Yes, this blog was hacked.  I guess they figured since I wasn’t posting they would.

Published in: on November 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

O’Reilly is not a Conservative-He’s an Ass

Bill O’Reilly is not particularly conservative. He’s a Catholic and holds some social-conservative views but he’s mostly a squishy moderate. He is also a pompous ass and he gives Republicans and Conservatives a bad name when he spouts off on topics where he is ignorant, which tend to be all economic issues.

He’s particularly infuriating when it comes to 2 key topics in this election year: Insurance companies and oil companies. There are some common threads. Both have lower than average profit margins. Both are heavily regulated and in both cases government interference in the market place is resulting in price distortions.

This has been going on for years but has come to the fore in recent broadcasts in conjunction with the return to $4 gas prices. Tonight he invited a liberal Democrat mayor to debate and hilarity ensued. O’Reilly ran up against his own circular logic when he found his guest agreeing with pretty much everything he said.

Wise people know what they don’t know. O’Reilly “bloviates”, blissfully ignorant of his shortcomings. He is emboldened by his frequent guest, Lou Dobbs, another clueless charlatan who recently advanced a crackpot theory that Bill blindly subscribes to.

O’Reilly’s “theory”, such as it is, is that evil oil companies are choosing to ship domestically-produced oil to China, causing shortages here and driving up prices at the pump. He then contradicts himself by stating that supplies are up due to the lagging economy.

In the next segment Monica Crowley countered with the exact metrics that O’Reilly and Dobbs are missing and was rudely dismissed. It happened again with John Stossel. How long will these respected journalists put up with O’Reilly’s abuse? What are those inconvenient truths?

1. Oil companies have low profit margins, in the single digits. The impact is less than a dime per dollar. So remove the oil company profit and the $4 drops to $3.64. Problem solved, right? O’Reilly laughed at Crowley, rolled his eyes and blathered about “record profits”. This is the language of the left. Then he made snide remarks about the Beverly Hillbillies. That is the language of children.

2. Oil is fungible, meaning that a barrel of oil here is pretty much the same as a barrel of oil half way around the globe. More supply here adds to global supply and lowers the price for everyone. Obama has banned drilling off-shore and on-shore, particularly in Alaska. That is a core component of the high prices we see today.

3. Shipping costs. Why would an oil company ship U.S. produced oil to China when it is cheaper, and more profitable to sell it here? It’s simple, they don’t. We are net importers of oil. We lack pricing power for this reason.

Will O’Reilly wise up? Will he invite a guest to debate who has some professional knowledge of how the oil markets work? How about Walter Williams to give him an entry level tutorial on Economics 101? I am not going to hold my breath. The Chicago Tribune won’t print my letters so I seriously doubt that my “pithy” rebuttal will be read on The Factor.

Instead I’ll just be a good Capitalist, and stop buying O’Reilly’s product.

Anyone care to join me?

Published in: on February 21, 2012 at 10:03 pm  Comments (9)  
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One Small Step for the GOP

I have a suggestion for the Republican Party. I am not sure if we can get the various big-government hypocrites, reach-accros-the-aisle centrists, and other wishy-washy RINOs to agree, but how about issuing a statement like this:

We, the elected representatives who call ourselves Republicans do hereby promise to tell the whole truth, the full truth, and nothing but the truth. We promise to stop claiming we are “cutting spending” when all we are doing is lowering, in rare instances, the rate of spending increases.

We promise to stop using the term “Social Security Trust Fund” because there is no such thing. Every penny ever collected for that program has been spent and we are dependent on current and future tax payers to fund the program. This is unsustainable.

We will request the same honesty from our Democratic counterparts but we will hold to this pledge with or without them. It is long past time that someone in this great nation did the right thing and we will proudly execute our sworn duties to uphold the Constitution.

We promise you, the American tax payers that balance their budgets at home, that we will do the same here in Washington.

We begin today. In November we will ask for your vote. With your help we can get America back on the road to fiscal responsibility. Join us on the only true path to prosperity before it is too late.

Published in: on February 16, 2012 at 8:21 pm  Comments (4)  

This Is What Democrats Do

Obama’s latest budget is a joke and an insult to the American people. If Harry Reid allows it to reach the floor it will be voted down like last year: 97-0.

Republicans in the House are passing budgets and bills.

Obama is passing the buck.

He’d raise tax rates and cut defense spending while expanding spending in every other area. This is a broken record.

The recent flap involving the Catholic Church and contraception etc. shows exactly what Obamacare is all about. We all lose our freedom when we hand over the health care and insurance business to bureaucrats. Now we are being told that pregnancy is a preventable illness. Do they read their own press releases? The Democrats simply run around declaring that one thing or another will be free of cost. There is no such thing. This is childish and ignorant.

The free market isn’t a bunch of “greedy capitalists” ripping us off without repercussions. The free market is about OUR freedom to choose. In that system businesses compete for our money — just like Apple and Microsoft compete for our computer and technology business. Things get better and cheaper for us while the corporations make money. There are profits and jobs — not subsidies and scandals like Solyndra.

The GOP needs a coordinated message that explains that to the voters and shows how Republicans will be distinctly different than the incompetents in charge now.

Obama and the Democrats are attempting the same controlled-economy nonsense that has failed every single time it has been forced on a population. The Soviet Union is only the most infamous example.

We are at a point where we need strong leadership to push bold policies that repeal and reverse most of this. We’ve been sliding toward socialism since FDR and the main difference now is that quicker pace. We’re at multiple tipping points. We’re broke and facing a real economic catastrophe.

If Mitt Romney wants to win the election he needs to understand that the President is not the CEO of America. You cannot micro-manage the economy–you can only set it free.

Pat Duggan

The State of the GOP

I hear a lot of complaining about the Republican Party these days. I share their frustration. How could it come to this? As the fourth year of the Obama era begins the state of the union is shaky at best. In 2008 an inexperienced leftist who donned a centrist disguise beat a weak opponent partly because the electorate was in such a state of shock that they were willing to ignore myriad red flags. I refer to his ultra-liberal voting record, murky background, radical friends and shady political pals. A lapdog media wasn’t interested in doing any vetting — opting instead to just cheer-lead.

The recent State of the Union was full of the same old stuff: congratulating himself for perceived accomplishments and complaining about Republican obstructionism. It’s pure trash and he knows it – but he’s betting that the American electorate will swallow it once again.
Anyone curious enough to look beyond the pliant press would have found that Obama’s speech was in many instances a word-for-word rehash of his previous “SOTU’s” here:


Further analysis shows his tax claims to be demonstrably false, here:

With evidence like that this election should be easy right? Obama is a now known quantity and the mask has been ripped off the entire Democrat Party. They marched in lockstep to shove Obamacare down our throats, bypassing an honest legislative process and ignoring the will of the people, including those in uber-liberal Massachusetts who voted for Scott Brown on that issue alone. They have reclaimed the crown as the biggest spenders – quickly eclipsing the Republicans of the previous era. Annual deficits are now running $1.5 TRILLION and we have nothing to show for it.

We should be planning our election night parties – and yet…

It is a mess. Many are fearful that we’re paving the way for Obama to be re-elected. From a very large field full of flawed candidates we’re left with a clueless Mitt Romney fending off desperate attacks from a flailing Newt Gingrich and the Republican Party seems to be doing the Democrats’ dirty work for them. We’re told by self-proclaimed experts that Romney is the only “electable” candidate and yet the guy has no track record of winning. The one time he did he passed a government-run health care bill that paved the way for the mess we’re trying to get repealed.

While Newt’s failures as Speaker of the House have been misrepresented – and his major victories diminished – Mitt is mostly given a free pass. Santorum is the non-Romney of the month but he is a lightweight punching out of his weight class. Ron Paul is given exactly the attention he deserves: credit for his criticism of our dangerous fiscal / monetary policy and scorn for his dangerously naïve foreign policy. Has anyone noticed that he is attracting the youth vote?

But how did the Republican Party let this happen? Well, let’s think about it for a minute. Who is the Republican Party? It’s the candidates who run as Republicans and the people who vote for them. It’s the current crop of elected officials who still self-identify with the party and caucus with them. Let’s not forget the Murkowskis of the world who are only Republican when it’s convenient, or the traders like Jeffords and Specter who changed teams. It is also the RNC – but they really only get involved AFTER the primaries, funneling money where it is most needed in closely fought general elections.

The candidates are a reflection of what we as voters demand. For too long we settled for mushy compromising centrists like Bush and McCain who did nothing to curtail spending or the rampant encroachments on our freedoms. I am not letting the Republicans in Congress off the hook. Spending bills start there. We have a President – not a king. Obama is clearly irritated by that. But the Republicans have not stood united as a party and held their ground. They should have been there all along saying. “We simply cannot afford this level of spending. We can’t defend our country and fund out-of-control entitlement programs. We cannot suspend the laws of economics to give houses to those who cannot afford mortgage payments. We will destroy our economy if we do.”

Nope. They reached across the aisle and danced around the third rails of politics and took the easy way out. McCain was one of them and Newt Gingrich was too. Romney pretends to “Mr. Private Sector” but he didn’t trust it to deal with the health care industry. It is no wonder attacks on him have stuck.

So the Tea Party was born. They are more loosely organized than the GOP. They do not have the big money yet. They only have a few true believers in office now; young leaders like Marco Rubio. Old phonies like Newt are merely pretenders trying to harness their energy. But the Tea Party activists at least have clear principles: smaller, efficient government; low, flat taxes; balanced budgets: strong foreign policy; free markets.

The debates are a disgrace. Who agreed to this? The RNC? This was a blown opportunity to clarify what the GOP platform is to be. We should be discerning not just where the candidates are different but where they agree. Liberal TV commentators should not be involved. Their slanted, “gotcha” questions waste precious time and give the Democrats advantages they should not be granted. Who lets the other team into the huddle?

Who are the party “leaders” who convinced Chris Christie and Paul Ryan not to run? Why didn’t those candidates seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? If Romney wins and does well, he is odds-on to run again and make it an 8 year wait for GOP contenders. Then maybe the pendulum swings left again. If Romney wins and lacks the will to make the bold moves we won’t get the recovery we need. Voters will tire and be susceptible to more “hope and change”. There are lots of ways that it adds up to a 12 year wait for these rising stars. This is their best chance and our best chance.

Now we are in a primary cycle where the voters are unanimous in their support for “none of the above” Not Romney and not the non-Romneys either. I think a brokered election would be thrilling and historic — but wait – the GOP wants to screw that up too. Their idea of a “White Knight” late-entry candidate?

Jeb Bush. (Crickets)

Are they tone deaf? Sure, I know all about Jeb. He’s the smartest Bush. That is beyond irrelevant. This country is not in the mood for another Bush while still suffering from a great deal of the fallout from the financial crisis that began during his brother’s term. Sorry Jeb.

I am still optimistic. True change does not happen quickly in a world still suffering from an epidemic of incumbency. Only we can impose the term limits that are so desperately needed.

They say we get the government we deserve. I am sure I am not the only one who feels I deserve better than this. I work, pay taxes, get informed, get involved and then vote.

There is a battle for the soul of the GOP. There is a call for return to core principles as opposed to watered-down liberalism or “compassionate conservatism”. The Democrats are in a state of denial about theirs. Obama is being attacked from the left for not doing enough. Incredible. “Moderate” Democrats don’t seem bothered that their party has been taken over by de facto socialists.

The silver lining in this mess is that at least Republican voters are showing that they care about character as this search for the non-Romney goes on. Democrats were too eager to embrace scripted charisma in an empty suit. We can do better. We will. Hopefully soon.

Pat Duggan

Romney Wins But Still a Liberal

The only positive development in the wake of the early primaries is that fewer bad candidates are now running.

The GOP is to blame for this. They lack leadership at virtually all levels. The recent negotiations over the Keystone pipeline were completely bungled with Republicans battling Republicans and seizing defeat from the jaws of victory.

They do not have a cohesive message. If they did it would be clear to all that Mitt’s message doesn’t match. McCain would’ve flunked the same test. Now McCain has endorsed Romney. Is that supposed to soothe our collective anxiety about this deeply flawed candidate?

Romney says his experience in the private sector is what qualifies him for the top office. Then why did he think private industry couldn’t handle health care and insurance?

Romney says his plan was appropriate for states – but not OK at the national level.

Please. Here in Illinois we’ll soon have two consecutive Governors in Jail, with 4 of the last 8 convicted. Our state is broke with unfunded pensions that rank us last in terms of fiscal stability. Yup, just let our corrupt politicians run our health care and insurance systems.

This is area of greatest vulnerability and yet his debate opponents haven’t made the point. Instead, they attack him from the left with talking points that sound like they were lifted from a MoveOn.org rant.

His work at Bain Capital is worth noting. Dysfunctional companies were restructured to make them profitable. Profitable companies create long-lasting jobs. Unprofitable ones come begging for bailouts.

Obama “invested” OUR money in Solyndra. That is a stark contrast that should help any eventual GOP nominee. Shame on the other Republican candidates for attacking free-market capitalism.

I’d like to know if Mitt would work some of that magic on the energy and education departments. Would he fire thousands of bureaucrats and make our government more efficient?

Does Mitt understand that while companies benefit from a hands-on management, government serves best when it interferes least?

Why is Romney considered to be the only one who can win when his election record is abysmal? He has won exactly one election. He then promptly “reached across the aisle” to pass a disastrous health care plan that is driving up health care and insurance costs just as predicted.

The GOP can’t afford this. Romney will only further harm the GOP brand. They need a candidate who believes in small government, the constitution and free markets. A true supply sider would set the economy on the road to recovery. Romney is a big government hack who would engage in more Keynesian nonsense. He has pledged a currency war with China and would further devalue the dollar throwing gas on the inflation fire already burning.

We will likely be stuck with Romney. Our principled criticism should not be toned down. What we want transcends party lines: a balanced budget, smaller, more efficient government, fewer encroachments on our personal freedoms, and government completely out of the housing business. I want to hear it in the debates against Obama. It is the only time both sides pay attention.

The various tea party groups have a lot of work to do. They did not have a candidate in this race –despite claims to the contrary. Bachmann and others may have tried to harness their energy but it is the new leaders, like Marco Rubio, who were elected due to their influence. The time will come for someone like him to grab the brass ring. For Now Rubio and Paul Ryan need to work hard to exert the powers of Congress; first to battle Obama, and later to bring reform with a Republican President. Our economy would benefit greatly from a sense that stability was returning. Tax policy that lasts for two months is unsettling for business and markets. Shame on the GOP for going along with such an asinine plan.

In the meantime we should take solace in the understanding that if it’s Romney, he will merely be our President – not king as Obama seems to think.

Pat Duggan

MF Global = AIG

Despite the lack of detailed information available to the public regarding the MF Global collapse, I don’t think it’s too early to make a few observations / predictions.

1. The money isn’t “missing”. There is no need to check the couch cushions. The $1.2 Billion — or whatever it turns out to be — was LOST by the proprietary trading division and all the laws put in place requiring segregation to protect customer funds from THIS VERY POSSIBILITY were broken in the process.

2. There were daily reports detailing the deterioration of the massive trade. This rumors of seriousness of the situation were swirling outside the firm as early as March — surely those intricately involved had detailed knowledge of how bad it was. A decision was made to keep going, past the point of no return. There was a point at which they could have exited this trade, quite likely losing all the firms capital but not a dime of segregated funds. They chose to start breaking the law instead.

3. The counter parties will be implicated. That is what I mean by the headline I chose. As taxpayers we did not bail out AIG — we bailed out their counter parties, including Goldman Sachs. With exchange-cleared trades the clearing house eliminates counter-party risk. Over the counter trades are a different animal. Counter-party risk is part of the package. That is why those particular bailouts were so immoral. The counter parties got the upside potential and we, the taxpayers absorbed the eventual loss. The counter parties picked the corpse of MF Global clean like a pack of hyenas.

4. Corzine knew. He’s going to jail.

Published in: on December 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm  Comments (2)  
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Leon Cooperman

If you haven’t already, take a moment to read Leon Cooperman’s open letter to President Obama here : LINK

One sentence really stood out for me:
“As a result of my good fortune, I have been able to give away to those less blessed far more than I have spent on myself and my family over a lifetime.”

Now, I wish he’d said “as a result of my hard work” — instead of “good fortune” — but the point is made. He gave away far more than he spent on himself and his family. This is typical. Whether we are talking Bill gates or Andrew Carnegie the U.S. has a long history of giving more to charity, at a higher rate, than any other country on earth. Studies also show that conservatives give more that liberals. LINK

It is clear that a big part of the problem, and the core of class envy protests like OWS, is a total misunderstanding of economics and what successful people do with their money. More important than what they give away is what they do with what they keep. They don’t bury it in the back yard — they invest it! Even if all they do is buy stocks that capital is what companies use to grow and expand AND HIRE MORE WORKERS.

“Tax the rich more” ensures that they’ll have less to invest — and that means fewer jobs and a stagnant economy. It really is that simple. The problem is that politicians can’t claim credit and buy votes ensuring their cushy lifestyles this way, so they keep offering us “jobs bills” and other useless crap. It’s really worse than useless though. It ensures that we’ll keep adding to our debt problems and keep choking the economy.

I wish Newt or Mitt were articulating this key issue.

They’re not.

Pat Duggan

Published in: on December 2, 2011 at 10:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Congress Defaults

The so-called “Super Committee” failed to yield one iota of progress in resolving our debt crisis and credit-rating downgrade. We knew this would be the result the day it was announced. The leadership of both parties and President Obama should be ashamed for supporting this stunt that merely wasted precious time. The notion that 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans could agree on anything was and is ludicrous. That Congress would abdicate it’s duty in this way is shameful. This will be Boehner’s legacy.

I don’t know what is more frustrating: the ridiculous straw man arguments that the Democrats keep recycling — or the Republicans inability to debunk them.

The left has assailed sensible economic policy for decades via this tactic. Reagan’s policies that focused on cutting top tax rates, a strong dollar and selective deregulation were smeared with the moniker “trickle down” — as if that is what the conservatives were hoping would result. In a grand compromise, tax rates were cut with the promise that spending would be cut later. The Democrat-controlled Congress reneged on that pledge and the resulting deficits were blamed on Reagan’s tax reductions. The fact that revenues doubled in 8 years as top rates were cut from 70% to 28% was and is intentionally ignored. It is worth noting that it was Newt Gingrich and the GOP-led Congress that did get things under control resulting in the alleged surpluses of the Clinton era. (This was mostly smoke and mirrors that involved the raiding of the mythical Social Security “trust fund”; an accounting ruse that would land a CEO in jail.)

Now the Democrats are trying to pretend that the GOP has only one solution to every economic ill. They’ve consistently referred to unchanging tax rates as “tax cuts”. Democrats ramped up spending by 25 % in their 2 years of control and we have a jobless, weak recovery with record debt to show for it. Their stimulus failed as every sensible economist said it would. Keynesian economics can now be relegated to the “ash heap of history”.

The truth is that it is the Democrats who are offering a single solution to all our problems: hike tax rates on the top-earning bracket. A quick analysis shows that this doesn’t result in a substantial increase in revenue or a reduction in debt. Why? As always, there just aren’t enough rich people around. When this is acknowledged the next logical question must be: if taxing the top bracket is insufficient and we refuse to cut spending what must happen? And the only possible answer is: tax rates must then be raised across the board or our exploding debt will lead to excessive money printing, hyperinflation and ultimately, default and economic collapse. The middle class would be wise to take notice and vote accordingly.

Polls consistently show that we hold Congress as a whole in utter contempt – yet tend to give our own representative a passing grade. News flash: If your Senator or Representative has been around for more than 2 terms they are the problem.

I suggest Newt or Mitt or whoever make this their campaign theme:

It’s the spending stupid.

At some point spending and taxes must equate. Deficits at any point ensure higher taxes later. Politicians always prefer later. Later is here. We are at a point on the Laffer Curve where higher rates will produce diminishing returns. Comparisons to rates of earlier eras become faulty as local governments raise their taxes ever higher.

The tax demagogues should be confronted with this simple graph:

The lower rates accompany a period of tremendous growth, falling inflation rates and low unemployment. When I see this graph my impulse is to ask: what gives us the right to seize 90% of anybody’s anything? How did this happen? Isn’t our Constitution designed to prevent exactly this type of tyranny?

As for the spending, our next GOP nominee would be wise to choose Oklahoma Sen. (and Dr.) Tom Coburn as VP. He has outlined hundreds of billions in wasted spending – and yes, much of it is earmarked for Republican projects. This is the time for leadership. The GOP must take the first steps and specify where they will make cuts dear to their own constituency for the good of the country.

We have all the ammunition we need to support a conservative plan for real spending cuts – not just smaller increases – and tax reform that would eliminate the loopholes and streamline the filing process. When properly presented this common sense approach reveals the Democrats singular alternative for what it is: a simplistic and naïve approach that has been used before with disastrous results. Their insistence that it be tried once more is not policy it is a tantrum.

If the current President and Congress can’t take the obvious steps we need to fire them and elect a group who will.

Newt vs. Mitt

GOP voters are being told that Mitt Romney is our only chance. Rubbish. This comes from otherwise intelligent types like Michael Medved who committed to pathetic loser McCain early in the 2008 campaign.

The latest anti-Romney is Newt Gingrich. I don’t have to list the complaints here; they are well known — Mitt’s mistakes are also.

What’s maddening is it seems “they” have decided that Mitt’s mistakes are forgivable and Newt’s are not.

Now, sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi for a TV commercial is stupid — and doing it to promote the global warming agenda is worse — but many fell into the climate trap and are now reversing themselves. That is the right thing to do if you couldn’t see then that it never passed the smell test.

Yet Romney is forgiven for spearheading Massacare, the precursor to Obamacare. Mitt wants to pretend there are major differences. Nonsense.

If you don’t understand that government control at any level can only make health care and insurance worse then you’re too dumb to be dog catcher, let alone President.

Published in: on November 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm  Comments (6)  

It’s This Simple

Obama and the Democrats want to raise taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” — but then define them as those making more than $250,000 per year.  I think the key to negotiating with these nitwits is to give them what they want.  By how much would we need to “raise taxes” on these selfish bastards to balance the budget?  Well, for those making $250,o00 per year they’d need to cough up an extra $500,000 annually.

Read more here: LINK

Now that we’ve put that to rest, what is their next great idea?

Thanks to Mark Steyn for the tip.

Published in: on October 24, 2011 at 12:29 pm  Comments (1)  
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Romney Spins, Others Whiff

The GOP debates continue to disappoint on all levels.  The formats, the hosts, the questions and the sound bite speeches deprive us of the opportunity to discuss the important issues facing this country as we approach the one-year-to-go mark in the campaign.

They all seem to forget that they’re running for POTUS – not king.  Gimmicks like Herman Cain’s “999” have zero chance of getting through Congress. The candidates need to offer simpler frameworks as a basis for a continuing conversation that will lead to real legislation. Insist on simplifying the tax code so we can all fill out our own returns in less than an hour.  With the FairTax there are no more returns and no more IRS.  That said, the attacks on Cain’s “999” plan were shameful, straw-man arguments.  Mr. Cain anticipated this but did a poor job of pointing out that his opponents were attacking distorted versions of his plan.  He should know better.  This is the history of the FairTax he has supported for years.  As for the other candidates, they have a choice: They either don’t understand the concept of replacing federal income taxes with consumption taxes (in which case they are too stupid to be dog catcher – let alone POTUS), or they are lying. Either way, Herman Cain missed a chance to expose his opponents’ unwillingness to honestly debate.

As for Romney and his health care disaster, why won’t any of the candidates make this key point:  Government has no constitutional right to interfere in the health care or insurance markets at any level, state or federal.

The only thing that is going to bring lower costs is free markets and open competition.  The notion that you are going to suspend the laws of economics and mandate pricing or participation is asinine.  Let the liberals continue to make that mistake.  The GOP needs to take the lead in clarifying the issues.  Health care is the all-encompassing term for the goods and services provided by people who dedicate their lives to it. It’s their career.  It’s a business.  Profits are how those people are paid.  The notion that 1/6th of our economy should function differently is ridiculous.  The profit motive has been the motivating factor that has brought all the developments of modern medicine.  The so-called “rich”, that are so maligned by the left, have paid top dollar for early access to expensive, experimental drugs and procedures. This is a crucial stage in the process that later brings us all the affordable, refined versions.

Health insurance is a risk management tool.  We all need to stop using the terms health care and health insurance as if they are the same thing. The national audience that these debates bring is the perfect opportunity.

Mitt Romney’s unending attempts to split hairs here are despicable.  His role as Governor in bringing about “Massacare” shows a serious and disqualifying lack of judgment and basic economic understanding.  His ongoing effort to obfuscate the issue belies a lack of ethics.

When you add all this to his history of flip flopping and pandering it is clear that Mitt Romney is not a conservative and a poor choice to lead the GOP now or ever.

It is a sad state of affairs that this is the group battling for the GOP nomination.  It is even more telling that every single one of them would make a better President than Obama.

Patrick Duggan

Published in: on October 19, 2011 at 4:09 pm  Comments (2)  

The Speech We Need to Hear

President Obama’s response to the continued-weak economy and nonexistent job growth is seemingly limited to giving angry speeches, and offering vague plans that don’t address the situation. He called a joint session of Congress to deliver a speech in which he would reveal the details of his long-awaited “American Jobs Act”. He insisted that Congress “pass it right away”—but it didn’t actually exist yet. Now he has latched onto the “Buffett rule”, and a deliberately deceptive representation of the current tax code. Campaigning on a promise of tax hikes is political suicide.

The GOP lacks a unified voice to respond to this. This is not a surprise—they are not unified. One of the key reasons the “Tea Party” came into existence was frustration with a rudderless GOP. Romney and Perry are presenting very different views on entitlement reform and other crucial issues. Since there is no consensus, it presents an opportunity for a candidate to exploit that vacuum and create the theme for 2012. The next GOP nominee will be the one that best articulates a winning vision of the future. A response that outlines an alternative agenda, with a specific set of policy alternatives, could propel a GOP candidate into the nomination. It would look like this:

Our economy is still stagnant, with high unemployment and $4 gas. A “double dip” is possible. President Obama has responded with more speeches. His latest strategy is based on the musings of Warren Buffett. His proposal will feature what he calls “The Buffett Rule”. He claims he wants to hike taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” but he has repeatedly called for tax hikes on those making more than $200,000.

Warren Buffett and the president are intentionally misleading the American people. They are suggesting that income tax rates and capital gains tax rates are the same thing. They’re not—and the president knows it. The left-leaning media is not eager to clear this up, so I will.

Many have suggested that Warren Buffett simply soothe his guilt by writing a check to the U.S. Treasury—but that misses the point. We want Warren Buffet to continue to invest in the best American companies. As much as I’d like Mr. Buffett to back up his words with actions, I think the proper response is to look at our tax code.

The U.S. already has a very progressive income tax code with the top earners paying 35%. IRS statistics show that the top 1% is paying 39% of all income taxes. Virtually every dime we invest is left over from income that has already been taxed. We tax long-term capital gains at a lower 15% rate for very important reasons. We want to encourage investment, and we want investors to feel they can move their capital to a new investment without being trapped by the tax code. This is essential to the formation of new businesses and the growth of the economy.

When Warren Buffett buys stock in a company he is providing the seeds for growth. With that infusion of capital, young businesses can build new plants and hire new employees. This is precisely where jobs come from—not failed government programs. I want Warren Buffett and other experienced financiers investing that money. When government reallocates that money we get scandals like Solyndra.

When tax time rolls around Warren Buffett behaves like every other tax payer. He takes steps to keep his tax bill as low as legally possible. He limits himself to a $100,000 salary to avoid the income tax he wants to impose on others. He holds his investments for the long haul to avoid the higher, short-term capital gains tax rate. He avoids paying lots of unnecessary brokerage commissions. Investors should emulate what Mr. Buffett does—and ignore what he says when he is making political speeches.

President Obama says he want to raise taxes on the rich—but there just aren’t enough of them around to pay for his spending surge. If we don’t significantly cut spending, the certain outcome is higher taxes, especially on the middle class. For too long, politicians of all stripes have avoided making the tough decisions where spending is concerned. The 25% increase in spending we’ve seen under the Obama administration makes that easy. I suggest a “last in / first out” method to eliminate entire programs. I’ll start by repealing Obamacare. Democrats are eager to return to the tax rates of the Clinton era. Fine, let’s match that with a return to the spending levels of that era; levels held in check by a Republican Congress.

The clear alternative to the toxic policies of the Obama administration, and the Democrat-controlled congress, is to foster a pro-business climate in America. Our corporate tax rate is among the very highest. If we want to compete globally, and stop outsourcing jobs, we need to lower it. We need to keep the capital gains tax rate low for reasons already outlined. Even President Clinton knew this, which is why he lowered that rate from 28% to 20% in 1997. The economy boomed and revenues increased. In 2008, candidate Obama rejected this economic truth when he famously told Charlie Gibson he’d raise capital gains tax rates for reasons of “fairness.”

Studies have shown that when top tax rates were as high as 90% under FDR, or as low as 28% under Ronald Reagan, the income tax revenue collected stubbornly remained around 8% to 9% of our nations GDP. When top tax rates were lowered under Presidents Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush, revenues increased. Revenue reductions have always been a result of recessions—so let’s stop having them. Let’s stop punishing the job creators and unleash their entrepreneurial spirits. Let’s stop practicing class warfare and the politics of envy, and focus on the economic freedoms that have made this country great. Free-market capitalism has been the growth engine of this country since its founding. The bailouts and tax loopholes are cronyism—not capitalism. We see that in evidence now with the Obamacare waivers for the president’s chosen favorites.

The flat tax is working around the globe. Countries that struggled under Soviet oppression and centralized planning are thriving now. We can simplify our tax code and eliminate the loopholes and provisions for special-interest groups.

We know the best way to increase revenues is to get the economy growing. We can ignite this economy with a spark from the energy sector. This sector has not just been neglected by the Obama administration—it has been targeted for destruction. Drilling bans, an out-of-control EPA, green-energy boondoggles and a weak dollar policy have resulted in $4 gas across the nation. By tapping our vast domestic energy sources we can create real jobs that can’t be outsourced. That will increase revenue to help close budget gaps. Lower prices at the pump will help everyone, from commuters to businesses that have struggled with increased transportation costs. We’ll help stave off the inflation that is already hindering our economy. Maybe most importantly, we’ll stop sending our dollars overseas to nations that harbor terrorists.

President Obama’s policies have failed. He wants to continue down that path. We need to go forward. We know what works. Low tax rates, restrained spending and pragmatic energy policies will foster an environment in which businesses create jobs. America has been a 200+ year experiment in economic freedom. Let’s throw off the economic shackles the Obama administration has strapped on us and make America great again.

Published in: on September 28, 2011 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Debt Ceiling Charade

The so-called debate over the debt ceiling is going nowhere because the elected officials involved have zero experience in problem solving at any level. The only reason this debt ceiling increase hasn’t been rubber stamped like the last 100 times is that the Republican House is attempting to use it as a bargaining chip. With the Democrats in control of the Senate and Obama in the White House they have very little leverage and seemingly no clue as to how to use what they have.

Part of the problem is that Washington politicians know virtually nothing about negotiating. The result of almost every impasse is a “Washington Compromise”, just one more oxymoron from our capital. As every married man knows, a real compromise requires a tradeoff, some sort of sacrifice. You want to play golf this Saturday? Fine, but you’ll be spending Sunday working on that “honey do” list. You gotta give a little to get a little.

In the Washington alternative universe both sides get everything they want. But the laws of mathematics are not so easily suspended. Who does the giving? The tax payer of course. It is because of this habitual way of doing things that the debt keeps mounting.

It is all made worse due to the static scoring that assumes higher tax rates produce higher revenue. History shows us otherwise. The lowering of tax rates under Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush II all were followed by increased revenue. Revenues fall during recessions-so let’s stop having them.

The GOP is trying to appear tough right now because they know this is why they won so big in the 2010 mid-terms. They have a mandate to cut spending without raising tax rates. Obama and the Democrats received the same message. Their solution? Stop passing budgets and try to stall until after the 2012 elections.

What should the Republican Party do?

First, get its act together. They are rudderless. There should be a clear plan with a chosen leader to promote it. Plan it before you publicize it. Instead, on the night we pass the “Cut, Cap and Balance” the “Gang of Six” announces a conflicting plan. I am a fan of Tom Coburn. He is one of the few decent people in politics-but he should have his head examined. Why would anyone join a “gang” that included Dick Durbin?

They need to make this a 2012 issue. It goes like this:

We have presented a plan for moving forward. In acknowledgement that the economy is still showing signs of weakness, particularly in the employment sector, we refuse to consider a tax hike. Since government spending requires diverting money from the private sector and prevents growth we are proposing serious spending cuts-not just lower levels of increase. By necessity this includes serious entitlement reform.

If the Democrats in the Senate refuse to work with us-or if the President vetoes this common sense plan-we will have no choice but to pass a series of small bumps in the debt ceiling to prevent a shutdown of government. The American people have made it clear that the growth of government must stop. We agree and we’re willing to take that fight to the polls in 2012.

Pat Duggan

Debate the Bigger Issue

Instead of playing a game of political chicken with Obama, the Republican leadership should grab the high ground and focus everyone’s attention on the big picture. Everyone knows the debt ceiling must be raised. The question is not whether it will peak at 15 or 16 trillion dollars-the cold reality is that it will be a much higher number. The GOP should not get trapped into negotiating around such a puny issue. They need to move the focus on the bigger, more important concerns. The health of the economy and the debt rating hinge on Washington’s ability to change the trajectory of government spending and the debt it generates. Under Obama, spending as a share of GDP has jumped 25% while revenues have dropped, as they always do, due to the deep recession. Current debt is virtually irrelevant when compared to the unfunded entitlement liabilities that exceed $100 TRILLION.

The only way to solve this problem, which was decades in the making, is with a long-term plan that will transcend the 2 year election cycle. The GOP needs to reject the static scoring that puts a price tag on lower tax rates. The Laffer curve demonstrates that the presumed correlations do not exist. Alan Reynolds recently authored a piece in the Wall Street Journal accompanied by a chart showing income tax revenue as a share of GDP as the top marginal rate was lowered from 91% to 28%. Revenues rose as a raw number and a percentage. (More on that here: LINK)

The silver lining in the current economic cloud is that the Democrats with their super majorities were able to give their economic theories a thorough test. The failure is also thorough and evident. The so-called “stimulus” was neither targeted nor temporary. The Democrats are trying to use it as a new baseline for budgeting. The crown for the party of big spending is properly placed once again. The GOP needs to claim victory and move on. The 2010 mid-term elections are their mandate.

This is our moment. We must seize it. Promises have been made for decades that can never be kept. The age of unfunded liabilities is over. True entitlement reform must include a transition to private accounts so that congress can never again spend what should have been in the mythical trust fund. Our health care is our responsibility. It is not a right-it is a basic necessity, just like food and housing-other areas where government meddling wreaks havoc. Insurance is a risk management tool that adds a layer of bureaucracy and the associated costs. It should be used sparingly, and will be, once it is untangled from the insane tax code.

A vibrant, growing economy can eventually dwarf the debt figures and then we can pay it off entirely. A rational energy policy focused on domestic drilling and proven technologies must replace the “green” fantasy. Real jobs will produce real revenue and help slay the inflation dragon that has already brought us $4 gas. Gains in national security are achieved as well. This message, this vision, can clarify the ongoing debate and serve as a national platform for the 2012 elections.

Pat Duggan

Jon Stewart is Most Misinformed

I like Jon Stewart and the Daily Show. I think Colbert is even funnier. It takes great talent to stay “in character” like that. And let’s face it, politicians are mostly self-absorbed, blithering idiots–so making fun of them is a public service.

But Stewart revealed much about himself in his interview on Fox with Chris Wallace. He thinks he’s smarter than the Fox guys (and gals). What’s really nauseating though, is he thinks his motives are pure as he cops his holier-than-thou attitude. He’s great when he’s being funny–but when he turns serious, we see a typical liberal: angry and arrogant.

See the entire interview here: LINK

Stewart is not likable in the interview. But the low point is where he adamantly insists that Fox viewers are “consistently” the most uninformed…”every poll”. False. Wallace debunks this by going over the poll results. Nothing shocking here. Polls can skew results by the questions they ask–or how they ask them.

See the smack down here: LINK

If you think the economy still sucks or that “man made global warming” has been exposed as a fully-orchestrated hoax, the liberally-biased pollster says you’re misinformed. We’ve all experienced this with smug liberal friends.

Confront the know-it-alls with facts that upset their world view and they become nasty.

Liberals start with a conclusion and go data mining for evidence to support their desired reality.

Conservatives explore the facts and then draw logical conclusions-even when it’s uncomfortable.

Pat Duggan

Published in: on June 27, 2011 at 9:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Tax Facts in a Nutshell

We can debate with the left about economics until we’re blue in the face. We can show them Laffer Curves and explain how supply side economics harnesses basic human nature via incentives. Many of us have tried.

Here’s an easier way:

Simply show them today’s column by Alan Reynolds in the Wall Street Journal (LINK).

Or simply show them this graphic:

Why have immoral, confiscatory tax rates when we can keep them low and boost growth and lower unemployment?

Some people are just stuck on stupid.

Published in: on June 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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U.S. is Certain to Default

-Not on the debt that has been issued in U.S. Treasury bonds-but on the promises they made to you dear tax payer, when they deducted from your paycheck for Social Security and Medicare.

It wasn’t so much a promise as a lie-and we eagerly believed it. Now that we know it’s lie we need to snap out of our collective trance and deal with it.

This requires leadership; a quality sadly lacking in Washington (and Illinois and Chicago for local readers).

Paul Ryan comes closest right now in terms of delivering the bad news. There’s a lot of “shoot the messenger” and way too little support from his team.

Pat Duggan

Published in: on June 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm  Comments (2)  
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Debate Hits and Misses

I think everyone had their good and bad moments in the CNN debate.

Herman Cain makes sense.

Ron Paul seems to be the only one properly worried about the Fed and our currency.

Rick Santorum shows well but is going to have a hard time setting himself apart.

Newt did what I was hoping he’d do before he screwed up his campaign.

Bachmann was the best at utilizing the format-both in scoring applause with campaign-worthy sound bytes and with her official announcement.

Romney was smooth but I don’t think that’s going to be enough to counter the Romneycare debacle and his recent embrace of the global warming hoax. He NEEDS to flip flop!

Pawlenty articulated his economic plan well but blew it when he refused to apply his “Obamnycare” label to the guy it was written for. He came across as a weaselly politician when he tried to spin it as a  hit only on Obama. He will never get a chance to debate Obama if he doesn’t wrestle front runner status from Mitt and to do that he needs to attack his Achilles heel.

Romneycare is 95% the same as Obamacare. Even if Mitt did the necessary thing and denounced it as an obvious mistake, given what we now know about it-it still shows an astounding lack of judgment and a total disregard for the free market principles that the GOP must embrace as the antidote to Obama’s government-mandated mess.

Pat Duggan


Published in: on June 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Loyal Attack Dog Being “Put Down”

It’s really amazing to watch the left wing’s professional TV guests contort themselves over Anthony Weiner. This guy was one of their lead attack dogs for years. He was / is an extremely obnoxious and belligerent voice for the Democrat Party and their socialist agenda. His style is to brazenly make bold claims while distorting statistics. He is the guy that is always interrupting someone.

But now, guys like Bob Beckel are appearing on Fox and saying, “Who’s Anthony Weiner”. Beckel or Leslie Marshall said something along the lines of: I live in California-I’d never heard of this guy until the scandal. Really.

Weiner never should have been able to rise to this level.

He is now under the bus, where the rest of the Democrats tossed him. He will soon lose his grip and come tumbling out the back, tire tracks all over.

Good riddance.

Pat Duggan

Published in: on June 9, 2011 at 9:43 am  Comments (2)  
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