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Willisms

« October 2009 | WILLisms.com | December 2009 »

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 705 -- Stunning Lack Of Private Sector Experience For Obama's Administration.

Obama's Team Full Of Bureaucrats & Lefty Government Types-

Change:

obamacabinet.gif
When one considers that public sector employment has ranged since the 1950s at between 15 percent and 19 percent of the population, the makeup of the current cabinet—over 90 percent of its prior experience was in the public sector—is remarkable.

Government is not the answer to our problems, it in many cases is the problem. Obama seems especially out-of-touch with America in part because his entire team is from the government, and they're here to help.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Foreclosures.

Posted by Will Franklin · 30 November 2009 12:46 PM · Comments (2)

Thanksgiving.

Thankful for so many things this year. Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Will Franklin · 26 November 2009 12:36 PM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 704 -- The Physical Size Of The Health Care Bill.

Biggest bill in the history of the Senate-

Obviously, the health care reform bill is enormous in size and scope, but the actual physical size is just absurd:

reidsizebig.gif
House and Senate Democratic leaders are breaking records left, right and center with every new version of Obamacare they roll out. But if you thought they’d be competing to provide better methods for reforming the health care system, you were wrong. Instead, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) are duking it out for who can write the biggest and bloated bill that will actually bend the cost curve up. Senator Reid holds the record at a whopping 2,074 pages.

Big government is not a plan for success.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Foreclosures.

Posted by Will Franklin · 24 November 2009 11:26 AM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 703 -- Foreclosures.

Some States Faring Better Than Others-

Last week, it was reported that 41,700 jobs had been created in Texas in October, the most of any state in the nation.

These are not those fake stimulus-related jobs in non-existent Congressional districts. These are the legit numbers. It makes sense that Texas would have created the most jobs in October, given the track record of the past few years.

Indeed, some other fun facts: the foreclosure rate in Texas fell more than 10% in October. Texas has roughly 8% of the U.S. population but only had 3.6% of the nation's foreclosures in October:

foreclosuresintexas.gif

Ideas matter. Keep budgets balanced. Avoid income taxes. Keep spending in check. Tort reform helps. Property rights. Stay away from "free" money from the federal government. Don't vote for RINOs or liberals.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Government Land.

Posted by Will Franklin · 23 November 2009 10:09 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 702 -- Government Land.

Federal Government Owns A Lot Of Land-

special_federal_land_owners4.gif
There are few more striking measures of the government’s size than the land mass of the Federal estate. The vast majority of federal lands fall within one of four agencies: the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Agriculture’s US Forest Service. At over 258 million acres, the Bureau of Land Management alone is bigger than France and Germany combined. When combined with the other aforementioned agencies, the land area is equal that of ten European nations.

In the United States, 30% of the land is owned by the federal government. In Texas, only 2.6% of the land is owned by the federal government.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Unions Depend On Growing Government, Growing Government Depends On Unions.

Posted by Will Franklin · 20 November 2009 11:07 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 701 -- Unions Depend On Growing Government, Growing Government Depends On Unions.

Unions & Left-Wing Agenda Co-Dependent-

There is a vicious cycle in America. A symbiosis of left-wing interests, building on one another:

publicsectorunions2.jpg
...2009 will mark the first time ever in American history that the majority of union members work for federal, state, or local governments. The percentage shift has been staggering. In 1973 only 17.3% of union members worked for government. Today that number is 51.2%.

Democrats depend on strong unions to win elections. Unions can't cut it in the private sector, so they depend increasingly on bureucratic big government jobs. Only big government can keep unions viable. Growing government necessarily grows the political power of Democrats. Growing the political power of Democrats means bigger government, which means stronger unions, which means more Democrats, which means bigger government.

Which means we all lose. We have to stop this cycle.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Among States Least Like California.

Posted by Will Franklin · 19 November 2009 10:12 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 700 -- States Least Like California.

Red States In Less Fiscal Peril Than Blue States-

While some formerly-booming red states are in just as much fiscal peril as California, a look at the map clearly shows that it is mostly high-tax blue states in the most trouble:

leastlikecalifornia.gif

Not all red states are doing well. Ideas, policies, and circumstances matter more than party affiliation alone. Texas being among the states least like California is pretty remarkable, given that it is similar to Florida, Arizona, and Nevada in a lot of ways, and all three of those states face dire budget problems.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Medicaid Spending Projections Way Underestimated Actual Costs.

Posted by Will Franklin · 18 November 2009 09:07 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 699 -- Government Aggressively Underestimates Spending Projections.

Government Spending Ratchets Ever Upward-

The Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation released a study this week showing that the Congressional Budget Office tends to underestimate the fiscal impact of health care legislation:

historicalexamples.gif
1. When Medicare was created in the mid-l960s, actuaries projected the program's hospital insurance budget would reach $9 billion by 1990.23 The actual 1990 cost was $67 billion. 2. The long-run forecasts estimated that the entire Medicare program would cost about $12 billion by 1990.25 In reality, it cost more than $100 billion that year (and now costs $500 billion). 3. Medicaid was also created in 1965 and was supposed to be a very small program with annual expenditures of about $1 billion. It has now become a huge $250 billion entitlement. 4. Medicaid's disproportionate share hospital (DSH) program is a sobering example. Created in 1987 to subsidize hospitals with large numbers of Medicaid and uninsured patients, the programs was supposed to cost less than $1 billion in 1992, but the actual cost that year was a staggering $17 billion. 5. The Medicare Catastrophic Coverage legislation was adopted in 1988 and then repealed less than two years later, in part because some provision were already projected to cost six times more than forecast.
medicaidwrong.gif
Medicaid was also created in 1965 and was supposed to be a very small program with annual expenditures of about $1 billion. It has now become a huge $250 billion entitlement – and that's just the cost to federal taxpayers.
medicaretentimeswrong.gif

There is a very real bias in government toward underestimating the costs associated with proposed legislation. Costs almost always overrun projections, especially over the long-run.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Michigan Is A Fiscal & Economic Disaster.

Posted by Will Franklin · 17 November 2009 11:22 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 698 -- Michigan Failure Of Left-Wing Ideas.

Ideas Matter-

Michigan is a train wreck. It is also a policy laboratory for many left-wing ideas, and it is a playground for many left-wing interest groups:

michiganproblems.gif

People are fleeing Michigan and New York and moving to places like Texas and Georgia for a reason. Opportunity. The economic climate respects entrepreneurs, small businesses, and large corporations, alike. Let's hope those people who have moved out of those blue state disasters remember why they moved to a red state in the first place.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: No Income Tax, Please.

Posted by Will Franklin · 16 November 2009 09:39 AM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 697 -- Just Say No To An Income Tax.

Oregon Proof That An Income Tax Not Stable-

Texas is one of a handful of states without an income tax. Every several years or so, whenever things get a little rough (fiscally speaking), there are inevitable calls for an income tax to "smooth things out" and "provide a more consistent source of revenue" to bolster Texas' ability to pay for more government, and so forth.

In Oregon, they rely more heavily on an income tax, and they have an extremely high rate of volatility:

oregontaxvolatility.gif

Oregon has an extremely volatile tax structure—a major factor in its current fiscal crisis. With no statewide sales tax and a strict, voter-imposed cap on local property taxes, the Beaver State leans heavily on corporate and personal income tax revenues instead. But those revenues are closely tied to shifts in the economy. When Oregon’s coffers took a 19 percent hit from 2008 levels earlier this year, lawmakers raised corporate and personal income tax rates. Oregon’s top personal income tax rate, 11 percent, now is tied with Hawaii for highest in the nation.

We don't need an income tax in Texas.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Top Performing Cities In America.

Posted by Will Franklin · 13 November 2009 09:21 AM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 696 -- Top Performing Cities In America.

Texas Leads For 2009-

No part of America is entirely recession-proof, but it is clearly hitting some areas harder than others. The recession came later to states like Texas, and it looks to be a more shallow recession in Texas, as well:

bestperformingcities.gif
The Lone Star State claimed four of the top five spots, including number one, and nine of the top 16 spots.

Ideas matter.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Regulation.

Posted by Will Franklin · 12 November 2009 08:49 AM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 695 -- Regulation.

Lack Of Regulation Not To Blame-

One media theme that popped up last year during the financial mess was that deregulation had let wild west bandits run wild, and it was the lack of regulatory oversight that caused the need for bailouts and new regulatory schemes. In reality, regulatory budgets for the federal government have increased substantially over the years:

federalregulatorybudgets.gif
While spending has generally increased over time, the rate of growth has varied depending on the priorities of elected officials in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. For example, regulatory expenditures declined in the early years of the Reagan administration, and again in 1996 during the Clinton administration, reflecting a desire to move toward deregulation and to downsize government spending and intervention in the economy and in Americans’ lives.

....

Between 2000 and 2010, real-term budgets devoted to regulatory agencies increased significantly. The FY 2010 budget calls for expenditures that are 76.1 percent higher than in 2000—an increase in real spending on regulatory activities of $19.4 billion between 2000 and 2010. The budgets of agencies administering social regulations grew by 82.8 percent, and those involved in economic regulation grew by 44.2 percent in real terms over that period.

On average, the Regulators’ Budget has grown a little more than 6.2 percent per year since 2000. Double-digit increases in fiscal years 2002, 2003, and 2009 (16.4, 24.3, and 13 percent respectively) drive the large average and reflect the response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the response to the current economic crisis.

The financial meltdown of 2008 didn't happen for lack of regulatory bureaucracy. More bureaucracy likely won't be the answer.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Hope & Change.

Posted by Will Franklin · 11 November 2009 10:26 AM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 694 -- Hope & Change.

Wildly Bigger Deficits-

A reader sends along this graphic:

hopeandchange.gif

Hope. Change.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Cap & Trade.

Posted by Will Franklin · 10 November 2009 09:32 AM · Comments (0)

Voters Now Rejecting Obama.

The Club For Growth links to a poll showing that Virginia and New Jersey voters were influenced by Obama and did cast their votes to send him a message:

obamapartoftheirvoteinnjandva.gif

Even among those who voted for Obama in 2008, 47% in New Jersey and 46% in Virginia said their vote was intended to a message to him. 76% of Independents in Virginia and 63% of Independents in New Jersey say their vote was intended to send a message to Obama. 81% of voters over 55 in Virginia say their vote was meant to be a message to Obama.

Earth to Obama: your left-wing overreach is backfiring. Earth to Democrats who managed to win in "red states" and "red counties" and "red Congressional districts" in 2006 and 2008: hitching your political fortunes to Obama is not smart.

Posted by Will Franklin · 9 November 2009 11:06 AM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 693 -- Cap & Trade A Massive New Tax On People Making Under $250,000.

Obama Breaking More Promises-

Obama moved the goalposts a couple of times during the campaign, but he said that he would cut taxes for people making under certain levels-- sometimes it was $250,000, sometimes it was lower.

Cap and trade is a major energy tax, and it will harm average middle-class families, not just big mean oil companies:

waxmanmarkeycapandtrade.gif
...consumer prices for electricity, natural gas, and home heating oil increase significantly between 2015 and 2035. Indeed, by 2035, the total energy bill for a family of four is $1,200 higher than it would be otherwise. Between 2012 and 2035, the total increase in expenditure on energy is nearly $20,000. This increase occurs not only after adjusting for inflation, but also after households have adjusted as well as possible to the higher energy prices.

While I am sure certain industries and certain corporations and small businesses would find a way to cope and even flourish under this convoluted scheme, these ideas would take their toll on energy-producing states like Texas. I don't think it is unreasonable to assume that cap and trade would accelerate the move of a lot of American industry overseas.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Obama's Decline.

Posted by Will Franklin · 9 November 2009 09:16 AM · Comments (16)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 692 -- Obama's Decline.

As More Consider Obama Liberal, Fewer Approve-

Obama is far from moderate, and the reality of his far-left agenda is sinking in with voters. Obama ran a campaign based on letting people project their own hopes onto him. When he actually began to govern, his numbers began their fall:

rejectingliberalism.gif

America felt they had elected a moderate who would cut taxes, clean up the way Washington does business, and win the war in Afghanistan. Instead, we have a dithering, tax-hiking, Chicago-style machine politician who is trying to ram socialized health care and other terrible ideas down our throats.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Versus California.

Posted by Will Franklin · 6 November 2009 02:51 PM · Comments (4)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 691 -- Texas Versus California.

Two Models, Tested. Now The Results-

The government of California spends a lot more per capita than the government of Texas:

californiaversustexasspending.gif
Americans paid an average of $4,001 per person in state and local taxes. But Californians paid $4,517 per person, well above that national average, while Texans paid $3,235.

....

California had total revenues of $11,160 per capita, more than every state but Alaska, Wyoming, and New York, while Texas placed a distant 44th on this scale, with revenues of all governmental entities totaling $7,558 per person.

What might interest Tiebout is that while California and Texas are comparable in terms of sheer numbers, their demographic paths are diverging. Before 1990, both states grew much faster than the rest of the country. Since then, only Texas has continued to do so. While its share of the nation’s population has steadily increased, from 6.8 percent in 1990 to 7.9 percent in 2007, California’s has barely budged, from 12 percent to 12.1 percent.

....

State and local government expenditures as a whole were 46.8 percent higher in California than in Texas in 2005–06—$10,070 per person compared with $6,858. And Texas not only spends its citizens’ dollars more effectively; it emphasizes priorities that are more broadly beneficial. In 2005–06, per-capita spending on transportation was 5.9 percent lower in California than in Texas, and highway expenditures in particular were 9.5 percent lower, a discovery both plausible and infuriating to any Los Angeles commuter losing the will to live while sitting in yet another freeway traffic jam. With tax revenues scarce and voters strongly opposed to surrendering more of their income, Texas officials devote a large share of their expenditures to basic services that benefit the most people. In California, by contrast, more and more spending consists of either transfer payments to government dependents (as in welfare, health, housing, and community development programs) or generous payments to government employees and contractors (reflected in administrative costs, pensions, and general expenditures).

It is noteworthy that the dire predictions about Texas falling into the ocean for lack of government funding on various programs are not coming true. Not even close. Texas flourishes, while California struggles. These were the choices the states made. They are reaping the fruits of their efforts.

While no state in America is perfect, competition makes us all better, and Texas is winning the battle of ideas over California.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Obama, Albatross.

Posted by Will Franklin · 5 November 2009 10:17 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 690 -- Obama, Albatross.

Analysis Of Tuesday's Election Results-

This speaks for itself:

monthly_approval_index_october_2009.jpg

And so does this:

monthly_total_approval_october_2009.jpg

Obama: albatross.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Targeting Red States.

Posted by Will Franklin · 4 November 2009 09:39 AM · Comments (1)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 689 -- Targeting Red States.

Red States Hit Harder Than Blue States By Obama's Proposals-

There are political fingerprints all over the Obama administration's CO2 plans:

redstateclimate.gif
Why any elected office holders in the hardest hit states - regardless of partisan affiliation - would consider being party to laws so onerous to their constituency may be puzzling to the average Joe. Politicians, however, know that after enacting onerous laws with one hand, they - and regulators abetting them - can accrue even more power by arranging special treatment of favored constituencies with the other.

Not all that surprising. To the winners go the spoils.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Our Clunker-Based Economy.

Posted by Will Franklin · 3 November 2009 10:47 AM · Comments (4)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 688 -- Our Clunker-Based Economy.

False Stimuli-

Edmunds crunched the numbers, and each clunker cost the federal government $24,000:

cashforclunkers.gif

Our entire economy right now seems like it is based on Cash for Clunkers, a temporary federal program that gave away "free" money so people would buy cars.

Now that the clunker program is over, will GDP growth continue?

Higher taxes and government takeovers of industry after industry are not helpful, to be sure. What is possibly even worse for the economy is all the uncertainty about what the Democrats may do with their large majorities.

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Previous Trivia Tidbit: Privatized Social Security.

Posted by Will Franklin · 2 November 2009 03:33 PM · Comments (0)