Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stop the insanity! Stop the Stimulus!

Larry Kudlow sums up my feelings towards the stimulus package rather nicely:

...Government spending, deficits, and debt creation of this magnitude is simply unheard of. So the added TARP money [$2 trillion on top of the nearly $1 trillion stimulus package] will surely imperil the entire stimulus package as taxpayers around the country begin to digest the enormity of these proposed government actions. Financing of this type would not only destroy the U.S. fiscal position for years to come, it could destroy the dollar in the process. What’s more, the likelihood of massive tax increases — which at some point will become front and center in this gargantuan funding operation — would doom the economy for decades...

...Financing of this type would not only destroy the U.S. fiscal position for years to come, it could destroy the dollar in the process...

...Former Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush economist Larry Lindsey criticized the Democrat package in Wednesday morning’s Wall Street Journal, describing it as “heavily weighted toward direct government spending, transfers to state and local governments, and tax changes that have virtually no effect on marginal tax rates.” Instead, Lindsey proposes a big payroll tax cut that would slice three points off the rate for both employer and employee...

This massive stimulus package will work as well as the bailout of the banks did...not too well. And I bet that in 12-14 months when the economy continues to creep along, another massive stimulus package will be suggested because if the first one didn't work why not try harder? Unemployment may get a small temporary tick down but the package will not create the millions of jobs the Obama administration claims since too much of it is essentially pork and transfer payments. Large tax cuts aimed at marginal tax rates are needed to create jobs which is nonexistent in this package. In fact, this package and any others like it will continue to increase the national deficit and it will make large tax increases a very strong possibility. Congressional Republicans did the right thing voting against this mess of a stimulus package.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Another Tax Dodger for Obama

Tax troubles seem to be dogging the Obama administration. Several weeks ago it was Tim Geithner. Now it’s Tom Daschle with failure to pay more than $128,000 in taxes.

Michael Steele wins Republican chair vote

The GOP has selected Michael Steele as its new chairman. This is a good sign. If the Republican Party wants to surge forward, it needs a new attitude and fresh ideas. The "compassionate conservatism" brought by George W. Bush needs to be scrapped--it doesn't work. The Republican Party needs to get back to its roots--small government, less taxes. How long will it take for liberals to label his election to the GOP chair as an example of "tokenism?"

What Obama Should Be Saying...

One of my favorite economists, Russell Roberts, writes a speech that he would love to hear from Obama. Many free-market advocates would love to hear these words flow from Obama's mouth as opposed to the massive government intervention that we have been hearing over the last couple of days:

(President Obama is eager to attack the economic crisis. Here is the speech I'd like to hear from him.)

My fellow Americans, these are fearful times. Through a set of public and private mistakes, our financial system is in disarray. The problems of Wall Street have spread to Main Street. Unemployment is on the rise...What can the federal government do to unleash the forces of recovery?

Many are urging a massive increase in government spending coupled with tax rebates as a way to jump start the economy. But the economy is not stagnant because of a lack of spending. The economy is stagnant because of a lack of confidence in the future. Government spending on bridges, roads and new schools will stimulate the construction industry. But without confidence, the benefits will not spread to the rest of the economy...

The argument for a massive spending increase presumes that spending is the source of our prosperity. But it is the combination of prudent spending and prudent investment that creates prosperity...

I would like to guarantee that we in Washington would spend an additional trillion dollars or so wisely. I would like to guarantee that such spending would be free of pork and the influence of the powerful. But those guarantees would be empty promises. As a former senator, I know the temptations of power and influence that are unleashed when a trillion dollars are slopping around in the government trough...

Trillions of dollars of annual red ink puts at risk the government's ability to keep its promises. That will discourage private investment and private spending, imperiling any recovery that might take place based on private initiative...

Finally, adding a trillion dollars to an already bloated federal budget is another sign that we in Washington are irresponsible and unable to live within our means. It is that failure of will and discipline that helped create the current situation--a belief that we could have cheap credit and ever-expanding home ownership without any consequences.

Read the full text here.

Welfare For Farmers

The majority of federal tax dollars used as subsidies for farmers ends up in the pockets of multi-billion dollar agri-business.

HT: Liberty Pen

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Rumba Line Gets a Bit Longer!

Rental car firms seek a bailout. Sweeeeet!

25 Most Promising "Green" Businesses

Ask yourself this question: would government have been prescient enough to pick these likely winners? Probably not. Tax dollars would have been dumped and wasted in some pet subsidy "green" project simply because some politician wanted to bring federal funds to his/her district. I say let the free-market work; let it pick the winning technologies of the future.

Obama sides with Bush in Spy Case

Where are the protesters? Where is the outrage? Where is Code Pink wearing their stupid pepto besmol colored hats?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Economists petition against the stimulus package

From the Cato Institute:

Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of government, we do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan's "lost decade" in the 1990s. As such, it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today. To improve the economy, policy makers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth. Below you'll find some recent Cato work on "stimulus" packages.

Over 200 economists from around the country have signed a petition rejecting the stimulus package.

What the stimulus package will really cost

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the proposed stimulus package making its way through the halls of our government would actually cost $1.2 trillion. Ouch! As if we needed to add to an ever increasing deficit and therefore kill the American Dollar.

On Herbert Hoover...

Jeff Perren over at Shaving Leviathan has updated his post "The Myth of 'Hands-Off' Hoover" which is a must read for those of you curious about certain aspects of the Great Depression that you will not find in those old high school text books.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Obama is Bush on Steriods!!

I have always found it quite curious that liberals hated Bush so much yet in many ways he acted (as far as government growth is concerned) like a classic big government liberal---expanding the sheer scope of the federal government and its budget. The size of government grew under his auspices to unprecedented levels. And guess what? The Obama administration is set on making government bigger than even the Bush administration. Watch the video below for Dan Mitchell's explanation:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cartoon of the day

Oh, just wait until they start retiring in great numbers and their load starts to strain Medicare and Social Security! We are going to find out very quickly on how massive entitlement programs can bring a country to its knees.

It’s not easy being Green

Now that Barack Obama is President and liberal Democrats feel an emboldened sense of political mandate, a test of competing liberal agendas comes to the fore with the issue of greenhouse gas emissions. In one corner we have the United Auto Workers and in the other we have the dreaded environmentalists:

The state of California and the automobile industry are pressing the Obama administration to decide whether states may impose their own limits on autos' greenhouse-gas emissions, an issue that pits President Barack Obama's allies in the labor and environmental movements against one another...

...Gearing up to fight California's request is the National Automobile Dealers Association, which is holding its annual convention this weekend in New Orleans, an event expected to draw 25,000 attendees and feature appearances by former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The group has prepared a report warning that the California law would impose "a costly and unnecessary burden on an industry already reeling" from the worst year of U.S. vehicle sales in more than a decade.

Mr. Obama expressed support during his campaign for California's bid to regulate auto greenhouse-gas emissions, so called because they trap the sun's heat in the earth's atmosphere, thus contributing to global warming. But he has avoided saying publicly how quickly his administration intends to act on the state's request.

In addition to the question of whether to let states regulate greenhouse-gas emissions, Mr. Obama's administration is bound by a 2007 Supreme Court decision to determine whether greenhouse-gas emissions "endanger" public health or welfare, the legal trigger for regulating them under the federal Clean Air Act…

…A decision in favor of the request would clear the way for more than a dozen other states to enforce laws they modeled on California's. But it also would risk antagonizing the United Auto Workers, which has complained that the law unfairly discriminates against companies whose product mix is skewed toward pickup trucks, sport-utility vehicles and minivans -- which guzzle a lot of gas. A spokesman for the union, which helped Mr. Obama clinch Ohio and Michigan in last fall's presidential contest, didn't respond to requests for comment on California's request.

With the economy in a slump, it will be interesting to see on which side of the fence the Obama administration forcefully lands on. Obama won’t be able to straddle the philosophical line with oratory flourish like he did during his campaign for the Presidency. He will have to make a tough decision and he will indubitably step on some very sensitive toes; the sort of toes that walked to the polls to elect him.

Update: Mr. Obama has chosen with the Greens. The American auto industry, already on the ropes, may have been dealt a final blow. Break out the popcorn, this may get interesting.

Friday, January 23, 2009

An honest perspective of Obama

This piece was written by Anne Wortham and I must say that she encapsulates how I feel about Obama's rise to the Presidency. Obama supporters and the media (CNN simply fawns over Obama--incredible!) seem almost irrational in their deference to Barack Obama:

Please know: I am black; I grew up in the segregated South. I did not vote for Barack Obama; I wrote in Ron Paul's name as my choice for president. Most importantly, I am not race conscious. I do not require a black president to know that I am a person of worth, and that life is worth living. I do not require a black president to love the ideal of America.

I cannot join you in your celebration. I feel no elation. There is no smile on my face. I am not jumping with joy. There are no tears of triumph in my eyes. For such emotions and behavior to come from me, I would have to deny all that I know about the requirements of human flourishing and survival - all that I know about the history of the United States of America, all that I know about American race relations, and all that I know about Barack Obama as a politician. I would have to deny the nature of the "change" that Obama asserts has come to America. Most importantly, I would have to abnegate my certain understanding that you have chosen to sprint down the road to serfdom that we have been on for over a century. I would have to pretend that individual liberty has no value for the success of a human life. I would have to evade your rejection of the slender reed of capitalism on which your success and mine depend. I would have to think it somehow rational that 94 percent of the 12 million blacks in this country voted for a man because he looks like them (that blacks are permitted to play the race card), and that they were joined by self-declared "progressive" whites who voted for him because he doesn't look like them. I would have to be wipe my mind clean of all that I know about the kind of people who have advised and taught Barack Obama and will fill posts in his administration - political intellectuals like my former colleagues at the Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

I would have to believe that "fairness" is the equivalent of justice. I would have to believe that man who asks me to "go forward in a new spirit of service, in a new service of sacrifice" is speaking in my interest. I would have to accept the premise of a man that economic prosperity comes from the "bottom up," and who arrogantly believes that he can will it into existence by the use of government force. I would have to admire a man who thinks the standard of living of the masses can be improved by destroying the most productive and the generators of wealth.

Read the rest here.

HT: Don Boudreaux

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wanna buy a home for little dough?

You might have to relocate to Flint, Michigan or Detroit but banks are unloading foreclosed homes at ridiculously low prices.

Check this out.

A couple of words on Tim Geithner

The tax dodging treasury secretary nominee will essentially be top tax man if nominated. Great. Here are some fine pointed questions for Mr. Geithner from academics and politicians alike.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Drunk at work? No problem if you're a union guy!

I hope American unions don't get any funny ideas about what is going on in Peru. Certainly wouldn't want the union bus driver to show up drunk for work.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Weird! They both have had to handle crisis too.

Russian gas cutoff energizes nuclear comeback

With the Russians giving continental Europe a real hard time with gas supplies, nuclear power has become more attractive as a viable energy option again.This, of course, will not make European environmentalists happy but the future option of freezing in the dark pretty much overwhelms their concerns. As far as the issue of the storage of nuclear waste, countries such as Italy could do as France does and recycle its nuclear waste.

Cartoon of the day

The state of Minnesota!!

HT: Carpe Diem

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A letter to the RNC chairman

Rod Williams over at A Disgruntled Republican penned a letter to the RNC chairman after receiving a letter from him for a donation. Rod hits the nail on the head with his response.

Friday, January 16, 2009

More public funds for Bank of America

Bank of America has received another $20 billion from taxpayers to shore up their acquisition of Merrill Lynch. This should be an outrage to the average American taxpayer but since the country in under the swoon of the mantra that government must "do something" to get out of the economic doldrums, such massive transfers of taxpayer funds go with nary a protest. Didn't BOA vet the acquisition of Merrill Lynch properly?Or was it that the government implicit guarantee of billions of dollars made them drag their feet when it came to doing their due diligence? When government meddles, unintended consequences are always not far behind.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How bad is it?

From Mark J. Perry at Carpe Diem:

From University of Virginia economics professor Lee Coppock's blog Long Run Equilibrium.

We still have a long way to go before the jobless rate equals the levels of the early 1980s. So before we make comparisons to the 1930s and declare that we are in Great Depression II, how about making first making comparisons to the 1980s?

Comment: All the media that we are exposed to tend to draw the most pessimistic portrait of our current economic situation without really putting it into the right perspective. I'm not saying that things aren't bad or alarming, I'm just saying that we need a bit of a reality check and to understand that the talking heads are going to stoke the bad news for all its worth.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Obama and the Democrats use a crisis to implement their economic plan

Eat your heart out Naomi Klein. Here is an excerpt from Obama's speech today at George Mason University. George Mason must have been spinning in his grave:

It is true that we cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or long-term growth, but at this particular moment, only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe. Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy – where a lack of spending leads to lost jobs which leads to even less spending; where an inability to lend and borrow stops growth and leads to even less credit.

To finally spark the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double the production of alternative energy in the next three years. We will modernize more than 75% of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of two million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills. In the process, we will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced – jobs building solar panels and wind turbines; constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings; and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain.

To improve the quality of our health care while lowering its cost, we will make the immediate investments necessary to ensure that within five years, all of America’s medical records are computerized. This will cut waste, eliminate red tape, and reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests. But it just won’t save billions of dollars and thousands of jobs – it will save lives by reducing the deadly but preventable medical errors that pervade our health care system.

Finally, this recovery and reinvestment plan will provide immediate relief to states, workers, and families who are bearing the brunt of this recession. To get people spending again, 95% of working families will receive a $1,000 tax cut – the first stage of a middle-class tax cut that I promised during the campaign and will include in our next budget. To help Americans who have lost their jobs and can’t find new ones, we’ll continue the bipartisan extensions of unemployment insurance and health care coverage to help them through this crisis. Government at every level will have to tighten its belt, but we’ll help struggling states avoid harmful budget cuts, as long as they take responsibility and use the money to maintain essential services like police, fire, education, and health care.

Comment: My first thought after listening to this speech was how much is it going to cost and how long is it going to take to pay for it? With the "Boomer" generation getting ready to retire in great numbers over the next several years or so, social security and Medicare are going to be put to the test. Adding the so-called "Recovery and Reinvestment plan" and the myraid of other government implemented plans Obama spoke of during this speech may end up just as similiar government plans did during the Great Depression.

The Angry Left

Right Wing News has The 10 Worst Quotes from The Daily Kos. The abject hatred and lack of thought in some of these quotes from contributors is appalling. Liberals now call for long as everyone agrees to do things their way of course.

The Road to Serfdom

Prof. Thomas E. Woods explores the reason why the Great Depression lasted for as long as it did: Interventionist economics. We may be on the road to serfdom today because the federal government is adopting similiar policies to those implemented during the 1930's in order to dig the economy out of its current woes.

HT: Liberty Pen

Democrats eat their own too

From the WSJ:

An Illinois court will eventually decide if Governor Rod Blagojevich is guilty of corruption. But on at least one issue he is more law-abiding than Majority Leader Harry Reid and fellow Democrats: the seating of Roland Burris to replace Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Blagojevich appointed Mr. Burris to represent Illinois on Tuesday, ahead of the official start of the 111th Congress next week. This was certainly an act of brash defiance given that nearly everyone had warned the Governor not to do so after he was heard on tape contemplating the sale of the seat for personal gain. But under Illinois law, Mr. Blagojevich had every legal right to do so.

As the Governor said in his announcement, the Illinois public also deserves its full measure of representation in Washington. Mr. Burris is a former state attorney general who is untainted by the charges against Mr. Blagojevich. After the Blagojevich tapes were made public, Democrats who run the state legislature said they'd pass a law to require a special election for the Senate. But their passion for that option ebbed when it became clear that a Republican could win, especially amid this Democratic fiasco. When the legislature failed to act, Mr. Blagojevich saw his opening to name Mr. Burris.

Meanwhile, Mr. Reid and Washington Democrats are refusing to seat Mr. Burris, never mind their lack of authority to do so. As an initial matter, they're hiding behind the Illinois secretary of state, who is refusing to certify the appointment. But Mr. Burris has asked a court to order the secretary of state to carry out what under state law would typically be a nondiscretionary duty. In any event, Beltway Democrats can't inject themselves into what is clearly a matter of Illinois law.

The legal precedent here is the Supreme Court's 7-1 decision in Powell v. McCormack in 1969. Congressman Adam Clayton Powell had been accused of corruption but was nonetheless re-elected in 1966. House Democrats declined to seat him, Powell sued, and the Supreme Court ruled that Congress had acted unconstitutionally in denying him his seat. Congress could have expelled Powell with a two-thirds vote, as stipulated in the Constitution, but it couldn't deny him the seat in the first instance.

Mr. Reid is also attempting the dodge of referring the matter to the Senate Rules Committee, which is run by Democrats, but the Powell precedent ought to be clear even to political lawyers. If Mr. Reid wants to banish Mr. Burris, he must first seat him and then persuade two-thirds of the Senate to expel him. Needless to say, the last thing Mr. Reid wants to do is create turmoil in his party by expelling an African-American Democrat whose only offense has been to accept an appointment to serve. But if Mr. Reid does go that route, we'd suggest worthier expulsion possibilities, such as Connecticut's Chris Dodd, who received sweetheart mortgages from Countrywide Financial while sitting on the Banking Committee.

Comment: This whole pathetic episode and the fallout yet to come points to a very obvious liberal trait: When it is one of their enemies or a perceived threat--even within their own party--they easily make allowances for ignoring the rules of law and jurisprudence in order to rid or crush the perceived threat no matter what. Who needs rule of law when you have self-righteous indignation, right? With little angry men like Harry Reid in charge of congress for the next couple of years, we can expect more of this crass behavior.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cartoon of the day

HT: Lowercase Liberty

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Lucky you! It's time to file your taxes!!!

The holidays are over and now its time to settle the reckoning for 2008. That's right dear taxpayers; it's the most fun time of the year---TAX TIME!! If you have any "fun" stories or gripes regarding filing your taxes, send a note to Tax Girl since she is running a contest for the most nightmare story regarding filing. Now that the whole country has gone insane and has pretty much accepted more bailouts, stimulus packages, government programs to "help" the economy get back on its feet, we can surely expect to spend more time working to pay taxes than ever before. Yippee!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Who gets U.S. foreign aid?

If you ever wondered, here is a list from Intelligence Report:

1. Israel $2.4 billion Virtually all of this money is used to buy weapons (up to 75% made in the U.S.). Beginning in 2009, the U.S. plans to give $30 billion over 10 years.

2. Egypt $1.7 billion $1.3 billion to buy weapons; $103 million for education; $74 million for health care; $45 million to promote civic participation and human rights.

3. Pakistan $798 million $330 million for security efforts, including military-equipment upgrades and border security; $20 million for infrastructure.

4. Jordan $688 million $326 million to fight terrorism and promote regional stability through equipment upgrades and training; $163 million cash payment to the Jordanian government.

5. Kenya $586 million $501 million to fight HIV/AIDS through drug treatment and abstinence education and to combat malaria; $15 million for agricultural development; $5.4 million for programs that promote government accountability.

6. South Africa $574 million $557 million to fight TB and HIV/AIDS; $3 million for education.

Milton Friedman--Morality and Capitalism

HT: Liberty Pen

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Oh, those sneaky Clinton's

Seems like the Clinton's know a thing or two about political patronage. From the NYT:

An upstate New York developer donated $100,000 to former President Bill Clinton’s foundation in November 2004, around the same time that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton helped secure millions of dollars in federal assistance for the businessman’s mall project.

Mrs. Clinton helped enact legislation allowing the developer, Robert J. Congel, to use tax-exempt bonds to help finance the construction of the Destiny USA entertainment and shopping complex, an expansion of the Carousel Center in Syracuse.

Unintended Consequences

Truly an explosive hammer!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

More candidates for bailout

Companies that have gone under or have filed chapter 11 since the economy turned sour:

Bombay, Co.
Lehman Brothers
Aloha Airlines
Linen ‘N Things
Steve and Barry’s
Sharper Image
Circuit City

Should taxpayer’s bailout these companies? After all, they employ quite a bit of people and it could be argued that they are vital to the communities they serve.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Don't tell Michael Moore...

While Mr. Moore has been busy lobbying for an auto bailout, Moore's favorite example of socialized medicine--the nation of Cuba--has just celebrated 50 years of communist rule. Those lucky Cubans and their socialized medicine: It must be nice, eh? Or maybe not.

The 2012 Pelosi GTxi SS/RT Sport Edition

Yes, siree! Here it is! The car we have been waiting for all these years. Let us praise the noble minds of hack politicians everywhere. You see, if you create the "right" incentives and pump gobs of tax dollars into the a failing industry that employs union workers you will reap great rewards. Hold on tight fellow taxpayers! We are in for a ride! Whoopee!

HT: Carpe Diem