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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stock of the Month for October -- Muni CEFS

This month's selection as stock of the month is a whole class of stocks, namely Closed End funds for Municipal Bonds or Muni CEFs as they are known. These are companies that own a portfolio of municipal bonds. their holdings are leveraged with the companies raising capital through short term borrowing as well as through stock sales. The shares of the Muni Cef trade on the open market, so their value is not set by their net asset value alone. Depending on market conditions, the muni cefs trade at a premium or discount to their current net asset values.

At the moment, short term rates are extremely low, and they are likely to stay there for quite some time. The Fed has indicated pretty clearly that we will not see a rise in short term rates during the next six months and maybe for substantially longer. This gives the Muni Cefs the ability to borrow at very low cost and then to buy muni bonds that pay a tax free yield substantially higher than their cost of money. This allows the CEFs to pay a yield that is much higher than a traditional muni bond. For example, Invesco Van Kampfen Municipal opportunity Trust (symbol VMO) is currently yielding 7.12%. This 7.12% is free of all federal income tax -- provided one is not subject to the Alternative Minimum Income tax. (16.5% of VMO's payout is subject to the AMT). Roughly 10% of the bonds owned by VMO are unrated and of the remaining 90%, all but 1.5% is rated as investment grade. As of yesterday's close, the VMO stock was selling at about a 3% premium to the underlying net asset value.

What all this means is that most folks can get a tax free yield of about 7 and one-eighth percent the should be relatively stable for the next six months at least. Unless there are wholesale defaults by issuers of municipal bonds, a significant rise in shrt term interest rates or a significant rise in long term rates (which is also very unlikely in the next six months), these muni cefs should pay a rather hefty after tax yield with a fair amount of safety that the principal will not decrease. Indeed, if the Democrats never get around to extending the Bush tax cuts, the value of this tax free income stream may increase dramatically. That alone could lead to a marked rise in the price of the stock.

Other Muni CEFs that I would recommend are MHI, VGM, VKI and NMD. Not all have as high quality holdings as VMO, so you should investigate their holdings and yields before buying. A good place to find this information is at a site called CEF Connect. it can be reached by clicking on the title to this post.

Armanino Foods of Distinction -- another update

I have written repeatedly about Armanino Foods of Distinction (symbol AMNF.PK), but I believe another update is appropriate. Right now Armanino is in the middle of a major run up in value. Three weeks ago, the company announced that it was paying a special dividend together with its regular quarterly dividend. Together the payout was 1.66 cents. The stock has already gone ex-dividend. Even so, the stock is selling for 59.5 cents. That means that since the announcement three weeks ago, the stock has risen over 11 cents or 22%. Normally, one would look for a bit of pullback at this point as profits are taken. For Armanino, however, there is a major difference at work, namely the stock buy back by the company. Since the announcement of the buy back, trading has been much heavier than usual, but, even so, total volume has been under 800,000 shares. Even if that entire volume were due to purchases by the company (which it certainly was not), there would still be well over a million shares left for the company to buy.

Trading over the last three weeks has indicated that the company has been active in the market already. For example, on the day before the ex-dividend date, the stock traded heavily at 58 cents in relatively large lots. It looked like it was the company buying ahead of the ex-div both to get the stock and avoid paying the dividend on the newly purchased shares. (h/t to Steve Brill for pointng that out.) From reviewing the trading since the announcement, however, it looks like the company has over a million and a half shares left to buy.

The real issue is whether or not the company has a maximum price for the shares that it has already established. If so, we may see the stock continue to rise until that price is hit. Alternatively, we will see the stock stay at the 60 cent range since the company clearly is buying at these numbers. Indeed, the stock has shown remarkable strength; after going ex-div, it still rose above the previous unadjusted close.

In my opinion, there will likely be another special dividend next quarter. That means that at 60 cents per share, the stock is still yielding about 7%. A raise to the regular dividend may also be in the offing for next year. When you include the possibility that the company will be purchased in the next few years together with the healthy growth that it is already achieving, a target price of 80 cents per share at some time in the next 8 months seems reasonable.

The insanity and inanity of American politics

There are two stories that are in today's news that illustrate the true craziness of American politics. In the first story we hear that Republican Carl Paladino got angry at NY Post reporter Fred Dicker when Dicker brought up the subject of extramarital affairs. Last Sunday, the Post ran a story about Paladino's ten year old daughter who was fathered out of wedlock. Paladino's wife was interviewed and explained that she was fully aware of what had happened and had forgiven her husband for his infidelity. Reading Dicker's account of the confrontation it seems that Paladino went ballistic over the fact that the Post had sent a reporter to the daughter's home.

I have to say that Paladino's reaction seems quite real and acceptable to me. If the media want to focus on this story, it is their right, but there is no need to actually intrude on the life of a ten year old girl who has nothing relevant to say. Imagine, Paladino's wife gave an interview about this, but the Post still wanted to get to the daughter. I think that Paladino's response is pretty clearly that of a man who wants to protect his child. He is not doing a John Edwards and lying about the affair or even attempting to hide it from the public. He is only trying to protect his daughter. As far as I am concerned, if I lived in NY, this would make me more likely to vote for Paladino.

The second story is that California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman hired an illegal alien as a housekeeper. Not surprisingly, the housekeeper came forward with her attorney, Gloria Allred at her side. As soon as you see Gloria there, you know that this is something that the Brown campaign organized. Jerry Brown is losing the debate, so he is attempting to change the subject. Whitman came forward immediately with copies of the social security card the housekeeper showed as well as the forms she signed at the time indicating that she was in the country legally. Those forms are all that the law requires of an employer, so Whitman did nothing wrong. It seems really wrong to me that a race for governor would be focused on whether or not the housekeeper was an illegal alien even if she lied about her status to get the job. there are just too many important issues that need to be addressed.

By the way, will the housekeeper now be deported? I certainly hope so.

The Obama Message

I have paid particular attention to the recent public appearances by President Obama now that he seems to be in full campaign mode. I wanted to see if I could distill his essential message to the voters. I believe I have succeeded, and here it is: First, Obama is saying that in the next two years the country will see more of the same things that it has seen from him so far in his term. Second, Obama is saying that Republicans are bad people who will not help the country if they get into power. That’s it, the entire message in a nutshell.
I am not sure why the President thinks that his message will resonate with the voters. After all, he has been in power for two years and the Democrats have been in power in Congress for four years. They get the credit or the blame for where we are as a country right now. High unemployment? That’s theirs. Low growth? That’s theirs. Huge deficit? That’s theirs. What more can one say? Why would any sane person vote for more of the same? And the slap at Republicans? So far we have been told that people who came to town halls to oppose Obamacare were evil mongers, Nazis, Astroturf and racists. Tea party members were teabaggers, right wing kooks and potential terrorists who were also racists and homophobes. Anyone who thought it inappropriate to put a mosque at ground zero was a xenophobic, Islamophobic, closed minded, racist degenerate. Anyone who opposed raising taxes in a recession was just a tool of the super rich. There’s more, but Americans know that they cannot listen to Obama and the Obamacrats tell us about the evils of their opponents. In fact, Obama uses vilification of his adversaries as his standard operating procedure.
It would be nice to have a president who actually transformed the debate in this country into a more civil discourse, one that could actually reach across party lines in a rational way to do what is best for the country. Obama promised that he would do that, but, of course, he ignored that promise and did exactly the opposite. There is more organized hatred coming out of the government than at any time I can recall since Nixon was in the White House.
It is important that the Democrats learn that hatred as a message will not work in America. The President and his people cannot attack the American people on a regular basis an expect to gain the support of those very same people who they are targeting. I think they actually believed some of those stories that said that Obama could sell anything to anyone. The sad truth is that the only one he has apparently sold anything to is himself and his cronies. Unfortunately, the country has been paying a high price for his delusion.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Stern way of Business

AP is reporting this afternoon that former SEIU leader Andy Stern is under investigation by the FBI and Department of Labor in connection with certain alleged no-show jobs he is said to have created at the union. No show jobs at labor unions are violations of federal law. As you may recall, Stern resigned his position at SEIU a few months ago saying that he wanted to spend more time with his family. This news certainly would indicate another potential reason for the resignation. Of course, Stern remains one of President Obama's principal confidants. Andy Stern is a member of the deficit commission (how funny is that) and some other presidential advisory boards. My guess is that he may be resigning those posts soon as well.

I find it very interesting that SEIU and ACORN who were Obama's biggest boosters in 2008 have now both gotten themselves into potential legal problems. Isn't it great the way the Democrats ended the culture of corruption? What do we have now? The ruling kleptocracy? The theocracy of thievery? The robbery republic?

Blather from the NY Times

In today's NY Times, David leonhardt takes Republicans to task for not giving sufficient detail in their Pledge as to how they plan to cut spending. Imagine, the Times that saw nothing wrong with passing a three quarters of a trillioon dollar stimulus bill that no one had even read, now bemoans the lack of detail in the republican plan. the times that saw nothing wrong with having an Obamacare bill that according to Nancy Pelosi had to be enacted into law so that we could see what was in it, has a problem that there is not enough detail in the Republicans' Pledge to America. The Times that never once criticized the Democrats for playing all sorts of games so that they could get the CBO to say that Obamacare would save money has questions about why there is not more detail in the Republicans' plans. What utter nonsense!

The truth is that the Republicans make clear in their pledge where they would cut spending initially. They call for limiting discretionary federal spending to 2008 levels and returning both unspent TARP money and Stimulus money to the treasury, among other things. These moves would save something on the order of 250 billion dollars at a minimum in 2011.

For their part, Democrats have not come forward with a single cut in spending that they would support. Not so much as a dollar would be cut under any Democrat proposal. Where is the Times when it comes to asking about detail with regard to spending cuts by the Democrats?

I read the Times daily for almost 40 years. During that time, it went from being the paper of record to being a broken record that just repeats the talking points of the liberal Democrats. It no longer has news, it is basically all commentary. I no longer even bother to buy it. Why should I when I already know what it is going to say?

I always though scum came to the top

The news from Florida's eighth congressional district (around Orlando) is good. That nasty and dishonest excuse for a congressman, Alan Grayson, is losing in his bid for re-election to Republican Dan Webster. Grayson, you may recall, is the Democrat who had his team edit a speech of Webster's so that he could change its meaning and run it on TV. Webster was speaking of Bible verses for husbands and said in essence, "Do not use 'wives should submit to their husbands.'" Grayson's ad changes that to an endorsement by Webster that wives should submit to their husbands. Fortunately, this dishonesty was picked up by the Orlando Sentinel and other local media. My guess is that a big chunk of the district now understands just what scum Grayson really is. In a victory for the entire country, this scum is sinking to the bottom.

Governor's Race -- Malloy 45; Foley 42%

In a quinnipiac poll released today, the Connecticut governor's race is a statistical tie. The poll show Malloy at 45% and Foley at 42%. This is great news. Malloy has been unmasked in the campaign as someone who is not serious about cutting state spending. He has made clear that he will not tackle the major problem of pension reform for state workers, the removal of wasteful spending from the budget or, indeed, any real effort to slow the growth of spending. With Malloy, more job killing taxes are on the way for sure. In fact, one of the clearest indications that Malloy has nothing positive to say is that he has shifted to negative attack ads against Foley which focus on things that Foley did decades ago. malloy seems to have no answers to Foley's campaign positions.

Connecticut needs to get serious about apending if it is to start gaining jobs again. Foley can do this. Malloy has chosen not to. The poll shows that the public is starting to catch on.

Obama to Democrats: "Buck you!"

In the last few days, both President Obama and Vice president Biden have told their 2008 supporters to "Buck up". Obama is quoted in saying "People need to shake off this lethargy..... People need to buck up.....It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election."

Obama thinks that his 2008 supporters were not "serious" when they voted for him and change. I think he is sadly mistaken. The truth is that a large portion of Obama's 2008 voters did not understand what Obama was proposing to do. They did not vote for enormous government and huge debt. They did not vote for nationalization of banks, automobile companies and the healthcare industry. They did not vote for an apologetic foreign policy. And there is a very good reason that they did not understand Obama's plans, namely that Obama did not campaign on those plans. Many commentators said that Obama was a far left progressive, but he campaigned as a centrist. There was no mention of nationalizing industries. Obama promised to go line by line through the budget and cut out the fat. Remember that? Instead he approved spending that was so huge that the federal government was not even able to spend all that had be appropriated by the Democrats in congress.

Obama needs to look in the mirror. He is the one we were not waiting for. He is the one who will soon get the answer from the voters, and it will not be one that he is going to like.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

But they still are going home

There are now 47 Democrats in the House who have told their leadership that they want to keep the current tax rates for capital gains and dividends. thos rates are set to rise from a maximum of 15% ot a maximum of 39.6% as of January 1 of 2011. Republicans have been campaigning to stop the tax rise on these rates. that means that a majority of the House wants to keep these rates unchanged. and that is not surprising since these rates have a great deal to do with the level of investment in the country which is directly tied to job growth.

So what is the response of Pelosi and the Democrats in the House? They have decided to go home without a vote. If they cannot win for their position, they simply decide to prevent a vote and hope that after the election, they can use promises of a judge's seat or an ambassadorship to convince Democrats who lost to vote to keep the tax rise. they know that many of these Democrats will value their own positions more than the good of the country.

I want to contrast this selfish view of the Democrats with a few lines from a man who lived 105 years ago. Sullivan Ballou was an officer in the Union Army who wrote his wife just before the Battle of bull Run, the first great battle of the Civil War. Here, in part, is what he said:

"The indications are very strong that we will move in a few days - perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.

Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure - or it may be one of sever conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine, O God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing - perfectly willing - to lay down all my joys in this life to help maintain this government, and to pay that debt."

Here was a man who was prepared to give everything for the success of his country. What a contrast to the Democrats who will not even give their time for a few days to pass a tax bill that would greatly help the economy and the millions of unemployed. Who are these people that they are so cavalier with regard to the sufferings of their fellow countrymen and who, at the same time, have the temerity to call themselves public servants. It is amazing that they can use those words without choking.

The Democrats Message

After nearly four years in control of congress and two years in control of the presidency, the Democrats message to the country ought to be one in which they point out their accomplishments and explain their program for the next two years. Instead, the almost universal message coming from the Democrats in this election cycle is this: the Republicans are worse than us. It is this message, more than anything else, that I believe is the cause of the very poor results that are indicated for the Democrats by the current polls. Indeed, if the polls are correct, it looks like a total rout of the Democrats in November.

The Democrats are not touting any of their successful accomplishments. Of course, since there are none, this is not a surprise. They pushed through the stimulus which was a failure. they pushed through an enormous budget which ran up debt but did not help the economy. they pushed through Obamacare on a dishonest basis and over the objections of the people, and now the expected insurance premium increases are hitting the people and the Democrats have nothing to say. They pushed through the Wall Street reform bill and have nothing to show for it. And through all of this period, they did nothing that actually brought down unemployment in any meaningful way.

The Democrats also cannot agree on their message. Are they for extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone or just for some? I do not know since they seem totally split on the subject. Do they have a plan to increase jobs and bring the economy back to life? The answer is no. The Democrats have stood by and taken shots at the GOP's Pledge to America, but the specific policies that the Democrats propose are nowhere articulated.

Surely the American people want something done to help improve the economy. Many recognize that any government action on that issue cannot work immediately and they would be willing to give policies that they think will be effective the benefit of the doubt. The folks do not want to just sit by and watch the economy collapse under the weight of the burdens that the Obamacrats have placed on it.

When Bush and the Republicans controlled the government, the Democrats were very good at working with their allies in the media to criticize what was being done. They did not propose alternatives for the most part, but the complained very loudly about what was being done. After they took control, the obamacrats seem at a loss for any productive policy to follow. Two years of wandering in the wilderness, however, seems to be enough for the American people. they now want to enter the promised land, or at least the land of specific promises. That is why I believe that the GOP Pledge will resonate with the people.

McMahon keeps on closing in on Blumenthal -- an update

Since my last post on this senate race, a new poll has been released which finds McMahon trailing Blumenthal by only 3%. This is the closest that the race has ever been. If blumenthal keeps fading like this, he will soon be history and McMahon will be going to Washingotn as the senator from Connecticut. Given the lackluster campaign that Blumenthal is running, this is not surprising. His campaign is focused on what he did in the past in other offices but it does not really present any view on what needs to be done going forward. McMahon has been pushing her ideas for how to get jobs into Connecticut. Interestingly, the biggest drop in Blumenthal's support has coincided with McMahon publicizing Blumenthal's support for a national energy tax that would raise the average home heating bill by $1000, raise gasoline by close to 70 cents per gallon and cost 12,500 jobs in the state of Connecticut. Blumenthal has had no answer to this ad. I do not think he has an answer. The more the truth gets out, the worse Blumenthal does.

Monday, September 27, 2010

New Hampshire and the coming avalanche

Polling was released today for the two congressional seats in New Hampshire. Right now, both seats are held by Democrats. In the first district, the Republican leads by 50 to 40% over the incumbent. In the second district, the Republican leads by 2% at 38 to 36%. At the same time, the senate race in New Hampshire shows republican Kelly Ayote ahead by 14%. In the governor's race, Democrat incumbent Lynch is ahead by 42 to 40%, but that is a truly poor performance for an incumbent.

It looks like this is one state that seems to have slipped past the North East Firewall that E.J. Dionne was raving about earlier today.

A most Amazing Story even for the Obama Administration

Andrew Breibart's Big Peace website is reporting the following:

"A known Hamas operative and unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history – Kifah Mustapha – was recently escorted into the top-secret National Counterterrorism Center and other secure government facilities, including the FBI’s training center at Quantico, during a six-week “Citizen’s Academy” hosted by the FBI as part of its “outreach” to the Muslim Community. The group was accompanied by reporter Ben Bradley of WLS-Chicago (ABC), who filed a report on the trip to Washington D.C. on Sunday, who observed:

Sheik Kifah Mustapha, who runs the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, asked some of the most pointed questions during the six week FBI Citizens’ Academy and trip to Washington. He pushed agents to fully explain everything from the bureau’s use of deadly force policy to racial and ethnic profiling. “I saw a very interesting side of what the FBI does and I wanted to know more,” Sheik Mustapha explained after returning from D.C. He hopes the FBI’s outreach runs deeper than positive public relations.

Yes, I bet he wanted to know everything about the FBI’s policies.

Curiously, Bradley’s report on the Citizen’s Academy fails to make note Mustapha’s extensive terrorist ties and support for Hamas, including his former employment with the Holy Land Foundation, which was listed as a specially designated terrorist group by the U.S. government in December 2001, and whose executives were convicted of terrorism support in 2008 and sentenced to lengthy prison terms. Mustapha was personally named unindicted co-conspirator (#31) in the case and employment records submitted by federal prosecutors during the trial showed that he received more than $154,000 for his work for the Holy Land Foundation between 1996 and 2000. During the trial, FBI Special Agent Lara Burns testified that Mustapha also sang in a band sponsored by the Holy Land Foundation that regularly featured songs dedicated to killing Jews and glorifying Hamas. In a deposition he gave in a civil trial concerned with the murder of a Chicago teenager killed by Hamas while waiting for a bus in Israel, Mustapha admitted that he was the registered agent for the Holy Land Foundation in Illinois, and also to his involvement with other Hamas front groups, including the Islamic Association for Palestine. He was later hired as an imam by the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, which the Chicago Tribune reported in 2004 has long been a hotbed of Hamas support.

Bradley’s omission of this information about Kifah Mustapha in his report on Sunday is all the more curious since his own station aired an extensive investigative report of Mustapha’s terrorist ties earlier this year."

I have to ask this: Have the Obamacrats lost their minds? why would one bring a terrorist sympathizer for a visit to a secret anti-terrorist facility? It seems to me to be the equivalent of Iran inviting target spotters from the Israeli Airforce to tour all of Iran's nuclear facilities.

I hope this gets reported in the mainstream media, but I doubt it will.

McMahon keeps on closing iin on Blumenthal

Just out this morning is a new poll from Rasmussen on the connecticut Senate race. it shows Blumenthal leading mcMahon by 5%, 50% to 45%. the margin of error is =/-4.5%, so the race is actually a statistical tie. For the last four months, each poll in the race has been closer than the one before. Linda McMahon is slowly cutting Blumenthal's lead to nothing. And it is not surprising: McMahon is running a strong positve campaign. She has put forward in a clear fashion her view on creating jobs and rescuing the economy. Her negative ads have been limited to factual statements of Blumenthal's own words contrasted to the truth. For example, she broadcast Blumenthal's claim that he would not take money from PAC's or other special interests with the filing from Blumenthal's own campaign that shows that he took about half a million dollars from PAC's in the first half of the year. Blumenthal's response was that he only meant that he would not take money from PAC's in a race for Attorney General (which, of course, is not the office for which he is running). For his part, Blumenthal has run both positive ads showing what he has done for people as attorney general and negative ads that are more like nasty slash and burn attacks on McMahon. Neither his positive nor his negative ads play as well as those of McMahon. That is particularly true of his negative ads which just seem nasty rather than factual.

The truth is that Blumenthal is running a very poor campaign and McMahon is running a great one. It well may be that the most important factor in the race is the Obama economy that can be hung around the neck of any Democrat, but if Blumenthal loses this race, he will have earned that fate.

E.J.Dionne and the Democrats Northeast Firewall

In an column today, E.J.Dionne makes the point that the Democrats will hold the House due to their North East firewall. Supposedly, Republicans cannot win in New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. As they would say on SNL, "Really?" Dionne seems to be living in a world where wishful thinking substitutes for reason. Right now, there are 14 seats currently held by Democrats that are listed as leaning Republican, likely Republican or toss up in the Real Clear Politics summary. There are another 11 that are listed as leaning Democrat. If those listed as leaning go 75% towards the favored party and the toss ups split down the middle, the GOP will pick up 14 seats in the Northeast. That is more than one-third of the total needed to take control of the House. Moreover, if there is truly a wave this year, the GOP will do better than that. Indeed, if anything, the RCP rankings underplay the GOP strength. A good example is the Tenth district of Pennsylvania. This district which covers the northeast corner of the state has been the subject of two public polls. In both, the Republican has led, although those leads have varied between 4 and 15%. The key is not the lead, however. The principal point is that in both polls, the incumbent congressman Chris Carney has never topped 37% of the vote. Results like that are the kiss of death for an incumbent. RCP lists this as a toss up however. It is not. Right now, it has to be listed as leans Republican at a minimum.

For what it is worth, Charlie Cook lists 10 seats as toss up or better for the Republicans in the area and 9 as lean Democrat. Since Cook never lists an incumbent as worse than toss up, the calculation cannot be done the same way as with the RCP data, but the data still indicates a pickup of at least 11 seats for the GOP.

My own prediction is that the Republicans at a minimum will pick up one seat in Maine, two in New Hampshire, one in Massachusetts, one in Connecticut, one in New Jersey, three in New York and five in Pennsylvania for a total of 14. There are another six potential wins for the GOP as well which could bring the total to 20 if things all go great for the Republicans.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Talking points with mouths

The other night I was watching a segment on The O’Reilly Factor where bill O’Reilly was discussing the fence that Mexico is building along its border with Guatemala. The guest was an immigration activist who would not even respond to the issue of whether or not it was hypocritical of Mexico to complain about the US-Mexico border fence while building a fence along the southern border of Mexico for the same purpose as that which was being built by the USA. Instead, he kept talking about what a great job the Mexican president was doing with regard to immigration problems. After about four minutes, I switched off the discussion because there was no reality in what was being said. The exchange was not unusual for cable news, or for any news show for that matter. More and more, I tune in to see and exchange of ideas and only find a recitation of talking points. Often there are two people billed as republican or Democrat “strategists”. These people could be replaced by tape recorders that simply played back prerecorded messages. Rarely do any of these folks admit that anything is a problem unless it concerns the other side.
The truth is that this phenomenon is not helping to educate the public. It is not leading to greater support for either side. It is only turning folks off as they watch the nonsensical back and forth.
A good example of the phenomenon is the segment that O’Reilly runs with Alan Colmes and Monica Crowley. No matter what Obama does, Colmes thinks it is great and Crowley thinks it is terrible. If Obama started killing children, Colmes would tell us how he was reducing world hunger by limiting those who need to eat. If Obama came up with a cure for cancer, Crowley would lament that he did nothing with regard to heart disease.
On some networks, the host of the program is also guilty of being a talking point with a mouth. Almost any show on MSNBC is interchangeable with any other. Sure, Chris Matthews speaks louder and Keith Olbermann is more annoying, but their point of view and statements are basically the same. The left wing of the Democrats is clearly in control of both shows. On Fox, Sean Hannity is also afflicted with talking point disease. He has a bad case of listitis as well – that is a condition where no matter the subject, the afflicted person feels compelled to repeat the same list of things over and over again.
CNN has also succumbed to this as have the main stream media.
One of the few rays of reason comes through on Special Report on Fox when the panel discussion takes place. These are reasonable people who will admit when there is a problem for their side. Another place where reason prevails is the Glenn Beck show. Sure, Beck is out there in his views. But Beck does not employ rhetoric rather than reason. He actually attempts to prove his points rather than to cram them down the throats of his viewers.
It seems strange that with all the news that is now on the air, there is less quality in the midst of all that quantity.

Steny Hoyer -- why not try the truth?

I was just watching fox News Sunday and heard House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer make a number of really outrageous misstatements. First, he said that the upcoming expiration of the Bush tax cuts was the "republican tax increase" because the rates are going up because the Republicans wanted in 2001 to play games with the budget scoring. In other words, he ascribed to the Republicans of 2001, the use of the kinds of gimmickry like those that the Democrats used earlier this year to get obamacare to look as if it would save money. The problem is that none of this is true. In 2001, it was the Democrats who forced an expiration date on the Bush tax cuts. Senate democrats in 2001 were filibustering the tax cut bill, so the Republicans passed it using reconciliation. Under the reconciliation rules of the time, a bill that passed could not affect taxes or spending for more than ten years. As a result, the Democrats opposition to the tax bill forced it to have a sunset clause that ended the tax cuts after ten years. This nonsense that the expiration was a Republican idea is just that: nonsense.

Second, Hoyer says that the reason that there has been no vote on the tax extension to date is that the Senate has decided not to vote until after the election. Huh? The Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress for the last four years, and for the first 14 months of Obama's term, the Democrats had a super majority in the Senate. In all that time, the Democrats have not even bothered to write a bill that would tell the American people what the new tax rates will be. His explanation for their unforgiveable lack of action was lame and dishonest. Hoyer should be ashamed.

Prior to Hoyer's appearance, Chris Wallace questioned John Boehner and another GOP Congressman. It was refreshing to hear that they want to lower discretionary spending to the level of 2008. Wallace made the expected noises about how the cut backs would hurt children and the other usual groups who the liberals claim to protect. The GOP answer was perfect: Since 2008, discretionary spending has risen over 80%. We can certainly afford to go back to where things were two years ago. The recent rise need not be permanent and cannot be permanent if we are ever to overcome the deficit.

What insight!

Amy Gardner has an article in the Washington Post in which she concludes that the upcoming elections will test the staying power of the Tea Parties. Congratulations Amy! You get the insight of the year award.

Isn't it enough with the bankruptcy already?

During the republican primary in Connecticut and now again in the general election, Tom Foley's opponents run TV commercials about how the textile company that Foley ran went bankrupt. The commercials are dishonest since they make it seem that the company went bankrupt while Foley was in charge. The truth is that Foley was gone by the time bankruptcy was filed. Even so, there is the issue of whether or not Foley was responsible for the downfall of that company. Again, the answer is no! There no longer is a textile industry in the USA. It has moved abroad where wages and costs are lower and profits are higher. No one in the textile industry was to blame. The truth is that in an efficient economic system, companies that need a large supply of semi-skilled labor move to the location where the cost of that labor is least. For many years, the cost of transporting the finished products outweighed the labor savings, but that changed as transportation costs came down. As a result, it is much less expensive to manufacture cloth in Asia than it is to do so in the US. The American companies could not survive. Blaming foley for this is like blaming him for the tide. There was nothing he could do to stop it.

I find it annoying that Dan Malloy runs these adds rather than telling us his plans for Connecticut. He has already made clear that he does not want to cut state expenditures in a meaningful way and that he sees a tax increase as the best way to go. In short, Malloy wants more of the same. He is the one who wants connecticut to go the way of Foley's old textile mill.

West Virginia -- another surprise

It has been big news that the race for Robert Byrd's old senate seat in West Virginia has been close. The Democrats nominated governor Manchin as their candidate and he was expected to coast to victory. The Republican candidate Raese, however, has been either close or ahead in the polls, a stunning development. Now comes another: Politico is reporting that there is an ongoing federal investigation of the manchin administration in connection with corruption concerning a multimillion dollar highway project in manchins's hometown. The Governor's office would only confirm that it had received subpoenas, but it refused to give out the details of even the subject of those subpoenas. Since this is Eric Holder's justice department and Manchin is a Democrat, there is no way that this investigation is politically motivated. No one knows for sure if the details of the investigation will leak out before the election, but none of this will be helpful to manchin's candidacy. I have to assume that the details would be worse for Manchin if they were known, since he otherwise would put out for the world any information that might clear him.

This is the kind of thing that could swing this election decisively to the Republicans.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Obama's small business/small bank lending plan fails before it gets enacted

For the last few months, President Obama has been pushing for the passage of a bill to provide 30 billion dollars of federal help to smaller banks so that they can make loans to small businesses that need the money. The bill finally passed the House the other day and it is sitting on Obama's desk waiting for his signature. (I guess it was not that urgent despite what he said). According to Obama, this law will provide a rush of funds to small businesses and will lead to a great amount of job creation. The only problem is that he seems to be wrong once again. First, the small banks (those with less than ten billion in assets) who are to get the funds do not seem to want them. Many have adequate assets to make all the loans that the market wants; they do not need additional govenment money in order to meet their loan demand. Even for those banks that might come close to needing the funds, many are skittish about taking the funds since they saw how the big banks were treated under TARP. The feds stepped in and directed dividend levels, salary levels, and other corporate matters. The feds also refused to allow early repayment to get out from under the restrictions, and eventually exacted a penalty for such repayment. In short, other than for those banks that were in danger of failing, the TARP funds were a major pain in the butt. The small banks who are covered by this new bill have already weathered the storm. They will survive without government help and they are loath to take on all of the extra regulation that the government money will bring with it.

Then there are the borrowers who are the targets of this program. Right now, the big problem in small business is not a lack of loan money. the problem is a lack of customers. For businesses that need loans to expand, there are adequate funds in the market already. Strangely, Obama is increasing loan funds which come with federal regulation while pushing for a decrease in retained profits (through the impending Obama tax increase) that can be spent as needed by the business. So, those businesses that are in not likely to expand will be punished since their profits will be taken. Those businesses who want to expand will be forced to take loans to do so and this will bring them under federal regulation. These businesses will not be able to use internally generated funds as a big chunk of those funds will be taxed away. Adding the interest on the loans to the cost of any expansion project will, of course, prevent some of those projects from going forward.

In short, Obama and his brain trust have once again come up with a plan to "help" business which really hurts. Just how dumb are these people? Or are they doing all this on purpose?

The Republican Pledge and the Democrat Response

I have been reviewing the various responses to the Republican's Pledge to America that are emanating from Democrats and their fellow travelers in the media. Some of the responses have been so predictable as to be funny. My favorite comes from Eugene Robinson, a man who ought to be on the payroll of the Obama Administration if, in fact, he is not. The loyal Mr. Robinson says that the pledge does not add up. There cannot be a balanced budget from cutting spending the way the Republicans want and their extension of the Bush tax cuts would cost 4 trillion dollars. Robinson, of course, does not point out that the Democrats want to extend those same tax cuts for the most part and that the difference in cost is 700 billion dollars over ten years, not 4 trillions (but what;s a few trillio among friends?) then robinson gets to the main point: Republicans mention in the pledge that they want an audit of Medicare and Social secutiry. Robinson says that this means the destruction of those programs which will leave the elderly destitute and out in the cold. The best Robinson could do was to bring out the phony threat of ending Social Security in hopes of scaring a few seniors? Not only is Robinson a shill for Obama, he is not a very good one.

Robinson at least does get credit for attempting to explain what is wrong with the Pledge in his view. Others, like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid do not even try. They both just call the Pledge various names and then say that Republicans got us here and cannot get us out. that is pretty strange coming from a pair who have been in control of Congress for the last four years. Are we to ignore 2007 to 2010? It seems to me (and to everyone else) that our problems arose in 2007 to 2010 and not before. while that may be fortuitous timing for the Republicans, it certainly does not say much for the Democrats plans to get the economy moving again.

Obama's dishonesty

Michelle Malkin is out with a column today that I read in the NY Post. It is well worth reading and can be reached by clicking on the title to this post. According to documents that have been obtained in litigation from the government, team Obama schemed during the auto bailout to make sure that UAW pensions were covered 100% but pensions for other retired workers were slashed in order to pay for those of the UAW. This means that retirees who had worked as secretaries or salesmen for 40 years and who depended on the income of their pensions just as much as retired autoworkers were intentionally shafted by the feds in order to reward Obama;s political budies. It was not equal pain for all; it was crony capitalism at its worst. It was not what did you do, but who do you know. The next time Obama talks about economic fairness, remember this story. The Democrats do not care about fairness. They only care about power, their own power! Now that the country is on to them, they have nothing left to say. Hopefully, this revelation will stay fresh in voters minds for a generation.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Another stilted piece from the NY times

there is a lengthy article from Matt Bai in the the Times sunday Magazine section about the senate race in Connecticut. I was interested to read it to see how accurate it was. To my surprise, it was a one-sided piece of garbage. Usually, the Times is much more subtle in slanting its articles. This time, it was just an all out attack on Linda McMahon in order to support Richard Blumenthal. There are a myriad of points that could be made, but perhaps the clearest indication of the slant of the article is this: Bai mentions that Chris Dodd chose not to run for re-election in the face of polls that showed him a sure loser. But Bai never once mentions that the public had learned that Dodd had taken a sweetheart deal on his mortgage from Countrywide that provided him with hundreds of thousands of dollars in reduced interest costs and had not considered that inappropriate. Bai also failed to mention that Dodd had obtained a property that Dodd called a cottage which turned out to be a sixteen acre oceanfront manorhouse in Ireland, but that dodd had failed to properly disclose his ownership as required by the Senate rules. If Bai had not discussed scandals like these at great length in the article, perhaps he could be excused. Bai, however, listed a whole number of politicians who had been caught up in graft scandals in the state.

The truth is that the day of teh NY Times has passed. My guess is that there are so few people in Connecticut who still read and believe the Times, that it will have essentially no impact on the senate race. that is a good thing. The last thing we need now is for the liberal media to use one-sided selective reporting as a tool to move the public's reaction to candidates who are running for election.

The Biggest Problem the Democrats have

I was thinking about why it is that there seems to be no coherent strategy coming from the Democrats with regard to the economy. Normally, prior to an election each party presents some sort of ideas on issues of national importance. Right now, there is no issue more important than the economy and yet, the Democrats seem particularly devoid of ideas. As I pondered this riddle, it hit me: the Democrats got essentially everything they wanted since Obama took power in January of 2009. We are living now in the economy that the Democrats chose. They wanted a stimulus package -- they got it. they wanted an enormous increase in the budget -- they got it. They wanted a burdensome new healthcare law -- they got it. They wanted new regulations on all financial institutions -- they got it. They wanted the nationalization of the automobile and student loan insdustries -- they got it. They wanted to stop offshore oil drilling -- they did it. They wanted to demonize big business -- they did it.

Oh, there are a few items that they did not achieve, but these are not items designed to help the economy in any way. As a result, we are living in the world that the Democrats designed. They did not allow any Republican input, so this mess is completely theirs. Right now, their only idea seems to be more of the same, and idea which everyone other than the most brain dead or the most partisan recognizes as idiocy.

It is really true that the Democrats have nothing to say. After telling us all for years how their economic plans would bring utopia, they got to put them in place and all the country got was a prolonged recession and a weak recovery.

The Democrats are like a wave that has spent all its strength on the shore. They have no ideas that will allow them to move forward. They will just recede back into the pool that they came from.

Cutting Healthcare costs

There are a myriad of proposals to cut healthcare costs. In the last year, despite all the attention that has been given to healthcare, not much has been done to reduce costs. The federal government has done nothing at all. Rather than strive for a comprehensive overall restructuring of healthcare, it would make sense to try to do what we can right away to cut medical costs. Everyone would benefit from this. here are a few suggestions:

First, there needs to be better enforcement to stop fraud and waste in teh Medicare program. while the Democrats claimed that they would cut half a trillion dollars of fraud and waste from Medicare, they have done nothing in the six months since obamacare was signed into law to even attempt to reduce fraud and waste. I am going to suggest that the country adopt a proposal first mentioned to me by Steve Brill: we need undercover medicare investigators who look for the phony medicare mills that bilk so much money from the system. Most people I know have seen evidence of doctors who bill Medicare for treatment that was never given and even visits that never occurred. So, for example, a senior goes to the doctor and medicare gets billed for a visit and an xray even though no xray was taken. Or, a senior visits a doctor on three consecutive Mondays and medicare gets billed for six visits. It happens all the time. An undercover force of elderly inspectors would be able to catch those who are ripping off the system. The penalty for a doctor who files phony claims should be a major fine and removal from the medicare system for a year for a first offense and a larger fine and prison for a second offense.

Another area of possible savings would be the adoption of a comprehensive arbitration statute for medical malpractice. Arbitration before panels that included medical professionals would speed up the malpractice process. A limitation of attorneys' fees to 15% of any settlement or 20% of any recovery would again reduce the likelihood of bogus claims that waste assets. Arbitration panels also would not be able to award punitive damages, so the recovery would be for the damages actually suffered by the injusred patient. All of these moves would decrease the costs of the litigation/arbitration dramatically from the present system. this cost reduction should result in lower insurance premiums which in turn should mean lower fees to patients. Another aspect of this arbitration system could be that the standard for recovery could be lessened while at the same time the amount of recovery for specific types of injuries could be set at lower levels -- a system not unlike workers compensation. All of these together would mean that more people would get compensated for doctors' mistakes but at much lower levels and with very much less cost incurred to achieve the recovery. The trial lawyers would lose in this system, but everyone else would win. Indeed, with medical professionals on the arbitration panels, some of the idiotic verdicts that come from juries would be avoided.

One last note: for those who think that the current system is so wonderful, they would be able to use doctors who would work without a pre-agreement for arbitration. My guess is that this would be few doctors, but it would remain their choice.

There are other ideas that I will write about in the near future.

The GOP pledge -- does it add up

The attack from the news media on teh GOP's Pledge to America is moving forward with the expected force. I have now seen four articles that purportto analyze the components of the Pledge. Not surprisingly, I have yet to see any analysis in the media as to whether or not the current Democratic course works in the same way.

One article puts it this way

"The GOP promised to "advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity," including (but not limited to):

-- Permanently Extending the Bush Tax Cuts - for all taxpayers.
-- Repealing Obama's Healthcare Law
-- Freezing Discretionary (i.e. non-defense related) Federal Spending
-- Ending the Government's Control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
-- Canceling Unspent Stimulus Funds"

They then conclude that if the deficit is important, it makes no sense to extend the Bush tax cuts permanently.

This, of course, is using the favorite Obama tactic of creating a straw man to knock down. The issue is not the cost of extending the Bush tax cuts. Everyone, both Democrat and Republican, wants to extend most of those cuts permanently. This will cost clost to 2.5 trillion dollars over the next ten years. The dispute is only with regard to taxes for those with incomes over $250,000 per year, a group that includes about half of all small business income in the USA. The question to be answered is whether it makes sense to raise taxes substantially on small business when that segment is the one that creates most of the new jobs in the country. The cost of stopping this tax cut is estimated by the CBO at 700 billion dollars over ten years, but the CBO does not assume that the tax increase will slow economic development and job creation. If it does, then the additional tax could actually reduce government revenues. Republicans want to bring back jobs and are less worried about class warfare than the Democrats.

Every one of the other items listed will reduce spending. Freezing discretionery spending is meant to be at 2008 levels, not at current levels. The article did not make this clear. That freeze will cut over 100 billion dollars a year in spending alone. That is well over a trillion dollars in ten years. Obamacare is also now know to result in a major increase in government spending; the smoke and mirrors that the Democrats used to claim that it would be deficit neutral was long ago disproven. Even the CBO agrees. The repeal of Obamacare cuts probably close to half a trillion dollars from the deficit over the next decade.

The truth is that the way to end the deficit is to cut back spending where possible and get the economy to grow so that revenues increase. Unleashing the vigor of the economy from the shackles that Obama has put on it is a great way to get that extra revenue and to return prosperity to the US at the same time. This is what the GOP plan is all about. Unfortunately, most liberals do not even understand this concept.

CBS = completely biased stuff

In just ten minutes of listening to CBS radio this morning, I was surprised to see how much liberal media bias was on display. First, old timer Bob Schieffer was discussing what would be on Face The Nation this Sunday. He said that CBS was going to take a look at the Tea Parties to see who these people are and what they want. He spoke of the Tea Parties as some sort of curiosity, as if they had just sprung up in the last few weeks and had unknown views. His description of the Tea Party was dripping with disdain, but he was not nasty. One has to wonder where Schieffer and CBS have been for the last year and a half. The Tea Party has been on the national stage all that time and -- depending on the poll -- between one quarter and one half of all Americans say that they agree with the views of the Tea Party. This is a main stream movement, not a curiosity in any mind that does not see the world only in leftist terms.

Second, CBS News put on a piece about Sarah Palin's new fund raising campaign aimed at 20 vulnerable Democrats in the House. Suddenly, out of nowhere and out of context of the story, the reporter said that Palin still has on her web site items that "have already been proven to be lies" about Obamacare. These supposed proven lies were that federal funds would be used to pay for abortions and the existence of so-called death panels. This unwarranted and unrelated attack by CBS was truly surprising, not because CBS is anti-Palin, that is a given. Rather, I was surprised because CBS was just plain wrong. Federal funds are indeed being used to pay for abortions under Obamacare. Palin is not lying and is certainly not wrong. That does not stop CBS, however. The death panel issue is more complicated. The type of death panel that Palin discussed does indeed exist under Obamacare. There are federal panels set up to review treatments and determine if they are efficacious and cost effective. These panels will have the ability to cut certain types of treatments off from funding under approved insurance plans, thereby consigning those who rely on the treatments to death.

Third, CBS treated everyoone next to a major serving of liberal philosophy that is against the death penalty. they ran a story about the execution of a woman in Virginia last night. We heard about her mental insufficiencies -- she was close to being mentally challenged (although a court ruled that she was not and this was not mentioned). She was a grandmother we were told (although we were not told about the murder that she committed). Most important, we were not told that she was only executed after a long trial and many, many appeals to safeguard that she deserved the death penalty. No, all we got was a tug at the emotions in sympathy for this poor dumb granny. What about her victims?

I do not know why I bother to put CBS radion on in the morning. I guess if there were a true emergency, I would hear about it. Still, it annoys me that the never ending brainwashing attempt that is CBS still pretends to be fair.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Don't Ask,, I'll Tell You -an update

A few weeks ago, a federal judge in California ruled that the don't ask don't tell policy of the military is unconstitutional. the ruling was completely wrong in its application of constitutional law principles. All Congress needed was a rational basis to create the standard, and it clearly had one: the perception that many members of the military would be uncomfortable living with gays. While that may not be the societal goal, it is the reality perceived by Congress and it must be upheld. When the ruling came down, I speculated that the Obama Administration might not appeal the flawed decision as a way to end don't ask don't tell without a vote by Congress.

Well now we have heard the position of the Obama Administration. The government's lawyers have asked the judge to limit the decision so that it applies only to members of teh Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP gay group that brought the initial legal challenge.

To say the least, the position taken by the administration is crazy. If the law establishing the policy is unconstitutional, then it is unconstitutional for all citizens, not just those who belong to some Republican gay group. On the other hand, since the court's ruling is so clearly erroneous, it would be very bad policy to let the ruling stand unchallenged. The Administration should either have appealed and sought enforcement of the law of the land, or, alternatively, Obama should have announced that he was going along with the flawed decision and would not appeal. That would be responsible leadership. Instead all we get is a nonsense request to limit the scope of the ruling so that no position has to be taken prior to the mid term elections.

wouldn't it be nicce if just for once Obama thought more about the country and his responsibilities as president that about the politics of the situtation? I guess we better not wait for that to happen. We already learned this week that Obama's Afghanistan policy was just a political exercise. why hope for more when it is only the sex lives of the military rather than their very existence that is at stake.

Obama is a sorry excuse for a president.

The Democrats do not care what is good for the country

Today the Democrats made it official: the wSenate will adjourn without voting on a bill to prevent any or all of the enormous tax increase slated for the end of this year. According to informed sources, the Democrats do not want to be accused of raising taxes on small businesses ahead of the election. So, instead of presenting their position honestly and having a vote on it which the American people can evaluate, the Democrats are lining things up to have the vote in Congress only after the election.

The problem with this deceitful strategy is that it leaves the entire country hanging with no decision. There has been no question for the last two years that a decision would be needed on what to do with regard to the tax increase. President Obama has pntificated about what should be done, and various Democrats have yammered on and on with their views. But here we are, at the end of the congressional year, and there is still not even a proposed bill to deal with the issue. For their part, the Republicans have been clear as to their preferences, but the Democrats control the agenda in congress and have not allowed anything to move forward. So this means that each person who is trying to plan for the next year still has no idea what the tax rates will be. If the decision is whether or not to buy a car, the amount of take home pay is up in the air. That means uncertainty and it also means fewer cars are sold. If the issue is whether or not a small business can afford to hire another worker, it is harder to decide since the tax rates again are unknown. Once again more indecision and fewer hires. Nearly every large economic decision will be affected by the new tax rates. So, by holding up on the decision yet again, the Democrats are causing higher unemployment, lower growth and a general problem for the economy.

these are people who claim repeatedly that they care about the average American. That is a lie. They care about being re-elected. After that, I doubt that they care about much. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Movement in the House as well

It is not easy to see where close house races are going to end up. there are many fewer polls done for House races and there are many more seats at stake. Nevertheless, the trend seems clear: the Democrats are sinking while the GOP is rising. Perhaps the best barometer to use is the Real Clear Politics summary of House seats. this is a very inexact list of contested House seats which are divided into those that are likely or leaning to one party and those which are called tossups. Over the last three weeks, the number of seats at least leaning Democratic has gone down by about 5% from just over 200 to just over 190. Meanwhile, the number of seats that are at least leaning Republican has risen from just over 200 to 207. There are a large number of toss up seats, but nearaly every one is held now by a Democrat.

The RCP ratings are frequently incorrect in my view, but the represent a good faith attempt to reflect the latest polling and historical data. the What they show is that more and more Democrat seats are coming into play. The possibility of an enormous landslide keeps growing. Unless the Democrats actually find an issue to run on, it looks like we may soon have more Republicans in the House than at any time in the last 80 years.

Much could still happen to change this, but that would require some sort of coherent electoral strategy from the Democrats, and this seems to be lacking so far. They seem to be approaching the election the same way that the dealt with healthcare: they do not care what the people think or want.

The Democratic Party -- The Home of Racism

Loretta Sanchez is the Congressman from the 47th District of California which is in Orange County south of LA. She is in a close battle for re-election with Vann Tran, a Republican who was originally from Vietnam. Sanchez has now taken a new tack in her campaign. She has gone on Spanish language television channel Univision and announced that "the Vietnamese are trying to take away your seat". It is not surprising that she made this racist appeal in Spanish where the English speakers in the District would not hear it. It will be interesting to see if any Democrat makes a fuss about this. Imagine for a moment what would happen if a Republican went on TV and said to whites that the Hispanics were trying to take away their seat. The outcry would be deafening. Sanchez has made a blatantly racist appeal. It is up to the Democrats to disown her and cut her off. Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen. Nearly all of the racism in politics today comes from the Democrats.

The coming Avalanche -- New York Senate

Perhaps the most astounding poll of the year was released this morning. It shows NY appointed senator Gillibrand ahead of her Republican rival DioGuardi by 1%. That's right, only one percent. In other words, the New York senate seat is very much in play. So far this year, other than Dick Morris, there has not been a single pundit who has predicted a close contest in New York. Quite the contrary has been true. If DioGuardi wins, it will be a political earthquake equivalent to Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts earlier this year.

Right now, there are three sure Republican pickups: North Dakota, Arkansas, and Indiana. It would take a miracle for the Democrats to retain those seats. Then there are the races in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Wisconsin where the Republican candidate has moved cnsistently ahead by a margin close to 10%. These seem very likely to be GOP pickups as well. Then we have the races in California, Nevada, West Viginia, Washington, and Illinois where the races are close with the Republican often leading. Then there are Delaware, Connecticut and New York which are also in play. Oregon was close for a while, but Ron Wyden seems to have moved back out into a lead. In other words, there are six very likely Republican pickups in the Senate and four tossups. To these one must add another three seats that could easily go for the GOP. If the Republicans win four of these final nine seats, they take control of the Senate. Indeed, if Republican turnout is actually much heavier than that of the Democrats (something that all the polls now indicate), it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the GOP could pickup all of these seats for a 55 vote Senate majority. That outcome is not very likely, but right now, it seems to be an even bet that the GOP will get to 51 seats and control.

The most amazing thing about these results is this: Of the senators who are not up for re-election this time, the Democrats have a 40 to 24 vote majority. That means that if the Republicans win this big in this cycle, it will probably give them an easy way to keep control of the Senate for six years. While nothing is certain in politics (just look at this year), there is no question that the Democrats must be morose at this point.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Republican Pledge

I was looking at the advance copy of the Republican Pledge to America, the campaign manifesto that will be issued by the party leaders tomorrow in Virginia. It is surprisingly detailed and surprisingly principled.

For months and years the Democrats have ignored the policy proposals of the Republicans and said that there were no ideas offered by the GOP. This was just a political lie, but it is now dead. With this Pledge document, no one could say there are no ideas from the GOP. Indeed, there is more detail here than the Democrats have given the country about bills before demainding a vote on them.

The ideas presented are, in general, conservative common sense ideas. The Republicans want to cut spending. They outline about 200 billion in specific cuts and another, even bigger chunk in more general terms. They also address the need for freeing up small business to grow and thereby create the jobs that the economy needs. They take on Obamacare and call for its repeal, but they also put forward a proposal as to what to use in its place. They also deal with national defense, an issue that needs a debate now that we know that Obama has been lying to us about his commitments in Afghanistan.

The Pledge is a document that all thinking Americans should review. It is almost certain that the Obamacrats will first distort the document and then attack it as distorted. This is standard operating procedure among the Obamacrats. It would be good if the public were sufficiently educated as to the contents of the Pledge so that they can tell when the Democrats are going into one of their lies.

I congratulate the GOP for putting forward its ideas. This year, the economy is so bad that the GOP could have run on the basis that they are not democrats. It would probably be enough to win. Nevertheless, the point of a campaign in a democracy is not just to win, but also to educate the voters as to why they should support you. The GOP is doing this, and they are being honest about it. On the other side, there are now about 100 Democrats who have suddenly become conservatives and anti-Washington despite having been part of the group that voted for Obamacare, cap and trade, the stimulus, the Obama budget and all of the other super liberal garbage that Congress has dumped on the country. Republicans are running on their positions. Democrats are running from theirs. This is reason enough to elect the GOP.

Woodward's View inside the Obama White House

With his new book, Bob Woodward is removing the veil that covers much of what transpires in the White House with regard to the war in Afghanistan. We learn direct from White House sources that President Obama is not interested in victory in Afghanistan; he only wants and exit strategy. I listened during the campaign when Obama told us how the war in Afghanistan was a war of necessity, a war that had to be won by the USA. He did not say this once; he repeated it often enough that it seemed to be his mantra. Obama castigated Bush for not giving enough attention to winning in Afghanistan.

Obama's oratorical push for victory in Afghanistan was not a new position for the democrats. John Kerry said the same thing in 2004. Obama, however, elevated the rhetoric in support of the war by an order of magnitude, however.

Now we find out from the President and those around him that his whole campaign was a lie. He does not care about victory. Oh sure, leaving with victory is better than leaving in defeat, but the operative goal is LEAVING, EXITING, GETTING OUT and sooner rather than later. In other words, Obama's campaign speeches were so much BS, just hokum that Obama was feeding to the rubes who care about the honor and dignity of the USA to keep its commitments. It was just something to say to placate those who want to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban who are responsible for the 9-11 attacks.

This is bad enough, but Obama's view of the threat from terrorists is even worse. According to Woodward, Obama's view is that the USA can endure another attack from terrorists without too much of a problem. After all, we endured 9-11 and we only got stronger.

The truly outrageous nature of this assessment of the terrorist threat is that it comes from the man who is tasked with preventing just such an attack. If the man in charge does not think that it is a big deal if we get hit again, you can be sure that the attack will come. Thousands may die, but Obama apparently does not care. After all, we will endure and get stronger. Someone needs to slap this fool upside his head and tell him to wake up.

George Bush was far from a perfect president, a fact that essentially no one would argue with. With Bush in office, however, each American knew that our leader was working 24/7 to prevent another attack from hitting this country. Bush was tireless in his efforts to keep us safe. Now we know that Obama, Bush's successor doesn't really care about this.

I thought that I had gotten to the point where there was little that Obama could do that would upset me. I knew his game plan; I kknew his predilections; I would not like his actions, but the were the expected. This latest revelation, however, is in a league by itself. I am furious that the president is resigned to us getting hit by another terror attack.

Obama has got to go!

Obamacare loses coverage for more people

This week, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage to children for pre-existing conditions as a result of obamacare. So what is the net effect? It is being reported today that much of the health insurance industry is simply withdrawing from the issuance of any new policies for children; they can only get coverage as part of a family plan. This means that not only will those with pre-existing conditions not get coverage, but children without that problem will also be denied coverage.

This result should not surprise anyone. Until now, children's coverage was one of the lowest cost forms of insurance. A family with children could get coverage for the kids at a very low cost since most children are relatively healthy. These plans enabled poor families to get coverage for at least the children so that they were not left with a disaster if one of the kids got seriously ill. Adding new children to the plans who have pre-existing problems means that there would be a much greater cost paid for medical care for those insured under the policy. The only way to pay for such costs is to raise premiums. Of course, raising the premiums for children's policies by 100 or 200% would be viewed as an outrage by the public. Further, it would force many of those who already have this coverage to give it up as too expensive. So the companies are opting to close off new admissions to these policies rather than shifting the payment structure ina way that would like lead to an outcry against them.

Anyone who considered the obvious effect of these new provisions in Obamacare at the time the law was passed would know that the law would result in this debacle. Nevertheless, the Obamacrats sold this mess as a boon to children, not a move that would deny coverage to millions while still not getting coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. the Obamacrats forgot here, as usual, that spending has to be paid for but that insurance companies cannot simply print more money like the Obama government.

This is another good reason why Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced.

Jimmy Carter's place in History

Former president (and full time embarrassment to the USA) Jimmy Carter is in the news with his self important comments in connection with the release of his new book. Carter claims that he is superior to all other former presidents, although he has tried to walk those comments back a bit since he put them forth on national TV. He has also been critical of the late Ted Kennedy who he blames for blocking healthcare reform during the Carter presidency. It is truly sad to see Carter go on like this. His election was a mistake that the USA made over 30 years ago. Isn't it time that we get to stop paying for that mistake?

First, I think it is reprehensible that Carter waited until after Kennedy's death to make claims about Kennedy's actions with regard to healthcare, Ted's signature issue. Why does Carter think it appropriate to wait until after Kennedy is unable to defend himself before coming forward with these claims? The answer is vintage Carter: it is the only way that he thinks he can get away with stuff like this.

Second, Carter's view of which former president is superior to the the others is total narcissism on his part. Time will tell if anything done by any of the former presidents is worthy of note. Right now, other than being a general busybody and a roving ambassador of anti-semitism, Carter's post presidency has generally consisted of swinging a few hammers. His career as carpenter is not worthy of comment.

The simple truth is that Carter is a schmuck. He would do well to shut his mouth and fade into the background.

Beinart in Wonderland

Peter Beinart often writes things that seem to have no relation to reality, but it is now clear that he has moved permanently through te looking glass and into Wonderland. He has a piece in the Daily Beast in which he explains that the Tea Party and Sarah Palin guarantee that 2012 will be a disaster or the GOP. According to Beinart, when a party loses power, it tends to nominate a candidate who is supported by the more extreme ideological core -- for the Republicans this means conservatives like the Tea Pary folks. These more extreme candidates get crushed according to Beinart. Beinart's proof of this phenomenon is 1972 and George McGovern.

I realize that Beinart was not alive in 1972, but there are histories of that time that he could read. The 1972 election was not about radical left policies being pushed by the Democratic base. Indeed, in 1972, the base of the Democrat party was nowhere near as far left as it is today. The election of 1972 was all about the War in Vietnam and national defense. Those who supported the war and a strong defense were for Nixon. Those who were against the war and for accepting defeat were for McGovern. That is why Nixon did so well. While the majority of the country wanted the war to end, they were no prepared to accept defeat. They wanted what Nixon promised: peace with honor. Indeed, the Paris peace talks that were underway at the time were the hope of many to bring peace.

To view 1972 as a template for 2012 makes as much sense as to view the election of 1824 as a template for 2012. There simply is no relation at all. Beinart is pushing a fantasy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Andrew Cuomo gets rattled

Drudge is highlighting an article from the NY Daily News about the race for governor in New York between Andrew Cuomo and Carl Ppaladino. It seems that Paladino is not cooperating with Cuomo's plans for a stately coronation as governor of the Empire State. For the first time in a long time, there is a Republican who is actually calling out the Democrats for all of the damage that they have done to New York. The statements are not wrapped in dull and polite language like the usual criticism from Republicans. They are not part of teh "go along to get along" new York State political culture. They are direct attacks on Cuomo for his part in creating the sub prime mortgages that nearly drove the USA into a depression in 2008. They also call on Cuomo to step out from behind his father's shadow and debate the issues in front of all the people. Of course, they are stated in the colorful and forceful language that Paladino has used for all of the campaign.

The funny thing about these attacks is that Cuomo seems so flummoxed by them. He is quoted by the News as steaming that his campaign has all this stuff to use against Paladino but nevertheless he remains on the defensive. That is a pretty good indicator that Cuomo and his staff do not know how to deal with an opponent who forcefully presents the truth. Cuomo has always led a charmed political life that his father arranged for him. Indeed, the only time that Cuomo had a meaningful opponent, his campaign collapsed of its own ineptitude. There is no reason to believe that Cuomo would do any better as governor of New York than he did as Secretary of Housing -- and Paladino is right that Cuomo invented the sub prime mortgage.

While Paladino will surely be tarred as a crazy by the "responsible" liberal media in New York City, he may well touch a nerve with the people of the state. A Paladino victory is unlikely, but it is no longer impossible. Just imagine what would happen if New York got a governor who campaigned on a promise to cut spending by 20% and taxes by 10%. It would be the ultimate upset of a year full of upsets.

Exciting News

In the Alaska Senate race, Lisa Murkoski stayed in as a write in candidate in the unspoken hope of keeping Joe Miller from winning. She seems to be failing. A poll just released shows Republican Miller with 43%, Murkowski with 27% and Democrat McAdams with 25%. If this is even close to correct, the race is over.

In West Virginia, Democrat governor Joe Manchin is running for the senate seat of the late Robert Byrd. Another poll out today shows Raese, the Republican, leading by 46 to 43% in that race. This is the first time that Raese has pulled ahead, although his numbers have been steadily climbing since the race was announced. this seat is not included by any of the pundits among those that are likely to be won by the GOP. This win would make up for the problems in Delaware.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The coming avalanche -- Georgia second congressional district

Of all the seats in the South, this is one of the most unlikely candidates for a GOP takeover. The last time that a Republican represented the district was in 1875, 135 years ago. Right now, Democrat Sanford Bishop holds the seat that has been his since 1993, but this may be his last term. Bishop is one of the two congressmen who steer scholarship monies to family members rather than to deserving youth in his district. While there is no alleged criminal activity associated with this move, it is, without a doubt, a very bad choice on his part. When given the right to name scholarship receipients, a congressman should not give the cash to his relatives.

This is a unique district in another way. It is the only majority white district in the south to be represented by an African American. That means that the district is not so overwhelmingly Democrat that Bishop's moves with the scholarship money cannot be sufficient to swing the vote to his Republican opponent. The National Republican campaign committee is sending resources to this race as we speak. It would truly be an upset if the republican wins, but it is now a distinct possibility.

Tone deaf, brain dead and even selfish

Politico is reporting that the Democrats are preparing to adjourn the House this coming Friday so that the members can go home to campaign. Washington is known for the government being foolish on occasion, but this truly goes well beyond the established norms of behavior. According to Politico, the plan is to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government until after the election and then to adjourn. This is so irresponsible that even i would never have believed the Democrats were capable of such a move.

Right now, the date is drawing near for the largest tax increase in American history. It is not the tax increase that is limited just to those who Obama calls rich, it is a tax increase for every person in the USA. Unless Congress acts, taxes will rise on January 1 for everyone. That's right, for EVERYONE. This 3.5 trillion dollar tax increase will most likely drive the economy back into recession. It will lead to higher unemployment. It will cause untold suffering among the American people. And it is completely unnecessary. Both the Republicans and Democrats agree that there should not be a tax increase for those who earn less than $250,000 per year. Republicans do not want any tax increases in the middle of the recession in order to avoid the damage that could be done to the economy, but they certainly do not want tax increases for everyone. If that happens, it will be the result of the feckless Democrats who think that campaigning for their sears is more important than the people's business. These are the same Democrats who had two years to schedule a vote on stopping the tax increase, but have failed to do it.

the strange thing is that once the country realizes what the Democrats have done, it will lose them even more support in the upcoming elections. the Democrats are behaving like selfish little children who cannot recognize that they are not the most important people in the room.

If the Democrats really adjourn congress this week, they deserve to lose. They deserve to lose big. They deserve to be wiped out as a party.

Much Ado about nothing

For the last week CNBC has been promoting today's appearance by the president on that network. Obama took "questions" from "regular" people that focused on the economy, or at least, that is how it was billed. I watched much of it (I turned it off finally when it got too boring.) Obama had nothing much new to say. He did his usual thing of avoiding the tough issues. For example, with regard to the supposed enormous cost of the tax increase that he wants beginning January 1 of 2011, he was told that even Nancy Pelosi has said that limiting the tax increase to those with incomes over 1 million dollars provides a big chunk of the revenue without hurting small business the way that the $250,000 cut off does. Obama did not even address this issue in response. He just went into his talking points.

Many of the questioners were clearly planted there by the White House. It was like watching a very stylized piece of theater of the absurd. I doubt that Obama helps himself much by doing these shows. Anyone who listens with even half a brain understands that Obama does not answer the questions but rather makes short pre set speeches. Anyone who had questions about Obama before the show still had the same questions after the show.

Class Warfare -- who wins?

For nearly the last two years, the USA has been led by Barack Obama who clearly thinks of the country in terms of social classes. In his view, it is the rich versus the poor or one race versus another. Obama wants to spread the wealth around, to take from the rich and provide for the poor. It is a matter of basic fairness to him. It is also the product of years of "progressive" thought that buys into the basic Marxist view of the world. Obama has moved down the road towards victory for his favored class, first by spending billions and trillions on all sorts of programs whose announced beneficiaries are the poor and also by pushing for a tax increase on all those "rich" folks who have money to burn.

The question that needs to be answered at this point is this: in a class war like Obama's, who are the winners and who are the losers? Particularly since the upcoming election will give voters the chance to end Obama's class war by voting for the GOP, this question is particularly important at this time.

First let's look at the losers: the biggest loser is unquestionably the US economy. The main engine of growth in any economy is investment. Obama's higher taxes take capital away from those who have enough that they can invest and transfers that capital to the government which does not invest. This cuts economic growth. To the extent that the government manages to send some of the cash to those who are less well off, this does not increase investment since those folks consume what they are given rather than investing. The continuing onslaught by the government against the wealthy also creates a climate of uncertainty which again is the enemy of investment. Finally, the higher taxes shape investments away from those which are the most economically efficient and towards those that keep the biggest return after taxes. In other words, investments like municipal bonds that are tax shelters gain a bigger share of the smaller investment pie than normal. This too reduces the capital available for investment in normal economic activity and hinders the growth of the economy.

The second big loser from class warfare are the unemployed. True, these folks collect their unemployment compensation, and this gives them the means for a subsistence existence, but the chance for finding a new job is greatly reduced as a result of the slower economic growth.

The third big loser from class warfare are the families of the poor. Some of them will get government help that may alleviate some of the suffering, but with a slower economy they weill be deprived of the chance to exit the impoverished class through employment opportunities that will have dried up.

The big winner of class warfare is the government. Once the tax and spend system is underway, more government workers are needed. These additional workers are not even close to enough to take up the slack of those who lose their jobs in the private sector, but they are enough to put a major burden on the resources of the government. The government also gets to decide who will be the winners and losers in the economy. So, in addition to getting all those taxes, the government can determine which industries will get investment and which will be starved smaller. This "victory" is actually another blow to economic growth since it prevents the efficient distribution of the smaller supply of investment capital that remains in the economy. A good example of this is the Chevrolet Volt. The Volt is the all electric car that GM will soon be selling at the behest of the Obama administration which controls the company. Each car can go 40 miles between the need to be recharged, so it is strictly for local use. Each car will cost over $40,000. My guess is that these cars will not sell. who wants to pay $40,000 for a car that cannot be used even to go on many local trips. I live 30 miles from New York City and could not use the car to go into the city and back. Only a few showy Hollywood types will buy this loser, but the Obamacrats wanted a "green" car and so GM spent hundreds of millions of dollars building it rather than a car that could actually sell well.

Another winner of class warfare are those of the poor who get funds from the government, but this win is minor at best. It does not create the chance to advance up the ladder. It only provides sustenance so long as the government continues to pay. It is a low level and dead end victory.

With all these winners and loser, I did not mention the rich. The truth is that for the rich, Obama's class warfare is not a big thing. Sure, they pay more in taxes and change their investment profiles. But absent a more Marxist confiscation of wealth and nationalization of the means of production, life for the rich will go on without much difference. The rich need to be on guard against a further movement towards total Marxism by Obama, but absent that, the warfare will not mean much.

Strangely, the big losers in Obama's class warfare are the very people for whom Obama claims to be fighting together with the USA as a whole. The truth is that class warfare is a Marxist construct that simply does not work. It sounds good when not examined carefully. A proper investigation reveals, however, that it is a threadbare remnant of 19th century thought that has done incalculable damage to billions around the world.

Please Go for it

According to the NY Times, President Obama is contemplating whether or not to nationalize the upcoming congressional elections by taking out TV ads attacking the Republicans as too radical and prisoners of the far right Tea parties. All I can say is “please, please go for it!” Imagine, unemployment is nearly 10%, the country is heading in the wrong direction, the acts taken by Congress are nearly universally disliked, and individual Democrats are ignoring national issues and discussing the character of their Republican opponents. In this atmosphere, Obama’s crack political team thinks it would be wise to nationalize this as a contest between Obama and the Tea parties. Given this view, I realize how they came to be his crack political team – they must be smoking crack.

Harrumph from Harrop

Froma Harrop is my all time favorite liberal columnist. She writes well, but it seems to me that she never has any understanding of the subject she is discussing. Her columns are like living talking points from the DNC; they never fail to make me laugh. Her latest effort is no exception. According to Harrop, the Democrats are too busy listening to Republican criticisms of Democratic accomplishments; they are being cowed into silence about their major successes. Harrop points to the silence on Obamacare from the Democrat candidates. She says that the “health care reforms guarantee access to medical care, will slow spending that is bankrupting the nation and should reduce future deficits, to boot.” Apparently, Harrop did not get the memo which reveals that Obamacare will actually cost close to a net of half a trillion dollars in the first decade even if one ignores the slowing effect of the law on the economy. She also seems to have missed the dramatic rise in health insurance premiums that is driving many people to give up their now unaffordable coverage—all due to Obamacare. Indeed, it is giving rise to a new statistic for obamacare: uninsured saved or created.

Harrop wants the Democrats to get energized and go out on the hustings to promote all of the great legislation that they have passed. My guess is that even in Providence, that campaign strategy would insure defeat. The last thing that Democrats should be doing is reminding people of the disaster that they have wrought during the last two years.

I do take my hat off to Froma for her ideological consistency. She has never met a leftist position that she does not like, and she seems sure that the whole country likes them as well. Keep up the good work Froma.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This one must really kill them

In the 6th district of Minnesota, a new poll puts Tea party favorite Michelle Bachmann up by 9% over her Democrat opponent. Since there is no question that Bachmann must be the number 1 target of the left among Republicans, this must really rankle them.

Obama is getting desperate

Drudge is headlining Obama's appearance last night before the Congressional Black Caucus dinner in which he called upone African Americans to guard the change that he has brought. If this is where Obama is now campaigning, he has little reason for hope.

Obama does not need to campaign before black audiences. They already buy his act. And they have little impact in most of the contested seats this fall. Because of the civil rights laws, most African Americans live in districts that are represented already by blacks. The civil rights laws and the Justice Department enforcers of those laws have for years pushed for the creation of so called minority districts, in other words districts in which minority voters make up the majority. It will not matter much in the contested seats in Pennsyvania if blacks in Philadelphia are voting more heavily. Their Democrat congressmen are going to be re-elected anyway. The same is true in state after state, district after district. Moving on to senate seats, there are few states where the races are close enough that a stronger black vote will make a difference. Right now, only Illinois seems to fall into that category. If the gap narrows again in Wisconsin, that state too could fall back into that category. A state like Nevada is seeing a very close election, but the African American percentage of the population in Nevada is so small that the turnout rate in that constituency will not make a difference statewide unless the margin is razor thin.

Obama needs to be out getting the votes of whites and, to a lesser extent, Hispanics. With those groups, however, he is forced to talk not about "change" but rather about accomplishments. given his lack of any real accomplishment other than raising the rate of poverty to a modern high, Obama has little success with those groups. No wonder he is so desperate.

New Hampshire governor -- the coming Avalanche

The candidates for governor of New Hampshire were finalized with last Tuesday's primary in that state. Governor Lynch, a Democrat, is running against Republican John Stephen. Prior to the primary, all of the polls pointed to an easy re-election for Lynch. The closest poll had shown Lynch 11% ahead, and some had shown a margin of more than 20%. Now comes the latest poll, the only one that follows the primary. This one has the race at 48% to 46% with Lynch still ahead. In short, it is an earthquake, and the electorate has shifted.

It is possible that this poll is just reflecting the publicity that follows the primary and the race will shift back towards Lynch. It is also possible, however, that the primary got New Hampshire voters to pay attention to the race and that they are now making their true views heard. Right now, my guess is that the Lynch camp must be extremely nervous. But then again, 2010 is not a good year to be a Democrat -- in any state.

Memorable quote of the Day

Senator Jim DeMint writing in the Washington Post about the Republican Tea party affiliated candidates:

"These men and women are coming to Washington to join the fight, not the club. Their principles are clear: free-enterprise economics, limited government and individual liberty. These views are based on 200 years of American history and written into our founding documents.

Democrats have desperately called these new leaders "radical," but Americans know what "radical" means after watching the Democrats run Washington.

Creating an entitlement program while the nation is $13 trillion in debt is radical. So is raising taxes while millions of Americans struggle to pay bills and find work. So is taking over the banks, auto companies, mortgage companies, the health-care system and the financial sector.

Americans have rallied against out-of-control government for two years. "Can you hear me now?" they yelled. Thankfully, a crop of common-sense conservative Republican candidates listened.

I'm praying for an earthquake election in November that will shake Washington to its core. I'm doing all I can to make it happen. And everyone who has been working toward this goal can be sure: All of Washington can hear you now. "

Misguided Quote of the Day

From the New York Times Week in Review section this morning in an article explaining how Democrats can use the Tea Party to win their elections.

“People here know that Gerry Connolly does support the president and speaker if that is what the people of Fairfax County want,” said Rex Simmons, chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, referring to Representative Connolly, a Virginia Democrat who faces a Tea Party challenger, Keith Fimian, in the 11th Congressional District race. “But he is proud that he was responsible for making sure health care reforms were paid for. He has stood his ground when necessary.”

The sad thing is that Mr. Simmons is serious when he says things like that . Connolly made sure Obamacare was paid for! On what planet? Not Earth! Most voters know that the numbers were rigged so that the democrats could get an opinion from the Congressional Budget Office saying that Obamacare would not increase the deficit; they took the so-called Doctors' Fix out of the bill and passed it separately, making that quarter of a trillion dollar expenditure stand on its own. The voters also realize that the waste and fraud cure that is supposed to pay for half of Obamacare will never materialize. That's another half trillion dollars. Finally, they know that insurance premiums are soaring due to Obamacare. That rise means that people are paying for Obamacare through higher premiums rather than higher taxes, but they are paying for that monstrosity nonetheless. So Simmons is out there making a claim that his audience mostly knows is phony.