California’s invisible 35% tax increase

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Last October, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1234, the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program. This has been hailed by progressives as a solution for those workers in the state without retirement savings or programs to provide for their income as they grow older. It forces them to contribute 3% of their income into a state managed retirement program.

With Social Security on the brink of failure by 2030 and incomes increasingly challenged by the part-time job phenomenon it is challenge enough for California’s workers to plan for retirement. With exorbitant energy taxes, a carbon tax and recent tax hikes falling most heavily on the poor, the state has grown ever less competitive as it has grown ever more expensive to live in.

But with the Democrats holding a supermajority in both houses of the legislature they can do anything they please.

The state has arrogated a power unto itself that didn’t exist without consultation or input from the public. And all of this has occurred largely under the radar screen. The newspapers and media have been silent.

The devil is in the details and the details of SB 1234 are vague. How the program is managed, safeguards, etc are all to be worked out later on. But California already has a history of mismanaged pension plans to reflect upon. How will this huge pool of money be different?

The state has been pilfering its existing pension plans to plug the gaps. It has raided gasoline taxes and highway funds. What makes it different this time?

California has the highest gas tax in the country at $0.72/gallon, which just went up 3.5 cents on July 1.With a 9.3% income tax rate that kicks in at $48,029 and a base sales tax of 7.5% rising as high as 10% in some cities and counties. The middle class has become an illusion.

The new retirement program will cost an additional 35% to the income withheld from low wage worker’s wages and will be managed by the same people who have gotten the state into a mess in the first place.

The money grab by government in California has been done by stealth and subterfuge. The state has unsustainable pension obligations for its public worker’s. The unspoken agenda is that the unions and their cronies come first and the rest of us be damned.

 

Obama’s Green Scam

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The other day, Glenn Reynolds labeled the Obama Administration the Omerta Administration. This morning the president is once again demonstrating his mob-like contempt for the law with his speech at Georgetown University.

The audience has been limited to approximately 400 sycophants, and the President is expected to unveil his plan to use executive power to shut down the coal power generation industry. This has been his goal all along, along with stymieing all other conventional fuels. He is once again bypassing Congress to ram through his agenda.

At a time when America desperately needs jobs he and his green allies have done their best to sabotage conventional energy sources. They have 5 year record of harassment and obstruction of the oil industry. They have crushed the nuclear power industry into submission. And they have monkey wrenched the natural gas boom. Everywhere that real, profitable and even clean energy alternatives have shown themselves the fury of the Left ensures their demise.

They have used crony capitalism and graft to develop solar and wind power, both of which are incredibly more expensive than conventional energy. And in doing so they have squandered the competitive advantage of our country. How can we compete in the global economy with foolish and dishonest limitations that play right into the strengths of our competitors?

What is more disturbing is the confluence of scandals pointing towards a sinister power grab that echoes of dictatorship.The President has muzzled his opposition any way he can. He has waged vendetta on his political opponents through the IRS. He has persecuted whistleblowers and criminally prosecuted anyone who is not one of his official mouthpieces.

All the while he sits like Alfred E. Neumann with a Cheshire cat smile as one after another scandal swirls around the White House. His minions stonewall subpoenas and claim executive privilege while his Attorney General runs interference. This is not democracy. It is a putsch.

President Obama has proven to be the most devious and dishonest politician in our history. From his stonewalling of his personal records to his arrogation of power to the White House to his Administrations criminal misapplication of the law he has brought dishonor and disgrace to his office.

How many scandals does it take? How many of our liberties must be infringed upon?

The Left is running rampant over our civil rights. The United States founded on the principles of small government and civil liberties. Property rights, the rule of law, and enlightened capitalism are our underlying principles. Today, every one of these rights is under assault by our own government.

Look Imam! I’m on top of the World!

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The afternoon’s UK Independent reports exclusively that Iran is now sending 4,000 troops to Syria to support Bashar al Assad. Al Jazeera reports that Egypt has cut diplomatic ties and is demanding a “no fly” zone. Assad has received crucial backing from Russia and Iran and China, and with his victory in al Qusayr and support from Hezbollah  is now going for the jugular.

Lebanon is being dragged even further into the war but the Sunnis have no leadership.

In the meantime the United States has promised small arms and the U.K. and France are pleading poverty.

What we are about to see is the triumph of authoritarianism. The West is weak and dissolute while the axis of Russia, China, Iran, and even Venezuela has grown more powerful. This is not just about Sunni – Shia, but about geopolitics writ large. The same alliance that challenged the Bush Administration is in place to put the Middle East oil patch in “check”.

Turkey is self absorbed. Israel is threatened and while Hamas has been kicked to the curb for the time being by Iran, the Sunni Ummah will be outraged and will not sit still. And most of our government is now on summer hours and being run by rank amateurs.

Despite the promising election results in Iran this morning nothing has changed. The country is run by the mullahs and the Revolutionary Guard, Assad’s most important supporters. Iranian officers are rumored to have replaced many of the senior defectors from the Assad regime.

Unless there is a decisive punch thrown soon on behalf of the rebels they will have lost. Hezbollah will have been strengthened. Assad will be completely beholden to Iran and Russia, and Iran will have extended its naked power to the Mediterranean.

With the threat to accelerate to building 30 bombs per month, the mullahs in Qom will feel unassailable, much like Jimmy Cagney in Public Enemy. “Look Imam! I’m on top of the world!” And this time we are living with a geopolitical power structure that lets the bad guys win.

Obama’s Middle Finger to America

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Obama FingerSince when has an Administration given the finger to virtually the entire American People?  And since when has there been an almost complete silence on the issue by the media?

The President badly misjudged  the effects of Sequestration on the American political landscape. The first few weeks had been a non-event despite the rending of garments and gnashing of teeth by everyone from the President himself to the Cabinet to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

So now the President has ratcheted the game up, Chicago-style.

The Sequester represents a 2% cost reduction from the increased budget for this year and the next 10 years. This year’s portion is approximately $85 Billion (2%) from a budget of $3.8 trillion, 40% of which is being borrowed. In most families and companies, this would mean a few less nights out for pizza or movies. To the Federal government under President Obama, it means war.

Consider the following:

White House tours cancelled. White House parties continue.

Aircraft carrier deployment cancelled. Military exercise with Morocco cancelled. Air shows cancelled. Worthless programs continue.

Government threatens the most vulnerable; education, HIV patients, Meals on Wheels; HeadStart

. Government threatens closure of  national parks.

Government orchestrates air traffic control slowdown.

In other words, the leadership in government wants you to feel the pain while they continue to spend beyond all reason.

When he was selling Obamacare to the American people, the President said that he had identified $65 Billion in waste and fraud in the Medicare program that would offset higher costs for wider coverage. Not a thing has been done about that fraud since. Even some reform would have mitigated the cuts.

The Federal government has added hundreds of thousands of additional jobs, year after year until it has become a bureaucracy more bloated that any in the world. Federal unions have some of the most generous pension plans and benefits in the country as well. Taking care of your special interests is vital to crony capitalists. Think of the hundreds of billions of dollars wasted on green energy projects.In a time of lean, one must consider anything that is peripheral to the common good, but not this government. Not now.

And when one tries to discuss greater efficiency or common sense solutions, the reply is crickets. They don’t want the problems solved.

Our government has never set out to oppress its own people until now. Now, we are all pawns in the President’s battle to assert his will. Never before has a President been so arrogant as to do so. He is directly confronting us with his power and daring us to respond.

And to date no one has directly responded.

This is clearly the president’s crisis. He was the one who recommended and campaigned for sequestration in the first place and now he is reaping what he has sown. And in his vindictiveness he is giving the finger to all of us.

 

Dear Mr. President, please stop BS’ing us on AGW

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Yahoo today ran photos from across Europe this morning of the effects of early Spring snow. Britain, France, Germany and much of the rest of Europe have been faced with some of the most snow and cold since the 1960’s. I was a miserable winter and at Easter, still a miserable early Spring.

Today’s Telegraph estimates that 30,000 people will have died this winter season from weather related conditions. Earlier this year, a group of Norwegian students made a video mocking both the celebrity driven cause industry and global warming. Radi – Aid, sending radiators to Norway, can be seen here.

This week’s Economist gives another data point. Apparently, the models predicted by AGW advocates such as James Hanson, the NASA propagandist, for global warming are not working out the way they thought they would. Surface temperatures across the planet are at the low-end of the predictions and there hasn’t been any actual, you know, global warming in 10 years according to the numbers. What is emerging is that the climate change advocates really don’t know. Climatology is hard, you see. The weather in most places changes every day.

And those anthropomorphic polar bears the AGW crowd are using as poster bears for climate change? Well, there are a hell of a lot more of them on the planet than there were 25 years ago according to every single study written. It seems that our government has been trying to cover this up as well. ‘When the facts don’t fit the narrative change the facts” is government policy.

We have gone from Global Warming to Climate Change to WTF.

Yes, climates on the planet are changing. Why and how? We do not know. Climatology is a new science. It used to be called meteorology and we didn’t have a lot of faith in the TV weathermen in predicting tomorrow’s weather back in the ancient times oh 20 years ago or so.

Now we have experts with a kernel of data extrapolating some amazing consequences 50 or 100 years down the line. The data does not meet the bullshit test.

But this is what Al Gore and our President believe as gospel, and therein lies the rub. The president has authorized hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars in green energy projects that have failed or for which there is no real financial expectation of a reasonable return on investment, either ecologically or financially.

At the same time, the Administration has done its best to exterminate the coal industry, interfere with oil and gasoline prices, stymie nuclear power, and oppose natural gas. This is all part of their strategy. It is no accident. It is the stated goal of the green energy industry to work with government to raise the price of conventional energy to a point where green energy is competitive. Cheap energy is the enemy.

Bjorn Lomborg, the original skeptical environmentalist, wrote in the Wall Street Journal recently that the actual cost of green energy is much higher. The models used by corporations and government do not accurately reflect the energy, materials, and labor input in manufacturing green energy technology, which already relies far too much on government subsidies. I keep on thinking of all of those poor Germans in their worst winter in ages and their commitment to solar power. I wonder what the output of a solar array is in a snowstorm or the fog?

Solar power survives on voodoo economics. They don’t discuss the failure rates of modules or inverters or other components or the fact that dirt will drop the efficiency of a module array by 30-50%. All of the models reflect and unicorn and rainbow logic.

Just this morning, the EPA announced a new set of rules reducing sulphur and its emissions that would raise the price of a gallon of gasoline by a minimum of $0.09/gallon at a time of already record energy prices.The United States consumes 368 million gallons of gasoline per day, so this new tax will cost us $33 Million/day or $12 Billion/year. And who pays? Everybody. Who does it hurt the most? The middle class and poor.

The heavy thumb of government is already being felt in CAFE standards driving the standards for MPG up to a level that will kill the current automobile industry. And by the way, you and I have no voice in the discussion. It is a diktat by bureaucratic fiat. Stroke of the pen, law of the land government.

And the guy at the top of the pyramid is driving this bus. It is one of his core beliefs. The President is willing to use all of these tools because he feels that the United States uses too many of the world’s resources. How he came to that conclusion I am not sure, but it probably has to do with his elitist leftist education and the echo chamber he lives in. Facts, to them, are an inconvenient truth. It is about control.

So as the central tenets of anthropogenic global warming become shakier and the economics of green energy are seen to be a lie what happens? The record of this president indicates that he will double down. It is crucial to his political agenda to be right in all things.He is still in campaign mode. And if one of his core beliefs is challenged he is inflexible. This much we do know after four years.

But facts are pernicious. He has created an edifice based upon inaccurate information, and his policies must be challenged. BS should not be government policy.

The short and sweet ballad of Al Gore

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There was an Emir from Oman
Who had a nefarious plan
He’d buy up a station
in a very large nation
and make Gore a very rich man.

That Al sold the turd to a Sheikh
Was considered completely unique
After carbon tax credits and fraudulent edits
Even Begly thought Gore was a freak.

So Al flew on to the Great Green Northwest
Where in his hotel he undressed
But the masseuse wasn’t buying and ended up crying that Al was just there to molest.

So the gist of the story is clear
Mr. Gore is just not sincere.
When he tells us one thing and he does something else we know that his actions are queer.

Bush vs. Obama – Disaster Edition

There is another strange disconnect just before this election. As some New Yorkers dumpster dive and many Jerseyites spend another cold night without basic services, the president has been bouncing across the map like a pinball trying to shore up his election chances. What is more strange is how the press have given him a hall pass for doing so.

In 2005 in the aftermath of Katrina, the media made it its mission to blame Bush for every hiccup in the relief efforts. Whether it was the response of the National Guard or the New Orleans Police or FEMA, it was “Bush’s Fault”. On the other side of the Mississippi though, Governor Haley Barbour and his team quietly went about rebuilding his equally damaged state and never was the breakdown in leadership in Louisiana mentioned.

In New Jersey this week non-union power crews were shunned and went to Pennsylvania instead. 1,000,000 homes and businesses are without power in New Jersey. Rescuers are still finding new victims as of this morning.

400,000 homes and businesses on Long Island are without power with temperatures in the 30’s and 30,000+ are homeless in New York City. There are few if any television cameras. The election is sucking up all the air time.

The President on the other hand left the White House this morning for stops today in New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio and Colorado. He will not be back in Washington until Tuesday night. How can he have time to deal with the crisis if he is spending all of his time campaigning?

And the response from the media? crickets……

A new storm is moving in on New York and New Jersey and temperatures are in the icebox. Hundreds of thousands of people need shelter now. Would that the media might hold the President’s actions up to scrutiny, but we can be certain that isn’t going to happen. They have proven themselves completely partisan.

What will it take to force the media to do their job? How many people will have to die before they shine the spotlight on the limited efforts and engagement of our government?