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Chip Shots


Taxes Will Go Up

Sneaking a tax increase into law. The word out of Washington is that the so-called “super committee” of Congress, which was granted extraordinary (and unConstitutional) powers to “resolve” the debt crisis, will approve several new revenue enhancers. Please note it will not use the dreaded phrase “tax increase.” No, instead it plans to disallow many deductions taxpayers have enjoyed for years. The result, of course, will be to increase the taxes you and I pay.

Made In The U.S.

We export chopsticks to China? Yes, believe it or not, we do. Seems an entrepreneur in South Georgia realized that the poplar and sweet gum trees that grow by the thousands down there make almost perfect chopsticks. The wood is flexible and doesn’t splinter very easily. So now Georgia Chopsticks exports millions of pairs of chopsticks to China every day. Isn’t it amazing how the free market can work when government keeps out of the way?

Desperate For Votes

The communists endorse the Occupy Wall Street crowd. No surprise the communists like the protesters. After all, Brian Phillips, their self-proclaimed leader, said the group’s goal is nothing less than “the overthrow of the government.” The question is: Why have Barack Obama and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee cozied up to them? Are they that desperate for votes? I guess the answer is “yes.”

Put Up Or Shut Up

Please, Warren, shut up. Are you getting as tired as I am of hearing Warren Buffett spout off about how the rich should pay more in taxes? Rather than annually giving billions of dollars to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which lowers his taxes even more, why doesn’t he just write a check to the U.S. Treasury? The truth is, every dollar Buffett gets in dividends has already been taxed 35 percent by the government. If you add that to the supposedly meager taxes he pays personally, it comes to a lot more than his poor secretary forks out. And what really riles me is that Buffett knows this.

Look Who’s Protesting

Unions support the Occupy Wall Street movement. A new group has joined what The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto called “superannuated hippies, dopey college kids, and fatuous liberals” demonstrating against Wall Street: thousands of union members. And guess what? It turns out the labor groups all have something in common: “they all include members who work for the government or, in the case of the UAW, for corporate welfare cases.” Surprise, surprise.

A Curmudgeon Retires

*So long, Andy. Thanks for the memories. Last Sunday marked the end of an era. Andy Rooney, everybody’s favorite caring curmudgeon, delivered his last essay on 60 Minutes. It was a dandy, too — as was the interview with him earlier in the show. Even though Andy was a tad more liberal than I am (okay, a lot more liberal), you’ve got to admire someone who was clever, amusing, entertaining and often spot on for 1,097 broadcasts covering 33 years. I salute you, Andy. And I’ll honor your final request — to leave you alone if I ever see you in a restaurant.

Don’t Print More Money

Leave the printing presses alone! Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has come out in favor of what no rational person would ever endorse: printing valueless money to cover indebtedness. Here are his exact words: “The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that. So there is zero probability of default.” Gee, I can remember when the money maestro said the best way to protect our currency was to back it with gold. I still like that solution.

Invest In Guns

What people buy when they’re worried. Of course, worried people buy gold and silver, which goes a long way toward explaining why the two precious metals have outshined all other asset classes over the past 10 years. But an alert reader reminded me of something else people purchase when they’re nervous about the future: guns. Check out the growth in shares of gunmaker Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. (RGR). It looks like their business is doing even better than gold.

Rand Has No Confidence In Geithner

Let’s have a vote of “no confidence.” Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has called on the Senate to pass a vote of “no confidence” in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. “I see no reason and no objective evidence that any of his policies are succeeding,” Rand said. It would be interesting to get every member of the Senate on record on this question: especially with one-third of them facing re-election next year.

Go Figure

How would your family fare? (Many thanks to the reader who sent me the following item.) Suppose your family’s income is $21,000 a year. But you currently owe $142,500, and you’re adding $36,200 of new debt every year. You don’t reduce any of the balances; instead, you borrow the money to make the interest payments. You hold a family council to discuss what you’re going to do about the situation. After a lot of wrangling and mutual accusations, you all agree to reduce your spending by $380 a year. Add nine zeroes to this account, and you’ve just described the situation with our national debt. Does this explain why Standard & Poor’s downgraded our debt?

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