Sunday, April 27, 2008

Obama Flexes His Economic Muscles

In the face of rising gas prices Obama has gone into knee-jerk liberal mode and is calling for a "windfall profits" tax on the oil companies. Obama would dramatically increase the taxes on oil companies when the price of oil exceeds $80 a barrel (oil prices will probably be above $80 a barrel for the foreseeable future). Jimmy Carter tried this and it failed miserably.

Oil is a commodity that is produced around the world (where liberals haven't prevented drilling and the building of refineries) and is sold at market rates. That market rate is determined by the supply of oil and the demand for that oil. World-wide demand for oil (especially from developing countries) has dramatically increased over the last decade and the dollar has declined in value, driving the price sky high. Increasing taxes on the oil companies will reduce their incentive to bring more oil to market, driving prices even higher. Oil companies make a lot of money when the price of oil goes up because their stock pile becomes more valuable. However, they do not set the prices. ExxonMobil, although it is a huge company, is only the 14th largest oil company in the world. They can't set the price for oil any more than a big dairy farmer (that's for you, Polinders) can set the price for milk. OPEC, on the other hand, is a cartel that can and does influence the price of oil by agreeing on how much oil to produce.

Oil company profits cost you about 9 cents a gallon. Taxes (federal, state, local) cost you around 40-50 cents a gallon (who is gouging who?). Obama thinks this isn't nearly enough. He disguises a big tax hike by pretending he's just getting even with the evil oil companies. Who do you think will pay for the tax increase? The oil companies will pass it on the consumer by charging more for gas. McCain is calling for a reduction in the federal gas tax for the summer (it would be nice if he also favored drilling in ANWR). This would actually lower the price you pay at the pump, but Obama opposes it because, well, because it's a tax decrease instead of an increase.

Ah, the classic liberal vs. conservative debate: more government or less?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Latest From Jeremiah Wright

Draw your own inferences from the following quote from Rev. Wright:
[Obama] had a political event, he goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician. I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God... He’s a politician, I’m a pastor. We speak to two different audiences. And he says what he has to say as a politician. I say what I have to say as a pastor. But they’re two different worlds.”

Monday, April 21, 2008

McCain's Electoral College Math

After reading this article in the American Thinker, I'm rethinking my wish for Hillary to be Dems' nominee. McCain certainly has challenges, first among them that he lags considerably in fund raising. However, an Obama win appears to help him when you do the electoral math.

Being a centrist Republican (Rhino! cough) will allow McCain to compete in a lot of states where a traditional Republican wouldn't have a chance. Arizona is a given for McCain and based on state specific polling he looks likely to win in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Missouri. This would likely give McCain 260 of the 270 electoral college votes he needs. He would need only 10 electoral votes from the following states that Bush won but are up for grabs: Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Nevada; or from blue states that are within reach: Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, and New Hampshire. McCain leads in Michigan, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. And get this, in a state not included in the above analysis, McCain currently has a 2 point lead on Obama in New York. Kerry won NY by 18%.

Obama has beaten up Clinton in the south. However, he's unlikely to win any of those states. Hillary would be more competitive with McCain in battle ground states like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

Obama appears to be a lock to win the nomination, but I think he has peaked too early. The more people learn about him (elitism, demeaning comments about rural folk, Jeremiah Wright, liberal voting record, etc.) the less they like him. With McCain, the opposite is true. It will be interesting to see what happens when Obama takes his focus off Hillary and takes on McCain.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

NBA Playoff Predictions

OK, I'm not going to do a whole graphic thing like I did for the NFL playoffs (that took me way too long), but here are my predictions:

1st Round
Boston in 4 over Atlanta - The Hawks are just happy to be in the playoffs.
Cleveland in 5 over Washington - I have the benefit of already watching Game 1.
Orlando in 6 over Toronto - Dwight Howard is a person of unusual size and athleticism.
Detroit in 5 over Philadelphia - Detroit will forget to bring it for one game, as usual.

2nd Round
Boston in 6 over Cleveland - Nice job getting the 1st seed, Celtics. Have fun with Lebron.
Detroit in 5 over Orlando - Howard, Turkoglu, and Lewis are great, but what else is there?

Detroit in 7 over Boston - A great rivalry is restored.

1st Round
LA in 7 over Denver - The Nuggets can score. Defense? Not so much.
Utah in 7 over Houston - Tracy McGrady may never get past the 1st round.
Phoenix in 7 over San Antonio - Will Amare become the best player in the NBA?
New Orleans in 6 over Dallas - Jason Kidd is a very poor man's Chris Paul.

2nd Round
LA in 5 over Utah - Yes, Utah is underrated. That doesn't mean they can handle Kobe.
Phoenix in 7 over New Orleans - I can't wait to see the match-up between Nash and Paul.

Phoenix in 7 over LA - The Lakers are more than the Kobe show, but Phoenix still has a few more weapons.

Finals: Detroit in 7 over Phoenix - The Western Conference is playing for second. Whoever comes out will be too beat up to handle Detroit or Boston.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Favorite Quotes - Election '08

Obama on why rural voters tend to vote Republican:

It's not surprising when [rural people] get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them.

Michelle Obama:

For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country.

Obama supporter Senator Rockefeller (D-WV) proclaiming that McCain doesn't care about "the lives of people."

McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they [the missiles] get to the ground? He doesn't know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues.

Hillary Clinton on visiting Bosnia as First Lady:

I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.

Obama defending his friendship with unapologetic convicted terrorist William Ayers:

The fact is, is that I'm also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.

New York Times Headline:

As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch

Keith Olbermann:

Al Qaeda really hurt us, but not as much as Rupert Murdoch has hurt us, particularly in the case of Fox News. Fox News is worse than al Qaeda -- worse for our society. It’s as dangerous as the Ku Klux Klan ever was.

John McCain:

In case you missed it, a few days ago Senator Clinton tried to spend $1 million on the Woodstock concert museum. Now, ladies and gentlemen, I wasn't there. I'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. I was tied up at the time.

Obama on whether he inhaled marijuana:

The point was to inhale. That was the point.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Olympic Torch Used To Ignite Tibetan Protestors

From the Onion. If only liberals cared about freedom for Iraq as much as they do for Tibet.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Hillary Caught Again

I'm not sure why I keep ripping Hillary - I'm pulling for her to steal the primary from Obama. I just can't help myself, I guess. A hospital in Ohio has called her on using a made up story to advance her plans for socialized medicine. The story had become a staple of Clinton's stump speech - a Ms. Bachtel, an uninsured, Pizza Hut manager (Hillary also called her "minimum-wage" although, as one who used to work for Little Caesar's knows, she probably earned at least double the minimum wage) died from complications of stillbirth because the hospital turned her away when she didn't have a $100 fee.
“It hurts me that in our country, as rich and good of a country as we are, this young woman and her baby died because she couldn’t come up with $100 to see the doctor.”

Mrs. Clinton does not name Ms. Bachtel or the hospital in her speeches. As she tells it, the woman was turned away twice by a local hospital when she was experiencing difficulty with her pregnancy. “The hospital said, ‘Well, you don’t have insurance.’ She said, ‘No, I don’t.’ They said, ‘Well, we can’t see you until you give $100.’ She said, ‘Where am I going to get $100?’

“The next time she came back to the hospital, she came in an ambulance,” Mrs. Clinton continued. “She was in distress. The doctors and the nurses worked on her and couldn’t save the baby.”

Ms. Bachtel did die of complications from stillbirth, however, she was not denied any treatment by the hospital and the hospital has asked her campaign to stop spreading this lie. Senator Clinton heard the story second hand and never bothered to confirm it with anyone from the hospital. I am reminded of Bill Clinton's "vivid and painful memories of black churches being burned in my own state when I was a child" (no churches were burned in Arkansas during his childhood).

Senator Clinton will have to come up with a better argument to convince me that the government should take over another 1/7 of our economy. Unless Ms. Bachtel earned more than $19k a year, she would qualify for Medicaid. Also, hospitals do not turn away anyone in emergency situations. We already have great programs for low income people. We need to move to a system where we pay for our own health insurance instead of our employers. We could have plans that we could take with us when we switch jobs. Most of us would choose lower cost plans and pocket the increase in our pay. We would also shop around more for the best value, which would drive down costs. This could happen if healthcare expenses were tax-deductible for people as well as businesses. Also, why do we want our health insurance to pay for routine healthcare costs like a doctor's visit? Would we want to pay extra for car insurance that covered our oil changes? Market forces can be used to lower healthcare costs if we allow the consumer to be the buyer, instead of third parties, and remove excessive regulation. States typically require insurance companies to cover things not everyone would want to pay for (such as in-vitro fertilization, even if you don't want more kids) that drive up costs.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Stuff White People Like

I recently discovered a very funny blog (thanks Tom): Stuff White People Like. It's really about things white, college educated, liberals like. Everything from high priced coffee, San Francisco, having gay friends, vintage clothing, and knowing what's best for poor people are covered. Here's the post recent post about what white people like: Free Healthcare.