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Archive for the ‘Obama’ Category

The T-Word

Posted by Dan Draney on May 4, 2010

That would be the use of “teabagger” in reference to those patriots protesting the hard left turn by the Democrat politicians who have their boot on the throat of the country. In my view anyone using that term is displaying his own bigotry and has forfeited all rights to be listened to at all. I’ve made just one exception to that personal rule. (He knows who he is.) It would be interesting to know what fraction of the cratering of CNN’s ratings in the past year can be traced to Anderson Cooper and company yukking it up on the air about “teabaggers,” in full-blown “Because-We-Know-About-The-Homosexual-Meaning-And-They-Don’t” mode. Openly mocking and insulting your customers: Not A Good Business Model.

Right on the heels of his speech calling for civility by denouncing the partisanship of his opponents, our phony “centrist,” pretend “post partisan,” allegedly “post racial,” President has come out of the teabag closet himself by using the term in an interview. As Allah Pundit points out, it’s got to be good news for the opposition when Joe Biden is the tactful, elder statesman of the left. Just keep it up, fellas. We’ll see how hard you’re laughing in November.

Meanwhile, the main worry of the Obamacrats seems to be their inability to devise enough wildly unpopular legislation to ram through Congress with parliamentary chicanery. The thinking, if you can call it that, seems to be, “We know we’re going to take a bath in the midterm elections anyway, so what have we got to lose?” Gaze into this crystal ball for a glimpse of where that path leads.

Posted in Civility Watch, Obama, tea party | Leave a Comment »

Obama Gives Partisan Speech Denouncing Partisanship

Posted by Dan Draney on May 2, 2010

True, that’s not exactly news. It’s pretty much a standard, liberal trope to call for “civility” as a way of suggesting that your critics are vicious, while ignoring the contributions your own policies, actions, and rhetoric have made to the poisoning of the political atmosphere.  The objective is to cast all criticism of your own actions as outside the bounds of civil discourse. Bill Clinton was the master of this, as we saw again recently. The al-Reuters “News” Agency reports:  Obama defends government power ahead of elections:

Obama, a Democrat, used a commencement address at the University of Michigan to encourage new graduates to engage in civil debate — an issue Obama feels is often missing in Washington — and expose themselves to different political points of view.

Obama lamented the lack of civility in public discourse and encouraged the students to be able to disagree without demonizing their opponents.

“We can’t expect to solve our problems if all we do is tear each other down,” he said to applause.

It sure helps to have most of the media in your pocket when indulging in this sort of thing. Otherwise how could you hope to campaign as a moderate, post-partisan “healer”, then govern from the far left, and jam your whole agenda through on party-line votes on bills no one has read? Still it takes quite a bit of gall when you and your surrogates transparently lie about what is in the billsmock and demonize your political opponents at every turn, grossly misrepresent their positions, question their motives, falsely accuse them of racism, etc., to then complain about a “lack of civility.” Never mind trying to marginalize the one independent television voice before calling for people to “expose themselves to different points of view.”

Posted in Obama | 1 Comment »

The Road to Welfaredom

Posted by Ryne McClaren on April 29, 2010

In what could arguably go down as one of the most laughable quotes ever to come out of the office of an American President, Real Clear Politics lands this Moby Dick of bullsh*t from President Obama, during remarks that were apparently uttered yesterday:

“Now, what we’re doing, I want to be clear, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

The link will take you to actual footage of these words, from a man who’s shaping up to be the ultimate barker in the carnival of anti-capitalist, anti-free market insanity.

I spent a part of my day (ok, the last 15 minutes or so) parsing the sentence quoted above.  There’s a lot of voodoo in this sentence, and I would urge most readers to not dismiss it as Obama simply pimping to a room of “ordinary Americans.”  Not at all.  In fact, these words are quite lethal.

“I want to be clear…”

I only add that because it’s a staple of any Obama speech, and I find it funny.

“[W]e’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success…”

Oh, heavens no.  By no means does the President or his cadre of tax cheats and bank failure friends begrudge success.  They’re hugely, massively, hilariously wealthy.  The President himself is wealthy by nearly any standard you want to measure him against.  And they’re getting more wealthy every day.  And you, Ordinary Citizen, are not to begrudge them this success.

“[success] that’s fairly earned…”

We do not need a financial reform, headed by hand-picked success auditors, to begrudge success that’s fairly earned.  What we need to do is create measuring devices to determine what is fairly earned, and what is not fairly earned.  What is fairly earned will be ours.  What is not fairly earned will be theirs.

This right here is us.  That over there is them.  And all around is a system of class warfare.

I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.

A personal aside: I am a producer, not a moocher.  I’m also a capitalist, and notoriously greedy.  I’m greedy for myself and I’m greedy for my neighbors.  And yet even I (yes, me!) think that there’s a certain point that you’ve made enough money.

And that point is… when there’s no more money left for you to possibly make.  Either the day isn’t long enough, the market has been tapped, saturated, milked dry, or else when the spirit is willing but the body is unable, even I know that there’s a certain point when someone has made enough money.

But I’m not the person who gets to decide that.  Our markets get to define that.  Our demand gets to define it.  Our supply gets to quantify it.

But not the President of the United States.  And not Congress.  And not even “community organizers” shouting vaguely bubble-gummy flavored slogans.

There’s any number of directions that the speechwriter (or the President himself) could have taken the end of that statement.

It could have been said, for example, “I do think that at a certain point Wall Street has made enough money.”

Wall Street is made up of big boys and girls who are used to being rolled around.  Insulting Wall Street is like insulting used car salesmen and lawyers: it really can’t even be done.  Giving the imaginary Monopoly Guy who rules Wall Street a delicious cod punch is always a crowd pleaser, and plays well to the “ordinary Americans.”  Talk about fired up and ready to go!  Nearly every flunky working in an Organizing for America office would have stood and cheered at that one.

The President may also have said, “I do think that at a certain point people who wish to commit fraud have made enough money.”

If he had said that, then I think we could reach a milquetoast agreement that he said something true.  That breaking the law to make money is unethical and immoral.  That gains must not be ill-gotten.  We all could have been happy.

Is this a case of the President committing a Freudian slip?  Or one of a work weary blogger totally over analyzing and blowing out of proportion a throwaway line in yet another of our President’s ridiculously dumb speeches?

I hope it’s the latter.  I hope years from now we can sit back and laugh, like we do when we think of, well, basically anything that came out of the mouth of James Earl Carter.

But I don’t think this is going to be.  I’m deeply suspicious that, years from now, we’re going to sit back and wish we’d paid closer attention to the things this man said.  To the way he said them.  To the way he liked to utter “us” and “them,” all the while meaning himself, his friends, his cronies, his confidants.

And all the while not realizing that when he said “you” at the end of that line, he really did mean you and me.

Posted in capitalism, Obama | 1 Comment »

Abandon All Hope

Posted by Ryne McClaren on April 27, 2010

This word “illegal.”  It does not mean what liberals think it means.

According to one enterprising headline writer at MSNBC, Arizona law “Makes it a crime to be an illegal immigrant.” Contessa Brewer and her guest also take a journey down that road in very serious voices.

And yes, according to most definitions of the word oxymoron, it should be intentional.  I’m not sure if MSNBC got the memo, but at any rate you would certainly think that they would be able to read.

Posted in MSM bias, Obama | 1 Comment »

Obama Is a Natural Born US Citizen

Posted by Dan Draney on April 18, 2010

This really shouldn’t be breaking news to anyone. Obama was born in Hawaii, and that really settles the question. Here’s a good explanation by a highly reliable journalist and newspaper:

James Taranto (WSJ) on Obama’s citizenship and this followup information from Taranto’s column the following day

These are too long to summarize meaningfully here, but not too long to be read in just a few minutes. After reading these rebuttals there should be no doubt in any reasonable person’s mind about this and therefore no “Birth Certificate Controversy.” Continued circulation of conspiracy theories on Obama’s place of birth discredits conservatism and the many legitimate criticisms of his disastrous policies. Please forward these links to anyone interested in a clear, objective examination of the question.

Posted in birth certificate, birthers, Obama | 2 Comments »

The Mind of Obama

Posted by Dan Draney on April 5, 2010

In a recent column Michael Medved argues that it’s a mistake for conservatives to criticize Obama as “evil” rather than simply “wrong.”

Will it be easier to persuade people that Barack Obama is wrong on the issues or to try to convince them that he is outright evil?

That’s a crucial question facing conservatives as we gear up for fateful election battles in 2010 and 2012.

Based on human nature and political history, the answer to that question ought to be obvious: Americans have often felt that our leaders make mistakes or pursue destructive policies but we have rarely (if ever) believed that they did it deliberately to damage the country. In the last 80 years, Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush all got voted out of office by an angry electorate but a majority of the public never embraced the idea that these floundering presidents were actually bad guys. Only during President Nixon’s Watergate scandal did a substantial segment of the population come to believe that their president might well be evil or insane, and that belief led directly to the president’s resignation. The next impeachment crisis turned out very differently, of course: with GOP efforts to portray Bill Clinton as a dangerous ethical monster bringing the president the highest approval ratings of his career from a public that preferred to view him as a lovable (or at least forgivable) rogue.

On this Medved certainly has a point: most of us would rather give the President, whoever he is, the benefit of the doubt. We want to assume good faith is behind policies, no matter how wrongheaded the policies are. Interestingly, Medved’s arguments are entirely tactical: since conservatives are winning easily on the issues, why risk conforming to the Left’s stereotype of “conservative hater.”

If conservatives persist in characterizing the President of the United States as vicious and radical, insanely bent on the destruction of the Republic, we may find reassurance from the already like-minded but we’ll lose nearly everyone in the persuadable middle. As a result, we could spend the next decade or more as an increasingly impotent, irrelevant and angry opposition, howling in the political wilderness.

In the article Medved never speaks directly to the question of whether or not he personally believes Obama’s harsher critics are correct in their assessment of the President. That is, he doesn’t try to defend Obama against the criticism; he merely argues that such criticism will be riskier and (probably) ineffective. Perhaps he has been clearer on that point on his radio show. It’s a good article, though, and well-worth reading in full.

Warning: Sarcasm Follows

Does it matter what really is inside the Mind of Obama? It’s a good, conservative rule that one should never attribute to malice anything which can be explained by stupidity. I always try to remember that rule when talking with those on the far left, but it’s difficult to do when they’re droning on about how liberal and intelligent are practically synonyms and all conservatives are knuckle-dragging, teabagging Neanderthals.

It’s particularly hard for Obama to benefit from this rule, though, because we’ve all heard endlessly about how brilliant he is. Everyone says he’s such a deep thinker, wonkishly knowledgeable about all the details of every imaginable policy question, so nuanced, went to all the right schools, etc. He’s such a smart lawyer, it’s a shame he never managed to publish any law articles, but at least he managed to crank out two autobiographies exposing us to the wonder of his ways.

So from now on, to give him the benefit of the doubt, whenever I see him make a ridiculously bone-headed policy or decision that is sure to lead the country to disaster, I won’t assume that he is deliberately trying to cause disaster. I’ll just assume it’s because he can’t see how stupid he is being.

Now that I think about it, this is clearly the Right Thing to Do. For one thing he’s heard so much about how smart he is, he can’t comprehend being wrong. Besides, there’s actually quite a bit of evidence that he’s not all that bright after all. He did think there are 57 states, that surgeons make $40,000 for an amputation, and that our employers would all save 3000% on their health insurance costs under ObamaPelosiReidCare. But we already knew from his budgets that he didn’t get 800 on his math SAT. Even today he clearly has no idea how car insurance is supposed to work. Apparently, in 20 yrs of attending Jeremiah Wright’s church, Obama was never able to understand any of the sermons.

Please help with this project. When you see something the administration is doing that seems so stupid they must be trying to screw things up, just remember: Yes. They really can be that dumb.

Posted in debt, Mind of Obama, Obama | Leave a Comment »

Hey, Dems: You Broke It. You Own It.

Posted by Dan Draney on March 21, 2010

Liberals are basking in the glow of their “victory” tonight in destroying the most innovative, most responsive healthcare system in the world. Time will tell, but we may have just witnessed the end of the Democrat Party. It’s now Pottery Barn Time, and the Dems have definitely broken another 1/6th of the economy to add to their previous work destroying the federal budget. With the possible exception of between now and November, I can’t imagine seeing this kind of display of political arrogance again in my lifetime.

At the corners of a square are: a fiscally conservative Democrat; a pro-life Democrat; the Easter Bunny; and a paralyzed veteran. In the middle of the square is a $1 bill. Which of the four will get to the $1 bill first. Answer: the paralyzed veteran, because the other three are figments of the imagination.

Large majorities of Americans strongly oppose runaway government spending, ever more government interference into our livers and government funding of abortion. This bill is hugely unpopular now, and, like the Stimulus, it will get less popular as people learn they have been lied to at every turn. Every Democrat Congressional seat is now in play.

Here’s the closing of an excellent article from Mark Steyn on the Democrats’ Brave New World: Welcome to Deemocracy – Mark Steyn – National Review Online. You should read the whole thing.

Look around you, and take it all in. From now on, it gets worse. If you have kids, they’ll live in smaller homes, drive smaller cars, live smaller lives. If you don’t have kids, you better hope your neighbors do, because someone needs to spawn a working population large enough to pay for the unsustainable entitlements the Obama party has suckered you into thinking you’re entitled to. The unfunded liabilities of current entitlements are $100 trillion. Try typing that onto your pocket calculator. You can’t. There isn’t enough room for all the zeroes, and, even if they made a pocket calculator large enough, and a pocket large enough, you’d be walking with a limp. To these existing entitlements, Obama and his enforcers in Congress propose to add the grandest of all: health care, on a scale no advanced democracy has ever attempted.

Posted in Ben Nelson, Constitution, crazy leftists, government spending, healthcare, Obama | 1 Comment »

It’s Over

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 21, 2010

What will likely go down in history as the most egregious expansion of government ever seen, Congressional Democrats tonight paved the way for the future bankruptcy of every American who hasn’t even been born yet.

Obama watched the vote in the White House’s Roosevelt Room with Vice President Joe Biden and about 40 staff aides. When the long sought 216th vote came in — the magic number needed for passage — the room burst into applause and hugs. An exultant president exchanged a high-five with his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

Yes, high fives all around.  From two men who will likely never spend a single day of their lives in the system they just created.

And Bart Stupak, who has spent the last couple of months misleading the American public into thinking he just might be virtually the only Democrat in Congress with any morals or spine, was purchased for a mere $726,429.

Sickening.  Positively sickening.

The only positive that I can extract from today’s events are that in eight short months we’re going to get to find out exactly what the American people think of this.

Posted in crazy leftists, healthcare, Obama, socialism | 1 Comment »

The Eye-Are-Ess

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 20, 2010

It’s almost April 15th, people!  Get cracking on those tax returns if you haven’t already, because Comrade Pelosi is depending on you to pay for a lifetime membership to her favorite Botox warehouse.

Oh, and one more thing: If you think you love the IRS now, just wait until America gets put in a stranglehold by the perverted “vote” that may or may not occur this weekend in re the government takeover of health care.

“If the Democrats’ health care bill becomes law, the IRS could have to hire more than 16,000 additional agents, auditors and other workers just to enforce all the new taxes and penalties,” said Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI).  “It is a dangerous expansion of the IRS’s power and reach into the lives of virtually every American.”

Highlights of report, which is entitled “The Wrong Prescription: Democrats’ Health Overhaul Dangerously Expands IRS Authority,” include:

  • IRS agents verify if you have “acceptable” health care coverage;
  • IRS has the authority to fine you up to $2,250 or 2 percent of your income (whichever is greater) for failure to prove that you have purchased “minimum essential coverage;”
  • IRS can confiscate your tax refund;
  • IRS audits are likely to increase;
  • IRS will need up to $10 billion to administer the new health care program this decade;
  • IRS may need to hire as many as 16,500 additional auditors, agents and other employees to investigate and collect billions in new taxes from Americans; and
  • Nearly half of all these new individual mandate taxes will be paid by Americans earning less than 300 percent of poverty ($66,150 for a family of four.)

Posted in healthcare, Obama, socialism, taxes | 3 Comments »

Rahm Emanuel on Bipartisanship

Posted by Dan Draney on March 18, 2010

Ramesh Ponnuru at National Review Online calls attention to this quote from last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine:

“Rahm thinks bipartisanship is a way to get what you want — to fake bipartisanship to get what you want,” a senior administration official told me. “He understands that’s a better way to get things done than to be nakedly partisan.”

Like they always say, “The key thing is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.”

Posted in Obama, socialism | Leave a Comment »

Demon Pass

Posted by Dan Draney on March 17, 2010

That’s what I hear when they talk about the Pelosi/Slaughter plan to “deem and pass” the takeover of 1/6th of the economy without actually voting on a bill. Instead they will vote on a “self-executing rule” to deem the bill passed with a bunch of amendments sneaked in at the last minute without debate or even reading. Anyone have a problem with that? You must be a racist homophobe hypocrite, according to the anointed ones. Not to worry, though, because, as Pres. Obama tells us, “Well, a lot of those folks, your employer it’s estimated would see premiums fall by as much as 3,000 percent [sic], which means they could give you a raise.”

We are heading into a Demon Pass of sorts, as the “progressives” try to outdo themselves on who can show the greatest disregard for the rule of law and the Constitution. Just a few other straws in the wind from today alone:

Reason Magazine: Oregon police SWAT teams surround a law-abiding citizen’s house, arrest him, confiscate his guns. All without a crime, a threat, a warrant or even probable cause.

The House Judiciary Committee thinks you must be a racist if you point out that the feds can’t legally force the states to let felons vote. The members think they’ll just have to find some way to get around those pesky, explicit Constitutional provisions that reserve that decision to the states.

Eric Holder “explains” how we have to give terrorists civilian trials by jury and the best legal team leftist money can buy, because Osama bin Laden is really just like Charles Manson. But don’t worry, we’ll never Mirandize bin Laden, because we’ll just kill him.

For the first time in recorded history, Dennis Kucinich spoke and a few people were actually interested in what he had to say, which amounts to, “I’m a much cheaper date than Landrieu or Nelson,” and “I’ll vote for this bill no matter how bad it is, and believe me, it reeks.”

Demon Pass dead ahead.

Posted in Constitution, crazy leftists, gun control, healthcare, Obama | 2 Comments »

Obama’s Anti-Democratic MO

Posted by Dan Draney on March 17, 2010

I’m not a big fan of Americans for Prosperity. Like some other groups, they seem to want to muscle their way to the front of the TEA Party parade so they can claim to be leading it. They got this one right, though, with this diagram via ObamaChart.Com showing how regularly the administration goes around Congress to get what it can’t get by normal processes.

Whether it’s CapnTrade, the Healthcare Takeover, regulating the internet, or the Orwellian-named “Employee Free Choice Act,” Obama is more than willing to impose through the regulatory bureaucracy that which he can’t get through Congress. The ability of these regulatory agencies to write new law, enforce it, and adjudicate cases all within the Executive Branch has always held the potential for tyranny. President Obama is not the kind of guy to let that potential go untapped.

Posted in healthcare, Obama, regulation | Leave a Comment »

The Coffee Party Con

Posted by Dan Draney on March 16, 2010

Turns out “The Coffee Party” is about as spontaneous as an Iranian “Death to America” Rent-a-Crowd. [via American Thinker: The Coffee Party Con.]

The new and much-publicized Coffee Party movement sports a fairy-tale narrative about a spontaneous uprising of concerned Americans appalled at the Tea Parties and determined to restore civility. The truth, easily researchable on the internet, is that plenty of left-wing establishment fingerprints are all over the birth of this supposedly spur-of-the-moment operation.

Despite a sequence of puff pieces in the MSM about this “grass roots” organization, it’s astroturf all the way:

However, there are some awkward footprints leading up to the purportedly spontaneous birth and the emergence of the “accidental leader,” who turns out to have lots of help. About the time of launching the Coffee Party, Ms. Park attended what was billed as RootsCampDC at the Washington office of a liberal teachers’ union called the National Education Association.

The list of attendees reads like royalty of the progressive movement: people from the White House, Harry Reid’s office, the Democratic National Committee, the Center for American Progress, Change.org, the SEIU, MoveOn, La Raza, Organizing for America, the Alliance for Climate Protection, etc., etc. This Astroturf camp for progressives included people from NPR, PBS, and Firedoglake. (Was everyone at CNN and CBS busy?)

Ms. Park was a presenter on the panel, “Coffee Party: 100% Grassroots/Netroots Strategic Response to the ‘TEA.'”

Look out, Ms. Park, your Nutroots are showing.

Posted in crazy leftists, MSM bias, Obama, tea party | 1 Comment »

All the World Is A Stage

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 16, 2010

How bad are things going for Nanny State Pelosi and crew?

So bad that even the (formerly!) smoking hot Carla Bruni slapped on a Tragedy Mask.

So bad that even the Massachusetts state treasurer, a guy who’s never seen anything that can’t be taxed or subsidized, thinks that ObamaPelosiCare will bankrupt the entire freaking nation in a few short years.  [ed — But I’d distrust his opinion, since he’s running for MA governor right now.  Obama and Company have essentially bankrupted the nation in just one year, and they haven’t even passed HCR yet.]

This would have all the makings of a great (but comical) farce, if our country wasn’t on the verge of ruin.

And yes, I know, all of today’s bits were ripped straight off of Drudge.  To explore the news any more than that today would probably land me in an insane asylum.  So y’all are on your own.

Posted in healthcare, Obama | 2 Comments »

It’s the Spending, Stupid

Posted by Dan Draney on March 12, 2010

Via U.S. Monthly Budget Deficit Balloons to a Record – WSJ.com.

WASHINGTON—Even as government receipts posted a rare increase in February, soaring outlays pushed the country’s year-to-date deficit up to a record $651.60 billion.

The government’s fiscal 2010 year-to-date deficit is up 10.5% from fiscal year 2009.

The government in February alone ran its largest ever monthly deficit—$221 billion, the U.S. Treasury said in releasing its monthly budget statement Wednesday. The government in February 2009 ran a budget deficit of nearly $194 billion.

“The budget balance has deteriorated sharply over the past 2 years with outlays rising rapidly—mainly due to the government’s various stimulus programs–and revenues shrinking—both because of the weak economy and the various tax cuts meant to stimulate the economy,” Steven A. Wood, an economist with Insight Economics, wrote in a client note.

There are relatively few years prior to Obama when the feds borrowed that many dollars. Dividing by the US populations to put the numbers in perspective we see that in one 28-day month, the feds borrowed another $715 per person or $2861 per family of four. It’s even worse, because although receipts were up, spending was up even more:

Total Per Person Family of 4
Deficit Feb 2010 alone $220,910,000,000 $715 $2,861
Outlays Feb 2010 alone $328,430,000,000 $1,063 $4,252
Receipts Feb 2010 alone $107,520,000,000 $348 $1,392

Note that borrowing was more than twice the receipts. How long could your family keep spending three times your income and borrowing the rest? Even the feds can’t keep it up, although they are determined to try. The interest costs alone were $52 per person for February, despite the easy money, pro-inflation policy of the Federal Reserve which is (so far) keeping interest rates artificially low. Look for interest costs to go up sharply in the not too distant future.

Posted in government spending, Obama, taxes | 1 Comment »

National Debt 2: Electric Boogaloo

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 7, 2010

Scrooge O'Bama

An elusive federal bureaucrat photographed in his natural habitat.

Earlier tonight I posted an offhand item about the ongoing Obama v. CBO rumble.  Abe then weighed in here.

To keep a theme going, I want to reference something that Abe said in his post, something Very Important:

One big problem for enlightened debate about spending is the difficulty we all have in comprehending the magnitude of the numbers involved. We can all get outraged about millions of dollars for bonuses to Goldman Sachs employees without realizing how miniscule those are compared to the real problems we are facing.

It is hard to get your head around, and Abe — being quite the astute taxpayer — helped out.

But as an addendum I don’t think that it’s possible to really put both arms around a trillion here and a trillion there until we ask that age old question, “What does it mean to me?”  It’s a simple question, honestly, but it’s seldom asked by anyone endeavoring to do anything these days.

According to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the “real” national debt is currently $56.4 trillion dollars, and not the $11 trillion usually referenced.

How is it $56.4 trillion, you ask?  And not the paltry $11 or $12 trillion commonly referenced?  The “real” debt page explains.

How exactly does this $56.4 trillion bill add up? First, there are the federal government’s known liabilities that it is legally obliged to fulfill. These include publicly held debt, military and civilian pensions and retiree health benefits. As of September 30, 2008, these liabilities added up to $13.5 trillion.

Then there are various commitments and contingencies – i.e., contractual requirements that the government is expected to fulfill when, and if specified conditions are met. These include federal insurance payouts, loan guarantees, and leases. As of September 30, 2008, they added up to $1.4 trillion.

So where does the remaining $43 trillion or so come from? That’s what the government has promised to pay in Social Security and Medicare benefits in excess of related revenues. As of January 1, 2008, current and promised future Social Security benefits amounted to $6.6 trillion. And between Medicare’s three programs (hospital insurance, outpatient, and prescription drug), current and future promised Medicare benefits amounted to $36.3 trillion.

Yikes.  And also, gulp.

But imagine if America wanted to Do the Right Thing, and settle this $56.4 trillion up.  Say we threw all of our efforts as a blessed citizenry behind not only paying this down but paying it off.  What would it cost each of us?

Only a tidy $184,000 per person, or $483,000 per household.  That’s all.  Will that be cash or check?

Those of you who are real gluttons for punishment can also follow the “national debt” clock on Twitter here: @nationaldebt.

Posted in Obama, taxes | 1 Comment »

Understanding Trillions of Dollars

Posted by Dan Draney on March 7, 2010

As Ryne mentions, new 10-yr federal budget deficit estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and the news is not good. The nominally non-partisan CBO has its own reputation to protect, so it is considerably less inclined to fudge the numbers for political purposes than either party alone or the Obama Administration.

One big problem for enlightened debate about spending is the difficulty we all have in comprehending the magnitude of the numbers involved. We can all get outraged about millions of dollars for bonuses to Goldman Sachs employees without realizing how miniscule those are compared to the real problems we are facing.

So let’s put those deficit projections into a form we can wrap our brains around. The current US population estimate from the US Census “population clock” is just under 309 million. This gives us:

Total Per Person Family of 4
CBO Est 10 yr Deficit $9,800,000,000,000 $31,715 $126,861
Obama Est 10 yr Deficit $8,600,000,000,000 $27,832 $111,327

Splitting the difference and rounding, over the next 10 years the feds are looking to borrow another $30,000 per person or $120,000 per family of four. This is in addition to all the debt, public and private, we already owe. It doesn’t count anything for the massive new ObamaCare entitlement, which Dems are still trying to rahm down our throats.

My guess is that both these estimates will turn out to be quite low compared to our actual experience. They are both based on optimistic assumptions about economic growth, interest rates, and Congressional actions.

The Obama recovery plan seems to be to tell business: The floggings will continue until morale improves. Economic growth is likely to be sluggish to none as long as Obama’s policies and proposals increase uncertainty and decrease incentives to invest and hire. This will reduce tax receipts and increase spending on unemployment benefits. A second downturn is a distinct possibility.

The higher tax rates will certainly bring in less money than expected, as people adjust their behaviors to the new reality. Past experience has shown that it’s hard to overestimate the federal government’s appetite for new spending of money we don’t have on things we don’t need.

Interest rates are currently quite low, as the Federal Reserve has kept the money spigot open wide out of fear of deflation. There is nowhere to go but up for interest rates, and any number of things could cause a spike: inflation fears; currency panic; massive federal borrowing (Oh, wait…); concerns about the solvency of the federal government; etc. Interest payments are a large and growing fraction of the total federal budget.

I remember when, during the Reagan Administration, the official “National Debt” hit $1 trillion. It was a pretty big deal; it was in all the papers. Now it’s “trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.”

Posted in Obama, taxes | 2 Comments »

Yes, We Can…

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 7, 2010

… add trillions to trillions.

WASHINGTON – A new congressional report released Friday says the United States’ long-term fiscal woes are even worse than predicted by President Barack Obama’s grim budget submission last month.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that Obama’s budget plans would generate deficits over the upcoming decade that would total $9.8 trillion. That’s $1.2 trillion more than predicted by the administration.

The agency says its future-year predictions of tax revenues are more pessimistic than the administration’s. That’s because CBO projects slightly slower economic growth than the White House.

Prediction: someday soon the CBO will be outlawed by Presidential edict.  Those guys are always getting in the way of our future Greek way of living.

The article drones on for a bit before mentioning that a 18-member panel is being formed (what, no czar?) to come up with ways that reduce the deficit.  So sit back and relax, working class.

Posted in crazy leftists, Obama, socialism, taxes | 2 Comments »

Obama the Outsider

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 4, 2010

Oh, this is rich.

The throw-the-bums-out mentality is so strong in American politics that even the ultimate insider — the president of the United States — is running against Washington.

Casting yourself as an outsider from inside the White House is no easy trick, especially when your party controls both houses of Congress. But that doesn’t stop Barack Obama from trying.

“At stake right now is not just our ability to solve this problem,” Obama said Wednesday, referring to the U.S. health care system, “but our ability to solve any problem. The American people want to know if it’s still possible for Washington to look out for their interests and their future.”

As the writer notes, this story is as old as the office itself.

Every President has tried it, obviously, but it’s going to be interesting to see how well it works when you’ve got the place stuffed to the rafters with lobbyists and gold is raining from the sky.

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It’s Not a Communication Problem, It’s A Listening Problem

Posted by Ryne McClaren on March 4, 2010

While browsing around the Internet this evening, I found a transcript of an interview that Charlie Cook gave to National Journal.com last month.  Like most “pollsters,” he’s always right until he’s wrong, but he provides lots of food for thought.

The entire thing is an interesting read, as Cook is a very astute, so I suggest that you check the whole thing out.  But the line that really caught me was this one:

NJ: If Obama has a communications problem as you suggest, then what should he do to reach out to the American people? Should he try to appear more populist?

Cook: I sort of reject the notion that there is a communications problem with President Obama. I think it’s just fundamental, total miscalculations from the very, very beginning. Of proportions comparable to President George W. Bush’s decision to go into Iraq. While Bush went, “We’re going to go after Afghanistan as a reaction to 9/11,” and then just pretty soon got distracted and obsessed with going into Iraq with varying rationalizations that sort of evolved over time.

Charlie Cook is quite right.  Obama’s ability to communicate is not in dispute — YES WE CAN! — and over 60 million Americans — HOPE AND CHANGE! — voted for him.  His ability to craft and deliver a “message” is evident, and it’s the entire reason the man is sitting in the Oval Office today.

Look at what he had to overcome to get where he is today!  Namely, the complete lack of experience or any sort of viable record on the really important issues of the day.  (And don’t give me any of that stuff about how he was “against the war.”  He may have done that, but it was a pretty intense political gamble he just happened to win.  I don’t believe, based on his actions as President, that he’s any more or less “against war” than any other politician.)

Even in the sound-bite driven, Dumb and Dumber, 30-second attention span world of cable news channels and the Internet, it’s laudable for a man with absolutely no credentials other than being elected to his home state house and the US Senate to become President.

He won, in the absence of a record or concrete ideas because he’s a good communicator.

But here’s the thing.  If Barack Obama’s problem were a piece of e-mail software, it would come only with a send button, and no ability to receive messages.  If Barack Obama’s problem were a telephone, it would only relay your voice, and have no receiver in which to hear what the other party’s saying.  If Barack Obama’s problem were an overnight delivery service, you could only send packages, and never have one show up on the front porch.  I think you get my drift.

And it’s not conceivable that Obama isn’t capable of listening.  After all, not even a US President insulated by a cadre of ward heelers and political heavies could avoid the all-hell-has-broken-loose Tea Parties.  And the President even went so far as to host a health care “summit,” where a number of Congresspeople raised all sorts of hell with his HCR math.

He hears the words that you’re saying.  The problem is that he doesn’t care.  Whenever this President has been confronted with opposition, the extent of his communication has consisted of: I won, and I’m the President.

Barack Obama’s manifest political destiny was written on his shaving mirror by his audacity to hope, by his ability to raise beaucoup cash for Congressional colleagues just with the sound of his voice, and by his ability to surround himself with some of the most wicked and paralyzing political hacks Washington has ever seen.

Eventually a few slivers of daylight may break through Barack Obama’s human wall of David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs and Valerie Jarrett.  But the question is, will he actually notice it?  His miscalculations have been many and often, and I think what I’ve detailed above is as much of a reason as I can come up with.

Posted in Obama, socialism, tea party | Leave a Comment »

 
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