The Emperor has no clues

The Emperor has no clues

Cliff Thier

“On the other hand, what you’re now seeing is profit and earning ratios are starting to get to the point where buying stocks is a potentially good deal if you’ve got a long-term perspective on it.”

It’s price/earnings ratios. The “p” is for price. Price. Got it?


Holy cow. This is getting worse by the day. First off. Obama doesn’t understand how the market works. It’s a vote of confidence each and every day how things are going to be in the future. Not how things were yesterday. Or, even today.

During the campaign, Barak Obama famously displayed his dismaying ignorance of economics and the availability and utilization of capital when he was surprised to learn, during an ABC interview, that lower capital gains rates result in high federal revenues. (Even worse, was that this knowledge didn’t change his mind about the desirability of lower capital gains tax rates–he still wanted higher rates because that would be “fairer.” Even if it meant less tax revenue.)

Now, we learn that he doesn’t even understand the most basic things about valuing equities. Worse, that he can’t even remember what professors Geithner and Buffet and Volker are trying to teach him.

Smoke and Mirrors: The Magic of Barack Obama

Smoke and Mirrors: The Magic of Barack Obama

By Monte Kuligowski

Every good magician can alter one’s perception of reality by use of deception. In context of a magic show, trickery is a good thing; when it comes to a political show, it’s not so good. President Obama has come to be known as one of the most eloquent politicians in American history. But it was not eloquence alone that got him into the White House; it was eloquence coupled with pretense. And with those twin characteristics Obama is almost effortlessly imposing his extreme-left agenda on the country.


From the womb of the Democrat National Convention in 2004 a star was born. And not just any star but, The Star, the savior of all things liberal arose from obscurity to instant national media fame. Yet, interestingly, the famous speech delivered by the future president contained no overtures of liberal policy. While delivering the convention’s Keynote Address, Obama spoke of America “as a beacon of freedom and opportunity.” He spoke of his father who herded goats in Kenya and his maternal grandfather who “signed up for duty” after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He even mentioned the “Creator” and “inalienable rights.”


The unknown state senator from Illinois also informed the convention crowd that he understood that people “don’t expect government to solve all their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead, and they want to. Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don’t want their tax money wasted . . . .”


At the 2004 convention, Obama began the transformation from ultraliberal Chicago machine politician (of whom not many outside of Chicago politics knew anything about) to the smoke-and-mirrors image of a post-racial, post-partisan, middle of the road, nice guy of hope and change. The speech effectively promoted Obama as an all-American, apple pie moderate who could win at the national level; while doing little to promote the Democrat’s actual candidate of 2004, the liberal (but less so than Obama) John Kerry.


Obama’s Keynote Address was one that most Republicans could have given. But that was just the beginning of Obama’s audacity: In 2008, as a rookie U.S. Senator, Obama’s presidential campaign rhetoric outmatched the conservatism of any conservative.


Yes, I’m speaking of the same Barack Obama from Illinois who was able to earn the distinction of becoming the most far left, liberal senator in the U.S. Senate in just a half-term (according to the National Journal, Obama was to the left of open socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2007). Yes, the same man, the mother of all liberals, Barack Obama, ran his presidential campaign on the platform of giving tax breaks to 95% of Americans. Take that Republicans! And if you’re ready to get dizzy, consider that Obama shamelessly says his trillion-dollar “stimulus” plan from which taxpayers will be enslaved for generations, will cut the taxes of the 95%.


“That’s insane,” you might exclaim. Well, yes, if words retain their customary meaning. When Obama said in 2004 that people don’t want their tax money wasted, the meaning of the word “wasted” is the key to understanding The One. Obama believes that “reinvesting” tax money into the welfare system is a responsible use of government-forced contributions from the “wealthy.” When Obama speaks of tax cuts, often he is actually speaking of redistributing tax money. In Obama’s world, government spending can actually mean cutting taxes. Words take on new meaning when Obama the Great performs his magic.


A leading intellectual of the left, George Lakoff, in his piece, “The Obama Code,” instructs that many pundits, in interpreting Obama’s words, completely miss the Obama Code. “For the sake of unity,” notes Lakoff, “the President tends to express his moral vision indirectly.” That’s the understatement of the year. In other words, Obama would cause division if he were to say what he really means. If he can dupe a majority with words, division is allayed; even as Obama goes about implementing a system of which most people would otherwise fiercely oppose.


“The Obama Code is both moral and linguistic at once. The President is using his enormous skills as a communicator to express a moral system. As he has said, budgets are moral documents. His economic program is tied to his moral system,” Lakoff observes. Professor Lakoff also informs us that, “tens of millions of Americans–both conservatives and progressives–don’t yet perceive the vital sea change that Obama is bringing about.”


At this point, the sea change is becoming fairly apparent — it’s nothing less than, as Obama puts it, “the remaking of America.” All of Obama’s domestic policy — education, health care, welfare, global warming, liberal activism, voter-base expansion, Chicago politics out of Washington, etc. — is tied to his moral system. And his moral system just happens to be shared with his former Chicago alliances of whom we weren’t allowed to mention during the campaign.


President Obama’s moral system is one of social, redistributive justice. As Rev. Wright put it at the very first Trinity service Obama attended, “White folks’ greed runs a world in need.” Ten out of 10 radicals surveyed agree that America must be remade via spreading the wealth around. That means confiscating increasingly more money from society’s hard-working wage earners and job producers and redistributing or “reinvesting” the booty in liberal programs and bureaucracies. No matter that the welfare state has been an abject failure, having destroyed the traditional family and shipwrecked tens of millions of lives. “The welfare system just needs more taxpayer money and then it will finally succeed,” dreams the radical left.


The moral system of the far left requires big government for its big programs and big ambitions. But if Obama had expressed his “moral vision” directly, he wouldn’t have been elected. And currently, though big government is the money train of his moral system, he dare not say it.


That’s why Obama said, with a straight face, on Feb. 24: “I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan . . . that would put people back to work and put money in their pockets, not because I believe in bigger government — I don’t — not because I’m not mindful of the massive debt we’ve inherited — I am.”


The president doesn’t believe in bigger government, yet two days later on Feb. 26 he unveiled his intention of confiscating from future taxpayers $3.6 trillion more dollars for his 2010 budget spending plan (the largest in U.S. history). In doing so, Obama actually had the audacity to release the following statement: “The time has come to usher in a new era — a new era of responsibility in which we act not only to save and create new jobs, but also to lay a new foundation of growth upon which we can renew the promise of America.”


That’s sort of like having a “Fiscal Responsibility Summit” after pledging to waste $787 billion, plus interest, of taxpayer money while calling it “economic stimulus.”


Don’t be confused. Learn to decipher the Obama Code: Laying the foundation of Obama’s moral system with trillions of taxpayer dollars is, of course, fiscally responsible.


Speaking as an uncanny prophet of liberalism, Keith Olbermann commented on Obama’s Aug. 28, 2008 speech at Invesco Field: “For forty-two minutes not a sour note, and spellbinding throughout in a way usually reserved for the creation of fiction.” No doubt fiction was created and continues to be created.


The magic of Obama is to say one thing while simultaneously believing and doing the opposite.

Monte Kuligowski is an attorney who writes on topics of faith, culture, policy and law. His blog site is

Page Printed from: at March 05, 2009 – 10:03:17 AM EST

Obama’s Cap-And-Trade Rip-Off

Obama’s Cap-And-Trade Rip-Off

By Steven Milloy | 3/5/2009

President Obama wants to pay you to support global warming regulation. What he isn’t saying, however, is that his enticement won’t come close to covering what the regulations will cost you.


In his 10-year budget released last week, the President proposed a so-called “cap-and-trade” scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Under the proposal, 100 percent of the permits to emit greenhouse gases would be auctioned to coal and natural gas-burning electric utilities, industrial plants and other emitters still to be designated. The proceeds from the auctions would then be distributed to individual Americans “to help the transition to a clean energy economy,” according to his budget proposal.


But what does this proposal mean for the average person in terms of actual dollars and cents? It’s difficult to work out the precise financial impacts, but you can get an idea by doing some back-of-the-envelop calculations with some of the facts and figures that have recently been bandied about.


Based on past global warming legislation, like the Lieberman-Warner bill that failed in the Senate last June, a cap-and-trade plan would probably cover about 80 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — about 5.8 billion tons based on a total of 7.3 billion tons emitted during 2007.


Assuming that permits are auctioned at a price of $12 per ton – a safety valve price included in past climate bills — the Obama plan would raise about $70 billion in its first year. Given that President Obama has proposed to spend about $15 billion per year of the auction proceeds on “clean energy” projects, about $55 billion would be leftover for distribution to individuals – that is, every American with a social security number. Dividing the $55 billion among more than 300 million Americans, then, works out to about $180 per person and $720 per family of four per year. It’s not like winning the lottery, but it’s better than nothing — or is it?


The liberal think tank Center on Budget Priorities and Policy estimated last week that reducing greenhouse gas emissions would cost the poorest families in America $750 per year as higher energy prices ripple through the economy affecting all goods and services. So if the poorest families, who use far less energy than the rest of America, are in a financial hole under the President’s plan, one can easily imagine how the rest of us will end up. Consider the potential consequences on just your electric bill.


The Lieberman-Warner bill would have auctioned only 25 percent of the permits — not 100 percent as President Obama is proposing. The remaining 75 percent of the credits would have been distributed for free to electric utilities and other designated greenhouse gas emitters. But even under that scheme, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers told the New York Times last summer that electricity rates would rise by 40 percent in the first year to cover his utility’s $2 billion outlay for credits. So a 100 percent auction could increase electricity bills for Duke’s 4 million customers by 160 percent — meaning a $100 monthly electric bill becomes, perhaps, a $260 monthly bill. Based on these calculations, a family of four that pays more than $40 per month for electricity — that is, every family — is a net loser under President Obama’s plan.


And those are the potential increases for just your electric bill. Not included are other likely price hikes for goods and services — gasoline, food, travel, etc. — that will necessarily be passed along to consumers. As you can readily see, your share of President Obama’s auction proceeds does not need come close to breaking even on greenhouse gas regulation.


Maybe you’re thinking that these extra costs are worth it, as they will be dwarfed by the environmental benefits of tackling the much-dreaded global warming. Think again. There will be no detectable or tangible benefits from reduced greenhouse gas emissions. First, carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas targeted by regulation is invisible, colorless and odorless. Since it exists in the atmosphere at levels measured in the parts per million, unless you’re plant that needs CO2 to live, you’re not going to notice it.


Next, there is no evidence that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing detectable changes, much less any harm, to the climate. (Check out this popular YouTube video I made on this issue.) This means, of course, that there is no evidence that reducing carbon dioxide emissions will have any detectable changes on climate.


Even assuming for the sake of argument that manmade carbon dioxide emissions were changing climate, President Obama’s cap-and-trade bill will still have no detectable impact. First, EPA projects that a maximum clamp down on future U.S. emissions would reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by about 5 percent or less — a trivial change no matter what you believe about carbon dioxide. Moreover, China and India have vowed not to harm their economies because of global warming — so their emissions can be expected to soar as they develop and more than make-up for our reductions.

If the economics of Obama’s cap-and-trade rip-off don’t bother you, the fact that the rip-off will also accomplish nothing should give you pause.

Steven Milloy publishes and is the author of the forthcoming book, “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Ruin Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.”