March 30, 2010

Sandy O’Brien to Speak at Anderson Tea Party Event

Filed under: Activism,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:19 pm

SandyOBrien0310Republican for Real and Secretary of State candidate Sandy O’Brien, whom Matt Hurley of Weapons of Mass Discussion and I had the pleasure of interviewing a few weeks ago on TIB radio, will be speaking at the Anderson Tea Party event on April 8. The full event goes from 7-9 p.m., and is in the Anderson High School cafeteria.

Sandy is the SOS candidate who defeated the favored GOP primary candidate of ORPINO (the Ohio Republican Party In Name Only) when she ran for Treasurer in 2006. Jon Husted, who claims to be pro-life, endorsed O’Brien’s pro-abort opponent that year.

Sandy is also the SOS candidate who isn’t pretending as an Ohio State Senator to represent a district where he doesn’t live (I have visited the Kettering house where Husted allegedly “splits his time.” Anyone doing so would conclude, as I have, that Husted doesn’t spend more than very minimal time there; nothing the courts have decided alters that). That SOS candidate engaging in this deceptive behavior is the completely unacceptable Jon Husted.

Sandy O’Brien is also the SOS candidate who is NOT proposing to the make the state’s redistricting procedures less transparent and more vulnerable to political manipulation by unelected officials. The SOS candidate doing that is the completely unacceptable Jon Husted.

GM Financial Shakeup, a Conflicted Hire, and Delayed Reporting Either Not or Barely News at AP

GovernmentMotors0609Yesterday, Government/General Motors announced changes in its financial management team.

Chris Liddell, who himself just started at GM in January, brought on a new VP to be involved with its pension investments. More interestingly, he hired a new VP and Treasurer with an interesting background (bold is mine):

During his 11 years at Morgan Stanley (head of Industrials Investment Banking), (Daniel) Ammann was instrumental in many high profile assignments spanning a variety of technology, service, and manufacturing clients. His diverse experience in mergers, acquisitions, raising capital, and restructuring includes leading Morgan Stanley’s banking team in advising GM on its restructuring and sale pursuant to Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

How convenient.Morgan Stanley helped GM file for bankruptcy, during which the Obama administration engaged in heavy-handed disparate treatment of non-TARP secured creditors during the bankruptcy process.

Oh, and did I forget to note that GM won’t submit its audited financial statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission until about two weeks after the deadline for normal companies (note the “not to worry” tone at the link)?

A search on the company’s name at the Associated Press’s main site as of about 2 PM ET indicates that the wire service has ignored the management shake-up. It did so a story yesterday on the financial statement delay containing all of five paragraphs (presented in full for fair use and discussion purposes):

APonGMlateFinancials032910

Note that the report never mentions that the company is government-controlled, or that the government has pumped at least $50 billion into it.

The unbylined report also lets GM slide by on its excuse about fair value determination. With all due respect, guys, the company has had almost nine months since it emerged from bankruptcy to get it right — and though it isn’t easy, the task isn’t tough enough to justify that delay, especially since fair value is normally based on the date the company emerged and is typically not subject to subsequent adjustment.

Absent a smoking-gun e-mail, no one will ever be able to prove this, but the delay from here looks to be motivated by something other than the need for precision. Perhaps the company is trying to delay the inevitable bad news (if it is indeed bad) as long as possible. Or it could be that the government’s car czars have decided that releasing the financials on about April 15 might cause them to get less press and public attention because of other big news stories. It looks like the AP is set to cooperate.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Priorities of the IRS ‘Health-Care Police’; The Individual Mandate Will Not Be Where the Money Is

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:13 pm

The real money will be in finding even small amounts of unreported income, and in deciding who is and isn’t “married.”

_________________________________________________________

William McGurn makes some good points today in his WSJ column (may require subscription) on the enforcement of ObamaCare’s individual health care mandate:

There’s no way to afford expensive provisions such as forcing insurance companies to cover people with, say, pre-existing conditions unless millions of healthy people who won’t need insurance are forced to pay into the system. With the mandate, the government gets more healthy people into the risk pool—and with the penalty it gets their money whether they buy coverage or not.

… The original House bill opened the door for criminal sanctions against Americans who didn’t buy health insurance and pay the penalty. The Senate bill did the same until Sen. John Ensign (R., Nev.) successfully pushed to amend the bill. Even so, the final language begs the question … Who’s going to enforce the mandate, and how?

It’s more than a theoretical proposition. Approximately one in six drivers goes without auto insurance, according to the Insurance Research Council, even though most states require it.

McGurn’s work is helpful, but it misses the point of tax-law enforcement: raising the most in revenues at the least cost.

Enforcing the individual mandate won’t be where the money is. According to a John Cassady blog post at the New Yorker, we’re talking $750 or so for each person who doesn’t buy coverage beginning in 2016.

That’s chump change.

This table shows that the real money to be had (i.e., the subsidies to be recovered) will be:

OCareSubsidies033010withMarriage

(The examples presented involve couples earning equal incomes who have no children, and are based on analysis work done by Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation based on the Senate health care bill as of January; Rector used the Kaiser Family Foundation’s subsidy calculator as a starting point and where necessary did additional work to calculate the married-couple subsidies and to estimate the subsidizing impact of other provisions of the law. The numbers resulting from the law passed by Congress and signed by the President last week do not materially differ.)

As illustrated, the real money the IRS will be on the prowl for will involve:

  • (Orange and purple boxes) Finding middle-income and upper middle-income people who are under-reporting income even by a small amount to avoid losing their ObamaCare subsidies. The purple boxes represent situations where the subsidy lost is over 100% of the additional income gained. The orange boxes show where the subsidy lost is “only” 80% or more.
  • (Blue boxes) Finding middle-income and upper middle-income people who say they are single or cohabiting to keep their ObamaCare subsidies when they are really still “legally” married, or “divorced” and still living together. The disincentives to marry and the incentive to divorce, especially for couples in their 50s and early 60s, is self-evident from the table.

I covered the disincentive effects of the first item in my most recent column.

As to the marriage/cohabitation issue, some background about marriage if there is no license or ceremony is here. It seems that in general a cohabiting couple can maintain their individual status as “singles” for legal purposes no matter how long they live together, and that the government currently can’t challenge them, unless that couple goes out into the world and pretends to be legally married.

A significant trend towards cohabitation and away from marriage (something that has been occurring for decades and would probably accelerate given the above incentives to stay single), accompanied by an increase in divorces driven by the subsidies that would be available for doing so, would cause billions in unanticipated ObamaCare subsidies to flow out of the Treasury.

To solve these two enforcement problems, absent repeal, it is not unreasonable to predict that:

  • The IRS will leverage its new access to everyone’s bank accounts in search of activity that looks like it relates to unreported income. In some cases, at least based on info generated out of the Kaiser calculator, finding even a few dollars in unreported income could trigger subsidy losses of over $10,000.
  • Legislation and/or regulations will evolve that will define what being “married” is for ObamaCare purposes. It has the potential to be every bit as complex as the guidance for when a person is or isn’t an employee for tax purposes. (Aren’t these the same people who say that the government has no business peeking into our bedrooms?)

The IRS resources devoted to enforcement would necessarily have to be very significant. 16,500 additional agents seems like a ridiculously low estimate of the projected “need.”

Insulting Our Intelligence

Filed under: 2nd Amendment,Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:35 am

Worst example of shameless pandering, at least in Ohio — ever:

Former U.S. Senator and current Ohio attorney general candidate Mike DeWine will soon be able to pack heat.

“My wife and I are finishing up our course,” DeWine said on Saturday, March 27, at the Ohio Liberty Fair in Troy.

DeWine, a Cedarville Republican, said he and his wife are getting concealed carry permits once they finish the mandatory gun safety course.

Rather than rant, I’ll let the Buckeye Firearms Association explain (one-page PDF) why Mike and Fran DeWine’s sudden interest in carrying guns is hyper-hypocritical:

BuckeyeFirearmsAntiDewine2010

The same Dayton Daily News item contains strong evidence that the grandstanding isn’t fooling anyone:

DeWine was one of several Republican candidates who spoke at the fair, which was co-sponsored by the Dayton Tea Party and the Miami County Liberty Group.

About 100 people listened quietly to DeWine’s short speech, but his almost-opponent, Steve Christopher, received standing ovations.

More graphics-creative people than yours truly should start cranking out the Sheriff Mike cartoons.

Positivity: African American founder of New Orleans religious order declared venerable by Pope

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Vatican City:

Mar 28, 2010 / 01:07 am

Benedict XVI has approved the cause for the canonization of a Spanish religious sister and cleared the way for the beatification of eight other individuals. Among others advancing on the road to declared sainthood is Servant of God Henrietta Delille of New Orleans, who was declared to have lived a life of “heroic virtue.”

Sixteen new decrees regarding cases of possible saints were approved in the Vatican in a meeting between the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Archbishop Angelo Amato, and Pope Benedict on Saturday morning.

A miracle was approved for the cause Spanish sister Boniface Rodriguez Castro, foundress of the Congregration of the Missionary Servants of St. Joseph. According to Vatican Radio, she showed exemplary humility in her life, continuing to live with dignity and faith even after being sent away from the order she founded in support of working women, bearing the contempt of her fellow sisters and living a life of silence.

She was exonerated and recognized for her holiness only after her death in 1905.

Among the eight candidates now authorized for beatification are three 20th century martyrs: German diocesan priest, Fr. Gerhard Hirschfelder, who died in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau in 1942; Slovenian Luigi Grozde, lay member of the Catholic Action group who was killed “out of hate for the Faith” in 1943; and Bishop Szilard Bogdanffy of Romania who died in jail in 1953.

The single American to be recognized in this most recent round of decrees is Mother Henrietta Delille, foundress of the Louisiana-based Congregation of Sisters of the Holy Family. A free woman of African descent, Venerable Henrietta Delille started the African American congregation in 1842 with the goal of educating the children of slaves and caring for the sick, poor and elderly. …

Go here for the rest of the story.