May 12, 2007

This IBD Recitation Should Be Required Reading

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:44 pm

Last weekend, I quoted the portion of this Investors Business Daily editorial that warned of the consequences of raising taxes as much as is being proposed in some quarters in Washington (and at least one presidential candidate wants to go further).

It seems like a good idea to recite how impressive the recovery from the dual shocks of the NASDAQ/dot-com bubble and 9/11 have been, and how proposed tax increases put all of that in jeopardy, as an earlier portion of the IBD editorial did:

No question: The year 2001 marked a major break for the economy, with one of the largest hits ever to the wealth of Americans.

It could have been an epic disaster. But it wasn’t. Bush did exactly the right thing — though he’s still criticized for it today. To get the economy moving again, he pushed through tax cuts in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

Some 113 million people got an average tax cut of $2,216. Families with children got even more — $2,864 on average.

Since the last round of cuts in 2003, we’ve had the quietest, and most significant, boom in wealth, income and profits in our history. This explains why the economy, to the surprise of economists and the chagrin of liberal pundits, keeps humming. We’ve gone over the numbers before, but they bear repeating. Since 2002:

• Real gross domestic product has soared $1.64 trillion, or 16.5%, during a five-year stretch that has yet to see a downturn and that has witnessed average annual growth of 3%.
• Disposable personal income — what’s left after taxes — has jumped $2.16 trillion, or 29%, to $9.68 trillion.
• Productivity, the fuel for future standards of living, has improved 14.3%.
• Overall employee compensation has expanded 4% a year.
• Net wealth, the amount people would have after paying off their debts, has swelled $15.2 trillion, or 38%, to $55.6 trillion. That gain in just five years is more than the total wealth amassed in the first 210 years of America’s existence — an unprecedented surge.
• About 69% of Americans now own their homes, an all-time high.
• The jobless rate, now at 4.4%, remains below its 40-year average. Since August 2003, 7.8 million new jobs have been created.
• Tax receipts have surged 43%, or $757.6 billion, again thanks to economic growth.

The editorial was written before the April 2007 Monthly Treasury statement reporting an all-time record for single-month receipts was released.

With that report out, it’s clear that the tax-receipt surge is even more remarkable than IBD indicated, because it has actually taken place in a much shorter amount of time. The $2.56 trillion receipts total during the 12 months ended April 30, 2007 is $762 billion, or 42% higher, than receipts for the same 12-month period in 2004, only three years ago — a compound growth rate during that time period of 12.5%.

Now, if Congress and the President could only rein in spending, leave the existing tax system intact for the next couple of years until the end of 2008, and make the 2001 and 2003 cuts permanent so as not to shake up the financial markets (I would be concerned that investors will start reacting negatively if they believe that the cuts will be allowed to expire). Leaving things as is until the next president is sworn in should set the stage for another supply-side tax cut that would include totally eliminating the AMT in 2009. Why not? History shows that further cuts will lead to more revenue and more economic growth.

Who will be the first GOP candidate to recognize the opportunity to build on Bush’s economic success, instead of merely basking in its glow, by making further cuts a part of his platform?

BHOO’s Tornado Gaffe Excuse Recalls Another ‘Tired’ Story: The Clinton Pardons

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:49 am

BHOO, What Are You Whining About?

We are talking here about Barack Hussein “Obambi” Obama. That’s BHOO around here.

BHOO’s boohooing is really weak:

Barack Obama, caught up in the fervor of a campaign speech Tuesday, drastically overstated the Kansas tornadoes (sic) death toll, saying 10,000 had died. The death toll was 12.

….. As the Illinois senator concluded his remarks a few minutes later, he appeared to realize his gaffe. “There are going to be times when I get tired,” he said. “There are going to be times when I get weary. There are going to be times when I make mistakes.”

If BHOO plays the tiredness card too often, someone besides me is going to remember the last Democratic disaster that was passed off as a product of fatigue, i.e., the Clinton pardons:

Add the factor of fatigue. Newsweek’s Debra Rosenberg reported how little sleep (Bill) Clinton got during his final days in the White House. The fatigue was in large part the product of still another factor, this reported by Stephen Braun and Richard Serrano of The New York Times: Clinton was convinced that compared to presidents like Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, he had pardoned too few people. He worried that the Justice Department was too slow and too spare in its recommendations for clemency. So he was pushing the White House staff and himself to handle more of the work. As the word got out that the White House was playing a larger role in the granting of pardons, applications poured in. Too much work and too little time produced fatigue and bad judgment.

Puh-leeze. When’s the last time a conservative or a Republican got to cop out so easily, and get a press pass to boot, for an ignorant statement or a series of indefensible actions because of being “tired,” or “weary,” or because of “fatigue”?

Given the history, it’s hard to escape how ironic it is that former president Clinton’s spouse recently informed an audience how she is “no ways tired.”

And it’s reasonable to ask how many favor-seeking liberals will be able to roll BHOO in the final days of his presidency they way they rolled Bill Clinton.

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UPDATE: Robert Novak observes — “Sen. Hillary Clinton’s upward bump in Democratic presidential polls is viewed by insiders as a delayed reaction to Sen. Barack Obama’s mediocre performance in the opening debate April 26.” Add in BHOO’s boo-boo on CAFE (“Japanese cars average 45 miles per gallon”; yes, it’s a gaffe; more on that here – go to the 5-12 update, and we’re talking about a really bad couple of weeks for “Barack the Magic Negro” (here’s another link if the first one goes away). May 13 — also see Powerline’s fisk of the 45 mpg nonsense.

UPDATE 2: The New York Daily News’s editorialists are also not amused.

Positivity: Tiny ‘miracle’ baby Carolina goes home

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:56 am

From Guyana:

Saturday, May 5th 2007

Few pre-term babies in Guyana manage to survive, particularly if they are born at younger than 28 weeks, but Carolina’s situation is nothing short of a miracle.

She was born at 26 weeks and endured endless complications that repeatedly led to loss of hope among the medical team taking care of her.

But her mother kept the faith and prayed continuously for her survival. After more than three months in hospital, Carolina was discharged yesterday. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.