Clunker Drivers Have Been Bailed Out…Where’s The Outrage?

It was less than a year ago when Wall Street firms started seeing the first wave of government bailouts.  Shortly thereafter the media and “Main Street” started crying about corporate excesses and greed.  Those same people, however, are praising the “successes” of Cash For Clunkers; even advocating for a sequel Dollars For Dishwashers.

Why was Clunkers a success when the Wall Street bailouts were a miserable failure?  Essentially they amounted to the same thing, the only difference was the recipients of our tax dollars.  Where’s the outrage against those who were able to get a discount on their new automobile?  Where’s the public disclosure (maybe a bumper sticker to thank the rest of us for their new purchase)?

Now I’m not trying to say that I agree with the Wall Street bailouts, because I don’t.  I’m just trying to figure out how it’s OK to bailout one group of people and not another.  The dollar amounts are irrelevant – the principle is the same.

After all, wouldn’t it just be easier (and more Constitutional) to simply not tax us as much?  Lowering taxes for everyone across the board would not only help the auto industry and big Wall Street firms, it will also help every other industry.  If everyone has more money to spend, they will spend it where they see fit.  Whether that’s a new car, or a new dishwasher, the money will be spent, and the economy will eventually correct itself.

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Cash For Clunkers Thank You For Proving Our Point

For years, conservatives and liberals have clashed over taxes.  Do we tax less, and allow the free market to thrive with the increased spending, or do we tax more to allow for an increase in government spending.

Cash For Clunkers has proven the conservative point of taxing less to benefit the economy, and here’s how.

Everyone, especially liberals are pointing out that one of the successes of Cash For Clunkers is that if you give people money, they will spend it.  But why did the government have to place restrictions on how it could be spent?  Had they simply not collected that $3 billion from the American taxpayer, we would have spent it as we saw fit to begin with.

Not only would people inevitably have purchased new (or even used cars), they also would have had additional money to pay for things like, gee I don’t know, maybe health care? 

This leads me to another point.  Cash For Clunkers was supposed to last until November.  Whether it was the apparent “success” of the program, or the flaws in the paperwork processing that caused the program’s early departure, it was still cut short.  What happens when the proposed universal health care ends up becoming too “successful” for its own good, or the inevitable mountains of paperwork become too much to handle?  Are people going to be left waiting weeks or months for the treatment they desperately need (similar to the auto dealers waiting on payments they also desperately need)?

It’s time to see the light at the end of the government sponsored tunnel.  More government involvement than is absolutely necessary in anything is never a good thing.  And right now there is definitely far more than is necessary.

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Cash For Clunkers – Yet Another Government Blunder

If you’ve driven by a new car dealership lately, you’ll likely notice the same thing I did when I went out looking to buy a new car.  The lots are barren.  You’re lucky to find a dealership who has more than one of the model car you’re looking for, and even luckier if it happens to be the right color, with all the features you want.

The recent buying frenzy caused by Cash For Clunkers has diminished the supply of new cars available to dealers to sell, because manufacturers weren’t able to increase production enough in anticipation of the surge in demand.  What this has done, is caused an increase in the price of new cars, potentially eliminating most, if not all savings the government incentive program provides.

What’s worse, is that the dealerships who have already made thousands of sales aren’t being reimbursed by the government.  One Los Angeles area dealership has said that they have made about 270 clunker deals, and has only been reimbursed for two.  That means that this dealership is owed around $1 million from the government.  And that’s just one dealership.  Nationwide, approximately 2% of all clunker deals have been paid out so far, and 80% of all applications are “rejected for minor oversights”.

Not only is the $3 billion program expensive, it’s clearly inefficient (like any other government program).

Additionally, think back to the lessons learned from the mortgage crisis, where people went further into debt than they could afford, ultimately foreclosing on their homes.  If someone is driving around in a “clunker”, they’re probably doing so because they can’t afford to buy a brand new vehicle.  They might be better off if they upgraded to a nicer used vehicle, but many of the new vehicles that qualify for the program are expensive.  The auto finance companies are loving life right now, but they’ll be looking for another bailout once people start defaulting on their loans.

Come to think of it, why are only new cars accepted in the clunkers program?  It seems to me that buying a more fuel efficient used car would be better for the environment than manufacturing a brand new fuel efficient car.  Not to mention the environmental impact of increased scrapping of some perfectly good cars.  Seems to me like the program is more of a bailout for the automakers than it is an environmental incentive.

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What’s Coming From Dr. Obama MD

The President, and democrats in Congress have been pushing hard lately for a health care bill to be passed.  The proposed bill will place tough restrictions on current health insurers, as well as set up a government run insurance for any uninsured American.

So what do Americans have to look forward to?  Based on other government programs and trends from other countries with socialized health care, here are a few of the things Americans will likely see in the future:

Quotas:Like any other government operation, there will be a budget in place.  That essentially means that the government will place limits on itself as far as how much they will be able to spend each year.  The President mentioned in his public address last week that doctors often times will choose the more expensive treatment, when a less expensive one will suffice.  In this situation, a less expensive treatment might be mandated when a more expensive one is necessary.  Additionally, the socialized programs in the UK and other countries are plagued with other similar annual quotas.

Longer Waits: The US Government recently launched the “Cash for Clunkers” program where it will pay $4,500 for your used car if you purchase a new, more fuel efficient car in return.  The program was scheduled to start last Friday, but was delayed until today due to a problem with the website used by dealerships to report the transactions.  While this doesn’t seem like a major catastrophe, the slightest wait for someone who is having a heart attack would be a disastrous catastrophe. 

Poor Coverage: Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ hospitals are all shining examples of poorly run health care in the US.  The US government already has a proven track record of poor coverage through these programs, so why does anyone think that the new system will be any different? 

Redundancy: The President said that there are millions of uninsured Americans who will benefit from government run health care.  He implied that these millions of Americans are unable to get access to insurance because they simply can’t afford it.  If this was true, they would automatically be covered under Medicaid.  He failed to mention that there also happen to be millions of young, healthy Americans, who choose to spend their money on other things than health insurance.

The list could continue, but I think I’ve made my point.  The government has yet to prove that it is capable of running anything without having bureaucrats putting their two cents in where it isn’t wanted (or needed).  Health care is something that should be left to the public to handle, not bureaucrats.

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Lessons Learned From The CT Firefighters

The Supreme Court’s ruling today in favor of the Connecticut Firefighters, who claimed they were unfairly denied promotions based on their skin color, does more than just set a legal precedent.  It reverses the logic many people have, that the “payback approach” to racial discrimination is no longer acceptable.

Years ago, it was socially acceptable for white people to discriminate against minorities.  To a minority back then, this wasn’t simply an unfortunate event.  It was an outrage, which had no manner of reversing itself without changing the public perception of equal rights.

Fast forward to today.  A lot has changed as far as equal rights are concerned.  There are now laws concerning the treatment of minorities in the workplace, many of which were the focus of the lawsuit brought up by the CT Firefighters.  Some minorities, however take these laws to an extreme.  They feel that because their ancestors were treated unequally that they should have the right to treat whites unfairly today to make up for prior injustices.

Does the need for revenge against a previous generation’s wrongs justify discrimination against a group of individuals who have done no wrong?  Just because the white people of today have the same skin color as the white people from years ago doesn’t justify discriminating against them in any way.  No matter how “privileged” they may appear to be, it doesn’t justify discrimination to level the playing field.

Right now, you might be thinking “alright so this guy is probably going to preach about the Sotomayor nomination”.  While her nomination to the Supreme Court is an important issue and her views should be considered, I feel that the more important topic to discuss is the racial issues plaguing the public opinion.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects against employment discrimination towards any individual on the bases of race and color, in addition to national origin, sex, and religion.  The law says nothing about one’s own personal feelings or attitudes towards another race, sex, religion, etc.

This is where public opinion plays a role.  If you want to dislike someone because of the color of their skin, where their family came from, or which God they pray to that is your own prerogative.  However, society in turn will look at you as if you’re an ignorant fool because of it.  It shouldn’t matter whether you’re white and you dislike a Hispanic person because of their heritage, or if you’re black and you dislike a white person because they appear to be more “privileged” than you.  Society should frown upon both actions equally.

Sadly, it doesn’t do so all the time, and this is where the true injustices lie.  In an effort to correct the wrongs of previous generations, often times people who have done no wrong are left to suffer the consequences of mistakes made often times before they were even born.

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Obama’s Fly Swatter Approach to North Korea

Over the past few months, North Korea has tested missiles and nuclear weapons all in violation of various UN resolutions.  The sanctions and other restrictions placed on North Korea have effectively done nothing to stop them from developing longer ranged weapons, which can now reach the United States.

When you have an insect problem outside your house, one might logically conclude that killing the bugs at their source would be the best way to stop them from entering your home.  What Obama is effectively doing with the North Korea situation is waiting until the “bugs” enter the house, but arming himself with a fly swatter to control the situation.

The North Koreans seem like they are prepared to launch a missile capable of reaching Hawaii within the next few weeks.  Obama has positioned US Naval ships in the Pacific to intercept a North Korean attack, however they’re acting as the figurative fly swatter from this example.

The boundaries have been tested over the last few months, and the North Koreans know what actions the world is willing to take against them.  I just hope that the holes in the fly swatter are small enough to keep the pests from getting through.

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Another Second Amendment Victory

The Texas state Senate approved a bill to allow concealed carry license holders to carry firearms on public college campus classrooms and dorms.

Opponents to this bill say that violence will increase over otherwise petty issues, such as disputes over grades, love affairs, and other rivalries.  They also say that it will lead to a greater incidence of suicide.  They also said that the passage of Texas’ concealed carry law back in the mid-1990′s would turn the state into the wild west.  It’s been over a decade since the passage of the concealed carry law, and the predicted bloodshed still has not occurred.

The bill was introduced to reinforce the second amendment right to keep and bear arms.  

It also will allow college students and faculty members to defend themselves in the event of an event such as the mass murders at Virginia Tech in 2007, where 32 people were shot before the gunman decided to end his own life.

There have been other campus shootings like the one at Northern Illinois last year.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, shootings like this don’t end by unarmed victims politely asking the shooter to stop, but rather by the shooter’s own accord when they meet resistance.  Most often it is when they kill themselves.

The steps the Texas legislature is taking is a positive step towards making sure the state’s public campuses remain free of violence.  Regardless of what the bill’s opponent’s say, if this bill becomes law, students of Texas colleges will be much more safe because of it.  This bill isn’t designed to deputize the student body, but rather it is designed to enable them to protect themselves against violence.  The same way that concealed carry laws protect the general public from violent attacks off campus, and the second amendment protects Americans against the government.

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Whoopi & Barbara Blindside Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck, for one reason or another, agreed to be on The View.  While on the program, he was probably supposed to be debating current events with the cast of the show.  Instead, they brought up an inconsequential point from his radio program and debated it for a good five plus minutes.  

What was the issue of the day that trumped Gitmo, the economy, or the credit card bill?  They bickered over Beck’s account of an Amtrak trip the three of them took to D.C.  Barbara took aim at his credibility by questioning whether or not he verifies his sources as a journalist.  Whoopi being Whoopi wouldn’t let Beck get a word in because she simply doesn’t like his “views”.

Maybe Glenn Beck would have had something of value to say about some of today’s current events, but the cast of The View didn’t want to hear any of it.  I’m not a fan of The View, so I don’t know the quality of the program (although I can imagine), but would their viewers rather see the cast team up on a seemingly unsuspecting guest, or see the cast debate the important issues taking place in society?

Here’s the clip from The View:

And here’s Glenn Beck’s response on his own television show on Fox News:

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Pay Your Taxes If You Have Political Ambitions

Before Timothy Geithner became the  Treasury Secretary, he worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  The IMF employs people from all over the world, including Americans.  While working there, foreigners don’t have to pay US income taxes, and in an attempt to be fair to the Americans who also work there, the IMF pays the Americans for their share of income taxes.

This doesn’t mean that Americans are exempt from paying taxes in the US.  This is a minor detail that Timothy Geithner missed during his tenure with the IMF.  Because of the fact that the IMF didn’t pay taxes on his behalf, he was considered an independent contractor, or self-employed.  Under the US tax law there is a concept of self-employment taxes, where the individual is both the employer and the employee for all intents and purposes.  This means that they have to pay the employer and employee portions of payroll taxes.

Not only didn’t Geithner pay his self-employment taxes, the IMF reimbursed him for what he should have paid had he been a law abiding citizen like the rest of us.

It turns out that this isn’t the last time that Secretary Geithner followed laws as if they were a suggestion, rather than the rule.  Turns out that all of the bailout money being paid out by the billions is unconstitutional as well.

Article I Section 9 of the US Constitution states that “No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law…”.  This isn’t just a minor point the founding fathers decided to throw into the Constitution.  

Secretary Geithner got around this Constitutional issue when the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was passed.  According to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, this established the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP as it has become more popularly known.  This authorized “the Treasury to purchase $700 billion in assets to alleviate the crisis in credit markets”.

Essentially, this gave him a blank check to hand out $700 billion to “stabilize” the economy.  A stabilization effort, which will take years to pay back if any of the bailed out companies go under.

Isn’t it nice of him to hand out our taxpayer dollars when he isn’t even willing to pay his own fair share?

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Obama’s Vegas Vacation

The Senate Majority leader, Harry Reid, has a fundraiser planned at Cesar’s Palace on the Las Vegas Strip.  He’s planning on having headliners, like Bette Midler and Sheryl Crow perform at the event.

Oh yea, he’s also having some guy named Barack show up too.

The trip to Vegas for Obama is a complete 180 from his position on “corporate excesses”, back when bailout recipients were planning trips to Sin City for their high performers.  The President was even quoted as saying “You can’t get corporate jets, you can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayer’s dime” when talking about the corporate excesses.

I guess he changed his mind.

After all, it’s the taxpayer who footed the bill for the Air Force One photo-op flyover of Manhattan.  And come to think of it, it’s also the taxpayer who is footing the bill for the President to fly out to Las Vegas.

I guess we shouldn’t complain though.  It’s not like he’s taking the trip to further any “excesses”.  I mean Harry Reid has only raised a little over $3 million for his reelection campaign.  I suppose that might not be enough if he were running against someone who had a chance of winning.  But he’s not.

The President has “flip-flopped” more in the first few months of his presidency than John Kerry did during his entire campaign against George W. Bush, and is leading with the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality, which is prevalent throughout the Democratic party.

I just pray that the important issues on the President’s desk don’t take a back seat to this fundraising initiative that he has decided to undertake.  Just think how bad President Bush looked when he “didn’t panic little elementary school kids” on September 11th.  God forbid, President Obama interrupts a pointless fundraiser to attend to other national security issues.

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