Archive for February, 2008

10 Wealthiest House of Representative Memebers

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

The most wealthy member of the House of Representatives is California Democrat Jane Harman. Harman is reportidly worth as much as 289 million dollars! Harman has a huge list of assets (494 total) the most valuable being her ownership in Harman International Industries (worth up to $176,000,000). Harman International Industries is a worldwide leader in the manufacture of high-quality, high-fidelity audio and electronic products.

Here’s how the top 10 wealthiest members of the House of Representatives stacked up.

Rank Name Minimum Net Worth Maximum Net Worth

1

Jane Harman (D-Calif)

$168,651,649

$289,045,000

2

Darrell Issa (R-Calif)

$135,862,098

$677,230,000

3

Robin Hayes (R-NC)

$58,952,196

$59,970,169

4

Charles H. Taylor (R-NC)

$56,056,017

$77,341,000

5

Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)

$19,978,175

$67,170,000

6

John Campbell (R-Calif)

$16,504,086

$76,512,000

7

Nita M. Lowey (D-NY)

$14,987,069

$60,881,000

8

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif)

$14,246,107

$54,085,000

9

Michael McCaul (R-Texas)

$13,267,113

$58,330,000

10

Chris Chocola (R-Ind)

$12,166,079

$35,690,000

Top 15 Wealthiest Senators

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Who are the richest senators of the 110th congress? Names like Rockefeller and Clinton weren’t surprising but a few others were.

What was a little surprising is the fact that the top 4 wealthiest senators are Democrats. And I thought the Republicans were the “rich, white guys”.

We took the top 15 and listed their minimum and maximum net worth. We listed the Minimum Net Worth and a Maximum Net Worth because the disclosure forms that they are required to file don’t require exact amounts.

Rank Name Minimum Net Worth Maximum Net Worth

1

Herb Kohl (D-Wis)

$219,098,029

$234,549,004

2

John Kerry (D-Mass)

$165,741,511

$235,262,100

3

Jay Rockefeller (D-WVa)

$78,150,023

$101,579,003

4

Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif)

$43,341,462

$98,630,021

5

Lincoln D. Chafee (R-RI)

$41,153,105

$64,096,019

6

Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ)

$38,198,170

$90,733,019

7

John McCain (R-Ariz)

$20,571,136

$32,043,011

8

Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass)

$19,189,049

$93,043,004

9

Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)

$13,508,152

$49,829,007

10

Gordon H. Smith (R-Ore)

$12,994,660

$62,261,641

11

Bill Frist (R-Tenn)

$11,667,041

$41,735,006

12

Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn)

$11,542,483

$43,639,427

13

Mike DeWine (R-Ohio)

$11,488,475

$47,410,001

14

Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)

$10,080,005

$50,200,000

15

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

$8,780,208

$37,243,002

Cost of Gas: Where the Money Goes

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

gas pumpI think it’s safe to say that every person who owns a car has sat at the pump, watched the total purchase price climb faster than Apple stock the day they announced the Iphone, and asked yourself the question: “where is all this money going?”.

With the cost of a gallon of gas over $3.00 per gallon throughout the U.S., everyone wants to know who’s getting all that money.

Breaking Down the Cost of Gas

The money received at the pump for a gallon of gasoline will be split between at least 4 parties:

  1. Crude Oil (Drilling, research, investment)
  2. Refining (making gasoline out of crude oil)
  3. Taxes (Federal and State)
  4. Distribution & Marketing (Includes wholesaler and Retailer or gas station)

Using several sources to determine how to breakdown the cost of a gallon of gasoline, including the Department of Energy, we found that the cost for crude oil accounts for about 55%, refining accounts for about 22%, taxes accounts for about 19%, and cost of gasdistribution and marketing accounts for about 4%.

So for example, if a gallon of gas costs $3.00, then $1.65 would go to the oil companies, $0.66 would go to the companies that refine the oil, $0.57 would go to the government for taxes, and $0.12 would go to the gas station and the wholesaler who sold the gasoline to the gas station.

Who Benefits the Most?

When you understand that 3 of the 4 entities that receive a cut are receiving basically a fixed amount, then it becomes clear that the fourth entity (crude oil companies) is profiting the most from the price increases. You see, gasoline taxes are set amounts and, depending on the state (see state gasoline taxes), will be about $0.57 per gallon. So if a gallon of gas cost $2.00, then the government still receive around $0.57, the refining company would still get about $0.66, $0.12 would still go to distribution and marketing, but the crude oil company would only get about $0.65 instead of $1.65. So it is the so called “Big Oil Companies” that are profiting the most from the price increase.

Who Sets the Prices?

If it’s the oil companies that are reaping all of the profits from the price hikes, then naturally we can assume that they are the ones setting the prices. Well, not really. If the oil companies set the prices then they never would have let the price for a barrel of crude oil, currently $100, drop to $10 as it did in the late 90’s. The real culprit is actually the global markets. And the global markets set their prices based on what people are willing to pay i.e. DEMAND.

There can be many factors that can effect demand one way or another. Since the Iraq War began, that countries oil production has been down. The oil consumption of countries with huge populations, such as India and China, have been rapidly increasing. Instability in other oil producing countries. Then add to that mix the fact that oil refineries in the U.S. have not completely recovered from previous hurricane seasons. What’s left is a perfect recipe for high gasoline prices.

Will Prices Come Back Down?

This is the question that everyone really wants the answer to. We now know why the price of gasoline is so high. Will it ever come back down? You can either increase production or reduce demand.

We can increase production by developing new oil fields and building new refineries. Some politicians have tried to open new oil fields for drilling, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. But, so far, animal rights organizations have been able to stymie such efforts.

The other approach is to reduce demand by developing new technologies (hybrid or electric cars) or by developing alternative fuels (ethanol, etc.). This approach has been slow going and late to the party. But at least they are on there way.

Romney Takes One For The Team

Friday, February 15th, 2008

While Romney’s endorsement of Sen. McCain makes sense for the Republican party, it still comes as a bit of a surprise considering the heated rivalry that developed between the two during the early phases of the GOP primary race.  McCain had referred to Romney as a  “phony” and Romney had referred to McCain’s campaign as the “Straight Talk Detour”.  Those were probably the more mild examples available.  It was heated to say the least.

So it couldn’t have been an easy decision for Romney to release his delegates and ask them to vote for McCain.  This endorsement should clearly define McCain as the Republican Nominee and will allow McCain to get an early jump on the general election.  In fact, McCain waisted no time at all and has already begun to attack “The Senator from Illinois” on the issue of earmark spending.  “The Senator from Illinois, who says that he wants transparency in government, will not reveal the number of earmarks that he received in 2006 and 2005,” McCain told a crowd of supporters in Vermont. “Is that transparency in government? I don’t think so.”

Washington Openly Supporting Waterboarding

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Some Bush administration officials are openly supporting the military’s use of the specific interrogation technique known as waterboarding. Waterboarding is process of strapping the prisoner to a board and poring water over them to try and make them feel like they are drowning.

What is asinine to me is that some people are working so hard to protect the rights of known terrorists who have actually been apart of plans that lead to thousands of deaths of innocent US civilians. What on earth makes someone think that such a terrorist deserves these rights.

So on one hand, we have some human rights activists trying to defend the “rights” of terrorists. And on the other hand, we have border patrol agents, who we asked to defend our boarders, that are serving 10 year sentences for inflicting a non-lethal gunshot wound on an illegal alien and known drug dealer. What are we doing?

And what about the rights of those innocent civilians who would prefer to not be blown up by a terrorist. I believe it is within our rights to defend ourselves and some interrogation techniques that have been deemed “harsh” should be considered self defense.

I just don’t understand what some people are thinking.

What happens to delegates if candidate drops out?

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

What happens to the delegate’s vote in the primaries if their candidate drops out of the race; i.e. Romney’s delegates? Can they be recast later for another candidate?

What’s Huckabee Up To?

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

    With the Republican nomination all but locked up for McCain now, you have to ask the question: “What’s Huckabee up to?”.  He’s say he didn’t learn about math in college, he learned about miracles.  Well he should have signed up for that Reality 101. It’s over!

I don’t think Huckabee is stupid. So what I would really like to know is what is Huckabee trying to gain by staying in the race.  Before Romney dropped out, it was widely believed that Huckabee and McCain had, on some level, agreed to work together to get rid of Romney.  But now that Romney has dropped what do people think Huckabee is trying to get by staying in the race.  Is he trying to better position himself for a 2012 election run?  Is he hoping to jump on the McCain ticket as a Vice President?

Hillary Looks Beatable

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

So far this week we have heard that Hillary had to loan $5 million of her own money to her campaign, complaints about a sexist portrayal by the media to make Hillary appear crazy with the images they use of her, and after tonights caucus and primary results, the Clinton’s are looking very beatable.

Just four or five months ago it was widely presumed that Senator Clinton would be sqauring off with former New York City Mayor Giuliani.  Just a few months later and Giuliani is completely out and Senator Clinton has to be nervous.  Obama seems to be getting stronger and stronger as the race goes on.  Some are saying that the closeness of the race on the Democratic side will hurt their party because McCain is a clear favorite on the Republican side and he doesn’t have to battle it out with anyone.  But I think the battle that Obama is going through with Clinton will make him stronger and give him some much needed experience.

It’s still too early to call but more and more, Obama looks like he can beat the Clinton’s.

Tax Rebate Passes Congress

Friday, February 8th, 2008

Congress sent a $168 billion economic stimulus package to the President last night for his approval.  The package has good intentions and includes something for just about everyone, unless your “rich” (over $75,000 for singles, $150,000 for couples).

If they are really looking to stimulate the economy though, they ought ask the question, “who is more likely to spend an $1,800 rebate check, someone who already has enough money and can afford to treat themselves with something new, or someone who probably should use that money to save or pay off debt?”.  This makes me really wonder if this is going to work.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m looking forward to that rebate check. I just probably won’t be spending it. And if the government wants to put money in the hands of people who will spend it then they probably shouldn’t leave out the so called “rich” Americans who, by the way, contribute most of the taxes anyway and yet when a rebate is dished out they get nothing.

Conservatives Must Face Reality

Friday, February 8th, 2008

With the announcement this morning that Mitt Romney has withdrawn from the US presidential primary race, true conservatives must finally face the reality that they will no longer have representation in the White House.

Romney said that his reason for pulling out is that he felt it was the best thing to do for the Republican party as a whole and that staying in the race would only make it more difficult for a Republican to win the nomination.  It’s also clear that Romney must have believed that he had virtually no shot at winning.

What about Huckabee? He has less of a chance than Romney, which means no chance, and it seems that his objective for remaining in the race was achieved with this mornings announcement.