Saturday, February 28, 2009
STIMULUS PLAN EXPLAINED
Shortly after class, an economics student approaches his economics professor and says, "I don't understand this stimulus bill. Can you explain it to me?"
The professor replied, "I don't have any time to explain it at my office, but if you come over to my house on Saturday and help me with my weekend project, I'll be glad to explain it to you." The student agreed.
At the agreed-upon time, the student showed up at the professor's house. The professor stated that the weekend project involved his backyard pool.
They both went out back to the pool, and the professor handed the student a bucket. Demonstrating with his own bucket, the professor said, "First, go over to the deep end, and fill your bucket with as much water as you can." The student did as he was instructed.
The professor then continued, "Follow me over to the shallow end, and then dump all the water from your bucket into it." The student was naturally confused, but did as he was told.
The professor then explained they were going to do this many more times, and began walking back to the deep end of the pool.
The confused student asked, "Excuse me, but why are we doing this?"
The professor matter-of-factly stated that he was trying to make the shallow end much deeper.
The student didn't think the economics professor was serious, but figured that he would find out the real story soon enough.
However, after the 6th trip between the shallow end and the deep end, the began to become worried that his economics professor had gone mad. The student finally replied, "All we're doing is wasting valuable time and effort on unproductive pursuits. Even worse, when this process is all over, everything will be at the same level it was before, so all you'll really have accomplished is the destruction of what could have been truly productive action!"
The professor put down his bucket and replied with a smile, "Congratulations. You now understand the stimulus bill."
Friday, February 27, 2009
by Chuck Norris
Posted 02/24/2009 ET
Updated 02/24/2009 ET
An old Spanish proverb says, "An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy." I believe that value holds, in or out of a recession. And seeing as my 87-year-old mother lived through the Great Depression, I think her value (and that of those like her) will increase through these tough economic times because her insider wisdom can help us all.
Mother was about 10 years old when her eight-member family endured the thick of those recessive days in rural Wilson, Okla., which only has a population of 1,600 today. The recurring droughts across the heartland during that period dried up the job market, making it worse in the Midwest than it even was in the rest of the country. Over the years, my grandpa worked multiple jobs, from the oil fields to the cotton fields, and he was even a night watchman. The family members did what they could to contribute, but most of them were simply too young to play a major part.
In 1933, when President Franklin Roosevelt took office, his administration, through the Works Project Administration, brought about the employment of millions in civil construction projects, from bridges to dams to airports to roads. My grandfather traveled about 90 miles for a day's work to help build the Lake Murray dam. But with a far smaller ratio of jobs to potential laborers, if Grandpa worked five days a month (at $1.80 a day), it was a good month.
Like most families, my mother's family didn't have running water or electricity. And Granny did her best to keep the outhouse clean, with Grandpa helping by regularly depositing lye to control the odors. (You can imagine how the hot, humid Oklahoma summers turned that outside commode into one smelly closet-sized sauna.) A "scavenger wagon" came by once a week and cleaned out the hole, which had a small chairlike contraption over it with the center punched out. (They once had a two-seater in there, which allowed for two people to enjoy each other's company and conversation. Mom told me that she always felt a little upper-class when she sat with someone else!) By the way, and I'm not trying to be crude, toilet tissue wasn't around, so they used pages from Montgomery Ward catalogs (and you wondered why the catalogs were so thick). No joke -- they preferred the non-glossy pages. I'll let you figure out why.
Got the picture? With that in mind, I turn to a recent conversation I had with my mother. I asked her, "How would you encourage the average American to weather the economic storms of today?"
Here's her advice, in her words:
-- "Get back to the basics. Simplify your life. Live within your means. People have got to be willing to downsize and be OK with it. We must quit borrowing and cut spending. Be grateful for what you have, especially your health and loved ones. Be content with what you have, and remember the stuff will never make you happy. Never. Back then, we didn't have one-hundredth of what people do today, and yet we seemed happier than most today, even during the Great Depression.
-- "Be humble and willing to work. Back then, any work was good work. We picked cotton, picked up cans, scrap metal, whatever it took to get by. Where's that work ethic today? If someone's not being paid $10 an hour today, they're whining and unwilling to work, even if they don't have a job. The message from yesteryear is don't be too proud to do whatever it takes to meet the financial needs of your family.
-- "Be rich in love. We didn't have much. In fact, we had nothing at all, compared to people today, but we had each other. We were poor, but rich in love. We've lost the value of family and friends today, and we've got to gain it back if we're ever to get back on track. If we lose all our stuff and still have one another and our health, what have we really lost?
-- "Be a part of a community. Today people are much more alone, much more isolated. We used to be close with our neighbors. If one person had a bigger or better garden or orchard, they shared the vegetables and fruits with others in need. Society has shifted from caring for one another to being dependent upon government aid and welfare. That is why so many today trust in government to deliver them. They've forgotten an America that used to rally around one another in smaller clusters, called neighborhoods and communities. We must rekindle those local communal fires and relearn the power of that age-old commandment, 'Love thy neighbor.'
-- "Help someone else. We never quit helping others back then. Today too many people are consumed with their own problems and only helping themselves. 'What's in it for me?' is the question most are asking. But back then, it was, 'What can I do to help my neighbor, too?' I love Rick Warren's book The Purpose Driven Life, and especially his thought, 'We were created for community, designed to be a blessing to others.' Most of all, helping others gets our minds off of our problems and puts things into better perspective.
-- "Lean upon God for help and strength. We didn't just have each other to lean on, but we had God, too. We all attended church and belonged to a faith community. Church was the hub of society, the community core and rallying point. Today people turn to government the way we used to turn to churches. It's been that way ever since Herbert Hoover's alleged promise of a 'chicken in every pot' and President Roosevelt's New Deal. Too many have abandoned faith and community. We trust in money more than God. And maybe that's a reason why we're in this economic pickle."
Now that's conventional wisdom that should be shouted and posted in every corridor of government, every community across America, and every blog on the Internet.
Call me overly pragmatic, but I think a little practical wisdom and encouragement is what we all need about now. Mom always was good for that. She still is.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
He wants to make sure that Barack Obama knows what the real score in Washington is … Look, you may be president, but you don't mess with our pork-barrel projects. Yeah. Harry has warned the White House to "tread lightly on earmarks." If Obama tries to put any pressure on Congress to cut back on earmarks, Harry says that this will be met with strong opposition.
Harry Reid and his congressional stooges aren't there represent you. They're in this for the power. Any actual representation of the people is an error. They know that the average American will hear that the newest dog park around the corner was brought to you by Harry Reid (and countless taxpayers), and they will see him as having done good for the community. Never mind any sense of fiscal constraint or limited government.
And then, you are going to love this line. When it comes to all of this government spending, Harry Reid actually said that the "government is the only body that has any money" to spend to prop up the sagging economy.
Do you hear that, folks? Only government! Not you, the taxpayers. Not your employer or the small businesses in your community or the entrepreneurs. Government is the only thing that can save us.
Amazing. Depressing too.
The rest of the story
What is going through Reid's head? He's a wonderful person who only wants the best for the American people. And I have oceanfront property in Kansas for you (cheap - just email me for more information) if you believe that.
Reid is a flaming liberal who wants to keep the poor under the thumb of the Democratic Party. You promise them something big, get their votes, give a little something- just enough to make them want more, throw in scare tactics (the sky is falling! If we don't do this now the world will come to an end!), and promise more. And no, this isn't limited to just the Democrats and flaming liberals. The Republicans have been guilty of their own brand of scare tactics and for sitting back and not slapping some of these Henny Penny's into next week.
Too many people have an entitlement mindset (I deserve this! Everybody should have the same stuff as everybody else! Everybody deserves (insert item here) just because. Work for (insert item here)? You've got to be kidding! I shouldn't have to work!) and it's because of years of entitlement programs telling people they should have the same as others and not have to work for it.
Look. I'm not against helping people out. Far from it. America was once seen as the one place where anyone could be anything they want. Now, it's a place where Washington Cretins want to think for you, tell you what you want, pat you on the head and say, "don't you worry your pretty little head. Daddy will take care of it."
You know, I've been laughing about looking for a Sugar Daddy, but I'm not stupid and I won't be patronized. And that is what our Washington Cretins are doing. Patronizing us - the people who are where they are because many of us (me included at time) bought into their rhetoric and voted for them.
They only thing they care about is keeping their jobs. And if it means lying to the public, making promises they know they can't or won't keep, using scare tactics, it's not below them. And it crosses party affiliation.
By Neal Boortz @ February 18, 2009 8:49 AM
A listener asked me this question last week. Fair enough. If (and God help you if it ever happens) I was the one making the decision, what would I do to stimulate our economy? Well .. here would be some of my first steps:
- Say something positive about the power of the free market system
- Call for immediate passage of the FairTax
- Lower the top tax rate to 20% while waiting for the FairTax to pass
- Immediately eliminate capital gains taxes
- Declare a tax amnesty to allow all American funds invested abroad to come to work in our economy with no tax consequences
- Cut the corporate tax rate significantly. Having the world's second-highest corporate tax rate doesn't exactly make us a magnet for new businesses and jobs.
- Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley
- Declare a tax holiday of from four to six months where the federal government forgives all individual income and payroll taxes.
There's more to be done for sure ... but the goal here is to get the economy moving NOW, not two years from now. The big problem with all of the steps outlined above, of course, is that they empower the private sector and individuals, not government and politicians. The goal here is to grow our economy, not our government.
Now ... aren't you glad I'm not up there making any decisions?
I might not agree with everything Neal has to say, but he's hit the nail on the head here. I can't think of anything more to add.
The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) earlier this month urged lawmakers to oppose the fundamentally flawed economic stimulus bill that was signed into law by President Obama on February 17. President Obama came into office promising an unprecedented initiative to jump-start the flagging economy by providing a taxpayer-funded economic stimulus that would be timely, targeted, temporary, and transformative. The President also forcefully promised that the final bill would contain ideas from both parties and would be accountable and transparent to taxpayers from its inception all the way down to the granular spending level. Instead, House and Senate leaders orchestrated a hysteria-driven, hyper-partisan spending circus designed to permanently grow federal spending and resulting in debt liabilities that will rob future generations of income and prosperity. “There were other, more rational alternatives that offered meaningful tax relief to American families, tax and regulatory relief to American businesses, and that would have created a systematic and thoughtful process for allocating spending for infrastructure projects to create jobs…Instead, the Democratic majority saw an opening and used the crisis to increase funding for self-serving, dubious projects and programs, as well as to make far-reaching public policy changes without meaningful and open debate," declared CCAGW President Tom Schatz.
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has named Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) Porker of the Month for his arrogant rationalization of why the American people cannot be trusted with their own money. On February 6, Sen. Kerry spoke on the Senate floor in support of the $787 billion economic stimulus package. In his speech he said,
“I have heard a lot of talk about we ought to do a tax cut…If you put a tax cut into the hands of either a business or an individual today, there is no guarantee they are going to invest their money…in the United States. They are free to go to invest anywhere they want, if they choose to invest…The fact is none of those people are guaranteed to invest that money in any of the new projects that we are. So government, yes government, has the ability to be able to make a decision that the private sector won’t necessarily make today.”
For his casual infantilization of American taxpayers and for being the chief spokesperson of the new Nanny State on Steroids, CAGW names Sen. Kerry the February Porker of the Month.
And this is the man so many of you thought should be President.
February 26, 2009 12:00 PM
Power, pop, and probings from ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper
President Obama's budget proposes $989 billion in new taxes over the course of the next 10 years, starting fiscal year 2011, most of which are tax increases on individuals.
1) On people making more than $250,000.
$338 billion - Bush tax cuts expire
$179 billlion - eliminate itemized deduction
$118 billion - capital gains tax hike
Total: $636 billion/10 years
$17 billion - Reinstate Superfund taxes
$24 billion - tax carried-interest as income
$5 billion - codify "economic substance doctrine"
$61 billion - repeal LIFO
$210 billion - international enforcement, reform deferral, other tax reform
$4 billion - information reporting for rental payments
$5.3 billion - excise tax on Gulf of Mexico oil and gas
$3.4 billion - repeal expensing of tangible drilling costs
$62 million - repeal deduction for tertiary injectants
$49 million - repeal passive loss exception for working interests in oil and natural gas properties
$13 billion - repeal manufacturing tax deduction for oil and natural gas companies
$1 billion - increase to 7 years geological and geophysical amortization period for independent producers
$882 million - eliminate advanced earned income tax credit
Total: $353 billion/10 years
Am I wrong in recalling that anyone making less than $250,000...strike that....$150,000....uh.....$120,000 maybe?....won't be hit with an increase in taxes? And in fact, will get a terrific tax cut? Remember the lady who said something to the effect that Obama would pay her mortgage and put gas in her car? I hope she's got a really efficient vehicle and a really cheap mortgage.
Who the heck does Washington think pays these taxes? Corporations (businesses) don't pay a penny in taxes, they collect taxes from their customers in the form of higher prices. Can anyone tell me differently? And if you do think you can, you know less about economics than my Chihuahua, Buck. It's a good think he's cute, because he's as dumb as a box of rocks.
Do you, or those Washington Congressional cretins (I'm not calling them congress critters anymore, it makes them sound cute and harmless), have any idea of what will replace the tax cuts given to those businesses and corporations? Re-read the last paragraph. Read it until you understand. It's you, and me, the next generation, and generations after that who will be paying it.
It's the removal of a tax burden that allows a company to hire more people, to purchase more equipment, and to produce more of whatever it is they produce. When that tax is reinstated, or a new tax introduced, new employees don't get raises, don't get increased/improved benefits; new employees are not hired because the money that goes to pay the tax could have been used to hire that new employee, pay for better benefits, and gee, even provide raises. Some of the companies hit with new taxes will be laying off current employees, cut current benefits and maybe even close down factories, stores, and businesses.
I hope you enjoy the $65 a month you will be getting from the "stimulus". Somehow, I missed that when it came out and only just heard about it. Now, don't get me wrong. I'd rather get $65 than pay it, but you know what? This generation, our parents, our children, and our grandchildren, if not generations down the line, will be paying more in taxes than we'll be getting from Uncle Sam. One time I'm rather glad I don't have kids - they aren't going to be saddled with a tax burden and the grandkids I don't have won't be born owing taxes.
Do I sound a bit bitter? I shouldn't, simply because I assumed from the start this would be the outcome. I'm not happy about being right. I was really hoping I'd be wrong. But, knowing what happened in the past can predict what will happen in the future. But then, I've been wrong before. Maybe I will be again. I'm the eternal optimist, maybe something that didn't work time and time again in the past will work this time.
Have fun. The rest of our lives will be nothing but a hayride. And guess who's sitting on the pitchfork?
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States."
--Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 10 October 1787