Friday, December 28, 2012

Senator Feinstein's Proposed Assault Weapons Bill

In January, Senator Feinstein will introduce a bill to stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices.

Following is a summary of the 2013 legislation:

  • Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:
    • 120 specifically-named firearms
    • Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one military characteristic
    • Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds
  • Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:
    • Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test
    • Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test
    • Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans
  • Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
  • Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:
    • Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment
    • Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes and
    • Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons
Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include:
  • Background check of owner and any transferee;
  • Type and serial number of the firearm;
  • Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint;
  • Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law; and
  • Dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration source -
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gun Violence in America Declining Over Last 20 Years

Firearms play a significant role in homicides, but it’s rare for otherwise law-abiding citizens to be involved in a gun-related homicide.

More than 90% of all gang-related homicides involve gun use, for instance, while the rate of felony homicides involving guns have risen to nearly 80%.

The rate of firearm use in homicides from personal arguments has declined slightly over the last thirty years, even as gun sales have increased, showing that there is no causation or even correlation to support the idea that guns escalate arguments.


Over the last 20 years, the firearm crime rate has dropped, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, from 6 victims per 1,000 residents in 1994 to 1.4 victims per 1,000 residents in 2009. The 1.4/1000 is the same rate as in 2004, the last year in which the “assault weapons” ban was in place. Part of this is from an overall decline in violent crime over the same period, but that doesn’t account for all of the improvement. Firearm crimes accounted for 11% of all violent crime in 1993 and 1994, but was 8% of all such crime in 2009.

This decline took place in an era where gun sales increased and carry permit laws were liberalized. It may assume too much to claim that that increased gun ownership and carrying caused the decline, but it’s clear that the correlation runs in that direction and not the opposite. So what, other than the grief over the senseless massacre of children in Newtown, drives the current push for gun confiscation and control?

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Ten Fiscal Facts Not Being Discussed By The Media

Ten Fiscal Facts Not Being Discussed By The Media :

10. The President's desired tax hikes -- raising taxes on "the rich", those with an income over $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples) -- would pay for just 8 days of the federal government's operation.

9. The President's one-time, emergency Stimulus package of around $900 billion, passed in 2009, became part of the baseline federal budget and has been spent every year since.

Visualizing the Keynesian Endpoint

8. According to The Wharton School, "The federal government ran annual deficits well above $1 trillion in 2009, 2010 and 2011... the largest deficits since World War II" as a percentage of GDP.7. The federal government is spending so much more than it takes in that it is now forced to borrow 42 cents of every dollar it spends. This is an unsustainable rate -- and higher taxes do nothing to limit spending.

6. The Federal Reserve is now buying nearly all (90 percent-plus) of the United States' newly issued debt in order to keep interest rates artificially low. In other words, the federal government is essentially loaning itself money by printing what it needs.5. Again, according to Wharton, "Rising rates would cause severe problems for the U.S. government. The bulk of Treasury bonds in circulation have maturities of less than five years, which will require existing debt to be refinanced with new debt at higher interest rates. That will increase the government's debt-service costs."4. Even under a best case scenario -- one in which interest rates gently rise to historically normative levels -- the U.S. will be forced to pay $5 trillion in interest payments alone over the next decade. Under other scenarios, the federal government would simply have to default on its obligations.3. A recent conference of experts explored the ramifications of a federal default. In short:
Trillions of dollars of losses would roar through the world economy like a tsunami, damaging Treasury investors, including governments, corporations, pension and insurance funds, individual investors and people who own mutual funds. Panic would undoubtedly harm other types of investments as well, including stocks and real estate. And if the government wanted to borrow in the future, as it most likely would at some point, it would have to pay much higher yields to attract investors. As higher rates worked through the markets, state and local governments, corporations, homebuyers and other consumers would face higher rates as well.
2. A Treasury default would be so devastating that the entire financial sector could well be obliterated.

1. In the words of investor Kyle Bass, "The developed world faces a day of reckoning. It is time to act."

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Federal Income Taxes if We Fall Off the "Fiscal Cliff"!

New federal tax liability on the other side of the fiscal cliff!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

15 Signs That The Economy Is Getting Worse Heading Into 2013

The following are 15 signs that the economy is getting worse as we head into 2013 :

#1 According to numbers that were just released, the number of Americans on food stamps has risen to a new all-time record of47.71 million. That is a huge increase of more than 600,000 over the previous reading of 47.10 million. After about a year of slow growth, it looks like the number of Americans on food stamps is starting to skyrocket once again. Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

#2 Youth unemployment in the United States is now at the highest level that we have seen since World War II.

#3 According to Gallup, unemployment in the United States shot up very sharply during the month of November.

#4 It looks like the unemployment numbers are likely to get even worse. Since the election, dozens of large companies have announced major layoffs. Overall, large companies have announced the elimination of more than 100,000 jobs since November 6th.

#5 According to the Wall Street Journal, of the 40 biggest publicly traded corporate spenders, half of them plan to reduce capital expenditures over the coming months.

#6 Small business owners all over America are declaring that Obamacare is going to force them to start replacing full-time workers with part-time workers during 2013.

#7 One recent survey discovered that 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.

#8 A different recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not have a single penny saved for emergencies.

#9 62 percent of middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.

#10 Many Americans are trying to make ends meet for their families by going into more debt. Consumer borrowing hit another brand new record high in October. It looks like the American people have not learned from their past mistakes and have decided to roll up consumer debt at a faster pace than ever before.

#11 Median household income in America has fallen for four consecutive years. Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.

#12 Wall Street bankers are expecting "the worst bonus season" since 2008. Not a lot of people are going to shed tears over this one, but this is a sign that there is trouble in the financial world.

#13 Food banks all over America are reporting that more needy families than ever before are showing up to get food.

#14 The federal government has run a deficit of $292 billion dollars during the first two months of fiscal 2013. That figure is $57 billion higher than it was during the same period last year. Government debt continues to soar wildly out of control and at some point all of that debt is absolutely going to crush us.

#15 The once great city of Detroit has become a symbol of the downfall of the U.S. economy.  Now the state of Michigan is laying the groundwork for a "managed bankruptcy" of Detroit. Sadly, many other large U.S. cities will likely follow suit over the next couple of years.

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Sunday, December 09, 2012

Obama Already Raised Taxes on the Rich

The one glaring omission in President Obama’s fiscal cliff demands for higher rates on top earners is that he’s already raised their taxes. When he signed Obamacare into law, he raised tax rates on families earning more than $250,000—his definition of rich.

He has done so by including in the 18 separate Obamacare tax hikes an increase of the tax rates on income and investment.

Obamacare raises the hospital insurance (HI) portion of the payroll tax on wage income over $250,000 from 2.9 percent to 3.8 percent. And it applies that 3.8 percent rate to investment income—capital gains and dividends—for those with incomes above that level. This is a massive policy change, since it represents the first time the payroll tax will apply to investment income. And even though this investment income HI tax would apply only to top earners, it is a dangerous step down a slippery, tax-hiking slope.

These economically damaging tax hikes will go into effect on January 1, 2013.

In total, President Obama’s tax rate increases on upper-income earners in Obamacare will raise taxes by almost $318 billion over the next 10 years.

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Saturday, December 08, 2012

10 Reasons Why Conservatism Helps The Middle Class

Conservatism is an ideology that benefits everyone, but it's particularly helpful to middle class Americans.

1) If a robber breaks into your house in the middle of the night, you should be allowed to use a gun to defend your family. If a woman is being threatened by a rapist, she should be able to use a gun to protect herself. If a child molester is trying to kidnap your son, you have every right to keep him safe. If someone is threatening the President of the United States or a celebrity, we all accept that their bodyguards should be able to use force to save their lives. Well, those of us who aren't rich shouldn't be left defenseless just because we can't afford bodyguards. We should have just as much of a right to safeguard our lives, our homes and our families as anyone else.

2) We don't believe in low tax rates for the rich; we believe in low tax rates FOR EVERYONE. The more you tax the rich, the less they invest, the more the economy suffers and the fewer jobs are created for the middle class. After all, you're never going to have a homeless man give you a job. Furthermore, despite all the rhetoric you hear to the contrary, the government can squeeze a lot more tax revenue out of the middle class than the rich. Inevitably, once the government raises taxes on the relatively small number of wealthy Americans, it always moves on to looting the middle class. In that sense, the rich are a tripwire. As long as their tax rates aren’t exorbitant, the middle class doesn’t have to worry about getting soaked either.

3) Conservatives believe that the government should live within its means just like the average American family does. As a matter of fact, government deficits are actually much worse than a family overspending because the government is running up charges on YOUR credit card. For every last member of your family and every other family in America, from the newborn babe to the mother in the nursing home, the government has run up a debt of $51,925. The bigger that number gets, the higher your future tax burden will have to be, the more debt your children will owe, the greater chance there is that Social Security and Medicare will go belly-up and the more inflation will eat into the value of your savings. There is nothing more dangerous to the future prosperity of the middle class in America than the size of the debt.

4) Conservatives are believers in small government not just because we believe that you can take care of yourself better than the government ever could, but because you can have big government OR low taxes on the middle class, but over the long haul, you can't have both. You're much better off spending your money on your own behalf as you see fit than you are having the government take your money, waste most of it and then spend what's left over on programs you may not agree with in the first place.

5) We conservatives believe in clean water, clean air, clean soil and respecting nature, but we also put humans above animals. We don't want farmers who've spent a lifetime tilling the soil so they'd have something to give to their kids driven out of business because a rare cockroach is found on their land. Furthermore, we don't believe the average American should pay hundreds, if not thousands more per year in hidden costs because of lawsuits filed by environmental extremists who'd like to make everything from automobiles to air conditioning illegal.

6) Conservatives believe in school choice because we don't think any child should be trapped in a failing public school. As we've seen in almost every other part of American life, giving people a choice of how to spend their money leads to better products, better prices and better customer service. Rich Americans already have the option of sending their children to a private school. Given the amount of taxes most middle class Americans pay for schools, why shouldn't they have the same choice? If it's good enough for the President of the United States, why shouldn't you have the same choice about where your child is educated?

7) The best way to protect the innocent is to be tough on the guilty. It's all well and good to talk about someone's hard life, the responsibility of "society" or the best way to rehabilitate him, but if you're beaten, your property is stolen or someone you love is taken away from you by a criminal, our first priority should be getting you justice, not doing what's best for the criminal. In fact, our second priority shouldn't even be doing what's best for the criminal; it should be making sure that he doesn’t harm anyone else. A society where we're tough on people drinking Big Gulps and soft on murderers is a society that is putting the interests of criminals ahead of law-abiding citizens.

8) Yes, conservatives do want to reform Medicare and Social Security because that's the only way to save both programs. The government has promised 100 trillion dollars more in benefits than it has money to pay for and unless we take steps now to make both programs sustainable, eventually many Americans who’ve worked hard and played by the rules will be hit with large cuts to their benefits after they're retired when they can least afford it. Conservatives are willing to take that politically dangerous position because we want to protect the American people from that catastrophe before it's too late to change course.

9) Conservatives believe in drilling ANWR, offshore drilling, opening up the keystone pipeline and taking advantage of clean coal technology, nuclear technology and exploiting this country's enormous natural gas reserves because that's one of the best ways to help middle class Americans put more money in their pockets. The less you pay to fill up your gas tank, heat your home and run your home appliances, the more money you'll have in your pocket at the end of the month.

10) We oppose illegal immigration because it's unfair and disrespectful to the immigrants who obeyed our laws and did things the right way to give citizenship to illegals. It's also unfair to all the people in the middle class who've seen their salaries driven down because they've had to compete for jobs with illegals who don't pay income taxes, health insurance, or car insurance. Additionally, with the economy in such bad shape, how do we justify allowing tens of millions of foreigners who didn't play by the rules to stay here and take jobs from middle class Americans who are struggling to take care of their families? Every illegal alien who's allowed to stay here and work means one more American without a job.

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Americans For Prosperity: Lawmakers "Naughty or Nice" List On Taxes

Americans For Prosperity has produced a "Naughty or Nice" list of lawmakers who are either on the wrong or right side of tax reform.

The "naughty" list includes Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), as well as Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Pete King (R-Iowa) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

Chambliss recently pushed back against Grover Norquist's no-tax pledge and in doing so indicated he might be open to raising taxes on wealthy Americans, a plank of President Obama's deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" that Republicans have thus far refused to accept.

The Georgia Republican, however, was vulnerable long before his comments on the no-tax pledge because of his work across the aisle on immigration and the federal debt.

Graham, too, said he'd be willing to violate the Norquist pledge and has long been in conservative crosshairs for his initial work with Democrats on immigration and climate-change legislation, as well as his votes for Obama's Supreme Court nominees.

Cole has been targeted by Americans for Tax Reform previously because of his comments in favor of a deal proposed by Obama to avert the fiscal cliff. And King indicated recently he doesn't feel bound to the Norquist pledge.

The "nice" list features no Democrats. It includes Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), as well as Reps. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and Steve Scalise (R-La.).

Most on the nice list have the backing of the Tea Party and are staunch fiscal conservatives.

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Saturday, December 01, 2012

30 (Non-Benghazi) Reasons Why Susan Rice Should Not Be Secretary of State

Here are 30 (Non-Benghazi) reasons why Susan Rice should not be Secretary of State:
1. failed to call an emergency meeting of the Security Council after the 2010 Haiti earthquake
2. skipped the Security Council debate and vote to add new UN Peacekeepers in Haiti after the earthquake
3. led the US during the most inactive Security Council since 1991 during her first year as Ambassador
4. held her first press conference with the UN Secretary General on the pressing international issue of texting while driving
5. failed to speak out when Col. Gaddafi's Libya was elected to the UN Human Rights Commission
6. waited 17 months before voting on the one and only UN resolution on Iran passed during her tenure
7. dismissed by Hillary Clinton from negotiating most of the Iran resolution with the French
8. lost the support of more nations on her one Iran resolution than the previous five Iran resolutions combined
9. took 103 days to move the Security Council to issue a statement after a North Korean submarine sank the South Korean ship that killed 46 sailors
10. took 18 days to lead the Security Council to action after a North Korean nuclear test (it took John Bolton 5 days in 2006)
11. failed to support the Iranian opposition during their Green Revolution
12. failed to speak out when Iran was elected to the UN Women's Commission
13. skipped the UN Security Council's emergency meeting on the Gaza flotilla crisis
14. snubbed Israel to the point they skipped President Obama's 2010 UN speech
15. took more than 2 years to find someone to head America's UN reform team
16. failed to address the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to ascertain how erroneous scientific claims were added to official UN reports
17. painfully slow in getting a UN resolution on the Sudan-South Sudan referendum
18. ignored Canada's pleas for help in getting elected to the Security Council
19. negotiated with the UN's Arab Group to condemn Israel's settlements
20. failed to lead the Security Council during Tunisia's Arab Spring protests
21. didn't speak out on the Libya crisis until the French, British and Arab League had done so
22. failed to attend the first Security Council meeting on the Arab Spring protests
23. failed to get the support of allies India, Germany and Brazil on the UN's Libya resolution
24. failed to lead the Security Council during Egypt's Arab Spring protests
25. failed to lead the Security Council during Yemen's Arab Spring protests
26. failed to lead the Security Council to confront Bashar al-Assad's brutal violence where US resolutions received an unprecedented three vetoes on three different votes
27. agreed to send former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to Syria where he failed miserably
28. skipped the last open meeting before the planned UN vote to recognize Palestinian statehood
29. failed to speak out when Iran was elected vice president of the Global Arms Treaty negotiations
delayed Security Council action and the UN report on Rwanda

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12 Individual Tax Remedies for the Fiscal Cliff

1. Contribute the maximum to a 401(k) before 2013.

2. Increase the number of allowances taken to ensure lower withholding, which gives an individual use of their money earlier.

3. Avoid underpayment penalties by ensuring enough is actually withheld.

4. Do not defer discretionary income into 2013, when taxes are likely to rise. Record the income this year.

5. Plan deductions by investigating which ones may be more valuable for either 2012 or 2013.

6. Consider selling appreciated securities by Dec. 31. Even if Congress does not raise rates on capital gains or dividends, a new 3.8 percent surtax on unearned income for high-income individuals looms.

7. Convert traditional IRAs to a Roth. Withdrawals from traditional IRAs are taxed at the ordinary tax rate, while Roth withdrawals can be tax-free for those at least 59 ½ years of age. Even if tax reform next year lowers individual tax rates, the conversion can be undone if necessary until Oct. 15, 2013.

8. Avoid end-of-year mutual fund purchases in non-retirement accounts, since the payout of dividends will be taxable for 2012.

9. Give to charity and write off the donation.

10. In addition to giving appreciated stocks or mutual funds to charity, individuals 70 ½ years or age or older may be able to make a tax-free charitable distribution of up to $100,000 from their IRAs directly, if Congress approves an extension of that IRA rule.

11. Make individual gifts to family and others before 2013, when gift-tax exclusions are expected to be lower and maximum estate tax rates will rise.

12. Spend down 2012 flexible spending accounts if your employer deadline requires it by year-end.

Read more: Kiplinger: 12 Individual Tax Remedies for the Fiscal Cliff
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guns Don't Kill People - Hands and Feet Do !

The FBI has released their 2007-2011 “Murder Victims by Weapon” report. The results are contradictory to anti-gun industry claims that relaxing the ban on assault weapons will cause more crime.

The report indicates you are more likely to be killed by hands or feet than by a rifle or shotgun.

Since 2007 there has been a 16.2% decline in murders committed with personal weapons which are defined as “hands, fists, feet etc.” The number of murders of this type in 2011 totaled 728.

While gun ownership has dramatically increased since 2007, murders for both the shotgun and rifle categories have seen declines faster than the rate of personal weapons related crime.

The rates of decline for the shotgun and rifle categories are 22.1% and 28.7% respectively. In 2011 there were 356 shotgun murders and 323 rifle murders for a total of 679 murders.

Total murders by hands and feet in 2011 exceed the total number of murders by shotgun and rifle.

 Does that mean gloves and shoes need regulation because they are concealing deadly weapons?

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America's Future: 7 Reasons To Be Optimistic !

1) The reelection of Barack Obama has the potential to be a turning point.

Despite Barack Obama being a mean-spirited, habitually dishonest socialist who was presiding over a terrible economy and a record of incompetence unprecedented in America’s history, he was reelected anyway. This should be a wake-up call for the Republican Party. The GOP’s messaging, choice of candidates, fidelity to its principles and most importantly, minority outreach just isn’t good enough. The same goes for results the deep pocketed donors in the party are getting for their contributions. Their money isn’t being used wisely. The grassroots have now been alerted that just showing up at a Tea Party isn’t good enough either. Social conservatives and the Christian church should be shocked out of their complacency as well. Although Obama seems likely to make a mess of things in his second term, that will give the American people more insight into the wages of liberalism while the Republican majority in the House and the three conservatives and two right leaning moderates on the Supreme Court will hopefully keep Obama from doing too much damage. God willing, as terrible as Barack Obama’s election seems to be for the country today, it will turn out to be a positive turning point.

2) Technology and resource acquisition may advance faster than we anticipate.

Did you know the United States is the Saudi Arabia of shale oil? We have the potential not just to become almost self-sufficient, but to become a net exporter of oil. Granted, that probably won’t happen under the liberal Luddites in the White House today, but it’s just a matter of time until this nation’s energy potential is unlocked. We could also conceivably pass Russia in natural gas production as early as 2015. When you couple that with technological advances right out of science fiction in 3D printing, algae based fuel, nearly cost-free medical diagnostics, vertical farming and robotics, we may have the ability to do better than most people expect over the next few decades.
3) We’re in a stronger position than many people realize.

 America still has the world’s largest economy and the most powerful military. The dollar is the world’s reserve currency; we’re still the single most attractive destination for immigrants and we have the world’s best customer base for other nations to target. We have more soft power and cultural influence than any other nation in the world and we’re still the planet’s only Super Power. Weaknesses? We have plenty, but we shouldn’t disregard our nation’s truly massive strengths.

4) We may move slowly, but we will eventually adjust.

What Winston Churchill said about Americans is all too often true, “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing…after they have exhausted all other possibilities.” As a nation, we have a terrible habit of waiting until a crisis strikes before we take decisive, albeit poorly-thought-out action to deal with it. Then over time, we get around to dealing with the devils in the details. In other words, we tend to take a lot of damage that could have been prevented with quicker action, but history shows that we do eventually address our problems.

5) There’s no other nation ready to take our place as a Super Power.

Japan’s population has gotten very old, very fast. Western Europe has larger problems with big government, economic productivity, demographics and debt than we do. China is still growing, but the country looks increasingly unstable and seems highly unlikely to continue its rapid growth over the next few decades. Additionally, Russia and India seem likely to remain as regional powers for the foreseeable future. In other words, this isn’t the Cold War where our loss would mean that another great power would be waiting to step in and shove us aside. Losing our Super Power status would be far from ideal, but it would still be preferable to living in a world dominated by Russia, China or Europe.

6) We’ve been through bad times before and we’re still here.

This country has survived a Revolutionary War against the world’s most powerful nation that was fought in our own territory, another fight against the Brits during the War of 1812 in which they burned the White House and came close to capturing the American northeast, a Civil War that pitted the northern and southern halves of the country against each other, not just one, but two world wars, a decade long Great Depression and a Cold War against the Soviet Union in which we had enough nuclear weapons pointed at each other to wipe out life on earth. After all that, we’re still standing strong. A debt driven crisis could make things very tough for us over the next few decades, but our history says we’ll pull ourselves up by our bootstraps when it’s over.

7) The wheels of history turn awfully slowly.

Since history is such a long period of time and we human beings live such comparatively short lives, we often overestimate the speed with which a problem will overtake us. As to great nations, they can splutter on for an extraordinarily lengthy time before finally falling to pieces. Just to name the most famous example of this, Rome was founded in the 8th Century BC, became a republic in the 6th Century BC, ceased to be a republic in the 1st Century BC, and split into two halves in the 3rd Century AD. The Western half of the Roman Empire was overrun in the 5th Century AD, the last Roman emperor visited Rome in the 7th Century AD, and the Eastern Roman Empire finally fell to the Turks in the 15th Century AD. Does that mean the United States should be fine for another thousand years or so? No, but it means that devastating problems we spot today that look immediately threatening may sometimes take decades or even centuries longer than we expect to flower into devastation.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Federal Revenues Up 19% Why Do We Need To Raise Taxes?

The conventional political wisdom is that Republicans have lost the argument on taxes. Obama won. Democrats held on in Congress. That means, according to some, that they have a mandate to raise taxes. Because, according to them, a big part of the nation’s deficit problem is lower tax revenues resulting from Bush-era tax cuts.

Unfortunately, this argument doesn’t match up with reality. This chart shows total direct federal revenues, by year, from 1992 through 2012 in nominal dollars:

There is a dip in revenues in 2001 and 2002 corresponding with the post-9/11 recession. Then there is a return to revenue growth even after the implementation of the Bush tax cuts beginning in 2003. That continues until 2008 and 2009 when the collapse of the housing market thrust the nation into a nasty and protracted recession.

But even since then, federal revenues have been growing, increasing roughly 19% over 2009 levels and nearly reaching our 2008 peak.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

CBO: ObamaCare Best Place To Find Deficit Cuts

It turns out that the single biggest area of potential deficit savings available to lawmakers is ... 'tada' ... ObamaCare ... according to a Congressional Budget Office report.

In its list of "options to reduce mandatory spending" and cut the deficit, the CBO says that repealing ObamaCare's massive insurance subsidies would cut federal spending by $150 billion in 2020 alone. Repealing the individual mandate would save another $40 billion that year, the CBO says.

No other single spending cut proposal on the CBO's list and no tax hikes under serious consideration in Washington even comes close.

The CBO report underscores the enormous cost of Obama's health reform plan.

ObamaCare will add $1.7 trillion in federal spending over the next 10 years, according to the CBO, with annual increase climbing at 6%.

And those cost projections are almost certain to be too low, which has been the case with every other new federal health care program.

The Hill reported this week that some budget cutters are eyeing ObamaCare's insurance subsidies for budget savings, which it notes, extend to families with incomes all the way up to $90,000 a year. And since nobody is getting those subsidies yet, cutting them wouldn't mean taking anything away from anybody.

But the Hill goes on to point out that Democrats are unlikely to approve such cuts, nor would Obama.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veterans Day, 2012

It was the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 when nations the world over celebrated the end of World War I.

Originally, this day was celebrated as “Armistice day” marking the peace agreement signed in Rethondes, France. In 1954 Congress designated November 11th as Veteran’s day in order to honor all Veterans.

Thank You for your service and sacrafice to our nation Veterans, it is greatly appreciated !

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Obama Adminstration Plans To Close 1.6 Million Acres Slated For Oil Shale Development

The Interior Department on Friday issued a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the West originally slated for oil shale development.

The proposed plan would fence off a majority of the initial blueprint laid out in the final days of the George W. Bush administration.

The administration and Democrats said that the plan would curtail what was originally sought for oil shale development.

The move is sure to rankle Republicans, who say President Obama’s grip on fossil fuel drilling in federal lands is too tight.

Interior’s Bureau of Land Management cited environmental concerns for the proposed changes. Among other things, it excised lands with “wilderness characteristics” and areas that conflicted with sage grouse habitats.

GOP lawmakers, along with some Democrats, have pushed for more fossil fuel production in the West. Republicans have led the charge, saying Obama’s policies on fossil fuel drilling on federal lands are too restrictive.

“This proposal will place further limitations on the exploration and development of our country’s natural resources and is yet another example of how this administration continues to stand in the way of North American energy independence," Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), the chairman of House Energy and Commerce's subcommittee on Energy and Power, said in a statement to The Hill.

Oil and gas lobby the American Petroleum Institute, an ally of congressional Republicans, slammed the decision.

Jack Gerard, the group's chief, said Thursday he would take a "wait-and-see" approach to Obama's second term to gauge whether he would live up to campaign rhetoric in which he praised the domestic oil-and-gas industry.

Reid Porter, the lobby's spokesman, said Friday's news was a disappointing sign from the administration.

“This is another step in the wrong direction that limits development and investment in one of the nation’s most energy-rich areas and goes against a prior government decision that would allow for research and development over a much wider geographical area. Just days after the election this decision by the administration sends negative signals to industry and capital markets at a time when we need to encourage growth and innovation in the U.S.," Porter said in a statement to The Hill.
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Thursday, November 08, 2012

CBO: Fiscal Cliff Costs

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Thursday laid out in substantial detail the costs of not dealing with the so-called "fiscal cliff."

CBO had already estimated that going over the cliff would spark a recession, while simply voiding the tax and spending increases would add trillions to the debt.

But a new study breaks down the costs and benefits of allowing various parts of the fiscal cliff to remain in place.

Unemployment would rise from 7.9 to 9.1 percent by the end of 2013 if the nation went over the cliff.

The fiscal cliff consists of a set of tax hikes and spending cuts all set to be implemented in January.

Tax rates ushered in by former President George W. Bush are set to expire at the end of the year, which would raise rates on most households and businesses. A payroll tax cut in place for two years is also set to expire, and Congress has yet to pass legislation to prevent millions of people from being hit by the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Spending cuts triggered by last summer's debt deal are also set to begin in January.

The report's estimate that preventing tax hikes set to kick in on Jan. 1. will add or save 1.8 million jobs next year.

Democrats will point out that allowing tax rates to rise for households with annual incomes above $250,000 but extending rates for other people would save 1.6 million jobs — nearly as many as if all the rates were extended.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) office immediately highlighted through Twitter the fact CBO says growth is only reduced by .1 percent if the tax breaks for the wealthy are ended
Republicans, meanwhile, focused on the job losses that would result from tax increases

“Today’s report confirms that raising taxes on all taxpayers will result in fewer ‘help wanted’ signs hanging in the windows of businesses across the country," said House Ways and Means spokeswoman Michelle Dimarob.

She said “the House stands ready to work with the White House and Senate” to avoid all the tax rate increases and reform the tax code.

Republicans since the summer have pointed to an Ernst and Young report that estimated 700,000 jobs would be lost by allowing the tax rates on high-earners to rise.

The CBO report says that extending all the Bush-era rates and patching the Alternative Minimum Tax would help the economy expand by an additional 1.4 percent by the beginning of next year.

Doing that but allowing the top tax rates to rise would add only 1.3 percent to the GDP, an “effect nearly as large” as extending all the Bush cuts, CBO states.

Avoiding the spending cuts in the automatic sequestration would boost GDP by .75 percent, CBO said, while extending the expiring payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits would add another .75 percent.

Doing all of the above boosts GDP by 3 percentage points by the end of 2013.
CBO also provides job figures with each of these choices.

Avoiding the cliff altogether would add 3.4 million full-time-equivalent jobs, the report estimates.

Just extending the payroll tax and unemployment benefits — as some Democrats are advocating — would add 800,000 jobs.

Preventing the cliff would also expand the deficit. The report says it would add $503 billion to the deficit in 2013 and $682 billion in 2014.
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Exit Polling: Pro-Lifers Failed to Vote Pro-Life

Exit polling data from Tuesday’s presidential election shows the pro-life movement may have itself to blame partly as pro-life voters failed to either show up to vote in the election or did not support pro-life candidate Mitt Romney if they did.

“The 41% of Americans who now identify themselves as “pro-choice” is down from 47% last July and is one percentage point below the previous record low in Gallup trends, recorded in May 2009,” the polling firm noted.

On the other hand, 51 percent of Americans call themselves pro-life, one percentage point away from the record high.

With a 51-41 percentage-point pro-life split in the number of Americans who take a position on abortion, pro-life Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney should have had a greater percentage of the popular vote on Tuesday. President Barack Obama, who favors unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy, takes a position that very few Americans support.

Despite the breakdown, exit polling data shows just 36 percent of voters who showed up to the polls took a pro-life position supporting making all or most abortions illegal while 59 percent took a pro-abortion position favoring keeping all or most abortions legal.

The disconnect in the numbers mean one of a number of things happened: a) pro-life voters did not turn out in the same numbers as abortion advocates, b) pro-life voters went to the polls and either voted for a third-party candidate or did not vote in the presidential election, or c) pro-life voters supported the most pro-abortion president in history.

If b) and c) are true, and pro-life voters either supported Obama or voted for another candidate and failed to support the nominee who had pledged to help overturn Roe, sign pro-life bills, de-fund abortion and Planned Parenthood, the pro-life movement needs to do a better job convincing these people how to truly vote pro-life.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Poll: Evangelical Turnout Increased in 2012

A national post-election survey commissioned by the Faith and Freedom Coalition last night found that the evangelical vote increased in 2012 to a record 27% of the electorate and that white evangelicals voted roughly 78% for Mitt Romney to 21% for Barack Obama. This was the highest share of the vote in modern political history for evangelicals, Reed said.

Evangelicals turned out in record numbers and voted as heavily for Mitt Romney yesterday as they did for George W. Bush in 2004,” Reed observed. “That is an astonishing outcome that few would have predicted even a few months ago. But Romney underperformed with younger voters and minorities and that in the end made the difference for Obama.”

Catholic voters who regularly attend Mass broke 67% for Romney to 32% for Obama. This represented a swing of 35% in the direction of the GOP since 2008. Romney also won white Catholics by a margin of 59% to 40%, a margin of 19 points among a group that historically has voted for the winner. Nevertheless, Obama narrowly won the Catholic vote driven largely by over-performing among Hispanic Catholics.

“Virtually the entire increase in Mitt Romney’s vote compared to John McCain’s in 2008 came because of higher turnout and higher support from evangelical voters,” said Glen Bolger, the pollster who conducted the survey.


“This election was a tale of two cities,” said Reed. “Evangelicals and faithful Catholics turned out in large numbers and voted overwhelmingly for religious liberty, the sanctity of life and marriage, and limited government. But younger voters and minorities turned out in even larger numbers in 2008 and delivered Obama to victory.”

Reed added:

 “If the Republican Party wants to be competitive in national elections, it will have to nominate candidates who can appeal to young voters, women, Hispanics and other minorities. Otherwise, they will likely see more elections similar to the 2012 outcome. The good news for the GOP is many of those voters are conservative and are people of faith.”
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