October 27, 2010

Speechless in Cincinnati …

Filed under: Activism,Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:45 am

Over this blatant use of public resources to promote political candidates (HT to Matt at WoMD):

CFTdriehaus102610 CFTstricklandKasich102610

COAST did find some words in an e-mail:

You really will not believe it. It is overt electioneering on behalf of democrats Steve Driehaus and Ted Strickland. COASTers may recall that the activists taking three van loads of CPS (Cincinnati Public School) students to the Board of Elections to vote democrat were wearing Driehaus campaign stickers and handing out democrat sample ballots.

COAST attorneys then inquired whether the abuse of school property for political purposes was going to spread to all CPS schools. CPS’ attorney responded:

CFT (Cincinnati Federation of Teachers) counsel confirms today that the materials at Western Hills Engineering were to be delivered by CFT building reps to all CPS schools for distribution to teachers through the mailbox. While we have not polled every school, we have no reason at this time to think that is not the case. Let me know if your client would like to reciprocate.

We know COASTers are speechless in reading this. We were speechless when our attorneys forwarded us these messages as well.

After a week of withering criticism in the media and from the public about the ice-cream-for-votes scandal, CFT and CPS are again shamelessly misusing government property for partisan political purposes. And the center of that political activity seems to be Congressman Steve Driehaus.

There appears to be no way to stop the use of CPS property before the election for political purposes. Rather than educate our children, CPS appears hopelessly dedicated to advancing the agenda of the ideological left — and to use our tax dollars in doing so.

The guess here is that CPS is not the only Ohio urban school district allowing this activity.

Reuters 3Q10 GDP Growth Prediction: Annualized +2.0%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:01 am

At this link:

Reuters3Q10GDPpredictions102610

So the primary consensus is +2.0%, and the “final sales” consensus is +1.2%, indicating a significant inventory build-up.

Looking back to May 2009, per AP:

The Fed expects the economy to grow next year between 2 and 3 percent. It should then pick up more speed in 2011, growing between 3.5 and 4.8 percent, according to the “central tendency” projections. The unemployment rate should drop to between 9 and 9.5 percent next year. It should dip to between 7.7 and 8.5 percent in 2011.

Private economists consider an unemployment rate around 5 percent to be normal. Some private economists don’t believe that will happen until 2013 and questioned the rosier overall outlook for next year.

If the 2.0% prediction for the third quarter holds (based on how previous quarters’ revisions during this administration have gone, it won’t), the economy will be on track for an annual number closer of about 2.4%-2.5% (the average of the first three quarters’ 3.7%. 2.0% and 1.7%). Unemployment is currently at the high end of the Fed’s projection.

I’d like to be wrong, but the prediction for 2011 growth of between 3.5% and 4.8% looks to be sheer fantasy unless the federal tax increases kicking in on January 1 after eight years of relative tax system stability (popularly referred to as “the Bush tax cuts expiring”) are completely prevented.

Speaking of probable fantasy, the Congressional Budget Office’s August 2009 Baseline Budget Outlook estimated that federal receipts in fiscal 2011 will be $2.717 trillion:

CBObaselineAugust2009

The trouble is, as noted in “Accelerating Towards the Abyss” early this morning, that fiscal 2010 receipts came in $102 billion below the $2.264 trillion predicted above. To get to CBO’s 2011 projection, receipts will have to increase by 26% ($2.717 divided by $2.162).

I think “not gonna happen” is a pretty safe statement. Meanwhile, spending spirals out of control.

Lucid Links (102710, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:26 am

At another post, commenter Large Bill pointed out that our Punk President has been ramping up the outrageous rhetoric in recent days. Indeed he has.

Ed Driscoll cites an AP report about an Obama speech in Rhode Island:

Now that progress has been made, he said, “we can’t have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don’t mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.”

I would hope that nobody misses the racist overtones in the remark. As Ed wrote: “Rosa Parks could not be reached for comment.”

Then there’s this:

But they are going to be paying attention to this election and if Latinos sit out the election instead of saying we’re going to punish our enemies and we’re going to reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us, if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s going to be harder and that’s I didn’t think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2nd.

This is racial profiling — Obama assumes that ALL Latinos (he didn’t say “my Latino supporters”) agree with him, his far-left agenda, and the need to “punish our enemies.” I guess if you are Latino and don’t buy in, you’re not a “real” Latino.

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Excuse me, I need to take a shower …

Okay, I’m back.

Here’s Howard Kurtz, in a report about Katie Couric:

She is touring what she calls “this great unwashed middle of the country” in an effort to divine the mood of the midterms.

Memo to CBS: Please re-sign her, so we can watch this condescending, arrogant, self-absorbed pretend journalist continue to wreck your evening newscast, causing more people to seek new media alternatives.

Comparing the weeks of October 16, 2006 and October 18, 2010, Perky Katie has lost 30% of her total audience (down from 7.56 million to 5.29 million) and 37% of the 25-54 demographic (down from 2.51 to 1.59).

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Ford announced a third-quarter profit of $1.7 billion.

At the link, Associated Press reporters Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krisher failed to tell us that the company’s revenues were $29.9 billion ($29.0 billion excluding special items), or that reported revenues and earnings per share before special items significantly exceeded analysts’ estimates. Seriously guys, you had over 700 words, and couldn’t find space for these fundamental points?

AP also described competitors General/Government Motors and Chrysler as having received “government aid,” but not as being government majority-owned and government-controlled, respectively.

My guess is that if GM has really good news to report, it will release it before Election Day; if not, it won’t. At the company’s web site, the news is that “There are currently no events scheduled.”

Update, Oct. 28: Another overlooked point at AP — “The company’s automotive revenue from North America grew to $16.2 billion from the prior-year period’s $13.4 billion, driven by favorable volume and mix and net pricing.” That’s a 21% increase.

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If it’s the week before Election Day, it must be Democratic Party Election Fraud Season. A small sample:

  • Michelle Malkin has a compilation.
  • At BigGovernment.com — Top (Teachers’ Union) Official Caught on Tape Discussing Voter Fraud.” It reveals years of concerted efforts.
  • In Nevada (“Reid ‘intends to steal this election if he can’t win it outright’”) — “Two days ago, the Democratic Secretary of State announced that voters can be provided ‘free food’ at ‘voter turnout events.’ Harry Reid has been offering free food and, according to other reports, some Democratic allies such as teachers’ unions are offering gift cards in return for a vote for Reid.”

Comparable Republican or other party examples were not available.

Accelerating Towards the Abyss

CliffEdgeSignThe federal government’s fiscal 2010 was far worse than 2009. We can’t afford more years like it.

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Note: This column appeared at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Monday morning. I have added a few additional links.

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After cutting through the “clever” misdirections contained in the final Monthly Treasury Statement of the federal government’s fiscal year just ended on September 30, it’s clear that that Uncle Sam’s true financial situation deteriorated at an even faster rate in fiscal 2010 than it did during fiscal 2009. What I choose to describe as Uncle Sam’s operating deficit was 19% higher. You read that right.

Let’s start with receipts.

In fiscal 2008, before deducting IRS-generated stimulus payments that were substantively disbursements, the government took in over $2.6 trillion. In recession-dominated fiscal 2009, collections dropped about 20% to $2.104 trillion. In fiscal 2010, the supposed year of economic recovery, receipts were $2.162 trillion, a less than 3% increase that was over $100 billion short of the $2.264 trillion the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected in August 2009.

When you look at why any increase in receipts occurred at all, you realize how weak and two-tiered the economy really is. Only two major areas showed an increase: Income taxes paid directly by corporations (up by 38% to $191 billion) and collections from the Federal Reserve (up by over 120%, from $34 billion to $76 billion, per the CBO). Large, established firms pay the vast majority of corporate income taxes; the increase in these collections demonstrates that, relatively speaking, their situation has improved. Collections from the Fed have spiked because its “money from nothing” quantitative easing (QE) portfolio has ballooned; interested and dividends earned on QE investments are handed over to the Treasury. After excluding QE earnings, the government’s operational receipts in fiscal 2010 amounted to $2.086 trillion, barely higher than fiscal 2009′s comparable $2.070 trillion.

Fiscal 2010 receipts trailed fiscal 2009 in the two other major categories. Collections of individual income taxes (down 2% to $898 billion) and for Social Security and Medicare (down almost 4% to $815 billion) were very disappointing. The Social Security system is running monthly cash deficits — right now, not 30 years from now.

The real receipts downer is buried within the individual income tax category. Look at what has happened during the past four years with gross non-withheld income tax receipts, which are predominantly paid by entrepreneurs, business owners (i.e., of “pass-through” entities like Sub-S corporations and LLCs — Ed.), and investors (in billions; from Page 2 of Table 4 in each year’s Monthly Treasury Statement):

- Fiscal 2007 — $437.6
- Fiscal 2008 — $455.3
- Fiscal 2009 — $312.4
- Fiscal 2010 — $278.2

From their peak in 2008, gross non-withheld receipts have dived by almost 39%. During fiscal 2010, the year of supposed economic recovery, they dropped 11%.

This would not be happening in a truly improving economy. What the figures tragically show is that the “Going Galt” phenomenon, which got going in mid-2008 as what I have been calling the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy began, is continuing and spreading. Those of us who have been asserting that “It’s the uncertainty, stupid” have not been crying wolf. Non-wittheld receipts won’t recover significantly unless and until something is done about that uncertainty.

Many of us have also been saying, “It’s the spending, stupid.” That situation also worsened in fiscal 2010.

As the following graphic shows, taking away lower payouts to wards of the state Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the effects of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), out-of-pocket federal spending in fiscal 2010 shot upward (figures presented are from the CBO’s prerelease report, and only differs by very minor amounts from the final Treasury Statement):

USoutlays2010and2009adj

Spending on the regular operations of the government in fiscal 2010 was 7.5% higher than the previous year. Even if you buy Team Obama’s claim (which I don’t) that fiscal 2009 spending had to increase radically to combat the recession, what justification is there for the 2010 spike, when inflation was barely 1%?

Let’s look at just a few of the increases in departments having little or nothing to do with economic recovery (detail assembled from the Treasury Statement is here):

  • Commerce — increased by 23%, from $10.7 billion to $13.2 billion (pretty sad, given how little increase in real commerce there has been)
  • Education — up 74%, from $53.4 billion to $92.9 billion (if you don’t think that kids have become 74% better-educated, you’re not alone)
  • Energy — up 30%, from $23.7 billion to $30.8 billion (I guess attempting to stop energy development and exploration at every turn requires a lot of money)
  • EPA — up 36%, from $8.1 billion to $11.0 billion (this might be a grim “bargain,” given that the agency’s regulatory burden seems to have increased by a much higher percentage)
  • International Assistance — up 35%, from $14.8 billion to $20.0 billion (somehow, those who were supposed to like us more once Barack Obama was elected don’t seem to appreciate our expanded largesse)
  • Small Business Administration — up 177%, from $2.2 billion to $6.1 billion (quite ironic, given how small business has suffered since the POR economy began)

One of the few decreases that occurred took place in an area that involves a key constitutionally designated duty of the government. It was in Homeland Security, where spending declined 14%, from $51.7 billion to $44.5 billion.

All told, Uncle Sam’s fiscal 2010 operational deficit was really $1.435 trillion, a breathtaking 19% increase from fiscal 2009:

USoperationalDeficits2009and2010

And yet, we’re still not done. $1.435 trillion is just the “on-budget” deficit. During fiscal 2010, the national debt went up by $1.652 trillion (from $11.910 to $13.562 trillion), meaning that “off-budget” activities generated over $200 billion in additional deficits. The national debt has increased by over $3 trillion since Obama’s January 20, 2009 inauguration.

Now that this column has completed its fog-clearing operations, the truth becomes undeniable: The Obama administration and the Pelosi-Reid Congress have spent wildly and run up deficits recklessly on a scale virtually unprecedented in human history. They have no interest in stopping — unless they themselves are stopped, at the ballot box and during the years that follow.

Positivity: Mass. bishops emphasize sanctity of life, traditional marriage in upcoming elections

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 7:25 am

From Boston:

Oct 27, 2010 / 06:00 am

Bishops in Massachusetts are emphasizing the importance of voters protecting the sanctity of life and upholding traditional marriage in the upcoming mid-term elections.

In a guest opinion column in Boston’s Herald News on Oct. 26, the Massachusetts Catholic Conference released a statement signed by Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston, Bishop George Coleman of the Diocese of Fall River, Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell of the Diocese of Springfield and Bishop Robert J. McManus of the Diocese of Worcester.

The bishops opened their remarks by saying that one “of the greatest blessings of our American democracy is the opportunity it affords to its citizens to step up and share their vision of a better society.”

“It was the same yearning for a better life for everyone that brought many of our ancestors to this country. So it is a deeply-rooted concern for the common good that has moved us throughout our history to participate in the election process,” they noted. “Our convictions about the importance of voting are bolstered by the innate sense of hope that has endowed this nation with such promise in good times and in bad.”

The Massachusetts bishops then stated that in the upcoming elections, certain “moral and social issues are fundamentally important, since human rights are at stake and must be protected to help democracy to flourish in a way that benefits every citizen.”

“These include the defense of the sanctity of life, the family based on marriage between a man and a woman, religious freedom, and the well-being of the poor,” the prelates wrote.

Go here for the rest of the story.