Saturday, July 30, 2011

ObamaCare taxes are causing loss of American jobs

ObamaCare includes many taxes - many. Today one of those is costing American jobs.

Boston Scientific, the maker of medical stents for clogged arteries, is cutting 1200 jobs -

When ObamaCare passed people expected the tax on medical devices to impede production and jobs. Wall Street Journal - Today we see evidence.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Adults work on solution while children play games

While the adults are working on a solution....

I don't like how the current plan by Speaker John Boehner puts all the spending cuts in the future, but it's the best plan that has a chance. Thomas Sowell agrees in IBD...

The children mess around:
What did the people of Minnesota expect when they allowed Al Franken into the US Senate? They expected nastiness and dumb antics. What else? So we all suffer. Distinguished Senator Franken held up a sign "Welcome Terrorists" in the US Senate yesterday, July 27, as covered by CSPAN-2 - Pajamas Media

Senator Patty has also been doing empty gestures - name calling in her case.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Kelsey Excelsior Mercury Printer

Kelsey Co. Excelsior Mercury 3x5 hand-powered printer

Information about and parts for Kelsey printers

The networks hide their polls that oppose increased debt

The networks continuously talk about their poll results. But this week they are very selective: they are not telling that their own polls show favor for the Republican positions:

  • A CBS poll showed that 49% of the public opposes raising the debt ceiling. [Link corrected]
  • CNN polling (pdf) finds 66% of Americans support the House GOP's 'Cut, Cap and Balance' plan and that 74% support a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. (Questions 23 and 25 on the poll.)

They are tilting the discussion in favor of Obama by hiding what the public is telling them. An accident? Not likely.

A well-known radio host calls CBS and CNN and their kind the "government-controlled media." They are serving their master Obama.

Media Research Council has been exposing this shameful behavior.

Social Security is not at risk despite what Obama says

President Obama warned us that he might not pay Social Security benefits if the debt ceiling is not raised. Huffington Post

“I cannot guarantee that those [Social Security] checks go out on August 3rd if we haven’t resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.”

But that is not true. Social Security has a trust fund that guarantees payment.

Prof. McConnell at Advancing a Free Society blog explains:

As recently explained in much more detail by legal scholars Mark Scarberry and Nancy Altman, and by the aptly-named Thomas Saving, a former public trustee of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds, in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, reaching the debt ceiling will not affect the ability of the Social Security Administration to pay its obligations.

The Social Security trust fund holds about $2.4 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds, which its trustees are legally entitled to redeem whenever Social Security is running a current account deficit. Thus, if we reach the debt ceiling (which I continue to think is a remote prospect, even if less remote than it seemed a week ago), this is what will happen. The Social Security trust fund will go to Treasury and cash in some of its securities, using the proceeds to send checks to recipients. Each dollar of debt that is redeemed will lower the outstanding public debt by a dollar. That enables the Treasury to borrow another dollar, without violating the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is not a prohibition on borrowing new money; it is a prohibition on increasing the total level of public indebtedness. If Social Security cashes in some of its bonds, the Treasury can borrow that same amount of money from someone else.

Why did Obama make an untrue statement on Tuesday, July 12, and again Friday, July 22, 2011? He is trying to scare seniors. Cheap trick.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

ObamaCare killed job creation

ObamaCare killed job creation when it passed. "But he didn't intend to." Maybe, but he did. The rate of job creation took a dive the very month after ObamaCare passed.
Hot Air
... From the recession’s low point in January 2009 until April 2010, when Obamacare went into effect, the private sector created about 67,600 jobs a month. After the president signed PPACA into law, that number slowed to a meager 6,400 jobs a month — a more than 90 percent decrease or less than one-tenth the previous rate.
Original source: Heritage Foundation

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

AT&T ohhh

Unbelievably bad data service on Key Peninsula - South Puget Sound, Washington - today. Mostly none at all. Occasionally I can get some email or load a web page after 2 or 3 attempts.

Let's see how long it takes to upload these few sentences. Time now is 9:00.

[It posted at 9:07 - 7 minutes.]

Emails without graphics are small, so email worked pretty well. But nothing else. I spent 45 minutes on the phone with AT&T technical support. They tried, but it didn't help. The service was occasionally mediocre - pages loading slowly - but usually near-dead - couldn't load a web page.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jay Inslee wrong on green predictions

Todd Myers at Red County

As part of Congressman Jay Inslee's gubernatorial announcement [recenctly], he stopped at biofuel manufacturers, citing biofuel production as part of what he hopes will be, as he put it in his book Apollo's Fire, "no less a challenge than reorienting the entire U.S. economy."

Inslee has long been an advocate of government regulations and subsidies that favor biofuels. As part of his announcement, when asked about potential future tax increases, Inslee would only say “We don’t know what the future brings.” By way of comparison, Inslee has been quite bold about his predictions regarding the future of biofuel technology. In 2008, when his book was published, he and his co-author confidently wrote:

It would be comforting to avoid the prospect of being proven wrong by the passage of time. But your authors are built of sterner stock. We refuse to take refuge in the privilege of punditry to cloak our comments in vague surmises. ... About 2011, plug-in hybrids will start to hit the roads just at the same time that meaningful amounts of cellulosic ethanol are becoming available at service stations across the country.

Here in 2011, cellulosic ethanol has not emerged as a significant alternative. ,,,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tracy Arm bears

While the Sapphire Princess sat miles from the two Sawyer glaciers we entered the St. Nicolas, a smaller boat built and operated by Allen Marine, for the close-up view in Tracy Arm. Wow. We got 400 yards from Sawyer Glacier (to the north) and one mile from South Sawyer. Lots of harbor seals. Three black bears on the shore. One young woman guide spent the entire cruise looking through binoculars for wildlife. When she saw the first bear she jumped up and down. The other two were mother and cub. The mother was ginger color. All the crew live in Juneau - most grew up there - and some of them had never seen a ginger-color black bear. The bears were on the sloping intertidal land feeding on seaweed and/or mussels. And they stayed around, so everyone got a good view - through binoculars; we stayed two hundred yards off shore.

We saw Humpback whales out where the huge ship also went. Great show.

In Juneau I took the budget bus-only tour to Mendenhall Glacier and hiked to Nugget Falls which has massive flow. 

On our previous Alaska cruise we had a local guide in Juneau, but our friend Joanne retired and moved to Washington where her grandchildren are. The Alaska State Museum didn't stay open for our late arrival.

Photos: Sapphire Princess. "Small" St. Nicholas photographed from deck 14 of Sapphire Princess, off for a closer view. My wife in white and I in green are the closest people on the right railing on the top deck. Bears coming. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Rain and Sun in Ketchikan

We are in Ketchikan, Alaska on a cruise. Sunny leaving Seattle Sunday. Rainy along Vancouver Island Monday. Rain and a touch of sun in the "Salmon Capital." Also the rain capital - 160 inches per year.

[My Iphone posts are short. The software works OK, but typing is difficult.]

Additional: We did an unusual shore excursion. We went snorkeling. The insulation for cold water is cumbersome - wet suit with hood, booties and gloves. And to be able to dive at all you need a weight belt to overcome the flotation of all that insulation. The viewing was not very good because we had only a few minuts of sun. But the water was clear and there was plenty of interesting sea life. Several starfish - small five pointers and large 20 pointers. Two or three varieties of sea urchins. Kelp crabs. I forgot to ask - a pink body the size of an apricot on a one-inch stalk with small white spines. And the guides dove and brought up a sea cucumber. The small fish were too fleeting and dull in color to make note of. I think their business is Snorkel Alaska. Not cheap, but I recommend any swimmer to go snorkeling in Alaska.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

They want to limit individual retirement savings

All you people who are saving so you can provide for yourselves... Obama's Treasury Department and the tax fans in Congress see too much revenue lost. But most of it is not lost, but is deferred and collected later.
This is a rush post. I need to read a into it a bit, but I am off on a big trip today...


Should Congress put limits or even completely do away with the tax incentives that make saving within a 401(k) or some other tax-advantaged retirement plan attractive in order to cut the deficit?

The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation and the Treasury Department's Office of Tax Analysis conclude that these retirement planning programs will cost the federal government about $600 billion in lost revenue over the next five years.
Here's what they suggest instead:
Bipartisan Policy Center Debt Reduction Task Force -- Maintain existing accounts but cap tax-preferred contributions to the lower of $20,000 or 20 percent of income.
National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform -- Consolidate the various retirement accounts and cap tax-preferred contributions to the lower of $20,000 or 20 percent of income.
The American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries, or ASPPA, says the government's math is fuzzy because it doesn't accurately figure deferred revenue -- savers eventually take the money out and pay taxes on it. Based on its calculations, the government would only gain about 25 percent more in taxes and the price would be reduced income and security for people living in retirement.

A separate study by the Stanford University Graduate School of Business says that the introduction of 401(k)s has had an enormous impact on how people invest in stocks and bonds. At the end of World War II, individual citizens owned 90 percent of the stock market; by 2006, they owned only 30 percent. The other 70 percent was held by institutions, including mutual funds, insurance companies and pension funds.

Ilya Strebulaev, associate professor of finance and primary author of the study, recommends that tax reformers consider making the tax rate on capital gains equal to the tax rate on equities held in tax-advantaged accounts. Now, of course, the capital gains rate is 15 percent for most people -- less for low-income people, while the rate son equities in tax-advantaged accounts are the same as for ordinary income. This would level the playing field and potentially make it less attractive to hold stocks in a tax-advantaged accounts. He believes that among other things, holding stocks outside of institutional accounts would encourage individual investors to pay more attention to how their money is invested. "Institutional investors are very passive. They delegate their vote. It's not the best social outcome," Strebulaev says.

Strebulaev dismisses the idea of limiting the tax advantages of retirement accounts to increase revenue. "What I think what our research delivers is that all these small twists in taxation are very unlikely to work."