April 13, 2012
"The last President who was shorter than the average American man at the time he was elected was William McKinley, and the taller man has won the popular vote in four-fifths of Presidential elections in the last century."

James Surowiecki, The New Yorker March 5, 2012

At some point, the problem isn’t just the politicians.  It’s up to the people to start voting based on voting records and ideas.

March 13, 2012
Obamacare will actually cost $1.76 trillion announces the CBO

The Congressional Budget Office recently published an update to the projections for the costs of Obamacare.  It’s going to cost $1.76 trillion instead of $940 billion.  Add it to another line item in the long list of lies by this current administration.

President Obama’s national health care law will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade, according to a new projection released today by the Congressional Budget Office, rather than the $940 billion forecast when it was signed into law.

Democrats employed many accounting tricks when they were pushing through the national health care legislation, the most egregious of which was to delay full implementation of the law until 2014, so it would appear cheaper under the CBO’s standard ten-year budget window and, at least on paper, meet Obama’s pledge that the legislation would cost “around $900 billion over 10 years.” When the final CBO score came out before passage, critics noted that the true 10 year cost would be far higher than advertised once projections accounted for full implementation.

Today, the CBO released new projections from 2013 extending through 2022, and the results are as critics expected: the ten-year cost of the law’s core provisions to expand health insurance coverage has now ballooned to $1.76 trillion. That’s because we now have estimates for Obamacare’s first nine years of full implementation, rather than the mere six when it was signed into law. Only next year will we get a true ten-year cost estimate, if the law isn’t overturned by the Supreme Court or repealed by then. Given that in 2022, the last year available, the gross cost of the coverage expansions are $265 billion, we’re likely looking at about $2 trillion over the first decade, or more than double what Obama advertised.

Below is an excerpt from an Obama speech on Obamacare:

Now, add it all up, and the plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years — less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and less than the tax cuts for the wealthiest few Americans that Congress passed at the beginning of the previous administration.  (Applause.)  Now, most of these costs will be paid for with money already being spent — but spent badly — in the existing health care system.  The plan will not add to our deficit.  The middle class will realize greater security, not higher taxes. 

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-to-a-Joint-Session-of-Congress-on-Health-Care

Obama claimed that his plan wouldn’t raise the deficit and that taxes wouldn’t be raised.  Both statements were lies.  The deficit has risen tremendously and the Obama administration is proposing a multitude of tax increases.

11:38pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZlVyHyHytuK1
  
Filed under: politics Obama 
February 3, 2012

Unemployment in America is very bad and unemployment figures are understated because of the amount of capable workers that are counted as dropping out of the labor force (probably because they couldn’t find a job).  The graphs and quote below is from Zerohedge:

A month ago, we joked when we said that for Obama to get the unemployment rate to negative by election time, all he has to do is to crush the labor force participation rate to about 55%. Looks like the good folks at the BLS heard us: it appears that the people not in the labor force exploded by an unprecedented record 1.2 million. No, that’s not a typo: 1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in one month! So as the labor force increased from 153.9 million to 154.4 million, the non institutional population increased by 242.3 million meaning, those not in the labor force surged from 86.7 million to 87.9 million. Which means that the civilian labor force tumbled to a fresh 30 year low of 63.7% as the BLS is seriously planning on eliminating nearly half of the available labor pool from the unemployment calculation. As for the quality of jobs, as withholding taxes roll over Year over year, it can only mean that the US is replacing high paying FIRE jobs with low paying construction and manufacturing. So much for the improvement.

January 14, 2012
WaPo: Obama to propose combining agencies to shrink federal government

hipsterlibertarian:

Let’s get this straight — this article reports that:

  1. The president wants to cut and streamline government.
  2. This will save $3 billion in the next ten years.
  3. He is going to raise the debt limit by $1.2 trillion — him personally, not Congress, Constitution be damned!
  4. Some GOP members of Congress consider this all to be a promising development for limited government.

10:11am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZlVyHyElQnDo
  
Filed under: politics Obama 
January 1, 2012
Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies

This is a fantastic article written by Glenn Greenwald about how many progressives have ignored values they hold dear under Barack Obama’s regime (and how a Ron Paul administration would be better).  Below is an excerpt.

As Matt Stoller argued in a genuinely brilliant essay on the history of progressivism and the Democratic Party which I cannot recommend highly enough: “the anger [Paul] inspires comes not from his positions, but from the tensions that modern American liberals bear within their own worldview.” Ron Paul’s candidacy is a mirror held up in front of the face of America’s Democratic Party and its progressive wing, and the image that is reflected is an ugly one; more to the point, it’s one they do not want to see because it so violently conflicts with their desired self-perception.

The thing I loathe most about election season is reflected in the central fallacy that drives progressive discussion the minute “Ron Paul” is mentioned. As soon as his candidacy is discussed, progressives will reflexively point to a slew of positions he holds that are anathema to liberalism and odious in their own right and then say: how can you support someone who holds this awful, destructive position? The premise here — the game that’s being played — is that if you can identify some heinous views that a certain candidate holds, then it means they are beyond the pale, that no Decent Person should even consider praising any part of their candidacy.

The fallacy in this reasoning is glaring. The candidate supported by progressives — President Obama — himself holds heinous views on a slew of critical issues and himself has done heinous things with the power he has been vested. He has slaughtered civilians — Muslim children by the dozens — not once or twice, but continuously in numerous nations with dronescluster bombs and other forms of attack. He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs. He has institutionalized the power of Presidents — in secret and with no checks — to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA, far from any battlefield. He has waged an unprecedented war against whistleblowers, the protection of which was once a liberal shibboleth. He rendered permanently irrelevant the War Powers Resolution, a crown jewel in the list of post-Vietnam liberal accomplishments, and thus enshrined the power of Presidents to wage war even in the face of a Congressional vote against it. His obsession with secrecy is so extreme that it has become darkly laughable in its manifestations, and he even worked to amend the Freedom of Information Act (another crown jewel of liberal legislative successes) when compliance became inconvenient.

Greenwald elaborates by adding:

It’s perfectly rational and reasonable for progressives to decide that the evils of their candidate are outweighed by the evils of the GOP candidate, whether Ron Paul or anyone else. An honest line of reasoning in this regard would go as follows:

Yes, I’m willing to continue to have Muslim children slaughtered by covert drones and cluster bombs, and America’s minorities imprisoned by the hundreds of thousands for no good reason, and the CIA able to run rampant with no checks or transparency, and privacy eroded further by the unchecked Surveillance State, and American citizens targeted by the President for assassination with no due process, and whistleblowers threatened with life imprisonment for “espionage,” and the Fed able to dole out trillions to bankers in secret, and a substantially higher risk of war with Iran (fought by the U.S. or by Israel with U.S. support) in exchange for less severe cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, the preservation of the Education and Energy Departments, more stringent environmental regulations, broader health care coverage, defense of reproductive rights for women, stronger enforcement of civil rights for America’s minorities, a President with no associations with racist views in a newsletter, and a more progressive Supreme Court.

Without my adopting it, that is at least an honest, candid, and rational way to defend one’s choice. It is the classic lesser-of-two-evils rationale, the key being that it explicitly recognizes that both sides are “evil”: meaning it is not a Good v. Evil contest but a More Evil v. Less Evil contest. But that is not the discussion that takes place because few progressives want to acknowledge that the candidate they are supporting — again — is someone who will continue to do these evil things with their blessing. Instead, we hear only a dishonest one-sided argument that emphasizes Paul’s evils while ignoring Obama’s (progressives frequently ask: how can any progressive consider an anti-choice candidate but don’t ask themselves: how can any progressive support a child-killing, secrecy-obsessed, whistleblower-persecuting Drug Warrior?).

Paul’s candidacy forces those truths about the Democratic Party to be confronted. More important — way more important — is that, as vanden Heuvel pointed out, he forces into the mainstream political discourse vital ideas that are otherwise completely excluded given that they are at odds with the bipartisan consensus.

August 7, 2011
In Iowa and New Hampshire, Ron Paul is garnering more interest (and more consistent interest) than any other Republican candidate.  Just look at the snapshot I took from Google Trends comparing how often people are searching different GOP candidates using Google (in the past twelve months).  There are a lot of media venues that are pretending Ron Paul doesn’t exist, but search patterns on Google Trends tells a different story.  His message regarding limited government and anti-war foreign policy is resonating.  Despite the fact that the media publishes more articles about other candidates, people are looking up what Ron Paul has to say a lot more.  Notice on the bottom graph showing news reference volume (which shows how much the media writes about a person), Mitt Romney and Ricky Perry outpace Ron Paul.  Yet, when it comes to searches made by users on the top graph, it’s a completely different story.  Ron Paul outpaces all the other candidates.  This is a good sign especially in early voting states such as New Hampshire and Iowa, where search volume for Ron Paul is almost as much as all the other candidates combined.
Ron Paul is going to surprise a lot of people in the media going into the Republican primaries.  The media can ignore him, but the actual voters are paying attention to him.  In the mean time, expect to see a lot of articles by mainstream media outlets mentioning Jon Huntsman as a contender despite the fact that no one outside of Utah has any interest in the man.  Just look at the graph, facts are facts.

In Iowa and New Hampshire, Ron Paul is garnering more interest (and more consistent interest) than any other Republican candidate.  Just look at the snapshot I took from Google Trends comparing how often people are searching different GOP candidates using Google (in the past twelve months).  There are a lot of media venues that are pretending Ron Paul doesn’t exist, but search patterns on Google Trends tells a different story.  His message regarding limited government and anti-war foreign policy is resonating.  Despite the fact that the media publishes more articles about other candidates, people are looking up what Ron Paul has to say a lot more.  Notice on the bottom graph showing news reference volume (which shows how much the media writes about a person), Mitt Romney and Ricky Perry outpace Ron Paul.  Yet, when it comes to searches made by users on the top graph, it’s a completely different story.  Ron Paul outpaces all the other candidates.  This is a good sign especially in early voting states such as New Hampshire and Iowa, where search volume for Ron Paul is almost as much as all the other candidates combined.

Ron Paul is going to surprise a lot of people in the media going into the Republican primaries.  The media can ignore him, but the actual voters are paying attention to him.  In the mean time, expect to see a lot of articles by mainstream media outlets mentioning Jon Huntsman as a contender despite the fact that no one outside of Utah has any interest in the man.  Just look at the graph, facts are facts.

July 5, 2011
""The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies." - Barack Obama Explaining his 2006 Vote Against Raising the Debt Limit"

Debt when Obama became president - $10.5 trillion

Debt after three years of Obama - $14.3 trillion

We’re now talking about raising the debt ceiling again, with Obama pushing for raising the debt ceiling once more - change you can you believe in.

June 26, 2011
Next Up for the Obama administration: Pushing Investment Firms Overseas

The Obama seems intent on arbitrarily raising taxes on investment management firms, especially hedge funds/private equity firms/VCs for no other reason than some of the firms are lucrative and successful.

On tax breaks for the wealthy, Mr. Biden used the example of hedge-fund managers who “play with other people’s money.”

"And they get taxed," Mr. Biden said. "I’m not saying they don’t do good things, they do some good things. But they get taxed at 15 percent because they call it capital gains. Because they’re investing not their money, (but) other people’s money."

http://on.wsj.com/kpTk1l

What the administration doesn’t recognize is the fact that this will simply push private investment firms overseas.  If you are running a hedge fund, there are three key things you need:

  1. The capacity to raise capital.  This is related to previous demonstrated experience in producing high investment returns.
  2. The ability to recruit and attract talent.
  3. A fast internet connection to do your work

None of these factors are bound to America.  You can get very low taxes and an encouraging business environment in many countries (like say Singapore).  Talented investors and analysts aren’t bound to America.  They are all over the world, and many U.S. based investment management professionals would be more than willing to move.  A fast internet connection can be found in many countries.  There are no adverse affects associated with simply re-locating an entire firm over to Singapore.

The end result is that raising taxes on private investment firms will simply push them to re-organize to a new domicile.  This will:

  • Reduce total tax revenue as less investment firms become registered in the U.S. (as they re-incorporate in more investor friendly countries).
  • Reduces state and local taxes as investment managers relocate overseas to where ever their firms set up their new HQs.  States like CT, NY and NJ could potentially lose significant state and local income tax as investment management jobs disappear.
  • Reduces jobs as many positions move overseas outright.  If this happens, there is no tax revenue period.

The unintended consequences have been blatantly ignored.  I thought that after pushing all of the U.S. based manufacturing jobs overseas with regulatory burdens and high costs, U.S. politicians would learn something.  I figured they would  recognize that it might not be a good idea to do push white-collar jobs overseas.  As we learned with manufacturing jobs, once they leave, they might never  come back.  But this current administration (as demonstrated by recent quotes by Joe Biden) seems intent on promoting class warfare and hasn’t learned anything at all.

June 24, 2011
Geithner: Taxes on ‘Small Business’ Must Rise So Government Doesn’t ‘Shrink’

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the House Small Business Committee on Wednesday that the Obama administration believes taxes on small business must increase so the administration does not have to “shrink the overall size of government programs.”

Ellmers then said: “Sixty-four percent of jobs that are created in this country are for small business.”

Geithner conceded the point, but then suggested the administration’s planned tax increase on small businesses would be “good for growth.”

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/geithner-taxes-small-business-must-rise

The current Obama administration apparently believes:

  • Small businesses should be taxed more (so government doesn’t have to shrink)
  • Taxing small businesses is good for growth

I’m just speechless.