Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Why do so many people vote for the Democrat party?

ECM sent me this article from National Review that explains why so many people vote Democrat.

Excerpt:

First, we should recognize that the War on Poverty is now a huge budget item. According to calculations by the Congressional Research Service and the Senate Budget Committee, taxpayers coughed up over $1 trillion in federal and state-provided benefits in 2011. These benefits flow to tens of millions of voters and cover the waterfront, offering low-income Americans everything from cash assistance to food, housing, and medical care, not to mention help with education, transportation, home-heating costs, and child care. Spending on these programs has soared more than 40 percent since 2007. That’s an unsustainable trajectory.

Then we get some facts from a Wall Street Journal article on the topic:

  • The percentage of the American labor force drawing disability benefits from the government has doubled since 1992, from 3 percent to 6 percent. They further note: “The number of workers qualifying for disability since the recession ended in 2009 has grown twice as fast as private employment.”
  • During the last four years, the Obama administration’s aggressive promotion of the food-stamp program has increased the number of recipients by 18.5 million.
  • Unemployment insurance that lasted no longer than 55 weeks in 1980 and 72 weeks in 1992 now can last 99 weeks. Some 40 percent of unemployed workers have been out of work for more than half a year.

And how does it affect voting?:

The Battleground Polls conducted by the Tarrance Group on behalf of George Washington University and Politico make this level of detail readily available. The poll helpfully divides its sample of likely voters into, among other things, those who self-identify as either “low income” or “middle class.”

So, what do we know about these voters?

  • Those who self-identify as “low income” are more likely to be unemployed, frustrated over the state of the economy, and pessimistic over the general direction of our country than are those with higher incomes. Yet the Battleground Poll indicates they are more Why do people likely than those who identify as middle class to believe the country is heading in the right direction (42 percent vs. 35 percent).
  • Do welfare benefits insulate these voters from the sort of economic concerns that plague middle-class voters? Apparently so. Compared with their middle-class counterparts, far fewer low-income voters cite pocketbook issues as their number-one concern (53 percent vs.74 percent). Middle-class voters are, almost by definition, far more likely to pay taxes than low-income voters. Unsurprisingly, they are much more likely to list the economy and the level of spending and deficits as their most important concern (28 percent and 17 percent, respectively) than low-income Americans. Among the latter group, only 20 percent say the economy is most important, and a mere 7 percent worry about spending and deficits. Again, this is not surprising, considering that, for most low-income Americans, government benefits come with no strings attached, and at little or no cost in taxes.
  • In contrast, low-income Americans cite Medicare, Social Security, and education benefits as their number-one issue (29 percent in all) more than twice as frequently as do middle-class voters (only 13 percent).
  • If the receipt of welfare benefits affects voters’ views of the economy and alters the equation they use to judge candidates, one would expect them to give the president high marks for how he has handled the most stagnant and underperforming economy in over half a century. And, indeed, that is the case. By a margin of 51 percent to 37 percent low-income voters prefer Obama over Romney on this measure. They prefer Obama by an even more lopsided margin, 55 percent to 37 percent, on the issue of jobs. In contrast, Romney wins big among middle-class voters on these concerns (56 percent to 41 percent on handling the economy, and 54 percent to 43 percent on jobs).

These people aren’t voting for any high and noble reason. They want money. It’s just greed. Greed is why people vote Democrat.

Elusive Wapiti adds:

It makes sense, really. The 47% vote their pocketbook too… the issue comes from the pocketbook being oriented in the opposite direction. Government largesse fills their wallet, whilst draining the bankbooks of the 53%. They are the “zero liability” voter; they are insulated from the costs of the programs and candidates they vote for… but they are understandably quite concerned with ensuring the payouts continue.

You need to get out there today and vote for Mitt Romney to stop the downward spiral into dependency and bankruptcy that we can see in countries like Greece, Spain and Italy. We can see it happening over there, don’t let it happen here.

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Global warming: 2000 new record low temperatures in October

October 2012 temperature records: (click for larger image)

October 2012 temperature records: (click for larger image)

From Watt’s Up With That ? blog. (H/T Bad Blue)

Excerpt:

In the continental USA, there were 137 high temperature type records versus 857 low temperature type records this past week , a 6-1 difference. Last week there were 1154 low temperature type records putting the two week total for October at 2011. There were also 24 new snowfall records set this week in the upper plains.

Remember, the whole reason Obama was so keen to reward his campaign fundraisers who own green energy companies that are now bankrupt was because of the fear of global warming.

Remember Solyndra, the solar panel maker?

Look:

Eight months before solar panel maker Solyndra filed for bankruptcy, the company’s politically connected backer sought to hold on to lucrative tax breaks in the event the company went out of business, according to court documents.

The new information was revealed on Wednesday by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, which filed an official objection to Solyndra’s bankruptcy reorganization plan.

The failure of Solyndra, the company President Obama held up as an example of government backing for renewable energy jobs, is a political weapon for Republicans ahead of the November elections as they highlight energy policies more favorable to fossil fuels.

[...]Solyndra’s bankruptcy plan could prove a further embarrassment to the administration if it is seen rewarding risk-driven venture capitalists ahead of unsecured creditors such as suppliers and laid-off staff.

In its court filing on Wednesday, the IRS opposed Solyndra’s plan. If approved by creditors, a holding company would emerge from bankruptcy with no employees or business operations – but as much as $350 million in tax breaks that could be used by Solyndra’s investors, including Argonaut Ventures.

Argonaut is the investment arm of a foundation tied to the Democratic fundraiser, Oklahoma billionaire George Kaiser. Most of the tax breaks would come in the form of Net Operating Losses (NOLs) which could be used to offset future taxable income.

Meanwhile, under the bankruptcy plan Solyndra’s creditors would receive pennies on the dollar, the IRS said, adding that the principal purpose of the plan is “tax avoidance.”

[...]The IRS cited emails from Kaiser to one of the venture firm’s managing directors.

[...]Solyndra has said in recent court filings it may not be able to repay any of the $528 million that the U.S. government had lent in 2009 to promote clean energy businesses.

Republicans have seized on Solyndra’s failure to accuse the White House of rushing the $528 million loan in part to help the venture capital backers. The Obama administration has said the loan was based on the merits of Solyndra’s business prospects.

Global warming fraud, cronyism and corruption. And they did everything they could to block domestic energy production, like blocking the Keystone XL pipeline and all the thousands of jobs that would have created. Do we really need four more years of this?

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Who really gets rich from gasoline? Big oil companies or big government?

Here’s a great article that will blow your mind from the Wall Street Journal. (H/T Tom)

Excerpt:

With the average price of gas in America hovering around $3.50 per gallon for regular unleaded, it costs more than $50 to fill a typical car’s 15-gallon tank this summer. Why does gas cost so much?

You may blame high gas prices on rich oil company executives or greedy gas station owners. The truth is that governments rake in a larger profit at the pump than anyone—and with gas taxes on the rise in many parts of the country, there’s no relief in sight.

The price of a gallon of gas is based on the combination of four costs: that of crude oil, of refining gas, of distribution and marketing, and of taxes.

Crude oil costs make up about 76% of the cost of gasoline, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Thus $2.66 of a $3.50 gallon of gasoline is set before the oil is even refined. Global markets, reacting to supply and demand, determine the cost of crude oil. Just like any commodity, from gold to corn, a shortage in supply or an increase in demand leads to a rise in prices.

Refining oil is the next step in the process—and the next expense for drivers. Gasoline is extracted from crude oil and additives, including lubricants and detergents to reduce engine deposits, are added. As of January 2012, the EIA found that refining was responsible for 6% of the cost of gasoline.

Distribution and marketing—the part of the process most apparent to consumers—constitutes another 6% of gas prices. That portion of the cost includes the shipping and transportation of the gasoline, a markup to cover retailers’ expenses, and any advertising created to appeal to customers.

The remaining 12%—or almost 50 cents per gallon today—goes directly to federal, state and local governments in an array of sales and excise taxes. The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents on every gallon of gasoline sold in America. State gas-tax rates vary from a low of eight cents per gallon in Alaska to a jarring 49 cents per gallon in New York. Other states where it’s steep to fill up include California and Connecticut—each with 48.6-cent-per-gallon gas taxes—and Hawaii, at 47.1 cents per gallon.

Some local governments have gotten in on the act, too. In California, local sales and excise taxes on gasoline average 3.1%, according to the Los Angeles Times. That works out to about 12 cents in local taxes for each gallon of gas, based on the state’s current average of $3.80 per gallon.

[...]Exxon, for example, made only seven cents per gallon of gasoline in 2011. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the nearly 50 cents per gallon that federal, state and local governments rake in on an average gallon of gas pumped in the U.S.

That’s not going to stop the unproductive socialists in government for accusing oil companies of being greedy. Who’s really greedy? Government is greedy. They take more of your money in gas taxes than the oil companies do.

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Gas prices hit all-time high – again – in Obama-supporting California

From liberal USA Today.

Excerpt:

Gasoline prices in California rose to another all-time high on Sunday after passing a four-year high a day earlier, according to AAA.

The four-cent-per-gallon jump Sunday was even bigger than Saturday’s jump, which was just a fraction of a penny.

AAA reported in its latest update on Sunday that the statewide average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $4.655. Saturday’s average of $4.6140 was the highest since June 19, 2008, when it was $4.6096.

Sunday’s price, like Saturday’s, was the highest in the nation, with the Golden State leapfrogging Hawaii this week as the state with the most expensive fuel due to a temporary reduction in supply.

Californians are paying 24 cents per gallon more than motorists in Hawaii, according to the AAA report. In some locations, fuming motorists paid $5 or more per gallon while station owners had to shut down pumps in others.

[...]A web of refinery and transmission problems is to blame, analysts said. The situation is compounded by a California pollution law that requires a special blend of cleaner-burning gasoline from April to October, said Denton Cinquegrana, executive editor of the Oil Price Information Service, which helps AAA compile its price survey.

The radically leftist New York Times explains why this is happening:

Excerpt:

California typically has substantially higher gasoline prices than most of the country because of its tough environmental regulations and high taxes. Gasoline supplies are traditionally tight this time of year as refiners do maintenance work to switch from summer to fall gasoline blends mandated by the California pollution-reduction regulations. But this year, energy experts say, the local gasoline market is particularly chaotic because of the refinery shutdowns.

[...]“California requires a specific blend of gasoline that only the refineries on the West Coast make,” said Bill Day, a spokesman for Valero. “So when there is a shortage of that blend, you can’t just send supplies from somewhere else.”

Wow, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Here’s a more full explanation from Ken Green of the American Enterprise Institute. (links removed)

First reason is limited supply with higher demand, which has been made worse by Obama:

The primary reason for high gasoline prices, as any economist will tell you, is very simple: world demand for oil is strong, and the supply is limited. The cost of crude oil dominates the price of gas: in January 2012, it represented 76 percent of the price.

Second reason is Middle East tensions, which has been made worse by Obama:

Risk also influences the world price of oil. Unrest in the Middle East is a perennial cause of worry over world oil supplies, and explicit threats by Iran to close the Straits of Hormuz can’t be promoting confidence in oil consumer markets.

Third reason is blocking domestic energy production, which has been made worse by Obama:

Another source of supply uncertainty is the moratorium that the Obama administration has slapped on U.S. development of domestic oil production in the last two years. Since the Deepwater Horizonoil rig disaster in 2010, U.S. domestic oil production has slowed significantly, especially in the Gulf of Mexico. The permitting slowdown as a result of the spill is estimated to have cost the United States $4.4 billion in output costs, 19,000 jobs, $1.1 billion in wages, and over $500 million in federal, state, and local government lost tax revenues.

Fourth reason is higher taxes on gasoline, which has been made worse by lots of Democrats:

The tax bite in a gallon of gasoline is nearly equal to the costs of refining, distribution, and marketing combined. That fluctuates, of course, because most gas taxes are percentage based. At $3.79/gallon, taxes account for about 53 cents.

Fifth reason is global warming hysteria, which is the Democrat religion:

In order to fulfill air pollution reduction plans in states and localities across the country, gasoline sold in the United States has been fractionated into about 17 different boutique fuels sold in dozens of discrete markets. With three grades of gasoline per fuel, refiners are producing over 50 separate blends. Such boutique fuel requirements both increase price volatility and the height of price spikes as a function of the distance-to-market of boutique fuel producers and consumers, according to the Energy Information Administration. Boutique fuel requirements also increase the absolute price of gasoline sold in boutique markets, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Sixth reason is denial of refinery permits, which has been made worse by Obama:

Another factor contributing to the increased price of gasoline is the reduction in the number of operating refineries in the United States over the last 30 years. The number and capacity of U.S. refineries peaked in 1981, and, since then, 171 plants have closed, although the remaining plants have increased output to offset a loss of production. Though most of this reduction has been caused by the low profit potential of refineries, but others see a significant cause in “extremely tight environmental restrictions, not-in-my-back-yard community opposition, and the high cost of new construction.” Refinery profit margins have played a role in recent gasoline price hikes. TheEIA suggests that “The sizable jump in retail prices this year reflects not only the higher average cost of crude oil compared to previous years, but also an increase in U.S. refining margins on gasoline (the difference between refinery wholesale gasoline prices and the average cost of crude oil) from an average of $0.34 per gallon in 2010 to $0.45 per gallon in 2011 and $0.42 per gallon in 2012.”

Seventh reason is three rounds of quantitative easing, which causes inflation and a weak dollar, which has been made worse by Obama:

In recent congressional testimony, Robert Murphy, of the Institute for Energy Research observed: that: “From its peak in March 2009, the dollar has fallen 17 percent against other major currencies. Therefore, holding everything else constant, the dollar depreciation alone from early 2009 can explain a 20.5 percent increase in oil prices (quoted in dollars)….It is on the basis of such calculations that a recent Joint Economic Committee report estimated that Federal Reserve policies have added almost 57 cents to the price of a gallon of gasoline for American motorists.

The article also debunks the leftist myth that “speculators” are the cause of high gas prices.

It’s election time – make sure you have the facts so you can make the case.

UPDATE: Stuart Schneiderman links to a Wall Street Journal article that discusses California’s cap-and-trade (carbon tax) policy, and their restrictions on pipeline construction – both of which raise gas prices for consumers.

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Sherrod Brown delinquent at paying his own taxes

Sherrod Brown: the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate

Sherrod Brown: the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate

From Cleveland.com, a horrifying tale of liberal hypocrisy in one of the bluest cities in the country. (H/T Doug Ross @ Journal)

Excerpt:

Ohio Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown was more than four months delinquent in paying taxes on his Washington, D.C., apartment and had to pay a penalty and interest last week.

This was not the first time, records show.

Brown also was delinquent in 2006 and 2007 and paid penalties and interest, according to tax records from the District of Columbia.

“I was late,” he said on a conference call with reporters when asked about the recent delinquency. “I misplaced the bill and I paid it as soon as I found out. I paid a penalty for being late, and it won’t happen again.”

When a reporter noted that it also happened five and six years ago, Brown said: “I misplaced it then. This is a small apartment. I’m not in D.C. nearly every week, I’m here when the Senate’s in session, I’m here three or four nights a week.

Actually, a lot of Democrats get into trouble for not paying their taxes:

A new report just out from the Internal Revenue Service reveals that 36 of President Obama’s executive office staff owe the country $833,970 in back taxes. These people working for Mr. Fair Share apparently haven’t paid any share, let alone their fair share.

Previous reports have shown how well-paid Obama’s White House staff is, with 457 aides pulling down more than $37 million last year. That’s up seven workers and nearly $4 million from the Bush administration’s last year.

Nearly one-third of Obama’s aides make more than $100,000 with 21 being paid the top White House salary of $172,200, each.

The IRS’ 2010 delinquent tax revelations come as part of a required annual agency report on federal employees’ tax compliance. Turns out, an awful lot of folks being paid by taxpayers are not paying their own income taxes.

The report finds that thousands of federal employees owe the country more than $3.4 billion in back taxes. That’s up 3% in the past year.

That scale of delinquency could annoy voters, hard-pressed by their own costs, fears and stubbornly high unemployment despite Joe Biden’s many promises.

The tax offenders include employees of the U.S. Senate who help write the laws imposed on everyone else. They owe $2.1 million. Workers in the House of Representatives owe $8.5 million, Department of Education employees owe $4.3 million and over at Homeland Security, 4,697 workers owe about $37 million. Active duty military members owe more than $100 million.

The Treasury Department, where Obama nominee Tim Geithner had to pay up $42,000 in his own back taxes before being confirmed as secretary, has 1,181 other employees with delinquent taxes totaling $9.3 million.

As usual, the Postal Service, with more than 600,000 workers, has the most offenders (25,640), who also owe the most — almost $270 million. Veterans Affairs has 11,659 workers owing the IRS $151 million while the Energy Department that was so quick to dish out more than $500 million to the Solyndra folks has 322 employees owing $5 million.

The country’s chief law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice, has 2,069 employees who are nearly $17 million behind in taxes.

Even Warren Buffet’s company is in a dispute with the IRS over unpaid taxes:

Two weeks ago, when billionaire Warren Buffett called for higher taxes on rich people like him, the liberal media predictably gushed and fawned.

Yet when Americans for Limited Government revealed last week that Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway has been in an almost decade-long dispute with the IRS over how much taxes it owes, these same press members couldn’t care less:

According to Berkshire Hathaway’s own annual report — see Note 15 on pp. 54-56 — the company has been in a years-long dispute over its federal tax bills.

According to the report, “We anticipate that we will resolve all adjustments proposed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (‘IRS’) for the 2002 through 2004 tax years at the IRS Appeals Division within the next 12 months. The IRS has completed its examination of our consolidated U.S. federal income tax returns for the 2005 and 2006 tax years and the proposed adjustments are currently being reviewed by the IRS Appeals Division process. The IRS is currently auditing our consolidated U.S. federal income tax returns for the 2007 through 2009 tax years.”

Americans for Limited Government researcher Richard McCarty, who was alerted to the controversy by a federal government lawyer, said, “The company has been short-changing the tax collection agency for much of the past decade.   Mr. Buffett’s company has not fully settled its tax bills from 2002-2009.  Yet he says he’d happily pay more.  Except the IRS has apparently been asking him to pay more going on nine years.”

I wrote an entire post about hypocrisy on the left. It’s worth a read so that you know what to make about the “compassion” rhetoric of the left.

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