Archives for September 2011

New ad from Revolution PAC calls Perry, Romney “plastic men”

Revolution PAC, a so-called “super” political action committee run by supporters of Ron Paul, released its first web ad of the cycle. The ad, which runs just over a minute long, calls the leading GOP contenders, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, “plastic men” that supported the Wall Street bailout. It also made note of Perry’s executive order mandating the HPV vaccine for young girls and Romney’s health care plan that became the blueprint for ObamaCare:

Top two GOP candidates bring in endorsements

Both Mitt Romney and Rick Perry managed to secure endorsements ahead of last night’s debate that are being highly touted by their campaigns. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tim Pawlenty endorsed Romney:

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty endorsed Mitt Romney for president Monday, praising his onetime rival for his “leadership ability” and the “depth and scope of [his] private-sector experience.”

“I believe he’s going to be our party’s nominee,” Pawlenty said on “Fox and Friends,” predicting Romney would be a “transformational and great president.”

Less than a month after ending his own White House bid, Pawlenty was in sync with the Romney campaign’s message on everything from jobs to health care, to Social Security and Rick Perry.

Asked how he could endorse a candidate who he once mocked as the author of “Obamneycare,” Pawlenty said he’d spoken about health care with Romney and concluded: ”Mitt Romney is 100 percent dedicated and committed to repealing Obamacare.”
“Gov. Romney wants to fix Social Security. He doesn’t want to abolish it or end it,” Pawlenty said. “Gov. Perry has said in the past that he thought it was ‘failed.’”

Pawlenty criticized Romney pretty harshly in television appearances over RomneyCare - the blueprint for ObamaCare, but famously declined to do so during a Republican debate. Some are saying the endorsement is basically Pawlenty’s bid to be on the ticket with Romney. Maybe. Well, probably. But also Politico reports that Romney has apparently pledged to help Pawlenty pay down his campaign debt.

Guess who else thinks Social Security is a Ponzi scheme?

The bruhaha over Rick Perry’s comments that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme have taken a backseat to the remembrance of 9/11 and the Redskins’ first win in about 90 years, but let’s fan the flames a bit. Thanks to the erudite Don Boudreaux over at Cafe Hayek, it has come to my attention that a highly visible economist at one of the nation’s largest papers agrees with Gov. Perry’s assertion:

Social Security is structured from the point of view of the recipients as if it were an ordinary retirement plan: what you get out depends on what you put in. So it does not look like a redistributionist scheme. In practice it has turned out to be strongly redistributionist, but only because of its Ponzi game aspect, in which each generation takes more out than it put in. Well, the Ponzi game will soon be over, thanks to changing demographics, so that the typical recipient henceforth will get only about as much as he or she put in (and today’s young may well get less than they put in).

And yes, you’ve probably guessed it: it’s Paul Krugman. And yes, you’ve probably guessed it, but the above emphasis is mine.

The essay was written in the December 1996/January 1997 edition of the Boston Review, as a response to Richard Freeman’s suggestions on fixing inequality. I profess to not having read Freeman’s work entirely, though mostly it was more of the same “we need to take the wealth from the top 20% and give it to the bottom 20%” nonsense.

Obama pushes $467 billion in tax hikes to pay for temporary tax cuts

President Barack Obama made another pitch for his latest latest “stimulus” plan yesterday in the Rose Garden at the White House, once again calling for Congress to pass it quickly. But this lastest gimmick isn’t likely to win much support from Republicans since Obama is planning to pay for his temporary tax cuts with long-term tax hikes:

The prospects for President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan grew dimmer Monday as he unveiled the fine print of how it would be paid for—primarily through tax increases that Republicans said would destroy jobs, not create them.

Mr. Obama proposed limiting itemized deductions for families with taxable income of $250,000 or more a year, ending tax breaks for oil companies and corporate jet owners, and cutting out a tax break for investment-fund managers. The White House says the tax changes would take effect in 2013 and estimates they would raise $467 billion in additional revenue over 10 years.

Republicans in Congress, who had been striking a more conciliatory tone about backing at least parts of the proposal the president unveiled last Thursday, disputed the White House contention that the plan would cause no additional job losses for the struggling economy.

This is just poor policy. These tax cuts and credits are gimmicks that won’t do much, if anything, to create jobs. In fact, the tax hikes will only contribute to the uncertainty that continues to hamper the economy. This a conclusion that even Obama’s former economic advisor, Christina Romer, once noted (emphasis mine):

Bachmann lining up with Romney on Social Security

Michele Bachmann is such a fraud. She claims to be the “tea party candidate” (in reality, she is a political opportunist), but Bachmann is sounding more like Mitt Romney when it comes to Social Security now that Rick Perry is vulnerable on the issue; though vulnerability is based out of ignorance of voters that have been lied to about the program by politicians that want to say in power:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Iowa) believes Social Security, while troubled, needs to be retained for current beneficiaries and future generations.

The presidential candidate said Friday that while the program is “in trouble,” the federal government has made a commitment to senior citizens that it must keep.

“The United States made a decision 80 years ago about retirement for senior citizens,” she told Radio Iowa in an interview. “We have Social Security and we need to work within that system.”
Bachmann said Friday that she wants to focus on “positive solutions” for fixing the program and ensuring it can hand out benefits for the forseeable future.

“This is something we can bring good people together to make this solvent,” she siad. “We have to keep the faith with senior citizens, but we also can’t deny the future upcoming generations of young people their right to have a chance, too. We can do this.”

Perry has come under fire for calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme, but he is absolutely right. Don Boudreaux noted this back in 2008, comparing it to the scheme that Bernie Madoff ran that eventually put him behind bars:

Chart of the Day: Stimulus spending hasn’t worked

With President Obama proposing more stimulus spending, Dale Franks posted this chart over at QandO reminding us how well the last stimulus bill worked:

Stimulus chart

Obama in trouble in North Carolina

A new poll from Public Policy Polling finds President Barack Obama in trouble in North Carolina, a state that he won by a small margin in 2008. But much like like national polls reflect, Obama’s potential GOP rivals are still running mostly even with him:

Barack Obama’s approval rating in North Carolina has fallen to 43%, with 53% of voters disapproving of him.  That’s the lowest PPP has found in monthly polling of the state since the weekend before last year’s general election when Democrats were annihilated at the polls.

Obama’s got 2 big problems: independents and a loss of support with his party base.  Only 31% of independent voters think he’s doing a good job to 62% who disapprove. He was at an already bad 38/56 a month ago and things have only gotten worse for him.  Obama’s other issue is that he’s losing support from Democrats.  He was at 79/16 and now he’s down to 75/20.

Bad numbers for sure, not a position any incumbent wants to be in. Public Policy Polling weighed Obama against five GOP contenders (Bachmann, Gingrich, Palin, Perry and Romney), but to keep this short, I’m only showing the frontrunners, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. As you can see, it would be a very close race; at least on the surface:

Barack Obama v. Rick Perry

  • Obama: 46%
  • Perry: 46%
  • Undecided: 8%

Barack Obama v. Mitt Romney

  • Obama: 45%
  • Romney: 44%
  • Undecided: 11%

Public Policy Polling notes (emphasis mine):

Republican on the verge of an upset in NY-09

Bob Turner, the Republican running to fill the seat left vacant by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), may just pull off a huge upset over David Weprin, according to new polling out of the district. On Friday, Siena College released polling showing Turner with a 6 point lead and hitting 50% in the race.

NY-09: Bob Turner v. David Weprin

  • Turner: 50%
  • Weprin: 44%
  • Don’t know: 6%

Turner is running away with 65% of independents. Weprin is taking 27% of the coveted voting bloc. Turner is also taking 30% of Democrats. Last month, Weprin held a 48/42 lead over Turner; and was doing much better among independents.

What happened? The National Journal explains:

Discontent with Washington and the president is at the heart of Turner’s shocking upset bid. In a district he won by 11 points just three years ago, Obama’s favorability rating is now upside down in the Siena poll, with 54 percent having an unfavorable opinion of Obama and only 43 percent viewing him favorably. A remarkable 38 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents hold an unfavorable view of the president.
Voters have a more positive view of Turner than they do of Weprin. Turner’s favorable/unfavorable ratings are in the black (48 percent favorable/34 percent unfavorable), while voters are split evenly on Weprin (41 percent favorable/41 percent unfavorable).

Voters believe Turner is running the more positive campaign, leading Weprin on that question, 43 percent to 32 percent. Correspondingly, a plurality of likely voters believe Weprin’s campaign is more negative.

Ron Paul dismisses confrontation with Rick Perry

Remember the photo of Rick Perry grabbing Ron Paul during a commercial break at Thursday’s GOP debate? Paul supporters said it was “assault,” but according to Paul, there was nothing controversial about it:

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) dismissed Internet rumors that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) had tried to intimidate him during a commercial break at the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, saying no “cross words” were exchanged between the two.

A Reuters picture snapped during the break showed Perry walking up to Paul’s lectern, grasping Paul’s arm, and pointing his finger in the congressman’s face.

But at a campaign event Thursday, Paul laughed about the exchange.

“A picture came out last night, it’s on the Internet this morning, with … I think the governor of Texas, or something? We had several governors up there, but truth was I never met him before,” Paul joked.

Paul said everyone — “my kids included” — had been writing to him to find out what had happened when the men spoke.

“Truth is, I wish it were a much more interesting story,” Paul said. “I don’t even recall the moment that was occurring and I don’t remember exactly what he said and we didn’t have any cross words.”

Yeah, it may have looked like more than it really was, but there is no reason to blow it out of proportion. Nevertheless, the Perry/Paul rivalry that is developing should be fun to watch during this race.

AP questions Obama’s stimulus claims

President Obama claimed last night that his jobs plan would be paid for.  “Everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything,” he said.  In politics, it never gets more clear than that.  Of course, obviously I question it.  I question everything any politicians says.  What surprised me was that even the Associated Press is questioning it.

THE FACTS: Obama did not spell out exactly how he would pay for the measures contained in his nearly $450 billion American Jobs Act but said he would send his proposed specifics in a week to the new congressional supercommittee charged with finding budget savings. White House aides suggested that new deficit spending in the near term to try to promote job creation would be paid for in the future – the “out years,” in legislative jargon – but they did not specify what would be cut or what revenues they would use.

Essentially, the jobs plan is an IOU from a president and lawmakers who may not even be in office down the road when the bills come due. Today’s Congress cannot bind a later one for future spending. A future Congress could simply reverse it.

Thank you AP.

For the record, this is the same problem one runs into when talking about spending cuts.  Most of those cuts are deferred to the out years to ease the pinch in the short term, and most never materialize because, as the AP points out, Congress can’t tell a future Congress what they have to spend.

Regardless of what you think of the President’s jobs plan, his claim it will be paid for is dubious at best.  As the AP piece points out, Obama must send his proposal to the Super Committee – which he does not control – and hope they accept it, then get it through Congress and then hope that these proposals are adhered to in the future.

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