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Spending bill bans IRS targeting, preserves incandescent light bulbs

IRS Scandal Aby Stephen Dinan

Congressional negotiators reached a deal late Monday on a massive spending bill to fund the government for the rest of 2014, agreeing to undo last year’s cut to military retirement benefits and a list of other GOP demands in exchange for the higher spending levels.

But some of the most interesting action happened on the sidelines, where negotiators agreed to strict rules to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from targeting groups for ideological scrutiny, and specifically banning the agency from targeting citizens “for exercising any right guaranteed under the First Amendment.”

Negotiators also agreed to block the Obama administration from imposing standards that effectively would prohibit the sale of incandescent light bulbs. [Read more...]

GM’s CEO rejects repaying Feds for bailout losses

GM Bailout Govt MotorsHow many times did the Obama Administration promise that GM would repay every dime of the taxpayer provided bailout? And how many times have you heard the lie that GM has fully repaid the federal government for the taxpayer provided bailout? The truth is the taxpayers lost $10 billion on GM, but GM CEO says the taxpayer took a risk like any other investor. That sucking sound you hear is the government taking $10 billion out of the taxpayer’s pocket. 

by Todd Spangler

The General Motors bailout may have cost the government $10 billion, but GM CEO Dan Akerson rejects any suggestion that the company should compensate for the losses.

He says Treasury officials took the same risk assumed by anyone who purchases stock.

“I would not accept the premise that this was a bad deal,” Akerson said during a question-and-answer session at the National Press Club in Washington. He also said the government’s $49.5-billion aid to GM helped save billions of dollars in tax revenue and government social services. [Read more...]

Confessions of a Quantitative Easer

quantitative easing printing money… the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time …

by Andrew Huszar

I can only say: I’m sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed’s first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I’ve come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.

Five years ago this month, on Black Friday, the Fed launched an unprecedented shopping spree. By that point in the financial crisis, Congress had already passed legislation, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, to halt the U.S. banking system’s free fall. Beyond Wall Street, though, the economic pain was still soaring. In the last three months of 2008 alone, almost two million Americans would lose their jobs. [Read more...]

Federal Debt Jumped $409 Billion in October

Debt DeficitAnd Obama said that increasing the debt limit didn’t increase debt.

The debt of the federal government, which is normally subject to a legal limit, jumped by $409 billion in the month of October, according to the U.S. Treasury.

That equals approximately $3,567 for each household in the United States, and is the second-largest one month jump in the debt in the history of the country.

In the continuing resolution deal sealed by President Barack Obama and the Republican congressional leadership last month, the legal limit on the federal debt was suspended until February 7 of next year. [Read more...]

Who Has Done the Most Damage?

barack_obamaby Dennis Prager

I have been broadcasting for 31 years and writing for longer than that. I do not recall ever saying on radio or in print that a president is doing lasting damage to our country. I did not like the presidencies of Jimmy Carter (the last Democrat I voted for) or Bill Clinton. Nor did I care for the “compassionate conservatism” of George W. Bush. In modern political parlance “compassionate” is a euphemism for ever-expanding government.

But I have never written or broadcast that our country was being seriously damaged by a president. So it is with great sadness that I write that President Barack Obama has done and continues to do major damage to America. The only question is whether this can ever be undone. [Read more...]

Taking Taxpayers Out for a Ride

GM Bailout Govt Motorsby Peter Roff

They don’t call it “Government Motors” for nothing.

Once one of the “bluest” of America’s blue chip corporations, General Motors has seen better days. Early in President Barack Obama’s first term, it was nearly subsumed into the U.S. government on the grounds that a federal bailout – which amounted to a near takeover of the company – was necessary in order to save it from bankruptcy and to protect tens of thousands of American jobs.

The president campaigned for re-election on the success of his bailout of the auto industry which, truth be told, was confined to GM and Chrysler. There are plenty of companies that were and still are building cars and trucks in the United States that did just fine without the kind of interventions needed to keep two of what used to be called “The Big Three” from sliding into an economic abyss despite the recession. [Read more...]

How the Shutdown can inform the debt ceiling debate

Debt Deficitby George Landrith & Iain Murray

It’s all-shutdown-all-the-time in Washington these days. But all that talk has obscured the far bigger challenge facing the nation next week, when the government runs out of room to borrow more money to cover its expenses as it hits the congressionally imposed “debt ceiling.” It would be a disaster for the global economy to see America default on its debts. While it is true America can continue to pay the obligations on its debt and most of its other outlays each month with the tax dollars that are collected, that is only a stop-gap solution.  As a nation we must find a sustainable long-term solution to run away debt and eventual insolvency.

Therefore, it is incumbent on all parties to work to work to find a practical and workable long-term solution. Thankfully, we have a recent precedent from the last debt ceiling debate. The result was sequestration. It worked in curbing spending growth, but was a blunt tool, applied across the board. The current shutdown gives us much better information about where the next sequestration should be targeted. [Read more...]

Politics of the shutdown evident in actions of Obama administration

Obama Making Shutdown HurtFor furloughed workers, the federal government shutdown has clearly had an impact. But for most citizens, the shutdown has been notable for largely going unnoticed. That’s not because federal officials aren’t doing their best to make it appear otherwise. In fact, federal officials often seem to be working harder to inconvenience Americans during the shutdown than they worked to serve Americans when the government was in full operation.

The hassle factor has been most notable at national parks, including open-air monuments honoring veterans that are typically accessible 24 hours a day. Government officials have erected barricades and stationed guards. How is the government spending less money on those efforts than what would occur if visitors were simply allowed to walk up to the monuments.  [Read more...]

A Crisis of the President’s Own Making

Debt Government SpendingUnless Mr. Obama is willing to make a serious deal on spending, he will spend the next three years fighting the same budget wars over and over.

For months now, the GOP has been held hostage by a faction of its party that deluded itself into believing President Obama might be rolled on his signature health-care law. Witness now an equally grand delusion on the Democratic side, one that President Obama nurtures at his peril.

According to Democrats, their steadfast refusal to negotiate on the government shutdown or the debt ceiling is rooted in a belief that now is the moment to “break” the GOP “fever.” Democrats are furious that Republicans today use every Washington deadline to extract a spending concession—and insist they must be broken of that habit. [Read more...]

Debt v. Spending

tax reform government spending moneyby Gordon S. Jones

Since getting the boot from the United States Senate, Bob Bennett has been writing a weekly column in the Deseret News, one of Utah’s two daily newspapers (and the only one that doesn’t periodically chastise its readers for being too stupid to understand its editorial positions). Occasionally ex-Senator Bennett reminds us that he is a very smart man with many good ideas. Occasionally he reminds us why the voters got rid of him. He does so in his op-ed of Monday, 7 October.

In his short essay, which you can read yourself here, Bennett tells us why it is important not to default on commitments made to those who have lent the U.S. money, and indeed it is. He neglects to mention the spending that made this borrowing necessary – spending to which he was a major contributor. When Bennett took office, the national debt stood at about $6 trillion. By the time he left it had grown to about $14 trillion.

During his 18 years in the Senate, Bob Bennett voted for 132 out of 133 appropriations bills on final passage in the Senate. Appropriations bills are the bills that actually spend the money. 

The size of this debt and its growth trend is what should concern us far more than today’s fight. The Congressional Budget Office projects that by 2038, public debt will reach 100% of GDP. [Read more...]

With A Little Creative Thinking, Detroit Can Again Thrive

detroit-home-vacant-lotby Kerri Toloczko

House flipping is trendy for American real estate investors, and a spectator sport for those addicted to shows like “Flip This House.”

Although Detroit ‘s extreme fiscal and social problems cannot be fixed by replacing the siding on City Hall, the fundamental flipping formula of asset management, structural changes and attracting investors should be considered by city leaders serious about returning Detroit to a livable community.

It took more than 40 years of decline for Detroit to hit rock bottom, and it may take that long to fix it. But its historic bankruptcy must be reversed as its effects are reverberating throughout the economy.

The state of Michigan and, to a lesser degree, the federal government will have to provide financial support to the city at a time when working Americans are already taxed to the max.
[Read more...]

Detroit: The insanity cannot go on forever

Detroit Bankruptby Charles Krauthammer

If there’s an iron rule in economics, it is Stein’s Law (named after Herb, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers): “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

Detroit, for example, can no longer go on borrowing, spending, raising taxes and dangerously cutting such essential services as street lighting and police protection. So it stops. It goes bust.

Cause of death? Corruption, both legal and illegal, plus a classic case of reactionary liberalism in which the governing Democrats — there’s been no Republican mayor in half a century — simply refused to adapt to the straitened economic circumstances that followed the post-World War II auto boom. [Read more...]

Socialism’s Theme Park and Government Run Amok

Chrysler Transport worker Theisen carries a "Detroit Needs Jobs" sign as he joins a demonstration demanding jobs in DetroitThe fundamental transformation of Detroit is complete, as socialism’s theme park succumbs to government run amok, a reminder that government isn’t the solution to our problems but their cause.

The wisdom of President Reagan’s words have been lost under an administration that believes government is the entity from which all blessings flow. So has Margaret Thatcher’s observation that the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.

Last Oct. 13, President Obama boasted in a weekly address about the bailed-out auto industry that, “We refused to throw in the towel and do nothing. We refused to let Detroit go bankrupt. I bet on American workers and American ingenuity, and three years later that bet is paying off in a big way.” [Read more...]

Cash the biggest crop in this farm bill

Farm Bill Corn MoneyWe find remarkable that the Senate approved Monday a so-called “farm bill” that calls for nearly $1 trillion in questionable spending and hardly a discouraging word has been heard on Capitol Hill.

Chalk that up to still-fresh outrage over revelations of the Obama administration’s monitoring of Americans’ phone records, Internet accounts and credit card transactions, and still-simmering concerns about Internal Revenue Service abuses and Justice Department abrogation of press freedom.

Anyway, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs of Act of 2013 cleared the Senate floor by a comfortable 66-27 vote. The spending bill will cost the taxpayers $955 billion. That’s 60 percent more than the previous farm bill, in 2008. [Read more...]

Tax day reminds Americans that federal spending and taxes are too high

George Landrith, president of Frontiers of Freedom, made the following statement on tax day, April 15th:  Taxes

Will Rogers once said, “It is a good thing that we do not get as much government as we pay for.”  That may be true, but I think we all wish we were paying for a lot less government and a lot less taxes. Our federal government is at historically high levels of spending — in recent years gobbling up nearly 25% of the total economic output.

Every year, the federal government spends more money than it did the last year. Even this year with the “sequester,” federal government will spend more money this year than it did the year before. [Read more...]

Carbon Taxes and Leprosy: The opportunity of a life time? Who are they kidding?

by George Landrith   carbon tax

It is not surprising that there are liberals in Washington proposing new stealth carbon taxes. What is surprising is that a few “conservatives” support the idea. Even more inexplicable is the fact that some have called the carbon tax a “once in a generation opportunity.”

Let me see if I’ve got this right. A huge, gargantuan tax increase — one that would make everything cost more — is a “once in a generation opportunity?”

Every single day for the last 30 years and every single day for the next 30 years, liberals will crawl over top of each other to be the first one to sign-on to a new energy tax. This is a deal that liberals will always be willing to give. [Read more...]

The economy, jobs, and energy and carbon taxes

George Landrith, president of Frontiers of Freedom, issued the following statement:   GL Speaking 1

The economy is not some theoretical concept or ivory tower idea. A strong economy means that Americans have jobs and growing incomes. It means that families can provide their children with the care and opportunities that will provide for a bright future. Conversely a weak economy means fewer jobs and less opportunity. It means lower incomes and it means that families have to do without.

Too often big government slows the economy by taxing and spending too much. Those who support more and more government taxes and spending always argue that government can do something good with the money. But the problem with that argument is that families and businesses also can do a lot of good with that money if government doesn’t take it away from them. [Read more...]

“Pay-up, or you’ll regret it!”

by George LandrithObama Mob

Dr. Thomas Sowell, the Stanford University based economist, wrote this week that when he was teaching he would ask his students to consider this: “Imagine a government agency with only two tasks: (1) building statues of Benedict Arnold and (2) providing life-saving medications to children. If this agency’s budget were cut, what would it do?” Sowell posits that the agency would naturally cut back on medications for children. He explains that is the only result that would lead to getting the budget cuts restored. And he pointedly explains why the government wouldn’t cut back on the silly statues: “If they cut back on building statues of Benedict Arnold, people might ask why they were building statues of Benedict Arnold in the first place.”

Dr. Sowell is absolutely correct! Years ago, when I served on a local school board I witnessed this almost reflexive response every year the budget was tight. The most absurd things were never offered for cuts. They always threatened to cut the things that would most outrage the public. They talked about cutting bus routes for kids that lived far away from schools. They talked about crowded classrooms. [Read more...]

Sequester Madness: The White House has become unhinged

by George Landrithsequester madness

With the sequester deadline looming, there has been a marked uptick in the hyperbole emanating from Washington. Little wonder, a Pew Research poll says that only about one in four is paying close attention to the sequester.

This must be disconcerting to the White House because it has been full-court pressing the issue — suddenly releasing criminals from prison, falsely claiming that teachers are being pink-slipped, holding campaign style events with President Barack Obama personally issuing overblown and false warnings that firemen and policemen and teachers will be pink-slipped, that air traffic will be at greater risk, that waiting times at airports will increase and that meat will not be inspected and may be tainted. The White House even announced that it won’t deploy an aircraft carrier to a hotspot because of sequester budget constraints.  [Read more...]

The buck still stops with the president

by Nolan Finley  The Buck Stops with Bush, Not Obama

Playing the crisis card won’t work forever for President Barack Obama. At some point, the people will expect their leader to lead.

And the president hasn’t yet demonstrated the will to do so. Instead, he answers monumental moments such as the upcoming sequestration deadline with brinksmanship and blame-gaming.

For now, the approach is working. A Pew/USA Today poll last week found decisively more voters blame [Read more...]