Uh, interesting year.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
So how much will President Barack Obama's budget cost us? The projected 2010 budget of $3.552 trillion can be found on page 114 of the "New Era of Responsibility" budget here.
The US Census bureau estimates that the current US population is 304,059,724. Dividing the $3.552 trillion by that gives us close to the $11,833 that Drudge came up with. ABC's Jake Tapper reports that there wil be $989 billion in new taxes over the next decade.
I'm an American taxpayer and the starkest figure is what this could cost me. The latest figure I could find for the number of US taxpayers is 138,893,908 returns in 2007 here. By my reckoning, that's $25,573.48 each.
Out goes that “net spending cut” Obama was touting. And not just by a hair, but by a mile.
And what of Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000? His budget and this promise are mutually exclusive. Something’s gotta give, and something tells us it won’t be his budget spending.
He won’t be delivering on his promises.
President OPUD strikes again. And this time it’s your pocketbook he’s aiming for.
Ahem...We may one day tire of saying "I Told You So", but today is not that day.
Next week marks the one year anniversary of this old post:
A new twist on an old joke.
A young man goes to register to vote. At the voter registration office he is told, "We do things differently now. You will be given the opportunity to attend the speech of each candidate for President. After hearing both candidates, then you will be allowed to choose the President."
Agreeing, the young man makes his way to the Barack Obama rally. The venue is a sold out basketball arena, the crowd is electric; beautiful people smiling, chanting, laughing, singing. Obama strides on stage. Listening to Obama, the young man begins thinking to himself:
Obama's finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don't even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I've heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.
He leaves the speech, confident of where his vote will be placed, but ready to give John McCain a fair hearing. He arrives at the McCain venue -- many fewer people, not quite as electric, much less laughing and zero chanting. As McCain makes his way to the podium, the young man prepares himself for the speech. Listening to McCain, the young man begins thinking to himself:
The opening of the speech shows some humility ... No one's throwing vegetables in the room ... He's doing a very good job in delivering this speech ... A few boos... [He] sounds energized ... It's one of his better speeches, and he's hitting all the right notes for the crowd.
He later returns to the voter registration office. He is asked, “Now you must make your choice. Will it be Barack Obama or John McCain for President?”
Thinking back on both speeches, he considers McCain’s speech as impressive for its substance. But then, considering Obama’s speech, he remembers how it made him feel.
The young man answers, “Barack Obama”.
The next day, as he awakes, there is a knock at the door. A man in a dark suit simply says, “I’m from the government and I need to see your wallet,” and then proceeds to take all of the young man’s money.
Bewildered, the young man heads back down to the voter registration office and asks to see the manager. The manager appears from the back of the office and politely inquires, “How can I help you?”
The young man replies, “I don’t understand. Yesterday, listening to Obama I heard a speech of hope and change and unity. And yet today, the government took all of my money. What is going on?”
“It’s quite simple,” the manager answered calmly. “Yesterday you were a voter and today you are a constituent.”
AFTER repeated rebuffs, America is preparing to abandon its insistence that Nato allies commit more combat troops to Afghanistan, despite fears the Taliban are gaining strength. […]
President Barack Obama’s administration announced last week that it was sending an extra 17,000 troops to join 32,000 already in Afghanistan, but European countries have yet to pitch in more than a few hundred. […]
Obama insisted on the campaign trail that he would oblige Nato to do more. “You can’t have a situation where the United States . . . and Britain are called upon to do the dirty work and nobody else wants to engage in actual firefights with the Taliban,” he said.
However, the Germans refused to accede to Gates’s request last week to deploy the Nato rapid response force to help stabilise Afghanistan ahead of the August presidential elections. […]
The series of rejections has marked the end of Obama’s honeymoon with European governments, which had braced themselves to meet the president’s demand for extra troops when he was elected last autumn.
Now that Obama’s electoral glow is fading, they have found the confidence to say no.
Well. We are the somebody we've been waiting for, so here goes:
President Obama has squandered the global goodwill generated by his historic campaign and election.
Of course, if you believed things would be different, that Obama would usher in a new era of global cooperation and commitment in the fight against Islamist terrorists, you may want to consider the idea that you were lied to when Obama said that he would exact such a commitment from NATO allies.
OK, maybe Obama didn’t lie. Maybe he really thought he could secure those commitments. Maybe this is just the umpteenth case of Obama over promising and under delivering – President OPUD strikes again.
Well, and just to make sure we make the point - we think that Obama has actually squandered the same amount of global goodwill since his election as President Bush did after 9/11.
That is, in terms of some mythical goodwill that ever had a chance of resulting in real-world, on the ground commitments, neither man squandered squat.
It didn’t exist post 9/11 and it didn’t exist before or after Obama was elected, no matter how many times liberals have tried to tell us that it did.
We’ll let Greenwald have the last word:
One of George W. Bush’s biggest failings was that he let his critics convince Americans that European ambivalence was a response to American arrogance. That hobbled our effort further by draining domestic support for the War on Terror. That Bush was succeeded by a president who’s building his foreign policy around this ahistorical delusion is frightening.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
In a post about Obama’s plan to announce his plan to help struggling homeowners, Hugh Hewitt gives us this:
But a repeat of last week's ambiguity about the banks will add another layer of evidence to the president's growing reputation for overpromising and underdelivering.
Yes, the promise that “…my treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, will be announcing some very clear and specific plans”, quickly turned into the delivery of the skeleton of an outline to an introductory summary of a potential plan that we're just starting because we scrapped the first one.
And as for the "growing reputation", well, hopefully someone else will create the exhaustive catalogue of Obama’s Over Promise and Under Deliverance – we’ll just name a few off the top of our head…
Order the close of Guantanamo in my first 100 days! Well, once we’ve done that, we’ll leave it open as we spend a year or so studying what to do with all those detainees.
All combat troops out of Iraq in 16 months! Or not.
Enhanced interrogations out! Or not.
Renditions out! Or not.
Secret CIA prisons out! Or not.
No lobbyists in my administration! Or a
The most open and transparent administration evah! Or, one that’s not even as open and transparent as President Bush’s.
My stimulus plan will create or save 4 million jobs! Or maybe 3.5 million.
And specifically, my stimulus plan will let Caterpillar rehire recently laid of employees! Or, well, maybe not.
Sunlight before signing: all bills will be posted on the White House website for five days so the public can read the bills before I sign them! Or a few hours. Or not at all.
Oh, and we must pass that Stimulus bill before the world as we know it ends! What? It’s passed? Oh, good, I’ll get to it right after I have a little time off in Chicago.
And on and on and on...
Back in July, we made his observation at American Thinker about how Obama's career was a Perpetual, Never-Ending, Eternal Campaign:
Obama's entire life is centered around successfully running for office *and* running from anything and everything else that might compromise his efforts to get in or stay there.
There's only one problem.
None of that provides any evidence that he could run the country. In fact, it argues against it.
We may one day tire of saying "I Told You So", but today is not that day.
Over Promise and Under Deliver
MORE: From NRO, Charles Krauthammer takes up the idea of Obama as President OPUD as it relates to the homeowner bailout (emphasis mine):
But the problem I have with Obama is not the plan itself, but the way he packages and presents. He is always on the stump. He is always promising.
Look at what he said-"The program will not reward folks who bought homes that they knew from the beginning they would never be able to afford."
Now, that obviously is a statement that can't be true. How are you going to ascertain if somebody purchased a house knowing in advance he couldn't afford it? Are you going to put him before an A-Rod press conference? Are you going to have them sit before the Illinois House Impeachment Committee?
Maybe we bring them all to Guantanamo, which is going to be empty, we're told, and have good interrogations there.
He is making a promise he knows is a false one. He does it because it garners applause, as it did today, and because it's demagogic.
It's a good plan, but I wish he would stop campaigning and govern in a way that doesn't overpromise, as he is wont to do.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Want to provide some real middle-class tax relief? Halve the taxes levied on beer, say a bipartisan group of lawmakers, along with one of the beer industry's lobbying groups.
Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) introduced a bill Tuesday that would cut taxes on beer to their level in 1991, half of what they are today. The legislation is supported by a coterie of members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, and has the support of the brewers' interest group.
"50 percent of the beer is consumed in households making less than $50,000 per year," said Jeff Becker, president of The Beer Institute, the industry's lobbying arm. "Given campaign rhetoric, you can tell they're trying to benefit low-income earners, who make up a lot of our consumers."
The latest version of the tax cut, which has been introduced for several consecutive Congresses now, would also roll back taxes on small and independent brewers. Pomeroy's office estimate the tax cut to cost roughly $1.5 billion dollars. The version introduced in the 110th Congress stalled after being referred to the Ways & Means Committee.
11 lawmakers from both parties signed onto the Pomeroy bill: House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Reps. Tom Latham (R-Iowa), Sam Johnson (R-Texas), Ron Kind (D-Wisc.), Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio), Artur Davis (D-Ala.), Charles Boustany (R-La.), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.).
Yes. I'm for it. Get it done and I will sing your praises from the top of a thousand hills.
And yet, this story raises a very troubling question.
Why am I just hearing about this now?
In all my years of studying in high school and college, taking aptitude tests, sitting with guidance counselors, advisors, professors all in an effort to prepare me for a chosen profession, not once did anyone ever mention anything even remotely related to studying to become the President of The Beer Institute.
Because I most certainly would have altered my chosen field of study - and - I definitely would never have had to endure the endless admonitions that I was not "applying myself" and not "living up to my full potential", if I had had that position as a career goal.
Well. I guess my long and storied career as an anonymous, unpaid, volunteer beer product tester continues unabated.
Which makes it even more important that we work together to lessen the burdens placed on middle class access to beer through lowering taxes on it.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
It's been a bit of a rocky start for Obama.
Barely two weeks into his presidency, the media is bewildered by the daily snafus coming from the White House: the galactic mismanagement of the corrupt stimulus bill, the Daschle debacle, the Geithner outrage, the Zinni circus, the Killefer embarrassment. These are hardly the products of a well-oiled machine. Then there's the utter lack of seriousness conveyed by Obama's claim that we are at war with "some" terrorist organizations and his disingenuous handling of Gitmo and rendition.
I can’t recall an entering executive misfiring on so many issues — from his nomination of lawbreakers to high office, to breaking his own self-imposed ethics rules, to throwing away any and all goodwill he had from House Republicans with his “I won” retort, to his having to apologize to Old Europe for having a tin ear on protectionist trade policies, to being utterly surprised that his efforts to unilaterally and without precondition meet with the leaders of Iran were publicly perceived as a sign of weakness and defeat, to his driving portions of New Europe away from America and back towards the Russians — at one time as Mr. Obama has in just sixteen days as president.
Well, here we go...
Don't blame me, I voted for the only candidate with actual executive experience in the election ... from either party ... on the top or bottom of the ticket.
Oh, and yeah, I'll say this again...
You cannot spell
“OBAMA’S  PROMISES TO BRING  YOU  HOPE  AND  CHANGE ARE  BULLSHIT”
I   T-O-L-D   Y-O-U   S-OBut seriously, gird your loins, Obama. This country actually does need you to do better.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
But, as I’ve noted before, isn’t [Geithner’s tax problems] — together with Charlie Rangel’s problems — an argument for tax simplification? I mean, if the Chairman of Ways and Means, and the Treasury Secretary nominee — who’s head of a Federal Reserve Bank — can’t keep their taxes straight, how can the government expect the rest of us to?
Yes, I think tax simplification is the best idea that could possibly come out of this whole mess. But, uh, we should probably tread lightly with putting the idea in Obama’s head that filing taxes is too hard and something big should be done about it.
Because Obama already does have an idea to help address the problem — but it isn’t simplifying the tax code. Obama offers to have the IRS do your taxes for you:
Simplify Tax Filings for Middle Class Americans: Obama and Biden will dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes. Obama and Biden will ensure that the IRS uses the information it already gets from banks and employers to give taxpayers the option of pre-filled tax forms to verify, sign and return. Experts estimate that the Obama-Biden proposal will save Americans up to 200 million total hours of work and aggravation and up to $2 billion in tax preparer fees.
Starting with filers of the simplest kind of return — the 1040 EZ — the IRS would estimate their tax burdens and simply send them a bill or a refund. Unless they choose to challenge the IRS, that would be the end of it. It would work much like property taxes do in most counties and municipalities. After the EZ filers, Simple Return could quickly expand to include everyone who takes the standard deduction, and then to others with more complicated situations — perhaps even me. Goolsbee writes that it could eventually apply to as many as 40 percent of U.S. taxpayers.
There you go – with the revelations of how hard it is for the Rangels and Geithners and Daschles of the world, is it not a small step to imagine that Obama would see this as a perfect opportunity to expand his plan (Obama, try and expand government power? You don’t say!) ensnaring as many people as possible.
Go read all of Freddoso’s article.
Afterall, it really does seem like a tax crisis when so many Obama nominees are this confounded by simply trying to fulfill their patriotic tax-paying duty.
Wait. Did I say crisis? Uh oh.
"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,"
--Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff to President Obama
Gird your loins! Hold onto your wallets!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Here is the Alaska Volcano Observatory website, with a whole host of information about Mt. Redoubt, including maps as well as images of the last time it erupted.
And now we have a couple of aerial photographs of Mt. Redoubt from the inimitable commenter at JustOneMinute, "Daddy", a pilot who lives in Alaska.
Daddy says that at the time the photos were taken, they were approximately 100 miles out on their descent into Anchorage, approximately 20,000 feet, looking South toward Mt. Redoubt. In the first photo, just below the summit, there is a plume of smoke which is the location of the forming caldera. In the second photo, you also have Mt. Iliamna in the distance, which has its own plume of smoke barely discernible on the left side of the peak.
Fascinating. Stay safe, Daddy.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Tom Daschle, the nominee to become Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services has been outed in what is no longer a particularly exclusive club, Democatic Tax Chiselers Nominated to Serve in the Obama Administration.
Tom Maguire writes in his latest post about the practical ramifications of Obama having set such a low bar for nominees in high places:
I am sooo looking forward to April 15 (that's tax-filing day for the Democrats out there). Instead of vexing myself with hours of tedious record-review I'll just put down any numbers that pop into my head, secure in the knowledge that a simple apology will suffice if I'm ever questioned. Well, first I have to change my party registration to "D" and mail that check to Obama...
Odd. Surely Tom is aware that within the bowels of his very own comments section, the need to make up numbers, then apologize if caught has been eliminated.
We'll let Clarice Feldman set things up with her blog post at American Thinker:
Line 1: Are you a Democrat?
Line 2: How much income [d]o you want to declare for this year?
Line 3: How much tax do you feel like paying on that income?
It wasn't our idea, and all credit goes to DaveG at Ann Althouse's and Ranger at Just One Minute. But we were able to obtain an electronic copy of the 1040DEM:
Click to enlarge and see if you can spot the differences between this and the traditional, non-partisan 1040.
Oh, and Tom, you're welcome.