Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Democrats swing the other way

It is not only Barney. A bunch of Democrats (is it a bunch, a pride, no they are not lions; a murder, like crows. That’s it. A murder of Democrats) – 47 exactly – has determined that the much discussed current tax rates should continue after January first.
What is happening here? Have these 47 former followers of the First Dope suddenly come to the realization that their economic expertise has been incorrect? Not only are admitting being wrong but their letter to Ms Pelosi says “Raising taxes on capital gains and dividends could discourage individuals from saving and investing.” The murder is admitting that the Republicans are right. The Republicans have been saying that for years and suddenly these former Kool-aid drinkers are agreeing. What could have happened to cause that? Perhaps there is hope for the US educational system. More likely, these guys see the writing on the wall. The people who pay taxes are tired of getting the short end of the stick and will be heard at the polls. So, like any clever murder, they change tactics and are campaigning against everything they have done in the past.
But it probably won’t work. After buying into the campaign slogans for years, their former constituents will be outraged that their patrons are now supporting “tax breaks for the rich”. These guys will lose the support of the confirmed Kool-aid drinkers. And will the oppressed tax paying public buy their new and tax and spend stance? After the orgy of spending and dopey programs that has come out of Congress for the past 4 years (They took over Congress in 2006 - before the crash.), no one will be signing up for that one. The short analysis is they will lose their supporters and not gain any new adherents. Brilliant move.
While a good part of the Democratic majority completely switches their economic philosophy overnight and contradicts everything that they have been saying, the First Dope announces that Republicans are the liars. Who is the pot and who is the kettle? Incredible.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Haitian Charity

Newsday latest editorial proposes fast tracking Haitian visas so that Haitians can come to the States, get jobs and send the money back to Haiti. The major problem is: What jobs are they going to get? If they get a job, it is the underlying assumption that it is one of those jobs that currently unemployed citizens do not want – whatever those jobs are. The editorial further proposes that that these Haitians take the money out of the local economy and send it somewhere else. The result will be that Government services will be further strained by people who the plan is contribute nothing to the local economy. Except for that, this is plan is exactly the same as calling for jobs to be outsourced to Haiti. Another brilliant idea from the folks who will be supporting anyone who supports President Obama in the coming elections.

MTA saves money

The MTA is to be congratulated – sort of – for trying to reduce overtime at the LIRR. But let us not get carried away with praising them. The largest causes of overtime are noted as people padding the salary just before retirement, unnecessary sick leave, and doing things that limit productivity. That the MTA management has awoken to do something about this is good. The fact that this stuff has been going on for years with their tacit approval is not.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Saving the World

One of the accomplishments of the recent UN meeting was that “Nations pledge $40B in aid to poor”. That is just fine. However, it would be interesting to determine just which nations are doing the pledging. Since it is the UN the guess is that about 60% of the pledged money will come from the United States and The First Dope has promised to honor the pledge. That is the normal process anyway. It remains to be seen whether the other countries will honor their pledges and which countries even made pledges in the first place.
The United States is broke. For any money that we contribute to anything, most of it has to be borrowed. Where is this money going to go? Countries where people make $1.25 a day says story. Like China? So we are borrowing money from China to send money through the UN (where whatever we contribute will be reduced by administrative costs for high living functionaries, bribes, and general waste) back to China to give to their citizens. That makes sense. Or maybe the aid will go to the many Muslim countries where we are so beloved. These countries are receiving our payments for their oil – and gracefully letting the US take care of their fellow followers of the Prophet. Or maybe the $1.25/day people are in countries that send us their excess populations as illegal aliens.
And at the end of the UN meeting The First Dope will switch his attention to resolving the problems in the Sudan. Priorities are important

Health Care Savings

The latest group to look at the Health Care bill has determined that “Many face double-digit hikes in Medicare drug premiums”. Their study says that 70% of seniors will have average increases of 10% in their premiums. It is reasonable to wonder what other bad things are going to come out now that people are able to read this bill and why:
1.) We were assured by people who admittedly did not read the bill that it would save everyone money. 2.) None of the people who actually voted for this bill are campaigning based upon their support for it.
3.) Why we should vote for any of the above people.
4.) Since there is an election going on, why don’t any of the supporters tell us about the good things that will result from this bill.

Where to Look?

Janet Napolitano has managed to figure out that the Islamoterrorists are recruiting inside the US. Now someone probably told her this but how she figured it out is not relevant. Regardless, how and where these terrorists are doing their recruiting has become a big problem for Homeland Security and its many sub-agencies. According to the White House mouthpiece (The AP) it is just hard for them to find these recruiters because they are recruiting US citizens.
Remember when these wizards took over and “increased” their vigilance and airports. In the name of keeping the vigilance politically correct. My mother and her artificial hip got more scrutiny when boarding a plane than Mohammed al-BombThrower. Now that this new recruiting operation has been determine, this is another opportunity for Homeland Security to insure that assorted Christian and Jewish places of worship are as tightly monitored as places where people might congregate who want to blow things up - like mosques maybe. The Homeland Security “How to Catch a Terrorist for Dummies” manual should include the general instruction that you look for cabbage in the cabbage patch.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mosque Money

The Office of the Comptroller of NYC (Democrat) announced that an application to fund the ground zero mosque with tax free bonds would be approved. The people who support this atrocity would also build it with public support. Some things to note: almost every public figure that supports this is a Democrat; everyone who will not take a stand is a Democrat; almost every public figure who opposes it is a Republican or Conservative. Vote accordingly

Jimmy Carter

When will this guy go away? He has two claims to fame: up until two years ago he was in the short list of the worst Presidents in history and he gets involved as a mediator in things that do no credit to the country - sort of white Jesse Jackson.
Now he claims that he was the original tea party candidate. He was the outsider in his election run. He was an outsider but not because of any political policy differences. He ran as not being Gerry Ford- just as The First Dope’s campaign was basically “I am not George Bush”. Not the same thing. His expert analysis of his Presidency is that he tried to do too much and over burdened Congress. He regrets that Ted Kennedy’s run and the Iran hostage crisis (which he caused and completely mismanaged) cost him the 1980 election which he would have won without those two events. The guy continues to be delusional. He carried 5 states and just barely lost in a landslide to some guy named Reagan

The Incredible AP

A new health care poll is incorrectly reported by the AP. They are reporting that most Americans Incorrectly think that the Health Care bill will raise taxes. Perhaps these guys are referring to another health care bill that will not raise taxes but the one we are currently stuck with certainly does. No Democrats – the people that voted for this atrocity – are proudly proclaiming their support of this bill as an accomplishment during their election campaigns. Wonder why? Could it be that now that they passed it they got around to reading it? These guys screwed up, they know it and they are running as hard as they can the other way. Steve Israel (D-NY) is trying to convince people he is a Washington outsider. Good luck Steve. Most of the other Democratic candidacies are based upon throwing mud at their opponents. They want no part of defending their actions or debating policy. The First Dope has been reduced to announcing that he will only be campaigning in “urban areas” (a double super secret Democratic code word that no one is supposed to understand). There have been no requests for campaign photo ops with The Dope. The most positive news announced by the National Democrat Committee has been their new logo – nicknamed the “Down Button”

General Powell's hired help

We are instructed by Colin Powell that illegal immigrants did a fine job fixing up his house; that Republicans must not become anti-immigration and it is not enough to call for controlled federal spending and adherence to the Constitution.
This is to instruct General Powell that hiring illegal immigrants is illegal; that the Republican Party has never made any statement that denies the benefits of legal immigration; and it is most certainly enough to call for controlled federal spending and adherence to the Constitution. Following that path would have a huge positive impact. If he does not understand that he has no business making believe that he is a Republican.

The AP whines again

In the last few weeks, the AP has touted; the end of the recession; the disappearance of all the oil in the gulf; the decrease in illegal immigration; and praised the less that 1% decrease in new jobless claims. All of these things are – in their minds - triumphs of The First Dope’s policies. Never mind that the recession supposedly ended before any of his policies were enacted; the oil claim is violently scientifically disputed; illegal immigrants don’t want to be counted and are hiding so any decrease is a guess; and the unemployment rate is going up to 10%. They also criticize everyone who won a Republican primary winner.
They covered a conference of US/Mexican governors that announce that there should be immigration reform. Yes there should be but calling for a path to legalization for the current illegals is not it. The story only quotes Bill Richardson and some other Mexican governors because no other US governors attended. So only people who support amnesty have a meeting to promote amnesty and the AP announces that the result of the meeting was a “Push for immigration reform”. Despite it all the AP continues to claim the mantle of being the fair and balanced ones.
We can only hope that someday they will become immune to the Kool-Aid they are drinking

Redistribution tries again

An opinion piece in the Newsday calls The First Dope’s efforts to stem the foreclosure tide “ineffective” – accurate and kind at the same time. Neil Baron, who Newsday calls a former Reagan appointee, has a solution: reduce the outstanding principal on mortgage loans to at or near current value. He does not specify the criteria for doing this, only that people who can pay their existing mortgage would not qualify for the reduction. Mr. Baron admits that this would incense the people who have been responsible in their borrowings and would not be helped, even criticizing Republicans who he anticipates would stoke the outrage.
In Mr. Baron’s world, he justifies this with an Orwellian double think: By helping those who were irresponsible, the plan actually helps those who are not eligible for help because lowering the foreclosure rate is good for everyone. And somehow this would all save taxpayer money.

Local Houses

There is a big fight in Huntington Station about an “affordable housing” project. The general outline is that the builder wants to put up almost 500 “units’ on a piece of property near the Huntington Railroad station. This project is opposed by people who see their property values decline because of it; project bad results in several areas for the school system; and see that crime will increase. The supporters of the project see improvements in the transit situation (?), call the projected crime fears “baseless”, and criticize the Town Board for opposing it after initially supporting it. (This last is a joke. The Town Board is actually being criticized for listening to its constituents. It’s not because they really oppose the project but it’s a start.)
The supporters would have a better case if they could demonstrate where there is any affordable housing project anywhere that has not resulted in an increase in crime in the local area. The type of project that does result in less crime is usually criticized for gentrifying the area. These are the ones that result in housing that is only affordable to people who actually pay full price for the property and have an interest in taking care of it. “Only” 25% of this project would be in the affordable category is ridiculous. So, only 25% of the units would be held by people who have no stake in taking care of it and would be living in housing that they can’t afford without government help. That is what caused our current problem. Continuing to do the thing that caused the problem is probably not the solution and it will not help the value of the other 75%.
There is a nearby project that was once considered “affordable housing” that can be used to see what happens over time to these great ideas. It is a rental property that was once called Winoka Village. Anyone want to live near projects like that? There are many other such projects all over NYC. None of them have been successful.

Stimulated Yet?

The First Dope just does not get it. He is calling for another $20 Billion. Of course, the Treasury does not have the money but it did not have the money for the last three stimulus bills. Those last three bills did manage stimulated people to vote against most of the people who supported them. That is something and a change in Congress will eventually create jobs but this won’t. About half of the money of is going to support municipal union pension and health programs for the Post Office and to settle lawsuits against the government. There is no announcement of which lawsuits, who is suing and why – sounds like another round of redistribution. As a rough estimate, these two things together will stimulate approximately no (zero) jobs.
The main plan is to put all of this junk into a funding bill to keep the government funded so it can continue to operate. They did this under Clinton and made political hay because Newt and the boys opposed all of the attached spending. The media responded by blaming Newt. This time there is a different sentiment. Exactly how bad would it be if Federal offices closed for a few days. This might be viewed a bit differently how.

Not Fair

Bush talked about “Mission Accomplished”. Probably a mistake and he heard about it a lot in the media. With equal fanfare (except for the plane) the First Dope ended combat missions in Iraq. Except there are still 5,000 people there being shot at. The couple of fights that the “non-combat” troops have been in have been reported in small article a couple dozen pages back – if the paper reports then at all. Tell me again about who is fair and balanced.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Support your local lender

A group of central banks got together and came up with a new set of rules to “prevent another financial collapse without impeding the fragile economic recovery.”

The rules require that the banks hold more in reserves and keep a larger contingency buffer. That means that a bank that wants to lend as much as it is legally allowed to lend, can now lend less than it did before these rules. So, bank profit margins will go down. It apparently judged as a good thing to limit profits.

Another indication that there is something wrong here is that our First Dope supports these regulations. They are basically a mirror of the rules the US Fed put out during the summer. Those are the rules that completely ignored Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae – the agencies that were responsible for the collapse in the first place

Not a Quota

Another example of what passes for equality is the recent ruling about the NYC fireman’s test. The judge involved noted that the percentage of people who passed the test did not reflect the percentage breakdown of the racial composition of the test takers. It is apparently illegal for more white people to score well on a test that minorities. The judge's primary solution is to take some low scoring whites off the list and replace them with “high scoring” minorities. It turns out that these are the “high scoring” minorities that scored lower than the whites that they will be replacing. That would mean that they scored the highest of all the lower scoring people on the test but only if they were minorities. Must be some legal reasoning here that converts that to actual intelligible and logical thought. The judge says that this would only “resemble racial hiring quotas”. Look like a duck, quacks like a duck.


The current Congress is still pushing home ownership for everyone regardless of affordability. In their latest brainstorm they have restructured the FHA fees. These are the FHA loans that require at least 3.5% down. To make it even easier, Congress has cut the upfront fees by over 50% - from 2.25% of the loan to 1%. That means an up front savings of $2500 on a $200,000 loan which can be spread over the 30year life of the loan. These same economic wizards have also raised the annual fee for the loan from .55% to .9%. So the monthly fee goes up about $60 on the same loan. The net result is that after ten years, Mr. Homeowner will pay about 3 times as much as he does now. They think this is a good deal!

Another economic triumph from the geniuses who have brought you 105% mortgage loans and eliminated income requirements; the cash for clunkers program that is responsible for increasing the cost of a used car by 10; the many Stimulus programs that have managed to move the unemployment rate from 8% to 9.6% at a cost of only $850 billion dollars; and on and on.

The First Dope says he needs more time. It will apparently take him the same amount of time as it took Castro to figure out that it won’t work. But I don’t have 51 years to wait.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our nuts and their nuts

This supposed pastor in Florida who wants to burn the Koran is dead wrong. He is a nut and there is no way his planned bonfire can be the right thing to do.

Given that, it is truly unfortunate that he has become the face (at least the media face) of people who have legitimate concerns about what is in fact a war with radical Islam. Let's keep in context that he and his 50 supposed followers are an almost non-existent percentage of the 350 million people in the US. The estimate of radical Islamists is 10% of over a billion people – over 100 million. This guy has no visible support except for his media releases and the dopey media people that have published them.

While there is no ground swell of agreement with this dope, there is an underlying discontent. The people that are most vigorously censoring this pastor for his non-politically correct stance are the same ones who have in the past justified and supported using public funds for such displays as a crucifix in urine and dung portraits of other Christian scenes. There is an inconsistency in how these things are viewed that makes it clear that political correctness does not apply across the entire spectrum of religious beliefs. That really annoys some people. Both burning the Koran and a urine soaked crucifix are inappropriate and both sides are wrong in seeing that only “their” opinion is correct. If anyone at least took the same position in both cases it would be more defensible.

There are legitimate actions that can be taken to protest things like building the mosque in Manhattan. This is not one of them.

If this book burning goes as scheduled, the hope is that his “church” catches fire. The “eye for an eye” idea is in both Books.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lies and Damn Lies

The First Dope is constantly fighting against the dreaded “Tax cuts for the wealthy”. So let’s do some arithmetic.
Bush cut the tax rates for middle income people by substantially more than they did for the highest bracket. The higher bracket went down from 39% to 35% (Less than a 10% reduction.) At the lowest level, the Bush reduction lowered the rate from 15% to 10%. That is a 50% reduction in their tax liability. (This is for the people who actually pay taxes. Almost 50% of the people don’t pay anything.)

The Democratic spin is that the wealthy got a bigger tax cut. They analyze this by saying that a guy making $500,000 a year with no deductions pays $175,000 ($500,000 x .35) instead of $195,000 ($500000 x .35). He gets a $20,000 tax cut. The guy who makes $60,000 pays $9000 at 15% and $6000 at 10% so he only saves $3000. So the “wealthy” guy saves more in absolute dollars than the middle guy. Mr. Wealthy Guy makes about 8 times what the other guy does but paid 22 times what the middle guy pays before the Bush tax cuts. After the tax cuts, he still makes 8 times the salary but after the Bush tax cuts he pays 29 times the taxes.
It is of course impossible for the middle class guy to save $20,000 on the tax cuts because he never would have paid that much. Tax cuts in the progressive system that we have can never favor the little guy in absolute dollars unless we just redistribute everything.
The Dems have been spinning this for years but the whole “tax cuts for the wealthy” thing is a statistical lie.

The Perfect Storm

Indications are that consumer confidence in the economy is getting stronger, the Stock Market is trending up, and the banks and large corporations are making money. Meanwhile, the unemployment stays at 9.5% (at least) with no indication of improvement.
This is the perfect storm for the First Dope. He and the Democrats have worked diligently over the past few years to cast the banks, the Stock Market, corporations and anyone who actually wants to make a profit as the bad guy.
The result has been that companies have learned to cope (make a profit) with fewer employees and have no interest in adding staff with the current uncertainty in health costs, regulations and taxes. The Stock Market will react to profits as they always do. Consumer confidence is increasing in tandem with the likelihood that there will be a change in the political machinery.
As these things continue to snowball, all the Democratic bogeymen will continue to do well. This is not what the Democrats want to see with the unemployment rate stuck where it is. The people that they court won't be happy.

What can their spin be: (pick one)
All our programs made money for all the people we said were bad guys but there are still no jobs.
Another trillion in stimulus will do it.
Wait until the Health Care Bill takes effect.
We have turned the corner.
It is the Fall of Recovery. (Think about that one)
The Party of No is hindering us.
If people only stop clinging to their Bibles and Guns we would be ok

Whatever they do it will be accompanied by the ever present, it is Bush’s fault

Titles and Taxes

There is a new NYS tax on Title companies. These companies now have to pay a tax (about 10%) on searches that are the basis of their business. The law further specifies that this additional tax cannot be passed on to the customer.
This is a clear example of the stupidity of our current legislators.
First, any business functions on obtaining raw materials, does something with and resells the new product. Our legislative wizards have determined that even though a company’s cost of raw materials has increased, the companies prices must remain the same. Brilliant! If this were applied universally, there would be no businesses. The economic stupidity involved is beyond comprehension.
Of course, since these companies are legally prohibited for adding this cost to their bill, the cost will just be buried somewhere else and the customer will pay anyway. Such business acumen would apparently be a surprise to our legislative wizards. But to prevent business from trying to survive, hordes of new state employees will be needed to avoid the potential calamity of a business trying to stay profitable.
It is difficult to determine how things such as this will help improve the business climate, home sales or the state budget situation.


The Washington Post reports that “Life’s gotten pretty miserable for [illegal] immigrants in the United States”. They note that “the increased scrutiny has been stressful”. That is offered as the reason that illegal immigration is slowing down. Good, living outside the law should be stressful.
This is something like the Gulf oil leak. First, you stop the leak, then you clean up the mess. Arizona and the states that are doing the same thing have taken the lead in plugging the leak. (The Administration has done nothing positive.) As we have seen, it is possible to plug a massive leak. The plugging and the cleanup continue

Smoking Signals

The courts have told us that the NYS cigarette tax cannot be collected from Indian reservation stores because doing so would be “undermining Indian sovereignty”. The whole idea of these reservations not being part of the USA is a separate argument.
Ignore that and assume Indian sovereignty. Why is any money going to these “foreign” countries? Aside from being able to open a new casino and take part in the profits, the only thing the reservations do is keep people on a permanent regimen of government benefits.
Some people have as many cousins as these tribes have members. This is another bad PC joke

Please stop

WFB used to say the point was to stand athwart history yelling stop. That has never been more important. The First Dope continues to float trial balloons of his different ideas for “boosting” the economy. Not that because of the level of success achieved by his previous efforts, the word “stimulus” has been banned. The White House didn’t really say anything other than they would do something but it would not be a “second stimulus”. That is something like the previous injunction to “to pass the bill so we can find out what is in it”. Some Democrats are reported to be running the other way. Rats and a sinking ship would be a proper metaphor.

Which is the (civil) servant

There are many things that can be said about the excessive salary and benefit deals politicians gave municipal employees as a reward for their support but the most egregious is requirement that governs the funding of their pension funds.
Past administrations have given in to the demand that the return on investment is at a guaranteed rate. Whether that guaranteed rate is set at the proper level is one issue another is what happens if there were to be an excess. We, the taxpayers, are on the hook for hundreds of millions (just on LI) to make up for the recent investment shortfall. Someday, we all devotedly hope, these pension fund investments are going to grow. When they grow, they will generate more money because taxpayers funded the current shortfall. So these pension funds benefit from funding a one year shortfall and get the compounded benefit of that shortfall. Does anyone think that will mean that the funds give money back to the state? Of course not. What will happen is that the benefits distributed to the pensioners will increase beyond there already generous levels. All funded by the taxpayer.


Steven Hawking is hawking a new book and the story is that there is no God. I’m not a big God guy but I don’t follow Hawking (perhaps not surprisingly). He says "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,"
Now I struggled mightily to get through College Physics but gravity is the force that attracts two objects together (At least it was a long time ago but don’t think that’s changed). If that is his argument, it seems weak to me. If there is nothing (and you don’t have two things that can attract each other), there is no gravity. If there is no gravity, you can’t pin this whole thing on gravity. As Newton would say, “Quod erat demonstrandum.”
Whatever is capable of starting something from nothing is God – whether it was the guy with the long white hair who can do anything or a quantum reaction between two bits of nothing which aren’t there (huh?)

By their friends ye shall know them

Louis Farrakhan supports building the NYC mosque.