“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Biden As VP?

My worst fear is coming true. Word has it that Delaware's- and perhaps the world's- greatest plagiarist, Joe Biden, is the leading candidate to be the junior Illinois Senator's pick for VP.

What has the world come to? A totally inexperienced, empty-suited Democratic candidate for President and a confirmed plagiarist and general idiot as his running mate?

I knew Peggy Noonan had finally gone around the bend when I read her approval of Biden as VP in her Wall Street Journal editorial this past weekend. She actually thinks he has 'foreign policy experience.' Really?

How so? Sitting on a Senate committee means little. Look at Biden's prospective boss, Obama. He's chair of a Senate foreign policy committee and hasn't even held a hearing. He's been too busy climbing the political ladder before the magic dust wears off of voters and they see him for the fraud that he is.

Perhaps, though, Biden as candidate for VP on the Democratic ticket is actually a good thing. Maybe with him on the lower half of the ticket, voters will see the Democrats as clearly offering inexperience, lies and bad ideas for the White House and our country.

As long as McCain doesn't pick a complete bozo, he's probably got the edge.

I mean, between barely-intelligible sound bites from Biden, and his rich and acknowledged history of stealing other peoples' words, how can he possibly be an asset to any ticket?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Laura Tyson's Attempt To Explain Obamanomics

Yesterday, on CNBC, ex-Clinton economics czar and current advisor to the freshman Senator from Illinois, Laura Tyson, tried in vain to paint a rosy picture of her new boss' tax plans.

Whenever the CNBC co-anchor probed Tyson regarding Obama's planned tax hikes for the 'wealthy' earning over $200K (single) or $250K (joint/married) annual income, the advisor kept singling out 'benefits' those taxpayers would enjoy.

Specifically, Tyson ignored the income rate hikes for the middle- and upper-income taxpayers, saying something like,

'Even the wealthy will get a benefit from the proposed 20% capital gains rate. The point is to see that overall this proposal will be good for the country.'

Every time a question was asked about specific income levels, ordinary, annual, recurring income and the taxes thereon, Tyson would retreat back to claiming that everyone would get something, and the economy would be better off.

She simply avoided admitting that the rookie from Illinois plans to pay for his big spending plans with tax hikes on everyone in or above the US economic middle class.

It was a classic display of political denial and waffling on Tyson's part. I guess her years with Bubba rubbed off on her after all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Steny Hoyer's Myopia

Monday's Wall Street Journal featured another two people of some national prominence providing their answer to how $10 billion could most productively be spent over four years.

Steny Hoyer, the current Democratic House majority leader, was one of the respondents. Steny is the kind of guy for whom the term 'amiable dunce' was invented.

For example, he begins his diatribe with a totally unrelated swipe at President George Bush. Hoyer alleges that Bush has simply been able to,

"turn a projected $5.6 trillion budget surplus into a projected $5.6 trillion budget deficit in less than eight years."

Of course, dunce Steny doesn't seem to remember that we are...ah...fighting a shooting war in Afghanistan and Iraq!

Wake up, Steny! Or perhaps go back to Maryland. For good.

Steny then goes on to exhibit his total lack of understanding of our free enterprise system. Hoyer alleges,

"Right now, 311 million acres of public land are available for oil leasing. Of those the oil companies are sitting idle on 68 million acres, including 33 million on the Outer Continental Shelf. Republicans seem incapable of acknowledging that those 68 million acres are already leased, yet completely undrilled. The public wants drilling on that land, and Democrats agree."

Steny's ignorance would be funny, if it weren't so seriously damaging to American interests.

You see, Steny, 'the oil companies,' which you obviously despise, can't even explore for oil on land without leasing it. First they lease. Then they test and explore.

Then, if there is promising evidence of oil or gas, they drill.

Get it?

Sure, everyone wishes every acre of leased land could be drilled for profitable oil production. But that's not how it works. However, the fat and lazy Democratic Congress gets revenues from leased land, whether it was drillable, or not.

Steny, here's a basic lesson in economics. If a company leases land for oil exploration, and it believes oil is on/under that land, and global prices hit all-time highs, the company will drill to produce that oil faster than you can grab a free, lobbyist-paid-for lunch.

The reason 'the oil companies' want to explore on new land is that the 68 million acres under lease, but not producing, fall into one of two categories.

Either they have been explored, are in the process of producing, but not yet producing oil or gas. In which case they show up on Federal reports as 'non-producing.'

Or, they don't have commercial potential, and will never be drilled.

Oh, one other thing, Steny. Oil leases have finite lives. The companies which lease land have to develop the land within a stated period of time, or the land/mineral rights revert back to the Federal government.

But, all of this hot air Steny expends in the column has yet to address the $10B question!

When he finally gets down to that issue, Steny is sadly predictable. Much like his colleague in the Senate, and the next state, Joe Biden, Steny shamelessly steals his 'ideas' from others.

In this case, Steny's big idea is for the Federal government to spend the $10B creating new energy industries from the usual culprits....errr....sources: wind, solar, thermal, fuel cells, etc.

The usual mix of low-power, unreliable energy sources that will likely never be weaned off of Federal cash to become economically viable on their own.

But, oh, the parade of applicants and supplicants to a Democratic Congress dispensing $10B of energy tax credits, grants, and seed money.

Oh, the votes and voters $10B of Federal money could buy!

Ironically, Hoyer ends his paean to government control by writing,

"In the 21st century, it will take more than an accident of geography to be a world energy leader: It will take innovation, ingenuity and smart investment."

It sure will, Steny. But why would anyone think any of those would come from Federal government civil service drones, or political hacks like you?

No, Newt Gingrich has it right in his view of this issue, about which I wrote in this recent post.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Obama's MisLeading Tax 'Plan'

The junior Senator from Illinois had his economic policy advisors stumping the cable news channels and writing in the Wall Street Journal last week to spread the word about his tax 'plan.'

Suddenly, the rookie's economics guys have him sounding positively magnanimous. According to them, gone is the specter of the big, bad tax-and-spend Obama.

I guess it's just ....borrow????....and spend now.

Seriously, the point that Austin Goolsbee, Obama's discredited economics counsel from U of Chicago, made recurringly is that his boss wants to lower the capital gains rates to 20%. That's what they trumpet far and wide.

What gets less attention is that the freshman Senator, who has no private sector experience whatsoever, and a short public one, at that, wants to tax the hell out of everyone considered middle class.

That's $200,000 AGI for single filers, and $250,000 for couples.

As I wrote last November, in this post, Alan Reynolds has demolished the notion that these income levels constitute 'wealthy' individuals. I wrote in that post,

"In his editorial, Reynolds demolishes the evolving Democratic claim that our country's income distribution is 'the most unequal that it's ever been.'

He begins with this passage,

"The argument for these proposals has nothing to do with the impact of higher tax rates on incentives and the economy. It is all about "fairness" -- defined as reducing the top 1%'s share of income. This political exercise invariably begins by citing dubious statistics about pretax incomes among the top 1% (1.3 million tax returns) as an excuse for raising tax rates on the top 5%, among others.

Echoing speeches from Sen. Clinton, Business Week recently exclaimed, "According to new Internal Revenue Service data announced last week, income inequality in the U.S. is at its worst since the 1920s (before the Great Depression). The top percentile of wealthy Americans earned 21.2% of all income in 2005, up from 19% in 2004."

These statistics are extremely misleading.

First of all, the figures do not describe the top percentile's share of "all income," but that group's share of "adjusted" gross income (AGI) reported on individual tax returns. For one thing, thousands of professionals and business owners who used to report most of their income under the corporate tax responded to lower individual income-tax rates after 1986 and 2003 by reporting more income under the individual tax as partnerships, LLCs and Sub-S corporations."

This is critically important. So much so that President Bush commented on it extensively in his speech when he visited Lancaster, Pennsylvania a few months ago. Nobody commented on this aspect of his talk, nor his command of this particularly important nuance of the tax code."

Of course, Democrats of all stripes routinely ignore this reality. They love to quote non-comparable, vague statistics relating to taxes, incomes and percentage of taxpayers.

But the reality is that many 1040 filers today are, in actuality, running businesses. They aren't just wealthy individuals. They are often risk-taking small business people who are forced into LLCs due to our government's confiscatory policies regarding small business organization.

So Obama's plan is actually 'tax and spend.' Just like it's always been.

Sure, he and his minions want you to watch the "little birdie over here," low capital gains rates.

But the Sunday punch is in the elevated rates he'll demand on 'rich' families who try to make do for several children on $250,000. As those who attempt this feat know, it's tough to replicate your own educational track for your children on that kind of family income, let alone with the Black Adder deciding you are too wealthy, and he's going to kindly redistribute some of your 'wealth' to folks poorer than, and probably working no harder than, you.

You probably thought a good education and hard work entitled you to earn more and keep it. Not in Obama's America, my friend.

Isn't that generous of the Democratic Party's putative Presidential nominee?