Saturday, December 04, 2010
They're all lining up dying to buy coal powered cars (the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf) because they get that miraculous 90+ mpg on that yucky energy........... oil.
I call these cars coal power because where do you think we get most of our electric from in this country. (Hint, your electrical outlet is not the answer).
IT COMES FROM COAL!
So if we compute the use of all fossil fuels to power one of these gems, exactly how efficient would they be compared to the anti-Christ of all fuels, OIL.
We now have an answer.........
As Auto Blog says of the rating: “It looks good.” Of course it looks good. But there’s a whole lot more to the story. Note that the MPG rating is MPG equivalent. The MSM has been dropping the “equivalent,” making it seem to consumers that the vehicle is far more efficient than it truly is. Which is the intent, of course.
The ratings for the Chevy Volt have just been released as well. From the Detroit Free Press:
There is not a single instance of the word “equivalent” in the entire article. Nor is there any mention of last year’s claim that the Volt gets 230 miles per gallon (that was a different fraudulent number, based on a separate fraudulent scheme).
The current “miles per gallon equivalent” is a fraud perpetrated to hide the true environmental cost of these cars. One gallon of gas does have about 33.5 kilowatt-hours of chemical potential (depending on blend, additives, etc). And about that much energy is needed to get the Leaf to go 99 miles, and the Volt to go 93. But here’s where the fraud is perpetrated: the electricity for those vehicles is being generated by mostly coal power plants that are only about 33% efficient (minus transmission losses and losses from charging). Coal plants are off-site power generators (whereas car engines are on-board) and are totally ignored in the EPA rating.
Let me illustrate by example how this scheme works, and why it’s such a fraud.
What a difference a year makes. Last year, UC traveled about 15,000 fans to Pittsburgh to stand in the freezing cold and celebrate their Big East championship.
This year, there was about 15,000 fans at a home game capped off by the Bearcat mascot being arrested for throwing snowballs and then pushing a security guard.
At 4-8, I'm glad the season's over. My friends comfort me by saying that the team will return almost all the starters next year. But if the starters all suck, why would I be happy about that?
To the side is the Bearcat getting the beat down by the cops.
I'd like to see him pare out California and New York like he does the Chinese provinces.
A panhandler enraged that a 63-year-old woman declined to give him money as she walked out a gas station here Friday morning, pulled out a steak knife and slashed her face, police said.
Scott O’Neal, 33, was arrested on felonious assault and aggravated robbery charges.
Police say that the woman had just stepped outside of the Thornton’s and was holding lottery tickets and cash when O’Neal approached her at the North Bend Road location at around 9:15 a.m.
“She politely turned him down, and he began attacking her,” said Lt. George Brown.Court records state he was trying to wrestle the money out of the woman’s hands as he was attacking her.
We don't have this crap in "Redville". First, people out here aren't so stupid as to buy lottery tickets. Second, they're not out in the street holding up money. Third, the cops harass these derelicts until they move to a place where people tolerate them....like "Progress" City.
Getting stabbed in the face?
Now that's "progressive"!
Friday, December 03, 2010
Here's yet another............
The U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected in November and the unemployment rate rose, dashing hopes that the recovery is gaining momentum.
How is that the feds have made it more expensive to hire employees in this country and everyone's surprised that employment lags despite what many say is a recovery?
I, for one, don't see this data as "unexpected". I believe you'll be more than able to expect bad results for some time..........
Camden City Council, as expected, voted Thursday to lay off almost 400 workers, half of them police officers and firefighters, to bridge a $26.5 million deficit.
That’s about a quarter of the city’s entire work force.
Five members of City Council voted unanimously to approve the layoff plan — two other members were absent. The cuts take effect in mid-January.Exactly how many city workers will be affected is still an open question, although nearly half the city’s police and a third of the firefighters are slated to go.
Making the nation's most dangerous city even more dangerous?
Now that's "progressive"!
It was one of the driving forces for me to get out of corporate America.
Apparently, I'm not alone.............
Almost everyone I know or meet, when asked, does not hesitate to assert that he or she hates meetings. There are a vast number of jokes about the wearisome and useless nature of meetings in business, in faculty boards and education, in government, and in nonprofit organizations.And that's why so few citizens wish to run for political office -- because they rightly recognize that the bulk of a politician's life is spent in meetings over the minutiae of how many parts per billion of ozone molecules can safely reside in a glass of water or lungful of air.
The jist of the article is that successful politicians love meetings. I would agree with the premise of this but for a different reason. See, your average politician loves meetings because 1) it means recess from actually doing something tangible 2) after a problem solving meeting ends with a solution being to have more meetings politicians get to slap each other on the back so they can pretend that something real was actually accomplished even though nothing was.
Look at UN meetings regarding Darfur. These clowns have been having meeting for years and yet somewhere no meeting has resulted in the parties actually stopping the starvation there.
So if Obama hates meetings. In my mind, it's because even the dimmest of bulbs understands that your average meeting is nothing more than a giant circle jerk.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Take student loans. If you owe the government money on a student loan, they will hound you FOREVER. Student loans can't be discharged in bankruptcy. The feds can seize any tax refund to apply against your student loan. In other words, you'd be better off borrowing money from Carmine, your neighborhood Youngstown pawn shop owner/"banker". See, if you default on a loan from Carmine, he'll send over his collectors, Big Nicky and Tony the Fish, to "talk" to you about your repayment plans.
Now, they may break a bone or two in the process but at least you have the ability to run away and start a new life in Lexington KY or Athens GA without too much fear of repercussion.
Try doing that with a student loan.
I note this as a backdrop in what is coming down the pike. Massive defaults on student loans...............
Over the last decade, private lenders, abetted by college financial aid offices, eagerly handed young people hundreds of thousands of dollars to earn bachelor's degrees. The student loan bubble may be about to burst.
In some respects, the student loan crisis looks remarkably like the subprime mortgage crisis. First, outstanding student loan debt has ballooned: It grew roughly four-fold in the last decade to $833 billion as of June — surpassing outstanding credit card debt for the first time.
Secondly, defaults have soared amid the difficult job market. In 2008, the most recent year for which data are available, nearly 3.4 million borrowers began repayment, and more than 238,000 defaulted on their loans. The number of loans that went into forbearance or deferment (when borrowers receive temporary relief from payments) rose to 22 percent in 2007, from 10 percent a decade earlier, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Over a 15-year period, default rates range from 20 percent for federal loans to 40 percent on loans to students who attend for-profit schools, The Chronicle found.
When are we going to have congressional hearing on the feds pushing loans on to students who had no ability to repay them?
Now we have prisoners getting refunds.......
A government investigator says nearly 50,000 prison inmates claimed more than $130 million in tax refunds this year without providing any wage information to the IRS.More.....
A report by the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration stops short of saying the refunds were fraudulently claimed. It does, however, say the Internal Revenue Service should investigate further.
The report, scheduled for release on Thursday, is the latest in a series of audits looking at prison inmates claiming tax credits and other government payments.
The report noted that the IRS identified nearly 250,000 fraudulent tax returns during the 2010 filing season — a 50 percent increase over 2009 — preventing $1.48 billion in fraudulent refunds.
The money quote........
"I mean, if we can't win that argument we might as well just fold up," he said. "These people are saying we are going to insist on tax cuts for the richest people in the country and we don't care if they are paid for, and we don't think it is a problem if it contributes to the deficit, but we are not going to vote to extend unemployment benefits to working people if they aren't paid for because they contribute to the deficit. I mean, what is wrong with that? How can it be more clear?"
Well Ted, there's no better example of the intellectual elitism than your quote above. Your language starts from the presumption that all money is the government's first and that the people need to show the government how they'll pay for stuff in order to have their own money back.
Years ago, I was at a tax conference where the head of the Ohio Department of Taxation got up and talked about how the state would be able to "afford" a lapse in what was supposed to be a temporary sales tax hike.
I challenged her first by getting her to acknowledge that her job with ODOT was to simply collect the tax not to deal with how those funds would be spent and second to get her to acknowledge the government will spend what the citizens decide to give it.
Somehow, I don't remember these people showing up to my office expressing concern about how I'll continue my business when my best client leaves or I have to reduce my prices because of competitive forces.
But hell maybe I'm not as smart as the Governor. The next time a client of mine wants to sell his business, I'll tell him "you can sell your business but how are you going to replace my loss in revenue?"
Veronique de Rugy on taxes..........
This chart by Mercatus Center Senior Research Fellow Veronique de Rugy shows the historical path of federal taxation as a percentage of GDP using the earliest records available from the Office of Management and Budget and top marginal tax rate data from the Tax Policy Center. From 1930 to 2010, tax revenue collection in the United States has never topped 20.9%, averaging 16.5% of GDP over these 80 years. This comes despite the drastic historical fluctuation in the rate of taxes on the wealthiest Americans. As we move toward debt reduction, it is critical to keep the long-term path of the United States in mind.
It's the spending stupid.....
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Last weekend, I was driving through a local park in the city and I noticed a plaque on a shelter house acknowledging the WPA.
Now we can debate the propriety of the WPA's, CCC's, et al, impact on the economy during the depression. But what we can't debate is that through many of those works, we still have functioning projects that have paid extended dividends to society well after their original construction.
Hoover Dam, the TVA, etc. are all projects that continue to provide value for their tax dollars.
Fast forward to the fifties and sixties where we have a great interstate highway system that provides Americans with prosperity via increased productivity. The space program provided all kinds of technological advances that have progressed to this day.
You can even move ahead to the 80's when Reagan's SDI ("Star Wars" to his haters) has paid dividends through the development of GPS systems and satellite & laser technology. You could argue that the development of those technologies is what fueled the tech boom of the '90's.
But as I was looking at that shelter house, I started to wonder. With all the trillions being spent by governments of all levels, what will be the recurring dividend to the public who had to dole out those trillions?
In other words, 30 years from now, we be able to say, "Wow! For 20 trillion dollars, we got.........."?
The fact is, this is what the masses are pissed about. We are effectively spending trillions of dollars for all kinds of shit and we have nothing to show for it. No damns, no nuclear facilities, no new transportation systems (that work). Hell, we don't even get a nice pyramid out of the deal.
In fact, here in Cincinnati there are at least four significant bridges/via ducts within the city that commuters get to watch crumble before their very eyes and there's yet no plan to replace these.
There is absolutely no economic multiplier effect if all we're doing is taking money from person X, borrowing from country Y, and giving it to person Z.
And it would be one thing if we could say that for 4 trillion dollars we wiped out poverty, or for $100 billion we reduced crime, or we've spent trillions on education and now our kids are the smartest in the world. But we've spent money on these things with absolutely no visible and/or tangible results. In fact, I would offer that the spending of these funds have been counter productive.
I went to this site to check the state of government spending since 1980. Since 1980, government spending at all levels has an inflation rate of 5.7% (the rate of growth is about the same for federal spending alone). When is the last time you got a 5.7% raise?
It doesn't take an awesome mathematician to figure out that if wages are only growing at 1-2% a year but government grows at 5.5-6% per year there will be a breaking point at some point in time.
And despite all that spending, in the end, we'll have nothing to show for it.
So when the Obamunists keep saying the government can't afford tax cuts for families over $250k a year (forget for a moment the assumption that it's the government's first), I have to ask "to do what?"
Thousands of fraudulent free rides have been taken on Chicago's mass-transit system by people using passes issued to now-deceased senior citizens, officials said Monday.
The Regional Transportation Authority found that at least 164 senior free-ride cards remained in use after the person to whom the card was issued had died. One card alone racked up as many as 1,400 free trips, officials said.
An RTA audit turned up about 25,000 fraudulent free rides in 2009, costing the transit agencies about $50,000, said Grace Gallucci, RTA deputy executive director.
Although this is a relatively small amount of revenue and ridership, RTA officials fear more widespread abuse of the free-rides program is taking place.
There is concern and worry in New Jersey’s largest city.
Newark residents were wondering Tuesday if their streets were safe after 14 percent of the city’s police officers were laid off, CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman reports.
The mayor of Newark and his police director said even with 167 officers laid off, people will not notice a difference on the street."Newark residents should know that tonight. We will have virtually the same amount of people, on patrol. As we had last night. And the night before,” Mayor Cory Booker said.
If that's the case, why were these people on payroll in the first place?
First, let me explain how unemployment works. Employers pay into a state insurance funds and the rate varies based on the company's history.
When a worker gets laid off, they can collect up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits through that fund.
The feds have a backup fund (employers also pay into) that they can use to extend the base from 26 weeks to 39. The states are required to share in the costs of those extensions.
The feds have passed various extensions to now 73 weeks giving the unemployed 99 weeks of benefits.
Or have they?
What people don't know is that only 12 states have decided to participate in the extra benefit program.
Federal jobless payments, which last up to 73 weeks, kick in after the state-funded 26 weeks of coverage expire. These federal benefits are divided into four tiers of emergency unemployment compensation, which last between six and 20 weeks, followed by up to five months of extended benefits. The jobless must apply each time they move into a new tier.
Unemployed Americans who've just exhausted their state benefits are already blocked from entering the federal system in most states. They would have had to file their initial federal claim by this past weekend.
Those already in a federal emergency benefits system will not be able to move to the next tier after this coming weekend. However, they can continue to collect the benefits available in their current level. So those who just entered a tier could continue receiving benefits for awhile, but those who are near the end of their tier will see payments dry up sooner.
Many of the jobless who are in the last stage of the federal safety net -- the up to five months of extended benefits -- will stop getting checks this month no matter when they started this level. That's because the federal government will stop fully funding this stage after Nov. 30.
Not every state offers federal extended benefits, because they were required to split the costs of the program with the federal government. Prior to last year, only 12 states provided this support, depending on their state unemployment rate.
But of course, if republicans won't pass an extension it means that they're hating on the poor working guy. Never mind, that if you happen to live in one of 38 states, your state government is hating on you too.........
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
As a libertarian, I'm against most governmental license and permit programs because they usually do nothing but bar entrants into any particular field.
For instance, maybe my only asset is a perfectly well running auto but I can't use it for a transportation service without obtaining a taxi license, which often are limited by most cities; hence driving up the cost.
However, as a tax preparer, you hear stories about the flat out fraud that is going on in the tax preparation business. As a result of this fraud, the IRS has instituted a series of changes to rid the profession of fraud and incompetence.
One of the changes, is the requirement that all paid preparers get a PTIN. The American Thinker with the story..........
Reports are circulating that the IRS is amping up regulation of tax preparers, with sinister possibilities being raised.Here's the deal: since just about forever the IRS has required preparers to have their own social security numbers on the returns. In the late 90's, when identity theft started becoming prevalent, preparers complained to the IRS that our numbers were becoming common knowledge, since the returns were being used to get loans and all that, and who knew where the SSN's would go from there.So, in 1998, the IRS provided a different option -- those preparers who wanted to could obtain from the IRS a new preparer identification number that they could use instead of their SSN's. Some got the numbers, some did not, and the IRS did not care either way.Now, under the new law, everybody has to get and use a PIN.
I received a PTIN back around 2004. At the time, all you did was fill out an application and the service issued the number that a preparer could use in lieu of their social security number.
I just completed the application for the revised law and you are required to have all of your tax returns filed and taxes paid, not have a felony in the past ten years, and have some level of tax education (which I have as a CPA).
All of these seem to be modest requirements so that the public can trust the tax prep business.
But all this stuff eludes the basic question. How is it that the business has become polluted with so many derelicts?
And like most questions in life, if you answer "money" you'll be right 95% of the time.
See the dirty little secret in the tax prep business is that if there were no Earned Income Credit, the felons would look somewhere else to commit their crime.
For instance, if you are a single mom with two kids and earn $15,000, you can expect a tax refund of around $7,000 from the earned income credit and refundable child credit. (see a copy of a dummy return above).
Since most of these people don't have the skills to do these returns themselves, they show up at your local neighborhood Jackson Hewitt or Liberty Tax Service and pay upwards of $500 for tax preparation and rapid refunds. Go into your average bad neighborhood and you'll see these places right next to the local carryout, bodega or pawn shop. They're like the only business profiting in the 'hood.
And of course when someone walks out of one of those shops with $6,000 cash in hand, it doesn't take long before people come up with ways to defraud the system and for tax preparers to become complicit in the process.
So the IRS can start cracking down on preparers, it just gives guys like me another reason to increase my fees. Or congress can take the money out of the system and the system will clean itself up.
So you can guess what's really going to happen.
President Obama is often blamed for not reaching out to Republicans. In truth, as Monday morning's announcement that Obama wants to cut the pay of all federal employees illustrates, he has the opposite problem. Obama frequently proposes essentially Republican policies, which makes it impossible for him to use those ideas to buy Republican votes for bipartisan legislation.
This is what cracks me up. Only in liberal land is a "freeze" a "cut".
If you want to know why tea partiers a grabbing traction, it's because they know the difference and are tired of this kind of nonsense.
Monday, November 29, 2010
For instance, why would unions support moratoriums on gulf oil drilling when more of those job means more for their rank and file?
Or immigration policy, where illegals undercut the wages of working union members?
I've come to the realization that union leadership has been infiltrated with communists. If you don't believe me then watch this.............
By the way, isn't it kind of funny that the people who view the west as a bigger threat to the world than your garden variety communist country are never willing to pull this stunt on, say Vladamir Putin?
Maybe it's because they don't like the prospects of drinking radioactive milkshakes
Sunday, November 28, 2010
One of the largest union-administered health-insurance funds in New York is dropping coverage for the children of more than 30,000 low-wage home attendants, union officials said. The union blamed financial problems it said were caused by the state’s health department and new national health-insurance requirements.
The fund is administered by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. Union officials said the state compelled the fund to start buying coverage from a third party, which increased premiums by 60%. State health officials denied forcing the union fund to make the switch, saying the fund had been struggling financially even before the switch to third-party coverage.The fund informed its members late last month that their dependents will no longer be covered as of Jan. 1, 2011. Currently about 6,000 children are covered by the benefit fund, some until age 23.
More bad news out of Michigan: Facing a $3 million deficit on its $18 million budget, the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck is seeking permission to file bankruptcy. Other towns may not be far behind.
Hamtramck suffers from high unemployment and falling income, but its budget problems go deeper than the recession. The town began running million-dollar deficits 10 years ago due to union contracts that would make Greeks blush. City workers were entitled to annual wage increases at four times the inflation rate and eight paid weeks of vacation each year. That’s in addition to 15 paid sick days, three paid emergency leave days, three paid personal days and one paid birthday.
In 2000 the state appointed an Emergency Financial Manager who in five years managed to balance the budget by cutting the city work force, privatizing services and selling bonds. He got the unions to renegotiate some benefits by promising retirement service credits and promotions, but that set the city up for future pension woes.
Fast forward and the city again teeters toward bankruptcy. Workers still receive five weeks paid vacation and their health plans have no co-pays or deductibles. City health costs have risen nearly 40% this year and are expected to shoot up another 40% next year. Pension costs have climbed 36% in a year. . . . While many cities blame their deficits on the recession, their insolvency is the natural result of politically dominant public unions. By allowing workers to collectively bargain, states and cities have ceded control of the public purse to workers whose main interest is enlarging government. Hamtramck is a harbinger of bankruptcies to come, and a case study in why politicians from FDR to Fiorello LaGuardia opposed the creation of government employee unions.
1) My Bearcats have been embarrassing this year. While I didn't expect a perfect season this year, I did expect the cats to be bowl eligible. I guess if Texas can get bowl eligible, I shouldn't be too upset.
2) The Big MAC ended in a three way tie for first. No word from Gordon Gee if that "murderer's row" of Minnesota, Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern, Illinois will move to the Little MAC in the hopes of winning a title.
3) Miami fires Randy Shannon. I guess Donna Shalala, that poster child for college football integrity, decided that life was better in Coral Gables when Miami was a pack of thugs winning championships.
4) Did you see this play? I don't believe I've ever seen a better play combining smarts and athletic ability
It is hard to believe, as the holidays approach yet again amid economic hard times, but Congress looks as if it may let federal unemployment benefits lapse for the fourth time this year.
Lame duck lawmakers will have only one day when they return to work on Monday to renew the expiring benefits. If they don’t, two million people will be cut off in December alone. This lack of regard for working Americans is shocking. Last summer, benefits were blocked for 51 days, as senators in both parties focused on preserving tax breaks for wealthy money managers and other affluent constituents.
This time, tax cuts for the rich are bound to drive and distort the debate again. Republicans and Democrats will almost certainly link the renewal of jobless benefits to an extension of the high-end Bush-era tax cuts. That would be a travesty. There is no good argument for letting jobless benefits expire, or for extending those cuts.
Last year, I had 33 clients who reported unemployment benefits on their tax return.
I went back to those 33 client's and evaluated their situations this way.
1) 14 clients had a spouse who continued to maintain their current salary.
2) 8 are clients in their late 50's early 60's who are basically taking an extended vacation until they retire or the benefits run out, which ever come first.
3) 3 are single wage earners who, although not working, have savings to support them while they're out of work.
4) 3 are people who are working "under the table" while claiming their unemployment.
5) 5 are people who are out of work with little savings and few job prospects.
So while I realize that my clientele is not a statistical analysis of the unemployed as a whole, I would be surprised that more than 25% of the people on unemployment would have no options without that income.
Here's what I don't get. Where was the outcry from the NY Times for the unemployed worker who lost his job in, say, 2006? When his 26 weeks were up, it was ball game.
Where's the fairness to that guy?
Seriously, have you ever seen a liberal's home with one of those no gun signs posted on their doors?
In 2005, leaders in Portland, Oregon, angry at the Bush administration's conduct of the war on terror, voted not to allow city law enforcement officers to participate in a key anti-terror initiative, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. On Friday, that task force helped prevent what could have been a horrific terrorist attack in Portland. Now city officials say they might re-think their participation in the task force -- because Barack Obama is in the White House.