Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Jay Footlick Gets PR Boost
Buffett on Taxes: Apples vs Oranges
Tom: You've talked about in your office, for example, you pay a much lower tax rate with all of your wealth than, say, a receptionist does.
Warren: That's exactly right, Tom. And I-- I think the only way to do it is with specifics, and-- and - and in our office, 15 people cooperated in a survey out of 18. I didn't make anybody do it. And my total taxes paid-- payroll taxes plus income tax-- and the payroll tax is an income tax. It's based on income.
Warren: Mine came to-- 17.7 percent. That-- that was the-- that was line 61 I think-- or, no, line 43-- is the percent of taxable income, plus payroll taxes, 17.7 percent. The average for the office was 32.9 percent. There wasn't anybody in the office from the receptionist on that paid as low a tax rate. And I have no tax planning. I don't have an-- I don't have a-- an accountant. I don't have tax shelters. I just follow what the U.S. Congress tells me to do.
Others have properly pointed out that Mr. Buffett could simply send an extra check to the government to cover whatever he believes he owes and that is true. However it is noteworthy that Mr. Buffett is complaining about a pay structure that he has implemented. On some level he sounds like his buddy Bono. Bono has spent years telling Americans that they need to pay more in taxes in order to give a larger share of our efforts to those deemed needy by Bono and others. The rub is that Bono has been using an Irish tax scheme that subsidizes the artist of that nation. So Bono has been paying in the area of 1% of his substantial income in taxes. With little else to do Bono now spends his days whining that others are not as moral as he is because they do not pay what he believes that those others should pay in taxes.
Mr. Buffett is being used by those who have every desire to stifle American growth in order to feed their own pathetic and envious phyches. It would be a shame if Mr. Buffett's legacy ends up as being a dupe for those who wish to destroy what Mr. Buffett has spent a lifetime building. Mr. Buffett should know by now that society in Washington is likely more stultifying than society in Omaha, so he shouldn't suck up to Brokaw and his ilk.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Delusion, Thy Name is Ellen's Tenth...
If Ms. Gill is to be believed in her account of Mr. Palast's speech then the man has some pretty serious issues, as do those who were in his thrall last weekend. Ms. Gill described a man who is so utterly divorced from reality that he really should be about two bits from the gutter, but no, our "intelligent" Democratic friends not only employ the man but swoon over his deranged ramblings.
Ms. Gill starts out her recounting of Mr. Palast's, um, episode by stating that the price of oil is up because of George Bush, you know, he was once in the oil business. Mr. Palast apparently has absolutely no clue concerning the supply/demand situation that has played out in the oil markets during the past decade. Palast and those dippy Democrats may not realize it yet but the Chinese and the Indians are buying (and yes, driving) automobiles in unprecedented numbers. Oh and those automobiles run on gasoline, the same fuel that Ms. Gill and her fellow travelers use in their automobiles. The dippy Palast said that the war was started not for oil but rather to keep the Iraqi oil off of the market for the benefit of OPEC. That would be the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that Mr. Palast was referring to, the same group of governments that stole the assets of many American oil companies under the guise of "nationalization". Obviously those oil companies have every reason to forgo the profits of delivery in order to make crude oil more expensive and to help those governments that ripped them off. Roll another one, just like the other one...
Palast was reported to have called Houston, Tx. the "capital of Iraq" and apparently whined throughout the evening about governmental privatization; after all, we all know that "Nobody Does it Better" than the federal government.
The speech got even stranger and the audience got even more gullible as the night went on and Mr. Palast explained that Karl Rove's aides have been accidentally sending Palast e-mails that incriminate the senders, Rove and the Republican Party in a scheme to disenfranchise voters. What type of person would say such an obvious dishonesty in public? Who would take such an assertion seriously? No word yet whether or not Ms. Gill was able to fit the Brooklyn Bridge in her back yard but the view would be just fabulous.
Clearly the Beeb's Boy has some problems, he claimed to have made a FOIA request to see the evacuation plans for New Orleans but that the plans had not been completed because the plan had been outsourced; probably by those notorious Neo-Con Republicans Mayor Ray Nagin (D-NO) and Governor Kathleen Blanco (D-La). The truth is that the city of New Orleans was required to file an evacuation plan with the Federal Government in the spring of 2005, which they did. The problem was that the corrupt Democratic governments of New Orleans and Louisiana refused to implement the plan until it was too late. Those two Democratic leaders held a press conference the morning before Katrina hit (Sunday) and admitted that President Bush had called both of them the previous morning (Saturday) and told them both that they needed to EVACUATE the city of New Orleans. They demurred because they didn't want to scare people. They both reported their exchanges with the President in a manner that made it clear that they would use such a request against George Bush if the city was not inundated. Whoops!
Strangely (or not) Ms. Gill also claims to be in the thrall of the late W.E.B. DuBois, a man who once made this genuinely brilliant observation to the National Guardian in March of 1953, "Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature." Okay, it's not so strange that Ms. Gill, a woman who apparently will believe anything, is also in the thrall of some guy who lionized Stalin.
It is a sad and pathetic world over at Ellen's Tenth and we should all be glad that we aren't leading lives of envy and delusion like Ms. Gill and her acolytes. Once again, I blame Owsley Stanley.
It is also worth noting that in a post today Ms. Gill described Ann Coulter as the Republican Party spokesperson and wrote that the Republicans are responsible for her comments. What can you say? Ms. Coulter, a woman who does not do her ideas any favors is not a "spokesperson" for anybody except for Ann Coulter, to say otherwise is a lie. Many found her comments on theology to be ridiculous but many of the same folks complainingabout Ann Coulter don't seem very upset over the fact that a sizable swath of a different religion is actively trying to end all of the human rights that Ms. Gill and her minions so often claim to find so dear.
The title of this post was inspired by Hamlet, thank you William Shakespeare.
Monday, October 29, 2007
World's Great Minds Look at Ag Issues
It is especially enjoyable for me as the discussion is one that I took part in over the course of the last decade during breakfast with a group of fellow grain traders. It's always great to see such great minds turn their prodigious brainpower on an issue and see largely the same story that you and your friends have been seeing. Like us they see some dangers but the likelihood of the world largely adjusting, with noted dislocations. They also point out that before the recent price rallies grain prices have been very inexpensive in real dollars. Thank you gentlemen.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Obama on Social Security: What The?
In addition to some fundamental fairness questions there are also the questions concerning the advisability of implementing the Obama plan that in addition to the current top federal tax rate of 35% would result in a top tax rate over 50%; and that is before the Democratic promise to at least return to President Clinton's 39.6% rate, which would result in a 55% top tax rate.
As Social Security stands today it is a pay as you go system, meaning that current benefits are paid by current FICA receipts. When the system is running in surplus, as it currently is, the remaining funds are deposited into the Federal Government's General Account in exchange for unmarketable interest bearing certificates issued at below market interest rates. Those bonds will be paid off by future tax receipts, they are by definition a call on America's future income. I generally shun the government/household economic comparisons that are often made concerning deficit spending (governments are not humans thus they generally will not retire, get sick, move, etc.) but the Social Security fund's surplus situation makes for an exception to that rule: to view the surplus fund as "savings" is similar to viewing payment of one's Visa bill as "savings". The funds in that surplus account, it is quite literally a file cabinet (Al Gore described it as a "lock box") full of Treasury Certificates in Washington DC, are spent today with a promise to be paid back with interest at some point in the future. They can only be paid back by the tax payers or lenders of the future.
When politicians talk about Social Security they discuss the same two options with some variations, a decrease in benefits and an increase in taxation, it would seem that the only way to avoid increasing taxes and/or decreasing benefits is to increase the population of tax payers. What is rarely discussed is the idea of increasing the size of the economy enough to allow payment of future benefits. That is a goal that cannot be achieved (all else remaining the same, which never happens) by taking capital from the job creating private sector and giving it to the government.
Senator Obama's suggestion to raise tax rates more than 15% on top earners was accompanied by a very helpful example, Senator Obama used the example of investor Warren Buffett. The Senator complained that the Federal Government should get another 15 1/2% of the $46 million that Mr. Buffett recently declared as his yearly income. Now call me crazy but I believe that the citizens of the United States would be better off in both the short and the long runs if Mr. Buffett invested the $7,130,000 in question into companies that could very well be employing people twenty years from now who will pay off the Social Security obligations that we are incurring today rather than pouring that money into the black hole of the Federal Government's General Account.
If Senator Obama, and the rest of the Democratic Presidential contenders actually believe that America is better off with the $7 million in question being spent by our profligate federal legislatures rather than being invested by Warren Buffett then they should take the time to honestly explain why they hold such a view. If they believe that Mr. Buffett would do more with that $7 million than our government then they should reconsider all of their economic thinking.
Update: Flying Debris commented on Mr. Buffett's subsequent comments concerning his tax bill here.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Obama on US Troops: Let Them Eat Falafels
Senator Obama, like so many of his fellow Democrats claim to, ahem, "support the troops". Senator Obama has apparently decided that the best way to support the troops is to be supportive of America's enemies. You know, the ones who are supplying arms to those who are killing Americans and are even killing Americans themselves. What is wrong with Barak?
In Sweet's article Obama is also reported to have said on Wednesday in Dover, NH that he would "'take up arms myself' to prevent another 9/11 from happening." Just what the military needs, some "former community activist" butting in where he is not needed. A reasonable person would ask, who would he attack? What would he do, hit some unknown entity with a copy of Black's Law Dictionary? The man is truly an empty suit.
The title of this post was inspired by this Flying Debris post, Obama on Mid-East: Let Them Eat Falafels.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Cheney Spies on Kucinich From UFO!
Ahem, "He said he felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind". Wow!
Hat Tip: Drudge
Ron Paul - Still Crazy?
Obama really says nothing new in his delayed response but on the plus side, he responded to the actual letter that I sent him in September. Responses to other letters that I have sent to Senator Obama were puzzling because they did not respond to the concern that I had written about, I guess that it helps to write Senator Obama about a concern that he considers a campaign issue.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Code Pinkos Harass Pelosi Neighbor
Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin.
Morgan Dumps NY Times Holdings
Update: Michelle Malkin had a NY Times A stock chart yesterday and it's not a pretty sight.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The Fun I Missed!
While I was otherwise busy some of the usual nonsense of the blog world continued, including the fact that Ellen Beth Gill, the lawyer who writes Ellen's Illinois Tenth Congressional District (blah, blah, blah) Blog (Flying Debris discussed her blog here and here) has banned comments from those pesky people who disagree with her and her fellow North Shore Democrats. I was given the heads-up on the issue by Team America, an occasional commenter here and a regular commenter over at Ellen's place, he has been banned and low and behold, so had your humble correspondent. Well Team America has decided not to take this affront laying down and he has started Team America's Tenth District Blog. From what I could discern from his comments and the first few posts he is a sharp and sharp witted Republican lawyer from Lake County, IL. What is it with all of those legal bloggers anyways?
As a self described moderate Republican I would expect Team America to cover the upcoming campaign of my childhood friend Rep. Mark Kirk (IL-10), a Republican moderate who has flown missions over Iraq as a Reservist while serving in Congress. Mark's last opponent Dan Seals, the son of Bear great and former Board of Trade member George Seals has been running again since last June, Mr. Seals has been running for office rather than working for a few years now. His father George Seals is a great guy, when I was just starting out on the floor of the Board of Trade I darted out of a pit into an aisle right as George Seals, the former Bear offensive guard was running to the soybean pit (it was less than a minute before the markets opened), those who know me in person also know that even as a young man I was going to lose to the former Bear. I picked myself up and went on to do whatever I was in such a hurry to do, Mr. Seals never broke stride. I knew that I was in the wrong, I didn't look when I jumped out of the pit but George Seals later came over to apologize and make sure that I was in one piece (I told him that it was my fault and that although I ached a little bit it was a real experience to be run over by a Bear), he is one of those real class acts. I hope that his son follows his father's lead this time around as far as his campaign goes, last year's version was not exactly a high point for the Democratic Party.