Tag Archives: stimulus

Chris Banescu “The Assault on American Business”

The message from Washington is clear and getting louder by the day. If you run a successful business you face excessive government regulations and higher levels of taxation for years to come. The more productive and profitable you become, the more you will be forced to pay for the privilege of operating in this country. This threat is real and it appears that many companies and business owners are taking steps to protect themselves.

President Obama’s anti-business and anti-competitive campaign messages made executives and business owners apprehensive ahead of the January 2009 presidential inauguration and the Democrats obtaining control of Congress. Coming in the midst of one of the worst financial crisis and economic recessions in recent memory these promises had predictable results: businesses aggressively cut expenses, decreased their capital expenditures, drastically reduced their payrolls, and hunkered down to weather the current crisis and deal with the long-term consequences of punitive government actions.

What are the messages that businesses have been receiving from Obama and a vast majority of the Democrats in Washington even before the November 2008 elections?

  • We will raise your income taxes.
  • We will raise your capital gains and dividends taxes.
  • We will increase regulations and impose further restrictions on your economic activities and personal freedoms.
  • We will take over the private heath care system, dictate coverage and prices, and add a permanent surtax on upper-income individuals and businesses to pay for it all.
  • We will tax your carbon dioxide emissions and force you to justify your energy consumption.
  • We will dramatically increase energy and raw material prices via a convoluted and oppressive cap and trade tax and regulate scheme.
  • We will radically expand government deficit spending and bureaucracy.
  • We will add trillions of dollars to the national debt and virtually guarantee very high inflation, drastic weakening of the US dollar, diminished prospects of new jobs creation, and reduced economic activity for the foreseeable future.

Five Threats

There are at least five different specific promises and initiatives from the current administration that threaten the future competitiveness and success of American businesses and the prosperity of individuals who dare to succeed and earn more. These combined threats have played an important part in further depressing economic activity in the US and signaling to all company owners to remain defensive and cautious in the face of a business unfriendly political environment at least through the end of Obama’s term (only one, we hope) in office.

Threat #1 – Higher Income Taxes
Beginning with 2011 the Obama administration promises to raise income taxes on married couples earning more than $250,000/year and singles earning more than $200,000/year. This would mean that the two highest federal income tax rates will rise from 33% and 35%, to 36% and 39.6%, respectively. Furthermore, the White House seeks to phase out the personal exemptions and limit deductions allowed for these taxpayers. Many businesses are usually started and run by families and individuals with gross incomes in those ranges. This guaranteed 9% to 13% tax increase (likely much higher due to tax exemptions limits and planned healthcare surtaxes) on their yearly incomes will reduce cash flowing into the economy (via investments or purchases) and seriously hinder economic growth.

Threat #2 – Higher Capital Gains Taxes
President Obama also pledged to raise capital gains and dividends taxes from the current 15% to 20% starting in 2011. This represents a 33% tax increase on all businesses and individuals who realize a capital gain on the sale of stock, real estate, or other assets, and those that receive qualified dividends from stocks in their personal portfolios, retirement accounts, or pension funds. This enormous tax increase will punish not only the highest income earners, but all hard-working taxpayers and retirees.

Threat #3 – Government-Run Health Care/Socialized Medicine
The current administration is actively working to create a government-run health care system that will cost approximately $1.6 trillion over 10 years, as reported by the Congressional Budget Office, and will only remove “16 million from the 46 million uninsured.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that House Democrats want to implement a package of surtaxes from 1% to 3% on all families making $350,000 or more in order to raise an additional $540 billion in taxes over the next decade. So any small to medium-sized business earning at least $250,000 or more will see its tax rate increase from 35% now, to 39.6% to 42.6% come 2011, and possibly as high as 44.6% in 2013 when these health-care surtax rates are scheduled to rise to 2-5%. These business owners can now look forward to a massive 13.1% to 27.4% tax increase on their earnings.

Furthermore, Investor’s Business Daily details that the latest Senate version of this plan would include “a $750-per-worker ‘annual fee,’ $375 for part-time workers on companies with more than 25 employees that do not offer coverage to employees.” This represents yet another additional tax on small businesses. As the IBD article correctly points out, “if you’re a small business seeking to expand beyond 25 workers, you have quite a bit to think about. That’s sure going to help job growth.”

Threat #4 – Cap and Trade, Significantly Higher Energy Prices
Another fiasco in the making is President Obama’s obsession with reducing and regulating carbon dioxide emissions by businesses and individuals, despite the solid research and objections of thousands of scientists that attest that carbon dioxide (CO2 is only 0.037% of the earth’s atmosphere) is not a pollutant and does not contribute to global warming or “climate change” of any kind. Dubbed “Cap and Trade” this legislation threatens to bring about enormous government regulation and taxation of energy production and usage across every single industry in the US.

A recent Investor’s Business Daily article outlines the inevitable consequences of such an intrusive scheme:

A major reshaping of our nation’s energy policy will include massive new taxes, mostly on businesses, and cause our economy to crater. Most depressingly, despite taxing businesses and consumers to the hilt, the Waxman-Markey climate stabilization act will not remove one ounce of carbon from our atmosphere over the next decade.

Waxman-Markey is nothing but a huge scam that will bankrupt any business that relies heavily on energy, boosting fuel prices by 22 cents a gallon and socking the average family with an $1,800 a year tax hike.

Threat #5 – Runaway Government Spending, High Inflation and Weakened Dollar
The countless government bailouts of bankrupt financial institutions and many incompetently managed companies, runaway borrowing and spending by the federal government (currently running $1 trillion yearly deficits, for at least another 10 years), and warnings from China, Russia, and India who are rapidly losing confidence in the US dollar and are threatening to dump it, are setting the stage for future hyper-inflation; another potential tsunami of financial devastation for all Americans. Under such conditions companies will continue to be increasingly risk-adverse, be very stingy with their cash reserves, steer clear of US-based capital expenditures that require a long-term financial commitment, and remain guarded with any expansion and hiring plans that would unnecessarily endanger the enterprise in the event of high inflation rates.

Staying the Course on Anti-Business Initiatives
Obama’s current anti-free market initiatives have been consistent from the beginning of his candidacy and throughout his first six months in office, and he’s aggressively making good on his promises with legislation that’s implementing them. Businesses understand what is happening and have tried to make adjustments. Like a living organism that has been attacked (imagine an octopus that’s drawing its tentacles closer to its body to protect itself from an intruder or another predator) business has contracted and retreated to avoid disaster and survive. Company owners and managers have taken on a defensive stance to deal with the worsening economic downturn and the coming higher taxes, increased regulations, and future hostile economic environments they will face even when the current recession subsides.

Consequences for the US Economy
The consequences of business activities contraction worsened by Obama’s multiple threats are devastating. Economy activity reduction, as measured by GDP numbers, reached -6.3% in the fourth quarter of 2008 and -5.5 % for the first quarter of 2009. Our economy has shrunk significantly in the last 9 months and the US unemployment rate has peaked at 9.5% as of June 2009. Since January of this year 2.7 million private sectors jobs have been lost, despite the so-called $787 billion “stimulus” plan that was supposed to keep unemployment rates below 8%. To date only $43 billion of this “stimulus” act has actually been infused back into the $14 trillion US economy; a miniscule and insignificant drop in a huge bucket that most likely did little to help an economic recovery. Yet President Obama insists that it “has worked as intended.”

Investor’s Business Daily reveals yet more alarming statistics regarding the US economy:

Shrinking GDP has crushed investment. First quarter gross private domestic investment — a proxy for business investment — plunged 20%, or nearly $450 billion, annually. The outlook is grim.

Worse, the June jobs data mark a milestone of sorts: Our unemployment rate equals that of the no-growth Eurozone nations.

What the Future Holds
As far as the eye can see President Obama and the Democrats are preparing to implement multiple significant tax increases, layer upon layer of new government regulations and restrictions on business activities, and massive and wasteful government borrowing and spending for at least the next decade. There is nothing coming out of this White House that would signal to American businesses that it is willing to change course and let the private sector – the only real engine of value and job creation in a free-market economy – do its job and bring our country out of this recession. The assaults on American business and entrepreneurship continue unabated and the negative consequences of these actions are already rippling through our economy and impacting our lives. Things are getting worse not better! At a time when a normal recessionary cycle should be coming to an end and the economy should be stabilizing and begin recovering, US business activity continues to contract, with hundreds of thousands of jobs (467,000 lost in June 2009) still being lost every month. We’re heading down a dangerous path that will virtually guarantee reduced long-term economic growth, higher unemployment and inflation rates, lowered living standards, and an erosion of our individual freedoms and liberties for the foreseeable future.

Nina May “Obama Targets Boomers for Extermination”

In the 1948 Hitchcock movie, “Rope”, the very avant-garde theme of elitism and superior moral authority mirrors the current debate on Obama and the Democrat’s health care plan. In the film, two friends are taught that members of the world’s elite have a right to eliminate whomever they deem inferior. Testing this theory, the men decide to strangle a friend from the same boarding school. They hide his body in plain sight while throwing a party to honor him, ostensibly mocking those who love him. This of course was produced on the heels of the greatest holocaust the world has ever known with characters representing the polemic positions of both the victims and those who deemed them as less than worthy to live.

The health care bill that Obama proposes has this theme at its core and has in its crosshairs, the Baby Boomer engine that is pulling the derailed economy as it takes its final lap toward retirement. In less than two years, Baby Boomers will begin retiring in multitudes, expecting to reclaim the hard earned money they have been paying into Social Security. But this Health Care Bill, HR3200, has other plans for them.

Those 65 and older will be required to undergo mandatory “end of life” counseling to determine if they are worthy to continue to not only live, but take much needed resources from those who are younger and more worthy to receive them. Counselors will be trained to discuss how to end life sooner, how to decline nutrition and hydration, how to go into hospice, etc.

This will not be done without coercion. For those who have amassed assets enough to take care of themselves in their old age will have these assets confiscated in the name of fiscal responsibility, because by this time, every citizen will be entered into a national database under the guise of improved efficiency. This database will be run by a type of “star chamber,” appointed by the president, that will determine whether or not you deserve the much needed operation your personal doctor thinks you need. It is daunting to think that a panel of about 20 people will daily regulate, through a computer terminal, millions of people’s medical treatment.

But perhaps it will not be as difficult a task as the numbers would suggest. When the mother of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, had issues with the large numbers of blacks, she advocated for increased access to abortion and forced sterilization of young black women. Her further plans to exterminate those who were infirmed, handicapped or a drain on society, precipitated Hitler’s idea and methods for his “final solution.”

The Margaret Sangers and Joseph Menglas of today are positioned to sit on this “star chamber.” One is Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Obama’s top advisor, Rham Emanuel. He is an advocate of “end of life” options and is on Obama’s Council of Comparative Effectiveness Research, a program developed to determine who is worthy to live and who isn’t.

Dr. Ezekiel believes medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens . . . An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia”. In the June 18, 2008 Journal of the AMA, he writes, “Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously, as an imperative to do everything for the patient regardless of the cost or effects on others.”

In 2006 the Comparative Effectiveness Research denied the elderly a drug to cure macular degeneration until they had gone blind in one eye. These decisions will be made from Washington, in an impersonal, statistical fashion and seniors will be the victims. But remember, these draconian measures exempt our elected, most worthy officials, and their families, from the devastation of this proposed health care bill.

The reason it is imperative for the Democrats and Obama to make sure it passes, on the heels of their outrageous “stimulus” package, bank bailout and GM buyout, is that they are running out of money. Boomers today represent 28% of the U.S. population and soon, upon retirement, they will end their tax producing years and put a huge strain on the Social Security System. With 40 million fewer children today, there are fewer paying into the Social Security system to reimburse those eligible to receive their portion. This is one of the reasons behind the hidden provisions in this very dangerous health care bill.

We have seen this type of dictatorial behavior in the past, when one segment of society has determined itself to be more worthy of life than the rest. We have a choice to go the way of failed, deadly, socialist nations, or to let our voices be heard.

Nina May is the founder of Renaissance Women and host of the TV show, Renaissance Discoveries. She is a producer/director with Renaissance Women Productions, an artist, writer, and commentator producing daily radio commentaries for over 1200 stations.

US State and Local government grows despite recession

While businesses across the United States slash jobs, state and local governments have actually increased employment slightly since the economic recession began in December 2007, according to a report released on Thursday.

“As is the typical pattern in recessions, overall state and local government employment continued to grow after the start of the recession, although there has been a small decline since the August 2008 peak,” said Donald J. Boyd, author of the report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, in a statement.

Total employment in state and local government rose in 30 states, fell in 16 and was unchanged in four during the last year, the report found.

Governments have added about 110,000 jobs since the recession began, according to the report by the Rockefeller Institute, which is the public policy research arm of the State University of New York.

The recession’s impact on government employment typically lags that of the private sector, Boyd said.

“Further employment reductions are almost certainly on the way,” he said.

At least 20 states have imposed unpaid furlough days on their workers to cut spending without having to resort to layoffs, according to the report.

States also have been able to avoid shedding jobs with help from the more than $36 billion for fiscal relief they have received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the report said. (Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by Jan Paschal)

700 of 796 stimulus jobs are state workers in New Hampshire!

Nashua got the fourth most cash of any New Hampshire community from the first phase of federal stimulus money, falling behind Manchester, Windham and Concord.

Nashua, the state’s second largest city, received $16.1 million from 20 different grant programs ranging from $5,005 for an air conditioner and other upgrades at the Nashua Children’s Home to $3.2 million in federal subsidy to children with special needs in the city’s schools.

Manchester received the most, $40.6 million, while the capital city, Concord, got $24.3 million.

Acting State Stimulus Office Director Orville “Bud” Fitch presented an inch-thick, initial progress report on $336 million in discretionary, federal stimulus money that thus far has flowed into the state.

The figures will be updated quarterly, he told the Executive Council at its breakfast meeting on the Manchester Community College campus.

“These numbers are not complete, but I am highly confident that they are up to date,” Fitch said during an interview.

The report also revealed that through the end of June that stimulus money created or saved 796 jobs, with 700 of those state workers who did not have to get laid off thanks to the federal grants, Fitch said.

Federal highway money accounted for 75 jobs and weatherization programs kept or added 16 to the payroll, he added.

Road or building project locale, rather than median income or economic woes, played a big part in communities that received an Obama administration windfall.

For example, Windham is only the 21st largest community in the state with more than 11,500 residents, but it received the second greatest grant total, $27.6 million.

That’s because more than 95 percent of the money going to the town – $27.3 million – is to pay for widening that stretch of Interstate 93 that goes through the town.

Likewise, Concord got $7.6 million to resurface from Exits 14 through 17 on I-93 and claimed as its own many statewide initiatives such as the near-$700,000 grant to create a State Police cold case unit

Nashua received $6.3 million in transportation money, much of it to reconstruct the aircraft-parking apron at Boire Field and make other airport improvements.

Manchester, with 60 grants, got considerably more than Nashua, thanks in part to education grants that were based on the number of low-income students in Title I and students with special needs.

Education money to Manchester ($16.3 million) was more than double what Nashua got ($7.1 million).

Manchester’s grant total ballooned as its 25 grants to low-income housing projects ($6.3 million) were individually named while Nashua’s money pool was initially given only to the Nashua Housing Authority ($1.2 million).

Fitch noted that stimulus money going to programs like the anti-poverty Southern New Hampshire Services Inc. are listed as going to Manchester but spread throughout the southern tier to include Nashua.

Locally, other grant totals thus far included Amherst ($535,959), Hudson ($1.4 million), Merrimack ($1.2 million), Milford ($874,288), Hollis ($450,213), Litchfield ($532,683), Brookline ($146,031), Londonderry ($1.2 million), Lyndeborough ($30,100) Mason ($22,044), Mont Vernon ($57,867), New Ipswich ($482,464), Pelham ($556,246), Sharon ($0), Temple ($0) and Wilton ($177,654).

Within the next week, Fitch said his office plans to have posted in Google map fashion a push pin next to each community the public can click on to find a full listing of all stimulus grant dollars going to that city or town.

Gov. John Lynch praised Fitch, who’s been working on his own since a summer intern went back to school. The Legislature has already approved a 15-month, $2 million budget for the stimulus office that will ultimately have five, full-time staff including a $120,000-a-year director.

“He does a remarkable job equal to the work of a dozen people,” Lynch said.

Article is written by Kevin Landrigan with the Nashua Telegraph in New Hampshire.

Congressman Eric Cantor “Stimulus not working as well as advertised”

A member of the House Republican leadership says he doesn’t think the $787 billion economic stimulus program the Obama administration pushed through Congress earlier this year has worked as advertised.

House GOP Whip Eric Cantor of Richmond said Tuesday that no one should be touting the benefits of stimulus — as Vice President Joe Biden has — at a time when national unemployment is at 9.4 percent.

Interviewed on CBS’s “The Early Show,” he said that when the administration pressed Congress to act immediately, it projected joblessness no higher than 8.5 percent. Cantor said at a job fair recently, some 3,200 people showed up in 90-degree weather and said people are still worried job security.

Political Humor: Economic Stagnation

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Political Cartoon: New-Borns are Crying

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