Obama's Climate Boast Gets Roasted; Oprah Tanks on Cable

Sunday, 25 Sep 2011 01:54 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Corporate Taxes in U.S. 'Impeding Recovery'
2. Heritage Foundation: Stop EPA 'Train Wreck'
3. Google Photos Show 'Hellish' N. Korea Work Camps
4. Website Pokes Fun at Obama's Climate Change Claim
5. Giuliani Endorses George Allen in Virginia Senate Race
6. Ratings 'Tanked' for Oprah's Cable Network
 

1. Corporate Taxes in U.S. 'Impeding Recovery'

Corporate taxes in the United States are the second highest in the developed world and place American firms at a "substantial competitive disadvantage," according to a new report from the Tax Foundation.

The statutory tax rate in the U.S. is 39.1 percent, exceeded only by Japan among the 34 member nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Since 1997, 30 of the 34 nations have lowered their statutory rates, and the average corporate tax rate for OECD nations has dropped from 36.5 percent to the current 25.1 percent, according to the Tax Foundation. The U.S. has not lowered its rate during that period.

But the effective tax rate is lower than the statutory rate due to deductions, credits, and other tax preferences. Here again, America's rate is second highest only to Japan. Results of 13 studies show that the effective U.S. rate is about 27 percent, compared to the OECD average of about 20 percent.

"Corporate taxes reduce the real rate of return on corporate investments," the Foundation observes. "In today's world, capital is highly mobile and flows toward investments with the highest rates of return.

"While the U.S. government is unable to take action to increase Chinese labor wages in order to level the playing field, it is entirely capable of reducing tax impediments for U.S. enterprises to be more competitive in international markets."

An effective corporate tax rate that is seven to eight points higher than the world average "represents a substantial competitive disadvantage for U.S. firms selling in international markets," the Foundation states.

"Investment that is shifted abroad boosts productivity and spurs job creation in foreign economies rather than the U.S.; the high U.S. effective corporate tax rate is actively impeding current efforts at recovery."

The report concludes: "These findings should alarm U.S. policymakers and provoke action."

Another factor to consider: High corporate taxes that discourage foreigners from investing in the U.S. reduce demand for American workers, points out Laurence J. Kotlikoff, professor of economics at Boston University and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. As a result, American workers' wages are lower than they would be with lower corporate taxes.

Editor's Note:



2. Heritage Foundation: Stop EPA 'Train Wreck'

Increasing access to America's energy resources would not only lower energy prices but also create jobs and bring much needed revenue to the financially strapped government, a new report from The Heritage Foundation asserts.

"Congress should require the government to provide a timely permitting process, as well as environmental and judicial reviews, and it should stop the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory train wreck by placing a freeze on new environmental guidelines," according to the report by Nicolas D. Loris.

Loris cites a new study that found that greatly increasing access to domestic energy resources and imports of Canadian oil would produce more than 1 million jobs by 2018. The federal government would collect more than $36 billion as soon as 2015, and more than $800 billion by 2030.

The United States has several sources of energy that can be tapped, said Loris, a policy analyst in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Onshore drilling has vast potential, but drilling has slowed due to a stalled permitting process. There are vast reserves in the West and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska, where more than 10 billion barrels of oil lie beneath a few thousand acres. Also, a $7 billion pipeline system would increase the supply of Canadian oil in the U.S. by 700,000 barrels per day and create 20,000 American jobs.

As for offshore drilling, at least 19 billion barrels of easily recoverable oil can be found off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and the eastern Gulf of Mexico, and another 19 billion barrels lie off the Alaskan coast. But drilling is curtailed due to environmental concerns.

An increase in natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania and West Virginia alone produced more than 57,000 jobs in 2009, and a recent study indicated that ending New York's moratorium on hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas would create up to 18,000 more jobs.

To "start the wheels of job creation turning" in the energy sector, Loris says Congress and the administration need to take several swift actions:

  • Remove the de facto moratorium on offshore and onshore drilling and speed up the permitting process.
     
  • Open the ANWR to drilling and completely open the nation's coasts for exploration and drilling. Congress should require the Interior Department to conduct sales of leases for exploration and drilling if a commercial interest exists.
     
  • Limit litigation. "Creating a manageable time frame for permitting and for groups or individuals to contest energy plans would keep potentially cost-effective ventures from being tied up for years in litigation," the Heritage report states.
     
  • Place a freeze on new environmental regulations. The president should tell the EPA to withdraw new environmental regulations that fail the cost-benefit test, or else Congress should legislatively place a freeze on new regulations.

Loris concludes: "Increasing the American energy supply should be low-hanging fruit for the 'super committee' charged with tackling the massive U.S. debt problem." It would "increase revenue through more royalties, leases and rent; it will also create jobs, and help lower energy prices in the process."

Editor's Note:



3. Google Photos Show 'Hellish' N. Korea Work Camps

New satellite photos from Google Earth show in unprecedented detail the concentration camps in North Korea that the government of Kim Il Jong has consistently claimed do not exist.

Previous satellite photos have shown only blurry images, but the new photos released by South Korea's Unification Ministry allow a closer look at the sites, and disclose that they have grown in recent years, the Daily Mail reports.

Amnesty International has compared the new satellite photos with others taken 10 years ago and confirmed that they have grown, branding them "hellish."

"The outside world certainly doesn't know what's going on and very little from the inside comes out," said Amnesty International's Sam Zarifi.

"The very little that has come out paints a very disturbing picture."

The North Korean camps hold as many as 200,000 citizens, many of them imprisoned for supposed political crimes. Men, women and children are forced to perform dangerous slave work in mining and agriculture, seven days a week. The food rations are very small, and an estimated 40 percent of prisoners die from malnutrition. Many prisoners are crippled from work accidents, frostbite or torture.

One former prisoner, identified as Kang, said he was nine years old when he and his family were sent to a camp for political crimes.

"We had no food," he told CBN News. "We ate anything we could get our hands on — rats, snakes, frogs, insects.

"The thing I remember the most about the camp is how the prison guards would kill people for no reason. I witnessed many people being executed."

Kang spent 10 years in the Yodok camp before escaping to China.

Scott Edwards, director of the science and human rights program at Amnesty International, told the Mail: "The fact that we would have to rely on satellite imagery just to dispel the government's assertion that these camps don't exist is testament really to the scale of the human travesty."

Editor's Note:



4. Website Pokes Fun at Obama's Climate Change Claim

President Barack Obama should take credit for his ability to "alter sea level," according to a tongue-in-cheek article on the Climate Depot website.

In a June 2008 speech, candidate Obama said his presidency would be "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."

The website declared, "Climate Depot can now announce it is official," noting that the European Space Agency had determined that a two-year-long decline in global sea level "was continuing at a rate of 5 millimeters per year."

In August of this year, NASA announced that global sea level was dropping and was "a quarter of an inch lower than last summer."

Global warming alarmists frequently warn that rising global temperatures will lead to a steady rise in sea level that will threaten coastal communities around the world, and cite that threat in calls for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Noting the recent findings regarding dropping sea levels, Climate Depot facetiously stated: "Most surprising, despite the fact that Obama only said he would 'slow' the rise of the oceans, his presidency has presided over what some scientists are terming an 'historic decline' in global sea levels. Obama appears to have underestimated his own powers to alter sea level.

"President Obama's success in lowering sea level has not gone unnoticed. The skeptical website Real Science made sarcastic note of Obama's 'healing of the climate' in June."

Real Science declared: "Obama should declare 'mission accomplished' and take credit!"

Editor's Note:



5. Giuliani Endorses George Allen in Virginia Senate Race

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has endorsed George Allen in the Virginia Republican's campaign to win back his old seat in the U.S. Senate.

Giuliani was the featured guest at an Allen fundraiser on Monday. And he formally announced his support for Allen in an online video released Tuesday.

"It's the time when we really need leadership, experienced leadership, people who understand what's at stake, understand our economy, understand how to create jobs and build jobs," Giuliani said.

"And there's nobody better for doing that than George Allen."

Allen served as Virginia governor from 1994 to 1998 and was elected to the Senate in 2000. He was considered a strong contender for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, but lost his Senate re-election bid in 2006 to former Navy Secretary Jim Webb.

Webb is not running for re-election in 2012. But Allen's likely Democratic opponent will be Tim Kaine, Virginia's governor from 2006 to 2010 and chairman of the Democratic National Committee for more than two years.

Giuliani said the DNC is now "doing everything it can to defeat [Allen], running their hand-picked candidate, Tim Kaine, against him with all kinds of money, all kinds of special interest support."

But "money isn't expected to be a problem for either candidate in what is expected to be one of the most competitive and closest races of 2012," Roll Call observed.

A recent Quinnipiac poll found the Allen-Kaine race remains a statistical dead heat.

Editor's Note:



6. Ratings 'Tanked' for Oprah's Cable Network

"The Oprah Winfrey Show" was a ratings blockbuster for 25 years before it left the air in May, but Oprah's new 24-hour cable network OWN "has fallen short of expectations," according to Forbes magazine.

OWN — Oprah Winfrey Network — launched in January in 80 million homes as a partnership between her Harpo production company and cable powerhouse Discovery Communications.

"The goal was to remake a forgotten, high-numbered cable channel into Oprah-branded gold," Forbes reported.

"Ratings quickly tanked."

The network's average prime-time audience plunged 37 percent to 250,000 viewers by July, according to Nielsen, and an average of only 109,000 viewers tuned in on an all-day basis — just one-third of the viewership expected by advertisers.

Chief Executive Christina Norman was axed in May, and Oprah took over as CEO and chief creative officer in July.

Robert Thompson, founding ¬director of the Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture at Syracuse University, believes OWN launched too early without enough programming, and the shows it does have are weak. "Some people thought anything Oprah introduced would be a hit," he told Forbes. "We now know Oprah's name isn't enough."

OWN hopes to turn the network around by launching new programming in October, including a daily talk show hosted by comedienne Rosie O'Donnell.

But Derek Baine, a senior analyst at media research firm SNL Kagan, says: "If we get to the end of the year and the ratings are still terrible, then it's a big problem. Advertisers will pull back on their commitments."

Oprah was an outspoken supporter of Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential race, and she told Politico recently that she will back Obama in the 2012 re-election campaign.

"If the campaign needs me," she said, "I'm happy to be of service. I'm in his corner for whatever he needs me to do."

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Editor's Note:



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