Burger King merges with Tim Hortons; greasy politicians upset no one likes Whopper-sized taxes

Burger King patriotismBurger King and Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons have officially pulled off the kind of merger that Walgreen couldn’t quite complete with Alliance Boots (i.e., Walgreen’ operations will continue to be based in the U.S.) As a result, the new company is primed to rake in $23 billion annually. Even President Obama’s buddy Warren Buffett is involved, with Berkshire Hathaway handing over $3 billion in preferred equity financing for the deal. The usual suspects are not happy.

Perhaps the funniest quote comes from MSNBC “conservative” Joe Scarborough:

“They’ll keep their money and we all will have to pay their taxes,” an outraged Joe Scarborough said on Monday. “So, you know what I’m going to do so I can afford to pay Burger King’s taxes? I’m just not going to ever go to Burger King again.”

“I think a lot of American should not go to Burger King again if they’re going to cheat,” he added. “It’s wrong for them to do this. They are stealing money from us.”

Why do I get the feeling that if Mr. Scarborough’s accountant were to disclose the host’s tax records for the time he’s been raking in big bucks at MSNBC that viewers would find plenty of “cheating” and “stealing” (if one defines legally keeping more of your own money as “cheating” or “stealing”) going on? Besides, I doubt that Joe Scarborough has purchased a Whopper in the last five years unless someone spread foie gras on the buns. But I digress.

It rarely occurs to leftists and faux conservatives that perhaps the government is spending too much of everyone’s money and needs to curtail its size and scope — as opposed to spending money the nation doesn’t have at a lower rate than “politician X” wanted and then calling it a “cut.”

Instead of asking the question “Why are iconic companies that have been in the U.S. for years suddenly looking for ways to leave?” pundits and politicians want citizens to believe that finding ways to legally keep more of your own money is stealing from someone else.

As Business Insider reported Aug. 25:

The news gives Democrats another talking point. The potential departure of an iconic American company because of “corporate greed” will be trotted out on the campaign trail.

Talking about “corporate greed” may rile people up (How odd that the federal government’s insatiable appetite for money is never framed as “greed”?), but at the end of the day the hard reality is that the United States is no longer the world’s outpost of economic freedom. In fact, in the annual Index of Economic Freedom put out by The Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Wall Street Journal, Canada ranks sixth, with the U.S. embarrassingly holding on for dear life to the tenth spot.

The 2014 Index concluded:

The foundations of economic freedom in Canada remain strong and well-supported by solid protection of property rights and an independent judiciary that enforces anti-corruption measures effectively. While many large advanced economies have been struggling with the heavy burden of government and fiscal constraints that result from years of unrestrained public spending, Canada’s public finance management has been comparatively prudent, with efforts to downsize government made on a continuing basis.

Canada’s economy has been resilient, benefiting from a strong commitment to open-market policies that facilitate global trade and investment flows. Efficient regulations are applied evenly in most cases, encouraging dynamic entrepreneurial activity in the private sector. Steady reduction of the standard corporate tax rate has also contributed to global competitiveness.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to backslide:

Registering a loss of economic freedom for the fifth consecutive year, the U.S. has recorded its lowest Index score since 2000. Dynamic entrepreneurial growth is stifled by ever-more-bloated government and a trend toward cronyism that erodes the rule of law. More than three years after the end of recession in June 2009, the U.S. continues to suffer from policy choices that have led to the slowest recovery in 70 years.

Until Americans stop listening to greasy politicians and start eying ways to increase economic freedom, there will be more well-known companies that close up shop or move overseas. Once you begin telling businesses that their money is your money, it is only a matter of time before the men and women in charge look for friendlier environments. That is not “corporate greed” — that is common sense.

Related: New York Times to Walgreen: You’re unpatriotic if you don’t love high tax rates

New York Times to Walgreen: You’re unpatriotic if you don’t love high tax rates

A recent New York Times article by Andrew Sorkin is unintentionally hilarious from start to finish. He’s upset that a number of companies, such as Walgreen, AbbiVie, Medtronic and many others are all well on their way to moving overseas. I’d look for the Andrew Sorkin piece calling billionaire John Kerry “unpatriotic” for docking his luxury yacht out of state to avoid paying Massachusetts taxes, but I doubt it exists.

Mr. Sorkin wrote for the Times June 30.

Alarmingly, dozens of large United States companies are contemplating the increasingly popular tax-skirting tactic known as an inversion. Under the strategy, companies merge with foreign rivals in countries with lower tax rates and then reincorporate there while still enjoying the benefits of doing a large part of their business in the United States.

In Walgreen’s case, an inversion would be an affront to United States taxpayers. The company, which also owns the Duane Reade chain in New York, reaps almost a quarter of its $72 billion in revenue directly from the government; it received $16.7 billion from Medicare and Medicaid last year.

“It is unconscionable that Walgreen is considering this tax dodge — especially in light of the billions of dollars it receives from U.S. taxpayers every year,” Nell Geiser, associate director of Change to Win Retail Initiatives, a union-financed consumer advocacy group, said in a statement.

Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, called it “unfair and deeply unpatriotic if the company moves offshore while continuing to make its money here, leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab for its tax avoidance.

The last time I checked, Walgreen provides goods and services worth at least $16.7 billion to individuals who utilize Medicare and Medicaid — it isn’t simply holding out its hands and asking for taxpayer cash. It would be an “affront” to American taxpayers if Gregory D. Wasson, the chief executive of Walgreen, refused to pay his water bills for a decade and then demanded someone else pay them when he was drowning in debt (i.e., the citizens of Detroit).

In terms of patriotism, Mr. Sorkin and Mr. Clemente of Americans for Tax Fairness have it backwards — the patriotic thing to do is for Americans to protest high taxation. I applaud Walgreen and any number of pharmaceutical companies for packing up and moving overseas. You can only demonize the men and women running businesses for so long before they get fed up and leave. Instead of asking, “How do we make America more attractive to companies on the other side of the globe?” the New York Times throws socialist temper tantrums.

Mr. Sorkin continues:

The current law allows a company to reincorporate abroad if it acquires a foreign company in a transaction that transfers more than 20 percent of the shares to foreign owners. President Obama has sought to raise the threshold to 50 percent. While many Democrats appear to support a short-term solution, some Republicans, arguing that a Band-Aid approach could have unintended consequences, instead want to address inversions only in the context of an overall corporate tax overhaul bill.

Whereas Republicans realize that perhaps the corporate tax code is a nightmare, President Obama just wants to force companies to withstand significantly more pain before they make the decision to move. The beatings will continue until morale improves.

And finally, we have Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois:

Senator Richard J. Durbin, a Democrat from Walgreen’s home state, Illinois, told The Chicago Tribune last week: “I am troubled by American corporations that are willing to give up on this country and move their headquarters for a tax break. It really speaks to your commitment.”

Poor Dick doesn’t realize that American corporations aren’t giving up on America — they’re giving up on guys like him.

If America is no longer capable of being one of the world’s few outposts of economic and political freedom, then corporations have a responsibility to search out countries that are willing to take on the role. If U.S. citizens are unhappy with the business landscape that takes shape in the years ahead, then the blame will rest squarely on the shoulders of men like President Obama and Senator Dick Durbin.

Related: Dick Durbin: If you have a tumor, letting it grow is always an option

Obama: With higher unemployment we could spend more and really get the economy roaring!

As the second week of 2014 ends and New Jersey politics takes up the news cycle, it appears that a telling moment was lost in the mix. President Obama’s speech on Wednesday used bizarre logic on an audience that would lead listeners to think: “Hey, if we only had more unemployed people for a longer period of time we’d really be setting the stage for a comeback!”

The Washington Post reported:

We make this promise to our fellow Americans who are working hard to get back on their feet because when times get tough, we are not a people who say you’re on your own, we’re people who believe that we’re all in it together.

And we know, there but the grace of God go I. (Applause.) So that’s the values case for this. That’s the moral case for this. But there’s an economic case for it as well. Independent economists have shown that extending emergency unemployment insurance actually helps the economy, actually creates new jobs. When folks like Katherine have a little more to spend to turn up the heat in her house or buy a few extra groceries, that means more spending with businesses in her local community, which in turn may inspire that business to hire one more person, maybe Kathy (sp).

Kind of a strange line of thought, but Mr. Obama is careful with his words because at some point even people who aren’t too bright start to wonder how writing unemployment checks for 35, 45, or 55 weeks on end can translate into long-term economic growth.

Nancy Pelosi, on the other hand, is not so careful. It was only a few years ago that she went completely off the deep end:

“Now let me say about about unemployment insurance. We talk about it as a safety net and the rest. This is one of the biggest stimuluses [sic] to our economy. Economists will tell you this money is spent quickly, it injects demand into the economy and it’s job-creating. It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative that you can name — because again it is money that is needed for families to survive and it is spent. So it has a double-benefit. It helps those who have lost their jobs and it also is a job creator.” — Nancy Pelosi, July 2, 2010.

Yes, that is a member of Congress was actually said that one of the fastest ways to create jobs is to cut someone an unemployment check for months at a time. If unemployment checks give the economy a “double-benefit,” maybe we should triple or quadruple the cash we’re handing out? Perhaps we can just cut all unemployed people a check for a million dollars and really get the economy roaring.

If the president was intellectually honest he would say something to the effect of, “Listen, these people are trying to find a job. That extra money will put food on the table. We have an obligation to help those who are trying to help themselves — even if it takes longer than we expected.”

Okay. Fair enough. Sounds reasonable. But instead, he actually tries to make it seem as though cutting checks will create the kind of economic environment where businessmen and entrepreneurs will take risks with their money, invest in durable goods and take on new hires. That is not true, and only people who spend the bulk of their lives in academic settings and inside the government say those sorts of things with a straight face.

There has been over $1 trillion of “stimulus” pumped into the economy over the past five years and the CBO projected that the true cost would be $3.27 trillion over the course of a decade. How much more is needed?

Do you remember when the president held a Jobs Council in June of 2013 and said: “Shovel-ready was not as … uh … shovel-ready as we expected.” I do. He joked about it, but it’s not a laughing matter.

If you’ve never seen the EconStories videos on Hayek vs. Keynes, I highly suggest you watch them. Obama is a full-fledged Keynesian despite an epic track record of failure.

Watch the videos and then read Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom” when you get a chance. You’ll be glad you did.

Update:

Nancy Pelosi is back, and if you don’t want to extend unemployment benefits then you’re a perpetrator of “Economic Violence.”

Nancy.Pelosi.Economic.Violence

Our old feminist friend Suey “only white people can be racist” joins the trending hashtag fun, and she’s confusing Jim Carrey’s lines from Dumb and Dumber with serious intellectual discourse. There aren’t any jobs in this town…“unless you want to work 40 hours a week!”

Dumb.and.Dumber

The Jenga Economy: Brought to you by the federal government

Obama Jenga Economy

$16 trillion. $17 trillion. $18 trillion. The debt continues to grow, and most elected officials don’t seem to care. I have shied away from making my own graphics, but in this instance I think the “Jenga” analogy is fitting.

As the government accumulates more and more debt, the threat to the overall economy becomes increasingly perilous. The average person thinks of the national debt: “it doesn’t affect my life,” but … it will when The Jenga Economy comes crashing down.

Conservatives have been trying to make this case for quite some time now, and both Democrats and Republicans have ignored them.

Lately, I’ve heard a lot of people say that if the country wanted to put President Obama back in office for a second time — the very same guy who said on David Letterman that our debt is a “long term problem” — then they deserve to feel the pain that comes from a financial meltdown. I’ve heard a lot of people say that if the American people want to listen to Democrats like Rep. Nancy “it’s a false argument” to say we have a spending problem Pelosi … or to Sen. Steny “we have a paying for problem” Hoyer … then it’s time for conservatives to salute the fools and wait for them at rock bottom to say, “I told you so.”

I understand these feelings, but I’m torn as to how to address them. I worked myself ragged leading up to the past election, trying to convince my fellow Americans of the impending financial crisis that is a mathematical certainty if we don’t seriously address these issues sooner rather than later — and then president Obama was handily reelected.

Now, the president is going around saying that if roughly 2.4 percent of federal spending is “cut” (i.e., we still go further into debt, just at a slower rate) due to sequestration, then planes will not run on time, first responders will not respond, and military readiness will suffer grave consequences.

My response? On some level, I have better things to do with my time than to try and convince “low information voters” of how insulting this sequestration debate is to anyone who knows basic addition and subtraction.

BL-sequestration-size-comparison

But don’t those of us who love our country have a responsibility to try our very best to reach our fellow citizens, even if they’re the same ones spending most of their free time making mindless YouTube videos or watching rejects without shame on reality television?

It’s a good question, and as of yet I don’t have a definitive answer.

This blogger, however, is worn out. I will continue to write, but for the next few months posts will more frequently be sacrificed in favor of reading books I’m ashamed to have still not made time for (e.g., ‘Witness’) and to finish some creative writing projects that are collecting dust. (Since this blog has critiqued certain men in the comic industry, it’s time I put up or shut up.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with Mr. Chambers.

Obama won ‘spiritual but not religious’ (i.e., no moral compass) in droves

Ship

Imagine you were an ancient mariner trying to find your way to a new world, and every time you needed to go North you looked at your compass, then looked at the storm clouds or rough waters in that direction and decided to do whatever the heck it was you felt like doing. There’s a good chance that if you were magically transported to 2012 that you’d fit right in with the “spiritual but not religious” voters that President Obama won in a landslide:

[I]t bears noting that another less obvious bloc of key swing state voters helped the president win a second term.

They’re the “nones” — that’s the Pew Research Center’s shorthand for the growing number of American voters who don’t have a specific religious affiliation. Some are agnostic, some atheist, but more than half define themselves as either “religious” or “spiritual but not religious,” Pew found in a recent survey. …

— In Ohio, Obama lost the Protestant vote by 3 points and the Catholic vote by 11, but he won the “nones” — 12 percent of the state’s electorate — by 47 points.

— In Virginia, Obama lost Protestants by 9 points and Catholics by 10 points, but won 76 percent of the “nones,” who were 10 percent of the electorate.

— In Florida, Obama lost Protestants by 16 points and Catholics by 5 points, but captured 72 percent of the “nones.” They were 15 percent of the electorate. …

“It was hard to think this was just Iowa,” Selzer said. “And it wasn’t. One of the reasons Barack Obama won was that he had the ‘no religion’ vote by a huge margin.”

Nationally, Obama lost the Protestant vote by 15 points, won the Catholic vote by 2 points, and captured 70 percent of the “nones.”

Saying you’re “spiritual but not religious” says almost nothing about you. Some people have a “spiritual” moment when they go to confession. Ancient Aztec priests would have said that mass executions and cannibalism were spiritual. There are porn stars who would say being used every-which-way-to-Sunday on film is a “spiritual” experience. Simply acknowledging the existence of a spirit says nothing about whether or not your behavior is beneficial or detrimental to your spirit.

When someone says they’re “spiritual but not religious,” what they’re really saying is that they tend to identify with driftwood. Religion gives shape to spirituality. It attempts to explain the nature of the soul, what feeds and nourishes it and what can poison it. And while man and his institutions are not perfect, over time a few religions have separated themselves from the pack.

The “spiritual but not religious” person doesn’t want to be held accountable for his actions. He believes that there is something beyond human comprehension that is responsible for the formation of the universe, but he wants to deny that there might be a set of rules that apply to him. The “spiritual but not religious” person wants to believe that he is part of something big and grand and interconnected, but that his participation in it all is beyond reproach. He wants to play in the ocean, but pretends that no one is watching the waves he makes.

Let us examine for a moment some text from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

What happens when we reach a tipping point, and a majority of voters decide that our rights do not come from a “Creator,” but from their fellow “spiritual by not religious” peers? It is at that point that the United States is officially and without-a-doubt over. The moment your rights are determined by the caprices of your fellow man is the day that you have no rights. In the absence of God your rights are a mutable mishmash of whims spelled out by the ruling mob of the moment. Living under tyranny is just as “spiritual” as living in freedom, because the spirit can feel itself being crushed just as easily as it knows when it is being elevated.

The spiritual state of our nation is: Disarray. Those with a working moral compass know that it is immoral to leave future generations trapped under mountains of debt. On the other hand, those who determine their own set of rules tend to have an azimuth that always points back to themselves. Your money becomes their money. Your property becomes their property. Your liberties expand and contract according to the definition of “progressive” or “forward” in any given election cycle, and the national credit card allows them to apply such unconscionable theft to your kids, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Some say that we have already gone over the cliff, and that it’s only a matter before it all crashes into a million pieces. $16 trillion. $17 trillion. $18 trillion. Those are numbers that are hard to argue with. If the worst-case scenarios unfold, the burden falls on those who can articulate the truth to scream it until they hit the pavement. When all is said and done, the survivors will need a digital instruction booklet to put it all back together again.

Twinkie the Kidiot: Union greed kills Hostess

Rest in peace, Hostess. If it’s any consolation, everyone knows who your murderer is. He did it right out in the open. It’s as simple as pie stuffing: murder by union.

The Twinkie is dead — and unions killed it. Correction: Hostess is dead — and unions killed it. 18,000 people are now well on their way to collecting 99 weeks of unemployment checks, and it’s because the Bakery, Confectionery, and Tobacco workers and the Grain Millers International Union never listened to Kenny Rogers: “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.”

Well, now the dealing is done, and the people who provided food for their families by providing pie filling for Hostess confectionery treats  (Or was that the union bosses who all look like they gorge themselves on Twinkies?) found out how the class warfare rhetoric of goons like AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka plays out in real life. The last Ding Dong hasn’t been purchased off the Target shelves and he’s already referencing “Bain Capital” in his Twinkie attacks.

No, Mr. Trumka, the problem is not Bain Capital. The problem is guys like you. And Howard Dean:

“I think the debate for the new generation, instead of capitalism or socialism, is we’re going to have both, and then which proportion of each should we have in order to make this all work,” (Howard Dean, April 5, 2009, Paris, France).

There it is. Like the vampires they are, unions and their liberal allies suck the lifeblood out of companies as much as possible, while leaving just enough to continue to keep them alive. In the case of Hostess, they sucked on the jugular for far too long, and now the company is a corpse. The union bosses will move on to the next company in the next state.

Ask yourself: How do you simultaneously have capitalism and socialism? Answer: You don’t. It doesn’t work if your goal is to maximize individual liberty. The two are fundamentally different worldviews, and when you try and come up with some magical mixture of the two, like Howard Dean, you end up with $16 trillion dollars in debt, entitlement programs on autopilot and politicians who don’t have the courage to confront economic ticking time bombs in the making.

In the past few days I’ve heard multiple liberal outlets try to make the case that the Bush era tax rates are primarily to blame for our national debt. It’s blatantly dishonest, and if one agrees with the premise that these are intelligent human beings, it is hard to come to any other conclusion than that these people are diabolical bastards. They would rather doom future generations to a lower standard of living and back-breaking debt than discuss economic realities that threaten their ideology.

The sad thing is, there are tens-of-millions of Americans who will buy the Trumka line that “Bain-style vultures” are what doomed Hostess. I would argue that the truth is something more akin to “San Bernardino-style vultures.”

The city’s decades-long journey from prosperous, middle-class community to bankrupt, crime-ridden, foreclosure-blighted basket case is straightforward — and alarmingly similar to the path traveled by many municipalities around America’s largest state. San Bernardino succumbed to a vicious circle of self-interests among city workers, local politicians and state pension overseers.

Little by little, over many years, the salaries and retirement benefits of San Bernardino’s city workers — and especially its police and firemen — grew richer and richer, even as the city lost its major employers and gradually got poorer and poorer.

$16 trillion. $17 trillion. $18 trillion. $19 trillion. $20 trillion. At what point will the economic “big one” occur? The fault lines are obvious. The ground is rumbling. And yet, the American people just re-elected a guy who is willfully downplaying the seismometer readings. If you haven’t been practicing, get ready to duck and cover.

I went to Target after dinner tonight to see if there were any Twinkies left. Sadly, the shelves were picked over. Somewhere, there is a zombie apocalypse bomb shelter that is stocked to the hilt with Twinkies. See you on the other side, Twinkie the Kid. I’ll see you on the other side… (Sniff.)

When we can see through walls, but not the debt in our face

New technology allows us to see light move at one trillion frames per second, but yet many citizens still can’t see the slow motion economic train wreck caused by out-of-control debt and a bloated federal bureaucracy.

How is it that it’s only a matter of time before Americans will be able to see through walls, but they can’t see the writing on the wall when it comes to debt and deficits? Professor Ramesh Raskar’s presentation on cameras that can film at one trillion frames per second is amazing, but it also demonstrates one of the problems conservatives have when it comes to talking about recessions, depressions and the economy in general.

Not too long ago I got to cover the Defending the American Dream Summit for work. While I was there, I got to talk to a number of older individuals who honestly believe that the standard of living their grandchildren will be lower because of the policies we are putting in place today. That’s true — in many respects — but it’s hard to get anyone to buy it when new technologies keep emerging that will change the course of human history.

How do you get people to understand the future that never was? While it’s a godsend that humans are constantly pushing the limits of what is possible, it also is maddening that so many are regularly susceptible to public policies that retard economic growth and the entrepreneurial spirit inside us. We adopt health care policies that hinder the innovation of lifesaving drugs while giving more people crappier coverage. We enact well-intentioned entitlement programs that turn able-bodied men and women into human gerbils waiting for the next government pellet — instead of encouraging them to break free of their mind-forged manacles. We use the tax code for social engineering instead of allowing the individual to keep more of his own money with which to build a brighter future.

The “poor” in the United States are not getting poorer. In fact, the “poor” (who are also not a static group) in the United States do quite well when compared with their counterparts around the world. Given that the standard of living generally goes up for all Americans each generation — even if the rates differ among social classes — conservatives need to find a way to talk about lost futures. It’s not enough to say that if we elect liberal politician “x” that life will be worse off, because benefits gained through technological advances mask all sorts of theft to our standard of living.

If conservatives are smart they will become tech-savvy nerds who not only care about cameras that can see around corners, but talented orators who can paint vivid pictures of the future by describing their vision for the world and the vision of their political opponents.

Nailed on taxes, Harry Reid intellectually drools into live microphone

Want to see Harry Reid’s mind melt before your very eyes? Ask a question that simultaneously corners him into acknowledging the federal debt and his intellectual bankruptcy. You’ll be able to see the record in his mind skip on the needle a few times before he says “Next question.”

When Harry Reid isn’t worrying about the lack of sweatshops in the United States or surrendering to al Qaeda in Iraq, he usually keeps his gaffes minimized to micro-bursts of stupidity behind the podium. It may be rather depressing to read through the writings of statesmen like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and then have to turn on the television and listen to Harry Reid … but alas, he is all we have.

Regardless, today a reporter actually had the nerve to hold his feet to the fiscal fire, asking why Democrats didn’t raise taxes on the “wealthy” when they controlled all three branches of government. Reid’s response: “Next question.”

TWS: Leader Reid, when it comes to the Bush tax cuts…why didn’t Senate Democrats push through this bill back when you controlled the Senate, the House, and the presidency?

REID: The tax cuts weren’t about to expire then. So that’s why we’re doing it now.

TWS: You could have foreseen this issue two years ago.

REPORTER: What are you talking about? They expired at the end of 2010.

REID: And that’s why they were extended one year.

TWS: Why didn’t they vote when you could have pushed this bill through and had it signed into law?

REID: (pause) Next question.

Watch the video and note the pause from Reid as the wheels turn in his head. He knows he’s nailed, but the synapses in his brain are firing so fast he can’t think of something to say (mainly because talking points weren’t given out for that question).

One theory as to why Reid personally wasn’t interested in raising taxes back then was because he was too busy apologizing for referring to President Obama as “light skinned” with “no negro dialect.”

The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate apologized on Saturday for comments he made about Barack Obama’s race during the 2008 presidential bid.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada described then-Sen. Barack Obama as “light skinned” and “with no Negro dialect,”…

“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comments,” Reid said in a statement released after the excerpts were reported on the Web site of The Atlantic.

As I said before, IRS data proves that the “rich” pay more than their “fair” share of the tax burden in the United States. We have a spending problem — not a revenue problem — and liberals don’t want to talk about that because math isn’t as sexy as class warfare.

Federal spending per household

Federal spending is out of control, and our good friends at Heritage have done us a favor by collecting the data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Congressional Budget Office before presenting it in a way that is easy to understand. How anyone can look at federal spending per household (adjusted for inflation) and not see that Harry Reid is a dishonest hack of the highest order is beyond me, but it’s up to conservatives to talk about these numbers in ways their friends, family and neighbors understand.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll watch Sen. Reid intellectually drool into the microphone five more times just because it gives me the giggles. And then perhaps I’ll cry, because Baby Boomers and jerks like him have stolen the wealth of future generations. It’s a shame too many young people haven’t realized the magnitude of what men like him have done.

Telling: JPMorgan probed while the U.S. Postal Service loses billions

It is extremely interesting that JPMorgan Chase — historically a solid investment bank — makes some dunderhead investments and loses $2 billion, and suddenly it’s getting investigated by the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, the United States Postal Service loses billions every year and nobody bats an eyelash.

As Reuters reports:

The Postal Service said its loss widened to $3.2 billion in the first three months of 2012 and repeated on Thursday its warning that it will likely default on payments to the federal government unless Congress passes legislation offering some relief. …

The agency, which does not receive taxpayer funds and has been losing billions each year as Americans communicate online, said it lost $2.2 billion in the same period in 2011. …

The Postal Service lost $5.1 billion in fiscal year 2011 and was unable to make a massive annual payment for future retiree health benefits, which is required by law. The agency said much of the loss during the second quarter of 2012 came from setting aside funds for the $11.1 billion that is due this year.

So it “does not receive taxpayer funds” but yet it requires “legislation offering some relief.” Am I living in the Twilight Zone? It doesn’t require taxpayer money, but yet it does to the tune of $5.1 billion dollars if it’s going to survive? How does that work? If someone can tell me how this so-called independent agency can simultaneously be independent from and dependent on the federal government for its survival, please let me know. Has the USPS ever turned a profit in the past decade? If the answer is no, then its “independent” status is moot.

As our good friends at The Heritage Foundation note:

While the focus right now centers on the pre-funded pension benefits, the real reason for the USPS’s dire financial straits is the steady decline in mail volume as customers increasingly use electronic communications. Times and technology have changed; the USPS has not.

Regardless, the point is, why is JPMorgan Chase being singled out for bad decisions when the United States Postal Service made 5.1 billion bad decisions in a single year?

The FBI has opened an inquiry into the multibillion-dollar trading losses at JPMorgan Chase, stepping up pressure on the bank after key U.S. agencies said they were looking into high-risk trades that first drew regulators’ attention last month.

Do you know what happens when you stop people from taking risks in a capitalistic economy? Answer: You stop people from being rewarded for those risks. JPMorgan Chase, again, has a good track record of making money for its shareholders. The federal government has a great track record of losing trillions of dollars and then telling you not to worry about it. They do that because the politicians in charge now will be dead or long gone by the time you and your kids get run over by a debt-Zamboni the size of a house.

But you should worry about it, and Exhibit A is Greece. The country is imploding before our very eyes, there’s a run on banks and they have no one to blame but themselves. The difference between Greece and the United States is that no one can bail us out. No one. We’re too big, and if we fall it will be the crash heard ’round the world. And like the Greek tragedy happening overseas, it will be our own fault.

In short, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney inadvertently spelled out the limits of the federal government when he admitted reams upon reams of regulation “can’t prevent bad decisions from being made on Wall Street.” Most Democrats are actually calling for more regulation, which does nothing to fix Carney’s astute observation of the human condition and everything to highlight why liberals are incredibly scary; in their insatiable quest to control the uncontrollable they are willing to use any excuse to consolidate more power. They truly believe that if only they have their hands on more levers of power they’d eventually find the right combination of pulls and pushes and tweaks to get their desired result: total equality.

But human beings are complex. Some are smart. Others are dumb. Some are ambitious, while others are lazy. Most are honest, but many are devious. And so, the liberals’ plans always fail, but instead of ceding power to capitalism — that beautifully imperfect system that sorts through all the madness better than any other that has ever been devised — they double down. Again and again they ask for more power and more money, and every failure of theirs is attributed to a JPMorgan Chase or Bain Capital or Mitt Romney or some boogeyman that can distract from the failures of centralized planners run amok.

Don’t be distracted by their attempts to draw attention from their abysmal performance. Our elected leaders have composed a national disaster to the tune of $16 trillion dollars. They should be the object of our disdain at this time. An investigation of JPMorgan Chase, you say? I can think of 535 other investigations that would be more worth your time, Attorney General Eric Holder. Hint: They’re all local to Washington, DC.