Archive for ‘taxes’

May 19, 2009

They Can Have My Gas Guzzler When They Pry It From My Cold Dead Fingers!

Not just no, but “hell no!”

Obama on Tuesday planned to announce the first-ever national emissions limits for cars and trucks, as well as require a 35.5 miles per gallon standard. Consumers should expect to pay an extra $1,300 per vehicle by the time the plan is complete in 2016, officials said.

Michelle Malkin: “It’s a $1,300 car tax. On the working class. On the middle class.”

UPDATE: Wall Street Journal:

Disclosure of the agreement is expected Tuesday, with executives from several large auto companies, including General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Frederick “Fritz” Henderson, as well as United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger, expected to participate, people familiar with the matter said.

Right. Feds help UAW take over GM, now Gettelfinger Motors is stooging for Obama’s greenshirt fascism.

Got up early this morning, so I’m running ahead of Memeorandum on this aggregation.

UPDATE II: Washington Post:

The measures are significant steps forward for the administration’s energy agenda by cutting greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to climate change and by easing U.S. dependence on oil, most of which is imported.

(Please note that flat assertion of antropogenic global warming as fact.)

The administration is embracing standards stringent enough to satisfy the state of California, which has been fighting for a waiver from federal law so that it could set its own guidelines, sources said. Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) and Jennifer M. Granholm (D-Mich.) will be among a variety of state and industry officials who plan to attend an announcement today, according to sources close to the administration.

Of course, Arnold will support this. Him and all The Republicans Who Really Matter.

UPDATE III: Via Hot Air Headlines, a very timely New Republic feature:

Sometime after the release of An Inconvenient Truth in 2006, environmentalism crossed from political movement to cultural moment. Fortune 500 companies pledged to go carbon neutral. Seemingly every magazine in the country, including Sports Illustrated, released a special green issue. Paris dimmed the lights on the Eiffel Tower. Solar investments became hot, even for oil companies. Evangelical ministers preached the gospel of “creation care.” Even archconservative Newt Gingrich published a book demanding action on global warming.

Which reminds me, BTW, of why I am such a staunch disbeliever in AGW (anthropogenic global warming). This trendy nonsense is so similar to, and is promoted by the same kind of “scientific consensus” argument, as the “Population Bomb” idiocy of 40 years ago. Idolators at the bloody altar of Science never seem to learn from their mistakes, do they?

UPDATE IV: Hyscience:

The costs to every American for having Barack Obama in the White House are adding up fast(and we haven’t even gotten to his universal health care plan yet) – and not just for those making over $250K. The middle class and the poor are going to be the hardest hit.

Auto regulation always works this way. I lived in Maryland, which requires state vehicle safety inspection, compelling poor people to (a) pay for inspections, and (b) make costly repairs to older vehicles that are otherwise demonstrably road-worthy. State inspectors have been known to flag old junkers for body rust that has nothing to do with safety.

This kind of pre-emptive regulation — that is to say, pushing people through an inspection process, rather than merely authorizing cops to ticket people for driving with a busted tail-light — imposes no burden on the affluent, who can afford new cars. It is the poor guy, trying to get by driving a third-hand jalopy with 150,000 miles on the odometer, who is hurt by such regulatory mania.

UPDATE V: William Teach at Right Wing News:

When you go to the auto lot starting in 2012, expect your choices to be golf cart sized vehicles.

“RIP useful, roomy vehicles.”

UPDATE VI: MSNBC’s Mark Murray notes that Obama’s doing Schwarzenegger a favor by sharing his aura of approval with Arnold, who’s less popular than syphilis in California.

Murray wonders, “Is California ungovernable?” They wondered the same thing before Reagan was elected governor in 1966. What it takes is leadership with balls. Unfortunately, scientists say long-term steroid use leads to testicular atrophy, to say nothing of the inevitable side-effects of marrying Maria Shriver.

Michelle Malkin is no fan of the micro-testicled muscle-bound “Taxinator.” Also see Ed Driscoll on the “Golden State Mobius Loop,” and my thoughts on “California: Zimbabwe, U.S.A.”

UPDATE VII: Cato’s Dan Mitchell says Obama is “simultaneously destroying and subsidzing the auto industry,” which reminds me of Ronald Reagan’s description of liberal economic policy: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it.”

As Carol Platt Liebau observes:

These are hidden taxes, but they are taxes all the same. The American people are smart to be suspicious — as most of them are — about the President’s claims that he will cut their taxes.

We are on The Road to Weimar America.

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May 15, 2009

But why did Obama say that?

Everybody is quoting the remarks President Obama made yesterday in New Mexico, in which he called deficit spending “unsustainable“:

“We can’t keep on just borrowing from China . . We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt. . . . It will have a dampening effect on our economy.”

Which sounds like he read my blog yesterday. Given the $789 billion stimulus that Obama pushed through Congress in February, and given that his first annual budget plan is $1.8 trillion in the red, this “debt is bad” speech provokes a lot of eye-rolling from conservatives. Instapundit is flabbergasted, for example, and Professor Jacobson sees this as an expedition into “economic bizarro land.”

The question that intrigues me, however, is why Obama suddenly decided to start talking like a fiscal hawk. Did his speechwriters just decide to recycle phrases from last year’s campaign speeches, when Obama routinely excoriated the Bush administration for its deficit spending? Or is this some new rhetorical gambit?

Jules Crittenden says he’s actually “encouraged” to hear Obama acknowledge the negative economic impact of deficit spending. Don’t get encouraged too fast, Jules.

My guess is that this “debt is bad” line is not about cutting spending. It’s about raising taxes.

That is to say, if we assume that this speech about “unsustainable” debt signals a new theme that will become part of the administration’s economic policy, Obama can only be laying the groundwork for massive tax hikes:

  • A. We can’t keep borrowing money, because that will “have a dampening effect on our economy”;
  • B. However, we can’t cut entitlement spending, because that would hurt poor people and old people who are dependent on federal aid;
  • Ergo . . .

  • C. We must raise taxes on “the rich,” who “aren’t paying their fair share.”

And if any critic dares to point out that raising taxes will also “have a dampening effect,” Obama will be prepared to accuse them of fiscal irresponsibility. This is essentially a repeat of what Walter Mondale did in his 1984 presidential campaign, when he promised to raise taxes, trying to cast the tax-cutting Reagan as a reckless spendthrift.

We’ll see if Obama has any more luck with this argument than Mondale did.

May 14, 2009

The Road to Weimar America

Saw this yesterday and didn’t blog about it, but what if Treasury notes become junk bonds?

The US government has had a triple A credit rating since 1917, but it is unclear how long this will continue to be the case.

Hat tip to Ed Morrissey via Ace of Spades, who has a very good round-up of the harbingers of a fiscal/monetary apocalypse. I’ve been warning about this for months, as in February:

Go talk to some people who know a bit about the bond market, and see how they think the global investor class — U.S. debt is a commodity traded globally — will react to the prospect of still more deficit spending piled on top of all the deficit spending for the $152 billion “stimulus” in May, $350 billion for TARP I, and now $789 billion for more “stimulus.” Another $350 billion for TARP II? Oh, they’re going to love that.
If the world’s investor class believes that your Keynesian pump-priming will work, they’ll be happy to buy up all those Treasury notes, just like they’ll be happy to buy stock in U.S.-based corporations. Do you think those people are stupid, sir?

It Won’t Work, The Fundamentals Still Suck, and Economics Is Not a Popularity Contest.

Back in 2007, I was talking to economists who were worried about the impact that the housing bubble collapse (which began in 2006) would have on the economy. And the same economists are now muttering dark forebodings about the impact of this multi-trillion-dollar deficit spending spree.

Well, when the Dow Jones bounced up above 8,000 — after falling below 6,700 in March — some people were saying the worst was over. We had hit the bottom, and now the recovery would begin. Two words: “Sucker’s rally.” The Dow hit 8,575 on Friday and, though I’m no financial guru. my hunch is we’re now beginning another slide downward. Pessimists tell me they don’t think we’ll hit bottom above 4,000.

Why? Well, how about the idiotic noises about health care emerging from Washington? The liberal suggestion that we will actually save money by implementing universal health care is, as Megan McArdle says, “gibberish in a prom dress.”

Unemployment is surging. The Obama administration is meddling with mortage rates and Treasury wants to take over the derivatives market. Liberals are pushing for a “global warming tax.” Government is ripping off investors. The rule of law is trampled underfoot. All the signals from government now point toward more deficits, more taxes, more inflation, more regulatory restrictions to impede the private sector.

Hello, Weimar America.

(Cross-posted at Hot Air Green Room.)

UPDATE: Linked at Kuru Lounge and Creative Minority Report. Meanwhile, Mary Katharine Ham observes:

With utterly unprecedented spending and build-ups in deficits with utterly no attempt to control either, despite promises to do so from Obama on the trail, the American people may be looking for anti-establishment comfort in 2010. By then, it won’t be about being Republican, but about being responsible. Democrats have been so deliberately, demonstrably irresponsible in just four months, that making the argument for Republicans (fiscally conservative ones) becomes easier and easier by the day.

“Fiscally responsible Republicans” = Not Charlie Crist. More like Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn.

Tigerhawk wonders if Team Obama believes they’ll be able to blame Bush forever. But how will they blame Bush for Obama’s job-killing tax plans?

(Graphic by Heritage Foundation.) More commentary at Memeorandum.

The New York Times is trying to cover up Democrats’ blame for the mortgage crisis.

UPDATE II: Obama demagogues credit cards:

People are “getting ripped off by anytime, any reason rate hikes… all kinds of harsh penalties and fees that you never knew about,” Obama said. “Enough is enough, it’s time for strong protections for our consumers.”
And his audience cheered.

Good God. If you don’t like the rate, don’t use the card. How simple is that? Caveat emptor. But by limiting rates, you would necessarily limit the availability of credit, since banks have to calculate the likelihood of default into their rates.

Ergo, limiting rates means less credit for the poor, which is certainly going to hinder economic recovery. And yet Obama’s audience cheered his nonsense!

May 9, 2009

Tax the Poor!

One of the things that originally made Rush Limbaugh notorious back in the day was his proposal to tax the poor. The idea being that if you want to discourage something, like cigarette smoking, you tax it. Well, why not a poverty tax?

The Swiftian satire wasn’t appreciated when Rush did it, but now look what New York City is doing:

The Bloomberg administration has quietly begun charging rent to homeless families who live in publicly run shelters but have income from jobs.
The new policy is based on a 1997 state law that was not enforced until last week, when shelter operators across the city began requiring residents to pay a certain portion of their income. The amount varies based on factors that include family size and what shelter is being used, but should not exceed 50 percent of a family’s income, a state official said.
Vanessa Dacosta, who earns $8.40 an hour as a cashier at Sbarro, received a notice under her door several weeks ago informing her that she had to give $336 of her approximately $800 per month in wages to the Clinton Family Inn, a shelter in Hell’s Kitchen where she has lived since March.
“It’s not right,” said Ms. Dacosta, a single mother of a 2-year-old who said she spends nearly $100 a week on child care. “I pay my baby sitter, I buy diapers, and I’m trying to save money so I can get out of here. I don’t want to be in the shelter forever.”

(Via Memeorandum.) Hey, Vanessa, why don’t you explain this problem to the father of your child? It’s like Ann Coulter says in Guilty: Nobody is allowed to criticize single mothers. Single mothers have a right to screw around, have babies out of wedlock and stick taxpayers with the bill.

Say this for the gays, at least they’re not trying to bill me for their lifestyle. Beware the hobo menace!

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! It’s Mother’s Day and Rule 5 Sunday, plus we’re also trying to learn the lessons of Dijon Gate and commemorating the fifth anniversary of same-sex Harvard marriage, so please have a look around. And if you feel the overwhelming urge to hit the tip jar, don’t fight the feeling!

UPDATE II: The Rhetorican:

You know an economic system whose central conceit is to promote equality by transferring wealth from the have-more’s to the have-not’s has failed when it seeks to transfer wealth from the poor to government.

Ditto! BTW, just in case Rush Limbaugh should happen to read this: I am The Other McCain for a reason, so please don’t hate me because of Crazy Cousin John. Or, as I sometimes feel obliged to point out: Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For Bob Barr!

Just to clarify this distinction, check out these articles I wrote for The American Spectator:

So please don’t confuse me with my distant kinsman, Rush. I’m a lot more like that Dittohead taxi driver Wally Onakoya. I’m a bona fide right-wing extremist. (And if you need an extra hand editing your monthly newsletter, I can provide excellent references. Get in touch. They tell me Palm Beach is lovely this time of year.)

April 20, 2009

Axelrod doesn’t get Tea Party concept

Dishonest or ignorant? You decide:

Senior White House adviser David Axelrod on Sunday suggested the “Tea Party” movement is an “unhealthy” reaction to the tough economic climate facing the country. . . .
“I think any time you have severe economic conditions there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that’s unhealthy,” Axelrod said. . . .
“The thing that bewilders me is that this president just cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people,” Axelrod argued.

Let me explain something to you, David Axelrod: Obama and the Democrats didn’t “cut taxes” in a way that will stimulate economic growth. They didn’t reduce or eliminate the capital gains tax. They didn’t reduce or eliminate the corporate tax. Most of all, they didn’t reduce the top marginal rate.

The stupid “targeted tax cuts” approach that Democrats have been pushing for the past 15 years — check this box on your 1040 and add an extra few hundred bucks to your refund — does nothing meaningful to stimulate growth. The fact that most of that money is going to people who don’t pay income taxes anyway means that it is, in fact, a welfare giveaway, not a tax cut.

What you, David Axelrod, don’t understand is that those of us who support a growth-oriented economic policy aren’t in favor of tax cuts on a “more-money-for-me” basis. It’s not about who gets what, it’s about increasing prosperity by expanding liberty. But Democrats are so narrow-minded that they don’t even grasp the concept.


Allahpundit:

No surprise that the master of astroturfing would find a true grassroots movement distasteful.

Via Donald Douglas, here is CNN’s John King calling the Tea Party movement “ginned up”:

UPDATE: Linked at RCP Best of the Blogs.

April 14, 2009

Alabama, here I come!

All right, folks, this will be my last post here for a while, because I’m about to pack up the laptop and drive 700 miles to attend Wednesday’s Alabama Tea Party. Of course, just like the folks on JournoList, I’m strictly a neutral, objective observer, and I’ve got a neutral, objective post over at the new Hot Air Green Room you might want to check out.

While I’m on the road, all you bloggers should e-mail your Rule 1/Rule 2 requests to Smitty. Everybody else, please hit the tip jar, because if this thing is being funded by “right-wing billionaires,” they sure are a bunch of cheapskate billionaires.

Important news: Just in case you missed it, the DHS “terrorist” smear against conservatives — we reported it at 3:14 a.m. Mondayhas been confirmed by Michelle Malkin. My buddy Stephen Gordon shares credit with Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock for breaking that story. My old buddy Audrey Hudson got the scoop, and look how the JournoListers are pushing back at Memeorandum. (Heh! Blame that subversive Constitution!) Trust me, there will be more shoes dropping over the next few days, as we learn who was behind the DHS smear.

WOLVERINES! HIT THE TIP JAR! And now, boys, let’s hit that theme song:

April 13, 2009

Reason 0 to Scrap the Tax Code

by Smitty

From Rob Roy, by Walter Scott:

Be it better, be it worse,
Be ruled by him that has the purse.

His Instapunditness points to Freedomworks.org’s Top Ten Reasons To Scrap the Tax Code. Good points, all.
However, I’ll argue that their ultimate point,

10. Laws Should Rest on Principles of Justice.
The tax code is modified every few years along no reasonable principle. The code is arbitrary and unpredictable, and is morphing from its stated purpose– efficiently raising government revenue– into an instrument that Congress uses to instill fear, punishment, and political control. The code should be scrapped and replaced with a more just system based on principles of fairness and equality before the law rather than on the whim of lobbyists and lawmakers.

…is really just rearranging the keffiyeh on Yasser Arafat if you don’t uproot the problem at the source:

Amendment 16 – Status of Income Tax Clarified
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

February 3 of 2013 marks 100 year of the situation that the “chain of taxation command” has been short-circuited, and the States diminished in importance. In fairness, much good has come of the arrangement, particularly when national-level crises such as wars have arisen. At the same time, consider the overall erosion of federalism, such that the current administration feels empowered to run up the debt like a pack of crack-addled jackasses:

(noting again that this has been a decades-building, bi-partisan tradition).
If you haven’t told me how you’re restoring Congress to its original, Constitutional bounds on taxing individuals, you haven’t told me much.
If you haven’t told me how you’re requiring the financial gazintas to match the gazoutas more reasonably, you haven’t told me much.
If you haven’t told me how you’re restoring power to the States, so that the States can protect individuals from a thieving, incompetent Fed, you haven’t told me much.
There really isn’t much point in scrapping the tax code if you’re leaving intact the fundamental cause of the problem.

March 31, 2009

Alabama (Sweet) Tea Party April 15

Michelle Malkin has a Tax Day Tea Party update with news of the protests planned nationwide April 15, when I will be in Alabama for the big Birmingham/Shelby County event:

Veterans’ Park

4700 Valleydale Road, Hoover, AL

Wednesday, April 15
5-7:30 PM

You can download a PDF flier here. Among those featured will be Birmingham talk-radio stars Matt Murphy of WAPI (1070 AM), Steve and Leah of WERC (960 AM) and Lee Davis of WXJC (850 AM/92.5 FM) who will be broadcasting live from the event. Also featured will be Tim James, a candidate for the Republican gubernatorial primary in 2010.

I’m looking forward to getting down to my old stomping grounds again. Although I grew up in Atlanta, my family’s from Alabama and I graduated from Jacksonville (Ala.) State University, so I’ve got lots of friends and family I hope to see during my trip.

Other Alabama Tea Party events are scheduled in Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Trussville, Tuscaloosa and Auburn. By the way, here’s a T-shirt I designed for the occasion, incorporating the state flag. Click on the image to buy one:

    • My wife’s suspicious I’m going down to Alabama to look up some of my old girlfriends, but I told her not to worry about that — it’s the new girlfriends she’s got to be worried about. (LOL. Just a joke, honey. Put down that butcher knife.) Now, cue the theme song:

      PREVIOUSLY:

      P.S.: Be sure to check out MELTDOWN, Professor Thomas Wood’s new bestseller about the financial crash and why Obamanomics won’t work.

      March 29, 2009

      How not to help the economy

      New York State raises taxes on “the rich”:

      The new plan, which would expire after three years, would represent the largest state income tax increase in recent history, significantly larger than the surcharges imposed from 2003 to 2005, when the state last faced a major recession.
      The plan would raise $4 billion a year by creating two new tax brackets, the highest one affecting those who earn $500,000 or more. If approved by rank-and-file lawmakers in the Assembly and State Senate, the tax increases would be a major victory for unions and liberal advocacy groups and a signal of the new balance of power in Albany, where Democrats won control of both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s office in last year’s election.
      Although the proposed tax has been called a “millionaires’ tax,” it would affect those with incomes starting at $300,000, who would be taxed at a rate of 7.85 percent. The highest bracket would carry a tax rate of 8.97 percent — the same as New Jersey’s current highest rate.

      Ooh, that engine of economic growth, New Jersey!

      March 15, 2009

      Smoke up, it’s for the children!

      “You will always have one more cigarette, whether it’s at a funeral, or at the bar. You never truly quit, there will always be another cigarette, another drag. President Obama gets that. He’s a Marlboro Man, the only reason I have left to like him. What I don’t like, though, is that he has placed the burden of middle-class children’s healthcare upon my shoulders. Can someone, anyone, please, explain to me why I should be responsible for the healthcare of middle-class children just because I smoke? I’m not really getting the connection.”