December 27, 2012
I'm not going to go back and take a long look at 2012 because I find it too depressing. I am still trying to deal with the fact that the majority of my fellow Americans who went to the polls and voted on Nov. 6 thought that President Barack Hussein Obama was doing such a good job he deserved another four years in the White House.
I said it before the election and still feel the same way today – our country survived four years of Obama but I'm not sure we will survive eight years without sustaining serious damage.
It is a huge and enormously resilient country that can take a lot of damage, but there is a limit. The government can't provide everything for everybody, which seems to be the goal of this administration. It particularly can't provide everything for everyone if it has to borrow a third of the money to do it.
The policies are making it more and more difficult for small businesses, the backbone of this nation, to continue to operate. I'm not looking forward to the next four years and don't think that the country will be better in four years than it is today, although if the economy isn't better in four years, I don't know how any small businesses will survive.
The Republicans, who deserve the moniker the Stupid Party now more than ever, did manage to hold on to a majority in the House. With one house of Congress, the Republicans can block any major life-changing legislation like Obamacare, although it's too late for that. Obamacare has already passed and it's also passed its biggest constitutional challenge.
Obamacare still has a huge challenge from the Catholic Church, and I guess we'll find out just what kind of Catholic Chief Justice John Roberts is. We may find that Roberts doesn't believe in freedom of religion either.
If the Republicans were not the Stupid Party, they would also control the Senate. But they managed to put up some candidates for the Senate who were so dumb or out of touch that it was extremely difficult for rational people of any political persuasion to support them and they managed to lose ground in the Senate.
Mitt Romney's campaign advisors would have looked brilliant if he had won. Now you have to question their decision not to go after Obama on Benghazi and to continue to talk about some fiscal plan that was only described with broad hand gestures.
It appears that the Romney campaign never made up with the far right – the base of the Republican Party – and spent so much time courting independents that they deserted the one that brought them to the dance.
The Republican Party is in desperate need of leadership. And it needs a leader who recognizes that he is going to be going up against Obama for the next four years, and that on every single issue the media are going to take the side of the president.
Long term the Republicans have to figure out how to get some representation in the media other than Fox News.
, , ,
I am not an economist and I don't play one on TV, but I do pay bills, make a payroll every two weeks and know some basic economic principles.
Obama is always talking about increasing taxes on the rich by taking away special tax breaks for the rich. His entire economic policy seems geared, not toward taking action that would improve the economy, create jobs or lower the deficit, but simply toward punishing the rich, whomever they are.
The philosophy is wrong. The rich should be rewarded for making more money because if the rich don't have money to invest then we are all left to depend on the government for everything. If you think about it, that is exactly what Obama wants. If rich people can't invest in businesses then the only entity left to invest is the government, which means the government controls everything.
Then there is the reality problem. Obama seems to think that everyone is an hourly employee and if the government wants more of their money, the government just raises the tax rates and takes the money out of their paychecks. But it doesn't work like that.
A great example of why it doesn't work the way Obama says that it does are tax-free municipal bonds. Cities like Greensboro borrow money by selling bonds. When a city goes to the bond market it gets to borrow money at a lower interest rate because rich people can buy municipal bonds and they don't have to pay income tax on the interest income.
It provides a reliable tax-free income stream for the rich and inexpensive money for towns and cities. According to Obama that isn't fair. The rich are not paying their fair share and they need to pay more, so he is proposing to take away that tax break, which only applies to the rich because nobody else can afford to buy municipal bonds.
Great, if Obama has his way the government will start taxing municipal bond interest and sticking it to the rich. Except the folks who will end up paying the price, making up the difference, are not the rich. They won't lose a dime. It will be you and me and every other property and car owner in towns and cities that sell bonds. We will see our property taxes go up because the cost of bonds will go up.
If the bonds are not tax free then rich people are not going to buy them at the same price. And they are rich. They don't have to buy our bonds. They can invest in pork bellies, river barges, oil wells, solar powered speedboats, flying cars or anything else. There is never a shortage of investments out there. Without the tax-free status, the interest rate that cities and towns will have to pay on their bonds will increase and either the cities and towns will raise taxes or expenses will be cut somewhere else. But the average taxpayer will foot the bill, not the rich.
The rich will still buy bonds, but demand a higher interest rate to cover their taxes. So Obama can go out in front of a union audience and make a great speech about how he has closed a tax loophole for the rich and not a single reporter will ask him if he plugged that hole with money from the middle class. But that is how he will have done it.
Obama may not know that. He may believe that when he taxes the rich, they pay. No doubt his friend Warren Buffett will call him up and say, "Good job, Barry. You really stuck it to us." But Buffett will know he isn't paying a dime more in taxes than he wants to pay.
The economists who advise Obama have been quoted as saying that he has no idea how the economy works and doesn't understand basic economic principles that those who run businesses, no matter how small, have to learn.
Obama has no background or experience in economics. Going to Harvard Law School doesn't make you an economist. He has virtually no experience in the private sector other than doing some work for a private law firm. But none of that matters because, as he frequently tells anyone who questions him, he is the president of the United States.
, , ,
A lot of folks who are not gun control nuts are talking about the need for gun control following the horrific killings at Sandy Hook. If you fall into that camp, please don't fall into the "ban assault weapons" camp. The term assault weapon was invented by the Clinton administration for a ban that was in place from 1994 to 2004. Go ahead and look it up and see if there was a great drop-off in people being shot during that time. Or you can believe me when I say I can't find one. ...continued on page 2