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Fair Share

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

There’s a lot of talk nowadays about people paying their “fair share” of taxes.

The chart below shows two groups’ share of the nation’s income and share of the nation’s Federal income taxes for 2008. The original data source is the IRS.

Share of income and federal income taxes

Question 1: Which group in this chart pays more than their fair share and which pays less?

Now don’t change your answers. Group A is the bottom 50% of income earners in the country. They earn 13% of the country’s income but pay only 3% of the federal income taxes. Group B is the top 1% of income earners in the country (”the rich”). They alone foot nearly 40% of the total income tax bill for the country:

1% of Americans pay 40% of the income taxes.

And, viagra buy viagra they earn 20% of the income. Which group gets preferential tax treatment?

Labeled share of income and income taxes

Question 2: If Group B pays more than its fair share, pharmacy why is it that Obama claims that the top 1% is paying less than its fair share?

Presumably the American value is equal opportunity. That value is consistent with our idea of one person, sildenafil one vote, and the premise for the American Revolution – that all men (people) are created equal. It is in fact not only the basis of institutions and laws such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Equal Credit Opportunity Act, but also of course their namesakes.

That said, the goal of liberals in general and Obama’s tax policy specifically would appear to be equality of result. The basis for such a goal would seem to be lacking. There is not an Equal Income Commission nor an Equal Net Worth Act – and for good reason. By what legal authority can a person or a government commandeer the product of a free individual’s work and life or otherwise limit an individual’s productivity merely in order to deliver equality of result? It would seem categorically impossible to enact any such law without trampling basic individual rights. An individual subject to such a law would either be a victim of theft or some sort of government mandated slavery. Setting aside the ideas of individual freedom and what’s right and wrong, on a practical means-to-an-end level, it’s difficult to imagine how such policy would not relegate us to a world where the achievers choose not to achieve. Given the choice of working without remuneration or not working, clearly many would choose the latter. The consequence of that would seem to be fairly undesirable.

If it wasn’t already, it’s now abundantly clear that Obama and other liberals want to require Americans to live in a world where they alone have the power to dictate, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The problem is the world already had the opportunity to live that way. We chose not to. We told Karl Marx to go pound sand. We should tell Obama and the rest of them to do the same.

At Least I Don’t Live in San Francisco

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

If you think your world is weird, viagra canada sildenafil imagine living in San Francisco.

2010 Voter Guide

By Jim Anderson, generic viagra cialis Silicon Valley Bank

Every couple of years the public officials in San Francisco send commentators like me a gift, titled with uncharacteristic humility, “Voter Information Pamphlet & Sample Ballot – City and County of San Francisco.” As I carefully read through the 192 pages I feel like I’m watching one of those Saturday Night Live reruns. You know, the ones in which the satirical commercials are so realistic you can’t tell if they are a joke. Then I catch myself — after all, no one would write 192 pages of satire.

There are a number of important items and candidates on the ballot. One of them even caught the eye of a famous venture capitalist and was profiled in his editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Then there is proposition measure C, which would “require the Mayor to appear in person” at a Board of Supervisors meeting once a month to “engage in formal policy discussions with the Board.” Now, the Mayor is permitted to come to any board meeting and take the floor to speak with the supervisors about anything he wants, but he has chosen not to. Perhaps the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors don’t have a great working relationship. I’m not sure amending the city charter is the best way to solve that problem. I vote no.

Proposition D is also a good one. It will permit non-citizens to vote in San Francisco elections. This came up a few years ago and lost. I’m OK with this idea so long as we San Franciscans can vote in other cities’ elections. The only tough part is deciding which ones. Maybe we could use our sister city relationships as a starting point. San Francisco has 13 sister cities and I’ve no doubt there is a luxuriously staffed city department to maintain and augment these connections. I’m also fairly certain that the Mayor and other city officials may need to travel to Abidjan, Cork, Assisi, Caracas, Haifa, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Manila, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Taipei and Zurich, from time to time to see how our sisters are faring.

Now, securing the right to vote in all these other locales may be difficult, not to mention the cost of translating their voter guides into English, Spanish, Japanese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Mandarin and Korean as would be required here in San Francisco. Zurich might be especially tough. The Swiss don’t fool around when it comes to their democracy. I am particularly disappointed that we do not have a sister city in France. I think the Mayor and supervisors should jet off on a fact-finding mission to Nîmes as soon as possible to see if the French might be interested. At any rate, I decide to vote no on D until I know where else I will get the right to vote.

Proposition I is to permit Saturday voting. With pervasive access to absentee ballots on a permanent basis I’m not sure this is necessary. Besides, I like the idea of people taking time off work to vote. It sends the right cultural message about our priorities as citizens. I vote no.

Propositions J and K seem very similar. One is the “Hotel Tax Clarification and Temporary Increase” and the other is “Hotel Tax Clarification and Definitions.” I had no idea there was so much confusion about hotel taxes that it would require two ballot measures to clarify them. Actually one measure will raise hotel taxes while the other leaves them unchanged. I’m not clear on why we need a ballot measure to not change something. Initially, I don’t have a strong view on this as higher taxes on those millionaire and billionaire tourists is ok with me. This is the famous theory of taxation articulated by the late Senator Russell Long as, “Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that man behind the tree.”

But there is more. Proposition J would also recover taxes from Internet booking sites that collect taxes from customers, but may not always pay them to the municipalities. Buying months of hotel rooms, Expedia and Travelocity could argue that they qualify as “permanent residents” of San Francisco and thus are exempt from the tax. (At this point I’m wondering whether Expedia and Travelocity as permanent residents, albeit, non-human ones, would be permitted to vote as non-citizens under Proposition D.)

Proposition K also contains what we call here a “poison pill” provision to kill off the competing Proposition J if both should pass. Reading through the poison pill I marvel at the creativity behind its invention. If only that same entrepreneurial flair could be applied to city services. I vote yes on K to encourage more creativity in government.

Now let’s turn to the candidates. I always find this challenging because I never know any of the people running. I have a few guidelines to help me. In general, I vote against all incumbents, except those who are trying to change things. Of course, once they get comfortable in office they seem to lose interest in making any changes. I would also vote for them if I thought the city was well-managed. It is not. I read the bios and tend to vote for engineers, scientists and business people. I feel they are more likely to bring a logical, pragmatic approach to solving the city’s problems. I do keep track of my votes, however, and I can confide here that no one I’ve ever voted for in San Francisco has been elected to anything.

One oddity in our ballot is that we can rank candidates in order of preference: first, second and third. This invention was designed to avoid expensive run-off elections if no one got a clear majority. Unfortunately, for the job of assessor-recorder there are only two candidates running. The job of public defender is even better. There is only one candidate. I skip that one.

Choosing school board members is quite demanding because there are so many candidates. As a point of background, the San Francisco Unified School District is not that bad. The dropout rate is only 18 percent and Lowell High School is ranked 28th nationally. But they are not succeeding with their customers: parents and students. The district loses about 400-500 students per year to the suburbs and private schools. That is the equivalent of shutting down one grade school every year. Still, the budget seems to grow each year — especially the administrative budget. Almost 50 percent of SFUSD budget dollars are spent on items other than teachers, books and classrooms. Given those facts, I feel comfortable voting against all the incumbents.

There is one new candidate for school board in my polling area that catches my eye named Starchild. The occupation is listed as erotic service provider.” (I’m not making this up.) Oddly, Starchild has some excellent ideas, such as making teacher pay higher than administrator pay and allowing students to attend their first choice schools. When popular schools are full, Starchild would open new schools run by a core of the teachers from the successful schools. I like that idea so he/she gets my vote. As you may have guessed, Starchild’s bio is gender neutral.

If we redefine corruption as taking public money and wasting it rather than using it for personal purposes, San Francisco is easily one of the most corrupt cities in the U.S. The annual budget is a whopping $6.6 billion or $8,033 for each of the 815,358 residents. This is the highest per capita spending of any major city in the U.S. The average city worker receives $120,000 per year in wages and benefits. For comparison, Los Angeles has a budget of $7.1 billion for more than four times the population. In fact, there are enough city workers in San Francisco for every family of four to have a personal assistant from the city three days per month. Maybe I should call up the mayor and have him send my guy over. I need some help cleaning out the garage.

Obamanomics: No Price is too High, No Right too Holy

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

GM’s Next Bankruptcy

By Jim Anderson, buy viagra stuff Silicon Valley Bank

We enjoyed the General Motor’s TV ads last April when CEO Edward Whitacre proclaimed they had repaid 100 percent of the debt to taxpayers ahead of schedule. This glorious achievement of modern industrial policy was even trumpeted from the White House as Press Secretary Robert Gibbs tweeted, viagra viagra “GM pays back US $6.7 billion used to save jobs…5 years ahead of schedule.”

Later it was determined that the debt repayment was accomplished not with cash flow from operations, but by drawing down additional TARP funds according to TARP administrator Neil Barosky. It was disappointing that GM still had such little respect for the intelligence of the taxpayers who are, after all, potential customers.

In a bankruptcy process that would have made Hugo Chavez proud, the administration’s political supporters at the UAW were granted 17.5 percent of the equity. The Canadian government received 11.7 percent and the Feds took control of 61 percent. The hapless bondholders who actually had the legal claim to the assets were left out of the negotiations and picked up the residual 9.8 percent. When the dust settled GM had $23.5 billion in cash and only $5.3 billion in long-term debt.

We suppose the turnaround is pretty remarkable as the company served up a six-month profit of $2.2 billion on sales of $64 billion. Management did have the benefit of walking away from $46 billion in debt obligations. In essence, they received some $60 billion in operating assets without ever having to pay for them. Sweet deal. A brief review of the S-1 filing revealed, however, some obligations that were preserved at 100 cents on the dollar, notably the pension obligation to the UAW which is still accreting now up to $26 billion. The marked drop in “Other post retirement benefits” from $29 billion to $8.6 billion is the healthcare benefits that were swapped for the aforementioned 17.5 percent ownership position of a UAW Trust.*

In July, a colleague sent us this headline,”GM buys subprime lender for $3.5 billion.” As part of the deal, GMAC, its old finance arm, was separated and rescued with $17 billion of taxpayer funds. The Feds now own 56 percent and about $10 billion in preferred stock. Renamed Ally Bank, the new GMAC provides car financing for Chrysler and GM, but tends to set credit standards above subprime as they work through massive losses from old-GM car customers and old-GMAC’s foray into the subprime mortgage business. Hence, GM’s need for the taxpayers to buy them a new, captive subprime car lender for the new GM. As they say, your tax dollars at work.

With the banks largely paying back their TARP funds with interest and the government taking gains on the warrants, speculation has turned to the denouement of the takeover of most of the U.S. auto sector. Much of the analysis has been prompted by GM’s pending IPO. Although there has not been a complete accounting for $110 billion of tax dollars committed to the sector which included Chrysler, GM, GMAC, their various suppliers and $7.5 billion to subsidized the development of “green automobiles,” the hope is that some of this will be returned now that the “recession is over.”

In order to recover the $52 billion invested to save GM and the UAW, the IPO shares would need to fetch $134 each according to the Wall Street Journal. The deal, which is expected to come to market in November, is not priced yet, but we suspect that $134 is well above the high end of any range.

Using Ford as a proxy as it is only slightly larger than GM, ($133 billion in sales versus $129 billion), and more profitable, (EBIT of $8.6 billion compared to $5.8 billion at GM), we can get some idea of what is in store for our investment. Ford has a market capitalization of $43 billion or 5 times EBIT. That implies that GM might be worth as much as $29 billion. So our $52 billion to buy 61 percent ownership would round out to $18 billion or a loss of a cool $34 billion. But then we did preserve 96,000 jobs albeit, in my opinion, at uncompetitive and unsustainable wages and benefits. This brings us to our last point.

At GM the seeds of the next bankruptcy and bailout are already germinating. (Recall that for Chrysler this is the second go thanks to the largess of taxpayers.) When the bailout deal was cut the United Auto Workers crowed that, “For our active members these tentative changes mean no loss in your hourly base, no reduction in your healthcare, and no reduction in pensions.” Once GM is public and if profits continue, we will find out how tentative the union concessions really were.

* General Motors, Form S-1 Registration Statement, August 18, 2010.

The Unreported Story of Freddie and Fannie

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

This is from Silicon Valley Bank’s SVB Financial Group. It’s disturbing – almost as disturbing as the fact that it goes unreported. Of course, tadalafil see that fact is itself only a shadow of the horror of the reality that our country is too engaged in class warfare (i.e. blaming Wall Street) to even bother taking notice.


March Mortgage Madness
By Jim Anderson, doctor Silicon Valley Bank

When asked at a recent economic summit at Stanford if the administration would begin to tackle the problem of mortgage behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Director of the Obama Administration’s National Economic Council Larry Summers explained that, “(T)hese are not profit making entities.” He went on to say that any effort to make significant changes in the next few years would be “highly problematic” for the housing market and the economy in general.

Recall that Fannie and Freddie were the original source of the sub-prime mortgage concept that evolved into the global financial conflagration. Today they own or guarantee $5.3 trillion or about 50 percent of all the existing mortgages in the U.S. More importantly, about 90 percent of all mortgage originations in the U.S. will pass into the hands of these two companies. They remain the largest recipients of bailout cash — the limit of $400 billion in taxpayer support that was committed when they went into conservatorship in September 2008 was lifted last year by Treasury Secretary Geithner.

Part of the problem in the housing market today is that the only source of financing are these two congressional creations and they are in deep financial trouble. Mismanaged for years, with any meaningful oversight effectively blocked by the House Financial Services Committee currently chaired by Barney Frank, today they carry the extreme profiles of risk-taking excess that has so often been laid at the feet of Wall Street firms. Freddie Mac has total assets of $841 billion with shareholders equity of $4.4 billion. That is leverage of 191 times — a level that Lehman’s outcast CEO, Dick Fuld, could only dream about. Fannie Mae is even better. They have total assets of $869 billion and a negative net worth of $15 billion. To capitalize these two properly would require an additional infusion of $216 billion from taxpayers.

So how does all this play out in the real world? I know of one unfortunate couple that is trying to refinance their first mortgage. The loan-to-value is about 39 percent. The credit scores of the joint mortgagees are both above 800. The total mortgage amount is less than twice their combined annual income exclusive of bonuses. They have liquid assets sufficient to pay off the entire mortgage tomorrow and they have no other indebtedness. They dutifully filled out a detailed application at Bank of America in January. What followed was a blizzard of 46 emails requesting additional documentation and proof of everything on the application. After 90 days and delivering over 100 pages of background material, the couple asked in frustration, “Who needs all this information?” BofA’s equally frustrated representative explained that it intends to sell the mortgage once it is closed and that the investor needed all the details. The obvious next question was, “Who is the investor?” Answer: Fannie Mae.

So how does their experience dovetail with the constant stream of headlines about mortgage activity? Here is a sample from the last week or so:

Mortgage Assistance for Unemployed Announced: The Obama administration today announced new measures to provide mortgage assistance for unemployed homeowners and encourage lenders to reduce principal on “underwater” mortgages when modifying loans for at-risk borrowers. —

Bank of America to Write Off Principal on Some Mortgages: Bank of America (BofA) will forgive up to 30 percent of the balance owed on certain at-risk mortgages as part of its loan modification efforts to assist homeowners in avoiding foreclosure. —

Chase Agrees to Modify Second Liens: JP Morgan Chase has become the third major lender to announce it will modify second-lien mortgages under the Obama Administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) —

Half of U.S. Home Loan Modifications Default Again: More than half of U.S. borrowers who received loan modifications on delinquent mortgages defaulted again after nine months, according to a federal report. — Bloomberg

FBI Storms Loan Modification Company: State and federal agents raided the largest loan modification company in Arizona on Thursday. — Loan Modification News

[NOTE: Paragraph deleted.]

We find it disturbing that with all the calls for new, more politically-oriented oversight of the financial services industry, Congress has failed to address their own handiwork. Of the entire federal bailout program, Fannie and Freddie dwarf the combined total cost for the rest of the economy. According to CBO numbers, AIG is expected to have a final net cost of $9 billion, and the whole banking sector less than $30 billion. The other main components of the $99 billion in estimated principal losses from the $700 billion TARP program are $20 billion for mortgage modifications and $48 billion to bailout the United Auto Workers union through the good auspices of General Motors, Chrysler and their suppliers.

This brings up two core questions: Is there a private mortgage market in the U.S? And do we need one? The answer to the first query, as we have demonstrated, is no. The mortgage market in the U.S. is currently controlled by Congress and the Obama Administration. We think the answer to the second is a resounding yes. Until Fannie and Freddie get wound down, we will not have rational pricing or rational origination in mortgages.

Today there is no relationship between risk and return. The best, most concessionary terms go to the highest risks. Private investors will never be attracted to that profile, except with taxpayer guarantees which one day will reach a limit. Private mortgage originators, absent those guarantees, will never be able to compete. The ultimate irony is that the burden of the housing collapse on U.S. households and the accelerating foreclosure problem that the administration constantly worries about is being exacerbated by their own feckless policies. Until those underwater assets are properly priced, sold and put to use by economically viable owners, the property market will not be on the road to recovery.

Finally, the Answer?

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Why have our nation’s health care costs skyrocketed over the past several decades? Is it the 5% profit margins of the evil insurance companies? Is it a demographic shift? Obesity? Malpractice awards and insurance? Defensive medicine? Fraud? Lack of competition or a “public option”?

From the grave, viagra buy viagra through the Wall Street Journal, cialis Milton Friedman makes a strong case as to the real cause. I pasted in the article below.

This is insightful stuff. The point would seem to me that basically there is something much less than a free market for health insurance. Think about it. Have you ever researched your health insurance before purchasing? How many providers did you consider? What are the key features or decision criteria you used in selecting your health insurance plan? Perhaps more importantly, patient how did you decide how many dollars of coverage to pay for or which health risks to insure?

With only immaterial exceptions, health insurance policy holders are buyers of neither health care nor even health insurance. They take what’s offered, subsidized, or even outright given to them by their employer. In America, the actual buyer of health insurance is neither the buyer or consumer of health care. That’s a huge problem – we’re living that problem now. The next stop is Obamacare.

Until I read Friedman’s article, it didn’t occur to me that moral hazard isn’t really the problem. It’s seems more accurately to be moral hazard on crack and steroids when it comes to health care in America. The reason is our employer-based health insurance system and the employer premium subsidies that aggravate that problem.

Think about it: Americans in a way are already getting “free” health care – through their employers. When a good or service has value and no price, demand will always outpace supply. “No price” means one thing when the consumer must decide whether to just be safe and get that MRI or to save the money and not – but wait, what money would the consumer save? Obviously none. But that’s the moral hazard problem we’ve got with health insurance right? Wrong. The consumer doesn’t even decide to pay less for a less generous health insurance plan. They’re given the plan by the employer – one size fits all (or a few sizes). Once given the all you can eat plan, why wouldn’t you eat all you can and then take some in a to-go bag?

We’ve successfully disconnected value and cost. We’ve destroyed the free market, and we’ve done it through government policy. As Friedman writes, it’s Medicare and Medicaid, but it’s also tax policy. Given the greater number of people on employer plans versus Medicare and Medicaid, maybe the tax policy is even more responsible. Whichever policy is more to blame, yet again, the government and leftists that created the problem look at what’s left of the private industry and free market they’ve handcuffed and mutilated and shout from the roof tops that we must have more government to solve the problem.

So what do you think? Am I missing something here? Have you heard this case before?

It’s mind boggling to me that our country, prosperity, and fates can be so easily brought down by obfuscation and the leadership of the likes of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. If reason and intellect will not protect us and we do not demand that the Constitution does, where does that leave us?

Read below. You won’t be sorry. You must know this.

A Way Out of Soviet-Style Health Care
Solzhenitsyn’s prophetic warning about the depersonalization of medicine.


Editor’s note: The following is excerpted from an article with the same headline by Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman that was published in the Wall Street Journal on April 17, 1996. Friedman died in 2006. A related editorial appears nearby:

In a chapter in his novel “The Cancer Ward” titled “The Old Doctor,” Alexander Solzhenitsyn compares “private medical practice” with “universal, free, public health service” through the words of an elderly physician whose practice predated 1918. . .

Mr. Solzhenitsyn himself had no personal experience on which to base his account and yet, in what I have long regarded as a striking example of creative imagination, his character presents an accurate and moving vision. The essence of that vision is the consensual relation between the patient and the physician. The patient was free to choose his physician, and the physician free to accept or reject the patient.

In Mr. Solzhenitsyn’s words, “among all these persecutions [of the old doctor] the most persistent and stringent had been directed against the fact that Doctor Oreschenkov clung stubbornly to his right to conduct a private medical practice, although this was forbidden.”

In the words of Dr. Oreschenkov in conversation with Lyudmila Afanasyevna, a longtime patient and herself a physician in the cancer ward: “In general, the family doctor is the most comforting figure in our lives. But he has been cut down and foreshortened. . . . Sometimes it’s easier to find a wife than to find a doctor nowadays who is prepared to give you as much time as you need and understands you completely, all of you.”

Lyudmila Afanasyevna: “All right, but how many of these family doctors would be needed? They just can’t be fitted into our system of universal, free, public health services.”

Dr. Oreschenkov: “Universal and public—yes, they could. Free, no.”

Lyudmila Afanasyevna: “But the fact that it is free is our greatest achievement.”

Dr. Oreschenkov: “Is it such a great achievement? What do you mean by ‘free’? The doctors don’t work without pay. It’s just that the patient doesn’t pay them, they’re paid out of the public budget. The public budget comes from these same patients. Treatment isn’t free, it’s just depersonalized. If the cost of it were left with the patient, he’d turn the ten rubles over and over in his hands. But when he really needed help he’d come to the doctor five times over. . . .

“Is it better the way it is now? You’d pay anything for careful and sympathetic attention from the doctor, but everywhere there’s a schedule, a quota the doctors have to meet; next! . . . And what do patients come for? For a certificate to be absent from work, for sick leave, for certification for invalids’ pensions: and the doctor’s job is to catch the frauds. Doctor and patient as enemies—is that medicine?”

“Depersonalized,” “doctor and patient as enemies”—those are the key phrases in the growing body of complaints about health maintenance organizations and other forms of managed care. In many managed care situations, the patient no longer regards the physician who serves him as “his” or “her” physician responsible primarily to the patient; and the physician no longer regards himself as primarily responsible to the patient. His first responsibility is to the managed care entity that hires him. He is not engaged in the kind of private medical practice that Dr. Oreschenkov valued so highly.

For the first 30 years of my life, until World War II, that kind of practice was the norm. Individuals were responsible for their own medical care. They could pay for it out-of-pocket or they could buy insurance. “Sliding scale” fees plus professional ethics assured that the poor got care. On entry to a hospital, the first question was “What’s wrong?” not “What is your insurance?” It may be that some firms provided health care as a benefit to their workers, but if so it was the exception not the rule.

The first major change in those arrangements was a byproduct of wage and price controls during World War II. Employers, pressed to find more workers under wartime boom conditions but forbidden to offer higher money wages, started adding benefits in kind to the money wage. Employer-provided medical care proved particularly popular. As something new, it was not covered by existing tax regulations, so employers treated it as exempt from withholding tax.

It took a few years before the Internal Revenue Service got around to issuing regulations requiring the cost of employer-provided medical care to be included in taxable wages. That aroused a howl of protest from employees who had come to take tax exemption for granted, and Congress responded by exempting employer- provided medical care from both the personal and the corporate income tax.

Because private expenditures on health care are not exempt from income tax, almost all employees now receive health care coverage from their employers, leading to problems of portability, third party payment and rising costs that have become increasingly serious. Of course, the cost of medical care comes out of wages, but out of before-tax rather than after-tax wages, so that the employee receives what he or she regards as a higher real wage for the same cost to the employer.

A second major change was the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. These added another large slice of the population to those for whom medical care, though not completely “free,” thanks to deductibles and co-payments, was mostly paid by a third party, providing little incentive to economize on medical care. The resulting dramatic rise in expenditures on medical care led to the imposition of controls on both patients and suppliers of medical care in a futile attempt to hold down costs, further undermining the kind of private practice that Dr. Oreschenkov “cherished most in his work.”

The best way to restore freedom of choice to both patient and physician and to control costs would be to eliminate the tax exemption of employer-provided medical care. However, that is clearly not feasible politically. The best alternative available is to extend the tax exemption to all expenditures on medical care, whether made by the patient directly or by employers, to establish a level playing field, in terms of the currently popular cliche.

Many individuals would then find it attractive to negotiate with their employer for a higher cash wage in place of employer-financed medical care. With part or all of the higher cash wage, they could purchase an insurance policy with a very high deductible, i.e., a policy for medical catastrophes, which would be decidedly cheaper than the low-deductible policy their employer had been providing to them, and deposit all or part of the difference in a special “medical savings account” that could be drawn on only for medical purposes. Any amounts unused in a particular year could be allowed to accumulate without being subject to tax, or could be withdrawn with a tax penalty or for special purposes, as with current Individual Retirement Accounts—in effect, a medical IRA. Many employers would find it attractive to offer such an arrangement to their employees as an option. . . .

Obama on Obamacare: I don’t want to get bogged down in the numbers

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

If you’re like most of the country, viagra canada pilule you probably didn’t see all 6 hours of Obama’s infomercial on Obamacare.

You probably also missed Representative Paul Ryan from Wisconsin expose the not-so-well-hidden true costs of Obamacare. Here are the key points.

• “This bill does not control costs (or) reduce deficits. Instead, viagra sale (it) adds a new health care entitlement when we have no idea how to pay for the entitlements we already have.”

• “The bill has 10 years of tax increases, salve about half a trillion dollars, with 10 years of Medicare cuts, about half a trillion dollars, to pay for six years of spending. The true 10-year cost (is) $2.3 trillion.”

• “The bill takes $52 billion in higher Social Security tax revenues and counts them as offsets. But that’s really reserved for Social Security. So either we’re double-counting them or we don’t intend on paying those Social Security benefits.”

• “The bill treats Medicare like a piggy bank, (raiding) half a trillion dollars not to shore up Medicare solvency, but to spend on this new government program.”

• “The chief actuary of Medicare (says) as much as 20% of Medicare providers will either go out of business or have to stop seeing Medicare beneficiaries.”

And here’s the video clip:

Obama’s response: “There are some strong disagreements on the numbers here, Paul, but I don’t want to get too bogged down.”

Sure, Mr. President, let’s not get into the numbers. After all, why let national solvency and American freedom get in the way of progress?

Steve Wynn Blasts Obama

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

On Wynn Resorts’ Feb 25th’s earnings call, best cialis cialis CEO Steve Wynn blasted the Obama administration and Congress for anti-business policies and destructive tax policies. A professional CEO’s atypical engagement in political discourse on an earnings call speaks to the extent of the problem with the Obama-Pelosi-Reid leftist triumvirate.

Here is an excerpt of the call. It’s one of Wynn’s answers to an analyst question.

[A - Stephen Wynn]: …. Job formation and the kinds of companies that make jobs are under attack in the United States of America.

You know, generic cialis MGM aside for a moment. Last year we created almost 5,000 jobs and immediately became the target of the administration. Businesses that created jobs, let alone gaming companies that created jobs, had to be no good. I mean, it is preposterous that businesses are under attack in the United States of America. Anybody that makes over $250,000 in the form of a personal income tax return is now, by Washington definition, a rich person, when everybody who has got a college degree knows that the personal income tax rate in the United States of America is the business tax of America. Every subchapter S, every individual proprietorship and every partnership in the United States of America files tax returns as individuals, and when they do, and they show that they made 2 million or 3 million or, God forbid, 4 million, they pay the income tax rate; they deduct their working expenses, their living expenses; and then they invest in a new store, a new shop, and most of the time 25% of their profits, quote, unquote, are tied up in accounts receivable or inventory. But all of the sudden, all of those people who make over 250,000 are rich folks to be fleeced. And if that’s job formation stimulation in America, I’m Mary Poppins. And if I sound angry about it and disgusted, I am disgusted and angry at the apparent ignorance of the administration and the Congress to recognize the fact that the individual tax rate in the United States of America is, in fact, a business tax of America. And if you keep banging on that, you will destroy the incentive for job formation in the United States of America. And that’s simple truth, simple truth. And whether politicians like it or don’t like it means nothing to me. And that’s why I’m pessimistic about Las Vegas because those are our customers.

Those people out there hustling their business, and God forbid, showing that they made a million dollars as a partnership or as an individual. Yes, they’re the enemy now. They’re the rich folks. Well until we get over this, America’s in for hard times because what’s going to happen is the people that are going to suffer from what’s going on are the working class of America. My 15 or 20,000 employees, they’re the ones that are in trouble. The reason they’re in trouble is this demolition of the dollar is going to reduce the buying power of the working class of America as sure as we gave them a salary cut of 25%.

And that’s another thing that doesn’t seem to be clear to the brilliant people in Washington, D.C. They’re not just our customers, they are my employees. And until my employees get the drift of what’s being done to them, America’s in trouble. Next question.

Obama, Clinton, Schumer, Reid, Feinstein, Biden, Dodd Oppose Nuclear Option

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

“The tyranny of the majority. We need to sit down and work with each other. The Senate is deliberately designed to be less efficient. I pray God when the Democrats take back control we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing. They want their way every single time. They will change the rules, break the rules, and misread the Constitution so they will get their way.”

“This is the way democracy ends.”

Video Clip: You must watch this clip.

It’s not about the big spending, S.O.B. Bush neocons. It’s not about being hypocrites. It’s about being right.

Call your senators and representatives. No law – let alone a $1+ trillion one – should be passed this way.

House of Representatives:


Are We There Yet?

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

The media and Obama tell us we’re out of the recession. The authority on the matter is neither, discount viagra buy viagra but, patient in fact, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a private, non-partisan organization (yes, they exist).

The media tells us that two quarters of GDP contraction is a recession and that a recession is over once there is a quarter of expansion. This is a great example of misinformation disseminated by the media.

Here is a description of the actual methodology from the NBER.

“The committee places particular emphasis on two monthly measures of activity across the entire economy: (1) personal income less transfer payments, in real terms and (2) employment. In addition, the committee refers to two indicators with coverage primarily of manufacturing and goods: (3) industrial production and (4) the volume of sales of the manufacturing and wholesale-retail sectors adjusted for price changes. The committee also looks at monthly estimates of real GDP such as those prepared by Macroeconomic Advisers (see Although these indicators are the most important measures considered by the NBER in developing its business cycle chronology, there is no fixed rule about which other measures contribute information to the process.”

Following are some graphs from Hussman Funds as redistributed by InvestorsInsight.

The blue line is an average of the performance in each metric since 1953. The red line is the current recession. The black line marks the end of each recession, which for the purpose of this recession in these graphs is set to June 2009. The Y axis is an index of the metric (100=recession trough) and the X axis is time in months (0=recession trough).

Industrial Production


Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales


Personal Income (less government wealth redistribution)


Nonfarm Payrolls


Don’t Mind the Mann Behind the Curtain

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

We’re off to see the Wizard, generic cialis prescription the wonderful Wizard of Copenhagen….

Or not.

Canada’s most widely read newspaper, check The Globe and Mail, just put out a great recap of all the fabrications, exaggerations, stone-walling, and fear mongering collectively known as Global Warming. Whether you’re a believer or an infidel, you’ve got to read this. The truth is out there.

The Globe and Mail: “The great global warming collapse”

If after reading through the litany of deceit and deception reviewed by The Globe and Mail, you’re still clinging to Penn State’s Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” graph and suffering from Global Warming induced night terrors and sweats, read on.

Here’s Mr. Mann’s graph:

Global Warming Lies

The “hockey stick” is the black line that skyrockets up in the current time period at the right end of the graph. It is a different color (black) to signify that it comes from different data. IT IS NOT TREE RING DATA. It is data from thermometers. These same thermometers weren’t around before the black line starts. The graph is comparing apples to oranges. It is, to put it most accurately: bullshit. There are now many explanations of why this is so on the web. Here is one. And here is a link to an older post with more links for further explanation. With literally trillions of dollars and substantial amounts of our freedoms riding on potential responses to global warming, the truth is more than worth knowing.

Here’s Mr. Mann’s graph NOT on drugs:

Medieval Al Gore

Those medieval noblemen and their damn SUVs…. as another blogger writes, global warming is, indeed, MANN made.

Any questions?

Now you’ll note there are other differences between these two graphs. One, is the timeline. I believe there are also different methodologies and data sets between the two. I also believe there was more manipulation in the top graph, but, I haven’t gotten into it. Even so, the differences (other than the nefarious black line) prove the point that this whole climate science thing is light on the science. I for one am not about to forfeit global progress and global advancements in standards of living that tower over any the world has seen to-date based on an amalgamation of lies and junk science.

  • The world, is in fact NOT warming at alarming rates and NOT warmer than it’s been before.
  • Even IF the world were warming, humans are not a disease causing that warming.
  • Even IF the world were warming and humans were the cause, it is NOT proven that CO2 is the culprit.
  • Even IF the world were warming, humans were the cause, CO2 was the culprit, the consequences are NOT known.
  • Even IF the world were warming, humans were the cause, CO2 was the culprit, the consequences were known, the cost of the consequences have NOT been quantified.
  • Even IF the world were warming, humans were the cause, CO2 was the culprit, the consequences were known, the cost of the consequences was devastating, cap-tax-and-redistribute is NEITHER the only nor necessarily the correct solution AND the cost of such a scheme would have to be proven to be LESS THAN THE COST of doing nothing AND would have to be chosen by the free will of free people.

The global wealth redistribution scheme contemplated by the Copenhagen mob, by Hugo Chavez, by the man sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and by so many disillusioned and/or deceitful others is nothing more than just that – a scheme.