Archive for July 2009

How Stimulating…

July 31, 2009

From Fox News…

Talk about a stimulus package.

The National Endowment for the Arts may be spending some of the money it received from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fund nude simulated-sex dances, Saturday night “pervert” revues and the airing of pornographic horror films at art houses in San Francisco.The NEA was given $80 million of the government’s $787 billion economic stimulus bill to spread around to needy artists nationwide, and most of the money is being spent to help preserve jobs in museums, orchestras, theaters and dance troupes that have been hit hard by the recession. But some of the NEA’s grants are spicing up more than the economy. A few of their more risque choices have some taxpayer advocates hot under the collar, including a $50,000 infusion for the Frameline film house, which recently screened Thundercrack, “the world’s only underground kinky art porno horror film, complete with four men, three women and a gorilla.”

Click here for a full list of all of the NEA’s Recovery Act grants.

Michael Lewis…Brilliant!!

July 28, 2009

Bashing Goldman Sachs Is Simply a Game for Fools: Michael Lewis

Commentary by Michael Lewis

July 28 (Bloomberg) — From the moment I left Yale and started working for Goldman Sachs, I’ve felt uneasy interacting with those who don’t.

It’s not that I think less of Goldman outsiders than I did while I remained among you. It’s just that I feel your envy, and know that nothing I can do or say will ever persuade you that I am no more than human.

Thus, like many of my colleagues, I have adopted a strategy of never leaving Goldman Sachs, apart from a few brief, spasmodic attempts to make what you outsiders call “love” or “the beast with two backs.” Goldman recognizes how important it is for its people to replicate themselves. We bill no performance fees for the service.

Today, the sheer volume of irresponsible media commentary has forced us to reconsider our public-relations strategy. With every uptick in our share price it’s grown clearer that we who are inside Goldman Sachs must open a dialogue with you who are not. Not for our benefit, but for yours.

America stands at a crossroads, and Goldman Sachs now owns both of them. In choosing which road to take, ordinary Americans must not be distracted by unproductive resentment toward the toll-takers. To that end we at Goldman Sachs would like to dispel several false and insidious rumors.

Rumor No. 1: “Goldman Sachs controls the U.S. government.”

Every time we hear the phrase “the United States of Goldman Sachs” we shake our heads in wonder. Every ninth-grader knows that the U.S. government consists of three branches. Goldman owns just one of these outright; the second we simply rent, and the third we have no interest in at all. (Note there isn’t a single former Goldman employee on the Supreme Court.)

What small interest we maintain in the U.S. government is, we feel, in the public interest. Our current financial crisis has its roots in a single easily identifiable source: the envy others felt toward Goldman Sachs.

The bozos at Merrill Lynch, the dimwits at Citigroup, the nimrods at Lehman Brothers, the louts at Bear Stearns, even that momentarily useful lunatic Joe Cassano at AIG — all of these people took risks that no non-Goldman person should ever take, in a pathetic attempt to replicate Goldman’s financial returns.

For too long we have allowed others to emulate us. Now we are working productively with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and the Congress to ensure that we alone are allowed to take the sort of risks that might destroy the financial system.

Rumor No. 2: “When the U.S. government bailed out AIG, and paid off its gambling debts, it saved not AIG but Goldman Sachs.”

The charge isn’t merely insulting but ignorant. Less responsible journalists continue to bring up the $12.9 billion we received from AIG, as if that was some kind of big deal to us. But as our CFO David Viniar explained back in March, we were hedged. Our profits from AIG “rounded to zero.”

People who don’t work at Goldman Sachs, of course, find this implausible: How could $12.9 billion round to zero? Easy, but you just need to understand the mathematics.

Let’s assume AIG transferred $12,880,560,250.34 of taxpayer money to Goldman Sachs. A Goldman outsider, asked to round this number, might call it $12,880,560,250.00. That’s not how we look at it; at Goldman we always round to the nearest $50 billion, so anything less than $50 billion rounds to zero.

Think of it that way and you can see that $12,880,560,250.34 isn’t even close to not rounding to zero.

Rumor No. 3: “As the U.S. government will eat the losses if Goldman Sachs goes bust, Goldman Sachs shouldn’t be allowed to keep making these massive financial bets. At the very least the $11.4 billion Goldman Sachs already has set aside for employees in 2009 — $386,429 a head, just for the first six months — is unfair, as the U.S. taxpayer has borne so much of the risk of the wagers that generated the profits.”

Really, we don’t know where to begin with this one. It is wrong-headed in so many different ways!

Let’s begin with the idea that the taxpayer is running a bigger risk than we are. The billions he stands to lose are trivial; after all, they round to zero.

The real risk, when you think about it even for a minute, is the risk we take ourselves: that Goldman will cease to exist and we will cease to be Goldman employees. To flirt with such tragedy we obviously need to be paid.

Rumor No. 4: “Goldman employees all look alike.”

Several recent newspaper photos have revealed that a surprising number of Goldman Sachs workers are white, male and bald. That non-Goldman people glance at such photos and think “Holy crap, they even look alike!” just shows how deeply anti- Goldman bigotry runs in American life.

We at Goldman represent unique clusters of DNA; if we bear some faint surface resemblance to one another, and to creatures from the 24th century, it is only because our superior powers of reasoning lead us to hold in our minds exactly the same thoughts, at exactly the same time.

A shared disinterest in growing hair, for instance, isn’t a coincidence of nature but an expression of healthy like- mindedness.

“The world is a pool table,” our naked-headed CEO likes to tell us. “And all the people in it are either stripes or solids. You alone are the cue balls.”

Rumor No. 5: Goldman Sachs is “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

Those words are of course taken from a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine and they are transparently false.

For starters, the vampire squid doesn’t feed on human flesh. Ergo, no vampire squid would ever wrap itself around the face of humanity, except by accident. And nothing that happens at Goldman Sachs — nothing that Goldman Sachs thinks, nothing that Goldman Sachs feels, nothing that Goldman Sachs does –ever happens by accident.

Do as I say…Not as I do!

July 28, 2009

A priceless clip. Kudos to Newsbusters.

 

CLICK HERE

Boortz Health Care Cheat Sheet

July 24, 2009

Kudos to Neal Boortz on putting this great piece together…

Here’s a little cheat sheet for you … a Boortz cheat sheet on the latest facts about this government healthcare scheme that you need to know! Don’t think for a second that these Democrats actually care about your health or your access to clinics or your freedom to choose doctors. They don’t. They care about one thing, and that is power. I know, we’ve covered that before. There is, though, only one real way these people stay in power: you vote for them and keep them there. So the only way these people are going to vote against this healthcare boondoggle is if you tell them that you don’t support it. So here are just a few reasons to ponder …

– Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf said “The health care overhauls released to date would increase, not reduce, the burgeoning long-term health costs facing the government,”

Don’t believe me? Here’s the link.

-“According to that assessment [from the CBO], enacting the proposal would result in a net increase in federal budget deficits of about $1.0 trillion over the 2010-2019 period.”

Don’t believe me? Here’s the link.

-“A new report by the Lewin Group (commissioned by the Heritage Foundation) finds that the House Democrats’ health care bill would shift more than 83.4 million Americans from private health care coverage to the government plan. To put that in perspective, that would mean that nearly half (48.4 percent) would lose their private health coverage.”

Don’t believe me? Here’s the link.

-“Currently, the top rate is 35 percent. But in his budget President Obama proposed raising the top two income tax rates from 33 and 35 percent to 36 and 39.6 percent. Families in the top 20 percent of income earners already pay 94% percent more income taxes than middle-income families. The new surtaxes would extend progressivity at the top of the income spectrum and raise the disparity in taxes paid between middle- and low-income families and high-earning families.”

Don’t believe me? Here’s the link.

-“In the six highest-taxed states, Oregon (11 percent top income tax rate), Hawaii (11 percent), New Jersey (10.75 percent), New York (8.97 percent), California (10.55 percent), and Rhode Island (9.9 percent), the top rates would be higher than all but Denmark among OECD countries if the Obama plan and surtax become law.”

Don’t believe me? Here’s the link.

-“Under these higher taxes, families and small businesses making over $350,000 in every state would face higher top rates than 21 OECD countries–including France, Italy, and Spain. Even the nine states with no state income tax at all would have higher rates than these social democracies that are typically regarded as countries with punitively high taxes. Taxpayers in all 41 states that do levy an income tax would pay a top rate that is higher than all but seven of the 30 OECD countries.”

Don’t believe me? Here’s the link.

-“The Senate version of President Obama’s government health care overhaul contains a mandate that all businesses provide their employees with health insurance or pay a fine, unless the business employs fewer than 25 people. Critics say the 25-employee benchmark could stifle small business growth by prompting companies to limit themselves to 24 employees.”

Don’t believe me? Here’s the link.

-“The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s health care legislation will give the Health and Human Services secretary the authority to develop “standards of measuring gender” — as opposed tousing the traditional “male” and “female” categories — in a database of all who apply or participate in government-run or government-supported health care plans.”

Don’t believe me? Here’s the link.

-“More than a million small business owners and about two-thirds of the profits earned byU.S. small businesses would behitbythe income tax increase on the “rich” that House Democratic leaders want to enact to pay for the health-care reform plan President Obama wants passed this summer, a taxpayer watchdog says.”

Don’t believe me? Here’s the link.

-“A survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) found that 20 percent of its respondents would simply shut down if they were faced with this choice of being forced to offer health insurance. They couldn’t afford it. One out of four said they would replace full-time workers with part-time workers in order to avoid having to pay anything.”

Don’t believe me? Here’s the link.

-“According to the National Tax Foundation, the top total tax rate on Americans — that is, state, local and federal taxes — will top 50% in 39 states” if the Democrats pass their healthcare legislation.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the link.

-“So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won’t be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers.”

Don’t believe me? Here’s the link.

-“A quick review of the legislation shows that it calls for two new government agencies, three trust funds, three advisory panels, two task forces, a research center, a medical device registry, an ombudsman and many pilot and demonstration programs.”

Don’t believe me? Here’s the link.

All this sounds so wonderful, doesn’t it? The same political party that brought us Social Security and Medicare is on the march again. Watch the carnage.

Ronald Reagan Blasts Socialized Medicine

July 20, 2009

Listen Here

Kudos to Donald Luskin from www.poorandstupid.com

Things that put me over the edge…

July 17, 2009

 

From the Syracuse Post Standard…

Across America, every road project paid for with federal stimulus money will have one detail in common: a big green sign that advertises your tax dollars at work.

But each state will tell a different story about how the signs were made and how much they cost.

In New York, the state published engineering instructions that estimated the biggest, 84-square-foot signs could cost between $6,000 and $8,300 each to make and install.

So far, one bidder put the sign cost at $8,930. Another estimated $5,400.

Illinois is using the smaller version of the sign — 45.5 square feet — and expects each one to cost about $500.

Michigan made 40 of its own signs, at a cost of about $300 each, to move around to small and urban projects. The state expects to pay contractors about $500 per sign for bigger projects.

The tale of the big green economic stimulus sign shows how difficult it is for states to manage the fine print of the federal stimulus program, spend the money quickly and under the watchful eye of the public. New York state is writing the rules as it goes and it is open to suggestion.


Fat Gorilla

July 17, 2009

The 800 pound gorilla in the room just put on some serious weight.

The financial health of Social Security and Medicare has gotten much worse, with Medicare paying out more than it receives. Trustees of the program stated that Social Security will start paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes 2016, one year sooner than projected last year and be depleted by 2037, four years sooner. Medicare will be insolvent by 2017.

The trust funds are similar to the money management skills of Harry and Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber; a file cabinet full of IOU’s that sits in Parkersburg, WV. The IOU’s are backed by the full “faith and credit” of Uncle Sam and are not backed by any actual real assets. The excess funds that have come in to the program for years were spent by our fearless leaders in Washington on important and serious projects such as: $500,000 recently allocated to study why men do not like to wear condoms and millions of dollars on a turtle tunnel in Florida. In order to redeem the trust fund bonds, our government would have to borrow money in the public debt markets or seriously raise taxes.

With of our brand new Hopey Changey projects, stimulus part one, possibly stimulus part deux, Government Motors, universal health care, making homes affordable, (etc) how are we going to get the Chinese to pay for our retirement ponzi scheme?

May I suggest that anyone 50 years old and younger, please disregard any notion you had in receiving Social Security and plan accordingly.

Source:

Crutsinger Martin Social Security and Medicare Finances Worsen Associated Press May 12, 2009


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