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. Continue reading
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 Continue reading
Even during this desultory economic recovery, one industry thrives — the manufacture of synthetic hysteria. It is, however, inaccurate to accuse the Hysteric in Chief of crying “Wolf!” about spending cuts under the sequester. He is actually crying “Hamster!”
As in: Batten down the hatches — the sequester will cut $85 billion from this year’s $3.6 trillion budget! Or: Head for the storm cellar — spending will be cut 2.3 percent! Or: Washington chain-saw massacre — we must scrape by on 97.7 percent of current spending! Or: Chaos is coming because the sequester will cut a sum $25 billion larger than was just shoveled out the door (supposedly, but not actually) for victims of Hurricane Sandy! Or: Heaven forfend, the sequester will cut 47 percent as much as was spent on the AIG bailout! Or: Famine, pestilence and locusts will come when the sequester causes federal spending over 10 years to plummet from $46 trillion all the way down to $44.8 trillion! Or: Grass will grow in the streets of America’s cities if the domestic agencies whose budgets have increased 17 percent under President Obama must endure a 5 percent cut! Continue reading
by George Landrith
With a long history of federal overspending and the recent explosion of more federal debt, it is obvious that the federal budget must be cut back to a reasonable size. We need an intervention. But the Budget Control Act — which would force an “automatic sequester” of $500 billion in across-the-board defense spending cuts over the next decade, in addition to the $487 billion in defense cuts already scheduled — is not a good solution to our spending crisis. Continue reading
“After the phony cliff, we face the terrifying one.”
by Conrad Black
Last week, Fareed Zakaria and Charles Krauthammer appeared in Toronto (where I live much of the time), and while I did not go to their main debate, I went to a tasting of it at a luncheon. There was, I regret to write, as a longstanding friend of both of them, a surreal aspect to the exchange. After the usual compliments one exchanges (as I know from my time on that circuit), they embarked on a dialogue of the deaf, and a mutual flight, joined at the wingtip like Jurassic pterodactyls, soaring above the mighty chasm of American fiscal problems below. The otherworldly discussion of whether the Republican leaders in Congress will reach an agreement with the president about the automatic expiration of the Bush tax cuts of a decade ago vastly overshadowed the issue of reinserting spontaneous growth into the U.S. economy and grappling with the deficit at last. Continue reading
With the budget and fiscal crisis facing the United States and difficult economic times surely ahead for the foreseeable future, President Barack Obama has vociferously argued that Republicans must agree to tax increases. He argues for what he terms are modest tax increases on the wealthiest Americans that are equal to the tax rates during President Bill Clinton’s time in office. Why is Obama only interested in Clinton era tax rates, but not Clinton era federal spending rates? Continue reading
“So it is sheer hogwash that ‘tax cuts for the rich’ caused the government to lose tax revenues. The government gained tax revenues, not lost them. . . . That is because people change their economic behavior when tax rates are changed, contrary to what the Congressional Budget Office and others seem to assume, and this can stimulate the economy more than a government ‘stimulus’ has done under either Bush or Obama.”
by Thomas Sowell
One of the big advantages that President Obama has, as he plays “chicken” with the Congressional Republicans along the “fiscal cliff,” is that Obama is a master of the plausible lie, which will never be exposed by the mainstream media– nor, apparently, by the Republicans.
A key lie that has been repeated over and over, largely unanswered, is that President Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich” cost the government so much lost tax revenue that this added to the budget deficit– so that the government cannot afford to allow the cost of letting the Bush tax rates continue for “the rich.”
It sounds very plausible, and constant repetition without a challenge may well be enough to convince the voting public that, if the Republican-controlled House of Representatives does not go along with Barack Obama’s demands for more spending and higher tax rates on the top 2 percent, it just shows that they care more for “the rich” than for the other 98 percent.
What is remarkable is how easy it is to show how completely false Obama’s argument is. That also makes it completely inexplicable why the Republicans have not done so. Continue reading
“All the political angst and moral melodrama about getting ‘the rich’ to pay ‘their fair share’ is part of a big charade. This is not about economics, it is about politics. Taxing ‘the rich’ will produce a drop in the bucket when compared to the staggering and unprecedented deficits of the Obama administration.”
by Thomas Sowell
Amid all the political and media hoopla about the “fiscal cliff” crisis, there are a few facts that are worth noting.
First of all, despite all the melodrama about raising taxes on “the rich,” even if that is done it will scarcely make a dent in the government’s financial problems. Raising the tax rates on everybody in the top two percent will not get enough additional tax revenue to run the government for ten days.
And what will the government do to pay for the other 355 days in the year?
All the political angst and moral melodrama about getting “the rich” to pay “their fair share” is part of a big charade. This is not about economics, it is about politics. Taxing “the rich” will produce a drop in the bucket when compared to the staggering and unprecedented deficits of the Obama administration.
No previous administration in the entire history of the nation ever finished the year with a trillion dollar deficit. The Obama administration has done so every single year. Yet political and media discussions of the financial crisis have been focused overwhelmingly on how to get more tax revenue to pay for past and future spending. Continue reading
by George Landrith
President Barack Obama repeatedly chided Mitt Romney’s budget plan during the presidential campaign on at least two grounds: (1) it lacked detail, and (2) the math didn’t add up. Perhaps, we should use these two standards to see how Barack Obama’s plan stacks up. There is more than a little irony in Barack Obama criticizing others for not providing details or for their math not adding up. Obama has always been short on details and his math has almost never passed even the straight face test, much less actually adding up.
Nonetheless, let’s apply these two standards — (1) are there sufficient details? and (2) does the math add up? — to evaluate Barack Obama’s proposals for solving the so-called fiscal cliff. Continue reading
“The ability of the American people to watch the [‘Fiscal Cliff’] sausage made and [to] read the contract before signing is a better guardian of our future than the hurried endorsements of the Washington establishment based on private assurances of politicians.”
by Grover Norquist
On January 1, 2013 three things happen:
First, the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts lapse along with a number of temporary tax reductions that have been extended so many times they are collectively known as “the extenders.” (Note to self: possible name for female rock band.) This collection of tax hikes total $500 billion in 2013. The $1,000 per child tax credit drops to $500. The Obama Social Security tax holiday ends again. The bottom tax rate jumps from 10 percent to 15 percent and the top personal income tax rate jumps from 35 to 39.6 percent — plus Obamacare’s new 3.8 percent surtax: total for top rate 43.4%. (Do be sure to add 10.3 percent for the state income tax if you live in California, 5.75 percent in Maryland or 8.82 percent in New York.) Continue reading
After a long, tough campaign, Barack Obama won reelection by a slim 51% to 49%. Now Obama is claiming a broad mandate to increasing taxes and demands that Congress yield to his view that there must be a higher tax burden for the wealthiest Americans.
Obama is correct that he made tax increases an issue during his reelection campaign. But so did the Congressmen who comprise the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. GOP Congressmen won reelection opposing tax rate increases on any Americans. Continue reading