Posts Tagged 'deficit'

Don’t Blink

This Saturday morning, July 23rd, the Senate was originally scheduled to vote on Cut, Cap and Balance, the Republican plan to cut $111 billion out of this year’s deficit, trim $4 trillion over ten years, and present a balanced budget amendment to the states.  Instead, Harry Reid moved the vote up to Friday morning, calling it a waste of time and the worst piece of legislation to ever come to the Senate floor.  It failed to pass on strict partisan lines.

Senator Schumer called the bill “Cut, Cap and Kill” because he insisted that the bill would kill Medicare.  Debbie Wasserman-Schultz declared in the House of Representatives that the bill would kill seniors and that it was the Paul Ryan plan on steroids.   The only problem is that in three different places Cut, Cap and Balance specifically exempted Medicare and Social Security from cuts and caps.  Had Republicans known, some of them might have been a little bit more up in arms about the bill.  It was actually a very good compromise.  It cut and cap wasteful spending on liberal social programs and government bureaucracy, not hot buttons like military, Social Security and Medicare.

Perhaps that is a more reasonable explanation of why Harry Reid went back on his promise to allow debate on Cut, Cap and Balance and instead moved the vote up.  Perhaps someone in the Senate actually read the bill and told Reid what was in it.  And then, as if scripted, suddenly news outlets started declaring a deal between Boehner and Obama that was so close Reid needed to get this bill off the floor and stop “wasting time” on it.  The only problem is there was no such deal.  Somebody was lying to provide the sense of urgency needed to cut off debate on Cut, Cap and Balance before it got out that Democrats were lying about it killing Medicare.

This has become the name of the game in budget talks.  Neither side is willing to give in because both sides know that 2012 elections hang in the balance.  The difference is that Republicans have actually gone so far as to write a good compromise bill.  Democrats can’t vote yes on it, not because it “kills Medicare” or kills seniors.  They can’t vote on it because passing Cut, Cap and Balance would destroy Democrat re-election hopes for 2012.  It would be a huge Republican victory because Republicans came up with it.

On the other hand, Democrats can’t write a plan of their own.  They haven’t submitted a budget in over 800 days, and they can’t submit one now or that will also destroy their chances of getting re-elected in 2012.  Democrats can’t write a bill that says “We want to raise taxes so that we don’t have to cut spending as much” and still win in 2012 because the vast majority of the country doesn’t want Democrats to raise taxes so that they can spend more.  They are spending enough already, and we are taxed enough already.  On the other hand, Democrats can’t write a plan saying “Ok, no higher taxes, just cuts” or they will lose their class warfare base.  The liberal base of the Democrat party does not want a bill that doesn’t raise taxes on the “rich”.  It’s not about raising revenue, it’s about punishing upper classes more.

Republicans submitted a plan and it was a good plan.  Obama has signaled that he is willing to let the country default on its debt rather than compromise with Republicans.  Democrats have proven that they are the party of no on a budget deal.  If Republicans end up caving in order to save our credit rating, I hope Americans get the right message.  It doesn’t mean Republicans are wimps and we need to get rid of them.  It means they can only do so much with just a majority in the House.  We need to give them the Senate and the Presidency in 2012 if we expect anything to get accomplished.

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Shut it down

Memories of 1995 haunt GOP as shutdown talks grow. At least that’s the headline.  But why should the 1995 shutdown haunt the GOP?  Republicans shut down the government in order to force liberal Democrat President Bill Clinton to take a sharp turn to the right and balance the budget.  Clinton has been taking credit for it ever since as though somehow balancing the budget was his idea.  You still hear people (who haven’t read my blog) tout the “Clinton surplus”.  Of course, if you read my blog, you know there never was a surplus.

But Republicans did cause Clinton to drastically drop spending and usher in a period of pretty good economic growth for our country.  It started with a government shut down.

Why should a shutdown haunt the GOP?  Democrat senators in Wisconsin seem to think a government shut down is a pretty good idea.  Maybe if the Senate in DC won’t pass the House’s budget, Senate GOP members should go hide in Illinois with the Wisconsin Democrats.

We are about to head into our third deficit in excess of $1 trillion in a row.  In fact, this one is a brand new record of $1.65 trillion.  Someone needs to put the brakes on.  Especially since Obama’s idea of putting on the breaks is to have one deficit as low as $607 billion over the next ten years.  Bush held the previous deficit record at $458 billion for one of his 8 years in office.  Obama has dwarfed Bush’s entire deficit twice already and is on track to do it again.

Obama doesn’t even have a stimulus bill or healthcare law as an excuse this year.  This deficit is simply government spending beyond its means.

Republicans trimmed a tame $61 billion out of the budget, and Dems have labeled them as oppressive, murdering extortionists.  If the GOP doesn’t take drastic measures, by the time Obama leaves office it would take one year of every American paying 100% of every dollar they make in taxes just to cover his deficits.

Clinton managed to take credit for the results of the 1995 government shut down while demonizing Republicans for it.  The grass roots conservative movements who sent the GOP back in 2010 are ready for a shut down.  the question is if Republicans can speak louder than Obama and the media make sure credit is given where credit is due when it works.

Have you heard the one about Obama’s budget?

Democrats are saying Obama’s budget is strategic genius.  It avoids recommending any unpopular choices or dealing with any difficult topics so that Republicans will have to take those up and be hated by the masses for doing so.  That is the excuse for Obama skipping over any sort of entitlement reform.  Others are saying he is “establishing credibility with the voters” by writing some unpopular budget cuts into his plan so that he can negotiate with Republicans.

So now the President’s responsibility is reduced to a subtle way of taking partisan jabs at his political enemies?

It doesn’t seem that way to me.  It seems to me that Obama’s budget is much more like a bad joke or embarrassing bodily noise that one tries to avoid making in public.

Obama has come out now saying that his budget cuts the deficit and that we “can’t run up the credit card” anymore.  This is an odd claim since Obama’s budget actually runs up an additional $250 billion on the card this year, setting his deficit at a new record of $1.65 trillion.  And he doesn’t even have a stimulus bill to show for it.

The real joke is that Obama’s budget reduces the deficit to $607 billion after ten years.  Of course, Presidential budget projections ten years out are as on target as a superbowl prediction ten years out.  But even if Obama does cut the deficit to $607 billion it will still be over $100 billion higher than Bush’s worst deficit in 2008.

Don’t worry, Obama’s deficit doesn’t have a chance at getting as low as $607 billion.  Obama’s “tough choices” on budget cuts circumvent entitlements altogether, but he does have cuts to education funding and heating for the poor.  That’ll pass.

Obama also includes tax hikes that his own party wouldn’t pass.  This must be part of his genius strategy where he somehow hangs his deficit around the Republican’s neck.  Obama’s spending cuts and tax hikes will never pass.

A liberal friend of mine informed me that the President’s budget really doesn’t matter, what counts is what Congress does.  Apparently he was trying to make me feel better about the President’s embarrassing budget.  I’m fine with that.  Bush was crucified for his last two years in office for high budget deficits.  Nevermind that Obama dwarfed those deficits his first year in office (and again his second and now third year), does this mean we can now blame Pelosi/Reid for Bush’s budget deficits?  The last time Republicans controlled Congress they had a $248 billion deficit.  That is less than the increase in Obama’s $1.65 trillion deficit this year.

Obama is betting on his skills of manipulation and a willfully ignorant voting public.  He has offered a sham budget with hopes that Republicans will do his job for him so that he can blame them for failure or take credit himself for success.  Clinton did the same thing when Gingrich and co. shut down the government and balanced the budget.

Obama’s budget is a shameful joke.  Liberals love him for it because they see his partisan agenda.  Hopefully the majority of voters see it for what it is: a waste of Obama’s time and our tax dollars.

On Unemployment, Republicans are right and wrong

Get ready for the Sally Struthers commercials about to be produced by the DNC.  Republicans blocked an extension of unemployment benefits.

But what is being missed on a large scale is why Republicans blocked the extension.  Democrats have extended unemployment benefits four times and have not paid for any of the extensions.  In the most recent extension, they allowed people to find temporary work without losing benefits, all unpaid for.  With deficits over a trillion dollars, the Democrat argument has been that unemployment benefits create jobs.  I’m sure we can all come up with a time we were down on our luck and were hired by an unemployed person.  Right?

The Republican argument is simple.  Pay for the benefits, and they will vote to extend them.  In fact, since they are good Republicans, they don’t even want Democrats to cut other programs to pay for the benefits.  Simply take surpluses from Stimulus and TARP to pay for them.  Seems simple enough, but the Democrats appear to have local stimulus funded pork projects on their priority list above paying for unemployment benefits.  You won’t see that on their “Feed the Children of Detroit” tv special.

This one seems cut and dry.  But the Republicans are wrong too.  Saying you have a surplus in the stimulus program is like saying you have a surplus if you go shopping and don’t quite hit your credit limit.  The word “surplus” and “stimulus” (which was 100% in the red from day one) do not belong in the same sentence together.  Does it really matter which account we take the money from when every account is debt funded already?

Unemployment benefit extensions have become unregulated welfare.  No, unemployment benefits do not create jobs.  Businesses who are paid to create and produce goods and services that people want and need at prices they can afford create jobs.  But instead of throwing money at those job creators, we are raising taxes on them and telling them they can no longer conduct business.  A good example is Obama deciding we no longer need the energy independence that oil exploration and drilling would have provided.  That is thousands of jobs lost in his one decision.

Towards the beginning of Obama’s Presidency, he said that “There will be a time for profits, now is not that time”.  And that thinking is why Congress is looking for a fifth extension of unemployment benefits.

GDP on loan from China

Although the economy shrank overall in 2009, plenty of media outlets and Democrats are overjoyed to point out that the economy grew at a rate in the last quarter that was higher than we’ve seen since all the way back in, well, the Bush years.  The 5.7% GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2009 was more than a lot of economists expected.  Economists who know what happens when you throw trillions of debt spending at the economy weren’t too surprised.

Once again, debt does not equal wealth.  Obama increased spending by 33% his first year while revenues fell.  This year he is doing the same, even without unplanned stimulus spending.  Every jobs bill Obama thinks up is nothing more than borrowing hundreds of billions more and throwing it at short-term government infrastructure projects.  I still haven’t found out how many times you have to repave the same stretch of road before the government counts as a job saved or created.

If you lend a homeless man a million dollars at a high interest rate, he buys a house, and then the house drops in value to $800k, is his wealth growing?  He does have an $800,000 house that he didn’t have before.  I hate to say it, but our growth in the fourth quarter of 2009 is no different.

In the fourth quarter of 2009 the market value of our domestic product increased by $221 billion.  That’s not bad.  It’s not quite as good as the 7.2% GDP growth Bush’s tax cuts produced, but it’s definitely better than the economic retraction we saw in the first half of 2009.  At the same time though, debt spending increased by $260 billion in the fourth quarter.

So we borrowed $260 billion and the value of our domestic product increased by $221 billion.  Meanwhile more than 600,000 jobs were lost in the fourth quarter.  And lots of roads got repaved again.  Oh yeah, and plenty of Democrat congressional districts got new duck ponds, skate parks, and honey bee insurance.

Now we have to pay for our borrowed growth.  Someone finally read my blog and figured out that Obama is going to raise taxes by not renewing the Bush tax cuts.  Obama has already written Cap and Trade (which would increase energy costs by thousands for each American family) into his budget.  The sad thing is that with all these tax increases we still are expecting a $1.6 trillion deficit for 2011.  This is only twice what Obama was projecting for 2011 when he took office.  For the record, Bush’s worst deficit was just over $400 billion after a year of Democrat control of the Congress.  Bush even inherited the tech bubble, loose fiscal policy, and a decimated terror intelligence community (who couldn’t stop 9/11) from the previous administration.  By the way, if you think Bush inherited a surplus you haven’t been reading my blog.

Obama kept telling us that only government can fix the economy.  Many believed him.  Hopefully we have learned our lesson.  The government doesn’t make money.  The government doesn’t produce goods and services that people want at prices they are willing to pay.  The government cannot produce growth.  All the government can do is beg, borrow, and steal from some and benevolently hand out to others while calling it growth.  If Obama has caused anything to change, hopefully it’s that we finally know better.

Senate for Sale

If your Democrat Senator voted yes on Obamacare for less than $45 million, your state got ripped off.  This was what it took to get Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska to shed his conscience and vote for an Obamacare bill that includes taxpayer funding for abortion.

In exchange for Nelson’s vote, Sen. Reid put a provision in the Democrat healthcare bill to make the other 49 states pick up Nebraska’s Medicaid costs forever.  This is what it took to bring about a reversal of Nelson’s earlier heroic stance against a bill that will reverse years of US policy and force every American to pay for abortion.  Nelson joins Landrieu from Louisiana and Lieberman from Connecticut who have each taken payouts for a yes vote on Obamacare.

You might be wishing that your Senator was as crafty as Nelson, or that he or she would hold out until the Democrat leadership offered your state a multi-million dollar buyout.   The only problem is that buying votes through favorable  legislation is unconstitutional.

Article I, Section 8:

…all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Article IV, Section 2:

The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.

Article II, Section 4:

The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Back to reality, I doubt Senator Nelson will ever face bribery charges.  But maybe my own Senator will get some inspiration and dip into the bottomless well of our Federal Treasury for my state.

There is plenty to object to in this bill.  Maybe my own Sen. Nelson (Bill Nelson) could go up to the leadership and tell them it’s a no go unless Florida is exempt from paying Medicaid forever.  How about an exemption from the marriage penalty built into Obamacare?  What about an exemption from new taxes on our hospitals, doctors, medical suppliers, pharmacies and insurance companies?  Any Floridian can tell you that insurance companies have no issue with leaving our state when business stops being profitable.

My Senator could, like Ben Nelson did, pretend he opposes taxpayer funded abortion until we get a deal from Reid.  How about something that guarantees that Floridians can still get a hip replacement after they retire.  He could pretend that this bill will actually cut Medicare by $500 billion like they are promising and object until they allow Floridians to buy health insurance from whoever they want (like a non-profit co-op) instead of only Obama approved contributo…uh, corporations.

Citing how this bill will make the cost of healthcare go up $234 billion, my Senator could hold out his yes vote until they grant Florida an exemption from helping to pay back the increased deficit and interest this bill will create.  Wouldn’t you rather pay income taxes at today’s rates instead of Obama’s emergency debt reduction rates of 2011?

Knowing that there are deals to be had, frankly I feel that I can’t vote for my Senator in the next election unless he can outsell the competition.  Then again, I think that’s the point.

Let the Democrats Have the Moderates

Democrats continue every election cycle to try to tell Republicans how to win elections. When your arch enemy starts giving you tips on how to defeat him, you should be suspicious. Yet Democrats keep offering friendly advice. No, thanks.

Democrats keep telling Republicans that we need to make our tent bigger. We need more liberals in our party. We need to get away from issues that kill our party like smaller government, the right to live, and, of course, family values. Americans don’t want that. As long as we stay the party of small government, focused on that 200 year old constitution and this crazy idea that men are born equal, not that they need to be made equal by the government, we will remain the minority party.

But who are the moderates anyway? One thing is for sure: they are not reliable. For example, take Dede Scozzafava. After spending months telling everyone she is a conservative and a die-hard Republican despite her liberal record, she finally drops out of the race and endorses the liberal Democrat over the Conservative party candidate. Or how about Colin Powell and a number of other moderate Republicans who begged the Republicans to put forth a moderate/liberal candidate for President and then proceeded to endorse the liberal Democrat when they did.

Moderates are people who think the government should provide every social service imaginable, while still thinking the government should spend less and tax less. They think abortion on demand is terrible and tragic, but should be safe and legal. They think partial birth abortion should be illegal because it is the murder of a living baby, except in the case of rape, danger to the mother’s life, poverty, or a real good sob story. They vote for the incumbents if their life is going good and they are generally happy. They vote against the incumbent if they’ve had a bad day, or if the opponent has a strong chin and more rugged facial features.

They vote based on color, gender, negative advertising, popular fads, and shiny lights. They support short wars, aid for Africa (even if it’s borrowed from China) and environmental reform, whether it actually helps the environment or not. They love federal grants and then complain about how the government wastes so much money. Generally, they are incompetent and uninformed.

But they still vote. Why don’t I want them? Think about it. When Republicans stuck to their conservative principles and presented them eloquently, they won. When conservatives won, Democrats ran blue-dog conservatives to compete with Republican conservatives. When Democrats started winning again was when Republicans started going after liberal moderates and Democrats ran conservative blue dogs. Then in 2008, Democrats ran socialists and ultra-liberals while Republicans ran liberals and wishy washy, unreliable moderates. Republicans were killed in a landslide.

Democrats weren’t trying to broaden their tent in 2008. They ran on a genius graphic design team, color, good looks, discontent and fluff. It had nothing to do with them being pro-big government, pro partial birth abortion, pro overseas abortion funding, pro debt, and anti-military. It had everything to do with advertising, discontent, and the fact that we were involved in two wars that had lasted longer than a year each. Now, because Democrats have stuck to their principles, the entire Washington Republican movement is stuck on this stupid idea that they need to broaden their base and become more liberal if they are going to win elections.

What Newt Gingrich and other Washington Republicans don’t understand is that when you pick up your tent and move it to the other side of the field, you leave your base out in the cold and they stop voting for you. And when you get to the other side of the field, they don’t vote for you either because they already have a tent. As for all the people in the middle, whether they go right or left has absolutely nothing to do with values or issues.

Think about it. If you truly believed that the thing growing in a pregnant woman has the intrinsic value of a wart, then how could you ever vote for anyone who would suggest that a woman’s right to remove that wart should be limited? Yet, Democrats won the majority on the backs of pro-life blue dogs. If you truly believed that the constitution should be the basis of our government and that politicians should uphold their vow to uphold and implement the constitution, then you would never vote for a big government candidate who borrows $1.5 trillion from China to buy local infrastructure projects and subsidize or buy private industries.

Moderates are going to continue to look for the next shiny thing that looks good and talks sweetly. Run and vote on principle. If both sides ran on principle, Conservatives would get 40% and Liberals would get 20%. I would rather have them coming over to our side to get votes while losing their 20% base than the other way around.


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