Tuesday, July 26, 2011

No Blank Checks For Obama

See: Speaker Boehner's Debt Ceiling Speech

Speaker Boehner tells President Obama to get stuffed.

The sad truth is that the president wanted a blank check six months ago, and he wants a blank check today. That is just not going to happen.

You see, there is no stalemate in Congress. The House has passed a bill to raise the debt limit with bipartisan support. And this week, while the Senate is struggling to pass a bill filled with phony accounting and Washington gimmicks, we will pass another bill - one that was developed with the support of the bipartisan leadership of the U.S. Senate.

Obviously, I expect that bill can and will pass the Senate, and be sent to the President for his signature. If the President signs it, the 'crisis' atmosphere he has created will simply disappear. The debt limit will be raised. Spending will be cut by more than one trillion dollars, and a serious, bipartisan committee of the Congress will begin the hard but necessary work of dealing with the tough challenges our nation faces.

The problem is not on the revenue side. It is on the spending side.

Raising taxes only robs the productive of the means and the reason to produce.

Raising spending only feeds the addiction of the looter's to other people's money.

Raising the Debt Limit only increases the already unmanageable levels of debt that are being passed on to future generations.

We might be better off to just shut it all down.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An Important Explanation Of The Thinking Behind 9-11

We are approaching the ten year anniversary of 9-11.

Ten years is a long time.

As memories fade, it is important for those of us that cannot forget that awful day to remind those that have of what happened - and even more importantly, "why" it happened.

The "Why" of it all has been the subject of much debate and argument over the last ten years. Lee Harris' Al Qaeda's Fantasy Ideology, written in the summer of 2002, offers an explanation that is worth thinking about.

See: Al Qaeda's Fantasy Ideology

"KNOW YOUR ENEMY” is a well-known maxim, but one that is difficult to observe in practice. Nor is the reason for this hard to fathom: If you are my enemy, it is unlikely that I will go very much out of my way to learn to see things from your point of view. And if this is true even in those cases where the conflict is between groups that share a common culture, how much more true will it be when there is a profound cultural and psychological chasm between the antagonists?

That is just the first paragraph.

Read the whole thing.

Obama’s Tax Obsession

See: Explaining Obama’s tax-hike obsession

But Obama’s tax obsession becomes understandable when you realize the long game he’s playing: Big Taxes to fund Big Government. Decade after decade. See, it’s an almost universal belief among left-of-center journalists, economists, policymakers and politicians that Americans must pay higher taxes in coming years to cover the medical expenses of its aging population – not to mention all sorts of brand new social spending and green “investment.” Dramatically higher taxes. On everybody. And if we have a debt crisis, maybe those tax increases come sooner rather than later.

And why not? Look at how high taxes and high spending have made Greece such an economic giant.

See Also: Why The Democratic Party Is Doomed

This week’s fight over raising the federal debt limit exposes a key weakness in the warfare-welfare state that has bestowed power onto the Democratic Party: Without an ever-growing share of the economy, it dies. Every vital element of the Democrats’ coalition — unions, government workers, government contractors, “entitlement” consumers — requires constant increases in payments, grants and consulting contracts. Without those payments, they don’t sign checks to re-elect Democrats.

Are we having fun yet?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Eat The Rich!

See: Get Ready for a 70% Marginal Tax Rate

But wait, things get worse. As Milton Friedman taught decades ago, the true burden on taxpayers today is government spending; government borrowing requires future interest payments out of future taxes. To cover the Congressional Budget Office projection of Mr. Obama's $841 billion deficit in 2016 requires a 31.7% increase in all income tax rates (and that's assuming the Social Security income cap is removed). This raises the top rate to 52.2% and brings the total combined marginal tax rate to 68.8%. Government, in short, would take over two-thirds of any incremental earnings.

How hard would you work if you were only able to keep 30 cents of every dollar that you earned?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bill Clinton and The Politics of Waivers

In a Newsweek article titled “It’s Still the Economy, Stupid” former President Bill Clinton offers 14 suggestions on how to improve the US's struggling economy.

The first of his fourteen suggestions is not wholly wrong, even if it is terribly flawed.

Harry Hopkins had nowhere near the rules and regulations we have now. (In 1933, Hopkins’s Civil Works Administration put 4 million to work in a month.) I don’t blame the people in the White House for problems in getting shovel-ready projects off the ground; sometimes it takes three years or more for the approval process. We should try to change this: keep the full review process when there are real environmental concerns, but when there aren’t, the federal government should be able to give a waiver to the states to speed up start times on construction projects. We gave states waivers to do welfare reform, so by the time I signed the bill, 43 of the 50 states had already implemented their own approaches. We need to look at that.

President Clinton is almost on the right track with this one. He at least recognizes that there is a regulatory impediment to economic activity that slows - if not terminally stalls projects and enterprises that could be putting to people work. His solution is to offer “waivers” to temporarily bypass the existing burdensome rules and regulations that are slowing if not outright killing “shovel-ready” projects.

Waivers are however, are not a long term fix. They are by definition, short term fixes dependent on the politics of the moment.

The “waiver” suggesting is interesting in that it also offers a window into the mindset that would suggest it in an economic emergency. It is a mindset that seeks to maintain and to exert power over others.

A “Waiver” is an instrument of power. It is granted solely on the political pull of the principles and interest groups involved. The power to grant or deny a waiver is staggering. It could mean millions, or billions, or even trillions of dollars in earnings to the ones seeking the “waiver” and those that are in their economic downstream, and/or millions, or billions or even trillions to their competitors in losses along with all of those enterprises in their economic downstream. Should politicians and bureaucrats have this kind of life over other peoples economic lives? Why would we want such things decided on political considerations and not on economic results?

Someone that is proposing “waivers” as a solution to the strangling effect of government rules and regulations seeks to maintain the authority of the government to impose the waived rules and regulations, while benefiting politically, if not also personally, by the power inherent in the authority and power to “waive” such rules and regulations.

What really needs to happen is a drastic reduction in the number and scope of federal regulations governing economic activity. Too many people in the political class want too much control over what people do to earn an honest living. That kind of power fetish needs to be curtailed.

Waivers was just one of the fourteen suggestions that President Bill Clinton offered in the Newsweek article. He even suggests cutting corporate tax rates. He also suggest a bunch of other statist solutions that just make politicians and bureaucrats more powerful.

See: It’s Still the Economy, Stupid

See also: Bill Clinton's Newsweek Cover Story Shows the Clinton-Obama Rivalry Is Not Dead