Franchisors Warn Obamacare Will Halve Profits

Franchisors warn Obamacare will halve profitsby Paul Bedard
The International Franchise Association held a convention in Washington this week where most of the Radio Shack, Dunkin Donuts, Curves and other franchisers were grumbling about new federal regulations, especially the impact of Obamacare.

Most, said Atlanta Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken franchiser David Barr, presumed that the reports about how hard Obamacare will hit them were overblown. “They had their head in the sand,” he told Secrets.

That is until he pulled out his powerpoint showing how funding Obamacare will cut his –and likely their– profits in half overnight. [Read more…]

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Win an Olympic Medal, Pay the IRS

Win an Olympic Medals, Pay the IRS by Chris Banescu –
What better way for the U.S. government to “thank” our Olympic athletes for all the years of hard work, enormous efforts, and many personal and financial sacrifices in pursuit of excellence, than to compel them to pay taxes on their Olympic medals and prize money. Yes, my fellow Americans, U.S. Olympians must pay income taxes on both the medals and the prize money granted for gold, silver, and bronze.

Besides the actual gold, silver, and bronze medals given to the top three Olympians in each event, prizes are also awarded. For the London Olympics athletes receive $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze.

According to the IRS, American medalists must report as income not only their prize money but also the market value of the actual metal in each medal they win. [Read more…]

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What I Learned About Natural Gas from Boone Pickens

T. Boone Pickens
T. Boone Pickens
by Rich Karlgaard –

Last week I interviewed the Texas energy baron T. Boone Pickens four consecutive nights in front of a live audience. Pickens would talk for 40 minutes and then I would interview him for 50 minutes. (Full disclosure: I was paid a fee to do this, not from Pickens but from the event’s owner.)

The Pickens presentations had an interesting underlying tension: Texas billionaire, oilman and Republican trying to convince earnest San Francisco Bay Area liberals about the virtues of natural gas. How did Pickens do in front of liberal, vaguely hostile audiences? Surprisingly well. He made his case with numbers.

Here is what Pickens said:

– Global demand for oil is 86-88 million barrels per day. It will be 90 million by the end of the year, due to global growth. [Read more…]

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America Slouching Towards Fiscal Armageddon

America Slouching Towards Fiscal ArmageddonAmerica is in grave danger. Our government’s out-of-control spending and our politicians’ refusal to implement meaningful budget reforms are leading us towards a fiscal crisis that can undermine our very way of life. We are spending ourselves into oblivion. With each passing day, we are $5 billion in deficit spending closer to the edge of an abyss that can cripple our economy, destroy America’s wealth, and lead to catastrophic social consequences for all current and future generations. Yet our leaders in Washington refuse to face reality and continue to play political games while the country’s budget crisis deepens and the threat grows exponentially.

In February of this year the US federal budget deficit grew by a record $224 billion; the biggest one-month increase in history. Worse still, the 2011 US budget deficit is forecast to reach $1.5 Trillion.  According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this annual deficit represents the largest budget gap in our country’s history, equivalent to approximately 10% of America’s total economic output.  This follows the enormous $1.3 Trillion deficit racked up for 2010 and will be superseded by an equally disturbing $1.65 Trillion deficit forecast for 2012. [Read more…]

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Want doctors to innovate? Free them!

Doctors Innovate Free 10/11/2010 – Steven Goldfien, MD –

Peter Orszag, formerly the Director of the White Office of Management and Budget, appears to have found a new career as a pundit for the NYT. The fact that he’s chosen to admonish doctors in a recent sermon at least means that the new preacher and his chosen pulpit are well-matched. The contempt for the medical profession shown by Mr. Orszag — and his boss — during health care reform is readily apparent, as he begins his editorial by stating that

[d]octors, like most people, don’t love to work weekends, and they probably don’t enjoy being evaluated against their peers. But their industry can no longer afford to protect them from the inevitable. Imagine a drugstore open only five days a week, or a television network that didn’t measure its ratings. Improving the quality of health care and reducing its cost will require that doctors make many changes – but working weekends and consenting to quality management are two clear ones.

[Read more…]

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Economic Lunacy

9/13/2010 – Larrey Anderson –
I know logical lunacy when I see it. I may not be an economist, but as one trained in logic as a philosopher, I have been horrified by the recent economic policies of both Presidents G.W. Bush and B.H. Obama.

Let’s start with Bush and the first TARP bill. My heart broke when Bush announced the TARP program. I understood that the $750-billion blank check (to be spent at the discretion of the next Secretary of the Treasury — who turned out to be tax-cheat Timothy Geithner) might well trigger the end of our constitutional republic. [Read more…]

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Ronald Reagan: Whatever Happened to Free Enterprise?

President Ronald Reagan
President Ronald Reagan

From the archived pages of Imprimis, the monthly speech digest of Hillsdale College, President Ronald Reagan reminds us that economic freedom is an absolute necessity not only for political freedom, but for all freedom. That freedom must be fought for and protected in every generation. That the business community must join this fight and not remain passive.

“It all comes down to this basic premise: if you lose your economic freedom, you lose your political freedom and in fact all freedom. Freedom is something that cannot be passed on genetically. It is never more than one generation away from extinction. Every generation has to learn how to protect and defend it. Once freedom is gone, it’s gone for a long, long time. Already, too many of us, particularly those in business and industry, have chosen to switch rather than fight.”

President Reagan clearly understood that government action is the biggest threat to our economic freedom and personal freedom. He correctly identified the government as the problem, not the solution: [Read more…]

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The New York Times, Cheerleader for Higher Taxes

The New York Times Cheerleader for Higher Taxes
In what can only be described as a partisan, pro-Obama puff piece, The New York Times has now proclaimed on its Economix Blog that tax increases are the best way to “stimulate” our economy and help America reach “fiscal sustainability”:

The single biggest step our government could take this year to address the structural deficit would be to let the tax cuts expire. And a credible commitment to long-term fiscal sustainability should reduce interest rates today, helping to stimulate the economy.

[Read more…]

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The Death of the Dollar

Death of the Dollar8/6/2010 – Vasko Kohlmayer –

Nothing can save our financial system in the long run. It is doomed to collapse. This is inevitable, because our government controls and manages its very foundation — the dollar.

The federal government began its takeover of the dollar in 1913 when it established the Federal Reserve Banking System. Prior to that, the dollar was a real store of value. In the period from 1783 to 1913, there was a long period of currency stability with virtually no inflation. If you saved one dollar in 1800, your great-grandchild could buy roughly the same amount of goods with the same dollar one century later. [Read more…]

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Steve Wynn: No Common Sense in Washington

Steve Wynn
Steve Wynn

Steve Wynn, the American entrepreneur and casino resort/real-estate developer, was recently interviewed by CNBC for the opening of his new Encore Beach Club in Las Vegas. During the questions and answers session with the correspondent, the billionaire business owner addressed some of the most serious problems American companies face and the incompetent manner in which politicians in Washington, DC are handling the economic situation and the unpredictable manner in which they continue to aggressively punish US businesses.

In the interview Wynn talks about the lack of common sense that has disappeared in Washington and the completely out-of-control spending that is fueling the massive national debt:

“It’s common sense that’s disappeared in Washington DC. It’s common sense that’s disappeared in the years of 7 and 8 in America. We’re inheriting the awful results, both in our government … of wild, uncontrolled spending, unbelievable, unsustainable debt.

And yet, here we are, doing it again, $20 billion a month to the FHA. On top of what happens to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We’re doing it again today for $20 billion a month! We’re destroying the housing market, again; under the name of a stimulus, phony misrepresented names.”

[Read more…]

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Tax Hikes and the 2011 Economic Collapse

Economic Collapse 20116/6/2010 – Arthur Laffer –

Today’s corporate profits reflect an income shift into 2010. These profits will tumble next year, preceded most likely by the stock market.

People can change the volume, the location and the composition of their income, and they can do so in response to changes in government policies.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the nine states without an income tax are growing far faster and attracting more people than are the nine states with the highest income tax rates. People and businesses change the location of income based on incentives.

Likewise, who is gobsmacked when they are told that the two wealthiest Americans—Bill Gates and Warren Buffett—hold the bulk of their wealth in the nontaxed form of unrealized capital gains? The composition of wealth also responds to incentives. And it’s also simple enough for most people to understand that if the government taxes people who work and pays people not to work, fewer people will work. Incentives matter. [Read more…]

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Across America 15 Million People Still Unemployed

US Unemployment Situation Grim
US Unemployment Situation is Grim

Across America 15 million Americans are still out of work and unable to find jobs. The latest numbers from the Labor Department indicate that only 41,000 private sector jobs were created last month. Of the 431,000 new jobs added in May, 411,000 were temporary census workers hired by the government. Despite Obama’s assertion, made just days ago, that “the economy is improving and that the economic stimulus legislation passed a year ago was having a positive effect” there is little to cheer about. The president’s unrealistic predictions that “the economy is poised to start adding the jobs people need” were clearly misguided and off the mark.

These are predictable results given how aggressive this administration and the Democrat controlled Congress have been in promoting socialist policies that stifle economic activity and unreasonably punish responsible corporations and businesses. [Read more…]

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How to Cripple the Free Economy

Socialist Policies Undermine American Economic Prosperity

The socialist policies implemented by the Obama administration and the Democrat leadership undermine America’s economic prosperity and prolong the misery for millions of companies and workers. Despite passing multi-trillion dollar government tax and spend initiatives, numerous bailouts of failed businesses, and repeated extensions of government benefits, Americans are suffering and the economy is languishing. Nationwide the unemployment rate has risen to 9.9%, while mortgage defaults and foreclosure rates have surged to record numbers.

Even with the tens of billions of dollars Congress has spent on preventing consumer mortgage defaults and home foreclosures, things have not improved much. How could they? Such government bailout measures are temporary band-aids that fail to address the structural problems our economy faces. They only delay the inevitable and push the problem further down the road. It doesn’t matter that house payments are now lower and the government has picked up the tab for a few months. If Americans cannot find a job or raise the capital to start a business they won’t have the money to pay even reduced mortgage payments. [Read more…]

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The Welfare State’s Death Spiral

5/10/2010 – Robert J. Samuelson –
Welfare State Death Spiral
What we’re seeing in Greece is the death spiral of the welfare state. This isn’t Greece’s problem alone, and that’s why its crisis has rattled global stock markets and threatens economic recovery. Virtually every advanced nation, including the United States, faces the same prospect. Aging populations have been promised huge health and retirement benefits, which countries haven’t fully covered with taxes. The reckoning has arrived in Greece, but it awaits most wealthy societies.

Americans dislike the term “welfare state” and substitute the bland word “entitlements.” Vocabulary doesn’t alter the reality. Countries cannot overspend and overborrow forever. By delaying hard decisions about spending and taxes, governments maneuver themselves into a cul-de-sac. To be sure, Greece’s plight is usually described as a European crisis — especially for the euro, the common money used by 16 countries — and this is true. But only to a point. [Read more…]

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The Failure of the Unfree Market

5/11/2010 – Randall Hoven –
What we have here is the failure of the unfree market. That means the failure of Greece. And the other PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain). And Europe. And it means the U.S., too. It even includes the Great Recession. The modern welfare state is collapsing around us.

If you had believed in the 72-Year Rule, you would have seen this coming. The 72-Year Rule says the lifetime of any social order or governing paradigm is about 72 years. For example, how long was it from the adoption of our original Constitution (1789), which sanctioned slavery, to the Civil War (1861)? Call it 72 years. And from then until the New Deal in 1933? Another 72 years. How about from the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) to the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989)? That would be 72 years again. [Read more…]

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Message to an Entrepreneur: You’re a Chump

4/28/2010 – Mike Whalen – Washington Times –
Major policy changes can have long-term cultural implications. Major changes can impact behavior almost immediately, but the real cultural implications are a result of the often subtle changes in individual attitudes. With the Obama administration, I believe we will see such cultural changes.

I am an entrepreneur. I started with a little 100-seat restaurant almost 32 years ago. My wife and I, along with many good people, built our company the old-fashioned American way. We worked night and day, lived very frugally for a long time, put almost everything back into the company, borrowed more and more money backed by personal guarantees, hired more people and built more buildings. [Read more…]

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Some Americans Getting 99 Weeks of Unemployment Payments

Unemployment 99 weeks
Some American workers collecting 99 weeks of unemployment

With the national unemployment rate at 9.7%, there are now 14.9 million jobless American workers. This is the highest number ever recorded since the 1950s. Some American workers have been collecting unemployment payments for as long as 99 weeks.

This situation was made possible by the multiple extensions of the unemployment insurance program passed by the federal government in attempting to deal with the continuing recession. This is the longest period that American workers have ever collected unemployment payments since the program began. [Read more…]

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Americans Suffer, While Government Workers Prosper

Yet another travesty is unfolding before our eyes in these United States of America. While tens of millions of Americans continue to struggle through difficult economic conditions, with hundreds of thousands more losing their jobs every month, tens of thousands more losing their homes and their businesses, and millions more facing salary cuts and pay freezes, government employees are prospering and getting rewarded financially more than ever.

As the economy struggles, incomes fall, and business bankruptcies and mortgage default rates remain at all time highs, the federal government spending is booming and its employees are enjoying increased hiring and higher salaries. [Read more…]

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Government Workers Make 45 Percent More Than Private Sector Employees

A new report from the Bureaus of Labor Statistics that was released today, shows that almost 15 million Americans are currently out of work and unable to find jobs. Worse still, those with jobs have not seen their wages increase much in the last 10 years. However, government workers are enjoying a boom in hiring and generous salary increases thanks in large part to very cushy pensions and other benefits. [Read more…]

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Swerving Off the Path to Prosperity

Townhall | by Ed Feulner | Jan. 26, 2010

When future historians characterize this era, chances are they won’t label it as America’s “golden age.” Indeed, they may well mark 2010 as the year the United States became the home of the “mostly free.”

That’s the finding of the latest “Index of Economic Freedom,” an annual compendium published by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. earned an overall score of 78 out of a possible 100 points in the Index. That was good enough for eighth place, globally. But that score was down 2.7 points from last year’s. It’s the biggest drop recorded among the world’s 20 largest economies. The decline was comparable to Venezuela’s (down 2.8) and Yemen’s (down 2.5), two poster children for bad economic behavior. [Read more…]

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Don’t Tax You. Don’t Tax Me. Tax That Guy Behind the Tree!

American Thinker | by Thomas Sowell | Jan. 8, 2010

Politicians like Barack Obama try to make you believe that someone else will pay the tax he wants to impose. For example, President Obama said he will increase taxes only for those making more than $250,000 per year. Other politicians, at other times, have told us that we will tax corporations rather than individuals, or tax some other out-of-favor group or product (sin tax) rather than the majority of individuals or the general sales tax.

The problem is that in reality, the guy behind the tree is the vast majority of us…yes, the same people who were promised that they would not pay the proposed tax increase. This is quite easy to see in some examples. [Read more…]

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Jobs or Snow Jobs?

American Thinker | by Thomas Sowell | Dec. 8, 2009

President Obama keeps talking about the jobs his administration is “creating” but there are more people unemployed now than before he took office. How can there be more unemployment after so many jobs have been “created”?

Let’s go back to square one. What does it take to create a job? It takes wealth to pay someone who is hired, not to mention additional wealth to buy the material that person will use.

But government creates no wealth. Ignoring that plain and simple fact enables politicians to claim to be able to do all sorts of miraculous things that they cannot do in fact. Without creating wealth, how can they create jobs? By taking wealth from others, whether by taxation, selling bonds or imposing mandates. [Read more…]

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Entrepreneurs Go on Strike

American Thinker | by C. Edmund Wright | Nov. 20, 2009

Can Barney Frank dunk on Lebron? No, he cannot. Nor can anyone else in Washington. Nor can they catch passes from Ben Rothlisberger in the Super Bowl or strike out Derek Jeter in the World Series. They are not equipped to do so. So what?

This ridiculous image speaks to the business malaise infecting the economy since Obama took office. The point is that politicians are equally ill-equipped to run the auto industry or the health industry or the lending industry or the insurance industry — and their determination to do so is sucking all the dynamism from the entrepreneurial class in this country. [Read more…]

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The Financial Crisis: What We (Still) Haven’t Learned

Acton Institute | by Samuel Gregg | Nov. 18, 2009

It’s over a year now since the 2008 financial crisis spread havoc throughout the global economy. Dozens of books and articles have appeared to explain what went wrong. They identify culprits ranging from Wall Street financiers overleveraging assets, to ACORN lobbying policy-makers to lower mortgage standards, to politicians closely connected to government-sponsored enterprises such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae failing to exercise oversight of those agencies.

As time passes, armies of doctoral students will explore every nook and cranny of the 2008 meltdown. But if most governments’ policy responses to the crisis are any guide, it’s apparent that many lessons from the financial crisis are being ignored or escaping most policy-makers’ attention. Here are five of them. [Read more…]

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Capitalism: A True Love Story

Forbes.com | by Steve Forbes | October 19, 2009

How is wealth created? Seemingly a strange question for Forbes readers, but the question is hardly an academic one in the wake of the credit crisis and ensuing global recession. It has profound political implications that will affect our economic future.

Clearly, a sizable portion of the assets created in recent years turned out to be “make believe,” the result of an unsustainable, ephemeral bubble in housing and the churning out of increasingly exotic, ultimately toxic financial instruments. It’s one thing for folks and institutions that hold suspect paper to lose out, but it’s quite another when the process that created the stuff ends up undermining the global financial system and battering the lives of hundreds of millions of other people. [Read more…]

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