Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Obama Predicts GOP Will Cave on Taxes!

ABC News ^ | Dec. 11, 2012 | Devin Dwyer

As the clock ticks toward a tax hike on all Americans in 20 days, President Obama predicted Republicans would join Democrats to extend current rates for 98 percent of earners before the end of the year.
"I'm pretty confident that Republicans would not hold middle class taxes hostage to trying to protect tax cuts for high-income individuals," Obama said today in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters.
"I don't think they'll do that," he said of Republicans forcing tax-rate increases for families earning $250,000 a year or less.
The sign of optimism follows weeks of tense negotiations and public posturing to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff," an economically toxic package of $6 trillion in across-the-board tax hikes and $1.2 trillion in deep spending cuts that could begin in early 2013.

(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...

More Proof Unions Are The Actual Violent Thugs Democrats Accused The Tea Party Of Being!

Steven Crowder attempted to start a dialogue at a protest against the Right To Work bill in Michigan (which prohibits coercion to join a union, as you can imagine the Bolsheviks running them don't like that).
As we've come to expect from the left, every "fear" and accusation of violence they have coming from conservatives is proven to be pure projection of their on proclivities whenever they get the chance to show it.
See the video of Crowder getting attacked here. If you're on Twitter retweet it here.

75 Percent of Obama's Proposed Tax Hikes To Go Toward New Spending!

The Weekly Standard ^ | 10:04 AM, Dec 11, 2012 | By DANIEL HALPER

Seventy-five percent of the new revenue pulled in by President Barack Obama's "fiscal cliff" plan would go toward new spending, not toward deficit reduction, the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee contends. Here's a chart, detailing how money from the new tax hikes would be distributed:
According to the minority side of the Senate Budget Committee, $1.2 trillion of the proposed $1.6 trillion in tax hikes would go toward new spending, while only $400 billion would go toward deficit reduction.
"The [president's] plan called for $1.6 trillion in new taxes, twice what the president asked for in the campaign. He asked for $800 billion during the campaign. Now he wants $1.6 trillion in new taxes," said Senator Jeff Sessions, the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, last week on the floor.
"Spending under that plan would increase $1 trillion above the levels agreed to in the Budget Control Act, as signed into law. We agreed to the Budget Control Act 16 months ago, in August 2011, and we raised the debt ceiling and agreed to reduce spending. We raised the debt ceiling $2.1 trillion and agreed to reduce spending $2.1 trillion. The President's plan would take out over $1.1 trillion of those spending limitations that are in current law. I repeat, spending will increase more than $1 trillion above the already projected growth in spending," Sessions added.
"Our spending is growing. It is not decreasing. It is already projected to grow, but the President's proposal is to have it grow even faster than the law currently calls for."
(Excerpt) Read more at weeklystandard.com ...

Obamacare Strikes Again: Calling Obamacare the Affordable Care Act is a joke!

Political Realities ^ | 12/11/12 | LD Jackson

No one should really be surprised at anything that comes out of Washington, especially if it has to do with Obamacare. Remember what Nancy Pelosi said about the legislation? She famously stated that Congress would have to pass Obamacare to find out what was in the legislation. Well, for once, she was telling the truth. Oh boy, was she telling the truth. Let's see, we have the birth control mandate that has come about as a result of the open-ended regulations that are being written because of Obamacare. One would think our politicians would have been smart enough to not give bureaucrats that much power, but they don't seem to have a problem with it. I wonder what other regulation is going to crop up, all because Congress couldn't see its way to reject such an obvious power grab?
The birth control mandate is just a quick example and it is months old, but we have an even fresher reason to question Oamacare and what it is trying to do. Technically, it is called the Affordable Care Act, but I have yet to see anything affordable about the legislation. That's where this new fee comes in. Buried deep in a recent regulation that was issued, this fee is about to make the cost of your health insurance plan go even higher.
Obamacare(Fox News) Your medical plan is facing an unexpected expense, so you probably are, too. It's a new, $63-per-head fee to cushion the cost of covering people with pre-existing conditions under President Obama's health care overhaul. The charge, buried in a recent regulation, works out to tens of millions of dollars for the largest companies, employers say. Most of that is likely to be passed on to workers.
Employee benefits lawyer Chantel Sheaks calls it a "sleeper issue" with significant financial consequences, particularly for large employers.
"Especially at a time when we are facing economic uncertainty, (companies will) be hit with a multi-million dollar assessment without getting anything back for it," said Sheaks, a principal at Buck Consultants, a Xerox subsidiary.
Based on figures provided in the regulation, employer and individual health plans covering an estimated 190 million Americans could owe the per-person fee.
The Obama administration says it is a temporary assessment levied for three years starting in 2014, designed to raise $25 billion. It starts at $63 and then declines.
Most of the money will go into a fund administered by the Health and Human Services Department. It will be used to cushion health insurance companies from the initial hard-to-predict costs of covering uninsured people with medical problems. Under the law, insurers will be forbidden from turning away the sick as of Jan. 1, 2014.
If my calculator is functioning properly, that means an extra $12 billion will be going into the coffers of the Health and Human Services Department. Ostensibly for the greater good, you will have to forgive me if I sound skeptical about their intentions. Little by little, we are learning that Obamacare is a piece of legislation that is so open-ended, the government can manipulate its regulations into doing whatever they want. So far, they are racking up a fairly decent record of doing just that. I can't wait to see what else Obamacare has in store for us. I seriously doubt it will be good news.

Calling Obamacare the Affordable Care Act is a joke.


boblonsberry.com ^ | 12/11/12 | Bob Lonsberry

The chickens have come home to roost.

The first generation of students swaddled in the insanity of the self-esteem movement have emerged on the scene as arrogant, self-absorbed twits with an exaggerated sense of entitlement and self-importance.

In short, they’ve been spoiled. Potentially, they’ve been ruined.

The idiocy of social engineering in the classroom is again bearing catastrophic results.

Here’s how we know. A group of five university professors has evaluated more than 16,000 personality profiles of college students gathered over the last 24 years. What they’ve discovered is that today’s young people have dramatically different self-concepts than the two generations which preceded them.

And the differences aren’t good.

Today’s college students are monumentally more narcissistic. That means they worship themselves. That means they’ve been told that they’re special so many times that they’ve come to believe it. In blunt terms, they think their crap doesn’t stink.

But it does. Possibly more than most.

Because one of the hallmarks of an inflated self-concept is personal failure. People who think they are superior have an uncanny tendency to be inferior. Their sense of worth is so high they have no motivation to work and improve themselves. When you think the world is yours on a silver platter, it never occurs to you that you’ve got to get off your backside and earn anything.

The study shows that children born after 1982 have a unrealistically inflated self-concepts. So high is their estimation of themselves, in fact, that they are fully narcissistic – a trait that is somewhere in the gray area between a character flaw and a personality disorder. Narcissism is such an unhealthy aberration that it is almost a mental illness.

And the self-esteem movement of the 1990s has made it epidemic.

Unfortunately, the education industry has become so divorced from reality that for several years the conventional wisdom in American classrooms has been that children – particularly poor and minority children – fail to achieve because they have negative self-concepts. The way to correct that, the argument has gone, is to pump up their self-concepts through self-esteem building. That typically translated to unrealistic and unearned praise for students, and the removal of all negative feedback and consequences from the classroom. That’s why grades are artificially high, everybody gets a smiley face and teachers don’t use red ink any more.

Schools seem incapable of recognizing that true self-worth comes from doing what’s right and from legitimate achievement. Not praise passed out like candy, but genuine achievement coming as the consequence of significant effort. You earn worth, it isn’t given out for free.

The lunacy of the education reformers was matched by the leniency of the troubled homes. Mom and dad have forgotten how to be mom and dad. Children were waited on hand and foot with no obligations of their own to work or assist the family. Permissive parenting and failed educating led to a bumper crop of egocentric creeps.

And that’s going to hurt.

Because narcissists typically fail. They fail in their responsibility to be good citizens and they fail in their responsibility to be good spouses and parents.

Being a good citizen and being part of a family requires selflessness. They require putting your own interests second to the interests of something larger and more important than yourself. To the narcissist, there is nothing more important than yourself.

That leads to employment and self-reliance difficulties, and to significant challenges to the ability to maintain a marriage and raise a family.

Which bites society hard. Society needs this crop of young adults – like every crop of young adults – to assume its responsibilities as the taxpayers and the parents of the future. Each rising tide needs to shoulder its burdens and leave its mark. Failure to do that can have huge sociological consequences.

This crop has been weakened in its abilities to bear off those responsibilities by the warped worldview its education and upbringing gave it.

So what can be done?

The self-esteem crap can end. Though it is so entrenched and unquestioned, and protected by political correctness, that it is unlikely to go anywhere.

Young people must learn – with the help of others – that the world doesn’t revolve around them, and that believing it does is the quickest way to a miserable and disappointing life.

The social and religious values of the United States – and of decent nations all around the world – teach selflessness and service. Those values must be re-enthroned and the self-worship of the narcissism-breeding self-esteem movement must end.

How Liberals Think: Mika Says 'It's Kind Of Simple'—Just Pay Workers More!

NewsBusters ^ | Mark Finkelstein

I post this item not to mock Mika Brzezinski. But her comments this morning were so illustrative of the liberal mindset--in ignoring fundamental principles of economics--that they are worth highlighting here.
An entire Morning Joe segment had been devoted to discussing the wage dilemma in America. In the context of analyzing the right-to-work law soon to be signed in Michigan, the panel—apparently excepting Mika—agreed that we face hard choices here. We can artificially preserve high wages for a relative few, or let wages seek their natural level, providing more jobs at lower pay. As Joe Scarborough put it, we have to decide if we want jobs to go to China, or remain here, understanding that if we want them to stay, wages cannot remain at levels in existence before America was forced to compete internationally. All this was apparently lost on Mika. In the following segment, insisting "it's kind of simple," Mika argued that employers making big profits should pay their workers more. "Why not? I don't get it," miffed Mika about "greedy" bosses. As former Obama car czar Steve Rattner gently explained, "it's capitalism."

View the video here.
(Excerpt) Read more at newsbusters.org ...

An Honest Liberal Confronts the Problem of Government Dependency!

Townhall.com ^ | December 11, 2012 | Daniel J. Mitchell

I’ve written and pontificated about the problem of government-created dependency and how the welfare state traps people in poverty.
I also shared this dramatic chart showing how redistribution programs create shockingly high implicit marginal tax rates for those with modest incomes.
But when a liberal writer for the New York Times basically comes to the same conclusion, that’s a sign that there may finally be some consensus about the need for reform.
Here’s some of what Nicholas Kristof wrote, beginning with an acknowledgement of the welfare state’s perverse incentives.
This is what poverty sometimes looks like in America: parents here in Appalachian hill country pulling their children out of literacy classes. Moms and dads fear that if kids learn to read, they are less likely to qualify for a monthly check for having an intellectual disability. …This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. …Some young people here don’t join the military (a traditional escape route for poor, rural Americans) because it’s easier to rely on food stamps and disability payments. Antipoverty programs also discourage marriage: In a means-tested program like S.S.I., a woman raising a child may receive a bigger check if she refrains from marrying that hard-working guy she likes. Yet marriage is one of the best forces to blunt poverty. In married couple households only one child in 10 grows up in poverty, while almost half do in single-mother households. Most wrenching of all are the parents who think it’s best if a child stays illiterate, because then the family may be able to claim a disability check each month.
Lives ruined by dependency?
He then gives an example of the SSI program for kids and how it has ballooned over time .
About four decades ago, most of the children S.S.I. covered had severe physical handicaps or mental retardation that made it difficult for parents to hold jobs — about 1 percent of all poor children. But now 55 percent of the disabilities it covers are fuzzier intellectual disabilities short of mental retardation, where the diagnosis is less clear-cut. More than 1.2 million children across America — a full 8 percent of all low-income children — are now enrolled in S.S.I. as disabled, at an annual cost of more than $9 billion. That is a burden on taxpayers, of course, but it can be even worse for children whose families have a huge stake in their failing in school. Those kids may never recover: a 2009 study found that nearly two-thirds of these children make the transition at age 18 into S.S.I. for the adult disabled. They may never hold a job in their entire lives and are condemned to a life of poverty on the dole — and that’s the outcome of a program intended to fight poverty.
By the way, you won’t be surprised to learn that the disability program for adults also has expanded dramatically. The simple lesson (though folks in Washington seem oblivious) is that if you subsidize self-destructive behavior, you’ll get more of it.
Kristof is honest enough to recognize the problem, but that doesn’t mean he agrees with libertarians about the solution.
I don’t want to suggest that America’s antipoverty programs are a total failure. On the contrary, they are making a significant difference. Nearly all homes here in the Appalachian hill country now have electricity and running water, and people aren’t starving. …kids…have replaced the elderly as the most impoverished age group in our country. Today, 22 percent of children live below the poverty line. Of American families living in poverty today, 8 out of 10 have air-conditioning, and a majority have a washing machine and dryer. Nearly all have microwave ovens. What they don’t have is hope. …A growing body of careful research suggests that the most effective strategy is to work early on children and education, and to try to encourage and sustain marriage. …Early interventions are not a silver bullet, and even programs that succeed as experiments often fall short when scaled up. But we end up paying for poverty one way or another, and early childhood education is far cheaper than adult incarceration. …Look, there are no magic wands, and helping people is hard.
I don’t think his hopes of early childhood education are a silver bullet, particularly if it results in a program run from Washington. But I’ll also admit that libertarians don’t really have a solution.
To a large extent, this is an intergenerational problem, with kids learning bad habits from adults. And that’s true for inner-city blacks and rural whites, as well as every demographic in between. I’m happy to make the case that the welfare state helped to create the problem (or at least subsidized it and made it worse), but simply ending the welfare state probably won’t make everything better.
It’s a lot easier to squeeze the toothpaste out of the tube than to put it back in. Once social capital erodes, it very difficult to restore it. That’s why it’s a mistake to create new programs in the first place. As this famous set of cartoons illustrates, welfare state programs always start small, but that’s not where they end up.
P.S. When the welfare state destroys the lives of children, there’s no room for any humor. But at least we can laugh about the absurdity of disability programs for adults. This joke captures the perverse incentives of the programs, but these real-world horror stories about Diaper Man and Footless Hans are only funny in a twisted way. And this Greek story about rewarding pedophiles with disability payments is beyond satire.

You Think the GOP Has Problems?

American Thinker ^ | December 11, 2012 | Christopher Chantrill

While everyone gathers around the water cooler Monday-morning quarterbacking Speaker Boehner on the execution of his game plan for the Cliff Bowl before it is even played, let us spare a thought for the hapless Democrats. After all, who would want to be a Democrat as we go into 2013?
Don't be fooled by that tough-guy act.
Yes, yes, we know that the Democrats own the future with the educated, the young, the black, and the Hispanic. And Republicans have just got to learn to speak Hispanic. Even Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan seem to agree.
But my suspicion is that the old song had it right. The new Democratic majority has gone about as far as it can go. You can tell that in the subtext of Democratic policy this holiday season, which seems to be: entitlements today, entitlements tomorrow, entitlements forever.
There is something vaguely familiar about that catchphrase.
Here is how I explain it.
Back in 1989, the Democrats panicked. They had just lost three presidential elections in a row, first to an amiable dunce and finally to a New England blue-blood. How bad can it get?
The new strategy, we can now see, was fiendishly clever. Democrats would feint towards the middle, as in New Democrats, while playing race politics with blacks and Hispanics.

(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

obama explains economy

Why Liberalism Doesn't Work

Townhall.com ^ | December 11, 2012 | Bill Murchison

Reason No. 1 not to tremble at the prospect of liberal ascendancy, world without end: Liberalism doesn't work. At any rate, not the way liberals commonly suppose it's going to work when they devise enormous taxpayer-funded, government-run programs, minimally connected, if at all, to the realities of human existence.
An article in the Dec. 9 New York Times, of all places, gleams in the darkness of the present political moment as the Obama administration works to rub away resistance to its vision of an all-encompassing federal government. "This is painful for a liberal to admit," admits Nicholas D. Kristof, a Times columnist who, oddly, doesn't see his job as requiring regular trashing of conservatives, "but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America's safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency. Our poverty programs do rescue many people, but other times they backfire." Do tell. Kristof's careful examination of anti-poverty programs in Appalachia presents a viewpoint far more nuanced than, say, a Barack Obama speech urging the overhaul of capitalism. He finds that giving people too much free money for too long can create disincentives to live non-dependent lives. He talks about parents who pull illiterate kids out of literacy programs to avoid forfeiting a $698 monthly Supplement Security Income check meant to "help" the intellectually disabled.
Kristof (unlike various think tank and media figures) notes the complexity of the poverty issue. Part of that complexity, he reports with amazing realism (notwithstanding a well-earned personal reputation for realism), consists in the seductions of money.
Kristof understands marriage as "one of the best forces to blunt poverty. In married households, only one child in 10 grows up in poverty, while almost half do in single-mother households. He sees intellectual disability as a category unrealistically enlarged: presently covering "a full 8 percent of all low-income children," at an annual taxpayer cost of $9 billion. "Those kids," he says, "may never recover: a 2009 study found that nearly two-thirds of these children make the transition at age 18 into S.S.I. for the adult disabled. They may never hold a job in their entire lives and are condemned to a life of poverty on the dole -- and that's the outcome of a program intended to fight poverty."
Better, he continues, to work at creating environments favorable to helping welfare clients stand on their own feet. He praises the efforts of the aid group Save the Children, whose Appalachia staff visits "at-risk moms," helping "nurture the skills they need in the world's toughest job: parenting."
He notes a growing body of research suggesting that "the most effective strategy is to work early on children and education, and to try to encourage and sustain marriage." As in -- Kristof didn't say this; I'm saying it -- ye olden tyme, before the welfare lobby conspired with Congress to make welfare the solution of solutions to every human plight.
Kristof's insight, it is fair to note, has major antecedents. Charles Murray, in "Losing Ground," was first to make in sustained fashion the point that welfare, by fostering dependency, undermines social stability. Last January, Murray followed up, in "Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1920-2010," with chilling confirmation that a "great divide" exists between new classes, upper and lower.
"Changes in social policy during the 1960s," he writes, "made it economically more feasible to have a child without having a husband if you were a woman or to get along without a job if you were a man..."
The old social norms have broken down. Who's to reconstruct them now? Conservatives? By themselves? What about conservatives, joined by liberals such as Kristof -- eyes on both sides of the philosophical spectrum bulging with horrified recognition of harm inflicted in the name of salvation.
Conservatives can do business with liberals who, so to speak, get it -- unlike the hierarchs of the new/old administration in Washington, where denial of plain facts seems to many the plainest proof of virtue. For now.

Teachers ditch school kids to protest vote on right-to-work!

fox news ^ | 12/11/2012 | fox news

Two Michigan school districts reportedly closed shop Tuesday after teachers called out, likely so they could participate in union protests tied to the expected passage of "right-to-work" legislation this week in the state capital.
Demonstrators have already started to march down the streets, as lawmakers return to put the final touches on legislation that would bar unions from demanding dues from workers. The move would make Michigan the 24th "right-to-work" state and strike a blow to organized labor in the heart of the U.S. auto industry.
Local unions spent the weekend preparing for massive protests on Tuesday, in a last-ditch push to pressure lawmakers. WDIV in Detroit reports that both the Warren and Taylor school districts had to close Tuesday after so many teachers called out absent.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, in an interview with Fox News, said it was "unfortunate" that teachers called out.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...

An Embarrassing Metric Disappears: Why are gov't stats taxpayer migration being discontinued?

National Review ^ | 12/11/2012 | Jim Pettit

As the din of America’s falling headfirst over the fiscal cliff reverberates across the nation, the Obama administration is quietly killing a key economic metric that tells how, and how many, people are voting with their feet. Since 1991 the Internal Revenue Service has been compiling statistics on filers’ addresses, which the agency’s Statistics of Income division uses to show who is moving into and out of every county and state in the nation. As you’d expect, the IRS also knows the aggregate income levels of those who move. So the movements of the most fundamental productive components of the economy — taxpayers — can be analyzed by journalists and economists, or could until now.
The IRS and the U.S. Census Bureau (which provides technical support in reporting tax migration data) have not made an official announcement as to why the program is being discontinued. So we are left to speculate why such vital economic statistics suddenly got canceled.
Some would be glad if the IRS data simply went away. Blue states with high state and local tax burdens have come out looking bad in recent years. California and New York have been embarrassed publicly, as a steady exodus is underway from both.
Regarding California, the free-market Manhattan Institute for Policy Research concluded in September that “this exodus represents a huge reversal to established patterns of domestic migration, and suggests that the Golden State is no longer perceived by most Americans as the land where dreams come true.”
The think tank, which analyzed ten years of IRS data to show that California’s population is fleeing to Texas, characterizes the agency’s data as the “most useful tool” among sources identifying migration patterns. The public-policy ramifications of a declining tax base are clear, according to the Institute: Economic damage ensues when companies, fearing inevitable tax increases, get cold feet in jurisdictions with declining revenues.
Speaking of companies: The state of New York is running a high-profile ad campaign suggesting that businesses are coming back to the Empire State. Maybe some untold numbers are, but more telling is that taxpayers are leaving. In May, the New York Post published “Outgoing Income, Millions Flee New York’s Tax Burden,” whose lead was “New York state tops the nation in one key export — people fleeing high taxes.” The article cited the IRS tax-migration numbers, which the conservative Tax Foundation makes available in a web-based application that allows anyone to see easily how many taxpayers there are in each state.
The Post article, which found Florida to be the most popular destination for fleeing New Yorkers, spawned coverage on Fox Business News, where economist Arthur Laffer said: “You have two locations, A and B. If you raise taxes in B and you lower them in A, producers and manufacturers and people are going to move from B to A.” Media Matters, a liberal organization, responded with hostility, calling Laffer a “serial misinformer” who makes dubious claims supporting lower tax rates.
Change Maryland, an organization that has clashed with Governor Martin O’Malley, reported IRS tax-migration findings in July, determining that Maryland accounted for the largest taxpayer-migration exodus of any state in the region between 2007 and 2010, with nearly 31,000 residents having left. The report also identified Maryland’s key competitor in attracting taxpayers: Lower-taxed Virginia is now home to 11,455 former Marylanders, taking $390 million in taxable incomes during this three-year period.
After receiving widespread attention from prominent media, including National Review, the report’s findings prompted a personal, partisan political attack on Change Maryland and its founder, Larry Hogan, by the O’Malley administration.
While it remains to be seen what the official position of the IRS is, unofficially it is suggesting that the problem lies in coordinating with the Census Bureau. It is asking for comments on how people use the data and how important it is, presumably so that higher-ups at the agencies can reverse their decision if necessary.
The very idea of people voting with their feet is uncomfortable to some politicians. Fortunately, others realize the damage that a declining tax base causes and prefer transparency over attempting to delete statistics that reveal the problem.
— Jim Pettit, a communications and public-policy consultant, provides research services for various clients, including Change Maryland.

A Victory for Demagoguery (America seems to be falling for Obama's class warfare campaign)

National Review ^ | 12/11/2012 | Mona Charen

I’m in the camp that believes Republicans have no choice but to agree to raise taxes on the top 2 percent of earners. The party has been successfully caricatured as the servant of the rich. This is unjust, yes, but justice is imperfect in this life. It’s political suicide for Republicans to stand fast on maintaining current rates for high earners even at the cost of raising taxes for everyone else. Imagine if we went over the fiscal cliff. In January, Obama would call upon Congress to pass a law restoring the tax rates for 98 percent of filers. What could Republicans do then, refuse?
There is a time for strategic retreat. Republicans are not without tactical opportunities though. They can reply, as my friend Michael Medved has suggested, that if the Clinton tax rates are desirable, so are the Clinton spending rates. They could resurrect a budget from 1998 and pass it. Democrats would protest that 1998 spending rates are not remotely commensurate with our needs. But wait, don’t they argue that the Clinton years were economic utopia? Were people living in cardboard boxes on the streets in the 1990s? While they’re at it, they could propose Clinton levels of regulation, too.
Alternatively, they could pass the Simpson/Bowles proposal, reminding voters that the president ignored his own debt commission. Simpson/Bowles has many flaws (including too few spending reductions), but it does at least make big strides toward taming the debt. Endorsing it would show that Republicans are prepared for painful compromise in the name of getting our house in order. The president talks of a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction — by which he seems to mean more taxes and more spending. His former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has fingered national debt as the “greatest national security threat” we face. Yet the president has yet to make a genuine proposal to cut spending.
Republicans must bow to political reality about tax rates, but it’s worth a backward glance to consider just how great a victory this is for demagoguery.
Consider that the Democratic party is now committed, body and soul, to defending “the middle-class tax cuts.” They are the party of the middle class, they trill. Yet when these tax rates were enacted, every living Democrat denounced them as “tax cuts for the rich.” Every Democratic tongue swore that Bush had passed “tax cuts for the rich.” The Republicans piped in response: “No, they were tax cuts for everyone.” But they were drowned out. The libel stuck, and it persists even now as Democrats go to the mat for those Bush middle-class tax rates.
Also, the Bush tax cuts made the tax code more, not less, progressive. More than 8 million taxpayers were relieved of paying taxes altogether because the Bush reforms doubled the child tax credit and expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit. That may have been a political miscalculation as it insulated more Americans from the cost of government. But it’s certainly at odds with the conventional wisdom that Republicans didn’t consider the needs of working Americans when they were in power.
As for the rich, yes, the rates went down. But the percent of the total tax burden shouldered by the top 1 percent of earners increased from 37 percent in 2000 to 40 percent in 2007. The bottom 50 percent of taxpayers paid 16 percent less in 2007 than they had in 2000. Their share of the total burden fell from 3.9 percent to 2.9 percent.
Mr. Obama has successfully deluded people into believing that the rich pay less in taxes than their secretaries. In fact, as Steve Moore has shown, the top 5 percent of taxpayers earn 37 percent of national income but pay 61 percent of income taxes.
Democrats, especially this president, have scorned the Bush years for their accumulated debt and for raging inequality. Yet, as Professor Emmanuel Saez of Berkeley (yes, Berkeley) has shown, the income gap during Obama’s first term has been far more pronounced than it was during the Bush years. As Alexander Eichler of the Huffington Post put it, “The rising tide has lifted fewer boats during the Obama years — and the ones it’s lifted have been mostly yachts.”
The demonization of the rich paid electoral dividends: Obama will get his way on tax rates. But the problem he conjured — the rich getting richer at the expense of everyone else — was a crude fiction. It’s the kind of class warfare appeal that has worked all over the globe. We used to be an exception. No more.
— Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist.

Why Does It Have To Cost Over $100 Million To Swear In A President?

political outcast ^ | 12/10/12 | dave jolly

When George W. Bush was sworn in as president, it cost US taxpayers $115.5 million. In January of 2009, it cost us $125 million for Barack Obama’s swearing in. All indications are pointing to a cost of over $100 million for Obama’s second swearing in.

Seeing this kind of waste of taxpayer dollars makes we want to swear in here and there.

The money will be spent on the preparations and decorations along with the gala ball that follows and the multiple DC parties. In the meantime, our country is facing a financial crisis and millions of Americans are losing their homes and unable to feed their kids.

(Excerpt) Read more at politicaloutcast.com ...

Michigan unions say no right to work! Obama & Reid join-up!

Washington Times ^ | December 10, 2012 | Thomas Mullen

TAMPA, December 10, 2012 – Lansing, Michigan is bracing for an onslaught of protestors following Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s indication that he would sign “Right to Work” legislation currently making its way through the state legislature. President Obama and Harry Reid have both joined Michigan Democrats in denouncing the bill.

As usual, both liberals and conservatives are already demonstrating their skewed perception of reality in weighing in on this debate. President Obama told workers at an engine plant outside Detroit that “what we shouldn't be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages,” as if the law would do any such thing.

However, Harry Reid surpassed all in obtuseness when he called the legislation a “blatant attempt by Michigan Republicans to assault the collective bargaining process and undermine the standard of living it has helped foster."

(Excerpt) Read more at communities.washingtontimes.com ...

Texas Secession Petition Ignored by White House

You got to shoot at a federal fort to get the Union to pay attention to your articles of secession.
Comment of the Day!

ABC News ^ | 12/10/2012 | Sarah Parnass

Texas is waiting for President Obama’s reaction to a petition demanding it be allowed to secede from the United States. They may have to keep waiting.

Sunday marked the last day for Texas’ petition to secede from the union to gather 25,000 digital signatures, the number needed to warrant a response from the White House. The virtual petition achieved that goal four weeks ago. Now it’s up to 119,209, but still no word from the Oval Office.
A White House official told ABC News in November that it would respond to the petition, following a procedure that demands they address any entry to the “We the People” site that rallies the requisite amount of support. On Friday, the White House said they had no prediction for when they might put out at statement.

Even if the White House steps up to the plate this week, it’s possible they will dodge the question, opting to excuse themselves by claiming it does not fall within their jurisdiction.

In the days after President Obama was reelected, several states filed petitions seeking independence alongside Texas. And these petitions gained clicks fast.

By mid-November, every state had at least one petition with more than 150 digital vows of support registered with the White House. Some visitors to WhiteHouse.gov started counter-petitions, asking that the president stop states from seceding.

(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...

No Shots Fired: State Dept Benghazi Security Force Unarmed!

Big Peace ^ | Monday, December 10, 2012 | Kerry Picket

A source with personal knowledge of the security situation in Benghazi told Breitbart News that Senators who listened to closed door testimony about the Benghazi attack were shocked to learn State Department security personnel agents were not immediately armed.

Additionally, agents separated from Ambassador Chris Stevens left to retrieve their M4 weapons in a separate building. Only one returned to protect the Ambassador, while the other two hunkered down in the barracks, the source relayed.

“From the accounts I read, those guys were not ready. When the attack came that night, they had to go back to the other room and grab their weapons. Then the worse part about it was they never even returned to be with the Ambassador. One returned to be with the Ambassador with his rifle. The other two went back to where there were [sic] barracks. And two stayed in that same building where there were radios and other weapons and the safe and other stuff was there.
There were no shots fired in return. On the embassy property, just the embassy property, none of those security agents blasted a single bullet from a single pistol or rifle at all in defense of the Ambassador—nothing.”
Questions as to why the consulate security force was unarmed within the confines of the consulate will likely be asked of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She will be appearing in front of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs according to Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...

Handwringing about homosexuality

Renew America ^ | Dan Popp

Christians are sometimes challenged as to why we so strongly oppose the normalization of homosexual behavior. After all, there are worse sins — and more imminent threats to national security.

Before I begin my answer, as I try to say whenever I write about this topic, the biblical view concerns homosexual acts — not homosexual people. The current paradigm that some are "born gay" seems to be less empirical than political. It's a weapon used to stifle discussion by intentionally confusing disapproval of a practice with hatred for a person. But even if people are born attracted to the same sex, they're still people. They are free moral agents having control of their urges. The ethical question stands.

So here's how many Christians think about this, and why we're so upset about the cultural slide toward acceptance of homosexual acts. In his letter to the Romans, Paul begins his "good news" by describing the quicksand of paganism:
... they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the
(Excerpt) Read more at renewamerica.com ...

Study suggests we could refreeze Arctic. But should we?

TheWindsorStar ^ | Dec. 10,2012 | Bob Weber,

A record loss of Arctic sea ice and faster-than-expected melting of Greenland’s ice cap made worldwide headlines in 2012, but research published in major science journals in the fall suggest warming in the North doesn’t have to continue.
We could refreeze the Arctic, proposed a paper in Nature Climate Change. It wouldn’t even cost that much, said an affiliated study in Environmental Research Letters.
The question is should we?
“In terms of pure technical capacity, any significant nation in the world could do it,” said David Keith, a Calgarian and professor of applied physics at Harvard University, one of the lead authors in both studies.
“The really hard questions here aren’t mostly technical. They’re questions about what kind of planet we want and who we are.”

Feds rule on health care law’s Medicaid expansion!

Associated Press ^ | Dec. 10, 2012 5:34 PM EST | Ricardo Alonzo-Zaldivar

States must commit to fully expanding their Medicaid programs to take advantage of generous funding in the federal health care law, the Obama administration said Monday. The ruling affects a federal-state program that covers nearly 60 million low-income and severely disabled people, caught in a tug-of-war between Republican governors and the Democratic administration.

President Barack Obama’s health care law expanded Medicaid to cover people up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or about $15,400 for an individual. The change mainly affects low-income adults without children at home, as well as low-income parents who can’t get coverage under current Medicaid rules. …

But some governors said Medicaid was already straining their state budgets to a breaking point, and the Supreme Court in June gave states the right to opt out of the expansion. Since the court decision, Republican governors have been asking if they can do a partial expansion. …

(Excerpt) Read more at bigstory.ap.org ...


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