Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Economy and Taxes

For all of the sneering at "trickle-down economics", as well as the criticism on the left about tax rates and the rich not paying its fair share, Karl Rove is lucid and succinct regarding how the tax burden is born by high-income taxpayers. Read the entire article (by Mr. Buckley, in which he quotes Mr. Rove).

Excerpt From William F Buckley, copyright United Press Sydicate.

The charge that only the rich were the beneficiaries of the tax cuts? Rove answers: "If this were true, then logic tells you that the percentage of federal income taxes paid by the wealthy would be falling after the tax cuts." That did not happen: The top 1 percent of the nation's earners, those making more than $317,000 per year, saw their share of the nation's income tax go up (by 1.5 percent), not down. The top 3 percent (making more than $200,000) paid a 5 percent larger share of taxes. Rove quoted a finding of The Wall Street Journal: "For every 100 Americans today, the wealthiest three are paying taxes equivalent to the other 97 combined." (Emphasis mine)

Here's a link to the full article.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Economics Lesson about Oil

Please read this great post from a Senior Lecturer in Economics at Northwestern University.

Then, please, read my comments below:

Dear Prof Kiesling:

As a traveling salesman with an economics degree, one of the hardest things to listen to (and keep the ole trap shut) on the rental-car shuttle bus is the price of gas...what people pay for self-service, and what they have to pay the greedy Hertz-Avis-National monopoly (ok, oligopoly, but that's lost on them). Folks DO have choices in price; look at $3.19 for self-serve in Wisconsin, vs $6.00 if Hertz fills the tank for you. This would seem to be the easiest example of how competition could drive pricing down...but NOOOOOO. It's all about greed on the part of Pick-a-Rental, right?

In fact, people make a conscious choice to be LAZY and/or let the employer pick up the price differential in the gas from the rental-car company. "What do I care? It's not coming out of MY pocket." Here is where the old example of employer-paid health insurance comes into play. If your company pays the insurance premium, and you only have a small deductible, what incentive do you have to ask about the price of the MRI when you've only strained your knee? Similarly, what incentives are there for rental companies to lower the price of gas if people pay the going rate, and the employer gets stuck with the bill? I would argue that it is not the oil companies or the rental firms that are being uncompetitive; it's the CFO and Sales VP that approve of the expense who are the real enemies of competition.

Oh well, have to run to turn in the rental car and catch a flight. $6.35 here...but, not my problem...

Meanwhile, back at Camp Inelastic...


Texan in Wisconsin

HAT TIP: National Review Online and Knowledge Problem

Saturday, July 22, 2006

NYTimes using moral equivalence again

Will they ever stop being traitorous?

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON, July 21 — The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon,American officials said Friday.

The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iran’s efforts to arm and resupply Hezbollah.

Just...freaking...unbelievable. We sell munitions to a democratically-elected government that is DEFENDING itself. And the NYT equates that sale with the Iranians supplying a TERRORIST group with weapons that are used to kill and frighten civilians. The Times tries to soften it with the word "appearance". Ptui.

Getting Citizens out of Lebanon Part 3

All are home and safe...if a bit frazzled.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Getting Citizens out of Lebanon Part 2

I have just seen that the Greek liner Orient Queen has docked in Cyprus. I also received word that my cousin and family were on this ship. Haven't heard from them in Cyprus, but things are looking good. I'll let you know when they step back onto US soil.

Nancy Pelosi and the Pledge of Allegiance

Today, the House voted to forbid federal courts from ruling on keeping "under God" in the Pledge. Good idea, that. Imagine my surprise (NOT) when I read this about Pelosi.

From the Associated Press, as seen on the Fox News web site:


WASHINGTON — The House, citing the nation's religious origins, voted Wednesday to protect the Pledge of Allegiance from federal judges who might try to stop schoolchildren and others from reciting it because of the phrase "under God."

The legislation, a priority of social conservatives, passed 260-167. It now goes to the Senate where its future is uncertain.

Click here to see how your representative voted.

"We should not and cannot rewrite history to ignore our spiritual heritage," said Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn. "It surrounds us. It cries out for our country to honor God."

Opponents said the legislation, which would bar federal courts from ruling on the constitutional validity of the pledge, would undercut judicial independence and would deny access to federal courts to religious minorities seeking to defend their rights.

"We are making an all-out assault on the constitution of the United States which, thank God, will fail," said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.


Sigh...can anyone be a worse Representative than Ms. Pelosi?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Getting U.S. Citizens out of Lebanon

Just found out that my cousin, her husband, 3 kids, and her husband's dad are in Lebanon, visiting the dad's relatives. Will keep you posted on their progress. Please say a prayer for them when you hit your knees each night.



Friday, July 14, 2006

From the "You Can Only Take so Much BS" file

Is anyone surprised that even Colin Powell would be sickened by eating with Clinton?

Colin Powell Visits Hospital After Falling Ill at Restaurant
Friday, July 07, 2006

ASPEN, Colo. — Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was briefly hospitalized early Friday after falling ill at a restaurant where he was dining with former President Clinton and others, police said.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

NYTimes version of Pinko Liberal Crapola

Scott, you posted a great comment earlier re: President Bush's announcement about the economy and the deficit. I watched the announcement live, and a great line from W was to the new Treasury Secretary: "You've been on the job one day, and you're doing great!".

The point is, as you so well stated, the tax cuts help the economy by putting more money into our pockets...and the money doesn't stay there! We spend it. Good for the economy as measured by GDP, jobs, real estate prices (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) etc.

Now look at what the NYTimes says about the announcement today here. Are they on the same planet as the US economy?

Great Obituary

Hope they write about me like this...

Frederic Arthur (Fred) Clark

Frederic Arthur (Fred) Clark, who had tired of reading obituaries noting other's courageous battles with this or that disease, wanted it known that he lost his battle as a result of an automobile accident on June 18, 2006. True to Fred's personal style, his final hours were spent joking with medical personnel while he whimpered, cussed, begged for narcotics and bargained with God to look over his wife and kids. He loved his family. His heart beat faster when his wife of 37 years Alice Rennie Clark entered the room and saddened a little when she left. His legacy was the good works performed by his sons, Frederic Arthur Clark III and Andrew Douglas Clark MD, PhD., along with Andy's wife, Sara Morgan Clark. Fred's back straightened and chest puffed out when he heard the Star Spangled Banner and his eyes teared when he heard Amazing Grace. He wouldn't abide self important tight *censored*. Always an interested observer of politics, particularly what the process does to its participants, he was amused by politician's outrage when we lie to them and amazed at what the voters would tolerate. His final wishes were "throw the bums out and don't elect lawyers" (though it seems to make little difference). During his life he excelled at mediocrity. He loved to hear and tell jokes, especially short ones due to his limited attention span. He had a life long love affair with bacon, butter, cigars and bourbon. You always knew what Fred was thinking much to the dismay of his friend and family. His sons said of Fred, "he was often wrong, but never in doubt". When his family was asked what they remembered about Fred, they fondly recalled how Fred never peed in the shower - on purpose. He died at MCV Hospital and sadly was deprived of his final wish which was to be run over by a beer truck on the way to the liquor store to buy booze for a double date to include his wife, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter to crash an ACLU cocktail party. In lieu of flowers, Fred asks that you make a sizable purchase at your local ABC store or Virginia winery (please, nothing French - the *censored*) and get rip roaring drunk at home with someone you love or hope to make love to. Word of caution though, don't go out in public to drink because of the alcohol related laws our elected officials have passed due to their inexplicable terror at the sight of a MADD lobbyist and overwhelming compulsion to meddle in our lives. No funeral or service is planned. However, a party will be held to celebrate Fred's life. It will be held in Midlothian, Va. Email for more information. Fred's ashes will be fired from his favorite cannon at a private party on the Great Wicomico River where he had a home for 25 years. Additionally, all of Fred's friend (sic) will be asked to gather in a phone booth, to be designated in the future, to have a drink and wonder, "Fred who?"

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on 7/9/2006.

Hat tip: NRO and Richmond Times-Dispatch

Taxes 101

It has long been known that lowering taxes really is a good thing for everyone. Even my most liberal friends know this (even though it is tough for them to admit). However today we got the kind of economic report that we like, which reflects the truth behind this VRWC propoganda.

Today's report from the president shows that GDP is up, tax dollars collected IS UP, spending is lower than expected (by quite a lot) and the budget deficit is lower relative to GDP. The biggest misconception is that tax breaks only benefit the rich. But the more money there is in the hands of the people, the more we all benefit. Even lower wage earners who pay less taxes (and reap smaller gains) because often times their jobs depend on higher wage earners willingness and ability to spend and reinvest. The biggest problem we face isn't the inability of our leaders to understand this, it's the peoples patience with letting such a system work. It takes time for that money to work it's way through the system, years in fact. But given the opportunity it does and this has been shown more than once. That being said, we still need to control our spending and watch the budget deficit but as long as our debt-income ratio is improving and we manage that deficit the economy will be in good shape. Even with oil at $75 a barrell.. but that is another story.

Point is, whether you like him or not, the presidents economic policy was right and will continue to be. Make those tax cuts permanent and let's get on with business...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Kenneth Lay R.I.P.

I am absolutely incensed at Henry Allen of the Washington Post. Read this atrocious article from Mr. Allen about Ken Lay's death. This is one of the most mean-spirited diatribes that I've ever read. The man is dead and can't defend himself. I'm willing to bet Henry Allen was picked on as a kid, and the only way he could retaliate was by talking about the bullies behind their backs.

In the early 80's, one of my best friends from college married Ken Lay's daughter. The wedding was in Houston, and we had quite a time. This is the one (and only) time that I met Mr. Lay. We were invited to play golf at his country club, and, as I was in the wedding, I spent much of that week in the kitchen at the Lay's home. Mr. and Mrs. Lay were gracious hosts, and could not have been more down-to-earth, engaging, funny, and just plain tickled that their daughter was getting married and that so many would come to celebrate that happy occasion. I recall that I bought them a hedge trimmer as a gag wedding gift -- what do you get for the couple that has everything?

The rehearsal dinner was hosted at the Lay's home, and we enjoyed a gourmet dinner around the pool. I gave the first toast to the couple, and recall wading into the pool while doing so (I was a bit of a joker back then). The happy parents were enjoying themselves, beaming with pride, and were themselves enjoyable.

Now, I have not again seen the Lay's since that wedding, and my buddy was ultimately divorced from the daughter (he's passed away, now, as well. R.I.P. BOBBY). I accept the jury's decision in the case...I wasn't there, didn't hear the evidence, and they did.

What I will say is this: no deceased person (with the exception of mass murderers and child abusers) deserves the bile and pure hatred that is written into Mr. Allen's article. To state that Mr. Lay cheated the hangman is one thing (tasteless, to be sure). But to say that he deserved the potential abuse in prison that is described in this rag is beyond the pale. Good God, man, have you no manners? Your mother would slap you for the pure rudeness of your words. Heaven help you if Florence King ever got within arm's reach of you. If you had uttered them, your mouth would be washed out with soap. I'd supply the soap.

Let's recall that a wife and family have lost a father...and I witnessed what a kind, gentle, and loving man he was. For the sake of his family, let's say a prayer.

Monday, July 03, 2006

General Robert E. Lee and the Press

From Burt

Gen. Robert E. Lee: “It appears that we appointed all of our worst generals to command the armies and we appointed all our best generals to edit the newspapers. I mean, I found by reading a newspaper that these editor generals saw all the defects plainly from the start but didn’t tell me until it was too late. I’m willing to yield my place to these generals and I’ll do my best for the cause by editing a newspaper.”

Thanks, Burt.

From the Missus

I have been sitting here for a day listening to both sides on this issue of whether or not what the New York Times did was right or wrong in printing the recent story on international bank transactions and whether the Supreme Court went too far in allowing the GITMO detainees and others the same rights as US citizens.

Here is how I feel about both of these issues. I am not asking you to agree or disagree with me….this is just how I feel.



Ok, now that I have that off my chest, let me tell you why I feel as I do. First and foremost we have men and women on the front lines fighting to help keep the world safe from the likes of Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden and those of like mind. Why would the New York Times journalists want to endanger these soldiers further? A question I would like to ask the editor of the New York Times is, “How many people who are employed by the New York Times have a son, daughter, brother, sister, father, mother fighting in Afghanistan or Iraqi?” If any of them do, why are they working for a paper that is trying to help kill their relatives? If there are no employees that have relatives fighting there, how can the New York Times represent a balanced picture of why we are fighting? There are two sides to every story (except the New York Times).

On the issue of Security for the US, the journalists and editors of the New York Times have committed treason on a scale that makes all those before them who sold or gave away national secrets look like petty shoplifters at the five and dime. The New York Times keeps saying to us, “We (the legal citizens of the US) have a right to know what our government is doing”. My response to them is, “What makes them think I want to know, let alone need to know, this information?” I have enough faith in my government to believe when they tell me it is a security risk therefore we are not telling the public.

Let’s say this is the early 1940’s and WWII is raging on in Europe. Would the New York Times have printed the ship movements in the North Atlantic as fleets of ships sailed out of East Coast harbors, carring hundreds of thousands of men bound for England and getting ready for D-Day? Would the New York Times have called 1-800-Zig-Heil and let the Nazis and SS know we are coming, tell them where the ships would dock so they could meet these men at their port of call and welcome them to their new homeland? Would the New York Times have written an article and informed the Japanese people we have a secret program called the Manhattan Project? All I can say to the New York Times and the people that work there: ”Loose lips sink ships!!!!”

I think the Federal government should claim eminent domain on the New York Times building, saying they need the property for a top secret program. Oh, by the way, I am sure France and its people would welcome with open arms those employees of the New York Times. Bon Voyage.

Now for the Supreme Court (man do I have a headache): if I understand what happened the other day, the Supreme Court just gave away our constitutional rights to every citizen of the world. Did the Justices forget who is paying their salaries, benefits, retirement, office expenses, etc, etc, etc? Did they forget that their letterhead reads “U.S. Supreme Court?” For those of you on the bench at the Supreme Court office building the key letters here are “U.S.”, which stand for United States, NOT United World. That would be “U.W.” Always glad to help out those who don’t get it.

Let’s go back to WWII and reference what the Supreme Court just did. We (the United States military) just captured 100 German soldiers on the border between France and Germany. We process them and put them on a boat, with their final destination being a POW camp somewhere in the United States. Once they arrive at a US port and step onto US soil, all rights granted to all current US citizens are now given to these POW’s who probably just shot and killed your father, brother, uncle or son. We process them through our police system, set bail, let a Bondsman post their bail, have them sign the necessary paperwork and let them walk out the door of the jail. Waiting outside for them is our government’s Human and Social Services agent waiting to hand them a voucher for their hotel, a credit card to buy food, clothes, personal items, drinks at Hooters and a down-payment on a new car (hey….how do you expect them to get around to do sight seeing while they are waiting for their trial?). By the time a trial date is set and the attorneys have done all their due-diligence, low and behold the war is over and now we are going to either ship them home, book passage to South America, or let them stay here and be an illegal citizen until the courts can figure out what to do, which probably is not anytime soon.

For those of you that sit on the Supreme Court answer me one question: where in our Constitution or laws does it say that we the people of the United States must give away our rights to every Tom, Dick or Harry or for that matter every Saddam, Osama or GITMO detainee?

Those rights rightfully belong to us, those who have obtained legal status in this country by birth or through immigration and application. Has the Supreme Court now declared Eminent domain on our constitutional rights? To those of you that sit on the bench of the highest court in this nation, I would appreciate you remembering where you are and who you represent.

Now back to the New York Times, please note that in writing this editorial I only exercised my Constitutional right of Free Speech. I did NOT divulge any government secrets.


NY Times reveals secret plans...again

This would be funny if it wasn't true...

Hat tip: From NRO (Courtesy of reader Les Baitzer.)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Why We Should Keep Secrets

Very well said...fom PowerLine Blog:

"But Then the Enemy Would Adapt"

Defenders of the New York Times, the L.A. Times and the leakers who outed the Terrorist Financing Tracking Program say that the newspaper stories didn't tell the terrorists anything new. But there is a big difference between knowing that we're trying to follow money trails, and knowing how we do it. In that context, this interview with the commander of Israel's Air Force, Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Shkedy, which appeared in today's Jerusalem Post, is interesting. It's a long interview that covers current events in Gaza along with other topics. But these comments are especially relevant to the controversy over our newspapers' unwillingness to keep a secret:

Every three months we try to develop an additional capability. The [terrorists] are behaving in a certain way? How do we need to grapple with that? But I can't go into details. This war is so complex. They are always trying to figure out what we're doing; they adapt to it. I would love to be able to tell the people of Israel what we are doing new to protect them. They'd be proud to hear it. But the moment I make something public, the other side will adapt. So telling the public actually harms my efforts to protect the public.

Liberals stubbornly refuse to acknowledge what is really a very obvious point.

Thanks to reader Joel Goldberg.