Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Want My Own Super-Committee

     I've decided that tomorrow morning I'm going to tell my boss that I am no longer capable of doing my job. I'll suggest that he hire a group of people to do my job and make decisions that I don't want to make. And here's the best part, he still has to pay me my full salary. Of course things don't work that way in the real world. This ridiculous scenario can only exist in the fantasy world that is congressional politics. And so we have the Stupor Committee.
     Now that the Super Committee has failed in their simple task, as could have been predicted by anyone who even has a cursory knowledge of Congress, we are left with a huge question. Why didn't the Republican leadership in Congress see this as the political ploy that it was. The Republicans, God love-em, always come prepared to play tennis when they should be putting on boxing gloves. This Summer's debt ceiling debate was no exception. John Boehner and the rest of the Republicans allowed the Democrats to get away with rejecting their multiple debt-reduction plans without submitting one of their own. Then at the last minute Harry Reid came up with the Super Committee scheme that was designed to give President Obama a campaign device that would allow him to run against a do-nothing Congress. The President and Harry Reid, along with anyone else with half a brain, could see that it was destined to fail.
     The whole idea of a Super-Committee should have been anathema to the Constitutional principles that the Republicans hold dear. The framers of the Constitution created two separate and distinct houses of Congress, that along with the Executive branch created a balance of power. They would roll over in their graves at even the mention of a Super Committee. This committee will no doubt gain power over the years to the point where Congress will have created the instrument of their own irrelevance. Instead of a government where power is shared, decisions will be made by 12 individuals and rubber-stamped by an ineffectual Congress.
     As for the manufactured crisis that created the Super Committee, I can't believe that even some on my side of the aisle fell for it. There never was any chance of the United States defaulting on its obligations, it was a not so clever subterfuge that actually convinced even some smart people. It was the perfect crisis for an administration whose first chief of staff, Rohm Emanuel, telegraphed how they were going to implement policy that was unpopular. Just after President Obama was elected, Rohm Emanuel said, "You never want to waste a crisis because it gives you the opportunity to do things that you wouldn't normally be able to do." Why wouldn't an administration that felt this way manufacture crisis in order to implement their unpopular policies.
     So here we are, set adrift on a sea of red ink with no responsible hand on the tiller. There are responsible people in Congress, like Connie Mack, who has proposed his Mack penny plan. Under this plan we would freeze federal spending at 2011 levels and then cut one penny from every dollar of spending each year. At year six we would cap federal spending at 18 percent of GDP, which is where it traditionally has bee since the end of WWII until President Obama exploded it to 25 percent. In eight years we would not only balance the budget but we would pay off 7.5 trillion dollars of the national debt. But sadly this common sense plan will never see the light of day because common sense is one thing in short supply in Washington. By the way, I tried out my Super Committee idea on my boss and he is still receiving treatment from laughing himself silly.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Occupy Wallstreet. Occupy Some Facts

     It has been two months that we in the fifty three percent who pay the federal income taxes in this country have been inundated by the heated, prepubescent rhetoric from over-privileged and under-appreciative Occupy protesters. While some may say their frustrations and anger are well-founded, the Occupy movement seems to be more about sex, drugs and rock-n-roll than it is about a coherent platform of reform. Their cries about Wall Street bailouts and bonuses do not seem to extend to the Liberal sacred cow of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, where recently executives have been deemed worthy of receiving 100 million dollars in bonuses while requesting billions more in bailouts. This is par for the course for a movement based on emotion and class warfare spewed by the current occupier of the White House. But then radical leftists have always operated under the motto, "Don't let the facts get in the way of a good protest."  Their only consistent message is that somehow the top one percent of wage earners in this country are enslaving the rest of us by providing jobs and business investment.
     The facts about the one percent are missed by the useful idiots in the Occupy movement, and deliberately misreported by the left-wing media. Recent reports in the New York Times have stated that in the last thirty years the top wage earners in this country have benefited at the expense of those on the bottom. These "facts" are misleading because they are based on census data, which tracks groups of people instead of individual taxpayers. According to IRS statistics, which are more accurate than census data, the bottom 20 percent of wage earners have seen their incomes rise 91 percent in the last thirty years. In the same time period, the top 20 percent have seen their incomes rise by only 10 percent. If you break down the statistics even further you will find that the top one percent have actually seen a decrease in their incomes.
     Another fact missed by the clueless Occupiers is that a majority of the people in the one percent are only there for a single year. This is as a result of the sale of assets which temporarily places them in the one percent club. The top one percent is in constant flux, in fact only four percent of the top 20 percent are permanent members of this income quin tile. The same is true about the bottom 20 percent. So to put it more plainly, only eight percent of the population is chronically rich or chronically poor, the rest moves in and out of wealth and poverty or stays somewhere in the middle 60 percent.
     The President, and by extension his puppets in the Occupy movement, are fond of saying that billionaires and millionaires should pay their fair share in taxes. According to IRS data, the top one percent pays a whopping 40 percent of the total federal tax bill. The top five percent pays almost 60 percent. The bottom fifty percent pays only 3 percent. And with 47 percent of wage earners in this country not paying anything in federal income tax, who is it that's not paying their fair share?  In ancient Israel every citizen, rich or poor, paid half a shekel. This provided everyone with the same sense of contribution, in other words, everyone had skin in the game. There's an old saying that when you rob Peter to pay Paul you can always count on the support of Paul. Left-wing politicians have used this truism for years to buy votes and get re-elected. The problem is there seems to be an ever-increasing army of Pauls.
     I have heard some Occupiers state that their goal is a more democratic society. I have a feeling they mean democratic with a large D and not a small d. If it was the latter they would realize that you can't increase democracy by empowering government to confiscate money from producers and give it to non-producers. The only thing you acheive with this policy is shared misery by all citizens.