Thursday, December 27, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
'One of the most costly tax expenditures, for example, is the deduction for state and local taxes, which in effect subsidizes high-tax jurisdictions by softening the blow of high state and local tax burdens. Eliminating this deduction would make voters in states such as New York, New Jersey and California more tax-sensitive, which might make them more likely to back state and local candidates who promise a more cost-effective government.
Elimination of the deduction would also be a bonanza for the U.S. Treasury. In fiscal year 2011, the state and local tax deduction cost the federal government $70.2 billion in forfeited revenue. In April, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated that eliminating the state and local tax deduction would raise $1.3 trillion relative to current policy (the tax rates that prevail today) and $950 billion relative to current law (the tax rates that will be in place if we go over the fiscal cliff) from 2013-2022. This alone would go a long way toward meeting Obama's revenue goals.'
'On Sunday's broadcast of ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Washington Post columnist George Will claimed that strict gun control laws often do not prevent determined killers from committing deadly mass-shootings.
"In 1996, a man went into a gym class in Scotland, [and] killed sixteen 5-and 6-year-olds and the teacher," Will said. "A few years ago in Norway, a young, deranged, young man killed, what, 69 people on an island, mostly teenagers. Connecticut has among the toughest gun laws in this country. Didn't help. Scotland and Norway have very tough gun laws. Didn't help."
Will added that the assault weapons ban that was part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which expired in 2004, did nothing statistically measurable to prevent violent wide-scale shootings.
"Remember, we did have a ban on assault weapons," Will said. "When we put the ban in place, these incidents did not really decline in a measurable way, and when we took it off, they did not increase in a measurable way."
Monday, December 17, 2012
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
'Six cities in Liaoning province, including Shenyang and Anshan, recently announced they are converting abandoned industrial sites to farmland. Dongguan, once a booming factory center, is on the verge of bankruptcy as companies close, leaving the local government severely cash-strapped.
Just two years after China overtook the U.S. to become the world's largest manufacturer, the country faces the prospect of decades of de-industrialization.'
Sunday, December 9, 2012
The White House claims that loophole closing can't raise enough revenues. This is bogus. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has estimated that capping all itemized deductions at $17,000 for couples and $8,500 for singles would produce $1.7 trillion in added taxes over a decade. To be sure, there would be practical problems; some tax increases would fall on households under Obama's income thresholds of $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for singles. But these could be managed with adequate political will.
Unfortunately, it's missing. The itemized deductions most threatened would include those for charitable contributions, interest on home mortgages and state and local taxes. Howls would come from affected groups: churches, universities, hospitals (the charitable deduction); builders, real estate brokers and mortgage bankers (the mortgage interest deduction); and state and local governments (the tax deduction). Obama seems unwilling to spend his political capital opposing these groups.
The lower rates and broadened tax base of the 1986 law had explicit goals: to increase economic growth; to reduce the use of taxes to promote some activities and discourage others; to minimize lobbying for tax breaks; and to make the system simpler. With time, the appeal of these goals has faded.'
'Egypt's embattled Muslim Brotherhood regime is paying gangs of thugs to rape women and beat men who gather in Tahrir Square to protest the power grab of President Mohamed Morsi, say activists.
In a bitter replay of the Arab Spring protests that brought down President Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago, protesters have flooded the Cairo square to denounce Morsi, who has stripped the judiciary of power and is rushing through an Islamist constitution. And while Mubarak is now in prison for using violence to quell protests targeting him, Morsi's regime is now accused of doing the same.
"This is still happening now," Magda Adly, director of the Nadeem Center for Human Rights, told The Times of London. "I believe thugs are being paid money to do this ... the Muslim Brotherhood have the same political approaches as Mubarak."
Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians have gathered in the square to protest the new constitution and to call for Morsi's ouster. Morsi briefly fled the Itihadiya presidential palace in Cairo Wednesday, after the complex was surrounded by tens of thousands of protesters chanting slogans reminiscent of those used during the revolution that ousted Mubarak. The protesters scrawled anti-Morsi graffiti and waved giant banners carrying images of revolutionaries killed in earlier protests.
A protester the newspaper identified as Yasmine said she was attacked while videotaping demonstrations. She said about 50 men surrounded her and began tearing off her clothes, grabbing her breasts and sexually assaulting her. She said she suffered internal injuries and was unable to walk for a week.
The Daily Mail reported that most attacks take place at night when men form a human chain around women, then move in for the assault. Two men told the paper they were paid to attack women.
"We're told to go out and sexually harass girls so they leave the demonstration," one said.
The current crisis pits his Muslim Brotherhood and their ultraconservative Islamist allies against a coalition of youth groups, liberal parties and large sectors of the public. It began on Nov. 22, when Morsi decreed himself and his party above the judiciary and escalated after the Muslim Brotherhood pushed through a draft constitution without the participation of liberals and Christians.'
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
'Former congressmen Chris Cox and Bill Archer warn: "When the accrued expenses of the government's entitlement programs are counted, it becomes clear that to collect enough tax revenue just to avoid going deeper into debt would require over $8 trillion in tax collections annually. That is the total of the average annual accrued liabilities of just the two largest entitlement programs, plus the annual cash deficit." In contrast, the total adjusted gross income of those earning more than $66,000 a year was $5.1 trillion and net corporate income was $1.6 trillion. Confiscate it all and there still isn't enough to pay the annual increase. And you could only steal the money once, since people wouldn't keep working if government left them with nothing.
Unfortunately, the near-term budget problem pales compared to the longer-term challenge. The national debt is $16.3 trillion, more than the annual GDP. Toss in all current unfunded federal liabilities and the number is $222 trillion, according to economist Laurence Kotlikoff.'
'if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you'
Monday, December 3, 2012
'A couple of years back, Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute calculated that, if Washington were to increase every single tax by 30 percent, it would be enough to balance the books — in 25 years. If you were to raise taxes by 50 percent, it would be enough to fund our entitlement liabilities — just our current ones, not our future liabilities, which would require further increases. This is the scale of course correction needed.
If you don't want that, you need to cut spending — like Harry Reid's been doing. "Now remember, we've already done more than a billion dollars' worth of cuts," he bragged the other day. "So we need to get some credit for that."
Wow! A billion dollars' worth of cuts! Washington borrows $188 million every hour. So, if Reid took over five hours to negotiate those "cuts," it was a complete waste of time. So are most of the "plans." Any "debt-reduction plan" that doesn't address at least $1.3 trillion a year is, in fact, a debt-increase plan.'
Saturday, December 1, 2012
What von Trier is determined to show is that Americans are not friendly, we are suspicious of outsiders, we cave in to authority, we are inherently violent, etc. All of these things are true, and all of these things are untrue. It's a big country, and it has a lot of different kinds of people. Without stepping too far out on a limb, however, I doubt that we have any villages where the helpless visitor would eventually be chained to a bed and raped by every man in town.
"Killing Them Softly" continues as a dismal, dreary series of cruel and painful murders, mostly by men who know one another, in a barren city where it's usually night, often rainy and is never identifiable as New Orleans — not even by the restaurants.
Friday, November 30, 2012
‘President Barack Obama made an opening bid in budget talks with Republicans that calls for a $1.6 trillion tax increase, a $50 billion economic-stimulus program and new power to raise the federal debt limit without congressional approval, a broad set of demands Republicans viewed as a step back in talks to avoid looming tax increases and spending cuts.
The proposal, offered by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as he made a round of meetings with congressional leaders in the Capitol Thursday, calls for increasing tax rates on incomes over $250,000, a one-year postponement of looming spending cuts in defense and domestic programs, and some $400 billion in savings over 10 years from Medicare and other entitlement programs.’
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Monday, November 26, 2012
Today the federal government is collecting $2.67 trillion in revenue ($330 billion short of the Clinton-equivalent) and is spending $3.76 trillion. Yes, that's right; we are spending $987 billion more than if we increased the last Clinton budget for inflation and population growth. It sure looks to me like spending is the main culprit.
Friday, November 23, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told Fox News that intelligence officials who testified in a closed-door hearing a day earlier, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Acting CIA Director Mike Morell, said they did not know who changed the talking points. He said they went out to multiple departments, including the State Department, National Security Council, Justice Department and White House.
"To me the question right now is who changed those talking points and why. ... I'd say it was somebody in the administration had to have taken it out," King told Fox News. "That, to me, has to be pursued."
Monday, November 19, 2012
'Federal spending under Obama has been 24 percent to 25 percent of gross domestic product. Even in World War II, revenues never reached that level. Since that war, the highest level was 20.6 percent of GDP in 2000, when the government was flush with tax revenues from the capital gains of dot-com founders.'
There is probably no one you could disagree more with on the deficit…
'Why don't our politicians and media get this? Because an entire deficit-cutting political industry has grown up in recent years -- starting with Ross Perot's third-party in the 1992 election, extending through Peter Peterson's Institute and other think-tanks funded by Wall Street and big business, embracing the eat-your-spinach deficit hawk crowd in the Democratic Party, and culminating in the Simpson-Bowles Commission that President Obama created in order to appease the hawks but which only legitimized them further.
Most of the media have bought into the narrative that our economic problems stem from an out-of-control budget deficit. They're repeating this hokum even now, when we're staring at a fiscal cliff that illustrates just how dangerous deficit reduction can be.
Deficit hawks routinely warn unless the deficit is trimmed we'll fall prey to inflation and rising interest rates. But there's no sign of inflation anywhere. The world is awash in underutilized capacity As for interest rates, the yield on the 10-year Treasury bill is now around 1.26 percent -- lower than it's been in living memory.
In fact, if there was ever a time for America to borrow more in order to put our people back to work repairing our crumbling infrastructure and rebuilding our schools, it's now.
Public investments that spur future job-growth and productivity shouldn't even be included in measures of government spending to begin with. They're justifiable as long as the return on those investments -- a more educated and productive workforce, and a more efficient infrastructure, both generating more and better goods and services with fewer scarce resources -- is higher than the cost of those investments'
Sunday, November 18, 2012
The country has always been at the heart of the euro, as of the European Union. President François Mitterrand argued for the single currency because he hoped to bolster French influence in an EU that would otherwise fall under the sway of a unified Germany. France has gained from the euro: it is borrowing at record low rates and has avoided the troubles of the Mediterranean. Yet even before May, when François Hollande became the country's first Socialist president since Mitterrand, France had ceded leadership in the euro crisis to Germany. And now its economy looks increasingly vulnerable as well.
As our special report in this issue explains, France still has many strengths, but its weaknesses have been laid bare by the euro crisis. For years it has been losing competitiveness to Germany and the trend has accelerated as the Germans have cut costs and pushed through big reforms. Without the option of currency devaluation, France has resorted to public spending and debt. Even as other EU countries have curbed the reach of the state, it has grown in France to consume almost 57% of GDP, the highest share in the euro zone. Because of the failure to balance a single budget since 1981, public debt has risen from 22% of GDP then to over 90% now.
The business climate in France has also worsened. French firms are burdened by overly rigid labour- and product-market regulation, exceptionally high taxes and the euro zone's heaviest social charges on payrolls. Not surprisingly, new companies are rare. France has fewer small and medium-sized enterprises, today's engines of job growth, than Germany, Italy or Britain. The economy is stagnant, may tip into recession this quarter and will barely grow next year. Over 10% of the workforce, and over 25% of the young, are jobless. The external current-account deficit has swung from a small surplus in 1999 into one of the euro zone's biggest deficits. In short, too many of France's firms are uncompetitive and the country's bloated government is living beyond its means.
Hollande at bay
With enough boldness and grit, Mr Hollande could now reform France. His party holds power in the legislature and in almost all the regions. The left should be better able than the right to persuade the unions to accept change. Mr Hollande has acknowledged that France lacks competitiveness. And, encouragingly, he has recently promised to implement many of the changes recommended in a new report by Louis Gallois, a businessman, including reducing the burden of social charges on companies. The president wants to make the labour market more flexible. This week he even talked of the excessive size of the state, promising to "do better, while spending less".'
Friday, November 16, 2012
themselves as victims. Because they view themselves as victims, they
have pent up resentment. This resentment causes people to quickly
accept rumors or partial truths as full truth.
One of my goals in life is to not see myself as a victim of anything,
which maybe isn't 100% possible. I think that this leads to a more
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
2. The U.S. military should not be the world's policeman. We should have the strongest military in the world because we want to protect the United States. After that, let's cease all initiatives meant to spread the false God of democracy globally, along with all the waste of taxpayer money meant to protect other countries on our dime. Conservatives properly decry handouts of the entitlement kind, yet they ignore the massive entitlement that is the expensive protection of much of the world, not to mention the cost of maintaining such a massive military. It's time to be consistent.
3. Abortion. Whatever your opinion on abortion, and whatever your opinion of Roe v. Wade, the reality is that abortion existed long before the Supreme Court ruled. Even if Roe v. Wade is overturned abortions will still be performed. Rather than seek laws meant to control behavior, it's time for both sides to stand down on this issue from a legislative perspective.
4. Taxes. They're a price placed on work. They're what a federal government that has extended its reach well beyond what the Founders intended charge for productivity. We don't have a revenue problem; rather we have a spending problem. Republicans should nominate a candidate eager to reduce the price of work as much as possible, revenues be damned.
5. Regulation. It inhibits the profit motive for distracting businesses that are in the business of profits. Worse, be it over finance, pharmaceuticals or energy, it doesn't work. Let's stop acting as though it does.
6. Trade. All of us are free traders. We get up for work every day in order to exchange the fruits of our labor for all the things we're not skillful at producing. Barriers to trade shrink global markets for our best companies, they reduce our standard of living for restraining the global division of labor that would produce the most at the lowest price, plus they're an imposition on our essential liberties whereby we're able to exchange what we have in surplus for that which we lack.
7. Sound Money. Modern money has been perverted given the horrifyingly misguided view that the mere creation of it is the path to wealth. In truth, the sole purpose of money is to facilitate both the exchange of goods and investment. In that certain sense, perfect money is that which doesn't change in value.
Friday, November 9, 2012
"The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president."
Thursday, November 8, 2012
the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters
When I went to vote, they asked for an ID, and it seemed like the most
natural thing in the world to present an ID. Do the liberals think
that people are too stupid to get an ID? The tone of the article
would suggest that.
Conservatives believe in Due Process, while recognizing it is not infallible.
‘Obama has said that the death penalty is used too frequently and inconsistently. However, he favors it for cases in which "the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage." Speaking as a state senator about the Illinois legislature's constant additions to the list of factors that render a defendant eligible for the death penalty, Obama said, "We certainly don't think that we should [...] have this laundry list that does not make any distinctions between the run-of-the-mill armed robbery that results in death and systematic killings by a terrorist organization. And I think essentially what the reduction of aggravating factors does is, it says, 'Here's a narrower set of crimes that we think potentially at least could deserve the death penalty.'" In his own words, "While the evidence tells me that the death penalty does little to deter crime, I believe there are some crimes – mass murder, the rape and murder of a child – so heinous that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment. On the other hand, the way capital cases were tried in Illinois at the time was so rife with error, questionable police tactics, racial bias, and shoddy lawyering, that 13 death row inmates had been exonerated."
On June 25, 2008, Obama condemned United States Supreme Court decision Kennedy v. Louisiana, which outlawed the death penalty for a child rapist when the victim was not killed. He said that states have the right to consider capital punishment, but cited concern about the possibility of unfairness in some sentences.’
Governments have killed over a billion people. I know that people are afraid of giving government too much power for fear that it will be abused. So am I. Just because it is used fairly now, doesn’t mean that it won’t be abused later.
How is it that people who inherently distrust the government think that the government is trustworthy to fairly execute people?
I wonder where Obama stands on this position?
I have always been close to sitting on the fence. I don’t have strong emotional feelings against it, but I am not particularly for it.
The Death Penalty would have to pass 2 criteria for me to agree with it …
1. It has to be shown that it a greater deterrent from other punishments. In other words: fewer lives are lost by having the death penalty.
2. It has to be shown that the level of mistakes is very low. My main objection to the death penalty is that the notion that once a person is executed, we can’t fix our mistakes.
‘California has executed just 13 convicts and its death row has ballooned to 726 inmates since 71 percentage of the electorate voted to reinstate capital punishment in 1978…
Federal and state judges have halted executions in the state since 2006 after ordering prison officials to develop new lethal injection procedures. Those lawsuits are still being litigated.’
I know you are against the death penalty…any thoughts.
On Nov 8, 2012, at 6:57 AM, <larry.r.trout> wrote:
'' Hu Jintao, the outgoing president, opened the 18th Party Congress.
It was a show of continuity in pointed contrast to the democratic swings of the West, whose political system, Mr Hu vowed, China would "never copy".
Ahead of the Congress, there had been hopes in China that Mr Xi's arrival in office would usher in a different era.
However, those hopes evaporated during a near two-hour address in which Mr Hu, 69, trumpeted the "epic accomplishments" and "superiority" of Chinese socialism and offered no hint of any change of policy.
"I listened with concentration but I did not hear anything new," said Chen Ziming, a liberal commentator who was arrested after the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.'
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Obamacare is now here to stay. The United States will move inexorably toward socialized medicine, and the quality of health care for all will begin to decline irrevocably.Federal spending, which stands at its highest level since World War II, will stay right where it is and perhaps increase. Dependency on government will become better established as a way of life. Government will intrude in ever more creative and pernicious ways into the daily lives of Americans, as Obama rules by fiat to the greatest extent possible and issues regulations affecting myriad aspects of our lives.As more people become acclimated to receiving government largesse, fewer will be open to conservative ideas about self-reliance. Businesses will find it more difficult than ever to operate as the burdens of rules and paperwork weigh them down.Some within Republican circles will argue, in effect, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." That Republicans must moderate their message to appease a public that has rejected conservative ideas.But Republicans just did moderate their message. They ran Mitt Romney as their candidate.Conservatives will have to think not how to water things down, but how to sell their program to people who have failed to embrace it.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Monday, November 5, 2012
Wow, I was very impressed with how comfortable and presidential Romney sounded, in a very good speech he gave yesterday in Roanoke, Virginia.
I would recommend everyone find it at home on YouTube and see if you agree.
On Nov 5, 2012, <larry.r.trou> wrote:
Pennsylvania only 3.9 O
Michigan 3.8 O
Florida 1.8 R
Virginia .3 O
Colorado .6 O
Sunday, November 4, 2012
'"You got the top 2 percent paying almost half of all income taxes. Is that fair?" Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz…
IRS figures show the top 1 percent of earners take home 16.9 percent of the nation's total income, but pay 36.7 percent of the nation's income taxes.
The top 5 percent take home a little more than 31 percent of total income but pay almost 59 percent of all income taxes.
And the top 10 percent earn just over 43 percent of the total income but pay more than 70 percent of all income taxes.
"How are you going to make it fairer? If they pay 75 percent?," asks Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute. "If they pay 90 percent? If they pay all of it? Will that finally be fair?"
As it now stands, 90 percent of all Americans pay only 30 percent of all income taxes…
The president does not mention another factor in the fairness equation -- close to half of American workers pay no federal income taxes at all…
And Kyl notes, "people who do not share in the sacrifice of paying taxes have little direct incentive to care whether the government is spending and taxing too much."
The administration often points to the ultra wealthy who sometimes pay lower rates because they have a lot of deductions. But the averages for all groups paint a more accurate picture.
The top 1 percent, for instance, pay an average tax rate of more than 24 percent. The top 5 percent -- a tax rate of a little more than 20 percent. The top 10 percent -- about 18 percent.
For the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers, the average rate is 1.85 percent.'
Friday, November 2, 2012
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
'Israel will not outsource its vital security interests to anyone, "not even to our closes and most trusted allies," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in London on Wednesday.
"The State of Israel was founded precisely so that our fate would remain in our own hands. When it comes to the very future of Israel, and its vital security interests, we cannot… and will not outsource the responsibility for making the decision. Not even to our closest and most trusted allies," he said.
"We live in a tough neighborhood, one in which there is no mercy for the weak and no second chance for those who cannot defend themselves; "a villa in the jungle", as I once put it. In such a place, it is imperative to remain strong, open-eyed, with both feet on the ground," Barak said. "We always say that a pessimist in the Middle East is merely an optimist with experience," he added.'
Sunday, October 28, 2012
'"You know President Obama hasn't really given us a vision for a second term agenda," he said. "Just a couple of days ago he came up with a slick new brochure. You know, with less than two weeks left to say, 'Oh I do actually have an agenda.'"
As Ryan continued to mock the plan a man in the crowd interjected with his own description.
"It is a slick – well, comic book, that was his word – to me a slick re-packaging of more of the same," Ryan said.
On Tuesday, Obama's re-election team released 19 pages outlining the plans he hopes to institute if he wins a second term in office and an accompanying television ad set to air in nine battleground states. The booklet is largely a rehash of policies previously proposed, but is a response to critics who have charged the president with offering few specifics on his second term agenda.'
"Now, Chinese TV programs constantly show the Japanese flag and a photo of my face," the ambassador said. "And the TV says in simple language that Japan is a thief who stole Chinese territory. Even elementary-school children can connect the flag, theft and my photo. In China, I am feeling like I'm the ringleader."
Niwa said many Japanese volunteers teaching Japanese or working as caregivers, on a program by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, were also feeling a sense of great tension.
"This is the first time they report such a situation since I came to China," said Niwa, who became ambassador to China in 2010. 
The fundamental flaw of the pivot strategy was acknowledged by Campbell himself when he referred to the rising hostility between Japan and China, engendered of course by past and present factors but exacerbated by the pivot.
We are worried that persistent high-level tensions are eating away at Sino-Japanese goodwill, at enormous linkages that have developed people to people, on culture, on business ... it is stirring negative feelings on both sides ... We recognize that damage has been done, and we're worried about it.
These people are learning to hate each other for contemporary as well as historical reasons, and there isn't a lot the United States can do about it.'
NIF, as it's known, is a five-billion dollar, taxpayer-funded super laser project whose goal is to create nuclear fusion – a tiny star – inside a laboratory. But so far, that hasn't happened.
The facility, which began operating in 2009 after a decade of construction at a cost of almost $4 billion, points 192 football-field-sized lasers at one tiny capsule the size of a peppercorn and filled with hydrogen. It creates degrees of heat and pressure never before achieved in a lab.
Standing outside NIF's target chamber in 2008, about a year before NIF's dedication, Director Ed Moses called NIF "more far-out, and far cooler than anything in science fiction or fantasy."'
Friday, October 26, 2012
'I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.' Thomas Jefferson
'New York Times blocked by China after report on wealth of Wen Jiabao's family:
Authorities censor publication after revelations that the premier's relatives have accumulated billions during his leadership:
China's foreign ministry has accused the New York Times of smearing the country by reporting that the premier Wen Jiabao's extended family has controlled assets worth at least $2.7bn (£1.67bn).
A spokesman, Hong Lei, said the report "blackens China's name and has ulterior motives". Authorities have also blocked the news organisation's main and Chinese-language websites and banned searches for "New York Times" in English and Chinese on microblogs.
"China manages the internet in accordance with laws and rules," Hong told reporters at a daily briefing when asked why the sites were inaccessible.
The New York Times reported that several of Wen's close relatives had become extremely wealthy since his ascent to leadership. But in many cases their holdings were obscured by layers of partnerships and investment vehicles involving friends, colleagues or business partners, it said, in a detailed and lengthy account based on an extensive review of company and regulatory filings.
A single investment held on paper by Wen's 90-year-old mother Yang Zhiyun – a retired schoolteacher – was worth $120m five years ago, the New York Times said. It added it was unclear if Yang was aware of the holdings in her name.
The report is embarrassing not only for Wen himself – who comes from a modest background and is widely seen as the sympathetic, populist face of the government – but for the party. It is the latest in a string of unwelcome revelations about the vast wealth amassed by those around senior leaders.
Authorities blocked the Bloomberg website earlier this year after it exposed the multimillion-dollar assets held by the extended family of Xi Jinping, heir-apparent to the presidency. The news agency has also reported that relatives of the disgraced politician Bo Xilai accumulated at least $136m in assets.'