Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: September 12, 2011


Obama’s “paid for” job’s plan — nothing but tax increases

I know, you’re wondering, how does Obama plan to pay for his $450 billion plus job plan, right.  Because in the speech he made the claim this was all going to be “paid for”, remember.

Well here’s the plan:

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew outlined President Barack Obama’s plan to pay for his $447 billion jobs plan — mostly through tax increases.

Lew said itemized tax deductions and exemptions for those making more than $200,000, and families earning more than $250,000 would be cut — raising about $400 billion to pay for Obama’s jobs plan over 10 years.

A change to bring more hedge fund earnings under normal tax rules as opposed to carried interest rates would raise another $18 billion.

The new tax rules would not take effect until January 2013, Lew said. Obama is not offering any spending cuts to pay for the jobs plan.

The rest of the total would be raised by cutting subsidies for the oil and gas industries to bring in another $40 billion, and change the depreciation rules for corporate jets. All told, Obama would cut $467 billion to pay for his plan.

Lew added that the White House doesn’t anticipate that raising some taxes on high income earners would result in the loss of jobs.

Gotta love it.  No politics in this.  Nothing happens until January 2013 (how convenient).  And the changes will pay for his spending now in 10 years.   Wow, where have we heard that before?  More debt boosting smoke and mirrors.  More of the same old tired agenda.

And of course, we all know that no future Congress is obligated to any of this.  And you wonder why there are those of us out here shouting about paying for something now vs the future?

Also, it is a litany of those interests and demographics which reside on the Obama “enemies list”.  The rich and the fossil fuel industry.  It is the usual class warfare politics. To sell this Obama has to attempt to demonize the rich and the oil companies – even more than he’s done so already.  As everyone knows, I’m all for ending subsidies for everyone, but what Obama calls subsides in this case are tax breaks all businesses in all sectors take.  They’re not direct subsidies at all (regardless of what the press or the White House choose to call them).  This is selective taxation of the type that is meant to be punitive.

So here’s the money part of the great plan.  It is absolutely nothing the Republicans have supported before.  It should be Dead On Arrival.  Obviously, knowing the Republicans won’t support such a funding mechanism, President Obama is not at all interested in a compromise jobs bill.  Or bi-partisanship.  He’s put a completely unpalatable poison pill in the bill and will now try to paint the GOP as intransigent obstructionists.

And, given the fact that taking those tax breaks away from the oil and gas industry will cost them an extra $40 billion it’s hard not to believe it won’t cost jobs.  Note Lew didn’t address that point concerning the removal of the tax break.  He’s only claiming that in regards to the so-called “rich”.

Business as usual.  Tax and spend.  And as usual it is spend now an collect later.  Somehow we never get around to the spending cuts, do we?  $14 trillion dollars of debt say “no”.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Romney, Perry, front-runners, Social Security and “Ponzi Schemes”

So, Tim Pawlenty endorses Mitt Romney.  But Republican voters think Rick Perry probably has the best chance of defeating Barack Obama.  Byron York gives us the lowdown:

In a new CNN poll that finds Perry at the front of the Republican pack, the Texas governor’s lead among GOP voters age 65 and older is actually bigger than his lead among younger voters. Fifty-two percent of respondents over 65 say Perry is their choice for president, versus just 21 percent who choose Romney.  In the overall numbers, Perry leads Romney 32 percent to 21 percent, with Ron Paul following at 13 percent, Bachmann and Gingrich at seven percent each, Herman Cain at six percent, and Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum at two percent each.

Republican voters over 65 also believe Perry has the best chance of defeating President Obama in next year’s general election.  Perry leads Romney 58 percent to 22 percent among older voters on that question.

Of course, Republican votes over 65 are a key demographic which one might believe would be most put off by Perry’s “Ponzi scheme” meme concerning Social Security, right?  But, as York points out, that doesn’t seem to be the case:

Breaking down the age results in different categories, Perry leads Romney by 24 percent to 19 percent among GOP voters under 50.  Among GOP voters 50 and older, Perry leads Romney by 41 percent to 22 percent.

The results seem likely to encourage Perry to stick with his "Ponzi scheme" critique of Social Security.  At the same time, though, Perry might choose to gradually walk away from those incendiary words while leaving his essential assessment of Social Security unchanged.  In a new op-ed in USA Today, for example, Perry writes that "Americans deserve a frank and honest discussion of the dire financial challenges facing" Social Security.  But he doesn’t use the words "Ponzi scheme."  As for the critics, especially Romney, the results could cut two ways.  They might make Romney and others dial back the criticism a bit, on the grounds that it’s not working among the voters most personally interested in Social Security.  Or the results might actually encourage the critics to attack Perry more, on the grounds that voters don’t know enough about the "Ponzi scheme" issue and might change their opinion of Perry if they did.  The poll results published by CNN poll do not cover the Social Security issue specifically.

Good analysis.  And that sets up tonight’s debate in Tampa.  Will Rick Perry walk away from the “Ponzi scheme” meme and transition to a more general “frank and honest” discussion?  Apparently it resonated, which means that voters understand the intent of Perry’s words – that is to highlight the dire trouble Social Security is in.

Obviously what his opponents will do is try to frame that as extremely as possible – Perry wants to do away with Social Security.  Democrats aren’t the only ones who play that sort of game.  And that’s why York holds out the possibility, given the USA Today piece, that Perry is going to walk away from the description but still pursue the point.

The first place we’ll get to see if that’s true or not is in tonight’s debate as it is sure to be a major subject:

The controversy is sure to erupt at tonight’s Republican debate in Tampa.  In Florida over the weekend, the Romney campaign distributed a flier hitting Perry hard on Social Security, saying the Texas governor is "reckless and wrong on Social Security."  The headline of the flier is "Two candidates: Only one will protect what’s important to you," and the last line of the flier is "Rick Perry: How can we trust anyone who wants to kill Social Security?"  After attacks like that, Perry will undoubtedly be in the mood to hit back on the debate stage.

Of course, I’ve always said that if I was ever a Republican candidate facing Mitt Romney, I’d answer every question he ever ask of me with a one word answer.

“Romneycare”.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Al Gore plans 24 hour assault on climate skeptics

Well this should be fun:

"24 Hours of Reality" will broadcast a presentation by Al Gore every hour for 24 hours across 24 different time zones from Wednesday to Thursday, with the aim of convincing climate change deniers and driving action against global warming among households, schools and businesses.

The campaign also asks people to hand over control of their social networking accounts on Facebook and Twitter to it for 24 hours to deliver Gore’s message.

"There will be 200 new slides arguing the connection between more extreme weather and climate change," Trewin Restorick, chief executive of the event’s UK partner Global Action Plan, told Reuters on Monday.

"There will be a full-on assault on climate skeptics, exploring where they get their funding from."

Remember, much of Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” has been shown to be nonsense.  So this is sort of a make or break moment for Gore, I suppose.  He’s either cleaned up his act and is prepared, with his new slide show, to actually present scientific fact and argument, or we’re going to be treated to “An Inconvenient Truth 2.0”.

I’m guessing 2.0.

Concern about climate change in the United States, the world’s second biggest emitter, has fallen steadily to 48 percent in 2011, from 62 percent in 2007, an opinion poll showed in August.

Obviously the economy figures into some of those numbers (by displacement if nothing else – whatever we have to do to get it rolling again and that puts such concerns in a lower priority), but this is a trend that began before the economic collapse.  It should be interesting to see his “double down” presentation and the argument and debate that follows.

The exposition and conclusion he presents concerning funding should also be interesting.   Sounds more like a political assault than a scientific one.  We’ll see.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


If voters are so upset with the Republican House, what’s up with NY-9?

One of the things we constantly hear from the left is the public is already fed up with the obstructionist House and that the possibility exists Democrats may be able to reverse 2010 and take it back in 2012.

Really?

Well then explain NY-9, the congressional seat in a very blue district in New York city.   Disgraced Democrat Anthony Weiner resigned and what should have been an almost rubber stamp Democrat win has suddenly shifted in favor of the Republican challenger.

Why?

Well part of it is those troublesome independents again.  They refuse to listen to the left’s version of conventional wisdom.   But there’s also a good amount of crossover voting:

Turner’s winning in a heavily Democratic district for two reasons: a huge lead with independents and a large amount of crossover support.  He’s ahead by 32 points at 58-26 with voters unaffiliated with either major party.  And he’s winning 29% of the Democratic vote, holding Weprin under 60% with voters of his own party, while losing just 10% of Republican partisans.

We’ve been documenting the flight of independents from the Obama (and Democratic) agenda for a couple years now.  Nothing really new there.   But in a district as heavily Democratic as NY-9, it takes more than capturing the independent vote if you’re a Republican.  You have to get some pretty significant crossover votes as well.

So what’s causing this defection by some Democrats there?   Well, I’ve documented any number of stories saying that the bloom is off the Obama rose.  We had Richard Cohen in the Hamptons visiting with NYC’s liberal elite and finding very little if any support for President Obama.  We have Democrat Pete DeFazio saying the “enthusiasm” for Obama is gone.  Is NY-9 a referendum on the President?

If Turner wins on Tuesday it will be largely due to the incredible unpopularity of Barack Obama dragging his party down in the district.  Obama won 55% there in 2008 but now has a staggeringly bad 31% approval rating, with 56% of voters disapproving of him.  It’s a given that Republicans don’t like him but more shocking are his 16% approval rating with independents and the fact that he’s below 50% even with Democrats at 46% approving and 38% disapproving.

That’s got to be part of it.  Turner is also a strong candidate and Weprin, well, not so much.  But still, this is a reliably Democratic district, so that to has to be remembered.  Given a strong opinion of national leadership, it should be no real chore to overcome a GOP candidate there.  But that’s not the apparent case.  Here’s the warning sign:

One final note on the poll and what perhaps should concern Democrats most of all. 55% of voters in the district report having voted for Obama in 2008, which is the actual percentage of the vote he got in the district.  Last year a lot of the races Democrats lost were because their voters didn’t show up and the electorate was far more conservative than for a Presidential year.  When you lose that way you can say, well, our voters will come back out in 2012 and we’ll be fine.  But there is no enthusiasm gap here.  Obama voters are showing up in the same numbers they did in 2008.  But only 65% of them are voting Democratic.  That’s a really big cause for concern.

It is indeed a big cause for concern if that’s a pattern that repeats across the nation.  White it is possible that the Democrat may end up winning in NY-9 because crossover trend hasn’t yet solidified, the indicators contained in the PPP poll show contain some very disturbing news for Democrats, win or not.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic Statistics for 12 Sep

As it happens, there are no statistical releases for today, so we get a slight breather. But we are awaiting some important releases over the course of the week, with the most important of them hitting Wednesday and Thursday.  The highlights of the coming week are as follows:

  • Tomorrow’s Import/Export prices is of moderate importance, as is the afternoon’s release of the Treasury budget
  • Wednesday brings us the PPI and Retail Sales
  • Thursday is the big day of the week, with the release of the CPI, Philly Fed, Industrial Production, and Jobless Claims.
  • Consumer sentiment closes the week out on Friday.

Obviously, the inflation numbers for producers and consumers are the key data for this week. The consensus estimate for the PPI is for a –0.1% drop in prices, and a 0.2% price increase at the consumer level.

~
Dale Franks
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