Archives for: April 2011

Obama Punts On Oil

When I gassed up today, the price was $4 per gallon. We’re reaching price levels that, when the evil Bush was in office, were proof of some Cheney-led conspiracy.

It’s quite obvious what’s going on. The recessions is easing, which is driving up energy use. There is instability in the Middle East — well, there’s always instability in the MIddle East, but it’s been unstable even by their standards. You can read Ron Bailey here on the economics of this. Short story: things aren’t as bad as they were in 2008. And we’re actually in a better position to weather it because Americans have shortened their commutes and bought more efficient cars.

There are a few things we could do, long term. Lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling or allowing more work on tar sands would be good. But ultimately, that will just bring the price down a little because all oil adds to the world market. Domestic oil production — which is at a high point right now — doesn’t benefit American consumers directly.

Bottom line: we need to suck up and deal.

Of course, you know where the White House went. After years of telling us that gas should be more expensive to improve conservation, they went for the Full Pander:

In his weekly address, President Obama laid out his plans to address rising gas prices over the short and the long term. While there is no silver bullet to bring down prices right away, there are a few things we can do. This week, the Attorney General launched a task force dedicated to rooting out fraud or manipulations in the oil markets. The President called for finally ending the $4 billion in taxpayer money that the oil and gas companies receive annually. And, we need to continue safe, responsible production of oil at home. But in the long term, we need to invest in clean, renewable energy. That is why the President strongly disagrees with a proposal in Congress that cuts our investments in clean energy by 70 percent.

As Ronald Bailey said, this is the equivalent of saying, “Round up the usual suspects”. Every time gas prices go up, Congress looks into speculation and manipulation. And they always come up empty after wasting a lot of time and money. I don’t think the oil companies should get billions in subsidies. But removing those will not lower the price of gas. And the oil industry, per kwH, does not enjoy nearly the subsidies that solar and wind power do. In essence, Obama has chosen to do nothing. That’s close to what he should do, but the preening and pandering is unnecessary.

And that’s my point. We’re always told that Obama is treating us like adults; that he’s the only adult in the room. Well, I’m sorry. Adult do not tell us fairy tales about evil speculators and rapacious oil companies. Adults say things like: “It’s a limited resource. The economy is growing. The Middle East is crazy. What the fuck do you want? Oil costs what it costs. We could cap the price. And you’ll be standing in line at gas stations again. Drive less.”

But Obama would never say that. His own base would revolt at being told that there is no perpetual right to cheap gasoline.

Has Obama pissed off his leftists protectors in the MSM?

Well, the fact that another bunch of them got a dose of heavy shit from the WH and are now suddenly turning on him like hyenas, sure gives one that impression, but one has to wonder if this is just contrived shit to make the MSM look like it is tough on Obama and the donkeys. What’s the problem?

The hip, transparent and social media-loving Obama administration is showing its analog roots. And maybe even some hypocrisy highlights. White House officials have banished one of the best political reporters in the country from the approved pool of journalists covering presidential visits to the Bay Area for using now-standard multimedia tools to gather the news.

The Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci – who, like many contemporary reporters, has a phone with video capabilities on her at all times -shot some protesters interrupting an Obama fundraiser at the St. Regis Hotel. She was part of a “print pool” – a limited number of journalists at an event who represent their bigger hoard colleagues – which White House press officials still refer to quaintly as “pen and pad” reporting.

But that’s a pretty Flintstones concept of journalism for an administration that presents itself as the Jetsons. Video is every bit a part of any journalist’s tool kit these days as a functioning pen that doesn’t leak through your pocket.

So they caught Obama with his pants down on some meaningless bullshit, and now they are playing all hardball with the WH for treating them like a pimp treats his hos? Oooh! How tough they are! Meh. I am not impressed. When I see them get all bent out of shape and take on the WH and the donkeys in congress for disastrous policies, based on massive lies and fabrications, like that Obamacare bullshit they spent so much time parroting DNC talking points and falsehoods for, or the scandalous stimuluspatronage bill cheerleading fest, for example, I may change my mind that this is all show to make it look like they don’t line up and drop on their knees to fellatio these assholes in the donkey party.

Is your sex life deviant?

Whatever freaky shit you’re into online? You ain’t alone, brothers and sisters. Turns out damn near everybody is a freak. Read the whole article, it’s interesting, but here’s a bit I thought was particularly enlightening:

When this information is broken apart further, however, human sexual desire becomes as confounding as ever. For example: Men fantasize about group sex far more than women and picture more men than women in the action. Straight men prefer to watch amateur porn online, and the authors theorize it’s because of perceived authenticity — a fake orgasm, it turns out, may be as disappointing as one in real life. One of the most popular and diverse areas of interest in sexuality is domination and submission, with straight women and gay men most interested in the latter role. Gay men enjoy straight porn in large numbers.

I say enlightening, but…not to me. That is precisely the way I would expect it to go. As for the really freaky stuff?

America’s pre-eminent evolutionary psychologist, Donald Symons, a pioneer in the field of human sexuality, isn’t so sure. While he admires the scope of Ogas and Gaddam’s research, he’s not convinced a causal line can be drawn from hard data to human desire — that, for example, the popularity of sites devoted to granny porn and transsexuals is a sign that straight men somehow find these images erotic.

“One of the first things I asked Ogi about was curiosity versus arousal,” says Symons. “Ogi is convinced that when people are searching for things, it’s primarily for sexual arousal. I’m not so sure about that. If there was a porn star with three breasts — I bet there would be a zillion hits. Would that be a sign men were suddenly aroused by that? I think not.”

Gotta agree with Symons here. This reminds me of a story. Buncha years ago, when it wasn’t so frigging easy to access literally any kind of porn your mind could imagine, my phone rang. “Jim, I need the freakiest most disgusting porn you can find online right now.” I used to be a human Google for certain people, and like Google, BANG, I gave instant results. I sent her to DefVac and the old, original StileProject. Why did I have that stuff at the ready? Well, first of all I was friends with Lee. If it was offensive or sexual, or better if it combined the two, one of us would make sure to have that link on tap. It’s just how we rolled. Secondly, people expected us to know, so we knew.

One must work to meet expectations, mustn’t one?

Anyway, you aren’t a freak. You’re just human. So go rub one out to whatever disgusting, filthy, perverted shit you can find online, you goddamned grotesque monstrosity.

State of the economy

The next time some libtard tells you that the left cares about jobs and is actually concerned about employment, remember this Bloomberg report on how bad things are:

McDonald’s Corp. (MCD), the world’s biggest restaurant chain, said it hired 24 percent more people than planned during an employment event this month. McDonald’s and its franchisees hired 62,000 people in the U.S. after receiving more than one million applications, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. Previously, it said it planned to hire 50,000.

Bold is me. Get that? 1 million people applied for work at McD’s. That’s one million. That’s one million people without jobs willing to work at McD’s and ask you if you would like fries with that. Some 62K got jobs. That’s how the demcorats create jobs for ya. Obama was too busy to comment. Joy, joy.

UPDATE: Lucky for those of us that are not insane, it looks like most Americans get it. This economy sucks. What the left believes in sucks. The dollar is in a death spiral, and they don’t care. For those of us that know history means something, there is this great article about the Reagan vs. the Obama recovery

Growth: It’s been nearly two full years since the recession officially ended, and the economy is still struggling to get off the ground. It didn’t have to be this way. When the Commerce Department released its estimate for first-quarter growth — a meager 1.8% — President Obama’s chief economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, at least conceded that “faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn.”

And granted, the economy needs to expand by at least 2.5% just to keep up with growth in the labor force. So at 1.8%, we’re essentially losing ground, a fact that last week’s 429,000 initial jobless claims underscores. But what Goolsbee didn’t acknowledge is that the economy could be growing at a much faster rate, and would be if it weren’t saddled with Obama’s reckless policies. How do we know this? Compare the two worst post-World War II recessions. Both the 1981-82 and the 2007-09 downturns were long (16 months and 18 months, respectively) and painful (unemployment peaked at 10.8% in 1981-82 and 10.1% in the last one).

What’s dramatically different, however, is how each president responded.

Obama massively increased spending, vastly expanded the regulatory state, and pushed through a government takeover of health care. What’s more, he constantly browbeats industry leaders, talks about the failings of the marketplace and endlessly advocates higher taxes on the most productive parts of the economy.

In contrast, Reagan pushed spending restraint, deregulated entire industries, massively cut taxes and waxed poetic about the wonders of a free economy.

For the economic illiterates this means Reagan trusted in the ingenuity of the American people, set them free of their government bureaucracy, and they flourished. Obama on the other hand expanded government, scammed the tax payers out of over a trillion dollars for his friends, lobbyists, operatives, and the many demcorat campaign coffers, and has run the most anti-business government – unless you are one of these mega corps in bed with the left of course like GE – since the stupid demcorat imposed schemes, laws, and scams resulted in the worst economic collapse of my life time, then promptly blamed Bush for that.

Obama The … Moderate?

Ezra Klein had an article this weekend arguing that Barack Obama is a … moderate Republican. Let’s peel this back a bit.

Perhaps this is just the logical endpoint of two years spent arguing over what Barack Obama is — or isn’t. Muslim. Socialist. Marxist. Anti-colonialist. Racial healer. We’ve obsessed over every answer except the right one: President Obama, if you look closely at his positions, is a moderate Republican of the early 1990s. And the Republican Party he’s facing has abandoned many of its best ideas in its effort to oppose him.

If you put aside the emergency measures required by the financial crisis,

Hold it right there. The emergency measures — chosen, not “required” — are at the heart of many people’s problems with Obama. You had the bank bailout — started by Bush, but supported by Obama. You had money siphoned from TARP to bail out Fannie/Freddie and the auto-makers — liabilities the White House ignores when it hilariously claims we made a “profit” on TARP. In the auto bailout, they over-rode the usual bankruptcy rules to make sure the unions got what they wanted. And you then had a “stimulus” bill which mostly consisted of tax cuts for people who don’t pay taxes and all kinds of left wing special interest spending.

This is like saying, “if you ignore Bush’s invasion of Iraq, he was a liberal Democrat”. Actually, Bush was something like a liberal Democrat, but … well, let’s see what Ezra has to say.

If you put aside the emergency measures required by the financial crisis, three major policy ideas have dominated American politics in recent years: a plan that uses an individual mandate and tax subsidies to achieve near-universal health care; a cap-and-trade plan that attempts to raise the prices of environmental pollutants to better account for their costs; and bringing tax rates up from their Bush-era lows as part of a bid to reduce the deficit. In each case, the position that Obama and the Democrats have staked out is the very position that moderate Republicans have staked out before.

This, as a far as it goes, is true. Of course, we’re ignoring some really important Obama policies — the radical shift of the NLRB, the moratorium on offshore drilling, etc.

But let’s break these down a bit.

First, of all, the healthcare plan. It’s true that Obamacare has its roots in Romneycare and the Heritage Foundation’s proposals in the mid-90’s (and is, in fact, similar to what Paul Ryan is proposing for Medicare). However, those policies were put forward as alternatives to the more radical vision of Hillarycare by such as Bob Dole. They never enjoyed popular support among the rank and file GOP and never saw any kind of push while the GOP held power from 1994-2006. (Also, Klein calls Romneycare a huge success. This is debatable to say the least.)

Cap-and-trade is an idea that comes from the GOP and has demonstrated tremendous success in reducing sulphur dioxide emissions. However, there are many people who accept AGW — myself included — who think that applying cap-and-trade to greenhouse gas emissions is like using knee surgery as a model for brain surgery. SO2 and CO2 are different problems. SO2 was a small easily controlled marked. CO2 would be a gigantic market rife with corruption (and, indeed, Waxman-Markey carved out special dispensations for special interests while McCain-Lieberman created huge spending slush funds).

It is true that the GOP has slid too far into the “global warming is a giant conspiracy” camp. But the opposition to cap and trade has less to do with a supposed radicalization of the GOP and more to do with the current proposals being pieces of shit.

As for the Bush tax rates — keep in mind that those tax increases came as a part of a compromise with the Democrats that included big spending cuts and, in the case of Reagan, a gigantic overhaul of the tax system. And the goal was deficit control. Obama’s proposal have few spending cuts, no overhaul and are motivated primarily by a desire to, in his words, spread the wealth around. And the original proposal was simply to let the tax cuts expire — no spending cuts or deficit control included. This is not what moderate Republicans did in the 90’s. They didn’t just raise taxes for the hell of it.

Right now, Tom Coburn and others are working on a grand bargain that may broaden the tax base in exchange for big cuts in spending, something similar to Simpsons-Bowles. And Coburn ain’t a moderate. Many in the GOP might accept revenue increases if it meant real spending restraint or an overhaul of a tax system that creates hundreds of billions in deadweight loss on the economy.

(It also bears noting that all of the policies above — cap and trade, insurance exchanges and Clinton-level taxation — were denounced the Left as dangerously radical at the time. So if you turn Ezra’s article around, what it really say is, “Boy, were we full of shit in the 90’s”. On this, we can agree.)

Overall, the logic here is simply bizarre. Ezra seems to say, “You once supported A to solve B. We now support A to solve C. Why don’t you? Because you’re radical.” But that’s bullshit. I doubt Ezra would say that Bush was a “moderate Democrat” because many of the Patriot Act provisions were originally proposed by Clinton to deal with the early 90’s crime wave (and rejected at that time). Different problems have different solutions. Circumstances change. This is simply a game of “gotchya”, unworthy of the usually smart Klein.

I will agree with him on one thing. The attempts to portray Obama as some kind of crazy socialist Kenyan anti-American Manchurian candidate or whatever are a bit silly. His proposed tax hikes would still leave us with tax rates lower than any time before 1982. His health care plan is less radical than Nixon’s was. His kowtowing to Big Labor has been Democrat policy for 75 years.

Obama is of a tradition with American liberalism. His ideas and policies — expansion of government, support for Big Labor, big spending — these would not be out of place in the Carter, Johnson or Roosevelt Administrations. To the extent that he differs from past liberals, it’s in his complete abandonment of any support for basic civil liberties.

What’s changed is that our current debt situation and the aging of our population makes those policies much more dangerous and stupid than they were thirty years ago. We could afford to fuck around with Keynsianism in 1971. Now we can’t. Socialism was fine to play with in 1964. Now it leads to disaster. Labor unions were critical to improving the life of the American worker in 1935. Now they’re bankrupting us.

It’s possible you could shoehorn Obama into something approaching a “moderate Republican” of about forty years ago. But the debate has shifted. The problems have changed. I’m not saying the Republicans do have the answers or that their opposition to Obama is not mostly partisan crap. What I am saying is that dragging out twenty year old policy papers on different issues is of interest to historians; it has little relevance to today’s debate.

Update: Nate Silver concurs.

Some perspective

The left is furious at the news that ExxonMobil has declared an $11 billion profit for this past quarter. This comes at a time when gas prices are skyrocketing and everyone is feeling the pain, well, everyone except for the idiots that feel high gas prices are a great thing because they have others pay for it anyway. But this big profit windfall comes into perspective when you realize that it amounts to 2 cents per gallon they sold, while they also paid some $10 billion in taxes.

Compare that 2 cent profit to the markups and profits that companies make on bottled water, coffee, a college education, cars, or even your liberal’s favorite book, and you get the sense that while the numbers are large, its because we need so much of the stuff to keep a modern economy going. Two cents per gallon is far, far less than the god damned taxes we have to pay on energy, be it gas or heating oil, and yet, I hear way too few pissed at that. I was ecstatic after I heard the left get pissed about the oil industry’s huge profits, now I think this anemic return isn’t going to bump my investments that much at all.

You want to go after people that are fleecing us? Go after the liberal companies scoring billions in tax payer loot for marginal green technologies that will never be made viable like GE. Don’t stop there. Get pissed at the assholes in government that help them fleece us. I bet you will not be surprised what party they belong to when you do some digging. There is a reason our economy is in the dumps people, and contrary to the usual lies blaming Boosh!, the reasons are obvious.

Disheartening study

RealClearPolitics has a very interesting, albeit disappointing to me, article about politicians, the public, the debt crisis, and how the participants of this study feel it needs to be solved. As usual, what we have here is a debate between what the left thinks the public wants and what the right does, as the article starts off discussing. What’s obvious to me from the study that the article is based on is the fact that most people are not able to grasp the fact that we are where we are today because of ourselves. We are the enablers that have caused government to grow out of control. But more importantly, the fact that polls taken in a vacuum will skew reality.

Americans are reportedly childish about the debt crisis. The public says the budget deficit is a serious issue. So serious that Americans will let other people sacrifice. Rich people. We know the enemy of U.S. debt, and it’s us. You, dear reader, are framed as a hypocrite. But is that true?

Last week’s Washington Post carried a familiar headline: “Poll Shows Americans oppose entitlement cuts to deal with debt problem.” Bloomberg News led a December article: “Americans want Congress to bring down a federal budget deficit that many believe is ‘dangerously out of control,’ only under two conditions: minimize the pain and make the rich pay.” Politico recently reached for Shakespeare with its conclusion: “the fault lies not in our stars but in ourselves.”

But the fault may actually lie in misreading the stars (data) and how our political stars (lawmakers and pundits) misread us. Americans appear willing to make hard choices, according to a largely unnoticed but landmark study. Given the chance, the public cuts much of the deficit and saves Social Security.

I agree that based on my own experience it looks like most sane people actually want balanced budgets, an end to the deficit spending, a reduction of the debt, and are willing to accept cuts to get there. But way too many also want freebees, paid by others. And the real greedy and envious ones have no problem saying they want everyone that makes more than they do to give as much as they can get away with stealing, in the name of social justice or some such nonsense, of course. And while we can blame the politicians for our disastrous state, we need to keep in mind that they only did what too many people wanted, and that was obviously a free ride.

But the problem with those making the case that cuts are not what most people want based on these disconnected surveys, is obviously that they disconnect the needs to get things balanced with the need to give up some of our sacred cows. Check it out.

The conventional wisdom is wrong not because the evidence is wrong. Polls capture a gap between how seriously Americans view the debt problem and how seriously they take it. The right questions were asked. But they were asked in the wrong way. A budget requires choosing between the most tolerable of unwanted sacrifices. Think Otto Von Bismarck’s maxim that “politics is the art of the possible.” Conventional polls pose budget questions in isolation. Budget politics is reduced to what’s preferable rather than what’s possible among imperfect alternatives.

“It’s like you are saying, would you like to have some cake? Yes. Would you like to eat your cake? Yes. Ah, they want to have their cake and eat it too!” said political psychologist Steven Kull, director of the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland, which conducted the study. “The public is capable of dealing with the budget in a rational fashion,” Kull continued. “When you ask one-off questions they can only react in a visceral way. No, it’s not attractive to cut spending. No, it’s not attractive to raise taxes. Yes, you want to balance the budget. You haven’t asked them to make tradeoffs.”

Exactly! In a vacuum practically everyone will opt to keep the free ride for themselves. Why not? Let others make the sacrifices! Don’t take my shit! But that’s a big problem in getting a real feel for what’s acceptable, and most of us understand this. When you can not make these choices of what to cut and who to fleece in a vacuum, the game changes. Well, it changes for most of us sane enough to understand that just confiscating even more of the wealth of others, in order to keep the gravy train rolling, isn’t going to solve the problems, just postpone them, and then for a very short while. In the end, the spending has to be rolled back, or we run off the tracks into the ravine. So lets move on here.

Kull’s study asked a random sample of Americans to do precisely that. They presented adults with the discretionary budget shortfall of $625 billion by 2015, as well as shortfalls in Social Security and Medicare. Participants chose from a range of realistic options using a computer application.

Now we have something more realistic to work with, although that $625 billion shortfall isn’t close to what we see now, unless the shortfalls in SS and Medicare they mention above added another $1 trillion to the total numbers, which I doubt was the case. Take a test ride of that application yourself and play along. It’s interesting when you are being told there are consequences to the decisions you make and you are not going to meet your objective if you aren’t serious.

Anyway, let’s look at what they have gotten so far from the people that took this test ride and discuss.

The majority made Social Security solvent. They acomplished that by raising the income limit subject to the payroll tax and increasing the retirement age to at least age 68; majorities agreed to similar tweaks of Medicare eligibility and benefits.

Absolutely not surprised by these actions/results. Most Americans now understand SS enough to see it for the Ponzi scheme it is, and they know that our government has been robbing and mismanaging it to the point that it is on the verge of imploding. I wish more of them understood that these fixes that left SS in the hands of government bureaucrats are still going to expose SS to future abuse and had simply privatized the thing for anyone under the age of 50, but at least it shows most Americans understand SS as it exists right now, is an disaster waiting to happen.

The average respondent reduced the discretionary budget deficit by 70 percent. One third of deficit reductions came from cuts to government programs. Two-thirds came from increased taxes and adjustments to the tax code.

This information really bothered me. The cuts are way too little to be serious, and it proves that way too many have become totally dependant on the nanny state. That so many opted to feed the politicians by allowing them to jack up taxes again, tells me they have not been paying close attention. As soon as the politicians get more income they will jack up spending. That’s the way it has always been, and I see no reason that these hyenas will change their spots now.

I wonder what the taxes people were Ok with were. Are we talking about just fleecing the rich again? I am disgusted that so many feel they have the right to confiscate other people’s money to pay for their spending. I wish I could do the same to pay credit cards. Then I could really go on a decent spending spree.

“People’s reaction to that package may be different than their reaction to each element individually,” said Michael Dimock, associate director for research at the Pew Research Center. “One element of opposition to specific proposals is the sense of unfairness. The package of solutions may give a sense of shared sacrifices that they don’t see when asked about cutting Social Security and Medicare.”

Indeed, when respondents were forced to consider the budget’s give-and-take, even partisans confronted sacred cows. Most Republicans, including tea party sympathizers, raised some taxes. Most Democrats cut government programs and increased the retirement age.

While this is all good, the amount of people that went for more taxes bothers me, unless said tax obligations are going to be spread to everyone. We already have way too few people paying taxes: more than half of the population doesn’t pay. Maybe when everyone has to pay, they will suddenly decide cuts are better. Taxes as a means of wealth redistribution are a disgusting concept, and the result, the fact that so many believe the money of others should be shared so they can keep getting a free ride, shows it.

The average respondent made three quarters of the cuts in defense, followed by trims to intelligence and the military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Yeah, sure. Cut deep in what government is actually tasked with doing in the constitution and can levy taxes for. And pretend that if we just can walk away from these wars. It’s not like this will have consequences or something. Not surprised many people chose to do this. Isolationism and the fact that the western world’s freedom rides on us being able to fight for it isn’t important until said freedom comes to a screeching halt.

Wait until congress gets to fighting over whose pet project gets hammered too. Not to mention the drastic decline in those high paying – and tax paying of course – military industry jobs that will evaporate, and all the other peripheral jobs that will disappear as a consequence of those cuts. I have always known most people aren’t bright enough to see that unlike the fortunes wasted on the welfare state that this was actually giving Americans a value add. Oh, well.

Smaller cuts were made to programs such as veterans’ benefits, the highway system, space exploration, and subsidies for large farms. Those cuts were slightly offset by some increases that even tea party sympathizers favored: investing more in job training, pollution control, energy conservation, humanitarian assistance, education and small farms.

Yuck. That’s all I have to say.

The majority firmly opposed instituting a national sales tax or valued added tax.

I could go with a sales tax, if we did away with income tax. But I am glad that the VAT is a none starter.

But majorities favored increasing the tax rate for capital gains and restoring the tax on stock dividends to 20 percent, where it stood prior to the Bush-era tax cuts. Americans backed closing the loophole that allows private investment fund managers to have a significant part of their income taxed at only 15 percent, which enables an ultra-rich sector to avoid the tax burden borne by most Americans. The majority also favored a tax on large banks and increased corporate taxes. Most would also repeal tax deductions for the oil and gas industry.

What? No taxes on the demcorats favorite companies? What about GE? And when the economy dips a second time because people move their money elsewhere to avoid these new taxes? Heh, pretend there are no consequences and move along. Is everyone is pissed at the oil & gas industries making profit but me? I happen to have stock in my 401K that’s rocking because they are making profits. WTF? Don’t be surprised when we see a whole bunch of special regulations exempting this or that friend of some demcorat from these taxes either.

Americans have long favored abolishing the Bush tax cuts for the highest earners.

Which Americans? The ones that don’t pay taxes? Like the 51% that are tax exempt and the liberal elite that just “forget” to pay their taxes? Maybe they are talking about John Kerry and his yacht?

But the public would actually make the tax code even more progressive to bring the budget more in balance. The plurality raised taxes 5 percent on those with annual incomes of between $75,000 and $100,000. The majority raised them for earnings between $100,000 and a half million dollars. They raised it 10 percent for earnings that exceed $500,000.

What about the bottom earners? Make them pay taxes too. Bet you they suddenly will grow a sever aversion to government confiscation of their wealth, and all this pro tax increase talk will evaporate in a flash.

Most instructive was the altruism exhibited by all income brackets. Wealthier and middle class Americans did not raise taxes on lower classes. A plurality of upper middle class Americans was willing to accept increasing taxes on themselves. Higher earners most opposed increasing taxes on lower incomes and chose to bear higher taxes to balance the budget.

Sorry, but this is obviously one of our biggest problems. Too many people do not have to pay into the pot, and hence have no stake in the excessive spending or taxation schemes that feed this monster. This isn’t altruism, this is suicidal stupidity. If taxes have to go up, make it do so on everyone. In fact get with the flat tax already.

“People are not simply acting in their self-interest,” Kull said. “You don’t see tyranny of the majority here.”

Nah, just a lot of stupid people that don’t realize that as soon as they give government more money, it will simply decide to spend it and more anyway, as it has done in the past. Brilliant!

There were also signs of shared sacrifice. The majority supported increasing the alcohol tax and taxing sugary drinks like soda. They would limit the child tax credit to children younger than age 14 beginning in 2015. They found it acceptable to reduce the amount of interest 10 percent that can be deducted on all mortgages (a concession that would hit the middle class) and cap the amount that can be deducted to $25,000 (a concession even high earners found “tolerable”).

This is why we are in the mess we are today. All these silly taxes on special interest, and the political industries that sprout up around creating loopholes for some at the expense of others.

Anyway, there is one other thing I want to address:

Independents and Democrats slashed the deficit most. Why? The average Republican and tea party sympathizer were less willing to raise taxes and cut defense. The least fiscally conservative group was, paradoxically, conservatives.

I was not surprised by this result. If the tea partiers and republicans think like me, they are smart enough to have realized that the moment we allow government to raise taxes to cover the problems – and this is based on historical evidence, not just opinion – that they will not just lose all interest in meaningful cutting, but ramp up spending.

We shouldn’t ever commit to any kind of tax increases until we have gotten real and deep cuts. In my state of Connecticut for example, our new demcorat governor pushed a bill with huge tax increases and what seemed like harsh demands for union concessions, he claimed to want $1 billion, under the guise of shared sacrifice. The tax increases are happening, but we are finding out that the union concessions, short of a few token ones, are not, and the threats of layoffs if they don’t are nr just empty words.

Buyer beware. If we let them get tax increases, we can kiss any fiscal sanity, and certainly any chance for meaningful government cuts, goodbye. And most Americans seem unable to grasp that. I wonder what it takes to emmigrate to New Zealand.

You know your policies are hurting the poor when

Wal-Mart starts pointing out they are not spending as much as they used to on purchases as they used to:

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Wal-Mart’s core shoppers are running out of money much faster than a year ago due to rising gasoline prices, and the retail giant is worried, CEO Mike Duke said Wednesday. “We’re seeing core consumers under a lot of pressure,” Duke said at an event in New York. “There’s no doubt that rising fuel prices are having an impact.” Wal-Mart shoppers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, typically shop in bulk at the beginning of the month when their paychecks come in. Lately, they’re “running out of money” at a faster clip, he said. “Purchases are really dropping off by the end of the month even more than last year,” Duke said. “This end-of-month [purchases] cycle is growing to be a concern.

Gasoline prices are up, inflation has reared its ugly head, and the poor are going to be socked the hardest by these things. Bet you the democrats, the party of the little people, will blame evil oil companies, evil capitalist Wal-Mart, and in general everyone else, but their policies for this. Despite whatever bullshit they say, oil prices are up because of two reasons: the dollar has plummeted in value, and the new Obama Admin policy of blocking oil exploration and extraction is making speculators basically believe oil supplies are going to be negatively impacted sooner than later.

As the dollar loses value and energy prices continue to rise, because of the lack of any real and viable strategy from the left other than to steer billions to their friends pretending this green energy shit is a sound investment, the cost of everything that needs to be moved, refrigerated, and uses plastics, is going to go up. Drastically. Obama is hell bent on beating the malaise of the Carter years it seems. The poor should remember that.