Monday, April 27, 2009



1. San Diego Tax Fighters’ position on upcoming 19 May CA state props

2. Rider radio shows online for listening

3. Rider Rant now also a blog – hopefully

4. Our latest recession is really a “mancession”

5. Night of the Living Death Tax

6. California’s bogus think tanks – and media bias

7. Fiscal Child Abuse

8. Modern technology finally reaches CalTrans

9. NRA is giving free memberships

10. Obama’s huge new debt on the unborn and our children is staggering

11. Liberal columnist’s pathetic attempt to justify Prop 1A

12. Tax-free Internet shopping may be at an end

13. Government warnings about “Rightwing extremists” is bogus – and frightening

14. President Obama as Dr. Evil: He wants to cut federal spending by $100 mill-yun dollars

15. 1970 Earth Day predictions are must reading – total bunk

1. San Diego Tax Fighters’ position on upcoming 19 May CA state props

RIDER COMMENT: At San Diego Tax Fighters, we've taken a divergent position from most taxpayer groups on a couple props, but frankly it doesn't matter on these two (1D and 1E). Actually, we don’t really much care about these two revenue shifting props. The money is being misused now, and will be misused if it is shifted. The outcome is not important either way.

What IS important are props are 1A through 1C, and mostly 1A. Indeed, 1B fails to take effect if 1A is defeated.

Here's our memory aid for how to vote:

There are six props on the ballot. Here’s our position, with our enthusiasm for our position noted by the number of exclamation marks.

1A NO!!!!!!

2A NO!!!!!!

3A NO!!!!



6A YES!!!!

Hmmm. Taken together in sequence, that will be easy to remember. Add your own fantasy to make it work for you.

If you are a California voter, doubtless you have your ballot booklet by now. If you vote by mail, you should have your physical ballot to fill out and mail back (the only way to vote, IMNSHO).

If you lack the book and you’d like to read online the official info on the six California state props on the May ballot – including the summary, LAO analysis and arguments, you can do so now online:

2. Rider radio shows online for listening

RIDER COMMENT: As some of you know, I sat in for Rick Amato on his KCBQ radio last week. It was two hours of spellbinding insights. Well, not really. But I had good guests, and, more important, it’s online for listening.

Now let me be clear – I am NOT recommending you listen. Each “tape” is an hour long (though you can skip the commercials). But if you are so inclined, I’m presenting the show links as an option in your life. Good for multi-taskers, mainly.

Rider with Gary Gonsalves and Vince Vasquez:

Rider with Tom Aaron (from Carl DeMaio’s office):

BTW, I also did a half hour TV show on KUSI with host Paul Bloom on San Diego city budget problems. My other panelists were Mike Aguirre and April Boling. It aired 4/26 on “San Diego People.” Unfortunately it does not seem to be put up on their website. Just as well, I suspect. You’ve heard it all before.

3. Rider Rant now also a blog – hopefully

RIDER COMMENT: I’m rushing to join the 21st century, providing my rants as a blog as well as a “push” e-newsletter. It’s still in the experimental stage, but so far, so good -- mostly. Here’s the temporary link:

For most, the e-newsletter will work better, as I’m having problems posting graphics up on the blog site. I’ll have to use URL links for that, if available.

Time permitting, I’ll start posting up past rants, and perhaps other stuff. It may not all be pretty, but hopefully it is searchable. As I said, I’m still experimenting. I may later switch my blog provider.

4. Our latest recession is really a “mancession”

RIDER COMMENT: This recession is bad, but for men, it’s REALLY bad. According to US NEWS & WORLD REPORTS (May, 2009), “Men account for nearly 80% of the jobs lost since February 2008.”

There are higher job losses in manufacturing and construction, where far more men than women are employed. This recession is the opposite of what has been seen in past recessions, where women have often lost more jobs than men.

Men too often rely on muscle rather than brains to make a living. As a result, most college students today are women. According to a USA TODAY 2005 article, 57% of college students are female.

Clearly, most professional positions in the future will be “manned” by women. More and more, guys are becoming stud muffins and trophy husbands, but not breadwinners.

Oddly enough, there are still affirmative action policies favoring women at many universities. Others have started affirmative action for male applicants. At least employment in affirmative action programs is still one area where the economic downturn has had zero effect.

Not that these programs produce anything but unfair discrimination, mind you. But hey, employment is good, regardless of productivity! Right?

5. Night of the Living Death Tax

RIDER COMMENT: Contrary to what the Obama administration is claiming (no new taxes for the next couple of years), they plan to dramatically boost the death tax a.k.a. “estate tax.” Not really a surprise, but they are trying to deny it.

Most of you needn’t worry. With the recession, your personal wealth is now low enough to avoid such taxes. However, it will hurt job formation (as the article details), further bumping up unemployment in coming years. Fortunately we can all work for the government.

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Night of the Living Death Tax

Obama's budget quietly resurrects it in 2010.

Lawrence Summers, President Obama's chief economic adviser, declared recently that "Let's be very clear: There are no, no tax increases this year. There are no, no tax increases next year." Oh yes, yes, there are. The President's budget calls for the largest increase in the death tax in U.S. history in 2010.

The announcement of this tax increase is buried in footnote 1 on page 127 of the President's budget. That note reads: "The estate tax is maintained at its 2009 parameters." This means the death tax won't fall to zero next year as scheduled under current law, but estates will be taxed instead at up to 45%, with an exemption level of $3.5 million (or $7 million for a couple). Better not plan on dying next year after all.

This controversy dates back to George W. Bush's first tax cut in 2001 that phased down the estate tax from 55% to 45% this year and then to zero next year. Although that 10-year tax law was to expire in 2011, meaning that the death tax rate would go all the way back to 55%, the political expectation was that once the estate tax was gone for even one year, it would never return.

And that is no doubt why the Obama Administration wants to make sure it never hits zero. It doesn't seem to matter that the vast majority of the money in an estate was already taxed when the money was earned. Liberals counter that the estate tax is "fair" because it is only paid by the richest 2% of American families. This ignores that much of the long-term saving and small business investment in America is motivated by the ability to pass on wealth to the next generation.

The importance of intergenerational wealth transfers was first measured in a National Bureau of Economic Research study in 1980. That study looked at wealth and savings over the first three-quarters of the 20th century and found that "intergenerational transfers account for the vast majority of aggregate U.S. capital formation." The co-author of that study was . . . Lawrence Summers.

Many economists had previously believed in "the life-cycle theory" of savings, which postulates that workers are motivated to save with a goal of spending it down to zero in retirement. Mr. Summers and coauthor Laurence Kotlikoff showed that patterns of savings don't validate that model; they found that between 41% and 66% of capital stock was transferred either by bequests at death or through trusts and lifetime gifts. A major motivation for saving and building businesses is to pass assets on so children and grandchildren have a better life.

What all this means is that the higher the estate tax, the lower the incentive to reinvest in family businesses. Former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin recently used the Summers study as a springboard to compare the economic cost of a 45% estate tax versus a zero rate. He finds that the long-term impact of eliminating the death tax would be to increase small business capital investment by $1.6 trillion. This additional investment would create 1.5 million new jobs.

In other words, by raising the estate tax in the name of fairness, Mr. Obama won't merely bring back from the dead one of the most despised of all federal taxes, and not merely splinter many family-owned enterprises. He will also forfeit half the jobs he hopes to gain from his $787 billion stimulus bill. Maybe that's why the news of this unwise tax increase was hidden in a footnote.

6. California’s bogus think tanks – and media bias

RIDER COMMENT (sent earlier to some insiders): I guess I retain a special place in my heart for SD U-T reporter/columnist Dean Calbreath. His poorly reasoned and badly referenced liberal “business” commentaries seem to set me off – I guess because he’s perhaps the most prominent local big government columnist (with apologies to all the OTHER local big government columnists).

His recent commentary got me going again. I’ve posted several rebuttal comments to his column online (at the same link), but much is a rehash of stuff I’ve distributed previously. However, here’s some fresh material:

To refute claims “by some business leaders” that California’s high tax and heavy regulatory policies are really not a problem, Calbreath in this column turns to Steven Levy, the head of the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy (CCSCE). Google this outfit, and you'll find it's a firmly left-of-center "think tank" that consistently favors ever higher taxes and fees. Levy and presumably CCSCE are at least partially funded by the San Francisco Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, two liberal funding sources.

Of course, Calbreath – true to form – never mentions the liberal bias of CCSCE. We are supposed to conclude that this is an objective source of information.

It's not. Not even close.

Here’s more evidence of CCSCE’s bias.

Levy et al put together the clever but totally bogus online California Budget Challenge, in conjunction with "Next 10," a far left outfit. Take the challenge propaganda test:
Now go a few pages in to vote your preference on the six May statewide props. Look at the pop up window summarizing Prop 1A. This supposedly objective summary does NOT mention the $16 BILLION tax increase tied to Prop 1A! That's standard Democratic Party strategy -- blatant deceit through omission of facts. Clearly Next 10 and CCSCE are owned by the Dems, and have zero credibility.

If you punch through the rest of the California Budget Challenge, you'll find the state budget survey choices are
A. Cut services.
B. Change nothing.

There is no option to reduce runaway government employee compensation, nor to privatize government services. All innovative solutions are off the table in an effort to force people to conclude that the only option is to raise taxes.

CCSCE puts out detailed "analysis" of the state economy that totally ignores the adverse effects of our high taxes and crushing regulatory climate. Indeed, CCSCE is pushing for repeal of Prop 13, and the 2/3 voter approval requirement for passing new taxes.

Levy is up front about his preference for higher tax solutions. See his August 2008 article "A Tax Increase Will Help the California Economy." .
Go back and look at previous CCSCE materials, and you'll find that they are ALWAYS pushing for more taxes and fees.

Levy and Calbreath confuse the health of the California state and local GOVERNMENTS with the health of the California state ECONOMY. Obviously they are not the same indeed, the case can be made that bigger (healthier by Levy's benchmark) these governments are, the less healthy is the economy.

My bottom line question is: Why do the U-T business page editors allow Calbreath (and reporters) to quote such biased liberal sources without insisting on full disclosure of the source's bias? Let me assure you that, if Heritage, or Cato, or Reason, or any other low tax, limited government source were quoted, the bias of that source would be included – as it rightfully should be.

U-T editors, let's have a little parity here.



S. California can be center of universe – if stars align

2:00 a.m. April 5, 2009


7. Fiscal Child Abuse

8. Modern technology finally reaches CalTrans

Looks like CalTrans is going to lay off another 9000 workers.

Turns out the Japanese have invented a shovel that stands up by itself. (rimshot)

9. NRA is giving free memberships

RIDER COMMENT: The NRA is giving FREE 1-yr memberships to everyone that wants to join. Please join and pass it around, they are trying to build up their membership to fight pending legislation that impacts our right to bear arms. The outfit is far from perfect, but it is the most effective national gun rights organization we have.

http://www.nrahq. org/nrabonus/ accept-membershi p.asp

10. Obama’s huge new debt on the unborn and our children is staggering

RIDER COMMENT: Everyone is vaguely uneasy about the massive deficits Obama will be running – all in the name of “stimulus.” Well, personally, I DO find it stimulating – like a root canal is stimulating.

The amount of debt being imposed on us all is a crushing burden. Sadly, it’s the perfect debt to impose, because the people who will ultimately carry the load are too young to vote, or not even born yet. Even the young adults who so ardently voted for charismatic Obama don’t yet grasp what is happening, or who will pay for it.

But let’s get to specifics. This from an independent, indeed liberal paper quoting a staid, objective source.

Washington Post:

In the first independent analysis, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that President Obama's budget would rack up massive deficits even after the economy recovers, forcing the nation to borrow nearly $9.3 trillion over the next decade.

11. Liberal columnist’s pathetic attempt to justify Prop 1A

RIDER COMMENT: A few weeks back I met with the editorial board of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE to represent (along with Assemblyman Chuck DeVore) the opposition against Prop 1A. Five Prop 1A representatives were present. Fortunately reason prevailed, and the U-T has since published an excellent editorial castigating Prop 1A in a formal opposition statement.

It’s really something to listen to Prop 1A proponents dance and sing, trying without success to avoid the fundamental dishonesty of the unreported and undebated built-in $16 billion tax increase. U-T opinion writer Chris Reed was there, and writes about that meeting in his blog below, plus dissecting an amazing column by liberal LA TIMES apologist George Skelton.

George Skelton's biggest whopper yet: 'Nothing sneaky' about Prop. 1A

So the ballot language and TV ads for Proposition 1A carefully omit the fact that it extends huge tax hikes for two years. So the advocates for 1A who met with the Union-Tribune editorial board, including Joel Fox, admitted they were troubled by the deceptiveness of the 1A campaign. So on their calbuzz blog, veteran state government watchers Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine -- no flame-throwing John and Ken acolytes -- are mocking CTA ads for 1A as being grossly misleading. And what does LAT columnist George Skelton, voice of the Sacramento political-media establishment, do? Write a simply bizarre column asserting that up is down, left is right, right is wrong. Here is his headline:

"There's nothing sneaky about Proposition 1A"

In it, he quotes Assembly GOP leader Mike Villines as saying the following:

"We're not trying to trick anybody ... . This never has been an attempt to be sneaky."

Yo, George, yo, Mike -- if 1A is all so pure, why isn't the ballot language much more straightforward (and accurate)? Then why do 1A proponents almost always gloss over the two-year extension of tax hikes that 1A includes?

What's particularly dishonest about Skelton's column is that he knows full well that the only reason Karen Bass and Darrell Steinberg went along with creating a rainy-day fund that diverts revenue is that 1A is not a hard spending cap at all. It doesn't preclude raising taxes. And Bass has said over and over again -- ON THE RECORD -- that she wants to expand what products and services are taxed in California. I predict with 100 percent confidence that Bass will hijack the pending report from Gerry Parsky's tax reform commission on the day it is released as part of an effort to sharply raise state revenue, i.e., taxes.

Skelton has to know this. So why won't he write a column that explains the real narrative of what's going on behind the scenes? Here's why: He is the voice of the California media-political establishment, and this establishment knows the public would recoil if it understood what the establishment was up to.

I'll give Roberts and Trounstine the final word by noting that what they say about the CTA's ad applies to Skelton and the Sacramento establishment in general:

Just wonderin' how stupid the California Teachers Association thinks we are, given their new "Yes on Propositions 1A and 1B" TV ad and the matching mailer that arrived on Wednesday.

Here's the essence of their argument:

"Prop 1A will control state spending and create long-term reserve funds to protect against more cuts to our schools, our children's health care programs and funding for police and fire.

"Prop 1B will begin paying back some of the devastating cuts to our public schools and community colleges -- when the economy improves."

Yo! CTA! What about the $16 billion in tax increases that 1A extends in order to keep the budget afloat? Not important enough to mention? Are we too dense to possibly understand why this might actually be a good idea? Or are you just too weasley to actually try to make the policy case for taxes ?

"Repay and Protect Our Schools" is a swell slogan -- but it lies by omission. And when voters figure it out, which they will, given that thousands of people are screaming about the tax hikes at rallies around the state, fuggedaboutit.

How stupid do you think we all are, George Skelton?

Extremely stupid, evidently.

12. Tax-free Internet shopping may be at an end

RIDER COMMENT: One bad aspect of the current downturn is that politicians are desperate to collect “their” revenue from the hapless population. It looks like a major push is on at the federal level to require out-of-state vendors to collect sales tax from buyers. Fortunately y’all can afford it – and politicians assure us it’s a FAR better option than actually reining in runaway government spending.

13. Government warnings about “Rightwing extremists” is bogus – and frightening

RIDER COMMENT: First there was the right wing terrorist profiling report from Missouri law enforcement, and now the Department of Homeland Security puts out pretty much the same blathering nonsense. Laughable, until you think about where this mindset can lead totalitarian authorities – to MY doorstep, among other places. See the story below.

A side comment in the article deserves special note – the part about how TV and movies love right wing conspiracies and terrorists – ignoring real terrorist threats from other sources, and ignoring that such organized right wing (often evil business bosses) terrorist threats seldom happen.

I love “24,” the series on intrepid torturer Jack Bauer beating back one terrorist threat after another. I use the tension to ride my stationary bike to nowhere.

In the series – which has run for 6-7 years, all the terrorist are right wingers, or Muslims funded by shadowy right wing manipulators. Seldom if ever does a movie or TV terrorist thriller present as villains the REAL terrorists of the world – left wing groups and Islamic faithful.

Such pounding by Hollywood takes its toll on the audience’s understanding of what to fear. This drumbeat IS intentional, rest assured.

Here’s an excellent article, followed by a cartoon that sums it up nicely.

April 20, 2009

'Rightwing Extremists' Are Concerned About 'Restrictions
on Firearms Ownership and Use'

by Vin Suprynowicz,

Back in March, an unnamed Missouri police officer leaked to the press a report issued by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) - part of the law enforcement "fusion" effort now being organized by the
Department of Homeland Security around the country - titled "The Modern Militia Movement" and dated Feb. 20, 2009.

The MIAC report specifically described supporters of presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr as "militia" influenced terrorists and instructed the Missouri police to be on the lookout for supporters displaying bumper stickers and other paraphernalia associated with the Constitutional, Campaign for Liberty, and Libertarian parties.

Just a fluke, all taken out of context, apologists explained at the time - when the document received any coverage, at all.

But now comes a new, April 7 assessment from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," obtained by Reuters and other news media on April 14.

Actually, what the document finds is just the opposite of what its overblown title suggests: "The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are
currently planning acts of violence," the report admits at the outset.

Nonetheless, such characters need to be watched, the boys in Washington now advise.

After all, "Rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues. The economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment," the report continues.

Got that? Although your government can't find any actual EVIDENCE that any "rightwing extremists" are planning any violent or criminal acts, government agents are now advised to keep a close eye on them. Just in case.

The report warns that military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with combat skills could be recruitment targets, especially those having trouble finding jobs or fitting back into civilian society.

Also worth keeping an eye on, the report warns, are "those that are mainly anti-government, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority."

Good heavens! Does anyone still harbor such a dangerous notion, in 21st century America? Why, if folks like Tom Jefferson and James Madison were here today, they'd be arrested, apparently.

"These assessments are done all the time, this is nothing unusual," DHS spokeswoman Sara Kuban insists.

Some domestic commentary has been right on target. Constitutional attorney John Whitehead, for instance writes a cogent piece asking "Are we all enemies of the state?"

But since it offers the advantage of some geographic perspective, I particularly enjoyed the analysis of James Delingpole.

"Such is the latest wheeze dreamed up by the Obama administration to distract us from the fact that roughly half America now realises the man's New Deal II project is a slow-motion car crash from which in four agonized years time the US will be lucky to escape even half-way recognisable," Mr. Delingpole commented on Wednesday.

"Today - Tax Day - many of these ordinary, decent, Obama-fearing folk have gathered at Tea Party events in 500 locations across the US to protest against rising taxes and the ever increasing role of Big Government in their lives.

"How has the Obama machine responded? Well, funnily enough, in a manner which would surely meet the approval of its Socialist counterparts on this side of the pond: by smearing the opposition."

The Homeland Security directive is designed "to help police spot the tell-tale signs indicating potentially dangerous right wing extremism," Mr. Delingpole points out. "They include: Being unimpressed by America's
first 'African-American' president; Objecting to tax hikes; Disliking big government; Talking concernedly about the state of the economy and job loss, especially in the manufacturing and construction sectors," (and) Opposition to abortion, gay marriage and gun control.

"No really, I'm not making this up. Here's a representative paragraph:

"Many rightwing extremists are antagonistic toward the new presidential administration and its perceived stance on a range of issues, including immigration and citizenship, the expansion of social programs to minorities, and restrictions on firearms ownership and use. Rightwing extremists are increasingly galvanized by these concerns and leverage them as drivers for recruitment. .

"Sound familiar?," Mr. Delingpole asks. "Well it should do to anyone who has watched a TV thriller in the last two decades. Have you noticed how the bad guys in these series hardly ever to belong to any of the
terrorist organisations which pose a genuine threat (animal rights; Islamists; etc) but almost invariably to some sinister extreme right terror group we've never heard of before?

"Leftie screenwriters, bien-pensant ecclesiastical bloggers, ghastly lefties generally, just love the idea that the greatest danger to the world comes from the extreme right. And it just doesn't. Right-wing extremism is a mythical left-liberal bogeyman, nothing more," Mr. Delingpole concludes.

"Burgeoning Liberal Fascism, on the other hand: now there's something we should worry about very much indeed."

Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the daily Las Vegas Review-Journal and author of The Black Arrow.

© 2009 Vin Suprynowicz

This cartoon sums it up nicely. If you can’t see it, it’s at this web page (the cartoon about profiling).

14. President Obama as Dr. Evil: He wants to cut federal spending by $100 mill-yun dollars

RIDER COMMENT: You'll want to read this Chris Reed blog on Obama's spending cut initiative and play the short classic video. Trust me.

We're running a deficit of $6.4 billion a day this month -- $192 billion divided by 30 -- and the Obama administration seeks headlines by announcing an initiative to cut the grand total of $100 million out of the immense federal budget:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama convened his first formal Cabinet meeting, and the White House said he would challenge department and agency chiefs to look for ways to cut $100 million out of the federal budget.

Back from his fence-mending trip to Latin America and the Caribbean, Obama planned to remind the panel that American families are having to make tough financial decisions and need to know the government is spending their money wisely, too, a senior administration official said. The official discussed Topic A for the session on grounds of anonymity because it was to be behind closed doors.

This is beyond Onionesque. No wonder the official announced this anonymously. To be on the record would be to guarantee a lifetime of ridicule.

UPDATE: A friend asked me to put this in context of family income. Reducing a $2.3 trillion annual deficit by $100 million is akin to reducing a $23,000 credit card debt by $1.

That's right.

One dollar.


Or maybe this depiction from the Heritage Foundation will help:

15. 1970 Earth Day predictions are must reading – total bunk

RIDER COMMENT: Dire predictions of earth’s ecological demise are found almost daily in the paper – mostly from people who make their living making dire predictions.

Scary stuff. But reliable predictions? Based on past performance, not likely. At the very least, they are highly suspect, with much evidence countering their doomsday assertions.

That’s what makes a reread of the 1070 headlined predictions worth reviewing. The first Earth Day got the ball rolling, but was based on flawed science and bogus projections. Downright funny stuff, if it weren’t still taken so seriously by the media and the public.

NOTE: If you would like to receive my free periodic “Richard Rider Rant” e-newsletter with more of this type of information and analysis, just drop me an email at

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