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Monthly Archives: July 2011

13,071 m rowed

(did the “11” in 49:43 for 10,723; new high for this workout plus remainder of 60 mins)

Elapsed time 1:00:00

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Apparently, there is a Twitter hashtag called #consequencesofdefault. Folks are using it to foretell the disastrous outcomes from the failure of Congress to pass debt ceiling increase legislation by August 2. Iowahawk has compiled some of the good ones. Here’s a sampling (the bold ones are my favorites) :

  • Beltway policy experts begin living by own wits; after 45 minutes there are no survivors.
  • Roving bands of outlaws stalk our streets, selling incandescent bulbs to vulnerable children.
  • NPR news segments no longer buffered by soothing zither interludes.
  • Breadlines teeming with jobless Outreach Coordinators, Diversity Liaisons, and Sustainability Facilitators.
  • Cowboy poetry utterly lacking in metre.
  • General Motors unfairly forced to build cars that people want, for a profit.
  • Chaos reigns at Goldman Sachs, who no longer knows who to bribe with political donations.
  • Mankind’s dream of high speed government rail service between Chicago and Iowa City tragically dies.
  • At-risk Mexican drug lords forced to buy own machine guns.
  • Chevy Volt rebate checks bounce, stranded owners more than 50 miles from outlet.
  • Potential 5-year old terrorists head to boarding gates ungroped.
  • Defenseless mortgage holders forced to live in houses they can actually afford.
  • Without college loan program, America loses an entire generation of Marxist Dance Theorists.
  • Embarrassing state dinners, as Obamas are forced to downgrade from Wagyu to Kobe beef.
  • President Obama places tarp over Washington Monument to conceal from Chinese repo men.
  • With the Dept of Ed shuttered, national school quality plummets to 1960s levels.
  • Anthony Weiner is forced to pay for own sex addiction therapy.

There’s more over at Iowahawk, and dozens more at Twitter

In an editorial in Investor’s Business Daily, Thomas Sowell writes about the contentious and drawn-out debate over the debt ceiling. He gives credit to Speaker Boehner and the Republicans for holding out to get a debt ceiling bill that (ostensibly, at this moment) doesn’t include raising income taxes, and reinforces the idea that raising income taxes doesn’t necessarily mean the government will collect more revenue. He also acknowledges that Boehner’s bill, or any bill for that matter, isn’t going to be perfect. Regardless of which bill ultimately gets passed, people are going to be mad. Hopping mad. However, we shouldn’t -we can’t- let that stand in the way of passing something.

Many of us never thought that the Republicans would hold tough long enough to get President Obama and the Democrats to agree to a budget deal that does not include raising income tax rates. But they did — and Speaker of the House John Boehner no doubt desires much of the credit for that.

Despite the widespread notion that raising tax rates automatically means collecting more revenue for the government, history says otherwise.

As far back as the 1920s, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon pointed out that the government received a very similar amount of revenue from high-income earners at low tax rates as it did at tax rates several times as high.

How was that possible? Because high tax rates drive investors into tax shelters, such as tax-exempt bonds. Today, as a result of globalization and electronic transfers of money, “the rich” are even less likely to stand still and be sheared like sheep, when they can easily send their money overseas, to places where tax rates are lower.

Money sent overseas creates jobs overseas — and American workers cannot transfer themselves overseas to get those jobs as readily as investors can send their money there.

All the overheated political rhetoric about needing to tax “millionaires and billionaires” is not about bringing in more revenue to the government. It is about bringing in more votes for politicians who stir up class warfare with rhetoric.

Now that the Republicans seem to have gotten the Democrats off their higher taxes kick, the question is whether a minority of the House Republicans will refuse to pass the Boehner legislation that could lead to a deal that will spare the country a major economic disruption and spare the Republicans from losing the 2012 elections by being blamed — rightly or wrongly — for the disruptions.

Is the Boehner legislation the best legislation possible? Of course not!

I agree – it’s not the best legislation we could come up with, but it would be hard to do all the things we want -or need- to do with one bill. There are so many things about the way our government spends money that need to be changed, we’ll need to eat the elephant one bite at a time. Sowell goes on to applaud the Tea Party’s influence in the negotiations over the debt ceiling, but warns that having a “rule or ruin” mentality about this bill could marginalize the group’s influence in the future. He noted that we were able to win the American Revolution because George Washington retreated again and again to avoid being destroyed by the numerically superior British. Like many times in American politics, both parties are going to have to swallow some nasty medicine to raise the debt ceiling.

Go ahead and take the medicine, and get this debt ceiling thing out of the way for now. It’s pretty much guaranteed that nobody is going to get everything they want, and there’s certainly nothing good to be gained by not taking care of it. There’s an election coming up. If the American people are as disenchanted with Obama and the Democrats then as they are now -and there’s not much reason, from an economic perspective, to think much will be different- change (not the hopenchange kind; just the regular kind) will come, and more battles will be won in Congress. Perhaps, there may even be a way to win the war. For now, we need to survive.

Update: Charles Krauthammer thinks it would be disastrous for Republicans not to pass the Boehner plan (here’s the link if the video doesn’t show up)

Watch the latest video at <a href=”http://video.foxnews.com”>video.foxnews.com</a>

In recent campaign speeches press conferences about the debt ceiling debate, the Prevaricator in Chief has invoked the specter of the unthinkable. He warned the American people that if the Republicans don’t “compromise” (read: give in to my will – think Jon Lovitz as Satan on SNL) on the debt ceiling, well, he can’t guarantee that the checks will go out the next day. Pure demagoguery, yes, and certainly not necessary – those entitlement payments would go out first unless Obama and treasury secretary Tim (paying taxes is for the little people) Geithner decide that they won’t.

In an American Thinker piece titled “The 70 Million-Check Constituency, Michael Filozof looks into just how many checks the government sends out each month. It’s a huge number. He also examines the mentality of the left as it relates to those checks, and where money comes from.

I have bad news for conservatives who think Obama is leading the nation down the path to socialism: the barn door is open and the cows are long gone.  Obama is not leading the nation to socialism; we are a socialist nation and have been for some time.  Conservatives who think Obama is a Marxist and an anti-capitalist radical are surely correct, but what is also surely correct is that he represents an actual constituency of tens of millions who care about nothing other than the fact that the government check is in the mail.  This is a serious problem for conservative Republicans and Tea Partiers seeking to cut the federal budget and restore fiscal sanity.

For the left, money is not something that is earned.  Money happens.  It happens when you know the right people.  If you are a college professor and you make the right impression at enough faculty cocktail parties, one day you will be tenured and named department chair and money happens.  If you are an “activist” or a “community organizer” and you hobnob with people from the right foundations, money happens.  If you are a Hollywood actress, you spend a couple of hours a day on the set pretending you are a prostitute or a murderer and then go snort cocaine all night, and money happens.

For the left’s welfare-state constituencies, money happens when you fill out the right forms (or get an attorney to sue the government for you).  Do it right and SSI, Medicaid, workers’ comp, and agriculture subsidies just sorta happen.  If you’re an “artist” taking gay pornographic pictures and you apply for a taxpayer-funded grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, money happens.  If you were born with spina bifida or you got your legs blown off in Iraq, I agree that you deserve a government check.  If not, you don’t deserve a nickel of anyone else’s money.

Obama is a poster boy for the “money happens” mentality.  Obama held one private-sector job in his entire life, which he characterized as “behind enemy lines.”  Obama never published anything as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.  Obama never published anything as a college instructor in constitutional law.  Obama was given a publisher’s advance for his memoirs — after a life of accomplishing nothing — and immediately encountered “writer’s block” and sought help.  In all probability his two books are ghostwritten.  Yet Obama is a multimillionaire, largely from the sales of his books.  For him, money happened.  Obama’s wife, Michelle, made a lousy hundred grand with her Harvard Law degree as vice-president for “community relations” at a Chicago hospital.  When her husband was elected U.S. Senator in 2004, the hospital coincidentally decided that she deserved a raise of $200,000.  For Michelle, money happened.

For lots of taxpayers and small business people, the idea that a lot of the liberal folks running our government view money as something that “happens” and not necessarily as something you earn, is antithetical to the American way. America is great because it provides (or it used to, anyway) freedom: whether it be protection of personal property, or freedom from excessive governmental regulation or taxation, freedom affords people who are willing to invest their capital and sweat a way to make themselves successful. Well, at least it does for some of us. For all the rest freedom in America means “the government check is in the mail.”