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In the last few days and weeks we’ve been hearing a lot about the payroll tax hike/cut.  Lately the pitch has ramped up for two reasons.  One, the Senate was ale to negotiate a bipartisan agreement to extend the tax cuts.

For 2 months.

Now, most recently, the House Republicans have declined to accept that compromise.  They voted Tuesday to reject the Senate deal and are asking for the two bodies to meet in committee.  We’ll see who blinks.

However, for me, what has been lost in all of this is why the Democrats are fighting for a tax cut to begin with?  I certainly understand the whole “We-They” thing, after all, the whole payroll tax cut idea was the Democrats brain child.  But why, at all, do the tax more, big state liberals want ANY tax cut?  Especially one that funds their most precious social program, Social Security?

Why?  Because Social Security is SO broken, so in debt and so “no chance of survival” that the Democrats feel they have little to lose.  In fact, they KNOW the government will “bail out” Social Security.  So, in some perverse way, the payroll tax cut can be seen to be a stimulus program.  Albeit not a perfect one.  For starters the more you make the more it benefits you.  And, you have to actually be working to benefit.  But other than that, any money not sent to Social Security is just added to the bill that Congress will eventually pay.

Rascally Rabbits!

So, I get the hinge.  The Democrats in the Senate won a vote to extend the payroll tax cut for 2 months.  The House GOP doesn’t like that bill and wants to vote on one of their own.  They want the tax cut to be longer than 2 months, more like a year:

The fourth-ranking House Republican argued Tuesday that a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut “would do more harm than good.”

Now, in so far as we can reduce the tax burden for a s long as we can, I resonate with the good Mr. Hensarling, Rep from Texas.  What I don’t understand however, is why even such a relatively short extension of a year is thought to be THAT much better.  If you’re gonna end the tax, end the tax.  A temporary reduction is just as random and unpredictable if it’s 2 months or 12.

I’m a little disappointed in both parties over this one.

There was a lot of debate around the Mississippi legislation that would have defined life at conception.  I’is no secret that this was nothing but a method to move to make abortion illegal.  The pro-life folks want to codify that life exists and therefore, that life has claim to individual Liberty.

While I resonate with the concept I diverge in two areas:

  1. I don’t think that human life begins at conception.  Shortly thereafter?  Sure.  Heartbeat, brain activity and blood flowing?  Yeah, then.  Then’ish.
  2. We don’t have to work that hard to make this point.

There is already bi-partisan support for this concept.  In fact, that support passed new legislation into law that will take effect here in North Carolina tomorrow, December 1.

RALEIGH, N.C. — More than four years after a pregnant woman was killed outside a Raleigh convenience store, a law named for her unborn son that criminalizes the murder of a fetus will take effect Thursday.

State lawmakers passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, often referred to as Ethen’s Law, in April. The legislation deems that anyone who commits murder, manslaughter or assault against a pregnant woman is guilty of the same crimes against the fetus, regardless of whether an attacker knows about the pregnancy.

I do not find it consistent to be charged with a crime against a human being unless you committed that crime against, you know, a human being.

We all  know, ALL of us, that life begins well before literal conception.  What we’re doing is just negotiating on the time.  As such, we know that the kid in the womb is just that, a kid.

So, we’re not arguing about what’s going on when there is an abortion, a child is dying.  We’re just saying we’re okay with the taking of that life when it suits us.  It would be refreshing, as if, the Liberal Left would be honest and admit that.

The current economic condition was brought about by housing.   Housing costs and a housing bubble.  The result is that we find an enormous problem with hundreds of thousands of people facing foreclosure. And until that problem is cured, we may never truly begin to see a real path to recovery.

These people are suffering.  They’re going to bed at night with that pit i their stomach wondering how they’re gonna make the next payment.  How they’re gonna avoid having the phone shut off.  How they’re gonna make winter.  There is fear and apprehension and stress.  I get it.  And I don’t wanna diminish it.   But those feelings are never, ever, really gonna go away until they’re addressed.  Not just contained, but addressed.

I went to school in Marshall, MN, home of Schwanna’s Ice Cream and Red Barron pizza.

I met Mr. Schwann by the way.  He dropped out of school in the eighth grade before founding his company.  I tended bar at the hotel he liked to have his Christmas Parties at.  His favorite thing was to tell me to watch how his executives would “run on the bar” in an effort to drink what he was drinking.  The worst was when he landed on CC and water with a rind of lemon.  I never cut so many lemon rinds in my life!

My major was Mathematics.  Not math, but Mathematics.  In calc I found myself in class with a bunch of non-math majors.  And they were struggling.  Some just wanted to pass and get the req out of the way.  Others were earnestly interested in learning calculus.  I gravitated towards those kids.

We would study forever.  I’ve found that math is learned in a series of ramps and plateaus.  That is, forward progress is made steadily until such a time as a specific concept is hit that prevents further and deeper understanding.  And until that plateau is addressed, not contained, further learning can not occur.  The gifted teachers have a grasp of plateau identification and remediation.  Anyway, the same process holds true in other aspects of life.

And home finances are one of them.  Which is my very long way of saying that just giving someone the answers to the calc exam isn’t going to help them understand calculus.  And neither is forgiving mortgages going to help people address their home finance situation:

WASHINGTON — The federal government’s expansion of a mortgage refinancing program could reduce the monthly payments of up to one million homeowners, but analysts said the modest scope of the plan meant it would probably do little to heal the housing market or help the broader economy.

The effort, built on sweeping voluntary agreements with the mortgage industry to let people refinance even if their homes have declined in value, reflects a new White House emphasis on economic measures that do not require Congress to overcome its bitter partisan divisions.

It also maintains a choice President Obama made in the early days of his administration to focus on reducing monthly payments rather than on the amounts that borrowers owe, the latter being what a growing number of liberal and conservative economists consider necessary to resolve the problem.

I resonate with the plight.  I get the desire to help.  But this isn’t helping.  This is enabling.  And until true and serious lessons are learned, nothing will change:

Treasury has publicly estimated that the redefault rate on HAMP permanent mods will be 40% over five year. Now, just one year into permanent mods, we have already reached a 21% redefault rate. There is no indication that the redefault rate is plateauing, and no reason to think that it will.

In other words, the default rate on refinanced mortgages is very high.  If you are failing to meet the payments of your current mortgage, there is little reason to believe that you will suddenly be able to make the payments on a restructured mortgage.

Not only does this program fail to help the problem it sets out to fix, the secondary impact is that it artificially keeps the home market from clearing.  The price of a home remains artificially high.  And this prevents true recovery.

Let the market work.  Accept the pain and allow these homes that are over leveraged to go into foreclosure and the market will heal.  It always does.

Warren Buffet is now famous for claiming that his secretary pays more in taxes than he does.  Forget for a second that she doesn’t literally pay more.  Also forget for a second that she most certainly doesn’t pay the rate that Buffet claims she does.

Instead, focus on Buffet.  And his salary:

Warren Buffett, the billionaire chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), was paid a $100,000 salary for a 30th straight year after warning that excessive executive compensation can hurt shareholders.

Buffett, 80, received no bonus in 2010 and he doesn’t get stock options or grants, the Omaha, Nebraska-based firm said today in a filing. Buffett’s personal and home-security services paid for by Berkshire cost $349,946. The company’s compensation committee has determined salaries since 2004. Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman and largest shareholder, formerly recommended his own salary to the board.

It’s reasonable to conclude that Buffet will earn another $100,000 next year.  Plus, of course, the security compensation.  So, if he gets his way and Obama and the Democrats raise the marginal tax rate from the 35% it is now to what ever they wanna move it to, guess what happens to Buffet’s tax burden?

It remains almost exactly the same.

See, Buffet makes his money in other ways than a simple paycheck:

  • Buffett’s adjusted gross income last year was $62,855,038
  • Buffett’s taxable income last year was $39,814,784
  • Buffett paid $15,300 in payroll taxes last year
  • Buffett’s federal tax bill came to $6,923,494, or 17.4% of his taxable income last year
So, if we DOUBLE the current top marginal rate, Buffet is only impacted on the first $100,000 + whatever the security compensation costs him.  The rest, the $39,400,000 or so left over, won’t be impacted.
Don’t be fooled.  Buffet doesn’t wanna pay more taxes.  He wants OTHER people to pay more taxes.

There’s been a lot of talk about the lack of a jobs bill to come out of Washington.  In the campaign of 2010, the mantra of “jobs, jobs, jobs” was heard from The Coast of Carolina to the coast of California.  Of course, we know how that election worked out.

Horribly for the Democrats.

Since then, any legislation by the Republican House that doesn’t deal directly with “jobs, jobs, jobs” has been derided by the Left as some sort of betrayal to the people.

Wanna pass a bill that talks about abortion?  Wanna discuss legislation that speaks to immigration?  All impossible under the chorus of mockery from the Left claiming that the Republicans haven’t passed a single jobs bill.

The Speaker of the House disagrees that his chamber has been silent:

 House Republicans have worked throughout the year to implement the Pledge to America, our governing agenda focused on removing government barriers to private-sector job creation, and later this year built on the Pledge by putting forth an expanded jobs agenda, our Plan for America’s Job Creators.  Our new majority has passed more than a dozen pro-growth measures to address the jobs crisis. Aside from repeal of the 1099 reporting requirement in the health care law, however, none of the jobs measures passed by the House to date have been taken up by the Democrat-controlled Senate.  

None have been taken up in the Senate.  More than a dozen bills.  None taken up in the Senate.

Zero.

Very hard to blame the Republicans for the Democrats refusal even to consider such bills.  Much ado has been made about the Republicans use of the filibuster, but let’s not forget that the Democrats control the Senate.  And as such, only bring up legislation that they want to consider; a built in filibuster.

However, even with all of that aside, last night was illustrative:

Thursday night, there were a couple Democratic defections on Obama’s jobs measure. And despite a veto threat from the White House, 10 Democrats voted for a GOP alternative.’

The Democrats brought up a jobs bill in the Senate.

It was defeated 50-50.

Then the Republicans brought up a jobs bill.  Every single Republican voted for it.  AND 10 Democrats joined ’em.

It was defeated, 57-43, due to Democrat obstruction.

I find it fascinating that the Republicans garnered more bi-partisan support for a jobs bill in a Democrat Senate than the Democrat President was able to muster.

A tale of two jobs bills indeed.

Remember, that of which I speak also feels that a reason we have so many unemployed folks is because of the iPad relieved so many type-setters from their jobs.

Just know about who we’re talking about here.

Anyway, it seems that the Good Reverend’s Son feels the government should just hire the unemployed:

Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. told The Daily Caller on Wednesday that congressional opposition to the American Jobs Act is akin to the Confederate “states in rebellion.”

Jackson called for full government employment of the 15 million unemployed…

I suspect he wants them to assume a occupation in type-setting perhaps?

Anyway, so yeah.  Jesse wants the government to just hire the 15 million people.  And then what?

I believe … in the direct hiring of 15 million unemployed Americans at $40,000 a head…

Remember, I told you this guys isn’t smart.  iPads contributing to the unemployment rate.

So yes, Jesse wants to hire 15 million people at $40k a pop.  Guess what THAT does to the unemployment rate?  It SKY-rockets.  Everyone under $40,000, or even those at some marginal value higher than $40,000, will become unemployed over-night.

Every blessed one of ’em.

Now, what I would do instead of listening to the not-smart Rep from Illinois, is declare everyone on unemployment to be an employee.  And make ’em work.

There, problem solved.  Except my idea is better.

40,000 a head, really…….

I shouldn’t be surprised.  Democrats have long ago abandoned any hope of defending individual liberty.  In so far that the Liberal Left picks up any cause, it’s done simply to gather that group’s vote in future elections.  You think the Democrats support civil rights?  Look at their record on civil rights votes.  Think that Liberals defend folks who are discriminated because of who they are?  Consider the same Liberals who demand their music not be played at certain functions.

Public schools?  Look where Obama sends his kids.

And now we have one more example of a Leftist going out in public displaying her finest pandering colors:

RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Beverly Perdue announced Friday she’ll vote against a change to North Carolina’s constitution next May that would prohibit gay marriage…

See.  A hypocrite.

“But Pino”, you may claim, “she is voting against the amendment and FOR liberty!  Ahhh, but look closer:

Perdue said in a prepared statement she believes marriage is between one man and one woman and voted while in the Legislature for a 1996 law so that North Carolina couldn’t recognize same-sex marriages in other states.

“I continue to support that law today,” Perdue said.

So, how does the good Govna of the Great State of North by God Carolina explain her fllippy floppyness of her vote?

“But I’m going to vote against the amendment because I cannot in good conscience look an unemployed man or woman in the eye and tell them that this amendment is more important than finding them a job.”

This is crap.

But I shouldn’t be surprised.

I think it’s important to clear a few things up.  And to explain the difference between personal charity and legislative responsibility.

On a human and personal level I get the fact that someone out of work is struggling.  Most likely with personal value issues, household income issues and perhaps larger life skills and career opportunity issues.

I get that.

And to that extent, I resonate with the personal heart string tugging concept of needing to provide relief.  I absolutely agree that helping when one can is the right thing to do.  Without a doubt.

On the governmental and legislative level I know that the best thing that can be done is to make sure that it is as easy as possible for people  looking for work can match up with people looking for workers.n  In short, for the removal of every possible obstacle.

The juxtaposition of those two very valid and noble positions seems to be taking place in our debate.

The fiscal conservatives want less unemployment benefits to be handed out.  Less as in fewer weeks and less money.  The social  liberals want to increase those benefits.  Increase as in extend benefits and with more money.

And they yell at each other.

But they aren’t arguing about the same topic.  The Left are advocating a position of personal charity.  The Right are advocating a position of economic modeling.  Both are right in their specific context, but that context isn’t the same.

So, I would suggest this:

  • My Liberal friends:  Form a non-profit foundation that provides relief to the unemployed.
  • My Conservative friends: Contribute to said foundation.
  • End government mandated charity.

Remember, there must be an incontrovertible condition for the government to relive a man of the fruits of his labor by threat of sword or gun.  And the simple fact that you feel more comfortable with this man having that man’s property does not meet that condition.