April 30, 2007

Couldn’t Help But Notice (043007)

As Delta emerges from bankruptcy, a useful reminder:

Dayton International Airport’s average domestic air fare of $337.73 in the fourth quarter of 2006 was among the 25 lowest of the nation’s 100 top airports, the government reported on Wednesday.

The Dayton figure ranked No. 76 …..

Port Columbus International Airport (average domestic fare $332.79, ranking No. 81) and Indianapolis International Airport ($329.30, No. 84) had slightly lower average fares than Dayton.

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport had the country’s second-most expensive domestic average fare at $503.38, behind only Anchorage International Airport in Alaska at $537.

So the hub Delta dominates in Greater Cincinnati is the most expensive in the lower 48; in fact, the company is THE reason things are that way. Inexpensive Dayton, Columbus, and Indy are all less than 2 hours away and require less time to get from your car to your seat on the plane. If you live in Cincy’s northern suburbs, getting on a flight leaving from Dayton actually involves less time door-to-door, and less uncertainty about traffic conditions, than crossing the river into Kentucky to fly out of “Cincinnati’s” airport.

If Delta doesn’t do anything about its horrid fares out of Cincinnati, people who can will continue to avoid that airport. Delta’s post-bankruptcy survival prospects, even with a leaner cost structure, will be in jeopardy.

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Porkopolis makes a great point as he busts George Tenet for not following the CIA’s core principle of non-involvement in policymaking.

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John McWhorter (HT Instapundit) “surmises” something that Kevin McCullough and yours truly made predictions about several months ago.

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Michael Ware (covered previously here and here) is looking more like a guy who believes the world’s problems can all be solved — if only it would appoint him dictator. Now he’s ripping Democrats for their cut-and-run votes.
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Be careful what you search for.

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I figured this had to be a late April Fool’s joke. Nope — This guy really does want to take everyone’s guns. Though obviously cranky, he’s not an irrelevant crank. He’s a retired diplomat, and a member of the editorial boards of The Toledo Blade and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

So much for the criticism that the NRA and pro-Second Amendment groups are unreasonably paranoid.

May 10: Hug a Liberal Economist Day (April Federal Receipts Will Likely Smash All Records)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:11 am

Mark it down on your calendars or in your day planners. Pencil it in for 2:00 p.m. Block out the rest of the day.

May 10 after 2:00 PM will be a tough time for liberal economists, who will badly need of a hug. That’s because from that point on, they will have to deal with the reality of April 2007′s Monthly Treasury Statement. Barring a very big surprise, the revenue gusher contained therein should blow the myth that supply-side tax cuts don’t lead to increases in tax receipts out of the water once and for all.

How do I know? Well, I’m not absolutely, positively, totally, 100% sure, but I’m awfully close.

What the chart below shows is that with two reporting days remaining in April (the 27th and 30th), the total of the three biggest categories of federal receipts, net of refunds, is on track to come in over 15% higher than April of 2006 (and an astonishing 18% jump is not outside the realm of possibility):

DTSandMTS042607

Sources and explanation:
- All of April 2006 — April 28, 2006 Daily Treasury Statement (DTS; last business day of 2006.
- April 1- 26, 2007 — April 26, 2007 DTS

- Monthly total for April 2006 — April 2006 figure reported in March 2007 MTS
- It is assumed that all other April 2007 taxes will come in at the same total as April 2006.
- The estimates for all of April 2007 took April 26′s data and added estimates for two additional days’ collections to each, based roughly on how those taxes came in during the last two days of April 2006. Based on how collections have come in during April thus far, these estimates are arguably conservative.

The reason I’m not absolutely, positively, totally, 100% sure (but awfully close) is that I haven’t figured out how to reconcile the last DTS in given month to a related MTS. I have a call in to someone at Treasury who can hopefully explain it, but I won’t be surprised if I don’t get a callback. If I do learn how they tie in and have time (two dubious ifs), I will attempt to do a full-month tie-in for all of April during the first few days of May to get a jump on Treasury’s official release. Anyone else who can save me the trouble is welcome to comment or e-mail me with full credit given.

So, unless I’m not correct to be absolutely, positively, totally, 100% sure (but awfully close), our unfortunate liberal economist friends will have to answer some very uncomfortable questions after it all becomes official at 2:00 PM on May 10. Some of them will include:

  • How can tax collections be going up so much when GDP growth during the past year hasn’t been anything special?
  • Why haven’t the Bush tax cuts, especially the investment-related ones of 2003, led to the decreases in collections we predicted back then?
  • Since Income and Employment Taxes Not Withheld have increased so dramatically, and because we know that this collections in this category primarily come from “the rich,” how are we going to break it to our friends in Congress and the Formerly Mainstream Media that we don’t have to “soak the rich,” because they are allowing themselves to get soaked already?
  • What are we going to tell those soon-to-be-former friends in Congress and Old Media when they come to us and ask for projections of how much additional money can be collected if tax rates are increased, when we now know that what will increase revenues even more is another tax-rate CUT (see Ireland, Iceland, Hong Kong, and Estonia [third item at link])?

So have your open arms, and your shoulders to cry on, ready for your liberal economist friends at the appointed hour. Stay with them the rest of the day to make sure they don’t do anything rash. They’ll need the sympathy — followed by a conversion exercise.

It looks like you’ll have a year or so to prepare for another traumatic day the hopefully few remaining liberal economists will probably have to face — Reported Deficit Break-Even Day.

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UPDATE: Holy moly — Brian Wesbury is predicting $390 billion, a mind-bending 25% increase, and he delivers this gem:

As in the 1990s, revenue is being lifted by a productivity-driven surge in incomes, profits, and rising equity prices. As people earn higher incomes, a larger share of their income gets taxed at higher marginal rates – a tax hike without new legislation. Those who argued that the tax cuts in 2001-03 would create deficits as far as the eye could see are being proven wrong. And, unlike the 1990s, the budget will be balanced without the help of a post-Cold War “peace dividend.”

UPDATE 2: The Net from Identified Sources went from $306.2 billion to $311.9 billion on Friday, April 27. $19 billion in collections was largely offset by much larger than (I) anticipated additional refunds of $13.3 billion. Given that extra money usually comes in on Mondays because of the effect of two mail days (Saturday and Monday), I’d say the $327.1 billion projected in this post’s table will be reached, or very nearly reached, in tomorrow’s April 30 report.
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Selected Previous Posts:
- Feb. 13 — What Happens If a Deficit Falls and Almost No One Reports It?
- Feb. 12 — January’s Treasury Report: Supply-Side Econ Rocks On; Surplus in FY09 Appears to Be More Than Possible
- Jan. 12, 2007 — Treasure This: The Deficit is Down by Almost 1/3 from Last Year
- Oct. 8, 2006 — The Federal Budget Deficit: Bush Benchmark Achieved, Ignored
- Oct. 6 — The Best-Kept Secret in Washington The USA
- May 10 — Voodoo Schmoodoo Redux: Supply-Side Econ Works Yet Again
- Jan. 13 — Voodoo Schmoodoo

Every City with a Violent Crime Problem Should Have a ‘Most Potentially Dangerous’ List

The “controversy” surrounding Cincinnati’s “1,500 most dangerous criminals,” which the Cincinnati Enquirer (NOT the compilers) re-dubbed “a list of 1,500 likely murderers,” is totally bogus, as seen in the description of how it was compiled:

Neighborhood crime activist Chris Kearney created the list using a computer program to ferret out all people in Hamilton County who’ve committed a violent crime in the past 12 months and who also have a prior conviction for a gun or drug crime. He came up with those as predictors after analyzing recent homicides.

In other words, Kearney combed through public data. Any blogger or reporter with a little programming knowledge could have done the same thing and published it, perfectly legally.

Jim Borgman’s likening of the group’s efforts to McCarthyism is an absolute disgrace.

Rather than questioning the propriety of Kearney and the bipartisan group of politicians behind him doing this, the community should be thanking them — and wondering why the Police Department or the Safety Division didn’t do this years ago.

I also wonder: How many of those hyperventilating over a dangerous criminals list compiled from public data have previously had absolutely no problem with the efforts by agenda-driven Ohio reporters to make public the names of all concealed-carry permit holders, which the Legislature clearly intended to keep from public scrutiny?

Media Ignore John Conyers’s Breathtaking DDT Ignorance

Imagine a conservative congressperson doing something this unhinged and not getting raked over the coals in the press (Wall Street Journal link requires subscription):

Tuesday was Africa Malaria Day, and Michigan Representative John Conyers marked the event by inviting something called the Pesticide Action Network to Capitol Hill to denounce DDT as an unsafe malaria intervention. What was he thinking?

Malaria, which is spread through mosquito bites, kills about a million people annually, mostly children and pregnant women in Africa. We’re not sure where the House Judiciary Chairman got his medical expertise, but he won’t reduce that death toll by promoting disinformation about DDT and malaria prevention. And at taxpayers’ expense, no less.

PAN and a shrinking band of other activist know-nothings insist that employing DDT against malaria is “especially dangerous for developing infants and children,” but there is no scientific basis to the claim. Zip.

….. The World Health Organization, the Global Fund and the U.S. Agency for International Development have overcome this hostility and endorsed DDT as a safe and effective tool for fighting malaria. Even environmentalist groups, such as the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace, that once deplored DDT have piped down.

But not John Conyers, who is lost in a time warp.

Hey John: It’s 2007, not 1967. DDT is A-OK.

The web site of Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) has a “Truth Sheet” (PDF) dated April 23 that is largely a comical exercise in non-science. But it also crosses the line by not so subtly portraying those who wish to have DDT used to fight malaria as race traitors. It’s not easy to get a reinforcement of that offensive point, the names of George Bush and Karl Rove, an unnamed reference to Valerie Plame, and the war in Iraq all into one sentence, but PANNA’s Truth Sheet pulls it off:

CORE’s 2005 Martin Luther King celebration honored “Green Revolution” scientist Norman Borlaug and Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s election strategist, recently under criminal investigation for his role in “outing” a CIA agent whose husband disagreed with the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Google News searches on “Conyers Pesticide Action Network” and “Conyers Africa Malaria Day” (both searches done without quote marks) confirm that the Wall Street Journal’s editorial is the only coverage anywhere of Conyers’ craziness, and his association with a group that is on the fringe even by environmentalist standards.

It must be nice to have the Formerly Mainstream Media ignore you when you jump the shark.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: Fire Rescue Hero Praised

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From the UK (HT Good News Blog):

Fire rescue hero praised
8:40am Wednesday 11th April 2007

A YOUNG dad was hailed a hero after fighting back flames and smoke to rescue a two-year-old boy.

Darren Miller, aged 18, leapt into action when he discovered a neighbour’s house in Fortune Street, Great Lever, was on fire.

Mr Miller found toddler Keanu Joyce semi-conscious on the first floor hallway of the house after running to his aid.

The boy’s distraught mum, Terri, aged 23, had already rescued her other son, three-month-old, Brandon, from the blaze, but burned her arm and face in the process.

Firefighters believe the blaze was sparked by the toddler playing with a lighter in his bedroom.

Bolton Central watch manager Kevin O’Connor said: “This was a very close call and I think it’s a miracle no one died.

“Darren saved the child’s life and for someone so young and inexperienced his actions were truly exceptional.

“From what we understand, Keanu managed to get his hands on a cigarette lighter and set fire to his play pen.

“I only hope this incident will drive home the necessity of having a working smoke alarm, which we will provide and install free of charge.”

Keanu’s mother and grandmother Wendy Bogart, aged 42, were sleeping when the fire broke out at 8am yesterday in a back bedroom shared by Keanu and Brandon.

The young mum managed to rescue her baby son, who was sleeping in a Moses basket by the bedroom door but was unable to find Keanu.

Beaten back by the flames and suffering from burns to her face and arms, she fled the house.

She alerted neighbour Mr Miller to the blaze and he raced across the road to carry out the dramatic rescue.

Mr Miller, who hopes to become a firefighter, said: “Terri was hysterical. It all happened very quickly.

“There was thick black smoke and I could just about see Keanu at the top of the stairs. I covered my face with a cloth, ran in, grabbed him and brought him outside.”

The brave teenager then went back into the house, closed the bedroom door and put towels down to contain the fire.

All four family members were taken by ambulance to The Royal Bolton Hospital suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.

Brandon was admitted to hospital and was last night said to be in a stable condition. The other family members were released.

Mr Miller, who is currently working as a painter and decorator, and has a five-month-old daughter, Nicha, said: “It was instinctive to go in, it just had to be done. They are like family to me.”