Free Markets, Free People

Monthly Archives: July 2012


Obama tries to use the middle class to spin increasing taxes on the “wealthy”

Oh, my … the White House is on the offensive trying to save the middle class, or something:

The White House has launched a new offensive in its fight with congressional Republicans over taxes, arguing 114 million middle-class families will see their taxes rise without action by Congress.

A report from President Obama’s National Economic Council released Monday contends the families would see their taxes rise by an average of $1,600 if the George W. Bush-era tax cuts expire as scheduled at the end of the year.

A) they’re not tax cuts, they’ve been the tax rate for years.

B) Republicans have already made an offer.  They said they are willing to extend the rates for all so it is obviously not a tax increase the middle class must suffer.

Of course, that’s where the rub is, because the Democratic Senate and the White House want to raise taxes on a certain level of income earner.  They’ve staked their class warfare gig on it.

Because, you see, they’re trying to convince everyone that’s only “fair” and to further imply it will solve the insolvency problem.  Well they’re wrong, as usual, on both counts.

Here, take a look at this.  Even those who don’t count economics as their strong suit should be able to figure out what this means:

Bush-Tax-Cuts-Extension-Chart-580

That’s right, the problem isn’t revenue.  The problem has nothing to do with high income earners and their “fair share”.  It has to do with out of control spending which has accelerated dramatically under this president.  And, oh by the way, the increase in taxes on the wealthy would be a mere drop in the bucket of red ink Obama has charted out for the next 10 years.

So while he whines about a $1,600 tax per family if no action is taken, ask him what he’s adding in debt per family with a 10 year plan to spend $46.9 trillion dollars we don’t have, okay?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Why America is still exceptional (and why I want it to stay that way)

As we monitor the news each day and wonder if indeed our country is in decline, and we worry about her future, it’s often helpful to step back a moment and gain a little perspective.  This wonderful post from Karol at AlarmingNews gives us that on a day at least I need it.  In its entirety (minus a short into):

In 1977, the year I was born and the year my father, his mother, his aunt and many other Jews left the Soviet Union (my mother and I left in 1978), the Soviet propaganda machine began circulating a rumor. It went, roughly: life in America is so terrible that the old people eat cat food.

This was…perplexing.

People didn’t quite get it: they have food specifically made for cats in America? What a country!

A lot of things about America remained beyond their comprehension.

A week after my father arrived in New York, he and a friend were walking around Manhattan in pure wonder. They got to midtown and stood in front of Bloomingdale’s watching well-dressed people come in and out. They discussed it amongst themselves that they would obviously have to show evidence that they had money, or proof of income, or some other paperwork to get inside. Surely this store for the wealthy wouldn’t just let them in. They watched and watched but didn’t see people getting stopped. They walked slowly through the doors and found no one gave them a second look.

There’s a feeling in America today that there isn’t equality until any of us can walk into Bloomingdale’s and buy whatever we want. The two men standing there in 1977 weren’t thinking that it was unfair they couldn’t wear the same clothes as the beautiful people around them, they were just grateful for the opportunity to try. They had left a place where that opportunity simply didn’t exist. You were born poor and you would die poor–everyone would. You could gain influence in your life and that might get you small victories–instead of being assigned to practice your profession in Siberia you might get lucky and get sent to a capital city. Perhaps you, your wife, your child, your parents and other relatives could have your own apartment, one you wouldn’t have to share with another family. Those were your wins.

It’s hard for Americans, even the ones who see America’s greatness and love this country for it, to understand the lack of opportunity that my family left. As Communism retreats into the rear-view mirror of history it’s easy to gloss over the everyday ways that Communism is meant to crush the individual and make everyone equal–equally poor, equally scared, equally hopeless.

If you’ve always lived in a country where companies make food specifically for cats then you’ve known an abundance that my family couldn’t even begin to imagine while they waited to be free. They wanted to say and do whatever they wanted, to live freely, to be allowed to earn as much money as they could, to keep their family safe from murderous ideologies and monster rulers. They just wanted the chance. Success isn’t guaranteed to anyone, and they knew this, but only if you come from a land of opportunity do you ever imagine that it’s even possible.

This year marks 34 years that I’ve lived in America. Even in the toughest times, in its darkest days, the times where we all might feel pessimistic about our collective future, we’re all so blessed to be here. On each July 20th I remember exactly how blessed.

Wonderful.

Oh, and by the way, yes there is something to be pointed out here, something I don’t want to see here and am afraid is in process: “…meant to crush the individual and make everyone equal–equally poor, equally scared, equally hopeless.”

That’s what we have to avoid.  Equality is about opportunity, not outcome in a free country.  In a tyrannical country, its about outcome – and it does indeed “crush” the individual and guarantee a form of equality none of us really want.

I want this place to always be the place that those two men saw in 1977.  A place of wonder and freedom.  A place where they had the opportunity to change their lives without government somehow smothering it or getting in the way.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Worst heat wave ever?! Uh, no …

While the likes of warmist hacks like Paul Krugman and others try to make something more out of this summer’s heat wave and the drought being suffered in one region of the country (btw, here in GA, I’ve not seen it this lush and green in July in probably 10 years or more) into a “global warming” story, history simply doesn’t support their claims.

Worst heat wave ever?

Probably not (Via Pirate’s Cove):

heat waves

Apparently, according to the EPA (yes, that’s right, the EPA), our worst heat waves came in the ‘30s.  You know, the “dustbowl” ‘30s?

Oh.  The ‘30s?  “Dustbowl”?   But, CO2!

Context and history continue to plague the warmists attempts to characterize what seems to be regional weather patterns (like the UK having one of the coolest and wettest summers in memory) into some sort of building global catastrophe.

I guess they’ve never read the story about the little boy who cried wolf too many times.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic Statistics for 24 Jul 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

The Richmond Fed manufacturing index contracted sharply in July to -14 versus -3 last month. New Orders fell to -25.

The FHFA purchase only house price index in May advanced 0.8%, following a 0.8% rise in April. The year-on-year rate is up 3.7%, vice 3.0% percent in April.

The Markit Economics’ PMI Flash for the US slowed to 51.8 in July versus the revised 52.5 in June.

In weekly retail sales, Redbook year-year chain store sales growth came in at a disappointing 1.3% rate, due to unseasonably hot weather. Conversely, ICSC-Goldman says cooler weather produced a 1.0% sales increase for the week, with a year-on-year rate of 3.3%.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed


A couple of polls

With the shooting in Aurora (lived there as a kid), CO, the usual suspects are calling for the usual remedy – stricter gun control.

How does the American public feel about such measures?  Rasmussen says that in the wake of the mass shooting in CO, the percentages for and against stricter gun control remain pretty much the same, with an overwhelming majority saying stricter control isn’t a solution.

So, to the politics of the incident – how does one make that message, “we need stricter gun control”, a positive in this campaign (or any campaign?)?  They don’t try if they’re smart.

Then there’s another indicator poll.  What this one points out, in my opinion, is the fact that if Romney can keep the debate focused on the economy and off the extraneous nonsense the Obama campaign will try to distract the voting public with, he stands a good chance of winning.

Despite concerted Democratic attacks on his business record, Republican challenger Mitt Romney scores a significant advantage over President Obama when it comes to managing the economy, reducing the federal budget deficit and creating jobs, a national USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.

By more than 2-1, 63%-29%, those surveyed say Romney’s background in business, including his tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital, would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones, in dealing with the nation’s economic problems over the next four years.

The findings raise questions about Obama’s strategy of targeting Bain’s record in outsourcing jobs and hammering Romney for refusing to commit to releasing more than two years of his tax returns. Instead, Americans seem focused on the economy, where disappointment with the fragile recovery and the 8.2% unemployment rate are costing the president.

So, with questions raised about the Obama strategy, what is a incumbent with a bad economic record he doesn’t at all want to visit if he can help it do if his current attacks aren’t having an effect?  Throw something else extraneous to the real problem he doesn’t want to talk about out there and see if it sticks to the wall.  And count on the media to pitch in and try to help it stick.

That’s how it has worked so far.

I see no reason he’ll alter his tactics.

That said, clearly if Romney can continue to stay on message and get that message out there he has a majority constituency who are with him. 

The poll goes on to say that Obama holds a “likeability” advantage over Romney.  Yeah, well, unsaid is what 4 years of a high “likeability” index have gotten us.  And, as should be clear, most voters don’t like it.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


5th year of $1 trillion plus government debt

How will this be spun?

By the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2012, the new debt accumulated in this fiscal year by the federal government had already exceeded $1 trillion, making this fiscal year the fifth straight in which the federal government has increased its debt by more than a trillion dollars, according to official debt numbers published by the U.S. Treasury.

Prior to fiscal 2008, the federal government had never increased its debt by as much as $1 trillion in a single fiscal year. From fiscal 2008 onward, however, the federal government has increased its debt by at least $1 trillion each and every fiscal year.

Bu … bu … but he has spent less money and created less debt than any president since Eisenhower. 

Right?

Forward.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Paul Krugman–climate alarmist

Not content to be a political hack, Krugman expands his field of hackery into climate alarmism. 

Commenting on the hot summer, corn and the drought, Krugman says:

But that’s not all: really extreme high temperatures, the kind of thing that used to happen very rarely in the past, have now become fairly common. Think of it as rolling two sixes, which happens less than 3 percent of the time with fair dice, but more often when the dice are loaded. And this rising incidence of extreme events, reflecting the same variability of weather that can obscure the reality of climate change, means that the costs of climate change aren’t a distant prospect, decades in the future. On the contrary, they’re already here, even though so far global temperatures are only about 1 degree Fahrenheit above their historical norms, a small fraction of their eventual rise if we don’t act.

The great Midwestern drought is a case in point. This drought has already sent corn prices to their highest level ever. If it continues, it could cause a global food crisis, because the U.S. heartland is still the world’s breadbasket. And yes, the drought is linked to climate change: such events have happened before, but they’re much more likely now than they used to be.

Sigh.

Facts are indeed an “inconvenient truth” when considering these alarmist screeds.

First, droughts in general, these findings from actual scientists:

Here is Andreadis and Lettenmaier (2006) in GRL (PDF):

[D]roughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, less severe, and cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century.

Oh.

Well never mind. 

But those corn prices!  Highest level ever!  And, and … people are going to starve!  We just aren’t going to have enough!

Economist Mark Perry disposes of that nonsense:

First, yields:

corn1

 

Then prices (inflation adjusted):

 

cornprice

 

You’d think a Nobel laureate economist could at least manage that, right?  Research inflation adjusted pricing on a commodity?

No?

Well it depends, I guess, on which hat you’re wearing that day.  Hack or economist.  Krugman continues to wear the first much more often than the second these days.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Poll: The economy belongs to Obama and it’s not good

Apparently the voters (likely voters) believe, according to this poll, that the economy is bad and, despite all his finger pointing to the contrary, it’s Obama’s fault:

Two-thirds of likely voters say the weak economy is Washington’s fault, and more blame President Obama than anybody else, according to a new poll for The Hill.

It found that 66 percent believe paltry job growth and slow economic recovery is the result of bad policy. Thirty-four percent say Obama is the most to blame, followed by 23 percent who say Congress is the culprit. Twenty percent point the finger at Wall Street, and 18 percent cite former President George W. Bush.

That’s a pretty significant split between those blamed, with GW Bush down to a low of 18%.  And note the reason cited: bad policy.

This is another of those indicator polls.  I point them out because they are a temperature check for the moment.  But what this particular poll indicates is all of the finger pointing, blame shifting and distraction aren’t working.  Voters, and again, I want to emphasize these are likely voters, aren’t or haven’t bought into that nonsense.

If indeed these likely voters actually believe the economy to be suffering from bad policy choices by Obama, it means his chance of winning, with 66% believing he’s the reason we’re suffering economically, are not good.

Again, an indicator – one in a long list of indicators to be considered with all the others. 

This one, like many of the others, aren’t at all favorable for the incumbent President.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 22 Jul 12

This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale talk about Supreme Court, The state of the nation, and the Aurora, CO shooting.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.