.” You bet they are. And if the Democrats get this issue wrong like they got ObamaCare wrong, they’ll be hearing from the American people once again in 2012.

And this time, it just might cost them the U.S. Senate and the White House. (DC)

Michelle Malkin: Welcome to the reckoning. We have met the fiscal apocalypse, and it is smack dab in the middle of the heartland.

As Wisconsin goes, so goes the nation. Let us pray it does not go the way of the decrepit welfare states of the European Union.

The lowdown: State government workers in the Badger State pay piddling amounts for generous taxpayer-subsidized health benefits.

Faced with a $3.6 billion budget hole and a state constitutional ban on running a deficit, new GOP Gov. Scott Walker wants public unions to pony up a little more.

He has proposed raising the public employee share of health insurance premiums from less than 5% to 12.4%. He is also pushing for state workers to cover half of their pension contributions.

To spare taxpayers the soaring costs of byzantine union-negotiated work rules, he would rein in Big Labor’s collective bargaining power to cover only wages unless approved at the ballot box.

As the free-market MacIver Institute in Wisconsin points out, the benefits concessions Walker is asking public union workers to make would still maintain their health insurance contribution rates at the second-lowest among Midwest states for family coverage.

Moreover, a new analysis by benefits think tank HCTrends shows that the new rate “would also be less than the employee contributions required at 85 percent of large Milwaukee-area employers.”

Obama Speaks Up

This modest call for shared sacrifice has triggered the wrath of the White House-Big Labor-Michael Moore axis. On Thursday, President Obama lamented the “assault on unions.”

AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union bosses dubbed Walker the “Mubarak of the Midwest,” while their minions toted posters of Walker’s face superimposed on Hitler’s.

Moore goaded thousands of striking union protesters to “shut down” the “new Cairo” while the state’s Democratic legislators bailed on floor debate over the union reform package.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan spurned the opportunity to condemn thousands of Wisconsin public school teachers for lying about being “sick” and shutting down at least eight school districts across the state to attend Capitol protests (many of whom dragged their students on a social justice field trip with them).

Instead, Duncan defended teachers for “doing probably the most important work in society.” Only striking government teachers could win federal praise for not doing their jobs.

Yes, the so-called progressives truly believe that bringing American union workers into the 21st century in line with the rest of the work force is tantamount to dictatorship.

Yes, the so-called progressives truly believe that by walking off their jobs and out of their classrooms, they are “putting children first.”

If ever there was proof that public unions no longer work in the public interest, this is it.

Big Labor dragoons workers into exclusive representation agreements, forces them to pay compulsory dues that fatten Democratic political coffers and then has the chutzpah to cast itself as an Egyptian-style “freedom” and “human rights” movement.

Meanwhile, union leaders elsewhere are quietly forcing their low-wage members to share the sacrifice in order to preserve teetering health funds.

In New York state, Skidmore College campus janitors, dining service workers and other maintenance employees received late notice from the SEIU that 4.15% of their gross earnings will now be deducted from their paychecks to cover the cost of the health plan provided through the behemoth 1199 SEIU Greater New York Benefit Fund. (If the name sounds familiar, it’s because this is one of several privileged SEIU affiliates that has received an ObamaCare waiver.)

These workers are forced to join the union in order to preserve their jobs, and unlike non-union workers, they are locked into a single health plan.

The SEIU has now decreed that they must pay new fees to include spouses on their plans and has hiked employee co-pays for doctor visits and prescription drugs.

What’s necessary for New York union workers is necessary for Wisconsin union workers — and for the rest of the protected union-worker class in bankrupt and near-bankrupt states across America.

The “persuasion of power” so ruthlessly and recklessly exercised by the SEIU and its thuggish allies must be broken by the moral courage of fiscal discipline.

It’s now or never.

The Top Ten ways to know if you’re in a Public Sector Union By Rod Pennington

10.) You take a week off to protest in Wisconsin and your office runs better.

9.) On a snow day when they say “non-essential” people should stay home you know who they mean.

8.) You get paid twice as much as a private sector person doing the same job but make up the difference by doing half as much work.

7.) It takes longer to fire you than the average killer spends on death row.

6.) The worse you do your job, the more your boss avoids you. (and the more raises you get)

5.) You think the French are working themselves to death.

4.) You know by having a copy of the Holy Koran on your desk your job is 100% safe.

3.) You spend more time at protest marches than at church.

2.) You have a Democratic congressman’s lips permanently attached to your butt.

1.) You pay more in union dues than you do for your healthcare insurance.

“The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.” — John Maynard Keynes

The particular defunct economist who most dominates the minds of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party is Keynes himself.

But…shhhh..that’s a secret….so pass a note to the one next to you.

Don’t worry, the teacher will not catch you, she is too busy protesting to keep her greed to actually be in the classroom teaching.

MORE “CIVIL” DISCOURSE From Wisconsin Union Protesters:

Doubtful that any of the left-wing media is covering much of this.

One of many profane protest signs at the Madison, WI ‘sick out’ protest… great education for the students who were brought by their teachers.

And we end as it began, with Astroturf:

This sign cracks me up — it was obviously not grass-roots but professionally mass-produced, likely by the DNC or the unions: “Fox News will lie about this.”

Gee, I think we know who needs that new Center for Civility in Public Discourse that The University of Arizona just opened.

Or would that end up being an episode of A&E’s “Intervention”? 🙂

 

Truth

Liberals Look away Now, The truth is coming next and the Thought Police will come knocking on your door to “re-educate” you if you read this. 
It is a Thought Crime. You have been Warned!
During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. —George Orwell

“We’re the big dog,” said Larry Scanlon, the head of AFSCME’s political operations. “But we don’t like to brag.”

“The more members coming in, the more dues coming in, the more money we have for politics,” Mr. Scanlon said. (WSJ)

The Obama administration has made sure that we all know that the Republican-leaning Chamber of Commerce is putting big bucks into this election campaign.   But, as Brody Mullins and John McKinnon point out at WSJ, the biggest spenders, by far, are labor unions.  And the biggest single spender is not the Chamber but the union representing government employees.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is now the biggest outside spender of the 2010 elections, thanks to an 11th-hour effort to boost Democrats that has vaulted the public-sector union ahead of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO and a flock of new Republican groups in campaign spending.

The 1.6 million-member AFSCME is spending a total of $87.5 million on the elections after tapping into a $16 million emergency account to help fortify the Democrats’ hold on Congress. Last week, AFSCME dug deeper, taking out a $2 million loan to fund its push. The group is spending money on television advertisements, phone calls, campaign mailings and other political efforts, helped by a Supreme Court decision that loosened restrictions on campaign spending.

And, uncharacteristically, WSJ is underselling the trend.  The true figure for public employee union spending is at least $171.5 million, since SEIU and NEA surely count.  And those are just organizations in the top 5.

It’s a bizarre cycle, really.  Government is far and away the biggest employer in this country.  And that makes government employees the largest and most motivated voting block.  While government’s role in most of our lives is somewhat hidden, it’s these people’s livelihood.  As distasteful as people might find big business getting together to engage in rent seeking, it’s much better than people who make their living off the taxpayer working to elect people who will keep shoveling money their way.

While there’s something to the myth of the government bureaucrat getting paid for doing next to nothing, their number includes members of the armed forces, foreign service, intelligence community, teachers, and others who do vital and important work.   My dad drew a DoD paycheck most of his working life and I’ve worked for the military and state universities.  And, surely, these people have every right to vote and to organize to elect candidates who will work to enact their views into public policy.

But there is nonetheless something unsettling about having our employees organizing to extract more money from us. (Outside the Lines)

So that’s why the Unions and the Liberals were so mad about the Supreme Court decision that allows companies to have a voice. It was treading on their turf.

Gee, I guess that was “fair”. 🙂

And some of that money they are spending is undoubtedly the taxpayer-funded bailouts of the unions.

The union is spending heavily this year because “a lot of people are attacking public-sector workers as the problem,” said AFSCME President Gerald McEntee. “We’re spending big. And we’re damn happy it’s big. And our members are damn happy it’s big—it’s their money,” he said.

Well, isn’t that special. 🙂

“The president has been crystal clear that third-party groups which spend tens of millions of dollars from anonymous sources are a threat to our democracy—regardless of which candidates they support,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. He said these groups are disproportionately backing Republican candidates.

[AFSCME]

Yeah, That’s Liberal math for you. No wonder the kids today are so poor at it.

But don’t expect the liberal socialist Ministry of Truth to care, by the way.

You won’t see this on ABC,NBC,CBS, or CNN and certainly MSDNC would have to commit seppuku if it mentioned it.

I’m sad to report today a death of a good friend to all of us…..Journalism, the once esteemed 4th estate of our nation and the protector of our freedoms and a watchdog of our rights has passed away after a long struggle with a crippling and debilitating disease of acute dishonesty aggravated by advanced laziness and the loss of brain function.-Governor Mike Huckabee

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. —George Orwell

And this is the truth, like it or not! 🙂

Poisoning The Well, With Lame Duck

The Democrats are expected to lose big, especially in the House, in November.

Their hierarchy is made  up of very petty partisans who will do anything for their agenda.

They are the ones who have total disrespect for everyone who disagrees with them.

So faced with nearly inevitable annihilation that even they think is coming.

What can they do in the less than 4 months left before their power is diminished before the rampaging hoardes of barbarian Tea Partiers and Satan’s army incarnate, The Republicans,  storm the gates of their rightful power.

What any villager or Military in olden times did.

POISON THE WELL.

Do as much damage in a short amount of time as to make the incoming Congress’s job as tough as possible.

Likely, so in 2012’s Presidential Campaign Obama can claim that “well we tried it their way but it hasn’t gotten any better” because you know that if the House goes Republican (and possibly the Senate) that the Democrats who have been yelling about Republican “Obstructionism” for the last 18 months will now pivot and become the champion of  “No”.

And “NO!” will become a virtue again. And you know the Mainstream Media will be on the “Hell No!” bandwagon.

Meanwhile, their Health care provisions and taxes and the 2011 taxes will, of course, be “republican’s fault” after all they were in power when they hit. So it has to be their fault, doesn’t it. 🙂

The Democrats aren’t petty. 🙂

And the Mainstream Media isn’t in bed with them and won’t go from kiss-ass to a pack of veracious 24/7  raptors overnight.

No, that would never happen. 🙂

Democratic House members are so worried about the fall elections they’re leaving Washington on July 30, a full week earlier than normal—and they won’t return until mid-September. Members gulped when National Journal’s Charlie Cook, the Beltway’s leading political handicapper, predicted last month “the House is gone,” meaning a GOP takeover. He thinks Democrats will hold the Senate, but with a significantly reduced majority.

The rush to recess gives Democrats little time to pass any major laws. That’s why there have been signs in recent weeks that party leaders are planning an ambitious, lame-duck session to muscle through bills in December they don’t want to defend before November. Retiring or defeated members of Congress would then be able to vote for sweeping legislation without any fear of voter retaliation.\

“I’ve got lots of things I want to do” in a lame duck, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W. Va.) told reporters in mid June. North Dakota’s Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, wants a lame-duck session to act on the recommendations of President Obama’s deficit commission, which is due to report on Dec. 1. “It could be a huge deal,” he told Roll Call last month. “We could get the country on a sound long-term fiscal path.” By which he undoubtedly means new taxes in exchange for extending some, but not all, of the Bush-era tax reductions that will expire at the end of the year.

Mind you, the commission recommendation is a forgone conclusion. Higher Taxes,  even the VAT tax is not unlikely.

After all, it’s job is to deflect blame away from Obama and Congress to begin with.

Why not, they have nothing to lose. 😦

And Democrats, especially Progressive Socialist Democrats, aren’t petty and vindictive now are they…:)
In the House, Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters last month that for bills like “card check”—the measure to curb secret-ballot union elections—”the lame duck would be the last chance, quite honestly, for the foreseeable future.”

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, chair of the Senate committee overseeing labor issues, told the Bill Press radio show in June that “to those who think [card check] is dead, I say think again.” He told Mr. Press “we’re still trying to maneuver” a way to pass some parts of the bill before the next Congress is sworn in.

Other lame-duck possibilities? Senate ratification of the New Start nuclear treaty, a federally mandated universal voter registration system to override state laws (got to have even more potential for Democrats to foster voter fraud in 2012), and a budget resolution to lock in increased agency spending. (poison the well) Deficits, we’ll show you deficits! 🙂

Then there is pork. A Senate aide told me that “some of the biggest porkers on both sides of the aisle are leaving office this year, and a lame-duck session would be their last hurrah for spending.” Likely suspects include key members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Congress’s “favor factory,” such as Pennsylvania Democrat Arlen Specter and Utah Republican Bob Bennett.

Conservative groups such as FreedomWorks are alarmed at the potential damage, and they are demanding that everyone in Congress pledge not to take up substantive legislation in a post-election session. “Members of Congress are supposed to represent their constituents, not override them like sore losers in a lame-duck session,” Rep. Tom Price, head of the Republican Study Committee, told me.

But these are they guys who rammed Health Care down your throat even if to this day a majority are against it.

They are suing the State of Arizona for their own Open Borders mentality even though a majority of Americans are against it.

They continue to spend like drugged-out addicts.

Why wouldn’t they take one final shot of that pork heroin.

The Democrats have the chance to push as much of their Agenda without consequence to them personally as possible. Why wouldn’t they do it?

I wouldn’t even put Amnesty off the table.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.), one of the GOP’s staunchest opponents of illegal immigration, warned that President Barack Obama might seek immigration reform after this fall’s elections, and urged lawmakers running for reelection to pledge not to move such legislation during a lame-duck Congress.

“If you listen to the debate, since the president’s speech, and now you look at this action by his Justice Department, what we can expect is that after the next elections, in between before the next Congress is sworn in, they will move and try to do something dramatic in the area of illegal immigration,” Rohrabacher said during an interview with a conservative radio syndicate.

So we have initiatives to create even more voter fraud, we have Amnesty for new Democrat voters.

They wouldn’t be trying to steal 2012 and future elections now would they?

Nah, they aren’t that cynical and power mad now are they. 🙂

Got a Global Warming PR problem, no problem a Lame Duck can’t fix.

“Last night President Obama reiterated his call for comprehensive energy and climate legislation to break our dependence on oil and fossil fuels. Next week he will be reaching out to senators on both sides of the aisle to chart a path forward.”

There’s that word “comprehensive” again….

“The tragedy in the gulf underscores the need to move quickly, and the president is committed to finding the votes for comprehensive energy legislation this year.”

Never Let a crisis go to waste, or a Lame Duck for that matter. 🙂

Under this scenario, the final product of any House-Senate conference could come up for a final vote in a lame-duck session after lawmakers have faced voters in November, thereby cushioning the vote’s political impact. (WP)

It’s been almost 30 years since anything remotely contentious was handled in a lame-duck session, but that doesn’t faze Democrats who have jammed through ObamaCare and are determined to bring the financial system under greater federal control.

Mike Allen of Politico.com reports one reason President Obama failed to mention climate change legislation during his recent, Oval Office speech on the Gulf oil spill was that he wants to pass a modest energy bill this summer, then add carbon taxes or regulations in a conference committee with the House, most likely during a lame-duck session. The result would be a climate bill vastly more ambitious, and costly for American consumers and taxpayers, than moderate “Blue Dogs” in the House would support on the campaign trail. “We have a lot of wiggle room in conference,” a House Democratic aide told the trade publication Environment & Energy Daily last month.

Many Democrats insist there will be no dramatic lame-duck agenda. But a few months ago they also insisted the extraordinary maneuvers used to pass health care wouldn’t be used. Desperate times may be seen as calling for desperate measures, and this November the election results may well make Democrats desperate. (John Fund, WSJ)

DAMN THE TORPEDOES! FULL STEAM AHEAD!

And of course, it’s all George W Bush and The Republican’s Fault. 🙂

What we really need is to have Lame Duck declared a  Major Health Hazard, because it’s potentially very, very TOXIC and  potentially lethal to us all.

Take VAT America!

Before deciding what revenue options are best for dealing with the deficit and the economy, Obama said in an interview with CNBC, “I want to get a better picture of what our options are.”

For days, White House spokesmen have said the president has not proposed and is not considering a VAT.

“I think I directly answered this the other day by saying that it wasn’t something that the president had under consideration,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters shortly before Obama spoke with CNBC.

After the interview, White House deputy communications director Jen Psaki said nothing has changed and the White House is “not considering” a VAT. (yahoo)

Translation: it’s coming, we just haven’t figured out what color lipstick to put on this pig.

He said his first priority “is to figure out how can we reduce wasteful spending so that, you know, we have a baseline of the core services that we need and the government should provide. And then we decide how do we pay for that.”

Reduce Wasteful Spending??

REDUCE WASTEFUL SPENDING??!!!!

$%&*^$%#@$^*%#!@!@#^!!!!!!!

Now juxtapose this comment against: Health Care, Bailiouts, GM, Chrysler, AIG, Cap & Trade, Global Warming,Wall Street Demonization and Financial Reform and you just have to conclude they are either the most aethical people who just say whatever the hell they want to at that moment and expect you to believe it, or that they believe wholeheartedly that you really are mind numbingly stupid!

Ask almost anyone — economists, politicians, entrepreneurs, average Americans — and they’ll tell you a value-added tax is a bad idea. So why does the White House continue to consider it?

After hearing VAT opponents smeared as anti-government radicals and worse, we decided to poll Americans on the issue. What our IBD/TIPP poll found was surprising: Not only is the VAT unpopular, but it’s unpopular across the board, regardless of political affiliation.

Overall, Americans oppose a VAT by 73% to 22%. Republicans, as might be expected, feel the strongest: 83% against, 14% for. But even Democrats oppose it 65% to 27%. Independents stand somewhere in between (see chart).

We’re not surprised. A VAT would be a huge new tax on all levels of income, including the poor and the middle class. That, even as Americans have made it clear in poll after poll that they feel overtaxed — and that government spending is the problem.

And they’re right. To eliminate expected deficits of $12 trillion over the next 10 years, the VAT would have to be enormous.

It’s been estimated that a 5% VAT would generate $250 billion in annual revenues. So to get rid of the $1 trillion annual deficits expected through 2020 would require a value-added tax of 20%. And that’s in addition to all the taxes we already pay at every level of government. Such a tax burden would kill innovation, jobs and economic growth. Our economy would be more like those of the stagnant, debt-ridden European Union, where the VAT averages close to 20%.

A Chamber of Commerce study suggests that spending in countries with a VAT grows 45% faster than in non-VAT countries. A VAT, it seems, emboldens money-drunk politicians to spend even more on expanding the welfare state.

That’s why, as unpopular as it is, Democratic politicians in the White House and Congress can’t quite let go of the idea.(IBD)

The idea of cutting spending is not even a wisp of an after-thought with these guys.

It’s about how do we spend even more.

Which means we have to raise money money to cover it.

And does absolutely nothing for the debt and deficit we already have.

But damn it feels good to spend like there’s no tomorrow.

And for a Government that wants to take over everything and everybody, that’s a lot of money.

But they haven’t come up with the used car salesman pitch yet.

And most likely, the demon to polarize it with.

So what if it’s unpopular even with Democrats.

It’s not like they really care what anyone things outside of the Capital area.

It’s not hard to figure out why. According to the American Institute for Economic Research, federal tax revenues in 2009 shriveled by $400 billion from the year before to the lowest level of taxes as a share of GDP — 15% — since 1950.

That’s a huge revenue hole, and it comes at a time when total federal spending through 2020 is expected to surge nearly 70% to $45 trillion. To fill the hole, Washington wants more of your money.

And considering Medicare projection of it’s first 25 years were off by 900% that makes Health Care a country buster in the next generation.

So unless we all want to work for our Feudal Lord Democrat and pay more in taxes than you earn regardless of income level,  the drug addicts in Washington have to go the Spending Patch and their has to be a Voter/Taxpayer Intervention  and we need to ween them and us off dependency and return to self-reliance and fiscally sound policies.

OR ELSE!

The Partisan Divide

IBD: We’d guess Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana sums up the Beltway wisdom when he says that tension across party lines makes it tough to rein in the debt and deficits. “Democrats want to spend more than we can afford,” he said. “Republicans want to cut more taxes than we can afford.”

And since politicians don’t cut programs, especially their own pet ones, tax hikes are inevitable.

And these could be on the backs of the Health Reform Taxes and potentially Cap & Trade taxes.

Cap & Trade is looking doubtful, but not impossible, as the Copenhagen Summit collapsed under it’s own weight late in the week.

They created enough of their own self-obsessed “carbon footprints” to choke a few African nations and came away with nothing really.

Anyone ever heard of Net Meeting?

John Sauven, Greenpeace UK’s executive director, said: “There are no targets for carbon cuts and no agreement on a legally binding treaty. It seems there are too few politicians in this world capable of looking beyond the horizon of their own narrow self-interest.” (examiner)

No truer statement, especially these day.

And especially when it comes to Democrats, Republicans, and the spoilers, Independents like me.

And Partisanship has hardened more and more in the last 10 years.

WSJ: Last year, for example, Democrats voted with the majority of their caucus 92% of the time in the House and 87% of the time in the Senate. Republicans voted with the majority of their caucus 87% of the time in the House and 83% of the time in the Senate. In other words, in only a small percentage of cases do either Democrats or Republicans buck the party line. That’s a picture of lockstep partisan voting, and it has been that way since the late 1990s.

So the Democrats, who have a majority, want to spend like it doesn’t matter on The Agenda. And the minority wants to cut taxes to stimulate the economy. But to Democrats the phrase “tax cut” is an evil 4-letter word…

You have a real mess.

So when this President foolishly or naive promised a post-partisan atmosphere he was obviously either disingenuous or permanently on Nitrous Oxide.

Making any meaningful  reductions very hard indeed.

It hasn’t always been this way. Look back 40 years, and Washington behaved in a quite different manner, with Democrats and Republicans both showing far more willingness to break ranks and reach across the aisle to the other side. In 1969, for example, House Democrats voted with their party’s majority just 61% of the time and House Republicans just 62% of the time. In other words, lockstep voting was roughly a third less prevalent than it is today.

If it had been as strident then as it is now the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960’s would never have happened.

GOP Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who with Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota came up with the idea for the panel (8 Republicans, 8 Democrats 2 Obama Admins to try and work out a deal), sees the parties in conflict joining hands and jumping “off a cliff together.” As inspiring as that would be for many voters weary of Washington’s insatiable appetite for other people’s money, it’s not likely to turn out that way.

Likelier, those who recommend spending cuts will be pushed off the cliff and unable to oppose tax hikes.

Which brings us back to Bayh’s comment that “Republicans want to cut more taxes than we can afford.” It’s tax hikes, not cuts, that we can’t afford. We can’t even afford the taxes being imposed now.

Research has found that economic growth is maximized when combined federal, state and local taxes are 23% of the gross domestic product. The combined rate today is close to 30%.

America is the economic engine that moves the world. If the task force recommends tax hikes, and the Democratic Congress passes them and the president signs them into law, the shock will be felt here and abroad.

But if the panel does an honest analysis, it will find Washington has spending issues, not a revenue problem.

But like any drug addict they have to admit they have a problem first.

And I don’t see the Democrats doing that, even in an off year re-election cycle.

Example: The culmination of years of runaway socialism has left the  Greek public resentful, bitter and unwilling to pay taxes. “Why should I pay?” a Greek citizen told the New York Times. “I don’t care about my government, I don’t care about my country.”

Let the rich pay them. Let the “greedy” corporations pay them.

Their country’s bond rating was just lowered, making their money worth less and borrowing more expensive.

Our Future or our Present?

It’s all about Me.

What’s in it for Me.

Screw you.

It’s all about The Party.

It’s all about The Agenda.

The Politicians and their divide on one side.

The People on the other.

So you have a divide within a divide.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters nationwide say that it would be better to pass no health care reform bill this year instead of passing the plan currently being considered by Congress. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 34% think that passing that bill would be better.

However, 70% of liberal voters nationwide say it would be better to pass the legislation rather than passing nothing at all. Most moderates (54%) and conservatives (80%) hold the opposite view.

Compared to the average government worker, most Americans think they work harder, have less job security and make less money.

In fact, 59% of Americans say the average government worker earns more annually than the average taxpayer, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Among those who have close friends or relatives who work for the government, the belief is even stronger: 61% say the average government worker earns more than the average taxpayer.

Feeding that belief is the finding that 51% of all adults think government workers are paid too much. Only 10% say they are paid too little, while 27% say their pay is about right.

And they have FEHBP, the platinium standard for perfect health care.

So the partisan divide widens.

And with Mainstream Media very much partisan, you can’t even get the news without the spin cycle, just pries the wedge open farther. After all, conflict is good for the new business and pushing The Agenda is their partisan need.

The War on FOX by the White House and the Mainstream Media earlier this year should give us a good clue there.

Why they heck would they want to cover the news “objectively”? That’s so old fashion and not “crusading” enough for your average “journalist” today.

There’s nothing in it for them to just report the news.

That’s boring.

Especially, if THEY disagree with it.

Cynic: a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions.

“a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.” –Ambrose Bierce

Yep, that’s me. 🙂

And from the evidence, is that so wrong….