Al Gore’s Liberal Current TV about to go the way of Liberal Air America Radio

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 24th, 2012

Week in Review

Things don’t look good for Al Gore’s television network.  They have lost so many viewers that their cable company may drop his channel (see 10 Brands That Will Disappear in 2013 by Douglas A. McIntyre, 24/7 Wall St, posted 4/21/2012 on Yahoo! Finance).

Each year, 24/7 Wall St. identifies 10 important American brands that we predict will disappear within a year. This year’s list reflects the brutally competitive nature of certain industries and the reason why companies cannot afford to fall behind in efficiency, innovation or financing…

Al Gore’s Current TV was on life support even before it fired its only bankable star, Keith Olbermann, in March following a set of battles with the host over his perks. He was replaced by serial talk show host failure Eliot Spitzer. Compared to Olbermann’s March figures, Spitzer’s ratings in April were down nearly 70%, according to TV audience measurement firm Nielsen. At the time, The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “Replacement Eliot Spitzer pulled an anemic 47,000 total viewers in the first outing of Viewpoint, with just 10,000 among adults 25-54. The weeks since saw an early rebound, particularly in the demo, but in its four weeks on air Viewpoint has steadily declined in both respects.” Reuters recently reported that Current TV’s audience had fallen enough that cable giant Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) may have the right to discontinue carrying the channel. The closest Current TV has to a star is talk show veteran Joy Behar, a former cast member of “The View,” who had her own show canceled by CNN’s HLN in November. Gore does not have the pockets to keep a network with no future going.

Current TV will fail for the same reason Air America Radio failed.  Liberals just aren’t deep thinkers.  They’ll watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report because they are funny.  They’re entertaining.  They make fun of conservatives.  And they’re each on only for one half hour a day, 4 days a week.  They’ll watch these shows to learn what’s in the news.  Because the network news isn’t as funny or as entertaining.

Now contrast this with conservative talk radio.  Which with Air America gone is pretty much all of talk radio.  Why does conservative talk radio succeed when liberal talk radio does not?  Because conservatives are older.  More grown up.  And are interested more in the issues than being entertained.  That is, conservatives are deep thinkers.  A lot of them are because they’re married and trying to raise a family.  So those things the younger liberals aren’t interested in – economics, monetary policy, fiscal policy, foreign policy – greatly interest conservatives.  Because these things impact their lives daily.  Especially when they have the checkbook out.  While college students are more interested in knowing where the good parties are.

It is rather ironic that the very thing liberals use to attract their liberal base is the reason they can’t get them to listen to or watch their programs.  They have sold the welfare state to their liberal base in lieu of rugged individualism.  Basically telling them, “Don’t worry.  We’re here to take care of you.”  So they have.  They trust in government completely.  And enjoy being young.  Not worrying about the issues of the day.  Because government is there to take care of them.

And then there is the population breakdown.  About 40% of the people call themselves conservative.  While only about 20% call themselves liberal.  So they’re playing to a smaller audience to begin with.  And that other 40%?  Independents and moderates who don’t much like politics to begin with.  Their party affiliation, or lack thereof, suggests they may tune into The Daily Show or The Colbert Report because they’re entertaining.  But they’re probably not going to be policy wonks and tune into any hardcore political program.  Because they’re comfortable in the center.  And that’s just not where Air America was or where Current TV is.  Or conservative talk radio for that matter.

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Obama Angers Liberal Base, Obama Record Angers Independents

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 15th, 2011

Obama is not the Liberal Liberals thought he Was

The liberal base of the Democrat Party isn’t happy with President Obama.  He’s not liberal enough.  Even though he’s the most liberal president to have occupied the White House.  And he’s done a lot.  But not enough.  Sure, he gave them Obamacare.  But he didn’t give them the public option.  And he’s done things that just boggle a liberal’s mind.  He said he would get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Then he bombed Libya.  The base is not amused (see Democrats’ Disgust With Obama by Patricia Murphy posted 4/14/2011 on The Daily Beast).

For many Democrats, the budget bill was only the latest in a string of disappointments served up from the White House since 2009, when Obama swept into office on a tide of goodwill and a platform of base-pleasing promises they say he hasn’t lived up to. On the list are his pledges to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, pass comprehensive immigration reform, and end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans…

Some legislative grumbling is inevitable when a party returns to power after eight years. But a number of Democrats are past protesting the president, discussing among themselves ways to recruit a primary challenger in 2012.

A primary challenger in 2012?  It’s possible.  The latest Gallup poll shows him at a 41% job approval rating.  Worse, with independents, it’s down to 35%.  And this is a problem.  If you keep losing independents, you simply don’t win elections.  So not only is Obama disappointing the liberal base, he’s becoming a liability for the Democratic ticket.  If they can’t win with Obama, why not challenge him in the primary?

The Problem Liberals have is that they’re only 20% of the Population

So independents are abandoning Obama.  Why?  Probably because he lied to them.  He campaigned as a moderate.  But governed as a liberal.  The near trillion dollar stimulus that stimulated nothing.  Obamacare that was fast-tracked through Congress.  And all the job-killing policies.  Unemployment (U-3) is still flirting with 9%.  A more realistic unemployment number (U-6) is closer to 15%.  And gas prices have broken $4 already and the summer driving season isn’t even here yet.  Sure, all good news for liberals.  More problems for Big Government to fix.  But the problem is, most of the people aren’t liberals (see In 2010, Conservatives Still Outnumber Moderates, Liberals by Lydia Saad posted 6/25/2010 on Gallup).

Conservatives have maintained their leading position among U.S. ideological groups in the first half of 2010. Gallup finds 42% of Americans describing themselves as either very conservative or conservative. This is up slightly from the 40% seen for all of 2009 and contrasts with the 20% calling themselves liberal or very liberal.

And this is why independents are abandoning Obama.  Independents aren’t liberals.  Independents and moderates bought into all that hope and change stuff because they really hated George W. Bush.  But there isn’t a George W. Bush to hate anymore.  It’s going on two and a half years.  They gave Obama a chance.  And they don’t like his record.  Or the unemployment.  It’s as simple as that.  All they need is a Reagan-like candidate to ask that question again.  Are you better off now than you were four years ago?  And whoever that candidate is, we will hyphenate his or her name to ‘Democrats’.  And these Democrats will be like the Reagan-Democrats.  Who did to Jimmy Carter what a new batch of Democrats may do to Obama.  Make him a one term president.

Unemployment still High, Inflation and Misery trending Up

And speaking of Jimmy Carter, things are really going Jimmy Carter (see Food and gas costs push consumer prices higher by Christopher S. Rugaber, Associated Press, on 4/14/2011 on USA Today).

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.5% in March, the Labor Department said Friday. That matched February’s increase, the largest since the recession ended in June 2009. In the past 12 months, the index has increased 2.7%, the biggest rise since December 2009.

Hard to read that with a straight face.  The recession ended in June 2009?  Really?  Apparently, a lot of people didn’t get that memo.  Like the 15% who can’t find a job.

Consumers are spending more, but the steep rise in food and gas prices could limit their ability to purchase discretionary goods and services. Consumer spending makes up 70% of economic activity.

Rising inflation has caused many analysts to reduce their estimates for economic growth in the January-March quarter from roughly 3% or higher to as low as 1.5%.

Gasoline jumped 5.6% last month and has risen nearly 28% in the past year. Consumers paid an average price of $3.81 a gallon nationwide on Friday according to the travel group AAA.

Food prices rose 0.8% last month, the largest increase in almost three years. Prices for fruits and vegetables, dairy products, chicken and beef all increased. Coffee costs rose 3.5%.

High unemployment.  And rising prices.  We call this inflation.  If you add the unemployment and inflation rates you get the misery index.  And the last time it was trending like this Jimmy Carter was president.  His stagflation worked magic.  It made a bunch of Democrats vote Republican.  The Reagan-Democrats that made Carter one unhappy former president. 

Farmers do a far better job than Teachers

Have you learned anything reading this?  Have you followed any of the links to learn more?  To fact check?  If you said yes to any of the above you have learned quite a bit with your visit here today.  And I’m guessing that a lot of what you learned is probably new.  You probably learned little of this in the public school system.  Even with your 12 years there.  But after some 15 minutes and a few mouse clicks you have.  Pretty amazing, isn’t it?  And it makes you wonder why your public school didn’t teach you any of this.  I mean, we spend a fortune on public education.  Employ millions of people to teach our kids.  But they keep telling us we don’t spend enough.  So we spend more.  I guess because the public schools aren’t making our kids smart enough.  It’s puzzling.  Because we spend less and employ fewer people on farming.  And farmers feed more people than our public school system educates (see Conventional Education Will Go the Way of Farming by Doug French posted 4/15/2011 on Ludwig von Mises Institute).

We have a wider array of food available to us than ever before. Created by fewer people. The division of labor continues to work wonders. Thank goodness we’re not all stuck on the farm. According to the occupational employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 419,200 were employed in the farming, fishing, and forestry occupations in May of 2009.

The same May 2009 report listed 8,488,740 people employed in education, training, and library occupations. So more than 20 times more people are needed to educate a small portion of the population than to grow food for everyone. But what about serving the food? Yes, food-preparation and food-serving occupations totaled 11,218,260 employees, serving the entire population of over 308 million.

Meanwhile, it takes more than 8 million to educate the 81.5 million that are enrolled in school. History and technology would say this surely can’t last. A proud father recently told me of quizzing his kids about scurvy. And while his young daughter gamely took a wild guess, his crafty teenage son ducked into the next room to google it, quickly emerging to give the correct answer that the disease that killed so many centuries ago is caused by a deficiency of vitamin C.

Public education, then, is a case study of how not to be productive.  But is there anything more sacrosanct than public education?  Public school teachers?  When Wisconsin governor Scott Walker tried to balance the state’s books by restricting public sector workers’ collective bargaining rights, all hell broke out.  Even the president sent some of his people to the state to run interference to stop that legislation.  Why?  Because he was worried about the quality of that education?

This is the information age, yet the ability to communicate is not being taught, or not sinking in. [A] college English instructor…wrote on Boston.com that few of her students had received writing instruction in high school, and that correcting student papers was so time consuming that the task was virtually overwhelming. She quotes Vartan Gregorian, the former president of Brown University, who rightly understands that “the ability to read, comprehend, and write — in other words, to organize information into knowledge — must be viewed as tantamount to a survival skill.”

That doesn’t sound like a very high level of quality from our public schools.  It rather sounds like they’re doing a poor job.  Even though we pay more and more each year.

In a piece questioning the need for colleges offering majors in business, David Glenn writes that employers are looking for “22-year-olds who can write coherently, think creatively and analyze quantitative data, and they’re perfectly happy to hire English or biology majors.”

Yes, the facts and figures are a click away. The ability to use, understand, and communicate those facts is what must be taught and currently is not. And it doesn’t take an army of 8 million and a budget of 1 trillion dollars and counting to do it.

So if the schools are doing such a poor job, why do we protect these public sector workers with such passion?  What other employees that do such a poor job are treated so well?

Well, to understand this you have to look at the money.  For money never lies.  You see, educating our children is not their primary object.  It’s funneling taxpayer money to the Democratic Party via their union dues.  And producing future Democrat voters.  Yes, they may not come out of school with useable job skills.  But a good percentage of them will become moderate/independent voters.  People that a candidate Barack Obama can appeal to.  Especially when there is an incumbent in office that they’ve been taught to hate.

Hate, Fear and Charm

Liberals aren’t happy with Obama.  Because he’s toned down his liberalness.  Because he had to.  Liberals are only 20% of the population.  The voters he fooled last time (moderates and independents) probably won’t get fooled again.  And you just aren’t going to win an election with 20% of the vote.  So he has to move towards the center for the 2012 election.  And hope that the public school system keeps dumbing down our graduates so that they’re still naïve and ignorant enough when they vote for the first time.  Because after four years a lot of people are going to forget to hate George W. Bush.  Or even know who he is (the new voters in 2012 would have only been 14-17 during the last ‘hate’ cycle in 2008.  And you know what 14-17 year olds are thinking about.  That’s right.  Not politics).  And with the misery index trending Jimmy Carter, Obama is going to need all the ignorance and naiveté he can get.

With a record of abject failure, Obama is going to have to bank his reelection chances completely on feelings.  Not fact.  Hate, fear and charm.  No substance.  The platform will be simple.  To hate and fear the Republicans.  And tell charming lies to get people to believe them despite the evidence of the past 4 years.

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Obama’s Speech to cut the Deficit Appeals to Tax and Spend Liberal Base

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 13th, 2011

Deficits are caused by Tax Breaks, not Spending

President Obama was taking some heat for not being engaged in the budget process.  So he sucked it up.  Put a plan together.  And went on television at the same time the Rush Limbaugh program aired I guess in hopes that people would be listening to Rush instead of his less than inspiring speech (see The Presidential Destroyer posted 4/14/2011 on The Wall Street Journal).

Mr. Obama did not deign to propose an alternative to rival Mr. Ryan’s plan, even as he categorically rejected all its reform ideas, repeatedly vilifying them as un-American. “Their vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America,” he said, supposedly pitting “children with autism or Down’s syndrome” against “every millionaire and billionaire in our society.” The President was not attempting to join the debate Mr. Ryan has started, but to close it off just as it begins and annihilate any possibility of good-faith cooperation.

Mr. Obama then packaged his poison in the rhetoric of bipartisanship—which “starts,” he said, “by being honest about what’s causing our deficit.” The speech he chose to deliver was among the most dishonest in decades, even by modern political standards.

Attack the Republicans for being toadies of the rich in their never ending quest to kill children.  Condemn the Republican proposal as being wrong with all knowing condescension without having anything better to offer himself.  Blame the deficits on unfair tax cuts for the rich, not on the explosion in federal spending under his watch.  Same old same old.  Campaign rhetoric.  Forever the candidate.  Wholly uncomfortable in the role of president.

Mr. Obama said that the typical political proposal to rationalize Medicare’s gargantuan liabilities is that it is “just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse.” His own plan is to double down on the program’s price controls and Gosplan-like central planning. All Medicare decisions will be turned over to and routed through an unelected commission created by ObamaCare—which will supposedly ferret out “unnecessary spending.” Is that the same as “waste and abuse”?

Fifteen members will serve on the Independent Payment Advisory Board, all appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. If per capita costs grow by more than GDP plus 0.5%, this board would get more power, including an automatic budget sequester to enforce its rulings. So 15 Solons sitting in a room with the power of the purse will evidently find ways to control Medicare spending that no one has ever thought of before and that supposedly won’t harm seniors’ care, even as the largest cohort of the baby boom generation retires and starts to collect benefits.

Interesting.  The UK is working on revising their National Health Service (NHS), too.  Which is very similar to what Obama is proposing.  The NHS is a big centralized behemoth.  For now, at least.  You see, the British are doing the opposite of what Obama wants to do.  Because over the great many years of the NHS, they have found that the big centralized behemoth doesn’t work well.  Unless your goal is to have high costs, long waits and a rationing of health care.  And this just begs the question.  If the British couldn’t do it, why in the world would anyone believe that the Obama administration can?

Every U.S. fiscal trouble, he claimed, flows from the Bush tax cuts “for the wealthiest 2%,” conveniently passing over what he euphemistically called his own “series of emergency steps that saved millions of jobs.” Apparently that means the $814 billion stimulus that failed and a new multitrillion-dollar entitlement in ObamaCare that had nothing to do with jobs.

Under the Obama tax plan, the Bush rates would be repealed for the top brackets. Yet the “cost” of extending all the Bush rates in 2011 over 10 years was about $3.7 trillion. Some $3 trillion of that was for everything but the top brackets—and Mr. Obama says he want to extend those rates forever. According to Internal Revenue Service data, the entire taxable income of everyone earning over $100,000 in 2008 was about $1.582 trillion. Even if all these Americans—most of whom are far from wealthy—were taxed at 100%, it wouldn’t cover Mr. Obama’s deficit for this year.

The cost of the Bush tax cuts per year are $370 billion.  The Obama stimulus was $814 billion.  Clearly, just looking at this alone makes the deficit Obama’s fault, not Bush’s.  In fact, Obama added some $4.3 trillion to the national debt in his first two years in office.  That’s $2.15 trillion per year.  Which is greater than $370 billion if my math is right.  In the grand scheme of things the Bush tax cuts are chump change.  But it’ll probably do a lot more to create jobs than that $814 billion waste in spending he called stimulus.

A trillion is a big number.  Taxable income of $1.582 trillion is a lot of money (the sum of income of everyone earning over $100,000).  But it’s still less than what Obama spends.  Damn these rich people.  They’re screwing this president again.  Not only do they not pay their ‘fair’ share in taxes.  They simply don’t earn enough to pay the taxes required to support his extravagant spending.  Even if Obama confiscated all of their income.

The People’s Budget: Governing against the Will of the People

All right, no one expected anything serious today.   Obama doesn’t do that.  He only campaigns.  And there’s an election coming up.  So he sure isn’t going to do anything foolish that might hurt his reelection chances.  Like governing.  And there is a good reason why he’s not trying to get serious with the budget.  Because if people found out what he really wanted to do, no one with a job would vote for him.  Because he’s a tax and spend liberal.  And that’s what he wants to do.  But can’t.  Because of those damn independent voters.  They have jobs.  And the votes that will or will not make him a two-term president.  So he can’t afford to spook them.  Which isn’t pleasing his liberal base.  They’re getting fed up.  They want the liberal they helped to elect.

Making things even more uncomfortable for him, just under half of the House Democrats are as liberal as he is.  And they have put together a budget to counter the Ryan budget.  And it’s a liberal budget.  It shows who they really are.  And what they want to do to America (see The liberals’ plan: Gut defense and tax, tax, tax by Byron York posted 4/11/2011 on The Washington Examiner).

The “People’s Budget” is the liberals’ answer to House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget proposal, which is “leading us down a road to ruin,” according to caucus co-chairmen Reps. Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison. The “People’s Budget,” Grijalva and Ellison claim, would eliminate the deficit in just 10 years (Ryan’s plan would take more than 25 years) while expanding, not cutting, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security…

How can such fiscal miracles be accomplished? By tax increases that would make even some top Democrats gasp. Perhaps the most extraordinary is the caucus plan to raise the Social Security tax to cover nearly all of a taxpayer’s income…

The caucus would create three new individual tax brackets for the highest incomes, topping out at 47 percent. It would also raise the capital gains tax, the estate tax and corporate taxes. It would create something called a “financial crisis responsibility fee” and a “financial speculation tax.” And of course it would repeal the Bush tax cuts.

As if anyone needed reminding, the “People’s Budget” is proof that the liberal idea of budget balancing is tax, tax, tax. If you’re looking for spending cuts, you’ll find just one really big one: national defense. The liberals would end “overseas contingency operations” — the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — starting in 2013. They would save more money by “reducing strategic capabilities, conventional forces, procurement, and research & development programs.” In other words, they would gut the United States’ ability to defend itself, today and long into the future.

Confiscatory taxes.  And more spending.  The problem with this is if you take away everyone’s wealth no one will want to create wealth.  If the government is going to provide a social utopia, why work?  Why work a 50-60 hour week just so you can pay most of your earnings in taxes?  When you can push a broom and live a comfortable life?  The Romans did just this and they had a problem.  People quit being farmers because the Roman government was taking most of their crops.  So the Romans passed laws putting a stop to this.  That’s right, if you were a farmer you stayed a farmer.  Whether you liked it or not.  And this is how you make confiscatory taxation work.  You make people work against their will.

Of course, Rome had another problem.  Citizens didn’t want to serve in the military anymore.  So they had to rely more and more on hired armies.  Which cost a lot of money.  And when they couldn’t pay them it caused problems.  The mighty Roman legions weren’t so mighty anymore.  And the empire became vulnerable to attack.  And it was.  Attacked.  And, ultimately, conquered.  But that could never happen here.  Because America has no enemies.  And is loved throughout the world.

If the liberals get their way, we may very well go the way of the Roman Empire.  And spend ourselves into oblivion.  Which is what tax and spend liberals do.

What would the liberals spend money on? The “People’s Budget” is essentially a newer and bigger stimulus bill. Grijalva and Ellison pledge to “invest $1.45 trillion in job creation, early childhood, K-12 and special education, quality child care, energy and broadband infrastructure, housing, and research and development,” along with billions more for stimuluslike road and other transportation programs.

Overall, the plan shows the gaping divide between the Progressive Caucus and the Obama White House. Back in his Chicago days, Barack Obama might easily have signed on to something like this. Now, as a president desperate for the support of independent voters in 2012, he can’t.

Yes.  If only if he was back in his good old Chicago days.  Obama would then embrace this budget.  As an activist you can do that sort of thing.  Because activists don’t solve any problems.  They just agitate.  And have fun.  Presidents can’t do that, though.  Sooner or later, they have to govern.  And when you do, you can’t govern against the will of the people.  For the people will reject you.  Especially those independent voters who have jobs.

Hating Republicans:  The Democrat Strategy

So while the Republicans try to address the unsustainable cost of entitlements, Obama and his Democrats are letting them.  While attacking them.  And this will probably carry us through the 2012 election season.  They’re trying to ‘Newt Gingrich‘ the Republicans.  Dance around in useless debate until they can get a ‘wither on a vine‘ sound bite.  Sure, the country will go further down the toilet.  But the more people hate Republicans the better their chances are at the polls.  Which is all they have.  Because their policies ain’t winning them any votes.  At least, not from the people who have jobs.

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A Closer Look at the Obama-GOP Tax Deal Seems to Favor Obama

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 11th, 2010

The Left May Get more Deficit Spending while Making it Look Like the Right’s Fault

As details emerge, the Obama-GOP tax deal to extend the Bush tax cuts just gets worse.  There’s a whole lot of stimulus/deficit spending in that deal.  Not quite in keeping with the spirit of 2010 when the nation rejected deficit spending in a grand way.  But now it’s as if that ‘shellacking’ never happened.

There’s a lot of debate.  Some filibustering.  And a whole lot of theatre.  The far Left is acting like Obama betrayed them worse than an adulterous spouse.  While the Right appears to have already forgotten who won the midterm elections.  Because, according to Charles Krauthammer, who’s very smart, the Right caved and the Left won but are too dumb to even know (see Swindle of the Year by Charles Krauthammer posted 12/10/2010 on The National Review Online).

Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 — and House Democrats don’t have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package. It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years — which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?

If Obama had asked for a second stimulus directly, he would have been laughed out of town. Stimulus I was so reviled that the Democrats banished the word from their lexicon throughout the 2010 campaign. And yet, despite a very weak post-election hand, Obama got the Republicans to offer to increase spending and cut taxes by $990 billion over two years — $630 billion of it above and beyond extension of the Bush tax cuts.

Business as usual.  After a repudiation of business as usual.  This reminds me of the movie Patton

Just before Patton was relieved of Third Army, he had an angry phone call with General Beetle Smith, Eisenhower’s chief of staff.  Patton wasn’t a fan of the Russians.  He thought we would fight them sooner or later.  He wanted it to be sooner, when we had the army in Europe to do it.  He said if SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces) didn’t have the guts to do it, he did.  He could get us into a war with those ‘sons of bitches’ and make it look like their fault.  Good movie.  But, alas, Patton was relieved of command soon thereafter.  He would later die from complications from a car accident.

Now Obama doesn’t remind me of Patton in the least.  For Patton was a good leader.  But it looks like Obama is going to get his deficit spending.  And he’s going to make it look like the Republicans’ fault.

If at First You don’t Succeed, Lie, Lie Again

So much for the hope and change to change the previous hope and change that changed little as hoped in Washington. 

We elected Obama because the Republicans had lost their way.  And because of the abysmal job Obama, Pelosi, Reid et al have been doing, the American people have given the Republicans a second chance.  And what do they do?  Even before they officially take power in the House of Representatives?  They’re already caving.  I guess old habits are just hard to break.

Obama is no fool. While getting Republicans to boost his own reelection chances, he gets them to make a mockery of their newfound, second-chance, post-Bush, tea-party, this-time-we’re-serious persona of debt-averse fiscal responsibility.

And he gets all this in return for what? For a mere two-year postponement of a mere 4.6-point increase in marginal tax rates for upper incomes. And an estate-tax rate of 35 percent — it jumps insanely from zero to 55 percent on Jan. 1 — that is somewhat lower than what the Democrats wanted.

And, of course, another 13 months of unemployment benefits.  Exactly what is the liberal Left bitching about?  The only downside appears to be a 2 year delay in raising the top marginal tax rates by 4.6%.  And only confiscating a third of dead people’s wealth instead of half of it.  What a bunch of whiny cry babies.

Obama’s public exasperation with this infantile leftism is both perfectly understandable and politically adept. It is his way back to at least the appearance of centrist moderation. The only way he will get a second look from the independents who elected him in 2008 — and who abandoned the Democrats in 2010 — is by changing the prevailing (and correct) perception that he is a man of the Left.

The Left knows that they must lie to win elections.  And that’s what Obama is doing now.  He’s going to run for reelection in 2012.  It’s time to say he’s a centrist again.  Do they not see this?  Or is this all part of a great lie?  Just more theatre?

The Era of Big Government is Over?

The 2008 Democrat primary elections were pretty nasty.  Obama and Hillary Clinton took off the gloves at times.  The Clintons did not like this little usurper.  Obama.  For it was Hillary’s turn.  When she conceded to Obama, she and Bill announced their support for the Democrat candidate.  But there was a simmering hatred below the surface.

Obama offered Hillary Secretary of State as a consolation prize.  Partly to assuage the Clinton machine.  And partly for that reason given in The Godfather: Part II.  Keep your friends close.  And your enemies closer.  (That’s actually from the Sun-tzu’s The Art of War but I doubt Obama would have ever read that, what with it being a military book.)  To prevent a possible 2012 primary challenge from Hillary.

Now either it’s more theatre, or an attempt to hit his liberal base upside the head, but Obama called on the big dog.  Bill Clinton.  The man whose wife Obama dissed during the primary election and denied her her place in history.  And he supports the Obama-GOP deal (see Bill’s Back: Clinton commands stage at White House by Ben Feller, AP White House Correspondent, posted 12/10/2010 on Yahoo! Finance).

Clinton comfortably outlined how the pending package of tax cuts, business incentives and unemployment benefits would boost the economy — even though it included tax help for the wealthy that Obama had to swallow.

“There’s never a perfect bipartisan bill in the eyes of a partisan,” Clinton said. “But I really believe this will be a significant net-plus for the country.”

When he finished his pitch, Clinton played the role of humble guy, saying, “So, for whatever it’s worth, that’s what I think.”

“It’s worth a lot,” Obama insisted

Clinton was once right where Obama is.  Even worse.  He lost both houses of Congress after his first midterm elections because he went too left, too.  Then he moved to the center.  And, with the help of Dick Morris (then Democrat strategist), and a Republican Congress that checked his spending, he got reelected.  Is this a sign that Obama will follow Clinton’s lead?

Perhaps.  But Obama is a whole lot more arrogant than Clinton.  It just may not be in his nature to be politically expedient.  I mean, it just may not be in Obama’s DNA to say the era of Big Government is over.

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Broke and Inefficient: Medicare, Social Security, Liberalism and (soon to be) Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 15th, 2010

The Washington Post Thinks President Obama can be Great.  If he Quits being President.

The Washington Post says the American people have rejected President Obama and his policies.  But they still think he’s the bee’s knees.  The great man can still be great.  If he quits (see Opinion | One and done: To be a great president, Obama should not seek reelection in 2012 by Douglas E. Schoen and Patrick H. Caddell posted 11/14/2010 on The Washington Post).

Obama himself once said to Diane Sawyer: “I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.” He now has the chance to deliver on that idea.

In the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama spoke repeatedly of his desire to end the red-state-blue-state divisions in America and to change the way Washington works. This was a central reason he was elected; such aspirations struck a deep chord with the polarized electorate.

But that’s not the reason the people elected him.  They simply didn’t know any better.  No one knew anything about him.  He had no track record.  No experience.  A barren resume.  Questionable associations with radicals.  And he went to church run by a racist and anti-American pastor. 

The liberal mainstream media simply failed to vet this candidate.  And now that he has governed as one would expect with such a past, the people have rejected him at the 2010 midterm elections.  As they would have during the campaign.  Had the media vetted him like they vet Republican candidates.  But they didn’t.  Because they were already in love with him.

Should the president do that, he – and the country – would face virtually no bad outcomes. The worst-case scenario for Obama? In January 2013, he walks away from the White House having been transformative in two ways: as the first black president, yes, but also as a man who governed in a manner unmatched by any modern leader. He will have reconciled the nation, continued the economic recovery, gained a measure of control over the fiscal problems that threaten our future, and forged critical solutions to our international challenges. He will, at last, be the figure globally he has sought to be, and will almost certainly leave a better regarded president than he is today. History will look upon him kindly – and so will the public.

No.  They won’t.  President Obama wasn’t succumbing to pressure from his liberal base.  He wanted to remake America into a quasi-socialist state like those social democracies in Europe.  The American people don’t.  Hence the 2010 midterm election results. 

More Obamacare Waivers to Companies that can’t Afford Obamacare

Obama lied during the 2008 presidential campaign.  He said he was a centrist.  He said he didn’t want to nationalize health care.  Well, after winning he said elections have consequences.  There would be no reaching across the aisle.  It would be his way.  Because the Republicans lost.  And what did he want more than anything else?  A Big Government takeover of health care. 

And he lied again.  He said they would provide health care to more people and bring total costs down.  Well, Obamacare forced private insurers to provide more benefits.  So, of course, they raised their premiums.  Some dropped children-only policies because Obamacare basically made those pure unfunded welfare.  And McDonald’s asked for, and got, waivers for their min-med plans.  As did others.  Why?  Because Obamacare increased the cost of those plans so much that they would have dropped health insurance for their employees without the waivers. 

Obamacare is forcing higher costs on others, too.  To date the government has issued another 111 waivers (see Approved Applications for Waiver of the Annual Limits Requirements of the PHS Act Section 2711 as of November 1, 2010 from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website).  And because the unions didn’t get the public option to offload their health care burdens, a lot of them want out of Obamacare.  They can’t afford it.  And if they can’t, you know others without big legal staffs who have no idea what’s coming can’t afford it either.

Medicare:  Broke and Inefficient

Besides out of control costs what can we expect with government managed health care?  Well, I guess we can look at government managed health care we have now.  Medicare.  And what’s it like working in that government run system (see Doctors brace for possible big Medicare pay cuts by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press, posted 11/13/2010 on Yahoo! News)?

“My frustration level is at a nine or 10 right now,” said Wagner, who practices in San Antonio. “I am exceptionally exhausted with these annual and biannual threats to cut my reimbursement by drastic amounts. As a business person, I can’t budget at all because I have no idea how much money is going to come in. Medicine is a business. Private practice is a business.”

Yeah, well, she’s probably just another greedy doctor.

Last summer, when Congress missed the deadline for an extension, Wagner had to tap her line of credit to pay the salaries of her nurses and office staff. Medicare is only a fraction of her practice, but the cancer surgeon said private insurance companies also held up payments waiting to see what would happen. “I didn’t get a check in the mail for almost a month,” she said.

Well, maybe not.

Social Security:  Broke and Inefficient

How about Social Security?  Sure, that’s been flirting with bankruptcy for like forever.  But it works, doesn’t it?  On the benefit side?  Providing a swift and life-saving safety net for those most at risk?  Yeah, pull the other (see Social Security judges facing more violent threats by Sam Hananel, Associated Press, posted 11/14/2010).

Judges who hear Social Security disability cases are facing a growing number of violent threats from claimants angry over being denied benefits or frustrated at lengthy delays in processing claims.

And how long are they waiting?

Nearly 2 million people are waiting to find out if they qualify for benefits, with many having to wait more than two years to see their first payment.

Wow.  Even renewing your driver’s license is less painful than that.

Obamacare:  Soon to Become Broke and Inefficient

And this is what President Obama wants to give us.  He wants to take over health care and make it like Medicare and Social Security.  Chronically on the verge of bankruptcy.  And grossly inefficient. 

The social democracies of Europe are imploding under their own weights.  People are rioting.  Cities are burning.  And while they desperately try to reverse direction, Obama is dragging a reluctant America in the other direction while whistling a happy tune.  And unless history is a product of our liberal public school system, there’s no way in hell it will look kindly on the man that so greatly damaged America.

It’s not the partisanship causing the trouble in Washington.  It’s an ideology.  Liberalism.  Which is broke and inefficient.  It’s time to get rid of it.  And a good place to start would be to repeal Obamacare.  If he did that, perhaps history would look kindly on him.

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Look Out – Here Comes the Middle Class Tax Hike

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 25th, 2010

A Little Business Primer

Who hires more people?  Big corporations?  Or small businesses?  Some may be surprised to learn that small business provides the majority of American jobs.  Little guys taking a risk.  Doing something they love.  Are good at.  They earn a living.  And provide jobs with benefits for others.  Not too shabby.

These people start their own construction company.  Buy a restaurant (from a lunch counter to a fancy place with table cloths and a wine steward).  Captain a fishing boat.  Move up from fixing cars in a backyard to operating a three-bay service garage.  Open a multi-chair hair salon.  Run a landscaping business (and snow removal business in the winter).  Sell ice cream to tourists from an independently owned Ben & Jerry’s on the strip.  Or buy and operate a McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Dunkin’ Donuts, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, etc.

These are not fat cats running fortune 500 corporations.  They’re no Donald Trump.  So they keep things simple.  And yet protect themselves.  They operate as an ‘S’ corporation.  This is sort of a hybrid between the regular ‘c’ corporation and a partnership.  There’s limited liability (you limit your losses to only what you invested into your business).  And there’s no business tax on earnings like in a partnership.  All earnings are distributed to the shareholders (which could be just one person).  And taxed as personal income. 

I Will Not Raise Taxes on Anyone Earning Under $250,000

Sounds good.  Stick it to the rich fat cats.  But who else makes more than $250,000?  I’ll give you a hint.  Reread the previous section.

A small business owner operating as an ‘S’ corporation is likely to earn more than $250,000.  But they’re not fat cats.  Far from it.  Let’s pick a number.  Something you think is fair for a business owner’s salary.  Someone who probably has his or her house mortgaged to the hilt.  Works 7 days a week and puts in on average 80 hours each week.  If they could earn, say, $75,000 working for someone else, would you begrudge them earning, say, $100,000 working for themselves?  For the sake of the argument, let’s say you don’t.  That’s less than half of the $250,000 tax threshold.  The small business owner, the generator of American jobs, should be safe from any Obama tax hike, right?  Wrong.

As a business struggles to grow, a business owner plows most of their earnings back into their business.  To buy a new copier.  Replace a furnace.  Buy new software.  New computers.  A network for your computers.  Inventory tracking.  A new delivery truck.  Decals for your new delivery truck.  Building signage.  A ‘yellow pages’ ad.  New telephones.  A new website.  New invoicing software with a custom-designed invoice form.  Etc.  But before you can spend this money, you have to earn it.  And, once earned, an ‘S’ corporation small business owner pays taxes on it.  Even if they invest it back into the business.  So, the higher the tax rate, the less they can grow.  And the fewer jobs they can create.

The Obama administration keeps bitching about the greedy bankers and big corporations who are sitting on their cash.  (And they sit on their cash for good reason.  They already have excess capacity.  So there’s no reason to expand.  Because there’re no markets to expand into).  The one area, though, where there may be expansion possibilities is in small business.  Raising taxes on those earning over $250,000 per year, though, will kill small business growth.  Kill jobs.  And prolong this recession.  So why do they persist in attacking the ‘rich’?  Because in terms of voters, they’re less of them than those earning under $250,000.

Playing the Numbers

The Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year.  If Congress doesn’t extend them, taxes will go up and the economy will tank even further.  And Obama will have violated his no tax rate increase for anyone earning less than $250,000 pledge. 

But there will be no vote before the midterm elections.  (See Congress Punts on Taxes by Martin Vaughan and John D. McKinnon at the Wall Street Journal on line.)  The Republicans want to extend them across the board.  This is a problem for Democrats.  If they do, it endorses George W. Bush’s economic policies and discredits their own.  And angers the liberal base.  They would rather extend the cuts only for the middle class.  This, however, won’t help the small business owners (i.e., the job creators).  So the Republicans are opposing this as it will not help the economy. 

Let’s look at the numbers.  Note the chart at the bottom of the Wall Street Journal article referenced above.  Especially the fine print.  It reads, “2008 tax year, an additional 25% of filers are in the 0% rate category.”  In other words, 25% of the voters pay no federal income taxes.  If you add that figure to the sum of the top three ‘Pct. of filers’ in that chart it equals 95.1%.  In other words, approximately 95.1% of voters earn $140,550 or less.  Only 4.9% of the voters earn more.  Hence the class warfare.  And after stirring up the masses (the 95.1%) to hate the rich (the 4.9%), they have no choice but to keep on hating.  I mean, they can’t tell the 95.1% that they were wrong, can they?  Especially when the poll numbers are moving against them.

So, of course, the Obama administration sticks to the time-honored playbook.  And attacks the rich.  In hopes of persuading enough of the 95.1% to forget about results and to just vote their hate.  We call it playing the numbers.  There’s only one problem.  Most of the 95.1% work for the 4.9%.  So if you make it too costly for the 4.9% to expand and create jobs, they won’t.  They may even cut back.  And the 95.1% are the ones who will suffer.  They may see a reduction in their benefits.  Work longer hours (because their boss can’t afford to hire a new employee). They may even lose their job.  And their house.  They may not like that.  But at least they can find solace in their hate.

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