Monday, November 29, 2010

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs...

Did you notice during the election just ended that the Number One topic of conversation was jobs? It seemed that each and every politician vying for election – or reelection – was touting his or her ability to create jobs. "Just elect me," they all said, "and I'll create jobs." Did you believe them? Neither did I.

What's the deal with these political types? It's pretty obvious they don't know what they don't know. They seem to think there's some mysterious button you push, or bill you pass, or speech you give that creates jobs. Well, here's The Bottom Line: The only jobs government creates are government jobs.

Let's start with a simple fact: Only a tiny percentage of those who will read this have ever created a job, or ever will. That task is left to the entrepreneurs who risk their time, effort, energy and (often plenty of) money for one, and only one reason: They want to make a profit. Remove the profit incentive and opportunity and you remove the willingness to take a risk. And that risk-taking is what creates jobs if and when they're successful. Or, often financial ruin if they fail. And the Number One disincentive to job creation in our Country at the moment is the uncertainty over future tax rates.

The Bush-era tax cuts for the 54% of us who actually pay income taxes (notice I didn't say for the "rich") expires on New Years' Eve. Unless legislation passes between now and then, we'll experience the largest tax hike in American history. Income taxes will go up for everybody, and for some as much as 50%. Taxes on long term capital gains will go up from 15% to ordinary income levels. Inheritance taxes will go from zero to 55%. Does this make sense, especially in a recession? Of course it doesn't. So why are the Democrats so unwilling to extend those tax cuts for everybody, including the so-called "rich?" The answer is Class Warfare. And it's getting very, very old.

According to the Dems, couples making $250,000 or more per year are "rich." Let's see now. An Orange County firefighter and his R.N. wife would easily eclipse that number. Pay the current 35% tax on that income, plus California's up to 10% income tax, plus SSAN, SDI, FUI, Louie, Dewey and Huey taxes, plus property and sales and inventory taxes, and then throw in the mortgage payment and college tuition for Junior and Sis, and you're anything but rich. And if you're a small business owner who's incorporated under Sub Chapter S, you're paying taxes on your gross earnings before you can make corporate investments or take corporate deductions. These are the people who create jobs. These are the people the Democrats want to punish for being successful. These are the people who stand to lose if the Bush-era tax rates sunset. And then We the People will lose because they'll have less discretionary income left to create jobs. Does this make sense to you? To anybody? Oh yes, I forgot. It makes sense to Obama, the current majority in Congress and the DNC.

So here is my prescription for job creation. Ready? Make the Bush-era tax rates permanent for everybody. Permanent. Remove this uncertainty and get the government out of the way and jobs will miraculously appear, just as they did under Harding, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush. And then lower our corporate tax rates from 35%, the second-highest in the world, to no more than 15%. Why the corporate tax decrease? Something like $2,000,000,000,000 (that's trillion with a "T") in corporate profits which have been earned overseas are languishing over there to avoid the imposition of onerous U.S. taxes on them if repatriated. Allow it to come home without a nasty tax penalty and we'd be awash in capital. It's that simple.

What's that I hear? "What do you, The Chuckmeister, know about job creation, and why are you qualified to opine on this subject?" Well, dear reader, I happen to be a graduate economist and actually know whereof I speak. Plus, I've also created hundreds of jobs over my illustrious business career, unlike, by the way, Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Durban, Schumer, Clinton, Frank, Dodd, Dean, and dozens and dozens of other hopey-changey Robin Hoods currently prowling the Halls of Congress looking for some booty to confiscate.

Only 7% of those who serve in the Obama administration have prior private-sector business experience. That's down from 56% in the Bush era. We have Ivy League academicians and theorists trying to manage a capitalistic economy they abhor without the slightest idea of what they're doing. Maybe that's why my simple remedy to the enormous problems we face as a society is so difficult for them to understand.

The Lame Duck Congress reconvenes today. Let's see if the Ruling Party learned anything from the spanking the electorate administered on November 2nd and decides to finally do what's best for our Country by making the current tax rates permanent. I'm not holding my breath…

Friday, November 19, 2010

Where's Cindy?

    Something struck me today and it wasn't a Mack truck. I realized that it's been months, MONTHS, since I've seen or heard from Cindy Sheehan. Just a couple of years ago you couldn't turn on the telly without seeing her smiling face. What a nice lady. She was picketing outside of the entrance to President Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch. Or she was excoriating Congress with her anti-war rhetoric. Or she was threatening to run against Diane Feinstein for the Senate because Lady Di wasn't sufficiently anti-war. She was interviewed over and over and over by the broadcast and print media, stating over and over and over that "W" killed her son and that the war was unconstitutional and that we had to leave Iraq, and leave it right now!

    And then there was Code Pink. Whatever happened to Code Pink? Medea Benjamin, the Pinko's founder, was chasing Cindy all around America, sputtering out anti-war sound bites at a furious, machine gun pace, each and every one caught on camera by the major networks. You could often find her picketing in front of the U.S. Army recruiting center in beautiful downtown Berkeley. Or leading a peace march down the Capitol Mall. Or getting arrested for her outbursts while Congress was in session. Where are these lovely people now? And why isn't the media continuing to put them on the front page of the newspapers and feature them on the nightly news?

    Let's see now. Our new President guaranteed us he'd begin immediate withdrawal from Iraq as soon as he was inaugurated. Ummm. That's like two years ago and we're still there. Oh yeah, the "combat" portion of our military's mission has now been declared over. Funny what you can accomplish by giving an expeditionary force a less bellicose name. And the war in Afghanistan is still humming along, now deep into its ninth year. And it's doing so with about 30,000 more troops than when the Prez took office. Is Cindy or Medea picketing our new President? Are they marching on the White House or leading peace sit-ins at the Capitol? It seems the answer to that question is a big fat "No." Could it possibly be that the only reason that Cindy and Medea and their minions were picketing and fussing and fuming, and the media was gleefully lapping it up, was because there was a Republican inhabiting the White House? Do you have a better answer to that question?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Day of Remembrance

If you were born in America, you've already won the human lottery. You're luckier than 95% of the world's population, who may well have been born into poverty, suffering, hunger, oppression and political turmoil. And that luck you enjoy was bought and paid for by generations of our forebears who headed the call and fought for us on the battlefields of history as members of our nation's military. This is Veterans Day. Their day. And our day to remember them and the awful price many of them paid so that we can enjoy freedom.

Perhaps those of us who've had the honor to serve have a more acute appreciation of those who still do. The next time you see a member of the Armed Forces, please take a moment and thank them. Thank them for helping to keep you breathing free.

It's been said that, if you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a soldier…

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Don’t Feel Sorry for Californians Anymore

I used to feel sorry for Californians, myself included. I felt sorry for them because, with the exception of a couple of years in the early eighties, our beautiful state had been hijacked by the brain-dead Democrats who had been running things in Sacramento for more than four decades. These otherwise unemployables have been uniformly choosing the wrong tax and spend and governance and regulatory policies for even longer than I've lived here (34 years).

They have taken the best public educational system and trashed it. From what was on a par with any public school education in America just a generation ago, we have to now feel lucky there's a Louisiana, a Mississippi and an Alabama, or California would rank last out of the 50 states.

Every survey of business leaders over the past several years ranks California in the bottom two or three states in terms of friendliness to business formation and operation. Maybe that's why so few choose to now relocate or open branch operations here.

Our income taxes are the third-highest in America. Our sales taxes are fourth highest in the nation. Public employee and cop and fire unions are so gargantuan they're strangling our cities and our state with an unfunded pension bomb that's ready to explode in our collective faces. It's to the point that we now work for them, not the other way around. How was that allowed to happen?

Our roads and bridges infrastructure is decaying before our very eyes. Our once-vaunted Central Valley agriculture, which has produced more than 10% of all fruits and veggies in the nation for decades, is now a depression-era dustbowl because some commie pinko weenie in a black robe shut off their water in favor of the Delta Smelt. What's that, you ask? It's a little Anchovy-sized fish that this judge preferred over suffering, drought-stricken, jobless people. So it lives, they die.

San Francisco won't let the ROTC into its schools, prohibits the military from filming commercials inside county limits and won't stop aggressive panhandling, but it will prevent its citizens from buying pets because they might abandon them. And now, San Fran has just passed legislation to prevent McDonald's from selling Happy Meals because they're deemed by the calorie police to be unhealthful. Amazing.

And these same liberal policies have turned Los Angeles into a third world-caliber toilet inhabited by illegal aliens and fourth-generation welfare recipients, sucking up our tax dollars like a Hoover vacuum cleaner on steroids.

So why do I no longer feel sorry for Californians? Because they absolutely refuse to change it. The election just concluded gave Golden Staters one more chance to fix some of our problems and prevent a few others. And what did you do, California? You blew it, big time. You reelected Jerry Brown, a guy who earned the moniker "Moonbeam" when he was the Guv in the seventies. He appointed Rose Bird as Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court. She overturned 62 death penalty cases, every single one that came before her, including the Manson Family killers. He signed the legislation that permitted collective bargaining for public employee unions, which now threatens our State's very economic existence. He vehemently opposed Proposition 13 until it passed, at which time he decided to support it. Flip-Flopper? You decide. After he termed out he ran for and was elected Mayor of Oakland. He was so successful in this job the state was forced to take over their school system. And, he managed to also double their murder rate (one could argue he might have been even more successful if he'd have tripled it!) Then, as our illustrious Attorney General, he refused to defend Proposition 8 in the courts even though he was obligated by law and his oath to do so. And I don't care what you think about gay marriages. Prop. 8 made it illegal and good old 'Jer had a duty to defend us, the citizens of California against it, despite his personal views on the subject. The Attorney General, nor any sworn official, does not have the right to pick and choose the laws they wish to support. A pox on his house. And now, Jerry Brown will now likely live out his life without ever having had a private-sector job. Imagine. You get kicked out of the Jesuit seminary and then feed at the public trough for the rest of your liberal little, otherwise unprepossessing life. Astounding.

Then there's Barbara Boxer. You reelected her, too. After three terms in Washington, during which she earned the lowest possible rankings as to effectiveness, you sent her back for another six years. She's never had a real job either. Never met a payroll. Never signed a check on its face. Knows nothing about job creation. What she does know is that partial birth abortion is the preferred method. Oh, and she knows how to spend our money. She voted for tax increases 258 times during her ho-hum tenure. Even her home-town newspaper refused to endorse her, saying she was an ineffective and ineffectual senator and should be put out to pasture. And you decided to send her back. Either of Jerry's or Bab's opponents would have been preferable to these preening elite losers, but you decided differently.

Now let's talk the measures. You failed to pass Prop. 19, the pot legalization measure. That was surprising to me, because I assume everyone here had to be high on weed to have voted the way they did.

You voted down Prop. 23, our last and best hope to derail AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, which Schwarzenwhoozits signed into law in 2006. That's the one whereby California decided to fix the world's climate problem all by itself, by rolling back greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, representing a 40% reduction. Of course, the experts say doing that would be impossible without taking every single car and truck off the road, but hey, nothing appears impossible to those nice folks in Sacto. And maybe the commute will get shorter once all the cars and trucks are gone. So, AB32 kicks in on January 1, 2011, and the next sound you'll hear will be the doors slamming shut on U-Haul trucks as businesses prepare to vacate Caleeeforneea. And they'll take at least 1,000,000 jobs with them. And your electric bill will double or triple after they go. The only ones left will be Starbucks baristas selling lattes to sign twirlers. I've said before and I say again, if you believe that carbon dioxide, that stuff plants breathe and you exhale, is a greenhouse gas, please stop exhaling.

And Prop. 25? Yep, it passed. That's the one that lets those Sacto lifers pass a budget with a vote of 50% plus one. No more 2/3rds supermajority needed. So the Dems can now pass a budget without a single Republican vote. You think taxes may go up? I do. And often. Why, I ask, do we even need a Republican party anymore? Truth is, we don't. That single-party parliamentary-style deal has worked so well in other countries, we should now formalize it for California. You know, like Cuba, and North Korea, and China and Russia. We're well on our way.

So, California, I no longer feel sorry for you. You did it to yourselves. You have turned our California into Greece, and now you've wasted your last, best chance to correct it before our Ship of State hits the rocks. We've finally reached the tipping point. That's where the statist, big government-loving weenies and the hand-out welfare crowd are able to vote themselves stuff at the expense of those few remaining folks who actually produce in our society. I still feel sorry for myself, for my family and for my friends. But I don't feel sorry for the rest of you who made this sorry likelihood possible. I hope you're happy with yourselves.

By the way, if you take a look at the red-blue map after it was updated following the election, which shows a sliver of blue along each coast and most of the remainder of our country in a bright, bright, all-American victory red, you'll have to ask; could it be salt air that's causing all this liberal craziness?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Aftermath

I understand President Obama has secured nationwide network time for tomorrow afternoon to comment on today's election and its anticipated aftermath. I have it on good authority from a D.C. insider friend of mine that his speech will start with, "A funny thing happened to me on my way to Mount Rushmore."