Monday Mashup (7/9/12)

July 10, 2012
  • All class, Tucker – not sure what else I can add to an atrocity like this.
  • Next, I give you the latest propaganda from Investor’s Business Daily (here)…

    Political leaders continue to peddle the snake oil that we can spend our way back to prosperity.

    Many Americans believe President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Keynesian conversion beat back the Great Depression. It’s pure myth. In the 1930s, the United States doubled government outlays relative to GDP. The unemployment rate didn’t fall; instead, it jumped from 3.2% in 1929 to 25.2% in 1933 — an outcome contrary to Keynes’ doctrine.

    I think it’s utterly hilarious that IBD only considers four years of FDR’s entire term of office in its “analysis.” (if you want to read about historical U.S. unemployment rates from 1920 until the present day, click here).

    In response, I give you the following from Professor Krugman (here)…

    …there were big moves in years when nothing much was happening to military spending, notably the slump from 1929 to 1933 and the recovery from 1933 to 1936. But every year in which there was a big spending increase was also a year of strong growth, and the reduction in military spending after World War II was a year of sharp output decline.

    Yes, the unemployment numbers got worse later in the 1930s. However, that was due to a cut in government spending, not an increase (here).

    And if you don’t want to believe me, then believe that noted “Keynesian” Willard Mitt Romney himself, who said here that spending cuts would lead to “recession or depression.”

    If you want to know the real story on the drag on job growth, though, click here (and yes, I know all of this is a recording, but as long as the other side keeps lying through its metaphorical teeth…).

  • Further, Mark Krikorian of Irrational Spew Online takes a shot here at Denise Rich, former wife of fugitive financier (and Bill Clinton and Repug BFF) Marc Rich, for doing the “expat” thing and renouncing her U.S. citizenship (which, apparently, about 1,700 former citizens do a year – color me shocked)…

    I have no quarrel with people who want to emigrate. But to do so for tax reasons (which may or may not be the motivation in this instance) is, as David French put it in an exchange about Eduardo Saverin, “pathetic. Not punishable, but pathetic.”

    Why not punishable? Hey, why do the “half wingnut” when you can go “full on” with the crazy, you know?

    Well, given Krikorian’s staking out of the “America, Love It Or Leave It” ground, you would think that one of his conservative simpatico pals would be all too happy to mete out something that they approximate to justice on this score, wouldn’t you?

    Then please explain the following to me from here

    Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has a status update for Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin: Stop attempting to dodge your taxes by renouncing your U.S. citizenship or never come to back to the U.S. again.

    In September 2011, Saverin relinquished his U.S. citizenship before the company announced its planned initial public offering of stock, which will debut this week. The move was likely a financial one, as he owns an estimated 4 percent of Facebook and stands to make $4 billion when the company goes public. Saverin would reap the benefit of tax savings by becoming a permanent resident of Singapore, which levies no capital gains taxes.

    At a news conference this morning, Sens. Schumer and Bob Casey, D-Pa., will unveil the “Ex-PATRIOT” – “Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy” – Act to respond directly to Saverin’s move, which they dub a “scheme” that would “help him duck up to $67 million in taxes.”

    So two Democrats are the ones going after Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin, not, say, “Diaper Dave” Vitter and Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao.

    Well, that must be why Krikorian’s fellow traveler Jeff Jacoby considers Schumer and Casey to be demagogues here, even though Krikorian is the one trying to wax poetic about those leaving the U.S. trying to sever “the mystic chords of memory” (and from the strange political bedfellows department, I give you this).

    (By the way, my thoroughly unscientific and not-grounded-in-economic-facts-and-figures analysis says that we should just leave Saverin alone, people – let’s try fixing real problems instead, such as closing the corporate tax loopholes we currently tolerate, OK?)

  • Finally, I checked in with Pastor Gerson of the WaPo today, and found that he’s still doing a predictable job of opining about matters of almost no consequence (he’s in favor of circumcision because it’s proclaimed in the Old Testament – hey, whatever).

    And I really wouldn’t care if it weren’t for the second paragraph from here

    Along with the Cologne judge (in Germany, who ruled that ritual circumcision is a “crime”), most critics of circumcision also regard it as a violation of individual self-determination, which raises religious-liberty issues larger than a single snip.

    A strain of modern liberalism contends that only individuals and their rights are real in the legal sense — and there is no other acceptable sense. It is the role of the state to defend individual self-determination against oppressive institutions, including religious institutions. Since circumcision is coerced, it is unjust. The same claim might be made — and has been made — of early religious indoctrination of any kind. Liberalism thus leads to an aggressive form of assimilation to the values of the liberal order.

    Really? Then I guess every Jewish person here is just a damn stinkin’, Mumia-lovin’, Kenyan-Muslim-Socialist-supporting tree hugger, huh?

    Basically, I don’t care that much one way or the other – I think it should be left up to the family (though this is certainly important to consider). There are sanitary reasons in favor of it (full disclosure: I had it way back when), but just because a family opts out of it doesn’t mean that they’ve fallen prey to “an aggressive form of (liberal) assimilation.”

    You gotta hand it to Gerson, though, coming up with a new and different way to completely distract us from the issues that truly matter (economy, jobs, environment, civil liberties, Afghanistan, etc.).

    Yep, the guy is sure a cut-up (sorry…couldn’t resist).

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    Some End-of-May Mikey Musings

    June 1, 2012


    The Bucks County Courier Times featured some actual, honest-to-goodness reporting here from Mikey the Beloved’s designated scribe Gary Weckselblatt (someone fetch the smelling salts – I may faint)…

    Back in March, following a fundraiser at a Florida resort, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick introduced legislation to eliminate the cap on the number of reverse mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

    Donations from reverse mortgage brokers proceeded to flow to the 8th District Republican.

    Earlier this month, as Roll Call reported Wednesday, Fitzpatrick introduced several bills to suspend tariffs on chemicals to help a local business. The online publication that covers Capitol Hill said eight of the 12 proposals would benefit United Color Manufacturing Inc., a Newtown company whose owners have donated $26,000 to Fitzpatrick in the last decade.

    The story caught the eye of Public Campaign Action Fund, which is in favor of publicly financed elections and campaigns to hold elected officials accountable for opposing reform and for the special favors they do for their political contributors.

    “Voters send people to Congress because they think they’ll do what’s in their best interests,” said Adam Smith, spokesman for the watchdog organization. “Then you see legislation like this introduced and it raises real questions about who these members are working for in Washington.”

    In the matter of reverse mortgages, the following should be noted from here

    The formula used to determine how much equity you can take out of your home in a Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, reverse mortgage is based on home value, a value cap that varies regionally, the interest rate and the borrower’s age. Under typical conditions, the average reverse mortgage represents roughly 50 percent of a home’s value. In some circumstances the loan costs can eat a substantial percentage of the loan.

    The joint concepts of equity ratios and appreciation are the foundation supporting reverse mortgages. When you first take out the loan, you will be given about half the equity in the home and the property retains the other half. Then, as time goes by, the house appreciates, producing more equity still. The annualized historic home appreciation rate is 8.6 percent, which would result in a doubling of home value roughly every 12 years. Between the initial equity and likelihood of future appreciation, buffered by insurance provided by the FHA, banks are confident that they can recapture the loan balance upon sale of the house. The banks, however, have no interest or concern in what equity remains after the loan is repaid. If home appreciation does not match the historical rate, as it most certainly has not during the period from 2007 to 2010, banks will still be repaid by a combination of the house sale and the FHA insurance. In these instances, however, there will be no equity remaining in the estate. The building might be left to a son or daughter, but it would be worthless to them.

    As to suspending the tariffs on chemicals, that primarily benefitted a guy named Tom Nowakowski who, in addition to giving Mikey $26 grand, gave $150,000 to the Repugs over the last six years, as noted here.

    So what does he have to say? As the Courier Times tells us…

    He said he approached Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, both in 2009 and again this year about the (tariff) issue. He has not donated to Casey, who introduced legislation similar to Fitzpatrick’s.

    And of course, Nowakowski doesn’t see what the fuss is about. And yes, it is all legal (and he didn’t even have to donate to Sideshow Bob to get our senator to help him out – “free” is the best return on investment you can get).

    And get a load of how our U.S. House rep responded…

    Fitzpatrick’s campaign refused to comment on the issue without a response from his opponent Kathy Boockvar, who was unavailable.

    Ummm…does Mikey seriously expect Kathy Boockvar to be available for a public comment every time he screws up?

    No guts, no glory, Mikey.

    Because, as far as I’m concerned, this still doesn’t pass the smell test, particularly when, as noted here, Mikey criticized former rep Patrick Murphy two years ago for accepting $19,000 from Dem U.S. House Rep Charles Rangel, who was under a congressional investigation and was later censured. Despite that, Mikey had no issue with pocketing $20,000 from fellow House Repug Spencer Bachus, who was also under investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

    Oh, and as long as I’m talking about our PA-08 U.S. House rep, I’d like to point out that Fitzpatrick forwarded an Email to Le Manse Doomsy yesterday in which he asked your humble narrator to go to Mikey’s Facebook page to tell everyone how we feel about Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin’s decision to take his U.S. fortune and become an “expat” (the Repugs’ non-jobs agenda drags on – you can go here to speak out elsewhere if you wish).

    If you’re as tired of Mikey’s antics as I am, click here to do something about it.


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