Site for Free Markets and Free People

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Obama Trying to Pry Gregg For Commerce; Filibuster-proof Senate

NH Senator Judd Gregg is under consideration to be Secretary of Commerce. In the event it happens, NH governor would likely appoint a Democrat, meaning that if Franken successfully steals the Minnesota seat which is likely, then Democrats would have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Gregg seems willing to accept only if he is replaced by another Republican.

Obama On His Way to Repeating Depression Policies

There were 3 main factors that caused/worsened the Great Depression:

1) Hoover's dramatic increase of tax rates;
2) Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which turned the country away from free trade and towards protectionism; and
3) National Industrial Recovery Act and other pro-labor union laws that increased the cost of labor

Yesterday, Obama signed an executive order that significantly increases the strength of unions. There is currently legislation in Congress that focuses on protectionism, prompting some to say that Canada's honeymoon with Obama is over. And of course, we all know where Obama stands on taxes.

This is why history lessons should be mandatory for Congress.

Predictable: The One Area that Obama Demands Be Cut

A required 11% cut in our national defense. So we need to expand every government agency but cut back on national security. This is a re-run of Clinton, which helped give rise to the "paper tiger" analogy from Islamists.

McCain: No GOP Senate Votes For Spending Bill

In a sign of just how awful this pork spending bill has become, even John McCain said that he doesn't think there is a single Republican vote for it.

I'm sure some of this posturing is to gain some negotiating leverage because I just don't see the Democrats being this obstinate as to allow Obama's first major vote to fail... but then again, Harry Reid is their leader...

I Pledge Allegiance, To Obama...

They are really trying to indoctrinate the public school kids young with an image of Obama as they pledge allegiance. I wonder if this is what the media does each day before they begin work.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Another Dem Tax Cheat: This Time Daschle

This is becoming a bad parody. Tom Daschle, Obama's nominee to head the Dept. of Health and Human Services, is now facing scrutiny over his tax issues by failing to claim chauffeur services he received for years. It's becoming easier to understand why Democrats don't mind raising tax rates...

According to PowerLine, Daschle owed over $128K plus penalties and interest. The conclusion is that he's either a crook or just plain too dumb. Either way, he's the perfect candidate to run the entire health care system.

In Face of "Stimulus" Bill, Why is Stock Market Falling?

In 2003, when the Bush Stimulus proposal began to take shape and was working its way through the House and Senate, the market began to rise. It then continued to rise after the legislation was signed in May. The economic data was still poor at the time but the market began to discount the effects of the tax cuts, so stock prices rose.

So the question is, why has the market been falling significantly this month even though the "stimulus" bill is becoming more and more likely? It's simple. While the economy is certainly in worse shape now than it was in 2003, the markets always look forward and discount the future. The fact is that investors in the stock market understand very well that this bill will not improve the economy. In fact, it will very likely harm the economy by spending such a massive sum on items that do nothing to stimulate the economy, leaving us deeper in the hole.

The market has been speaking to Congress quite clearly and unlike in 2003, it does not like this bill. If there are no dramatic changes, the GOP would be wise to allow Democrats to take full responsibility for this disaster.

General Petraeus to be Honored at Superbowl

Well done, and you could say - about time! My cynical side is wondering why this is happening after GW has left office, but then I remembered that NBC has the rights this year. Oh yeah. While Petraeus absolutely deserves all the credit with Iraq's turnaround, it was GW who made it possible, and it is a shame that GW is not in office while this happened.

On the other hand, one could make the argument that while Iraq was clearly stable last year at this time, it's now been 2 years since the Surge so it's now more clearly a success.

Amazing that it's been two years since "General Betray US" and the Iraq Study Group and all that. They were all wrong, while one man had faith.

Move over Bruce. We have a real hero this year.

Chris Dodd, Where is the Self Outrage?

As Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Chris Dodd (D-CT) has held several hearings denouncing unethical behavior. Obama found the payment of Wall Street bonuses "shameful." But as the WSJ points out today, when will anyone shine the spotlight on Chris Dodd (or Kent Conrad or others) who took bribes from Countrywide in the way of discounted mortgages?

In June a former Countrywide loan officer charged that Mr. Dodd received preferential rates and had fees waived on those loans as part of a VIP program the company had for "friends" of the company's then-CEO Angelo Mozilo. Mr. Dodd first issued a denial and then, days later, acknowledged that he was a "VIP" with Countrywide but said he thought it was "more of a courtesy." In late June he pledged to make all pertinent documents public "at some point." We're still waiting.

...[Countrywide] loan officer Robert Feinberg, who oversaw Countrywide's VIP program, says Mr. Dodd knew he was getting favors from Mr. Mozilo. Mr. Feinberg says his job was to remind beneficiaries at every step of the process that they were getting a special deal because they were "Friends of Angelo."

Emanuel's Daily Phone Call to Media Friends

What would the media say if George W. Bush or his chief of staff held a daily phone call with Brit Hume, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh every day for eight years? That is what Obama's chief Rahm Emanuel has been doing with George Snufalufugus, Paul Begala and James Carville for the past 17 years. Every day.

One could argue that Begala and Carville are really politicians and moonlight as commentators, but Snuf is supposed to be an objective news chief for ABC. Everyone knows that the media is in the tank for Obama, but is it possible to have any slightly objective thought in this situation? I suppose the bottom line is that no American expects the media to be objective anyway...which might be why half the media outlets in this country will likely be bankrupt by the end of '09.

Nanny State Coming To Massachusetts

Long time Obama buddy and fellow Chicagoan Deval Patrick thinks that kids are drinking too much soda and candy and now he plans to tax it. I have three problems with this:

1. I dislike taxes, which will hurt the economy. Fine a 5% tax on candy doesn't amount to much, but remember the national income tax - originally, it was only .5% of our income. Once government gets away with taxing us more, it's hard for them to go the other way.

2. It's not government's job to tell us what or what not to eat. Again, you might say, the man has a point - too much candy isn't good for you. You may agree with this. That's fine. But what about when he comes out next year and tries to tax burgers, or steak, or sushi, or whatever, because he thinks that's not good for you? We're on a slippery slope here.

3. The desired effect will not work. The likely effect will be that kids will eat the same amount of candy, more or less, but that lower income kids will have less money in their pocket. Is that what he wanted? To take money away from lower income kids? I suspect not.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Will the World Be OK with Obama Oval Office at 72 Degrees?

As Obama himself explained in 2008 (from Hot Air),

“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK,” Obama said. “That’s not leadership.

That’s not going to happen,” he added.

Well, never mind. Obama likes his office very warm and too bad if you don't like it. As David Axelrod says,

“He’s from Hawaii, O.K.?” said Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss. “He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there.”

Once again, ordinary Americans should never do such a thing. But for our privileged elite, anything is acceptable.

Wagyu steak as a celebration to his pork barrel bill passing last night. Wagyu steak goes for about $100/serving. Apparently he's not so much into shared sacrifice anymore.

Hey, if he stops preaching about what we can and cannot eat, drive, earn, drink, or where to keep the thermostat, then I have no problem with those same activities for him either.

Obama: FDR's New Deal Was Too Small

Obama has been drinking too much of the radical Left-wing economics kool-aid. According to congressmen in a closed-door meeting with Obama, he said that the reason the New Deal failed was because it was too small.

If it really was too small and Obama is so convinced that redistributing money from taxpayers to non-taxpayers is so good for the economy, why not give every non-taxpayer a rebate check of $10K each...or even $50K? That should really stimulate the economy.

Fannie and Freddie: No Free Lunch

The WSJ gives us the perfect example in Fannie and Freddie of why it's impossible to believe the federal government when it comes to budget matters.

It seems a lifetime ago, but it's only been six months since the Congressional Budget Office put a $25 billion price tag on the legislation to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

So much for that. In the past few days Fannie and Freddie have requested a combined $51 billion from the Treasury to compensate for losses in their loan portfolios. This comes on top of the $13.8 billion that Freddie needed in November.

The latest requests take the tab to $70 billion or so -- but that's not the end of the story by a long shot. Earlier this month, CBO released its biannual budget outlook. And largely ignored underneath the $1.2 trillion deficit estimate for fiscal 2009 was the little matter of a $238 billion charge for rescuing Fan and Fred. To put that in perspective, $238 billion is more than the entire federal budget deficit in fiscal 2007.

The bigger picture here is that politicians like Mr. Frank have been telling us for years that Fannie and Freddie's federal subsidy was a free lunch. We are now slowly, and painfully, learning the price of Mr. Frank's famous desire to "roll the dice" with Fan and Fred. Keep that in mind the next time you hear a politician propose a taxpayer guarantee. The only sure thing is that the taxpayers will pay.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mr. Bipartisan Fails to Garner Single GOP Vote

The gargantuan spending bill that will do nothing to stimulate the economy passed the House today...without a single Republican vote. Is this what Obama means by bringing bipartisan change to Washington?

Btw, this is EXACTLY what happened in 1993 when Clinton raised taxes - not a single Republican voted for it, which is part of the reason the GOP took over the house in 1994. While it will take some time to screw up the economy so bad that Americans realize how bad the Democrat policies are, it will happen. Whether it's 2010 or 2012 is unclear, but this bill will make things worse...

Brian Williams: The Most Unfair and Unbalanced

How is Brian Williams for fair and balanced news? Not very. According to Williams' expert and non-biased data, Obama is the first "choice of non-evils" we've had as president in years. Getting sick yet?

What Does Obama Really Mean?

By now everyone has seen snippets of Obama's interview on Al Aribiya tv. It's great that the world is saying that Obama is setting the stage for new Arab-US relations by granting this interview. George W. Bush did grand the same network 6 different interviews during his tenure, but I don't remember the positive spin. Then again, he wasn't as apologetic as Obama either.

Regarding the interview, I've heard the words, but I'm uncertain as to Obama's real message is. I'm confused about this quote:

The U.S. had made mistakes in the past, but the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there's no reason why we can't restore that.

Looking back from 1979 to 1989 - where are our values different? So Obama is in favor of Reagan's policies in the middle east? How so? It's likely that Obama is actually referring to the 1950's-1960's, say 40-60 years ago, before the Israeli war with Egypt. There is no clarification though.

Second, as the entire world realizes, including Muslims, almost every muslim ruled country is backwards in terms of democracy, voting, human rights. There has been a constant struggle between the people and their leaders in countries like Afghanistan (when Taliban ruled), in Egypt, in Iran, and in Saudi Arabia. The most recent US policy under GW Bush was to side with the people, in favor of democracy, and to put pressure on the corrupt leaders of Saudi, Egypt, Libya, among others to promote democracy. The US consistently said that it was Saddam they wanted gone, and would help the people. The fact that women can vote there shows this has happened. Addionally, women have gained the right to vote in Kuwait, and Bush has been pressuring Saudi as well.

Is Obama reversing this, and siding with the corrupt leaders? I don't get it. Great to ask these leaders to unclench their fists, but why should we extend a hand to leaders who are oppressing their own people?

When Obama talks about starting peace talks at the beginning of his administration, and the many mistakes of past US presidents, which US Presidents is he throwing under the bus? Certainly Clinton and GW Bush, but probably others as well. Which ones?

When Obama talks of Al Qaeda and the fact that their losing the war of ideas: Clearly, but no thanks to him. Reason being, Al Qaeda is losing the actual war - that's why they're losing the war of ideas - got devasted during their Jihad in Iraq. Again, no thanks to Obama here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

$4 Billion for ACORN?

The pending spending bill looks like it contains goodies for everyone and everything - from abortion and contraceptives to billions for ACORN (excuse me, for "neighborhood stabilization activities)." I hope the GOP votes against the final bill so that it is perfectly clear who will get responsibility for this abomination.

Obama: All Religions Have Extremists

In his interview with Al Arabiya (Obama's first interview as President), he says that all religions have their extremists, as he refuses to link terrorism to the fact that millions of Muslims around the globe who support violent jihad. As Gateway Pundit points out, there have been over 12,000 deadly attacks by Muslims since 9/11. I don't think Christians are quite on that scale...

Obama also bashed the U.S. when he said that we often "start by dictating" to others rather than listening. He should probably learn that while it's inappropriate to bash your own country as a candidate, it's even worse as President.

Governement Employments Now Tops 22 Million

As the IBD points out, government payrolls continue to expand at record levels, now topping an amazing 22 million employees. Government employees now outnumber construction and manufacturing employees throughout the U.S. by 2 million. And with the new Democrat proposals in place, I expect that government number to grow to above 25 million before the end of the Obama administration.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Limbaugh-Obama Stimulus Plan of 2009

Since Obama believes that Rush Limbaugh is his opposition and because Obama says he wants true bipartisanship, Rush offered an excellent and truly bipartisan proposal.

Mine is a genuine compromise. So let's look at how the vote came out, shall we? Fifty-three percent of voters in this country -- we'll say, for the sake of this proposal, 53% of Americans -- voted for Obama. Forty-six percent voted for Senator McCain, and 1% voted for wackos. Let's give the remaining 1% to President Obama, so let's say that 54% voted for President Obama and 46% voted for Senator McCain. As a way to bring the country together and at the same time determine the most effective way to deal with recessions, under the Obama-Limbaugh Stimulus Plan of 2009, $540 billion of the one trillion will be spent on infrastructure as defined by President Obama and the Democrats. The remaining $460 billion, or 46% that voted for Senator McCain, will be directed towards tax cuts, as determined by me.

These tax cuts will consist primarily of capital gains tax cuts and corporate tax rate cuts. So Obama gets $540 billion to spend his way. The other people of this country who did not vote for his way get $460 billion spent the way they would like it spent. This is bipartisanship! This is how bipartisanship really works. Okay, Obama wins by a 54-46 majority, so he gets 54% of the trillion bucks. Spend it his way. We get 46% of the trillion bucks to spend our way, and then we compare. Then we see which stimulus actually works and works the fastest, and I will guarantee you that if this plan is adopted, just the announcement that $460 billion will go toward paying for tax cuts, capital gains, and corporate tax rates -- we could throw in some personal income tax rate reduction in order to make sure that the voters don't think it's all about helping the big guys.

The only problem is we've already tried this in Bush's first term. His 2001 tax cuts (the rebate checks) failed to do anything. His 2003 tax cuts were hugely successful. So it would work, but the Dems would still claim that it was not due to tax cuts. I would still take it over their plan though.

Boston Globe Plays Name That Party

Mass. House Speaker Sal DiMasi is resigning over ethics violations and alleged influence peddling, but for some reason, the Boston Globe must not be aware that he is a Democrat. His party affiliation is left out of the article entirely.

Will Matt Damon Accept Debate Challenge?

Matt Damon declares himself an expert on all things political, so Andrew Breitbart set up a debate for Damon to spar with journalist Bill Kristol, whom Damon called "an idiot." If Damon accepts, he or a charity of his choice will receive $100K.

There is zero chance of this happening because Hollywood stars no that they can only speak about their superficial opinions without digging below the surface into the land of facts. But it would be fun to watch.

Rush is Now the Official Opposition

Ed Morrissey explains very clearly why it was so dumb of Obama to take on Rush Limbaugh directly and specifically. If Obama thought Rush was influential before, just wait...

The Atlantic: Why the Bush Years Weren't So Bad

Steven Landsburg at the Left-leaning The Atlantic pens this surprising headline and explains:

Start with this: You are better off than you were four years ago. After adjusting for inflation, the average American earns about $2500 a year more today than on the day of W's second inaugural. That same average American now spends a little less time at the office or on the assembly line, and a little more time on vacation or on the couch. He or she shops online for products that were unimaginable just four years ago. (How many of you read this morning's paper on your Kindle or iPhone?) The air is cleaner than it was a decade ago and life expectancy is up.

Landsburg then says that presidents don't really deserve the credit for economic success because this is the way things typically go. Still, this is heresy for the Left.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

How Cool Could Obama's Inauguration Have Been

Was thinking about this all last week, as the historical inauguration took place. How cool would this have been if it had happened this way?:

January 19, 2009: Obama announces to the American public that he feels their pain. He understands that people are losing their jobs and that government spending has run amok. He announces to the public that he will be keeping his campaign promise to look at all wasteful spending line by line and that he's going to eliminate all unnecessary elements. He suddenly announces a first. He's going to forego the expensive inauguration and all the celebratory parties and balls that go along with it. Instead, he will be holding a small ceremony indoors and it will be televised so that all can see it. It's a measure that he hopes ALL Americans will understand, both Republicans and Democrats. Extraordinary measures for extraordinary times. An extraordinary man perhaps? And fully in line with his theme of hope and change.

Hey, I can dream, can't I?

We all know how it really went down, but wouldn't this have started his presidency off on the right foot?

McCain To Vote Against Obama Spending Bill

I applaud John McCain for this. Still glad he's not president but he can be useful on things like this.

I'm sure everyone remembers the complete outrage Dems showed one year ago, when the US deficit was 1.1% of GDP. So far all is quiet on the criticism front as Obama approaches congress with plan to spend anywhere from $850-$2 Trillion (yep: 6%-14% of GDP in spending!).

Obama Killing Innocent Civilians In Afghanistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that a U.S. operation this weekend killed 16 civilians. This after an aerial drone killed several Pakistanis last week. The question is, "when will Obama be tried for war crimes?"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Rush Responds To Obama

Rush Limbaugh has a good response to Obama. An excpert from Rush's brief conversation with Byron York:

To make the argument about me instead of his plan makes sense from his perspective. Obama's plan would buy votes for the Democrat Party, in the same way FDR's New Deal established majority power for 50 years of Democrat rule, and it would also simultaneously seriously damage any hope of future tax cuts. It would allow a majority of American voters to guarantee no taxes for themselves going forward. It would burden the private sector and put the public sector in permanent and firm control of the economy. Put simply, I believe his stimulus is aimed at re-establishing "eternal" power for the Democrat Party rather than stimulating the economy because anyone with a brain knows this is NOT how you stimulate the economy. If I can be made to serve as a distraction, then there is that much less time debating the merits of this TRILLION dollar debacle.

He is absolutely correct. Obama wants to take a polarizing figure like Rush and essentially say to America that if you're against this spending bill, you're just like Rush Limbaugh. (But of course, they would also be right.)

Obama Criticizes Limbaugh in Attempt to Court GOP Leaders

Obama is worried that ordinary Americans will find out the truth about his absurd $825B spending & bailout bill that does nothing to stimulate the economy. In trying to cut off any criticism, Obama himself criticized Rush Limbaugh in an attempt to cut off Limbaugh's influence in derailing GOP support. It appears his hope is to convince GOP senators and Congressmen that they should not take the same stance as their conservative constituents, many of whom listen to Limbaugh.

My, how things have changed. A President of the United States is so insecure and lacking in confidence in his own plan that he is now targeting specific private citizens. I think it says a lot about Obama, Rush and the insanity of the spending proposal. The silly thing is that Democrats control the House, the Senate and the Presidency. This is Obama's plan; it is Obama's stock market; it is Obama's economy. He just doesn't want to take responsibility for their destruction when his plan makes things worse.

Rush responds.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Parsons: The Wrong Man for the Citi Chairmanship

As banking expert and former Commerce Bank CEO Vernon Hill states, Dick Parsons might be one of the worst possible choices for Chairman of Citigroup. Not only is Parsons' business acumen seriously in doubt after his role in the Time Warner-AOL merger (Steve Case is still laughing about that fast one), but Parsons has also approved every dumb Citigroup move going back to the late 80s.

Citigroup shareholders must be asking, "yes, please...may I have another?!"

Pew: Global Warming the Lowest Priority for Americans

According to Pew Research, the global warming issue ranked dead last among 20 issues of importance to Americans. Maybe that's why we haven't heard from Al Gore in a while.

Media Misreports March for Life

The March for Life, a pro-life march through Washington that occurred in Washington, was naturally played down by the media. But as Gateway Pundit points out, the crowds were actually much, much larger than reported. The Bulletin reports that hundreds of thousands of people attended, while other reports just mention "blocks" or "thousands."

Meanwhile, I wonder if Obama is adding federal abortion funds to the economic stimulus bill by arguing it will help grow the economy...

Portland Mayor Scandal: Name that Party!

Another scandal involving a politician, his under-aged gay lover, and lying to cover it up. How come the media doesn't disclose the political party?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Caroline Kennedy: Another Democrat Tax Cheat?

Caroline Kennedy appears to have withdrawn her nomination for the Senate over a tax issue. What is it with liberal Democrats who want to raise our taxes but don't want to pay their own?

$825 B Bill Advancing. Market Tanking

One would think that as the $825B economic "stimulus" bill advances through Congress that the market might go up, right? The stock market decline clearly tells us that investors understand what the Democrats do not - this bill is anything but an economic stimulus.

CBO: Stimulus Proposal Ineffective

I wonder what Democrats think of the Congressional Budget Office now after the agency said that the proposed stimulus would be ineffective. In fact, the CBO only analyzed the most stimulative aspect of the proposal, which is the infrastructure spending. But Democrats remain clueless:

"The new CBO report does not take into account the fastest spending provisions in the bill, leaving the false impression that the overall spend-out rates are slower than they actually are," said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). "These provisions will go out quickly to give the economy a jolt while others will represent down payments on crucial priorities for our economic future -- investments in clean energy, health care, education and repairing our nation's infrastructure."

I'm not sure what economics course Pelosi's spokesman took, but it certainly wasn't at any business school I know. As the 2008 "stimulus" rebate checks showed clearly, welfare transfer payments are certainly not stimulative. So essentially, we have Congress's own budget office saying that this proposal is a waste of money. Nice.

Obama's First Act; Murtha Says He'll Take 'Em

For Obama's very first act of his Presidency, he signed an order to shut down Gitmo. John Hawkins says that the clear message Obama is sending is that unlike the nation under President Bush, the U.S. is now just a paper tiger again. I think another more obvious message is that we are telling the world that, despite these terrorists' desire to murder innocent civilians, the U.S. is the one at fault because we are somehow treating them poorly. Regardless, it sends an awful message as a first Presidential act.

Meanwhile, John Murtha says his district will be happy to take all of the terrorists.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Stay Classy: Biden Mocks Roberts; Obama Not Amused

Joe Biden mocks Justice Roberts as he and Obama are about to swear in some new staff members. Biden appears somewhat clueless as to what he's supposed to do and asks for a cheat sheet because "his memory is not as good as Chief Justice Roberts." The joke fell flat and Obama did not look very amused, as making fun of your chief justice might not be the most unifying thing. Video here.

Reid on Lobbyists: "Obama Will be Meeting with Them"

It is a new era indeed. According to Harry Reid, there is absolutely nothing wrong with meeting with and working with lobbyists anymore, while confirming that Obama will also be meeting with them regularly.

George H.W. Bush Memorial Defaced

Maybe this is what Democrats mean by unity. Let's all deface a memorial of a Republican.

Repeal Davis-Bacon

The WSJ has a quick and easy way to saving $40 billion (probably even higher): repeal the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act.

We're referring to the 1931 law that requires contractors on all federal projects to pay a "prevailing wage." In practice, this means paying the highest union wage in every part of the country. Over the years nearly every analysis -- by the Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accountability Office and Office of Management and Budget -- has concluded that Davis-Bacon tangles projects in red tape and inflates federal construction costs.

A 2008 study by Suffolk University and the Beacon Hill Institute examined local wage data for construction workers and found that the Department of Labor estimates for the "prevailing wage" in cities are about 22% above the actual wages paid in these cities. It estimates that Davis-Bacon adds slightly less than 10% to federal building costs, or $8.4 billion a year.

I don't expect it to happen - political favors to unions are a lot more important to this Congress than saving taxpayer money.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Market Gives Obama No Confidence Vote

The stock market got crushed today. Since his election victory on November 4, the U.S. stock markets are down approximately 20%. While journalists will be quick to say that it's all Bush's fault, investors know that the markets look forward, not backward. And it's plain to see that the market has already told us what they think of the new Administration and Congress.

Worst Inauguration Day market decline in history.

Is the U.S. Banking System Insolvent?

NYU Professor Nouriel Roubini says that it is, and believes losses could eventually exceed $3.6 trillion.

I think he's right that the banking system is insolvent, but likely only temporarily. When a financial institution is leveraged 10-1 and the total assets decline by 10%
, then there is no equity left. Even if all the assets declined by only 5%, the equity would likely be reduced to a level below the statutory minimums required by regulators. And according to FAS 157, financial institutions must mark-to-market its assets on a quarterly basis. While they have some discretion over how deeply they discount highly illiquid assets, they are required to mark the more liquid assets down.

With leveraged loans trading in the secondary market at between 60-70 cents on the dollar, banks must take a 30-40% haircut on that portion of its portfolio. More than likely, most banks have decided not to take huge marks on their mortgage portfolios since 1) they are performing and 2) it is very difficult to determine "market value" on each individual mortgage. But I think it's safe to say that, given the cost of capital today, banks would be very lucky to get 90 cents on the dollar for a performing mortgage.

So what is the solution? The only one I see is a huge market rally to increase the value of these securities overall. I think Obama should announce a capital gains holiday on all assets purchased within the next 6 months. I believe it would create a buying frenzy across all asset classes and increase the value of stocks, bonds, loans and even homes to a lesser extent (at least the declines would stop for a while). Other than a rise in asset values, I don't think there is enough capital in circulation to increase the equity of financial institutions to a level that gives confidence that they are solvent. And the existing $850B proposal would likely only draw nearer the day of reckoning, since the funds are essentially transfer payments that have very little stimulative value and a much larger hole to climb out of.

Al Gore Ice Sculpture Unveiled in Alaska

A giant ice sculpture of Al Gore was unveiled in Fairbanks Alaska by local businessman and global warming critic Craig Compeau.

Will Obama Defend Constitution or World Court?

The WSJ notes that the UN's International Court of Justice unanimously found that the U.S. had violated the Hague's stay of execution on Jose Medillin and nearly 50 Mexicans on death row in the U.S.

As we all know, the Obama Administration is expected to comply with everything the UN has to say. But if the U.S. caves in this case to the World Court, it would mean that the U.S. Constitution is no longer the supreme law of the land, but instead, the law of the land can be overruled by foreign governments. If that's the case, there's no point in even taking today's inaugural oath to defend it.

No Pardon for Scooter Libby

It appears that Scooter Libby will not receive a last minute pardon from President Bush. While I'm not in favor of last minute pardons (particularly to fugitives like Marc Rich who simply get pardons because of large donations to the presidential foundation), the only reason Libby was convicted in the first place was because President Bush didn't fight hard enough to eliminate the infighting at the State Department (ie. Colin Powell and Dick Armitage) and CIA that flew in the face of his own objectives. I believe Bush owed it to Libby for his conviction based on very flimsy evidence.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pelosi Wants to Raise Taxes Immediately

It's hard to imagine that a Speaker of the House could be more ignorant of economics than Nancy Pelosi. She believes it is a good idea to repeal Bush's tax cuts immediately, which would be the largest tax hike in history - all in the face of a severe recession. If the Democrats want to be responsible for another Depression, Pelosi and her Democrat friends in Congress know the way.

Majority of Americans Believe Global Warming not Man-made

For the first time since the media have been polling the issue, a majority of Americans now believe that global warming, if it is actually occurring, is due to natural, rather than man-made, causes. The media is going to have to figure out how to re-work their questions to get the correct answers.

Stock Market, Businesses Not Listening to Polls

Obama must be upset with American business and the stock market right now. According to polls (at least those designed to support Obama), the U.S. is just overflowing with optimism right now. The pollsters seemingly forgot to ask the stock market and businesses what they think, however. I'm certain the result would be something very less than "optimism" regarding Obama's policies.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Joke of the Day: Obama to Encourage 'Responsibility?'

Supposedly Barack Obama will call on Americans to "sacrifice" and will stress "responsiblity" in his inaugural address.

Rahm Emanuel, who will be chief of staff in the new White House, said: "We need that culture of responsibility, not just to be asked of the American people, but its leaders must also lead by example."

Responsibility? Is that what bailing out homeowners or car companies is called these days? Sacrifice? What are the 50%+ marginal tax rates, the increasing unemployment, the declining stock market and home values? Isn't that sacrifice enough? When is the government going to "sacrifice" part of its budget like every American family and company is forced to do during a recession?

NASA Crackpot: 4 Years to Save Earth

Jim Hanson at NASA claims that Obama has four years to save the earth or we are all doomed. This at a time when evidence points more to a mini-ice age than it does to global warming.

Why does anyone give this guy an ounce of credibility?

Israeli Flags Banned at German Rallies, Hamas Flags OK

A German judge decreed that Hamas flags and gear are ok to wear at anti-Israel rallies there. Meanwhile, Israeli flags are outlawed. Who says anti-semitism isn't alive and well in Europe?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Who Cares About Rangel's Corruption Issues? Not Dems

While Charlie Rangel's ethics issues are significant and not going away, the Democrats couldn't care less about his corruption. Hey, it's not like he has an important post like Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee or anything.

Obama: Close Gitmo WIthin Four Years??

As Dana Perino points out, Obama has now changed his view on Guantanamo because closing it is a bit "complicated." He now hopes to have it closed by the end of his term.

Does that mean Obama too is now a war criminal?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Environmentalists Causing Plane Crashes?

Cause one airplane crash, shame on you; cause more airplane crashes, shame on us. The FAA have long known the bird problem at LaGuardia Airport, but environmentalists are opposed to doing anything about it.

Maloney, whose firm specializes in aviation issues, said city and Port Authority officials want to clear the area surrounding LaGuardia Airport of birds, but environmentalists don't want the birds, mostly seagulls and Canada geese, disturbed from their nesting grounds.

Environmentalists helped create record oil prices last year, which declined only due to the current recession. Now they are refusing to acknowledge a serious health risk for anyone flying out of LaGuardia Airport. When will there be a backlash against this nonsense?

Another Quick Thought on the Spending Bill

I have reviewed the Democrat proposal more closely and have tried to find a silver lining. But I can't call this a Stimulus Bill and be honest, so I will call it a Spending Bill. There are a few reasons this bill is more detrimental than beneficial.

First and most importantly, there is very little incentive in here that would promote economic growth (a small amount of accelerated depreciation for equipment purchases, but given the overall cost of capital today, businesses are not going to spend simply because of this provision - in other words, very little incentive.) There is virtually no incentive to purchase stocks or other financial investments. In fact, because of the proposed mortgage cramdowns, people are more incentivized to sell any financial stocks they currently own.

Much of this bill are simply 1-time welfare payments that will help continue to provide poor people with more money. This does virtually nothing for economic growth. The bill actually promotes future local/state deficit spending by granting large earmarks for education, which will likely be used to increase salaries. It's great for teachers and bureaucrats, but it will also increase the ongoing budget requirements of state and local governments, which without more federal help, they will not be able to meet.

There is some Keynesian infrastructure spending (ie. new roads) which will provide a very modest boost. So for $850B we get a package of excrement that we could of had for less than 1/10th of the price. If anything, passing this proposal means significantly LOWER economic growth over the next five years. But the government bureaucrats win, as their role in the U.S. economy continues to get larger.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The $825B Boondoggle Bill Details


Here are some of the details on the "stimulus" bill. It is a huge welfare/pork bill. See anything you like - or anything that would remotely stimulate the economy?


Tax Relief for Individuals

“Making Work Pay Credit”

Expand Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Increase in child tax credit, $0 floor


Simplification of education credits w/ $2,500 credit for first four years of higher education expenses (increase income limitations), with credit partially-refundable (40% refundable)


Remove repayment requirement on $7,500 first-time home buyer credit for homes purchased after 2008 and before termination of credit (June 30, 2009)

Coordination provisions with new grant program for low-income housing being designed by the Financial Services Committee


Bonus depreciation

5-year carryback of net operating losses (excluding companies receiving TARP benefits, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac)

Extension of increased small business expensing

Expand work opportunity tax credit for disconnected youth and unemployed, recently-discharged veterans

Prospectively repeal Treasury Section 382 ruling

State and Local Governments

Allow financial institutions to purchase State and local bonds and other changes

Repeal AMT limits on new private activity bonds

Taxable bond option for governmental bonds

School construction bonds

One year deferral of withholding tax on government contractors

Distressed Areas

Provide tax exempt bonds and tax credit bonds to “recovery zones.” These tax exempt bonds and tax credit bonds can be used for a wide array of purposes to stimulate economic development, including job training and education. A “recovery zone” would be an area within a State, city or county that has exhibited high unemployment, foreclosures or poverty. These bonds would be allocated automatically to States and large municipal governments based on the number of unemployed individuals within that area.

Energy Tax Incentives

Long-term extension of renewable energy production tax credit

Temporary election to claim the investment tax credit in lieu of the production tax credit

Coordination provisions with new grant program for renewable energy projects being designed by the Energy and Commerce Committee (sections 45 and 48 projects)

Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (“CREBs”)

Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds

Energy efficiency and conservation tax incentives under sections 25C, 25D and 48

Smart energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy R&D credit

Refueling property credit expansions

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)

Updates, modernizes and expands TAA to cover service workers, and substantially improves and extends coverage to manufacturing workers

Triples funds for job training

Unemployment Insurance (UI)

Encourage UI Modernization

Continue the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program

Increase UI checks by $25/week

Additional Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Provide additional TANF Contingency Funds to serve needy families

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Provide a one-time additional SSI Payment to Low-Income elderly and disabled recipients

Child Support Enforcement Funding

Restore federal funding for Child Support Enforcement for 2 years

COBRA Healthcare for the Unemployed

Provides temporary subsidies for health insurance coverage to those who have lost their jobs.

Extends the availability of unsubsidized COBRA coverage for older and tenured workers beyond the 18 months provided under current law

Health Information Technology (HIT)

Establishes standards, payment incentives and privacy protections to encourage the widespread adoption of health information technology

Andrew Roberts: I Think He's a Good President

British historian Andrew Roberts thinks that W will fare pretty well when he's ultimately judged by historians. Why does he say this? He gives a multitude of reasons. Below are excerpts from his article. Or read it in its entirety.

There are Americans alive today who would not be if it had not been for the passing of the Patriot Act.

The first MBA president, who had a higher grade-point average at Yale than John Kerry, Mr Bush's supposed lack of intellect will be seen to be a myth once the papers in his Presidential Library in the Southern Methodist University in Dallas are available.

Instead of Al Franken, history will listen to Bob Geldof praising Mr Bush's efforts over Aids and malaria in Africa; or to Manmohan Singh, the prime minister of India, who told him last week: "The people of India deeply love you." And certainly to the women of Afghanistan thanking him for saving them from Taliban abuse, degradation and tyranny.

When Abu Ghraib is mentioned, history will remind us that it was the Bush Administration that imprisoned those responsible for the horrors.

The credit crunch, brought on by the Democrats in Congress insisting upon home ownership for credit-unworthy people, will initially be blamed on Bush, but the perspective of time will show that the problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started with the deregulation of the Clinton era.

Bush insisted on the surge in Iraq that has been seen to have brought the war around, and set Iraq on the right path. Today its GDP is 30 per cent higher than under Saddam, and it is free of a brutal dictator and his rapist sons.

Iraq has been a victory for the US-led coalition, a fact that the Bush-haters will have to deal with when perspective finally – perhaps years from now – lends objectivity to this fine man's record.

The $825B Wealth Transfer Bill

Since the Democrats have been pushing their $825B "stimulus bill" that will actually be nothing more than a massive transfer of wealth that has zero stimulative effects, the equity markets have taken notice. And they clearly do not like anything that they see. There's no pretty way to put it, except that this bill will be a disaster for years to come.

Coulter: Single Motherhood is Literally Killing America

Today's article by Ann Coulter in Human Events about violent crime has two excellent points. First, she correctly states that the media loves to focus on returning GIs and the seemingly endless wave of homicides they commit (read: the military is bad and creates murderous thugs of our soldiers). Of course, what the media never mentions are the same homicide statistics for non-military men, which is definitively higher that those of military men.

Second, Coulter discusses single motherhood and its impact on crime.

By 1996, 70 percent of inmates in state juvenile detention centers serving long-term sentences were raised by single mothers. Seventy percent of teenage births, dropouts, suicides, runaways, juvenile delinquents and child murderers involve children raised by single mothers. Girls raised without fathers are more sexually promiscuous and more likely to end up divorced.

A 1990 study by the left-wing Progressive Policy Institute showed that, after controlling for single motherhood, the difference in black and white crime disappeared.

The media has recently been quick to attack Coulter for her statements about single motherhood, but I have never heard any of them question the statistics that she uses to make her judgements. Personalities aside (and Coulter definitely likes to create heated debate in interviews), the Left wing cannot bring itself to present the facts. (I suppose that's why we're going to have more ineffective policies coming our way...)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Free Health Care for All!

The House voted today to expand SCHIP, which will dramatically expand the government-run health care program originally designed for children below the poverty level. Now, children up to the age of 25 and up to several times the poverty level can enjoy the benefits of free health care.

The only drawback of course, is that we the taxpayers have to pay for it. And approximately 2,4 million who currently pay for their own private health care can cancel their payments because the government is now giving it to them for free. Hey, it's not as bad as buying their houses for them as well, which we will be doing soon enough!

Geithner Doesn't Like Social Security Taxes

...or so it seems anyway. He chose not to pay them while he was employed at the IMF. If he's a Democrat, my guess is that he doesn't mind if everyone else pays them; he just doesn't like to have to pay them himself.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Inauguration Cost of $75MM+: Where's the Outrage?

I distinctly remember back in 2000 and 2004 the media's focus on the cost of President Bush's inauguration. But in this economic crisis, which according to Obama and his fellow Dems is the worst crisis "since the Great Depression," no one seems to blink an eye at the $75MM+ price tag for the upcoming inauguration ceremonies. I guess they don't think the economic situation is that dire after all.

The media spends two weeks talking about the non-taxpayer funded wardrobe purchased for Sarah Palin during the campaign but couldn't care less about how much is being spent for their Messiah.

It's now up to $160MM and still climbing...

Given the mess on the mall and in DC, it would not surprise me if the cost were well north of $200 million, not including the lost economic productivity because of the city shutdown.

Shocker: 61 ex-Gitmo Prisoners Return to Terrorism

Of the people who have been released from Guantanamo, 61 have returned to terrorism and killing people. I have no problem with closing Gitmo if the Congressmen who vote in favor of doing so each agree to house one prisoner in their own home.

Westbury: Worst of Recession Behind Us

Economist Brian Westbury says that the worst of the recession is now behind us. I would tend to agree with him, except that the government seems to want to make things worse. He also says,

Any "stimulus" applied by government has less to do with creating the recovery than letting politicians take credit when the recovery happens.

That sentiment I agree with completely.

What Clinton Conflict of Interest?

The WSJ pointed out this morning that Henry Kissinger couldn't serve on the 911 Commission because he once accepted consulting business from foreign governments. But as Hillary goes before the Senate to be confirmed as Secretary of State, people will no doubt ignore the fact that our chief diplomat will have ten times the power and even greater conflicts of interest. As this article points out, she has already intervened six times politically on behalf of companies and others that have directly contributed to her husband's foundation.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ten Bush Achievements

Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard lays out 10 achievements for which President Bush should receive credit. I agree with most of these, although the one that I would undoubtedly add is Bush's 2003 tax cut reductions for all families, which spurred four years of very strong economic growth. (Yes, it will be ignored because of the mortgage fallout over the past year, but he has proven once again that tax cuts are not all created equal. The most recent rebate checks prove that.)

Citi Bows Before the Politicians

The WSJ gives an instructive lesson about what happens when a bank owes its existence to the federal government - it becomes nothing more than an instrument of the politicians. Take Citigroup, which has consented to allow judges to unilaterally renegotiate the amount and rate borrowers owe on home mortgages.

Until Washington embraced the politics of housing panic, even sensible Democrats recognized that allowing such mortgage "cramdowns" was a terrible idea, sure to punish future borrowers with higher rates as lenders calculate the increased risk. The Congressional Budget Office warned in January 2008 that such a change could result in higher interest rates for homeowners and bigger caseloads in bankruptcy courts. In 2007, 16 House Democrats signed a letter opposing similar legislation.

Having spent the past year committing taxpayer trillions to support American banks, Washington now seems not to mind at all if its latest bailout drives up bank losses on mortgages, credit cards and other loans. The Senate could soon make Paulie [from Goodfellas] look like a reasonable business partner.

The nationalization of the economy is well under way in the U.S. Dow 5,000 anyone?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pravda: Ice Age is Coming

According to the Russian Pravda, there is strong evidence that a new Ice Age is coming. One thing is certain - another Ice Age would be a lot more damaging to civilization than global warming.

Google Searches Bad for Environment

Scientists have determined that performing Google searches are detrimental to the environment through its carbon dioxide emissions. Did Al Gore know this when he accepted millions of dollars in stock to be a director of the company?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Another Democrat Mayor Indicted

The Democrat mayor of Baltimore, Sheila Dixon, was indicted on 12 counts of perjury, theft and misconduct. What is it with corrupt Democrats, from mayors to governors to Congressmen and Senators? (Yes, there are a few Republicans too, but they outnumber Dems only in the amount of press they receive.)

FDIC Chair's Pandering Pays Off; Will Keep Job

Sheila Bair, head of the FDIC, has been singing from the Democrat playbook recently, arguing that the federal government needs to buy off any mortgage that consumers can't afford.

Apparently, her socialist mindset has paid off - it looks like Obama will keep her on in his new administration. Wonderful.

Btw, the rule of thumb, as always, is that if the media is gushing over a bureaucrat, that person is likely bad news for taxpayers.

Bush to Give Israel Parting Gift

President Bush is giving Israel one last gift before he leaves office - a huge supply of arms and ammunition. I assume that Israel knows it has a good two weeks to make its security situation more attractive before it has to deal with a new, more Hamas-friendly administration.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Judges Become Bankers

A mortgage bill that is about to pass the U.S Senate would allow judges to single-handedly decide what is the appropriate mortgage rate and principal amount a delinquent borrower should have to pay.

Everyone should have bought a house way above their means in the past couple of years. Pretty soon a judge will lop off most of the mortgage that they can't afford anyway.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Carter in Favor of Hamas Tunnels

Jimmy Carter has endorsed the use of Hamas' underground tunnels, designed to smuggle in arms used to fire off at Israel. What else is new?

Obama is Backwards on Stimulus

Obama is warning that without his proposed stimulus, the economy will linger in recession for years. Of course, this is what we have heard every week for the past few months. If we don't do the $750B TARP bailout, there will be dire consequences; if we don't bailout the Big 3, dire consequences; if we don't bail out the states, dire consequences. What has all this bailout achieved? Nothing but less confidence in the government and more deficits.

The opposite is likely the case - if Congress passes his proposals, which are nothing more than wealth transfers, we will see the economy linger for years. (Obama's warning is also strange because he just said yesterday that even with his stimulus, we will have trillion dollar deficits for years, which means he has no confidence in his proposals.)

There is a much better solution - tax cuts for investment. How about cutting the capital gains tax to zero on all assets acquired in the next six months?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Harry Reid: "Coleman Will Never Ever Serve"

King Harry Reid has declared that Norm Coleman, victor of the MN Senate election before the Democrat canvassing board stole it and gave it to Al Franken, "will never ever serve" in the Senate again. Damn the elections...the Democrats are in charge here.

Obama: Trillion Dollar Deficits for Years

Apparently the Democrats no longer care about deficits. Obama and his aides are conceding that we will have trillion dollar deficits "for years." They are very quick to point out, however, that none of this is Obama's fault, as he is inheriting these economic conditions. And this will become a very common media refrain.

While I agree that it's not Obama's fault alone that the deficits are increasing (he still is advocating measures that will increase the problem), the same exact thing could be said of President Bush, who inherited a stock market collapse (worse than the existing collapse, in terms of market value lost), 9/11, and a host of corporate scandals. But never once did the media suggest that these conditions weren't Bush's fault. What Bush did was increase incentives, grow the economy, and nearly work the country out of the deficits. (The last year, where he succumbed to Democrat pressure to pass idiotic rebate checks and then the recent nationalization plans are another story.)

Obama seems to be playing victim, arguing that there's no real solution and it's not his fault. (Btw, why is he already declaring that his stimulus plans are not going to work?)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Pelosi Reverses House Rules - Blocks GOP

Nancy Pelosi, in true bipartisan spirit, is rewriting House rules to erase the ability of the GOP to introduce any legislation or even debate bills brought up by Democrats. Welcome to single party rule.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to re-write House rules today to ensure that the Republican minority is unable to have any influence on legislation. Pelosi’s proposals are so draconian, and will so polarize the Capitol, that any thought President-elect Obama has of bipartisan cooperation will be rendered impossible before he even takes office.

About Those Shrinking Ice Caps...

The polar bears were bordering on extinction because the sea ice has been melting all around us. We were going to have to start living in high rises to avoid the floods. Florida was gone...

Never mind. It's at the exact same level it was 20 years ago.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Clinton's Chief of Staff to Head CIA

Leon Panetta, Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff, who has zero experience in anything related to security or foreign intelligence, is being tapped by Obama to head the CIA.

Unfortunately, the little known secret is that the CIA is in many ways nothing more than an extension of the partisan, bureaucratic State Department, where job security, seniority and Beltway insider status count more than national security. Previous Bush appointee Porter Goss was unwelcome because he didn't tolerate insubordination, leaks or general ineptitude. Hayden was definitely more of a status quo guy who didn't want to shake things up too much. And now Leon Panetta is the ultimate status quo, bureaucratic, Beltway "yes man," willing to do anything (or more appropriately, nothing) to pad his resume.

Franken to Take MinneSo(vie)ta?

Looks like it.

Israeli FM: Restraint is Over

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni seems to have thrown down the gauntlet against Hamas. The days of "Hamas firing rockets and Israel showing restraint are over."

It's taken a few years for Israel to realize that showing restraint gets them neither security nor goodwill among Arab nations or the rest of the world. They might as well fight back and at least improve their security situation.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Demo-crooks Ready to Certifty MN Stolen Election

Once again, the Democrats know how to steal an election. Count, recount, recount with different rules, find previously uncounted ballots in car trunks, use election day counts in some precincts and hand counts in other precincts. Then once your candidate "takes the lead," end it and certify the winner.

Why Republicans continue to allow this nonsense is beyond me, but it appears that Franken will be certified the winner of the stolen Minnesota senate seat - courtesy of his Democrook friends on the election board.

Richardson Withdraws - Under Investigation

The corruption never ends. Bill Richardson has withdrawn his cabinet post nomination due to an investigation of a corrupt bargain where he offered a state contract to a firm that gave a large political donation to Richardson.

Obama: 600K New Government Jobs

Jake Tapper of ABC News reports that by Obama's account, he is seeking 3 million new jobs, 20% of which will be new government hires.

I think Tapper is underestimating the 600K figure - or rather, he's making the mistake that Obama's word is worth a grain of salt. I assume that the number will be more like 1 million+ new government jobs. And after factoring in the lack of incentives for private job creation and increased costs to private business, I would bet that every government job will be offset by the loss of at least one private sector job.

Friday, January 02, 2009

States Want $1 Trillion

Unsurprisingly, the Democrat governors of five states are asking the federal government for $1 trillion to bail out their irresponsible spending over the past decade.

Just a dumb question, but who in the world do these governors think are going to pay for the bailout? Their own citizens of course, except under the guise of the federal government vs. the state government. And those states that have been responsible? Shame on you - next time you should know better and act like California Democrat socialists.

MIlitary Has No Confidence in Obama as Chief

According to the newspaper Army Times, 60% of the military are uncertain or pessimistic about Obama as Commander in Chief.

“Being that the Marine Corps can be sent anywhere in the world with the snap of his fingers, nobody has confidence in this guy as commander in chief,” said one lance corporal who asked not to be identified.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Teen Drug Use Down 25% Under Bush

If this headline happened under a Democrat, I'm certain it would make headline news every night for a week. Teen drug use is down 25% since President Bush has taken office. Naturally, this Reuters article takes until the 8th paragraph to actually mention that the trends have improved dramatically.

Despite problems I have with many of Bush's policies over the past eight years, he also has many successes. But don't expect them to get any attention by the media.

Happy New Year: Let's Raise Gas Taxes

A federal commission is calling for...what else, a 50% tax increase on gasoline. In addition, the commission wants to figure out a way for motorists to be taxed for using roads via increased tolls.

I thought that citizens were taxed in order to receive some benefit of services. Now we are being told that we also have to pay for everything separately on top of all our taxes. It begs the question of what in the world taxes are used for in the first place.