Monday, October 31, 2011

Another attempted Thomas’ing

Polls are showing Cain consistently pulling ahead of Romney, including Iowa’s latest Des Moines Register poll, to take the top slot. And while Cain heads towards a Lincoln-Douglas style debate with Newt Gingrich, and Perry appears to be opting out of debates past Michigan, the media has other intentions for the current frontrunner. Since the drive-bys see Cain as not simply a problem, but a conservative threat to their preconceived monopoly on minorities, they’ve decided that it’s time to take the man they’ve labeled an ‘Uncle Tom’ or an ‘Oreo’ out back for another round.

Since derailing Cain’s economic plan with false accusations and obvious misinformation is not working to decrease his poll numbers and conservative appeal, the drive-bys over the weekend have switched gears and decided to take the Clarence Thomas smear approach…and from the liberal’s, RINO’s and leaky staffer’s best friend no less, the Politico:

During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.

The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures.

Well, someone talked and leaked something to set off this high-tech lynching. Whether Democrat or Republican rival rekindled this long extinguished match, both Cain and his chief of staff have gotten in front of this story, dispelling the egregious media attack.

"Herman Cain has never sexual harassed anybody. Period. End of story," Cain’s chief of staff Mark Block said. "Every negative word and accusation in the article is sourced to a series of unnamed or anonymous sources and is questionable at best."

Cain also defended himself this morning on Fox News, elaborating on any possible claims made.  "If the Restaurant Association did a settlement, I wasn’t even aware of it, and I hope it wasn’t for much, because nothing happened,” Cain told Fox reporter Jenna Lee. “So, if there was a settlement, it was handled by some of the other offices that worked for me at the Association.”

Cain was also allowed a moment to “clear the air” at the National Press Club as to the false allegations and what information he was privy to…

This strategy is already backfiring, and will blow up in the face of whomever, Democrat or Republican rival, initiated this witch-hunt. But let this be a stark reminder of what was also done to Clarence Thomas, as Herman Cain confronts this with the same bravery and vigor that Justice Thomas showed...

When a black conservative challenges the Establishment’s status quo of racial politics, the vetting process takes on a much more devious setting, particularly when it has been left up to the liberal media to protect their predefined notions of who a black man should be and the redefined party he should be voting for.  It would do everyone a great service to remember our history, particularly when it comes to political parties and race.

ADDENDUM:  Rush had some great commentary on this story during Monday's program (via the DailyRushbo)... well, did Levin over at the Right Scoop. I especially liked the response from one commenter to that post named "Steven":

This whole deal is ridiculous. This only came out because Cain is at the top of the polls. What's more despicable are those on the Right who are giving legitimacy to this story from Politico! Disgraceful! I know there are those who support Romney or Perry, but really, is this the way they want to win this thing?

Also worth mentioning is an American Spectator piece written by Jeffrey Lord, who nailed this on Sunday evening.

Friday, October 28, 2011

We can't wait to be scammed again (UPDATE)

Twice in one week, folks.  Since he can't wait, Obama's decided to continue the piecemeal approach with his rejected jobs bill via executive fiat, circumventing Congress, discarding the Constitution, and thrusting his will onto the American People, particularly its taxpayers. After Monday's order to adjust regulations on underwater mortgages, Thursday he decided to sink more money into the student loan system, both on the taxpayers' dime.

Rush hit this topic pretty hard on Thursday's program referencing a couple articles from the Atlantic and Fox Nation.  This basically boils down to votes for pennies!  There's enough suckers for that...

Yes, you pay your mortgage, and contribute to others' mortgages who can't pay theirs, while also paying for their student loans. That's fair, right? Again, more spending to buy constituents, while sinking us further in debt over the long run.  And don't forget, these latest incarnations of ordered federal spending aren't even authorized through Congress this time, which begs the question (as with the previous post): where's the penetrating outrage from our our congressional leadership?  Well, it's relatively subdued considering...from The Hill:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that he has "great concerns" that President Obama might be exceeding his constitutional authority in ordering his administration to adjust regulations surrounding "underwater" mortgages and student loans, saying, "this idea that you are just going to go around the Congress is ... almost laughable."

The Speaker went on to caution that Republicans in Congress were keeping "a very close eye on the administration to make sure they are following the law and following the Constitution."

What? They who? You're looking in the wrong direction. HE is circumventing the law and the Constitution! They just do his bidding. No, John, there's nothing laughable about that...sheesh. Boehner says that "committees of jurisdiction" in the House would be examining the proposals "to make sure that the president isn't exceeding his authority," and if Obama is found to be acting outside his entitled role, then "We've got an appropriations process that's under control here where we have the ability to limit their use of funds to try to bring this administration to heel."  Has Boehner instilled any confidence in his leadership ability to principally block anything that Barry ultimately desires without cause for compromise?  You know the answer to that...

UPDATE: Make that four in one week!  USA Today reports:

President Obama signed two more executive memorandums today, saying they will help employment at a time when congressional Republicans are blocking his $447 billion jobs bill.

One of the new Obama orders is designed to "take steps to speed up the transfer of federal research and development from the laboratory to the marketplace"...The other will create BusinessUSA,which the White House describe as "a one-stop, central online platform where small businesses and businesses of all sizes that want to begin or increase exporting can access information about available federal programs without having to waste time navigating the federal bureaucracy."

White House officials could not provide estimates as to how many jobs these actions might create.

Yeah, we all know they can't.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Saving the American more ways than one

So was the title of Paul Ryan's speech to the Heritage Foundation yesterday, with a subheading "Rejecting Fear, Envy and the Politics of Division."  As the Right Scoop succinctly states, "It’s a great speech as Ryan seeks to dispel this idea of class warfare and the social welfare state and to reinvigorate the idea of the opportunity society."



And Levin brought Paul Ryan on Thursday's program to expand on Obama's class warfare push and the hypocrisy ensued...

I commend Congressman Ryan for calling the President and Democrats on their divisive tactics, but there's an integral question that Levin also touched on in another segment, which I'd like to link to and expand on within this concept of 'Saving the American Idea'. And that is to say, where is the Speaker on this? Where's the Majority Leader on this? I'm glad that Ryan is speaking out about the class warfare promoted by this administration, as well as further promoting and encouraging conservative policy discussions that have taken hold within the GOP presidential race, but where is the leadership in Congress?

Earlier in the year, Ryan submitted a fantastic budget that was predictably rejected and demagogued by the Democrats, but suppressed even more with unconfident and weak GOP leadership. We had the Cut, Cap & Balance Act that could have absolutely been used as leverage in a congressional standoff, and again the leadership wilted under pressure. Now we've got GOP presidential contenders producing some great economic growth plans that include reducing and capping Washington spending, but what does Boehner do? CNSNews reports that "the House Republican leadership is not ruling out the possibility that it will support a balanced budget amendment that does not cap federal spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product or require a supermajority in Congress to increase taxes." What?! The piece goes on to explain that the legislation to increase the debt limit (remember, the one Boehner negotiated with Obama in August) requires both houses of Congress to vote on a balanced budget amendment before the end of the year. However, since the legislation doesn't specify what type of balanced budget amendment must be considered, Boehner again sees this as a potential opportunity to fold instead of lead. Mr. Boehner, these are NOT the opportunities we should be pursuing!  And folding on this could be devastating to both the American economy and its taxpayers without capping spending.

Not only can't we afford the described triangle of Republican mush, we definitely can't afford our current leadership sabotaging the conservative agenda.  Yes, Ryan is absolutely correct to dispel the Left's class warfare rhetoric and promoted welfare utopia; but likewise, conservatives, both within and outside Congress, mustn't allow Boehner and the RINOs to continue weakening our momentum.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A tale of two great tax plans

Yesterday, releasing the specifics of his economic plan in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Gov. Rick Perry joined Herman Cain in becoming the second presidential candidate to release a specific economic plan based on the concept of flat taxation. Likewise, Perry’s plan was immediately scrutinized by all and attacked by adversaries of any notion of authentic tax reform, who’d rather leave the current structure as is and fill it with more progressive ideas to tax success, or as they say, tax the rich.

I wrote a piece last week defending Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan from all the false assertions and detractors, so I make no bones about my preference, as well as liking the man himself. I am a strong advocate for the Fair Tax, particularly ever since tapping into the wealth of information in Neal Boortz and John Linders books concerning the topic. So now that Perry’s plan is out, it seems only natural, as so many already have, to do a little comparing and contrasting between the two.

Rather than pitting one against the other, allow me to express that BOTH, Perry’s Cut, Balance and Grow Plan (i.e., 20/20 plan) or Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan, are viable proposals for economic growth and American success.

In a nutshell, Cain’s plan scraps the current tax code, removes ALL payroll taxes and replaces with a 9% individual flat tax (exempting those at the poverty level), eliminates capital gains taxes and the Death Tax, replaces the corporate tax with a 9% business flat tax, replaces the embedded cost of products with a 9% national sales tax, eliminates loopholes, ending nearly all deductions and eliminating special interest favors, creates opportunity zones for business incentives in low-income areas. As Cain describes, it’s “fair, simple, efficient, neutral and transparent,” while it works to increase capital for small businesses, drives productivity and wage growth, and strengthens the dollar. And that’s only Phase 1. Phase 2 begins the process of replacing the individual and corporate income taxes with the singular Fair Tax, ending the IRS as we know it and repealing the 16th Amendment! In essence, the 9-9-9 Plan works to bridge the flat-taxers with Fair Tax advocates. The ‘Father of Supply-Side Economics’, Dr. Arthur Laffer, who was a member of Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board, has resoundingly endorsed Cain’s plan; and former Reagan Treasury official Gary Robbins, now of Fiscal Associates, has had the plan scored (here & here), saying that it will expand GDP by $2 trillion, create 6 million new jobs, increase business investment by one third, and increase wages by 10%!

In comparison, Perry’s plan aims at fixing the tax code by giving individuals the option of either paying a 20% flat income tax rate or remaining under the current tax code (whichever benefits your situation the best), preserves mortgage interest and charity deductions, eliminates taxes on social security benefits, eliminates taxes on capital gains & dividends, ends the Death Tax, eliminates corporate loopholes and special-interest tax breaks, reduces the corporate income tax rate from the average 28% down to 20%, and transitions the international corporate tax structure that taxes twice (once there & once here for American companies with foreign subsidiaries) to a territorial tax system that only taxes profits once (where they’re earned), encouraging repatriation of overseas capital. In addition to these tax code fixes, Perry compliments his tax plan with further elaborations into federal regulation reductions, social security reform (similar to the ideas behind the Chilean model endorsed by Cain – younger workers transitioning to personal retirement accounts, while preserving benefits for those retired or about to retire – but in addition to raising the retirement age), Medicare and Medicaid reform (gradually raising the Medicare eligibility age, reducing fraud & waste, and returning Medicare responsibility to the states), repealing job-killing legislation (e.g., ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley), demanding a balanced budget amendment, and capping federal spending at 18% of GDP through various reduction proposals, which include ending such practices as earmarks, baseline budgeting and bailouts. Reminiscent of the original flat-taxer’s plan, Steve Forbes has endorsed Perry’s plan saying, “A very low rate, generous exemptions for adults and for children, make it worthwhile to invest in America again, drastically simplifying the tax code, lowering the corporate tax rate…so it’s win-win all around!”

The most stark differences between the two plans lie within a couple of places. First, where Cain’s proposal scraps the current tax code completely, Perry keeps the current code in existence by providing an option to choose between the new and old systems. Secondly, and perhaps the most recognizable difference, Perry doesn’t replace embedded taxes with a national sales tax (a distinct Fair Tax component). While many flat-taxers may prefer this, it should be noted that such a plan doesn’t allow the personal and corporate income taxes to be lowered near the level of the 9-9-9 Plan. Nonetheless, either program illustrates a lesson in broader fairness (a word our current president likes to give lip service to) that serves as a refreshing upgrade to the punishing system we annually trudge through, leading up to that fateful April deadline.

Wouldn’t certainty be nice?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Skirting Congress...and the Constitution

Remember "Pass this bill"...?

(or this jewel)

Well, that mantra has now become, "We can't wait," and in doing so, Obama abandons the old slogan, along with the proper congressional process, in exchange for rule by executive fiat to shove his programs down the throats of the American People.

(you'll hear it repeated over & over again...if you haven't already)

WSJ reports:

President Barack Obama rolled it out Monday as he introduced a new housing policy meant to aid homeowners who owe more on their loans than their homes are worth. The policy, which replaces a flawed housing plan Mr. Obama put forth in early 2009, will make it easier for people to refinance their loans at lower interest rates.

Even that plan is expected to have only a modest impact on the housing crisis, and several administration officials said they knew it wasn’t a “magic bullet” that will solve the problem.

It does have one particular virtue: it doesn’t need congressional approval. After weeks of imploring Congress to pass his jobs bill, including a little-discussed plank that would aid the housing market, Mr. Obama said he is shifting strategies.

I also think Peter Brockmeyer sums up the magnitude of this dare I say dictatorial action quite well:

President Barack Obama has figured out the best way to get past the stymied impasse created by the legislative branch: ignore them.

With his $447 billion jobs package floundering in Congress and the votes he is hoping to secure (read: buy) with it still not in place, the president has decided that the best course of action is to use various tools available to the executive branch to force programs on the American people.

I agree that the process is cumbersome. The bureaucracy created by the federal government is maddening. The fact that the TARP package of 2008 went from 3 pages to 169 is just one instance of the insanity that is Capitol Hill. I, however, do believe that there is a system of checks and balances in place for a reason. The framers of the Constitution were clear about that.

This is not the first time when a United States president tried to circumvent the process. President Franklin Roosevelt made a sport of it in the 1930s. He tried to just add justices to the Supreme Court to shift the majority in his favor. But just because it has been done in the past, whether successfully or not and no matter how justified it may seem, circumventing the process is not a proper course of action.

Picking up from this dictatorial notion and its questionable constitutionality, Levin had a few words to add and expand on...

Now of course, if you've followed this president throughout his limited time in office, you're very well aware of his gumption to administer his policies through the executive branch. However, he has managed to do most of this with the approval of the legislature. It's very telling that when Obama can no longer get his agenda approved through Congress, that he has no problem whatsoever in skirting Congress, as well as the proper constitutional processes.

And as Obama rolled out his new mantra in Las Vegas, it seems only fitting that this Nevada ad so properly illustrates how his policies, whether rightly attained with congressional approval or not, have made matters worse...

ADDENDUM: He can't wait? No, we can't wait...

The Michael Dukakis of the Republican Party

On ABC's This Week, George Will tried to hit two birds with one stone.    And while ricocheting off the first, when attempting to simplify the Cain factor by pointing out only one facet of his rise (anti-Romney), Will astoundingly hit the target with precision accuracy when describing Mitt Romney:

"It has a lot to do with Romney. He is rising as more and more Republicans come to the conclusion that the Republican Party has found its Michael Dukakis -- a technocratic Massachusetts governor running on competence, not ideology." 

Minus the fact that Dukakis was actually an ideological statist, as Rush accurately pointed out on Monday's program, Will has the man pegged.  To insinuate that the Republican Establishment is just as satisfied with Romney as the Democrat Establishment was with Dukakis is telling indeed.  Here, in this description, whether Will meant to or not, successfully denotes that Romney is NOT a conservative at all, but a Republican moderate, a technocrat, another statist enabler.

And the latest scoop on Romney and his signature legislation as Massachusetts governor only serves to further reinforce such a description.  The Los Angeles Times dropped a bombshell of a story with a report on RomneyCare and taxpayer-subsidized care for illegal immigrants!

The Massachusetts healthcare law that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed in 2006 includes a program known as the Health Safety Net, which allows undocumented immigrants to get needed medical care along with others who lack insurance.

Uninsured, poor immigrants can walk into a health clinic or hospital in the state and get publicly subsidized care at virtually no cost to them, regardless of their immigration status.

The program, widely supported in Massachusetts, drew little attention when Romney signed the trailblazing healthcare law. But now it could prove problematic for the Republican presidential hopeful, who has been attacking Texas Gov. Rick Perry for supporting educational aid for children of undocumented immigrants in Texas.

Of course, Romney will charm you into believing this is no big deal.  And as you read further into the story, the L.A. Times seems to do the same, with its acceptance of both Romney and Perry providing services to illegals, insinuating that it'd cost more not to, when studies show that exorbitant amounts of taxpayer-subsidized funding for illegals is exceeding billions in both education and healthcare.

As Ed Morrissey explains in HotAir piece, "This will almost certainly sting Romney in the political battles of the primary and offer Perry a rebuttal point in the debates.  After all, he made a similar point about the economic benefit of ensuring that students get educations to stay off of welfare rolls and end up as net contributors rather than net recipients to society.  Romney’s argument is more directly tied to the economics of health care than Perry’s is on education, but that’s a nuance that likely won’t survive in the presidential debates."  I wouldn't be so certain that these nuances survive the primaries.

And to tie all of these elements together, let me end by reflecting on a little piece that I came across with Dukakis discussing illegal immigration and Mitt Romney.  What a twit the guy is, but this is the model of candidate that the Republican Party of 2012 would choose to defeat Barack Obama?  Come on...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Libya and Iraq: results & consequences

Adding to the narrative of shifting continents, on Thursday, Libyan fighters captured and killed Muammar Gaddafi, and on Friday, Obama announced a complete drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq by year's end. It's always good news when a tyrant is toppled, and equally jubilant is the word of our military men and women returning to our shores from foreign hostilities. The cautiousness lies in what will come of the powers that now arise in these lands.

As in Egypt, albeit somewhat less bloody and arguably less deserving, where the Muslim Brotherhood has replaced Mubarak’s rule, we now have reports that as Libya celebrates its liberation from the Gaddafi regime, the Obama-encouraged National Transitional Council (NTC) states that Sharia will be the “basic source” of all law. I guess my cautiousness at the end of last week was justified? From The Daily Caller:

Libya’s transitional government, established as a result of President Obama’s intervention, announced its first rulings Sunday following the death of deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi. They include reestablishing polygamy for men and banning Western-style interest on bank loans.

On Sunday, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil abruptly announced that Islamic law, or Sharia, would provide the “basic source” of Libyan law. “This revolution was looked after by Allah to achieve victory,” Abdul-Jalil, the leader of the Transitional National Council, said to a celebratory crowd in Benghazi.

Abdul-Jalil’s announced support for Islamic law could have meant anything between a symbolic nod to fundamentalist rebel groups and a promise for Saudi-style theocracy — complete with apartheid-style treatment of Muslim women and Christians, Jews and other non-Muslims.

Again, here’s something I questioned during the Egyptian uprising: for the Obama Administration, this is democracy? Or the Tunisia revolution, as the Islamists are set to grasp power: is this what we know of democracy?  Also to repeat myself, I’m glad that the wretched Gaddafi has been vanquished, but why would we promote this ‘transition’ as a democracy when it’s obviously not?  In fact, this Arab Spring-cleaning, replacing Islamic dictators (some of whom have rightfully needed to be) with potentially more extreme fundamentalist factions, reinforces the very real regional concerns of an Islamic Calliphate.

Moving to the Iraqi front, questions quickly arose shortly after Obama’s announcement of a complete drawdown of troops, a withdrawal timeline that was originally drafted under former President George W. Bush. Here’s more details from Heritage’s Mike Brownfield piece on the Morning Bell:

Speaking on Friday from the West Wing, President Obama wasted no time in reminding the American people that, “As a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end,” and that as commander in chief, he was making good on that promise in time for the holidays. What the President didn’t mention, though, was the story behind the headline–that the Administration tried and failed to negotiate with the Iraqi government to extend the U.S. troop presence there in order to ensure the country’s security and stability. The sticking point for the negotiations was immunity for U.S. troops in Iraq. Heritage’s James Phillips explains:

“Up until Friday, the Obama Administration had insisted that negotiations were on track for extending the presence of a small residual force that U.S. and Iraqi military leaders agreed were necessary to support Iraqi operations in key areas such as counterterrorism, air support, intelligence gathering, logistics, and training. But Friday, in a hard-hitting article posted on The Cable blog, Josh Rogin reported that the Administration had bungled the negotiations.”

Those negotiations stalled, Phillips writes, because Iraqi political leaders didn’t want to risk the political consequences of extending immunity for U.S. troops. And given the Obama Administration’s eagerness to withdraw from Iraq and unwillingness to confront Iran they didn’t want to put their political necks on the line. Now, as a result, U.S. security interests will suffer–bilateral U.S.–Iraqi cooperation in fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq and radical pro-Iranian Shia militias will be limited, and the ability to contain Iran will be weakened. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) criticized the Administration on Sunday, calling the withdrawal decisions “a serious mistake,” and faulted the White House for its failure to negotiate with the Iraqi government:

“There was never really serious negotiations between the administration and the Iraqis. I believe we could have negotiated an agreement. And I’m very, very concerned about increased Iranian influence in Iraq.”

In the wake of its decision, the Obama Administration is already anticipating the consequences of the power vacuum it has created. In a series of interviews on Sunday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Iran that even though troops will be withdrawn, the U.S. will still maintain a presence in the region. “Iran would be badly miscalculating if they did not look at the entire region and all of our presence in many countries in the region, both in bases, in training, with NATO allies, like Turkey.”

Even McCain knows that a tongue-lashing from the paper tiger of the Obama foreign policy, delivered by Hillary or otherwise, won’t deter Iran from either intervening in Iraq’s governance or working with other interests, like Turkey, to break apart Iraq’s fragile sovereignty. However, the decision has been made by both the Obama Administration’s desire to withdraw all along, and the Iraqi government’s unrealistic assertion that U.S. troops involved in civilian casualties during the war could somehow be prosecuted. Obama took the politically convenient route, and instead of negotiating for immunity, opted for a complete drawdown to appease his base, whether Iraq is ready or not. As Heritage’s James Carafano astutely explains, “With Syria in turmoil, Iran on the march, a more isolated Israel, and Turkey’s ever-more ambivalent policies, now is the worst time to see a diminished U.S. influence in ensuring continued progress in Iraq. A total troop pullout will leave Iraqi security forces much more vulnerable to terrorism, sectarian conflict, and Iranian meddling, and it will leave them much less capable of battling al-Qaeda in Iraq and pro-Iranian Shia militias.”  Not to mention what might become of the U.S. Embassy and our remaining personnel  in Iraq...we don't need another helicopter-from-the-rooftops moment.

I’d agree with Mr. Brownfield's conclusion on this topic, “No American wants to see U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East and placed in harm’s way longer than they have to be. But unfortunately, their premature withdrawal from Iraq could jeopardize the progress that so many American men and women fought and died for.”  The campaign talking points shouldn't come at the risk of a more destabalized and dangerous Middle East, nor a similarly resulted expansion into African oppression masquerading as humanitarian.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

'Obama's Job' bill voted down

AP reported this evening that Obama's trimmed-down Jobs Bill was voted down in the Senate by a 50/50 vote. I believe that's 'bipartisan' with Nelson, Pryor and Lieberman voting alongside Republicans, but something not overly spotlighted in the media (surprise).

After the failure of the jobs measure last week, Democrats vowed to try to resurrect it on a piece by piece basis, even though the strategy doesn't seem to have any better chance of success. But Democrats are trying to win a political advantage through repeated votes.

Yeah, good luck with the class warfare angle, guys...doing wonders for ya thus far. Some interesting quotes came from Senators on both sides:

"The fact is we're not going to get this economy going again by growing the government. It's the private sector that's ultimately going to drive this recovery," Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. "Look, if big government were the key to economic growth, then countries like Greece would be booming right now."

"This bill fails to give taxpayers any guarantee that this money would actually be used to hire teachers and invest in our schools," Jon Tester (D-MT) said. "States would get loads of money with little guidance that they spend the money on teachers."

And Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said the stimulus-style jobs bill spends money the country doesn't have and takes revenues away from a special "supercommittee" charged with cutting the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the coming decade.

With Obama's Jobs Bill in the proverbial File 13, so may be Obama's job, which we all know is what this maneuvering and bus tour/campaign has always been about.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In defense of 999: refuting the distortions (UPDATE)

Well, the misconception, misrepresentations and flat out distortions were abound in last night’s debate in their immediate launch against Herman Cain’s 999 Plan. Cain took the attacks and body blows in stride, but if the remaining debates are going to continue like this, (i.e., constraining his allotted time to defend every attack, unlike that allotted to the media’s favorite candidate, Romney) then Cain is not only going to be forced to compact his defensive responses to the rapid fire, but folks are also going to have to do equal research into the 999 Plan, setting aside the demagoguery and misrepresentations.  

Now, lowering your current payroll taxes (your effective federal income tax rate + 5.65% FICA) down to a 9% individual flat tax is probably the easiest part of the plan to comprehend. Before freaking out over no longer having Social Security & Medicare contributions funded out of your paycheck, you must realize the trade off: what you would have gained back in April tax deductions, you're now taking home up front, some of which you're spending back into consumption and dumping back into the general fund, which is where SS & Medicare are funded from anyway (remember, there's actually no 'trust fund'...that's a story unto itself!).

The brunt of misunderstandings and false assumptions/assertions seem to come after that first 9%, and Gengrich had a point when addressing that the plan is more complex than Cain let’s on. However, a winning pitch can’t be bogged down in things like 59 points or even broader proposals, if one wants to excite the constituency. Concise points can be pooled, then deeper research must be involved after the winning pitch, which is the direction that Cain has pursued. So let’s pick apart some of the distortions we heard last night, shall we…

First step: THROW OUT THE CURRENT TAX CODE! It is this crucial step that ALL the opponents to the 999 Plan refuse to relinquish, but without doing so, their assumptions are incorrect.

Although I have deep respect for the congresswoman from Minnesota, Bachmann either misunderstands or purposefully distorts the fact that there is absolutely no VAT included in Cain’s proposal. A VAT taxes every step of production from supplier of materials to manufacturer to retailer to consumer. That's not currently the tax structure, nor is Cain suggesting that. Taxes will still be collected at the END of the line with the consumer’s final cost alone. Wholesale suppliers and manufacturers do not pay taxes, retailers will continue to collect the taxes from consumers (the way it has always been).

Romney and Perry, along with others, also misrepresented how the tax works alongside current state, or local, taxes. Cain’s attempted explanation with the mixing of ‘apples and oranges’ is quite clear if one steps back from the heated rhetoric of the moment:

Here’s the oranges: with our current tax code, all products include embedded taxes. On the top marginal corporate tax rate of 35% that embedded cost equates to around 22%. Under 999, that 22% drops proportionately to 6% under a flat 9% business flat tax, automatically reducing the base price of a product (as well as the taxes on it). Romney and others deduce that after adding a flat 9% national sales tax to that equation, that this will increase the price of the product (and taxes) higher than current prices. That assumption if WRONG, because it doesn’t account for replacing the excessive embedded tax & high corporate tax rate with new lower-capped national & business taxes that no longer allow for the embedding.

Let’s take a sparkling new $1000 flat panel television set:

Under current tax code: actual cost of product is $780 with an embedded tax of $220 (22%) = $1000
Under 999: product is actually $780 + $46.80 (9% corporate tax) + $74.41 (9% national sales tax) = $901.21

That’s where the apples begin to mix in: On top of not allotting for the removal of the embedded tax, Romney claims that the national sales tax will just add another tax on top of state taxes. That may play well in rapid fire sound bites, but that misrepresentation is precisely what Cain meant by ‘mixing apples and oranges’. Let’s continue from the replacement of our currently high corporate tax rate & exorbitant embedded tax with a lower 9% business flat tax & a 9% national sales tax…let’s go back to our $1000 television set and factor in the ‘apples’ or state taxes on that television (I’m going with the 6.25% TX state tax):

Under current tax code: $1000 product + $62.50 (state sales tax) = $1062.50
Under 999: $1000 is actually $901.21 + $51.67 (state sales tax) = $952.88

We could also tack on the extra 2% in local taxes ($18.03), and our total ($970.91) would still come out CHEAPER than under the current system!

In a nutshell, we’ve replaced the embedded 22%, REDUCING it proportionately to the new 9% business flat tax (that's about 6%), then apply the new 9% national sales tax, then state & local taxes, and we find out that it's actually LESS we would have paid in taxes on a CHEAPER final product due to the significant reduction in embedded taxes.

It takes a few moments to explain, and that's something you don't have the luxury of in a debate, which is why Cain uses common comparisons (i.e., ‘apples and oranges’), refers folks to the website, and encourages folks to do the math. CNN & the other candidates had a different goal for Cain's plan last night: crush it with as many false assumptions as possible. Their success or failure will depend on your vigilance in searching for the truth of the numbers and accuracy of info.

Cain’s 999 Plan ultimately leads to the Fair Tax. A move towards the Fair Tax has been attempted before, but received immense criticism and was squashed by many in the political elite, many of the same opponents who cast aspersions on this plan. Herman Cain recognizes that a different approach must be taken to ease the People towards that ultimate goal of personal responsibility and out of the hands of Washington bureaucrats, who overtax and misspend.

Here’s a few questions that I’ve been personally asked in defense of the 999 Plan:

Do you think if the 999 Plan was passed that corporations would reduce the price of their goods and services?

I've heard that question asked A LOT. There are a couple of answers for that one. First, the free market always encourages competition. Through competing markets and the basic principles of supply-side economics (lower taxes/regulations benefits consumers with greater supplies at lower prices), prices will go down. But let's just say all business wants to keep the prices high...then enters the additional answer: Prices, specifically EMBEDDED PRICES, will be FORCED down by a lower 9% business flat tax, as opposed to the current averages (15% under $50,000, 25% not exceeding $75,000, 34% from $75G to $10M, then 35% above $10M). Thus, the base prices of products will automatically fall. And when those prices are less, taxes are less. And just as you would now, if you have a company that still wants to jack up the prices, consumers will seek new sources for those goods (getting back to the free market answer of competition).

Could the "9" of income tax easily go to 30?

With all due respect, I think it's presumptuous to claim that 9 could so 'easily' go to infinity. Not only would it be more transparent than the current tax structure, allowing the People to hold their representatives even more accountable, but look how difficult it is for the current Congress & administration to raise taxes under the progressive tax code (and Obama's trying)! To reiterate, I would insist that because of the 999 transparency, it'd be that much harder to blatantly raise the percentages. There’d be more public outcry and resistence, and it'd be political suicide, more so than trying to raise them under the current structure.

What about a flat tax, shouldn’t everyone have skin in the game?

999 does that with 3 separate flat taxes; then shifting to Phase 2 (the Fair Tax) will assure that with a single flat tax. No more income tax, no more corporate tax, other taxes already alleviated by the implementation of 999, and all that's left is a single national sales tax. And to assure its certainty and stability, Cain has also called for the repeal of the 16th Amendment! The people control their own tax based on their own consumption. It's out of the hands of the bureaucrats and EVERYONE has skin in the game.

Remember, the first step is to THROW OUT THE CURRENT TAX CODE before making any assumptions about this plan. Then ask yourself, am I taking current payroll taxes (all of them), throwing them out, and replacing with a 9% individual flat tax, effectively LOWERING my income tax rate? Am I taking the average corporate tax rate, reducing it to a flat 9%, accommodating proportionately for the embedded taxes, then adding the flat 9% national sales tax to potential purchases, and coming out with what will equate to LESS COSTS than what I’m paying now? Cain's math is sound, and here’s a link for help.

I have no illusions that passing this will be any easier than passing any other piece of major legislation. It will be difficult, and it will receive even more scrutiny, along with fierce demagoguery and distortion. It’s very likely there’d be some attempted tweaking, and perhaps that would fly depending on the particulars, but if we get more conservative majorities in the House and Senate, especially in the leadership positions (replacing Boehner & McConnell), I have no doubt that a Fairer tax system could be passed. Again, I have no illusions as to the difficulty in acheiving such a system, but this is REAL REFORM, and something that doesn't result in just another band-aid pivoting off the current structure.

Herman Cain is thus far the ONLY candidate that suggests not simply pivoting off the appropriately dubbed 'progressive' tax system to achieve reform, but to look towards other avenues of personal responsibility and remove the power of the federal bureaucrats to constantly tinker with our current code & all its cumbersome imperfections. Certainty breeds stability for business and individuals alike, and removing the control of taxes away from the federal gov't, also removes Congress's ease to overspend. The implications of this idea reach so much further than merely 'taxes'...we're talking debt control and reduction, individual responsibility, and ultimately Liberty.

Our economic crisis requires real tax reform.  Half measures and far-off fixes won't mend our broken jobs engine.

ADDENDUM: An article found at North Star Writers also provides additional responses to many of the false attacks out there.  And today, Arthur Laffer, THE supply-side economist of the Reagan era, once again reinforced his support of the 999 Plan.

NOTE: I made a small adjustment/elaboration in discussing the 9% individual flat tax at the top of this post.  From additional personal discussions after writing this piece, I quickly discovered that there were false assumptions taking place as pertains to this category as well circulating out there.  Hope that helps clear more up!

UPDATE: On the heels of Thursday's lead in the Iowa Caucus, Herman Cain spoke to supporters in Detroit on Friday addressing the finalized details of "Opportunity Zones" in his 999 Plan, which allow for those at or below the poverty level to be exempted from the 9% individual flat tax, thus effectively making the plan 9-0-9 for the poor.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The perpetual campaign presses on

Well, the President says he's not campaigning (again). The wooing of cooing babies would beg to differ. CNS News reports:

President Barack Obama, on a bus trip the White House says is not part of his re-election campaign, is wooing voters in North Carolina and Virginia, two Republican-leaning states he won in 2008--and hopes to win again.

The White House says Obama is making the three-day, taxpayer-funded trip to promote his jobs plan, which failed last week in the Democrat-led Senate. Obama is now pushing Democrats to pass the legislation piecemeal.

And leave it to Biden to set the record straight, "Are we campaigning? Yes!"  Thanks, Mr. Vice President.  The perpetual Obama campaign has never ended.  It continues to press on, yet again on the taxpayer dime, with or without his teleprompter apparently (Oh, and that story's complete with a message from the kidnapped TOTUS).

Social just... desserts

The Occupy Wall Street mob is quickly finding out how redistribution of wealth in the name of social justice doesn't really work.  The New York Post reports on the den of thieves among self-promoted thieves:

Occupy Wall Street protesters said yesterday that packs of brazen crooks within their ranks have been robbing their fellow demonstrators blind, making off with pricey cameras, phones and laptops -- and even a hefty bundle of donated cash and food.

Just desserts, perhaps?  I like how Weazel Zippers put it, "Shockingly, they’re not cool with it."  Also, check out Weazel Zippers for all the latest incidents involving the OWS mob, including Obama's alignment with the Occupiers.  Douglas Shoen's latest poll shows that this Democrat embrace of these out-of-step loons is a bad idea.  This should be fun to watch!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Shifting war continents? (UPDATE)

You may, or may not, have heard by now that Obama dumped a letter on Speaker Boehner's desk on Friday, informing him, after the fact of the matter, that he’s sending U.S. troops to central Africa to fight (err...excuse me, 'advise') against a group called the Lord’s Resistance Army. Nice. World Net Daily reports:

In a predictable Friday information news dump – the perfect time to release important news yet miss decent news coverage because of weekend deadlines – Obama is getting us into what promises to be another military quagmire across the globe, all in the name of humanitarian efforts.

Obama announced he's decided to send 100 fully-armed, U.S. Special Forces to Uganda to assist locals in disarming the dissident Lord's Resistance Army and its cult-like leader, Joseph Kony.

He didn't make a request or meet with Congress before making this decisions, he just dropped a letter on Boehner's desk, I guess hoping he'd disseminate the info. However, "The Associated Press reported that before Obama sent the letter, he briefed human rights activists about his plan and that their officials were encouraged." Excellent chronology, "He makes the decision, tells outside interests first, then he decides to tell Congress." That's priorities right there.

The first small group of troops arrived in Uganda on Wednesday – before the letter to Congress was delivered – and the Los Angeles Times reports the rest will be sent to South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo over the next month.

Also, his letter made mention of the humanitarian atrocities; however, his excuse for making the decisions was made in America's interest of "national security and foreign policy." How convenient.

WND also made mention that "On one hand, Obama wants the military budget cut, a reduction in the number troops and massive cuts in armaments," via that ill-conceived Super-Committee, which was helped along by our caving Republican leadership; yet, on the other hand, he's sending troops into the interior of Africa that puts us in the position of fighting yet another battle. And in all actualities, with troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, with nods to Tunisia and Egypt, then participation in Libya, and now deployment to Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, it seems as though Obama has already moved the war front from the Middle East to the African continent. Everybody comfortable with that?  Well, some are in the auspice of 'humanitarian advisement'.

Levin took note of this action in his opening monologue on Friday and commentary afterwards as well...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cain's conservatism vs Romney's establishment (UPDATE)

 While Herman Cain rockets to the top in poll after poll after poll after poll, finding more support among anti-establishment conservatives, we're also witness to more and more of the Old Guard Republican establishment circling the wagons around Mitt Romney.  Telling, isn't it?  Following Tuesday's debate, The Washington Post inadvertently, or most likely purposefully, alluded to the distinction between the two camps as well (here and here).  So, if it's Cain vs Romney, or rather 'principled conservatism vs the D.C. establishment', it certainly offers us an opportunity to further develop an earlier narrative into the contrast between these two candidates, their ideas and their endorsements.

the candidates

To paint Herman Cain as having no experience in politics is just as disingenuous as the establishment setting Romney on a pedestal as the centerpiece of political experience, particularly in regard to the other candidates on the stage.

Aside from his father's governorship in Michigan and his failed Senate run against the late Ted Kennedy, Romney went on to accomplish winning the Massachusetts governorship, serving one 4-year term, before lauching his bid for the White House in 2008.  That's term. 

Cain, who has also had his share of failed political races -- a brief 2000 presidential bid (going on to endorse Steve Forbes over George W. Bush) and the 2004 three-way Senate race to replace the retiring Democrat Zell Miller -- nonetheless played a significant role in defeating what could have become ClintonCare; which in turn, helped to land a spot as a senior economic advisor to the Dole/Kemp campaign in '96.  Sure, no elected office, but certainly involved in politics.

Both are businessmen, self-made entrepreneurs; however, there are distinctions between the two in this regard as well.  While Romney spent the brunt of his business career in consulting firms involved in management, leveraged buyouts and investments, more of a Wall Street executive if you will, the majority of Cain's business experience was spent as a Main Street executive from management and CEO positions in the larger food industries to smaller subsidiaries and chain businesses, as well as sitting on the board of a plethora of public and private organizations (all after his six year stint in the Dept. of Navy as a mathematician in ballistics!).

their ideas

Among a myriad of questionably non-conservative issues plaguing MItt Romney, we've become quite familiar with his benchmark accomplishment as MA governor (that he continues to tout, even immortalized in fine art), as have senior Obama officials during the crafting of ObamaCare. RomneyCare sought to reduce the state's Medicaid spending, but what resulted was a mandate requiring nearly all Massachusetts residents to buy or obtain health insurance coverage or face a penalty, the creation of a new regulatory authority complete with waivers, raised taxes the moment it was signed, increased spending in cost alone, and a negative effect on jobs. Sound familiar?

Cain's campaign centerpiece lies within his self-described "simple, transparent, efficient, fair, and neutral" 9-9-9 Plan for economic growth.  Over the short time of just the past week, we've seen a concentration of criticism, some positive and plenty negative, from both ends of the political spectrum, launched toward Cain's plan.  Taking the negative first, the Left seems to argue that the plan won't generate enough revenue, while the Right is concerned that liberals will easily raise these percentages.  Besides including incorrect assumptions towards various income levels or factoring this plan on top of the current tax code (which is a complete misrepresentation), both skeptics seem to dismiss that not only are we primed for variable uncertainty and tax increases under the current code, but that the end of the line doesn't lie within the "9's."  The goal is to ease the system towards the truly transparent Fair Tax, and that's what inherently scares those beholden to the status-quo, even with two volumes written and dedicated to the creation of such a system, as well as debunking the myths, misstatements and flat-out lies about the Fair Tax.  Nonetheless, Cain's 9-9-9 Plan has received a couple of hefty endorsements over the past 24 to 48 hours...we'll bridge this across the next section.

their endorsements

Romney has been racking up endorsements, with many big names to add as of late. Unfortunately, many of these names are synonymous with the Old Guard of the Republican establishment that degraded the conservative roots of the party throughout the dawn of our new millennium.  After Tim Pawlenty exited the presidential race, it didn't take long for him to throw his support towards Romney.  And a caravan of establishment staples and pundits have continued to follow ever since.  We were all witness to the attention-starved New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's preemptive endorsement of Romney before Tuesday night's GOP debate; and the latest came shortly after, with the Mississippi RINO Thad Chochran and the old bull former Speaker Dennis Hastert leading the herd.  Such stirring endorsements.

On the other side of the pendulum,Cain and his economic plan have begun to slowly churn out endorsements.  While a good many of the talk show hosts are attempting to remain neutral seemingly until the first primaries, Dennis Miller has been one to come out and endorse Herman Cain, as well as headlined a fundraiser for the presidential hopeful.  Among others, and actually just over the past few days, we've received conformation that a few numbers guys have joined the ranks of supporters for Cain's 9-9-9 Plan: one being House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, who said that he “loves” the idea of having “specific and credible” plans, like Cain’s signature 9-9-9 proposal, in the national tax policy debate; while the other is known as the Godfather of supply-side economics, Arthur Laffer!

The famed economist told HUMAN EVENTS that the proposal was pro-growth and would create the proper conditions for America's economy to expand and thrive again.

"Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan would be a vast improvement over the current tax system and a boon to the U.S. economy," Laffer told HUMAN EVENTS in a statement. "The goal of supply-side tax reform is always a broadening of the tax base and lowering of marginal tax rates."

Added Laffer: "Mr. Cain’s plan is simple, transparent, neutral with respect to capital and labor, and savings and consumption, and also greatly decreases the hidden costs of tax compliance. There is no doubt that economic growth would surge upon implementation of 9-9-9."

So, there's a quick, yet focused, rundown of these two very different men who want to be president.  And in contrasting the two, the opposing camps within the party couldn't be more distinctly defined and further apart.  Considering the real opportunity for a conservative victory in 2012 with Principle and some 'teeth' behind it, I think I've made a relatively clear cut case as to why I'd rather not go with the watered-down choice.  I'll always choose the conservative roots of the party over the establishment any time, any day.

Additional sources: Mitt Romney, Herman Cain

UPDATE: They said he wasn't a 'serious' candidate, he proved them wrong. They said he couldn't be a frontrunner, they were wrong again. They've said he can't beat Obama, especially without the $$$, Rasmussen begs to differ: Cain 43% Obama 41%. Meanwhile, Romney flips and flops towards the OWS mob's '99%' theme.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

They'll say anything...I mean, ANYTHING!

It's sickening, folks. Liberal Democrat heads spin and spew vile rhetoric when they are desperate and don't get their way.

Here's Biden on how more rapes and murders will occur in Flint, Michigan if Obama's jobs bill doesn't ultimately pass. Seriously, Joe?!

Then princess Pelosi disgustingly demagogues today, saying “Republicans want women to die on the floor,” in response to a proposal that the GOP introduced which would restrict taxpayer money for abortions in Obamacare (you know, that Obama and Democrats already assured us wasn't being paid for by taxpayer funding).

When they're faced with challenges and not permitted to ram through policies their way, they'll say anything, folks...ANYTHING!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Holder subpoenaed in Fast & Furious case

Finally! Fox reports:

The subpoena seeks, among other things, all communications regarding the operation from 16 top Justice officials, including Holder, his chief of staff, Gary Grindler, and the head of the department’s criminal division, Lanny Breuer, as well as correspondence on specific dates to and from the former head of the ATF’s Phoenix field division, William Newell.

It also asks for all documents and communications referring or relating to the murder of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata, including any correspondence outlining the details of Zapata’s mission at the time he was murdered.

Congressional investigators are demanding information regarding the investigation into the death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Two guns found at Terry’s crime scene were linked to the failed operation that allowed more than 2,000 weapons to “walk.”

The subpoena also asks for correspondence that Justice Department officials had with the White House about the gun trafficking operation, as well as what information was shared by Justice officials in Mexico.

This second subpoena follows the first one issued in March to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Asked about the development Tuesday, Holder said his department “will undoubtedly comply with them,” noting that Justice officials have already sent “thousands of pages of documents up to the Hill.”

But Holder wouldn’t answer whether he or anyone else at the department knew about the controversial tactics.

Holder thought that he could sidestep the issue of Fast & Furious, as well as the ensuing subpoenas announced yesterday, by using a press conference on a thwarted terrorist plot, that although significant, was a two-week old story that they just decided to release yesterday as cover from the gunrunner scandal.  Thank you for doing your jobs, State Department and you've been served, Mr. Holder.

ADDENDUM: Here's a link to more details on those subpoenas.