Debt and Doubt

This morning on the Rick Santelli show, aka the 7:30 a.m. jobs report on CNBC’s  Squawk Box, Santelli delivered.

First, he delivered the reports. “Jobless claims went from 382,00 last week up to a revised 394,000 so they could say job claims fell to 388,000. Similarly, continuing claims went from 3.72 million to a revised 3.76 million to 3.72 million, down, but essentially unchanged.”

Then Santelli delivered his thoughts on an op ed piece in the Wall St. Journal this morning by Alan S. Blinder called “Handicapping the Economic Recovery.” He hit hard at the Princeton professor for evidently wanting to raise the debt ceiling and not trim the budget.

“This is truly, truly, truly unbelievable that they’re doubling down or nothing. These are smart guys. I call them the dones because they’re double or nothing and they are economists and that means that we are well done. How can they keep doing this? Do you know what happens when you keep doubling to the nth degree? Either you win one, but statistically you may lose, or you just have so much debt … they’re  assuming that there will be these low interest rates forever. My daughter’s in high school and doesn’t even like math, and I think if this is the qualification to teach in the Ivy League, my daughter should be head of the university.”

Squawk Box host Joe Kernen, jumped in,  “I’ve tried this double or nothing with the roulette wheel…”

Santelli began  stamping his feet, saying “And they call this thinking extreme. That’s extreme! I just read about Freddie and Fannie. Both sides, the Republicans, Democrats, independents, is (Blinder) an independent  or a socialist – it doesn’t matter – they’re kicking the can down the road. We have a 3.8 trillion dollar budget and grown men can’t cut 34 to 60 billion dollars. We’re going to be toast if we can’t get these guys to open their eyes.”

Kernen commented,  “There are people who will not acknowledge  any complicity from Freddie and Fannie in the financial crisis.” That prompted another onslaught from Santelli.  “And then you have the likes of AIG we bailed out complaining because we’re not selling them securities back under what they’re worth.”

Kernen remarked that “The Journal says the government created mortgage giants are at the heart of the financial crisis, but now we’re told by people who want to nationalize the whole banking system that it was 100% the banks.”

Santelli: “No, no, they don’t like the banks, they bailed out the banks and the guys who borrowed 43 cents of every dollar are writing regulations for the banking system. You can’t make this stuff up!”

He’s right. You can’t.

 

Off the Charts

A disturbing, but not unexpected, look in the economic crystal ball by Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com. His piece,  “Ag Commodities and the Coming Inflation,” foresees the impact of quantitative easing on the cost of every day food items.

Charts show the price of wheat and corn going higher than Charlie Sheen on party night. Fertilizer costs are skyrocketing,  too, and all this impacts meat via higher pig and cow feed costs, not to mention the high cost of transporting all this to market.

“So what does all this mean?” he asks. “It means you’d better prepare. Maybe you’re comfortable and you have all the disposable income you need. Great, but what about your sister, trying to raise her three kids on 50 grand a year? What about your neighbor or your best friend who is trying simply to make ends meet after losing a job? What can you do to help them?

“You start by warning them about the coming surge in food costs brought about by quantitative easing. All of the factors discussed above, combined with soaring fuel costs, will most certainly lead to a much higher ‘cost of living’ in the near future. The time to act is now.”

You know it yourself, just by looking at your grocery store receipts.

Photo ID Must Pass

“I can’t figure out who it would disenfranchise. The only people I can think it disenfranchises is those people who might be voting illegally,” said Tre Hargett, Tennessee Secretary of State.

He was commenting on  the move in several states to require voters to present photo IDs. In Tennessee, the legislature is working towards that idea. Of course, Democrats object.

It is amusing to note that one of their objections is cost. Funny, it doesn’t seem to matter to Democrat legislators. They spend with abandon, ratcheting up the federal deficit in dizzying numbers during the reign of Nancy Pelosi. The small amount of money this would cost the state suddenly looms like a mammoth when it comes to photo IDs as they tell it.  Besides, Tennessee’s law doesn’t require the state to provide IDs, so Hargett says the cost will be minimal.

Then, they claim it disenfranchises minorities. Why? In today’s world, almost everyone has a photo ID. You need it every time you turn around. I need it to buy dry ice. Dry ice! I have to show my driver’s license to buy a minimal amount of it. You have to have one to buy cigarettes and liquor. Do the poor not ever buy those things? Do they get a break in the grocery store checkout when they do? Preposterous.

The Associated Press article tried to press the “cruelty” of it by citing a federal judge who had to take a literacy test in 1956 to vote. He, evidently, is still upset about it. The only flaw here is we’re not in 1956 anymore. No one has to take a literacy test to vote. Having helped at the polls, I can promise that poll workers bend over backwards to make voting as easy as possible. Workers are confronted with many angry or confused voters, but that doesn’t stop them from getting help to vote.

Then the AP goes on to explain that fraud is really not a big issue in voting. Funny here, too, since in the 2000 election they did everything they could to spread the opposite belief.

Tennessee legislators and those in every other state need to pass photo ID laws and protect the sanctity of our vote.

April 5 a Crucial Day

April 5 is stacking up to be a very important day – and not just because it’s the date of the next Midtown Republican Club meeting.

It’s the date that will determine whether Governor Scott Walker succeeds in his legislative goals or whether the courts rather than the will of the people will determine every Wisconsin resident’s future. It is next Tuesday when State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser is up for reelection in the state.

The implications of the vote, however, reach beyond one state and could effect every state. It will effect the national presidential election as well. If Obama can hang on the Wisconsin, his prospects for reelection look good. If he can’t, he loses a vital electoral college number.

As John Nolte outines in his piece at Biggovernment.com, Prosser is a “reliable 4-3 tie breaking vote in favor of judicial restraint on a court that’s just one vote away from exploding into a frenzy of left wing judicial activism. The one vote on the horizon willing to overturn every piece of Walker’s agenda – including the end of collective bargaining reform – is Joanne Kloppenburg, Prosser’s left wing opponent.

“If the court flips on April 5th, if Kloppenburg prevails in the upcoming elections, every aspect of Governor Scott Walker’s agenda is DOA. Everything he and the legislature passes will ultimately be overturned by the State Supreme Court and the status quo, including the unbelievably corrupt partnership between public unions and elected Democrats, will remain firmly in place for generations to come,” writes Nolte.

Of course, the unions are out in force with money and manpower to defeat Prosser. They are running a three million dollar ad against Prosser over a child sex abuse case in 1979. They are insinuating that Prosser shielded a Catholic priest in a pedophilia case. Even though one of the victims has spoken out against the ad, calling it “offensive, inaccurate and out of context,” the unions continue to run it through a slush fund left them by previous Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle.

You can read all the details in Nolte’s piece, “April 5 will decide who governs Wisconsin – the voters or 4 judges” at www.biggovernment.com.

Let’s hope Reince Priebus at the RNC has this election double circled on his calendar. Since he is from Wisconsin and was the RNC Chairman for that state last year, he should be well aware of it and of its implications.

In the meantime, Judge Prosser has a website, www.justiceprosser.com, where you can contribute.

 

Ominous Ruling for Seniors

Think you’re OK with your own health plan and medical savings account, seniors? Would you like to keep getting Social Security? Would you like to repay all your previous Social Security benefits to keep your health care?

It’s not a far fetched development, according to Kent Masterson Brown, an attorney for plaintiffs who didn’t want to enroll in Medicare because they had their own savings and health insurance programs they preferred.

Brown writes in the New York Post:  “In a case where I served as chief attorney for the plaintiffs, Judge Collyer allowed to stand three internal rules of the Social Security Administration that make receipt of Social Security retirement benefits contingent upon enrollment in Medicare. Plus, a person who withdraws from Medicare would not only have to give up Social Security retirement benefits, but repay all benefits previously received…None of the plaintiffs sought to get any of their Medicare taxes back; they simply don’t want to enroll in Medicare – but do desire their Social Security retirement benefits.”

The government is going to find a way to make you accept Obamacare is the bottom line.  They have to have enough people in the system to make Obamacare work monetarily. The administration now has more than a thousand exemptions; if seniors aren’t involved the whole thing will collapse.

Brown notes “the practical effect of the ruling is ominous… More immediately, whether they want it or not, seniors will  be forced into Medicare, a program that even Judge Collyer asserts ‘may bankrupt all of us.’ Indeed, she also noted, rightly, that people on Medicare are not reated as well in hospitals as those with private insurance.”

Shockingly, this judge ignores that ex post facto laws are forbidden in the Constitution. In other words, you can’t be penalized for past actions that were done under a different set of legal conditions.

That doesn’t seem to have stopped Democrats from ignoring the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act either.

Read the whole article, “Entitled to Chains” at chains_tqyOh9TXW49SLG5XWS3Ky]

Assinine Idea a Wipe Out

Democrat Omaha mayor Jim Suttle recently went to Washington with a plan to fund city sewer systems. He thought he was on a roll – a toilet paper roll.

His idea was to have a federal tax of ten cents on every roll of toilet paper. Suttle felt it was a soft target. One that every legislator would be willing to plunge in and pass. Rich or poor, white or black, all Americans have to buy toilet paper.  Why not take advantage of it?

Well, given the genius Americans have for ways to avoid taxes, this idea might not be as Charmin as he thinks. The uber rich find a way to secrete money overseas and avoid taxes. Crafty citizens have reworked the laws, too, to cut down on Uncle Sam’s take. For instance,  in municipalities that wanted to tax lot frontage or extra rooms, builders were inspired to make shotgun houses that negated their taxing ways.

So it would be with the toilet paper roll. Ten cents wouldn’t look so bad on a roll as big as a car tire, would it? Lots of us would put up with the inconvenience of a giant wheel in the bathroom if it saved $2 every tiime we bought toilet paper.

Or perhaps our toilet paper could have printed material on it. Then, it could qualify for no or lower taxes enjoyed on printed or educational material. After all, what could be a more natural marriage than the newspaper and toilet paper? Reading on the throne is a long practiced American tradition. And, don’t most of us consider newspapers crap anyhow?

The toilet paper roll could also be switched to another shape. The Sears catalog used to perform its function in the country outhouse. Why not tear off books that could be similarly used in today’s trendy bathrooms? They could call it “The Real Toilet Pages.” An instant best seller! With a few accommodations to the printing press, it might even revive the flagging book publishing industry.

Americans would be positively flush with ideas. We always have.

 

Comic Relief

Some of the best TV of the week comes Thursday mornings at 7:30 on CNBC.

There’s always the jobless claims number that comes out and often, as today, another important number or two as well. Rick Santelli at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange announces the numbers and then all heck breaks loose. The panel at the CNBC hq launches into a dissection of what the numbers mean. Most of them are liberal Democrats and engage in pro administration spin, while Tea Party founder Santelli let’s them have it.

Today was no different, except Santelli had an ally in Kenneth Langone, sitting on the panel. Langone, Home Depot founder and businessman, had some apt remarks on the jobless claims number and durable goods. The February Durable goods number was down .9% –  a plunge from the January 3.6%. The capital goods orders were down 1.3%. Jobless claims were down 5,000 while the continuing claims number idled at 3.72 million jobless.

CNBC’s Steve Liesman saw things more positively  than Santelli.

“It’s called delusion, isn’t it?” replied Santelli. He ticked off the continuing pessimistic outlook for the economy, encompassing the deficit, job losses and declining GDP.  He cautioned that the perilous economic situation in Portugal is being ignored in the market, too. “The guy in the ivory tower doesn’t know what the businessman knows,” he said. Langone suggested Santelli  might be a good comedian.

“We don’t need comedy at night,” said Santelli. “I just turn on C-Span.” He went on to criticize TARP, differing with Liesman on its effectiveness. “Failure is the only regulation that works.”

Langone agreed that politicians aren’t handling the economy well. “Take away ‘I’ and they can’t talk,” he said, calling for the administration to  address the deficit.

While that doesn’t seem to be happening and the perils mount, at least Thursday morning’s reports offer some comic relief with their insights.

 

First Anniversary, Still Want a Divorce

Today is the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare. Even though the majority of Americans didn’t want it then, Congress pulled a shotgun wedding. We were told we would start to like it.

A year later, we still don’t like it. Polling showed 59% of Americans didn’t like it in 2010 and 37% did. Today, 59% don’t like it and 37% do.

I’ve still not found anyone who was denied medical care at the hospital because they didn’t have money under the old system. I don’t know any doctors who want to practice euthanasia. I know doctors who give their services freely in poor neighborhoods routinely. Did medical care deserve some attention by Congress? Probably, but it didn’t need a lobotomy.

“Obamacare and Carey’s Heart” in the Wall Street Journal today may be the best rebuttal so far. Read it at .