Free Markets, Free People

John Kerry


John Kerry "swift boats" himself

You may have figured out by now that I think we pay much too much to government in taxes and that I’m usually all in favor of anyone who figures out how to dodge them legally.

However, there are exceptions to that rule, and all politicians are one of them. If they’re going to make tax law, pass tax law and stick it to all of the "little people", then they should strictly abide by those laws at all levels and not seek to dodge taxes. Especially if they’re the type who have never met a tax they didn’t like.

Call it part of the price they must pay – literally and figuratively – for that power.

John Kerry, or as Jules Critenden calls him, Thurston Howell III (from Gilligan’s Island) has apparently decided that taxes are strictly for the little people and, by the way, job opportunities aren’t his responsibility.

Mr. Howell, er Kerry (who, it is rumored, once served in Vietnam), recently purchased a luxury yacht. The Senator from Massachusetts, however, won’t be docking the yacht there. Instead Rhode Island is his port of choice:

News that Kerry was docking the 76-foot custom-built sloop in Newport, R.I., was first reported in the Herald Friday. Sources told the Herald the yacht cost $7 million, meaning Kerry would owe the state more than $500,000 in excise and sales taxes.

Tsk, tsk – is that a good example to set, sir?  And that’s not all that’s rankled the good folks of Massachusetts (who, by the way, with Romneycare, have the highest insurance premiums in the US).  The yacht was foreign made, while ship builders in Massachusetts claim that it could have just as easily been built there:

With the nation enduring a nasty economy, painful joblessness and extreme belt-tightening, word of the luxury yacht’s foreign construction – as Americans yearn for work – could create a political tempest for Kerry.

“The message is, ‘The American boat builders aren’t good enough, and the Massachusetts people aren’t good enough to maintain it.’ It’s just a bad message all around,” said Connecticut boater Steve Potter, who docks in Charlestown.

Mr. Kerry’s reaction?  Why the great and powerful Oz works in mysterious ways:

When asked to respond to criticism of Kerry’s decision not to buy American, his state director, Drew O’Brien, said: “When it comes to creating and preserving jobs and economic opportunity in Massachusetts, no one has worked harder in Washington than John Kerry. Sen. Kerry is using smarts, clout and good old-fashioned hard work to make the Massachusetts economy grow and prosper.”

Yeah, it’s really hopping, isn’t it?  With an unemployment rate over 9%, I guess that’s good enough that the additional jobs "created and preserved” by having the yacht built in his  home state just didn’t qualify as “smarts”.

Great example set there, Mr. Kerry.  If this is an example of the “smarts” you employ, everyone should be on their knees thanking the deity of their choice for the fact that you lost the presidential election and didn’t get anywhere near the Oval Office.

~McQ

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Cap-and-trade: And the good news is …

Cap-and-trade is on life support.  Or so says Politico, and, frankly, the clock.  With the August recess rapidly approaching and no bill yet on the floor of the Senate, it appears that the Senate won’t be passing an “Energy and Climate” bill this session.

That’s mostly because of the cap-and-trade provisions and the greenhouse emissions portion of the bill.   Because of those provisions, the necessary Republican votes simply aren’t there.  The bill, sponsored by John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, is scaled back from the original intent to have cap-and-trade apply to a broader sector of industry to only the energy industry.

As you might imagine, that industry isn’t at all pleased with the focus solely on them.  Lieberman and Kerry haven’t yet convinced them to sign on to the bill nor have they found the sweetners which would entice them.

Meanwhile, apparently some of the Republicans in the Senate have made it clear that this rush through of major legislation shouldn’t happen:

“He’s waiting until we have, like, two or three days to tackle a subject that usually takes seven or eight weeks,” GOP Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander said of Reid. “That makes it very difficult.”

“Can I be very candid with you?” Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) asked. “This whole thing is very cynical. Anybody who’s been in the Senate for any period of time knows there’s no way — no way — an energy bill can get done between now and the election or even now and the end of the year.”

The “he” referred too in the quote is, of course, Senate Majority leader Reid. And apparently – at least it seems so now – the “we’ve got to rush this through” ploy is not going to carry the day. 

Some Senators think that Reid should take the cap-and-trade provisions out of the bill:

“If they’re serious about bringing it up next week, they’ve got to show it soon,” said Bill Wicker, spokesman for Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.). “You can’t release it late Friday and expect people to read it and be prepared to debate it on Monday.”

But of course, Reid and the Democrats have never really cared one whit about debate or, in fact, anyone having the chance to read anything.  Witness the health care fiasco and even the financial regulation bill.  Both over 2,500 pages and what passed for “debate” was a farce.

Lieberman still hopes that the Senate will deal with the bill – even in a lame duck session.  Calling them “big and important issues regarding energy independence, pollution reduction, job creation”, he hopes the Senate won’t be constrained by some “artificial schedule.”  But time doesn’t stand still for anyone and reality is reality.  The possibility that this will pass this session isn’t at all good – and that’s good.

Says one source:

A former Senate Democratic aide said climate advocates need to start gearing up for 2011, which will require a big push from Obama, Democratic control of the House and support from Senate Republicans to have any chance of success. “The window is definitely almost shut, and if it closes without action in the next few weeks, a lot of advocates will need to take stock about when this could be realistically attempted again,” the former staffer said.

When can it realistically be attempted again?  In it’s present form not until the Democrats again have an overwhelming majority in the Senate.  And that, hopefully, won’t be for decades if at all.

In a version with cap-and-trade stripped out of it?  My guess would be something heavily influenced by the GOP will pass in the next Congress (and that should be, relatively speaking, “a good thing”).

~McQ

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Zombie Cap-and-Trade coming to a utility bill near you soon

Senator’s Lindsey Graham, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman have bought the premise that “carbon = bad”.  But being politicians, looking at the economy and understanding the discontent of the voters with both health care reform and cap-and-trade, they’ve decided on a more incremental approach to implementing the latter.

First, they announce that “cap-and-trade as we know it is dead“. Of course cap-and-trade is, at base, a tax on carbon which is now considered a “pollutant” by the anointed. Apparently they believe you’ll believe that since it isn’t a comprehensive, across the board imposition of carbon taxation via the method of cap-and-trade, you’ll buy into the basic lie that this is wholly different.

Then they proffer their plan, which, of course, they claim is nothing like cap-and-trade. Really. It’s not:

Rather than include all major industrial sources of greenhouse gases in one broad economywide cap-and-trade system, the Senate trio will propose different types of limits for different sectors of the economy, beginning with electric utilities and then turning later to manufacturers such as chemical plants and pulp and paper mills.

Said another way, they prefer to tax carbon incrementally and not all at once. And that is the only real difference between Graham/Kerry/Lieberman and cap-and-trade.

The result? Read this finely wrought paragraph carefully to glean the effect:

“The bottom line with utilities is they’ll assume a compliance obligation from day one of the program,” the Senate staffer said, adding that no decisions have been made on how to allocate valuable emission allowances to the power companies except to incorporate an industry recommendation to shuttle revenue toward consumers to help pay for higher energy bills.

You have to love the “nuance” – the intent is to agree with the industry (allow them to raise their rates commensurate with the increase in cost to them) and “shuttle revenue toward consumers to help pay for higher energy bills”. In other words, subsidize consumers to pay for industry’s upgrades to cut carbon dioxide output.

The bottom line is your utility bills are going up from day one of the passage of this bill and the taxpayer – you – will be on the hook to subsidize yourself to pay for the increased cost.

Another in a long line of schemes we simply can’t afford and a convoluted and costly method of implementation.

And eventually, of course, the cost of other products (chemical companies? paper mills?) to include transportation and certainly at some point, gasoline and home heating oil will all be taxed as well.

Transportation fuels can expect a carbon tax that rises based on the compliance costs faced by the other major emitters. Several major oil companies, including Shell Oil Co., ConocoPhillips and BP America, floated the original idea on Capitol Hill, and the Senate trio has evolved their plan by funneling revenue toward transportation projects, reducing fuel consumption and lowering domestic reliance on foreign oil. The Highway Trust Fund is also a potential recipient of the carbon tax revenue, Senate aides said.

A carbon tax, by any other name, is still a carbon tax, isn’t it? And the timing of such legislation is just perfect. If passed anytime soon, the increased costs to industry should hit just about the time they’re beginning to climb out of recession.

As they make their case for the legislation, the three senators plan to tout their effort to incorporate energy and climate proposals into one overall package. And they will highlight the shift on carbon pricing away from cap and trade.

“It will be different from anything that’s been put on the table in the House or Senate to date,” Kerry said last week. “It’ll be comprehensive. And I hope it’ll change the debate.”

But it’s not “different” in the most important aspect – it taxes carbon. The premise is that carbon dioxide is a pollutant. For those who don’t accept the premise as accurate or scientifically valid, this is no different than cap-and-trade. It aims at the same result (taxing carbon) only approaching it in a slightly different and incremental manner.

~McQ


A Million French Can’t Be Wrong …

Yes, it is spring and that means protest season in France (note the previous attempt in January didn’t turn out too well due to global warming effects).  This time, though, it’s not the “youths” doing the protesting.  Instead we are treated to union driven protests.

 The reason?

The protests, which drew substantially more people into the streets than a similar outpouring Jan. 29, were depicted by union leaders as part of a sustained campaign to pressure President Nicolas Sarkozy to do more to defend French people against the economic upheaval that has unfurled across the planet since the fall. In particular, they called on him to raise low-end wages and unemployment benefits and to make it harder for business leaders to fire employees when profits sink.

It's a win-win - Kerry goes too!

It's a win-win - Kerry goes too!

And we complain about our liberals being economic ignoramuses. Per the French mob, the ticket to recovery is to raise wages, raise unemployment benefits and prevent businesses – which most likely pay for those unemployment benefits (not to mention higher wages) – from letting workers go when their profits sink. Wow … economics worthy of Timothy Geithner, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd.

See, the French really deserve our Congress for their legislature. They’d be absolutely perfect together. Simpatico. Nancy Pelosi would be the toast of Paris and Harry Reid – ok, even the French wouldn’t put up with Harry Reid, so let’s not get too carried away. But seriously, have you ever seen a mob and a Congress (or administration for that matter) that thought so much alike?

It’s like a marriage made in heaven. The Congress and administration could transfer themselves to a country where the economic damage has already been done and the economy is already chronically lethargic, the welfare state is established to include universal health care and the control they seek over industry and business is already in place. They’d be happier (and have much less work to do ruining their economy even further), we’d be happier (trust me, we would), and my guess is the French would just swoon over Obama.

And he’s about right for them – they’ve always believed in style over substance, always thought more of themselves than others have and always had a sense of hubris which never equaled their performance.

It’s freakin’ perfect.

Why didn’t we think of this before?

~McQ