Monday, April 30, 2012

What Obama yelled to Hugh Beaumont while playing his 95th round of golf

"Fore, Ward!"

The Obama campaign finally released their slogan for the 2012 and it's "Foreward!"  To which I say, yes! Forward with the endless supply of material for ridicule!

I like this one: "Was 'Reply-All' taken?"
To which I might add: "Look forward but - for God's sake - don't look back at the past three-and-a-half years."  Or "Forward-looking...after blaming everybody in the past."
Or how about this warning of another trillion-dollar federal deficit: "Not to worry! Obama will just, uh, pay it forward.  Or rather, we will."
I like the socialist spin: "Just like China's Great Leap Forward, but in America!"
And if you want to get really old-school there's Stalin's Order #227, comrades.

I predict this slogan will go down the memory tube of bad ideas along with Dan Rather's one-word signoff:

Extra - Ace has more along with Gateway Pundit.  Forward in the glorious struggle!

More - RNC tweet: "Under Obama's budget, Americans can look FORWARD to $1.9 trillion in higher taxes."  Uh-oh, there's another hijacked hashtag.
Sooner and sooner - Veronique de Rugy notes that the year that Social Security's trust fund runs dry keeps creeping closer and closer, now pegged for 2033.  And, boy, this sounds really familiar: "But the real problem is that, for years, the federal government has used Social Security’s surpluses to pay for roads, education, and wars. Now that the Social Security program will be demanding its money back from the Department of Treasury on an annual basis, the government will have to borrow more and more from investors, increasing the publicly held debt at a greater pace."
Dances with Ethnicity - Legal Insurrection: "Confirmed - Elizabeth Warren knowingly self-identified as Native American on law association forms."

I wonder how long it will take before this is characterized as part of the invented "war on women"....too late!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Who's going to pay for all this stuff?

I've written about P.D. James' creepy, dystopian novel "The Children of Men" before and Ross Douthat has a good article today about the unsettling demographic trends facing Japan in "The Incredible Shrinking Country."
Eberstadt has spent years writing about the challenges posed by declining fertility around the globe. But Japan, he notes, is a unique case. The Japanese birthrate hovers around just 1.3 children per woman, far below the level required to maintain a stable population. Thanks to increasing life expectancy, by 2040 “there could almost be one centenarian on hand to welcome each Japanese newborn.” Over the same period, the overall Japanese population is likely to decline by 20 percent, with grim consequences for an already-stagnant economy and an already-strained safety net.
Yikes, one centenarian per baby?  That's going to lead to some budget strains unless Japan can get some kids into the work force.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Re-assessment - WSJ: "If you're under 40, don't bank on Social Security" "If Plan A in your retirement scheme is Social Security, it's time to start working on Plan B."
Fair shares - Atlantic: "The 'Fair' question: If we must raise taxes, where should we start?"  Yes, the rich could pay more in taxes but relying on a small sliver of the population leads to high volatility in revenues.  And, no, we shouldn't put the burden on the poor but shouldn't every American pay something for the government?  After all, what incentive is there for limiting the size of government when 45% of Americans don't pay for it?

That said, I agree with this line: "The most reasonable tax fix is the solution neither party wants to talk about. It's higher taxes, across the board, including for the middle class."  Or we can keep borrowing 40 cents for every dollar we spend.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Obama admits the economy stinks

From his speech the other day:
The ... news is, today our economy is ... the worst.   [T]here's still a lot of Americans who are out there looking for a job or at least finding a job that pays the bills and helps cover the mortgage.  There's still too many families who don't have that security, that basic middle-class security that started slipping away...
I may have used some special editing.
Surprisingly, crushing taxes didn't help - George Will: "Illinois moves towards state of insolvency."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jann Wenner, Obama's lapdog

There's a reason that Rolling Stone breathlessly reported their fourth extensive interview with Obama in four years: the President knows he's going to get the softest of Nerf balls lobbed from Wenner and there won't be a doubt to Obama's wonderfulness.  Beyond belief, Wenner burns off his first six questions with the President asking variations of "aren't those Republicans terrible?"

I used to subscribe to Rolling Stone but - Judas Priest - somewhere along the way they must had added an Orwellian two-minute hate to every staff meeting.

Nevertheless, Wenner managed to squeeze in some hard-hitting questions about meeting Mick Jagger.  In fact, here's how I broke down the questions asked of Obama:

Republicans - 6
Race relations - 1
Gay marriage - 1
War on drugs - 1
Occupy Wall Street/Wall Street - 3
Global warming - 1
Military / foreign affairs - 4
Bein' President - 3
Media (TV, music, etc.) - 12

Compare and contrast to the issues that Americans care most about (various polls):

Health care
Budget deficit/national debt
Family values
Fuel costs

Of course, we probably shouldn't expect any less from Rolling Stone.  The New York Times spent all of two days carrying on the charade that this election year will be different before falling back on their own reliable biases.  I'm sure any moment now the media will be discussing the jobless recovery how Gitmo is still open.  Aaaaaaannnnyyy moment now.

Is this a surprise?
Record numbers of Americans consider the news media to be “immoral,” “inaccurate,” and “biased,” a new poll says.
You know what those "Americans" are watching?  Fox News (where Obama fears to tread.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Feed me, Seymour!

I worried about this years ago: a desperate, out-of-control, federal government will not be able to keep its hands off of American's huge retirement accounts.  Doug Ross: "Good News: Feds Look Seriously at Attacking the Deficit. Bad News: They're Targeting Retirement Accounts."
Obama panders to the kids - Today Obama soaked in the adulation of the future unemployed and tried to get them excited about paying slightly less for their college loans.

Because, you know, student loan debt is bad.  Exploding federal debt?  That's radical!

Monday, April 23, 2012

They always get you with the shipping charges - With a hat tip to my pal Des, here's a $23 million book about flies.
Hey, guess what blogger you love turns 65 in 2033?

CBS News: "Social Security: Trust fund in the red by 2033."

Not to worry folks. Senator Tom Harkin is here to set the record straight:
Social Security is financed by its own revenue stream, the payroll tax and, by law, it cannot add to the deficit. Since the payroll tax will still be collected, even after 2033, Social Security will be able to pay 75 percent of scheduled benefits going forward, assuming that Congress would take no action to address this problem.
Yeah, I think that last part is a pretty fair bet.  Harkin wants you to know that all that money you paid into that FICA box on your paycheck - well - you'll get a portion back if you live to 65 or, in my case, 67.  The rate of return would be far, far below what you'd have if you just put that money into a 401(k) or savings account but you'll get it back because the government said so.  Why would you ever want to opt out of a such a great program?

Because you can't.

Related - From Hot Air.

And this - LA Times: "Social Security is slipping closer to insolvency."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Reality intrudes at the Times - For a blog that is kinda dedicated towards the unsustainability of traditional entitlement plans from Greece to Medicare, this piece from Walter Russell Mead about the enormous bubble-bursting at the New York Times is delightful reading: "For readers, this is a fascinating and revealing glimpse inside the Times bubble. I am not sure which is more disconcerting; the deeply embedded sense of blue entitlement so palpably on display or the poor political judgement that led the union brass to think that releasing this video to the public would be good PR. Either way it serves as a powerful illustration of just how fundamentally out of touch many of the people working at America’s most famous newspaper have become."  The "living in a cardboard box and eating cat food" narrative is, well, just hilarious stuff for a media elite fed on Zabar's bagels.

Extra - Powerline: "Mind of the Times"

Saturday, April 21, 2012

We're super-broke - Zero Hedge: "Presenting the U.S. government's own infographic of its own insolvency." And guess what?  The problem isn't student loans or a lack of revenue from Warren Buffett: it's entitlements.  Talking about anything else is like thinking your car won't run because of low tire pressure.
California, here we go - Here's Joel Kotkin in Opinion Journal: "The great California exodus."
CBO: Obama's budget will put us into a death spiral

Hey, I'm back from vacation!  Here's the first nugget of the day from the Hill: "CBO estimates Obama's 2013 budget plan would hit economic growth."  In sum, they estimate it could slow growth between 0.5 and 2.2% because of federal borrowing sucking all the oxygen from business:
Larger deficits caused by the budget would cause the government to issue more bonds, sucking up private capital to finance its debts and thereby reducing the funds businesses could use to expand and hire, the CBO said. An increased tax on capital gains included in the president's plan would also tend to reduce private capital, it says.
So business can't grow, meaning the government can't collect much-needed corporate and personal income taxes, which then leads to calls by Obama to increase spending to help Americans affected by the economic downturn.  Smartest President ever.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No fair! - Reason: "Obama's fairness fiction": ""Fairness," an elusive idea normally exploited by spoiled children, is now the foundation of the Democratic Party's economy policy."

Monday, April 09, 2012

Fun with unemployment graphs - Zero Hedge: "Here is today's chart of the day from BofA, which begs one simple question: when will the two time series recouple, because recouple they will, and how will America react to the realization it was lied to for 2% worth of unemployment "improvement"? The chart says it all."
A Depression-era program in a 21st-century world

This title from Hit & Run says it all: "FDR would have opposed today's Social Security."  In short, FDR was a fan of the "lock box" idea so that Americans had faith that the government would protect retirees' money.  But somewhere along the way, Washington conspired to pick its own pocket and shifted to the Ponzi-ish "pay as you go" system.

One of my (many) complaints about Social Security is that it was designed to help the elderly at a time when work involved physical labor: farming, factory work, ditch-digging, etc.  Social Security was available at 65 when the life expectancy was 63 and penicillin was a new-fangled invention.  At the signing of the Social Security Act, FDR lauded it as a way to protect against "poverty-ridden old age" but today it's largely a subsidy for relatively affluent and healthy seniors.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Let's enjoy ourselves before reality intrudes - Zero Hedge: "There will never be a failed U.S. Treasury auction...until there is."  "Everyone is betting on this one idea -  that the Fed will never lose control of interest rates and the US Treasury will never have a failed auction.  The same way nearly every major financial player on the planet was willing to bet that US real estate could never fall for an extended period of time. And we all know how that trade worked out."

In related news: "Egan-Jones cuts U.S. rating citing growing debt."  Geez, don't harsh my mellow, man.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Der Kommissar wants his "demographic reserve" tax

Sydney Morning Herald: "Germany set to tax young."
Germany is proposing to levy extra taxes on the young to pay for the costs of the country's growing numbers of old people, under government plans for a ''demographic reserve'' levy.
Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats have drafted proposals that, if law, would require all those over 25 to pay a proportion of their income to cushion Germany against a looming population crisis.
There's a very, very predictable cause to this problem:
Because of a slump in Germany's population, as more ageing Germans retire there are fewer young workers to replace them as taxpayers to fund generous welfare and pension arrangements.
To which I say: "Willkommen in Amerika!" young, productive, overtaxed Germans.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

I can't believe they're going to cancel this show - Tonight's episode of "Community" was just about the funniest thing I've ever seen since the paintball episode.  It was a community-college pillow fight as told by a PBS version of "The Civil War" complete with a pledge drive in the closing credits.  Genius.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Auto-debt - It's not just General Motors racking up debt: "Saab produced $2 billion in unpaid bills."

Meanwhile, in Motown: "Detroit faces state takeover threat."
Parliamentarian rules: Senate must do its job - Well, this came as a shock for Harry Reid and his Senate which hasn't passed a budget in 1070+ days: "Ruling: Senate can't dodge unpopular budget votes."

Just like last time, watch for Paul Ryan's budget to be voted down and Obama's budget to be super-voted down.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Facts are stubborn things - Guy Benson gives a point-by-point response to Obama's blather today: "Obama's worst speech yet."

Extra - Yuval Levin: "Obama's America."  That would be the America where doing anything to rein in unprecedented government spending and trillion-dollar deficits is heartless social Darwinism.  Oh my.

More - Hey isn't Paul Ryan's budget awful?  WSJ: "The worst economic recovery in history."

And this - Opinion Journal: "If there's a Laffer Curve for Presidential invective—some point at which dishonest political abuse yields diminishing returns—the White House political team must not think their boss has hit it. Even in this hyperpartisan age, President Obama's speech to the Associated Press yesterday was a parody of the form. This was a diatribe that managed to invoke "Social Darwinism" and "a Trojan Horse" in the same paragraph, amid the other high crimes that Mr. Obama says Paul Ryan wants to commit."

Monday, April 02, 2012

Total eclipse of the STA

Today's lesson in irony: the Boston Globe had an editorial today titled "Solyndra shouldn't cast shadow over bigger clean-energy push."

And now the punchline.  Zero Hedge: "World's largest solar plant, with second largest ever Department of Energy loan guarantee, files for bankruptcy":
Solyndra was just the appetizer. Earlier today, in what will come as a surprise only to members of the administration, the company which proudly held the rights to the world's largest solar power project, the hilariously named Solar Trust of America ("STA"), filed for bankruptcy.
Oh, man, couldn't they just hold out until November?
Living in Twilight City - This is a really excellent article by Megan McArdle in this month's Atlantic about the convergence of social and economic problems in Europe.  Generous public benefits are straining the budgets in the Eurozone at the very time the fertility rate is plummeting and there aren't enough workers to support the system.  Growth would help but the Eurozone economy is barely expanding and some countries are so deep in debt that austerity is the new normal.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Always loved this song

Al Stewart's "Year of the Cat" - with lyric subtitles!

Side note: I was at a piano bar at Walt Disney World a couple years back and I asked for this song (which may be a little obscure) but one of the guys played the opening part and I was mightily impressed.  Unfortunately, they didn't know the whole thing so I think they moved on to "Sweet Caroline" or something.
Hey kids, rock and roll - Doug Ross links to Esquire which notes that the employment rate for young adults is the lowest since the government began recording this information.  So there are no jobs for the very Americans who are going to have to pay off the $5 trillion in new debt incurred by this Administration.
Tea leaves - It looks like Wall Street thinks that Obamacare is going down.
Spain is the new Greece - Powerline has the rundown and one has to wonder how much longer Germany can run around the Eurozone, plugging all the leaks in the dam.