Fiscal Cliffhanger: Why Not Romney’s Plan?

During the campaign Mitt Romney proposed low tax rates for the wealthy and said he would pay for it with deduction limits (that he never specified). President Obama could always add the specifics, severely limiting deductions while abandoning his pledge to raise rates — and gain more tax revenue than under his own plan.

Which is exactly what some Democrats are now telegraphing they might do.

House Speaker John Boehner, if he goes along, gets to tell his wing nuts that he protected their holy grail of low tax rates. Obama can assure his base the rich are paying more, even if he did cave on promising to end Bush tax cuts.

Both sides get to look bipartisan with a fiscal deal in time for the holidays, setting broad outlines for deduction limits while putting off the details until next year when the spotlight has moved on.

If that happens, give Romney a bit of credit.

125 thoughts on “Fiscal Cliffhanger: Why Not Romney’s Plan?”

  1. wooohooo and oh boy — what a great soap opera
    and so revealing about the military — they have never made it out of the 1950’s

    I believe in one statement Rmoney suggested a cap of $25,000 for deductions – I don’t know what income range that is for…

  2. Republican/conservatives don’t even do soul searching very well. They know who they have turned off, but haven’t the slightest idea why. It is still the messaging as far as they are concerned.

    A quick look at republican sponsored, and republican supported ballot initiatives around the country might offer them a hint.Ballot initiatives are not about the message they reflect policy. In many instances voters said no, we don’t like your policy.

    They can re-frame the message until Hell freezes over,but until they change the policy they will be in the wilderness and deservedly so.

    Hint to republicans,not all voters are low information voters, most of us can and do read.

  3. So, now Gen Allen is poised to join Gen Petraeus in timeout. Years ago when somebody got in such trouble, the troops in the barracks, commiserating, would say, “Man, I hope that was some good pussy.”

  4. What do you think the booking people are thinking when they have Nudie and Trudy Juliannie on to talk about adultry

    Democrats need to continue to be aggressive on the part of Obamarama’s proposals. Donna Brazile was great — and that fat f–k gooper she was on with Alex Castaway was rude and tried to talk over her and he was patronizing in his tone. A lesson learned for Republicans would be to stop treating everyone who disagrees with them like the village idiot (after all Shrub was a Republican) and to not patronize women in any way

  5. Flatus,

    Oddly enough that was my first thought as well. 😉

    Or as a wise man once said, “the screwing he got, wasn’t worth the screwing he took.”

  6. What do you think the booking people are thinking when they have Nudie and Trudy Juliannie on to talk about adultry

    kgc, their job is to book the best available expert in the field.

  7. “Or as a wise man once said, “the screwing he got, wasn’t worth the screwing he took.”

    … if you change the word ‘he’ in there to ‘they’, you could say that about the whole country.

  8. give Romney a bit of credit

    boss, isn’t that what they tried to do when they cobbled together the healthcare act?

    i liked the prez’s idea to immediately pass what both sides agree on for the less than $250,000 folks.

  9. Maybe Allen and Petraeus can blame their bad behavior on gay marriage 😆

  10. … if you change the word ‘he’ in there to ‘they’, you could say that about the whole country.


    Noted, and agree. 😉

  11. What do you think the booking people are thinking when they have Nudie and Trudy Juliannie on to talk about adultry


    That is a conversation for ‘Adults’
    Nudie and Julie do not qualify. 😉

  12. Today’s Journal has a feature article on “The New Rules of Flirting”. It kind of ties in with all of the testosterone related stuff that we’ve been talking about for the past several days.

    I would link it but the links get screwed-up because I’m a subscriber. The author’s name is Elizabeth Bernstein.

  13. Capping income tax deductions is fine. But, there’s a related problem, defining what is and what isn’t income. All those adjustments to income (that I love) before I even start thinking about deductions. Turns out that I almost always do better taking the standard deduction because we don’t have a mortgage.

    The real secret is keeping something from being counted as income to start with; that takes planning.

  14. People didn’t vote for Obama so he could, once again, let the conservative “blue dog” Democrats set the agenda.

    They were the ones who, after receiving tons of money from insurance industry lobbyists, killed the public option in Obamacare.

    Doesn’t this guy ever learn?

  15. The “rational” Newt was on Morning Joe.

    He uttered some of the most extreme right wing rhetoric of the campaign and here he is, offering his “analysis” of what the GOP need to do now.

    My advice would be, “Stop listening to Newt.”

  16. Nash, where does the Public Option rank in comparison with Mutually Assured Fiscal Destruction, to occur, absent a working consensus, by the end of the year?

  17. Flatus

    I don’t think that’s new behavior. I read the flirting article and as someone who was once described as a “world class flirt” — it’s a very old behavior.

    I do think there is a huge difference between flirting for fun and flirting with intent. I also think it’s pretty easy to tell the difference. I think of it as friendly banter or teasing without sexual intent.

  18. do both ladies in question as well as the ret’d gen still have high security clearance?

  19. memorable cliff scenes:

    butch cassidy and sundance kid
    thelma and louise
    smokey and the bandit
    boner and obama

  20. Republicans have to accept the fact that Americans voted for President Obama because he wasn’t a Republican.
    That tidy fact, however, won’t stop the gridlock that has plagued our government. And at this point, the good of the nation (and us) must be top priority.
    Whatever the President can patch together with Speaker Boehner to stop the fiscal calamity at year’s end should be encouraged. Sometimes you have to give a little to get a lot. Or give a lot to gain a lot.
    I wish the government would spend big. Go all FDR New Deal on us. But I’m a realist, and that isn’t going to happen, unless we turn out most of the government we have already elected.
    Lame duck Politicians can do many things: sit back and enjoy the ride, stay under the radar. Or they can go all out, what the hell, push whatever agenda they want. Or they can reflect on how they want to be remembered in history, and the hearts of their countrymen.
    Our government has been ugly, shameful and downright embarrassing these past few years. The key word is “Our”. We elected Our Representatives. No one, as far as I know, had a gun to their head when they filled out their ballot. These people are the best we have right now, and the least we can do is support them when they try to put rancor aside.
    Sometimes a little encouragement can lead to better things. We’re in this together. Let’s hope the election made that message loud and clear to everyone.

  21. Katherine,

    I think that is the impression ascribed to most women that Ms Bernstein also adopts in her article.

    In the career military environment, flirting between the ranks is strongly discouraged. These old fools were probably as vulnerable as high school kids, and responded with ill-suppressed testosterone.

  22. Once in a hundred years the Lemmings come
    Westward, in search of food, over the snow;
    Westward until the salt sea drowns them dumb;
    Westward, till all are drowned, those Lemmings go.
    Once, it is thought, there was a westward land
    Now drowned where there was food for those starved things,
    And memory of the place has burnt its brand
    In the little brains of all the Lemming Kings.
    Perhaps, long since, there was a land beyond
    Westward from death, some city, some calm place
    Where one could taste God’s quiet and be fond
    With the little beauty of a human face;
    But now the land is drowned. Yet we still press
    Westward, in search, to death, to nothingness.

    john masefield

  23. It’s fun to watch the right wing try to figure out what to do with the Patreus story.

    They want to argue that: (1) there was a “cover-up” of CIA mishandling of Banghazi (and this is Obama’s fault); and (2) that news of the FBI’s Patreus affair investigation was suppressed until the election was over. (And if all of this had come out, Romney would have won!)

    Unfortunately the mainstream news media is giving this story extensive coverage and juicy new details keep coming out which don’t fit into the right wing story-line. (Damn!)

    There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned “government sex scandal” to excite advertisers. Viewers who wouldn’t listen to one minute of coverage about the “fiscal cliff” will channel surf to find the latest dirt on the general and the reality-show cast of characters who surround him. (Oh well. Let’s not lose sight of what’s really important: selling Viagra, laxatives, and adult diapers.)

  24. Viagra, laxatives, and adult diapers.

    (What a senior citizen needs for a wild weekend in Vegas.)

  25. I just heard someone describe our current environment perfectly the culture of mockery

  26. What does a lemming have but deep love
    Among his lemming clan? And how
    Happy they are, falling from above
    Right next to their family and friends
    They run and they jump
    In one big fat clump
    Falling to their scary, watery death
    Not a fun plunge, but perhaps we can learn
    To love like lemmings
    Until we have nothing left

    john marsh

  27. flatus:

    I agree. The fiscal cliff is more important that the public option, if you already have health insurance. If you don’t, the public option is a VERY big deal.

    re: the fiscal cliff – I’m afraid Obama will weaken and cave into another right wing coalition of blue dog Democrats and Republicans. They’ll make the wealthy pay a little more, and then hammer the middle class. Most of the “tax deductions” they’ll cut are the middle class ones.

    Obama is no progressive. He just wants to make a deal and take credit for it, no matter how bad a deal it is.

    The conservatives know this. So do progressives, although they keep thinking, “Maybe THIS TIME he’ll be tough in negotiations.”

  28. patd: Lemmings don’t actually jump off of cliffs.

    From wikipedia…

    The misconception of lemming “mass suicide” is long-standing and has been popularized by a number of factors. In 1955, Disney Studio illustrator Carl Barks drew an Uncle Scrooge adventure comic with the title “The Lemming with the Locket”. This comic, which was inspired by a 1953 American Mercury article, showed massive numbers of lemmings jumping over Norwegian cliffs. Even more influential was the 1958 Disney film White Wilderness, which won an Academy Award for Documentary Feature, in which staged footage was shown with lemmings jumping into certain death after faked scenes of mass migration. A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary, Cruel Camera, found the lemmings used for White Wilderness were flown from Hudson Bay to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where they did not jump off the cliff, but were in fact launched off the cliff using a turntable.

  29. It really doesn’t matter which plan they choose. They can either act or not act it won’t a bit of difference now.

    The only possible salvation that we have is for a huge increase in growth. Neither the fiscal cliff or any plan being discussed now remotely addresses growth.

    In fact they all use growth assumptions that are ridiculously optimistic. We have almost not chance of substantial growth in our domestic markets and our export prospects are looking increasingly dim. Europe (meltdown), Japan (recession), China (weak to anemic).

    This fiscal debate will look active in the short term but I see the job market shrinking again and the 47% will soon be the majority. Not a pretty picture.

  30. I don’t care what they do to tax rates or how they do it as long as Grover Norquist gets the finger in the process and at least part of the ‘pugns who put politics over country and signed that airhead pledge go back on their pledge. From a fairness perspective, I agree that no tax rates for folks who make less than $250K (which I here is the top 2% threshold) should increase. I’m looking for a clear table showing the impact of the $25K cap on deductions on tax payers in different income groups before I decide whether I think it’s a workable idea.

    Flatus, IMHO. no “dalliance” is that good. It’s why men (and women I assume)were given vivid imaginations and why porn is a multi billion dollar industry. Unfortunately, many men (and women I assume)weren’t given the insight to know that imagination and reality do not often coincide.

    As far as putting Newt on the talkers, it’s an unfortunate coincidence that the Petraeus matter is happening as his new book tour is kicking off. Of course he can certainly talk to how infidelity can bring down a career if it becomes public – and can speak about lack of judgment, abuse of power, basic dishonesty and any number of other subjects related to human foibles, many of which he has perfected.

  31. Lemmings don’t actually jump off of cliffs


    nash, what next? there is no santa? no compassionate conservatives? bullwinkle is really a brown cow with a big nose? am so depressed i might as well jump off the f cliff…

  32. Nash, there is no stronger advocate for the Public Option than me. Indeed, I believe our country’s medical delivery will be abysmally unfair until we adopt a national system with the inherent efficiencies such as those experienced in the Medicare/TRICARE-for-Life system that provides lifelong care to military retirees.

  33. Flatus,

    How many Americans are already on the Public Option? 1 in 5 are on Medicaid. How many are on Medicare? How many on VA?

    No data and no time to research but My guess is that the number is close to the same 47% that don’t pay income tax.

    My guess is that those of us that actually pay for private healthcare will soon be in the minority if we aren’t already.

  34. On link they are not discussing the Petraeus sex scandal they are discussing the BBC sex scandal instead

  35. jax, that’s (11:04) a dead-on assessment IMHO. It’s also about the first acknowledgement from a right leaning pundit (aren’t we all pundits?) that the Reps (and Dems) are not addressing growth with their tax or fiscal policies. Yes, absent getting rid of the structural public debt to us behind that SS, MCr & MCd (and yes I know that MC & SS are funded on a current basis, with the MC trust fund making up the difference between benefits paid and revenues collected – at least in theory) – and that is not going to happen – the revenue that will be necessary to service that debt and to pay down on the existing debt is only going to come from revenues generated by an expansion of the economy. Doing that in this global economic climate is not easy if it’s possible at all. Regardless of who sits in the Oval office, it ain’t gonna happen quickly

  36. Jax, I’m bothered by the concept that an older person must spend herself into destitution before becoming eligible for Medicaid. The spending is presumably on nursing home care or Medicare deductibles. Often, the individual’s family tries desperately to meet all her expenses before having her accept public assistance.

    I’m concerned about the effects of this policy on succeeding generations of a family, both financially and in the sense that she worked all her life for us and in the end, she is able to leave us nothing. It leaves a terrible message. That’s part of the hell of being part of the 47-percent.

  37. Love the Jindal remarks – which will fall on deaf ears. There are too many extreme positions that ‘cants take to avoid continuing to be the stupid party. They can only hope that the voters go stupid with them.

  38. From Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire:
    “Woman Runs Over Her Husband for Not Voting
    A pregnant Arizona woman was arrested after allegedly running over her husband with her SUV after learning he did not vote in last week’s election, Fox News reports.

    Police say Holly Solomon was enraged when she discovered her husband Daniel did not vote because she believes President Obama’s re-election will bring hardship to their family.”

    It’s a ripper family values attempted murder !

  39. Re: being destitute to receive benefits —

    until the half of America that thinks the poor have a safety net and would prefer the whims of social services to making their own decisions get a clue this will not change

  40. IxC,

    I concede that the great majority of rippers supported sick willard despite the fact that he’s a Libbrul from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts and a Mormon to boot. This demonstrated that the marching morongs will follow any neo-conmunist.

    That being the case, they’d probably follow r.p.

    But, would the neo-cons follow r.p. with the idea that they’d kill him just after the Inauguration so that the neo-conmunist running mate could immediately take over ?

    But, yes, I guess the rippers would all follow r.p., even if several carried daggers in their togas.

  41. THH, xrep.

    (Is “THH” catching on, yet? No? Fine, then; be that way, humanity.)

  42. Katherine,
    Stock transfer taxes often don’t work well. Already, well-connected people are able to trade shares at ridiculously low cost/share prices as compared to the likes us. Or they do like I used to do, trade options for massive numbers of shares while never touching the shares.

    In other words, I think it will be those doing okay who are paying the transfer tax, not the uber-okay.

  43. It is starting to look like the FBI is investigating the military brass’s groupies. It seems everybody has a groupie except me. I always heard about the phenomenon in regard to rock stars. But I found out that lots of different groups have their groupies. When I worked as a beer vendor we used to hang out after the game at the same bar that the umpires did. Umpires have groupies, who would have thunk. Cops bars have women who hang out trying to pickup a cop for the night. I suspect there are bars where service men hang out and they find women showing up because the are attracted to them.
    So I guess it should be no surprise that Generals have their own groupies too.

    One would think that there are enough groupie stories and problems with them that top ranking ambitious types would steer way clear of them…….


  44. THH ?

    Targetoid Hemosiderotic Hemangioma, Thomas Henry Huxley, Topical Hepatic Hypothermia; Tetrahydroharmine?

  45. My experience with senior officers is that most of them are really cheap—I can’t imagine any woman hanging around them hoping for gold-plated treatment; no expense account and mama’s going to balance the checkbook every month.

  46. Flatus

    that makes them a prime target for groupies. Groupies are into adoration and will pay their own way. If you just let them bask in the light of your greatness.

  47. Medical expenses are one of the main reasons to oppose the cap on deductions.
    As My mother found out you can round up 70-80 thousand dollars in medical expense with out even trying.

  48. So, if you want growth how do you get it? Lowering taxes haven’t worked and easy money policy is only working in a limited way. In fact there is plenty of proof that both helped contribute to the bubble in housing, that is a major cause of our current situation.


  49. Groupies. When I went to the AF Senior NCO Academy at Montgomery AL back in ’79 one of my classmates, who was a regular at the NCO club, ended up with a groupie almost immediately. He was a senior master sgt with more than 20-years in the service, was part of the crew of AF-One, had all the security tickets, and was married.

    Go figure.

  50. Then there is my great uncle, Thomas Henry Hyde. But I don’t think His Lordship was referring to my great uncle, though they do remind me of each other in a rascally trickster sort of way.


  51. On last night’s episode of The Daily Show, after recapping former CIA director David Petraeus’s “spyfall” from grace and expressing disappointment at the scandal’s lack of, well, scandal, host Jon Stewart got down to brass tacks: Namely, his own failure to figure out that something was going on between Petraeus and Paula Broadwell during his now-infamous interview with the disgraced biographer.

    jon, how could you have overlooked that she was wearing a sign with graphic pictures and driving a tank thru your interview with a big heart and pb + dp carved on it?

  52. Apologies in advance for bandwidth violation.

    Re Sturgeone’s report in the last thread about Joshua attacking Canaanite cities and leaving no survivors. I’m sorry to disappoint, but the Joshua genocides appear to be grossly over-rated.

    It appears as if genocide was the plan, but if so, it wasn’t put into practice. 300 years later we find King David and his successors still fighting Canaanites whom Josh supposedly exterminated.

    The Romans noted that the Philistines were still around in Herod’s day, 950 years after David and Solomon.

    Even the peoples that we learn were killed off to the last man by Abraham, the Amelekites and the Schechemites, are still making trouble 1,800 years after they were supposed to be dead.

    Simultaneously, we find similar claims made by the kings of Assyria, Egypt, and Chaldea. A king might publish his war report : Urartu is all slain; his seed is no more. However, two years later the king’s heir sends out the army to punish that nonexistent seed. Iow, “Mission Accomplished.”

    Believers in Biblical Inerrancy and Literal Interpretation have huge problems explaining these discrepancies, and invariably fall back on reason and guess work, methodologies they claim to oppose.

    It is possible that by Jebusites, Girgishites, etc. only the royal family, the leading oligopoly, or the priestly caste was meant. I think this last is a pretty good bet, because the indictment against the Canaanites is their horrid religious practice. Just how killing people off at G!D’s command is an improvement on human sacrifice at Moloch’s command is the big Q for non-Abrahamics & a big laugh for atheists.

    A couple of races of giants, like the Anakim, were apparently annihilated, as nothing was heard of them again except in recently (past 20 years) discovered and translated fairy tales among the Dead Sea Scrolls. But these arefairy tales about those silly-billy giants. So, we really don’t know who or what these Anakim andother giants were. They left no remains, no pots, and no ruins. Maybe they were the same evil Genies and Ifrits that Arab mythology claims Suleyman (Solomon) subdued. Maybe they were inventions used to explain Neanderthal bones that the Hebrews found in caves around Mt. Carmel. Or maybe Giant Ground Sloth or Giant Baboon bones found on the plains. Proverbs 30:26 mentions the Rock Hyrax, calling them a people: “the rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs”. A people? Perhaps some of these Anakim and others were merely beasts of the plains or forsets.

    The point is, anyone who claims to know the answers about Joshua’s invasion of the land of Canaan (an area about the size of Connecticut) is pulling your leg.

  53. Jack,

    Believe it or not most growth in the business community is generated by optimism in a statistically small group of owners and executives.

    My guess is that this roughly 2-3% of our country. This small percentage of the country will determine whether or not the path going forward is worthy of time and effort and risk required to grow this economy.

    If you can try and imagine being in that 2-3%. What policies and trends has gov’t presented recently that would influence you to feel optimistic?

    Deficit Reduction
    Fiscal Cliff
    Energy policy
    Entitlement reform
    Tax reform
    Regulation reduction
    Gov’t Secretary of Business

    I don’t think I even need to go on. There is nothing from Gov’t that any business decision maker can draw any sense of optimism from. So what do you do?

    You hedge….you hedge against stupidity, you hedge against ideology, you hedge against doctine, you proceed carefully, cautiously, measuredly. You go slow… survive…..

    And that…sadly ladies and gentlemen is where we are.

  54. Patd:

    The vicious lies about lemmings, like so much evil in the world today, can be traced back to Disney.

    I mean, what can you say about a studio that gave us, as a lead character, a duck prone to tempter tantrums who dresses up like a sailor with no pants?

  55. Peter King is not the kind of the elected representative for modern times — he has already determined the outcome of hearings.

    Shouldn’t he be spending all his time helping his constituents effected by the recent storms

  56. Mr. 2.5,

    Thanks for the mention of The Lemming With The Locket. I have that in my collection. It’s one of my least favorite Scrooge McDuck stories.

    Another Disney myth is that ducks, mice, and dogs wear clothes, talk to each other in English, and drive cars and spaceships. Yeah, I know this is a ‘Santa Claus moment’ for you. Sorry.


  57. Jax

    What you aptly described is the bandwagon jumper. That is his exact behavior at the end of a secular bear market.

    Which means we are due a turnaround soon.

    It is the pioneers we need to inspire, those that lead and find the next big thing. they are the real 3%ers.


  58. Jack,

    Didn’t realize that things were looking up so much…:).

    You have big plans starting??

  59. What!?? Whaddya mean lemmings don’t really go over the cliff? That’s what the dude said who called and asked me to donate to The Lemmings Over a Cliff Fund…

    here’s my choice for today’s CSM cartoon

  60. Jack,

    Just so you know…..the pioneers are the less than 1/10th of one percenters…..

  61. How did The Big Dawg do it?
    One good governance. He put together a budget reduction bill on his own. He reorganized the bureaucracy, streamlined it. got more for less. He opened up the cold war patent vault. He put government information on the internet for all to use, something that succeeding administrations are doing their best to change.

    Of course he did all of this in the middle of a secular bull market but as his predecessor proved good times were not a forgone conclusion. however given that his solutions may not work either.


  62. Jax

    I never have big plans.
    But the last 3 or 4 years I have had a couple of small plans as opportunity happened. That is why I believe your 1 in a thousand number is way too low. 2 to 3 % may also be too low. But I live in an thnic neighborhood and they tend more that way. True none of them are going to be a Steve Jobs but few pioneers are.
    Its the old saw

    How do you get big fish? You start out with many little ones

  63. Jack,
    You know its interesting.

    Over the last 50 years we’ve had numerous administrations and boom and bust times. But on only 2-3 years were we able to actually keep from going deeper in debt.

    Those were only during times of exceptional growth. But even during those times of exceptional growth we barely broke even.

    If you look at the projected numbers over the next few years they are expecting <exceptional growth and still $600 bil per year deficit.

    You have wonder how much longer. Can we pull another 50 years? I'm sure most think why not. The debt is so far from anyone's consciousness is it even real.

  64. Which means we are due a turnaround soon

    Which in broad secular trends “soon” can be anywhere in the next 10 years. After all we are only 12 years into this one and the last one in the 70’s lasted 16 years.


  65. Jack,

    You’re a contractor. You ought to appreciate this.

    Lets say you’re a master electrician, Mid 40’s. You work for an established stable company with decent benefits. You have kids in school, a wife and a good life.

    But you’re ready to be your own boss. You’ve saved some money and you want to make the jump. You’re not getting any younger but your family is relying 100% on you for stability and support. Do you risk it all?

    Given the current business environment, Are you more likely to take the jump today or in the mid 90’s?

  66. I think we are worrying way too much about the debt and not enough about production. As long as we are producing the debt will take care of itself.

    With a tax policy that is rooted in the 19th century that equally rewards investment in other countries as well as here and a spending policy that sinks money in nonproductive areas we are going to have a problem crawling out of this hole.


  67. BTW, Craig.
    It’s been nice seeing that picture of Elizabeth’s beautiful face every time I load this page. Apparently the outside radiates what’s on the inside.

    (.. of course, I like seeing your beautiful face too. :).)

  68. Jack,
    You may be right about worrying about the debt.
    But i disagree that it will fix itself. I’ve never seen either party ever have a plan to actually pay it back.

    There’s the rub you see. Our financial stability is only sound based on the perception of the rest of the world. We only appear stable because the preception of the world is so unstable. I guess its only an issue if someone actually applies financial principles to us and finds us insolvent.

    With respect to tax policy on investment they are going the opposite direction. The returns on investment will have to be much higher than they currently are to justify the risk when cap gains goes to 35%.

  69. With equal opportunity of course I’d make the jump. But there isn’t equal opportunity. At this point there little to no opportunity for the small contractor in the construction trade. It isn’t government policy or spending that is causing this , in fact government spending is propping up the construction industry.

    So what is your point?

  70. Did anyone mention that Paula Broadwell had a pet name for Patraeus… she affectionately called him ‘Peaches’.

    I read that as a cadet at West Point, he was known as Peaches.

  71. Jack,
    First of all, you know you’re a minority even in an optimistic environment. Most won’t take the jump.

    I’m assuming that the opportunity is there or else you wouldn’t even consider it.

    My point is that gov’t policies or lack thereof impact OPTIMISM.

    I’m not talking about gov’t funding and hand-outs.

    I meet with alot of gov’t industry officials regarding growth of our sector and they routinely ask what they can do to help. You’ll laugh but they always look crossed eyed when I
    tell them to reduce regulation.

    Their response is always “can we help you with funding”? My response is always no, I don’t want your money. I want you to get out of the way.

    I don’t mean it in a bad way but you would not believe how many take it as a personal affront. It’s like the “regulations” regardless of how relevant or onerous are untouchable…..almost divine in their eyes.

    It’s this regulation and the constant threat of new regulation that drives down optimism in the busness community.

  72. How did my capital gain on Caterpillar stock encourage investment in this country?
    fact is it didn’t. That is something that needs to be changed. Most Capital gains in this country are just like my stock. However the capital gain I anticipate on an old house caused me to hire Miki last week to hang sheetrock. It has already created 3 days of work for Miki and will create more in the future.

    One is an obvious job creator and one is not. why don’t we separate the two.


  73. Xr…the way I got it (joshua’s story) from the bible when I was reading it, from joshua to almost the end of the OT, last year as me mum lay dying (it was the only book in the house, and I kept forgetting to bring my own…but it was nice, like Herodotus) was josh did the extermination route for all the cities they took by storm, so to speak, but they didn’t kill all of them, just the ones in those cities. there were still a lot of the “others” left out there. I guess I may have to read it again, though.

  74. Jack,
    There might be a case for that but you’re having to hold that stock for 18 months to get long term cap gains lower rate and that is helping to hold up or support the stock.

    Many companies use their stock as collateral to meet financing covenants which is used to expand, upgrade and support future growth. So don’t think that your long term holding of that stock doesn’t contribute to jobs.

    I agree that the cap gains for my small business and your house renovation feel closer to home but for now we’re lumped together with every other long-term investment and I don’t foresee that changing anytime soon.

  75. Renee,

    I wasn’t able to open the Bobby Jindal article. Is my guess right that he proposed putting a muzzle on Rush and getting a divorce from Fox News?

    Okay to be honest, I didn’t try opening the link.

  76. Jax

    We might have some agreement about regulations. In construction anyway, They do tend to get abused and used to restrict access to newcomers.
    However most regulations were created to solve a problem.
    what is a solution to regulation.
    Trust me doesn’t work somebody has already peed in that water.


  77. Jack,
    Most regs were created to solve a problem and intentions were probably good.

    But things change…often

    Have you ever seen how hard it is to remove some even when everyone agrees that they are no longer needed or no longer effective?

    It’s always been a problem with gov’t that so few who serve in public service feel the need to apply any common sense to a written reg. Especially in construction. They hide behind the regs to as you say ” restrict access and justify there own existence”

  78. Jack,
    Gotta run….enjoyed the conversation.

    Keep fightin the good fight….

  79. Jax

    It has been fun and I managed to avoid crawling under that old house I bought, to move some duct work and plumb a downstairs bath. So later. BTW, how is the freight business, I’ve been reading that rail freight is slowing down.


  80. Jack,
    Rail and barge both slowing down. Mainly due to lower freight volumes not weather. Truck as well but that’s just helping driver shortage. I’m a little concerned in the short term. Huge amount of my volume is export and it’s looking iffy as well.

    Transport always a leading indicator.

  81. Thanks Jax,

    I’ve got to get supper on, I’m the chef around here.


  82. Sturgeone,

    You’re right. They take a city by storm and claim to kill everyone. I’m just saying that in a later book the people of that city are still there, still pagan, and still antagonistic to the Hebrews, although the Jebusites and a couple others appear to finally submit to David and are presumably assimilated.

  83. The subject of taxes is too complex to be diddled around by party politics. There are three essential elements in good taxation policies. These are:

    1. People have to feel they get value from the taxes they pay and hence government services need to be meaningful and drill down efficiently to the level of the individual.

    2. Taxes levied need to be focused upon growth items while not impeding the growth by being levied.

    3. People need to feel that these taxes are levied fairly and thus voluntarily comply with them.

    A tax that fulfills these three requirements usually succeeds in achieving its objectives and then some.

    Taxes need to be a matter of belief rather than a matter of black letter law, although this belief needs to be backed up by black letter law. But the survival of a tax requires people to believe in it and comply both in spirit and law.

    The efficiency of taxation collection is possibly the benchmark of people’s belief in it. Between the 50’s to the 80’s, the cost of Income Tax collection has grown from about 4% to nearly 11%. Most people post war were proud to pay income tax and most of the time paid more than their levied share. The tax laws were also less complex. by the mid 70’s people were losing faith with the governments – this is a global trend – and so using black letter law to avoid paying taxes. So more black letter law comes into place to excise the loopholes and so the tax laws become more and more complex reflecting the level of litigation and enforcement problems. And so voluntary compliance diminishes. These are progressive taxes and most people feel that they are fair. It only becomes a major issue when the top end of town dodges them and this corruption trickles down – the true trickle down effect. Romney demonstrated clearly that the top 1% have little social responsibility towards the community that made them their millions. This lack of moral leadership is the key to taxation acceptance. If it is good enough for Romney, a presidential candidate to hide his tax status through sending income and jobs off shore, then it must be good enough for the average Joe Citizen to do the same in a much abbreviated form. The 1% need to understand that they have a vested interest in the survival of the society that supports their lifestyle and so show leadership in this area. To his credit, Bill Gates has taken on this role in a big way. Others need to do the same.

    Similarly with taxes on sales such as the simple ad valorum taxes through to sales, goods and services taxes to the more complex value added taxes. Most governments are now pinning their revenue catch on these taxes because they are invisible. Trouble is that they are regressive and difficult to enforce. The efficiency of enforcement in Australia and Canada is about 15% while in Britain the VAT is 25%, a very expensive tax to collect indeed.

    If America is going to extract itself from the malaise it has put itself in, there are a couple things that need to happen.

    1. The banks that caused the GEC are also the key bond holders of US Treasury Bonds. They need to take a 50% haircut. Otherwise, the very people who caused the problem also profit from the problem. That is not a good social message.

    2. Income taxes should be raised, along with the introduction of a universal Goods and Services Tax. This increases the revenue side of the budget.

    3. Corporate welfare should be shut down or clawed back. It is not the Social Security system that eats away at the revenue base but Corporate Welfare. Part of this has been mentioned in point 1. Others include military funding of research projects and indeed, the winding back of the military and military commitments.

    Just a few thoughts here.



  84. Good points, Bill.

    According to slick willie, being very wealthy is a good thing for society. Therefore the richest shouldn’t be taxed, because that eats away at the good they do. Ithink I got that right.

    In short, being rich = being good. (ripper Theology: rich person = good person. Just as al capone)

    Anyway, being taxed = being less good. Ergo, only tax not good people.

    Cue Edie.

  85. EdVB… Hi… nice to see you posting.

    Nope… Jindal didn’t mention Rush or Fox News. He was basically upset with some of the stupid things that Republican candidates said… including Romney’s 47% remarks.

    BillW…. great post.

  86. I think news organizations should rated for their credibility and I’m pretty sure using newsmax as a credible source is not a good idea

  87. KGC – I’d go for that even though I have a feeling that the raters would be corrupted and there ratings would be meaningless from the start.

  88. Flatus,

    Thank you sir for your 11:53 AM.

    My sentiments exactly.

    There needs to be a long and in depth discussion of this. One of the reasons it is becoming so hard to ascend the economic ladder is because people no longer inherit the ‘seed money’ if you will, to do it. It ends up going in many cases to medical expenses or as you so rightly observed is liquidated in order to qualify for medic-aid.

    Once again the top 1, 2 or 5% are winners especially if they can get rid of the inheritance/death tax.

    You are indeed correct, it is a problem with long term implications for society, most of them negative.

  89. A real good article from INC magazine, on banking and small business during the recent crises. Think about what Solar has been telling us and spread it out across the nation. It looks like the big banks have been redlining major industries and states.

    Hard Lessons in Modern Lending

    Then, on August 17, the men from Charter One bank came to visit.

    Bliss, who had been banking with Charter One for five years, had $6 million worth of commercial loans outstanding. He says he never missed a payment or, as far as he knew, violated any of the covenants, the financial metrics that banks mandate to ensure the health of their borrowers. But the Charter One reps told him the bank wanted the 22-year-old company’s loans off its balance sheet, part of a retrenchment that would affect billions of dollars’ worth of loans in the bank’s commercial portfolio.

    It didn’t matter that JBC’s business had recovered; the decision had been made months before. The men recognized the irony. Under different circumstances, “we’d be aggressively pursuing you as a customer,” one of them told Bliss. But JBC had been deemed, in the oblique vocabulary of Charter One and its parent companies, Citizens Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland, noncore.


  90. More from the same article as above.
    It is a long article and so many good quotes, From INC magazine.

    Still, many entrepreneurs remain more than a little traumatized. “We’re terrified of what a bank will do now,” says Lowell Jaeger, owner of Jaeger Lumber, a Union, New Jersey-based chain of seven lumberyards. In 2011, after the chain posted its first annual loss in more than four decades, PNC abruptly canceled its $4 million line of credit–despite the fact that Jaeger Lumber expected to be back in the black and had banked with PNC for about 20 years. Jaeger managed to get credit from TD Bank. Still, he has been shaken up. In the past, his inclination was to pounce on an economic recovery, acquiring distressed competitors and upgrading facilities. Not this time. “I’m not going to take a chance on expanding and have another bank pull out,” he says.

  91. Just imagine if your supporters spent $32 a vote only to lose. It happened in the senate race in Nevada.

    For the presidential race and other senate races, Pro publica

  92. Ya know a case of Milwaukee’s Best would buy a lot of votes in my neighborhood.


  93. Ya know a case of Milwaukee’s Best would buy a lot of votes in my neighborhood.


    Machine politics at it’s best.

  94. More about those 4 girls in Africa –

    That headline smacks of “Car runs on Water” . So I was pretty doubtful of the story, but when I learned that the Maker Movement was in Africa, and these 4 teenagers were part of it. I sat up at the keyboard. A commenter on NewsVine came up with the 2009 paper , that made these girls invention work. The chemistry is bullet proof.

    As the news cycle flowed on, I found a a much better picture of them with their invention. ……. (Links below)
    So I got to thinking , this will fit in a “ShelterBox”
    So in a disaster, one of these boxes can charge laptops, and provide light. And the victims just have to pee in it to get power. This is a very “green thing”, these 4 girls have done.

    They’re burning hydrogen , zero CO2 output to make electricity. And it runs on urine .
    All of this adds up to being greater than the sum of the parts. Tesla made “Car of the Year” at the same time we learned of these 4 girls in Africa.

    The girls and their invention :

    The 2009 paper behind their work :
    Producing hydrogen from urine
    July 3, 2009

    Gerardine Botte of Ohio University uses an electrolytic approach to produce hydrogen from urine – the most abundant waste on Earth – at a fraction of the cost of producing hydrogen from water. Urine’s major constituent is urea, which incorporates four hydrogen atoms per molecule – importantly, less tightly bonded than the hydrogen atoms in water molecules. Botte uses electrolysis to break the molecule apart, developing an inexpensive new nickel-based electrode to selectively and efficiently oxidise the urea. To break the molecule down, a voltage of 0.37V needs to be applied across the cell – much less than the 1.23V needed to split water. Her work is described in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Chemical Communications. “During the electrochemical process the urea gets adsorbed on to the nickel electrode surface, which passes the electrons needed to break up the molecule,” Botte told Chemistry Worl
    Bullet proof science.

  95. Jack,
    Your 9:41 PM is very instructive.
    If banks can’t find a way to socialize the losses and privatize the rewards they bail out in a hurry.

    Security and payment history be damned. When the bank thinks, for no apparent reason, that you or your business threatens their bottom line, you are as good as toast.

    One of the great failings of the first Obama administration was the failure to make banks accountable for their actions. Making a host of bankers turning small rocks into big rocks for an extended period of time would have been a good and effective start.

    Trading in stripe ties for prison stripes would have forestalled a lot of the bullshit that you describe.

  96. urea, which incorporates four hydrogen atoms per molecule —

    Twice the amount of hydrogen found in water, and it needs 0.37V
    to free those atoms. Not the 1.23V needed to split water. Every port-a-potty just became a power plant.

    That’s a revolution . You can run the Empire State Building on the pee from everyone who comes to it visit.

  97. I look forward to the day when auto efficiency is calculated in MPT. Miles Per Turd. 😉


  98. gives new meaning to pit stops along the highways. but why not flush the middle man and straight line a catheter to the hydrogen tank?

  99. Fox has settled on the theory that the Obama administration is blackmailing Petreaus to stick with the Benghazi timeline

    Among the many bad things Fox does is mix opinion and straw issues in with news and ..ugh having Greta Van Cess Pool on ABC does nothing to help anyone. She is aggressively wrong and defensive about being on Fox

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