Presidential Frugality | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: Jim Bispo's weekly column appears in the Beaufort Observer.

    It sounds as though the Prez is beginning to take to heart the need to reduce spending. It would seem he is saving money on speech writers. The "victory speech" he gave following the 2012 election sounded eerily like the victory speech he gave in 2008 following his victory over John McCain. Same reduction in spending. Same bi-partisanship. Same concern for the middle class. Same promises for the Hispanics. Same quasi "middle-of-the-road" approach to management. Same "all of the above" approach to energy independence. Oh, if he will only follow through and do what he has been promising. Or could all these grand pronouncements simply be more of what Thomas Sowell calls "plausible lies"??

    Just think, if you can believe what is being said, we are trying to increase revenues to help decrease the deficit. (That really resonates well. Do you suppose it's really true??). If we could reduce the deficit by about 25%, that would mean that we would only be spending about one trillion (yes, trillion!!) per year more than we are taking in. If we are really going to reduce the deficit by increasing taxes we will likely have to start taxing folks who make a lot less than $250k per year. We may even have to take a page out of the "let's tax social security payments" (benefits??)" book and start taxing all the tax credits we have been handing out. Perhaps we should start with the so called non-refundable tax credits. That would be those which reduce the taxes that are owed, They can (and frequently do) take the taxes owed down to zero." If that doesn't result in enough income to cover everything, we could then start taxing the so called "refundable" tax credits. that would be those which result in a refund (handout??) even though there were no taxes there to be reduced. Maybe we could start taxing the amount by which Schedule A deductions exceed the standard deduction. If that doesn't yield enough to take care of the deficit, perhaps we should start taxing Medicare and Medicaid payments made in behalf of a taxpayer. Maybe we should start taxing the Child Tax Credit or perhaps the Earned Income Tax Credit. Sooner of later, we should "get there". I would suggest that you not hold your breath waiting for any of that to happen...

    Even though he and his henchmen spent a lot of time and energy demonizing his opponent for being a fairly successful venture capitalist who earned a lot of money taking financial risks, it turns out that the Anointed One seems to want to be a venture capitalist himself. The big difference is that in his version of venture capitalism, it is the taxpayers' money being put at risk. And so far, he hasn't been too successful at it. AIG claims the Government made a bundle ($22.7B) as the result of their bailout of AIG, but there are those who suggest that may not be entirely true. Neil Barofsky (former IG of the government's bail out program) says not so quick, suggesting the so called "profit" is the result of some "fancy accounting". Click here to see the Huffington Post article. During all this self congratulatory "carrying on" we hear nothing abut how our GM (or Chrysler) investment turned out for the long suffering taxpayers. We already know it turned out well for the unions. How the story ends remains to be seen. Apparently the "secured bondholders" who were pushed to the back of the line by the administration in the "reinvented" (Chicago style??) bankruptcy proceedings so that their Union pals would not get hurt have taken their case to court. I believe I read somewhere the supreme court is about to consider their pleadings. It would be interesting to see the results if the Supremes ruled that "secured" means "secured". (That just goes to show you how much more complicated life has become. It was only a few years ago that we were struggling with the definition of "is". Now it is the definition of "secured" with which we are struggling.) A finding in favor of the Bond Holders would surely keep a lot of lawyers busy for a long time. But, that withstanding, we can always hope...

    Do you suppose all the money he saved on the speech writer is what allowed him to travel home (??) to Hawaii for Christmas, or was it to attend Sen Inouye's funeral. I suppose if anyone pushed the issue very hard, we would hear it was the latter. That would likely even help justify separate travel itineraries by he and the rest of the family. We are left to wonder how many Christmas trips he made "home" to visit his Grandmother (while she was still alive) when he lived in Chicago. It's easy to believe that the urge to get out of Chicago in the winter (or any other time or the year for that matter) is even greater than the urge to get out of a D.C. winter. Of course those trips would have been on his own dime rather than on the long suffering taxpayers' tab. But then perhaps in those days Chicago may have been "home" so he stayed there for Christmas (and New Years) Hmmm...

    On the assumption that he will be paying his own way (which may or may not be a good assumption), it will be interesting to see how frequently he vacations in Hawaii after he is the next Ex-president (at least one more thing to live for). Of course if he builds his "Library" in Hawaii, the library would likely be able to pick up the tab. Food for thought...

    Of course when we see AF-1 being used as a shuttle between DC and Hawaii at a little over $180K per flight hour (reportedly USAF numbers) it isn't so clear that the Anointed One cares a whit about being a good shepherd of the taxpayer's money. It is just under a 10 hour trip one way from Andrews AFB to Hickam Field Oahu which means each one way trip costs the American taxpayer right at $1.8 million dollars. That means that "out and back" costs $3.6M for the Anointed One; and that much again for Michelle and the kids. Total: $7.2M for Christmas in Hawaii. Wow!!! It's no wonder we need to increase taxes on the rich. They are the only ones who can afford that kind of travel. Hmmm... On top of that, we can only wonder if the AF-1 crew was forced to miss Christmas with their family to "take care" of the Anointed One.

    D'ya think??
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