Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Final Five: April 17, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
April 17, 2012

Featured Article:
Tax (Disappearing) Freedom Day
Today might be Tax Freedom Day, but it does not mean that we are working for ourselves the rest of the year. Tom Blumer takes it further to develop the "We Finally Have Our Lives Back" Day.

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Alabama's 2011 BCS Championship Trophy Accidentally Smashed
It was less than 100 days ago that Alabama defeated LSU to claim the BCS national championship. Unfortunately, Alabama's crystal football trophy was shattered this weekend in an accident involving a team member's parent.

Topic One: Tax Day
If you have not completed and mailed your tax returns, I hope that you have either applied for an extension or know of a nearby post office that is open until midnight on tax day. Pundits celebrated tax day in the only way they know how: writing about it! In addition to being the day that we all balance our books with the IRS, today was also "Tax Freedom Day", the day that the average American has made enough money to cover the taxes for the entire year.

Heritage asks what this day will feel like in 2013: "In addition to today being Tax Day, it’s also, coincidentally, “Tax Freedom Day” — meaning that it has taken from January 1 until now for Americans to earn enough money to pay this year’s federal, state, and local tax bill — 29.2% of all our income. In other words, for the first 111 days of the year, everything you earned went straight to Uncle Sam. Compare that to back in 1900, when Americans paid only 5.9% of their income in taxes and Tax Freedom Day came on January 22. The Tax Foundation reports that because of higher federal income and corporate tax collections, Tax Freedom Day came four days later this year than last. And the bad news is that unless Washington takes action, it will take working Americans 11 more days to meet next year’s tax burden. That’s all due to Taxmageddon — a slew of expiring tax cuts and new tax increases that will hit Americans on January 1, 2013, amounting to a $494 billion tax hike. Heritage’s Curtis Dubay reports that American households can expect to face an average tax increase of $3,800 and that 70 percent of Taxmageddon’s impact will fall directly on low-income and middle-income families, leaving them with $346 billion less to spend."

Tom Blumer at PJ Media takes it one step further and calculates the "We Finally Have Our Lives Back" day: "The foundation notes that “if the federal government raised taxes enough to close the budget deficit — an additional $1.014 trillion — Tax Freedom Day would come on May 14 instead of April 17.” This year’s deficit really appears more likely to come in at about $1.2 trillion — if we’re lucky. The reported deficits in February and March were both higher than the year-ago figures for the same months. ... It would also not be out of line to add the costs of government regulation to the TFD calendar, simply because you’re not working for yourself when you’re engaging in state-required busywork, paperwork, and other forms of compliance. The Competitive Enterprise Institute cited a paper in its 2011 “Ten Thousand Commandments” publication claiming that “an evaluation of the U.S. federal regulatory enterprise … (found that) annual regulatory compliance costs hit $1.752 trillion in 2008.” No one can possibly believe that these costs have gone down in the past three years. Add in the cost of state and local regs, and the current figure for the annual cost of all forms of regulatory compliance and subservience is surely at least $2 trillion. That tacks on another 53 days, taking us well past the half-year mark to about July 11, which perhaps should be tagged as “We Finally Have Our Lives Back” Day. The proposition that we live in a genuinely free country becomes more questionable with each passing year."

Time for a Laugh:
"At the St. Louis Zoo, Newt Gingrich got too close to one of the animals and was bit on the hand by a penguin. If you're named after a lizard, you have to assume birds are going to try to eat you."
-Jimmy Kimmel

Topic Two: Israel Relations
Duel Dilemmas: "As commander in chief and first diplomat, Obama holds all the cards. If Iran is accommodating, the sanctions he has imposed will be seen as successful. If Iran balks in negotiations, he can impose new sanctions. If Iran walks out of the talks, he can issue ultimata. If Israel attacks Iran, he can come to Israel's defense and finish the job of destroying Iran's nuclear facilities. If done close to the election, this would assure Obama's re-election. The "October surprise" of 2012. What are Iran's interests and options? Tehran cannot want war with the United States. For whatever the damage done to U.S. interests, the destruction of Iran's air, naval and missile forces and nuclear program would be total. The smartest course for Iran to pursue is to demonstrate to the West that she is reasonable and anxious to prove she has no present or future intention of building atomic weapons."

However, while the talks occurred, Israel aired a report detailing their capability to strike Iran: "But what is it that the IDF let the reporter see? It could be a gigantic bluff meant to prod the Iranians in the talks now underway with the P5+1 nations - a not so subtle message that a rain of ruin from the air is coming and they can do little to stop it. Then again, the Israelis may have allowed the report to air for domestic purposes. A lot of Israelis don't think their military has the capability to strike Iran effectively. A report like this may change a few minds in that regard. For whatever reason, the TV report shows that preparations are probably complete for an attack and all that is needed is a "go" from Prime Minister Netanyahu. Whether that order will be given is pretty much up to the Iranians now."

Debt Watch:
( As of Monday, April 16, 2012 )

Change: +$38,912,488,075
Your share as a citizen: $50,078.07
Share per household: $137,037.70
Debt since Obama inauguration: $5,027,761,476,485

Topic Three: The Zimmerman Case
Media Malpractice: "As for the Martin case, last week George Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. The right thing to do is reserve judgment until the evidence emerges in a court of law. One hopes that the media haven’t poisoned the well such that Zimmerman can’t get a fair trial. Meanwhile, it’s worth remembering America has a black president, and the country has seen undeniable racial progress. Given the political leanings and professional standards of America’s newsrooms, it’s increasingly implausible to say the media have."

On Zimmerman's lack of a grand jury hearing: "It may well be for the best that the case will be heard in a full adversarial proceeding in open court, for no matter how it turns out, the killing has already turned out to be one of the most important criminal cases in American history. All the more reason, though, that this is precisely the kind of situation in which the right of the grand jury is at a premium. The way things are going it wouldn’t surprise us were the case of Florida v. George Zimmerman to illuminate the logic of incorporating the grand jury right to all persons held to answer for an infamous crime, even if they are being held not by the federal government but by one of the states."

Tweet of the Day:
Weird Report (@WeirdReport):
Warren Buffett said he should have to pay more taxes. IRS audits him. He hires 3 attorneys to fight paying more taxes. #BuffettRule.

Topic Four: Romney's Strategy
Romney lagging on foreign policy: "Since launching his bid for the White House last year, Mitt Romney has taken a far more passive approach to combating President Obama on foreign policy than he has to contrasting their economic approaches. In his speeches, the GOP's all-but-certain standard-bearer regularly berates the president for the state of the economy. ... But when it comes to foreign policy, the tack has been more reactive and piecemeal. When international incidents occur -- such as North Korea’s failed rocket launch on Friday -- the Romney campaign cobbles together statements accusing Obama of failed leadership."

Is touting business experience risky for Romney? "The president's lines echoed attacks used against Fiorina and Whitman — who were painted by Democrats as out of touch because of their wealth and top-flight business careers. On countless occasions, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) mentioned Fiorina's yachts almost in the same breath as the layoffs Fiorina had ordered as Hewlett-Packard Co.'s chief executive. In the race for governor, Jerry Brown repeatedly accused Whitman, the billionaire and former EBay chief executive, of trying to buy the election, and her professional performance was dissected throughout. ... Boxer pollster Mark Mellman noted that, as with Romney, voters initially were receptive to the business experience of both women, particularly Fiorina's arc of working her way up from the secretarial pool to run HP. But that perception changed as Boxer's campaign pummeled her with television ads that juxtaposed outsourcing and layoffs under her watch at HP with her lifestyle."

Meanwhile, the hunt for a VP is officially on: "The first unwritten notion about the “veepstakes” is that the American vice presidency is like a bronze medal or a day-old doughnut: Sure, you might enjoy having it. But it is considered unseemly to want it. The dance is expected to begin in earnest now that Mitt Romney is the de facto Republican nominee. On Monday, the candidate said he has named Beth Myers, a longtime senior adviser, to lead his running-mate search committee, even though he acknowledged that it is “way too early to begin narrowing down who the potential vice-presidential nominees might be.” The selection of a running mate is a vitally important political calculation for any presidential nominee: It can help swing a key state or voting demographic or reassure voters that a capable second is ready to take over in an emergency."

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the priciples of its Constitution."

-Thomas Jefferson

Topic Five: ObamaCare's Cost
$1.16 Trillion over 10 years: "How much will Obamacare -- call it the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act if you like -- cost over the next 10 years? More than you've been led to believe, reports Charles Blahous of George Mason University's Mercatus Center. To be specific, he projects it will add $1,160 billion to net federal spending over the next 10 years and at least $340 billion to federal budget deficits in that time. Blahous was appointed by Barack Obama as one of two public trustees of the Social Security and Medicare programs. He worked on these issues in George W. Bush's administration and submitted his Mercatus paper for anonymous peer review."

The best reaction to summaries this news can be described by the first word of the headline: "Ouch!"

Tomorrow in History
April 18, 1908 - The city of San Francisco is mostly destroyed by a earthquake and the resulting fire.

Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening:
Those making over $50,000 pay 93.3% of all taxes

Walker leads Barrett by 5 in latest poll

150 Afghan schoolgirls poisoned

The laziest Senate in years

Promoting competition in government

Kenya getting more US government money

The 7 most disturbing moments of the Obama presidency

The education trap

Americans renouncing citizenship at tax time

2000 more green-energy layoffs

People line up for Obama money

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