31 October 2008

No, No... Obama's Not In Political Limbo, He's Doing The Political Limbo

On Hot Air:

Obama started at $250K, dropped to $200K, Joe Biden adjusted it to $150K earlier this week, and now it’s dropped another 20% since then.

Can't you hear the tune? "How low, can you go? How low, can you go?" So catchy!

Anybody wanna bet me $20 that, if Obama gets elected, by the time he's sworn in next January the upper cutoff for his "tax cuts" will be at or below $85k/year? (i.e., cutoff<=$85k means I win, and disclaimer: Limit one bettor.)

23 October 2008

Obama Donations Page - Security Hole, or Fraud Machine?

On Power Line this morning, Scott reports the outcome of an experiment that a reader performed on Obama's donation webpage. The reader used his own card to make a $15 donation to the Obama campaign, but in the name of 'John Galt' (Ayn Rand fans will appreciate) at a completely fictitious address. (Note in particular that ZIP code '99999', if it even existed, would be in Alaska, not Colorado!) Obama's site accepted the donation with nary a blip. A similar experiment tried on McCain's site failed; the donation didn't go through.

What does this mean? Of course, it's not out of the question that it's accidental... that there's a number field or a checkbox on a form someplace that was set incorrectly, and it's only just now coming to light. But... it seems highly unlikely to me that rigorous name and address matching would be disabled by default in any shopping cart system off the shelf, meaning that it had to either have been disabled, or specifically programmed into the application. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, though, and granting that it was unintentional... for something as important as this, with as much potential for (patently illegal!) misuse as this, why was this not found and fixed a long time ago?

Please read the whole post, and consider. And, either way you decide, please vote on November 4th! (That is, of course, if you are legally eligible to do so.)

15 October 2008

How Do You Get Your Taxes Cut If You Don't Pay Taxes?

Answer: by cleverly redefining the term 'tax cut'!


One of Barack Obama's most potent campaign claims is that he'll cut taxes for no less than 95% of "working families." He's even promising to cut taxes enough that the government's tax share of GDP will be no more than 18.2% -- which is lower than it is today.

It's a clever pitch, because it lets him pose as a middle-class tax cutter while disguising that he's also proposing one of the largest tax increases ever on the other 5%. But how does he conjure this miracle, especially since more than a third of all Americans already pay no income taxes at all? There are several sleights of hand, but the most creative is to redefine the meaning of "tax cut."

Basically, Obama will 'cut' taxes on low-income earners by making their tax burden 'negative' -- that is, by essentially handing them extra money. Reminds me sort of the whole "it depends on what the definition of 'is' is," from the Clinton era. Germane bit from the article:

Here's the political catch. All but the clean car credit would be "refundable," which is Washington-speak for the fact that you can receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other words, they are an income transfer -- a federal check -- from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this "welfare," or in George McGovern's 1972 campaign a "Demogrant." Mr. Obama's genius is to call it a tax cut.

Make sure you read the whole piece, especially the last two paragraphs about how lower-income earners (up to ~$50k/yr) will be taxed at a significantly higher rate on marginal income (income that represents an increase over current income). As such, low-earners have to work that much harder to improve their economic situation... not exactly helping reverse the 'disappearance of the middle class' that the Dems often get so worked up about.

13 October 2008

Real-World Schlock

Been reading Schlock Mercenary for a looong time. As such, this blog post by the writer/artist is, to my mind, made completely of awesome. ;-)

09 October 2008

Tough Times for Fiscal Conservatives


News that the Bush administration is considering taking ownership stakes in a number of U.S. banks helped restore a relative calm over global financial markets Thursday.

The aim of such a move would be to thaw the lending freeze that threatens to push the world's economy into recession.

All I can say is, they better have a really aggressive sellback plan in mind for when things do start moving again.

02 October 2008

New Russian Nukes

So, we're at the end of history, right? Just a few things to iron out, and then we'll all get to enjoy everlasting world peace, right?

Uh, no:

Russia hopes to deploy a new nuclear missile next year designed to penetrate anti-missile defenses and will build eight submarines to carry it, defense officials said on Thursday.

The latest statements underline Moscow's determination to upgrade its nuclear strike forces on land, sea and air. They are regarded by Russian commanders as the cornerstone of the country's defenses.

Note in the article that these missiles have pretty much been specifically designed to penetrate US-designed anti-missile systems. Interesting, no?