Tag Archives: Economy

Republicans Will Have to Swallow Tax Hikes

As I’ve said previously, I hate tax increases, but I’ll settle if a 10:1 deal is reached.  Ten dollars of spending cuts, including welfare state cuts, for every one dollar raised in revenue.  It’s a rational deal.  If we can retake the Senate, and maintain our majority in the House; then perhaps we can discuss making other changes more palatable for the job creating and investing class.  However, in this brief time where I am open to such compromise, the chances of such a deal is unlikely.  But I’m still holding an optimistic grin.

Yes, Democrats will get what they want of we go off the cliff – and Republicans will be blamed for it. Joel Pollak at Breitbart described how Republicans were failing ‘negotiation 101.’  In his November 27 post, he wrote that Republicans need to focus on:

Framing the debate. The negotiations are now about the meaning of “revenue,” rather than about how to reduce runaway federal spending. President Obama says “revenue” and means increases in tax rates for the wealthy; when House Speaker John Boehner uses the same term, he means cutting loopholes and deductions while keeping rates the same. But both sides are talking about making the rich pay more to close the gap.

Aside from the fact that the wealthiest Americans bear a disproportionate share of the federal income tax burden–disproportionate even to their disproportionate wealth–and the fact that taxing the rich at a 100% rate would not solve the deficit and debt problem, there is a principle at stake here: that the government does not have an inherent claim to wealth and income that Americans have earned through their own labor and risk.

Arguably, the wealthy–like the rest of us–owe only for what provides the opportunity for all to earn and enjoy income in safety. Furthermore, too much of today’s public spending hurts the public–creating waste, reinforcing cronyism, and building dependency. But Republicans lost the chance to frame the debate around spending last year when they dropped the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan after obstruction from the Democratic Senate.

It’s true.  The job creating and investing class pay a disproportionate share of the taxes, but Mitt Romney lost.  President Obama campaigned heavily on raising taxes on the wealthy, and he won that argument on November 6.  This was due to Republicans not making the argument against such hikes.  Furthermore, there wasn’t even a single ad in the ’12 cycle that hit Obama on his hypocrisy surrounding the Bush tax cuts.  He extended them in December of 2010, which was a tacit agreement of Republican economic policies, regardless of the ‘hostage’ talk – which was pure drivel. I agree with Pollak that the government is taxing too much of Americans’ hard-earned money, and that it’s immoral for members to say that those monies are government property, but there was an election about this – and we lost.

In short, the reason why Republicans will be forced to raise taxes is due to the fact that we have poor leadership and bad messaging.

Media and culture. Democrats blocked “Cut, Cap, and Balance”–but the Tea Party was blamed for obstructionism. Obama destroyed a grand bargain by insisting on increased tax rates–but House Republicans suffered more media criticism when ratings agencies lowered the U.S. credit rating a few days later. Today, more Americans blame the GOP for the fiscal cliff impasse even though the sequester was Obama’s original proposal.

More is at work here than simple media bias. The Democrats have consciously pursued a media and cultural strategy to reinforce the idea that Republicans are the guardians of the rich–even though the wealthiest are actually a Democratic constituency. In the summer and early fall of 2011, for example, after the downgrade and with the economy creating net zero jobs, Occupy Wall Street began–and the Democrats latched on.

The movement failed, but Democrats salvaged the “99% vs. 1% meme,” setting a trap that Mitt Romney fell into with his comments about the “47 percent” last spring. Obama has also made the effect of spending cuts visceral for many Americans; Republicans have failed to describe the cost of debt in similar terms. That media and cultural edge allows Obama to rig the game in his favor. It’s time Republicans found an answer.

Here is the answer is simple.  It’s time to have a Reagan throwback.  Not necessarily on everything during the Reagan administration, but reconnecting with  middle class Americans.  Conservatives and Reaganites were a coalition of blue collar, middle class, ordinary, and right-of-center Americans – who took a liking to a lot of Republican policies.  For example, it explains the Arkansas bleeding of Democratic voters until Bill Clinton came into the picture.

Shifting away from Wall Street will also have a positive impact on our Hispanic outreach, since Latinos view Republicans as the party of the rich.  Yes, it’s an incorrect assumption, but it’s not to say that we can do better with the folks in the American middle class.  It’s time to challenge Democrats’ core constituency.  I’m not saying we should be anti-wealthy, or engage in class warfare, but we need to find candidates who are popular both on ‘main street’ and ‘Wall Street.’  Let’s face it.  Wall Street isn’t, and shouldn’t, come off scott-free from the ’08 financial meltdown.  On the other hand, they didn’t deserve Dodd-Frank either.

Coming back to the fiscal cliff, Republicans should insist on entitlement cuts.  After all, the president agrees with this position as well.  It’s also put him at odds with his fellow party members – forty-two of which signed on to a deal that called for zero cuts to the welfare state.  Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), in Napoleonic stature, has found her Waterloo by leading a coalition of cliff jumpers in the U.S. Senate.  To counter this, Republicans may have to take flak from the base by insisting that tax rates only rise for millionaires.  There is a winnable argument to be made that $250,000 isn’t rich when all of the mitigating elements are factored in, such as location, utilities, property taxes, state income taxes, sales tax etc.  For example, urban residents making this kind of money, and they should be congratulated on it, don’t feel rich once all the bills are paid – and they’re right.  The GOP has a winning narrative in this period between elections.

On the other hand, they can fight to keep the 2% cut in payroll taxes.  James C. Capretta wrote in National Review on November 27 that “this tax cut lowered the Social Security payroll tax from about 12 to 10 percent on all earned income (up to a limit of just over $100,000 annually). In January, if the cut is not extended, all 155 million American workers will see this two-percentage-point hike in their taxes. The Obama administration is ready to let it expire because it fears a long-term cut might create pressure for additional Social Security reform — which is precisely why the GOP should support keeping payroll taxes, as well as income taxes, as low as possible.”

Concerning entitlement reform, Capretta added that:

There should be no deal on long-term taxes without far-reaching reforms to health-entitlement programs. And what’s far-reaching? For starters, the entirety of Obamacare should be on the table for revision and retrenchment. The law sets in motion the largest entitlement expansion in a generation. It’s far better to scale the program back now before it gets started than to wait and hope it can be scaled back later.

Republican governors have substantial leverage in these negotiations because they can opt out of the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare, thanks to the Supreme Court. If 25 or so Republican governors refuse to put more people into an unreformed Medicaid program, it will put tremendous pressure on the Obama administration, which is desperate to see the Medicaid expansion occur during the president’s second term. The congressional GOP should use this leverage to move Medicaid toward fixed financing and maximum state flexibility.

Most importantly, if there are any cuts, they need to be immediate.  Conservatives stress this because in such fiscal deals during the Reagan and Bush 41 days, they were promised –  but never implemented.  While those on the left, like Matt Yglesias, think a grand bargain is impossible, and negotiations towards one is hurting the country.

Jennifer Stefano, PA State Director for Americans for Prosperity, stated in a news release on November 20 that she thinks:

 …it is funny people are criticizing the president for being abroad in Asia during this crisis. The President can be abroad in Asia and do exactly what he has been doing in the White House; which is absolutely nothing to prevent the economic calamity that will come on all Americans because of his fiscal policies..at the end of the day there are issues.  And on the issues there are things that are right and there are things that are wrong.  President Obama’s tax hikes are going to continue to crucify small businesses in this country… along with Obamacare, it is a crushing blow to the entrepreneurial spirit and as well as to the bottom line.

Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, aptly noted in Forbes on November 29 that such reforms to get our fiscal house in order will take more time, and that Congress should extend all the tax cuts for one more year.  This would provide a buffer from the cliff, and give representatives the necessary cushion to come up with a comprehensive long terms plan to tackle our debt and deficit.

This is why FreedomWorks has activated its grassroots members to call Congress with a two-part message. 1) Keep your promise on the sequester savings. 2) Pass a one-year extension of all current tax rates, so America has time to pass serious tax and entitlement reforms.

By the way, there is some good news hiding in all the dust of the “fiscal cliff” fracas. The coalition of committed fiscal conservatives in Congress has grown in the past two elections. Constitutional conservatives in the House held on to the historic gains of 2010, while the Senate just picked up three principled fiscal conservatives in Ted Cruz, Jeff Flake, and Deb Fischer to replace GOP establishment types Kay Bailey Hutchison, Jon Kyl, and Olympia Snowe.

This new generation of legislative entrepreneurs is re-populating Washington with innovative energy. Expect these principled leaders to put real specifics on the table, craft thoughtful budget solutions, and carve pathways to needed tax and entitlement reforms next year – all things Senate Democrats haven’t seen fit to do for the past 3 years.

Fiscal conservatives are once again at the table, but we won’t bargain with ourselves against an arbitrary deadline. Your move, Harry Reid.

Extending the tax cuts for one more year – I’m for it! However, there’s a fat chance that will happen.  Reid, Pelosi, and liberal Democrats won’t back a deal with such extensions.  As I’ve said, politically, Republicans have little to stand on without getting blasted by the media, and the American people.  We need to stand our ground with the spending cuts for sure.  No compromise there, but concerning taxes – they’ll have to go up.  It’s time to face reality for now.  Come 2014, hopefully, we’ll have a comprehensive tax reduction and reform plan that is palatable to everyone, and we can return to a sense of fiscal sanity.

Is It A Woman’s World?

I won’t lie.  I found Suzanne Venker’s piece about the ‘war on men‘ interesting, thought-provoking, and controversial.  In the process, she has reaped a whirlwind of left-wing hate.  It’s no surprise that today’s economy is better suited for women.  Manufacturing, the lynchpin of male labor, has collapsed – and now scores of men are left without the skills necessary to maneuver in the services economy.  Women are out-educating us, out-earning us, and out-performing us in the workforce.  In short, Venker says men are being stomped on, and we should be angry.  I couldn’t disagree more.

As Angela Morabito at The College Conservative wrote on November 28, women are just more ambitious at the moment.  Also, she disagreed with Venker, with whom she says got ‘gender politics wrong.’  As such, she injected a little Adam Smith into her argument.

It is true that women are getting more college degrees than our male counterparts.  That’s not because we are angry. It’s because you have to compete to get into college and the majority of the recent winners have been female. It is not because we are female that we have won: Competition drives the application process. Competition is what also should drive the economy. When we compete based on merit, and one team wins, all competitors improve in the process.

However, I would say that affirmative action policies also had a part in increasing women’s enrollment into higher education.  Yet, that’s a separate debate.  Furthermore, Morabito added that:

We  [conservatives] cannot be – nor should we be – the side that thinks women are too ambitious, too smart, or too driven. America needs all hands on deck to pull us out of this recession.  Individual liberty, personal responsibility, and freedom can still work for us today. These principles are strongest when everyone, including women, participates.

This is real conservative feminism: Women have the same freedoms as men and the same responsibilities as men. Wealth is allocated according to what we do with our freedoms and how we manage our responsibilities.  Gender doesn’t need to enter the equation.  The Left is going to freak out about it because they think women need special government “help.” But what we’re seeing now is that it’s just not true – we aren’t some feeble, marginalized group that flounders without Big Brother.

Yet, I feel inclined to defend Venker for a moment.  she mentioned in her column – and it’s true – that men worked to sustain themselves, find a woman, love her to death, and start a family.  We’re then happily burdened with providing and protecting our families, and that’s what we’ve been doing for nearly ten thousand years.  The system worked, and I liked it.

I’m the product of a household where Dad worked and Mom stayed home caring for me, loving me (to death), feeding me, and fussed over me.  She did this with my older brother and sister as well.  As a little tyke, I was King Tut.  Life was good.  However, the dynamics have changed, and we must adapt.  We’re a nation of two income households, but women have increased their share of bacon they bring home.

Liza Mundy has written about this shift in her new book, The Richer Sex, where she predicts that women will be the majority of breadwinners by 2030.  She calls it the ‘Big Flip.’  However, there have been many ‘big flips’ in socioeconomic history.  The Industrial Revolution, the invention of the Cotton gin, and the transition from an agrarian to a manufacturing-based economy in the U.S. are all prime examples of such shifts. But women were never as involved as they are now.  Hence, guys, and some conservative gals, shouldn’t freak out as much.  This is all part of the cyclical life of economic progression.  We shouldn’t be afraid.

Where Venker, I think, freaked out women, especially left-wing women, is her assertion that they’re the ones responsible for being incompatible with marriage due to their focus on building a career.  To be precise, Venker said that “fortunately, there is good news: women have the power to turn everything around. All they have to do is surrender to their nature – their femininity – and let men surrender to theirs. If they do, marriageable men will come out of the woodwork.”  This is troll city.  I can only imagine the uproar that would ensue if a woman told men to surrender their masculinity to be successful in the 21st century economy.  My response would’ve been similar: “like hell I will!”

On this rare occasion, I actually agree with what Lauren Boyle’s November 27 column on Huffington Post, where she noted that Venker’s piece degrades men.

So, if you’re keeping score at home, Venker has 1) implied that young men are pathetic, 2) flat-out stated that they don’t want to compete with women and 3) suggested that, if not corralled, all men want is sex and meaningless relationships without responsibility. If that isn’t offensive to men, what is?

Venker refers to the hundreds of men upon which she bases her opinions. But these men she describes bear no resemblance of the young men I know, who celebrate the successes of women in their lives and value them for their professional contributions.

Well, that’s because we know our existence depends on it! No, just kidding, but given the Republican Party’s abysmal stance with young, single women – we should embrace female advances in the workplace.  It’s very much aligned with conservative values.  After all, we’re the party that supports free market achievements.  Morabito puts it succinctly:

Conservatism, at its core, means equality of opportunity. We’re not there yet in this country, but we get closer every time we cut bureaucracy and improve our schools. This is, after all, what makes it easiest for more people to achieve at a high level. In a free market we all compete with one another. In a free market workers are valued for their skills, and not because of any union or demographic group they may belong to. The free market cares about cost and value. It does not care about male versus female.  Venker’s “war on men” is unfounded, just like the “war on women.” It’s time for men and women on both ends of the political spectrum to call for a ceasefire.

YES! Taking a step back from the gender politics for a second, the emphasis on the equality of opportunity is highly salient.  Both Republicans and Democrats used to agree on this.  However, we’ve seen a perverse reversal within American liberalism that stresses equality of outcome, which is indicative of the liberal dependency agenda. An agenda that is being implemented aggressively at the federal level by this current administration.  The more people on food stamps or any government program, equalizes the playing field, and enhances the public good.  Our constitution was never meant to be compatible with social dynamics of this nature.

Morabito sets the ground work for a winning narrative ahead of the 2014 elections.  Democrats needs to divide, identify, and exploit groups to win.  Hence, why they have a fetishistic attitude towards the ‘war on women,’ abortion, contraceptives, MediScaring, and racism – which are all tools that are successful in galvanizing a rabid liberal electorate.  That’s how Obama won in 2012.  Then again, it also helps the opposition when your side doesn’t make the argument.  Nevertheless, if Republicans can convey a message that is malleable with the 21st century economy – it will shatter the ‘demography is destiny’ narrative liberals are peddling right now.  Furthermore, telling women to not be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen in order to be marriageable also helps.

Granted, there are still jobs that are better executed by a specific gender.  Case in point, Morabito aptly says men are better suited for professional football and women are better Victoria’s Secret models. Yet, these examples are rare.  Nevertheless, I would say the Venker does focus too much on being ‘doom and gloom.’  As I’ve said before, we, as guys, need to adapt.  Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men, aptly made the observation that women are more flexible, and men are cardboard in this new economy.  That’s ok.  We just need to stretch more.

Like modernizing the messaging of conservatism, I look at this challenge with optimism.  Bring it on! As Barney Stinson would say, “challenge accepted.”

On a more personal note, it’s not a bad thing women are more ambitious to get into the trenches.  I have a sister, who is a mother of two, that works full-time in the human resources department at the Philadelphia Art Museum.  My sister-in-law does the same work at a non-profit in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.  I have two nieces, ages 13 months and two years old, and I hope they’re offered the same opportunities that were afforded to me. After all, they’re Vespas – and hard-work is a cornerstone of our family.

So, for the guys who are part of the ‘pissed off coalition,’ which Venker alludes to in her piece.  I suggest look at your family dynamics.  Are you really going to tell members of your own family, who are female, that they should surrender her femininity in order to get married?  That would be absurd.  It’s not a woman’s world, then again it’s no longer a man’s world either.  It’s not the end of men, but a beginning of an equilibrium amongst men and women in the workforce.  To keep the balance, guys need to get more animated, and stop slamming reading as a ‘girly’ activity.  When did that become a hallmark of masculinity?

Finally, let’s think of it in these terms.  As men, we’ve ruled the world since the beginning of time.  I don’t know about you, but I would be exhausted.  Thank God for women to help us pick up the slack.

Originally posted on The Young Cons.

“He Said She Said” with Demetrius & Stacy

 When: Wed, Nov 28, 10PM EST/7PM Pacific

Where: He Said She Said 

What: Have you ever wondered what Black Conservatives think about the political issues of today? Well wonder no more, “He Said, She Said” with Demetrius and Stacy. brings you an inner peek into the mind of the conservative, bold, full strength, and unfiltered.

Tonight: Special guests: Rep. Tom Price (@RepTomPrice), chairman of House GOP Policy Committee and Bethany Bowra (@BethanyBowra), Founder of NextGenerationVoters, and blogger at Smart Girl Politics and RedState.com


Fiscal Cliff Will Happen

With events scheduled for in the White House and on the road, Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail spreading his message, with the clear and obvious intent of pressuring Congress into agreeing to his “fiscal cliff” terms.

While he will make claims to a willingness to listen to all ideas and negotiate with all parties, in fact he will endlessly argue for ending the current tax rates on Americans making $200,000 and above while accusing Congress of holding middle income families hostage.

To present the illusion he has been working hard to arrive at a successful resolution, Obama held closed doors meetings with big unions, big business and as an afterthought, small business owners.

Can you say all theatrics, no work?

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell R-KY, categorized the White House efforts as nothing but a public relations ploy: “Rather than sitting down with lawmakers of both parties and working out an agreement, he’s back out on the campaign trail, presumably with the same old talking points we’re all familiar with.  Look: We already know the president is a very good campaigner.  What we don’t know is whether he has the leadership qualities necessary to lead his party to a bipartisan agreement on a big issue like this.”

Obama is planning to use American citizens as human props in the ongoing campaign to rally his base.  He will call upon his followers to pressure Congress into submitting to “progressive” demands to raise taxes on small businesses and entrepreneurs.  Obama will preach that if a stalemate persists, taxes on middle class American will go up because Republicans held them hostage to protect tax cuts for the rich.

Can you say economic justice?

Economic justice is a Marxist concept where economic policies must result in the distribution of economic benefits equally.

Obama’s push to let tax rates expire on incomes over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for families will hurt small businesses, the sector responsible for most new jobs growth in America.

Obama loves to characterize the tax increase as asking financially successful Americans to pay more in order to save government programs that face spending cuts.  The fact is, ending current tax rates for “the rich” would fund the United States federal government for less than nine days.

For Obama to propagate the false notion that taxing the rich will solve America’s fiscal problems is a red herring.  By consciously using middle class Americans as human props in attempts to sway public opinion in his favor, he is displaying true contempt for middle class Americans.

The United States federal government is borrowing forty cents of every dollar spent to prop up a slumping economy and support the deprived underclass it created using big government socialist programs to render American citizens dependent upon government.

Foreign debt buyers are slowly ending their investment in America’s bankruptcy and the Federal Reserve is now purchasing over sixty percent of America’s Treasury Bonds.

Can you say The Weimar Republic?  Can you say Zimbabwe?  Can you say today’s Eurozone on more steroids than the Soviet body builders at the 1952 Olympics, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lance Armstrong, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, Lyle Alzado, Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire combined?  Can you say the worst economic downturn ever?

America does not have a revenue shortage.  America has a spending addiction.

Giving the United States government more money to spend is like trying to sober up an alcoholic by having them drink a gallon of gin.

In the ongoing “progressive” campaign to “fundamentally transform” America, the fiscal cliff created by “progressive” big spending will happen because “progressives” want it to happen.

And “progressives” will blame successful Americans.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/fiscal-cliff-will-happen/

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How Falling Off The Fiscal Cliff Impacts You

I’ll say it again, Democrats want to go off the fiscal cliff.  They’ll get their tax increases – $600 billion dollars worth– their revenue increases, and cuts to defense, which has been a goal of theirs for the past ten years.  Goodbye Bush tax cuts, Hello Obama tax hikes.  With the fledgling coalition of ‘cliff jumpers’ led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), let’s see how the impact will affect us who aren’t on Capitol Hill.

According to Paul Katzeff at Investors Business Daily, he wrote on November 16 that ending the Bush tax cuts will also be detrimental to the middle class.  Contrary to popular belief, the Bush tax cuts has beneficial mechanisms, like credits for lower income households and reductions to the marriage penalty, all of which help the middle class.  While conservatives know this, it’s hard to break the deafening noise of the liberal media.

Katzeff added:

The typical American family will be hit with an extra $3,222 in taxes, the [Tax] Foundation says. That’s based on a two-child family with median income of $74,563. The tax increase will amount to 4.32% of that family’s income. The Foundation’s analysis compares that family’s tax bill in 2011 — the latest year that an AMT patch existed — to what it would be in 2013, assuming all Bush and Obama tax cuts expire, the AMT remains unfixed and the 2% payroll tax cut also expires. The AMT keeps hitting more middle-income taxpayers because the standard deduction and certain itemized deductions such as state and local taxes do not reduce its bite. Also, its exemption does not grow automatically with inflation.

Families in high-individual-income states such as New Jersey would be hit hard by currently slated AMT changes. The AMT exemption level would revert to what it was 12 years ago: $45,000 for married joint filers vs. $74,450 in 2011. And credits such as the child tax credit would no longer be allowed to offset AMT liability.

But, contrary to political conventional wisdom, families in lower-income states, like Arkansas, would also take an outsized hit. That’s because three tax cuts that everyone will lose — the cut in the child tax credit, end of the 10% bracket and reduced standard deduction for married filers — are fixed increases that do not hinge on income. As a percentage of income, those increases will be biggest for lower-income families.

New Jersey is set to take the largest blow, with a looming tax increase on the typical family totaling $6,933.

As more Republicans flee Grover Norquist, Founder of Americans for Tax Reform, and his anti-tax pledge – it’s a forgone conclusion that revenue increases will occur IF there is a deal.  However, Republicans should ask themselves why swallow such a demand when it’s been over 1300 days since the Democratic Congress has passed a budget.  It’s not logical or moral for Republicans to cave to the soulless, rotten liberal cadre of robbers this easily during the negotiations.

The only acceptable outcome, which I would still be unhappy with, is a deal that calls for at least eight dollars in spending cuts for every new dollar in revenues.  The ten-to-one deal is even more “palatable.”  I hate tax increases – but the outcome of the election will make it hard for conservatives to hold their ground.  Yes, the Tea Party Caucus was re-elected, with the exception of a couple of members, and Obama was re-elected by the 47% who don’t pay taxes, so there isn’t a mandate – but the clock is ticking.

Concerning revenue, Republicans should push to raise the rates on those making $500,000 or more.  I’m not a fan of Warren Buffett at all – but his plan to increase the rates on the incomes of those people is reasonable for now.

  • First, he only calls for raising taxes on Americans earning more than $500,000 a year, not the $250,000 that President Obama is focused on. Families who earn $250,000 and live in major cities justifiably point out that this salary does not leave them feeling “rich.” So, raising the definition of rich would go a long way toward making these tax hikes more palatable.
  • Next, he calls for a minimum 30% tax on Americans making $1 million to $10 million or more, regardless of how this income is generated. One of the most egregious elements of the tax code is that some of America’s highest earners pay much lower tax rates than average earners, because they generate their income from capital gains or dividends or have figured out how to shelter it by taking advantage of various loopholes. This tax would ensure that most income is treated the same way.

Americans living in urban areas, with rent and other utilities, see their $250,000 income dwindle rapidly, and don’t feel rich.  They’re right.  As George Will aptly noted, a Chicago school superintendent with twenty years experience, who is married to a police captain with twenty years experience is almost rich within the tax increase parameters of the Obama administration.

As I’ve said, I hate raising taxes, but we cannot be the party that is blamed for going off the cliff.  Democrats have planted their flag on the side of willingly going off.  That’s perverse, and wrong.  Let’s be the party that said NO!  We’re the part of no.  We don’t want to cut defense by the hundreds of billions.  We don’t want $600 billion in tax increases for the American taxpayer.  We have an opportunity to blunt the trauma of falling off the cliff.

However, I also understand the political ramifications if we do have a deal – and history hasn’t been to kind to us.  John Fund wrote today in National Review that:

many old Washington hands recall that Republicans agreed on tax-increase-for-spending-cuts deals in 1982 under Ronald Reagan and in 1990 under George H. W. Bush. These deals politically damaged the party in the short run, and they also proved to be bad policy. The 1982 budget deal, which promised seven dollars in spending cuts for every three dollars in tax increases, was never honored. Congress agreed to less than 27 cents in spending cuts for every dollar of tax increases, and President Reagan came to bitterly regret his decision to approve the deal. Ed Meese, Reagan’s senior counselor at the time and later his attorney general, recalls that the 1982 deal ‘was the worst domestic-policy mistake of the Reagan administration.’

So, this time Republicans must insist the cuts be enacted immediately.  Furthermore, I like the idea Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has concerning transparency if a deal is reached.  A week-long debate on any aspect of the bill, including amendments, edits, and revisions.  All will be televised on C-SPAN for the public to see –  if they don’t fall asleep first.

Yet, we cannot forget back when “Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted [last February] in congressional testimony that the administration lacks a long-term plan to deal with the nation’s soaring $16 trillion debt. “We’re not coming before you today to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term problem,” he told House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan. ‘What we do know is, we don’t like yours.”  I’ll try to temper my cynicism, but being optimistic about government is difficult.

I hope for a deal, but, at the same time, will start cashing out my investments in the stock market in preparation for the day of reckoning.

Health Care Reform = More Money, Bigger Hospitals, and Less Private Practices

For a while, conservatives have known that Obamacare would be a dose of bad medicine.  However, given the axiom that bog government helps big business, the same could be true with the medical industry.  Tim Carney at The Washington Examiner aptly pointed out today, from Bloomberg, Obamacare favors big hospitals, and smashes small practices.

In his column, Carney wrote that “Bloomberg report[ed] today on how Medicare payment rules have led to hospital consolidation, with small practices selling out to big hospitals.”  Additionally, Carney cited the point about consolidation:

Simon Gisby, a principal in the life science and health care practice at Deloitte Corporate Finance LLC in New York, said the trend fits with changes starting to take place under the 2010 Affordable Care Act designed by the Obama administration to overhaul health care.

This consolidation means higher costs, the article explains. Some academic studies have confirmed that hospital consolidation means higher costs, and at least one has pinned some of the blame on Obama’s Affordable Care Act:

hospitals are able to extract higher private payments when they hold more market power…. Now provisions of the ACA are encouraging further consolidation of hospitals and physicians, and the final antitrust review regulations from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have eliminated the proposed mandatory review of certain prospective ACOs.

So, at the end of the day, it’s business as usual – with a splash of dependency.  Big government helping big business gain more power at the expense of the taxpayers.   Can we all agree that this overhaul of American health care was never meant to curb costs?

BREAKING: Mainstream Media Uncovers Looming “Fiscal Cliff,” Overlooks “Fiscal Abyss”

Mainstream media outlets are now warning of the United States’ impending “fiscal cliff” after months of vigorous investigative journalism and heated legal battles forced the Obama administration to grant a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents detailing federal budget projections.

The subject documents, which have been publicly available through the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) website, like, forever, show that the federal government’s financial outlook has been Wile E. Coyote-ing over a “fiscal abyss” long before President Obama was re-elected on November 6th, 2012.

Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary and communications director for the Guild of Mainstream Media Outlets, explained during a November 14th press conference, “We are facing an unprecedented fiscal state of affairs and the President is ready to address this very important issue. We applaud the media for bringing the issue into Americans’ homes.”

In response to an inquiry from a reporter with The Laissez Faire regarding the timing of media’s coordinated announcement of the newly discovered “fiscal cliff,” Carney responded by growing a mischievous smirk, covering his mouth with both hands, and squeaking “Tee-Hee, Tee-Hee!” before gleefully frolicking off the press stage.

The looming “fiscal cliff” refers to the short-term projected economic impact of 1) allowing the Bush-era tax cuts and payroll tax cuts to expire and 2) the imposition of automatic spending cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (i.e., the “sequestration” cuts that trim federal spending across the board resulting from an indecisive super-committee), both set to occur on January 1st, 2013, which the CBO predicts would result in a short-term drop of 0.5% in gross domestic product and an increase in unemployment to 9.1% by the end of 2013.

However, reasonable economists across the country warn that the long-term federal budget outlook is far more dire than both CBO budget projections and the short-term impacts of the media’s newly discovered “fiscal cliff” might suggest.

A group of renowned economists have expressed greater concern over a longer-term “fiscal abyss” in a recent white paper titled, “Holy Shit! Federal Government owes Nearly $100 Trillion!” The white paper cites a study by the non-partisan National Center for Policy Analysis which calculates an estimated $84 Trillion of unfunded federal liabilities (the study notes the $84 Trillion is a “conservative estimate”), a dismal outlook that far dwarfs the media’s conveniently timed announcement of the headline-hoarding “fiscal cliff.”

R. Runner, Ph.D,  a senior research fellow at the Acme Institute of Super Obvious Studies, explained that the federal government “…simply makes too many promises that it can’t keep in the interest of political expediency; many of which are far contrary to the principles and ideas transcribed in the documents that founded this great country. And quite frankly,” he added, “their actions are immoral.”

In a technicolorful analogy, Dr. Runner further noted that, “We’re not looking out toward some distant ‘fiscal cliff,’ or ‘fiscal abyss,’ whatever you want to call it. We’re beyond the land’s edge of any metaphorical ‘cliff.’ Much like the laws of physics would wait for Wile E. Coyote to process the fact that his chase led him over the edge of a canyon before applying the force of gravity, we’re now beginning to process the fact that the government’s promises are unsustainable and soon, like the ill-fated cartoon coyote, the laws of economics will catch up to us sending our economy plummeting to the bottom of our own fiscal canyon if drastic cuts in spending and vast reductions in scope of government do not happen soon.”

Despite the media’s paltry attempt to bring relevant economic information to the citizens’ attention (coincidentally at the heels of a major presidential election), they failed to discuss the dismal long-term outlook beyond the impending ‘fiscal cliff.’ They further failed to discuss the implications of an ever-growing federal government made up of elected (and unelected) officials who continue to make short-term promises for political gains, meanwhile bludgeoning the principles of individual rights into a gory pulp of federally-mandated collectivism whose end game will necessarily be a two-class society: the underclass, and the political class.

Crossposted at TruthInJest.

Jon Corzine’s ‘Global’ Disaster

There was a breaking development that occurred on The Hill today.  A member of the financial sector made a poor decision, bankrupted a company, and was formerly an elected official.  No, it wasn’t Mitt Romney – it was former Democratic Governor of New Jersey Jon Corzine.  Corzine, who hedged against the European debt crisis, incurred losses in the billions, which lead to the collapse of MF Global.

One mystery that plagues this investigation is Mr. Corzine’s David Copperfield act that wiped $1.6 billion from Global’s client fund, which occurred days before the whole firm crumbled.  Dina ElBoghdady of The Washington Post reported about this episode in financial malfeasance that cost people their jobs, and their savings – but it wasn’t too important since they relegated the piece to page 18 in today’s edition.

Furthermore, it took Ms. ElBoghdady six paragraphs to even mention that Mr. Corzine was a Democrat because they party of progress doesn’t dabble in such unscrupulous activities like this.  The report about Mr. Corzine’s epic failure at MF Global was released today by the House Financial Services oversight subcommittee, but didn’t mention any felonious activity conducted on behalf of the former Democratic governor.   They’re going to leave that to other prosecutors, who have launched their own investigations.  In all, “farmers, ranchers, and ther customers may never get back over $1 billion of their money as a result of [Corzine’s] decisions, Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Tex.), the House panel’s chairman, said in a statement.”

So, if Democrats and liberals hate Mitt Romney for being a rich man who devours companies, then shouldn’t they be picketing outside Corzine’s residence castigating him for his negligence?  If any Republican acted as horribly as Corzine has done in managing a firm, like MF Global, this would be on the front page – and dominating the news cycle for weeks on end.

Jon Corzine is worse than a vulture capitalist.  He’s an incredibly incompetent manager of people’s resources, which explains his failure as a governor.

Financial Crisis…a “Top Down, Bottom Up, Inside Out” Designed Collapse from Home Loans to Student Loans

As the fiscal cliff looms, it is prudent to discuss how we got here. As our crisis moves from housing to student loan and then into health care, it should be noted what, how and who got us into this situation.

“…because this financial crisis just wasn’t the result of decisions made in the executive suites on Wall Street, it was also the result decisions made across kitchen tables across America by folks who took on mortgages and credit cards and auto loans,”

Barrack Obama, Wall Street, April 22, 2010

     During a 2010 speech at Wall Street, President Obama blamed Wall Street and Main Street for irresponsible financial practices but he neglected the true culprit of the housing crisis…the federal government. When third parties such as Washington politicians, bureaucrats and community organizations get involved, it perpetuated the housing disaster in what we have today.

So, how do you collapse the housing market? You start with the philosophy of “Overloading the system” with an approach known as “Top Down, Bottom Up and Inside Out. Van Jones explains this concept below. Politicians and bureaucrats wrote legislation that entice community organizations, citizens and lawyers to force banks in giving loans they should not have given. This concept begins with the passage of the Community Reinvestment Act, then relaxing HUD policies with unrealistic goals. The Clinton Administration and Congress put pressure on banks, this represents the “Top Down” portion. This placed the legal ability for banks to make risky “subprime” loans. The “Bottom Up” is community organizations, like ACORN and lawyers who push the written law through the court system. These community organizations put pressure or extorted banks through threats of lawsuits. With Fannie and Freddie’s loan goals increased, pressure from federal agencies and community groups demanding risky loans to be made, this is the “Top Down, Bottom Up” scenario. The “Inside Out” scenario is where people within the system begin to work with the community organizations or replaced with people who are friendly to organizations that caused the problems.

So, what caused the subprime lending crisis? Let’s start with the Community Reinvestment Act.

In 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) established the foundation for the housing crisis and “encouraged” financial institutions to provide loans to low- and moderate-income communities. It eliminated “redlining”, a practice where banks identify and eliminate lending to certain high-risk communities. But one of the most damaging aspects of the act was the creation of a rating system that evaluated banks on several factors, one being their subprime loan record. The CRA addressed concerns of the deteriorating conditions of cities like urban flight and declining neighborhoods, this was due to limited credit availability. After the CRA was enacted, the federal government continued to tweak previsions for the next 30 years to provide loans to risky borrowers, loosen restrictions so banks were able to give these loans and provided legal grounds for community organizations and lawyers to force these loans.

After the passage of the CRA, trends of outstanding consumer credit skyrocketed. (See chart below)

     The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 kept banks in check. It limited the affiliation between commercial banks and security firms, this also eliminated financial transactions being granted within the same credit, lending and investing institutions, also known as “too big to fail.” What this would do is tie loans to the banks physical assets. Back in 1933, this act gave additional oversight authority to the Federal Reserve. In addition, the FDIC would be able to guarantee loans up to a certain amount.

     Ben Bernanke explained that the CRA encouraged many banks to make high-risk loans to low and middle-income communities at low interest rates. The Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) publicized these CRA reports public. This allowed community organizations and lawyers to “perform more-sophisticated, quantitative analyses of banks’ records.” If a bank’s ratings were not adequate, community organizations such as Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) sued banks for the lack of loans in low income communities.

     In 1980, Jimmy Carter signed the HR 4986, “Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act” forcing banks to adhere to Federal Reserve rules. It allowed the merger of banks and raised deposit insurance from $40,000 to $100,000.

     In 1992, the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 “establish(ed) specified housing goals for each enterprise, including goals for purchase of mortgages on housing for low- and moderate-income families”. These two Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSE), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encouraged “subprime” lending by authorizing a “flexible” criteria whereas high-risk borrowers could be qualified for home loans. These GSEs were intermediaries who loan to banks and not directly to homeowners. Banks were directed to accept welfare payments and unemployment benefits as “valid income sources” in qualifying for mortgages. If banks didn’t accept these documents, they could face lawsuits.

     In 1994, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) instituted a “top down” policy where ten federal agencies adopted a policy, entitled “Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending”. According to the news release “The following Federal Agencies—HUD, OFHEO, DOJ, OCC, OTS, the Board, FDIC, FHFB, FTC and the NCUA—sharing a concern that some prospective homebuyers and other borrowers may be experiencing discriminatory treatment in their efforts to obtain loans, formed an Interagency Task Force on Fair Lending to establish uniform policy against discriminatory lending.”

     Community organizations increasingly used the public comment process to pretest bank applications on CRA grounds. When applications were highly contested, federal agencies held public hearings to allow public comment on the bank’s lending record. In addition, this policy “seek(s) to promote fair lending” and “seeks to prevent lending discrimination and redlining by requiring public disclosure of certain information about mortgage loan applications.” In essence, the federal government established a grading program to evaluate how these programs lent to the poor. Due to these changes in lending practices and activism, homeownership would soar as shown below.

     According to the Chicago Daily Observer, Barrack Obama represented 186 African-Americans in a 1995 discrimination lawsuit against Citibank. These individuals were not approved loans but Citibank settled in 1997. Since then, roughly half of those represented have gone into bankruptcy or received foreclosure notices. Today, only 19 of the 186 still own their homes with a clean credit record. This demonstrates how community organizations can pressure banks into giving subprime loans.

     In 1999, President Clinton and a Republican majority Congress repealed the Glass-Steagill Act. This allowed banks, lenders and investments firms to practice across different environments, reintroducing “Too Big Too Fail.”  The bill passed the house (362-57) and Senate (90-8). At the same time, the Clinton Administration put pressure on Fannie Mae to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people. HUD increased Fannie/Freddie’s subprime lending goals to over 40 percent for low- and moderate-income families.

    Bill Clinton in an interview describes how much CRA loans were given out during his time as President.

In 1999, Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae’s Chairman and CEO stated ”Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990’s by reducing down payment requirements.” “Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980’s.”

According to Milkeninstitute, “The rate of foreclosures on subprime loans originated increased each year from 1999 to 2007 and accounted for approximately half of all foreclosures over the same period.” When the collapse occurred in the third quarter of 2007, subprime ARMs made up only 6.8 percent of US mortgages outstanding but accounted for 43 percent of the foreclosures that began in that quarter.

In November 2000, Fannie Mae announced HUD would increase the dedicated amounts to 50%. According to CSR Press Release, to expand the secondary market, Fannie Mae committed to purchase $2 billion through a suite of flexible mortgage options purchasing one-to-four unit homes. Fannie Mae injected a process where previous loans would be negotiated on an individual basis. Dan Mudd, from Fannie Mae stated “By teaming with lenders, Fannie Mae can not only help increase lending to minorities and other underserved market segments, but we also can assist depository institutions in meeting their own community investment goals and objectives. We look forward to working with our customers to create increased liquidity for Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) -eligible loans.”

In 2001, the US Department of Treasury warned, “Subprime borrowers typically have weakened credit histories that include payment delinquencies and possibly more severe problems such as charge-offs, judgments and bankruptcies. They may also display a reduced repayment capacity as measured by credit scores, debt-to-income ratios, or other criteria that may encompass borrowers with incomplete credit histories.”

Although most home loans were not subprime mortgages, their numbers rapidly grew in the early part of the 21st Century. Subprime loans accounted for 9 percent in 1996 and 20 percent in 2007, one-fifth of US home loan market. Throughout the 2000s, there were calls to reform Fannie and Freddie because they were “systemic risks”. In 2003, Barney Frank stated that Fannie and Freddie are “not in a crisis” and Republicans were crying wolf in calling Fannie and Freddie not financially sound. Democrats blocked Republican-sponsored legislation. From a servicing standpoint, these loans have a statistically higher rate of default and are more likely to experience repossessions and charge offs. Lenders use the higher interest rate and fees to offset these anticipated higher costs.

In April 2005, there was rumble of fixing the housing debacle but some lawmakers said that it undercut the ability of the CRA to “meet the needs of low and moderate-income persons and communities.” Senator Shelby introduced legislation to deal with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that was causing a “systemic risk for our financial system.” The carrot was subprime loans that would be purchased and backed by federal GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Community Organizations felt this legislation would only weaken CRA. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned of Fannie and Freddie’s debt. “We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk,” he said. Senator Charles Schumer (D) says, “I think Fannie and Freddie over the years have done an incredibly good job and are an intrinsic part of making America the best-housed people in the world.” No legislation would be passed to address the looming bubble.

On August 15, 2007, concerns about subprime mortgages caused a sharp drop in stocks across Nasdaq and Dow Jones. Record lows were observed in stock market prices across the the world. The US market recovered all those losses within 2 days. Concern in late 2007 increased as the August market recovery was lost, in spite of the Fed cutting interest rates by half a point (0.5%) on September 18 and by a quarter point (0.25%) on October 31. Stocks are testing their lows of August now.

On December 6, 2007, President Bush announced a plan to voluntarily and temporarily freeze the mortgages of a limited number of mortgage debtors holding ARMs by the Hope Now Alliance. He also asked Congress to: 1. Pass legislation to modernize the FHA. 2. Temporarily reform the tax code to help homeowners refinance during this time of housing market stress. 3. Pass funding to support mortgage counseling. 4. Pass legislation to reform GSEs like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

In 2008, Troubled Asset Relief Program was enacted in response to the subprime mortgage crisis. Citizens do not have access to Fannie and Freddie’s records because they are considered a GSE, so the Freedom of Information Act does not apply. Currently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still have an open checkbook in buying loans.

So, what changed to cause the subprime mortgage crisis? Was it a conspiracy contrived by the Fannie, Freddie, bankers, lawyers or community organizations? NO! Legislation and courts were used to position third parties such as federal agencies, community organizations, GSEs and lawyers who determined the validity of banks’ lending practices based off a banks’ CRA rating rather than the practice for each individual. These players used the law to force banks to lend money to people who could not afford it. The housing collapse was caused by third party intervention intervening into the free market…not capitalism!

According to Maxine Waters (5:08), “Under the outstanding leadership of Frank Raines, everything in the 1992 Act has worked just fine. In fact, the GSEs has exceeded their housing goals. What we need to do today is focus on the regulator and this must be done in a manner so as not to impede their affordable housing mission. A mission that has seen innovation flourishes from desktop underwriting to 100 percent loans.”

According to a 2010 House Oversight Committee Report, top banks such as Countrywide, Bank of America, Chase, Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo established relationships with community organizations such as ACORN. The report also stated “ACORN used provisions in the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 to challenge bank mergers and acquisitions. These challenges successfully forced banks to make lending agreements with ACORN Housing.” ACORN became a HUD approved housing counselor. According to the report, ACORN has “waged savage public campaigns and delivered subtle private threats to large banking institutions for its own financial gain, defeated former political allies…and formed powerful alliances with the SEIU, Rod Blagojevich and Barack Obama.”

With federal legislation pushed banks to make high risk loans and provided upward pressure from community organizations that ensure the subprime. The problem cannot be entirely blamed on the CRA but it laid the foundation. CRA reports enabled community organizations and lawyers to force banks into making subprime loans, and this extortion probably extended elsewhere…and to some degree partnerships. Fannie & Freddie was able to guarantee and provide cheap subprime money.

Ron Paul provided some insight that the very people who was instrumental in creating the legislation are there to fix it.

The next financial  bubble will be “Student Loans” while the housing bubble’s intrinsic issues were not addressed.

OF COURSE WE SEE OUR PATH!

Sandy not to blame for dismal jobs report

The AP reported today that this week’s terrible unemployment numbers were due to fallout from Sandy – the storm that hit the Northeast last week. On its face, the excuse holds merit. When digging into the data, it looks like AP over-interpreted a footnote thereby giving the Administration a pass on an awful report.

The Labor Department said applications increased by 78,000 because a large number of applications were filed in states damaged by the storm. People can claim unemployment benefits if their workplaces close and they don’t get paid.

First to note in the report is that New York, the most populous state hit by the storm, saw its weekly figures drop by more than 2,200 claims. The reason for fewer claims given was that due to power outages caused by the Hurricane, the State’s systems were unable to take claims from claimants. So while the storm may have caused in increase in unemployment in New York, it was not figured into the 78,000 increase due.

Next we find that the state with the largest increase in claims, Pennsylvania, did not list the storm as the reason. Only Connecticut and New Jersey pointed at Sandy for the reason they saw increased claims and of the total 78,000 increase, those two states were less than a tenth of the claims when added together.

What may have been mere oversight looks even more like white washing when you see one of the largest increases in joblessness being the swing state of Ohio. Suddenly, just after the election, Ohio reports more than 6,400 job losses in the .. wait for it.. automobile manufacturing industries . Oddly, the November 1 report just before the election showed a decrease in manufacturing layoffs in Ohio – a trend outlier when looked at broadly:

– October 25th report: Ohio sees increase of 1,936 claims due to layoff in the transportation and manufacturing industries

– November 1st report: Ohio reduces claims by 1,214 due to fewer layoffs in manufacturing

– November 8th: Ohio not mentioned

– November 15th: Ohio loses more than 6,400 jobs specifically in the auto manufacturing industry

Disregarding the strange blame, the report offers other unpleasant news: Year-over-year initial claims (seasonally adjusted) have risen by a staggering 47,000 claims. Last year at this time, only 392,000 initial claims for jobless benefits were filed, while this month more than 439,000 were given unemployment assistance.

WEEK ENDING Advance Nov. 10 Nov. 3 Change Oct. 27 Prior Year1

Initial Claims (SA) 439,000 361,000 +78,000 363,000 392,000
Initial Claims (NSA) 466,348 361,800 +104,548 339,917 363,016

 

No Change, No Hope

While the “progressive” Party Pravda is dutifully focused on distracting Americans with stories about the tragic resignation of former CIA Director David Petraeus,  the White House goes merrily along with its anti-growth, anti-business, anti-energy, radical fringe leftist “progressive” agenda.  The Barack Obama administration is now making plans for the next phase in fundamentally transforming America into a second rate European style slow growth high unemployment socialist state.

Nothing has changed from the last two years of Obama’s reign of terror.  In Harry Reid, Obama retains a “progressive” Democratic Senate majority leader who shares his radical fringe leftist ideology.  In the House of Representatives, Obama faces a Republican majority led by Speaker of the House John Boehner.  For the past two years, the House has refused to budge on tax hikes, one of a number of lusted for items on the “progressive” Holy Grail wish list.

Since Obama ran a class warfare, racial and gender dividing, hit man Chicago style smear re-election campaign, nothing but more of the same can be reasonably expected in his second term.

Evidence, in first meeting on Tuesday, he meets with Mary Kay Henry-SEIU, Lee Saunders-AFSCME, Dennis Van Roekel-NEA, Rich Trumka-AFL-CIO, Neera Tanden-Center for American Progress, John Podesta-Center for American Progress, Bob Greenstein-Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Laura Burton Capps-Common Purpose Project, Max Richtman-National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Justin Ruben-MoveOn, and Deepak Bhargava-Center for Community Change.

These are Obama’s ideological soul mates.  Their priorities are to further their radical fringe leftist “progressive” agenda.

On Wednesday, Obama meets with Mark Bertolini, president, chairman and CEO of Aetna, Ursula Burns, chairman and CEO at Xerox, Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and CEO for American Express, David Cote, chairman and CEO at Honeywell, Mike Duke, president and CEO of Walmart, Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO for General Electric, Andrew Liveris, president, chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical, Robert McDonald, president and CEO at Procter & Gamble, Alan Mulally, president and CEO for Ford Motors, Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO at PepsiCo, Ginni Rometty, president, chairman and CEO of IBM, andJohn Watson, chairman and CEO for Chevron.

These are the huge multinational corporations that have supported Obama while he has repeatedly accused Republicans of being in the pocket of huge multinational corporations.

They are also the companies that are big enough to survive the economic destruction brought about by Obama’s economic policies.

Can you say “too big to fail”?

Before he bothers to meet with Congressional leaders to discuss how to reach a “compromise” that will result in the United States avoiding the fiscal cliff, Obama has arranged his schedule so as to meet with his ideological Marxist brethren as well as his financial backers and yes men.

Together, they will calculate how to insist on their “my way or the highway” demands while appearing reasonable to low information voters who obtain their “news” from “progressive” Party Pravda sound-bites and headlines.

There will be little to no real negotiations with House Republicans.  They will be told what they have consistently been told by this administration.  “We won.  We are going to do it our way.”

When America goes over the fiscal cliff, Obama and his mob of ideological lunatics will sing a full throated chorus of “It’s all Republican’s fault” and get away with it because the “progressive” Party Pravda will march in lockstep with their Marxist overlords and tell the public what Obama wants them to believe.

Unless something changes, nothing will change.  Without changing this equation, there will be no hope in America.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/no-change-no-hope/

Companies Begin Layoffs Following Obama’s Re-election

With the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ looming at the end of the year, many companies had warned that if President Obama were re-elected, they would be forced to lay off workers. Company officials listed the skyrocketing price of health insurance and the taxes contained in Obamacare as a primary reason for job cuts.

Some job cuts are also the result of the likelihood that Congress will be increasing taxes thereby raising the cost of doing business. Other staffing cuts are also an attempt to avert the “fiscal cliff” and the economic reality caused by spending cuts and increased taxation in the Obama-favored budgetary tactic known as sequestration.

And three days after the re-election of the President, many big companies have already kept their promise. Among them are:

  • Energizer, which is restructuring its company, and as a result, announced it expects to lose about 1,500 jobs.
  • Boeing, who expects to shrink their executive staff by roughly 30% at the Boeing Defense, Space & Security unit.
  • US Cellular, who is moving manufacturing plants out of Chicago, and as a result will cut roughly 640 jobs in the area. Overall, the company estimates it will cut 980 jobs, about 12% of its workforce.
  • Power tool giant Husqvarna, who is cutting around 600 jobs, a move that they expect will save them roughly $33 million per year.
  • Darden Restaurants, which owns popular chains like the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Longhorn Steakhouse. They are expected to cut back the hours their employees work to 28 hours per week. The Obamacare law defines full time employees as working 30 hours a week. The law requires full time employees to have employe-provided healthcare, or the company must pay a fine.
  • Murray energy corp will layoff more than 120 employees to avoid expenses due to Obama regulations and taxes
  • Welch Allen will layoff 275 employees (10% of their workforce) as a “pro-active response” to taxes in Obamacare
  • Dana Holding Group – auto parts manufacturer will make numerous cuts in response to $24 million in costs due to Obamacare
  • Stryker will be eliminating 5% of its workforce (1,170 jobs) due to additional taxes in Obamacare
  • Boston Scientific will be dropping between 1,200 and 1,400 jobs and shifting operations to China to avoid Obamacare taxes
  • Smith & Nephew will drop 770 jobs
  • U.S. Cellular will eliminate 980 jobs
  • UtahAmerican Energy will cut a huge number of jobs as “204 American coal-fired plants” are shut down by 2014 – basically maiming the coal-mining industry
  • Lockheed Martin is expected to notify 123,000 employees of coming layoffs
  • Consol Energy to layoff 145 employees
  • much, much more coming…

These are just a few of the big companies affected. Many other smaller companies are also saying they will have to either cut back employee hours or fire some of their employees. Other companies are closing plants in an attempt to save money.

Target has already announced the closing of several locations, including a store in Kissimmee, Florida. Kmart is another company that has announced its intention to close several stores.

These announcements come on the heels of two very grim days for the stock market. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial average fell 2.4%, which is the fifth worst single day drop in history. The S&P 500 also fell 2.37%. The markets continued to plummet on Wednesday. The Dow fell another 0.94%. And the S&P fell another 1.22%.

Investors cite concerns over Europe’s struggling economy and President Obama’s re-election. It is believed that Obama does not have a serious plan to regrow the economy or control the United State’s burgeoning debt.

 

Election Aftermath – I’ve Just Decided To Not Have Children

Shortly after the announcement was made that Ohio went to Obama, a friend tweeted this:

If I had to point to something that worries me most about our current economy and cultural climate, it would be the sentiment expressed in this tweet. I talk about value systems regularly, in every venue of conversation that I have available to me. I believe that the only things that will change the course this country is on are a dedicated effort to move our political and popular culture away from the ideas that spawned entitelment and dependency.

Tim is not alone in his reservation to bring children into the world. His decision is a rational and thoughtful one. But, it is one with devastating effects to our economy and value system. In 2011, the US birth rate hit a record low, and the economy was the most cited probable reason for the drop, according to a recent ABC article. Additionally, our labor force participation recently hit a 31 year low, and our current economy has nothing in place that promises a quick return to significantly higher rates. With the increase in retirees, the continuing easing of means testing to receive entitlement and disability benefits, and the steady decline in birth rates and employment, the number of people working to support these systems has reached levels that make the programs unsustainable by traditional funding.

Economy aside, the value system that made America a prosperous and charitable nation has all but vanished. Today’s children are assaulted from all sides with information and experiences that shape their world views and future parenting decisions. They are no longer taught that hard work means probable success. They are no longer taught that providing for your family is an unyielding responsibility. They are no longer taught thrift and savings to meet goals. Instant gratification and a safety net of epic proportions have all but removed failure and adversity from most children’s lives.

It is no easy suggestion that our entire culture needs to change and no easy task to see that change happen on a grand scale, but I cannot fathom that the US would again be the beacon of light and opportunity that it once was without a move away from instant gratification and entitlement mentalities. Parents, future parents, this falls on you. Make the time to parent, become aware of, and control, the influences in your children’s lives, and accept that the people your children become is largely your responsibility. You know, be the change.

To do these things, we have to have children. I do not suggest that you have children “for the greater good”, but I would hope that you don’t decide to not have them because of the greater bad. Tim is a friend of mine. It wasn’t his tweet that inspired this post, but the way my heart broke when I heard him say the same to me on the phone. He is the kind of friend who I would like to see become a parent, should he want to do so.

Economy relies on families, it should not destroy the potential of creating them.

The Day After…

Well, we lost.  Mitt Romney didn’t win comfortably.  BUT, Republicans maintained control of the House of Representatives.  In one of the most ignominious highlights of the night, the GOP lost two senate seats – increasing the Democratic majority by two.  The current makeup is 55 Democrats to 45 Republicans.  In a milestone for the ladies, 20% of the U.S. Senate will be represented by women.  However, the night ended a bit like 2004 in reverse.

While the notions of GOP turnout seemed assured, it was rarely monitored, and turnout for the youth (and voter turnout in general) was unexpectedly high.  To no one’s surprise, young voters broke for the president (60-36), but represented a larger share of the electorate than four years ago.  Romney’s lead amongst independents wasn’t enough to overcome the Latino vote, which he lost to Obama miserably 72%-23%.  Lastly, Romney wasn’t able to cut into the gender gap quite as effectively as he wanted to, with the president winning women, overall, by eleven points.  However, it’s with unmarried women that Romney had a fatal disadvantage with, as they broke for Obama 67% to 31%.

On states, betting on Pennsylvania proved to another catastrophic play.  We haven’t won the Keystone State in almost a quarter century, and it may be time to part company completely.  Concerning Wisconsin, the state may have swung right on recent elections, but perhaps the ‘fairness voters’ – voters who may not agree with Walker’s policies, but are appalled that unions would want to revoke an election result – turned out to vote for the president this time.  In Ohio and Virginia, Romney’s failure to execute the war on coal narrative sooner, and formulating a response to the Bain ads, contributed to his defeat.

Without a doubt, the Bain ads – the Obama campaign’s first official salvo in their ‘Kill Romney’ strategy –  released right after Mitt unofficially clinched the Republican nomination resonated with Buckeye residents, and shame on the Governor’s communications team, who were on the defensive for most of the election cycle.  In short, like with Goldwater in ’64, the Obama campaign was able to define Romney – before Romney could define himself.  It’s another costly misfire.

However, I truly feel that Mitt Romney ran a good campaign, and did the best he could’ve with what he had regarding resources.  It’s hard to be successful when you don’t have a Karl Rove, James Carville, or David Plouffe on your side.  It also hurt that he couldn’t run on health care, since Romneycare served as the blue print for one of the most egregious affronts to the constitution since the Alien and Sedition Acts of the Adams administration.

Yet, if you looked at the field from the beginning, It was either going to be Mitt Romney or Rick Perry fighting for the nomination.  Newt and Cain treated this serious event in American politics with the maturity of eight year olds at a lemonade stand – with the lemonade being books.  For many Americans, Michele Bachmann failed the threshold question of any presidential candidate, which is do I trust this person with nuclear weapons?  Disgraced former Pennsylvanian Senator Rick Santorum failed the conservative test, in my opinion, by voting for Medicare Part D, which added $ 7 trillion to the unfunded liability of the program. That’s 20% of the entire unfunded liability, which we now have to deal with before the fiscal cliff.  He voted for Sonia Sotomayor for circuit judge. Santo voted against National Right to Work, Food Stamp reform, a flat tax, and Medicaid reform.  He voted for internet taxes, the unionization of FedEx (twice), and No Child Left Behind.  He took that one for the team.

Rick Perry, my choice for president, flamed out in one of the most epic derailments we’ve probably seen in a long time.  Jon Huntsman was too moderate.  Ron Paul was well, Ron Paul. So, we were left with Mitt Romney.  Sometimes the pickings of the field aren’t too stellar, and we have to deal with that.

Again, I don’t blame Romney for the loss.  Yes, Obama’s record of economic pain, which he has inflicted without mercy on the American people, is long, but his political team, along with the media, were able to spin it just enough to trivialize the fallout.  As Ralph Reed, Founder and former Executive Director for the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said at CPAC 2012 last February – we’re about to face “the meanest, toughest, most vicious political team we’ve ever faced.”  He was right, and we paid dearly for it.

Given Obama’s record, and Republicans’ inability to defeat him, it begs the question if the GOP should have any business being in American politics.  Yes, they still do, but renovations need to be made.  We need to do better with women – cough nix the rape talk cough cough – hispanics, and younger voters.  The hispanic vote ruined the California GOP back in 1994 when Prop. 187 established a citizenship screening process and barred illegals from using state services was construed as ‘anti-immigrant.’  It was really protecting the territorial integrity of the United States, a core function of a nation in the international system, but that’s a different debate. Regardless, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and California Republicans have been in the bunker ever since.

We need to find ways to protect our sovereign soil, but in a way that doesn’t come off as nativist.  Hispanics are hard-workers, religious, and pro-traditional marriage.  Or, at least, that’s what was the conventional wisdom at the time.  Heather MacDonald posted on National Review yesterday that:

a March 2011 poll by Moore Information found that Republican economic policies were a stronger turn-off for Hispanic voters in California than Republican positions on illegal immigration. Twenty-nine percent of Hispanic voters were suspicious of the Republican party on class-warfare grounds — “it favors only the rich”; “Republicans are selfish and out for themselves”; “Republicans don’t represent the average person”– compared with 7 percent who objected to Republican immigration stances.

spoke last year with John Echeveste, founder of the oldest Latino marketing firm in southern California, about Hispanic politics. “What Republicans mean by ‘family values’ and what Hispanics mean are two completely different things,” he said. “We are a very compassionate people, we care about other people and understand that government has a role to play in helping people.”

So, despite Mitt’s shaky conservative credentials, without a doubt, he’s the most hard-lined presidential candidate on immigration we’ve had in the past ten years – and that didn’t hurt him with these voters.  Bain, on the other hand, probably didn’t help.

Nevertheless, I’m not saying we should be for amnesty.  We shouldn’t be.  Amnesty is unfair and unethical – as is the president’s Dream Act light, which requires illegals to bribe the government $465 from doing it’s job enforcing federal law.  However, what 2012 should show all conservatives is that our coalition, which to Paul Krugman’s chagrin truly represents the ‘Real America,’ is static.  It’s more rural, blue collar, and white.  That’s not enough to win elections.  We need to improve outreach with minorities and venture back into the cities, or places where the people are, to make these contests competitive again.  George W. Bush won 44% of the Latino vote in 2004, with increased majorities in the House and Senate.  It’s not impossible. But it’ll be very difficult trying to chip away at the government’s “role in helping people,” which in Democrat speak for getting these people so dependent on us as possible, so they’re a lock when Election Day arrives.

Concerning the ladies, we need to exert a little more discretion when we talk about rape.  While the Democratic National Convention could’ve been Abortion Fest 2012,the senate races in this cycle should have been more appropriately called Rape Fest.  It’s odd that we even have to mention this, and some blame the Tea Party for these mishaps. I don’t.  The Tea Party is the heart and soul of the Republican Party.  As George Will once noted, they’re the best thing to happen in American politics since the Goldwater insurgency.  Republicans would not be where they are now without the Tea Party, but that does not mean we should accept every one of their primary victors as serious candidates.

As Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel wrote in The Daily Caller yesterday:

The tea party believes the GOP establishment is ideologically corrupt. They’re right. But replacing the current leadership with obviously unqualified buffoons is no remedy. Republicans have lost at least five winnable Senate races in the last two cycles because they fielded candidates whose only real qualification was being anti-establishment. Many will argue the GOP can only win going forward with more liberal candidates. That’s not true. But the genuine conservatives they find will have to come with political skills, policy smarts and impressive resumes in order to get elected.

The sad truth is that even if the Republican Party did all this — sent its current leaders home and stopped nominating losers — it still wouldn’t be enough. The country is changing too fast. Most people have the sense that America is different demographically from what it was 20 years ago. But unless they’ve been reading the latest census data, they have no real idea. The changes are that profound. They’re also permanent and likely to accelerate. In order to remain competitive outside Utah, the GOP will have to win new voters, and soon.

That’s the Republican reformation plan, Stage B. They may get there. First they’ll have to tackle the basics, like finding fresh leadership and candidates who aren’t embarrassing.

That will take some serious vetting.  Furthermore, we’re Republicans.  We’re pro-life, and the American people know that about our movement.  In elections centered on the economy, you can easily pivot away from such issues.  Sadly, some of our fellow party members couldn’t help themselves, they shot their mouths off, and got trounced.  There is much intra-party work to do – and it starts now.

Meanwhile, a divided America exists and the government we elected is representative of that partisanship.  Michael Barone wrote also wrote in National Review that Americans on the right, and the others of the left, are no longer becoming culturally cohesive.

Ronald Reagan, speaking the language of the old, universal popular culture, could appeal to both Americas. His successors, not so much. Barack Obama, after an auspicious start, has failed to do so.

As a result, there are going to be many Americans profoundly unhappy with the result of this election, whichever way it goes. Those on the losing side will be especially angry with those whose candidate won.

Americans have faced this before. This has been a culturally diverse land from its colonial beginnings. The mid-20th-century cultural cohesiveness was the exception, not the rule.

We used to get along by leaving each other alone. The Founders established a limited government, neutral on religion, allowing states, localities, and voluntary associations to do much of society’s work. Even that didn’t always work: We had a Civil War.

An enlarged federal government didn’t divide mid-20th-century Americans, except on civil-rights issues. Otherwise, there was general agreement about the values government should foster.

Now the two Americas disagree, sharply. Government decisions enthuse one and enrage the other. The election may be over, but the two Americas are still not on speaking terms.

It’s sort of like this exchange between President Bartlet and Governor Ritchie.

Right now, Obama is in a good position to increases taxes, which will happen when Obamacare’s fully implemented in 2014, nominate SCOTUS appointments, which threaten to curtail our constitutional rights, and to continue this destructive surge in government spending that only shackles people to the will of the state through dependency.  It’s up to House Republicans to obstruct Democratic plans, and put forward a deluge of alternatives of their own. Granted, we won’t be able to filibuster Supreme Court appointments, but this president’s agenda, and that of the Democrats, is inherently dangerous to the socioeconomic fabric of the country and we must fight them all the way.  Concerning the fiscal cliff, maybe compromise can be reached.  Yet, we should also remember that compromise is how we got Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and the first round of federal stimulus under the Bush administration.  Policies that attributed to the near collapse of the conservative movement in this country.

I’m pessimistic that a deal will be reached.  This president’s ego would bust the marble in the Capitol dome – and he exuded poor presidential leadership as described in Bob Woodward’s new book The Price of Politics.  Yet, Mr. Will again reminds us that throughout the course of American history there is not a single thing that the American people wanted intensely and protractedly that they did not eventually get from the federal government.

Romney Leads Independent Voters In Virginia by Twelve

So, Romney is leading Indies by twelve in Virginia, and Obama’s lead amongst women isn’t enough, according to Ace.  Virginia is also reporting a heavy voter turnout.

More: CNN’s exits have it 49-49. This almost certainly means it’s in the bag for Team Red.

In addition, I saw secondhand that Obama’s advantage with women is just +5. Not enough.

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