Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

Jack Lew Grilled Over Perfectly Legal Investment

Jack Lew

Jack Lew has been nominated to run the Treasury Department.  Last week he went before his congressional committee for intense questioning.  Among other things, Mr. Lew was forced to answer questions regarding a $56,000 investment:

 President Obama’s nominee to lead the Treasury Department defended his $56,000 investment in a Cayman Islands fund at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, saying he was unaware it was based in a nation famous for having offshore tax havens.

“I always reported all income, I always paid all taxes,” he said. “I was aware that it was an international fund investing in emerging markets … I actually didn’t know [its location] at the time.”

Seriously.  Lew was forced to endure question regarding a 56k investment in a legal fund established in the Caymans.  This isn’t a case where the funds should have been taxed and Lew cheated to avoid paying money that he owed.  No.  This is the case of a man making intelligent decisions balancing risk with reward and diversifying his portfolio.

This is what people who have money, often why people HAVE money to begin with, do to make sure they will continue to have more money later.

Now, to be sure, the only reason -I’ll give ’em the benefit of the doubt- that the republicans went after Lew is because Obama demonized Mitt Romney during the campaign for the exact same reason; his off-shore Cayman investments.

And if THAT wasn’t enough, the republicans kept at it:

Lew also addressed a bonus of nearly $1 million he received as Citigroup was receiving billions in government support amid the financial crisis. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) questioned whether it was “morally acceptable” for Lew to accept a bonus at Citi briefly before the bank tapped the government for billions of dollars in bailout relief. Lew said his compensation was not out of the norm at the time, and that he disclosed everything as he should.

“I was compensated for my work,” he said, adding that he was aware that Citi was about to receive a large federal guarantee when he received the bonus.

“I do believe it was comparable for people in positions like mine in the industry,” he added. “I don’t think there’s anything that hasn’t been fully transparent both in what I did and what I earned.”

Surely I’m aware of the beautiful bitter irony, but just because a democrat NOW is speaking truth doesn’t mean that he’s wrong to say it.  Listen to what he’s saying, “I have a job maybe not 1,000 people in America could do as well as I do it.  And for that, I get compensated.  Of COURSE I feel justified in cashing that check.”

I don’t know, maybe politics demands that the questions be asked and answered.  While Lew played stupid on the Cayman island thing, and we can’t use stupid to defeat democrats, he did provide ammunition in the class-war that the left is waging.

Maybe it’s worth it, but I wish we governed in a way and manner in which we didn’t need that.

Now That Would Have Been Some Useful Nuance Two Months Ago

A significant aspect to the Presidential campaign was how each candidate planned on reducing the deficit and addressing the fiscals woes of the nation.

Romney rolled out a plan based on rate reductions and deduction eliminations.  Romney was short of specifics; when working with a divided senate and house, the bill delivered may not contain the exact details promised on the trail.

He was ridiculed as being vague and without a clue.

Now NPR is reporting on a method to raise revenues in order to meet the President’s goal.  A method suggested by none other than one Mitt Romney:

That’s a tall order. One approach that was suggested by Mitt Romney during the campaign, and endorsed by the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial page last week, is to cap tax deductions at a specific dollar level. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has analyzed the idea. Its co-director, Donald Marron, says capping deductions for all taxpayers at $17,000 could produce $1.7 trillion in revenue over 10 years. That would meet the president’s dollar goal.

To be fair, there is a problem with that approach:

“That would get to the president’s revenue target, but obviously it would violate his desire not to raise taxes on people below the top 2 percent,” he says.

Even raising the limit would still put Obama at odds with his promise:

If you push that cap on deductions higher, let’s say, up to $25,000, you could meet that $1 trillion revenue target. But you still don’t eliminate the political problem, because around a quarter of the added tax burden would still fall on the middle-class taxpayers the president has pledged to protect.

In the continuation of fairness, Romney’s plan would have lost revenue on that rate reduction; a loss that he claims would have been made up by an expansion of the economy.

Whatever, it would have been refreshing to have had this open and honest discussion regarding Romney’s plan back when Romney was viable.  The man knows finance; he knows what businessmen like and what they don’t.  He knows why they invest and when.

I guess if America can benefit by his wisdom, even with the Statist in Chief in office, we;re better off for it.

Media Bias: 2012 Presidential Campaign

When it comes to the concept of media bias there are two things that are true:

  1. Conservatives think that the main stream media is bias against conservatives and republicans.
  2. Liberals think that Fox is the most bias media outlet out there.

I happen to think that there is good evidence to support contention #1 and strong evidence to contradict contention #2.

Anyway, that is general conversation stuff, I’m here to talk about the media coverage of the 2012 presidential campaign.  Namely the bias involved in it.

Bottom line, the bias was present, pronounced and tilted in favor of Obama.

Journalism.org, a PEW organization recently published a report detailing said bias:

Overall from August 27 through October 21, 19% of stories about Obama studied in a cross section of mainstream media were clearly favorable in tone while 30% were unfavorable and 51% mixed. This is a differential of 11 percentage points between unfavorable and favorable stories.

For Romney, 15% of the stories studied were favorable, 38% were unfavorable and 47% were mixed-a differential toward negative stories of 23 points.

During the study, Obama enjoyed a differential that was more than 100% more favorable than Romney.  Further, Obama took a “positive coverage” score that was 26% better than Romney received all while Romney suffered 26% more negative coverage.

Looking back, the numbers don’t really surprise me.  I’ve accepted a sense of the bias in the media and have come to accept and adjust for that bias as I flip through my channels.

And speaking of flipping through channels, how did the “liberal channel” compare against the “conservative channel?”

Not even close:

Fox gave Obama 100% better coverage than MSNBC gave Romney.  As far as the negatives, MSNBC was 54% more negative towards Romney than Fox was towards Obama.  In other words, Fox was less negative and more positive towards Obama than MSNBC was towards Romney.

Faux News indeed.

But how about the other outlets?

Two of the three main networks were pretty consistent in their coverage of the two candidates.  The one exception is ABC with a decided pro-Obama slant.  Notice that NBC actually nets out in favor of Romney by virtue of 2 points to the good in the positive coverage.

In the end, the media carries a bias for the liberal candidate.  This was as true in 2012 as it was in 2008.  This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, just a reminder that a grain of salt needs to be applied when watching news coverage of the events of the day.

Oh, and as a reminder of media bias from a report in 2004, a measure of various outlets:

Fox News was the 5th most centrist news outlet and was only 1 of 2 conservative news sources on the list.

The Slow Decline Of GM

The whole of the rust belt went for Obama.  The auto states have long been democratic strong holds and no matter what happened to GM they likely would have supported Obama.  However, Ohio has a history of swinging and was in play November 5th, 2008.

And Obama knew this.

So, when faced with the dilemma that was the failing corporations, GM and Chrysler, he made the political play to bail the companies out with government money giving a huge gift to his political allies; the auto unions.

After this move, the companies failed anyway and they both went through bankruptcy where Obama continued his assault of reasonableness and simply ignored well established bankruptcy law.  He paid the unsecured creditors first which benefited the very voters he would need later in 2012.

It paid off.

But Romney, back in 2008, wrote an Op Ed for the NY Times where he called for the managed bankruptcy of the two companies , not a bailout.  Here’s what he said:

IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.

Fast forward to today:

(Reuters) – Ford Motor Co, which clung to the road with a timely swerve before the 2009 crisis that bankrupted General Motors Co, may now be pulling a similar stunt in Europe.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker is scrapping three European plants and thousands of jobs while its rival appears to be stuck on the starting grid. The speed of Ford’s restructuring plan – and the comparatively slow pace of GM’s – has become more important during a protracted slump in Europe’s auto market, with sales down another 7.2 percent so far this year.

Both companies unveiled hefty third-quarter losses in the region and warned they could lose a combined $6 billion or more in Europe in 2012-13.

The bad news weighs heavily on GM’s troubled Opel unit, which has lost billions of dollars over the past decade, has a long history of ill will with its labor unions, has seen its products and brand image pummeled in the media and has shown the door to all but a handful of its top executives.

More than anything, however, the cost of making cars is simply too high, with too many workers still on the payroll given sagging demand in most of western Europe.

Ford, quick and nimble – able to respond to changing needs – is outpacing the “saved” company that Obama “saved.”

Ford adjust.  GM didn’t.  And they’re paying.

By 2009, the company was solid enough to stay afloat as GM took a government bailout and Chrysler was sold to Fiat – both through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

Beyond the disposals, Ford seeks more gains by building future cars and trucks from just five basic platforms, compared with nine distinct vehicle architectures currently deployed.

The push to consolidate underlying technologies – led by rivals VW and Hyundai – is already lifting earnings at home. Ford’s North American operating profit amounted to 12 percent of third-quarter sales, pulling further ahead of GM’s 7.8 percent margin.

“We track how we’re performing versus Ford very closely and we’ve got a good understanding of the gap,” GM’s U.S. finance chief Chuck Stephens told reporters and analysts this week. “Obviously it’s widened thus far this year. Ford is about two years ahead of us (in) getting scale on global architectures.”

Ford’s lead over GM is closer to four years in the European restructuring stakes. And even then, Bochum’s 2017 closure should not be taken for granted, some observers warn.

Ouch.

 

Ohio To Obama – President is Re-Elected

Congratulations President.

For those of us who love Liberty, we have more work to do.

Update – 11:00

The only good -GREAT- news is that my state flipped from Obama to Romney.  I feel a fantastic sense of accomplishment even if I only moved a few people.

The news is getting worse for Romney, however.  It look like Florida is moving towards Obama though there will be a recount.  And Ohio has stopped closing; Ohio is going to go Obama.

Fun stuff even if it’s bad news for Republicans.

Update – 10:00

I got my first one wrong, though I admit, I only picked Wisconsin for Romney in the same way I pick an upset in the NCAA tourney.  I thought that maybe Walker’s ground game would save the day.

However, there shouldn’t be a surprise anywhere yet.

In the head to head match-up, Silver is up by one over Rove; New Hampshire went for Obama.

I’m on track to be right; Obama wins.

Update – 9:00

Again, no surprises in the called states yet.

Of note, Michigan goes Obama and Florida and North Carolina are FAR too close for me.

Update – 8:00

No surprises.

Updated Electoral College: Silver vs. Rove vs. Pino

I was reviewing the data and adding some additional information when I realized I put Florida in the wrong group; Florida is a “contested state.”  Rove and Silver have it going different from each other.

Additionally I added my picks, the real value [updated as the races are called] and then Silver’s prediction confidence.

If you look at Silver as a basketball player and use his confidence % as his shooting percentage from different places on the floor, he has a 45.5% of hitting every “contested shot” excluding Florida.  That success rate drops to 24.2 if you include Florida.

That means there’s a better than 50 – 50 chance he gets one wrong.