Author Archives: Jason Pye

Wasn’t the “stimulus” bill supposed to keep unemployment down?

Could opponents of the stimulus bill actually have been right? Take a look at the numbers of what the Obama Administration said unemployment would look like with and without the “stimulus” compared to what it is today.

Don’t forget that the ridiculous claim by Obama Administration that 150,000 jobs have been created (total job losses since the beginning of the year are more that 2.8 million) by the “stimulus” bill after spending $112 billion. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s $746k per job “created.”

H/T: QandO

Chrysler files for protection against taxpayers

Chrysler will not pay the $7+ billion it owes to taxpayers:

Chrysler LLC will not repay U.S. taxpayers more than $7 billion in bailout money it received earlier this year and as part of its bankruptcy filing.

This revelation was buried within Chrysler’s bankruptcy filings last week and confirmed by the Obama administration Tuesday. The filings included a list of business assumptions from one of the company’s key financial advisors in the bankruptcy case.

Some of the main assumptions listed by Robert Manzo of Capstone Advisory Group were that the Treasury would forgive a $4 billion bridge loan given to Chrysler in the closing days of the Bush administration, a $300 million fee on that loan, and the $3.2 billion in financing approved last week by the Obama administration to fund Chrysler’s operations during bankruptcy.

An Obama administration official confirmed Tuesday that Chrysler won’t be repaying the loans, though a portion of the bridge loan may be recovered by Treasury from the assets of Chrysler Financial, the former credit arm of the automaker which is essentially going out of business as part of the reorganization.

Are you the least bit surprised by this? And as if this weren’t bad enough, Chrysler will get more taxpayer money:

The Obama administration official said that other money being made available to Chrysler, such as the $4.7 billion that will go to the company as it exits bankruptcy, will be a loan that the government expects to be paid back. In addition, that loan will be secured by company assets, unlike the previous loans to Chrysler.

According to the filing, the company’s financial advisor also foresees the need for an additional $1.5 billion loan from the Treasury Department by June 30, 2010.

And I’m sure they’re going to pay it back. How does the saying go? “Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Cato scholar on SCOTUS appointments

Ilya Shapiro from the Cato Institute dives into the names of possible replacements for Justice David Souter:

[Obama] is under great pressure to appoint a woman, and the three leading female candidates are new Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Second Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor, and Seventh Circuit Judge Diane Wood. Kagan would be an almost-certain pick a year from now, but having been just confirmed to be the so-called Tenth Justice, she might be seen as too green for elevation. Sotomayor — because she is Hispanic and despite a mixed judicial record — was the odds-on favorite until the Court took up the employment discrimination case of Ricci v. DeStefano (argued just last week), an appeal of a bizarre opinion Sotomayor joined that denied the claims of firefighters who had been passed over for promotion because of their race. That leaves Wood, a renowned authority on antitrust, international trade, and federal civil procedure, whose age (58) suggests that this is likely the last vacancy for which she will be considered. Wood offers a seriousness of purpose and no ideological ax to grind, and is thus the best nominee supporters of constitutionalism and the rule of law can hope for at this time.

The Huffington Post has the shortlist of possible nominees, including Leah Ward Sears (who is from my home state of Georgia).

I guess it’s too much to ask for Janice Rogers Brown.

WSJ dares ask the question…

Tired of hearing about violence at the Mexico border, the false claims of firearms coming from the United States that fuel the violence and the imprisonment of citizens who are doing nothing other than trying to help patients with medical problems? If so, the Wall Street Journal has a solution to drug war blues:

An administration really open to “change” would consider a long-term solution to the problem — ending the market for illegal drugs by eliminating their illegality. We cannot destroy the appetite for psychotropic drugs. Both animals and humans have an innate desire for the altered consciousness obtainable through drugs. What we can and should do is eliminate the black market for the drugs by regulating and taxing them as we do our two most harmful recreational drugs, tobacco and alcohol.

Marijuana presents the strongest case for this approach. According to some estimates, marijuana comprises about 70% of the illegal product distributed by the Mexican cartels. Marijuana will grow anywhere. If the threat of criminal prosecution and forfeitures did not deter American marijuana farmers, America’s entire supply of that drug would be home-grown. If we taxed the marijuana agribusiness at rates similar to that for tobacco and alcohol, we would raise about $10 billion in taxes per year and would save another $10 billion we now spend on law enforcement and imprisoning marijuana users and distributors.

I’ve never even so much as smoked marijuana, though smelled it frequently during my days playing in bands, legalization (or at least decriminalization) should be on the table. It’s a position that prominent conservatives like William F. Buckley, Jr and George Will have supported.

States faced significant budget shortfalls this year while thousands of non-violent drug offenders sit in prison. If you look at it from an economic issue, legalization or decriminalization would help states significantly.

Social conservatives need to consider this point, legalizing marijuana is more popular than the Republican Party.

Dissent is not unhealthy, it’s patriotic

Dissent is “unhealthy”:

A top adviser to President Barack Obama takes a dim view of last week’s anti-tax “tea parties,” promoted by organizers in the spirit of the Boston Tea Party.

“The thing that bewilders me is this president just cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people. So I think the tea bags should be directed elsewhere because he certainly understands the burden that people face,” David Axelrod said Sunday.

The rallies coincided with the deadline to file income taxes, and gave people a chance also to voice frustrations about government spending and corporate bailouts.
Axelrod was asked on CBS’ “Face the Nation” for his opinion on what the show’s host described as “this spreading and very public disaffection with not only the government, but especially the Obama administration.”

Axelrod replied: “I think any time that you have severe economic conditions, there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that’s unhealthy.”

“Unhealthy?” the moderator repeated.

“This is a country where we value our liberties and our ability to express ourselves. And so far these are expressions,” Axelrod answered.

These were peaceful protests were people displayed frustration, regardless of who co-opted or organized them, hundreds of thousands of people took time out of their day to express themselves. There is nothing unhealthy about that.

On a separate point. These “tax cuts” aren’t really tax cuts. It’s a direct spending program, according to the Congressional Budget Office (via A tax cut is a reduction in tax rates, not a check or tax credit.

Also, 95 percent of taxpayers did not get a “tax cut,” despite the talking points from MSNBC or CNN. The Tax Policy Center (again, via shows that 75 percent of taxpayers are affected. The average “tax cut” is $13 a week, which is marginal and not likely to help anyone once you factor in the rising cost of living, the increase in gas prices and rising property taxes.

You have to take the deficit into account, which will be a record this year at $1.8 trillion. You’re not cutting taxes unless you are cutting spending as well. It’s one of the great myths of the Bush Administration. Yes, he cut the tax rate, but he and his Republican cohorts effectively raised taxes on the next generation by spending liken drunken sailors.

Obama is only worsening an already dire situation. It’s not a problem we can just tax our way out of either, because you put economic prosperity at risk whenever you raise taxes. So tough choices will need to be made, but Obama isn’t going to make them. He’ll do what is politically popular, damn the future, and use it in his re-election campaign.

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