Posts Tagged “Buffett”
These are my links for November 27th through November 28th:
Going to be brutal and hopefully frank.
- Looking Forward to the 2012 Las Vegas Half Marathon – Looking Forward to the 2012 Las Vegas Half Marathon
- Obama public relations effort aims to avoid ‘fiscal cliff’ – Symbolism Over Substance– The White House signaled Tuesday that it will try to marshal the momentum from President Obama’s reelection triumph into another victory at the negotiating table, launching a full-fledged public relations effort to avoid a “fiscal cliff” that could jolt the nation back toward recession.Administration officials said Obama will hit the road this week for a campaign-style series of events with ordinary Americans, including a visit to a toy manufacturer in suburban Philadelphia on Friday. That trip and others will be aimed at increasing pressure on Congress to reach an agreement on heading off a series of automatic spending cuts and tax increases that are scheduled to begin in January
Symbolism over substance
- Erick Erickson considering challenge to Chambliss– Popular conservative blogger and radio personality Erick Erickson said Tuesday he was considering a primary challenge to Sen. Saxby Chambliss after a host of political bigs had approached him about staging a bid of his own in the days since the incumbent broke with a vaulted no-taxes pledge.“For a week now, I’ve been getting calls to see if I would challenge Saxby Chambliss, once he really got into the whole ‘raising taxes issue,’” Erickson said in the opening segment of his radio show Tuesday. “Well, the pace quickened. I got a lot of people pledging a lot of money in the last couple of days if I did something like this. And I’ve been very adamant, I wasn’t going to do it, but after a few conversations today with a few heavy hitters in Washington, D.C. and some here in Georgia, I should at least consider it.”Erickson, a CNN political contributor and editor-in-chief of conservative haunt RedState, added he was “very flattered” and was in “prayerful consideration” about waging a possible challenge to the two-term Chambliss.Erickson was a one-term city councilman in Macon, Georgia, but resigned when his work–a radio show, television gig and editorship of highly-trafficked blog–became too great to shoulder in tandem with his public service.————-
A credible campaign against an incumbent U.S. Senator?
Going to be tough.
- Obama sells budget plan to middle class, biz leaders– For President Obama, it’s another day of focus on the “fiscal cliff.”Selling his plan to reduce the federal debt in part by raising taxes on the wealthy, Obama meets Wednesday with selected members of the middle class and the business community.Obama will speak during the event with middle class Americans, some of whom responded to an e-mail solicitation from the White House on the looming “fiscal cliff” — a package of tax hikes and budget cuts that kick in if the White House and Congress can’t strike a deal to reduce a federal debt that now tops $16 trillion.Later Wednesday, Obama and Vice President Biden meet with business leaders to “discuss the actions we need to take to keep our economy growing and find a balanced approach to reduce our deficit.”These are the latest steps in an all-out political blitz to sell Obama’s budget plans. On Friday, the president is scheduled to visit a Pennsylvania business — a toy factory near Philadelphia — to discuss the impact of the fiscal cliff.
Obama thinks he is still campaigning.
America would be better off meeting with the House GOP leaders and cutting a deal.
- After Close Election, Dems Look Like Sore Winners or Why Ken Burns is a Jerk– Post-election season is a time for healing, for putting aside the rancor of a long campaign and rediscovering what unites us. It has not been that way this year.Prudence, one would think, if not generosity of spirit, should impel Democrats to be magnanimous in victory. Romney did receive about 48 percent of the vote. A little modesty among the winners would seem to be in order.Instead, the gloating has been extravagant. Worse, liberals have gorged themselves on the same junk food they enjoyed during the campaign and cannot seem to resist under any circumstances — slandering their opponents. The smears are so casual and commonplace that we become weary of responding. But we must protest, or someone new to politics may assume that we concede the point.Appearing on “Meet the Press”, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns attributed conservative unhappiness with the election to racism. “Race is always there in America,” Burns opined. “It’s always something we don’t want to talk about. Do you think we’d have a secession movement — a faddish movement — if this president wasn’t [sic] African-American? Do you think the vitriol that came out of some elements of the tea party?”Ken Burns is a fine filmmaker. I met him once, and I found him to be engaging and amiable. It’s painful to see him descend to this kind of defamation. Some disappointed Republicans are talking secession in Texas and elsewhere. This is proof of racism? Is this the standard of evidence Burns employs for his films?
- Fiction, Poetry and Nonfiction Selected by The New York Times Book Review – NYTimes.com – Untitled (… #tcot
- Union Leaders Blanket the Hill to Lobby on Taxes, Entitlements – What a surprise RT @nationaljournal Union leaders blanket the Hill to lobby on taxes, entitlements.
- Obamacare’s Rationers Employ The “It’s Good For You” Defense– Obamacare’s backers have a plan to justify their attempts to ration medicine — by saying that it’s good for you.Through 2019, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — otherwise known as Obamacare — will allocate some $3.5 billion toward “Comparative Effectiveness Research,” or CER, which pits drug versus drug in tests intended to determine which treatments work best.CER advocates say that it’s designed to correct a “market failure.” Right now, they argue, drug firms need not demonstrate that their product is better than those already on the market — only that it is effective at treating the disease it targets. Drug companies have little incentive to compare their products to those made by other firms — as they may not come out on top.CER sounds innocuous enough. Who could be against research to help doctors make more informed decisions?But the truth is that CER is nothing more than a backdoor route to healthcare rationing. Such research will almost certainly be used to not-so-subtly influence treatment decisions.
- Retailers confident online sales tax has votes to pass– Retail groups are increasingly confident that they have the votes to pass a federal online sales tax in the final weeks of the 112th Congress if they can secure time on the legislative calendar.With less than five weeks to go in the year, supporters are concentrating most of their efforts on the Senate, where a measure giving states greater latitude to collect sales taxes from online purchases has a powerful backer in Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).At the same time, retail groups acknowledge that the talks over looming spending cuts and tax hikes could get acrimonious, and that Democrats and Republicans might have little appetite to deal with other measures if their negotiations run deep into December.“I think this is a question of can we get a vote, not if it can pass,” said Jason Brewer, a spokesman for the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). “We feel confident about the vote count, but there’s also not a lot of time to push this across the finish line.”“When you end up with a major political situation like the ‘fiscal cliff,’ that overrides everything,” Rachelle Bernstein, tax counsel at the National Retail Federation, told The Hill. “I think we feel that we have a good piece of legislation pulled together, with lots of support. But there’s a decent chance politics could derail it.”
- Tom Cole: Join with President Obama on quick deal– Republican Rep. Tom Cole urged colleagues in a private session Tuesday to vote to extend the Bush tax rates for all but the highest earners before the end of the year — and to battle over the rest later.The Oklahoma Republican said in an interview with POLITICO that he believes such a vote would not violate Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge and that he’s not alone within Republican circles.
- Poll Watch: Taxing the rich remains popular – Poll Watch: Taxing the rich remains popular #tcot
- Hope and Exchange – The Feds Blame the States Over ObamaCare– ObamaCare is due to land in a mere 10 months—about 300 days—and the Administration is not even close to ready, so naturally the political and media classes are attacking the Governors and state legislators who decline to help out. Mostly Republicans, they’re facing a torrent of abuse in Washington and pressure from health lobbies at home.But the real story is that Democrats are reaping the GOP buy-in they earned. Liberals wanted government to re-engineer the entire health-care system and rammed the Affordable Care Act through on a party-line vote, not stopping to wonder whether it would work. Now that implementation is proving to be harder than advertised, they’re blaming the states for not making their jobs easier.
- ‘I want you to leave me alone:’ Gennifer Flowers claims Bill Clinton tried contacting her as recently as 2005 – NY Daily News – Dog! | RT @ByronYork Gennifer Flowers tells NO TV station Bill Clinton called her, wanted to get together, in 2005…
- Sen. Charles Schumer says Republicans want ‘divorce’ from Grover Norquist – Katie Glueck – POLITICO.com – Nice try Chuckie | RT @politico Sen. Charles Schumer says Republicans want ‘divorce’ from Grover Norquist:
- Bolling to drop bid for Virginia governorship – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs – RT @HotlineReid VA GOV: Bill Bolling drops bid, setting up McAuliffe-Cuccinelli showdown next year
- Senate Dems divided over cuts to benefit programs– Deep divisions among Senate Democrats over whether cuts to popular benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid should be part of a plan to slow the government’s mushrooming debt pose a big obstacle to a deal for avoiding a potentially economy-crushing “fiscal cliff,” even if Republicans agree to raise taxes.Much of the focus during negotiations seeking an alternative to $671 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts beginning in January has centered on whether Republicans would agree to raising taxes on the wealthy. President Barack Obama has insisted repeatedly that tax increases on the wealthy must be part of any deal, even as White House officials concede that government benefit programs will have to be in the package too.”It is the president’s position that when we’re talking about a broad, balanced approach to dealing with our fiscal challenges, that that includes dealing with entitlements,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-11-27 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-11-27
- Watch What Warren Buffett Does, Not What He Says– That last point is key: When taxes change, would-be investors will certainly change their decisions about where to direct capital, even “though the companies’ operating economics will not have changed adversely at all.” Buffett saw this clearly in 1986, with respect to Berkshire’s own investment decisions; it’s hard to believe that Buffett no longer believes that today, with respect to private investors.Now, none of this is to say that the capital-allocation effects of tax changes ultimately require the nation to forego tax reforms that would increase certain tax revenues. But it certainly is one consideration that must be kept in mind. When Buffett and others simply assert that tax increases don’t affect investment decisions, they’re whistling past the graveyard.
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-11-27 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-11-27
- CBS News: Rift Opening Between Obama And Liberals Over Fiscal Cliff – YouTube – RT @PounderFile: VIDEO: CBS News: Rift Opening Between Obama And Liberal Democrats Over Fiscal Cliff
- Image Problem – Republicans have a shot at improving their luck at the polls in 2014, but first they have to find a way to boost their brand appeal– Of the 13 Republican-held seats up in 2014, only one is in a state that Obama carried: Susan Collins in Maine. Indeed, Obama wasn’t even close in any GOP-held seats in other states. Other than Maine, the best Obama performances were minus 13 points in Alabama (Jeff Sessions), minus eight in Georgia (Saxby Chambliss), minus 12 in Mississippi (Thad Cochran), and minus 12 in South Carolina (Lindsey Graham). The other states ranged from minus 16 in Texas (John Cornyn) to minus 32 in Idaho (James Risch) and minus 34 in Oklahoma (James Inhofe).Conversely, Democrats have three seats up in 2014 in states that Obama lost by more than 15 points: minus 17 points in Louisiana (Mary Landrieu), minus 24 in Arkansas (Mark Pryor), and minus 27 in West Virginia (Jay Rockefeller). It should be noted that six-term Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced her candidacy on Monday at the State Capitol in Charleston.In three more 2014 Democratic Senate states, Obama lost by at least five but less than 15 points: minus 11 in South Dakota (Tim Johnson) and minus 13 in both Alaska (Mark Begich) and Montana (Max Baucus). Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds started an exploratory committee in September and is expected to challenge Johnson.There are three more 2014 Democratic Senate seats up in swing states, defined as such due to 2012 margins of five points or less: Obama minus two in North Carolina (Kay Hagan), plus three in Virginia (Mark Warner), and plus five in Colorado (Mark Udall).That’s nine Democratic seats that are either in demonstrably swing states or in enemy territory. This also does not take into account some states that were on the bubble: Obama won Iowa (Tom Harkin) and New Hampshire (Jeanne Shaheen) by just six points each.
The remarkable thing about Senate Democrats in 2012 was their ability to go on the offensive while, by necessity, playing defense. That will be much more difficult to replicate in 2014 given the seats up that cycle.
- Amazon.com to build third California distribution center– Internet retailer Amazon.com — after years of avoiding having any physical presence in California — is planning to open a third massive distribution center in the Golden State.The new operation is in Tracy, a distant bedroom community for the San Francisco Bay Area south of Sacramento. The facility will be only about 30 miles from a second Amazon center being built in Patterson to the south.Last month, the Seattle company cut the ribbon on a 950,000-square-foot facility in the city of San Bernardino, which started filling orders before the holiday shopping season.
- The Fiscal Cliff Is A Sideshow: It’s The Economy, Not The Budget, Stupid– Recently, using the comforting, measured and boring tones perfected by Alan Greenspan, Chairman Bernanke in a speech to the New York Economic Club observed that the best of the policy options open to us might lead us back to our economic potential by 2018. Apart from the idea that we can’t have our economy back for maybe six more years, at least three things in his speech are cause for profound worry no matter how analgesic the language is meant to sound.The presidential campaign drove the first and most serious point home. No one seems to have any sense of urgency regarding growth. The “guild” economists who advised both sides focused more on blaming various actors for why the recession won’t end rather than showing any sense of the profound costs of what a lost decade of growth means to America. President Obama’s “George did it” narrative met Mitt Romney’s mantra of “Obama doesn’t know anything about business.” Romney’s feint at growth sure sounded more like “I can manage better.”
- Red State’s Erick Erickson mulls Chambliss challenge– In a 900-word indictment of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, RedState editor and CNN contributor Erick Erickson described the Georgia Republican Tuesday as “waffling around like a dog off its leash for the first time.”Referring to Chambliss’s recent comment that he is more worried about the fiscal cliff than adhering to his anti-tax pledge, Erickson wrote:Everyone knows that Saxby meant he was happy to raise taxes. Now, under pressure back home, he is waffling. He covets his seat in Washington and is fearful of being primaries. Georgia has primary run-offs, whichs means he can be taken out. He cannot bring himself to say he wants to raise revenue through changing in the tax code that will cause taxes to go up, so he dances around. Behind the scenes, we all know he will work to structure a proposal that increases taxes on Americans, but he’ll cleverly make sure there are enough votes so he can vote against it. He is active and has been actively complicit with Mark Warner (D, VA) and others on raising taxes.
- Video: When the Democrats Loved the Filibuster – Flap’s Blog – Video: When the Democrats Loved the Filibuster #tcot
- Untitled (http://www.amazon.com/) – Christmas Shopping Bleg: If you are doing any shopping through how aboutclicking through ? Thanks!
- Day By Day November 27, 2012 – Hassle – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day November 27, 2012 – Hassle #tcot
- Political Cartoons / California Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown is a leader for the ages…..Dark Ages…. – California Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown is a leader for the ages…..Dark Ages….
- Bankrupt San Bernardino cuts $26 million, tries to stay afloat– Saying it had little choice, the San Bernardino City Council voted to cut $26 million in spending in an effort to keep the bankrupt city from dissolving and being governed by the county.The city is already in bankruptcy proceedings and facing a $45.8-million budget shortfall. The $26 million in cuts will help the troubled city stay afloat.The austerity plan is a required step in the federal bankruptcy process. It freezes vacancies in the Police Department even as the city deals with an increase in violent crime. The Fire Department’s overtime budget also was slashed by 35%.
- President 2012: The New Electoral Math, and What It Means for Polling– The exit pollsters asked which was the most important candidate quality – vision for the future (29%), shares my values (27%), cares about people like me (21%), and strong leader (18%).Mitt Romney won three of the four qualities. Voters who selected vision opted for Romney 54%-45%. Those who picked values preferred Romney 55%-42%. Voters focused on strong leadership opted for Romney 61%-38%. Romney lost 18%-81% among voters who said “cares about people like me” to Barack Obama.Thus, Romney controlled leadership, vision, and values, yet still lost, because he got blown out on the empathy dimension. This may well have been the first Presidential election where the winner on leadership lost the election anyhow. Prior to the election, if you had said that Romney would win among the 74% of voters choosing those three qualities and would still lose overall, you would not have been believed.Also, asked which of four was the most important issue, an overwhelming 59% picked the economy. Romney won those voters 51%-47%. Thus, he won the most important issue, but still lost the election.But the demographics are even more concerning for the GOP down the road. Here are some of the stunning demographic findings from the exit polls about the Presidential election:
- Mitt Romney won Independents by five points. That’s better than George W. Bush in 2004 by six net points (see more on that below).
- Mitt Romney won middle income voters ($50-100k) by six points. George W. Bush won them by twelve points in 2004, but there were far fewer voters earning more than $100k in the 2004 election (18%) than in 2012 (28%).
- Mitt Romney won white women by 56%-42% (the “war on women” is overstated; Romney got crushed with minority women but a fourteen point win is not exactly a decisive defeat with white women).
- George W. Bush won white women by eleven points in 2004, a net three points weaker than Romney.
- Mitt Romney won white voters by 59%-39%, which is better than George W. Bush in 2004 by three net points.
- Mitt Romney won voters age 40+ by five points. There is no direct comparison to Bush in 2004, but Bush did win voters 45+ by five points.
So, Romney won many of the groups that are generally considered to be the ones to decide elections – Independents, white women (by double digits), middle income, and voters age 40+. Mitt Romney put together a coalition that just eight years ago would have won the presidential election (hence the data comparisons to George W. Bush). However, instead of whites being 77% of the electorate, they were 72% of the electorate. Instead of Republicans and Democrats being equal, Democrats far outnumbered Republicans, and washed out Romney’s advantage among Independents. Bush kept it close with younger voters (under age 40), while Obama won them decisively.
- Why Republicans should have won the election (and why they didn’t)– The math, according to Bolger, is determinative. There are simply more Democrats than Republicans in the country — as we have noted before, the consistency of Democrats’ party ID edge is striking — and that means that winning independents is no longer the whole shebang for the GOP. Neither is winning the white vote since it’s hard to imagine a Democratic candidate sinking significantly lower than 39 percent among that voting bloc in future elections. (The white vote for Democratic presidential candidates has also been very consistent; since 1992, no Democratic nominee has received less than 39 percent or more than 43 percent of the white vote.)Concludes Bolger: “Thus, to have a chance, Republicans have to appeal to Hispanics. It’s simple math, but it’s hard to do. We have to start today.”He’s absolutely right — on both fronts. (Hell, we devoted an entire chapter in “The Gospel According to the Fix” to Republicans’ Hispanic problem and how it will doom them as a national party unless they can solve it.)
- How Senate Republicans could get tripped up again in 2014 (and how they are trying not to)– Welcome to the 2014 cycle, where most of the early rumblings in the Senate landscape have involved the prospect of Republican infighting. And, after back-to-back cycles in which flawed nominees in Nevada, Missouri, Colorado, Indiana and Delaware cost Republicans dearly, national strategists are already working to prevent history from repeating itself.The question is how.Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) will be the next chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and will be faced with the task of recruiting better candidates and cultivating a better relationship with conservative groups.“Unless the party is planning to get behind principled, grassroots conservatives, they’re going to continue to run into a fierce headwind,” said SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins.One of Moran’s vice chairs will be Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas, the shining star of the conservative grassroots this cycle who overcame the odds to defeat heavily favored Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) in a GOP primary/runoff. Part of Cruz’s role at the committee, according to a Republican familiar with NRSC strategy, will be to act as a go-between with conservative groups like the Club and SCF, both of which backed his candidacy this year.
- Rand Paul warns GOP ‘in danger of becoming a dinosaur’– Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) urged the Republican party to adopt a more libertarian approach to policy in order to avoid becoming “a dinosaur.”Paul, the libertarian-leaning senator, was speaking in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.”I think my party, the Republican Party, is shrinking. We’re in danger of becoming a dinosaur,” Paul said. “We’re not competitive on the West Coast, we’re not competitive in New England.”
- GOP lawmakers float immigration reform plan– Saying they want to get the conversation on immigration reform started, top Senate Republicans on Tuesday introduced a version of the so-called “Dream Act” to grant young illegal immigrants legal status in the US, though not giving them a special path to citizenship.GOP Sens. Jon Kyl and Kay Bailey Hutchison said they have introduced a bill that would reward those who take college classes or join the military.“We have got to get this ball rolling,” said Mr. Kyl, an Arizona Republican who is retiring this year. “We have to have a discussion that is sensible, that is calm.”Their bill would be more limited than the proposals Democrats have sought, which would have been more generous with a path to citizenship and broader in the number of immigrants it would apply to. But Ms. Hutchison, Texas Republican, said she and Mr. Kyl have tried to accommodate some Democratic lawmakers’ concerns.
The legislation would reward students with higher status the further along they are in pursuing their education. Those who earn a four-year college degree or complete military service could apply for a permanent visa that wouldn’t put them on a new path to citizenship, but would allow them to join existing lines by getting married to a U.S. citizen or finding another opportunity to adjust their status.
- The Afternoon Flap: November 27, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Afternoon Flap: November 27, 2012 #tcot
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These are my links for April 16th through April 17th:
- Tax time pushes some Americans to take a hike – A year ago, in Action Comics, Superman declared plans to renounce his U.S. citizenship.
“‘Truth, justice, and the American way’ – it’s not enough anymore,” the comic book superhero said, after both the Iranian and American governments criticized him for joining a peaceful anti-government protest in Tehran.
Last year, almost 1,800 people followed Superman’s lead, renouncing their U.S. citizenship or handing in their Green Cards. That’s a record number since the Internal Revenue Service began publishing a list of those who renounced in 1998. It’s also almost eight times more than the number of citizens who renounced in 2008, and more than the total for 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined.
But not everyone’s motivations are as lofty as Superman’s. Many say they parted ways with America for tax reasons.
The United States is one of the only countries to tax its citizens on income earned while they’re living abroad. And just as Americans stateside must file tax returns each April – this year, the deadline is Tuesday – an estimated 6.3 million U.S. citizens living abroad brace for what they describe as an even tougher process of reporting their income and foreign accounts to the IRS. For them, the deadline is June.
The National Taxpayer Advocate’s Office, part of the IRS, released a report in December that details the difficulties of filing taxes from overseas. It cites heavy paperwork, a lack of online filing options and a dearth of local and foreign-language resources.
For those wishing to legally escape the filing requirements, the only way is to formally renounce their U.S. citizenship. Last year, IRS records show that at least 1,788 people did, and that’s likely
an underestimate. The IRS publishes in the Federal Register the names of those who give up their citizenship, and some who renounced say they haven’t seen their name on the list yet.
- A Wisconsin Vindication – Property tax bills fall as Scott Walker’s reforms start to kick in #tcot – The public employee unions and other liberals are confident that Wisconsin voters will turn out Governor Scott Walker in a recall election later this year, but not so fast. That may turn out to be as wrong as some of their other predictions as Badger State taxpayers start to see tangible benefits from Mr. Walker’s reforms—such as the first decline in statewide property taxes in a dozen years.
On Monday Mr. Walker’s office released new data that show the property tax bill for the median home fell by 0.4% in 2011, as reported by Wisconsin’s municipalities. Property taxes, which are the state’s largest revenue source and mainly fund K-12 schools, have risen every year since 1998—by 43% overall. The state budget office estimates that the typical homeowner’s bill would be some $700 higher without Mr. Walker’s collective-bargaining overhaul and budget cuts.
The median home value did fall in 2011, by about 2.3%, which no doubt influenced the slight downward trend. But then values also fell in 2009 and 2010, by similar amounts, and the state’s take from the average taxpayer still climbed by 2.1% and 1.5%, respectively. In absolute terms homeowners won’t see large dollar benefits year over year, but any hold-the-line tax respite is both rare and welcome in this age of ever-expanding government.
- 2012-13 California state budget is a looming fiasco – It’s become a pattern in California. An exhausted Legislature finally completes work on a tardy state budget. Soon afterward, it becomes obvious the budget is a farce stitched together with funny numbers and delusional assumptions.
With the 2012-13 budget, however, the process has accelerated. Even before Gov. Jerry Brown issues his May revised budget, decisions made by lawmakers, the courts and federal bureaucrats – combined with bad news on the revenue front – make it close to impossible to expect a spending plan with a shred of credibility or accounting substance.
- Will We Defuse Our Debt Bomb? – The big question facing America now, and in the foreseeable future, is not who is going to win the next election but whether we are going to defuse a debt bomb that has put our very survival at risk.
Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was not exaggerating when he called our debt the greatest threat to our national security. History has shown time and time again that debt can bring nations to their knees. Great powers such as Britain, Spain, France, the Ottomans, the Soviet Union, and the Roman Empire declined economically before they contracted, collapsed, or were conquered. Our founders understood this history very well: John Adams warned, “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
- Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Day By Day April 17, 2012 – Zip File – Day By Day April 17, 2012 – Zip File
- Harry Reid Pushed to Allow Government Conferences in Vegas : Roll Call News – RT @PounderFile Roll Call: “Harry Reid Pushed To Allow Government Conferences In Vegas” #tcot
- Romney hire means shift on Hispanics – Mitt Romney’s hiring of Republican strategist Ed Gillespie is being seen as a sign the campaign will heavily court Hispanic voters — perhaps at the expense of immigration hard-liners in the party.
Gillespie, a former head of the Republican National Committee, has long advocated an aggressive outreach to the Hispanic community. He helped found the Republican State Leadership Committee, a group that recruits and trains GOP candidates for office and has emphasized finding female and minority candidates. He also heads up Resurgent Republic, an organization focused on messaging to independents, including Hispanic swing voters.
- Insiders Oppose Scaling Back Missile-Defense Plans Amid Russian Objections – Monday, April 16, 2012 – Three-quarters of National Journal’s National Security Insiders oppose dropping or scaling back the Obama administration’s plans to deploy missile-defense systems in Europe amid Russia’s objections — even if Moscow offered to share intelligence with Washington.
“Russia has adamantly opposed U.S. missile-defense strategy for three decades,” one Insider said. “The Obama change in European missile-defense architecture lessened any theoretical threat to Russia from the Bush system, but Russia has stayed on the warpath against U.S. missile defense as if nothing important has changed. U.S. concessions to Russia will bring neither reward nor gratitude. The best U.S. policy toward Russia on missile defense is benign neglect.”
- Halperin: How the Buffett Rule could work for Obama – Halperin: How the Buffett Rule could work for Obama
- Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-17 – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-17
- (404) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/scott-walker-leads-democratic-rivals-in-new-wisconsin-rec – (500) …
- (500) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/scott-walker-leads-democratic-rivals-in-new-wisconsin-recall-poll/2012/04/16/gIQAeJbGMT_blog.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost – RT @washingtonpost: Scott Walker leads Democratic rivals in new Wisconsin recall poll:
- AD-38: California State Senator Tony Strickland Endorses Patricia McKeon for Assembly » Flap’s California Blog – AD-38: California State Senator Tony Strickland Endorses Patricia McKeon for Assembly via @flap
- Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-26: Fundraising Totals Show Republican Tony Strickland Far in the Lead – CA-26: Fundraising Totals Show Republican Tony Strickland Far in the Lead
- Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » The Morning Flap: April 16, 2012 – The Morning Flap: April 16, 2012
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These are my links for April 12th through April 13th:
- Obama Family Tax Shelter – First family transfers wealth, avoids taxes – President Obama and his wife, Michele, gave a total of $48,000 in tax-free gifts to their daughters, according to tax records made public on Friday.
The president and his wife separately gave each daughter a $12,000 gift under a section of the federal tax code that exempts such donations from federal taxes.
There is nothing illegal about the president’s taking advantage of this tax shelter, but it does raise eyebrows given that he has lamented the myriad tax exemptions used by the wealthy—“millionaires and billionaires” like himself—to pay less in taxes. He has yet to propose a comprehensive plan to reform the byzantine tax code.
The Obama’s tax return indicates that the gifts, likely for their daughter’s college educations, began in 2007, when the maximum exemptible amount was $24,000 per couple. The maximum exemption has since increased to $26,000 per couple.
The Obamas paid a total federal tax rate of 20.5 percent on a gross adjusted income $789,674, which would typically fall within the top federal rate of 35 percent. According to an analysis of the president’s tax return, he may have paid a lower rate than his secretary despite making more than eight times as much money as she did.
His most recent tax proposal—the so-called “Buffett Rule”—would increase taxes on about 4,000 millionaires and raise about $4.7 billion in new revenue per year, enough to cover about 0.4 percent of the projected budget deficit in 2012. Though the rule would apparently not hit the president himself.
- Obama Releases Taxes, Does Not Qualify for Buffett Rule – President Obama earned $789,674 in 2011, the White House announced on Friday. However, with this income, he does not even qualify for the so-called Buffett Rule that he has promoted relentlessly and the Senate will take up on Monday.
The Buffett Rule calls for those making over $1 million a year to pay a minimum tax rate, named after billionaire Warren Buffett. The president did earn over $1 million in previous years–$1.7 million in 2010 and $5.5 million in 2009.
The president paid $162,074 in taxes with an effective federal income tax rate of 20.5 percent, according to the returns.
The release, four days before Tuesday’s tax deadline, capped a week in which the president repeatedly spoke about the obligation of the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes. It also provided Obama’s campaign the opportunity to once again jab Republican Mitt Romney for his refusal to release more information on his tax-paying history.
The Obamas adjusted gross income was their lowest income since 2004 when he wrote his best-selling memoir, “Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.” This was the first year since 2006 that the Obama family income dipped below $1 million. In 2010, his adjusted gross income was $1.7 million; in 2009, it was $5.5 million.
- Human Rights Campaign Quietly Removes Illegally Obtained Tax Information from Website – Following the release yesterday of proof by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the source of leaked confidential donor information, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) removed from its website all reference to NOM’s un-redacted 2008 1099 tax form, which it had previously posted. The action by the Human Rights Campaign comes within a day of NOM’s attorneys contacting them and demanding they remove the material is a clear indication of the seriousness of the criminal activity that has occurred.
“They now realize that they have done something tremendously wrong here or they would not have removed the references,” NOM President Brian Brown said today. “A felony has been committed and the Treasury Department must investigate who within the IRS has committed it, and whether people with the Obama Administration or the HRC are co-conspirators in the criminal release of our confidential tax return. We demand that federal authorities immediately launch an investigation into this crime. This is not a routine leak of some obscure document. We’re talking about someone in the Obama Administration’s IRS releasing to a group headed by President Obama’s national co-chair the private tax return containing confidential donor information of their main opponent. This is reminiscent of Watergate, and the American people are entitled to know the truth of what has occurred.”
- NC Dem official sexually harrassed staffer; Party fears credibility ‘doomed’ – A former North Carolina Democratic Party staffer was sexually harassed by a party official, made a financial settlement with the party and signed a non-disclosure agreement to keep the incident quiet.
“If this hits the media, the Democratic Party, our candidates, and our credibility are doomed in this election,” reads one email exchange between state Democratic leaders.
An email chain between those Democratic leaders, obtained by The Daily Caller, indicates the executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, Jay Parmley, and the alleged sexual harassment victim both signed non-disclosure agreements.
The email chain does not make clear who was guilty of the harassment, the status of that individual’s employment with the Democratic Party or the identity of the victim.
State Democratic Party spokesman Walton Robinson did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment on the matter.
- Statement by ALEC in Response to the Outpouring of Support in Wake of Intimidation Campaign Against Its Members – Ron Scheberle, Executive Director of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), issued the following statement today in response to the support the organization has received in response to the intimidation campaign against its members:
“Over the last 24 hours, ALEC has been inundated with letters of support from elected officials, community leaders and concerned citizens in response to the intimidation campaign launched by a coalition of extreme liberal activists committed to silencing anyone who disagrees with their agenda.
“I am thankful for the support and want to take this opportunity to remind people what we are facing:
“First, the people now attacking ALEC and its members are the same people who have always pushed for big-government solutions. Our support for free markets and limited government stands in stark contrast to their state-dependent utopia. This is not about one piece of legislation. This is an attempt to silence our organization and it has been going on for more than a year.
“Second, ALEC is one of America’s premier ideas laboratories when it comes to advocating free market reforms. We are a target because our opponents believe they have the opportunity to attack an effective, successful organization that promotes free-market, limited government policies that they disagree with. We work to promote the Freedom of Choice in Health Care initiative against ObamaCare’s individual mandate. We support fair tax policies and tort reform. This is an all-out intimidation campaign designed to promote government-based solutions rather than the free-market principles that we have seen work.
“Finally, now more than ever, America needs organizations like ALEC to foster the discussion and debate of policy differences in an open, transparent way and not fall back on bullying, intimidation and threats.”
- What’s Color of Change hiding about itself? – Coca Cola executives who recently decided to stop supporting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) did so in response to demands from an obscure left-wing activist group, Color of Change (COC). So were executives of giant candy-maker Mars, Inc. when they announced a similar decision earlier today.
That is why Color of Change may be the most powerful group in America you’ve never heard about.
The demand that Coke, Mars and other corporate donors stop making contributions to ALEC – a long-established conservative legislative group that researches and writes model legislation that is often adopted by state legislatures – is only the latest COC campaign to hit a nerve.
Previous COC successes include pushing advertisers on Glenn Beck’s Fox News Show to withdraw their ads, a campaign that played a role in the cable news and opinion network’a decision to drop the controversial production in June 2011.
Others who have felt the wrath of COC include now-former MSNBC opinion analyst Patrick Buchanan, Fox Business News anchor Eric Bolling, Lou Dobbs when he was on CNN, and the late Andrew Breitbart.
- Video, Social Boost US Mobile Content Consumption – eMarketer – RT @katieharbath: 42.6% of mobile phone users will log in to social net sites via mobile at least monthly by 2014 –
- Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-13 – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-13
- Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » President 2012 Poll Watch: Mitt Romney 46 Vs. Barack Obama 44% – President 2012 Poll Watch: Mitt Romney 46 Vs. Barack Obama 44%
- Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Video: President Obama Throws Democratic Party Consultant Hillary Rosen Under the Bus – Video: President Obama Throws Democratic Party Consultant Hillary Rosen Under the Bus
- Axelrod expresses no qualms at targeting Rosen, a ‘friend’ – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs – RT @PoliticalTicker: Axelrod expresses no qualms at targeting Rosen, a ‘friend’ –
- Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » The Morning Flap: April 12, 2012 – The Morning Flap: April 12, 2012
- Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Video: Charles Manson Parole Hearing – Parole Denied – Video: Charles Manson Parole Hearing – Parole Denied
- 72% of Americans Follow Local News Closely – Nearly three quarters of Americans (72%) report following local news closely “most of the time, whether or not something important is happening.” Local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need.
One-third of local news enthusiasts (32%) say it would have a major impact on them if their local newspaper no longer existed, compared with just 19% of those less interested in local news. Most likely to report a major impact if their newspaper disappeared are local news followers age 40 and older (35%), though even among younger local news followers 26% say losing the local paper would have a major impact on them.
Local news enthusiasts are more likely than others to prefer newspapers for almost all of 16 topics that were asked about in a survey, with the exception of weather and breaking news. Three-in-ten or more local news enthusiasts prefer newspapers for following crime, local politics, community events, or arts and culture. About one-quarter prefer newspapers when seeking information about local schools, taxes, government activity, other local business, and housing issues. Two-in-ten primarily use newspapers for following restaurants, job openings, or local zoning issues.
While this seems to be positive news for local newspapers, in many cases the reliance on newspapers is heaviest among local news enthusiasts age 40 and older, while younger local news followers rely more heavily on other sources. Specifically, among local news enthusiasts under age 40, the internet is the preferred source for eight of the 16 topics asked about, including:
Local restaurants, clubs and bars
Other local businesses
Schools and education
Arts and cultural events
Community or neighborhood events
- Barrett & Falk Won’t Say How They Would Have Balanced Wisconsin’s Budget – Democrats have hammered Wisconsin governor Scott Walker over the past year for cutting nearly one billion dollars in state aid to school districts as part of his plan to close the state’s $3.6 billion deficit. Democratic anger with Walker’s budget cuts is a huge reason why Walker is facing a recall election on June 5. But the two leading Democrats vying to replace Walker, Dane county executive Kathleen Falk and Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, were unwilling to say Wednesday night how they would have balanced the budget or even how much they would have cut from the state’s education budget.
“Education is the top funding priority for the state budget,” Falk said at a Democratic candidate forum in Madison on Wednesday night. “I do not support public dollars for private school vouchers.”
But when asked how much state aid to local school districts should have been cut in last year’s budget, Falk told THE WEEKLY STANDARD: “Well, nobody’s going to answer that, needless to say. But I have a track record as county executive what I’ve done, which was shared sacrifice.”
During follow-up questioning, Falk refused to give even a ballpark figure of how much education funding she would have cut:
- COMMENTARY: Dis-United Wisconsin? – Finally, the stage is set for the June 5 production of the one-show-only recall election of Gov. Scott Walker.
There is one problem — one the scriptwriters camping in the capitol rotunda a year ago and the producers in their union halls and party offices forgot: the all-important casting of the candidates who will take over the governor’s job if Walker is indeed recalled.
The auditions are proving a messy affair for all involved.
Wisconsin’s largest teacher’s union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, or WEAC, and the state chapters of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, had settled on former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.
Then Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett stepped up, crowding Falk for the spotlight. To add insult to his last-second entrance, Barrett — who lost to Walker 52-46 for governor in 2010 — has been racking up major endorsements from such party establishment types as former U.S. Rep. Dave Obey, D-District 7, and former Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton.
Some are calling the Falk-Barrett showdown evidence of a Democratic Civil War, but that’s only if you include Internet videos as the modern-day equivalent of cannon fire. No, what’s going on right now is more like the beginning of a four-week knife fight. The winner will not just take on Walker in June. He or she and his or her backers will run the Democratic Party in the Badger State.
AFSCME never wanted Barrett as a candidate, reportedly telling him not to run in a meeting between the mayor and various union leaders. It’s also furious with Barrett for deploying the very reforms Walker made available through Act 10 — making changes in City of Milwaukee employee health-care and pension contributions without having to have them collectively bargained. In doing so, he helped cut $25 million from Milwaukee’s budget over the past year, all without raising taxes.
- Obama on Why Michelle Was a Working Mom (at $316K Per Year): ‘We Didn’t Have the Luxury for Her Not to Work’ – Speaking Friday at what the administration called “The White House Forum on Women and the Economy,” President Barack Obama said that after his two daughters were born, he and his wife—both Harvard Law School graduates—could not afford the “luxury” of having her stay home with the children.
In 2005, when Obama began serving in the U.S. Senate (and his daughters turned 4 and 7), he and his wife were earning a combined annual income of $479,062. Barack Obama was paid a salary of $162,100 by the U.S. taxpayers, and Michelle Obama was paid $316,962 to handle community affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center.
, Pinboard Links
, The Afternoon Flap
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These are my links for February 27th through February 28th:
GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum hopes Michigan Democrats can help him earn a victory in Tuesday’s primary. That’s right. The former Pennsylvania senator’s campaign paid for a robocall asking Democrats to vote for him in Tuesday’s primary. Recent polls show chief rival and Michigan native Mitt Romney and Santorum virtually even heading into the primary. “We know that if we can get a Reagan Democrat in the primary, we can get them in the fall,” said Hogan Gidley, communications director for Santorum. He confirmed the campaign paid for the call. Political observers say the move is just another sign of how close the GOP race is — and a “logical ploy.” As Santorum has done during numerous Michigan visits the past two weeks, the call attacked Romney’s stance on the auto bailouts, saying the former Massachusetts governor’s opposition “was a slap in the face” to Michigan workers, according to audio obtained by online political news outlet Talking Points Memo. Santorum also opposed the auto bailout, but said his consistent stance against all bailouts, including the Wall Street bailout, sets him above Romney.
- Will California’s Central Valley Bloom Again? – Is sanity finally coming to California’s Central Valley? America’s breadbasket has long been victim of capricious water cutoffs to “save” the environment. A bill in Congress puts an end to this man-made drought. It should pass.
Rep. Devin Nunes of Visalia, Calif., has come forward with a legislative remedy for the policies that have turned fertile fields into hollowed-out dust bowls in the name of “being green.”
Nunes’ Sacramento-San Joaquin Water Reliability Act goes to a vote in the House Wednesday and if it passes, it will guarantee that water the farmers paid for finally gets to the parched Central Valley. It will put an end to the sorry stream of shriveled vineyards, blackened almond groves and unemployed farm workers standing in alms lines for bagged carrots from China.
The insanity of the current policies against some of America’s most productive farmers in one of the world’s richest farm belts is largely the work leftist politicians from the wealthy enclaves of the San Francisco Bay Area. This group has exerted its political muscle on the less politically powerful region that produces more than half the fruits and vegetables consumed in the U.S. — with $26 billion in annual sales.
- TransCanada Corp. to begin construction of Keystone pipeline – TransCanada Corp. said Monday it plans to begin building a major portion of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline despite the Obama administration’s decision to reject a key permit for the project.
The company told the State Department in a letter Monday that it will begin construction of a section of the pipeline that runs from Cushing, Okla., to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The stand-alone portion of the project, which TransCanada dubbed the Gulf Coast Project, will cost $2.3 billion and will be completed in mid-to-late 2013, according to the company. The project must still receive other regulatory approvals.
Separately, TransCanada said it would reapply “in the near future” for a permit that would allow the Keystone XL pipeline to cross from Alberta, Canada, into the United States.
- 7,000 sign ex-Giffords aide’s petitions – 7,000 sign ex-Giffords aide’s petitions
- Kerrey rethinking Nebraska Senate bid – Kerrey rethinking Nebraska Senate bid
- Bob Kerrey changes his mind, will run for Senate, source says – Bob Kerrey changes his mind, will run for Senate, source says
- The fight for the Senate majority headed for deadlock –
- Boehner’s hands-off style backfires on bill –
- Cliffhanger Michigan Primary Holds Key to GOP Nomination Race – Tuesday, February 28, 2012 – Cliffhanger Michigan Primary Holds Key to GOP Nomination Race – Tuesday, February 28, 2012
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-02-28 » Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-02-28
- Californians Freak As Gas Prices Jump 26 Cents In A Week – Californians Freak As Gas Prices Jump 26 Cents In A Week
- @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-02-28 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-02-28
- President 2012 GOP Poll Watch: Romney Regains National Poll Lead | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012 GOP Poll Watch: Romney Regains National Poll Lead
- Momentum back toward Santorum in MI? – Public Policy Polling – RT @ppppolls: Romney’s bad last impression. Favorability in Monday interviews was 47/48. On Sunday it was 57/36:
- Dodgers sale: Magic Johnson Dodgers bidding group advances – latimes.com – RT @latimesbaseball: Magic Johnson leads one of seven Dodgers bidding groups to advance
- Updated: AD-38 Video: Patricia McKeon Tells the Tea Party Why She is Running for the California Assembly » Flap’s California Blog – Updated: AD-38 Video: Patricia McKeon Tells the Tea Party Why She is Running for the California Assembly
- AD-38 Video: Patricia McKeon Tells the Tea Party Why She is Running for the California Assembly » Flap’s California Blog – AD-38 Video: Patricia McKeon Tells the Tea Party Why She is Running for the California Assembly
- Feds seize additional computers in Kinde Durkee case – latimes.com – Federal prosecutors have seized several additional computers as part of their investigation into allegations that campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee misused the political funds of clients, according to documents released Monday.
The seizures were cited as a reason for seeking another month’s delay in a preliminary hearing in the case. A hearing that had been scheduled for Tuesday in federal court has now been set for March 16.
“The investigation has continued, and since the last continuance in this case, the government has seized a significant number of computers which need to be processed,” said a court filing by Assistant U.S. Atty. John K. Vincent. The filing does not identify whose computers were confiscated. “The government needs additional time to review, analyze, and synthesize materials that it has obtained during the course of this investigation,” the filing said.
- Maloofs pledge to contribute $75 million upfront for new downtown arena – The city of Sacramento and the Kings announced a tentative deal today to build a new arena in the downtown railyard. More than half the money would come from leasing the city’s parking to a private operator, but the team’s owners say they’ve also agreed to pay $75 million upfront.
George Maloof, the family member who pushed the hardest to move to Anaheim last year, said he believes the deal with Sacramento will allow the team to sustain itself financially for years in Sacramento, a small-market city. “We’re going to have a new building, we’ll be able to attract players. It will be much easier.”
- In high desert district, a mirror image of Ventura County situation? – If Democrats in Ventura County think Supervisor Linda Parks might create headaches for them by running as a “no party preference” candidate in the 26th Congressional District, perhaps they can get together with Republicans in the San Bernardino County-based 8th Congressional District to commisserate.
Former Assemblyman Anthony Adams, a moderate Republican who was assailed by conservatives because of his vote for a 2009 compromise that produced a state budget balanced with both spending cuts and temporary tax increases that have since expired, announced today he will be running as a “no party preference” candidate in the heavily Republican 8th District. The potential problem for the GOP is that there are five announced Republican candidates already, and only one Democrat. Like Ventura County’s 26th District, the 8th is an open seat with no incumbent.
- Jerry Brown presses Obama on Medi-Cal, meets with labor – Gov. Jerry Brown continued to press President Barack Obama today for authorization to enact further cuts to Medi-Cal to help balance California’s budget, even as the administration showed no sign of relenting and complained about the severity of state budget cuts in other areas.
Obama told governors in a meeting this morning that too many states are cutting education programs too deeply, citing teacher layoffs and rising college tuition.
“We’ve all faced some stark choices over the past several years,” Obama said. “But that is no excuse to lose sight of what matters most. And the fact is that too many states are making cuts to education that I believe are simply too big.”
- CA-26: Democrat David Cruz Thayne Mocks Assemblywoman Julia Brownley – Imported From Santa Monica | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – CA-26: Democrat David Cruz Thayne Mocks Assemblywoman Julia Brownley – Imported From Santa Monica
- Untitled (http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/TobaccoCancer/secondhand-smoke) – Bob Beckel the smoking Lefty on FNC thinks second hand smoke studies are bogus. Sorry Bob, you are wrong:
- Flap’s Dentistry Blog: The Morning Drill: February 27, 2012 – The Morning Drill: February 27, 2012
- Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Fluoridated Water and Dentistry: The Ongoing Debate – Fluoridated Water and Dentistry: The Ongoing Debate
- Buffett: Banks Victimized by Evicted Homeowners- Bloomberg – Buffett: Banks Victimized by Evicted Homeowners
- Two minutes after scheduled start of session, just six of 40 members on floor – RT @CapitolAlert: Two minutes after scheduled start of session, just six of 40 members on floor
- The Afternoon Flap: February 27, 2012 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – The Afternoon Flap: February 27, 2012
- Hill Poll: Likely voters prefer lower individual, business tax rates – Three-quarters of likely voters believe the nation’s top earners should pay lower, not higher, tax rates, according to a new poll for The Hill.
The big majority opted for a lower tax bill when asked to choose specific rates; precisely 75 percent said the right level for top earners was 30 percent or below.
The current rate for top earners is 35 percent. Only 4 percent thought it was appropriate to take 40 percent, which is approximately the level that President Obama is seeking from January 2013 onward.
- Buffett: Banks Victimized by Evicted Homeowners – Warren Buffett, who controls the biggest shareholding of the No. 1 U.S. mortgage lender, said banks were victimized by some homeowners who refinanced their loans before getting evicted.
“Large numbers of people who have ‘lost’ their house through foreclosure have actually realized a profit because they carried out refinancings earlier that gave them cash in excess of their cost,” Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), said Feb. 25 in his annual letter. “In these cases, the evicted homeowner was the winner, and the victim was the lender.”
- Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams are America’s Favorite News Personalities – Looking at a list of 26 current affairs personalities, when asked which three are their favorites, almost one-quarter say ABC News’ Diane Sawyer (23%), while one in five each say CNN’s Anderson Cooper (19%) and NBC’s Brian Williams (19%). Rounding out the top five favorite current affairs personalities is Bill O’Reilly (15%) and Barbara Walters (15%). A little further down the list are George Stephanopoulos (14%), Matt Lauer (13%), Katie Couric (13%), Rush Limbaugh (9%) and Sean Hannity (9%).
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,016 adults surveyed online between January 16 and 23, 2012 by Harris Interactive.
Looking at the flip side, which three of the 26 news personalities are America’s least favorite, almost half say Rush Limbaugh (46%). Three in ten say Bill O’Reilly (31%) and almost one-quarter say their least favorite is Nancy Grace (23%). Rounding out the top ten least favorite news personalities are Sean Hannity (14%), Katie Couric (10%), Piers Morgan (10%), Barbara Walters (10%), Chris Matthews (10%), Rachel Maddow (7%) and Wolf Blitzer (7%).
, Pinboard Links
, The Morning Flap
1 Comment »
These are my links for February 22nd through February 23rd:
- Rand Paul Says ‘It Would Be An Honor’ if Romney Asked Him to Be VP – Kentucky’s junior senator says it would be an honor to be considered as a possible running mate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Senator Rand Paul first discussed his higher aspirations at the beginning of this year. He said he wouldn’t close the door on being a Vice Presidential candidate. After a speech in Louisville today, Paul held that door firmly open, saying he wants to be part of the national debate.
Paul’s name has swirled as a possible pick that would give Romney points with the Tea Party. When asked directly what he would say if Romney made the offer, Paul tried to punt.
“I don’t know if I can answer that question, but I can say it would be an honor to be considered,” he said.
- Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 23, 2012 » Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 23, 2012
- New Anti-Obesity Drug Qnexa Receives FDA Advisory Panel Approval | Smiles For A Lifetime – Temporary (Locum Tenens) Dentistry – New Anti-Obesity Drug Qnexa Receives FDA Advisory Panel Approval
- Bonuses given after raises at Solyndra – Washington Times – Several of the nearly two dozen employees at bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra LLC who were approved for bonuses Wednesday had months earlier received pay raises as high as 70 percent, a fact the company never disclosed in its request for bonus cash.
The company’s bankruptcy attorneys sought permission for the bonuses in a court hearing, arguing that the extra cash is needed to keep key employees from fleeing only to be replaced by more expensive outside consultants.
With little chance of stable employment and officials moving to liquidate assets, the workers needed to wind down the company have little incentive to stay, the Solyndra attorneys argued.
But an attorney for fired Solyndra workers railed against the plan, saying several of the proposed bonus recipients had received significant salary increases even after the company went bankrupt.
- Romney not winning over grumpy pundits – Right Turn – The Washington Post – The media’s coverage, unless you are Mitt Romney, is almost comical in their aversion to him and exaggerated portrayal of him as unlikable. You’d never guess it from the media, both mainstream and conservative, but Republican voters like Romney quite a lot.
The Post-ABC News poll reports that 69 percent of Republicans have a favorable impression of him, the highest among all the GOP contenders. Even among “very conservative voters” he draws a 62 percent favorable rating. Rick Santorum scores a 74 percent rating (although this may change after his dreadful debate performance), but the numbers suggest that these voters don’t dislike Romney. They simply like (or liked) Santorum better.
In part, voters see perhaps what the right-wing bloggers, with visions of flat taxes and privatized Social Security ( i.e., ideal but unachievable conservative purity) dancing in their heads, miss: Romney is running on a rather conservative agenda. Not hardcore or angry conservatism, but definitely right of center.
- President 2012 Poll Watch: Romney and Santorum Within Striking Distance of Obama in National Polling | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012 Poll Watch: Romney and Santorum Within Striking Distance of Obama in National Polling
- Flap’s Dentistry Blog: The Morning Drill: February 23, 2012 – The Morning Drill: February 23, 2012
- AD-38: Scott Wilk Formally Announces California Assembly Campaign » Flap’s California Blog – AD-38: Scott Wilk Formally Announces California Assembly Campaign
- Video: Santorum on No Child Left Behind: I took one for the team » The Right Scoop – – Video: Santorum on No Child Left Behind: I took one for the team » The Right Scoop –
- Santorum Keeps Lead in Michigan – A new American Research Group poll in Michigan finds Rick Santorum continues to lead the GOP presidential field with 38%, followed by Mitt Romney at 34%, Ron Paul at 12% and Newt Gingrich at 7%.
- Day By Day February 23, 2012 – Shotgun Wedding | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Day By Day February 23, 2012 – Shotgun Wedding
- Los Angeles News and Video for Southern California – KTLA.COM – KTLA 5 – ktla.com – Illegal Immigrants Driver’s Licenses: LAPD Chief Backs Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Immigrants –
- Illegal Immigrants Driver’s Licenses: LAPD Chief Backs Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Immigrants – ktla.com – Illegal Immigrants Driver’s Licenses: LAPD Chief Backs Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Immigrants –
- National (US) Poll * February 23, 2012 * American Voters Hum, ‘happy Da – Quinnipiac University ? Hamden, Connecticut – RT @PounderFile: Q Poll: “Voters Support 64 – 23 Percent The Proposed Keystone Pipeline”
- Senate Democrats hammer opponents over social issues – The Hill’s Ballot Box – Senate Democrats hammer opponents over social issues – The Hill’s Ballot Box
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-02-23 » Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-02-23
- Colonoscopy May Halve Colon Cancer Deaths, Long Term Study – Colonoscopy May Halve Colon Cancer Deaths, Long Term Study
- Mitt Romney DESTROYED Rick Santorum Last Night – Mitt Romney DESTROYED Rick Santorum Last Night
- Once-hot Santorum up in smoke –
- @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-02-23 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-02-23
- Santorum campaign suggests Mitt Romney may have done deal to make Ron Paul his running mate – After tonight’s debate, in which Ron Paul and Mitt Romney repeatedly attacked Rick Santorum over his 16-year record in Congress, the former Pennsylvania hinted that something nefarious was going on.
“You have to ask Congressman Paul and Governor Romney what they’ve got going together,” Santorum told reporters in the spin room in Mesa, Arizona. “Their commercials look a lot alike and so do their attacks.”
Santorum’s top strategist John Brabender went even further, charging that the two men had “joined forces” and were coordinating attacks against his man
“Clearly there’s a tag team strategy between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. For all I know, Mitt Romney might be considering Ron Paul as his running mate. Clearly there is now an alliance between those two and you saw that certainly in the debate.”
The was also coordination in their attack ads, he charged. “Ron Paul for all practical purposes has pulled out of Michigan. Correct? Where’s he running negative ads against Rick Santorum? Michigan.
“It was interesting to me that if you watch Ron Paul when he came into the debate wrote negative things about Rick Santorum down because when he started to get questions he would immediately pick up his paper and start mentioning Santorum stuff.”
He added: “What is amazing to me this shows a remarkable ability by Romney, who has already proven to be the most negative man in history on TV, now he’s even training his opponents to be negative for his benefit and actually I think that takes remarkable skill.”
The Romney campaign ridiculed the notion there was any coordination. “If ever there was an iconoclast who got up there and said what he believed it’s Ron Paul,” said Stuart Stevens, Romney’s chief strategist.
- Falk: Pay for worker training with corporate taxes – Recall candidate Kathleen Falk wants to increase taxes on multi-state companies to pay for worker training.
The plan would roll back tens of millions of dollars in spending cuts for the Wisconsin Technical College System as well as a corporate tax cut passed by Republicans last year. Falk, a Democrat and former Dane County executive, is seeking to challenge Gov. Scott Walker in a likely recall election.
“My ‘Invest in Success’ plan will create jobs and spur economic growth by supporting what worked in Wisconsin for 100 years – investing in education and training workers through our technical college system,” Falk said in a statement.
To help balance the state budget, Walker and GOP lawmakers in June of last year cut nearly $73 million, or 25%, from the Technical College System budget over two years. To undo part of that, Falk wants to roll back a tax cut on multi-state corporations approved by Walker and GOP lawmakers in the budget.
- California Poll Watch: Rival Tax Increase Measures Blocking Jerry Brown » Flap’s California Blog – California Poll Watch: Rival Tax Increase Measures Blocking Jerry Brown
- Capitol Alert: Sen. Sharon Runner announces she won’t run for re-election – California Sen. Sharon Runner announces she won’t run for re-election
- California Sen. Sharon Runner announces she won’t run for re-election – Republican Sen. Sharon Runner, who is awaiting a lung transplant for a rare autoimmune disease, announced today that she will not seek re-election in November.
Runner has been absent from the upper house since January, when she disclosed that complications related to her condition required her to work outside of Sacramento. She said today that she expects to make a full recovery and will focus on “business and philanthropic efforts” after leaving office.
“Serving the people of our community over my lifetime has been an amazing blessing and I am so very thankful for their support throughout each of my elections and my tenure in office,” Runner said in a statement. “In the coming years, I will be working on behalf of the community that I love, but not in the role as an elected official.”
- Untitled (http://maristpoll.marist.edu/wp-content/misc/AZpolls/AZ120219/Republican%20Primary%202012/Complete%20February%2022nd%202012%20Arizona%20NBC%20News-Marist%20Poll%20Tables.pdf) – RT @HotlineJosh: Buried in NBC AZ poll: Immigration hurting Obama Only 57% of DEMS approve; 29/57 approval w/ indies
- President 2012: GOP Debate in Arizona Tonight – A Season Finale? | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012: GOP Debate in Arizona Tonight – A Season Finale?
- The Morning Flap: February 22, 2012 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – The Morning Flap: February 22, 2012
- Poll Watch: Obese Americans Report Higher Rates of Daily Pain | Smiles For A Lifetime – Temporary (Locum Tenens) Dentistry – Poll Watch: Obese Americans Report Higher Rates of Daily Pain
- Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Newly Identified Oral Bacteria Linked to Heart Disease – Newly Identified Oral Bacteria Linked to Heart Disease
- Obama’s Dividend Assault – A plan to triple the tax rate would hurt all shareholders – WSJ.com – President Obama’s 2013 budget is the gift that keeps on giving—to government. One buried surprise is his proposal to triple the tax rate on corporate dividends, which believe it or not is higher than in his previous budgets.
Mr. Obama is proposing to raise the dividend tax rate to the higher personal income tax rate of 39.6% that will kick in next year. Add in the planned phase-out of deductions and exemptions, and the rate hits 41%. Then add the 3.8% investment tax surcharge in ObamaCare, and the new dividend tax rate in 2013 would be 44.8%—nearly three times today’s 15% rate.
Keep in mind that dividends are paid to shareholders only after the corporation pays taxes on its profits. So assuming a maximum 35% corporate tax rate and a 44.8% dividend tax, the total tax on corporate earnings passed through as dividends would be 64.1%.
- Why Obama’s corporate tax plan is a total bust – The current U.S. economic recovery is arguably the worst in modern American history. Incomes are flat, housing is moribund, and the past three years have seen the longest stretch of high unemployment in this country since the Great Depression. Yet President Barack Obama—with the backing of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner—has the temerity to propose a corporate tax reform plan that would actually raise the tax burden on American business by $250 billion over a decade (and de facto on workers, too) without lowering rates to an internationally competitive level. This is a terrible, terrible plan:
1. The Obama-Geithner plan would lower the statutory corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 35 percent, currently the second-highest among advanced economies. But that would still leave the combined U.S. corporate tax rate—state and federal—at 32.2 percent, far above the OECD combined average of 25 percent. The U.S. combined rate would be a bit below slow-growing Japan and France but above the U.K. and Germany. That’s not nearly good enough. Canada just lowered its corporate tax rate, for instance, to 15 percent. So instead of having the second highest corporate tax rate in the world, the United States would probably be fourth behind Japan, France, and Belgium.
- Chris Christie tells Warren Buffett: ‘Shut up’ – Chris Christie has heard enough about Warren Buffett, and in typical fashion, the New Jersey governor had a certain blunt way of putting it.
“He should just write a check and shut up,” Christie said Tuesday on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight.” “Really, and just contribute. The fact of the matter is that I’m tired of hearing about it. If he wants to give the government more money, he’s got the ability to write a check — go ahead and write it.”
- Racial Preferences Redux – The Supreme Court revisits discrimination and government – When the Supreme Court last upheld racial preferences in college admissions, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote that she “expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary.” That was 2003. By agreeing to hear a challenge to the University of Texas’s admissions policies yesterday, the Justices may have pushed up that deadline.
- Dependency Is On The Rise, Despite Gov’t Attempts To Tell Us Things Are Getting Better – The government is at full throttle to present the economy as improving especially in light of the upcoming election. At the same time, there has been a stunning rise in dependency as most recently presented by the Heritage Foundation.
Heritage defines dependency as significantly depending on the government for help in two of the following basic expense items: housing, food, shelter, income security or higher education.
At the end of 2007, Heritage conservatively estimates there were 59.4 million Americans significantly dependent on the government.
By the end of 2010, this number had risen to 67.3 million, an increase of nearly 8 million. It is likely that another two or three million were added in 2011, for a net increase of 10 million to 11 million over the past four years.
It is not a coincidence that the number of people participating in the labor force has comparably declined over the same period.
- Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 22, 2012 » Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 22, 2012
- California rates health plans on quality measures – California’s largest health plans have improved their care for diabetic patients, but many need to do better at treating children with throat infections, testing for lung disease and helping people overcome drug and alcohol addictions.
These are among the findings of the 11th annual report card released Wednesday by the state Office of the Patient Advocate.
The report card is meant to give consumers an easy-to-use tool to compare the quality of care delivered by the state’s nine largest health maintenance organizations, six largest preferred provider organizations and 212 medical groups.
Each plan is ranked in categories of care with one to four stars, depending on how well it meets national standards or how its members rate it in such areas as ease of getting appointments and customer service.
“Publicly reporting is one tool to keep plans accountable,” said Sandra Perez, director of the Patient Advocate’s Office.
“The report card helps educate everyone on what types of treatment they should be receiving from their health plan,” she said.
As in previous years, Kaiser Permanente outshone its competitors, receiving the top ranking of four stars in most categories. Most other HMO or PPO plans had no categories with four stars.
Among medical groups, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation also earned top scores, with four stars in both patient rankings and meeting national standards of care.
- CA-30: Sen Barbara Boxer Endorses Rep Howard Berman » Flap’s California Blog – CA-30: Sen Barbara Boxer Endorses Rep Howard Berman
- Tightening Arizona Race Heightens Pressure on Romney – With polls showing Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum within the margin of error of each other in Arizona and Michigan, both candidates have some tough decisions to make ahead of the states’ primaries on Tuesday.
Just a few weeks ago, Romney seemed headed for big wins in both races. Now he finds himself trailing Santorum in his native Michigan, and Santorum creeping up on him in Arizona. That means the top rivals have to carefully figure out how to best divide their time and energy over the next six days.
- Obama to propose lowering corporate tax rate to 28 percent – President Obama on Wednesday plans to propose a major overhaul of the nation’s corporate tax code, an election-year gambit that is likely to draw a contrast over a key policy issue with the Republicans vying to replace him.
Obama will propose lowering the nation’s corporate tax rate to 28 percent. At the same time, however, he will seek to increase the amount of revenues raised overall through corporate taxation by eliminating numerous deductions and loopholes that save companies tens of billions of dollars a year on their tax bills, according to a senior administration official.
- Chris Christie: Rick Santorum’s Satan Comments Are Relevant – Rick Santorum says his 2008 comments that “Satan has set his sights on the United States of America” are “not relevant” to the 2012 presidential race, but Chris Christie told me on “GMA” that Santorum is wrong.
“Listen, I think anything you say as a presidential candidate is relevant. It is by definition relevant. You’re asking to be president of the United States. I don’t think [Santorum’s] right about that. I think it is relevant what he says. I think people want to make an evaluation, a complete evaluation of anyone who asks to sit in the Oval Office,” the New Jersey governor said.
Adding to the religious discussion on the campaign trail, yesterday Santorum said he would “defend everything” he says and Mitt Romney said the Obama administration has “fought against religion.”
But Christie doesn’t think a debate over religion is a conversation the Republican Party wants to engage in.
“Do I think it’s the things we should be as a party talking about and emphasizing at the moment? No,” he said.
- Valerie Jarrett: ‘People Who Receive that Unemployment Check Go Out and Spend It and Help Stimulate the Economy’ – This evening, speaking at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said that folks getting and spending unemployment checks is a healthy thing . . . because it stimulates the economy:
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