Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Quick Hits - April 17, 2012

Tax Day in the US - and coincidentally, it's Tax Freedom Day for most of us as well.  That means all the work we've done since January 1st to today has gone to cover our Federal, State, and Local tax liabilities.

Last night, the US Senate rejected the President's call to implement the 'Buffett Rule' - the proposed tax applicable to all those who earn more than $1,000,000 in a year and requires them to pay a 30% tax on those earnings even if those earnings are the result of Capital Gains and Dividends which are normally a 15% tax rate.

Originally promoted by the Obama Administration as being needed to address the growing national deficit and debt - but subsequently proven to only generate, at best, $4 billion in additional revenues, the plan was then promoted to be one needed for 'fairness' as part of the class warfare rhetoric of the Administration.  This also fails miserably as the top 10% of all wage earners in the US already account for over 70% of all federal income tax revenues - and 49% of taxpayers pay absolutely no federal income taxes.

The vote failed 51-45 largely along party lines.  This fell well short of the 60 votes needed for cloture.  Republican Susan Collins (Maine) was the only member of the GOP to cross party lines and vote for the additional tax, while Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor (D) crossed party lines to vote against the tax plan.  Independent Senator from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman missed the vote - but his office released a statement indicating the Senator, who caucuses with the Democrats, opposed the additional tax.  In a surprise, Democrat Senator Ben Nelson, long an outspoken opponent to the plan, voted in favor of it - citing the deficit that needs to be addressed.  Given the lameness of that point-  it's likely that since Nelson has announced his retirement this year - he saw no reason to oppose the rest of his party.

President Obama took to the podium this morning while surrounded by the usual entourage - this time including SecTreas Tim Geithner and AG Eric Holder - to announce his 'new' plan to address high gasoline prices. 

The plan?  New federal regulations, more federal government control / power, and a request for $52 million for funding additional enforcement efforts to address 'market speculation' that he blames on the soaring gasoline prices.  In other words - nothing new.

There was also little new in the rhetoric the President used in his 5 minute announcement.  He repeated the same old canard of 'we use 25% of the world's supply of oil while we have 2% of the reserves' - and blaming the instability in the Middle East for the increasing oil prices.

Big lies repeated often.... remain big lies.  We have far more than 2% of the world's reserves - but the climate change / anti-fossil fuel agenda of the Administration prevents us from tapping our reserves to increase supply and reduce our dependency on foreign oil - and the impacts of regional conflicts on affecting our energy costs.

For example, if the President had actually approved the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to bring an additional 830,000 barrels of oil per day to the US - we could have not only reduced our dependency on oil from the Middle East by 50% - but obtained this oil at well below market prices from Canada.  Then, if this President opened federal lands and offshore for additional drilling - we could eliminate the other 50% of oil we get from the ME.  But this remains blocked by the anti-fossil fuel / environmental base of the President - as does setting aside a facility the size of LAX in ANWR (the size of England) for drilling.

The policy decisions are bad enough - particularly the default knee jerk reaction to expand government control and power to solve any problem - but can the President get his writers and the TOTUS to come up with SOME NEW EFFING LINES? 

Every damn utterance of this President is a retread of lines that we've heard adnauseum before.... 'hitting above their weight', 'fairness', 'we use 25% of the world's oil but only have 2% of the reserves'... and these lines are both trite and fundamentally dishonest.

This President is becoming a caricature of himself with these repeated memes and the feckless efforts to appear to be doing something when the primary goal, when it comes to energy, is to do nothing.  Higher prices create conditions that he needs to promote his climate change / green energy agenda.  Higher prices are needed to make green energy economically viable - as in today's marketplace - they are far from viable.

More government regulation to stop speculation?  Only $52 million?  There's no real interest to address these issues because the policies do nothing to stop the problem.  Want to stop speculation on oil futures being traded?  Increase the margin requirements that the traders need to put forward so that have less incentive to speculate on $100,000 contracts with only $1,000 - $2,000 needed upfront.

This just reinforces one of the key messages that the GOP and Mitt Romney have to stress during this Presidential election.  This election is not and can not be based on who is more likable - Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.  While that is the premise that the left wants the election to be based on, the real focus has to be on how incompetently Barack Obama has served as President since January 2009....
Sixty-four percent also say the country is on the wrong track; 76% say we're still in recession; and only 25% believe the Supreme Court ought to uphold the entire health-care law. In other words, on the top issue of this election—the economy—a number of Americans who voted for Mr. Obama in 2008 are open to the idea that someone else could do a better job.

Let's remember David Axelrod on Fox News Sunday -

“The choice in this election,” said Axelrod, “is between an economy that produces a growing middle class and that gives people a chance to get ahead and their kids a chance to get ahead and an economy that continues down the road we are on.”
The funny thing about this is Axelrod is really making the case for a Romney Presidency - for the need to change our path from the one we are on - which is the Obama economy of stagnation, 'fairness', 'social justice', bigger government, a shrinking tax base, and exploding national debt...just as we are seeing in place in Europe.

As the RNC Notes - the Obama Presidency - 'From Hope to Hypocrisy'....

California is well on that same dismal path - and continues to be the pathfinder / canary in the coal mine for the rest of country when it comes to this progressive economic agenda. Economist Art Laffer writes in the Investor's Business Daily today how California is blazing the wrong trail in their efforts to increase taxes on the rich...
Indeed, California lost a stunning $44 billion in tax revenue from the 869,000 taxpayers that left the state between 1992 and 2008. And that figure is probably too small. It only counts earnings for one year — the difference between paying state taxes one year and not paying them the next year, after the payer moved.

But someone who's left California hasn't deprived the state government of just one year of taxes — she's deprived it of revenue in future years as well. A tax filer that fled California in, say, 2008 didn't just take away tax revenue for 2009 — she also didn't pay taxes to California in 2010, 2011, 2012 and beyond.

Given this cumulative effect of foregone income taxes, this exodus of taxpayers may have actually cost California $500 billion between 1992 and 2008.

The "tax-first" strategy for balancing budgets and paying down debt has backfired in California. If federal lawmakers insist on adopting that strategy, it will backfire on the national level, too. Top earners will flee to other countries, leaving the United States with lower tax revenues, a smaller tax base, even more debt and a stagnant economy.
CNN touted a new poll yesterday that proclaimed a 9 point lead for President Obama over challenger Mitt Romney.  However, as is becoming distressingly too commonplace, there are some challenges and inconsistencies with the poll that Hot Air takes a deeper look at - in particular around what base numbers and methodology that have been released from the poll.  (It seems as if CNN is joining Gallup and others with not disclosing their full methodology behind the poll to prevent people from checking the details.)
Obviously, the pollster weighted the results — dramatically. But on what basis? Pollsters weigh results in likely-voter models; in fact, that’s a vital part of the likely-voter modeling process. I’m not aware of the need to weight gen-pop polls unless the demos in the survey are wildly deficient, and since CNN didn’t disclose those, we don’t know — but it hardly imbues these results with confidence. Speaking of which, the actual 484 responses for Obama is slightly more than 10% less than what it would take to get to a 53/41 split, far outside of the margin of error announced in the data (+/- 4.5%). In other words, CNN’s pollster produced results that we’re supposed to believe represents the general population’s views within 4.5%, and then proceeded to weight them by increasing Obama’s advantage by almost 11%.

Again, I’m not aware of a need to weight results in general-population polls, and certainly not to the extent seen here, nor did CNN disclose that they did weight the results, especially in the general-population results. Without the rest of the demographic data included in this survey and the weighting methodology, this poll should be treated as utter fantasy.
These shenanigans are becoming far too commonplace - which is why they need to be exposed, and ridiculed, as often as possible.  Unfortunately, for too many lemmings, the repeated drumbeat of this propaganda will effect who someone votes for.  That's why we need to expose the propaganda for what it is.

Yesterday's QH had several links regarding Katie Pavlich's new book on the major Administration scandal of 'Fast and Furious'.  While commenting on BOR's website, I was the first, and one of the few voices speaking out against this scandal when it broke in the wake of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry's murder in December 2010.  For the longest time BOR didn't cover the story / scandal.  But now he is.  Katie Pavlich was Bill O'Reilly's guest last night to discuss her book and the scandal....

It's time that more light gets shone on the Obama Administration scandals - Fast and Furious, the New Black Panther Party, the Politicization of the Department of Justice, Crony Capitalism - Solyndra, GSA spending, and Secret Service / Military fecklessness in Columbia to name just a few that get far too little attention.

On Fox News 'The Five' yesterday afternoon, co-host Greg Gutfeld went off and eviscerates the so-called comics like Bill Maher, Sarah Silverman, and others who just cannot bring themselves to make jokes about the current resident of the White House because of ideological reasons - noting that they lose what little credibility they have by acting like they do...

This Day in History

1790 - American statesman, printer, scientist, and writer Benjamin Franklin dies in Philadelphia at the age of 84

1861 - Virginia becomes the 8th state to secede from the Union

1961 - 1,200 Cuban exiles, armed, trained, and equipped by the United States, invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in an effort to overthrow the Castro regime.  The invasion was an utter failure - in part because President Kennedy refused to provide needed air support - and because the Cuban people failed to rise up to support the invaders.

1964 - The Ford Motor Company debuts the Ford Mustang at the World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, NY.

1970 - Apollo 13 successfully splashes down in the Pacific after a harrowing 4 day trek after an exploding oxygen tank crippled the spacecraft 200,000 miles from Earth.  Systems were damaged to the point that power, oxygen, and water were extremely low - and dangerous manual course corrections were needed to keep the craft on an optimal course for re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. 

1975 - Cambodia, and its capital, Phnom Penh, surrender to the Khmer Rouge ending a 5 year conflict.  The Khmer Rouge, under Pol Pot, then started the killing fields - ultimately murdering one third of the country's population in their effort to 'fundamentally change' Cambodia's society.

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