Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why neither side is serious about deficit reduction and spending

My wife and I are working like mad to pay down our personal debt.  It takes hard work and for us to pay off debt we have to spend much less than we take in (a family budget surplus) and then take that surplus and use it to pay down debts that we have incurred and intend to pay off.  It takes discipline and sacrifice. 

Only in Washington, however, can a person run out to the press and say that he or she has a plan that will "save" the country billions or even trillions, when in reality the national debt increases.  This is what people on both sides of the political isle are saying.

When is someone in the Congress or the Oval Office (I'm not holding my breath in either case) going to go out and say, "We cannot even have a real conversation about deficit reduction until we agree to a budget that spends less than the revenues that the government takes in."

Wouldn't that be amazing?  But no. All we get from both sides is demagoguery, with both sides seemingly trying to blame the other for cutting whatever pet program their constituency supports.  This is why so many (74% of Americans in a very recent CNN poll) people want a balanced budget amendment.  They know that neither side can be trusted when it comes to spending and these children must be dragged kicking and screaming across the line to fiscal responsibility.   

Just a little fact about balanced budget statutes. 49 out of 50 states have some form of a balanced budget amendment in their state constitutions.  So what's good enough for the states is not good enough for the Federal Government?  


Monday, July 25, 2011

Truths in the Debt Ceiling Talk

I am flabbergasted by the tactics of Obama and the Democrats.  First, I never thought in my life that a person that opposes tax increases is now considered to be an extremist, but that is beside the point.  There is one fact that must be reiterated when discussing the debt ceiling, the national debt, and the deficit.

Before the 2010 midterm elections, the democrat controlled house and senate, passed a budget that added somewhere between 1.5 and 1.6 trillion dollars to the national debt.  The budget was signed into law by President Obama.  True the 2008-09 budget that both Bush and Obama had their hands on was somewhere between 1.2 and 1.4 trillion dollars.  But remember that without TARP the deficit for FY 08-09 would have been about 400 to 600 billion dollars (still an obscene amount of money, but less than half of Obama's 09-10 FY budget).

Since the '09 budget, the still democrat controlled senate has not submitted a new budget.  This means quite simply that the government is stuck with the old gargantuan budget which includes adding about $1.6 trillion to the national debt.

What angers me most is that this president and the democrats are now talking about "shared sacrifice" as a means to force down the throats of the American people tax increases.  I keep reading (Ezra Klein of the Washington Post is the latest) to say that "most economists" agree that the debt crisis can only be solved through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. I reject this utterly false argument.

How does a government expand its spending by 100% in less than two years and then have the gall to tell us that they don't have enough tax revenue and need more?

Before I or any other reasonable conservative will consider that tax increases are necessary to balance the budget, what must happen first is that Congress and the President must cut spending. This does not mean to limit the amount of increase (which is a cut to people in congress). It means to spend less this year than you did last year.  Increase the debt limit and gut spending to pre 2008 levels.  Once you have demonstrated that you can exercise real fiscal discipline, then we can discuss additional revenue.  If Americans fall for this ruse, and tax increases happen, there will be no cuts in spending.

Consider this.  Since 1968 (and I dare say never in US history) has the US government's spending gone down from one year to the next year.  Government always spends more.   This has to stop.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Debt Ceiling...

I am livid.  I am ready to throw my shoe through the TV almost all the time.  If I hear things like "We need shared sacrifice" and "why are republicans trying to protect the rich"  I want to blow my own brains out.  I am sick and tired of this thug President and his minions playing class warfare with the deficit and the debt.  What amazes me most is that liberals like Obama are calling Republicans who are simply trying to keep liberals from raising taxes "extremists."  Lets set a few things straight.

1)  While President Bush spent like crazy and added a crap load to the deficit Obama has dwarfed Bush's spending.  If you include 2009 as largely Bush's deficit, it was $1.3 Trillion. That is a staggering amount of money.  Remember however, if you take out TARP which was supposed to be a temporary bailout program and not a year over year expenditure, that reduces the 2009 deficit to about $588 billion dollars (which is still a huge disgusting number).  President Obama has averaged in his almost 3 years as president a $1.6 trillion deficit EACH YEAR.   To put it another way, Bush added $5 trillion dollars to the national debt...disgusting.  According to the National Debt Clock (http://www.usdebtclock.org/index.html) the current national debt stands at $14.6 Trillion.  If the national debt was just over $10 Trillion when Bush left office, Obama has added almost as much ($4.5 Trillion) to the national debt as Bush did in his eight years in office.  

2)  No amount of tax increase, closing tax loopholes or anything else will make a serious dent into the yearly deficit which currently stands at $1.6 trillion dollars. An article located HERE blows the myth of raising taxes on the rich, as a means of balancing the budget.  According to the article, if the US Government taxed those making $200,000 or more (Obama's definition of a millionaire) at 100% the government would only collect about $1.2 trillion dollars in extra revenue.  This still leaves the US with a $400 billion deficit. 

Obama and his goons are playing class warfare and are trying to goad people into thinking that the rich don't pay their fair share.  Considering the fact that the top ten percent pay over fifty percent of the taxes, and that the bottom FIFTY percent have an effective federal tax rate of zero, if we are to be intellectually honest the question has to be asked who is paying their fair share and who is not?  

The one thing that we can be almost certain of is that if Obama raises taxes, America will almost certainly slip back into a recession and possibly a depression.  Why do you ask might this happen?  It's really quite simple. The one place that a president can really have an effect on the economy is through regulations and taxation.  Regulate and tax more and businesses have less capital to spend.  Cut regulations and taxes on small businesses and corporations alike and they will have more flexibility to spend their capital on hiring new workers.

Marco Rubio said it best this week. "We don't need more taxes.  We need more taxpayers."  I do not subscribe to the idea that we should not raise our debt ceiling.  I think we have to considering all of the debt that we have accumulated; However the Obama administration wants to have the debt ceiling raised with tax increases that will take effect immediatly, but only promises of future spending cuts.  What is sad is that we have several countries in Europe that are on the verge of defaulting on their debt (Italy, Greece, Spain for starters). If it happens in any of these countries, it will send shock waves through the financial world.   The US economic bus is headed toward this same cliff.  We are a ways from it, but the rail is getting closer all the time.  If the government does not figure out that cutting spending and shrinking the size of government is really the only answer, we could go over that cliff.  

Thursday, July 07, 2011

U2 and the Blind Guitarist.

I am sure a lot of people will disagree with my political leanings.  I am fine with that, but there are moments when all of that melts away and humanity shares in something special.  One of those moments for me occurred without me even knowing it.  Thank goodness for mobile phones that shoot video and YouTube.

On July 2nd the U2 concert in Nashville was wrapping up.  Reports from the concert were that it was an amazing one even before this moment happened.  The band had taken its bows and was headed off stage when Bono stopped to talk to a guy holding up a sign that caught his attention.  He asked the man, "What do you want to play?"  Soon security was helping the guy on stage.  It must have been a dream come true for Adam Bevell of Mesa, AZ, a life long U2 fan and amateur guitarist.  Bono lead Adam on stage and with the help of some roadies, strapped a guitar on Adam's shoulder.  As Adman began to play "All I Want Is You" he said, "I'm nervous, man."  Bono began to sing.  The rest of the band got back to their instruments and joined in, and soon the whole crowd was singing as well.  When they were done, the crowd roared as Bono and Adam engaged in a double back tap bro hug.  Adam handed back the guitar to Bono, but Bono said, "No, I want you to have it."  A stunned Adam said, "Really?"  and then held up the guitar with his fist in the air as the crowd roared even louder.  It was a special moment.

You might be asking, why this guy?  Well the sign that he was holding said, "Blind Guitar Player.  Bring me up."  

Oh, and in case you did not notice, Bono did not give him just any guitar.  He gave Adam his Grectsh Irish Falcon.  Just awesome.  

As I watched this video, I asked myself, "How many rock stars or bands would do such a thing?"  The only answer I can come up with is very few.  Now I don't know Bono and U2 and I have no idea how these men really are, but for that moment self aggrandizement and self promotion gave way to selflessness and charity.  So often all we hear is the selfish and debauched acts of rock stars and movie stars alike.  This little act reminded me that in that world there still are a few decent people who still care for others.  

Thank you Bono and U2 for a wonderful moment.  

No, there is no anti-Israel Bias at the NY Times.

Recently the New York Times published an Op-Ed of a Palestinian who describes the deplorable conditions that he says exist in Israeli prison...