Audit Notes: Palin Holds Forth on QE2, Top 400 Taxes, Too Big to Jail

If you, like me, had been eagerly awaiting Sarah Palin’s thoughts on Quantitative Easing: Part Deux, the wait is over!

All this pump priming will come at a serious price. And I mean that literally: everyone who ever goes out shopping for groceries knows that prices have risen significantly over the past year or so. Pump priming would push them even higher.

Man, I was thinking food prices had been pretty flat myself. Sure enough, looking at the actual stats shows food prices have risen 1.4 percent “in the past year or so.” Not significant, in other words.

And then she goes on about oil:

And the worst part of it: because the Obama White House refuses to open up our offshore and onshore oil reserves for exploration, most of that money will go directly to foreign regimes who don’t have America’s best interests at heart.

Obama not opening up places for oil exploration is not why most of that money is going to foreign regimes. That’s been baked into the cake for decades. And tapping new sources of oil domestically—which I favor!—isn’t going to make much of a dent in the Saudis’ income. You’re going to have to drastically reduce demand here to do that.

— I noted Bruce Bartlett’s post the other day about how Tea Partiers thought the federal taxes were three times as much (42 percent of GDP) as they really are (14.8 percent) as a percentage of the economy.

You have to wonder what they think the average tax hit is for the richest 400 people in America. Remember, the top marginal tax rate is 35 percent. But there are all those loopholes, writeoffs, and shelters to consider. The top 400’s actual tax rate, via Business Insider: 18 percent.

They made an average $214 million a year each and paid $39 million each. So next time you hear somebody screaming about the gubmint taking half their money, remember this (State and local taxes add about 10 percent or so).

And read the whole BI post. Good stuff.

— Remember when Wall Street was quaking about mob justice during the AIG compensation fiasco last year?

So much for that. They can’t even get the coppers to bother taking them to the hoosegow.

Over at his other place, my new colleague Felix Salmon writes about a stunning case in Colorado where a Smith Barney broker in Colorado ran over a cyclist, fled the scene, leaving him for dead, and the district attorney Mark Hurlbert let him off with a misdemeanor. Why?

“Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession, and that entered into it,” Hurlbert said. “When you’re talking about restitution, you don’t want to take away his ability to pay.”

Justice, 21st century American style.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,