Ya’ Think?


Commenters on the Left are now beginning to worry that the rollout of Obamacare has been and will continue to be so inept that too many of the suckers public will become convinced it is was a scam all along or that the wonks are technical dilettantes rather than competent innovators or something else “bad.” This, they say, will allow the Right to run successfully against Progressivism as personified in Obama for a generation.

They may have a point. When I was a kid back in the ’50s, I remember Democrats who were still going on about Hoover.

Obamacare is going to be an expensive educational experience.

Let it burn.

Perception and Reality


Peggy Noonan has a piece over at WSJ that describes how disastrous a victory Obamacare is for the President. Not only are many Americans finding that they can’t keep their old heath plans that they liked, the new plans are often unaffordable. And many are discovering that the politically well-connected are being given special exemptions.

It’s as if it’s 1937 and they launched Social Security, only rich coupon-clippers on Park Avenue immediately started getting small monthly checks, and 67-year-old dust bowlers in tarpaper shacks started getting monthly bills.

Read the whole thing.

How Much Government Can We Afford?


The Treasury reports that for the Fiscal Year that ended on 30 September the U. S. Government had revenues of 2.77 trillion dollars. The deficit for the same period was around 680 billion bucks.

How much government could we have bought with that money without going into the red?

According to figures posted at the Tax Policy Center website, 2.77 trillion dollars would have covered all federal spending in FY 2007 (corrected for inflation) with a surplus of around 40 billion dollars.

I don’t know about you, but I felt like I had more government than I really needed in 2007.

As Obamacare Slowly Self-Destructs …


Roger Simon has a piece at PJ Media pointing out the fatal flaw in Obamacare. It’s a lousy financial deal for the very people who must buy into it if it is to survive. Why wouldn’t a healthy young person with a moderate income decide to pay the 1% income tax rather than buy a sucker bet insurance policy?

With only a small penalty for abstaining, the numbers for signing up not only don’t add up — they’re absurd. Here’s one of the supposedly attractive deals: “One option available only to people under 30 is a so-called catastrophic policy that kicks in after a $6,350 annual deductible. In Monroe County, you can buy that policy on the New York State of Health exchange for as low as $131 a month for single coverage.”

$1500 bucks for a $6,000+ deductible policy or a few hundred bucks more in income tax? Is that a trick question?

Let it burn.

If the Shutdown Comes, …


… I will be affected. I was planning to attend an System Engineering Seminar about the James Webb Space Telescope project at Goddard Space Flight Center tomorrow, but it will be cancelled as a non-essential activity if the government shuts down.

During my years at Goddard, I never worked on JWST. I’m hoping to learn more about the program in order to do some writing about its progress.

Credit Where Credit’s Due


Marc Thiessen has a piece over at WaPo about federal government spending. (H/T, VodkaPundit) For the first time in decades, certainly the first time in my memory, the federal government’s spending will decrease. In 2010, the feds spend $3.457 trillion. Spending for this fiscal year should come in at $3.455 trillion. A couple of billion out of 3+ trillion may not seem like much, but as Senator Dirksen once said, “A billion here and a billion there, and soon you’re talking real money.” Actually, when you figure in inflation, that’s about a 5 % decrease in spending.

However, don’t be too quick to credit the President. He’s fought for ever more spending. The House GOP probably should get most of the credit because of the Budget Control Act.

You know, we could have balanced the budget this year. The actual revenue to the government would have allowed us to pay the interest on the debt and fund every agency at about 94 % of FY 2003 levels accounting for inflation. Most of us could have gotten by on 94 % of our 2003 income. Why couldn’t the government? Sure, some adjustments would have to be made, but couldn’t you gotten by with only 6 % decrease in the government you had in 2003?

It’s For the Children


David French reports at Patheos that the IRS has been targeting families who adopt children for audits.

Sixty-nine percent of all adoption credit claims during the 2012 filing season were selected for audit.

Congress created the tax incentives for adoption in order to make it possible for more families to be able to afford the process. The IRS, an organization that has all the appearance of corruption, needs to be abolished and replaced.

It’s Not Just Not-For-Profits


The tax gatherers and their facilitators among our betters in the Congress are bent out of shape because for-profit entities such as Apple don’t voluntarily pay more taxes than they owe under the tax code. Charles C. W. Cooke explains their reasoning thus:

Along with “loophole,” “gimmick” is the voracious Left’s newest way of describing “compliance with our rules.”

BTW, Apple is the largest single tax payer to the U. S. Treasury, paying around $16,000,000 per day. The government manages to spend its daily collection from Apple by 12:03 am.

These are the folks who want to run your health care.

Rush, NYT, and Advertisers


Dan Riehl has a post up looking at the nonsense being floated by some on the left forecasting the demise of right wing talk radio. One reason cited by those hopeful lefties is that Rush Limbaugh might change syndicators. They note that Cumulus, the company that syndicates his show, is losing money, and their spin is that the Rush v. Sandra Fluke tiff spooked too many advertisers. The possibility that Cumulus might have management problems is ignored.

So while drinking my second cup of coffee this morning, I pondered this thought—if it’s only right wing media that’s seeing a slow down in ad revenue during a funky economy, why did the New York Times see its ad sales drop 11 percent and earning fall over 90 percent during the first quarter this year?

GE Capital and the M134


It’s reported that GE Capital is quietly getting out of the business of providing financing for gun stores.

Interesting.

By the way, here’s a video of a GE product in action.

That’s an M134 minigun. 7.62 mm NATO at 3,000 rounds per minute. My personal favorite door gun for a Huey.

UPDATE—The Navy nomenclature for the M134 is Mark 25 Mod 0, and the Air Force designation is GAU-2/A.

Fauxcahontas and Fuzzy Math


Prof. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has been following the economic nonsense concerning Senator Elizabeth Warren’s claim that the minimum wage should be $22 an hour.

Let’s do some math.

There are roughy 135 million workers in the U. S. 22 bucks an hour works out to around $45,000 year, which would give a total U. S. payroll of a bit more than $6 trillion. That’s just about equal to the total of all wages and salaries paid in the country last year. In other words, in a struggling economy business would have to drastically reduce their unskilled minimum wage employment in order to have money left over to pay their skilled employees. One consequence of increasing the minimum wage is to outlaw jobs for workers with lower skills, increasing unemployment and slowing economic growth.

Euphemistic Lying


Or lying by euphemism. Stacy McCain calls out the President and his flacks in the press for the use of the term “new revenues.”

A business can generate “new revenues” by expanding sales. A government doesn’t have that opportunity, and it won’t find “new revenues” some magical, super-secret hiding place. They’re taxed out of our wallets.

In his essay, Politics and the English Language, George Orwell wrote that

one ought to recognise that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end.

He wrote that in 1946, but it’s also true today. Indeed, the time has come when we need to stop allowing the use of nonsense terms in our government’s financial planning. Not collecting a tax is not an “expenditure.” Spending more this year than last is not a cut just because you were planning an even larger increase. Etc.

Actually, there is a way that government can get new revenues.  Over the long haul since WWII, the federal government has been able to take in about 19% of GDP as taxes. That’s been true regardless of how high or low the tax rates have been. When government gets out of the way of the economy so that it can grow, that 19% share grows with increasing GDP.

It’s the Spending, Stupid


The federal government expects to take in about $2,900,000,000,000 in revenue this coming year. The interest due on the debt during that time will be roughly $246,000,000,000. That leaves around $2,654,000,000,000 to spend without adding a dime to the national debt.

To give you an idea of how much federal government that money would buy, consider that is 96% of what the government spent in FY2003 (corrected for inflation).

Could you get by with 4% less federal government than you had 10 years ago?

UPDATE–I could get by with 100% less TSA.

Expect the Unexpected


Stacy McCain has a post up about the negative economic growth reported for the last quarter of 2012. He wonders how the Main Stream Media will spin their reporting. I’ll bet they will claim that they were drinking heavily while celebrating the election results and blame Busch.

Mr. McCain’s post is entitled Obamanomics Fails–Unexpectedly! in a riff on the Main Stream Media’s continuing disbelief that The Lightworker is unable to defy the Laws of Economics.

Folks, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Expect the “unexpected.”

UPDATE–For the past year, I’ve expected the economy to begin contracting if Barack Obama were reelected. Business that were putting off investing in expansion in hope of a Romney victory are now being joined by joined by other firms facing the costs of Obamacare and four more years of over-the-top regulation and irresponsible fiscal policy. More people are going Galt.

The next four years are going to be tough brutal.

You Say That As If It Were a Bad Thing


The New York Times has an editorial up whining about the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruling that presidential recess appointments have to be made during a period when the Senate is actually in recess. You see, the problem with following the requirements of Article II, Section 2 of the Constitutions is that to do so would invalidate the appointments that Barack Obama made to the National Labor Relations Board and negate all the decision rendered by the NLRB for the past year. It would also bring the appointment of Richard Corday as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the ton or so of regulations that agency has promulgated into question.

So what’s wrong with that?

Another Unfair Argument …


… using math. Patterico shows how the President’s 2013 budget gets to be over $1,000,000,000,000 in the red. He says that when he tries to explain the budget to Democrats they don’t seem to see what the problem is.

And they want us to believe that they are the reality-based community.

It doesn’t matter how many times they send me to Room 101, I still believe that 2+2=4.

The Mark Twain Solution


20130109-073106.jpgIt was several years ago that I first heard the suggestion that the debt could be monetized by minting platinum coins with huge face value, a trillion dollars, for example. The idea has reappeared recently as a possible response to the debt ceiling.

I wonder if those making the suggestion are basing their wishful thinking on a certain story by Mark Twain.