United States presidential election

Obama: The Payroll Tax Cut and Taxing the Rich

by Bill O'Connell on December 11, 2011

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With the economy in shambles and his campaign sound bites and early interviews as president coming back to haunt him, President Obama has ramped up the class warfare rhetoric. Let’s put the lie to these strategies.

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Obama and Federalism

by Bill O'Connell on March 3, 2011

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So here’s the bottom line.  Once fully implemented, I’m convinced the Affordable Care Act will do what it was designed it to do — cut costs, cover everybody, end the worst abuses in the insurance industry, and bring down our long-term deficits.  I am not open to re-fighting the battles of the last two years, or undoing the progress that we’ve made.  But I am willing to work with anyone — anybody in this room, Democrat or Republican, governors or member of Congress — to make this law even better; to make care even better; to make it more affordable and fix what needs fixing. – President Barack Obama addressing the National Governor’s Association.

 

Is President Obama addressing members of the House of Representatives or the Senate? No. If he were, I would have no problem with what he said. Both he and the members of both houses of Congress are part of the federal government. No law gets passed until all three play their part. There are checks and balances between them, but they do negotiate and can take various positions.

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Civil Discourse: Leading by Example

by Bill O'Connell on February 5, 2011

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After the deranged Jared Loughner was subdued in Tucson, it took virtually no time at all for Democrat Sheriff Clarence Dubnik to start blaming rhetoric on the right to have driven Loughner to his deed. As the story unfolded, there was no such evidence to support the sheriff’s claim. If anything, Loughner’s leanings were leftward.

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The Progressive Assault on the Electoral College

by Bill O'Connell on December 10, 2010

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Comments submitted in response to a previous post, “The Progressive War on Federalism,” focused on the Electoral College and a movement called the National Popular Vote (http://www.nationalpopularvote.com) bill.  Rather than argue against my point it only seemed to reinforce it.  The objective of this movement, which before this commenter’s contribution I was unaware of, is to abolish, or should I say neuter, the Electoral College and replace it with the direct election of the president.  This movement looks to further weaken the states and move us away from federalism and toward a strong monolithic central government.  Here is my analysis.

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The Progressive War on Federalism

by Bill O'Connell on December 6, 2010

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I still find myself in awe of our Founding Fathers who created our form of government.  The competing ideas that they sifted through to come up with our Constitution and the safeguards in it is wondrous.  The designs upon it by the progressives is by equal measure disturbing.

  

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Obama and Democrats Thrashing for a Life Ring

by Bill O'Connell on September 29, 2010

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First it was that Bush spent all eight years of his presidency (and was reelected after four of those years) destroying the economy and so we need to give Obama, what, eight years to fix it?  Then it was blame Boehner.  That didn’t work, because not many people know who John Boehner is.  Then it was “the Republicans want to go back to the same old ways that got us into this mess.”  Tell that to Arlen Specter, Lisa Murkowski, Mike Castle, Bob Bennett, Charlie Crist, Trey Grayson.  Same old, same old?  I don’t think so.

Now it is time to go negative.  No, I don’t mean campaign ads.  That was to be expected as the Democrats do not, repeat, do not want to run on their record, lest it get as ugly on November 2 as a town hall meeting.  No, they are going negative on their base.  The Democrat heavies are coming out and mocking their base to shame them into coming out and voting for them.  Consider some of these gems.

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I don’t know who Linda McGibney is, so when a friend tweeted a video she was in rebutting Ben Stein on the fast approaching massive tax increase, I first watched the video and then went about Googling her to find out more about her.

The video begins with a clip of Ben Stein saying basically that if you want to consider raising taxes in the future that may be fine, but right now is not the time to do it, it is just punishment.  The video then cuts to Ms. McGibney, who like Barack Obama, begins to lecture us about what she knows so little.

“Ben Stein is wrong,” she intones.  She continues to describe herself as an American, in the highest tax bracket, and working in the entertainment business, just like Mr. Stein.  Wait a minute.  From what I could gather, Ms. McGibney is a screenwriter, which hardly makes her an authority on tax matters.  Mr. Stein on the other hand is an economist and a lawyer, besides being in the entertainment field.  His father was Herbert Stein who served as an economist in the Nixon administration and Ben Stein was a speechwriter for both Nixon and Ford.  So when it comes to speaking on matters, economic, I would tend to defer to Mr. Stein.

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Tax Cuts Even David Axelrod Could Understand

by Bill O'Connell on September 8, 2010

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Who would you trust to better invest a million dollars in the economy, Bill Gates or Joe Biden?  Do the richest people in America bury their money in a pit in their back yard or do they either spend it or invest it?  Are taxes cuts where the American people give less of the wealth they created to the government or is it where the government gives money to the American people?

If you are like the overwhelming majority of Americans you would answer those questions as follows:  Bill Gates; spend or invest it; give less to the government.  But the Obama administration and their acolytes live in an alternate reality where Joe Biden, who President Obama put in charge of watching carefully how the stimulus money was spent because “nobody messes with Joe,” is in charge of spending $700+ billion; where they think nothing good happens from the most productive people in the economy when they have more resources to work with; where all money belongs to the government and the government gets to decide who and how much we can keep.

By excluding “the rich” from any tax cuts because we “can’t afford to give the rich a $700  billion tax cut”, this administration is saying that by giving Joe Biden $700 billion he will spend it in such a spectacular way that the economy will be humming before Recovery Summer has ended.  We are still waiting. 

What happens if Bill Gates has an extra million?  I could see three things.  One, he spends it.  Although he is not known to be an extravagant spender like his competitor Larry Ellison, I understand that Mr. Gates lives in a very nice state of the art house.  He may choose to upgrade it.  That will probably involve architects, engineers, general contractors, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, laborers, and on and on.  In other words, jobs.  Isn’t that we need now?  How many stimulus projects are there that have sucked up money but created no jobs? (If you are struggling with that question go to www.recovery.gov and sample some of the projects)  Two, he could invest it.  He might fund a start-up which would again create jobs.  If the start up was successful, he might buy it outright which would put money back in the hands of the entrepreneurs who started the company and perhaps they would start another.  More jobs, more spending, a growing economy.  Three, he may put the money in his charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  That is a charity that does good things, but with a difference.  Because it is a charity not a government program, there will be people watching how the money is spent with the discretion to modify the program if it gets off track.  Government programs are built upon rules.  If  a crook gets a copy of the rulebook, he can rip off the program until someone gets around to re-writing the rules.  In the meantime it is ka-ching for the crook.

The incumbents in government believe that tax revenues are their money and tax cuts are gifts from the government to the people.  Taxes are what we the people give to the government.  We need to starve the beast and put it back in its cage.  Government is trying to run every aspect of our lives.  This country was founded because a tone deaf government was taxing America to the eyeballs.  It is that time again.  We should make the Bush tax cuts permanent now and clean house in November.

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It’s Time to Get Out of the Way, Mr. President

by Bill O'Connell on September 7, 2010

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As we approach the mid-point of his term we, once again, hear President Obama with another scheme to create jobs.  This time he really, really means it.  For a mere $50 billion we can build roads, rails and runways and we can create an “infrastructure bank” to boot.  I guess the government wants to get into the banking business now that they have swallowed up two thirds of the domestic auto companies and passed a law to take over health care.  But, hey, who are you calling a socialist?

The infrastructure bank has supporters: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ed Rendell the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania and Michal Bloomberg the Democratic, Republican, Independent mayor of New York, but they want it to support more projects such as water and clean energy projects.  But here’s the really good news, according to the New York Times “They say such a bank would spur innovation by allowing a panel of experts to approve projects on merit, rather than having lawmakers simply steer transportation money back home.” We get a brand new panel of experts to tell us morons what is good for us! 

How about this idea, get the Federal government out of the roads, rails and runways business.  Unless the road is part of the Interstate highway system, and that means interstate, the feds should stay away from it.  If a road within a city needs maintenance, that city and its citizens should pay for it, not taxpayers elsewhere in the country.  That’s how the whole process got screwed up.  You build my road, I’ll build your road and nobody will know who pays for what, until we find out we are $13 trillion in debt.

One of the good ideas Jimmy Carter had was to deregulate the airlines.  Airlines became competitive and prices came down.  The problem is that air travel consists of three components: the airlines, the airports and air traffic control.  Complete the process, deregulate the airports and air traffic control.  If you do that, airports can charge different prices for takeoff and landing slots.  No more will we see thirty-two flights all scheduled to take off at 7:30 AM from one airport.  Private investors would also have an incentive to build a state of the art air traffic control system. 

By the way, what happened to all those “shovel ready” projects from the first stimulus plan?  Did we actually finish building all the turtle crossings that this country needs?

On another front, Obama continues to tinker with the mortgage market rather than getting out of the way, letting housing prices find their bottom and then going from there.  George Mason economist Anthony B. Sanders said in the New York Times, ““Housing needs to go back to reasonable levels.  If we keep trying to stimulate the market, that’s the definition of insanity.”  Even Democrats are piling on:

“The administration made a bet that a rising economy would solve the housing problem and now they are out of chips,” said Howard Glaser, a former Clinton administration housing official with close ties to policy makers in the administration. “They are deeply worried and don’t really know what to do.”

Who would have thought that a president and vice president with no executive experience prior to taking office would not know what to do once they got there?  After all everyone knew that Obama was a really nice guy with an even temperament, what went wrong?  Now we hear that Fannie Mae wants to back mortgages with nothing down.  But not to worry, this time they are actually going to require the lenders to check to make sure the borrower has income. I feel better already.

Since this administration seems to like experts how about listening to these experts:

“We have had enough artificial support and need to let the free market do its thing,” said the housing analyst Ivy Zelman.

 

Michael L. Moskowitz, president of Equity Now, a direct mortgage lender that operates in New York and seven other states, also advocates letting the market fall. “Prices are still artificially high,” he said. “The government is discriminating against the renters who are able to buy at $200,000 but can’t at $250,000.”

 

It’s time for President Obama and his administration to get his boot off of the neck of the economy.  Ours is the strongest most resilient economy in the world, if you set it free.  All of the tinkering and the anti-business threats have pushed employers to the sidelines.  The uncertainty over the economy has led businesses to take a wait and see attitude.

The rhetoric the Democrats have been trying to muster to save their skins is that “eight years of failed policies,” yada, yada, yada.  The reality is that this recession started one year after Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took over Congress.  This recession started in the last year of the Bush administration, not the first seven.  This recession has lasted nearly twice as long and counting under Obama than it did under Bush, and it shows no sign of changing anytime soon.  A recent poll in Ohio by Public Policy Polling asked respondents who they would prefer to see in the White House right now and the results were George W. Bush 50%, Barack Obama 42%; what does that tell you?

So, Mr. Obama, keeps your hands were we can see them and slowly step away from the economy.

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Progressives in Full Panic

by Bill O'Connell on August 29, 2010

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When 300,000-500,000 of your closest friends, depending on who is doing the estimating, show up for a rally on the Washington Mall you would think it was somewhat newsworthy, no?  Of course it is, that’s why the New York Times published the story on page fifteen.  If you were walking by a newsstand and glanced at the front page, you wouldn’t have know that a half million of your fellow citizens got together with Glenn Beck to restore honor in America.  The front page would entice you with:

  • Graft-Fighting Prosecutor Fired in Afghanistan
  • For Obama, Steep Learning Curve as Chief in Time of War
  • Upstarts Chip Away at Power of Feudal Pakistani Landlords
  • Years Later, No Magic Bullet Against Alzheimer’s Disease
  • In Hard Times, One New Ban (Double-Wide)

 

I guess our friends at the times couldn’t find any fabricated stories of someone shouting the “N-word” at Dr. Martin Luther King’s niece Alveda King, who was one of the featured speakers, to elevate the story to the front page.  Perhaps it would have been too embarrassing to mention on the front page that Al Sharpton’s counter-demonstration where “several hundred people packed a football field at Paul Laurance Dunbar High School to stage a rally commemorating Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.”  Yesterday, you would have thought both rallies were the same size with crowd estimates of several thousand for each.  Perhaps this shows the true value of racial politics today.  America is tired of the race baiting and the false charges.   President Obama was elected with hope and change to become the post-racial leader of the country.  It appears the country has moved on without his leadership.

In another piece in the Times two Progressive women pine for a “Palin of Our Own”, to win the hearts and minds of America.  The problem is America doesn’t want to listen to Janeane Garofalo or Joy Behar sneeringly spouting off about Sarah Palin.  As far as any women Progressive politicians, who is there other than Hillary Clinton and we’ve seen that act and passed on it.

In another piece titled “Party Down”, Marc Ambinder tells us about the anti-incumbent mood, “Unlike parties, which often recruit candidates who would appeal to the average voter in a general election, these activists care only about nominating the person who accurately represents their own views and frustrations.”  Appeal to the average voter?  The problem with the Republican Party in the past is that they have been listening to the main stream media reports about who the “average voter” is.  So they have elected so called “moderates” who get their clocks cleaned by real Progressives in the election.  The left snickered in their sleeves while growing the government into the bloated, ineffective, couch potato that it is.  It alarms those on the left that the Tea Party movement has changed all this and tone deaf incumbents are getting tossed left and right.  They have unmasked the average voter to be conservative and by measuring candidates against a conservative yardstick, they have struck a chord with the voters who have long felt ignored and disenfranchised.  Now those voters are energized and can’t wait to get to the polls.  Reason for panic on the left, indeed.

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