Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Obama Economics, Part 2

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner testified to the House Budget Committee last Thursday that the Obama Administration had no answer to the nation's long-term budget problem. The article I saw that reported this little nugget also showed a White House chart that demonstrates that Obama and White House statements -- that Obama's budget bends the debt curve over -- are false. White House statements disproven by a White House chart.

Committee Chair Paul Ryan had a similar chart that showed US debt passing 900% of GDP by about 2080.

Geithner took some offense, producing the following exchange.

GEITHNER: You could have taken [the chart] out [to the year] 3000 or to 4000. [Laughs]

RYAN: Yeah, right. We cut it off at the end of the century because the economy, according to the CBO, shuts down in 2027 on this path.

It's really looking like Barack Obama and his Administration are actively trying to destroy this country.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Obama Economics

The version of economics being pushed by President Barack Obama has a few problems. Among them are:

  1. The end of the "Bush tax cuts", plus the increased surtaxes in the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (Obamacare) will increase the national tax bite by $0.5 trillion per year, beginning next year.
  2. Gasoline prices are at new highs, and heading higher.
  3. Barely over half the U.S. population pay any income taxes at all.
  4. Only 33% of the U.S. population are
    1. taxpayers, and
    2. not government employees.
  5. People making minimum wage (quoted here as $14,500/year) are better off than people making four times as much.
None of this is sustainable.

Friday, February 17, 2012

National or International

Quoted in Impromptus last week:

Whenever I hear someone mention socialism, I ask innocently, “Excuse me, do you mean national or international?”

Monday, February 13, 2012

Travel Warning on Mexico

As a resident of a border state, this concerns me.

In all other respects, I find this just incredibly sad.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Tax Man Cometh

We're taught we should work hard and save for the future, like for our retirement. If we end up not using all our savings, we can pass them on to our kids and grandkids. This is defined as good behavior; these actions are defined as good deeds. And the laws are structured to support those doing these good deeds.

Now, in the category of "no good deed goes unpunished", there's this:

"The problem with retirement accounts is that they're hostage to future Congresses' greed." That is the lead in a short item on Instapundit, and it is absolutely true. It extracts, and links to, a Wall Street Journal article that tells of a Senate Finance Committee proposal being tucked into the highway funding bill that would require most inherited IRAs and 401(k)s to be emptied out within five years of the time they're inherited. This has been proposed as a means of increasing government tax revenues (from income taxes) by $4.6 billion over the next ten years. (Shall we play "guess the party" as to whose proposal this is?)

And you know this is just the beginning.

Guess I'll go back to an old standard:
    Rule 1: Never trust the government.
    Rule 2: When you have an absolute iron-clad guarantee, see Rule 1.

Good luck to us all. We'll need it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Now That Is a Quartet!

Obama Loves America

Got this in an e-mail a day or so ago

Definitely a very sharp pointed comment.

And then, today, there's this

That encapsulates a lot of worldwide history and experience.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

No Budget For You!

UPDATE: Others have noticed, too, that the Democrats' refusal to pass a budget is illegal. Isn't there anything that can be done to get the national Democratic Party leadership to at least acknowledge the law's existence — and preferably to obey the law, for once? (end update)

The Budget Act of 1974 was intended to provide some fiscal discipline for the Congress. It was to do this through imposition of a legal requirement that each house of Congress produce a budget proposal not later than April of each year.

That Act has failed.

The Senate is still controlled by the Democrats. And the Senate, controlled by the Democrats, has not produced a budget since Barack Obama was sworn in as President in 2009. Nor does it intend to. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said last week that he would not allow the Senate to take up a budget this year. “We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year,” was what he said. And President Obama has told Harry Reid and the Senate not to worry about it. "No budget, no problem," he's saying. In effect, he's also saying it's OK to flout the law and its requirements.

Now House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer has chimed in, saying "The fact is, you don’t need a budget. We can adopt appropriations bills." Of course, they haven't done that, either.

It should be no surprise that others disagree.

Concerning Reid’s remarks, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said in a statement, “It’s been more than 1,000 days since Senate Democrats have offered a budget plan to the American people. Now, once again, the Senate’s ineffectual Democrat majority balks at the task of leadership. … He obviously continues in his belief that it would be politically foolish for his members to go on record in support of any long-term vision.”
It seems to me, with the Senate Democrats abdicating their responsibilities and breaching their legal requirements, the best current proposal is the one that says "no budget, no pay." If they won't do their job, they shouldn't get paid.

When Progress Isn't

They told us the shift from analog to digital would make things better. I'm not so sure.

Like digital television, done under a government mandate. I understand the advantages, things like bandwidth and the ability to make more channels available — at the cost of moving the low-numbered channels up into the UHF realm. And the additional channels are a good thing. But, speaking as a consumer, this has been a definite downgrade. With analog TV, I got movies from Mexico City on my TV in Tucson. Not all the time, but relatively frequently. The signal quality wasn't the best — we got significant "snow" in the picture and "hiss" in the sound, but we got both. And where I live now, we would sometimes lose a few pixels from the area stations, but the programs continued. But now, with digital TV, the picture frequently freezes (and the sound drops out) with distressing regularity, and we lose 15-30 seconds of program each time. I'm not sure this is an improvement.

Like video recorders, too. With the VCRs, the biggest problem was that I'd screw up in programming the recording. And, once in a long while, the VCRs would eat a tape. Still, that's a lot more reliable than the DVD recorders have proven to be. Their usual trick is to suddenly make the current rewritable DVD no longer recordable. I'm not sure this is an improvement.

Yes, the older technologies had their limitations, but it sure seems they were more reliable than their newer cousins.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Singing Valentines in Albuquerque

You can send a singing valentine to your sweetheart in Albuquerque — and a number of other cities. Love songs, chocolate, a long-stemmed red rose, and your personal card. What could be better? All you have to do is call.

More information — at least till Valentine's Day — at the New MexiChords site, among other places.

Monday, February 6, 2012

This Month's Proof of Global Warming

If global warming is real, how can there be cold records being broken all over the world? There's significant snow in Rome for the first time in three years. They even had to close the Coliseum for safety reasons. Matter of fact, it turns out it's the first heavy snow in 26 years! A storm that has trapped thousands and killed hundreds.

And that's not counting the Seattle snow — two feet of snow according to some accounts.

It looks like an endless winter! And it definitely must be global warming.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Classic Sign

It's a gem.

Shamelessly cribbed from Doug Ross

Maybe There Are No Coincidences

I'm not sure I believe in coincidence. Too many things seem so clearly to happen for a reason, even if we don't recognize what that reason is till later.

This story provides an illustrative example. Go read it — I'll wait. And I dare you to tell me your eyes stayed dry!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

New Mexico's Driver's License Mess

Under our state's previous governor, Bill Richardson, our state legislature was talked into passing a law allowing driver's licenses to be issued to illegal aliens (also known as undocumented workers or undocumented immigrants). Part of the argument was that these folks needed to be able to drive legitimately, to get to their jobs. Another part was that they needed driver's licenses so they would buy auto insurance.

New Mexico thus became one of only two states that issue driver's licenses to illegal aliens. (Washington is the other. Utah issues driving permits that are not otherwise usable for identification.) And that means New Mexico driver's licenses are not valid forms of identification under the terms of the Real ID Act. That means that, once the US starts enforcing that act's terms, New Mexicans will need something more — like a US passport — to be allowed to board a train or an airplane, or to enter a federal building.

How well has the Richardson bill worked? Not very well, it seems. Several studies have shown the uninsured motorist problem to be very nearly as bad as it was before. In addition, there has been case after case exposed — and a number of them prosecuted — in which criminal gangs brought illegal aliens from multiple countries into New Mexico (usually to Albuquerque) from other states and got them New Mexico driver's licenses using fraudulent documents to fulfill the New Mexico residency requirement. Many of these folks certainly went back to where they were really living, and used their New Mexico licenses to obtain valid licenses there. I'd bet there are also other activities the criminal gangs find these licenses useful for that haven't hit the newspapers yet. And maybe some that have — like the drug smuggling by the Sinaloa drug cartel for which 15 men, including Albuquerque firefighter Steve Chavez, have now been arrested.

Our state's current governor, Susana Martinez, made repealing the illegal aliens' driver's license law a major part of her campaign for office. She won with it, and polls indicate that more than 70% of New Mexico's citizens agree with her on this issue.

Governor Martinez tried to get a repeal bill through the legislature last year. The House of Representatives supported the repeal, but the Senate refused. She tried to get a repeal bill through the legislature's special session (called mainly for redistricting), but the Senate balked again.

The legislature is back in session now, and the repeal attempt is being made again. A House committee has passed the repeal bill, and it is expected the full House will agree. But it is also expected that the Senate will kill the attempt once more.

But there is a new element this time. People in Albuquerque have reported, based on information from their relatives still in Mexico, that the members of the New Mexico Senate have been threatened by the Mexican cartels and told not to allow the repeal bill to pass. I haven't seen a confirmation of this yet, but it's certainly plausible — particularly in view of the confirmed cartel activity here. Whether this specific element of information is confirmed or not, there are clearly connections among New Mexico driver's licenses, Mexican drug cartels, and their activities in New Mexico — and elsewhere around the United States.

I'm with the 70% of New Mexicans. Our state's illegal alien licensing law must be repealed.

How Many Legislators Does It Take?

How many legislators does it take to come up with a redistricting plan for New Mexico? We don't really know. They didn't do it.

The New Mexico legislature met in special session last fall to come up with a redistricting plan. They failed. They didn't do their job.

That meant the whole redistricting effort, federal and state, moved to the courts, demonstrating a complete failure of the legislative process.

In the court, under pressure from the retired judge assigned the case, a degree of compromise and arbitration finally settled the redistricting for the Congressional districts, the state senate, and the state house of representatives.

Did I say settled? Maybe not. It looks like some are still disgruntled, and now the state Supreme Court will be getting involved. Again.

This is insane. In my view, the legislators and their staffs should reimburse the state for the cost of the special session and the subsequent litigation. Then maybe they might actually do their job next time.