August 1, 2010

Jack Kelly Sunday

Jack Kelly's column this week begins with a smear.

So let's start there:
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chose to dock his new $7 million yacht in Newport, R.I., instead of Nantucket, Mass., where he and wife Teresa Heinz have a summer home.

Could this have been to avoid $500,000 in sales and excise taxes that Massachussetts imposes but Rhode Island does not?

A "clearly perturbed" Sen. Kerry was not eager to answer, wrote the Boston Herald reporter who covered him in Weymouth Monday. On Wednesday, Mr. Kerry paid the Massachussetts taxes, which forestalled an investigation into possible tax evasion.
In this Breitbart-age of conservative "reporting", I would think that it's important for the good folks at the P-G to go over Jack's column each week with a finer toothed comb than what they're used to using.

Yea, I know. That's funny.

Let's go to the original story (from July 23) at the Boston Herald:
Sen. John Kerry, who has repeatedly voted to raise taxes while in Congress, dodged a whopping six-figure state tax bill on his new multimillion-dollar yacht by mooring her in Newport, R.I.

Isabel - Kerry’s luxe, 76-foot New Zealand-built Friendship sloop with an Edwardian-style, glossy varnished teak interior, two VIP main cabins and a pilothouse fitted with a wet bar and cold wine storage - was designed by Rhode Island boat designer Ted Fontaine.

But instead of berthing the vessel in Nantucket, where the senator summers with the missus, Teresa Heinz, Isabel’s hailing port is listed as “Newport” on her stern.

Could the reason be that the Ocean State repealed its Boat Sales and Use Tax back in 1993, making the tiny state to the south a haven - like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Nassau - for tax-skirting luxury yacht owners?

Cash-strapped Massachusetts still collects a 6.25 percent sales tax and an annual excise tax on yachts. Sources say Isabel sold for something in the neighborhood of $7 million, meaning Kerry saved approximately $437,500 in sales tax and an annual excise tax of about $70,000.
Also found there is this:
“The boat was designed by and purchased from a company in Rhode Island, and it’s based in Newport at the Newport Shipyard for long-term maintenance, upkeep and charter purposes, not tax reasons,” [Kerry's Chief of Staff David] Wade told the Track.

And state Department of Revenue spokesguy Bob Bliss confirmed the senator “is under no obligation to pay the commonwealth sales tax.” [emphasis added]
Um, Jack? If the Massachusetts Department of Revenue spokesperson says Kerry's under no obligation to pay the tax, then where did the "investigation into possible tax evasion" part come from?

Or did you just make that part up?

Then there's the quoted material. Where and when was Kerry described as being "clearly perturbed"?

In Jack's column, Kerry was perturbed and not eager to answer the question as to whether he registered the boat in Rhode Island to avoid the Massachusetts tax.

However, from this Tuesday at the Boston Herald:
Kerry continued to insist that he and his wife, ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz, would pay whatever taxes they owe on his new New Zealand-built Friendship sloop Isabel, but wouldn’t specifically address whether he’d cough up some $500,000 in state use and local excise taxes.

“Let’s get this very straight, I’ve said consistently we will pay our taxes, we’ve always paid our taxes, it’s not an issue. Period,” a clearly perturbed Kerry declared. [emphasis added.]
Looks like an answer to me, Jack. Looks like he was perturbed at being called a tax cheat, Jack. And it looks like he's saying they're gonna pay their taxes, Jack.

Jack? If you're going to accuse someone of "possible tax evasion" don't you think you should get the facts right?

And then on Friday, the Huffingtonpost had this:
Sen. John Kerry said he always intended to pay taxes in Massachusetts on his $7 million yacht but conceded he mishandled the public furor over his decision to dock the vessel in tax-free Rhode Island.

"I don't think I dealt with it fast enough, effectively enough. There's nobody to blame but myself for that," the Massachusetts Democrat told The Boston Globe for Friday's editions.
So the quote in The Globe could have been found on Friday morning.

The fact that Jack chose to put that directly in front of this part about Representative Charlie Rangel:
Sen. Kerry is hardly the only Democrat in Washington whose eagerness to impose taxes on others is not matched by a willingness to pay them himself. Rep. Charles Rangel of New York became a millionaire during 40 years of public "service." The House Ethics Committee has charged him with multiple offenses, including failing to pay income tax on rental property he owned in the Dominican Republic.
Makes the whole "guilt by association" smear complete.

For the record, it doesn't look good for Charlie Rangel. He should be investigated, no question.

Interesting thing: when Tom Delay was being investigated the GOP House changed the ethics committee. Just sayin'

But since Kerry's already paid the $500,000, the "fellow tax evader" connection is false and Jack should have known that.

But no point in letting the facts get in the way of a good smear eh, Jack?

But let's get to the heart of the matter - the Bush Tax Cuts. So says Jack:
Since nearly every reputable economist -- Keynesian or classical -- thinks raising taxes during a recession is a bad idea, this could have catastrophic consequences.
But what to the reputable economists say about the Bush Tax Cuts?

For instance Alan Greenspan? Take a look:
Congress should let all of former president George W. Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire to cut the long-term budget deficit, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has said.

Mr Greenspan’s support helped persuade Congress to pass the tax cuts in 2001 and his comments thrust him into a heated political battle over whether to extend them beyond the end of 2010. “They should follow the law and let them lapse,” Mr Greenspan said in an interview.

“The problem is, unless we start to come to grips with this long-term [budget] outlook, we are going to have major problems. I think we misunderstand the momentum of this deficit going forward.”

The Bush cuts lowered income tax rates; created a new 10 per cent tax bracket; raised tax credits for children; and lowered taxes on dividends and capital gains. A “sunset” provision means that all the cuts will expire at the end of this year unless Congress extends them.

Doing so would increase the federal budget deficit by cumulative $2,567bn between 2011 and 2020, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
But you know, that was published in that radical left wing communist sympathizing rag, the Financial Times.

So not only is Jack guilty of a(nother) political smear, his argument is debunked by none other than Alan Greenspan himself.

Another Sunday, another column that makes Jack Kelly look silly.


EdHeath said...

Well, in my opinion, John Kerry is at least guilty of being a shumck. But as far as the tax thing goes, Kerry does seem to have done the right thing belatedly.

Jack's sort of middle argument is short on detail and not really even fully fleshed out. He gives us only the choices he wants us to consider. Jack doesn't present the possibility of cutting defense spending or cutting subsidies to oil companies (or farmers). He doesn't suggest more stimulus spending that might increase revenues.

Nope, Jack leads into his third section, where he makes the energy companies' sales pitch for them. Give us the park lands and the ANWR. Let us drill where we want, and we will plug part of your deficit and let you keep driving those SUV's (until at least 2011). It is bad enough that Jack is nothing more than a hand puppet for the loony right, now he is a shill for corporate America too.

Mike said...

Republican Teddy Roosevelt should come back from the dead and punch Kelly and the rest of the current Republicans in the face for even thinking about selling off public lands for drilling.

The GOP has a long and proud history. The great Republican Presidents of the past like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan just to name a few would be appalled to see what happened to their Grand Old Party. Their values have nothing in common with these people.

I still don't quite understand how a small business owner with profits over $250K is "suffering" as Jack Kelly puts it. Any small business owner that is "suffering" is making a minimal profit or losing money and would not be impacted by the expiration of the tax cuts.

rich10e said...

The quickest way to deal with the trillion dollar Obama deficit would be to quit spending money like a drunken sailor.Touting Greenspan's comment "Congress should let all of former president George W. Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire to cut the long-term budget deficit," is quintessential "ruling class speak". Let the gov't take your money and spend it, not you the money maker!The very gov't(GOP or Dem) that continues to show they should not be handling the checkbook!!

rich10e said...

Hey Ed cut military spending ..get outta your war!!! 66 for July Ed

Blue Number 2 said...

rich, where is Obama's drunken spending? Yes, there was a huge stimulus bill but that was a one-time bill. It isn't happening every year. Yes, there is a healthcare bill that was passed but all the spending for that has been established.

So where is this huge spending and by that I assume you mean deficit spending. You must be referring to the two wars, No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D none of which had funding sources or offsetting spending cuts.

But yeah, Obama is the drunken spender...

Blue Number 2 said...

Let me clarify, the healthcare bill was paid for through specific taxes and spending cuts. It wasn't just thrown out there without specific funding sources like the wars, No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D.

You may disagree with the healthcare bill but at least it was paid for.

Mike said...

Blue, didn't you know that deficits didn't matter under President Bush?

Mitch McConnell said that himself while criticizing President Obama's deficits.

It is the same bizarre logic that says it is OK to add to the deficit to give tax cuts to the high end, but not to help the unemployed.

rich10e said...

sure Blew...I'm talking about the trillion $$$ that Obama wasted on a "jobless stimulus"..and yeah I'm talking about the war in Afghanistan he has escalated...I state very clearly my opposition to wasteful gov't spending..."The very gov't(GOP or Dem) that continues to show they should not be handling the checkbook!!" Blew, Spare me the spending cuts BS!!!Mike where did you get your degree in Economics, tax cuts don't create deficits, spending does.

Blue Number 2 said...

Wow rich, that was rich. You totally have no concept of economics or a budget. Tax cuts don't cause deficits? Really? So a deficit is determined by adding up tax receipts and subtracting spending. If taxes are cut and reduce the receipts but spending remains the same, how does that not cause a deficit? Explain that one to us all please.

And don't give us the mularkey about tax cuts increasing revenues; a complete perversion of economic theory.

Your guy Bush with a Republican Congress could have cut spending when he enacted those tax cuts or Medicare Part D or NCLB but he didn't. THAT'S why we are in this mess. Along with Social Security, Medicare and Defense spending. Again...none of which were created by Obama.

I'll take one time stimulus spending to avoid another great depression any day.

Stay classy rich...

Mike said...

I have an Economics degree from Pitt more years ago than I would like to admit. Where is yours?

The last time I checked, the rules of basic mathematics haven't changed. If you cut taxes or increase spending, the deficit increases. Pretty basic stuff. My young son understands the concept pretty well.

Also, the last time I checked, supply side economics, trickle down, voodoo economics or whatever the heck you want to call it was proven wrong years ago. Even yesterday, Alan Greenspan said he would like to see ALL the Bush tax cuts expire and not just the ones for the high earners like the Dems want to.

If the Republicans are so smart, why do they keep dragging this fallacy out?

EdHeath said...

All right, first, to be fair, I don't know what rich10e thought of Bush (II). Perhaps every day from 2002 to 2008 he wrote to his Congress-persons and the President to protest the wars, the tax cuts that were not paid for with spending cuts and their ignoring the housing bubble and toxic mortgages.


In any event, yes, Obama is escalating in Afghanistan, after Bush neglected it for years. It would be nice if we didn't have to deliver Afghanistan back to the Taliban, but I guess Rich wants to see al Qaeda attack the US again. I mean, what else is likely to happen if we just want walk away from Afghanistan (which otherwise would be a great idea in my opinion).

I also have an econ degree from a long time ago. I would say that occasionally a tax cut will produce more revenue, but certainly during a recession government stimulus is a whole lot more important. It's too bad Obama (and really actually the Congress) did not take Paul Krugman's advice, and make the stimulus bigger. Of course, Harry Reid caved to Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter, and the stimulus was gutted. As it is, is staved off a depression, but now the recession may last years longer than it needed to.

Obama is hardly perfect, I wish he would take some risks and occasionally tell the Republicans off. And I wish he (and his administration) were not so buddy buddy with Wall Street (they might need to be mean to Wall Street one day).

Still, now is not the time to cut, or worry about the deficit. Nor is it the time to let the energy companies run amok.

rich10e said...

Blew IT #2, Mike who flunked out of Pitt,and the Prime Minister's War cuts DO NOT cause a deficit.A deficit is caused by spending money that you don't have and as in the case of the USGov't you borrow to finance that debt.Now cutting taxes in the face of a deficit will increase the size of the deficit.However,allowing the Bush tax cuts to stay in place would be revenue neutral if all things(income)remained constant.Allowing the tax cuts to expire will increase the marginal rates and increase revenues. Greenspan is all for cutting the rates because he wants to reduce the deficit thru the increased tax revenues.

Also,Greenspan is part of "the ruling class" he's all for taking our money to pay for their misspending. Just the same guys,tax cuts DO NOT create deficits. And if ya can't grasp that a deficit is the result of spending money you don't have,then you guys should stay off the computers.

And since Ed has acknowledged his degree,I guess I should, too. Yes Mike,I have a degree in Economics from Pitt. Class of '81.I had a professor there by the name I believe of Miller.He wrote a text book on supply side economics...and yeah yeah yeah,there are two sides to every economic argument. I guess it comes down to whether your a Statist/Ruling Class, who wants the gov't to seize a heaping portion of your income,and then spend it foolishly, or you're a Freeman who wants to retain his wealth and not allow politicians and patricians to syphon away for their social tinkering.

Blue Number 2 said...

Oh my goodness rich you are so right. I had never looked at it that way. Only spending causes deficits because politicians have a choice on spending tha they don't have on taxes.

Dude get real. Even your degree Pitt degree should be enough to inform you that taxes minus spending equal the budget which will end up either in surplus or deficit. When making the budget politicians have degrees of freedom on both taxes and spending. But ever since Reagan we've been sold a bill if goods tha says we can spend all we want and cut taxes all at once and everything will be ok because tax cuts equal growth which will increasetax receipts forever. Ironic given that Reagan raised taxes.

The point is that every year politicians have the option of cutting or increasing both taxes and spending. But they refuse to really balance the budget except for the Clinton years.

The Bush tax cuts caused a huge deficit because the cuts in revenue were not offset by cuts in spending. That was a choice he and congress made. Just like they chose not to cut spending to pay for the two wars, Medicare Part D and NCLB.

Now those tax cuts are expiring. The assumptions made about the deficit then and now assumed that those cuts would expire and we would eventually bring revenue levels back up and that the growth in the intervening period would make up the difference. Guess what? Didn't happen. It created a bubble instead that burst all over us.

Now everyone is screaming about the debt and the deficit blaming it ALL on Obama (yep he expanded the deficit with the stimulus) but wants to forgo the increased revenue because of the state if the economy. Funny you all didn't want the stimulus to fix the economy because if the deficit but you want the tax cuts regardless of the deficits because of the economy. I so love hypocrisy.

EdHeath said...

So, Rich, at least in a few years Denmark was called the happiest country in the world by some survey or other. But they have very high taxes. Of course, they have state provided health care and education as well (and lots of bicycles and some percentage not over 19% of their electricity is provided by wind power). A statist/ruling class system indeed. Except they have the lowest level of income inequity in the world (the US is at the highest level of income inequity in at least 80 years, good thing we don't have a ruling class).

Are you seriously just going to parrot the Tea Party line? Have you been that indoctrinated that you can no longer think for yourself?

High Lord Inquisitor and Factchecker of 2PJ. said...

Funny the same people giving John Kerry a free pass are the same who screamed bloody murder over Rick Santorum's tuition costs paid by Penn Hills.

rich10e said...

EdHeath said...

Rich, what happened in the first two years of Reagan's administration? The Washington's Times misleading chart is comparing apples to oranges. Plus I don't remember the Democrats setting records for filibusters during the Reagan administration. Nor had Jimmy Carter started two wars, nor presided over a housing bubble complete with toxic mortgages bundled into securities and sold as securitized instruments which made banks and brokerages reserves basically impossible to value (or essentially valueless). Reagan (and Carter) did have stagflation, but fortunately Paul Volker was able to take care of that in 1983.

Obama did encourage and help pass health care reform, something Truman, Nixon and Clinton were unable to do. Based on projections, if health care reform had not been passed, the cost of health care would have overwhelmed the economy. And the Republicans still want to repeal it.

rich10e said...

Hey Ed Run that Health care crap on the people of Missouri

EdHeath said...

So, Rich, you agree with me that the Washington Times chart was simply wrong, that Obama is doing as well or a better job than Reagan did at this stage in the Presidency, and that we should dismiss Reagan as a hypocrite who really only hurt the United States and made things worse during his Presidency.

Good, now that we have got that out of the way, which economic theory are you citing in your defense of market failure in the health care market? Regardless of how the Republicans have successfully lied to the citizens of Missouri, their vote has nothing to do with whether runaway spending on health care as encouraged and supported by Republicans in the name of personal freedom (and bankruptcy for the poor and middle class and death by infection or neglect) was going to destroy our economy. The plan passed by Congress on Obama's watch may be limited, but it is a start and may help stave of the worst effect of health care inflation.

rich10e said...

Ed your thinking is so flawed that you don't even make sense anymore!!