Is Attacking Private Equity Good for the GOP?

Jan 19, 2012, 10:24 am EST

There’s a new villain in the Republican race for the party’s presidential nomination, and its name is business. More specifically, the villain has become GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney and his record at private equity firm Bain Capital, a company the former Massachusetts governor started in 1984. Since his decisive victory in the New Hampshire primary, Gov. Romney has come under attack from rivals such as former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (who, according to the Wall Street Journal, has dropped out of the race today), and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich

On the campaign trail in South Carolina last week, Perry accused Romney’s Bain Capital of practicing “vulture capitalism,” saying that it destroyed people’s lives and was a “get-rich-quick scheme” designed to make a quick profit. Gingrich took his anti-Romney, anti-Bain Capital attacks to a whole other level. A Gingrich-supporting “Super PAC” went Hollywood on Romney, producing a slick 28-minute video that portrayed Romney as a ruthless Gordon Gekko-like corporate raider that swooped down and preyed on companies, fired all of their employees, and then parceled off the carcass for a quick buck.

This anti-business line of attack from Perry and Gingrich is a risky strategy, as it sounds more like rhetoric from an Occupy Wall Street rally than it does talking points in a GOP primary. Unfortunately, the attacks also show an incredible lack of knowledge about the role of private equity firms in the marketplace. Read 

Congress’ 6-Figure Pensions Cause $674B Shortfall

Jan 19, 2012, 9:48 am EST

Almost 15,000 federal retirees, including former members of Congress, enjoy six-figure pensions right now. And if that isn’t galling enough? The pension system providing these cushy payouts is ridiculously insolvent, facing a $674.2 billion shortfall.

So much for cutting pork and careless spending out of Washington. I guess politicians only use that philosophy when it doesn’t apply to themselves.

To be clear, not all federal retirees get a mammoth payday. Some folks were middle managers who now get a relatively modest retirement at an average of abour $31,000 annually. But a small group – about one of every 125 retirees (civilians mind you, not the military) collects more than $100,000 in benefits annually. Read 

Iran a Growing Target of Overt Sanctions, Covert Terrorism

Jan 18, 2012, 12:30 pm EST

Just in case you ever run out of things to worry about, take a look at Iran where a car bomb killed yet another nuclear scientist last week. Ironically, this nuclear scientist was on his way to an event commemorating the second anniversary of the death of another nuclear scientist killed by a car bomb.

According to Israeli sources, this is the fifth nuclear scientist to die, while The Wall Street Journal said this was the fourth death of a nuclear scientist in the past two years. A Pentagon spokesman said “the United States played no role whatsoever in the killing of this scientist,” while Israel refused to comment.

The past few months have witnessed a huge rise in similar “accidents” within Iran. According to The Washington Post, there has been a “five-fold increase in explosions at refineries and gas pipelines since 2010.” For instance, there was a mysterious explosion at a steel plant on Dec. 11 — less than two weeks after massive explosions were heard at a uranium conversion facility on Nov. 28. Read 

Who Cares About Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns?

Jan 18, 2012, 12:04 pm EST

Republican front-runner Mitt Romney is facing increasing pressure from his opponents to release his tax returns, which presidential candidates have done for decades. It’s a fight that few outside of Beltway’s chattering class care much about and will yield few insights into his fiscal policies, which some have found lacking.

The issue came up during Monday’s debate in South Carolina, and the former Massachusetts Governor said he might release them around tax time in April. The tax forms will show that Romney is wealthy and that he gets most of his money from income from investments, two facts that will surprise no one with rudimentary reading skills. Romney’s stalling over the issue is silly.

It’s a pity that few in the media are paying attention to how most Americans would fare economically under a President Romney. Read 

Smoke Bomb Tossing ‘Occupy’ Protestor Violates Key Protest Tenet

Jan 18, 2012, 11:57 am EST

The burgeoning “Occupy” movement in the United States received another black eye late Tuesday, after a protestor at a Washington, D.C., event tossed what appeared to be a smoke bomb over the White House fence. Additionally, one protestor was arrested for assaulting a police officer and three others were arrested for crossing a police line.

As a result of Tuesday’s events, the White House was locked down for an hour (though President Barack Obama and his wife were not present at the time), and the north gate to the residence was closed while the tossed object was investigated.

These events stand in stark contrast to both the otherwise peaceful protests carried out by other “Occupy” activists, some of whom came from as far away as Nevada and California to participate, and to the ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday was recently celebrated. King’s efforts to obtain civil rights for African-Americans were rooted in the principles of non-violence first popularized by Mohandas Gandhi. And while these two men, and their supporters and followers, suffered terribly for their cause, their efforts eventually bore fruit. Gandhi played a crucial role in India becoming independent from British rule, and African-Americans still might be unfairly disenfranchised from voting if not for King. Read 

Congress Will PAY YOU to Avoid Public Transit in 2012

Jan 18, 2012, 11:29 am EST

As part of the 2009 stimulus package passed by the Democratic controlled congress, commuters could qualify for a subsidy of $230 per month towards mass transit expenses. But your tax write off for parking? Ten bucks more at $240.

So much for Washington believing in public transportation.

If that isn’t crazy enough, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (that’s the formal name for the “stimulus” bill) only offered a temporary increase to mass transit reimbursement. As of January 1, commuters getting a pre-tax reimbursement for transit will revert to just $125. Read 

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