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Chip Shots


The Numbers Lie

Rigging the unemployment numbers. There was a lot of pointing with pride last week when the Labor Department announced that unemployment in the United States had fallen from more than 9 percent to 8.6 percent. What the Barack Obama apologists didn’t mention, however, was that the numbers improved not because 120,000 new jobs were created; that would barely move the meter. No, what caused the drop was that 315,000 people stopped looking for work. Heck, if the White House could persuade all of the unemployed to quit applying for jobs, unemployment would fall to 0 percent.

Frankly Sad News

Darn! Now, I can’t help defeat him. I was kind of sad to learn that after more than 30 years of pushing this country further and further left, Massachusetts’ favorite gay caballero, Barney Frank, would not be seeking re-election next year. I always enjoy sending a few dollars to anyone running against my least-favorite politicians. And I can tell you, there’s never a dearth of choices. Are there any other Bay Staters I should help defeat?

Our Tax System Stinks

$14 billion in profits, zero in taxes. If you invest in General Electric, congratulations. Your company made $14 billion in profits last year and didn’t pay a penny in taxes. How was that possible? Well, $5 billion in profits in the United States were zeroed out because of a multitude of tax credits (think green energy) and other deductions. And $9 billion was earned and kept overseas, so no taxes were due on that money, either. If this makes you think our tax system stinks, you’re right. Now, what are we going to do about it?

Money For Nothing

Getting paid a lot for messing up. A lot of folks believe that the profligate loan policies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac help precipitate the financial crisis in the United States and the multibillion dollar bailout both government-sponsored entities subsequently received. So they won’t be happy to learn that nearly $100 million of their tax dollars went to lucrative pay packages for the agencies’ executives. The two top guys, Fannie Mae CEO Michael Williams and Freddie Mac CEO Charles Haldeman, each collected about $5.5 million last year and may get even more. Congress has promised to investigate.

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.

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