Morning Report – The tax inversion trade continues… 7/14/14

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1970.7 8.3 0.42%
Eurostoxx Index 3174.4 17.3 0.55%
Oil (WTI) 100.7 -0.1 -0.09%
LIBOR 0.233 -0.001 -0.43%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 80.16 -0.023 -0.03%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.54% 0.02%
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 106.6 0.2
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 105.6 -0.1
BankRate 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 4.24

Markets are higher this morning after Citigroup announced earnings and a settlement with the Feds. Bonds and MBS are down small.

This week will have a deluge of earnings report, with most of the major banks reporting. We will also hear from heavyweights GE and Google. Economically, the big events will be housing starts / building permits and industrial production.

Score one for Jana. After taking a 9.8% stake in URS Corp and pushing for a management shake-up ended up seeing the company sold to Aecom for $4 billion.

The tax inversion trade in the pharma sector continues, with US drug giant AbbVie closing in on a deal to buy Irish-based Shire Pharmaceutical for about $54 billion. Shire seems ready at last to recommend the offer to shareholders pending resolution of “other terms” of the offer. At some point the government is going to try and put a stop to this, but the chances of it happening the right way (through lowering corporate tax rates and closing loopholes) are slim to none. Remember, we have the highest corporate taxes in the world. Yes, as a percent of GDP corporations pay less than in other countries, but that is a function of our high taxes. High taxes here incentivize corporations to play all sorts of transfer pricing games in order to maximize costs in the US and maximize revenues overseas. The solution is not to raise corporate taxes further, as it will only incentivize more of this behavior. Not to mention it effectively subsidizes foreign governments, as the overseas subs of these companies are declaring artificially high levels of profit. The answer is to lower taxes to be in line with our competitors. If you are the most expensive gas station in town, and you want to increase revenues, you don’t hike prices more – you lower prices and capture more market share.

Janet Yellen will be in front of Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday. If there is going to be anything market moving, it will probably be in the prepared remarks. The Humphrey-Hawkins testimony is largely a dog-and-pony show where politicians are more interested in making their political points than getting an answer out of the Fed Chairman. Expect the left to complain about income inequality and to push Yellen to claim it is a drag on the economy. Expect the right to complain about government spending and to push Yellen to claim the high level of debt is a drag on the economy. The elephant in the room will be how the Fed extricates itself from QE and ZIRP with a balance sheet the size of Jupiter.

The CFPB is warning mortgage brokers that they cannot escape compensation caps by switching to a mini-correspondent model.

74 Responses

  1. ” Carnival, a Panama-based company with headquarters in Miami, was happy to have the U.S. Coast Guard, for which it doesn’t pay its fair share, help rescue its burning Carnival Triumph. (It later reimbursed Uncle Sam.)”

    How is this not paying it’s fair share?

    Inverters are attempting to legally make a profit. Change the law or shut up. 😉

    … back from vacation, BTW.

    I think they should change the law, BTW. If you’re going to be headquartered in Ireland, be headquartered there. More to the point, I think we ought to tax profits made in America of American consumers. If Apple makes big profits in America, they pay American taxes. Big profits in Ireland, they pay Ireland’s taxes, and not ours. If a French company makes big profits in America, they pay taxes on those American profits in America. The bookkeeping can’t be more complicated than it already is.

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  2. “Now, with Ireland at 12.5 percent and Britain at 20 percent (or less, if you make a deal), 35 percent is intolerable. Let’s say we cut the rate to 25 percent, the wished-for number I hear bandied about. Other countries are lower, and could go lower still to lure our companies. Is corporate America willing to pay any corporate rate above zero? I wonder.”

    This just shows a mind-boggling lack of understanding of economics. Economics is (IMO) a science of incentives. It’s not a matter of willingness, nobody has any real incentive to pay an tax rate at all, if it does not affect them negatively to do so (others pick up the slack) or affects them minimally, or negative effects are far in the future (say, the government borrows to make up the shortfall). Anything other than attempting to minimize what they pay would not be rational.

    And what country would have any incentive to have a minuscule corporate tax rate? At some point, attracting big corporations offers no benefit if they pay no taxes to you, once relocated.

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    • Kevin:

      And what country would have any incentive to have a minuscule corporate tax rate? At some point, attracting big corporations offers no benefit if they pay no taxes to you, once relocated.

      The primary benefit of attracting big corporations, that they provide local employment opportunities, exists even if the corporate tax rate is zero.

      The premise, common on the left, that the only, or even the main, benefit that accrues to the public from the existence of corporations (or profit making ventures of any kind) is whatever wealth can be appropriated from them via taxation is a very destructive notion. And false.

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  3. Good NYT piece on the culture differences between the German and US intelligence services.

    “Spies Like Us
    JULY 13, 2014

    Jochen Bittner”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/14/opinion/jochen-bittner-spies-like-us.html?ref=opinion

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  4. Kevin, by open borders I mean all you gotta do is show up at a ICE and declare desire to be a citizen. Boom, welcome, here’s a voter registration card, you’re now a citizen.

    I’d legalize drugs and if Mexicans want to battle the cartels, go for it. And when I say legalize it, I mean, fuck it, whatever you want to sell and call coke, meth, heroin, pot, X, acid, whaterver, do it. It would be an unregulated space so buyer beware.

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  5. After 6 months on trolls world:

    In top news tonight, a new version of ecstasy dubbed I”caveat emptor” is increasing in popularity.

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  6. I bet there’d be a pretty healthy consumer awareness re drugs in 6 months.

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    • I bet there’d be a pretty healthy consumer awareness re drugs in 6 months.

      Those of us who have no interest whatsoever in drugs would have to catalog the experiences for the others, of course.

      I admit that if steroids and HGH had been around when I was in HS I would have been tempted. But otherwise, as Scott has reminded me to correctly state, I couldn’t care less.

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      • On the border stuff – it seems the media and a lot of pols are missing out on the fact that these children are not evading the BP. We need faster processing to send more than 90%* of them back to their homes. Faster processing means more minimum security detention facilities and more lawyers and more judges. It means we need enough facilities to humanely house them without sending them on buses to play musical chairs and get lost in America.

        *Presumably some small % will be able to prove refugee status.

        Unlike bleeding heart liberals like George, I think we should select our immigrants based on our needs, making exceptions for true refugees up to an arbitrary point.

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  7. you’d think so, anyway.

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  8. @McWing: Yeah, I think that’s too open for me. I’m all for legalizing the drugs where the only crime relative to the drug is because the drug is illegal. Or taking it a step at a time. Blanket legalization of marijuana, see how that works. Hyper addictive drugs might be more destructive if legalized. But the current War on Drugs is obviously ineffective. And lots of a farmland in the American heartland for growing dope. Talk about buying American.

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  9. High quality HGH is available to every man: calorie reduction and intermittent fasting can jack up your natural HGH 2000%, which is as much as you need. Still have to work out to put on the muscle, however.

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  10. This is from a Jonah Goldberg G-File from back in January re: Colorado and pot. I particularly liked the last paragraph.

    A friend pointed out an irony in all of this. Right now, inequality is supposed to be the great bane of our nation. According to liberals like Barack Obama and Bill de Blasio, inequality is a function of systemic problems in the U.S. The have-nots have naught because of the deficiencies of our economic and political system. The victims deserve none of the blame. While that’s obviously true for some people, it’s also obviously untrue for others. For instance, heroin junkies rarely leave the bottom quintile. That’s not because John Locke and Adam Smith duped the Founding Fathers. More important, culture matters more than pure economic arrangements. For instance, as Charles Murray has demonstrated for decades, family structure has an enormous role in economic disparities. Today the data is pretty much in that family structure is a better predictor of economic mobility than inequality. That goes for this tragic symbol of income inequality, too.

    It seems obvious to me that in a country where pot is cheap and ubiquitous, kids raised in messed-up families will be more likely to smoke pot — and more of it. Doing so may give temporary respite from the anxieties of a dysfunctional family, but it won’t better prepare them for a successful life. “A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure,” Orwell writes, “and then fail all the more completely because he drinks.” Similarly, a teen may take to weed because he feels himself a loser and then become all the more of a loser because he smokes weed.

    The irony is that liberals who think inequality is so terrible are cheering a reform that will in all likelihood exacerbate inequality. At least the libertarians celebrating the news from Colorado are consistent. They don’t care about income inequality. They argue legalization will increase liberty and happiness. They are right on the liberty part. The jury is out on the happiness part.

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  11. Mark, if they’re turned back at the border you don’t need to process them. For whatever reason we no longer seem to stop illegals at the border and turn them around. put BP and troops every couple of hundred feet along parts of the border and turn them around.

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    • Mark, if they’re turned back at the border you don’t need to process them.

      I suppose we could change the law to do that, but it would be difficult for many practical reasons to write a workable one size fits all law without a processing component.

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  12. New Republic makes a good point on Republican hypocrisy. They are considering accepting pension smoothing as a payfor for the transportation budget fix.

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118670/infrastructure-bill-proves-gop-doesnt-care-about-long-term-unemployed

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  13. @jnc4p: Concur about the hypocrisy. They should simply have the balls to say that eventually extending unemployment benefits has no broader benefits, rather than complain about the funding of it. It subsidizes a “I want my old job at my old pay or I’m not working” mentality. Just take a look at the uptick in the unemployed finding employment in the last months of their unemployment checks. Nobody is going to take a job making $300 a week if their drawing an unemployment check for $250 and want a job like the one that had been paying them $700 a week. It’s unemployment insurance, not “something to make ends meet while you pine for your old job, all of which have now been shipped overseas and aren’t coming back” entitlement.

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  14. Not if you have instant citizenship.

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  15. But the Executive does have discretion over the idiotic Bush law, the question is why won’t he?

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  16. Kevin and if something is a gimmick as an offset, it remains that way regardless of what it’s offsetting.

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  17. IF we are only going to revamp the corporate tax I would suggest

    25% corporate income tax coupled with deductibility of dividends and taxation of personal receipt of dividends as ordinary income.

    Eliminate the double tax while lowering the net taxable income of an American corp.

    Makes Am corps competitive to stay home, doesn’t it?

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  18. The left vehemently denies dividends and capital gains are double taxed.

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  19. Kevin – Good to see that Palin Derangement Syndrome is alive and well at PL.

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  20. Mark, that’s a good one off solution. I’d still prefer a flat tax across the board with corporations and individuals set at the same rate on net receipts.

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  21. Nope. I’ll take the double taxation as a trade off for flat taxes with no deductions.

    Specifically I’d tax against line 11 in the 1120 and line 22 in the 1040.

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1120.pdf

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040.pdf

    I’d be willing to consider dividend payouts as exempt but I think someone pointed out to me at one point that it could be gamed. More to the point, for a flat tax to have any chance politically (feel free to laugh), you have to gore everyone’s oxen at the same time.

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    • jnc:

      I’d be willing to consider dividend payouts as exempt but I think someone pointed out to me at one point that it could be gamed.

      I’d be interested in how that might be possible. If you are taxing net receipts, then if the dividend gets paid, it will get taxed as personal income, and if it isn’t paid then it will get taxed as retained earnings. I can’t see how it might be avoided all together by both entities.

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  22. JNC — posting here b/c it’s not worth it over there.

    the rules committee is meeting today on HR 5021. expect closed rule. I expect it will pass with bipartisan support on the floor, in part because the administration has been “we’re all doing to die on bad roads” if nothing passes.

    then it goes to the senate and Reid has to decide how much time/energy to spend dicking around with the details of must pass legislation between now and August 1 deadline and recess.

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  23. Fake offsets I assume to paper over the funding issues?

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  24. High quality HGH is available to every man: calorie reduction and intermittent fasting can jack up your natural HGH 2000%, which is as much as you need. Still have to work out to put on the muscle, however.

    Never knew this (assuming it is true).

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  25. appears so. CBO score from the other day: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45522

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  26. ” calorie reduction and intermittent fasting”

    are you getting high or passing out from low sugar?

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  27. @jnc4p: Yes, Palin-derangement syndrome is alive and well, despite the years past and the fact Palin is simply another talking head in the media landscape now. I mentioned (as I often do, for fun) that I was really excited about Palin when she was first selected, though I am not a fan anymore. Yet responses to other comments become “yes, well, I guess I’d expect such idiocy from someone who loves Palin as you do” or attribute things to me about praising Palin’s intelligence or whatever, which I did not say.

    I’ve got responses before which talk about how her kids have turned out or her reality show or her leaving the governorship as evidence that I was crazy to ever like her . . . the fact that all those happened after the election, and not before, not withstanding. I should have hated her based on the fact she was an attractive female Republican and was from Alaska and had been a beauty queen and liked hunting and guns, which was about all we knew at the time.

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    • I pushed for Palin on the ticket and I gave McC over $500. I was w-w-wrong. But I sure caught flack for it at The Fix. I actually changed my mind about her when she did that Couric interview. I had bought into the profile, previously, of the independent clean governor who stood up to the oil companies, etc.

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  28. IF and HGH:

    http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/06/28/intermittent-fasting-health-benefits.aspx

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC329619/?page=1

    http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2013/08/06/a-beginners-guide-to-intermittent-fasting/

    http://lifehacker.com/what-ive-learned-from-2-years-of-intermittent-fasting-1458916019

    novahockey: depends on how long I stretch out the fast. 8:00 pm to the 2:00 pm the next day is pretty easy. Doing 24 hours fasts (8:00 pm to 8:00 pm) are tougher, and I can actually get both light headed and euphoric. And hungry. But consistent intermittent fasting helps dial down the appetite after a week. And you don’t have to do it every day, but if you do every other day, it’s best to make those fasts long ones, like 18 to 20 hours.

    Nowhere near passing out, but when I’m “adapting” like I am now (went back to a regular, calorie-rich, constantly-eating diet over my vacation) I can feel crappy and get headaches. My body has moved in the past week of regular eating and too many carbs away from fat adaptation, so I have to adapt back. The first week is usually the least pleasant, but I start with fasting only (8:00 pm to 2:00 pm) and eat pretty much what I want between 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm and then start really reducing calories the next week, then start throwing in the 24 fasts the next week (but I’ll do one this week or next, if I feel up to it).

    What I can say is from 12 weeks of IF, I put on more muscle (and I’m not talking a ton, but enough so that I can notice it) over those 12 weeks then I did the previous 3 years of working out, much of it working out more often. That’s the HGH. I haven’t seen a radical strength increase, but I like being able to add the muscle for a change.

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  29. I’d vote for Palin for POTUS today with no qualms. I’m fascinated by all your hedging regarding her. Do you not think the was clean and stood up to big oil? I still do, if not, where’s the evidence that she’s dirty and did not stand up? The fact that the Murkowski’s hateSTILL should be considered a decent enough credential. And I sure would like to see all the footage of the Couric interview.

    Does anyone here not think Obama has been the worst President since at least Wilson?

    So she resigned from the Governorship? So fucking what?

    We’ve had “Einsteins” and they’ve all SUCKED! Give me an amiable dunce.

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  30. Mark,

    I remained a Palin fan (wasn’t impressed with the Couric interview, but I felt it was something of a set-up, as well, and a hostile interviewer . . . I dunno, I wasn’t ready to resign from the fan club at the time). It was actually resigning the governorship that changed my mind, then the talking head contract with Fox and all the other stuff she started reminding me of Kate Gosselin. Then, some other comments, the specifics I don’t remember now, kinda sealed the deal as being either horribly tone-deaf or really blood red meat for the kinda nasty partisans you always get. I dunno. I was very disappointed. McCain was McCain, and I never cared for him, but I was excited by Palin, and it’s very disappointing when you realize a candidate you’re hopeful about is just not really much like the image.

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  31. @McWing: “Is vot for Palin for POTUS today with no qualms.”

    I probably would, too, just because president Palin would immediately give all the worst folks at PL and those like them massive coronaries, and the nation would be improved thusly. I also agree: the idea that someone says things that offend Ivy leaguers or don’t have a Master’s degree couldn’t do a great job as president is nonsensical

    I’m not hedging so much as I didn’t like the abandonment of the governorship once she lost in the election (sorry, I take my ball and go home is not attractive), and from a strictly aesthetic viewpoint she’s gone from Raquel Welch in 10,000 BC to Kate Gosselin. Haven’t you ever fallen out of love, McWing?

    I’m not sure I’m prepared to judge Obama the worst president since Wilson, though I give most presidents higher marks than history generally gives them (I think Hoover was a decent president, he was just president at a very bad time).

    I’ve liked the Obama presidency in many ways. He can’t handle the Republicans, at all, which counts against him. And I thought the ACA was a bad idea from beginning to end . . . just getting the government more involved in healthcare, at all, was a bad idea. I really think that’s the big negative for me. I’m good with the drone-based foreign policy.

    That being said, I’m really hoping for a President Christie in 2016. And then I hope he appoints Palin to be Secretary of Defense or something. Something that will make the folks who hate her with a deep and irrational passion absolutely apoplectic. Because that’s what makes life interesting.

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  32. @ScottC: “The primary benefit of attracting big corporations, that they provide local employment opportunities, exists even if the corporate tax rate is zero.”

    That is the real world primary benefit, of course. But to the governments cutting said taxes down to zero, what is their incentive to cut tax revenues in order to attract businesses? They would lose existing tax revenue and get little from the new businesses, unless they charge higher income taxes, I suppose. Even then, if you are attracting businesses due to tax policy, you will have huge companies headquartering in your country with little to no staff merely to get the low taxes. Which offers a clear benefit to the company, but very little to the local government or even local community.

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    • Kevin:

      But to the governments cutting said taxes down to zero, what is their incentive to cut tax revenues in order to attract businesses?

      It depends, I suppose, on what motivates the particular politicians in office at any given time. But if they are motivated by what they should be motivated by, ie the well being of the people they serve, then the incentive of more jobs is obvious.

      They would lose existing tax revenue and get little from the new businesses, unless they charge higher income taxes, I suppose.

      If one thinks that the primary job of the government is to maximize tax receipts, then I guess you would have to do a cost/benefit analysis of new jobs, and hence more income tax revenue, vs loss of existing corporate tax revenue, and which combination of corporate tax and income tax would produce the maximum amount of revenue. I, however, do not think that maximizing tax receipts is the primary job of the government.

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  33. We’ve really benefitted from elected pols slavishly finishing their terms. She wasn’t particularly well off and so resigned from office to make money.

    By not lobbying.

    What a fucking dumb whore.

    And Alaska would have benefitted so much from two solid years of ethics investigations too!

    Fallen out of love? It’s entirely irrational not to love her more since the election.

    If only because she did not go into lobbying.

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  34. Barry Goldwater, my lord and savior, dropped out of the University of Arizona after one year.

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  35. Just to be clear, I don’t think Palin is dumb, or a whore. Just not my cup of tea, any more. And perhaps falling out of love is irrational, but so his the human heart. Are you coming out against the vagaries of love?

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  36. Yes, in all sincerity pursuing love is a waste of time. It’s better to pursue compatibility.

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  37. @McWing: Saying that “it’s because they don’t like me” is a way to say Republicans are racists without saying the words. Bonus points if they can get some notable Republicans to complain that he’s calling them racists, even though he didn’t use the words, because then it can be: “oh, really? Sensitive, much?”

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  38. KW, thanks for the links. I will read them as I have time. From reading one of them, I probably do some things close to IF without planning it that way.

    I was reading about a program called Whole 30 this morning that I am going to look at more closely (except that I can’t give up ice cream on any permanent basis).

    There is a link in one of those links to an article on decision fatigue (which is pretty scary if you are a convict seeing the parole judge just before lunch). This general phenomon is something you realize if you are perceptive and are in roles where you have to make many decisions. I have been thinking about it a lot over the past several weeks, while I’ve been in work situations where the normally high level of decision-making activity has been off the charts. Boy has it been exhausting.

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  39. I can’t even conceive how it is possible to regret supporting Palin while having voted for Obama and Biden. I really can’t. It boggles my mind.

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    • qb:

      I can’t even conceive how it is possible to regret supporting Palin while having voted for Obama and Biden. I really can’t. It boggles my mind.

      Ditto.

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  40. I probably would, too, just because president Palin would immediately give all the worst folks at PL and those like them massive coronaries, and the nation would be improved thusly.

    I can dig this, though.

    I’m not sure I’m prepared to judge Obama the worst president since Wilson, though I give most presidents higher marks than history generally gives them (I think Hoover was a decent president, he was just president at a very bad time).

    Hoover, FDR, Johnson, and Carter all give him a good run, but history will remember Obama as perhaps the worst President EVER, not just since Wilson.

    Hoover was a bad President, but for reasons opposite the liberal pseudo-history. He stupidly began what became the New Deal and, with FDR and both their helpers, caused the Depression. The narrative about him that the Democrats were able to create as official History is one of the most false ones there is. It is remarkable how it has succeeded despite the clear facts to the contrary.

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  41. QB, I assume you’re referring to Mark? I didn’t vote for Obama. Either time. I voted for Palin first time out, and Gary Johnson second.

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  42. KW, yes. I feel sorry for your breakup with Sarah, though.

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  43. Awesome. Fat woman illegal immigrant on Fox News talking about how she never has enough to eat.

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  44. I should not have said “perhaps” above. There is absolutely no question that Obama is and will be remembered as the worst President in U.S. history. And it is highly unlikely that anyone will ever take that distinction from him.

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    • Speaking of Obama being the worst president ever, Ed Whelan over at NRO points out that today is the 5th anniversary of the first day of mendacious testimony of Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, aided and abetted by the mendacity of several D senators.

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  45. I still say Wilson is tops with Buchanan at number two. Obama is third.

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  46. Or should I say “turd.” SWIDT?

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  47. To be fair, my parents did the same thing and look how I turned out!

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/07/14/mom-jailed-because-she-let-her-9-year-ol

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  48. “Then, later in the day at a press conference on immigration: “If I sponsor a bill declaring apple pie American, it might fall victim partisan politics.””

    Because obama would probably call for a new apple pie czar at the USDA to administer a new apple pie program to ensure all Americans have access to apple pie in a fair manner. It would have a budget of $40 billion and will be funded by a 3.1% surtax on people making over $250,000.

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  49. Because he would probably attach a 3.1% surtax on people making over $250,000 to make sure every one is able to afford apple pie

    Surtax on millionaires and billionaires who are hogging all the applie pie. IRS writes regs implementing millionaire-and-billionaire tax by applying it to two-income families with household incomes over $75K.

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  50. But then Obama waives the implementation of the surtax for this year.

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  51. Moral: we need single-payer pie to keep the boss out of women’s pie decisions.

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  52. @McWing: “To be fair, my parents did the same thing and look how I turned out!”

    Oh my God. I weep for our country.

    “Oh noes! She let her children play outside! The travesty! The crime!”

    That’s f*cking insane.

    I hope someone steps up to help that mother sue every one of those motherfückers. From the woman who called the cops to the cops who arrested her to the libelous news station that reported on it.

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  53. @qb: “Fat woman illegal immigrant on Fox News talking about how she never has enough to eat.”

    That stuff offends me, not because she feels entitled to eat irrespective of her contribution to the process of getting herself food, but because if folks are going to manufacture a crisis in order to accomplish political goals, they should at least have the decency not to completely insult our intelligence and just rub it in our face that they’re faking it, but think they’re going to win the day, anyway. If you’re going to have people complaining that they are malnourished, have some thin people do it. It’s still almost all bullshît, but would at least indicate that they are mounting some meager effort to be convincing.

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  54. QB, I don’t think Obama will be remembered as the worst president in U.S. History, for a couple of reasons. One: the metrics that everybody makes such decisions on are different. In terms of advancing a potentially destructive social agenda, or expanding the government at the expense of individual freedoms, FDR is worse, LBJ is worse, even Richard Nixon is worse. And always will be. In terms of foreign policy, one could argue that LBJ and Carter were both worse than Obama. In terms of economic policy, such as it is . . . I dunno, Dubya signed off on the first stimulus, Obama kind of stuck with that. Anyone care to suggest presidents with appalling economic policies that could compete with Obama?

    In terms of growing the debt, I’m not sure any president is worse than Obama, but I think future ones probably will be. And what it is now is nothing compared to what it would be without Republican obstruction.

    Additionally, while I would argue that Obama is not our worst president in any meaningful sense, he certainly could be if he had dictatorial powers. Cap-n-trade, energy taxes, putting the coal companies out of business, all sorts of other nonsense that he’s been obstructed on.

    Obama is the worst president so far when it comes to expanding executive powers and attempting to get around an intransigent congress by running roughshod over checks and balances, the worst since FDR. But I’m not sure he’ll be the worst ever.

    ACA may ended up being the highest cost/lowest benefit (that is, worst cost/benefit) ratio of any government program ever. But if I had to pick between Obama and Nixon, and could replace either one with, say, a young Ronald Reagan or perhaps Barry Goldwater, I think I’d pick Nixon. There would have been on OSHA or EPA under a young Ronald Reagan!

    One thing I will say: if Obama was a Republican and committed the same gaffs, showed the same occasional petulance, whined the same way, but had all the positives . . . basically, a Republican of equal charisma to Obama, that person would be regarded by the left as the equivalent of Dan Quayle or Sarah Palin.

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    • KW, Wilson and FDR ushered in the first and second installments of the destruction of American constitutional government, incremental socialism, and the managerial state. Obama saw and raised all that went before, ushering in the final destruction of society and civilization at their roots.

      No comparison actually. You just don’t see all of it yet.

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  55. I remain dubious of any assertion that the current or previous president is the worst ever, or will usher in the utter destruction of the country (although, I suppose, it might eventually turn out to be true). Many of the left assured us that Dubya was the worst president ever (and remain so) and that history will revile him. I doubt it, I think history will tend to pick out policies and actions taken in given administrations, and praise or scourge them.

    But I’m not much for extremes, especially negative ones. This is a bias, and may color my thinking. For example, while I have fallen out of love with Sarah Palin, I do not think she is a monster, or a horrible human being, or an ignorant savage, or whatever. Just no longer my beloved. It doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends.

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    • Many of the left — these are people themselves viscerally hostile to the foundations of our society. There is no equivalency between me and people on the left who hate Bush and think “he lied us into war.” I referred to the destruction of society and civilization. Some form of centralized state can and no doubt will go on for some time. Some vestiges of civil society may too. But when government imposes the abolition of marriage, sex, gender, the end of the road has come. It is the bottom of the slope into nihilism. We have been transformed. Obama did what Wilson and FDR would have held unthinkable and criminal.

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  56. QB: I did the Whole 30. it’s basically designed to break a sugar addiction. it’s doable but tough. after that, it’s about how dedicated to paleo you want to be. but i lost weight and slept better.

    our basic rule of thumb is “if it comes in a box, it’s probably not good for you”

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