Thursday, April 14, 2011

Another Day Brings So Much Clarity

Hm. It's only been a day or so since my last update, but wow...the situation has changed a heckuva lot!

First, a couple of updates are in order. Remember how I excerpted one article talking about how a very real danger is the point at which the rest of the world loses faith in America and pulls the rug out from under us? Well, guess what? Even now, leaders from global emerging nations are meeting to discuss global financing...without an American presence. The International Monetary Fund is accusing the Obama administration of lacking a 'credible' strategy for dealing with our debt. It's hard to disagree with that, unfortunately. The point here is that this is a real danger that would have real consequences, and that's partly why there is zero time to waste in getting America's fiscal house in order. Too bad Obama and the Democrat party simply aren't interested in doing that.

Now let's take a look at this reminder from Gateway Pundit:

The key phrases here are 'I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half' and 'getting our spending under control'. Oh really? Then explain this:

That deficit he 'inherited' was under $200 billion. This year's projected deficit is $1.65 trillion. Obama's racked up monthly deficits bigger than George W. Bush's annual deficits. This is liberalism for you. Say whatever is convenient at the time, and then go ahead and expand government and reckless spending as fast as you can get away with. The facts are indisputable on this one.

Now we move on to some new developments. President Obama gave a speech yesterday in which he outlined his strategy for tackling the debt problem we face. Here are a couple of highlights:
President Obama on Wednesday called for tax increases and spending cuts he said would reduce deficits by $4 trillion over 12 years - and vehemently denounced Republicans’ own deficit plans as an assault on the elderly and poor.

In a speech that sounded as much like a 2012 election kickoff speech as a call to action on Capitol Hill, Mr. Obama said he wants to see a final deficit reduction deal by June, but also said the House Republicanproposal on the table now is not “serious.”
Funny, theirs is the only plan that has been proposed. Wouldn't that make it 'serious' by default? If he's the one who's serious about this, then where's his plan? And how can you possibly reduce deficits by raising taxes? Isn't the economy struggling enough as it is? What happens when the government starts taking even more money out of the pockets of hard-working Americans? History and reality plainly show it's only going to make things worse.

But remember, his primary purpose is not to help the economy recover. Whenever you look at what he's doing or saying, you have to look at it through the lens of his clearly stated intentions: to transform America into a socialist state. His agenda is to expand government power, which means sucking in more money from taxpayers and forcing more people to be dependent upon the government. That's why he's proposing these policies. I think it's also interesting to note that he's calling on Congress to put forward plans to do these things rather than putting his own plans out there himself; he'll be happy to swoop in at the last minute and take credit for 'success', but he simply isn't willing to dip his toes into the mud and do the work (and take the political arrows) that is necessary to hammer out a real plan. Just a side note, but one worth pointing out.

Still, if there's one thing Obama's good at, it's lying delivering a speech, right? Remember how he often left people in tears on the campaign trail? Well, this particular speech was so well-delivered that VP Joe Biden was caught on camera taking a nap.

Anyway, back to the speech. Did he make his case? Not even close...

In his deficit speech, President Obama sent a clear signal that he is still not willing to spend political capital on resolving the debt problem. Although Rep. Paul Ryan has already taken the lead on addressing the deficits by submitting a spending-only debt reduction plan, Obama failed to follow up by proposing a liberal plan. Instead, he chose a safe but unsustainable middle position ...

“I think the president heard us loud and clear. We’re willing to resolve our differences and do something meaningful but raising taxes will not be part of it,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said after joining Obama and other Capitol Hill leaders at the White House Wednesday morning.

“We don’t believe that raising taxes is the answer here,” added House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who also attended the meeting.


Freshman Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a tea party favorite, said in just five short months, Obama had gone from extending tax cuts to proposing tax hikes on those who are trying to create jobs.

“This is not just a political flip-flop,” Lee said. “It’s a reversal that will create greater instability in our economy and threaten to turn around the small gains we’ve made in employment.”

After the speech, Boehner said “any plan that starts with job-destroying tax hikes is a non-starter.”

A very informative interview with Paul Ryan can be found here. It's worth the time to listen to, so check it out. Here are some of the key points:
“When the President reached out to ask us to attend his speech, we were expecting an olive branch. Instead, his speech was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to address our fiscal crisis. What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander-in-chief; we heard a political broadside from our campaigner-in-chief.

“Last year, in the absence of a serious budget, the President created a Fiscal Commission. He then ignored its recommendations and omitted any of its major proposals from his budget, and now he wants to delegate leadership to yet another commission to solve a problem he refuses to confront.

“We need leadership, not a doubling down on the politics of the past. By failing to seriously confront the most predictable economic crisis in our history, this President’s policies are committing our children to a diminished future. We are looking for bipartisan solutions, not partisan rhetoric. When the President is ready to get serious about confronting this challenge, we'll be here.”
And you'll be waiting for a long, long time.

But none of this is surprising, if you understand liberal thought. What's most disturbing to me is the continued failure of the GOP leadership. Remember the victory lap they took after securing $38 billion in government cuts? Hm, now we're hearing that it wasn't quite that much...
A new budget estimate released Wednesday shows that the spending bill negotiated between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner would produce less than 1 percent of the $38 billion in promised savings by the end of this budget year.

The Congressional Budget Office estimate shows that compared with current spending rates the spending bill due for a House vote Thursday would cut federal outlays from non-war accounts by just $352 million through Sept. 30. About $8 billion in immediate cuts to domestic programs and foreign aid are offset by nearly equal increases in defense spending.
Whoa! A measly $352 million?? This is the sort of budget gimmickry that Democrats usually use, not Republicans! What gives, Mr. Boehner? Are you playing the GOP base for fools? It appears so, and he doesn't like being called on it. Governor Tim Pawlenty, a potential presidential candidate for 2012, was the first to publicly point out that the Emperor was buck naked, but others have followed, including the conservative opinion think-tank NRO. Boehner's office chose to pick a fight with conservative blog RedState, but it really just comes down to semantics. RedState's bottom line is that the final net effect of the 'deal' is not $38 billion in cuts, and I have to agree that that's the thing that matters. You know, it's stupid crap like this that really makes me despise the Republicans in Washington. We already know that the Democrats have no capacity for responsible leadership and governing, but the Republicans should know better. If the GOP can't get its act together, then there really is no hope left for anything other than managing the slow decline of the nation. To continue the analogy, it'll simply be bickering over who gets to be in charge while the Titanic sinks. *sigh* Personally, I believe the future of my children and grandchildren is worth more than that, but when Republicans engage in stuff like this, it's clear they do not feel the same about the future of their own.

Anyway, NRO called this the first strike against Boehner as the Speaker and the leader of the GOP in Washington, and that's a big deal. RedState offers this thought on the matter:
The one silver lining in all of this is that the House GOP Freshmen should now be radicalized against any deal cut by the House leadership.
Man, I sure hope so! I hope the public beating Boehner is taking over this is sufficient to put him back in line in a hurry.

So, the actual vote on this deal could get interesting. Will the GOP follow Boehner, now that it's been shown that he's a hack? Time will tell.

Anyway, one of the next big economic issues coming up is the debt ceiling debate. Basically, we've overspent so much that Congress is going to have to raise the debt ceiling again in order to keep borrowing money from China to stay afloat. This is a nasty issue, too, which we'll probably get into more later. For now, I'll just offer this from Rush Limbaugh, which seems to summarize things pretty well at the moment:
There is not imminent disaster on the other side of failing to raise the debt limit. You see what's guiding all this is that which I believe is our biggest single problem today. Well, that's hard to really categorize. But if it's not the single biggest problem, it's very close. And that is the notion that not one measly thing in this country can happen unless the government is involved in it. That's destroying us. The notion that kids can't eat, that people can't learn, that products can't be manufactured, that services can't be performed, nothing can happen unless government is open and actively involved in it, and folks, that whole premise is fallacious, and yet it is destroying us.

What would happen if we don't raise the debt ceiling? Well, we couldn't borrow any more money. It's a good thing, right? If the United States government were a person or a family, would anybody loan 'em any money? Nope, just the sharks, just the predatory lenders out there. Wouldn't that force the government to finally make some real cuts, set some priorities, if it couldn't borrow any money? We keep hearing that government is like family. Family sits around the kitchen table, although I don't think families do that much anymore, families sit around the kitchen table, they pore over the monthly bills. Yeah, you can just see that, mom, dad, the 2.8 kids, the family dog, poring over the family bills. ...

Let's look at this realistically. You mean to tell me that this government cannot get along on a measly $14.3 trillion? We got a budget of $3.7, 3.9 trillion, we can't get by on that? This is absurd. We've lost all perspective. We've lost connection to reality here. A real debt limit seems to me to be exactly what we need here.
So, there you have it. Another day, another swerve in direction. And yet, we're still sitting under a mountain of debt that needs to be addressed. Once again, despite their faults, the Republican party is the only one sitting at the table and ready to take some action. Flaws and all, I'll take that over the willful and dangerously reckless obliviousness of the Democrat party any day.

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