March 31, 2009

Okay Romniacs, Explain THIS

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:24 pm

The transcript will follow later (maybe as late as tomorrow).

Here’s the headline and first few paragraphs at the Hill:

RomneyPraisesBHOonGM0309

Note well: There is NOT ONE WORD of criticism in the above, in the full article, or in the video at the link of President ‘Prompter’s heavyhanded, unprecedented, and clearly clearly extra-constitutional intervention in GM’s management.

Why should this surprise anyone? Mitt Romney “don’t need no stinkin’ Constitutions.” They only get in the way of him imposing his will on his peons.

Romney betrayed his alleged core beliefs at least twice while he was governor of Massachusetts, on same-sex “marriage” and tax-subsidized abortions. Both times he falsely cited constitutional constraints that not only weren’t there, but were in fact the opposite of what he claimed. In doing so, he has shown that, like the White House’s current occupant, he is Objectively Unfit to be president.

Romney’s support of Obama’s actions at General Government Motors betrays the likelihood that he would expect similar latitude to do as he pleases as President. What else could possibly explain his willingness to overlook Rick Wagoner’s sacking?

The following is the short list of Romney fans who had about 36 hours to criticize Obama for what he did before Romney went on CNN early this morning. Many have, or are surely about to: Ann Coulter; Mark Levin (I heard him rip into Obama last night), Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity (I heard him rip into Obama yesterday afternoon).

If we don’t hear them criticize Romney quickly, and strongly, it will be difficult to continue to take them seriously, or at least not to assume that they operate with a blind spot that is potentially lethal to sensible, constitution-based conservatism as we know it.

Hugh Hewitt, as usual, is keeping his principle-free options open, warning us against “falling into a fever.” This is the same Hugh Hewitt who was okey-dokey with Tax Cheat and Proven Liar Tim Geithner getting the wave-through, and, five years ago, sticking with Arlen Specter, whose support made passing the POS (Pork Over-Stuffed) stimulus bill possible, instead of Pat Toomey in the 2004 Pennsylvania primary. How are those go-along get-alongs working out, Hugh?

Hewitt’s posture is reason to expect no meaningful outcry from mainstream $ocial con$ervatives.

There’s a lot of deadly silence out there. It’s not only on what Obama has done, which is bad enough. But to see the GOP’s second-most recognized figure selling out what we hold dear is really, really hard to take.

______________________________________________

UPDATE, April 1: Here’s a transcript –

Romney: I think a lot of people expected the president just to cave and to write a big check, and just hope for the better. I’m glad that he’s expressing some backbone on this and saying to those guys, “Hey, you’ve gotta get your house in order or you guys are gone. You’re going to go to bankruptcy.” That’s something I think he should have said months ago. There were a numbers of us who said that bankruptcy or a bankruptcy-like process was something that was needed to get GM and Chrysler, y’know, on their feet again. But by the way, kudos to Ford for running itself independently and apparently making a go of it on its own.

CNN Host: Now let me just bring you back to what you were saying about bankruptcy. In fact, you offered to call him on it. You said, quote, “In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.” Do you still think that that’s the best idea, to allow these companies to go into bankruptcy, restructure, then emerge?

Romney: Well it’s clear that just writing checks is not the answer. It really keeps the bondholders and the UAW and other stakeholders from taking the necessary haircuts that allow these companies to be competitive. You either have to go through a bankruptcy process, a pre-packaged bankruptcy, or special legislation giving an entity the power to get these companies through these difficult times. Or, if the parties want to do it voluntarily, great, but if they can’t do that — and apparently at this stage it’s looking like they haven’t been able to — then you’re going to have to have that kind of a club to get these companies to be able to restructure their excessive costs.

CNN Host: A couple of minutes ago, Jon Stewart made the joke about the government backing warranties here. The government’s gotten involved in so many things, backing warranties, guaranteeing bank accounts, buying up toxic assets. There was an interesting line in the New York Times this morning, quote, it said, “It means that the government is not only the ultimate guarantor of saving accounts and insurance policies – it will also cover that blown transmission.” The question that I had, in the next 30 days is, why would anyone but a Chrysler product, and in the next 60 days why would anyone but a General Motors product when they don’t know what the future of these companies is going to be, regardless of whether the government is backing the warranties?

Romney: Well, that’s in fact that’s why a number of folks, myself included, pointed out, said last November, “Don’t just write checks.” Because you’re sealing the fate of these companies, unless you help them restructure. Give confidence to the American people that they’re going to be here forever. If you don’t do that, well, just putting $17 billion into them is going to be wasted, and also, ultimately, seal their fate. You’ve got to get these companies back on a track where it shows that they can be successful and viable. That can only happen if they’re fundamentally restructured. Just writing checks, just saying you’re going to protect warranties, that’s not enough.

CNN Host: …. Mary Matalin thinks you’re going to be run again in 2012. You’re doing some things that many people believe would lay the foundation for a run in 2012. Would you this morning rule out a run for the presidency in 2012?

Romney: That is a horizon too far away to possibly speculate on. I love what Yogi Berra said. I can’t get it exactly right, but it’s something like this: “I don’t like forecasting, particularly if the future’s involved.”

Voting With His Feet: Limbaugh Leaving New York, Illustrates Folly of Static Tax-Receipt Estimates

Rush Limbaugh0309.jpgThe budget put together in Albany by New York State lawmakers, packed with skyrocketing tax increases and new taxes, appears to have picked up some casualties two days before it goes into effect. The casualties are the coffers of the Empire State and the Big Apple, which will not be collecting anticipated tax revenue from talk king Rush Limbaugh very much longer.

Limbaugh announced his departure from the state on his program yesterday (link will work until next Monday afternoon):

….. Now, remember Mayor Bloomberg, who opposed this at one point — I don’t know where he stands on it now, but Mayor Bloomberg way back — said (summarized), “Look, we got eight million people that live here, there are 40 or 50,000 taxpayers — families, what have you — that pay so much in tax that they essentially support the city — and if they start to leave, we’ve got a big problem.” He said, “Even if 5,000 of them leave, we’ve got a huge problem. We just can’t run out there and keep raising taxes on the rich.” The governor, Mr. Paterson, didn’t hear him. “It’s not just people earning over $500,000 a year that are going to get hit. A lower-tier tax increase would increase taxes by 14-1/2 percent for single people between 250 and $500,000 a year, and for married and joint filers earning 300,000 to 500,000. Taxpayers now hit the current top rate of 6.85% when their incomes reach $65,000. The Paterson plan would tax top-tier earners at 8.97%, the second-tier earners at 7.85%.

…..There is no way Governor Paterson’s going to raise $4 billion a year on this. Because, folks, it’s axiomatic: when you raise taxes on an activity, you reduce that activity. People start doing that activity less. In this case: working. When you reduce taxes on an activity, then that activity increases. When you reduce taxes on income, people start working harder to earn more. Governor Paterson needs to cut taxes on people. He needs to spur investment. He needs to get people going and working. It’s just the exact opposite. Governor Paterson is like most other liberal Democrats: zero-sum game. The economy is a pie. It never grows. Somebody gets their slice; somebody gets their slice.

….. I would love to tell this story. I don’t think I should. I don’t think I should get personal, but I would love to tell my tax audit story of New York State and New York City since 1997. It happens every year, but that’s not the point. I have to prove 14 different ways where I am every day of the year. I have to prove 14 different ways, ’cause I pay New York state and city tax on a per diem.

When I am there working I pay whatever, you know, my rate is based on income for that day in New York. And I try to go as little as possible. If it weren’t for hurricanes down here, I would never go up there. New York is the escape valve in case hurricanes are showing up in our area, because of the loss of electricity. So I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to look for an alternative studio somewhere outside New York, perhaps Texas — another no-income-tax state — and I’m going to get the hell over there, when a hurricane starts coming our way, ’cause I told Mayor Bloomberg: I’ll be the first to lead the way. You know, this is just… I’ll sell my apartment. I’ll sell my condominium. I’m going to get out of there totally, ’cause this is just absurd, and it’s ridiculous — and it isn’t going to work. It’s punishing the achievers for the mistakes and the lack of discipline on the part of a bunch of corrupt politicians that have run that city and state into the ground for I don’t know how many years — and I, for one, am not going to take the blame for it.

This math is very rough, but based on Limbaugh’s announced deal with Clear Channel and his roughly 15 business days there a year, his allocated income to New York would, if it all has to be considered, at least $1.5 million. The state’s tax take on that at 9% would be about $135,000; the city would also whatever income tax revenue it thought it would collect. If Limbaugh chooses to move what remains of his New York operations elsewhere, the city and state will lose out on taxes from those workers too, at least as long as it takes for them to find other work. And who knows? They might vote with their feet too.

Limbaugh’s example is a microcosm of media failure, in this sense — almost no one in the media ever questions whether rosy forecasts of the revenue that is supposed to come in from tax and fee increases will ever materialize. They usually don’t. Michigan’s 2008 tax-increase story is just the latest example. Of course, press reports, like this alleged Associated Press analysis found at the Chicago Tribune, blame it all on the economy. Sorry folks, that’s not all of it.

I would invite El Rushbo to Ohio, but he’s looking for a no-income tax state. Then again, it seems that Ohio Governor T-Shirt Ted Strickland is planning to do the same thing by moving to no-income-tax Florida when his time is up — hopefully sooner rather than later.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Frank-ly Control Freaks: Congressional Committee Passes Bill Controlling ALL Pay at US-Involved Companies

ObamaAndGeithner0109And to think we were “only” worried about having a known Tax Cheat (and, for the purposes of this blog post and not the one at NewsBusters — a Proven Liar) overseeing everyone’s taxes.

With Barney Frank’s help, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is trying to expand his power (and by inference that of his Dear Leader boss) well beyond that. The “Pay for Performance Act,” which has already gotten out of committee, would give him veto power over salaries at every company into which the government has inserted its intrusive claws.

Besides the utter outrageousness of the news itself, the story leads to the question of how the establishment media will handle it. Whitewash it? Minimize its significance? Ignore it? Given the fact that the news is over a week old, I vote for a continuation of Door Number Three.

Byron York reports the following in the DC Examiner:

Beyond AIG: A Bill to let Big Government Set Your Salary

….. in a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the “Pay for Performance Act of 2009,” would impose government controls on the pay of all employees — not just top executives — of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.

The purpose of the legislation is to “prohibit unreasonable and excessive compensation and compensation not based on performance standards,” according to the bill’s language. That includes regular pay, bonuses — everything — paid to employees of companies in whom the government has a capital stake, including those that have received funds through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The measure is not limited just to those firms that received the largest sums of money, or just to the top 25 or 50 executives of those companies. It applies to all employees of all companies involved, for as long as the government is invested. And it would not only apply going forward, but also retroactively to existing contracts and pay arrangements of institutions that have already received funds.

In addition, the bill gives Geithner the authority to decide what pay is “unreasonable” or “excessive.” And it directs the Treasury Department to come up with a method to evaluate “the performance of the individual executive or employee to whom the payment relates.”

The bill passed the Financial Services Committee last week, 38 to 22, on a nearly party-line vote. (All Democrats voted for it, and all Republicans, with the exception of Reps. Ed Royce of California and Walter Jones of North Carolina, voted against it.)

Geez, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to extend Geithner’s reach to:

  • Any company with a Small Business Administration loan.
  • Any university with students who have borrowed money from the government to attend (i.e., almost every institution of higher learning in the US).
  • Any company whose employees use government services (i.e., an interstate highway or a subsidized mass-transit ride) to get to work.

That is, it’s not a very far trip to controlling everyone’s earnings.

Well, at least the self-employed won’t be affected …. Don’t count on that either. Tax Cheat Tim will probably want to control hourly rates and prices paid to vendors too.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

BizzyBlog exit question: Is it OK to call them Socialists yet? (/sarc)

British Enviro Adviser Calls for Halving UK’s Population; US Media Virtually Asleep

Jonathon-Porritt1108.jpgThere is plenty of evidence that many environmental activists are, at bottom, dangerous extremists who have deluded themselves into believing that the earth’s population must be radically reduced if humanity is to survive. There is also growing evidence that this far-out viewpoint is more widely accepted among so-called mainstream environmentalists than the establishment media would have us believe.

Occasionally, these views surface. Ted Turner, father of five, infamously asserted the need to reduce the earth’s population to 2 billion about a decade ago. He also expressed a stronger personal preference: “Personally, I think the population should be closer to when we had indigenous populations, back before the advent of farming. Fifteen thousand years ago, there was somewhere between 40 and 100 million people.” In the early 1990s, the late Jacques Cousteau suggested that “World population must be stabilized and to do that we must eliminate 350,000 people per day.” More recently, though less famously, at a Psychology Today blog, writer Stephen Kotter asserted “we need to lose 4.4 billion people and we need to lose them fast.”

But I don’t recall seeing an adviser to a government as prominent as the UK’s Jonathon Porritt publicly utter such sentiments. But utter them he has. The UK Times Online took note on March 22:

UK population must fall to 30m, says Porritt

JONATHON PORRITT, one of Gordon Brown’s leading green advisers, is to warn that Britain must drastically reduce its population if it is to build a sustainable society.

Porritt’s call will come at this week’s annual conference of the Optimum Population Trust (OPT), of which he is patron.

The trust will release research suggesting UK population must be cut to 30m if the country wants to feed itself sustainably.

….. Porritt is winning scientific backing. Professor Chris Rapley, director of the Science Museum, will use the OPT conference, to be held at the Royal Statistical Society, to warn that population growth could help derail attempts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Rapley, who formerly ran the British Antarctic Survey, said humanity was emitting the equivalent of 50 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.

“We have to cut this by 80%, and population growth is going to make that much harder,” he said.

….. Britain’s population is expected to grow from 61m now to 71m by 2031. Some politicians support a reduction.

The OPT’s core belief is on its home page:

The Optimum Population Trust believes that Earth may not be able to support more than half its present numbers before the end of this century, and that the UK’s long-term sustainable population level may be lower than 30 million. Research and policy are summarised on this website and available to all members in the OPT Journal.

The UK has created an independent Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), and Porritt is its chairman (the picture aobve is from that page). Yesterday, the SDC released “Prosperity without Growth? – The transition to a sustainable economy” (136-page PDF that can be downloaded at this web page). Porritt calls it the SDC’s “magnum opus.”

The report opens by telling us that the very idea of economic growth must be rejected:

Every society clings to a myth by which it lives. Ours is the myth of economic growth. For the last five decades the pursuit of growth has been the single most important policy goal across the world. The global economy is almost five times the size it was half a century ago. If it continues to grow at the same rate the economy will be 80 times that size by the year 2100.

This extraordinary ramping up of global economic activity has no historical precedent. It’s totally at odds with our scientific knowledge of the finite resource base and the fragile ecology on which we depend for survival.

….. The myth of growth ….. has failed the two billion people who still live on less than $2 a day. It has failed the fragile ecological systems on which we depend for survival. It has failed, spectacularly, in its own terms, to provide economic stability and secure people’s livelihoods.

That the awfulness of economic growth they so decry has lifted hundreds of millions out of dire poverty in the past 30 years, and that the technological improvements resulting from growth is what enabled them to disseminate their tripe to the rest of the world so quickly, doesn’t seem to register with these people.

But there you have it. At bottom, the “sustainability” wing of the environmental movement is about ending economic growth. Despite protestations to the contrary, declaring an end to economic growth would result in some combination of these three consequences:

  • Those in poverty would stay there, or die off.
  • Governments and/or international bodies would force the well-off to part with some or all of their resources as “the only way” to deal with that poverty (the die-off would occur after all that can be plundered has been plundered).
  • Governments and/or international bodies would impose coercive population controls, up to and including mandatory population reduction.

Despite Porritt’s worldwide reputation, US media coverage has been scant. A Google News search on Porritt’s full name in quotes comes back with only 11 items pegged to the Times Online story. Eight of those are from the US. Fox News excerpts that story. The only other listings inside the US include Rush Limbaugh (story #2 at link); Motley Fool; LifeSite News; Don Surber, who suggests that Porritt “can go first”; Moderate Voice; and two from an odd “news” source, Sustainability Ninja.

Searches on Porritt’s full name (not in quotes) at the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times return nothing currently relevant, nothing, and nothing, respectively.

Media coverage of the beliefs of “respectable” enviros like Porritt (he was director of Friends of the Earth from 1984-1990), and of radical yet clearly influential organizations like OPT, would undermine cap and trade and other environmentalist tax, regulatory, and personally oppressive policy agenda items dressed up as “eco-friendly.” I would suggest that this is why you don’t see very much of it.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lucid Links (033109, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:25 am

Noteworthy Net-Worthies:

From the New York Times’s David Sanger — “In essentially taking command of General Motors and telling Chrysler to merge with a foreign competitor or cease to exist, Mr. Obama was saying that economic conditions were sufficiently dire to justify a new level of government involvement in the management of corporate America.” That sort of echoes Rahm Emanuel’s (paraphrasing) “Never let a good crisis go to waste” meme, doesn’t it? Translation: Nobody’s safe.

At Mark Levin’s site, probably for the rest of the business day: “What part of the Constitution allows Obama to fire or force out a CEO, as in the case of General Motors? Would the Founding Fathers have endorsed this do you think? If there are no legal limits placed on people, then they have no reason to act right. We have a President and Congress that abuses its power, and it’s anything can go. Finally, when Obama goes to people for advice that have no idea or experience in what they’re supposed to fix, what kind of solution is that?” Somebody tell me why what Obama did is not an objective violation of his oath of office.

This from CNBC’s Jeff Pisani“And for everybody who says why haven’t they fired any more bank CEOs yet – why hasn’t the government done it, wait – they’re going to.” Because the government is so good at running financial schemes …. like Social Security, which in case you haven’t heard, is going to start generating annual deficits in two years or less.

Small victory — Terry Trippany at NewsBusters reports that a well-known domestic terrorist and friend of President ‘Prompter, one who, according to their police union, was allegedly involved in killing a San Francisco cop in 1970, will not be speaking at the Naperville, Illinois public high school where he was originally scheduled to appear. Nor will his domestic terrorist wife.

New York Times Spiked Obama Story” — because it would have been a presidential election “game-changer.” The Obama campaign provided ACORN its maximum donor list, a clearly illegal act, and certainly ironclad proof that the alleged separation between the two was non-existent. Much more background is here.

Kevin at Pundit Review — “Speak for Yourself, MSM, We Weren’t Fooled.”

“(Actress) Angie Harmon is not afraid to come out and say she doesn’t like how President Obama is handling the job — but she’s sick of having to defend herself from being deemed a racist.” It’s only just begun, babe. The worse he does, the worse it will become. This AP piece, noted by Warner Todd Huston at NewsBusters, is an early example of a piece that equates many clearly policy-based criticisms with racism.

At a new web site from our all-caring government — “Economic turmoil (e.g., increased unemployment, foreclosures, loss of investments and other financial distress) can result in a whole host of negative health effects – both physical and mental. It can be particularly devastating to your emotional and mental well-being. Although each of us is affected differently by economic troubles, these problems can add tremendous stress, which in turn can substantially increase the risk for developing such problems as Depression, Anxiety, Compulsive Behaviors (over-eating, excessive gambling, spending, etc.), Substance Abuse.” Gee, maybe Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid should have thought of the possible consequences of their actions before they decided to create the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy during June of last year.

Positivity: Two men catch toddler after 40-foot fall

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:10 am

From Lawrence, Masachusetts (HT to an e-mail from Kevin at Pundit Review):

Robert Lemire made a catch of a lifetime last night when a baby girl came tumbling out of a Lawrence window three floors up right into his outstretched arms.

“It happened so fast. I just hoped I wouldn’t miss,” said Lemire, 45, who works as a contractor.“I was on the phone talking to my friend about my daughter’s softball league when I saw the baby dangling … I just freaked out.”

Lemire told the Herald today he saw the baby hanging outside the window after seeing several toys fly out the same window, which he thought seemed abnormal.

Seeing the baby in peril, he ran across busy Haverhill Street, screaming for help as he dodged cars and causing curious 23-year-old Alex Day, who was in the middle of a bible study at the time, to emerge from the first floor of the building and follow the screams to the dangling baby.

Lemire, under the window at the time, had just finished explaining to Day what was going on when the baby fell from the third-story window into the arms of the two men.

“Alex got the top half and I got the bottom half,” said Lemire.

“These two guys are heroes. In this day and age when we are seeing such bad news, this is a great story,” said Lawrence Police Chief John Romero. ….

Go here for the rest of the story.