11%….”the new 80%”

President Obama today said that 80% of Americans support tax increases in order to reduce the debt.  He also said that poll after poll showed that this was true.  Whether he was speaking out of ignorance, or an attempt to deceive, I cannot say.  I prefer to think the former, despite my suspicions as to the latter.

At any rate, the real number of Americans that want to raise taxes in order to pay down the debt is 11%.  What is more, the President himself is opposed to tax increases for that reason.  As pointed out in a previous post, Mr. Obama previously said that he would favor raising taxes that resulted in a higher deficit “for fairness’ sake”.

Note: a poll which is more favorable to the President suggests that as many as 34% of us think raising taxes to pay down the debt is a good idea.  Whether the real number is 11%, 34% or somewhere in-between…the fact of the matter is that the President used a fantastic number that is, at least, more than double the truth.  That kind of hyperbole has become standard operating procedure, unfortunately, by the administration when talking about this issue.

Apparently, the President Doesn’t Know How Much Money is in the Treasury

The President told CBS News that he could not guarantee that Social Security checks will be sent out if there isn’t a deal on raising the debt ceiling.  Since the Social Security Administration has a fund filled with US Treasury Bills (IOUs) which it can sell either in the private market, or can redeem with the US Treasury in order to meet its operating obligations, then I wonder which of the following must be true:

The President’s US Treasury don’t keep any accounting records of outstanding obligations, their expiration/maturity dates, or of overall revenues

The Social Security Administration doesn’t have any way of predicting what are its short term obligations–even though all retirees have been registered for decades; and it is unable to figure out how to redeem its Treasury Bills.

So….are they incompetent, incompetent…or is there a little bit of obfuscation going on here?

Administration’s Tax Revenue Ideas

Charles Krauthammer wrote this gem in his syndicated column last week:

“And what have been Obama’s own debt-reduction ideas? In last week’s news conference, he railed against the tax break for corporate jet owners — six times.

I did the math. If you collect that tax for the next 5,000 years — that is not a typo — it would equal the new debt Obama racked up last year alone. To put it another way, if we had levied this tax at the time of John the Baptist and collected it every year since — first in shekels, then in dollars — we would have 500 years to go before we could offset half of the debt added by Obama last year alone.

Obama’s other favorite debt-reduction refrain is canceling an oil-company tax break. Well, if you collect that oil tax and the corporate jet tax for the next 50 years — you will not yet have offset Obama’s deficit spending for February 2011.”

I especially like the line “if we had levied this tax at the time of John the Baptist…first in shekels, then in dollars…we would have 500 years to go…”  Classic.

Foolish for Fairness

As a candidate for President, then-Senator Obama said the following:

  • Even if the government will take in less money through tax revenues
  • Even if the budget deficit will increase, and we will incur more debt as a nation
  • Even if it will discourage capital accumulation and investment in the kinds of enterprises that will create more jobs…

He would still consider raising taxes on 100 million Americans “for fairness’ sake”.

“C’mon Man! Let’s Get Real”

The Vice President today exclaimed that Representative Eric Cantor needed to “get real” because “no real economist” believes that the President’s proposed new taxes will harm jobs in the US.  Mr. Biden has said that before, as some of you may remember.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush worked with a Democratic Congress to come up with a “balanced approach” to lower federal deficits–in just the same way that President Obama is suggesting that the current debt ceiling limit bill should be crafted.  In order to selectively target only the super-wealthy Americans who could most afford to bear their fair share of the pain of new taxes, congress passed a new “luxury tax”, with a 10% sales tax upon luxury goods such as high-end automobiles, fur coats, yachts, and Newt Gingrich-caliber jewelry. The idea at the time was exactly as the administration is advocating today–target expensive items such as corporate jets, and only the mega-rich will pay the tax…unfortunately those who paid dearly were the workers who manufactured these products.

Yacht sales in 1991 dropped 70% over 1990’s pre-tax levels. Many of the yacht manufacturers were small businesses who were forced to file for bankruptcy and close their doors. Thousands of workers lost their jobs. Congress relatively quickly realized the destructive power of their new tax, and the bill was repealed in 1992. They targeted the rich, but unemployed factory workers were the result.  Apparently the Vice President has no memory, or perhaps he has simply never met a real economist in his entire career.

The President and First Lady seem really interested in what we eat

The First Lady has been on a campaign to get us all to make better food choices.  However, despite the fact that the President famously “wolfs down” foods banned from the FLOTUS-approved menu; he now says it is time for  the rest of the country to “eat our peas“.  The President isn’t a hypocrite, however, because when he wants the nation to eat its peas, what he is really referring to is a diet of propaganda that he wishes for us to swallow.  Here are the different pea dishes that are on the menu today:

  • Despite spending more money–much of it wastefully–from the federal coffers than any President in our history, and despite cutting revenues from payroll taxes this year; this administration wants us to chew on the proposition that the real reason that we are running deficits right now is because there were some tax cuts eight years ago.
  • Despite the fact that the companies whose CEOs the administration panders to either 1) don’t pay any income tax on their billions of dollars of profit, or 2) park billions of dollars overseas to avoid US taxes; we should choke down the belief that it is only Republicans who cater to rich fat cats who don’t “pay their fair share”.  Note: the additional revenue over the next decade from the jet plane depreciation changes that the administration keeps trumpeting would be less than the income tax on GE’s income from last year alone if …you know…they actually had to pay any income taxes at all.
  • Despite the fact that the President voted against raising the debt limit when he was a Senator–he has since seen the light regarding his former errant ways, and despite the fact that he and Treasury Secretary Geithner have warned us that the world will end if the debt limit isn’t raised in the next couple of weeks; we should welcome a serving of presidential vetoes on any short-term debt limit bill that would make him actually have to work on this issue again before his reelection, or one that doesn’t impose a heaping mound of massive tax hikes on the plate of all Americans.
  • Despite the fact that tax-and-spend Democrats were swept out of the US House of Representatives in a wipe-out of historic proportions in favor of Republicans who promised to rein in out-of-control spending while also holding down taxes; the American people are really ordering congress to raise the debt limit, continue spending, and give lip service to raising taxes only on corporate jets while actually raising taxes on the small businesses that create most of the jobs in this country.
  • Despite the fact that several actual detailed proposals have come out of the Republican House of Representatives, and the President and Vice President are only willing to negotiate with a few people in private behind closed doors; we should find it tasty to hear that it is the Republican congress who is dangerously “playing politics with the full faith and credit of the United States”.

Peas are usually a nutritious meal, sometimes even a delicious one; but this particular serving may just make most Americans vomit.

An Imaginary Conversation

“We cannot simply cut our way to prosperity”
Maybe not, but we can simply spend our way into economic oblivion, and we must simply cut our way out of the giant black hole of debt that our current runaway spending is putting us in.
“Prosperity requires investment”
Non-profit organizations don’t make investments.  They rely upon the generous contributions and endowments of supporters.  Government is not a for-profit enterprise, so terms like “investment” are really inappropriate and deceptive.  Now, I admit that the federal government can do good things such as infrastructure projects like the interstate highway system–which liberal decry because, God forbid, some family might use gas and drive on  the highway.  The government can also secure our borders (again, opposed by the President’s party).  What government cannot do is seize the income and property of some of its citizens to redistribute to other people–sometimes not even citizens–who then spend the money on consumables, and then try and convince me that it just made an “investment”.
Governments don’t create wealth or prosperity, and what the federal government is spending money on is almost never an investment anyway.  Nevertheless, I agree that prosperity requires investment.  What government can do, and what it ought to do, is make it as safe and easy to invest as is possible.  Get out of the way of businesses hiring people, creating products, and earning income for owners, employees, and investors alike.  The President’s party is opposed to this as well.
“It is important that everyone pays their fair share as we work our way out of our current financial problems”
I agree.  Since nearly half of Americans do not pay income taxes at all–these taxes are disproportionately paid by the middle class and upper-middle class–we need fundamental tax reform.  The President’s party will say that the working poor pay payroll taxes, and while it is true that legal workers do that, so does everyone in the middle class along with almost everyone in upper middle class.  What’s more, that “tax” is supposed to be paying for the worker’s own retirement.  Since wealthier workers will never get back their full contributions to Social Security, and poor workers very often get more than they paid in; this is just another example of the wealthy paying more for something than the poor do, and another example of the President’s party being quite deceptive about the situation.
“Right now, the government needs to focus on creating jobs rather than cutting spending”

 

No it doesn’t.   Jobs are a by-product of prosperity.  They are a natural outflow of a healthy economy .  The government’s most important role in creating a healthy and prosperous nation is to facilitate an open and honest marketplace with reasonable and straightforward rules that are not constantly shifting.  Businesses need to be able to plan.  Let’s focus on being a nation worthy to prosper, and let’s choose a government that performs its role reliably and consistently, but let us not look to the government to make investments, or to create jobs, or to take on any other task which it is notoriously bad at…or worse, corrupt when doing it.


Health Care law advocate seeks a waiver for his own city

Rep. Weiner says that the health care law is flexible because you don’t have to obey it. (Not having the law was more flexible because I didn’t have to obey it before it was passed, either!) Who doesn’t have to obey the law, according to the congressman? “Our friends”, he says.  You see, anyone affected by the law has to make a request for a waiver from the government.  In this way, the friends of the administration can disobey the law that others have to obey.  Calling that “flexible” is quite a euphemism.
When something is at least capricious, if not blatantly corrupt, how can it be considered a just law of the land? It cannot. Simply because some advocates have very good intentions, that does not make terrible legislation turn into an acceptable federal law. Repeal this mess…