jump to navigation

Electric Cars, Liberal Dreams, and Decepticon Democrats July 21, 2011

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment

by Big Government

For many years, liberals have been gushing with enthusiasm over the prospect of a totally-green planet, one where CO2 emissions are a thing of the past (but wouldn’t that kill green plants?), wind turbines spin like glittering pinwheels in a parade (killing hundreds of thousands of birds each year), and electric cars line the roads (stopping every 40 miles for a recharge). To help ensure this dream becomes reality, President Obama pledged in his 2011 State of the Union address that he wanted to see one million electric cars on America’s roads by 2015.

Of course, the President’s pledge meant taxpayers will subsidize the progressive vision for a clean planet. The day after his State of the Union speech, liberal Democrats proposed creation of tax incentives to encourage people to buy electric vehicles.  What progressives consistently fail to understand is that government screws up each time its big shoes step into the private sector (can anyone say Amtrak?). When it comes to the markets, consumers and the private sector drive it forward or backward, not government. Winners and losers are determined by what people want, need, or desire, and not by what government wants for them.

This was played out recently with the announcement that Green Vehicles, a Salinas, CA electric car start-up company, was closing its doors. Barely two years into its Vision Quest to create an “electric valley” in the state, Green Vehicles ran into problems creating enough capital to survive (translation: nobody wanted to invest in or buy the sewing machine engine scooters). What makes the story most disturbing, however, is that the company’s start up was subsidized by California taxpayers, to the tune of $540K.

If electric vehicles were a winning, money-making idea, someone would have perfected the technology and sold millions of them by now. That’s how capitalism works.

Instead, General Motors Corp (owned and operated by the Dear Leader), spit out the Chevy Volt in fawning reverence to his greatness. This puny poser gets 40 miles to a charge and sells for $42K. And just like the Green Vehicles debacle, taxpayers get to foot the bill for the incentives used to entice buyers. That’s how socialism works.

I recently saw Transformers 3, Dark of the Moon, and was amazed at how much Democrats remind me of the Decepticon robots in the series. In their quest for endless power and control, the Decepticons consume and then destroy all that is good around them. Democrats operate much the same way. They confiscate and redistribute wealth and waste it on frivolous projects that flop, fizzle, and fail, like an electric car company in Salinas. Word is, they may be coming out of the closet. Democratic National Committee Chairperson, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, was spotted recently with a Decepticon logo on her lapel. I’m just sayin’!

Hypocrisy not Leadership on America’s 235th Birthday July 17, 2011

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment

“Austerity” is giving “unsustainable” strong competition for becoming the financial buzzword of the year.  However, within the Democratic Party and the political left, we seem still to have an abundance of something.  Unfortunately, that something is hypocrisy.  When we expect serious and mature leadership from our president to state publicly what he knows privately to be true, he ratchets up populist class warfare or chooses solutions aimed at placating the liberal allies on whose financial support his party depends.

Case in point.  Mr. Obama, three years after they were negotiated, finally acknowledges the jobs that would be created by Senate approval of the trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Columbia.  The president is now describing the agreement with South Korea, which will reduce Korean tariffs on U.S. cars and trucks and open what Ford Motor Co. described as “the most closed automotive market in the world” as one which will produce numerous jobs for Americans.  Last year South Korea imported 13,000 American cars while it exported 560,000 vehicles to the U.S.  White House spokesman, Jay Carney, stated “it is time to move forward [with the 3 agreements] which will support tens of thousands of jobs.”  Unfortunately, the president tied the approval of the treaties to spending close to a billion dollars on additional assistance to workers displaced from jobs, a program that has proven completely useless unless subsidizing unions is a national priority.  This at a time when the Administration is supposedly trying to reduce the deficit as a key element in the legislation it knows is vital as a precondition to raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

The president at a pre-July 4 press conference inveighed against millionaires, billionaires and owners of private jets, but intentionally ignored the real facts and distorted reality.  Or as one blogger, paraphrasing Charles Krauthammer stated it:

Never mind that in the grand scheme of things, the amount of tax that corporate jet owners are excused from paying is so minuscule that if the government collected it every year for 5,000 years, they would cover one year of the debt that the Obama administration has run up.  The point the president was trying to make, as he amps up his relentless class warfare argument, is that all over America children go to bed hungry while greedy fat cats get a tax break on the jets they buy.

This is a stunning reversal of reasoning.  The Wall Street Journal noted that the president’s 2009 stimulus plan specifically stated that “the aviation industry, which is cutting jobs as it suffers from declining shipments and cancelled orders, hopes the tax break in the economic stimulus bill . . . will persuade more companies to buy planes and snap a slump in general aviation.”

And while we don’t begrudge any spending to provide the highest level of security for the president’s family, we wonder who footed the bill for the aviation which took Mrs. Obama, Malea and Sasha on an African safari late in June.  Even considering security needs, why doesn’t the Obama family take a less expensive trip on the taxpayers tab and go to the beach on the eastern shore of Maryland like many other Washingtonians.  But we digress.

Michael Barone, writing in The Washington Examiner on July 1 pointed out another interesting twist to the corporate jet issue:

If Congress should actually change the depreciation rules for corporate jets — rules that were set by the Obama Democrats’ own 2009 stimulus package — and it had any effect at all, the costs would be borne not by clueless CEOs or other high executives, but by comparative little guys; the pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and ultimately the folks that work the assembly lines at small jet aircraft factories.  That’s what happened when Democrats in 1990 thrust a big tax on yachts over a certain size.   The rich people who could afford them weren’t inconvenienced, but the folks in Maine and other places who build large boats lost their jobs.  As a result, Democrats scrambled to repeal the tax.  CEOs are not the only people who can be really dumb sometimes.

Mr. Obama and the Democratic Senate are insisting on a tax increase for the “richest” Americans who, they claim, control a vast percentage of America’s private wealth.  Income and wealth they argue is becoming more and more unequal.  But is it the government’s role to redistribute wealth so that no one can make what the leftist politicians deem “too much money.”  Let’s set aside the ill conceived government policies and absent oversight that resulted in the excesses and abuses in the mortgage banking business that so traumatized our credit markets, Have the myriad investments of wealthier Americans in the free enterprise system taken anything away from those less fortunate?  Does the left really believe that there is no wealth creation in a market driven economy and that they must reshuffle wealth so it is more equally distributed?

In their book, “Onslaught from the Left,” economists Arthur Laffer and Ford Scudder present facts that simply prove that wealth in the upper income brackets creates wealth throughout the income system.  They wrote:

“In the year Ronald Reagan took office (1981) the top 1% of income earners as reflected by the Adjusted Gross Income of all tax filers paid 17.58% of all federal income taxes.  Twenty-five years later, in 2005 the top 1% paid 39.8% of all income taxes, representing a greater than doubling of the share of tax payments made by this group.

“But even more to the point, from 1981 to 2005 the income taxes paid by the top 1% rose from 1.59% of GDP to 2.96% of GDP.  In addition to the huge rise in the percent of GDP paid in income taxes by the top 1% of income earners and the more than doubling of the share of taxes paid by this group was the huge absolute increase in real taxes 2005 dollars using the GDP price deflator (in other words, adjusting for inflation from 1981 through 2005).  In 1981 total tax payments from the richest 1% were $98.84 billion, while in 2005 the top 1% paid $368.13 billion in taxes; that’s a 288% increase in 25 years.  In rough numbers, that means that each of the richest 1% of filers in 1981 paid a little over $100,000 in 2005 dollars, while in 2005 each filer on average paid over $288,000.  And remember that’s inflation-adjusted dollars.”

Although the rich got richer they paid nearly four times as much total tax as when tax rates were higher.  In fact, statistics show that lower tax rates have led to higher income among the bottom fifty percent of income earners and lower total taxes paid by that group.  In point of fact, fifty percent of federal tax filers pay no tax at all.  In short, Mr. Obama so wants to engage in class warfare rhetoric that he is prepared to punish the rich even if that results in less rather than more government revenue.

As Mr. Obama well knows, we don’t tax too little, we have a spending problem and it cannot be resolved without structural reforms particularly to the major so-called entitlements:  Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — problems which are compounded by the demographics of an aging population and which he and his party consider untouchable.

Finally, returning to the word “hypocrisy,” how can one have confidence in our president when at this late date in the fiscal year he has presented no budget to replace the one that was defeated in the Senate 97-0, preferring instead to rail against the spending cuts proposed by Congressional Republicans”  How can he point to the fiscal mess we are in (yes, we know that he inherited it) and not mention the bursting of the housing bubble, which was the driving force behind the great recession and whose main actor was Fannie Mae.  Democrats for years resisted reform of that agency, which just happened to be their campaign finance piggybank.  As Columnist David Brooks noted in reviewing Reckless Endangerment by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner:

Fannie Mae could raise money at low interest rates because the federal government implicitly guaranteed its debt.  In 1995, according to the Congressional Budget Office, this implied guarantee netted the agency $7 billion.  Instead of using that money to help buyers, [James] Johnson [then Fannie Mae CEO] and other executives kept $2.1 billion for themselves and their shareholders.  They used it to further the cause — expanding their clout, their salaries and their bonuses.  They did the things that every special-interest group does to advance its interests.

Fannie Mae co-opted relevant activist groups, handing out money to Acorn, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other groups that it might need on its side . . .

[It] lavished campaign contributions on members of Congress.  Time and again experts would go before some Congressional committee to warn that Fannie was lowering borrowing standards and posing an enormous risk to taxpayers.  Phalanxes of congressmen would be mobilized to bludgeon the experts and kill unfriendly legislation. . . . a foundation that spent tens of millions in advertising. . . . They spent enormous amounts of time and money capturing the regulators who were supposed to police them.

Mr. Brooks notes that only two of the characters in this tale come off as egregiously immoral.  Johnson [a key Democratic party fundraiser] personally made $100 million while supposedly helping the poor.  Representative Barney Frank, whose partner at the time worked for Fannie, was arrogantly dismissive when anybody raised doubts about the stability of the whole arrangement.

Think about the president’s explanations of our financial mess.  He talks about corporate jet owners and conveniently omits the agency which blew up the bubble and who is the main culprit in the loss of trillions of dollars of wealth.  And Barney Frank?  He is the co-author of the Dodd-Frank bill, which will now regulate our banking system.  Does that give you comfort?

We, hopefully, are on the cusp of an agreement between the Republican leadership and the President on raising the limit on the debt ceiling, but, in the process, we have been treated to the “Coming Attractions” of the 2012 White House election strategy.  It isn’t a pretty picture.

Video: Social Security chief actuary confirms a decision to withhold checks would come from the Treasury July 15, 2011

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment

Hurray for Huelskamp…

I’ve been a fan of Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp for a while now. This video of his excellent line of questioning during a Budget Committee hearing this morning shows why:

Don’t you just love how calm and cheerful he is, as he hammers away at the truth? Even Stephen Goss, the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, couldn’t help but smile as Huelskamp asked for his help getting to the bottom of why Social Security checks might not go out Aug. 3, when the nation clearly has enough money — even under a debt limit budget — to cover the interest on its debt, Social Security and more (Huelskamp even had the chart to prove it!).

Goss confirmed the decision to send out Social Security checks (or not) would, indeed, be a Treasury Department (a.k.a. the administration’s) decision.

“The responsibility of the Social Security Administration per se, my boss, Commissioner Astrue, is to in fact determine how much in the way of benefit payments people are supposed to receive,” Goss said. “We send that information actually over to the Department of the Treasury. They are the ones who actually send out the payments, whether it’s electronic funds, transfers, or check.”

At that point, Huelskamp called out — in an admirably wry, polite way (a question is far friendlier than an accusation!) — what everybody in that hearing room already knew:

“I guess we’ll have to ask the Department of the Treasury and we’re having difficulty getting answers from them, but I see under no circumstances unless it was a political decision that the administration would refuse or withhold Social Security checks because there are sufficient receipts,” Huelskamp says in the video. “Can I ask you to ask the Treasury Department — because the administration just really doesn’t want to provide information and when you stand on the evening news and make a statement that 40-some million Americans are going to not receive their checks — would you ask the administration are they planning on withholding those checks and is there a reason they wouldn’t make those payments on Aug. 3?”

Goss said he’d be happy to work with Huelskamp to find an answer to his questions. Can’t wait to hear ‘em.

BREAKING: It Turns Out Obama Gave ACORN $541K This Year, Not $80K July 14, 2011

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment

Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave ACORN another $461,086 in January. The funds were earmarked for ACORN Housing Corp. in January under HUD’s Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), according to the government website USAspending.gov.

In order words, the Obama administration gave fraud-ridden ACORN nearly a half million dollars to be used on housing development.

The administration isn’t even trying to conceal the fact that it gave this money to ACORN.

USAspending.gov identifies the recipient as “ACORN Housing Corporation Inc.” even though that nonprofit entity filed papers last year legally changing its name to Affordable Housing Centers of America (AHCOA).

The website also provides the address of record for ACORN Housing as 1024 Elysian Fields Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana. That’s the renovated funeral home that until recently served as headquarters for ACORN’s 370-plus shady affiliates.

This means the Obama administration has given at least $540,905 in taxpayer money to ACORN this calendar year alone.

The money was given to ACORN apparently in defiance of  Public Law 111-117 which spells out in pretty clear terms that ACORN shouldn’t be getting any government funding.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. More grants to ACORN are bound to surface.

ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers, ACORN is still with us, doing its best to destroy American capitalism and democracy.

The group is gearing up right now to make sure President Obama, who worked for ACORN as an employee and as its lawyer, gets reelected in 2012. Its state chapters have adopted assumed names and remain active. Project Vote, ACORN’s vote manufacturing factory, continues to operate unmolested in ACORN’s Washington, D.C. office. ACORN International (a.k.a. Community Organizations International) has spreadwide worldwide and is now operating in many countries, including Canada, Peru, Kenya, Dominican Republic, and India.

What Recession? Obama, Democrats Push for Tax Hikes July 14, 2011

Posted by seeineye in : Politics , add a comment

With the clock ticking toward an Aug. 2 deadline, congressional leaders return to the White House Monday for another round of budget bargaining with President Barack Obama, who has warned top lawmakers he will call daily meetings until they break their partisan stalemate.

Monday’s discussion will try to focus on formalizing the tentative agreements lawmakers reached in talks led by Vice President Joe Biden. Republicans say the Biden group identified more than $2 trillion in cuts, but Democrats put the true figure significantly lower—in large part because many of their concessions on spending cuts relied on the assumption Republicans would accept some new tax revenues.

The two sides appear to be no closer to a deal to stave off a potentially disastrous first-ever default on U.S. obligations than they were when the Biden talks hit an impasse last week on the tax issue.

Obama will give his take on the status of negotiations during a news conference at the White House Monday morning.

The president convened a rare Sunday meeting with lawmakers in the White House Cabinet Room, where he continued to push for a “grand bargain” in the range of $4 trillion worth of deficit cuts over the coming decade, but momentum is clearly on the side of a smaller measure of perhaps half that size. Obama continues to press for revenue increases as part of any agreement but Republicans remain stoutly opposed—despite some private hints to the contrary last week by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

A Republican congressional aide said the White House is proposing between $1.4 and $1.7 trillion in tax increases, a total unlikely to garner any support from GOP lawmakers.

Last week, Boehner and Obama had private talks that led Democrats to believe the House speaker was willing to entertain revenue increases as part of a full overhaul of the tax code later this year in exchange for Democrats agreeing to stiff curbs on the growth of Medicare and lower increases in Social Security cost-of-living adjustments. But Boehner recoiled and abandoned the idea Saturday night in a move that rattled the talks.

The entire leftist playbook comes down to two ideas; 1. federalize it and 2. tax it. That’s it, no matter what the evidence. Its like football before they discovered the forward pass. Fail.