April 20, 2009

If You Don’t Think There’s a Collections Train Wreck in Progress ….

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:53 pm

…. think again:


(Sources: April 17, 2009; April 30, 2008; April 17, 2008)

April thus far has been nothing short of horrible.

Based on how the items above behaved last year, how slow collections have been this year, and the fact that only 10 9 business days remain in the month (13 days are gone), you’d have to be a wild-eyed optimist to think that Uncle Sam will collect $280 billion by month’s end. My guess is that it will be closer to $250 billion (my guesses by line item: $135 + $26 + $130 + $10 – $90 + $30 in all other receipts = $251), and it could conceivably be at lot less than that. I’m not even sure if sub-$220 bil is out of the question.

Raise your hand if you think the Congressional Budget Office expects a $120 billion-plus shortfall in April compared to last year, let alone a possible $150 billion or worse decline.

Answer: No way –The top numbers represent the White House’s estimates, and the bottom is CBO’s (obtained at the “Budget Projections” link at this page):


If April somehow comes in at the (unlikely) high end of $280 billion, year-to-date receipts will be $1.27 trillion. To reach CBO’s full-year collection estimate, Uncle Sam will have to collect about $890 billion — or $178 billion a month. At $212 billion, average monthly collections in the last five months of fiscal 2008 (ignoring the “negative receipt” treatment of the stimulus checks) were barely half of April’s. For the CBO to hit its $178 billion average collections target for May – September 2009, receipts are going to have to average about 63% of April’s total. That would appear unlikely.

April receipts have to be way behind what CBO projected based on its static economic assumptions.

I wonder why?

$100 Million in Savings? He’s Kidding, Right?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:49 pm

$100 million. He thinks he’s serious.

But it is indeed “comically small.”

More tax dollars were spent while President ‘Prompter, his spokesman, and his speechwriters were talking about it and announcing it than the amount of savings promised. It would have been more effective to just “x” out any one of God knows how many stimulus package line items worth that amount or more.

Through six months, the federal government spent $1.947 trillion, or about $10.7 billion each and every calendar day. In a 10-hour day (seven days a week), that’s $1.07 billion per hour, or $107 million every six minutes. President ‘Prompter and apparatchiks spent far more than 6 person-minutes drafting the statement, loading it in the teleprompter (if applicable), delivering it, and taking questions about it.

This redefines fiddling while Rome burns.


UPDATE: Context — Obama announced last week that he was ordering the government to buy 17,000-plus US-made cars ahead of schedule to help the auto companies to make GM’s and Chrysler’s business situations look better than they really are. The $285 million bill for that buying (and parking?) decision is almost three times what Obama’s cabinet is suposedly “saving.”

Lucid Links (042009, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:40 am

Noteworthy Net-Worthies:

“(SC Congressman Gresham) Barrett booed at Greenville Tea Party” (HT Hot Air). Wow. Lefties pretending that this is some kind of GOP/Fox News plot will be giving this the “la-la-la, I can’t hear anything” treatment.

Speaking of people who supported the original TARP bailout, I hope there are legitimate sensible constitutionalists (my term describing a person who is genuinely conservative) out there in each and every congressional district in Ohio ready to challenge each and every congressional incumbent who voted for TARP, the mislabeled “stimulus” package, or both. My review of the roll call votes (TARP; stimulus) indicates that these Ohio congressmen let us down once or twice: Driehaus (1st), Schmidt (2nd), Wilson (6th), Boehner (8th), Kaptur (9th), Kucinich (10th), Fudge (11th), Tiberi (12th), Sutton (13th), Kilroy (15th), Boccieri (16th), Ryan (17th), Space (18th). Yes, that includes ordinarily great American John Boehner, who blew it on TARP.

Speaking of the trap known as TARP, there’s this from the Financial Times — “Strong banks will be allowed to repay bail-out funds they received from the US government but only if such a move passes a test to determine whether it is in the national economic interest, a senior administration official has told the Financial Times.” Translation: “We’re still trying to think up ‘good’ (i.e., politically palatable) reasons not to accept repayments.”

Speaking again of the trap known as TARP, there’s this from the New York Times (“U.S. May Convert Banks’ Bailouts to Equity Share”) — “While the option appears to be a quick and easy way to avoid a confrontation with Congressional leaders wary of putting more money into the banks, some critics would consider it a back door to nationalization, since the government could become the largest shareholder in several banks.” It isn’t a “back door” to nationalization if Uncle Sam owns a majority share; it IS de facto nationalization.

Also, there’s this from the NYT — “The administration’s central revenue proposal — limiting the value of affluent Americans’ itemized deductions, including the one for charitable giving — fell flat in Congress, leaving the White House, at least for now, without $318 billion that it wants to set aside to help cover uninsured Americans.” Wait until they see now much more money they’re doing without thanks to administration’s determination to show us how supply-side econ works in reverse.

Even more refutation of globaloney (HT Benny Peiser’s daily e-mail) — “ICE is expanding in much of Antarctica, contrary to the widespread public belief that global warming is melting the continental ice cap.”

Finally, a noteworthy anniversary — Did you know that it’s been two years since Harry Reid told us that the war in Iraq was lost? We’re still waiting for the “I was wrong, I am sorry,” Harry –

Positivity: High school students sacrifice spring break to assist hurricane victims

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Denver, Colorado:

Apr 4, 2009 / 01:38 pm (CNA)

“Come, be my light” was God’s call to Mother Teresa more than 50 years ago. Seventeen students and four adults from Bishop Machebeuf High School in Denver felt the same call last week, to help those in need in Galveston, Texas. The island off the southwestern coast of the state was devastated by Hurricane Ike in mid-September 2008, causing massive destruction, unseen in the historic city since 1900.

The mission trip included a balance of work and prayer: each day students prayed the Liturgy of the Hours, went to Mass together and also spent around seven hours working on various sites. They moved from house to house throughout the week cleaning, removing trees and debris, rebuilding, restoring, and painting.

Br. Paul Kostka, Machebeuf teacher and head of campus ministry remarked that his favorite part of the trip “was being able to assist a young mother whose house had to be rebuilt from the ground up.”

Alex Gomez, a senior who also participated in the trip was impressed by the mind-set of the hurricane victims saying: “It was amazing that these people, who have suffered for so long and have lost so much, remain joyous, hospitable, and hopeful.” ….

Go here for the rest of the story.