Site for Free Markets and Free People

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

White House: No, We Don't Want Lower Gas Prices

Obama's Energy Secretary Stephen Chu summed up the Administration's views towards gas prices rather well when he said that they don't have a goal of reducing gas prices at all (or electricity prices, as Obama has also previously said).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

CFPB Will Take $548 Million From Fed; Up 27%

This is what happens when Washington passes a poorly conceived reactionary law like Dodd-Frank. As one tiny part of the law, the CFPB was created. This agency is accountable to no one, has an unlimited budget which cannot be denied by Congress and has an acting head in Richard Cordray who is acting illegally via recess appointment even though the Senate was never in recess. And as financial analyst Tom Brown notes, he alone will decide how much taxpayer money to spend.

Did you see that CFPB head Richard Cordray went before a House panel last week and said he’s planning to boost his agency’s budget by 27% this year? He didn’t bother to actually ask Congress for the extra money, or even lobby for it. He simply announced that his agency will spend $448 million, whether anyone liked it or not. I’m not sure this is what the Founders had in mind when they came up with the idea of Congress having the exclusive power of the purse. Oh, well.

The CFPB can get away with stunts like Cordray’s because, unlike every other federal regulatory agency, it’s funded not via Congressional appropriation or subject to rigorous oversight. Instead, the agency has its own in-house money spigot, called the Federal Reserve. According to the Dodd-Frank Act, which authorized the agency, the CFPB can allocate itself up to $548 million from the Fed this year, and then $598 million next year. By law, the Fed can’t turn down the request. Congress plays no role in the process.

Oh, any as Brown also explains, all this does is raise the cost of credit for Americans. This agency is a complete abomination and yet no one can stop it, despite the clear and overt unconstitutionality.

Friday, February 24, 2012

UK Tax Lesson For Obama

As the WSJ points out, raising the tax rates on the wealthy often has the opposite effect as intended. Britain is now learning that lesson. (See Illinois as another example.)

Preliminary figures out this week show that Britain's 50% top marginal income-tax rate may have reduced tax revenue from top earners by as much as 5%, compared to the old 40% top rate.

This is all irrelevant to Obama of course. When noted by George Stephanopolous during the 2008 primary (the last time a reporter dared question a Democrat with a note of skepticism) about the fact that lower tax rates raise revenue and vice versa, Obama simply stated that it was not about dollars, but about "fairness." An absurd answer, but it let everyone know that it was about punishment to him, not maximizing revenue. Let's hope not all politicians are as vindictive and wake up to see the facts.

A Romney-Paul Coalition? I Doubt It

During the last debate, the first debate where Rick Santorum is actually considered the front-runner, he was challenged on many different issues by both Romney and Paul. Santorum seemed to be offended by this and even suggested a planned agreement between Romney and Paul had occurred. Now Rush seems to be suggesting this as well.

I seriously doubt this is happening as Paul and Romney are so different. But I happen to believe that at the current moment they both realize that Santorum is the biggest immediate threat so they're both trying to challenge him. It is true that in the past, Paul has defended Romney's business background when both Gingrich and Santorum criticized Romney for firing too many people. Again, this is just common sense. To criticize someone for being a successful businessman is just plain weird and I'm surprised that both Gingrich and Santorum went this route.

On the other hand, there WAS a clear agreement back in 2008 between McCain and Huckabee to go after Romney and ensure he would not be the candidate. Remember their dirty dealings in West Virginia in 2008? For some reason, this was hardly ever talked about.

I actually agree with many of Santorum's views and on most issues, he's a reasonable candidate. But it's also fair game that he is challenged about his voting record while he was a senator. Why does this have to be a conspiracy? I doubt it is.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Obama Czar: Gov't Should Regulate Family Sizes

Just another example of a radical in the Obama administration. As CNS News explains, John Holdren, the top science adviser to Obama, advocated that the government should regulate family sizes.

The book—"Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions"—argued that the United States government had a “responsibility to halt the growth of the American population.”

“It surely is no accident that so many of the most successful individuals are first or only children,” wrote Holdren and the Ehrlichs, “nor that children of large families (particularly with more than four children), whatever their economic status, on the average perform less well in school and show lower I.Q. scores than their peers from small families.”

Van Jones, Rev. Wright, Steven Chu, Bill Ayers,...the list of radical nuts that are close to Obama just keeps growing.

Romney Wins Me With New Tax Proposal

This morning, Mitt Romney penned his new, bolder tax plan in the WSJ. In short, it could be the game changer and the push to the right that we all need. He is now on record as saying that he wants lower corporate taxes (including for S corporations and LLCs and a bold 0% rate for manufacturers), 20% income tax rate reductions across the board (even for those above that rhetorical $200K figure), maintaining capital gains rates at 15% and lowering it for those under $200K and repealing the AMT altogether. The AMT, keep in mind, started out as a "Buffett-like tax" in 1969, hitting only the wealthiest 150 people or so and now hits some 30 million.

While I still think he has some basic flaws (saying that deductions for "the 1%" might be phased out and enforcing that $200K income figure, as well as not admitting that RomneyCare was a mistake, among others), I think his economic plan is the most attractive and realistic at this point. And yes, even though I think he might be far too timid when facing a debate against Obama, I believe he has the best shot if he can articulate his economic reforms, which (along with repealing Obamacare, which he pledged 100 times) is the most important issue in the U.S. today. And with advisers like Greg Mankiw and Glenn Hubbard, he has some great help on this issue.

Yes, I can now say that I am happy with seeing Romney win the nomination.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Warren Buffett: Please Shut Up

Governor Christie is absolutely right about whiney Warren Buffett and I'm glad someone finally had the guts to say it.

Christie said Buffett "should just write a check and shut up."

Actually, I have a better idea. Instead of having everyone with an income above $250,000/year pay higher taxes, here's what we should do:

The government should enact an ultra-high wealth tax, only for people worth above $40 billion dollars. The tax rate should be 99.99% on their assets. I think that's fair because Buffett would still be left with $4 million which would still put him in the top 1% of all wealthy Americans. Also, all charitable foundations should be dissolved because it's obvious that the government can do the job better than they can. That's MY Buffett Rule.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Obama's View of the American Dream: Lower Expectations

Obama laid out his Carteresque view of the new American dream: to not go bankrupt, enjoy health care and have a few dollars for retirement. How inspirational to teach our kids!

Obviously, his view of the American dream is consistent with having the government provide it for people...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sean Bielat vs Joe Kennedy III: It's Possible!

Many people are already slotting in the youngster, Joe Kennedy III as MA-4's next representative in November, especially after a recent poll shows him winning 70-30, something like that. I say not so fast!

It will be a battle. But it's not impossible. First, Bielat has some name recognition in the district from 2010. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the district has changed. First of all, New Bedford, is gone from the district in the new re-districting in Massachusetts. New Bedford voted over 70% to Barney Frank in 2010 and was the district's second largest city. Replacing New Bedford will be a number of new towns in the southeastern part of the state, many of which went to Scott Brown in his special election a few years ago - towns like Attleboro, North Attleboro, Wrentham, Franklin. A lot of small towns, but it's another 325,000 new constituents. Don't worry, it still won't be easy for Bielat either, as Needham (largely Democrat) has been added, and Middleborough (largely Republican) has been removed. But still, it is a new district.

Combine this with the fact that Joe Kennedy has virtually no work experience in the private sector and while he does have a last name which may help him, his lack of life experience may hurt him. I don't know anything about him, except that he thinks Barney Frank did a great job, and that his father was one of the few people in the world who openly supported Hugo Chavez. These facts alone suggest he's pretty lefty and it's possible that this new district is already tired of that and of the Kennedy nepotism that has plagued the state for the past century.

Let's see what happens!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

GM Cancels Pensions....For Non-Union Employees

GM has decided that it makes sense to cancel the pension contributions for all salaried (i.e. non-union) employees. It is indeed interesting but not surprising, as the company is now majority owned by the UAW.

Just what Obama wanted - class warfare.

Can We Stop Counting Now?

Studies show that last year, 15% of all marriages in the US were inter-racial. Currently 34% of the United States population consists of "non-white" races. So this means, that roughly in a generation, the US will be about 50% of people from "non-white" races. And this assumes no immigration and the fact that some races produce more children than others. I'd say within 25 years that the US will be about 50/50.

So I have a question: can we stop counting races now? Let's face it - our country is a mix, and it has always been that way. Even most whites do not see themselves as simply "white." They see themselves as Irish, or Italian, Greek or of Russian decent, even though these cultures are completely different from one another. The only reason they're lumped together as white is because the government forces us to.

Why must we pencil in something in the race category every time we apply for a job or apply to university? We typically don't fill in height and weight, or hair or eye color, and these characteristics are just as random.

I say this because I believe most Americans couldn't care less about someone's race. Want proof? Oprah Winfrey has had the top afternoon show in America over the past 25 years. Tiger Woods was the most popular athlete (up until 2 years ago) and before him it was Michael Jordan. It's why people love Jeremy Lin (except guys like Jason Whitlock). And it's why Barack Obama was elected as President.

Does the USA really seem like a country that has horrific racial problems? Are people really disadvantaged by their race in America? We can all find a few outlier examples I'm sure and just last week we have sports writers make race-related comments. But by and large, most Americans (not counting Barack Obama and Eric Holder) simply don't care.

To me, the government counts race because they seem to believe two things: 1. That people of different races are disadvantaged by their race, and/or 2. That people of different races think differently from one another. If you disagree with these two notions, then it's time to stop counting these ridiculous numbers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

$3.9 Billion To Clean Energy Obama Cronies

The Obama administration handed out $3.9 billion in taxpayer dollars to his crony friends and backers at clean energy companies.

Then again, $3.9 billion in spending is practically nothing to the Democrats these days.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Obama's Budget Proposal - Seriously?

After having read the first dozen pages of this 256 page monstrosity, I have to agree with critics. It is a campaign paper. It's all about what he inherited, he talks about everything he's done for us and how he saved us from a Depression, and regarding the few shortfalls that the economy has presented, he says it's all congress's fault. He also not surprisingly talks about how people need to pay their "fair" share, blah blah blah.

The budget itself is laughable. While I don't have time to go through everything that's wrong with it, here are a few basics:

1. No cost cuts. The President can talk all he wants about cost cuts, but it's right there -and there are none - they keep rising in his own estimates. On average the President wants the budget to increase costs by $145 Million/year over the next 5 years, and +$200 Million/year over the next 10 years. It's right there folks - his own words - no cuts!!

2. GDP estimates are insane. +3.5%/yr real growth over the next 5 years (+5.3% nominal/yr) with each year getting better than the last. Anyone know what planet this guy is on?

3. Individual income taxes increase by 50% over the next 5 years. How? Even if tax cuts expire, it will only give us 1/5 of that amount. Where does the rest come from? This is even worse than his GDP estimates.

4. Corporate income taxes double from 2011 to 2012. How? And almost triple by 2014. Again, it seems like someone forgot to use their brain in making this estimate.

I don't have time to go over his overly verbose document, but if we just look at the basics, and understand that if his revenue estimates are too high, and his costs continue to increase, then we will continue with the giant Obama-deficits for years to come. Anything he says otherwise just can't be true if we are to believe his document.

Even more importantly, are we supposed to take this (or him) seriously?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Boston Globe Can't Stop Bullying Tim Thomas

Now they're talking about his "legacy" being in jeopardy, and they're comparing him to Manny Ramirez and Curt Schilling (who supported John McCain) who they say have tarnished Boston legacies. Ummm...maybe he cares, but maybe he doesn't. And many Boston sportswriters are pretty fickle, that I imagine that many Boston athletes simply don't care. We can count athletes such as Ted Williams, Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, Wade Boggs and Bill Buckner as just a few athletes who the Boston media loved, then hated, and perhaps loved once again.

What the Globe seems to be saying is that Tim Thomas is posting political opinions on facebook and then refusing to talk about it, and the Globe seems to be suggesting that he either talk about his posts with them (even though they will criticize him even more), or that he shut up (which is probably what they want). The Globe continues to ask everyone on the planet if he is a distraction because the second someone agrees with them, they will never let it drop.

Boston Globe readers more or less don't care what Thomas says. 60% of respondents (in a Boston Globe poll) say that Tim Thomas can say what he wants, or that they don't care what he says as long as the Bruins win. 40% say it is too distracting, although my guess is that none of these respondents actually play on the Bruins.

So seems like it's the Globe that cares most, while most fans don't care at all.

Wonder why the Globe didn't perform the same survey when Theo refused to meet with GW Bush.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Boston Globe Bullying Tim Thomas Again

First Tim Thomas was slammed by the media for opening his mouth on why he refused to go to the white house. The media suggested that he should have just kept his mouth shut and gone anyway.

Now Tim Thomas posted something supporting Catholics on his facebook page. This time, Tim Thomas has decided not to say anything. But now the media is asking why he won't talk about his view more in the open.

The Globe keeps suggesting that Tim Thomas is a divisive voice in the Bruins' locker room, one can presume, because he doesn't support Barack Obama. But doesn't the Globe realize that over half of America disapprove of Obama's policies?

Maybe someone in the Globe's business section should explain to someone in the Globe's sports section that the economy is hurting, largely due to Barack Obama's failed policies.

It's refreshing that one person is unafraid to express dissent against what the government is doing. I wish more politicians would do so.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

State governments, aided and abetted by Obama and ACORN-linked groups like National People's Action, have struck a deal to extort $26 billion from five banks and give it to people who bought houses that they couldn't afford.

Oh, and one of those banks, Ally Financial (formerly GMAC) still owes American taxpayers $12 billion, so American taxpayers will obviously footing their portion of the bill. Just another notch in Obama's goal of wealth redistribution.

1106 Days And Counting...and No Democrat Budget

At least they are consistent in the breaking of their own laws. It's now been almost three years since a budget was passed by the Democrat-controlled Senate as the WSJ explains.

The Senate last passed a budget 1,106 days ago—that would be almost three years—and now the White House is telling Democrats not to bother this year either. Harry Reid will be pleased, because last week the Majority Leader said he had no plans to do so.

Asked yesterday about the lack of a Senate budget, spokesman Jay Carney said that "Well, I don't have an opinion to express on how the Senate does its business with regards to this issue." ABC's Jack Tapper pressed, incredulously, "The White House has no opinion about whether or not the Senate should pass a budget?"

Mr. Carney reiterated that President Obama has "no opinion," only that he "looks forward to the Senate acting on the policy initiatives contained within his budget." But Mr. Carney refused to say the Senate should act by even proposing a budget, let alone, you know, actually passing one.

The truth is that they can't pass a budget. If they do, it will show everyone that they have already spent the next few years budgets in Obama's first term.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Catholic Church Sees Light on Obamacare; Will Not Comply

On the eve of the jamming through of Obamacare a couple of years ago, the Catholic Church discounted parishoner objections about the government mandating abortion and contraception and backed the law anyway as a way to "help the poor." Now that the law does indeed force all Catholic hospitals and charities to allow abortion and contraception or be shut down, the Church has seen the light and is opposing these measures strongly.

Yesterday the Catholic Bishops clearly said that they will absolutely not abide by the regulations and are rightly decrying Obamacare as a trampling of the right to freedom of religion. For the Church, this step is nothing less than extraordinary. It is typically a very liberal institution and apolitical. While sometimes naive, the Catholic Church is doing the right thing - finally. Unfortunately, Obama will likely ignore the Church and force compliance or risk being shut down entirely.

A sad but expected turn when the government controls the entire health care industry. But at least Catholics - even the very liberal ones - are now getting annoyed.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Obama Loves Failed Housing Speculators Too

Everyone knows that Obama loves failing companies, especially in the auto and "green energy" sectors. He loves to waste taxpayer dollars on them. Now it appears that his third round of housing bailouts will include speculators as well. From

Did you notice this little detail in the expansion of the HAMP loan modification program the Treasury Department announced last week?:

. . . Treasury will expand eligibility to include properties that are currently occupied by a tenant as well as vacant properties which the borrower intends to rent. This will provide critical relief to both homeowners that live in their homes and those who rent their homes, while further stabilizing communities from the blight of vacant and foreclosed properties. Single family homes are an important source of affordable rental housing, and foreclosure of investor-owned homes has disproportionate negative effects on low- and moderate-income renters. [Emph. added]

Seriously? So now the federal government proposes to provide relief not just to owner-occupiers, but to investors whose gambles have gone bad, too? As a taxpayer, why should their problems be any of my business? They took a risk—and they lost. These are the same people, remember, who helped provide the last few blasts of air into the housing bubble. And many of them, to even qualify for a residential mortgage, surely committed fraud in the application process. And they’re getting some of my money? That makes no sense.

Obama doesn't care - it's not his money anyway.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Questions About Afghanistan

Obama has recently announced that US troops will end combat in mid 2013 and then end their advisory role in Afghanistan in 2014. I have a problem with this. I don't get why the commander in chief would announce his intentions to the enemy beforehand. Continually we see this - others have done this as well. I would think if this is a serious war worth fighting for, that we would at least conceal our intentions from our enemies. Other questions I have are:

1. Why are we leaving?
2. Did we meet our objectives?
3. What were our objectives exactly?
4. Why did Obama triple our troops in Afghanistan over the past three years?
5. What has been accomplished by tripling our troop levels in Afghanistan?
6. What will happen once we leave?
7. What happens if the Taliban come back to power?

I realize the military have to keep some secrets and the public can't know everything. But I just thought, since Obama is already telling the Taliban what our time horizon is, that he probably doesn't care what he tells them.

I do believe that if the current president were someone with the initials GWB, that the media would hold him more accountable. But it is amazing how one man's surge was scrutinized to the molecule, while another man's surge wasn't even analyzed. Obama's surge wasn't even called a surge - the increase in troop levels were all but ignored.

I'm all for bringing home our troops who have been there long enough, and have done everything that has been asked of them. But can we get some answers from our Commander in Chief also?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Romney Takes Florida, But Race Not Over

I don't think anyone was surprised at the result, and honestly, with all the polling, it's hard to get caught off-guard anymore. Some might be tempted to say the race is just a formality now. It's getting closer to this, but I don't think it's over yet, and it's fine that it continues. Here's my key points from Florida and going forward:

1. The "stars" aligned for Romney in Florida and this helped him. By stars, I mean the GOP elite stars - like Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, among others, threw their support behind Romney.

2. Voter turnout was about 15% less than it was in 2008 in Florida, and in 2008 the GOP had one of the most unexciting candidates ever that year. I hope this isn't a harbinger for turnout in 2012. The tea party was a huge force which drove the GOP to win almost 2/3 of the seats in 2010. Where is the tea party today? Will they sit on the sidelines because none of their candidates are in the race (although each individually, probably does have some tea party support)

3. Gingrich lost a big chunk of the women's vote. I continue to believe this will be a problem for Newt, but maybe not as large as it was in Florida as time might heal these scars a bit.

4. Gingrich ran negative in Florida. I think he'll learn from this mistake. He's at his best in attacking Obama. When he attacks Romney for making money at Bain, firing people at Bain, or owning a mutual fund, that's just silly nonsense.

5. Romney benefitted from a couple of more aggressive debates. Hopefully, he has also learned that standing back and having the race handed to him is not a good strategy.

6. Don't count out the other two - Santorum and Paul. This is a long race. Even if they don't have a chance, it's good to keep them in the race to keep Romney on the right.

7. Many democrats are salivating and giggling at the in-fighting between Republicans, thinking it works to their benefit. I disagree. The only reason it might help Obama is that it distracts people from the horrendously poor job the President is doing.

8. No matter which Republican takes it, I see that person as infinitely better than Obama, although as Ron Paul has mentioned, that's a pretty low hurdle.