Archive for ‘Economics’

December 30, 2012

Clearing the tabs…12/30/2012

by thoughtfulconservative

Secretary of State Clinton hospitalized. I guess it turned out to be more than “Benghazi flu” after all… Prayers for Secretary Clinton and her health.

How to prepare financially for 2013 despite fiscal cliff. Step one: Don’t panic. Step 2: Prepare for the worst. That’s when I panic. Step 3: Turn investments into cash…Yeah, right.

Farmer cites religious issues in raw milk case. May be behind a “pay wall.” Sorry.

Immigration reform could get overshadowed in Congress. By what? Oh….yeah…forgot.

Red-light cameras run up $7.6 million in fines in first year. Look for this revenue stream to come to a community near you soon.

French court throws out Hollande’s tax on rich. America should be so lucky.

And last but certainly not least, Obama signs FISA warrantless wiretapping program extension into law. It’s nice to know that while the government might not be able to pay its bills, it will still be able to spy on its citizens. Kohl, Johnson and Sensenbrenner all voted “Yes.”

July 13, 2011

Why most polls suck

by thoughtfulconservative

Any one who reads me, or even hangs around me for any length of time, will find out I’m not a big fan of polls.

There’s just too many things that can tilt a poll one way or another.

Oh, you want me to name some? Gladly. Size of the sample, who’s in the sample, how the question is worded, the order of the choices, if my wife mouthed off to me this morning, if I woke up with a headache, if I’m getting ready to go out, ideological leaning of the one taking the poll, You want me to go on?

This is not to say there’s no value in polls. For example, I will use polling results in responding to liberals about some issue they are big on. I do this because liberals love polls.

For example, only 27% Americans believe abortion should be legal under any circumstance, in other words like it is now.

But I’m just playing with them.

Long prelude to get to this:

A new Gallup Poll finds that just 26% of GOP voters think a deal to lift the debt ceiling should consist entirely of spending cuts.

The vast majority of Republicans believe that at least some tax revenue increases are necessary, which is contrary to the current position of the Republican congressional leadership.

Nate Silver: “The Republicans in the House of Representatives are extremely conservative on fiscal matters and are significantly out of step with the public as a whole.” [emphasis mine]

via Most GOP Voters See Need for Revenue Increases.

I’m like, “Whoa. Really?”

So I looked up the poll. Here’s the table:

Preferences for Spending Cuts vs. Tax Increases to Reduce the Deficit, by Political Party, July 2011

This is one of those (frankly useless) polls that both sides can get something from. I guess pollsters do this so no one will get mad at them.

Because what Mr. Goddard wrote is correct. Because tax increases are included in every choice but one.

Clever, eh? I love how they did that!

And Republicans can say, “Half of the American people want the deficit to be reduced by mostly spending cuts.”

See how easy that is?

The more choices there are, the better chance to find a majority that favors your point of view.

But sometimes it’s hard to tell anything from a poll. In that same Gallop poll (3rd question), 51% of Americans are concerned the government would raise the debt ceiling without cutting spending. And (4th question) 46% trust Republican leaders rather than Obama (43%) to handle the issues concerning the budget and debt ceiling.

And everyone knows that web polls are even more useless, right? Like this one. I wouldn’t mind voting but they don’t have a choice that matches mine.

July 12, 2011

The McConnell Plan

by thoughtfulconservative

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., offered a new plan to allow the president to demand up to $2.4 trillion in new borrowing authority by the summer of next year in three separate submissions.

via McConnell: Give Obama New Powers on Debt Limit.

You can find the details here.

Basically it

allows the president to demand up to $2.4 trillion in new borrowing authority by the summer of next year in three separate submissions.

House and Senate could disallow these requests in 15 days and the president could veto any “disallowals.”

The Heritage Foundation argues against it. The Wall Street Journal seems to like it. Zogby says voters will blame the president.

Republicans had already been called out by The Economist:

IN THREE weeks, if there is no political deal, the American government will go into default. Not, one must pray, on its sovereign debt. But the country will have to stop paying someone: perhaps pensioners, or government suppliers, or soldiers. That would be damaging enough at a time of economic fragility. And the longer such a default went on, the greater the risk of provoking a genuine bond crisis would become.

The Journal op/ed sees what’s happening:

Mr. Obama is trying to present Republicans with a Hobson’s choice: Either repudiate their campaign pledge by raising taxes, or take the blame for any economic turmoil and government shutdown as the U.S. nears a debt default. In the former case Mr. Obama takes the tax issue off the table and demoralizes the tea party for 2012, and in the latter he makes Republicans share the blame for 9.2% unemployment.

The McConnell Plan avoids both of these.

It may work…

April 23, 2011

No one to read?

by thoughtfulconservative

Want to guess who said this?

“Some have asked if there aren’t liberal sites I read regularly. Well, no. I will read anything I’ve been informed about that’s either interesting or revealing; but I don’t know of any economics or politics sites on that side that regularly provide analysis or information I need to take seriously. I know we’re supposed to pretend that both sides always have a point; but the truth is that most of the time they don’t.”


Answer later.

May 10, 2010

Quote of the day 05-10-2010

by thoughtfulconservative

Raising progressive taxes is a better move than budget cuts. It gets money moving through the economy again, jump-starting the economic recovery that is the principal engine of state fiscal health.



December 15, 2009

Politicians and money

by thoughtfulconservative

Most of us know that politicians, left, right and center like spending money, especially money that is not their own.

But there’s another aspect of this that some of us might not realize:

The Milwaukee School Board has spent 20 years ignoring a “fiscal time bomb” in the form of generous and unfunded health insurance benefits for retired MPS teachers and staff that will cost the district $5 billion by 2016, according to a new report by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.

via Milwaukee schools face booming retiree health care costs – JSOnline.

I know. It’s surprising isn’t it?

We’re seeing the same thing in health care where there are plenty of accounting gimmicks. Social Security is another. The alleged trust fund has been raided over the years to pay for deficits in the regular budget.

Yes, there are consequences. But if they are far enough down the road like the MPS and Social Security, the politicians will be long out of office before the piper has to be paid.