The horrific scenes from Newton, Conn are overwhelming. It is days like this that make you reflect and think of what is really important to your lives. Family and friends.
Santa Baby (Obama version)
You moved to Pennsylvania Avenue
So — give me, give me, cause that’s what government’s supposed to do
Obama Baby hurry down the chimney tonight
Obama Baby winning re-election was a cinch
So put your gloves on and go ahead and sock it the rich
Obama Baby hurry down my chimney tonight
Think of all the fun I’ve missed when we had all those other Presidents
Let’s jump off the cliff — what do you say? I don’t pay taxes anyway
Obama honey just spend some more money and borrow a lot
Just raise the debt ceiling a couple trillion dollars
And hurry down my chimney tonight
Obama cutie there’s one thing that I really do need — a deed
I’m under water. Bring Fannie and Freddy
And hurry down the chimney tonight
Obama Baby fill my stocking full of food stamps and checks
Sign your X on the line
Obama Baby hurry down my chimney tonight
Come and light my Christmas tree with your bankrupt solar energy company
I really do believe in you even though most of the stuff you say ain’t true
Obama Baby forgot to mention one little thing — a ring
If someone calls from the Middle East, for peace
Just tell them that you are busy tonight
Cause you’re coming down my chimney tonight
Oh hurry down my chimney tonight
The political classes are talking about 401(k) savings plans. This should make one nervous, because the buzz is not about getting people to save more. The federal government, addicted to its big-spending ways, needs new sources of revenue. The tax deferral feature of 401(k) plans is a potential target, and there is increasing chatter about capping eligible contributions.
Brett Goldstein, director of retirement planning for American Investment Planners, discussed the “20-20 cap” plan in an interview with AdvisorOne :
Employees would be able to contribute the lesser of $20,000 or 20% of their pay. An employee earning $50,000, for example, could contribute as much as $10,000–inclusive of the company match, which Goldstein says is typically 4%, or $2,000.
That means this employee could contribute just $8,000, or 54% less than the $17,500 that current law allows.
Owners of small businesses, who generally have more income than their employees, would be hit harder by caps. This disincentive might tempt them to shut down their 401(k) plans altogether. They could turn to a combination of IRA’s and annuities to accomplish their savings goals, while saving on plan administrative costs. The net result would likely be less savings by employers and employees, fewer choices and more confusion across the board.
One would be hard pressed to argue, after examining the stretched finances of American households and their meager preparation for retirement, that excess saving is the number one problem facing the American economy. But Washington DC is hungry for cash, and that does not bode well for prudent policy choices.
“The radical change in the relationship of the federal government to individual Americans was ratcheted up greatly in the Progressive Era,” argues Judge Andrew Napolitano in his new book, Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom.
The first decades of the 20th century saw an assault on individual liberties that was both unconstitutional and unprecedented in American history. From crackdowns on freedom of speech to the seizures of vast swaths of land, Judge Napolitano shows how the policies of two presidents from opposing parties laid the groundwork for a century of ever-expanding federal power.
Judge Napolitano is chief legal analyst for Fox News, a syndicated columnist, and a Reason contributor (read his archive here). He recently sat down with Nick Gillespie to talk about his latest book and discuss the relevance of the Progressive era – a time of prohibition, military expansionism, and vilification of wealth – to today’s political struggles.
NEWTOWN, Conn. — A lone gunman killed 26 people at an elementary school here, including 18 children, in a terrifying early Friday morning shooting spree.
The Associated Press and local media reported the shooter, an unidentified adult male, was also dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Two handguns were recovered at the scene. Mayor Mark Boughton said several victims had been taken to local hospitals.
Groups of students — some crying, some holding hands — were being escorted away from the school by their teachers. Some witnesses reported of up to 100 shots.
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School is the latest in a series mass shootings in the U.S. this year, including Tuesday’s assault by a lone gunman at a Portland, OR., shopping mall that left two dead and one wounded.
(Alexandria, VA) – The American Civil Rights Union filed a brief today with the United States Supreme Court in Arizona v. The Intertribal Council of Arizona in support of Arizona’s Proposition 200, which requires prospective voters to provide satisfactory evidence of citizenship to register to vote. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a District Court ruling upholding that state law, concluding that federal election law preempts Proposition 200 in regard to federal elections.
“While states continue to move forward in preventing voter fraud by passing Voter ID laws, purging deceased voters from their rolls and blocking non-citizens from casting ballots, liberal groups and activists judges continue to weaken voter integrity,” said Susan Carleson, chairman of the ACRU and a leading opponent of vote fraud.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, contends that the Arizona law, which a majority of Arizona voters passed in 2004 by the initiative process, violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) enacted by Congress in 1993.
“The Appeals Court invented a new standard for preemption under the Election Clause that conflicts with Supreme Court precedent, other federal circuits, and the language of the Elections Clause itself,” the brief, written by ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara, says. “The State’s proof of citizenship requirement is consistent with the language and purposes of the NVRA, is not an obstacle to the registration of eligible voters, and the State has a valid interest in ensuring the registration only of eligible voters, the proof of citizenship requirement is legally valid.”
“Congress has no Constitutional authority under the Election Clauses of Article I, Section 4 or Article II, Section 1 to preempt a legitimate state voter qualification,” the brief states. “The power to set the qualifications of voters in all federal elections is expressly reserved to the states under Article I, Section 2 (House elections), the 17th Amendment (Senate elections), and Article II, Section 1 (Presidential elections).”
The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) is dedicated to protecting the civil rights of all Americans by publicly advancing a Constitutional understanding of our essential rights and freedoms. The ACRU monitors and counters organizations that threaten our Constitutional rights. It files amicus briefs in critical civil rights cases, and defends the Constitution in print and broadcast media and on the Internet. For more information on the ACRU’s effort to preserve voter integrity visit www.ProtectYourVote.us
Spending Daily | December 14, 2012
Nearing Cliff Obama and Boehner Meet Again
The Hill reports, “Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama met Thursday at the White House for fiscal talks amid increasing pessimism the two can hammer out a deal before Christmas. The 50-minute long Oval Office meeting was the first between the two since Sunday. It followed a day of harsh rhetoric and attacks that suggested Obama and Boehner were digging in rather than narrowing their differences on taxes and entitlements. Aides to Obama and Boehner described the meeting as ‘frank’ and emphasized that ‘the lines of communication remain open.’ Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and White House director of legislative affairs Rob Nabors also participated in the meeting, the administration confirmed. Earlier on Thursday, a visibly frustrated Boehner used a press conference to rip Obama for not taking spending cuts seriously. ‘It’s clear the president is just not serious about cutting spending. But spending is the problem,’ Boehner said. ‘Republicans want to solve the problem and get this spending line down. The president wants to pretend spending isn’t the problem. That’s why we don’t have an agreement.’”
Some Dems Ready To Make Medicare Concessions
Politico reports, “A growing number of Democrats in the Senate are ready to offer up a key concession on Medicare to try to reach a deal on the fiscal cliff: higher premium payments for wealthy seniors. But that might not get them very far. … Yet as an olive branch to Republicans, a number of Senate Democrats are ready to drop their long-standing opposition to Medicare means testing if it means the GOP will raise taxes on the top 2 percent of wage earners and if it’s part of a large, deficit reduction plan. But there is an overwhelming opposition in the Senate and House Democratic caucuses to going any further, showing just how little room President Barack Obama has to maneuver as he tries to reach a deal with House Speaker John Boehner on the fiscal cliff.”
Boehner Shifts From Taxes To Spending In Cliff Talks
CBS News reports, “As the ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations have seemed to hit a stalemate, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met for 50 minutes at the White House this afternoon, their third in-person meeting on the issue and their first since Sunday. ‘It’s clear the president is just not serious about cutting spending. But spending is the problem,’ Boehner said at a news conference earlier today. ‘The president wants to pretend spending isn’t the problem. That’s why we don’t have an agreement.’ The president later told Minneapolis CBS affiliate WCCO that he’s “hopeful that we can get this resolved. It shouldn’t be hard to get resolved.’ ‘I’m willing to do a lot more cuts in spending, we also need to pair it up with a little revenue. … Couple two dollars of spending cuts for one dollar of revenue,’ he continued.”
Fed’s Fisher: Latest Ploy To Improve Economy ‘Hard To Reverse’
Reuters reports, “The Federal Reserve’s latest moves to reduce borrowing costs and boost the economy could be hard to reverse, a top Fed official said on Friday. ‘I argued that basically we were at risk of what I call a “Hotel California” monetary policy,’ Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said in an interview on CNBC. Like the Eagles song of that name, he said, ‘You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.’ Fed decided on Wednesday to maintain its monthly asset purchases of $45 billion of Treasury bonds and $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities, until it saw a substantial improvement in the outlook for the U.S. labor market.”
S&P Warns Even Well Managed State Budgets Might `Not Weather Another Recession’
Reuters reports, “Even the best managed U.S. state and local budgets might not be able to weather another economic recession, Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services warned on Thursday, saying another downturn would likely be worse for states than cities and counties. In an outlook on state and local government credit quality in 2013, the rating agency said it now considers the economy as important as financial management when it assesses state and local debt. … ‘For the state and local government sector, the main risk to credit quality from the fiscal cliff would be indirect and would stem from the fiscal pressures of another recession. There would also be direct effects, however, from reduced federal grants,’ S&P said.”
“Cliff Fight Is Likely to Take a Toll on Growth”
The Wall Street Journal reports, “Much of Washington’s focus on the ‘fiscal cliff’ is driven by two possible economic outcomes: Either the White House and Congress forge a grand bargain to resolve the budget battle and economic growth takes off, or they fail and recession hits. But the result of the fight could well be something in between: more middling growth next year as business and consumer confidence suffers from another drawn-out spectacle. Even the best-case scenario would be a deficit-reduction agreement between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders that would take effect in two stages. They would enact some deficit-reduction measures immediately and set the stage for an overhaul of the tax code and entitlement programs next year. That still means months of working out the thorny details of tax and spending policy, prolonging the uncertainty that has weighed on businesses and consumers.”
Back in the day, Americans trying to pressure South Africa to jettison its Apartheid system of government decided to put pressure on American businesses and other investors with financial links to Pretoria. Reverend Leon Sullivan created a set of principles in 1977 that ultimately was adopted by the United States government in 1986 that created serious economic backlash for those that profited in South Africa.
The campaign probably worked more from a moral embarrassment standpoint than an economic boycott.
I supported the campaign. I think so did most people that understood how unfair Apartheid was and how poorly it looked on America to support it in the United Nations and through investment. But managing your wallet based on your own moral compass can mean limited options and even limited returns on investments.
Anyone that considered Chinese workers to be under duress and in a state just north of slavery and refused to invest in Apple, missed one of the most amazing stock stories of a lifetime (unless they bought two months ago). The point is we all have issues that we care deeply about. The investing world is wide and surely there are enough stocks out there to avoid one that impacts your sensibilities. If there is a stock or industry that goes against your sense of morality and standards, then it is fine not to invest in or patronize that company.