Saturday, February 28, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

What a Surprise!

It truly does boggle the mind.
Among the eight members named Friday to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and the 10 senior policy aides who will assist them in their work, two own American models. Add the Treasury Department's special adviser to the task force and the total jumps to three.

Do we have any more takers for my new line of Obama Party bumper stickers?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Welcome to Ludicrous Land

Line of the day:
Assembly Speaker Karen Bass urged state employees facing layoffs to call Republican senators and press them to vote for the budget.

Obviously her primary concern is the state employees' unions that fill her campaign coffers, versus the constitutents that she's planning to soak with a massive tax increase.
The tax hikes include an increase of 1 cent on the dollar in the state sales tax, a 12-cent-a-gallon hike in the gasoline tax and a boost in vehicle licensing fees.

The measure also includes a one-time, 5-percent income tax surcharge for taxpayers who owe money to the state at the end of 2009.

My personal opinion: if 10,000 California state employees were abducted by aliens overnight, the next morning, state offices would operate exactly in the same fashion they do now -- late, surly, and patently incompetent.

What Bass and her fellow nitwits have not and will not figure out is that people have reached the price limit they are willing to pay for this state's shitty government. Californians are not opposed to premium prices; they are opposed to paying premium prices for pathetic services.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

The headline alone of this op-ed by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings tells the story.
I’M the chief executive of a publicly traded company and, like my peers, I’m very highly paid. The difference between salaries like mine and those of average Americans creates a lot of tension, and I’d like to offer a suggestion. President Obama should celebrate our success, rather than trying to shame us or cap our pay. But he should also take half of our huge earnings in taxes, instead of the current one-third.

Then, the next time a chief executive earns an eye-popping amount of money, we can cheer that half of it is going to pay for our soldiers, schools and security. Higher taxes on huge pay days can finance opportunity for the next generation of Americans.

Ah yes, another one of those lovely "billionaire whines that they should pay more in taxes" stories.
Warren Buffett, the third-richest man in the world, has criticised the US tax system for allowing him to pay a lower rate than his secretary and his cleaner.

Speaking at a $4,600-a-seat fundraiser in New York for Senator Hillary Clinton, Mr Buffett, who is worth an estimated $52 billion (£26 billion), said: “The 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter. If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.”

My response: Messrs Buffett and Hastings, if you really, really want to give 50% of your assets to the US Treasury, be my guest. You certainly don't need the tax codes to be changed to do that; all you need to do is get a pen and write the damn check.

But of course, you're not doing that. You're getting up in front, you're blustering, you're posturing about how your secretary is (inexplicably) paying a higher tax rate than you are, but every April 15th, you're still only paying your 17.7% or whatever rate.

Put your money where your mouth is. If you want to pay 50% of your assets in taxes, pay it. No one's stopping you. No one's complaining. But if you did, that would actually require you to pay what you're demanding of others, and as we see from Daschle, Rangel, Franken, Solis, Geithner, and Obama, that is the last thing any good Obama Party member is ever going to do.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Can They Get Any Clearer?

One would think this would be enough.
President Obama's economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.

That is, if you thought the concerns of the Obama Party actually had anything to do with the economy.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Savor the Irony

Rarely do examples this stark of the priorities of the Obama Party come along.
Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s support for aerial wolf-hunting has sparked a heated cross-country war of words between the governor and an environmental ad campaign fronted by the actress Ashley Judd, with Palin calling the organization funding the ads an “extreme fringe group.”

The squabble began Tuesday when the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund unveiled a campaign called “Eye on Palin,” targeting the governor for what they call her “extreme anti-conservation policies.”

The group is highlighting “Palin’s championing of the brutal and unnecessary aerial killing of wolves and other carnivores” — a controversial practice allowed by permit in Alaska since 2003, with the goal of protecting populations of moose and caribou.

My question: Why does Judd oppose the limited killing of wolves for logical and scientific reasons when she herself endorses the unlimited killing of humans for personal convenience?

Monday, February 02, 2009


To paraphrase Santayana, those who choose to ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Smells Like Desperation

If there is one theme going through all the propaganda outlets of the Obama Party this week, it's why the government needs to waste billions of dollars on contraceptives, resodding the National Mall, and god knows what else instead of simply cutting taxes.

The stimulus is about one-third tax cuts and two-thirds government spending. The trade-off is fairly simple: Tax cuts work quickly but ineffectively, because much of the money is saved. Most government spending takes longer to implement, but generates more impact because the money is spent.

Um, according to the Obama Party's own chief economic advisor, bullshit.
A key issue facing the new Obama administration is to what extent the economic stimulus should take the form of spending increases versus tax reduction. One way to think about the issue is the size of the fiscal policy multipliers. The multipliers measure bang for the buck--the amount of short-run GDP expansion one gets from a dollar of spending hikes or tax cuts.

So what are these multipliers? In their new blog, Bob Hall and Susan Woodward look at spending increases from World War II and the Korean War and conclude that the government spending multiplier is about one: A dollar of government spending raises GDP by about a dollar. Similarly, the results in Valerie Ramey's research suggest a government spending multiplier of about 1.4. (Valerie does not present her results in multiplier form, but she emails me this translation: "The right column of figure 5A of my paper shows that for a log change of government spending of 1, log GDP rises by 0.28, implying an elasticity of 0.28. To back out the implied multiplier, we can use the fact that government spending averages around 20% of GDP. This implies a multiplier of 1.4.")

By contrast, recent research by Christina Romer and David Romer looks at tax changes and concludes that the tax multiplier is about three: A dollar of tax cuts raises GDP by about three dollars. The puzzle is that, taken together, these findings are inconsistent with the conventional Keynesian model. According to that model, taught even in my favorite textbook, spending multipliers necessarily exceed tax multipliers.

So when that blows up, again, the Obama Party Ministry of Propaganda mainstream media, starts with the ultimate scare tactic: we can't have tax cuts because Americans will save the money instead of spending it!
Americans are hunkering down and saving more. For a recession-battered economy, it couldn't be happening at a worse time.

Economists call it the "paradox of thrift." What's good for individuals — spending less, saving more — is bad for the economy when everyone does it.

Little did I know how much my grandparents hated America when they bought a house with cash and just used their old living room set; if they had been truly patriotic, they would have taken out a no-money-down subprime mortgage, maxed out their cards to fill it with furniture, and then demanded that their Social Security checks be increased to pay their interest costs.

And how evil and unpatriotic I am for buying a seven-year-old American-brand car with cash; had I really cared about the good of our country and self-sacrifice, I would have spent nine times the amount to impress the neighbors with an appropriate high-end brand, borrowed it all, and spent eight years paying through the nose for depreciation, interest, and insurance.

However, because of this treasonous behavior, our banks have one less toxic mortgage, bad credit card, and nonperforming auto loan -- and two rapidly-growing savings accounts. Meanwhile, my financial terrorism against the United States has made several hundred more dollars a month available for me to use in purchasing good, strong, dividend-paying value stocks and bonds.

In short, what we are doing is keeping toxic assets off the banks' books, injecting cash into the banking system, and providing companies and local entities with investment money for improvements. We are making all of these changes without it costing taxpayers a dime or requiring any bit of government intervention.

Which is likely why the Obama Party hates it.