Monday, September 24, 2012

Quick Hits - September 20, 2012

As the debate around Mitt Romney's '47%' comments continue to percolate around the mainstream media and blogosphere, the deeper debate needs to take place on the role of government and tax policy.

Who owns the money they earn?  The wage earner?  Or does the government get to say what it takes and then the remainder is left with the wage earner as an example of the 'generosity' of the government?

Conservatives believe that the wage earner is the owner of one's wages - and that there is an obligation to society to contribute some of these earnings towards government to fund the limited functions of the government...but the best use of these funds is to remain within the private sector.

President Obama has a different approach.  He believes that government is the best solution, not the private sector.  He believes that the private sector is such that the government needs to control and regulate the private sector to ensure 'fairness' - the 'equality of results' for all.

To fund this large government, the President sees the need of the wealthy to pay 'their fair share' to support those in need - and the President has campaigned in both 2008 and 2012 promising that he will not increase taxes on the middle class.

In addition to taxes, there are costs associated with the growing number of government regulations that are being used to ensure 'fairness'.

Hot Air today has a report that shows that not only are the middle class seeing their taxes increase, but that the regulatory costs of the Obama expansion of government regulations is in reality 20 times (20X) higher than what the Administration is estimating on an annual basis.
Despite President Obama’s assiduous promises that he would scrupulously avoid raising taxes whatsoever on the middle class, the CBO released yet another of its revised reports yesterday, informing us that the ObamaCare mandate tax is going to overwhelmingly impose itself upon members of the middle class, with an average penalty to the tune of $1,200.

And today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute via the Washington Examiner has more info concluding that current federal regulations, in addition to ObamaCare’s upcoming regulations, impose a cost on individuals and businesses that amounts to more than twenty times what the Obama administration originally anticipates, annually.
Current federal regulations plus those coming under Obamacare will cost American taxpayers and businesses $1.8 trillion annually, more than twenty times the $88 billion the administration estimates, according to a new roundup provided to Secrets from the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute.

And it could grow, warned the author of the report, Clyde Wayne Crews, a CEI vice president.

Complying with Health and Human Services Department requirements alone, he revealed, costs $184 billion a year, yet regulators are still drafting the rules for the 2,400-page Obamacare law that kicks into gear in 2014.

Crews has made a working project of his “Tip of the Costberg” report which he regularly updates. In it, he compares the cost of regulations estimated by federal agencies to a much broader list of estimates from multiple federal and independent sources.
Here's the link to the CBO report - which also highlights that even more Americans than previously expected are going to be hit by Obamacare's individual mandate TAX - which will apply to 6 million by 2016...
Of the 30 million Americans whom Obamacare leaves uninsured and without affordable insurance options, 6 million will have to pay the penalty, an increased estimate from 2010. According to CBO, “About two million more uninsured people are now projected to pay the penalty each year, and collections are now expected to be about $3 billion more per year.” The total cost to uninsured Americans will be around $7 billion in 2016 and is projected to be about $8 billion every year from 2017 to 2022.

The tax penalty is calculated in different ways depending on income levels. If they do not obtain Obamacare-mandated health insurance, households with lower incomes will pay a flat dollar amount each year, and those with higher incomes will pay a penalty equal to a percentage of their incomes.

Despite claims made by Obamacare’s advocates that the law will help middle- and low-income Americans, CBO’s table reveals that the distribution of the tax falls heavily on those making less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL)—meaning the majority of this new tax falls on the very people the law was supposed to help. For instance, a family of four making about $24,600 per year, the projected FPL in 2016, could be subject to this egregious tax penalty.
Um, you did know that Obamacare did leave about 30 million uninsured - about 10% of the national population?  That we're paying $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years to 'fundamentally change' healthcare for about 30-45 million people total as well as making sure that the young college graduate, only about 50% can get jobs, can remain on their parent's health insurance until age 26 and that coverage can no longer be limited by pre-existing conditions.  [Is it still a surprise that the majority of Americans want to repel this boondoogle?]

Far too little attention is made on the 'hidden costs' of the 'fundamental change' being implemented by the Obama Administration - the costs associated with federal government regulations.

As the above report on Obamacare indicates, many regulations are still be developed for not only Obamacare, but the Dodd / Frank banking legislation which will increase regulations on financial institutions and on consumers (directly and indirectly).  For example in Obamacare, there is the 'Contraception Mandate' which will drive up costs for businesses and insurers as they are now required to provide free coverages for their employees for abortafacients, contraceptives, and sterilization.

Inc Magazine, in a September 2010 article, noted that many of these federal regulations, by design, cost small businesses, the cornerstone of the domestic economy, far more than they cost large businesses.
Businesses with 20 employees or fewer pay 36 percent more than their larger counterparts (defined as those with 500 or more employees), says the report – called "The Impact of Regulatory Costs on Small Firms" -- from the SBA's Office of Advocacy. This is because a lot of costs are fixed -- the same whether you have two employees or 2,000. Total annual cost of following the rules for a small business: $10,585 per employee, or about $2,830 more than big business. Businesses with 20 to 499 employees paid about $7,454 per employee, or about $300 less than the largest companies.

"That is an unfair burden to place on American small business,' said Winslow Sargeant, the SBA's chief counsel for advocacy.

The report estimates that 89 percent of all firms in the U.S. employ fewer than 20 workers. By comparison, large firms account for only 0.3 percent of all U.S. firms.
The Heritage Foundation has a research report that highlights the specifics of rising red tape that is impacting businesses specific to the massive number of regulations added during the first three years of the Obama Administration...

The Heritage Foundation also has a very interesting listing of some of the regulations and effects... Tales of the Red Tape :

  • The EEOC has issued a regulation that defines conducting a criminal background check on job applicants could trigger charges of racial discrimination against the company.  This impacts small business hiring practices and increases their costs / risks associated with hiring employees.
  • 120+ regulations were created in the last year regarding enhanced accomodations for disabled individuals at 65 different types of public and private facilities - totally around 7 million privately owned sites.  Compliance for these regulations is estimated to cost more than $1 billion annually for each of the next 15 years.  Among these, requirements for public pools, even those serviced by HOA's to install and maintain elevators for disabled access into the pool.  There is now a new cottage industry of investigators and litigators going to businesses (large and small) and filing lawsuits for those who do not 100% comply with the new regulations.
  • Returning back to the EEOC, not only can we check to see if an applicant has a criminal background, but we also risk discrimination lawsuits if we ask if an applicant has a High School diploma.
In fact, so much attention is starting to turn towards the regulatory excesses of the Obama Administration throughout the Executive Branch, regulations that have hit businesses for more than $46 billion in new annual costs in the past three years, that for the election season, the regulatory agenda is going undercover....

Throughout President Obama’s tenure, the number and cost of major regulations has approached record levels—exceeding $46 billion in new annual costs during his first three years. The impact has been economically crippling, of course, notwithstanding the administration’s boasts of regulatory benefits. Yet the White House seems rather shy of late about its hyperactive rulemaking, all of the president’s promises of transparency be damned.

Here it is almost September, and the administration has failed to publish its spring 2012 Regulatory Agenda as required by law. The compendium of planned regulatory actions is required each spring and fall under the Regulatory Flexibility Act as well as Executive Order 12,866, which originated with President Clinton and was reaffirmed by President Obama last year.

With no word from the White House on its failure to comply, Sen. Rob Portman (R–OH) sent a letter of inquiry this week to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. “Concerns about bad press … are no excuse for keeping these plans under wraps,” Portman said. “With regulatory burdens already hindering job creation, the American people are entitled to know the full magnitude of new Obama Administration regulations coming down the pike.”

The fall 2011 agenda listed 2,576 newly proposed and final regulations in the pipeline, including a disproportionate share from the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Health and Human Services, Treasury Department, Security and Exchange Commission, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

There’s plenty of evidence that this regulatory frenzy will persist—if not escalate—with or without warning. Whether or not the White House reports it, Obamacare and Dodd-Frank alone would spawn dozens of new major regulations with annual costs in the tens of billions of dollars.
Here's the link to the Fall 2011 Unified Agenda which lists the 2,576 newly proposed and final regulations in the pipeline...

Have we as a society changed our approach towards those who lie?  Is there still a price to be paid for those who lie, prevaricate, mislead for personal gain?

Or is the question more along the lines, 'Does character and integrity matter any more?'

At what point do we stop believing in, or trusting, or listening to, or voting for pathological liars - particularly if that liar is from a particular political party or is named Barack Obama.

It's pretty obvious that much of the mainstream media is completely in the tank for Barack Obama.  They share the same ideological vision and viewpoint as Barack Obama - and are willing to ignore the character issues and habitual lying.

For a week since the 9/11/12 sacking of the US Embassy in Cairo, and the murder of US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, State Department employee Sean Smith, and two security personnel not directly connected to the protection of the US Consulate in Benghazi or Ambassador Stevens, the Administration made the case that the violence in both locations was not related to the 9/11 anniversary, was not related to a terrorist attack on US facilities, but entirely related to an obscure 14 minute trailer of a film 'The Innocence of Muslims' posted on You Tube in June that enraged the rage boys of fundamentalist Islam...

Now we are learning that the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in four murders was not because of a 'spontaneous' demonstration over that obscure video that 'insulted' Muslims.  There was no demonstration.  Just an attack on the US Consulate by 50+ heavily armed terrorists followed by a second attack at a supposed 'safe house' that those in the Consulate evacuated to.

The storming of the US Embassy in Cairo seems far less connected to that video, despite the asinine statements issued by the Embassy (without approval from Washington DC) or the subsequent 'more' official statements which blamed the video for inciting the mob (without defending our free speech principles), that the demonstration was far more related to an act scheduled specifically for the anniversary of the 9/11/01 terror attack on the US and the 'spiking of the football' by the Administration for the killing of Osama Bin Laden.  The chant - 'We are all Osama Obama' referenced the video....oh, wait, that's the video that Sony Pictures and the Administration are collaborating on to 'spike the football' once again due out next month.  The leadership of the storming of the Embassy?  The Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists, and supporters of al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian leader of al-Qaeda.

Simply, the Administration lied to the American people to hide the effects of their feckless MidEast foreign policy.  Barack Obama lied.  Hillary Clinton lied.  Susan Rice lied.  Jay Carney lied.

When asked during an interview with the Spanish language network Univision, 'Why wasn't your Administration better prepared to secure America's embassies on September 11?' - the President not only could not answer, but filibustered and moved the goalposts for 6 minutes.  Video at the link...

Barack Obama will also lie about his own background for political gain...

Here's Chapter Two from the above report on Obama's crafted false biography linked above...
Time magazine gushed in 2008 about Barack Obama's 12-year tenure as a law lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, saying, "Within a few years, he had become a rock-star professor with hordes of devoted students."

That may have been true during his first two years, when he ranked first among the law school's 40 instructors, with students giving him a rating of 9.7 out of a possible 10.

But law student evaluations made available to The Washington Examiner by the university showed that his popularity then fell steadily.

In 1999, only 23 percent of the students said they would repeat Obama's racism class. He was the third-lowest-ranked lecturer at the law school that year. And in 2003, only a third of the student evaluators recommended his classes.

His classes were small. A spring 1994 class attracted 14 out of a student body of 600; a spring 1996 class drew 13. In 1997, he had the largest class of his tenure with 49 students. But by then, his student rating had fallen to 7.75. Twenty-two of 40 faculty members ranked higher than Obama.

It is often claimed that Obama was a "Constitutional law professor." Well...

Obama has often cited his days at the law school as an important part of his preparation for the presidency. At a March 30, 2007, fundraiser, for example, he said, "I was a constitutional law professor, which means, unlike the current president, I actually respect the Constitution."

From 1992 until 2004, Obama taught three courses: "Current Issues in Racism and the Law," "Voting Rights and the Democratic Process," and "Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process."

Three areas of the law that do involve the Constitution. It should also be noted all three are areas where leftwingers try to make the most impact on America.

It's Thursday, time for the week's jobless claims numbers....

This week new jobless claim number is a seasonally adjusted 382,000 people filing for first time jobless benefits - higher than the 375,000 that the 'experts' were predicting for this week.  This is the 5th out of the last 6 weeks where the expectations of the 'experts' were missed.

Last week's jobless claims numbers were politically adjusted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 382,000 first time filers to 385,000 first time filers which allowed the sycophants in the mainstream media to announce that this week's number was lower than last weeks followed by drivel around an improving economy.

Also on the job front, Bank of America has announced that between now and the end of the year, it will eliminate 16,000 jobs.

Labor Unions, the ACLU, and other progressive organizations are using the Michigan Secretary of State because she is championing efforts to identify and remove non-US citizens from Michigan's voter rolls.  They are terming the Secretary of State's (a Republican) actions to conform to US and Michigan law 'discriminatory'.  I suppose it is - it discriminates against those who have broken US and Michigan law as well as those who benefit from voter fraud (Democrats).

This Day in History

1519 - Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Spain with 5 ships and 270 men to find a western sea route to the Spice Islands of Indonesia.  He discovered the Straits of Magellan on October 21, 1520 - and it took him 38 days to traverse the straits from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.  Entering the Pacific, he sailed 99 days until making landfall on March 6, 1521 at Guam.  10 days later, Magellan's expedition arrived at the Philippines.  While there, Magellan was killed by a poison arrow on April 27th.  The expedition's survivors, in two ships, sailed on to Indonesia where they filled their holds with spices.  One attempted to recross the Pacific and was lost.  The last sailed across the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope, and returned to Spain on September 6, 1522 - becoming the first ship to circumnavigate the world.

1806 - Lewis and Clark, returning from the Pacific / Northwest territory reach the first white settlement on the Missouri River.

1863 - The Confederates score a victory at the Battle of Chickamauga in northern Georgia.  This was one of the largest battles in the Civil War, and costliest - resulting in 18,500 Confederate casualties and 16,100 Union casualties.

1881 - Chester A. Arthur takes the oath of office as the 21st President of the United States, succeeding the late President Garfield.  He also becomes the third US President to serve in 1 year.

1943 - British launch Operation Source as three midget submarines, out of six dispatched, attacked the German battleship Tirpitz as it is anchored inside a Norwegian fjord.  They did not sink the battleship, the sistership of the Bismarck, but damaged it severely enough for it to remain out of action for 6 months....reducing the threat against British convoys to the Russian port of Murmansk.

1973 - Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs in Battle of the Sexes II at the Houston Astrodome before a sellout crowd of 30,492 - the largest ever for a tennis match.  The match came from Riggs defeating Margaret Court in straight sets in the Battle of the Sexes I.  King dominated Riggs, winning 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

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