October 12, 2011

Flash: Romney Polling in the 30s

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:37 pm

Here’s a story from MSNBC’s First read on August 30:

(A poll) conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates (D) and McLaughlin & Associates (R), has Romney leading at 35% …

Here’s a September 30 poll from Strategic Vision:

Mitt Romney is still ahead — and still by a big margin. He has 30% …

And there’s even this from early October:

Romney … is the presidential choice of 29 percent …

Except for one “little” thing …

The ‘Statue of Give It To Me’ Movement Speaks

Filed under: Activism,Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:01 pm

Watch a representative of the “Statue of Give It to Me” movement hold forth (HT to an emailer):

“Because that’s what I want.” Wow. Profound.

Mark Levin on the RINO ‘Mitt Romney Has the Nomination in the Bag’ Meme, and ‘Fixing the System’

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:33 am

Very “ticked off,” and I don’t blame him:

One money quote, of very, very many:

I remember when John Connolly raised more money than anyone else, and he got one delegate.

So do I.

Listen to the whole thing — and then listen to it again.

I hope to transcribe some of this tonight.


UPDATE: Other points –

70% – 75% of you do not support Mitt Romney. … And he can’t move. (Actually, he hasn’t been over 25% in any poll covered at Real Clear Politics since mid-July. — Ed.)

… And yet we’re told that he’s got this thing almost sewn up. And yet we’re told that nobody else has a chance.

… And why is this thing over, ladies and gentlemen? … I remember 1980 when the establishment rose up and tried to stop Reagan. (So do I — Ed.) They stopped him in Iowa; they almost stopped him in New Hampshire. They’re always telling that it’s over. They’re always telling us that conservatives can’t win. …

… I really fear for the future of this nation and I am sick and tired of these phony elitists, these super-rich guys, the RNC bureaucracy, all coming together to thwart you and me.

So am I. We gave them the majority in the House and got them six Senate seats last year. It sure as hell wasn’t them. They worked to thwart party candidates they didn’t like and to co-opt the Tea Party movement when they couldn’t marginalize it.

This time, if they insist on deciding things on their own and succeed, they can bleep themselves.

Wallison at the WSJ on ‘Wall Street’s Gullible Occupiers’

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:29 am

Really, if the Occupy Wall Street crowd is going to start picketing millionaires’ houses, they should go where Chris Dodd and Barney Frank live.

In a read-the-whole-thing Wednesday Wall Street Journal op-ed, Peter Wallison lays the blame for the lousy economy and what has been characterized as the Wall Street mess where it belongs — on the federal government.

I’ll pick up where Wallison identifies the relative exposure:

Wall Street’s Gullible Occupiers
The protesters have been sold a bill of goods. Reckless government policies, not private greed, brought about the housing bubble and resulting financial crisis.

… Research by Edward Pinto, a former chief credit officer of Fannie Mae (now a colleague of mine at the American Enterprise Institute) has shown that 27 million loans—half of all mortgages in the U.S.—were subprime or otherwise weak by 2008. That is, the loans were made to borrowers with blemished credit, or were loans with no or low down payments, no documentation, or required only interest payments.

Of these, over 70% were held or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie or some other government agency or government-regulated institution. Thus it is clear where the demand for these deficient mortgages came from.

… by the mid-2000s, investors had begun to notice that securities based on subprime mortgages were producing the high yields, but not showing the large number of defaults, that are usually associated with subprime loans. This triggered strong investor demand for these securities, causing the growth of the first significant private market for MBS based on subprime and other risky mortgages.

By 2008, Mr. Pinto has shown, this market consisted of about 7.8 million subprime loans, somewhat less than one-third of the 27 million that were then outstanding. The private financial sector must certainly share some blame for the financial crisis, but it cannot fairly be accused of causing that crisis when only a small minority of subprime and other risky mortgages outstanding in 2008 were the result of that private activity.

… When the bubble deflated in 2007, an unprecedented number of weak mortgages went into default, driving down housing prices throughout the U.S. and throwing Fannie and Freddie into insolvency. Seeing these sudden losses, investors fled from the market for privately issued MBS, and mark-to-market accounting required banks and others to write down the value of their mortgage-backed assets to the distress levels in a market that now had few buyers. This raised questions about the solvency and liquidity of the largest financial institutions and began a period of great investor anxiety.

The government’s rescue of Bear Stearns in March 2008 temporarily calmed the market. But it created significant moral hazard: Market participants were led to believe that the government would rescue all large financial institutions. When Lehman Brothers was allowed to fail in September, investors panicked.

… The narrative that came out of these events—largely propagated by government officials and accepted by a credulous media—was that the private sector’s greed and risk-taking caused the financial crisis and the government’s policies were not responsible. This narrative stimulated the punitive Dodd-Frank Act—fittingly named after Congress’s two key supporters of the government’s destructive housing policies. It also gave us the occupiers of Wall Street.

And along came TARP — leaving open the following question: “Was Lehman ‘allowed to fail’ because of incompetence, or to create the panic that would bring on the ‘need’ for TARP?” Given Hank Paulson’s “gun to the head” approach in the immediate aftermath of TARP’s passage and the presence of soon-to-be Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner as head of the Federal Reserve’s New York branch which let Lehman die, I lean towards the latter.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (101211)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:09 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.


At Real Clear Politics: Obama tells his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, in effect, to bypass Congress — “Scour this report, identify all those areas in which we can act administratively without additional congressional authorization and just get it done,’ President Obama said today to a “Jobs Council” meeting.”

At ABC’s Political Punch: “The group of private-sector business leaders advising President Obama on how to create jobs and grow the economy is full of deep-pocket Democratic donors and high-profile financiers of Obama’s re-election campaign, a review of Federal Election Commission data shows.”

MichaelSpikey” http://www.slate.com/articles/briefing/articles/1999/03/spikeys_hypocrisy.single.htmlIsikoff at MSNBC: “White House used Mitt Romney health-care law as blueprint for federal law; Three advisers to GOP candidate met a dozen times with senior Obama officials, records show.” This has been known for some time, so the question as to why it became news ahead of last night’s GOP debate is a good one.

Alleged conservative hero and Ann Coulter fave, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, backs Objectively Unfit Mitt Romney. Update: Related, via Erick Ericksen — “Governor Christie might want to look in the mirror or step down as a prominent spokesman for the Republican Party.”

(As of Tuesday evening) From CBS News: “‘Gunwalking’ subpoena for AG Holder imminent.”

Though the story comes from a different state, the following illustrates why passing Issue 2 and retaining SB5 in Ohio is so important (using Hot Air’s related headline): “University of California teachers’ union aims to block online classes.” Appropriately taking chunks of learning online should have begun long ago. Schools at all levels need the flexibility to innovate. At least on adversarial union, stuck in the factory school model unions, has shown that it will obstruct progress to preserve the status quo.

Walter Russell Mead, at the American Interest (“Racist Republicans Flocking to Cain”): “Either a lot of Democrats have been slandering millions of American voters as racist, or the Tea Party hasn’t gotten the word that Herman Cain is African American.”

As noted here at BizzyBlog in late September, Herman Cain believes he can get one-third of the African-American vote in the general presidential election. Evidence (a bit flimsy, but getting anything in this particular area is tough) from a recent poll that Cain’s aspiration may not be unrealistic:: “Cain picks up 24.5% of the African-American vote, a portion that Republicans haven’t carried in decades.”

Positivity: Pennsylvania man’s miraculous healing will canonize Italian priest

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Philadelphia:

Oct 11, 2011 / 06:00 am

A Pennsylvania man says his miraculous healing shows God’s outreach to those who seem far from their faith. The healing is credited to Blessed Louis Guanella, the Servants of Charity founder who will be canonized Oct. 23.

“It’s pretty amazing, obviously. I never thought this was anything I’d ever be involved with,” Springfeld resident William Glisson, Jr. told CNA on Oct. 6.

In March 2002, while rollerblading backwards on a busy commercial street, Glisson tripped and flew in the air, landing on the back of his head.

Glisson, who was 21 at the time, went into a coma and was expected to suffer permanent brain damage if he survived. He underwent five surgeries, including two to replace pieces of his skull.

But Glisson made a full recovery after a family friend organized prayers to Fr. Guanella, with the help of local members of the Servants of Charity as well as residents and students of the Don Guanella Village for those with developmental disabilities.

Only three months after his accident, Glisson was back to work at his family’s home repair business.

AP Howler of the Night: Regulations Aren’t Job-Killers, Because Employers Who Lay Workers Off Almost Never Cite Them

Somebody needed to give Calvin Woodward and Christopher Rugaber at the Associated Press Five-Hour Energy drinks or some other boost before Tuesday night’s GOP debate. Their brains must have totally turned off late in the afternoon without re-engaging before they filed their late-evening post-debate report.

Behold how the AP pair “proved” that excessive government regulation doesn’t kill jobs (bolds are mine throughout this post):

FACT CHECK: Regulations not a huge jobs killer

Is regulation strangling the American entrepreneur? Several Republican presidential candidates say so. The numbers don’t.

The anti-regulatory fervor was in evidence Tuesday night in the latest GOP debate, but rhetorical flourishes, on that and other issues, masked far more complex realities.

… THE FACTS: Labor Department data show that only a tiny percentage of companies that experience large layoffs cite government regulation as the reason. Since Barack Obama took office, just two-tenths of 1 percent of layoffs have been due to government regulation, the data show.

Businesses frequently complain about regulation, but there is little evidence that it is any worse now than in the past or that it is costing significant numbers of jobs. Most economists believe there is a simpler explanation: Companies aren’t hiring because there isn’t enough consumer demand.

The conservative National Federation of Independent Business asks its small-business membership each month to name the single most important problem they’re facing. Last month, the most common response was “poor sales,” cited by 28 percent. Government regulation came in second, at 18 percent.

… High levels of economic uncertainty are another drag on business, but economists say that’s less due to regulation than to fights over government spending and taxes.

Lord have mercy, guys:

  • I’m not going to concede that “large layoffs” don’t occur because of government regs. Companies in financial trouble usually have a myriad of problems which the regulatory burden exacerbates. Paperwork and busywork are fixed costs which can’t be avoided. If fixed costs associated with regulation are increasing — and they are (and the linked item used figures from before Obamacare and Dodd-Frank came along) — then declines in sales volume are more likely to lead to layoff decisions. When the decisions are made, the layoffs are likely to be larger and more likely to be permanent.
  • At a minimum, Woodward and Rugaber had no justification for  their “argument over” conclusion based only on looking at large layoffs. Small layoffs of 50 or fewer workers don’t have to be reported to Uncle Sam, yet they may affect a larger number of people than those which are reported. Small-layoff events are more likely to occur at smaller enterprises, which have been shown to be more negatively impacted by burdensome regulations.
  • Far more fundamentally, laying a worker off is not the only way to “kill” a job. Not replacing someone who is fired, leaves, or retires (such as the possibly looming Obamacare) “kills” a job, and regulatory concerns are far from irrelevant in these decisions (finding, screening and training new people are quite heavily regulated processes). Using temps to avoid taking on a permanent burden and letting them go during even minor sales fluctuations “kills” reported full-time jobs. Deciding to make products offshore partially or completely because of regulatory requirements “kills” jobs which could have been created.

There happens to be a drop-dead obvious case of overzealous regulation killing jobs in the Gulf of Mexico which, after they wake up tomorrow have their morning coffee, even Woodward and Rugaber might recognize as valid. A report by Quest Offshore Resources, Inc. (HT Tina Korbe at Hot Air) provides evidence of post-oil spill job losses in the Gulf of Mexico:

While the offshore Gulf of Mexico oil and gas industry has seen some signs of recovery from the low state it was in during the drilling moratorium, activity levels are still well below the levels seen before the Macondo incident and well below the levels of the Quest baseline forecast before the incident. From a permitting, rig, and drilling activity perspective the industry is at best flat compared to where it was before the drilling moratorium, with the growth that had been previously expected both delayed and diminished.

… -As of the end of September, 21 floating rigs (those with subsea blow out preventers) are operating in the Gulf of Mexico, of which only 18 are currently drilling wells.
- Pre-moratorium 33 floating rigs were operating the Gulf of Mexico with 29 drilling wells at that time.
- This indicates a roughly 37 percent drop in both the number of rigs operating and drilling.
- Since the moratorium began, 11 rigs have left the Gulf of Mexico. Only one of these has returned, 3 rigs are currently sitting idle.
- 7 of these rigs have left to African countries including Egypt, Nigeria, Liberia, and The Republic of Congo. 3 of these rigs have left to South America, including Brazil and French Guiana. The remaining rig recently mobilized to Vietnam.
- This translates to approximately 60 wells lost based on the original contract terms of these rigs.
- The loss of these rigs amounts to lost spending of $6.3 billion and annual lost direct employment of 11,500 jobs over two years.

Memo to Woodward and Rugaber: The word “regulatory” appears once in Quest’s report; so by your twisted definition, this “counts.”

Rob Bluey at the Heritage Foundation explains what excessive regulation has done in this instance, not only to jobs but to U.S. Treasury collections:

A large part of the problem is the complexity of the new regulations and the lack of resources at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) to handle these new complexities. The solution, however, is not more bureaucrats but a more efficient system that promotes safety, assigns full liability to oil and gas activities, protects the taxpayer, and allows offshore gas and oil exploration to continue. The system in place now is preventing people in the Gulf from getting back to work.

Not only is the anti-drilling agenda costing jobs and economic hardship in the Gulf region, but it’s preventing billions of dollars from coming into the federal government’s coffers because of decreased royalties, lease sales, and rent fees. Yesterday, Senator David Vitter (R–LA) wrote to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and BOEMRE director Michael Bromwich urging the need for more action in the Gulf:

Another memo to Woodward and Rugaber: “Preventing people in the Gulf from getting back to work” = “killing jobs.” I hope your Wednesday morning coffee is good — and really, really strong.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.