Monday, December 26, 2011

Quick Hits - December 26, 2011

Several days ago, QH reported on the Obama Campaign and the Democrat National Committee returning some $70,000 in campaign contributions made by the embattled former CEO and Chairman of the failed investment bank, MF Global, Jon Corzine.  Corzine, a former NJ Governor and NJ Senator, remains under investigation for his role in the misappropriation of nearly $1.2 billion in missing client funds uncovered when MF Global imploded over risky bets on Eurobonds.  Corzine, in addition to personal contributions, also was a major campaign bundler for the Obama campaign.  I suspected that there were far more funds provided by Corzine that were not refunded, and this is the case.  In this report noted by JammieWearingFool, Obama is still happy to pocket cash bundled by Jon Corzine - and Hot Air notes that of all the funds connected to Corzine, only 14% were refunded.  The other 86% are being kept.  So much for principles.

Cronyism is appearing to to be part and parcel with the standard operating procedures with the Obama Administration.  On the topic of crony capitalism, based on the investigations resulting from the Obama Administration giving over half a billion of dollars to failed green energy company Solyndra, it seems that political decisions infused the Obama green energy initiatives.  As noted by the Washington Post:
Meant to create jobs and cut reliance on foreign oil, Obama’s green-technology program was infused with politics at every level, The Washington Post found in an analysis of thousands of memos, company records and internal e-mails. Political considerations were raised repeatedly by company investors, Energy Department bureaucrats and White House officials.
The issue goes far beyond Solyndra as well, as several other major beneficiaries of Obama green energy stimulus dollars that have gone bankrupt, some as recently as last week when a German firm which received $2.1 billion in government funds failed, have strong political and personal connections to the Administration.

Personal cronyism is also becoming part of the actions of the Obama Administration as the President has nominated the brother-in-law to New York Senator Charles Schumer to be a Federal Judge in New Jersey.  This nominee surprised many in NJ / NY since he was not on anyone's radar screen, including the NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg who recommended him to the President.   Expect more questions to be raised about this decision and the reasons behind it.

With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying that his proposal for a millionaires surcharge tax to be imposed as part of the process to offset the costs associated with extending the temporary Social Security Payroll Tax reduction for the full calendar year of 2012 is back on the table after the GOP folded on the 2 month temporary extension, Forbes Magazine takes a real look at the validity of Reid's approach to use a permanent tax increase to 'offset' the costs of a temporary 'stimulative' tax reduction.

Forbes finds that the millionaire surcharge will only bring in $11 Billion in additional revenues, at best, far short of the $130 billion cost for a full calendar year extension of the temporary Social Security Payroll Tax reduction.  Forbes also finds that the claim by Reid that those who qualify for his surcharge tax are just 'wealthy hedge fund managers and lawyers' is utterly specious.

According to data from the IRS, there are 236,883 individuals who file taxes with annual incomes greater than $1 million. Reid says that only 1% of these, about 2,361 actually create jobs.  However, the IRS data shows that of these filers not only pay an average of 30% of their income in taxes, but that this group earns nearly one quarter of a trillion dollars from income derived from partnerships, businesses, and S-Corporations - and that these entities must hire / employee hundreds of thousands to generate this level of incomes.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan defeated incumbent Jimmy Carter by asking the question "Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?" to the American electorate.  After 4 years of Carter policies, the answer was a resounding, 'No'.  With a equal weakness towards this question as President Carter, President Obama and his campaign is looking to deflect this question.
Obama making income inequality the major focus of re-election campaign – to dodge the above question…using OWS as the highlight for the message… The announcement is an admission that the OWS — objectively if not deliberately — was the curtain raiser for a strategic communications plan which in essence presents redistribution as a solution to the ongoing economic crisis. If the current crisis had its genesis in the last “three decades” then something other than what the Clintons had doing has to be emplaced. Whether that program is called ‘socialism’ or something else, it is clearly something different; something hatched as the President’s team put it, “from a higher altitude”.

To avoid looking like a Bolshevik, Obama is spinning himself as a moderate, the simple heir of Roosevelt, defending America against the primitivist Republicans.
The original question remains key. If the President and his campaign seek to redirect the focus - then the new questions will be based on the decision as to if bigger government is the real solution for the challenges being faced - and if the real goal of the American dream is based on the equality of results or the equality of opportunity. Given the level of polarization in this country combined with a media class that will be far more in the tank for the Obama campaign than they were in 2008, this still looks like one of the most pivotal elections in history of the country.

far worse long term direction as evidenced by this chart of where the increasing budget deficits are going to come from.

The failure of the Administration to arrest this trend is reason enough to not vote for them.

Internationally, armed Christians and Muslims are clashing in Nigeria after the Christmas Day bombing attacks on Christian churches by Islamist groups.

Anti-American Pakistani candidate and famous cricketer Imran Khan drew a crowd of over 100,000 in a Karachi, Pakistan rally.  He is campaigning on a position of breaking ties with the United States.

On This Day in History -

12/26/1776 - General George Washington and his American forces win a decisive victory at the Battle of Trenton effectively turning the tide in the Revolutionary War.

12/26/1919 - The Red Sox trade / sell Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees - the Curse of the Bambino starts - ends only after the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004.

12/26/1944 - Elements of General Patton's Third Army breakthrough the German siege of the town of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.

12/26/2004 - The Indian Ocean tsunami releases the energy equivalent to 23,000 Hiroshima sized atomic bombs as nearly 150,000 are killed or mission and millions are left homeless across 11 countries.

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