Counterpoint: A Demi Dozen Pithy Juxtapositions

NOGA_001(edit1)By George Noga


Counterpoint #1: Reagan vs. Obama

It is axiomatic the deeper a recession, the stronger the recovery. Let’s compare two of the most recent and severest recessions. During the eight calendar quarters following the 1982 and 2009 recessions GDP grew as shown below.

1982 (Reagan): 0.3%, 5.1%, 9.3%, 8.1%, 8.5%, 8.0%, 7.1%, 3.9% (average 6.3%)

2009 (Obama): 1.7%, 3.8%, 3.9%, 3.8%, 2.5%, 2.3%, 0.4%, 1.0% (average 2.4%)

The 2009 recession was deeper than 1982; this means the rebound should have been even stronger compared to the Reagan recovery. Doesn’t the answer leap right off the page? Reagan took diametrically different actions than Obama. After two years of a torpid recovery, Obama either can’t or won’t make the connection that his policies have failed as well as the corollary that Reagan’s succeeded. The odds are his rigid ideology will cause a double dip recession.

Counterpoint #2: Warren Buffet vs. His Secretary

The popular press is feasting on the Obama-induced misdirection that Buffet’s secretary pays a higher tax rate than the Oracle of Omaha. That has to be one of the all-time daffiest canards. Following are five of the most egregious reasons the comparison could only be bought into by Kool-aide drinkers who are totally ignorant of taxation in America.

The average tax rate paid by those earning over $1 million is 23.3%; the average rate for someone (say a high-powered secretary) making $50-$100K is 8.9%. Millionaires pay 260% more. If Buffet paid less, he is a rare exception.

Buffet previously paid high tax rates on the money he used to invest; if we added the total tax he paid both times, it would dwarf his secretary’s rate as she paid tax only once. Moreover, Buffet will pay estate tax at up to 55%; his secretary won’t.

Buffet’s income is capital gains not salary; he had to risk his capital and many who do so lose everything. His secretary’s salary contained no risk whatsoever.

On losses investors deduct only $3,000 per year but pay tax on 100% of gains.

Investors create jobs; a salaryman (or woman) doesn’t.

“Ultimate irony: Buffet, who created enormous wealth, is having a wealth destruction bill named after him.”

The ultimate irony is Buffet, who created enormous wealth, is having a wealth destruction bill named after him. The last time such tax envy happened was under LBJ when 21 millionaires paid no taxes in 1967. The solution from 1960s era class warriors was the Alternate Minimum Tax which today ensnares 20 million middle class taxpayers. The Buffet secretary gambit is audacious in its underlying assumption that most Americans are clueless idiots.

Counterpoint #3: NASA vs. Al Gore

Recent NASA data for 2000 thru 2011 further destroy the manmade global warming religion. It matters little as a majority of Americans no longer believe in the climate change fairy; in fact they rate it last among current issues that concern them. The NASA data abolishes the principal need contention for alarmists that CO2 emissions are trapping heat and preventing it from escaping into space.

Data for up to 25 years from NASA’s ERBS, Aqua and Terra satellites show that both much less heat is trapped in the atmosphere and far more heat escapes into space than shown in any climate model. All this was published in a peer-reviewed science journal, Remote Sensing. Manmade warming already is deader than a doornail; this adds one more nail in its coffin. The only folks extant who still cling to global warming are communing with Elvis and Bigfoot.

“The only folks extant still clinging to global warming
are communing with Elvis and Bigfoot.”

It gets worse. Physics Nobel Laureate Dr. Ivar Giaever states, “global temperatures have been amazingly stable and good for human health and happiness”. University of California Professor Emeritus of Physics Harold Lewis called global warming, “the greatest and most successful pseudo-scientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.” Giaever and Lewis join many other Nobelists and leading physicists in debunking the climate change religion.

Counterpoint #4: Tea Party vs. Racism

Let me get this straight. It is an article of faith with liberals that the Tea Party is racist. So what just happened? The Florida straw poll was conducted in a racist, err conservative, area. The only folks voting were Republicans from a deep south state, nearly all of whom were Tea Party activists and/or right-wing fanatics and, ipso facto, highly bigoted. Yet, overwhelmingly they voted for a black man, the son of a cleaning woman and a janitor for President of the United States of America – rejecting the other eight white men and women candidates.

There never has been and is not now racism in the Tea Party. It is about constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility and individual liberty – nothing else. It is as color blind a group as exists on this planet. People who apply racist labels for perceived political gain are the true haters, seeking to spread loathing and odium. In 2012 I will write a blog post devoted to racism in America. As a preview however, “racist” is the most hateful label anyone can use; it never, absolutely never, can be used in a civilized society absent rock-solid proof.

Counterpoint #5: Obama vs. Alexis de Tocqueville

There is a frequently-quoted short passage by Tocqueville that is part of a lengthier tract that deserves being quoted in full. Although Tocqueville lived centuries before Obama, he must have had a premonition of the socialism of our current president when he wrote the following.

de-tocqueville“I see an innumerable crowd of like and equal men who resolve on themselves without repose, procuring the small and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls. Over these is elevated an immense, tutelary power, which takes sole charge of assuring their enjoyment and of watching over their fate. It is absolute, attentive to detail, regular, provident, and gentle. It would resemble the paternal power if, like that power, it had as its object to prepare men for manhood, but it seeks, to the contrary, to keep them irrevocably fixed in childhood. It provides for their security, foresees and supplies their needs, guides them in their principal affairs. . .”

“The sovereign extends its arms about the society as a whole; it covers its surface with a network of petty regulations – complicated, minute and uniform – through which even the most original minds and the most vigorous souls know not how to make their way. . . it does not break wills; it softens them, bends them and directs them; rarely does it force one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one’s acting on one’s own. It does not tyrannize, it gets in the way; it curtails, it enervates, it extinguishes, it stupefies and finally reduces us to being nothing more than a herd of timid, industrious animals, of which, the government is the shepherd.”

Counterpoint #6: Obama vs. Obama

President Obama established a policy to try foreign enemy combatants and accused terrorists in US courts and to accord them full constitutional rights. Now with the recent assassinations in Yemen, Obama is denying American citizens all constitutional rights by depriving them of life without any process of law. Which is it Mr. Obama? How can you square granting foreign terrorists full rights of Americans while simultaneously denying the same to US citizens?

Note – An upcoming blog post is entitled “Is there enough money in the world?” The question refers to financing skyrocketing US and global debt. Seriously; is there enough money in the world? The US government and think tanks already are grappling with this question in earnest and the answer may surprise and amaze you. Look for it later this month.

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