Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Progressive" disdain for the Constitution

When bureaucrats and judges ignore the will of the people through their elected representatives, this country is no longer a democracy nor a democratic republic, which ever definition you prefer, though the second is more accurate.

The Obama administration and the liberal judges in bed with the left-wing of the Democratic party have been silently, but ruthlessly, defying the will off Congress, and therefore, the American people. Obama looks more like Hugo Chavez every day.

Whatever the merits or demerits of the proposed provision in Medicare legislation, the Constitution of the United States makes the elected representatives of "we the people" the ones authorized to make such decisions. But when proposals explicitly rejected by a vote in Congress are resurrected and stealthily made the law of the land by bureaucratic fiat, there has been an end run around both the people and the Constitution. [Thomas Sowell]
The EPA has also been creating new regulations, or changing existing ones, behind closed doors, without Congressional approval. But these dealings are coming to light, as the recent case with Texas. And in a separate case, Sen. Harry Reid wants to do an end run around Congress and change the rules of how legislation is passed, without the Senate voting on these new rules.

In other words, Obama and the Democrats (and some Republicans) continue to say to the American people: "FU. We know best."

When will the people wake up? We need to continue to vote these "progressives" out of office as quickly as we can, regardless of party affiliation.

The alternative is to lose our liberty.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Favorite TV commericials for Christmas season

There are two tied for first place, but both are PSAs for the Marine's Toys for Tots program.




Friday, December 17, 2010

Kerry complains about the reading of a bill

John Kerry calls having to read a spending bill a "delay" tactic. I find the continuing arrogance of our political class amazing. They just don't get it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Progressives" wish for higher tax rates

Joseph Thorndike at the HuffPo today about the estate tax:

It's much easier to raise a tax than create one. When revenue needs make tax hikes unavoidable, the estate tax will still be on the books, blessed with a remarkably low rate just begging to be raised.
Notice the term "revenue needs?" If the government keeps spending like it is, then of course we'll have justification for raising taxes. In this case, the estate tax.

The rate set for 2011 is 55 percent over $1 million. The Dems wanted 55 percent over $5 million. The new tax "deal" sets it at 35 percent over $10 million. That's remarkably low, according to Thorndike. I think not.

So let's say I've amassed a $15 million dollar estate, with earnings, dividends, or other investments that I've made over my life, which have already been taxed.

Under the current law for 2011, my estate would pay $7.7 million in taxes. Under the Dem-preferred plan, the tax bill would be $5.5 million. In both these cases, if my estate were tied up in real estate (family property), or a small farm, or a business, my heirs would most likely have to sell. Under the proposed rate, my estate would pay $1.75 million, which is still a lot of money, but may not be catastrophe.

What is even more frightening is the thinking process of many people, like this reader:

If we gave one million dollars to every adult in the country, within a few years the same people would be broke and the same people would be in possession of most of that money. Since some do not save or plan for the future, we need to take away the accumulate­d wealth of those that did not waste their resources.
Punish success, reward failure. This is what they must teach nowadays in our school systems. It will be the downfall of the American way.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Budget Bill: 1,900 pages with 6,600 earmarks

Hard to take a break when Congress is in session.

Did they not get the message? More spending, more earmarks? Is this, our government, giving us, the people, the finger?

I think so.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Taking a break for the holiday...

One thing before I go: Congress Weiner (as in post below) made a good point on one of the new shows I happened to catch while surfing. The Democrafts, right now, control both houses and the white house, so why can't they get what they want? Should be they have the votes, but I guess not.

My suggestion: Make the cutoff for the new tax stuff at $200,000 for individual, $400,000 for married filing jointly and split the difference on the tax rate. Make it 37 percent. Do away with the payroll tax cut, except for those earning under $50,000.

Or something like that. Just get it done.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Arrogant political elite

According to Rep (D-NY) Weiner, you don't pay estate taxes because you're dead. You don't pass on your estate to your children because you're dead. So don't worry about what the government does, you're dead.

Megan Kelly keeps asking Weiner if the estate tax is fair, and he keeps saying that the question is at what level should estates be taxed. When asked if it's double taxation, he says no, because you're dead.

Watch this arrogant jerk. (One of the great things about living in the United States is you get to call your politicians jerks without fear of jail, torture or execution.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bush lied, or did he?

Of course, if you say something you believe, and most others believe, and find out later it is not true, is it a "lie?" No. How could it be?

As Larry Elder reports today, WikiLeaks actually supports the case that Sadam did have yellowcake, intended to restart his nuclear program, and owned huge stockpiles of chemical weapons.
Let's recap.
Bush, in building the case for war against Iraq, lied to the nation. He falsely claimed that Iraq was attempting to purchase yellowcake from Africa. Time magazine specifically referred to the yellowcake "lie" in accusing Bush of fabricating the case for war. Therefore, were Iraq to have had yellowcake -- an assertion called a "lie" -- it would have confirmed the presence of WMD, giving credence to Bush's declaration of Iraq as a "grave and gathering threat."

But ... there ... was ... yellowcake. This brings us back to WikiLeaks.
Wired magazine's contributing editor Noah Shachtman -- a nonresident fellow at the liberal Brookings Institution -- researched the 400,000 WikiLeaked documents released in October. Here's what he found: "By late 2003, even the Bush White House's staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But WikiLeaks' newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction (emphasis added). ... Chemical weapons, especially, did not vanish from the Iraqi battlefield. Remnants of Saddam's toxic arsenal, largely destroyed after the Gulf War, remained. Jihadists, insurgents and foreign (possibly Iranian) agitators turned to these stockpiles during the Iraq conflict -- and may have brewed up their own deadly agents."

In 2008, our military shipped out of Iraq -- on 37 flights in 3,500 barrels -- what even The Associated Press called "the last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program": 550 metric tons of the supposedly nonexistent yellowcake. The New York Sun editorialized: "The uranium issue is not a trivial one, because Iraq, sitting on vast oil reserves, has no peaceful need for nuclear power. ... To leave this nuclear material sitting around the Middle East in the hands of Saddam ... would have been too big a risk."

Now the mainscream media no longer deem yellowcake -- the WMD Bush supposedly lied about -- a WMD. It was, well, old. It was degraded. It was not what we think of when we think of WMD. Really? Square that with what former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean said in April 2004: "There were no weapons of mass destruction." MSNBC's Rachel Maddow goes even further, insisting, against the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that "Saddam Hussein was not pursuing weapons of mass destruction"!
Bush, hammered by the insidious "Bush Lied, People Died" mantra, endured one of the most vicious smears against any president in history. He is owed an apology.

Gee! I'll bet even this evidence won't overcome Bush Derangement Syndrome. But facts are facts, even if you don't like them.

Robert Reich: Higher taxes is always his answer

Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but not to their own facts. Robert Reich, a previous Treasury Secretary (under Clinton) and currently a proffessor at Berkeley, wrote this on Dec 9:
Apart from its extraordinary cost and regressive tilt, the tax deal negotiated between the president and the Republicans has another fatal flaw. It confirms the Republican worldview. This makes it not only bad economics; but also disastrous from the standpoint of educating the public about what has happened to this country over the last three decades and what needs to happen in the future. It reinforces the Republican story that the economy is in the gutter because of big government and makes mincemeat out of the truthful one Democrats should be telling -- that an increasing share of the benefits of economic growth have gone to the top 1 percent and the vast middle class no longer has the purchasing power to keep the economy going. (As summarized for the HuffingtonPost e-mail newsletter.)
Well, let's look at his "facts."

Extraordinary cost: Really? All the figures I've seen on the cost show this may cost about 2.5 percent of the budget. If you gave me a 2.5 percent raise, I wouldn't call it extraordinary. If the deal spurs growth, this won't "cost" us anything, as revenues will increase even under current tax rates. The use of superlatives doesn't change facts.

Regressive tilt: Raising the top tax rate would be regressive. His logic is backwards.
The Republican view is a fatal flaw. Really? Only in his own mind. While I have a lot of criticism of Republican behavior over the last 10 years, their worldview is generally correct, if based on empirical evidence. (I'm not talking far-right, or far-left here. There is a full sprectrum of ideology to consider.)  Democrats seem to base their worldview on mostly anecdotal evidence, which can be extrememly skewed,  when compared with empirical evidence.

The rest is typical liberal class warfare. Yes, the rich seem to have gotten richer. But have they? A million dollar salary today would equate to about $180,000 in 1970. The median family income has grown 30 percent (adjusted for inflation) since 1970. So where does he figure the middle class has less purchasing power now? If my income is up 30 percent, don't I have more purchasing power?

I don't understand why a CEO, movie star or sports celebrity needs to make millions a year, while the average worker makes something like $40,000 or $50,000. But you aren't going to change this via taxation. It's a free market thing that seems out of whack, but it doesn't make me poorer that Harrison Ford gets $20 million a picture.

I once had the opportunity as a reporter to interview Michael Jordan. He explained it this way: If he could bring in $100 million in revenue for his team, why shouldn't he get paid $5 million a year. He called it star power. He had a point.

To consider consumer spending the holy grail over economic growth ignores certain facts. As reported by Investors Business Daily, during periods of the greatest growth, it's business investment that has proved to be the underlying factor, more so than government or consumer spending. This is another economic myth for those who don't understand economics, which is just about everyone, including the idiots in Washington D.C. who are trying make the rules. Rules that don't work. Spreading the wealth never makes anyone wealthier, only makes everyone poorer. Look at the history of planned economies and you'll see the truth, which will set you free.

Reich is a typical liberal in his worldview. He distorts actual data to give his opinions more weight. Many people believe this tripe. I am not one of them.

The latest tax deal is not perfect. Maybe we should tax millionaires more (Reich thinks 70 percent for income over one million should be done, which he says will pay off all future deficits!), but I think taxing $250,000 family income more is not a good idea. Some millionaires are beginning to step forward and say "I'll contribute more." Good for them (but giving more to private charities would do more good than the government). Also, the 2 percent reduction in payroll tax actually hurts those families making less than $40,000 because it replaces the Make Work Pay deduction.

But this deal is better than no deal. And liberal "facts" aren't facts at all, at least when used by Robert Reich.

Time to reign in the beast

Federal spending has grown 8 times more than the median family income. This can only be destructive. During the last 40 years, the Democrats have had control of the House for 30 years and the Senate for 24. But even with a nearly even mix of Democrat and Republican presidents, this out-of-control spending still continues. We are spending ourselves into oblivion. Historians will soon get to write about the rise and fall of the American experiment.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's spending, not tax rates, that is the problem

With everyone agog over the recent deal between Obama and the Republicans, most are missing the most important point: A small increase in the highest tax rate don't mean shit.

Sure, the lying liberals say it will cost us $700 billion. But that's just deception. First of all, that's over 10 years, and the deal on tax rates is for 2 years. So we're talking $140 billion (if that's actually the right figure, which I doubt), out of deficit spending of $3,000 billion.

If the Republicans are right and keeping tax rates the same will spur job growth, then the $140 billion will easily be made up in increased revenue. However, extending unemployment benefits will most likely result in higher unemployment anyway. So we're screwed both ways.

Spending is the problem. The only problem. No one should have to pay any more of their hard-earned dollars just because the idiots in Washington can't control themselves.


Note: If you look closely at the chart above, you'll see after the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, revenue went up. Same thing in the early 1980s. Now try telling me that tax cuts don't result in increased revenue and I'll sell you some swamp land in Arizona.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Orianthi Panagaris: kicking some butt

Carlos Santana says of Orianthi: "It's not cute anymore, it's seriously ass-whooping. She can kick some butt."

Is any deal better than no deal?

Now that Obama and the Republicans have reached a compromise on taxes and unemployment bennies, is this a good deal? Well, sometimes any deal is better than no deal. At least it brings certainty. It's been that uncertainty that has been holding back a lot of investors and business leaders on any plans for expansion.

The market (futures are up sharply as of 7:30 am CST) will most likely rally, creating a lot of wealth, wealth that has been lost in the last two years. The market likes certainty. Though there is no guarantee.

If the tax rates had gone up in January, that would have been a disaster, worse than not extending unemployment, which is of dubious value, unless you've been unemployeed for two years. But with a European-type unemployment system now, how many people are simply choosing to remain unemployed?

So in the light that we have tentative deal, we're good. But it still has to get through Congress, and many liberals there seem upset that Obama compromised on anything.

The cut of 2 percent in payroll tax was a surprise to me, but it would allow the average person ($60,000 annual income) to keep about $1,200 next year.

Some of you out there think that this is a tax cut for millionaires, but that's just stupid. It's just not a tax increase for those making more than $200,000, or $250,000 (why isn't this $400,000, which would be much fairer) for those filing jointly. And the rest of us, as well. Take-home pay won't go down. There are just not enough millionaires to pay off our debt.

But for a husband and wife who each make $125,000, they are not rich, nor are they millionaires. This is just deception. If you've ever made $125,000 a year, you know what I'm talking about. If you are at that point in your life, hopefully, and have kids in college, you're certain not even that well off.

Why should the U.S. government take more of their hard-earned dollars? Because a small minority of liberals -- who are very loud and lie to us every chance they get -- in this country who hate the "rich." It's just a game of deception and dishonesty.

Allowing working people who have incomes -- all working people -- to keep more of their own money is a good thing. If you're a millionaire or billionaire you probably don't care, because most of your wealth isn't in income.

The problem isn't our current tax rates, but spending, which has exploded under the Democrats. But we always knew they are the party of tax-and-spend. This explosion of spending was done on purpose.

So all in all, while not perfect, this deal is better than no deal. I'm just irritated that it has taken this long to reach.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Another plan to cut the deficit

As I mentioned on Nov. 30, I've been on the lookout for deficit reduction plans. Most aren't worth mentioning. But I think this one is a better start than most. It comes from the Heritage Foundation, and would cut more than $300 billion from government spending. Still not enough, but you gotta start somewhere.


Table 1: Spending Cuts for FY 2012
(in millions of dollars)

Agriculture

$15,000

Replace farm subsidies with Farmer Savings Accounts and improved crop insurance.

$2,033

Eliminate the Foreign Agriculture Service.

$1,500

Merge all four agriculture outreach and research agencies and cut their budget
in half.

$1,000

Fund the Food Safety and Inspection Service with user fees.

Commerce

$500

Eliminate business subsidies from the National Institute of Standards and
Technology.

Community Development

$6,000

Eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program.

$598

Eliminate the Rural Utilities Service.

$523

Eliminate the Economic Development Administration.

$480

Eliminate NeighborWorks America (formerly the Neighborhood Reinvestment
Corporation).

$200

Consolidate the Rural Housing and Development Programs and convert them into
block grants.

$73

Eliminate the Appalachian Regional Commission.

$48

Eliminate the Denali Commission.

$31

Eliminate the Minority Development Business Agency.

$8

Eliminate the Delta Regional Authority.

Education

$8,000

Return Pell Grants to their 2009 funding level of $24 billion, which is still
double the 2007 level.

$2,000

Trim Head Start by $2 billion and convert it into vouchers.

$2,000

Scale back the Education Department bureaucracy.

$1,500

Eliminate dozens of small and duplicative education grants.

$298

Eliminate state grants for Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities.

Energy and the Environment

$6,500

Reduce energy subsidies for commercialization and some research activities.

$600

Block grant and devolve Environmental Protection Agency grant programs.

$200

Restructure the Power Marketing Administrations to charge market-based rates.

$63

Eliminate the Science to Achieve Results Program.

Government Reform

$44,000

Halve federal program payment errors by 2012, especially by reducing Medicare
errors and earned income tax credit errors.

Tighten oversight by spending $5 billion on new resources, such as updated
computer systems, and then recover $49 billion in payment errors.

$20,000

Rescind unobligated balances after 36 months.

$12,500

Halve the $25 billion spent to maintain vacant federal properties.

$10,000

Cut the federal employee travel budget to $4 billion (half of FY 2000 spending).

$3,000

Freeze federal pay until it can be reformed.

$1,000

Suspend acquisition of federal office space.

$600

Trim the federal vehicle fleet by 20 percent (a reduction of 100,000 vehicles).

$300

Cut the House and Senate budgets back to the 2008 level of $2.2 billion.

$215

Eliminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.

$100

Tighten controls on federal employee credit cards and cut down on delinquencies.

$70

Require federal employees to fly coach on domestic flights.

Health Care

$6,200

Reform Medigap.

$5,000

Repeal Obamacare (larger savings in later years).

$3,700

Require Medicare home health co-payments.

$673

Eliminate the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant.

$414

Eliminate Health Professions grants.

$327

Eliminate Title X Family Planning.

$150

Eliminate the National Health Service Corps.

$98

Repeal Rural Health Outreach and Flexibility grants.

Homeland Security

$2,700

Eliminate most homeland security grants to states and allow states to finance
their own programs.

Income Security

$500

Better enforce eligibility requirements for food stamps.

Interior






$1,500

Open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to leasing.

(The savings are leasing revenues, which are classified as negative spending in
the federal budget.)

$200

Suspend federal land purchases.

International

$2,636

Eliminate the Development Assistance Program.

$625

Eliminate the State Department’s education and cultural exchange programs.

$321

Eliminate the International Trade Administration’s trade promotion activities or
charge the beneficiaries.

$183

Eliminate the Democracy Fund.

$68

Eliminate the International Trade Commission and transfer oversight of
intellectual property rights to the Treasury Department.

$56

Eliminate the Trade and Development Agency.

$29

Eliminate the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

$19

Eliminate the East–West Center.

$17

Eliminate the United States Institute of Peace.

$2

Eliminate the Japan–United States Friendship Commission.

Justice

$7,334

Eliminate all Justice Department grants except those from the Bureau of Justice
Statistics and the National Institute of Justice,

thereby empowering states to finance their own justice programs.

$398

Eliminate the Legal Services Corporation.

$32

Eliminate the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service.

$30

Eliminate the duplicative Office of National Drug Control Policy.

$26

Reduce funding for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division by 20 percent

because of its policy against race-neutral enforcement of the law.

$4

Eliminate the State Justice Institute.

Labor






$4,300

Eliminate failed federal job training programs.

$2,000

Eliminate the ineffective Job Corps.

$576

Eliminate the Senior Community Service Employment Program.

National Science Foundation

$1,700

Reduce National Science Foundation funding to 2008 levels.

$86

Eliminate National Science Foundation spending on elementary and secondary
education.

Transportation

$45,000

Devolve the federal highway program and most transit spending to the states.

$1,900

Privatize Amtrak.

$1,009

Eliminate grants to large and medium-sized hub airports.

$554

Eliminate the Maritime Administration.

$125

Eliminate the Essential Air Service Program.

Treasury

$26,646

Eliminate the additional child refundable credit.

$103

Eliminate the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.

Veterans

$2,500

Cap increases in Department of Veterans Affairs health care spending.

$1,930

Reduce Veterans’ Disability Compensation to account for Social Security
Disability Insurance payments.

Cross-Agency and Other

$60,000

Repeal unspent stimulus spending.

$8,000

Switch to using the “Superlative CPI” in funding calculations.

$6,000

Repeal the Davis–Bacon Act.

$2,250

Eliminate Federal Communications Commission funding for school Internet service.

$2,000

Ban project labor agreements on all federally funded construction projects.

$1,000

Eliminate the Small Business Administration, which unnecessarily intervenes in
free markets.

$736

Eliminate the National Community Service programs, such as AmeriCorps.

$253

Eliminate the Institute of Museum Services and Library Services.

$140

Eliminate the National Endowment for the Humanities.

$133

Eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts.

$61

Eliminate Army Corps of Engineers funding for beach replenishment projects.

$10

Eliminate the Commission of Fine Arts.

$8

Eliminate the National Capital Planning Commission.

$5

Eliminate the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Total


$343,207 million

Thursday, December 2, 2010

DADT: The media slants the report

I heard this on the radio (and you can find the same report from many news sources): About 70 percent of military personnel think there is little or no risk in unit effectiveness if the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law is repealed, allowing gay and lesbian personnel to serve openly.

What are the real facts? Not what the media is telling you.

This is based on the Pentagon's study and survey of some 115,000 military personnel. You can find a copy here.

For those personnel who believed they had served with "homosexuals" (to use the terminology in the report), when asked what was the effect on unit performance, about 46 percent said it was negative, with 45 percent said equally negative or positive (what this really means to me is undecided.)

When all personnel were asked how the repeal of DADT would affect day-to-day unit performance, only 18 percent said positively while 32 percent said equally positively and negatively. This equally positive and negative is unclear to me, because there is also an answer for "No Effect." In my experience, and I have studied the methodology of surveys and have conducted surveys while in the military, this equally negative and positive should not have been asked. It tends to skew the results, in my opinion.

It really should have been "I'm undecided, because I really don't know what the affect on unit performance will be."

But in any regard, I could not find 70 percent, even with the equally negative and positive. In the example above, only 50 percent were in the "low or no risk" category. I still can't find a 70 percent response rate that equals what the media is reporting.

Whether or not you support DADT, just know that the media is not telling you the actual truth.  As I've scanned the results of the 267-page report, I see about a 50-50 split in opinion. There is no clear majority in favor -- at least in the military -- of repealing DADT.

The media, as usual, is pushing a left-wing agenda. Shame on them for not reporting the facts.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Top 10% of earners pay 71% of income tax

To be in the top ten percent, you need to earn (taxable income, not total) at least $113,000. The top 1 percent ($461,000+) pay 40 percent of all income tax. Our system is currently very progressive, but the Democrats want it to be more progressive, which in my opinion, will actually cause more harm than good. When you have 50 percent of wage-earners only paying 3 percent of income taxes, the system is too skewed. Too many people don't have a stake in paying for services, only receiving them. I support a flat-tax.