Free Markets, Free People
The following statistics were released today on the state of the US Economy:
Durable goods orders fell -4.0% for January, but were still 8.1% higher than a year ago. Ex-transportation, orders fell -2.3% for the month, but were up 5.7% over last year.
Home prices are still falling, as Case-Schiller reports prices dropped a steep -0.5% in December. That’s down -4.0% from last December.
Consumer confidence jumped more than 9 points to 70.8. That’s still below the February 2011 index of 72.0, however.
The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index jumped sharply, up 8 points to 20, indicating a strong increase in manufacturing in the district. This continues the trend of strong regional manufacturing reports we’ve been seeing, but is at odds with the weak durable goods orders data also released this morning.
State Street’s Investor Confidence Index says institutional investors may be getting skittish, as the index dropped to a very weak 86.5 in February.
In retail sales, Redbook reports a strong 3.4% year-over-year increase in same store sales. Conversely, ICSC-Goldman’s same-store sales index fell a big -1.0% for the week, and the year-over-year 2.7% increase is the lowest in three months.
You have to just shake your head at these hypocrites:
Documents published online this month show that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization known for its uncompromising animal-rights positions, killed more than 95 percent of the pets in its care in 2011.
The documents, obtained from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, were published online by the Center for Consumer Freedom, a non-profit organization that runs online campaigns targeting groups that antagonize food producers.
It is amazing to me how they suck in all these gullible celebrities to do their publicity stunts for them and in the meantime they’re slaughtering animals right and left.
Fifteen years’ worth of similar records show that since 1998 PETA has killed more than 27,000 animals at its headquarters in Norfolk, VA.
In a February 16 statement, the Center said PETA killed 1,911 cats and dogs last year, finding homes for only 24 pets.
Really? 24? That’s it? They could only find homes for 24 animals out of 1,935? A .01% success rate.
Yet they have the chutzpa to go after others about the “ethical” treatment of animals?
Next time you see a group of these yahoos, ask them about the slaughter house they maintain in Norfolk, VA. Ask them about the thousands of animals they kill each year.
Don’t expect a coherent or rational reply in return.
Despite what Democrats thing and despite the fact that they’ve doubled down on this theme, the “tax the rich” meme of their class warfare agenda isn’t at all as popular as they think it is, as the Hill reports:
Three-quarters of likely voters believe the nation’s top earners should pay lower, not higher, tax rates, according to a new poll for The Hill.
The big majority opted for a lower tax bill when asked to choose specific rates; precisely 75 percent said the right level for top earners was 30 percent or below.
The current rate for top earners is 35 percent. Only 4 percent thought it was appropriate to take 40 percent, which is approximately the level that President Obama is seeking from January 2013 onward.
So this is another issue in which the GOP would be able to find majority support.
And on corporate taxes, much the same thing:
The Hill Poll also found that 73 percent of likely voters believe corporations should pay a lower rate than the current 35 percent, as both the White House and Republicans push plans to lower rates.
The Hill tires to argue that the results of their poll is counter to what other recent polls have found. But in reality, it isn’t:
The new data seem to run counter to several polls that have found support for raising taxes on high-income earners. In an Associated Press-GfK poll released Friday, 65 percent said they favored President Obama’s “Buffett Rule” that millionaires should pay at least 30 percent of their income. And a Pew poll conducted in June found 66 percent of adults favored raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 as a way to tackle the deficit.
Again, note the percentage number in the AP-GfK poll – 30 percent or the percentage they’re now paying. When you ask voters to put a percentage to the nebulous “the rich should pay more” meme, you find the majority of voters consider 30% more than fair. The fact that many may not know that the so-called “rich” are paying that amount is means the GOP needs to do a little educating and informing, but it is clear that voters find the 30% threshold to be more than enough taxation.
So while the Democrats continue to try to push 40% as “fair”, most voters don’t see it as that. The majority of votes seem to think that fairness in the amount of taxes paid is found at the 30% level. That’s information to exploit and use against the class warfare Democrats.
Additionally the AP-Gfk polls shows majority support for spending cuts over tax increases. That’s a winner for the GOP.
What the GOP can’t do is allow the Democrats to take the issue and frame it as Timothy Geithner tired to do the other day:
“…the only way to achieve fiscal sustainability is through unacceptably deep cuts in benefits for middle class seniors, or unacceptably deep cuts in national security."
That’s patent nonsense, but the usual scare tactics employed when anyone talks about significant cuts in spending. Always threaten the security of a large body of voters with false choices. There are literally thousands of different ways to work toward sustainability before either of those programs would have to be touched (and yes, those programs should be “touched” as well).
So what do Republicans have to do?
“It might be that people are underestimating how much the rich pay now,” said Bruce Bartlett, a former Reagan adviser and Treasury official under President George H.W. Bush.
The data could indicate a challenge to Obama’s push to increase taxes on the wealthy. The White House’s fiscal 2013 budget request included a number of tax hikes targeting the nation’s wealthiest. In addition to the “Buffett Rule,” it calls for raising taxes on family income above $250,000 in 2013, and returning the top individual rate to 39.6 percent.
But as Obama continues his push to allow the higher-end Bush tax cuts to expire at the end of the year, the poll suggests it might be difficult to persuade voters to buy in when it comes to hard numbers.
Start talking hard numbers and percentages. Point out that our problem doesn’t revolve around the “rich” not paying enough in taxes, but instead with our politicians spending money we don’t have.
The sustainability problem has never been a problem of revenue. It has always been a problem of overspending. And it is that which has to stop.