Monday, May 9, 2011

Should the GOP try another method to pick its nominee?

19 months before the 2012 election, the latest CNN Republican Presidential poll shows the following numbers for the five candidates who appeared at last week’s debate in South Carolina:
Tim Pawlenty: 3%
Rick Santorum: 2%
Ron Paul: 10%
Herman Cain: <1%
Gary Johnson <1%

My question is if the poll margin of error is +/- 3%, does that mean everybody but Ron Paul could have negative poll numbers? 
I would not take these polls too seriously.  At this same point, 19 months before the election, in 1991 Bill Clinton scored 1% in the polls, well behind Mario Cuomo the front runner at the time.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has filed a complaint against Boeing to stop the start-up of its 787 aircraft production line in the right-to-work state of South Carolina.  This production line will take production demand away from the unionized shop in Seattle.  The NLRB claims that Boeing constructed the South Carolina plant to punish the Seattle workers for going on strike four times since 1989.  I am sure President Obama is looking at the political angle of shoring up his labor base, but he must tread carefully as many in the center, center-left, and center-right will view this as excessive intervention by the government into corporate decision making.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has announced she will take her fight to defend Arizona’s anti-immigration law also known as SB1070 all the way to the Supreme Court.  Brewer has been using public donations to fund the legal defense of the law which has been getting hammered in the courts.  Brewer also announced she would use public donations to construct a fence along the Mexican border using prison labor.  What’s next a telethon?  I don’t think she will get George Clooney to help out on this one, perhaps she should reach out to Jerry Lewis?
Apparently in response to our Bin Laden mission, the Pakistani government has outed the CIA’s station chief in Islamabad Mr. Mark Carlton.  The reports documented a meeting between Mr.  Carlton and the head of Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter- Services Intelligence, suggesting that the information came from them. Hmmm, a CIA agent being outed by a government, where have I heard this story before?  Oh yeah Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby outing Valerie Plame.
There has been a lot of talk from Washington, the Chamber of Commerce and business organizations about reforming the tax code, especially with respect to business tax rates.  America’s 35% corporate tax rate is, next to Japan, the highest in the world and this rate is often cited as the reason why corporations ship jobs overseas.  But what of the effective tax rate, the rate companies really pay was significantly lower?  Here are some effective tax rates for some US companies:
General Electric: 3.6%
Merck: 12.5%
H-P: 20%
J&J: 22%
Wal-Mart: 33.6%
CVS Caremark: 38.8%

Why the wide range of rates across this small sample?  Simply, loopholes and tax credits.  High tech industrial giant GE benefits from tax breaks from R&D tax credits and new rules about depreciation expense for capital investment.  While unfortunate consumer retail companies like Wal-Mart and CVS do not have access to these loopholes.  So, what do you think the odds are that GE, its lobbyists, and bought and sold Congressmen will push for tax code changes that could result in them paying higher corporate taxes because if the rates get lowered the loopholes get closed and the tax breaks get eliminated?
And for that other great idea I hear from Republicans about allowing American multinational companies to repatriate their dollars from overseas via a tax holiday, because that will lead to job growth.  Are you serious?  It was tried in 2004 and the Republican controlled Congress and Republican President and they had the sick sense of humor to call it the American Jobs Creation Act.  Yeah, the AJCA didn’t create jobs, but it did provide a nice windfall for shareholders.
Final (not likely) comment on Bin Laden, the cherry on the top of that sundae would be to find out that the Navy Seal Team member who delivered the kill shot was gay; the Anti-gay Sunni extremist terrorist leader killed by gay soldier who had to hide his sexuality from his own military commanders.  Yeah, priceless.

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