Friday, November 30, 2012

Progressive's Taxes Will Crush Middle Class Families

Just what our economy needs right now is more and higher taxes. The line that I like the most when discussing the rich and how they don't pay enough is 'when did anyone get hired by a poor person'. But really, this isn't about who isn't paying enough taxes, this is about what's fair.

This is about some people that have more then others and it's not fair. It's not fair that some people have more stuff then others. This about leveling the playing field - This about taking from the productive and giving it to the unproductive - this is about income redistrubution. Remember your history and how that worked out?

Warren Buffett doesn't pay as much taxes as his secretary because Warren doesn't have an income that is taxable like his secretary, his income comes from dividends which is taxed at a lower rate, and rightly so. Many seniors live on this income alone.

The bottom line here is, who voted for these people that are attacking the middle class with more taxes that will be as high as $3500 for a family of 4? What were they thinking? - oh wait, they weren't thinking, others will do the thinking for them, they're progressives socialists; liberal Democrats.

Buffett Tax on Rich Will Hurt Average Americans
Source: "Buffett Tax on Rich Will Hurt Average Americans," Investor's Business Daily, November 27, 2012.

November 29, 2012
Billionaire Warren Buffett, writing in the New York Times, proposed a minimum tax of 30 percent on incomes of $1 million to $10 million and 35 percent on incomes above that. Unfortunately, Buffett's proposed tax hike is just another way of removing investment capital -- the engine of economic growth -- from the U.S. economy. It would also do next to nothing to close our long-term budget deficits, now running at $1 trillion plus a year, says Investor's Business Daily.

•Last year, according to the Treasury Department, the U.S. deficit was $1.1 trillion.
•According to a study by Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation, a Buffett-style 30 percent tax on all millionaires would generate just $5 billion.
•That's less than one-half of 1 percent of our budget.

Buffett and others have said tax hikes on the rich are "fair."

•The top 1 percent earn about 16 percent of all income in the United States, but they pay 37 percent of all the federal income taxes.
•The 400 richest Americans pay about as much in taxes as the bottom 50 percent -- about 72 million Americans -- do.
•As a group, millionaires have an effective income-tax rate -- that is, what they actually pay -- of 24 percent.
•For the rest of us, it's 11 percent.

As for Buffett's idea for a "minimum" tax on the rich, the United States already has one. It's called the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). It was put in place in 1969, after it was revealed that 155 people with incomes over $200,000 had paid zero in income taxes in 1967. It was meant to catch a handful of rich folks who were not paying their "fair share." Next year, thanks to bracket creep, the AMT will snare as many as 20 million middle class Americans.

Moreover, as economist Alan Reynolds of the American Enterprise Institute pointed out, the 1990 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act raised taxes on the rich to make things more "fair" and to boost revenues to reduce the deficit. How did that work out?

•In 1989, income tax revenues as a share of gross domestic product totaled about 8.3 percent.
•By 1992, after the tax hikes kicked in, they dropped to 7.6 percent.

Cliff Deal Spells Disaster for Consumers : Billions Lost

I think there will be a lot of cutting back this Christmas as consumers watch their collective wallets closer then they do the politicians who are taking their money. Consumers are a little dysfunctional right now in that they voted for more tax increases but really didn't understand what impact their vote would have on their lives.

Will consumers and others have remorse over voting for more tax increases, probably not, in that they, for the most part, still don't understand how the system works. Most people, I believe, think money that comes from the government comes from some place in Washington, not out of their wallets. Government money is free money. Who Knew?

A "Cliff" Deal Could Still Cost Consumers Billions
Source: "A 'Cliff' Deal Could Still Cost Consumers $218B," Fiscal Times, November 21, 2012.

November 29, 2012
Even if the country doesn't slide over the fiscal cliff, any deal to blunt the impact of the scheduled tax hikes and spending cuts is likely to create at least some drag on an economy that is still growing only modestly, says the Fiscal Times.

•The full set of changes would take more than $600 billion from the economy, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
•While the outlines of any deal are still sketchy to say the least, Goldman Sachs economists are modeling a $233 billion economic hit as their "base case scenario."
•Most of that impact -- $218 billion -- is likely to hurt the individual taxpayer the most because of many tax increases.
•For instance, the expiration of the payroll tax cut is expected to cost $126 million.
•As a result, the loss in consumer income would likely translate to $110 billion reduction in consumer spending, according to Goldman Sachs economists.

Holiday spending, a major source of revenue for many retail stores, could be curtailed if consumers don't see action on the fiscal cliff.

•Fifty-one percent of respondents in a survey said that they would curtail holiday spending because of the risk of the fiscal cliff.
•Before the fiscal cliff negotiations began last week, the Consumer Electronics Association projected that holiday sales would increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion this year.
•However, 64 percent of respondents said that the current political and economic uncertainty was weighing on their spending plans.

The president and CEO of the National Retail Federation sent a letter to President Obama urging his administration to come to a deal that would avert the fiscal cliff. He said that consumer confidence is necessary for an important holiday sales season and that the retail industry with its millions of jobs depended on it.

Analysts at Moody's Investor Service said that the fiscal cliff was unlikely to deter many consumers because most people want to spend money to celebrate the holidays. However, they did say that consumers are likely to rein in spending compared to last year by about 2.5 percent.

Government Care 24/7 : Prison As Retirement

What a hoot -  a great example of the progressive socialists agenda at the extreme? Maybe but maybe not. I don't believe there is any limit to the progressives socialists agenda. History shows us what they want and how they got it and, of course, the out come.

This little story is just for fun but realize there is a lot of truth here as well. No matter how dysfunctional you may be or lacking in the will to succeed, the government is there to take of you. All you have to do is vote the right way.

By the way, guess who will have to pay for all this dysfunction, the productive members of society. Are they Suckers?  I wonder how long it will be before the workers won't pay the bill?  You decide.

(Author Unknown)
You're a sick senior citizen and the government says there is no nursing home available for you. So what do you do? Our plan gives anyone 65 years or older a gun and 4 bullets. You are allowed to shoot four Politicians.

Of course, this means you will be sent to prison where you will get three meals a day, a roof over your head, central heating, air conditioning and all the health care you need!

Need new teeth? No problem. Need glasses? That's great. Need a new hip, knees, kidney, lungs or heart? They're all covered. As an added bonus, your kids can come and visit you as often as they do now.

And who will be paying for all of this? It's the same government that just told you that you they cannot afford for you to go into a home. And you can get rid of 4 useless politicians while you are at it. Plus, because you are a prisoner, you don't have to pay any income taxes anymore. Is this a great country or what?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Unemployment Numbers Managed by Obama Administration

What this boils down to is politics - what ever makes the Obama administration look good is the method that will be used. The real sad part in this is everyone knows this is a fraud, especially the media, but most turn a blind eye to the problem. The general public has no clue as they are kept in the dark by the media.

Worse, the general public that just watches the lettered channels and reads the local new paper will not know any of this. Would anyone that is awake to reality actually believe the news media in this country, other then FOX and maybe The Wall Street Journal, to report the fact that unemployment could actually be 16%?

Understanding Job Statistics
Source: Robert McTeer, "Understanding Job Statistics," National Center for Policy Analysis, November 29, 2012.

November 29, 2012
It is important to understand how job statistics are derived and what that means for public policy, says Robert McTeer, a distinguished fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

To-date, the United States has only regained about half of the almost 9 million lost jobs in 2008 and 2009. Job growth has improved recently, but is still below the rate of past recoveries. Consider:

•Payroll employment increased by 171,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate increased to 7.9 percent, representing 12.3 million people.
•The payroll numbers were revised up by 50,000 in August and by 34,000 in September.

Unemployment averaged below 5 percent before the recession. It peaked at 10 percent in late 2009, and declined to 7.9 percent as of October. It is still about 3 percentage points above what would reasonably be considered normal or full employment.

The situation, however, is worse than these numbers portray. Not only is unemployment high as a percent of the labor force, but the labor force itself has been shrinking as job seekers give up and drop out.

•Indeed, labor force participation (job seekers and the employed) has declined from 66 percent before the recession to 63.8 percent.
•Moreover, employment, as a percent of the population, has declined from over 63 percent before the recession to 58.8 percent in October.

These numbers are estimates based on samples, which make them subject to sampling error. The payroll number comes from reports submitted by 141,000 business establishments and government entities representing about 486,000 workers. Statistically, at the 90 percent confidence level, the "true" payroll change is the estimated number plus or minus 100,000. In October, that is between 71,000 and 271,000. A larger sample size would narrow that range by reducing the sampling error.

The unemployment rate is derived from a separate household survey, which has an even smaller sample size and a wider confidence range. Because the household survey's sample size is smaller than the establishment survey, its confidence range is larger. At the 90 percent confidence level, the "true" number of unemployed persons is the estimated number plus or minus 280,000, and the "true" unemployment rate is the estimated rate plus or minus 1.9 percentage points. Thus, the estimated unemployment rate of 7.9 percent in October means that the "true" rate was between 6 percent and 9.8 percent.

EPA's New Regulation Driving UP Food and Fuel - Again!

I believe the Environmental Protection Agency is the most dangerous entity in our country, even more so then the Justice Dept. Of course, Mr Obama is the single most dangerous individual and the greatest threat to our freedom and prosperity as he directs the EPA.

Just the fact that 40% of corn production in this country goes to Ethanol is insane. Oh, but wait, didn't just this November 51% of the population vote to continue the insanity? Is it possible that a majority of our population can't make the connection between a high food prices and gasoline and Mr Obama? After 4 years of this nightmare, the votes can't make this connection? Who voted for this, willingly? Who are these people????

The EPA vs. State Economies
Source: Marlo Lewis, "The EPA vs. State Economies," National Review Online, November 19, 2012

November 29, 2012
The renewable fuel standard (RFS) is increasing the biofuel-blending requirements. This change can give rise to numerous damaging spillovers throughout the economy, says Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow in environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

•This program requires refiners to blend increasing quantities of biofuel, which are mostly corn ethanol, into the nation's motor-fuel supply.
•The 2012 target is to blend 13.2 billion gallons of biofuel into gasoline.
•In 2013, the target is 13.8 billion gallons.
•This year, 40 percent of the nation's corn will be used for ethanol manufacturing.
•This alone will increase corn prices, harming state poultry, beef, pork and dairy farmers who use corn as animal feed.

Moreover, such an initiative does not follow sound economic reasoning.

•In a competitive market, very few would buy ethanol as motor fuel because the substance has one-third less energy than gasoline and does not make up the difference in price.
•At the current rate, on average, it would cost the consumer $500 a year to switch to E85, a fuel that is 85 percent ethanol.

Arkansas' experience demonstrates the damaging effects the RFS can have on a state economy. According to Arkansas governor Mike Beebe:

•Virtually all of Arkansas is suffering from severe drought conditions, and accelerating corn prices impose a severe economic impact on the state's livestock producers.
•While the drought may have triggered the price spike in corn, the fuel standard aggravates the problem -- the policy has boosted corn prices 193 percent since 2005.
•Agriculture accounts for around 25 percent of the state's economic activity.
•Indeed, the RFS will disproportionally hurt regions with extensive farming industries, while following inefficient market principles.

Medical Device Tax Drives HealthCare Cost Up

What a good deal this is for our country, according to progressive socialists that is - one more ObamaCare nail in our coffin. Mr Obama believes that if America can punished enough by reducing our prosperity, other countries will like us more, and the world will finally know that America is getting it just what it deserves for all the problems we have caused the rest of the world with out greed and nation building.

Progressive socialist, as well as liberal Marxists of all strips, believe income redistribution is what will make America great, giving all classes all things. That freedom will be degraded or eliminated is of no importance, as long as the elite few have their freedom to direct the rest of us into dependency and poverty, a directed society from the top down, life will be sustainable.

After all, isn't life actually just about surviving from one day to the next? Why would anyone want to live like this? Why would anyone vote to make this happen? Can it be ignorance or are many among us ready to be subservient?

I guess when one looks at California and how they voted to raise taxes on themselves, the dark clouds heading our way become a little darker.

The Medical Device Excise Tax: Another Barrier to Innovation
Source: Thomas A. Hemphill, "The Medical Device Excise Tax: Another Barrier to Innovation," American Action Forum, November 13, 2012.

November 28, 2012
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010 and imposes several tax increases totaling approximately $800 billion over the next 10 years. A 2.3 percent excise tax will be imposed upon medical device manufacturers. This excise tax, which is set to be implemented in January 2013, will be applied to annual revenue and will be assessed on medical devices sold in the United States, including those that are imported, says Thomas A. Hemphill, an economic and regulatory expert with the American Action Forum.

•The medical device industry is highly competitive and has hundreds of firms in the market, with 95 percent of them reporting sales revenues less than $100 million.
•Ninety-eight percent of companies employ less than 500 workers and 80 percent of companies employ fewer than 50 employees.
•The United States is considered to be the leader of the medical device industry, housing 32 of the 46 medical device companies that report $1 billion or more in annual sales.

U.S. medical device companies have an edge in the status quo but that could slip as the excise tax reduces profits for many of these companies.

•One study found that net profits could be reduced anywhere between 6.8 percent and 40 percent.
•According to one survey, 42 percent of venture capital firms planned to make fewer medical device investments.
•Venture capital funding for the medical devices industry dropped to 10 percent of total funding dollars in the second quarter of 2012, a 2 percent decline from the first quarter.

The tax is going to be harmful to companies across the board. Small- and medium-sized companies will be especially hard hit considering that it will be difficult for them to attract the necessary funding from venture capitalists to fund their projects. Similarly, these companies are going to have a difficult time since companies that innovate typically suffer losses in the first years when they are researching and developing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Amtrak Subsides & Unions Crushes Business

Oh no, privatize the rail roads? What have we come to? Making the railraods pay their own way or go out of business is how the system should work, but with government sudsides it's out of control.

Of course the unions are going hand in hand with the government to make Amtrak a sink hole for taxpayer dollars. Is this news?

The Case for Privatizing Amtrak
Source: Randal O'Toole, "Stopping the Runaway Train: The Case for Privatizing Amtrak," Cato Institute, November 13, 2012.

November 28, 2012
Despite being touted as a cheap, attractive option for intercity travel, Amtrak has become an insignificant mode of transportation that is bloated with government subsidies. It is increasingly important to evaluate Amtrak before Congress approves its future budget requests, says Randal O'Toole, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

•The average American travels about 15,000 miles by automobiles around 2,000 miles by air.
•However, the average American only travels about 20 miles a year on Amtrak.
•As a result of Amtrak taking over the nation's passenger trains, rail fares have increased by 110 percent since 1970.
•Passengers pay more per mile on Amtrak fares that they would on airfares, yet it receives almost nine times more subsidies than the airline industry and more than 20 times more subsidies compared to driving.

Proponents of the passenger train have long touted the energy savings that riders could benefit from when compared to planes and automobiles. However, a look at the data may prove that claim to be false.

•At 2.4 people per car, the average automobile uses 2,226 British thermal units (BTU) per passenger mile.
•However, Amtrak uses an average of 2,271 BTU per passenger mile.
•Moreover, airline energy efficiency has been growing at 3.1 percent a year, meaning that it will become more energy efficient than Amtrak by 2023.

Passenger trains fail to gain the necessary ridership to make them independent of government support. There are several factors that have resulted in the decline of popularity of trains like Amtrak:

•Unions that insist on antiquated work rules.
•Government regulators that place unnecessary burdens on railroads.
•Subsidies to other transportation industries.
•Unfair taxation of railroads when publicly owned airports and highways pay no taxes.
•Railroad managers that would rather cater to freight trains because they are profitable.

Rather than continuing to subsidize an inefficient and unpopular mode of transportation, the federal government should privatize Amtrak. To make it effective, Congress should also level the playing field by reducing or eliminating subsidies for other modes of transportation. This would incentivize private operators to innovate and provide passenger rail services where it is needed most. Furthermore, private operators would find ways to make their services more efficient.

Social Securty : Retirement Subsidy Only

This is a little confusing in that what one makes before retirement is relative to benefits they will receive upon retirement, especially with the rising or falling prices effecting living standards. What you make in preretirement will not be anything like what you will get from Social Security and with good reason. What you paid in is not even close to what you take out in retirement.

But hey, never mind all this confusion, the best way to retire is make sure you can live the life you think you want by preparing to live without Social Security. If you do this, and have the will power to deny yourself a little along the way, believe your retirement will be a breeze.

It's also important to point out, retirement is more then having enough money, it's about being satisfied with what you have and enjoy it. Don't complain about what you don't have as this will diminish the true returns of your new self directed life.

Myths and Realities of Social Security Replacement Rates
Source: Charles Blahous, "Understanding Social Security Benefit Adequacy: Myths and Realities of Social Security Replacement Rates," Mercatus Center, November 15, 2012.

November 28, 2012
The adequacy of Social Security benefits are often measured by the "replacement rate," a ratio of one's retirement benefit to preretirement income. While this is intended to provide equity in benefits over time, there are some misunderstood features that have some unintended consequences for the overall evaluation of the program, says Charles Blahous, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center and public trustee for Medicare and Social Security.

•First, younger workers' preretirement standards of living decline relative to their postretirement living standards because the cost of benefits increases over time.
•Second, the actual replacement rates are high because they are not reported as they would be calculated by financial planners.
•Third, the benefit formula causes replacement rates to rise over time for a given level of real wages.

There are also three often misunderstood aspects of Social Security replacement rate.

•First, the replacement rate is increasing relative to workers' standards of living. But since younger generations must pay higher tax burdens to receive the same replacement rates, there is a decline in net benefits.
•Second, Social Security replacement rates are higher than people assume. However, this assumes replacement rates as a percentage of career "wage-indexed" earnings, which results in under-evaluation.
•Finally, Social Security benefits are rising for a given level of real wages. However, the current benefit formula keeps replacement rates constant for average-wage workers, which delivers rising benefits to workers with the same real wages across time and contributes to rising system costs.

Furthermore, people are deterred from further labor market participation and saving because total retirement income replacement rates exceed 100 percent of late-career earnings. There are several reforms the federal government could pursue to make future program evaluation more accurate and help fix the finances of the program.

•First, prevent the decline in the ratio of preretirement income to postretirement benefits.
•Second, prevent Social Security from forcing low-income families and individuals from over-saving for retirement.
•Third, maintain constant replacement rates for those with the same real wages.

Territorial Taxation in Germany : Increased Revenue

Germany is just one of many countries that have now implemented the Territorial Tax system. Every state that has done this has shown an increase in revenue as well as a reduction in unemployment.

The United States has not done this as of yet but it would be a real positive move to get a lot of dollars that are now overseas that want to come back here but the tax rate is too high. The question now is why hasn't this been done to help our struggling economy?

Germany Promotes Competition with Shift to Territorial Taxation System
Source: "Germany Promotes Competition with Shift to Territorial Taxation System," Tax Foundation, November 15, 2012.

November 28, 2012
The Tax Foundation looks at the example of Germany and its shift to the territorial tax system in its continuing effort to show the benefits the United States can derive from shifting to such a system.

•In 2001, Germany fully terminated international expense allocation requirements and allowed deductions for all expenses related to exempt foreign income.
•The government reduced the exemption for foreign income to 95 percent.
•Active and passive incomes that are subjected to tax rates over 25 percent in the original jurisdiction are eligible for exemption.
•In addition, any income generated by foreign branches of a German company is exempt if it resides in a treaty country.
•And to make its companies more competitive internationally, Germany reduced the combined tax rate on corporate income from 56 percent to 30.2 percent in 1998.

To prevent the tax base from eroding, the government has limited the deductibility of interest surplus, ensured that losses on the sale of subsidiary corporate stock are not deductible, and has levied taxes on all passive income in low-tax jurisdictions.

As a result of its shift, Germany has ranked at the top when it comes to gross domestic product per capita and has also become the third-leading exporter in the world. Moreover, the unemployment rate has been cut by more than half since 2005, registering at 5.4 percent now.

Corporate tax revenue was not a primary factor in Germany's decision to pivot to a territorial system because it has not relied heavily on it in past years.

Education by Progressive Agenda in Texas : Take From Others

I don't understand how this works - taking all increased revenues but leaving all increased overhead, more students from increased energy workers families, but not more land owners to pay property taxes is leveling the playing field? What wrong with local government having to make decisions with the resources that they have rather then taking from others?

I would have believed this would happen in most liberal socialist progressive states but not Texas. Goodness. 

Funding Rules Test Schools
Source: Ana Campoy, "Funding Rules Test Schools," Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2012.

November 28, 2012
The Karnes, Texas, school district has long been among the poorest in the state -- and it remains so, local officials say, even though an oil boom has sent property values surging eightfold in the past two years, says the Wall Street Journal.

•That jump in value has changed the town's designation to "property wealthy" from "property poor," under Texas' school-funding formula.
•That means the town can't keep most of this year's projected property tax of $20 million -- up from $6.5 million last year -- and must instead share the bounty with other districts.

The property-tax windfall in the Eagle Ford Shale is mostly generated from collections on the oil and gas itself, which, like land, is taxable. For the most part, property taxes on oil and gas are paid by the companies extracting it, rather than by the ranchers and farmers that often live in these communities. But school officials say funding rules prevent them from making suddenly affordable improvements -- or even from dealing with rising costs, such as schooling for the children of oilfield workers.

•In Texas, about 55 percent of funding for school districts comes from local sources, mostly property taxes, according to the state comptroller.
•As oil and gas production climbs rapidly in Eagle Ford Shale and other oil-and-gas-producing areas, property-tax collections are soaring.
•As a result, 23 school districts, including Karnes City's, this year switched to "property wealthy," according to a preliminary list from the Texas Education Agency.
•The designation is based on several factors, including property values, and districts that cross into the "property wealthy" category often end up with roughly the same amount of money per student as they had when they were "property poor."

Opponents of the system, intended to equalize school funding, say the way it assigns resources doesn't reflect communities' needs.

Backers of the school-funding formula, which is widely dubbed "Robin Hood," say it is necessary to even out income differences in rich and poor communities.

Education Pilot Program : Electronic ID Tags

Okay, you decide what this is all about - but from my perspective, it's governmental control of the children, where they go and what they do as well as what they learn. But it's not just their location in school, but it's bringing them under the influence of a small group of people that believe they are smarter then the rest of us and know what's best.

As parents, be on guard against all such mind and body control. Universities are already totally under the influence of agendas that want to "fundamentally" change our way of life. This kind of this is only the beginning for K through 12 schools.

Those of us who are old enough remember how this was used a few decades ago and how the out come was catastrophic.

Mark of the Beast
(author unknown)
"You have to take the Mark of the Beast," Steve Hernandez said during a protest outside his daughter's school. "This is just indoctrination of this. This is not the Mark of the Beast, but this is how it starts."

As an update to the "War on You" file, we originally made a mention in mid-October of two schools in San Antonio introducing "optionally mandatory" photo ID cards with RFID tracking chips for all students.

Andrea Hernandez of Northside Independent School District (NISD) refused to wear the ID badge, citing religious reasons. In response, the school suspended her to other non-RFID schools in the district until she was willing to comply.

"There is something fundamentally disturbing about this school district's insistence on steamrolling students into complying with programs that have nothing whatsoever to do with academic priorities and everything to do with fattening school coffers," said John Whitehead of Rutherford Institute in an interview with Wired.

Whitehead, Andrea's outspoken attorney, says the school has no legal grounds to make Andrea wear the Smart ID and is leading the case against the RFID tags.

Apparently, this case doesn't concern just Mr. Whitehead and his client...
"We've gotten so much press attention around the country," Mr. Whitehead said, "the whole country's watching this. "This is the pilot program and the pilot case, so it's very important."

And since Andrea's suspension, the school has caught a lot of heat about the true intentions of the program. "These 'student locator' programs," says Whitehead, "are ultimately aimed at getting students used to living in a total surveillance state where there will be no privacy, and wherever you go and whatever you text or email with be watched by the government."

The schools aren't "putting these chips on to protect kids," Whitehead argues. "They're doing it to make money."

To the dismay of the school's coffer holders, it seems the courts agree. Last week, a judge made a temporary restraining order against the school permanent, overruling their decision and allowing Hernandez to return to school RFID-free.

"Usually, when judges rule on temporary restraining orders in your favor, that's how they're leaning," Whitehead explains. "It would take quite a bit of some kind of evidence on constitutional arguments, which the school does not have."

The judge's final ruling is expected to be released tomorrow. Alas a victory for Hernandez will only slow, not stop, the advance of an American police state. Consider a few defensive measures here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Employers Opt for High Deductable Insurance : Employee Assunes Some Risk

This makes a lot of sense - why shouldn't the employee assume some of the risks of daily life? If the risks are assumed by the individual they will take more care of themselves if no other reason other then to save money on the deductibles.

It works. I have been doing this for years. It's called taking responsibility for your own actions. Who knew?

More Employers Embrace High-Deductible Health Plans to Pare Costs
Source: "More Employers Embrace High-Deductible Health Plans to Pare Costs," Los Angeles Times, November 14, 2012

November 27, 2012
Consumer-directed health plans are gaining popularity as many employers are beginning to offer them in an effort to reduce health care costs, says the Los Angeles Times.

•Employers prefer consumer-directed health plans because they are about 20 percent cheaper than preferred-provider organization (PPO) plans.
•The cost of a high-deductible medical plan with a health savings account is $7,833 annually per employee compared to $10,007 for a PPO plan.
•Thirty-six percent of large employers offer consumer-directed, high-deductible health plans, compared to only 14 percent five years ago.
•Enrollment in those plans has risen to 16 percent of all covered employees, compared to only 5 percent in 2007.

Under new federal rules, the minimum deductible for these plans with a health savings account is $2,500. Because of the shift, health benefit costs per employee have only risen by 4.1 percent, the smallest increase since 1997. Employers nationwide expect a 5 percent increase in health benefit costs next year.

Some experts contend that the lower costs are a result of employers shifting more of the costs on to workers and the patients postponing care and out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Middle Class Businesses Crushed by New Tax : Obama's Profit Tax

Think about this for a few minutes, 39% of small business are considered 'middle class' and they are the biggest producer of jobs in our country.

Mr Obama's tax on the rich brings these small businesses under the gun as they make over $250K, they are not millionaires or billionaires, but out of this $250K, they will use this to sustain themselves and grow the business.

The new tax rate will be nearly 44% or more which will force these small businesses to lay off or fire people just to stay afloat. Not to mention ObamaCare that will take what's left of any operating revenue the business might have.

Please explain to me why anyone, knowingly, would vote such a calamity?

Tax Hikes over $250k: End of the Upper Middle Class?
Source: Jacqueline Leo, "Tax Hikes over $250k: End of the Upper Middle Class?" Fiscal Times, November 13, 2012.

November 27, 2012
After winning a second term, the Obama administration plans to push forward with a tax hike on high income Americans. The current concerns over the fiscal cliff threshold have initiated faster actions, says the Fiscal Times.

Obama wants to start the tax hikes for those making $250,000 or more. This figure also includes working couples who have a combined income of $250,000. The tax increases on high-income earners would deliver about $42 billion in 2013. The increase will create a small 0.1 percent drag on gross domestic product (GDP), according to the Congressional Budget Office. However, the real cost might be much steeper.

No doubt, by most measures, a $250,000 household income is a large sum. Indeed, it is five times the national average -- just 2.9 percent of couples earn that much or more. However, one must also be cognizant of the cost of living in different regions.

•$250,000 is a lot of money -- especially if you live in, say Peoria, Illinois.
•But if you live in or around New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago or Dallas, you're not rich -- you're simply what is known as "upper middle class," according to Roberton Williams, an analyst at the Tax Policy Center.
•According to, the cost of living in New York, for example, is 105.7 percent higher than in Peoria.

A theoretical working couple earning $250,000 annually, who also lives in a region with a high cost of living, has numerous financial responsibilities ranging from college and graduate school debt to housing costs in expensive areas.

•Two years ago, the Fiscal Times asked BDO USA, a national tax accounting firm, to compute the total state, local and federal tax burden of a hypothetical two-career couple with two kids, earning $250,000.
•To factor in varying state and local taxes, as well as drastically different costs of living, BDO placed the couple in seven different locales around the country with top-notch public school districts, using national government data on spending.
•The findings reflect that life is not an easy journey for working families earning $250,000.
•Even with an additional $3,000 in investment income, couples end up in the red -- after taxes, saving for retirement and their children's education, and a middle-of-the-road cost of living -- in seven out of the eight communities in the analysis.

Education Changes for Success : Parents & Competition

All good ideas to change the outcomes of our failed educational system. The best of these incorporate the free market, that is competition.

Our public school system has failed our students, and will continue to do so if the community doesn't step in and make changes like the ones brought forward in this article. Basically though it will be the parents that make the difference in how the system is fixed.

But the problem here is, and has always been the problem, a lot of parents can't make the connection between success and failure as being determined by their lack of participation on their part in their children's education. Parents have to care and understand they are what will change the system.

Five Pathways to Fundamentally Reshaping American Schooling
Source: Jal Mehta, "The Futures of School Reform: Five Pathways to Fundamentally Reshaping American Schooling," American Enterprise Institute, November 14, 2012

November 27, 2012
The American education system is plagued with failed reform attempts that seek to correct the decline in student achievement, says Jal Mehta of the American Enterprise Institute.

•In the past, reformers have experimented with standards, vouchers, charters, merit pay and other methods for increasing student achievement.
•However, huge numbers of students -- nearly 40 percent to 50 percent in some urban districts -- don't graduate from high school.
•Furthermore, the United States ranks 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math on international standardized tests.

There are five broad avenues that policymakers could take in order to make lasting changes to the educational system for the better.

First, transform the system by making the teaching profession more professional.

•Right now, the United States draws its teachers from the bottom two thirds of the distribution and gives them little training on the best methods for teaching.
•Instead, requirements for teaching should be tougher which would attract more skilled workers.

Second, replace traditional institutions with new actors such as charter schools. These schools currently provide competition to the traditional public school system but receive less support.

Third, rather than have a school that offers math, science, English and history, have a school function as a general contractor, bringing in different organizations that excel in teaching the various subjects. Some of these subjects might be taught online rather than in person, or through a combination of online practice and in-person coaching.

Fourth, create an out-of-school system that complements what children learn in school.

•Studies show that some students experience a "summer learning loss" that puts them behind their peers.
•Instead, an educational system that uses a student's free time outside of the classroom to reinforce concepts learned in school can help close the gap in student achievement.

Finally, dissolving the current system may do more in preparing students than any other option. Schools that teach from old textbooks fail to take into account how much information a student has at their fingertips with a computer. Employing committees comprised of adults at the state, district and school level can decide what should be taught at schools.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Employee Wages Decline During Lost Decade

The real reason for depressed wages is that no one believes our country is headed in the right direction. Anyone with the responsibility for hiring or giving out wage increases will be concerned with where the profits will come from to support the wage increases or new hires.

Bottom line economics is what is foremost in the decisions of all businesses. The progressive socialist agenda of taking from the productive is case in point for wage depression and huge unemployment numbers, and with the reelection of Mr Obama, this situation will only get worse. Optimism for the future is gone.

Given all this bad news on our economic future that most everyone is aware of, who actually voted of Mr Obama and why? Where is the common sense?

U.S. Workers Endure "Lost Decade" of Declining Wages
Source: Kevin G. Hall, "U.S. Workers Endure 'Lost Decade' of Declining Wages," McClatchy, November 15, 2012.

November 26, 2012
Real earnings have declined across most job sectors since the Great Recession. Now, real wages are about the same level as they were in December 2005, highlighting the slow growth of the economy. This has been referred to as a "lost decade" for workers, says Kevin G. Hall of McClatchy Newspapers.

•Real wages have been on a downward slope for more than 40 years now.
•The median working-age man earns 4 percent less than he did in 1970 when adjusted for inflation.
•Nearly every occupational group is either below the 2005 level or at most 1.5 percentage points above the 2005 level.
•As a result of stagnant wages, economic recovery is likely to be more difficult since Americans are unable to pay off their debts.

To the confusion of many economists, the only occupational category that has seen a rise in real wages is office and administrative workers.

There are several explanations for the decline in wages.

•First is that the Federal Reserve has tamed inflation so wages have not had to increase to keep up with the rising prices of other goods and services.
•Second, it is possible that the decline in labor unions have resulted in less of a force for demanding higher wages and better benefits.
•Another likely reason is that productivity has improved due to automation of many jobs.

Some economists say that consumption is a better measure of the increase in wages. Since the 1970s, there hasn't been much of a change in inequality or a widening of inequality in consumption tables. In fact, low-income households have seen their purchasing power increase. However, this may be the result of increase in government transfer programs.

Some argue that the reason wages haven't increased is because the labor market is so depressed. So many people are unemployed and looking for jobs that employers are able to land workers that are willing to take less money.

Federal Employee Salary Study Finds Wages Lacking?

Little wonder this federal agency found government workers are under paid, this agency is paid by the taxpayers so they can decide to find in their study that they are under paid. This makes perfect sense given the history of federal workers and the unions that represent them.

What doesn't make much sense is there are many studies, nongovernmental studies that is, that found federal workers are paid far more then their private sector counter parts.

Why is it I don't believe anything that comes out of Washington any more these days. Everything is managed to make their agenda believable.

The Truth about Federal Salary Numbers
Source: Andrew G. Biggs and Jason Richwine, "The Truth about Federal Salary Numbers," Washington Post, November 19, 2012.

November 26, 2012
The Federal Salary Council, an advisory body of academics and leaders of public employee unions, suggested last month that federal workers are underpaid by an average of 35 percent relative to nonfederal employees. Employee unions seized on this figure, using it to push back against salary freezes. But the pay agent's latest conclusions actually highlight the inadequacy of its methods, say Andrew G. Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Jason Richwine, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

•If these figures are to be believed, federal employees are paid only 65 cents for every dollar received by nonfederal employees doing the same work.
•Put another way, the average federal employee who shifts to a job outside government would increase his salary by 54 percent.

The figures are implausible on their face. Here is the truth behind these numbers.

•The pay agent doesn't consider fringe benefits, even though benefits for federal workers are famously generous. Indeed, a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study published in January found that the federal retirement package was 2.7 times more generous than what is paid by large private-sector firms.
•Federal workers also receive more paid vacation and sick days.
•Even if they made 35 percent less, their benefits would make up much of the difference.

But federal salaries are not 35 percent below private-sector levels. All five outside studies reviewed this year by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that federal pay is equal to or higher than those of comparable private-sector workers. This is consistent with three decades of academic research.

So where does the government calculation go wrong? To begin, it compares pay for federal jobs to nonfederal positions at a similar "grade," or level. Yet both the CBO and the GAO have documented "overgrading" in the federal workforce, meaning that federal jobs could be assigned higher grades on the General Salary Schedule than the pay agent assumes for their nonfederal equivalents.

The pay agent also doesn't consider the relative qualifications of federal employees. In a 2002 study, economist Melissa Famulari concluded: "Federal workers have significantly fewer years of education and experience than private sector workers in the same level of responsibility in an occupation."

Federal employees should be compensated at fair market levels, which would allow the government to hire and retain workers without overcharging taxpayers. An essential first step toward that goal is ensuring that the government's annual pay comparison is objective and comprehensive.

Employers Opt for Employee Directed Health Insurance

What this all comes down to is what is the actual responsibility of the employee when it comes to taking care of their health care needs? Why does it seem it's always someone eles's problem, someone else has to make the decisions for the workers. Who will decide for the non worker? But it's not just health care, it's everything that impacts the human need.

Of course, this is how Mr Obama got reelected, promising everything that a person could want for free. I wonder how this will work out when revenue doesn't match demand? Who do you think will have to be blamed for a reduced living standard or worse, no living standard at all? Better yet, who do you think will not care what happens to the unwashed?

Employers Are Giving Employees the Option of Choosing their Own Health Insurance Plan
Source: "Employers Are Giving Employees the Option of Choosing their Own Health Insurance Plan," Washington Post, November 15, 2012.

November 26, 2012
In an effort to reduce health costs, companies are turning to defined contribution health insurance plans in which they pay their workers a fixed sum and allow them to choose their own insurance based on individual needs, says the Washington Post.

Under this defined contribution plan, a worker may choose to use their employer-provided money to put toward a company offered health plan or one they find through another insurer.

•The average annual premium for employer-sponsored family health plans has almost doubled to nearly $16,000.
•Companies end up paying about 70 percent of it.
•As a result, employers have turned to allowing their workers to choose benefits tailored to their own needs, which reduces overall health care costs.
•Now, workers that choose the company's benefit may end up paying higher costs.

For many, this is seen as a step in the right direction. Employees no longer have to pay for a plan that offers services they will never use. Instead, a worker can find a tailored health insurance plan and pay as much as they are willing to on it.

To aid the employees in finding the right health insurance plan for them, many companies are turning to online exchanges to help workers in finding the right plan for them. Many health insurers such as WellPoint, Inc., and Bloom Health are beginning to provide online exchanges so that people can shop around for the best insurance plans.

Small businesses will benefit greatly from defined contribution plans. It will help provide insurance to attract and keep workers while avoiding large premiums that are typically found in traditional plans.

Moreover, proponents say that the defined contribution approach will create competition that forces insurers to lower prices in an effort to attract more people. However, critics contend that an employer may not provide enough money to keep up with rising health insurance costs, leaving the worker to pay more out of their own pocket.

Affordabel Care Act (ACA), ObamaCare, Doctor Numbers Explode

Just think on this for a few minutes, 30 million more people participating in the health care system which for many of them will be free and, as this article points out, the aging population and the new immigrants streaming into the country ever day will force doctors to make decisions on who they see and when, and whether they say in the practice of medicine at all.

It's a guarantee that costs will increase geometrically. It is projected to be more then 1.6 trillion added to the debt for health care alone over the next 10 years. I wonder who will be able to pay for all new stuff with U6 unemployment nearing 20%?

But the bright spot in all this is the 'Death Panel' that will eliminate a lot of people that aren't worth keeping alive. I just hope it isn't one of my family that's found to be worthless. How about one of your family?

Projecting U.S. Primary Care Physician Workforce Needs: 2010-2025
Source: Stephen M. Petterson et al., "Projecting U.S. Primary Care Physician Workforce Needs: 2010-2025," Annals of Family Medicine, November/December 2012.

November 26, 2012
Researchers in the Annals of Family Medicine sought to project the number of primary care physicians required to meet U.S. health care needs through 2025 after passage of the Affordable Care Act.

They used the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to calculate the use of office-based primary care in 2008. They also used U.S. Census Bureau projections to account for demographic changes and the American Medical Association's Masterfile to calculate the number of primary care physicians and determine the number of visits per physician.

•Driven by population growth and aging, the total number of office visits to primary care physicians is projected to increase from 462 million in 2008 to 565 million in 2025.
•After incorporating insurance expansion, the United States will require nearly 52,000 additional primary care physicians by 2025.
•Population growth will be the largest driver, accounting for 33,000 additional physicians, while 10,000 additional physicians will be needed to accommodate population aging.
•Insurance expansion will require more than 8,000 additional physicians, a 3 percent increase in the current workforce.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Obama's Agenda For America Illicits Humor

 Give this some thought and believe the rest of Mr Obama's agenda for our country will illicit the same response.

Fools are born ready to accept advice from other fools.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Obama's New / Old agneda Will Work Again?

 Obama is starting four more years of excellence on everything that matters. He has decided on an agenda that worked for the last four years so why not use it again? The general public will believe anything he says or so it seems so why not continue to make stuff up and shove it down their collective throats.

Paul Harvey On The Lack of Moral Leadership

Maybe you are too young to remember who Paul Harvey is but I listened to him for decades and found him a moral leader for the ages.
This short lecture on morals, the lack of leadership on morals and what results is from long ago but is point on for today.
Listen, relate and believe the enemy is among us.
Do you remember the famous ABC radio news commentator Paul Harvey?
Millions of Americans listened to his programs which were broadcast over 1,200 radio stations nationwide.
The following commentary was broadcast 47 years ago.... April 3, 1965.
I hope you will listen to this. It's short...less than 3 minutes.Notice especially what he said in 7 seconds, from 1:57 to 2:04 in the broadcast.

Ambassador Steven Murder of No Consequence?

Our Ambassador to Libya and four others are murdered while our country stood by and did nothing to help them even though they had the power to do so. Did they do so completely from politics or out of fear of offending, ignorance of outcomes or far worse, they just didn't care.

I know this picture is disturbing and disgusting, but what we need to do now is not forget what is important as this tragedy is unfolding. The media and the progressive socialists are doing everything in their collective power to change the subject, but it is  up to all of us that actually care what happens to our country to make sure justice is served. To do less is to accept the outcome of those that want to diminish our way of life, to "fundamentally" change our country.

Write your representatives and demand action on who is responsible for this outrage against our country and humanity its self. You have to understand if this is allowed to be passed as inconsequential, like the Fast and Furious investigation, then all we hold dear is gone and never to be retrieved.

Remember, ' once your integrity has been lost, it is gone for ever'.

Friends Are Friends by Default

Friends are friends no matter what the circumstances or conditions are that bring them together. Some friends look different or act different but no matter, accept them as they are. Treat them with respect and you will get back double what you gave.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Medicare Patients Easy Targets for Fraud : Doctors Scam the System

Just think how doctors and others are going to scam the system when ObamaCare is fully implemented. Imagine with 30 million more people coming into the system and literately hundreds of thousands of new health care workers at all levels what a opportunity this presents to defraud the system.

Take a few seconds and think about what another mandate that represents one sixth of our economy, hundreds of billions every year, and how this will impact all aspects of our lives, and how Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, also riff with fraud to the tune of billions, and that we are broke, just how will we pay for all this and or who will pay for all this?

The first question should be who voted for this?

Repeat Testing Common among Medicare Patients
Source: Genevra Pittman, "Repeat Testing Common among Medicare Patients," Reuters, November 19, 2012.

November 21, 2012
In a new study, up to half or more of adults on Medicare who had a heart, lung, stomach or bladder test had the same procedure repeated within three years, says Reuters.

•Those tests typically aren't supposed to be routinely repeated, researchers said.
•For some of them, such as echocardiography and stress tests for heart function, there are recommendations specifically against routine testing.

Extra testing can burden the health care system with costs and may lead to incidental findings and unnecessary treatment for patients, says Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, lead author of the report from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Hanover, New Hampshire.

•He and his colleagues looked at the use of six kinds of test -- echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart), stress tests, lung function tests, chest CT scan, cystoscopy (examination of the bladder with a scope) and upper endoscopy (examination of the upper GI tract) -- among 743,478 older adults with fee-for-service Medicare coverage.
•All of those tests are diagnostic, meaning they would typically be done on people with symptoms to help doctors make a diagnosis.
•They range in price from about $200 to over $1,000.
•Between 2004 and 2006, anywhere from 7 percent (cystoscopy) to 29 percent (echocardiography) of the Medicare beneficiaries in the study had each of those tests at least once.

And those exams were all commonly repeated:

•Thirty-five percent of the people who had an upper endoscopy had another within three years.
•Of those who had an echocardiogram, 55 percent had a repeat echocardiogram.
•Repeat rates for the other tests fell somewhere in between.
•The average time between multiple tests was anywhere from four to 14 months.

Welch says the only time repeat tests make good medical sense is when patients develop a new set of symptoms that doctors want to check out after the first test. But for physicians, financial incentives typically support more frequent testing, no matter what the purpose. His team also found that metropolitan areas that did more of the initial diagnostic tests to begin with also had higher rates of retesting.

Federal Housing Administration Going Bust

With the default of the FHA coming, they say they are dealing with the problem, it's just another sign of the failure of the progressive socialist agenda demanded by Mr Obama and his team to "fundamentally" change America.

The housing disaster that was started back in the Carter years and stepped up during the Clinton years, Community Reinvestment Act, designed by Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, both progressives Democrats, where anyone that breaths air got a loan to buy a house. No down payment, no job, can't speak English, can't write or read made no difference, they still got a loan. Millions and millions of loans were sold like this even though the banks knew they would go bad and told the government of their fears.

And as we all remember, Clinton's attorney general threatened the banks if they didn't comply.

As most everyone is aware that watched FOX or read the Wall Street Journal back then, but if one just watched the lettered TV channels or read the New York Times, you had no idea what was going on, this all lead to the collapse of the housing market, forcing the entire economy into recession.

Now the FHA is losing money hand over fist but the progressives say they can handle the problem, and it's true, they can. They will handle it like all the financial problems we've had and that's with more taxpayer dollars.  hehe - taxpayers are such suckers for a big smile and a bucket of promises. 

How to Fix the Federal Housing Administration
Source: Edward Pinto, "How to fix the Federal Housing Administration," American Enterprise Institute, November 19, 2012.

November 21, 2012
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has released its fiscal year 2012 Actuarial Study for its main single-family insurance program. The report confirms that the economic value or capital position has turned negative by $13.5 billion, says Edward Pinto of the American Enterprise Institute.

There are constant swings in the projection of future fiscal year. For example, fiscal year 2018 is negative $17 billion compared to last year's projection. This is primarily due to the model that the FHA uses to calculate actuarial soundness.

Despite the constant negative reports, the FHA assures Congress that future years will be better. However, delinquencies continue to increase with one in six FHA loans delinquent 30 days or more.

Given the FHA's poor performance and irresponsible lending practices, two important steps must be taken:

•First, Congress should require a safety and soundness review of the FHA.
•Second, the FHA must show Congress that it has a way to deal with its insolvency.

The latter can be accomplished in a few ways:

•Reduce the risk layering combining on its high risk mortgages.
•Announce that it will no longer knowingly insure a loan for any family where the expected foreclosure rate is 10 percent or more.
•Additionally, borrowers that take out high risk loans should be offered either a loan with minimal down payment or a slowly amortizing 30 year term.

Territorial Taxation In Japan : More Revenue

Still more good examples of Territorial Taxation and it works for in other countries and how the failure to act in this country will only worsen our balance of trade and lower revenue idled over seas.

Our president and his members in congress will do nothing to solve this problem even in the face of getting revenue back in our hands that foreign country are now enjoying. Mr Obama believes only higher taxes on everyone and everything is the only way to raise revenue, which in turn will strangle production and prosperity, the real agenda outcome desired by the progressive socialist.

Japan Disproves Fear of Territorial Taxation
Source: "Japan Disproves Fear of Territorial Taxation," Tax Foundation, November 13, 2012.

November 20, 2012
The case study analysis of Japan disproves the fears echoed by critics of territorial taxation, says the Tax Foundation.

Prior to 2009, Japan's international tax systems were similar to that of the United States. It taxed on a worldwide basis, provided foreign tax credits, allowed deferral of tax on active income until repatriation, and claimed the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world.

Poor economic conditions since 2008 prompted Japan to adapt to a new tax system in the run-up to 2009. This new inspiration was reflected in the 2009 budget.

•According to the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan would pivot to a policy of territorial taxation as part of a new growth strategy.
•The system was designed to stimulate innovation in Japan through strengthening the competitiveness of Japanese firms in foreign markets and encouraging repatriation of overseas earnings.

Since the policy change in 2009, an examination of the data illustrates that none of the popular concerns have become a reality. Indeed, Japan has experienced numerous benefits:

•The unemployment rate has trended downward.
•Economy-wide wages have picked back up.
•Corporate tax revenues have remained stable.
•Outbound foreign direct investment is up from 2009. This foreign investment underscore new growth opportunities for Japan as its companies engage the world marketplace.
•According to the Wall Street Journal, Japanese companies are in the midst of the biggest boom in overseas investment the country has ever witnessed.

What can the United States learn from Japan? The answer is best stated by Mieko Nakabayashi, a member of the Japanese House of Representatives. She says: "With most of the world -- Japan included -- cutting corporate tax rates and employing territorial tax systems to remain competitive, the United States must surely know that its hesitancy to do these things is handing the advantage to its international competitors. They will suffer from that hesitancy while we and others outside the United States will benefit."

Taxation That Works in Netherlands : Territorial

This is one more example of how we can get revenue back in this country from companies that stock banks over seas with profits. When companies believe they are under attack, they will take cover. They are not successful because they are stupid.

Given all of the problems in Western Europe with their social democracy failures, it's clear that the Obama's progressive socialists agenda will fare no better in America.

The Territorial Taxation Experience in the Netherlands
Source: "The Territorial Taxation Experience in the Netherlands," Tax Foundation, November 16, 2012.

November 21, 2012
In an effort to see what lessons the United States can learn from other countries that practice a territorial tax system, the Tax Foundation released a case study on the Netherlands to evaluate its experience with a territorial tax system.

Since 1893, the Dutch have always exempted foreign profits -- and for good reason.

•First, the country respects the ability of other nations to tax the business profits within their own borders.
•Second, the Netherlands' domestic market of 16 million people is too small for innovative companies, meaning companies must be able to compete with other multinationals to gain a foothold in foreign markets.

The Dutch system is characterized by many exemptions, which benefit their companies that go abroad.

•Several types of investment, including portfolio investment and financing activities are exempt.
•Passive income can be exempt if it was taxed at an effective rate of at least 10 percent in whichever jurisdiction it was made in.
•For foreign dividends that are not exempt, firms may receive a foreign tax credit and a deferral regime.

In order to keep jobs and innovation in the Netherlands, the country imposes a tax rate of 5 percent on qualifying income from intangible assets. This disincentivizes the shift of intangible property and income to tax havens. The Dutch system also offers many possibilities for deducting expenses from gross income. As a result, many companies locate to the Netherlands, which is considered to have the most attractive corporate tax system in Europe.

The Dutch employment figures are generally high, and have consistently performed better than the United States since 1998. The Netherlands also outperforms the United States in tax revenue collection. As a matter of fact, it has collected more than the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average until very recently. This is especially surprising considering that the corporate tax rate has been lowered from 35 percent in 2001 to 25 percent.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

OSHA Is Necessary BUT Over Regulating

Again, it seems that the market will solve most of our problems. Work place health is a problem in that many workers are not conscience of their surroundings and need some direction as to safety.

It is also true that many employers are not interested in the details of work place hazards that might cause problems for their employees. Many employers operate on the 'hope' method where they do the best they can to create a safe work environment but pay little attention to details of on-going changes that might cause problems. They hope will work out for the better.

At the same time, OSHA can be crazy in their demands for safety and their fines for not meeting their rules are out of bounds. What we need is some middle ground to solve work place safety.

OSHA'S Role in Promoting Occupational Safety and Health
Source: John D. Leeth, "OSHA'S Role in Promoting Occupational Safety and Health," Mercatus Center, November 13, 2012.

November 20, 2012
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 created two federal agencies: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in response to the deteriorating health conditions of many workers. Today, workplace injuries and fatalities have fallen dramatically, but OSHA is not the reason for it, says John D. Leeth, a professor and chair of Bentley University's Department of Economics.

•At the end of the 1960s, 3 percent of American workers were injured enough to require at least one day off to recover.
•This resulted in a loss of over 100,000 man-years of production.
•By 1970, the lost-time injury rate increased to 15.2 million man-hours.
•To add to that, another 390,000 workers were diagnosed with industrial diseases.

All these factors provided an impetus for the federal government to create OSHA. And while health conditions have improved over the years, factors other than OSHA are responsible. In fact, the most powerful mechanism in making changes to the workplace has been the market.

•The legal system, for example, has created incentives for employers to create a safe environment to avoid exorbitant legal fees.
•Moreover, the loss of production as a result of injuries has prompted many employers to make the work environment safer.
•Additionally, states' workers' compensation insurance programs also provide an incentive to improve workers' health and reduce hazard.

Critics of market forces say that it is ineffective because workers lack the necessary information to evaluate hazards properly. They further contend that employers do not compensate workers for riskier jobs. However, evidence from studies indicate that workers do consider risk when accepting employment and that wages increase in relation to the amount of risk associated with a job.

These factors, combined with technological advances, have made the workplace safer and reduced health hazards for many workers. In lieu of this, OSHA should use its limited resources more effectively to complement other pillars of workplace safety in several ways:

•Provide information to workers about possible hazards.
•Gear inspections toward worksites where dangers are hard to monitor, and firms that employ less mobile and less knowledgeable workers.
•Moreover, it should continue to offer consultation services to small and medium-sized firms.
•Finally, encourage firms to establish management systems that address health and safety issues.

QE3 Costs Seniors Income to Decline

Seniors have a larger problem then just their finances - they seem to think that by electing Mr Obama all their problems will be solved. It seems that all Mr Obama had to do was promise them everything they wanted to get their vote. It worked. Were seniors lazy or lacking good sense?

But now, in the light of day, things don't look so rosy. Mr Obama used this same tactic in 2008, promising the world to everyone but delivered nothing except more pain. Why would the voters, of all strips, vote for him again? Goodness. What in the world is happening to our country?  Worse, what has already happened to our country?

Federal Reserve's QE3 Policy Costs Seniors
Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "Why Savings are Suffering: Fed QE3 Policy Costs Seniors," Manhattan Institute, November 2012.

November 20, 2012
In its most recent attempt to stimulate the economy, the Federal Reserve turned to its third round of quantitative easing in hopes that the economy would benefit from the acquisition of more bonds. However, the result was a lowering of interest rates, which hurts seniors the most because 10 percent of their income comes from interest on savings, says Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

•In 2002, the federal funds rate was around 1.75 percent.
•In 2009, the rate declined to 0.2 percent and has been around there ever since.
•People ages 35 to 44 receive less than 3 percent of their income from interest-rate dependent sources.
•In contrast, people age 65 and older receive 6 percent from these sources.
•The average earnings from interest for households headed by people age 65 and older are about $3,154 annually with the interest rate at 1 percent.
•However, if the interest rate was just at 2 percent, the average senior would have earned $6,300 annually.

Even though seniors are expected to make less of their income from interest, other parts of their portfolios are expected to benefit from the low interest rates because things like equity investments and housing begin to rise. However, this only partly offsets the decline of income from interest rates.

Congress has yet to take action on the impending fiscal cliff, which could pose some threat to the success of the new round of quantitative easing. There has been little additional borrowing and investment by households despite the lower interest rates. This is partly due to new capital requirements, which disqualify large groups of people.

People that hold equities and commodities are likely to benefit whereas those that rely on interest payment from asset end up losing. The negative economic effects of quantitative easing are compounded by the fact that the dollar becomes weaker, which results in higher prices for commodities.

Financial Health of Some States Getting Worse

I wonder which states are run by progressive Democrats and have a history of Democrat control. California and Illinois are two of the worst as they are looking worse then third world countries. One step further will find most large cities that are drowning in debt and corruption are controlled by progressive Democrats as well.

What a great idea - elect more Democrats. Voter wisdom or ignorance - you decide!

Fiscal Health of States Shows Growing Divergence
Source: Kelly Nolan, "Fiscal Health of States Shows Growing Divergence," Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2012.

November 20, 2012
While the financial health of U.S. states continues to improve, there is a growing disparity in economic growth between strong and weak states. A report from asset manager Conning looked at several indicators of economic health to determine the fiscal health of strengths, including: economic competitiveness, tax revenue growth, unemployment rate and changes in home value, says the Wall Street Journal.

For many weaker states, growing unfunded pension liabilities and higher costs of programs like Medicaid are slowing down economic growth. Stronger states benefit from improving business conditions and growth in employment numbers.

•Ten states are expected to finish fiscal 2012 with surpluses of 10 percent or more.
•But states like California, which Conning ranks 44th, will likely end the fiscal year with a deficit.
•Connecticut is now ranked 50 after being ranked 37 in April due to its 4.7 percent year-over-year decline in home prices and loss of 14,700 jobs.

Economic debt is another metric to highlight the disparity between strong and weak states. Conning measures economic debt by looking at factors such as unfunded pension liabilities, net tax-supported debt, unfunded health and retirement benefits, and state borrowing for unemployment programs. Hawaii, for example, has economic debt as 48 percent of personal income whereas that percentage is only 1.8 percent for South Dakota.

The growing disparity has caused the asset manager for the insurance industry to become selective on purchasing state general obligation bonds. These bonds are backed by states' tax revenues and their ability to further tax. Instead, Conning prefers purchasing revenue bonds, which are typically sold by utility, transportation and health care companies because they have smaller unfunded retirement costs and less political risk. Moreover, the potential of the fiscal cliff and budget cuts to states keep Conning cautious on states.

ObamaCare Exchanges : States Opt Out

Is there hope for some relief from the disaster that is ObamaCare? Just what we need now is another mandate that will burden us with trillions of more dollars of debt.

Truly, Mr Obama and his people are not interested in solving our problems, they are only interested in "fundamentally changing America". Progressive socialism means dependency and poverity.

National Center for Policy Analysis
In spite of the President's reelection, the future of Obamacare is not certain.

•The greatest threat to Obamacare has always been Obamacare itself because it is unstable, unpopular and expensive.

•The two main Obamacare entitlements (subsidized health insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion) are both subject to state action and approval, giving states tremendous power to nullify Obamacare's two core programs.

•Already, 19 states have said they will not create health insurance exchanges. About a dozen states remain undecided.

•In a sign of apparent desperation, the Obama Administration told states that they will have another month to decide to create state health insurance exchanges, even though the original deadline was November 16.

•Support for repealing Obamacare seems to be waning, but more Americans than ever are using high-deductible health plans.

•The House Ways and Means Committee sent a subpoena to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius demanding to know how taxpayer dollars are being used to promote Obamacare. There will be hearings next month.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Progressives' Climate Change Runs Wild, Again

It not enough that the frustration over the reelection of Mr Obama and those who did the voting, but now we seem to be headed back into the insanity of climate change. With a huge of recorded history showing man-made climate change is a fraud, completely riff with managed facts and out right lies. The storm Sandy has supposedly given the nutjobs a legitimate reason to scream and wave their arms over climate change.

But it seems history and the facts have little or no effect on the progressive socialist environmentalists who what more control over the population to bring about their agenda of slowing expansion and taking all of us back to the late 19th century living standards.

Of course, this will not be for them, only you and me. They believe someone has lead the ignorant into the new world of less.

Carbon Tax Will Kill the Economy, Boost Inflation
Source: Steve Milloy, "Carbon Tax Will Kill the Economy, Boost Inflation," Investor's Business Daily, November 13, 2012.

November 19, 2012
Many climate alarmists are hoping to use Hurricane Sandy and the re-election of President Obama to spur Congressional action on climate change. The purpose of the tax is to penalize the use of fossil fuel in order to reduce emissions. Many environmental groups are lobbying for a deal on a carbon tax. However, it is unlikely the tax will have any effect other than an inflationary one, says Steve Milloy in Investor's Business Daily.

•Assume that the United States emits 6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year and 40 percent of it accumulates in the atmosphere.
•The United States adds about 0.31 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 to the atmosphere annually.
•Even if the United States reduced all emissions as of 2013, by 2100 the United States would avoid adding 27 ppm of CO2.
•However, this is miniscule compared to the fact that the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere is 391 ppm.
•Moreover, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that CO2 in the atmosphere could range from 450 ppm to 950 ppm.

Even if the tax were somehow able to cut all emissions, it wouldn't be enough to offset CO2 levels to curb the effects of global warming. This is especially true considering that other countries like China and India will continue to emit high levels of CO2 despite U.S. policies.

More importantly, the economic impacts far outweigh any benefits derived from taxing emissions. Goods and services like gas and electricity will become much more expensive. Meanwhile, the purchasing power of the dollar will decline, creating a phenomenon many people are familiar with: inflation.

America To Dominate Energy Production? : Where's Obama?

I wonder what Mr Obama has in mind now for the XL pipeline? What will he do to stop this from going forward? I believe the reasoning is more then just green energy production and capping CO2 emissions, I think it has a lot to do with making sure that the Arab oil nations are not subjected to diminished financial returns. Mr Obama's history points in this direction.

Everyone on the left says we need to be energy independent but they do everything in their collective power to stop that independence. Given all the rhetoric from progressive socialists, what do you think the reasoning is for this as a national policy?

U.S. Redraws World Oil Map
Source: Benoit Faucon and Keith Johnson, "U.S. Redraws World Oil Map," Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2012.

November 19, 2012
The shale-oil boom can help the United States surpass Saudi Arabia as the largest oil supplier by 2020, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Such a change could have major ramifications for U.S. politics and diplomacy. In short, the global energy map is being reconfigured due to the resurgence of America as a major gas producer, says the Wall Street Journal.

The IEA is joining other forecasters such as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration in predicting the sharp rise in U.S. oil production in the coming years.

•U.S. oil production is projected to be at 11.1 million barrels a day in 2020.
•The IEA says natural gas will displace oil as the largest single fuel in the U.S. energy mix by 2030.

Kevin Book, managing director at Clearview Energy Partners LLC, observes that American energy policy is still influenced by the experiences from the 1970's supply shocks. However, the current reality is the age of energy adequacy.

•According to an analyst at Raymond James, the question is: will federal regulators allow these exports to materialize?
•Allowing exports could be politically tricky. The crude export ban was designed to ensure U.S. energy security following the Arab oil embargo in 1973.

The current ban will create limitations.

•The United States could soon be awash in easier-to-process domestic crude oil -- with no way to get rid of the excess supply, because U.S. law generally bans crude-oil exports.
•That would force new investment in refining capacity for lighter, sweeter grades of oil.
•Nonetheless, to realize America's full potential as an energy supplier while boosting the economy, it must commit to global markets.

Regardless of the limitations facing export, there is a strong domestic market.

•Made-in-USA oil is already displacing imports of similar crude from West Africa, and the market for it could be saturated as early as 2013.
•Within a decade, the IEA forecasts U.S. oil imports will fall by more than half, to just 4 million barrels a day from 10 million barrels a day currently.

OPEC will continue to be the powerhouse of global production, the agency said, but a growing portion of its output will go to nations like China and India instead of North America.

Airlines Fight to Stay Afloat : More Regulations, Less Pilots

Who would have thought more regulation will help the airlines? If there is a shortage of anything it's because the market, despite the federal government, is showing how it should work despite invasive regulations.

The airlines do need to have stick standards for pilots but let the market decide who and how many. If some of the airlines can't get the needed pilots then they will have make other decisions to stay afloat or go under. People who want to fly will have to go with the flow as will. The free market will decide who gets what and when.

Airlines Face Acute Shortage of Pilots
Source: "Airlines Face Acute Shortage of Pilots," Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2012.

November 19, 2012
U.S. airlines are facing what threatens to be the most serious pilot shortage since the 1960s, with higher experience requirements for new hires about to take hold just as the industry braces for a wave of retirements, says the Wall Street Journal.

•One study indicates that major airlines need to hire 60,000 pilots by 2025 to cover expansion and replace departures.
•New requirements set forth by the federal government are forcing new hires to have at least 1,500 hours of prior flight experience, a six fold increase compared to the previous requirement.
•To mitigate the impact, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a rule that would lower the requirement to 750 hours for military aviators and 1,000 hours for graduates of four-year aviation universities.
•However, FAA data shows that annual private and commercial pilot certificates -- both required to become a pilot -- are down 41 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

Smaller planes, on-demand charters and business jets aren't covered by the new requirement.

As a result of this new regulation, airlines are faced with higher costs and time to train pilots. This problem is compounded by the fact that there are pay cuts and longer hours, which make becoming a pilot a less attractive career option.

On top of that, airline carriers, especially regional ones, are having a difficult time recruiting new pilots because of high costs for fuel and an unsteady demand. As a result, small and midsize communities are likely to cut the number of flights.

Some critics point out that the shortage will likely result in lower safety standards as smaller airlines turn to lower internal criteria to hire lower-skilled applicants.

Another regulation that is expected to take effect in early 2014 will be to give pilots more daily rest time. This is likely to cause airlines to scale back even more since the fewer pilots will be available to fly.

Health Care (ACA) Exchanges Bring Chaos to States

As far as I can see, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that is coming to every house hold in in this country is a complete disaster. The ACA is so invasive and so huge, it makes the other out of control mandates, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid look positively benign, which by the way, are trillions of dollars under funded.

Stop for a few seconds and consider, the ACA will bring trillions of more debt on top of the trillions of debt that we already have plus the trillions of unfunded mandates, just how do you think we will be able to pay for all this new stuff? Can we borrow this much money and not care how or who will repay it? With U6 unemployment set to hit 16%, 24 million unemployed and set to grow to 28 million, who will be able to pay?

What reasoning did the voters use when they voted for Mr Obama to solve our financial problems? He told us he would give us more of the same and yet he was reelected. What in the world were these voters thinking?

Worse case scenario, rather then having to make life changing decisions, they just didn't think at all, it was so much easier to have someone else do the thinking for them and vote out of reflex.

Believe elections do have consequences, and the coming ACA will bring reality to every home in this country. A reality so clear and precise that even the most disengaged among us will not have a problem understanding the catastrophic consequences of this health care nightmare. 

 State Decisions on Health Exchanges: Early Indicators for ObamaCare's Post-Election Health

Source: Thomas P. Miller, "State Decisions on Health Exchanges: Early Indicators for ObamaCare's Post-Election Health," American Enterprise Institute, November 13, 2012.

November 19, 2012
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) initially set November 16 as the date for states to decide whether they plan to set up a state-based health benefits exchange in time for initial HHS approval by January 1, 2013. The deadline has since been pushed back to December 14, says Thomas P. Miller of the American Enterprise Institute.

At the moment, it seems a majority of the states will not meet the deadline. This is, in part, due to concerns about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Indeed, creating functional health benefits exchange under the ACA faces key impediments:

•The ACA is a classic example of a limited, but theoretically good, idea mutating into a politically-driven passage to overregulation, income redistribution and increased dependence on Washington.
•Most states will either refuse to set up their own exchange or prove unable to do so for political and technical reasons.
•The administrative challenge in organizing necessary data stream from multiple venues, creating basically "new" insurance markets, and handling a potential flood of demand for such coverage remains daunting and unprecedented.
•Serious legal questions on the actual authority of federally run exchanges to administer premium subsidies remain unresolved, diluting the power of any arguments that states must set up their own exchanges to avoid losing control.

There are several options state leaders can employ to express their resistance to the ACA.
The first option is "the Pottery Barn Rules" -- meaning, you break it, you buy it.

•This is a passive-aggressive stance that implies that the opposition just stand back and wait for the implosion.
•This, however, is not proactive in solving the problem.

The second option might involve approving different versions of own state-based exchanges that can operate under a market-friendly framework.

•Flexibility, choice and open competition would be more important tools than standardization, selective contracting and compulsion.
•Such exchange-like mechanisms would involve willing consumers, private providers and employer sponsors as partners rather than as subjects.

There's also an intermediate option. It would resist implementation of federally facilitated exchanges while improving bargaining leverage to insist on pro-competition state-designed alternatives.