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What's going on – News Roundup

Monday Evening News Roundup

It appears that the United States warned India back in October that there was going to be an attack on the hotel and business centers in Mumbai.

Contrast the above intelligence “success” to President Bush’s interview with Charlie Gibson last night. Bush admitted that the biggest failure of his presidency was the cataclysmic lack of weapons of mass destruction. Bush had the audacity to place the blame for that travesty at the doorstep of the CIA, when in fact the blame is entirely his. It was his job to look at all the information.  It was his job to weigh the pros and cons. He abdicated that responsibility.

The indictments that a Texas grand jury turned in against Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have been dismissedWho’s surprised?

Blogger Glenn Greenwald, who has been on my radio show on a number of occasions, had another great post yesterday. He commented on an issue of the New York Times in which an article brought attention to a number of conflicts of interest regarding General Barry McCaffreyGeneral McCaffrey is on the payroll of NBC News. Glenn does an excellent job highlighting the hypocrisy of NBCGenerals who show up on the evening news should really be free of conflicts of interest.

The National Bureau Of Economic Research has now officially stated that December 2007 was the start of this recession. So what has the Bush administration been doing for the last year? With the stock market dropping almost 700 points today, I must say I do not believe Bush administration has done enough.

Barack Obama has announced his national security team. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will continue in his present position. Eric Holder will be the Attorney General. Former General James Jones ( see the Jones commission report) will be his National Security Adviser. Janet Napolitano, governor of Arizona, will become Secretary of Homeland Security. Susan Rice will be nominated for Ambassador to the United Nations. Finally, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will serve as Secretary of State. This team is tremendously qualified. As usual, however, I have some questions. Where is General Wesley Clark? I really thought Senator Chuck Hagel would be appointed to Defense. Is there a spot for him in the administration? (By the way, the “fair and balanced” Fox News didn’t even cover the Obama press conference.)

Almost a quarter of United States employees who use the Internet at work spend a little time during the workday looking at on-line pornography. 🙂  Nice. Nothing else need be said.

By |2008-12-01T22:11:36-04:00December 1st, 2008|Bush Administration, Economy, Obama administration, Terrorism|Comments Off on What's going on – News Roundup

Early Indiana Results

Early voting in Indiana seems to favor Barack Obama. I’m sure that this means nothing but MSM has to cover every trivial meaningless detail. I have yet to see a great article in the MSM on the gas tax. The reporting is mostly he said, she said.

Update: So, I went looking for some good information on the gas tax holiday. I found it on the Washington Post’s Fact Checker. Here’s what they have to say – Both John McCain and Hillary Clinton have called for a “gas tax holiday” this summer to offer commuters and vacationers some release from spiraling gas prices. They have urged Congress to suspend the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a step that could cost the government about $10 billion in revenues. The only major candidate to oppose the idea is Barack Obama, who voted for a similar measure in Illinois eight years ago. Obama now says that consumers will derive little benefit from the tax moratorium. So who is right?

The Facts

When gas prices hit a shocking $2 a gallon in Illinois in the summer of 2000, politicians demanded action. As a Democratic state senator, Obama joined other lawmakers in pushing through a six-month suspension in the state’s 5 percent sales tax on gasoline (BTW, would this count as legislative experience something that Obama is supposed to lack). While there was some talk about making the moratorium permanent, the tax was reinstated in January 2001, after Illinois Gov. George Ryan told lawmakers that the state could not afford to continue the tax break.

The gas tax moratorium proved politically popular in Illinois, but economically questionable. The Illinois Economic and Fiscal Commission estimated that the state lost $175 million in revenues during the six-month period. A subsequent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that gas prices fell by 3 percent, meaning that only three fifths of the savings from reduced taxes was passed on to consumers.

“It turned out to have a pretty small effect,” said Joseph Doyle, an assistant economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Consumers were slightly better off, but the benefits were spread very thinly, and the government was a lot worse off.”

A poll by the Chicago Tribune showed that only 28 percent of motorists believed that they were actually paying less for gas as a result of the temporary suspension of the tax. Obama has changed his mind dramatically on the tax cut since voting for it back in 2000 in Illinois. On the campaign trail Monday in North Carolina, he described the proposal as a “short-term quick fix that we can say we did something even though we’re not really doing anything.”

Some economists say that a nationwide “gas tax holiday” would have even less impact on gas prices than temporary state moratoriums, such as the one passed by Illinois in 2000. “It’s basic economics,” said Leonard Burman, director of the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan thinktank. “Gas is always in very short supply during the summer, which is why prices go up. In order to reduce the price, you would have to increase supply, but that is difficult over the short term, because the refineries cannot add capacity.”

James Hamilton, professor of economics at the University of California at San Diego, said that most of the benefits from a temporary tax moratorium would likely go to producers rather than consumers. He said that states that suspend gas taxes are able to respond to rising demand more efficiently than the country as a whole, because gasoline supplies can be easily moved from one state to another.

“Prices would certainly rise to the market-clearing level,” said Hamilton. “I would expect the price [of gas] to go back to very close to where it was before [the tax cut], in which case consumers would not see any benefit.”

Another economist, Jeffrey Perloff, of UC-Berkeley, agreed that a federal tax moratorium would likely have less impact on consumer gas prices than a state moratorium. He said his models showed that a suspension of the 18.4-cent federal tax on gasoline would likely result in a temporary 9- to 12-cent reduction in the cost of a gallon of gas to the consumer, with the remainder of the reduction coming in wholesale prices.

By |2008-05-03T22:42:48-04:00May 3rd, 2008|Election 2008, Taxes|1 Comment
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