Thanks for the laugh, Jay. Jay Leno cracked me up last week with this observation in his opening monologue: “President Obama released his tax returns. It turns out he made $900,000 less in 2011 than he did in 2010. You know what that means? Even Obama is doing worse under President Obama.”
Our do-nothing Senate. One of Barack Obama’s most popular campaign themes this year will be to denounce a “do-nothing” Congress. But in fact, the Republican-controlled House has passed plenty of important legislation, including tax cuts, jobs bills and a budget. It’s the Democratic-controlled Senate that’s been sitting on its hands. A report from the Secretary of the Senate said last year’s group is among the least productive in 20 years, with fewer bills passed, fewer roll-call votes taken and fewer amendments introduced. I guess we should be glad we’re not getting all of the government we’re paying for.
Green Company Goes Into The Red. When the Department of Energy agreed to lend Solar Trust of America $2.1 billion, Secretary Steven Chu said the solar project would create “1,000 direct jobs [and] 7,500 indirect jobs.” It turns out the actual number of new jobs will be closer to zero. Last week, Solar Trust declared bankruptcy.
Congress finally agrees on something. Since no Democrat was willing to submit President Barack Obama’s latest budget to the House, Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) decided to do it for them. He sponsored an alternative budget proposal based on Obama’s budget plan. What happened? Not a single legislator voted for it! That’s right, no one on either side of the aisle would say “aye.” The measure got a bipartisan rejection: 0-414.
That’s some valuable trash. Here’s a stat that will blow you away. At least it did me. In the United States, we dispose of several million cellphones a year. One million cellphones contain more than 35,000 pounds of copper, 770 pounds of gold, 75 pounds of silver and 33 pounds of palladium. By the way, a computer’s circuit board contains four times as much gold and twice as much copper as a cellphone.
This gives new meaning to April Fools’ Day. On the first of next month, Japan cuts its tax rate on corporate profits from 39.5 percent to 36.8 percent. So what, you ask? When that happens, it means that the United States will have the world’s highest corporate tax rate. Our combined Federal and State levies of 39.2 percent will be higher than taxes charged in Russia, China, Sweden and Denmark. Oh, and Japan plans to cut those taxes by another 2.3 percent in three years. Hey, aren’t we supposed to be the pro-capitalist country?
Cutting back at Fannie and Freddie. In a well-publicized effort to slam the barn door a few years too late, the Administration of President Barack Obama proudly announced that it is capping the pay of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bosses at half-a-million bucks a year. That’s an improvement over the past few years, when Fannie and Freddie chief execs pocketed several million dollars a year. But it’s a far cry from what Congress should do: Dismantle both unConstitutional boondoggles.
Democrats for Santorum. Mitt Romney’s supporters are still smarting over appeals by Rick Santorum’s team to get Democrats to vote for their guy in the Republican primary in Michigan. Their efforts, which included robocalls to Democratic voters, were only partially successful. USA Today reported that 9 percent of Michigan voters identified themselves as Democrats. “More than half of those voters, or 53%, said they voted for Santorum,” the newspaper reported. But it wasn’t enough to give Santorum the win.
Even worse than I said. My Straight Talk column last week on Obama’s budget baloney actually understated his new tax and tax, spend and spend proposals. I said he wanted to raise the tax on dividends for “the rich” to 39.6 percent — more than double where it is now. But I forgot to include the investment tax surcharge included in Obamacare and the phase-out of deductions and exemptions. Add it all together and, if Obama gets his way, the dividend tax rate in 2013 will be 44.8 percent — nearly three times what it is today.
Another warning about the dollar’s decline. Warren Buffett writes: “Even in the U.S., where the wish for a stable currency is strong, the dollar has fallen a staggering 86% in value since 1965, when I took over management of Berkshire [Hathaway]. It takes no less than $7 today to buy what $1 did at that time.” This “invisible inflation tax” is devastating the value of bonds. In fact, he warns, “Right now bonds should come with a warning label.” I agree. Caveat emptor.