Maybe being young is never easy. But being a twentysomething young European has rarely been more stressful.
More than a quarter (28%) of Italians between 16 and 24 are unemployed. Others are struggling to get by on unpaid internships or poorly paid jobs with little security.
Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Monti, has vowed to help the younger generation, promising among other things to help them start businesses, but as austerity bites deep the future is uncertain, even terrifying, for many.
It’s not just Italy, of course. Eurozone unemployment is at a record. According to Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, 16.3 million people are out of work in the 17 countries that joined the euro. The story of a lost generation is becoming the scandal of a continent. In Spain, 51.4% of those aged 16-24 are jobless. In Greece, the figure is 43%.
As the eurozone crisis worsened, I went back to my hometown of Civita Castellana, 65 kilometres north of Rome, to meet my classmates from the Giuseppe Colasanti high school. Michela, Maria, Elena, Elisa, Michele, Martina and I were in the class of 2005.
When Monti announced his €30bn austerity package, he said: “Sacrifice will be required.” In Civita, those sacrifices are being made. It is one of the largest industrial centres in the region. Since the end of the second world war, about 90% of people been employed making bathroom fittings and crockery, for which Civita is renowned. What everyone now calls “the crisis” arrived here earlier than elsewhere, as the town suffered the consequences of globalisation and competition with China, where similar products were being made more cheaply. Many factories have closed; thousands are out of work…
GOP governor, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, promotes a radical redo of public education, working against the reactionary labor unions.
…Louisiana is already one of 12 states (including Washington, D.C.) that offer school vouchers, but its program benefits fewer than 2,000 students in New Orleans. Governor Jindal would extend eligibility to any low-income student whose school gets a C, D or F grade from state administrators. That’s almost 400,000 students—a bit more than half the statewide population—who could escape failing schools for private or virtual schools, career-based programs or institutions of higher education.
Funding for these vouchers (“scholarships” is the poll-tested term) would come not from a new fund, as in New Orleans, but from what the state already spends on public education per capita. So every student leaving a failing school would take about $8,500 (on average) with him, hitting the bureaucracy where it hurts. This is called competition, that crucial quality missing where monopolies reign.
Post-Katrina New Orleans is already the nation’s leading charter-school zone, with 80% of city students enrolled, academic performance improving dramatically, and plans to go all-charter by 2013. To spread the model statewide, the Governor would create new regional boards for authorizing charters and offer fast-track authorization to high-performing operators such as KIPP. He’d also give charters the same access to public facilities as traditional public schools.
As for tenure, Mr. Jindal would grant it only to teachers who are rated “highly effective” five years in a row, meaning the top 10% of performers. And tenure wouldn’t equal lifetime protection: A tenured teacher who rates in the bottom 10% (“ineffective”) in any year would return to probationary status. Ineffective teachers would receive no pay raise. Louisiana would also ban the “last in, first out” practice under which younger teachers are dismissed first, regardless of performance.
No points for guessing where the teachers unions stand on all this. The real problem is that “the revenue base is inadequate,” says Steve Monaghan of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers—though spending doesn’t correlate with academic improvement, and in any case Mr. Jindal has increased education spending by 10% since 2008.
At least Mr. Monaghan is guilty only of ignoring evidence. Louisiana Association of Educators leader Michael Walker Jones took to insulting Bayou State parents: “If I’m a parent in poverty I have no clue because I’m trying to struggle and live day to day,” said Mr. Jones of parental choice. How’s that for faith in self-government?
Louisiana used to be one of America’s most ill-governed states, but Mr. Jindal pushed major economic and ethics reforms in his first term and is now starting his second with his education moon shot. It would be one giant leap for Louisiana students.
Bradford Wilcox in the WSJ reviews Charles Murray’s new book, “Coming Apart,” which argues that a large swath of America—poor and working-class whites—is turning away from traditional values and losing ground.
…He is particularly concerned with the ways in which working-class whites are losing touch with what he calls the four “founding virtues”—industriousness, honesty (including abiding by the law), marriage and religion, all of which have played a vital role in the life of the republic.
Consider what has happened with marriage. The destructive family revolution of the late 1960s and 1970s has gradually eased—at least in the nation’s most privileged precincts. In the past 20 years, divorce rates have come down, marital quality (self-reported happiness in marriage) has risen and nonmarital childbearing (out-of-wedlock births) is a rare occurrence among the white upper class. Marriage is not losing ground in America’s best neighborhoods.
But it’s a very different story in blue-collar America. Since the 1980s, divorce rates have risen, marital quality has fallen and nonmarital childbearing is skyrocketing among the white lower class. Less than 5% of white college-educated women have children outside of marriage, compared with approximately 40% of white women with just a high-school diploma. The bottom line is that a growing marriage divide now runs through the heart of white America.
Mr. Murray tells similar stories about crime, religion and work. Who would have guessed, for instance, that the white upper class is now much more likely to be found in church on any given Sunday than the white working class? Or that, just before the recession struck, white men in the 30-49 age bracket with a high-school diploma were about four times more likely to have simply stopped looking for work, compared with their college-educated peers? By Mr. Murray’s account, faith and industriousness are in increasingly short supply among working-class whites.
Mr. Murray’s sobering portrait is of a nation where millions of people are losing touch with the founding virtues that have long lent American lives purpose, direction and happiness. And his book shows that many of these findings are also applicable to poor and working-class African Americans and Latinos. Mr. Murray notes that “family, vocation, faith, and community” have a “direct and strong relationship to self-reported happiness.” Not surprisingly, he shows that since the 1970s happiness has plummeted in working-class and poor communities—but not in affluent communities.
The economic and political success of the American experiment has depended in large part on the health of these founding virtues. Businesses cannot flourish if ordinary workers are not industrious. The scope and cost of government grows, and liberty withers, when the family breaks down. As James Madison wrote: “To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people is a chimerical idea.”
The language of GOP racial politics is heavy on euphemisms that allow the speaker to deny any responsibility for the racial content of his message. The code words in this game are “entitlement society” — as used by Mitt Romney — and “poor work ethic” and “food stamp president” — as used by Newt Gingrich. References to a lack of respect for the “Founding Fathers” and the “Constitution” also make certain ears perk up by demonizing anyone supposedly threatening core “old-fashioned American values.”
Yeah, any time I hear someone talk about the “Constitution” I can tell they’re racists.
The fact is, if you hear the n-word every time someone talks about our entitlement society, the person with the race problem is YOU. If you hear “American values” and think “bigot” then the person with the race problem is YOU. If talking about the Founding Fathers seems racist, the person with the race problem is YOU.
If everything sounds like racism to you, Juan Williams, you might be a racist.
Once upon a time government work paid less, but was steady.
Buoyed by generous benefit packages, federal workers earn significantly better compensation than similarly educated workers in the private sector, according to a report released Monday from Congress‘ chief scorekeeper that threatens to reignite at the national level last year’s state battles over public-employee rights.
Overall, federal workers earn 16 percent more in total compensation — including wages and benefits — than comparable private-sector employees, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Only private-sector workers with the highest levels of education, such as doctors and lawyers, earn more than their public counterparts
Leif Babin, rips Obama for exploiting the work of the Navy SEALs, and putting further missions at risk.
America’s premier Special Operations force is once again in the headlines after a team of Navy SEALs rescued two hostages from captivity in Somalia last week. Elite U.S. forces have carried out such operations periodically over the past decade, always with skill and bravery. The difference in recent months is that the details of their work haven’t remained secret. On the contrary, government officials have revealed them for political gain—endangering our forces in the process.
The floodgates opened after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden last May, and the Obama administration’s lack of discretion was on display again at last week’s State of the Union address. As President Obama entered the House chamber, in full view of the cameras, he pointed to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and exclaimed: “Good job tonight, good job tonight.” Clearly something had happened that he wanted the world to know about.
After delivering his speech, which included multiple references to the bin Laden raid, the president again thanked Mr. Panetta. “That was a good thing tonight,” he said as if to ensure that the viewing public, if they missed it initially, would get it a second time around.
Sure enough, shortly thereafter, the White House announced the successful rescue of the hostages in Somalia by U.S. Special Operations forces. Vice President Biden appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to highlight the success the next morning, and Mr. Panetta also publicly praised it. Then came the “anonymous U.S. officials” to provide extensive details of who conducted the raid and how. As with the bin Laden operation, the top-secret unit that carried it out was again front-page news, as were its methods and tactics.
Our special operators do not welcome this publicity. In fact, from conversations I’ve had in recent days, it’s clear they are dismayed by it.
Adm. William H. McRaven, America’s top special-operations commander, wrote in his 1996 book “Spec Ops” that there are six key principles of success in special operations. Of paramount importance—especially given the risk and sensitivity of the missions and the small units involved—is what the military calls “operational security,” or maintaining secrecy. If the enemy learns details and can anticipate the manner and timing of an attack, the likelihood of success is significantly reduced and the risk to our forces is significantly increased.President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta before the State of the Union address in Washington on Tuesday.
This is why much of what our special-operators do is highly classified, and why military (more…)
The truth?! You can’t handle the truth!
Across the Internet, in descriptions of yesterday’s violence in Oakland, sentences like the following are ubiquitous:
“An estimated 400 demonstrators were arrested during the protest, with some activists breaking into City Hall and vandalizing it.”
Riot police on Saturday night fought running skirmishes with protesters, injuring three officers and at least one demonstrator.
The scuffles erupted in the afternoon as activists sought to take over a shuttered downtown convention center, sparking cat-and-mouse battles that lasted well into the night in a city that has seen tensions between police and protesters boil over repeatedly.
Those who took part in the Oakland riots were not “demonstrators” or “activists” or “protesters.” They were rioters. I know it is unfashionable to speak plainly in this age of post-modernism, but the truth is no more glamorous or complicated than that. Oakland’s police did not randomly start firing on people exercising their First Amendment rights, but stepped in to prevent the law being broken. That is their job. Again, from Reuters:
Violence erupted again in Oakland on Saturday when protesters attempted to take over the apparently empty downtown convention center to establish a new headquarters and draw attention to the problem of homelessness.
Taking over a convention center is against the law. One can append an “awareness” intention to almost any illegal act, but it doesn’t change the facts. Were I so minded, I might break in to a nuclear power plant “to draw attention to climate change,” or take over Google’s server farms “to draw attention to privacy questions.”
A chapter from F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom
There can be no doubt that most of those in the democracies who demand a central direction of all economic activity still believe that socialism and individual freedom can be combined. Yet socialism was early recognized by many thinkers as the gravest threat to freedom.
It is rarely remembered now that socialism in its beginnings was frankly authoritarian. It began quite openly as a reaction against the liberalism of the French Revolution. The French writers who laid its foundation had no doubt that their ideas could be put into practice only by a strong dictatorial government. The first of modern planners, Saint-Simon, predicted that those who did not obey his proposed planning boards would be “treated as cattle.”
Nobody saw more clearly than the great political thinker de Tocqueville that democracy stands in an irreconcilable conflict with socialism: “Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom,” he said. “Democracy attaches all possible value to each man,” he said in 1848, “while socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
To allay these suspicions and to harness to its cart the strongest of all political motives—the craving for freedom — socialists began increasingly to make use of the promise of a “new freedom.” Socialism was to bring “economic freedom,” without which political freedom was “not worth having.”
To make this argument sound plausible, the word “freedom” was subjected to a subtle change in meaning. The word had formerly meant freedom from coercion, from the arbitrary power of other men. Now it was made to mean freedom from necessity, release from the compulsion of the circumstances which inevitably limit the range of choice of all of us. Freedom in this sense is, of course, merely another name for power or wealth. The demand for the new freedom was thus only another name for the old demand for a redistribution of wealth.
The claim that a planned economy would produce a substantially larger output than the competitive system is being progressively abandoned by most students of the problem. Yet it is this false hope as much as anything which drives us along the road to planning.
Although our modern socialists’ promise of greater freedom is genuine and sincere, in recent years observer after observer has been impressed by the unforeseen consequences of socialism, the extraordinary similarity in many respects of the conditions under “communism” and “fascism.” As the writer Peter Drucker expressed it in 1939, “the complete collapse of the belief in the attainability of freedom and equality through Marxism has forced Russia to travel the same road toward a totalitarian society of un-freedom and inequality which Germany has been following. Not that communism and fascism are essentially the same. Fascism is the stage reached after communism has proved an illusion, and it has proved as much an illusion in Russia as in pre-Hitler Germany.”
No less significant is the intellectual outlook of the rank and file in the communist and fascist movements in Germany before 1933. The relative ease with which a young communist could be converted into a Nazi or vice versa was well known, best of all to the propagandists of the two parties. The communists and Nazis clashed more frequently with each other than with other parties simply because they competed for the same type of mind and reserved for each other the hatred of the heretic. Their practice showed how closely they are related. To both, the real enemy, the man with whom they had nothing in common, was the liberal of the old type. While to the Nazi the communist and to the communist the Nazi, and to both the socialist, are potential recruits made of the right timber, they both know that there can be no compromise between them and those who really believe in individual freedom.
What is promised to us as the Road to Freedom is in fact the Highroad to Servitude. For it is not difficult to see what must be the consequences when democracy embarks upon a course of planning. The goal of the planning will be described by some such vague term as “the general welfare.” There will be no real agreement as to the ends to be attained, and the effect of the people’s agreeing that there must be central planning, without agreeing on the ends, will be rather as if a group of people were to commit themselves to take a journey together without agreeing where they want to go: with the result that they may all have to make a journey which most of them do not want at all.
Democratic assemblies cannot function as planning agencies. They cannot produce agreement on everything — the whole direction of the resources of the nation-for the number of possible courses of action will be legion. Even if a congress could, by proceeding step by step and compromising at each point, agree on some scheme, it would certainly in the end satisfy nobody.
To draw up an economic plan in this fashion is even less possible than, for instance, successfully to plan a military campaign by democratic procedure. As in strategy it would become inevitable to delegate the task to experts. And even if, by this expedient, a democracy should succeed in planning every sector of economic activity, it would still have to face the problem of integrating these separate plans into a unitary whole. There will be a stronger and stronger demand that some board or some single individual should be given power to act on their own responsibility. The cry for an economic dictator is a characteristic stage in the movement toward planning. Thus the legislative body will be reduced to choosing the persons who are to have practically absolute power. The whole system will tend toward that kind of dictatorship in which the head of the government is position by popular vote, but where he has all the powers at his command to make certain that the vote will go in the direction he desires.
Planning leads to dictatorship because dictatorship is the most effective instrument of coercion and, as such, essential if central planning on a large scale is to be possible. There is no justification for the widespread belief that, so long as power is conferred by democratic procedure, it cannot be arbitrary; it is not the source of power which prevents it from being arbitrary; to be free from dictatorial qualities, the power must also be limited. A true “dictatorship of the proletariat,” even if democratic in form, if it undertook centrally to direct the economic system, would probably destroy personal freedom as completely as any autocracy has ever done.
Individual freedom cannot be reconciled with the supremacy of one single purpose to which the whole of society is permanently subordinated. To a limited extent we ourselves experience this fact in wartime, when subordination of almost everything to the immediate and pressing need is the price at which we preserve our freedom in the long run. The fashionable phrases about doing for the purposes of peace what we have learned.to do for the purposes of war are completely misleading, for it is sensible temporarily to sacrifice freedom in order to make it more secure in the future, but it is quite a different thing to sacrifice liberty permanently in the interests of a planned economy.
To those who have watched the transition from socialism to fascism at close quarters, the connection between the two systems is obvious. The realization of the socialist program means the destruction of freedom. Democratic socialism, the great utopia of the last few generations, is simply not achievable.
Mitt Romney’s tax returns tell us some things about him. They tell us a lot more about the sad state of the tax laws in this country.
When the candidate released his tax returns this week, the fact most noted was the low 14 percent effective tax rate paid by one of the wealthiest people in America, one with income of more than $20 million in both 2010 and 2011. Others were surprised to see how easy it was for Mr. Romney to effectively transfer millions of dollars each year to his children, tax-free, thus escaping estate and gift taxes.
But what really stands out is the mind-numbing complexity of tax laws, and about how hard it seems to have been for even the high-priced help Mr. Romney can afford to get things right.
In one case, the trustee for one of the Romney trusts sent two letters to the Internal Revenue Service electing to use an apparently irrelevant section of the tax code, and in the process misstated the facts involved.
That mistake did not affect the taxes owed, but another error was more significant. It appears that the return filed by that trust overstated capital gains realized by nearly $300,000, causing Mr. Romney and his wife to pay about $44,000 more in taxes than they owed.
Adam Gopnik, a writer for the New Yorker whose work I generally admire, has a piece in the current issue titled “The Caging of America.”
I haven’t finished reading it, but I agree that the war on drugs is a failure that is both counterproductive and damaging.
Instead of just letting drug addicts ruin their own lives with cheap, legal drugs, we’ve created criminal franchises to aspiring gangsters that warp community values and waste public resources.
But the article begins with a photo of a 10-year old boy looking tiny in his cell with this caption.
Six million people are under correctional supervision in the U.S.—more than were in Stalin’s gulags.
Stalin rounded up innocent people, sent them to forced work camps where thousands died.
The analogy is not just foolish, it insults the memory of Stalin’s victims.
The LAT grows more sourly comical by the day with overt editorializing in the news section.
Robin Abcarian writes that “with the economy mending” Republicans are seeking new ways to attack Obama.
Mending? Last year’s GDP growth was 1.7%, no matter how you spin it.
…as Republicans battle for the right to face the Democratic president in the fall, they have found new ways to describe what they say are the dangers of a second Obama term. The Republican bogeymen of 2008 — the fiery preacher who married the Obamas, their Chicago neighbor with the revolutionary past — have been replaced.
Goodbye, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. and William Ayers. Hello, European socialists and Saul Alinsky.
“We will run an American campaign,” Newt Gingrich proclaimed to Republicans in Palm Beach, Fla., on Saturday night, framing this distinction with Obama: “I am for the Declaration of Independence; he is for the writing of Saul Alinsky. I am for the Constitution; he is for European socialism.”
In only slightly less dramatic language, Mitt Romney frequently describes the coming election as a battle for “the soul of America.” As he told voters here Friday, they must choose between “a European-style welfare state” or “a free land.”
Fact: ObamaCare fundamentally changes the relationship between citizen and state, making us more like Europe. Just consider this, from the LA Times itself:
It’s conceivable that at some point the government would offer some sort of incentive, perhaps a tax deduction, for healthy living– perhaps not at the point of running apparel, but possibly for, say, gym memberships.
Got that? The feds will engage in behavior modification. This is European thinking.
Abcarian then wonders about Obama being called a “Saul Alinsky radical” so she finds a Democrat to clear it up.
“I keep wondering how the average Republican voter responds to that, other than to hear ‘radical,’ which is not good, and ‘Alinsky,’ which sounds foreign,” said psychologist Drew Westen, author of “The Political Brain” and sometime Democratic advisor. Gingrich, he said, is “a seasoned enough politician to know that you don’t use language that people don’t understand” and has no purpose. His explanation: “He has to find a way to make Obama the ‘other’ and not one of us.”
Westen said that the phrase could be interpreted as a “dog whistle” to anti-Semitic voters because of the combination of “European Jewish sounding name with ‘radical’ attached to it.”
So this is coded anti-Semitism expressed in a frequency only GOP voters can hear. Sheesh.
How does one reason with people who spout such nonsense?
As for Alinsky, he said: ‘In order to organize, you must first polarize.”
So as we listen to Obama refer to Republicans as “the enemy” and pit the middle class against “millionaires and billionaires” and try to convince Americans that the rich don’t pay “their fair share” we see Alinsky’s finger prints.
It doesn’t take a dog whistle to see the obvious.
Republicans are worried sick that the Democrats will be able to use all the nasty sound bites from the GOP debates in the general election. I’m not too concerned for a number of reasons, but the main one is that the GOP will merely have to produce ads in which we show Barack Obama saying, “I’m pledging to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term in office” and “If I don’t get the unemployment rate under 7%, I deserve to be a one-term president.”
For good measure, I would produce another ad in which I showed Obama and jobs czar Jeffrey Immelt giggling as the president says, “I guess shovel-ready jobs weren’t quite as shovel-ready as we thought.” The viewer would be reminded that this came a long time after Obama, Pelosi and Reid, shoved through a trillion dollar stimulus that they promised would turn around the economy.
Only a know-nothing know-it-all like Obama would even consider blowing hundreds of billions of tax dollars on solar panels and railroads, two things that Americans crave about as much as they do a case of measles or mumps.
In spite of Obama’s chief of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s insisting that our southern border has never been more secure, according to Townhall writer Katie Pavlich, there is at least one official sign posted in southern Arizona that reads: “Travel Caution: Smuggling and Illegal Immigration May Be Encountered in This Area.” But I suppose Ms. Napolitano can’t possibly see the sign from 2,000 miles away.
It’s also worth mentioning that the American Bar Association has rated a record number of Obama’s judicial nominees as “not qualified,” and they weren’t even referring to Kagan and Sotomayor. Or, for that matter, to Attorney General Eric Holder, under whose watch the feds allowed over a thousand weapons to be delivered to Mexican drug cartels and who, for good measure, refused to prosecute the Black Panthers for intimidating white voters. For purposes of comparison, the ABA rejection rate of Obama’s judicial appointments is four times as high as it was under Clinton or Bush. But I guess that’s to be expected when you keep trying to pay off hundreds of crooked Chicago cronies with federal judgeships.
Speaking of numbers, Newt Gingrich came under fire from the self-righteous Juan Williams for referring to Obama as the Food Stamp President. Led by Williams, liberals insisted that was a racist slur. But, then, those self-righteous ninnies consider every honest comment about Obama’s administration to be a racist slur.
Liberals were quick to point out that most of the 47,000,000 people now collecting food stamps are white. As typically happens when liberals start tossing numbers around, the purpose isn’t enlightenment, but obfuscation. Their intention, whether it’s food stamps or crime statistics, is to pretend that guilt can only be ascribed to white Americans.
In the case of food stamps, all they had to do was point out that the majority of those using food stamps are whites, not blacks. While that’s true, it’s also true that whites constitute two-thirds of the population, blacks roughly one-seventh. So while it’s a fact that whites are 34% of the folks on food stamps and blacks only 22%, 66% of the population is white and only 13% black. In case you’re one of those who never quite mastered percentages in junior high, let me try to clarify things. There are 310 million Americans, 205 million of whom are white, 40 million are black. That, we can agree, is quite a gap. On the other hand, of the 47 million Americans collecting food stamps, only about 16 million are whites, while nearly 10.5 million are black.
So, while I don’t favor Newt Gingrich in the primaries, I think we can all agree that he’s not a racist.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of Juan Williams.
Less than a year after everyone with any sort of say in the matter seemed to agree that 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025 was a properly attainable goal, the California Air Resources Board has decided to change things up a bit.
In addition to CAFE requirements of a 54.5-mpg fleet average (using the government’s formula, not what you see on window stickers), at least 15.4 percent of all cars sold by any major automaker doing business in California will have to be either fully electric, a plug-in hybrid or be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell by 2025. There are questions about the “over-compliance” section of the bill, which we’ll be investigating further.
Which seems to be a federal matter, given that the auto business is indeed interstate commerce, yet we were told that Prop. 187, which forbade spending state tax dollars on illegal immigrants was not within our authority?
The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years.
The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.
Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.
Meanwhile, leading climate scientists yesterday told The Mail on Sunday that, after emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th Century, the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shortening of the season available for growing food.
Solar output goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak.
We are now at what should be the peak of what scientists call ‘Cycle 24’ – which is why last week’s solar storm resulted in sightings of the aurora borealis further south than usual. But sunspot numbers are running at less than half those seen during cycle peaks in the 20th Century.
Analysis by experts at NASA and the University of Arizona – derived from magnetic-field measurements 120,000 miles beneath the sun’s surface – suggest that Cycle 25, whose peak is due in 2022, will be a great deal weaker still…
Keep reading for lots of graphs and more science.
…Obama, an unfettered executive wielding a swollen state, began and ended his address by celebrating the armed forces. They are not “consumed with personal ambition,” they “work together” and “focus on the mission at hand” and do not “obsess over their differences.” Americans should emulate troops “marching into battle,” who “rise or fall as one unit.”
Well. The armed services’ ethos, although noble, is not a template for civilian society, unless the aspiration is to extinguish politics. People marching in serried ranks, fused into a solid mass by the heat of martial ardor, proceeding in lock step, shoulder to shoulder, obedient to orders from a commanding officer — this is a recurring dream of progressives eager to dispense with tiresome persuasion and untidy dissension in a free, tumultuous society.
Progressive presidents use martial language as a way of encouraging Americans to confuse civilian politics with military exertions, thereby circumventing an impediment to progressive aspirations — the Constitution and the patience it demands. As a young professor, Woodrow Wilson had lamented that America’s political parties “are like armies without officers.” The most theoretically inclined of progressive politicians, Wilson was the first president to criticize America’s founding. This he did thoroughly, rejecting the Madisonian system of checks and balances — the separation of powers, a crucial component of limited government — because it makes a government that cannot be wielded efficiently by a strong executive.
Franklin Roosevelt agreed. He complained about “the three-horse team of the American system”: “If one horse lies down in the traces or plunges off in another direction, the field will not be plowed.” And progressive plowing takes precedence over constitutional equipoise among the three branches of government. Hence FDR’s attempt to break the Supreme Court to his will by enlarging it.
In his first inaugural address, FDR demanded “broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.” He said Americans must “move as a trained and loyal army” with “a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife.” The next day, addressing the American Legion, Roosevelt said it was “a mistake to assume that the virtues of war differ essentially from the virtues of peace.” In such a time, dissent is disloyalty.
Yearnings for a command society were common and respectable then. Commonweal, a magazine for liberal Catholics, said that Roosevelt should have “the powers of a virtual dictatorship to reorganize the government.” Walter Lippmann, then America’s preeminent columnist, said: “A mild species of dictatorship will help us over the roughest spots in the road ahead.” The New York Daily News, then the nation’s largest-circulation newspaper, cheerfully editorialized: “A lot of us have been asking (more…)
French citizens do not have the right to free speech (Dear Obama, this makes us exceptional in ways no other nation is.)
So the French want to criminalize denial of the Turkish genocide.
The latest dispute with France began late last year when a deputy in Sarkozy’s ruling Union for a Popular Movement party introduced legislation calling for a one-year prison sentence and a $59,000 fine for anyone who espoused a belief that there was no genocide of Armenians under Ottoman rule during and immediately after World War I.
The number of dead is still in dispute, ranging from 300,000 to 1.5 million. Turkey acknowledges that atrocities were committed, but denies that there was a systematic attempt to destroy the Armenian people.
After the bill was passed by the lower house of the French Parliament in December, Erdogan recalled Turkey’s ambassador from Paris, banned the landing and docking of French military aircraft and warships in Turkey and suspended political and economic talks.
They should pass a companion bill criminalizing French involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Rwanda has accused France of playing an active role in the genocide of 1994, in which about 800,000 people were killed.
An independent Rwandan commission said France was aware of preparations for the genocide and helped train the ethnic Hutu militia perpetrators.
The report also accused French troops of direct involvement in the killings.
It named 33 senior French military and political figures that it said should be prosecuted. France has previously denied any such responsibility.
Among those named in the report were the late former President, Francois Mitterrand, and the then Prime Minister Edouard Balladur.
Two men who went on to become prime minister were also named – Alain Juppe, the foreign minister at the time, and his then chief aide, Dominique de Villepin.
The French foreign ministry told the BBC it would only respond to the fresh allegations after reading the report, which was released on Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier this year France’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner denied French responsibility in connection with the genocide, but said political errors had been made…
Republican Mitch Daniels is by all accounts an excellent governor. But that didn’t make him immune from the temptation to play venture capitalist.
So here is yet another story of a failed “green” enterprise.
For politicians betting on electric vehicles to drive job growth, the view from inside Think City’s plant here is their worst nightmare: 100 unfinished vehicles lined up with no word on whether they will be completed.
Only two years ago, the tiny Think cars (two can fit in a regular parking space) were expected to bring more than 400 jobs to this ailing city and a lifeline to suppliers who once made parts for gas-guzzling recreational vehicles…
Instead, the Hoosier State’s big bet has been a bust. The plant is devoid of activity; there are just two employees. A Russian investor who recently purchased Think’s bankrupt parent in Norway has been silent about its future. A government-backed Indianapolis battery maker that was to supply Think wrote off a $73-million investment in the car company and Thursday declared bankruptcy. Two unrelated electric truck makers Indiana planned to nurture have yet to get off the ground.
Indiana’s foray into electric vehicles is a cautionary tale for states in hot pursuit of high-tech manufacturing jobs. Think’s story illustrates how politicians so badly wanted to stimulate job growth that they showered the automaker and the battery supplier with tax benefits and incentives while at the same time failing to determine whether there was a market for the car: a plastic two-seater with a top speed of about 65 mph and a price tag approaching $42,000.
“Where’s the value?” Gregg Fore, an Elkhart recreational vehicle industry executive, said of Think. “I could buy a golf cart for five grand if that’s what I wanted to drive.”
Indeed. Who was behind the boondoggle?
…the Obama and Bush administrations poured millions of dollars into battery production in a quest to power thousands of Think City vehicles with lithium-ion batteries. To date, Ener1 has spent $55 million in federal funding, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
Here’s the corker:
The situation is a far cry from what was envisioned in 2009: a bustling plant building cars that would be part of the American dream of a gasoline-free future. Every level of government, from city to state to federal, pledged millions of dollars in incentives and tax benefits to Think, which promised to build those cars.
Never confuse the American dream with a green wet dream.
As for the car, anyone with a brain could predict that this would be a bust in the USA after one look.
“Don’t be evil” is Google’s motto.
But, using a con man in a sting, the Feds found them being bad.
Over four months in 2009, Mr. Whitaker, a federal prisoner and convicted con artist, was the lead actor in a government sting targeting Google Inc. that yielded one of the largest business forfeitures in U.S. history.
“There was a part of me that felt bad,” Mr. Whitaker wrote in his account of the undercover operation viewed by The Wall Street Journal. “I had grown to like these people.” But, he said, “I took ease in knowing they…knew it was wrong.”
The government built its criminal case against Google using money, aliases and fake companies—tactics often used against drug cartels and other crime syndicates, according to interviews and court documents. Google agreed to pay a $500 million forfeiture last summer in a settlement to avoid prosecution for aiding illegal online pharmaceutical sales.
Google acknowledged in the settlement that it had improperly and knowingly assisted online pharmacy advertisers allegedly based in Canada to run advertisements for illicit pharmacy sales targeting U.S. customers.
“We banned the advertising of prescription drugs in the U.S. by Canadian pharmacies some time ago,” the company said in its sole comment on the matter. “However, it’s obvious with hindsight that we shouldn’t have allowed these ads on Google in the first place.”
The half-billion dollar forfeiture, although historically large, was small change for Google, which holds $45 billion in cash. But the company’s acceptance of responsibility opened the door to potential liability for taking ads from other people involved in unlawful acts online, such as distributing pirate movies or perpetrating online fraud…
It’s not easy finding something fresh in the story of a high school social outcast, but this movie does it, finding humor that isn’t jokey and creating very real characters. This is a movie I know I’ll watch again.
Gilbert Robles retired as a state parole agent at age 53, able to collect a $101,195 annual pension — 94% of his final salary. Last year, six months after he retired, the Arcadia resident accepted a political appointment with the same agency that pays an additional six figures.
Scott Hallabrin took retirement as the top attorney for the state’s ethics agency on June 29, 2009. The next day, he went back to the same post, as he prepared to watch his pension checks roll in on top of a salary.
Los Angeles school administrator Norman Isaacs got a 35% raise in 2006, the year before he filed for his public pension. The increase sharply boosted his retirement benefits.
Robles, Hallabrin and Isaacs acted within their rights under California’s pension rules, which the Legislature’s independent budget analyst recently described as “among the most generous in the country.” That generosity comes with a price: The main pension system for public employees is expected to cost taxpayers $2.3 billion this year and has long-term obligations that it is $85 billion short of being able to fund…
Meanwhile, one of the engines of California’s postwar growth was its educational system. But budget misery has led to this:
Students and faculty at Cal State Northridge are protesting new budget-related restrictions that are aimed at reducing enrollment and are making it harder to register for classes at the San Fernando Valley campus.
In the fall semester, the school enrolled several thousand more students than the target set by the Cal State system’s central administration in response to cutbacks in state funding. Now the system is threatening to withhold $7 million from the 34,000-student campus if it doesn’t partly roll back enrollment for the current spring semester by the equivalent of 2,800 full-time students, officials said.
As a result, Cal State Northridge recently imposed a cap on the number of credits most students can carry and is enforcing it during the current add-drop period. Except for graduating seniors and a few other groups, that will mean no more than 15 credits. Also, the school has barred professors from enrolling extra students in their classes beyond a formal limit.
The LAT editorialized last week in favor of ObamaCare forcing Catholic health plans to provide birth control services, forcing them to violate church doctrine.
ObamaCare declares birth control is preventive medicine, and must be covered.
A reader wrote and asked if he could expect to have his expensive running shoes covered in the future because by running 35-40 miles a week, “I am helping prevent a serious medical problem?”
Editorial writer Karin Klein replied in part:
It’s conceivable that at some point the government would offer some sort of incentive, perhaps a tax deduction, for healthy living– perhaps not at the point of running apparel, but possibly for, say, gym memberships…
There you have it.
To the deep thinkers at the LAT, when the government takes your money via taxes, then offers you “free” medical care, it obtains the right to dictate your lifestyle.
All in all, 2011 provided us with some pretty good news. For one thing, our military took care of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, God got rid of Kim Jong-Il and, for good measure, Barney Frank finally got around to announcing his retirement.
It was to be expected that Jimmy Carter, who insisted on paying his last respects to the otherwise unlamented Yasser Arafat, was probably the only person in the civilized world demented enough to send his sincere condolences to North Korea on the passing of its longtime dictator, the aforementioned Kim Jong-Il. So it is that although Carter’s claim to the title of Worst President of the United States has been usurped by Barack Obama, Mr. Peanut retains clear title to being the Worst Ex-President of the United States.
Speaking of titles, I had been unaware until reading his obituary that among Kim Jong-Il’s own honorifics were Best Leader Who Realized Human Wisdom; Master of Literature, Arts and Architecture; Humankind’s Greatest Musical Genius: World’s Greatest Writer; and, contrary to Al Gore’s opinion, Greatest Man Who Ever Lived.
One of the titles I fully expected to see, but didn’t, was Greatest Golfer in the Universe. After all, even the likes of Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and Arnold Palmer, could only fantasize about shooting a round of 38 that included 11 holes-in-one. Although I have no reason on earth to doubt the North Korean news agency that reported such a miraculous round of golf, I have always wondered why Jong-Il required 27 shots to complete those other seven holes. I can only imagine that those damn little windmills threw him off his game.
An odd coincidence is that I believe 38 is the same score that Obama once reported bowling, a score that justifiably earned him the title of World’s Biggest Wienie.
Speaking of the man who is destined to take his place with the likes of James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding and Jimmy Carter, as America’s most inept one-term presidents, Obama has been accused of picking winners and losers in the business world by subsidizing the winners with our tax dollars. Furthermore, cynics claim that he selects them solely on the basis of the owners’ financial contributions to his re-election campaign. Pshaw! Even someone as openly partisan as I am can see how unjust that is. If that charge had any merit at all, Solyndra, as well as several other green energy concerns handpicked by this administration would be flourishing. So where, I ask on Obama’s behalf, are all these alleged winners? Instead, I say that Obama has exhibited the exact same questionable instincts when picking winners in the world of commerce that he’s shown in picking cabinet members, friends and religious mentors.
Finally, in all the squabbling between Republican presidential contenders, I have yet to hear anyone utter the unfortunate truth about Arabs and Muslims. For all the joyous blather that greeted the so-called Arab spring, the world has had no reason to rejoice over the results in Egypt, Libya or Syria. For their part, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, continue to be the same cesspools they were before America sacrificed blood and treasure in the hope of protecting one group of medieval terrorists from another.
In Saudi Arabia, one of our alleged allies in that part of the world, school textbooks continue to promote the official Islamic bilge that women are “weak and irresponsible,” that homosexuals “should be killed,” and that “the hour of judgment will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.”
In the meantime, any Christian unfortunate enough to find himself in the Middle East is fair game for jihadists.
But all the while, we Americans are trained to parrot the lie, so often repeated by George Bush and Barack Obama, that Islam is a religion of peace and that America’s Muslims — in spite of Major Hasan’s murderous rampage at Fort Hood, the campaign to erect a victory mosque at Ground Zero, and the Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan, who, along with their friends and relatives in Gaza, celebrated on 9/11 — are every bit as benign and patriotic as the folks in the Tea Party movement.
Until we get a president who is willing to acknowledge that we are at war with Islamic fundamentalists; that Muslims played absolutely no role in the creation of the United States; that they are dedicated to a worldwide caliphate, whose primary goal would be the extermination of Jews and Christians; and that in any war waged between one Muslim sect and another, our place should be on the sidelines, cheering them on; we will continue being drawn into one bloody and ultimately futile enterprise after another.
Our President of windmills and solar panels has finally taken notice of the natural gas boom, and naturally, wants to take credit.
He knows no shame — the energy independence the US is about to enjoy is despite him, not because of him.
…[what]really floored me was Obama’s taking credit for the increase in US oil and gas production over the last several years. It is certainly true that, against all predictions of peak oil, new technologies have helped drive a surge in US hydrocarbon production. Combined with a recession-driven drop in demand, America’s oil imports as a percentage of its total use has dropped to 45.6%, the lowest level in over 15 years.
This surge in energy production is a fabulous reminder of how markets work. For years I have written that the peak oil folks were missing something fundamental by performing an overly static analysis. They looked at current “proven” reserves of oil and gas and projected forward how many years it would take for these to run out. But oil and gas reserve numbers only make sense in the context of a particular set of technologies and pricing levels. As hydrocarbons run short, rising prices tend to spur both innovation and new, more expensive exploration activity. Oil and gas companies are once again proving Julian Simon’s addage that the only true scarcity is human brain power, and they should be given a lot of credit for the recent production boom.
The one person who deserves no credit for this boom is Barack Obama. in fact, this Administration has bent over backwards to make oil and gas production and exploration as difficult as possible.
Carpe Diem has a handy graph.
A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about “global warming.” Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.
In September, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever, a supporter of President Obama in the last election, publicly resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) with a letter that begins: “I did not renew [my membership] because I cannot live with the [APS policy] statement: ‘The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.’ In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?”
In spite of a multidecade international campaign to enforce the message that increasing amounts of the “pollutant” carbon dioxide will destroy civilization, large numbers of scientists, many very prominent, share the opinions of Dr. Giaever. And the number of scientific “heretics” is growing with each passing year. The reason is a collection of stubborn scientific facts.
Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. This is known to the warming establishment, as one can see from the 2009 “Climategate” email of climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” But the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2.
The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause. Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted (more…)
Much of Europe did just that. The inflation chart is from North Shore Journal.
|Item||Unit||Jan 2009||Dec 2011||I/D||Perc|
|Gasoline, unl reg||gal||$1.787||$3.278||$1.491||83.44%|
|Fuel oil, #2||gal||$2.509||$3.777||$1.268||50.54%|
|Cookies, Choc chip||lb||$3.114||$3.682||$0.568||18.24%|
|Spaghetti & macaroni||lb||$1.131||$1.306||$0.175||15.47%|
|Eggs, A lrg||doz||$1.850||$1.874||$0.024||1.30%|
We Californians would love to see $3.27 cent gasoline. Of course, Obama’s Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, is on record saying he wanted Americans to pay the same price for gas as Europeans.
Last March, Germans paid $8.35/gallon. Which means Obama’s wrecking crew still has its work cut out for them.
The Economist on the Zero Sum president:
…For a president whose hallmark has been soaring orations promising hope, however, Mr Obama’s take on the global economy is strikingly bleak and depressing.
The president was not so unreasonable as to suggest that the American economy could recapture all of its lost manufacturing jobs. Nor was he wrong to point out that countries like China have used direct subsidies, financial shenanigans and currency manipulation to give their exporters a leg up. Yet at no point did he attempt to justify the unstated assumption that what America ought really to do is develop an economy like China’s—a place, recall, scarcely one-sixth as rich as America, riddled with potentially debilitating economic imbalances, and governed by an unaccountable monopoly of a communist party. Perhaps more distressing, he implied in several places that the reason to become more like China was that only by doing so could America defeat China, and others, at economics. Consider the line:
Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you – America will always win.
Leaving others, one is forced to conclude, to lose—not once, not occasionally, but always. And what is likely to be the outcome of unending defeat? Destitution? Are we to hope that other countries are left with no gainful employment opportunities at all? If that means dreadful poverty, then Mr Obama ought to be dragged before an international tribunal. But maybe it’s not so bad, in which case we have to wonder why it’s so damned important to “win” whatever contest it is we’re having. Is the implication that it’s possible to get by all right, to not be poor, without having lots of demanding manufacturing jobs? That doesn’t sound so bad, actually; are we sure America doesn’t want to sign up for that? Of course, if this is the nature of economic activity, and if America is determined to defeat other countries, it’s worth asking whether it wouldn’t make sense to deliberately sabotage other places, or bomb them; after all, it’s hard to lose to a country whose people are dead. On the other hand, if victory is so important, we might expect other countries to retaliate, or preemptively attack. Maybe it would be better if the world divided itself into two competing but fairly isolated factions locked in a sort of “cold war”.
Later, the president added:
Don’t let other countries win the race for the future.
The context, innocuously enough, was in calling for greater support for American research and development efforts. But the language of this statement is either daft or ghastly, depending on how charitably one is willing to read it. Is Mr Obama so dense as to miss that when America invents things other countries benefit, and vice versa? If a German discovers a cure for cancer, shouldn’t we be ecstatic about that, rather than angry? Indeed, shouldn’t we be quite happy and interested in ensuring that Germans and Britons and Indians have the capability and opportunity to develop fantastic new technologies? In the more nefarious reading, Mr Obama seems to accept that only relative standing really matters. A sick, poor world in which America always triumphs is preferable in all cases to one in which America maybe doesn’t “win” the race to discover every last little thing that’s out there to be discovered. And hell, one has to ask again whether the easiest way to prevent other countries from winning the race for the future isn’t simply to blow up their labs.
Look, I understand the forgiving interpretation of these remarks. Americans are motivated by competition and patriotism, and if that’s the only way to rally the country behind fundamentally sound policies like subsidies for basic research, then that’s the card you play. And, in practice, Mr Obama’s reforms will probably not do much more than offset the crummy, mercantilist choices made by other governments elsewhere. No one is talking about going back to the early 19th century, or to the days of communist containment.
I don’t see that that’s an acceptable excuse. People who live outside of America are people just like Americans, and we should all rejoice in their rising prosperity, the more so when it occurs through additions to the stock of human knowledge that will benefit people everywhere. If an American president can’t communicate that simple idea to his citizenry, out of fear that he’ll be drummed out of office on a wave of nationalistic outrage, then he doesn’t deserve to be president and his country doesn’t deserve to win a damned thing, least of all the right to call itself “exceptional”, a beacon of hope and freedom. A zero-sum world is a world without hope, and if Mr Obama is convinced that’s what we’re in then I don’t see much need for him to stick around.
Fair share indeed. IBD:
…A new report just out from the Internal Revenue Service reveals that 36 of President Obama’s executive office staff owe the country $833,970 in back taxes. These people working for Mr. Fair Share apparently haven’t paid any share, let alone their fair share.
Previous reports have shown how well-paid Obama’s White House staff is, with 457 aides pulling down more than $37 million last year. That’s up seven workers and nearly $4 million from the Bush administration’s last year.
Nearly one-third of Obama’s aides make more than $100,000 with 21 being paid the top White House salary of $172,200, each.
The IRS’ 2010 delinquent tax revelations come as part of a required annual agency report on federal employees’ tax compliance. Turns out, an awful lot of folks being paid by taxpayers are not paying their own income taxes.
The report finds that thousands of federal employees owe the country more than $3.4 billion in back taxes. That’s up 3% in the past year.
That scale of delinquency could annoy voters, hard-pressed by their own costs, fears and stubbornly high unemployment despite Joe Biden’s many promises.
The tax offenders include employees of the U.S. Senate who help write the laws imposed on everyone else. They owe $2.1 million. Workers in the House of Representatives owe $8.5 million, Department of Education employees owe $4.3 million and over at Homeland Security, 4,697 workers owe about $37 million. Active duty military members owe more than $100 million.
The Treasury Department, where Obama nominee Tim Geithner had to pay up $42,000 in his own back taxes before being confirmed as secretary, has 1,181 other employees with delinquent taxes totaling $9.3 million….
Obama thought he’d cracked a joke during his SOTU (see video below) when he was commenting about the absurdity of many federal regulations. The one he cited defined spilled milk as oil.
Ha ha. He’s gonna fix that absurdity, right? Why else scoff at it publicly?
Yet when the BP oil spill happened, he let an even dumber regulation stand in the way of averting a disaster.
Within three days of the spill, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill.
But the offer was ignored or rejected, as we noted at the time.
Ironically, the superior European technology runs afoul of U.S. environmental rules. The voracious Dutch vessels, for example, continuously suck up vast quantities of oily water, extract most of the oil and then spit overboard vast quantities of nearly oil-free water. Nearly oil-free isn’t good enough for the U.S. regulators, who have a standard of 15 parts per million — if water isn’t at least 99.9985% pure, it may not be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.
So instead of cleaning the oil and returning nearly pristine water to the Gulf, the Obama administration stuck to its stupid rules.
Obama seemed to miss that punchline.
Warren Buffet’s secretary, Debbie Bosanek, served as a stage prop for President Obama’s State of the Union speech. She was the President’s chief display of the alleged unfairness of our tax system – a little person paying a higher tax rate than her billionaire boss.
Bosanek’s prominent role in Obama’s “fairness” campaign piqued my curiosity, and I imagine the curiosity of others. How much does her boss pay this downtrodden woman? So far, no one has volunteered this information.
We can get an approximate answer by consulting IRS data on tax rates by adjusted gross income, which would approximate her salary, assuming she does not have significant dividend, interest or capital-gains income (like her boss). I assume Buffet keeps her too busy for her to hold a second job. I also do not know if she is married and filing jointly. If so, it is deceptive for Obama to use her as an example. The higher rate may be due to her husband’s income. So I assume the tax rate Obama refers to is from her own earnings.
Insofar as Buffet (like Mitt Romney) earns income primarily from capital gains, which are taxed at 15 percent (and according to Obama need to be raised for reasons of fairness), we need to determine how much income a taxpayer like Bosanek must earn in order to pay an average tax rate above fifteen percent. This is easy to do.
The IRS publishes detailed tax tables by income level. The latest results are for 2009. They show that taxpayers earning an adjusted gross income between$100,000 and $200,000 pay an average rate oftwelve percent. This is below Buffet’s rate; so she must earn more than that. Taxpayers earning adjusted gross incomes of $200,000 to $500,000, pay an average tax rate of nineteen percent. Therefore Buffet must pay Debbie Bosanke a salary above two hundred thousand…