Sunday reflection: Luke 1:26–38
1 minute ago
Let me be very clear on the economics of President Obama’s address to Congress and budget. He is declaring war on investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, large corporations, and private-equity and venture-capital funds. That is the meaning of his anti-growth tax-hike proposals, which make absolutely no sense at all — either for this recession or from the standpoint of expanding our economy’s long-run potential to grow. ...
Study after study over the past several decades has shown how countries that spend more produce less, while nations that tax less produce more. (italics mine) Obama is doing it wrong on both counts. ...
And as far as middle-class tax cuts are concerned, Obama’s cap-and-trade program will be a huge tax increase on all blue-collar workers, including unionized workers. ...
... a great many Obama supporters ... are becoming disillusioned with the performances of Obama and Treasury man Geithner. There is a growing sense of buyer’s remorse. Well then, do conservatives dare say: We told you so?
The Obama administration is moving to rescind a federal rule that reinforced protections for medical providers who refuse to perform abortions or other procedures on moral grounds, an official said Friday.
Unfortunately, the Interior Department’s decision today may help ensure that potential never becomes reality – in the process, locking-away an American energy resource larger than the total reserves of the entire Middle East.Nice, move Obama. Let's restrict Americans from domestic oil reserves that are larger than the entire Middle East.
According to the budget preview document, the revenues from the hidden climate tax will be split between $15bn for alternative energy pork and about $52 billion per year to help pay for the Making Work Pay tax cut/welfare check of $800 for "95 percent of all American workers."
How much will cap and trade cost households in increased energy costs? Well, we know from a CBO study last year that a 15 percent reduction in emissions from 1998 levels would cost each household at least $660. That target is about 25 percent more stringent than the budget target, which is simply a return to 1990 emission levels by 2020 (far less than environmentalists demand). So we can apply simple arithmetic to estimate that the current budget cap and trade program will cost each income quintile $510, $660, $870, $1125 and $1635 (in 2006 dollars, slightly more in nominal values) respectively.
So the tax cut for 95 percent of working Amercians is going to be significantly offset by hiking energy prices in order to pay for it in the first place. Sheesh. Talk about a shell game.
A large portion of scientific research remains forever off the public radar. A select few studies deliver results that reverberate in the scientific community and make their way to textbooks. Then there are those research efforts that, as one group puts it, represent "achievements that cannot or should not be reproduced." Every year the Annals of Improbable Research highlights this last group with the Ig Nobel, an award for the top engineering solutions, science products and peer-reviewed papers that, according to the editors, "make you laugh, then make you think." We looked back at 18 years of the prizes to bring you our 10 favorite Ig Nobels of all time.
There's another panel that might qualify, Mark, and I'm speaking on it. It's "Threats to our National Sovereignty" at 11:30am, also on Saturday. I'll be speaking alongside my good friend and colleague Chris Horner, of Planet Gore fame, the incredibly clever Jeremy Rabkin of George Mason University and David Rivkin of Baker & Hostetler, another NRO contributor. I'll be looking at the threats posed by various environmental treaties and will doubtless mention how the UK got sucked into a supranational government without ever voting to do so. Hope to see you and others there!
In its next CNBC Original, CNBC takes viewers inside the growing class of young, self-made black multimillionaires - mostly under 40 - who have built wealth and influence in the sports, entertainment, and media industries. The journey to the black overclass, black America's new financial elite, is often filled with vast opportunity, but even greater pressure to help family and community. In one-on-one interviews with the celebrities, called "NEWBOs," Lee Hawkins takes us inside the experience of high-profile athletes and entertainers, discussing the implications of their sudden wealth and fame and their transition from the underclass or working class to wealthy class in a matter of a few years.Now I am the first in line to cheer success, especially the rise of those who started with so many strikes against them. Success via overcoming challenges is a cherished American value and classic story.
The Obama administration has directed defense officials to sign a pledge stating they will not share 2010 budget data with individuals outside the federal government.
In an undated non-disclosure agreement obtained by Defense News, the administration tells defense officials that “strict confidentiality” must be practiced to ensure a “successful” and “proper” 2010 defense budget process.
Antarctica's average annual temperature has increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.56 degrees Celsius) since 1957, but is still 50 degrees Fahrenheit (45.6 degrees Celsius) below zero, according to a recent study by Eric Steig of the University of Washington.
The post facto debate over the President's Mortgage Bailout is the clearest example of Forgotten Man syndrome I've yet seen. It is always talked about as if there are only two parties to the loan: the borrower and the bank. The borrower is portrayed either as victimized (Michelle Malkin has a great example here of a bus driver who is underwater on a home she paid $800,000 for) or foolish (the same clip can be viewed through a different lens), while the bank is portrayed either as predatory (the bus driver complains that the bank made it "too easy" for her to borrow money) or foolish (again, the clip can be viewed through a different lens). What's missing in all the talk is the forgotten man — the actual current holder of the loan.
As we all know, the banks didn't keep the loans after they originated them. They packaged them up and sold them on; they now merely service them. So, when Obama wants banks to renegotiate terms with the borrower, he is saying that the banks have to break their duty to the current investor, whose contract will be renegotiated without their having a say in the matter. As my colleague John Berlau says,The Obama plan and Hope for Homeowners are subsidizing the banks that service the loans for losses that they often won't even take. The parties that are actually doing the loan forgiveness and should be paid, if anyone should be paid (and I don't think anyone should, because the government shouldn't be interfere at all) are the investors holding the mortgage-backed securities.Consider that investors aren't generally plutocrats, but you and me, via our pension funds, 401Ks and mutual funds, and the need for a Tea Party for the forgotten men seems even clearer.
The contracts between banks and investors are usually pretty clear that it's either the original terms of the loan or foreclosure. They state that loans can only be modified for the best interest of the investor, if they even allow modification (which in the case of the Frey lawsuit vs. Countrywide, they apparently don't). The government is paying and pressuring banks to ignore their fiduciary duties and rip off investors, including pension and mutual funds with mortgage-backed securities that serve middle-class savers
Good news! According to the LA Times, all it takes for alternative energy to solve our problems is a bunch of technological breakthroughs. Why we didn't limit the stimulus package to the $400 million for "breakthrough research," I just don't know . . .
Included on the guest list were: Labor leaders Jimmy Hoffa and Andy Stern, MoveOn.org’s Eli Pariser, Sierra Club’s Carl Pope, Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richardson, and Joe Solomonese of the Human Rights Campaign.I wouldn't let any of these people on my property, let alone in my house and Obama is using them as tools.
Barack Obama has been embroiled in a cronyism row after reports that he intends to make Louis Susman, one of his biggest fundraisers, the new US ambassador in London.
The selection of Mr Susman, a lawyer and banker from the president's hometown of Chicago, rather than an experienced diplomat, raises new questions about Mr Obama's commitment to the special relationship with Britain.
American commentators denounced the selection of a rich friend to the plumb post, regarded as one of the most prestigious in the president's gift, as worthy of a "banana republic".
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the president has not yet released his budget for the fiscal year 2010, which begins Oct. 1, said the deficit will be shrunk by scaling back Iraq war spending, ending the temporary tax breaks enacted by the Bush administration for those making $250,000 or more a year, and streamlining government.So in the middle of a recession and after cramming one of the largest spending bills in American history down taxpayer's throats, Mr. Genius is going to raise taxes on the individual who already pay the most in taxes.
"We can't generate sustained growth without getting our deficits under control," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address that seemed to preview his intentions. He said his budget will be "sober in its assessments, honest in its accounting, and lays out in detail my strategy for investing in what we need, cutting what we don't, and restoring fiscal discipline."Honestly, this is clearly an attempt to nip the nascent tax revolt going on in the bud.