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Archive for August, 2008

Once we get past the staged convention nonsense, the campaigns will turn back to issues, running ads pointing out the oppositions’ flaws, and then run ads saying how the opposition is lying. For many voters, the economy is the biggest issue in this election. But most of them haven’t got a clue as to what a president should, or can, do to help the economy. Tax policy will get a lot of play in the debates and those useless campaign ads but they don’t mean a thing.

Presidents can propose legislation and they can veto legislation but it is Congress where the action takes place. I don’t have numbers on how many campaign “promises” ever mean anything but my guess is that presidential campaign statements about tax policies have little, if any, connection to what really happens. So Obama and McCain can quote chapter and verse on the percentages of marginal tax rates applying to what income level and it will all mean absolutely nothing. The Democrats will surely control Congress and if you want to see what is in store, look at what someone like Charley Rangel has been talking about recently.

Do I believe Barack Obama will raise taxes? Yep, I sure do. Do I believe John McCain will raise taxes? Ditto. Do I believe that Barack Obama will raise taxes more than John McCain? Duh. But should McCain pull off maybe the upset of the decade, he is going to have to be very adept to keep the Dems under control. The more important question needs to be on the spending side but that just doesn’t appeal to the typical American voter. Do I believe Barack Obama will increase federal government spending? Once again, the answer is yes. Do I believe John McCain will increase federal government spending? Unfortunately, once again the answer is in the affirmative. Do I believe Barack Obama will increase federal government spending more than John McCain? I wish I could say yes but the Republicans have lost their way and McCain will have to be very adroit and get some help from the economy and world situation to rein in spending. So I guess the best I can answer is that I am hopeful that McCain might be able to hold back spending more than Obama, who won’t have any interest in keeping spending under control.  But, for just one example, whatever peace dividend there is from reduction in effort and spending in Iraq will be minimal as everything from Afghanistan to health care compete for increased spending. And that doesn’t even include Russia and whatever game they have decided to start playing.

The original projections on Rangels plans were for around a half a trillion dollars of increases. Currently, the numbers have escalated to around $1.3T. These numbers were based on what Charlie was talking about last fall and may not have any relevance as even they will change significantly once they get down to it in 09. But with Obama in the White House, there will be no reason for the Dems to restrain anything on what could be the largest tax increase in history. Whether they couch it in terms of tax reform or tax fairness the result will be a massive tax increase. Rhetoric that is going on in the campaigns as to limitations to increases only to those taxpayers making over 150 or 250 thousand dollars a year will be meaningless once they start to really push the numbers around. Just one example, Rangel wants a surcharge on those wealthy tax payers. Oh, don’t call it a tax increase as the brackets will “only” go up by a few percent but the numbers I have seen for the surcharge he wants is on the order of 4% on AGI over $200K and 4.6% for higher income tax payers. And please note that our Democratic friends are not even letting you have some deductions and using taxable income but AGI so it will potentially wipe out your mortgage deductions, charitable contributions, state and local tax deductions, etc.

Obama and McCain tax proposals? If you base your vote on how well a candidate will lie to you then you can pay attention. For me, their proposals mean nothing. The reality of what will happen once either of them takes office and works with a Democratic controlled Congress will be very different than any of the lies they are telling on the campaign trail. And for those of you who feel that it is about time that all the fat cats get their comeuppance and pay their “fair share” of tax bills, be careful what you wish for. You are going to find yourself paying more in taxes and you may also find that businesses, even with reduced corporate taxes as Rangel wants to put in for a red herring, will be far less able to make or keep jobs in the US. So when either candidate runs ads on their tax plan benefits, their opponents tax plan disasters, and then the ads pointing out how the other side is lying, just save your sanity and ignore them. Unless, of course, you want to vote for the guy who’s the better liar.

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Obama / Biden

I heard this on CNN this morning and man did I laugh hard.

Biden really!? Its funny that a person that has 0 experience on anything in foreign politics or anything nationally really picks someone with Washington credentials and foreign policy experience. Which in the words of Obama “if I should not be able to lead this country can take my place”. So he picks Biden.

So to skip the whole “possibility” of Obama not being able to serve why not just choose McCain with the experience and is the Presidential nominee already?

I figured I’d hit the photoshop cave and pop this out before anyone else does, because the coincidence is way to to easy to pass up.

Osama Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden

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News Link

Riot police used tear gas Wednesday to block hundreds of Venezuelans protesting the latest moves by President Hugo Chavez to concentrate his power. The demonstrators said a blacklist of opposition candidates and a series of socialist decrees are destroying what’s left of their democracy.

Though the protest of about 1,000 people chanting “freedom!” was small compared to past marches, there is a growing public outcry over the sidelining of key government opponents ahead of state and local elections in November.

Chavez opponents also are outraged by 26 laws the president just decreed, some of them mirroring the socialist measures voters rejected in a December referendum.

“We said in the referendum that we didn’t want that, and now he’s put it in the decrees,” said protester Josefina Bravo, a 59-year-old who wore a sticker reading “No means no” on her baseball cap. “That’s the problem we have: All the powers are concentrated in the president.”

Chavez seems like he wants attention again.
Looks like after his stinging defeat last year he is coming back for more, only this time he doesn’t have to worry about defeat. He makes the rules.

This is the problem people fail to grasp with Socialist parties and their agendas. Its not what YOU the people think is right, its what the GOVT thinks is right for YOU. Its the same idealistic, mommy govt that is being pushed in this country only lots more subtle.

The movements in NYC to remove trans fat, because well, you don’t know any better.
The movements in LA to stop any fast food restaurants from operating, because you don’t know better. The proposals being highlighted by Obama for things to ‘change’ this country, because you don’t know better.

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News Link

Morgan Stanley, the second-biggest U.S. securities firm, told thousands of clients this week that they won’t be allowed to withdraw money on their home-equity credit lines, said a person familiar with the situation.

Most of the clients had properties that have lost value, according to the person, who declined to be identified because the information isn’t public. The New York-based investment bank will review home-equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, monthly from now on, the person said yesterday.

Wall Street firms including Morgan Stanley are ratcheting back on risks after the collapse of the subprime mortgage market and ensuing credit contraction saddled banks and brokerages with almost $500 billion of writedowns and losses. Consumers fell behind on home-equity credit lines at the fastest pace in two decades in the first quarter, the American Bankers Association reported last month.

“Morgan Stanley periodically reassesses client property values and risk profiles,” said Christine Pollak, a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman in Purchase, New York. “A segment of clients was recently notified of a change in the status of their home- equity line of credit, or HELOC, due to a change in the value of their property and/or their credit profile.”

Pollak declined to specify the dollar amount of the frozen credit lines. The firm’s global wealth management division, which doesn’t disclose how many clients it serves, had 8,350 advisers managing $739 billion of customer assets at the end of May, according to its second-quarter earnings report.

No Recovery Seen

“It’s evidence that they don’t think the economy is going to recover quickly,” said Brad Hintz, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York who rates Morgan Stanley shares “outperform” and who owns some of the stock. “The fact that they’re trying to get ahead of the problem is very good.”

Morgan Stanley has already taken about $14.4 billion of losses related to leveraged loans and collateralized debt obligations. The clampdown on home-equity loans mirrors similar efforts by commercial banks, said David Hendler, an analyst at Credit Sights Inc. in New York.

“All consumer lenders and home-equity lenders are reassessing the environment given the pressure on housing and the economy,” Hendler said.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the second-biggest U.S. bank by market value after Bank of America Corp., has notified 150,000 customers about changes in their home-equity lines of credit since March, said Christine Holevas, a Chicago-based spokeswoman.

Changes Made

In some cases the lines have been reduced and in other cases they’ve been suspended, depending on the change in home values, she said. The changes affect about 15 percent of JPMorgan’s home- equity credit customers, Holevas said.

Bank of America and Washington Mutual Inc. are among the other lenders that have frozen home-equity credit lines this year.

“Morgan Stanley customers are typically coming out of their wealth management side, so typically a high net worth customer,” said Christopher Whalen, co-founder of Institutional Risk Analytics in Torrance, California. “This shows you they are under the same pressures as everybody else.”

This may be a good time folks to look at what you have in your line, access if you may need it for a rainy day fund (like I will be doing) and see if taking out some of that money now before it disappears is a good idea.

Don’t forget about the interest rate you will be paying to take that money out. Best thing to do to offset it, is to put that money into a structured CD or online savings bank account that will at the very least give you some 4% interest rate on it. Most people are paying 6-8% on HELOC’s. Access if a 3% loss on that borrowing is worth it for emergency funds that may not be there later.

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Looks like even Wal-Mart sees that democrats controlling both branches of Govt is a bad idea.
They too see Obama’s socialist tendencies. Couple that with those of Pelosi and Reid and you have a situation that could very well bury this economy for good.

Sounds great right?

News Link

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win power in November, they’ll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize companies — including Wal-Mart.

In recent weeks, thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized.

According to about a dozen Wal-Mart employees who attended such meetings in seven states, Wal-Mart executives claim that employees at unionized stores would have to pay hefty union dues while getting nothing in return, and may have to go on strike without compensation. Also, unionization could mean fewer jobs as labor costs rise.

The actions by Wal-Mart — the nation’s largest private employer — reflect a growing concern among big business that a reinvigorated labor movement could reverse years of declining union membership. That could lead to higher payroll and health costs for companies already being hurt by rising fuel and commodities costs and the tough economic climate.

The Wal-Mart human-resources managers who run the meetings don’t specifically tell attendees how to vote in November’s election, but make it clear that voting for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama would be tantamount to inviting unions in, according to Wal-Mart employees who attended gatherings in Maryland, Missouri and other states.

“The meeting leader said, ‘I am not telling you how to vote, but if the Democrats win, this bill will pass and you won’t have a vote on whether you want a union,'” said a Wal-Mart customer-service supervisor from Missouri. “I am not a stupid person. They were telling me how to vote,” she said.

“If anyone representing Wal-Mart gave the impression we were telling associates how to vote, they were wrong and acting without approval,” said David Tovar, Wal-Mart spokesman. Mr. Tovar acknowledged that the meetings were taking place for store managers and supervisors nationwide.

Wal-Mart’s worries center on a piece of legislation known as the Employee Free Choice Act, which companies say would enable unions to quickly add millions of new members. “We believe EFCA is a bad bill and we have been on record as opposing it for some time,” Mr. Tovar said. “We feel educating our associates about the bill is the right thing to do.”

People really don’t see how damaging Unions have been do they?
Look no further than the Big 3 automakers. Whom are all swimming in pension debt that they are all too eager to get rid of as soon as possible. Its no wonder Detroit is in Shambles and the governor nor the Mayor for that matter have any sort of response other than increase taxes. Like that is the solution?

The bill was crafted by labor as a response to more aggressive opposition by companies to union-organizing activity. The AFL-CIO and individual unions such as the United Food and Commercial Workers have promised to make passage of the new labor law their No. 1 mission after the November election.

First introduced in 2003, the bill came to a vote last year and sailed through the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, but was blocked by a filibuster in the Senate and faced a veto threat by the White House. The bill was taken off the floor, and its backers pledged to reintroduce it when they could get more support.

The November election could bring that extra support in Congress, as well as the White House if Sen. Obama is elected and Democrats extend their control in the Senate. Sen. Obama co-sponsored the legislation, which also is known as “card check,” and has said several times he would sign it into law if elected president. Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, opposes the Employee Free Choice Act and voted against it last year.

Wal-Mart’s labor-relations meetings are led by human-resources managers who received training from Wal-Mart on the implications of the Employee Free Choice Act.

This bill is almost CERTAIN to pass with Obama in the white house.
I said it before and I will go on record saying it again.
Obama’s ‘economic’ and ‘social’ plans will destroy the US economy for SURE.
People think things are bad now, wait till the big O gets in there.

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Tax Oil companies.

News Link

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Friday announced an “Emergency Economic Plan” that would give families a stimulus check of $1,000 each, funded in part by what his presidential campaign calls “windfall profits from Big Oil.”

Details are in this six-page policy paper.

The first part of Obama’s plan is an emergency energy rebate ($500 to individual workers, $1,000 to families) as soon as this fall.

“This rebate will be enough to offset the increased cost of gas for a working family over the next four months,” Obama said. “Or, if you live in a state where it gets very cold in the winter, it will be enough to cover the entire increase in your heating bills. Or you could use the rebate for any of your other bills or even to pay down debt

Separately, Obama’s plan includes a $50 billion stimulus package that his campaign claims would save more than 1 million jobs.

Half of the money would go to state governments, which are facing big budget shortfalls, and half would be used for national infrastructure, including replenishing the Highway Trust Fund, rebuilding roads and bridges, and repairing schools.

Obama announced his plan 27 minutes after a Labor Department report showed unemployment hit a four-year high of 5.7 percent in July — the highest rate since March 2004, when it was 5.8 percent.

“We need to do more,” Obama said in a statement. “That’s why today I’m announcing a two-part emergency plan to help struggling families make ends meet and get our economy back on track.

McCain reacted to the surprisingly dour jobs report with a two-paragraph statement: “Across this country, Americans are hurting and today’s job numbers are just the latest reminder of the economic challenges we face. … Unlike Sen. Obama, I do not believe that raising taxes is the answer to our economic problems. There is no surer way to force jobs overseas than to raise taxes on businesses.”

Obama announced his plan for a windfall profits tax on oil companies on June 9 in Raleigh, N.C., as he launched a two-week economic tour after clinching the Democratic nomination.

Friday’s proposal says Obama “is proposing to offset the cost of his emergency energy rebates over the next five years by enacting a windfall profits tax on big oil companies.”

“Obama simply asks that big oil companies contribute a reasonable share of the windfall profits they receive from high oil prices over the next five years to pay for emergency assistance for families right now,” the campaign says.

That is Obama’s plan? To tax Oil companies to then give that money to Oil Consumers who will then buy more oil based products? HUH?

What is this Windfall profit that Obama keeps talking about?
Is there a margin rate that meets this requirement?

This is so ridiculous, I cannot believe that this man is really running for president.

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