Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: February 4, 2010


Republicans Prefer Tax Cuts To Balanced Budget?

That’s the buzz going around some liberal blogs about a Rasmussen poll which claims that a plurality of Republicans polled would rather see tax cuts and a deficit than a balanced budget and tax increases (one supposes the increases would be used to balance it.  The history of our government says otherwise).

Of course I’m of the opinion there’s a third choice.  Cut spending commensurate with the tax cuts and reduce the size of government until you’re able to balance the budget.  Then start reducing the debt.  Apparently that wasn’t one of the choices however.

On to the poll.  Here are the results with which the left has decided it can use to deride the right as lying no-good deficit lovers:

Fifty percent (50%) of conservatives are comfortable with a budget deficit if taxes are cut versus 63% of liberals who favor a balanced budget with higher taxes. But then 50% of conservative voters also think the federal budget can be balanced without a tax increase. Sixty-one percent (61%) of liberals say that’s impossible.

Ah, ha! Apparently my choice is in the mix, albeit hidden – what do you supposed those 50% who think the federal budget can be balanced without a tax increase mean?

So let’s recast the findings – 50% of “conservatives” want tax cuts and can live with deficits, 50% of “conservatives” say a blanced budget can be done with spending cuts and 61% of “liberals” believe the only way to balance the budget is to increase taxes (apparently eschewing any spending cuts).

Fair recap?

Now here’s the shocker for you (ok, sarcasm again):

Sixty-two percent (62%) of the Political Class prefer a balanced budget with higher taxes, compared to just 26% of Mainstream voters. Forty-six percent (46%) of Mainstream voters would rather see a budget deficit with tax cuts.

Those in the Political Class are twice as likely as Mainstream voters – 70% to 35% – to believe it is not possible to balance the federal budget without raising taxes.

This is a clever way Rasmussen has of letting us know what our political betters think about those questions vs. what you the mainstream voters think (Proles! When will you wise up?).

So what this portion of the poll tells us is if the “Political Class” ever actually gets serious about debt and deficit reduction, you can throw the “cut spending” mantra right out the window (along with tax cuts) and bend over while grabbing your wallet.  At the rate they’re spending right now though, “serious about the deficit” is lightyears away from being considered.  Lip service, however, will be extravagent, since it’s politically cheap.

But it is, as usual, instructive to see how out of touch the “Political Class” is with it’s voters. 

And speaking of our policial masters and referencing the story about Joe Biden below, here’s the public’s answer to Bidenomics:

Fifty-three percent (53%) of voters believe decreasing the level of government spending will help the U.S. economy. Sixty-one percent (61%) say cutting taxes will boost the economy, the highest level of support since May.

What are the administion’s plans?  Increased government spending and higher taxes, of course.  If you want to see the “deficit of trust” Obama spoke about in the SOTU, read through the entire poll results.  It tells the story of the rise of the Tea Parties with percentages.

And we’re suposed to be the ‘ungovernable’ ones?

~McQ


Government Is The Answer To Economic Prosperity?

E.J. Dionne has apparently mistaken Joe Biden’s passion for intelligent thought.  In an interview with Biden, Dionne quotes him as saying:

“We will continue to be the most significant and dominant influence in the world as long as our economy is strong, growing and responsive to 21st-century needs. And they relate to education, they relate to energy, and they relate to health care.”

On he went: “Give me a break. So many people have bet on our demise that it absolutely drives me crazy. . . . There’s sort of an attitude that is both politically directed by our Republican friends but also believed by a fair number of people that we just can’t make this transition in the 21st century.

“I want to tell you something, because if we cede the ground to those who suggest that — I don’t mean foreigners, I mean domestic critics — that somehow, we are destined to fulfill [historian Paul] Kennedy’s prophecy that we are going to be a great nation that has failed because we lost control of our economy and overextended, then we might as well throw it in now, for God’s sake. I mean it’s ridiculous.”

“We will continue to be the most significant and dominant influence in the world as long as our economy is strong, growing and responsive to 21st-century needs. And they relate to education, they relate to energy, and they relate to health care.”

Read the highlighted paragraph carefully. What is Joe Biden equating a strong economy with? “Education, energy and health care”.

What is he really saying?

That increasing government intervention is the answer to a strong economy.  That the answer lies in education (reform), energy (cap-and-trade) and health care (reform).  IOW, unlike in any previous era, Joe Biden is claiming government is the key to building wealth and economic prosperity.  Not one mention in his clueless tirade about markets, economic freedom, entrepreneurship or business.  None.  In Joe Biden’s world, economic strength seems to depend solely on government.  The fact that the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries of United States history show him up for the windbag he is, apparently doesn’t phase him.  Or Dionne either, for that matter.  It is pure liberal economic cluelessness crossed with Joe Biden’s usual verbal flatulence.  Dionne apparently buys into it.

In fact Dionne goes on to say:

Beneath the predictable back-and-forth between Obama and his Republican adversaries over government spending lies a substantively important difference over how the United States can maintain its global leadership.

[...]

For Republicans, American power is rooted largely in military might and showing a tough and resolute face to the world. They would rely on tax cuts as the one and only spur to economic growth.

Obama, Biden and the Democrats, on the other hand, believe that American power depends ultimately on the American economy, and that government has an essential role to play in fostering the next generation of growth.

Republicans believe that “American power is rooted largely in military might?”

Really!? 

So all those charges of “friends to big business” and “the party of business” were  just so much hot air – that it’s always been about “military power” and nothing else? How purposefully tendentious does one have to be to live in Washington, cover politics for a living and write something like that? 

And then to claim that the GOP’s “one and only spur to economic growth” is the tax cut is absolutely stunning.  You have to wonder if alcohol or weed (or both) were present and in use when this was being written (and I’d have to wonder about those 3 layers of editors as well).  If they can’t use that as an excuse I’m at a loss to explain the sheer cluelessness of such a statement.

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary jumped on this as well:

Republicans don’t care about economic growth? Just military might? Hard to see where he gets that, considering that the post-Reagan conservative movement and the Republican party have been devoted to market capitalism. Indeed, the slur on Republicans has been that all they cared about was wealth creation. Oh, but they are just interested in “tax cuts.” Well, that and free trade, modest regulation, legal reform, and other conditions that spur economic growth, investment, and wealth creation.

If Dionne really believes what he wrote he has no business writing political opinion columns for anyone, much less the Washington Post.  That’s the most ill informed sentence I’ve seen in some time.  And his sentence touting Obama, Biden and the Democrat’s belief that the economy is what America’s power depends on is refuted by Biden’s own words.  Biden is saying the economy depends on government.  Therefore “America’s power” depends on government’s management of the economy – not the economy itself.  When he claims it all depends on “education, energy and health care”, he’s parroting the Democrats agenda for more government intervention, regulation and intrusion.  If you don’t believe that, Rubin provides the proof:

Dionne considers this all trivial or dim because he and liberals are convinced that government creates wealth, that public spending creates jobs, and that expansion of the public sector is the way to a brighter future. In fact, he congratulates the president for cheering on the competition in statism with other powers. In the State of the Union, Dionne recalls, the president vowed that no nation would get the jump on us when it comes to government programs. (”Meanwhile, China is not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany is not waiting. India is not waiting. These nations aren’t standing still. These nations aren’t playing for second place. They’re putting more emphasis on math and science. They’re rebuilding their infrastructure. They’re making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs.”)

That’s right, in the SOTU, Obama stressed precisely what Biden is saying and Dionne is parroting.  China – of all places – was first on Obama’s list of nations to apparently emulate.  And not in the sense you’d like to believe.  He didn’t say China’s entrepreneurs are turning that economy around.  He’s talking about government.  The government of  China, the government of Germany, the government of India – they are the purported engines of economic recovery and wealth creation.

Is it any surprise then to find that he, Biden and liberals like Dionne are of the opinion that more government and more government spending is the path to economic success?  A former community organizer, a professional politician and professional pundit all claiming that the laws of economics are null and void and that the path to proseperity is through bigger and more expensive government?  All we need now is Hugo Chavez to add some real intellectual economic heft to that group [/sarcasm].

All the more reason to be thankful the supermajority in the Senate will be history at 5pm today.  The “party of no” has its work cut out for it.

~McQ


Define “Green Jobs”

Because where I come from, this doesn’t suffice:

President Barack Obama is spending $2.1 million to help Suntech Power Holdings Co. build a solar- panel plant in Arizona. It will hire 70 Americans to assemble components made by Suntech’s 11,000 Chinese workers.

So it’s not really a “solar-panel plant”, it’s a “solar-panel assembly plant”. Are those “green jobs?” How so? They don’t make the parts. It’s not their technology. To me it’s not much different than assembling an air conditioner. Or a car. It’s not a manufacturing job, it’s an assembly job, and it is no more “green” than assembling an auto-winding watch (I mean, there’s no battery in the watch, so that makes it a “green job” right?).

And at $30,000 a job (subsidy), it’s clear how government efficiently and carefully spends your money and should be trusted with more.

Just to make sure I’ve got this – we’re spending 30K per job subsidizing a Chinese manufacturer’s assembly plant in the US? Have I got that straight? All so a) a claim can be made that jobs were “created” and b) that the created jobs were “green jobs”.

Laughing and derision optional but highly recommended at this point. Keep in mind though that the government’s answer to making “real” green jobs available in America is cap-and-trade (yeah, I know that’s counter-intuitive, but only if you live outside the beltway). Don’t believe me? Read the rest of the article.

~McQ


IPCC Chief Tries To Hang On

The fact that a former railroad engineer has been previously touted as the “world’s leading climate scientist” pretty much sums this whole IPCC/AGW scam in a nutshell.

Of course I’m talking about Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the man directly responsible for ensuring the scientific credibility of that report. As we’re learning it has as much scientific credibility as an Al Gore movie.

There are now calls for him to step down as the chair of that panel. The latest has come from John Sauven, director of Greenpeace UK , who says Pachauri should have acted to correct the record immediately after learning that the Himalayan glacier claim contained in the IPCC report had been refuted – even if its correction would have caused embarrassment in Copenhagen.

But of course he didn’t – which brings us to the “what did he know and when did he know it” question.

A journalist working for Science had told Dr Pachauri several times late last year that glaciologists had refuted the IPCC claim that Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035. Dr Pachauri refused to address the problem, saying: “I don’t have anything to add on glaciers.” He suggested that the error would not be corrected until 2013 or 2014, when the IPCC next reported.

The IPCC issued a correction and apology on January 20, three days after the error had made global headlines. Mr Sauven said: “Mistakes will always be made but it’s how you handle those mistakes which affects the credibility of the institution. Pachauri should have put his hand up and said ‘we made a mistake’. It’s in these situations that your character and judgment is tested. Do you make the right judgment call? He clearly didn’t.”

Sauven’s absolutely correct in as far as his assertion goes. But this wasn’t a mistake as Sauven claims. At the point Pachauri learned this claim was untrue and chose not to reveal that, it became fraud. Additionally, a “mistake” is something altogether different than the deliberate inclusion of data which has no basis in scientific fact. Pachauri and those on the panel who included this report knew it had no accepted research to back it and that it had not been peer reviewed. And, of course, the glaciers aren’t the only such problem that’s been found in the IPCC report. We now know the Amazon rain forest claim in the report has been refuted as well and have learned that it’s basis was a paper by the WWF on logging – not global warming – destroying up to 40% of the area.

Sauven’s real concern here is to attempt to save the scientific credibility of both the report and the panel. It’s not going to happen. It is becoming common knowledge that the base data used by the panel to formulate its conclusions are, at best, questionable (CRU). And now we have two examples of decidedly unscientific work being included with the implicit claim that it was researched, peer reviewed and the findings conclusive. They were not. How much more remains to be found that further make the report a scientific laughing stock

But while Sauven’s attempt may not bear the fruit he’d like, it would be nice, just once, to see some public official held accountable for the mess he or she has made. But then, we’re talking about the UN here – the same organization which recently shut down it’s own internal ethics and corruption organization because it was finding too many problems in both areas. Pachauri is probably safe to continue in his position for as long as he desires.

Dr Pachauri did not return calls yesterday but he told Indian television at the weekend that he believed attacks on him were being orchestrated by companies facing lower profits because of actions against climate change recommended by the IPCC.He added: “My credibility has been established because I was re-elected chairman in 2008 by all the countries of the world. They must have been satisfied with what I did in terms of the fourth assessment report [published in 2007] because they have given me the mandate of completing the fifth assessment report [to be released over 2013 and 2014] which I intend doing.”

Of course, his re-election took place well before the revelations about glaciers and rainforests (and while he can’t be held responsible for the temperature fiasco, before that as well). If he remains in his position and produces the next edition of the report, it’s scientific credibility will immediately be called into question before the first paragraph is read.

If the UN wants to have its next attempt at cobbling together a narrative useful for demanding the redistribution of global wealth outlining the problems of man-made global warming, it had best can Pachauri.

~McQ


New Debt Limit To Be Reached This Month (Update)

But don’t be concerned, because, you know, they have everything under control in Washington:

The US debt is on track to hit a congressionally proposed debt ceiling of 14.3 trillion dollars by the end of February, the Treasury said Wednesday, a day ahead of a key vote to raise it to that level.

“Based on current projections, Treasury expects to reach the debt ceiling as early as the end of February. However, the government’s cash flows are volatile, making it difficult to forecast a precise date,” the Treasury said in a statement.

This isn’t the old debt ceiling of $12.374 trillion. Nope, this is the new one that the Senate approved (and still awaits House approval) that adds $1.9 trillion to the ceiling. By the end of February they’ll apparently have spent another $2 trillion or so. In case you’re wondering, that proposed debt ceiling finally puts our total debt at 100+% of our GDP. We finally owe more than we make.

And yes, both political parties have added to this – but none like the present one.

None.

Guess what – with the “jobs bill” in the wings, they’re going to want to raise that ceiling again since we’re borrowing $0.42 cents for every dollar spent by government.

And they wonder why there are tea parties and the natives seem restless, angry and “ungovernable”.

UPDATE: Apparently AFP got the story wrong.  AP says:

The Treasury Department said Wednesday it expects to hit the government’s debt ceiling by the end of February, putting pressure on Congress to raise the limit from its current level of $12.4 trillion.

Still not good at all, but not at all what the AFP claimed. So to quote SNL’s Emily Litella – “nevermind” -well, until they finally do spend to the new limit which most likely won’t be that far in the future (see upcoming “jobs bill” or “health care reform” if they manage to sneak that through – your choice).

HT: Doug Mataconis for the heads up.

~McQ

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