|By Robert Ariail - August 24, 2012 |
by Patrick Louis Knudsen,
August 1, 2012
The stopgap spending agreement reached by House and Senate leaders may be the only way Congress will escape a post-election “lame duck” showdown over funding government agencies. It also presumably helps clear the agenda so Congress can focus on Taxmageddon and the scheduled defense-devastating sequestration—two other major fiscal problems lawmakers keep putting off. But no one should rationalize it as inevitable and necessary to overcome political gridlock or a “broken” budget process. It is a choice—and a concession to the intransigence of the Senate leadership. While perhaps expedient in the near term, it will have longer-range drawbacks that threaten Congress’s ability to manage the immense fiscal challenges looming ahead. Lawmakers should weigh these matters carefully when they take up the measure in September.
The continuing resolution (CR) agreed to by House Speaker John A. Boehner (R–OH) and Senate majority leader Harry M. Reid (D–NV) displaces the 12 annual spending bills that provide roughly one-third of the government’s funding. The six-month measure will run at the Senate’s spending level—$19 billion higher than the House budget resolution—as Reid demanded. Supposedly the new Congress will be free to adjust spending levels in the new year if it chooses. The Senate, which has neglected to pass a budget resolution the past three years, has been writing its spending bills to the $1.047 trillion level of the Budget Control Act, a product of last year’s debt ceiling debate. Prior to the agreement, the House [....]
Fact: Ezra Klein Doesn’t Read Ezra Klein’s Work
by John Ransom,
August 22, 2012
Ezra Klein tells readers of his “wonk” blog that he doesn’t read his own work.
Ok, he doesn’t actually say that, but he certainly implies it: “I actually can’t recall running into a piece in which the argument is so carefully written,” writes Klein “as to mislead the reader without, in most cases, being entirely untrue.”
There it is. Case closed. Ezra Klein says so.
Klein either doesn’t read his own work or he has a short-term memory problem. Klein of course was referring to someone else, not himself as I facetiously suggest- in this case, historian Niall Ferguson- when he wrote about misleading the reader without being untrue. Ferguson you see has committed the unpardonable sin of being in all the right clubs- Oxford, Harvard, etc- and being…gasp…a conservative.
In a Newsweek cover story- Hit the Road Barack- Ferguson takes the president to task for: 1) passing Obamacare without any messy reform getting in the way of the graft in politics; 2) not effectively dealing with unemployment; 3) adding to the deficit without producing economic benefits and the more general sin of not being an effective executive.
“Despite having been—full disclosure—an adviser to John McCain,” writes Ferguson, “I acknowledged his opponent’s remarkable qualities: his soaring oratory, his cool, hard-to-ruffle temperament, and his near faultless campaign organization. Yet the question confronting the country nearly four years later is not who was the better candidate four years ago. It is whether the winner has delivered on his promises. And the sad truth is that he has not.”
And since liberals these days are having a hard time defending the indefensible- anyone seen [....]
Dave Says Don't Pay Those Student Loans
by Dave Ramsey,
August 22, 2012Dear Dave,
I’ve been working the Baby Steps and doing a budget most months. But how does someone who is single stay motivated and focused with something like this? It feels sometimes like it would be easier if I had someone holding me accountable.
The first thing is to make sure you do a written budget each month. Not once in a while, not most months—every single month. If you don’t draw the out-of-bounds markers, there’s no way to know when you’ve stepped over the line, right? A monthly, written budget becomes your self-accountability tool, especially when you’re single. Still, there’s nothing wrong with introducing a little accountability into your life. You don’t have to [....]
Mocking Obama and the Rest of the Political Clowns
by Daniel J. Mitchell,
August 26, 2012
It’s been more than one month since I posted the last collection of jokes and one-liners from the late-night talk show hosts. So without further adieu, courtesy of the folks at Newsmax.com, are my favorites since that time. I’m surprised there’s not more material about Todd Akin, but that may change in coming days. My favorite is the “50 states” comment from Leno.
They’re now worried that Tropical Storm Isaac could hit Florida during next week’s Republican convention. But Florida is ready for it. Thanks to President Obama’s economic policies, many businesses down there are already boarded up.
Actually, Mitt Romney and Hurricane Isaac have something in common. They can both change directions at any moment.
It’s now being reported that Joe Biden will go to the Republican convention to try to cause problems for Mitt Romney. Then after that, he will go to the Democratic convention where he will definitely cause problems for President Obama.
At a campaign stop in Virginia, Joe Biden said he is such a [....]
Missouri Congressman Todd Akin has some interesting views on health. I think he’s in a little hot water. Penn State took down his statue today.
Mitt Romney has asked Todd Akin to step down. That’s too bad. Todd Akin was the guy to lead the Republican Party into the 16th century.
Today the Republicans are getting ready for the convention. They’re busy down there in Florida auditioning minorities.
Paul Ryan likes to catch a catfish bare-handed. He’ll wade into a river and pull it out with his bare hands. Meanwhile, Chris Christie likes to reach into the tank at Red Lobster.
Mitt Romney has selected Paul Ryan as his running mate. They say this could be [....]
CNN plans to air a 90-minute documentary on Mitt Romney before the Republican National Convention. Yeah, 90 minutes of Mitt Romney. Even Red Bull is like, “This is outta my league, bro.”
President Obama’s supporters can now text the word “GIVE” to donate up to $50 to his campaign, although it’s frustrating when autocorrect keeps changing it to “Fix the economy.”
It was just announced that most of the speakers at this year’s Democratic National Convention will be women. But it’s going to be annoying when they stop speaking, but won’t tell you why.
A hurricane could threaten next week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa. It could really hurt Republicans — which explains [....]
Obama’s “Plan B”
August 25, 2012
Now that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has turned down Barack Obama’s offer to replace Vice President Joe Biden,Obama is left with but one move to win reelection and remain President,and it will cost hundreds of thousands of lives. Had Hillary switched with Biden,Obama would have had a chance to win the election. A hell of a lot more of a chance than as it now stands. He has done everything he thought “the people” wanted,but he has been forced to realize that his “people” are the occupiers (the true 1%,if that).
Obama is watching the Presidency slip away from him.
His fellow Constitution-hating Marxists and socialists,along with his union Communist thugs,are a noisy minority that bullied its way to the front of the class,only to be discovered in the light of day and identified as the enemy within. They are a noisy,inconsiderate,vile,crude,enemy within bought and paid for by the White House. We see them,we know what they are,and we are leading them to a Reagan-type landslide defeat. A slaughter sponsored by [....]
Famous Drill Instructor Says GEICO Fired Him for Criticizing Obama Admin.
by Jonathon M. Seidl,
August 26, 2012
Famous drill instructor Lee Ermey — best known for his appearance in the movie “Full Metal Jacket” — says he was fired from his gig as a GEICO insurance personality because he criticized President Obama. Last December, Ermey — also known as “Gunney” — made headlines by blasting the economy and linking Obama to socialism:
But the plot thickened in January when Ermey came out and apologized, drawing the ire of some of his fans. And now, despite that apology, Ermey says GEICO fired him [....]
‘Unconstitutional’?: Atheists Target High School Coach for Allowing Churches to Feed Football Players
by Billy Hallowell,
August 23, 2012
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist activist group based in Madison, Wisconsin, is taking a football coach to task, claiming that he violated the First Amendment by allowing local churches to prepare meals for team members. The organization sent a letter to Walker County Schools in LaFayette, Georgia, demanding that officials immediately investigate Mark Mariakis, the Ridgeland High School coach.
While the atheists want an examination into alleged pre-game foods that churches purportedly prepared for the players, the FFRF also addressed claims that Coach Mariakis prayed with the football players, used Bible verses in motivational speeches and on team shirts and took part on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a faith-based organization. According to the FFRF, a local individual complained [....]
[As always, this is no endorcement of any investment]
Dividend Affordability And Sustainability
by Roger Goodrich,
August 24, 2012
One question that frequently arises with respect to dividend paying stocks is whether or not the company can afford to a) not only pay the current dividend, but b) is that dividend stream and growth sustainable? The standard measure for affordability is Payout Ratio, which is the ratio of dividends/share to earnings/share. While this metric is useable for a majority of companies, it is of little to no use for companies that choose to pay a large portion of their cash flow as dividends, as well as MLPs (Master Limited Partnerships) and REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts), which are required by tax law to do so.
There is a simple solution to this problem, one tha is in use by some investors but not widely recognized by all. The best place to start is with the Cash Flow Sheet, which -- along with the Income Statement and Balance Sheet -- constitute Financial Statements that companies are required to file on a quarterly (and annual) basis. There are websites that provide this information; I use Money.MSN.com, showing five years of data (bottom of first column on Quote sheet (first screen displayed)). The table below shows [....]
[As always, not an endorsement of any investment]
Elmira Savings Bank: Place Your Money Here To Get A 4.5% Return
by Henry Nyce,
August 24, 2012
Elmira Savings Bank (ESBK) is a federally chartered bank with 10 offices in Chemung, Tompkins, Steuben and Cayuga Counties of NY and one office in Tioga County, PA. It also has 2 loan centers, 1 in Tompkins County, NY and 1 in Cortland County, NY. ESBK just announced that it purchased another branch office in Elmira Heights, NY which will open on 8/27/2012. What are the reasons to buy this bank? [....]
[As always, not an endorsement of any investment]
4 Undervalued Dividend Stocks That Analysts Favor
August 25, 2012
Investing in dividend stocks that consistently offer moderate to high yields is a sound approach to adding income and building wealth. Today we developed a list of dividend stocks with a track record of providing reliable yields. In addition, they have two other traits that bolster their appeal: all appear to be trading below market value and have received recent analyst ratings of "Buy" or "Strong Buy". We think you will find our list worthy of further research.
The PEG ratio (price/earnings to growth ratio) is a valuation metric for determining the relative trade-off between the price of a stock, the earnings generated per share (EPS), and the company's expected growth. In general, the P/E ratio is higher for a company with a higher growth rate. Thus using just the P/E ratio would make high-growth companies appear overvalued relative to others. It is assumed that by dividing the P/E ratio by the earnings growth rate, the resulting ratio is better for comparing companies with different growth rates. A lower ratio is 'better' (cheaper) and a higher ratio is 'worse' (expensive) - a PEG ratio of 1 means the company is fairly priced.
The Price/Sales ratio is a price-multiple valuation metric used to help identify if a firm is cheap by its twelve month trailing sales numbers. In the most basic terms, it lets an investor know how much the investment community is willing to pay for every dollar worth of sales. A firm with a P/S ratio of one or lower would be viewed as cheap because investors are paying $1 or less for every dollar worth of the firm's sales. On the other hand, a firm is generally considered to be expensive when the P/S ratio is above three. These are general guidelines used by the investment community, not hard rules to be clear. Price/Sales Ratio = Current Stock Price/Revenue (sales) per Share. We first looked for dividend stocks. From here, we [....]
50 Examples of Government Waste by Brian Riedl,
October 6, 2009
More Soaring government spending and trillion-dollar budget deficits have brought fiscal responsibility -- and reducing government waste -- back onto the national agenda. President Obama recently identified 0.004 of 1 percent of the federal budget as wasteful and proposed eliminating this $140 million from his $3.6 trillion fiscal year 2010 budget request. Aiming higher, the President recently proposed partially offsetting a costly new government health entitlement by reducing $622 billion in Medicare and Medicaid "waste and inefficiencies" over the next decade. Taxpayers may wonder why reducing such waste is now merely a bargaining chip for new spending rather than an end in itself.
It is possible to reduce spending and balance the budget. In the 1980s and 1990s, Washington consistently spent $21,000 per household (adjusted for inflation). Simply returning to that level would balance the budget by 2012 without any tax hikes. Alternatively, merely returning to the 2008 (pre-recession) spending level of $25,000 per household (adjusted for inflation) would likely balance the budget by 2019 without any tax hikes.
Not Easy, but Necessary
Reducing wasteful spending is not easy. Even the most useless programs are passionately supported by the armies of recipients, administrators, and lobbyists that benefit from their existence. Identifying inefficiencies and abuses is much easier than devising a system to fix them. Many lawmakers focus more on bringing home earmarks than on performing the less exciting task of government oversight. Exasperated taxpayers see the cost of government rise with no end in sight. Of course, eliminating waste [....]
Wasserman Schultz Refuses to Acknowledge She’s Misquoting the LA Times After Baffled Cooper Calls Her Out
by Jason Howerton,
August 24, 2012
Regardless of whether or not you agree with Anderson Cooper’s politics, the guy is arguably one of the last real journalists left in the mainstream media. During his CNN show on Thursday, the host proved that during his “Keeping Them Honest” segment where he ripped into Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) for “misquoting” a Los Angeles Times article in a fundraising email, in which she attempted to tie GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s abortion stance to Rep. Todd Akin’s. Akin came under fire this week from all sides for arguing that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape.”
Cooper was persistent in trying to coax an apology out of Schultz, but she remained defiant throughout the entire segment. The email in question argued that the GOP “just voted to embrace Akin’s position by including a constitutional ban on all abortions — even in cases of rape or incest — in their 2012 platform.” Schultz also criticizes Romney and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in the email [....]
August 21, 2012 4:00 A.M.
Are We Doomed?
Seeking a politician with the guts to say, “Stop!”
by Victor Davis Hanson,
August 21, 2012
Sometimes societies find themselves in pernicious cycles in which the perceived medicine seems worse than the known disease. The Roman satirist Juvenal lamented the ill effects of free food and free entertainment for the masses (“bread and circuses”) in part because he knew there was no remedy for the pathology in sight — and thus only a slow decline toward fiscal insolvency or riots were on the horizon. Any Roman emperor bold enough to rein in the Praetorian Guard, charge the mob for grain, and curb gladiatorial shows would earn a usurper marching on Rome from the provinces. So most did not.
When Ronald Reagan sought to end the so-called misery index, he knew that higher interest rates, tax cuts, and efforts to prune entitlements would in the short term lead to higher unemployment, more deficits, slower growth — and growing unpopularity. His recovery came just in time for the 1984 election; just a year earlier Reagan had been demonized as a heartless bastard who had strangled the economy for the benefit of the rich.
We are currently mired in the slowest recovery from any recession in [....]
Part 3 to follow....