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Daily Archives: February 2, 2010


Foreign Policy Is A Real Area Of Strength For Obama Administration

And yes, I’m being very facetious when use that title.

Again, the Obama administration has managed to PO our allies. This time, the entire EU:

President Obama’s decision to skip a United States-European Union summit meeting scheduled for Madrid in May has predictably upset European officials, who suggested on Tuesday that the summit itself will now be postponed, possibly to the autumn.

In addition to the palpable sense of insult among European officials, there was a growing concern that Europe is being taken for granted and losing importance in American eyes compared to the rise of a newly truculent China.

Jetting off to Europe to watch the UN’s global warming initiative fail is ok. And so is making an unscheduled trip to pitch the Olympics for Chicago.

But a US-EU summit? Phaa … it wasn’t even important enough to put on the schedule:

The White House explained the decision as a matter of scheduling, insisting that the May visit to Europe was never on the president’s agenda, so it could not be said to have been canceled.

Well there you go.

Speaking for Mr. Obama, Mr. Gordon told journalists in Washington on Monday that the trip to Spain “was never on his agenda.” The president had “traveled more to Europe in his first year probably than any president has ever done in the past, and he looks forward to continuing his engagement bilaterally with European allies and directly with the European Union.”

But that doesn’t include the US-EU Summit, which for some reason, the Europeans see as a very important.

The Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who is scheduled to arrive in Washington this week on a visit, was described as angry and embarrassed, and European officials said there was a set of high-level diplomatic exchanges overnight.

And, of course, with a PO’d Spanish PM, one of the goals of the administration is surely to be helped along:

But a senior American official said that Mr. Gordon and Mr. Burns emphasized to Spanish officials, when the summit was raised, that they “were not in a position to commit to one.” In fact, the official said, the Obama Administration has been “pursuing and getting a better relationship with Spain and the new E.U.,” with Mr. Zapatero visiting Washington twice.

Ummm … sure seems like it, doesn’t it?

~McQ


Virginia State Senate Rejects Health Care Insurance Mandate

In a bit of a surprising move the Virginia Senate has rejected the Obama health care insurance mandate:

Virginia’s Democratic-controlled state Senate passed measures Monday that would make it illegal to require individuals to purchase health insurance, a direct challenge to the party’s efforts in Washington to reform health care.

Let’s just say that “direct challenge” seems to be an understatement here. I was expected that the lower house, the GOP controlled House of Delegates, would pass such a bill, but not the Democratically controlled Senate:

Each of three similar bills that passed the state Senate on Monday would run counter to legislation passed by both chambers of Congress, which would require all individuals to purchase health care.

The bills were also expected to be approved by the GOP-controlled House of Delegates. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) said he will review the bills but supports their intent.

What legal power this would have if such a mandate was passed by Congress is anyone’s guess, but it sure does set up an “interested party” for a law suit doesn’t it?

And, as I implied in the opening, VA isn’t the only state making such moves:

Measures prompted by the Washington debate are pending in at least 29 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

VA’s argument is a constitutional one – backers of the bill claim that Congress does not have the constitutional authority to require anyone buy insurance. This bill, if signed into law, puts VA in the position to challenge any such law on those grounds should Congress pass one.

And that is the fate, I believe, of any such reform that Congress tries to pass – lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit. And frankly I’m glad to see states trying to reassert their rights in this supposedly federal system. That is another great way to begin reigning in the national government.

Of course most of this is driven by politics and the desire of pols to keep their jobs. Any guess as to what is getting the credit?

The bills, a top priority of Virginia’s “tea party” movement, were approved 23 to 17 as five Democrats who represent swing areas of the state joined all 18 Republicans in the chamber in backing the legislation.

Yeah, baby!

For Congressional Democrats, it’s another warning shot right across the bow.  I have to wonder how many it will take to finally get their attention and have them scuttle that health care reform bill monstrosity on their own?

~McQ


Global Warming “Science” And The Media

Another day, another revelation of fudged numbers in the so-called “settled science” of man-made global warming.  The Guardian has a piece about Phil Jones and what appears to be made-up data about temperatures in China.  You can read it here.

But Andrew Bolt has the bigger story that is strarting to finally emerge. That is how complicit the media – to include the Guardian – have been in promoting the alarmist screed over the years.

The only real things that’s changed now is the media’s willingness to see the fraud and fiddling that was always part of the great global warming scam. To finally see the fraud and fiddling that bloggers have written about for years.

Indeed. Now that there’s blood in the water, they’re interested (well at least the UK media is) in the story and the fraud. But:

For nearly three years, mathematician Douglas Keenan has campaigned to get the University of East Anglia, the University of Albany, the IPCC and the media to accept that a key piece of evidence behind the IPCC’s claims that the world was warming was based on a study that was wrong, if not outright fraudulent. Keenan described not just the tricking up of results to hide the urban heat island effect, but the disgraceful efforts by climate scientists and University of Albany administrators to hush up the scandal.

And, for three years Keenan was ignored by the media which showed very little skepticism when it came to alarmist claims.  Instead, they kept promoting the alarmist agenda until it could no longer be supported and only then, when confronted by factual evidence that couldn’t be waved away, did they finally decide to look into the growing scandal.

But now there’s a great change. There is now a race on to uncover the next big IPCC scandal, and I doubt the great climate change scare can survive. The papers will, of course, take the credit.

Well, they’ll certainly try. But there are years of blog archives which are available to point out where the credit really goes for helping to expose one of the most massive “scientific” frauds ever perpetrated. And it isn’t “the papers”.

~McQ


Obama Budget Built On Tax Increases For Everyone

Progressives like to talk about “progressive taxes”. It’s code language for screw the rich. That’s precisely what President Obama is proposing in his budget proposal. Now to be clear, none of this is new or a surprise – he said this is what he planned on doing all along. However that doesn’t make it “progressive” or sustainable. His budget proposal includes plans to:

—Raise the top two income tax rates for individuals, from 33 percent and 35 percent, to 36 percent and 39.6 percent, respectively. Unless Congress intervenes, those rates will rise next Jan. 1 when Bush’s tax cuts expire. That government would reap $365 billion over the next decade.

—Limit the itemized tax deductions high earners can claim for charitable donations, mortgage interest and state and local taxes, raising about $210 billion for the next decade.

—Increase the top capital gains tax rate from 15 percent to 20 percent for families making more than $250,000 a year and individuals making more than $200,000. The proposal would raise about $105 billion.

Of course we’re back to the old “static” analysis model here. These numbers hold if none of those effected do anything to protect their earnings and assets (or the market doesn’t research and find loopholes which allow such protection of assets) over the next decade.

So the chance of this revenue stream remaining intact and at the level suggested here is highly unlikely if you know anything about human nature and how markets work. Look at the UK for instance where the same sort of nonsense is happening:

Mike Warburton, senior tax adviser at Grant Thornton, one of Britain’s biggest accounting firms, said that clients were pursuing four main ways to avoid paying half their salary in tax: bumping up this year’s pay; storing up pay in their firm to be drawn down at a later date; leaving the country; or choosing to pay it to charity rather than the taxman.

“People are taking obvious avoidance measures because they are not prepared to pay 50 per cent tax,” Mr Warburton said.

It is unlikely they’ll be any more “prepared” to do so here than there.

Also unlikely are cuts in spending which are really what are needed. Once Congress sees this revenue stream established, even for a year – heck, even hypothetically – they’re likely to spend what is promised in the outlying years and use it in their PAYGO justifications.

Then there’s the aspect of his proposals which use the tax code to punish businesses or encourage them to not do business here at the level at which they are now engaged:

—Change the way profits made by investment fund managers are taxed, raising an additional $24 billion over the next decade.

—Impose a “financial crisis responsibility fee” on large financial institutions, raising $90 billion over the next decade.

—Restrict the ability of international companies to defer taxes on profits made overseas, raising about $26 billion over the next decade.

—Impose a total of about $39 billion in tax increases on oil, gas and coal companies over the next decade.

The tax on oil, gas and coal will simply raise the price at the retail level for all consumers, giving lie to the Obama promise that taxes won’t go up “one dime” for 95% of Americans. Additionally, the tax on the energy companies, passed on to consumers, will affect the poor much more than others. There are other ways to extract that pound of flesh than through income taxes and the administration knows that only too well, whether or not Obama supporters want to admit it or not.

And both he and they will have difficulty making that claim at all if this remains in the budget:

According to a report by The Hill President Barack Obama is seeking to end a middle-class tax break he once said would be permanent.

The $3.8 trillion budget request rolled out by the White House on Monday would renew the Making Work Pay tax credit for fiscal 2011, but then would have it sunset

Yes, that’s right, instead of making that middle class tax cut permanent as he promised, he’s proposing it “sunset” (i.e. go away) after FY 2011 (just before the 2012 election and the tax prep season so it won’t effect voters till after the election).

All in all, taxes would increase $1.1 trillion (again, assuming no person or no business effected does anything to avoid these taxes) over a decade.

Yes, that’s a lot of money – but then we’re running a deficit this year of $1.6 trillion, of which 40 cents of every dollar spent is borrowed. So while $1.1 trillion seems enormous, it’s really a drop in the ocean when looking at the promised spending over the next decade.

So listen carefully to soothing promises of fiscal restraint and concern about the deficit (and debt) in the coming weeks as the administration and Congressional Democrats give lip service to PAYGO and spending restraint. Then review this chart. The chart is their plan. If you can find any spending restraint or real deficit or debt reduction in there, please point it out. This budget and the outlying budgets are a plan for fiscal ruin. We now, for the first time, owe more than our entire GDP is worth, and the Obama administration apparently plans to see if it can double that in the shortest time possible. Any doubts about where this is headed?

And: are you beginning to understand what the Tea Parties are about yet?

~McQ

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