Friday, July 08, 2011
My open tabs have congregated, and are virtually begging for spiritual release. Here goes:
Glenn Reynolds reports that the private aviation industry is furious with Barack Obama:
While pundits and politicians haggle over whether alterations in the depreciation schedule of corporate jets will actually have an impact on the deficit, those in the general aviation trenches are furious.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPO) President Craig Fuller told The Daily Caller that Obama’s comments have cast a pall over the industry, causing many who were considering buying a plane to back away from making a purchase.
An Instapundit reader from Wichita thinks that President Obama is "clueless" when it comes to the aircraft industry:
Seems Obama is completely clueless on the aircraft industry…or his aides are. Here where I live in Wichita, KS the aircraft capital of the US we have over 44,000 employed in the aircraft industry in one city of 400,000.
Actually, I think Barack Obama knows exactly who he is bashing. Kansas has six -- count 'em, six -- electoral votes, and Obama didn't win them even when he was popular. He can enrage literally every Kansan and it will cost him exactly nothing.
Allah be damned, now we're going to get "Caylee's Law." Nearly as I can tell, laws named for dead kids are almost always ill-considered and turgid with unintended consequences.
The Obama legacy, in a reductionist video nutshell. His timing with gas prices really was unlucky, but it dovetails so poetically with his ridiculous pandering to the greenies.
Yes, Virginia, there has been no global warming since 1998.
Stop worrying and start sprinkling.
Is the problem revenue, or spending? Read the charts and decide for yourself.
Actually, we have a regulation problem. As cogent an argument as you are going to read for lowering the regulatory burden on business. The only problem with it is that a lot of job-crushing regulation is not federal, but state or local and far too petty for national attention. How much more economic activity would we have in New Jersey if, for example, liquor licenses and building permits were not so difficult to obtain?
A nice chart looking at the condition of the world's workers. The tax column is hideously wrong, unfortunately, for it excludes state income tax. My marginal income tax rate, for example, is about 41% (tax-effecting my New Jersey marginal rate).
Gross. There is only one state in the country with an obesity rate under 20% -- Colorado. C'mon people. Eat less, do more. Yes, you are burdened by your previously awesome but now dysfunctional calorie-conserving genes. We know that. But that is no excuse for driving your car everywhere and eating all the food they serve you at Applebee's.
There's conflicting accounts of what "progress" is being made on a debt deal.
Meanwhile unemployment is up and Obama will make some kind of statement at 10:30 this morning. Want to bet Obama's going to try put the blame for the unemployment uptick on the uncertainty that's been created by Boehner & Co's intransigence?
I'd bet that Obama took the Fisher-Ury negotiation class at Harvard Law. It emphasizes always having a BATNA - a Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. So what's Obama's BATNA?
I don't think that Boehner has a BATNA. What he's offered is no tax increases and a dollar-for-dollar increase in the debt limit paid for with spending cuts. Given that Obama needs at least $2 trillion increase in the debt limit, you can't make the numbers work without entitlement cuts.
I expect that Obama's BATNA is to blow through the debt limit as unconstitutional, as I've said before. I hope I'm wrong.
I read with interest J.E. Dyer's article, "We have a regulation problem, not a revenue problem". I am sympathetic to his point of view but I wonder if there is one area where regulation does not, as he puts it, "make it cost more to produce, transport, and sell." If the S.E.C. didn't pursue its anti-insider trading efforts, wouldn't trading be riskier, causing share prices and trading volumes to be lower. It seems to me that trading partners would therefore derive less value from trading. Could it be that the S.E.C.'s regulation assists in releasing economic value?
And Kansas six electoral votes come from four Republican House members, and two Republican Senators, with a Republican Governor who is actually making serious cuts and fiscal reforms in the state without all the screaming and howling you see in some other states. (well, *some* screaming and howling, but the serious people generally ignore them. We're good at ignoring nuts, that's why Phelps has to go out of state to get press). Yeah, I love Kansas :)
Hey California. Keep raising your taxes and regulations. It sends your businesses here. And they like it better.
Obama just got an intervention.
Obama had an early fan in Harvard Law Professor Larry Tribe. Tribe would probably be picked as our #1 Constitutional Law expert. He's leftist but also liberal in the classic sense. The Tea Party would find surprising common cause with him on many issues.
Tribe just wrote an op-ed in The New York Times --
A Ceiling We Can't Wish Away
-- to say that the President can't use a qualified sentence in the 14th Amendment to override the debt limit.
In this op-ed, Tribe said that Geithner supported the 14th Amendment "silver bullet" as a legal basis for blowing through the debt limit. But Treasury quite quickly officially denied it. There have been other indicators in the last few days that Obama was considering taking this fork in the road, as I've said here. Hence the need for the Tribe-Geither intervention.
This is momentous shit.
Boehner won't fold on raising taxes, because he can't. Nancy, Queen of Hearts, is holding the Democratic House caucus hostage on entitlement cuts. Once again, Harry Reid won't be able to deliver any kind of budget out of the Senate.
So what does Obama do? This will define his Presidency, more than anything else.
Had Obama's press conference on in background. As it ended and Obama walked out, a reporter asked "will we see you everyday?"
Obama wants to create the impression that he's fair and balanced and an honest broker. But what came out of today is that he won't agree to any extension past August 2, and that he won't agree to anything that doesn't have "revenue enhancements". He was careful to say nice things about Boehner, but had to acknowledge that Boehner may not have the votes for even a token amount of revenue enhancements.
Obama just made it harder for Boehner to seize the initiative by having the House pass something and then put it back to the Democratic-controlled Senate and Obama. Boehner might still do that anyway.
Obama pointed out that the revenue enhancements he wants wouldn't apply until 2013. But he wants an immediate extension of the payroll tax cut. I suspect that Obama's spending cuts are also heavily back-end loaded.
Here's the big problem: Even the $4 trillion "big deal" isn't a "big deal" if back-ended loaded, spread over a decade and subject to the whims of later Congresses. Not when we're running a permanent annual structural deficit of well over a trillion, where the USA is borrowing over 40% of what it spends.
Don't forget that (1) the official projections already assume that the Bush tax cuts lapse, (2) the White House budget already assumes greater than 4.0% growth for the foreseeable future, and (3) that we'd only need a small increase in general interest rates to wipe out the effect of even the "big deal".
This is really a fight over the size of government. Obama & Co want to negotiate after having raised the share of federal government to over 25% of GDP, when we can only afford 18% on a good day. It's unsustainable. Tim Geithner is starting to acknowledge this.
So the game of chicken continues. If I'm Boehner I pass my House bill and stop. If I'm Obama, I mail checks to seniors in late July and then when they bounce in early August, I blame Boehner ... and by extension all the Republican candidates. I still wouldn't rule out Obama using the 14th Amendment "silver bullet" to blow through the debt ceiling, despite what Larry Tribe thinks and Tim Geithner now says.