Quick Hit News

Rep Says Democrats Like Bank Robbers

Sandy Fitzgerald, NewsMax:

Idaho Republican Rep.Raul Labrador said on Sunday that he’s “not really sure”
Democrats want to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, and that they’re like “bank
robbers” who want to raise taxes on everyone.

Labrador, appearing on ABC News’ “This Week,” also believes President Barack Obama has successfully provoked a civil war among Republicans, which has been the Democrats’ goal from the beginning.

“They have tried to get us to fight against each other on taxes when — I’m not really sure that they don’t want to go over the fiscal cliff,” said Labrador.

Meanwhile, Labrador was one of the House Republicans who opposed a plan by House Speaker John Boehner to raise taxes only on people making more than $1 million. But he said if Democrats really wanted to avoid the fiscal cliff they could have voted for the bill.

“There were only about 50 of us in the House who said that we were not going to vote for
John Boehner’s deal last week,” he said. “All they needed was 50 Democrats to vote for the deal, and it would have passed last week.”

But, Labrador said, the Democrats have been trying to divide Republicans “from day
one.”

“They have tried to get us to fight against each other on taxes when — I’m not really sure that they don’t want to go over the fiscal cliff,” he said. “They want to expand the growth of government. They need more revenues. You know, Democrats are like bank robbers. You don’t have the money in the 2 percent — the money is in the 100 percent. They want to raise taxes on everyone.”

Labrador also said history will repeat if leaders talk about raising taxes.

“What happens in Washington is that we talk about raising taxes today and then we talk about cuts 10 years from now,” Labrador said. “It happened under Reagan, it happened under Bush, and it’s what’s going to happen to us once again.”

Milk Prices to Skyrocket

Reuters:

Farm-state lawmakers have agreed to a one-year extension of the expiring U.S. farm law that, if enacted, would head off a possible doubling of retail milk prices to $7 or more a gallon in early 2013.

The extension would end a 32-month attempt to update farm subsidies dating from the Depression era, when farmers were crushed by low prices and huge crop surpluses, to meet today’s high-wire challenges of tight food supplies, high operating costs and volatile markets.

Traditionally, the dairy program sets a minimum price for milk through government purchase of butter, cheese and dry milk. If Congress does not act, the dairy support price will revert on Tuesday to the level dictated by an outmoded 1949 law and which is roughly double the price now paid to farmers.

The potential retail milk price has been estimated at $6 to $8 a gallon versus current levels near $3.50.

Mexican Smuggling Tunnels

Associated Press:

Mexican authorities have discovered a sophisticated smuggling tunnel equipped with electricity and ventilation not far from the Nogales port of entry into Arizona, U.S. and Mexican officials said Friday.

The Mexican army said the tunnel was found Thursday after authorities received an anonymous call in the border city of Nogales, Sonora, south of Arizona. U.S. law enforcement officials confirmed that the Mexican military had discovered the football field-long tunnel with elaborate electricity and ventilation systems.

U.S. Border Patrol spokesman Victor Brabble said the tunnel did not cross into the U.S.

The army said the anonymous caller was reporting gunmen standing outside a two-story house in a hilly neighborhood near the international bridge where motorists travel between Mexico and the United States.

Inside the house, soldiers discovered a fake wall inside a storage closet under a staircase that led to a dark room with buckets and clothes. After lifting a drain cover in that room, soldiers found another staircase at the entrance of the tunnel that went 16 feet underground and measured a yard in diameter. Light bulbs lit the underground passage and pipes stretched across the 120-yard tunnel that Mexican army officials believe was built to smuggle drugs.

It was unclear whether officials made any arrests, but the house where the tunnel was found was seized by the local government. Military officials did not say how long they believed the tunnel had been under construction, but authorities say it can take six months to a year to build such a passage.

Sophisticated secret tunnels stretching across the international border have become increasingly common as drug cartels invent new ways to smuggle enormous loads of heroin, marijuana and other drugs into U.S.

Granny in Exile

Exiling The Elderly: Germany Puts Retirees Offshore

by:   at Godfather Politics

It has been a recurring complaint that businesses and corporations are leaving the country and looking for places where labor is cheaper and the dollar stretches farther. This is natural behavior, dictated by economics. But what happens when public and private groups begin the same process with retirees? This has already begun for Germans, and became a custom before anyone noticed it was happening. Thus, the Daily Mail:

“German pensioners are being sent to care homes in Eastern Europe and Asia in what hasGerman pensioners been described as an ‘inhumane deportation.’ Rising numbers of the elderly and sick are moved overseas for long-term care because of sky-high costs at home. Some private healthcare providers are even building homes overseas, while state insurers are also investigating whether they can care for their clients abroad. Experts describe a ‘time bomb’ of increasing numbers unable to afford the growing costs of retirement homes.”

I suppose someone is going to claim that “it can’t happen here.” I wouldn’t be so sure. Already, in the United States, many retirees end up in institutional settings who virtually disappear from view in the wider world. How bad will the situation get when real poverty and a reduction in the standard of living hits US citizens who have needy parents?

In the case of Germans, we are talking about people who were led to believe that they would be “cared for” in their late years, and who allowed their wages to be garnished and given to a pension that was supposed to meet their needs. I think it is pretty obvious that no German worked and contributed to the plan in order to be deported to a foreign country in his sunset years. Yet this is exactly the fate that awaits them.

SoVD“The Sozialverband Deutschland (VdK), a socio-political advisory group, said the fact that many Germans were unable to afford the costs of a retirement home in their own country was a huge ‘alarm signal.’ ‘We simply cannot let those people, who built Germany up to be what it is, be deported,’ VdK’s president Ulrike Mascher told The Guardian. ‘It is inhumane.’ Researchers found an estimated 7,146 German pensioners living in retirement homes in Hungary in 2011. More than 3,000 were in the Czech Republic and more than 600 in Slovakia. There were also unknown numbers in Spain, Greece and the Ukraine, as well as Thailand and the Philippines. Some told researchers they were there out of choice as costs were lower, while standards of care were often higher. But many others admitted they moved reluctantly.”

If it is really true that “standards of care were often higher,” then maybe some people won’t mind. But what happens as the economic depression deepens and spreads across the world? Will we stop sending our elderly to other countries when their standards of care decline? Will we ever admit that the standards are declining?

Without wanting to cause unnecessary fear, I have to ask: what will be the legal environment in these foreign countries where the retirees are sent to live? While I have probably seen too many “soylent green” type movies, I could imagine a horror scenario where a country makes money by “caring” for our retirees and, at the same time, exporting food products to us.

Even if that is extreme, I still want to know, where are the children of these retirees? Are they content to see their parents moved abroad? The myth of the state is that it can replace the family. Traditionally, children have looked after their aged parents. The state is proving to be a poor substitute.

Out With The New, In With The Old

Hollywood makes 2013 the year of the sequel

By one count, a record 31 sequels and 17 reboots are expected to hit screens next year (2013) as executives steer clear of original and potentially costly ideas.

The long list of tried and tested concepts will include instalments of franchises that have gone well beyond the usual two or three films.

Audiences will be given a sixth helping of X-Men plus Fast and Furious 6, Die Hard 5, Die HardScary Movie 5 and Paranormal Activity 5. There will also be Iron Man 3, The Hangover 3, and second outings for The Muppets, The Smurfs, GI Joe and Bad Santa.

Reboots include the Superman film Man of Steel, plus a new version of The Evil Dead, a new Mad Max, and a second film in the latest reincarnation of Star Trek.

The reluctance of studios to take risks on original concepts follows a series of disastrous results this year. The most notorious was the epic flop John Carter, based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs book A Princess of Mars, which saw Disney taking a $200 million  write down, and Rich Ross, the chairman of the studio, resigning soon after.

Universal Pictures’ $220 million budget science fiction film Battleship, starring the singer Rihanna, also bombed.

Another ambitious $100 million science fiction film Cloud Atlas, starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, flopped making just $62 million worldwide.

And 2012 also saw an unwanted record achieved for the weakest opening weekend ever for a widely released film: The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, a children’s film based on original characters, eventually recouped just $1 million of its $20 million budget.

Keith Simanton, managing editor of Internet Movie Database, said the number of sequels did not necessarily mean Hollywood was running out of original ideas, but that “sequels Movie-Tickettend to make money”. He said: “At the end of the day you go with what you know because the audience seems to go with what they know. There were a lot of big gambles this year that didn’t come off. It was almost like the public is making them pay the price for that. It’s not a new lesson but it’s a more costly lesson.”

Studios have noted that the most successful movie at the box office in 2012 was The Avengers, which brought together characters like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, who had already been played by the same actors in separate movies.

The ability of sequels to make money regardless of quality was demonstrated by Taken 2, an action thriller starring Liam Neeson that was called “ham-handed and laughable” by one critic, yet still made $365 million on a budget of $45 million. The Hangover 2 was lambasted for lack of originality but still made $580 million, more than the acclaimed original. A third instalment will be out in 2013.

International audiences proved even more receptive to sequels than American ones with several follow-ups performing spectacularly abroad. Ice Age 4 brought in only $160 million in the US but $710 million internationally, making it the second most popular film of the year.

The biggest prize for Hollywood in 2013 will be the success of big budget reboots, two of which are starring British actors, and which could kick off whole new series of films. Henry Cavill will play Superman in Man of Steel and Tom Hardy will take on the role made famous by Mel Gibson in Mad Max: Fury Road.

Mr Simanton said: “People have a very difficult time when you don’t know what a property is. It’s hard to blaze a new trail and rise above the din.

“With reboots they have a prebuilt world and they have recognition.”

Attribution: By , UK Telegraph

Golden Chocolate Bar

Being the Christmas season, sales of chocolate gold coins no doubt soared as parents filled their little ones’ stockings with edible treasure.

But wealthy individuals worried about what the New Year could bring are instead stocking up on gold chocolate bars.

Swiss refinery Valcambi has been selling its CombiBar to private investors in Switzerland, Austria and Germany who are worried about a return of Weimar Republic-style hyperinflation.

Gold chocolate bar: An employee divides a gold Combibar at a plant of gold refiner and bar manufacturer Valcambi in the southern Swiss town of Balern. Sales have soared amid economic uncertainty in Europe
An employee shows a 1 gram piece of a gold Combibar
 Gold chocolate bar: An employee divides a gold Combibar at a plant of gold refiner and bar manufacturer Valcambi in the southern Swiss town of Balern. Sales have soared amid economic uncertainty in Europe
Crisis currency: Swiss refinery Valcambi has been selling its CombiBar to private investors in Switzerland, Austria and Germany who are worried about a return of Weimar Republic-style hyperinflationCrisis currency: Swiss refinery Valcambi has been selling its CombiBar to private investors in Switzerland, Austria and Germany who are worried about a return of Weimar Republic-style hyperinflation

The size of a credit card, the 50g gold CombiBars are easily be broken into one gram pieces to be used as money in times of crisis.

Now the company wants to bring them to market in the U.S. and build up sales in India – the world’s largest consumer of gold, where it has long served as a parallel currency.

Investors worried that inflation and financial market turmoil will wipe out the value of their cash have poured money into gold over the past decade.

Prices have gained almost 500 per cent since 2001 – compared to a 12 per cent increase in MSCI’s world equity index, a benchmark for the value of the world’s business investments.

Sales of gold bars and coins were worth almost $77billion (£48billion) in 2011, up from just $3.5billion (£2.2billion) in 2002, according to data from the World Gold Council.

Stocking filler for the wealthy: The divisible gold bar has a purity of 99.9 percent, weighs 50 grams and also has predetermined breaking points which allow it to be easily separated into 1g pieces without any loss of materialStocking stuffer for the wealthy: The divisible gold bar has a purity of 99.9 percent, weighs 50 grams and also has predetermined breaking points which allow it to be easily separated into 1g pieces without any loss of material
Panic buying: Sales of gold bars and coins were worth almost $77billion (£48billion) in 2011, up from just $3.5billion (£2.2billion) in 2002, according to data from the World Gold CouncilPanic buying: Sales of gold bars and coins were worth almost $77billion (£48billion) in 2011, up from just $3.5billion (£2.2billion) in 2002, according to data from the World Gold Council

‘The rich are buying standard bars or have deposits of physical gold. People that have less money are buying up to 100 grams,’ said Michael Mesaric, CEO of Valcambi.

‘But for many people a pure investment product is no longer enough. They want to be able to do something with the precious metal.’

Mr Mesaric said the advantage of the CombiBar – dubbed a ‘chocolate bar’ because pieces can be easily broken off by hand – is that it is easily carried and is cheaper than buying 50 one gram bars.

‘The produce can also be used as an alternative method of payment,’ he said.

Gearing up for the Christmas rush: A Valcambi employee holds an unpressed gold CombibarGearing up for the Christmas rush: A Valcambi employee holds an unpressed gold Combibar
Punched metal: The bars' grooves and details are imprinted with a powerful pressPunched metal: The bars’ grooves and details are imprinted with a powerful press
Quality control: An employee checks a Combibar after it has been machined into the right shapeQuality control: An employee checks a Combibar after it has been machined into the right shape
Nearly ready to ship: The CombiBar is particularly popular among grandparents who want to give their grandchildren a strip of gold rather than a coin, says Andreas Habluetzel, of gold trading company DegussaNearly ready to ship: The CombiBar is particularly popular among grandparents who want to give their grandchildren a strip of gold rather than a coin, says Andreas Habluetzel, of gold trading company Degussa

Valcambi, a unit of U.S. mining giant Newmont, is building a sales network in India and plans to launch the CombiBar on the U.S. market next year. In Japan, it wants to focus on CombiBars made of platinum and palladium.

In Europe, demand is particularly strong among the Germans, still scarred by post-World War One hyperinflation, when money became all but worthless and it took a wheelbarrow full of notes to buy a loaf of bread.

‘Above all, it’s people aged between 40 and 70 that are investing in gold bars and coins,’ said Mr Mesaric. ‘They’ve heard tales from their parents about wars and crises devaluing money.’

The CombiBar is particularly popular among grandparents who want to give their grandchildren a strip of gold rather than a coin, said Andreas Habluetzel, head of the Swiss business of Degussa, a gold trading company.

‘Demand is rising every week,’ Mr Habluetzel said. ‘Particularly in Germany, people buying gold fear that the euro will break apart or that banks will run into problems.’

Doing a roaring trade: In Europe, demand is particularly strong among the GermansDoing a roaring trade: In Europe, demand is particularly strong among the Germans

Some fund managers, however, remain sceptical.

Stephan Mueller, who manages bank Julius Baer’s $6billion gold fund, said one problem with using gold as a method of payment is that people have to take its value on blind trust.

More conventional Christmas fare: Sales of chocolate gold coins are probably soaring as well...
More conventional Christmas fare: Sales of chocolate gold coins are probably soaring as well…

‘Gold is a useful store of value,’ Mr Mueller said. ‘However I doubt whether it will succeed as a method of payment.’

Nonetheless, as developments in the euro zone lurch from one crisis to another, demand for gold that can be sold in vending machines is also growing.

‘Sales rise according to the temperature of the crisis,’ said Thomas Geissler, whose firm Ex Oriente Lux operates 17 gold vending machines in Europe, the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates.

The machines saw record sales in 2010, one day after the then Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann raised doubts over whether Greece would be able to pay its debts.

Since the launch of the machines, which operate under the name ‘GOLD to go’, 50,000 customers have withdrawn more than 21million euros in gold. The average buyer is male, over 50 years old and well off.

‘Customers are hoarding gold mostly at home as a precaution against a crisis, just as their fathers and grandfathers did before them,’ Mr Geissler said.

If you wish to consider purchasing gold or silver Combibars you link to the Valcambi site here.
Attribution: Damien Gayle, Daily Mail

Obama’s Gun Seizure

(Editor’s note: The following commentary by Joseph Farah is a hypothetical scenario, but one all-too-believable given the anti-gun hysteria in the media and in the nation’s capital. It is offered in the spirit of what former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel once said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”)

WASHINGTON – President Obama today issued a sweeping executive order banning the manufacture, sale and possession of all semi-automatic firearms in the U.S.

Obama cited for his authority for the action a national state of emergency that has been in effect ever since Sept. 11, 2001, and renewed annually by both President George W. Bush and Obama ever since. He also cited portions of the Patriot Act that suspend certain civil rights that remain classified.

The dramatic action by the president follows closely on the heels of the Newtown, Conn., massacre of 27 schoolchildren and Gun-Controlteachers by Adam Lanza.

Gun-control advocates have been pushing for tighter gun control ever since the attack on the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the fourth mass shooting in the U.S. in 2012.

Yet the action was surprising because Obama vowed to present a detailed plan of action in January after naming Vice President Joe Biden to head a blue-ribbon panel including Cabinet members, law enforcement officials and various agencies of the government. Biden convened the first meeting of the panel only yesterday.

That’s how quickly it could happen.

That’s how liberty could be lost in America in one day.

For many, December 21st was the day the world was supposed to end, according to the Mayan calendar and other ancient documents.

It didn’t, of course. But a scenario like the above would certainly change the world in an instant. The last great hope for mankind and freedom could be turned upside-down in theMayan calendar name of national security and safety.

Americans would no longer be the masters of their government, as the founders intended. They would become subjects of their government, as most people in the world have been since the beginning of time.

It might seem implausible, unthinkable, far-fetched – even un-American and, of course, unconstitutional – but has anything like that that ever stopped Barack Obama before?

Am I suggesting this will happen?

No.

Am I suggesting it could happen?

Yes.

And that’s why I am putting it out there for the American people.

We are very, very close to seeing some draconian action in Washington on this specific action – the unalienable freedom that secures all the rest of our constitutionally guarded liberties.

It may come in a more conventional form – with some legislators who formerly supported Barack Obamagun rights – yielding to the political winds and media distortion sweeping the country.

But it might also happen in an unconventional and unexpected form – with an executive order. You might recall how Paul Begala, a top political adviser to former President Bill Clinton described executive orders: “Stroke of the pen, law of the land. Kinda cool.”

Obama wouldn’t be the first president to do an end-run around Congress to “make law.”

If I’m not scaring you yet, consider this: I am writing this column just minutes after getting a call from someone whose job it is to seek out reliable intelligence reports to protect people in the event of catastrophic events. He, in turn, had just talked to someone he described as a very reliable source who had worked in government and in the arms industry who had this normally calm, collected former military officer in a state of near panic because he was told this action could be announced quite soon.

Normally, that would be a little thin for me to go marching out to sound the alarm of thisBarack Obama, Eric Holder hypothetical scenario.

And then I found this – a real news story from Reuters published at 11:54 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 19: “The Obama administration will consider executive actions and specific proposals for legislation as part of its gun policy response to the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Wednesday (emphasis added).

“Holder, who has been a vocal proponent of a new ban on certain semiautomatic rifles, told reporters that a range of options need to be considered in the coming weeks.

“Those options will have to include a ‘strong and robust’ Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the chronically under-funded agency that enforces federal gun laws, he said.

“‘It’s clear that we need to do more,’ Holder said. He did not specifically call on Wednesday for a return of the assault weapon ban.”

Trust me when I tell you this: Something very bad for America is coming very soon.

Attribution: World Net Daily (WND)

Good Food Makes a Comeback

Twinkie fans can breathe a sigh of relief as its owners Hostess Brands Inc. revealed the iconic cake is likely to return to shelves in the coming months.

The company’s other products, including Wonder Bread and Devil Dogs, are also set to return to market but probably not under the same owners as Twinkies.

Hostess said in bankruptcy court that it is narrowing down the bids it received for its brands and expects to  sell off its snack cakes and bread to separate buyers.

They're back: Twinkie fans can breathe a sigh of relief as its owners Hostess Brands Inc. revealed the iconic cake is likely to return to shelves in the coming monthsTwinkie fans can breathe a sigh of relief  as its owners Hostess Brands Inc. revealed the iconic cake is likely to return  to shelves in the coming months

The testimony came from an investment banker  for Hostess, which is in the process of liquidating.

A likely suitor has emerged for the namesake  Hostess brand, which includes Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, along with Dolly  Madison cakes, which includes Coffee Cakes and Zingers, said Joshua Scherer of  Perella Weinberg Partners.

He said another viable bid was made for  Drake’s cakes, which includes Devil Dogs, Funny Bones and Yodels. That bidder  also wants to buy the Drake’s plant in Wayne, N.J., which Scherer said is the  country’s only kosher bakery plant.

Additional bids have been submitted  for its  bread brands, which include Wonder and Home Pride. Hostess  expects to file  binding ‘stalking horse’ bids for many of its brands in  January.

Sell off: The company's other products, including Wonder Bread, pictured, and Devil Dogs, are also set to return to market but probably not under the same owners as Twinkies The company’s other products, including Wonder  Bread, pictured, and Devil Dogs, are also set to return to market but probably  not under the same owners as Twinkies

Those filings would be followed by a four-week auction process to allow competing bids.

Scherer said the auctions could be very  active for some of the brands, given the number of parties that have  expressed  interest. Sales could be completed by as early as mid-March.

About 30 plants could also be sold with the  brands, Scherer said, with six plants, several warehouses and a fleet of trucks  likely to be closed or scrapped.

Hostess has hired a firm Hilco to act as a  sales agent for those additional assets; the firm will also give  Hostess a $30  million loan to maintain operations during its  liquidation, which is expected  to take about a year.

Hostess, based in Irving, Texas, has said  potential buyers include major  packaged food companies and national retailers,  such as big-box  retailers and supermarkets.

Factory line: Workers prepare Hostess Twinkies for packaging at the Interstate Bakeries Corporation facility in IllinoisWorkers prepare Hostess Twinkies for  packaging at the Interstate Bakeries Corporation facility in Illinois

The company has stressed it needs to  move  quickly in the sale process to capitalize on the outpouring of  nostalgia  sparked by its bankruptcy.

To begin winding down its operations late  last month, Hostess had said it  would retain about 3,000 workers to shutter  plants and perform other  tasks.

On Friday, an attorney for Hostess said in  court that figure was  down to about 1,100 employees.

The liquidation of Hostess ultimately means  the loss of about 18,000 jobs,  not including those shed in the years leading to  the company’s failure.  CEO Greg Rayburn, who was hired as a restructuring  expert earlier this  year, is earning $125,000 a month.

Narrowing bids: Hostess said in bankruptcy court on Friday that it's narrowing down the bids it received for its brands and expects to sell off its snack cakes and bread to separate buyersHostess said in bankruptcy court on  Friday that it’s narrowing down the bids it received for its brands and expects  to sell off its snack cakes and bread to separate buyers

The company’s demise came after years of  management turmoil and turnover, with workers saying the company failed to  invest in updating its snack cakes and breads.

Hostess filed for its second Chapter 11  bankruptcy in less than a decade this January, citing steep costs associated  with its unionized workforce.

The company was able to reach a new contract  agreement with its largest union, the Teamsters, the bakers union rejected the  terms and went on strike Nov. 9. A week later, Hostess announced its plans to  liquidate, saying the strike crippled its ability to maintain normal production.

Although Hostess sales have been declining  over the years, they still clock in at between $2.3 billion and $2.4 billion a  year.

When asked how much the brands are expected  to fetch from buyers, Scherer said he would rather not say.

Attribution: Daily Mail

Pay Taxes…Be Happy

Study: People Who Pay More Taxes Are Happier

by:  at Political Outcast

There’s a German study that was published that will likely find its way to  U.S. Democrats and some Republicans. It claims to have found that people who pay  more taxes are happier than those who pay less.

The research spanned 26 years, during which time 25,000 Germans were asked  the question, “How satisfied are you with your life, all things considered?” The  demographics tied to each respondent’s answer were things such as income, age,  education and other variables. The research concluded that those who paid higher  taxes reported “higher levels of happiness.” The Wall Street Journal explored  reasons for such a phenomenon:

“One reason could be that people enjoy the public  goods and services made possible by taxes. For example, German households who  regularly attended cultural events such as concerts and plays, which are at  least partially publicly funded in Germany, were happier to pay taxes than ‘inactive’ households. Other possible factors include a sense that  redistributing wealth is necessary, altruism, and a measure of ‘tax morale,’ the  sense that there is a ‘moral obligation to pay taxes and if you don’t do it, you  might feel bad about it,’ co-author Sebastian Siegloch, a Ph.D. candidate at the  University of Cologne, said in an interview Wednesday.”

I can think of another possible reason. What’s that old saying? Ignorance is  bliss. If this study is truly representative of what people think in Germany,  that wealth redistribution is necessary, and paying more in taxes makes them  feel “altruistic,” that tells me they don’t know what they’re doing. They’re  happy living in socialism. Ignorant, but happy.

But, there’s something else. I think this “study” is completely stupid. I  imagine if these same panel of experts asked me how satisfied I was with my  life, all things considered, I would tell them “very satisfied.” Their question  doesn’t address whether or not I’m ok with our tax system. It just asks if I’m  happy. They’re two totally different things.

I can honestly say that I’m happier now than I was 4 years ago, and that’s in spite of Obama and in spite of taxes. There are many factors  affecting our level of “happiness,” and there are other sources of happiness. I  have a wife and kids and family and friends. I’m grateful knowing that I have a  place to live and can work a couple jobs. But that hardly means I’m ok with  wealth redistribution. It doesn’t mean that I think it’s selfless of me to allow  the government to take from me what it deems my “fair share.” I have no choice  in the matter.

There’s another facet here. Many in America are on some kind of  welfare:  government housing, government healthcare, food stamps, straight  welfare or all of the above. Many of them pay little or no taxes. I would guess  if they were posited the same question about being satisfied with their lives,  they would respond that they’re not satisfied.

Consider the worst case scenario:  living in a government house, getting  food stamps to buy smokes and liquor, receiving welfare checks every month, not  working, not paying taxes. If I were in that situation, I would completely  miserable, and I wouldn’t be paying any taxes. Then this “study” would confirm  that those that paid little or no taxes were not happy with their lives,  suggesting that the converse was also true.

The study is stupid, but I wouldn’t be surprised if politicians and media  started referring to it to justify more socialism.

Comment by the Common Constitutionalist:I agree that is the most ridiculous study I’ve seen in quite some time and so obviously political. Phillip is absolutely correct in his assessment of the study; it means nothing and the conclusion was reached before the study began, no doubt.

I have developed my own new happiness study. It would consist of 2 simple questions and be remarkably accurate.

Question 1: Are you generally happy? Most would answer in the affirmative.

Question 2: Have you ever seen a penquin, either in person, a photograph, or other representation thereof? Most would also answer yes.

Conclusion: People who have seen a penguin are generally happy.