Archives for July 2011

A tax cut is not government spending

President Obama gave a speech last night about raising the debt limit.

Having become quite accustomed to have any politician twist the meaning of words beyond comprehension, I naturally expected his narrative to deviate from the truth in no short order. According to a transcript of his speech, significant distortion of the truth began with his fifth sentence.

One of the first four was, “Good evening.”

Maybe even that was debatable. Courtesy of the White House press secretary, here’s the full transcript of his opening remarks.

Good evening.  Tonight, I want to talk about the debate we’ve been having in Washington over the national debt — a debate that directly affects the lives of all Americans.

For the last decade, we’ve spent more money than we take in.  In the year 2000, the government had a budget surplus.  But instead of using it to pay off our debt, the money was spent on trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, while two wars and an expensive prescription drug program were simply added to our nation’s credit card.

He was right about one thing : the prescription drug program is cost prohibitive.  Yet POTUS conveniently forgot to mention the “expensive” program Bush created was opposed by Democrats for being too stingy with taxpayer money.

I cannot stress this idea enough. I’m tempted to “shout” in capital letters.

A tax cut does NOT equal government spending.

Government spending describes funding the military, our legal system, and yes, social programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Plus student loans, research, and don’t forget, the “economic stimulus” spending of almost a trillion dollars, “Cash for clunkers” and a host of other failed programs designed to manipulate public behavior.

Government intervention in the private markets invariably has an unintended consequence.  “Cash for clunkers” cost taxpayers a whopping $24,000 per car.

We could have simply given people brand new cars for that kind of money.

Priced a used car lately? The unintended consequence of the program was to artificially raise the price of used cars by removing competition from the market.

The stimulus cost an average of $278,000 per job created.  Next time, just give me the money and I’ll start a new business.

It is also a provable fact that raising taxes does not necessarily equal more revenue into the treasury.  When Ronald Reagan took office in 1980, the highest marginal income tax rate was 70%.  When he left office, the highest income tax bracket was down to 28% on the highest wage earners.

Revenue pouring into the treasury almost doubled from around $500 billion to almost $1 trillion dollars during the decade.

It is certainly true that deficits increased at the same time because Democrats in Congress (and some Republicans) can’t resist spending tax dollars on social programs that do not work.

Fraud and abuse threaten Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The solution to every problem is simply to throw more dollars at it.

However, the money they are spending belongs to the people who actually earned it.

If higher taxes will solve every problem, why doesn’t Obama insist that everyone making more than $200,000 per year pay 90% on earning above that limit?

Because history has taught us that people will stop working when the fruit of their labor is legally stolen from them and their wealth redistributed to the thankless masses.

The solution is simple. Politicians need to stop lying about what constitutes government spending and what does not.

Stop spending OUR money on extravagant social programs and stick to legitimate government business — defend our nation, and protect our borders.

Don’t pick the wrong victim in Philadelphia

Career criminal Vaughn Matthews thought an assault on a woman three months pregnant made for easy pickings.

He punched Lindsey O’Brien in the face, snatched her laptop bag, and took off running.

Surprised when she chased him down, he broke her wrist and punched her visibly pregnant belly using his forearm.

With righteous indignation and an obviously powerful maternal instinct, Ms. O’Brien planted one foot and drove the other into his leg, snapping his tibia like a twig, in two places.

The police didn’t need to chase Mr. Matthews down. He was still lying right where she left him, writhing on the ground in agony.

Apparently most Philadelphia policemen are too busy hassling law abiding citizens to protect innocent victims. The arresting officer who arrived at the scene said, “She really did a number on his leg. I would never want to get kicked by this girl.”

I’m mildly disappointed the reports did not include her taking an open shot on his defenseless testicles with that same enthusiasm before looking for the police, but I’m sure her arm hurt and she worried more about her unborn child than giving this man the beating he deserved.

Too bad the judge would never allow something like that as part of his sentence.

Thank God at least it’s still safe for pregnant women to defend themselves.

Or can we be sure that the district attorney won’t charge her with assaulting Mr. Matthews?

It is no longer obvious that sanity reigns supreme in our judicial system.

The safety of execution drugs

Periodically, I argue with a lawyer friend of mine about application of the death penalty.

He’s argued before the U.S. Supreme Court before, so I can’t pretend I’ve won our debate.

I grudgingly concede we have reached an impasse.

He contends the death penalty is too expensive to enforce and the punishment doesn’t deter future criminals.

Au contraire, I reply. It certainly deters the criminal in question from committing future murders.

Because he’s my friend, I can’t bring myself to tell him to his face the real problem with the death penalty are the hacks in his profession, making ridiculous arguments that waste the court’s time and taxpayer money.

Instead, I’ll publish this piece behind his back and wait like a coward for him to read my blog.

You’ve been served notice, my friend, and we both know who you are.

Here’s an example that illustrates my better argument.

Lawyers working on a current death penalty case have put forth a novel argument to defend their client.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that attorneys for a prisoner on Death Row are in court arguing about the safety of drugs used to execute their client. We’re seriously asked to care whether or not a prisoner in the process of execution experiences any pain whatsoever?

You’re worried about the safety involved with the manner of his death?

Does this strike anyone else as unbelievably ridiculous?

Your brothers of the bar are asking a judge from the same system that decreed it humane forcing death by starvation and dehydration for Terri Schiavo (who was innocent of criminal behavior) to insist on better treatment for a man condemned to death?

A man judged guilty of a capital crime by a jury of his peers?

Just for the record, the drugs in question have been used while in my presence to euthanize my dearly departed canine companions when they suffered at the very end of life.

With great sadness, I stayed with my beloved friends until the bittersweet end. Let me assure every reader in no uncertain terms, I am absolutely sure that they did not suffer.

Best dog ever Sheba passed most recently, gently fading into eternal sleep. I distinctly remember asking our vet as her body quivered with spasms of death if life still resided in her body or if she suffered any pain. He assured me had been over as quickly and peacefully as it initially appeared.

Every living organism goes through these same death throes. It’s patently absurd to suggest they indicate cruel and unusual punishment when they occur upon the death of an evil person.

I would say good luck arguing that nonsense, but we are talking about the American judicial system.

If you seriously expect common sense and rational thought to guarantee justice will prevail, just remember these two words: Casey Anthony.

I doubt anyone seriously believes she was innocent in the case of her daughter’s death. She just wasn’t proved guilty.

Stephen Colbert versus Grover Norquist

Stephen Colbert is host of The Colbert Report, seen on The Comedy Channel.

Colbert is a funny guy. His show satirizes conservatism as the liberal Colbert portrays a fake conservative.

For whatever reason, people of otherwise normal to above-average intelligence frequently behave as if they mistake his show for a serious news report. It seems that some very bright people can be easily confused. Here’s an example of what I mean.

Grover Norquist leads Americans for Tax Reform, a group that solicits politicians to sign a written pledge not to raise taxes under any circumstances. Norquist signed his own pledge, of course.

The following is a transcript of a brief exchange between the two men on the show.

Colbert: I’m going to ask you a trick question.

Norquist: Sure.

Colbert: I hope you have the right answer. Is there any time and any circumstance under which raising taxes is the right thing to do?

Norquist: No.

Colbert: Good answer. Okay, now let’s amp it up a little bit. Terrorists have kidnapped all of our grandmothers. (Audience laughter.) They’re being kept in a subterranean burrow – which you know they have – (cut to smiling Norquist, going along with the joke) and all of the grandmothers have been slathered with honey. And they will release fire ants into this burrow to bite our grandmothers to death. (More audience laughter.) Their only demand is that we increase the marginal tax rate on the top 2 percent of Americans, and we will release them. Do we raise the tax rate or do we let our grandmothers die by ant bite? (Loud audience laughter.)

Norquist: I think we console ourselves with the fact we have pictures.

In other words, ask a stupid question, you deserve a stupid answer.

The audience booed him.

Moments earlier, they had laughed as Colbert created this absolutely ridiculous scenario. They were expressing shock and dismay at Norquist’s somewhat cavalier dismissal of the grotesquely fictionalized death of grandma.

The audience apparently failed to realize the question itself was the joke. They obviously didn’t get it.

Colbert had to laugh at his audience. He said, “No, that’s the right answer! The man made a pledge.”

He’s absolutely right. It remains the right answer.

The solution is not to increase taxes, but substantially decrease government spending.


The chutzpah of Jeff Immelt

General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt has a lot of nerve.

While he leads the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, at the same time GE competes with an unfair advantage over its competitors.

His company received billions in stimulus money to subsidize green energy and TARP money because GE Capital was treated as a “lender”.

While GE plans to cut jobs, Immelt recently delivered a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, lambasting fellow corporate CEOs for failing to hire.

Meanwhile, Immelt’s compensation doubled to $15 million dollars last year.

No wonder he could afford to yuk it up (Immelt is to Obama’s immediate right) when the president joked about “shovel ready” jobs funded by the stimulus, saying it turned out they were not shovel ready after all.

Then where in the hell did our tax dollars go?