Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fairness: Going bankrupt fairly

What’s new Today 

Stories #1and #2 relates Obama’s focus on equity trumps jobs, deficit reduction and just about anything else that logic says we should be paying attention to.  #3 in the meantime gives us five reasons to worry about the economy.  #4 and #5 give us dueling stories about Obamacare’s effect on the deficit.  The first one claims a savings of $460,000,000 per year which the second one give us a deficit of $34,000,000,000 per year.   #6 is a look at the oil boom that appears to be starting in Kansas.  #7 tries to set the record straight that America is one of the least racist countries in the world, while #8 gives us a look at the Democrats racist history.  #9 is about Barbara Walters and her claim not one can tell if the press is left or right.  #10 is a PR disaster for United Airlines. 

1.   Income Equity vs. Jobs and Opportunity

Democrats in Congress and President Obama are ratcheting up their efforts to cast Republicans as out-of-touch elitists by championing the "Buffett Rule" – a proposed bill that would require Americans making more than $1 million in income to pay a minimum 30 percent federal income tax.

Democrats will put the measure to a vote in the Senate next week in a move timed roughly to coincide with the April 15 deadline to file federal income taxes. It is intended to turn the screws not only on Senate Republicans in tight reelection contests but also on Mitt Romney, Mr. Obama’s all-but-certain GOP challenger, who earned $20.9 million in 2011 but paid federal taxes at only a 15 percent rate.

The Buffett campaign has one simple mission – “embarrass Republicans”….

…Yet polling suggests that taxing the rich might not be a winning issue for Obama in November….

Among voters without a strongly held opinion of either Mr. Romney or Obama, 80 percent said they’d be more likely to support a candidate focused on economic growth and opportunity, while 15 percent said they would choose one emphasizing income inequality, according to a poll released Monday by the centrist Democratic group Third Way….


I think Romney should come out and say President Obama wants to raise my taxes while I want to raise the economy for everyone. 

2.   Fairness not deficit reduction

The Obama administration is emphasizing “fairness” over deficit reduction in its renewed pitch for the “Buffett rule” ahead of next week’s scheduled Senate vote.

Introducing a minimum 30 percent income tax on millionaires “was never our plan to bring the deficit down and get the debt under control,” Jason Furman, the principal deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, told reporters on a conference call Monday afternoon. “This is not the president’s entire tax plan. We’re not trying to say this solves all our economic problems, all our budget problems.”…

…Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) slammed the bill late last month, after the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated the rule would generate $46.7 billion in revenues over the next decade...


Well 46 billion is more than 7 times the savings from Obamacare.  The Democrats and Obama are doing the equivalent of looking for change under the sofa cushions to pay the house payment coming do.  There are more productive things they should look at. 

3.  Five Reasons to worry about the Economy

…Sluggish economic growth.

The economy hasn't been growing fast enough to sustain the level of job growth the United States enjoyed from December through February -- an average of 246,000 jobs a month.

The economy is expected grow around 2.5 percent this year. Economists say that's consistent with monthly job growth of around 140,000.

Some economists fear that March's weaker numbers are just a return to the normal link between economic growth and job growth -- and that hiring won't pick up until the economy accelerates.

Higher gasoline prices.

U.S. gasoline prices have risen 65 cents this year to a national average of $3.93 gallon, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge. Economists had expected consumers to keep spending at a healthy pace in the face of higher prices at the pump…

It’s beginning to look bad.  I think gas prices are the cause of it and it will destroy Obama’s chance to be reelected. 

4.  Sebelius: Obamacare saves 0.023%

One thing about unconstitutional laws is that they invariably fail to do what they set out to do. Homicides rose after D.C. passed its unconstitutional gun law in 1976 — and fell to their lowest level in 43 years after the Supreme Court repealed the law. And so it goes with Obamacare, which will drive health insurance prices up as it mandates near universal coverage. That is good for insurance executives like Warren Buffett, but bad for consumers. Nonetheless Kathleen Sebelius, head of DHHS, is touting all the savings Obamacare will bring — $460 million a year to the $2 trillion a year health industry.

That’s 0.023% — 23 one-thousandths of 1%.

Pardon my laughter.

As you read the press release, remember $4.6 billion over 10 years is just $460 million a year. Given the history of blue-skying savings, odds are this will increase costs, but even accepting The Man’s numbers, it is a pitifully small saving.

When I first saw this, I thought well over 10 years it could be a lot, and then I realized over 10 years we are talking about $4.6 billion.  That’s a rounding error in the age of Obama. Read the next story for a dose of reality. 

5.   Obamacare and the Deficit: Loses $340 billion

Over the past two years, Obamacare’s champions have often claimed that the new law would actually save the government money and reduce the deficit. Early on, they argued that it would do this in part by reducing health-care costs, but no one really makes that case anymore. Rather, they argue that Obamacare offers a version of today’s preferred liberal approach to deficit reduction: it increased taxes by even more than the immense amount by which it increases spending. That’s not exactly a recipe for fiscal responsibility or a means of addressing the underlying problem of costs, but on the face of it perhaps it should allow them to claim that Obamacare reduces the deficit.

Except that it doesn’t. From the very beginning, critics of Obamacare have pointed out that, even if you accept all of the implausible claims of cost savings in the law, the CBO score of the legislation double-counted the effects of the enormous Medicare cuts scheduled to occur in the next few years… The Medicare actuary (who works for Barack Obama) has been very clear on this point, writing in 2010 that the Medicare cuts in the law were unlikely to actually occur but that even if they did: “In practice, the improved [Medicare trust fund] financing cannot be simultaneously used to finance other Federal outlays (such as the coverage expansions) and to extend the trust fund, despite the appearance of this result from the respective accounting conventions.” CBO has acknowledged that, although it is bound by those accounting conventions and so must double count the proposed cuts, it is true that doing so does not offer a true picture of the law’s effect on the deficit.

Working out exactly what the effect of avoiding this double counting would be, and more broadly what the actual effect of Obamacare on the deficit is likely to be, is no easy feat. It basically requires re-scoring the law using the data available to CBO, but avoiding the misleading conventions forced upon the agency. In an important new paper  out today from the Mercatus Center, Charles Blahous has done just that….

…Regarding the overall effect of the law on the deficit, his conclusion is clear:

Taken as a whole, the enactment of the ACA has substantially worsened a dire federal fiscal outlook. The ACA both increases a federal commitment to health care spending that was already unsustainable under prior law and would exacerbate projected federal deficits relative to prior law. This is an unambiguous conclusion, as it would result regardless of the degree of future success attained in upholding various cost-saving provisions now embedded in the law.

Blahous’s paper is both an exceptionally lucid guided tour of what is actually in Obamacare and a bracing overview of its likely effects on federal finances.

Obamacare’s worsening of the deficit is hardly its worst feature, of course. If it is not repealed, the law will be an utter disaster...

Accounting gimmicks let the Democrats claim they would save money on the deficit.  Almost no one was fooled except those who wanted to be fooled. 

6.    What is the Matter with Kansas? If You Like Oil, Nothing

Black gold might soon be gushing from the Kansas soil, according to AP. Drilling has only just started but the oil is attracting speculators from all over. Ancient land records are being pulled off of courthouse shelves in a frenzy; land that cost $30 an acre is now fetching $3000.

The familiar signs of an oil boom are everywhere: restaurants busier than ever, rental prices shooting up, hotels booked solid. Kansas has more undrilled acreage than most states. Each horizontal well costs about $3 million and is expected to deliver a 90 percent return on investment, paying for itself after 18 months of production. High oil prices are an extra impetus to drill, baby, drill — and to keep the new jobs sprouting from the Kansas ground. The boom “is going to change things forever in this part of the world,” says one local prospector.

Kansas’ oil boom is important for two reasons. Firstly, here we have another example of the incredible job-producing abilities of brown industry. Compare the furor over Kansas’ oil and gas explosion with the unfulfilled and overhyped “green” jobs, which have yet to materialize. And while green jobs will require subsidies for years, brown jobs don’t require federal upfront money — and will deliver taxes to the Treasury right from the start

The oil boom in this country is just starting while the Obama Administration does everything it can to stop it.  High unemployment, stupid investments in green energy, huge deficits are hallmarks of progressive politics.  It’s time for a change.

7.  Racism and America

In light of the tragic killing of black teenager Trayvon Martin — and the manufactured hysteria surrounding it — one thing needs to be stated as clearly and as often as possible: The United States is the least racist and least xenophobic country in the world. Foreigners of every race, ethnicity, and religion know this. Most Americans suspect this. Most black Americans and the entire left deny this.

Black Africans know this. That is why so many seek to live in the United States. Decades ago, the number of black Africans who had immigrated to the United States had already surpassed the number of black Africans who were forcibly shipped to America as slaves.

And members of other races and nationalities know this. Even Muslim and Arab writers have noted that nowhere in the Arab or larger Muslim world does an Arab or any other Muslim have the individual rights, liberty, and dignity that a Muslim living in America has. As for Latinos and Asians, vast numbers of them from El Salvador to Korea regard America as the land of opportunity.

And when any of these people come here – from anywhere, speaking any language, looking like a member of any race — they are accepted as Americans the moment they identify as such. He or she will be regarded as fully American. This is not true elsewhere. A third-generation Turkish-German, whose German is indistinguishable from the German spoken by an indigenous German, will still be regarded by most Germans as a Turk. The same holds true elsewhere in Europe…

America is the least racists’ country in the world despite what the race baiters try to portray.  Is there racism in America?  Of course there is.  Is it simply accepted?  No, and that is what makes us different. 

8.  Racism and the Democrats

Democrats through Eisenhower

Wilson was a nightmare for blacks. After he took office, there were mass firings of black federal employees. The new Democrat Congress passed laws barring interracial marriages in the District of Columbia. "Whites Only" and "Blacks Only" began appearing on drinking fountains and in toilets in Washington. President Wilson broke the tradition of appointing American Negroes as consuls to Haiti and Santo Domingo. He rejected a proposal for a National Race Commission to study the status of blacks in the U.S., and he began segregating blacks and whites in the civil service.

FDR was a hero to black America, but one must ask why. He won the 1932 Democrat nomination by collecting all of the convention votes in 9 of the 11 states of the old Confederacy. Only Virginia and Texas, which had "favorite son" candidates, did not give every single delegate to FDR, although by the fourth ballot, every single delegate in all eleven states voted for FDR.

President Roosevelt appointed Hugo Black, a former Klansman, and although later this was downplayed, Black was elected to the Senate from Alabama with the backing of the Klan. Roosevelt appointed another Klansman, Tom Clark, as attorney general of the United States. Paul Robeson called the appointment of Clark as attorney general by FDR "a gratuitous and outrageous insult to my people." Black leaders despised FDR. Roy Wilkins accused FDR of "expedient cowardice."

Were Democrat leaders after FDR better? Harry Truman applied to join the Klan (but stopped when he found out that the Klan hated Catholics.) Harry Truman had said that one man is as good as another "so long as he's honest and decent and not a nigger or a Chinaman," and he referred to Martin Luther King as a "troublemaker." When asked about racial integration, he asked a reporter: "Would you want your daughter to marry one of them?"

Adlai Stevenson, the Democrat nominee in 1952 and 1956, selected as his running mate John Sparkman of Alabama, a segregationist. As a congressman, LBJ opposed civil rights legislation, opposed anti-lynching legislation, and opposed legislation to end the poll tax and end employment discrimination.

JFK, too, was a bigot. In 1960, when Time Magazine interviewed John Kennedy, he said: "It was so hot that even niggers went to the beach." During the 1960 election campaign, John Kennedy had breakfast in Alabama with the White Citizen's Council in Alabama, a fact that Jackie Robinson noted in expressing frustration at the indifference to racism in the Kennedy campaign.

It is a testament to the racism pandemic in the Democrat Party that when Hubert Humphrey courageously spoke up against "white only" primaries in the South at the 1948 Democrat Convention, that was recognized as a breakthrough for civil rights -- but Republicans, of course, had accepted blacks in their primaries and caucuses all along, and blacks from the South had been delegates at Republican conventions since the end of the Civil War. Humphrey was asking Democrats to move up to where Republicans had been since 1868….

This is an interesting history of racism and the Democrats. 

9.  Barbara Walter’s must think Americans are idiots!

What world does she live in? According to veteran journalist Barbara Walters on Monday, the American public doesn't know whether "most" reporters are "Republicans or Democrats." The unbelievable claim came during a View segment on the passing of 60 Minutes journalist Mike Wallace.

Walters, who once recoiled at the prospect of the "scary" Sarah Palin becoming President, insisted, "But, most of us...you don't know whether we're Republicans or Democrats or exhibitionists." (Exhibitionists?) The comment came after comedienne Whoopi Goldberg insisted, "And also, the journalists today don't do what journalists did, which was keep their opinions to ourselves."


I’m afraid Barbara is losing it.  Not only are there studies that show us the media is overwhelmingly liberal, but reporters haven’t even tried to be unbiased for decades.   

10.                   UA PR Disaster

“Flight attendants are on this aircraft to save your rear end, not kiss it!"

That's the warm and fuzzy "Welcome aboard" with which passengers were greeted on a recent United Airlines flight from Phoenix to Houston.

A sticker with that wording was attached to a United Airlines flight attendant's bag that was placed in the overhead luggage bin near the front of the plane, according to the businessman/frequent flier who took the photo at right. The passenger assures that it was not a hoax from an angry Alec Baldwin- type….

I know the Flight Attendant probably thought this was clever.  It wasn’t and UA needs to take action with whoever this person is. 

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