"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wall Street Journal Hits Two Homes Following State of the Union

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has probably the best analysis we have read today about the President's speech last night.  The WSJ also has a companion piece, Romney's Fair Share, which is also excellent.  IMHO the WSJ has hit two home runs with these articles and background information.

The WSJ comparing Obama versus Reagan is germaine.  During the Carter years, interest on mortgages rose to 16 - 18%, couldn't sell your home, interest on all debt was at an all time high but your interest on savings and Certificates of Deposit was high.  Short term CD's became very popular during the Carter years as a way to make some extra money from interest to combat the very high inflation numbers.  Then President Reagan took office with a plan and his optimism that America's better days were ahead and he turned out to be right.   How do those Reagan years compare to Obama:

Provided by Wall Street Journal
WSJ: The ... chart compares rates of quarterly growth during the Reagan and Obama economic recoveries. The comparison is apt because both recoveries followed deep recessions in which the jobless rate reached more than 10%. Once the Reagan recovery got cooking, in 1983, growth stayed above 5% for 18 months and never fell below 3.3% for 13 consecutive quarters. 
In the Obama recovery, growth has never exceeded 4% in any quarter and fell off markedly in mid-2010 through the third quarter of 2011. For the first nine months of 2011, growth averaged less than 1.2%. The economy finally picked up again in the fourth quarter, but still at a rate that is subpar for a recovery that long ago should have become robust and durable. 
These are the facts and in normal times, Obama would be facing an impossible task to get reelected, but the Republican Party has come to the rescue with the four candidates remaining.  The way this primary has been set up with all the nastiness and debates thanks to the RNC, it has been proven that the old nickname for Republicans "The Stupid Party" is alive and well.

Republicans had candidates running with so much baggage that in good conscience they should not have run but I guess felt entitled.  Clinton seems to have destroyed the model for at least somewhat ethical and honest candidates running because we are getting flawed candidates from both parties.  It was amazing to me that Hillary ran with Bill along after he was disgraced as President.  No one seemed to care.  Have we now morphed into reality TV instead of taking serious the type of candidate we nominate?

Democrats are going to be able to frame this general election debate against Romney in terms the average taxpayer will understand.  Take a typical retiree who has worked 40 years with a good retirement income and social security.  He pays income tax on most of his retirement at the 28% rate even though he is retired.  Now look at Romney whose majority of income is from investments and his rate is approximately 15% because of his capital gains and his investment income is in the millions.  Then try to tell the retiree that the tax system is fair.  
So last night he (Obama) took credit for the shale gas revolution he had nothing to do with and proposed new policies to "spread the wealth around," as he famously told Joe the Plumber in 2008 before he took the words back. We thought he meant it then, and now he's admitting it. 
Perhaps this will work if Republicans nominate a standard-bearer who is damaged, or too cautious or guilty to challenge this politics of envy. Mr. Obama clearly has Mitt Romney and his 14% effective tax rate in his sights  The President will try to portray Mr. Romney as Mr. 1%, and if the Republican settles for defending the current tax code, he will lose. He needs a tax reform proposal of his own, as well as the self-confidence to argue for it in the same moral terms that Mr. Obama will attack him.
Do not believe that Romney will have the capability to argue for tax reform in a meaningful manner that will sell people on his plan because he has not touted a tax plan except exploring value added tax (VAT) which is a non-starter.  Romney taking so long to release his income tax forms has also hurt. Then when you discover that Romney has $32M in off shore retirement accounts, it is not going to go over with the average taxpayer that feels fleeced every April 15th.

As we learn from Kudlow interview below, not only Mitt Romney but Newt Gingrich has also played around with the idea of a VAT.  

Then we discover from the WSJ that Newt's income isn't exactly how most people get their income:
Releasing his own tax documents, which Mr. Romney tried to avoid, is at least a tentative step toward political recovery, and he has been far more transparent than his Republican rivals. Mr. Gingrich owes his political re-re-resurgence in part to his demand that Mr. Romney disclose his finances, but Mr. Gingrich's own tax returns reveal little since he routes all his lobbying and other income through shell companies like Gingrich Holdings Inc. 
Does Newt route his income through shell companies to avoid paying taxes on the income at the higher rate?  We have no idea.  

There are more regulations on the way from the Obama Administration that will cost the taxpayer even more -- when does it stop?  Why has Congress been unable to overturn any rules or regulations?  Are Democrats that linked to Obama, they are afraid to challenge these rules and regulations even when they hurt the residents of their State.
Mr. Obama's regulators also currently have some 149 major rules underway, which are those that cost more than $100 million. The 112th Congress hasn't been able to kill a single major rule. The most it has been able to do is extend the Bush tax rates—which helped the economy by avoiding a tax shock—and slow the rate of increase in federal spending. This President has been "obstructed" less than anyone since LBJ. 
As he runs for re-election, Mr. Obama is trying to campaign as an incumbent who is striving to help the economy but has been stymied at every turn by Congress. Not even MSNBC can believe this. For two years he had the largest Democratic majorities in Congress since the 1970s and achieved nearly everything he wanted. 
What Obama has wanted, he has pretty much gotten since being elected President no matter what he says for his reelection. His plans have not worked plus the number of new regulations and rules have led to the increase in the deficit, but he blames Republicans for blocking his plans.  WHAT?  Most Republicans are mad because the current House keep caving in to Obama and the Democrats and are asking WHY?  Is it because the Republican led Congress' has had leaders since 1994 who are not 'small' government types and don't see anything wrong with some of his big government ideas?  

Under Newt Gingrich, he made deals with the Democrats while ignoring the conservatives in the House.  Is that what we would get under a big government Gingrich as President?.  We have had enough of big spending by this President and the Congress to last a lifetime.  Time for someone to stand up and tell the President and the Congress to stop spending and demand a true budget with cuts out of Senate who has not passed a real budget in 1001 days.  Even when members of Congress have an agreement to cut, they find a way around.  No wonder the voters are mad at both parties who share the blame
JANUARY 25, 2012, 6:43 A.M. ET
The State of His Policies
Obama has done nearly everything he wanted. That's the problem. 
President Obama delivered a State of the Union address Tuesday night that by the account of his own advisers is more campaign document than a plan for governing. He's running against Republicans in Congress, Reaganomics, wealthy bankers and inequality. 
Normally a President at the start of his fourth year would be running on his record, accentuating the legislation he's passed. Mr. Obama can't do that with any specificity because the economic recovery has been so weak and the legislation he has passed is so unpopular. 

Meantime, as Mr. Obama begins his fourth year in power it's a good moment to recount the economic record that he'd rather not talk about. The President inherited a deep recession, but in political terms that should have been a blessing. History shows that the deeper the recession, the sharper the recovery, and Mr. Obama was poised to take credit for the economy's natural recuperative powers. Instead, we've had the weakest recovery since the Great Depression and stubbornly high joblessness. 
The New Yorker magazine this week has posted on its website a 57-page memo that economic adviser Larry Summers wrote to Mr. Obama in December 2008. It lays out nearly his entire agenda for the "stimulus," reviving housing, the auto bailout and saving the financial industry. If anything, the memo overstates what would be needed to stabilize the financial panic, but nearly all of the stimulus spending priorities that the memo deemed "feasible" made it into law. They simply didn't work as promised. 
The Pelosi Congress also passed ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, cash for clunkers, the housing tax credit, and much more. The only Obama priority it didn't pass was cap-and-trade, which was killed by Senate Democrats
Mr. Obama clearly has a spring in his step these days, figuring that the public hates Congress and thinks Republicans run it, that the GOP will field a weak presidential candidate, and that he can fool the public into believing only Mitt Romney's taxes will rise if Mr. Obama wins a second term. He has only one big obstacle: his record.

Excerpt:  Read More at The Wall Street Journal 
Will someone please tell us why Romney is running and didn't release his tax returns before getting in the race?  Anyone with an ounce of brains would have seen a problem with them in relation to the average voter which is most likely why they were not released.  Romney should have had a firm plan in place that dealt with the tax code before getting in the race since his only job seems to be running for President since 2007.
JANUARY 25, 2012
Romney's Fair Share 
The candidate's tax return is an argument for tax reform 
If Mitt Romney's 2010 tax bill were merely his pretax income, he'd still be a member of the 1%—in other words, the government takes more of his wealth every year than 99% of Americans earn. But what the world really learned from the tax returns the GOP candidate released yesterday is that he is a walking argument for pro-growth tax reform. 
The details of Mr. Romney's six IRS schedules, eight forms and 69 income statements—totaling some 547 pages—are by now familiar. The Bain Capitalist made $21.7 million in 2010 and an estimated $20.9 million last year. He doesn't merely belong to the group President Obama disparages as "the rich." He's actually rich. Mr. Romney's effective tax rates are 21.2% in 2010 and 17.6% in 2011 as a share of adjusted gross income, and 13.9% and 15.4% as a share of taxable income, respectively. He still pays a lot of taxes—about $3 million in 2010 and an estimated $3.2 million in 2011. 
As the White House delights in pointing out, Mr. Romney nonetheless paid much less than the top marginal income-tax rate of 35% on wages because almost all of his income came from his investment portfolio, which is held in three blind trusts. Some 58% of his 2010 earnings—$12.6 million—were long-term capital gains, taxed at 15%. Given this political posturing, it's surprising that Warren Buffett's secretary merely scored a ticket to the first lady's box at last night's State of the Union, rather than the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 
We don't recall the combined effective 13.1% rate of John and Teresa Heinz Kerry leading to a national debate about the tax-free treatment of municipal bonds in 2004, but then Mr. Obama doesn't have much else but Mr. Romney's taxes to run on. Anyhow, if Mr. Romney thought he could change the subject and avoid an argument about government and income inequality, last night the President told him he couldn't. 
Mr. Romney could begin by pointing out that the rich aren't nearly rich enough to pay for Mr. Obama's agenda, let alone the government we have. According to IRS data, only 8,273 taxpayers other than Mr. Romney made more than $10 million in 2009. Since the U.S. already has one of the most progressive tax codes in the world, Mr. Obama will need to target middle-income earners of far less means than Mr. Romney. And as ObamaCare's bills come due, he will. 
But more to the election point, Mr. Romney should put his own returns in the trophy case as evidence of the need for a major tax reform: Lower, flatter rates and a broader base will generate more jobs and economic growth. It might be reasonable, for instance, to treat carried interest as regular income in the context of lowering the corporate rate to something that is remotely competitive world-wide. 
The problem isn't that Mr. Romney is paying too little, but that Mr. Obama wants everyone but his voters and green business cronies to pay too much. 
Excerpt:  Read More at The Wall Street Journal 
We have a President who wants to turn the economy around with throwing money at the situation which hasn't worked in the past three years plus raise taxes, Mitt Romney who is wealthy and pays a smaller percentage then most retirees in income tax, Newt Gingrich with shell companies to not pay as much tax, Rick Santorum who does his own taxes which we applaud but was a big spender in Congress, and a perennial  candidate, Ron Paul, running.  Think some of the people are correct that we need an Open Convention to choose our nominee or face disaster.

This should be a lesson to all Republicans that they need to demand change at the RNC or in four years, we will be facing this again.  Tell the big donors to take a hike in the primaries so we have ads that are truthful and  the Super PACs hold their ads and money until the general election where it counts instead of what we have seen this year which is millionaires and billionaires swaying the election with no vetting of candidates just someone they like.  They have given no regard to how that person would be as President.  This is a horrible way to elect a candidate.

Republicans also need to provide the American voter a clear and concise reason why they should vote for Republicans for the House and Senate.  One word works for me -- gridlock!  Time to get some 'real' conservatives elected not just those who tout the conservative line just to get elected and turn into big Government types after taking office.  We need to do a better job of vetting candidates before we vote in the primary so we get the good candidates.  Fortunately, the RNC doesn't have the final say on Republican House and Senate races whose reelection committees are very good.  

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