Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Gridlock

Credit Rating of Illinois Cut Again to One Notch Above Junk

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 2, 2017: 

English: 1987 Illinois license plate

The day after Illinois failed to reach a budget agreement (for the third year in a row), Moody’s Investors Service followed S&P Global Ratings by downgrading the state’s credit rating to just one notch above junk status. The legislature has 30 days to come up with a budget or else the state’s rating will be downgraded further to junk status.

Moody’s was blunt in its assessment of the rolling catastrophe: “Legislative gridlock has sidetracked efforts not only to address pension needs [$129 billion in unfunded liabilities] but also to achieve fiscal balance [the state has $14.5 billion in unpaid bills with $800 million in late fees and penalties adding to the total]. Moody’s analyst Ted Hampton added:

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The Tax Foundation’s Big Surprise: Trump’s Tax Plan is Better Than Hillary’s!

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, October 21, 2016:  

English: The standard Laffer Curve

The standard Laffer Curve

The Tax Foundation, founded nearly 80 years ago, considers itself non-partisan, guided by what it calls “the principles of sound tax policy, simplicity, transparency, neutrality, stability, no retroactivity, broad [tax] bases and low [tax] rates.” It has steadfastly opposed tax increases of any kind: income, corporate, or excise. Especially annoying are tax “preferences” (i.e., subsidies) for the housing industry and tax credits for certain constituencies (which the Foundation calls “picking winners and losers”).

So it’s no surprise that in its study of Trump’s and Clinton’s so-called “tax plans” the Foundation concluded that Trump’s was vastly superior to Hillary’s:

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Senate Republican Dreaming after November

This article first appeared at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, October 13, 2014:

English: Official photo cropped of United Stat...

Possible Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in 114th Congress?

Some Republicans are beginning to lick their chops in anticipation of a takeover of the Senate in November. New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already promised to rein in Obamacare, pass a real budget, and hold hearings on the EPA’s onerous greenhouse gas regulations – which would resonate positively with his coal-fired constituents in Kentucky.

The Republican Wish List also includes

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Thanks to Glorious Gridlock, the Senate Immigration Bill is dead in the House

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, June 28th, 2013:

The founders would be proud. The Constitution has created gridlock over the Senate’s immigration bill, which will prevent this travesty from ever seeing the light of day over at the House. Many claim the Constitution is dead. Not according to House Speaker John Boehner:

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Harry Reid Refuses to Let Reality Interfere

Harry Reid Bubble Boy

Harry Reid: Bubble Boy (Photo credit: absentee_redstate)

According to the Washington Times, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is threatening to create the gridlock that many fear will push the country over the fiscal cliff. He refuses to recognize reality, continuing to make statements that most people consider absurd and ill-informed:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that he will not allow changes  in Social Security to be part of the negotiations to avoid a federal budget  fiscal cliff…

“Social Security is not part of the problem, That’s one of the myths the  Republicans have tried to create,” he said. “Social Security is sound for the  next many years. But we want to make sure that in the outer years people are  protected also, but it’s not going to be part of the budget talks, as far as I’m  concerned.”

This is the immovable object: Social Security is fine, just fine, leave it alone, we must protect the seniors, we promised…, etc., etc., etc. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell isn’t buying any of it. He is the irresistible force – he has

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Obama, Yes! Freedom, No!

John Stossel

John Stossel (Photo credit: C o l i n)

John Stossel is about as pessimistic as I’ve seen him. Freedom lost last Tuesday. Totalitarianism got stronger:

Some people with records of supporting liberty were elected: Sen. Jeff Flake in Arizona and U.S. Reps. Justin Amash and Kerry Bentivolio in Michigan and Thomas Massie in Kentucky…

Also, Washington and Colorado voted to allow any adult to use marijuana…

But overall, the results were bad for freedom.

He says we should “fix” government the way we “fix” our cats and dogs: spay them, neuter them.

How does he propose to do that? Term limits! That’ll work, you bet:

Term limits would be good. When we give politicians power, they should know they don’t get to keep it forever. They have to bring that power right back to us and drop it at our feet. “Good boy. Now go back outside!”

But don’t we already have term limits: two years for members of the House, six years for members of the Senate, four years for the President? How is that working?

Stossel thinks that, for the moment, gridlock will

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CBO: Balancing the Budget Will Be “Formidable”

We need to get this to the Fiscal Cliff! What ...

(Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Within days of issuing its report on the impact the fiscal cliff would have on the economy, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released another report full of suggestions on how to close the deficit. They might not have bothered. The gap is too big and their suggestions are too small.

The CBO tried to put things into perspective:

Federal debt held by the public currently exceeds 70 percent of the nation’s annual output (gross domestic product, or GDP), a percentage not seen since 1950. Under the current-law assumptions embodied in CBO’s baseline projections, the budget deficit would shrink markedly—from nearly $1.1 trillion in fiscal year 2012 to about $200 billion in 2022…

Simply put, if nothing changes, come the first of the year the deficit will begin to come down, but not by very much, and certainly not enough to bring the budget into balance by 2022. But, warns the CBO:

Those projections depend heavily on the significant increases in taxes and decreases in spending that are scheduled to take effect at the beginning of January.

Aside from the gridlock now being witnessed in Washington as the conflicting interests of the taxpayers versus the beneficiaries of the welfare state are working themselves out, there is simple

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CBO All But Guarantees Fiscal Cliff Gridlock

(fear) the Fiscal Cliff...

(fear) the Fiscal Cliff… (Photo credit: MyEyeSees)

In its latest 14-page report on the impact the “fiscal cliff” would have on the economy in 2013 and beyond, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provided enough ammunition to both sides of the debate to guarantee a standoff in Washington. It would have simplified matters greatly if Doug Elmendorf, the CBO’s director, had simply said: “Pay me now or pay me later. You decide.”

The “fiscal cliff” is a convergence of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to become effective on January 1st 2013 that are complex enough to, in the words of Tevye in the film Fiddler on the Roof, “cross a Rabbi’s eyes.”

There are the Bush tax cuts from 2001 and 2003 which are due to expire, representing a tax increase that would affect most taxpayers, hitting higher earners especially hard. There are the mandatory spending cuts to military and domestic programs that resulted from the failure of Congress in August 2011 to make hard decisions about the deficit and national debt.

There is the expiration of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) “patch” which would effectively raise taxes on some 27 million people. There is the scheduled ending of the payroll tax “holiday” which temporarily reduced employees’ contributions to Social Security from 6.2% to 4.2%. There is the Medicare “Doc Fix” legislation which, when it expires, would cut Medicare providers’ fees by 27 percent. And there’s the Medicare surtax of 3.8 percent that would apply to high income earners along with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.

Put altogether, if the congress does nothing, the impact on the economy would mean a significant decrease in

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What Liberties are We Actually Losing?

Washington DC - West Potomac Park: Thomas Jeff...

Washington DC – West Potomac Park: Thomas Jefferson Memorial (Photo credit: wallyg)

Russ Roberts received an interesting email that asks some important questions about the freedom fight:

You guys have been forecasting the arrival of universal serfdom for about as long as the left has been predicting the collapse of capitalism. Is the Road to Serfdom gridlocked? Did someone forget to gas the car? Has our dashboard GPS unit failed? Or our we just moving really slowly, the better to take in the scenery?

I mean, come on. I’m guessing that you, the readers of this blog are among the freest people in human history. You are free to go pretty much anywhere in the world you wish to go, free to buy pretty much anything that’s available for sale anywhere, free to think anything you want, say anything you want, read anything you want, watch anything you want on TV. And even after you’ve paid for all those dinners in nice restaurants, vacations in nice places, and homes in nice subdivisions, you still have enough left over to own shares of Apple or Google. You’re paying less in taxes than you have in decades. If you get really sick, or suffer a serious injury, you will receive top quality medical care than will not leave you penniless even though you might never be able to pay the full cost of your care yourself– thanks largely to the pre-eminently socialist institution known as “insurance.” And even if you’ve not made or saved lot of money in your lifetime, you will not be destitute in your old age, and you will not be allowed to die like a dog in the street. And so on.

Maybe I’ve missed something. But an itemized list of liberties of which you have been deprived, or that you are at risk of losing, might help me get up to speed.

What might such an “itemized list of liberties” look like if you got an email like this? Or if a skeptic asked you face-to-face?

Roberts fumbles around with

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A Fool’s Reasons to Vote for Romney

Mitt Romney - Cartoon

Mitt Romney – Cartoon (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Somehow John Hawkins (a self-styled “professional blogger”) got his article published at Townhall.com, giving independent voters five good reasons why they should vote for Romney over Obama. They are ridiculous.

  1. Mitt is from a blue state and understands how to work with the other party.Hawkins said that Romney was able to “pass legislation and balance the budget” in Massachusetts by working with a legislature that “was 87% Democrats.” But Obama and the Republicans haven’t been able to, and that’s a bad thing, according to Hawkins. This is called gridlock. I call it political salvation from more mischief that would result from said “cooperation.” And I thank the Founders for creating a system that put checks on unlimited government that would otherwise result from such “cooperation.”
  2. Mitt Romney is a moderate Republican.Here Hawkins is just plain incoherent. He created a blog called Notmittromney.com during the primaries, alleging that Romney would be a

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The Election is Over: Obama Wins!

Intrade – Barack Obama to be re-elected President in 2012

Barack Obama to be re-elected President in 2012 – 67.8% CHANCE

Senator and Presidential hopeful Barack Obama ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gary North likes Intrade. He thinks their past record of predicting elections means that Obama is going to win the election in November.

I think he is right. I have written about the University of Colorado professors whose election model shows Romney winning. I have written about the Las Vegas odds maker extraordinaire who predicts Romney will win. But Obama’s numbers at Intrade keep going up.

Gary North thinks it’s because of the attacks on our embassies around the Mediterranean. It’s “rally ‘round the flag, boys” time for Obama.

But North also pooh-poohs the idea that this is “the election of the century.” I agree with him on that.  Intrade shows that the House of Representatives will remain Republican, and a good chance that the Senate will go Republican too.

So that spells gridlock, at least until 2014.

What about the fiscal cliff? Expediency will rule, in my opinion.  There will be some cuts in government spending but the Bush tax cuts will continue.

What about Obamacare? I don’t think it will be repealed. If it is somehow, it will be replaced with something equally onerous and wasteful and disruptive. So I’m making plans to provide for my own personal healthcare by finding a physician who doesn’t take Medicare and will accept direct payments from me, either on a monthly basis, or on an as-needed basis. In the meantime I’m following the rules of Dr. Joel Furhman, author of Eat to Live. I’ve lost 25 pounds, I’m sleeping well, and able to work long hours without getting tired.

North does provide some encouragement. I’m quoting now from his members-only newsletter (available for a small monthly fee at www.garynorth.com):

I do not understand how anyone in 2012 can believe that a boxed-in, lame-duck, teleprompter-dependent empty suit is a threat to them in some unique way.

It’s not over until the fat lady sings, but in a republic, the fat lady never sings. There is always another election.

I’m already looking forward to 2016.

Only Tax Cuts Can Stop Trillion-Dollar Deficits

President Kennedy delivers radio and televisio...

The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Thursday that the federal government’s deficit for the first nine months of its 2012 fiscal year exceeded $900 billion and that the country is on target for another $1 trillion annual deficit for the fourth year in a row. And this was despite the fact that revenues for the same period actually increased by five percent.

In simple terms, government is growing more quickly than the economy can generate the revenues to feed it. And if the status remains quo, the economy will continue to stagnate. At present it is informally in recession, there is gridlock in Congress, elections are four months away, and Taxmageddon—the “fiscal cliff”—awaits taxpayers on January 1. All of this is sufficient to cause even the hardy to tremble.

What the president and a compliant Congress have managed to do over the last four years is to increase government spending, compared with what the economy generates—the gross domestic product, or GDP—to the highest level since WWII. James Glassman’s study of deficit spending under the last five presidents shows that President Obama’s ratio of deficit to GDP is 8.9 percent, compared to George Bush senior’s 4.2 percent, Ronald Reagan’s 4.2 percent, George Bush junior’s 2.7 percent, and Bill Clinton’s 0.5 percent. Putting that into perspective, Obama’s deficits are running between two and fifteen times greater than his predecessors, with no end in sight.

In fact, if the economy’s output declines as many economists are predicting, revenues will fall, resulting in even higher

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North Dakota: A Study in How the Free Market Works

English: An Oil Pump in western North Dakota

The continuing boom in North Dakota seemingly has no end. Last June oil production from the Bakken Formation exceeded 11 million barrels a month. In February it reached 16 million with estimates that by late spring North Dakota could be producing more oil than either California or Alaska. That’s more than double what the state produced just two years ago.

The population boom in Williston and elsewhere continues to set records. The oil industry employs more than 30,000 people and could exceed 100,000 if production rises as expected to a million barrels a day. There are so many job openings that the state is sponsoring trade fairs across the country and has to deal with—are you ready?—budget surpluses!

Comparisons between North Dakota and other states struggling with deficits and high unemployment abound. Steve Moore wrote about it in the Wall Street Journal, noting that North Dakota has a budget surplus of $1 billion out of a $3.5 billion budget and it has already cut income taxes and is considering further reductions. Complete funding for the state’s pension plan is accomplished every year and the state is building “infrastructure” projects: roads, bridges, railroads and pipelines.

Moore compares this to the issues facing California: five straight years of budget deficits with the current fiscal year’s shortfall expected to exceed

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Regulatory Agencies Continue to Slow the Economy

English: The western front of the United State...

In a recent editorial entitled “Regulation without Representation,” Investors Business Daily pointed out that a new federal rule or regulation is published every two hours, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But most of them escape the notice of Congress. Congress itself passes fewer than 200 in each session, the rest are promulgated by agencies in the Executive Branch in contravention of explicit instructions in the Constitution. In a landmark study prepared for the Small Business Administration (SBA), Nicole and Mark Crain (pictured at left), economists at Lafayette College, counted the cost and concluded that regulations cost the American economy more than half the federal budget and even more than the annual deficit: an astounding $1.75 trillion annually. And most of those costs land squarely on small businesses with fewer than 20 employees — the very engine that drives the economy, or doesn’t. According to the authors, the regulatory burden on a small business in 2008 exceeded $10,000 per employee! When that burden is translated into the burden on the ultimate consuming household — recognizing that all costs are ultimately paid by the consumer, directly or indirectly — the burden exceeds $15,000 a year. And that is using data from 2008. When the total federal burden, both regulatory and fiscal, is calculated, the average household in America is saddled with costs approaching $40,000 a year. Here is how such regulation works: Administrative law, according to Wikipedia “exists because the Congress often grants broad authority to Executive branch agencies to interpret the statutes…which the agencies are entrusted with enforcing.” Wiki explains:

Congress may be too busy, congested, or gridlocked to micromanage the jurisdiction of those agencies by writing statues that cover every possible detail, or Congress may determine that the technical specialists at the agency are best equipped to develop detailed applications of statutes to particular facts as they arise.

And that is crux of the matter. Under the Constitution (Article I, Section 1), “all legislative powers herein contained shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Nowhere is power granted in the Constitution for said Congress to “grant broad authority to Executive branch agencies,” but there it is: an entire Fourth Branch of government that has sprung up out of

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Latest Housing Numbers May be an Aberration

English: Foreclosure Sign, Mortgage Crisis

The spate of good news about the economy, headed up by the National Association of Realtors (NAR)’s report that pending home sales increased by 7.3 percent in November from October, has resulted in improved outlooks by many observers, along with warnings from others not to get overly confident.

Even Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, was cautious in his announcement, perhaps chastened by NAR’s admission last week that they had overstated sales for the past five years: “Housing affordability conditions are at a record high and there is a pent-up demand from buyers who’ve been on the sidelines, but contract failures have been running unusually high.” And to avoid making the same mistake twice, Yun said that some of the increase in pending home sales may be people who couldn’t qualify before who are attempting to make another purchase now.

The pending home sales index hit 100.1, the first time it has been over 100 since April of 2010 when sales were goosed by the expiration of the government’s homeowner tax credit. Actual home sales were up in November as well, hitting a seven-month high, according to the Commerce Department.

New construction activity is inching higher along with builder confidence while the inventory of homes for sale is declining. Aaron Smith, an economist at Moody’s Analytics, was cautious: “It looks like buyers are

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S&P Downgrades Japan: Harbinger for US

Japanese 10,000 Yen Note, Macro Photo

Image by Ivan Walsh via Flickr

Standard and Poor’s gave plenty of reasons for its downgrade of Japan’s credit rating yesterday such as increasing annual deficits and soaring national debt, an aging population, shrinking workforce, and a government in gridlock. With their national debt approaching $11 trillion and a gross domestic product of just under $5.5 trillion, Japan’s ratio of debt to GDP is now

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Bloodbath Coming?

Mel Gibson as William Wallace anachronisticall...

Image via Wikipedia

White House deficit commission co-chairman Alan Simpson spoke at a Christian Science Monitor roundtable on Friday morning saying, “I can’t wait for the blood bath in April. It won’t matter whether two of us [on the commission] have signed this or 14 or 18. When debt limit time comes, they’re going to look around and say, ‘What…do we do now? We’ve got guys [House freshmen] who will not approve the debt limit increase unless we give ’em a piece of meat, real meat, off of this package.’ And boy the blood bath will be extraordinary.”

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Blessed D.C. Gridlock

Traffic congestion along Highway 401

Image via Wikipedia

Comments by the Associated Press following the midterm election sounded the alarm about gridlock. The AP writer warned: “A standoff between the Obama administration and emboldened Republicans will probably block any new help for an economy squeezed by slow growth and high unemployment. Congress might also create paralyzing uncertainty for investors and businesses by fighting over taxes, deficits, healthcare and financial regulation.”

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann