Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cap and Tax, er Trade..um Trade Our Jobs Overseas

Due to the heroics of Nancy Pelosi, and against the futile protests made by Citizen Zane to his local Representative, the House rammed a Cap and Trade bill through last Friday under the guise of stopping climate change and promoting green energy. I will point out right here that Nancy's personal carbon footprint from tooling to and from California every week in a private jet makes her look like a complete hypocrite, but that is for her to rationalize.


"Ooh, we are going to stop global warming and decrease our dependence on foreign oil - sounds like a can't miss prospect." I can just hear the terminally uniformed and otherwise stupid gushing as they gulp down another Diet Coke at 10:00 am. It really amazes me that even some members of Congress think that this bill is in any way a good idea.

Here's the basic premise of the bill. Entities are limited in the amount of carbon emissions that they can spew based on some government derived formula. If you are spewing out less carbon than your quota, you can sell "credits" to polluters who can't make standards and have to buy the right to pollute above quota. Over time, the quotas get stricter and stricter, so in theory, our polluters need to adjust to living without fossil fuel emissions, and then presto - global warming is amazingly stopped! Yeah Al Gore!!!

Sounds neat in theory, but like all bone-headed attempts by liberals to create utopia, it costs lots of money and will probably do more harm than good. Actually, I will go down on record saying that the benefits of this nonsense will be somewhere in negative numbers. Here's why:

Who do you think that the biggest emitters of carbon are? Yup, public utilities. If your local electric company is in the market to buy carbon credits, guess who gets to pay for them? Will it be some fat cat CEO??? Will it be the coal producer? Hmmmm, or will it be YOU? Doesn't take a genius to figure that out now, does it?

Even worse news: Manufacturers will now be subject to cap and trade, making it more expensive to produce goods here in America. That gives them two choices: 1) pass the costs on to consumers; or 2) ship the jobs overseas. Well, its always possible that China is already undercutting any business caught in cap and trade, but this will certainly not help us stay competitive. And guess what? Those third world countries that will get our manufacturing jobs are NOT subject to much environmental regulation. They use resources less efficiently and spew a lot more crap into the environment than producers in the USA could ever think of getting away with. Yup, cap and trade will end up increasing carbon into the atmosphere. Hell, that extra carbon may actually contribute to a .0001 degree increase in global temperature. That's what I need here in New York during winter. Yeah, more cap and trade, please! A reader provided this gem about the "benefits" of cap and trade in Europe


I suppose that the idea is to promote "green" energy and to create jobs in that industry. I thought that was where a lot of the stimulus money was supposed to go!!! Weren't we going to flush a bunch of $$$ down the toilet to develop "green" energy with some of that stupidity??? If green energy is a viable source, and we develop it with stimulus money to where it is practical to use, then why do we need cap and trade to force us to use it. If green energy is available at a cost near fossil fuels, we will all jump for it, will we not?

Funny thing is, I have still not heard one single good argument for this bill. The sponsors gamely tout their desire to promote green energy and protect the environment, but those vague general promises have no substance whatsoever. Is it me or is it Congress? One of us must be stupid. Well, that and the general electorate who have no clue about what our Representatives are doing - Citizen Zane

Saturday, June 20, 2009

National Health Care - The Straw That Breaks the Camel's Back

I have to admit, I became physically ill when the "stimulus" bill passed Congress because I knew that we were basically going to flush hundreds of billions of dollars down the toilet in the name of rescuing the economy. I didn't think that anything could ever top that monstrosity as the biggest mistake this side of the Iraq War, but now I have read that the House of Representatives has just topped the stimulus bill and the war combined in one fell swoop. WARNING: The picture attached to this article includes the horrific mug of Nancy Pelosi - view with caution.


I for one would be thrilled if we could actually have health care reform. Again, I describe health care reform as insuring more people while lowering costs and NOT increasing the national debt. What the clowns in the House are pushing as "reform" will certainly insure more people, but the cost will be the final straw that breaks Treasury's back.

What I can't figure out is why Congress and the President think that it is such a good idea to rush any old plan through? If Citizen Zane were to reform health care, I would first put together a committee of industry stakeholders representing insurers, drug companies, doctors, patients, taxpayers, employers, and (oops gagged for a second) the trial lawyers. Oh yeah, toss a few Congress folks in there too. How about a nice mix of three Democrats and three Republicans. I'm sure that I'm missing somebody in there, but Committee would be smart enough to add them. Then I would look at models from other countries and see what works, and how all of the stakeholders could compromise on different points and actually come up with a plan that makes the most sense. Then we have to figure out how to pay for it.

What we are going to get is a bunch of STUPID pie-in-the sky ideas from the far left that are going to cost trillions and provide shi**y care for everyone. I like how the Dems are casting the Republicans as the Party of No. Guess why they say "NO" to everything? Because you are so far out on the edge of fantasy land with your legislation that they would be irresponsible not to. Want a better plan? Don't lock the Republicans out because 1/4 of what they say may actually make sense and improve the dipstick plan that you are going to hammer down our throats.

Here is the other outrageously large problem that Congress is conveniently ignoring. Health care is expensive because there are a lot of cost drivers that make it expensive to provide. Let's put together a quick and dirty list, shall we?
  • Malpractice insurance and the need for doctors to perform unnecessary procedures to CYA
  • The cost of drugs: R&D and clinical trials cost $$$$$ and drug companies are going to cut it off if they don't make a return on their investments.
  • Illegal immigrants and the indigent leaching off of the system without paying in.
  • The cost in time and money to become a doctor (my buddy is $250K in debt and still in residency - think he wants to be a govt. employee??).
  • Equipment, labs, supplies, etc.
  • Profit for insurance administration

I'm sure that this list is the tip of the iceberg too. The problem I have is that Congress has to address ideas for cutting into those massive costs before signing up 40 million new people to add to them. I have heard that a public option will drive down costs by eliminating the profit the insurance providers and administrators earn. This makes me laugh out loud! The government is going to be that efficient? The government employees will be the usual barely-care winners we get at the DMV who are surly, slow, and don't care if they get anything done. Oh yeah, full pension and health benefits too please! Trust me, the private sector and their profit will cost us a lot less. Add that on top of the brilliant method used by the government to select those who will benefit from the nationalization of health care (click below for further outrage and inconvenient truth).


Another major problem: Who is going to pay for this boondoggle? So far, Congress hasn't figured that out. Guess what? I have. If you are on this list, consider yourself fairly warned:

  • Currently insured
  • Taxpayer
  • Employer

Chances are, there won't be enough blood to suck from the above noted list and the remainder will be tossed onto the mountain of national debt. The final effect will be to either break the unfortunate listed above or the Treasury. Yep, when we add another trillion or two on top of the mess that is already projected to be spent in deficit, only fools will continue to loan us money. At that point, the treasury will add a few printing presses and the dollar will fall like a piano out a six-story window. Mmmmm, back to Jimmy Carter inflation and interest rates. Go back and look at the Pelosi photo again. It is only slightly less horrifying than the results of her handiwork - Citizen Zane

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Barbara Boxer - Queen for the Day!

I happened upon this clip of Barbara Boxer in action scolding a Brigadier General for calling her "ma'am" instead of Senator.


Full Disclosure: Citizen Zane was a resident of the State of California when Barbara Boxer was elected in the Senate in 1992 and thinks that she is a complete sack of #%*!

My personal feelings for above noted sack of #%*! aside, this clip is just another demonstration of how our noble Representatives have lost touch with the people that they supposedly serve. When your self-exaltation grows to the level where you interrupt a man who has undoubtedly been shot at in your defense to show that you are more powerful than he is just to make a silly point, you go beyond even sack of #%*! status. Congrats SENATOR Boxer, you are number one! WOOOOOOO! You are the Supreme Sack of S*%! All bow before her!

Can you imagine our founding fathers being this petty and self important? How can we not vote these arrogant fools out of office? The best possible title for Supreme Sack of S*%! is Former Senator Sack of S*%! I'm embarrassed for my former state - Citizen Zane

Monday, June 8, 2009

Your Bill for Health Care Reform Will Be Arriving Soon

As Congress and the President fire up continued talks on health care "reform", the problem of paying for providing the uninsured with health insurance is starting to be addressed. You will never guess who Congress has in mind to pay for it all...


Yep, its going to be the currently insured - at minimum. Just in case you didn't know this, if your employer is offering health insurance, he or she kicks in a good chunk of change every month to pay for that insurance. At a company I worked for a few years ago, it was public knowledge what the Company paid on your behalf for insurance. In my case, it was about $1,200 per month. Assuming health care costs have not gone up and I still worked there, that would mean that the Zane Family is receiving the benefit of $14,400 per year for health insurance. Right now, that benefit is received tax free. Under the proposal now being considered by Congress, that would mean that I would have to pay taxes on some portion of that income to cover somebody else's insurance. Assuming that my marginal tax bracket is 25%, I could be asked to kick in up to an additional $3,600 for other people's insurance.

Want to hear something scary? The President himself told Senators that he would back this outrage, even though he specifically campained against it when running against John McCain. In fact, he hammered McCain on this very point. The article even includes a video clip of the President taking McCain to task about taxing these benefits. How do you spell hypocrite? O-B-A-M-A.

The article blesses us with a photo of illustrious Senator Max Baucus of Montana, who seems to favor taxing insurance benefits. His rationale? Taxing those benefits would be "fairer and more equitable for everyone". HUH??? How is sucking my hard-earned money up and using it to pay somebody else's health insurance fairer and more equitable to me? He did say "everyone" did he not? Obviously, when the liberally stupid mention fairness and equity, they really mean paying off the people who put them in power by transferring the wealth of others. Fair and equitable my A**! If you live in Montana and don't vote Maxie out of office, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. Get off your lazy butt and go to the polls and send him packing.

Want to know what your additional tax bill will be? Assume that your employer spends about $1,000/month on your insurance. Also, assuming you are married and the government taxes the entire benefit, your bill will be as follows (Citizen Zane can find tax tables online!):

$1,200 if your taxable income is less than $15,650
$1,800 if your taxable income is between $15,650 and $63,700
$3,000 if your taxable income is between $63,700 and $128,500
$3,360 if your taxable income is between $128,500 and $195,850

I am guessing that there will be some portion of the benefit that is exempt, especially for the lower income groups, and that the above calculations would be on the high side. But, with this wacky Congress, you never can tell. Remember how fired up we all were about soaking the rich to pay for everything???? You can now look your insured a** in the mirror and spot the rich guy who will be paying - Citizen Zane

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Vote John Murtha Out Now!

I have to admit it. I absolutely HATE John Murtha. There, I said it. That may save me from 12 hours of therapy at $120/hr in the future. I hadn't heard of this noble Representitive from Pennsylvania until I found out about his rediculous airport which is a black hole for taxpayer dollars. I included that boondogle in an earlier post


Then today, I come accross this beauty:


Okay, the headline is a bit more scandalous than the actual content of the article (the guys involved were convicted several years ago and served their time). However, it turns out that they are still shady characters who have "allegedly" defrauded the government in their vast dealings with our tax dollars. Dollars, I might add, that were funneled to their enterprise as earmarks by that distinguished gentleman, John Murtha. Will I be shocked if I hear that Murtha received campaign donations from these guys or his relatives are somehow involved with these dealings? Nope, I will be shocked if that isn't the case. Obviously, Mr. Murtha is a spender/waster guy who sucks up our tax dollars and funnels them to his district to be wasted or to line the pockets of his supporters. Can we afford to keep creeps like him in office? Hey Pennslyvania, grow a pair and kick his a** out of Congress! - Citizen Zane

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mortgage Contract Not Worth the Paper its Printed On?

I came across this article that describes the heroics of members of Congress to help their constituents in trouble with their mortgages:


While I do applaud these Representatives for wanting to help their constituents - and I really liked what Maryland Rep Elijah Cummings was doing to bring lenders and mortgage holders together - I was quite dismayed to see that some members of Congress were trying to pass a law that would force banks to accept losses on existing mortgages to keep people in their homes. Thank goodness a bill that would allow Congress to pretty much tear up existing mortgage contracts and allow judges to force banks to take less money for people in bankruptcy. Smiling Dick Durbin of Illinois came up with that gem, which surprise, surprise, is supported by my old friend Maxine Waters.

Why do I think that it is a bad idea to allow judges to lower payments for people so that they can stay in their homes and stick it to the evil, greedy, faceless banks? Because a mortgage is a contract. When you sign that paper saying that you will pay back the money you are borrowing or the bank can take your home, well then you better make the payments or look for a new place to live. Cold hearted? Possibly. But to allow contracts to be arbitrarily broken is horrible business. Guess what I would do if I were a bank in the mortgage business and Congress had the power to stick me with the loss on any given mortgage? Yep, I'd raise the cost of getting a mortgage for everybody to cover the added losses for those who go bankrupt. That means that to keep the irresponsible nitwits who borrowed more than they could pay back in their houses that they can't afford, the rest of us have to pony up more hard-earned cash for our homes. Sounds like a typical liberal make all of us miserable to be equal policy to me.

You can ask me what I think about the Federal government's new plan to insure mortgages in an attempt to stem the foreclosure avalanche, but you probably already know what my answer would be. Haven't Fannie and Freddie lost enough of our money already? Its a sticky mess out there because banks can't really afford to take the losses that reworking really ugly mortgages would cause and Congress is under pressure to do something to help out. Do you know what my plan is? Let the banks work it out with the homeowners without government intervention. The banks will figure out which customers can afford to stay in their homes and what losses are acceptable to take on reworking those peoples' mortgages. Everyone else, your house goes back to the bank and on to the market. I know that this strategy will push the housing market lower, but it will not cost the taxpayers (people who didn't have mortgages that they couldn't pay back) anything more. Yep, everybody be responsible for yourselves for a change. The longer we keep trying to prop up this housing mess, the longer its going to take for the economy itself to recover.
I look into my crystal ball and see Congress giving in to the pressure, and allocating billions of our tax dollars to bail the homeowners out and artificially prop the market up for the short-term, causing an even bigger mess in the long-term. This is primarily because most members of Congress are too gutless to do the right thing, especially when the heat will come because they calously allowed people to lose their homes. No mention will be made of those people getting in over their heads on their own. Meanwhile, all of us who didn't get ourselves into trouble by buying houses that we couldn't afford are going to end up paying for our neighbors' stupidity. Hmmm, maybe they weren't so stupid after all - Citizen Zane

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Will Miracles Ever Cease? The Fed Agrees With Me.

Have you ever heard the saying closing the barn door after the horse is already gone? Fed Chief Ben Bernake has come out and stated, "Unless we come out and demonstrate a strong committment to fiscal sustainability in the longer term, we will have neither financial stability nor healthy economic growth".


Gee, do you think? I believe that the loose money policies that the Fed has exhibited over the past 10 years have been major contributors to inflating the housing market and promoting sub-prime mortgages. That's why when I hear socialist knuckleheads cast all of the blame on capitalism for our current mess, I roll my eyes. The Fed playing with the money supply and the interest rates, along with a rash of silly government policies to promote and purchase bad loans are not capitalism, but that's another story. The crazy thing here is that I actually agree with the Fed for a change. Even stranger, German Chancellor Angela Merkle weighs in on the same side of the argument (at least that's what the article notes).

The problem is that the more the government borrows, the higher the interest rate that lenders are going to require from us to keep our debt floating. That is because as our debt mounts, the prospect that the US will default or print more money to pay off the debt goes up. That's why nobody is lending to California anymore. When those rates start going up, it costs even more money to make the payments. I can't see how the government gets out of this mess without one of two things happening: 1) Congress reigns in spending; or 2) The Treasury prints up fresh money to pay the debt with. Just typing number 1 made me laugh out loud. Those fools don't have the courage to do what's right. That's why ALL OF THEM nee to be voted out. Option 2 is on the horizon. When that happens, look for the dollars in your hand to be monopoly money and for inflation to run rampant - Citizen Zane