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Monthly Archives: October 2008

Democrats to Eliminate 401k Retirement Accounts

This is so bizarre, reckless, and bad for regular people we can’t make this up if we wanted to:

Powerful House Democrats are eyeing proposals to overhaul the nation’s $3 trillion 401(k) system, including the elimination of most of the $80 billion in annual tax breaks that 401(k) investors receive.

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-California, and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, are looking at redirecting those tax breaks to a new system of guaranteed retirement accounts to which all workers would be obliged to contribute.

“system of guaranteed retirement accounts to which all workers would be obliged to contribute. ”

Gee, that sounds like … wait for it … Social Security! And we all know how well that worked out — it’s bankrupt in 2017 and will require either massive tax increases, or massive cuts in benefits (or both). And just like the Fannie and Freddie collapse, the politicians tell us the system is fine and won’t be bankrupt (of course, what happens in 2017 when taxes taken in can’t pay benefits they don’t want to talk about) — and just like Fannie/Freddie all those same politicians will say “we never saw this coming…”, and it will be deja vu, all over again. How many trillions will the next bailout cost?

And those guys want to start a new retirement plan? We can see the ads now “The new Secure Community Retirement Wealth Distribution (SCReWeD for short) — brought to you by the same people who brought you subprime mortgages, Social Security insolvency, trillion dollar bailouts, and the Fannie and Freddie collapse”. Something tells us there won’t exactly be truth when they try and sell this mess to voters.

Whether this new scam (oops, plan) replaces social security (unlikely) or be a new tax on top of social security (probably) isn’t clear, but combine the House Democrats with a Senate majority and a friendly Obama administration signing any stinking pile of festering goo they send him, do you really want to find out? How high can your taxes go? How fast can your retirement be raided? (Gingrich was correct recently calling them “Team RePO” for Reid/Pelosi/Obama)

But it gets worse when you see how the plan actually works:

Under Ghilarducci’s [Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economic-policy analysis at the New School for Social Research in New York] plan, all workers would receive a $600 annual inflation-adjusted subsidy from the U.S. government but would be required to invest 5 percent of their pay into a guaranteed retirement account administered by the Social Security Administration. The money in turn would be invested in special government bonds that would pay 3 percent a year, adjusted for inflation.

So they kill your 401k, force you to pay a tax (oops, contribution) of 5% more of your salary to the government, and only offer investments in government IOU’s (oops, bonds) paying 3% per year (unless they change the rate later). Yeah, that’s a safe investment — I’ll take the stock market and it’s long-term returns, thank you very much — even with the current downturn.

“I want to spend our nation’s dollar for retirement security better. Everybody would now be covered” if the plan were adopted, Ghilarducci said.

She has been in contact with Miller and McDermott about her plan, and they are interested in pursuing it, she said.

Just like Obama told Joe the plumber he wanted to “spread the wealth around” (not exactly true, Obama didn’t mean spread the wealth around, but spread Joe’s wealth around), only this time not only raise your taxes and spread your income around, raid your retirement savings and spread that around as well. More specifically, make sure everyone is beholden to the government for retirement, and remove choice. Aren’t the Democrats supposed to be pro-choice? Only if it involves abortion and throwing babies in the trash if they’re born alive (oops, “survived a medical procedure”).

When it comes to your retirement, no choice allowed, and instead of making your own decisions you’ll only get what the government chooses you should get — and they can change it anytime they like, as often as they wish, as you don’t really own anything, just a bag of IOU’s.

“I have altered our agreement, pray I don’t alter it further.” — Darth Vader

Even worse, Obama with a Democrat controlled Congress passes legislation at will like insane proposals like this — only which have a majority Democratic leadership and President behind them (Team RePO at work).

For more, just Google for “George Miller Jim McDermott 401k” for lots more; it really is as bad as it looks.

When Tax Cuts Aren’t Tax Cuts

How socialist income redistribution is disguised by political candidates for votes

One of the biggest challenges facing both John McCain and Barack Obama in their commitment to provide tax relief to working-class Americans is the simple fact that millions of them already pay no personal income taxes.

According to the most recent IRS statistics for 2006, some 45.6 million tax filers — one-third of all filers — have no tax liability after taking their credits and deductions. For good or ill, this is a dramatic 57 percent increase since 2000 in the number of Americans who pay no personal income taxes.

Tax Foundation estimates show that if all of the Obama tax provisions were enacted in 2009, the number of these “nonpayers” would rise by about 16 million, to 63 million overall. If all of the McCain tax proposals were enacted in 2009, the number of nonpayers would rise by about 15 million, to a total of 62 million overall.

Most tax credits can only reduce a taxpayer’s amount due to zero, but the EITC and the child tax credit were also made refundable, meaning that taxpayers are eligible to receive a check even if they have paid no income tax during the year. Those tax returns have become, in effect, a claim form for a subsidy delivered through the tax system rather than a direct payment from a traditional government program like welfare or farm supports.

Both the McCain and Obama plans would increase this number by expanding existing tax benefits or creating new ones. Senator McCain is proposing one expanded provision — the dependent exemption — and one new credit, a $5,000 refundable health care tax credit. The Obama plan contains seven new provisions, including a new “Making Work Pay Credit,” a “Universal Mortgage Credit,” and a plan to eliminate income taxes for seniors earning under $50,000.

About one-third of tax filers pay no income tax at all. So how can Obama claim to cut taxes for “95%”? He can’t (at least honestly). Not only does his plan increase the number of people who pay no tax at all from about 1/3 to almost 1/2, but additionally gives handouts to those who pay no taxes at all. That’s welfare under a different name. But you can’t put lipstick on the pig and change the pig — welfare disguised as tax cuts is still welfare.

Both McCain’s and Obama’s plans are socialist. If someone pays zero tax, it’s mathematically impossible to cut it — yet both candidates call their Robin Hood programs “tax cuts”.

McCain had it right earlier to criticize Obama’s plans — Obama calls them “tax cuts”, but any third grader knows better (McCain was correct, but the criticism applies to his plan as well). Obama’s plan is socialist income redistribution (take money from those who earned it and give it to others — “spread the wealth around”); it has to be disguised because if Obama is honest and calls his plan what it is (a giant expansion of welfare — even Clinton knew welfare was broken, and the country should “end welfare as we know it”, not expand a broken system which encourages people to live out of the public trough), it would be rejected as the giant welfare program it is.

Is it really good public policy to have half the country not support the government? How much should the “rich” pay? Do the rich pay their fair share? What happens when the majority of people pay no taxes, and in fact receive welfare payments from the Federal government?

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. [Quote attributed to several people, but commonly Sir Alex Fraser Tytler (1742-1813)]

If voters really want socialist programs and are willing to vote for them (knowing those policies will eventually cause the country to collapse — think of current mess with Fannie/Freddie multiplied hundreds of times), let’s at least be honest about it — instead of hiding the truth in attempts to fool people into supporting something they’d really be against if they knew the truth. (Corollary: Why do liberals fear being called liberals?)

At least if people have information they’ll know voting for these proposals guarantees a more serious financial meltdown later which makes current events look like child’s play — and we haven’t even begun to talk about Social security bankrupt and the ignoring of warnings about Social Security’s (and other entitlements) destructive impact on the economy of the future.

There is no free lunch — the bill for these handouts will come due, and no amount of “soak the rich” can possibly pay for it. Candidates are simply destroying the future (after they’re out of office) to buy votes today. We don’t completely blame Democrats — they don’t have the big spending reputation for nothing, after all — it’s the Republicans which continue to go along with the big-government, lets-try-a-free-lunch Democrats which guarantees we’ll have many more financial messes to deal with making the current trillion dollar bailout look like pocket change.

There is no free lunch, and promising one is dishonest.

Why European-Style Healthcare Doesn’t Work

Too many people (Obama included) want healthcare to be more like Europe — you know, where everyone gets healthcare for free. But peel the onion a bit and you’ll find tidbits like this (from the London Telegraph), and ask yourself, do you really want this? This is the future of Obama-care and other socialized solutions:

Doctors are calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or who lead unhealthy lives.

Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone.

Fertility treatment and “social” abortions are also on the list of procedures that many doctors say should not be funded by the state.

Oops. No abortions either. Nobody will be happy with a system like this. No abortion-on-demand, treatment rationing, and in the end more financial mess which will require another “bailout”.

There is no free lunch.

Senate to Vote on Pork-Laden Earmarked Bailout Package

They just can’t help themselves when it comes to stuffing pork in any and all bills, with both new waste, and renewals of old waste. Is it any wonder these bozos aren’t trusted, and Congress has single-digit approval ratings? The only bipartisan agreement comes on stuffing pork and earmarks at every opportunity — the one thing both parties agree on. Disgusting — and at 451 pages long, what are the odds any of the Senators actually reading the bill?

New Tax earmarks in Bailout bill

  • Film and Television Productions (Sec. 502)
  • Wooden Arrows designed for use by children (Sec. 503)
  • 6 page package of earmarks for litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident, Alaska (Sec. 504)

Tax earmark “extenders” in the bailout bill.

  • Virgin Island and Puerto Rican Rum (Section 308)
  • American Samoa (Sec. 309)
  • Mine Rescue Teams (Sec. 310)
  • Mine Safety Equipment (Sec. 311)
  • Domestic Production Activities in Puerto Rico (Sec. 312)
  • Indian Tribes (Sec. 314, 315)
  • Railroads (Sec. 316)
  • Auto Racing Tracks (317)
  • District of Columbia (Sec. 322)
  • Wool Research (Sec. 325)

What does ANY of that have to do with saving the economy? It doesn’t. Of course, this isn’t the final bill, but which is more likely — Congress will do the right thing and strip this pork from the bill, or to guarantee its passage they’ll load it up with even more pork earmarks?

Obama supports pork and earmarks, but here’s a chance for McCain to take a stand and — at the very least — make a speech proclaiming all these earmarks, and who they’re from. It’s unlikely the Senate won’t pass this pork-fest, but at least McCain could be on record.

Let’s hope the House doesn’t pass the pork-fest as well, and the House Republicans don’t knuckle under to pressure and demand the earmarks be removed, as well as protecting taxpayers from paying the $700 billion of the bill. They have the right idea — loans not bailouts. Let’s hope the House remembers it’s backbone and opposes this disaster (which will likely be laden with even more pork by the time the Senate passes it).

VP Debate Moderater is Obama Supporter

Nobody actually denies the media leans left (especially at PBS), so just about any moderator will be pro-Obama. But you have to wonder when a “journalist” doesn’t even attempt credibility and impartiality.

Questions are being raised about PBS anchor Gwen Ifill’s objectivity after news surfaced that she is releasing a new book promoting Barack Obama and other black politicians who have benefited from the civil rights struggle.

Ifill is moderating Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. Her book, “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” is due to be released about the same time the next president takes the oath of office.

In an imaginary world where liberal journalists are held to the same standards as everyone else, Ifill would be required to make a full disclosure at the start of the debate. She would be required to turn to the cameras and tell the national audience that she has a book coming out on January 20, 2009 — a date that just happens to coincide with the inauguration of the next president of the United States.

The title of Ifill’s book? “Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.” Nonpartisan my foot.

Yeah, that debate will be fair and impartial.

As has been suggested by others, the first thing Palin should do is congratulate her on her book and ask her to give the title and date of publishing. If the “moderator” won’t disclose her obvious bias and conflict of interest, someone else should.

It’s amazing what passes for “journalism” these days. Imagine the roar if Ann Coulter moderated a debate — yet it would be just as biased. Or perhaps debates should have two moderators, one from each side. At least then the bias would be out in the open.