Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bill Clinton is the Real Murderer

Priorities USA SuperPAC brought us this ad, where a man named Joe Soptic accuses Mitt Romney of killing his wife:

The video makes several false claims, as highlighted in the New York Post:
  • Romney left Bain to run the Olympics two years before the plant closed.
  • After the plant closed, Soptic's wife maintained health insurance from her own employer until she lost her job the following year.
  • The plant closed five years before Renae Soptic's cancer diagnosis.

However, even if the video's portrayal of the facts was completely accurate, Mitt Romney is not the villain of the story. The true villain would be another well-known political figure: Bill Clinton.

President Obama has already absolved Romney of his responsibility for the closure of the GST Steel plant through his infamous "You didn't build that" line.

Obama's words echoed those of Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, who provides some further explanation of how the government builds your business for you:

The facts pointing to Clinton's responsibility for the GST Steel plant are crystal clear. Since it was government, not Romney, that built Bain Capital, then government must also be responsible for its failures. Bain purchased the GST Steel plant in 1993, the first year of the Clinton presidency. It was then closed in February 2001, only one month after the inauguration of George W. Bush. It may have been closed under Bush's watch, but if Obama believes that he should not be blamed for the poor economy three years into his presidency, then he would also have to concur that Bush could not possibly be blamed for an event that occurred only one month into the Bush presidency.

That leads us to the important question: what did Bill Clinton do to kill Renae Soptic? The facts here are not clear, but the speeches of Obama and Warren give us some room to speculate. Perhaps Clinton failed to spend enough money on transportation in the Kansas City region, keeping GST Steel from transporting its products in a timely fashion. Perhaps Clinton failed to adequately fund the Department of Education, preventing a local school district from hiring the teacher that could have trained someone to make the plant's operations profitable. Perhaps Clinton reduced funding to local police departments, and the "marauder bands" came and pillaged the company to its demise.

As Obama stated, the failure of Bain Capital's investment in the GST Steel plant was not because Romney was dumb or incompetent, and it was not because Romney failed to work hard. It must have been the failure of the US government to provide everything the plant needed for success. While the exact facts showing where the government failed may not currently be available, it is crystal clear that it was Bill Clinton's government, not Mitt Romney's business, responsible for the closure of the GST Steel plant, and according to the argument of Priorities USA, the death of Renae Soptic.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Final Five: August 8, 2012

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Tonight's Crazy Story:
A Man Walks Into A Bank
A man received an obviously fake 'junk mail' check for $95,093.35, and the bank cashed it. Find out what happened next.

Topic One: Going Green
The problem with renewable energy is the cost: "Since solar and wind also have hefty implementation prices - and they do not provide cost benefits compared to gas or oil - there are few incentives to adopt these technologies. The largess of shale gas in the U.S. combined with newly affordable longer-term transitions from coal to gas are restraining a shift to alternatives. While supporters continue to argue that the economies of scale involved in wider introduction of renewables will bring down generating costs, these alternatives will remain more expensive for some time. Government subsidies have helped. But, in the current political climate, it's hardly wise to rely upon continuing government bailouts."

$578,333 per job created: "The Department of Energy’s website boasts that three “clean energy” initiatives loaned $34.7 billion and created “nearly 60,000” jobs. It does not point out that each of these jobs therefore cost taxpayers $578,333. Murdock cites figures showing that private employers pay workers on average $62,757 a year in wages and benefits. So Obama is “creating jobs” at 922 percent of the private sector’s cost of employing workers for a year, says Murdock, a media fellow with the Hoover Institute on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. He also notes that the Obama administration has subsidized at least 10 “green” companies that went bust."

Yet the Obama administration continues to push for more subsidies for these companies: "President Obama today ordered expedited construction of seven solar and wind energy projects in four western states: Arizona, California, Nevada and Wyoming. "Together, these job-creating infrastructure projects would produce nearly 5,000 megawatts of clean energy, enough to power approximately 1.5 million homes," said a White House announcement."

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Final Five: August 7, 2012

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Tonight's Crazy Story:
Tennessee Police Arrest 911 Caller Seeking Ride to Purchase Beer
When you're out of beer and need a ride for more, calling 911 might not be the best option.

Topic One: ObamaCare
Why not ObamaCare? "The left has done a good job of selling the high points of the "Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act" (ACA) to a frustrated population, leading many voters to ask Republican candidates, "Why not ObamaCare?" We conservatives had better provide those folks with an understandable answer to that question, or we will live with the slow-motion horror of collectivist medicine for decades to come. ... A compelling argument against the ACA can be made by discussing just three things: the professional backgrounds of the people who designed the scheme, the principles that underlie it, and finally, the nearly identical "sister systems" already in use around the world. Few Americans realize that the architects of the ACA have already implemented their ideas in other countries, providing us with an invaluable glimpse into our own future."

The task of creating a federal exchange: "When Congress passed legislation to expand coverage two years ago, Mr. Obama and lawmakers assumed that every state would set up its own exchange, a place where people could shop for insurance and get subsidies to help defray the cost. But with Republicans in many states resisting the creation of exchanges or deterred by the complexity of the task, federal officials are preparing to do the job, with or without assistance from state officials."

RomneyCare's present is ObamaCare's future: "The claim then, as with the Affordable Care Act, was that health care would be less expensive if everyone had insurance. Soon Massachusetts Democrats leaked that their political strategy all along was to expand coverage only, because had RomneyCare seriously squeezed providers it never would have overcome industry opposition. "Bending the curve" on costs could be saved for another day, once a vast new government liability was locked in. Sure enough, 79% of the newly insured are on public programs. Health costs—Medicaid, RomneyCare's subsidies, public-employee compensation—will consume some 54% of the state budget in 2012, up from about 24% in 2001. Over the same period state health spending in real terms has jumped by 59%, while education has fallen 15%, police and firemen by 11% and roads and bridges by 23%. Meanwhile, Massachusetts spends more per capita on health care than any other state and therefore more than anywhere else in the industrialized world."

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Final Five: August 6, 2012

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Tonight's Crazy Story:
Fire Alarm Blares for Hours at Pa. Public Housing
A fire alarm was triggered at a Pittsburgh-area public housing community when one resident accidentally burned popcorn, but no one was able to find the person with the key to shut it off.

Topic One: Government Waste
Waste in the Senate: "If Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall have their way, rain will go away come again some other day of their choosing. Both Hutchison and Udall have introduced unsuccessful bills in the past that would have created national boards to oversee and fund research into weather modification. That is, artificially changing or controlling the weather. “I … am very supportive of and concerned about weather prediction and modification,” Hutchison said at an appropriations hearing in 2011. “And I think we need to know more basic science, and we also need to — to use that to determine if we should or should not engage in weather modification."

Waste at Amtrak: "According to the report, Amtrak’s own employees are likely stealing between $4-$7 million annually, or $40-$70 million over ten years. Similarly, while the line sells soft drinks for $2, they actually cost the taxpayer $3.40. Hamburgers sell for $9.50, but cost the taxpayer a whopping $16. Therefore, even if Amtrak sold 100% of their inventory, it would still be impossible for them to turn a profit. One Amtrak employee defended the unsustainable budget, saying: “You may just see us handing out hamburgers, but we do other things."

Waste at the GSA: "Though GSA staff constitute just one percent of the federal workforce, agency bonuses made up 10 percent of government bonuses paid out in 2011. Mica’s analysis of GSA compensation data found a number of bonuses worth as much as $50,000 or more. One employee received an $80,000 bonus, in addition to $180,000 in salary and other compensation. The congressman also found widespread abuse of overtime pay, and cited one case where a GSA electrician receiving an $84,000 salary also earned $115,000 in overtime as well as a $4,600 bonus."

Waste in our cities: "It was 1976 when the city of Oakland realized it had a major problem on its hands: A pension created 25 years earlier to benefit police officers, firefighters and their widows was proving too costly to afford. So the city closed the plan to new employees and later passed a parcel tax to pay for the pension. Yet today, that pension remains the source of one of Oakland's biggest headaches. It's a generous plan that awards its retirees and widows - who now number 1,086 - raises to match up to two-thirds of the pay of the current-day workforce. But the city's costs ballooned because it never adequately contributed to the pension fund, relied on borrowing for years to give itself holidays from pension payments and watched investments go south. The result of the borrowing is that the pension, known as the Police and Fire Retirement System, has cost Oakland taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more than it should have. In 2010, City Auditor Courtney Ruby found Oakland spent $250 million more on the pension than it would have if the city had simply paid into the pension - and that was just for one of its bond deals."

It's Your Fault, Harry

Scary Harry is continuing to stand behind his accusation that Mitt Romney paid no taxes for ten years. After this supposed "controversy" began with Reid's comments on the Senate floor, it continued after he issued a statement later this week. Reid stated:
There is a controversy because the Republican presidential nominee, Governor Mitt Romney, refuses to release his tax returns. As I said before, I was told by an extremely credible source that Romney has not paid taxes for ten years. People who make as much money as Mitt Romney have many tricks at their disposal to avoid paying taxes.

I have three comments I would like to make:

First, Reid neglects to mention that he is only referring to income taxes. It is doubtful that Romney found a way to avoid paying the myriad of other taxes that Americans must pay, such as sales taxes and property taxes. While the context implies that Reid is referring to income taxes, it is blatantly false to contend that Romney did not pay any taxes during any ten-year period. While some would argue that this is a matter of semantics, it is important to recognize that income tax is not the only tax we pay.

Second, Congress sets the federal tax code that Americans are expected to follow. If Harry Reid does not like how much Mitt Romney pays in taxes, he has the power to introduce legislation to change that amount. Less than two years ago, his party controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency. If Harry really thought that Romney needed to pay more money, he had two years where he could have changed it.

Third, I do not care about the tax rate--and even the actual dollar amount of taxes--Mitt Romney paid. Every American looks for ways to avoid paying more taxes than necessary, and I do not expect either Romney or Reid to be an exception. Perhaps Romney felt that his money would be better off in the hands of a reputable charity than wasted by the federal government through a crony loan deal to Solyndra. I do not care what deductions and credits Romney took; I only care that he was legally allowed to take each one. If Romney accurately reported every penny of income, and if he was legally allowed to take every deduction, then paying reduced or even zero taxes does not make him a tax cheat; it makes him a smart American.

I challenge Scary Harry to demonstrate to us that he is not like Mitt Romney. Show us your tax returns, Harry, and show us how you overstated your actual income. Give us some examples of the deductions you were entitled to take, but that you decided not to report. Show us the tax credits you failed to deduct. If you cannot show us how you overpaid your taxes, then just remember that you help control the amount both you and Romney are required to pay.