Archive for September, 2011

Oppose Bush Tax Cuts? Return To Clinton Spending

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Originally published at USDailyReview.com

My Twitter friend @keder posted something last week that struck me:

“Washington is not suffering from a ‘revenue problem.’ This year, Washington will collect $400 billion more than it spent in the year 2000.”

I replied and thanked him for tweeting that figure, because it reminded me of how utterly contradictory liberals can be when it comes to taxation and spending. Many on the left were apoplectic when President Obama decided to extend the Bush tax cuts last December. The liberal blogosphere was rife with claims that the tax cuts of the 2000′s were responsible for the “Great Recession” – completely ignoring, of course, other more realistic factors like a problematic monetary policy that encourages economic bubbles and dangerous levels of deficit spending. Oh, and they also conveniently forgot about the fact that during 2005, the period right after the Bush tax cuts, federal revenues were at record highs.

Nonetheless, a typical line used to denounce tax cuts and President Bush (who, for the record, I think was a terrible President, despite my Republican affiliation), is that under Clinton, things were so great! Even ignoring the fact that we were on the expansion side of both a dot com and real estate bubble, if we’re to accept the premise that the Bush tax cuts hurt the economy and that Clinton was the second coming of Jesus, to return to the promised land of the 90′s, we’d have to make a radical change at this juncture: Reinstate Clinton era federal spending. The left loves to fear monger about what would happen if we returned to pre-2008 spending (as suggested by conservatives like Paul Ryan), as if prior to 2008 we lived in the dark ages. Yet at the same time, the Clinton era was perfect? Try to make sense of that, because I can’t.

Ultimately, given the extent of our national debt today, with or without an extension of the Bush tax cuts, we’d still be in an unsustainable situation. It’s been proven mathematically time and again that even if we taxed every millionaire and billionaire 100%, it wouldn’t even make a dent in the problem.

The Wall Street Journal does the math for us:

“Imagine that instead of proposing to raise the top income tax rate well north of 40%, the President decided to go all the way to 100%. Let’s stipulate that this is a thought experiment, because Democrats don’t need any more ideas. But it’s still a useful experiment because it exposes the fiscal futility of raising rates on the top 2%, or even the top 5% or 10%, of taxpayers to close the deficit. The mathematical reality is that in the absence of entitlement reform on the Paul Ryan model, Washington will need to soak the middle class—because that’s where the big money is …..

….. Assume that tax policy confiscated all the taxable income of all the “millionaires and billionaires” Mr. Obama singled out. That yields merely about $938 billion, which is sand on the beach amid the $4 trillion White House budget, a $1.65 trillion deficit, and spending at 25% as a share of the economy, a post-World War II record ….

….. Say we take it up to the top 10%, or everyone with income over $114,000, including joint filers. That’s five times Mr. Obama’s 2% promise. The IRS data are broken down at $100,000, yet taxing all income above that level throws up only $3.4 trillion. And remember, the top 10% already pay 69% of all total income taxes, while the top 5% pay more than all of the other 95% …..

….. Let’s perform the same exercise in 2005, a boom year and among the best ever for federal revenue. (Ahem, 2005 comes after the Bush tax cuts that Mr. Obama holds responsible for all the world’s problems) …..

….. In 2005 the top 5% earned over $145,000. If you took all the income of people over $200,000, it would yield about $1.89 trillion, enough revenue to cover the 2012 bill for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security—but not the same bill in 2016, as the costs of those entitlements are expected to grow rapidly. The rich, in short, aren’t nearly rich enough to finance Mr. Obama’s entitlement state ambitions—even before his health-care plan kicks in.”

Given these figures, it’s beyond obvious that screaming about the evils of the Bush tax cuts and “the rich” are strawmen the left use to engage in class warfare demagoguery; facts and figures be damned.

(more…)

Regulators Called Out By Congress Over Boeing Bullying

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Originally published at USDailyReview.com

Thursday, September 15th, on the heels of a several months long dispute between the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Boeing, the House passed a bill that aims to limit the NLRB’s overreaching authority. The NLRB has charged Boeing with “anti-union” sentiments for building a new plant in South Carolina as opposed to Washington state, and has attempted to stop the company’s relocation.

According to Fox News:

“The measure, approved on a 238 to 186 vote, would ban the National Labor Relations Board from ordering any employer to shut down plants or relocate work, even if a company violates labor laws.”

While the bill passed the House, the measure is expected to be banned from the floor by Majority Leader Reid in the Democrat controlled Senate. As a result, conservatives like Paul, Lee, and DeMint, who have been very active on this issue, won’t have a chance to make an impact via their vote. However, their very public persistence on the matter is certainly appreciated by those who believe job creators shouldn’t be intimidated by federally backed Big Labor bosses – who seem to care more about their own power than the well being of average workers.

Additionally, it turns out that the public agrees with Republicans on this matter. According to a September 15th Rasmussen survey:

“A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone poll finds that 64% think Boeing has the right to open the plant in South Carolina while just 21% disagree. When respondents are told that the NLRB believes that opening the plant is an act of retaliation against the union, the numbers barely move. Only 17% think the agency has the right to prevent Boeing from opening the new facility while 64% disagree.”

Clearly, average Americans know in their guts that it’s wrong for the government to be this dictatorial toward job creators. It’s also obvious that 64%, a very solid majority of everyday Americans, aren’t “anti-worker” – despite the rhetorically convenient claims of out of touch, far-left members of Congress.

From an editorial perspective, I truly find this debacle amazing. It speaks to the disconnect between jobs rhetoric and reality inherent in this administration’s worldview. While the President’s NLRB threatens a private company for opening a plant in a Right to Work state, he touts a “jobs bill” that contains nothing more than exactly what his failed stimulus comprised of. Talk about putting us on a fast track toward killing even more jobs.

As The Wall Street Journal noted Thursday, the Obama jobs plan is nothing but a blue state bailout in disguise – a typical redistribution of wealth to failed entities at the expense of the productive.

“These vast contributions to the coffers of state and local governments, though pitched as a jobs bill, are in reality the latest in a series of bailouts for debt-ridden state and local governments. They are of special benefit to states in the blue regions of the country where the president’s most fervent supporters reside.”

None of this is surprising. Between bailouts of  failure disguised as a “jobs plan” and the bullying of Boeing, we have a clear glimpse into the thuggish mentality of the President and his cohorts. Bribe your irresponsible friends with deficit spending, and punish businesses that actually create wealth if they do so without lining the coffers of your campaign contributors – all while pretending to be “pro-worker”. All of this authoritarianism spells disaster for the middle class, and relates directly to why unemployment is bordering on 10% nationwide (without even considering underemployment and those who have stopped looking).

When government officials have the power to pick and choose winners in the marketplace and act as if job creators (who can, and often do move overseas) are slaves to their whims, it’s a red flag indicative of the fact that freedom is eroding. Sadly, this corporatist behavior has been bipartisan (see the infamous TARP bailout of 2008). However, the level of outright intimidation has worsened with this administration. I’m glad Congress is doing its best to take a stand, and hope to see Republicans who actually oppose corporatist behavior elected in 2012. This kind of thuggish maneuvering is appalling, and the vast majority of Americans know it. Let’s put a stop to it at the ballot box.

Class Warfare vs. Job Creation

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Originally published at the US Daily Review

To be blunt, the employment numbers released by the Labor Department today are absolutely dismal.

As the Washington Post reported:

“The Labor Department on Friday reported zero net job creation in August, far worse than the 68,000 net jobs analysts had expected to be added. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.1 percent. The July job growth number was revised downward, as well, to only 85,000 jobs added that month — not the 117,000 estimated.”

Of course, these monthly numbers are ‘unexpected’ to the chattering class disciples of Keynesian theory who, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, believe that government looting private citizens and spending money we don’t have will create sustainable employment.

The scenario is dreadful. Anxious people are looking for a scapegoat. Enter the desperate Left-Elite, taking disgusting political advantage of the fact that being under and/or unemployed breeds resentment. So, who to blame other than themselves, they contemplate. Why, ‘the rich’, of course! You know, that nebulous collection of evil sub-humans who take advantage of the middle class by employing us. They’re the perfect target!

This is the path the Left-Elite goes down, of course, because it’s easier to spew poisonous class warfare rhetoric than to admit failures and change course in such a way that would involve diminishing some of their own power over the citizenry. Despite the fact that it’s been mathematically proven time and again that if we taxed every ‘rich’ individual at 100% it wouldn’t even make a dent in our national debt, the political elite continue to bite the hand that feeds.

Take, for example, this thought experiment from The Wall Street Journal in response to President Obama’s speech in April that he gave in lieu of submitting a palatable budget. (At the time of this writing, it has been 856 days since Democrats passed a budget because the President’s proposal was rejected in the Senate unanimously).

Per WSJ:

“Assume that tax policy confiscated all the taxable income of all the “millionaires and billionaires” Mr. Obama singled out. That yields merely about $938 billion, which is sand on the beach amid the $4 trillion White House budget, a $1.65 trillion deficit, and spending at 25% as a share of the economy, a post-World War II record.”

Of course, beyond the fact that taxing all of these nefarious  “millionaires and billionaires” isn’t a sustainable solution to our systemic overspending problem, the President’s ‘plan’, doesn’t take into account the collateral damage. Maybe the reason I’m so incensed by all of this is the personal angle. While there was no net job creation in August per the aforementioned report, my full time job was created last month, in Texas mind you, by none other than a few ‘horrible’, ‘selfish’, ‘uncaring’ rich guys. And guess what? They’re a brilliant, well-meaning, incredible group of individuals whose success I find inspiring. They’ve created an opportunity for me to further my career in a meaningful way; a scenario that wouldn’t exist if more of their earnings were confiscated by a greedy government that just can’t seem to get enough (and continues to spend significantly more than it takes in).

The achievements of people diligent enough to acquire the kind of wealth these ‘awful’ rich individuals have should be held up as models – not torn down for political agendas that prey on jealousy and insecurity. Unsurprisingly, that same rhetoric serves to enhance dependency on government and thus the power of elite, often rich, hypocritical politicians. That correlation should be suspect and revealed at every opportunity.

Ultimately, the absolutely wretched job numbers for August reinforce something that those of us paying attention already know: class warfare policy exists in direct opposition to job creation. If we keep demonizing success, bailing out failure, and creating a culture of dependency, anticipate the economy “unexpectedly” faltering even further.