Some Think President Obama Has a Plan

Obama Loves His Mirror

Another article at VOA suggests something strange. ‘Obama Promotes Plan to Fight Rising Fuel Prices‘ is the title. The author states ‘Obama told students that the price increases are mostly a result of events in other parts of the world.’ That is because America imports too much oil.

According to the VOA report Obama said ‘his administration has approved an unprecedented amount of domestic oil and gas production’. Countering that claim is a quote from Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs for the Denver-based Western Energy Alliance. ‘Because of the 5- to 10-year bureaucratic lead time on public lands, production today is the result of actions taken years ago in prior administrations’.

True or not this blog has an opinion on the issue of energy in general and oil specifically that may not be shared by others. Some of this has been stated here in earlier posts. On the topic of ‘drill, baby, drill’ why would an American oil company increase domestic production when they can simply import oil to sell in America? Regardless of estimates on the size and location of fossil fuel deposits around the world everyone should certainly agree on one thing. There is a finite supply of oil in the world and it is not a renewable resource.

Wouldn’t it be better for America to use oil from other parts of the world and save our own resources until other sources are depleted or unavailable? While I may agree with the President that alternative sources of energy should be pursued his statements on that and his so-called plan do nothing in the near term. The economic viability of alternative energy sources are many decades away. We need to solve certain problems with energy right now.

No one is really being honest about energy policy. Energy companies have their agenda. Liberals have an agenda on energy as do conservatives. What is the true situation with regard to domestic oil production? Is our refining capacity up to the task? Can automakers do anything else to improve vehicle performance? Are consumers willing to pay more at the pump or the dealership? Are Americans willing to change their habits with regard to transportation?

The Keystone XL pipeline would bring energy resources from Canada. While not what I would call true domestic energy production it certainly has advantages over other energy imports. A news source linked in this post suggests some of the oil and gas leases on public lands are operating at a rate of 43% with a third in production and the rest in exploration. It was also noted that government approval causes serious delays in development.

It seems to me that as a nation we need to produce enough energy domestically to keep prices relatively stable year round. I don’t expect America to become completely independent with regard to energy but the current and historical trends don’t suggest optimism. The topic of energy always makes me wonder why the pursuit of nuclear fusion has not been successful?

I sometimes feel like a conspiracy theorist because of my suspicion that problems with conventional energy issues and the promise of nuclear fusion are being carefully influenced by powerful groups or individuals. It seems we have grappled with these issues far too long. It should be reasonable to expect enough ingenuity and ability exists in America to have provided solutions by now. The blame game continues and nothing really changes. Is that by design?

Stanford Matthews
MoreWhat.com

The Non-Partisan Fallacy

The author of some content at VOA dated February 25, 2012 may be trying to suggest his article is objective by referencing a report from a group described as ‘non-patisan’. The article is titled, ‘GOP Contenders Policies Would Raise US Debt: Study’. Two paragraphs from the article raise the red flags of skepticism.

But an independent study commissioned by the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says fixing the U.S. economy will not be easy.

Former Republican Congressman Bill Frenzel with the committee’s U.S. Budget Watch project says economic policies championed by the four contenders, need more work.

You cannot simply allow a claim that someone or something is ‘non-partisan’ when talking politics. Author Mil Arcega’s second paragraph above makes it hard not to notice a partisan influence with the words ‘former Republican Congressman’.

The committee’s own site offers its history and influence from both major political parties.

In 1980, Robert Giaimo (D-CT) and Henry Bellmon (R-OK) both left Congress. Mr. Giaimo served 20 years as United States Representative including four years as Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget. Mr. Bellmon served 12 years as United States Senator and was the ranking Republican on the Committee on the Budget from its inception in 1975. The two fiscal policy leaders decided to convene a group including other former Budget Committee Chairmen, former Directors of the Office of Management and Budget, leading economists, and businessmen. The group concluded that the country needed an organization outside government committed to sound budget process. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget was incorporated June 10, 1981.

If you look further into The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the New America Foundation, related people and organizations you will realize they are anything but non=partisan.

After panning GOP candidates’ on their economic plans with no supporting evidence the last sentence of the article is perhaps the most telling.

The group says it plans to release a separate analysis of President Obama’s economic agenda.

First, where have these people been for the last three years? Did they notice that President Obama’s budget proposal last year was rejected in a Democrat=controlled Senate by a vote of 0-97? Did they not notice that President Obama’s budget proposal this year was panned by editorials across America? How about the longest sustained period of high unemployment since WWII? Did they not notice the record high budget deficits of the nation’s first black and white President?

As for this so called committee analysis of GOP candidates for President in 2012 everyone should keep something in mind. What candidates for office offer as plans are no guarantee of what will really happen. Their plans are subject to change without notice and other people and events will influence the results.

The VOA article echoed support for higher taxes. Considering the fact no real spending cuts have developed you might expect discussions on fiscal issues to demand them. But no, liberals are content to raise taxes and spend more borrowing what they can’t steal. Effective spending cuts never enter the equation. That is why our economic problems keep getting worse.

Stanford Matthews
MoreWhat.com

How to Lower the Price at the Pump

Americans need to be aware of the basic idea of supply and demand and how they can control the ‘price at the pump’. The general public may have a short memory so this information is provided as a serious and necessary reminder. Forget the politicians and their remedies for rising gasoline prices. Read the following information carefully.

2008: oil prices peak and then decline

On July 15, 2008, a sell-off began after remarks by Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, indicated significant demand destruction within the US because of high prices. Bernanke’s statement precipitated an $8 drop, the biggest since the first US-Iraq war. By the end of the week, crude oil fell 11% to $128, also affected by easing of tensions between the US and Iran. By August 13, prices had fallen to $113 a barrel. By the middle of September, oil price fell below $100 for the first time in over six months, falling below $92 in the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.

A stronger US dollar and a likely decline in European demand were suggested to be among the causes of the decline. By October 24, the price of crude dropped to $64.15, and closed at $60.77 on November 6.

To summarize and highlight the incredible power of consumer demand, or lack of it in this case, crude oil prices dropped from about $146 per barrel to less than $61 per barrel in less than four months due to a sustained decrease in demand from consumers.

So what did the falling price in crude oil do to prices at the pump during that time? According to the US Energy Information Administration:

Jul-08     4.062
Aug-08     3.779
Sep-08     3.703
Oct-08     3.051
Nov-08     2.147
Dec-08     1.687
Jan-09     1.788
Feb-09     1.923
Mar-09     1.959
Apr-09     2.049

Really folks, all it takes to lower prices at the pump for gasoline is for all of us to limit our purchases for a relatively short period of time and prices will fall drastically. So do it now before summer gets here and we’ll be ahead of the game.

Stanford Matthews
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Anti-war Nutroots in Campaign Mode

New Deal

Although rare I occasionally stop at a liberal website or two just to see what the liberals are doing. It was the fourth post at Daily Kos on my arrival.

Netroots For The Troops: ‘Nobody understands’

Netroots For The Troops® is holding a blogathon this week, Feb. 20-24, to raise funds to send Care Packages to soldiers overseas and, this year for the first time, we are also sending Care Packages domestically to VA hospitals.

Please join Sen. Kerry, Gov. Dean, Elizabeth Warren and many kossacks as we blog to give our gift of support to our soldiers at home and overseas.

Swiftboat Kerry, ‘Dean Scream’ Howard Dean and liberal extraordinaire Elizabeth Warren along with the other nutroots claim to be supporting the troops. Are these the same people who support MoveOn dot org and memories of disgusting displays with regard to General David Petraeus?

The anti-war crowd who spit on returning veterans and worse is now sending ‘care packages’ to the troops? Elizabeth Warren may have no history on the topic of war, defense or the military but draft dodger Dean and Swiftboat Kerry do.

You have to wonder what the liberals are up to with this one? It’s fitting they use the word ‘kossacks’ to describe themselves as these commies have never supported the military, our nation’s founding principles or traditional American values.

Have the nutroots decided their ideology is so unpopular they need a public relations campaign to improve their sad image? Considering the fact the three Democrats promoted in this ‘campaign’ are all wealthy limousine liberals like Al ‘I invented the internet’ Gore you have to wonder why Occupy Wall Street hasn’t attacked them?

Okay, I don’t wonder, they’re all part of the same club. Rich liberals want everyone else beholding to the government that they want to control to wield power. It’s an election year so the liberals are looking for the ‘independent’ vote to add to their 50% who don’t pay taxes and live off the government dole.

This is what wealthy liberal Warren thinks of the American dream:

“You built a factory out there? Good for you,” she says. “But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.”

For a woman who is supposed to be intelligent, well-educated and in possession of a reputation some define as laudable her statements above demonstrate one of two things. She is either a liar or incompetent. Using the phrase ‘the rest of us’ assumes everyone contributed. Nearly 50% pay no federal income tax. If they have payroll taxes collected it is to be used for entitlements for their benefit. The highest income producers pay the majority of tax in this country. The person who ‘built the factory’ creates jobs, economic growth, produces more revenue for the government including that used for roads, education and emergency services than Warren’s mythical ‘rest of us’.

Warren, Kerry and Dean are all wealthy people with strange interpretations about what America is. The nutroots are their followers and enablers. What none of them subscribe to is individual rights AND responsibility. And I am one of their most hated demographics. Older white American male who is conservative and believes in our nation’s founding principles.

The short list is limited government, free markets, individual rights and responsibility as well as the rule of law, national security, defense and not to be ignored, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Did I forget to mention traditional American values like marriage is between one man and one woman, life begins at conception and illegals must go while I cling to my bible and guns if I so choose?

God bless America and conservatives who are not going away. If we have our way again this election cycle even more liberals and RINOs will be removed from office.

Stanford Matthews
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Rights and Responsibility in America: Civics Literacy (64)

Benjamin Franklin, elder statesman of the Revolution and oldest signer of both the Declaration and the Constitution, sat on the committee that drafted the Declaration, attended the Constitutional Convention, and distinguished himself as a diplomat. But he was a self-made and self-educated intellectual colossus whose interests far transcended politics. He won international renown as a printer-publisher, author, philosopher, scientist, inventor, and philanthropist. On both sides of the Atlantic he mingled with the social elite, whom he impressed with his sagacity, wit, and zest for life.

Benjamin FranklinFranklin was born in 1706 at Boston. He was the tenth son of a soap- and candle-maker. He received some formal education but was principally self-taught. After serving an apprenticeship to his father between the ages of 10 and 12, he went to work for his half-brother James, a printer. In 1721 the latter founded the New England Courant, the fourth newspaper in the Colonies. Benjamin secretly contributed to it 14 essays, his first published writings.

In 1723, because of dissension with his half-brother, Franklin moved to Philadelphia. He spent only a year there, and then sailed to London for two more years. Back in Philadelphia, he rose rapidly in the printing industry. He published The Pennsylvania Gazette (1730-48), which had been founded by another man in 1728, but his most successful venture was annual Poor Richard’s Almanac (1733-58). It won a popularity in the Colonies second only to the Bible, and its fame eventually spread to Europe.

Meantime, in 1730 Franklin had taken a common-law wife, who was to bear him a son and a daughter, as was another woman out of wedlock. By 1748 he had achieved financial independence and gained recognition for his philanthropy and the stimulus he provided to such worthwhile civic causes as libraries, educational institutions, and hospitals. Energetic and tireless, he also found time to pursue his deep interest in science, as well as enter politics.

Franklin served as clerk (1736-51) and member (1751-64) of the colonial legislature, and as deputy postmaster of Philadelphia (1737-53) and deputy postmaster general of the Colonies (1753-74). In addition, he represented Pennsylvania at the Albany Congress (1754), called to unite the Colonies during the French and Indian War. The congress adopted his “Plan of Union,” but the colonial assemblies rejected it because it encroached on their powers.

During the years 1757-62 and 1764-75, Franklin resided in England, originally in the capacity of agent for Pennsylvania and later for Georgia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. During the latter period, which coincided with the growth of colonial unrest, he under went a political metamorphosis. Until then a contented Englishman in outlook, primarily concerned with Pennsylvania provincial politics, he distrusted popular movements and saw little purpose to be served in carrying principle to extremes. Until the issue of parliamentary taxation undermined the old alliances, he led the conservative Quaker party in its attack on the Anglican proprietary party and its Presbyterian frontier cohorts. His purpose throughout the years at London in fact had been displacement of the Penn family administration by royal authority—the conversion of the province from a proprietary to a royal colony.

It was during the Stamp Act crisis that Franklin evolved from leader of a shattered provincial party’s faction to celebrated spokesman at London for American rights. Although as agent for Pennsylvania he opposed by every conceivable persuasive means enactment of the bill in 1765, he did not at first realize the depth of colonial hostility. He regarded passage as unavoidable and preferred to submit to it while actually working for its repeal. His nomination of a friend and political ally as stamp distributor in Pennsylvania, coupled with his apparent acceptance of the legislation, armed his proprietary opponents with explosive issues. Their energetic exploitation of them endangered his reputation at home until reliable information was published demonstrating his unabated opposition. For a time, mob resentment threatened his family and new home in Philadelphia until his tradesmen supporters rallied. Subsequently, Franklin’s defense of the American position in the House of Commons during the debates over the Stamp Act’s repeal restored his prestige at home.

Franklin returned to Philadelphia in May 1775, and immediately became a Member of the Continental Congress. Thirteen months later, he served on the committee that drafted the Declaration. According to a traditional anecdote, when he finished signing he declared, “Gentlemen, we must now all hang together, or we shall most assuredly all hang separately.” He subsequently contributed to the Government in other important ways, and took over the duties of president of the Pennsylvania constitutional convention.

But, within less than a year and a half after his return, the aged statesman set sail once again for Europe, beginning a career as diplomat that would occupy him for most of the rest of his life. In 1776-79, one of three commissioners, he directed the negotiations that led to treaties of commerce and alliance with France, where the people adulated him, but he and the other commissioners squabbled constantly. While he was sole commissioner to France (1779-85), he and John Jay and John Adams negotiated the Treaty of Paris (1783), which ended the War for Independence.

Back in the United States, in 1785-87 Franklin became president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. At the Constitutional Convention (May 1787), though he did not approve of many aspects of the finished document, he lent his prestige, soothed passions, and compromised disputes. In his twilight years, working on his Autobiography, he could look back on a fruitful life as the toast of two continents. Active nearly to the last, in 1787 he was elected as first president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery—a cause to which he had committed himself as early as the 1730′s. His final public act was signing a memorial to Congress recommending dissolution of the slavery system. Shortly thereafter, in 1790 at the age of 84, Franklin passed away in Philadelphia and was buried in Christ Church Burial Ground.

Army Charges Manning

Army Charges Manning With Leaking Intelligence

Army News Service

FORT MEADE, Md., Feb. 24, 2012 – Army Pfc. Bradley E. Manning was arraigned here yesterday on 22 charges that include wrongfully releasing intelligence, theft of records and aiding the enemy.

Manning elected to defer his plea and also to defer the forum selection for his court-martial — whether he will be tried by a judge or a panel. The court set a tentative date of March 15 or 16 for the next session to hear pretrial motions.

Manning was charged with aiding the enemy in violation of Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He also was charged with 16 specifications under Article 134 of the UCMJ: wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy.

He was charged with five specifications of theft of public property or records, in violation of 18 U.S. Code 641; eight specifications of transmitting defense information, in violation of 18 USC 793(e); two specifications of fraud and related activity in connection with computers in violation of 18 USC 1030(a)(1); and five specifications under UCMJ Article 92 for violating Army regulations 25-2, Information Assurance, and 380-5, Department of the Army Information Security Program.

If convicted of all charges against him, Manning would face a maximum punishment of reduction to the lowest enlisted pay grade, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, confinement for life and a dishonorable discharge.

Most of the 16 specifications against Article 134 relate to Manning giving “intelligence to the enemy, through indirect means” while at Contingency Operating Station Hammer, Iraq, between November 2009 and May 2010. He is charged with sharing illegally accessed intelligence with “a person not entitled to receive it.”

Specification 10 of Article 134 says Manning obtained and then divulged five classified records relating to a military operation in Afghanistan’s Farah province on or about May 4, 2009, with reason to believe the information could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.

Casual Friday: Rick Santorum for President

I support Rick Santorum for President. I’m not surprised that Ann Coulter supports Mitt Romney given she did in 2008. But in 2008 Romney caved to McCain which allowed Obama to win. That is why I did not support Romney in 2012 but did in 2008 before I was forced to hold my nose and vote for McCain. Coulter also had a less than inspiring 2011 CPAC speech considering she wrote a book called, ‘Godless: The Church of Liberalism’.

Why am I dissin’ Ann Coulter? Initially I liked the fact her writing and public speaking really annoys liberals. I won’t be specific but her 2011 CPAC speech raised a few red flags about her conservative credentials in much the same way as some of Laura Ingraham’s comments have in the last year or so.

It is troubling to me that a trend has developed. I once was a fan of Sarah Palin. When Palin betrayed her popularity with conservatives in 2010 by backing RINOs that changed. Since then I have become suspicious of both Ingraham and Coulter. That bothers me. They are of course all women.

But so is Michele Bachmann. She was my first choice for President in 2012. As explained here earlier I viewed Bachmann and Santorum as the only true conservatives in the 2012 campaign for President. I chose Bachmann because at the time I was more familiar with her than Santorum. Since Bachmann withdrew I have supported Santorum.

While it troubles me that I have reservations about the conservative credentials of Palin, Ingraham and Coulter there is no such problem with Michele Bachmann. For slightly different reasons the same holds true for Rick Santorum. I do not question his conservatism.

Santorum is being criticized for his debate performance in Arizona this week. While Newt Gingrich decided to rework his campaign strategy and the equally transparent and sinister alliance between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul rigged the debate against Santorum the former Senator from Pennsylvania told the truth.

As much as it bothers me politics is an integral part of governing. Just as you cannot govern if you do not win the election a political price must be paid even for worthy goals while ‘in office’.

For instance, Santorum is criticized for supporting RINO Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey. The idea that this was the price to pay in order to confirm certain nominees for the Supreme Court demonstrates the tangled proposition of politics and governance. While it may not have been possible to forecast at the time Arlen Specter is now gone and Pat Toomey is a Senator from Pennsylvania. If this resulted in better justices confirmed to the SCOTUS it was certainly worthwhile.

There are other details to discuss about Santorum as well as the other candidates. Barring some catastrophic political disaster I will continue to support Rick Santorum for President. Another term for Barack Obama is unacceptable. Try on those politics.

Stanford Matthews
MoreWhat.com

Criticism of Obama’s Corporate Tax Proposal From Various Sources Offered by Senator Orrin Hatch

This is the third of three posts on President Obama’s Corporate Tax Proposal. The first offered an opinion from this blog with one from Senator Max Baucus of the Senate Finance Committee. That was followed by a similar post including the opinion of Senator Orrin Hatch from the Senate Finance Committee.

This one features commentary from others offered again by Senator Hatch. Keep in mind the fact none of these opinions or those of Baucus or Hatch include promoting the idea of a fixed percentage for income tax and elimination of all other taxes. It is an idea we need to stop ignoring.

Stanford Matthews
MoreWhat.com

For Immediate Release
February 23, 2012
Contact:

Julia Lawless, Antonia Ferrier, 202.224.4515
What People Are Saying About the Obama Administration’s Corporate Tax Reform Framework

“Miss the mark,” “more complicated for a small-business owner,” “adds complexity,” “not making sense,” “totally misguided,” and “devil’s in the details, which aren’t there,” is how America’s job creators and economists alike are talking about the President’s Corporate Tax Reform Framework. Let’s take a look:

America’s Job Creators:

“The president suggests some changes that will help, but many of the proposals completely miss the mark and would make U.S. businesses less competitive,” said National Association of Manufacturers President and Chief Executive Officer Jay Timmons. (WSJ, 2/22/12)

“Once again, President Obama has demonstrated that he knows big business, not small,” said Dan Danner, CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business. “For the last several years, small-business owners have been trying to convey to Washington, D.C., that the uncertainty of its policies makes it incredibly difficult to run a business and plan for the future and today’s announcement of corporate tax reform shows that Washington still does not understand. Reforming the corporate tax code does not help the majority of small businesses; in fact, it creates even more uncertainty by taking away the deductions that many small-business owners count on each year. Furthermore, as complicated as the tax code is, this plan from the administration will make it even more complicated for a small-business owner. At what point does big business stop dictating the policies in Washington, D.C.? The focus should be on individual rate reform, keeping the tax rates for small business low, and allowing small businesses to actually grow and create jobs, as opposed to being a piggy bank for the IRS.” (NFIB Press Release, 2/22/12)

“The last comprehensive tax reform in the United States was a generation ago. The U.S. tax system has become increasingly outdated, complicated and uncompetitive as the world economies have grown more interconnected,” Business Roundtable (BRT) President John Engler said. “The framework adds complexity and raises taxes, moving us away from the rest of the world.” (BRT Press Release, 2/22/12)

“The president’s proposal is partially undermined by a number of proposed tax increases, such as the proposal to create a new global minimum tax for American companies,” said Kenneth Bentsen, executive vice president for public policy at SIFMA. (WSJ, 2/22/12)

“Government shouldn’t use the tax code to pick winners and losers,” said Katherine Lugar, executive vice president for public affairs of Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). “Unfortunately, the president’s proposal preserves special preferences that give some industries advantages at the expense of others.” (The Hill, 2/22)

“Reform needs to address small businesses as well as corporations, and needs to be fair to all industries rather than favoring one over another,” said Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation president and chief executive. (The Hill, 2/22)

Economists:

“So far, a persuasive case for a manufacturing policy remains to be made…,” said former Obama Administration economics advisor Christina Romer said. (NY Times, 2/4)

“The administration is not making sense,” says Martin Sullivan, contributing editor at publisher Tax Analysts. “The whole idea of corporate tax reform is to get rid of loopholes, and this plan is adding loopholes back in.” (Associated Press, 2/22)

“The minimum tax proposal for international earnings ‘is totally misguided both from a competitive standpoint and a jobs standpoint,’ said Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. ‘Obama’s plan, if enacted, will shrink the U.S. footprint in world markets and lose jobs.’” (Associated Press, 2/22)

“But the devil is in the details, which aren’t there,” said Scott Brown, chief economist with Raymond James. (ABC.com, 2/22)

“And from a political viewpoint, I am worried that once one starts introducing special treatment of one area of the economy, it undermines the case that other areas shouldn’t also get special treatment,” said William Gale of the Tax Policy Center. (ABC.com, 2/22)

Republican Orrin Hatch on President Obama’s Corporate Tax Proposal

Like the previous post on the subject this one offers a Republican Senator’s expressed opinion on President Obama’s Corporate Tax Proposal rather than a Democrat’s. The introduction of the previous post offered a separate opinion on taxes in general. The only addition to be offered here is that beyond a fixed percentage for income tax and no other taxes existing, yes, deductions, credits and loopholes should go away if a fixed percentage tax on incomes are adopted. That requires more details but you should get the idea.

Stanford Matthews
MoreWhat.com

Here’s another lame opinion on taxes from a Republican to add to the one from a Democrat in the previous post:

For Immediate Release
February 22, 2012
Contact:

Julia Lawless, Antonia Ferrier, 202.224.4515
Hatch on Obama Administration’s Corporate Tax Reform Framework

SALT LAKE CITY – U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, issued the following statement today after Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner unveiled a corporate tax reform framework:

“When President Reagan overhauled the tax code, it took him three long years and he pursued it with a laser-like focus. He led; he put forward ideas; and he never stopped working to make tax reform a reality. His commitment stands in sharp contrast to what we are seeing from the White House today.

“America’s tax system is broken to the point that it’s putting our nation at a competitive disadvantage around the world. I’d hoped the White House would recognize the severity of the problem with a real plan and real leadership. But, after months of promises, we instead got a set of bullet points designed more for the campaign trail than an actual blueprint for fixing our tax code.

“Profoundly disappointing in its lack of detail, I told Secretary Geithner yesterday, the devil’s in the details when it comes to reforming our tax system – details that are sorely missing in what was released today. Unfortunately, this so-called framework is murky, ill-defined and contradictory to the goal of reducing complexity and making our tax code more efficient.

“Last Fall, Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee proposed reducing our corporate tax rate to 25 percent and moving to a more efficient territorial tax system. Instead, the Administration today only reduces the corporate rate to 28 percent and retains the antiquated worldwide system of corporate taxation. Instead of simply reducing and eliminating tax preferences, the Administration proposes more. Instead of putting forward real ideas, there’s more of the same political rhetoric that is not designed to move reform forward.

“Furthermore, we should not limit tax reform to the corporate side alone – that wouldn’t be fair to the millions of hard-working American families and the small businesses which account for roughly half of U.S. private sector jobs. Those families and businesses deserve a stronger, more efficient tax code. As I’ve long said, corporate and individual tax reform must go hand-in-hand. Moreover, any so-called reform that includes a back door tax increase isn’t real reform – it’s a ploy to generate more money for Washington to spend.

“I hope the White House changes its tune and demonstrates a real commitment to overhauling our tax code in a real and meaningful way. If they do, they’ll have willing and able partners in Congress working together to advance a strong, pro-growth economic agenda to build a prosperous America.”

NOTE: Last October, as part of their recommendations to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Joint Committee), Senate Finance Committee Republicans said Congress should act to bring the U.S. tax system more in line with other countries’ tax systems by having a territorial system. They further recommended the corporate tax rate be dropped to 25 percent.

Democrat Max Baucus on Obama’s Corporate Tax Proposal

This post offers the stated opinion of the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee on President Obama’s recent corporate tax proposal. It is the opinion of this blog that stated tax reform now is essentially the same as it has been since taxes were invented. That is to say those who are in charge of it simply move things around so they can claim they did something about while the shell game changes nothing or makes it worse.

Taxes should be a simple matter of paying a percentage of income you generate to the ‘state’ and keeping the rest for yourself. There should be no other taxes beyond an ‘income tax’. Again, when you generate an income some of it should be paid in taxes to allow the government to operate under its limited Constitutional powers. No sales, excise, death, or other taxes should exist.

Here’s one lame expression on taxes from Senator Max Baucus:

For Immediate Release
February 22, 2012
Contact:

Communications Office
(202) 224-4515
Baucus Comment on the Administration’s Business Tax Proposal

MEMORANDUM

To: Reporters and Editors
From: The Communications Office of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
Re: Baucus Comment on the Administration’s Business Tax Proposal

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) commented today on the Administration’s proposed business tax reforms that would lower the corporate rate to 28 percent and broaden the taxpayer base. From Chairman Baucus:

“We need a simpler, fairer business tax system that promotes growth and job creation here at home. There is certainly more work to be done, but this framework from the Administration makes an important contribution and helps advance the discussion on tax reform. Businesses are looking for certainty, simplicity and fairness, and replacing the patchwork we have right now with a modern tax system will be a major shot in the arm for our economy.”

John Deere Facility in Russia

Nothing runs like a Deere. Nothing lies like a politician. And nothing is more corrupt than international politics. As a case in point consider the United Nations or the WTO, or World Trade Organization.

In a perfect world the ‘story’ in the press release below would be something to applaud. Pardon the skepticism expressed here but there is always more to the story than a politician states. The phrase quid pro quo comes to mind.

Stanford Matthews
MoreWhat.com

For Immediate Release
February 22, 2012
Contact:

Communications Office
(202) 224-4515
Baucus Tours John Deere Facility in Russia to See U.S. Export Success Story

Finance Chair in Russia to Pursue New Trade Opportunities for U.S. Businesses, Ranchers, Farmers to Create U.S. Jobs

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today toured a John Deere assembly facility in Russia, where the company imports high-tech manufactured parts from the U.S., finishes the final stages of production and sells them to Russian consumers.  Baucus called it an international trade “success story,” because John Deere’s sales in Russia boost the American economy and provide jobs at home by relying on skilled American workers.  John Deere’s U.S. suppliers include three from Montana.  Baucus stressed that giving more companies opportunities to expand abroad will enable companies like these in Montana and across the country to grow and create jobs.  Baucus is in Russia this week pursuing new trade opportunities for U.S. businesses, ranchers and farmers, including through permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia as part of its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).  Congress must approve Russia PNTR this year in order to capitalize on market access for U.S. exports that Russia’s WTO accession will provide.  Doing so could give more companies like John Deere opportunities to create valuable, high-tech manufacturing jobs in the U.S. by expanding sales in Russia.

“John Deere is an example of how expanding trade abroad can boost our economy and create jobs in Montana and across the United States.  This is a success story, and passing permanent normal trade relations for Russia will help more businesses repeat it,” Baucus said.  “Passing permanent normal trade relations for Russia gives us access to the Russian market without the United States giving up anything in return.  We need to capitalize this kind of one-way benefit that helps our economy and our businesses by providing jobs and growth here in the U.S., all at no cost to us whatsoever.”

WTO Members formally invited Russia to join the WTO in December 2011.  Under the rules governing the accession process, Russia will become a WTO Member 30 days after it ratifies its accession agreement, which it must do by early July.  If by that point Congress has not passed legislation providing Russia with PNTR, the United States would not receive the full benefits of Russia joining the WTO and U.S. businesses could lose out on lucrative business opportunities.  U.S. exports to Russia, currently $9 billion per year, are expected to double within five years as a result of Russia joining the WTO.

Baucus, along with his fellow trade leaders in Congress, has insisted on holding Russia to a high standard through the WTO accession process to guarantee that American ranchers, farmers, workers and businesses benefit.

Senator Jim DeMint: Obamacare Versus Individual Freedom

Term limits fixed by legislation is not something I support. That is the only item on which I may disagree with Senator Jim DeMint. This conservative Senator is one of my favorites. So It should not surprise anyone that I offer an op-ed from the gentleman from South Carolina.

Stanford Matthews
MoreWhat.com

February 22, 2012

ObamaCare Versus Individual Freedom
Washington Examiner

Jim DeMint

President Obama’s new mandate requiring all employers to purchase insurance coverage for their employees that includes abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception is an outrage, of course.

But what kind of outrage is it? Most of the public outcry has understandably centered around the mandate’s assault on religious liberty.

The mandate forces every businessman or non-profit executive with religious objections to these products to buy them anyway, or pay a fine.

The mandate is unconstitutional, for its violation of the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause.  It is also illegal, for its violation of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Some of the outrage has been rightly directed specifically at the president, as both the mandate and the underlying law, ObamaCare, are his doing.

Indeed, many pro-life citizens and members of Congress only supported ObamaCare’s passage because the president assured them that conscience rights would be protected. Thus the mandate is also a personal betrayal.

And some of the outrage is more practical.  The Obama administration’s mathematically impossible assertion that abortion drugs, sterilization and contraception will somehow now simply be “free,” and thus not paid for by morally opposed insurance customers, suggests the president believes in magic.

All of these affronts to the rights and intelligence of the American people are enough to warrant the criticism the new mandate has invited.

The violation of conscience rights is simultaneously unconstitutional, illegal, and ridiculous – any one of which are sufficient grounds for its immediate rescission.

Yet, it is still not our true cause of concern.  Ultimately, the character and ideology of the president, and the particular constitutional provisions being trampled by this one mandate are incidental, compared to the manifest threat to freedom intrinsic to ObamaCare itself.

The problem is not how the federal government is abusing its new power in this instance, but that the government – indeed, a single person – suddenly wields this power at all.

To many, the anti-religious freedom mandate seems like the beginning of a slippery slope. Today, the government forces us to buy abortion pills – tomorrow they may force us to pay for euthanasia, or deny expensive treatments to the very weak or very old.

However, just as frightening as the proverbial slippery slope is the proverbial see-saw. If a pro-choice liberal president can force insurance companies to cover the morning after pill, could a pro-life conservative president force them not to?

Could an anti-smoking president deny coverage for lung disease? Could a president who embraced new age, alternative medicine restrict coverage for traditional medical treatments?

The danger is not that they would, but, under ObamaCare, that theycould. That ObamaCare turns the temporary executive of one branch of a limited government into an emperor with absolute power over one-sixth of our economy, and the most intimate of personal life decisions.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “As I would not be a slave, I would not be a master.”  What he meant was that if we ourselves wish to live free of oppression, we have a responsibility not to oppress others.

In the same way, if you don’t want government to coerce your health care choices, you should take great pains not to let government coerce anyone else’s.  Health insurance choices should be as diverse as we are.

But that kind of freedom and diversity is prohibited under ObamaCare. What this latest Obamacare mandate reveals is that this law is fundamentally inconsistent with liberty.

The question is, which is more important?  Is ObamaCare a threat tofreedom?  Or is freedom a threat to ObamaCare?

The controversy over this particular consequence of Washington’s health care takeover will soon be followed by another, and another, and another– the next mandate, the next rationing, the next restriction, the next loss of liberty.

There will be no rest – ever – from these battles so long as ObamaCare remains on the books. Regardless of their outcomes, these battles by definition cannot be won.

All Americans – liberal or conservative, pro-life or pro-choice, devout or secular – must recognize that these skirmishes are a trap, a distraction.

A truly free people would never have them at all.  They are like arguments over the silverware pattern, while our house is burning down.

The threat to our constitution, our God-given rights, and your privacy is not in the government officials who have power over our health care choices.  The real threat is in the poisonous law that gives them that power in the first place.

This controversy has taught us one thing: The government takeover of health care is not merely imperfect, it is essentially corrosive.  It cannot be tweaked.

It cannot be improved on the margins.  It cannot be fixed.  ObamaCare is a cancer, and every last word of it must be repealed.