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An Old Dog Learning New Tricks

December 18, 2013 Leave a comment

This week, Bloomberg Politics reported that investor and businessman, Sheldon Adelson, was taking advantage of a loophole in the current tax law to pass assets on to his heirs. Passing new tax laws in 1990–both the House and Senate were Democratic controlled at that time–is what created the loophole initially. It takes advantage of a special trust called a “GRAT” (grantor retained annuity trust), which allows placing assets into an irrevocable trust, where the person creating the trust pays a tax. The trust pays an annuity every year,  and upon expiration, the beneficiaries receive the remaining assets in the trust, tax-free.

Adelson and other businessmen have successfully used this mechanism to pass their assets to others and to avoid paying penalizing government fees and estate taxes to the tune of $100 billion over the past 13 years. Adelson himself has been able to pass $7.9 billion of his money to his heirs. Mark Zuckerberg (of Facebook fortune) and Lloyd Blankfein (of Goldman Sachs Group) have also taken advantage of the loophole.

Proponents of big government seem suddenly to realize the additional billions that they could spend if the loophole were closed, and they bemoan the fact that it’s still available. Adding to that, the fact that there is simply such large amounts of money mentioned, and other’s greed and envy kick in as well. Ironically, the concerns that people utter, reflect the same thinking as Adelson et al., namely that, “I don’t have enough” and “I need a way  to save what I have now for myself and my children”.

Quickly after that, any parallel thinking ends, and arbitrariness kicks in. All too suddenly, a self-concerned commenter engages in the conditioned response of this administration– “Surely those terribly rich men have enough money already? Why shouldn’t I be able to help spend some of that? Those businessmen must have made that money illegally or exploitatively…”

So, let us review: Congress screws up when they rewrite the tax code, Congress continues to refuse to fix the loophole, people are able to save their own money, and give it to their children. And the unavailable money that the government cannot collect is largely the businessmans fault? I am not sure what mental gymnastic enables one to bend logic that far, but it is quite a stretch.

I expect it will be some time before Congress does anything to close this loophole, since the right’s opposition to taxes is well-known, and the left has far too many big donors taking advantage of the loophole to close it. One thing is certain–whenever a government attempts to increasingly micromanage and legislate things, they will always underestimate the ability and ingenuity of the people to find ways to wriggle out of the most awful laws. The people may be dumb enough to vote for the Congressman, but they are smart enough not to follow his laws.

Monopoly Man

Huzzah! Loopholes!

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Obama’s SOTU: We Must, We Might, I Want

February 13, 2013 Leave a comment

“…and I want a fire truck, and a baseball glove, and a cowboy hat!”

So seemed to go President Obama’s State of the Union wish list. It sounded like Christmas with captive parents in the form of the Congress and a few Supreme Court Justices. Repeatedly, he went so far as to challenge Congress to pass bills, that he would immediately sign.

Interestingly, but hardly surprising to me, was the president’s line that the government should work for the many, not the few.

Why else was this State of the Union such a collassal waste of time for anyone who bothered watching it? Read more here for my thoughts and a few jabs…

http://www.conservativedailynews.com/2013/02/obamas-sotu-we-must-we-might-i-want/

Who’s got a bad case of the “gimmes”?

Playing Dirty

January 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Bailofrights tackles one of the main issues plaguing the right in Playing Dirty. How should right take on the left’s insidious framing of the language to suit their claims? Read on, and find out.

Danger – Cliff Ahead!

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Reid/Pelosi, Boehner/McConnell

Another day, another fiscal-cliff deal gone down the drain. John Boehner, already taking heat from the right for his softening stance on raising taxes, has come out with another offer to the president and the left. Called “Plan B”, the plan formerly had the support of Nancy Pelosi. Plan B would set the lower limit for raising taxes at the $1 million level. Plan B is very similar to the same bill that had Senate Democrats’ support in 2010.

For her part, in an interview with Andrea Mitchell, Pelosi now says she only supported the plan to “smoke out the Republicans”, and see at what level they would consider raising taxes. Pelosi was negotiating purely in bad faith, it seems. She did not have anything serious to bring to the discussion, and she was merely wasting time. That, or she is negotiating from the standpoint of “getting an inch, and taking a foot”. Whatever her motive was, it is plain to see how destructive and pointless it was.

Mitch McConnell says he would support the Plan B design, but he would do so with reservations. McConnell would rather have a bill that did not raise taxes on anybody. With Boehner’s support of this newest plan, numerous other House members raised objections to the new tax considerations, but they seem to recognize that without any plan, taxes would greatly rise. The gambit now is to “shield” as many people from the massive tax increases as possible. Sean Duffy, Jim Jordan, and Raul Labrador all seemed lukewarm at best to the prospect of voting for any tax increases, with Labrador refusing to even share his criticisms.

Called out for his part (or non-part) in the fiscal-cliff talks was Harry Reid. One Republican adviser said Reid has been on the sidelines for the cliff negotiations. Reid has also claimed that, despite numerous revisions to their positions, and despite the most recent offer, Republicans “…have threatened to abandon serious negotiations”. Perhaps more proof that he is merely running interference for the White House, Reid also claimed that President Obama has not heard from Boehner since Boehner’s new offer on Monday.

President Obama has balked at every offer the Republicans have proposed so far. Threatening a veto of everything has him in the position of a win-win situation. On one hand, if nothing happens, and taxes explode, he can continue to spend, thanks to the new revenues. On the other hand, if the Republicans cave in, he can both claim he negotiated the excellent deal, and privately, he can tell his sycophants he made Boehner and the Republicans submit. White House officials are also now claiming that the President will refuse to negotiate with Republicans out of principle. That of course, will allow President Obama (and Reid) to claim they attempted to negotiate, but were simply prevented from passing any legislation by the blocking Republicans (yet again).

To the left, the worst thing to come of failed fiscal-cliff talks is that President Obama has to postpone leaving for his Christmas vacation. They face: finally getting huge tax increases, yet again, furthering the narrative of a blocking, do-nothing, Republican party, and they get huge military cuts. Merry Christmas, America.

The Progressive “Reality”

December 11, 2012 2 comments

Ministry of Propaganda

“Doublespeak” is a term inspired by “double-think” in Orwell’s famous dystopian novel, “1984”. According to oxforddictionaries.com, it means “deliberately euphemistic, ambiguous, or obscure language”. I would say it means, “saying something to say nothing”. Regardless, no one group of people has done more to further the spread of doublespeak than the American left.

Left-wing author, George Lakoff calls it “framing”, and advocates its use to regain rhetorical ground that the left lost to Republicans. By changing terms like “partial-birth abortion” and “tax-relief”, Lakoff claims that progressive ideas would be more pleasing to the ear, and therefore more readily adopted by Americans. It is not the idea that is the problem, it is the description of the idea, he would have us believe. Never mind that the actual actions are as morally corrupt as ever, it should sound good.

The moments when progressives actually deviate from their politically correct speech, can be disastrous for them. Just this week, a Michigan state Congressman, Doug Geiss, threatened that there, “would be blood” if right-to-work measures became law in the state. President Obama himself uttered the infamous line to Joe Wurzelbacher, about spreading the wealth around, in response to Wurzelbacher’s candid question.

Democrats and progressives use four of the same tactics, over and over again, either to create their desired environment, or to change one that they do not like.

  • Create divisions were there are none, or there are none necessary. There was no reason to creating animus and promote class hatred when Obama took office. His huge spending plans and burgeoning deficits meant someone had to pay though – so enter the “filthy 1%”, said to have not earned their money honestly, or who are like robber barons (so go the hackneyed talking points). Another attempt at this, that ended in a conservative barrage of rebuttals, was the left’s “War on Women”. That attempt to create a narrative met with limited success.
  • Simply call something other than what it is. “Taxes” and “tax increases” are not so anymore – they are “paying one’s ‘fair share'”, and “revenue increases”. People understand and hate taxes, so to sell them to Americans, the left has to call them something that they are not. It has gotten so out of hand with tax-related issues, “tax cuts” are occasionally called “subsidies”.
  • Utilizing projection and shifting blame to look like the left is innocent of the problems that they have caused. We see the left gin up crowds of angry unions and other supporters, and when those same groups act out, violently, the left tries to claim the right provoked it. As the Obama spending grew exponentially, the left was all too happy to parrot the messages that “Bush was every bit as bad” and “Obama inherited the mess”. We have seen a little less of the shifting as Obama’s spending blew past any Bush spending, and continued upward. Another quashed point of the left was the tie between Bush and Cheney and various corporations. This was largely due to Obama’s hiring numerous people for his administration, who were close with corporations, coupled with Obama’s multi-million dollar loans to failed energy companies, headed by campaign bundlers.
    Just as I am writing this, MSNBC is trying to create doubt that it was union members who tore down an Americans For Prosperity tent in Lansing, Michigan.
  • Using the lap-dog media to carry the left’s messages. The media serve as both a bullhorn and magnifying glass for whatever claims the left wants to proffer. Media will both “investigate” negative claims, smearing through implications while doing it, and give the left a soapbox to stand on as they promulgate slurs and lies. News personalities will happily promote a false narrative, sharing what they consider correct information, rather than legitimately correct information. Soledad O’Brien famously tried to lecture Joel Pollack about liberation theology, and failed miserably. At the latest presidential debate, Candy Crowley attempted to correct Mitt Romney’s point that Obama never called the Benghazi attack, a “terror attack”. Of course Obama did not, but Crowley making the incorrect point led many people to take it as gospel from the debate moderator.

The left has done this for so long now, I fear that there are actually some people on the right who may think it is already too late to turn back the fake, fallacious claims of the left. The left has had so much time to invent, spew, and support their dogma, the American people now believe in that brand of reality.  Some in Congress seem to take a resigned, “oh well” view of the whole fiasco, and for their parts, become willing sacrificial lambs and scapegoats to the stories. More shockingly, some in Congress seem to look at the left’s success with these measures, and begin to think, “Hey – to get our messages out, maybe we should try that too!”

So, how do you oppose this? How are you supposed to fight so many marshalled sources of false information? Creating your own medium to offer your own narrative is too costly and laborious. Do you appear on the left’s favored programs, and pick fights with the bogus-information dealers? Possibly, but you would only have one chance to do that. A first step is to illustrate as much as possible the divergence between the reality of the country, and what the left claims the reality is. Aim for the issues and places with the biggest divergence. And do not do it without expecting numerous excuses, and be prepared to defend your own claims. It is very much a “parry-and-thrust” exercise, but there is no reason not to expect to win always – after all, the truth is on our side.

Thank You, America

November 7, 2012 Leave a comment

(This post is written primarily with the goodie-receiving, hook-line-and-sinker, Obama voter. With that being said, I hope the people who didn’t vote for him think differently after reading too.)

Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam has work to do…

Thank you, America. You have made it abundantly clear to this blogger, that the America we read about in books, the “Shining City on a Hill”, is no more. What happened? Well, with last night’s doubling down on the most unprepared, ill-mannered, and financially irresponsible president ever, we as a country, continue to move into uncharted territory. You have sought to receive something for nothing, America, and many of us realize that those positions and beliefs are completely untenable. Everything we receive from government is paid for – usually at an astronomical mark-up. And you would like more.

You simply cannot continuously bleed a source, and government’s been a very sick patient for a while now. You might remember not too long ago, the government needed another debt-ceiling raise. The debt ceiling was raised again, as the Republicans in Congress signed off, rather than risk a government shut down. (The media told us it is for the best) We cannot have the government shut down – soldiers and old people would be placed in bad situations. Is this why you actually believe the right is irresponsible? Is that why you think they politic too much – that they sought to slow or stop the unsustainable growth of government, rather than just keep spending like the left?

In your drive to keep up with the Joneses’ (who live next door, and receive the same goodies and Obama-phones as you do), did you really think that the president gave a damn about you? Didn’t it seem awfully convenient of him to turn the charm on again – after four years of non-stop whining and golf? I know, I know, “he seems like the kind of guy you might have a beer with,” right? I wonder if he also struck you as a guy who would pick your pocket and steal gas from your car?

You have your phones, you have your EBT cards, and now, with the election wins last night, you seem to have it all. I wish you the best of luck with it all. The government is perilously close to a financial cliff, and when the benefits (shiny trinkets) you prize so much stop arriving in the mail – who will you blame? The government of Barack Obama, who promised you the moon? Or, because you are his supporter, and that it could not possibly be him (and you) that made such poor decisions – will you move onto another boogeyman?

The refrain from voters, such as yourselves, is that we will just soak the rich – just tax the hell out of them, and they will happily sit there and take it, right? It’s not like they have the money to pick up and move, right? Your problems are many and your solutions are absent. The solutions that you think you have come up with, will not have much effect at all of keeping your goodie-train rolling. Last evening, you sought fit to abandon the best chance we had at seriously reforming the spending mentality of this government, only to continue with more of the back-breaking regulations and taxing-and-spending of the Obama administration. Basing your vote on your stomach (EBTs), your ears (Obama-phones), or lady-parts (the bogus contraceptives debate), in casting the votes you did last night, you probably did more to end those programs than Mitt Romney ever could have, and you have probably greatly sped it up too. Basing the Obama “goodies-math” on false numbers and projections that are not even close to where actual numbers are right now, will have results that become apparent soon enough.

I cannot say I am really that shocked, that such shallow and self-centered folks would vote this way – after all, who cares about the neighbors, so long as your checks keep coming, right? The easy amused sort do not shock me either – their lack of foresight is no as well. So, go back to your couches (or graves) whichever the case may be, and live in the moment, from goodie to goodie. You have cast the die…

Tuesday’s Gone (or Why the Left Will Lose)

November 4, 2012 2 comments

Tuesday the nation goes to their polling places, and makes the most important decision they have ever made. If that sounds hyperbolic, it should not. The current president has shown himself more than willing to accrue bills and pass them on to future generations than any other president. This president has shown more wanton disregard for American life and liberty than any other as well. Obama, more than any other president, has sought to insert differences were there are none, incite hatred where there was none, and prevent the normal activities of Americans from occurring.

Stephanie Cutter

Obama campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter

The left wasted any chances that they had winning a presidential re-election a few years ago. The people represented by Democrats, took a backseat to the left’s dream of massive healthcare overhaul, and the passing of Obamacare, with numerous legislative tricks, near-bribes, and threats. After the Democrat-controlled Congress forced Obamacare through, they held “town hall” meetings that scared them, as many of the taxpayers slowly began to learn of the implications of Obamacare: new, massive government oversight, huge new tax bills, mandatory compliance, just to name a few.

As if ignoring some of their most loyal voters was not enough, Democrats seemed to find all new special interests to kowtow to, with the Obama inauguration. The country saw massive amounts of money given to unstable businesses under the guise of support of “green energy”. Later the country learned of the owners’ and CEOs’ ties to the Obama administration. Big campaign bundlers saw money thrown at their businesses, even after it was known that the business models were completely unfeasible.

Seeing the old supporters’ devotion die away, Obama seems to have decided to build new coalitions – all with their own price tags, of course, but none  paid by Obama, himself. Why would he spend his own capital when he has a massive taxpayer base to draw from? The green lobby, the illegal immigrant communities, and the newly built (and reliant) throngs of welfare and food stamp recipients. Threaten them with the loss of their goodies, and you have a reliant, reliable, voting base. If you can create more of them, than supporters that you have lost as a result of the welfare costs, it works out – it is a wonderful, government, pyramid scheme.

The left’s standard-bearers are often surly, abrasive, and falsely aggrieved. Harry Reid is happy to share rumors from nameless sources to smear Mitt Romney. Nancy Pelosi sponsors and supports legislation with unknown contents. Asked tough questions, both Stephanie Cutter and Debbie Wasserman-Shultz keep straight faces while spewing lies and feigning ignorance. Jay Carney parrots the same talking points he is given, usually not even attempting to answer the questions asked of him.

The president formerly campaigned on the transparency he would usher in – the most transparent administration ever, he promised. Asked questions about the most recent scandals, Obama tells us frequently, “It’s being investigated, and I cannot speak on it…” Then he sends proxies, like Jay Carney, out to the podium to say nothing to the press pool. The president has repeatedly balked at providing details on scandals, like Fast & Furious and the Benghazi slaughter. Instead of telling the American people any details, everything is an ongoing investigation, or that the records are “sensitive.”

If the country had a true, fourth estate, instead of a complicit puppet of the administration, we might expect some forced answers. Instead, many reporters seem perfectly happy to tow a party line for Obama, asking the lightest and most worthless of questions. The reporters want to retain their access to the White House, so it is best not to ask any tough questions that may endanger that (worthless) access.

Finally, the left plays a dangerous game with Americans when it comes to disaster relief. Obama visited Joplin, Missouri, but it was after a trip to Europe, six days later. When the BP oil disaster occurred, it showed the administration’s true colors. We saw the Obama response, finally, after 14 days of nothing. Just in the last week, we have seen the president’s response to hurricane Sandy. FEMA runs out of water, citizens are using hallways and stairwells as latrines, others in New York are rummaging through garbage for food, and Obama campaigns. For a president that espouses and so willfully uses the power of the federal government, to NOT do so in this situation is inexcusable.

David Axelrod

Senior Adviser to the President, David Axelrod

If it is still unclear, my point is this: the American left is morally, and monetarily bankrupt. In their hurry to jump over each another to make their sound-bytes, and to score points against their “enemies” on the right, the left either sold or lost their souls. To gain the support of their new, special-interest friends, they abandoned their old supporters, the people who made up their fathers’ Democratic Party. The new, more progressive left, clashes with a pragmatic America, that would rather have jobs and income than welfare and hand-outs. The new left abandoned their old ideals, and seemed to become a fully Keynesian, tax-and-spend monster, whose appetite for “goodies” could never be sated. The left is now more excuse, than execution.

After Tuesday’s landslide, the left will face two choices: continue with their big government planning and spending (which they have attempted and seen wholly rejected by Americans, since 2010), or reject the past few years, and once again embrace some sort of pragmatic and realistic reforms that help the country as a whole, not just their friends and sycophants. Given THIS sort of rhetoric, I fear the left still has not learned its lesson.