Here is the fourth of my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon this week. Today’s was drawn by Lisa Benson.

Bush's tax cuts expiring

The tax cuts that President Bush pushed for are slated to expire January 1st, 2011. And for many Americans, it means a tax hike. You can calculate and see if that’s the case using this handy form from the Tax Foundation. I did a quick test and found out that I’ll be coughing up almost $2,500 more if the tax cuts go away. I don’t know about you, but $2,500 is a bunch of money!

But there is something else worth considering. Bush’s tax cuts have and will affect the overall economy. The tax cut law was signed by President Bush on May 28, 2003, and the effect was quickly seen. The GDP growth for the second quarter of 2003 was 1.10%, but in the third quarter, with the tax cuts in effect, the GDP growth was 2.25%. GDP growth more than doubled, thanks to cutting the top rates people had to pay. Also interesting is the growth of private investment before and after the tax cuts. The private investment rate two quarters before the tax cuts kicked in were 0.61% and 0.42% while the two quarters afterwards were 3.96% and 4.50%. When people realized they could keep more of their hard-earned money, they were willing to invest it in the economy. Since the tax cuts had been heavily debated for a while before their passage, it’s very possible that many businesses and investors held off purchases and big spending until after the tax cuts kicked in.

Let’s take a look at where we are now. We are almost a mirror opposite of 2003. Instead of anticipating tax cuts and postponing activities, businesses are anticipating tax increases and hurrying to do what they can to earn before the taxes go up. As I see it, the rush by businesses and investors to get while the getting is good is boosting this weak economy. Once President Bush’s tax cuts expire, there won’t be nearly as much effort to work for less. I see a deeper recession if the tax cuts expire, and I’m not the only one seeing it.

“In a worst-case scenario, allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire and failing to fix the AMT could result in (1.5 percent) of fiscal drag in 2011 on top of the 1 percent fiscal drag we expect to occur as the Obama fiscal stimulus package unwinds,” Deutsche said in a note to clients. “If the recovery remains soft/tentative through early next year, this additional drag could be enough to push the economy to a stalling point.”

The opinion runs counter to that of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who said earlier this week that allowing the cuts to expire would not cause the economy to re-enter recession. The administration has proposed letting most of the tax cuts stand, but eliminating the ones for the top-tier earners.

Deutsche compared the situation to Japan in the 1990s, when the government let tax cuts expire and cut stimulus, leading to another leg down in the recession and ensuring the nation’s “lost decade” of no economic growth.

Our Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says that letting the tax cuts expire wouldn’t cause the economy to re-enter a recession. And government said that the multi-billion dollar stimulus would hold unemployment at 8%, but we are sitting at 9.5%. The administration doesn’t have a good record when it comes to foreseeing the results of their actions. Heck, our Treasury Secretary has a hard enough time just paying his own taxes.

How could we get out of our current recession? I have a plan that would do so in just three easy steps. But Congress would never do it because it means reducing their power. And they can’t have that.

Here is the third of my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon this week. Today’s was drawn by Michael Ramirez back in May, and it’s more applicable today.

Mexico's illegal alien hypocrisy

One of the complaints about the Arizona bill, as expressed by President Obama, was the terrifying scenario of some peace-loving Hispanic family going out to get some ice cream some evening and getting detained by the Arizona police for the crime of Driving While Hispanic.

Baloney.

The Arizona law specifically states that a person cannot be stopped merely because he looks like he’s not an American. That person must first be doing something that warrants police attention like shoplifting, speeding, violence, etc. And then only if the officer has a reason to suspect that the person in question was here illegally could he then ask about his citizenship. In Mexico, the police have the authority to detain and question anyone they like and ask about their citizenship, but I’ve already written about the problems with illegals crossing the southern border.

I said that this cartoon is more applicable today because U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton struck down parts of the Arizona law:

The provisions blocked by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton included one requiring a police officer to determine the immigration status of a person detained or arrested if the officer believed the person was not in the country legally.

Bolton also halted provisions requiring immigrants to carry their papers at all times and making it illegal for people without proper documents to tout for work in public places.

Opponents of the Arizona law are applauding this ruling of Judge Bolton. One of their arguments against the law was based on it creating a patchwork of laws in the U.S. instead of one coherent law, but the Arizona law is merely enforcing the federal laws already on the books. How is that creating a patchwork of laws? On the other hand, there are plenty of sanctuary cities in the U.S., cities that have declared themselves friendly to illegal aliens and provide them sanctuary from federal laws. That is where the true patchwork of laws is in effect, but the federal government doesn’t say “boo” about them because the federal officials agree with them, regardless of what the law actually says.

Law professor William A. Jacobson wrote about this ruling today:

The Judge’s reasoning, particularly that the status check provision violated the 4th Amendment even as to persons already under arrest, applies just as easily to [outstanding warrants, child support orders, and non-immigration identity checks].

With a federal government which refuses to take action at the border until there is a deal on “comprehensive” immigration reform, meaning rewarding lawbreakers with a path to citizenship, this decision will insure a sense of anarchy. The law breakers have been emboldened today, for sure.

As it stands this afternoon, it is perfectly rational for someone faced with the choice of obeying the immigration laws or not, to choose not to do so. The choice of lawlessness makes a lot more sense than spending years winding through the byzantine legal immigration system, because the end result will be the same but lawlessness gets you here more quickly.

When the law and the federal government reward lawlessness, something is very wrong.

And finally, Rush Limbaugh put it pretty succinctly — “It is no longer illegal to be illegal, but it is illegal to ask someone about their immigration status.”

Michael Ramirez gets the trend in the open hand of diplomacy as presented by President Obama:

The open hand of diplomacy

He could have added Great Britian to the list as one of the ally nations being trashed by the current undocumented President.

Does it makes sense to play nice with the nations that hate us, and look with distain on those nations who are our allies? Yeah, I didn’t believe so either. But that’s what America gets when it voted for an unqualified neophite for president.

So the Muslim people still have their collective undies in a twist over the Danish political cartoons about Mohammed. At this point, the West should, with a collective voice, tell Islam to get over it and grow up. Instead, the West has almost unanimously caved in to the rioters. If your 3-year-old kicks and screams to get ice cream, and you give it to him, he has learned that kicking and screaming is a useful tactic to get what he wants. And you have taught him that.

These Islamic rioters are collectively behaving like a very angry and dangerous 3-year-old brat.

Still don’t believe me? Here are two images of angry Islam, courtesy of Yahoo:

Waaaah!

Muslim protesters stage a rally against the publishing a cartoon about the Prophet Muhammad in front of New Straits Times office in Kuala Lumpur, Friday, Feb. 24, 2006. The New Straits Times provoked many Muslims groups in Malaysia by publishing the Non Sequitur strip on Monday, even though the cartoon did not show the prophet. Still, Muslim groups said it mocked Islam, and the government asked the newspaper to give reasons why it should not be punished, including shutting it down. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

These Malay Muslims are demonstrating over the Feb. 20, 2006 “Non Sequitur” cartoon by Wiley Miller. Since the above link will be broken in a month, I’ll describe the highly offensive cartoon that has caused these Malaysian riots. The caption reads: “Kevin finally achieves his goal to be the most feared man in the world…” The drawing is of an artist sitting on the street with a sign that reads: “Caricatures of Mohammad while you wait!”

Quelle horreur!

Why do they riot? They riot because the wimpy West has taught them that rioting gets results. How many major American newspapers have published the dozen Danish drawings to show their relative mildness to American readers? None. Neither has any major news program shown its viewers the offending cartoons. I showed the cartoons to a bunch of co-workers, and while everyone had heard about them, none had actually seen them. Thank you, media, for keeping us informed!

More Waaaah!

Pakistani Shi’ite Muslims chant slogans during a rally in Karachi February 23, 2006. Imamia Students Organisation held a rally to denounce the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Iraq and against the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in European newspapers. (THE URDU AND ARABIC WRITING ON THE PLACARD READS DEATH TO AMERICA) REUTERS/Zahid Hussein

Why does the sign say “Down with America” in English, and “Death to America” in Urdu and Arabic? What does the U.S. have to do with Danish cartoons, or the blowing up of the Golden Mosque in Iraq? Not a blessed thing! There is no reason–there is only rage. This is why riots in Nigeria have claimed the lives of over 100 people, as offended Muslims attacked Christians (as though they had something to do with the cartoons), and the Christians retaliated.

Note to the Nigerian Christians: while your religion accepts acting in self-defense, it does not condone vengeance.

I have worked with some wonderful people who are Muslims, and we have spent many hours discussing religion in the office, but at this point I am done with Islam. Don’t talk to me about being sensitive to Muslim feelings. Don’t tell me how I need to change my life to keep from offending them. Don’t remind me of Saladin or of Islam’s golden era. As far as I can see, Islam’s shining pinnacle was reached centuries ago, and it has been going downhill ever since. Islam has jumped the shark, and the mythical moderate Muslims are doing nothing to stop their hot-headed brethren from shrieking and wailing like little brats. Get over it already and grow up! Sheesh.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Apparently Muslims don’t need much help to feel inferior, but that’s not the West’s problem.