Friday, December 30, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Let that number sink in for a moment. And then consider this statement from the former governor of New Jersey:
I simply do not know where the money is.
That is what Jon Corzine told Congress on Thursday, Dec 8, 2011. Can you imagine?
We are not talking about investments that failed. We are not talking about risk-capital put into play with the potential for reward. This is money that was simply ... lost.
And this not just a couple hundred thousand dollars. This man lost more money than the total output of 15 countries! Countries like Saint Lucia (GDP of $985MM in 2010), Grenada (GDP of $674MM in 2010), and Gambia (GDP of $1.08B in 2010).
The clients of MF Global may never get the restitution they are due. But Mr. Corzine deserves, at a minimum, to live some portion of his future days in abject poverty. He should have no fiduciary responsibility for any firm or government agency. And he should be convicted of criminal negligence.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
- The current Congress cannot adopt a budget that binds a future Congress.
- The targeted spending changes of the so-called "Super Committee" amounted to less than 5% of the projected spending over the planning period (10 years).
- There were no spending cuts in the charter of the "Super Committee." Government spending increases in every plan given serious consideration.
- It has now been over 940 days since the U.S. Senate has passed a budget of any kind.
- The President and Senate have both abdicated their authority and have shown themselves to be fiscally irresponsible.
- The Democratic party, and its primary constituents (unionized government labor), are demonstrating a blatant disregard for the fiscal health of our country, in favor of their own personal well-being.
- Unionized government labor is becoming a ruling class and is attempting to make that status permanent.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
I've given up trying to change his mind.
Karl Rove said it well in an Op-Ed piece in today's Wall Street Journal:
This liberal lack of faith in the people is combined with a nearly boundless confidence in government
I'm taking his quote out of context, but I'm not misrepresenting his point. Today's liberals do not see the inherent contradiction in their policy positions. It's seemingly willful. And I don't see how their minds can be changed by rational, logic-based arguments.
Karl Rove: Obama and the Politics of Condescension (link requires subscription)
Sunday, October 2, 2011
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) - a part of the President's team - publishes the percentage of GDP that the federal government takes in each fiscal year. It's helpful to understand what actually happened, rather than an estimate of might happen in the future, or a prediction of how this policy or that policy will affect things. The chart below is based on the OMB's publicly published numbers showing tax receipts since 1945.
What does history tell us? It tells us that, regardless of tax rates, the federal government takes never takes in more than 21% of GDP. This is nearly 70 years of consistent behavior. It is a modern era that includes years of war and of peace. It includes recessions, recoveries, housing booms, oil crises and even the collapse of the gold standard. It is a period of dramatic technological and economic change. In these years, marginal tax rates were as high as 90%. In some of these years, taxes on high incomes and successful investments were exceptionally high; in others they were exceptionally low.
Through it all, tax receipts never went above 21% of GDP. That tells me that our federal government must not spend more than 21% of GDP. We must prioritize that spending so that we fund that which is most important. And we will likely disagree amongst ourselves on those priorities. But the fundamental fact is that we will never tax ourselves back to a balanced budget. The only way is to recognize that federal spending has an indisputable limit.
Source of tax receipt data: The Office of Management and Budget
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
... If the Solyndra case came walking into a competent prosecutor’s office, the theory of the investigation would be fraud. We have the loss of over half a billion dollars in public money (in the form of government credits), which was pledged to back a company that had a hopelessly flawed business model and that was gushing losses with no realistic prospect of a turn-around. We have grossly misleading rosy-scenario pronouncements by key players (including President Obama and Vice President Biden) at a time when Solyndra backers were gearing up an initial public offering of stock — and when Solyndra’s independent auditors had issued a dire warning that it was doubtful the company could continue as a going concern. In addition, we have executive-branch officials renegotiating the loan arrangement so that corporate insiders, including Obama administration cronies, would be given priority over taxpayers in the liquidation of assets when the company inevitably went belly-up — a novation that appears to be as illegal as it is inexplicable.
On the surface, it appeared to be just a well-connected investor making good use of his network to secure a nice contract. But in fact, we have a well-connected investor making good use of his network to secure a federally subsidized loan that the firm could not have qualified for on its merits.
I don't understand how even conscientious liberals can accept this state of affairs. If they truly despise "crony capitalism," then surely they despise this! Don't they?
Mr. McCarthy's commentary is worth reading. You'll find it here: The Solyndra Non-Investigation
Saturday, September 10, 2011
So not only did a major, legally suspect and morally indefensible operation result in the death of a law-enforcement officer. But now we learn that there is even more of a coverup going on than first suspected.
Why isn't the mainstream media covering this?
Why isn't the New York Times calling for the resignation of Eric Holder, and for a special investigator?
Credit where credit is due: Read more more at FoxNews.com
"The payroll tax cut that, to me, is not a bad idea. It's always good to let people keep more of their own money," Ryan said. "But it's no substitute for fundamental tax reform--for certainty. It's temporary stuff.
"See, what we've learned already from the Keynesian playbook is demand side spending stimulus, temporary tax rebates, which were tried in the Bush administration and didn't work, and this administration--all this stimulus hasn't worked."
This has nothing to do with which party has the majority in Congress, or whether it's a conservative or a liberal in the White House. The bottom line is that temporary fiscal measures never work. The Bush administration tried them. And the Obama administration has tried them. They don't work. Stop doing it!
They might have worked when information moved slowly. But not any more. Decision makers in business look at all of the available information before making a choice. And if that choice involves hiring another employee, their planning horizon is at least three years. An ethical business owner ... and most are highly ethical ... will not make the implied promise of a livelihood to a new employee unless he is confident that he will still be part of the company three years from now. Otherwise, it's better to simply hire a contractor.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Steven Hayward writes in PowerLine:
Obama has collapsed on the Bush tax cuts, the debt ceiling, expanded the war in Afghanistan, said “never mind” to his promise to close Gitmo, went to war against Libya without congressional authorization or UN resolution, and retracted several key environmental regulations while signaling that he will approve the Keystone pipeline. Progressives are starting to notice.
This is a short list of his failures. But what about his accomplishments?
ObamaCare was passed along a strictly party line vote. The voters' response? A Rasmussen Poll of likely voters indicates that 57% of likely voters favor repeal of this unprecedented expansion of the federal government's impact on our very personal lives.
The financial reform has created more uncertainty in the banking sector, keeping investment cash on the sidelines. It's too complicated for the evening newscast, but the stifling effect that this has had on our economy is stunning in its breadth and depth. It's often said that generals fight the last war ... the Dodd-Frank bill is no exception: It blatantly ignores the huge role that the federal government played in causing the ongoing housing crisis.
And then there is, of course, nearly $1 Trillion in so-called "stimulus" ... again passed along party lines. All that has gotten us is zero net job growth for the first time in over 55 years; an explosion in sovereign debt; and some really snazzy signs to litter our roadways.
Obama's record of failure has exposed leftist policies for the sham that they are. The policy initiatives that he has endorsed have resulted in consistently poor results for the country. The conservative policies that he has grudgingly accepted are the only ones that he can claim have enjoyed any kind of success. The progressives will vote for him because they have no one else. But he cannot run on his record, even with the media pulling for him.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
How is this misleading?
The nominal amount of debt racked up by Bush 43 is $6.1 Trillion.
The nominal amount of debt racked up by Obama is $2.4 Trillion ... or just shy of 40% of the total Bush 43 presidency.
But remember, Obama is only 30 months into his presidency, meaning that his policies are increasing the debt at a rate $80,000,000,000 per month!. If this were to continue for two terms (perish the thought), the total additional debt created in the same period as Bush 43's presidency would equal nearly $8 trillion, or about 33% more. And this does not even account for Obamacare, which hasn't even begun adding to our debt.
Yes, Bush 43 added $6.1 trillion to the public debt. Yes, this was not a success. Obama's supporters have no explanation for why doing more of a bad idea is somehow a good thing.
Monday, July 25, 2011
If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian. Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian.
No it doesn't. It makes you an ideologue. The fourth commandment:
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
This madman has attempted to cover his atrocity with the name of Jesus. He admits no personal relationship with the Savior, but calls himself a Christian.
He is not a Christian.
He is a murderer.
Hat tip: Verum Serum
Saturday, July 23, 2011
With these facts in mind, look at the chart published by the House Armed Services Committee (please click to enlarge):
Remember that food travels by ships that need protection from piracy. The seas are still just as large as they were 20 years ago, and we have only half the ships we did when Bill Clinton was president. We cannot support ground troops without fighter squadrons and strategic bombers.
And the world is not safer than it was in 1990 ... it is far more dangerous.
A weakened America means an ever more dangerous world.
Monday, July 4, 2011
In 1978, the minimum wage was $2.65 per hour, which when it is adjusted for inflation would equate to $9.18/hr in 2011. Therefore, it is true that increases in the minimum wage have lagged behind increases in the general price level.
But an increase in the minimum wage is a government action ... and all actions have consequences. Even if that action is supposedly in response to other events, the consequences are real.
Notice how teen employment dropped until the early 80's, then climbed again until 1989, when it began another steep drop.
Each drop in teen employment was preceded by a federally mandated increase in the minimum wage. This is a small sample which illustrates this larger pattern. It is an entirely predictable pattern. And it should call into question the very existence of a minimum wage.
The entire history of minimum wage rates is available at the US Dept of Labor.
Friday, June 24, 2011
It has been over a full year since the stimulus became law, and it is, in fact, highly logical that our economy is worse than before the stimulus. Unemployment is higher - as is the unemployment rate - because business owners have less money to hire new workers, expand their business or to purchase additional goods and services. They would have more money, except that it's been taken from them and given to folks that are not in a position to ... hire new workers, expand a business or purchase additional goods and services.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
It is not credible for the administration to endorse Ben Bernanke's decision to flood the world with dollars — and then denounce China for manipulating its currency.
Bret Stephens, WSJ (link requires subscription)
This is exactly what the thugs in the middle East have been doing for 50 years. They demonize Israel so as to distract their populations from their economic failure and absolute oppression.
We must not allow this to continue. We must elect new leadership.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Government agencies are made up (for now at least) of a minority of our population. Yet they make decisions that affect people of every walk of life. Modern American liberalism is content with this, since those agencies are made up of specialists, who presumably know more about their field than the rest of us. For a liberal, that superior knowledge gives them the authority to make those decisions.
The reality is, though, that the men and women who make up those agencies cannot possibly possess enough knowledge to surpass the population at large. The citizenry has, collectively, the benefit of its full experience and knowledge. Therefore, citizens make far more productive decisions and make far better choices than government agents.
Government agencies have no right to favor certain industries with subsidies, and penalize others with additional taxes. They do it anyway ... and we can see the entirely predictable results: anemic growth across broad swaths of our economy.
Except for the government agencies.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
If they were truly serious about energy independence, then they would stop blocking the development of the abundant natural resources in our own backyard. The North Slope pipeline in Alaska can safely transport upwards of 2.2 million barrels of oil each day from the oil fields to the refineries. Currently, there are three untapped oil fields in Alaska: the National Petroleum Reserve, the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, and the 0.0087% of the 23 million acre ANWR that is necessary to begin oil production. Those fields contain an estimated 60 billion barrels of oil. At the peak transport capacity of 2.2 million barrels a day, that is over 70 years of production.
Is that a permanent answer? No. But it is a safe and affordable alternative to foreign oil that would give us time to develop other non-petroleum based fuel sources.
If our government was serious about energy independence, they would open these areas up for oil production.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
We must wake up to the damage that unions are doing to our economy. They drive up costs. They make it harder for businesses to justify hiring more workers. And public unions are the most insidious of all. They spend their members dues on political activities in order to elect legislators that will divert ever more money from the private sector into the union.
New Hampshire's legislature passed a right-to-work bill, but the democratic governor vetoed the bill. Would it be a surprise to learn that unions supported Gov. Lynch in his campaign? You get what you pay for, I guess. Here's hoping the state senate can override that veto, and that right-to-work spreads across the Northeast as other states recognize their competitive disadvantage.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
This is no different.
The pols will jump up and down about defaulting on our payments if the debt ceiling isn't raised. And although we will, technically, be in default, what that really means is that we will make our debt payment a few days or weeks late. It is far more important that we get our finances in order, by reducing ongoing entitlement payments, so that we can make those debt payments over the long run.
This is the exact same thing as making your mortgage payment on the 12th of the month because you had to reorganize your budget. Were you late? Yes. But the mortgage company isn't too concerned because you are taking steps to ensure that they will eventually get all of the money due them.
Unfortunately, polls and pols usually react to the noise. And that means that we'll probably get no real reform in exchange for a raise in the debt ceiling. We'll make the current payments on time and jeopardize our ability to finance our activities in the future. Unionized government workers will protest and strike in order to keep their slice of the pie, impoverishing the nation as a whole. It won't happen overnight, but the math dictates that it will.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
So let's examine their assumptions:
- The reports must accept the conditions described by the current law. Current law requires that Medicare outlays will be reduced by 30%!! in 2012. Given the historical behavior of both the legislative and executive branches, this is highly unlikely.
- Here's the real whopper: The report assumes an unemployment rate of 5.5% by 2018. Granted, a lot can happen in 6½ years, but cutting the unemployment rate by more than 40% seems far-fetched ... especially when inflationary pressures and the weakening currency have almost always slowed or even stalled recoveries - both in the US and abroad
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Gas prices seemed to have plateaued at around $4.00 per gallon (regular). At least, in my little part of the world, prices haven't changed much in the past 10 days or so. But I believe this is short-lived. The current price of a barrel of oil dropped to below $100 last week, but it's on its way back up:
Surely these prices reflect the news coming from the Trans Alaska Pipeline (link requires subscription) that tells of production issues on the a significant source of our nation's power supply. While all of this goes on, there seems to be no appetite for expanding the supply of oil.
So get ready for even higher gas prices in the coming months.
Source for the oil price graph:
Crude Oil Price By OIL-PRICE.NET
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Facts will not deter radicals ... they never have. OBL is no longer a wanted man. However, we have not seen the last of radical Islam. Their grievances are contrived and arbitrary. They cannot be negotiated with, nor can they be reasoned with. They can, however, be defeated. And we have taken one, symbolic, and important objective. There are many others, but it is right to celebrate this achievement.
To the men of the JSOC, congratulations and well done!
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Isn't the purpose of taxes to raise revenues?
If that is the purpose of taxation, then why are their special taxes that penalize certain behaviors and reward others? Here are just a few sickening examples:
- Why do we deduct health insurance premiums from taxable income when they are paid via a payroll contribution, but not when they are paid out of personal funds?
- Why is the interest on a primary residence tax-deductible, but not the interest on a car
- Why do we subsidize inefficient forms of refined petroleum, and put higher levies on the efficient forms?
- Why are the people who produce the most wealth for our nation penalized with higher tax rates, while those who produce less wealth subsidized with lower tax rates?
Our federal government spends the vast bulk of its energy and resources transferring wealth from our most productive citizens to our least productive citizens. We have completely perverted our sense of fairness and equity.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Fact #1: At current production rates, the world's crude oil output is approximately 3.8 billion gallons each day. That's over 91 million barrels each day.
Fact #2: The closing price of crude oil on April 28, 2011, is $112.76 USD.
The current liberal explanation for the rising cost of crude oil is that "speculators" are manipulating the market in an effort to drive up prices and create some sort of windfall for themselves. How would that work? What sort of actions could an individual or group take that would raise the price of oil, without raising the costs of producing that oil? The only way to raising the price of anything without raising the underlying costs is to do one of two things: increase the demand for it, or reduce the supply of it.
If we take for granted that a small group of investors can't cause millions upon millions of people to desire more oil, then their only choice is to reduce the supply of available oil. And how could they do that? By either keeping it from being produced in the first place, or by buying up available oil before it can get to consumers.
Returning to the facts stated above...
Barrels Produced per day: 91,373,613
Price per barrel: $112.76
So in order to buy a day's worth of oil ... or 0.27% of the oil produced in a year ... someone would need to come up with $10,303,288,613 USD.
It's not possible to cause the kinds of price increases we've seen by taking only 0.27% of the supply off the market. You'd need to take at least 1% of that supply, or over $50 billion worth of oil, to move the price. And then you'd need to store it somewhere. And then, in order to make a profit off of this action, you would need to have enough money to buy and sell oil that you weren't storing. That's ridiculous. The only entities with that kind of available cash are sovereign governments.
Bottom line is this.
Speculators are not to blame for a 65% rise in oil prices. The cause is that democrat policies have unnecessarily restricted the production of oil, so that the market cannot respond adequately to the demands of a modern, powered world.
Monday, April 25, 2011
This chart (please click to enlarge> gives us a crystal-clear view of the dramatic rise in gas prices since 2004 ... when the democrat party took over Congress and began pushing a far-left economic agenda ... and again since 2008, when that agenda began to be implemented by the current presidential administration.
Radical environmentalists believe this is a good thing. They believe that this will force the economy into reduced dependence on fossil fuels.
But who is most impacted by the price of gasoline? It is the working class. They have to pay for gasoline ... and this increase means that a far greater proportion of their income is going to be spent on just getting to work. And that means that less of their income is available for food for their family, for clothing for their family, and for charitable contributions to those that could use the help.
The rise in gasoline prices ... which can be tied directly to regulatory changes made in the past two years ... is a cruel tax on the poor.
Source of the chart: Gasoline Price History
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Abortion For Convenience
That sounds so harsh. So cold. So selfish and heartless.
That's because it is.
When a woman goes to an abortion clinic that will kill her unborn child so that she can finish school, then it is for her convenience. When she consents to the killing of her unborn child because she realizes that the father is not the man she wants in her life for the next two decades, then it is for her convenience. When she pays someone to kill her unborn child because she "isn't ready to raise a child," then it is for her convenience.
It is not for her health.
It is not because she was impregnated by a rapist or as a result of incest.
It is because she cares more about herself than she does about the life she is ending.