Posts Tagged ‘Budget Deal’

Barack Obama: the Liar’s Liar

by Selwyn Duke on Friday, February 22nd, 2013

This is article 825 of 1000 in the topic Obama

Pinnochio2If I had to credit Barack Obama with one thing, it would be knowing his market. He understands that with an America so dumbed-down, and a media so prostrate before him, he can get away with lies previous presidents wouldn’t dare contemplate.

A good example — but far from the worst — is the current battle over sequestration, a fancy word for fantasy budget cuts. Obama has been engaging in demagoguery, blaming Republicans for these impending “cuts,” calling them “brutal” and a “meat cleaver” approach. What is the truth?

Sequestration was Obama’s idea.

He proposed it in 2011 as part of the budget deal. Congress then passed it with the support of not just Republicans such as John Boehner, but also some colleagues named Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. And after the GOP-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate approved the bill, Obama signed this “meat cleaver” approach into law. But it gets worse.

The sequester isn’t any kind of cleaver approach, but more of an Eddie Haskell one. As Forbes’ Paul Roderick Gregory wrote:

The sequester has been advertised as “cutting” discretionary spending over a ten year period by $995 billion. After inflation adjustments and exempting more than a trillion dollars of defense and non defense discretionary spending from the sequester, the CBO projects (in its Table 1.1) discretionary spending to increase by $110 billion over the decade. There is no actual $995 billion cut after the CBO applies its magic adjustments. Rather there is a $110 billion increase.

With a meat cleaver like that, your butcher would have your cholesterol shooting up like … well, our budget.

But this isn’t unusual. What Washington calls “cuts” are virtually always just reductions in the rate of spending growth. Here’s how the con works: it’s built into the system that the budget will automatically increase every year. And this is taken so for granted that if anyone proposes a reduction in this already inflated budget projection, it’s called a “cut.”

And what if the cuts were real? They would amount to approximately $99 billion a year out of a budget of $3.5 trillion. Calling this “brutal” is a bit like the Okefenokee Swamp losing three mosquitoes and calling it rape of the ecosystem.

By the way, 3.5 trillion one dollar bills stacked up would reach all the way to the moon.

Another Obama lie was the pressure-through-prevarication technique he used on the Supreme Court when it was reviewing his healthcare law. Here is what he said at the time:

I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress…. [F]or years what we have heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint. That an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.

“Unprecedented”? “Extraordinary”? All laws are duly passed by a democratically elected Congress.

And the Supreme Court has been overturning them for 200 years.

Moreover, if merely striking down a law constituted “judicial activism,” the Court should then never overturn legislation and would have no reason to exist.

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Fiscal Cliff deal increases deficit, increases taxes for 77 percent of taxpayers, and gives out lots of tax breaks for Democratic supporters

by John Lott on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

This is article 208 of 304 in the topic Taxation/IRS

From The Hill newspaper:

The Senate deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff” will add roughly $4 trillion to the deficit when compared to current law, according to new numbers from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The CBO determined Tuesday that the package, hammered out late Monday evening by Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would — over the next decade — come with a $3.9 trillion price tag. . . .

This will give Obama something to brag about.  From Bloomberg:

The budget deal passed by the U.S. Senate today would raise taxes on 77.1 percent of U.S. households, mostly because of the expiration of a payroll tax cut, according to preliminary estimates from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington.

More than 80 percent of households with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would pay higher taxes. Among the households facing higher taxes, the average increase would be $1,635, the policy center said. A 2 percent payroll tax cut, enacted during the economic slowdown, is being allowed to expire as of yesterday. . . .

Some of the politically favored wealthy got some benefits.

And it seems Hollywood’s rigorous backing of President Barack Obama and his Democrat peers in the waning months of 2012 paid off.

Section 317 of the freshly approved legislation includes an extension for “special expensing rules for certain film and television productions.” Congress first enacted production tax incentives favorable to the domestic entertainment industry in 2004, and extended them in 2008, but the deal was meant to expire in 2011. . . .

Other winners include:

  • $331 million for railroads by allowing short-line and regional operators to claim a tax credit up to 50 percent of the cost to maintain tracks that they own or lease.
  • $222 million for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through returned excise taxes collected by the federal government on rum produced in the islands and imported to the mainland.
  • $70 million for NASCAR by extending a “7-year cost recovery period for certain motorsports racing track facilities.”
  • $59 million for algae growers through tax credits to encourage production of “cellulosic biofuel” at up to $1.01 per gallon.
  • $4 million for electric motorcycle makers by expanding an existing green-energy tax credit for buyers of plug-in vehicles to include electric motorbikes.

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The Fiscal Cliff Is A Mirage, But A Real Cliff Is Ahead

by Bob Livingston on Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

This is article 320 of 389 in the topic economy
The Fiscal Cliff Is A Mirage, But A Real Cliff Is Ahead

PHOTOS.COM

Don’t worry over the so-called fiscal cliff. It is just the latest in a long line of crises created by the elected sociopath class as another ploy to extract more wealth from the middle class and further advance its agenda.

The cliff you need to worry about is the one we are barreling toward regardless of how the fiscal cliff negotiations turn out. It’s the hyperinflation cliff. It’s dead ahead. It has become unavoidable. The Nation is in default.

The fiscal cliff is the term adopted to refer to the end of the misnamed George Bush tax cuts (which expire on Dec. 31) and sequestration ($1.2 trillion in cuts to social programs and defense spending that kick in on Jan. 1 barring a budget deal). It’s an unpalatable option to the political class because the political class hates cutting government — which reduces the power of the state — and uses a progressive tax rate to help reinforce the Hegelian dialectic.

President Barack Obama and his redistributionist minions have drawn a line in the sand over the misnamed George W. Bush tax cuts (because Obama extended them in 2010, we will rightly call them Obama tax cuts). Obama wants to end his own tax cuts on those making more than $200,000 ($250,000 for joint filers). This, despite his statement in 2010: “You don’t raise taxes in a recession.”

The United States remains in the old or has entered into a new recession. As John Williams of Shadowstats.com writes here (subscription required): “[T]here has been no recovery in economic activity, since the economy plunged from 2006/2007 into mid-2009, just ongoing low-level stagnation. Reporting of retail sales, production and durable goods orders shows the economy turning down, once again, into what will become recognized as the second-dip of a double-dip recession, likely timed from third-quarter 2012. The reality remains that current economic woes are an ongoing part of protracted economic collapse, not the beginning of a new cycle.”

While the “official” phony-baloney government statistics show U.S. gross domestic product rising steadily since late 2009, real GDP growth remains stagnant, as it has since late 2009, and mirrors real unemployment, retail sales and housing starts.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has instituted QE3 to infinity. This will serve to prop up banks and the establishment, but it will hasten the demise of the dollar. (Watch the prices of gold and silver for confirmation.) It’s out-and-out theft from the American worker, saver and retiree.

QE3 and the unwillingness of the political class to make substantial and substantive cuts to government have prompted Williams to shorten his outer hyperinflation timeline from 2018 to 2014.

America is a warfare/welfare state. A full 20 percent ($718 billion) of the Federal budget in 2011 was spent on perpetual war, defense and security-related international activities. “This portion of the budget is untouchable,” according the neocon/warfare wing of both parties.

Another 21 percent ($769 billion) went to Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). An additional 13 percent ($466 billion) went to safety-net programs like SSI, food stamps, school meals, housing and childcare assistance, etc. “These are untouchable,” according to redistributionist class of both parties.

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Republicans Have Leverage in Fiscal Cliff Standoff

by Donald Douglas on Monday, December 3rd, 2012

This is article 323 of 389 in the topic economy

From Keith Hennessey, at the Wall Street Journal, “Time to Call the President’s Budget Bluff“:

… While the president has a strong hand, he is overplaying it. Republicans have some leverage. They need to use it effectively.

• The president’s veto threat is a bluff. Without a new law, tax increases and spending cuts will likely increase unemployment to 9% and might trigger a new recession. Even if he could shift all the political blame for such a legislative failure onto congressional Republicans, Mr. Obama cannot afford to risk a new recession that would irreparably damage his second term. He can neither veto a budget-deal bill that Congress sends to him, nor can he allow Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to tie a bill up in the Senate. He can, however, try to bluff Republicans into giving away the store.

• The president’s proposal for more spending and taxation puts him to the left of many in his own party, and Democrats up for re-election are not lemmings looking to follow Sen. Patty Murray, who has welcomed a plunge over the fiscal cliff. Democratic Sens. Max Baucus and Mary Landrieu oppose the president’s proposal to increase the estate tax. Sen. Chuck Schumer has defined “rich” at $1 million of income, much higher than the president’s $250,000.

Many Democrats don’t want to raise taxes on successful small business owners without Republican votes as political cover. Members of both parties are terrified at the prospect of subjecting 27 million additional tax filers to the Alternative Minimum Tax if there is no new legislative “patch,” as Congress has annually passed for many years.

If exposed to the light of day, these intraparty Democratic divisions provide opportunities for Republicans to negotiate a centrist or center-right agreement. In the short run, this requires Republicans to publicly challenge their Democratic colleagues on these specific policy questions. In the long run, Republicans must refuse to engage in ad hoc summitry and insist upon a return to a regular, committee-based legislative process that includes annual budget resolutions and open-floor amendments.

I’ve been saying the same thing. Republicans are in good shape if they stand firm. It’ll be Obama’s recession if we go over the cliff. Fuck him.

More at the link.

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The reason that Obama chooses to do interviews with local media: He can tell them what to ask questions about

by John Lott on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

This is article 340 of 560 in the topic Media

For a local reporter to get an interview with the president must be pretty heady stuff.  There are so many local reporters and so much competition that at least a few are willing to agree to almost anything for an interview.  I also seem to remember that local reporters who have asked Obama tough questions have been told that they will never get another interview.  From the White House Dosser:

The White House is doing something with its local TV interviews that it could not easily get away with in encounters with the White House press corps, which President Obama has been studiously ignoring: choosing the topic about which President Obama and the reporter will talk.

In interviews with three local TV stations Monday, two from states critical to Obama’s reelection effort, Obama held forth on the possibility of “sequestration” if he and Congress fail to reach a budget deal, allowing him to make his favorite political point that Republicans are willing to cause grievous harm to the economy and jobs in order to protect the rich from tax increases.

Obama Monday threw the White House press corps a bone by suddenly appearing in the briefing room for 22 minutes and taking questions from a total of four reporters. It was his first press conference at the White House – albeit in miniature – since March, and only his second of the year. Obama before Monday had taken exactly one substantive question from White House reporters since June.

But the three other interviews Obama also held Monday pointed to the advantage he gets by focusing on local press, with whom he has been speaking more regularly. . . .

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Dept. of Energy: We’ve got a little more ‘green loan’ money to hand out — who wants it?

by Doug Powers on Saturday, April 7th, 2012

This is article 353 of 522 in the topic Government Spending

Why not? We’re only about $16 trillion in debt.

From the New York Times:

Six months after the expiration of a federal loan guarantee program that backed $16 billion in loans to solar, wind and geothermal energy projects, the Energy Department has decided to offer a smaller set of similar guarantees by tapping another pot of money appropriated by Congress last year.

The department said Thursday that it had sent letters to potentially eligible companies inviting them to apply for the new money.

Under the other program, which was passed as part of the 2009 stimulus legislation, about three dozen companies that had applied for loan guarantees were told that they would not receive guarantees because the department had been unable to finish reviewing their applications before the program expired on Sept. 30, 2011.

The money being handed out in this round is attached to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, with the exception of the upfront fee, which will also be subsidized:

Usually, applicants under the 2005 program have to pay a fee upfront, called a credit subsidy, to compensate the government for the risk it runs by guaranteeing such a loan. Those fees can be costly, and few companies have applied. But the Energy Department said on Thursday that it had $170 million, approved under the budget deal of April 2011, that it would use to pay all or part of those subsidies.

That would make the 2005 program more like the loan guarantee program financed by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, in which the government paid the subsidy.

According to the NYT, the loan amounts are “likely to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

If you want to go for a loan, the letter the DoE is sending out with information on how to get yours is here (PDF).

Hopefully they approve my application for a $500 million loan to kick-start my idea for an algae-producing bio-fuel company called “Unkempt Aquarium Solutions.”

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The $4 Billion Obamacare Slush Fund for Progressives

by Michelle Malkin on Friday, February 24th, 2012

The $4 Billion Obamacare Slush Fund for Progressives
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2012

If you like how the Obama administration’s multibillion-dollar “investments” in bankrupt solar companies have turned out, you’ll love the latest federal loan program to nowhere. It’s the Obamacare loyalty rewards program for progressives.

To appease liberal Democrats pushing for the so-called “public option” (the full frontal government takeover of our health care system), the White House settled for the creation of a $6 billion network of nonprofit “CO-OPs” that will “compete” with private insurers. It’s socialized medicine through the side door. House Republicans sliced about $2 billion from the slush fund in last spring’s budget deal and proclaimed the program dead. Hardly.

On Wednesday, the White House trumpeted the release of nearly $700 million in taxpayer-funded low-interest loans for seven CO-OPs in eight states. Administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the fund will pour more money into CO-OP plans nationwide throughout the next year. In 2014, according to Washington bureaucrats, the plans will be offered on the federally approved and federally monitored state health exchange “marketplace.”

Some marketplace. Given how Team Obama has dispensed special Obamacare waivers to scores of campaign donors, it’s a sure bet the CO-OP/exchange mechanism will be brazenly rigged against non-subsidized, for-profit insurers. And against taxpayers. Obama health officials assure us that there will be an “early warning system” in place before loan recipients get into financial trouble. But we know from the half-billion-dollar Solyndra scam that when this administration sees red flags, it’s full speed ahead.

In fact, the Obamacare CO-OP overseers already predict a nearly 40 percent default rate for the loans, according to Kaiser Health. Welcome to the Chicago-on-the-Potomac reverse rule of holes: When you’re in one, keep digging.

So, who are the lucky winners of the Obamacare slush fund lottery? Freelancers CO-OP of New Jersey, New Mexico Health Connections, Midwest Members Health in Iowa and Nebraska, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative in Wisconsin, Freelancers CO-OP of Oregon, Montana Health Cooperative, and Freelancers Health Service Corporation in New York.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the Freelancers Union — the largest CO-OP loan beneficiary to date, with a total $341 million subsidy – is a left-wing outfit founded by a self-described “labor entrepreneur” and MacArthur “genius.” Sara Horowitz has already snagged countless grants from the city and state of New York, the liberal Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Horowitz and Obama served together, along with former green jobs czar Van Jones, as advisers for the progressive think tank Demos — which in turn partnered with fraud-ridden community organizers ACORN and Project Vote. She also runs a political action committee called “Working Today” that crusades for an expanded government safety net. Crowing about the CO-OP loan from her fellow progressive warrior, Horowitz exulted: “It’s like venture capital for health care.” Or more accurately, to borrow South Carolina GOP Sen.

Click to continue reading “The $4 Billion Obamacare Slush Fund for Progressives”
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Obama Plans Midwest Bus Tour

by Doug Powers on Thursday, August 4th, 2011

This is article 71 of 1000 in the topic Obama

nullTaking a page from Sarah Palin’s rolling menace, President Obama will this month go on a bus tour of the midwest, which is expected to immediately “save or create” one temporary bus driving job:

President Obama is planning a bus tour through the Midwest this summer in a trip intended to shore up political support in battleground states.

The president will embark on the bus tour, a rare mode of travel for a sitting president, later this month, a White House official said Wednesday. The tour will be run by the White House, not Obama’s reelection campaign.
[...]
The trip is being cast as an opportunity for Obama to shift back to the issue of jobs and the economy, according to The New York Times, which first reported on it.

Should we plant the idea in the media that this is only happening because Tea Party hostage takers swindled posession of Air Force One as part of the budget deal?

It’s been just over a year since Sheriff Joe went on his “Recovery Summer” tour, jetting in style from location to location promoting what great things the stimulus had in store for America. That the president is doing a follow-up tour in a bus is either accidentally symbolic or his way of sharing some of the sacrifice with the rest of America.

No specific stops have been scheduled, but Ross’ Restaurant in Bettendorf, Iowa might want to stock up on Magic Mountain ingredients just in case.

Update: There’s a reason the White House will organize this campaigning bus tour instead of Obama’s campaign organization — because it’s going to be charged to taxpayers instead of Obama’s campaign donors.

A presidential motorcade just from an airport to a venue a few miles away is quite an expensive undertaking, but how much does one that gallivants around an entire section of the country cost?

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Republicans Seeking Election Remain Unsure About Embracing Tea Party

by Donald Douglas on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

This is article 263 of 522 in the topic Government Spending

Well, perhaps I would too if half the political establishment had branded me a terrorist.

At New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The success of Tea Party-backed lawmakers in defining the terms of the debt debate in Washington has further cemented the party’s identity as part of a conservative movement insistent on deep spending cuts, lower taxes and smaller government.

But as Republican candidates gear up for 2012, many are struggling with whether to embrace those passions. Opposing the debt ceiling increase and linking arms with the Tea Party may help candidates tap into a reservoir of energy in their party’s electorate. But it also threatens to alienate the candidates from independent voters who grimaced at the bickering in Washington this summer and preferred greater compromise on issues like tax increases.

“The process didn’t please anyone,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, “but it was very clear that the new congressmen elected in 2010 dramatically shifted the debate from how much more shall we spend to how much shall we cut.”

In the coming 2012 elections, the strategic calculation for Republican candidates weighing Tea Party ties “depends on the state, depends on the politician and it depends on the particular race,” Mr. Ayres said.

Sounds fair enough. And in states like California, 0bviously, a Republican’s more likely to run as a moderate. And even then you can narrow it down to individual constituencies. At the national level, the piece discusses the presidential contenders, and quotes Michele Bachmann, who dissed the budget deal and asserts that President Obama has failed the test of leadership. Hey, sing it baby!

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From The Gang Of Six To The Gang Of Twelve.

by Skip MacLure on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

This is article 31 of 75 in the topic Tea Party

It really does sound like something out of Mao’s cultural revolution, doesn’t it? The Patriot Movement has been successful in ways that haven’t even become apparent yet. To the Marxists, our name is anathema. All you have to do is whisper “Tea-Party” around them and they go into paroxysms of vile invective, fit only for the streets of the slums they so love to perpetuate for their ‘plantation’ underclass.

Monday’s fiasco was no victory. What it was, was a classic display of Washington insider deal-making. I can tell you that the article I wrote, in which I began to explore the political necessity of replacing some or all of our party leadership, has drawn hundreds of comments. Although we haven’t had time to read them all, I assure you that we will within the next couple of days.

What you’re saying is surprising. Anger and disappointment… yes, there’s that in abundance. The country is a seething cauldron into which someone is poised to throw gunpowder. There is, however, a growing undercurrent of strength and determination.

It would be interesting to see a national census on the full numbers of the Patriot Movement, including those who agree with just about everything we stand for but do not necessarily identify themselves as tea-partiers. I’d be willing to venture to say that number could well run to a hundred million or more.

A new poll came out yesterday, saying that only 21% of the country identify themselves as liberal. This doesn’t bode well for the DeMarxists.

As Conservative Patriots, we have to take the lead in returning the country to sanity. The budget deal was a horrible piece of legislation that could only have been conceived in the fevered minds of the inside-the-beltway Republican establishment hacks. We know who all the players are, so I don’t need to go into that.

The Senate elections are coming up. We need to give some thought to who we will primary and then get strong conservatives to run in those races.
Remember, no matter what they say… there are one hell of a lot more of us than there are of them.
Let your voice be heard!

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2011

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