National Debt Clock

Friday, July 2, 2010

Six Months to Go Until the Largest Tax Hikes in History

http://www.atr.org/six-months-untilbr-largest-tax-hikes-a5171

First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief

In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families. These will all expire on January 1, 2011:

Personal income tax rates will rise. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:

- The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
- The 25% bracket rises to 28%
- The 28% bracket rises to 31%
- The 33% bracket rises to 36%
- The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%

Higher taxes on marriage and family. The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.

The return of the Death Tax. This year, there is no death tax. For those dying on or after January 1 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement account could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.

Higher tax rates on savers and investors. The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011. The dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011. These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in 2013.

Second Wave: Obamacare

There are over twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011. They include:

The “Medicine Cabinet Tax” Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).

The “Special Needs Kids Tax” This provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500 (Currently, there is no federal government limit). There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education.

The HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike. This provision of Obamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Third Wave: The Alternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes

When Americans prepare to file their tax returns in January of 2011, they’ll be in for a nasty surprise—the AMT won’t be held harmless, and many tax relief provisions will have expired. The major items include:

The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last year. According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, Congress’ failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosion of AMT taxpaying families—rising from 4 million last year to 28.5 million. These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level. The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.

Small business expensing will be slashed and 50% expensing will disappear. Small businesses can normally expense (rather than slowly-deduct, or “depreciate”) equipment purchases up to $250,000. This will be cut all the way down to $25,000. Larger businesses can expense half of their purchases of equipment. In January of 2011, all of it will have to be “depreciated.”

Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses. There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place. The biggest is the loss of the “research and experimentation tax credit,” but there are many, many others. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.

Tax Benefits for Education and Teaching Reduced. The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available. Tax credits for education will be limited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts will be cut. Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed. The student loan interest deduction will be disallowed for hundreds of thousands of families.

Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longer allowed. Under current law, a retired person with an IRA can contribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA. This contribution also counts toward an annual “required minimum distribution.” This ability will no longer be there.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nation Faces Shortage of 150,000 Doctors in 15 Years

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304506904575180331528424238.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsSecond
The new federal health-care law has raised the stakes for hospitals and schools already scrambling to train more doctors.

Experts warn there won't be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

That shortfall is predicted despite a push by teaching hospitals and medical schools to boost the number of U.S. doctors, which now totals about 954,000.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Health Care Overhaul Spawns Mass Confusion for Public

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/04/06/91696/health-care-overhaul-spawns-mass.html
HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Two weeks after President Barack Obama signed the big health care overhaul into law, Americans are struggling to understand how — and when — the sweeping measure will affect them.

Questions reflecting confusion have flooded insurance companies, doctors' offices, human resources departments and business groups.

"They're saying, 'Where do we get the free Obama care, and how do I sign up for that?' " said Carrie McLean, a licensed agent for eHealthInsurance.com. The California-based company sells coverage from 185 health insurance carriers in 50 states.

McLean said the call center had been inundated by uninsured consumers who were hoping that the overhaul would translate into instant, affordable coverage. That widespread misconception may have originated in part from distorted rhetoric about the legislation bubbling up from the hyper-partisan debate about it in Washington and some media outlets, such as when opponents denounced it as socialism.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Obama Limits When U.S. Would Use Nuclear Arms

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/world/06arms.html

For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack.

Regulatory Trends in the Bush Years

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2008/03/Red-Tape-Rising-Regulatory-Trends-in-the-Bush-Years

Despite the claims of critics-and some supporters-of the Bush Administration, net regulatory burdens have increased in the years since George W. Bush assumed the presidency. Since 2001, the federal government has imposed almost $30 billion in new regulatory costs on Americans. About $11 billion was imposed in fiscal year (FY) 2007 alone.

Critics of Bush Administration regulatory policy have argued that budget cuts are evidence that restric­tions are being loosened. Yet according to an analy­sis by George Mason University's Mercatus Center and Washington University's Weidenbaum Center, appropriations for federal regulatory agencies have increased during the Bush years from $27 billion in FY 2001 to $44.9 billion in FY 2007-a 44 percent increase in inflation-adjusted dollars.[12] The total staffing of regulatory agencies went up nearly as much, from 172,000 employees to over 244,000- a 41 percent increase.

During the first seven years of the Bush presi­dency, 98 such major rules were promulgated by federal agencies. Of those, 75 (more than 10 per year) increased regulatory burdens on Americans. This is significantly less than the rate during the Clinton Administration, which adopted major increases in regulation at a rate of some 19 times per year from 1997 to early 2001.[19]

Although the Bush Administration imposed fewer new burdens on Americans, the total regulatory bur­den continued to increase in absolute terms. Com­pared to the 74 rule changes that increased regulatory costs, only 23 rule changes reduced burdens. In other words, for every case in which regulators reduced a burden, they increased burdens over three times.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The 2009 Index of Dependence on Government

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/03/The-2009-Index-of-Dependence-on-Government

Obama, who 'Excluded Lobbyists', has Appointed 50

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Obama_-who-_excluded-lobbyists__-has-appointed-50-89531802.html

The appointment of the 50th lobbyist to a policymaking job by a president who claims he's "excluded" them.

It's important here to set the record straight about what a senator's "hold" is. A "hold" cannot prevent confirmation or even block a vote on confirmation -- that requires a 41-vote filibuster to block cloture or one-man filibuster right out of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." A "hold" is an objection to the unanimous-consent decree that would allow confirmation without debate.

So, most of Obama's recess nominations were not about circumventing a filibuster -- labor lawyer Craig Becker was the only one of the 15 who was being filibustered. The other 14 recess appointments were efforts to avoid debate and discussion. Obama says he just wants to get down to business. But given Obama's clear desire to portray his administration as lobbyist-free, it's also good politics to skip a public floor debate over four lobbyist appointees.

UK Pet Shop Owner Fined £1,000, Told to Wear an Electronic Tag...For Selling a GOLDFISH to a 14 Year Old Boy

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1262250/Great-grandmother-tagged-selling-goldfish.html

Her offence was to unwittingly sell a goldfish to a 14-year-old boy taking part in a trading standards 'sting'.

At most, pet shop owner Joan Higgins, 66, expected a slap on the wrist for breaking new animal welfare laws which ban the sale of pets to under-16s.

Instead, the great-grandmother was taken to court, fined £1,000, placed under cufrew- and ordered to wear an electronic tag for two months.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Wyden-Gregg Bipartisan Tax Reform Bill: Why Congress Should Listen

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/03/The-Wyden-Gregg-Bipartisan-Tax-Reform-Bill-Why-Congress-Should-Listen

Despite protestations that the wealthy benefited the most from the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, those reductions lowered taxes for all taxpayers and sped up a decades-long trend of moving the tax burden to a declining proportion of upper-income taxpayers. In 2006, the latest year of available data, the top 1 percent of income earners paid more than 40 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 50 percent paid just 3 percent of all income taxes.

On the corporate side, Wyden-Gregg does even better. The bill turns the progressive corporate income tax into a 24 percent flat tax. This lower rate would greatly increase the competitiveness of American businesses and make the United States a more attractive place for new business investment. With a flat rate of 24 percent, the U.S. rate would be below the average 25 percent rate of other developed countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The treatment of retirement savings is one of the strongest points of the Wyden-Gregg bill. The bill expands tax-free savings by consolidating the various forms of IRAs into one Retirement Savings Account and offers a new Lifetime Savings Account. These adjustments will allow families to put away up to $14,000 a year for retirement in addition to what they can save through 401(k) plans. These new opportunities would help families save for retirement and increase the savings rate. Further reducing taxes on all savings, not just for retirement, would encourage even more saving and investing and promote economic growth.

First, it reduces the number of tax brackets and rates for individuals from six to three. It also makes the corporate income tax a 24 percent flat tax. Second, it drastically reduces the number of credits, deductions, and exemptions for families and businesses. Lastly, it completely abolishes the AMT. In addition to reducing complexity, the abolition of the AMT will also remove the threat that the AMT will raise taxes on middle-income families. The AMT is intended to affect only high earners, but the minimum income that designates families for the AMT is not indexed for inflation.

Repealed Death Tax Would Liven Industry

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Commentary/2009/11/Repealed-Death-Tax-Would-Liven-Industry

It is a tremendous burden because, despite appearing valuable on paper, Reliable and other similar businesses do not have sufficient cash available to pay the tax. Reliable has many high-cost assets, such as bulldozers and dump trucks.

Social Security to Run Deficit in 2010

The Congressional Budget Office now predicts the Social Security fund will pay out more than it earns starting this year -- as in it’s happening right now.

That’s just a shade off of last year’s forecast, which expected the fund to run a deficit starting in late 2016.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Healthy Dose of Catastrophe

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/27/a-healthy-dose-of-catastrophe/

Congress voted to subject the 28 percent tax benefit to the regular good ol' American-as-apple-pie corporate tax rate of 35 percent. For the purposes of comparison, Sweden's corporate tax rate is 26.3 percent, and Ireland's is 12.5 percent. But just because America already has the highest corporate tax in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is no reason why we can't keep going until it's double Sweden's and quadruple Ireland's.

If you impose a sudden 35 percent tax on something, are you likely to get as much of it? Go on, take a wild guess. On the day President Obama signed Obamacare into law, Verizon sent an e-mail to all its employees warning that the company's costs "will increase in the short term." And in the medium term? Well, U.S. corporations that are able to do so will get out of their prescription drug plans and toss their retirees onto the Medicare pile. So far, just three companies - John Deere & Co., Caterpillar and Valero Energy Corp. - have calculated that the loss of the deduction will add a combined $265 million to their costs. An additional 3,500 businesses presently claim the break. The cost to taxpayers of that 28 percent benefit is about $665 per person. The cost to taxpayers of equivalent Medicare coverage is about $1,200 per person. So we're roughly doubling the cost of covering an estimated 5 million retirees.

Friday, March 26, 2010

2,000 House Staffers Make Six Figures

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/35050.html

Nearly 2,000 House of Representative staffers pulled down six-figure salaries in 2009, including 43 staffers who earned the maximum $172,500 — or more than three times the median U.S. household income.

The 43 staffers who maxed out at $172,500 — the salary cap for leadership and committee staffers — include John Lawrence, chief of staff to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Paula Nowakowski, the late chief of staff to House Minority Leader John Boehner; and House Parliamentarian John Sullivan. They earned only slightly less than rank-and-file members of Congress, who make $174,000.

Obamacare Prescription: 'Emergency Health Army'

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=132001

According to Section 5210 of HR 3590, titled "Establishing a Ready Reserve Corps," the force must be ready for "involuntary calls to active duty during national emergencies and public health crises."

The health-care legislation adds millions of dollars for recruitment and amends Section 203 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 204), passed July 1, 1944, during Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency. The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is one of the seven uniformed services in the U.S. However, Obama's changes more than double the wording of the Section 203 and dub individuals who are currently classified as officers in the Reserve Corps commissioned officers of the Regular Corps.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Obama Administration Awarded Hundreds of Thousands in Airport Grants to Stupak’s District 2 Days Before Vote

http://www.nrcc.org/codered/dealwatch/?p=52

Was this Yet Another Backroom Deal to Force Obama’s Bill Down the American People’s Throats?

Three airports in the district of infamous fence-sitting and ultimately kowtowing Democrat Bart Stupak were awarded $726,409 in grants by the Obama Administration just two days before a vote on Obama and Pelosi’s government takeover of healthcare.

Did Stupak compromise his supposed principled stand against taxpayer funding of abortion in exchange for taxpayer dollars for pet projects?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Macroeconomic Effects of Obamacare

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/02/The-Presidents-Health-Proposal-Taxing-Investments-Undermines-Economic-Recovery
  • Result in an average of 115,000 lost job opportunities per year
  • Reduce productivity by an average 0.01 percentage points per year
  • Lose $1.37 in gross domestic product (GDP) for every dollar of additional revenue collected
  • Reduce household disposable income by $17.3 billion[1] per year
  • Reduce the stock of household real net wealth by an average $267 billion per year.

U.S. Risks AAA Rating

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aYUeBnitz7nU

Two-year notes sold by the billionaire’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in February yield 3.5 basis points less than Treasuries of similar maturity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Procter & Gamble Co., Johnson & Johnson and Lowe’s Cos. debt also traded at lower yields in recent weeks, a situation former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. chief fixed-income strategist Jack Malvey calls an “exceedingly rare” event in the history of the bond market.

What House Passage of the Senate Health Bill Means for America

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/03/What-House-Passage-of-the-Senate-Health-Bill-Means-for-America

New Middle-Class Taxes. The President solemnly promised that he would not impose any new taxes on American households making less than $250,000. The Senate bill shatters this promise.

For example, the excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans would overwhelmingly hit middle-class taxpayers. Likewise, special federal premium taxes in the Senate bill would also be passed down to consumers, resulting in premium increases that would be higher than they would otherwise be.[6] In addition to taxes on health insurance, the Senate bill would also create new taxes on medical necessities such as prescription drugs and medical devices.[7]

Beyond these new taxes, the President’s proposal would add yet another provision (presumably for consideration in the budget reconciliation process) that would tax investment income. This would result in 115,000 lost job opportunities and a net reduction of $17.3 billion annually in household disposable income.[8] Amidst a recession, this is a stunningly bad idea.

Increased Health Insurance Premiums. The President initially promised that Americans would see a $2,500 annual reduction in their family health care costs. But under the Senate bill, premiums would go up for millions of Americans. In fact, according to the CBO, estimated premiums in the individual market would be 10–13 percent higher by 2016 than they would be under current law.[9]

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Backdoor Taxes to Hit Middle Class

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/100201/us/usreport_us_budget_backdoortaxes

The Obama administration's plan to cut more than $1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade relies heavily on so-called backdoor tax increases that will result in a bigger tax bill for middle-class families.

In the 2010 budget tabled by President Barack Obama on Monday, the White House wants to let
billions of dollars in tax breaks expire by the end of the year -- effectively a tax hike by stealth.

While the administration is focusing its proposal on eliminating tax breaks for individuals who earn $250,000 a year or more, middle-class families will face a slew of these backdoor increases.
The targeted tax provisions were enacted under the Bush administration's Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. Among other things, the law lowered individual tax rates, slashed taxes on capital gains and dividends, and steadily scaled back the estate tax to zero in 2010.

If the provisions are allowed to expire on December 31, the top-tier personal income tax rate will rise to 39.6 percent from 35 percent.
But lower-income families will pay more as well: the 25 percent tax bracket will revert back to 28 percent; the 28 percent bracket will increase to 31 percent; and the 33 percent bracket will increase to 36 percent. The special 10 percent bracket is eliminated.

Investors will pay more on their earnings next year as well, with the tax on dividends jumping to 39.6 percent from 15 percent and the capital-gains tax increasing to 20 percent from 15 percent. The estate tax is eliminated this year, but it will return in 2011 -- though there has been talk about reinstating the death tax sooner.

Millions of middle-class households already may be facing higher taxes in 2010 because Congress has failed to extend tax breaks that expired on January 1, most notably a "patch" that limited the impact of the alternative minimum tax. The AMT, initially designed to prevent the very rich from avoiding income taxes, was never indexed for inflation. Now the tax is affecting millions of middle-income households, but lawmakers have been reluctant to repeal it because it has become a key source of revenue.

Without annual legislation to renew the patch this year, the AMT could affect an estimated 25 million taxpayers with incomes as low as $33,750 (or $45,000 for joint filers). Even if the patch is extended to last year's levels, the tax will hit American families that can hardly be considered wealthy -- the AMT exemption for 2009 was $46,700 for singles and $70,950 for married couples filing jointly.

Middle-class families also will find fewer tax breaks available to them in 2010 if other popular tax provisions are allowed to expire. Among them:

  • Taxpayers who itemize will lose the option to deduct state sales-tax payments instead of state and local income taxes;
  • The $250 teacher tax credit for classroom supplies;
  • The tax deduction for up to $4,000 of college tuition and expenses;
  • Individuals who don't itemize will no longer be able to increase their standard deduction by up to $1,000 for property taxes paid;
  • The first $2,400 of unemployment benefits are taxable, in 2009 that amount was tax-free.

Palin Wants Rahm Fired

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2010/02/02/palin_wants_rahm_fired.html

In a Facebook post, Sarah Palin calls on President Obama to fire Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for reportedly describing the strategy of Senate liberals as "f$&%*$&# retarded."

"Yes, Rahm is known for his caustic, crude references about those with whom he disagrees, but his recent tirade against participants in a strategy session was such a strong slap in many American faces that our president is doing himself a disservice by seeming to condone Rahm's recent sick and offensive tactic."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky on Organizing for America's Recommended Reading List

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2010/01/atlas-exclusive-obama-organizing-for-communism-and-youth-corps-in-the-public-school-1.html

Her government class passed out this propaganda recruiting paper so students could sign up as interns for Obama's Organizing for America (OFA is the former mybarackobama.com site.)
Obama is using our public school system to recruit for his Alinsky-inspired private army. Organizing for America is (and I quote) recruiting in our high schools to "build on the movement that elected President Obama by empowering students across the country to help us bring about our agenda" ............of national socialism.


Check out the recommended reading list page 4:
  • Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky
  • The New Organizers, Zack Exley
  • Stir It Up: Lessons from Community Organizing and Advocacy, Rinku Sen
  • Obama Field Organizers Plot a Miracle, Zack Exley, Huffington Post
  • Dreams of My Father Chicago Chapters, Barack Hussein Obama

State Department Admits No-Bid Contract 'Violates' Obama Campaign Pledges

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/01/31/state-department-admits-bid-contract-violates-obama-campaign-pledges/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Flatest+%28Text+-+Latest+Headlines%29

The recent awarding of a lucrative federal contract to a company owned by a financial contributor to the Obama presidential campaign -- without competitive bidding -- "violated" President Obama's many campaign pledges to crack down on the practice, a top State Department official told Fox News.

The contract in question, worth more than $24.6 million, was awarded on Jan. 4 by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to Checchi and Company Consulting, a Washington, D.C.-based firm owned by economist and Democratic Party donor Vincent Checchi. The deal called for Checchi's firm to train lawyers and judges in Afghanistan and thereby strengthen the "rule of law" in the war-torn country.

Crowley confirmed that the contract has been "terminated" because the circumstances under which it was awarded “violated the Competition in Contracting Act." Crowley said the contract was actually a renewal of a $44 million contract first awarded to Checchi and Company in October 2004 by the Bush administration -- after a competitive bidding process -- and will now be put out for competitive bids.

Obama Plan Has $79 Billion From Cap-and-Trade in 2012

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601130&sid=aAO_KEIgeOOc

President Barack Obama’s budget plan assumes $78.7 billion in revenue in 2012 from the sale of greenhouse-gas emission permits to polluters, putting pressure on Congress to pass legislation by early next year.

A “cap-and-trade” program would generate a total of $645.7 billion by 2019, according to the budget blueprint Obama sent to Congress today. Initial funds would be used to invest in “clean” energy, help finance Obama’s tax credit for workers as well as offset higher energy costs for low- and middle-income people and clean up costs for small businesses.

The budget calls for the Environmental Protection Agency to get $19 million to begin setting up an inventory of greenhouse- gas emissions that most scientists say are causing rising temperatures and sea levels. Obama has asked Congress to send him a bill that would create an emissions trading system, putting a mandatory cap on carbon-dioxide pollution nationwide for the first time in the U.S.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

IPCC Based Claims on Student Dissertation and Magazine Article

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7111525/UN-climate-change-panel-based-claims-on-student-dissertation-and-magazine-article.html

However, it can be revealed that one of the sources quoted was a feature article published in a popular magazine for climbers which was based on anecdotal evidence from mountaineers about the changes they were witnessing on the mountainsides around them.

The other was a dissertation written by a geography student, studying for the equivalent of a master's degree, at the University of Berne in Switzerland that quoted interviews with mountain guides in the Alps.

The revelations, uncovered by The Sunday Telegraph, have raised fresh questions about the quality of the information contained in the report, which was published in 2007.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."

--Thomas Jefferson

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fannie, Freddie Bonuses Total About $210 Million

April 4, 2009:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123876318076986497.html

In a compensation program that has drawn angry protests from lawmakers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac expect to pay about $210 million in retention bonuses to 7,600 employees over 18 months, according to a letter from the mortgage companies' regulator.

The maximum retention bonus for any individual executive under the plan will total $1.5 million during the 18 months ending in early 2010, according to the letter to Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, which provides previously undisclosed details about the bonuses.

January 14, 2010:
http://whitehouse.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/01/14/obama-to-propose-90-billion-in-fees-over-ten-years-on-high-flying-us-banks-aig-on-subsidiaries-of-foreign-firms/
Significantly, the administration will exempt GM, Chrsyler, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from the fees even though most of the current TARP deficit is linked to taxpayer bailouts of these firms.

Russia's Newly Unveiled Sukhoi T-50 Stealth Fighter Jet to Rival United States'

http://www.foxnews.com/slideshow/world/2010/01/29/russias-sukhoi-t-challenges-jet?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Flatest+%28Text+-+Latest+Headlines%29

Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources

http://www.juandemariana.org/pdf/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable.pdf

The following are key points from the study:

  1. As President Obama correctly remarked, Spain provides a reference for the establishment of government aid to renewable energy. No other country has given such broad support to the construction and production of electricity through renewable sources. The arguments for Spain’s and Europe’s “green jobs” schemes are the same arguments now made in the U.S., principally that massive public support would produce large numbers of green jobs. The question that this paper answers is “at what price?”
  2. Optimistically treating European Commission partially funded data1, we find that for every renewable energy job that the State manages to finance, Spain’s experience cited by President Obama as a model reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created.
  3. Therefore, while it is not possible to directly translate Spain’s experience with exactitude to claim that the U.S. would lose at least 6.6 million to 11 million jobs, as a direct consequence were it to actually create 3 to 5 million “green jobs” as promised (in addition to the jobs lost due to the opportunity cost of private capital employed in renewable energy), the study clearly reveals the tendency that the U.S. should expect such an outcome.
  4. At minimum, therefore, the study’s evaluation of the Spanish model cited as one for the U.S. to replicate in quick pursuit of “green jobs” serves a note of caution, that the reality is far from what has typically been presented, and that such schemes also offer considerable employment consequences and implications for emerging from the conomic crisis.
  5. Despite its hyper-aggressive (expensive and extensive) “green jobs” policies it appears that Spain likely has created a surprisingly low number of jobs, two-thirds of which came in construction, fabrication and installation, one quarter in administrative positions, marketing and projects engineering, and just one out of ten jobs has been created at the more permanent level of actual operation and maintenance of the renewable sources of electricity. This came at great financial cost as well as cost in terms of jobs destroyed
    elsewhere in the economy
    .
  6. The study calculates that since 2000 Spain spent €571,138 to create each “green job”, including subsidies of more than €1 million per wind industry job. The study calculates that the programs creating those jobs also resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every “green job” created.
  7. Principally, the high cost of electricity affects costs of production and employment levels in metallurgy, non-metallic mining and food processing, beverage and tobacco industries.
  8. Each “green” megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, 5.05 by mini-hydro.
  9. These costs do not appear to be unique to Spain’s approach but instead are largely inherent in schemes to promote renewable energy sources.
  10. The total over-cost – the amount paid over the cost that would result from buying the electricity generated by the renewable power plants at the market price - that has been incurred from 2000 to 2008 (adjusting by 4% and calculating its net present value [NPV] in 2008), amounts to 7,918.54 million Euros (appx. $10 billion USD)
  11. The total subsidy spent and committed (NPV adjusted by 4%) to these three renewable sources amounts to 28,671 million euros ($36 billion USD).
  12. The price of a comprehensive electricity rate (paid by the end consumer) in
    Spain would have to be increased 31% to being able to repay the historic debt
    generated by this rate deficit mainly produced by the subsidies to renewables, according to Spain’s energy regulator.
  13. Spanish citizens must therefore cope with either an increase of electricity rates or increased taxes (and public deficit), as will the U.S. if it follows Spain’s model.
  14. The high cost of electricity due to the green job policy tends to drive the relatively most electricity-intensive companies and industries away, seeking areas where costs are lower. The example of Acerinox is just such a case.
  15. The study offers a caution against a certain form of green energy mandate. Minimum guaranteed prices generate surpluses that are difficult to manage. In Spain’s case, the minimum electricity prices for renewable-generated electricity, far above market prices, wasted a vast amount of capital that could have been otherwise economically allocated in other sectors. Arbitrary, state-established price systems inherent in “green energy” schemes leave the subsidized renewable industry hanging by a very weak thread and, it appears, doomed to dramatic adjustments that will include massive unemployment, loss of capital, dismantlement of productive facilities and perpetuation of inefficient ones.
  16. These schemes create serious “bubble” potential, as Spain is now discovering. The most paradigmatic bubble case can be found in the photovoltaic industry. Even with subsidy schemes leaving the mean sale price of electricity generated from solar photovoltaic power 7 times higher than the mean price of the pool, solar failed even to reach 1% of Spain’s total electricity production in 2008.
  17. The energy future has been jeopardized by the current state of wind or photovoltaic technology (more expensive and less efficient than conventional energy sources). These policies will leave Spain saddled with and further artificially perpetuating obsolete fixed assets, far less productive than cuttingedge technologies, the soaring rates for which soon-to-be obsolete assets the government has committed to maintain at high levels during their lifetime.
  18. The regulator should consider whether citizens and companies need expensive and inefficient energy – a factor of production usable in virtually every human project- or affordable energy to help overcome the economic crisis instead.
  19. The Spanish system also jeopardizes conventional electricity facilities, which are the first to deal with the electricity tariff deficit that the State owes them.
  20. Renewable technologies remained the beneficiaries of new credit while others began to struggle, though this was solely due to subsidies, mandates and related programs. As soon as subsequent programmatic changes take effect which became necessary due to unsustainable” solar growth its credit will also cease.
  21. This proves that the only way for the “renewables” sector - which was never feasible by itself on the basis of consumer demand - to be “countercyclical” in crisis periods is also via government subsidies. These schemes create a bubble, Study about the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources which is boosted as soon as investors find in “renewables” one of the few profitable sectors while when fleeing other investments. Yet it is axiomatic, as we are seeing now, that when crisis arises, the Government cannot afford this growing subsidy cost either, and finally must penalize the artificial renewable industries which then face collapse.
  22. Renewables consume enormous taxpayer resources. In Spain, the average annuity payable to renewables is equivalent to 4.35% of all VAT collected, 3.45% of the household income tax, or 5.6% of the corporate income tax for 2007.

Obama Gets 'F' on Stopping Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/01/25/obama-gets-f-stopping-spread-weapons-mass-destruction/

In a 19-page report card being published Tuesday, the bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism gives the Obama administration an "F" for failing to take key steps the commission outlined just over a year ago in its initial report.

Specifically, the commission concludes that the Obama administration, like the three administrations before it, has failed to pay consistent and urgent attention to increasing the nation's ability to respond quickly and effectively to a germ attack that would inflict massive casualties on the nation.

The commission repeated its warning that unless nations acted decisively and urgently, it was more likely than not that a WMD will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013, and that the terrorists' weapon of choice would be biological, rather than nuclear.

Alito Winces as Obama Slams Supreme Court Ruling

http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2010/01/28/crossroads/entry6149295.shtml

Obama's frontal assault on the Supreme Court in a State of the Union is almost unheard of for a President. Typically, Presidents who get bad Supreme Court rulings (and they've all gotten their share) grimace and bear it, taking the position that the "court has spoken." I don't ever remember a Democratic president, in a State of the Union address, take on the Supreme Court for a recent decision and dare Congress to overturn it.

Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad: Anti-Abortion Commercial to Air

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/tim-tebow-super-bowl-ad-cbs-air-controversial/story?id=9667638

Doctors advised her to abort the fetus. Pam ignored their advice and gave birth on Aug. 14, 1987, to a baby boy. That boy was Tim Tebow.

White House Considers Changing Venue of Terror Trial

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703389004575033000474040096.html?mod=rss_Politics_And_Policy

The Obama administration appears to be backing away from the plan to try the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City.

The White House's revised stance comes amid calls from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others that the trial should be moved out of Manhattan due to security costs, traffic delays and fears of new attacks.

Economy Grows at 5.7% Pace, Fastest Since 2003

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Economy-likely-grew-faster-in-apf-3028347842.html?x=0&.v=9

The economy's faster-than-expected growth at the end of last year, fueled by companies boosting output to keep stockpiles up, is likely to weaken as consumers keep a lid on spending.

Still, economists expect growth to slow this year as companies finish restocking inventories and as government stimulus efforts fade. Many estimate the nation's gross domestic product will grow 2.5 percent to 3 percent in the current quarter and about 2.5 percent or less for the full year.

That won't be fast enough to significantly reduce the unemployment rate, now 10 percent. Most analysts expect the rate to keep rising for several months and remain close to 10 percent through the end of the year.

Heritage Responds To The State Of The Union

http://blog.heritage.org/2010/01/27/reaction-roundup-heritage-responds-to-the-state-of-the-union/

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Forty Years of Feminism Now Bearing Fruit

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/forty_years_of_feminism_now_be.html

A new documentary, Oral Sex Is the New Goodnight Kiss, chronicles America's moral decay. Sharlene Azam, a Canadian filmmaker, says, "If you talk to teens [about oral sex], they'll tell you it's not a big deal. In fact, they don't consider it sex. They don't consider a lot of things sex." In the documentary, teenage girls talk casually about their sexual experiences and even their forays into prostitution.

This is the bitter fruit of forty years of feminist domination in the United States.
Virtue, self-worth, and man's moral value are DOA in the age of the cultural domination of the left. What an awful stench this decaying corpse gives off, lying in a smoldering, fetid pile of ash.


This is how the phony feminist movement empowered women? Girls selling the it for a handbag? Those men-hating parasites have ruined the glorious exaltation of women in 20th-century America.

To say that feminism was one of the worst things to happen to women is being easy. It has been worse for men. The demon seeds of the "liberation" movement are everywhere -- including the epidemic of single motherhood, the breakdown of the American family, the street vernacular of "bitches and hos," the emasculation of men, and the bone-crushing responsibility of single moms acting as mother, father, breadwinner, chief cook, and bottle-washer.

And what has Obama done about all this? He has appointed Kevin Jennings, the founder of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), to be his Safe Schools Czar. GLSEN is notorious for having sponsored a conference at Tufts University at which teenagers were given instruction in an array of risky and dangerous sexual practices. Obama has appointed this radical to head up America's "safe schools," but who is going to keep kids safe from him? This is another terrible Obama choice. Whatever one's sexual preferences or proclivities may be, do not traumatize children. Why can't the schools just teach reading, writing, arithmetic -- and civics?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Congress Went to Denmark, You Got the Bill

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/25/cbsnews_investigates/main6140406.shtml
For 15 Democratic and 6 Republican Congressmen, food and rooms for two nights cost $4,406 tax dollars each. That's $2,200 a day - more than most Americans spend on their monthly mortgage payment.
Total hotel, meeting rooms and "a couple" of $1,000-a-night hospitality suites topped $400,000.

Flights weren't cheap, either. Fifty-nine House and Senate staff flew commercial during the Copenhagen rush. They paid government rates -- $5-10,000 each -- totaling $408,064. Add three military jets -- $168,351 just for flight time -- and the bill tops $1.1 million dollars -- not including all the Obama administration officials who attended: well over 60.

The President's Bank Reforms Don't Add Up

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704509704575019333516533828.html?mod=rss_opinion_main

First, Mr. Obama has proposed to limit the size of banks or their holding companies, or both. The trouble with limiting the size of these institutions is that no one has the faintest idea what the right size is.


The Glass-Steagall Act, despite what we constantly hear in the media and from people who should know better, still applies to banks; it forbids them from engaging in underwriting or dealing in securities. This should prohibit them from engaging in proprietary trading to the extent that this is dealing in securities. Bank holding companies, however, because they are not banks and not government-backed, can engage in any financial activity, including securities dealing. Why would we prohibit them from doing so when they are using their own funds?


Real-estate loans rose to 55% of all bank loans in 2008 from less than 25% in 1965. These loans will continue to rise in the future, because only real-estate, small business and consumer lending are now accessible activities for banks.

This is not a good trend, because the real-estate sector is highly cyclical and volatile. It was, indeed, the vast number of subprime and other risky mortgages in our financial system that caused the weakness of the banks and the financial crisis. Requiring banks to continue to lend to real estate, because they have few other alternatives, virtually guarantees another banking crisis in the future.

NH's Carol Shea Porter: Could Pass Healthcare if Send Men Home

http://www.nowhampshire.com/2010/01/23/shea-porter-send-the-men-home-and-congress-could-pass-health-care-reform/

Obama Said "Big Difference" Between '10 and '94 is "Me"

http://www.politico.com/blogs/glennthrush/0110/Berry_Obama_said_big_difference_between_10_and_94_is_me.html
Berry recounted meetings with White House officials, reminiscent of some during the Clinton days, where he and others urged them not to force Blue Dogs “off into that swamp” of supporting bills that would be unpopular with voters back home.

“I’ve been doing that with this White House, and they just don’t seem to give it any credibility at all,” Berry said. “They just kept telling us how good it was going to be. The president himself, when that was brought up in one group, said, ‘Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.’ We’re going to see how much difference that makes now.”

Whitehouse Brass Split of Stimulus Stats

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31914.html

White House advisers appearing on the Sunday talk shows gave three different estimates of how many jobs could be credited to President Obama’s Recovery Act.

The discrepancy was pointed out by a Republican official in an email to reporters noting that “Three presidential advisers on three different programs [gave] three different descriptions of the trillion-dollar stimulus bill.”

Valerie Jarrett had the most conservative count, saying “the Recovery Act saved thousands and thousands of jobs,” while David Axelrod gave the bill the most credit, saying it has “created more than – or saved more than 2 million jobs.” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs came in between them, saying the plan had “saved or created 1.5 million jobs.”

Global Warming the Scientifc Process

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/global_warming_and_the_science.html

"None of their erstwhile "scientific" observations have included solar cycle or water vapor data, or the sixteen other sources of climate change -- only carbon dioxide data, which is highly suspect."

In fact, a new report is out in which the IPCC admit that their predictions of melting glaciers in the Himalayas by 2035 was based entirely on unscientific "speculation" rather than the scientific evidence they claimed to have.

But why would formerly-respected scientists lie, cheat, and subvert science at the behest of the U.N. and various world governments? The power that controls carbon dioxide output will effectively control every living thing on Earth.

Berkeley's Unbearable Whiteness of Science

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/berkeleys_unbearable_whiteness.html

The racial madness that has left-wing America in its thrall finds its apogee in the Berkeley, California public schools. Berkeley High School is now poised to eliminate science laboratory classes because "science labs were largely classes for white students."

The proposal to put the science-lab cuts on the table was approved recently by Berkeley High's School Governance Council, a body of teachers, parents, and students who oversee a plan to change the structure of the high school to address Berkeley's dismal racial achievement gap, where white students are doing far better than the state average while black and Latino students are doing worse.

So in order to "help" black and Latino students, the idea is to eliminate the opportunity for said students to make something of themselves through science. Those students who excel will be disfavored, while those who do not will be given more resources.

18 Drivers of Climate

http://plantsneedco2.org/default.aspx?act=documentdetails.aspx&documentid=361&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Friday, January 22, 2010

America's Climategate

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/climategate_cru_was_but_the_ti.html


Not surprisingly, the blatant corruption exposed at Britain’s premiere climate institute was not contained within the nation’s borders. Just months after the Climategate scandal broke, a new study has uncovered compelling evidence that our government’s principal climate centers have also been manipulating worldwide temperature data in order to fraudulently advance the global warming political agenda.

This time out, the alleged perpetrators are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

Perhaps the key point discovered by Smith was that by 1990, NOAA had deleted from its datasets all but 1,500 of the 6,000 thermometers in service around the globe.

It seems that stations placed in historically cooler, rural areas of higher latitude and elevation were scrapped from the data series in favor of more urban locales at lower latitudes and elevations. Consequently, post-1990 readings have been biased to the warm side not only by selective geographic location, but also by the anthropogenic heating influence of a phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI).

The recent NOAA proclamation that June 2009 was the second-warmest June in 130 years will go down in the history books, despite multiple satellite assessments ranking it as the 15th-coldest in 31 years.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why Government Spending Does Not Stimulate Economic Growth

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Economy/bg2354.cfm
  • The fact that government failed to spend its way to prosperity is not an isolated incident:
  • During the 1930s, New Deal lawmakers doubled federal spending--yet unemployment remained above 20 percent until World War II.
  • Japan responded to a 1990 recession by passing 10 stimulus spending bills over 8 years (building the largest national debt in the industrialized world)--yet its economy remained stagnant.
  • In 2001, President Bush responded to a recession by "injecting" tax rebates into the economy. The economy did not respond until two years later, when tax rate reductions were implemented.
  • In 2008, President Bush tried to head off the current recession with another round of tax rebates. The recession continued to worsen.
  • Now, the most recent $787 billion stimulus bill was intended to keep the unemployment rate from exceeding 8 percent. In November, it topped 10 percent.[2]

Congress cannot create new purchasing power out of thin air. If it funds new spending with taxes, it is simply redistributing existing purchasing power (while decreasing incentives to produce income and output). If Congress instead borrows the money from domestic investors, those investors will have that much less to invest or to spend in the private economy. If they borrow the money from foreigners, the balance of payments will adjust by equally raising net imports, leaving total demand and output unchanged. Every dollar Congress spends must first come from somewhere else.

Removing water from one end of a swimming pool and pouring it in the other end will not raise the overall water level. Similarly, taking dollars from one part of the economy and distributing it to another part of the economy will not expand the economy.

But savings do not drop out of the economy. Nearly all people put their savings in: (1) banks, which quickly lend the money to others to spend; (2) investments in stocks and bonds; or (3) personal debt reduction. In each of these situations, the financial system transfers one person's savings to someone else who can spend it. So all money is quickly spent regardless of whether it was initially consumed or saved. The only savings that drop out of the economy are those hoarded in mattresses and safes.

Accepting that domestic borrowing is no free lunch, some analysts have asserted that foreign borrowing can inject new dollars into the economy. However, these nations must acquire American dollars before they can lend them back to Washington. Foreign countries can acquire American dollars by either:

  • Attracting American investments in their country. In that instance, the dollars leaving America match the dollars lent back to America. The net flow of saving circulating through the U.S. economy does not increase.
  • Selling goods and services to Americans and receiving American dollars in return. For the United States, these imports raise the trade deficit and thus reduce domestic demand. The government's subsequent borrowing back and spending of these dollars merely offsets the increased trade deficit.

In either situation, American dollars must first leave the country before they can be lent back into the U.S. economy. The balance of payments between America and other nations must net zero. Consequently, government spending funded from foreign borrowing does not provide stimulus.

Thus, not all tax cuts are created equal. The economic impact of a tax cut depends on how much it alters behavior to encourage labor supply or productivity. This productivity standard is the same as the one applied to government spending in the previous section.
Tax rebates fail to increase economic growth because they are not associated with productivity or work effort. No new income is created because no one is required to work, save, or invest more in order to receive a rebate. In that sense, rebates that write each American a check are economically indistinguishable from government spending programs. In fact, the federal government treats rebate checks as a "social benefit payment to persons."[20] They represent another feeble attempt at creating new purchasing power out of thin air rather than focusing on productivity.

Tax rebates in 1975, 2001, and 2008 all failed to create economic growth. By contrast, large reductions in marginal tax rates in the 1920s, 1960s, and 1980s were each followed by large surges in economic growth.[21] More recently, the 2003 tax-rate reductions immediately reversed the job losses, sinking stock market, declining business investment, and sluggish economic growth rates that had followed the 2000 recession.[22] These gains continued until unrelated economic developments brought the most recent recession in December 2007.[23]

Stimulus Money Goes to Discredited Climate Scienetist Michael Mann

http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/2010/01/20/the-stimulus-works/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Flatest+%28Text+-+Latest+Headlines%29

Mann was also a central figure in the Climate-Gate email scandal, which showed prominent global warming alarmists to be fudging the data and squelching dissent.

According to today's Wall Street Journal, more than $2.4 million is "stimulating" the career of Michael Mann:

Mr. Mann came by his grants via the National Science Foundation, which received $3 billion in stimulus money. Last June, the foundation approved a $541,184 grant to fund [Mann's] work [...] He received another grant worth nearly $1.9 million [...] Both grants say they were "funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009."

Obama to Nationalize Student Lending with Pending Budget Bill

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/60074

A bill currently before the Senate would empower the Obama administration to nationalize the student lending industry, eliminating the federally subsidized private loans millions of university students rely on to finance their educations.

Under the current system, the federal government subsidizes private financial institutions in order to entice those institutions to provide low-interest loans to students.

Under this arrangement the government sets the interest rates lenders may charge students. In return, the government reimburses lenders if market interest rates rise above the interest rates on the loans – in essence, the government reimburses private lenders if they begin losing money on the loans.

In return, the lenders agree to return any windfall profits made from the loans to the government. In other words, if market interest rates fall below the interest rates of the loans, the lenders pay the government the difference.

The government also agrees to reimburse the lenders should a student default.

Under the system proposed by Obama, the government would cut private lenders out of the picture entirely, setting the interest rates and collecting payments directly for all student lending.

Whether or not the government saw a profit or a loss from the new, federal loans would depend on the rate at which the government borrows money. For instance, the law currently sets the interest rate for direct loans at a maximum of 6.8 percent.

Under Obama’s proposal, if the government can borrow money at a rate lower than 6.8 percent, it would realize the difference as profit. If the government’s borrowing rate were to fall in the future, its profit on student loans would grow.

The idea to nationalize student lending was first put forth in President Obama’s fiscal-year 2010 budget and marketed as a way to save the government billions of dollars. According to a CBO estimate, the proposal would save the government $87 billion over 10 years.

The savings estimate results from the fact that the government believes it will collect more in interest payments from students than it would otherwise have to pay in fees to lenders.

How Poor Are America's Poor? Examining the "Plague" of Poverty in America

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/bg2064.cfm

The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:
  • Forty-three percent of all poor households actually own their own homes.
  • The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
  • Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, in 1970, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
  • Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
  • The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
  • Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 31 percent own two or more cars.
    Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
  • Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
  • Eighty-nine percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.

As a group, America's poor are far from being chronically undernourished. The average consumption of protein, vitamins, and minerals is virtually the same for poor and middle-class children and, in most cases, is well above recommended norms. Poor children actually consume more meat than do higher-income children and have average protein intakes 100 percent above recommended levels. Most poor children today are, in fact, supernourished and grow up to be, on average, one inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in World War II.

While the poor are generally well nourished, some poor families do experience temporary food shortages. But even this condition is relatively rare; 89 percent of the poor report their families have "enough" food to eat, while only 2 percent say they "often" do not have enough to eat.

Overall, the typical American defined as poor by the government has a car, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family's essential needs. While this individual's life is not opulent, it is equally far from the popular images of dire poverty conveyed by the press, liberal activists, and politicians.

2010 Economic Freedom Index

http://www.heritage.org/index/pdf/2010/Index2010_ExecutiveHighlights.pdf

The positive relationship between economic freedom and prosperity is confirmed yet gain in the 2010 Index. Gross domestic product per capita is much higher in countries that score well in the Index. The positive relationship holds true at all levels of economic freedom but becomes even more dramatic as economic freedom increases.

Economic freedom improves the overall quality of life, promotes political and social progress, and supports environmental protection. The 2010 Index provides strong evidence that economic freedom has far-reaching positive impacts on various aspects of human development. Economic freedom correlates with poverty reduction, a variety of desirable social indicators, democratic governance, and environmental sustainability.

Michelle Obama: Snakeskin and Skin in the Game

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/michelle_obama_snakeskin_and_s.html

Michelle's statement about measuring character on what is done, rather than what is said, presents a moral dilemma for the First Lady and President Obama, both of whom never come close to exemplifying the injunctions both freely impose on everyone else.

Nevertheless, Michelle can't very well censure Barack for what she is also guilty of doing. Prior to Obama being elected, Michelle militantly spoke the words, "Barack will require [emphasis mine] his flock to work." Once in the White House, the First Lady, having no official duties per se, hired a staff of 22 assistants with combined salaries totaling $1.5 million per year to assist her every whim. Michelle's words portended imposed toil on the "flock" while harboring full intent to partake of a sumptuous, power-pampered lifestyle -- regardless of whether the rest of the nation wallowed endlessly in the throes of a Great Recession.
Michelle also said, "Barack will demand [emphasis mine] that America sheds its cynicism." Then, while volunteering at a Washington, D.C. food bank, the First Lady fed the impoverished while shod in $540 Lanvin sneakers. Over the past year, through repeated thoughtless actions, Michelle Obama has contributed greatly to Americans' pervasive distrust of each others' professed integrity and motives.


The First Lady also forewarned, "Barack will demand [emphasis mine] ... that America move out of its comfort zone." Yet if Mrs. Obama expresses a hankering for organic kale, then Washington, D.C. promptly shuts down. Three dozen vehicles set to work, police and Secret Service sweep the area, dogs sniff for bombs, barricades are erected, and fruit stands are staked out with magnetometers and rooftop binoculars. Only then, in an armored limo, can Michelle be ferried to the organic food stand to be welcomed with flower leis and cowbells by extremely uncomfortable people cordoned safely off to the side -- far from their comfort zone.

In the UCLA speech, Michelle uttered rousing words of freedom from oppression and overbearing control, claiming firsthand knowledge of the fact that Americans "are sick and tired of other people telling them how their lives will be." In spite of that, the First Lady heartily approves of dictatorial, liberty-curtailing decrees, enforced governmental management, and a presidential agenda poised to significantly impact everybody's life but her own.

The most poignant Michelle Obama declaration was this: "Barack will never allow [emphasis mine] you to go back to your lives as usual." One year later, after thousands of hours of empty, hypocritical rhetoric, Barack's "requiring," "demanding," and "never allowing" actually appear to be words he plans to back up with action. To do so, he needs Harry Reid, which is probably why the First Lady held her nose and said she absolved the contrite senator.

However, if the past is any indication of the future, then Michelle, like Barack, is first and foremost concerned with personal political expediency, power, and prestige. With that in mind, although the First Lady graciously extended public exoneration toward Harry Reid, in reality, it's highly unlikely that she ever really intended to do what was said.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Barney Frank - God Didn’t Create the Filibuster

http://www.breitbart.tv/barney-frank-god-didnt-create-the-filibuster/

In Epic Upset, GOP's Brown Wins Mass. Senate Race

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_massachusetts_senate

In an epic upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to win the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy for nearly half a century, leaving President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in doubt and marring the end of his first year in office.

The loss by the once-favored Democrat Martha Coakley in the Democratic stronghold was a stunning embarrassment for the White House after Obama rushed to Boston on Sunday to try to save the foundering candidate. Her defeat on Tuesday signaled big political problems for the president's party this fall when House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates are on the ballot nationwide.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending - September 30, 1999

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/30/business/fannie-mae-eases-credit-to-aid-mortgage-lending.html?pagewanted=1

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, does not lend money directly to consumers. Instead, it purchases loans that banks make on what is called the secondary market. By expanding the type of loans that it will buy, Fannie Mae is hoping to spur banks to make more loans to people with less-than-stellar credit ratings.

But they add that the move is intended in part to increase the number of minority and low income home owners who tend to have worse credit ratings than non-Hispanic whites.

Home ownership has, in fact, exploded among minorities during the economic boom of the 1990's. The number of mortgages extended to Hispanic applicants jumped by 87.2 per cent from 1993 to 1998, according to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. During that same period the number of African Americans who got mortgages to buy a home increased by 71.9 per cent and the number of Asian Americans by 46.3 per cent.

In contrast, the number of non-Hispanic whites who received loans for homes increased by 31.2 per cent.

The change in policy also comes at the same time that HUD is investigating allegations of racial discrimination in the automated underwriting systems used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to determine the credit-worthiness of credit applicants.

AFT President Randi Weingarten on Social Justice



"We have to do more than simply instruct children 7 hours a day...the community school can be the hub of the community. If you know kids...need resources to level the playing field for themselves...it became a no brainer."

The Backlash Is Coming!

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704586504574654602781512842.html

That election, which will be held on Tuesday, was widely seen as a formality. Ms. Coakley coasted through the holiday season while the GOP challenger, little-known state Sen. Scott Brown, scrambled for traction.

Those extremes are cropping up as issues in this race. One is giving civilian legal rights to terror suspects, which Ms. Coakley supports.

Another issue is taxes. Mr. Brown has scolded Ms. Coakley for supporting a repeal of the Bush tax cuts, for entertaining the idea of passing a "war tax," and for proclaiming in a recent debate that "we need to get taxes up." Ms. Coakley says she meant that tax revenues, not rates, need to rebound. Nonetheless, Mr. Brown's critique resonates with voters who are smarting from a 25% hike in sales tax last year.

Support for the state's universal health-care law, close to 70% in 2008, is also in free fall; only 32% of state residents told Rasmussen earlier this month that they'd call it a success, with 36% labeling it a failure. The rest were unsure. Massachusetts families pay the country's highest health insurance premiums, with costs soaring at a rate 7% ahead of the national average, according to a recent report by the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Voting Democrat Causes Cancer

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/voting_democrat_causes_cancer.html

Barack Obama won with 53% of the vote, which means the cancer mortality rate could be reduced by almost 66 -- or from the current U.S. average of 209 to about 143 deaths per 100,000 person-years -- if everyone refused to vote Democrat. That is a reduction of over 30% in cancer deaths. Given that there are over 500,000 cancer deaths in the U.S. every year, over 150,000 cancer deaths could be averted by not voting Democrat.
Also, the 0.594 correlation coefficient indicates that about 35% of cancer mortality is "explained" by voting Democrat. (The amount of explanation is the square of the correlation coefficient.) Thus, not all cancers are caused by voting Democrat.

Harry Reid said, "On average, an American dies from lack of health insurance every ten minutes." If he can say that, then I can say, "On average, an American dies from voting Democrat every 3.5 minutes." Both statements are equally valid.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Inalienable vs. Unalienable Rights

http://appeal2heaven.com/2009/04/29/inalienable-vs-unalienable-rights/

Inalienable Rights are defined as: Rights which are not capable of being surrendered or transferred without the consent of the one possessing such rights.
According to Morrison v. State, Mo. App., 252 S.W.2d 97, 101.

Unalienable Rights are defined as: [Rights which are] incapable of being alienated, that is, sold and transferred.
According to Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition.

This is a fairly important philosophical distinction that has been lost through the evolution of language. It is highly important to understand that when the two words did hold separate meanings, the Declaration committee of the Continental Congress opted to use the word, “unalienable,” in the final draft of the Declaration of Independence, over Jefferson’s original wording which included, ‘inalienable.’

Without getting too deep into meta-ethics, it’s clear that the committee supported the idea that human rights, or Natural Rights, where inherent to all people and could not be transferred, even by those having the rights. Most importantly – these rights where not created by governments – but rather, where acknowledged to already pre-exist and supersede government.

Survey on the American Revolution

http://www.americanrevolutioncenter.org/sites/default/files/ARCv27_web.pdf
  • On the 27-question test within the survey, a national sample of American adults scored an average of only 44 percent correct.
  • Nearly 83 percent received a failing grade.
  • Only four of the 27 questions were answered correctly by 70 percent or more of respondents.
  • Half did not have even a basic understanding of historical chronology, believing that either the Civil War, Emancipation Proclamation, or War of 1812 occurred before the American Revolution.
  • Many more Americans knew that Michael Jackson authored “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” than knew that James Madison was the Father of the Constitution, or that Alexander Hamilton was the first Treasury Secretary.
  • Only 11 percent of Americans could identify John Jay as the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Compare that to the 60 percent who knew the number of children of Jon and Kate Gosselin, a reality-TV show couple.
  • More than 50 percent of Americans wrongly attributed the quote “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” to either George Washington, Thomas Paine, or President Barack Obama, when it is in fact a quote from Karl Marx, author of The Communist Manifesto.
  • One-third did not know that the right to a jury trial is covered in the Bill of Rights, while 40
    percent mistakenly thought that the right to vote is.
  • From a list of major battles, two-thirds of Americans could not correctly name Yorktown
    as the last major military action of the American Revolution.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tom Harkin - Healthcare is an Inalienable Right



I beg to differ Mr. Harkin:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR [NOT CONGRESS] with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Government Payroll Has Now Replaced Goods-Producing Jobs

http://seekingalpha.com/article/180879-employment-chart-goods-producing-vs-government-jobs
The Goods Producing category currently includes less than a million workers in mining and logging, about 6 million in construction, and 11.7 million in manufacturing.

The Government category includes 2.8 million federal employees and almost 20 million state and local workers, just over half of whom work in education.

The Current State of Our Economy

http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2009/12/summary-and-look-ahead.html






The End of Insurance

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/the_end_of_insurance.html

A key insurance concept is the need for a large, diversified pool of policyholders so that the insurance company can predict the pool's catastrophic events, and so that such events will be rare. Any concentration of risk in the insurance pool will increase premiums, given the negative impact of those excess payouts on the insurance company's bottom line. Obama and Reid have produced a bill that turns this insurance concept on its head by i) preventing underwriting based on medical risk and ii) requiring citizens (and employers) to purchase insurance or pay a fee. This combination guarantees an adverse selection problem whereby healthy people will pay the cheaper fee until sick and in need of insurance, whereupon they will enroll for non-deniable insurance. Risk pools will become sick pools, and insurance will become a pass-through vehicle for the cost of sick policyholders. The benefit of healthy participants, formerly shared by all policyholders, will be eliminated.

Risk-sharing is another key insurance concept. The policyholder and the insurer share risks and costs, but in exchange, the policyholder is mostly or fully protected against catastrophic economic loss (a home burning down, death, or expensive illness). When the policyholder retains non-catastrophic but more frequent expenses, the cost of the insurance (the premium) is reduced because the insurance company need charge less to make the same shareholder return. Obama and Reid have produced a bill that must raise policyholder premiums because it increases insurance company expenses by i) taxing drugs, devices, and policies; ii) eliminating "unreasonable" annual or lifetime limits on insurance company payouts; and iii) establishing maximum out-of-pocket limits for policyholders.

Because every liberal Democratic policy must be rooted in class envy, Barack Obama has vilified the health insurance companies. His lynch-mob sentiment is again defied by facts -- these insurance "robber barons" are not very profitable, nestled somewhere between the 35th- and 86th-most profitable U.S. industries, with a 2-3% return on sales.

Nonetheless, Obama and Reid reassure us that profits will be regulated through state exchanges, cost incurrence mandated, and minimum policy standards established. In other words, health insurance pricing, profits, and products will be governmentally determined. That's a regulated public utility, a framework typically used to address monopolistic situations (not the case with health insurers and potentially unconstitutional).

Obama's and Reid's plan not only increases costs as described above, but also by requiring coverage of numerous non-catastrophic ($25-$400) items -- abortion, prescription drugs, lab services, wellness and preventative services, oral care, and vision care. For all these reasons, the bill will dramatically increase insurance company costs with one of only two possible conclusions -- premiums will increase commensurate with costs through the utility model (government-controlled health care), or government-imposed price controls will drive private sector players out of business (government-owned health care).

The Senate bill also funds abortion. If you are confused on that point, that's a desired effect of its complexity. Nothing about states opting in/out or policyholders paying a separate $12 premium for a $400 procedure changes this. The reason Obama favors the Senate over the House version (that directly prohibits federal funding of abortion) is obvious, given his pro-abortion record.

A baby's heart begins beating about 20 days, hiccups begin 52 days, and organs function eight weeks after conception.

Minority babies have been disproportionately affected because most abortion facilities target lower-income mothers unaware of pro-life choices and the availability of prenatal care. (Eighty percent of Planned Parenthood locations are in minority neighborhoods.) Since Roe v. Wade, it is estimated that one-third of the black population has been eliminated, killing 13 million black babies totaling 40+% of all abortions despite the fact that only 12% of all U.S. women are black.

Harry Reid, Liberalism & Race

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/harry_reid_liberalism_race.html

The truth is that Harry Reid and his liberal cohorts are the very definition of racists. They do not see "minorities" as individuals, but as part of a faceless group of victims. Joe Biden and Harry Reid give us a clear picture of how liberals view black Americans: none too bright, not very clean, have very dark skin and speak Ebonics or jive, except for Obama and a few others. That is called racial stereotyping. Liberals deny they do this, but out of the abundance of their hearts, their mouths speak.

Conservatives on the other hand see people as individuals, not unwashed and victimized masses. They do not look upon black Americans as a group to be rescued, but as individuals to be respected -- or not -- based on character and ability. This view of life makes them far less susceptible to the racial obsession which drives liberals to politically correct madness. When Trent Lott made his infamous Strom Thurmond remark, most Republicans -- including then-President Bush -- refused to stand by him, Although in my view they overreacted, they were unwilling to rationalize or justify racist speech and behavior. They do not suffer from the delusion of liberals who see themselves as the privileged paragons of racial sensitivity.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

'Homophobia' and Music Ed?

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Education/Default.aspx?id=839752

In the article, Bergonzi contends that traditional music education reinforces a heterosexual lifestyle to the detriment of homosexual students who often feel left out. He notes that traditionally speaking, heterosexual love is often the subject of most music -- and argues that as a result, heterosexual students are often more privileged than their homosexual counterparts. He goes on to argue that homosexual music students often feel left out and have no one to talk to about their love issues. The music professor also makes mention that heterosexual music teachers have advantages over their homosexual co-workers because they do not have to hide their true selves. Bergonzi ultimately concludes that sexual orientation should be a vital aspect of music education, and that homosexual musicians should be highlighted and celebrated.

Wow, just wow.

UN Scientist Admits 'Global Warming has Paused, and There May Well be Some Cooling'...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1242011/DAVID-ROSE-The-mini-ice-age-starts-here.html

The bitter winter afflicting much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years, say some of the world’s most eminent climate scientists.

Their predictions – based on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans – challenge some of the global warming orthodoxy’s most deeply cherished beliefs, such as the claim that the North Pole will be free of ice in summer by 2013.

The scientists’ predictions also undermine the standard climate computer models, which assert that the warming of the Earth since 1900 has been driven solely by man-made greenhouse gas emissions and will continue as long as carbon dioxide levels rise.

They say that their research shows that much of the warming was caused by oceanic cycles when they were in a ‘warm mode’ as opposed to the present ‘cold mode’.
'They have now gone into reverse, so winters like this one will become much more likely. Summers will also probably be cooler, and all this may well last two decades or longer.

‘That hasn’t happened for several decades,’ he pointed out. ‘It just isn’t true to say this is a blip. We can expect colder winters for quite a while.’

Reid Apologizes for 'no Negro dialect' Comment

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100109/ap_on_el_se/us_obama_reid

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada described in private then-Sen. Barack Obama as "light skinned" and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." Obama is the nation's first African-American president.

"I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comments," Reid said in a statement released after the excerpts were first reported on the Web site of The Atlantic.

Interesting given the fact that Obama was not so quick to forgive racist comments from the other side of the aisle:
http://weeklystandard.com/tws/daily/daily.asp#blog-307820

[Obama] said: "The Republican Party itself has to drive out Trent Lott. If they have to stand for something, they have to stand up and say this is not the person we want representing our party."