November 16, 2012

NewsBusted (111612)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 9:55 am

Here goes:

TOPICS:
–MSNBC’s Chuck Todd
–Immigration Reform
–Latino Voters
–Illegal Immigrants
–Condoms in Porn
–Farmville
–Gas Prices
–Spike Lee
–James Brown Movie

Best Line: “Gas prices have dropped in the past few weeks. Unfortunately, too many Americans have already had their cars repossessed.”

CNNMoney Item on Wal-Mart Tensions Cites Oct. ‘Strike’ by ‘More Than 100′ Employees in 12 Cities as Something Significant

Someone needs to tell Emily Jane Fox that for workers refusing to do scheduled work assigned by their employers to be engaging in a “strike” (“a concerted stopping of work or withdrawal of workers’ services, as to compel an employer to accede to workers’ demands or in protest against terms or conditions imposed by an employer”) there needs needs to be enough of them to matter. If there aren’t, it’s pretty much a small group of people conducting a (conceivably justified) protest.

As Fox described it in her Thursday report at CNNMoney.com about a group of Wal-Mart employees workers planning a Black Friday walkout — which, if large enough, may qualify for “strike” status — what happened in October appears to have been little more than a tiny temper tantrum:

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Stephen Moore: If You Want More Taxes From Millionaires, You Need to Have More of Them

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:34 am

In a Wall Street Journal column Thursday evening (bolds are mine):

The country needs an economy that will create more of the “millionaires and billionaires” that Mr. Obama loves to excoriate, not more taxes from those who already exist. Total taxes paid by millionaires fell by almost $100 billion between 2007 and 2010, the last year with statistics available from the Internal Revenue Service. The drop resulted not from too-low tax rates, but from the severe recession and an anemic recovery since 2009 that thinned the ranks of the wealthy.

… President Reagan cut all tax rates across the board in his first term, with the highest rate reduced to 50% from 70%. That was followed a few years later with the 1986 Tax Reform Act, which closed loopholes and lowered the top tax rate to 28%.

The economy soared in the 1980s and the unemployment rate plunged after the mini-depression of 1978-82. Tax rates fell but federal revenues rose to $1.032 trillion in 1990 from $517 billion in 1980.

… Some liberals acknowledge these fiscal facts of life but argue that tax revenues from the wealthy increased simply because the rich got richer. And so they did. But the economic growth that was touched off by lower tax rates, particularly in the 1960s and 1980s, also benefited middle-class incomes and living standards. If Mr. Obama has his way and raises tax rates on upper-income groups, it will slow the economy, and everyone will lose.

But Obama and his supporters will have their “revenge,” and apparently that’s the only thing that is important.

Three Windows into Obama’s Dangerous Second Term

The nightmare has already begun.

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This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday.

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Several post-election developments have already served advance warning on America, or at least the portion paying attention between so-called reality TV shows, that President Obama’s second term will be every bit as dangerous and ultimately disastrous as those of us deeply concerned about the consequences of his reelection warned it will be. I will look at just three of them. There are many others.

Dependency. Blogger Matt Trivisonno first noticed a delay in the release of the USDA’s monthly food stamp enrollment report, which usually occurs near the end of each month, in early October. When it was data-dumped late in the afternoon on Friday, October 5, two days after the first presidential debate (imagine that), it showed that July enrollment had edged up to a then-alltime record.

What should have come out in late October didn’t arrive until November 9, yet another Friday afternoon, three convenient days after the election. It’s now clear that Team Obama deliberately sat on it, as its contents would certainly have become a final-days election issue had they been known. August enrollment exploded by over 400,000 to a record-shattering 47.1 million.

Revised data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that the economy added 192,000 jobs during that same month. Though that level of monthly job growth, symptomatic of the worst economic recovery since World War II, is still unacceptable, the food stamp rolls should be declining, and they’re not. That’s because the program has morphed from being about temporarily helping the truly needy into a dependency-engendering, vote-buying enterprise.

It should be clear to anyone with their eyes open that even if the economy improves, something Obama seems bound and determined to prevent in action while feigning fealty to that goal in words, we’re doomed to four more years of an unrelenting effort to add objectively not needy recipients to the food stamp and other dependency rolls. Gutting welfare reform, which HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has already seriously compromised with loosened work requirements presented last summer, is a key objective.

Energy. In news naturally ignored by the Associated Press, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and virtually everyone else in the establishment media, The Hill reported late last week that the Interior Department “issued a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the West (i.e., 2,500 square miles) originally slated for oil shale development.”

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the Environmental Protection Agency plan to spend the next four years using largely phony environmental concerns to prevent the country from seeing affordable energy costs and from achieving long-term net energy independence. The U.S. could accomplish the latter within a decade if the government would, with appropriate oversight, let the oil and gas industry do in the West what it has successfully been doing in North Dakota and Pennsylvania. $3 per gallon gas will likely become the economy-inhibiting floor, while any number of geopolitical or weather-related shocks could again send energy prices skyrocketing.

Regulation and cronyism. On October 23, John Hayward at Human Events identified what we would face if Obama won reelection:

Sprinkled through his speeches and debate performances are little hints that he (Obama) plans to double down on everything the American public hates. Solyndra? More to come. Regulation? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Taxes? Not nearly high enough. ObamaCare? Not nearly complicated enough. Medicare? Ignore your lying calculators, it’s just fine the way it is.

Even though many of its regulations don’t go live until 2014, ObamaCare is already holding back the job market. As the Wall Street Journal reported on November 4 (“Health-Care Law Spurs a Shift to Part-Time Workers”):

Several restaurants, hotels and retailers have started or are preparing to limit schedules of hourly workers to below 30 hours a week. That is the threshold at which large employers in 2014 would have to offer workers a minimum level of insurance or pay a penalty starting at $2,000 for each worker.

The reason companies are making these moves now is that the penalty thresholds in 2014 will be driven by reported employment during 2013. The bifurcation of the workforce between those desperately hanging on to full-time jobs and those who can only find part-time or temporary employment (if they’re even that lucky), already well under way during Obama’s first term, is destined to accelerate during his second.

Thus, Obama, no longer needing voter approval, supported by legions of federal apparatchiks, and clearly unconcerned about annoyances like the Constitution’s supposed limits on executive power and authority, now has a four-year open field.

As the ugliness continues to unfold, I certainly hope that the millions of conservatives who chose to stay home, thereby guaranteeing Mitt Romney’s defeat in four states where their presence in numbers comparable to 2004 and 2008 would have given him an electoral vote majority, seriously question their decisions. Jim Geraghty at National Review noted that even in the face of dozens of external and self-inflicted factors leading to his underperformance, Romney could have won the election if a combined 407,000 sideline-sitters would have shown up in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Colorado. New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada should also have been within reach.

By sitting out what may come to be seen as the most consequential presidential election in almost 150 years — this time potentially fracturing the Union beyond repair instead of saving it, as Lincoln’s 1864 reelection did — they have for now forfeited any right to have their complaints taken seriously. If they continue to refuse to engage, it will only get worse.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (111612)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:05 am

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

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Ding, Dong, Hostess is Dead — Barring a last-second turnaround of some kind, Hostess, the maker of the Twinkie, Ding Dong, and other snacks will be dead on Tuesday. Already in bankruptcy, the company has decided to liquidate because, according to its CEO, “we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike.” Chalk it up as yet another suicidal move by what’s left of private-sector organized labor.

I suspect that the products will reappear at some point when whoever buys the brands and recipes in bankruptcy acquires them, but there’s no way most of the 18,000 jobs lost are coming back.

I guess First Lady Michelle Obama will be happy that at least for a while a leading form of so-called junk food will be unavailable.

UPDATE: More from Cincinnati.com a few days ago, demonstrating how deep the delusion is among those who have taken Hostess to the brink of closure –

“Some employees are apparently under the misimpression that if they force Hostess to liquidate, another company will buy our bakeries and offer them employment,” Rayburn said. “The fact is, the bakery industry already has far too much capacity, and there is a strong risk that many of our facilities may never operate as bakeries again once they are closed. I believe the leadership of the Bakers Union knows this fact, but is willing to sacrifice its Hostess employees for the sake of preventing other bakery companies from asking for similar concessions.”

… “That hardest part of the decision to close any facility is knowing that it will result in the loss of jobs for those Hostess Brands employees who did not support the strike and who wanted to help revive the Company,” Mr. Rayburn said. “They didn’t ask for these strikes, but they are paying a terrible price for them.”

Clearly, the union could care less about those who will soon be on the street.

Positivity: Expert finds religious freedom a matter of national security

Filed under: National Security,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

Nov 16, 2012 / 03:04 am

The protection of religious freedom worldwide is so essential to democracy and prosperity that it should be considered an issue of “national security” to the U.S. government, says a former diplomat.

“Religious freedom is buried in the bureaucracy and so people understand this is not a priority for us,” Dr. Tom Farr, senior fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion Peace and World Affairs, said Nov. 14.

Farr, who spoke as part of the Family Research Council’s “Cry of the Martyrs” webcast and served as State Department’s first Director of the Office of International Religious Freedom, said that the U.S. needs to implement policies and provide resources to support religious freedom throughout the world.

Created 14 years ago, the Office of International Religious Freedom works to promote religious freedom as a “core objective of U.S. foreign policy,” but Farr said the current administration, as well as its predecessors, has largely fallen short in promoting this issue as foreign policy.

“That needs to change if we’re going to have an impact on persecuted Christians and others around the world,” he said. Protecting religious freedom abroad is “in our interest” since doing so can help emerging democracies to grow beyond just one generation.

“The point is religious freedom can lead to economic development, religious freedom can lead to political development,” Farr said, “There’s plenty of history and plenty of data today that suggests this.”

Even still, Farr said he’s concerned that “our government doesn’t pay much attention to this.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.