Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Obama Wrongly Accuses Bush (and Paul Ryan) of Causing the Great Recession

AEI Ideas ^ | August 14, 2012 | Pethokoukis

The Obama campaign has made a curious economic argument as part of its attack on Paul Ryan:
Ryan rubber-stamped the reckless Bush economic policies that exploded our deficit and crashed our economy. Now the Romney-Ryan ticket would take us back by repeating the same, catastrophic mistakes.

Actually, Team Obama is saying the same thing twice here since the deficit would not have initially exploded without the Great Recession. (In 2007, the federal government ran a tiny budget deficit of 1.2% of GDP)
So which Bush policies, exactly, “crashed the economy”?
Certainly not the much reviled — at least by Democrats — Bush tax cuts, most of which President Obama says he wants to keep.
And certainly not Bush’s spending and debt, since Obama wants more of both. The most recent Obama budget, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would add $6.4 trillion more to the federal budget deficit over the next decade, leaving debt as a share of the economy stuck at around 76% of GDP vs. 37% pre-recession.
OK, if it wasn’t the taxes Bush cut or the money he spent, then what were the Bush policy actions that led to the Great Recession and “crashed our economy”?
Maybe the villains here are the Bush policies that deregulated Wall Street? A few problems with this theory, though. For starters, the law that ended Glass-Steagall was signed by President Bill Clinton — the guy who will be introducing Obama at the Democratic National Convention — in 1999. Second, few analysts think the end of Glass-Steagall directly contributed to the financial crisis.
Another candidate — and you hear this one a lot — was a 2004 rule change by the Securities and Exchange Commission — the Bush SEC! – that supposedly allowed broker dealers to greatly increase their leverage, contributing to the financial crisis. But as Prof. Andrew Lo of MIT notes in a 2011 paper,” … it turns out that the 2004 SEC amendment to Rule 15c3–1 did nothing to change the leverage restrictions of these financial institutions.”
And besides, there’s a strong case to be made that it was the economic downturn — begun by negative wealth effects from the collapse in the housing market and then greatly exacerbated by the Fed — which caused the financial crises rather than the crisis causing the severe downturn. As Robert Hetzel, an economist with the Richmond Fed, argues in The Great Recession: Market Failure or Policy Failure:

Obama campaign spokesman: We have no objection to Biden’s “chains” comment about Negros!

Hot Air ^ | 8/14/12 | Allahpundit

A glorious return to the spotlight for Stephanie Cutter, who canceled her weekend appearances on national news shows after she got caught lying about Team O’s last big smear. The defense here, as always when someone in Obamaland says something stupid and unhelpful, is that Biden’s being taken out of context. Watch the whole clip, she says, and it’s clear that he’s talking about Wall Street deregulation, not slavery. Which is super, but it doesn’t remotely explain the sudden change in accent and diction. If he wanted to make a point about deregulation, however hysterical and unfair, he could have said, “They want to put you in chains.” He didn’t. Jake Tapper:

“We got a real clear picture of what they all value,” Biden said. “Every Republican’s voted for it. Look at what they value and look at their budget and what they’re proposing. Romney wants to let the — he said in the first hundred days he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules, ‘unchain Wall Street.’ They’re going to put y’all back in chains.” as he pointed to a group of Negros!
An Obama campaign official tells ABC News that “as the full quote makes obvious, the Vice President was clearly using a metaphor to describe the devastating impact of deregulating Wall Street and the financial industry, as well as how Governor Romney’s policies would take us back to the same failed formula that led to the 2008 financial crisis – the same failed formula that benefitted a few, but crashed our economy and hurt the middle class.”…

Romney spokespers
(Excerpt) Read more at hotair.com ...

You Call This a Recovery?

Alliance for Worker Freedom ^ | 2012-08-09 | Tom Fletcher

The latest jobs report only serves as confirmation that the economy is in a stall, and that President Obama’s approach to revitalizing the economy has proven to be consistently wrong.

The latest job numbers provided no comfort to the administration as the unemployment rate remains above eight percent, and jobs continue to be added at a paltry rate. The White House reaction to the report was predictable and overused; “it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.” Unemployment has only remained above eight percent since October 2008, but how significant could these reports be? Not much going by this President’s logic.

James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute recently wrote, “The Obama recovery isn’t worse than just the Reagan recovery, but also worse than the Teddy Roosevelt and Grover Cleveland recoveries.” A Heritage Foundation report concluded that “the economy cannot afford the prospects of nearly $500 billion in tax increases on middle class families, investors, and job creators that are scheduled for the beginning of the year.”
What’s perhaps most troubling about the President’s economic policy is his obsession with raising taxes and increasing spending while his Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate play games with Republicans hoping they get their way. Hardly the assured leadership the country is looking for in these economic times. When asked by a reporter, “To what extent does the 8.3 percent undermine the President’s argument, just three months until election day that he is moving the economy in the right direction, albeit not quickly enough? Jay Carney, Press Secretary, replied “the President makes clear every time he talks about the issue that we are not where we need to be.” Good to know Jay.

Five Reasons Why the Government Is Destroying the Dollar

Financial Sense ^ | 08/14/2012 | By Daniel Amerman CFA

The United States government has five interrelated motivations for destroying the value of the dollar:
Creating money out of thin air on a massive basis is all that stands between the current state of hidden depression, and overt depression with unemployment levels in excess of those seen in the US Great Depression of the 1930s.

It is the most effective way to meet not just current crushing debt levels, but to deal with the rapidly approaching massive generational crisis of paying for Boomer retirement promises.

It creates a lucratively profitable $500 billion a year hidden tax for the benefit of the US government which is not understood by voters or debated in elections.
It is the weapon of choice being used to wage currency war and reboot US economic growth; and
It is an essential component of political survival and enhanced power for incumbent politicians.
In this article we will take a holistic approach to how individual short term, medium and long term pressures all come together to leave the government with effectively no choice but to create a substantial rate of inflation that will steadily destroy the value of the dollar.
If you have savings, if you rely on a pension, if you are a retiree or Boomer with retirement accounts - any one of these five fundamental motivations is by itself a grave peril to your future standard of living. However, it is only when we put all five together and see how the motivations reinforce each other, that we can understand what the government has been and intends to continue doing, and then begin the search for personal solutions.
Reason One: The Political Interests Of Self-Serving Politicians
As further covered herein, almost 9% of the US economy is currently funded by deficit spending. From a political perspective, this $1.3 trillion a year is "free money" that politicians get to disburse on a political district and favored special interest group basis. In other words, roughly $1,000 per month, per American household can be used to reward friends and can be withheld from enemies, with personal credit being taken by the benevolent politicians for this never-ending largess.
In past decades, politicians were restricted to spending perhaps $200 or $300 per month per household over and above what the government was collecting in taxes, with the difference being borrowed in the bond market. Anything above that would require the unpleasantness of raising taxes, which might put individual politicians in danger of actually losing their position and privileged lifestyle if he or she wasn't in a "safe" district. However, in the current climate all limitations are gone, the pork is rolling out on a historically unprecedented basis, and the politicians are wielding unprecedented power.
So why do the limitations usually exist on at least some level, and why are they gone now? Historically, the US government has directly created money out of thin air on a massive basis to fund deficit spending during the Civil War, and also during the Revolutionary War. There is a very good reason such governmental actions are so rare: the value of the US dollar was rapidly destroyed in both instances. So, this spending without limit would not ordinarily be a sensible path. Unless, from the government's perspective, there were other dangers that were considered a greater threat, that could be addressed only through destroying the value of the dollar.
Reason Two: To Hide A Depression
I have written numerous articles about various aspects of Reasons Two through Five for some years now, and my long term readers and subscribers have been well aware of the building pressures. While the emphasis of this article is on the interweaving of the short, medium and long-term relationships between the five reasons, we will first set the stage by taking a few paragraphs each to briefly review the individual government motivation, with a link to a full length article that covers the problem in more depth.
While you wouldn't know it from government press releases or media headlines, there has been a gaping hole in the US economy since 2008, as illustrated below:

During the first round of the financial crisis, the US private economy nearly collapsed, threatening to send the US economy straight into deep depression. We're talking about a $1.3 trillion private sector collapse that was contained only by the government fantastically increasing the money it spent, even while tax revenues were falling. The creation of huge government deficits has been all that has maintained even a facade of semi-normalcy. Remove the mechanism of the government creating money so that it can spend what it doesn't have, and it is straight to official Great Depression-level unemployment in months.
Even as the true gravity of the situation is hidden from the general public, so too is the true cost of the grossly irresponsible short-term "band-aid" that is being used to cover the hole in the US economy. The destruction of the value of savings in general, as well as the impoverishment of Boomers and retirees in particular, is explained in my article linked below, "Hiding A Depression: How The US Government Does It."
Reason Three: A Desperate Attempt To Escape Depression By Waging Currency War
The US government has been waging currency war since September of 2010. Simply put, the US would have great difficulty emerging from the depression described above so long as the US dollar is "strong", because a strong dollar translates to "expensive" US workers who have difficulty competing for market share even in the US economy, let alone abroad. One solution is that when a nation slashes the value of its currency, its workers become relatively cheaper, and they then cannot only better defend their domestic market share, but can begin to take market share in foreign economies as well. However, when a major nation goes on the offensive, many trading partners will counterattack and try to defend their economies, not by making their own currencies stronger, but by making their own currencies weaker, so that their domestic workers remain relatively inexpensive and will be better able to compete for market share.
To successfully go on the currency offensive and negate attempted counterattacks, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke chose a radical tool - he publicly announced that the Fed would be directly creating money on a massive scale equal to 9% of the US economy, with the proceeds going to purchase US government debt in the secondary markets. Ultimately, the only protections for a symbolic currency (such as the US dollar) are the policies deployed by the central bank to maintain that value. And when the nation's chief central banker directly threatens to use his power to destroy the symbol rather than preserve it - the threat is extraordinarily effective.
There is no free lunch, however. While the US government is insisting to the world-at-large that it is not engaged in currency warfare, in order to maintain the plausible deniability that is essential to diplomatic doublespeak, it is also hiding the heavy cost from its own citizens. The US standard of living since the late 1990s has been based on having a "strong" dollar and huge trade deficits - meaning we haven't actually been able to pay for what we consume for a long time. Therefore, even as jobs and the real economy grow, there is a drop in the overall standard of living, that is not evenly weighted - but is disproportionately born by savers, Boomers and retirees.
Much more information on how this works and the specific ways that older citizens will be bearing most of the pain can be found in my article linked below,
"Bullets In The Back: How Boomers & Retirees Will Become Stimulus, Bailout & Currency War Casualties".
These second and third elements of hiding a depression and waging currency war are tightly interwoven, and could even be called "killing two birds with one stone". The money doesn't exist to keep the US from openly plunging into depression, it simply isn't there for a fiscally responsible government. And covering the economic hole by creating money out of thin air at a rate equal to 9% of the total US economy is so fiscally irresponsible that few nations dare a counterattack of such magnitude. For now, massive monetary creation allows the US to not only cover over the current hidden depression, but also to wage all-out currency war to try to emerge from that depression.
However, to fully understand the agenda of the US government, we have to look at the greatest financial problem of all, and how destroying the value of the dollar is the intended solution.
Reason Four: Dodging National Bankruptcy
Sometimes households reach the unfortunate point where when they add up the credit cards, mortgage payments, and 2nd mortgage payments - they realize that they will never be able to pay their bills. They know they are bankrupt and there is no way of dodging that. But instead of reducing their spending - they may even step up the spending, until all the lines of credit are maxed out, and the bills are all in arrears. Because, once you know bankruptcy is inevitable anyway - why slash your standard of living before you absolutely have to? Partying it up now for another few months won't change the destination, so why not?
Fortunately, relatively few ordinary people think that way. There is ample evidence, however, that a good number of politicians hold that mindset when it comes to budget deficits that appear impossible to repay, at least in the conventional manner.
There is a lie that is being frequently repeated, which is that our children and grandchildren will be slaving away for decades to pay back the money that we've been borrowing to fund this reckless deficit spending. The assumption underlying the lie is that if it weren't for the current spending, the nation would be fine, and therefore increased taxes will be needed to pay back the borrowing.
Except that the nation isn't fine. Like most other major developed nations in the world, the United States has been effectively bankrupt for quite some time, with a day of reckoning that is approaching fast with or without the current outrageous level of deficit spending.
The graph below is from my article, "Six Layers Of Deficit Impossibilities Mean Retirement Catastrophe".

As developed step by step in "Six Layers", when we add up current and future Federal deficits, as well as unfunded Social Security, Medicare and other unfunded government promises, the total comes to over $785,000 per non-retired household (over the coming years) that has an above poverty line income. And this isn't even the total cost - it is the excess cost over and above current estimated tax receipts, which assumes a healthy and growing economy. When we drop the assumption of an economy growing at the same rates of the last 50 years, then the shortfall goes far higher - perhaps over $200 trillion for Social Security and Medicare alone by some recent estimates. That would raise the total shortfall to over $2 million per non-retired and above-poverty-line household.
If taxes can’t pay (and it’s ludicrous to think they can), and the US doesn’t declare bankruptcy, then just how do we cover the gap?
Short answer: pay in full, but make the dollar worth five cents. This drops the per household cost for everything from almost $800,000 down to about $40,000. Painful, but manageable over a period of 20-30 years.

Merely make a dollar worth five cents, and impossible government promises become quite payable. The problem with this "solution" is that it also requires making most people's life savings worth five cents on the dollar.
Reason Five: Create A Massive Hidden Tax
The Federal Reserve effectively controls short, medium and long-term interest rates in the United States, and this means that it controls the borrowing costs of the United States government. As developed my article linked below, "Hiding A $500 Billion Tax On Savings: How The Government Deceives Millions", by forcing interest rates below the rate of inflation, the Federal Reserve creates about a half trillion dollar per year "windfall" gain for the Federal government.

This is not "free money", far from it. Every dollar of benefit for the government from interest rate manipulations comes directly out of the pockets of savers. That is, for the government to come out ahead by $500 billion per year requires savers and pension funds to come up short by $500 billion per year. This makes it a tax in all but name. It is also essential to note that two elements have to come together to make this hidden tax work: 1) there have to be low interest rates, and 2) there also has to a substantive real rate of inflation (which can be quite different from the official rate).

From a politician's perspective this massive tax - almost three times the size of federal corporate taxation - is a "dream tax". Half a trillion dollars a year is available to spend without raising taxes or increasing deficits. Sure, there is a cost, which is the entirely deliberate destruction of retirement dreams and promises for tens of millions of US workers and retirees - particularly Boomers - as well as pushing forward the insolvency of state and local government pension funds around the country. But the deliberate bankrupting of a generation is a long term problem with no clear accountability and almost no voter understanding, which means it is more or less irrelevant for how political decisions are made today.
The Convergence Of The Five Overwhelming Governmental Motivations
The Long-Term
Let's add our five powerful motivations together, and see how they interrelate. The truly big picture for both the United States and most other major developed nations is that population growth has been shrinking, long term promises to current and future retirees have been extravagant, and for the most fundamental of demographic and economic reasons, the nations simply can't afford to pay for those promises.
On a global basis, governments are left with a choice between breaking promises openly – reneging on their legal commitments on a massive scale, possibly having to actually declare bankruptcy in many cases (effectively) - or they can follow the time-honored route that almost every nation which has found itself in the situation and has had the ability do so has done: they can pay their promises in form, but not in substance. They can inflate away the value of their national currency, and pay everything in full, but that currency will only be worth a fraction of what it is right now.
So the larger the future shortfall, the more overwhelming the motivation to destroy the value of the currency, and the greater the degree of destruction of the currency that is necessary in order to turn impossible promises into possible promises.
The Short Term
Let's look at the short term in the United States. As previously discussed, there is currently a gaping hole in the US economy that is equal to about 9% of the size of the economy if we look to official deficits, and about 12% if we include the hidden $500 billion tax on savings. This economic hole in the private sector is being covered over by massive overt deficit spending and hidden taxation which account for about one in every eight dollars spent in the nation this year. If this massive deficit spending were to cease abruptly, then the US would go straight to an overt Great Depression level of unemployment.
So, if you're in the political establishment and you don't want outright political revolution, then you have enormous incentives to try to keep an appearance of normalcy in the economy, no matter how much damage you need to do to the long-term value of your nation's currency.
Tying Together Long-Term & Short-Term
Short term interests are served by recklessly risking the long-term value of the nation's currency, thereby providing the funding to cover over the hole in the economy. Long term interests in terms of impossible government promises that must be inflated away, are served by the destruction of the value of the nation's currency. The more severe this destruction, the less the cost of repaying impossible promises. Arguably then, the more risk that is taken in "papering" over the hole in the current economy, and the more severe the long term consequences, the better off the government will be in the future when it comes to its ability to cheaply repay debts that are otherwise unpayable.
The Medium-Term & The Real Economy
Now, let's go to the medium term and consider the real world factor that bridges the current economic crisis and the long term economic crisis. That bridge is ultimately all that really matters, and it is the real economy. Without a powerful and rapidly growing real economy, there is no way out of the hidden depression in which the United States currently finds itself. American workers must be competitive if they are to regain both domestic and international market share (a situation many other nations are in as well).
Mixing Medium & Long Term
Nobody knows the true extent of the trouble the US economy is in over the next ten, twenty and thirty years as Boomer retirement promises come due in full. But we do know that:
1) It would take a historically unprecedented rate of economic growth to meet the promises in current dollars without bankrupting the nation; and
2) The financial devastation could be far, far worse than most estimates if the US economy does not perform like it has historically, but instead continues the downward spiral of a wounded empire that is losing prominence and economic power on the world stage.
When we strip away the common assumption of endlessly compounded 3% real economic growth, and say that we are either losing economic growth or just breaking even, then the future shortfalls grow even more staggering. Indeed, when we include the academic evidence of the growth-slowing effects of large government deficits, and then add in the reduction in consumption expected for an aging population, then we may already be in an effectively zero per capita growth mode, as covered in my article linked below.

Bridging Medium, Long & Short-Term
What the short-term and long-term both have in common is that the only true solution is ultimately to grow the real economy. The real economy has been hampered since the mid-1990s by a short sighted "strong dollar" policy that has enormously benefited major international corporations and major banks, while creating a debt-driven illusion of personal prosperity for many of the citizens of the United States. It's a standard of living that could never be paid for, but rather was reliant on other nations lending the US the money to fund that lifestyle, so long as we agreed to keep the dollar "strong". The effective terms were that certain other nations lent us the money to live it up without our being able to pay for the goods that delivered our subsidized standard of living, and in exchange we let them take our industries and jobs.
To re-grow the real economy and regain economic competitiveness, the US must remove the handcuffs on American workers, which requires driving down the value of the US dollar. This has to be done in a competitive world, where other nations want to defend their own market share by driving down the value of their own currencies. So for the US to be "successful" - it has chosen a strategy of taking more radical actions in a threat to destroy the value of its currency than other nations dare counter.
In other words, the other nations aren't as willing to recklessly and rapidly wipe out the value of their citizen's savings as the United States is, which gives the US a temporary "advantage" in currency brinksmanship.
Most conveniently, the otherwise impossible cost of covering over the gaping hole in the US economy can be paid for through open monetization on deliberate, prominent display for the whole world to see. The strategy is to simply manufacture the money out of nothingness, which then lets the rest of the world know that the US dollar is in grave peril of swiftly diving in value. This then drives down the value of the dollar, and reboots the real economy and real American competitiveness, even as the hole in the economy is temporarily covered over. Perhaps most important of all, this begins the rapid destruction of the value of the dollar as necessary to avert formal US bankruptcy when it comes to paying the enormous retirement and health care obligations that are coming due over the next ten, twenty and thirty years.
To understand the true extent of the danger to your savings, you need to see how all three of these levels work together: hiding the depression in the short-term, rebooting the real economy in the medium-term, and the long-term destruction of the value of the dollar so that impossible promises can be paid in form, but not in substance. All three strategies effectively require the destruction of the value of the savings of older Americans and retirees in particular. It is your future lifestyle that must be sacrificed for all of these goals to happen together.
Adding In Short-Term Political Benefits
And finally, and not of incidental importance although perhaps not quite as fundamental as the other factors, there are enormous political rewards for those currently in power when it comes to pursuing this approach. As covered in the "Hiding A Depression" article, the government's share of the US economy swiftly went (with very little commentary) from 35% of the total economy to 43% of the total economy. In the real world of politics, what is most important is that this growth comes in the form of discretionary spending, that (normally) rare commodity that is the currency of pure power. In normal circumstances, between government transfer payments, the military, and the established bureaucracy, there isn't all that much discretionary money for politicians to channel for their partisan desires. That has turned upside down, as discretionary money was created so fast, that Congress and the Administration initially had trouble figuring out how to spend it.
The government has enormously increased its control over the day-to-day economic life of the nation. This control is not being exercised on an altruistic basis, but is being used in the exercise of raw political power. Politicians have the unprecedented ability, almost without limitation, to take the $1000+ per month per American household in money that is being created out of the void ($1,300 with the hidden savings tax), and to use it to reward their friends and hurt their enemies. And many are doing so.
These five motivations all exist simultaneously, they all wrap around each other in their numerous interrelationships, and they all reinforce each other. What they all have in common is an overwhelming incentive to make sure that a dollar does not remain worth a dollar.
The Personal Implications
The implications of the five powerful motivations all coming together are that we have multiple overwhelming reasons to believe that the value of the US dollar (and many other currencies) will be mostly or near entirely destroyed in coming years. Now, when paper wealth is wiped out for much of the population, and real wealth (goods and services) for a nation has taken a blow – but is not wiped out – then what we necessarily have is a massive redistribution of wealth. And there is very good reason to believe that the largest redistribution of wealth that has been seen in modern times is likely to be occurring over the coming years.
Inherently, the older that you are – the more likely that wealth will be redistributed away from you instead of towards you. A giant "Reset Button" will likely be pressed for the dollar, and with it the value of your savings and investments will likely evaporate – that is, if you have been following the conventional wisdom for retirement investing. You may not have that many working years left to recover from the damage, and jobs may be difficult to come by even if you want to work.
So you are competing against younger workers not just for jobs, but for goods and services, where they have the current income in inflation-adjusted terms to buy these desirable goods – and you don't. Thus, the older citizens become impoverished relative to the younger citizens. This is a history that has been repeated time and again across nations and across the centuries – it is the pensioners that get nailed when the currency reset button gets pressed.
Making it even more difficult is that the hidden savings tax acts as a giant anchor, making it near impossible for fixed income savers to break even on an inflation-adjusted basis, let alone compound their wealth like all the financial planning models promised. Simultaneously, the likely reduced economic growth rate associated with a heavily indebted and aging nation will likely slash further stock returns, or even turn them negative in after-inflation and after-tax terms.
Both of the pillars underlying conventional financial planning have shattered and fallen, which leaves traditional retirement investors with two negative return asset classes (in inflation-adjusted terms) that are steadily destroying wealth over the long term rather than compounding it. Even as the slick investment firm ads featuring vibrantly healthy and wealthy retirees enjoying their active and prosperous retirements, continue to fill the airwaves and financial media.
There are personal solutions. There are other schools of investment finance that can handle what is coming, methodologies that are used by the most sophisticated investors in the world - but they are quite different from the simplistic strategies that dominate both the mainstream and contrarian flavors of personal finance.
The first step is to see what is coming. Once you see how all five factors work together - you have to do something that most people will never do, and that is take personal responsibility for your own future in a deeply unfair world. Neither the government nor Wall Street are going to bail you out of the mess they have created, and the conventional financial "wisdom" isn't going to do it either. You're on your own, and that means rolling up your sleeves and taking individual actions to protect what you and your family have.
Once you've decided to accept this personal responsibility for your future, then you have to be open to changing how you see money and your investments. To find personal solutions, you have to be open to education leading to paradigm change. When you have that education, and have changed the "lenses" through which you view money and investments - then you can also start to see the professional grade tools that can be used to handle the simultaneous destruction of the value of money, and the value of assets. Surprising tools found in places you never expected, often without even calling a broker, that can be accessed by most people, and used in a dynamic sequence for the stages of crisis - when we step outside the usual personal finance boxes.
Your financial profile can't look at all like that of an ordinary older person - or you will share the fate of most older people. To survive and even thrive in the very different financial environment of this and the decades to come, requires changing that profile so that inflation systematically redistributes wealth to you, rather than away from you, and the more of the value of the dollar that is destroyed - the better off you become on an after-inflation basis.

Police Officer Phillip Cardillo Cannot Be Memorialized Thanks to Louis Farrakhan!

Independent Sentinel ^ | August 5, 2012 | Sara Noble

That stellar symbol of Chicago values, Rahm Emanuel, is working with Louis Farrakhan, purveyor of hatred and bigotry, on the Chicago crime wave. Meanwhile, Farrakhan is being allowed to block a Harlem memorial for murdered police officer, Phillip Cardillo. It was Farrakhan’s own people who killed the officer. …
(Excerpt) Read more at independentsentinel.com ...

Ryan’s budget is hardly radical

Hot Air.com ^ | August 14, 2012 | ED MORRISSEY

We’re hearing a lot of scaaaaaaaary things about Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. Taxes will go through the roof on the poor! Budgets will get slashed to Calvin Coolidge levels! Federal spending on wheelchairs will go up — only so we can push grandmas off of cliffs more efficiently!
Does any of this even approach reality? Investors Business Daily does what no other media outlet can apparently do, and actually reads Ryan’s budget plan, which is so super-secret that it’s part of the Congressional Record. (I hear that one can find the Lost Ark and the Charm of Making there, too.) Is the Ryan budget plan for long-term structural reform of federal spending and entitlement programs radical? Hardly:
His proposed spending and revenue levels are above historic averages. His Medicare reform has strong bipartisan support. His tax reform plan is similar to one proposed by Obama’s own bipartisan debt reduction commission.
Ryan’s budget, which passed the House last March, would set the federal government on course to spend an average of 20% of GDP over the next decade. That’s slightly higher than the post-World War II average of 19.8%.
His tax plan would produce revenues averaging 18.3% of GDP. That, too, is somewhat higher than the 17.7% post-war average. What’s more, Ryan’s plan would set tax and spending rates higher than every Democratic president before Obama.
IBD includes this handy chart to measure Ryan’s spending and revenue plans against post-WWII historic averages:

The chart explains why some conservatives don’t particularly like Ryan’s approach. It’s too moderate. In their view, it takes too long to bring the federal budget into balance (more than two decades), and it still spends too much money. Fiscal conservatives would prefer to see an 18% limit on federal spending, or perhaps even lower, as Congress eliminates entire departments of the federal government and devolves responsibility for their work to the states.
On the other hand, Ryan’s budget actually works, and it plays in the arena of the possible, at least in today’s political and media climate. One only needs to look at the hysterical reaction to Ryan’s plan to return to what had been the pre-2000 norm of spending and revenue to understand just how difficult it has been to even getthis common-sense plan passed through a Republican-controlled House.
How does that compare to the Obama plan? IBD has that answer, too:
His last budget, issued in February, would set federal spending over the next decade at 22.5% of GDP, on average, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
For context, federal spending reached or exceeded that level in only seven years out of the past 65 — and three of those were under Obama.
And Obama wants federal revenues to average 19.4% of GDP. That’s higher than all but six of the past 65 years.
What about Medicare? Ryan wants to kill Medicare and toss Grandma to the tender mercies of — quelle horreur — insurance companies! Er, not really:
But under his plan, Medicare spending in the near term would track levels set by Obama. Unlike Obama, however, Ryan wouldn’t use any of those near-term savings to finance ObamaCare, but would direct all that to extending the Medicare Trust Fund.
And starting in 2023, Ryan would offer retirees — who are today 55 or younger — the ability to choose from a range of private insurance options, as well as traditional Medicare, with the government providing a fixed level of premium support.
The thinking is that this will unleash competitive insurance market forces, keeping costs down, while providing greater control over federal spending. But Ryan’s plan would let Medicare spending continue to climb over the long term, just not as fast as projected under current law.
So, if Ryan’s plan for budget reform is so terrible, the Obama administration must have an alternative, right? Right?

IBD editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez reminds us of this choice in his brilliant comparison today (via Power Line):

Elections are choices. This one’s really not to difficult to make.
Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history. Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here. And don’t forget to check out the entire Investors.com site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.
And a heads-up — Ramirez will have a new book out soon. We’ll have more on that later this summer.

Valerie Jarrett’s Father-in-Law Was a Communist – Worked With Obama Mentor Frank Marshall Davis!

TrevorLoudon.com ^ | June 6, 2011 | Trevor Loudon

Senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett’s late father-in-law and Chicago Sun-Times columnist Vernon Jarrett, was a key member of the South Chicago communist left of the late 1940s.

After graduating from Knoxville College in Tennessee, Jarrett moved to Chicago in 1946 to work as a journalist. On his first day on the job at the radical Chicago Defender, he was sent to cover a race riot.
The Defender was heavily influenced by the Communist Party USA and included on its roster well known Chicago Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis.

Jarrett and Davis worked on the Defender around the same time. They certainly knew each other through the Communist Party and its fronts.

In June 1946, Vernon Jarrett was elected to the Illinois Council of the Communist Party’s youth wing, then known as American Youth for Democracy. This is according to Testimony of Walter S. Steele regarding Communist activities in the United States. Hearings before the Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Eightieth Congress, first session, on H. R. 1884 and H. R. 2122, pages 75,76. It is the first hard evidence tying Vernon Jarrett directly to the Communist Party. Frank Marshall Davis, incidentally, was an official sponsor of American Youth for Democracy, along with confirmed communists Howard Fast, Langston Hughes, John Howard Lawson and Dirk Struik.
In April 1948, Frank Marshall Davis and Vernon Jarrett were working together as members of the publicity committee of the communist controlled Citizens’ Committee to Aid Packing-House Workers.
(Excerpt) Read more at trevorloudon.com ...

U.S. Treasury increases auto bailout cost estimate!

CNBC ^ | 08-14-12 | Unkown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department has said the auto industry bailout will cost taxpayers $3.4 billion more than previously thought.

Treasury now estimates the 2009 bailout will eventually cost the government $25.1 billion, according to a report sent to Congress on Friday.

That is up from the last quarterly estimate of $21.7 billion.

Since the $80 billion bailout of the auto industry, Detroit's big automakers have moved from crisis to profit. GM and Chrysler were put through government-funded bankruptcies that slashed costs and debt.
Treasury has so far recouped about half of what was extended in grants and loans to GM and Chrysler, related retail financing arms and suppliers. Some of the money was repaid in cash, while the remaining interest was tied up in equity shares held by the government.

(Excerpt) Read more at cnbc.com ...

Democrat Acrostics

Ryan's Proposal Offers Future Medicare Recipients Same Plan as Federal Employees!

Rush Limbaugh.com ^ | August 14, 2012 | Rush Limbaugh


RUSH: Let's grab Irene here in southern California. Go to the phones. Irene, thanks for calling. Great to have you here.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. I love you. Thank you for the great service that you're doing for our country.

RUSH: I appreciate that very much. Thank you.

CALLER: On the Ryan Medicare issue, what they're not getting out there... well I've heard it, but what needs to be out there is that the under 55 either keep Medicare or use the voucher is the same program that the Washington Federal Employees get.

RUSH: Why would it be important to have that out there? What does that matter?

CALLER: Well, because there was such an uproar years ago before this Obamacare was enacted that people wanted the same program that Washington got, and that's what Paul Ryan is delivering.

RUSH: You know, that's a good way to sell this. By the way, if you're on Medicare, under 55, you're going to be able to choose the same program that federal workers have.

CALLER: I think so. Because I think that was a big concern amongst younger people. Why can't we have the same program you have?

RUSH: I never thought that. I don't want anything to do with the federal government. But you may have a point. You may have a point. I don't know if it sells or not. I'm too caught up in the truth. And I don't know that that's actually correct. But I'm going to find out. I'm going to look into it. I've never heard it characterized that way.


RUSH: By the way, folks, I looked it up and Irene is exactly right. And Ryan has pitched his plan that way. It is what federal employees get. The New York Times has said so, April of last year. I'll have the details when we get back.


RUSH: It turns out that Irene from southern California was right. A year ago, the New York Times compared Paul Ryan's plan with what the federal government workers in Congress has. It was a story on April 18th, 2011. They note that Ryan has said the same thing. In an op-ed piece, the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Ryan wrote: "Starting in 2022, new Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in the same kind of health care program that members of Congress enjoy." Now, the New York Times story, I just had a quick scan of it. They tried to nitpick what they say are differences. But it looks pretty much like Ryan's plan is very close, if not identical, to what Congress has.

Here is what Ryan wrote. This is from his Wall Street Journal op-ed from last year. "Starting in 2022, new Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in the same kind of health care program that members of Congress enjoy. Future Medicare recipients will be able to choose from a list of guaranteed coverage options, and they will be given the ability to choose a plan that works best for them. This is not a voucher program, but rather a premium-support model. A Medicare premium-support payment would be paid, by Medicare, to the plan chosen by the beneficiary, subsidizing its cost."

So here's Debbie "Blabbermouth" Schultz out there calling it a voucher program, this and that. Nothing she said about it is accurate.


Eric Holder: Racial Preferences Needed for … National Security

PJ Media ^ | August 14, 2012 | J. Christian Adams

The Eric Holder Justice Department has filed this brief in the United States Supreme Court defending racial preferences at the University of Texas. (Texas, by the way, is also vigorously defending the racial preferences.) Abigail Fisher, who is white, is challenging race preferences that cost her a slot at the University of Texas law school. Because the racial spoils go to Obama’s most loyal political constituency, people of color, naturally Eric Holder’s Justice Department is defending them by spending your tax dollars paying lawyers to write the brief.

None of that is a surprise. What is surprising is the argument the Justice Department makes in the brief — that racial preferences are vital to national security:

It is a pressing necessity in an era of intense competition in the global economy and ever evolving worldwide national-security threats. The government, moreover, has a vital interest in drawing its personnel — many of whom will eventually become its civilian and military leaders — from a well-qualified and diverse pool of university and service-academy graduates of all backgrounds who possess the understanding of diversity that is necessary to govern and defend the United States.
This might mark the first time the ideologues in the administration have placed national security topmost among their priorities — even if it is a phony argument.

Let’s consider one of the lawyers who signed the brief. Thanks to PJ Media’s Pulitzer-nominated/submitted Every Single One series, we know a great deal about the radical backgrounds of well over 100 new hires in the Justice Department. Sharon McGowan is a new Holder career civil service hire in the Appellate Section of the Civil Rights Division.

Hans von Spakovsky at PJ Media:

Sharon McGowan: Prior to joining the Section, Ms. McGowan spent six years as a staff attorney at the ACLU, working on its Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) & AIDS Project. Her claim to fame there was that she brought a lawsuit against the Library of Congress on behalf of a Special Forces veteran who was denied a job after announcing his/her intention to transition from male to female. The case resulted in a dubious ruling by a hard-core liberal Clinton appointee (James Robertson, who mercifully has since retired from the bench) that Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination also protects individuals who are undergoing sex-change operations. Judge Robertson’s decision notwithstanding, I’m fairly confident that’s not what Congress had in mind when it passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

While working at the ACLU, Ms. McGowan co-authored “The Rights of Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals and Transgender People: The Authoritative ACLU Guide.” She also was a contributing author to “Lesbian/Gay Law Notes,” which is published by the Lesbian & Gay Law Association of Greater New York. Earlier in her career, she interned for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. And she remains a frequent speaker on gender identity issues. Here’s a sample of her work.
As I have written many times, people wrongly assume the radical policies of Eric Holder’s Justice Department come from the radicalism of Holder and his top lieutenants. They think once America rids itself of Eric Holder, the problem is solved.

The truth is far more disturbing. Radicals have burrowed throughout the Justice Department, pushing radical policies and outlandish arguments like the one defending race preferences in Texas. These lawyers genuinely believe that classifying people on the basis of race helps defend the nation. Until Congress addresses the hijacking of the bureaucracy through budgetary measures, the echoes of Eric Holder will continue to resonate through a Romney administration.

Obama Administration Continues to Fail on Energy Policy!

RedState ^ | August 14, 2012 | Ben Howe

One would think that one of the primary requirements of energy independence would be having the ability to collect the energy through which one becomes independent by using. Somehow, this logic escapes the Obama administration as evidenced by their “Five-Year Plan.” However, if their goal was to diminish opportunities for energy resources, they’ve done a magnificent job.

It is pretty well established that there is oil in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Arctic. We should drill there until it runs dry and the administration puts forth the appearance that they agree on this point as they have been kind enough to allow additional drilling there. Specifically, they’ve agreed to set up 12 lease auctions in the Gulf and 3 more in the Arctic. Very nice of them but these are known quantities and probably don’t qualify as the savior of energy independence at this point. For that, we’d need to explore new areas. However, true exploration is not on the agenda.

>>>The five-year offshore lease plan focuses on allowing oil and gas development in already-explored areas of the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic, while ruling out lease sales in Atlantic waters, despite pressure from some Virginia officials eager for exploration off state shores.<<<
You would think that with all of the information collected by the Interior Department on these matters that the administration would’ve come to a different conclusion. You would also think that the Interior Department would have collected information. Unfortunately that is not the case, and the Governors of 9 coastal states are not very pleased, sending a letter to the President asking for an explanation for the lack of communication.
>>>…the administration fails to expand adequate access to resource-abundant areas in the Arctic and fails to establish leasing in the Mid- and South-Atlantic. Both of these decisions appear to have been made without proper consultation from the states, as required by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and without sufficient explanation for the reversal in decision from previous plans.<<<
Furthermore, the administration continues to hide behind “studies” to block further drilling in the Arctic. In a sneaky move, the administration put forth the “possibility of 3 auctions for rights to drill in waters near Alaska.” But this does nothing to stop them from shutting down more areas in order to create “study areas.” This is known to most people as “pandering to environmental whackos” and the letter mentions this as well.
>>>In the Arctic, the proposed plan allows for only three lease sales in the Arctic OCS – one in the Chukchi Sea, one in Beaufort Sea, and one in the Cook Inlet – all of which appear to be postponed by one-year from the date proposed in the draft plan. The final plan further removes millions of acres in the Arctic from leasing in order to form “study areas,” raising the likelihood that these Arctic lease sales may never occur. The Department of the Interior did not reach out to the State of Alaska for input on these decisions, as is legally required.<<<
The letter was signed by Govs. Bobby Jindal (Louisiana), Sean Parnell (Alaska), Rick Perry (Texas), Phil Bryant (Mississippi), Robert Bentley (Alabama), Nikki Haley (South Carolina), & Robert McDonnell (Virginia). You know…basically everyone we like. Full text of the letter here.
So, not to beat a drum to death here but let me take this opportunity to point out yet again what is at stake in this election. We’ve already seen the Keystone Pipeline get derailed. We’ve seen the coal industry destroying MACT Rule, we know about the tyrannical EPA and here we have what appears to be, either through malice or incompetence, a framework which ensures that energy independence will remain out of reach for the United States.
We are on a disastrous energy path that must be altered. There is only one way to alter it.

Yes, Obamacare Cuts Medicare More Than President Romney Would (It's HOW that's key)

Forbes ^ | Today | Avik Roy

You wouldn’t know it from listening to the Obama campaign, but there’s only one Presidential candidate in 2012 who has cut Medicare: Barack Obama, whose Affordable Care Act cuts Medicare by $716 billion from 2013-2022. Today, the Romney campaign reiterated its pledge to repeal Obamacare, and promised to “restore the funding to Medicare [and] ensure that no changes are made to the program for those 55 and older.”

It’s an important point of policy clarity. Left-of-center writers, such as Ezra Klein of the Washington Post,( accurately point out that Paul Ryan’s 2011 and 2012 budgets repeal Obamacare while preserving Obama’s cuts to Medicare. “The difference between the two campaigns is not in how much they cut Medicare,” he writes, “but in how they cut Medicare.”

(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...

Flashback: Obama Says Stop Scaring Seniors Over Ryan's Medicare Reform!

Breitbart TV ^ | August. 14, 2012

January 29, 2010, President Obama at GOP House Issues Conference:

"There is a political vulnerability to doing anything that tinkers with Medicare. And that's probably the biggest savings that are obtained through Paul's plan.

And I raise that not because we shouldn't have a series discussion about it. I raise that because we're not going to be able to do anything about any of these entitlements if what we do is characterize, whatever proposals are put out there, as, well, you know, that's -- the other party is being irresponsible; the other party is trying to hurt our senior citizens; that the other party is doing X, Y, Z.

That's why I say if we're going to frame these debates in ways that allow us to solve them, then we can't start off by figuring out, A, who's to blame; B, how can we make the American people afraid of the other side."

(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...


08-14-12 | TEDWINT`

Well, the long knives are being unsheathed.

All the Sunday morning liberal news media pundits appeared to have gotten the memo and they were all reading from the published Obama/Democrat script. It’s surprising that they don’t bother to change a word or two here and there to give the spin a less robotic quality, but maybe they’re just not clever enough.

Mitt Romney and his newly-selected VP, Paul Ryan, both of whom have been characterized as true boy scouts, are deeply religious family men (this is now considered a black mark against one’s name), and, until recently, would have been considered “hard targets” for the sleazy, Chicago thug-style political charges and allegations that one would expect from David Axelrod, Hilary Rosen, Harry Reid, Stephanie Cutter and other such slime merchants. One might think that miscreants such as these would take a step back from their usual unprincipled and unscrupulous tactics.
But, these are desperate times, folks. We’d better assume that the gloves are now officially off, and what has been considered sleazy and contemptible up until now will be regarded as “the high road” and will be avoided by the left, in deference to the latest bottom-feeder attack methods.
Now, suggesting that a straight-arrow, pillar of the community such as Mitt Romney is a felon, a tax cheat and a murderer without a shred of evidence is merely liberally-acceptable politics-as-usual.
Should we fight fire with fire and suggest that Barack Obama is a felon, a tax cheat and a murderer?
Probably not advisable.
Then we would be considered the bad guys because we have lowered ourselves to their level. We’d be the bad guys because we’re supposed to be above that sort of thing. I guarantee that would be the charge that the lame stream media would level at our side.
I think a more effective strategy would be something like this: When someone like Hilary Rosen makes a charge such as “Ann Romney never worked a day in her life” she should be met with such a blistering barrage of fact-based and humiliating repudiation for a couple of weeks that she would not dare show her face for the next two or three election cycles. Not only would her charge be shown to be untrue and stupid but an Obama/Axelrod-style hit squad would be turned loose on her to dredge up any and all foul deeds from her past life.
If a lie is put forth by one of the President’s subordinates (that includes David Axelrod or anyone at his level) and the lie can be easily disproved by a rudimentary fact check, it must be met with ferocity such that the liar in question is humiliated for making such a ludicrous and obviously mean-spirited attempt to destroy the character of his or her target. This humiliation should be intense and relentless to the point that the offender will feel moved to consider another line of work. A level of embarrassment should be inflicted on said perpetrator such that any statement or opinion put forth by him or her in the future is met with across-the-board scorn and incredulity.
Make no mistake. This is the most important election in most of our lifetimes. It’s the most important election in my lifetime and I go back to FDR!!
If our side uses the gentlemanly “We mustn’t use the president's middle name”; “You shouldn’t make fun of the president's ears”; “Never attack the president’s association with his radical friends” style of campaigning, that was SO MONUMENTALLY SUCCESSFUL IN 2008, we will have our a$$es handed to us again and we’ll have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Happy Birthday, Social Security!

Los Angeles Times ^ | August 13, 2012, 6:58 p.m. | Michael Hiltzik

For a 77-year-old, Social Security is looking pretty spry today, the anniversary of Franklin Roosevelt's signing of the Social Security Act in 1935. The program covers more than 54 million Americans, providing a dignified retirement and keeping the families of premature deceased workers out of poverty.

Among those who should be celebrating: Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wisc., the newly-anointed GOP candidate for vice-president. As has been widely reported, Ryan's father died in 1986, when the future congressman was 16. The younger Ryan collected Social Security survivor benefits, which he put away for college, until the age of 18.

(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...

Will Media Report Obama Taking Pride in Cutting Medicare and Social Security?

Newsbusters ^ | 8/14/12 | Matthew Sheffield

Now that Mitt Romney has named Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as his running-mate on the Republican ticket, dishonest liberals are dusting off their old standby of "Mediscare," making false accusations that conservatives want to completely dismantle Medicare and Social Security simply because they wish to make some changes in order to preserve them. Democrats, it is implied, would never dare to change such programs.

Unfortunately for this argument, there is one prominent liberal Democrat who has not only reduced Medicare spending growth, he's even touted his willingness to do the same to Social Security!

That liberal Democrat is none other than President Barack Obama.
(Excerpt) Read more at m.newsbusters.org ...

Obama's Strange Dependence on Valerie Jarrett (Why she is the most powerful woman in Washington)

American Thinker ^ | 08/14/2012 | Karin McQuillan

President Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden three times before saying yes, because he got cold feet about the possible political harm to himself if the mission failed. Instead of listening to advisors from the U.S. military, Defense, or even State, Obama was acting on the advice of White House politico and close friend Valerie Jarrett. Valerie Jarrett?
This account comes from Richard Miniter's upcoming book Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors who Decide for Him. Miniter has written a half-dozen books on the war on terror. He is relying on an unnamed source within the U.S. military Joint Special Operations Command who was directly involved in the operation and planning of the Osama bin Laden kill mission.
Is the story credible? According to Edward Klein, a reporter once asked Obama if he ran every decision by Jarrett. Obama answered, "Yep. Absolutely." Edward Klein, former foreign editor of Newsweek and editor of the New York Times Magazine for many years, describes Jarrett as "ground zero in the Obama operation, the first couple's friend and consigliere." Klein -- who claims he used a minimum of two sources for each assertion in his book on the Obama presidency, The Amateur -- writes in detail about Jarrett opposing the raid on bin Laden. She told Obama not to take the political risk. Klein thought Obama ignored Jarrett's advice. Miniter tells us he listened to her, three times telling Special Operations not to take the risk to go after bin Laden.
We need to understand the role Valerie Jarrett plays in Obama's private and political life.
"If it wasn't for Valerie Jarrett, there'd be no Barack Obama to complain about," starts Klein's chapter on Jarrett.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

You didn’t build that: Obama says wealthy are ‘lucky,’...(Obama off teleprompter again)

The Washington Examiner ^ | 8/15/12 | Joel Gerhke

One month to the day after his infamous ‘you didn’t build that’ speech, President Obama’s description of wealthy people did not include “smart” or “hardworking,” as he instead ascribed their success to good luck.

“If you’re lucky enough, and fortunate enough, and been blessed enough to be in the other two percent, the top two percent, you still get a tax cut for your first $250,000 of income,” Obama said during a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “All we’re saying is after that, maybe you can do a little bit more to help pay down this deficit and invest in things like education that help our economy grow.”

Obama avoided the cringe-inducing soundbite, but his remarks echoed the sense of his “you didn’t build that” speech in Virginia.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonexaminer.com ...

Socialist Obama: 'A New Vision Of An America In Which Prosperity Is Shared'

Breitbart TV ^ | August 13, 2012


President Obama: "Too many folks still don't have a sense that tomorrow will be better than today. And so, the question in this election is which way do we go? Do we go forward towards a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared?(continued)

(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...

The 3 Rs

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We Tried Our Plan...

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We Democrats!

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Look Here!

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Fake Heart Attack!

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Fig Bucking Deal!

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Hear Me Roar!

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Famous Quotes

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Babies and Tips

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We're There!

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Eviction Notice

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Different Politics

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Two Flukes

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Obama Manipulating Women

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Erskine Bowles(D): Ryan Budget is serious, honest, and sensible!

RCP ^ | 8/14/2012 | Erskine Bowles


Destroys Obama in this clip.

(Excerpt) Read more at realclearpolitics.com ...

Paul Ryan: Mitt Romney's Line in the Sand!

Townhall.com ^ | August 14, 2012 | David Limbaugh

Mitt Romney has outdone himself in choosing Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate. The conservative base is ecstatic, and that will translate into voter intensity and high turnout.
Our country faces an unprecedented debt crisis, primarily driven by our entitlement programs. We have more than $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities -- a staggering, incomprehensible number -- and we are on a collision course with national bankruptcy.
Obama has offered no solutions; his Democratic majority in the Senate has failed to produce a budget in 1,200 days; and they have both obstructed the Republicans' proposed remedies. It's as if it's a game with these people and our crushing national debt is but a trifling matter.
Obama is not only obstructing budget reform; it's almost as if he is trying to make matters worse. He has added a new major entitlement, Obamacare, and has continued to amass annual budget deficits in excess of $1 trillion, and his latest 10-year budget revealed he would continue to do so. Instead of reducing spending, he has demanded yet more "stimulus" spending and is ushering in the largest tax increase in U.S. history, which is guaranteed to further smother growth and probably worsen our debt problem.
Not too many years ago, both parties acknowledged that our entitlement commitments were a sword hanging over our heads. But when President George W. Bush tried to begin discussions on Social Security reform, Democrats ridiculed and demonized him and told seniors he was after their nest eggs.
But in 2008, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., dared to make the third rail of politics his calling card and to serve it up on the national stage. He presented a credible, comprehensive and workable plan to structurally reform entitlements.
Ryan earned national attention because he addressed the issues candidly, soberly and with such a command of the facts and attention to detail that Democrats couldn't shame him off the stage. Though he was calm in his presentation, he pulled no punches in warning that in the absence of major reforms, we would sustain a Greek-style financial collapse.
Ryan has been the Antiobama; he has provided the main adult leadership in the room, while Obama has been acting like a child in a candy store, spending every federal dollar he can get his hands on.
Ryan hasn't just provided issue papers; his plan was reduced to actual legislation and was passed in the House, only to be flatly rejected in the Democratic Senate and viciously and disingenuously mocked by President Obama.
Obama knows that Ryan has been his financial nemesis; he singled him out for ridicule during his farcical bipartisan health care summit. He has castigated Ryan during national speeches.
Ryan's inclusion on the GOP ticket guarantees that the financial issues threatening our republic today will remain front and center. As long as Ryan is around and playing a prominent role, Obama simply cannot effectively duck the issue.
Indeed, Romney's selection of Ryan signals his irrevocable commitment to tackling our entitlements problem and solving our financial crisis. It loudly signals that these issues, along with related economic issues, will be the centerpiece of his presidential campaign.
It would have been easy for Romney to have avoided the entitlements issue, and some GOP advisers were urging him to do so, arguing it is a political loser because demagoguery will prevail over fiscal responsibility.
But Romney chose the path of statesmanship. He decided not to underestimate the American people and instead trusted that if properly informed, they would understand the gravity of the situation we face and support the right choices.
By choosing Ryan, Romney has drawn a bold line in the sand, telling the American people that his administration will tackle these problems no matter how much ridicule they receive from Obama and other Democrats.
Romney isn't promising to adopt Ryan's plan entirely, but it is obvious he embraces the underlying principles it contains: entitlement reform, discretionary spending reductions, a responsible national security budget and tax reform, which, when coupled with strong spending reductions, will lead to economic growth.
Obama has yet to present any semblance of a plan to reduce spending, restructure entitlements and bring our short- and long-term budgets into balance. He has offered only class warfare and fear-mongering.
The Ryan selection will force Obama and his party out of the closet and to offer some plan of their own instead of just ripping the Republicans' plans. It won't end the demagoguery, but it will smoke them out -- and expose the incoherence of their ideas.
Mitt Romney's best chance of winning this election is to draw the starkest of contrasts between his vision and Barack Obama's record. Choosing Paul Ryan was the best possible way to do that. Kudos to Mr. Romney. Game on.


WND ^ | Aug 14 2012 | Jerome R Corsi

In the first 24 hours after his selection to be Mitt Romney’s vice presidential candidate, LGBT (Lesbian, “Gay,” Bisexual, and Transgender) advocacy groups have declared war on Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, targeting him as a villain.

But by doing so, LGBT activists risk putting a spotlight on controversial issues high on the cultural agenda of the political left, including same-sex marriage and open LGBT behavior in the military, issues that might not fly as high in some less-liberal regions of the nation, including some swing states.

The Human Rights Coalition produced one of the most ignorant attacks (above), summarizing the QUEERS political opposition to Ryan.

(Excerpt) Read more at wnd.com ...

Union Greed and Politician Apathy are Killing Cities

Townhall.com ^ | August 14, 2012 | John Ransom

If you follow the rule in life to follow the money, the money trail increasingly is leading to a union pension, a union wage or a union contract. And it’s putting America’s cities out of business.
As more municipalities begin to eye bankruptcy proceedings as a way out of their financial mess, many believe that one great advantage of bankruptcy proceedings is that it will allow the nullification of fat union wages, pensions and other benefits that taxpayers in the private sector don’t get.
But if the example of Stockton, California serves as a guide, city officials would rather screw taxpayers and bondholders than take the union-led public employees off the state-sponsored tit.
And of course they would.
Public employee unions make public campaign contributions to politicians precisely for the exigency when taxpayers’ interest conflict with the interests of public employees.
Follow the money.
(Excerpt) Read more at finance.townhall.com ...

President Obama’s claim that insurance premiums ‘will go down’ (More Obama lies)

WASHINGTON POST ^ | 8/10/2012 | Glenn Kessler

The other thing we’ve done is to say, what are the critical needs of small business? A lot of time, one of the biggest challenges is to make sure that you, as a sole proprietor, that you can get health insurance for you and your family. So when you hear about the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — and I don’t mind the name because I really do care. That’s why we passed it. You should know that once we have fully implemented, you’re going to be able to buy insurance through a pool so that you can get the same good rates as a group that if you’re an employee at a big company you can get right now — which means your premiums will go down.”
— President Obama, campaign speech in Cincinnati, July 16, 2012
President Obama has embraced the phrase “Obamacare,” once originally intended as an epithet by the heath-care law’s opponents, but we were a bit surprised the other day when he declared that health insurance premiums were going to go down.
We have previously dinged Republicans for claiming that premiums have already gone up because of the law. And we have noted the president made what we called a “foolish, dubious” campaign promise with a huge asterisk — that premiums would be $2,500 lower than they would have been without the law.
But, here, the president is claiming that premiums actually will go down for people in the individual and small group markets. The health-care law is obviously a work in progress but are there data that back up this sweeping claim?
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...

Obama falsely claims Paul Ryan blocked farm bill (More Obama lies!)

The Examiner ^ | 8/13/2012 | Joe Newby

On Monday, Barack Obama claimed that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) blocked a bill giving aid to farmers and ranchers hurt by the severe drought, ABC News reported.
“I am told that Governor Romney’s new running mate, Paul Ryan, might be around Iowa the next few days,” he said while in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “He is one of the leaders of Congress standing in the way. So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities.”
There's only one problem with Obama's statement - the House passed a stopgap farm bill that is currently being held up by Democrats in the Senate. Not only did the measure pass the House, Rep. Ryan voted for it.
(Excerpt) Read more at examiner.com ...