For The Met Fan

This one is for the Mets fans out there. They begin spring training with much hope, optimism and dreams of a playoff year. Is it realistic? Let me lay out some sobering thoughts and what might have beens.

First, this is not the year. There is promise with a young pitching staff but they are a year away. Matt Harvey needs time to get back to where he was. He will get there, but it will take half a season. With Jacob DeGrom you caught lightening in a bottle last year. Sophomore seasons have a way of bringing people to reality. Now the guy I expect to shine and star is Matt Wheeler. He has paid his dues, seen greatness and wants it. He has matured and this is his breakout year. Starter four, Johnaton Niese is a pitch away from the disabled list. They couldn’t trade him this off season because teams know he went down the past three years with the shoulder. He won’t make a full season. Bartolo Colon is what he is. At some point age and weight will bring him down. They are hoping he makes it half way and someone wants him n July. Big bet ($11M to be exact). Dillon Gee is a good one to have around and should be there until the summer too. At that point they go to the minors and bring up the next generation and someone will want him. The bullpen is young with hard throwers. They need to fit into the right roles and it will take Terry two months to figure it out. Just watch.

The pitching is good, trending toward great, but they are a year away.

Now where did Sandy go wrong. Here it is.

He knew from day one this was a rebuild and there were no funds. He made two great moves in trading Beltran and getting Wheeler. Then he traded Dickey for Travis D. and Noah. Excellent moves trading veterans to get youth and promise. That’s how you rebuild. Very impressive.

So why did he let Reyes walk and not trade him? He knew it was a rebuild. A very bad decision that cost him a shot at a young hitter that might be MLB ready today. This is unforgivable. You are either rebuilding or not. If you are you don’t lose a star to free agency. You get value for him.

Bad move two has been his free agent signings. Why would you sign a 32 year old Curtis Granderson to a four year contract?  In the non steroid era you don’t sign older players on the downside. Wasted dollars. Why would you sign Michael Cuddyer at age 36? Why do you think he is going to star at an age careers end today? Why would you give a declining David Wright a 7 year contract at 31 if you are cash strapped? Why would you spend on a 40 year old pitcher like Bartolo Colon? If it’s about winning and you have limited money with some top notch young pitchers what kind of strategy is this?

What should he have done? Adjust to the game as it is today. Great moves on the pitching, but you should have spent the dollars you did on three older players in another way. Let’s remove Wright because they wanted him as the face of the Mets, but on Granderson, Cuddyer and Colon they spent $100M. Really? Is that how you you do it? No it isn’t. How? In the free agent international market especially on three Cuban players who were there for the taking. Think Abreu on the White Sox now and last year was a home run machine. Think Tomas who we begged you to pursue last year and is going to be the majors this year. Imagine some young hitters to join the young pitchers all with upside. Imagine spending the limited money you had not on washed up players but stars to be. How good would next year look? By the way these two would have cost far less and you could pursued the Korean SS, or Moncada who signed with the Red Sox today for $31.5.

Sandy your free agent moves have been horrendous from relief pitchers to position players. Your trades of veterans for youth have been great. Stop with the older player signings and seek youth. It’s a young man’s game again with the roids gone. Get with it.

So Met fans you’re a year away from contending. Don’t be fooled. How good next year is depends on what they get for Gee and Colon. How quickly Conotro (#1 draft choice last year) and Nimmo develop. If you can move Murphy for a young player, and let Flores play second and develop while you get a shortstop. You see you have pitching and pitching wins. But you need defense and Sandy right now you have the worst defensive infield in baseball.

Work to do.

Blogging A

After a lull I feel I need to get my frustrations out again, so back to my blog. Three issues just bugging me. A federal, a state and a sports one. So let’s go.

Guilani makes a statement and the liberal press goes crazy. Now I don’t know if Obama loves America or not. I do know he came into office wanting to change America as we knew it. I knew his wife said when he was elected it was the first time she was proud of America. I know I have been proud of my country far more often than that. So maybe our values are just different and what we are proud of differs. Maybe he is not proud of the America I love and maybe I am not proud of the America he wants. You know what I wonder? If he were not a Democrat would he be President? The way people vote is my frustration. They don’t know the issues and pull a lever for party and increasingly the fringe elements are controlling the process. Very dangerous.

My frustration with the state government is now beyond healthy. The people in my state reelected their Democrat governor simply because he was a Democrat and ran a dirty anti opponent campaign. In the first term he raised taxes to record levels and in his second campaign talked about how he saved the state. Two months after election he has budget issues. He craftly proposes a budget that he calls a “sales tax cut” and the liberal press goes along. They fool people into thinking it is a cut. Here are the facts:

– The rate today is 6.35%

– It was 6.00% was he was elected. So he raised the rate.

– He proposes cutting it to 6.2% this year.

Can you first believe after raising it he now tells the citizens he is cutting their rate and people think he is?

Now think about this. You buy $100 worth of something today and you pay $106.35. Under the cut you will pay $106.20. You save .15 cents. Let’s forget for  a second it would have been  $105.95 when he took office. As part of this cut he is eliminating the no tax on any clothing for $50.00 or less. Eliminating it. Now does any reasonable thinking sane person think that this will save them money? This is a tax increase he told the press and people was a tax cut and the they ran with it. Are people really that dense? On that $50.00 purchase you just added $3.25.

His argument was that it will save you a lot on the big items. Really? To offset the $50.00 tax free loss? Let’s see I buy something for $4,000 and I save $6. Since most people spend at that level infrequently are you telling me I won’t be buying clothes in that time that I save $3.25 each purchase on? Two items and I am still ahead. How dumb are people and how liberal is the press to go along with this as a tax cut? Oh yea don’t forget Democrats and liberals are for the poor people.

One more aspect. He proposes in the future (2017 maybe) to reduce the sales tax to 5.95%. Like Obamacare where we pay after he leaves office, he is going to lower the rate again as he leaves. Except it will never happen. You see Governor people and businesses are not moving into our state as they did in 80’s and early 90’s when we were a low tax haven. Check the stats Governor, we are leading the people exccesses from the state because personal taxes, estate taxes and business taxes are now so high they need to leave. You are not going to grow revenue to cut a tax, you need to stop spending.

Now my sports peeve. Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees are pressuring him on where to speak, when too, and turned their back on him at every turn. You know what bugs me? They are as guilty as him. When they signed him the first they knew he was on the roids. When they signed him the second time for 10 years (until age 43) they knew he was on the drugs. That’s why they signed him. Now they want to act high and mighty. How are they allowed to get away with this? Why didn’t they sign Cano last year? He wanted ten years and in the non steroid era they know a career is over my the mid 30″s, just the way it used to be. Now they are holier than thou. You knew what Rodriguez was doing, as you knew what Gambi was doing when you signed him, and Clemens, and CC and …….. You know it all, cut the junk now.

More to come.

The Great Divide

There are some days when simple issues point out the great divide in our country and make you wonder what the future will be. Here are a few short ones from today:

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a town in New York can begin their meeting with a prayer. The five justices voting yes were Reagan and Bush appointees. The four voting no were Clinton and Obama appointees. There folks is the divide in our nation and how far apart the philosophies are.  The next President will likely appoint two or more justices and what kind of country we become rests on who that person is.

Example two is Condelezza Rice canceling her graduation address at Rutgers. There was a vocal group led by a professor and some activist students that didn’t want her because of her views and role in the Bush administration. Now think about that. Where was the counter up cry to allow a loyal service orientated American citizen the right to speak? Where were the women’s groups protecting her right to speak? Where were the black groups decrying the protest? They didn’t exist and she graciously backed out. Yet liberal feminist “over throw” the government types are welcomed. So I guess being a minority or woman only counts if you are liberal.

Which raises the next question. Would Hillary Clinton be welcome? My guess as I sure yours is that she would. Yet Hillary voted for the same Iraq War that the Rutgers crew based their decision to protest Rice on. It may not be well known but Senator Clinton voted for war based upon the same CIA intelligence that Rice had, which was Iraq had WMD. Why would Hillary be welcome?

One more thing on Hillary, it is becoming more apparent that on September 11, 2012 she was aware there was no spontenous video protest outside the embassy in Benghazi on this anniversary of the World Trade Center bombing and that it was a terrorist plot. Yet days later when she met the bodies and their families she blamed the video again. Is this the leadership we seek, politics over dead loyal public servants? We get what we deserve.

Part 2: Why Republican Leaders Are Dumb

Yesterday I explained how the leadership focused on exactly the wrong areas with the ACA and set themselves up to lose. Today let me offer part two, looking at the broken budgetary process in Washington.

So this week Paul Ryan and the great Republican leadership offered once again a budget for the government. You are all familiar with this, it is the one the Democrats attack viciously (in fact Obama did last night in a speech) and the main stream media uses it to point out the heartless Republicans. Now think about this. The Republicans owe one half (the house) of one third of the government. One half of one third. What budget is out there every year for ridicule? The Republican Ryan budget. Why is that?

The answer is the Senate under Harry Reid just doesn’t do one. In the years of the Obama presidency they have done one. Instead they take the Ryan budget and destroy the Republicans as the party of “no” and, look at how they want to “hurt” people. Thus the President and the Democratic leaders spend months attacking the Ryan budget making the Republicans look bad.

Why does the leadership of the Republican party come back each year for more? I guess they think they are being “fiscally responsible”. Well how has that worked out for you? You own one half of one third of government and you allow the other party to destroy you and paint you into a corner and not do a budget at all. Did you ever hear of market research? Try it. You will find out people know nothing about your budget except you want to take away from them. Then ask if they know Democrats have no budget and haven’t done their job. What you find is that they know you don’t care and nothing about the lack of budgets from others.  It is failed leadership.

Either stop putting budgets out that you end up having to defend charges and look bad; or get aggressive and back the other guys up for their failure and spending. Your 2014 budget calls for $2.8 trillion in spending. Obama’s was $3.9 trillion. The Senate doesn’t have one. If you are going to put budgets out how about less defense and more offense? If you can’t win the PR battle then why are you with one half of one third of the government always on the defensive and losing ground on the issue? Stop playing to lose and try planning to win.

Just plain dumb, plain dumb.

Why Republican Leadership is Dumb

Here’s the perfect example on why Republican leadership is lost and cannot lead the party back. To win at any argument you need facts and you need to frame the argument for those facts. With the Affordable Care Act the Republican Leadership took a winning argument and framed the facts exactly the opposite they should have. Let me explain.

They made every argument about the website and the number of signups the administration promised. Are they really that inept? That out of touch? That clueless?

First of all, they knew that companies and people would be losing coverage because of the act. Well here’s a message for you. People like me are responsible citizens who are concerned about their future. If we lose coverage we are going to find it somewhere else. When you made the argument that seven million wouldn’t sign up what were you thinking? Didn’t you realize working citizens take responsibility? Lucky for you the President cancelled the corporate mandate or even more would have signed up.

Then you walked around talking about the mismanaged website as if in this age of technology it wouldn’t be fixed. What were you thinking? Do you even know what companies do today?

So you focused on the web and signups, the two areas the administration could deliver on. What should you have been talking about? You should have been 100% focused on:

– The ACA was created to insure the 40 Million people who had no coverage. Where are we with the 40 million? You should (and have been) talking 40 million in every conversation and every time the main stream media said 7 million, you say “wait this was designed to insure 40 million not 7″.

– Next ask where the average families $2,500.00 savings are. That was a major promise. Look into the camera ask people “where is your $2,500 savings, have you seen it”? They lied, make them pay.

– Pelosi and her leadership said “you have to pass it to know what’s in it”. Now that they passed it America are you satisfied? They certainly aren’t having made 38 changes on their own without any approval. Ask the people do you think that “maybe next time we should read and understand it”?

– They also said you can keep your doctor, your plan and save. Point that out so they look like the fools they make you look like. “So we were going to insure 40 million more people, most at no charge and save each family $2,500.00″. How did they propose to do this? it can’t be done, they lied.

Yet Republican leadership is so failing they choose to focus not on the 40 million they promised to insure, or the family savings of $2,500, and disruption in doctor, hospitals or services: but instead on a web site and the administration number of 7 million. Simply makes no sense.

Obama, Reid, Pelosi and team claim victory today because 7.1 million signed up. The fact that 4 million of them probably lost their insurance because of the ACA and were responsible citizens is lost. The fact that almost no one is saving $2,500 is ignored. The fact they won’t tell us how many signed up for free coverage is not noted. The fact that 40 million may still be uninsured is not talked about is all because opposition leadership has no clue how to frame a winning argument. Ask yourself after all this what progress was made for the uninsured which was what this about?

Next? National Health Insurance is here to stay. Like Social Security and Medicare it will become part of the fabric and in the future any talk of changing it will lead to instant defeat. Will Republican Leadership have the sense to seize the moment and gain credit for fixing it? No, what they’ll do is continue talking about repeal until they get voted out again.

Dumb, just plain dumb.

Fair Share

I had a conversation with my Mom today that got me thinking about all the “fair share” talk and who should pay what that we hear so much out the liberals in Washington and NYC now with the new mayor. You see my 88 year old Mom was telling me about her heat bill and how it was over $200.00 this month. She was concerned about the high costs and it got me to thinking like a liberal Democrat. Let me explain.

My Mom is all of 4 feet 10 inches. She is paying the same heat bill as others, but heat rises and taller people use more heat than her. That is not fair. She is paying more than her fair share in this case. She doesn’t use all the heat that rises to 8 and 10 foot ceilings. Should we have a sliding scale of heat payments? For shorter people like her there should be a reduced rate.  We should scale heat costs up for those 5′ 5″ and then again for those 6″ and then higher for those who are 6’5″ and finally those 7″ feet should pay a higher rate. I mean it’s only fair a 7 foot person is using heat 70% greater than my Mom.

I mean it only seems fair that taller people should pay more since they require and use more. I am finally understanding this whole fair share thing. Let’s get my Mom this break she deserves and needs. Pass this on to your representative and help me spread the fair share word.

Detroit Now What and Why?

The cry to bail out or save Detroit is underway. It will certainly escalate in the days, weeks and months ahead. Follow the discussion for fun. The city is $18+ billion in the hole ($3.5 billion negative in pension obligations). President Obama and VP Biden promised they would never let it go under, so let’s see how the MSM covers this. I want to address a different aspect of the story. How did it get here?

I think the situation in Detroit is a result of how governments run and why we need a new approach. When things are good , the local officials love spending the dollars. The union officials yell for their share. Every program is a good one. They all act as if the good times will roll on forever. No one prepares for the bumps in the road that come evidently. Government doesn’t do the basics that your parents taught you — prepare for a rainy day.

So Detroit spent, and spent, and spent as if it would always be rolling in. When it started slowing down they just drafted rosy scenarios and  budgets. An example,  their current pension funds are based on an 8% expected return. Wouldn’t you like that on your bank accounts?

As its population declined 39% (to 715,000 from 1.850,000 in 1950), crime increased, and the car business went into disarray Detroit spent itself into an $18+ billion dollar debt.

Okay why?

Government spends whatever it collects as if it is going to last like that forever.

Government creates programs but when did you ever hear of government canceling programs?

So in heady times as the money flows you spend and spend, increase programs, add to pensions, create new ones.

When rainy days come they borrow to cover the programs, or utilize rosy projections.

Sooner or later you hit a day of reckoning. Detroit just did. Americas day is coming.

The best way to explain it is this. When government has a surplus in good times there are three choices.

1. Create new programs and spend the money

2. Save the excess in a rainy day fund to prepare for the eventual downturn (and seek savings where you can since jobs are available)

3  Actually return the excess to the tax payer who you over charged because you had more than what you needed to run the government.

Guess which one Detroit chose? Guess which one our state government choses? Guess what the federal government does? Think what you do with your budget. Shouldn’t government do what you do?

Post Trial Verdict

Okay so the President has injected himself in the Martin/Zimmerman case and the media has new life to cover the story as a racial one. From what I see now the narrative is the jury was wrong. The stand your ground law must be repealed. We must stop profiling. America is racist. The President said this “could have been him 35 years ago”. So let’s look at this.

First Mr. President what were you doing 35 years ago? Are those stories of drug use and being stoned out all through college true? If you were walking the streets in a haze, you may have done something to make people wonder as you approached their open doors causing them to lock them.

Next Mr. President, I grew up in Brooklyn. I can recall twice being stopped by police in the schoolyard across from my house. Once was because someone had broken into the school and here I came motoring through the school yard. The second time was a drug crackdown in the yard. I can tell you now in neither case did I consider it wrong, challenge the police, or yell profiling. In fact as funny as this must sound I was actually happy the police were doing their job. I had done nothing wrong and was hoping they would find those who were. I was always for the law abiding citizen and protecting the innocent. I wonder if you understand me.

Now the case in Sanford. It is tragic that a young man died. Tragic that his family has to go through this. It is tragic that the Zimmerman family cannot live their lives. If everyone really wants to solve the issue let’s get to the real cause. It was not Stand Your Ground, the defense wasn’t even used in this case. It is a smoke screen. Go back to the cause. Why was a neighborhood watch necessary? 

Aren’t hard working law abiding citizens entitled to live their years in peace and safety? There was a watch set up because this became an issue. People were afraid to walk their streets, go shopping and stay in their homes. Criminals were taking away their safety and making them feel threatened. The fact that the criminals appeared to be young and hid under hoodies led to this tragedy. How about identifying the root cause and solving that issue, Martin would be alive and the Zimmermans living their formerly productive lives. 

One last thing on the post verdict. Mr President you are President of the whole country and responsible for our laws and system. We had a more than fair trail and a jury spoke. They spoke quickly and unanimously. In fact until you got involved the first time there wasn’t even going to be a trial. Your job is to support our system and advance our nation not raise doubts over it. This outcome of this case was never really in doubt. 

As for the main stream media. What a joke. From NBC changing the tapes to make Zimmerman appear racist to labeling him white and not knowing how to backtrack that is just a travesty. A man who registered himself “hispanic” then became a “white hispanic” because clearly according to the MSM only a white person could be racist. Doesn’t that make them racist?

How many former productive lives have been ruined since you, Mr President, forced the DOJ to get involved? From Sanford police and government workers, to the Zimemrmans themselves, how many good law abiding citizens have been impacted? Why? Because young hoodlums were terrifying a neighborhood and good citizens tried to protect themselves. 

Sequester Straight Talk

So what is all this “Sequester” talk and what does it mean. Here are some simple facts.

The sequester came about because before the election both sides could not agree on how to attack the deficit.

Rather than deal with the issue then (Rep “no tax increases”, Dem “Raise taxes on the rich”) they agreed to automatic cuts if by Jan 1 they did not resolve.

On Jan 1 as you may recall there was no agreement and Republicans gave in to the pressure of rescinding the Bush cuts on those earning $400,000 and above

The cuts were delayed until March 1 so they could agree.

Here we are on March 1 and no agreement. Obama wants another $680 billion tax increase and the Republicans are saying “you got the taxes in Jan this is about the cuts”. With no agreement the automatic cuts kick in.

So that’s how we got here. Now let’s define “cuts”.

Cuts in Washington does not mean spending less than last year. It means a reduction in the increased spending planned.

Let me say that one more time clearly. Government spending is going up, this cut (2.4%) is in the increase, it is not a reduction from last year.

The administration has claimed planes won’t fly, ships won’t sail, jobs will be lost, prisoners will be freed, etc etc etc. All that on on a 2% cut in a $3.55 Trillion Dollar Budget.

Now think about this. Every working American was hit with a 2% tax increase January 1 — every. You figured it out in your personal budget didn’t you? Now don’t you expect your government to figure it out too — especially since your cut was real and this is off a larger increase?

Pretty simple isn’t it? We have a $16.7 trillion budget deficit that we are paying interest on. We are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend. We need to get the budget under control. Is 2.4% off the increased budget too much to ask?

Nancy Pelosi speaking for the Democrats said we “don’t have a spending problem”. Do you agree?

Do you think the answer is to raise more taxes? On January 1 we raised every working American by 2%. We took the Bush tax cuts away from “the rich” and we added a 3.8% healthcare tax “to the rich”. Do you want to add more taxes or is a 2.4% spending cut okay now?

Your choice, our country and our children’t future. In my opinion we would never borrow money in our personal lives to leave our children to pay later. Yet that is what the government is doing with 40 cents on every dollar they spend. I worry about what we doing to their futures.

Governor Christie

So Governor Christie and the Press take off on the Republicans and congress because they did not pass the hurricane Sandy relief bill. Why did they hold off? How come the media never covers that part? The answer is they want to help the Sandy victims but the bill has Billions added to it for non related things. Does anyone say that or cover it? Does anyone realize we passed a tax increase this week and ADDED to the debt? What you say? Yes we added to it because the bill had MORE SPENDING THAN THE TAX INCREASE THAT WAS IN IT. Does the President, his supporters and the press know we have a 16.5 trillion dollar debt that we are adding a trillion a year to? The federal government borrows 40 cents of every dollar it spends and when some try to curb spending they are attacked. That is the road to Greece. It is exactly how Greece got to where it is. They refused to stop anything and added more until their currency was worth nothing. Is that the legacy we want to pass to our children? In the pursuit of giving you everything and not denying ourselves anything we bankrupted your future. Great job.

Here is a partial list what was added to the 62 billion Sandy relief bill. You tell me how this helps those impacted by the storm.

 

Here are some of the items included in the Hurricane Sandy aid package that critics object to. Supporters say many of the appropriations are necessary to respond to disasters, though some are unrelated to the storm:

 $150 million for fisheries in Alaska.

 $2 million to fix museum roofs in Washington.

 $20 million for watershed restoration in response to wildfires in Colorado.

 $1 million for the Legal Services Corporation.

 $56.8 million for tsunami marine debris remediation.

 $5 million for Corps of Engineers investigations unrelated to the hurricane.

 $499 million in Corps of Engineers construction funds for disasters occurring before the storm.

$578 million for flood-control mitigation projects by the corps unrelated to the storm.

$28 million for watershed protection activities unrelated to the storm.

$4 million to the F.B.I. to replace vehicles, office equipment and furniture.

$1 million for the Drug Enforcement Administration to replace 15 vehicles and equipment.

$230,000 to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to replace three vehicles and furniture.

$15 million for construction at NASA facilities, including restoration of sand berms.

$855,000 to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to replace vehicles.

$300,000 for the Secret Service to replace vehicles and communications equipment.

$50 million for National Park Service historic preservation activities.

$150 million for the Interior Department to create a fund that may be used for restoration at national parks and refuges affected by disasters.

$2 billion in Community Development Block Grant funds reserved exclusively for activities related to the mitigation of future disasters.

 

 

The Day After

A resounding night for the Democrats and a clear victory. The electoral count which was always the issue was as wide as anyone predicated. They picked up seats  in the senate and it’s only the house that provides a dissenting voice. We end up where we started, a Democratic President and Senate and Republican House. So now what?

Time for the Republicans to get the message and decide what they stand for. Are they going to stick to the issues that are driving them down or adjust to the knowledge the face of America tomorrow looks different. Here’s my free advice:

John Boehner, Paul Ryan and the house, stop issuing budgets. For three years you have put budgets up for a house vote that the President and Senate took apart as cruel. You lost. The President owes the country a budget. Shut up and let him and Harry Reid define their budget. The President’s budget was voted down 98-0 the last two years, but more people know about your “cruel Budget cuts” than that. You can’t lead from the house and the people have spoken. Let’s see the President’s budget. Let him put it out and you share it with the people and react to it.

On moral issues, we’re done. We now stand for personal morals but we are not passing our beliefs to others. We believe abortion should be rare and we would not do it, but each person makes their own decision. We believe personally that marriage is between a man and a woman but we do not stop others who have different views. If the churches (especially the Catholic Church) has an issue with that — too bad. We stood for your values but as a church you did not stand with us. You do your job and we’ll do ours.

The implications of last night:

Obamacare is here to stay. Watch closely as it unfolds. I think many companies will drop coverage and pay the fine. Companies are about saving money and the fines are less expensive. Watch as millions are added to the system how it effects care. Watch reactions as taxes begin to hit.

The fiscal cliff. Taxes rise in January and I assume the Democrats will want more. How much will they propose? Will they offer any cuts? Where is the budget deficit going to go? If we don’t address this in four years we will be Greece. Mr President this needs leadership now, our future is at stake.

The Supreme Court: My guess is conservative judges will try to hold on. Any openings will turn the court a sharp left.

Chris Christie is toast to me. I was a fan and wanted him to run, but he is forever done with me. He sold out at the convention and didn’t deliver the keynote that he was supposed to. His actions with the President last week were shocking. When 16% of the people say Hurricane Sandy effected their vote (FoxNews Poll), it tells you all you need to know. Christie played the speech and hurricane to show how he was bi-partisan. Well for me at least he played himself out of my support forever. He bet the Democrats would appreciate what he did, well I have news Governor. They are not voting for you in 2014. They will vote you out and you alienated your base. Think about your next career.

Tom Akin in Missouri, you are not only dumb for what you said, but selfish. Your political career is done and your selfishness took away a key seat.

Mitt Romney, thank you. You were gracious and represented us well. I believe you would have been a great President and this country would have benefited from your leadership. I am sorry our system is so unbalanced that people can get away with attacking your successful business career, try to say you caused a women’s death, had no principles and called you more names than a decent God loving man should have to endure. Know that there are many like me who appreciate who you are, what you have accomplished and how well you handled yourself.

The Main Stream Media is a disgrace. In the months ahead as we face fiscal challenges, the Libya review, and entitlement decisions it will be interesting to watch your spin. You should know that Americans like me place no value or credibility in anything you say. Your bias is incredible and I think you know it.

We are now the loyal opposition. Others were chosen to lead. We look forward to seeing you do so and to stop blaming Bush and attacking us. Lead, make our country respected again globally, great at home and bring us together. Do what you promised.

Election Day

So here we go, what should we watch for early tonight?

The key southern battleground states have to go to Romney or you can turn the lights out. If Florida goes Obama the race is over and that will deflate turnout in the west and hurt Republican congressional candiates.

A Romney win there and in North Carolina which I expect means it is about Virginia in the south. Both can win without Virginia, but it is much harder for Romney. Let’s give him Virginia and here’s what his electoral count looks like:

191 to start, + 29 Fla., + 15 NC, + 13 Va. = 248

The road to 270 from there.

I see Colorado going Romney. Add 9 that is 257.

Now it gets dicey. Ohio with 18 does it. I think the odds in Ohio are not good. You have to say that every poll is wrong and they don’t know what they are doing. A chance but slim.

That means he needs Wisconsin (10) plus either Iowa (6) or New Hampshire (4).   A tough haul to win all three since the final polls show Obama slightly ahead.

I don’t think Pennsylvania, Michigan, or Minnesota are really in play. So the keys for the night are the early returns from New Hampshire, Va. Fla. and NC. If all four break Romney brew some coffee and settle in. If the later three do, keep the pot warm. If Obama wins Virginia get ready to turn the lights out when Ohio is decided. If all four and Ohio break Romney, watch for a landslide.

That’s it for the Presidential race. The House will stay Republican. The Democrats will hold the senate 51 – 48. The Republicans blew it here.  So no matter who wins the Presidency the congress will be divided.

What to watch during the day? Turnout. Is there a big turnout and where is it? Is it conservative areas or inner city liberal? Turnout decides this election.

 

Early Thoughts Debate 3

Here are some early thoughts on the debate last night. President Obama did not get the knockout he needed. Foreign Policy was his major advantage and he needed to regain the ground lost from debate one here. He tried, but Romney came to play it safe and appear presidential. He played defense and concentrated on reassuring woman he was safe and not a threat. Why women? They are the place he is still closing the gap and more women were watching then men. There was Monday night football and a game seven of the national league championship on at the same time.

So Obama does well. Romney does not make a mistake and appears like a man that can be president. They both win.

Only two things can change this tomorrow. One is the fact checking. Did someone make a big mistake? Who was right on the bankruptcy? That one they argued and said the other was wrong. The second thing is the media. What does the main stream media do today? They are biased and sometimes don’t even realize how much. They are scared Obama could lose. What do they do today? Pay close attention.

 

After Last Night

Last night was the best Presidential Debate I have ever witnessed and I have seen them all. The candidates stood their ground and went at it. The end result is this. If you are an Obama supporter you loved him and he raised your spirits from the first debate. If you are a Romney supporter you were happy with his performance and ability to lay the case out against him. So both sides were reinforced.

Where this leaves us is here. The polls will stabilize. The Romney gains will cease, and Obama may edge back but only slightly. What that means is this election is dead even and whoever wins will get only 50 to 52% (at the highest) of the vote.

Romney’s advantage is a more motivated voter who is committed to voting. Obama’s edge is in his dollars and get out the vote effort. There will be a massive drive to assure people vote. So post debate we are close to a 48-48 polling result, with one big caveat. Obama has the electoral edge.

The big question is how this Libya issue plays out. Obama saying he declared it a terrorist act on day one may have won the night but might not win the war. The Republicans can play tapes of Obama at the U.N. fourteen days later saying the video led to the attack. They can play tapes of his saying similar things continuously and then ask the American people to decide. If he declared and knew it was terrorism on day one why did he blame the video? Why did Secretary Rice go on the four Sunday shows and blame the video?

Now the last thing that change it all. The old October surprise. The Obama administration tries to change the conversation. Today they announce they have identified who was behind the terrorist strike. That adds a new dimension to the conversation today and moves the focus off the last night a little. Then watch for a strike against the perpetrators before the election. It will be a move to show toughness and action. It could change everything.

A Tax Table To Help

Here’s a easy to see and view tax table that illustrates the 2012 tax rate, what 2013 will be and what Obama and Romney are referring tonight in the debate. It includes three areas:

Income tax rates

Capital Gains (The reason Romney paid 14% see earlier post)

Estate Taxes

It does not include the two medicare taxes that go into effect January 1, 2013.

 

Things To Listen For Tonight

Here are a few things to listen for in the debate tonight.

Trickle down.

Obama will refer more than once to Romney’s trickle down tax cuts. What that means is Romney wants to cut taxes on all and believes the ensuing consumer spending will drive the economy.

Romney will refer to Trickle Down Government, meaning Obama wants to raise taxes so the government can spend the money.

The question is do you believe people should spend their own money, or should the government do it for you? Whoever presents their position better goes a long way to winning the debate.

Taxes.

Obama will refer to tax cuts for the rich, “who don’t need it”. He is referring to Romney’s plan for cuts across the board. He will say he is for the middle class.

Romney will counter that yes he wants to lower rates but he is going to take away deductions from the higher income to assure their share of taxes remains constant. He will say he wants to help the middle class because they need it the most.

So why would Romney want to lower rates but lower deductions too? The answer is when you lower rates you put money in people’s hands that they spend. The deductions cuts only show up at tax time.

The question for you is do you want to raise taxes on the “rich” (family income over $250,000) or have them remain constant? If Obama can paint Romney for the rich he wins. If Romney can convince people he is for the middle class and the weathly won’t profit he wins.

Are we on our way to recovery or not ….

Obama will say over and over we are on the right path. Jobs are coming back, housing is recovering, he saved the auto industry and that he inherited a mess so bad it took this long to get us here.

Romney will say this is not what a recovery looks like when you come out of a down period. He will ask the question wasn’t it the President who said if we elect him unemployment will never reach 8%, that it would under 6% today and that he would cut the deficit in half?

The question to answer: Is this recovery and do you want to stay on the same track or do we need a new approach? If Obama paints the picture that the economy is back he wins. If Romney illustrates that Obama has failed and has no plan for the future he wins.

Back to the future

Obama will claim that Romney’s policies are back to Bush’s and how we got into the mess.

Romney has to explain why his approach is different and call Obama out on it.

This will go a long way to deciding who shines tonight. Can Obama corner Romney as old school? Can Romney paint Obama as out of ideas?

Libya

Obama will highlight that Hillary took the blame today. He didn’t know they asked for more support. He will try and cut Romney’s attack off by saying the buck stops with him. He will I predict take responsibility. He will then act tough and mention Bin Laden is dead and that he will hunt down those responsible. (BTW, this may well be an October surpise as the U.S. strikes back).

Romney will challenge him here. It’s your administration and why did you walk around for weeks blaming a video when this was clearly a terrorist attack on 9/11.

Obama will try and emphasis all he has done “got Bid Laden, ended two wars” to show toughness and leadership. Romney will try and show his vulnerability.  Your approach has not worked, you tried to sell the attack as a video reaction, the Arab spring is really an Arab Winter.

This will be a key segment as Obama’s strength at the outset of the campaign was foreign policy. Romney must dent him here.

What would Romney do different with Foreign Policy?

Ryan had trouble answering this and it’s a tough question. Obama might challenge Romney on it. What would you have done different in Iraq or Afghanistan? What would you do different in Iran, go to war? Romney needs a response.

Keep your eyes and ears open. The stakes are so high. Romney needs a strong performance to continue moving forward. He cannot stall now because as we pointed yesterday he may lead in the polls but he trails in electoral count. Obama needs to at least break even. If he loses here he may for the first time truly be in trouble.

The Election The Day Before Debate Two

With debate number two scheduled for tomorrow between Obama and Romney where does this election stand? Here’s a quick look and what’s at stake:

Since Presidential debate one the momentum has been all Romney. He closed the gap and nationally he has this race dead even.

Dead even is not good for incumbents. The undecided vote breaks for the challenger. So an incumbent  below 50% going into election day has real concerns.

Romney’s edge is he has momentum and the national race is even. He needs to maintain that surge.

Now here is where Obama has an edge. Though the national polls are even, it is the electoral college where the election is decided. Obama leads there:

He has these nine states with 142 electoral votes locked. (270 needed to win)

California (55), Delaware (3), Dist. of Columbia (3), Hawaii (4), Illinois (20), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (11), New York (29), Rhode Island (4), and Vermont (3)

Romney has these 13 states locked but only 76 votes.

Alabama (9), Alaska (3), Arkansas (6), Idaho (4), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (8), Mississippi (6), Nebraska (5), Oklahoma (7), Utah (6), West Virginia (5), Wyoming (3)

  Add the following seven states leaning Obama that total 59 additional electoral votes and he has 201.

Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington

Romney can add ten more states with a total of 115 electoral votes giving him 191. The ten are:

Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.

So that means 11 states will decide the election no matter the national poll numbers. You keep hearing Ohio and how Romney can’t get there without it. Well it’s Florida that he has to win with it’s 29 electoral votes or he has no chance. He has taken the lead there but it is very close. Here are the eleven and where they stand today:

Colorado (9) – Romney leads by one point

Florida (29) –  Romney leads by 2-3 points

Iowa (6) –        Dead even

Michigan (16) – Obama leads by 5

Nevada (6) –     Obama leads by 2

New Hampshire (4) – Dead even

North Carolina (15)- Romney edging ahead by 2-3

Ohio (18) —      Obama leads by 3-4

Pennsylvania (20) —  Obama leads by 5

Virginia (13) — Romney leads by 1-2

Wisconsin (10) Obama leads by 5

If you add the states where they have slight edges to their totals then Romney adds to 257 and Obama would have 271, one more than needed with New Hampshire and Iowa not counted.

So there you have the stakes tomorrow night. Romney needs a strong performance to maintain his gains and add to them. He has closed the gap and can see a path, but he needs a dominant performance. President Obama needs to hold his own and stabilize the ship. If he can do that he has electoral college edge even if the national polls show a Romney edge. Romney if can flip Ohio can win. Without it he needs to add the states he is leading now (Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia) and add the two dead even states New Hampshire and Iowa while flipping Nevada. If not that he needs to flip a big one like Michigan or Pennsylvania, which is not likely.

The stakes are high for both men tomorrow night,

THE STAKES RISE ….

With last night’s VP debate behind us both sides emerge in tact and it’s on to a big one next Tuesday as Obama and Romney square off again. VP Biden played to his base and they loved his performance. Congressman Ryan did enough to satisfy his base. The spin today will be interesting. The Democrats will be delighted someone fought back and say Biden dominated. The Republicans will blast Biden for interruptions and bad behavior and say Ryan brought substance. Often in these debates the day after makes the difference. The fact checkers will play a big part. I have a feeling the biggest one will be about Libya. Who had the facts right?  Here are a few questions I would spin today:

If that is the real Joe Biden as his people are claiming do you want him representing our country with foreign leaders? Does that style work?

In two debates what is one new idea that this administration has for a second term? I haven’t heard it.

Since the presidential debate I have seen more commercials calling Romney a liar than anything. Are the Democrats going to continue wasting their money on that? Romney and Ryan have stood toe to toe, cut the liar commercials.

Big Bird didn’t come up. Paul Ryan should have brought it up. He should have asked Biden why all the commercials knocking the PBS comment. Mr Biden don’t you think Sesame Street would have its own channel and make all kind of money? Don’t you think they would survive very well without our taxpayer $300,000 million dollars? Do you really think they can’t survive without the government? Do you really not believe in free enterprise? Do you think with the trillion dollar debt that saving $300 million here and there doesn’t matter?

Ryan’s other miss was on the budget. We have not had a budget in this country for three years. Why? The Presidents budget was voted down 98-0 when submitted. You can’t produce a budget that one Democrat would vote for and you are going to solve the debt problem? Really?

Onto to Tuesday and the stakes are high for President Obama. He needs a win. A draw doesn’t help. He has spent millions painting Romney as everything bad. He got beat the first time. If he doesn’t win here this race tightens even more and credibility begins to come into question. It may actually do so before on the Libya issue.

The Morning After

Romney took it to the President last night and now comes the morning after, so what happens? The Democrats were devastated after the debate. They really didn’t know what to do. They were late to the spin room, shell shocked and seeking a message. The debate was that overwhelming. This AM they need to regroup. They will have their talking points and it will be like this. Romney misspoke. He didn’t give details. He was too general. They will try and corner Romney on lack of specifics. They are in damage control and the best way to do it is try and turn this back to focus on “Romney’s faults”.

The Republicans will be upbeat. Romney fund raising will have a record day. He lifted the spirit and they believe again. There will polls that report who won. As each comes out the numbers saying Romney won will grow as people become confident enough to say it. The general polls will show over the weekend a tightening and that this is a race again.

The keys to watch are Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. Florida was showing a slight Obama lead. I suspect the way Romney clearly articulated medicare and Obama’s failure to answer the charge he proposed cuts in it will be big. I would not surprised to see Romney take a slight edge in Florida. In Virginia and Colorado the race was almost dead even. I suspect here that Romney presenting himself so presidential will ease the way for undecided voters to move slightly. Look for Romney here to gain some. Ohio is a different animal. I don’t think this debate moves much there as Romney needs to address the auto industry bailout better.

Bottom line I see a tightening slightly but still an electoral college edge for Obama. However, Romney regained his footing and is moving again. Messaging now and the two additional debates make it possible for him. Next up, Biden versus Ryan. That should be a real slugfest as Biden knows he needs to attack and Ryan is tough and unafraid. Buckle up next Thursday night.

While on the subject of taxes…….

While we have been discussing taxes (Fair Share and Interest Income) the past few days let’s do one more thing prior to the debate. Let’s take a look at the taxes now set to go into effect for 2013 and see if the candidates are asked to address this. We won’t touch healthcare taxes here, only payroll.

First off believe it or not the government reduced the social security tax taken from your paycheck the past two years to 4.2% from 6.2%. It was done to try and get money into people’s hands to spend in the marketplace. Think about the fact that the government decided to cut social security revenue into the system at a time the program is going bankrupt. That is another issue. For now understand that on Jan 1, the rate reverts to 6.2%. What does that mean in real dollars for you

– If you earn $35,000 your tax bill is going up by $700.00

– If you earn $110,000 it is going up by $2,202.00

This is a given so get ready.

Part two is the Bush Tax cuts. Let’s put this in perspective. In 2001 President Bush wanted to spur the economy so they reduced rates. The Democrats fought back and didn’t want the reduction. So the sides agreed on a ten year period for the rates. When the period was up they bickered but President Obama decided to extend it until Jan 1, 2013. Why? Well it was hard to think about raising rates in the economic conditions we were in and Jan 1, 2013 is two months after the election. Pretty simple. Here are the rates scheduled to expired and what you are scheduled to pay.

Tax Brackets (2012 Dollar Amounts) Marginal Rate
Unmarried Filers Married Joint Filers
Over But Not Over Over But Not Over 2012 2013
$0 $8,700 $0 $17,400 10% 15%
8,700 35,350 17,400 70,700* 15% 15%
35,350 85,650 70,700* 142,700 25% 28%
85,650 178,650 142,700 217,450 28% 31%
178,650 388,350 217,450 388,350 33% 36%
388,350 388,350 35% 39.6%

The average increase is 3% for most filers with the highest income bracket going up 4.6%.

Yes this is scheduled in addition to the 2% increase on social security. So the average person faces a 5% increase.

Now follow this argument for a second.

The Democrats say this is fair share and not an increase. That the rates were a 10 year cut only and time is up.

The Republicans say it should have been permanent and that for 12 years people have paid these rates and this is an increase.

That’s not sll. On Januaary 1 the Capital Gains (Bank and Stock interest/dividends) we discussed on Friday is also going up. Here is that table:

Maximum Rates 2012 2013  
Long-Term Capital Gain 15% 20%  

So we face a 5% Long Term (held one year or longer account or stock) increase.

Since all of the above is in place and set to take effect on Jan. 1, listen to the debate see if this is addressed and how each side will handle. Then decide. Fair share or too much? Good for the economy or bad? A job creator or job elminator?

YOUE CHOICE, OUR FUTURE