Chronicle of the Conspiracy
Thursday, December 20, 2007THE LAST WORD It's been a good week for my DC-insider friend "Mick Danger," and for his political allies who averted a political train wreck and ended up with lower taxes and lower spending. We'll give Mick's pal John Boehner the last word, from Congressional Daily:
“A train wreck assumes the trains were on the track at one point before the accident.”
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 7:34 PM | link
KRUGMAN'S TEFLON WEARS THIN Now that the GOP doesn't control all three branches of government, liberals are free to argue among themselves -- which means that honest commentators can take exception with Paul Krugman's lies and distortions. Here's Jonathan Alter for Newsweek, blasting Krugman's attack on Barack Obama. My DC-insider pal "Mick Danger" says,
Krugman’s contention that FDR’s success arose from “bitter confrontation” is challenged by someone who studied FDR closely.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:39 PM | link
TIMES QUOTES OF THE YEAR It's so hard to pick just one... a single best example of the socialist, whining, self-serving, self-righteous and hypocritical style and content of the New York Times. But here's my favorite -- along with all the equally worthy nominees. And the envelope please...
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:57 AM | link
Wednesday, December 19, 2007NOW THIS IS DOWNRIGHT PECULIAR Merle Haggard and Arthur Laffer together again for the first time.
Update... I stand corrected. Reader Dave Duval points out that it's Merle Hazard, not Haggard.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:50 PM | link
THE NEXT WAR My prescient DC-insider friend "Mick Danger," who called it perfectly turn by turn on the battle for the budget and the AMT "patch," predicts the next line of scrimmage:
Having failed to win the fight congressional Democrats picked this year with Bush on taxes, spending, trade and Iraq, some congressional Democrats are planning their assault for next year, rattling a sword at global finance.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:18 PM | link
BEWARE OF LIBERALS BEARING TAX CUTS Larry Summers says to cut taxes to avert a recession that he sees as all but inevitable. But don't get excited. We're talking about a liberal's idea of a tax cut:
The government, he said, should counter the downturn through targeted, temporary spending, including a pre-emptive extension in unemployment benefits, an increase in food stamps and a universal tax rebate. Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay income taxes on the value of any mortgage reduction that lenders grant them amid the current crisis, he said.Where are the incentive effects here? There are none. This is all just welfare, making people more dependent on government and guaranteeing the need for higher taxes later to pay for it all. Thanks to Dave Duval for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:07 PM | link
KUDLOW REPLAY Here's the YouTube video. I was scheduled to talk about John McCain, but for some reason that didn't happen. In case anyone wonders what I think, just read this write-up from the Club for Growth. Some choice words from their report -- "profoundly disturbing" and "odious."
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:53 PM | link
Tuesday, December 18, 2007SWEET VICTORY It's almsot over, and it looks like the good guys are going to win. The Wall Street Journal reports:
...on a 48-46 roll call Tuesday night, Senate Democrats fell 12 votes short of the 60 needed to resurrect House attempts to fill this gap by raising other taxes or closing loopholes.Wait... there's more!
Filling over 1400 pages, the underlying spending bill is the product of its own larger budget battle that began last spring when the new Democratic Congress proposed to add about $21.2 billion to Mr. Bush's 2008 budget.And how's this for frosting on the cake:
The Democrats’ yearlong fight to boost federal spending on children’s health insurance ended with a whimper Tuesday.Thanks to GOP heroes like John Boehner and Trent Lott -- and my DC-insider pal "Mick Danger" -- who've spent all year in the trenches fighting for this outcome. Mick says,
Congressional sessions have become like election campaigns. The victor is the one smiling at the end.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 11:59 PM | link
PAUL CALLS HUCKABEE A FASCIST Hey... he's got a point.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:44 PM | link
THE BALONEY REJECTS THE GRINDER Oh, sure, Paul Krugman will show up on any liberal gab-fest that promises to make him look good, and be interviewed by hosts who throw him softballs. But how about when he's invited on a conservative talk radio show? Dennis Prager says:
Paul Krugman...has refused to discuss his new book on liberalism with me...
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:43 PM | link
NEW TAX, NEW TAXER Now the UN wants to become a taxing authority, imposing global taxes on whoever can afford to pay -- and that means us, of course:
...the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change...conference titled "A Global CO2 Tax" took a step that will have a more lasting impact than an empty agreement. It urged the U.N. to adopt taxes on carbon dioxide emissions that would be "legally binding to all nations."Thanks to reader Paul Mathieu for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 10:13 AM | link
THIS IS AN ABOMINATION Now I've heard everything. Here's Vernon Smith, Nobel Prize winning economist and supposedly a free market guy, blaming the housing bubble on low capital gains rates (and bitching that we aren't helping the poor). Since when does the elimination of a dead-weight loss through taxation ipso facto produce a speculative bubble? What kind of make-it-up-as-you-go-along theorizing is that?
Besides being fueled by housing purchases and repackaged loans, each with inadequate equity -- doubling down with other people's money -- at the end of the capital-gains rainbow was the right to take up to $500,000 of profit, tax free.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:35 AM | link
CLASS STRUGGLE EXPLAINS EVERYTHING A new UN report claims there's a "food shortage." Why? Class struggle, of course -- the Left's always available explanation for anything, and one that can never be proven or disproven (but by merely adducing it one lends credence to Marxist tenets). And for good measure, let's throw in a little global warming (one fabricated crisis used as the explanation for another one):
Jacques Diouf, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization... blamed a confluence of recent supply and demand factors for the crisis, and he predicted that those factors were here to stay. On the supply side, these include the early effects of global warming, which has decreased crop yields in some crucial places, and a shift away from farming for human consumption toward crops for biofuels and cattle feed. Demand for grain is increasing with the world population, and more is diverted to feed cattle as the population of upwardly mobile meat-eaters grows.Thanks to reader Mike Mitchell for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:21 AM | link
BOB MCTEER BLOGS! The former Dallas Fed chief is blogging. Is that a first? I think so. Some good stuff, this one found by our monetary affairs correspondent "Irrational Exuberance.""
The FOMC's mistake, in my opinion, was extending the forecast horizon out to three years. Given each member forecaster's assumption of "appropriate monetary policy," however they define it, three years is long enough for policy to do all that policy can do. It's long enough for initial adverse conditions to be overcome. What's left in that third year forecast is the FOMC's implicit view of the best it can do, or the limits of the economy — it's capacity to produce without causing inflation to accelerate. I call that a mistake in part because their view, revealed by their latest forecast, is so dismal. I can't find a Goldilocks economy anywhere on their horizon(...)These numbers mean we're already over the speed limit for monetary policy. If they try to enforce such a low speed limit, they could create a self-fulfilling prophecy. That possibility, to me, calls into question of public forecasts by policymakers. The path they've outlined is one of managing slack in the economy to hold down inflation. I'd rather see them control inflation through growth — disinflationary growth.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:17 AM | link
Monday, December 17, 2007THE POSTER CHILD AND THE RANTER In the New York Post:
The so-called death tax is scheduled to rise to 55 percent in four years - when the exemption will drop to $1 million from $2 million - and up to now the national dialogue on its fate has been pretty much one-sided.Why is Buffett a "poster child" for advocating higher taxes (which, the story does not mention, Buffett does not pay thanks to a charity loophole) -- and Goldberg's advocacy for lower taxes a "rant"?
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:43 PM | link
THE THIN-SKINNED WHINER IS AT IT AGAIN Paul Krugman is in a snit because, he claims, the Barack Obama campaign has responded to his criticisms of the candidate's health care plan with what he claims is "a personal attack, lifting quotes out of context." Don't flatter yourself Paul. All the Obama campaign has done is post a link and some quotes from something called First Read. Besides, isn't it a little late for Krugman to complain about personal attacks, or about taking quotes out of context? If Obama did that, he learned from a master.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:40 AM | link
HOW MUCH MORE DOES THE LEFT WANT? From the Wall Street Journal this morning:
Last week the Congressional Budget Office joined the IRS in releasing tax numbers for 2005, and part of the news is that the richest 1% paid about 39% of all income taxes that year. The richest 5% paid a tad less than 60%, and the richest 10% paid 70%. These tax shares are all up substantially since 1990, and even somewhat since 2000. Meanwhile, Americans with an income below the median -- half of all households -- paid a mere 3% of all income taxes in 2005. The richest 1.3 million tax-filers -- those Americans with adjusted gross incomes of more than $365,000 in 2005 -- paid more income tax than all of the 66 million American tax filers below the median in income. Ten times more.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:37 AM | link
Sunday, December 16, 2007BUT NOT ALL THE TAX NEWS IS SO BLEAK Sunday morning, reader Greg Statham alerts us:
Ron Paul has raised almost $2 million dollars so far today and its only 9:30 am. I see some predictions of $6-$7 million will be raised for him today on the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Truly incredible, and very uplifting.Update... Greg writes,
$3 million by 2 eastern time. $6-$7 million is certainly possible today. I don't know how a mention of this isn't even on the damn Drudge Report today being that this record breaking fundraising is happening to an anti-Iraq-war, Republican, hard money, zero income tax candidate. Instead we have trivial Elizabeth Edwards quote as a top headline.Update 2... Greg now reports,
Good teamwork! Ron Paul is on the top of the Drudge Report, where the story belongs. That is real news.Update 3... Greg tells me,
Dr. Paul has broken the one day online fundraising record, a record which was held by....Dr. Paul. Its now 7:15 pm and he has raised roughly 4.5 million dollars. Hard to ignore, but I wouldn't underestimate the MSM.Udpate [12/17/2008]... Greg finishes up the day:
Well, to wrap it up.. 24 hours, $6.1 million raised, a record broken, and lots of pundits definitely scratching their heads. Oh, and once again, true patriots demonstrating their disgust with oppressive taxation.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:12 PM | link
TAX THIS POEM Some taxing thoughts from our loyal reader "Z":
The next time you hear a politician use the word "billion" in a casual manner, think about whether you want the "politicians" spending YOUR tax money.Update... Reader Bret Wallach says,
A billion seconds is 31.71 years, so no, it was NOT 1959 a billion seconds ago. I stopped reading there since the very first "fact" was wrong.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:04 PM | link