A riposte to Nate Silver re: the Ryan budget

Nate Silver at the NYT's 538 blog is probably 50 IQ points brighter than I am, I being a dumb suburban mick lawyer. But I think he's wrong tonight

It isn’t surprising that the House Republicans approved Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which had been endorsed by their leadership. What was more remarkable, however, was the near-unanimity of the vote: just 4 Republicans dissented, while 2 others did not vote. (Democrats voted against the proposal 189-0).

Let me quote the great philosopher Wayne Gretzky. "The secret to my success wasn't skating to where the puck was, it was skating to where I thought the puck as going to go"

If one thinks political economics is a static field, then yes, voting for a massive restructure if Medicare so as to to bring the budget into balance is a big risk.   Certaintly anyone eager to benefit from Medicare now or in the foreseeable future will be made a bit uncomfortable with the GOP with this vote. (Let's omit the bald face fact Ryan's plan grandfathers in the 55 & over crowd; the DNC will still try to scare them).

 If 2012 is a "normal" election year Nate Silver is right: the GOP has taken a big policy risk for little obvious reward. ( Of course, one might argue keeping the country solvent is its own reward).  The problem is I don't think 2012 will be a "normal" year. Moreover, if it is a "normal year", Obama probably wins a relatively easy reelection and the GOP House is on their own, ala 1996.

So, what are the likely environmental conditions for 2012?

* Higher energy costs

* A deficit exceeding $1 trillion

* Fewer employed Americans than when Obama took office. (especially in Florida & the Rust Belt)

This is not a scenario for the Democratic Party to suggest President Obama should be rewarded with more supporters in Congress. It is a scenario where voters will want a new path out of the wilderness. 

Given that situation, is is a better gamble for the House GOP to run on what amounts to continuing the status quo, or to argue they are fighting for a materiallly different alternative that promises voters better results?

I would also posit that given that most senior citizen swing voters are blue collar whites, the President's yuppie persona gets in the way of rallying opposition to Republican proposals.   Damm all those bitter clingers.

As for the swing district Republicans, the lesson of 2006 was that no matter how hard the likes of Nancy Johnson and Linc Chaffee tried to extricate themselves from Iraq, deficits & Mark Foley, the Dems pulled them back in.   Why not stand together rather than lose through division. 

In addition, I've extrapolated this post based on what I think are conservative assumptions as to energy prices and the job market. A "black swan" event will in all likilihood, demolish what is left of Obama's credibility with swing voters. 

Sometimes the biggest gamble is to try and play it safe. We are in a time of extraordinary disaffection from government institutions and economic instability.  Running a traditional incumbents platform under these circumstances is probably the worst bet of all.

My Tempestuous Teapot Boileth Over.

It has taken us two days to catch up with the comments we received from our article, ‘To Primary Or Not To Primary.’ This, more than any argument anyone can come up with, has indicated to me that the mood out there is every bit as charged as I thought it was.

Reps. Jim Jordan and Tim Huelskamp said they would vote against the spending bill.

You’ve stood up and said in none too uncertain terms that you were not going to be fooled again, as we were during the Bush years… hoping that when the time came our side would step up and do the right thing. Well, they never did and the result was Barack Obama and the pillage of the American economy during the Marxists’ headlong rush for power.

We’re engaged in the most critical conflict since our Revolutionary War. Right here. And right now. Some of the criticisms we’re hearing are very pointed, and directed to and about specific members of the leadership. To be fair and balanced, which I’m not (that’s why I do opinion editorials), unlike our leadership, I am an outspoken partisan for my cause.

Watching the Republican leadership fumbling the damned ball again was mentioned by many readers. Not to say that the establishment leadership didn’t have their defenders, but it was unscientifically running at around 20-1. Boehner, Cantor, McConnell and the others are starting to feel the backlash created by their cupidity which, as you can see, neatly rhymes with stupidity.

It’s also been duly noted that the Republican ‘strategy’ for this year is to permit one hundred and five billion dollars in Obamacare funding. There’s a whole bunch of people beefed by that one too. All in all, a pretty dismal performance by our guys.

Not surprisingly, some of the new freshman Conservatives are drawing a line in the sand, stating unequivocally that they will not sign any budget amendment bill that does not address the 1.7 trillion dollar deficit for 2011 alone. ‘Bully!’, as Theodore Roosevelt would have said. Keep those cards and letters coming guys… we love it. That’s me, not Teddy!

I think the leadership is going to find more and increasing resistance from the Conservative wing of the party as the year progresses and the amount of pressure you, the American Patriot, can generate increases rapidly. Hey, guys and gals, we swung an entire election. We can certainly rein in our leadership until we determine if or when to replace them. The leadership has got to step up now. As one reader put it, “If not now, when?”

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2011

To Primary Or Not To Primary.

It should be apparent to even the mildest-mannered, laid-back conservative that things just aren’t working the way they should if we had Congressional leadership.

John Boehner at CPAC, February 10th, 2011.

What do I mean? We have outstanding leadership, don’t we? Well, we thought we did anyway. I’ve been wary of John Boehner since he was on the campaign trail. He made all the right conservative noises, but he’s turning out to be a cap pistol instead of a cannon.

The cowardly bunch is literally afraid of its own shadow. If the Republican leadership can’t hack it, let the new young conservatives take over. They’ve already shown a willingness to buck the establishment leadership, a surprising but welcome indication that we, at least, had chosen well.

It’s our own fault. We’re being victimized by our own success. We swept our candidates into office wholesale… and re-established the power of the old guard leadership.

It’s no secret that the Tea Party conservatives we worked so hard to put in place are also frustrated and disappointed with the party leadership’s timidity on just about any matter you can think of… the latest and most egregious being the issue of the continuing resolutions. While we’re playing around with two and three week extensions, part of the monies being authorized are going to fund Obamacare.

The bill has an unknown number of hidden triggers and preset spending authorizations for a plethora of as yet unnamed, unelected and untouchable boards and commissions. While we’re playing at reducing the deficit, this monstrosity is embedding itself and spreading like gangrene, like a slow poison… that’s why it needs to be stopped now.

Watching our Republican leadership reverting to their old ways is disappointing, for sure. I had that sinking feeling that I got when I realized that George Bush was not going to rein in his government or his Congress… that what we had was, in fact, a big government Republican who had made distinctly conservative noises during the election campaign, only to revert to type later.

Mark Levin has called for one of his really effective ‘surges’, where he has his audience call House and Senate members… and keep calling, letting them know how very disappointed we are in the timid, tentative approach of the so-called ‘old-bulls’ of the party. We’re faced with a 14 trillion dollar debt. Several trillion upside down this last year alone, and we’re farting around with a sixty or hundred billion dollar proposed reduction? Excuse me for saying, “What!?!”

We’ve got a lot of eager, bright conservative people in Congress and there will be more soon. I think we need to tell the Republican leadership that this is the last chance. Stick with your usual weak, deal-making, accommodating ways and we’re going to primary you.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2011

Krugman's Keynesian Devotion Dooms Us to Future Downturns

I try to read all of Princeton economist and New York Times’ contributor Paul Krugman’s columns. Call it a nerdy form of masochism. By the end of each article I’m often left ripping at my hair and gouging at my eyes, screaming madly, “how did this guy win a Nobel?!?” Then I’m reminded that Yasser Arafat and Al Gore are also Nobel laureates and that maybe I shouldn’t make such a big deal out of the award.

Regardless of my disdain for his ideology I simply cannot stop reading. His seemingly religious belief that spending for the sake of spending is the solution to any economic crisis is admirable in its consistency.

Then again, it’s also fun to watch him run in rhetorical circles when he’s wrong. Remember this gem?

“[Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] didn’t do any subprime lending, because they can’t: the definition of a subprime loan is precisely a loan that doesn’t meet the requirement, imposed by law, that Fannie and Freddie buy only mortgages issues to borrowers who made substantial down payments and carefully documented their income.”

Oops, got that one wrong. Must’ve missed the $4.3 trillion in subprime mortgages.

Well in his latest column he gets it wrong again. But in all his economic vanity he can’t admit it. Quite the contrary, he predicts the future for us, the conservative fools, who seek to deter the government from spending us into bankruptcy. In true doom and gloom fashion he argues “[F]uture historians will tell us that this wasn’t the end of the third depression, just as the business upturn that began in 1933 wasn’t the end of the Great Depression.”

Fortunately, we, the conservative fools, have good company. The G-20 Summit, composed of leaders from the world’s largest economies, have decided that trimming deficits is the best way to achieve long term stability in the world economy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been one of the most vocal advocates of putting government spending on a sustainable path. In a response to President Obama’s call for more stimulus, her government said,

“Nobody can seriously dispute that excessive public debts, not only in Europe, are one of the main causes of this crisis. That’s why they have to be reduced.”

Nobody? Is that a challenge? Apparently Paul Krugman took it as one. In his latest column Krguman explains why the silly know-nothings at the G-20 summit, with their commitment to fiscal sanity rather than spiraling deficits, will inevitably lead to the “Third Depression.” He writes:

And this third depression will be primarily a failure of policy. Around the world — most recently at last weekend’s deeply discouraging G-20 meeting — governments are obsessing about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending.

In the face of this grim picture, you might have expected policy makers to realize that they haven’t yet done enough to promote recovery. But no: over the last few months there has been a stunning resurgence of hard-money and balanced-budget orthodoxy.

Gasp! Inadequate spending. Only in the wonderland that exists inside Krugman’s head could trillions of dollars in new government debt be considered “inadequate spending.” If the United States escaped the Great Depression by building tanks for World War II, Krugman wants us to escape this recession by building presses to print all the money we’ll need for his “stimulus.”

The problem is that Paul Krugman thinks myopically. We must spend, spend, spend and do it now, now, now. Forget the fact that we have no plan to solve these deficits in the long term, beyond inflating our currency to the point where deficits won’t matter. The rest of us have a more nuanced understanding. We actually possess the ability to assess the long-term. Moreover, the ability to think in future terms necessarily colors the way we act in the present.

As Shawn Tully of Forbes explains,

“[I]f investors are convinced that Washington has a plan to restore fiscal balance, they’ll be content with lower returns on their stocks, bonds and buildings for a simple reason: those returns will prove more stable and predictable. That comfort level, in turn, lowers risk premiums and raises the prices of equities, corporate bonds, houses, and office towers.

Right now, many investors and managers are simply terrified by the absence of a roadmap to avoid ruinous debt. “We need to know that Washington can make tough choices, that our leaders are willing to do things that are unpopular,” says Paul Willen, an economics professor at MIT. “More than anything, people need to feel that this is not out of control.”

Frankly we’re scared, not just of today’s economic downturn, but because of a future made cloudy by insurmountable government deficits. In the face of a frightening future, Americans are saving rather than spending, companies are shunning risk and entrepreneurialism, and foreign lenders may soon ask for higher interest rates to hedge against inflation.

Keynes once said, “in the end we are all dead.” Krugman seems to base his entire economic philosophy on this one sentence. There is little other explanation for why he puts so much emphasis on spending now regardless of whether we can pay for it later. Our generation deserves better than that. Solving today’s crisis should not come with the caveat that we have doomed ourselves to another one.

by Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee


Big Government’s Next Stop: Your Retirement

I’ll try not to be as “doom and gloom” as I want to be. But I’ll allow myself one uber-pessimistic sentence to vent. Here we go: The shortsighted dummies in Washington now seem dead-set on sticking their dirty little hands into my wallet once again, this time to nationalize 401(k) plans as a quick cash grab to fund their agenda, and we’ll all suffer because of it. Ok. Technically it was a run-on sentence, but I had a lot to say and only one sentence to say it!

Our generation has witnessed an unprecedented growth in the size of government. It’s tentacles now touch every part of our lives. From regulation of traditionally private enterprises to administering and funding health care, we’re left to wonder where will the growth stop. Well apparently the Democrats in Washington want to keep pushing the envelope. Their latest grab is 401(k) retirement plans.

For all you young adults out there – just because I said retirement doesn’t mean you get to stop reading. This affects us now.

First, some explanation. In February the White House released its “Annual Report on the Middle Class” in Obama’s new Middle Class Task Force laid out ways to improve retirement security. Currently most workers join a 401(k) in which they pay a certain amount of their salary into a tax deferred investment vehicle that allows them to save for retirement. Advantages include: the employee gets to choose the type of investment and risk level, the money is contributed before it is taxed so you save on taxes, and many employers will match what you put in.

Enter the Democrats governing mantra: “Anything the private sector can do we can do better. We can do anything better than you.” To that end the Middle Class Task Force recommended:

“The creation of Guaranteed Retirement Accounts (GRAs), which would give workers a simple way to invest a portion of their retirement savings in an account that was free of inflation and market risk, and in some versions under discussion, would guarantee a specified real return above the rate of inflation.”

Sounds wonderfully benign when you describe it like that. It’s kind of like saying, the public option would have provided patients with more health care choices. Unfortunately, the reality is much different.

Supporters of the GRA have already testified before Congress with proposals to eliminate the favorable tax treatment afforded to 401(k) plans. Government run GRAs would be there to pick up the slack. How they would do that is explained in another government document – a “Request for Information” regarding the “annuitization” of 401(k) plans issued by the Department of the Treasury.

The problem with Americans, as suggested by the Treasury document, is that they aren’t good at saving. They complain that the vast majority of people take their 401(k) earnings in a lump sum once they reach retirement age. Democrats don’t like this idea. Apparently they disapprove of how people spend their money. They say that the only way to make sure people spend wisely is to convince/force them into an annuity providing monthly payments rather than a lump sum. Paternalism at its worst.

All this is bad, but why should young adults be concerned? The answer…just take a look at Social Security. Social Security is a government run retirement plan which everyone pays into. Just take a look at your last paycheck (if you’re lucky enough to have one in this economy) and you’ll notice that you were forced to contribute a substantial amount to Social Security. You’d like to think that this money would be going to a trust fund saved up for when you retire. You’d be wrong. In actuality the Social Security trust fund is a drawer full of IOUs from the federal government.

In a slick budgetary move, designed to make their bottom line look better, the government takes the money paid into Social Security, spends the funds on government programs, while not counting the borrowed money against the deficit. Brilliant! Until you realize that our generation is going to be on the hook for all of this mismanagement.

If GRAs are passed we should expect to see the same thing. The government is seriously hard up for cash. If they were a college student they would be living off ramen and Busch Light. To alleviate this money problem in the short term the government could spend the money currently sitting in retirement accounts, toss out some more IOUs, and defer payment for the GRA annuities for a few decades.

This is the culture that young adults must fight against. The idea that anything goes in the effort to boost today’s bottom line – even if it may cost the next generation trillions. Such short-sightedness must come to an end. Politicians must be made to understand that what matters is what benefits us in the long term not them in the short term. And frankly, our generation already has enough on its plate. Trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. A national debt that doubles in five years and triples in ten. $76 trillion in unfunded government entitlement liabilities. We simply cannot afford to pay for the nation’s retirement as well.

Alright I know I promised I wouldn’t be “doom and gloom.” There really wasn’t a way around it. We’re faced with problems that Washington is refusing to acknowledge even exist. It’s enough to make me want to move, to try and run away from our government’s profligacy. I’ve always wanted to spend some time in Europe!…oh wait.

by Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee

Breaking Uncle Sam’s Spending Addiction

Uncle Sam is addicted to spending. We’re use to seeing him pointing and saying “I want YOU!” He’s still pointing but now he’s saying “I want your CASH.” He needs a fix. It is little wonder that he is addicted. Washington has developed a culture of spending in which elected officials are worried about getting elected today regardless of the fiscal consequences of tomorrow. Well now it is time to send him to rehab. There have been many attempts at doing so, but detoxing is never fun and Uncle Sam apparently lacks the will to see it through.

Earlier this week, Republicans unveiled their new “YouCut” program, saying it will give voters the chance to tell Capitol Hill what budget-cuts they think are necessary. The program is meant to harness the internet’s power of social media to allow citizens more access to the decisions of their government. In an out of touch Washington it is meant to empower citizens. Each week Republican members of Congress will submit a few proposals to cut some fat out of the federal government. These choices will then be presented to Americans who will be given the chance to vote on which cut they would like to see implemented. Republicans will then use the procedural tools available to the minority party to force a vote on the spending cut. House Whip Eric Cantor, who is putting on this spending “intervention” hopes the method will help.

Democrats, who don’t want to lose their best junkie, have been quick to criticize the program. Alec Gerlach of the Democratic National Committee criticized the program because it “would cut less than one-tenth of 1% of the budget.” Liberal blogger Mark Coatney was quick to pile on saying “Cantor’s ambition seems a little small. Even if you enacted EVERY ONE of these proposals, the savings would be around $6 billion over 5 years.”

These critiques fail to understand the program and reinforce the nickel and diming of the American people. First, each makes a point to highlight how small the cuts are. The average of the first round of proposed cuts is around $800 million dollars. Though only a tiny percentage of the federal government’s budget I don’t think any American is willing to call that pocket change. Lets put it this way – the average household pays around $10,000 in federal taxes each year. If you enacted just one of the YouCut savings – 80,000 households worth of income tax could be saved or put to better use. Still “underwhelmed?” And of course this is only week one of a continuing program. Americans will have the opportunity to vote on cuts each week so the aggregate effect of the cuts will continue to grow.

My main problem with the Democrats argument is that it reveals a flippant attitude toward addressing the culture of spending in Washington. Politicians have become so used to fighting for $1 trillion additions to the federal budget that they ignore the “small” $500 million programs that are purely a waste of resources. This refusal to think small has dampened our ability to dream big.

Small stuff adds up. If we start addressing the thousands of small ticket items that are clogging up our budget and wasting taxpayer resources then we may be able to get back on a path towards fiscal sustainability. A million here, a billion there, and before you know it we’re making a real difference.

Moreover, the program is really about changing the culture of spending into a culture of saving. Rep. Paul Ryan, a Janesville Republican who serves on a new presidential fiscal commission examining major ways to cut the federal deficit, acknowledged that the YouCut program alone won’t balance the budget.

“But it’s a start,” he said. “We’ve got to get the culture in this country focused on containing the cost of government, containing spending. You can’t tackle the big things unless you change the culture.”

Their main argument in favor of YouCut is that it will get the average citizen to think more about reducing spending, and allowing them to let Uncle Sam know that that is what they are thinking about. One definition for culture is “an integrated pattern of human behavior.” In order to integrate a new pattern of spending, preferably of less spending, we have to change the culture, even if it means starting small.

Uncle Sam needs to go to rehab. He’s become addicted to spending and it has left him weak. His enablers in Washington want him to stay hooked. Addiction to spending leads to a lifetime of big government which is exactly what Democrats want. But we must fight to change the culture. To do that we must stop consistently ignoring the thousands of small cuts that need to be made to our budget. With our futures on the line who better to decide than us?

by Brandon Greife and Adam Welsh

A Modest Proposal to Reduce the Deficit


As is known the liberty choking deficits will continue to rise during the Obama administration and well after as the Social Security and Medicare schemes enter their terminal stages.  Added to the after effects of the Great Depression and the Great Society are of course the new wild eyed spending of the Great One himself.  Deficits and government debt will soon eclipse the ability of the economy itself to pay for them.


What to do?  


My advice is simple--first, what has caused the rise in spending?  Is it a matter of helpless citizens who require government intervention for the sweet pap of sustenance?  Unlikely, altough at this point there are many debilitated by their long association with that noxious entity known as the welfare state.  


No, the real cause in the increase in government spending will always be not the weak, not the poor, not the ill, not the poorly educated, no, but rather those who seek power, money, prestige and security for themselves through the otherwise legitimate purposes of government.  


Granted, it's not acceptible at this point in history, with bald face, to expect the populace to tend to your aristocratic drive for all the good things this world has to offer at minimal expense to oneself.  Needless to say, those drives have not been exteminated from the human soul, no, but they have become modulated and recast--a compensatory masquerade--as charitable concern for others.  That is, when one seeks well remunerated employment in the pursuit of aleviating the suffering of others, then one can exercise the baser drives always found in those attracted to governance--but this time with a clean, modern, enlightened conscience.  Superiority even.  What a perfect circle!  My life is to improve the lot of my inferiors, which act makes me superior, which fact guarantees that my secure job will never be done.  Therefore taxes must be levied in perpetuity!


Sad but true.  There are available to us but two ways to short circuit this vicious circle.  One, we could all demand to join this Great Effort and thereby speed it's collapse by depriving it of any honest human beings to exploit for its upkeep.  This is the scenario currently playing out in Greece, et al. in Europa where a majority work for the "public interest."  Or we could take the opposite tack--not the wholesale jumping into a sinking ship--and thereby insure that some civil society, some operation of a free economy is vestigially present before the coming dissolution of the Great Government, since that freely operating society is in fact what we truly rely on for human existence (I refer to free contract, association and speech).  


No, to rid ourselves of the burden of a government which has become the thing not agreed to (the ultimate perversion of the only valid role of govenment, namely, to protect one from the what has not been agreed upon)  then we must rid ourselves of the individuals mentioned above, that is, government workers  


Hence, to free ourselve of the deficit I suggest we as a nation sell all government workers to China as slaves in exchange for the outstanding US debt held by that nation.  Not only do we free ourselves of the source of increased government spending, not only do we enjoy a windfall to eliminate a good portion of the outstanding debt, but we also adress decisively the trade imbalance with that fast growing economy.


Which government employees do we sell?  It's simple, all who do not require a gun to do their jobs and therefore do not risk their lives to earn their pay will be culled for the slave galleys to China.  This is a very sensible distinction on all grounds.


Now, many will pause at such an act--do we really want to take a step backwards in history towards the abomination of slavery?  This is well thought.  Do we?  Is not the idea of servitude towards another human being completely loathsome to us all?  The lack of consent or written agreement?  The prospect of one generation born to shackles paying an obligation made long before they were born?  


All these things are repellent.  Utterly and definably repellant.  Repulsive.  Hideous.  Sickening to one's very soul.  Such is slavery.  And yet each and every one of these things will soon be upon us; as each free individual is cowed to the superior power and demands of an unaccountable government; as each is made to pay and lose his labour to another's interest, one generation after another born without freedom of movement or self-determiniation.  Shackled by the arrangements of the past.


Slavery is upon us, the only question is who will serve? 


Well, if there will be slavery who is better suited to it?  Those who would chose fewer guarantees, who choose to take care of themselves without complaint, who are willing to risk all to make their freedom worthwhile?  Or those, the "public servants," who have opted for comfort over challenge?  It is obvious who the slavish in our society already are.  It is merely a matter of bringing the horse to the cart and sending it down the road.  


We owe trillions to China.  China has no objection to slavery, let them be paid in flesh.  We can rid ourselves of a noxious government in an appropriate way, pay off our debt, remove the impetus for future spending and provide China with cheap labour so that they can continue to send us affordable products.  Every benefit can be realized with the simple sale of government employees.  


Let your conscience rest easy, gentle reader, this government has been for sale for a long time, here we are merely broadening the product line .





House Of Cards… And An Ill Wind Blowing.

New figures on the deficit have jarred veteran Wall Street economists. The deficit just posted for April was eighty two billion dollars. That’s over twice what the deficit was just last April. Our total deficit for this year alone is projected to be one point five trillion dollars. The total debt of the United States of America is an astonishing twelve trillion nine hundred thirty billion plus dollars.

The 785 billion dollar ‘stimulus’, that was to keep our republic from sinking into the abyss of depression, didn’t. That is, it didn’t do what Obama and the panic gang said it would. It was a huge pile of freshly minted dollars that was carefully, reverently poured down every wrong hole they could find. Predictably, as with most government initiatives, it didn’t take it long to go wrong… not long and very,very wrong. The government invested in itself and not in the American people. Much of the stimulus money hasn’t even been accounted for, and with the typical layers of government deniability and shifting of responsibility, probably never will.

Our government, in the form of the radical Obama regime, advocates and supervises the confiscation of the treasure of the country to pay for massive entitlements, with which to enslave the American people in a self perpetuating cycle of poverty and debt.

It’s an increasingly dangerous place, this world of ours. The sheer number of muslim illegals in this country would almost guarantee success at some point. Get one hundred low-budget bombers and if only one succeeds they’ve won… or maybe these turkeys are only a blind for deeper embedded terrorist cells that are already here and operational. We shouldn’t congratulate ourselves for stopping them. We need to be so much more vigilant than we have been.

Obama’s mismanagement makes the world situation much more dangerous than it needed to be. We will pay for this one day soon. The Iranian navy is going to try to force us from the Straights of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf, or in the event of the outbreak of hostilities try to sink our ships. Easier said than done I’ll admit, but Iran is not an adversary to take lightly. I assure you the Israelis won’t. No one wants war but this one is on the horizon and I don’t see anything that will mitigate that in any way.

LJDAM (Laser Joint Direct Attack Munitions)

Obama has shifted his policy towards Israel and Iran again and completed supplying Israel with the latest deep penetrating LJDAM bunker buster. Now if he were smart he’d get out of Israel’s way and let them do what they have to do. But Barack Obama isn’t; smart that is. The alternative is a nuclear armed Iran and the very real possibility of nuclear war. Obama’s weak posturing in front of these middle east strongmen and radical fanatics has only succeeded in painting a huge bulls eye on our backs and then expecting nothing to happen.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2010

I.O.U.S.A.: Solutions

The sequel to I.O.U.S.A., a full-length feature produced by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, I.O.U.S.A.: Solutions will premier on CNN on Saturday, April 10, 1:00-3:00 p.m. EST, and will air again on Sunday, April 11, 3:00-5:00 p.m. EST.  The following is from the press release for the film:

"Our country is facing rapidly growing deficits and debt. How can we change our course...and what happens if we don't?

"The award-winning documentary I.O.U.S.A. opened up America's eyes to the consequences of our nation's debt and the need for our government to show more fiscal responsibility. Now that more Americans and elected officials are aware of our fiscal challenges, the producers of I.O.U.S.A. created I.O.U.S.A.: Solutions, a follow-up special that is premiering on CNN this weekend. This special will focus on solutions to the fiscal crisis and it will feature new footage from the producers of I.O.U.S.A. and a panel discussion with experts from a variety of viewpoints, spanning across generations."

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation was founded by Mr. Peterson, who chaired the Peterson Commission for President Nixon, and was Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs before becoming Nixon's Secretary of Commerce.  He was a co-founder of the Blackstone Group, and was Chairman & CEO of Bell & Howell 1963 - 1971, and Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers from 1973 - 1984.  He was Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations until 2007.

David Walker was personally recruited by Mr. Peterson as President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.  Mr. Walker was Comptroller General and head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) from 1998 to 2008.  Walker partnered with the Brookings Institution, the Concord Coalition, and the Heritage Foundation while at the GAO to present the "Fiscal Wake-Up Tour" as a series of town-hall meetings and other events.

Below is the chopped-down 30-minute version of I.O.U.S.A.

My favorite Peter G. Peterson quote (to date):

"There's no such thing as a tax cut without a cut in spending.  That's a tax deferral plan."


Here's a previous post from another contributor with the short version of I.O.U.S.A. 

Swiss-Cheese-GO: When the Exceptions Swallow the Rule

It was to be a new era of fiscal responsibility. In 2006, Nancy Pelosi promised that “the first thing” Democrats would do when they were in control was to reimpose Paygo rules that “Republicans had let lapse.” That didn’t quite happen. By 2008 those rules had “lapsed” twelve times for a total of $400 billion in new deficit spending. Ok, well that didn’t stick, but on the campaign trail Barack Obama promised to “reinstate pay-as-you-go budget rules, so that new spending or tax cuts are paid for by spending cuts or revenue elsewhere.” He subsequently engaged in a trillion dollar spending binge that painted the nation’s ledger red with deficit spending. Well, that was a slip up, but now he’s was super serious when he said in his weekly internet address,

“Now, Congress will have to pay for what it spends, just like everybody else. . .  After a decade of profligacy, the American people are tired of politicians who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk when it comes to fiscal responsibility. It’s easy to get up in front of the cameras and rant against exploding deficits. What’s hard is actually getting deficits under control. But that’s what we must do.”

At least he got the first part right. Polls show that Americans, especially Millennials, are tired of the federal government’s big spending ways. A February poll by Rasmussen finds that among voters 18-29,

  • 74% are either very or somewhat concerned by the federal deficit
  • 68% believe that cutting the deficit would be better for the economy than the Keynesian approach of increasing deficit spending
  • 64% believe that increasing the deficit will hurt the economy
  • 85% thinkthat the government fails to spend taxpayer money wisely and carefully
  • 87% blame politicians unwillingness to reduce government spending as the cause of the federal deficit

Our fiscally frugal generation has been let down again. Far from being responsible, Congressional Democrats have found creative ways to work around the spirit of the Paygo law. For instance, the law exempts more than 50 federal programs from its reach – including the biggest ticket items like Social Security, the Medicare doc fix, and the alternative minimum tax patch. These tidy little exceptions are worth some $2.5 trillion; money that the government is not required to offset under Paygo.

The biggest farce comes in the form of an “emergency” exception. Patricia Murphy of Politics Daily explains,

“[A]lready, the Senate has issued itself a waiver from the provisions on three of the four spending bills it has considered by declaring several bills to be emergency spending, including a $15-billion jobs bill, a $10-billion measure for unemployment benefits and $100 billion package of tax extenders.”

If everything is the exception is there really a rule? We won’t (though we could) argue that there isn’t a unemployment emergency that requires government action. But, it does not follow that the government can’t make up for that spending elsewhere. As Olsson Frank Weeda of the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform makes clear,

“You can find there are so many places in discretionary spending that have been increased tremendously over the last two, three, four years that can be cut.”

On Tuesday Tom Coburn attempted to rein in the clear abuse of the Paygo law by introducing an amendment requiring the Senate to post the full cost of Paygo violation online for the public.  Of course the Senate passed it unanimously. To vote no would have been to uncover the swiss-cheese fiscal responsibility of Paygo. Nevertheless, Coburn is less than optimistic about his amendment’s chances to create lasting change to Democrats’ free spending ways. In an emailed statement he says,

“Today, minutes after the Senate accepted my amendment to post its violations of PAYGO online, Senators signaled their intent to remove this amendment from the bill before it goes to the President.  Taxpayers are tired of this cat and mouse game on spending and will hold Senators accountable if they want to be for transparency in words but not action.”

Unfortunately, Obama and the Democrats in Congress have perfected this game of cat and mouse. They say all the right things in public yet continue to drown our generation in red ink. Paygo is a good idea to get us back on track. There should be no exceptions.

by Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee

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