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    Tuesday, March 30, 2010

    Juan Williams: Useful Idiot

    On tonight's Fox All Stars panel, Juan Williams tried to claim that AT&T, Caterpillar, et.al., are in some way whining about wanting a tax break by restating their earnings in light of the loss of the tax break they formerly received for providing prescription drug coverage to retirees.

    Fortunately, Charles Krauthammer called him on his lying (or stupidity), and correctly pointed out that the law requires companies to restate earnings on changes in health plans, which this clearly causes.

    Finally, Williams gets one thing right - companies will push their retirees, and probably their employees eventually, out of employer-sponsored plans, and onto the government-sponsored or approved plans.  For retirees, who will go first, it will be forced into Medicare, where they will pay more for their prescriptions.

    The good thing for a company at that point is they get to restate their earnings UP when they ditch all that prescription drug coverage.

    Thanks, Barack!

    Monday, March 29, 2010

    From Jim Geraghty at NRO: The Complete List of Obama Statement Expiration Dates

    So worth keeping, I will just post in its entirety:

    A Long Post: The Complete List of Obama Statement Expiration Dates -- By: Jim Geraghty:

    By popular demand, a comprehensive list of expired Obama statements...


    STATEMENT: “We've got a philosophical difference, which we've debated repeatedly, and that is that Senator Clinton believes the only way to achieve universal health care is to force everybody to purchase it. And my belief is, the reason that people don't have it is not because they don't want it but because they can't afford it.” Barack Obama, speaking at a Democratic presidential debate, February 21, 2008.

    EXPIRATION DATE: On March 23, 2010, Obama signed the individual mandate into law.


    STATEMENT: “These negotiations will be on C-SPAN, and so the public will be part of the conversation and will see the decisions that are being made.” January 20, 2008, and seven other times.

    EXPIRATION DATE: Throughout the summer, fall, and winter of 2009 and 2010; when John McCain asked about it during the health care summit February 26, Obama dismissed the issue by declaring, “the campaign is over, John.”


    STATEMENT: “No family making less than $250,000 will see any form of tax increase.” (multiple times on the campaign trail)

    EXPIRATION DATE: Broken multiple times, including the raised taxes on tobacco, a new tax on indoor tanning salons, but most prominently on February 11, 2010: “President Barack Obama said he is “agnostic” about raising taxes on households making less than $250,000 as part of a broad effort to rein in the budget deficit.”


    STATEMENT: Then-Senator Obama declared that a recess appointment is “damaged goods” and has “less credibility” than a normal appointment. August 25, 2005.

    EXPIRATION DATE: March 27, 2010: “If, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis.”


    STATEMENT: “We need tougher border security, and a renewed focus on busting up gangs and traffickers crossing our border. . . . That begins at home, with comprehensive immigration reform. That means securing our border and passing tough employer enforcement laws.” then-candidate Obama, discussing the need for border security, speaking in Miami on May 23, 2008:

    EXPIRATION DATE: March 17, 2010: The Obama administration halted new work on a 'virtual fence' on the U.S.-Mexican border, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Tuesday, diverting $50 million in planned economic stimulus funds for the project to other purposes.


    STATEMENT: Executive Order stating, 'The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order.' January 22, 2009.

    EXPIRATION DATE: November 19, 2010: 'Guantánamo, we had a specific deadline that was missed.'


    STATEMENT: “Somebody like Khalid Sheik Mohammad is gonna get basically, a full military trial with all the bells and whistles.” September 27, 2006

    EXPIRATION DATE: Ongoing. “President Obama is planning to insert himself into the debate about where to try the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, three administration officials said Thursday, signaling a recognition that the administration had mishandled the process and triggered a political backlash. Obama initially had asked Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to choose the site of the trial in an effort to maintain an independent Justice Department. But the White House has been taken aback by the intense criticism from political opponents and local officials of Holder's decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian courtroom in New York.”


    STATEMENT: “We will launch a sweeping effort to root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending in our government, and every American will be able to see how and where we spend taxpayer dollars by going to a new website called recovery.gov.” - President Obama, January 28, 2009

    EXPIRATION DATE: “More than two months after some of the funds were released, [Recovery.gov] offers little detail on where the money is going… The government [spent] $84 million on a website that doesn't have a search function, when its purpose is to ‘root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending in our government.’” April 2, 2009

    Eighteen from his first 100 days:

    1. 'As President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.'

    2. 'I will make sure that we renegotiate [NAFTA].'

    3. Opposed a Colombian Free Trade Agreement because advocates ignore that 'labor leaders have been targeted for assassination on a fairly consistent basis.'

    4. 'Now, what I’ve done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.'

    5. 'If we see money being misspent, we're going to put a stop to it, and we will call it out and we will publicize it.'

    6. 'Yesterday, Jim, the head of Caterpillar, said that if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off.'

    7. 'I want to go line by line through every item in the Federal budget and eliminate programs that don't work, and make sure that those that do work work better and cheaper.'

    8. '[My plan] will not help speculators who took risky bets on a rising market and bought homes not to live in but to sell.'

    9. 'Instead of allowing lobbyists to slip big corporate tax breaks into bills during the dead of night, we will make sure every single tax break and earmark is available to every American online.'

    10. 'We can no longer accept a process that doles out earmarks based on a member of Congress's seniority, rather than the merit of the project.'

    11. 'If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.'

    12. 'Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe the United States has to be frank with the Chinese about such failings and will press them to respect human rights.'

    13. 'We must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.'

    14. 'Lobbyists won’t work in my White House!'

    15. 'The real gamble in this election is playing the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expecting a different result.'

    16. 'I'll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we'll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills.'

    17. 'Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.' Obama is 1-for-11 on this promise so far.

    18. A special one on the 100th day, 'the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing I'd do.'

    And a list from of promises that expired during the campaign:

    Monday, November 03, 2008


    STATEMENT: “Based on the conversations we’ve had internally as well as external reports, we believe that you can get one to two brigades out a month. At that pace, the forces would be out in approximately 16 months from the time that we began. That would be the time frame that I would be setting up,” Obama to the New York Times, November 1, 2007

    EXPIRATION DATE: March 7, 2008: Obama foreign policy adviser Samantha Power, to the BBC: “You can’t make a commitment in whatever month we’re in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are gonna be like in Jan. 2009. We can’t even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troop pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US senator.”

    Also: July 3, 2008: 'My 16-month timeline, if you examine everything I've said, was always premised on making sure our troops were safe,' Obama told reporters as his campaign plane landed in North Dakota. 'And my guiding approach continues to be that we've got to make sure that our troops are safe, and that Iraq is stable. And I'm going to continue to gather information to find out whether those conditions still hold.'

    STATEMENT: On June 14, Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice called the RNC’s argument that Obama needed to go to Iraq to get a firsthand look 'complete garbage.'

    EXPIRATION DATE: On June 16, Obama announced he would go to Iraq and Afghanistan “so he can see first hand the progress of the wars he would inherit if he's elected president.”


    STATEMENT: May 16, 2008: 'If John McCain wants to meet me, anywhere, anytime to have a debate about our respective policies in Iraq, Iran, the Middle East or around the world that is a conversation I’m happy to have.'

    EXPIRATION DATE: June 13, 2008: Obama campaign manager David Plouffe: “Barack Obama offered to meet John McCain at five joint appearances between now and Election Day—the three traditional debates plus a joint town hall on the economy in July [on the Fourth of July] and an in-depth debate on foreign policy in August.”


    STATEMENT: “We can, then, more effectively deal with what I consider to be one of the greatest threats to the United States, to Israel, and world peace, and that is Iran,” Obama speaking to American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Chicago, March 5, 2007

    EXPIRATION DATE: “Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny...They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us.” - May 20, 2008

    STATEMENT: Question at the YouTube debate, as the video depicted leaders of the countries, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: 'Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?.....'

    'I would,' Obama answered. July 27, 2007

    EXPIRATION DATE: May 10, 2008: Susan E. Rice, a former State Department and National Security Council official who is a foreign policy adviser to the Democratic candidate: “But nobody said he would initiate contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and advance work.”


    STATEMENT: 'I could no more disown Jeremiah Wright than I could disown my own grandmother.'

    —Barack Obama, March 18, 2008

    EXPIRATION DATE: on April 28, 2008, cut all ties to Wright, declaring, “based on his remarks yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I thought.”

    STATEMENT: Obama said that his church, “Trinity United 'embodies the black community in its entirety' and that his church was being caricatured on March 18, 2008.

    EXPIRATION DATE: On May 31, 2008, Obama resigned his membership at Trinity United Church.


    STATEMENT: Criticism of running mate vetter Jim Johnson loan from Countrywide was 'a game' and that his vice-presidential vetting team “aren’t folks who are working for me.” June 10, 2008

    EXPIRATION DATE: June 11, 2008, when Obama accepted Johnson's resignation.


    STATEMENT: Obama spokesman Bill Burton on October 24, 2007: “To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”

    EXPIRATION DATE: June 20, 2008: “Given the legitimate threats we face, providing effective intelligence collection tools with appropriate safeguards is too important to delay. So I support the compromise, but do so with a firm pledge that as president, I will carefully monitor the program.”


    STATEMENT: “I am not a nuclear energy proponent.” Barack Obama, December 30, 2007

    EXPIRATION DATE: The above statement actually was the expiration date for his previous position, “I actually think we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix,” expressed on July 23, 2007; the above statement expired when he told Democratic governors he thought it is “worth investigating its further development” on June 20, 2008.


    STATEMENT: Tim Russert:: Senator Obama . . . Simple question: Will you, as president, say to Canada and Mexico, 'This has not worked for us; we are out'?

    Obama: “I will make sure that we renegotiate, in the same way that Senator Clinton talked about. And I think actually Senator Clinton's answer on this one is right. I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage to ensure that we actually get labor and environmental standards that are enforced. And that is not what has been happening so far.” February 23, 2008

    EXPIRATION DATE: June 18, 2008, Fortune magazine: “Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA 'devastating' and 'a big mistake,' despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.

    Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? 'Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don't exempt myself,' he answered.

    'I'm not a big believer in doing things unilaterally,' Obama said. 'I'm a big believer in opening up a dialogue and figuring out how we can make this work for all people.'


    STATEMENT: “If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.” Also, a Common Cause questionnaire dated November 27, 2007, asked “If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?”, Obama checked, “Yes.”

    EXPIRATION DATE: June 19, 2008: Obama announced he would not participate in the presidential public financing system.


    STATEMENT: “What I’ve said is, at the point where I'm the nominee, at the point where it's appropriate, I will sit down with John McCain and make sure that we have a system that works for everybody.”Obama to Tim Russert, Febuary 27.

    EXPIRATION DATE: When Obama announced his decision to break his public financing pledge June 19, no meeting between the Democratic nominee and McCain had occurred.


    STATEMENT: “I probably would not have supported the federal legislation [to overhaul welfare], because I think it had some problems.' Obama on the floor of the Illinois Senate, May 31, 1997

    EXPIRATION DATE: April 11, 2008: Asked if he would have vetoed the 1996 law, Mr. Obama said, “I won’t second guess President Clinton for signing” it. Obama to the New York Times.


    STATEMENT: 'Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as president. He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage.” - campaign spokesman, May 5, 2008

    EXPIRATION DATE: June 29, 2008: “I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states… Finally, I want to congratulate all of you who have shown your love for each other by getting married these last few weeks.” — letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club


    STATEMENT: 'Now, I don't think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term.' - Interview with Relevant magazine, July 1, 2008

    EXPIRATION DATE: July 5, 2008: “My only point is that in an area like partial-birth abortion having a mental, having a health exception can be defined rigorously. It can be defined through physical health, It can be defined by serious clinical mental-health diseases.” statement to reporters.


    STATEMENT: 'Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.' — speech before AIPAC, June 4, 2008

    EXPIRATION DATE: June 6, 2008: 'Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties' as part of 'an agreement that they both can live with.' - an Obama adviser clarifying his remarks to the Jerusalem Post.

    Sunday, March 28, 2010

    Another Obamacare Tax Increase

    AT&T and other companies (Valero, Caterpillar, more), announced this week a $1B accounting charge due to changes in tax law under Obamacare.

    The change is due to the stripping away of a tax deduction that offered credits for the companies' providing prescription drug coverage to retirees and employees.  Since this policy will now cost these companies significant money (none more than AT&T), the companies need to take charges against this now, and will likely stop providing these benefits to their retirees and employees, and/or push them to Medicare.

    In AT&T's case, the pure size of this charge reflects the scope and scale of AT&T's retired workforce.  With over 300,000 active workers, and the pension and medical care obligations of hundreds of thousands of retirees, the dollars are staggering for AT&T.

    I know some AT&T employees, and I hope they get to keep their jobs and don't lose what is a pretty generous benefits package.

    Update:  Mark Steyn weighs in!

    Thanks Barack.

    Friday, March 26, 2010

    Benefits or just higher premiums

    The Democrats live in an alternate universe where you can get unlimited benefits without any significant costs. That's why they ignore or attempt to minimize any discussions of the costs of the benefits you might receive from legislation they pass, for example, health care "reform."

    Anyway, they are touting 10 immediate benefits from the recently pass crap bag that is Obamacare.
    Avik Roy discusses whether these are actually benefits, here. Most of these require increases in revenue (i.e. taxes) or rates (i.e. YOUR premiums).

    What's in the Bill? Taxes go up on Over the counter meds

    Obama promises that the more we learn about the bill, the more we will like it.
    One of the things in the bill is the end of being able to pay for many over the counter (OTC) medicines using pre-tax dollars via a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flex Spendign Account (FSA).
    This amounts to a tax increase equivalent to your state and federal income tax brackets, so, anywhere from 10% to 40% (or more) for some people.
    While I actually just learned about this in 2010 (unfortunately, or I would have added more money to my FSA over the last few years), it is too bad for those who need a lot of meds that were formerly prescription only (allergy meds and many others have gone OTC over the last few years).
    This is a fine example of the kinds of behavior we don't want to encourage in "bending the cost curve" as we chase tax dollars.  For some people, faced with a large tax increase on an OTC med, they will choose instead to get a prescription for a likely more expensive drug, but one that gets some insurance coverage and that they can use their HSA/FSA to pay out of.  That doesn't bend the health care cost curve, but it brings some cash to the government.
    As we learn more great stuff about this bill, I'll share.

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    Repeal, Replace with something that'll work and not cost zillions of $

    As if you didn't know Obama's goal was a single payer, nationalized health care system, here was an exchaneg with a heckler today, as reported by AP:

    Challenged by a young man in the audience who shouted several times, "What about the public option," a liberal-backed proposal for the creation of a government-sponsored plan to compete with private insurers, Obama said: "We couldn't get it through Congress."
    "This legislation is not perfect, as you just heard," the president said. "But what this is, is a historic step to enshrine the principle that everybody gets health care coverage in this country, every single person."
    So, a first "step" to the "perfect" legislation.

    The real problem with Obamacare isn't just the bad policy items within it, but the over-regulation of the medical insurance industry and it's the creation of a new entitlement that will be difficult to repeal, and nearly impossible to reform.  The best chance to fix this is immediately, before it has sunk its tentacles into the middle class, and we get really rolling on that long march to permanent second rate nation status.

    Mark Steyn on Toasters

    If you don't read Mark Steyn (you can find his syndicated columns on the internet), you should.


    In this week's National Review (print edition), Steyn pens a typically funny and despairing at the same time, picture of America, circa, 2020 or so… against the backdrop of the overregulation that has brought us, in California, the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings, and Thermal Insulation.  And, yes, it's real.


    As Steyn says, "By the time you've got a Bureau of Home Furnishings, you're getting awful near the limit."  I also like his lampooning the liberal rant to "stay out of our bedrooms" as they regulate the size, type, and cost of the bed you can perform those immoral and illegal acts on.


    It's so real, that as part of Governor Arnold's cost cutting, they are closed 3 Friday's a month, saving Californian's millions of dollars in unenforced regulations and public servant salaries!  Just imagine what California could save if they were closed the other 20 or so days of the month.


    Anyway, you probably can't read all of Steyn's gems, but I'll share a few:


    ·         Back in January, Steyn noted that "Europe's somewhat agreeable decline had been cushioned by America, and that the problem with American decline is that this time round there's no rising power volunteering to do the cushioning.  Because of the American security blanket, countries like Germany were able to transfer military spending to social programs.  Lacking that option for Obamacare, Democrats propose to 'control costs' by refusing to acknowledge them: Medicare reimbursement levels will be 'capped,' which means an ever greater number of doctors will cease to perform services for which they are not properly renumerated."

    ·         "The Age of Entitlement Insolvency will hit sooner, rather than later, and pimply burger flippers will rebel or flee rather than prop up entire Florida retirement communities.  Faced with a choice between unsustainable entitlements and an armed forces of global reach, the United States will, as Europe did, choose the former, and toss the savings into social spending.  That will make for a more vulnerable America that will wind up having to fight them over here, because we no longer can fight them over there."

    ·         "From the state-licensed, SEIU-staffed bake sale to Armageddon – in nothing flat."

    ·         "We have regulated our bed, and we will have to lie in it."


    As always, pure genius.


    Saturday, March 20, 2010

    March. Madness.

    Well, it's NCAA tourney time, and although I failed to fill out a bracket, it's just as much fun watching games and seeing upsets.

    Today Northern Iowa beat everyone's favorite, Kansas.  Let's hope tomorrow's health care vote has as much success as the Big O's NCAA bracket (it's not looking too good now).

    The Big East has turned into the Big Easy, with Villanova, Georgetown, Marquette, and Notre Dame all going down.  Of course, with about the entire conference in the tourney, the Big East has plenty of chances remaining.  The ACC has been just ok, 3 of the 4 teams advanced to the second round, and Wake is stinking it up against the best team remaining (Kentucky) in the tournament.  My alma mater, Georgia Tech, played one their best games of the year to nudge Oklahoma State, and has to face Ohio State (the best 2 seed) next.  If OSU gets past Tech, it should be smooth sailing for them to the final four. Already a ten seed, St. Mary's (knocked off Villanova), and an 11 seed (Washington) have advanced to the sweet sixteen.  Cornell (12), Missouri (10) and GT (10) remain high seeds with a chance to advance.  I give Cornell the best chance, with Tech having an outside shot.  I think West Virginia will be too much for Mizzou.

    So, a pretty good tournament so far.  Of these high seeds, I give St. Mary's the best chance to make it to the final four.  They have to get past Baylor, and then the top half of that bracket, while intact, is the weakest of the four, with Duke an (undeserving?) one seed.

    Enjoy the games!

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Mr. Obama - A Poem

    My 17 year old son's a budding musician who wants to be featured on this blog.  He had to write a poem for school, so he settled on political commentary.

    To wit:

    Oh, Mr. Obama, I dislike you so
    Your taxes and policies taking my dough
    You closed down the jail that imprisoned my foes
    Oh, Mister Obama, I dislike you so.

    Hey Mister Obama, you're not very cool
    I don't like your idea of big government rule
    The people who voted for you must be fools
    Hey, Mister Obama, you're not very cool.

    This Mister Obama, we can't even bear
    It's getting so bad, so far from repair
    Let's pray they don't pass this stupid health care
    This Mister Obama, we can't even bear...

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    Bam Pulling out all the bribes (oops, stops) to pass Obamacare

    The time has come for Obama to get tough and get his signature piece of legislation passed.  Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts at the absolute 11th hour, and his pledge to be the 41st (and filibuster sustaining) vote against it helped get him elected even in far-left Massachusetts.

    Yet, rather than read this in a Clinton-like manner, as an indictment against the scale of the growth of government (bailouts, buyouts, pork, stimulus) and the massive regulation of 1/6 of the economy, and tack to the center, Obama is displaying his true colors, which is to strike as the iron cools and get his signature piece of legislation, and democrats Holy Grail of a massive new middle-class entitlement, passed.

    For years, Democrats have considered FDR their model of the successful Dem president, yet, it was WW2 that cemented FDR's greatness, as most of the New Deal was an abject failure by 1939.  Yet, they continued to press on with social policies that would continue to enslave us and march us down the path to European-style socialism (indeed, the model for most Leftists is Fascists Italy).  LBJ used the Great Society programs to create Medicare and Medicaid which has led to a government takeover of 50% of the health care industry.  Unlike FDR, who needed a war to save the country economically (and his place in history), LBJ needed social change to mask his own ineptness in fighting a war in Vietnam.

    So, these two put into place most of the social programs that are threatening our financial stability today (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid), and Republican presidents and Republicans aided and abetted them.  So, we're not to blame if we decide that Medicare and Medicaid need more customers, and that the rest of the health care industry needs some over regulation from a government already incapable of managing any part of the economy.  We asked for it.

    But, despite the fact that we deserve what we're going to get, we still don't really want it. And, despite the fact that we really don't want this POS legislation known as Obamacare, the Dems want to force feed it to us, for our own good.  Kind of like taking a bitter pill. Except, in this case, the patient knows it is going to be very hard to swallow, will probably lead to nausea down the road, and is going to resist with every fiber.

    In these circumstances, how do you get it passed?

    Well, if you're from Chicago, you used old fashioned arm twisting and outright graft.

    Rep. Jim Matheson (a rare Utah Dem) voted no the first time.  So, Obama has given his brother a lifetime seat on a federal bench.  Wonder if Rep. Matheson will have the courage of his convictions, or loyalty to his brother and the man who hooked him up for life?

    Another, Rep. Eric Massa, a D from NY and a Navy veteran, is being forced out of office for using "salty language" and allegedly sexually harassing a male staffer.  Maybe there's some truth to this, but, interesting the timing, replacing a "no" vote at the last minute.  In a Congress where Charlie Rangel holds on to power until basically the smoking gun evidence is in front of the Ethics Committee, some guy who calls a staffer a name is forced to resign.  What do you want to bet if Rangel had been a no vote, the Ethics Committee would have worked a hell of a lot faster.

    Another "Yes" vote, Alan Mollohan (D, WV), just had a Justice Department investigation into his shady deals where he was earmarking to non-profits he was working real estate deals for, dismissed by Eric Holder's DoJ.


    So, the Dems have eliminated one vote against, perhaps switched one to Yes, and saved one.

    Updated: Corrected Mollohan to WV.

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Krugman Agrees with Senator Bunning

    With a h/t to NRO.

    Paul Krugman continues to contradict himself.

    James Taranto writes:
    Former Enron adviser Paul Krugman takes note in his New York Times column of what he calls 'the incredible gap that has opened up between the parties':

    Today, Democrats and Republicans live in different universes, both intellectually and morally.
    'What Democrats believe,' he says 'is what textbook economics says':
    But that's not how Republicans see it. Here's what Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, had to say when defending Mr. Bunning's position (although not joining his blockade): unemployment relief 'doesn't create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.'
    Krugman scoffs: 'To me, that's a bizarre point of view--but then, I don't live in Mr. Kyl's universe.'
    What does textbook economics have to say about this question? Here is a passage from a textbook called 'Macroeconomics':
    Public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect. . . . In other countries, particularly in Europe, benefits are more generous and last longer. The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker's incentive to quickly find a new job. Generous unemployment benefits in some European countries are widely believed to be one of the main causes of 'Eurosclerosis,' the persistent high unemployment that affects a number of European countries.
    So it turns out that what Krugman calls Sen. Kyl's 'bizarre point of view' is, in fact, textbook economics. The authors of that textbook are Paul Krugman and Robin Wells. Miss Wells is also known as Mrs. Paul Krugman.


    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Random News Comments...Good economic news, Senator Bunning, belated comments on Health Care Summit

    Economy Gaining Strength
    How will Obama reconcile the reports today that the economy is showing some strength?

    For weeks now, he has been telling us that passing health care reform is imperative if we are to fix this economy and return the nation to a strong financial footing and that it must occur now! Why a bill that doesn't take effect for 4 years needs to pass now! is beyond me, but, hey, the Oracle has spoken.

    Anyway, today, I predict that Obama and his media sycophants will be trumpeting these reports and claiming that the stimulus has turned things around.  Despite the rise in unemployment that is going to occur, they'll say that consumer spending is going up, factory orders are up, and that increases in unemployment is only due to bad weather.  Encouraging signs in the economy are good news for all of us.  Housing remains a serious problem, as home sales continue to lag.

    If that's so, then what's the case for the health care reform bill?

    Senator Bunning Says "No"
    Senator Jim Bunning said "no" this week to increasing the deficit by $10B to extend unemployment benefits yet again.  Despite many economists who say that extending these benefits tends to increase long-term unemployment, Democrats and Republicans continually extend these since it's politically popular.  In today's USA Today, Senator Bunning says
    "If the Senate cannot find $10 billion to pay for a measure we all support, we will never pay for anything."
    He's right, and he's also a fine example of why we need term limits.  If we had more senators who didn't always have to suffer a political price (Senator Bunning is retiring) for requiring common sense in passing legislation, we might have legislation that is passed less on its ability not to be demogogued and more on its actual usefulness.  And, we might also have a Congress who obeys its own rules.  So, despite the fact that Senator Bunning is a hypocrite on this particular issue (he has previously  of course voted for these kinds of things), he is still right, and he's at least amongst Republicans, figuring out the lessons of the tea-party movement.

    Obama at the Health Care Summit
    It's stale now, but, the only thing to comment on about Obama at the health care summit is Obama himself. It is now obvious that, as expected, the summit was a charade intended to give the impression that there was an attempt made at bipartisanship, and that was what the American people wanted, and that with this, the Democrats now have the political cover to ram the current bill through under reconciliation.  The reality is that ramming the bill through misreads Scott Brown's victory and makes me wonder what the administration is thinking.

    Anyway, the Republicans had to play, and they did a decent job presenting their side and putting the lie to the argument that there are no other ideas.  Paul Ryan and Lamar! Alexander stood out and the GOP came out about as good as they could.

    But, my opinion of Obama really sank (as if it could).

    Having been associated with the Navy for 20+ years, spending most of the rest of my life in corporate America, and a Master's Degree in management, I have some thoughts on Obama's leadership/management of the summit.

    First, I liked that Obama asserted that he was President, therefore, he got the microphone more.  Good point.

    But, should Obama have even been seated at the table at all?  No.  I realize that the White House staged this, and wanted Obama there to give the air of bipartisanship, but I also think this was a mistake.  For me, the president should have kicked off the session, given his goals, stated unequivocally that he expected both sides to present their thoughts and opinions, and left it to someone else to chair the session.  He could have said he was going to spend the rest of the time listening, or left (to do this, he would have, politically, have set that as the expectation).  I think his staying was a mistake, because like all things Obama, this becomes all about him.  Even if he had said he was going to listen, he would still have dominated the time.  So, that would have been a dangerous strategy with the narcissist-in-chief.

    Anyway, if Obama is shooting to be a highly-paid PWC consultant, I guess this was a decent performance.  He kept things moving, he kept the side that was paying him in control and let them dominate the discussion, he solidified his own bona-fides with his constituencies (which is what all consultants want to do), and he let the opposition speak just enough to let them feel decent about themselves and, more importantly, to let the paying customers feel good, and to let the consultant (Obama) feel great about the job he has done.  Now, just like a good consultant, the people paying for his services can ram through what they wanted to do anyway, and can say in their own good conscience that they listened to the other side, albeit at the 11th hour.

    But, that's how these things work in the corporate world, too, in many situations.  That's not how they work in companies that seriously want to examine what they do and make changes, but, that's how they work in a lot where the management really doesn't care what anyone else thinks.

    So, Obama has a future as a management consultant.

    As a leader, not so much.