Obama Welfare Tops $60K Per Household; Al Gore's 'Disgusting' Sandy Claims; Tax Hike on Rich Harms All

Monday, 05 Nov 2012 12:02 AM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Buffett Partner's Heirs Target Calif. Tax Hike
2. Al Gore Blames Sandy on Global Warming
3. Welfare in 2011: $60,000 Per Household
4. Half of College Grads Lack Degree-Worthy Jobs
5. Raising Taxes on the Rich: 'Significant Harm' to Economy
6. We Heard: Presidential Polls, Election Day, Obamacare
 

1. Buffett Partner's Heirs Target Calif. Tax Hike

Two California siblings have together spent $55 million in a campaign to defeat Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed tax hike in the Golden State.

Brown's Proposition 30, on this year's ballot, would raise $6 billion through a four-year, 0.25 percentage-point increase in the state's sales tax and a seven-year income tax increase of up to three percentage points on wealthy Californians.

If the measure fails to pass, it will trigger automatic cuts in education spending of nearly $6 billion in the 2013 budget as the state faces a huge budget deficit.

Brown has managed to gain some support from one of the state's largest teachers' unions and from several large players in the business community.

But he hasn't garnered the support of Molly Munger and her half-brother Charlie Munger Jr., Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Their father, 88-year-old Charlie Munger, has been vice chairman of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway for more than 30 years.

Charlie Jr., a Stanford physicist and a Republican, has in the past month donated $22 million to a political action committee that is seeking to defeat Proposition 30.

Molly, a civil rights attorney and a Democrat, wrote Proposition 38 to compete with Brown's proposal.

Prop 38 would raise at least $10 billion a year with a 12-year income tax increase on all except those earning less than $7,316 a year. Molly Munger has spent $33 million to back her proposition, saying that Brown's proposal is only a quick fix and an accounting "sleight of hand."

Brown has called the ad blitz bankrolled by Molly Munger "profoundly irrational."

Both Prop 30 and Prop 38 are on the ballot and Californians can vote for both. If both receive more than 50 percent of the vote, the proposition with more votes will prevail.

If not for the Mungers, "there really wouldn't be any big opposition" to Brown's proposal, Thad Kousser, an associate professor of political science at the University of California at San Diego, told Businessweek.

Confusion over the two propositions could weaken support for both, and new polling indicates that neither may get the votes needed to pass.

Editor's Note:



2. Al Gore Blames Sandy on Global Warming

While millions of Americans were struggling with the aftermath of superstorm Sandy on Tuesday, former Vice President Al Gore issued a statement blaming the devastating event on "global warming pollution."

Referring to a storm that caused widespread flooding in Nashville, Tenn., two years ago, Gore said on his blog: "While the storm that drenched Nashville was not a tropical cyclone like Hurricane Sandy, both storms were strengthened by the climate crisis. Scientists tell us that by continually dumping 90 million tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere every single day, we are altering the environment in which all storms develop.

"As the oceans and atmosphere continue to warm, storms are becoming more energetic and powerful. Hurricane Sandy and the Nashville flood were reminders of just that."

And he warns: "Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come."

But a real climate scientist, Martin Hoerling — a meteorologist in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory — downplays the link between global warming and Sandy: "The immediate cause is most likely little more than the coincidental alignment of a tropical storm with an extratropical storm.

"As to underlying causes, neither the frequency of tropical or extratropical cyclones over N. Atlantic are projected to appreciably change due to climate change."

Chris Landsea, science and operations officer at the National Hurricane Center, said that any connection between manmade global warming and hurricanes is "almost certainly undetectable."

Roger Pielke Jr., a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said: "Sandy doesn't tell us anything about climate change."

Marc Morano, executive editor and chief correspondent for ClimateDepot.com, was more outspoken.

"These new 'Tabloid Climatology' claims by activists attempting to link any weather event to manmade global warming [are] disgusting.

"They are exploiting any weather event to promote their religious-like cause and a storm like Sandy is shamelessly used to gin up fear."

Gore wasn't alone in linking the storm to climate change, however. Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain, tweeted after Sandy: "Do you still doubt climate change? Are we still going to go with climate change not being real, fellow Republicans?"

ClimateDepot's response: "Yes, we are still disputing manmade climate fears despite your inane tweets."

Editor's Note:



3. Welfare in 2011: $60,000 Per Household

Taxpayers last year spent $1 trillion on welfare programs for households below the poverty line — enough to give each low-income household a check for $60,000.

According to a report from the Senate Budget Committee's Republican staff and ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the federal government spent $746 billion on welfare in the 2011 fiscal year, and states paid out $254 billion in matching funds.

The federal total was up from $563 billion in fiscal year 2008, the last year of George W. Bush's presidency, and up from $692 billion in fiscal 2009.

The federal welfare spending cited in the report does not include programs such as Medicare and Social Security, which are not means-tested and directed toward lower-income Americans, and does not include programs for veterans.

The Congressional Research Service reported that federal spending on health benefits for people with low income totaled $339 billion in fiscal 2011, with $295 billion spent on Medicaid.

The second largest category, Cash Aid, totaled $145 billion.

Federal taxpayers shelled out $101 billion for food assistance, including $80 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). That's double what they spent in 2008.

The total also includes $2 billion for Nutritional Assistance for Puerto Rico.

Taxpayers also spent $41.4 billion on Pell Grants, $46 billion on Housing and Development, $7.5 billion on Head Start, and $5 billion on Energy Assistance.

According to the Census Bureau, last year 16.8 million U.S. households were below the poverty line of $23,000 per year for a family of four. If all households received an equal share of the $1 trillion in welfare spending, they would each get $59,523.

And if only the federal share of welfare spending is considered, without state matching funds, each low-income household would still receive $44,404 — nearly double the federal poverty line of $23,000.

Editor's Note:



4. Half of College Grads Lack Degree-Worthy Jobs

Enrollment at American community colleges and four-year universities appears to be declining, and one economist attributes the drop largely to a lower "rate of return on college investments."

That is, college graduates are increasingly finding it difficult to land jobs that actually require the college degree they spent so much time and money to obtain.

Richard Vedder, who directs the Center for College Affordability and Productivity and teaches economics at Ohio University, discloses that higher education enrollment is predicted to be lower this year than a year ago. In Ohio, for example, the University System is showing a 5.9 percent decline, and some community colleges around the country are showing a double-digit drop.

Several reasons have been suggested for the drop-off, Vedder says. Some cite the fact that the population of 18-year-olds is in decline, but the drop "isn't large enough to explain the big enrollment decreases," he observes.

The tightening of federal financial assistance to students has been cited as well, and Vedder acknowledges that this "might be of some importance at schools with large economically disadvantaged populations."

Also, colleges could be pricing themselves out of the market. College costs have soared faster than the rate of inflation over the past four decades and student-loan debt has reached the $1 trillion mark.

"Last and possibly most important, concern appears to be rising about the rate of return on college investments," Vedder, who is also an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, writes in an article that appeared on Bloomberg.com.

"One estimate is that as many as 53 percent of recent college graduates are either unemployed or have relatively low-paying, low-skilled jobs."

He points out that 40 percent of adult Americans have at least an associate degree, yet a smaller percentage of jobs have historically been filled by new college graduates.

Also, the number of graduates has been growing faster than the number of high-paying jobs. Most of the jobs predicted to see the most growth in the next decade require less than formal higher education.

President Obama has made expanding access to higher education one of his main re-election themes.

But Vedder concludes: "If the proponents of near-universal higher education get their way, in another couple of decades more than half of adults will be college graduates — and by definition some of them will be in jobs that pay below average.

"The higher education establishment will then claim that in our complex world, post-graduate degrees are vital: a master's in janitorial science, for example. Isn't this over-credentialization leading to a huge waste of scarce human resources?"

Editor's Note:



5. Raising Taxes on the Rich: 'Significant Harm' to Economy

President Obama's plan to raise taxes on wealthier earners "presents on overly simplistic view of the economy" and in fact would have an adverse trickle-down effect on Americans at all income levels, according to a report from the Tax Foundation.

Obama proposes allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for singles earning more than $200,000 a year and couples earning over $250,000, limiting deductions and exclusions for high-income earners, raising estate and gift taxes, and raising rates on capital gains and dividends.

But when high-income families face higher taxes, they most often reduce spending on goods and services, which hurts local businesses, which in turn reduce hiring and investment. That ultimately leads to less income for the whole community.

Obama's plan would also impact businesses, since most businesses file under the individual tax code rather than the corporate code and most report income of more than $250,000.

Economists who analyze this impact "find that significant harm is done to the economy by raising personal income tax rates on high-income earners," the report by William McBride states.

Raising the two top income tax rates to 36 percent and 39.6 percent would alone result in a tax increase of $442 billion over 10 years, and reducing the value of certain deductions and exclusions would boost taxes by $454 billion over the decade beginning in 2013.

Overall, tax increases on high-income earners in Obama's 2013 budget would result in an increase of nearly $1.6 trillion over 10 years.

The Foundation apportioned the effects of the president's proposals to raise taxes on high-income earners to each of the states, based on the latest IRS data on the distribution of income.

It found that California stands to lose $241 billion over 10 years as a result of Obama's tax policies, followed by New York ($186 billion), Texas ($131 billion), Florida ($104 billion), and Illinois ($74 billion).

As a percentage of income, Wyoming would be the most affected, losing 1.82 percent of income in 2013, and 12 other states would also lose at least 1 percent of income.

Even the least affected state, Vermont, would lose $2 billion over 10 years.

Note: The Foundation's calculations do not take into consideration any other tax increases proposed or scheduled to go into effect as part of Obamacare.

Editor's Note:



6. We Heard…

 

THAT 57 percent of Israeli Jews believe that "when it comes to Israel's interests," they would prefer Mitt Romney to win the Nov. 6 election, while 22 percent prefer Obama.

But the Peace Index poll also found that among Israeli Arabs, Obama is favored, 45 percent to 15 percent.

Another poll — a BBC World Service survey of 21,797 people in 21 countries — found that 50 percent of respondents want Obama to win, and just 9 percent prefer Romney. France was the most strongly pro-Obama nation (72 percent), and Pakistan is the only country where most respondents prefer Romney.

And a poll in Russia found that 40 percent of Russians who are aware of the U.S. election said Obama's re-election would favor Russia, while only 4 percent said the same of Romney.

THAT history is definitely on Mitt Romney's side in the Nov. 6 election — Republicans have won every presidential election held on that date since Election Day was set by Congress.

Beginning in 1792, states had a range of dates when they could conduct presidential elections. Then in 1845, Congress standardized the date for the election so it would always be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Since then, Election Day has fallen on Nov. 6 six times. The results: In 1860, Abraham Lincoln defeated Democrat Stephen Douglas. In 1888, Benjamin Harrison beat Grover Cleveland. In 1900, William McKinley triumphed over William Jennings Bryan. In 1928, Herbert Hoover beat Al Smith. In 1956, Dwight Eisenhower was victorious over Adlai Stevenson. And in 1984, Ronald Reagan beat Walter Mondale.

THAT one out of every six people in the United States won't be required to prove that they have health insurance or face a fine if provisions of Obamacare take effect next year.

According to Americans for Tax Reform, those exempted include 218,000 inmates in federal prisons, 12 million undocumented immigrants, and 42 million people below the poverty line and eligible for welfare.

Editor's Note:



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Editor's Notes:

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