Speaker Spin

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35 Responses

  1. Thanks, Joe, for helping us through listening to this guy. Keep it up.

  2. Just about 30 days until the adults take over Congress.

    Then we’ll have legislators whose raison d’etre is something other than extracting a pound of flesh out of productive Americans.

    • Adults? As in abusive parent, maybe:

      http://www.philstockworld.com/2010/12/05/weekend-reading-santa-clause-rall y-or-grinchy-finish-to-2010/

      “Let’s look at health care, as another example. Here’s a nice chart from The Incidental Economist (via Barry) that neatly sums up US Health Care Costs vs the rest of the World. That’s just two countries above Canada and the rest of the World below their $3,700 per capita Health Care Spending while we are proudly over $7,300 per person, and that was two years ago, when things were much cheaper! Even more interesting is the chart of Health Care broken down by Presidential terms but that chart makes it so blatantly obvious that Republicans have been selling this nation down the river for decades that I don’t want to even put it up here or people may say I’m somehow biased.

      “We’ll just move along and pretend that there’s no real way to know who’s responsible for runaway health care costs or spiraling commodity prices as it must be some gigantic coincidence that the Dems take control of Congress (along with the regulatory and investigative committees) in 2007 and the commodity boom finally loses some steam and then the Reps take control back in 2010 and – well, here we go again.

      “Look at all these lovely countries we can move to and save 50% or more on health care costs. Virtually none of those nations has anywhere near the debt levels of the US and most of them have great public transportation and more public services than we do so many, many fine places to retire (US ranks 15th, very sadly beaten by Columbia at 13!) after we join the commodity pushers and the Gang of 12 in squeezing every last dime from the suckers that are going down with this sinking ship. If they can’t be motivated to send an Email off to complain about it then they get exactly the government they deserve, right?”

      http://www.open.ac.uk/openlearn/science-maths-technology/mathematics-and-statistics/statistics/the-joy-stats-200-countries-200-years-4-minutes

      “Of course, this is nothing compared to the ridiculous over-supply of crude in the United States:

      “This is something you never hear covered in the MSM, as they give you their “news” between commercials for energy companies. It should go without saying that GE, a company who has tens of Billions of dollars in profits riding on ever-increasing energy prices, is NEVER going to tell you anything but how scarce oil is and how lucky we are to be allowed to pay $100 a barrel for it.

      “The fact that we have 10% more oil than the high end of the 5-year average or 20% more oil than the low end doesn’t come as a shock to PSW readers – we track this stuff all the time but it should come as a shock to consumers, who are paying 50% above the last 5-years’ average of $59.60 in the first week of December. THEY should be paying US to take some of this excess oil off their hands!!!

      “We are so swimming in oil that we are EXPORTING 2.1M barrels of refined products a day. This is over a 100% increase in the past 5 years and a 50% increase in the last two years and is a favorite trick of the commodity pushers as it creates both a false impression of demand for crude by US consumers (+10% a day) as well as a false impression of use of that oil (consumption) as US refiners send fuel out to other markets and then they turn around and tell you that there is tight capacity – which is another total lie entirely. Even if all this BS manipulation doesn’t surprise you, does it at least make you angry enough to ask your brand new Republican Congressman to investigate? You can contact you newly elected champions of the people right here – I’m sure they’ll get right on it because it’s not like the re-election of the Republicans directly resulted in a 10% jump in the price of oil as the speculators once again decided they can go back to raping the American people as they once again fall under the lazy eye of “friendly” regulators.

      http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=WTTEXUS2&f=W

      “We are, in fact, using LESS gasoline now than we did in 1983 or, of course, any year since. Gasoline consumption this year has been averaging 10% LESS than 2009 with 43.8 gallons/day delivered in September (the last month counted) by US refineries vs. 48.6M in Sept 2009 and 53.4M in Sept 2008 and 57.7M in Sept 2007 and 59.7M in Sept 2006. Feeling ripped off yet? We, as a country, have cut back our consumption of gasoline by 16M gallons a day (26%) in 5 years yet the price of gasoline is going HIGHER. Not only that, but the US consumed an average of 60M gallons a day between 1995 and 2004 when oil was $20-30 a barrel and gas was $1 so we are now consuming almost 30% less fuel and paying 200% more for the privilege. Are we, in fact, the World’s biggest suckers? Is the lack of regulation in America nothing more than a way for Big Business to rip off the American consumers (while paying no tax on their profits)?”

      • According to Phil’s World, the election of a majority of Republicans in the house (never mind the Dems control the Senate and White House) causes oil prices to jump. Wow.

        Here I thought those joints I smoked and mushrooms I ingested in college blew my mind.

        Who was to know I could have bought an investing newsletter called Phil’s World and gotten the same thing much cheaper.

        Apparently, no one ever explained to Phil that a weak dollar makes dollar traded commodities more attractive — thus demand increases, thus prices go up.

        Just when I thought a guy couldn’t be more wrong about oil and its price movement, he then transitions into his “market view” of stocks at the end.

        He concludes that markets will trade in a range until the end of the year and then they could go either way.

        Wow. I thought they only went one way in the short term. Where do I sign up?

  3. Re: “pound of flesh out of productive Americans.”

    In the video above, you can see that under the Democrats plan the wealthiest Americans still get a bigger tax cut than virtually all Americans. They just dont’ get the current super-sized tax cuts.

    As “adult” billionaire Warren Buffet said:

    “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

    • Buffet is a brilliant investor but a doddering old fool when it comes to general economics.

      Either that or he is misleads on purpose. His “chicken crap” about his secretary paying more in income taxes than him is because he has all of his billions tied up in stock and foundations — all taxed at capital gains or not taxed at all.

      She is paying full ordinary income taxes on her income, another idiocy of the current system. Can you say “flat tax?”

      Second, he is escaping tax all together by giving him money to the Gates Foundation. So it is easy to say tax everyone else when he is paying little if any.

      Finally, someone who is so obscenely rich doesn’t mind paying more in taxes on some of his money, like most limo liberals. They already have it made. Soak those who make $250k or more. What do they care?

      This guy has it right. If Uncle Warren or Billy Gates are so gung ho about taxes, why are they avoiding paying it?

      http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/12/03/yes_the_rich_can_afford_it_but_can_we_108140.html

      • I guess you’re right. What does Buffet know of economics?

        And asking wealthy people to return to the Clinton era tax rates would be truly catastrophic for them and the country. After all, the economy and deficit got so much better under W. compared to Clinton.

    • Of course I’m right. What super brain in economics is as rich or even close to Warren Buffet?

      You are confusing investment expertise with economic expertise just as I.Q. is often confused with common sense. One has no correlation to the other.

      Warren Buffet is an idiot savant when it comes to selecting companies that will turn a profit. That has nothing whatsoever to do with macroeconomics. I believe I made that point rather conclusively on his misunderstanding of how the tax system works.

      Are you speaking of the Clinton who actually cut the deficit, including welfare? If you are trying to equate the policies of then with now…….well, I’m afraid you are a bit off base. The real surplus took effect when spending was curbed. I see no evidence of that now. Republicans forced Clinton to meet them halfway.

      The school of thought that proposes taxing a small part of the population to make up for stratospheric spending deficits is………..well, let’s just see how that works out in two years.

      • I know you love to use those straw man arguments, but I obviously don’t think having the super wealthy pay Clinton era tax rates is the SOLE way to reduce the deficit. I do think it would 1) modestly slow the growth of the deficit; 2) restore a bit of tax code fairness lost under W: and 3) wouldn’t harm the economy, as evidenced by the fact that the economy flourished with the super wealthy paying those rates in the Clinton era.

        By the way, what does the non-partisan CBO say is the most effective near-term way to help stabilize unemployment? Extend unemployment benefits, the proposal being held hostage by the folks intent on making sure the super wealthy don’t have to return to Clinton era tax rates. (Slide 11 here)

        At the bottom of the CBO’s list of most effective tools for helping with near-term unemployment? Cut income tax rates.

      • I wouldn’t mind that in return for extending the current tax rates for everyone. That’s another $55 billion or so for extending benefits.

        At least you acknowledge it’s a”fairness” issue as opposed to an economic issue. If Democrats are serious about growth and deficit reduction, they would back a flat tax and many of the cuts the deficit commission recommended.

        My guess is that Obama will ignore most of the recommendations of his own commission, as will Congress because there are too many sacred cows.

        The U.S. tax code is already the most progressive of most any country — so the fairness thing, in my opionion, is bogus. But a flat tax would really change the landscape for the better.

        The bottom line is I can’t think of a dumber thing to do than to raise taxes during tough economic times. Hoover tried it and we all know where that went.

        People in the CBO have rarely if ever made a payroll. I have been thinking of hiring another person but I’m not going to do it until i know where tax rates are.

        Like many businesses, I’m sitting on cash and ready to expand, but not if I’m going to be punished for doing it. I’ll sit on the cash, put it into tax free investments and I’ll keep my revenues where they are if taxes are going up.

        Extending the unemployment benefits will have no outcome on my decision and no outcome on the decisions of any other small business owners, I suspect.

      • The deficit reduction advantage of bringing the super wealthy back to Clinton-era tax rates is hardly insignificant. Republicans are blocking an extension of unemployment benefits — the most effective thing we can do to support near term job creation and retention, according to the non-partisan CBO — because they are shocked, SHOCKED, that helping the unemployed costs $55 billion. At the same time, the tax cuts they are fighting to the death for — a proposal that is the least effective way to help with near term unemployment, according to the CBO — costs 12 times more than unemployment benefits, $690 billion over ten years.

        They pose like deficit hawks when it comes to vulnerable middle class families, but are falling all over themselves to spend like drunken sailors when it comes to their wealthy supporters. I’m very weary of being lectured about fiscal conservatism by these cats.

      • Yeah, I forgot. Dems have been such responsible spenders.

      • Some data to ponder, from a Michael Kinsley column in the Washington Post:

        The party with the best record of serving Republican economic values is the Democrats. It isn’t even close.

        The Republican values I refer to are universal. We all want prosperity, oppose unemployment, dislike inflation, don’t enjoy paying taxes, etc. These values are Republican only in the sense that Republicans are supposed to treasure them more and to be more reluctant to sacrifice them for other goals such as equality and clean air.

        Statistics back to 1959 make this clear. A consistent pattern over 45 years cannot be explained by shorter-term factors, such as war or who controls Congress. Maybe presidents can’t affect the economy much, but the assumption that they can and do is so prominent in Republican rhetoric that they are stuck with it. So consider:

        Federal spending (aka “big government”): It has gone up an average of about $50 billion a year under presidents of both parties. But that breaks down as $35 billion a year under Democratic presidents and $60 billion under Republicans. If you assume that it takes a year for a president’s policies to take effect, Democrats have raised spending by $40 billion a year and Republicans by $55 billion.

        Leaning over backward even farther, let’s start our measurement in 1981, the date when many Republicans believe that life as we know it began. The result: Democrats still have a better record at smaller government. Republican presidents added more government spending for each year they served, whether you credit them with the actual years they served or with the year that followed.

      • As I’ve stated on these pages before, the Bush years were a spending orgy.

        But if you are trying to make the case that Dems spend responsibly, I’m afraid you’ve lost me.

        It’s like saying I’m good looking…….well, yeah, if I’m compared to Quasimodo.

        I bet that gap that Kinsley cites gets closed after the last four years. Here’s an interesting point of view from Reason:

        http://reason.com/archives/2008/10/31/fear-of-a-unified-government

  4. “… get a tax cut” revels that you believe government is responsible for conferring wealth upon the citizenry.

    In truth and fact, it is the citizenry that lends power (wealth) to government to be the guarantor of our liberties.

    A la Reid, Pelosi, Pogemiller, etc., Most liberals have this ass backwards.

    • As you point out, the citizenry holds the power in a democracy. Well, the polls show that the citizenry demands very expensive services from it’s government. That citizen demand for expensive goods and services carries with it the need for taxation. The root cause of the need for the current level of taxation is a citizen demand that their democracy give them good schools, university, health care, military, retirement benefits, employment safety net, roads, bridges, public safety officials, etc.

      I know you want a government with almost no services, but look at the polls. That is not what the majority of citizens want. And this is a democracy, not a Newtocracy.

      • I agree that there is a substantial constituency that constitutes the dependency class. But In a truly free America, the tyranny of the dependency class cannot subordinate the liberty of the productive class.

        I choose to live in a free America.

      • Agreed. We do have expensive tastes. But raising taxes on a limited number of millionaires ain’t going to do it, baby.

        Tax revenues go up in the short run, but fall back to predictable levels of 18 percent of GDP no matter where rates are set because this idiotic system doesn’t work.

        Tax the wealthy all you want. They simply will invest in tax free, tax deferred and tax managed accounts and use all the deductions etc. available to those who control their own income. This sham is nothing more than chest thumping.

        Even Obama admits that lowering capital gains brings in more revenue than raising it, but it’s a “fairness” issue so spare me the spin that this is economically responsible.

        It’s not.

      • A significant part of the problem is that we provide a lot of government at very low (apparent) costs because we push off the payment of these things–like not funding tax cuts, or Medicare prescription coverage, etc. people get used to lots of services without having to pay for them (they just push the costs off onto the next generation).

  5. hey, Joe–Why is the flag green? did you deliberately adjust the tint on that video to get rid on Boner’s tan?

    • Shhhhh. Subliminal leftist Wellstonian, tree huggin’ Green video production. I have nothing against the Speaker’s skin color.

  6. One awaits the lodging of a formal protest by the American Poultry Association.

  7. I wouldn’t rely much on polls as Politifact does because if you live by them, you die by them.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101130/ap_on_bi_ge/us_ap_poll_taming_budget_deficits_6

  8. This rates a bronze plaque for a “Kennedy Klassic”:

    “Buffet is a brilliant investor but a doddering old fool when it comes to general economics.

    “Either that or he is misleads on purpose. His “chicken crap” about his secretary paying more in income taxes than him is because he has all of his billions tied up in stock and foundations — all taxed at capital gains or not taxed at all.”

  9. Good one. You’re right. Probably not.

    You know the old quote from Harry Truman — he wanted to hire an economist with one arm so he wouldn’t always hear:

    “One the one hand, but on the other hand………”

  10. We’ve all heard Shaw’s quote. But I like Lynch’s twist:

    If all the economists in the world were laid end to end, it wouldn’t be a bad thing.
    Peter Lynch

  11. I find that I like Senator Franken much more than I liked talk radio demagogue Franken:

    [blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/hrFYgpHaWgI%2Em4v%5D

  12. Okay, I was hesitant to jump on the crying thing. Men should be able to cry. But it really is true that a Pelosi would have been completely marginalized if she cried as much as this guy has been crying:

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