Tonight's Crazy Story:
Embarrassing 'SHCOOL' Sign Replaced in NYC
On Tuesday, we brought you the story of the "SHCOOL" sign painted on a street in New York City. It's amazing what some media attention can do, because the company that painted it suddenly found time to get it fixed!
Topic One: Tax the Rich!
Much of the debate over taxing capital gains at a lower rate centers around the idea of "fairness". However, even fairness has to be defined by a person, and our definitions vary. A great American Thinker article by Dale Brandy reframes the idea of fairness on capital gains taxes. Krauthammer agrees and calls it a war against the wealthy.
However, the White House has not said how much revenue the "Buffett Rule" will raise. The truth is that it will likely cost the government money because investors will leave their money in investments and accumulate paper gains instead of withdrawing it for realized gains. However, the White House cannot even come up with a number of how much the rule would have raised in years past.
There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"There was another Republican debate in Florida tonight. What is left to know about these candidates? Is someone going to confess to a murder?"
Topic Two: Iran
A worrying report on Iran says that Iran could potentially develop a nuclear weapon within a month if all goes well. The report does admit that it is a highly unlikely scenario, but it says that a more likely scenario involves Iran developing a weapon by August of this year. Meanwhile, the US and Israel are not seeing eye to eye on solutions to the Iran problem. Of course, our "first Jewish president" always knows what is best for Israel even when they do not.
Laura Kam writes a great HuffPo Op-Ed on how the "Never again" idea fits into the Iranian situation. "Yet this year, the Iranian regime's continued determination to realize its nuclear ambitions underscores the necessity to turn the motto 'Never Again' into action. The memory of the Holocaust should be at the forefront of the minds of world leaders who today must keep nuclear weapons out of Iran's reach. Even those statesmen who dismiss Iran's calls for Israel's destruction as little more than jingoistic rhetoric must regard Tehran's fanatical Holocaust denial as reason enough to thwart their nuclear armament."
Yesterday, the government returned to spending more than it brings in, increasing the debt by $4,194,020.89. The debt at the end of business on Thursday stood at:
Topic Three: Income Inequality
Two interesting articles on who we should not blame for the increase in income inequality. First, WaPo says we should not blame the rich. "Mobility is not limited to the top-earning households. A study by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis found that nearly half of the families in the lowest fifth of income earners in 2001 had moved up within six years. Over the same period, more than a third of those in the highest fifth of income-earners had moved down. Certainly, there are people such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates who are ensconced in the top tier, but far more common are people who are rich for short periods."
Second, Alan Greenspan argues at the Financial Times that capitalism is not to blame, either. "High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email email@example.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1c76d726-4687-11e1-89a8-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1khq325XL Capitalism, since it was spawned in the Enlightenment, has achieved one success after another. Standards and quality of living, following millennia of near stagnation, have risen at an unprecedented rate over large parts of the globe. Poverty has been dramatically reduced and life expectancy has more than doubled. The rise in material well-being – a tenfold increase in global real per capita income over two centuries – has enabled the earth to support a sixfold increase in population. While central planning may no longer be a credible form of economic organisation, the intellectual battle for its rival – free-market capitalism – is far from won."
Tweets of the Day:
Michael Q Sullivan (@mqsullivan): Obama fact of the day... When Obama became president, debt-per-person was at $34,731. Today, it's $48,699.
Topic Four: ObamaCare in Action
Despite Romney's arguments, the Massachusetts health care law is very similar to the (Un)Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. Whether or not this plan was actually a blueprint for the President's reform can be debated, but the similarities in the basic structure of the two laws is hard to dispute. Therefore, when considering the potential effects that this law may have when it is fully implemented in 2014, we can look to Massachusetts to derive some of our conclusions.
A Health Affairs study shows that in Massachusetts, the law accomplished some of its primary goals, but it has struggled to keep costs affordable. "The Massachusetts health reform initiative enacted into law in 2006 continued to fare well in 2010, with uninsurance rates remaining quite low and employer-sponsored insurance still strong. Access to health care also remained strong, and first-time reductions in emergency department visits and hospital inpatient stays suggested improvements in the effectiveness of health care delivery in the state. There were also improvements in self-reported health status. The affordability of health care, however, remains an issue for many people, as the state, like the nation, continues to struggle with the problem of rising health care costs." Ben Domenech has analysis of the report available at Ricochet.
Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"Speak seldom, but to important subjects, except such as particularly relate to your constituents, and, in the former case, make yourself perfectly master of the subject."
Topic Five: Wisconsin
Polls are showing that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker leads the major candidates among those considered likely to run to replace him the the recall election. While unions are expected to throw money at this race and hope that it produces a similar result to Ohio's repeal of SB5 last year, this is a completely different election. In Ohio, voters were asked about a specific bill that had not yet taken effect; in Wisconsin, voters will be asked about a particular person, not a specific piece of legislation. There will be people who oppose the collective bargaining law but will support Walker over the Democrat candidate.
Furthermore, the unions are finding themselves in a difficult situation. There is a governor who they want recalled, but there is also a president they want reelected and a House and Senate they want controlled by Democrats. After the money they spent supporting the SB5 repeal effort in Ohio last year and the money they will spend in an attempt to recall Walker this year, the union political coffers may be on the verge of running dry. While this will probably not effect the Presidential race (the unions will have whatever money necessary to support Obama), it could have a dramatic effect on House and Senate races. Democrats in tight races who could previously depend on an infusion of union cash into their races may end up without union support this year. The unions will definitely have to prioritize their spending this year to ensure that they can accomplish all of their political goals, and that bodes well for Republicans.
Tomorrow in History
January 28, 1915 - The US Coast Guard is officially established by an act of Congress.
Grab Bag - Interesting Stories to Conclude Your Evening
Government spending problems explained by one graph
Hawaiian lawmakers consider tracking every website you visit
Obama dismisses Brewer tension
A post-partisan president no more
Most foreign postal services are profitable
St. Louis hosts parade for Iraq vets
Would you like to receive The Final Five in your inbox each night? Click here to sign up for our new e-mail updates.