Archive for November, 2012

Obama won by winning the selfish

While the lamestream media perpetuates the stereotype that Republicans are selfish because we oppose allowing the government to redistribute our wealth to others, the 2012 national exit poll showed that those who cared most about themselves voted for Obama, while Romney carried voters with a more national interest in mind.

Exit pollsters asked voters this question, and respondents provided these answers:

Sample: 10798 respondents

Which ONE of these four candidate qualities mattered most in deciding how you voted for president? (CHECK ONLY ONE) Total Obama Romney

Shares my values

27% 42% 55%

Is a strong leader

18% 38% 61%

Cares about people like me

21% 81% 18%

Has a vision for the future

29% 45% 54%

Two of those choices (“is a strong leader” and “has a vision for the future”) typify a voter that is concerned most about what is best for the country. Those thoughtful voters went for Romney by a combined total of 57% to 42%.

The other two choices (“shares my values” and “cares about people like me“) typify a voter that is concerned most about what is best for himself or herself. Those selfish voters went for Obama by 20 points, 59% to 39%.

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An obvious revenue compromise

The Unablogger

The lame-duck Congress and just plain lame President are leading the nation towards the Fiscal Cliff created by last year’s budget compromise. Republicans want to make the necessary spending cuts, while Democrats seek to redistribute wealth by taxing the rich. In particular, Democrats seek to force Republicans who pledged not to raise taxes to do so, to damage them politically with their base. Democrats recall their 1990 success in chiding then-President George H. W. Bush into breaking his famous “read my lips” pledge and then hammering him relentlessly for doing what they prodded him to do, leading to Bush’s resounding defeat for reelection.

Beyond that political reason, Republicans also resist tax increases because they understand (and Democrats don’t) that rate increases do not necessarily result in revenue increases, because higher taxes reduce consumer spending and cost jobs. Republicans particularly appreciate the negative impact of tax-increases on “the wealthy” on small-business job creators.

Unfortunately, Republicans control only the House of Representatives, and action to avert the Fiscal Cliff requires the cooperation of an uncooperative Democrat president and an uncooperative Democrat majority in the Senate. Averting the fiscal cliff (and the destructive military cuts that would ensue) regrettably but necessarily requires compromising on “revenue.” The key is to identify and utilize revenue sources that either don’t or only minimally hinder job creation. I identified some sources in an earlier post, but some sort of rate increase will also be necessary in order to feed the egos of Democrats who are willing to drive the country over the cliff in order to force tax rate increases down the throats of their hated Republican rivals. The Associated Press reports* that some Democrats, led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), even advocate doing nothing to avert the cliff, for the purely political motive of gaining bargaining leverage.

Here’s an obvious idea. Go ahead and raise the rates for income exceeding $250,000 back to Clinton-era rates, but exempt small business income from the increases. Income from wages, salaries and “passive income” from dividends, interest, royalties and the like which exceed $250,000 in the aggregate would be subject to the higher rates, but the job creators would continue to be subject to their current rates. And make these permanent (as permanent as any Congress is empowered to do), to relieve the job creators of the uncertainty that has hindered them throughout the recession.

Computing business income separately from non-exempt income is easy enough to do. Just use the same method currently used for the separate computation of the tax on qualified dividends and capital gains.

No, this isn’t a perfect plan. Taxpayers subject to the higher rates may not be making hiring decisions, but they are still likely to reduce their consumer spending, which will reduce the amount of tax revenue expected to be generated by the increases. This is reminiscent of the 1990s, when Democrats decided to soak those evil, selfish rich people by enacting an excise tax on yacht purchases, which caused yacht purchases to plummet, which put lots of union boat-builders out of work. Duh! The public outcry forced the then-Democratic Congress to retreat with their tails between their legs and repeal their crown jewel of wealth redistribution. The current proposed rate increase won’t be as targeted as the yacht tax, but private discretionary spending will go down with fewer and/or less expensive vacations and the like, and the lowest-income people will again bear the brunt of the policy.  But that’s the bed the Democrats make, and we should make them sleep in it.

But if we can avoid the draconian cuts to our national security without hamstringing the job creators, let’s do it. It’s the best we can hope for in this divided government.

*The St. Louis Post Dispatch printed part of the AP story (without naming any names), buried on page A15 of its November 14, 2012 issue, but had scrubbed the story from its web site by the time this post was written.

The Libertarian felon is no alternative to Todd Akin

The Unablogger

As I wrote in an earlier post, partisan control of the U.S. Senate probably turns on the Missouri contest between unpopular Democrat incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill and unpopular Republican Rep. Todd Akin. Voters get it that McCaskill looks after whatever is best for the Obama Administration instead of her own constituents, but many remain alienated by Akin’s support for abortion restrictions for a pregnancy that resulted from a rape.

The final poll on the contest by Public Policy Polling shows that Akin has pulled within four points of McCaskill, 48%-44%, leaving McCaskill short of a majority. The only other senate candidate on the ballot, Libertarian Jonathan Dine, drew 6%, with 2% still undecided. Notably, most of those not opting for either McCaskill or Akin appear to be conservative oriented, favoring Romney, 72%-20%. PPP observed, “clearly [Dine]’s pulling from folks who otherwise would have voted Republican. The Dine voters hate Akin- only 12% see him favorably to 67% with a negative opinion. But they hate McCaskill too- only 8% approve of the job she’s doing to 67% who disapprove. If they stay with Dine, McCaskill wins. If they decide the desire for a Republican Senate outweighs their disgust for Akin, then Akin has a chance.”

So, who is Jonathan Dine? For starters, he’s a convicted felon whom Missouri law would bar from the ballot in any state or local contest. (State law may not add additional qualifications (like not being a felon) for candidates for federal office over and above the bare requirements provided in the U.S. Constitution.) In addition to convictions for possession of marijuana (kind of a badge of honor for a Libertarian) and driving while intoxicated, Dine also has a 2005 conviction for identity theft. He favors gay marriage and drug decriminalization, while opposing U.S. “interventionist” foreign policy.

So, let’s get this straight. A set of mostly conservative voters who overwhelmingly and equally (67%) disapprove of both McCaskill and Akin are resolving their conflict by voting for a convicted identity thief who favors gay marriage, drug legalization and a foreign policy the Green Party could endorse?

I am guessing that most Dine backers don’t know about his criminal past or his controversial issue positions (except for pro-pot). The Voters Guide of the St. Louis Post Dispatch makes no mention of Dine’s convictions. Voters just know what Dine isn’t: he isn’t McCaskill, and he isn’t Akin.

Conservatives who are prone to settle on Dine need to consider the broader picture. Their not voting for Akin means victory for McCaskill. And victory for McCaskill most certainly means that Democrats and Harry Reid will keep control of the U.S. Senate, which would allow them to defeat the repeal of Obamacare, let the Bush tax cuts expire (thereby raising taxes across the board), block the entire Romney/Ryan agenda, and prevent Romney from appointing any conservative to the Supreme Court. That’s got to be worse than Akin’s perceived insensitivity towards rape victims.

PPP’s ultimate conclusion bears repeating, “If they stay with Dine, McCaskill wins. If they decide the desire for a Republican Senate outweighs their disgust for Akin, then Akin has a chance.”

If elected, Akin will support the Romney/Ryan reforms that McCaskill would fight tooth and nail. We absolutely need a Republican Senate. We need Todd Akin to be there.

Koster failing on ‘no call list’ enforcement

We are all being barraged by unwanted robocalls. Many of them this time of year are calls about the election, but many others are commercial calls. You know the ones.

“The FBI has noticed an increase in burglaries in your neighborhood!”

“This is an important message about your credit card.” (It really isn’t your credit card company; that’s why they don’t say which card.)

You can probably come up with others; they’ll probably call you today!

We can’t do anything about the political robocalls, because political expression is the very heart of freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment. But Missouri and most other states have laws that restrict commercial calls, whether in-person or robocalls. You can place yourself on a “no call” list. Companies are prohibited from calling numbers on the no-call list.

But annoying commercial calls are up in Missouri. The robocall industry knows that they have nothing to w0rry about, because Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster isn’t enforcing the law. Many aren’t even bothering to ask for the list of numbers to avoid calling: requests for the list are down from previous years.

Maybe Koster doesn’t know he’s supposed to do that. His reelection ads suggest that the only part of the job he cares about is prosecuting criminals. He disparages Republican challenger Ed Martin for never having put a single criminal behind bars, which was also true of most of Koster’s predecessors, including Jack Danforth, John Ashcroft and Jay Nixon. Koster might be surprised to learn that his office has other responsibilities, too, like protecting Missouri’s natural resources and agricultural productivity, administering the workers compensation second injury fund (which is going broke under Koster’s watch), enforcing the Missouri Consumer Protection Act and anti-trust laws, enforcing compliance with state laws by trusts, foundations and non-profit corporations, supervising liquidations of charities. And enforcing the no-call list law.