Leno on Iranian Sanctions: ‘If Anyone Knows How To Cripple an Economy It’s Obama’

As NewsBusters has been reporting, there has been a shift in recent months concerning late night hosts’ willingness to make jokes about the current White House resident.

JAY LENO: One of President Obama’s winning points last night was about how sanctions against Iran are crippling their economy. And believe me, if anyone knows how to cripple an economy it’s President Obama.

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LA’s X-Rated Referendum is an Obscene Attack on Liberty

The electorate of Los Angeles County will go to the polls in three weeks to decide, among other critical questions in a time of economic stagnation, budget deficits, and educational crisis, whether to require the use of condoms in pornography films.

Ballot Measure X–excuse me, B–reads, in part: “The measure would require the use of condoms for all acts of anal or vaginal sex during the production of adult films.”

Thank goodness the voting age is 18.

Measure B appears on the November ballot thanks to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and proponents defend it as a “vote to safeguard public health and for workplace protection.”

The measure would apparently require “on-set inspections.” No doubt LA’s bureaucrats are already lining up for that assignment–but it’s unlikely there will be much left to inspect if Measure B passes.

Love it or loathe it, the U.S. pornography industry is largely based in LA’s San Fernando Valley. Lately, the multi-billion dollar industry has been struggling, and Measure B would likely push it out of California, to other states or Canada.

More jobs destroyed, more tax revenue lost–and yes, perhaps, a few infections prevented, though the industry says it is good at policing itself. And those who join it know what they are (ahem) getting into.

More is at stake in Measure B than economic damage. The greater price is liberty itself.

You don’t have to like or care about pornography to understand that there is something absurd about the government–or even the majority of citizens–deciding that when consenting adults engage in otherwise legal sexual expression, they have to use a particular form of contraception, subject to supervision by the Department of Public Health.

Recall the uproar during the Republican primary earlier this year over the phony issue of contraception. The mainstream media threw a fit over the constitutional question of whether states had the power to regulate contraception, and the left attacked GOP candidates for allegedly wanting to ban it.

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More than 50 Million Americans Can’t Buy Food

More than 50 million Americans couldn’t afford to buy food at some point in 2011, according to federal data.

Children in some 3.9 million households suffered from food insecurity last year, with their families unable to provide them with adequate, nutritious food at times.

Nearly 17 million Americans suffered from “very low food security,” meaning they had to reduce the amount they ate, saying the food they bought did not last and they didn’t have the funds to buy more. They typically found themselves in this situation a few days a month for seven months of the year.

The number of people in this category shot up by more than 800,000 from 2010, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Wednesday. Women living alone, black households and the poor and near-poor were affected the most.

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U.S. Firms Move Abroad to Cut Taxes

More big U.S. companies are reincorporating abroad despite a 2004 federal law that sought to curb the practice. One big reason: Taxes.

Companies cite various reasons for moving, including expanding their operations and their geographic reach. But tax bills remain a primary concern. A few cite worries that U.S. taxes will rise in the future, especially if Washington revamps the tax code next year to shrink the federal budget deficit.

“We want to be closer to where our clients are,” says David Prosperi, a spokesman for risk manager Aon AON +0.21% plc, which relocated to the U.K. in April.

Aon has told analysts it expects to reduce its tax rate, which averaged 28% over the past five years, by five percentage points over time, which could boost profits by about $100 million annually.

Since 2009, at least 10 U.S. public companies have moved their incorporation address abroad or announced plans to do so, including six in the last year or so, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of company filings and statements. That’s up from just a handful from 2004 through 2008.

The companies that have moved recently include manufacturer Eaton Corp., ETN -1.02% oil firms Ensco International Inc. ESV -2.46% and Rowan Cos., RDC +0.33% as well as a spinoff of Sara Lee Corp. called D.E. Master Blenders 1753.

Eaton, a 101-year-old Cleveland-based maker of components and electrical equipment, announced in May that it would acquire Cooper Industries PLC, another electrical-equipment maker that had moved to Bermuda in 2002 and then to Ireland in 2009. It plans to maintain factories, offices and other operations in the U.S. while moving its place of incorporation—for now—to the office of an Irish law firm in downtown Dublin.

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Is America Too Stupid To Survive?

In the end, free societies get the governments they deserve. So, if the American people wish to choose their chief executive on the basis of the “war on women,” the Republican theocrats’ confiscation of your contraceptives, or whatever other mangy and emaciated rabbit the Great Magician produces from his threadbare topper, they are free to do so, and they will live with the consequences. This week’s bit of ham-handed misdirection was “the Buffett Rule,” a not-so-disguised capital-gains-tax hike designed to ensure that Warren Buffett pays as much tax as his secretary. If the alleged Sage of Omaha is as exercised about this as his public effusions would suggest, I’d be in favor of repealing the prohibition on Bills of Attainder, and the old boy could sleep easy at night. But instead every other American “millionaire” will be subject to the new rule — because, as President Obama said this week, it “will help us close our deficit.”

Wow! Who knew it was that easy?

A-hem. According to the Congressional Budget Office (the same nonpartisan bean-counters who project that on Obama’s current spending proposals the entire U.S. economy will cease to exist in 2027) Obama’s Buffett Rule will raise — stand well back — $3.2 billion per year. Or what the United States government currently borrows every 17 hours. So in 514 years it will have raised enough additional revenue to pay off the 2011 federal budget deficit. If you want to mark it on your calendar, 514 years is the year 2526. There’s a sporting chance Joe Biden will have retired from public life by then, but other than that I’m not making any bets.

Let’s go back to that presidential sound bite:

“It will help us close our deficit.”

I’m beginning to suspect that the Oval Office teleprompter may be malfunctioning, or that perhaps that NBC News producer who “accidentally” edited George Zimmerman into sounding like a racist has now edited the smartest president of all time into sounding like an idiot. Either way, it appears the last seven words fell off the end of the sentence. What the president meant to say was:

“It will help us close our deficit . . . for 2011 . . . within a mere half millennium!” [Pause for deafening cheers and standing ovation.]

Sometimes societies become too stupid to survive. A nation that takes Barack Obama’s current rhetorical flourishes seriously is certainly well advanced along that dismal path. The current federal debt burden works out at about $140,000 per federal taxpayer, and President Obama is proposing to increase both debt and taxes. Are you one of those taxpayers? How much more do you want added to your $140,000 debt burden? As the Great Magician would say, pick a number, any number. Sorry, you’re wrong. Whatever you’re willing to bear, he’s got more lined up for you.

Even if you’re absolved from federal income tax, you too require enough people willing to keep the racket going, and America is already pushing forward into territory the rest of the developed world is steering well clear of. On April Fools’ Day, Japan and the United Kingdom both cut their corporate-tax rates, leaving the United States even more of an outlier, with the highest corporate-tax rate in the developed world: The top rate of federal corporate tax in the U.S. is 35 percent. It’s 15 percent in Canada. Which is next door.

Well, who cares about corporations? Only out of touch dilettante playboys like Mitt Romney who — hmm, let’s see what I can produce from the bottom of the top hat — put his dog on the roof of his car as recently as 1984! That’s where your gran’ma will be under the Republicans’ plan, while your contraceptiveless teenage daughter is giving birth on the hood. “Corporations are people, my friend,” said Mitt, in what’s generally regarded as a damaging sound bite by all the smart people who think Obama’s plan to use the Buffett Rule to “close the deficit” this side of the fourth millennium is a stroke of genius.

But Mitt’s not wrong. In the end, a corporation doesn’t pay tax. The marble atrium of Global MegaCorp’s corporate HQ is indifferent to the tax rate; the Articles of Incorporation in the bottom drawer of the chairman’s desk couldn’t care less. Every dollar of “corporate” tax has to be fished out the pocket of a real flesh-and-blood human being, whether shareholder, employee, or customer.

And that’s the problem. For what Obama’s spending, there aren’t enough of them, or us, or “the rich” — and there never will be. There is only one Warren Buffett. He is the third-wealthiest person on the planet. The first is a Mexican, and beyond the reach of the U.S. Treasury. Mr. Buffett is worth $44 billion. If he donated the entire lot to the government of the United States, they would blow through it within four and a half days. Okay, so who’s the fourth-richest guy? He’s French. And the fifth guy’s a Spaniard. Number six is Larry Ellison. He’s American, but that loser is only worth $36 billion. So he and Buffett between them could keep the United States government going for a week. The next-richest American is Christy Walton of Walmart, and she’s barely a semi-Buffett. So her $25 billion will see you through a couple of days of the second week. There aren’t a lot of other semi-Buffetts, but, if you scrounge around, you can rustle up some hemi-demi-semi-Buffetts: If you confiscate the total wealth of the Forbes 400 richest Americans it comes to $1.5 trillion, which is just a little less than the Obama budget deficit for a year.

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Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs

TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.

It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief.

But this was not always the case. For more than a decade I recruited and mentored candidates through our grueling interview process. I was selected as one of 10 people (out of a firm of more than 30,000) to appear on our recruiting video, which is played on every college campus we visit around the world. In 2006 I managed the summer intern program in sales and trading in New York for the 80 college students who made the cut, out of the thousands who applied.

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