Americans now rank “gridlock” as their top concern when it comes to the economy. We are reluctant to disparage the wisdom of the masses, but in this case they’re wrong. Gridlock, for lack of a better word, is good.
The new IBD/TIPP Poll asked “Which of the following poses the greatest risk to the current U.S. economy?”
At the top of the list was “gridlock in Washington” which 41% named as the greatest risk. Coming in second a good distance back was “trade disputes” at 26%. “Higher interest rates” came next at 12%, followed by “rising prices,” 9%, and “Special Counsel investigation” at 8%.
“Gridlock” came in first place among Democrats, Republicans and independents. Among the young and old. Men and women. North, South, East and West. Rural and urban. Wealthy and working class. Investors and non-investors. Continue reading
The media and the left are playing up the economic damage from the shutdown. No doubt, there will be some disruption. But it won’t be economic armageddon, not by a long shot.
Fears of shutdowns at airports and national parks have been prominent in media coverage. No doubt, some will be inconvenienced.
But will it lead to an economic meltdown, as some have suggested? Not likely.
Let’s start with a few facts. Shutdowns have occurred before, most recently in 1995 and 1996, and in 2013. In each case, these relatively short shutdowns had minimal economic impacts. Continue reading
After weeks of planning, the nation’s spy chief sent home nearly three-quarters of the workers at the government’s intelligence agencies when faced with the partial shutdown. The move, James Clapper later admitted himself, put the United States at greater risk of terrorist attacks. He then reversed course and brought thousands of employees back to work.
A review by McClatchy finds that lawmakers, former intelligence officials and national security experts say they were shocked that the administration furloughed the bulk of federal workers at 16 intelligence agencies, many of them tasked with the most important job in the government: safeguarding lives.
“It’s difficult for me to understand,” said Leon Panetta, who served as the director of the CIA and the secretary of defense under President Barack Obama. “People that are involved in our intelligence are critical. You can’t possibly put 70 percent on furlough and not harm national security.” Continue reading
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. Continue reading
As the Obamaland Government Shutdown Circus comes up on two weeks of performances, President Barack Obama seems to have resurrected the old Flip Wilson line in which character Geraldine Jones explained her bad behavior with the line, “The devil made me do it.”
For Obama, the devil is, of course, the Republicans in Congress.
Truth is, this shutdown is more the fault of the president than it is any one single person in Washington. He is the leader. This is on his watch. What we witness now goes directly to his leadership and management. This time, there’s no George W. Bush upon which to unfairly scapegoat his failures.
We caught a glimpse of this Tuesday when the president held a news conference in which he demonstrated quite clearly that he not only doesn’t possess the temperament to reach a reasonable accord with Republicans, he’s more pig-headed than anyone else in the room. Continue reading
For 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.
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. Continue reading
One remarkable aspect of the shutdown/debt limit battle is the irresponsibility (on the part of the Obama administration) and incompetence (on the part of the news media) concerning the claim that the federal government will default on its debt obligations if Congress fails to raise the debt limit. President Obama and his minions have clearly suggested that default is a real possibility:
“As reckless as a government shutdown is … an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse,” Obama said on Thursday. Clearly targeting Republicans, he said a default would be “the height of irresponsibility.”
Then, on the same day, Obama’s Treasury Department released a brutal statement that said a default would prove catastrophic, causing credit markets to freeze and leading to “a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse.” Continue reading
Word came this week that the National Institutes of Health has suspended therapy-dog visits to sick children at its clinical center because of a 25% reduction in staff, even though volunteers run the program.
Seems the veterinarians who evaluate the dogs have been furloughed. So how about the frequently used dogs that have already been evaluated? No deal.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to fund NIH clinical trials for children with cancer. When asked why, if it could mean saving a single child, Reid replied: “Why would we do that?”
These are just kids, after all. Who cares if they’re in pain or die because of his intransigence and lack of compassion? Continue reading
Polls show Americans are worried about the implementation of Obamacare — worried about keeping their current health insurance plans, the new law itself, the exchanges, potential fines, personal privacy, keeping their jobs, their work hours and a host of other issues too numerous to list here. Both the country and the Congress have much to discuss.
Right now, though, President Obama refuses to engage in any debate or discussion. The president is demanding that he get 100 percent of what he wants, and if he doesn’t, he and his Democratic allies in the Senate will keep the government shuttered. Continue reading
National parks and monuments from coast to coast have been shuttered since Tuesday, but not because of the federal government shutdown. No, most of these tourist attractions and community recreation spots were blocked off strictly for show.
The Obama administration wants to make the partial shutdown as visible and painful as possible to the taxpaying public by closing off as many popular destinations as possible, even though many of these destinations are supported by visitor fees, including Southern Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon and Lake Mead. As reported by the Review-Journal’s Henry Brean last week, recreation businesses held a Thursday news conference at Red Rock Canyon’s locked gates to rightly bemoan the shutdown, with Pat Williams of Friends of Red Rock Canyon saying, “The public lands have been held hostage by our elected leaders.” Continue reading
The Obama administration continues to play politics and operate in perpetual campaign mode, rather than lead or govern. Obama has shutdown portions of the government and even private property owned by American citizens not because the law requires it, but because he sees a political advantage in doing it and then blaming his adversaries. He knows that the mainstream media will gleefully assist him in this endeavor regardless of the facts.
One party hopes to force the nation to have a serous conversation about government spending, our nearly catastrophic national debt, and our seeming addiction to deficit spending. The other party calls names, shifts blame, and acts lawlessly to inconvenience, burden and disrupt the lives of Americans. They want to make the government slow-down as painful and as difficult as possible. Continue reading
White House Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell sent out a memo instructing agency heads not to consider whether the cost of shutting down a government website is more expensive than keeping it running.
As the partial government shutdown headed into the weekend, Organizing for Action, Barack Obama’s permanent campaign operation, urged followers to use Twitter to send a message to House Speaker John Boehner: “Enough Already!”
“Speaker Boehner can end the shutdown right now,” OFA told its followers. “Tweet at him to make sure he knows we’re going to be holding him accountable for trying to sabotage the economy.”
This message went out the day after Obama’s own blistering attack on the GOP, in which he insisted shrilly that House Republicans—he named Boehner specifically—were solely to blame for the shutdown. If the president’s appearance in Rockville, Md., had all the trappings of a campaign speech, that’s exactly what it was. The question is why: Barack Obama, after all, isn’t running for office again. Continue reading
The Obamacare/shutdown battle has spawned myriad myths. The most egregious concern the substance of the fight, the identity of the perpetrators and the origins of the current eruption.
President Obama indignantly insists that GOP attempts to abolish or amend Obamacare are unseemly because it is “settled” law, having passed both houses of Congress, obtained his signature and passed muster with the Supreme Court.
Yes, settledness makes for a strong argument — except from a president whose administration has unilaterally changed Obamacare five times after its passage, including, most brazenly, a year-long suspension of the employer mandate. Continue reading
The mainstream media is in the midst of one of its regular exercises in completely missing a wave of groundswell conservative anger — this time over the closing of the World War II Memorial. It’s as if the entire conservative case against the Obama administration’s incompetence, malice, and inefficiency was boiled down into one incident.
1. Government overreach: This was a monument built almost entirely through private donations — now the government pretends the monument belongs to it, and not to the people who donated to build it, not to the vets whose sacrifice it honors, and not to the families of vets and other citizens who want to use it to teach their kids about courage, honor, and sacrifice. Continue reading