Only the Federal Government Could Spend $24,000 On a $4,000 Subsidy
Nice job with the cars, boys. Now try your hand at health care.
The Cash for Clunkers program gave car buyers rebates of up to $4,500 if they traded in less fuel-efficient vehicles for new vehicles that met certain fuel economy requirements. A total of $3 billion was allotted for those rebates.
The average rebate was $4,000. But the overwhelming majority of sales would have taken place anyway at some time in the last half of 2009, according to Edmunds.com. That means the government ended up spending about $24,000 each for those 125,000 additional vehicle sales.
Perhaps the Coolest, Most Depressing iPhone App Yet
As of today Android and 3GS users can see recovery.gov contract data on their phones via the Layar augmented reality application. Layar is an application that overlays your view of the real world with waypoints representing your favorite coffee place, the movie theatre you're trying to find, or in this case, where some of that $787 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going.
There are also a few options to help you filter the results should you be in a contract-heavy area like DC, it is possible to filter by amount or search by name if you're trying to find larger contracts or contracts for a certain nearby recipient.
This data is taken from the recovery.gov Where Is The Money Going? map which provides a KML file containing all recipient reported Contracts. As of October 30th this data will be updated with the final contract, grants, and loans.
Strategy Room 3:00-4:00
I'll be on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com today from 3-4 pm.
White House War On Fox Paying Big Dividends
The forbidden network - already #1 by a mile - has seen its audience swell by almost 10% in the two weeks since Anita Dunn fired the opening salvo.
I'm finding myself less convinced the administration is clear on the distinction between a war of necessity and a war of choice.
Wolf Blitzer Hates CharitiesAnd knowledge.
These are ten painful minutes.
It's not that he's stupid per se...
A CNN insider defended the journalists: "They are reporters, not trivia experts. And the buzzer is complicated.
Congratulations On Being Independent Thinkers. Now Kindly Quiet Your Opposition and Get On Board With Me.
The crowd seems sufficiently seduced by His flattery not to notice the irony of His wheedle.
"Democrats are an opinionated bunch. You know, the other side, they just kinda sometimes do what they're told. Democrats, y'all thinkin' for yourselves. I like that in ya. But it's time for us to make sure we finish the job here. We are this close. And we've gotta be unified."
White House Sets Bar Hideously Low For 2010
After their epic whiff upon attempting to forecast unemployment with vs. without "stimulus," I suppose it makes sense that they would try to guide our expectations lower in time for the midterms.
But if they really expect this prediction to pan out, the whole administration might want to go ahead and resign in disgrace now.
White House economist Christina Romer warned this morning that unemployment is “unlikely to end 2010 much below” the current rate of nearly 10%.
Romer offered that bleak assessment of the job market for a difficult Democratic election year even as she defended White House economic policies.
In prepared testimony to Congress’s Joint Economic Committee, Romer, chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, conceded “the likelihood that labor market conditions will remain painfully weak through 2010.” Fiscal stimulus “will likely be contributing little to growth” by the middle of next year, she said, although hundreds of billions of tax dollars will still be flowing into the economy.
Economic growth, she said, could dip below forecasts, and in that case the unemployment rate “would likely continue to rise.”
Congratulations, North Dakota!
I hope you're sitting down, Peace Garden State, because you're officially the only state to see job creation in the 7-month wake of the $787 billion stimulus bill. Not only did you see net job creation, you saw hundreds upon hundreds of jobs created. 1,800 in all!
Yes, the rest of the nation has bled some 2,706,800 jobs over that period, but, well, if we simply ignore that... this latest wacky foray into bizarro-economics has yielded brand spanking new payrolls at the bargain price of $437 million per job.
True, we haven't actually deployed all that capital. But that's where the fun starts. Once we're done crapping away the rest of the funds wrested away from the greedy job-and-wealth-creators, extrapolating from these results, we can project the creation of as many as 10,000 jobs in North Dakota (with the loss of only 20 million elsewhere).
It's a veritable Keynesian paradise!
Sadly, genuine economic recovery will in all likelihood have stubbornly taken hold by then (despite our best efforts to snuff it out once and for all), so there may well be a few million "collateral damage" jobs created by the private sector that we can't in good conscience take credit for. But don't let that get in the way of feeling tepidly okay in the mean time about several hundred of the best ditch-digging and ditch-re-filling-in jobs money can buy, courtesy of your U.S. government and a few million highly productive fellow citizens, the most rational of which are now eyeing flights to one of the 190 or so nations with less bludgeony tax regimes.
Thank You Sir, May I Have Another!
Is it any wonder the bulk of the droves of Wall Street bigs who supported the President last year didn't rush across town last night to pay $30,000 for more public flogging?
President Barack Obama took on Wall Street in its own backyard Tuesday night, telling the bankers at a glittering Manhattan fund-raiser to get on board with his efforts to re-regulate the financial industry even as his Democratic Party was taking their money.
At a $15,200-a-plate dinner at the Mandarin Oriental, the president castigated people "who have just taken taxpayer bailout money saying, 'What do you want from me?'"
Stories of small businesses unable to get loans means the banks are not thinking about "our mutual obligations," he said, adding, "We're in this together."
"So if there are members of the financial industry in the audience today," Obama said, drawing some ooohs and chuckles from the crowd, " I would ask that you join us in passing what are necessary reforms. Don't fight them."
ObamaCare To Thwack Middle Class With Up To 70% Marginal Tax Rate
Maybe it's worth Congress' time to read the bill after all.
(HT: HA Headlines)
Think about a family of four earning $42,000 in 2016, which is between 150% and 200% of the federal poverty level. CBO says a mid-level "silver" plan will cost about $14,700 in premiums, of which the family will pay $2,600—since the government would pay the other $12,100. If the family breadwinner (or breadwinners, because the subsidies are based on combined gross income) then gets a raise or works overtime and wages rise to $54,000, the subsidy drops to $9,900. That amounts to an implicit 34% tax on each additional dollar of income.
Or consider a single worker earning $20,600 and buying an individual "silver" policy with a premium at $5,000. Again according to CBO, if his income rises to $26,500, his subsidy plummets to $2,700 from $4,400 (including a cost-sharing subsidy that goes away). This is a 29% marginal tax; moving to other income levels yields increases in the neighborhood of 20% to 23% for both individuals and families. Jim Capretta, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, calculates that when combined with other policies like the Earned Income Tax Credit that also phase out, the effective marginal rate would rise to nearly 70% at twice the poverty level.
Wascally Wenewable Energy
Fur and meat are murder, of course, but what about incineration?
Heating plant in Sweden burning rabbits killed in city parks to warm homes
Thousands of rabbits taken from Stockholm parks are being used to fuel a heating plant in Sweden, London's Daily Telegraph reported - and animal rights’ activists are hopping mad.
The frozen bunny corpses are transported to a heating plant in central Sweden, where they're incinerated to heat homes.
Government Efficiency Reaches Fever Pitch
Stimulus spending, said to create or save several hundred billion jobs and cause the oceans to recede, has indeed apparently had some success with job creation (or retention) in New York.
The stimulus isn't doing a thing to help the unemployment rate in the New York metro area, according to shocking new White House data released yesterday.
The feds have spent a half-billion dollars on 10 of the largest government stimulus contracts in New York City and Long Island -- but created or retained only 54 jobs.
That's an astounding $9 million per job.
At that rate, you could employ all of New York State for a measly $180 trillion.
Chewing the VAT
Sure, trillion-dollar spending sprees are fun, but they do require soaking up a fair bit of the GDP not already surrendered to the government. Ever the problem solvers, Nancy Pelosi and the Obama administration are eyeing a fresh taxpayer vein that just might help finance skyrocketing spending well into the future.
Dan Mitchell from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity explores the subsequent potential for an exciting plunge into a degree of statism to blush industrialized Europe.
Dow Threatens 10,000
Following strong earnings reports from the likes of Intel and JPMorgan, Dow Jones industrial average futures shot up triple digits pre-market, suggesting the average could climb above 10,000 for the first time in more than a year.
Offering additional tailwinds are somewhat better-than-expected economic reports, including retail sales for September (showing a decline of 1.5%, versus consensus expectations of a 2.1% drop) and import data showing prices rising less expected.
If the index were to close in quintuple digits, it would be the 19th time it's breached that threshold, returning blue chips to a level first seen in... [sigh] early 1999.
Update: And there it is.
Barry the Humble
His Norwegian plaudits came just in time to save the President from the seemingly more apt moniker Barry the Feckless, following his Danish besmirching.
With an incredulous world wondering how the least accomplished recipient of an award with an already dubious roster of honorees would react to the rarefied laurels, Obama managed to swallow his formidable ego and symbolically share the honor with... well, anyone else who loves his lofty emptiness and self-styled audacity as much as he and the Nobel committee do.
This award — and the call to action that comes with it — does not belong simply to me or my administration; it belongs to all people around the world who have fought for justice and for peace. And most of all, it belongs to you, the men and women of America, who have dared to hope and have worked so hard to make our world a little better.
Allah wonders, have you dared to hope?
Strategy Room 3:00-4:00
I'll be on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com today from 3-4 pm.
No Liquids, Gels, or [ahem] Other Fluids On Board
Passengers on the Japanese All Nippon Airways are being asked to hit the head before boarding to minimize their travel weight and thereby help save the planet. Sheesh!The carrier is testing the policy on 42 flights, starting last Thursday, and hopes to achieve a five-tonne reduction in carbon emissions in the one-month experiment.
Here's how it works: The average human bladder holds up to a litre of fluid, which weighs roughly one kilogram. All Nippon's most popular aircraft, a Boeing 777, holds 247 people. So, in theory, if 247 passengers all go to the washroom before boarding, they could lighten the plane by up to 247 kilograms – the weight of three average men.
Ayers Likely Ghost Wrote Obama's Memoir - Part III
It's been a year since Parts I and II of this series, based on Jack Cashill's technical analysis of Obama's memoir (which, with all other evidence of his scholarship under lock and key, serves as nearly the sole basis of his ostensible braininess), but with unrepentant terrorist bomber Bill Ayers himself having reportedly copped to it, another sequel seems in order.
Traveling through Reagan National airport yesterday, Anne Leary of Back Yard Conservative bumped into the aging malcontent (who, somewhat shockingly, does not appear on the no-fly-list) and began to prod.
But he didn’t scowl, and didn’t run off as he has been known to do. Instead, unprompted, he blurted out: “I wrote ‘Dreams From My Father… Michelle asked me to.” Then he added “And if you can prove it we can split the royalties.”
Anne responded, “Stop pulling my leg!”
But he repeated insistently, “I wrote it, the wording was similar [to Ayers’ other writing.]”
Anne responded, “I believe you probably heavily edited it.”
Ayers stated firmly, “I wrote it.”
Was he, as she had asked, pulling our collective legs? Other sources report rumors that Ayers is very upset both about not getting any credit for helping Obama on ‘Dreams,’ and may also be put off by being summarily thrown under the bus along with Rev. Wright and everyone else who becomes an inconvenience to this President.
"I think I'm a doctor but that doesn't make me a doctor. These fancy clothes do."
WASHINGTON -- President Obama yesterday rolled out the red carpet -- and handed out doctors' white coats as well, just so nobody missed his hard-sell health-care message.
In a heavy-handed attempt at reviving support for health-care reform, the White House orchestrated a massive photo op to buttress its claim that front-line physicians support Obama.
A sea of 150 white-coated doctors, all enthusiastically supportive of the president and representing all 50 states, looked as if they were at a costume party as they posed in the Rose Garden before hearing Obama's pitch for the Democratic overhaul bills moving through Congress.
The physicians, all invited guests, were told to bring their white lab coats to make sure that TV cameras captured the image.
But some docs apparently forgot, failing to meet the White House dress code by showing up in business suits or dresses.
My Dog Ate My Science
The science behind global warming is settled. Sadly, it's also been incinerated.
In the wake of a revelation by a key research institution that it destroyed its original climate data, the Competitive Enterprise Institute petitioned EPA to reopen a major global warming proceeding.
In mid-August the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) disclosed that it had destroyed the raw data for its global surface temperature data set because of an alleged lack of storage space. The CRU data have been the basis for several of the major international studies that claim we face a global warming crisis. CRU’s destruction of data, however, severely undercuts the credibility of those studies.
CEI general counsel Sam Kazman stated, “EPA is resting its case on international studies that in turn relied on CRU data. But CRU’s suspicious destruction of it original data, disclosed at this late date, makes that information totally unreliable. If EPA doesn’t reexamine the implications of this, it’s stumbling blindly into the most important regulatory issue we face.”
Among CRU’s funders are the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy – U.S. taxpayers.