Patterico's Pontifications


Forget Lehman Brothers. Where’s the MOTHER’S COOKIES bailout???

Filed under: Current Events,Economics,Government — Justin Levine @ 11:58 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

I’ll admit to myself. Since I’m not willing to vigorously oppose the government’s plan to buy up large shares of U.S. mortgages and financial institutions, I think it’s silly to claim that I’m some libertarian free marketer as I once described myself. I still don’t understand how other people can credibly claim to be as such while passively going along with this plan and not insisting that the Presidential candidates make a vow to reverse the plan once in office – but whatever.

So now that I’m ‘off the reservation’ here and on board with this current crop of government intervention for the common good, WTF is up with the government not bailing out Mother’s Cookies?!?!? You mean to tell me that they are willing to prop up a gaggle of constipated financial execs, but that they aren’t going to save my ability to eat frosted Circus Animal cookies? My all-time favorite dessert (and breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack)??

[I would have thought that my consumption level alone would have kept the company afloat. But I guess not.]

If McCain is not willing to explicitly pledge that he will save Mother’s Cookies, then I have no use for him. Same goes for Obama and all the other hacks in Washington who are clueless about the true priorities of their constituents.

– Justin Levine

Obama’s 95% Tax Cut Illusion

Filed under: 2008 Election,Economics — DRJ @ 8:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Wall Street Journal analyzes Barack Obama’s promise to cut taxes for 95% of Americans: Obama redefines tax cuts as tax credits and that results in a massive redistribution of taxpayer money.

Here is a list of Obama’s 7 proposed tax credits:

“- A $500 tax credit ($1,000 a couple) to “make work pay” that phases out at income of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 per couple.

– A $4,000 tax credit for college tuition.

– A 10% mortgage interest tax credit (on top of the existing mortgage interest deduction and other housing subsidies).

– A “savings” tax credit of 50% up to $1,000.

– An expansion of the earned-income tax credit that would allow single workers to receive as much as $555 a year, up from $175 now, and give these workers up to $1,110 if they are paying child support.

– A child care credit of 50% up to $6,000 of expenses a year.

– A “clean car” tax credit of up to $7,000 on the purchase of certain vehicles.”

The clean car credit is the only tax credit that must offset actual money paid. The other 6 credits are “refundable” because they can be claimed even if you have no income-tax liability. These are income transfers intended to redistribute money from one American to another.

Thus, under Obama’s tax plan, millions of Americans will get government payments in excess of what they pay in taxes, making this a massive redistribution of income far beyond what welfare ever paid:

“The Tax Foundation estimates that under the Obama plan 63 million Americans, or 44% of all tax filers, would have no income tax liability and most of those would get a check from the IRS each year. The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis estimates that by 2011, under the Obama plan, an additional 10 million filers would pay zero taxes while cashing checks from the IRS.

The total annual expenditures on refundable “tax credits” would rise over the next 10 years by $647 billion to $1.054 trillion, according to the Tax Policy Center. This means that the tax-credit welfare state would soon cost four times actual cash welfare. By redefining such income payments as “tax credits,” the Obama campaign also redefines them away as a tax share of GDP. Presto, the federal tax burden looks much smaller than it really is.

The political left defends “refundability” on grounds that these payments help to offset the payroll tax. And that was at least plausible when the only major refundable credit was the earned-income tax credit. Taken together, however, these tax credit payments would exceed payroll levies for most low-income workers.

The WSJ editorial also addresses the impact of Obama’s tax plan on marginal tax rates and explains how they adversely affect lower- and middle-income workers. I addressed that topic here but the WSJ explains it better.

We used to talk about Welfare-to-Work but this is Welfare-that-Won’t-Work. And it’s massive.

H/T M.


More Voter Fraud from …

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 6:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

ACORN, this time in Indiana. The first 2,100 voter registration forms that one elections office checked were fraudulent.

Transcript and commentary from JammieWearingFool.

My new favorite media quote: “Could be interesting.”


1/3 of New Atlanta Police Officers Have This in Common

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 5:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s theme seems to be Law and Order so I’ll conclude the series with this article from yesterday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Atlanta’s police recruits:

More than one-third of recent Atlanta Police Academy graduates have been arrested or cited for a crime, according to a review of their job applications. The arrests ranged from minor offenses such as shoplifting to violent charges including assault. More than one-third of the officers had been rejected by other law enforcement agencies, and more than half of the recruits admitted using marijuana.”

According to Robert Friedmann, a criminal justice professor at Georgia State University, times have changed so many agencies have had to relax their hiring policies. Or, as Atlanta Police Lt. Elder Dancy said regarding statistics that 12 out of 33 officers — 36 percent — said they have been arrested or cited with a criminal offense:

“It does not mean they’re not a quality candidate,” Dancy said, adding that the department runs criminal background checks on all recruits. “It just means they made a mistake in their past.”

I predict it will be harder to get a suspect to plea bargain in cases where the arresting officer has a record. No matter how you slice it, that doesn’t look good in court.


Shooting in Grand Junction CO

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 4:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Saturday morning there was a shooting in Grand Junction, Colorado, that resulted in two deaths (plus the apparent shooter, who committed suicide) and left two people seriously wounded. Sadly, there are many violent deaths in America but there aren’t many that involve apparently random shootings of multiple persons.

According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

“Mike and Flo Gallagher and Terry and Linda Fine were leaving Saturday morning for a vacation together when a 22-year-old Lakewood man with no apparent ties to the Grand Valley shot and killed Terry Fine, 61, and Flo Gallagher, 60, at the Fines’ home at 2631 Chestnut Drive, said acting Grand Junction Police chief Troy Smith.”

Terry Fine was a prominent Grand Junction dentist and Mike Gallagher is a former college President who currently teaches at the community college. Flo Gallagher had recently retired as a high school teacher. Their neighbor, Paco Larsen, heard the shots and came outside to help where he was shot in the neck. Larsen has been released from the hospital with a bullet lodged near his spine. Terry Fine’s wife Linda remains hospitalized.

The suspect, Stefan Alexander Martin-Urban, was a 22-year-old Alaska native who the Denver Post identified as a 2005 graduate from a Fairbanks, Alaska, high school. He had recently moved to the Denver area from Los Angeles:

“The 22-year-old spent time in the Los Angeles area, living in a motel in Riverside County, public records show. He had come to stay with an aunt in Lakewood a few weeks ago, police said Sunday afternoon.”

Police said Stefan apparently drove to the Grand Junction area from Lakewood on Friday morning – a distance of at least 270 miles – but it’s not known what he did from that point until the shooting Saturday morning.

All crime, especially violent crime, is traumatic but there is something especially troublesome about premeditated random crime like this.


Court’s Worst Nightmare

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 2:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Gwen Bergman was convicted last May in Denver federal court on charges she tried to hire a hitman to kill her son’s father. Her family says they paid her attorney over $50,000 for her defense. Turns out her attorney wasn’t even an attorney:

“Kieffer, who maintains law offices in Santa Ana, Calif., and Duluth, Minn., told clients that he attended the Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., and that he was licensed to practice law.

In June, The Denver Post found that Kieffer did not attend law school, and he has since admitted to the courts that he does not have a law license.

Court records show Kieffer represented at least 16 clients in 10 federal jurisdictions over the past decade.”

This is the court system’s worst nightmare but, on the bright side, I think Gwen Bergman has a good shot at an appeal.


Dow Closes Up 936

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 2:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s good news:

“The surge came as executives from leading banks were summoned by the Bush administration to Washington to work out a plan to get loans, the lifeblood of the economy, moving again. And it followed signals that European governments would put nearly $2 trillion on the line to protect their own banks.

The Dow gained more than 11 percent, its biggest one-day rally since 1933, and by points it shattered the previous record for a one-day gain of 499, during during the waning days of the technology boom in 2000.”

I don’t like extreme volatility – up or down – but it’s better than 936 down.


Rush Limbaugh mentioned Patterico today…

Filed under: 2008 Election — Karl @ 9:50 am

[Posted by Karl]

As Rush Limbaugh mentioned it, I thought it would be helpful to re-link to DRJ’s post on Obama’s Tax Plan and Small Businesses here on the front page.

Welcome, Limbaugh listeners! There’s plenty more to read here, so put your feet up and take a look around.


For Everyone Convinced The Election Is Over

Filed under: 2008 Election — WLS @ 1:55 am

Posted by WLS:

The Gallup tracking poll out Saturday showed the Obama lead down to 7, from a recent high of 11. But, as I noted earlier this week, Gallup continues to post a tracking poll of “Registered Voters” rather than “Likely Voters.”

Well, buried inside the story accompanying Gallup’s poll on Saturday was this little nugget:

Obama’s current advantage is slightly less when estimating the preferences of likely voters, which Gallup will begin reporting on a regular basis between now and the election. Gallup is providing two likely voter estimates to take into account different turnout scenarios.

The first likely voter model is based on Gallup’s traditional likely voter assumptions, which determine respondents’ likelihood to vote based on how they answer questions about their current voting intention and past voting behavior. According to this model, Obama’s advantage over McCain is 50% to 46% in Oct. 9-11 tracking data.

Likely Voters — 50-46.

Four points.

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