Monday, December 31, 2012

Progressive Lefties At TNR Recognize Senate Deal Is "Crappy" For Them

So says Tim Noah, here:

"Nevertheless, this is still a crappy deal, and Democrats should still reject it--or be quietly pleased if House Republicans reject it (as they're threatening to do)."

I agree that the deal is crappy for Democrats, really crappy, but the objective of Obama is only political. What's good for the country is meaningless. He's counting on the right in the House to reject the deal, doing for Obama what he cannot do by himself. It is the extremists of both the left and the right which cannot see how Obama is playing them. If the House had any brains they'd take the tax deal, but I don't think they will, unlike how under Pelosi the House progressives swallowed hard and took the Senate healthcare plan instead of opposing it. Better than anyone they know that ObamaCare is not the end game, but the next step to the single payer idea for which they originally stood.

Politically Obama needed to look like a compromiser, and appear reasonable and "balanced", to match his rhetoric played out over a long period, which is now very familiar to everyone. Later he can use the political capital gained thereby to appear like a genuine savior when he swoops in to offer a tax cut to the poor to relieve these unfortunate souls victimized by Republican "intransigence" over spending cuts. Obama has been telegraphing this for what seems like forever. This lousy deal for Democrats gives all the appearance of compromise, but it is intended rather to go to the heart of the split between the more conservative House Republican caucus and the more liberal Senate Republican caucus.

Once those two groups are split publically over a vote on a bill which will wreck the lives of millions, Obama is in the strongest position ever to appear the benefactor of "the middle class", the group he most wants out of his way in his attempt to level American society. In order to really screw them, he's got to get their complete confidence first. To do so he'll throw them a tax cut bone, which the doofusses will be very thankful for and will repay their master for with grateful support when he goes after their real enemy, the rich. You know, the Romneys and Buffetts of the world who look like the guys who fire them from their jobs.

The problem with true believers is that they are true. It blinds them to the way power shifts, which is why they never succeed.

Or Maybe Terrifying Blackouts Mean Hillary Clinton Is Just A Drunk?

Senate Cliff Deal Settles For TEN TIMES LESS Revenue Than Cliff-Diving

As reported here:

"Before [Obama] spoke, details of the emerging deal emerged. It would raise $600 billion in revenue over the next 10 years [emphasis added] by increasing tax rates for individuals making more than $400,000 and households making above $450,000 annually, officials familiar with the talks said.  ... The Biden-McConnell negotiations appeared to offer the last hope for avoiding the fiscal cliff of $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts that economists fear could throw the country back into recession."

$600 billion over ten years?

Notice how CNBC leaves out "per year" after "$600 billion" in that second part of the snip after the elipsis. A $600 billion annual hit to the economy would be bad indeed, but only because it would post as a bookkeeping negative. Government spending counts as GDP, and removing $600 billion annually from the pool of funds normally tallied under GDP would "book" a recession before we even got there.

Look, by letting the Bush tax rates expire we were supposed to face a tax increase generating revenues of $500 billion PER YEAR or so, plus $100 billion per year from separately agreed to sequestration cuts to defense and social spending from August 2011's debt-ceiling imbroglio. That's why this fiscal cliff was such a big deal. We were talking $600 billion per year in the case of the Bush tax cuts expiring, not $60 billion per year as the Senate has now agreed. Tax increases on the first $9,000 of income ALONE would have generated $65 billion per year by letting the Bush tax cuts expire on the lowest wage earners for the simple reason that that tax increase affects EVERYONE'S first $9,000 of income. That's how progressive taxation works. Keep going on up the income ladder with all those expiring Bush tax rates reverting to the higher Clinton rates and soon you are talking about $500-$600 billion PER YEAR in revenues. What do you think Obama and Dirty Harry Reid have been greedily eyeing after all? That they are caving to this "deal" just shows how really weak is their position, and how much power the House has in fact, if only they understood it.

Unless of course it is all an elaborate ruse, a trap for the House, which just might be conservative enough to reject the deal for its surrealism at a time when the political consensus in favor of "balance" is rearing its ugly head. In which case the political position of the conservative House will be marginalized more or less indefinitely, and the political power of the Senate enhanced.

The US Senate is clearly the most despicable institution in the federal system, if that were possible, for obscuring all this from the American people, for the way bipartisanship means liberals get to remain liberal while Republicans have to check their conservatism with the coat girl, for continuing to spend through borrowing, and especially for acting as a Super House in doing all this, trying to shove this crap down our throats just as it has already shoved the ObamaCare crap down our throats. Bills are supposed to originate in the House after all, but those which do are routinely ignored by the Senate, which thinks itself superior and possessed of a priority it does not have.

The problem clearly is the US Senate and the way it is elected, how long it serves, and the way it acts. If ever it were time to repeal the 17th Amendment, this is it.

Now Hear This! Obama Finally Gets 51% Of The Popular Vote!

Gee, it only took almost two months, but finally they found a way. Obama now has acheived a clear mandate to do WHATEVER HE WANTS! He's finally got 51.03% of the popular vote, for crying out loud.

Bow down and worship, America! The 47% of you (!) who didn't vote for Obama DON'T COUNT!

The Real Difference Between Sen. McCain and Pres. Obama

This one just screwed the pooch.

This one actually ate it.

Wealthy Ivy League Occupy Wall Street Extremists Captured With Explosives

Now, what would they need explosives for, hm?

Story here:

A detective discovered a plastic container with seven grams of a white chemical powder called HMTD, which is so powerful, cops evacuated several nearby buildings.

Police also found a flare launcher, which is a commercial replica of a grenade launcher; a modified 12 gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun; ammo; and nine high-capacity rifle magazines, the sources said.

Gee, remind you of anyone? You know, Obama's friends?

Democrats Are Coming For Our Arms, As The King Did In 1774

"Early in the morning of September 1, a force of roughly 260 British regulars from the 4th Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Maddison, were rowed in secrecy up the Mystic River from Boston to a landing point near Winter Hill in modern-day Somerville. From there they marched about a mile to the Powder House, a gunpowder magazine that held the largest supply of gunpowder in Massachusetts. Phips gave the King's Troops the keys to the building, and after sunrise they removed all of the gunpowder. Most of the regulars then returned to Boston the way they had come, but a small contingent marched to Cambridge, removed two field pieces, and took them to Boston by foot over the Great Bridge and up Boston Neck. The field pieces and powder were then taken from Boston to the British stronghold on Castle Island, then known as Castle William (renamed Fort Independence in 1779)."

Peter Morici: Obama Threatens To Shakedown Everybody If The Rich Don't Cough It Up

Once again, Peter Morici of the University of Maryland gets it exactly right, here:

"The president, by being so persistent that it's my way or the highway, no spending cuts, taxes on folks over $250,000 or nothing, has basically put a pistol to the head of the middle class. It's threatened them with financial extortion if he doesn't get his way to satisfy the populist wing of the Democratic Party."

Translation: Obama is a gangster who threatens to take everyone's money if we don't give him rich people's money.

Somebody should call the cops.

Democrats Want To Kick The Sequestration Can To 2015

So reports Business Insider here:

On the spending side, the Democrats' offer would delay the "sequester" (automatic spending cuts) until 2015. This would cost an estimated $200 billion. But it would avoid the cuts to the military budget that the Republicans are so desperate to avoid.

If I were in charge of the ratings agencies if that passes, I would answer it with a swift rebuke and lower the credit rating again.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Secretary of State Hillary "The Dog Ate My Homework" Clinton Now Has Bloodclot

Miss deceive, delay, dissemble and deny finally goes to the hospital.

Left: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raises her glass for a toast during a State Dinner in honor of China’s President Hu Jintao at the White House in Washington, January 19, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Young

Equality Of Taxation Would Completely Wipe Out The First 41 Million Wage Earners

If we had anything like equality of taxation in this country, it would completely wipe out roughly the first 41 million of 151 million total wage earners. That's how bad federal spending has become.

In 2011 the first 37.4 million individual wage earners had net compensation of up to $10,000. Add in those making up to $15,000 and you get up to 49.6 million wage earners. So the 41 million mark is reached roughly somewhere between the $11,000 and $12,000 per year level of earnings.

For fiscal 2011, federal spending came to $3.6 trillion, and US population came to 313.85 million people.

If we taxed everyone equally as the US Constitution called for originally (you know, "direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers", which is one reason why we must have a census every ten years to begin with), all that federal spending in 2011 divided by all those millions of population comes to . . . wait for it . . . $11,480 per person.

So federal spending in this country is so bad that we'd have to reduce the lowest paid 41 million Americans to what amounts to slavery, to be fair, because they'd owe everything they make to the government. Everything.

"How much government is spending is the true tax", Milton Friedman once said (quoted here). And also the true tyranny.

Compared To Cash Or Stocks, Bonds Were Best In Last 5 Years

Not adjusted for inflation, the average annual return of the S&P500 Index has been about 0.84% over the last five years, October on October, dividends fully reinvested, but you didn't get much sleep.

The average annual return of the Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund has been about 0.76%, November on November, and you slept like a baby.

Stocks vs. cash has been nearly a wash, but the average annual return of the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index has been 5.88%, November on November. The big gains began in earnest late in 2008.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Perhaps The Most Important Argument Against Consumption Taxes

Perhaps the most important argument against consumption taxes is Murray Rothbard's critique of them here, noting their time-preference prejudice:

"The major argument for replacing an income by a consumption tax is that savings would no longer be taxed. A consumption tax, its advocates assert, would tax consumption and not savings. The fact that this argument is generally advanced by free-market economists, in our day mainly by the supply-siders, strikes one immediately as rather peculiar. For individuals on the free market, after all, each decide their own allocation of income to consumption or to savings. This proportion of consumption to savings, as Austrian economics teaches us, is determined by each individual's rate of time preference, the degree by which he prefers present to future goods. For each person is continually allocating his income between consumption now, as against saving to invest in goods that will bring an income in the future. And each person decides the allocation on the basis of his time preference. To say, therefore, that only consumption should be taxed and not savings is to challenge the voluntary preferences and choices of individuals on the free market, and to say that they are saving far too little and consuming too much, and therefore that taxes on savings should be removed and all the burdens placed on present as compared to future consumption. But to do that is to challenge free-market expressions of time preference, and to advocate government coercion to forcibly alter the expression of those preferences, so as to coerce a higher saving-to-consumption ratio than desired by free individuals."

Rothbard goes on to ascribe this prejudice to "Calvinism", which may be entertaining to the libertarian who is interested in wine, women and song now and has a devil may care attitude about present frugality as a defense against want later. But this assumes there is no moral difference between savings and consumption, which there certainly is when the penniless old man turns up on your doorstep, hat in hand. The libertarian has his own time preference prejudice, were he to admit it, which life teaches us has serious consequences, more often than not.

Be that as it may, it is important to recognize that standard measurements of economic activity in the United States have for some time shown, in something like the following formulation, that "70% of GDP consists in consumer spending", and were it not for schemes like Social Security and Medicare there would be far more ringing of the bell going on at the front. This is quite a remarkable fact in a supposedly Calvinist civilization, a fact which argues for the moral superiority of savings over consumption because despite our better natures we in reality live otherwise. This suggests that we still ought to do everything we can to encourage the former and punish the latter, for the simple reason which the observation of human nature teaches. We are mixtures of good and evil, but unfortunately too often it turns out to be a bad mixture.

The ancient Greeks, among other things, notably taught us "nothing too much", by which we may infer that the preponderance of present spendthrifts demonstrates individual and social excess which ought to be remedied by tax policy encouraging the increase of savers. To right the ship would mean achieving a better balance between the two, and to Rothbard's main point, which is that under a consumption tax savings would inevitably be taxed in the long run anyway just as consumption is in the present because that is what savings becomes, we therefore ought to have no compunction about taxing savings in the end. That is what the death tax accomplishes, the final message to an excess of savings.

In the present context this recommends taxation of consumption in some form to encourage marginally less of it, better mechanisms of rewarding savings of which we have too little, and a death tax which approximates the same level as a consumption tax would operate at. This means that draconian schemes of estate confiscation by the government at death are in principle unjust because as consumption taxes we would never think of imposing similar levies on the living.

Unless, of course, we subscribe to The New Republic.

The Middle Third Of Net Compensation In 2011

The middle third of net compensation in 2011 went to 28 million earners who represent just 19% of all earners. They made $1.95 trillion of the $6.24 trillion of total net compensation in 2011.

In this group earning the middle tranche of all compensation you make between $50,000 and $100,000 a year as an individual.

The Bottom Third Of Net Compensation In 2011

The bottom third of net compensation in 2011 went to 112 million earners who comprise the first 74% of all earners. Altogether they earned $2.2 trillion of the $6.24 trillion of total net compensation for the year.

You remain in this group until you earn somewhere between $45,000 and $50,000 a year, after which you may be said to join those earning the middle third of net compensation.

The Top Third Of Net Compensation In 2011 Went To 10.7 Million Earners, The Top 7%, Making $100,000/yr Or More

As shown here.

The top 7% of earners, 10.7 million workers, made $2.07 trillion of the $6.24 trillion total of net 2011 compensation.

You entered this group once you made $100,000/yr.

5 Years of the S&P500: Down Just Over 5% Nominal

Real Incomes Have Been Essentially Flat For 6 Years

Friday, December 28, 2012

Obama Raises Federal Pay $11 Billion Over 10 Years On Eve Of Fiscal Cliff

Now you know why Obama cut his vacation short . . . to raise spending! And rub our noses in it!

This guy is the biggest jerk ever to sit in the Oval Office, maybe excepting Lyndon Baines Johnson who reportedly pissed on the shoes of a soldier who dutifully stood at attention.

If ever anyone needed evidence that El Presidente couldn't care less about the consequences of federal spending for the fiscal situation, this is it. He's "in your face" about it, on the very eve of the biggest tax increase on the American people in living memory, and Republicans still take this guy seriously.

As reported here:

CBO [The Congressional Budget Office] says the (discretionary) cost of the .5% pay-hike the President is calling for in the Exec Order – relative to a freeze – is about $500m in FY 2013 and $11 billion over the ten years from FY 13 - FY 22.  The reason why the FY ’13 savings is only $500 million is because the pay hike as proposed by the President’s Exec Order would not go into effect until April 1st, 2013 - when the current CR [Continuing Resolution] expires. So it only covers half the fiscal year. The annualized cost of the pay hike is about $1 billion/year."

If Republicans had any imagination, they'd shut the damn government down . . . for the next two years, and teach Obama what it's like to run something. Teh.

That would save about $2 trillion of the taxpayers' money as government makes do with current revenues. The sound of the squealing pigs would be worth it.

At 2% Inflation/Year, It Takes Just 35 Years To Devalue The Dollar 50%

Consumer Prices Up 8.4% Under Four Years Of Obama

The Consumer Price Index is up 8.4% under four years of Obama (November 2008 to November 2012).

Similarly measured, the CPI rose 10.05% in the first term of George W. Bush, 11.15% in the second term.

The worst record in the post-war period was Carter's four years when CPI rose over 47%. In Eisenhower's first term CPI rose just 3.07%.

Measured from April 1973 (after the world went to a floating exchange rate system of currencies in the wake of the end of the gold standard in August 1971) to April 1999, 26 years, CPI raged 280% (a factor of 10.8 per year).

From April 1947 to April 1973 (CPI data not available before 1947), CPI rose a comparatively more modest 99% over 26 years (a factor of 3.8 per year).

For the 13 years since 1999, April to April, CPI has risen just 38% (a factor of 2.9 per year).

A composite of measures for the consumer bundle going back to the year 1900 at here provides an interesting tool for comparison purposes.

While the dollar suffered a 446% decline for the 73 years between 1900 and 1973, a factor of 6.1 per year, in the 38 years between 1973 and 2011 the 406% decline is a factor of 10.7 per year, 75% worse per year since moving to a floating exchange rate currency system.

Viewed more broadly from the point of view of gold, from 1932 (the year of FDR's election and before his massive 69% devaluation of the gold-linked dollar in the spring of 1933) to the present day, the devaluation of the dollar has been in excess of 1500%.

From 1790 to 1932 the dollar declined just 54%.

At this hour, gold is $1,656.80 the ounce, $1,636.13 the ounce higher than it was in 1932, the last year of its fixed price at $20.67 the ounce, just another way of expressing the devaluation of the dollar.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Libertarian "Principle" Means Republican Defeat!

Good results for libertarians = Democrat victories!

See for yourself, here.

Democrats Funded Libertarian In MT Senate Race As They Did In AZ For Rep. Giffords

The m/o in AZ in 2010 was Democrats spending money to portray a libertarian as the true conservative in order to bleed-off votes from the Republican candidate and Iraq War veteran Jesse Kelly and thus re-elect the Democrat, Rep. Gabby Giffords, who went on to get shot by a lunatic with libertarian ideas named Jared Loughner. To add insult to injury, liberals nationwide then went on to blame her shooting on Republicans and the Tea Party.

I reported on this in early January 2011, here, showing a mailer for the libertarian paid for by the Arizona Democrat Party.

Now it turns out the same strategy was used in Montana in 2012 to boost the libertarian candidate as the real conservative, funded by liberal money, in order to bleed-off votes from the Republican Rehberg and re-elect the Democrat Senator Tester.

Propublica has the in-depth story, here.

Everyone thinks the Republicans are the stupid party when in two recent elections it's the libertarians who got played for fools and tools. But the Republicans really are the stupid ones for thinking an alliance with libertarians isn't just possible but natural when far more often than not libertarians view themselves as successful when they prevent Republicans from getting elected, as they themselves say here (h/t Chris).

We know whose side they are on. Libertarians are natural liberals, not conservatives.

The Full-Time Jobs Depression: 6.2 Million, 5.1%, Off 2007 High

Full-time jobs hit their all-time high in November 2007 at 121.9 million. Five years later they are at 115.7 million. That's down 6.2 million full-time jobs, or 5.1%.

And US population has grown 13 million over the five year period.

Figures through 11-01-12.

Chart and data here.

US Bond Market Debt Climbs To $37.7 Trillion In Q3 2012

According to, here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Just Under 47% (!) Of Households Own Stocks

As reported here:

The percentage of households owning stock mutual funds has also fallen, dropping every year since 2008 to 46.4 percent in 2011, the second-lowest since 1997, according to the latest ICI [Investment Company Institute] annual mutual fund survey.


Investors "All In" 10/1/07 To 10/1/12 Are Down 1.19% Per Year

Investors who have remained "all in" the Standard and Poor's 500 Index for the last five years from October 2007 to October 2012 are still down 1.19% per year in real terms, with dividends fully reinvested.

If you've been taking your dividends, say as a retiree, you are down 3.35% per year.

This is pretty grim news when you consider that one school of thought for a conservative retirement drawdown from a portfolio is $40,000 a year, a 4% rate on a $1 million.

If you have been "all in" the SP500 with that sum, which you probably shouldn't be but let's say you are, it is throwing off just about $21,000 in dividend income right now (a little over 2%), so you've got to make up the difference from capital which over the last five years is already posting a 3.35% loss per year. So on top of that 3.35% loss you are taking another 2% per year from the seed corn to make up the difference, meaning your drawdown rate has been really more like 5.35% per annum.

This means that over the last five years such a $1 million retirement portfolio has been plundered by market vicissitudes and the retiree's human necessity by about $268,000. Nothing lasts forever, especially at that rate.

Chart and data here.

Monday, December 24, 2012

New York Magazine Spells Just Fine. Real Clear Markets? Not So Much.

What If Most Of What You Buy Made In China Is Made By Slave Labor?

"If you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persicution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever."

"People who work here have to work 15 hours a day without Saturday, Sunday break and any holidays. Otherwise, they will suffer torturement, beat and rude remark. Nearly no payment (10 yuan/1 month [$1.61])."

"People who work here, suffer punishment 1-3 years averagely, but without Court Sentence (unlaw punishment). Many of them are Falun Gong practitioners, who are totally innocent people only because they have different believe to CCPG. They often suffer more punishment than others."

-- From a letter written by someone from Unit 8, Dept. 2, Masanjia Labor Camp, Shenyang, China, found by an American in a Halloween toy.

Story here.

Libertarian Spoils Race For Republican In NH-1, Bringing Back Shea-Porter

Here's another race in 2012 which the libertarians helped throw to the Democrats. Democrat Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, defeated in 2010 by a Republican, regained her seat thanks in part to a libertarian in the race in 2012 who bled enough votes from the Republican to put her back in the seat.

The case was nearly the same in NH-2 where the Democrat faced a Republican and a libertarian but won in her own right.

Libertarians view themselves as successful, as having an impact, when they deprive Republicans of their victories. Libertarians suffer from a kind of bipolar disorder which is distinguished by a predominating social liberalism which trumps their economic conservatism and thus manifests itself politically as alliance with Democrats, which is what they really are, if only they went to therapy.

We know whose side the libertarians are on, and it isn't ours.

Follow the label in the footer to see other races libertarians helped spoil for Republicans in 2012.

Republicans need to grow a quatrain and start attacking not just Democrats, but libertarians as well.

Journalists' Guide To Firearms Identification

h/t Scott

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Greatest Economic Boom Of Our Time Coincided With The Cheapest Gasoline

Arguably the greatest economic boom period of the 20th Century, the period between 1986 and 2000, was fueled, quite literally, by the cheapest gasoline prices on an inflation-adjusted basis since the end of The Great War. Real gas prices during those years in today's dollars ran down from $2.00 a gallon in the mid 1980s to $1.50 by the late 1990s and up again.

Chart and discussion, here.

Say what you will about former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's presidential run in 2011-2012, he's the only public figure who has had the vision to understand the imperative of getting the price of gasoline below $2.50 a gallon to gun the economy.

With four more years of a regime which is the enemy of all things fossil fuel, expect little more than idling in the driveway.

Interest Payments On The Debt Are Not Counted As GDP

So says this guy, here, discussing government spending for GDP purposes:

d. Interest paid on government bonds is NOT counted as part of GDP; the argument is that the interest is not usually for a loan purchasing capital equipment, and therefore is not connected to production; whereas net business interest typically is for a loan used to purchase capital equipment and is counted as part of GDP since it is related to production.

Interest Payments On The Debt Continue To Consume GDP Gains

Interest payments on the debt are reported here.

For the 7 fiscal years from 2006 to 2012, interest payments have totaled $2.898 trillion.

GDP has gone from $13.399 trillion in 2006 to $15.811 trillion annualized in the third quarter of 2012 (using BEA and Federal Reserve z.1 Release figures), up just $2.412 trillion, which means we're still in the hole $486 billion after 7 years.

I don't see the so-called money multiplier working too well here. And for all I know, these interest payments are probably double-counted, so to speak, showing up as GDP, so it's even worse than it looks. It's government spending, isn't it?

You can't borrow your way to growth.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Real Personal Income Still Remains Below The 2008 Peak

Real personal disposable income per capita remains in depression, over 5% lower than it was on May 1, 2008, the all-time high, when it reached $34,641.

As of November 1, 2012 it is at $32,868.

Graph and data here.

Obama is presently swimming the holiday away in warmer climes as his party happily prepares to see your taxes increased on your reduced and stagnating dreams.

Real Retail Sales Still Remain Below The 2006 Peak

Real retail sales still remain below the December 1, 2006 peak of $180.016 billion. The latest report of real retail sales for November 1, 2012 puts them at $178.51 billion.

Graph and data here.

We still remain in a consumption depression nearly six years since the onset despite extending the Bush tax cuts for two years beyond their original expiration date, and despite the first ever emergency reductions to the payroll tax, rolled back 32% for both 2011 and 2012 from 6.2% of each paycheck to 4.2%:

"[F]or the economy as a whole the payroll tax cut amounted to about $112 billion in 2012 – or the equivalent of at least $300 for each person in the US," reports the Christian Science Monitor, here.

Given the 100% propensity to spend everything in a paycheck, the expiration of the payroll tax cut will remove that sum from current retail spending levels. And going back to the Clinton era tax rates in less than two weeks, on January 1, 2013, will mean transferring about $235 billion annually from taxpayers to federal coffers, according the Congressional Budget Office, as discussed here.

Together that's a theoretical annual hit to spending by the American people of nearly $350 billion.

Yet Democrats cry Forward! to these tax rates of the past despite the damage they are likely to cause.

We're not going to get over the hump that way.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Taki is Old and Stupid for giving Oliver Stone a Pass

Here, where Stalin's crimes get a total pass, of which Taki would surely have been a victim had he lived under him:

"Stalin never trusted the West, but he had no designs on taking us over from the outside."

Which just goes to show one good pass deserves another.

Q3 2012 GDP Revised Up To 3.1% From 2.7% In Third Estimate

Full pdf report from the BEA here.

master of scratch
Since Obama was elected in 2008, the average report of GDP has been . . . 0.93%, still far and away the worst average report on record since World War II.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lefty FDLAction Calls Obama Pathological Liar

Took 'em long enough. They're shocked, I tell you. Shocked.

Get Ready America. Here Are Your New Obama Tax Increases.

These are the tax rates scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2013. The dollar figures shown are the 2001 dollars adjusted for inflation to 2011. Have fun stormin' the castle!

Sen. Manchin Wants To Know Why We Need 30-Round Clips?

To fight back against these when they can't, or won't.

Story here:

“I don’t know anyone in the hunting or sporting arena that goes out with an assault rifle,” Manchin said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I don’t know anybody that needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about.”

Tax Equality Would Expose The True Horror Of Federal Spending

The true horror of federal spending in America would be understood by everyone if we actually had tax equality, by which I mean if everyone paid the same rate of taxation on all income, regardless of source. reports that there were 151,380,749 people in America in 2011 with net compensation of about $6.2 trillion. However, personal income was actually more like $12.95 trillion from all sources according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This total probably was distributed to more individuals than the above referenced 151.4 million workers, but that number will be close enough to illustrate the horror I am describing.

Let us assume we tax each person earning income individually, which we do not do presently for conservative reasons, and grant to each person earning income a poverty exception to taxation of the first $11,170, which is the federal poverty guideline for a one person household in 2012. Times the 151. 4 million workers or so, this exempts $1.7 trillion from taxation, leaving $11.25 trillion of personal income in 2011 to be taxed.

In order to generate the $3.8 trillion or so we spent at the federal level in the last year, everyone earning income from whatever source would have to pay a tax rate of 33.8% on that $11.25 trillion in order to have a balanced budget for the year.

I seriously doubt the 47% who pay next to nothing in taxes would be too happy to get that tax bill, but maybe they should, if we truly want to cut government down to size.

Besides, it's only fair.

Rush Limbaugh Repeats The Rich Man's Lies: Middle Class Has "Bulk Of The Money"

Where this is all going to end up, I'm pretty sure -- we'll see if I'm right; won't be too long, maximum next year sometime, maybe two years -- where this is all going to end up is that the middle class is going to get soaked.  The middle class is going to see their taxes go up, and the reason is, that's where the bulk of the money is. 

You could confiscate all the money the middle class has and run the government for quite a while.  Much longer than if you confiscate all the money the rich have.  There's a reason why the rich are called the top 2%.  There aren't very many of them, folks.  They're only the top two, the top 1%.  And the idea that 98% of the country is not going to have a tax increase under this president is absurd.  Everybody is going to see a tax increase under this president, because his objective is to shrink the private sector and expand the government so that the government becomes the primary source of prosperity and benefits for the vast majority of people.

In 2011, the poorest Americans, those making between $0 and $20K, had total net compensation of $501 billion in the aggregate. The so-called middle class, those making between $20K and $75K per year where net compensation aggregates every $5K up the income ladder constitute piles of cash in excess of $200 billion each, had total compensation of $2.9 trillion in 2011.

The income tranches of the middle are what greedy liberal tax-farmers focus on, as do disingenous rich people, because they stick out like a sore thumb, representing as they do the largest individual tranches for ordinary income purposes and constituting an unbroken line of 11 of them just begging to be ogled. See them here for yourself. You will not find any tranches among the so-called rich in excess of $200 billion. But they make a lot of money nevertheless.

Add it all up and everybody making beyond $75K per year in 2011, which includes the upper middle class, if you piled all their net compensation for Social Security purposes together, would total another $2.8 trillion, just shy of the middle's $2.9 trillion.

If you think this proves Rush's point, you would be wrong. Such net compensation isn't all there is to it, not by a long shot. It's much, much more complicated, and obscure, than that. And that's the way rich people like it. If you can't see their income you can't know how rich they are and they can thus escape becoming a target. That's why so many rich people, and their advocates like Bruce Bartlett who want to tax the middle class and deflect taxes from themselves, insist so strongly that they are middle class just like you.

While net compensation totaled about $6.2 trillion in 2011, personal income was more than twice that. The Bureau of Economic analysis, here, reports that personal income was $12.95 trillion in 2011.

People like Jeffrey Immelt, Jamie Dimon, Mitt Romney, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates receive tons of income from stocks, bonds, capital gains, dividends, rents, royalties, et cetera et cetera et cetera, adding at least another $6.75 trillion to that $6.2 trillion in net compensation for Social Security purposes in 2011.

To be sure, lots of people who aren't the very rich receive such income, too, but there is no way on God's green earth that there are enough of them in the so-called middle receiving it to say that the bulk of the money is in the middle. The middle class would like to be receiving the bulk of its income as unearned income like the investor class does, but it doesn't for the most part. It works for its money (unless you're a government employee).

No matter how much the boob with the microphone and the subscription to The Wall Street Journal tells you otherwise, the bulk of the money is not in the middle, most people know it, and that's why Obama is succeeding with his class warfare rhetoric. He has picked his targets, personalized them, polarized them and frozen them, and all the rich can do, because there aren't enough of them, is surrender (Warren Buffett), create diversions (the home mortgage interest deduction flap) or tell lies (The Wall Street Journal).

It really is quite pathetic that we do this to rich people in America and pat ourselves on the back for it. It's actually disgraceful in a country which claims to believe in equal treatment under the law that a wealthier earner is discriminated against because we say he must pay taxes at a higher percentage rate on his ordinary income than a poorer earner must pay. And we feel guilty enough about it that we then turn around and create exceptions to these unjust tax rules when taxing income which is not ordinary. Is it any wonder then that more than half of the personal income in the country has fled for refuge to be classified as other than ordinary? The founders thought a tax was equal only if everyone in the country paid the same amount. This consensus necessarily kept federal taxation low and infrequent because the great masses of people could not afford to pay very much.

The least we could do in homage to that old idea of America would be to tax everyone's income in the country in similar fashion, at one low rate, making no distinctions between the income from a job and the income from an investment. Of course, that would mean a pretty low rate compared to what's exacted today, and would necessitate some pretty drastic cuts to spending. A 10% tax on the personal income of the country of $13 trillion in 2011 would have yielded only $1.3 trillion in revenues, far short of the $3.8 trillion or so we spent.

And that, as we on the right keep saying, is where the real problem lies. Unless we slay the spending monster, there will never be taxation equality in America.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Today's Civilian Employment/Population Ratio Was First Achieved 35 Years Ago!

The ratio of employed to population today is 58.7, a level first achieved way back in December 1977.

Persons not in the labor force, that is, persons not counted as unemployed by the federal government, reached an all-time high recently of 88.9 million. Between 1975 when records started being kept and 1992, this number increased by about 0.7 percentage point per year. Under Clinton this number increased by about 1.04 percentage point per year. Under George W. Bush, 1.7 points per year. Under Obama, 2.7 points per year. 

The trend is not our friend.