“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hard to believe - It's come to this in the USA

Obama readies steps to fight foreclosures, particularly for unemployed

By Renae Merle and Dina ElBoghdady
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 26, 2010; A01

The Obama administration plans to overhaul how it is tackling the foreclosure crisis, in part by requiring lenders to temporarily slash or eliminate monthly mortgage payments for many borrowers who are unemployed, senior officials said Thursday.

Banks and other lenders would have to reduce the payments to no more than 31 percent of a borrower's income, which would typically be the amount of unemployment insurance, for three to six months. In some cases, administration officials said, a lender could allow a borrower to skip payments altogether.

The new push, which the White House is scheduled to announce Friday, takes direct aim at the major cause of the current wave of foreclosures: the spike in unemployment. While the initial mortgage crisis that erupted three years ago resulted from millions of risky home loans that went bad, more-recent defaults reflect the country's economic downturn and the inability of jobless borrowers to keep paying.

The administration's new push also seeks to more aggressively help borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth, offering financial incentives for the first time to lenders to cut the loan balances of such distressed homeowners. Those who are still current on their mortgages could get the chance to refinance on better terms into loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration.

The problem of "underwater" borrowers has bedeviled earlier administration efforts to address the mortgage crisis as home prices plunged.

Officials said the new initiatives will take effect over the next six months and be funded out of $50 billion previously allocated for foreclosure relief in the emergency bailout program for the financial system. No new taxpayer funds will be needed, the officials said.

The measures have been in the works for weeks, but President Obama is finally to release the details days after his watershed victory on health-care legislation. Following that bruising battle on Capitol Hill, his administration is now welcoming a chance to change the subject and turn its attention to the economy and, in particular, the plight of the unemployed -- concerns that are paramount for many Americans.

The administration has been facing increasing pressure from lawmakers and housing advocates to overhaul its foreclosure prevention efforts. So far, fewer than 200,000 borrowers have received permanent loan modifications under its $75 billion marquee program, known as Making Home Affordable. In the meantime, there is a growing backlog of distressed borrowers awaiting help from their lenders, which threatens to undercut efforts to stabilize the housing market.

Challenges unmet

Assistant Treasury Secretary Herbert M. Allison Jr. told a House panel Thursday that "we did not fully envision the challenges that we would encounter" when the earlier program was launched.

The efforts have been hampered by the difficulty of helping unemployed homeowners, who struggled to qualify for the government's mortgage relief plan. In requiring temporary relief for jobless borrowers, known as forbearance, officials are hoping to give them time to find a new job. Some will still need more assistance after the six-month period while others will ultimately lose their homes, administration officials said.

"We certainly support a forbearance opportunity for unemployed borrowers," said John A. Courson, chief executive of the Mortgage Bankers Association. He said he had not seen full details of the program.

Four measures

In addition to mortgage relief for unemployed borrowers, the program features four other key elements, including several steps to address the growing population of borrowers who owe significantly more than their home is worth, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official announcement had not been made. Underwater borrowers now make up about a quarter of all homeowners, according to First American CoreLogic. Economists consider these homeowners at higher risk of default because they cannot sell or refinance their home when they run into financial troubles.

The first key element is that the government will provide financial incentives to lenders that cut the balance of a borrower's mortgage. Banks and other lenders will be asked to reduce the principal owed on a loan if the amount is 15 percent more than their home is worth. The reduced amount would be set aside and forgiven by the lender over three years, as long as the homeowner remained current on the loan.

Until recently, administration officials had been reluctant to encourage lenders to cut the principal balance, worrying that this would encourage borrowers to become delinquent. But as federal regulators have struggled to make an impact on the foreclosure crisis, those qualms have weakened.

"We would prefer to see a required principal forgiveness program. But this is helpful," said David Berenbaum, chief program officer for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a nonprofit housing group. "This is another tool that will help consumers weather the crisis."

Second, the government will double the amount it pays to lenders that help modify second mortgages, such as piggyback loans, which enabled home buyers to put little or no money down, and home equity lines of credit.

These second mortgages are an added burden on struggling homeowners, especially when their total debt, as a result, is greater than their home value.

Federal officials have estimated that about half of all troubled homeowners have a second mortgage and last year launched a program to encourage lenders to restructure them. That effort has struggled to get off the ground.

Third, the new effort also increases the incentives paid to those lenders that find a way to avoid foreclosing on delinquent borrowers even if they can't qualify for mortgage relief. For example, the administration is scheduled to launch a program next month encouraging lenders to have borrowers sell their homes for less than the mortgage balance in what is known as a short sale.

Fourth, the administration is increasingly turning to the Federal Housing Administration to help underwater borrowers who are still keeping up their payments. The aim is to help these borrowers refinance into a more affordable loan. The FHA will offer incentives to lenders that reduce the amount borrowers owe on their primary mortgages by at least 10 percent.

For those borrowers who have more than one mortgage on their house, the FHA will allow refinancing of the first loan only. The new loan and any second mortgage could not exceed 15 percent of the home's value. This approach is meant to benefit not only borrowers but also lenders by allowing them to offload mortgages that might otherwise fail.

Only homeowners who are refinancing their main residence, have a credit score above 500 and can document their income are eligible.

Administration official say this refinancing program should not strain the FHA's already weakened finances because the effort will be financed with up to $14 billion out of the federal bailout program.

Friday, The Obama Administration did release details of its new plan It's interesting to note the difference in the Washington Post wording. In this article, the Obama Administration was going to "demand" that lenders do this or that. In the linked article, the Obama Administration will be "asking" lenders. Demanding, asking, bribing, blackmailing...whatever works, baby - That's the Chicago way.


  1. Everything they touch turns to shit.

    It's been a banner week for Democrats: ObamaCare passed Congress in its final form on Thursday night, and the returns are already rolling in. Yesterday AT&T announced that it will be forced to make a $1 billion writedown due solely to the health bill, in what has become a wave of such corporate losses.

    This wholesale destruction of wealth and capital came with more than ample warning. Turning over every couch cushion to make their new entitlement look affordable under Beltway accounting rules, Democrats decided to raise taxes on companies that do the public service of offering prescription drug benefits to their retirees instead of dumping them into Medicare. We and others warned this would lead to AT&T-like results, but like so many other ObamaCare objections Democrats waved them off as self-serving or "political."

    Perhaps that explains why the Administration is now so touchy. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke took to the White House blog to write that while ObamaCare is great for business, "In the last few days, though, we have seen a couple of companies imply that reform will raise costs for them." In a Thursday interview on CNBC, Mr. Locke said "for them to come out, I think is premature and irresponsible."

    Meanwhile, Henry Waxman and House Democrats announced yesterday that they will haul these companies in for an April 21 hearing because their judgment "appears to conflict with independent analyses, which show that the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs."

    In other words, shoot the messenger. Black-letter financial accounting rules require that corporations immediately restate their earnings to reflect the present value of their long-term health liabilities, including a higher tax burden. Should these companies have played chicken with the Securities and Exchange Commission to avoid this politically inconvenient reality? Democrats don't like what their bill is doing in the real world, so they now want to intimidate CEOs into keeping quiet.

    On top of AT&T's $1 billion, the writedown wave so far includes Deere & Co., $150 million; Caterpillar, $100 million; AK Steel, $31 million; 3M, $90 million; and Valero Energy, up to $20 million. Verizon has also warned its employees about its new higher health-care costs, and there will be many more in the coming days and weeks.

    Waxman, the new McCarthy.

  2. Someone said they have yet to find a severability clause in this monstrosity.
    That means if any court declares any part of the bill to be unconstitutional, the entire bill gets tossed!

    The reason it is even more of a mess than usual, is the Dem Senators never expected for this thing to become law.
    IOW, they thot at the time, before reconciliation, it would go to the house and then come back to be "finished up" before the final vote.
    Didn't turn out that way.

  3. Doug:
    I've embedded your video link in the post.

  4. I can't get any sound!

    Youtube works fine.

    It's too late.
    A very young Johnny Rivers.

  5. This week's banking news:
    The continued parade of bank collapses comes as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp is pulling back on loss-share agreements designed to lure bidders into taking on the assets of troubled banks.

    Two of the banks that were seized were in Georgia, which has accounted for about one-sixth of all failures since the beginning of 2008.

    Unity National Bank of Cartersville, Georgia, had about $292.2 million in assets, and McIntosh Commercial Bank of Carrollton, Georgia, had about $362.9 million in assets, the FDIC said.

    Georgia is paying the price for overly aggressive lending during the housing boom, particularly speculative commercial real estate loans.

    The other two institutions that failed on Friday were Key West Bank of Key West, Florida, which had $88 million in assets, and Desert Hills Bank of Phoenix, Arizona, which had $496.6 million in assets.

  6. The administration's plan, to be implemented over several months, requires lenders to slash jobless borrowers' payments for three to six months, adopting a strategy used by the industry and applying it more broadly.
    From the man who supported the looting and mismangement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

    "The banks simply haven't been doing it as much as they should," said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), a longtime supporter of this approach. "The unemployed are fully deserving of this help."

  7. Barney Frank.
    A sick joke.
    Seemingly hard wired without a conscience.

  8. Five Financial Trends Keeping California Home Prices Depressed – Rising MLS Inventory, Falling Rents, Lack of Good Paying Jobs, FHA Defaults Rising, and No Mortgage Payment.

    ...Now with banks having additional money from stock market profits and unlimited backing from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury, they are more willing to put inventory on the market. In some areas like the Inland Empire investors are crowding out first time buyers and are speculating:

    “(Press Enterprise) Bruce Norris, a longtime Riverside real estate investor and consultant who warned other investors early on that the real estate market was about to tank, said the deluge of houses hitting the foreclosure auctions and the numbers of buyers chasing them are far beyond what he had expected. He recalled that a year ago it was common for just a handful of investors to turn out to hear the trustee’s auctioneer reel off the addresses of houses for sale and sometimes the auctioneer would speak to an empty courtyard, he said.

    Interest in foreclosure auctions is driven by a dwindling supply of bank-owned houses listed for sale. Investors can quickly resell houses purchased at auction to first-time buyers and others eager for affordable prices, low interest rates and government tax rebates.

    Investors also say the apparent stabilizing of the real estate market has soothed their fears that the price of a home may fall before they can sell it.”

    People are being drawn by the low prices and speculators are back in. Not to the level during the boom but it is back however many of these folks have cash to put down. The idea is to buy, rent it out a few years, and make a nice sum selling it in a few years when prices boom again.
    That is another bet.
    Yet economically speaking, the Inland Empire is seeing an underemployment rate of 25% and rents are falling because of the flood of vacancies and investors buying properties.
    This is speculation just from a different angle.

    With people putting their own money on the line, this is different from the flippers using option ARMs to make quick sells with OPM (other people’s money).

  9. I gave a link last night showing Corporate profits for the 4 qtr at One Trillion, Four Hundred and Fifty Seven Billion.

    That's for, only, the 4th qtr.

    That couple of billion in charge-offs (maybe) are for All of next Year.

    I'm, also, not for sure that some of you people aren't getting suckered by some slick accounting. Remember, you're only seeing the effect on One Side of the Accounting sheet.

    These tax credits that are going away are for providing drugs that aren't covered under Medicare Part D. Medicare Part D is covering MORE drugs under the HC plan.

    Look, Dumbos. Corporate America made $1.47 Trillion in the fourth quarter. They paid $0.035T in taxes. About 2.5%. They will probably survive.

  10. Yes, we are undertaxed, Mr Big Govt.
    That's why businesses are forced out of California, and out of the US.
    Link to your 2.5%, and I'll look up something that puts the lie to it.
    ...since we have the highest corporate income taxes in the developed World.

  11. Superstition
    Too bad Rosie can't take the lesson.

  12. The Bill is a fucking abortion, but your hard-headed ass just has to defend it.

  13. Here, you poor demented fucking fool Tax Receipts - Outlays

    Actually, they paid $0.0395T

    That's 2.68%

  14. Obamacare’s costs have also been misrepresented by the Democrats. Only by stripping the $208 billion “doc fix” from the legislation could they claim that the bill would not increase the deficit. But the doc fix will happen, and health spending, even taking the rest of the bill’s ridiculously rosy assumptions as true, will exceed $1.1 trillion. By the Cato Institute’s reckoning, the actual ten-year cost will exceed $3 trillion.

    Some of these costs will be borne immediately. Couples earning more than $250,000 will pay an additional Medicare tax and a 3.8 percent tax on investment income; patrons of tanning salons will pay a 10 percent sales tax; makers of medical devices such as defibrillators and insulin pumps will pay a 2.3 percent new tax; and large employers, such as Caterpillar and John Deere, will have to pay taxes on the federal subsidies they receive so that they can provide retiree benefits.
    Mona Charen, NRO

  15. Lowballed, right?
    Pelosi for President!

  16. It was $0.0339T. The numbers are so damned small I can't even remember them. You have to scroll down a bit to "Corporate taxes," and look at year to date.

    0.0339/1.47 = 0.023 Or 2.3%.

    Fucking Sucker.

  17. employers, such as Caterpillar and John Deere, will have to pay taxes on the federal subsidies they receive

    They gonna hafta pay taxes on their Subsidies?

    Well, ain't That a kick in the ass?

  18. Cut The Corporate Tax Rate!

    The U.S. imposes one of the two or three highest corporate tax rates on the planet. "If you take the federal rate of 35%, then add the average state rate, you come up with a combined corporate tax rate of about 39%," Doc says. "In most other countries in the developed world, the corporate tax rate is in the 20s."
    "Only a small portion of the revenue stream in a company like ours goes toward the direct costs of product," Doc explains. "The rest--often as much as 90%--represents the value of the patents and other intellectual property."

    "If we locate the entity that owns our patents here in the U.S., then we'll be taxed at a rate of 39% on all our revenue. But if we locate the entity that owns our patents outside this country, we'll take a much, much smaller hit on the income we derive from the intellectual property we created--and again, that will represent most of our income."

    If Doc's company collected $100 million in licensing fees here in the U.S., for instance, it would be able to keep only about $60 million. If instead the company collected the same $100 million in Zug, Switzerland, it would be able to keep as much as $90 million.

    "Once you look into it," Doc says, "this isn't rocket science."

    Which brings us to the delegation from Singapore. "What the Singaporeans understand," Doc explains, "is that one thing leads to another. Once you domicile your intellectual property offshore, it isn't long before your manufacturing operations follow."

    Suppose, for instance, that, for several years Doc's company collected revenues for the use of its intellectual property at a site outside the U.S. Now suppose that Doc's company wanted to build a new fabrication plant. "We might want to build it here in California," Doc says, "but how could we? All our money would be overseas. The moment we repatriated the money, we'd be taxed at the higher American corporate tax rate. What would we do? We'd find a manufacturing site outside this country."

    The delegation from Singapore hardly needed to explain this to Doc, but it did anyway: Singapore combines a corporate tax rate less than half that of the U.S. with easy access to low-cost manufacturing in Malaysia, Indonesia and China.

    Which brings us, at last, to Obama's tax proposal.

    The president intends to change current law, under which American corporations pay the U.S. corporate taxes only on income they repatriate to the U.S. Under his proposal, American corporations would pay U.S. corporate taxes on all their income abroad, whether or not they repatriated it.

    "Instead of making it easier to repatriate profits to this country," Doc says, "Obama wants to make it almost impossible."

    The result?

    No longer are companies merely considering locating patents and manufacturing operations overseas. Now they have begun considering a more fundamental transformation. American companies with foreign operations are drawing up plans to turn themselves into foreign companies with American operations. Even as the president feigns concern over the high rate of unemployment, in other words, his tax policy is driving corporations--and the jobs they create--out of the country.

    "This is just nuts," Doc says.

  19. Obama, Pelosi,
    Um, um, um!

    Rufus is right, the World is wrong.

  20. In the last quarter of 2009 U.S. Corporations paid out 2.3% of their Profits in Federal Income Tax.

    Doc is full of shit.

  21. The "Effective Rate" of Corporate income tax usually runs around 11%, I believe.

    What kind of moron is old enough to sit around on a computer all day, and still believe every axe-grinding, rent-seeking talking head that pops up on their screen?

  22. For your own psychic good you better understand one thing: U.S. Corporations are sitting on a shit-load of Cash. They're going to have to "put it to work." That means "hiring" is coming.

    Government borrowing is getting ready to "slow." That means banks are going to have to start lending into the economy. That means "hiring" is coming.

    Quit being foolish, and smell the roses, dumbshits. Not even $3.00 gasoline can slow down the freight train that's coming.

  23. And, quit being a "sucker" over the "Deficit." The CBO has no choice but to take last year's expenditures and extrapolate them out. What does that mean?

    Well, for one thing: It is probably projecting $1.5 Trillion over 10 years for the War in Iraq.

    But, Those Troops are coming home. Ooops.

    Then, of course, there's all that TARP, and Bailout spending. That's OVER. Oops, there went another Six, or Seven Trillion.

    Look at your Basic Economy; What's Changed? Really, not much. Some more money, "here." A little less money, "There."

    When the Corps start paying taxes, again, and people start going back to work, and the government is no longer "bailing out," and the troops are home from Iraq this puppy is going to be running a whole hell of a lot faster than he was when he had the "stomach flu."

    If we have a few million less Mexicans building houses, it will be, maybe, noticeable, but not Armageddon.

  24. "...since we have the highest corporate income taxes in the developed World.

    Like the proverbial clock, Rufus is sometimes right.

    Anyone who actually believes corporate America actually pays the "highest tax rate in the world" is sadly misinformed.

    Every time I hear this meme from Larry Kudlow or one of the other dildos on CNBC, I am forced to stop what I'm doing and write a disparaging e-mail explaining to them how they are wrong.

    To little effect.

    There are countless books out there explaining the perks written into the tax code for companies in general, and worse, on the earmarks that effect specific companies. It's usually the big companies, the ones with lobbyist and politiical heft that make out the best but they still bring down the overall average tax paid.

    I recall Goldman Sachs (I believe it was their 3rd Qtr, 2008 results) making billions in profits and paying less than 1% in taxes.

    The rich companies getting screwed by the tax system? Hell,they are the system. Nothing will change until the entire tax code is changed.

    What do you think the chances of that happening are?


  25. The simple thing is just look at "tax receipts."

  26. "Well, for one thing: It is probably projecting $1.5 Trillion over 10 years for the War in Iraq.

    But, Those Troops are coming home. Ooops.

    Then, of course, there's all that TARP, and Bailout spending. That's OVER. Oops, there went another Six, or Seven Trillion.

    Look at your Basic Economy; What's Changed? Really, not much. Some more money, "here." A little less money, "There."

    When the Corps start paying taxes, again, and people start going back to work,..."

    This post proves my point about the clock and Rufus.

    As I recall, the budgets, at least the preliminary ones contain funds for the wars that reflected the deadlines that were assumed for us getting out of these countries. Yet, the progression of the war in Afghan makes it questionable whether we will be able to pull out on time. Likewise, the recent election in Iraq is already causing fears that there could be bloodshed that would prevent us pulling out on time.

    With regard to TARP, it would be great if it were true. However, I am less sanguine than you in believing this congress will let that money slip through their hands now that they have already paid the political price for it initially.

    The whole Jim Bunning fiasco was because he wanted them to use TARP money for the billions required for the extension of unemployment benefits rather than passing the measure as unfunded.

    You saw who won.

    Regarding the corporations paying taxes again, reference my previous post.


  27. I remember watching this during Bush's time. The CBO refused to consider anything except "Last Year's" War expenses.

    Actually, that looked like a pretty good election in Iraq. The sitting gov is the one that normally "steals" the election. This time the "Outsider" won.

    Oh yeah, we're acomin' home. Bet on it. As for Afpakistan, I'm betting we're drawing down within a year. Aren't you?

    The TARP Money (most of it, anyway,) is going back to the Treasury. And, if it goes to "unemployment," that's okay, too. It's not going to get "locked up." It'll go back into the economy.

  28. The CBO reports on what it is given. If there is no war projected, they don't project funds for it.

    As for pulling out, How did that Guantanimo thing work out? Or Gates recent statements that 2011 was merely a starting point in Afghan.

    In an article in today's WaPo, US officials were saying the election should in no way delay the US withdrawal. In yesterday's WaPo, an article indicated that Malawi's faction will dispute the election results and in every statement coming from them or directly from Malawi we are pointedly reminded that he is the commander in chief of the armed forces.

    We'll see.


  29. Corporate Tax Collections were pretty good in Dec '09,

    and Feb of 2010 are double Feb of 2007.

  30. The CBO reports on what it is given. If there is no war projected, they don't project funds for it.

    I'm almost certain that that is not true. It would apply to a "New" program, but not to an ongoing war.

    Anyways, I have, in the past, been much more accurate than the CBO; so you might want to keep that in mind.

  31. This Page will allow you to click on either "current" month's data, or past month's.

  32. Here is what we need to get working on.

  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. I take the CBO projections for what they are.

    I give your projections the consideration they deserve.


  35. Okay, I'll go easy on the dumbshits, morons, stupid fucks, etc. I was just hitting back at Doug, and, more or less, being a co-asshole. I'll quit it (mostly.) :)

    I don't think it's all that unfair, though. Like I've stated in earlier comments, most people get their hc paid "before tax." How is that fair to the poor guy, or gal that has to pay "out of pocket?"

    What's fair about paying for hc your whole life, then losing your job and your healthcare when you "get sick?"

    I could go on, but you get the picture.

    Anyways, I'll be "nicer." OK?

  36. Doug is still a pineapple, doo doo head, though.

  37. Sweet.

    Remind me the next time I do the same thing.

    Gotta go to a B'day party.


  38. How drunk do you have to be to try to give Mouth to Mouth Resuscitation to a Dead POSSUM? Let's think about the possible "outcomes." No. Let's don't.

    Drunker'n I've ever been (and, that's pretty well wasted, I'll tell ye.)

  39. SEIU, Coalition Partners Launch Retirement USA Initiative

    Initiative will work to establish principles for a visionary retirement income system
    SEIU partnered with The Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and the Pensions Rights Center to launch Retirement USA, an initiative working for a new retirement system that, along with Social Security, will provide universal, secure, and adequate income for future retirees.

  40. These tax credits that are going away are for providing drugs that aren't covered under Medicare Part D. Medicare Part D is covering MORE drugs under the HC plan.


    FOS as usual.

    None so blind as those who will not see. None so deaf as those whose who will not hear.

  41. Did Rufus vow to become a nicer Dumbfuck???

  42. "The TARP Money (most of it, anyway,) is going back to the Treasury. And, if it goes to "unemployment," that's okay, too. It's not going to get "locked up." It'll go back into the economy."
    Yeah, twice as much to Dem Districts as Pubs, as pointed out in article in today's Big Government.
    ...for the little people.

  43. Quirk,
    Yes, we all know that the big guys get around the code, but certainly not everyone escapes, especially now that the Dems are specifically targeting small business, as Timmy and Co. shovel our money to Goldman and the like.

    You remind me that I'll likely inflict damage on myself if I regularly argue with the resident Dumbfuck.

  44. "Regarding the corporations paying taxes again, reference my previous post."
    You forget that in RufieWorld 2.0, it is perfectly acceptable to argue on the one hand that Big Business does not pay taxes, while on the other hand anticipating the windfalls to come when they will.

    ...except that RufieWorld does not distinguish you local doctor from Goldman Sucks.

  45. LOL
    That's where he reaches when he's searchin, all right!

    Pearls of wisdom.

  46. "Let's see…my mom (89) loses her Medicare Advantage,
    my husband's company thinks they will save $$ by dropping us and
    my daughter's gynecologist said she will be going to teach because she wasn't going to let the govt come between her and her patients.

    There's a few details you should be able to understand."

    BY Alice Martin on 03/24/2010 at 15:02

  47. No, Doug; it's just that I understand the difference between 25%, 11%, 2.3%, and 0%.

    Must be that good rednek edecashun I had.

  48. It's all good, Rufus.
    PBU Maximum Leader Hussein.

  49. The CornerDenis Boyles is glad that France has decided to scrap its carbon tax. And John Cornyn defends his "misrepresented" comments on healthcare reform.… Read More »

    France's Kyoto-inspired "carbon tax" has finally been abandoned after economists noted that increasing taxes in a country that is already at max-tax was a terrible idea.

    Originally, the plan had been to save the planet by taxing anything that emitted a carbon atom. The enviro-left (but including Nicolas Sarkozy, whose project this was) would have included human breath, but it quickly became clear that the tax would have fallen most heavily on the poor — by taxing home heating fuel and gasoline — and on industry, where the resulting bankruptcies would have created even more shivering poor people.

    The government of prime minister Francois Fillon backed off after suffering defeats in Sunday's regional elections, where, as expected, voters punished themselves by electing lots of socialists, which, in a paradoxically French kind of way, is not the same as voting for higher taxes. The vote was rather against Sarko and his increasingly zany policies. I told my friend, M. de Grimouard, "Fillon buried the carbon tax today." He looked at the ground and said, "Poor carbon tax."

    The new solution, as reported in Le Figaro, is to treat the hated tax like waste. And the best way to do that, said Fillon, is to flush the plan to Brussels, where, he said, the EU can decide if it's a European tax or not. According to the paper, a massive Euro-wide tax on carbon will be on the EU's agenda just as soon as global warming causes hell to freeze over.

    Speaking of hell, the news was broken by a politician using Twitter.

  50. 14. newscaper:

    Apart from the insanity of the immediate damage, what chaps my ass about his ‘nuclear free world’ BS was that he sure as hell did NOT campaign on that.

    Taking nukes off subs is suicide, as they are the most survivable leg of the old nuclear ‘triad’.

    It is also insane that the land based missiles are antique Mnuteman IIIs. Yes, I knw they’ve been upgraded many times over the years, but Russia fields a new missile every 3 or 4 yrs it seems.

    Mar 26, 2010 - 8:39 pm

    15. Ursus Maritimus:

    Doesn’t removing SLBMs and silo missiles make the US more vulnerable to a first strike?

    This is probably a way for Obama to make it impossible for the US to intervene militarily abroad: Getting an alibi for doing nothing. “Sorry Taiwan, it would be too risky!”

    It increases the risk that South Korea, Taiwan and Japan will get their own nukes.

    Mar 26, 2010 - 8:55 pm

    16. Lifeofthemind:

    If Obama is giving up the Trident ICBMs on the submarines then it is game set and match. Five of those boomers on patrol mean more than a thousand silo based missiles did. If that is true then my first reaction is that there is no limit to what I would expect any decent public servant to do to stop him. The wiki implies, and Obama as quoted in The Times states, that Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn are behind this. Even when I disagree with them on an issue I have always considered them responsible adults. Based on that I am going to have to go over this carefully to see what I might have missed.

    The Times coverage also claims that the submarine based leg of the triad is not effected.

  51. The new h/c bill provides $250.00 when you reach the "doughnut-hole" in Medicare Part D. That's why I say it "covers" more (which, of course, it does - $250.00 being a greater number than zero.)

  52. Mad Fiddler:

    Thanks, Mr. X, for a post that reminds us that we all need to broaden our research.
    Some of your assertions make sense, others assume American culture is monolithic. You seem to have invested substantially in following the events and careers of a number of post-Soviet figures, but you completely disregard the underlying poison fed to the world financial system by America’s so-called “community reinvestment act” under which government regulatory officials threatened and bullied banks at all levels of the US economy to abandon long-proven criteria for loan applicants. The implied and explicit threats included additional audits by bank examiners, exaggerated scrutiny and deliberations for applications by banks to offer new services or to expand into new markets, possibly even suspensions of charters for failure to cooperate.

    (The power of review of course falls within the normal functions of government but the left – God help us, the ever-zealous and hypocrite left… – never fail to accuse Republican presidents of abuse of power if one of their darlings is subjected to an IRS audit.)
    The “expansion of home ownership at all costs” mentality was employed by cynical American politicians (mostly democrat party) as a way of

    (1) buying more votes from the beneficiaries of loosened loan criteria, and

    (2) gaming the system to reward themselves and their proxies in FNMA and FHLMA for rigged performance bonuses based on perverted accounting procedures.
    Here’s a quote from an article titled “Time to Reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac” published June 20, 2005 under the byline of Ronald Utt, Ph.D. [numbers embedded in the text refer to footnotes provided in the article but not here.]

    “The evidence reveals that Fannie Mae’s manage­ment team appears to be the chief beneficiary of the federal privileges and the accounting irregularities that were recently uncovered.

    For example, in 2003, 749 members of Fannie Mae’s management team received a staggering $65.1 million in bonuses, a portion of which was attributable to the overstated earnings that followed from the account­ing irregularities.[16] Over the past five years, the top 20 Fannie Mae executives reportedly received com­bined bonuses of $245 million.[17]

    This disconnect between reward and mission suggests that any rec­onciliation with the Securities and Exchange Com­mission should also require that the FNMA’s management return their bonuses to a fund admin­istered by a bona fide not-for-profit entity, such as Habitat for Humanity, for the purpose of assisting prospective homebuyers of modest means.”
    (The full article is available at

    Interesting coincidence (for those who believe in coincidence) that the people who developed and massively applied the “credit default swap” modality of recent infamy, are precisely the same ones who were given billions and billions of tax-payer dollars to keep their cheating companies in business, and also major contributors to the Obama presidential campaign.

    Ah, well, business as usual.

  53. It's all free, too, Rufus.

    Thank Gawd for Barry, Harry, and Nancy!

  54. Welcome to the New America....

    Obama is changing America the way he wants to.

    Rat makes a great point, we need to be able to flee...

    I am getting passports for the kids as well as the wife and myself, the old one lapsed.

    They are good for 10 years.

    Where to flee to would be the next question...

    Assuming Israel has been wasted by nukes I wonder where to go that the Islamic parasite have not over ran yet?

    Cant go to europe...

    I wonder where to flee?

  55. Bigger Government?
    The Financial Regulatory Reform bill will be debated this week in the Senate.

    What is at stake is a permanent TARP.

    Is this the reform we need? Read More

    Chris Dodd is my Superhero.
    Glad we agree on something, Rufus!

  56. New Health Insurance Requirement: Old Republican Idea

    Good then/ bad now

    Ya gotta love Politicians

  57. Here are the Details on the Nuke Treaty.

    1550 Warheads on 700 Ballistic Missiles - Deployed in ANY COMBINATION desired. No limitations on Subs, Planes, or automobiles.

    Seems like a reasonable plan to me.

    Don't get your "News" from crazed talking heads, and pundits. It's bad for the blood pressure, and leaves you looking foolish.

  58. The answer to that, "misdirection", the most Catholic country in the hemisphere, of course.


    You can walk there, if need be.

  59. Because, "misdirection" it is:

    "where to go that the Islamic parasite have not over ran yet?

    And will not.

    Or stay in Ohio, the Islamoids will not "take over" there, either.
    Not if you stand your ground. instead of running, or hiding in the rain barrel.

  60. I aint hiding in a rain barrel....

    But our good American government, from both sides of the isle, have brought in over 60,000 islamists in Columbus alone. Add to that Toledo and Cleveland new settlements of Islamists that would bring to just under 250,000 in our fair state in less than 12 years...

    If America turns into Ameristan then fleeing is the option...

    After all America is now on the path to copy Europe it's self hatred....

    I am sure you will have no problems in your rathole in AZ...

  61. "Or stay in Ohio, the Islamoids will not "take over" there, either."

    Well, If they try to take over in Michigan, I hope its during deer hunting season when we have about 800,000 drunken yahoos walking around wih high powered rifles.


  62. I know I will not, "misdirection".

    You're always welcome to migrate, here, along with the Mexicans and the Guatemalans.

    Plenty of empty houses.

    Myself, think the plan remains to head to the beach. Daughter is almost full grown and educated.

    Still got twenty years of fun in the sun to enjoy, I plan on doing just that.

  63. Where did the 250 k Muzzies come from, and what were the mechanics and legalities of getting in?

  64. Gafney says BHO will significantly denuke us by not approving maintenance/renovation/research and replacement.

    Why do you feel the need to defend and downplay every one of the America Hating Commie's actions, Rufus?

    Do you really think it's in the country's interest to regurgitate past GOP wrongs while ignoring present and future Democrat depradations?

    I don't, and I'm sure I'm not the only one sick of bashing the GOP and defending the Marxist.

  65. I'd sure as hell rather have the likes of Paul Ryan, Tom Coburn, even Lamar Alexander, running things instead of this JackAss Rodeo.

  66. "Republicans say Obama and the Democrats co-opted their original concept, minus a mechanism they proposed for controlling costs."
    Yup, the GOP plan was no different, and no better than the Marxists, right?

    Why don't you go get a job with MSNBC?

    They love that kind of biased, infantile reporting.

  67. Oh, I forgot, you're the cost is no object boy.

    Just sign the kids on for more debt.

    Don't make no difference anyhow.

    In your mind.

  68. And just for the record, for the assembled multitudes:

    NOBODY has ever called me a
    Pineapple Doo Doo Head
    to my face and lived to tell about it!

  69. Max, drunk as a skunk, again:

    Max Baucus admits that healthcare reform is about wealth redistribution...
    He plainly admits that this bill is an “income shift– a leveling ...

    "The wealthy have just gotten too wealthy the last few years!"

    High wages, capital gains, and profits are evil.
    Inherited wealth, when it's his,
    not so much.

    Path to Power

    Baucus was born Dec. 11, 1941, in Helena, Mont., the fifth-generation heir to a Montana ranching fortune. His great-grandfather, Henry Sieben, started the 125,000-acre Sieben ranch, featured in the film A River Runs Through It, and Sieben is in the Cowboy Hall of Fame.

  70. "I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations. "

    James Madison

  71. Obama to set new Poverty Guidelines

    But fast forward to today and the new definition of poverty takes on an entirely different meaning. No, this latest affront from our Pretender-In-Chief is yet another tool in his arsenal to, yep you guessed it, “spread the wealth.” As I said above, American families will be considered poor if their income falls below a certain specified income level.

    But under the new Obama guidelines, there will be an “escalator clause” built into the equation. Really and honestly, I am not making this up. The “escalator clause” will rise directly in proportion to rises in the living standards of average Americans .

    What exactly does this mean? Well, presently poverty is measured in how much purchasing power you have. In other words, how many groceries you can buy. Obama’s new system measures comparative purchasing power; or how many groceries you can buy relative to other citizens.

  72. That certainly makes a lot of sense, doug-o, to classify the economic well being of our residents against the norm of our society, rather than adjusted to diets of basic sustanence, as found in the Congo or Somalia.

    Judging Americans by American Standards, seems reasonable to do, that.

  73. The Empire Strikes Back

    A reader writes...

    Good post on the true cost of ObamaCare. But it gets better: the Dems are now shaking down CEOs who don't get with the program. In the attached letter, Henry Waxman not only orders the CEOs of AT&T, Caterpillar, Deere & Co, and Verizon to testify before the Energy and Commerce Committee, but also to produce internal analyses and emails related to their statements. They don't expressly subpoena the CEOs, so we can hope that they tell the Dems to GFY, though somehow I doubt that will happen.

    The Dems sent these letters to the Republicans on the committee after 6pm tonight with no advance notice or prior cooperation.

    Here is the letter Waxman sent to the Chairman of AT&T; the others are similar. Click to enlarge

  74. Americans do not leave folks behind, doug-o.

    It is the creed of our Armed Forces, the shining light of Federalism, the one Federal system you wholeheartedly support. Now the Federals want to bring that military standard and apply it across the whole of our society, and you object.

    Toughen up!

  75. The previous way was NOT against other countries, but if you and Rufus love socialism, so be it.

  76. Be sure to never criticise your Maximum leader.
    Can't have that.
    He's faultless, as are Nancy and Harry.

  77. What Maximum Leader are you referring to, doug-o?

    And what criticism did you make of him, when referencing the Federals new standards?

    You have not brought forth any reasoning that judging Americans by American Standards should be considered anti-American.

  78. That doug-o admits to having a Maximum Leader, is shocking, really.

    Now he so easily admits that the Federals have overwhelmed Liberty, while the Republicans are still in attendance.
    That the majority have, some how, subverted the democratic process. That the best minds of "conservative" jurisprudence not only did not object to Mr Obama's citizenship, but one of them swore him in, personally, to the office of the President of the United States. Judge Roberts, himself, not once but twice.

    Mr Roberts confirming the usurpation of power and the shredding of the Constitution, or conforming to the historical norms of our Republic?

    I think the latter.

  79. You should be pleased, Doug. If there's a "Problem" with Ocare let's get it in front of Congress, and out into the open.

    Actually, I imagine Waxman suspects, as do I, that Cat, JD, and the boyz are just telling one side of the story (balance sheet.)

    Anyway, with their profits, and their low tax rate it don't amount to much in any event.

  80. I would just as soon trust our JCOS, and Military Command as Frank (Gadfly) Gaffney.

  81. What this Law does, Doug, is guarantee your Son that if he gets sick, and loses his job he won't lose his house (and those new taxpayer subsidized solar panels) to Medical bills.

    You really need to consider that.

  82. I do recall, vividly, when Ollie North was called to testify before Congress. To be vilified and, perhaps, crucified as well.

    Colonel North appeared in full dress, then he stole the show.
    Bringing the public to his cause, through skilled communication and presentation, in full view of the whirled.

    Despite the deck being stacked, beforehand.

    Now the officials of publicly traded companies will get their chance to shine, in the light.

    They best bring their "A" game, as did Colonel North, back in the day.

  83. Right, Rufus.
    Assuming he loses his job before the whole thing goes bankrupt.
    you don't believe in the arcane concept of bankruptcy.

    That bill is filled with a Hell of a lot more corruption gauranteed to bring failure and elimination of liberty than it needs to be condemned by all.

    Instead, you praise it.
    (Insert Insult here, I'm done)

  84. 'Rat loves to BS.
    I used to, also.

  85. Events in DC seem more serious to me.

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