Site for Free Markets and Free People

Thursday, March 31, 2011

WalMart CEO: Inflation Coming This Summer

Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon says that significant inflation is coming to consumers within months, so they better be prepared.

Amazing what a weak dollar, money printing, out-of-control spending policy will get you. Will Obama blame this one on Bush too?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

House GOP Searching for Moderate Dems

Here you have it - the GOP leadership in the House is apparently giving up on conservatives to support their budget, instead seeking Democrat help - to cut all of about $30 billion for the year - out of a $1.6 trillion deficit.

This means that the new deficit will only be $1.57 trillion - hooray!! This is how Republicans lose - they get voted in overwhelmingly to do what they campaigned on and then they become almost indistinguishable from Democrats.

Government shutdown is inevitable - just embrace it. The Dems will not cut spending and the GOP is scared stiff of letting the Democrats shut the government down. Why??

Nearly One in Four Americans Now Disabled

According to Obama, who just doubled the number of Americans under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a total of approximately 84 million, or 1/4 of the population, is now disabled.

Indiana GOP Caves; Dems Return

For Mitch Daniels and the Indiana GOP, getting the Democrats to return was a high price. They basically caved in on their austerity agenda, giving the unions essentially what they demanded.

For Daniels and the GOP, it shows a spinelessness that voters will recognize and it sets a terrible precedent for cost cutting in general. If this is how the GOP acts, we need a whole new slew of Tea Party candidates that will do what they promise.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reuters Journalists Openly Rooting For Elizabeth Warren

What's wrong with this excerpt from a Reuters article explaining that both Elizabeth Warren and Jamie Dimon are speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week?

Warren, 61, is an earnest Harvard Law School professor brought up in Oklahoma, while Dimon, 55, is a consummate New York City insider and one of Wall Street's richest CEOs.

He was once a close adviser to President Barack Obama on financial regulation policy, but has become a vocal critic of the administration's efforts, especially since passage in 2010 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms.

She is helping the administration set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a watchdog called for by Dodd-Frank to shield consumers from abusive practices in the mortgage and credit card businesses.

So Warren, the Marxist Obama-ite is the "earnest" Midwesterner protecting the common folk while Dimon is the rich, evil CEO. Unfortunately, anyone with an ounce of knowledge knows how destructive Elizabeth Warren will be to the U.S. economy if she ever gets to run Obama's Financial Destruction board.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Caterpillar May Leave Illinois Over Harmful Tax Increases

In a letter to the tax-raising Gov. Quinn, Caterpillar CEO said that it might have to leave the state of Illinois because of its anti-business climate, particularly given the recent massive tax increases that Democrats pushed through.

Cat employs 23,000 people in Illinois. Assuming the company moved even a portion of those employees to plants in other states, which seems highly likely, the state can reduce its expected income taxes by that amount. Needless to say, if it moved the whole company out of state, it would be a complete disaster for the state...and a boon to the state it moves into...

Friday, March 25, 2011

FAA Controllers Falling Asleep? We Need More Staffing!

The solution to the air traffic controller who fell asleep on the job at Reagan National Airport this week? Hire more workers! They're overworked and don't have any backups.

Typical government reaction - hire more federal employees rather than find one that can do his job right.

Is Obama Helping Al Qaeda in Libya?

Sure looks that way. This guy fought against the US in Afghanistan and now fights against Qaddafi in Libya.

Obama should be very very careful, unless this is what he wants to do.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Americans Forced to Accept Entitlements?

Most Americans may not be aware, but a stunning ruling from federal judge Rosemary Collyer may have just paved the way to force Americans to accept government entitlements, including Medicare, Obamacare or anything else the government wants you to have. As the WSJ notes,

It remains a remarkable fact that America obliges most citizens over the age of 65 to take that rickety government health plan known as Medicare. Judging by today's growing number of health-savings options (HSAs, medical FSAs), some Americans would prefer to maintain private coverage upon retirement, rather than be compelled into second-rate Medicare. Yet the idea of patient choice offends many in government, and in 1993 the Clinton Administration promulgated so-called POMS rules that say seniors who withdraw from Medicare Part A (which covers hospital and outpatient services) must forfeit their Social Security benefits.

When seniors challenged this in court in 2008, it appeared that they were winning their case.

Yet in a stunning reversal, Judge Collyer last week revisited her decision and dismissed the case. In direct contravention to her prior ruling, the judge said the Medicare statute does—with a little creative reading—contain a requirement that Social Security recipients take government health care. The Medicare statute provides that only individuals who are "entitled" to Social Security are "entitled" to Medicare. Therefore, argues the judge, "The only way to avoid entitlement to Medicare Part A at age 65 is to forego the source of that entitlement, i.e., Social Security Retirement benefits."

This is convoluted enough, but Judge Collyer's truly novel finding comes with her implicit argument that to be "entitled" to a government benefit is to be obligated to accept it. This is a startling break with existing legal understandings and raises profound questions as to whether Americans have a duty to accept other "entitlements," say, food stamps or public housing. Or, as the plaintiffs attorney, Kent Masterson Brown, warns: "Anyone concerned with what will happen when the bureaucrats start writing the thousands of pages of rules that will govern" ObamaCare need only look at this ruling. "Nothing will be optional."

So you can't get Social Security without Medicare. Or perhaps, you won't be entitled to IRS deductions if you don't sign up for Obamacare. This is absurdity at its highest level.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ron Paul vs Bernanke

Watch out Ben. Ron Paul wants to end the Fed and bring back the gold standard. I have to say, I think his "outside the box" thinking is pretty refreshing, and regardless if he accomplishes what he wants, it opens the debate, which is healthy.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Obama Rushes to War With Libya

After dithering for only about a month, Obama suddenly rushes to an "elective" war that will do nothing to protect the United States people. Why rush to war now? President Bush waited a full 9 months before sending forces into Iraq and he was said to have rushed to war.

Btw, at what point can we start chanting, "this war is lost?" Never mind, that's what Democrats do.

IL Gov Signs Tax on Amazon Affiliates; Program Shut Down

Democrats should be used to complete economic failure when they pass any law dealing with business. After Democrat Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation requiring Illinois affiliates of Amazon to pay sales tax in the state, Amazon simply shut down the program, thus effectively eliminating any income tax that the state would have otherwise received from its citizens (without mentioning that some of these affiliates may have relied upon some of this revenue for their livelihood).

No matter; the program is shut down now, hurting Illinois and Illinois businesses. Let me guess - this program was supposed to raise millions of tax dollars for the state. Now it will do the opposite.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Barack H. Obama Elementary Has Failed

Barack Obama Elementary School in Asbury Park, NJ has failed and will be closing.

Is this an omen?

Democrats Convicted of Fraudulent Candidates in Michigan

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Michael McGuinness and Democratic Operations Director Alex Bauer were found guilty of propping up phony Tea Party Candidates in the last election.

They did this without people's knowledge with the hope that some would vote for the Tea Party guy and not the GOP candidate, thus dividing and conquering.

I do think conservatives need to watch this for 2012 at all levels.

Deval Wants to Talk with Fidelity (Now?)

Deval Patrick certainly has egg on his face. His big idea was to travel the world, shake a few hands, dine with diplomats, and see if he could generate some business for Massachusetts. While he was doing that, Fidelity, one of Massachusetts' big employers announced that they would be moving 1100 workers to Rhode Island and New Hampshire who have offered the company favorable tax deals.

Certainly looks bad for the governor. He could have walked 2 blocks to have a meeting with Fidelity, and could have perhaps "preserved" some jobs. Ironically, he decided to travel the world, and he hasn't come up with any new deals.

Now Patrick says he wants the meeting with Fidelity (that he should have already had). He says "I want them to say that to my face..." Not sure if that is the type of language that Ned Johnson normally warms to.

Maybe Patrick doesn't know this, but to keep businesses in your state, sometimes you need to throw them a deal, like Massachusetts's neighbors have done. One piece of advice to Patrick: think of what Obama would do in this situation.... then do the opposite.

Clinton Disses Obama, Calls it Quits

Hillary is yet another one leaving Obama's cabinet. Sounds like Hillary has become increasingly frustrated at an president who "can't make his mind up." For all intents and purposes, Obama seems to be voting "present" on whatever action should be taken in Libya (and Japan for that matter). I completely agree with one of Hillary's insiders who described Obama's foreign policy as "amateur night." I would even take it a step further, calling Obama's domestic policy as amateur night as well.

But I disagree if Hillary's source of frustration is Libya and that we should be supporting the rebels, which many seem to agree with these days. Does anybody actually know who these rebels are and what they support? I think the answer is no. Why shouldn't we just sit it out sometimes and let the world figure it out? It's very possible that the solution to Libya will be worse than what we have.

Don't get me wrong, Qaddafi is a mad man, a terrorist and although crackpots like Farraqan and Jeremiah Wright, (and thus probably Obama as well) have historically supported him, I just think that the US might be getting mixed up in something we know nothing about.

We chose sides in Kosovo and found out a year later that both sides had mass graves and so our initial indication was wrong. So I see no harm in waiting to see what happens.

In the meantime, Japan does need help, and Obama is trying to figure out who has the better outside game, Ohio State or Kansas.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

One Promise Obama Kept

Powerline says that Obama did keep at least one campaign promise - a serious pledge to increase the cost of gasoline.

Some might say that gas goes up and down for every administration, which is true. It's just that in the case of Obama, he has purposely done everything to cause it to happen - as he promised in his campaign.

Washington Destroyed Your Washing Machine

The WSJ explains that Washington really understands how to destroy good products in the name of "environmental efficiency." The washing machine is a good example.

In 1996, top-loaders were pretty much the only type of washer around, and they were uniformly high quality. When Consumer Reports tested 18 models, 13 were "excellent" and five were "very good." By 2007, though, not one was excellent and seven out of 21 were "fair" or "poor." This month came the death knell: Consumer Reports simply dismissed all conventional top-loaders as "often mediocre or worse."

...The federal government first issued energy standards for washers in the early 1990s. When the Department of Energy ratcheted them up a decade later, it was the beginning of the end for top-loaders. Their costlier and harder-to-use rivals—front-loading washing machines—were poised to dominate.

Front-loaders meet federal standards more easily than top-loaders. Because they don't fully immerse their laundry loads, they use less hot water and therefore less energy. But, as Americans are increasingly learning, front-loaders are expensive, often have mold problems, and don't let you toss in a wayward sock after they've started.

When the Department of Energy began raising the standard, it promised that "consumers will have the same range of clothes washers as they have today," and cleaning ability wouldn't be changed. That's not how it turned out.

In 2007, after the more stringent rules had kicked in, Consumer Reports noted that some top-loaders were leaving its test swatches "nearly as dirty as they were before washing." "For the first time in years," CR said, "we can't call any washer a Best Buy." Contrast that with the magazine's 1996 report that, "given warm enough water and a good detergent, any washing machine will get clothes clean." Those were the good old days.

...Now Congress is at it once again. On March 10, the Senate Energy Committee held hearings on a bill to make efficiency standards even more stringent.

And people say that slashing government spending which would reduce these types of nonsensical ideas would actually be missed by taxpayers??

How Obama Responds to a Nuclear Disaster

By filling out his NCAA bracket on live ESPN, prime-time.

Relax people. He did give a "shout out" to those people suffering in Japan while he filled in his bracket. That was nice.

LA Times says this isn't the first time that Obama shows how aloof he is to the public.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Financial Czar Warren Gets Grilled; Offers Nonsense

Today at a hearing, Obama's bank-hating "consumer protection" czar Elizabeth Warren was grilled by the GOP over her massive budget and total unaccountability for her actions.

Warren argued that the bureau does have checks and balances because its decisions, in certain circumstances, can be rejected by the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a newly formed umbrella group composed of bank and securities regulators.

The Dodd-Frank Act gives the council authority to void consumer agency rules by a 2/3 vote if its rule puts at risk “safety and soundness of the banking system or the stability of the financial system.” Most regulatory observers argue that it is very unlikely the council would ever use this authority because of the high threshold for action, however.

Warren added that the agency has other checks and balances, including requirements to submit annual reports to Congress and have its director testify twice annually. The Government Accountability Office also conducts an annual audit of the consumer bureau’s expenditures and must submit a report to Congress, she added.

So there. It must submit an annual report. Yippeeee.

“Today, few of us seriously believe that we have the marketplace that American families deserve — or one that always works effectively and efficiently for financial institutions large and small,” Warren said.

Perhaps she means free mortgages for all? Make no mistake. She would absolutely have no problem harming the profitability of every bank in the country so she can dictate the rate on every last loan in what she views as "fairness."

Going to Rio!

Obama's had a long week, after a tough day on the links and then working to come up with his Final 4. Now he has deserved a well needed break in Rio.

The interesting point here is that whenever his poll numbers start to look Jimmy Carter-esque ugly, he tries to disappear. And seems to work - not hearing or seeing his ineptitude often helps bring back confidence.

Deval "Shocked" by More Job Losses in Mass

While Deval Patrick was galavanting around the world trying to promote business, something interesting happened in Massachusetts. Fidelity Investments, one of the state's largest employers, decided to move another 1100 workers to New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Patrick was "shocked" to hear this news.

I can see why he was surprised - he was in Israel, Europe, and the UK at the time. Maybe if he had paid attention to life in Massachusetts he wouldn't have been so surprised by Fidelity's actions.

Note to Deval: Businesses can move if you don't incentivize them to stay. This is something that big buddy Barack has yet to understand either.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Geithner, Obama Seeking "Quick" Extortion Deal with Banks

Tim Geithner said he wants to reach a multi-billion dollar global settlement deal with banks "quickly" to deal with their foreclosure servicing problems. (They dare to foreclose on those that can't or won't pay.)

This is another Obama scam. This money will go directly to those that Obama believes are "most in need" and are delinquent in their foreclosures, despite the fact that over half of all loan modifications become delinquent again within 6 months. In other words, more Obama bailouts, courtesy of big business and ultimately consumers.

Netanyahu's Response: Building More Houses in West Bank

After the violent stabbings of an Israeli family of five, including three children by Palestinians, PM Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to build hundreds of more houses in the West Bank.

Good for him. According to most of the world (including the U.S. administration), Israel is not allowed to react to these bloody murders of civilians. But Netanyahu is experienced enough to know that doing nothing is the worst possible reaction that would only encourage more killings.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Peaceful" Palestinians Murder Jewish Family

Not hard to understand why we're not seeing this news on the Palestinian-loving news networks in the U.S. Palestinians murdered a Jewish family of five in the West Bank on Friday, including children ages 11, 3 and 3 months.

Police, Firefighters Threaten To Screw Those Who Support Walker

A letter written by the unions of firefighters, police and teachers to M&I Bank in Wisconsin threaten that they will not provide services to them if they agree to follow the new law that just passed.

This is why public unions should never exist and they should be made illegal throughout the U.S.

Anyone who makes these threats against private businesses they are sworn to protect should be fired immediately and replaced by those who are committed to actually working for the public who pays their salaries.

Obama, Geithner Want Global Currency?

Hmm. Obama wants to be president of China. Now he doesn't want the dollar to be the world's reserve currency (unless this was just another act of extreme stupidity/incompetence on the part of Geithner).

Why not just waive the white flag and give the U.S. away to Iran?

The Police Exam "Bubble"

Under pressure from Obama's DOJ, the city of Dayton has been forced to lower its standards for hiring police officers because not enough African Americans have passed the exam.

Isn't this what happened to the mortgage market? Playing politics with public safety isn't a good idea, but it's what the government does best.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Obama Laments Not Being President of China

Bill Kristol slams Obama for stating that his job would be much easier if he were president of China. Dictators who despise the vote of the people usually think that.

Maybe a trade wouldn't be so bad for us...

More Union Death Threats Against Republicans

If the tea party wrote death threat letters like this, the denunciations would go on for weeks. Obama would be the first to call them out.

Now that unions are regularly making pretty vicious death threat letters to the GOP, Obama doesn't seem to care. It appears that civility means the GOP needs to shut up and go along with Democrats and if they don't, then they brought the threats upon themselves.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wells Fargo CEO: Dodd-Frank Bill Hurts Consumers

I wonder if anyone in the Obama administration cares that the one of the top CEOs in the entire banking industry thinks that Dodd-Frank is a disaster that will hurt consumers (as does Ben Bernanke, at least in the fact that consumers will have to pay more). Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf:

"We have government price controls [in banking] for the first time," Stumpf said. "As I talk to senators, I ask them, 'What is the next product you want to manage and control?' ... Should we regulate the cost of computers?"

..."If you set someone up on Hennepin and 7th, and had them put up a sign and say, 'Tell me what caused the downturn of 2008,' they'd be standing there for five more winters before someone said, 'It's those darned debit fees,'" Stump said Tuesday. "But they would say within three seconds that housing has something to do with it. Dodd-Frank has a big section in there about debit fees and not a word about housing. So politics is alive and well in Washington."


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The SIGTARP Police is Coming

CNBC has this article about SIGTARP, the inspector general agency of the infamous TARP program. As usual, it is an entirely duplicative agency, with its own law enforcement separate from the IRS or the SEC or the Justice Department.

Coincidentally, I received a call recently from someone within SIGTARP who was doing some investigative work on a bank that accepted TARP funds. I happened to buy shares in that bank and subsequently sold them. A couple of the caller's questions were rather pointed. For example, this person asked, "would you have purchased the stock if you knew it was a fraud?" to which I responded that of course I would not have. The person also asked whether I relied on their financial statements being truthful and honest, to which I answered yes.

I asked whether or not fraud had been determined and why the SEC or the DOJ wasn't working on it if that was the case. The person's response danced around the question, implying that they were still building their case. I was then asked if I would be willing to testify at a hearing, to which I responded that I basically broke even on my trade. No matter, I was informed and that they might call back again for my help if I was needed.

Do we really need another duplicative agency in Washington, especially one that seems to have already stacked the decks against the companies they are pursuing? Of course, I don't yet have all the details, but to me it seems that banks that fail or don't pay back the TARP funds might be criminally prosecuted under the auspices of "fraud." It will be interesting to see, but it would not surprise me.

Yet Another Absurdity of Obamacare

The ridiculousness of Obamacare provisions never ends. As the WSJ explains, one provision related to FSAs or flexible spending accounts, requires that individuals now get doctor prescriptions for everyday items like aspirin or cold medicine in order to be reimbursed with their own tax deductible accounts.

In other words, the 33 million FSAs are now either useless or doctors are going to be inundated with prescription requests for over-the-counter items anyone can purchase at a store. And some doctors are simply refusing to do it, rendering the FSAs worthless.

Score another point for Obama's desire to nationalize our health care system and create a more expensive, more inconvenient and more overcrowded system.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

NPR's Non-Bias on Display

This is quite funny. Two NPR executives meet with a fictitious Muslim organization who claim to want to donate money to NPR. The NPR folks have no problem showing their total disdain for Republicans and conservatives.

But don't call it bias...

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Durbin: Spending Cuts "Pushed to the Limit"

Good grief. Dem Senator Dick Durbin says that we've already cut way too much spending and that the spending cuts have already been "pushed to the limit."

With talk like this, it makes one wonder how the Democrats could even get 20% of the votes in the U.S.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Beck Ratings: Still Pretty Strong

Last night I was talking to some people about Beck and a few people mentioned how his ratings are down 50%. A couple others said he was crazy and that's why his ratings were suffering. He's not everyone's cup of tea - I get that. (Who is?)I checked the internet and there were a ton of articles saying the same thing - that ratings were down big. Because I watch the guy a couple of times a week, depending upon the topic, and I didn't notice any difference in his tone, I figured that I'd check it out.

The ratings I see show that he consistently has attracted about 2 million viewers per night, even though he is on at 5pm, and this crushes anyone else in that time slot. In fact he usually attracts twice as many viewer at 5pm as CNN or MSNBC does at primetime. So what are people talking about?

I've looked at the numbers, and while Beck has consistently attracted 2 million viewers, he did have a "spike" in ratings from September 09 until March 2010 where, instead of attracting 2 million, he got up to about 2.7 million. I personally can't remember why it would have spiked at that time, except maybe that was when Obama was ramming healthcare down the throat of America and was when Scott Brown was running for Senator - maybe there was more poltical fervor at that time. And from those ridiculously high levels for that short time period, yes, he is down.

Other than that, same ol same ol. I don't see a huge change, but don't believe me, check the numbers for yourself.