Category Archives: Economy

Economic Issues, Taxes, Capitalism

‘Improving’ The United States

This image is from 90 Miles From Tyranny:

obama improved us

Of course the vomit image could be a reference to Ebola or it could be a reaction to Michelle’s claim. Americans across the country consider his efforts to have been spectacular failures.

But they’re not. They are successes.

Not long ago president Obama commented that his successes are, “Just not being reported”. If you examine his goals he may well be right.

He told us up front that he wanted to remake America. Observers have told us also that his goals for the country are to reduce its world position and to convert the country’s economy into something the opposite of a free, capitalist one.

If these are his goals, and I believe they are, he is succeeding. Michelle’s comment above makes a lot of sense in that light.

We should not try to determine whether he is succeeding or not based upon our definitions of success. He has a different view.

Update: Obama Promises to Solve Ebola ‘Just Like We’ve Solved Every Other Problem’

It was Obama’s Chief of Staff who said, “Never let a crisis go to waste”.

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Nine US Cities Experiencing ‘Black Flight’

Maybe it’s just me but this surprised me for some reason. Maybe it’s that I never thought I’d see something like this actually Reported. In reflection, though, it seems that black people are no different than any other Americans. They want to avoid danger, they want to search for opportunity, and they are willing to go where things are better.

What’s interesting in this report is that the direction of movement has changed. Like many other Americans they are heading south.

Times have changed. There was a time when southern states were considered to be the most racially divided.

What it looks like is they are fleeing places that have been controlled by Democrats for decades. I’d say that is smart. This report comes from the Atlanta Black Star:

In the 1990s, Black Americans began moving in significant numbers to the South. This marked a reversal of the Great Migration, in which Blacks fled Jim Crow racism in the 1920s and 1930s for jobs in the industrial cities of the Northeast, Midwest and West.

Analysis of 2010 census data shows that more than half the cities with large concentrations of Blacks have seen significant declines in their Black populations. Here are nine of those cities experiencing elevated levels of Black Flight.”

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The cities that have fewer blacks are:

New York which has 41,000 fewer blacks than in 2000.

Chicago which has lost 181,000. An interesting fact is that Chicago’s population is now down to the level it was in 1910.

Los Angeles has lost more than 120,000.

Washington D.C. is down 8%.

And of course Detroit has lost 185,000.

The other cities are San Francisco, Boston, Oakland, California, and Dallas.

Read more here.

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Remember, Obama Care Is Just The First Step Toward National Health Care

Harry Reid was not the only one to say so. Now we see how it was designed to fail.

FIRST STEP: Obamacare is only the first step to a more fully-socialized single-payer health care system, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, right.

FIRST STEP: Obamacare is only the first step to a more fully-socialized single-payer health care system, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, right.

HHS-Funded Study: Obamacare Will Suffer ‘Death Spiral’ If Subsidies Fail

The Obama administration has funded a new study by top consulting firm RAND Health that startlingly finds that if taxpayer subsidies are eliminated, Obamacare exchanges will fall into a “death spiral.”

The study comes in the wake of a number of lawsuits which are challenging the Obama administration’s implementation of Obamacare subsidies. Three lawsuits have made it to U.S. Circuit Courts, just one step from the Supreme Court, arguing that the text of the Affordable Care Act allows premium subsidies for state-run exchanges only. (RELATED: Second Court Strikes Down Obamacare Subsidies In Federal Exchanges)”

It’s always been about the subsidies. Federal subsidies were included in the Affordable Care Act to make the insurance premiums affordable to Americans in need of health insurance. But subsidies have a history of being reversed when political winds change direction. When that happens people will no longer get help with their insurance premiums from Uncle Sam. What will they do? They’ll stop paying.

This has all been made more complicated because many states refused to set up exchanges, forcing the estamlishment of federal ones. The courts have said, twice now, that people who got insurance through federal exchanges do not qualify for the mandated subsidies.

In the process of all this the companies that provide insurance will decide it is no longer profitable to do so. This has already started. When people don’t buy insurance, whether because they can’t afford it or because it’s not available, Democrats will try to ride to the rescue with single-payer nationalized health-care plans.

It’s all part of the plan.

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Heh: “Keystone Be Darned: Canada Finds Oil Route Around Obama”

Let’s say you are a Canadian oil producer and you want to sell your oil to the United States. After all, the US is your closest neighbor and provides the bulk of your defense and their economy is very important to yours. The left in America has rejected your proposed pipeline to carry the oil to refineries on the coast of the gulf of Mexico.

What do you do?

Ship it across Canada to the Atlantic ocean, put it on tankers, and ship it to the same refineries.

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Heh.

And if you’re a fed-up Canadian, like Prime Minister Stephen Harper, there’s a bonus: Obama can’t do a single thing about it.

“The best way to get Keystone XL built is to make it irrelevant,” said Frank McKenna, who served three terms as premier of New Brunswick and was ambassador to the U.S. before becoming a banker.

So confident is TransCanada Corp., the chief backer of both Keystone and Energy East, of success that Alex Pourbaix, the executive in charge, spoke of the cross-Canada line as virtually a done deal.”

Hawhawhaw.

This news is not from a wishful source. Brilliance.

Read more at Bloomberg.com

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“Emeril Lagasse: ‘I have nowhere to go, really — other than broke'”

Yes, the progressives, led by Barack Obama, have made the climate for entrepeneurs, including restaurants, more than challenging. With the food safety regulations, the rules concerning hiring, firing, and insuring employees, additional taxation, and crusading bureaucrats many business owners are going broke. It seems the only exceptions are the ones who are donors to the Democrat party. They are used to disburse public funds that are spent on hare-brained progressive schemes.

Bam!

Bam!

It’s becoming a very challenging industry to become a very successful average restaurateur,” continued Lagasse. “I can’t charge $300 a person in my restaurant or I would not be in business. Am I using any different ingredients? Not really. Am I using any caliber of service staff? I don’t think so. I think our service is as good or better than most places.”

And then you add all the Obama nonsense to what it’s become in the last several years. I don’t have anything against Mr. Obama. I’m just saying the way that, you know… the government should stay out of things. [...] Pretty soon, they’re going to wipe a lot of the middle restaurateurs and restaurant cooks. [...] If it continues, then watch: you’re going to have high-end, and you’re going to have fast food, and you’re going to have chain restaurants.”

Read more at The Week.com

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Coming Soon: Cap And Trade For Packaging

It was passed by the United Nations. Now it is being considered for Canada. How long do you think it will be before it’s here?

Hat tip to Kate

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“Theatre of the Absurd”, The Federal Government Outlaws Prepping

They term it ‘Hoarding’. Why? Because that word has a negative meaning that ‘Prepping’ does not.
This article begins with a description of government ‘Concerns’ about people who are saving, ‘Hoarding’, money rather than spending it. The writer then goes on to describe how the stage has been set to outlaw the hoarding of money, food, water, or ammunition.

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This week the Federal Reserve published a report that claims to have figured it out and it turns out that the renewed economic downturn has nothing to do with foreign outsourcing, high taxation, increased health care costs for business or rising consumer prices for food and energy.
No, according to the Fed it is your fault. Apparently, you are not spending enough money. In order for the economy to recover you need to stop hoarding cash now and get out there and start buying more homes, cars, vacations, and electronics. Otherwise, you’ll only have yourself to blame when the system comes unhinged.
From the St. Louis Federal Reserve:

The issue has to do with the velocity of money, which has never been constant, as can be seen in the figure below . If for some reason the money velocity declines rapidly during an expansionary monetary policy period, it can offset the increase in money supply and even lead to deflation instead of inflation.

During the first and second quarters of 2014, the velocity of the monetary base2 was at 4.4, its slowest pace on record. This means that every dollar in the monetary base was spent only 4.4 times in the economy during the past year, down from 17.2 just prior to the recession. This implies that the unprecedented monetary base increase driven by the Fed’s large money injections through its large-scale asset purchase programs has failed to cause at least a one-for-one proportional increase in nominal GDP. Thus, it is precisely the sharp decline in velocity that has offset the sharp increase in money supply, leading to the almost no change in nominal GDP.”

Going on to the problem of people hoarding other things:

In 2012 President Obama signed a an Executive Doomsday Order that was designed specifically to target “hoarders” during a national emergency:

While millions of people have been preparing for the possibility of a catastrophic event by relocating to rural homesteads or farms, as well as stockpiling food, water, personal defense armaments and other essential supplies with the intention of utilizing these preparations if the worst happens, the latest executive order signed by President Obama on March 16, 2012 makes clear that in the event of a nationally deemed emergency all of these resources will fall under the authority of the United States government.
The signing of the National Defense Resources Preparedness executive order grants the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labor, the Department of Defense and other agencies complete control of all US resources, including the ability to seize, confiscate or re-delegate resources, materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense as delegated by the following agencies…”

So the President can simply say that anything more than (for example) a week’s supply of food (and all the other things listed) is an amount ‘in excess of the reasonable demands of personal consumption’ and then order the Army to impound everything you have in excess of that amount.”

Read it all here

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EPA Chief Says Her Job Is To Bring Justice To ‘People Of Color’

Just as NASA has been repurposed to provide outreach to Muslims, the Environmental Protection Agency is not about the environment. It’s about ‘Justice’ for blacks.

EPA head Gina McCarthy

EPA head Gina McCarthy

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed global warming regulations aren’t just about stemming global temperature rises — according to agency’s chief, they are also about “justice” for “communities of color.”

“Carbon pollution standards are an issue of justice,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a teleconference call with environmental activists. “If we want to protect communities of color, we need to protect them from climate change.”

McCarthy is referring to the EPA’s proposed rule that would limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The agency says the rule will not only help fight global warming, but will also improve public health as coal-fired power plants are shuttered. McCarthy, however, put special emphasis on how the rule would reduce asthma rates, which affect African-American children.”

That makes us all feel better, right?

No. It’s BS. It’s all about charging businesses for alleged ‘Pollution’ of carbon dioxide. That money will go to the government for dolts like this to use. It will also destroy jobs.

More here

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Andrew Klavan Explains Income Redistribution

Worth sharing. What’s the difference between income redistribution and armed robbery?

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“EPA Blames Texas For Illinois Air Pollution”

EPA Administratrix Gina McCarthy

EPA Administratrix Gina McCarthy

These federal agencies are out of control. The IRS has been targeting conservative groups, Homeland Security is doing everything it can to reduce security in the homeland, and the Environmental Protection Agency is trying to shut down every successful entity in the country. Now they are going after the state of Texas.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is blaming power plants in Texas for Illinois air pollution and is using the accusation to justify restrictions on Texas power plants. EPA claims its cross-state pollution rule, intended to protect communities in one state from pollution drifting from other states, justifies placing restrictions on Texas power plants EPA claims are polluting Granite City, Illinois.

EPA’s assertion Texas power plants are causing Illinois pollution raised eyebrows for several reasons. Granite City is approximately 500 miles from the Texas border and even farther away from Lone Star State major metropolitan regions. Granite City is northeast of Texas, with prevailing winds rarely trekking in that direction from Texas. In addition, a local steel mill, which has been an important source of the town’s prosperity since the 1890s, has long been recognized as a primary source of air pollution in Granite City.

EPA, however, claims it has devised computer models that indicate some sulfur dioxide from Texas power plants may reach Granite City, which has a population of 30,000.”

They have devised, “Computer models”. Again, the scientists have come up with a theory and then found, or manufactured, evidence to support their position. This is quite common in the environmental movement and their assertions are always wrong. This one is as well.

Texas was only included in portions of the rule based on the projected impact on a single county in Illinois. And the air quality monitor in Illinois which EPA claims had the fingerprints of Texas pollution on it was located right next to a smelter. On this thin legal reed the EPA is imposing restrictions on Texas several times as severe as states with much more significant interstate pollution problems,” said Kathleen White, director of the Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment at Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) agreed, saying EPA failed to account properly for the steel mill’s influence on Granite City’s air pollution. Of the three air pollution monitors in the town and surrounding Madison County, the only one allegedly linked to Texas is the one downwind of the steel mill.”

Phony data from a flawed source. That’s typical of the environmentalists and the Obama administration in general.

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Sundance Kid Doesn’t Like To Pay Taxes

The dissipated old man doesn’t like to have to pay taxes to New York State. It’s OK for everyone else to pay up, though, to fund the leftist crap he supports.

Robert 'Tax Everyone but Me' Redford

Robert ‘Tax Everyone but Me’ Redford

Actor Robert Redford is suing the state of New York for what he says are unfair taxes from the sale of the Sundance Channel.

Mr. Redford, a Utah resident, sued the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance in Albany County Supreme Court on July 30, claiming that he’s being doubly taxed on money his company made when it sold off its portion of the channel in 2005, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

New York is taxing the actor-director $845,066 plus $727,404 in interest owed — roughly $1.57 million — for the money he made in the sale, but Mr. Redford said he already paid taxes on the revenue in Utah.”

More at Conservative Treehouse

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Who Is Behind The ‘Tiny House’ Movement?

In the last few years various news media have glorified the way some people are designing, building, and living in tiny houses. Very small living quarters are not new. Mrs22 and I lived in one shortly after our marriage. We called it a ‘Cabin’, perhaps because we were in Alaska. It was small – 320 square feet and we built it ourselves. We lived in it for several years. It was ‘Cozy’ – especially when two teen-age kids moved in with us. It was all we could afford at the time.

Now they are ‘Tiny Houses’ and people are building them for the same reasons. It, like every thing else, is about the money.

Here is a link to an article about tiny houses titled, “The “Tiny House Movement”. Otherwise known as “Poverty”. The writer has some unpleasant points to make – even if they are true:

Early American Shanty Town

Early American Shanty Town

Hey hipsters. Its not a tiny house. its a TRAILER. Its not a tiny house community. Its a TRAILER PARK. You are not “right sizing”. You are POOR.

Words mean things. Stop your damn lying.”

It must be said that shanty design has come a long way from the image above. But the writer makes a good point. I did an image search for ‘Tiny Homes. Here is an example of what I found:

tiny house

Like many tiny houses this one was built on a chassis and has wheels under it – much like this Park Model trailer house:

Park model

OK. Back to the original question. Who is behind the ‘Tiny House’ movement? Could it be the green community? That might be. There’s no doubt they want everyone to decrease their ‘Footprint’. Short of living in a cave, this would come close. There are even magazines and websites devoted to this phenomenon.

I will say one thing about tiny houses. They will work for a select number of young people who are poor and can’t afford much else or want to minimize their housing expenses so they can save money. That last is what we did.

They will also work for some older people. Sometimes they are called, “Mother-in-law houses”. Imagine a widowed mother coming to live with you. Something like this could preserve her – and your – privacy while allowing you to assist her if she needs it.

Growing families, though, would be cramped. Just ask Mrs22.

One problem with these mini houses -and the reason so many are on wheels – is the cost of the land to put them on, the foundation, and the water, sewage, electrical, and other utility installations. It is possible to own one for a small outlay but those other necessities will add a lot to the expense. That’s why so many are stationed in trailer parks or RV parks.

It seems we have come full circle, changing only the title of the trailer.

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Where Did $619 Billion Disappear To?

This isn’t an accounting error. US departments have overspent their budgets – hugely. Proving that there is still a need for newspapers, yesterday USA Today reported that the federal website USASpending.gov which is tasked with tracking government money, can’t find $619 billion from different agency budgets. From USA Today:

WASHINGTON — A government website intended to make federal spending more transparent was missing at least $619 billion from 302 federal programs, a government audit has found.

And the data that does exist is wildly inaccurate, according to the Government Accountability Office, which looked at 2012 spending data. Only 2% to 7% of spending data on USASpending.gov is “fully consistent with agencies’ records,” according to the report.”

Harry Reid set the foundation for this. For years he has refused to allow a budget for the United States to be passed into law in the Senate. If the entire US government can operate without a budget, why can’t the individual agencies ignore theirs as well? That’s what is happening. Who knows how long this has been going on?

Every where we look we see billions and trillions of American dollars going to waste; being spent on foolish programs with lavish budgets. Now we find that even their inflated budgets are being ignored.

The money keeps going out in thousands of unaccountable ways. Mr. Cloward and Ms. Piven would be ecstatic. This can not end well. It is not designed to end well.

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David Stockman: “Don’t Buy This Dip: The Fed Is Not Your Friend”

Stockman seems to be saying that the decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the last couple of days may not recover as it has before.

David Stockman

David Stockman

During the last 64 months “buying the dips” has been a fabulously successful proposition. As shown in the sizzling graph of the NASDAQ 100 below, at it recent peak just under 4,000 this index of the high-growth, big cap non-financials stood at an astonishing 3.5X its March 2009 low. Moreover, during that 64 month period, there were but five minor market corrections—-the three largest reflecting just a 7-8% dip from the previous interim high. And as the index closed upon its current nosebleed heights, the dips became increasingly shallower, meaning that the reward for buying setbacks came early and often.

So yesterday’s 2% dip will undoubtedly be construed as still another buying opportunity by the well-trained seals and computerized algos which populate the Wall Street casino. But that could be a fatal mistake for one overpowering reason: The radical monetary policy experiment behind this parabolic graph is in the final stages of its appointed path toward self-destruction.”

In fact, this soaring index reflects the most artificial, unsustainable and dangerous Fed created financial bubble ever. That’s because its was the untoward product of a completely busted monetary mechanism.

In fact, this soaring index reflects the most artificial, unsustainable and dangerous Fed created financial bubble ever. That’s because its was the untoward product of a completely busted monetary mechanism.

Read more here

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The Obama Economic Plan Is Working

As even the New York Times can see, the income levels of Americans has fallen dramatically. President Obama has caused it to happen.

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The Typical Household, Now Worth a Third Less

Economic inequality in the United States has been receiving a lot of attention. But it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too.

The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation. Those are the figures for a household at the median point in the wealth distribution — the level at which there are an equal number of households whose worth is higher and lower. But during the same period, the net worth of wealthy households increased substantially.”

As the Times notes near the end of the article,

The reasons for these declines are complex and controversial, but one point seems clear: When only a few people are winning and more than half the population is losing, surely something is amiss.”

That means something is wrong but they don’t want to get into it.

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Illinois’ Credit Rating Now Worst In The Nation

death spiral

Those darn Democrats are doing it again.

Gotta hand it to Second City Cop fir the line of the day:

No end in sight:

The outlook for the state of Illinois’ credit rating has turned negative, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services warned today in a report.

The credit rating agency affirmed the state’s worst-in-the-nation A- bond rating, but its outlook, which had been raised to “developing” earlier this year after enactment of pension reforms, went back to negative.

That means that the state’s credit rating could be downgraded within the next two years unless its finances improve, S and P said. A lower credit rating translates into higher borrowing costs.”

Perhaps we should amend that to say “no end in sight that doesn’t mention the word ‘Detroit’. “

WGNTV says:

A warning came Saturday morning from state treasurer Dan Rutherford (R) IL State Treasurer. The Standard and Poor’s downgrade from A to A-minus puts Illinois last on the list– and means a higher cost to borrow money.

On Wednesday, the state will issue $500 million in new bonds to pay for roads and other transportation projects. Rutherford says the credit downgrade will cost taxpayers an additional $95 million in interest.”

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Beretta Pulls Out of Maryland

Beretta_Logo-900x211

Maryland is losing those jobs just like Colorado lost jobs when Magpul moved out. Beretta, though, is a much bigger deal. “Beretta U.S.A. anticipates that the Gallatin, Tennessee facility will involve $45 million of investment in building and equipment and the employment of around 300 employees during the next five years.”

Stupid politicians.

The day after gun control supporters [falsely] claimed that the passage of an “assault weapon” and “high-capacity magazine” ban and increased concealed carry requirements reduced firearms-related crime in Maryland, Italian gunmaker Beretta announced that it’s moving all of its manufacturing out of Maryland and into Tennessee. GM Jeff Cooper left no doubt that The Free State’s post-Newtown push for civilian disarmament (a.k.a., Bill SB281) triggered the move . . .

During the legislative session in Maryland that resulted in passage of the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, the version of the statute that passed the Maryland Senate would have prohibited Beretta U.S.A. from being able to manufacture, store or even import into the State products that we sell to customers throughout the United States and around the world. While we were able in the Maryland House of Delegates to reverse some of those obstructive provisions the possibility that such restrictions might be reinstated in the future leaves us very worried about the wisdom of maintaining a firearm manufacturing factory in the State.”

More at TTAG

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Communist BRICS Ally To Sink US Dollar

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From Trevor Loudon:

Four Marxist ruled states (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) together with heavily communist infiltrated India, are working together on a plan which could destroy the US dollar and sink the economy.

From the British communist paper Morning Star:”

Maduro: Brics summit will change the world order

Decisions taken at the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) summit will change the course of the 21st century, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said July 16.

“Brics have made very important decisions to change the political and economic world order,” he told his weekly TV programme.

The bloc has “decided to create a development bank with $100 billion (£58bn) as starting capital and a commercial and financial system among its members to use local currencies instead of U.S. dollars.”

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South Carolina Is Gun Friendly

This is a great image:

S.C. Governor Nikki Haley is presented with a commemorative semi-auto rifle

S.C. Governor Nikki Haley is presented with a commemorative semi-auto rifle

Welder Jamieson Woodard leaned against a table a good way beyond the semi-circle of television cameras Monday as S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley got her commemorative, semiautomatic rifle from PTR Industries.

Woodard is part of the contingent of employees who transferred to Horry County when PTR left Connecticut because of restrictive gun laws passed by the state legislature.

The South Carolina commemorative gun follows other limited serial number models the company has produced, Fiorini said. Company officials thought that a special South Carolina edition could continue that marketing path as well as show appreciation for the welcome the company has gotten in the Palmetto State.

“When we had that idea,” he said during the ceremony, “we thought we’d make a dozen of those, 20 tops.”

As of his speech around noon Monday, he said, the company has received orders for 276 of the rifles.

Read more here

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Sowell: “Obama is Not a Socialist”

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Thomas Sowell provided this essay for Capitalism Magazine. He makes the same argument that has been made by our own RD Walker. ‘Obama is not a socialist. He is a fascist.”

What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.

Politically, it is heads-I-win when things go right, and tails-you-lose when things go wrong. This is far preferable, from Obama’s point of view, since it gives him a variety of scapegoats for all his failed policies, without having to use President Bush as a scapegoat all the time.

Government ownership of the means of production means that politicians also own the consequences of their policies, and have to face responsibility when those consequences are disastrous — something that Barack Obama avoids like the plague.

One of the reasons why both pro-Obama and anti-Obama observers may be reluctant to see him as fascist is that both tend to accept the prevailing notion that fascism is on the political right, while it is obvious that Obama is on the political left.

Back in the 1920s, however, when fascism was a new political development, it was widely — and correctly — regarded as being on the political left. Jonah Goldberg’s great book “Liberal Fascism” cites overwhelming evidence of the fascists’ consistent pursuit of the goals of the left, and of the left’s embrace of the fascists as one of their own during the 1920s.

Mussolini, the originator of fascism, was lionized by the left, both in Europe and in America, during the 1920s. Even Hitler, who adopted fascist ideas in the 1920s, was seen by some, including W.E.B. Du Bois, as a man of the left.”

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CBO: “It’s Not Possible To Determine Fiscal Impact Of Obamacare”

Of course we know what this is all about. The promises made by President Obama and his sycophants were all lies. We knew it at the time. There is no way a sixth of the US’s economy could be nationalized and run by bureaucrats and the costs would go down.

The Congressional Budget Office is tasked with recording those savings and reporting them to the people. What do they do if the promised savings don’t materialize? This is what they do. They say it’s not possible to track the numbers.

They lie.

INFLUENCE UNKNOWN: CBO Director Douglas W. Elmendorf and his agency surprised some fiscal experts by saying that it’s currently not possible to size up the fiscal impact of the 2010 law.

INFLUENCE UNKNOWN: CBO Director Douglas W. Elmendorf and his agency surprised some fiscal experts by saying that it’s currently not possible to size up the fiscal impact of the 2010 law.


Charles Blahous, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s free market-oriented Mercatus Center, calls the CBO’s inability to estimate the net effect of the law “a real problem.”
“The ACA’s financing provisions were assumed to be effective so as to get a favorable score out of CBO upon enactment, but no one is keeping track of whether they’re being enforced,” says Blahous, a public trustee for Social Security and Medicare. “We receive occasional updates on the gross costs of the law, but none on whether the previously projected savings provisions are producing what was originally projected.”

When Congress passed the health care law in 2010, the CBO estimated it would reduce the deficit by more than $120 billion over a decade, compared to the agency’s current-law baseline projection of spending, revenue and the deficit. That meant the health care law would, in effect, pay for itself and deliver an additional fiscal bonus.

More at Roll Call

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Face It. The War On Poverty Is A Gigantic Failure

End it. Now. We Spent $3.2 Trillion… and Haven’t Put a DENT in REAL Unemployment

This is from Zero Hedge.

The financial media are gaga over the alleged great jobs numbers from last week.

We’ve been over this saga many times. The methodology for calculating jobs gains is not even close to accurate. The unemployment rate is now a marketing gimmick rather than an accurate economic metric.

Indeed, here are some staggering statistics that indicate just how messed up the US economy is right now.

· The labor participation rate is the lowest since 1978.

· There are over 90 million Americans without a job right now.

· An incredible 20% of all American families do not have a single member who is employed.

· There are over 47 million Americans on food stamps.

There is simply no way to spin these numbers. The US Federal Reserve has spent over $3.2 trillion and generated virtually no real job growth (accounting for population growth).”

labor

All evidence points to one thing: We have been doing it wrong.

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Obamacare is a lot like Crystal Pepsi

BUMPED: As Obama enjoys his “Mission Accomplished” moment and promotes his fictional 8 million number like a carnival barker, you need to remember Crystal Pepsi and why it failed.


Remember Crystal Pepsi? Think back to about 1993.

Crystal Pepsi was rolled out in 1992 with much fanfare and and a huge advertising campaign. Sales were good. In fact, they were better than Pepsico had expected. Sales were very good.

And yet they discontinued the product. Why? It turned out that Crystal Pepsi buyers were consumers who were already Pepsi customers. Virtually all of the Crystal Pepsi marketshare was taken from Pepsico’s mainline cola product. Sales looked good but almost every sale of Crystal Pepsi resulted in a commensurate drop in sales of Pepsi Cola.

This is called market cannibalization and it can make a failing product look good as it creates a very negative impact on sales performance of the company’s existing related products. The joy of the Crystal Pepsi product team came with commensurate suffering among the Pepsi Cola team. The net effect was the increased cost of separate production and distribution lines but no real increase in revenue. Crystal Pepsi had to go.

How is that like Obamacare? Almost nine out of ten Obamacare enrollees already had insurance.

Most of the people who have signed up for Obamacare coverage already had insurance, raising questions about how the healthcare overhaul will reduce the number of uninsured Americans, a new survey reveals.

Just 11 percent of those buying through the healthcare exchanges were uninsured, a McKinsey & Co. study of 4,563 consumers discovered, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, nearly two thirds of the people jumping into Obamacare were switching from individual or employer-paid insurance plans.

Obamacare was aimed at providing insurance for 25 million of the 48 million Americans who were uninsured in 2012, partially by expanding state-run Medicaid programs.

So tonight, as Obama praises the number of people who have signed up for Obamacare, remember two terms: 1) Market Cannibalization and 2) Crystal Pepsi.

We can rest assured that, in the coming years, Obamacare will be as relevant and successful as is the clear, crisp Crystal Pepsi is today.

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Gawker: “Income Inequality Institute Will Pay Paul Krugman $25,000 Per Month”

This is a joke, right?

No it isn’t.

Progressives take care of their own.

I'd be smug too

I’d be smug too

In late February, the City University of New York announced that it had tapped Princeton economist and New York Times blogger Paul Krugman for a distinguished professorship at CUNY’s Graduate Center and its Luxembourg Income Study Center, a research arm devoted to studying income patterns and their effect on inequality.

About that. According to a formal offer letter obtained under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, CUNY intends to pay Krugman $225,000, or $25,000 per month (over two semesters), to “play a modest role in our public events” and “contribute to the build-up” of a new “inequality initiative.” It is not clear, and neither CUNY nor Krugman was able to explain, what “contribute to the build-up” entails.

It’s certainly not teaching. “You will not be expected to teach or supervise students,” the letter informs Professor Krugman, who replies: “I admit that I had to read it several times to be clear … it’s remarkably generous.” (After his first year, Krugman will be required to host a single seminar.)”

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ZH: 40 Central Banks Are Betting Yuan Will Be The Next Reserve Currency

yuan

From Zero Hedge:

As The South China Morning Post reports, Jukka Pihlman, Standard Chartered’s Singapore-based global head of central banks and sovereign wealth funds (who formerly worked at the International Monetary Fund advising central banks on asset-management issues), notes that:

At least 40 central banks have invested in the yuan and several others are preparing to do so, putting the mainland currency on the path to reserve status even before full convertibility
The US dollar remains in charge (for now)…but

The US dollar is still the world’s most widely held reserve currency, accounting for nearly 33 per cent of global foreign exchange holdings at the end of last year, according to IMF data. That ratio has been declining since 2000, when 55 per cent of the world’s reserves were denominated in US dollars.”

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