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Republicans' JOBS Act Highlights Power of Problem Solving

Famed psychiatrist Theodore Rubin once said, “The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.” We agree, but would add that in the specific case of Washington, the problem is that Congress sees a problem and comes up with a problematic solution, which only worsens the problem. Still following? The United States is always going to have problems. This blog has often likened it to whack-a-mole, the game in which you’re in a frenzy trying to smack down one mole, only to have another pop up in its…

Tax Code Ripe for a Spring Cleaning

It’s indisputable that our Tax Code is an absolute mess. The Code has grown so big that there are legitimate disputes about its actual length (3.4 million words seems to be the average). Such growth is “natural” as Congress begins to hand out favors (some well intentioned, others not) and special interests weasel their way in to beneficial loopholes. To counteract the harmful effects of a Tax Code run amok, the federal government has traditionally done a “spring cleaning” every 15 years or so. The government initiated major tax reform efforts in 1954, 1969, 1976, and 1986. And then it…

Yes, Obama's Energy Policies Are Pushing Gas Prices Higher

Twitter wars are about the closest Washington gets to a rap feud. And political nerds like myself were treated to one of the most epic twitter battles in recent memory. It was like 50 Cent versus Kanye West, ya know, if they happened to rap about energy policy and their skill was brevity rather than rhyming. Didn’t catch it? Congratulations, that likely means you have social interactions outside of Twitter. Here’s some of what you missed: sorry @Brendan_Buck, facts are facts: under Pres Obama, domestic oil & gas production is up, reliance on imports is down. — Jay Carney (EOP)…

Baby Carrots and Big Sticks – The Failure of Obama's Tax Plan

When it comes to collecting taxes the government’s options can be broken down as carrots and sticks. Carrots are pursuing reforms that encourage more people to drop tax avoidance schemes and pay the tax. Sticks are trying to implement penalties to try and make people pay a tax. In his latest tax plan, released yesterday, President Obama tries both. The problem is we’re talking baby carrots and big sticks, a recipe for disaster. On the carrot side, the President’s plan proposes lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 to 28 percent. If seven percentage point sounds like a lot, that’s…

The American Economy Deserves Better than Current Regulatory and Tax Policies

A friend and I were talking today about just how difficult it will be to explain current memes to future generations. By and large this is a problem that past generations really didn’t have to deal with. Sure the 1920s may have a hard time explaining their love of mah-jongg, the 50s would need to make clear why poodle skirts were in fashion, and the 70s should clarify why pet rocks and Sea Monkeys were ever considered cool. But surely they all have a better explanation that we have for planking, or better yet, Rickrolling someone. And yet the absurdity…

Smart Reforms Now Preclude Austerity's Pain Later

Not one to lose out on a messaging opportunity (never let a good crisis go to waste after all) liberals have already begun to revise the history of the Great Recession. Here’s Mr. Head in the Sand himself, Paul Krugman, explaining just how silly all of this austerity is. “[I]n early 2010 austerity economics – the insistence that government should slash spending even in the face of high unemployment – became all the rage in European capitals. . . . Now the results are in – and they’re exactly what three generations worth of economic analysis and all the lessons…

Geithner Admits Obama's Budget is Unsustainable

“An economy built to last.” That’s the latest campaign them that President Obama is trying to sell the American public on. It was a defining part of his State of the Union Address and it’s a message he attempted to carry through his recently released 2013 Budget. The problem is it’s wrong. A more apt title would have been “A Deficit Assured to Last,” because despite record tax increases Obama’s budget would never balance. As in ever. The reason is political cowardice. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that the primary driver of our deficit in the coming years…

Is it a Tax or Not? Obamacare Ties Democrats in Rhetorical Knots

In its attempt to implement it’s healthcare reform bill, better known as Obamacare, the Obama Administration has tied itself in political and rhetorical knots. When Democrats were attempting to sell the bill to the public they insisted that the individual mandate (the requirement that everyone must either obtain health insurance or pay a penalty) was not a tax. In a 2009 interview with George Stephanopoulos, Obama attempted to refute the argument that this portion of the bill violated his promise not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000. “For us to say that you’ve got to take a…

A Melancholy Birthday to the Non-Stimulative Stimulus Bill

Did you buy it a present? Or at least stop by Hallmark to get it a card? You didn’t forget did you? Oh, how could you! It’s the stimulus’ birthday! Not really in the mood for gift giving huh? Yea, us neither. Any thoughts of a stimulus’ birthday party pretty much went right out the window when we saw the Congressional Budget Office’s latest unemployment report. In a bit of deserved irony, the CBO issued a report highlighting America’s jobs problem on the anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as Obama’s stimulus bill. According to the…

Obama's Housing Policies Only Serve to Further Delay Young Adult's Dream of Homeownership

If you’re like me the dream of one day buying a home is still a long way off. Sure, homeownership doesn’t exactly make sense for most college students. Better to find some roommates, dig up a cheap apartment, and hope you don’t do anything to lose the security deposit. But, for recent graduates and other young professionals renting is becoming the new norm. The most recent census data reveals that the effects of the economic downturn are rippling through younger generations in a number of ways. We’re delaying life decisions like getting married and starting a family, but it’s also…